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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a Sky advert after ruling it had the potential to mislead consumers over a rival's broadband offering.

A direct mailing advert circulated by Sky discussed Virgin Media's traffic management policy (TMP), which applies to the provider's broadband subscribers.

Taking the form of a fictional conversation between a consumer and Virgin Media's customer service time, the ad said: "So this super-duper fast broadband I’ve got is always going to stay that way, right?"

This query received the response: "Well that depends. We do have a traffic management policy".

And on the next page of the advert, Sky stated: "At Sky, when we say our broadband usage is unlimited, that’s exactly what we mean."

Virgin Media complained about the advert, saying it misleadingly exaggerated the effect of the broadband TMP and was denigrating the company's brand.

The ASA upheld the complaint, noting that the Virgin Media TMP affected only a small percentage of its customers who are very heavy downloaders.

"We considered the ad was presented in a manner that went beyond a robust and objective comparison of the services offered by Sky and Virgin Media," the regulator stated.

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