Brits Confused By Broadband Advertising

Misleading broadband advertising is confusing British consumers, a survey has found

A new survey carried out by ICM has discovered that nine out of ten people find broadband advertising misleading and confusing.

The survey of 1,000 people found that for consumers, the most important aspect was price when selecting an ISP, with broadband speed their next consideration.

The also survey found that 90 percent of those questioned were unsure of exactly what broadband speed they received.

The ‘Up To’ Problem

And it seems that many people are confused by the use of the term “up to” 8MMbit/s or 20Mbit/s for example. The vast majority felt that it was very difficult to compare services and be sure of the actual speed they would receive.

Meanwhile ninety three percent said that advertising should be changed to match more ‘real world’ scenarios.

This is not a new issue however. In July industry regulator Ofcom looked at the state of the nation’s broadband provision, and while it praised the speed increase, it took the ISPs to task for continuing to advertise speeds which they could not deliver.

However broadband provider Virgin Media – which has deployed large amounts of fibre infrastructure – was singled out for praise by the regulator for delivering closely on its advertised speeds. “Virgin Media’s ‘up to’ 10Mbps and ‘up to’ 20Mbps cable services delivered average download speeds around twice as fast as DSL packages with the same or similar headline speed,” Ofcom stated at that time.

Meanwhile there are signs that the advertising regulator is cracking down on speed and coverage claims by service providers.

Advertising Clampdown?

In late August the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) rapped BT over the knuckles for its broadband speed claims in its national adverts, featuring the BT “Adam and Jane” couple.

That was not the first time BT had come under fire from the ASA. Earlier in August it was pinged for one of its fibre adverts that boasted that its fibre-based service could deliver the Internet ‘instantly’.

And in July Orange was forced to pull an advert that claimed its 3G network had a better reach than its rivals, after a compliant by rival operator 3UK.

In June, Vodafone was reprimanded by the ASA over advert claims concerning its Sure Signal femtocell.