February 26, 2010
New studies are to be undertook by Ofcom and the SamKnows website into the broadband speeds we receive.
The research follows up successful broadband speed testing done last year between Ofcom and SamKnows and is designed to give a more accurate picture of our actual broadband connections and speeds and not just the advertised “up to” speeds that we all see.
Quite often there is a big difference between the advertised “up to” speed that broadband providers advertise and the actual broadband speed received by the consumer.
Volunteers are currently being recruited to take part in the study and if selected then they will be provided with a White Box that will be then used to monitor the web traffic for specific broadband providers.
With broadband in the UK rapidly changing and getting faster the information gathered will be interesting to see for those who are signed up to the next generation fibre broadband deals and those on the BT 21CN network.
The BT C1CN network is due to offer ADSL2+ technology to around 75% of UK homes by Spring 2011 which is able to deliver theoretical maximum broadband speeds of 24Mb.
We also have the huge investment in fibre optic networks currently taking place, with BT rolling out their own fibre broadband network which will offer broadband speed up to 40Mb, Virgin Media already have a 50Mb broadband package and announced yesterday that by the end of the year that they will be starting to roll out Virgin Media 100Mb broadband via their new DOCSIS 3 network.
The last broadband testing that was funded by Ofcom to be done via the “White Box” in 2009 found that the average broadband speed was 4.1Mb which was the equivalent of 57% of the advertised headline speed.
CEO of SamKnows, Alex Salter said:
“What started out as a project to monitor and report on the UK’s broadband connectivity in general, it instead highlighted that a clear discrepancy exists between what the ISPs are saying and what the end consumer is actually receiving.
What we’re looking to measure in the forthcoming project is how this ISP performance will improve as consumers switch to services which are being advertised as significantly faster.”
It is anticipated that the broadband speeds of users will increase throughout the year as new technologies become rolled out and made available to more people and as such we would expect the average broadband speed we are receiving to also rise in line with this.
February 25, 2010
Virgin Media are set to start the roll out of their own 100Mb fibre broadband and help take broadband in the UK up to the next level.
The news comes hot on the heels of yesterdays announcement by Fibrecity who announced the three broadband providers who would be offering the residents of Bournemouth their own 100Mb fibre broadband services.
The news that virgin Media are to start rolling out a 100Mb fibre optic broadband service will also be a blow to big rivals BT, who are currently rolling out their own fibre network “BT Infinity” that offers broadband speeds up to 40Mb.
Also, with Virgin already having it’s network available to around half of UK homes and businesses it gives them good footing to deploy their new technology to double their current headline speed of 50Mb to 100Mb.
Thew new speed increases come as part of Virgin’s DOCSIS 3 network which is already delivering broadband speed of up to 200Mb in Ashford, Kent where the initial trials are taking place. These trials are set to be extended now to Coventry where the trials will continue to focus on future technologies such as teleconferencing and downloading HD programmes on demand.
The other exciting news with this is that Virgin believe that the DOCSIS 3 network will be capable of broadband speeds up to 400Mb.
Neil Berkett, Virgin Media’s Chief Executive said:
“There is nothing we can’t do with our fibre optic cable network, and the upcoming launch of our flagship 100Mb service will give our customers the ultimate broadband experience. Just as we led the way by launching the UK’s first ever next generation service, we want to keep giving our customers the very best broadband available, by investing in technological innovation and transforming the experience they have when they are online. The launch of Virgin Media’s 100Mb service will be a historic moment and will mean the UK will be comparable to other leading broadband nations.“
Although this will likely be a bit of a blow to BT, as consumers hopefully we will see the benefit as the battle to offer the fastest broadband continues between Virgin Media and BT.
BT won’t want to stay a long way behind Virgin Media but unless they perhaps up their ambitions they could well be stuck behind, especially as Virgin Media have funded this with their own money and not been asking for tax payers money to fund it like BT was asking for to help with the roll out of their own fibre network.
February 24, 2010
Bournemouth residents are set to have the fastest broadband in the UK, dwarfing the broadband speeds to be offered by BT Infinity and Virgin Media fibre broadband by getting a superfast 100Mb fibre broadband.
The three fibre broadband providers have been announced who will be providing fibre broadband over the Fibrecity network and be able to offer fibre broadband speeds up to a whopping 100Mb, this is double the current maximum that Virgin Media offer (50Mb) and over double what BT Infinity will offer (40Mb).
The Fibrecity network will use Fibre To The Home (FTTH) and has been installed using existing waste pipes and sewers meaning that it could be installed at a hugely reduced cost than would have been possible if they had had to dig up roads.
The Fibrecity network will also not just be offering super fast fibre optic broadband but also telephone and TV. With a fibre connection of 100Mb it means that the fibre optic network connection can easily cope with handling a number of different applications, such as streaming videos, webcam use, telephone calls and online gaming without there being an effect on the other applications that are also using the connection at the same time.
