ASA Bans BT Infinity TV Advert Over Fibre Speed Claims

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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You’ll never have to see the BT Infinity advert with the flatmates ever again

A television advert for BT Infinity fibre Internet has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which upheld claims the company misled customers.

The advert in question shows three student flatmates using a BT Infinity connection on laptops and tablets to access online dating services, transfer photo files and purchase concert tickets.

The commercial claims the speed at which the flatmates complete these activities is possible because of the eight times faster speeds available with BT Infinity, however the ASA says the claims made by BT cannot be easily qualified, while the speeds are exaggerated by the actors’ actions..

BT Infinity

BT FlatmatesBT’s eight times faster claim is substantiated by text at the bottom of the screen which reads “Speeds based on Infinity Option 2 average customer speed and UK ADSL average from Ofcom report Nov 2012.” At the end of the advert a voice over says “Eight times faster fibre optic broadband. Infinity, from BT,” while large text on the screen reads “BT Infinity. 8x faster fibre optic broadband.”

One complainant argued the Ofcom data was out of date, something BT refuted by stating the information was the most up to date available at the time the advert was cleared. The latest reports were published in March 2013, which BT said also proved its claims.

The company also said the speeds were not exaggerated in the advert as the pictures transferred between the two flatmates would have been between 20-80kbs in size and could be transferred in milliseconds.

The ASA acknowledged this, but said the large text at the end of the screen did not state the eight times faster comparison was with ADSL, not all fixed broadband connections, meaning consumers could be misled.

It also agreed that the actors in the advert exaggerated the possible speeds and has ruled the ad must not appear again in its current form and BT must base speed claims on the most recent Ofcom data available.

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