Broadband companies failing to keep their promises to consumers

21 September 2007
More than half of the UK is currently signed up to broadband yet there are mounting concerns that services are not coming up to standard, despite advertising claims to the contrary.

Internet service providers (ISPs) have recently come under fire from consumer watchdogs who feel that they are not providing the speeds that they advertise.

Research has revealed that ‘up to 8Mb’ broadband connections regularly provide connection speeds of around 4Mb and ISPs have also been heavily criticised for advertising ‘unlimited’ broadband deals that are in reality limited by companies’ Fair Usage Policies.

Karen Darby from comments: “While ISPs are careful to state ‘up to’ speeds in their advertising, we feel something must be done to give consumers a better understanding of what they’re actually paying for.

“The bandwidth that a customer receives is dependent on their distance from their local exchange, as well as the number of people that are using the Internet at the time. However, a customer’s likely connection speed could easily be calculated by taking these factors into account. Because of this, ISPs should be able to tell potential customers their ‘typical’ connection speed, given the customer’s post code and phone number. This would give people a far better indication of what they’d get for their money.”

The growing demand for faster broadband services has put ISPs under increasing pressure to supply a service that is up to the standard of other countries and fears that the UK infrastructure will not be able to cope with demand has forced Ofcom to step in to prepare a nationwide consultation with suppliers to determine what can be done to improve the situation.

“In the meantime,” adds Darby, “We urge Ofcom to enforce a more ‘honest’ approach from broadband providers. We would like to see ISPs provide ‘likely’ connection speeds as standard, as well as clarifying their worryingly vague ‘Fair Usage Policies’.”

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