The death of ‘up to’? What the ASA’s new guidance means for consumer broadband adverts

The death of ‘up to’? What the ASA’s new guidance means for consumer broadband adverts

Simon Leather, Head of Connectivity Products

Simon Leather, Head of Connectivity Products

On Thursday 23rd November 2017, the ASA (Advertising Standard Agency) announced they are making some major changes in relation to the way Broadband speeds can be advertised. The guidance will take effect from 23rd May 2018.

Even though the guidance only applies to Residential Broadband Services, we’ve had a number of enquiries from our Partners that supply both Consumers and Businesses, so we thought we’d put this brief FAQ together to help answer some of the common questions our Partners may have.

What are the ASA announcements?

From 23rd May 2018, the numerical speed claims in residential Broadband advertisements will need to be based on the download speed available to at least 50% of customers at peak time (Ofcom have defined the peaktime as between 20:00 and 22:00)  and described in advertisements as “average”. This marks a significant change from the current position which states that advertised “up to” speeds should be available for at least 10% of customers.

What products will the guidance apply to?

The new changes will apply to the following products ADSL/ FTTC/ IPStream/ WBC/G.Fast and FTTP.

Does this apply to broadband services to Business customers?

No. Businesses were considered for the initial consultation, however they were deemed out of scope for the new guidance change. This has resulted in the new guidance only applying to broadband advertisements that target consumers. Businesses advertisements for now will remain unchanged.

Why are the ASA making changes to the way the industry advertises speeds?

The changes follow research into consumers’ understanding of Broadband speed claims. The research showed that consumers are likely to be materially misled by the advertising of speed claims that follow the current guidance.

What is TalkTalk Business doing to ensure we can comply with the new guidance?

We feel the published guidance changes are extremely important and we will be ensuring our Partners are fully equipped to comply with the ASA changes. The process for providing the speed estimates will remain the same. The speed estimates will be provided to yourselves within a document and you will receive detail in relation to our speed methodology. The speed estimates can be used to update your material in line with the revised guidelines.

When will TalkTalk Business make the speed estimates available?

We are currently in the process of revising our existing speed methodology to reflect the ASA guideline amendments and these will be shared with you week commencing 2nd April 2018 through your Account Manager / Service Manager.

How often will the speed estimates be refreshed and shared?

We will endeavour to share refreshed speed estimates on a quarterly basis through your Account Manager/Service Manager.

We hope that provides you with a useful background to the ASA changes taking place, and we’ll provide further information as it becomes available. In the meantime, if you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact your Account Manager.