The Shetland Islands are to be connected to fibre optic broadband thanks to funds from the European Regional Development Fund.
The £367,500 that has been received is to help with the “Shetland Fibre Optic Network” which plan to connect up the Shetlands to a fibre optic cable that has been laid between the Scottish mainland and the Faroe Islands. In total the project is expected to cost over £1 million.
The improved broadband connections will be a huge boost for residents and businesses on the Islands.
BT customers who are on a bundled broadband and calls package will be offered a free upgrade to the new fibre network (BT Infinity – www.bt.com) when it becomes available in their area.
The free upgrade for BT customers is available to those on the Option 2 or Option 3 packages with those on the Option 1 having a small additional monthly charge.
Those who take out the BT Infinity Option 1 plan which also includes unlimited weekend calls plus up to 40Mb download speeds and 2Mb uploads speeds and a 40GB usage limit, for the first three months will pay just £7.49 per month before the bundle reverts to it’s standard price of £17.99 per month plus the cost of line rental and a one off Infinity activation charge of £25.
The BT Infinity Option 2 offers unlimited broadband usage, up to 40Mb download and 10Mb upload speeds plus unlimited calls for a special offer price of £19.99 per month for the first 3 months and then £27.99 per month plus the line rental charges. There is no activation or line installation charges.
BT say that as they don’t charge for new line installation then customers are making a saving of £39 compared to Sky for this and £69.99 compared with TalkTalk.
The managing director of BT’s Consumer division, John Petter said:
“Fibre is the future of broadband and BT is raising the speed and standard for customers nationwide. BT Infinity is head and shoulders above other services when it comes to value. We are the only company offering you an upgrade to fibre for no extra monthly cost and the only company to offer free line installation across all new bundles.“
BT are investing £2.5 billion in their new fibre network which they are calling BT Infinity and aim to have around two thirds coverage of the UK by 2015. Most of the network will be offering customers Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC) which will offer broadband speeds up to 40Mb, a few lucky people will receive full Fibre To The Home/Premises (FTTH) which will be able to offer broadband speeds up to 100Mb.
Global broadband hit 500 million (half a billion) lines in the third week of July 2010 and in doing so passed a major milestone.
It has taken just 11 years for broadband to reach this number of lines which has changed the way people now use and view the internet, it is now no longer just considered a luxury but more of a basic human right, with this point being backed up in Finland where it was recently made a legal right for citizens over there to have access to broadband.
The research was done by Point-Topic who have been counting broadband lines since 2008, when globally there was only around 1.3 million lines in use which were on the whole in America and Canada.
Since then broadband has just taken off and now European countries such as the UK, Italy and Germany account for 30% of all global broadband connections with Asia accounting for the largest percentage with 41% of all broadband lines around the world.
The importance of broadband is continuing to grow and faster broadband speeds (check broadband speed with a broadband speed test) are always being strived for, in the UK alone we are seeing how fibre optic broadband is starting to receive some heavy investment to replace the current copper network that BT have installed, this will dramatically increase the broadband speeds that we can receive and mean that even more applications and uses can be made and done via the internet.
The CEO of Point-Topic, Oliver Johnson believes that in the next 11 years a further half billion broadband lines will be added meaning that worldwide there will be 1 billion broadband lines. At the current moment, there are around 1 million new broadband lines per week being added.
Yesterday carrier pigeons proved to be faster than a rural broadband connection for transferring a 300Mb video file.
The stunt was put on by business ISP, Timico, to show how slow rural broadband can be for many. The 10 pigeons had microSD cards attached to them containing a 5 minute video that was 200Mb in size and were set off from Beverley in Yorkshire and at the very same time that the same 300Mb file was started to upload to Youtube.
The pigeons destination was 120km away in Skegness which they managed to reach in just 75 minutes, however the farm’s broadband connection had only managed to upload 24% of the file.
The test is hardly scientific in any way and it’s not really possible to compare the 2 different methods of transferring the date properly but it was done to highlight the fact that in some rural areas broadband connections are still very slow and are in need of investment to offer them faster speeds. The farm in question where the upload some done to only has a broadband connection of between 100-200km.
Last year a similar stunt was done in South Africa where a carrier pigeon called Winston did a 96km distance in 2 hours while just 4% of a 4GB file had managed to be downloaded in the same period of time.
Internet users can run a broadband speed test to see how quick their Internet connection runs at.
The UK now has more than 7 million unbundled lines where rival companies offer their services over BT’s network.
In 2005 this figure stood at just 123,000 unbundled lined in the UK when BT and Ofcom came to an agreement that would see BT set up a new division called BT Openreach that would be used to allow competitors access to BT’s network and take control of the line to customers homes to offer their own services.
Now the UK has over 19 million broadband lines and more than 70% of these are provided by other companies than BT which includes over 30 companies who are offering broadband services which are unbundled. With so much competition out there the result has meant that broadband connections have gone up and the price of broadband has come down.
