New rules will prevent broadband firms from misleading speeds of service

The Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) Firms will be implementing new rules next year preventing firms in the UK from advertising misleading campaigns about their broadband speeds to consumers.

Many providers, including BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin, advertise speeds that are based on the max speeds that only a few of their customers actually end up getting.

The new rules are being put into force to tackle this discrepancy. A lot of consumers receive broadband speeds lower than what companies claim they will get in their advertisements.

Existing rules allow firms to advertise their headline speeds that only one tenth of their customers receive.

However, from May next year, firms will only be able to advertise the speed that at least half of their customers get.

Director of the Committees of Advertising Practice, Shahriar Coupal, was quoted by the BBC as saying:

“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.”

UK Minister of State for Digital & Culture, Matt Hancock, said the new standards are a victory for consumers.

“I’m delighted to see that Cap is finally changing the way broadband speeds are advertised. Headline ‘up to’ speeds that only need to be available to 10% of consumers are incredibly misleading – customers need clear, concise and accurate information in order to make an informed choice.”

Managing director of home products and services at consumer group Which?, Alex Neill, commented:

“Millions of households are currently 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.

“It is good to see people may finally see the speeds they could achieve before they sign up to a deal.”