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BT’s ‘misleading’ fastest fibre speed ads banned

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has banned three BT adverts which promised the “fastest speeds vs standard entry-level fibre”, following a complaint from rival Virgin.

BT’s ad campaign featured Hollywood star Ryan Reynolds, and claimed the company offers the fastest fibre broadband speeds for the lowest price.

But the ASA has ordered the ads, which it called ‘misleading’ and in-breach of the UK advertising code, to be pulled after Virgin Media lodged a complaint.

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The watchdog said:  “We noted that the major broadband providers against whom BT had compared their service, all advertised a slower maximum speed for their cheapest option.

“However, we understood that there were other providers on the market whose cheapest (or only) service options advertised faster maximum speeds than 52 Mbps, in some cases significantly so.”

“We therefore considered that, given the likely consumer interpretation of the claim, ‘fastest fibre speeds as standard’ had not been adequately substantiated.

“In light of the above factors, we concluded the ads were misleading and breached the codes.”

In the adverts, small print appears explaining the “fastest speeds” refers to a comparison between “standard entry-level fibre products of major broadband providers.”

However, it seems this was not enough to keep the ASA from pulling the ads and advising BT to make the clarify its claims in future campaigns.

A BT Spokesperson said: “This complaint was upheld on a minor technicality relating to the exclusion of niche broadband providers whose products are only available on a limited basis in specific geographical locations, and not to the vast majority of the population (like BT Infinity).

“The fact is that no other major broadband provider offers their customers a faster fibre speed as standard, and on this point the ASA agreed with BT.”

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