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15.4m UK homes don’t get advertised broadband speeds

If your broadband speed matches your service provider’s advertisements, you’re in the minority.

A new study has revealed that 74 per cent of UK households are not getting the top broadband speeds promised to them by advertisements.

According to the report by consumer group Which?, the issue affects up to 15.4 million homes across the country.

That’s a stark figure, especially as the same study revealed 90 per cent of those polled said speed is an important factor when choosing a provider.

While 26 per cent of customers did achieve the speeds paid for, only 17 per cent of homes actually received an average speed that matched the advertised level.

Moreover, just 15 per cent of polled customers achieved the speeds during peak usage evening periods.

The figures become increasingly concerning when polled users were split into city-based and rural-based categories.

A staggering 98 per cent of rural homes don’t get the headline speeds advertised, in contrast to 31 per cent of city households.

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According to advertising guidelines, a company can peddle a connection with a maximum speed if at least 10 per cent of all customers achieve it.

However, Which? found that three broadband packages didn’t even meet this criteria.

With TalkTalk’s 17Mbps package, just 4 per cent of customers were receiving the top speed advertised.

On BT and Plusnet’s 76Mbps deals, a mere 1 per cent of households managed the claimed download speeds.

BT responded to the study in a statement that reads: “We’re very clear that customers should not rely on headline claims, but instead use the personal speed quote we give them at the point of sale, which is based on their own line.”

It continued: “If they aren’t happy with this personalised speed they can decide not to buy from us; if they are happy with the speed, but find they don’t achieve it, we allow them to end their contracts in line with the Ofcom code of practice.”

Telecom regulator Ofcom recently cracked down on internet service providers, allowing customers to easily switch between broadband companies if the speed of their service is inadequate.

Which? has appealed to Ofcom to take an even tougher stance on service providers however, in light of the study’s findings.

“It’s not good enough that millions of homes are so poorly served by their broadband provider with speeds that just don’t live up to what was advertised,” said Richard Lloyd, Which?’s executive director.

He continued: “Broadband is an essential part of life these days so people shouldn’t be persuaded to buy a package which is never going to live up to expectations.”

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