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Full Fibre ISP Hyperoptic Pull “UK’s fastest broadband” Claim

Saturday, June 13th, 2020 (12:01 am) - Score 8,840
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A complaint by full fibre broadband ISP Vodafone has prompted rival Hyperoptic to remove a statement on their website which, when written alongside their symmetric speed 1Gbps package, claimed that they offered the “UK’s fastest broadband.” The case was “informally resolved” through the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Hyperoptic were one of the very first consumer broadband ISPs to offer symmetrical speeds of 1Gbps to UK consumers (in our view they remain one of the best too). In the recent past they’ve sometimes also described themselves as offering the “UK’s fastest broadband” or being the “UK’s fastest provider,” but as we’ve pointed out before they aren’t the only gigabit ISP around (e.g. B4RN has been doing it since 2012) and today the market is full of similarly capable rivals (see here).

On top of that a couple of providers, such as B4RN (here) and Telcom’s Black Fibre division (here), have even begun to offer the first commercially available 10Gbps service to homes. Sadly all of these networks currently suffer from very limited coverage, which makes it hard for any of them to truly claim the “UK’s fastest” crown, without first adding a lot of caveats.

Naturally at ISPreview.co.uk we keep a close eye on the market and so it didn’t go unnoticed when a number of Hyperoptic’s “UK’s fastest” claims suddenly began to vanish. Various past press releases, website mentions and a 2018 YouTube video featuring the “UK’s fastest tap dancer” (you can still see this on Facebook, until they erase that too) have all gone or been changed to adopt “hyperfast” instead of “fastest.”

A spokesperson for Hyperoptic informed us that their “messaging was updated when other providers starting offering speeds of 1Gb” and that they were not aware of a “recent ASA complaint,” although this is only partly correct since they’ve been making “UK’s fastest” claims since long after smaller rivals began to offer packages at the same speed.

We queried all this with the ASA and were told that Vodafone, which felt the statement was misleading and could not be substantiated (they of course have a 1Gbps service too and play in some of the same areas via Cityfibre), raised a complaint against the claim on Hyperoptic’s website last September 2019 (the wording appeared on their 1Gbps product page for standalone broadband).

Hyperoptic confirmed to the ASA that it was only meant as a top-parity claim and they agreed to amend the ad to reflect that. As a result the ASA “considered the matter resolved and closed the case informally.” As we’ve said before, it’s generally wise for ISPs to avoid making any absolute claims about service performance or price (fastest, cheapest, most reliable etc.) as, unless you’re willing to examine the entire market with a fine tooth comb, then it will always be difficult to 100% substantiate.

Over the years lots of ISPs have tried and failed to make similarly broad claims (including all of the major operators), which eventually get knocked down by the ASA.

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26 Responses
  1. Avatar Will says:

    I sense some massive jealousy coming from Vodafone and just by looking at the specs and the price hyperoptic is still the best still haven’t had the chance or privilege to experience (specifically) them

    1. Avatar -- says:

      It’s not related to that at all, saying you’re the fastest when operating in the same area with same products 900 down & Up can cause confusion for those uneducated on broadband.

    2. Avatar Buggerlugz says:

      Absolutely. Sour grapes. Voda needs to put its effort into improving its own network speeds and steal the crown, not spend time threatening other operators. Guess that’d be the cheaper option eh!

    3. Avatar George B says:

      Why haven’t you??

  2. Avatar Jonathan says:

    Don’t hyperoptic force everyone onto CGNAT with the outrageous £5 a month for an ipv4 address. I mean Plusnet offer a static ipv4 address for a one off of £5. Being on CGNAT is a pretty massive caveat for an ISP.

    1. Avatar C Dawg says:

      Yup, having been with them for 15 months now I can soundly say this is my only gripe. I’ve not cracked yet, but until this month I had unlimited data with 3 so just switched to my mobile hotspot when playing certain online games. If I do cave in, I believe £33/month still represents good value for 150Mbps symmetrical, whereas the £28/month (£27/mo year 1) I’m currently paying I consider to be outstanding value for money.

    2. Avatar Bored Panda says:

      and Virgin Media now calls itself the fastest “widely available” broadband or words to that effect haha.

      cmon virgin, wheres our gigabit (or even 500 without the crappy TV + phone packages). No wait, itll still be pants upload speed. The day FTTP is available for me at 100mbit or over upload speed virgin are toast in this house. Sadly being in a GFast/VM area it seems openreach think Gfast is enough (it isn’t)

    3. Avatar Bored Panda says:

      ugh that was not supposed to be a reply, and i can’t edit it. oh wells

    4. Avatar CarlT says:

      350/35. What an excruciatingly slow service to have to put up with. The humanity.

    5. Avatar Archie says:

      How is 35-40 meg a terrible upload speed? Most people in the UK aren’t getting anywhere near that speed on the up, and a lot of them aren’t even getting that on the downstream.

      What are you uploading that requires a gigabit connection?

      I upload large audio files, and run a PLEX server and think the close to 40 meg I get is good. I would like more bandwidth on the up and it will eventually come when Virgin turn on 3.1 on the upstream but I’m fine with what I have upload wise.

    6. Avatar Inebriated Panda says:

      ‘yall do realise that you don’t always get 100% of the quoted speed right.

      Wow omg someone might want more than 35mbit (or the 18 I actually get with GFast) bill gates moment. Why could anyone want more? beyond belief right.

