Broadband

Average broadband speed is still less than half advertised speed

Average download speeds in the UK are less than half of speeds advertised by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), according to a new study by Ofcom.

Research findings have revealed that despite the average advertised “up to” speed of 13.8Mbit/second, the actual average speed is just 6.2Mbps.

Although this was a slight increase on the last study’s figure of 5.2Mbps in May 2010 the communications regulator is urging new rules to be brought in for advertisers to ensure customers are not misled.

It has recommended to the Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP) and Broadcast Committee for Advertising Practice (BCAP), who write the Advertising Codes for the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), that broadband advertising should include typical speeds actually achieved by half of its customers “so consumers have a clearer idea of what speeds to expect”.

It added that a maximum speed should be used only if it is “actually achievable in practice by a material number of customers”.

Chief executive Ed Richards said: “It is encouraging that new technologies are being rolled out across the UK and faster speeds are being achieved.

“However, the research shows that ISPs need to do more to ensure they are giving customers clear and accurate information about the services they provide and the factors that may affect the actual speeds customers will receive.

“It is important that the rules around broadband advertising change so that consumers are able to make more informed decisions based on the adverts they see, and that advertisers are able to communicate more clearly how their products compare to others in the market.”

The Ofcom study looked at 11 packages provided by the seven ISPs, representing more than 90 per cent of residential broadband subscribers in the UK, compiling results from more than 18 million separate performance tests in 1,700 homes during November and December.

Its research also indicated that consumers would welcome more information on broadband speeds to allow them to make effective and informed choices.

Advice for consumers on improving broadband speeds can be found at: 

http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/market-data-research/telecoms-research/broadband-speeds/speeds/

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