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BT goofs with false fibre speed claims, ads watchdog doles out smackdown

BT has been ordered to smarten up its online speed checker after a probe by advertising watchdogs.

The telecoms giant was investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority after a member of the public questioned whether its download speed claims were misleading or could be backed up.

The complainant was initially informed by the checker that they could get superfast FTTC BT Infinity services with download speeds in the range of 23 to 33Mbps – but the prediction was wrong.

BT goofs with false fibre speed claims, ads watchdog doles out smackdown
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“The ASA understood that speeds could be checked via BT’s ‘availability checker’ by a specific phone number or by house number and postcode and therefore considered that consumers would expect that any resulting download speed claims would be accurate for their address,” the ASA said.

“We considered the download speeds quoted on the BT website would be a material consideration for consumers when deciding whether or not to take up BT’s superfast fibre optic BT Infinity product.”

The complaint was upheld by the ASA after BT Openreach confirmed it had checked the complainant’s line and confirmed that it lay outside the statistical range, and due to a variety of reasons, the complainant would be unable to achieve the quoted speeds.

BT responded that the speed ranges it quoted would be achievable by 80 per cent of consumers and cited a recent Ofcom broadband performance report as proof.

It said that Openreach had ‘carried out a detailed and large scale statistical analysis of possible speeds and the quoted values seen by the complainant were typical of what could be achieved by the vast majority of superfast broadband lines’.

The ASA said BT will have to provide more accurate information in future, and will have to change the way it presents speed data.

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