Date published 29/12/2017

ASA crack down on 'misleading' broadband speed ads

Internet service providers (ISPs) are no longer allowed to make a numerical broadband speed claim based on speeds “up to” a figure, as of May 2018.

Internet service providers are currently allowed to claim the speed of their service is up to a certain figure, if 10% of their customer base receives that speed.

This figure doesn't usually represent consumers' actual experience. The broadband speed which a customer receives depends on geographic location, number of people using the internet at that time and distance from the telephone exchange.

ASA research reveals lack of clarity

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have recently conducted research on consumers' understanding of the numerical claims. The findings suggested that most customers were unclear about the speed they would receive in their own home, as the claims of ISPs are not representative of actual performance.

The Committees of Advertising Practice (Cap) worked with ISPs, consumer groups, and Ofcom to discuss the issue and come up with a solution to better advertise broadband speeds.

They have now published a new Advertising Guidance on the advertising of numerical speed claims for broadband and internet services.

What’s changed?

As of May 2018, broadband and internet providers must advertise speeds which at least 50% of their customers receive during peak times. Cap have also stated that ISPs must prefix claims with the word ''average'' rather than ''up to''.

This means consumers will have a better understanding of the download speeds ISPs are offering when deciding to switch providers. ISPs will no longer be able to make claims based on the speeds that 10% of their customers receive.

This new Advertising Guidance is set to take effect on 23rd May 2018.

DataKom offers ADSL/VDSL broadband to businesses, with speeds that range from 8Mbps to 330Mbps, satellite broadband for those with limited connectivity in their area with the highest speed of 20Mbps, and dedicated broadband with speeds of a possible 1G. Prior to installation, the telecom consultants advise businesses on the correct type of cabling and connectivity.

Jay Ball, DataKom's Managing Director, welcomes the new guidelines and said:

''We're all pleased Internet service providers and advertisers can no longer use misleading speed claims. Customers should be clear on the speeds which they can achieve when signing up for a new broadband deal.''

''We’ve always aimed to be transparent about the speeds our customers will get, so it's good news there will be consistency in the market – good news for customers''