Ofcom Broadband Speeds Code of Practice to use peak time speeds from March 2019
The Ofcom Broadband Speeds Code of Practice is what means when signing up for broadband you are given an estimated speed range for your service before you have handed over payment details and Ofcom has now published a set of changes with the largest being that providers will from March 2019 under the code be required to show the peak time speeds expected, i.e. a move from line access speed to actual throughput.
The main changes appear to be:
- Code to apply to all fixed line broadband technologies i.e. ADSL/ADSL2+/VDSL2/Cable and FTTP (full fibre)
- Peak time throughput speeds for consumer services between 8pm and 10pm to be shown on consumer services
- Peak time throughput speeds for business services between 12pm and 2pm
- Peak time speeds based on measurements nationally over a 3 month period
- 30 calendar day limit to time frame for providers to fix speeds to meet point of sale estimate or allow customer the right to exit contract penalty free
- Other services bought as part of a bundle at the same time as the broadband can be cancelled penalty free too, e.g. telephone, TV
- Rights to exit should be more prominently displayed
People may be wondering why the switch to peak time speeds has not been aligned with the advertising changes due on May 2018, but a more usual 12 month period is apparently justified by the fact that Virgin Media and FTTP providers who have not had to do much before will be affected and thus there are things that need to be implemented.
Some important caveats appear in the testing regime, the location that any testing done to arrive at the peak time figures should be to a server that is outside the providers network and representative of ordinary traffic with no prioritisation or routing that optimises speeds.
Virgin Media objected to the shift towards peak time speeds and tried to make the case for retaining a 24 hour average, which given the differences we see between peak and off-peak for Virgin Media customers may have been more about worrying about the code increasing customer churn rather than ensuring the best information was given to customers.
There was some objections to the 30 day limit for providers to fix issues and while one can see that where more capacity needs to be ordered and installed to resolve peak time issues this may not be possible, we can also see the flipside of providers who keep promising to fix things but never actually seem to. If your broadband is significantly under performing then suffering bad speeds for 30 days is a long time.