Broadband News

Vodafone broadband guarantee gets the ASA treatment

  • Wednesday, September 12, 2018 9:41 AM
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If you can recall the Martin Freeman Vodafone Home Broadband adverts from March this year where he was playing an online game and the game/voice comms would drop out in the middle and the advert proceeded to promote the Vodafone Ultimate Speed Guarantee then you may have thought similar to the nine complainants that contacted the ASA (one was actually from BT).

The advert was challenged on the basis the speed was misleading and whether it could be substantiated. As is normal the ASA ruling looked at various chunks of data from Vodafone, but the end result is a ruling to not show that advert again and direction on how the guarantee should be worded in the future.

The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told Vodafone Ltd to ensure their future advertising did not mislead by stating or implying that their broadband ensured minimum speeds that were fast enough that customers did not experience common issues such as buffering when using their devices in the home to perform typical online activities, or that customers who experienced such issues would qualify for a reduction to their bill.

ASA action element from Vodafone Home Broadband ruling

The Vodafone guarantee is based on the sync speed reported by the router and people can claim their 15% off by using a button on the Vodafone app. As such the guarantee does nothing to ensure even if you meet the 25 Mbps minimum speed that even if connected via Ethernet direct to the router that video will not buffer, or that games will not suffer drop-outs, or even worse that there will be no drops in the VDSL2 connection with a 1 to 2 minute wait while the connection re-syncs.

The Vodafone website this morning does not always highlight the word sync speed with the guarantee and given how often people do not understand when we ask them what their sync speed is we suspect many seeing the current Vodafone wording will still equate the sync speed guarantee to them never seeing downloads drop below that value.

Guaranteeing a specific download speed some would say is easy if you have full fibre, but that is not true even then, since all the full fibre segment is doing is removing the variables of sync speed and line drop outs, full fibre to the home does nothing to change what happens in a providers existing fibre network.

The Ultra-smart Vodafone Broadband App is not really that smart, it is a fairly simple app that still needs you to log into the Vodafone router to do more complex tasks and the speed guarantee does require you to use the Vodafone hardware, which ironically for some seems to be cause of stability and video buffering problems e.g. we over over a number of weeks flipped from a VDSL2 modem using the Vodafone routers WAN port to using the modem built into the router, and the Vodafone router synced at a lower speed but also would have problems with streaming films every night, the exact same connection but with a cheap TP-Link VDSL2 modem in front of the Vodafone router and the buffering vanishes.

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