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ASA proposals for use of 'unlimited' and 'up to' in broadband advertising
Thursday 27 January 2011 17:08:47 by John Hunt

The Advertising Stands Agency (ASA) launched a review last year carried out by the British Code of Advertising Practice (BCAP) and Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) into the usage of the terms 'unlimited' and 'up-to' in broadband and telephony services advertising. The aim was to determine if the usage is misleading to consumers and how future policy should be shaped to ensure that users are not mislead.

'Unlimited' usage limits

Currently a product can only be advertised as 'unlimited' if it actually has no artificial limits or if it is subject to a Fair Usage Policy (FUP) and the existence of the policy is stated in the advert. The FUP must only affect 'atypical users' which is defined as meaning it will only affect 2% of users on the product. A survey by Which? in 2010 showed that around half of consumers were unaware of their FUP, and Ofcom research from 2008 showed that 32% of users mistakenly believed they were on an unlimited service. This has encouraged a rethink of how the term 'unlimited' should be used to avoid consumers being misled, which can particularly be the case where there is so much variance in what the term means.

CAP and BCAP are therefore consulting on four options of how the rules could be changed over the usage of the term 'unlimited' although it is recommending not to keep the present policy.

  1. Keep the ASA's present policy
  2. Adjust the present policy to exclude FUPs that involve additional charges or suspension of service
  3. Adjust the present policy to exclude FUPs that involve additional charges, suspension of service or severe traffic management of the breaching customer
  4. The exclusion of products or services that include an FUP that restricts usage in any way

Option C aims to address the issue where a broadband connection can be made unusable by traffic management. They propose that a user should still be able to carry out any activities that they wish but download times for large files may be affected. Option D is likely to be the favoured option of consumers but broadband providers will argue that a reasonable limit that only affects a minority of users should be sufficient not to mislead.

'Up to' and broadband speeds

Broadband speed claims are the second concern which is leading to misleading advertising of broadband services in the UK. Most broadband products are provided as a variable rate product which has a theoretical maximum speed which is defined by the service equipment which your broadband connection is connected to. This is in most cases affected by contention with other users in the area (for example at peak times, much like rush-hour traffic on the roads), signal quality (which varies on the quality or length of a phone line or distance from a mobile broadband transmitter) as well as technical overheads and some other environmental factors.

As the speed of each broadband service will vary on these factors, it is unreasonable for broadband advertising to be able to provide a suggested speed for each location or time. Current policy says that all speed claims have to be qualified with the term 'up to'. Theoretical maximum speeds can be provided but any speeds over 2Mbps must make clear (in the main text of the advert that speeds will vary depending on distance from the telephone exchange. Any traffic management policies that apply must also be mentioned within footnote text. The proposals for the way forward in this sector look at both qualifying speed claims and what information should be provided to reinforce these. For speed claims:

  1. Keep the ASA's present policy.
  2. Advertised speeds should be available to at least 10% of users.
  3. Advertised speeds may be based on maximum performance but a typical performance (expressed as a range) based on actual speeds should also be included.
  4. Advertised speeds may be based on maximum performance but typical performance based on actual speeds of at least 50% of users should be included.
  5. Quoted speeds must be available to at least 50% of users.

In terms of additional information, there are three proposed qualifiers:

  1. Speeds must be qualified with "up to"
  2. Advertisments must include references to things that will significantly affect consumer broadband speeds.
  3. Advertisements must state users can check the speed they are likely to receive at point of purchase.

Option B here tallies with ASA policy in other sectors which requires 'from' and 'up to' to statements to be available to at least 10% of consumers. An example for option C (C1 in CAP/BCAP document) would be "Up to 20meg" accompanied by text stating "Typical Performance: 8-12meg". This would potentially be more useful than a single typical speed as suggested in option D (option C2 in the document) as it helps indicate to users that speeds do vary between users. The last option helps to provide a clear indication of speeds to users which would allow an easy, understandable benchmark comparison between broadband providers. Whilst some users may get higher or lower than this, it can be indicated within advertising text that this is the case, without reference to a maximum speed.

The claims of average speeds in the options suggested would need to be substantiated. This would add an extra burden to smaller broadband providers who may not currently record or measure data of users average speed. Indeed, the independent Ofcom speed testing excludes providers with less than 250,000 broadband users, so this data would not necessarily be forthcoming from there.

