Broadband companies to stop advertising ‘misleading’ speeds

From May next year, broadband companies won’t be able to advertise fast net services based on the speeds little customers receive.

Broadband adverts will depend on what is available to at least 50% of consumers at peak times, to prevent misleading internet users’.

According to the BBC, The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) researched consumers understanding of broadband speed, which found many individuals are confused by headline speeds that they would never get access to in their homes.

To help find a better way to advertise fast net services, the concerns were passed on to the Committees of Advertising Practice (Cap).

Cap found the clearest way of advertising would be to advertise the average speeds achieved at peak times by half of the customers.

‘A better understanding of broadband speeds’

Director of the Committees of Advertising Practice, Shahriar Coupal, said to the BBC: “There are a lot of factors that affect the broadband speed a customer is going to get in their own home; from technology to geography, to how a household uses broadband.

“Our new standards will give consumers a better understanding of the broadband speeds offered by different providers when deciding to switch providers.”

Andrew Ferguson, editor of broadband news website ThinkBroadband, added to the BBC: “People shouldn’t expect adverts to change overnight, as most changes are likely to emerge in April just ahead of the deadline.

“However, consumers may start to see a much wider variety of speeds in adverts, and with the addition of the peak time period (defined as 8pm to 10pm) there is likely to be more variation between providers.

“As a result, some providers may elect to refuse service to customers likely to get speeds at the slower end of the scale, which restricts provider choice.

“Others may not sell the advertised service but instead push customers to a technically identical service marketed under a different name.”

Written by Leah Alger