‘Which?’ seem to specialise in releasing the results of earth shattering reaserch telling us that water is wet. So, we’re not entirely surprised to find them releasing a report saying the internet speeds we experience aren’t as high as those we signed up for, just a few days before new advertising laws requiring internet providers to be a little more honest is not entirely surprising.
In what won’t be a shock to anybody with an internet connection, a huge survey by Which? apparently shows that most of us aren’t getting anywhere near the internet speeds we signed up for. The survey found that British households are getting broadband speeds that are on average 51% slower than advertised. For example, if you’re paying for speeds of up to 38Mbps then the survey says you’re probably only getting around 19Mbps. The data was collected from Which?’s broadband speed checker tool.
Of course, you’re not actually getting less than you paid for; you’re getting less than the ‘up to’ speed that internet providers use when they sell their services. ‘Up to’ 38Mbps does if course include 1Mbps. Advertising standards allow firms to advertise “up to” speeds as long as they are available to a minimum of 10% of customers, which is where the problem lies. If 10% of your customers live in London and other major cities with decent infrastructure and can get 100Mbps all day, every day, you use the ‘up to 100Mbps’ claim in areas where you know full well customers will be lucky to get even half that figure. As many of us know.
The good news is that as of 23 May 2018, home broadband providers must ensure that at least 50% of their customers can achieve advertised speeds at peak time under a crackdown to prevent such patently misleading claims.
The Which? findings revealed widespread differences between the speeds advertised and those delivered, with the results showing that the faster the advertised speed, the further away it was from the actual speed recorded in tests.
Consumers paying for a package of up to 200Mbps were on average only able to receive average speeds of 52Mbps – just 26% of the speed promised.
Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home services, said: “This change in the rules is good news for customers who have been continuously been let down by unrealistic adverts and broadband speeds that won’t ever live up to expectations. We know that speed and reliability of service really matter to customers and we will be keeping a close eye on providers to make sure they follow these new rules and finally deliver the service that people pay for.”
Minister for Digital Margot James said: “The new advertising rules are great for consumers, as headline ‘up to’ speeds that only need to be available to 10% of consumers are incredibly misleading. Customers need clear, concise and accurate information in order to make an informed choice.”