BT misled consumers over arrival date of fast broadband finds ASA

BT has landed in trouble with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after the watchdog found it had misled customers over the arrival date of its Superfast Broadband product.

Three consumers contacted the ASA after questioning whether the estimated dates on both BT and Openreach (part of the BT Group) websites were misleading because in their experience the quoted dates were frequently put back.

In response, Openreach explained that, although a part of the BT Group, it is a "functionally separate" part of the BT business. It explained that it looked after the "first mile" and is responsible for the roll-out of Superfast Fibre Access network across the UK.

However BT explained that it is reliant on Openreach for the fibre activation dates that the telecoms company displayed on its BT Infinity availability checker. The company continued that it was therefore unable to comment on why individual dates may change.

After reviewing the responses, the ASA stated that although the original advertised dates were based on a likely estimated timescale to completion, the revised dates were "likely to mislead consumers" because they were not based on an analysis of how long the delays might possibly take.

The ASA said the advertised dates were misleading and told Openreach to ensure that estimated dates displayed on its checker were based on a robust calculation. The watchdog told BT not to display estimated dates on its checker unless it could substantiate that Openreach, as the provider of the fibre broadband infrastructure, was using a robust method to calculate those dates.

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.