You'll soon be able to drop your slow broadband provider penalty-free

At some point, most of us have had the frustrating moment of testing their broadband speed and seeing it’s nowhere near as high as our provider has said it can go. While it’s hard to accurately estimate home broadband speeds for every individual home, it can sometimes feel like the “up to” number has been plucked from thin air.

It’s for this reason that Ofcom has announced it's forcing UK internet service providers to change the way they communicate potential broadband speeds to their customers with new rules that will be enforced from March 2019.

From this date, service providers will have to provide potential customers with figures that are a more realistic reflection of the speeds they can expect at their home address during the busiest times. They’ll also have to provide a guaranteed minimum speed and under these new rules if the speed falls under this minimum and doesn’t rise above it for 30 days, customers will be free to exit their contracts penalty-free.

Walk away

At the moment, customers are able to leave their contracts if their broadband speeds aren’t up to the mark but there’s no pressure on the service providers to act on the complaints in a given time period. With a 30 day limit, customers have more solid recourse and could even see their complaints addressed in a more timely manner.

Given that many people now have their broadband included with a TV or phone package from one provider, it’s been promised that poor broadband service will be sufficient to cut all of these contracts without fees if desired.

These new rules are part of a continued effort to improve broadband provision across the UK. From May 2018, broadband adverts will have to provide more speed information than the maximums and the UK government is even stepping in to make 10Mbps a legal right. 

Next year, automatic compensation will be introduced by UK service providers. This means that if there’s any outages or you experience delays in receiving repairs that aren’t your fault, you’ll be recompensed without having to sit on hold on a customer service line for hours at a time. 

Emma Boyle

Emma Boyle is TechRadar’s ex-Gaming Editor, and is now a content developer and freelance journalist. She has written for magazines and websites including T3, Stuff and The Independent. Emma currently works as a Content Developer in Edinburgh.