NTL to escape ASA ad cap rap

Some you win...

NTL looks set to escape a rap from the advertising watchdog over complaints concerning whether its capped broadband service offers "unlimited surfing".

In February NTL sparked a flood of criticism from its punters after it introduced a 1GB a day usage limit on its broadband service.

The cableco insisted that the cap would only hit persistently heavy users and had been introduced to protect ordinary users.

The cap sparked demonstrations, the creation of Web sites campaigning against the cap and the intervention of Labour MP and former Paymaster General, Geoffrey Robinson.

It also provoked a number of complaints to the ASA concerning NTL ads that promoted "unlimited surfing", at a time when the company had also imposed a cap.

However, in a ruling which could be published as early as next week, the Advertising Watchdog Authority (ASA) is expected to dismiss complaints, insisting instead that NTL is justified to advertise its broadband service as "unlimited Internet usage".

According to documents seen by The Register the ASA is expected to agree with NTL that "because residential users enjoyed 24 hours a day, seven days a week broadband access and they were able to download 1Gb of data in a day without their access being halted and without being charged, [NTL] were justified in advertising that their fixed monthly-fee broadband access offered unlimited Internet usage."

Of course, NTL doesn't always get its own way with the advertising watchdog. Last month the ASA caused a storm after it ruled that the unqualified use of "broadband" to describe NTL's 128k service was "likely to mislead" punters. ®

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