BT 'instant internet' advert banned

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The Independent Online

A campaign for BT's fibre-optic broadband has been banned for misleadingly suggesting it provided "instant internet", a watchdog said today.

The national press ad showed a burst of light with large text stating: "BT Infinity. The birth of the instant internet."

It added: "Upload and share high-quality photos and videos instantly, download your favourite music instantly, enjoy multiple websites and online content instantly, stream HD movies and TV shows instantly."

Four people complained that the word "instantly" was misleading because they understood that, while BT Infinity might be faster than other broadband services, there would still be some delays.

BT said the headline "Instant internet" was a reference to the time it would take a user to get online and that the claim was not problematic because their service allowed users to do this in "less than a few seconds".

The company said the terms "instant" and "instantly" were used in a number of industries to describe products that were not delivered instantly, such as instant coffee and instant hair removal cream.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said consumers would understand the claims to mean that BT's fibre optic broadband could deliver the listed activities straightaway, or with no noticeable delay.

It said: "We noted that BT had provided a list of the times they believed it would take to complete the activities stated in the ad, using their fibre optic broadband.

"However, we also noted that we had not seen evidence that substantiated those times, or that showed what speeds could be achieved by customers using BT's fibre optic broadband, and that those speeds would be achievable by customers at times of high user demand and with non-optimal computer set-ups.

"Because we had not seen evidence to support the claims made in the ad, we concluded that it was misleading."

It ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form.