ISPs will be allowed to use the term ‘fibre’ in advertising for FTTC services, in a move that has been greeted with irritation by the UK’s altnet providers

The UK’s High Court of Justice has ruled in favour of the Advertising Standards Authority, upholding its decision to allow internet service providers (ISPs) to use the term ‘fibre’ in their advertising campaigns for broadband services that use hybrid copper / fibre networks.

Fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) services use fibre optic cabling to deliver ultrafast connectivity to the street cabinet but rely on archaic copper cabling to connect the premises to the nearest exchange, drastically reducing the speed of the connection.

The decision has been met with incredulity by the UK’s altnet providers, who believe that ‘fake fibre’ is sabotaging the UK’s ability to deliver a gigabit society.

“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,” said Greg Mesch, CEO of CityFibre.

“Full fibre infrastructure is being deployed at pace in the UK and will soon be within reach of millions of consumers. We welcome the Government’s recognition of the need for clarity in broadband advertising to ensure consumers can make an informed choice. We are also encouraged by DCMS’s focus on this critical issue in its proposed Statement of Strategic Priorities. The technical benefits of full fibre infrastructure are unquestioned and we will continue to work closely with DCMS, Ofcom and the ASA to ensure consumers are able to distinguish full fibre networks from copper-based alternatives,” he added.