Comcast is appealing a recommendation from the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs involving the term “10G.” Comcast has been using the term for its Xfinity internet service.
In response to a challenge from Verizon, NAD recommended that Comcast discontinue the term 10G or qualify the wording to make clear that the company is implementing improvements that will enable it to achieve 10 Gbps in the future, but not now.
It’s an issue that will have ramifications, not just for Comcast, but for any cable company with an HFC network that plans to upgrade to the CableLabs 10G standard.
In February 2023, Comcast rebranded its broadband network as “Xfinity 10G Network” to denote technological upgrades that continue to be implemented. Verizon challenged the name “Xfinity 10G Network” and the claim “10G,” which appeared in many online and television advertisements.
NAD concluded that “10G” as used in the name “Xfinity 10G Network” and “Xfinity 10G” is an express claim, finding that Comcast’s description of its entire network as “10G” conveys the message that all consumers on the network will receive a significant increase in speed up to 10 Gbps.
This message wasn’t substantiated because only one of Xfinity’s many plans (Gigabit Pro) can reach 10 Gbps, NAD said. Additionally, access to that service tier requires installation of fiber to the premises.
The cable industry uses the broad term 10G to encompass a range of HFC network upgrades that eventually will support speeds of 10 Gbps downstream and 6 Gbps upstream. However, Comcast is unlikely to support those speeds in the near term.
Another issue, NAD concluded is that consumers understand 10G as referring to 10th generation mobile technology, another unsupported message.
NAD ruled that Comcast may modify the claim by qualifying it to make clear that the company is implementing improvements that will enable it to achieve 10G, and that 10G is the aspiration.
Comcast stated that it will appeal NAD’s decision because the company “disagrees with NAD’s decision, including NAD’s determination that the Xfinity 10G Network brand name constitutes an ‘express claim.'”