The UK High Court ruling against alternative provider of wholesale full fibre network infrastructure CityFibre in the challenge to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over fibre advertising is a disappointment to operators building full fibre networks, the Independent Network Co-operative Association (INCA) has said.
The ruling dismissed CityFibre’s request for a Judicial Review of ASA’s decision that fixed line hybrid fibre connections containing copper, which are therefore slower, can be advertised as fibre broadband.
CityFibre argued that customers expecting full fibre or Fibre to the Home/Premises (FTTH/P) connectivity, which delivers faster broadband speeds than copper-reliant connections, should be given clarity to ensure they make an informed choice when choosing broadband providers.
Malcolm Corbett, CEO at INCA, the co-operative trade association for next generation broadband services, said that the efforts of independent network operators committed to a full-fibre UK should not be undermined by misleading advertising. “Independent networks and their investors are committing hundreds of millions to help meet the government’s full fibre targets. For those investments to succeed consumers need assurance that they are buying services on genuine fibre networks. Otherwise we will have confusion in the marketplace. Government and Ofcom need to do more to help,” Corbett said.
INCA has pioneered a new Gold Standard Quality Mark for Full Fibre that guarantees the fibre connection extends all the way to the building. The certification, introduced in January, recognises independent operators dedicated to providing full fibre services to customers.
“Independent operators are doing their part by defining what full fibre means,” advised Corbett. “With support from policy makers we aim to make this INCA tick widely known. It’s a useful part of the picture, but we need a concerted effort to ensure UK consumers know we are on a new path to full fibre and 5G wireless services.”