An important challenge the industry faces today is the issue of misleading fibre advertising.
We believe that misusing the word “fibre” in advertisement confuses end-users’ choices, reduces the attractiveness of the fibre brand and works against public objectives to generalise access to full fibre connectivity.
First of all, most of the end-users don’t have the technical knowledge to identify advertising practices using “fibre” or “fibre speeds” when the advertised product is not genuinely based on a full fibre connection. Misusing the word fibre in advertisements prevents the consumers from making an informed choice about the products which are available to them as consumer thinking they already have full fibre will never switch to a FTTH connection.
While most of the population is not aware of which connection they have, a study by the FTTH Council Europe showed that where consumers know what they can choose from and understand the difference in performance between fibre and copper-based connections, they consciously choose fibre. The degree of satisfaction of FTTH end-users is substantially higher than recorded for any other Internet access technology in Sweden and 94% of non-FTTH users would consider subscribing to FTTH if it was made available in their area. Selling inferior copper-based connections as fibre undermines the value proposition of real fibre and undercuts the investment case for full fibre deployment.
We are firmly convinced that the National Regulatory Authority (NRAs) or Digital/Telecom Ministries are better placed to intervene compared to Advertising Authorities and that policy approaches to advertising broadband should be better aligned with the objectives established under the EECC.
Finally the FTTH Council Europe calls for the introduction of a ‘fibre-ready’ label for new buildings and major renovations, this label would empower consumers to make an informed choice about the products which are available to them and would have a positive impact on take-up.