More than 30 broadband providers including BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk have signed up to a voluntary code of conduct
designed to prevent consumers being mis-sold high-speed internet access packages.
Broadband advertising has become increasingly controversial because internet service providers (ISPs) often promote the
theoretical maximum speeds achievable on their networks rather than the speed most customers can actually get.
A recent survey by the comparison website Broadband Expert found that actual speeds were often less than half those
advertised, leading Ofcom to warn that it was prepared to enforce regulation if the industry did not fall into line. Just
this week a further study found that there are also big discrepancies between speeds in large cities and rural areas.
Under the code, ISPs will have to give customers an accurate measure of the speed of their broadband service, offer a lower-
speed package if those estimates are inaccurate and help resolve any technical issues slowing down connections. They will
also need to give clear information about the limits of services and tell customers if they breach those limits.
Ofcom is also planning a comprehensive survey of broadband speeds as part of an attempt to determine the accuracy of
The chairwoman of Ofcom's consumer panel, Anna Bradley, welcomed the code, adding that the panel would scrutinise the results
of the Ofcom study. "If they show that ISPs are not in compliance, it will clearly be time to call for a mandatory code of
practice," she said.
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