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July 29, 2010

Average broadband speeds rise according to Ofcom

The speed of fixed line broadband has seen an increase of over 25 per cent in the last year in broadband speed test done by Ofcom.

After Ofcom conducted it’s own broadband speed test research in partnership with the broadband site SamKnows the results showed that broadband speeds on average were raised from 4.1Mb to 5.2Mb.

This speed increase comes as broadband providers continue to try and offer customers faster and faster broadband speeds, a statistic which is proved with the fact that in April 2009 just 8% of broadband users fixed line connections were  advertised as above “up to” 10Mb, with that figure now raised to 24% on services offering above “up to” this speed.

With these increasing advertised headline speeds comes the fact that although on average broadband speeds have increased there is a growing gap between what users are advertised as their “up to” speed and what they are actually receiving.
In April 2009 the average advertised “up to” speed was 7.1Mb with the actual average broadband speed customers received being 4.1Mb which meant that users were receiving 58% of the advertised speed.

However, in May 2010 the average advertised broadband “up to” speed was 11.5Mb and the actual broadband speed customers received ion average was 5.2Mb which is just 45% of the advertised speed.

Unsurprisingly was the fact that Virgin Medias fibre broadband provided the fastest broadband, with the 10Mb and 20Mb which provided download speed around twice as fast as broadband packages offering similar headline speeds.
The fastest broadband speed was found to be on Virgin Medias 50Mb fibre broadband service which offered an average broadband download speed of 36Mb when done on a single thread test (when just 1 file is downloaded) and about 46Mb when a multi-thread test (when three files are downloaded at the same time which is more in line with how heavy broadband users use the Internet) was performed.

Ofcom average broadband speeds May 2010


July 27, 2010

Virgin fibre broadband trial over electricity poles in Wales

Virgin Media are to trial fibre broadband delivered over existing electricity poles in the Welsh village of Crumlin in Caerphilly.

virgin media logo 300x257 Virgin fibre broadband trial over electricity poles in WalesAlthough Virgin Media have deployed fibre over ground before in the village of Woolhampton in Berkshire that was done using purpose built infrastructure, however this aerial deployment in Crumlin will be the first time that existing infrastructure will have been used.

The deal between Virgin Media and Surf Telecoms, who are a Western Power Distribution company means that Virgin Media can potentially reach over 1 million new homes across South West England and South and West Wales as this is where the electricity infrastructure covers.

These fibre trials will mean that users of Crumlin will be able to receive fibre broadband up to 50Mb and also access Virgin Media’s TV packages.

Virgin Media’s executive director of broadband, Jon James said:

We’re already bringing broadband speeds of up to 50Mb and, soon 100Mb, to over half of all UK homes and are pushing the boundaries to ensure that homes right across the UK benefit from ultrafast broadband. Working in partnership with companies like Surf Telecoms, we can more rapidly and efficiently expand the reach of fibre optic networks to towns, villages and communities right across the UK.

Not only does utilising the electricity poles with an aerial deployment mean that Virgin Media can deploy their fibre broadband to new areas more cheaply than it would cost to dig up roads but it is also a new revenue stream for the companies who own the electricity poles.


July 26, 2010

BT to target copper cable thieves

BT are going to target thieves who have been stealing it’s copper cables which results in costing the company millions of pounds.

The price scrap copper means that thieves can make good money by stealing BT’s copper cables and selling it on as scrap, however this costs BT millions in replacing the copper and also causes disruptions to it’s customers who can end up cut off from BT’s network and unable to use their phone and broadband services. The theft of BT copper is on the increase with incidents last year rising by 9%.

BT are going to start spraying their cable with SmartWater which is an invisible solution that shows up under ultraviolet light. This will stay on the cable and also any thieves who get sprayed with it for up to 60 days and as it can be made to be unique to a specific location it will make it easier to pinpoint criminals to a specific crime scene.

SmartWater is also used by Network Rail who also find themselves target to metal thieves.


