back to article Sky Broadband is not the UK's cheapest, growls ad watchdog

Sky Broadband has been publicly punished for peddling porky pies after running telly ads that made it out to be the UK's cheapest superfast home internet connection. TV ads for Sky Broadband boasted back in January that the British telco offered "the UK's lowest price superfast broadband with Wi-Fi Guarantee or money back". …

  1. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    SO what does 'wifi guarantee' actually mean?

    1. WolfFan Silver badge

      Whatever Sky wants it to mean.

    2. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

      Yep. That's exactly the first thing that jumped out at me. I'm pretty sure it means that when you turn on their router you'll get 2 litres of wifi - guaranteed. Just like all of the other providers.

      I'm with VM and I get 3 litres of wifi - guaranteed!! And a nice plastic measuring jug to keep it in.

      1. mollcons

        I only get about 10cc (9Mbps x 1Mbps), but I am not blaming Zen who have never told me a lie. I am working to get B4RN to my area, and that will be not only cheaper than anything that Sky (or BT) can offer, but it will be very significantly faster.

        1. HopperIRE


          Wondered whether You'd explain more re.B4RN,, please?


          PaulJo $

          1. Martin an gof Silver badge

            Re: B4RN....?

            Wondered whether You'd explain more re.B4RN,, please?

            Sorry, I know it's a few days late, but quite literally five seconds on DuckDuckGo.


    3. low_resolution_foxxes

      Knowing how Corp mindset works:

      They will guarantee the WiFi works. If it fails due to hardware defect they'll replace it.

      If the signal is not strong enough, they will sell you WiFi repeaters.

      Ergo, it's basically a vacuous free promise they would probably be required to cover as part of a basic normal guarantee.

      1. damiandixon

        It was cheaper to buy a mesh system then get halo 2 from BT.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. legless82


    The whole message of the advert is a sad reflection of consumer habits these days.

    Service? Quality? Performance? None of this matters. It's all a race to the bottom on price.

    It's the same with everything. Broadband. Cars. Clothes. Furniture. Pretty much anything. Joe Public forgets about anything other than number on the ticket, and other than a few select vendors, everyone (including those who used to make good quality stuff) churns out horrible tat with only skin-deep quality because that's all that matters to the majority.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Disappointingly

      In other words...

      You get what you paid for.

      Sometimes buying the cheapest costs you more in the long run.

      1. Mike 16

        Re: You get what you paid for.

        This is one of those phrases like "I could care less" that seems to have been trimmed a bit from its original formulation: "You never get _more_ than you paid for".

        It is entirely possible (likely) that you will get less, no matter how much you paid.

        (Cue the wag with the "I'm glad I don't get all the government I pay for")

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: You get what you paid for.

          Isn't it "I couldn't care less"? Otherwise you're saying... well you see what I mean?

          1. Cynic_999

            Re: You get what you paid for.

            Cheap at half the price ...

    2. tip pc Silver badge

      Re: Disappointingly

      “ because that's all that matters to the majority”

      It’s actually all that matters to the bean counters. If they can make the product cheaper by stripping quality out that most consumers won’t care about they make more profit.

      Do you want an iPhone or latest xiaomi with mega x number of buzzwords?

      A 10 year old slr can still take better pictures Than latest shiny phone but isn’t anywhere near as luggable.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Disappointingly

        @ tip pc

        Excuse me sir, but my God knows how many years old Canon T90 can take better pictures than most modern cameras.

        I shall now duck and run

        Cheers… Ish

        1. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

          Re: Disappointingly

          Film trumps digital, nearly every time

          1. Cynic_999

            Re: Disappointingly

            In what? Certainly not in convenience or price. As for quality of results - I stand a better chance of taking a good photo if I can take 100 shots than if I can only take a few shots because of the price of the film & processing. And if I can check that the photo came out OK while I am still in a position to re-take it, there is less chance of missing photos of those once-in-a-lifetime events.

            As far as inherant quality of the photo is concerned, a high-end digital camera can better the quality & resolution of 35mm film while offering far greater dynamic range via multi-exposure techniques.