Another plus point with the Fibrecity networks is that no telephone line rental charges are charged, also, as the telephone can run through the fibre network aswell it also means that you could get rid of your BT telephone line if you wish.
The 3 providers who will be providing the fibre broadband services have been announced as, VISPA, Velocity1 and Fibreband.
The homes in Bournemouth that have already been connected to the Fibrecity network will be contacted to have a set-top-box installed that will then let them connect to the fibre broadband from one of the 3 broadband providers.
This new network is currently only available in Bournemouth although Fibrecity are currently doing a network in Dundee. Going on the success of these it is likely that further cities and locations will have Fibrecity networks installed.
February 23, 2010
O2 have topped the mobile broadband speed test charts for downloading music to be found as the fastest mobile broadband provider in the UK with Vodafone found as the fastest for downloading web pages.
Although the test were commission by O2 they were performed by an independent contractor with the results being independently verified by the British Approvals Broad for Telecommunications (BABT).
The tests were performed by Siroda who tested the mobile broadband speeds of the mobile broadband providers at the 20 largest UK cities during January, which included London, Bristol, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle and Sheffield.
Music files were downloaded and the speed measured and also the time it took to load web pages with the tests taking place between 10am and 10pm Monday to Sunday over a 60 day period.
Of the 20 cities that the tests were performed at, O2 Mobile broadband was fastest at 12 of these locations and second in 4 of the other locations.
In London, O2 Mobile broadband on average took 1.7 seconds to download a web page which was 30% fastest than the slowest operator.
It was quite an even spread overall for the web page download speeds for the 20 cities tested.
Below shows the mobile broadband operator and how many cities they were quickest at loading web pages at with Vodafone just topping the charts.
O2 – 4
Orange – 4
Three – 3
Vodafone – 5
T-Mobile – 4
The results for the fastest for downloading music files are as follows.
O2 – 12
Orange – 0
Three – 1
Vodafone – 5
T-Mobile – 2
Towards the end part of 2009, O2 installed 40 new masts around London in a £30 million investment in its network infrastructure and with London being one of the places that O2 came top in this investment will have helped them with their mobile broadband speeds.
What we need is this same investment to be taken in other locations around the UK to help build on the mobile broadband speeds that other parts of the country can receive.
February 22, 2010
Virgin Media have launched a range of Travel Passes for those who want to use the Internet abroad.
The Virgin Media Travel Passes are designed to offer mobile Internet and mobile broadband access for users to get online anywhere in the EU.
The new Travel Passes will offer an Internet connection for users while away abroad but take out the risk of running up huge bills and getting a “Bill Shock”.
“Bill Shock” is the term used for unexpectedly large bills caused by using mobile Internet and mobile broadband. Only earlier today we reported a story of a student who ran up a £8,000 mobile broadband bill in just over a month while away in France.
The Virgin Media Travel Passes come as either a Mobile Internet pass to a Mobile Broadband Pass.
The Mobile Internet EU Travel Passes on offer are available are either a one hour pass that costs £4 or a 24 hour pass for £6.
To activate the EU Mobile Internet Travel Pass users simply need to text BUY + pass name (e.g. 24HR or 1HR) to the short code: 23456
The Mobile Broadband EU Travel Passes come with 4 different options.
A one day costing £10 for 10Mb, 3 days costing £15 for 15Mb, 7 days costing £30 for 30Mb or the option of a 30 day travel pass costing £60 for 60Mb.
To activate a Mobile Broadband Travel Pass users simply need to text BUY + pass name (e.g. 1DAY or 3DAY) to short code 23456
The countries that the Virgin Media Travel Passes are available to be used in within EU/EEA zones include:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus (excluding Turkish Northern Cyprus), Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (including French Guinea, Guadeloupe, Martinique & Reunion), Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal (including Azores & Madeira), Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (including Canary Islands), Sweden, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway.
Virgin Media are the largest UK fibre broadband provider and are a quad-play provider who offer broadband, TV, phone and mobile.
A university student who went to Paris to study has been left with a mobile broadband bill of almost £8,000!
William Harrison, aged 22, went into an Orange store and asked the assistant about mobile broadband and using it in France. He was advised by the staff in the Orange store that mobile broadband would be fine to use in France and recommended him a short term contract that offered him 3Gb usage and told him that this would be “perfectly ample” for what he needed it for. His usage was often to use Skype for phone calls and he didn’t download or watch videos or other applications that used allot of data.
William regularly used Skye back home to make free phone calls over the Internet and thought that he would be able to save money by doing so when in France.
What William was unaware of was that the data transfer was not able to be used outside of the UK and that Orange were charging him £2.94 per Mb for using the dongle abroad.
After his first month of using the mobile broadband dongle abroad last September he received his first bill for a whopping £6,101.56. Upon receiving this he straight away queried the bill and got the mobile broadband dongle blocked so he could not rack up any more charges, however in the meantime between receiving his bill and the dongle getting blocked he racked up a further £1,547.21 and took his total bill up to £7,648.77!
