Broadband battle – Magnet in war of words with UPC

13 Jun 2011

Broadband and TV provider Magnet has accused rival broadband and TV operator UPC of distributing misleading information to business customers and has also made a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) over its use of the word ‘fibre’.

UPC has denied the claim and has argued that Magnet is basing its claims on out-of-date literature.

Magnet’s complaints centre on an information sheet that it says UPC had been issuing to businesses that it says incorrectly claims Magnet’s 24Mbps service had a 12:1 contention ratio as opposed to its 1:1 contention ratio.

Magnet also points out that the document claims minutes it charges SME/business customers are, in fact, residential out-of-bundle rates, which are inclusive of VAT and not excluding VAT, as claimed in the information sheet.

The company says these tactics are having an impact on its business, with sales people having to dispute the claims made by UPC when talking to existing and potential customers.

In response, UPC said: “We confirm we have received a letter from Magnet in relation to SME only. The marketing literature referred to (targeting SMEs) was correct at the time of print (in January 2010) and is no longer in use.”

War of words over ‘fibre’

In a separate development, Magnet says it has made a complaint to the ASAI over UPC’s use of the word ‘fibre’ in its advertising of its Fibre Power service.

In its complaint to the ASAI, Magnet says the technology used by UPC is actually a fibre coaxial cable mix, thus not pure fibre.

“As per Clause 2.11 of the advertising Code using the word ‘fibre’ Magnet believes UPC is falsely misleading the customer to believe that they have a fibre to the home connection,” Magnet said in a statement.

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