I don't care what the 'typical' speed a customer gets with an ISP I'm thinking of signing up with. What matters to me is what speed *I* will get. What value is it to me if the typical speed is 3Mbps and all I get is 1Mbps?
Next, let's take into consideration other ISPs. ISP1 says their typical speed is 3Mbps and ISP2 says their typical speed is 4.5Mbps. Which am I going to go for? I'll sign up with ISP2 because their typical speed is faster? Unfortunately, Joe Public is going to think in exactly this way.
Chances are, both ISPs are using the same technology down the same twisted pair to the home, with the source of the signal being in the same building, so the cable run lengths are the same for the two ISPs, so the chances are I'm going to get the same speed with both ISPs despite the fact ISP2 has a typical speed higher than ISP1 !!
This is why you can't use the idea of a typical speed!!!
Advertising broadband speeds 'up to' an upper limit is factually correct. The issue is that the public doesn't understand what this really means and the issues involved.
So there are two options:
1) Change the way broadband speeds are advertised
2) Educate the public.
Given the technological thickness of the majority of the UK population, I doubt we'd be sucessful in educating the public. (Hasn't worked so far has it?).
So what options are there open to us to change the way broadband speeds are advertised?
It's right to indicate what the maximum speed you *could* receive, because some people will actually receive that!
What's needed is more clarity, more explanation given.
I also think what's needed is a scaling price structure. The fundamental problem is that people think they're going to get 8Mbps broadband and they think that's what they're paying for, so when they only receive 1Mbps they feel they're being ripped off (and rightly so), because they're paying the same amount of money for a 1Mbps connection as someone who has an 8Mbps connection.
The price quoted should be for the maximum speed if it is achieved, with a sliding scale downward quoted if users don't receive that. Then they won't feel they're being ripped off.
In this way, they'll instantly see that there are different speeds available and the ad should state they may not receive the maximum speed. And they'll see how much they will pay.
That has to be the fairest way of dealing with this.