Broadband providers must show average speeds

22nd May 2018

In a significant change to the rules governing advertisements for broadband, providers will have to display the average speed of their service rather than the top speed. The change was announced back in November last year, but takes effect from this Wednesday, 23 May, following a six-month implementation period.

The average speed is defined as the speed available to at least 50% of a provider’s current customer base of households during the peak hours of 8-10pm.

According to consumer group Which?, data from 235,000 users of its online speed checker tool indicated that average download speeds reached just 51% of the ‘up to’ rates advertised. Providers will no longer be permitted to quote an ‘up to’ figure which, in some instances, might have been available to as few as 10% of their customers.

It’s important to note that it is only the advertising requirements that are changing; the actual speeds of which each customer’s individual line is capable is not.

As Shahriar Coupal, director of the Committees of Advertising Practice, which writes the advertising codes in the UK, explained: “We know 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 they use their broadband… but we hope our new standards will improve customer confidence in future ads.”

Which? also welcomed the news, saying they had been campaigning for this change and that it means that people will now be able to see the speeds they could achieve with their broadband before they sign up to a deal with a particular provider.

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