ISPA supports changes to broadband ad rules

Broadband providers forced to use peak-time speeds in adverts in major crackdown

Under the current regulations, which date back to 2012, ISPs may advertise speeds available to 10% of customers and may describe those as "up to".

Instead providers will have to advertise speeds that at least 50 per cent of its customers can get at peak times.

ISPA (Internet Services Providers' Association) has welcomed changes to the broadband advertising rules.

In a joint statement, the companies said the watchdog has "failed in its duty to protect what is undeniably in consumers' best interests - the transparency around the services they are being sold by technology providers".

"While we know these factors mean some people will get significantly slower speeds than others; when it comes to broadband ads, our new standards will give consumers a better understanding of the broadband speeds offered by different providers when deciding to switch providers".

"Millions of households are now experiencing broadband speeds that just don't live up to their expectations and unrealistic adverts showing speeds you're never likely to get don't help".

The UK's advertising regulator will only allow broadband providers to advertise the average speed of their service rather than a top speed only available to a handful of households, from May 2018.

CAP, the regulatory body that is responsible for advertising codes in the United Kingdom and part of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), has published a 10-week public consultation seeking views on different options on how to strengthen standards around broadband speed claims.




Currently ISPs are allowed to use headline speeds that only 10 per cent of customers receive.

Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at broadband advice site Cable.co.uk, comments: "Up until now, broadband has been the only utility you can buy without knowing precisely what it is you're going to get".

Following a consultation it has further toughened the rules by insisting advertised speeds represent those received at peak times.

"To give some idea of the scale of the changes for the partial fibre (FTTC) services now sold as up to 38Mbps, we are expecting to see adverts featuring speeds in the 24 to 30Mbps region then up to 76Mbps services should be in the 45 to 55Mbps region", said Ferguson.

Using the term "fibre broadband" in adverts for part-fibre services is not "materially misleading", the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has said.

However, the watchdog found that while consumers did notice fibre claims in ads, consumers regarded it as a "shorthand buzzword to describe modern, fast broadband". Most respondents also favoured a single figure over a range and a peak-time measure over a 24-hour measure.

The research also found that consumers did not believe they would change their previous decisions after the differences between full and part-fibre services were explained to them.

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