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November 20, 2010

BT comes out swinging against Virgin’s broadband con campaign

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by Darren Allan

This week, Virgin Media continued its offensive against misleading broadband advertising, with the start of a new website called Stop the Broadband Con.

Virgin reckons that according to a survey ICM was commissioned to carry out, over 90% of respondents believed that “up to” broadband speeds were misleading, as the reality of such headline speeds is many broadband connections don’t get anywhere near them.

The Stop the Broadband Con site provides a link to speedtest.net, to allow consumers to test their own broadband connection, and it also hosts a petition calling for change in the advertising regulations.

However, BT has had a pop at Virgin over the campaign, calling the company hypocritical to a degree. According to IT Pro, BT said: “Virgin has pitched to customers: ‘You’re not getting the broadband you are paying for.’ However, it is the only ISP that charges based on speed, e.g. up to 10Mbps, 20Mbps, 50Mbps. In fact, in some areas of the site broadband is described simply as ’10Mbps’ or ’20Mbps’.”

Although in fairness to Virgin, it does actually publish its real world speeds on a monthly basis on its website. And those speeds are generally very close to that headline figure, unlike ADSL connections which are sometimes way off depending on phone line quality and distance from the exchange.

On the latter issue, BT also points out that Virgin supplies mainly densely populated areas, whereas BT tries to hook up further out communities (customers that Virgin “doesn’t want”), which brings its speed average down (due to the aforementioned long distance problem).

BT also claimed that most consumers understand what an “up to” speed means in plain English, although that doesn’t change the fact that according to that ICM survey, the vast majority believe that such figures are still misleading.

Story link: BT comes out swinging against Virgin’s broadband con campaign

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  1. I bet all the people who filled in that survery are idiots and don’t know the first thing about how the internet works. Also how the hell is upto misleading? So a shop having a sale upto 24th December is misleading? Upto means anywhere upto that thing, common sense dictates that, those ppl apparently have no common sense.

    Comment by FC360 — November 20, 2010 @ 12:22 pm

  2. It is about time there is a stop to this misleading advertising about internet speeds, and BT should have been installing fibre optics for the rest of the country 10 years ago, then they wouldn’t be in the mess of having to confuse customers with their “upto” speeds.

    I have had Virgin for about 3 years now, and really love the always on, super-fast broadband service which I never got from my ADSL connection. BT should have also ditched old phone lines at least 10 years ago, but they screwed all their customers over, by overcharging and doing nothing for their customers, and are now paying the price.

    We are moving home soon and are dreading the internet ‘cos we’ll be back on ye olde ADSL, hopefully either Virgin will extend their coverage to include Middleton, near Ludlow, or we’ll just have to struggle with ADSL which is very disappointing.

    Comment by Darren — November 21, 2010 @ 8:00 am

  3. I have a Virgin Media ADSL Broadband with promises of speeds upto 20Mb. In reality, I’m lucky to get 1Mb and commonly find myself with 600Kb or less.

    Obviously, I’m aware that Virgin Media can have contention ratios of 50:1, which is why it would be more useful if Virgin advertised their service as “400Kb, sometimes more” rather than “upto 20Mb” - it’s highly misleading.

    This is why I welcome Virgin’s move to “Stop the Broadband Con”, though I believe Virgin could have started closer to home before going on a public campaign.

    Comment by Simon — November 24, 2010 @ 11:45 pm

  4. Check out the Virgin Forum ‘up to 50mb’ to see who’s being mislead.

    50mb broadband… it seems like a lot of people are never achieving anywhere near that speed!

    Comment by Simon — December 7, 2010 @ 10:57 am

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