07 June 2000

The Advertising Standards Authority has instructed UK cable operator NTL to change the promotional material used in support of its free internet service. The US-owned network, Britain's largest, uses the strapline "technology tamed" to promote its no-cost net service, launched in April. But huge demand has left many customers still waiting for the access software.

Despite assurances by NTL that it is according priority to existing customers, many are up in arms, believing they have been relegated to the back of the queue while the company chases new business. Complained one irate NTL subscriber, who emailed BBC News Online: "As an existing customer who ordered the service on the day it was announced nearly three months ago, I know for a fact that there is no such priority system. I know many BT customers who received their [access] CDs from NTL weeks or months ago."

The ASA has now told NTL that all advertising and promotions related to must make it clear that existing NTL clients do not have priority – and that anyone signing-up for the service should expect a long delay.

Says NTL head of communications Robin Melvin: "Hindsight is a great thing and we now know that all of our research underestimated how many people would want The number … wanting to go online for the first time has caught us out especially."

News source: BBC Online Business News (UK)