BT Rapped Again By ASA Over Broadband Advert

BT has been pinged by the Advertising Standards Authority yet again, following complaints over BT’s advertised broadband speeds

BT has had another advert banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which has rapped the UK telco over the knuckles for its broadband speed claims.

The advert that the ASA deemed misleading was a TV advert, featuring the BT “Adam and Jane” couple, which filmed Adam being shown around a house by an estate agent as he talked to  Jane on his mobile phone.

Jane is filmed viewing the house on her computer at home and loading another webite quicker than the estate agent at peak time. The estate agent apologised to Adam, saying “6 o’clock. Half the world’s online.”

Peak Time Claim

The advert then has a voiceover that states “BT is rolling out up to 20Mb speeds to give you a consistently faster broadband throughout the day even at peak times.”

It was this last statement that the ASA objected to in its adjudication, after it received 17 complaints from the public, as well as BT competitors TalkTalk and Virgin.

The complaints stated that the 20Mbps claim was misleading and could not be substantiated. Others felt that surfing a typical website using BT’s 20Mbps service would not be any quicker than its original 8Mb service.

ASA Rulings

“Because we had not seen sufficient evidence to support the claim that BT’s new broadband service was consistently faster than its existing 8Mbps service, even at peak times, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead,” ruled the ASA.

Furthermore, the ASA also ruled that BT’s 20Mbps service is not available to most people.

“We noted BT’s new service was available to fewer than half of all households and the roll-out increasing that figure to 75 percent was anticipated to take around two years,” the ASA said. “We noted that a significant proportion of the population could not get the service at the time the ad appeared and therefore considered the ad should have made that clear. Because it did not, we concluded that it was likely to mislead.”

The watchdog has ruled that the adverts must not appear again in their current form.

“We’re disappointed by the ASA’s overall adjudication, but pleased that it rejected Virgin’s and TalkTalk’s claim that BT does not offer consistently faster broadband speeds than the industry average,” BT told eWEEK Europe UK in a statement.

“We were concerned by a number of factors in the ASA’s adjudication, for example, that not all customers could achieve consistently faster speeds – this was based on the fact that less than one percent could not do this,” it added. “The ASA also commented that we should adjust our data to allow for differing line lengths. Had we done this in the way suggested it would have increased our lead over other firms.”

“When the ads appeared we wanted to highlight our offer of consistently faster web browsing through up to 20Mb broadband in newly enabled exchange areas; there was no intention to mislead,” said BT.

ASA Clampdown?

This is not the first time BT has come under fire from the ASA. Earlier this month it was pinged for one of its fibre adverts that boasted that its fibre-based service could deliver the Internet ‘instantly’.

It seems that the ASA is tightening up its scrunity of service providers. In July Orange was forced to pull an advert that claimed its 3G network had a better reach than its rivals, after a compliant by rival operator 3UK.

In June, Vodafone was rapped over the knuckles by the ASA over advert claims concerning its Sure Signal femtocell. That advert stated “Only Vodafone can guarantee mobile signal in your home.”