An ad campaign for BT that promised "instant" broadband has been banned after the advertising watchdog for not providing proof to back its claims.
The Advertising Standards Authority ruling follows a negative report by Ofcom last week that found that internet companies are delivering speeds far below those they advertise, which was followed by calls from a number of industry players for much tighter advertising rules to police such claims.
The ASA received four complaints that the campaign for the BT Infinity service, which used the strapline "birth of the instant internet", was misleading because although it is a quick service it still has delays.
The national press ad made a number of claims including that high-quality photos and videos could be uploaded and shared "instantly", as could music downloads and the streaming of TV and movies.
BT said the "instant internet" claim referred to the time it takes a user to get online - "less than a few seconds".
In terms of uploading, a 6Mb photo takes five seconds, a 9Mb video eight seconds to download and a 6Mb song three seconds. BT said the word "instant" did not mean the "complete absence of any delay or zero seconds".
BT raised the examples of instant coffee and instant hair removal creams as products that used the claim when consumers knew they were not, in fact, instant.
"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," said the ASA.
"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."
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