The body says numerical speed claims in broadband ads should be based on the download speed available to at least 50% of customers at peak time and described in ads as “average”. At present suppliers are allowed to advertise “up to” speeds that are available to just 10 per cent of customers.
It’s also recommending that speed-checking services be promoted in ads whenever possible.
The new guidance will come into force on May 23, 2018, allowing for a six-month implementation period, and will apply to residential broadband services.
“There are a lot of factors that affect the broadband speed a customer is going to get in their own home – from technology to geography, to how a household uses broadband,” said Shahriar Coupal Director of the Committees of Advertising Practice. “While we know these factors mean some people will get significantly slower speeds than others, when it comes to broadband ads, our new standards will give consumers a better understanding of the broadband speeds offered by different providers when deciding to switch providers.”
The ASA has also concluded that it is not misleading for operators to describe their service as being “fibre”, even when only part of the service uses the technology. When questioned consumers said they didn’t notice “fibre” claims in ads and when probed said they took it to mean that the service offered was modern fast broadband.
But the ASA has given advice on the use of the terms ‘part-fibre’ and ‘fibre’. “as has always been the case, ads shouldn’t describe non-fibre services as “fibre”. “ads shouldn’t state or imply a service is the most technologically advanced on the market if it’s a part-fibre service,” it says.