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Advertising Standards ASA

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has urged broadband providers to avoid making "tit for tat" complaints about competitors.

Virgin Media recently complained to the watchdog regarding Sky's adverts for its broadband services, arguing the claim that they were "super reliable" was misleading.

While the ASA upheld the complaint and ordered Sky not to show the ads again in their current form, it believes providers should not rush to make a complaint if they are unhappy about a rival's advertising.

Speaking to BBC News, a spokesman said telecoms providers must try to resolve the matter between themselves first and back up any grievances with evidence they have approached their competitor.

"It is a ferociously competitive sector and a lot of scrutiny is given to competitors' advertising, but we only act when there is a problem under the rules," the ASA representative said.

The ASA's recent ruling came shortly after Virgin Media, Sky and TalkTalk all complained about BT's recent ads regarding its Smart Hub.

Rival providers took issue with the claim that the Smart Hub offered "the UK's most powerful Wi-Fi signal" capable of reaching "some serious distance".

The ASA accepted that BT had included qualifying text to back up this statement, but determined that the headline claims were "very broad and would be understood as whole-of-market comparisons".

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