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Ad watchdog mulls Carphone 'free broadband forever' complaints

Broadband? Free? Forever?

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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has received more than a dozen complaints concerning last week's unveiling of "free" broadband from the Carphone Warehouse.

Priced at £20.99 a month, Carphone's ambitious plans for a new combo broadband and phone package (including line rental) based on local loop unbundling (LLU) is being plugged as "free broadband forever".

However, Carphone's claims have not gone unchallenged. Customers have written to the ASA to complain about the term "free" (how can it be free if we have to pay a £30 connection fee, they say) and "forever" (it's only "forever" as long as users are subscribed to the Carphone service).

People have also written to the ad watchdog to question the lack of availability of the service (it will only be available to 70 per cent of the population at that price).

So far the ASA has received around a dozen complaints, although new ones are being filed every day. A spokesman for the ASA told El Reg that a decision on whether to launch a formal investigation into the complaints would be taken in the next couple of days.

A spokeswoman for Carphone said the firm had not been contacted by the ASA over its ads but that the firm had been "as transparent as possible" over its advertising and marketing. ®

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