TalkTalk has once again topped the charts for number of broadband complaints received by Ofcom despite this being their best results since Ofcom started to publish the results in 2010.
Ofcom releases the results every quarter and for the last 7 quarters TalkTalk have topped the number of complaints list for broadband services and telephone services. TalkTalk registered a 0.42 fixed broadband complaints per 1,000 customers for Q2 2012. At the other end of the scale we saw Sky Broadband receiving the least number of complaints with just 0.10 per 1,000 customers and Virgin Media at 0.15.
Despite TalkTalk once again topping the charts they are moving in the correct direction with Q2 2012 being their lowest number of complaints received by Ofcom. They still have a fair way to go as the industry average stands at 0.24 although they were not the only company on the wrong side of this number, BT found themselves recording o.31 and they have not been below the industry average themselves since 2010!
Again, with landline services TalkTalk are topping the charts for most complained about company although again they are on a downward trend with reduced complains having over halved the number of complains since 2010. That said, they are the only company to have ever been above the industry average, although their high complaint volumes will have helped raise this average to keep all the rest under it.
Below is the chart for the broadband complaints.
BT is set to invest £8 million in a fibre broadband link between Inverness to Orkney and Shetland.
Currently the islands of Orkney and Shetland can only receive broadband speeds of less than 10Mb, with this new fibre broadband link from the mainland it will see the broadband speeds more than double the fastest current speed up to 20Mb.
Around 1,000 km of fibre optic cable will be used with 400 km of it being laid under the sea, due to the length of it and its hard to reach for maintenance it has required a bespoke design to help with remote maintenance.
Although the connection is a fibre optic line that will run from Inverness to Shetland and Orkney, it will be still via copper lines that the broadband will be delivered. It is thought that BT will upgrade the main areas to ADSL2+ in Spring next year to help deliver the faster broadband speeds to the islanders.
Currently the islanders use microwave radio links and these will be kept in place as a back up.
BT look set to secure a £40 million contract to roll out fibre broadband to Suffolk as the only other bidder for the contract, Fujitsu, pulled out of the race.
BT is set also to become the confirmed bidder for a similar deal in Norfolk which will see them as the first local authority to choose the partner they want to improve their broadband internet access with funds from the Governments Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme.
The Better Broadband for Norfolk campaign should hopefully see more than 80% of the county’s homes and businesses have access to superfast broadband by June 2015 which is double the amount who would receive it without the extra government funds, the remaining homes would also see the minimum broadband connection they receive being 2Mb. The council have already got £15 million of the BDUK funds available to them to match the £15 million they have made available for the project too, BT themselves put forward £9.3 million “capital” contribution towards the cost of installing the new broadband infrastructure.
It is expected that around 49% of properties will be able to access broadband speeds of between 50 and 100Mb and a further 6% able to receive speeds over 100Mb.
The Suffolk county council worked alongside the Norfolk county council on their bids, despite officially being separate, so it is likely that if BT get’s one contract then they are likely to also get the other contract. It is increasingly showing that BT are getting the favour on most of the BDUK funding schemes with Fujitsu having previously pulled out of bidding in other areas to deliver superfast broadband such as Cumbria (read here).
The new Culture Secretary, Maria Miller, has jumped straight in to her new role by unveiling plans to cut the red tape around the deployment of new street side cabinets used to deliver superfast broadband.
Currently the roll out of superfast broadband is being slowed up by the planning system, but in changes that Mrs Miller is hoping to get through will cut out these problems.
Her new plans will see a number of changes designed to speed up the deployment of superfast broadband, including:
- broadband street cabinets and other infrastructure can be installed without the need for prior approval from the local council (except in Sites of Special Scientific Interest);
- broadband companies will face less cost and bureaucracy in laying cables in streets; and
- broadband cables and cabinets can be installed on or under private land without the bureaucratic burden of long-running negotiations.
The Culture Secretary also had the following to say:
“Superfast broadband is vital to secure our country’s future – to kick start economic growth and create jobs. We are putting in the essential infrastructure that will make UK businesses competitive, and sweeping away the red tape that is a barrier to economic recovery.
The Government means business and we are determined to cut through the bureaucracy that is holding us back.”
The move comes as the government want to make sure that they realise their target of having the fastest broadband of the major European countries by 2015, which in itself is a step down from their initial plan of having the fastest broadband in the whole of Europe.
It will likely be welcome news for the residents of Chelsea and Kensington who are after superfast broadband, in May this year the local council there refused 96 out of 108 applications BT put forward for new street-side cabinets in the area because they were not in keeping with the historic streetscape of the area (read here)., on the flip side though there will be plenty of other residents who don’t want to see the new green cabinets.
Jeremy Hunt, the MP behind the governments plans to roll out superfast broadband across the UK in his role for the department for media, culture and sport has been moved to a new role in a cabinet re-shuffle.
In his place will come Maria Miller as the new Culture Secretary and will see her be the person who is now looking after and keeping the UK governments superfast broadband plans moving along. The government want 90% of the UK to have superfast broadband by 2015 with the rest of the country having a minimum of 2Mb.
Jeremy Hunt moving roles may have been foreseeable with what he has to say only a couple of weeks ago at a Google office in London. He had gone on to say how his ambitions to drive for having the fastest broadband in Europe by 2015 were because of his desire to “get it right” and not have to correct and re-upgrade in the future so we don’t get left behind much like we have with our high-speed rail network. This could well be taken as his parting message knowing he was about to vacate that particular role and hope that his successor continues by aiming high to give the UK the best broadband possible. With a bit of luck Mrs Miller may even try to make more ambitious plans that will be even more beneficial.
On a slightly side note we notice that Mrs Miller does not have a Twitter account as yet and we wonder how long it will be before she does get herself on the social network to show how she is embracing and getting to grips with her new role.