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TalkTalk ad slapped for misleading on LLU

No unbundled cheapness for country folk

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TalkTalk's latest TV ad has fallen foul of advertising regulators, who received complaints from would-be customers who contacted the firm only to be told they had to pay extra because they lived outside its unbundled network.

The ad punted "free" broadband with line rental for £10.50 per month. The cost of connectivity from BT Wholesale means that "free" broadband is only viable where ISPs have their own equipment in local exchanges. That investment is in turn only worthwhile in densely populated areas, so rural communities often miss out on the lower prices that LLU providers can offer.

TalkTalk told the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) it forgot to mention that its LLU network only covers 80 per cent of the population. Ten people had been disgruntled enough to make a complaint.

The ASA ruled the spot was likely to mislead, and TalkTalk agreed future versions would be amended to reflect the availability of the offer.

Complaints against broadband providers remain a busy area for the ASA. Ofcom is hoping a new voluntary ISP code of practice, due to come into force in the new year, will improve transparency in marketing and help consumers decipher caveats. ®

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