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Virgin Media dethroned of speed crown by ASA
Wednesday 13 July 2011 16:31:42 by John Hunt

Virgin Media are not the fastest broadband provider according to an Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruling following complaints by members of the public that wording used in a Virgin Media TV ad, "Fibre optic broadband from Virgin Media. The fastest in the UK" was misleading. The TV ad was shown in October and November 2010 and featured the Warner Brothers character Speedy Gonzales with a voice-over of the speed claim. The issue was raised alongside various other complaints from both members of the public and ISPs such as BT and XILO about speed claims and comparison between products.

In the particular ruling about the fastest broadband speed claim, Virgin claimed that they didn't think the market had changed significantly since 2009 when the ASA had judged that Virgin's 'fastest broadband' claims were unlikely to mislead. They quoted an Ofcom report which showed the limited number and availability of next-generation broadband products that offered fasted speeds. The ASA did not however feel this was still the case.

"We noted that the claim was based on the findings of the Ofcom report, which covered 90% of the market. We also noted, however, that there were localised instances of niche providers or other ISPs providing trial products to a limited number of consumers that offered speeds that were faster than Virgin's. Although the availability of those providers was limited and Virgin's availability was much wider, we nevertheless considered the claim suggested it was not possible to obtain a broadband connection in the UK that permitted a faster maximum download speed than Virgins service. Because it was possible, however, for customers in some localised areas to obtain a faster download speed, we concluded that such an absolute claim was misleading."

ASA Assessment

Interesting to note is that Virgin could argue that they do indeed offer faster services through trials, with a 200meg broadband version of their products in testing, and a separate limited 1.5Gbps trial to businesses in Old street. Of course, whilst this is the case, under the ASA ruling, they would not be able to continue to advertise their existing services as the fastest broadband available, but they could still stake claim to the fastest service which is available generally, even if it is only on trial.


Posted by krazykizza over 5 years ago
"The TV ad was shown in October and November 2011"

Quite sure we haven't had those parts of the year yet!
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
Hopefully they will stop chasing those headlines speeds if they aren't allowed to be advertised in this way now.
Posted by NilSatisOptimum over 5 years ago

They must be fast, so fast in fact time travel is here!
Posted by otester over 5 years ago

I have a feeling they will go for 200Mbps so they can get their crown back.
Posted by russianmonkey over 5 years ago
It's still misleading as their headline speed doesn't necessarily relate to their actual speed.
Posted by creakycopperline over 5 years ago
well there's a surprise, gmann dissing another telco that isn't BT. never saw that coming.
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
Its not dissing creaky you'll find many others on here are calling for Virgin to expand their footprint and not their speeds its common sense.
Posted by Bob_s2 over 5 years ago
By any reasonable definition though Virgin are the fastest withn a a generally available produce particularly in the retail market

There are a few faster products but they are not widely availble and are priced for the business market

Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
Sure. "we" all know what they meant by it and its right, but "we" only represent a minute fraction of the public that see the ad's
Posted by Dixinormous over 5 years ago
They could do with finishing the rollout of the higher upstreams and 100Mb before introducing another new tier.
Posted by creakycopperline over 5 years ago
i agree they should expand their coverage,
maybe into areas that BT won't touch with nga, because they if they won't do it, they know no one else can because it's their poles and ducts,
so it's still a monopoly.
Posted by otester over 5 years ago

VM isn't in a position to expand at the moment, only patching holes.

Remember that over expansion nearly destroyed the company to begin with.
Posted by creakycopperline over 5 years ago
@otester if you build it they will come.
Posted by JDPower over 5 years ago
So the ASA upheld the complaints, Virgin are guilty of misleading the public, yet no punishment. So they (or any other company) can throw more lies into their next ad campaign and all they have to worry about is not being able to continue that line of advertising, long after they'd already finished?!?!
Posted by Bob_s2 over 5 years ago
Virgin for all reasonable purposes are the fastest.

The ASA are arguing on a technicality in that there are a few proviers that can provide fasters services at great expense in a limited number of areas.

Virgin is the only company that can provide a 100Mbs over a reasonable area of the country and at home users prices.
Posted by iPodSlaaf over 5 years ago
This comment should be read very carefully by both "KrazyKizza" and
"NilSatisOptimum", it is obviously time for you both to visit an optician
It does not say "2010" in this article it says "2011". Pathetic, worthless, ill-educated morons! (If you managed to read that correctly you will see
that I was calling you "Morons" and not "Mormons").
Posted by iPodSlaaf over 5 years ago
It seems that I too have need of a visit to an optician, my comment
Should of course said "It does not say "2011" in this article it says
"2010". My comment regarding your obvious lack of education still
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