Sky slapped down over comparisons with Virgin Media
The toys over at Sky may be struggling with their Wi-Fi router, but the ASA has called the day on a direct mail letter/booklet campaign that Sky was running, which the ASA ruled exaggerated the effect of the Virgin Media traffic management scheme.
The complaints raised by Virgin Media were:
- the ad misleadingly exaggerated the effect of Virgin Media's traffic management policy on its broadband customers;
- the ad misleadingly implied that the majority of the sports and movie channels provided by Virgin Media were not available in HD;
- the ad misleadingly implied Virgin Media customers were unable to watch live 3D programming, which was untrue; and
- the ad was denigrating to the Virgin Media brand by presenting an overly negative portrayal of the service its customers received.
The complaints on points 2,3 & 4 were not upheld, but the ruling on the traffic management is interesting, as the ASA appears to have decided that the 30 Mbps service does not qualify as superfast - further confusing the already confused public and politicians ('customers receiving Virgin Media's superfast services, namely those with speeds above 30 Mb'). Virgin Media itself states that it has 64% of its customers on a 30 Mbps or faster package, the exact split is not known but around half of this 64% are thought to be on the 30 Mbps service. In our own testing, the 30 Mbps service delivers 30.8 Mbps to 10% of those using our speed test.
The comment by Virgin Media that their traffic management only affects a small percentage of their customers is a fairly standard one, but given the policy operates on a daily basis, if it affects 1% of customers each day, the proportion of the user base impacted over the course of a month could be much larger, unless it is the same ones breaking the STM limits each day.
The use of traffic management by Virgin Media means they are the last of big providers to utilise it, the question really is how long can Virgin Media continue like this. The internet rumour machine is suggesting Virgin Media are experimenting with turning off the STM system, but until it is announced officially it will remain a rumour.