The Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) has ruled that fibre network operators which are busy rolling out fibre in a neighbourhood may not claim “fibre is here”.
MetroFibre Networx recently planted small boards in an area where it was rolling out fibre, with the wording “MetroFibre is here. Reliable Fibre to your Home”.
This is standard practice for most fibre network operators in South Africa to inform residents that fibre is being rolled out in their area.
The MetroFibre Networx notice, however, resulted in a complaint from a consumer who argued that MetroFibre Networx was promoting its services with a false advertisement.
According to the complainant, he was informed that the promised fibre is not yet available in his area, Sinoville, as it is still in the project phase and the roll-out is planned for 2020.
MetroFibre Networx explains
MetroFibre Networx confirmed that fibre is located in the area referred to in the complaint.
The company added that it takes time to get fibre into every street in every precinct, and this process is dependent on permissions from the local municipalities.
The first step is to connect the area, after which it will focus on delivering fibre to each street on a planned roll-out basis.
MetroFibre Networx said it expects to complete the entire precinct by the end of December 2019.
The ARB said the claim “MetroFibre is here” at its present location creates an impression that the fibre that is being promoted is available for all residences in that area.
“However, the reality is that there are some areas where the fibre is not yet available due to logistical reasons, as stated by the advertiser,” the ARB said.
“A disclaimer, change of wording or an explanation accompanying the claim could have easily clarified that although the advertiser’s fibre is presently located in the area, there are some streets where it is still not yet available.”
The ARB ruled that the claim “MetroFibre is here” creates a misleading impression that fibre is available for all residences in the street where the board was placed.
The ARB requested MetroFibre Networx to withdraw its “MetroFibre is here” claim in its current format at the current location.