ASA to review advertising of ‘fibre’ broadband services

The UK’s advertising watchdog is looking into the way so-called “fibre broadband” services are marketed.
The UK’s advertising watchdog is looking into the way so-called “fibre broadband” services are marketed.
Over the last year, the ASA have announced major changes to the way broadband pricing should be advertised and published independent research into consumers’ understanding of broadband speed claims in ads.
The ASA are pleased that broadband providers have been sticking to our new standards on pricing, which states that the cost of line rental and broadband should be combined so consumers are not misled by the total monthly cost of their packages. We believe it is now much easier for people to see how much they will pay, when shopping around for a new broadband package.
Following their research on broadband speed, the sister body CAP is currently considering how best to tighten standards on speed claims in ads with an announcement expected in the next few weeks. They are also aware of evolving concerns about the advertising of ‘fibre’ broadband services. 
The term ‘fibre’ is currently used in advertising to describe both part-fibre and full-fibre broadband services.
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, the ASA 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, they will be considering whether the use of that term is likely to cause people to be materially misled. their work has already begun and they will provide an update with more information by the summer. 

In some cases, ISPs are advertising services as fibre that rely on slower copper wires for the final link to a customer’s home. The probe has been prompted by consumer complaints and calls from MP Matt Warman to investigate. Mr Warman said ISPs were misleading customers by giving them copper when they expected fibre.
In a statement, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it was acting because of “evolving concerns” about the way fibre broadband services were advertised, and recent changes to government policy, which meant far more people would potentially have access to such services.
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