Ofcom today published a code of practice for fixed-line broadband providers, and revealed that a similar code is being considered for mobile broadband.
32 ISPs – 90 per cent of service providers - have signed up to the voluntary code which will require them to give consumers a clearer understanding of the speeds they can get and to make sure they sign up to an appropriate broadband package.
The regulator said it was concerned that consumer satisfaction of internet service providers (ISP) had fallen over the last year, with customers being misled or misinformed by headline speeds that are higher than users receive in practice.
A spokesman for Ofcom said the regulator is considering introducing a similar code for mobile broadband speeds and that research into the issue was ongoing.
In May, Vodafone dropped from its mobile broadband adverts the headline rate of download speeds of 7.2 megabits per second (Mbps) after rival network 3 lodged a complaint over the ads with the Advertising Standards Authority.
No timeframe was given for the introduction of a code for mobile broadband but Mobile understands it could be introduced within six months.
Head of broadband and mobiles at moneysupermarket.com Rob Barnes welcomed the fixed-line code, but he said involvement should be compulsory.
‘Ofcom says 90 per cent of the industry will be covered, but why should the remaining one in ten people have to suffer a poorer service or be less advised?
‘If adhered to correctly, customers will for the first time be able to get a more comprehensive sales service, with more detailed specification as a matter of course, rather than a salesman flogging a product that could get him the highest commission,’ Barnes added.
If the voluntary code is not effective, Ofcom said it will consider introducing formal regulation.