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‘Up to’ prices for ‘up to’ broadband campaign launched by rural broadband activist

Wispa, the pressure group campaigning for 20Mbps broadband in Wales, has launched a new petition, calling for customers to pay ‘up to’ prices for ‘up to’ broadband speeds.

The idea is that you pay for the speed you get rather than the speed advertised, or as wispa’s blog post puts it; “If your supermarket charged you full price for ‘upto’ a Kg of sugar, or the service station charged you full price for ‘upto’ a gallon of petrol they would be prosecuted.”

Wispa launches ‘up to’ prices for ‘up to’ broadband campaign

Wispa is proposing to force Ofcom to intervene and make ISPs to scrap the ‘up to’ advertising, or charge customers appropriately. Wispa’s petition reads thus:

“Dear Ofcom

I wish to gain your support for my participation in paying my ISP ‘upto’ the amount that they wish to charge me each month.

As they are providing an ‘upto’ service, I think that it is only fair that I pay an ‘upto’ charge.

Please support me in this action so that we can all have fairer charges.

[Your Signature]”

Wispa: ISPs should offer a sliding scale or advertise realistic speeds

Wispa’s COO Richard Brown, said that the recent Committee for Advertising Practice ruling that has seen ISPs adjust their advertised speeds, is a “welcome step in the right direction,” but isn’t enough.

“Ultimately it’s nonsense,” Brown said in a phone chat with Recombu Digital. “The ruling puts everyone in the position that only 10 per cent of the client base need to get close to the top advertised speed. There’s no control of the other 90 per cent. The 90 per cent can get as little as anything so long as 10 per cent get the top speeds.”

Brown proposes two solutions to the ‘up to’ labelling of broadband services; introduce a sliding scale whereby you pay for what you get, or force advertising to switch to average speeds, giving customers a better idea of what to expect from services.

Ofcom’s most recent figures from November 2011 have UK average speeds pegged at 5.3Mbps, 7Mbps, and 3.5Mbps for ‘up to’ 8Mbps, 20Mbps and 24Mbps+ services.

Brown said that the campaign was launched out of frustration with customers being charged the same money even if they were getting a drastically different service.

“It’s the right thing to do, it’s not about Wispa earning money. It’s about good awareness. If we don’t get these things fixed soon, we’ll get left behind the rest of the world.”

Figures from the OEDC’s report (dated September 2011) put the UK way behind countries such as Japan, Sweden and Portugal for broadband speeds. 

Are you fed up with the way broadband services are advertised? Do you feel that you shouldn’t have to pay for something you’re not getting? Let us know in the comments, on Twitter and check out Wispa’s petition.

Image credit: Flickr user the bridge

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