Broadband News

Be Unlimited taken to task over broadband adverts

Providers of ADSL2+ services will do well to read the latest adjudication against a broadband provider issued by the Advertising Standards Authority. For full details of the adjudication see

The provider this time is Be Unlimited and the complaint revolves around complaints that it was believed the headline speed of 24Mbps (Mega bits per second) would not be attainable by most users. The problem with the ADSL2+ services is that the actual line speed possible falls off very rapidly after around 1km of telephone line, but will generally exceed the performance of an up to 8Mbps ADSL service. A previous news item on gives an estimate of the speed coverage for ADSL2+ in the UK.

The ASA in its adjudication has listened to Be, and Be apparently have been very co-operative in providing information to assist the investigation. The ASA in reaching its conclusion accepted that speeds lower than 24Mbps are not likely to affect an end-users broadband experience in a major way, it did consider that especially those who would get speeds around 8Mbps may feel misled.

The end result is that Be will now re-word its disclaimer to make potential customers more aware of the fact that the speed experienced by end-users is very dependent on a number of factors particularly the distance an end-user is from their telephone exchange.

For those looking to order a Be ADSL2+ service, it is perhaps worth mentioning that Be do appear to pre-filter orders, such that they generally do not accept orders from people whose telephone line is considered very long. This was a common practice with BT Wholesale too until 2003, when BT Wholesale started to accept an order for a 0.5Mbps or Max (rate adaptive - up to 8Mbps) service no matter how long the telephone line (there are a few exceptions to this rule).


We moved from Nildram to Be unlimited in November. At the time Be Customer services said I could expect a maximum of 8Mbps, whic hI was disappointed about, but they were cheaper and I was dissatisfied with Nilly. Once connected though I now achieve a consistent 12-16Mbps throughput, so I was misled, but in the nicest way :)

  • janimal
  • over 14 years ago

I'm with Nildram too and am only getting 2.5Mbit/s on my MaxDSL connection, so Be Unlimited looks tempting. What *doesn't* look tempting though is the horribly vague "excessive" term they use in their fair usage policy at - at least with Nildram, they state exactly what limits you have...Be so-called Unlimited don't! Does anyone know what "excessive" means w.r.t. Be Unlimited? *This* is what the ASA should be pulling up all ISPs on - stating "unlimited", when they're not!

  • rklrkl
  • over 14 years ago

Well I have downloaded a LOT since joining Be - at least 120gb in one month. Admittedly I schedule the downloading overnight, but the speeds are so much greater I get more in a single night than several days of downloading from nilly. 4gb Kubuntu DVD in 1hr 20mins. I have run out of linux distros to download though now, so my usage has dropped off severely.

  • janimal
  • over 14 years ago

this is the 2nd time the asa have picked out an isp over the "up to" speeds and both times they have targetted LLU providers, coincidence?

If BE are guilty then every isp selling up to 8mbit adsl max products are also guilty considering only 25% of lines can synch that high.

The disclaimer is a far too soft punishment tho, if they ruled BE guilty the product description should be changed disclaimers are often a soft way out and allow them to continue claiming 24mbit.

  • chrysalis
  • over 14 years ago

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