The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld its decision to block two BT television and web adverts, saying that the company's connection speed claims are misleading.
The ASA confirmed blocking the advert, saying BT's claims that its Infinity broadband service is "eight times faster" are misleading as it was not clear what the figure was relative to.
The report from the ASA said: "We noted the on-screen text shown during part of the ad stated the comparison was with BT's Infinity Option 2 and the UK ADSL average, and we acknowledged that BT's service was eight times faster than the ADSL average. We noted the ad ended with larger on-screen text and a voiceover, which did not state that the speed comparison was with ADSL."
The authority also upheld a second claim that a section of the television advert showing off the speeds of the photo transfer and upload, and the ticket buying processes, exaggerated the performance of BT Infinity.
"We noted BT's assertion that the photo transfer, upload and ticket buying process was possible due to Infinity's eight times faster average speeds based on technical tests, which were not submitted," read the report.
"We considered whether consumers would understand that the sequences were shortened to accommodate the photo and ticket purchase features during a short ad. We concluded that the features, in conjunction with the eight times faster claim, were likely to lead viewers to believe Infinity operated at or near to the speeds shown. Because we had not seen evidence that it did, we concluded the ad exaggerated the performance of BT Infinity."
The report added that the information was similarly misleading in an advert on BT's website. "The website made a similar speed claim and the comparison was not qualified by reference to ADSL. Because the claims were not based on the most up-to-date data available at the time the complainant saw the ads, and because the ads did not clearly qualify the comparison, we concluded that ads were misleading," read the report.
The ruling means BT will not be able to run or display the adverts in their current form. A BT spokesperson defended the advert's claims, arguing the ASA's ruling is overly harsh. "We do not believe that consumers are likely to be misled by BT’s Infinity ad. The on-screen text was sufficient to clarify the claims.
"It's also clear that the speed of BT Infinity makes it possible to carry out the activities depicted in the ad extremely quickly. The ASA has previously seen similar evidence to that submitted in this case and accepted it. The ad was also pre-approved by Clearcast, the relevant TV clearance body."
The news comes during a wider push by BT to increase the reach of its fibre optic broadband service. Most recently BT confirmed inking a £22m contract to expand to offer superfast broadband in the county of West Yorkshire.
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