Thursday, August 02, 2007

Getting what you pay for?

From a recent ITPro posting - it relates to UK ISPs, so we can't say whether the same applies to Irish ISPs. What do you think?

Following a study that revealed many customers weren't getting even close to the advertised speeds of their broadband service, the consumer fairness group is asking Ofcom and Trading Standards to step in.

Which? has called on communications watchdog Ofcom and Trading Standards, asking them to step in and investigate the gulf between advertised broadband speed and the connectivity speeds users get in reality.

The consumer fairness group called for the action following research that tested more than 300 customers and discovered that, while they were promised up to 8Mbps or more, they were actually getting 2.7Mbps on average. The lowest speed unveiled during the testing was just 0.09Mbps.

"It's shocking that internet service providers can advertise ever-increasing speeds that seem to bear little resemblance to what most people can achieve in reality. If it's unlikely you'll reach the advertised speed it should be made clear up front, so that you know with some certainty what you're buying," said Which? online editor Malcolm Coles.

"Do your research to check what speed you're likely to get before upgrading, and if you think what you're getting differs vastly from what you've paid for, speak to your provider - or if they won't help, report them to Ofcom."

Broadband comparison service
Broadband Choices echoed Which?'s calls for greater transparency in actual, achievable speeds so that users can make informed decisions. "We carried out over 100,000 of our own speed tests last month, and found that the average customer only got 39 per cent of their promised speed," said Michael Phillips, product director at Broadband Choices. "Factors like distance from the exchange and poor quality wiring degrade the broadband connection and reduce the customer's speed but many people are unaware of this and go for the top packages thinking they will get broadband at 8Mb. However, broadband providers can check this information to see the realistic speed each individual customer should receive. We need transparency from providers on the kind of speeds customers can actually expect to get, rather than flashy advertising and ever increasing 'top speeds'."

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