The advertisement featured an outline of the Dundalk area in lights with a symbol stating 100Mb. The following information was then provided:
“Dundalk, superfast fibre broadband is here!
Get unlimited 100Mb superfast fibre broadband plus unlimited home phone calls for just €40 a month
Also available in:
Call our dedicated switching team…Go in-store…visit eircom.ie”
The footnote of the advertisement referred to the fact that:
“…Fibre broadband is subject to availability and speeds may vary…”
The complainant said that he considered the advertising to be misleading as it gave the impression that the broadband service advertised was available in all of the nine towns listed, including Ardee, and this was not the case. He said that he lived within the town boundary of Ardee and he was unable to avail of the service as advertised. He acknowledged that the small print had made reference to terms and conditions being applicable to the offer.
The advertisers confirmed that there were eight cabinets in Ardee which were live and providing Fibre broadband to their customers. They confirmed that whilst the complainant’s home was not currently fibre enabled, their Fibre Checker showed that a number of addresses on the complainant’s road were fibre-enabled. The advertisers provided screenshots to substantiate this point. They said that the terms and conditions which the complainant had made reference to had included the fact that broadband was “subject to availability and speeds available may vary.” They considered therefore that their advertising was not misleading.
The advertisers when requested to provide information on the percentage of lines in Ardee which were fibre enabled said that this was information that would have to be provided by open eir and while eir and open eir were the same legal entity, Open eir had to treat all of their service providers in the same manner. They said that not all fibre customers in the same areas would be eir customers as other service providers also used open eir services.
In conclusion they said that given the nature of technology and the topography in Ireland there would always be customers who could not get fibre broadband even though their neighbours may be able to do so and to date they have always stated that eir Fibre broadband is subject to availability.
The Complaints Committee considered the details of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. They noted that the advertisement had made reference to the fact that superfast Fibre broadband was available in Dundalk and the surrounding areas, including Ardee. While they also noted that the advertising had made reference to the fact that “eir Fibre broadband is subject to availability” in the footnote that as per previous case 22915 & 22905 this was a significant factor that should have been referenced in the main copy of the advertisement. As this was not the case the Committee concluded that the advertising had breached Sections 2.22, 2.23 and 2.24 of the Code.
The advertising should not run in the same format again.