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BT Ad Blaming WiFi Issues On Phones Gets Banned

By - Source: ASA | B 12 comments

British Telecom has been told it can no longer air the commercial that claimed devices like phones and radios could impact WiFi signal.

Britain's advertising authority has banned an TV advertisement from British Telecom following three separate complaints about the commercial. The ad, which was for BT's Home Hub wireless router, showed images of mobile phones, radios, and other household devices coupled with a voice-over that stated, "There's no end of things around the home that disrupt your wireless internet." The ad went on to say that the new BT Home Hub helped to avoid interference from non-WiFi devices.

The ASA received complaints that the ad was misleading because it implied that the devices shown significantly interfere with WiFi signal. The Advertising Standards Authority contacted BT as well as telecoms watchdog Ofcom for clarification on the issue. Though BT maintained that the 2.4 GHz spectrum was heavily congested and susceptible to interference, Ofcom said that radios and phones would not cause the kind of interference described in the ad.

"We were concerned that the ad prominently featured a ringing mobile phone, when using such a device for telephone calls would not cause interference of the kind described," the ASA said in its judgement. "We further noted that the ad also featured images of radios, which Ofcom had also advised did not pose a particular problem in terms of interference."

The ASA goes on to that while BT is right in suggesting some non-WiFi devices could affect performance of WiFi devices, the images shown in the ad were misleading. As such, the advertisement cannot be broadcast again in its current form.

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  • 5 Hide
    Vorador2 , October 25, 2013 12:16 AM
    Funny that there's a lot of stuff that can cause interferences with Wifi, ranging from thick walls to CRT TVs.

    But phones and radios are not amongst them.
  • 1 Hide
    PreferLinux , October 25, 2013 1:26 AM
    Cordless phones would be one thing that could interfere – many use the same 2.4 GHz spectrum. Bluetooth can interfere as well. Microwave ovens can cause massive interference if their shielding is not as good as it should be.
  • 0 Hide
    virtualban , October 25, 2013 1:30 AM
    Banning an ad is not enough. Worst that happens is loss of the money paid to the graphics firm producing the ad. Not preventing future attempts at misleading customers.
  • 0 Hide
    heero yuy , October 25, 2013 1:39 AM
    i don't know if the Americans here know but the bt thing uses both 2.4ghz and the old 5ghz so if it thinks its getting interfered with by a cordless phone or something that also uses the 2.4ghz channel it will go to the 5ghz one (although I think the thing receiving the signal has to also support 5ghz or something)

    I do however have no idea how a radio could interfere
  • 0 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , October 25, 2013 2:08 AM
    Phones can interfere. Some years ago I was at a customers house because his internet periodically didn't work. Turned out his 'skype phone' used the same wifi channel that his internet router had picked (channel 6). That's not a standard landline phone, but it most definetly was a phone causing the issue. I don't know about radios, but there's no reason a radio with some faulty/worn electronics can't send out a 2.4 or 5ghz signal.
  • 0 Hide
    abbadon_34 , October 25, 2013 3:01 AM
    I thought banning ads for water that said water prevents dehydration was rediculous. I guess facts still have not place in advertising, be it those that make, or those that don't, those in the US, those the EU. All just $, $$, and $$$.
  • 3 Hide
    sykozis , October 25, 2013 4:18 AM
    Quote:
    Phones can interfere. Some years ago I was at a customers house because his internet periodically didn't work. Turned out his 'skype phone' used the same wifi channel that his internet router had picked (channel 6). That's not a standard landline phone, but it most definetly was a phone causing the issue. I don't know about radios, but there's no reason a radio with some faulty/worn electronics can't send out a 2.4 or 5ghz signal.


    If a radio was using the 2.4ghz or 5ghz bands, you wouldn't get any radio stations. Also, a radio doesn't send out signals, it receives them. Radios operate on Hz and KHz bands....so, it's impossible for a radio to interfere with WiFi.
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , October 25, 2013 4:33 AM
    The single highest cause of internet slowdown and interference in the UK is from the bell wire in your master socket where you adsl router plugs in. It channels interference from all over the house like a huge antenna directly into the router. This is BT equipment and can be easily resolve with a simple plug between the filter and the socket. BTs rivals should have produced their own ad telling people this, maybe handing out free plugs to their customers too
  • 2 Hide
    TeraMedia , October 25, 2013 10:41 AM
    It sounds like a marketing person overheard an engineer in an elevator talking about interference, and decided to make an ad from the idea. But then didn't bother to determine what actually causes interference.

    Someone should make a TV show depicting marketing people vs. R&D. Put them on a deserted island and see which team does better. The winners get to choose between the latest iphone and a plane ticket home, and the losers get whatever's left. I would watch that.
  • 0 Hide
    lathe26 , October 25, 2013 12:36 PM
    MetaGeek's Wi-Spy let's you see the 2.4GHz spectrum for yourself (hardware is $200, basic software is free).

    When I used Wi-Spy in my apartment:
    #1: Microwave was by far the worst for interference (when running it of course). It basically blanketed the entire spectrum with noise that halted any Wi-Fi or Bluetooth traffic near it.
    #2: Other competing Wi-Fi access points were the 2nd worst source of interference. Easily fixed by changing my router's channel number.
    #3: Cordless phone was a distant 3rd, when it was in use. Note: there are multiple 2.4GHz cordless phone technologies out there.
    #4: Bluetooth was an extremely distant 4th. It showed up as micro-blips across the spectrum.
  • 0 Hide
    falchard , October 25, 2013 11:58 PM
    You would this Ofcom would understand how wireless works.
  • 0 Hide
    IndignantSkeptic , October 29, 2013 9:36 AM
    I don't understand how radio could interfere because radios only receive and don't transmit signals. Maybe when they say radio they don't mean the things we listen to music on; they mean walkie-talkies?