NTL hits back at ASA ruling

'Superficial and flawed'

NTL has appealed against the latest ruling by the advertising watchdog claiming the decision against the cableco was based on "flawed research".

Today the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that unqualified use of the phrase "the UK's No.1 Broadband Internet provider" when used in association with its 128k service was "likely to mislead".

The ruling followed complaints by Freeserve which insisted that NTL's 128k punters - all 380,000 or so of them - could not be counted as broadband punters.

Attacking the ASA ruling, the cableco claims that the watchdog's ruling on what does, and does not constitute broadband, was based on the opinions of six computer magazine editors.

"Their response, we must assume, was that they believed consumers would consider broadband to mean a service at speeds of 500K and above," said NTL.

It claims this approach was biased and not an accurate way of gauging what punters believe broadband to be.

Independent research commissioned by NTL found that just 4 per cent of those quizzed said that broadband operated at speeds in excess of 500k.

Bill Goodland, Director of Internet at NTL Home said: "The ASA's research was superficial and flawed. To base any definition of broadband solely around some arbitrary speed limit is simply naive. This ruling should be thrown out.

And in a dig at rival operators he said: "We remain very concerned at the increasing misuse by organisations trying to seek commercial gain of the ASA’s consumer-focused complaints handling procedure."

Critics claim, however, that NTL is just plain wrong on this matter.

According to a broadband market review published recently, Oftel proposes to redefine broadband Internet services as "always-on services which have a downstream capacity in excess of 256 kbits". ®

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