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Broadband Speeds are 51% Lower Than Advertised

May 18, 2018, 12:00 PM
  • Companies are ripping off customers with prices
  • Households paying for fast speeds but aren’t getting them
  • Crackdown on broadband providers coming
The government is cracking down on false advertising for broadband speeds. Image: Getty

British households are paying for broadband speeds that are an average of 51% slower than what they are advertised as, according to a study.

Customers paying for speeds of up to 38 megabits per second, Mbps, are only receiving an average of half that speed, at 19 Mbps.

Consumer watchdog Which? used a broadband speed checker tool to survey 235,000 homes as part of its study into broadband speeds in the UK.


From the 23rd May, home broadband providers must ensure that at least 50% of their customers can achieve advertised speeds at peak time, as part of a crackdown to prevent misleading claims.

Current standards allow firms to advertise ‘up to’ speeds as long as they are available to a minimum of just 10% of customers, resulting in widespread complaints from consumers.

The change follows a study by the Advertising Standards Authority that found most consumers think they are likely to receive a speed at or close to a provider’s headline claim when, for many, that is not the case.

The Which? findings revealed widespread differences between the speeds advertised and those delivered, with the results showing that the faster the advertised speed, the further away it was from the actual speed recorded in tests.

Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home services, said, “This change in the rules is good news for customers who have continuously let down by unrealistic adverts and broadband speeds that won’t ever live up to expectation.

“We know that speed and reliability of service really matter to customers and we will be keeping a close eye on providers to make sure they follow these new rules and finally deliver the service that people pay for.”

Consumers paying for a package of up to 200 Mbps were on average only able to receive speeds of 52 Mbps, just 26% of the speed promised.

Margot James, the Minister for Digital, said, “The new advertising rules are great for consumers- headlines with ‘up to’ speeds that only need to be available to 10% of consumers are incredibly misleading.

“Customers need clear, concise and accurate information in order to make an informed choice.”

AgnesFaludiover a year ago

Anyone can check the internet speed and id they do not provide it, can make a call.

PhilipMarcover a year ago

Well, if folks aren't getting the speeds they expected then they can cancel the contract and go with a different iSP but chances are, the others are more or less the same.

I dunno if Handheld Unlimited ISP on the go exists in UK but if not, it should.

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