      2. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Disappointingly

        "A 10 year old slr can still take better pictures Than latest shiny phone but isn’t anywhere near as luggable."

        In defence of the phone, Facebook or whatever the current social media craze is, video/audio streaming, random internet stuff, SMB sharing of files, Google Docs for writing stuff on the go (better with a Bluetooth keyboard!), and can easily print to all sorts of WiFi printers. Make and receive phone calls. Or video calls. Or just text messages. And, yup, it has a camera built in too.

        Maybe not as good as your SLR (it doesn't matter how good the imagers are if the lenses aren't and your aperture is fixed) but we can compare like with like when your camera can do all the other stuff. Let's start with watching Ghost In The Shell on Netflix.....

        1. Fred Dibnah

          Re: Disappointingly

          A smartphone is a classic example of 'Jack of all trades, master of none'. It does no one job better than a dedicated device can do, it just happens to do lots of things well enough for most people to tolerate its limitations. Horses for courses.

        2. tip pc Silver badge

          Re: Disappointingly

          “ but we can compare like with like when your camera can do all the other stuff”

          That’s the point right there. To make the phones sell they add buzzword features to make it look better than it really is.

          Does it really need a 64mp camera or 120gb storage or 6gb of ram?

          1. philipcsmith70

            Re: Disappointingly

            Slightly luddite attitude for a reader of this publication? No offense, just find it a bit incongruous here :)

        3. damiandixon

          Re: Disappointingly

          I've used my low light 48mega pixel phone camera with an attachment to fit on my telescope. I've had some really stunning photos as good as those using SLR cameras fitted to the same telescope. Only issue is light bleed around the edges but that's easy to fix.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Disappointingly

            In my experience that depends on which objects your imaging and on which software your using to process the images.

            You can get some pretty good images with good software processing, even from a 720P webcam. On the other hand distant objects work best with a camera designed for that kind of thing to make sure every available photon is caught.

      3. Kevin Johnston

        Re: Disappointingly

        While I fully agree with the sentiment there was a very appropriate comment I read from a photographer. He was asked which of the cameras he owned was the best and his response? Whichever one I have with me.

        There is the nub of the challenge. As you say, an SLR is not readily luggable but if you are serious about your pictures you will make the effort. If you want snapshots (some of which are likely to be stunning by luck as much as by judgement) then a modern smartphone is actually very good for this and tends to be somewhere about your person at all times

    3. jrd

      Re: Disappointingly

      The problem is that it is almost impossible to compare products by anything except price. Companies lie about every other aspect of their product apart from the most basic 'facts'. And company 'reputation' doesn't count for much as most products are built in the same third-world hell-holes anyway. Currently, on-line reviews offer a bit of independent advice, but the companies are gaming that system now too.

      Most people have realized you might as well buy cheap shit because it's so hard to be confident that what you're buying isn't shit. And people would rather buy chap shit than expensive shit.

      1. AlgernonFlowers4

        Is it man made?

        'And people would rather buy chap shit than expensive shit'

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Is it man made?

          Yes, made by cowboys. Yee Haaah!

    4. low_resolution_foxxes

      Re: Disappointingly

      It resell BT Internet. Virtually an identical service down the same cable.

      If you can get a 25% discount for two years, hell yes.

    5. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Re: Disappointingly

      Up to a point. But there is great difficulty in delineating which manufacturer has the 'best' quality, even with all those helpful reviews and anecdotes out there; higher price does not always correlate with highest quality of any component; and 'luxury' makers are generally subsumed into vast conglomerates such as, say, LVMH, for a fake mass-market 'exclusivity' rather than being makers of distinction.

      People should pay the labourer his hire, but as with government and employers, they prefer to buy estimates, or pay workers, by the cheapest offer, leading to many faults down the line.

  4. conscience

    It is just more snake oil by the sound of it. I am not a Sky customer, but IIRC it's something like if you pay an extra £5 on top of your broadband for a 'boost pack' which guarantees 3mbps wifi in every room, or if you don't get it then you get your extra £5 fee back which of course means you're still paying full price for no or slow wifi. Worst. Guarantee. Ever. There are a couple of other 'advantages' (they waive the extra fee for getting weekend/evening call out visits, but I suspect not the much bigger call out appointment fee, plus 2GB of mobile data is added to your Sky mobile account for unplanned outages but only if you're also a Sky mobile customer and with so many small print exemptions that make it pretty pointless).

