Feeds

BT ad banned for 'misleading' customers over broadband speeds

For once, it's not the estate agent's fault

Boost IT visibility and business value

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a BT television advert, after the watchdog concluded that customers had been misled by the telecom giant’s broadband speed claims.

ASA said that the TV ad in question featured a voice-over that claimed BT was “rolling out up to 20 meg speeds” to provide punters with “consistently faster broadband throughout the day even at peak times.”

The regulator received 17 complaints about the advert and, following an investigation, confirmed that BT did not provide sufficient evidence to support its statement in the commercial.

ASA concluded that the ad was therefore likely to mislead customers.

The ad itself is one of a series of annoying vignettes featuring a matey bloke (Adam) and a boring woman (Jane) becoming metaphorically wrapped in telephone cables as their love blossoms.

But the ad, which showed the couple looking for a new home with an estate agent, has backfired. BT said today it was disappointed with ASA’s ruling.

The company’s rivals – Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin – were among the 17 complainants who contacted ASA about the ad’s 20Mb claims.

"Because we had not seen sufficient evidence to support the claim that BT's new broadband service was consistently faster than its existing 8Mb service even at peak times, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead," said ASA.

"We noted BT's new service was available to fewer than half of all households and the roll out, increasing that figure to 75 per cent, was anticipated to take around two years.

"We noted that a significant proportion of the population could not get the service at the time the ad appeared and therefore considered the ad should have made that clear. Because it did not, we concluded that it was likely to mislead."

BT’s advert is not allowed to appear on screen in its current form, said the watchdog.

The company said it had not intended to “mislead” customers, and added that its claims in the ad were backed up by independent data from broadband monitoring outfit Epitro and an individual statistician.

"At the time the ads appeared, BT had just started rolling out a new up-to-20Mb broadband service across the country and we wanted to highlight the higher speeds available in newly enabled exchange areas offering customers consistently faster web browsing in comparison to BT's up-to-8Mb service,” said the company in a statement.

Meanwhile, channel resellers have welcomed ASA’s ruling.

"This will no doubt please TCA [Technology Channels Association] members who are not happy that they have to adjust users perceptions as to what is realistically achievable," the trade group's president Keith Warburton told The Register this morning. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
What FTC lawsuit? T-Mobile US touts 10GB, $100 family-of-4 plan
Folks 'could use that money for more important things' says CEO Legere
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.