Broadband speed gap widening, says Ofcom

The gap between the broadband speeds advertised by internet service providers and the actual speeds customers receive has widened in the past year, the communications watchdog revealed yesterday.

The actual average speed of 5.Mb in May was less than half that of the 11.5Mb headline speed, Ofcom reported. A year earlier, the actual speeds were 42 per cent lower than the figure advertised.

It found companies offering broadband speeds of "up to" 20Mb over the copper wire network generally delivered less than 8Mb to end users. BT's packages tended to deliver speeds between 6.1Mb and 7.6Mb. Virgin Media offered the closest speeds to those advertised.

The gap has prompted the Advertising Standards Agency to review how broadband companies advertise. Ofcom called for the inclusion of a "typical speed range" to offer consumers a better idea of the speeds their provider is likely to offer. It also said it has tightened up the industry's voluntary code in response to the findings.

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