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Broadband providers to start advertising average speeds from today

Wednesday, May 23rd 2018 by Oprah Flash

Starting today (23 May), the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) ruling that all broadband providers must be upfront about the average speeds that customers may receive has come into effect.

If you’re nearing the end of your broadband contract and you’re about to start shopping around for a new package, you will notice something is a bit different.

All internet service providers must now change the way they advertise their broadband packages. They have now dropped the ‘up to’ speeds and replaced them with the average speed that at least 50% of customers are likely to receive at peak time (8pm -10pm).

'Tougher standards'

Guy Parker, the CEO of the Advertising Standards Authority, said: “From today, consumers will see a difference in broadband ads that make claims about speed as this new, tougher, standard is enforced.

“We’ll be making sure consumers aren’t misled by speed claims in ads, not least because choosing the right broadband deal has become such an important part of running a household or business.”

What does this mean for you? Well, while you are scanning the web and comparison sites for a new broadband deal, instead of seeing ADSL packages advertised as up to 17Mbps across all providers, you’ll now see this number differ depending on the provider. The majority of companies now say their average speed is 10Mbps.

Average Speeds

Sky has been ahead of the game for a while and started advertising average speeds two years before the ASA ruling came into place.

On Sky’s website, you’ll find that it is no longer selling a limited fibre package and the average broadband speeds are shown as 10 Mbps for Broadband Unlimited, 36Mbps for Fibre Unlimited and 58Mbps for Fibre Max.

Amid the advertising changes, BT has dropped Infinity from its branding and swapped it with Superfast. It has also introduced a new converged broadband and 4G product, BT Plus.

Where you may be used to BT advertising its broadband with speeds up to 17Mbps, 38Mbps, 52Mbps, and 76Mbps, this has been changed to 10Mbps, 36Mbps, 50Mbps and 67Mbps for the Superfast Fibre 2 Unlimited package.

Faster speeds than advertised

Virgin is the only company to come out smelling of roses after the new ruling. Its average speeds are faster than the ‘up to’ speeds that were previously advertised. The VIVID 50 package has a average speed of 54 while at the top end, if you choose the VIVID 350 deal, you could receive an average speed of 362Mbps during peak hours.

Vodafone is a another provider that preempted the rulings. In March, it introduced an Ultimate Speed Guarantee, promising compensation if your speeds dropped below their set minimum level. On Vodafone’s website, it no longer promotes its ADSL package and at the time of writing, the advertised speeds have remained at up to 38Mbps and up to 76Mbps.

TalkTalk has been a bit more clandestine with its average speeds. No speeds at all are openly advertised on its website. In order to find them out you have to enter your postcode and intended uses, then TalkTalk will pair you with a package it thinks suit your needs. At this stage, the average speeds are 11Mbps, 35Mbps and 63Mbps.

Just in time, TalkTalk has launched a new router promising its best ever wi-fi signal.

’Watching closely’

For consumer watchdog Which?, the advertising of realistic broadband speeds has been a long time coming.

Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home services, said: “These changes will mean that broadband providers will no longer be able to entice customers with unrealistic adverts promising speeds that most of their customers may never get.

“We know that fast and reliable broadband is what really matters to broadband customers and have been campaigning for these changes. We will now be watching closely to make sure providers are finally living up to their promises.”

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