LGA: Broadband speed advertising is broken

‘Broadband users deserve greater honesty and openness’ says the voice of UK local government

Posted 24 November 2017 at 7:29am by

The Local Government Association (LGA) says a report published this week into how advertising of upload and download broadband speeds needs to be improved is spot on.

“Residents have a right to expect good digital connectivity to help them cut household bills, shop online for cheaper goods, keep in touch with distant relatives, access their bank accounts,” said Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Chairman of the the group’s People and Places Board.

In its current form, the headline ‘up to’ download speed, which can be advertised legally, is “misleading” and does not reflect the reality of broadband service received across the country, he added.

As a result, “Broadband users deserve greater honesty and openness about the download and upload speeds they are likely to receive depending on their location.”

As it stands, British advertising standards say advertisers only use maximum speed claims that are achievable by at least 10% of customers and are preceded with the words “up to”, qualified, where appropriate, with information to help manage consumers’ expectations of achievable speeds and the factors affecting them.

Even so, many consumers and small business owners feel that the service they get is nowhere near what ISPs promise, prompting the LGA to mount its own campaign to aim to ensure every resident and business has access to faster broadband – Up To Speed.

As a result, the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) thinks broadband speed claims used in advertising should be based on the download speed available to at least 50% cent of customers at peak time and described as “average”.

“These long overdue changes are the fairest, most transparent measure to help residents know what they are getting when choosing a broadband package,” concluded Hawthorne.