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UK customers being sold false broadband speeds

(Image credit: Image Credit: Sergey Nivens / Shutterstock)

Internet users in the UK are paying for services that aren’t even close to the speeds advertised, according to new analysis by Which?

The watchdog has analysed 235,000 users, noting their internet speeds and what was advertised and, eventually, sold to them. The results have shown that the average speed is 19Mbps, with 38Mbps being the usually advertised speed. That is 51 per cent slower than in the ad messages.

The bigger the advertised speed, the bigger the gap, the report claims. So, consumers paying for the 200Mbps pack get an average speed of 52Mbps – 26 per cent of what was promised. Those paying for 50Mbps get roughly 35.

The report was published ahead of the new Advertising Standards Authority guidelines which are coming into effect today. Under the guidelines, internet providers will no longer be able to advertise “up to” speeds, which are usually available to roughly a tenth of their userbase. Instead, they will have to advertise the average speed for 50 per cent of households at peak time.

“This change in the rules is good news for customers who have been continuously been let down by unrealistic adverts and broadband speeds that won’t ever live up to expectations,” said Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home Services.

“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.”

Image Credit: Sergey Nivens / Shutterstock

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.