Insights Tackling consumer confusion about broadband technology

Ofcom has today announced a consultation setting out proposed guidance for industry “to help broadband customers make more informed choices”.

Under the planned new guidance, fixed line broadband providers would only be able to use the terms ‘fibre’ and ‘full-fibre’ on their websites and in contracts if their network uses fibre-optic cables all the way from the exchange to the home.

Customers would also be given a short, easy-to-understand description of the type of broadband network technology they are signing up to. This would be implemented through a proposed change to General Conditions C1 and C2.3.

The new proposals are wholly consumer broadband focused, with retail providers carrying the burden of change for information at the point-of-sale and in their contracts. It does not cover advertising which falls within the remit of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), although these changes may force the ASA to act and even change its position on the issue.

This is the latest in a flurry of consumer protection activity which has seen Ofcom propose a review of and begin several investigations on in-contract prices as well as end-of-contract notifications.

Ofcom is now inviting views on these proposals which should be submitted by 3 May 2023. It aims to publish a final decision in Autumn this year.

If you need help in responding to Ofcom’s consultation on this and/or wish to know more and discuss this further please get in touch.