15m households 'do not get the promised broadband speed'

Research by Which? shows ‘poor’ levels of broadband service across the UK

Three quarters of British households aren’t getting the promised speeds on their broadband package according to research, which found the problem affects over 15 million households.

While 90% of those polled by Which? said speed was an important factor when choosing a provider, the consumer group found just 26% of households with fixed broadband connections were getting the speeds they were paying for.

Which? has launched a Give Us Broadband Speed Guaranteed campaign.

It found just 17% of homes received an average speed that matched the advertised level – and even fewer, 15%, managed this during the peak evening period.

Broadband users in the countryside are much more poorly served than those in urban areas. While 31% households in towns and cities were able to receive a maximum advertised speed, incredibly 98% of rural homes didn’t typically get the headline speed.

Advertising guidelines say only 10% of all customers need to achieve the maximum advertised speed but Which? found three packages that couldn’t even meet that. Only 4% of customers on TalkTalk’s 17Mbps package, and just 1% of people on BT and Plusnet’s 76Mbps deals, were getting the top advertised speeds.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd, said: “It’s not good enough that millions of homes are so poorly served by their broadband provider with speeds that just don’t live up to what was advertised. Broadband is an essential part of life these days so people shouldn’t be persuaded to buy a package which is never going to live up to expectations.

“We’ve raised our concerns with the advertising authorities, but we now want Ofcom to ensure consumers get the speeds promised by providers.”

The regulator, Ofcom, recently announced new measures to make it easier for people to switch provider if they were not getting the speed advertised on their contract.

However, the changes are unlikely to come into effect until January 2016 – the point at which the telecoms firms must have adopted Ofcom’s new code of practice on the subject.

Which? said it wants the rules to change so providers are only allowed to advertise speeds that most of their customers can receive.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Miles Brignall, for theguardian.com on Thursday 18th June 2015 07.00 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010