The consultation on these options will close on February 25th and all significant responses will be evaluated prior to finalising proposed guidance. Once approved, this will become active guidance wand will apply to any new campaigns developed after the publication. The full proposal documents can be found below:

CAP and BCAP Consultation: Proposals for guidance on the use of “Unlimited” claims in telecommunications advertising
CAP and BCAP Consultation: Proposals for guidance on the use of “Up to” Speed claims in broadband advertising


Posted by camieabz over 6 years ago
"B. Advertised speeds should be available to at least 10% of users."

I'm not very assured that 90% of customers can be sold a product and probably not receive it. Surely the availability threshold should be 51% so advertising is above board.

"E. Quoted speeds must be available to at least 50% of users."

How does that differentiate it from 'B', and how will the ISPs manipulate it all?

Posted by cyberdoyle over 6 years ago
I think the advertisements should only be allowed to state typical not maximum speeds where typical performance is available for 50%, though how that would be policed I don't know.

They could say 'from '56k 'to' infinity?

An even bigger can of worms for the ASA to deal with is companies offering fibre broadband when it isn't.
Only fibre to the home is fibre broadband.
Posted by b4dger over 6 years ago
I'm still digesting some of that! :¬)

Re. FUPs (& other similar stuff) - ISPs often bury this so deep no one can find it or the 'print' is so small no one can see it!

I'm all for the open/transparent honest provider! They are the one's people should go for :¬)
Posted by simplypeachy over 6 years ago
I find the "Up to" to be perfectly acceptable. As long as people know that they won't necessarily get the full speed it empowers them to see what they can get before buying. As for "unlimited", to summarise my journal entry about this:

It is a lie. It is fraud - it's a bloody criminal offence! If a service has no limits then it has no limits. If it has a "Fair Usage Policy" then that policy is inherently a limit. Fair use or not.
Posted by mike41 over 6 years ago
How many people get 8mb on the "up to 8mb" packages? It's not true. Everyone I know gets half that most of the time and sometimes less. We all use only 7 or 8gb per month. "Up to 6mb" or less would be fairer and maybe save the ISPs a lot of hassle.
Posted by bosie over 6 years ago
I really don't see any need to contemplate the meaning of these words. "Unlimited" is clearly the opposite of FUP and Traffic Management which both infer limits. "Up to" is not ambiguous but the reason for its use is not always understood or made clear in the presentation.
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
Lol. I applaud the concept but the implementation sucks. It seems to be an attempt to make adverts an accurate source of information and that's a big fail.

Connection speed as far as I'm concerned is fine. Every ISP that it applies to tells you it depends on your line and offers an estimator.

Congestion/traffic management is not so well covered so that should be tightened up.

But basically if you're naive enough to believe what you read in an advert then you're probably beyond help.
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
@mike41:Back when I was on IPStream I got the full 8Mb 24/7/365. So did my mate. Now from a technical POV it only equated to 6.5Mb/s but yes - some people do indeed get the full whack.

I'm now on up to 24Mb/s and only getting 14Mb/s but I know a couple of people who are getting over 23Mb/s. They are currently a bit irked because both of them are in FTTC enabled areas :)
Posted by cyberdoyle over 6 years ago
AndrueC I think you will find that most cabinets go in adsl2+ areas - 'to those that have still more will be given'.
Those that currently have not will still not get anything. That is why any government funding or support should only go into those areas who can't get a decent connection. This will drive market forces to deliver still more, and we won't need adverts to promote all this inferior stuff with false claims, IT will just work.
Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
you'll still have the issues when your 100/100 symmetrical fibre speedtests at 72 / 28 :-)
Posted by oomingmak over 6 years ago
I agree with simplypeachy. I find nothing wrong with "up to". Sure, it's not particularly helpful when trying to determine what speed you might get yourself in practice, but the phrase is not misleading or inaccurate.

"Unlimited", however, is an outright blatant lie, and yet the ASA (until recently) totally ignored the misuse of "unlimited", instead choosing to focus its attention on the entirely accurate "up to". The ASA must be staffed by idiots.
Posted by g-bhxu over 6 years ago
"up to"

Perfectly clear.

However, pricing should reflect line speed.

It's not fair to charge on a "One price fits all" basis.

Perhaps there should be a basic charge for providing the broadband connection and then a charge based on line speed on a pro-rata basis?


