Comcast has been told to stop marketing its Xfinity broadband service as the “fastest internet in America,” according to a recommendation issued today by the National Advertising Review Board (NARB). The decision came after Verizon last year raised questions about Comcast’s marketing, which specifically sought to undermine Verizon’s FiOS offering and cast Xfinity in a superior light.
Comcast needs a new slogan
The National Advertising Division (NAD), NARB’s investigative arm, found that while Comcast’s speeds at its most expensive tier were indeed faster than Verizon’s, this was not true of every Xfinity speed tier. Yet because Comcast did not make this clear in its marketing material, consumers could reasonably be led to believe that this was the case when purchasing any home internet service plan from Comcast.
At the heart of the debate was data taken from speed test provider Ookla, which Comcast used to claim that its offering was the fastest available. The investigative panel determined that Ookla speed test data was not representative sample of all subscribers, but rather just a sample of the top 10 percent of Xfinity customers who happened to test their internet speed. Verizon also had better upload rates for its top-tiered service, further disproving Comcast’s claims.
Comcast agreed to abide by the recommendation in future advertisements, adding that it expects “NAD and NARB will hold all advertisers to the same standards when making similar claims.”