Fibre broadband adverts to be investigated

Apr 13th '17

Over the last year, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have announced major changes to the way broadband pricing should be advertised and published independent research into consumers’ understanding of broadband speed claims in ads.

They are pleased that broadband providers have been sticking to their new standards on pricing, which states that the cost of line rental and broadband should be combined so consumers are not misled by the total monthly cost of their packages. The ASA believe it is now much easier for people to see how much they will pay, when shopping around for a new broadband package.

Following our research on broadband speed, their sister body Committees of Advertising Practice is currently considering how best to tighten standards on speed claims in ads with an announcement expected in the next few weeks.

The ASA are also aware of evolving concerns about the advertising of ‘fibre’ broadband services.

The term ‘fibre’ is currently used in advertising to describe both part-fibre and full-fibre broadband services.

The UK Government’s recently published Digital Strategy made clear its commitment to invest in full-fibre broadband infrastructure, which is likely to make those services available to significantly more people, and also made clear its view that the term ‘fibre’ should only be used to describe full-fibre broadband services.  A recent debate in Parliament saw those MPs who participated also expressing their concerns about the use of the term ‘fibre’ to describe part-fibre broadband services.

In response to that context and those concerns, the ASA are now scoping a review of how we interpret the Advertising Codes when judging the use of the term ‘fibre’ to describe broadband services. In particular, we will be considering whether the use of that term is likely to cause people to be materially misled. Work has already begun and they will provide an update with more information by the summer.

Source: ASA – 31/03/2017