Britain offers the “best” broadband compared with Europe’s five leading countries, according to Ofcom, the country’s telecoms regulator.

Rules require that only 10% of customers get advertised speeds

A consumer group has called on broadband companies and advertising watchdogs to curb what it says is misleading tactics by broadband companies, in advertising speeds that most customers will never be able to get.

Which? says that if a broadband company wants to advertise its service as being ‘up to’ a certain speed, only 10% of its users need to be able to actually connect that fast.

But while speed is the second most important factor in choosing a provider — with 88% of people relying on that measure to decide who they go with — only 12% of customers realise that the speed being advertised could only apply to a small number of customers.

A quarter of customers would have chosen a different provider if they had known more about their broadband speed, and people thought it around three times more important when presented with information about the speed 90% of people got, rather than 10%.

Which? recommended that companies be asked to quantify claims such as ‘superfast’, and to be clear about how many customers would receive the speed advertised.

“We want advertising watchdogs to pull the plug on confusing adverts and ensure broadband providers show the speeds the majority of customers will actually get,” said Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which?.

The watchdog previously called on broadband providers to provide more information and improve their service, after finding that 63% of people experience problems with their broadband.