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Vodafone’s “gigafast” broadband ad deemed misleading

The UK’s advertising watchdog has ruled that Vodafone misled potential customers by claiming they could buy “gigafast broadband” for just £23 a month.

The claim was made a number of times on Vodafone’s website, despite the £23 package only offering speeds averaging 100 megabits per second.

Virgin Media had challenged whether Vodafone could claim to offer “gigafast broadband” when the entire service was not capable of delivering 1 gigabit per second speeds.

“The ASA considered that many consumers would likely understand the prefix ‘Giga’ to be a hyperbolic description of speed, and would therefore generally understand ‘Gigafast’ internet was very fast broadband,” the ASA said.

“However, we considered that a significant proportion of consumers would have sufficient knowledge of broadband terminology to understand Gigafast Broadband as a reference to a service capable of providing speeds of 1 Gbps (1000Mbps).”

The regulator concluded that the statement “enjoy Vodafone Gigafast Broadband speeds for as little as £23 a month” was “unmoored from reference to a specific package” and “created the impression that a service that could achieve speeds of 1Gbps was available for £23”.

The statement on Vodafone’s website now reads: “Our packages start at £28 per month for new customer purchasing Gigafast Broadband 100.”

Vodafone did not respond to a request for comment.

More than four complaints against Vodafone have been upheld by the ASA since the start of 2018. No complaints have been made or upheld against Virgin since February 2016.