Last year the ASA and CAP published guidelines to address the way in which broadband speed claims should be communicated by advertisers, since speeds enjoyed by customers often fell short of claims made by some advertisers.
The rules came into force on 23 May 2018. This isn't 'new news', as the rules have been known for a while. However, the rules have now come fully into force, so this should serve as a timely reminder.
The full report can be found here. In summary, it sets out to align speed claims with the actual experiences of customers, and to achieve this the ASA has provided guidance to ensure more accurate broadband advertising.
The key guidelines were:
- Broadband companies should be able to demonstrate that the speed is achievable for at least 50% of the relevant customer base at peak time (8pm-10pm)
- Broadband companies should provide appropriate qualifying information to support any speed claims, such as indicating it as the ‘average’ speed of customers, or highlighting factors that could limit achievable speeds
- Non numerical speed claims like ‘superfast’ should only be used with qualifying information, which will be assessed by the ASA on a case-by-case basis
Up until today [23 May], internet service providers have advertised their top speeds, so long as at least 10 percent of its user base could achieve the displayed “up to” peak download speed. Enforcing strict new rules that were announced last year, ISPs will now have to shake up their advertisement practices, catering to a much larger portion of its customers. “From today [23 May], consumers will see a difference in broadband ads that make claims about speed as this new, tougher, standard is enforced,” assures ASA chief executive Guy Parker. “We’ll be making sure consumers aren’t misled by speed claims in ads, not least because choosing the right broadband deal has become such an important part of running a household or business.”