The Advertising Standards Authority made a judgement today that advertisements for internet speeds have been too misleading and must be changed. They will have to show their average speeds instead of “up to” speeds.

OK, so technically companies like BT and Vodafone aren’t lying when they talk about customers getting speeds up to 10mb/s. But that’s the misleading part. Yes, maybe if you live in the middle of a big city you’ll be able to get super fast speeds but most people won’t be able to.

When the ad says you could get “up to 52Mb as standard” they really mean “52Mb if you live in a certain area with a stable connection, but it’ll probably only be half that for you.” This is why the ASA has made it so that ISPs will only be able to show you the average speed that 50% of their users get at peak times. This change will offer the customer a much more accurate sense of how fast their download speeds will be.

While I’m sure the advertisers will find some loophole or other to advertise their internet as the best ever, it is good to see changes that positively affect customers like this. If you want to check your internet speed, try Speedtest or Netflix’s own Fast.com. It will let you know if you’re getting what you’re paying for.

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