Major broadband providers failing consumers on estimated speeds
New Ofcom research shows that some of the UK's biggest communications providers need to seriously buck their ideas up when it comes to offering consumers an accurate picture of the broadband speeds they can expect to receive.
To help potential customers in the market for a new broadband deal, the regulator's voluntary code of practice states that information on estimated line speeds should be offered - without prompting - as early in the sales process as possible.
KC, Sky and Plusnet all fared well in the study, with details on line speeds volunteered in 76, 72 and 67 per cent of cases respectively.
However, concerningly, BT and TalkTalk - two of the country's top three fixed broadband providers, according to Ofcom figures from the third quarter of last year - were far less willing to let the regulator's mystery shoppers know about the likely capability of their line.
Less than half of enquiries to the two telecoms giants resulted in the callers being given a speed estimate without having to prompt the telesales agent.
After discussing the matter with Ofcom, both companies have now promised to address their sales processes and staff training in a bid to resolve the problem, but questions should be asked about how they performed so poorly in the first place.
The code of conduct was drawn up with the support of industry to ease consumer frustrations about the disparity between advertised speeds and the real-world rates they received when signing up for a broadband contract.
It's therefore a real worry that the two worst offenders happen to be such major organisations in BT and TalkTalk, and that one in every two consumers contacting the communications providers simply isn't being given the information they need.
If the problems persist the next time Ofcom carries out this research, we'd like to see the regulator illustrate the seriousness of the issue by imposing financial penalties.
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