Just when you started getting overly annoyed with misleading speeds, ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) and CAP (Committee of Advertising Practice) come to the rescue.
Head of CAP, James Best, was reported as saying:
“Advertising is only effective if consumers trust the messages they see and hear. This guidance will help deliver that.”
Secretary of CAP, Shahriar Coupal, also said:
“We urge marketers to get to grips with the Help Notes and to ensure their future ad campaigns are in line with it.”
The two bodies have now officially revealed its new set guidelines regarding “unlimited” broadband usage allowances, and what seemed to be consumers’ favourite – “up to” download speeds.
ISPs should take a good look at the guidelines as they will be expected to change their advertising strategies from the first day of April 2012 and onwards.
The rules include displaying speeds that at least 10 per cent of users were receiving, which should be revised every half a year followed by a visible disclaimer that the majority of customers would be getting something significantly slower.
In terms of ADSL2+ services, the regulators concluded:
A significant proportion of an ISP’s customer base might receive a maximum speed that is much lower than the advertised maximum. When this happens a provider must qualify with a sort of “typical speed” range (e.g. “X per cent of our customers receive speeds between YMbit/s and YZMbit/s”).
Another hot topic is of course “unlimited” broadband, the guidelines to which include the following:
The term “unlimited” can only be used if the customer incurs no additional charge or suspension of service as a consequence of exceeding a usage threshold associated with a Fair Usage Policy (FUP), a traffic management policy or similar.
It was also added that if limitations were to occur, they should be “moderate” and customers must be fully informed about these.