The Advertising Standards Agency has forced Virgin Media to end its online campaign for greater transparency about internet speeds in broadband advertising after. After complaints from BT and BSkyB the ASA decided Virgin's campaign was misleading.
The BT and Sky had complained that the campaign exaggerated the extent to which Virgin was faster than its rivals. The campaign included a website, entitled 'Stop the Broadband Con' which said that other ISPs failed to deliver the speeds promised to broadband customers. Virgin has been ordered to withdraw the site after the ASA in its ruling said: "We considered the ad went beyond highlighting the disparity Virgin believed existed between advertised broadband speeds compared to those that were delivered and implied that other ISPs dealt with consumers dishonestly in relation to broadband speeds."
In response to the ASA ruling Virgin Media said: "Advertising 'up to' broadband speeds you can't deliver is a con. The ASA, Ofcom, numerous consumer groups and thousands of internet users have all reiterated our call for change and, instead of complaining about a legitimate effort to give consumers a voice in the debate, Sky and BT should step up to the challenge and start being honest about their broadband."
The ASA is set to make a ruling on how broadband speeds can be advertised, and may outlaw the current practice of publicising 'up to' speeds, where the best possible speed attainable in the area is marketed to all consumers.
See also: Broadband advice and speed test