ASAI upholds complaint against Eircom over ‘misleading’ broadband ads

2 May 2013

The complaints committee of the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) has upheld a complaint made by a consumer against Eircom over its next-generation broadband (NGB) advertising, which fails to make it clear that 35pc of Eircom’s customers are not within an NGB-enabled area.

The ASAI has instructed the telecoms company to make it clear and identify where products are limited to next-generation broadband (NGB) exchanges.

A customer made the complaint to the ASAI after his broadband speeds plummeted from 7Mbps down to 1Mbps after he opted for a new NGB bundle.

He was told that because he did not live in a NGB-enabled exchange area he could not avail of the advertised bundles and as a result was automatically placed on a bundle that was available in his area but at a lower speed.

If he wanted to return to the broadband speed he previously enjoyed, he would have to fork out for a more expensive bundle priced at €55 per month.

The consumer complained that the advertising was misleading as it did not state that the bundles were only available in a NGB-enabled area.

Eircom said 73pc of lines in its exchanges could avail of NGB, meaning 27pc of consumers cannot avail of the broadly advertised bundles.

Eircom also admitted that of its existing customer base, 65pc were within an NGB exchange area.

The ASAI complaints committee studied the situation and said it was concerned that the advertising did not indicate that the bundles were only available to NGB-enabled lines.

In addition, there was no indication on the Eircom website of what alternative products were available to consumers outside of NGB areas, given that 35pc of Eircom’s customers are not within NGB areas.

The ASAI has ruled that the advertising must not be used in its current form and where products are limited to NGB exchanges they should be clearly identified as such.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years