ADVERTISED BROADBAND SPEEDS in Blighty have dropped by 41 per cent since ISPs were banned from touting "up to" speeds.
Since the new advertising rules were introduced by the Committees of Advertising Practice in May, following an ASA ruling, 11 major suppliers have had to cut the advertised speed of some of their deals, with the cheapest deals dropping by 41 per cent, according to Which?.
"BT, EE, John Lewis Broadband, Plusnet, Sky, Zen Internet, Post Office, SSE, TalkTalk, and Utility Warehouse previously advertised their standard (ADSL) broadband deals as 'up to 17Mbps," the consumer group said. "The new advertised speed is now more than a third lower at 10Mbps or 11Mbps."
TalkTalk has gone a step further by completely dropping advertising speed claims for most of its deals, Which? notes, while Vodafone has changed the name of its misleading 'Fibre 38' and 'Fibre 76' packages to Superfast 1 and Superfast 2.
"Across all the deals on offer from the 12 biggest providers, the advertised speeds from 'up to 17Mbps' to 'up to 100 Mbps' had decreased by an average 15 per cent," the group wrote, noting that Virgin Media was the only ISP whose advertised speeds went up after the rule change.
Until the rules came into force, broadband providers were able to advertise "up to" speeds as long as they are available to at least 10 per cent of customers.
Research carried out by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) showed that consumers are likely to be misled by the advertising of "up to" speeds, with many assuming that they are likely to receive a speed at or close to a provider's headline claim.
And research by Which? found evidence that British households were paying for broadband services that were on average 51 per cent slower than advertised.
The new advertising rules, however, mean that at least half of customers must now be able to get an advertised average speed, even during peak times.
Alex Neill, Which? managing director of Home Services, said: "Customers will now have a much clearer idea of the speeds that can be achieved when they are shopping around for broadband.
"For those still struggling to get a reasonable speed or connection, the Government must press ahead with its crucial plans to deliver the service that broadband customers need, without it costing them the earth." µ
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