CITYFIBRE HAS FILED a judicial review against the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and its 2017 decision allowing ISPs to use the term 'fibre' to describe services delivered over copper-based networks.
Back in 2008, the ASA gave the green light for 'hybrid fibre' or 'part fibre' services, such as FTTC or G.fast networks that combine fibre with slower metallic copper or aluminium cables, to use the same advertising spiel as those offering 'full fibre' services.
Following pressure from MPs, the ASA agreed to review its position and in November 2017, it concluded to recommend only minor changes. At the time, the ASA said that 'fibre' was not one of the priorities identified by consumers when choosing a package and that consumers did not notice 'fibre' claims in adverts.
CityFibre argues that, by allowing ISPs to use 'fibre' branding for slower hybrid fibre services, the ASA is not only permitting but encouraging firms to mislead customers.
"ISPs could, for example, advertise services over a copper-based network as 'ultrafast fibre broadband', actively misleading the consumer into believing they were purchasing the most advanced fibre service available," CityFibre said.
Greg Mesch, chief executive at CityFibre added: "You could hardly expect an automotive manufacturer to get away with advertising an 'electric car' when the most electric part of the car was its windows.
"The time has come to do away with 'fake fibre'. The ASA's short-sighted decision to allow yesterday's copper-based infrastructure to masquerade as the future-proof full fibre networks of tomorrow is a clear failure in its duty.
"It has failed to ensure honest and truthful broadband advertising, it has failed to enable consumers to make informed choices and it has failed to support a national infrastructure project critical to our success in a digital age."
In a statement given to the Telegraph, an ASA spokesman said the body would respond to the application for judicial review "in due course".
However, in an earlier statement, the ASA, said the term 'fibre' was viewed by consumers as "one of many generic buzzwords." µ
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