Here’s what Ofcom’s new UK Code of Practice for ISPs could mean for you

Ofcom has already made clear it plans to make a few changes to its voluntary code of practice for ISPs, and now ISPreview claims to have been given a peek at what’s coming.

The voluntary code of practice for broadband ISP speeds contains guidelines for companies concerning numerous aspects of broadband services, and requires them to inform subscribers of the access line speeds they’re likely to get as part of the service being sold.

The rules also state that, when speeds fall significantly below the original figure given, ISPs are required to resolve the issues or offer the option to exit the contract without any charges.

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But Ofcom is expected to launch a consultation on the code of practice in the next month, which most ISPs have already signed up to.

That could mean consumers will get a clearer picture of the speeds they’re likely to get when signing up to a broadband contract in future.

Ofcom Code of Practice changes – What does it mean for customers?

So what exactly is Ofcom expected to propose? Well, according to ISPreview, customers will get more information about broadband speeds when first signing up to a contract.

Currently, consumers should be given an estimate of the likely download speed range when they sign up, informing them of the 20th and 80th percentile speeds the company will provide.

Customers can also request an estimate of the minimum line speed (10th percentile).

But the changes will reportedly introduce the requirement for ISPs to provide an estimate of the maximum speed at off-peak times (80th percentile speed), alongside the “normally available speed” at busy times (80th-20th percentile speeds).

It’s worth noting that Ofcom is yet to define what constitutes peak and off-peak times.

Companies will also have to provide an estimate of the minimum speed at peak times (10th percentile speed) as well as the advertised speed.

ISPreview says it seems both download and upload speeds will have to be included in the estimates, and it remains unclear whether the code of practice will be made mandatory.

On top of all that, ISPs will likely be required to conduct speedtests to determine the “normally available speed” estimate.

An Ofcom spokesperson told ISPreview: “We’ve said that we aim to improve broadband speed information by revising our voluntary codes of practice. We are discussing with industry ways to improve speed estimates and ensure effective redress when speeds fall below a minimum. We haven’t yet finalised our plans, but any proposals would be consulted on publicly.”

At this point, it’s unclear whether the above changes will actually be put into practice. It’s claimed a draft proposal of the changes is currently being circulated among ISPs, with the consultation expected to launch in the next month.

Let us know what you think of the proposed changes in the comments.