We commissioned the research to test whether regulatory standards, set by the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) and enforced by us, are effective in protecting the public from misleading claims. The standards permit headline speed claims that are achievable by at least 10% of customers, where they are preceded with the words “up to” and qualified, as appropriate, to help manage consumers’ expectations of achievable speeds. The study also tested consumers’ understanding of alternative speed claims including average speed claims, range speed claims, and minimum speed claims.
The research, conducted by GfK, found that:
- Speed is an important factor for a significant proportion of consumers who are making decisions between providers
- Levels of knowledge and understanding of broadband speeds vary, but it is low overall with many not knowing what speed they need to carry out daily online tasks
- Most understand that the higher the number in the ad, the higher the speed of the service, but many are unclear on what this means for them and what speed they would likely achieve
- Crucially, the research shows that despite that uncertainty most consumers believe they are likely to receive a speed at or close to the headline speed claim when, for many, that is not likely to be the case