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Cable.co.uk investigation reveals two thirds 'misled' by fibre broadband advertising, experts compare situation to horse meat scandal

  • A Cable.co.uk investigation has found 'misleading' broadband advertising means a majority of customers do not properly understand what they are buying
  • Renowned European broadband expert compares situation to horse meat scandal
  • Advertising Standards Agency ruled in 2014 that the use of the term 'fibre optic' for only part-fibre networks was 'unlikely to mislead'

Thursday 21 April 2016: Research by Cable.co.uk has revealed that two thirds of fibre broadband customers on BT's Openreach network – which services around 80% of the UK's total broadband customer base – are unaware their so-called 'fibre' service arrives at their home through a standard copper telephone line.

Cable.co.uk surveyed 1,000 fibre broadband customers receiving their service from a provider operating on BT's Openreach network. Providers on Openreach include BT, TalkTalk, Sky and Plusnet (as well as many smaller providers) but not Virgin Media, which operates on its own fibre-coaxial (cable) network.

Virgin Media's network is also part-copper it uses a somewhat different technology that negates much of the drop in speed over distance.

Former senior manager at BT labels the current state of the Openreach network an 'interim solution' that has 'proven cheaper'

Head of cooperative of independent networks slams misleading advertising, says it's a major bugbear to those offering, and advertising true fibre networks

Recent French ruling outlawed use of the word 'fibre' in sales and marketing materials of French fibre-to-the-cabinet (copper to the premises) providers

Full story, survey data and detailed analysis available here

Commenting on Ofcom's findings, Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms expert at broadband comparison site Cable.co.uk, said:

"The situation is a fundamental threat to 'the vitality of our digital lives"

Notes to editors

If using our research and/or commentary we would deeply appreciate a link either to this page or to https://www.cable.co.uk


What is Cable?

Cable is a broadband, TV and phone comparator, unique news source and consumer champion.

Dan Howdle has been plugged into the attitudes of UK broadband, TV and mobile customers for over two decades, running research fieldwork both nationally and internationally on behalf of the biggest players in the industry. Dan is now consumer telecoms analyst at Cable, as well as more formally operating in the role of its Director of Communications and Content.

An experienced broadcaster, commentator and writer, Dan has appeared on BBC TV and radio, ITV, Sky and in the national papers. Dan has advised Ofcom on issues surrounding service quality, administered Cable’s Broadband Service Quality Awards and sat on the panel of judges for the Internet Service Providers Association annual awards.

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