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October 29, 2010

London Underground wireless Internet hotspot trials

London Underground wireless Internet trials are due to start on 1st November at Charing Cross Tube Station.

BT Openzone, who provide wireless Internet hotspots has joined up with London Underground to trial for 6 months wireless Internet service at Charing Cross tube station. Any BT broadband customers with unlimited BT FON Wi-Fi minutes and for BT Openzone customers will be able to access the service at no extra charge, it will allow Internet enabled devices such as smartphones, laptops or netbooks to connect to the Internet as they are in the Charing Cross Tube Station.

The Strategy and Commercial Director for London Underground, Richard Parry, said:

Around 68,000 passenger journeys are made a day at Charing Cross Tube station. We hope that our customers will find it useful to have access to the internet while they are using the Tube station during this six-month trial. Live service updates will allow passengers to check the status of the Tube and other transport services while they are on the move at the station.

The Mayor of London’s Transport Adviser, Mulveer Ranger, said:

An ever growing commuter populous has been clamouring to be able to check their emails and browse the net whilst on the go. This trial at Charing Cross will allow them to do just that whilst on the Tube platform. This is an important step towards seeing how this could be achieved and is part of the Mayor’s ambition to examine ways in which we can use technology to adapt the city’s transport system to meet the needs of those using it.

It would therefor appear that providing the trails go well and customers using the London Underground find it useful then it could well be rolled out further across the Underground network, this could work well for business as people are able to do more work on the way and way back from work or when travelling across London.

Customers on O2, Tesco Mobile, Vodafone and Orange who have Wi-Fi minutes included in their contract may also be able to use the BT Openzone network while other users will be able to purchase BT Openzone vouchers to be able to access the network.

- Filed under: Mobile Broadband,Wireless Internet

Author: Mark @ 1:29 pm

October 28, 2010

Fibrecity 100Mb broadband in Dundee halted

The 100Mb fibre broadband via the sewers project being done by Fibrecity has been halted in Dundee with staff being laid off.

fibrecity Fibrecity 100Mb broadband in Dundee haltedFujitsu were the company who had been contracted to do the work in Dundee and have had to lay off 52 off their staff that were working on the project according to “The Courier” newspaper. The employees were reportedly working on a contract that only required 1 weeks notice to be given.

The Fibrecity project is being done by the i3 Group, an i3 Group spokesman said:

“Work on the project has been delayed slightly while the group’s UK operation is restructured to bring it in line with the company’s overseas subsidiaries. We expect this to take up to four weeks.

“While we regret the confusion that this has caused in the marketplace, this restructuring will increase the efficiency of the organisation and place it in an even stronger position to use its innovative technologies and methodologies to deploy Britain’s largest fibre-to-the-home network.”

We should be able to see in a months time if there is any problems or if the work gets back on track.

Using the sewers to lay the fibre optic cable is a far cheaper and cost effective way than having to dig up roads. However the Fibrecity project that was taking place in Bournemouth also fell into problems in August when Wessex Water and the i3Group failed to come to an agreement about them using their sewers, it resulted in the need for roads and pavements needing to be dug up with residents being unhappy with the quality of the work being undertaken.


October 27, 2010

Virgin launch 100Mb broadband

Hot on the heels of the news we reported yesterday that Virgin Media were to launch their 100Mb broadband this week and today we see that they have indeed announced the roll out of their new flagship broadband speed.

virgin media logo 300x257 Virgin launch 100Mb broadbandPre-registration is open from today for those who want to get in the super-fast fibre broadband lane of 100Mb broadband which is double the headline speed that Virgin was offering of 50Mb, it will also offer upload speeds of 10Mb.

It is expected that it will take 18 months for the roll out of their upgrades across their network which they say will cover more than 12.7 million UK homes and offer next generation broadband that is nearly 20 times the current UK average broadband speed. The new service will go on sale in December for the first areas to be upgraded to it and then an extensive roll-out plan will extend the product across the Virgin Media network.

The chief executive of Virgin Media, Neil Berkett, said:

“The launch of our 100Mb service is a significant milestone in the UK’s broadband evolution and a vivid illustration of the power of our next generation network. From establishing the UK’s first ever broadband service in 2000 to the launch of 100Mb in 2010, in the space of just ten years, Virgin Media has led the greatest developments in digital Britain. The world of possibilities that broadband will enable is set to explode and we’re excited about the innovations we can bring to consumers in the next decade.”

The Virgin Media 100Mb broadband will cost £35 when bought with a phone line (£11.99) or £45 if bought as a stand alone service. There will be a £30 activation and £40 installation charge on top of this. It does come with a new “SuperHub” which not only a router that is designed to be power-efficient but is also capable of delivering broadband speeds up to 400Mb. A fair use policy will apply for the unlimited usage on the package.


October 26, 2010

100Mb broadband from Virgin to launch this week

100Mb broadband from Virgin Media could arrive this week if Prime Minister David Cameron is to be believed.

The Prime Minister said during a Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference that Virgin Media would be launching a super fast broadband 100Mb broadband service this week.

