The speed that your internet connection runs at has always been hard to determine as many factors are involved. This has led to a common practice of advertising speeds ‘up to’ a certain throughput. The problem that has been formally recognised by the watchdog this week is that these speeds are too hard to understand and potentially misleading to the general public.
This is particularly important for buyers based in London as, given the plethora of options available to them, a buying decision is often made based upon the speed offered.
The announcement was made following the release of a research study commissioned by the Committee of Advertising Practise (CAP) and the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA).
At present advertisers can display speeds so long as 10% of of customers can reach that speed.
Crucially, this new study shows that people with no knowledge of broadband speed would expect to get the advertised speed even if it is advertised as ‘up to’. Those with some experience of broadband speed would expect to achieve near the advertised speed. Fundamentally this means that the adverts have become misleading.
This problem is not a new one and has been the subject of discussion in the industry for some time now. This report officially recognises that problem but offers no solution to fix it.
The next step following the report is for the CAP to review guidance to advertisers and make recommendations by spring next year, so there will be no changes implemented immediately.