Comcast’s Xfinity 10G Network overstates the speed of its internet offerings and should be removed or changed to more accurately convey what consumers will get, according to the National Advertising Division of the non-profit Better Business Bureau.
T-Mobile and Verizon challenged the claim, arguing that 10G and the notion of a tenth generation of broadband may be conflated with their own 5G cellular service, which stands for fifth generation. While 5G is a term that is officially sanctioned by the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union, Comcast’s 10G moniker, which signifies 10Gbps of internet speed, is a marketing term.
The NAD decision is just the latest back-and-forth between wireless and cable companies over the use of key terms, which play more critical roles in advertising. The rise of “convergence,” or the idea that one company can offer all services, whether its internet, wireless and video, has meant the telecom and cable companies are butting heads more often than ever.
While the NAD didn’t have a problem with the idea of calling 10G the tenth generation of broadband technology, it did have an issue with Comcast slapping the 10G label on all of its services, implying that all consumers would have access to those kinds of speeds. In reality, only customers who sign up for its most expensive Gigabit Pro tier get 10Gbps speeds, and it requires the physical installation of fiber-optic lines into their homes.
As a result, the NAD recommended Comcast discontinue using the terms “10G,” “Xfinity 10G,” and “Xfinity 10G Network.” The agency suggested Comcast could modify the advertising to make it clearer that is working toward achieve 10G in a more aspirational way, as opposed to implying it is already here for everyone.
Separately, the NAD also told Comcast to modify commercials that claim Xfinity’s internet customers would be able to weather a power outage, since the company’s “storm ready” Wi-Fi router wasn’t yet ready.
Comcast said in the NAD announcement that it “disagrees with NAD’s decision, including NAD’s determination that the ‘Xfinity 10G Network’ brand name constitutes an ‘express claim,’” and a spokesman declined to provide further comment. The NAD said T-Mobile would appeal the decision on the 10th generation claim.