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Broadband Advertising Rules Come into Force

What happened?

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has forced ISPs to only advertise speeds that at least 10 per cent of their customers can actually achieve. According to Ofcom figures, that would mean most services previously advertised as "up to" 20 or 24Mbps should actually be advertised as 14Mbps.

While some companies have lowered their advertised speeds - BT now claims a 16Mbps connect ion - many have removed all mention of speed from adverts, instead telling potential customers to use t heir broadband speed checkers to find out exactly what they can get.

Andrew Ferguson, broadband expert at thinkbroadband.com, said that "the end result may be that consumers get more confused", with all references to speed removed.

How will it affect you?

The next time you shop around for a broadband contract, it might be difficult to understand what speed each package will deliver.

But if you do find a deal with advertised speeds lower than the last time you renewed your contract, it could be because ISPs are being more honest this time around. But that's no guarantee you' ll receive even the lower speed being advertised, so you should always use a broadband speed checker.

What do we think?

It's astonishing that average advertised broadband speeds have fallen by as much as 10M bps just by forcing ISPs to ensure that one in 10 customers can get advertised speeds, let alone a majority of users. It shows just how much some ISPs were stretching the truth before.

We know it's not easy to advertise broadband deals because speeds vary so wildly by location, but these rules don't go far enough and will simply confuse customers even more. Something needed to be done, but this isn't the solution.