74% of broadband customers never get the speeds they were sold

In the latest poll by Which? nine in 10 people told us they considered speed an important factor when choosing a provider, it was found that 74% of households (equivalent to 15.4 million homes) with fixed broadband connections who were paying for packages with advertised speeds they never got. Average speeds fared even worse. We found just 17% of homes received an average speed that matched the advertised level and even fewer, 15%, managed this during the peak evening period.

These are extremely poor figures which are not acceptable and for business users are almost impossible to work with as some of you already know. So what can you actually do if your broadband provider has fed you with these false promises of superfast broadband? Well the broadband industry’s watchdog has released new rules to create an equal playing field between broadband providers and user.

A service level agreement must now be included in the contract with your provider. Now it’s easier to know if you are receiving the correct speeds that your broadband provider had promised when the business first agreed the terms of the contract. It will also outline information about support and resolution of problems, including fault repair and installation times. They have also issued additional guidance on how providers should apply these rules to protect consumers and small businesses from unexpected price rises. It states that if a provider changes its monthly subscription price the customer has to be notified within a month of the increase and the customer can then exit the contract without penalty.

Under Ofcom’s new policies ISPs will have to offer clear and accurate information when advertising their product and they also have to make it easier for you to switch to a different provider. Contract terms will have to be clearly written, with no hidden charges or so called lock-ins which prevent you from leaving. Ofcom have also released a statement in which “companies must offer users easy to follow steps when it comes to making formal complaints, with clear options that will allow subscribers walk away if the ISP has failed to deal with prevalent issues.”