April 16, 2014
Sky & TalkTalk are to join up to create a fibre optic network in York that will be bring internet speeds 3 up to times faster than will be delivered by BT’s fibre optic network.
The deal also involves a third company, CityFibre, who are a specialist with fibre optic projects. The deal consists of BSkyB & TalkTalk both investing £5 million each and CityFibre claiming it’s third of the new company with a central ring of fibre optics that they have already got installed in York.
The joint venture network will install full Fibre To The Premises (FTTP) which will bring the fastest speeds to customers and will mean that the new network will aim to be able to offer broadband speeds of 1Gb (or 1,000Mb) which is currently over 3 times faster than is on offer from BT’s top package which offers speeds of 300Mb.
BT’s top speeds of 300Mb are available where BT have installed FTTP, however across most of the country BT have only installed Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC) and for the remaining way from the streetside cabinet they use the existing copper wire to connect to houses, this way means that users are not getting a full fibre optic connection.
CityFibre agreed a deal a few years ago with Fujitsu to create a 64 mile fibre ring around the City of York and it is this that they will be building on to base this first joint venture network on.
It is expected that the first customers will be able to be connected to the Sky/TalkTalk/CityFibre network during 2015.
It is not only York who are to benefit from the trio investing in a new fibre network, there is set to be a further 2 cities also chosen where they will roll out to as well in due course.
Ofcom are to look into if BT need to reduce the price of their wholesale superfast fibre optic broadband prices after claims that they were charging rivals too much for use of their network.
In May last year TalkTalk complained to Ofcom that BT were abusing their dominant position when setting prices for wholesale fibre optic broadband and now a report in the Financial Times claims that the communications regulator will launch a consultation into the price’s of BT’s wholesale fibre optic pricing which is to be done before the end of May.
Redburn Partners, who are an equities partner told the Financial Times that:
“We think Ofcom’s margin squeeze test could reduce BT wholesale fibre prices by at least £2 per month initially, with ongoing monitoring potentially leading to further cuts.”
BT are naturally not going to be pleased with Ofcom doing their investigation, especially if it does result in Ofcom agreeing with TalkTalk’s complaints and making BT Openreach reduce the wholesale prices if charges competitors for access to its fibre network.
April 2, 2014
BT have been left in a monopoly position over the rollout of rural broadband across the country that has been part funded by £1.2 billion of public funds according to a report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
The Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme was set up by the government to help fund the rollout of fibre optic broadband to rural areas where it was not financially viable for BT, Virgin Media or other providers to roll out to with just their own money. The £1.2 billion BDUK pot of money to help with the roll out to these rural areas has in effect just been sent in the direction of BT as they are the only provider to have won any contracts.
The report by PAC initially raised concerns over the way the contracts were being awarded back in 2013, at this point 26 contracts for BDUK schemes had been awarded to BT, since then the other 18 contracts that have been put out to tender have also gone in the direction of BT too. Initially there were nine suppliers who were looking to bid for the BDUK funds but most of these dropped out and left the only real remaining one as Fujitsu, however they themselves had pretty much given up too which left BT to clear up all the contracts.
Another issue is the secrecy surrounding the contracts, BT stipulated that there was non-discloser agreements in place so councils could not talk to each other to see if they were receiving a good deal or not, this then makes it likely that more tax payers money will have gone to BT than perhaps needed to if there had been more openness surrounding existing contracts in place.
The other issue raised by PAC was that the broadband maps lacked detail which made it hard for other organisations to see where exactly BT would be rolling their fibre network out to and this hindered other schemes coming in to potentially fill in the gaps or offer faster speeds. They have said that the government needs to work with local organisations to make these broadband maps able to be searched down to post codes to help make it clearer where exactly will and won’t be covered.
March 27, 2014
BT has for the first time topped the complaints chart for broadband services in a report compiled by Ofcom, and it will have been a double blow for them as their big rivals Virgin Media received the fewest complaints.
Ofcom are the communications regulator and they report down all the complaints that they receive for broadband, telephone, mobile phones and pay TV. It was the first time that BT has been the most complained about broadband provider as a proportion of their customer base and it was the twelfth quarterly report produced by Ofcom.
BT received an average of 0.32 complaints per 1,000 (or 32 complaints per 100,000 customers) during Q4 2013 followed by EE with 0.29 and then TalkTalk with 0.21. The industry average was 0.17 and there was only Sky (0.08) and Virgin Media (0.07) who were below the industry average.
BT’s complains in general related to service faults and the way that complaints were handled.
The positive side to this is that this figure is down from Q3 2013 when they received 0.41 complaints per 1000.
Previous to Q4 2013 it was EE who had topped the charts for the previous 5 quarters with 0.45 per 1,000 in Q3 2013 and so again the positive side to this is that this meant that they had improved by reducing their complaints down to 0.29 per 1,000 in the 3 months that followed.
What should be noted is that only the big broadband providers who have a market share of 4% or above and receive more than 30 complaints a month are included so just because some of the smaller ISPs are not included in the report does not necessarily mean they don’t get complained about very much.
Virgin Media will have been pleased to continue their usual good record of very few complaints, even more so they will be enjoying the fact that BT Broadband, their big rival in the fibre broadband sector were the most complained about, how long before we see this as another marketing stick being used by Virgin to beat BT with.
March 24, 2014
Broadband providers are being called to give consumers the broadband speeds and service that they are paying for as a new report from the consumer group “Which?” finds that 3 in 5 people are experiencing problems with their broadband.
In the survey, which was done online between the 8th and 9th January 2014 and interviewed 2012 British adults and found that 45% of people suffered from slow download speeds with 58% of those saying that this is a frequent problem or happening all the time for them.
It is not just broadband speeds which are a bone of contention to consumers, 27% of those who report loss of broadband had to wait two days for this to be resolved and 11% had no internet connections for a week or more.
Which? are wanting the broadband providers to “Give us Broadband Speed Guarantee” which is asking for broadband providers to give customers the broadband speed that they are paying for. Already broadband providers do give estimated broadband speeds and allow customers to leave if the speed they receive is significantly slower than the estimate they were given when they signed up, this is a voluntary code of practice that was set up by communications regulator Ofcom.
What Which? have a problem with is that the code of practice is voluntary rather than compulsory, they also believe that broadband providers should give more specific estimated broadband speeds for specific properties rather than just an estimate for the area.
The Executive Director of Which?, Richard Lloyd, said:
“The internet is an essential part of modern life, yet millions of us are getting frustratingly slow speeds and having to wait days to get reconnected when things go wrong.
It’s less superfast broadband, more super slow service from companies who are expecting people to pay for speeds they may never get. Broadband providers need to give customers the right information and take responsibility for resolving problems.”
Which? have set up a petition at which.co.uk/bbspeed for people to sign if they agree with their campaign.