ISPA supports changes to broadband ad rules

Major crackdown announced on advertised broadband speeds

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

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

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

The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) is toughening up the standards following research which found they are now likely to mislead consumers.

However, in 2016, research commissioned on the ASA's behalf showed many consumers were confused by the broadband speed claims made in adverts, with many expecting to receive a broadband service capable of delivering speeds close to what was claimed when this was very rarely the case due to a multitude of factors - such as the distance between one's house and the nearest cabinet in the case of fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) services running on the Openreach network. The concerns were passed on to the CAP (Committees of Advertising Practice) which consulted with ISPs, consumer groups and Ofcom to find a better way to advertise fast net services.

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

"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".

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

"While this change might reduce the number of consumers that feel let down, the reality is that a national advert can never accurately communicate broadband speeds because speeds are so specific to your individual property".

INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS (ISPs) will be soon be forced to ensure that 50 per cent of their customers can achieve advertised speeds at peak time as part of a crackdown by the UK's advertising regulator.

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 ASA also considered whether the use of "fibre" in broadband advertising was misleading for ISPs that only use fibre to the road-side phone cabinet, relying on a copper connection for the so-called last mile to a consumer's home.

When questioned consumers said they didn't notice "fibre" claims in ads and when probed said they took it to mean that the service offered was modern fast broadband.

CAP also ruled speed-checking facilities, for example those on ISPs; websites, should be promoted in ads wherever possible.

Services now marketed at up to 76Mbps are likely to be in the 45 to 55Mbps region, he added, while those advertised as up to 17Mbps could fall as low as 6Mbps under the new rules.

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