The UK watchdog Ofcom toady upped the pressure on internet service providers who consistently provide slower broadband speeds than those advertised. It is estimated that thousands of internet users are not getting anything near the broadband speed they signed up for, and it seems frustrating bottlenecks are a common problem for broadband users.
Ofcom have warned that broadband firms could face formal action if they fail to provide accurate information about the broadband speeds that customers receive. It was said that an opt out clause should be written into broadband contracts so if specific information about the speed on a users line is not provided they can cancel the broadband contract without penalty.
Ofcom has said that new regulations should come into place in early 2008 and should ensure that broadband providers don’t oversell broadband packages in advertisements.
As part of the new plans Ofcom suggestion ISP contact customers two weeks after installation to provide them with information on their actual line speed, allow customers to switch to a different provider if unhappy with the service they are getting, and commercials should give more prominence to the factors that affect broadband speeds.
That said broadband speeds are not always the sole responsibility of the ISP, and factors ranging from telephone wiring, to distance of exchange, to computer maintenance can all affect the speed of a customers broadband package.
I have a BT broadband package which is up to 8Meg, and I for one have been receiving significantly lower broadband speeds than this. You can check out you speed using you home PC or by using your postcode with the Broadband Speed Test from BT. BT now say my line supports 6.5 Meg, it is in fact lower still!
The Ofcom warning comes at a time when Britain has been warned its economy will suffer if an ultra-fast internet network is not developed. Currently most of Britain’s existing network is based upon old copper wiring instead of more efficient fibre optics.