Culture minister blasts broadband industry
Culture minister Ed Vaizey is fuming at the broadband companies of the UK, saying that it is farcical that people like BT and Sky are allowed to advertise certain broadband speeds, even though they're not available to most customers.
He's said that this behaviour is “misleading” and the whole thing is a “complete and utter joke”. Strong words indeed.
The ASA's advertising code says that broadband companies are allowed to advertise their top speeds, even in the case of them being available to a paltry 10% of customers.
Talking to the House of Commons culture, media and sport select committee, Vaizey said: "It’s ridiculous. The idea that if you can deliver to 10% of houses the broadband speeds you are advertising on a large billboard and get away with it seems to be a complete and utter joke, and I have told that to their [that'd be the ASA] face."
Earlier this year, the Advertising Standards Authority said that they are going to crack down on the way companies like Virgin Media, TalkTalk, BT, Sky, Three, and O2 tell potential customers about broadband packages. It is clear that there's some confusion, and that lies squarely at the feet of the advertisements and promotional materials sent to consumers.
Basically, the sticking point is selling things to people with an 'up to' speed, rather than a realistic one.
“It is good to have independent regulators,” said Vaizey, "but I also feel as a politician and minister in this space I want to have the opportunity to express my frustrations. I am frustrated. The way broadband speeds are advertised are misleading and I’d like to see them changed. I’ve made my views clear and the ASA will be aware of my concerns."
Maybe we'd all benefit from a new system, where ISPs offer a speed to customers, and if we only get half of that speed, then we pay half price for the service. That'd ensure that broadband companies started giving us faster, more reliable speeds wouldn't it?
That's if you trust them to monitor what we're getting fairly.