New rules on broadband advertising

LAN ethernet cable for  computer

The Advertising Standards Authority has determined that broadband advertising is unclear and in the future, providers will be required to include specific information for clarity.

From October, the ASA has said that providers of residential and business broadband will need to make both the cost and length of contracts clear in their advertising. The research has shown that many people find current advertising unclear. Around 80% of people were unable to accurately calculate the full cost of a broadband contract.

An Ofcom study has suggested that after viewing an advert once, just 23% of people could work out the cost of a contract. After viewing the advert a second time, only 22% could work out the cost of the contract.

Providers now have to show all costs in the advertising, including upfront and monthly costs and will not be keeping line rental. More attention will need to be paid to the contract length and any pricing that will be applied once the contract has been completed. Companies should also be clearer on upfront costs.

ASA Chief Executive Guy Parker has said the new approach is needed to ensure that users are not misled. Current ads include lack of clarity on postage fees for sending out equipment, connection fees for lines, contract pricing changes, and hidden costs such as internet security protection.

The practice is referred to as compound pricing and has been outlawed in other industries. One provider has already pledged to change the way that it does pricing and it is expected that other providers will be following suit.