Watchdog Refers Verizon To FCC And FTC Over Broadband Ads

An ad industry watchdog says it will refer Verizon to the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission for refusing to participate in an investigation of ads touting broadband service.

The move by the National Advertising Division, a self-regulatory unit administered by the Better Business Bureau, stemmed from cable company Comcast's challenge to Verizon's ad boasts, including claims that "Only FiOS gives you equal upload and download speeds" and that FiOS is the "fastest" and "most reliable" Internet service.

Comcast argued to the NAD that Comcast speeds were "faster and more reliable" than Verizon's, according to tests by the FCC.

Comcast also said that its top-tier service offers 2 Gbps in both directions, which would contradict Verizon's claim of being the only service to offer equally fast upstream and downstream speeds.

A Verizon spokesperson suggested that the company didn't participate because it believed the NAD had a conflict of interest.

"Although we offered to respond to Comcast's frivolous complaint in the NAD process, NAD refused to resolve a conflict of interest," a spokesperson said. 

Comcast and Verizon have challenged each other's ads in the past. Last August, the NAD told Comcast to stop boasting that it offers the "fastest Internet" in America, after Verizon raised objections to the claim. Two months before, the NAD responded to Comcast's complaints about Verizon by telling the telecom to revise FiOS ads boasting that its broadband service is the top-rated for speed.

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