Broadband providers’ advertisements will have to make pricing clearer in future, the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has warned.
The ASA is considering a series of recommendations that would mean providers are bound to prominently display a single monthly cost for the broadband products on adverts and for line rental to be included in that price rather than as a separate cost.
It's also expected to call for contract length to be made more explicit.
A final decision for the reforms, which would represent a major change for the sector, is due in June.
The mooted changes come in the wake of a report in which consumers admitted that the inclusion of reduced-price introductory periods and the separation of line rental charges in adverts currently in use across the industry made it to hard for them to calculate the real cost of packages.
Polling household decision-makers, the study, which was conducted for industry regulator Ofcom and the ASA, found that 81% of those quizzed were unable to calculate the correct total cost of broadband products from ads.
Nearly three quarters (74%) said they thought the ads did not clearly distinguish between cut-price introductory periods and ongoing monthly costs, as well as one-off charges.
TalkTalk said it had long supported “all-in-one pricing’ and welcomed the changes.
“It's obvious that a single headline price is much clearer and better for customers, and we're actually already doing it on a pilot project up in York.
“But until the whole market moves to single prices, any company that advertises its products like this will struggle to compete with what look like better deals from other providers.
“We want Ofcom to be bold and tackle this problem in their strategic review and we would absolutely support them in doing so.”
However, that sentiment was not entirely shared across the industry. The Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) questioned the sample size of 300 people and called for a wider-reaching study to be carried out before changes are made to broadband advertising.