A consumer group has slammed the way in which broadband providers advertise their products claiming that they deploy ambiguous promotional techniques regarding their broadband speed giving consumers a distorted picture of what service they are receiving.
At present, providers publicise unrealistically high speeds as current regulations mean that their advertised top speed need only impact on 10% of their customer base. As such, at least 90% of a providerís clientele are being duped into believing they can attain a rate of connectivity which in reality they will never be able to enjoy.
In a survey conducted by Which?, the findings revealed that only 12% of customers were aware of this directive, yet the consumer body found speed to be the second most influential factor in peopleís choosing of their broadband deal, with only price considered to be a more significant variable.
ìCompanies need to be more up-front with customers about the speeds they can expect:î said Richard Lloyds, executive director at Which?
When questioned whether they would have switched provider had they known how dim the light was on broadband speed advertising, 25% of consumers said they would have shopped around for a better deal, while speed as a whole became thrice as important to broadband users when shown the average speed the 90% of people not enjoying the optimum connectivity would receive.
As such, Which? has called for the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) to re-define their regulatory procedures on broadband providers, in order for consumers to be guaranteed a clearer, more concise service.
Amongst its recommendations, the consumer group specified that overt, confusing claims of ësuperfastí speeds ought to be quantified by providers, the speed advertised to reflect the average rate of connection for the providerís entire customer base and greater forthrightness from suppliers across the board.
Which? has also reached out to the public through its ëGive us Broadband Speed Guaranteesí initiative focussed on realising the above aims and clamping down on the vagueness that currently infuses the advertising procedures in the sector.
"Internet connection is now an essential part of modern life so it beggars belief that providers can sell people short by advertising speeds that only 10% of customers could receive," said Richard Lloyd.
"We want advertising watchdogs to pull the plug on confusing adverts and ensure broadband providers show the speeds the majority of customers will actually get."
A long-standing critic of the manner in which broadband is distributed across the UK, Which? has piled pressure on suppliers in recent times, having recently found that over 60% of people in the UK regularly suffer glitches with their connection.