ASAI upholds Magnet ‘fastest broadband’ complaint against UPC

3 Feb 2012

In what seems like a case of ‘my data pipe is bigger than your data pipe’, the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) has upheld a complaint by Magnet objecting to UPC advertising its product as ‘Ireland’s fastest broadband.’

In the latest skirmish between the two broadband providers Magnet submitted a complaint last June stating that a TV advertising campaign by UPC was “misleading and exaggerated.”

After reviewing the case in December the ASAI stated that UPC’s absolute claim was inappropriate and instructed UC not to use ‘Ireland’s fastest broadband’ in its advertising again.

The core of Magnet’s argument rests on contention ratios on various competing broadband products. For example, Magnet says its 24Mbps ADSL2+ service is non-contended whereas UPC’s 25Mbp fibre cable system has a contention ratio of 8:1 and likewise with the companies’ competing 100Mbps fibre broadband services.

In a statement Magnet CEO Mark Kellett said: “By using the superlative ‘fastest’, UPC are claiming to offer superior speeds than all other broadband providers, which is clearly not the case.

“At the time of the complaint Magnet provided an uncontended 50Mbps broadband service where customers get the full 50Mbps – not diluted by sharing the connections with other users – so we believed UPC’s ‘fastest broadband’ advertising claim should be investigated by the ASAI. This speed has since increased to 100 Mbps.

“We are pleased that the ASAI upheld our complaint. Its ruling not only validates our objection but also helps provide a more transparent picture to the general consumer, who can often be confused by the technology and the numerous offerings available on the market today,” Kellett said.

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