Verizon Advised to Slow Internet Speed Claims

Ads challenged by Comcast

Verizon and Comcast are locked in an advertising war over which service has the fastest Internet speeds. Both have gotten a little carried away with claims, leaving the advertising industry's self-regulatory division to intervene with both companies.

The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus recommended in June that Comcast temper its speed claims for its Xfinity Internet service. The division opened the inquiry based on a challenge by Verizon.

Today, it was Verizon's turn. Based on a challenge by Comcast, NAD recommended that Verizon modify its broadcast ads so that they don't leave the false impression with viewers that cable company Internet services are significantly slower than Verizon's fiber-optic FiOS service.

Verizon's broadcast ads were based on findings from a Federal Communications Commission report. Ads touted that FiOS was the "only way to get America's fastest, most consistent, and most reliable Internet" and that it wouldn't slow down "when everyone else is online." The ads also claimed its service "won't slow down because your neighbors are online" and that customers get a "dedicated connection at a great price" and "consistently fast" speeds.

Following its review, the NAD determined that Verizon provided a reasonable basis for calling itself "America's fastest, most consistent, and most reliable Internet." However, the NAD advised other claims should be modified to avoid conveying the falsely disparaging, unsupported message that cable is significantly slower than FiOS. NAD also recommended that the advertising be modified to avoid conveying the unsupported message that cable is slower because of the nature of its shared connection.

Verizon responded that it would "take NAD's recommendations into consideration in future advertising."


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