Copper feel, fibre it ain't: Ads regulator could face court for playing hard and fast with definitions

CityFibre applies for review, says ASA is failing consumers

CityFibre has applied to take the Advertising Standards Authority's to court over its decision to approve the continued use of the term "fibre" to describe services delivered over copper-based networks.

Last year the ASA found it was "not materially misleading" for ISPs to describe copper hybrid services as "fibre broadband".

But CityFibre claimed the ASA's research and logic "was fundamentally flawed" and that it "has not only permitted, but also encouraged Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to continue to mislead consumers".

The issue of fibre advertising has become more contentious as a number of alternative network providers intend to roll out fibre-to-the-home.

In November, Vodafone announced a deal with CityFibre to build a full-fibre network, intended to connect 5 million premises over the next eight years.

The majority of broadband services delivered over BT Openreach or Virgin's infrastructure are reliant on all-copper or part-copper-part-fibre networks. However, BT's Openreach has since unveiled plans to connect 3 million premises to full fibre by 2020.

CityFibre chief exec Greg Mesch said: "The ASA's short-sighted decision to allow yesterday's copper-based infrastructure to masquerade as the future-proof full fibre networks of tomorrow is a clear failure in its duty.

"It has failed to ensure honest and truthful broadband advertising, it has failed to enable consumers to make informed choices and it has failed to support a national infrastructure project critical to our success in a digital age."

He said that without "clear and transparent advertising" consumers will be misled into staying on inferior, copper-based broadband services. "The first step to righting this consumer wrong is for the ASA to reverse its decision, which perpetuates the 'fake fibre' lie."

An ASA spokesman said: "We acknowledge that CityFibre has applied for a judicial review of our November 2017 decision on the use of the term 'fibre' to describe part–fibre services. The full reasoning for our decision is available on our website. We will be responding to the application in due course."

Full-fibre penetration in Blighty seriously lags behind its European peers. The UK is estimated to have fibre penetration of between 2-3 per cent, compared to Latvia, which has 50.6 per cent household penetration.

Matthew Hare, chief executive of fibre broadband firm Gigaclear, said the firm supported CityFibre's challenge. "Without the knowledge of how full-fibre differentiates from part-fibre, consumers are being blinded to the fundamental capabilities of services on offer.

"With part-fibre, the consumer is wholly reliant on the quality of the copper or other technology that is connecting them to the fibre backbone." ®

Broader topics

Narrower topics

Other stories you might like

  • Talos names eight deadly sins in widely used industrial software
    Entire swaths of gear relies on vulnerability-laden Open Automation Software (OAS)

    A researcher at Cisco's Talos threat intelligence team found eight vulnerabilities in the Open Automation Software (OAS) platform that, if exploited, could enable a bad actor to access a device and run code on a targeted system.

    The OAS platform is widely used by a range of industrial enterprises, essentially facilitating the transfer of data within an IT environment between hardware and software and playing a central role in organizations' industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) efforts. It touches a range of devices, including PLCs and OPCs and IoT devices, as well as custom applications and APIs, databases and edge systems.

    Companies like Volvo, General Dynamics, JBT Aerotech and wind-turbine maker AES are among the users of the OAS platform.

    Continue reading
  • Despite global uncertainty, $500m hit doesn't rattle Nvidia execs
    CEO acknowledges impact of war, pandemic but says fundamentals ‘are really good’

    Nvidia is expecting a $500 million hit to its global datacenter and consumer business in the second quarter due to COVID lockdowns in China and Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Despite those and other macroeconomic concerns, executives are still optimistic about future prospects.

    "The full impact and duration of the war in Ukraine and COVID lockdowns in China is difficult to predict. However, the impact of our technology and our market opportunities remain unchanged," said Jensen Huang, Nvidia's CEO and co-founder, during the company's first-quarter earnings call.

    Those two statements might sound a little contradictory, including to some investors, particularly following the stock selloff yesterday after concerns over Russia and China prompted Nvidia to issue lower-than-expected guidance for second-quarter revenue.

    Continue reading
  • Another AI supercomputer from HPE: Champollion lands in France
    That's the second in a week following similar system in Munich also aimed at researchers

    HPE is lifting the lid on a new AI supercomputer – the second this week – aimed at building and training larger machine learning models to underpin research.

    Based at HPE's Center of Excellence in Grenoble, France, the new supercomputer is to be named Champollion after the French scholar who made advances in deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs in the 19th century. It was built in partnership with Nvidia using AMD-based Apollo computer nodes fitted with Nvidia's A100 GPUs.

    Champollion brings together HPC and purpose-built AI technologies to train machine learning models at scale and unlock results faster, HPE said. HPE already provides HPC and AI resources from its Grenoble facilities for customers, and the broader research community to access, and said it plans to provide access to Champollion for scientists and engineers globally to accelerate testing of their AI models and research.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022