What Mr Cameron said was:

“…we’ll work with utility companies to get more investment in our energy, with construction companies on our roads, with the telecommunications industry on broadband. This collaboration is already working. Virgin Media is rolling out a new superfast broadband service this week.”

He soon followed up and said about the 100Mb broadband connection.

Virgin Media have not confirmed or denied the date that their new 100Mb broadband service is due to launch but it would be quite a safe bet that it will be some time this week if the prime minister is talking about it’s launch.

Last week it came out that a BT 110Mb fibre broadband service would be launched in March next year, with the cynical amongst us thinking it was to get “one up” on Virgin Media to be able to say that they are offering the fastest broadband in the UK.


October 21, 2010

Rural broadband receives £530 million fibre broadband investment

The government has pledged £530 million into superfast rural broadband in the governments Spending Review.

Residents in North Yorkshire, Cumbria, Hertfordshire and the Highlands are the lucky benefactors of the funding which was announced yesterday by the Chancellor George Osborne in his Spending Review. These rural areas were considered commercially un-viable and this scheme looks to trial superfast broadband in them.

The project will be done over the next 4 years with £300 million of the funds coming from the pot left over from the digital TV switch over from the BBC license fee.

It is expected that around 2 million households will benefit from the project which is being run by the government organisation called “Broadband Delivery UK”. The same organisation have been given the responsibility of making sure that everyone in the UK has access to broadband by 2012 and high speed fibre broadband to the majority of the country by 2017.

BT are spending £2.5bn on their own fibre optic network that will be available to around 66% of the country by the time it is complete, Virgin Media also have coverage with their fibre network of around 50% but there will still be areas that are missing out where it does not work out financially viable for BT to roll out this next generation network to.

Next generation mobile broadband spectrums will be auctioned in 2011 or 2012, this will mean more access to mobile broadband, and with at least 500Mhz of public sector airwaves being released over the next 10 years this gives plenty of scope to improve mobile broadband reach.


October 20, 2010

100Mb fibre broadband from BT next year

BT Openreach are to launch a 110Mb fibre broadband from March 2011 as part of their Generic Ethernet Access Fibre To The Premises (GEA FTTP) products.

bt infinity logo 100Mb fibre broadband from BT next yearThe news of this 110Mb fibre broadband from BT is probably not that far linked to the fact that Virgin Media are to launch their own 100Mb fibre broadband by the end of this year. When you consider that BT had originally been planning on offering a 100Mb fibre broadband package to it’s new fibre broadband network anyway it would seem that upping this by just 10Mb more than Virgin Media could be done so they can advertise at offering the fastest fibre broadband in the country come next year.

A spokesman for BT said that:

Communications providers advertising 100Mbps, that’s exactly what consumers are going to get. You’re going to get 100Mbps, it’s not an ‘up to’ service.

However, this speed is not expected to be available 24 hours a day, in times where the network is flooded a prioritised 20Mb speed would be available per user.

The breakdown of wholesale prices for the 110Mb broadband are pretty much the same as they are for the 100Mb broadband from BT, so it would make sense that BT are probably just going to replace the 100Mb broadband with their 110Mb offering.

The wholesale prices from BT Openreach for the 110Mb fibre broadband are £21.54 per month (£258 per year) plus a £75+vat connection charge.

The major advantage that Virgin Media have currently over BT is the fact that they already have around half of the UK covered instead of a relatively small amount that BT have on their FTTH/P (Fibre to the Home/Premises). On the war of “fastest broadband” it is not to be forgotten that Virgin Media are already looking at technology to be able to offer broadband speeds up to 200Mb.

The trials of this new 110Mb fibre broadband form BT are underway in Highams Park in North London and Bradwell Abbey in Milton Keynes.


October 19, 2010

UK broadband to hit “capacity crunch”

The UK broadband network could soon hit the “capacity crunch” according to research done by the University of Southampton.

fibre optic cable UK broadband to hit capacity crunchIn the paper, written by David Richardson of the University of Southampton’s Optoelectronics Research Centre, he detailed laboratory results which showed the data rates at more than half the ultimate limit that fibre optic cables can achieve and goes on to say that there is an urgent need for research and development of higher bandwidth fibre optic cables to be made.

Speaking to BBC News (here) Mr Richardson said:

The thought that the current fibre technology has infinite capacity is not true – we are beginning to hit the fundamental limits of the current technology”

“We need to be looking at the next big breakthrough to allow us to continue to scale as we have traditionally done.”

He said there are more increases to be had, for instance, in the way the light signals are encoded, but that “radical” gains will likely come from changes in the fibres themselves.

“If you gain a factor of two in bandwidth by developing a whole new amplifier technology, that’s perhaps two or three years of capacity growth. To get radical changes – to get factors of 100 or 1000 – it’s going to be extremely demanding.

“It’s likely we’re going to have to go right back to the fundamentals of the optics, the actual light pipes. And if you want to develop the next generation of cable, you want to be doing that 10 years in advance, not for tomorrow.

