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Virgin Media says new broadband ad rules must consider homeworkers

Tuesday, June 27th 2017 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Virgin Media says the ASA should consider homeworkers when making changes to broadband advertising rules.

The ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) is currently consulting on plans to change the way broadband speeds are advertised after research showed consumers are being misled by the current approach.

At the moment, providers can advertise ‘up to’ speeds as long as 10% of their customers can receive them.

The ASA wants advertised speeds to be available to at least 50% of consumers.

It has also suggested that providers advertise the average speeds available across a full day or at ‘peak time’ – between 8pm and 10pm.

According to Virgin Media, the ASA risks ignoring the 8.2 million Brits who work from home if it decides on a peak time measure.

Virgin said the top three peak times for internet use among homeworkers are 10am-2pm (20%), 8am-10am (18%) and 12pm-2pm (12%). It said only 3% of homeworkers are busiest from 8pm-10pm.

Research by Virgin found that homeworkers rate fast, reliable broadband as being more important than access to a mobile or landline phone, a comfortable working environment, a kettle and even snacks.

The study, based on a survey of 2,000 UK employees, found the British homeworking economy to be worth £167bn with the number of homeworkers set to double in the next five years.

'Transparency'

Kerris Bright, chief marketing officer at Virgin Media, said: “More people than ever are spending some of their working week at home, and our research shows that homeworkers depend on having a good broadband connection.

“As it consults on more robust broadband advertising rules, the ASA must consider Britain’s growing army of homeworkers, and require companies to advertise average speeds across a full day.”

Mike Cherry, national chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “A growing number of employees and the self-employed now work from home.

“Their continuing growth depends on strong digital connectivity, together with the ability to get the best deal.

“We welcome the ASA consultation to require broadband providers to state average speeds, to bring transparency and help homeworkers and the self-employed make the best choice when selecting their broadband provider.”

The consultation runs until 13 July.

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