UK broadband firms to advertise average speed rather than top speed

The UK's advertising regulator will only allow broadband providers to advertise the average speed of their service rather than a top speed only available to a handful of households, from May 2018.

Under the crackdown on misleading claims, companies will be only able to advertise download speeds that are available to at least 50 per cent of customers at peak time. Currently broadband providers can promote an ''up to'' speed that is available to at least 10 per cent of customers.

The move comes after a backlash by consumers about the speed of their broadband connection not being as quick as advertised.

Consumer group Which? has campaigned for  changes to broadband advertising and said the new rules meant householders would be able to see the realistic speed of their internet connection before signing up to a deal.

Alex Neill, managing director of home products and services at Which?, said: ''Millions of households are currently experiencing broadband speeds that just don't live up to their expectations and unrealistic adverts showing speeds you're never likely to get don't help, The Guardian reported.

''Which? has been campaigning for action on this, so it is good to see people may finally see the speeds they could achieve before they sign up to a deal.''

Currently ISPs are allowed to use headline speeds that only 10 per cent of customers receive.

Advertisements, in future must be based on the available speeds to at least half of customers at peak times.

Director of the Committees of Advertising Practice, Shahriar Coupal, said: "There are a lot of factors that affect the broadband speed a customer is going to get in their own home; from technology to geography, to how a household uses broadband.

"Our new standards will give consumers a better understanding of the broadband speeds offered by different providers when deciding to switch providers."