Comcast-Verizon ad dispute kicked up to FTC and FCC

Verizon FiOS set-top
The ongoing dispute between Verizon and Comcast revolves around claims about broadband speeds.

Watchdog agency the National Advertising Division (NAD) has referred an ongoing dispute between Comcast and Verizon to the Federal Trade Commission and the FCC, citing concerns that the No. 1 wireless operator has refused to participate in a mediation proceeding. 

In February, following a Verizon complaint, the NAD asked Comcast to stop making claims that it has the “fastest internet in America” and the “fastest in-home Wi-Fi.”

Comcast complained right back, challenging Verizon’s boasts that, “only FiOS gives you equal upload and download speeds” and that FiOS is the “fastest” and “most reliable” internet service. 

(Notable: Comcast bases the former claim on its 2 Gbps fiber service, a very pricey broadband product subscribed to by a select few.)

RELATED: Comcast asked by Ad Review Board to stop making ‘fastest’ internet and Wi-Fi claims

Verizon defended its position with the following statement: “Verizon offers the fastest Internet available in all markets where Fios competes. We've participated in countless NAD matters over the years and have never before encountered a situation requiring the company to decline to participate in this voluntary self-regulatory process. 

“Although we offered to respond to Comcast's frivolous complaint in the NAD process, NAD refused to resolve a conflict of interest caused by their former assistant director who participated on prior Verizon cases now representing Comcast on substantially similar matters."

Verizon regrets that NAD was "unwilling to address this fundamental unfairness and we will happily demonstrate our performance superiority in a neutral and proper forum,” Verizon added. 

The NAD is a unit of the Better Business Bureau, and it has no actual teeth to enforce its rulings. The FTC and FCC, however, do have tools to deal with such a kerfuffle.