Google Fiber told to drop speed, reliability claims after Charter challenge

Google Fiber agreed to alter its advertisements after the National Advertising Division (NAD) determined a number of its speed claims were unsupported, including the assertion that its service can provide “faster download speeds than you'd get with traditional cable.” The decision followed a challenge from cable player Charter Communications.

In addition to the aforementioned claim, NAD also ruled against Google’s claims that it offers up to 77x faster uploads and up to 12x faster downloads. Additionally, it recommended Google alter or drop statements that it offers speeds which are “faster in every direction” and that “everything you do goes much faster.”

NAD’s review of Google Fiber’s ads also tackled assertions that its service is more reliable than cable. It found Google’s claims that it has “(way) fewer points of failure than cable internet” and “fewer outages than cable internet” to be unsubstantiated.

Google said while it disagrees with aspects of the NAD’s ruling, it will respect its recommendations.

At least on the reliability front, the NAD finding appears to fly in the face of statements made by various telecom executives. For instance, the CEO of cable operator Altice USA has noted that its planned shift from cable to fiber will improve reliability in its network because it entails the removal of thousands of active network components that can be the source of network issues.

This isn’t the first time Charter has taken aim at rivals’ fiber claims. In February, it largely prevailed against AT&T after the NAD’s appeals arm recommended the latter discontinue claims its fiber service offers “better internet” than cable.

NAD is part of BBB National Programs, an organization which oversees self-regulation programs for the advertising industry.