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Distinguished Guru
Message 1 of 22

Ofcom wants to ban misleading broadband speed ads

Ofcom is seeking to stop internet service providers from advertising unrealistic broadband speeds.


Currently most ISPs advertise services as 'up to' a certain speed - for instance, 20Mbps (megabits per second).


But Ofcom's latest research finds that very few consumers actually get these headline speeds.


Ofcom's latest research into broadband speeds found that just 14% of customers on 'up to' 20Mbps services received speeds of over 12Mbps, while 58% averaged speeds of 6Mbps or less.


Cable and fibre services fared better, with 92% of V***** M**** customers on an 'up to' 50Mbps service averaging 45.6Mbps.


BT's Fibre-to-the-Cabinet technology, which is currently available to 15% of UK homes, has an average of 31.8Mbps on the 40Mbps service.


BT is not impressed with Ofcom's idea.

"We have real concerns with their approach. Broadband speeds vary from line to line and so it is meaningless to use one speed for advertising. That is why we use the term 'up to'," said John Petter, managing director of BT Retail.

He said he thought such a policy "would encourage digital exclusion rather than tackle it".

"Enforcing typical speed ranges is also dangerous as it could encourage more ISPs to cherry pick customers who will increase their average, leaving customers in rural and suburban areas under-served," he said.

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Aspiring Expert
Message 2 of 22

Re: Ofcom wants to ban misleading broadband speed ads

I think this will be a positive development. When the maximum level is fixed, the most obvious way to increase the average is to work on the handful of lowest figures. BT will have a real incentive to sort out the performance of connections giving people low speeds.

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Message 3 of 22

Re: Ofcom wants to ban misleading broadband speed ads

Excellent news, the sooner the better.


All the BT advertising hints at high speed internet - lots of whiz bang imagery, and promises about Infinity.


The truth is that, in London, I get 3mb max, and often much less.  3mb Max.


In a ten year old, very large modern development in Wimbledon, six miles from Whitehall.


And here, in the Capital City, there are NO plans to roll out Infinity to my area whatsoever.


It's like Ford selling cars with images of the Bugatti Veyron, while only supplying Fiesta 1.1's


Watch TV on laptops?   Bunch of dreamers - no chance!

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Recognised Expert
Message 4 of 22

Re: Ofcom wants to ban misleading broadband speed ads

The other way to improve the average for a product is to dump those on a line line (slow speeds) onto a differently branded product and drop them from the average of the product being advertised, or for ISPs that do not have to supply universal coverage you don't supply to those who live a distance from the exchange.
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Aspiring Contributor
Message 5 of 22

Re: Ofcom wants to ban misleading broadband speed ads

I feel 'Up to' is acceptable, 'Maximum product speed' (with the usual caveats about line length, quality, etc) would be better when advertised alongside a minimum product speed guarantee, say 2Mb/s.


Far more pernicious are 'Unlimited' claims (which Ofcom/ASA are also investigating) - any service which is advertised as 'Unlimited' and has ARTIFICIAL constraints placed upon it is not unlimited!


Blaming users for actually using the product they have purchased and restricting 'heavy' users is disingenuous!  IF a package is described as unlimited then the available bandwidth should be shared equally between those users contending it rather than the more common 'you've exceeded your permitted bandwidth of this unlimited product... we're restricting you to speed X during peak times.'


Such restrictions are not for the benefit of the other customers... if memory serves, residential bandwidth is contended 50:1 (or thereabouts)... if the ISP has insufficient bandwidth to accomodate a serviceable connection to each of those users simultaneously that is the ISP's problem but which would they prefer to, potentially, lose?  A few 'heavy' users or fifty customers for having the audacity to expect some minimum level of service?

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Recognised Expert
Message 6 of 22

Re: Ofcom wants to ban misleading broadband speed ads

Well that's a pointless idea Ofcom. Do they bother to consult with anyone before they dream up these ideas?

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Aspiring Contributor
Message 7 of 22

Re: Ofcom wants to ban misleading broadband speed ads

Yes they do.  There was a national consultation with views sought from 'interested parties' and individuals alike.


Was quite widely reported including on the BBC and TheRegister and, I'm sure, other places.

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Aspiring Expert
Message 8 of 22

Re: Ofcom wants to ban misleading broadband speed ads

so who has the fastest speed BT or VIRGIN? Smiley Tongue



In the end we will all be star dust.
Then start all over again.
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Aspiring Expert
Message 9 of 22

Re: Ofcom wants to ban misleading broadband speed ads

I iwsh they'd ban the 'free line connection' ads unless with the caveat of 'free if you live within spitting distance of a BT pole'.

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Aspiring Expert
Message 10 of 22

Finally Ofcom talks sense!

Finally Ofcom is going to step in and force ISP's to be more truthful about the speed you can actually get, and are going to ban the 'upto 20meg' adverts, and force ISPs to give an average speed that the company supplies its customers.



Its a shame this doesnt apply to 'unlimited' with a hidden FUP, like the 300gb limit bt enforce.


But... guess which company is calling it unfair... yup thats right BT... and why is that?

Because of the poor service, and low speeds it provides its customers... i



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