UK internet providers are misleading the vast majority of customers when advertising broadband speed – but things could be about to change if a cross-party group of 50 MPs gets its way.
What’s the problem with broadband speed?
Three-quarters (74%) of British households aren’t getting the promised speeds on their broadband package, according to a survey by consumer gr, Which? – that’s around 15 million households whose broadband speed isn’t quite up to speed.
Although the overwhelming majority of respondents to the survey (90%) said speed was an important factor when choosing an ISP, the study found just a quarter (26%) with fixed broadband connections were getting the speeds they’re paying for.
As if that weren’t bad enough, it also found just 17% of homes received an average speed that matched the advertised level, and this dropped to just 15% during peak evening periods.
All of which is bad enough for domestic users, but even worse if you work from home and need faster speeds for your business.
All of which paints a less than perfect perfect picture of the broadband industry – the trouble is, even with such poor performance no internet service providers (ISPs) are currently in any breach of industry guidelines.
These guidelines state just 10% of customers need to be able to obtain the fastest advertised speed, and while there have been no breaches, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is aware of concerns and is looking into the problem.
Unlike other industries
One of the main issues appears to be that consumers seem to have little by way of rights and protection if their ISP is not meeting expectations, unlike other industries, such as airlines and banks, are forced to compensate customers for errors, delays and poor practice.
An ASA report into the state of the broadband industry said: “Consumers must be given the power to hold their internet service provider to account when they let them down or outright mislead them into signing a contract that makes promises that bear no resemblance to the later reality.”
Adding: “Consumers also need the power to leave contracts if they are found to have been misled.”
“Other industries, such as airlines and banks, are forced to compensate customers for errors, delays and poor practice, so why not broadband?” the report said.
Watch this space to see if new legislation can force ISPs to up their game.