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UK watchdog proposes tougher rules for advertising broadband ISP speeds

The Committees of Advertising Practice, which works alongside the Advertising Standards Agency to set UK Advertising Codes, has today launched a new consultation that seeks public feedback on a series of options for improving the sometimes “misleading” way in which ISPs advertise broadband speeds.

The existing guidance, which was introduced in 2012 and has seen complaints about broadband speeds drop by 60%, requires that any headline speed being promoted by an ISP must be achievable by at least 10% of their customers (i.e. the fastest 10th percentile) and these figures should be preceded by an “up to” qualifier, as well as an explanation of any limitations that may hamper the connection.

Separately Ofcom’s Code of Practice for Broadband Speed (details) also requires ISPs to give consumers, at the point of sale, an accurate estimate of the maximum speed that their line can support; this usually comes in the form of an upper and lower performance range. Speeds that fall too far below this can enable customers to exit their contract without penalty.

At this point the CAP correctly notes that “one-to-many advertising such as a national TV ad or outdoor billboard campaign cannot reasonably be expected to provide the same information as one-to-one information direct from each provider about the speed an individual consumer is likely to get” (i.e. today’s news focuses on one-to-many advertisements, while Ofcom’s rule covers the latter).

In short, the CAP has today proposed a series of four different options to strengthen the standards around broadband speed claims and these are open for public debate until 13th July 2017. We should add that the CAP is open to “any other options proposed by respondents, which both help to prevent consumers from being misled and better manage consumers’ expectations about the broadband speed they’re likely to receive.”

To complete the survey and read the rest of this article please visit http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2017/05/uk-watchdog-reveals-tougher-options-advertising-broadband-isp-speeds.html

First published Thursday, 4 May 2017 Author Mark Jackson Source ISPreview


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May 17, 2017