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ASA orders EE to drop broadband reliability claim from ads

Advertising watchdog ASA has told EE not to repeat a misleading claim that it was ‘Britain’s most reliable broadband for staying connected’.

The ASA agreed with a complaint from rival BT about a direct marketing ad in which EE also said it was better than BT, Sky and TalkTalk because its broadband service had less jitter and latency.

BT complained that the ad was ‘misleading and could be substantiated, because they did not believe that the Ofcom report referred to included any direct measurement of connectivity’.

“Because we considered that consumers would understand the claim to relate to reliability of a broadband connection, including fixed-line and wireless router performance, and EE had not provided sufficient evidence to substantiate the claim, we concluded that it was misleading,” said the ASA.

Although the EE ad was based on Ofcom’s bi-annual UK fixed-line broadband performance report, the ASA agreed that EE’s latency and jitter were not significantly better than BT’s figures. 

BT also complained that the ad mislead customers because it was not sufficiently clear that it related to fixed-line broadband only, rather than both fixed-line and wireless router performance.

EE responded that it had qualified the ads in the small print, but the ASA said the Ofcom report didn’t support EE’s claim, and that most people would believe reliability claims would relate to all broadband connections in a house.

EE has been told not to run the ad again in its current form, but the ASA did not uphold another complaint by BT over EE’s BrightBox router.

BT said that EE’s claims to have the UK’s first plug-and-play fibre broadband router were also false – the ASA ruled that the BrightBox beat BT’s Home Hub 5 to the market with its self-installed routers.

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