Lectric Shave will give you a shave “up to 52% closer.” SBC Yahoo DSL features download speeds of “up to 6 megabits per second.”

Bah. “Up to” is meaningless. “Up to 6” includes 0-5. It could be everything, it could be nothing. It’s marketing code for “we want to sound impressive but we won’t actually promise anything.”

Where else does this fly? The minimum wage isn’t “up to $5.15/hour.” Good luck telling a loan officer you plan on paying back “up to 100%” of your loan. Doctors don’t say, “The operation is risky, but your chances of making a full recovery are up to 90%.”

So it’s nice to see some pushback against the term’s widespread use among internet providers.

With few exceptions, they include language that says consumers will get ‘up to’ a certain speed…In many cases, consumer advocates and industry analysts said, customers do not get the maximum promised speed, or anywhere near it, from their cable and digital subscriber line connections. Instead, the phrase “up to” refers to speeds attainable under ideal conditions, like when a D.S.L. user is near the phone company’s central switching office.”They don’t deliver what’s advertised, and it’s inherently deceptive,” said Dave Burstein, editor of DSL Prime, a newsletter that tracks the broadband industry. ” ‘Up to’ is a weasel term that should be taken out of the companies’ vocabulary.”

A similar movement is afoot in the UK where ‘Up to 8Mbps’ ads were recently ruled misleading.

ISPs advertising an ‘up to 8Mbps’ service without explaining that many people will be unable to receive these speeds are misleading consumers…35 per cent of people who live more than 3.8 km from an exchange, would be unable to get more than a 5 Mbps connection.

Ok, get back to work. After all, you really should get up to eight hours of work done today.