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ASA Slaps TalkTalk Over FREE Broadband Availability

Posted: 24th Sep, 2008 By: MarkJ
The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld ten complaints against a TV advert for TalkTalk's "FREE" broadband service. Viewers complained that the ad was misleading because it didn't make clear that free service was available only in certain (unbundled) parts of the country; those living in other areas have to pay extra:

Assessment
Upheld
The ASA noted the free broadband service was not available in all areas of the UK due to the limited coverage of LLU. We acknowledged that TalkTalk did not have control of LLU but nevertheless considered that the ad did not make sufficiently clear that the free broadband service was not available to all TalkTalk customers. We concluded that the ad was likely to mislead.

The ad breached CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rules 5.1 (Misleading Advertising), 5.2.2 (Implications), 5.2.3 (Qualifications) and 5.3.1 (Accurate Pricing).

Action
The ad must not be broadcast in its current form. We welcomed Clearcast's intention to ensure that future ads were amended to clarify the limitations of service's availability.

The ruling will no doubt be noted by other unbundled (LLU) ISPs, many of which also suffer from a 'two-tier' pricing model. Naturally people living in areas outside of an unbundled (LLU) networks coverage are often forced to connect through BT's more expensive platform, which can cause prices to jump by up to around +£10 per month with some providers.
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