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Sky win fight over Virgin ads
Wednesday 01 August 2007 15:05:26 by John Hunt

Continuing the feud between Virgin and Sky, following failure to find agreement over the basic Sky channels that used to be available to Virgin Media customers, Sky have taken Virgin to the ASA over misleading advertising. The adverts in question are headlined "The real deal" and feature a comparison of Sky's and Virgin's TV, broadband and telephone services, bringing to light how much better the Virgin service supposedly is.

The advert featured mainly a table of comparisons between Sky and Virgin products. The comparison of broadband weighted Virgin's 2Mbps connection with Sky's 8Mbps claiming for Virgin:

"Up to 2Mb with as many downloads as you want"

But for Sky:

"They say it's up to 8Mb but the further you live from the exchange the slower it gets. And they decide how much you can download"

Whilst there is some truth to their claims, the main problem is what they leave out.

Sky do impose a 40GB (gigabyte) maximum download limit on their 8Mbps customers to help manage bandwidth, where as Virgin impose a 350MB (megabyte) limit before reducing the speed of their customers by half (more on Virgin's traffic shaping here). The ASA looked at the issue comparing, in Sky's case, the reduction in bandwidth over distance to the exchange with contending of bandwidth in the local access network for Virgin; a problem DSL doesn't suffer from as it uses a dedicated link from the end user to the exchange.

Sky also questioned why Virgin didn't compare the Sky 2Mbps product against Virgin's. The 2Mbps product works over a longer distance, and as such, less people are affected by the reduction in speed as experienced on the 8Mbps product. Virgin claimed they were unaware that Sky offered such a product.

The ASA concluded that all 6 of the complaints against the adverts were valid, and upheld them telling Virgin not to repeat the ads and advised them to seek help from the CAP (Committee of Advertising Practice) Copy Advice team. Full details of the adjudication can be found on the ASA website.


Posted by keith_thfc over 10 years ago
"Virgin claimed they were unaware that Sky offered such a product"

Strange how Virgin have no knowledge of their competitors products - yet are all too keen to get together (BA) and fix prices to shaft customers when it suits them.

Posted by Dave2150 over 10 years ago
All NTL need to do, is the increase the basic package speeds, so that DSL cannot match them.

Then Id like to see how sky can compare speed.
Posted by rygar1 over 10 years ago
Err, it's not quite that simple Dave2150. Bandwidth costs money. Virgin already struggle with bandwidth with their existing packages (throttling, contention). Increasing the speeds on the basic packages would make that situation worse. I am sure they thought very carefully about which speeds on which packages would give them their best return.
Posted by comnut over 10 years ago
I had to laugh, when I recieved a leaflet from virgin..
"really fast broadband, its really fast."
(they repeat this soo much..)
I find the small print - its *only* 2Mbit... and of course, "subject to capacity", "subject to usage policy", "price will go UP after 12 months"

I can name plenty of ISPs that will provide faster, and 3 freinds that consistently get faster than 2MB... 3-4Mb on a slow day, rising to 6Mbits otherwise...
Posted by CARPETBURN over 10 years ago
LOL the Virgin Vs Sky thing really is boring now, its like watching 2 little brats argue.
Posted by keith_thfc over 10 years ago
Good luck to SKY. Have nothing against them as they have clear usage limits with no traffic shaping - unlike Virgin who pretend that "you can download as much as you like".
Posted by CARPETBURN over 10 years ago
Err keith_thfc you need to read skys terms and conditions
read from about half way down, clear usage limits eh? I dont think so their unlimited LLU products are nothing of the sort.
Posted by keith_thfc over 10 years ago

Re usage limits SKY have the following: Base(2Gb), Mid (40GB) and Max (unlimited). There is no traffic shaping on any of these to my knowledge.

What it says in T&C's and FUP's etc is largely irrelevant - the important thing is how the network is run in reality. And this tells SKY have never traffic shaped (unlike Virgin).
Posted by CARPETBURN over 10 years ago
quotes from sky "If you subscribe to a Product that does not have a Usage Cap, our Fair Use Policy (“FUP”)will apply to you and anybody that you allow to use Sky Broadband.."
"we may do one or more of the following things by notice in writing:(a) impose a monthly usage cap on your use of Sky Broadband which you must not exceed;(b) pair your use of Sky Broadband with other users in the same excessive usage category as you;
Posted by CARPETBURN over 10 years ago
(c) charge you fair and reasonable costs for your usage (and any reasonable administration costs) in excess of your Usage Cap;(d) suspend your use of Sky Broadband for the relevant month; or (e) end your Contract in accordance with Condition 11 of your Contract

Not so unlimited and some people have apparantely already had point 'd' implemented upon them. in some cases.
Posted by pshenton over 10 years ago
I know a few folk that got suspended two days after connection to Sky. With the comment they had exceeded download allocation. As for Virgin, they gave me the worst service possible in relation to download Kbs ratings. It was quicker to dial in by modem. A few others i know will no longer entertain using Virgin just because of speed related problems.
It was all solved when i went to Tiscali. Never looked back.
Posted by lucien_desgai over 10 years ago
I made a complaint to the ASA some time ago about a newspaper ad for sky which claimed an 'Unlimited' service in bold red lettering at the top, yet a 40gb per month limit in tiny black small print at the bottom.

The complaint was dismissed with a standard letter - what appeared to me to be bald-faced deception was apparently not in breach of the ASA code.

I don't know the relative merits of either side's case, but I do suspect that Virgin never had a chance.
Posted by rygar1 over 10 years ago
Don't recall Sky ever offering a service such as that. I think you may have simply got confused between different products. Since day 1 max has been unlimited subject to FUP (no actual figure mentioned in FUP though) and the other products have had a fixed limit such as 40GB/month.
Posted by chrysalis over 10 years ago
rygar1 but according to someone here on this site speed doesnt cost money O_o only the usage.
Posted by revoraman over 10 years ago
Biggest mistake was Virgin taking over Telewest/NTL.Their Customer Service was brilliant.Since Virgin Media took over,that Customer Services is now abysmal.Very good at fobbing-off andempty promises.I would not trust Virgin Media's ads making comparisons to Sky any more than the paper they were printed on !I subscribe to a 4Mb service and am lucky to see anything like it after running the speed test. Can't wait to ditch Virgin Media once year's contract is up
Posted by axionken over 10 years ago
I am pleased with my sky broadband. I get 5.9mb on a good day, 3.5mb when things are a bit slow(early evening usually). I switched from pipex up to 2mb but got only 900kb, to sky broadband connect up to 4mb getting about 3.2mb. Sky upgraded me for free when they installed the llu in the local exchange. I now get an average of 5mb for £5 per month.
Posted by ra2uk over 10 years ago
I have never had any issues with Virgin, Most times i call customer service i get though fast and get things sorted, and as i work in a customer service center for a competitor (which i will not say) it is the best. And also with my insode info, i have heard nothing but bad comments about sky. Also i get very good connection speeds
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