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ASA clears the 'Infinity, only from BT' advert
Wednesday 23 May 2012 10:10:11 by Andrew Ferguson

Two members of the public and TalkTalk complained about the first advert in the current series of BT Infinity adverts centred around the cleanest student house we have ever seen. They felt that the advert gave the impression that fibre optic broadband was only available from BT. The assessment from the ASA which did not uphold the complaints is below:

The ASA noted that the last bit of dialogue in the ad was, "Thanks fibre optic technology" and that this was followed by the voice-over, which stated, "Four times faster than average broadband: Infinity, only from BT." We also noted the on-screen text at this time stated, "4x faster than average UK broadband speeds [telephone number] Infinity. Only from BT [BT logo]". We considered that viewers would understand that "Infinity" was the name of the BT broadband product and that the claim "Only from BT" related to this product, not to fibre optic technology generally. Because we did not consider that viewers would infer from the ad that fibre optic technology was only available from BT we concluded that the ad was not misleading.

Conclusion from ASA adjudication

While we agree with the ASA that Infinity is only available from BT, the problem we see daily is that the general public are not aware that the Openreach service FTTC and FTTP services are available from other providers too. For the vast majority of the public who are not aware of the divisional splits within the BT Group they may assume that all other providers selling a FTTC service are just reselling something the same as Infinity.

Ideally we would like to see BT Retail adding a short note to its adverts, highlighting that the fibre based services are also available from other providers via the BT Wholesale and Openreach parts of the BT Group.

The whole issue of whether Infinity is fibre optic broadband was not considered, mainly due to an old adjudication that allowed Virgin Media to refer to its FTTN system as fibre optic broadband.


Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
So will TalkTalk stop whinging and advertise themselves now?

Common sense from the ASA Infinity is just a name!

Sky Unlimited - Only from Sky
Sky Talk - Only from Sky

Its just a name if you actually saw adverts from other suppliers there would be no confusion
Posted by jtthedevil over 5 years ago
While I can see that to the untrained eye, this fibre optic service may only be available from BT, but surely its up to the other companies to advertise, and for the consumers to search for the best deals.
The only adverts I have seen are for Virgin Media and BT Infinity. These are the big players with the big prices, therefore the biggest advertising budget. Others keep their prices down by hoping people will get interested in their product on the back of the big two's advertising.
Posted by Mudshark over 5 years ago
Surely BTs intention here is to make the customer think that fibre is only available from BT. Otherwise why say it? Does Ford car advertising say "Focus! Only available from Ford"? I think not.
Posted by herdwick over 5 years ago
I have seen adverts saying things like "If it doesn't say xxxxx on the box then it isn't xxxxx inside the box". Possibly Kellogg's.
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
But Infinity doesn't actually mean anything. They clearly don't say "Fibre broadband, only from BT" which is why the ASA cleared it

Infinity is only available from BT.

Up until now broadband naming has been BT Broadband, Virgin Broadband, Sky Broadband etc

BT have chosen to call it something else that is all

If they had said "BT Broadband only from BT" no-one would have batted an eyelid
Posted by undecidedadrian over 5 years ago
The only company I have seen advertising FTTC/P is BT, talk talk, Sky etc haven't done anything to raise public awareness so why should BT put "other FTTC providers avaliable"?
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
It's not BT or VM's job to advertise that other ISPs have fibre products.
BT and VM have budgeted for an advertising campaign, the others as yet have not.
For all intents and purposes there are only 2 sellers of fibre, BT and VM, in the absence of self-promotion new customers do not know there are alternatives. Yes, customers can do there own research, but the function of advertising is to capture that segments who can't be bothered to or to pre-empt their research.
Posted by KarlAustin over 5 years ago
Infinity is already well on the way to becoming a generic for FTTC like Hoover for vacuum cleaners.
Posted by AndrueC over 5 years ago
It's definitely a problem. A lot of people seem to think that FTTC means Infinity and that no other option exists. Then again the way their service is priced means that for most people there isn't any other option. I only went with IDNet because of the static IP address.
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
AndrueC, but surely only because of no other choice? When Sky start advertising Sky <insert their brand name> and Talk Talk start advertising TalkTalk <insert their brand name>

there is no problem, well, there's no problem now according to ASA

I assume people would also have a problem if added a "Only from Fluidata" to their Purefluid product?
Posted by AndrueC over 5 years ago
I don't blame BT for it. But I only recently left Be and I'm not the only one. What's noticeable is that nearly everyone is talking or asking about moving to 'BT Infinity'. They don't say 'FTTC'.
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
AndrueC, it's part and parcel of both BT and VMs push for market domination.
Compare the level of advertising they are both pushing currently compared to all other ISPs.
Neither Sky nor Talk Talks TV Adverts mention fibre currently, they're still recycling their generic BB marketing.
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
AndrueC most people won't know what FTTC is or even care, just that whatever this Infinity thing is that its faster

People won't have asked about ADSL2 or LLU either just.. oooo that sounds faster
Posted by undecidedadrian over 5 years ago

I think most people are saying they are off to BT infinity rather than FTTC as BT are offering a very competative package and are backing it with some advertising.