July 22, 2010

3 Mobile Broadband tops YouGov charts

3 Mobile has topped a YouGov study to bmobile broadbande voted the best mobile broadband provider in the UK.

There were 12 categories that were looked at in the study, with 3 Mobile broadband topping 10 of them, including value for money and reliability amongst others.
The study was done using more than 2,000 UK mobile broadband users from Three, Vodafone, Orange, O2, and T-Mobile to rate their mobile broadband provider on 12 key points.

The 12 key points that customers were asked on were:
Installation of software
Network coverage
Getting connected
Staying connected
Reliability during the day
Reliability during the evening
Download speeds
Upload speeds
Ease of use
Customer services
Overall quality

Three have the largest share of the UK mobile broadband market with around 35% and have coverage to more than 95% of the population.


July 19, 2010

BT to increase line rental and call costs

BT are putting the cost of line rental up by 50p per month starting October and telephone call costs are also due to rise,

bt logo BT to increase line rental and call costsThe cost of BT’s line rental will now cost £13.29 per month or for those customers who pay by direct debit an dare e-billing customers it will cost £12.04 per month.

Daytime calls are also going to rise, with the price going up from 5.9p per minute to 6.4p per minute.

What could well be a co-incidence is that it was October that Labours “Broadband Tax” of 5op per month was due to be introduced, this was subsequently scrapped by the Conservative/Lib-Dem government. The broadband tax was due to help raise funds to help fund the roll out of next generation broadband across the country.

For anyone who doesn’t have a landline and is looking at taking one out and is willing to pay the landline fee as an annual subscription can make a big saving if they sign up before the 29th October, if they do they will be charged £113.88 (£9.49 per month) instead of the new price which will be £159.48 for the annual fee after October.

BT will be writing to all it’s 12.5 million customers to tell them about the price rises in the coming weeks, although it is thought that around half of BT’s customers are on the unlimited UK landline calls package and as such the call charges won’t affect these customers.

BT recently announced that they would be investing an extra £1 billion in deploying fibre optic broadband, making their total investment to be around £2.5 billion, they also recently started to offer Sky Sports channels to customers, however it is though that due to Sky changing the wholesale price of these channels that BT are actually going to be losing money on each one of these that they sell.


July 16, 2010

Be Broadband look to offer fibre broadband services

BE Broadband are looking to offer even faster broadband speeds by offering fibre optic broadband, but admit that they can’t afford to lay down it’s own fibre network down.

be broadband Be Broadband look to offer fibre broadband servicesIn a post in the official Be Broadband Blog, Tom Williams the managing director of Be Broadband had the following to say:

“We really want to offer you a fibre solution. We want to keep providing faster and faster speeds. However, we can’t afford to lay our own fibre network (unless, of course, Alex agrees to sell his collection of antique Happy Meal toys). Right now, we’re looking at the wholesale products available.

If we do this, then there’s likely to be some initial restrictions on what we can offer in terms of speed, support, and the general customer experience. But, for many of you, it will be faster.

Whatever we offer, it won’t be perfect straight away – though it will improve over time. We want to get your input while we’re investigating the options: we want to build the BE fibre product around you as much as possible.”

Be Broadband will be making use of the fibre network that BT are installing around the country. On the main part it is Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC) that BT are installing which will offer broadband speeds up to 40Mb, for a few lucky people there will be Fibre To The Premises/Home (FTTH) but this is mainly going to be installed in new build areas that will be able to offer much faster broadband speeds up to 100Mb.

BT are investing £2.5Bn in rolling out next generation fibre broadband over the next few years which should be available to around two thirds of the UK once completed. It will be this large fibre network that BE Broadband will be utilising on a wholesale level to provide fibre broadband deals for customers.

BE currently have an offer running offering 2 months free broadband from BE.


2 months free broadband with Be Broadband

Customers can get 2 months free broadband from Be Broadband in a limited time offer with their latest promotional code.

be broadband 2 months free broadband with Be BroadbandThe offer runs until the end of July so potential new subscribers only have a couple of weeks to make sure they get their free broadband which is available on either the “Unlimited” or “Pro” packages.

When signing up customers simply need to enter the Be Broadband promo code: FREEMONTHS.

A special landing page has been set up at


July 15, 2010

Broadband Summit taking place to sort out UK broadband

A “Broadband summit” is taking place today in London, to talk about ways to get fast broadband out to every part of the UK.

