CenturyLink told to modify comparative Internet speed advertising claims

The National Advertising Division (NAD) wants CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) to modify the way it compares its Internet speeds with those offered by Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA).

Specifically, the advertising industry's investigative unit, which is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus, wants the phone company to address and revise claims that it is 13 times faster than basic cable, six times faster than basic cable, offers speeds up to 40 Mbps and speeds up to 20 Mbps, the organization said in a press release.

CenturyLink's advertising compares its fastest service to the slowest speed offered by cable rival Comcast. Comcast maintained the ads are misleading because they compare CenturyLink's fastest speeds with Comcast's slowest, although CenturyLink said that it "clearly disclosed" the comparisons in both the main body of the ads and in "clear and conspicuous disclaimers."

NAD agreed with Comcast that the advertising "did not convey the message that CenturyLink overall provided faster Internet speeds than Comcast" and that they further "failed to convey meaningful information to consumers about Comcast packages."

NAD also suggested that CenturyLink make it clear that 40 Mbps speeds "may not be available in your area" when advertising in areas where the higher tier of service is available to fewer than 50 percent of consumers.

CenturyLink responded that it "respectfully disagrees with certain of NAD's recommendations" but that it will "take those recommendations into account in future advertising (and) hope that all industry competitors will also abide by the guidance set forth in this decision."

For more:
- NAD has this press release

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