Broadband: Advertising

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 10th September 2018.

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Photo of George Howarth George Howarth Labour, Knowsley

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the Advertising Standards Authority’s decision that Internet Service Providers can advertise using the term fibre even when their network relies on copper and aluminium wiring.

Photo of George Howarth George Howarth Labour, Knowsley

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Government's UK Digital Strategy 2017, what progress he has made in ensuring that the advertising of full fibre broadband services is accurate and fair.

Photo of Margot James Margot James The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is the UK's independent regulator of advertising. It recently reviewed the use of the term ‘fibre’ to describe part-fibre and full-fibre broadband and concluded in November 2017 that the term 'fibre' is unlikely to mislead consumers as currently used in the advertising of part-fibre broadband services. Permission for judicial review of this ASA's decision has been granted by the Administrative Court. In June, the Administrative Court granted CityFibre permission to proceed with its Judicial Review of the ASA's decision.

On 23 May 2018, the ASA also implemented new guidance on broadband speeds advertising, stating speed claims should now be based on the download speeds available to at least 50% of customers at peak time, and no longer on 'up to' speeds available to at least 10% of customers. This is good news for consumers, who need clear, concise and accurate information in order to make an informed choice on their broadband, which is now a modern necessity. Ofcom has also updated its Code of Practice on Broadband Speeds recently.

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