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Communications Businesses The Almighty Buck United Kingdom

Broadband Firms in UK Must Ditch 'Misleading' Speed Ads (bbc.com) 69

An anonymous reader shares a report: Broadband firms will no longer be able to advertise their fast net services based on the speeds just a few customers get, from May next year. Currently ISPs are allowed to use headline speeds that only 10% of customers will actually receive. In future, adverts must be based on what is available to at least half of customers at peak times. It follows research that suggested broadband advertising can be misleading for consumers. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) looked into consumers' understanding of broadband speed claims and found that many were confused by headline speeds that they would never actually get in their own homes. The concerns were passed on to the Committees of Advertising Practice (Cap) which consulted with ISPs, consumer groups and Ofcom to find a better way to advertise fast net services. Most argued that the fairest and clearest way would be to use the average speeds achieved at peak time by 50% of customers.
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Broadband Firms in UK Must Ditch 'Misleading' Speed Ads

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  • It took so long (Score:4, Insightful)

    by La Gris ( 531858 ) <lea,gris&noiraude,net> on Thursday November 23, 2017 @10:11PM (#55613585) Homepage
    These twaddles are as old as ISPs. I just wonder why it took so long. Most ISPs are advertising the RAW carrier bit-rate rather than the actual net data bit-rate. DSL Provider show you ATM bit-rate. You can roughly cut 10-12% for the real BPS. And it still represents the raw data rate between your modem and the DSLAM. Even when you get optimal link there, the local collect loop is either deliberately throttled or saturated. By the time your data can travel to or from outside your ISPs internal network, it is already diminished. Getting VDSL2 here advertised as up-to 100up/30down MBPs. Lines has 0 loss, 0 CRC, and talks at 90/25 MBs. Even if it is encapsulated in an ATM transmission with 10% loss. That make it still like 80 Down / 25 Up. In reality ISP is throttling it to 25-30 Down 20 Up because their fiber to the central has not enough capacity in my area. Sheepples here don't care as long as they can go to Facebook to post their pathetic lolcats. Good hope some advertising regulators pay attention. Was about time they did.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      In Australia the debate is only just starting.
      Hopefully we will follow the mothercountry, and have only started to refund from plans that had impossible to get speeds.
      Here is international fimdings. Go for it. .

    • Re:It took so long (Score:4, Insightful)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@@@world3...net> on Friday November 24, 2017 @03:31AM (#55614281) Homepage Journal

      They should force ISPs to reveal where there is congestion on their networks. The national speed might be good, but in your area there is oversubscription and no intention to do any upgrades so what you get is much lower.

      • by Cederic ( 9623 )

        That would be sensible. My ISP gets negative feedback online because some customers are getting lower performance at peak times.

        My experience is that I pay for a 200/20 asynchronous connection and steam game downloads sustain 223Mbps (e.g. downloading the 110GB of games I bought in yesterday's sale) and my Youtube uploads (50-70GB at a time) sustain 22Mbps.

        So the online complaints are at best representative of a specific location.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      These twaddles are as old as ISPs. I just wonder why it took so long.
      Most ISPs are advertising the RAW carrier bit-rate rather than the actual net data bit-rate.
      DSL Provider show you ATM bit-rate. You can roughly cut 10-12% for the real BPS. And it still represents the raw data rate between your modem and the DSLAM. Even when you get optimal link there, the local collect loop is either deliberately throttled or saturated. By the time your data can travel to or from outside your ISPs internal network, it is already diminished.

      Getting VDSL2 here advertised as up-to 100up/30down MBPs.
      Lines has 0 loss, 0 CRC, and talks at 90/25 MBs. Even if it is encapsulated in an ATM transmission with 10% loss. That make it still like 80 Down / 25 Up.
      In reality ISP is throttling it to 25-30 Down 20 Up because their fiber to the central has not enough capacity in my area.

      Sheepples here don't care as long as they can go to Facebook to post their pathetic lolcats.

      Good hope some advertising regulators pay attention. Was about time they did.

      Well to answer your first questions is that this is the UK, nothing gets done until enough people complain.