When Williams father, Roger phoned up to speak to Orange about this the Orange operator he spoke to was shocked that this bill had got so large as there should be a £40 per month limit. However the operator was seemingly also unaware that this did not apply to usage when abroad.
There is new European laws to be introduced to help stop users getting “Bill Shock” where the bill would cut off when it reaches a limit of 50 Euros (about £44), although users can alter this limit if they wish.
These laws however, although introduced last year didn’t have to be implemented until 1st March this year.
It is understood that the bill has been halved by Orange and payment terms of 24 months have been made available to William to pay back the mobile broadband bill.
February 19, 2010
Eclipse Internet are to launch fibre optic broadband packages offering broadband speeds up to 40Mb.
The new Eclipse fibre packages will go live on April 12th and will offer broadband speeds of a maximum 40Mb and with a guaranteed 12Mb throughput.
The Eclipse Fibre broadband packages will use the BT fibre optic network (BT Infinity) that mainly will offer fibre broadband on Fibre-To-The-Cabinet (FTTC) with the broadband going via the copper wires form the cabinet to the home via VDSL2.
There will be two different deals launched, Eclipse Fibre and Eclipse Fibre Pro. Both will offer pretty much the same although the Pro package will have 10GB more monthly usage, a larger upload speed and a free WAN router.
Both deals will also have a £75 installation fee and are primarily targeted at the Business broadband user.
- Eclipse Fibre
- £39.95 per month
- Up to 40Mb Broadband download speeds
- Up to 2Mb upload speeds
- 12Mb guaranteed throughput
- 50GB usage
- Free vDSL router
- Eclipse Fibre Pro
- £49.95 per month
- Up to 40Mb Broadband download speeds
- Up to 10Mb upload speeds
- 12Mb guaranteed throughput
- 60GB usage
- Free vDSL router
- Free WAN router
Users can register their interest in the new fibre broadband packages online on the Eclipse Internet website.
February 18, 2010
A delayed £70 million project to provide high speed broadband to schools and libraries across the Scottish Highlands has finally been completed.
The project was called the Pathfinder North Broadband Project which finally went live on Wednesday uses both fibre optic cables and broadband wireless technology to get the high speed Internet to all the schools, libraries and other council buildings, of which there is a total of 801 connected.
Five local authorities were involved in the project, which included The Highland Council and Moray, Argyll and Bute Councils and Orkney and Shetland Islands Councils.
The Chairman of The Highland Council’s Resources Committee, Councillor Carolyn Wilson said:
“The Pathfinder North scheme represents a major investment in rural locations, which depend so heavily on good communications. The provision of high-speed broadband services is great news both for our teams and the people they support, who have access to our community schools, libraries and offices. We are looking forward to using the network to the best of its capability, ensuring that we continue to meet the needs of all the communities we serve.“
The new network is not being shared to other people in the Highlands which means that broadband speeds of between 2Mb and 300Mb will be available to those on the new high speed broadband network.
BE Broadband don’t think too much to Google launching their own fibre optic network.
The recent announcement that Google is to initially roll out a fibre optic network to between 50,000 and 500,000 homes in the USA which aims to have broadband speeds of up to 1Gb has got the guys from Be Broadband giving their thoughts.
Although we should embrace the fact that faster broadband is being developed the worry is the fact that it is another part of the Internet that Google could start to dominate in and how long before they have a monopoly of the Internet.
This was a point made by Alinna Chung, the Online Product Manager for Be broadband who said:
“Faster broadband and challenging providers who have rested on their laurels for too long is awesome, but I don’t really like the idea that Google will know everything I do with my connection, even if I opt out of their normal services. If they have a point of disagreement with a specific governing institution, are they going to be able to completely cut me off from information if I depend on them for both my access and my source of information? I think Google means well, but ultimately, diversifying sources/dependencies means that people can maintain their freedom.“
Tom Williams, Head Of Operations at Be Broadband said:
“although it’s great to push boundaries and continue to demonstrate the value of high bandwidth services, monopolies are never good, and you’d have to question the true freedom of the web if one company became so dominant.“
It will be interesting to see how well the the Google fibre broadband goes in the USA as it could lead to a roll out in other countries including the UK.
February 17, 2010
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With the World Cup taking place this year in South Africa we have seen that for any football fans who want mobile broadband can combine these and get a football themed mobile broadband dongle.
Huawei have created a 3G mobile broadband dongle int he shape of a football that will be available by the time of the 2010 Fifa World Cup starts. Ultimately it is just a bit of a novel gadget but it could start to show that the next batch of mobile broadband dongles are not boring but could actually start to be seen a cool accessories for their users.
The football dongle is compatible with Windows 7, Linux and Max.
We don’t have any pricing or the date it is likely to be made available as yet.