Virgin Media gets Vodafone in trouble for misleading Gigafast Broadband claims

Vodafone gets reprimanded by ASA after Virgin Media complaint

Vodafone has been reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after Virgin Media filed a complaint that challenged its ‘Gigafast Broadband’ webpage.

The broadband ad appeared on its website and referred to its ‘Vodafone Gigafast’ broadband service. The text read: “Blast off at an average of 900Mbps…” which was furthered with: “Enjoy lightning-fast internet speeds with Vodafone Gigafast Broadband…. We offer a range of speeds for as little as £23 a month.”

Its competitor Virgin Media challenged whether the claim “Gigafast Broadband” misleadingly implied that the entire service was capable of delivering speeds of 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps).

In response, Vodafone said it used a ‘fibre to the home’ infrastructure that is capable of delivering speeds to the router at 1Gbps.

Claiming to have trademarked the name ‘Vodafone Gigafast,’ it said the ad contained a prominent statement that disclaimed the claim made in the service name.

Despite Vodafone’s justification, the ASA still chose to uphold the webpage, although not for Virgin Media’s original claim, but for misleading pricing.

It felt that the page did not imply the entire service was capable of delivering speeds of 1Gbps because Vodafone referred to a range of packages offering average speeds from 100Mbps to 900Mbps. The ASA said this was clear to consumers and was unlikely to mislead them.

However, it did find issue the text that read “enjoy Vodafone Gigafast Broadband speeds for as little as £23 a month” because it felt customers would assume they could get a service that could achieve speeds of 1Gbps for as little as that.

It, therefore, upheld the website page for implying customers could get a service that offered speeds of 1Gbps for £23 per month.

This is the second time this week the ASA has been linked with internet and advertising.

On Monday (15 April) the High Court of Justice ruled in favour of the ASA over its decision to allow the term 'fibre' to be used in advertising by service providers to cover broadband delivered over hybrid networks.

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