Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the Advertising Standards Authority.

In light of the ASA’s consumer research findings and public consultation, CAP announced, on 23 November 2017, that the current, most commonly used approach to presenting speed claims in broadband ads is likely to mislead consumers. As a result, it is has published new guidance on the advertising of numerical speed claims for residential broadband services, which will take effect from 23 May 2018. Until then, the current guidance will apply, and this Advice Online will be updated when the new guidance comes into force.

The principle behind the current guidance, which also applies to mobile data services, is that speed claims must be based on consumers’ actual experience.

The guidance is mainly concerned with download speeds, as they feature more frequently in broadband marketing communications, but upload speed claims should also conform to the guidance where relevant.

In the past, the ASA has ruled that marketers should explain whether their speed claims relate to upload or download speeds unless those speeds are identical. CAP believes that stating that distinction in a footnote should be acceptable unless the ad refers to activities that do not run at the stated speed, for example uploading photographs.

See the AOL entry "Internet Speed: General", CAP’s current guidance on the "Use of speed claims in broadband advertising” and the new guidance on broadband speeds.

Updated 23 November 2017

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