Our survey of over 1,000 users last week has shown that the public is unimpressed by the new broadband advertising rules that came into effect at the beginning of April with only 21% of those polled supporting the new requirement for broadband advertising to list a speed that at least 10% of a providers customers can experience.
It is always very difficult to advertise broadband speeds for products, especially ADSL-based services which can depend on the quality of your telephone line, and which cannot always be predicted based on where you live. Respondents indicated their dissatisfaction with the Advertising Standards Authority's rules that the speed shown should be one that can at least be achieved by 10% of subscribers:
However it is clear that users feel that this is insufficient with a third (33%) supporting a figure which at least half of subscribers can get (i.e. the median speed), and 43% opting for a table of speeds, to provide consumers with the full facts:
Ofcom's broadband speeds code of practice also requires operators to provide users with a personalised estimate of how fast their service will be. Our poll shows that a over a quarter (28%) of users were not given this information. After the introduction of the ASA rules, several broadband operators have removed all mention of speeds from their product pages and advertising, meaning that consumers may be even less informed about the speeds they should expect.
These results are a long way from a positive endorsement of the new policy, and looking around at providers pages, it seems there is no consensus from them either, with varying methods of displaying data used.
There is one potential upside to these changes; the various FTTC, FTTP and cable broadband services stand up well to the new advertising rules, and by forcing lower speeds into advertising (unless of course advertising for these services focuses on non-speed aspects) it may encourage take-up of super-fast services. That is assuming you have access to super-fast services at this time.