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You TalkTalk a big game, says ads watchdog, but your testing not good enough to say your Wi-Fi's best

UK ISP claimed signal 'couldn't be beaten.' Regulator disagreed

Low-rent UK ISP TalkTalk has been told to stop claiming its Wi-Fi signal "can't be beaten by any of the other big providers" after fellow telco BT whinged to the UK's Advertising Standards Agency (ASA).

The regulator ruled that the statements about its bundled router hardware's performance were misleading.

In its defence, TalkTalk said it had tested the gear before talking it up on TV and radio.

However, having sought advice from Ofcom, the ASA concluded TalkTalk's tests were insufficient to reflect the interference that typically occurs in homes, "meaning that we were unable to verify that all the routers tested were subjected to consistent levels of interference".

The regulator added: "We also noted that the routers were only positioned facing one direction, and were not rotating (for instance on turntables) when the Wi-Fi signal was being tested. Therefore, we could not be certain that the reported performance differences between the routers only occurred at the specific angle at which they had been placed."

As usual, the watchdog said the ads must not appear again and told TalkTalk it must not make comparative claims about its router in future based on "inadequate" testing.

A TalkTalk spokesman was undeterred, insisting: "We have one of the best routers on the market. We're therefore disappointed by the ASA's ruling, as independent experts were commissioned to carry out testing of the Wi-Fi Hub and five additional routers provided by the other major broadband providers in the UK market to ensure the most rigorous and realistic testing environment.

"While we believe that our tests substantiate the claim, we have adhered to the ASA's ruling and have removed the claim from all advertising. We remain committed to treating our customers fairly and providing reliable and affordable broadband to homes across the UK."

Since ditching its mobile division last year, TalkTalk has been keen to concentrate on its core broadband business, splashing £1.5bn on full-fibre to three million homes. However, the ISP has been repeatedly rated as one of the worst for customer service. ®

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