Comcast asked to change ad claims

photo In a Feb. 15, 2011 file photo, Comcast logos are displayed on installation trucks in Pittsburgh.

Comcast may have to put an asterisk above the word "fastest" on its advertising claim of "fastest Internet in the nation."

The National Advertising Division, the ad section of the Better Business Bureaus, requested Comcast tweak its claim of fastest in the country in markets where fiber optic providers routinely deliver quicker speeds. The ad claim is based on a 2011 PC Magazine article that gave top honors to Comcast. But the commercials don't account for smaller networks such as Verizon FiOS or the local EPB Fiber Optic network.

Jim Weigert, vice president and general manager of Comcast in Chattanooga, said the request won't apply to this area and advertising will stay the same.

"I don't see any changes at all," he said. "Our use of that designation as the fastest ISP and fastest commercial ISP is still the same and will still be used the same as it is today."

Weigert said local networks such as EPB, which delivers maximum download speeds about 10 times faster than those of Comcast, is too small of a player to affect the region's advertising or PC Magazine's designation.

"Those awards exist, and we just need to make sure we're using it properly and quoting it properly," he said. "It doesn't reference EPB at all because they're not national. They're not big enough to get that attention."

Deborah Dwyer, public relations supervisor for EPB, said the Comcast advertisements did not qualify that the fastest Internet provider can change from market to market.

"These ads have been running in Chattanooga for quite a while, which we find causes pretty significant confusion among the public," she said.