Fewer than half of UK consumers know the upload speed of their broadband connection, leading consumer watchdog Which? to call on regulators to ensure that actual broadband speeds are accurately advertised.
As part of a Give us broadband speed guaranteed campaign, Which? has asked the Committee of Advertising Practice and the Broadcasting Committee of Advertising Practice to review the guidelines on speed claims made in broadband adverts.
A survey conducted by consumer information website ISPreview.co.uk found that only 42 percent of consumers know the upload speed of their broadband service, despite 41 percent of 1,500 respondents indicating that upload performance is an important factor to them.
The survey also found that only 23 percent of consumers feel that their broadband speeds are accurately advertised.
ISPreview.co.uk noted that major broadband providers, such EE and Virgin, fail clearly to list upload speeds, which often require extensive digging through their websites to find.
BT was also noted for promoting upload speeds only for its superfast broadband, rather than for its standard copper wire, packages.
Which? said that if internet service providers (ISPs) were clearer about the actual speeds their customers will receive, as opposed to the speeds advertised, 25 percent of consumers would choose a different provider.
Which? said that 88 percent of consumers consider speed as the second most important consideration after price.
Under the current regulations, the speeds advertised need to apply only to 10 percent of customers in order to adhere to advertising guidelines. Which? found that only 12 percent of consumers are aware of this rule.
Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which?, said that internet connectivity is a now an essential part of modern life, adding that it "beggars belief" that ISPs can promote speeds that only a fraction of customers will receive.
"We want advertising watchdogs to pull the plug on confusing adverts and ensure broadband providers show the speeds the majority of customers will actually get," he said.
"In the meantime, companies need to be more upfront with customers about the speeds they can expect."
Which? also wants the term 'superfast' broadband to be qualified.
The issue of broadband speeds is a sore subject for people in rural areas, particularly in Wales, where residents complain that they receive the worst broadband speeds in the UK.
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