BT slammed over misleading fibre broadband claims to Manchester businesses

The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint against BT over an advert that claimed that its Infinity fibre optic broadband was available to businesses in Manchester.

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The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint against BT over an advert that claimed that its Infinity fibre optic broadband was available to businesses in Manchester.

The poster advert was headlined ‘MANCHESTER BUSINESSES. IT’S ARRIVED’, followed by text stating ‘Fibre optic broadband is here. BT Infinity for business’. The small print added that it was ‘Subject to availability’, and required a BT line and a compatible router.

However, a business owner in central Manchester complained to the ASA that the claims in the advert were misleading after being told that BT Infinity was not available for her business.

In its ruling, the ASA said: “We noted the complainant was informed the advertised service was not available for her postcode and that it also was not available for many other postcodes in central Manchester at the time the ad appeared.

“While we noted the ad included the small print ‘subject to availability’, we considered the claims were likely to be interpreted as suggesting BT Infinity was generally available to businesses in Manchester. Because that was not the case, we concluded that the ad breached the code.”

Although BT argued that its fibre penetration in the area was above the national average at the time of the campaign (48 percent compared to 43 percent), and that many postcodes in Manchester did have fibre, it admitted that it could understand why the advert was misleading, and said it did not intend to use the claims again.

According to BT, 187 of the 489 (or 38 percent of) postcodes in the M1 area, and 140 of the 505 (or 28 percent of) postcodes in M3 were served by cabinets with more than 50 percent fibre enhancement.

The ASA ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form, and has told BT to ensure that their future campaigns did not state or imply that a service was available in a particular area if that was not the case.