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February 1, 2024
The National Advertising Review Board (NARB) recommended Comcast drop the term '10G' from its Xfinity 10G Network service on grounds that it conveys the false impression that customers should expect significantly faster speeds than those connected to 5G mobile networks.
Verizon and T-Mobile had both separately challenged the use of the term at the National Advertising Division (NAD). NAD sided with the two operators, concluding in October that 10G represents an express claim that means 10 Gbps or 10th Generation.
Comcast filed an appeal against the decision with NARB, but to no avail.
In a press release, NARB said that while Comcast has agreed to abide by the decision and alter its branding, the cableco still "strongly disagrees" with NARB's analysis.
This is quite astounding really, because it doesn't take much digging to discover that as far as the end user's experience is concerned, there is nothing 10G about Comcast's Xfinity 10G Network. The highest speed advertised by its online store is 1.2 Gbps. The entry-level plan is a modest 75 Mbps.
While it is true that Comcast does offer a 10-Gbps service, it is only on its very expensive fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) tariff, Gigabit Pro. Launched last summer, it requires customers to pay Comcast engineers to come round and upgrade the coax cable to fibre, and then pay $300 per month in subscription fees. Not exactly a mass-market proposition.
"The NARB panel determined that, in the absence of actual Xfinity Gigabit Pro service tier market usage data showing consumer usage, the recent availability of 10G speeds through that service tier does not support the superior speed claim (or a 10-Gbps claim) for the Xfinity network as a whole," NARB said.
Indeed, it can't reasonably claim to be 10th generation either, because Comcast's network uses DOCSIS 3.1 and 4.0. And while these cable technologies can support downlink speeds of 10 Gbps or more, these aren't being offered to customers, at least not on its Website.
That didn't stop Comcast from using 10G in its branding though. It will be interesting to see what name it cooks up next.
Nick is a freelancer who has covered the global telecoms industry for more than 15 years. Areas of expertise include operator strategies; M&As; and emerging technologies, among others. As a freelancer, Nick has contributed news and features for many well-known industry publications. Before that, he wrote daily news and regular features as deputy editor of Total Telecom. He has a first-class honours degree in journalism from the University of Westminster.
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