Fight back Friday
BT and O2 have hit back at Virgin Media after the ISP backed a campaign to demand an end to misleading broadband advertising.
While it would appear the bid to end confusing advertising when it comes to broadband speeds has to be a good thing, it seems Virgin's competitors are not thrilled about Virgin trying to be the consumer champion and perhaps implying that other companies are not as honest when it comes to their ‘up to' speeds.
Virgin Media has backed a campaign called www.stopthebroadbandcon.org, urging people to support a call for broadband providers to publish the real speeds they deliver to customers...which Virgin already does. However BT has suggested Virgin Media's position is hypocritical.
A BT spokesperson said: "Virgin's website describes 'up to' speeds for its packages as it launches a campaign against this practice! In fact, in some areas of the site broadband is described simply as '10Mb' or '20Mb'.
"Virgin has pitched to customers: 'You're ‘not getting the broadband you are paying for'. However, it is the only ISP that charges based on speed, eg, up to 10MB, 20MB, 50MB. We can already see from social media that since the announcement of stopthebroadbandcon.org, Virgin's customers are saying that it has not provided the speeds they are paying for."
BT then took the opportunity to boast about its commitment to offering faster broadband services across the UK, even in less financially lucrative rural areas.
"Virgin has chosen to serve mainly highly populated areas with its broadband services. BT's broadband service goes just about everywhere: we supply the parts that others simply cannot, or do not want to reach. As a consequence of this and the laws of physics, our average speed across the UK looks lower because we are supplying broadband to customers that Virgin doesn't want, over very long lines, which cause loss of speed. We are proud to serve rural customers who would not have broadband at any speed were it left to other providers," the spokesperson said.
The ISP was then went on to defend its ‘up to' advertising speeds, which have already got it in trouble with the Advertising Standards Authority this year.
BT's spokesperson said: "In ads for broadband of 'up to 20Mbs', the 'up to' speed is a technical capability. It's a product description. It doesn't describe the actual speed every customer will get and most people understand what 'up to' means whether or not they understand the technicalities of broadband. It means that 'up to 20Mb is possible with this product. In fact, up to 24Mb is possible but we don't say that as so few people could get it in reality."
The ISP went as far as describing average speeds as ‘meaningless' for its customers as it pointed out that every line is different. BT has also called for standardised terminology in broadband advertising.
"All advertisers should use the same terminology and we must take care not to create a situation more complicated or confusing for customers than the current one," its spokesperson said.