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ASA replaces previous Virgin Media adjudication
Wednesday 10 December 2008 10:21:45 by Andrew Ferguson

Some may recall Virgin Media being up in front of the ASA back in October 2008 when the ASA said that to make speed claims you had to have evidence from all providers.

December 2008 sees the same adjudication surface again, with the complaints still upheld but a change of wording.

The ASA noted Virgin had based their "fastest" claim on throughput speeds rather than on advertised "up to" download speeds. We considered, however, that readers would be used to definitions of broadband speed in terms of download speeds and were therefore likely to understand the claim "fastest" as an absolute claim that implied it was not possible to obtain a broadband connection in the UK that permitted a faster maximum download speed than Virgin's service. We understood that, on the basis of a previous ASA adjudication, cable broadband technology allowed users, on average, to experience a faster broadband service in terms of throughput speeds when compared to the equivalent ADSL based service. We understood that that was due to the fibre-optic and co-axial cable technology such services used. We understood, however, that it was possible for users to obtain a broadband service with a faster maximum broadband download speed than 20 Mb, on an ADSL2+ based service, allowing speeds of up to 24 Mb. Because we understood that it was possible in certain instances for some customers in optimum conditions to obtain a faster maximum broadband download speed than Virgin's 20 Mb service, we concluded that such an absolute claim was misleading.

Extract from ASA Adjudication

What is interesting is that just 8 weeks on from that original ruling, we are in a situation where Virgin Media has gone public and said only two out of ten online speed testers are accurate on their 20Meg product, yet the firm was happy to use an award based on tests from a site such as Broadband Choices whose tester failed the Virgin Media 50Meg and 20Meg tests.

Comparing Virgin Media 20Meg cable services against ADSL products (up to 8Mbps) should be a contest with an obvious winner. ADSL2+ is likely to be a much closer race particularly once average results from customers are taken. While only 5 or 10% can get a faster download, people do manage it and one key advantage for many will be the choice of ADSL2+ providers and higher upstream speeds. One provider not mentioned at all is Ask4 who offer 25Mbps via fibre and Ethernet to developments around the UK, and it offers symmetric upload and download speeds starting at £15 a month for 4Mbps.

Virgin Media is launching its 50Mbps product on Monday 15th December, but Ask4 is keeping up by offering 50Mbps services to students in The Pinnacles Sheffield.

Comments

Posted by bosie over 8 years ago
Ask4's £15pm 4Mbps symmetric is extremely cheap, I wonder what the contention ratio is? I've been quoted £249pm for 5Mbps Ethernet symmetric, 1:1 though.
Posted by bezuk over 8 years ago
It is great to see a UK provider (Ask4) offering world class upstream speeds, just a shame the availability is so low. Also I vaguely remember Ask4 having some strange T&Cs such as only 1 device permitted (no NAT routers allowed) and no servers allowed - hopefully they changed that.

On VM though - hopefully if TBB mention their awful upstream in every news article they'll do something about it - but I doubt it.
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
So where are all these other ISPS, with their own speed test charts??? keeping quiet, 'cos they know its awful??

And as for VM cable, there are enough places that get 20M... some just complaining its only 12M...
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
here's a few poster's speeds from DS, where(being a proper forum) they have their location, speak a lot better, and actually talk about getting help from VM newsgroups, web and phone...

Great Yarmouth 10M
Chorley 19M
Central Lancashire 19M
East London 17M
South East 20M
Winchester 17M

you will notice not many here give any clue to where they are, CB sometimes says, as I do too...

- and of course you are being very vague, to justify the moaning....
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Expect a story about BT in trouble along similar lines soon.
Ive complained about an advert i saw in a newspaper today which proudly boasts their homehub provides the fastest wireless speeds in the UK. Obvious nonsense.
Posted by uniquename over 8 years ago
@CB The rider that the comparison is with the routers offered by the competition is fairly prominent though. I agree with you but think the ASA would find it acceptable.

@comnut Sorry I find your post incomprehensible as I have no idea what "DS" represents, especially as a lead-in to what seems unnecessary insults that again use the word "better" but do not specify better than what or who. Looks a bit like a dodgy claim in an advert to me.
Posted by CaptainW over 8 years ago
DS - Digital Spy perhaps???
Posted by jcym over 8 years ago
Bosie. On their Ethernet based services the contention ration is 50:1. Worst case, depending on speed chosen initially, 80Kbps to 500Kbps. Plus, it is only available in Sheffield and Leeds on new developments and student blocks.
Posted by c_j_ over 8 years ago
"an advert ... which proudly boasts their homehub provides the fastest wireless speeds in the UK. Obvious nonsense."

Same nonsense is on the TV too. How desperate must they be if that's the best they can come up with?
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
CaptainW: hey, someone who actually gets out a bit!! :D

go on, try another forum for a bit, guys... :)

Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
Hmm, yes, 'BT in fastest wireless speeds adjudication' shocker...

