The National Advertising Division finds some of Google Fiber’s claims supported, with reservations; Recommends that other claims be dropped

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NEW YORK, May 26, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs has determined that Google Fiber Inc. provides a reasonable basis for certain higher speed claims for its fiber service compared to cable Internet service providers in its footprint. However, regarding its “faster in all directions” claim and its “everything you do goes much faster” claim, NAD recommended the advertiser make some changes. Additionally, NAD recommended that the advertiser end the dispute:

  • Quantified speed superiority claims;
  • Superior reliability claims; and
  • The claim that cable service providers are unreliable and prone to failure.

The claims at issue have been disputed by Charter Communications, Inc.

Quantified speed claims

NAD determined that the advertiser’s support did not match its quantified claims of speed superiority and recommended that it terminate the claims:

  • “up to 77x faster uploads”
  • “downloads up to 12x faster”
  • “[w]With Google Fiber, you’ll get faster download speeds than traditional cable, whether you opt for 1GB (up to 6x faster) or 2GB (up to 12x faster)”

NAD has concluded that the quantified speed claims reasonably convey the message that the speed difference is between two comparable speed measurements and tiers when in fact it is comparing Google Fiber’s maximum potential speed of its 1 Gbps and 2 Gbps tiers. at the median speeds of Charter (and other cable companies) lower tiers.

NAD also noted that “up to” claims can send a misleading message to consumers when comparing apples and oranges. NAD found that consumers can reasonably expect advertiser “up to” claims to refer to the same level of speed, using the same metric, in which the consumer experience will be affected by factors such as weather, equipment and congestion. They may not expect the language “up to” to relate to a comparison of median speeds to maximum speeds across different speed levels.

The “faster in all directions” claim

In support of its “faster in every direction” claim, the advertiser submitted confidential data from a third-party service showing that Google Fiber had the fastest median upload and download speeds of all other ISPs in its footprint. However, NAD concluded that this data did not support the unqualified “faster in all directions” claim. On the contrary, it showed that during specific time periods, Google Fiber was faster in both median download and median download.

Accordingly, NAD recommended that the advertiser either terminate the claim or amend it to clearly and prominently disclose the relevant market or time period in which Google Fiber provides the fastest speeds.

The Statement “Everything You Do Goes Much Faster”

Charter disputed claims made on Google Fiber’s web page that “[w]When you have download speeds up to 77 times faster than wired internet, everything you do goes much faster – from sending large files quickly, to gaming without lag, to making video calls. smoother and more reliable.” Although NAD found that the advertiser did not support its quantified speed claims, including the claim of 77x faster download speeds, NAD separately considered the “everything what you do goes much faster”.

NAD investigated whether Google Fiber’s potential download speeds were in fact faster than Charter’s. Since Google Fiber offers a download speed of 1 Gbps compared to Charter’s 35 Mbps, NAD concluded that the advertiser could support a modified claim that “everything” that requires download speeds “goes much faster.” , including file downloads, games and video conferencing.

Therefore, NAD recommended that the advertiser change the “everything you do goes much faster” claim to specify that anything that requires download speeds goes much faster, including file downloads, games and video conferencing.

Superior Reliability Claims

NAD recommended that Google Fiber terminate the claims:

  • “Unlike the old-fashioned copper lines you get with traditional cable, our internet gives you a strong, stable, and 99.9% reliable connection with (much) fewer points of failure than cable internet. “
  • “Our 100% fiber optic network means you’ll have fewer outages than wired internet.”
  • Cable internet providers, including Charter, offer old and outdated internet service, compared to Google Fiber’s fiber optic internet.

NAD found that evidence that fiber can withstand outages better does not match claims that Google Fiber has “(significantly) fewer points of failure than cable internet” and “fewer outages than wired internet”. cable”. The reliability of a service and service outages can be measured and claims of higher reliability or fewer outages must be supported by evidence that shows the service provider itself is more reliable compared to competitors, not simply by citing technological differences.

NAD also determined that third-party surveys showing that Google Fiber was rated highly by customers for reliability compared to competitors are not appropriate for comparative reliability or a “fewer outages” claim. NAD was also unconvinced by third-party data showing that in every market in which Google Fiber is offered, it is the service provider that most consistently hits a 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload threshold. between Q2 2020 and Q2 2021. NAD noted that a test that only measures how well a provider has met the 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload thresholds does not consider other factors such as connections that have not reached these thresholds.

Finally, during the course of the proceeding, Google Fiber voluntarily dropped certain quantified reliability claims and amended its “99.9% reliable connection” claim to add a disclosure that the claim refers to network availability, exclusion of certain types of breakdowns. The NAD did not consider the voluntarily abandoned applications on their merits.

In its advertiser statement, Google Fiber said it “will comply with NAD’s decision.” The advertiser further stated that while it disagrees with some aspects of NAD’s decision, “Google Fiber is a strong supporter of self-regulation and will adhere to NAD’s recommendations.”

All National BBB Program case decision summaries can be found in the Case Decision Library. For the full text of NAD, NARB and CARU decisions, subscribe to the online archive.

About National BBB Programs: National BBB programs are where businesses turn to build consumer confidence and consumers are heard. The non-profit organization creates a fairer level playing field for businesses and a better experience for consumers through the development and delivery of effective third-party accountability and dispute resolution programs. Assuming its role as an independent organization since the restructuring of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in June 2019, BBB National Programs now oversees more than a dozen national industry self-regulatory programs and continues to evolve its work and increase its impact by providing business advice and promoting best practices in areas such as advertising, marketing to children and privacy. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.

About the National Advertising Division: The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs provides independent self-regulatory and dispute resolution services, guiding the truthfulness of advertising across the United States. NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for truth and accuracy in advertising, providing consumer protections and leveling the playing field for businesses.

SOURCE BBB National Programs

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