Ofcom outlines plans to close broadband ‘speed gap’

fibre_broadbandOfcom has outlined plans to “close the gap” on the speeds that broadband providers claim to provide versus what they actually deliver to the end-user.

The UK regulator is proposing enhancements to its existing Codes of Practise, designed to improve speed information at the point of sale and give customers the right to exit a contract if speeds fall below a guaranteed minimum level.

Under the plans, internet service providers will be required to give a minimum guaranteed speed before selling a broadband package, reflecting the slower speeds that users often experience at peak times.

“We want broadband shoppers to know what they’re buying, and what speeds to expect,” said Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s consumer group director.

“We plan to close the gap between what’s advertised and what’s delivered, giving customers a fuller picture before they commit to a contract. We’re also making it easier to walk away from a contract, without penalty, when companies fail to provide the speeds they promise.”

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Many people seek our help each year because their slow and intermittent broadband service falls short of what their contract promised.

“For most people, a reliable broadband connection is a necessity – so when they don’t get what they’ve paid for they should always have a quick and easy way out of their contract.”

Ofcom said it expects to publish a final decision on the improved Codes of Practice early next year, alongside a consumer guide to help raise awareness of the additional benefits of the new Codes.

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