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Crystal Clear Broadband Campaign Gains Momentum

Posted: 28th Sep, 2007 By: MarkJ
Computeractive’s Crystal Clear Broadband campaign (details), which aims to force ISPs into advertising a typical rate for broadband subscriptions and not just a theoretical “maximum”, is gradually gaining some momentum.

Several government MP's and Ofcom have now given their reactions to it, which we've quoted below:

Derek Wyatt, chairman of the All Party Internet Group, said: “I hope your campaign comes to the attention of Ofcom and that it conducts a review."

Support has also come from Conservative MP Sir George Young: "There's insufficient consumer understanding of what's realistic to expect in terms of day-to-day performance, as opposed to the maximum speed of a broadband line; and that suppliers have a key role to play in setting realistic expectations rather than hyping the maximum as if it were the norm. And yes, I do believe Ofcom has a role to play."

Plain English Campaign spokesperson Ben Beer said "We urge our supporters to sign the petition on the Downing Street website. Many people find modern technology complicated enough without having to plough through small print and jargon. Broadband companies have a responsibility to be honest with their customers and not rip them off."

Sadly there isn't much in terms of constructive suggestion for solving the problem itself, which in reality is extremely tedious and can differ depending on your line, network congestion, interference and all manner of additional complications.

Ofcom's own response is a mixed bag, offering the potential for an investigation without actually saying they’ll do one:

An Ofcom spokesperson said "We are aware of the issues of speed and have been asking to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to step in when there was unfair advertising.” The watchdog has not ruled out a formal investigation and is currently undergoing a consultation looking at the potential for a high speed nationwide fibre network, which will address regulation.

We’re not sure how “looking” at the potential for a high speed nationwide fibre network will “address regulation”, fibre networks can suffer from precisely the same problem and regulation applied to one technology is often different for another. The ASA has proven itself to be similarly inept at dealing with issues of speeds and we’ve certainly seen nothing to suggest that’s about to change.
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