Average broadband speeds ‘well below’ advertised

Ofcom claims ISPs are still not providing the broadband speeds they promise.

UK broadband subscribers are still failing to get the speeds they pay for, according to a report from Ofcom.

The telecoms regulator conceded average download speeds had increased across the UK but claimed they were still nowhere near the advertisements Internet Service Providers (ISPs) won over customers with.

The average broadband speed came in at 6.2Mbps across the UK. However, the average advertised speed was up to' 13.8Mbps, making the actual speed just 45 per cent of the promised connection.

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"The research results underline the importance of consumers getting clear, accurate and consistent information on speeds, including the maximum speeds that consumers' individual lines are capable of receiving," the Ofcom report read.

As a result, the regulator is putting into place a new "Voluntary Code of Practice on Broadband Speeds" from July to encourage ISPs to give customers the truth about the speeds they can access when they buy the subscription. It will also allow customers not receiving those speeds to leave their ISP at no cost within the first three months of their contract.

Although voluntary, a number of ISPs have already signed up to code, including BT Total Broadband, O2 Home Broadband, Virgin Media and TalkTalk.

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Ofcom backs ASA advertising investigation

"In addition to the protection offered to consumers by the Code, it is our view that when speeds are used in broadband advertising they should reflect the actual speeds that consumers receive," the report added.

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"It is our view that a change in the rules around advertising is necessary in order to better promote speed-based competition between providers and ensure that consumers can effectively compare the services available to them."

To this end, Ofcom has been helping the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) with its review on broadband advertising practices and has made recommendations to the organisation on how the process should move forward.

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