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Virgin Media has fallen foul of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), seeing a number of TV, website and print media broadband adverts banned.

The regulator acted after Virgin Media's rivals BT and Sky complained about broadband speed comparisons contained in the multi-platform marketing campaign.

Virgin Media was accused of misleading consumers by claiming its broadband offers download speeds that are '5x faster than Sky and BT’s regular broadband'.

BT specifically raised concerns about a TV advert, which urged viewers to visit virginmedia.com/ourspeeds for verification over the speed claims.

The telecoms giant argued that the web page lacked sufficient information to clarify the pledge made by Virgin Media over its broadband speeds.

Both Sky and BT raised issue with similar text contained in Virgin Media's other ads, which they said would be understood to apply to all broadband customers.

The ASA agreed, saying that although customers would understand that speeds vary according to external factors - such as the time of the day - the language used by Virgin Media in its adverts was not conditional.

"[We] therefore considered they were likely to be understood to mean that Virgin’s super-fast service was always five times faster than Sky’s and BT’s regular services," the ASA added.

The regulator determined that Virgin Media's adverts did not make immediately clear that the speed claims were based on an average connection.

As such, the ASA concluded that the adverts were misleading and must not be reproduced in any form.

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