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Virgin Media’s ‘broadband con’ ads challenged by Sky

Published: 30/03/2011 by Comments

Sky completely disapproves Virgin Media’s latest “broadband honesty”, a PR campaign set in motion by UK’s well known internet service company.

This campaign is now under the watchful eye of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Sky has asked the ASA to investigate Virgin Media’s “Stop the Broadband Con”.
Words like “wrongly implies” and “dishonestly deceive consumers” were read by Daily Telegraph in a letter Sky sent to the regulator.

A spokesman from Sky said: “All ISPs provide individual line speed estimates before any customer signs up, meaning consumers are making informed decisions about which broadband services are right for them. In helps explain the high broadband satisfaction levels Ofcom found in its own research. On that basis, we’ve asked the ASA to investigate Virgin Media’s campaign, which it now is.”

Virgin Media’s wasn’t targeted only through the ASA but on YouTube as well. The letter they’ve sent was also meant for one of Virgin Media’s videos posted on YouTube just before Christmas. A message containing “learn from Aladdin…Don’t get conned this Christmas” was Sky’s way of beating Virgin Media at the very game they both play, by referring to its own ‘Fairytales’ campaign.

Osborne Clarke, one of UK’s largest law firms and Sky’s very own lawyers stated that the: “implication that Sky ‘say they’ll give you superfast broadband but deliver a service stuck in the slow lane’”.

Another part of the letter contained the following lines: “[The ads] clearly go beyond the scope of robust and objective comparison and amount to an unjustified denigratory attack on Sky and its business practices.” Sky isn’t the only one complaining about Virgin Media’s online campaign. BT complained to the ASA about what Virgin Media did as well. Although attacked by two large providers, Virgin immediately tried to defend itself by saying that “Stop the Broadband Con” was not meant to “harm” the integrity of broadband speeds and connection services. The company’s spokesperson also said: “Consumers continue to be misled by broadband providers who simply do not deliver on their advertised speed claims”.

“The ASA, Ofcom, numerous consumer groups and thousands of internet users have all reiterated our call for change and we look forward to Sky stepping up to the challenge and being honest about their broadband rather than relying on the fairytales and broken promises of current broadband advertising.” A research was undertaken by Ofcom concerning the medium broadband speeds available for UK consumers. Ofcoum had found out that the internet speed increased in the UK from 5.2 Mb to 6.2 Mb, a result that came at the end of 2010.

Ofcom still wants Internet Service Providers to advertise their broadband connection speeds with the help of Typical Speeds Range (TSR), a service which points out the real rated received by the customer.

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