    As for their misleading adverts, they'll all keep doing it unless we see some significant punishments.

    1. Steve Foster

      Re: "As for their misleading adverts..."

      The current "punishment" regime is useless - forbidding advertisers from running an advert that they aren't using/showing any more is a waste of time.

      What might work is forbidding them from advertising at all for a while - perhaps on similar lines to the coronavirus fines, where the ban duration starts modest, but rapidly ratchets up for repeat offences (within defined limits and with a slow decay [like speeding points]).

      Or maybe we should just go the whole hog and ban advertising entirely! (launch the "B" ark)

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: "As for their misleading adverts..."

        "The current "punishment" regime is useless"

        Over here in France, certain gossip magazines take a "publish and be damned" attitude to some stories. When they get their asses handed to them by the courts, quite often a magazine must be removed from sale (if it is still available) and then an apology must be printed on the front cover.

        So why can't we apply that sort of thing to advertising? Not only does {COMPANY} have to remove it's untruthful advert, but they also have to rectify those untruths by paying for an equivalent amount of advertising time (as the lie one, same times of day as well) running an advert for at least seven calendar days that states "{COMPANY} is full of shit and we lied to you. Our {OFFER} has more holes in it than a Swiss cheese. If you sign up for our service you're a lemming." Or words to that effect.

      2. tfewster

        Re: "As for their misleading adverts..."

        If anyone signed up to Sky on the basis of these ads, wouldn't that be actual fraud then? So those customers should get an automatic discount to match an equivalent price/quality service. To save Sky the costs of investigating each case, anyone who signed up during the time the ads were running should get a discount. Sorted.

        1. Marcelo Rodrigues

          Re: "As for their misleading adverts..."

          "If anyone signed up to Sky on the basis of these ads, wouldn't that be actual fraud then? So those customers should get an automatic discount to match an equivalent price/quality service. To save Sky the costs of investigating each case, anyone who signed up during the time the ads were running should get a discount. Sorted."

          Almost there. I think they should get the subscription for free, as punitive fines. It only stops if it hurts. And it only hurts if the beancounters are left crying on a corner, in a fetal position.

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "Sky Broadband has been publicly punished"

    No it hasn't. It has just been forbidden from running an ad that has probably already reached end of display. Marketing is a fickle world and the lifespan of an ad is approaching goldfish attention span.

    A public punishment would have been the CEO of Sky appearing before a judge and getting a few weeks sentence (come on, it's just an ad) hard time. No, not comfy house arrest, that's for pussies. No, not community service, it's supposed to be punishment. If we did have the balls to do that, CEOs in general would become a lot more wary of the ads their marketing department put out, so it would be a win/win.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sky and BT appear to have been in a race to the bottom for a long while, over advertising, trustworthiness, customer service.and, in the case if BT, their previous Phorm. They're powering on their way down, ready to meet Talk talk, who have been there for - well, since forever.

  7. IneptAdept

    Bullshit adverts

    Have made a couple of complaints about the current Facebook portal ads that claim

    Before portal you couldn't have everyone in a video call, you know the one where her family are 500 miles away

    This is the reason I feel we should have a test before you can use tech

  8. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Free Bullshittium

    Adverts seem to be heading into the gutter more and more. My pet hates are the cosmetic adverts that are so full of pseudo-scientific bullshit that years ago I started shouting "with extra Bullshittium" at the TV whenever one came on. Now that Bullshittium seems to be spreading to most other forms of advertising and more and more are pushing the boundaries of what they can get away with. A few are getting caught out, but most just get away with it.

    I mostly treat all adverts as outright lies and instead do my research before I buy something. About the best an advert can do is bring to my attention that something exists. As soon as it tries to convince me that it will make me happier/prettier/healthier/etc. I mostly ignore that product and often the entire brand.

    1. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Re: Free Bullshittium

      Right. But it didn't have far to leap...

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