BBB: Charter's Broadband Ads Denigrate AT&T

Charter denigrated AT&T in ads for broadband service by implying that companies with AT&T service “are using outdated, slow equipment,” the Better Business Bureau's National Advertising Division said on Thursday.

The decision stemmed from AT&T's challenge to ads by Charter, which touted its broadband service as faster than AT&T's. The ad copy included assertions like “AT&T can’t keep up with your business. It’s time to move on” and “5 reasons your business is better off without AT&T,” according to the NAD's opinion.

The NAD wrote that even though Charter's basic business broadband service offers speeds of 30 Mbps -- five times faster than AT&T's maximum DSL speed of 6 Mbps -- Charter shouldn't have suggested that AT&T hinders businesses. “While a difference of even a few minutes in downloading a file can be substantial for a business, there is no evidence in the record that companies who use AT&T’s DSL and phone service are less productive and/or successful than businesses who use other providers (such as Charter Business),” the NAD wrote.

AT&T also accused Charter of wrongly characterizing AT&T's service as slow and outdated. While Charter's service is significantly faster than DSL, AT&T also offers U-Verse, which offers speeds of up to 24 Mbps.

The NAD said in its ruling that Charter “provided a reasonable basis for its Internet speed superiority and benefits claims as compared to AT&T DSL.” But the NAD said Charter should clarify that the comparison is to AT&T's DSL service, and not U-Verse.
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