BROADBAND SPEEDS in the UK do not approach those promised in advertisements, according to a report from the telecoms watchdog Ofcom.
The regulator found that average download speeds were less than half of the mythical 'up to' speeds advertised by Internet service providers (ISPs) and it called for a change in the way that services are marketed.
Average speeds are around 6.2Mbps according to Ofcom, which is some ways away from the most often advertised claims of 13.8Mbps. In order to stop providers from massaging their advertised speeds it suggested that any advertised claims should be based on a Typical Speeds Range (TSR). This might not be particularly catchy, but it should give consumers a better idea of what they are actually signing up for. Ofcom added that maximum speeds should only be quoted if they are actually achievable.
The regulator has looked at so-called 'superfast' broadband services from seven of the largest ISPs in the UK and carried out millions of service performance tests on eleven of their packages.
Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards, said, "The research shows that ISPs need to do more to ensure they are giving customers clear and accurate information about the services they provide and the factors that may affect the actual speeds customers will receive. It is important that the rules around broadband advertising change so that consumers are able to make more informed decisions based on the adverts they see."
Speeds varied widely, but it seems that fibre connections provided the best service, however very few ADSL broadband connections achieved average actual download speeds close to those advertised.
Although Ofcom applauded both Virgin Media and British Telecom (BT) connections for their download speeds, which were close to those promised, it also commended the latter for its upload speeds. Ofcom said that BT's 8Mbps upload speeds were significantly higher than those of any other service.
Virgin Media, meanwhile, offered upload speeds of around 2.5Mbps and all other ISPs less than 1.5Mbps. µ
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