Ad Watchdog Says Cox Should Revise Ads For Broadband

Cox Communications should stop boasting in ads that it “offers Gig speed everywhere,” when it doesn't actually offer service throughout the country at speeds of 1 Gigabit per second, an industry watchdog has recommended.

The National Advertising Division, a self-regulatory unit administered by the Better Business Bureau, also found fault with a Cox ad that featured the benefits of fast 1 Gbps or 300 Mbps service, but then concluded by stating: “Get Cox high speed internet starting at $19.99 a month for up to 10 megs.”

“A consumer could reasonably take away the message that the touted performance of its 1 Gbps or 300 Mbps service is available for the stated price,” the watchdog wrote in an opinion made public this week. The organization recommended that Cox “clearly and conspicuously” disclose that its 1 Gbps and 300 Mbps service isn't available for only $19.99.



The decision stemmed from a challenge by AT&T to several claims in two Cox ads for its broadband service.

The ads, which compare the providers' internet service, show Cox users downloading material quickly, while AT&T users are faced with frozen screens.

AT&T, which said it offers many people service at speeds fast enough to stream movies, argued that it was disparaged by the ad.

The company says it currently offers 1 Gbps to 10 million fiber customers, and that many non-fiber customers have service at speeds of 25 or 50 Mbps. (Netflix currently recommends connections of at least 3 Mbps for SD quality, 5 Mbps for HD and 25 Mbps for Ultra HD.)

The watchdog recommended that Cox should modify the ad to avoid misleading viewers into believing that AT&T's broadband service is too slow to stream movies.

Cox said it would comply with the recommendations, according to the National Advertising Division.

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