Broadband companies bow to new ad ruling

A new ruling has come into effect today which calls for all UK broadband providers to be more transparent with their advertising of fixed-line broadband packages. The ruling was enforced by the ASA and will force suppliers to include the line-rental cost in the headline price, along with any upfront costs.

ASA and Ofcom announced the ruling in May of this year. The decision was made after research found that 81% of people shown a broadband advert couldn’t calculate the contract cost.

“This change to a more honest pricing policy is a good start, but we have a long way to go yet,” said Dan Howdle, telecoms expert and director of communications at consumer telecoms advice and comparison website

Howdle warned: “Even under these new rules, providers are still able to splinter off costs like internet security and whether you’re able to watch your TV service in high definition. It’s the nature of the industry – providers will always do whatever they can to make things appear cheaper than they actually are.”

He said advertised “up to” speeds were also “simply fiction for many”.

“Ofcom and the ASA are going to announce possible changes to the way speeds are advertised later this year, but it all seems like tremendously hard work just to get the broadband industry to act with honesty and integrity.

“Providers concerned that these rules somehow pull the claws from their marketing efforts need to ask themselves: If the prices advertised match exactly those customers are expected to pay, and a realistic speed range is offered, would anyone buy any less broadband?”

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