Orange rapped for 'unlimited' broadband

But ads watchdog rubber stamps 'fair use' again

Orange was cut down by advertising watchdogs today for claiming its broadband and home phone service is "unlimited" without mentioning its fair use policy.

In an adjudication over a complaint by T-Mobile, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said Orange had broken its code of practice in a magazine ad. It neglected to allude to its 40GB monthly download and 1,000 minute monthly calling rations, which Orange said was an error.

At the moment the ASA thinks it's ok to describe such services as "unlimited", even if there's a fair use cap, as long as it's in the small print.

Orange said about one per cent of broadband customers and two per cent of phone customers exceeded their quota, which the ASA agreed meant that a small print qualifier would have been good enough. It told Orange to make sure it included one in all future advertising.

Orange plans to continue to advertise its bundle as "unlimited", and said the limits do not apply when it deems that users are using it fairly. It did not explain what "fair" means.

A Downing Street petition calling for a ban on the advertising ruse clocked up almost 10,000 signatures before it closed on 10 June. A government response is expected soon. ®

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