      35mbit is the new ultra fast upload folks. Nobody ever needs more

    7. Avatar Jonny says:

      The CGNAT stuff is a bit annoying but an understandable position for a relatively new ISP to be in. They do give you a real IPv6 allocation and it’s not unreasonable to expect multiplayer games and current-gen consoles to support and utilise IPv6 networks to avoid NAT issues.

    8. Avatar Archie says:

      I love how people on the internet can’t read and understand. Panda’s powers of comprehension make it look as though you’re framing what I’m saying in a way that says that 35 meg is fine and always will be. You need to re-read, chum! Thanks x x

  3. Avatar Phillip Burns says:

    I’ve been with Hyperopic since March. Absolutely amazing, not had a single drop out and speeds are always 900mbps or above.

  4. Avatar Love Broadband says:

    Vodafone are appallingly slow at rolling out their Full Fibre “GigaFast”

    They should focus on their own rollout rather than attacking the other providers who actually have a working service to provide to customers.

    Vodafone are not taking this seriously enough, especially for FTTP via OpenReach.

    The Vodafone website for GigaFast looks wrong to me, Quotes of 200/200, 900/900 etc
    My money says Vodafone via OpenReach this will only be 200/30, 900/50 etc

    All I think is going on in Vodafone offices are the sounds of “MEOW” – the catfighting.

    Get a move on Vodafone please.

    1. Avatar CarlT says:

      Digging up roads and pavements takes a while longer than cabling up apartments and it isn’t Vodafone doing it.

      Despite that it takes longer the Vodafone-backed rollout has covered premises more quickly than Hyperoptic and will be overtaking it in total coverage pretty soon given the pace of construction.

      If you can magic up more workers for civils contractors to use, given they’re shared between Openreach, Virgin Media, CityFibre and others, I’m sure they’ll be open to it.

    2. Avatar Love Broadband says:

      Hi CarlT

      My area has been declared “READY” by OpenReach for FTTP/FTTH.

      My point was if I can order FTTP today from BT over OpenReach for install next week.

      WHY, it is not possible to order FTTP from Vodafone over OpenReach ?

      I see no difference to the amount of physical work required from which ISP I choose?

      But one is absolutely possible (BT) the other absolutely impossible (Vodafone)

      What are Vodafone playing at? Are they preoccupied digging runway number 3 at Heathrow with those dug in corporate heels?!

    3. Avatar PretendsHesANetworkEngineer says:

      Milton Keynes only fan club mate

    4. Avatar James Band says:

      @Love Broadband

      Good point. Vodafone need to get a move on with offering FTTP via Openreach. At the moment, realistically BT is the only Openreach FTTP service available. If Vodafone would actually start to offer a service – though I guess it wouldn’t be symmetrical like “Gigafast” so maybe they’d call it Vodafone Ultrafast?! – then we’d have some actual competition.

      Be interesting to see if Vodafone would do Openreach FTTP for around £40-45. I concur that they are not moving fast enough. Big opportunity being missed to take up rural households that have now finally been upgraded from ADSL of 1Mbps to FTTP by Openreach.

      I was under the impression though that all FTTP “new installs” (that require an engineer visit), were being suspended during COVID. I’m not convinced we’re done with the pandemic yet and with vulnerable people at home would rather sit it out until there is zero risk during an installation (have 4G though to wait it out).

      There is not enough competition on FTTP. Which ironically will reduce uptake and then some will claim there isn’t enough uptake to justify investment in FTTP.

    5. Avatar A_Builder says:

      @LoceBB

      How each operator assimilates areas FTTP varies.

      Sone will use OR the BT technology for the backahaul.

      Others will use OR and then SSE or one of the other backhaul suppliers.

      And yet others use a hybrid approach.

      If you are using anything other than OR + BBT then it depends on installed equipment and points of presence for the handoff.

      Believe me if the “others” could sell it they would and in time will.

    6. Avatar JX says:

      In all fairness, Vodafone’s CityFibre roll out has been fine, I’ve not heard of anyone using them on OpenReach but on CityFibre they have been very effective in getting it rolled out in residential areas.

  5. Avatar Matt says:

    Yet Virgin’s allowed to advertise speeds not acheivable by end user on their Gigabit service?

    Think I might give the ASA a shout myself.

    1. Avatar Roger_Gooner says:

      VM’s advertised speed for its Gig1 product is 1104Mbps, but nobody is told is that this is the speed into the hub 4 and what emerges from the hub is 940Mbps at best due to overheads. So, you can say that 164Mbps goes missing but in fairness who is going to notice apart from the occasional geek.

    2. Avatar CarlT says:

      It’s made very clear that’s the speed into the hub and multiple devices are required to use it.

      VM aren’t stupid. They’re quite aware that advertising the unachievable would be a bad idea.

      I have no doubt other ISPs would have raised with the ASA already if they thought it were a problem.

    3. Avatar A_Builder says:

      @Roger

      This has been done to death.

      I must have posted 3-4 times that it is pretty simple to get 2 NICs and split traffic by port.

      No idea why you’d need to mind – if it wad that critical a service then it would be on a leased line.

  6. Avatar Jordan says:

    I was on the phone with VM, one of the customer support team told me i can get 500MBPS without a tv plan next month! Which is amazing since i dont want to pay £96 a month. So next month VM will make 500mbps standalone!

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