United Kingdom broadband speeds much slower than advertised

Marco Green
May 18, 2018

From 23 May, broadband providers will no longer be able to advertise "up to" speeds unless that speed is received by 50% of their customers at peak times.

The report was published ahead of the new Advertising Standards Authority guidelines which are coming into effect today. The new rules, which come into force next Wednesday, are aimed at reducing widespread complaints to the industry from government, consumer groups and the public.

The watchdog surveyed 235,000 users across the United Kingdom, and discovered that that on average, customers are paying for speeds of up to 38Mbps per second, but actually only receiving half that (19Mbps).

ISPs are scrambling to tweak advertised broadband speeds as the great unwashed continue to receive services that are on average 51 per cent slower than they were led to expect, according to a Which? report. Until now, service providers have been allowed to advertise "up to" speeds that are available to only a tenth of customers.

Meanwhile, those on super-fast packages of up to 200Mbps were on average only able to receive speeds of 52Mbps. Broadband speed checker tool from 1st May 2017 to 30th April 2018, excluding mobile and exclusively business providers.

Alex Neill, managing director of home services at Which?, says: "This change in the rules is good news for customers who have continuously been let down by unrealistic adverts and broadband speeds that won't ever live up to expectations".

Millions of British households are paying too much for their broadband and getting much lower speeds than are on offer on their streets.

Minister for Digital, Margot James echoed these sentiments: "The new advertising rules are great for consumers - headline "up to" speeds that only need to be available to 10% of consumers are incredibly misleading".

The closest actual average speed to that reportedly advertised was for those on "up to 50Mbps" broadband deals.

Ofcom's findings on the subject found that despite superfast broadband being available to 95% of the country, around two in five connections are still delivered using traditional ADSL.

Ofcom is also looking at the issue of mobile customers continuing to pay the same price after the end of their minimum contract period, where this price reflects the cost of their phone.

However, Which?'s researchers encouraged users to measure speeds using an ethernet cable (so as to check the speed at the router), though some tests may have been conducted over wi-fi.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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