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Thursday, 9 July 2009

Cable companies continue to mislead the punters

For those of us in the UK, Virgin's Mother of all broadband adverts claiming to be 'fibre optic' have been driving us to distraction for quite some time. (Virgin is a cable company so in their case what they are flogging is FTTC - Fibre To The Co-ax) Now the misleading of the public is continuing in Holland with this advert.....

The problem is that bodies set up to protect the public from misleading adverts eg the Advertising Standards Agency are in on the act, for instance, by making rulings about complaints made when the Virgin ads first started to air in 2008.

The point being that ISPS and telcos have redefined many aspects of the broadband world to suit their own ends viz the redefinition of "broadband" from 2Mbps+ symmetrical capable of simultaneously transmitting and receiving voice, video and data (back in 1984) to "um...well, any data connection that we can get away with convincing Joe Public and government, Ofcom etc might be called 'broadband', however slow, incapable of doing more than one thing at once, asymmetric....." (you know the marketing spiel yourselves!).

The continuing failure by the telcos and ISPS to monitor their own marketing has not been assisted by Ofcom and other regulators, who seem to steer clear of getting involved in ensuring the consumers and customers are told the truth. All that is required is to lay down a few guidelines to telcos about what they rightly can and cannot call their products or claim about their networks.

Just because Fibre is the new black in the world of broadband, does not mean that everyone can suddenly include the word 'fibre' in their advertising to jump on the bandwagon. Unless consumers are accurately informed, and not misled by marketing departments, how on earth can they make the decisions about which products will suit their needs or understand how the changes in technology affect their ability to use 'broadband' to live, work and play online?

It is time for an EU wide enforcement of accurate advertising standards for the telcos before we have further consumer confusion with 'fibre broadband'. The rot has already set in, and it needs stopping NOW.

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