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Our Actions, Outputs and Stakeholder Engagement...

Throughout 2009 and 2010 the Panel has engaged with Ofcom in relation to their broadband speeds research programme, offering advice as to how the work could affect consumers.

In July 2010 the Panel discussed Ofcom's Draft Broadband speeds Code of Practice with Ofcom at a Panel meeting and subsequently set outs its advice on the code to Ofcom in an advice note. The Panel also felt that Ofcom should have undertaken wider engagement, particularly with consumer bodies, when proposing changes to the Code.  Not undertaking this engagement meant that consumer bodies were not able to contribute to the debate and the Code was agreed privately between Ofcom and ISPs.

In September 2009 the Panel responded to the Business and Enterprise Committee Inquiry into Broadband Speeds stating that consumers needed accurate information about the speeds they could expect as there were considerable differences between the headline speeds advertised by many providers and the actual speeds consumers received. In December 2009 the Panel followed this up by writing to Guy Parker, Chief Executive of the ASA stating that it thought the current system was misleading and had the potential to distort the market, resulting in less choice for consumers.

During 2010 the Panel continued to engage with Ofcom and the ASA on this issue. In August 2010 the Panel wrote to Ed Vaizey - Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries stating that the Panel believed ISPs should change their advertising practices in order to avoid the danger of misleading consumers. The Panel also encouraged the Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee on Advertising Practice (BCAP) (at the ASA) to strengthen their code so that ISPs must advertise average or typical speeds rather than up-to-speeds.

In November 2010 the Panel again considered the advertising of broadband speeds at a Panel meeting and gave advice to Ofcom.  The Panel then responded to the CAP and BCAP review of broadband speeds advertising, in February 2011.