Advertised broadband speeds lowered by 41% on cheapest deals since ASA ruling

The majority of broadband providers have been forced to cut the headline speeds they advertise when selling deals, following recent changes to advertising rules, according to new Which? research.

An analysis of the biggest broadband providers found that, since new rules were introduced by the Committees of Advertising Practice in May, 11 major suppliers have had to cut the advertised speed of some of their deals, with the cheapest deals dropping by 41%.

BT, EE, John Lewis Broadband, Plusnet, Sky, Zen Internet, Post Office, SSE, TalkTalk and Utility Warehouse previously advertised their standard (ADSL) broadband deals as ‘up to 17Mbps’. The new advertised speed is now more than a third lower at 10Mbps or 11Mbps.

Previously, suppliers were able to advertise broadband deals which claimed ‘up-to’ speeds that only one in 10 customers would ever reach.

But the new advertising rules mean that at least half of customers must now be able to get an advertised average speed, even during peak times (8-10pm).

Which? found that across all the deals on offer from the 12 biggest providers, the advertised speeds from ‘up to 17Mbps’ to ‘up to 100 Mbps’ had decreased by an average 15%.

TalkTalk has completely dropped advertising speed claims from most of its deals. Vodafone has also changed the name of some of its deals: Fibre 38 and Fibre 76 are now Superfast 1 and Superfast 2.

Only Virgin Media’s advertised speeds have gone up since the change.

Before the new rules came into effect, Which? found evidence that British households were paying for broadband services that were on average 51% slower than advertised.

Which? has called for these vital new guidelines to be introduced since 2013 through its Broadband Speed Guaranteed campaign.

Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home Services, said:

“Customers will now have a much clearer idea of the speeds that can be achieved when they are shopping around for broadband.

“For those still struggling to get a reasonable speed or connection, the Government must press ahead with its crucial plans to deliver the service that broadband customers need, without it costing them the earth.”


Notes to editors:

  1. Which? has been campaigning for an advertising change since 2013
  2. DCMS has recently announced its target to all of the UK to have full-fibre broadband coverage by 2033, replacing the copper wire network that currently delivers the service.
  3. Broadband speeds 51% slower than advertised

Press Release