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ASA upholds complaints about BT Infinity dating advert
Wednesday 11 September 2013 11:18:39 by Andrew Ferguson

The ASA walks an unusual position as while it regulates the advertising world it is relies on the advertisers complying with its rulings, and the latest broadband ruling is interesting as it is not totally clear what was actually wrong.

Everyone who watches TV and does not skip the adverts will have seen the BT Infinity advert about the three students and the cringeworthy matching making in one advert, it seems people have complained that the time for uploading his photo was unrealistic and the sequence for buying the gig ticket was too fast.

BT did attempt to explain that the upload speeds on BT Infinity were lot faster than standard broadband, and suggesting the sort of profile picture uploaded would be just 100 KB in size (i.e. 0.1MB), our own calculations suggest that if using ADSL this would take around 1.5 seconds to upload, and on FTTC with a 9 Mbps upload speed it would be 0.12 seconds and on Infinity 2 it would probably be under the 100 ms mark. It would take someone longer to browse, find the image and press the upload button and notice the upload had completed! Now obviously if they did what most people do and just uploaded the full size image which might be 2 MB in size it would take longer.

The issue of BT not using the latest figures from Ofcom is reasonable, but the most worrying aspect is that the ruling is focused on the download speed, when the advert was really demonstrating the much better upload speeds of the service. The question is whether the ruling would be any different if BT had supplied technical testing to the ASA.


Posted by pcoventry76 over 3 years ago
Really? they complained over that? That's sad.

I don't get little men come out when I eat rice crispies - one for the ASA? no.

Some people really are silly.
Posted by tommy45 over 3 years ago
Not too sure about the reasons given, but ASA are IMO failing in a big way by allowing BTinfinity and any other FTTC based products too be called fibre optic as they definateley are not, if they where the copper pair would not be needed from the FTTC cab
Posted by Callumpy over 3 years ago
I was thinking exactly as tommy45, people are complaining about a petty thing such as the time it took to upload an image, but not the fact they call BT Infinity 'fibre' broadband.

It should be called VDSL or labeled as it is, FTTC.
Posted by zhango over 3 years ago
Does Persil really wash whiter?
Posted by pcoventry76 over 3 years ago
VM has an audio ad on Spotfiy where a guy is singing a song badly - and they then claim it's due to slow broadband.

Of course if they used VM's broadband the song would be longer due to the amount of buffering.

Posted by adslmax over 3 years ago
BT FTTC is not a 100% Fibre. It called BT Fibre To The Copper.

Fibre is the only for fibre to the house or fibre to the property as a 100% true fibre optic superfast broadband.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
Fttc stands for fibre to the cabinet.
Posted by jrawle over 3 years ago
FTTC isn't true fibre, but then neither is VM's offering. Both use copper cables of different types for part of the way. In that case, ADSL is also fibre broadband as data will have travelled over fibres for much of its journey! Few people have a true fibre product at home - it'll be interesting how they market it when it's more mainstream.
Posted by jren207 over 3 years ago
I need to make a complaint about the Volkswagen advert. I went to my local shop, and there were no cars on any shelves available for sale. I am outraged!
Posted by vicdupreez over 3 years ago
I too have long wondered why BT and VM gets away with calling the service fibre when it so clearly is not...
Posted by GMAN99 over 3 years ago

Simple, Virgin started it, they didn't even actually "do" anything physically they just re-branded it fibre. The ASA didn't mind so BT did it as well when they started to roll out fibre
Posted by chrysalis over 3 years ago
the advert is too dumbed down and that bit them in the back, if they clearly explained how the upload is faster then the ASA wouldnt have upheld, I have seen that ad many times and I didnt think it was highlighting upload speeds, wasnt obvious enough.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
The question really is whether an ajax spinning uploading gif is going to sell a product.

Are cleaning product adverts not a stylised reality everytime they are shown?
Posted by wellhiddenmark over 3 years ago
Perhaps the people who are complaining are those who are denied decent broadband services in their area.

I'd suggest that due to the way BT Openreach operate, this is the only way that people feel they can fight back against the decisions that are made against them.
Posted by undecidedadrian over 3 years ago
I thought the ad was an advisory about the dangers of meeting people online given how weird the guy is on the ad.

Or in the next installment we find out his "girlfriend" used to be called "Dave"
Posted by diablo401972 over 3 years ago
Bt is only boosting about there up load speed as they know there down speed is rubbish ill tell how bad they are im on asdl line ment to be getting 4mb but they are only giving me 1mb and this been going on since may and all I keep getting yea its a fault but we dont know where it is this company is a con there sales team tells the service is great then when you get its not and they dont want to fix it because they have you in contract they will tell you thats the speed you agreed to i dont think so bt
Posted by dsf58 over 3 years ago
Well I suppose, by BT and VM's logic we could all claim to be "on fibre" now - is any of the main backbone still copper?

Surely for "the average punter" "fibre" as a term is an irrelevance. What we/they are interested in is speed and reliability etc. Exactly how that is achieved is secondary.
Posted by fredforest over 3 years ago
Going back to the original bit about adverts, does that mean Barry Cook never drives that racing car or flies the Jaguar? I think we must be told.
Posted by nmg196 over 3 years ago
Even FTTH isn't "true fibre" either. You still need a copper cable to connect it to your PC. These stupid debates about where the fibre ends is pointless - whether it's 50 ft away outside at the cabinet or 10 ft away in hallway doesn't make any difference when the product is locked to 40Mbps anyway. A 40Mbps fibre to my house will still give me 40Mbps.
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