Slow broadband losing you business? Ofcom wants your complaint!

Small businesses know only too well that if their websites are slow to react, customers simply go elsewhere. So Office Chatter is on the broadband case for you. While users should check their speed and should complain to their provider if they are not getting the speeds agreed, an Ofcom spokeswoman also told us that Ofcom would be interested in hearing from SMEs who are not getting the speeds their contract seemed to promise them.

She said that Ofcom has carried out a mystery shopper survey which shows that the information and the speeds provided by ISPs don’t match with day-to-day reality.

According to data quoted by Peer1 research, one-third of users are lost if your website takes more than four seconds to download and broadband users are “more impatient” than dial-up users.

Ofcom found almost half (42%) of its mystery shoppers had to prompt providers for their speed late in the sales process. Worse, 74% were not informed that their actual speed was likely to be below their maximum line speed.

At the moment Ofcom is monitoring ISPs under a voluntary Code of Practice, but says it is going to get tough about accurate information on line speeds. Changes in the Code will come in by this summer. Further good news for SMEs is that ‘If agreement cannot be reached with ISPs, Ofcom will consider whether it is necessary to introduce formal regulations’.  There will be more mystery shopping to see whether ISPs are falling into line about their online service.

Ofcom Chief Executive, Ed Richards says ISPs still have quite some way to go to sort all this out, ‘particularly in relation to the checkers used to calculate line speeds’.

For info about broadband speeds (and not just the first item which is mobile broadband) go to Ofcom

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