MSE News: Broadband companies must advertise average speeds from May 2018

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Former_MSE_Callum
Former_MSE_Callum Posts: 696 Forumite
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edited 23 November 2017 at 1:37PM in Broadband & internet access
Broadband providers will have to advertise the average speed of their services rather than the top speeds available, under new rules to take effect from next May...
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'Broadband companies must advertise average speeds from May 2018'
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  • phillw
    phillw Posts: 5,595 Forumite
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    That is better, but doesn't really go far enough.

    When you type your number into an ISPs broadband checker, it should be able to tell you what speeds are like in your area at different times of the day and week.
  • [Deleted User]
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    phillw wrote: »
    That is better, but doesn't really go far enough.

    When you type your number into an ISPs broadband checker, it should be able to tell you what speeds are like in your area at different times of the day and week.

    I don't know if it's better to be honest as it's just as meaningless on a personal level as the maximum speed.

    The https://www.dslchecker.bt.com/ site is the closest we have to a reliable indicator without having to submit contact details and getting bombarded with cold calls (and doorstep visits in the case of Virgin).
  • Consumerist
    Consumerist Posts: 6,310 Forumite
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    I don't know if it's better to be honest as it's just as meaningless on a personal level as the maximum speed. . .
    I agree. It's a bit like comparing APRs / AERs from banks - most people don't really understand APR / AER but at least it's a simple single number that can be used for comparison.

    I suspect that most internet users haven't a clue what "Mbps" means but it's a crude but simple comparison figure which customers can use as a bargaining chip when haggling with ISPs at renewal.
    >:)Warning: In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
  • A_Flock_Of_Sheep
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    Be interesting to see those that have multiple complaints about speed not only lose customers but have cusomers not even bothering to sign up.

    I had the misfortune of being with Tiscali many years back and I was lucky to get dial up speed at times. Same line, speed type and much better with AAISP. So why are AAISP faster than Tiscali on the same service?
  • phillw
    phillw Posts: 5,595 Forumite
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    edited 23 November 2017 at 5:10PM
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    I agree. It's a bit like comparing APRs / AERs from banks - most people don't really understand APR / AER but at least it's a simple single number that can be used for comparison.

    I'm sure it could be done in a way that gives you enough information but isn't completely bewildering. Even if it just gives you the slowest speed and the time of day it occurs. I'm sure people can cope with the idea that broadband is a limited resource and if everyone uses it at the same time, then it's going to be slower. What they can't know right now is how much it's going to slow down, all you can do right now is get a rough idea of the rate your line will handle.

    Knowing that half their customers have decent contention ratios and you don't isn't helpful. They could publish the contention ratio, but on it's own that is kinda meaningless.

    It's stupid that you have to sign up and wait for the cooling off period to finish, then wait to be switched over and only then can you find out the speed you'll get, but now you're locked in for a year.
  • Ectophile
    Ectophile Posts: 7,377 Forumite
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    I wonder if this will be bad news for anybody on the end of a very long ADSL line.

    Every time an ISP manages to get rid of a customer on a slow line, their average speed will increase.

    So if a customer complains that their line is too slow, you tell them that their line isn't suitable for broadband, and disconnect them. Before long, your average speed will be better than your competitors'.
    If it sticks, force it.
    If it breaks, well it wasn't working right anyway.
  • iniltous
    iniltous Posts: 3,127 Forumite
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    edited 23 November 2017 at 10:55PM
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    Ectophile wrote: »
    I wonder if this will be bad news for anybody on the end of a very long ADSL line.

    Every time an ISP manages to get rid of a customer on a slow line, their average speed will increase.

    So if a customer complains that their line is too slow, you tell them that their line isn't suitable for broadband, and disconnect them. Before long, your average speed will be better than your competitors'.

    This is already happening, Sky won't accept customers who would receive a speed lower than a level they set themselves , this has the 'benefit' of increasing Sky's 'average customer speed'....so again the law of unintended consequences, some people will find that over time they get fewer company's to chose from, and those company's that will offer service to people who will get 'poor' speeds that adversly affect the company's 'average' will bump up the price to compensate for the customers they lose to company's with a better 'average' speed..

    Someone thinking Company Y must be a better ISP than company X because their 'average' is better is even though it makes no difference whatsoever on what speed that individuals line will get, IMHO is just as foolish as someone who sees an advert of 'upto 17Mb' and complains they only get 3Mb , even though the address is 5km from the exchange

    What is so complicated about grasping that the line length is the main factor on what a line will achieve and a company that can claim our average customer gets a better speed than the average speed of company X, is useless info when it comes to an individual line, it doesn't better inform the customer, it just means the company with the best 'average' cherry picks its customers
  • Drav
    Drav Posts: 10 Forumite
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    Amen iniltous. I just wrote a massive long winded wall of text then decided to not inflict it on people. Main point here is there must be a vested interest somewhere in Ofcom. No one is so stupid to think that quoted speeds on an advert translate to the speed you actually get considering when you call them up you get an estimated speed there and then!

    If they want to fix the problem force ISPs to charge pro rata for people on slower speeds and fine heavily anyone found to be turning customers away due to their poor speeds. Or force BT to sell Openreach back to the public, though on second thoughts seeing the state of our roads I guess it wouldn't be much better!
  • iniltous
    iniltous Posts: 3,127 Forumite
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    edited 24 November 2017 at 12:03AM
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    Drav wrote: »
    Amen iniltous. I just wrote a massive long winded wall of text then decided to not inflict it on people. Main point here is there must be a vested interest somewhere in Ofcom. No one is so stupid to think that quoted speeds on an advert translate to the speed you actually get considering when you call them up you get an estimated speed there and then!

    If they want to fix the problem force ISPs to charge pro rata for people on slower speeds and fine heavily anyone found to be turning customers away due to their poor speeds. Or force BT to sell Openreach back to the public, though on second thoughts seeing the state of our roads I guess it wouldn't be much better!

    It's a strange one in a way, a customer on a long line (that gets a poor speed as a consequence) actually costs Openreach more money to 'provide' and more to maintain over the long term, so if lines were charged for on that basis, short lines that give good speed are already subsidising long lines with poor speeds...by having a 'standard' line rental cost long lines actually get a better deal.

    If the real cost of broadband was made obvious , instead of masking it by overcharging the 'retail' price for line rental, OR get around £7/month wholesale for a 'line' , ISP's charge £19, then can say broadband is £3 ( total £22) where a more honest bill would still be £22 but be broken down as line £10 (still a £3 mark up on wholesale) and broadband £12...that way your idea of a discount for slow broadband may work...you could say line rental £10 , of which OR get £7, then say lines upto 5Mb £5, 6-10Mb £7.50, 10Mb+ £12 so faster speeds still pay £22 and slower lines pay less, but OR don't carry the cost of the discount, the ISP does.
    That way people realise the proportion of the bill that is 'broadband' and OR don't have to charge less for lines that cost them more, long lines from a line rental point of view are already getting a better deal than short ones...if you don't separate it this way, ISP would say 'broadband is only £3 and you want a discount on it !!!' and the uneducated masses say ,' that's right, discount the line rental OR get
  • RikM
    RikM Posts: 811 Forumite
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    "average speed". Mean, I guess.
    One problem here; people will look at "average speed" and expect to get it. While that's not what it means. If some people get faster, then some people will get lower.

    More interesting figure: the difference between the max speed and the average. That implies something about the spread.
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