New York, NY – March 5, 2012 – The National Advertising Review Board (NARB) has recommended that Internet service provider Frontier Communications Corp., discontinue certain advertising claims challenged by competitor Suddenlink, including claims that state or suggest Frontier’s “dedicated” Internet connection is faster or more reliable than cable.
NARB is the appellate unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
Suddenlink had challenged before the National Advertising Division (NAD) Frontier’s claims regarding the comparative performance of Frontier’s Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) Internet service versus Suddenlink’s cable Internet service.
Following its review of the evidence, NAD recommended Frontier discontinue claims that conveyed the unsupported message that Frontier’s “dedicated” Internet connection was superior to cable’s “shared” Internet connection with respect to speed and reliability and also with respect to security and privacy.
However, NAD found that a Frontier advertisement, which aired on the radio in the Charleston, WV market, was unlikely to mislead consumers about whether Suddenlink had local managers and a 100% U.S. based workforce.
Frontier appealed NAD’s adverse determinations to the NARB, and Suddenlink cross-appealed NAD’s finding regarding the local management/workforce claim.
Following its review of the evidence, the five-person NARB panel recommended that Frontier discontinue claims that communicate a message that Frontier’s “dedicated” Internet connection is faster or more reliable than cable. The panel also recommended that Frontier discontinue claims that communicate a message that Frontier’s “dedicated” Internet connection provides superior privacy and/or security as compared to cable.
The panel found that the challenged radio advertisement reasonably conveyed an unqualified message that cable Internet providers don’t have a 100% U.S. based workforce and/or local managers. However, the record established that both Frontier and Suddenlink have a 100% U.S.-based workforce and Suddenlink has a significant presence of local managers in the areas where it competes with Frontier.
The panel recommended that Frontier discontinue claims that communicate a message that cable providers do not have an all-U.S. based workforce and/or local managers unless that is true with respect to all or a significant portion of cable providers in areas where the advertisement is disseminated.
Frontier, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company disagreed with the panel’s analysis and conclusions, but “intends to take into consideration the panel’s recommendations in developing future high-speed Internet advertisements.”