By: MarkJ - 25 February, 2011 (12:53 PM)
uk up to broadband speed banuk asa broadband isp advertising codeThe Communications Consumer Panel (CCP), an independent watchdog for the communications sector that doesn't really engage with consumers directly, has yet again called upon ISPs to stop using the "up to" expression in their broadband speed advertising. Instead they want providers to show a "typical speed".

Today's move came as part of CCP's official submission to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and its current consultation on clearer broadband ISP advertising of internet access speeds and "unlimited" usage allowances.

Communications Consumer Panel Statement

The Panel wants a clear and simple way of advertising broadband speeds to be developed to ensure consumers are able to understand which speeds they are likely to receive from different types of service.

The Panel wants CAP and BCAP to choose a better, typical speed descriptor which does not use the "up to" descriptor at all and which is presented to consumers in a clear and meaningful way. It should be short and simple, using a single speed and indicate that the speed achieved is not the same for all.

In describing how many customers are likely to achieve the advertised speed, percentages should be avoided. Instead descriptors such as "2 out of 3 people receive Xmb" or "half of our customers receive Xmb" should be used. Sales materials and adverts should include a prominent statement encouraging consumers to ask for the actual speed at point of sale rather than describing in small print the reasons why speeds may be different.

The proposal appears to be broadly in line with some of the options provided under the ASA's consultation, which incidentally closes this afternoon. However not all ISPs agree with the plan. Entanet in particular recently expressed concerns about how such statistics would be worked out and monitored to prevent abuse. It also suggested that some ISPs might avoid taking on rural customers (i.e. those with slower speeds) to help keep their performance figures high.
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