The study by Ofcom found that in the last quarter of 2005 the average price excluding VAT that customers were paying for broadband was £23.30 per month with the same service today costing just £13.31 meaning quite a substantial saving.
Companies who make use of the LLU (Local Loop Unbundling) and use BT’s copper network include companies such as Sky & TalkTalk.
BT are currently investing £2.5 billion in their new fibre broadband (BT Infinity) that will be able to deliver broadband speeds up to 40Mb.
Ofcom are looking to change the process for switching broadband providers to make it easier and more hassle free for consumers.
Ofcoms research found that 45% of consumers with a broadband or landline think that switching their broadband or telephone provider is too much hassle. Of those people who have switched broadband provider by using the Migration Authority Code (MAC), 39% of them felt that it was too much hassle when going the change.
22% of those who switched broadband providers by using the Notification of Transfer process felt that this was too much hassle.
What Ofcom are proposing is that the broadband or communications provider who will be gaining the new customer should take the lead role in switching would give better results for customers as it would be in the interest of the gaining provider to get the switch done as quickly and smoothly as possible, however there would need to be measures in place to stop “slamming” occurring, which is where customers get switched with out their consent.
Other factors which make it an even more complex process now is that half of consumers have more than one service in a bundle with one provider.
BT have dropped the cost of supplying broadband to a Welsh village from £500,000 to just £100 per home.
The village of Erbistock which is near to Wrexham have been a broadband not-spot because of the distance that the village is from it’s local exchange, however with BT simply changing their exchange from Bangor-on-Dee to Overton-on-Dee which will be able to offer residents broadband speeds up to 4Mb.
Residents who want broadband simply need to sign up with a supplier and have their connection changed to the other exchange although this would mean a new telephone line and telephone number and would come with a £100 charge.
The original quote of £500,000 to get the village of 80 premises would have meant a charge of £6,250 per premises had they all wanted to be connected with a broadband connection and would have involved BT installing a new copper network, however with this new £100 charge it would mean the total bill for all 80 residents will come to just £8,000!
Further to this it was not long ago that Rutland Telecom said that they could get the village connected for just £50,000, much of which would have been paid for by grants and would have involved upgrading the copper cables to fibre optic and offer broadband speeds up to 40Mb. Rutland TElecom feel hard done by and feel BT have come up with this cheaper solution because of the competition.
It has been found that people in Britain would cut back their spending on food rather than their broadband connections!
The survey which was done by Sky News found that when people have to tighten their belts with less money to spend that it would be in fact their belts that actually physically do get tightened as food is the area where people will look to first to save money which is then followed by holidays and eating out.
In a separate survey done by Opinion matters on behalf of Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks also revealed that 9 out of 10 people would not give up their broadband if money got tight, this figure is up from 8 out of 10 when the study was done in 2009. It was thought that people would give up nights out or gym memberships if it meant that they could keep their Internet connection.
These stats go to show how much of a vital role the Internet plays in peoples everyday life, it is now considered very much as a necessity rather than a luxury.
Virgin Media are launching three new 9 month contract broadband deals specifically aimed at students.
The 9 month deals are designed so that students won’t need to be paying for broadband over the summer months when they are likely to have gone home or not be at University.
Prices start at just £20 per month for the “Broadband L” package which gives broadband speeds up to 10Mb. The XL service offers fibre broadband speeds up to 20Mb and unlimited weekend UK landline calls for £20 per month with the first 2 months being charged at £10 per month plus the cost of line rental at £11.99 per month.
There is a £20 activation fee but this is taken off with the production of a valid NUS identification.
Students who want to take up one of the new Virgin 9 month broadband contracts needs to do so by the 31st October 2010.
An extra benefit of having an NUS Extra card is that there is a 15% student discount off your monthly spend with any Virgin Mobile service too such as SIM only, Pay Monthly, Pay As You Go or Mobile Broadband.
Students should sign up at www.virginmedia.com
BT Total Broadband customers who have iPhone or Android mobiles will be able to get an app that will connect their phones to free unlimited Wi-Fi connections.
The app, called the BT FON app will notify users of the nearest WiFi hot spot to them, users will then be able to enter their email address and password and select if they want to automatically be logged in to a BT Wi-Fi area.
Being connected to these WiFi areas will save customers money as the access to BT FON and BT Openzone is free for BT Total broadband customers and there are 1.6 million of the Wi-Fi hot sports avialable worldwide.
The app will not only auto sign usesr into available Wi-Fi networks when they become ava\ilable but will also provide a map view so you can see where there is available access points close by.
What’s more, BT are donating 50p for every BT FON app that is downloaded (up to a maximum of £10,000) so providing 20,000 people download the app then BT will be paying up the full amount to BBC Children in Need.