We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

BT and TalkTalk fail Ofcom mystery shopper broadband tests

Both ISPs have been warned to follow the regulator’s code of practice more closely

Communications regulator Ofcom has revealed that both BT and TalkTalk are failing to comply with its Broadband Code of Practice by not voluntarily providing speed estimates to consumers often enough.

Ofcom established the Code of Practice in December 2008, which aims to provide broadband customers with transparency over the speeds they are likely to receive before signing up to any particular service.

Additional requirements were introduced to the Code in July 2011, which committed ISP signatories to give maximum speed estimates in the form of a range as early as possible in the sales process.

However, during a mystery shopper exercise, Ofcom found that some ISPs were under-performing in this area, where TalkTalk was 47 percent less likely than other ISPs to provide a speed estimate without being prompted by a caller, and BT Total Broadband 48 percent less likely.

Ofcom has discussed the issue with BT and TalkTalk, who have both agreed to address the problem by amending their staff training and sales processes.

ISPs that were most likely to give callers an estimate of speed without being prompted, although still nowhere near the 100 percent mark, were Karoo with 76 percent of cases, Sky with 72 percent and Plusnet with 67 percent.

Overall, speed estimates were provided in 59 percent of all calls without the caller having to prompt the sales respondent.

Ofcom will conduct further mystery shopping research next year to check whether improvements by the ISPs have actually been made and is also planning to update the Code of Practice over the next year.

"It is vital that as the choice of broadband services expands, UK consumers get the best possible information when choosing a broadband provider," said Claudio Pollack, Ofcom's consumer group director.

"We are working with internet providers to improve information that consumers receive when they sign up to a new service and will continue to monitor this area closely."

IDG UK Sites

Spotify launches on PS4 as Tidal arrives on Sonos: It's Tidal vs Spotify music streaming

IDG UK Sites

It's World Backup Day 2015! Don't wait another minute: back up now

IDG UK Sites

Get the free Adobe Comp CC iPad app for rapid layout design

IDG UK Sites

New 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro (early 2015, 2.7GHz) review: Just about the greatest upgrade any...