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A Virgin Media broadband advert has been banned by the industry regulator following a complaint from its major industry rival.

BT raised issue with a technology magazine advert, in which Virgin Media claimed to offer "the UK's fastest broadband".

Despite protestations from the broadband provider, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld the complaint, on the basis that the ad had the potential to mislead consumers.

The regulator noted that a number of small, niche providers currently offer faster broadband speeds that Virgin Media's 50Mb fibre service.

"We considered that the similar claim 'UK’s fastest broadband' was an absolute claim, because it implied that it was not possible to obtain a broadband connection in the UK that delivered a faster maximum download speed," the ASA stated.

"We also understood that, where their ads included the claim 'UK’s fastest broadband', Virgin usually included qualifications to the effect that the claim was made in relation to broadband services which were widely available to UK consumers."

The ASA said that if the qualification appeared in an additional statement - for instance in the body copy or small print of the ad - it would contradict rather than clarify the claim.

"In order for such a qualification to clarify rather than contradict the claim, it should be included within the claim," the regulator stated.

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