William Eichler 04 May 2017

Consultation launched to reform ‘misleading’ broadband speed claims

Consultation launched to reform ‘misleading’ broadband speed claims

Council leaders have welcomed the launch of a consultation aimed at creating tougher standards for advertising broadband speed claims.

The current advertising standards permit headline speed claims that are achievable by at least 10% of customers, where they are preceded with the words ‘up to’.

However, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) found that many people are unclear on what speed they would likely achieve based on the ads they viewed.

CAP’s consultation will ask people to consider different options to strengthen the standards around broadband speed claims.

These options include speed claims based on the: peak-time median download speed; 24-hour national median download speed; range of peak-time download speeds available to the 20th to 80th percentile of users; range of 24-hour national download speeds available to the 20th to 80th percentile of users.

Responding to the consultation launch, Cllr Gillian Brown, vice chair of the Local Government Association’s People and Places Board, said: ‘We are pleased that the CAP is acting on LGA calls for greater transparency around broadband speeds and fully support proposals for tougher standards around the advertising of download speeds.

‘Good digital connectivity is a vital element of everyday life for residents and can help them cut household bills, shop online for cheaper goods, stay in touch with distant relatives, access their bank accounts and even run their own businesses.

‘As central and local government services increasingly become “digital by default”, more people will need to have faster and more reliable speeds.

‘In its current form, the headline “up to” download speed, which can be advertised legally, is misleading and does not reflect the reality of broadband service received across the country.

‘Broadband users deserve greater honesty and openness about the download and upload speeds they are likely to receive depending on their location.’

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