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BT’s misleading Infinity broadband claims draw ineffectual punishment

Misleading claims in BT Infinity fibre-optic broadband ads have drawn fire from the UK’s advertising watchdog.

A non-misleading BT Infinity adThe Advertising Standards Commission has told BT not to repeat misleading claims made in several broadband adverts last year in the press, on TV and online.

Now the ASA has told BT not to repeat the ads in their current form – an order sure to prevent future over-the-top broadband claims.

Virgin and other broadband providers complained to the watchdog after three ads in August and September 2011 claimed BT let users ‘Share photos and videos at unbeatable speeds’.

BT’s ads also said: “Do more online with three times faster fibre optic broadband. Whether you’re into uploading photos and videos to Facebook, downloading all your favourite albums fast or streaming HD movies,” and that BT Infinity was four time faster than Sky broadband.

The complaints also alleged that BT didn’t make it clear that the speed claims only referred to certain packages.
BT said ‘sharing’ referred to its upload speeds, which were twice as fast as Virgin’s top speed at the time, and its broadband speed claims were based on Ofcom’s most recent independent report.

The ASA disagreed, ruling that ‘sharing’ can refer to both upload and download speeds.

BT also said the ads were not intended to refer to all the activities it listed in the same way, but the ASA also ruled this was misleading.

BT’s comparisons with Sky were also misleading because instead of being on the ad, readers had to follow a link to BT’s website to find a reference to Ofcom’s broadband speed report.

The ASA also agreed that the ads ‘implied the speeds would be received by all Infinity customers, not just those that had chosen the Option 2 package’.

Read the full ASA ruling on misleading BT Infinity advertising.

NOTE: Advert pictured is not the ad referred to in this report.

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