ASA: Virgin not the UK’s fastest broadband
The marketing spat between rival ISPs Virgin and BT has seen another advert banned, following a ruling that Virgin’s claim to have “the fastest broadband in the UK” was misleading.
Less than a month after a Virgin Media complaint about an “unbeatable broadband” advert from BT was branded misleading by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the ISP has won a tit-for-tat victory over a Virgin advert.
According to the ASA, BT challenged whether the claim of “the UK’s fastest broadband” was misleading and could be substantiated, and the complaint was upheld.
Virgin argued it had based the claim on official Ofcom figures, but the watchdog ruled that because Ofcom data doesn’t include all ISPs – smaller, niche providers, for example – the claim could be seen as misleading.
There were localised instances of niche providers or other ISPs not included in Ofcom’s reports that provided faster download speeds than Virgin’s
“The ASA noted that a previous adjudication, published in July 2011, had found that, because there were localised instances of niche providers or other ISPs not included in Ofcom’s reports that provided faster download speeds than Virgin’s, the absolute claim ‘the fastest broadband in the UK’ was misleading,” the ASA said.
Virgin usually qualified the statement by saying the claim was made in relation to broadband services which were widely available to UK consumers, but the ASA said that “would contradict rather than clarify the claim”.
The ASA ordered Virgin not to run the advert again but also said it “told Virgin not to claim that its broadband was the fastest in the UK unless it held adequate comparative evidence to substantiate that was the case”.