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Virgin Media has hailed a pledge by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to change the rules on broadband speed advertising.

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

However, the ASA is concerned that this could potentially mislead people, with the majority of customers possibly not getting the speeds they expected.

As a result, it has pledged to review the guidance on broadband speed advertising and introduce new rules next year.

Responding to the news, Virgin Media Chief Executive Tom Mockridge said the closure of this loophole is "long overdue".

"Consumers should know what they’re paying for and not be hoodwinked by a little known rule which is supposed to be their interest," he said.

Virgin Media is well placed to lobby for reform of rules governing broadband advertising as it runs its own fibre network that uses coaxial cables to connect premises with local cabinets.

As a result, it's fibre broadband service is faster and better at withstanding interference than traditional phone lines, which in turn means Virgin Media customers are more likely to get their advertised speeds.

fibre broadband 3

The company has also recently commissioned a study to gauge consumer sentiment on how broadband speeds are currently advertised.

The research by Ipsos MORI found that three-quarters of people feel misled if speed and usage claims are not included in adverts.

This is a particular problem among older people, with 82 per cent of 55 to 75-year-olds saying they feel this way.

Figures also revealed that 90 per cent feel download speeds are important in broadband adverts, while the same proportion said promotional material should state the monthly usage allowance on offer.

Meanwhile, 84 per cent said details of the contract length should be advertised, while 89 per cent consider set-up costs a vital piece of information.

Virgin Media survey highlights

Those who view the information below as being important in a broadband advert:

  • 90% download speed
  • 90% monthly usage allowance
  • 84% contract length
  • 89% set-up costs

Average: 88%

Those who believe that a broadband advert missing the information below would be misleading:

  • 75% download speed
  • 76% monthly usage allowance
  • 71% contract length
  • 76% set up costs
  • Average: 75%

The highest and lowest age brackets of those who believe that a broadband advert missing the information below would be misleading:

1) Download speed

  • 55-75: 82%
  • 35-44: 70%

2) Monthly usage allowance

  • 55-75: 82%
  • 16-24: 73%

3) Contract length

  • 55-75:76%
  • 16-24: 67%

4) Set up cost

  • 55-75: 81%
  • 35-44: 71%

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