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ASA Upholds 'Be' 24Mbps Broadband Complaint

Posted: 24th Jan, 2007 By: MarkJ
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld complaints against an advert for 'Be Unlimiteds' unbundled (LLU) 24Mbps broadband ADSL2+ service, which is currently owned by O2:

Complaint

A press ad, for Be Un Limited, was headlined "up to 24 Meg broadband". NTL and a member of the public objected to the ad because they believed that the headline speed would be unattainable to most users. They believed that, with distance from the exchange, the service suffered from severe signal attenuation, which rendered the claim misleading.

.......

Adjudication

Although we accepted that speeds of less than 24 Mbps were unlikely to meaningfully affect the users' overall experience of the service so long as they were over 8 Mbps, we considered that some consumers would reasonably expect to achieve speeds in the range of the headline speed and might feel misled if they could only achieve speeds of around 8 Mbps. We noted the small print disclaimer in the ad and considered that many consumers would have some knowledge of the limitations and factors that affected ADSL broadband service speeds. We considered, however, that the significant drop off in the speed of Be Un Ltd's service for some customers was a significant enough condition to warrant a more detailed disclaimer in the body copy. We concluded that the ad was likely to mislead.

We noted Be Un Ltd's co-operation throughout the investigation and their willingness to amend their ads in line with the Bulldog adjudication. We asked them to state in the body copy of future ads that top speeds varied significantly, in particular because of a user's distance from their local exchange.

During October last year the ASA upheld a similar complaint against Orange, not to mention another for Bulldog during September.

UK ISP's must be increasingly careful of how "faster" broadband speeds are promoted given the vast variance in performance that customers often experience.
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