The regulator used mystery shopping to check compliance with the Voluntary Code of Practice on Broadband Speeds, introduced in December 2008. A strengthened Code came into force in July 2011, through which ISP signatories have committed to give maximum speed estimates in the form of a range as early as practicable in the sales process.
The regulator found that information provided to consumers by ISPs has improved but has also identified areas where further work is needed. The research shows that in 93 per cent of telephone enquiries made by mystery shoppers, an estimate of the broadband speed was given by the provider, and in 72 per cent of cases an estimate was given in the form of a range.
The Code requires that speed estimates be volunteered as early as possible in the sales process. Overall, speed estimates were provided without prompting from the mystery shoppers in 59 per cent of all calls, with the most likely to provide an estimated speed without prompting being Sky (72 per cent of cases), Karoo (76 per cent) and Plusnet (67 per cent).
TalkTalk (47 per cent of cases) and BT Total Broadband (48 per cent) were significantly less likely to provide a speed estimate without prompting from the caller. Both agreed to amend staff training to address the issue.
"It is vital that as the choice of broadband services expands, UK consumers get the best possible information when choosing a broadband provider," said Claudio Pollack, Ofcom's Consumer Group Director.
"Our mystery shopping shows that, while consumer information about broadband speeds has improved in important areas, there is still more to be done. We are working with Internet providers to improve information that consumers receive when they sign up to a new service and will continue to monitor this area closely."
Written by: James Delahunty @ 16 May 2012 16:37