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The telecommunications watchdog has written to the largest six broadband providers in the UK to request that they are clearer about the speeds that subscribers should expect to receive from their broadband services.

The letter from Ofcom's Consumer Panel chairman comes amid complaints raised by broadband subscribers that the speeds of "up to 8Mbps" that are trumpeted by ISPs' advertising do not match up to those that they actually receive.

Collete Bowe's letter also asked for suggestions from the broadband providers as to how the situation might be improved.

It said: "We believe that broadband customers are not at the moment getting enough information. We are of course aware of the technical reasons for the "up to" terminology that you use.

"I would however like to have your views about how these technical issues might be better addressed in terms of giving clearer information to potential customers."

According to a study from Computeractive magazine conducted in September, 62 per cent of respondents said they regularly received broadband speeds of less than half that advertised by their provider.

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