The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) called for changes in the way that broadband is advertised as it revealed research showing that broadband customers were being misled by broadband offers.
The qualitative research conducted by GfK found that the headline speed claims given by broadband providers are believed by consumers to be the speeds they will get, when actually standards permit claims that are achievable by only 10 percent of customers.
With many consumers making decisions between providers based on speed, the ASA has called for a change in the way speeds are advertised.
Consumers place high importance on speed; a Broadband Genie survey of 2000 broadband customers found that 79 percent said that slow connections should be discounted.
The possible intervention is part of a wider clampdown on broadband advertising, with the ASA recently implementing new rules on advertised prices. Amongst other things, the rules require internet service providers to include line rental when detailing the cost of a broadband plan, meaning that the monthly costs advertised will be all-inclusive.
What form will the new rules take? CBR looks at the possible approaches studied by the ASA that could be taken by the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) when it reports in spring 2017.
1. Clarifying the ‘up to’ claim
This approach would require the advertisements to state clearly that the advertised speeds are available to at least 10 percent of customers.
According to consumers surveyed, this would be considerably more transparent, although they still were unsure what speeds they personally would be able to achieve.
Marketers would have a difficult job on their hands as this was considered a less attractive statement.