New broadband advertising guidelines still giving consumers unrealistic expectations, says Cable.co.

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New broadband advertising guidelines for broadband speeds from the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) came into force on Sunday 1 April 2012.

Under the guidelines broadband providers can now only quote a maximum advertised “up to” speed if they can prove that at least 10% of their customers can achieve said speed. But according to Cable.co.uk the new figures will prove just as meaningless for the majority of UK consumers.

Following the introduction of the guidelines both BT and Sky reduced their “up to” advertised speeds on Monday 2 April, from 20Mb to 16Mbps, and 14Mbps respectively. The advertised speed of BT Infinity fibre optic broadband was reduced from up to 40Mbps to 38Mbps.

By Wednesday, Plusnet had followed suit and changed their advertised speed to up to 16Mbps, while other providers – including Eclipse, O2 and TalkTalk – chose to simply remove any mention of broadband speeds from their listings altogether.

Paul France from Cable.co.uk, an Ofcom approved price comparison site, said, “Consumers should be aware that the providers’ advertised ‘up to’ speeds are a guideline only. Our concern is that the new speeds will be just as meaningless for most potential customers.”

“Our advice would be to use a broadband postcode checker on a site like Cable.co.uk to get estimated speeds for their area, or to check with the providers directly.”