Broadband: Misrepresentation

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 5th September 2022.

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Photo of John Nicolson John Nicolson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has made an assessment the potential impact of the mis-selling of fibre broadband products on consumers; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of John Nicolson John Nicolson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has made an assessment of the potential impact for consumers of copper and cable products being sold as fibre products.

Photo of John Nicolson John Nicolson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make representations to Ofcom on the potential impacts of the mis-selling of fibre products on consumers; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Matt Warman Matt Warman 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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