Broadband providers should be banned from selling services using the phrase ‘up to’ when referring to theoretical top line speeds, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).
The LGA, which represents 370 councils across England and Wales, explained that the current rules allow providers, such as BT Retail, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Sky, to advertise a possible 'up to' speed even if only 10 per cent of customers in a given area can achieve that speed.
This means that most end users never attain the 'up to' speed and are left with poor to non-existent connectivity that, in an increasing digital world, leaves them cut adrift.
The LGA wants to ban broadband providers advertising 'up to' speeds and instead to provide an average speed potential. Possible upload speeds should also be more advertised.
The organisation said that this problem should be addressed now as efforts to increase broadband coverage continue. The government is looking to provide everyone who requests it a 10Mbps service by 2020.
Councillor Mark Hawthorne, chairman of the LGA's People and Places Board, explained that end users, from households to small businesses, must be able to achieve good quality broadband, and providers should be forced to be more transparent about the services that can actually be delivered.
“As central and local government services increasingly become ‘digital by default', more people will need to have faster and more reliable speeds. The headline ‘up to' download speed, which can be advertised legally, is misleading and does not reflect the reality of broadband services received across the country,” he said.
"Broadband users deserve greater honesty and openness about the download and upload speeds they are likely to receive depending on their location.”
The call from the LGA comes a day after Vodafone announced plans to do away with line rental charges for its broadband services, a charge that many claim is unfair as they never use a landline phone.
Vodafone claimed to be the first in the industry to make such a move, although some pointed out that the charge is merely being absorbed into the cost of the firm's fibre product.
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