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Broadband advertising voted ‘misleading’ by customers

30th March 2012 Print

As the deadline for the CAP and BCAP's new broadband advertising guidelines approaches, recent research has highlighted the frustration felt by broadband customers when it comes to broadband advertising claims., the UK's leading Ofcom-accredited broadband price comparison site, polled almost 42,000 broadband users on their attitudes toward broadband advertising. A massive proportion of respondents expressed disappointment, with 89% claiming that they felt broadband advertising was misleading.

Dominic Baliszewski, broadband expert, commented: "Broadband advertising has until now focused on headline speeds that are optimistic at best and completely unrealistic at worst. It is hardly surprising that consumers are unhappy when the Ferrari they paid for turns out to be little faster than a moped. The advertising is misleading and customers are waking up to this fact. Recent Ofcom research3 showed that the average speed achieved by UK broadband customers was 7.6Mbit/s which contrasts starkly with advertised speeds of up to 20MB and 24MB that consumers see every day.

"The new guidelines being enforced by CAP and BCAP from 1st April are a step in the right direction, but they still do not go far enough in ensuring that the lion's share of customers gets what they think they're paying for. Setting the advertised maximum speed at a figure that only a privileged few customers (10%) can receive will still rub salt in the wound for the remaining 90% of customers who have little chance of achieving the provider's best speeds. Fibre optic services from companies such as Virgin Media and BT Infinity offer much more reliable speeds, and are steadily reaching more homes as the roll-out continues.

"Customers need to be empowered to make an informed choice. This means they need access to accurate information regarding broadband speeds from the first advert they see, to the point they make a purchase. We would like to see ‘typical speeds' made the gold standard for broadband advertising in the same way that banks use typical APR percentages, giving consumers a much clearer picture of the kind of service they are likely to receive."