OK, what the hell is it with some people.
We have quotes like "A recent study by Ofcom found that many services marketed as up to 20Mbps actually achieved an average of just 6.8Mbps."
Well, yes, and? What is the problem? Only if the speed was more than 20Mbps would the advert have been wrong. That is what up to means. The ISP was not saying "average". Indeed, an average (mean) is not really what helps. What matters when buying broadband is "what speed can I get" and that is something every ISP has had a checker to tell you. The headline speed is key for picking between different technology like ADSL1, ADSL2+ and FTTC, and allows that choice where there is one. The new rules will not help any consumers, will make it more complex, and may even steer customers the wrong way for what is best for them.
People making such quotes are exactly the sort of people who are horrified when a study shows "that 50% of people are below average" on some metric. E.g. below average wage, etc. With a lot of distributions it is absolutely expected that 50% are below the mean. Yet politicians will be horrified at such findings. Broadband is not quite that, but naturally the average speed of an up to 20Mb/s service will be somewhere below 20Mb/s.
Of course, the new rules the ASA has come up with are themselves full of holes. For a start they say that any speed has to be achievable by 10% of customers. But this clearly has to be "for that specific service" else it is meanless. i.e. something like 95% of our customers could get a gigabit if they were prepared to pay for an individual fibre dig - does that mean we can say "up to 1Gb/s Internet" and sell them 1Mb/s ADSL1?
So if it is for the specific service, then ADSL1 can be sold as "up to 7.15Mb/s" as now, because we actually have over 25% of such lines getting that speed. So no change there.
Of course, if we wanted, we could have a special 20Mb/s ADSL2+ service that is only available where you can get 20Mb/s. Because more than 10% of the customers on this special 20Mb/s service can get 20Mb/s we can advertise it as 20Mb/s (100% of them would get 20Mb/s). All we would be doing is restricting who can get that service, and anyone that cannot will be offered our alternative "ADSL2+ variable rate service" for which we would not be quoting any headline speed at all. The advert would be headline "20Mb/s broadband" when other ISPs are saying 15Mb/s or 13Mb/s, etc. I may suggest BT and Be have a profile option on the DSLAMs for a fixed rate 20Mb/s service just to allow this to be advertised.
Of course, if it was not "per service" then one just makes a brand or separate company only selling that service and problem solved.
Also, (based on comments made by Enta), if it is across the ISP then you can get unrealistic differentiated adverts. An ISP mainly only doing cities can advertise higher speeds but one specialising in rural areas cannot. So someone in the rural area would pick the ISP that specialises in cities even though the service is in fact exactly the same from both ISPs and the one specialising in rural areas will have services and staff better suited to those rural customers.
Why don't they think about the consequences of these stupid rules?
Anyway, we have removed speeds and refer people to the line checker - simples.
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