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Councils call for tougher standards for broadband advertising

Local councils have today thrown their support behind a campaign designed to make advertising for broadband speed more transparent and honest for UK consumers.

Responding to a consultation launched by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) on tougher standards for broadband companies advertising their services, the LGA has stated it agrees with the need for tighter measures to be brought in to stop residents from being misled when shopping for an internet provider.

The consultation will run for 10 weeks until 13 July and aims to collect views from members of the public about four options to change standards around broadband advertising.

These measures include companies having to base speed claims on peak-time median download speed, 24-hour national median download speed and a number of other different measures designed to make speed claims easier to understand.  

For the next 10 weeks, we’re inviting views on four options for change, and remain open to any other options that better manage consumers’ expectations of the broadband speed they’re likely to receive,” said director of CAP, Shahriar Coupal.

“CAP recognises that advertising can play an early and important part in the journey to choosing a broadband provider. We’re determined to ensure the information it provides, including about broadband speed, is trusted and welcomed by consumers.”

Cllr Gillian Brown, vice chair of the LGA’s People and Places Board, agreed, arguing that her organisation was pleased that the CAP is acting on previous calls made by the LGA for greater transparency around broadband advertising speeds.

“Good digital connectivity is a vital element of everyday life for residents and can help them cut household bills, shop online for cheaper goods, stay in touch with distant relatives, access their bank accounts and even run their own businesses,” she explained.

“As central and local government services increasingly become ‘digital by default’, more people will need to have faster and more reliable speeds.”

Cllr Brown added that in its current form, the headline ‘up to’ download speed, which can be advertised legally, was misleading and did not reflect the reality of what consumers should expect from their internet provider.

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

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Jane Wright   08/05/2017 at 17:14

About time! We changed to Fibre from ADSL (existing speed was about 3Mbps download) because the BT test programme for our telephone number showed an expected speed of 13-17 Mbps, we actually achieved 7Mbps and over time it has fallen away to just over 3Mbps. So we are now paying more for the same speed we had 2 years ago. BT is just a con merchant. Trading Standards would have hounded any other firm out of business, and rightly so.

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