Should only be used where there is no FUP or Traffic Management used.

Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
a "typical" or "average" figure is also useless, as saying typically 4M doesn't help either me at 6M or someone at 0.5M.

There are two areas of failure in my view -
1. Not differentiating fixed and variable rate.
2. Expressing the speed in the same units / at the same layer as the customer can measure it.
Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
g-bhxu - speed doesn't cost money so in general isn't charged for, usage at peak times costs money as the network is dimensioned for that eg 50kbits/s per user which can be filled by any line speed. GB/month is a more useful cost / price measure.
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
@cyberdoyle:You misunderstand.

The reason my friends are annoyed is because they are on short, direct lines. They will not benefit from FTTC.
Posted by Aqualung over 6 years ago
Unlimited should mean just that ...

Up to i have no problem with as long as some estimation of network speeds from router stats is given.

Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
that all depends what your definition of unlimited is, to misquote Bill Clinton. He was arguing the definition of "is" too !
Posted by awoodland over 6 years ago

Speed based billing is not sensible because
1-Sync can change throughout a month. Users could even force it to change purposefully.
2-Total transfer, not peak speed is most of the costs ISPs face.
3-Sync speed is not even remotely proportional to installation/mantainance costs.
Posted by damien001 over 6 years ago
@ g-bhxu
I happy with people only paying for speed that get, however for it to be fair there would ahve to be extra charges for people with long lines, i.e. longer you line the more you pay as it cost more to provide you with a service

'Unlimited' usage limits

Option c or D, how ever if you are on an unlimited product and you having problem with any limits you should be allowd to leave with no early termination cost
Posted by damien001 over 6 years ago

Regarding the Upto statement i happy with option 2, though user should be made to give their current stats for the new ISP to have estimate at what speed they will get, if the ISP is more than 20% off user can leave fee free
Posted by PhilCoates over 6 years ago

Why does it cost more to provide a service on longer lines? The copper that provides my 'broadband' has been in place for the last 30 years.

My exchange has about 400 lines on it, has had 21CN cancelled and has no date for fibre.

I have no cab between me and the exchange and as such will not get FTTC or FTTC.

Apart from enabling ADSL at the exchange, there has been no investment in my area by Openreach/BT for decades. Why should I pay more for my 0.4Mb/s on a long line than someone who actually gets their 'up to' 8Mb/s on a short one?
Posted by infinidim over 6 years ago
I have a real problem with the currwnt "up to" rules. My ISP provides "Up to 20Mb" and I get somewhere around 16 Mb sync rate currently - I am close to the exchange. The real throughput I get, a lot of the time, is between 4 and 6 Mb so having advertisments that are based on sync rates is not good. I have raised this with my ISP and they say as long as the throughput is greater than 4 Mb then it is OK.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
Quite obviously D, then give a quote to all users while ordering (some ISP's do already).
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
Also only ISP's that want to mislead don't want option D.
Posted by mabibby over 6 years ago
I'm sorry, but the continuing bickering over this issue is starting to wear thin.

Instead of spending thousands defining limits and processes to follow. Shouldn't the ISP's just explain to the public, the reason why speeds vary and that you can receive upto this. Oh sorry... LIKE WE DO NOW!

I think we are all too quick to criticise the ISP's when the limitations of offerings is purely technically and geographically restricted.
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
@PhilCoates:Because either:
a)You are more expensive to provision in the first place.
b)We are cheaper to provision.

You might as well ask why a taxi driver expects you to pay more to ferry you to the nearest cinema.

Just because your service is not as good doesn't mean you are getting less value for money. From the sound of your exchange (400 lines) you are probably getting more value for your money than most since it's hard to imagine that your exchange is profitable.
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
@mabibby:My thoughts exactly.
@damien001:So sign up with a better ISP. I use BeThere and I get the same speed (85% of my sync) 24/7/365. It does cost a bit more though. Funny thing that - you'd almost think there was a connection :)
Posted by tonylee000 over 6 years ago
"Option D is likely to be the favoured option of consumers but broadband providers will argue that a reasonable limit that only affects a minority of users should be sufficient not to mislead."

To me a reasonable limit will be sufficient for many customers, but its inappropriate for that limit to exist if its in an unlimited package.

