A leaked report seen by the Independent states that the ASA will allow broadband suppliers to advertise speeds claims for their products only if 10% of customers can actually receive these speeds. The ASA launched a review last year in to how broadband products were advertised and this was carried out by CAP and BCAP on their behalf. A small caveat though, the ASA have told PC Pro that there are inaccuracies within the Independent's story but they wouldn't say which bits were inaccurate. The full report is expected to be published this week, which will give a clearer picture of where the industry will stand.
Broadband providers are also expected to have to clearly state in adverts what speed range 20% of customers and 80% of their customers receive and the average speed should be shown within the main part of the advert. More information for consumers is a good thing, but there needs to be a sensible way of getting the information out that will not be confusing.
The guidance within the report are also expected only to apply to broadband providers who use copper wire. This would therefore encompass all existing broadband products, including Virgin Media's cable products, but would exclude those delivered over Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH). These don't suffer from slow downs in the same way as DSL based products as the speed is guaranteed from the end user to the local distribution point, but congestion and contention could occur elsewhere. Mobile broadband and satellite products will be excluded, but this is a sensible decision as it is harder to predict the speed of these.
There is no mention by the Independent of the study that was occurring alongside this which was looking at the use of 'unlimited' usage limits and whether products that had fair-usage policies / traffic management could continue to use this wording.