MILLIONS of broadband punters aren't getting it fast enough – Which?

Providers hit back: Shut up, you tedious hype merchants

More than 15 million households may not be getting their advertised broadband speeds, suggesting that providers are telling porky pies about how fast their services are.

According to a survey of 2,000 punters from Which?, 74 per cent reckon they are paying for packages with advertised speeds they never receive – amounting to 15.4 million homes, if extrapolated across the population.

Only 17 per cent of homes receive an average speed that matches the advertised level, a figure which falls to 15 per cent during the peak evening period.

Which? found that individual providers were not even able to meet the minimum guidelines, stating that at least 10 per cent of all customers need to achieve the maximum advertised speed.

Only four per cent of customers on TalkTalk’s 17Mbps package and just 1 per cent of people on BT and Plusnet’s 76Mbps deals receive the top advertised speeds, the survey found.

Last week, Ofcom said consumers experiencing consistently poor broadband speeds will soon have the power to walk away from their contracts.

The regulator said a new "beefed-up" Code of Practice on broadband speeds will give consumers the opportunity to quit contracts when speeds fall "below acceptable levels".

However, Ofcom is calling for a rule change to prevent providers from advertising speeds consumers can't receive.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: “We’ve raised our concerns with the advertising authorities, but we now want Ofcom to ensure consumers get the speeds promised by providers.”

A TalkTalk spokesperson said:

Our data, based on over half a million customers, which far exceeds Which's base of a few hundred, shows that TalkTalk homes can achieve speeds beyond 17Mbps. We're compliant with the advertising guidelines and if they change, we will continue to comply. Our network is faster and more resilient than ever and we continue to work hard to further increase broadband speeds.

BT said:

BT uses the method to describe our speeds that is defined by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and followed by all ISPs (Internet Service Providers). We’re very clear that customers should not rely on headline claims, but instead use the personal speed quote we give them at the point of sale, which is based on their own line. If they aren't happy with this personalised speed they can decide not to buy from us; if they are happy with the speed, but find they don't achieve it, we allow them to end their contracts in line with the Ofcom code of practice.


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