ASA strikes down EE broadband advert following BT complaint

EE has received a slap on the wrist from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over a broadband advert which BT complained about.

BT was displeased to say the least when it spotted a direct mail campaign by EE, in which the company boasted it had "Britain's most reliable broadband for staying connected".

EE based this claim on an Ofcom report from last summer, in which the company said it was demonstrated that EE customers "experienced less latency than BT, Plusnet, Sky and TalkTalk customers", and furthermore less jitter.

BT blasted the advert's claims, saying that the "most reliable broadband for staying connected" phrase was misleading and unsubstantiated as the Ofcom report in question didn't include any direct measurement of connectivity.

BT also complained that the ad didn't make it clear that EE was referring purely to the performance of the broadband pipe (as opposed to the 'connection' as a whole including the router's performance back to the user's device). In other words, BT claimed that EE had no right to infer its router was better than BT's own hardware (as the ad also mentioned EE's "inclusive Bright Box router").

Furthermore, BT also took EE to task because the two statistics it cited, latency and jitter (latency being the delay of a connection, and jitter being the consistency of that delay), didn't score any higher than BT's figures with any "significant" difference.

EE responded and argued that while the Ofcom report didn't directly measure connectivity, it clearly indicated the importance of the measures EE had highlighted, and that low levels of latency and jitter made for a reliable connection. EE also claimed that it did outperform BT's figures in the report to "more than a statistical degree", and also said the advert in no way implied anything about superior router connectivity.

ASA, however, sided with BT on all counts. EE was ordered not to use the advert again in its current form, and that the company must make sure it has enough evidence to substantiate any further ad claims going forward.