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Communications regulator, Ofcom is seeking to put an end to internet service providers advertising unrealistic broadband speeds.

Currently, most ISPs are advertising services as “up to” a certain speed (for instance 20Mbps (megabits per second)).

Ofcom’s latest research shows that very few consumers actually get these advertised speeds.

Infact, their research shows that just 14% of customers using “Up to 20Mbps” services even received speeds of over 12Mbps, while 58% averaged speeds of 6Mbps or less.

Ofcom Broadband Speed ResearchTable 1: Ofcom’s summary of average download speed by ISP package, November/December 2010

Cable and fibre services weren’t so bad, with 92% of Virgin Media customers using an “up to 50Mbps” service averaging 45.6Mbps.  BT’s Fibre technology also fared better.

Ofcom has recommended that ISPs use ‘Typical Speed Rates’ to avoid confusing consumers.

The Advertising Standards Authority is looking into the issue.