Unlimited, by definition, means 'without restriction'

Were not asking for something for free or for somthin extra, just not to be misled. If I sign up to a unlimited package I should be within my rights to expect just that.
Posted by shaunhw over 6 years ago
Unless they think they've a right to re-write the English dictionary, unlimited should mean exactly that as defined in any concise dictionary.

"Up to" means what it says, but they should give an explanation about why it is "up to" and what the expected minumum speed would be, for someone who is connected at the maximum rate to the exchange.

There are too many ISPs restricting speed simpl because they don't have the bandwidth.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
Biggest reason ISP's restrict bandwidth is money.

Adding more bandwidth is not as cheap an exercise as some would like people to believe.

Posted by ElBobbo over 6 years ago
AndrueC: are longer lines more expensive for the ISP (not Openreach, that's a different matter)? Does Openreach charge the ISP more depending on the line length, once the line is in place?
Posted by ElBobbo over 6 years ago
Mabibby: What does the unlimited usage/fair usage part have to do with technical or geographical restrictions? I note that you use 'we' so I assume you are employed or self-employed by an ISP (wouldn't surprise me, given the content of your previous comments).

Perhaps you can explain how keeping customers ill-informed about your products is beneficial to them? How can making the process of deciding between providers based on the actual service received easier and more transparent be a bad thing?
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
@ElBobbo:No. My comments were addressing Phill's comments about 21CN, lack of FTTx and general lack of investment. Unfortunately you can't quote in these discussions so I apologise if that wasn't clear.
Posted by m0aur over 6 years ago
Can't say I have seen an 'Unlimited' Broadband advert that includes the FUP limit, legal requirement or not.
Posted by m0aur over 6 years ago
Broadband speed is a joke, with more smoke & mirrors than a Tesco Price claim. Take the BT Speedtest site as an example. You may well be connecting to your exchange at 8128kbps, and your IP profile may well be stuck at 2000kbps instead of 7150kbps, but you will still be presented with the standard 'For your connection, the acceptable range of speeds is 600-7150 Kbps.' Along with 'If you wish to discuss these results please contact your ISP' despite it not being the fault of your ISP.
Posted by SimonWindsor over 6 years ago
Since broadband is provided in two layers, exchange to the house (OpenReach) and and BT Backbone to the internet (ISP) the charge we pay should reflect the amount of data we use (ISP) and the quality/capacity of our connection (Openreach).
Posted by SheepFarmer over 6 years ago
Unlimited in the dictionary might be defined as without limit, but we all know unlimited, in whatever context, means "unlimited within reason"

Unlimited refills of coffee at a cafe would only apply to what an ordinary person would consider to be reasonable.

Unlimited broadband should be more than a normal customer would be reasonably expected to use.
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
IMHO the current arrangements regarding "uo to" are fine - if anything, going to a "typical" speed would be more confusing as it is less well defined than "up to" and I'm no more likely to receive the typical speed on my line than the "up to" speed.

I think it's reasonnably to expect customers buying any service to have a modicum of intelligence. In the case of ISPs, this is providing they present an estimate of performance on the actual line at the point of purchase, with a refund if there is s significant variance to this due to line issues (not home wiring etc).
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
I was less clear about "unlimited", however I think SheepFarmer's argument is persuasive. TBH the 300Gb/month FUP limit that currently applies on FTTC might as well be unlimited for me and I suspect the vast majority of others that aren't into P2P etc.
Posted by damien001 over 6 years ago

longs lines are more expensive to install, maintain also are worth more as there more copper involved. Its also all the extra ducts, poles junctions/repeaters added to that it require more electricity to provide the service. Also side that (or least so i am told) once you get out into the rural areas the the number of building connected to exchanges reduce. There fore the cost to provide one connection goes up.
Posted by damien001 over 6 years ago
Example 2800 connection Penryn 5600. Goes with out saying that economics of scale comes into play. Also if charges where based on line speed, all that would happen is no one would provide any adsl to people in teh rural area as it would not be worth it. Or there would be ISP that would but their charges would be high kinda defeat the purpose.
Posted by damien001 over 6 years ago
@ learn read better
I personally sync at nearly 100% of my maxium speed due to the distance between me and the exchange. Sky also quoted me a spot on fingure, infact they said 17 I actually get 18.

