A group of MPs has called for service providers to be more accurate in their claims of residential and business broadband speeds.
Conservative MP Grand Shapps leads the British Infrastructure Group, which is calling for the advertising rules for broadband services to be examined and for people to be given refunds when the service does meet the advertising claims.
The BIG is a cross-party group consisting of 50 MPs. It claims that the existing advertising practices for broadband are misleading. The current regulations allow a provider to say that the user can expect speeds ‘up to’ a possible maximum. The BIG says that this is unsuitable because companies are permitted to make these claims even if only 10% of their customers are able to get these speeds.
The report from BIG has said that there is very little in the way of rights for the consumer if the service that they have received is of poor standard. It wants providers to be obliged to refund customers if the contract that they are on has been mis-sold. There is also no minimum level of compensation in place for customers.
Shapps has described the situation as ‘a scandal’ and that the situation needs to be addressed now that broadband is considered to be the fourth utility.
However, some of these issues are already being addressed by Ofcom, which has introduced a voluntary code of conduct. Under these guidelines, customers will be allowed to end their contracts with no penalties. Two-thirds of business broadband users will be covered by another code of conduct that comes into effect at the end of September.