Ofcom report says that UK is misled on broadband speeds

27 July 2010

a really modern computing deviceYou there. Are you living in Britain? Well then, you're probably being dicked on your broadband speed. That's what Ofcom are saying.

They've analysed the broadband speeds of Britain and as many as 97% of consumers don't get the advertised speed. So will we get faster broadband as a result of this? Don't hold your breath. Ofcom will initially ask the ISPs to start changing the way they sell their broadband services.

The BBC reports that Ed Richards, chief executive of Ofcom, said the survey revealed a "growing gap" between what people were sold and the reality of their broadband service.

"The gap between the average headline speed and actual speed has increased in this period even though the actual speed has risen," he said.

One of the problems, clearly, is that ISPs advertise products with the get-out-of-jail-free card of "speeds up to...".

Ed Richards from Ofcom again:  "We do want to see clearer advertising and we make no secret about that," he said. "We want advertising that is more meaningful to the consumer."

Better news is that, over at PCPro, they're reporting on new rules that will allow broadband customers to break contract if they don't get the speeds promised by their ISP. Ofcom have developed a code to work out if you're getting what you paid for and, if you're in the lowest 10% of expected speeds, you can demand to leave your ISP. However, the code to help you work out your speed is already being chastised for being stupidly complicated.

TOPICS:   Technology   Broadband

21 comments

  • Jimbo
    congrats on your copy pasting from the bbc, amazing stuff.
  • Basil B.
    The bastards... I pay for 20Mb & get 19.998Mb down.
  • Andy D.
    Hi Jimbo, we've gladly cited the BBC as our source on the story. Would you be kind enough to point out the bits that we've copied and pasted? Apart from the quotes of course - people tend to get a bit uppity when you attribute made-up quotes to them. For example... Tears streamed down Jimbo's face as he was led into the ambulance, squealing: "I'd only let the gerbil out of its cage for some exercise. I must have accidentally sat on it when I got out of the shower as it became lodged right up my arse. What I proper fucking cunt I most surely am." See?
  • piggy
    LOL!
  • jamie
    above ... lol No internet provider actualy says they offer the full speed they say up to that speed which sucks. i vote every one go with virgin media they're the only internet provider that give the full internet speed. i once had internet with some crappy internet provider and they said up to 20mb and i could only get 0.7mbps
  • Squeely
    Not that complex really, unless you can't understand simple percentages. A customer is given a minimum and maximum speed based on their location, because the speed also depends on their line quality, connections, and hardware. Article gives example of 4.5 to 11.5 mb/s. So that's a variance of 7 mb/s. 10% = 0.7 mb/s. So the lower 10% of expected speeds is 5.2 mb/s. If you get less than this you can leave the contract with no penalty if they can't increase the speed within 3 months.
  • Palmface
    I pay o2 for 20Mb download and 2.5Mb down. My router is currently synced at 22,520 kbps down and 2,489 up- so not everybody is getting shafted... I'm getting a better deal than I pay for!
  • bushbrother
    LOL @ the reply to Jimbo ...
  • Markus
    I pay for 24Mbit and get 24Mbit (3MB/s). The ISPs all say "UP TO ... Mbit" and usually give an estimate of expected speeds, there's not much else they can do about it. @jamie: Obviously experiences greatly vary, I was on Virgin media for a year and I wouldn't recommend them to anyone. Speeds were slow, it often disconnected (sometimes with up to an hour outage) and when I called them to ask what was going on they didn't help at all. A lot of friends have had the same experience with them.
  • james d.
    Palmface thats just your synch rate.# Anyway my take on this. ISPs have to advertise "up to 8 meg" because everyone is doing that. The fact is that it is in most cases comparable. If one customer advertises up to 8 meg you will probably get the same speed with one than with the other (unless the speed is a ISP network issue). Therefore if one ISP was to start advertising "average 3.3 meg broadband" when a competitor is advertising "up to 8 meg" even though they are reselling the exact same IP stream product which do you think would get more customers. I dont have a problem with ISPs advertising "up to 8 meg speeds" but what they need to do is before taking a customer order they need to advise what the estimated speed they can get on their line is (most ISPs actually do already do this) and what I would like to see is a guaranteed minimum speed. There are of course problems with this too. Maybe their internet is slow because a customer's teenage son has 50 torrents queued in an upstairs bedroom? Maybe they are only synching at 256k because they have their router plugged into a 20 year old telephone extension in the attic. Maybe their machine is over loaded with spyware. Perhaps they have unprotected wifi and the neighbours are all using their connection. The point is that neither "how fast is it supposed to be" and "how fast is it" are not straight forward connections. Lastly though one thing that does piss me off is that the 8 meg broadband is actually limited to 7.2 on IP stream by the BT IP profile. So even under ideal circumstances including network overhead the fastest speed you can actually get is 7.2.
  • lukekey
    lol, made my morning that,
  • Zleet
    I'm on BT and used to get 7mb on the upto 8mb but since I had the gall to actually use the speed I paid for i've since been limited down to 0.5mb. Fuckers!
