Feeds

BSkyB-owned BE slams into traffic pile-up over 'unlimited' broadband lie

Brits punished for downloading too much? Sounds more like 'limited', says ASA

Boost IT visibility and business value

Telco BE - now owned by BSkyB - has been admonished by Blighty's ad watchdog for misleading its customers with unsubstantiated claims about its broadband.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld gripes from three complainants who challenged the ISP's claims that it offered "unlimited usage" to customers - despite having a traffic-management policy in place that punished heavy internet downloaders.

BE advertised three ADSL broadband packages - value, unlimited and pro - on its website and stated for each deal that "unlimited usage" applied. But Brits only learned that the ISP threatened to suspend broadband connectivity for some heavy users of its network after clicking through a number of links on the company's website.

Eventually, if one looked hard enough, BE admitted: "A very fair usage policy applies."

In response to the complaints, the company told the ASA that very few of its customers would have their accounts suspended for exceeding BE's fair-use policy. Of its 68,000 subscribers in 2012, BE smacked down 224 customers whose monthly data usage had exceeded 150GB. The telco said it specifically looked at telephone exchanges where utilisation was higher than 80 per cent of available capacity in the previous calendar month.

The ad regulator disagreed with BE's argument and upheld the complaints. It said:

The ASA considered that the claim 'unlimited' would be interpreted by readers to mean that they would be able to use the service to download and upload as much data as they wished at any time without limit or penalty.

We understood, however, that users on congested exchanges using more than 150 GB in a month would be contacted and asked to reduce their usage in peak hours or face having their service suspended; we noted two users had left BE after being contacted about the FUP and that a significant number had been warned to change their usage behaviour.

We therefore considered that, although it affected only a small proportion of customers, the service was restricted for those using more than 150 GB in a month on some exchanges and was therefore not unlimited. As a result, we concluded that the claim 'unlimited' was misleading.

The ASA told BE not to wrongly claim that its service was unlimited. It is perhaps good timing, then, that BSkyB recently bought the ISP. After all, its old company name was BE Un Limited. (BE was renamed Sky Home Communications Ltd, but it trades under the BE brand while its service migrates to Sky's internet network.) ®

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
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?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
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.
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.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
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.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.