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Wanadoo 8 Meg ad slap expected

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Wanadoo UK is to be slapped for plugging its 8Mb service broadband on TV - even though the ads were checked beforehand by advertising experts.

Last week, El Reg reported how Wanadoo UK is facing a dressing down after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received more than half a dozen complaints, including three from rival ISPs (BT, Bulldog and Tiscali), about ads for its 8Mb service.

The complaints focused on claims about the speed of the service and its availability in the UK.

Now, El Reg has learned the ads - which plugged Wanadoo's "up to 8Mb" service - were given the green light by the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre (BACC), a specialist group responsible for clearing scripts of TV ads before they are broadcast.

Despite receiving the all clear, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is expected to uphold four out of five complaints against Wanadoo when it publishes the results of its investigation next week.

The ASA is expected to say that all ads for high speed net access should describe broadband speeds as being "up to" because maximum line speeds promoted are not universally available.

In the case of Wanadoo, the ASA was unhappy that the availability of Wanadoo's 8Mb service was restricted to under five per cent of the UK population - or just the 113 or so exchanges Wanadoo had managed to unbundle at the time.

As a result, the ASA is expected to say that it does not consider the use of "up to" or the [accompanying] onscreen text as an "adequate indication that the service was available to such a limited number of people at the time that it was first advertised or that it would not be available to a large number of people for some time".

The ASA is expected to issue its full ruling on the complaints next week. ®

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