The UK’s first broadband TV platform in the UK has launched on Freeview which will be available to around 5.5 million UK homes.
The new service from Connect TV will launch with around 45 internet TV channels which will be available to be accessed from one of the 7 channels that will be featured on the electronic programme guide (EPG) on the users Freeview HD TV or set top box. To access the content the TV or the set top box must be connected to their broadband internet connection but apart from that the interface for finding the TV channels will be no different than users currently need to do to find channels via Freeview.
It is likely that more niche TV channels will be available to viewers as channels like Sports Tonight (Freeview HD channel 112) and CCTV (the Chinese national broadcaster) along with a range of other foreign language broadcasters will be able to offer TV channels to UK viewers.
Along with standard TV channels the service will be able to offer video on demand content channels and subscription based channels or even pas-as-you-go TV channels.
For more information or to view the available channels for Connect TV, visit: www.connect-tv.tv/channels
Everything Everywhere looking to roll out its 4G service this year earlier than expected providing they get the go ahead from Ofcom.
Everything Everywhere which is the main company owning Orange & T-Mobile and who have 27 million subscribers making it the largest UK network is hoping that regulator Ofcom gives permission for them to start the roll out of their 4G network. Along with Orange & T-mobile customers to benefit from this there will also be customers of Three and Virgin Media who will benefit as they utilise the Everything Everywhere network.
From April this year, Everything Everywhere are to start the UK’s first 4G LTE trials over 1800MHz in Bristol, this will help Everything Everywhere learn how 4G LTE works over existing 1800MHz spectrum in urban and suburban areas. Last year a trial in Cornwall was done to test 4G LTE over 800MHz spectrum in a rural areas.
Olaf Swantee, the Everything Everywhere Chief Executive, said:
“Everything Everywhere’s vision is to launch 4G for Britain as soon as possible, and the roll out of 3.5G HSPA+ and our 4G trials across Britain are major steps towards delivering on that promise.
The integration of the Orange and T-Mobile networks has already given our customers the widest 3G coverage in the UK – and I am pleased to say that with our advanced HSPA+ roll out they will also benefit from the fastest.
I am also very proud to announce that, subject to regulatory approval by the spring, Everything Everywhere will be in a position to begin the roll out of 4G before the end of the year. There is a great opportunity for the UK to have the 21st Century network that it so deserves, putting the nation on a level playing field with other parts of Europe, the USA and Asia.”
4G internet connections will will provide mobile broadband speeds of between 8Mb-20Mb a huge increase over 3G internet services which averages speeds of 1.4Mb.
Providing Ofcom give Everything Everywhere approval by May then they should be on target to launch by the end of 2012.
Tesco broadband can be taken for just £2.50 per month for 12 months which offers unlimited broadband providing it is taken with Tesco’s £13.75 line rental.
The package also includes inclusive evening and weekend calls along with unlimited broadband (fair use policy with a cap of 100Gb per month), and up to 20Mb broadband speeds. Providing users take out the 12 month contract there are no set up fees, after the 12 moths of £2.50 broadband are up then the price reverts back to it’s usual price of £6.50 per month and will be on a 30 day rolling contract. Users will also receive a free wireless router when signing up.
To make use of the Tesco £2.50 broadband offer customers need to sign up by the 31st May 2012 and use the code: HALFBB-C when they sign up.
One restriction to get this deal is that the customer also has to be a Tesco Clubcard holder, however this is very simple as you can pick up a Tesco Clubcard for free in store or online, then the bonus is that Tesco Clubcard holders will also receive 3 points per £1 they spend on their bill each month, this is 3 times as much as is given in store.
Switching broadband providers could be set to come a whole lot less painful as Ofcom look to make the process much simpler.
Currently when users want to change their broadband providers there is the chance of a few issues occurring, these could be the customer paying 2 broadband providers while the switchover is taking place, losing an internet connection for up to a week, the wrong line being switched or even customers being switched without their knowledge or consent to do so!
It is estimated that around 130,000 households per year have their lines being taken over by mistake while up to 520,000 are victims of “slamming”, this is where the consumers service is changed without their knowledge or consent to do so!
Currently any landline service changes are handled by the new provider and this is also the case for any bundled services such as landline and broadband. However, broadband services alone tend to be handled in a different way, they require the consumer to contact their current broadband provider and request a “MAC” code, this code is then given to the new broadband provider who can then sort changing the broadband.
