The regulator found 97% of consumers don’t get the levels of service sold to them by ISPs. It also said that while 65% of UK homes have fixed-line broadband, only a quarter of those users are on services that support 10Mbps speeds.
The findings support Ofcom’s call for a new ISP code of conduct, which all of the UK’s larger ISPs have agreed to in principle.
The report also found that despite the lack of transparency in marketing of services, average broadband speed had risen in the last 12 months from 4.1Mbps to 5.2Mbps.
Ed Richards, CEO of Ofcom, said the survey revealed a growing gap between what people were sold and the reality of their broadband service.
“The gap between the average headline speed and actual speed has increased in this period even though the actual speed has risen,” he said.
Richards acknowledged the factors that can influence broadband speed. “There are challenges of wiring, line length and interference and so on. It’s not as simple as taking an absolute standard product. It’s a complicated product, more complicated than anyone imagined,” he said.
This explained the advertising of service speeds as ’up to’, although it has been ruled misleading by Ofcom.
A review of such advertising by the Advertising Standards Authority won’t be completed before the end of 2010.
A code of conduct, giving consumers a clearer idea of the range of the speeds their line can support, is expected to come into force within the next 12 months.
Ofcom is also attempting to raise awareness of the importance of other metrics in broadband delivery, such as delay and jitter on lines, in particular when using higher-quality video streams.
new media age reported last month that fixed and mobile broadband providers would have to drop their ’unlimited’ claims as Ofcom was preparing a crackdown on how services are marketed.
This story first appeared on newmediaage.co.uk