  • Klingelton
    I'm currently on vermin media. paying for a 10mb service and receiving anywhere between 2 and 15. they do have the occasional outage, which can be a royal pain in the arse, but at least they fix it. When i was with BT, the line went dead one evening. they blamed my telephone connection, router act of god and some other shit. they didn't get it working within the 2 days their SLA is measured on so left it to fester for 2 weeks. they insisted on sending an engineer round, which if he coulnd't find anything wrong, i would have been charged one hundred and something pounds for the privilage. I turned that down. After repeatedly telling them it was an error at the exchange, they had someone go out and check. turns out they'd unplugged me. Then they ballsed my house move up which mean i was left without telephone and internets for an important time. they decided it wasn't their fault they'd cocked up, that somehow i was meant to pass the data between their parties. suffice to say, vermin media are the lesser of 2 evils. That is unless you need to ring customer services for whatever reason, they are seriously rubbish.
  • james d.
    Klingeton, thats standard ADSL practice. Its your responsibility to ensure your configuration at your end is correct, BT only have to deliver an ADSL signal to your house, if it screws up once its in there thats your problem. If you called the water company and complained about a tap that didnt work and the fault was your tap they would probably charge you too. anyway "turns out they had unplugged you" that is BT wholesale who all ADSL providers have to deal with, BT broadband are a customer of theirs just like all ISPs. But yes virgin media dont have to deal with any of this crap since they have their own cables so thats what I will be doing as soon as I get out of this ADSL only area.
  • -]
    Using a sky connection, with an attenuation that should get ~5mbit I'm stuck on a 0.5mbit connection, and the slimy fuckers refuse to get openreach out to sort it.
  • IfYouCopyMyNameYouAreGayIsGay
    This bullshit news story has been floating around for years, since the dawn of ADSL, and it annoys me as much today as it did years ago. Is it really really too difficult for people to understand? ISP's cannot say exactly what speed they can offer, as it varies massively person to person. It is impossible. If they advertise their service, they can only advertise it as 'up to 20mb' - there is no other way they can do it. Except if you're interested in ADSL, you call the ADSL company up, they inspect your line length/quality etc, call their marketing department up, ask them to create you your very own advert that says 'ADSL for Mr Fox Bumder of 23 Ilikebadgers Avenue - join loladsl today and receive 11.25mbs download bandwidth (but only 568kb/s upload!) for ONLY £14.99! Not gonna happen is it. If people are too fucking stupid to understand that it is UP TO depending entirely on line quality/distance (which the ISP's have no control over) then its their own fucking depressingly stupid faults.
  • wet d.
    As a few have said --depends on distance from exchange/ depends on quality of telephone line/ depends on the conneciton into your property/ depends on the connetion at the face plate/ depends if you are a cheap bastard and have cheap adsl filters/ depends on you disconnecting the ringer circuit on your interenal phone wirting/ depends on the router connected to it/ and the jumble of magnetic emiting cables around the preciouse data cable - shall i go never mind the piss poor configured machine connected to it. It also depends on what else you have connected to those ADSL filters if you have multiple sockets. ITS F^cking impossible to guarantee a specific speed it up and that fair enough - I get 16mb from 20 im fucking made up i was with NTL for 2 years the biggest idiots on the plaet - I had to show one fucktard engieer how to do a line test - he plugged his laptop in showed me a cached home page and said all working thats going to cost you £50 bollox said I( and I asked him to ping a web site to confim, he was like do what open a what box - after teaching him basic computer skill for 15 minutes he said ok your NTL set top box IS Knacked ill replace it - guess what it all worked point is if I had been joe averidge and gone along with his bull shit - I would have had to pay the £50 call out charge and still had a buggered connection. and thats on top of the constant disconneciton incorrect billing, call centre staf rude ignorant STUPID, supposed 3rd line support staff trying to argue about contract law, they new nothing about yadda yadda yadda never never never again NTL AKA VIRMIN MEDIA id rather be on dial up then deal with those fucking muppets ever again O2 for 4 years now - not one issue prior to that 4 years at pipex - ( broke my heart what happened to them ) prior to that 2 years with NTHELL unitl I had the head of operation on the phone and prio to that 14400 28K 33.6 and 56K flex awsome days
  • The B.
    Ofcom are basically stating that ISP's are mis-selling products 97% per cent of the time and that they intend to do sweet FA about it, quelle suprise!
  • Suki I.
    only down to 14k4? No 9600baud, 2400baud, 300/1200baud? failbraggard is fail ;p
  • Junkyard
    @ IfYouCopyMyNameYouAreGayIsGay "If they advertise their service, they can only advertise it as ‘up to 20mb’ – there is no other way they can do it." What, there's a law preventing them from advertising it as 'at least 2Mb'?
  • -]
    Of course there is another way to do it - They can quote the average speed obtained, and in small print advertise the very maximum possible. Everyone wins!

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