What I said was ISP should give a flat figure before signing anyone into a contract, i.e. you will get around 17Meg, if they are more than 20% off you can leave with no setupfee or charges.
Posted by damien001 over 6 years ago
the 2800 was meant to be Plymouh 28000
Posted by shaunhw over 6 years ago
"Unlimited in the dictionary might be defined as without limit, but we all know unlimited, in whatever context, means "unlimited within reason"
Incorrect. An oxymoron. Even truly unlimited connections are limited by line speed etc. Thus unlimited should mean: Not deliberately slowed down by the ISP, due to lack of bandwidth or resources.
Posted by shaunhw over 6 years ago
If ISPs can't provide such a connection then they shouldn't be free to use "unlimited", regardless of what most customers might do/not do. That is quite irrelevant. "Unlimited" mobile at 500MB/month for example is ludicrous, when in theory so much more could be delivered.
Posted by infinidim over 6 years ago
The more and more I think about this the more and more I get worried about what we really get from our broadband suppliers. It is all very well talking about sync rates but if you have a sync rate of 16 Mbs but only receive a throughput of 4 Mbs then all the advertising standards won't help us. By the way this is what I get and my ISP says that as it is above 4 Mbs then it's OK and there is no problem.....
Posted by damien001 over 6 years ago
@infinidim good point

think that could be easily solved if they ISP had to explain why such big difference, if the customer would not accept the reason be able to escalate it to the ISP independent reviewers
Posted by otester over 6 years ago

If you choose a bad ISP that's your fault, there are plenty of review sites to help you pick a decent one.
Posted by damien001 over 6 years ago

that is a bad attitude, think you will be pretty alone holding that idea
Posted by chrysalis over 6 years ago
am I reading this right, the ASA are considering it to be ok that only 10% of users get the service they paid for? yet they claim to want to stamp misleading out. Also on unlimited, I dont know why they even need to consult as its quite simple, any limit whether ie be a FUP or s[eed cap should mean no unlimited wording can be used. The ASA are making the mistake of worrying about the isps.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago

If true then a lot of people aren't very good at choosing ISP's.
Posted by SheepFarmer over 6 years ago
@shaunhw that seems more than a little arrogant of you. I think the discussion we, the ASA, the ISPs and many others are having, shows that there is no correct answer. Just different opinions of what is an acceptable use of the term.

I mean, what's the correct or incorrect definition of the word 'wicked'. If somebody is wicked are they really good or really bad?
Posted by ElBobbo over 6 years ago
SheepFarmer: I hope that the shame of using an argument like that keeps you up at night.
Posted by Scuffers over 6 years ago

longs lines are more expensive to install, maintain also are worth more as there more copper involved.
The cost to provide one connection goes up.
you mixing up 'providing' with 'already provided'

Rural exchanges and cabling have been there for many years now, the original costs of implementation will have been written off 30+ years ago in most cases, the only time openreach have to spend money is when cables eventually fail (rare) or the pikey's steal them.

Also, it's a lot cheaper to put in a cable though open countryside than it is to dig up urban streets.
Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
Everybody gets what they paid for. They just didn't understand what they were buying.
Posted by mrnelster over 6 years ago

You are absolutely correct. You should not be expected to pay more because your line is longer! That is a cretinous example of the philosophy that people with no understanding of the provision of service would make. Any descision on rolling out any service is based on the overall cost, and the price everybody pays is generally an average of that. (Cont..)
Posted by mrnelster over 6 years ago
Historically everyone knew that for a national telephony service to be successful, everyone would have to be connected to it. And unless technically "impossible" to achieve, all new development would have to be connected aswell.
Simple business case. The more people connected to the service, the more profit made. Only short lines connected to the service? Ring your next door neighbour but keep a couple of carrier pigeons in case you need to speak to somebody in the next town?
Posted by mrnelster over 6 years ago
I think not somehow. That's why we are having this discussion. Everybody should have access to broadband, and expect to pay a similar price for it.

The people with longer lines will not get as fast a service as those with shorter lines, and that is what needs to be explained accurately to the consumer.

We expect the consumer to display a modicum of intelligence?

Maybe some of the supposedly technically apt posters should do the same? ;o)
Posted by mrnelster over 6 years ago

Strange taxi analogy. You must try to stick to comparing apples with apples! Perhaps you think that if my neighbour is convicted of credit card fraud, everybody in our street should have an increase on our Barclaycard rate???

