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NARB recommends Comcast stop using “10G” when marketing Xfinity Internet

Comcast offers cable television and broadband Internet service under the Xfinity brand name. (Courtesy image)
Comcast offers cable television and broadband Internet service under the Xfinity brand name. (Courtesy image)

An appellate board affiliated with the National Advertising Division (NAD) has upheld a recommendation that telecom giant Comcast stop marketing its broadband Internet service under the “Xfinity 10G Network” name.

The decision, released by the National Advertising Review Board (NARB), reaffirms the finding made in October of last year, when T-Mobile and Verizon filed a pair of complaints that said Comcast’s use of the “10G” branding could cause confusion among consumers.

The NAD agreed at the time, saying Comcast’s Xfinity customers could be misled into thinking that they were receiving 10 Gigabit-per-second Internet speeds or a 10th generation network connection.

The latter was particularly concerning, because the wireless industry uses similar branding like 3G, 4G LTE and 5G to refer to their third-, fourth- and fifth-generation wireless connections.

By comparison, “10G” means relatively little: It isn’t an industry-recognized wireless standard, or any network standard at all. Instead, it was invented entirely by Comcast to market its Xfinity Internet service, which offers a mixture of high-speed and Gigabit plans.

Last fall, Comcast said it would appeal the statement to the NARB, saying it didn’t feel the use of 10G in promotional materials “constitutes an express claim.”

This week, the NARB upheld the NAB’s earlier decision. In doing so, it offered no additional insight into why it found against Comcast, but did say Comcast should stop marketing its service as “10G.”

Nothing in either decision precludes Comcast from launching similar promotions or brand awareness campaigns using the “10G” branding in the future, though the NAB and NARB both said Comcast should only continue using the “10G” brand if it can do so “in a manner that is not false or misleading and is consistent with the panel decision.”

In a statement released by NARB on Monday, the organization said Comcast “although it strongly disagrees with NARB’s analysis and approach,” but “will comply with NARB’s recommendations.”

“(Comcast) reserves the right to use the term 10G or Xfinity 10G in a manner that does not misleadingly describe the Xfinity network,” a spokesperson for NARB said in a statement.

The NAD and NARB are both part of the Better Business Bureau.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).