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Advertising prefect spanks Virgin

'I must not say my broadband is the fastest in the UK.' Whack. 'I must not...'

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Virgin Media must not claim it delivers "the UK's fastest broadband", the nation's advertising watchdog has judged.

The cableco said it offered exactly that in a magazine ad published earlier this year. The ad invited punters to "get the edge in gaming" with Virgin's 50Mbps offering.

However, rival provider BT took umbrage and told on Virgin to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). BT - which was itself caned by the ASA only last month - said the "UK’s fastest broadband" claim was misleading, that Virgin wouldn't be able to prove it to be true because it wasn't, and that Virgin's dad smells.

Up BT's nose-wiped sleeve: a July 2011 'misleading' verdict made by the ASA against a Virgin claim to offer "the fastest broadband in the UK.

The ASA, while flexing its cane, said that now, as then, Virgin can't claim to be the fastest because a number of small players deliver higher-speed broadband to their local areas.

Even if Virgin has admitted in the small print - as it has on other ads but not in this case - that it's talking about "widely available" alternatives, the ASA said, the qualification must "be included within the claim", as any fule kno.

The watchdog told Virgin not to claim that its broadband was the fastest in the UK unless they held adequate comparative evidence to substantiate that was the case. Or face six of the best. ®

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