The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint against broadband supplier Be after rival NTL and a member of the public complained that the ISP's Be unlimited service could not supply the 24MB speeds it promised.
The complainants claimed that the 24MB advertised speeds were unattainable for most UK residents since it relied on being very close to an exchange equipped for ADSL2+ and that Be had a very small coverage area.
Be responded by pointing out that it only advertised in areas with the ADSL2+ exchanges, and stated that "a significant proportion of users" could get over 16Mbps if they were within 1km of their local exchange.
The ASA said in its ruling: "We considered that some consumers would reasonably expect to achieve speeds in the range of the headline speed and might feel misled if they could only achieve speeds of around 8Mbps.
"We noted the small print disclaimer in the ad and considered that many consumers would have some knowledge of the limitations and factors that affect ADSL broadband service speeds.
"We considered, however, that the significant drop off in the speed of Be unlimited's service for some customers was a significant enough condition to warrant a more detailed disclaimer in the body copy."
Be cited a similar case in which the ASA ruled that Bulldog's 8MB service was allowed to be advertised at that speed because of signal degradation but, while this was noted, the ASA ruled that the Be unlimited advert was misleading.
However, the ASA praised Be for its constant co-operation and willingness to change the adverts immediately.
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