May 23, 2014
Mobile provider EE (Everything Everywhere) has been told by the ASA that they can’t claim they are “Britain’s most reliable broadband” in advertisements and that they must change their adverts that make this claim in them.
BT had complained to the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) over a mail sent out by EE that headlined “Introducing Britain’s most reliable broadband for staying connected”.
In the writing it then claimed that it was the most reliable because it had less “jitter” (Jitter is the rate of chance in the latency speed) and “latency” (Latency is the time it takes for data packets to travel to a server and back) that its rivals. EE took their reason for claiming this from an Ofcom report from May 2013 that looked into fixed line broadband performance.
BT’s complaint was that EE did not get better Jigger or Latency figured than themselves “to any statistically significant degree”. Also, BT were not happy that this only took into account fixed line broadband which was not clearly made in the advertisement and that broadband delivered by wireless routers which are extremely common were not included.
EE did get one back on BT who had also complained that EE saying they had the first plug-and-play fibre broadband router was not true. However the ASA ruled in favour that EE’s Brightbox 2 did beat BT’s Home Hub 5 when it came to self-installation routers, as although the Home Hub 5 did have self-install technology it had not been enabled unlike the Brightbox 2 where it had been.
May 7, 2014
Virgin Media have launched a “Quad-Play” bundle that combines broadband, TV, landline and SIM-only mobile deal that Virgin claim can save families over £300 a year versus the nearest comparable service from Sky ad the next best value SIM from any mobile operator.
The “Big Bang” bundle will offer 100Mb broadband together with TiVo and home phone talk plan for just £30 per month, adding the mobile sim is just a further £5 on top.
The “Big Kahuna” bundle is available for £45 per month and offers Virgin Media’s fastest broadband of up to 152Mb broadband speeds, TiVo which has over 230 TV channels and every BT Sport channel and a home phone service. Again, the mobile SIM can be added for just £5 per month more and offers 250Mb of data, unlimited texts and minutes.
Both of these deals are on 18 month contracts and do have line rental charges too that need to be added on which is £15.99 per month which takes the “Big Bang” quad play service come in at £50.99 per month and the “Big Kahuna” deal come in at £65.99.
The chief operating officer at Virgin Media, Dana Strong, said:
“Our fantastic new bundles deliver unprecedented value as standard. For the first time, households will be able to get the best broadband together with the UK’s best value mobile SIM, as part of a bundle perfectly tailored to the customer’s needs. And I’m delighted our current customers have the chance to enjoy this fantastic new flexibility and unparalleled value first.“
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.