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The Culture Minister has criticised the UK advertising code for allowing broadband providers to potentially mislead customers.

Under the existing system, companies are allowed to advertise their top speeds if they are available to just ten per cent of their customers.

Speaking to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, Ed Vaizey said this is "ridiculous" and a "complete and utter joke".

Mr Vaizey acknowledged that it is good to have independent regulators scrutinising the sector, the Guardian reports.

However, he said that as a minister and politician, he wants to have the opportunity to express his frustrations.

“The way broadband speeds are advertised are misleading and I’d like to see them changed. I’ve made my views clear and the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) will be aware of my concerns," Mr Vaizey commented.

The ASA responded by saying it is aware of the minister's concerns and is carefully considering his views.

However, a spokesman stressed that its position on broadband speed claims in ads is based upon extensive work carried out in the last few years. This, he said, includes a full public consultation on new guidance. 

The official added that the ASA is an independent, evidence-based regulator and that underpins its regulation.

This comes after Virgin Media called on the advertising watchdog to revise its rules on advertising broadband speeds.

Following the launch of a review into broadband advertising by the ASA, the provider stressed that rather than focusing too heavily on prices, how connection speeds are promoted must also be looked at closely by the regulator.

Virgin Media stated that overhauling the "outdated rules" on advertising connection speeds would help to make this happen.

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