A broadband provider based in Blackburn has been criticised by the advertising watchdog for misleading customers by implying the existence of 6G technology.

6G Internet Ltd, based in Ribble Business Park, was reported to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in respect of two adverts.

One leaflet, seen on February 10, stated: “6Ginternet: Full fibre speed broadband only £9.99 per month. 100Mbps for the first six months then £26.99 per month (based on a 24 month contract).”

Lancashire Telegraph: The adThe ad (Image: Submitted)

The other page stated: “6Ginternet: Better than half price sale.” Further text stated, “Free Wi-Fi 6 router (connects up to 64 devices).”

At the bottom of the leaflet was a lightning bolt in a circle. Underneath it stated “Full fibre speeds.”

The website homepage displayed the 6G Internet company logo and text underneath stated: “Delivering Better Broadband: Guaranteed Speeds. Free install. No price increase.”+

Text underneath that stated, “Full fibre speeds at affordable prices: Our innovative network uses fibre optic cables and wireless technology to deliver broadband speeds at an affordable price.”

Lancashire Telegraph: The adThe ad (Image: Submitted)

The complainant challenged whether the company name, 6G Internet, misleadingly implied a sixth-generation mobile network existed and was able to be used by consumers, when the current available standard remains 5G.

In its assessment, the ASA said: “The ASA understood the most advanced mobile technology was 5G and that 6G, or sixth-generation, mobile technology was still in development.

"However, we considered consumers would be aware the technology was named after each iteration, or ‘generation’ of the technology, and therefore would make a connection to mobile technology when they saw the company name.

“We also considered consumers would have a limited understanding of broadband technology, and how it worked, and would likely understand they would get a broadband connection using an innovative 6G mobile internet technology.

“However, we understood the technology used was in fact fibre optic cables with a transmitter using fixed wireless technology, rather than an advanced sixth generation mobile technology.

“Because consumers would interpret the name to mean that it used the next generation 6G internet technology, when that was not the case, we concluded the name 6G Internet was likely to mislead in the context of its presentation in the ads.”

In upholding the complaint, the ASA said the ads breached a rule about misleading advertising and said they must not appear again in their current form.

The ASA also told 6G Internet Ltd not to imply a sixth-generation mobile network existed and was able to be used by consumers.

In response, 6G Internet Ltd said it had provided home broadband services under the 6G Internet brand name since 2013, and was not aware of receiving complaints from consumers, Ofcom, DCMS or the ASA about confusion between the 6G Internet brand name and the services it provided.

It also said it had not received any complaints from local authorities or other stakeholders about the brand name.

It said 5G, or 5th Generation technology, was currently used for mobile networks and 6G was currently in development, and it understood there was no timescale for when the technology would become available or what the capabilities of the technology would be.

It said because 6G did not exist and it made clear its offering related to home internet, it did not think consumers would believe it was offering a future mobile network.

6G Internet concluded by stating its advertising made clear it offered an internet to the home broadband service and was not offering a non-existent future mobile technology.

A spokesperson for 6G Internet said: “Our focus is to deliver low cost, affordable gigabit-capable broadband services to our customers and to promote and support digital inclusion as part of our 'Internet for All' initiative.

“We engaged fully with the ASA as part of the complaint, and whilst we are disappointed with the decision, we will respect it.

"We make clear in all of our advertising the download speeds of our services and that we provide home broadband, as opposed to mobile broadband delivered using generations of cellular technologies.

"Whilst we have not found, or been presented with, any evidence that our advertising caused confusion, it is never our intention to mislead customers.

"Therefore,  whilst we disagree with the findings, we respect the role of the ASA and will abide by their decision."