Broadband users lose out with ISPs failing to deliver advertised bandwidth

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Broadband users lose out with ISPs failing to deliver advertised bandwidth

Cliff Saran

Customers are receiving poor value for money in their broadband contracts, with xDSL customers coming off worst, according to the European Commission.

"While underlying networks are improving, the gap between advertised and actual speeds is as wide as in 2012. This confirms the need to strengthen and harmonise consumer rights," said European Commission vice-president Neelie Kroes (pictured).

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According to a study by broadband measurement company SamKnows quoted by the Commission, customers of xDSL copper broadband advertised at an average of 13.95Mbps, only attained a line speed of 8.13Mbps, which represents 63.8% of the speed they signed up to.

Fibre was better, with users getting 47.74Mbps on average, which represents 82.7% of the advertised fibre speed of 59.48Mbps.

But US fibre customers are much better off. They pay for an advertised 36.67Mbps, according to SamKnows, but achieve 115.3% more bandwidth (40.34Mbps).

Advertised broadband speeds  in the 12-30Mbps category of fixed broadband varied in price across the EU from €10 to €46 per month, depending on where users live, and could be as high as €140 per month, according to the Commission.

The Commission has proposed reforms dubbed Connected Continent, which aim to clarify broadband pricing across Europe. Under the proposal, operators will have to provide accurate information about the actually available data speed. Consumers will have greater rights to switch provider or contract, the right to walk away from a contract if promised internet speeds are not delivered, and the right to have emails forwarded to a new address after switching internet provider. The European Parliament will vote on the proposal next week.

Computer Weekly previously reported that superfast broadband is available to 73% of UK households. However, less than a fifth have adopted the service, according to Ofcom’s European Broadband Scorecard 2014.


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