BT Infinity advert banned for misleading consumers


BT has been forced to withdraw a television advert for its BT Infinity broadband service, after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled it made misleading claims about broadband speeds.

The advert featured people using tablets to visit an online dating website and to book tickets for a forthcoming music gig. In a voiceover, as well as in on-screen text, BT repeats the message that BT Infinity offers speeds eight times faster than the UK average.

However, following consumer complaints, the ASA found that the speeds offered by BT Infinity were not eight times faster than the UK average, according to the latest Ofcom report on broadband speeds.

The ASA said the March 2013 Ofcom report states the average download speeds for fixed broadband for all connections was 12.0Mbit/s, "which meant BT's Infinity would be less than 8x faster than the overall average speed."

It therefore said the advert was misleading, as was the text on an accompanying website.

The ASA also said parts of the advert showing someone quickly updating an online dating profile picture and buying concert tickets speedily were also misleading.

The ASA said: "We concluded that the features, in conjunction with the eight times faster claim, were likely to lead viewers to believe Infinity operated at or near to the speeds shown. Because we had not seen evidence that it did, we concluded the ad exaggerated the performance of BT Infinity."

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The advert must not appear again in its current form, BT was told by the ASA. It also told BT to base their speed claims on the most up-to-date data and to present qualifications clearly in future.

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It is disappointing that Ofcom and the ASA are both ignorant about so-called internet and broadband 'speeds'.  All internet and broadband signals travel at or very near to the speed of light and no ISP can affect this or manipulate it in any way. The quantity measured in terms of Mbit/s is in fact a Data Transfer Rate (Rate for short), NOT a speed.

Sorry viclud you are wrong.   Speed is movement relative to time.   So we have:  miles per hour,  metres per second for distance and for flows of liquids gallons per minute or litres per second etc.   Even solids can be transferred as kilograms per hour.    When it comes to fibre optic broadband, the modulated light beam travels at the speed of light but put simply the "bits" of data can be spaced at different distances along the light beam.    Therefore the data will arrive at a "speed" of bits/second (or more usually Mbits/s).  The data is normally sent in small packets mixed up with other packets. i.e. more than one person can be sending data down the same light beam.  The more packets there are the slower the speed each person will see, though the carrier beam is still travelling at the speed of light.   Fortunately light travels pretty fast so a lot of data can be sent down fibre optic cables.