Study Finds Need for Tougher Rules on Broadband Speed

A new web-based survey of 529 internet connected readers in the United Kingdom (*) has revealed that 75% still find ISP promotions of broadband speed to be misleading and just over half (58%) aren’t familiar with the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) related guidelines.

Furthermore 82% of respondents felt that the term “unlimited usage”, which is often used to reflect the download allowance of a specific broadband package, was misleading. Perhaps unsurprisingly just over half of respondents (51%) admitted that they had not even read their ISPs terms (T&C’s) or usage policy documentation.

“The ASA’s recent guidelines, when combined with Ofcom’s existing Speeds Code of Practice 2010 (***), were designed to help consumers but clearly many people continue to have concerns,” said’s Founder, Mark Jackson. “Consumers would naturally benefit from educating themselves about these rules because some, such as Ofcom’s code, require ISPs to put real effort into resolving problems.”

“Broadband performance can of course be affected by all sorts of different factors, such as the quality of your home wiring, the length of a phone line, an ISPs local network capacity and or any related Traffic Management measures. But at the same time ISPs could also improve their transparency, such as by making their service restrictions both simpler to understand and more accessible.”

“We strongly believe that Ofcom and the ASA could do more, such as by working to standardise how service restrictions are communicated and putting an end to the practice of burying such details away in small print or hard to find sections of a website. A tougher approach could also involve turning the current voluntary Speed Code into a mandatory requirement for all providers,” concluded Jackson.

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