NAD Finds Certain Claims Comparing Comcast Xfinity Internet Speed to AT&T Supported; Recommends Others be Modified or Discontinued
Sep 28, 2022
New York, NY – September 28, 2022 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs determined that Comcast Cable Communications, LLC provided a reasonable basis for the claims:
- “Fastest Internet, with up to 3 Gbps (3,000 Mbps) download and upload speed with the [Xfinity] Gigabit Pro Plan,” which AT&T does not have; and
- That Xfinity’s top WiFi speeds are faster than AT&T’s top WiFi speeds.
However, NAD recommended that Comcast:
- Modify the “Everyone Likes to Go Fast” radio commercial to clearly state that the basis of comparison is between Xfinity’s 3-gig tier and AT&T’s 1-gig tier.
- Discontinue the claims that “Xfinity has a faster gig speed tier than AT&T” and “Compared to gig speed from Xfinity your AT&T Internet is . . . slower” or modify them to make it clear that Xfinity has faster download speeds for its 1-gig tier than AT&T.
In this case, AT&T Services challenged comparative internet and WiFi claims made by Comcast for its gig speed tier, which offers download speeds of 1200 Mbps and upload speeds of 35 Mbps, and Gigabit Pro tier or 3-gig speed tier, which provides symmetrical download and upload speeds of 3 Gbps.
3 Times Faster Internet Claims
At issue for NAD was whether Comcast could advertise its fastest internet speeds through claims that Xfinity’s 3-gig speed tier is three times faster than AT&T’s 1-gig speed tier, even though AT&T introduced its 5-gig tier service in January 2022.
NAD assessed whether AT&T’s 5-gig service has sufficient market penetration to be a meaningful competitive product. When determining whether a new product or service is sufficiently available to compete with a broadly available service, NAD has noted that raw numbers may provide some evidence of market penetration, but raw numbers in isolation do not provide the context to determine whether a meaningful percentage of consumers have access to the product or service.
NAD determined that Comcast provided a reasonable basis to support its claim that Xfinity’s 3-gig speed tier is three times faster than AT&T’s 1-gig speed tier and that AT&T did not provide evidence that its 5-gig service is widely available to customers. Therefore, NAD concluded that AT&T’s 5-gig service does not invalidate Xfinity’s three times faster internet than AT&T claims.
AT&T also challenged whether Xfinity’s 3-gig service is an appropriate basis of comparison for the faster internet claims because it is costly, requires professional installation, and is not utilized by many Comcast customers. NAD determined that Xfinity’s 3-gig internet service tier is an appropriate basis for comparison because Comcast established that 98% of its customer base can access this tier of service.
NAD then looked at whether the basis of comparison was properly identified in Comcast’s radio commercial called “Everyone Likes to Go Fast” and Comcast’s website chart. NAD found that Comcast’s:
- Radio commercial did not accurately identify this basis of comparison and recommended that Comcast modify it to clearly state that the basis of comparison is between Xfinity’s 3-gig tier and AT&T’s 1-gig tier.
- Website claim “Fastest Internet, with up to 3 Gbps (3,000 Mbps) download and upload speed with the [Xfinity] Gigabit Pro Plan” with a green check mark under the Xfinity column and a red X-mark under the AT&T column was supported and sufficiently identified the basis of comparison to avoid consumer confusion.
Faster Gig Speed Claims
NAD considered whether Comcast’s unqualified faster speed claim conveys a message of faster download speeds alone. Prior NAD and BBB National Programs National Advertising Review Board (NARB) determinations have concluded that general internet speed claims, unless qualified, convey a message about download and upload speeds.
NAD determined that Comcast’s claims that “Xfinity has a faster gig speed tier than AT&T” and “Compared to gig speed from Xfinity your AT&T Internet is… slower” convey a message that Xfinity’s gig speed has faster download and upload speed than AT&T’s gig speed, which is not supported by the record. Therefore, NAD recommended that both claims either be discontinued or modified to make it clear that Xfinity has faster download speeds for its 1-gig tier than AT&T.
Faster WiFi Speed Claims
NAD determined that Comcast’s intertwining of parity and superiority speed claims in the challenged radio commercial reasonably conveys a superiority message that Xfinity’s WiFi speeds are faster than AT&T’s.
NAD found that although both parties offer WiFi 6, Comcast Xfinity offers faster provisioned speeds of 3 Gbps with its 3-gig tier of service and 1.2 Gbps with its gig tier of service compared to AT&T’s fastest widely available offering of 1 Gbps with its gig service tier. Absent any rebuttal evidence from AT&T demonstrating that Xfinity WiFi 6 routers cannot support the faster speed tiers offered by Xfinity, NAD concluded Comcast provided a reasonable basis to support the claim that Xfinity’s top WiFi speeds are faster than AT&T’s top WiFi speeds.
In its advertiser statement, Comcast stated that it “agrees to comply with NAD’s decision and will make the minor modifications recommended by NAD.”
About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to enhance consumer trust and consumers are heard. The non-profit organization creates a fairer playing field for businesses and a better experience for consumers through the development and delivery of effective third-party accountability and dispute resolution programs. Embracing its role as an independent organization since the restructuring of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in June 2019, BBB National Programs today oversees more than a dozen leading national industry self-regulation programs, and continues to evolve its work and grow its impact by providing business guidance and fostering best practices in arenas such as advertising, child-directed marketing, and privacy. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.
About the National Advertising Division: The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs provides independent self-regulation and dispute resolution services, guiding the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S. NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for advertising truth and accuracy, delivering meaningful protection to consumers and leveling the playing field for business.
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