TalkTalk ticked off for “UK’s safest broadband” claim

TalkTalk has been censured by the advertising watchdog for claiming it has the “UK’s safest broadband”.

TalkTalk ticked off for

The ISP made the bold claim based on its HomeSafe service, which provides free, network-level content and malware filtering to TalkTalk customers. BT and “two members of the public” questioned whether the “UK’s safest broadband” claim could be substantiated.

HomeSafe only offered a basic range of security features

TalkTalk said it was the only ISP in the country to provide such network-level filtering, which “meant that all devices accessing the internet via that router would benefit from the protection the service offered, and the number of devices enjoying that security was unlimited”.

TalkTalk pointed out that the security packages provided by other ISPs would need to be installed on each computer individually, and that the software licence only covered a limited number of PCs. Devices such as Macs, games consoles and smartphones would also be left unprotected, TalkTalk added.

That argument didn’t win over the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which cast aspersions over the level of protection offered by HomeSafe in its adjudication.

“We considered that customers could interpret safest as referring to a number of features, such as virus protection or protection from hacking, and that HomeSafe only offered a basic range of security features,” the ASA ruled.

“We did not consider that consumers would interpret ‘safest’ as referring to blocking of inappropriate content, and restricting access to certain sites at certain times.”

The ASA also accused TalkTalk of confusing customers. “We considered consumers were unlikely to understand what ‘network-level security’ meant, as it was not a commonly used term in home broadband, and that it could be easily misinterpreted to refer to other features such as the security of the wireless connection,” the ASA stated.

“We considered that the claim implied that customers would enjoy the safest online experience when using TalkTalk broadband, and that the qualification used did not sufficiently counteract this impression.”

TalkTalk was, of course, merely told not to run the ads again.

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