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Talktalk Broadband can't be free says ASA

The Advertising Standards Authority (opens in new tab) upheld a complaint, brought up by BT, against an advert by Carphone Warehouse's Talktalk.

The crux of the complaint revolved around a deal which highlighted the fact that Talktalk would give out free broadband with its Talk3 package (opens in new tab); however the Talk3 package with and without broadband have different contract lengths; this has since been corrected.

This, BT argues (opens in new tab), "involved an increased burden on the consumer" than the Talk3 package without broadband, so it was an entirely new product of which broadband was an "intrinsic, not free element".

The advert said that a free broadband service, offering up to 8Mb, would be provided for a total price of GBP 20.99 - includes line rental and talk3 call package.

Although Talktalk was found guilty, the Carphone warehouse company merely got a slap on the hand.

The ASA told them "to ensure that, in future ads or promotions, the use of "free" was appropriate. We advised them to seek guidance from the CAP Copy Advice team before making similar claims in future."

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.