Will ASA kick BT out of bed?? :D :D
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
There now also seems to be a second BT advert in the press which not only says their homehub is the fastest but makes the claim with an asterick by the side that they are upto 2 times faster than other ISPs. Theres talking BS and then theres BT.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
ASA have got this wrong, fact is typical speeds on cable are higher than typical speeds on adsl, this should be the important factor not the fact about 1 or 2% of adsl users can get over 20mbit. This ruling is shortlived anyway as 50mbit cable is coming very soon.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Speeds on cable at 4am are higher, sure!

Speeds at 8pm? Um, yea. VM has massive, massive problems with UBR overloading, even before their "traffic management" kicks in at the relative congestion levels.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
I tend to agree with chrysalis, im no fan of Virgin but the fact remains they are "CAPABLE" of delivering higher speeds and often do. Of course when you can only MAX that speed for a few hours a day it makes it pretty pointless, but that is not the meat of the complaint.... YET!
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
The BT hub adverts I have seen talk about wireless range, not speed.

CB - please confirm.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Yea somerset you are correct in that regard those press ads are the original ones BT have ran for ages.

The NEW adverts claim their wireless and their homehub is faster than other broadband providers.... Unless BT have come up with some new mythical wireless technology for their homehub i dont see how that can be the case.
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
The advert I'm looking at today does not say faster. Can you copy the text.

'fast, reliable, wireless broadband' means the broadband is 'fast'. Not 'faster'!
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
There are TWO adverts the older one states things such as (and i quote word for word "THE BEST WIRELESS CONNECTION OF ANY UK BROADBAND" that itself is dubious the older ad also says "Up to twice the wireless range of other UK broadband providers" That is a complete and utter lie and broadband that has a router which uses the same wireless protocol as the homehub will be technically rated to transmit the same distance.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
The NEWER advert at first glance looks no different, however the quote about range has been altered from the above and now reads...
(again word for word) "Up to twice THE SPEED AND WIRELESS range of other UK broadband providers"
The OLDER ad also had a bit that stated "A more reliable connection throughout your home" The new ad now misleads more and says "The MOST reliable connection throughout your home"
Im sure you will agree those sail close to the wind...
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Both adverts were in newspapers around mid this week (what papers i cant remember or state but i know thats what the ads say as i have ripped them out to send to the ASA).
Posted by dragon1945 over 8 years ago
Homehub only gave me 512 kbps. I switched to Talktalk and got 1.6 MB. Looks like BT is telling porkie-pies.
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
AFAIK BT have 'profile' (??) that they stick too, so getting only 512k... TalkTalk have their own equipment, so get much more... :)
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Mm-hum. LLU? Well, then it's on different equipment and BT are hardly "telling porkies". Also, BT tend to be highly conservative about the speeds on long lines, favouring stability.

Carpet - Don't be even sillier. The wifi standard's don't specify transmission radius, and routers vary wildly in their signal strenght and carry.
Posted by ask4 over 8 years ago
We realise that the availability of our service is somewhat limited and are trying to grow as quickly as the market and technology will allow and are keen to bring our service to a greater number of people. After trialing both customer demand and service quality at The Pinnacles we hope to roll out our 50Mb service to our other sites in the near future.
Posted by backstroker over 8 years ago
Note for the summary subeditors. Superseded, please.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"Mm-hum. LLU? Well, then it's on different equipment and BT are hardly "telling porkies". Also, BT tend to be highly conservative about the speeds on long lines, favouring stability."

Complete dribble the adverts i refer to are to do with wireless HOME equipment not how you get broadband in your home.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"Carpet - Don't be even sillier. The wifi standard's don't specify transmission radius."
LMFAO me silly. You stupid BT praising NOOB...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Wireless_Networking_Standards
Each protocol has its own specific technical limits to speed and range. The claim by BT is nonsense, the only time their homehub would offer twice the range of others is if others were using 802.11G as opposed to 802.11N. Anyone using 802.11N rated equipment stands to get exactly the same range as the pathetic homehub does.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
LMFAO do you work for BT or do you just believe the complete tosh they spill? They cant even provide twice the speed over their own phone lines as others can let alone design a router thats gonna give twice the wireless range, especially when that router is based on a commonly available wireless protocol.... Get a clue or take some more meds for god sake.
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
Claim is against kit provided by other UK broadband providers. Do others provide N-technology?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"Do others provide N-technology?"
Firstly its not against "others" supplied equipment. If it were why dont they state "others supplied equipment?" The ads clearly state faster and a larger range than other "PROVIDERS" NOT "EQUIPMENT".
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Secondly Virgin now supply wireless N equipment on their new top end package. Equipment which will run quicker i may add (atleast technically as the modem and router are seperate). If the ads stated others supplied tech id probably say fine, but thats not what they say. (unless you had a very clear newspaper ad where you could read the small print). Thirdly as the claim is against "OTHER PROVIDERS" there is no arguement anyway, if you add a 802.11N router to even a slow 512k service your wireless range is likely to be the same or very similar.
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