Broadband: Misrepresentation

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 20th September 2022.

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Photo of Drew Hendry Drew Hendry Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Trade)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has made representations to representatives of (a) Ofcom and (b) the Advertising Standards Agency on consumers being misled in respect of the sale of fibre to the cabinet products (FTTC) as full-fibre products; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), Minister of State

In 2017, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the UK's regulator of advertising, reviewed consumer understanding of the term ‘fibre’ as used in broadband advertising (particularly for part-fibre services such as Fibre to the Cabinet) and any impact the use of this term has on consumers’ transactional decisions. The ASA engaged with stakeholders and received a range of responses from providers of part-fibre and full-fibre broadband services, consumer organisations and other regulators.

The ASA published their findings in November 2017 and concluded by stating the following: “It is not possible to conclude that the word ‘fibre’, as currently used in part-fibre advertising, is likely to mislead and misinform consumers.”

Both the ASA and Ofcom are independent regulators and such matters relating to industry rules on advertising and broadband speed claims are a matter for their discretion.

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