Ofcom has announced that it's going to be introducing new rules on how internet providers can advertise speeds to their customers. This will also give customers more rights, letting them cancel their service if they're unable to get a guaranteed minimum speed.
Currently Ofcom's code of practice says ISPs must offer an estimation of the speeds they expect customers to receive. New rules are currently undergoing public consultation (set to end on 10th November), and if they pass ISPs are going to have to be a lot more specific about speeds customers will receive, as well as setting a minimum speed for the package in question during peak usage times.
If speeds fall below the minimum, the proposed rules say that ISPs will have a month to fix the issue. If it continues customers will have the option of leaving their contract without penalty.
It sounds great in theory, but naturally there are going to be limitations. Speed to your devices is going to vary depending on your connection type, the capabilities of your router, what software is running (like VPNs), Wi-Fi signal, and countless other factors. basically:
There are issues regarding the commonly-used flash-based speed tests, which have been criticised for being inaccurate in the past.
Still holding ISPs to account is a good thing, and means customers won't be duped by an overzealous marketing department that's only interested in getting people to sign up. I've been at the receiving end of shocking internet connections before, and a customer service team that didn't really give a damn about the problems. Giving people the option to duck out of a contract they're not satisfied with is better for everyone. [BBC News]