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September 29, 2009

TalkTalk to launch cinema ratings system for broadband

A new set of parental controls are set to be launched so parents can add cinema style ratings to their broadband access.

Charles Dunstone the Chief Executive of the Carphone Warehouse who run a number of broadband providers such as TalkTalk, AOL UK and Tiscali are looking to add the ratings system so that access to certain sites will be restricted without the need for extra software being installed.

The classifications are U, 14, 18 or unclassified. Depending on which rating is chosen access to pornography and gambling sites will be blocked and also access to file sharing sites such as Pirate Bay may also have access to them blocked.

The service is aimed for the customers although it is also a great way for them to cut down on the amount of illegal downloading.

A new survey also revealed that half of film consumers think that broadband download speed restrictions are a suitable punishment for persistent illegal downloaders while 17% believe this to be unacceptable.

The Government believe that 1 in 12 regularly illegally download music or films (7 million people) and that this is costing the movie industry alone 1.4 billion per year.

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September 25, 2009

Free £25 Amazon.co.uk voucher on 9 month Be Broadband contract

24Mb broadband provider Be Broadband are not only offering their Be Unlimited and Be Pro packages on a 9 month contract but they are now also offering a free £25 Amazon.co.uk voucher to all new subscribers.

be broadband Free £25 Amazon.co.uk voucher on 9 month Be Broadband contractNew subscribers have until the 18th October to sign up to either the Be Unlimited or Be Pro packages to claim their free amazon.co.uk voucher also also to join on the 9 month contract offer that also runs until the same day.

The Be Unlimited package offers up to 24Mb download and 1.3Mb upload with unlimited usage for just £17.50 per month.

The Be Pro packages offers up to 24Mb download and 2.5Mb upload with unlimited usage and a static IP for just £21.50 per month.

New subscribers who want to claim their free Amazon.co.uk voucher should enter the Be Broadband promotional code: AMAZON when signing up at www.bethere.co.uk

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£6 Broadband Tax could be law soon

The £6 “broadband tax” is set to be put through and made law before the next general election which will infuriate many who think that it would not get passed under a Conservative government (the favourites to win the next general election).

Stephen Timms who is the Treasury minister said that the £6 per year tax on phone lines should be made law in the next few months as it could be put forward in the Digital Economy Bill that is due to be put before the House in November or it could be part of the Finance Bill that would be presented after the budget.

The 50p per month charge on all telephone lines is expected to raise around £175 million per year and is to be used to help pay for next generation super fast fibre broadband even thought there are serious doubts that the money raised will come anywhere close to help fund it.

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- Filed under: News
- Tags: Broadband Tax, Digital Britain, Fibre broadband, Next Generation Broadband
Author: Mark @ 9:43 am

September 24, 2009

BT to double 24Mb broadband availability

BT is to nearly double the number of people who are able to access it’s fast ADSL2+ copper network by spring 2011.

Currently the ADSL2+ technology which can deliver broadband speeds up to 24Mb is available to around 40% of homes and businesses and BT plan make it available to three quarters of the country.

Although many who’s broadband connection is slow currently won’t see their broadband speeds jump up to 24Mb (unlikely anyone will actually get this headline speed) they will however likely see a speed increase over what they are currently getting.

BT are also rolling out fibre broadband across the UK, and hope to have this available to 40% of the country by 2012 and will be able to offer broadband speeds of 40Mb with the FTTC technology. The fibre roll out is being done separately from the ADSL2+ installations.

The Digital Britain report released earlier this year said that everyone in the country should be within reach of 2Mb broadband and as it is not feasible for BT to fund the roll out of fibre broadband across the whole of the country the installation of ADSL2+ technology will mean that those who are currently receiving broadband but not at the 2Mb minimum target could well have this rectified with the installation of ADSL2+.

BT have also started trialling Broadband Enabling Technology (BET) that is designed to deliver broadband to broadband “not spot” areas (Read: BT to pilot technology that will deliver broadband to “not spot” areas) which again is likely to help in the aim of the governments Digital Britain report.

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- Filed under: Home Broadband
- Tags: 24Mb broadband, 2Mb broadband, ADSL2+, BT Broadband, Digital Britain
Author: Mark @ 12:38 pm

September 22, 2009

Mobile broadband speeds way below what are advertised

A study into mobile broadband speeds has found that on average that mobile broadband users are receiving just 24% of the advertised headline speeds.

 Mobile broadband speeds way below what are advertisedThe study done by “Broadband Expert” a broadband comparison site tested 3,342 mobile broadband connections between 1st March 2009 and 31st August 2009 with the average download speed coming in at 1.1Mb which is way below the advertised maximum of 4.5Mb.

Vodafone offered the fastest mobile broadband speeds at 1.3Mb, although they also advertised their mobile broadband at speeds up to 7.2Mb and so in effect only delivered speeds at 18% of what they were advertising.

The actual average broadband speeds between the mobile broadband providers was very close, although T-Mobile offered the slowest speed of 0.9Mb.

Vodafone will have a lot of work to do as they have recently started deploying technology that they say will be able to provide mobile broadband speeds up to 14.4Mb. If they continue on with how they have performed in this test then the average speed that users will receive is 2.6Mb.

Also, with MiFi (Mobile WiFi) being introduced there is even more need for the mobile broadband providers to get their broadband speeds faster to make the use of MiFi more usable.

You can test your broadband speed by using a speed test.

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September 21, 2009

Be Broadband to use Twitter for status updates

BE broadband have created a new profile on Social Network site Twitter that they will use to announce any service status reports.

