Broadband News

10 things you need to know about new broadband speed rules

There is just one broadband provider on our offers page where we don't have new average speed figures and that was Vodafone as of 8:45am, the full update to the many hundreds of broadband packages we list though is likely to take a lot longer and some providers still use the previous pre 2012 figures on their websites.

There are a few short points that we want to share with everyone around the new ASA/CAP ruling that means if a broadband listing or advert talks about speed it should be the median speed at peak times (8pm to 10pm).

  1. If you had broadband yesterday, the speeds you enjoy or don't depending on your viewpoint will not be changing.
  2. 5 out of 10 people are still going to get below the average.
  3. If you switch broadband providers and stay on the same technology, speeds are likely to be the same unless the ISP you are is moving to has lots of congestion in your area.
  4. The new average speed does nothing to tell you how well video streaming will work, this needs providers to share speed tests from single download tests, i.e. like our speed test can.
  5. Why have the Virgin Media figures gone up? Because they over provision and in the last year they increased that margin in anticipation of these changes.
  6. If looking at joining a provider make sure you get the personalised speed estimate for your property before committing to the service.
  7. Providers can omit broadband speeds from their adverts if they wish.
  8. Why is there a big range of speed differences on the fastest FTTC 80/20 service, put simply the testing providers are doing may have different populations of line lengths i.e. there is no defined testing template.
  9. The new average speed figures invariably use Ethernet for testing, so if using Wi-Fi and not getting the speeds expected you need to double check with an Ethernet connected device.
  10. A few providers have speed guarantees which are often just based on the connection speed which will always be higher the tested throughput speed, so make sure you read and understand the small print on these.


@thinkbroadband Nice. (Could you re-write #9? I had to read it multiple times before I could parse it.)

  • @alanjmcf
  • comment via twitter
  • about 1 year ago

Number nine should read a bit better now.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • about 1 year ago

Maybe the ASA should insist that point 6 is mentioned in adverts, given the nature of DSL technology.

  • Michael_Chare
  • about 1 year ago

With speeds increasing wifi is no longer the only throttling speed... people using older tech powerline adapters will be getting slower speeds...

  • themanstan
  • about 1 year ago

A helpful summary.

Let’s hope omission of speed references in advertising becomes the norm, with people focusing instead on getting personalised estimates for their property instead (preferably including latency and jitter). If nothing else, that will avoid the temptation for ISPs to game the system and save acres of small print!

  • New_Londoner
  • about 1 year ago

Waste of time really because Ofcom seem to forget one things is FTTC DLM banded on the line speed – why isn’t Ofcom going to banned Openreach DLM like taking the line to get it banded reduced speed and stay there for 64 days or more before the banded was removed but sometimes in most case, it doesn’t seem so. Unless request to get DLM resetted.

  • adslmax
  • about 1 year ago

@adslmax Banding probably has no impact on the median average speed.

The new rules are about the UK wide average and not the average speed a specific user is going to get. The speed specifics are covered by the Ofcom Broadband Speed Code of Practice.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • about 1 year ago

Think it will cause confusion.

Looking at one site's products, they estimate my typical speeds as 44 Meg (Min. 31.4Mbps and Max. 65.7Mbps), and give two packages with averages of 55 Meg and 26 Meg.

The natural inclination is for the higher-spec, to get the 44 Meg, but I know likely speeds to be 35-45 Meg, so it's logical that I opt for the lower-spec option, and probably get 35-38 Meg.

Many consumers, unfamiliar with their real potential speeds will just see the 55 Meg & 26 Meg, and opt for the faster spec.

Will it lead to over-provisioning? Could that lead to less exchange congestion?

  • camieabz
  • about 1 year ago

A flaw is that the variations in average speed convey nothing about the technology used, so comparing like for like is harder for most people so as @camieabz I think there will be more people buying the next product up the range.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • about 1 year ago

The biggest issue is they have 3 products, 80/55/40 and you are expected to sign up to 12+ month contracts without knowing what speed you will get.They give you a massive range of possible speeds that likely covers all 3 packages (e.g 29mb to 68mb) and so means nothing when figuring out what package. They should be forced to let you test the speed properly before being tied to a contract. Even then it may not help, I have the 80mb package, sync at 62 and actually get about 57. If I took the 55mb package I would probably sync at 55 and get around 50 but without being able to test, I don't know.

  • ewok
  • about 1 year ago

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