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ASA Unimpressed By AOL's 1Mbps

Posted: 02nd Jun, 2004 By: MarkJ
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint against AOL UK's 1Mbps broadband ADSL service. The complaint itself related to how the ISP could not deliver a true 1Mbps connection speed:

The complainant, who believed a connection speed of 1Mb was unlikely because the service was shared by many users, challenged the claim "1Mb Broadband".

They maintained that, under optimal conditions, the product was capable of providing connection speeds of 1Mb. The advertisers said the advertisement was intended to draw attention to the fact that the product was "up to 20 times faster than dial-up"; they said they were no longer using the advertisement.

The Authority noted BT's documentation stated that the BT IPStream Home products had an IP data rate option of "Up to 1 Mbit/s downstream, Fixed at 250 kbit/s upstream" available for End Users and that the products were "not suitable for End Users who [required] continuous bit-rate, full bandwith services".

The Authority considered the advertisement implied that the advertisers could provide a 1Mb connection speed to most users. Because the advertisers had not proved that, the Authority concluded that the claim "1Mb" exaggerated the likelihood of users achieving the maximum 1Mb download speed. It welcomed the advertisers' assurance that they had amended their advertisements to state "up to 1Mb" and advised them to consult the CAP Copy Advice team to ensure future advertisements for the service complied with the Code.

It’s a minor thing, although there are a lot of other providers that should take note. Advertise what you can deliver.
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