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Conservative MP Matt Warman has criticised broadband providers for knowingly misleading customers over the speeds they offer.

Broadband firms are currently allowed to promote speeds that are achievable by just ten per cent of their customers.

While he acknowledged it is normal for a company to highlight the best aspects of a product in its adverts, Mr Warman said the fact broadband providers can "misrepresent what's on offer to most consumers" means something is "broken" in the market.

"It’s like walking into a supermarket and choosing the best apple only to have it exchanged at the checkout for the most shrivelled," Mr Warman commented.

"Broadband providers are complicit in this fraud on 90 per cent of consumers, but it’s the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that needs to get a grip on it."

In November last year, the ASA confirmed new rules on advertising broadband speeds are likely to be introduced in 2017.

The watchdog stated that allowing broadband providers to promote speeds that are achievable by just ten per cent of customers is potentially misleading and means the majority do not get the speeds they expected.

However, Mr Warman is among those concerned that no action has been taken since this statement was made. As a result, he is looking to push his case for reform at a Westminster Hall debate later today (March 8th).

"The advertised broadband speed that a consumer or business receives as a connection enters their premises should be available to the majority of people who sign up for it," he argued.

"That still risks leaving almost half disappointed, so for good measure two-thirds of consumers should be within say 20 per cent of the headline speed."

Mr Warman acknowledged there is a chance this approach could favour cable providers such as Virgin Media, whose connection speeds are consistently at or around those advertised.

However, he said this is not a bad thing if it encourages the rollout of more fibre-to-the-premises and cable.

Virgin Media is among the companies to back calls for the reform of broadband advertising rules, as it believes the current system is "outdated".

Kerris Bright, Chief Marketing Officer at Virgin Media, said: "The advertised speed should be available to the majority of consumers - plain and simple.    "Government has been clear about the need for a majority rule and today MPs are examining the issue in parliament - the regulator should act now."

According to research carried out by Ipsos MORI for Virgin Media, three-quarters of consumers feel misled if broadband advertisements do not include speed and usage claims.

This sentiment is particularly strong among 55 to 75-year-olds, 82 per cent of whom feel this way.

Figures also showed that nine out of ten people consider this information important in broadband advertising.

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