Ad Group OKs FiOS Claims

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New York — Verizon Communications
has been cleared to
keep claiming FiOS uses “100%
fiber optics” by the National Advertising
Division of the Council
of Better Business Bureaus
— another victory for the telco
in its fight to distinguish the fiber-to-the-home network and
services from cable’s hybrid fiber-coaxial networks.

The NAD sided with Verizon
in a decision issued June 7, after
Time Warner Cable filed a complaint
about the phone company’s
ads. The group found
Verizon’s advertising claims
for FiOS were substantiated,
including that the service uses
“undiluted” and “pure fiber optics,”
and delivers “100% fiber
optic picture and sound.”

Time Warner Cable had argued
that Verizon’s advertising
falsely implies that the telco
runs fiber optics not just to the
side of a subscriber’s home or
business, but all the way to a
customer’s TV or computer.
The MSO noted that Verizon
delivers TV services using RF
electrical signals through a cable
set-top box, in exactly the
same way Time Warner Cable
does.

Last month, the NAD recommended
that TWC and Cox
Communications stop describing
their HFC networks as “fiber optic networks” in their
marketing. Time Warner Cable
appealed the decision; Cox said
it would take the recommendations
into consideration in future
advertising.

NAD said it “put itself in the
shoes of a reasonable consumer”
to assess the competing
claims and found that consumers
would be unlikely to
understand Verizon’s “100%”
and “pure” claims as meaning
that the fi ber optics extend all
the way to every device inside a
consumer’s home.

NAD noted that many of the
ads Time Warner Cable challenged
specify that FiOS offers
fiber optics “ ‘straight to your
home,’ rather than ‘through’ or
‘within’ the home.”

NAD also determined that
consumers “would reasonably
understand these advertisements
the same way as they
understand claims that Verizon
FiOS uses ‘100%’ or ‘pure’ or
‘undiluted’ fiber optics: that the
entirety of the FiOS network is
comprised of fiber optics.”

“Verizon’s fiber to the premises
network is materially distinct
from the hybrid network
operated by Time Warner,” Verizon
spokesman Jim Smith said
in a statement.

“We are pleased with the
decision by the National Advertising
Division of the Better
Business Bureau that will help
set the record straight about
Verizon’s 100% fi ber optic network,
and prevent Time Warner
from competing for customers
through means of deception,”
Smith added. “The NAD decision
will allow Verizon to keep
advertising this core differentiator
of a 100% fiber optic network
to the marketplace.”

Time Warner Cable declined
to comment.

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