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ASA Slap NTL - 128K = Not Broadband?

Posted: 09th Apr, 2003 By: MarkJ
Now this really is interesting, especially in the light of recent conflicts between both the UK government and Oftel as to the correct definition of a broadband service.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint by UK ISP Freeserve against NTL, the complaint challenged whether NTLs 128Kbps service could be considered 'broadband' in its adverts:

The advertisers said OFTEL and the DTI defined broadband as "higher bandwidth always-on services, offering data rates of 128 kbps and above" and enclosed OFTEL's Internet and broadband brief as substantiation.

They explained that the technical definition of broadband, as used by physicists, was a system where a signal was carried over a wide band of frequencies; ntl's service was transmitted in a 6 MHz channel, which was a broad frequency band, making it a broadband service within the technical definition.

The Authority noted OFTEL's Internet and broadband brief defined broadband as "higher bandwidth, always-on services, offering data rates of 128kbps and above" and acknowledged that the service met that definition. But, because it considered most consumers would understand broadband to mean a service of upwards of 500 kbps, the Authority concluded that the claim "broadband", without qualification, was likely to mislead.

The Authority welcomed the advertisers' agreement to remove the claim "High Speed" and asked them to include a prominent reference to the speed of the service.
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