updated 05:00 pm EDT, Thu June 5, 2008
UK ISPs get ad standard
Ofcom, the UK communication industry's independent regulator, is planning to make a voluntary standard for Internet providers to follow when advertising their maximum connection speeds. More than 90 percent of the country's ISPs agreed to complying with the new code, which would give customers a more accurate comparison of performance between companies when shopping for a new provider.
The media watchdog is also launching a comprehensive broadband speed survey to compare if and how ISP's advertised speeds differ from actual ones. The companies who offer fixed-line broadband services will also need to commit to a few points under the voluntary code. These include providing an accurate estimate of maximum speeds users can expect, resolving technical issues to improve speeds, offer customers a lower-speed package when their advertised speed are inaccurate, provide information on usage limits and notify them when those limits are surpassed.
Representatives of consumer groups believe Ofcom would need to strictly monitor ISPs' adherence to the new standard, with multiple violations proving a mandatory standard needs to be developed. The Internet Service Providers' Association supports the idea and helped in its creation, and wishes to implement it for wireless service providers.