In the last 10 years we have massively seen the way people use the Internet change, it is now classed as a standard part of peoples day to day lives and more and more high bandwidth applications are getting supplied via our broadband connections, such as streaming movies or live TV through the iPlayer or YouTube for starters.

Another interesting thought that he put down in the report was that:

We may all increasingly need to get used to the idea that bandwidth – just like water and energy – is a valuable commodity to be used wisely.

Despite the roll out of fibre broadband across the UK it does make slightly worrying reading that potentially the new fibre broadband network being deployed may not be quite as future proof as we all would like.


October 18, 2010

UK up to 18th in broadband speed and quality rankings

Improvements in UK broadband has seen us climb up the broadband world rankings slightly to a position of 18th.

Out of the 72 countries that were studied the UK came in in 18th position, up from 25th place last year, but despite the increase in the world rankings we are still not one of the countries which are classed as “ready for tomorrow”.

The study done by Oxford University’s Said Business School for Cisco looked into the quality of the broadband and also the penetration of it. The quality aspect of the study looked at broadband connection speeds and the latency so basically how quickly data is transferred via the broadband connection.

The world top 10 for broadband is:

  • South Korea
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Iceland
  • Switzerland
  • Luxembourg
  • Singapore
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Qatar
  • Sweden
  • Denmark

The UK didn’t fall into the category of countries which were “prepared for the online applications of tomorrow” but instead were in the “Comfortably enjoying today’s applications”. Last year there was only 1 country that was in the list of countries ready for applications of tomorrow, however this year it has dramatically risen to 14 countries.
With BT rolling out their own fibre broadband network (BT Infinity) we should hope to see the UK to continuing to go further up these lists and hopefully have a more “future proof” broadband network in place.

To highlight how important broadband speeds are (test your broadband speed with our free broadband speed test) the average global broadband speed in the last 3 years has increased by 49% from 3.2Mb in 2008, 4.8Mb in 2009 up to 5.9Mb in 2010.
Leading the way still is South Korea who can boast an average broadband download speed of 33.5Mb and they have 100% broadband penetration.


October 15, 2010

Broadband reliability more important than broadband speeds

Broadband reliability is more important than broadband speed according to results from a YouGov survey done for Sky broadband (

The study found that 44% of those that replied said that they “don’t know” or “don’t care” how fast their broadband speed is providing that it is reliable and works while 30% said that the stability of their broadband connection (slow at peak hours, faster off-peak) was a frustration to them.

Just 14% said that they would pay more for faster broadband speeds but these results would probably read the opposite way around if it was done in some remote and rural areas that only get very slow broadband connections currently.

Interestingly when choosing a broadband provider 39% said that value for money was the most important thing yet once connected to the broadband provider the value for money drops to just 19% while the reliability of it becomes more important at 36%.

The murky subject of “Unlimited” deals still showed that customers are not happy with being mis-sold this aspect of the broadband deal. With around half of those questioned not knowing if they had any restrictions and if so what they were on their broadband package yet 64% thought that “Unlimited” broadband packages should be just that and not have any usage restriction in place on them.

Delia Bushell, Sky’s Director or Broadband and Telephony said:

Consumers are getting more from their broadband than ever. It is all too easy to forget about the way broadband has transformed our lives and, as the research shows, it has made our lives easier, cheaper and more fulfilling. Broadband is no longer a “nice-to-have” – it’s a vital part of modern day life.

When deciding on which broadband service to choose, consumers are making decisions based on a wide range of factors. What this research has done is to cut through the noise around broadband speeds and listen to what the majority of broadband users say about what matters to them.

In short, people want broadband that works, transparency over what they are getting, and a price that suits their pocket.


£400m upgrade complete on Three Mobile broadband network

Three Mobile has completed it’s £400 million three year long network upgrade which will see them have 12,400 3G sites.

The upgrade and increased coverage programme done by Three Mobile brings the company up to 12,400 3G sites which has a 3G population coverage across the UK of 97%.

3 mobile £400m upgrade complete on Three Mobile broadband networkThree already had the largest UK 3G network and over the course of the last 3 years the network has done 2 things, first it has improved the coverage for areas that cover 4million people and also it has added 50,000 square-Km of coverage, this equates to an area that is twice the size of Wales.

With Smartphone use dramatically increasing and there even more demand for mobile broadband the improved and extended network should give customers a much greater level of connection.

The CEO of Three, Kevin Russell said:

Thousands of people across the country have put in a phenomenal amount of work to build the UK’s biggest Mobile Broadband network. Smartphone and Mobile Broadband use is exploding and we have built a 3G network that reaches further than ever before, as well as bringing more capacity into urban areas where our customers need it most.

Three have provided a few interesting points about their upgrade which include that it took 8.5 million man hours of work, there were more than 3,300 engineers involved, 10,000 transmission cable and microwave upgrades were done in the past 12 months and 8 engineers were attacked by birds! :)

Three network carries over 100 terabytes of data each day, with more than 40% of this from people streaming videos from sites such as Youtube or on the iPlayer, 38% is done from web browsing with a large 6% taken by Microsoft software being updated, messaging through applications such as Skype and MSN takes up a further 2.5% of the usage.

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