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BT Infinity ad boasting '8x faster' broadband banned by ASA

A BT Infinity ad promising "8x faster than the UK average broadband" has been banned by the advertising regulator for exaggerating and misleading viewers.

A BT Infinity ad promising "8x faster than the UK average broadband" has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority for exaggerating and misleading viewers.

The ad, which is still available on BT's official YouTube account (and embedded below), must not appear again in its current form, the ASA ruled.

Members of the public complained that BT's fibre-optic Infinity service wasn't anywhere near eight times as fast as the average, which the ASA upheld. BT claimed it referred to Ofcom figures that said the average ADSL download speed was 6Mbps, which Infinity (60-70Mbps) easily exceeds by that amount.

Hold on a mo, the ASA rightfully interjected, no-one thinks of ADSL as broadband. The fixed-line broadband average in the UK is 12Mbps, or roughly a fifth of Infinity's admittedly speedy service.

"Because the claims were not based on the most up to date data available at the time the complainant saw the ads, and because the ads did not clearly qualify the comparison, we concluded that [they] were misleading," the ASA said in a statement.

Viewers also complained that the ad's cutesy dating-advice scenario was unrealistic, not merely in the depiction of a student flat as something like a show home, but that Web surfing and image uploading occurred at impossible speeds.

The ASA ruled that was true too, as BT hadn't included a 'sequences shortened' subtitle in the future, to make it clear to viewers that it wasn't to be taken entirely seriously. However fast your broadband is, it isn't going to make a credit card check any quicker.

"We told BT to base their speed claims on the most up-to-date data and to present qualifications clearly in future," the regulator concluded.

What did you make of the ad? Are you on BT Infinity? Have you found it much faster than normal broadband? Make an unofficial complaint in the comments below, or over on our as-advertised Facebook wall.