Wednesday, April 28, 2010


OFCOM reveals a bit more

OFCOM have released data on compliance of individual ISPs with the Broadband Speed Code of Practice, in response to my Freedom of Information Act request.

The extended report shows how individual ISPs performed in the recent mystery shopper exercise, rather than the ISP sector as a whole. In general the additional data is sensibly restricted to the larger ISPs where sufficient number of mystery shops were made to give some confidence in the findings. OFCOM have also clearly identified where the difference in performance of an ISP is statistically significant - in other words a big enough difference not to have occurred by chance or by sampling error.

Noticeable differences that were statistically significant :-

BT were less likely to give speed estimates on the phone without prompting, O2 were most likely.
Sky were most likely to quote either a speed range or a headline package speed on the phone.

Plusnet and Talk Talk websites had the lowest failure rate in providing a speed estimate.
Sky website was the most likely to fail to provide a line speed.
Sky website provided a range of estimated speeds in more cases than average (21%).
Virgin DSL website only provided headline or package speed in 35% of cases.

O2 had best consistency in matching speed estimate between telephone agents and ISP website.
Sky had the lowest consistency between phone and website.
Virgin DSL were worst at getting telephone estimates within 1M of website estimates.
Virgin DSL were the worst at explaining that the speed was an estimate and may be different in practice.

BT speed estimates were closest to the BT Wholesale line checker results.
ADSL2+ speed estimates showed more variation from BT Wholesale checker than plain ADSL.

BT scored lower on perception of the knowledge of their telephone agents.
Plusnet's telephone agents were perceived as the most helpful.

I hope that consumers will find the additional information helpful in choosing an ISP, and that ISPs will consider their own performance and continue to work towards improved compliance with the Voluntary Code of Practice. There are detailed charts in the revised OFCOM report, see links below, from which one can also draw conclusions that may not be statistically significant.

[ OFCOM Research ][ Enhanced Report (PDF) ]

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