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May 23, 2014

EE told they can’t make “most reliable broadband” claims

Mobile provider EE (Everything Everywhere) has been told by the ASA that they can’t claim they are “Britain’s most reliable broadband” in advertisements and that they must change their adverts that make this claim in them.

BT had complained to the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) over a mail sent out by EE that headlined “Introducing Britain’s most reliable broadband for staying connected”.
In the writing it then claimed that it was the most reliable because it had less “jitter” (Jitter is the rate of chance in the latency speed) and “latency” (Latency is the time it takes for data packets to travel to a server and back) that its rivals. EE took their reason for claiming this from an Ofcom report from May 2013 that looked into fixed line broadband performance.

BT’s complaint was that EE did not get better Jigger or Latency figured than themselves “to any statistically significant degree”. Also, BT were not happy that this only took into account fixed line broadband which was not clearly made in the advertisement and that broadband delivered by wireless routers which are extremely common were not included.

EE did get one back on BT who had also complained that EE saying they had the first plug-and-play fibre broadband router was not true. However the ASA ruled in favour that EE’s Brightbox 2 did beat BT’s Home Hub 5 when it came to self-installation routers, as although the Home Hub 5 did have self-install technology it had not been enabled unlike the Brightbox 2 where it had been.

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March 13, 2014

UK broadband best of the “EU Top 5″ countries

The UK has now passed 4 of the major EU competitors when it comes to broadband according to Ofcom.

Ofcom claim that the UK is now ahead of Germany, France, Italy and Spain to make it the best of the “Big 5″ EU nations and in ninth overall in Europe. The study from Ofcom looks at a range of things for its “European Broadband Scorecard”, such as coverage, take-up, usage and choice for both mobile and fixed broadband and pricing. Broadband speeds are not overly featured in these results because Ofcom say that there are no comparable figures to compare against across Europe.

In Ofcoms report it claims that the UK leads to “Big 5″ (“EU5″) in coverage, take-up, usage and choice for both mobile and fixed broadband and performs well on price.

Superfast broadband availability in the UK has also shown a good improvement with around 60% having access at the end of 2011 with it now up at 73%. Take up of superfast broadband which is classed as broadband speeds of 30Mb or above in the UK is 9% while the second closest EU5 country was Spain with 6%.

Among the EU5, using the most recent comparable data, the UK has:

  • highest broadband take-up (all types, by household), at 83%
  • highest proportion of people to have bought goods online over a year (77%)
  • highest weekly usage of the internet (87%)
  • lowest proportion of people who have never used the internet (8%)

With regards to broadband speeds, Ofcom recorded the UK’s average speed during November 2013 as 17.8Mb, although this is around double what Akamai (who measure global broadband speeds) have for the UK at 9.1Mb.

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- Filed under: Home Broadband
- Tags: broadband take up, EU Broadband, EU5
Author: Mark @ 3:17 pm

March 4, 2014

Slow broadband could take 20% off house price

Fast broadband connections to a property are increasingly becoming more and more important to homebuyers. It is thought that a home without broadband or with a slow broadband connection could be worth up to 20% less than a property with a good fast broadband connection.

Because the internet usage is continuing to grow in peoples everyday lives the need for fast and reliable broadband connections also increases. Many people now stream TV shows online daily such as via Netflix or the BBC iPlayer which require a good broadband connection to run well. There is also an ever increasing number of home works too who require good internet connections to work from home.
If people can’t perform these sorts of tasks at home then it could really devalue a property to them or even completely put them off their list altogether.

In this last week we have seen Rightmove, the online property search website, now include a speed checker link on the property details for each property that is listed with them.
Bernard Phillips from Rightmove, said:
We already offer a number of tools to help consumers make informed decisions about a property, and we’re pleased to be the first to add broadband speeds to this. Broadband has become ingrained in people’s lives and is an important factor when choosing a home.

The government’s target of superfast broadband for 95% of the UK by 2017 should hopefully help with this issue, but there will still be plenty of rural properties that will struggle to get to these sort of speeds. A superfast broadband connection is classed as a broadband connection of 24Mb or above.

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January 27, 2014

Virgin Media & Sky main winners at uSwitch broadband awards

Last week saw the 2014 uSwitch.com broadband awards take place at the Café De Paris in London with awards ranging from the best broadband provider, fastest broadband provider to best broadband innovation.

In total there were 12 awards up for grabs with Virgin Media & Sky scooping the most awards between them with Virgin Media claiming what we think as the main award in the “Best Broadband Provider” category. The awards were voted for by 3,000 broadband customers, uSwitch data and an expert judging panel.

In total Virgin Media won the Best Broadband Provider, Fastest Broadband and Best Customer Rated Broadband awards. They will be happy with those to put to their name, especially as broadband speeds is one of the main benefits that broadband providers use when advertising their packages.

Sky got awarded the Best TV Streaming Service, Best Customer Benefits, Best TV Provider and Best Broadband, TV & Home Phone awards.

BT didn’t fair too bad either, they gathered the Best Broadband Innovation award for their move into TV content that comes free with broadband and also the Best Broadband & Home Phone award. On top of that, Plusnet (Owned by BT) won the Best Value Home Broadband and Best Customer Service awards.

The other winner was EE who gathered the Fastest Mobile Broadband award with their 4G service.

uSwitch.com broadband expert, Marie-Louise Abretti, said:

Virgin Media and Sky may have come away triumphant, suggesting their customers are the most content, but British broadband – though considered the fourth utility – is by no means perfect with speed, service and cost still top concerns for bill-payers.

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January 21, 2014

Vodafone and Sky to join up to challenge BT’s Broadband power

Vodafone and Sky are apparently in talks about joining up as partners in the hope that they can compete with BT in the broadband market.