FTTx aside, nobody should be charged more for ADSL products geographically for the huge majority of the country. The mentioned exchanges of 28000 should be profitable enough to allow most of the smaller exchanges to be enabled.
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
Difficult to propose cross-subsidy in a competitive markey unless you also propose remedies to get the subsidy from those companies that only compete in the attractive areas (eg cable, some mobile, some ISPs etc).

I agree with your point about throughput being important. Personally I think "up to" is more than sufficient for sync rates, would like to see something for throughput too as this can have a far bigger impact on real-world performance, is probably far harder to explain to a non-technical buyer.
Posted by janaltus over 6 years ago
@ chrysalis wrote "The ASA are making the mistake of worrying about the isps." I've found the ASA a bunch of self-serving $#i+$ who only worry about the advertising industry.
Open question ...
Would anyone buy a pound of sugar on the off-chance that only 10% of the shelf contained correctly weighed bags?
Posted by damien001 over 6 years ago
no one saying the people in rural area should pay more, suggesting that should pay more as it more costly there for should pay more was due to someone suggesting that as they only get a fraction of our speed they should only pay that fraction.

Also the exchange is 28000 is enabled with all LLU services now the one of 5600 has none except talktalk
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
"Would anyone buy a pound of sugar on the off-chance that only 10% of the shelf contained correctly weighed bags?"

Using bags of sugar as a metaphor for sync speed is helpful. Assume they are displayed as weighing "up to" 1KG?

If you were buying without further knowledge then I suspect nearly 100% of people would say no. If, as with sync speed, you were told the exact weight of the bag at the point of purchase with the option to decline, you might get a different response.
Posted by 4thenet over 6 years ago
Over 4 years ago over 9,000 people signed my petition on the Number10 website ( asking the ASA to take action on 'unlimited' claims. The petiton was dismissed by the Government and the ASA; claiming that it was OK to qualify 'unlimited' with a FUP. At last it looks like they are taking this seriously.
Posted by 4thenet over 6 years ago
Oops..the above should read 'Over 3 years ago...)
Posted by RichBeardman over 6 years ago
It is quite a simple argument, either you accept a lie in advertising that unlimited is in fact limited by traffic shaping and fair usage caps or you accept that unlimited should mean unlimited. If you cannot supply an unlimited service at the price you are charging don't advertise it as such. Charge what is required for a true unlimited service but don't lie.
Posted by xb0xguru over 6 years ago
1. Unlimited should mean unlimited. In short, no limits imposed by the ISP. This is one of the easiest things to implement as the argument is now binary: You're either limiting the service or you're not. End of story.
Posted by xb0xguru over 6 years ago
2. Your subscription should be pro-rata depending on your connection throughput. Overall bandwidth and contention is what your ISP ultimately pays for. If your ISP want to get more out of you, it's up to them to improve your connection.
Posted by michaels_perry over 6 years ago
The use of 'up to' is, I feel, deliberately misleading as so few will ever get anywhere near that speed. Better to quoye the range experienced by urban users and then a range for rural users as they are almost always very different because of line lengths and conditions. That would set expectations at a level ISPs can deliver consistently.
Posted by PhilCoates over 6 years ago
Can I clarify my point? As someone else noted,my line has been extant for 30 years. There are few if any new properties where i live. Apart from ADSL implementation I can see no evidence of investment at my exchange for years. The historic costs have been written off and there is no sign that the monopoly provider will invest any more (fibre for example). My service is poor yet i pay the same as others with great speeds. Perhaps I should abandon my 85 year old mother-in-law to a care home and move to the city? Or perhaps I should expect some equity of service?
Posted by shaunhw over 6 years ago
SheepFarmer "Wicked" nowadays can have a double entendre, depending on the context it is used. IE
"brilliantly good" or nasty and evil. In the case of unlimited, the word is used in the SAME context by ISPs, to mean without restriction, so no, my argument still stands. As far as I am concerned I think they use the word to try and fool the public, and I don't think I am at all arrogant.
Posted by strebor over 6 years ago
I am on a fibre optic broadband at 10mg my traffic management comes in after 3000mb between 10am and 3pm this amount I can download in 1hr I then incur a 5hr penalty 75% reduction of speed likewise I am allowed 1500mb between 4pm and 9pm which takes 30mins and then a 5hr penalty 75% reduction of speed I am paying for 10hrs almost half a day for 10mb but only getting 25% deliberatly induced by my ISP this must surely be fraud.
Posted by damien001 over 6 years ago
I agree if something is unlimited then there should be no limits other than those physcially present i.e. you line speed
Posted by mrnelster over 6 years ago
Most people here understand the business case for broadband, but sometimes it can get over stated! Yes companies need to make healthy profits to make the businesses viable. But they also need to invest. Originally that infrastructure was paid for by the tax payer. To watch the incumbent operator wait for government/local authorities to come up with substantial funding, and then reap the rewards long term is frustrating at best and immoral at worst.

