ASA admonishes Virgin Media over UK fastest broadband claim
The tit for tat war as the advertising departments in BT and Virgin Media analyse each others adverts continues, with BT complaining about an advert for the Virgin Media 50 Mbps service that was headed "Put yourself in pole position with up to 50 Mb broadband" and carried the line "Get the edge in gaming with the UK's fastest broadband, now half price for 6 months. - 7x faster than UK average download speeds".
BT wanted the "UK's fastest broadband" claim to be substantiated and felt it was misleading. The data backing up the Virgin Media claim was from the Ofcom speed testing, which only covers some 90% of the UK broadband market, i.e. the largest half dozen or so providers. We think more crucially the advert in a technology magazine appears to be promoting gaming where latency and jitter are more critical than raw download speed, something that BT and the ASA appear to have not mentioned at all.
The complaint was upheld because there are some smaller providers in the UK who do provide faster speeds to consumers, mainly because the advert could be interpreted as conveying the message that there are no faster options, no matter how small their coverage. Virgin Media usually adds a qualification such as 'widely available', which in this case was missing.