The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) look set to crack down on misleading advertising claims by broadband providers about broadband speeds and “unlimited” use.
Advertised broadband speeds are often extremely mis-leading with the advertised speed usually far greater than the actual broadband speed consumers receive. The advertised “up to” speed is the maximum broadband speed which is what it is when it leaves the telephone exchange. Factors such as the quality of the line and the more importantly the distance away from the telephone exchange that the premises is all affect the speed of the broadband received and can leave customers feeling like they are not getting what they are paying for.
The advertising of “Unlimited broadband” is another big factor with advertising broadband packages, many adverts claim to offer “Unlimited broadband” yet they have a Fair Use Policy in place that tends to either stipulate some maximum limits or is pretty vague so that the broadband provider can cut off those customers who they consider are heavy users and using too much bandwidth each month. A customer who signed up to an unlimited broadband deal would argue that they are well within their rights to use as much or as little bandwidth as they want and this is one of the confusing factors which needs to be cleared up.
Because the ASA are unable to set a policy they also had the British Code of Advertising Practice (BCAP) and the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) to also look into the issues surrounding broadband speeds and unlimited broadband advertising.
A final review is to take place to decide the outcome of these issues, it is very likely that we will see the advertising of broadband packages to change though.
Sky Broadband are reportedly looking to buy “The Cloud” so that they can enter the UK public WiFi hotspot market and rival competitor BT.
The Cloud has around 22,ooo WiFi access points across Europe and allows users to connect to a public WiFi hotspot away from the home. Sky Broadband will most likely be looking to offer their customers free access to the WiFi hotspots when they take out a broadband package in much the same way that BT currently does with their customers.
BT has around 2 million UK free hotspots available to BT Broadband customers via it’s BT FON and BT Openzone networks and recent reports also suggest that Virgin Media were looking to roll out their own free WiFi network.
The Cloud has deals in place with companies such as McDonalds, Little Chef and Marriott hotels and claim to connect 3 million laptops and smartphones each month to its network and deliver over 100 million network minutes every month with an average download speed of over 3.5Mb.
An announcement is expected on Thursday about the deal when BSkyB announce it’s latest earnings.
Ofcom, the UK communications regulator has told BT to reduce the cost it charges rivals for wholesale broadband by between 10.75% and 14.75% to help reduce the cost of rural broadband.
The reason Ofcom want the wholesale price for BTs services to be reduced is help increase the competition between ISPs. Ofcom will detail specific areas of the country where BT are the sole provider and make these the areas where the wholesale prices are reduced to entice other ISPs to look at offering a service there themselves. It is envisaged that around 12% of households in the UK (3 million homes and businesses) could benefit from this which would help offer more competition and lower prices to these areas. It is hoped that other ISPs would look to offer their own services via BTs network via LLU (Local Loop Unbundling).
It is mainly rural areas that will benefit form this, especially in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as the South West of England, Norfolk, Yorkshire, Cumbria, Northumberland and other areas.
The new charge controls are due to come into effect during 2011 and it is estimated that it could reduce BTs profits by tens of millions of pounds each year.
BT Broadband customers who have an Apple iPad from today will have access to a free app that will mean that they can connect to BTs 2 million UK hotspots when they are out and about.
The free app is available today from iTunes and will enable BT Broadband customers to connect to free WiFi via their iPad, the service also helps point users in the direction of their nearest BT hotspot. BT broadband customers get unlimited free WiFi from BT FON and BT Openzone hotspots. BT FON hotspots are created by BT Broadband customers allowing other BT FON customers to connect to their wireless internet for free and in exchange BT Broadband customers can use other BT FON hotpsots.
BT Retail Consumers managing director, John Petter said:
“Millions of BT broadband customers already get free access to the UK’s biggest wi-fi network. Our free app for the iPhone and Android devices has proved a huge hit with over 400,000 downloads to date, so launching an app for the iPad was naturally the next step. The app makes accessing wi-fi so simple you don’t even have to think about it and represents real value to our customers at a time when more and more people are accessing the internet when they are on the move.“
This is a video that BT have made showing iPad customer show easy it is and what they need to do to connect their iPad for free.
Millions of Britons who are still not online will be given the chance to get a refurbished PC, flat screen monitor and telephone all for just £98 to help close some of the digital broadband divide between those online and those not online.
