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Author Topic: New ASA rules for ISPs and a warning for the unwary.  (Read 3305 times)


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New ASA rules for ISPs and a warning for the unwary.
« on: October 26, 2016, 07:52:56 PM »

Over the past few weeks we've noticed several ISPs being busy revamping their websites.  Some have fresh new looks, a couple have shiny new logos, but what we have noticed is a growing trend of
  • Charging 'Activation Fees' even if its a migration.
  • It is becoming increasingly hard to find out what product speed you are being provisioned at.
Activation Fees

For those that don't already know migration costs for moving a like to like product are tiny compared to brand new activation costs.
Openreach charges to the ISP are 11 for like-for-like migration, whilst a PCP install is 49 or 99 for a managed install with CP provided device. 

Yet many ISPs are now charging new customers full activation fees regardless or not if its a move and pocketing the extra.

Speed Provisioning

Speed of provisioning is important.  For FTTC (fibre) there are 4 different products for the maximum speeds at which your line can run at
  • Up to 38 Mbps - 40/2  - < 2 Mbps upstream
  • Up to 38 Mbps - 40/10 - <10 Mbps upstream    
  • Up to 52 Mbps - 55/10 - <10 Mbps upstream
  • Up to 76 Mbps - 80/20 - <20 Mbps upstream

Obviously the slower the connection speed, the less it costs the ISP ie 6.90pm for 40/2,  7.40 (40/10), 8.40 (55/10) & 9.95 (80/20).  Yet many ISPs are not disclosing which product they are provisioning and some have withdrawn the higher speed products.
A new practice is emerging showing how much you can 'save' against competitor products not making it clear that you could be moving to an inferior product.  We have already seen many customers who have migrated to other ISPs and surprised to find themselves with slower upload speeds than their previous supplier. :(

When 'Faster' is slower.

One particularly good example is TalkTalk's advertising for "Faster Fibre", yet if you look at the figures in red appended by me you can see they are using a slower product which makes 'Faster Fibre' rather dubious advertising when they make no mention that theirs is the slowest of all products, nor do they mention in the small print they are using 40/2.

Interestingly TT also appear to have withdrawn sale of their 80/20 product and there is no mention of it anywhere on their site.
IMHO ISPs should be made to display the product they are selling you.

ASA new guidelines - 31st Oct

ASA brings new guidelines into effect on 31st of October 2016 entitled "Tougher approach to broadband price claims", which may have been the trigger for what we are seeing.  According to ASA Price claims should

  • Show all-inclusive up-front and monthly costs; no more separating out line rental
  • Give greater prominence for the contract length and any post-discount pricing
  • Give greater prominence for up-front costs

Whilst this should hopefully end the practice of headline grabbing cheap broadband deals such as "Free Broadband" which upon close inspection of the small print may only be for say 3 months,  and hiding the true cost in over-inflated line rental costs... it would appear that some ISPs have found a few new area's where they can mislead the unwary :(

Openreach prices
ASA Broadband price claims
TalkTalk website 26/10/2016
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Re: New ASA rules for ISPs and a warning for the unwary.
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2016, 11:52:21 PM »

TalkTalk are still offering 76meg - they're now calling it a Fibre Speed Boost  ::)

27 a month for 38meg and 32 a month for upto 76meg. You have to go through the customise options. It's a lot more expensive now for existing customers though so not too impressed here about it all - fortunately a fixed price for now :fingers:
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Re: New ASA rules for ISPs and a warning for the unwary.
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2016, 07:33:44 AM »

I learned a long time ago that isp's seem to think its their job to mislead, if they not misleading then they not advertising hard enough.

On the activation fee, it wouldnt surprise me if its the isp's simply been spiteful to ofcom saying ok if you going to stop this practice we going to make it harder for customers to switch, because if they have all done it, then it would appear its something they have agreed on with each other cartel fashion.  Although this is ASA guidelines, they rely on ofcom to enforce what they do which generally means ofcom is in agreement or even deciding what the ASA should do.  Funny enough I am not too bothered about the migration charges, I have always been annoyed by the trend we seeing where everyone is encouraged to constantly switch companies like a game of musical chairs.

On the misleading of speeds its already a big can of worms, e.g. the DSL providers have to provide a estimated speed, whilst VM do not have to disclose expected performance for new customers (which is important as some areas have chronic congestion problems), ofcom also as far as I can remember have never really been bothered about upload speeds.  There is even a petition for action to be taken against VM in regards to their congestion issues.  I dont know of any other UK isp's who have had such a petition setup.

Also this may sound selfish but I am sort of glad the major DSL providers are focusing more on the 40mbit products, because the longer they dont move to ultra high speeds the longer we have more sustainable performance, I think once 100mbit+ becomes mainstream we may get VM style congestion everywhere.
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Re: New ASA rules for ISPs and a warning for the unwary.
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2016, 10:15:58 AM »

TalkTalk are still offering 76meg - they're now calling it a Fibre Speed Boost  ::)

Very poorly named product,  how many customers  are going to find the fibre speed boost simply doesn't work because their line isn't capable.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2016, 08:21:30 PM by Ronski »
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Re: New ASA rules for ISPs and a warning for the unwary.
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2016, 04:07:02 PM »

The biggest problem is Joe Public has no idea of how DSL works and firstly thinks that changing to a product with a higher cap will automatically give them a speed increase despite currently receiving a lower speed than their current cap and secondly that they need really high speeds in order to do a bit of web surfing and email with perhaps the odd bit of iPlayer thrown in. Again, all down to the power of misleading marketing.