Virgin Media today released the results of its latest evaluation of web-based speedtests which show that consumers are still being misled by inaccurate results and reports based on unsubstantiated data. Whilst the latest findings show an improvement in speedtest performance, there are still many speedtest and comparison sites which are unable to provide accurate results for regular speeds such as 10Mb, and are a long way from being able to check faster speeds of 20Mb and 50Mb.
Virgin Media’s comprehensive research highlights that millions of consumers, from all ISPs, have been misled for long periods of time due to ‘dirty data’ published by some of the comparison sites or via erroneous speedtest results presented to consumers. When Virgin Media started this research, only two online speedtest sites, thinkbroadband.com and speedtest.net, had the ability to accurately measure all three speeds, 10Mb, 20Mb and 50Mb. As a result of ongoing collaboration, just two more sites; broadband-expert.co.uk and ispreview.com, have reached the required standards to be accurate enough to measure up to 50Mb.
Jon James, Director of Broadband at Virgin Media said, “We’re dismayed to find that for years, many speedtest and comparison sites have been misleading the public on ISP performance. Consumers rely on these sites for clear advice and honest results. The fact that many of them cannot accurately measure speeds of 20Mb, and some cannot even accurately measure speeds of 10Mb, demonstrates there is a clear need for more transparency. As ultrafast services such as 50Mb become more mainstream, this issue will need to be addressed quickly.”
Virgin Media began this campaign to ensure web-based speedtesters were able to accurately measure next-generation high-speed broadband services ahead of the launch of its ‘up to 50Mb’ broadband product. The initial results demonstrated that most web-based speedtest sites were unable to accurately measure throughput of this new ultrafast 50Mb service, and customers attempting to test the speed this new service would be getting results that were not a true reflection of their service.
Since the campaign launched last October, Virgin Media has been working with all the major speedtest sites to assist them in improving their testing systems. As a result of this collaborative approach, some of the speedtest sites have been working to improve their speedtest applications and a handful have put in place a warning so that consumers are aware their existing speedtests may be unable to provide accurate results for high speed connections.
However despite this initiative, three months on from the launch of the 50Mb service, the majority are still unable to accurately measure ultrafast services, and still do not make consumers aware of the numerous factors that could affect their results. Worse still, further testing taken place over the last couple of months on speeds such as 10Mb and 20Mb, has revealed startling evidence that many of these sites have been reporting false results on these speeds for years.
“Many of these sites profess to be ‘experts’ and some even generate sales from broadband providers so I am sure that consumers would find it alarming that they are unable to accurately represent speeds accurately. We are pleased, however, that our campaign has kick-started most of these sites into action and we will continue to work with those that are non-compliant to get them to the standard that they need to be,” Jon James added.
Virgin Media has shared its findings with ISPA (Internet Service Providers Association) and Ofcom.
To find out more about Virgin Media’s products and service visit www.virginmedia.com or call 0800 052 2525.