The Office of Communications (Ofcom) has today published a Code of Practice (CoP) on broadband speeds.
Responding to the new code the Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA) UK and its members say they support the principle of the CoP and its aims and participated in its drafting. ISPA encourages its members to display openness and transparency when dealing with their customers and believes the CoP supports this.
ISPA would like to see the CoP extended to include wireless mobile operators that provide broadband over their networks as well as fixed line broadband providers, to ensure minimal confusion to consumers.
ISPA members also feel that while the CoP focuses on access line speed, throughput speed is of much greater value to the user. Access line speed only gives an approximation of the speed they will receive. ISPA looks forward to continuing our work with Ofcom and the Internet industry to determine a methodology for collecting accurate information on throughput speeds to give to the consumer at the point of purchase.
Consumers must also understand that every single broadband connection’s speed will be different. Even neighbouring houses supplied by the same provider can receive different speeds.
This is because there are many limitations affecting the performance of Internet connections which are beyond the control of any chosen ISP.
The distance a customer lives from the telephone exchange is a crucial factor: the closer they live to the exchange, the faster their connection is likely to be.
If a customer’s phone line is in good condition, then they’ll get a stronger signal. Once the broadband Internet connection reaches their house, it still needs to reach their PC. If they’ve got good quality wiring in their house, they’ll be able to enjoy faster speeds.
The type of modem or router a customer uses can also affect the speed they experience. It is important not to confuse poor hardware performance with poor Internet performance.
Lastly, the time of day affects the potential surfing speed: during peak periods on the Internet, a reduction in speed may be noticed. Equally, the more people using a single connection in a house at the same time, the slower the broadband connection.
However, speed is just one indicator of the quality of a broadband service provider.
Mrs Hendrie-Liaño, Chair of ISPA Council said, “ISPA recommends three tips to effectively choose an ISP:”
“You should always choose an ISPA member. ISPA operates a complaints procedure and a code of practice that members must commit to. If a consumer has a problem with their ISP and the ISP is an ISPA member, ISPA can help.”
“Consider your needs and the needs of any other people using the Internet connection. Consider how ‘net savvy you are – as you may need particular help from your ISP’s customer support department. Also ask yourself how long you expect to be on the ‘net, what type and size of files you want to receive and transmit. Also think about any safety features you might need, such as family friendly software if you have children.”
“Don’t choose an Internet service by price or speed alone. Like anything, you get what you pay for. Customers should consider the features and specifications of ISPs’ services and select the most appropriate provider and tariff for their needs.”