back to article ASA slaps down BT over 'misleading' broadband claims

Those toothless tigers gummy stripy cats at the Advertising Standards Agency have given BT a talking to over "misleading" claims about overall broadband speeds, outpacing packages from both Sky and TalkTalk. The Brit telco made an ad headed "Official", claiming it could "Superpower your broadband". It contained a cartoon man …


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  1. The Dark Lord

    Locking the stable door

    Once again, the ASA bans an ad AFTER it's been shown to the public.

    When is it going to implement pre-approval for all telco ads? The industry seems to be riven with persistent lies in advertising, and any sensible(*) supervisory organisation would have mandated pre-approval by now.

    (*) Yes, yes, I know that the ASA has consistently shown itself not to be a sensible organisation...

    1. SuccessCase

      Re: Locking the stable door

      Unlimited broadband. "It's unlimited I tell you" apart from the, er, limits.

      Still the Telco's are the inert bean counters who think sitting on their price cartels is all they have to do and who have ignored HD audio and don't try to compete on International tariffs, and have done nothing about the problem of increasing numbers of sales calls. They have only succeeded in training their customer's to discover they are very often better off using HD audio with services like FaceTime audio and going for the nearest WiFi connection. I now just leave the answer phone on and never answer my house phone because of the silent calls I get from Indian service centres (like for spam, the cost to them of calling and only connecting up with an call centre rep when one happens to be available is extremely low). They are only succeeding in hastening their own transformation into commodity utility Internet Service providers.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Locking the stable door

      "When is it going to implement pre-approval for all telco ads?" Pollachius

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      not a sensible organisation???

      The ASA is about as useless as an organisation can get.

      It's glaringly obvious that company's can say and do whatever they want in adverts and the only repercussion will be a letter from the ASA telling them off - all after the ad campaign has run it's course.

      If the government wants to cut 'whitehall waste' then the ASA is the best place to start.

      1. Michael Strorm

        Chocolate Teapot

        "The ASA is about as useless as an organisation can get. [..] If the government wants to cut 'whitehall waste' then the ASA is the best place to start."

        The ASA is the advertising industry's self-regulatory organisation. On the plus side, this means that there's no "whitehall waste" going to fund it.

        On the downside it also explains why it has absolutely no legislative power and is "about as useless as an organisation can get". In theory they can pass things on to the Office of Fair Trading or OFCOM. Whether this simply doesn't happen, or it does and the latter bodies do nothing, is unclear to me.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The ASA is a powerless waste of space

    That is all

  3. Crisp Silver badge

    BSkyB makes one complaint about BT, and the ASA listens.

    Thousands of us make complaints about BT, and the ASA does nothing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BSkyB makes one complaint about BT, and the ASA listens.

      It really does help if your surname is Murdoch.

  4. Tim Brown 1


    "He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy!"

  5. An0n C0w4rd


    Has the ASA ever made an enforcement ruling while an ad was still in widespread use? If not, it's entirely a waste of space, especially if it cannot force repeat offenders (such as ISPs) to stop being naughty.

  6. Jemma Silver badge

    Who cares?

    The whole thing is so flakey that data rates fluctuate virtually every day anyway.. I'd much rather they commit to protecting whats left of our privacy. I'd also love to see the profit breakdowns of peoples payments for service as opposed to what they get paid for selling data on us. If it was possible to function within society without any form of connection I'd seriously consider it.. They're all as bad as each other..

  7. batfastad


    It seems you can basically make any claims you like in an advert, generate sales/revenue immediately, then worry about a slap on the wrist or a small fine from the ASA about a year later. Surely that's completely arse about face?

    Unless you're going to impose such massive fines as a deterrent for blatently flouting the rules. Oh, not that either.

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Stupid

      Why not ban them from advertising on the television for periods of time (Like 50 years)

  8. ukgnome


    How many times must the same drivel be peddled by ISP

    Personally I am waiting for ronseal to become an ISP, no fuss, no mess, no bother, does exactly what it says on the tin.

