THE UK ADVERTISING STANDARDS AUTHORITY (ASA) has rapped the knuckles of telecoms company EE for claiming to be "Britain's most reliable broadband".
Three complaints were made by rival BT against a direct marketing campaign by EE in which it quoted an Ofcom report that, it claimed, had found EE to be "Britain's most reliable broadband for staying connected" and that the low latency and jitter scores mentioned in the report meant that "EE is good for real time services such as Skype, video calling [and] gaming". BT argued that the campaign:
1. was misleading and could not be substantiated, because they did not believe that the Ofcom report referred to included any direct measurement of connectivity.
2. was misleading and could not be substantiated, because for the two measurements cited, latency and jitter, EE did not score higher than BT to a statistically significant degree.
3. was misleading, because it was not sufficiently clear that it related to fixed-line broadband only, rather than both fixed-line and wireless router performance.
EE responded that it had qualified the statements in the small print, however, the ASA upheld the BT complaint, as it thought that the explanations given in the body of the text were essentially too bold and unqualified compared to those clarifying statements.
It also found that while EE's latency and jitter were lower, they weren't significantly lower to the point of justifying the claim.
Finally, it said that EE had not made a clear differentiation between the service to the home, and the service between the bundled router and the equipment.
This latter part of the ruling reflects a change in attitude over the past few years, where previously the service quoted was only guaranteed to the home.
The ASA told EE that the advert must not appear again in its present form and that EE must be able to substantiate its claims in the future.
EE, which recently rolled out 4G to its 200th town, has come under scrutiny from Ofcom for its customer service levels, but then, so has BT.
We've contacted BT and EE requesting comment. µ