23rd May 2018
Transparency for consumers: broadband ads get up to speed
Picture the scene: you’re planning the family’s summer holiday and are browsing hotels. You find an advert for a large and luxurious room at the top of your budget. The deal’s too good to miss, so you book without a delay. A few months later, you arrive at the hotel but are given a small and very basic room. When you go to complain at the desk, the staff point out the small print at the bottom of your booking: ‘Large and luxurious hotel room available to 10% of customers’. Feel misled? Of course you do, but that’s exactly what’s been happening to many broadband customers for years.
Until now, internet service providers could advertise maximum broadband speeds that were available to just one-in-ten customers. Put another way, up to 90% of customers might never be able to receive the speeds they are paying for.
For years, we’ve been calling for changes to broadband adverts so consumers have clarity about the speeds they can expect to receive. And our campaign has now paid off. From today, the advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has put in place new rules that numerical speed claims in broadband ads must be based on the median download speed available to at least 50% of customers at peak time (8pm-10pm) and described in ads as “average”. Put simply, adverts will now tell you what the majority of a broadband company’s customers can receive at the busiest time of the day.
This is welcome news for consumers. We believe in being straight up-on speed – it’s why we have repeatedly called for changes to make broadband ads more honest.
Earlier this month, Ofcom’s Comparing Service Quality report said Virgin Media is “the only provider with above-average customer satisfaction for broadband speeds”. It’s no wonder: data from SamKnows, the independent broadband monitoring specialists used by Ofcom, shows that the vast majority of our customers receive speeds greatly in excess of the UK average, even at peak times.
It’s great that the ASA’s guidance is now up to speed. Today’s change means other ISPs might need to reduce their advertised speeds. This isn’t the case for us - when it comes to fastest widely available broadband, we’re staying out in front. And with clear, simple and fair advertising guidance now in place, I’m proud to say Virgin Media remains the home of the UK’s fastest widely-available broadband.
The speeds we will be using in advertising from today are:
Average download Speed Peak (8pm-10pm)