Vodafone’s Gigafast Broadband Advert Challenged By Virgin Media in the UK

Vodafone's Gigafast Package Advertisement Under Fire

Vodafone Has "Gigafast" Broadband Package Adverts Pulled After Virgin Media Calls Them Misleading

The UK ISP Vodafone has had it’s “Gigafast” Broadband adverts banned after Virgin Media challenged them within the courts earlier this year. The issue arose after Virgin Media accused Vodafone of misrepresenting its broadband packages to consumers, as Vodafone’s website, clearly stated that you could achieve an average speed of 900 Mbps, not exactly 1 Gbps. This falls in line with new British legislation launched in May of 2018, stating that internet service providers must only advertise download speeds that are available to at least 50-percent of their account holders during the prime time hours between 8 and 10 pm.

The Advertising Standards Authority, (a consumer watchdog within the UK), stated that most customers would assume the prefix giga to be a “hyperbolic description of speed”, with many being confused or even tricked into believing that their downloads speeds would exceed or be at that fabled 1 Gbps download speed. The watchdog did take into account that those speeds could be possible outside of those peak times, however it pulled Vodafone up on one other point within its advertising campaign, “enjoy Vodafone Gigafast Broadband speeds for as little as £23 a month”. Problem being that to get that top Gigafast package, you’d need to be forking over £48 a month at a minimum, with the £23 package offering 1/10th the speed of its top rated package.

So Maybe Gigafast for 900 Mbps isn't the best wording

Vodafone reached out to the BBC and stated that the company “had made improvements to our website several months before the ASA ruling to ensure that the cost and speed of each package is as clear as possible”.

There’s definitely an irony to all of this, as those who are typically going to be looking at these packages should be well aware of how networking works, and when you’re most likely to achieve those speeds. An almost assumed knowledge if you will. Nevertheless calling the package Gigafast may have been a poor decision. Openreach (the company behind the fibre infrastructure within the UK), states that this fibre to the property technology is actually called Ultrafast, circumventing that Giga description, and bizarrely the company also has a “Gfast” technology in place currently as well, which can drive up to 330 Mbps download speeds across fibre to the cabinet, and copper to the house properties too (although again only in select areas). If you’re curious what you can get, and you’re not on Virgin cable check out Openreach’s Ultrafast Broadband Checker

Openreach's fibre checker will tell you exactly what you can get.
Zak Storey

As Associate Editor of Tom's Hardware's prestigous British division, Zak specializes in system building, case reviews and peripherals, and has a particular penchant for liquid-cooling. He's also a lover of all things Viking/Scandinavian (thus the poor attempt at a beard).