Ofcom sides with Virgin in the battle of the broadband

Steve Dinneen
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OFCOM yesterday sided with Virgin in the broadband war, ruling that firms must advertise “typical” rather than “maximum” internet speeds.

BT – the major loser from the ruling given its high proliferation in low-speed rural areas – said it has “real concerns” with the decision, which it said could encourage “digital exclusion”.

Ofcom found that the average UK broadband speed is 6.2Mbits a second – just 45 per cent of the average advertised speed of 13.8Mbits.

Virgin, which boasts the fastest average speeds but is typically confined to densely populated areas, said the ruling “provides another clear mandate to stop advertising ‘up to’ speeds that nobody can actually receive.”

BT pointed out it does not charge its broadband customers extra for its faster services.

Ofcom has recommended that the Advertising Standards Authority clamps down on the misleading prices.

Although Virgin boasts the quickest speeds, Sky says it has been the fastest growing internet service provider, offering low margins on its broadband to lure customers to its TV products.