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Millions of broadband customers feel misled over “fibre”

Paul Lipscombe
July 16, 2018

Almost a quarter of people believe they FTTP but this is only the case for three per cent of people

Millions of broadband customers across the UK may have been misled about their broadband service.

A study commissioned by CityFibre from Censuswide sampled 3,400 broadband customers and found that consumers are generally unaware of what their broadband is due to misleading advertising.

The study found 86 per cent of people thought the type of cable connecting them to the internet made the difference to the speed they received, however 65 per cent of those asked didn’t believe their connection relies on copper cables or hybrid-copper fibre, even though this is the case for most.

Almost a quarter (24 per cent) think they already have fibre cables running all the way to their house (fibre-to-the-premises) which is despite this only being available to three per cent of UK premises.

Nearly half of people (45 per cent) believes that services currently advertised as “fibre” deliver this type of connectivity as standard, which emphasises how confusing broadband is for consumers.

After the people were explained the difference between hybrid copper-fibre connections and full fibre, two thirds of respondents thought advertising rules should change to no longer being called “fibre”.

CityFibre concluded however that the term “fibre” is not misleading and is taking the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) to court.

Two of the biggest providers BT Openreach and Virgin Media have used “fibre” connection for years despite relying on copper cables to reach the home. Just under two thirds (65 per cent) said their broadband provider has described the connection as “fibre”, with one in six (17 per cent) believing this would include copper cables.

CityFibre has written to the CEOs of all the major broadband providers asking them to change the way broadband is advertised to customers now, rather than waiting for the judicial review of the ASA’s decision.

CityFibre CEO Greg Mesch said: “Years of misleading advertising of broadband speeds and technologies have left people totally confused about what they are paying for, undermining trust in the industry.”

“It is time to put the customer at the heart of the full fibre rollout and ditch dishonest descriptions once and for all.”

“We are calling on all broadband providers to stop using the word “fibre” unless it is describing a full fibre connection.”

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