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Virgin Media has questioned the idea of basing speed claims in broadband advertising on peak time speeds.

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.

Virgin Media has raised concerns with this approach as it believes speeds between 8pm and 10pm are not representative, which means a "more general measure of performance" is required.

Brigitte Trafford, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Virgin Media, commented: "Consumers are telling us that if the ASA is serious about making broadband advertising clearer, the new rules should be based on average speeds measured across a full day, rather than just taking a two-hour sample."

Research commissioned by Virgin Media has also found that many consumers do not know the exact times that are classed as peak time, Marketing Week reports.

Indeed, the study by ICM found that only five per cent of respondents knew it was between 8pm and 10pm.

Jan Jesenovec, associate director at ICM, said: "Our research shows that there is a lack of understanding about the peak time for broadband usage, and using it in advertising could lead to confusion for consumers."

 

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