According to an Associated Press story last week, the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus issued a decision that Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications should drop their claims of “fiber-optic” networks in their advertising.
The decision came in response to a complaint filed by Verizon with the NAD, which is the advertising industry’s own watch-dog agency. Verizon has a true fiber-to-the-home network (FTTH), while the cable companies still use copper coax cable to make the final connection. The fact that they use fiber for some of the connections upstream is not enough to justify the claim of a “fiber-optic” network.
According to the AP report, Cox has agreed to abide by the decision, but Time Warner apparently intends to appeal it.
It’s good to see the advertising industry trying to keep the advertising claims fair and accurate, and it looks as though the NAD got this one right. Since Verizon’s FiOS service competes directly with traditional cable services, and penetration in most markets has reached its maximum, we can expect to see heavy competition between the services in areas where they overlap. And the satellite services overlap everyone. So as you consider your subscription-based television service and check out the alternatives, take the offers and claims about other services with a large grain of salt. The only sure way to get the best deal is to read the fine print and carefully compare the features that are most important to you.