Sky and Talk Talk have almost been silent with their offerings, I suppose they would rather push their LLU packages and the smaller ISP's can't compete on price is what most consumers will look at.
Posted by creakycopperline over 5 years ago
AHH GMAN99...kicking another isp that isn't BT,
predictable, i guess they've let you out from under the boardroom table so you can perform your duty as propaganda mouth piece, either that or the bucket you spit into is full, you are a blind fanboy. irrationally defending BT for nothing more than fanboyism,and any comment you make regarding BT must be judged as one sided bias. as you're nothing more than a BS merchant, come on andrew remove my comment, it's telling the truth so it must be supressed. by the BT fanboy site.

Posted by camieabz over 5 years ago
The porduct known as "infinity" should have been corrected by the ASA. It in itself is misleading. Infinity could certainly be used as the broad name for the fibre rollout from BT Wholesale (Race to Infinity was good marketing).

Not only does 'infinity' mislead, it takes the 'up to' trend to extremes and pretty much throws out the idea that there will be limits. In fairness, 'Race to FUP' doesn't have the same snappy sales pitch.
Posted by herdwick over 5 years ago
creaky - if you address the topic rather than just attacking other posters you would do better.
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
Race to Infinity was a BT Retail marketing device. BT have been quite careful, only Retail calls FTTC Infinity.

Infinity is simply a product name, as such they do not have to be an accurate description of the product they are... A Ford Fiesta is certainly not a spanish party nor is an Alfa Spider a spider.
Posted by New_Londoner over 5 years ago
Reflecting on the actual story, if I were a TalkTalk shareholder I'd want to know whether my CEO was highlighting ineffective marketing activity but her team, or that it just wasn't happening at all. In either case I'd also be questionning whether it reflected well on the competence of the CEO herself rather than being distracted by the PR smokescreen of the ASA complaint.
Posted by leexgx over 5 years ago
other providers all call it <insert company name> Fiber

the other problem as well users could get bt FTTC 2-4 months before the resellers could start selling it

talk talk missed out on at least 3 of my customers as they would not offer it to them so they went full BT phone and BT FTTC

i have only seen One Sky FTTC user or should i say he rang me in the morning to say its been installed not sure if i bother going back to him as has he just bugs me to death
Posted by leexgx over 5 years ago
its also unlikely they ever switch in there life time to another provider now as they be no need to unless sky can offer it cheaper for the same service level
Posted by drteeth over 5 years ago
@ KarlAustin
Exactly the point I was going to make.
Posted by creakycopperline over 5 years ago
@herdwick fine,,, i'm going to staunchly defend VM, no matter what they do, kicking puppies to death, blocking torrent sites unfairly shafting customers, because that's what gmann is essentially doing.
Posted by michaels_perry over 5 years ago
Lots of factors about provision of 'broadband' services will be likely to be misinterpreted by the general public. 'BT Infinity' is a product name that doesn't accurately describe it. It is a FIBRE (note spelling please) Optic service that is usually installed as FTTC. FTTH or FTTP are similar technologies with different termination at the user end. But users are only interested in down/up speeds and costs. It is time marketers focused more on being accurate first.
Posted by AaronT over 5 years ago
Why attack BT or ASA? Fibre is available from PlusNet (for over a year) and now SKY (2 months), but PlusNet have Download limits (Although cheaper than BT) & SKY is way overpriced (costs more to add to package than PlusNet is Total), Virgin is not an option for most people as is not even available.
Talk Talk has such a bad rep I wouldn't consider it any way (they must be due to go bust by now anyway)
Posted by Anairb over 5 years ago
Don't know what all the fuss is about - you can't legislate for the stupider members of society. It's pretty obvious that the ad isn't saying 'only BT supplies fiber'. And, just in case you think I'm a BT Fanboy: I lived on the edge of Epping Forest till the end of last year. Infinity gave me a regular 38/9mbs of download and a wondrous 10mbs of upload. Then I moved to Hackney. I am within a fairly vigorous spit of the Olympic Stadium. No Infinity!! Back down to 9mbs dl and .98 ul. I am not a happy bunny....
Posted by orly2 over 5 years ago
BT have just marketed to perfection with it. Hardly any other ISPs bother but BT advertise everywhere and the perception is now that FTTC means BT. Presumably enforced by the fact a BT engineer will come to install it for you.
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