Ofcom has cracked down on internet service providers (ISPs) with a new Code of Practice aimed at providing consumers with greater clarity on broadband speeds.
The voluntary Code accompanies an extensive investigation by the regulator into concerns that consumers are being misled and misinformed when choosing broadband services by ISPs advertising headline speeds that are higher than users can ever actually receive.
Ed Richards, Ofcom’s chief executive, says: “Broadband is a thriving market in the UK. We want to encourage real clarity for consumers about the actual broadband speeds they can receive.
“This voluntary Code is a significant step in this direction.”
Around 37 ISPs, covering over 90% of broadband customers, have already signed up to the Code, which aims to give consumers a clearer understanding of speeds and ensure that they are on an appropriate broadband package.
Separately, Ofcom will consider whether to extend the Code or develop another one to cover mobile broadband services.
Customer satisfaction of broadband is at an all time low. Research from comparison site uSwitch.com found over a quarter of broadband customers are not satisfied with the speed provided by their ISP, and despite paying for an average speed of 5MB, many UK households receive just 3MB.