UK ISPs have been accused of artificially inflating the maximum download speed that they offer in their advertising campaigns

The UK’s telecoms regulator, Ofcom, has launched a new campaign to clamp down on spurious speed claims, made by internet service providers (ISPs) in the country.

Ofcom has launched a new code of practice, which outlines a number of voluntary practices that ISPs should abide by in order to improve consumer trust in the industry.

UK consumers have long complained that the maximum speeds advertised by ISPs to not correspond to the actual speeds they receive.

“Under the new Code, broadband firms must give you a minimum guaranteed speed before you buy a service,” an Ofcom spokesperson said.

“If your speed then drops below the promised level, the firm will have one month to improve performance, before allowing you to walk away without being penalised. You will also have the same right to exit any landline and TV packages you bought at the same time as your broadband service.”

Under the terms of the agreement, broadband firms must also be upfront about the speeds consumers will receive during the peak times of 8.00pm to 10.00pm for homes and 12.00pm to 2.00pm for businesses.

The move has been welcomed by the industry as an important step in repairing consumer trust in broadband speed promises in the UK market.

“Today marks the start of a new era for broadband service speed, designed to make contracts more clear and honest. For too long consumers have had to settle for “up to” marketed speeds rarely met. With so many different types of connections it’s vital consumers can make an informed decision about what exactly they can expect from the broadband service they purchase.  With growing developments like high-definition gaming and streaming video services, consumers will require higher and higher broadband speeds to support these applications.  These rules will ensure that consumers are getting the services they need and provides the clarity for what exactly will be provided to those in urban “not-spots” or remote areas,” said Evan Dixon, managing director, Viasat Europe.


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