BE do try to send emails when there is any outages but in the instance where they are unable to BE Broadband users will be able to check on Twitter for any updates.

BE Broadband customers should  check or bookmark http://twitter.com/BEStatus for any status updates.

This is a very simple but extremely useful support and information method to offer to customers and it is hoped that other broadband providers will follow suit as it’s free and quick to get any messages out when the usual methods of communication may not be working.

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Hidden broadband charges affecting 8 million

A study has found that an estimated 8 million people have been stung by hidden charges by their broadband providers which is costing on average £44 per year to those affected.

The charges come as a result of different things for the 1 in 6 people who are affected. 44% of those affected is because of having paper billing, 24% are through people not using direct debit payments while  technical support lines and excess usage over download limits both affect 17%!

The research was done by MoneySupermarket.com who also compiled a table of what some of the broadband providers charge.

Broadband
Provider
Non Direct
Debit Payment
Paper Billing
Activation
Charges
BT
£1.50 per month
£4.50 per quarter
£1.25
n/a
Sky
£0.50 per month
n/a
£25 if no active BT line
Talk Talk
Direct Debit payments only
£1.25
£29.99
Tiscali
n/a
n/a
£30 (if taking free line rental offer)
Broadband & Phone
Virgin
£5
£1.25
n/a
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- Filed under: Home Broadband
- Tags: Hidden broadband costs, hidden charges
Author: Rob @ 1:47 pm

September 17, 2009

BT to pilot technology that will deliver to broadband “not spot” areas

BT are going to pilot Broadband Enabling Technology (BET) that is designed to help deliver broadband to broadband “not spot” areas.

The technology is designed to make broadband available by a fixed line up to 12km (7.5 miles) away from the local telephone exchange and that are currently out of reach receiving broadband at the moment.
Stable 1Mb broadband speeds (speed test) have been achieved with lines that are between 7km and 12km and when the copper wire is bonded with another it means that the speed can increase to 2Mb.
2Mb broadband is the minimum target aim for the whole country that the government announced in it’s Digital Britain report earlier this year to be done by 2112.

Basically how the BET works is by using a dedicated copper line that is not shared meaning that the broadband signal can reach much further distances as the line is not being shared with others.

There are an estimated 160,000 “not spot” homes in the UK that are too far from their telephone exchange to be able to receive broadband,  it is estimated that up to to 140,000 of these could benefit and be able to make use of the technology.

Initially there are 10 locations in that are having the Broadband Enabling Technology installed, these are:

  • Twyford – Berkshire
  • Badsey – Worcestershire
  • Llanfyllin – Powys
  • Leyland – Lancashire
  • Ponteland – Northumberland
  • Wigton – Cumbria
  • Horsham – West Sussex
  • Wymondham – Norfolk
  • Inverness Culloden – Scotland
  • Dingwall – Scotland

The pilot of BET is due to commence on 30th September and BT will be contacting customers who live in each area to invite them to sign up for it. Customers will need to pay for their broadband service with the broadband provider of their choice.

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Virgin Media & Vodafone win broadband speed awards

The broadband comparison site Top10Broadband.co.uk ran it’s annual broadband awards last night.

Their results for winners were based on 1.5 million customer ratings and 400,000 broadband speed tests that they ran and helped them decide who should win each of the 11 categories that were done.

In the broadband speeds stakes the fastest home broadband award was picked up by Virgin Media while Vodafone mobile broadband picked up the fastest mobile broadband award and the best rated mobile broadband award.

The full list of winners and their respective categories were:

  • Best Rated Home Broadband: O2
  • Best Wireless Broadband: BT
  • Best Broadband & TV: Sky
  • Best Broadband & Laptop: Orange
  • Fastest Home Broadband: Virgin Media
  • Fastest Mobile Broadband: Vodafone
  • Best value Mobile Broadband: 3
  • Best Rated Mobile Broadband: Vodafone
  • Best Broadband & Phone: TalkTalk
  • Best Value Home Broadband: Plusnet
  • Best Innovation Award: Virgin Media

It is nice to see that the winners were fairly varied with a good range of broadband providers winning categories and not being dominated by one broadband provider.
The two mobile broadband awards were won by Vodafone but with competition in this area becoming ever more competitive and the technology advancing well we still expect the other mobile broadband providers to be not too far behind.

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September 14, 2009

Freerunner offering free WiFi for those in remote areas

Free WiFi could be coming to a place near you if your community is selected as one of the places to receive a free to use WiFi hotspot by Freerunner.

The targeted areas are deprived or remote areas of the country and community members have until 25th September 2009 to apply for one of the 50 free WiFi connections that are going to be made available.
Freerunner have also teamed up with the online charity fundraising site JustGiving.com to help provide 500 charity locations across the UK with free WiFi.

Owen Geddes the CEO of Freerunner said:

“People need Internet access to be able to function equally in today’s society, and that most basic right is not being given to them.
Freerunner can help rise to the challenge set out in the Digital Britain Report – we believe that it is now time for entrepreneurial commercial businesses to take the initiative and solve the problem. Our team is on stand-by to install an initial 50 hotspots across the UK no matter where they are, and are working to find commercial sponsors for more future locations. We’re also determined to support charities, who play an invaluable role in our communities, by giving people a new reason to visit and giving them a chance to breach the ‘digital divide’ by working closely with companies such as JustGiving.com.”

Any communities who want to apply can do so via the form on the website at www.freerunr.com/community

The successful applicants will know if they have been successful by 1st October 2009.

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