  9. Peshman

    Cat amongst pigeons

    I recently had a nice BT Openreach man come to install my Sky fibre broadband. He was honest enough to let me know that I could expect up to 40mb download and 10mb upload. In real terms it'll fluctuate between 35/38 and 7/10 after a couple of days. True to his word, that's what I got. The infrastructure all seems to be owned by BT and the engineers who come to install the line to your property seems to be owned by BT too. As an end user/consumer I don't really care who provides my service as long as I get what I pay for. AFAIK Sky are the only provider that don't traffic shape in any manner. That's why they get my business.

    I'm just sayin'

    1. chris 17 Bronze badge

      Re: Cat amongst pigeons

      I had a very similar experience too.

      Open Reach came, installed new lines around my house, told me what to expect and left. True to their word i received the service they said i would and sky claim to not traffic shape too which is a bonus on top of the discounted BB as i'm a tv customer.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BT at it yet again

    Add this latest one:

    * BT has "better performance" for up to 16Mb customers than Sky or TalkTalk


    To this lot:

    * fibre optic Infinity already available throughout Manchester


    * Oh, no, fewer people are complaining than ever before


    * BT's "six-month free broadband"


    * No, we've never intercepted web traffic


    * No, we've never had anything to do with DPI


    * No, we'd never do something like impose behavioural advertising trial on our customers without asking them first.


    * No, it MUST be your PC


    * No, we're not scamming prices.


    Pitiful, really

  11. bigtimehustler

    I agree the ad is misleading, but the reasons for the objection are questionable! The performance of the companies over wifi? Errr, thats entirely down the router in use surely and nothing to do with the ISP, granted they give you a router but you could just buy a different one if they are otherwise the fastest. Personally if they are indeed faster when wired then i'd choose them and buy my own router (not that the BT wifi router is bad anyway, its far better than the Sky offering anyway).

    1. Mr Flibble
      Thumb Up

      Similarly connection speeds. These are dependent to some extent on the modem (again, buy a different one and you may see some difference) but mostly on the line itself and, when it goes bad, on the Openreach part of BT's schizophrenia – and quite possibly on them being hit over the head with a blunt ISP (assuming that their support people are competent).

  12. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

    Misrepresented advertised broadband speeds?

    I refuse to believe it. Must be one of those April Fools stories.


  13. chris 17 Bronze badge


    Unlimited Broadband actually means limited to some extent that you can only find out by reviewing the products T's & C's that are buried in their website.

    Fibre Broadband: actually means fibre to some cabinet down the street and coax to you house. if you have fibre to some cabinet and twisted pair to your house (FTTC) you can't call it fibre!

    The ASA would never pre vet adverts as it would invite a severe beating from all concerned, as well as making them liable for any damages. At the moment they can try and claim to be on the side of the consumer. Like all national type agencies, they have an enviable ability to dodge scandal and controversy and deflect it to either the company concerned or the consumer.

  14. Tromos

    New advertising campaign.

    Simples. Just say "We're not Rupert".

  15. Zmodem

    every ISP except virgin uses BT's exact same network and any non BT engineer are probably still not allowed in any of BT's exchanges

  16. Da Weezil

    New Revenue for the exchequer?

    Its simple. Make the ASA a government body with powers to levy big fines and put that into reducing the deficit.

    Ah of course the snag there is that the big business mates of the politicians might respond with a huge cut in the bribe - sorry I meant political donations - they make.

    Party politics.... is there anything more corrupt?

    The current system is laughable and shows just how empty worthless it is.

    1. Zmodem

      Re: New Revenue for the exchequer?

      the ISP speed war is laughable, when BT setup its openworld ISP, it obviously gave itself 6x more wholesale broadband then any other ISP will ever have or need to buy

  17. PeterM42

    But we all know.....

    ....that BT stands for Bunch of T****rs

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