Posted by mrnelster over 6 years ago
A free Market is only such if it is consistently regulated. If not then the dNger us it becomes a free for all. That is why we are having to debate the use of a word with an obvious definition!

If it could be ensured that heavy torrent users were the only victims of "unlimited within reason" then I would be comfortable with that.

In reality however, anything other than the strictest definition of the word will always be open to abuse.
Posted by mrnelster over 6 years ago
^ danger is
Posted by stanmor over 6 years ago
I pay for "up to 8Mb" but get beween 0.5 and 2.5, norm being about 1.5. This is due to the exchange for which there are no plans to upgrade, so what I was sold is unachieveable in my area.
Therefore I would propose that adverts can state "up to", but a potential purchaser should be given the expected range for his area (which the supplier should know, or can get from this site). Then an informed decision can be made.
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
The situation today is already better than what you've said you'd like to see. A potential purchaser has to be told the expected speed on his line, not just the expected range in his area, before purchasing, to allow an informed decision.

This is not on the adverts (not really practical in, say national newspapers etc) but when in contact with an ISP with a view to purchase.
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
"To watch the incumbent operator wait for government/local authorities to come up with substantial funding..."

I thought this was only to extend the deployment of FTTC/P beyond the original 66%, £2.5bn? Difficult to see the problem with this if it is taking coverage to uneconomic areas, but with private sector subsidy?

Surely better that the public sector paying the full amount, or for the area not to get coverage?
Posted by mrnelster over 6 years ago

I understand that businesses will always try to make the largest and quickest profits as possible. In a completely free Market that is the aim of the game. But if BT have an advantage in the infrastructure they own and the tax structure is less favourable to smaller operators, then doesn't the responsibility fall on them to take the lead? If it was a truly level playing field do you think we could be further along than we are now? I don't think there are many businesses that can expect instant returns on investment, other than perhaps banking......and that says it all! ;o)
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
Perhaps a different way to look at it is to note how savvy the public sector has been at leveraging its money. For example I think the public sector is investing around £1 out of every £4 spent to deliver FTTC/P across Cornwall, when previously no investment of note was planned. I suspect all of us in the private sector would be congratulated if we could get £4 of spend for every £1 we put in!

Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
As long as there is open competition each time I don't really see an issue. If others are not prepared to invest then perhaps better to criticise them? For example, what expansion is planned for the cable network? Mobile?

Bear in mind any of us can access the Openreach network on the same terms, and soon (now?) the ducts, poles etc. I for one don't have a couple of £bn to invest (sadly) but nothing stopping others from doing so....
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
Finally, some of the recent issues affecting smaller companies have had nothing whatsoever to do with the apparent tax advantages (note: the Appeal Court and others rejected there was any advantage).

For example, the problems in Bournemouth reported on TBB appeared to stem from not agreeing terms with the water company, the slow take-up in South Yorkshire from not attracting ISPs...

So seem to relate to poor planning and/or execution, not to any perceived unequal treatment versus BT or Virgin.
Posted by ggremlin over 6 years ago
bt infinity [fttc] offer upto 40Mbit/sec, (+10Mbit/sec upload)
and an unpublished (but widely acknowledged ) 'unlimited' fup of 300GByte/month.
This is less than 2% of the lines capability
perhaps fup should be a percentage of the upto line speed offered - but 2% is hardly worthy of the unlimited tag.
Posted by HannahR over 6 years ago
Advertising "up to" speeds wouldn't be a problem if ISPs also published the typical real world speeds the majority of their customers receive each month. Broadband users would then have a much clearer idea of the speeds they could realistically expect. Virgin Media have been doing this since last summer and have been encouraging other ISPs to do the same with their Stop the Broadband Con campaign (
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