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Consumer Panel asks for Ofcom action on Broadband Scandal

The Ofcom (opens in new tab) Consumer Panel, a body which lobbies for consumer interests, has asked communications watchdog, Ofcom, to ask Internet Service Providers to be more honest about speed limitations on their broadband packages.

The panel found out that speeds advertised as up to were never reached and the average median speed was in most cases closer to a third of what one might expect.

Although the OCP has no formal power, its role as an independent advisory body means that Ofcom could eventually turn OCP's calls into a body of regulations.

A number of websites, tech related groups and magazines like Which?, Five's the Gadget Show (opens in new tab) and Web User magazine have campaigned to get ISPs to come clean on their advertised speeds.

However, some internet service providers like Be Broadband have proactively enacted proposals made by the OCP such as the possibility to test a user's line to know the maximum theoretical limit or allowing a user to get out of a contract or sign up for a different package if he or she is not satisfied with the service.

In a subsequent letter, Ofcom boss, Ed Richards, praised the Consumer Panel's feedback, saying that it would be talking to the broadband industry (opens in new tab) "about how best to implement the recommendations."

Désiré Athow
Contributor

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.