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ASA Takes Action Over Broadband Speed & 'Unlimited' Ad Claims

Gordon Kelly


ASA Takes Action Over Broadband Speed & 'Unlimited' Ad Claims

Took your time...

The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has this week confirmed it is at long, long last reviewing how ISPs and carriers market their Internet services. Key on the list: broadband speeds and use of the dreaded word "unlimited".

Speaking to newmediaage, ASA Communications and Policy Manager Lynsay Taffe said: "We’ve looked at a number of complaints about individual ads in the telecoms sector regarding access speeds and usage limits and found that applying a single policy to how telecoms providers advertise can pose significant challenges."

"It’s important that we look at this on a broader policy level with service providers, other regulators and consumer groups, rather than relying on individual ASA rulings that focus on a particular service on one platform," she added. "Therefore, the ASA has invited CAP {Committee of Advertising Practice} and BCAP {British Code of Advertising Practice} to review broadband speed and ‘unlimited’ use claims."

Good news I'm sure you'll agree. Of course it would have been far better news were this investigation started five. years. ago. In fact a number of companies have already made subtle adjustments to their marketing in response to complaints with most ISPs now quoting "speeds up to" in their literature and Vodafone scrapped all unlimited data branding in May, something O2 followed this month.

So thanks ASA and just in case you were wondering I hear tobacco advertising in Formula One is getting out of hand...

Source: newmediaage


June 18, 2010, 7:16 am

Good old ASA, closing the barn door after all of the livestock have fled and the barn has been converted to some office space.


June 18, 2010, 2:14 pm

I got a marketing call from BT Broadband not long ago telling me that after conducting a line test they estimated I'd get 9Mbps from their up to 20Mbps service. I was intrigued by the drop-off since I can see the exchange out of the window about 50 metres away. The best suggestion was that maybe the cable goes the long way round and I'm at the end.


June 18, 2010, 3:17 pm

It's absolutely obscene that companies continue to get away with advertising services as being "unlimited" when they quite clearly are not. I'm pretty sure if you look up "unlimited" in the dictionary, it doesn't say "subject to a 'fair use' clause which will be decided arbitrarily and opaquely".


June 18, 2010, 4:27 pm

I think a better way to start the article would have been "Took your fucking time..."

Sometimes swearing /is/ necessary :P.

Don't worry, I don't expect you to though.


June 18, 2010, 8:56 pm

'bout bleeding time! Those dubious 'unlimited' claims followed by small print exclusions have been one of the UK ISP's biggest credibility gaffs methinks. If that type of claim were in any other area of consumer law it would have been howled down long ago.

As a great sage once said: "The sun, the moon and the truth cannot be hidden for long...."


June 28, 2010, 4:08 pm

My Vodafone contract still says "unlimited"... so when I had a text from them the other day telling my I'd used this months data allowence I was a little confused. I called and asked what this was and was told I had a LIMIT of 500MB (which Spotify had eaten), the guy actually said that my "unlimited deal was limited to 500MB"!! The fact that all that data is going through my Vodafone Suresignal and not a Vodafone mast made no difference.

Having had a good rant at the poor guy I did get a refund of this months charges... but am still pretty pissed off with them!

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