Were you promised superfast broadband, but find your internet crawls along? In this guest post Tom Mockridge, Virgin Media’s Chief Executive Officer, calls for greater clarity on advertising speeds.
Broadband speed and the capacity that it delivers, matters. We’ve seen customers’ data use grow at around 60% every year which, if the trend continues, will be 10,000% higher in ten years.
The simple fact is this. When you sign up to a new broadband provider, the speed it claims to deliver is one of the main criteria you will use.
The higher the advertised speed, the more you will be able to make of the service you are paying for. At least, that’s the logic.
The reality is that to meet the rules set by the advertising watchdogs, the broadband speeds claimed in advertising need only be available to 10% of customers.
Sure, there are technical issues why you might not be able to access the top speed all the time – they affect every provider at one time or another and we all work hard to fix them quickly. But, service isn’t the issue Which? is addressing here, it’s speed.
Today, you can sign-up for a so-called superfast connection with some big-name ISPs only to find you probably never would have been able to get those speeds in the first place.
Ofcom determines 30Mbps as the slowest broadband speed that can be classed as superfast. Our entry-level speed is 50Mbps and any of our customers can access ultrafast broadband speeds of 152Mbps.
Is it right for customers that a 30Mbps services should be sold under the same name as a service that goes five times quicker? Times have changed since the advertising watchdogs set their rules in 2011. It’s time to raise the bar.
Broadband marks its fifteenth birthday this year. With age comes responsibility and it’s time for the industry to work with Which?, Ofcom and the advertising watchdogs to be clearer when advertising broadband speeds.
In the long term, this 10% rule does nobody any favours. If advertising claims superfast broadband speeds, those speeds should be available to the many not the few.
I’m backing the Which? campaign today and will be writing to the advertising watchdogs and Ofcom to urge it to join us in raising the bar.
This is a guest contribution by Tom Mockridge, of Virgin Media. All opinions expressed here are Tom’s own, not necessarily those of Which?