ISPs still struggling to fill you in on broadband speeds

Some broadband companies are still better than others at giving you a realistic estimate of what speeds you'll get before you sign up.

Some broadband companies are still better than others at giving you a realistic estimate of what speeds you'll get before you sign up.

Research by telecoms watchdog Ofcom suggests EE, Plusnet and Karoo (the mainly Hull-focussed ISP) tell you what you need to know when you call to sign up, while O2 and TalkTalk are as likely to keep schtum about speeds as they are to fill you in.

Ofcom carried out mystery shopping research, sending moles to ring up about broadband in order to get an idea of the service ordinary customers can expect. Overall, customers are being told about the broadband speeds they can expect -- 96 per cent of moles ringing up were given an estimate of potential speeds, up from an already-impressive 93 per cent in similar tests last year.

Under Ofcom's Voluntary Code of Practice on Broadband Speeds, Internet service providers commit to tell you a range of potential maximum speeds as early in the sales process as possible. This happened in 80 per cent of calls -- but only 68 per cent of calls saw the ISP offer a speed estimate without being asked.

BT Total Broadband, BT Infinity, Sky, and Virgin Media are best at telling you speeds without being prompted. O2 and TalkTalk -- consistently the most complained-about ISP -- are the least likely to offer an unprompted estimate.

And less than half of the mystery shoppers were told about factors that might limit their actual broadband speeds. Things that can affect your service include the distance between your home and the exchange, and the type of cabling in your local area.

Are you happy with the service you get from your ISP? Do you feel your broadband speeds are as fast as you were promised, or are you disappointed? Tell me your thoughts in the comments, or, if your broadband's up to it, on our Facebook page.

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About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.

 

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