Consumer watchdog Which? has called out the UK's broadband providers for misleading advertising practices.
Which? is currently in the midst of a "Give us broadband speed guaranteed" campaign, and has as part of that called for tighter guidelines on broadband advertising.
It has drawn attention to the fact that providers can boast of broadband speeds when as little as 10 percent of customers are capable of attaining that speed. This is entirely within current advertising guidelines.
Despite this, Which? has found that only one in ten people is aware of this rule.
Which? ran a poll on this and found that a quarter of of people would choose a different deal if they had been better informed as to their ISP's real broadband speeds. It also found that speed was a crucial factor to 88 percent of people.
The consumer watchdog has called for all adverts making broadband speed claims (like "superfast") to quantify these claims. It also wants the rules to be changed to insist that the majority of customers get the advertised speeds. Finally, it wants broadband providers to be up front about how many of its customers will get these claimed top speeds.
"Internet connection is now an essential part of modern life so it beggars belief that providers can sell people short by advertising speeds that only 10% of customers could receive," said Which executive director Richard Lloyd. "We want advertising watchdogs to pull the plug on confusing adverts and ensure broadband providers show the speeds the majority of customers will actually get."
Of course, there are many factors to a customer's find broadband speed that are outside of an ISP's control, but there's no denying that greater transparency is required here.
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