ASA dismisses CityFibre’s appeal over use of 'fibre' term in advertising for hybrid fibre services

16 Apr 2019

A judicial review of the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA’s) decision to allow ISPs offering hybrid fibre services (such as fibre-to-the-cabinet [FTTC]) to use the term ‘fibre’ in their advertising has been dismissed by the UK High Court of Justice. With the ASA in November 2018 having determined in a review that it was ‘not materially misleading’ to describe the likes of FTTC connectivity as ‘fibre broadband’, CityFibre brought the matter to court. The full fibre provider had argued that the ‘research and logic that lead to the [ASA’s] decision was fundamentally flawed’, and claimed it encouraged ISPs offering hybrid fibre services to ‘mislead consumers’.

In response to the High Court ruling, CityFibre issued a statement in which its CEO Greg Mesch said: ‘We are disappointed by today’s result because we continue to believe it is not right for consumers to be misled into thinking copper-reliant connections are ‘fibre’ broadband. The decision is particularly disappointing in light of the recent progress made in other countries which have restricted misleading advertising and established clear rules to distinguish full fibre from inferior copper-based services. We are currently considering appealing the judgement and would like to thank the thousands of people that joined our campaign and signed our petition for change.’

For its part, the ASA responded to the judiciary’s decision by saying: ‘We welcome the Court’s decision which finds in the ASA’s favour on all grounds and dismisses CityFibre’s arguments. The review of the evidence we undertook to arrive at our position on the use of the term ‘fibre’ to describe part-fibre services in ads was based on robust methodology and open minded analysis of all of the arguments.’

United Kingdom, CityFibre