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BT TV Ad for HomeHub Banned over Misleading WiFi Interference Claim

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013 (7:54 am) - Score 1,630
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The UK Advertising Standards Authority has banned a TV advert for BT’s HomeHub broadband ISP router after it caused confusion over which household devices would cause interference on a wifi wireless network (the router’s smart wireless technology is designed to mitigate this).

The promotion itself, which garnered 3 complaints, was intended to extol the benefits of BT’s HomeHub in mitigating wifi interference and a voice-over explained, “there’s no end of things around the home that can disrupt your wireless internet … The new BT Home Hub uses smart dual band to reduce dropout“. The presentation also featured images of mobile phones, radios and various other household devices.

BT and Ad firm Clearcast explained that non-WiFi devices like TV senders, wireless security cameras and baby monitors (i.e. those that use the same 2.4GHz radio band as WiFi) can cause interference on home networks, which is supported by a 2009 report from Ofcom. However the ASA noted that none of those devices actually “featured” in the advert, which depicted kit that would be less likely to disconnect a home wireless network (e.g. most modern mobiles include wifi support).

ASA Ruling (REF: A13-233658)

Whilst we acknowledged that the evidence supplied by BT showed that some non-Wi-Fi household devices could potentially affect the performance of Wi-Fi devices, we considered that the inclusion of images of mobile phones and radios implied that consumers who had those items in their homes may experience problems due to interference when we had not seen any evidence to that effect. We therefore concluded that the ad was misleading.”

The advert was pulled and the ASA told BT not to make the same claim again. But it’s not the first time that the wifi performance of BT’s HomeHub router has been questioned and last year a similar TV advert for their older HomeHub3 (HH3) device was banned after it claimed to offer “the UK’s most reliable wireless connection” (here).

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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