ASA reviewing use of the word fibre in broadband advertising
The use of 'fibre broadband' in advertising to talk about G.993.2 and DOCSIS 3.0 (also known as Very High Speed Digital Subscriber Line and cable broadband) services has been under attack for some years and after clearing Virgin Media many years ago to use fibre in its advertising the ASA is reconsidering its stance given the political pressure for more full fibre (Fibre to the Premises - FTTP) roll-out.
"The UK Government’s recently published Digital Strategy made clear its commitment to invest in full-fibre broadband infrastructure, which is likely to make those services available to significantly more people, and also made clear its view that the term ‘fibre’ should only be used to describe full-fibre broadband services. A recent debate in Parliament saw those MPs who participated also expressing their concerns about the use of the term ‘fibre’ to describe part-fibre broadband services.
In response to that context and those concerns, we are now scoping a review of how we interpret the Advertising Codes when judging the use of the term ‘fibre’ to describe broadband services. In particular, we will be considering whether the use of that term is likely to cause people to be materially misled. Our work has already begun and we will provide an update with more information by the summer."ASA on use of 'fibre' in advertising
Many times when talking about VDSL2 (which can also be called Fibre to the Cabinet - FTTC) we use the partial fibre description and full fibre is evolving into the public friendly version of referring to Fibre to the Premises. Whatever the ASA decides on it is likely to please some and upset some, but some clarity would be welcome and then we can avoid adverts that promote fibre optic broadband but clearly show a coax cable with a metal core.
One of the problems going forward is that DOCSIS 3.1 that will arrive from Virgin Media at some point may be offering Gigabit download speeds and even with just DOCSIS 3.0 out there now average speeds for Virgin Media are close to full fibre services (and beating some), and G.fast while sweating the assets Openreach has will allow them to roll-out a 100 Mbps and faster service to millions quickly.
Perhaps the question is less about the use of the word fibre in advertising, but the constant pressure to dumb down and not talk about technical definitions but rather find safe marketing friendly phrases.