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BT Gripe Gets UK Sky Broadband WiFi Guarantee TV Ad Banned

Wednesday, May 24th, 2023 (7:26 am) - Score 5,352
Sky-Broadband-UK-Router-and-WiFi-Visualisation

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a minions themed TV advert for UK ISP Sky Broadband, specifically their “Wall to Wall Wi-Fi Guarantee“, after BT complained it “misleadingly implied that customers would receive seamless Wi-Fi in every room of a house“, when in fact they wouldn’t and it didn’t include any extenders or boosters.

The TV ad, which was shown in October 2022, promised customers that either they would achieve at least a 3Mbps download speed over the network in up to 12 rooms of their home, or if not then they would receive money back in the form of a credit of one month’s broadband subscription.

The promotion itself began with a voice-over that stated, “Don’t settle for patchy Wi-Fi“, before featuring various minions around a house who appeared to be struggling with their WiFi connectivity, which was instantly resolved by Sky’s “Wi-Fi guarantee“. The voice-over continued, stating, “Sky Wi-Fi guarantees broadband that covers the whole home or your money back“.

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We’ve pasted what we think is a copy of the original TV ad below, for context.

However, the problem is that most ISPs with Wi-Fi guarantees tend to bundle them alongside Mesh WiFi (signal repeaters) or booster devices, which enables them to improve existing WiFi coverage – often significantly. But Sky’s guarantee didn’t do this, despite their advert appearing to suggest that it could improve wireless coverage, which the ASA ultimately agreed was misleading.

ASA Ruling REF: A22-1174077 Sky UK Ltd

We understood that the fibre broadband offering in the ad related to the Sky Hub 4 router, and did not otherwise feature any equipment that would boost the range or speed of Wi-Fi beyond that of a standard router. Sky had provided testing data of the Sky Hub 4 from over 2,000 homes, indicating that speeds of 3 Mbps were achieved in each room 99% of the time. However, we understood that there was not otherwise any features of the service that could improve Wi-Fi coverage across the home or intermittent signal, as we considered the ad would likely be interpreted by viewers.

We acknowledged that the ad included claims relating to Sky’s money-back guarantee. It featured the voice-over statement “Sky Wi-Fi guarantees broadband that covers the whole home or your money back” and concluded with the on-screen text statement “Sky broadband WIFI FROM LOFT TO LAIR OR MONEY BACK”. We noted that the terms of the guarantee were also communicated, but only within the text supers at the foot of the screen that were visible for part of the ad, with the statement “Min. 3Mb/s in up to 12 rooms, or one month’s Broadband subscription back.”.

However, we considered the key focus of the ad was the messaging relating to Sky’s Wi-Fi coverage throughout the home with the claim “Don’t settle for patchy Wi-Fi”, and the depiction of the Minions restoring the Wi-Fi connection to devices in each room of the house with the new Sky router. We therefore considered that the statements informing viewers of the money-back guarantee were insufficient in counteracting the overall impression that Sky’s broadband service could improve patchy Wi-Fi.

Because we considered that the ad, as it was likely to be understood by viewers, suggested that Sky’s fibre broadband provided Wi-Fi coverage throughout a home and could significantly improve patchy Wi-Fi, we concluded that the ad exaggerated the performance of the product and therefore that it was likely to mislead.

As usual, the ASA banned the advert in its current form and told Sky Broadband to ensure that future promotions “did not misleadingly exaggerate” the performance of Sky’s fibre broadband in its capability to provide coverage throughout a home and improve patchy Wi-Fi.

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Mark-Jackson
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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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Comments
4 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Michael V says:

    Isn’t there a max output allowed for each of the two bands? 2GHz & 5GHz.
    I don’t think most of us really understand why each ISP claim their WiFi hubs are better than others.
    Saying that the stand up ones can provide better coverage than the flat ones. Position of antennas & things!
    My Vodafone home fibre hub does give rather wide coverage.

    I think it should be reviewed to allow a higher power level of at least the 5GHz band.

    1. Avatar photo Buggerlugz says:

      You could say the same for 4g and 5g the way its promoted. One large tree goes to leaf in your line of sight from a cell tower and your signal become rubbish. Its all smoke and mirrors and artistic licence. I struggle to believe anything or anyone selling services these days.

  2. Avatar photo Julian says:

    Is it just me who couldn’t care less about anything an ISP does except provide consistent low latency and bandwidth beyond their network?

    Routable IPs, consistent low latency, steady state maximum symmetric bandwidth are really all that matters.

  3. Avatar photo spotify95 says:

    Really not surprised about this happening. I noticed myself that the ad claimed 3Mbps in up to 12 rooms – which, if you count them up, is about the size of a 3 or 4 bedroom house. Most ISP routers can cover this OK with a single router – even the woeful Virgin Superhub 3 – using the 2.4GHz band to give 3Mbps. Even a weak 1-2 bar signal will still provide 3Mbps on 2.4GHz.
    Furthermore, 3Mbps isn’t really an adequate speed, as you’ll just about get away with standard definition video playback, but not HD video (or anything more intensive).
    A better solution for unbreakable Wi-Fi would be a mesh based solution – like what I’ve done with the TP Link Deco S4 set of mesh routers – now these truly give whole home Wi-Fi, and on 5GHz too.

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