ISPs still need to be clearer about how fast broadband is, says Ofcom

Broadband cable abstract
Customers don't always get the full picture

Internet service providers have raised their game on providing decent information about broadband speeds but that there's room for improvement, according to a new report from communications regulator Ofcom.

A mystery shopping exercise showed that 96% of telephone enquiries to ISPs are now yielding an estimate of the broadband speed, up from 93% last year,

But only 68% of callers were given the speed estimates without having to ask for them, just 40% were told what factors could affect their broadband speeds and a mere 17% were told that they could be experiencing lower than the estimated speeds.

This indicates that some ISPs are not fully meeting the requirements of Ofcom's Voluntary Code of Practice on Broadband Speeds. The organisation cannot impose any sanctions for the failings but it said it has spoken with the providers about its concerns.

Best performers

It said that EE, Plusnet and Karoo came out on top in providing speeds information in every call, while O2 managed to do so for only 58%.

Ofcom didn't try to monitor the accuracy of the information provided, although it is due to publish its next biannual report on broadband speeds in mid August.

Claudio Pollack, Ofcom's Consumer Group Director, said: "The results of our mystery shopping are encouraging, with the quality of information being provided to consumers at the point of sale improving overall.

"However, the research has identified areas where providers need to do more to improve, particularly in terms of providing speeds information spontaneously and early in the sales process. We're already working with providers to ensure they tighten up their sales processes where we've identified concerns."