      The answer to your second question is that advertising exactly what bandwidth is would be far to difficult for the average mouth breather to understand, and our mouth-breathers (Chavs) are far better educated than the average American mouth-breather (redneck, trailer-trash or Trump voter). Most people dont understand the difference between upload speeds and download speeds on ADSL let alone the intr

    • by Malc ( 1751 )

      Now if only they'd be forced to advertise their upstream speeds too. This tends to be the biggest bottleneck and pain point, and also the hardest information to find. This was one of the reasons I originally went with BT when FTTC was rolled out in my neighbourhood (and I hated myself everyday for being their customer) was because I knew I'd get 20mbs upstream. Compared with other 'fast' providers like Virgin, this is actually very good. Virgin BTW buried this information somehwere on their website, and

  • There seems to be no end to McTeagle's poetic invention. 'My new cheque book hasn't arrived' was followed up by the brilliantly allegorical 'What's twenty quid to the bloody Midland Bank?' and more recently his prizewinning poem to the Arts Council: 'Can you lend me a thousand quid?'
  • by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Thursday November 23, 2017 @11:03PM (#55613697)

    The lady at Comcast told me she's not having any speed or connectivity problems.

  • This would destroy the major USA ISPs. Most of them advertise "up to" speeds that are asynchronous and rarely live up to half their expectation. Many of the larger ISPs depend on this lack of clarity to arbitrarily over subscribe their customers. This would drastically destroy many of their shady marketing practices. 3 Here's to hoping...
  • by XB-70 ( 812342 ) on Friday November 24, 2017 @07:12AM (#55614593)
    Why is it that European governments seem to actually act on behalf of their citizens?

    Is there something fundamentally wrong with their systems of government?

    Everybody knows that "Up To xx Mb/s" means "you should almost, maybe, sometime, perhaps, likely, on occasion, once in a blue moon...."

    Now they are trying to change things in a terrible, terrible way for ISPs - taking away hope and replacing it with fact - OK, at least 1/2 the time... but still...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why is it that European governments seem to actually act on behalf of their citizens?

      Proportional representation in parliaments is a good start. That means that a party can't just screw their people over just because they are the lesser evil. People can still vote for the third or fourth party without feeling as if their vote is wasted.
      (That is such a silly notion, even in a two party system the politicians will notice if they lost a percentage of the vote to someone on the fringe and adapt their politics to get those votes back.)

      The way EU is structured also leads to a situation where a si

    • FWIW, I'm in the U.S. and have never felt the need for this type of legislation because I usually get faster speeds than advertised. My current plan is advertised as 100 Mbps, and that's what I get. I used to get slightly less than that because of occasional slowdowns. But about a decade ago my cable company switched to burst service. The first few megabytes of a transfer can go at up to 2x the speed I'm paying for. So since I do very few large file transfers (e.g. filesharing), on average I'm now gett
    • So when it comes to anti-trust (I know that's not what's being talked about here, but bear with me), the USA only considers it a problem when there's a negative PRICE impact on the consumer. The fundamental, underlying philosophy is that low prices are the greatest good, so monopoly is bad only insofar as it impacts prices. This is why Apple lost an anti-trust suit despite being a small player: they raised prices, and colluded with publishers because publishers felt like they were embarking on an unsustaina

  • by thomst ( 1640045 ) on Friday November 24, 2017 @08:37AM (#55614813) Homepage

    When we moved to rural southern Ohio in 2008, the ONLY option for "broadband" available to us was the iLEC's DSL, which it advertised as offering "up to 1 megabit" speeds (although I never saw downloads faster than about 680kbps, with just over 100kbps up).

    Then the rental house we lived in was struck by lightning, which trashed the ISP's DSL modem, of course (along with a bunch of our own electronics - thank you, renter's insurance!). A chat with the tech they sent to test and replace the modem revealed that the iLEC capped DSL rates at 768/112 kbps at the DSLAM, so, in fact, the "up to 1 megabit" claim was a flat-out lie by the iLEC, Horizon. There's no other way to characterize it than as a deliberate, knowing misrepresentation.

    Here in the USA, that's entirely legal - and the new, Trumpified FCC sure isn't going to do anything to change that.

    Lucky us ...

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Did you ask for credits for the misled speeds?

      • by thomst ( 1640045 )

        antdude inquired:

        Did you ask for credits for the misled speeds?

        Again: legal in this country. No recourse available, no compensation required.

        Smell that? It's the aroma of FREEDOM!

        So don't blame the FCC if it smells like dogshit to you ...

  • They knew exactly what they were doing.

  • I can handle the fact that my connection speed may fall short of advertised speeds... What drives me insane is "unlimited" data plans that drop your speed to pre-DSL speeds once you've reached your data cap. "Unlimited" means to me: NO FRICKING DATA CAP. All "faster speed" means to me is that I hit my data cap quicker and therefore spend more time at a MUCH MUCH lower speed than advertised.

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