Sky are to offer customers a 40Mb fibre broadband package this year to give customers an ever greater choice of deals form them.
The Sky Fibre broadband package will be available form April 2012 and will cost £20 per month and will offer download speeds up to 40Mb with Unlimited usage and no limits although there is a £50 activation fee to cover a BT Openreach engineer to enable the fibre broadband in a premises. The Sky Fibre broadband will run on BT’s wholesale fibre network which will initially launch with around 30% coverage to UK homes with this increasing in line with BT rolling out their fibre network across the UK.
BT aim to cover 66% of the UK with fibre broadband by 2015 as part of a £2.5bn investment in their network.
Sky are also soon be offering a free WiFi service for Sky Broadband Unlimited customers which will offer more than 10,000 hotspots across the UK for free, powered by The Cloud in places such as Cafe Nero, Pizza Express and Wagamama.
Stephen van Rooyen, from Sky, said:
“I’m delighted that our existing home communication products are making such an impact with customers. It’s clear that customers are responding to the higher levels of value, quality and service we offer.”
“This year sees a number of enhancements that will ensure we create even more choice. Whether it’s the launch of free public WiFi, extending our network into more parts of the UK, or adding fibre to our product mix, we are focused on meeting the demands of customers and on being their number one choice for home communications.“
O2 have fixed a problem that revealed the mobile phone number of customers to websites when they were browsing websites via their mobile phone.
For just over 2 weeks (Tuesday 10th January 2012 until Wednesday 25th January 2012) O2 were sharing customers mobile phone numbers with websites that they were visiting via their mobile phone, the information was being displayed as plain text in the header information that is sent from the phone to the website and potentially meaning that the phone numbers were then available for spamming through text messaging or telephone calls.
The issue was only found when Lewis Peckover, a web systems administrator ran a test to show that O2 were sharing users mobile phone numbers with websites.
O2 had not deliberately let this happen and stated that it was an “unintended effect” of some routine maintenance they had done on January 10th.
O2 also said:
“The only information websites had access to is your mobile number, which could not have been linked to any other identifying information we have about customers.”
O2 also explained what happens with mobile numbers when O2 mobile customers browse the internet.
“Every time you browse a website (via mobile or desktop), certain technical information about the machine you are using, is passed to website owners. This happens across the internet, and enables website owners to optimise the site you see. When you browse from an O2 mobile, we add the user’s mobile number to this technical information, but only with certain trusted partners. This is standard industry practice. We share mobile numbers with selected trusted partners for 3 reasons: 1) to manage age verification, which manages access to adult content, 2) to enable third party content partners to bill for premium content such as downloads or ring tones that the customer has purchased 3) to identify customers using O2 services, such as My O2 and Priority Moments. This only happens over 3G and WAP data services, not Wifi.”
The ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) who deal with UK privacy are said to be looking in to it to see if the Data Protection Act has been breached. They did say the following:
“When people visit a website via their mobile phone, they would not expect their number to be made available to that website. We will now speak to O2 to remind them of their data breach notification obligations, and to better understand what has happened, before we decide how to proceed.”
O2 have put up a page trying to detail the issue for anyone who wants a bit more information. view here.
Virgin Media ADSL & cable customers were left without Internet access yesterday (Tuesday 17th January) from 17:00 to 20:00.
The issue is now resolved which Virgin Media put down to a routing hardware fault.
For anyone who is still experiencing problems with their service the advice is to turn your router/modem off for 5 minutes and try again.
The Virgin Media service status page says:
“If you experienced a loss of internet connection between 5pm and 8pm on Tues 17th January, we experienced a national outage during this time, which is now resolved. If you have still not been able to reconnect – please try powering down your router for 5 minutes and then turn back on and this should re-establish your connection. Virgin Media apologise for any inconvenience caused.“
Virgin Media have had to apologise to some customers over sending out emails to some of their customers they shouldn’t have done which was saying that the customers would be receiving 120Mb broadband even though some of the recipients were those on the lower speed broadband packages which wouldn’t be receiving those speeds.
