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The Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA) has insisted new broadband speed advertising rules must be clear to customers.

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

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

The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) is therefore seeking views on how broadband speed advertising can be improved and made more reflective of the service that consumers are likely to receive.

Among the options being considered is basing speed claims on a peak-time median download speed or using peak-time download speeds available to the 20th to 80th percentile of users.

ISPA has welcomed the consultation, saying it marks a "welcome shift to the current standards for broadband speed advertising", as it believes they no longer deliver for consumers.

Nevertheless, the organisation is concerned that requiring the inclusion of a speed range could be confusing to customers, particularly if combined with a percentile-based user rate.

Till Sommer, Policy Lead at ISPA, said: "We will now be working closely with our members to study the alternative options in detail and to ensure that the new broadband advertising standards provide consumers with a clear expectation of the speeds they are likely to receive."

Mr Sommer went on to stress that broadband providers are actively developing and improving broadband speed and pricing information.

"We particularly support CAP's suggestions that adverts should prompt consumers to ask providers for a more personalised speed estimate," he said.

"Our members already provide this kind of information as part of their sales journey and we would also urge consumers to consider other factors such as brand, service quality, speed and the availability of bundled services when choosing their providers."

Mr Sommer added that it is good the consultation recognises that broadband speeds depend on many factors, including some that are outside of a provider's control.

This, he said, means CAP is right to highlight the challenge of devising standards for one-to-many advertising that "reflect the technical complexities of delivering broadband services, while also providing consumers with an accurate level of information".

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