The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) have, following a consultation, published guidance for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) on the use of “unlimited” and speed claims made in advertising. The consultation followed a request from the Advertising Standards Authority for CAP to review advertising claims in the telecommunications sector after complaints from consumers concerned as to whether the claims were justified.
When an ISP advertises “unlimited” services, that term must only be used where a user will not incur an additional charge (or a suspension) for exceeding a specific usage limit. In addition, limitations that affect speed or usage of a service must be “moderate” and clearly explained in the advert.
When advertising the speed of services, ISPs must be able to demonstrate that a particular speed is achievable for a minimum of 10% of customers, and provide sufficient information to ensure that an average user is not misled. In particular, this information should state, where relevant, that a large number of users will not receive the speed advertised.
The guidance comes fully into effect on 1 April 2012 and advertisers should produce any new material with the guidance in mind.