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- Consumer testing highlights that 62 per cent of broadband users are achieving less than 50 per cent of their advertised speed

- Readers demand that the Government acts to ensure ISPs are clear about the actual speeds consumers can expect when subscribing to broadband

Computeractive magazine, the UK’s best selling home computing title, today launched the www.computeractive.co.uk/campaign/' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>Crystal Clear Broadband campaign in partnership with broadband comparison service BroadbandChoices.co.uk and web advice portal Thinkbroadband.com The campaign aims to challenge the communications regulator Ofcom and the broadband industry to improve clarity in broadband contracts for UK internet users.

A national survey of the actual performance of Computeractive readers’ broadband connections, which involved more than 180,000 separate speed tests, revealed that 62 per cent were consistently receiving less than 50 per cent of the advertised speed they signed up to.

The key aims of the Crystal Clear Broadband campaign are:

- To lobby Ofcom to oblige ISPs to provide clear information about the actual speed customers are likely to receive in the form of a 'typical rate', much like that published by credit card and loan providers

- To ensure that ISPs are required to provide this information clearly before the consumer commits to the contract

- To encourage Ofcom to provide an independent speed testing service for consumers, so they can compare advertised maximum rates against actual speed

“Ofcom currently permits ISPs to advertise only theoretical maximum rates for broadband connections, with most ISPs including the caveat that consumers can only expect speeds 'up to' this maximum,” said Paul Allen, editor of Computeractive. “No information is available on what consumers can expect in practice, despite providers having access to tests that would give a much clearer idea of potential speeds. We think Ofcom should act to protect the rights of consumers in the broadband market.”

A survey of Computeractive's readership revealed a high level of concern among consumers about how ISPs are allowed to advertise. 53 per cent of respondents didn’t know that ISPs aren’t contractually obliged to provide a minimum service rate. 95 per cent called for the Government to ensure that ISPs are clear about the actual speeds consumers can expect to receive.

Computeractive has collaborated with BroadbandChoices.com to provide its readers with the capability to gauge how their own ISP is performing through a Bandwidth Speed Test application that has been made available online at: http://www.computeractive.co.uk/campaign/ Computeractive readers have so far carried out more than 180,000 speed tests and the results confirm that domestic broadband users are rarely receiving the speeds advertised by the ISP. 62 per cent of those tested were consistently receiving less than 50 per cent of the advertised speed they signed up to. 25 per cent of those who completed the test received only a quarter of their maximum advertised speed.

The survey saw strong backing for the Crystal Clear Broadband campaign from Computeractive readers:
Terry Hall of Devon said: “In a way it falls on Ofcom to regulate these services but one must ask the question if they have the teeth and tenacity to actually do this. Internet service providers should also stand up to their word and make it clear what speed customers will get without putting all the legalities in the small print to make their package look more attractive.”

Peter Morgan of Ammanford, South Wales, said: "I was disappointed at how low bandwidth fell to when we used the speed test. We pay for 8Mb but we were getting on average 3Mb-5Mb. I haven’t spoken to Orange about this. It is down to Ofcom to put its foot down and regulate the industry as ISPs will not change or regulate themselves.”

Commenting on the aims of the campaign Michael Phillips of BroadbandChoices.co.uk, said: “ISPs need to be clear the sort of speed each line can support – before customers sign up. ISPs have the tools to give much better estimates for consumers but refuse to because the maximum number is a better sales pull. "We also think that a fairer way to promote broadband deals would be to advertise a 'typical speed' instead of the maximum rate which is rarely achievable."

Andrew Ferguson of thinkbroadband.com added: “This campaign should provide the catalyst to spark a much-needed debate; we want to make people aware that in the case of broadband they often aren’t getting what they pay for.”

Computeractive and its partners are encouraging the public use the Broadband Speed Test to assess the level of service they are receiving and to bring this issue to the attention of Government. The magazine has posted a Parliamentary petition calling on the Prime Minister to instruct Ofcom to force ISPs to advertise a typical rate for broadband subscriptions, not just a theoretical 'maximum' rate.

Notes to editors:

- Additional information about the Crystal Clear Broadband campaign can be found at www.computeractive.co.uk/campaign, this includes a link to the online petition.

- A panel of Computeractive readers from around the country are available for telephone interviews to discuss their broadband experiences

- Further resources for media, including campaign logos, this release and photos of spokespeople can be found at www.computeractive.co.uk/campaign/press

- Full details on how to get involved in the Crystal Clear Broadband campaign can be found in issue 250 of Computeractive, on sale on Thursday 20th September.

- Broadbandchoices.co.uk provided the Speed Test tool and analysed the results.

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About Computeractive

- Computeractive is a fortnightly title, with a circulation of 216,031. The cover price is £1.49 and the magazine is available throughout the UK or by subscription.

- Computeractive is published by Incisive Media. More information is available at www.computeractive.co.uk

About Incisive Media

Incisive Media is a fast growing specialist business information provider operating in four markets: financial services, risk management, professional services and marketing services. The Company delivers key information to defined target audiences across a variety of platforms in print, through magazines; in person via conferences, exhibitions and training programmes; and online through its various websites. Incisive Media's market leading brands include Investment Week, Professional Pensions, Your Mortgage, Post Magazine, Risk, Unquote, Search Engine Strategies and Legal Week.

About Broadbandchoices.co.uk

Broadbandchoices.co.uk is a broadband comparison service in the UK. Unlike other comparison sites, Broadbandchoices.co.uk doesn’t just focus on price but total package value. Consumers can now refer to this impartial Website to access the latest broadband advice and deals, to help them make the right choice. For more information http://www.broadbandchoices.co.uk

About thinkbroadband.com

Thinkbroadband.com is a website dedicated to providing information and news on broadband related matters. Our goal is to provide a fair and impartial atmosphere for broadband service providers, users and other stakeholders to discuss relevant topics. We are independent of any broadband service providers and provide our listing services free of charge. http://www.thinkbroadband.com

For more information contact

Andy Riley (for Computeractive)
AxiCom UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 8392 4073,
Email: andy.riley@axicom.com

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of AxiCom in the following categories: Home & Garden, Consumer Technology, Media & Marketing, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit http://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.