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Consumer magazine Which? slams Internet service providers for false advertising

Consumer magazine Which? has slammed several Internet service providers advertising broadband speeds most customers in the UK will not receive, claiming the government should push for stronger advertising laws.

It follows BT, PlusNet and TalkTalk all advertising the peak of service, with all three claiming to offer speeds over 84Mbps. In reality, most customers in the UK sit at an average of under 10Mbps, and it is even worse in some areas.

The current Advertising Standards Authority claims companies are only allowed to promote a speed if 10 per cent of the country actually receive it. That might be hard for BT and TalkTalk to prove, considering most in the UK receive speeds far under the advertising number.

For PlusNet, it is not such a big deal considering it has a small footprint, but for BT, there are quite a lot of people definitely receiving less than the high speed Internet promised.

The bulk of UK customers still own ADSL2 packages with speeds between 16 - 24Mbps, while just shy of 10 per cent still own Slower ADSL packages with speeds under 10Mbps.

Adding the reported 57 per cent on ADSL2, that still gives around 30 per cent of customers that are subscribed to a fibre optic package. Assuming BT and TalkTalk are providing super fast Internet to those customers, it should be able to show more than 10 per cent.

The worry is that due to TalkTalk’s rather flimsy Internet service compared to pure fibre optic, customers paying for high speed Internet might not be seeing the benefits. TalkTalk currently has one of the worst review scores out of the six major Internet service providers.

Which? might push UK regulators Ofcom to start investigating these claims of false advertising, but the UK already has one of the strictest advertising regulations, meaning any further changes might mean a drop in advertisers for TV.