Ofcom calls for clarity on broadband speeds

06 June 2008 / by Rachael Stiles
Broadcasting regulator Ofcom has launched a survey to investigate the actual broadband line speeds available to customers compared to the speeds that are offered in providers' advertising campaigns.

Following concerns that consumers are being misled by headline speeds and ending up with the wrong broadband package for them, the regulator has published a new code of practice today, which will ensure greater clarity to consumers by their ISPs (internet service providers) about the line speeds available to them so that they purchase the correct broadband package.

From its research, Ofcom found that customers' satisfaction with their internet providers has fallen during the last 12 months, which could be due to them paying for speeds they do not receive, but it is hoped that the new code will bring about a marked improvement.

More than 30 ISPs, accounting for 90 per cent of broadband customers, have already agreed to honour the voluntary code in order to give their customers a clearer understanding of the service available to them.

In order to gain a clearer perspective of the issue, Ofcom has launched a survey into broadband speeds in the UK – the most authoritative and comprehensive of its kind – to identity the actual broadband speeds available to customers and how this correlates with those advertised.

The code will provide customers with an accurate estimate of the maximum line speed they can expect at the point of sale, offer dissatisfied customers a lower speed package if they were given inaccurate information, it will ensure that sales staff have a good understanding of the product they are selling, and will provide customers with information on their usage limits, alerting them when they are breached.

Ed Richards, chief executive of Ofcom, said: "Broadband is a thriving market in the UK. We want to encourage real clarity for consumers about the actual broadband speeds they can receive. This voluntary Code is a significant step in this direction."

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