Feeds

ISPs should get 'up to' full fee for 'up to' broadband

Wispa's campaign against Ofcom turns shouty

High performance access to file storage

Anyone promised broadband speeds of "up to" an amount should be free to pay a monthly fee of "up to" what's asked, according to the firebrand lobbying consultancy wispa Limited.

It's not the first time wispa has riled against Ofcom, but this time its campaign has caught the imagination by asking people to tell the regulator they're unhappy paying a fixed rate for a service which is only offered "up to" a specific speed, though what the alternative might be remains unclear.

The consultancy explains:

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 punches above its five-man weight by laying into Ofcom at every opportunity, in this instance, urging readers to sign the form letter telling Ofcom how they feel.

The arguments about how broadband is advertised have been going on almost as long as there's been broadband, and both fixed and mobile companies have been caught advertising what's possible rather than what actually gets delivered. In recent years Ofcom and the Advertising Standards Authority have come a long way in enforcing realistic advertising, and monitoring what gets delivered – but not far enough, according to wispa.

Much of the industry now holds that "up to" is the only way one can effectively advertise broadband, given the congested nature of the internet and the technical limits of the medium, but wispa is calling for more transparency in the selling process:

It is inappropriate [for the ISP] to point at an infrastructure and say 'we'll give you what you can' if the expectation of the consumer is that they will have to pay regardless ... If an ISP is unable to deliver the upto speed in a particular area, they will know that prior to the service going live. The consumer on the other hand often finds out after they have committed to a 12-18mth contract.

If the disparity is big, then said consumer would probably be able to get out of the contract, but wispa argues that even if accurate estimates are provided the advertised "up to" speed is the lie which lures punters in the door.

So what is the solution?

"The removal of Ofcom as the regulator of this space, to be replaced by an organisation or body who will actually look at these issues that truly effect consumers and the industry," is what wispa is hoping to see, though that seems and unlikely response to an online petition, so we thought we'd see if anyone out there has an alternative suggestion.

Which leads to our question of the week: would you sign up with an ISP which bills you on the basis of your connection speed that month? And to where would the connection speed be measured (to the exchange, or perhaps one of the speedtest.net servers)? Or perhaps it's too late and we're all so used to the lies that anyone telling the truth would just lead to confusion. Let us know what you think in our shiny new forums. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
Skype pimps pro-level broadcast service
Playing Cat and Mouse with the media
Beat it, freetards! Dyn to shut down no-cost dynamic DNS next month
... but don't worry, charter members, you're still in 'for life'
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.