In the UK there is around 9 million adults who are not connected to a broadband connection and the scheme is designed to help bridge the gap between those who have access to the internet and those that don’t.
Martha Lane Fox is heading the campaign and as one of the co-founders of LastMinute.com she will be able to add a great deal of weight to the campaign. It is estimated that around 8,000 of the £98 PC packages will be sold this year and they will be available from 60 UK online centers and Remploy.
Ms Lane Fox told the Financial Times:
“Motivation and inspiration are still two of the biggest barriers [to use the internet], but clearly perception of price is another big deal for people. A good price point is certainly part of what helps people get online.“
The computers will be offered at such a competitive price as it will be refurbished computers that are being used and not brand new machines. It is estimated that in the UK alone there is around 30 million unused PCs that are left in lofts or cupboards.
41 market towns across the UK have been added to BT’s list of places that they will roll out their next generation fibre broadband to with broadband speeds up to 40Mb.
This extra 41 market towns will supply around 300,000 businesses and consumers with the fibre broadband which will be available to them from Spring 2012.
These market towns are on top of the 785 exchanges that BT has already planned that will receive fibre broadband under it’s £2.5 billion fibre broadband roll out scheme over the next few years. They represent around 8 million premises in total which is around half of the total that BT are aiming to have the fibre network rolled out to which when complete should cover around 66% of UK premises.
The majority of BT’s fibre broadband roll-out (BT Infinity) is using FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) which will offer broadband download speeds of up to 40Mb and upload speeds of up to 10Mb. In the future this could be increased to download speeds of 60Mb and upload speeds of 15Mb. FTTC uses fibre optics to deliver the broadband to the street-side cabinet and form there the standard copper wire will be used to transfer the signal the rest of the distance to the house.
A few places will receive full FTTH/P (Fibre To The Home/Premises) where along with the fibre optic cable taking the broadband to the cabinet there will also be a fibre optic cable taking the data the distance form the exchange to the premises too and will mean broadband speeds up to 100Mb.
The 41 market towns added to the list are as follow:
A survey done by ISPreview.co.uk has found that 45% of UK internet users are not happy with their current ISP with 31% saying that they will switch ISP during 2011.
The small survey run on the site had 491 respondents and asked people the questions “How good is your broadband speed?”, “How good is your ISP support?”, “Are you happy with your current ISP?” and “Will you switch ISP in 2011?”.
The following were the results that were given to ISP Review:
How good is your broadband speed?
Good – 37%
Poor – 35.8%
Average – 27%
How good is your ISPs support?
Good – 34.8%
Average – 27%
Poor – 26%
Never used it – 12%
Are you happy with your current ISP?
Yes – 54.9%
No – 45%
Will you switch ISP in 2011?
No – 36%
Maybe – 32.5%
Yes – 31.3%
BT’s “Race To Infinity” competition came to a close on new years eve and finally we can see which of the 6 lucky towns received the most votes to be selected for an upgrade to fibre optic broadband.
The competition was originally only going to have 5 selected areas but BT have added an extra one to the list due to the fact each of the selected areas received extremely high levels of votes. All the towns will have their local network upgraded to fibre by early 2012.
In total there was more than 360,000 votes cast across the UK.
The 6 winning tows were:
Innerleithen, Scottish Borders
Those areas that did not win though may have at least put their area on the map for BT to consider in the future by showing a demand for the BT Infinity network to be deployed there. Some of the areas this may include are Marton in Warwickshire, Capel in Surrey, Burley in Wharfedale in Bradford and Lindfield in West Sussex. All these areas just missed out getting into the top 6
The BT Infinity network will offer users a FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) fibre broadband connection which will offer download speeds of up to 40Mb and upload speeds up to 10Mb.
Chris Whatmore who was one of the campaign co-ordinators for the Blewbury exchange said:
“Everyone in our five local villages deserves a pat on the back. The highlights for me have been working with some great people, getting a vote from our oldest resident, who’s 101, and leaping into the number one position the moment we hit 1,000 votes.
Quite a few of us were involved in a previous broadband campaign, so we were familiar with the issues and had a number of ready-made contacts who we knew would be supportive. It seemed a natural thing for this core team to start the ball rolling. With proper, future-proof broadband, Blewbury can attract people or businesses that need and depend on high-speed data connectivity.”
BT are investing £2.5 billion in their fibre optic network over the next few years and plans on having it available to two thirds of the UK by 2015.