BT wireless connection claim was ‘misleading’ rules ASA

A CLAIM by BT that it provides the “the UK’s most reliable wireless connection” is misleading and must not be repeated without evidence or qualification, the advertising watchdog has ruled.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the statement, in the context of the television advert it featured in, gave the impression that BT provided the most reliable wireless online experience.

But the internet service provider had not proven that the actual online experience was the most reliable and only referred to the BT Home Hub 3 router, according to the ASA.

BT’s tests did confirm that particular router was more reliable at maintaining a wireless connection despite interference from non-Wi-Fi devices such as baby monitors.

However, the ASA said the advert suggested that BT’s broadband service was the best in the face of “competing signals” and it wasn’t made clear that these signals were non-Wi-Fi devices.


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The ASA’s ruling said: “We considered that, although it was not BT’s intention, viewers were likely to infer from the context of the whole ad that the claim ‘the UK’s most reliable wireless connection’ meant that BT provided the most reliable wireless online experience.

“Because BT had not proven that the actual online experience was the most reliable, and because the ad did not contain a qualification to make clear that the ‘invisible network of competing signals’ referred to signals emitted from non-Wi-Fi devices, and the claim ‘The UK’s most reliable wireless connection’ referred to their Home Hub 3 router only, the claim was misleading.

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“The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told BT not to repeat the claim ‘The UK’s most reliable wireless connection’ in future unless they provided adequate evidence to substantiate it, or qualified the basis in which the claim was made.”

In response to the initial complaint, BT offered to include the qualification “Compared to all major Broadband Providers” to make the basis of the comparison clearer.

The ASA also upheld a complaint that the advert misleadingly implied that BT was the only internet service provider to offer a router that actively avoided interference.

BT said while other broadband providers offered routers that could avoid interference from Wi-Fi devices, they were the only broadband provider in the UK to offer a router which avoided interference from non-Wi-Fi devices.

But the ASA said that viewers would understand the voice-over “BT’s signal is designed to avoid interference, that’s why it’s the UK’s most reliable wireless connection” to mean that BT was the only broadband provider to offer a router which avoided interference in general, regardless of its cause.

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