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Author Topic: Cityfibre Secure Judicial Review of “Misleading” Fibre Broadband Ads  (Read 299 times)


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The UK High Court has today granted Cityfibre permission to proceed with its Judicial Review of the Advertising Standards Authority’s decision regarding the use of “fibre” terminology in broadband ISP advertising, which the operator has often accused of being “misleading” for consumers.

The debate over what should and should not be considered “fibre broadband” in UK advertising has been going on since 2008, after the ASA allowed so called slower “hybrid fibre” or “part fibre” services (e.g. FTTC, or HFC DOCSIS networks that combine fibre with slower metallic copper or aluminium cables) to use the same wording as pure “full fibre” (FTTH/P) ISPs that take the optical fibre all the way to your home or office.

Pure fibre optic ISPs can deliver significantly faster speeds (i.e. they’re technically able to handle multi-Gigabit or even Terabit speeds) and are generally more reliable, while hybrid-fibre services tend to be slower and less reliable. Experiences do vary, depending upon the network setup and length of metallic cable, but generally there’s a big difference.

In the past, few paid attention to this debate, which is partly because FTTP/H networks were tiny, but today operators are in a race to deploy such services out to millions of UK premises. As such it has become increasingly important for ISPs to be able to highlight the advantages of a pure fibre line vs a hybrid fibre one. This is naturally made more difficult when your part fibre rivals are allowed to use the same terminology.

    Greg Mesch, Founder and CEO of CityFibre, said:

    “The High Court is seeing sense where the ASA failed to: this is the right decision for consumers and our economy. CityFibre challenged the ASA’s decision because consumers must not be misled into thinking they can get full-fibre benefits on a copper broadband network – they can’t: copper is dead.

    It is now time to sort out these advertising rules once and for all, and for the Government and industry to get behind the nationwide broadband targets set by the Chancellor. Companies are investing billions because of the transformative connectivity full fibre brings; the Court has a one-off chance to step in and make a difference for consumers before the mis-selling of broadband becomes the next PPI-style scandal.”
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The ASA was just completely useless. Or bent. An utter disgrace, and shown how pointless they are. Even when they do do something about rubbish adverts it is always so late that whatever commands they give out have become irrelevant because the ads have already done their job and the campaign may well be over. But a toxic brew of clueless journalists and media types plus BT’s constant doublespeak calling copper ‘fibre’ at every opportunity to make it sound sexier when they are talking about FTTC has already polluted the English language amongst those who are not technologically literate who seem to have amnesia about the fact that nothing ever happened, no-one ever came round and ran fibre optic cable into their house but they didn’t think that glaring omission was somehow very odd. The damage is already done and the public have been successfully fully confused hearing people talking about the ‘fibre’ that they don't even have, so it is more than a bit late but much better late than never. It absolutely drives me up the wall, but then I am an incurable pedant and hate to see language abused by fools.