O2 has been in front of the Advertising Standards Authority for complaints about two adverts in the national press.
A competing broadband provider complained that only around 5% of UK users could attain the headline speed on ADSL2+ technology and thus the adverts overstated the claims.
"Telefonica O2 UK Ltd (O2) said, when preparing the ad, they had followed previous ASA adjudications and CAP guidance, which required ads for high speed broadband services to state that top speeds varied significantly, in particular because of a user's distance from the local exchange. They pointed out that the ads not only pre-fixed the claim '20 Meg' with 'up to', in accordance with the established industry norm for advertising speeds, but also included an explicit, body-copy reference to the speed being 'dependent on location'. They also pointed out that the small print stated 'speed varies depending on factors including distance from the exchange and network coverage'. O2 added that the ad featured a link to their website which contained a significant body of information on their services."ASA Judgement
Based on previous rulings over the need for providers to use 'up to' in advertising it is perhaps no surprise the complaint was not upheld. The assessment did reveal some info on the performance of ADSL2+, namely that the majority of O2 customers on the Ultimate package achieved speeds of at least 8Mbps, which is to be expected as O2 only offer Ultimate to customers thought to be within 1.25 km of the exchange. One aspect that is pretty rare among providers, is that O2 contact customers after they've been connected a while and offer to downgrade to a lower priced package if their speeds are under 16Mbps. Customers can choose to stay on Ultimate to benefit from other aspects of the package.