Verizon asked to change ads after Comcast complaint

A government panel has asked Verizon (NYSE: VZ) to change a series of potentially misleading ads, following a complaint by Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA).

The National Advertising Review Board, an offshoot of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, identified two claims it said are potentially confusing to customers, recommending changes for both claims:

  • "In customer satisfaction studies FiOS is rated # 1 in internet speed … 8 years running."
  • TV service rated number one in HD picture quality … based on customer satisfaction studies.

Verizon said it made these claims based on PC Magazine's "Reader's Choice Survey."

The NARB concluded that the claims "reasonably communicated a superiority message with respect to FiOS internet speed and HD picture quality rather than the message that Verizon customers are more satisfied with their Internet speed and HD picture quality than customers of competing providers. NAD recommended that the challenged claims be discontinued."

According the NARB, Verizon said it will consider the NARB's recommendations in future advertising and that it "appreciates the panel's guidance in this matter."

The top download speed offered by FiOS is only 500 Mbps, while Comcast is now rolling out 1-gig, DOCSIS 3.1-powered services. 

Verizon has a history of battling other operators over FiOS' alleged superiority — or inferiority, as the case may be.

Last year, Verizon won a court battle with Cablevision, after claiming the MSO's superiority claims over FiOS were bogus. 

AT&T (NYSE: T), meanwhile, received a similar recommendation from the NARB in November 2014 after claiming its U-verse broadband tiers were the fastest for the money. 

For more:
- read this National Advertising Review Board announcement
- read this Ars Technica story

Related articles:
Cablevision loses court ruling to Verizon, judge orders MSO to pull Optimum/FiOS ads
Cablevision sues Verizon alleging deceptive advertising claims about Wi-Fi superiority
Cablevision sues Verizon over FiOS ad

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