By Daniel Hunter
Consumer group Which? has called for changes to the way broadband providers are able to advertise their internet speeds to be introduced.
Under current rules, service providers are allowed to advertise their highest headline speed even if just 10% of its customers actually receive it.
According to a survey conducted by Which? a quarter of people would have chosen a different deal had they were given a more accurate picture of what broadband speeds they would receive.
Which? found that very few people are aware that providers can advertise a certain speed if 10% of customers receive it. And just 5% of those surveyed said broadband speeds are advertised in the clearest way. Nearly 90% said speeds were a crucial factor in deciding which deal to go with.
Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, said: "Internet connection is now an essential part of modern life so it beggars belief that providers can sell people short by advertising speeds that only 10% of customers could receive.
"We want advertising watchdogs to pull the plug on confusing adverts and ensure broadband providers show the speeds the majority of customers will actually get."
Which? also launched the Give us broadband speed guaranteed campaign in order to raise public awareness of the issue and gather support.
The Internet Service Providers' Association (Ispa) said it supports efforts to "boost transparency" but argued that a number of factors impact on how fast customers' broadband connection is.
"A variety of factors can affect speeds outside of an ISP's control, including customers' internal wiring and equipment," said Ispa secretary general Nicholas Lansman.
"As speeds can involve factors beyond the control of the ISP, we would caution against too restrictive rules."
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