Ofcoms plans are for broadband switches to be handled by the new provider too and for a third party verification process to take place to give the “OK” before a switch is finalised, this would require consumers to confirm that they are after switching broadband providers and reduce or stop and lines being taken over by accident or for any “slamming” to take place.
Placing the onus on the new provider to make the transfer quick and easy is the logical method, the company losing the customer has no incentive to make it straightforward for an existing customer to leave and move to a rival broadband provider where as the new provider is after getting the new customer on their network as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Virgin Medias upgrade to it’s network to offer customers it’s 100Mb fibre broadband is ahead of schedule with 10 million UK homes already able to receive the service.
Virgin Media had originally aimed to have covered it’s full network with the speed upgrade and offering 100Mb to all it’s customers by mid 2012, however they are ahead of schedule and now expect to have completed the rollout by Spring this year instead and will mean that around 26 million UK homes will be able to access the 100Mb broadband speeds on offer by Virgin Media.
As we reported last month (read here), Virgin Media were at least doubling the broadband speeds customers received (other than those on the 100Mb service who will receive an upgrade to 120Mb) and so those customers on the 50Mb offering currently will see their speeds double to the 100Mb service on offer, this is being done over the next 18 months for Virgin Media customers.
Jon James, the executive director of broadband at Virgin Media, said:
“Soon half the country will be able to get superfast 100Mb broadband from us. Reaching today’s milestone puts us ahead of schedule as we help propel the UK up the global broadband rankings. Broadband is coming of age as more people give up on slow DSL in favour of superfast fibre optic speeds. With Virgin Media yet again confirmed as the fastest by Ofcom just last week, this along with our fantastic TiVo TV service means we have an incredible combination that lets our customers enjoy the digitally connected world to the full.“
BT are to offer full fibre as an “on-demand” service and bring “ultra-fast” fibre broadband to anywhere that BT has a fibre footprint in the UK from Spring 2013.
BT have been trialing an “on demand” full FTTP (Fibre To The Premises) service in Cornwall. The successful trial in St Agnes, Cornwall, has seen additional fibre being run from a FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) enabled area to the premises of customers meaning that they then receive full FTTP and the availability of up to 300Mb broadband speeds (BT are due to increase their headline 110Mb fibre broadband package to 300Mb speeds).
BT are investing £2.5bn in rolling out it’s fibre network across the UK and hope to have coverage of 66% by the end of 2014, the majority of these connections will be via a FTTC and not the full FTTP. FTTC currently offers customers broadband speeds of up to 40Mb, although this is to be doubled to up to 80Mb this spring.
The new “on-demand FTTP” service is likely to be made available for customers either personal or business who require full fibre by Spring 2013 yet are in an area where BT have only installed their FTTC fibre service yet want the extra speeds available that a full fibre connection would offer.
Currently around 7 million premises in the UK are able to access fibre broadband over BT’s fibre network, with this figure likely to be 10 million by the end of 2012 and then two thirds of the country by the end of 2014.
Olivia Garfield, the Openreach Chief Executive, said:
“FTTP on demand is a significant development for Broadband Britain. Essentially, it could make our fastest speeds available wherever we deploy fibre. This will be welcome news for small businesses who may wish to benefit from the competitive advantage that such speeds provide.
We are also doubling the speed of our standard fibre broadband this Spring giving ISPs the chance to offer speeds of up to 80Mbps. This will ensure that residential customers have world class speeds for all their family’s needs.”
There are currently no indications as to the price it would be for BT to upgrade a premises to full fibre but we would envisage it wouldn’t be a cheap enough option at present to turn many residential customers to decide they need the extra speeds.
Plus.net customers have been facing internet troubles this morning as Plus.net have been having data transfer issues causing very slow speeds for their customers but now appear to be back working again.
Plus.net users (including the editor of this very article) have struggled all morning connecting to the internet and getting web pages to load, the problems appear to be a knock on effect from some scheduled Traffic Management maintenance that Plus.net undertook late last night.
It appears that it was a nationwide problem for PlusNet customers with Twitter showing that users all over were experiencing the problems both on ADSL connections and also their fibre broadband connections.
As of around 11.20am internet (for us here at Broadband Watchdog towers) appears to be back working as normal again and checking on Twitter it appears as though others are also getting back online and being able to use the internet as usual again.
Anyone still experiencing problems or wanting a bit more information should visit the PlusNet Service Status page.