Comcast, like every other company on earth, likes to advertise about how great they are. They run commercials all over about how their internet is better, faster, stronger than the next guy’s. Except, a business group that checks in on badvertising says, Comcast isn’t really as great as Comcast claims it is, and needs to tone it down a bit.
The ruling comes from the National Advertising Division, an industry self-regulation group under the auspices of the Better Business Bureau. The idea of the NAD is that participating companies can use it to keep a check on themselves and each other, which is cheaper and easier and generally better for business than getting one’s butt sued by the FTC is.
Comcast has been making advertising claims about the speed and availability of its “Extreme 505” internet service, like: “our fastest internet is now even faster with Extreme 505,” and,”Extreme 505 is twenty times faster than U-verse’s top available speed.”
AT&T called them out on this, asking the NAD to investigate. There were two key issues for NAD to investigate: one, whether Comcast’s Extreme 505 is actually 20 times faster than AT&T’s top speed and two, whether Extreme 505 is actually a thing real customers can sign up for.
NAD agreed with AT&T that Comcast’s advertising is potentially misleading on both fronts. First, as far as speed goes, U-Verse is available at 45 Mbps. 20 times 45 is 900, not 505, and so the division recommended Comcast stop using that line in its ads.
Secondly, Comcast’s Extreme 505 service isn’t actually available in all of the markets where the ads have run. An “appreciable number of households” in Atlanta, Chicago, and Miami/Ft. Lauderdale can sign up for the service, NAD says, so Comcast’s ads are kosher there. But in other markets, not so much. NAD therefore recommended that Comcast should disclose where the service is “more unavilable than available.”
The group also found some of Comcast’s other claims to be specious, recommending that Kabletown nix claims of “only Xfinity delivers consistently reliable internet speeds” and that Xfinity “has the most reliable internet even during peak hours” from future advertisements.
When reached for comment, a rep for Comcast said the company had nothing to add beyond the advertiser’s statement provided to NAD.