ASA rejects BT Wi-Fi ad ban

The Advertising Standards Authority has given the all-clear to a BT ad promoting the company’s Wi-Fi service, despite depicting people using iPhones and iPads in areas the complainants claimed would have no signal.
The TV ad showed various locations, including outside a pub, a bus station, a park bench and a car park next to an urban football ground. A voiceover stated: “Only BT broadband customers can use their home broadband out of the home for free. Thanks to our network of over two million Wi-Fi hotspots. Find out more at bt.com/freewifi, and download our new app.”
Two complainants, who believed the service’s potential to work away from buildings and in open spaces was limited, challenged whether the shown locations misleadingly exaggerated the capability of the service.
But after studying evidence from BT – including the fact that users could get a signal up to 100m away from a BT Home Hub and 165m from a “hotspot” – the ASA threw out the complaints.
Although it noted the service’s potential to work away from buildings and in open spaces was limited, it considered that, on the basis of the evidence provided by BT, the shown locations did not misleadingly exaggerate its capability, concluding that the ad was “unlikely to mislead”.

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