One in five Britons do not understand the jargon used by broadband providers and a quarter do not understand their monthly bill, according to a new study.
The research, by broadbandchoices.co.uk, reveals that commonly-used broadband terms such as Mbps, MB and traffic management puzzle consumers – and almost half (46%) of people said they don't understand the majority of words used to describe their broadband package.
The firm says millions of broadband customers are signing up to the wrong package as a result of their failure to understand broadband jargon, which could see them each paying up to £100 extra in unnecessary costs every year.
Over a quarter (28%) of those surveyed said they were not confident they had picked the right broadband package, and one in four said they struggle to understand their monthly broadband bill.
The research also revealed that over half (58%) of those questioned have no idea what their monthly broadband download limit is, putting them at risk of penalty fines for exceeding their limits or paying over the odds.
Dominic Baliszewski, telecoms expert at broadbandchoices.co.uk, said: "British broadband customers should be empowered to make informed decisions about where they spend their money, which is why the results of this survey are so worrying.
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"Broadband is an essential utility for the majority of households nowadays but it is being over-complicated with a lot of unnecessary techno jargon that, to most everyday customers, may as well be a foreign language.
"As a result, customers are either making mistakes when it comes to signing up to a new broadband deal, or they are simply staying put on a package that is completely unsuitable for them because they are bewildered by advertising terminology and put off by what is perceived to be a frustrating switching process.
Chrissie Maher, founder of the Plain English Campaign, added: "Businesses must stop hiding behind technical jargon in order to baffle customers; the broadband sector in particular needs to realise that customers want straightforward information presented clearly and simply."