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Cox called out for 'powered by fiber' ad claimCox called out for 'powered by fiber' ad claim

Following a challenge raised by AT&T, an ad watchdog has suggested Cox 'clearly and conspicuously disclose' that its cable broadband service is not offered with fiber-to-the-home technology.

Jeff Baumgartner

November 2, 2023

2 Min Read
Gold colored fiber optic illustration
(Source: Panther Media GmbH/Alamy Stock Photo)

Cox Communications is being pressed to change or alter its "powered by fiber" ad claims to "clearly and conspicuously disclose" that its cable broadband service is not offered with fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) technologies.

The National Advertising Division (NAD) made the recommendation following a challenge raised by AT&T, a Cox competitor that is expanding and upgrading a portion of its footprint to fiber.

In its assessment, the NAD noted that Cox's cable broadband service delivers service over fiber to the node, where it's then transitioned to coaxial lines that then route high-speed Internet services to the home. Cox also uses FTTH, but has deployed it on a more limited and targeted basis.

While there are examples illustrating that packets travel over fiber for more than 99% of their journey when delivered on hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) networks, the NAD held that Cox's use of "powered by fiber" messaging for cable broadband services doesn't hold up.

"Because the record does not support that a coaxial and a fiber network are equivalent in performance to all consumer-relevant metrics, the NAD recommended that Cox modify its 'powered by fiber' claims to clearly and conspicuously disclose that Cox Internet does not offer fiber to the home," the organization said.

Cox said it will comply with NAD's recommendations, even though it disagrees with "certain aspects" of the decision. But the operator noted that the decision will not prevent it from advertising that "Cox Internet is Powered by Fiber," so long as the suggested modifications are put in place.

More ad spats

Ad-related scrums like this are becoming more commonplace as cable providers, telcos, mobile operators and streaming services compete across broadband, video and wireless categories.

Last month, for example, the ad watchdog recommended that Comcast drop or alter the use of "10G" in its broadband-focused advertising after a challenge by Verizon largely because the speeds offered on Comcast's widely deployed HFC network are not yet capable of delivering 10 Gbit/s. Comcast intends to get there with its DOCSIS 4.0 upgrades.

In another recent example, Google's YouTube TV was urged to drop its "$600 less than cable" claims amid a complaint from Charter Communications. Google also lost an appeal in that decision, which argued that YouTube TV's pricing claim doesn't account for Charter's streaming options that do not require a traditional set-top box.

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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