ASA limits ads – up to a point!

At last the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has taken action to put an end to two aspects of so called self-regulation for Internet Service Providers.

From 1st April 2012 the ASA will be clamping down on the way UK ISPs use the terms ‘up to’ and ‘unlimited’ in promotional materials. The changes don’t just relate to consumer broadband products, but also business-to-business broadband, which makes the issue critical for the broadband providers to get to grips with; excluding of course, Deep Blue who always confirm the expected up to and download speeds on a new service.

ASA consider that any ‘up to’ maximum speed descriptions should be based on the actual experience of users and therefore anyone offering broadband should be able to demonstrate that the speeds they claim can be achieved by a reasonable proportion (at least 10%) of customers. Use of the term ‘unlimited’ meanwhile, has been a contentious issue for several years. If the customer incurs any extra charge or traffic management as a consequence of exceeding usage thresholds, then the term ‘unlimited’ cannot be used.

Personally we feel this action was long overdue but even now consider the new ‘up to’ rules to be particularly weak. An up to 20Mg service where only 10% of users actually get anywhere close to the speed is pretty pathetic many would say. It means 90% do not.

The use of ‘unlimited’ however seems to have far less wriggle room and is welcome. Unlimited should mean just that. If you can’t deliver unlimited for a set price then say so up front and stop ducking and diving.

Look out for subtle changes for future Ads on the box as these new rules come into effect next month.

Talking Broadband for Business

The Internet is key to so many aspects of business nowadays, but with some providers it is not always clear what you are getting. Below are some of the key areas we get asked about, to help you understand broadband for your business.

‘Up to’ speed vs actual speed- while many providers state an ‘up to’ speed, you are very unlikely to achieve this, even if you are close to the exchange. Factors affecting the speed you ultimately get include; the capacity of your local exchange, the line length from your premises to the exchange and the quality of the copper in the line (unless of course you are receiving fibre). Speed tests can be run to give you a more accurate expected speed for your site.

Loss of speed- do you notice your broadband speed varying throughout the day? It may be that your current provider isn’t supplying you with business grade broadband. Business grade broadband is more robust and more resilient and is especially worthwhile if you work outside of standard office hours, such as evenings and weekends, when general traffic is likely to be higher.

Fibre broadband vs traditional broadband Fibre broadband is the latest revolution to the internet market. With faster download speeds and upload speeds, it allows you to get even more from your broadband service. Unlike traditional broadband, which uses copper wiring, fibre broadband uses fibre optic cabling which means faster broadband with less signal degradation.

Can I get fibre? – To receive fibre broadband your site will need to be connected to an upgraded cabinet within an upgraded exchange area. Sites positioned too far from an upgraded cabinet as well as sites directly connected to the exchange will not be able to receive fibre broadband.

To find out if you are in a fibre enabled area, or to get more information on any of our products and services, please contact the office on 0844 848 2300 or by filling in our email contact form here.