A pledge to make Britain the fastest broadband nation in Europe by 2015 has also been made and that a minimum broadband speed of 2Mb should be available to every home in Britain.

However, the Government are not likely to be offering the broadband industry big pots of money to help fund the roll out, there is still the £175 million left over from the digital switchover that is to be used and since the government scrapped Labours 50p per month “broadband tax” that was to be used to help fund next generation broadband and the fact that as a country we have a huge deficit with money the government can’t afford to start spending.

BT are investing £2.5bn of their own money to fund the roll out of fibre broadband to two thirds of the UK, however they say that around £2bn more will be needed to reach the remaining third of the country. These remaining areas being areas where it is not financially viable for BT to fund the roll out themselves.

The CEO of BT Openreach, Steve Robertson said:

As a society we need to make our minds up about what is an essential element of our social fabric. Today not having broadband makes people feel deprived.

The Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt said:

“There is currently nothing to stop telecoms or utility companies reaching commercial agreements to share their infrastructure, but very few agreements currently exist.

Before we embark on legislation or start committing scarce public resources, we need to explore these cost-effective ways of achieving our aims so I want to hear from companies about their proposals and willingness to work towards mutually beneficial commercial arrangements.”


July 13, 2010

Satellite Broadband provider Avanti raise £70 million

Avanti Communications, the Satellite broadband provider has raised £70 million through the sale of shares to help fund getting it’s first satellite launched into space.

The press release form the share sale read:

The net proceeds from the Placing will help provide Avanti with funds in order to repay the fixed term facilities of a principal amount of £32 million (£53 million including accrued interest and an early repayment discount) borrowed in order to finance HYLAS 1, Avanti’s first satellite, and to enable Avanti to initiate the procurement of a third satellite. It will also provide additional resources for the Company to re-domicile the HYLAS 2 assets offshore.

Avanti had hoped to have it’s first satellite HYLAS 1 launched by the end of September, but delays of around 6 weeks are expected due to the launch pad in French Guyana not being ready. However, to make sure there is as little delay as possible Avanti are looking at using an Ariane 5 launch vehicle although the Ariane 5 usually takes up 2 satellites for launch and so this factors into considerations.

Avanti also have HYLAS 2 satellite that they hope will be launched in the first half of 2012.

Satellite broadband will help bring broadband to rural and remote areas where it is not feasible to get a fixed line broadband connection to them.

- Filed under: Satellite broadband
- Tags: Avanti Communications, Satellite broadband
Author: Mark @ 9:33 am

July 9, 2010

Kent village secure £13,000 grant for fibre broadband

The Kent village of Iwade has received a £13,000 grant from the local council to fund fibre broadband to the area.

Kent County Council gave Iwade the grant to help fund the investment needed to bring fibre broadband to the village and will mean that by Autumn this year all the 1,350 premises in the village will be able to access the new Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC) network which will give them broadband speeds up to 40Mb.

The fibre broadband deployment to the village is possible because the neighboring town of Sittingbourne is one of the locations that had been selected for it’s telephone exchange to be upgraded to support fibre broadband, the funds will be used then to deploy the fibre to 4 streetside cabinets in Iwade.

The Telegraph report that due to the £13,000 funding that they managed to raise this meant that BT would make a further £62,000 available.

The broadband committee co-ordinator for Iwade Parish Council, Nicola McKenzie said:

As a Broadband Committee we have worked hard to reach this critical point, giving Iwade residents and businesses the option to sign up to super-fast broadband at such an early stage. Local homes and businesses are relying more and more on broadband internet services. The faster connections offered by fibre broadband will allow local people to get even more out of their broadband connection.

BT are currently investing £2.5 billion in making fibre broadband available to around two thirds of the UK by 2015.

For any other rural villages that may want to follow Iwade’s leade BT state that:

Currently, in order for BT to build a commercial case for rolling out fibre to such areas, the locality needs to be in close proximity to an exchange that is already included in BT’s fibre deployment plans. Technical considerations include the need for local premises to be suitably clustered while the local telephone cabinets need to be evenly spread and no more than 1km from the premises they serve.”

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