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UK ISP Sky Broadband Returns to Displaying Typical Download Speeds

Friday, Aug 2nd, 2013 (12:34 pm) - Score 1,823

Sky Broadband (BSkyB) have officially returned to promoting “up to” broadband download speeds on their website after having previously removed them following the 1st April 2012 introduction of controversial new guidance from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The guidance was designed to make it more difficult for ISPs to advertise unachievable broadband speeds (here), especially on the slower and more variable 8Mbps ADSL or 20-24Mbps ADSL2+ connections that often delivered significantly lower performance than advertised; usually due to poor home wiring, network congestion, traffic management and many other factors.

In particular one of the rules required that providers should be able to demonstrate that their advertised speeds are achievable by at least 10% of users, which is better known as a “typical speed“. As a result some ISPs (e.g. Sky and O2) simply opted to play it safe and stopped promoting any public speeds (except for a required estimate as part of the order process).

But some consumers found this confusing and the lack of an advertised speed can actually make it harder to differentiate between packages, especially when rival ISPs had chosen to publish typical speeds. In addition many smaller providers continue to flout the rules by displaying the peak theoretical headline rate.

On 25th July 2013 Sky notified us that they intended to begin displaying up to speeds again (albeit “typical” and not “headline” speeds) and Recombu notes that this change has now gone live. As a result the standard Sky Broadband Unlimited package will now be advertised as “up to16Mbps, while Sky Fibre Unlimited is “up to38Mbps and Sky Fibre Unlimited Pro stands at “up to76Mbps.

It’s interesting to note that ISPs initially began by promoting their own unique “typical speeds” but over the past year many have adopted the same figure of up to 16Mbps for their ADSL2+ based packages (e.g. BT). The rule is not properly tested or checked and so we suspect that many providers are simply going off Ofcom’s general recommendations.

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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