UK consumers can now get a much fairer deal on their broadband speeds

New rules that stop broadband providers from making misleading claims about speeds appear to be working, with research from Which? suggesting the majority of broadband providers have been forced to make changes.

The consumer watchdog adds the advertised speed of some of the cheapest deals had fallen by as much as 41 per cent.

Previously, providers were able to advertise ‘up to’ speeds that only one in ten customers would ever be able to reach, but the rules state that at least half of people must be able to get the headlined speed during the peak evening hours of 8-10pm.

Broadband advertising

BT, EE, John Lewis broadband, Plusnet, Sky, Zen Internet, Post Office, SSE, TalkTalk and Utility Warehouse previously advertised packages of ‘up to 17Mbps’, but the new advertised speed is 10-11Mbps – a fall of more than a third.

TalkTalk has dropped speed advertising entirely for some bundles, while Vodafone refers to its superfast broadband packages as ‘Superfast 1’ and ‘Superfast 2’ instead. Of all the major providers, only Virgin Media’s headline speeds have gone up.

“Customers will now have a much clearer idea of the speeds that can be achieved when they are shopping around for broadband,” said Alex Neill, managing director of home services at Which?

“For those still struggling to get a reasonable speed or connection, the Government must press ahead with its crucial plans to deliver the service that broadband customers need, without it costing them the earth.”

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.