A leaflet and a website for 6G Internet, a broadband provider, seen on 10 February 2023:
a. The leaflet stated, “6Ginternet: Full fibre speed broadband only £9.99 per month. 100Mbps for the first 6 months then £26.99 per month (based on a 24 month contract).”
The other page stated, “6Ginternet: Better than half price sale.” Further text stated, “Free Wi-Fi 6 router (connects up to 64 devices).” At the bottom of the leaflet was a lightning bolt in a circle. Underneath it stated “Full fibre speeds.”
b. The website homepage, www.6ginternet.com, displayed the 6G Internet company logo. Text underneath stated, “Delivering Better Broadband: Guaranteed Speeds. Free install. No price increase.” Text underneath stated, “Full fibre speeds at affordable prices: Our innovative network uses fibre optic cables and wireless technology to deliver broadband speeds at an affordable price.”
At the bottom of the web page it stated, “Wi-Fi 6 Router Benefits” and underneath listed “Latest router technology”, “Connects up to 64 devices at once”, “Perfect when gaming, streaming or working from home”, “Less bandwidth congestion”, “Stronger signal with a greater range”, “Speeds up to 40% faster than Wi-Fi 5”, each listed next to a green tick.
A web page on the “about us” section of the website stated, “A new network built in 2021. How is 6G Internet different?” Text underneath stated, “The 6G Internet Story: We wanted to change the way local people use Wi-Fi. We wanted to offer them faster internet speeds at lower prices but we couldn’t do it with the old-fashioned copper wiring and out-of-date technology that most internet use.” A paragraph beneath stated, “So we decided to build our network. Our transmitters connect to fibre-optic cables, linked to national data centres. These transmitters send full fibre internet signals through the air to a small receiver fitted to your home. Bypassing heavily congested copper cabling means we can guarantee reliable, faster internet connections at lower prices.”
The complainant challenged whether the company name ‘6G Internet’ misleadingly implied that a sixth-generation mobile network existed and was able to be used by consumers.
6G Internet Ltd said they had provided home broadband services under the ‘6G Internet’ brand name since 2013. They said that internet services provided by 6G Internet were delivered over networks operated by group companies which had full fibre distribution and core networks and used the local access network with fixed wireless technology. They said that since 2019, the local access network used mast infrastructure in public footpaths.
6G Internet said that they were not aware of receiving complaints from consumers, Ofcom, DCMS or the ASA about confusion between the 6G Internet brand name and the services that they provided. They also said they had not received any complaints from Local Authorities or other stakeholders about the brand name.
They said that 5G, or 5th Generation technology, was currently used for mobile networks and that 6G was currently in development, and they understood there was no timescale for when the technology would become available or what the capabilities of the technology would be. They said because it did not exist and that they made clear that their offering related to home internet, they did not think that consumers would believe they were offering a future mobile network.
6G Internet said their advertising made clear that “6G” related to home internet and not to the different generations of mobile technology. Regarding ad (a), they said that the references to broadband were for broadband at home. They said that “full fibre speed broadband only” appeared prominently on the leaflet and that the reverse of the leaflet made references to “Free Wi-Fi 6 router”, “full fibre speeds”, “free installation”, and “Local installation team”. They said that made clear that it was a broadband to the home service and not a mobile network.
They said that ad (b) also made clear that they were offering a broadband at home service. They said that “6Ginternet” appeared prominently at the top of the homepage and underneath that, text stated, “Check availability and broadband offers in your area”. They highlighted that “Delivering Better Broadband” also appeared prominently and underneath the ad stated “Full fibre speeds at affordable prices”. They also highlighted “free home install”, “router included”, “perfect when gaming, streaming or working from home” and “guaranteed speeds” also appeared in the ad.6G Internet said at the bottom of the homepage the ad listed “Wi-Fi 6 Router benefits” which they said clearly related to internet services to the home. They also highlighted that they had a section called “Wi-Fi explained” on their website explaining how their internet package worked. They said that it was their view that their advertising made clear that they offered internet to the home and not mobile technology or future mobile technology.
Regarding the “about us” page, they said it also made clear that they offered a home broadband product. They said the 6GInternet brand name appeared prominently at the top of the page and stated underneath “check availability and broadband offers in your area”. They highlighted that beneath that the ad stated, “A new network built in 2021” and then the ad explained that the company was set up to “change the way local people use Wi-Fi” by offering them “faster internet speeds”. Underneath it stated, “So we decided to build our network”, which then explained the use of full-fibre internet linked to national data centres via fibre optic cables, which resulted in faster internet connections that send internet signals to “a small receiver fitted in the home”.
They explained that under the sub-heading “What makes 6G Internet different?” it made references to “Installation”, “Wi-Fi survey”, “we’ll test speeds in every room and find the best place for your router”, “Home install: […] our engineers visit your home and set up everything”. 6G Internet said at the bottom of the ad it stated, “The 6G Internet way” which included diagrams and wording that made clear they offered “full fibre directly to your home”.
6G Internet concluded by stating that their advertising made clear they offered an internet to the home broadband service and were not offering a non-existent future mobile technology.
The company’s name was 6G Internet and they offered home broadband to consumers.The name of the company appeared prominently in both ads (a) and ad (b). The ASA understood that the most advanced mobile technology was 5G and that 6G, or sixth-generation, mobile technology was still in development. However, we considered that consumers would be aware that the technology was named after each iteration, or ‘generation’ of the technology and therefore would make a connection to mobile technology when they saw the company name.
Ad (b) also stated, “Delivering Better Broadband”, “How is 6G Internet different?”, “A new network built in 2021”, “Latest router technology”, “our innovative network uses fibre optic cables and wireless technology to deliver broadband fibre speeds at an affordable price” and “We wanted to offer them faster internet speeds at lower prices but we couldn’t do it with the old-fashioned copper wiring and out-of-date technology that most internet providers use.” We therefore considered that consumers would understand that 6G Internet was more advanced and operated in a different way to other broadband providers that only used fibre optic or copper cables.
Ad (b) also stated, “6G Internet wirelessly sends full fibre directly to your home, bypassing the slower and heavily congested copper cables, giving you a more reliable, faster speed internet connection through our gigabit ready network” and underneath featured an image of a mast transmitting a radio signal. Underneath, the ad compared how 6G Internet operated differently to Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) technology. We therefore considered that this image, coupled with the 6G Internet name reinforced the impression that it used, in part, mobile technology to deliver broadband to consumers.
We noted both ads (a) and (b) made references to “full fibre speed broadband only” and “full fibre speeds” and that ad (b) also stated, “Check availability and broadband offers in your area”. However, we considered that there were hybrid broadband routers on the market that had a broadband connection that was backed up with a 4G or 5G connection and that therefore mobile technology and home broadband could not be entirely separated. We also considered that consumers would have a limited understanding of broadband technology, and how it worked, and would likely understand that they would get a broadband connection using an innovative 6G mobile internet technology.
However, we understood that the technology used was in fact fibre optic cables with a transmitter using fixed wireless technology, rather than an advanced sixth generation mobile technology. Because consumers would interpret the name to mean that it used the next generation 6G internet technology, when that was not the case, we concluded that the name '6G Internet’ was likely to mislead in the context of its presentation in the ads.
The ads breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 3.1 (Misleading advertising).
The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told 6G Internet Ltd not to imply a sixth-generation mobile network existed and was able to be used by consumers.