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Product: Telecommunications (Broadband)
Advertiser: Ivertec Ltd
Medium: Internet (Company Website)
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10.
The advertisers’ homepage featured an aerial photo of a rural landscape with the text overlay “Connecting every rural home” under which was the additional line “New WIRELESS fibre speed broadband” and the word “WIFibre” in illustrative text below.
On the product plan page, above the WIFibre plans, text stated “Fibre broadband delivered wirelessly to your premises. Ideal for busy households, businesses and heavy internet users.”
The complainant objected to the advertising on the basis that the claim “Connecting every rural home” was inaccurate and misleading, as the advertisers only operated in Kerry and Cork. They said that the advertisers did not and could not claim to connect every rural home in Ireland.
The complainant stated that the claim offering “wireless fibre speed broadband” was misleading. They said that fibre broadband was delivered via cable while the broadband offered by the advertisers was a wireless internet service. They also said that fibre broadband delivered speeds up to 1,000Mbps whereas the wireless broadband offering delivered speeds of maximum of 50Mbps.
The advertisers said that the message displayed on their website was put forward to trigger interest in their broadband service in rural areas. They further stated that a brand message was not a product guarantee. They referred to other companies’ brand messages which they argued did not guarantee the brand promise to each individual customer.
The advertisers stated that it was common practice in the industry to use the term “Fibre” when delivering high speed internet services.
They stated that other, larger, broadband operations delivered their high-speed broadband over copper lines, and they branded this service as “Fibre Broadband”. They clarified that their fixed wireless service was delivered to customers using a combination of fibre and wireless technology, and so have branded this service as WiFibre.
In closing, the advertisers stated that during their sales process and installation it was made clear to customers that their service was delivered through fixed wireless technology connected to a fibre enabled mast in their area.
The ASAI Executive noted the ASAI Guidance Note on Marketing Communications for mobile phone and broadband service which set out that unless a service was a full fibre to the home (FTTH), it should be clear in advertising that it was part fibre.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response.
Issue 1 - Upheld
The Complaints Committee noted the contention that the claim “Connecting every rural home” was a brand message rather than a product guarantee. However, they noted the combination of “connecting” and “every” resulted in the statement being a specific product claim and that substantiation had not been received for the claim. They therefore considered that the advertising claim was likely to mislead and was in breach of Code Sections 4.1 and 4.9.
Issue 2 - Upheld
The Complaints Committee noted that WiFibre product was a combination of fibre and wireless technology. They also noted that the product was described as “Fibre broadband delivered wirelessly to your premises” and “New WIRELESS fibre speed broadband”, and that the top download speed offered was “up to 100 Mbps”. They considered that the association of ‘fibre’ and ‘fibre speed’ with ‘wireless’ was likely to mislead and therefore was in breach of Code Section 4.1.
The Complaints Committee told the advertisers not to refer to their service as connecting ‘every’ rural home unless they held evidence to substantiate the claim. The Committee also told the advertisers not to associate the descriptor ‘fibre speed’ with ‘wireless’ unless the technology could provide comparable speeds to fibre broadband