Tackling consumer confusion about broadband

Case study

The context

Ofcom wanted to establish whether consumers needed clearer information about broadband services in advertising and at the point of purchase. At the point of commissioning the research, rules required providers to give a description of the service they provide to customers. However, Ofcom felt there was insufficient clarity and consistency in how the underlying technologies used to deliver broadband services were described.

What we did

Over 1000 online interviews among broadband decision makers with quotas set on gender, age, SEG, nation, broad English region, full fibre availability and broadband supplier. Respondents in the devolved nations and with full fibre availability were oversampled to ensure robust bases for analysis.

Topics included:

  • Understanding of terms pre and post explanation

  • Relative and absolute usefulness of information

  • Where in the purchase journey, more information would be useful

The main survey was preceded by qualitative cognition testing among 10 broadband decision makers to assess comprehension of the service descriptions.

How it helped

The research informed new guidance to ensure that broadband firms give clearer, straightforward information about their services. This included a proposal that providers would only be able to use the terms ‘fibre’ and ‘full-fibre’ on their websites and in contracts if their network uses fibre-optic cables all the way from the exchange to the home. Customers would also be given a short, easy-to-understand, description of the type of broadband network technology that they sign-up to.

Read more here.

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