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Broadband providers have been criticised for making "misleading" speed claims in their advertisements.

Providers are currently allowed to advertise broadband speeds if they are available to just ten per cent of their customers.

According to the Local Government Association (LGA), this means they are pushing headline figures that do not reflect the experiences of most users, in particular people in rural areas.

As a result, the body wants the rules to be changed so that broadband providers can only promote average speeds.

This, it said, would better reflect the speeds available in peak periods, when connections are often slower because of high usage.

The LGA also believes that upload speed should be a key measure of performance along with download speed and be clearly advertised to customers.

Councillor Mark Hawthorne, Chairman of the People and Places Board at the LGA, commented: "The headline 'up to' download speed, which can be advertised legally, is misleading and does not reflect the reality of broadband service received across the country.

"Broadband users deserve greater honesty and openness about the download and upload speeds they are likely to receive depending on their location."

Cllr Hawthorne went on to state that councils are working very hard to make sure everyone has access to a high quality internet connection.

He described good digital connectivity as a "a vital element of everyday life for residents and can help them cut household bills, shop online for cheaper goods, stay in touch with distant relatives, access their bank accounts and even run their own businesses". 

Cllr Hawthorne also noted that with central and local government services increasingly becoming "digital by default", more people will require faster and more reliable speeds.

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