New rules, in force since 1st April 2012, limit ISPs to claiming 'up to' speeds only if they can be achieved by at least 10 per cent of customers.
Broadband Genie's editor Matt Powell claimed that:
In many cases the download speeds quoted are still far in excess of the rates a user is likely to see in practice. While at the same time it hasn't made things any clearer for someone who simply wants the best service for their money - in fact, it's now worse.
Now when comparing broadband services we're seeing a wider range of speeds, even when ISPs are using the same equipment. Postcode checks on an unbundled exchange result in varying estimates, some as high as 18Mb[ps], but there's no difference in the hardware at the exchange and in reality the line is not going to be faster than 8Mb[ps].