BT rapped over "misleading" broadband speed claims by ASA

Watchdog rules telco misled consumers over BT Infinity speed claims.

Broadband speed

BT has been forced to stop broadcasting ads for its BT Infinity fibre broadband service after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled it made misleading claims over broadband speeds.

The advert, featuring young people visiting an online dating site and booking tickets for a gig, has a voice over repeating the message that BT Infinity is eight times faster than the UK average.

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But following complaints from consumers, the watchdog ruled this was not the case, citing an Ofcom report on UK broadband speeds.

The ASA said the report, published in March earlier this year, stated the average download speed for fixed broadband connections was around 12Mbps. This meant, "BT's Infinity would be less than 8x faster than the overall average speed."

According to the ASA judgement, the ad for BT Infinity was misleading as was the text found on an accompanying website.

"We noted the on-screen text shown during part of the ad stated the comparison was with BT's Infinity Option 2 and the UK ADSL average, and we acknowledged that BT's service was eight times faster than the ADSL average," said the ASA in its adjudication.

"We noted the ad ended with larger on-screen text and a voiceover, which did not state that the speed comparison was with ADSL."

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The watchdog also said that parts of the advert, where a character updated their online dating profile, while another purchased concert tickets quickly, was also misleading.

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"We concluded that the features, in conjunction with the eight times faster claim, were likely to lead viewers to believe Infinity operated at or near to the speeds shown. Because we had not seen evidence that it did, we concluded the ad exaggerated the performance of BT Infinity," the ASA said.

Four people had contacted the ASA to complain the speed events happened in the advert had been "exaggerated".

The ruling means that BT will no longer be able to run the advert in its current form.

BT said that the figures were current at the time of broadcast, still hold true and did not believe the advert was misleading.

The adjudication summary can be found here.

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