Last week Virgin Media announced (Virgin Media to double fibre broadband speeds for customers) that they would be doubling the broadband speed that they would be giving to many of their customers and also upgrading those on their headline package from 100Mb to 120Mb broadband speeds.
Virgin were obviously keen to let their customers know about these free broadband speed upgrades they would be receiving but unfortunately the headline 120Mb broadband package upgrade email was sent to more than just the customers who would be eligible for it which prompted Virgin Media to have to send out a second email explaining their error to some customers which they blamed on “gremlins” in their email system!
Ultimately those customers who received the email by mistake shouldn’t have too much to complain about as they will be having their broadband speeds at least doubled. Also, good news for those on the Virgin Media 50Mb package, they will in-fact also be being upgraded to the 120Mb deal which will see a huge 70Mb broadband speed increase for them.
Virgin Media have also signed up Usain Bolt to feature in their latest advertising campaigns about Virgin Medias “Keep-Up” broadband speeds campaign. Virgin regularly top broadband speed test results charts.
Just an update as we didn’t make part of this news precise enough and spotted by one of our readers, we didn’t point out that those Virgin Media customers who are on ADSL connections will not see any speed increases. It is only those customers who are on Virgin Media’s own cable network that will receive the broadband speed upgrades.
Virgin Media are to double their broadband speeds for over 4 million customers and those on their current 100Mb deal will see their broadband speeds increased by a further 20Mb.
The speed upgrade is likely to take around 18 months, starting in February 2012 and be completed by around mid 2013. Customers who are on 10Mb, 20Mb, 30Mb, and 50Mb services will see their broadband speeds at least doubled. Those customers on the 100Mb service will have their speed increased to 120Mb making it the UK’s fastest widely available broadband service (BT are to offer a 300Mb service but only very few people will be able to access it).
Neil Berkett, the Virgin Media Chief Executive, said:
“The internet has become an integral part of our social, work and family lives, so we think our customers are going to love this. As people are increasingly doing more online, and getting connected to the internet with lots of different devices, having a fast, reliable broadband service should not be a luxury. We want to make sure that consumers have access to the best value broadband service and that means a superfast connection.“
David Cameron, the Prime Minister even applauded the news by saying:
“I welcome this announcement from Virgin Media; it will provide a great boost for the economy and change the way many households, consumers and businesses use the internet. Rolling out superfast broadband across the country is a critical part of our plan to upgrade the UK’s infrastructure and build a new and smarter economy.“
The upgrade programme will see those with older out of date modems receiving free upgraded modems that will be future proofed and be able to deal with broadband speeds up to 400Mb. Virgin Media customers do not need to request the upgrade, it will be done free of charge without many customers knowing.
Those on 10Mb broadband will be increased to 20Mb, those on 20Mb and 30Mb will be increased to 60Mb and those on 50Mb will be increased to 100Mb.
TalkTalk’s advertising of the “UK’s safest broadband” has been restricted by the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) after complaints were received by the advertising watchdog.
BT and two members of the public complained to the ASA asking if the claim that TalkTalk were making that they had the “UK’s safest broadband” could be substantiated.
TalkTalk said that they were the only broadband provider in the UK that offered network level security filtering via the HomeSafe service. This meant that any computer or device connecting to the internet via that router would receive the protection that the service offered. TalkTalk said that although other broadband providers did offer security packages these had to be downloaded and there were some limits and restrictions on the number of devices that could use it.
The ASA upheld the complaints and said:
“We considered that customers could interpret safest as referring to a number of features, such as virus protection or protection from hacking, and that Home Safe only offered a basic range of security features. We did not consider that consumers would interpret “safest” as referring to blocking of inappropriate content, and restricting access to certain sites at certain times.”
TalkTalks HomeSafe service is a free service offered to TalkTalk Broadband customers and allows network level protection (this means before the content even reaches your router) where by inappropriate websites can be filtered out, helps to stop viruses before they reach you and alert you if you visit a suspected site, also time limits when the internet will work or when social networking or gaming sites will work which is useful for when children have homework to do.