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ASA bans Sky broadband ad
Wednesday 16 September 2009 16:04:00 by John Hunt

The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint about a Sky broadband advert with a headline of "Reduce your costs not your speed" which appeared in the national press. The ad went on to say:

"If you're in a Sky network area, we don't slow your broadband speed down at peak times - unlike Virgin Media and BT. We could save you money too"

Although Sky don't impose traffic shaping on their network, even if you exceed your fair usage policy, the advert implied that both Virgin and BT do this to all their customers at peak times, when it only actually happens to heavy users. The ASA upheld the complaint from BT and a member of the public deeming this statement to be misleading and has advised Sky not to run the advert again in its current form.


Posted by Rroff over 8 years ago
Ironically the sky ad isn't far from the truth atleast where BT is concerned - not sure about virgin...
Posted by danman7_200 over 8 years ago
This advert is 100% correct. BT not only traffic shape different protocols, regardless of usage, they will slow down your speed as well when you approach a rather low limit and are more expensive than sky. This isn't entirely BT's fault as due to OFCOM restrictions it costs sky less to provide a MB of data than it does BT.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Well, it's misleading, *all* ISP's do at least some traffic shaping. Why? Spam. Port 25 /allways/ has a rate limiter.
Posted by haydnwalker over 8 years ago
Virgin Media traffic shape all users that pass the Traffic Management limit, they don't take an average over a month to see who's a heavy user...
Posted by billford over 8 years ago
@ Dawn- not all of them.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Billford - Well yea, there's that wingnut spammer over in Yorkshire. But apart from that...
Posted by reech over 8 years ago
Daft. They don't pick up other companies who define unlimited as limited, yet they tell Sky off for explaining the pitfalls of internet with the largest cable company and biggest telephony provider? Wonder if ASA is getting backhanders.
Posted by billford over 8 years ago
My ISP doesn't shape at all... they operate greylist and standard spam filters on email, but that's it.
Posted by citizenx over 8 years ago
ASA, corporate friend. Funny how the likes of BT can blatantly mislead with impunity yet Sky who offer a far better service get a complaint upheld against them.

ASA should be replaced with an organisation who looks out for the consumer.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
@Dawn I'm not sure I'd call a limit on emails per hour / day / week / year traffic shaping, more controlling connections to their own servers. Operators like Be, VM, et al who have no DPI enforcement on their networks have no control over customers' application level port 25 stuff.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
billford - mm hum.

@Dixi - Well, I would. That's what it is after all. It's now being misused for other things, sure, but..
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
Is it? Seems to me it's no more traffic shaping that regulating the number of simultaneous connections on an NNTP server. Traffic shaping is strictly done at the network / transport layer not the application layer, where restriction of SMTP would be done based on how many mails were sent in a certain time period.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 8 years ago
'So BT won't slow down your broadband - as long as you don't do anything particularly demanding, in which case it will' quote from:
Posted by timmay over 8 years ago
This is stupid, Sky haven't said anything that isn't true in their ad.
Posted by sloman over 8 years ago
@ haydnwalker i'm on 50mb and don't get traffic shaped so VM don't do it on all packages
Posted by Drefsab over 8 years ago
I think the point is that any grand statements like this have to be clear and concise.

BT to throttle you that's not in dispute. VM now that's not quite the case, on their 50mb its wrong, and on their other products you don't get slow down provided you don't use more than so much in a certain time period. If you are within the limit's you don't have any slow down.

Because the statement isn't 100% clear and correct in VM's case it should not be allowed to be used in an advert.
Posted by rasczak over 8 years ago
Drefsab <quote>BT to (sic) throttle you that's not in dispute</Quote>

If getting an average speed of over 800 KBytes/Sec for a download, on a 7150 profile, is a throttled connection, then I must try downloading in the wee small hours then if I really need speed.
Posted by rasczak over 8 years ago

BT Retail only use traffic management on accounts they have deemed to be abusing the service, the same as Virgin. What parameters BT use to make that decision is not necessarily clear, but if you don't trip them, you don't get throttled. Sky appear to be claiming everyone on BT or Virgin is throttled at peak times regardless of other use, that is patently not true.
Posted by Cockroach over 8 years ago
Why are VM allowed to advertise their product as fibre optic? That seems like a much bigger lie than this.
Posted by herdwick over 8 years ago
The ASA go along with VM's view that the "majority" of the connection is on fibre, which is also the case on ADSL :-)
Posted by coroder over 8 years ago
I work for an enhanced IT support desk within BT and I can confirm 100% that BT throttle speeds(On bussiness and residential) at peak times on all ports except port 80. They reduce the speed to roughly 15% of what you should be getting. Peak times are (as far as i know) Midday to Midnight on weekdays and 8am to Midnight weekends.

See here for proof

BT's 'fair use' also starts around 50GB for BUSINESS accounts, no idea what the limit is on residential.
Posted by CaptainW over 8 years ago
ASA is a complete joke IMO - perhaps like their HD ads recently, Sky should run some ad's explaining what their competitors do block/throttle - that way everything is out in the open
Posted by ruskin0 over 8 years ago
They are quite correct in what they say lol, they have just slowed it down period despite apparently having speeded it up. It can only happen in Broadband , in no other comodity would it be considered acceptable. Perhaps Mandy Pandy can sort that one out to lmao.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
I have serious doubts about the integrity of the ASA at the moment, BT are having a lot of decisions in their favour, if the ASA did their homework they would find BT shape all customers not just heavy ones.
Posted by rasczak over 8 years ago
Coroder1, If your claims are correct then right now, 10:10 on a Sunday, if I did a download on any port other than 80, I would get a maximum of 85% of potential throughput.
My sync is 7150, converting bits to bytes, doing a straight division by 8 so ignoring any control bits, gives a maximum potential throughout of 893.75 KB/s. 85% of this is 759.68 KB/s. So how did the download I just did on port 81 give an average throughput of over 812 KB/s, with peaks at over 880 KB/s ?
Posted by rasczak over 8 years ago
Chrysalis, as per my last comment, if it is all users how is it that I am not throttled ? You decide if I am a heavy user or not, about 4 GB in the last week, 6 GB this month though I have been more than usual in the last week.
Posted by DaveCheltenham over 8 years ago
Yes - They upgraded me from 40Gbytes/month to 10Gbytes/month. Needless to say, I ditched them.

When getting a MAC code, their call centre said a lot of people had done the same.

Posted by drone69 over 8 years ago
How do Bt get away with their latest ad then?
Don`t they claim other networks slow down at peak times.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
BT latest ad claims other isps slow down at busy times as you said drone96.
Sky are claiming the same thing except in different words.
BT allowed, sky banned.
Still awaiting a reply from the ASA as to how they concluded both decisions differently, when I rang up I was cutoff when I put the question to them.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
rasczak did you see the samknows isp tests?

on BT there was obvious shaping of traffic on non port 80 traffic regardless of customer usage.
Posted by iratepirate over 8 years ago
@billford. who is your isp please?
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