Feeds

Define broadband please – CA

Trouble not the weary punters

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

UK consumers need a clear definition of broadband to prevent them from being misled.

That's according to the Consumers' Association (CA), which is concerned that there is "widespread confusion about the term 'broadband'".

Giving evidence yesterday to the Trade and Industry Select Committee inquiry into broadband, the CA said the term "broadband" is used to define a range of services with speeds of 128k upwards. But the watchdog argued that this only served to confuse consumers who found it difficult to compare different products and providers.

And it criticised Oftel, for the telecom regulator's indecision over a definition, saying that this "does not contribute to either regulatory clarity or public understanding of the term".

Instead, it called for a "meaningful" definition of broadband to be adopted by the industry that would help consumers make informed choices. One approach it favours is based on a clear understanding of what each product can do.

For example: tell consumers that it takes 30 minutes to download a four minute music track on a standard dial-up connection, 10 minutes on a 150k service, and 2-3 minutes on a 512k service.

"CA takes the view that a better definition of 'broadband' is only of limited use if it is not widely understood by consumers. Better consumer awareness of 'what broadband is' and 'what can I expect of it' will help consumers to make more informed choices, drive demand for services and products and so contribute to the development of UK broadband," said the CA.

Freeserve also called for a clearer definition echoing the CA's assertion that slower services marketed as "broadband" "may mislead consumers".

And it warned that if the market was to focus on those "cheap and cheerful" slower speed products then there is a risk that the UK "may fall behind its competitors" as a broadband-enabled nation. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Turnbull: NBN won't turn your town into Silicon Valley
'People have been brainwashed to believe that their world will be changed forever if they get FTTP'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.