Eight out of 10 Brits duped by misleading broadband advertising
- 80% of consumers find the way broadband speeds are currently advertised misleading
- Currently, only 10% of consumers have to be able to receive the advertised 'up to' speed
- On average, Brits believe at least two thirds should be able to receive the 'up to' speed for it to be legitimately advertised
- Consumer telecoms expert Dan Howdle says of the research: "Broadband remains the only service you can buy without knowing what it is you're actually going to get. The current system is a lucky dip where everyone pays the same no matter what mystery item they ultimately pull out.
Friday 10 February 2017: The vast majority of UK consumers find the way broadband speeds are advertised to be misleading, research by Ofcom-accredited broadband comparison site Cable.co.uk reveals.
80% of the 2,000 consumers interviewed by Cable.co.uk think the way broadband speeds are advertised is misleading, with 58% finding them 'very misleading' and 22% saying they are 'somewhat misleading'.
Current guidelines permit broadband providers to advertise 'up to' speeds that are achievable by only 10% of customers. However, consumers feel that at least two thirds (66%) should be able to receive the top speed in order for it to be legitimately used in advertising.
Those aged over 45 are most likely to consider broadband advertising misleading, with 65% stating they find the current system 'very misleading' and 20% 'somewhat misleading'.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has called for a change to the way broadband speeds are advertised to ensure consumers are not misled, and the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) is currently reviewing its guidance to advertisers on broadband speed claims. CAP is due to publish a report later this year.
Commenting on the findings of Ombudsman Services' report, Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms expert at Ofcom accredited broadband, TV and mobile comparison site Cable.co.uk, says:
"Broadband remains the only service you can buy without knowing what it is you're actually going to get. The current system is a lucky dip where everyone pays the same no matter what mystery item they ultimately pull out."
“Currently, you have to find yourself in the bottom 10% speed-wise in order to exit a 12 or 18-month contract without paying substantial cancellation fees. It's a shocking state of affairs that the ASA is quite rightly looking into carefully."
“You should always read the small print when signing up to a new broadband deal, being sure to make yourself aware of the cooling-off period during which you can leave free of charge. However, it should be noted that since the majority of UK broadband providers operate on the Openreach network, switching to another provider on the same network is unlikely to yield better results"
Notes to editors
The full data sets, split by gender, age and region are available upon request
Cable.co.uk interviewed 2,000 UK broadband customers across an even sample of region, gender, age and broadband provider
Those who were interviewed were the main or joint decision makers in their household
In return for using our research and or commentary on UK telecoms issues, we would deeply appreciate a link to this page or Cable.co.uk
What is Cable?
Cable is a broadband, TV and phone comparator, unique news source and consumer champion.
Dan Howdle has been plugged into the attitudes of UK broadband, TV and mobile customers for over two decades, running research fieldwork both nationally and internationally on behalf of the biggest players in the industry. Dan is now consumer telecoms analyst at Cable, as well as more formally operating in the role of its Director of Communications and Content.
An experienced broadcaster, commentator and writer, Dan has appeared on BBC TV and radio, ITV, Sky and in the national papers. Dan has advised Ofcom on issues surrounding service quality, administered Cable’s Broadband Service Quality Awards and sat on the panel of judges for the Internet Service Providers Association annual awards.