Sunday, October 2, 2011

UK: Transparency for Unlimited and "up-to" Service Speeds

UK's BCAP (Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice) published a set of guidelines to " bring clarity to advertisers and consumers on the use of "unlimited" and "up to" speed claims in telecommunicatons and broadband ads".

Ofcom, the UK regulator, follows this aspect of ISP services closely (see "Ofcom – The Difference between Theoretical and Real Life Broadband Speeds" - here and "Ofcom: ADSL Actual Download Speed is Only a Third of Advertized Speed - here) and it seems that the UK code of "self-regulation" does not work here and strict guidelines or regulation is needed.

BCAP states that:
  • Unlimited should be used if "The user incurs no additional charge or suspension of service as a consequence of exceeding a usage threshold associated with a ‘fair usage policy’ (FUP), a traffic management policy or similar; and Limitations that do affect the speed or usage of the service are moderate only and are clearly explained in the advertisement"
  • Speed Claims - "If a maximum speed claim is made, advertisers should be able to demonstrate that the speed is achievable for at least 10% of customers' Advertisers should also include in the ad appropriate, additional information to accompany a maximum speed claim to ensure the average consumer is not misled.  Where relevant, this includes information that bears out that a significant proportion of subscribers receive a speed that falls considerably short of what consumers might reasonably expect the service to offer"
See "Changes in advertising of 'unlimited' and broadband speed claims" - here; Unlimited guide - here and Speed Claim guide - here.

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