CAP and BCAP are consulting on proposals to introduce new guidance on speed claims in broadband advertising. This guidance will be taken into account by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) when it considers complaints about broadband speed claims in advertising.

The current guidance was introduced in April 2012 and focused on the use of maximum speed claims that were, and still are, often used by advertisers. It recommends that advertisers only use maximum speed claims that are achievable by at least 10% of customers and are preceded with the words “up to”, qualified, where appropriate, with information to help manage consumers’ expectations of achievable speeds and the factors affecting them.

ASA research and pre-consultation with the industry suggests that ads following the current recommended approach still have the potential to mislead. Consequently, CAP and BCAP are consulting on the following options for change:

  • a median download speed (available to at least 50% of consumers) measured at peak-time or over 24 hours; or
  • a range of download speeds available to the 20th to 80th percentile of users measured at peak time or over 24 hours
New guidance will seek to better reflect and manage consumers’ expectations and ensure that they are not likely to be misled. These options focus on the use of speeds that are achievable for many or most consumers, as opposed to the current recommended approach that speeds are achievable by at least 10% of consumers. The guidance will cover the basis of speed claims, their description in advertising and the substantiation that the ASA is likely to require to support them.

Respondents are asked to indicate which of CAP and BCAP’s options they favour and their rationale for this. CAP and BCAP also invite respondents to provide reasons for rejecting options and alternative options / wording of their own, and to give a view on the scope of the guidance.

The consultation will close at 5pm on 13 July 2017. For more information on the next steps, please see section 7 and, for full details of how to respond to the consultation, please see Annex 1.

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