Feeds

ASA slaps down BT over 'misleading' broadband claims

BSkyB complaints upheld amid battle between warring ISPs

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Those toothless tigers gummy stripy cats at the Advertising Standards Agency have given BT a talking to over "misleading" claims about overall broadband speeds, outpacing packages from both Sky and TalkTalk.

The Brit telco made an ad headed "Official", claiming it could "Superpower your broadband". It contained a cartoon man clutching a wireless router, and boasted that tests by comms watchdog Ofcom had found that on average BT has "better performance" for up to 16Mb customers.

This was challenged by BSkyB, which said the 2012 Ofcom report upon which BT had based its claims did not include Wi-Fi, that the performance assertions were misleading because they did not give sufficient weight to upload or download speeds or web browsing, and that the use of the term "official" suggested that BT's ad had been endorsed by Ofcom.

ASA hardliners came down on the side of BSkyB, agreeing the report by Ofcom pertained to fixed-line broadband performance of a number of ISPs which considered a range of metrics not outlined in the ad.

"We noted that the scope of the report did not include a comparison of the various ISPs Wi-Fi performance. We considered that, in the absence of any statement to the contrary consumers were likely to interpret an overall performance claim as encompassing Wi-Fi performance, particularly when the cartoon man featured in the ad was shown holding a wireless router," it said.

The ASA accepted Ofcom had found 18 metrics related to BT broadband performance that were equal to or better than Sky's net offer, but said the ad suggested download speeds were faster, what with the cartoon "superhero" holding the router with a cape flowing behind him.

"We understood that download speed was the factor most commonly associated with overall broadband speed and that the Ofcom report had not found that there was any significant difference between BT and Sky," it added.

On the last point upheld, the ad watchdog said the 2012 broadband report from which BT had drawn its claims did not draw any conclusions in regard of one ISP being better than another.

"Rather, we noted Ofcom had stated that it was important consumers understood the impact the various metrics would have on broadband performance so they could choose the service that would best meet their individual needs.

"We therefore considered it was misleading for BT to imply that the headline claim was taken directly from Ofcom's findings, rather than their own interpretation of them, when that was not the case," the ASA added.

The BT ad must not appear again as was, and the telco should spend two minutes on the naughty step to consider its behaviour. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
PwC says US biz lagging in Internet of Things
Grass is greener in Asia, say the sensors
Ofcom sees RISE OF THE MACHINE-to-machine cell comms
Study spots 9% growth in IoT m2m mobile data connections
O2 vs Vodafone: Mobe firms grab for GCHQ, gov.uk security badge
No, the spooks love US best, say rival firms
Ancient pager tech SMS: It works, it's fab, but wow, get a load of that incoming SPAM
Networks' main issue: they don't know how it works, says expert
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.