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Broadband advice improves, but more to do

Broadband advice improves, but more to do

Category: Broadband

Updated: 15/05/2012
First Published: 15/05/2012

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Broadband providers have improved the information they are giving customers about speeds, but more work needs to be done.

A new code was introduced to internet service providers (ISPs) last year that required them to give customers a clearer idea of the broadband speeds they could expect to receive.

Consumers are able to cancel their contract if the speed they receive is substantially below the range quoted before they sign up.

ISPs are required to give potential customers this information as soon as possible, but an investigation by Ofcom has found that this is still not always happening.

For example, some sales agents had to be prompted by mystery shoppers to provide speed estimates, despite the Code requiring that this information should be volunteered as early as possible in the sales process.

Overall, speed estimates were provided without prompting from the mystery shoppers in 59% of all calls.

Providers who were most likely to give callers an estimated speed without prompting were Sky (72% of cases), Karoo (76%) and Plusnet (67%).

TalkTalk (47% of cases) and BT Total Broadband (48%) were significantly less likely to provide a speed estimate without prompting from the caller.

Following discussions with Ofcom, both BT and TalkTalk have agreed to address this issue by amending their staff training and sales processes.

Ofcom also continues to have discussions with ISPs about how the information given by their sales agents can improve, while reiterating the requirement to give potential customer information about broadband speed as early as possible during a conversation.

"It is vital that as the choice of broadband services expands, UK consumers get the best possible information when choosing a broadband provider," said Claudio Pollack, consumer group director for Ofcom.

"Our mystery shopping shows that, while consumer information about broadband speeds has improved in important areas, there is still more to be done.

"We are working with internet providers to improve information that consumers receive when they sign up to a new service and will continue to monitor this area closely."

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.