There has been no official announcement and no comments made from Vodafone or BSkyB about the rumour of this happening but according to The Sunday Times (paid subscription needed) there have been some “senior sources” commenting on it and saying that it would be unlikely that the two firms would look to build a nationwide fibre network due to the cost involved.

BT are investing heavily in their own fibre optic network with up to £3 billion being spent to roll out their network across much of the UK, along with extra money from the government’s BDUK (Broadband Delivery UK) scheme and local councils too.

It is believed the discussions between BSkyB and Vodafone were along the lines of deals being struck on Sky’s sports and movie channels and joining up for a high speed broadband service too, although no confirmation or comment has been made by either company.

BSkyB will most definitely be thinking of ways to compete with BT. In November of last year £1.5 billion was wiped off the value of BSkyB shares after BT won the exclusive rights to show Champions League football from 2015 for 3 years at a cost of around £900 million for the 3 years, previously Sky & ITV had shared the rights for the previous 3 years at a cost of £400 million which goes to show how much BT are flexing their muscles and how serious they are about breaking the live sporting power for Sky. BT is certainly getting into the Sports TV scene in a big way, already this year they have won the rights to screen 38 live Premier League football games and also won exclusive rights to a number of other sporting events.

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- Filed under: Home Broadband
- Tags: Sky and Vodafone to join up, Vodafone and Sky broadband
Author: Mark @ 11:39 am

EE Brightbox broadband router security risk

EE is to push out a security update to its home broadband users after a researcher managed to find a security problem with EE routers that allowed him to remote access people’s routers and gather more important and sensitive information.

The problem affects EE customers who have the Brightbox 1 or 2 routers which is likely to be any EE customer who has signed up to them since early 2012 or for older customers who may have upgraded their router to one of the Brightbox routers.

Scott Helme was the person who discovered the security issue before writing up about the security flaw on his blog. What he discovered is that if he could get the WiFi password of one of the routers then he was able to access much more sensitive information such as the EE account holders account password which he believed would give him enough information to get as far as cancelling a customer’s broadband.

In his blog post, Mr Helme said:

It became apparent that the device leaks access to all kinds of sensitive data to clients on the network and there’s also the possibility to exploit this remotely. It discloses the password of the EE account holder so I can call EE and pass account security, leaving me in a position to go as far as cancelling someone else’s broadband package altogether. In this blog I’m going to cover the various weaknesses present in the EE BrightBox and demonstrate how they can be exploited.

According to the BBC who have also ran the story, they estimate that there will be around 350,000 EE customers who will be affected and be in need of the upgrade which EE say will be sent out automatically by the end of the month.

The best thing for EE customers who have a Brightbox 1 or 2 to do is to make sure that they don’t give out their WiFi password and to be very vigilant that they don’t get caught out by a phishing attack getting them to hand over any personal information or passwords.

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December 11, 2013

2016 UK Broadband estimates dropped by 8%

There will be around 2 million fewer homes with fixed line broadband connections by the end of 2016 according to updated estimates by broadband research company, Point-Topic.

Point-Topic have updated their estimates as to how many fixed line broadband connections they expect there to be by the end of 2016 and dropped the figure by 8%. Originally they has estimated just short of 26 million homes, however this recent study now suggests that it will be closer to 23.88 million. The reason for the drop in estimates is because those who currently do not have broadband are a harder market to get them to take up the service if they already don’t have it, the majority of people who want or will take it already have done, persuading the remaining users who don’t have broadband to switch to it or to even take it up is a much harder task.

What is perhaps slightly more interesting is the estimate number of fibre broadband (FTTx) lines is actually 12% lower than originally estimated. Point Topic now thinks there will be 9.4 million fibre optic lines by the end of 2016.

The belief is that by 2020 there will be 20 million FTTx subscribers and more than 23 million superfast households in the UK.

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October 29, 2013

Join BT Broadband and receive free £100 Sainsburys gift card

New customers and upgrading customers who sign up for BT Broadband (www.bt.com/broadband) online can for 1 week take advantage of an online exclusive offer of up to free £100 Sainsburys gift card!

BT BroadbandTo claim the free Sainsburys discount card users must sign up for BT Broadband online, those who take out standard Broadband will be entitled to a free £50 Sainsburys gift card, and those who take out a BT Infinity package will be able to get hold of a free £100 Sainsburys gift card. The deal is very time limited and last for just 1 week and ends on the 4th November 2013.

There are a range of packages available from BT, the cheapest is the Broadband only package which costs £10 per month plus £15.45 monthly line rental, this gives the user up to 16Mb broadband speeds and 10Gb usage plus inclusive weekend calls.
The cheapest Fibre Optic broadband deal is the BT Infinity 1 deal which will give new customers the £100 Sainsburys gift card along with up to 38Mb broadband speeds and 40Gb usage for just £15 per month plus monthly line rental at £15.45 (or it works out at £11.75 if you pay a years line rental upfront).

Existing BT Broadband customers who are upgrading from a standard BT Broadband package to a BT Infinity package will be entitled to receive a free £50 gift card from Sainsburys.

The Sainsburys gift card should be sent to you within 45 days of your broadband installation.

The BT Broadband offer is available online only, sign up by the 4th November 2013 at www.bt.com/broadband

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October 8, 2013

Poor broadband set ups could power BBC iPlayer for 59 years

According to research done by TalkTalk there are over half a million UK homes that are losing around 4Mb of broadband speed due to poor in-home set ups, with enough “leaked” bandwidth capacity to power the BBC iPlayer for 59 years!

The research was done by TalkTalk to show how their new Online Service Centre could be of use to customers who need help with their broadband such as how to fix common broadband problems.
The data and research was done by the TalkTalk BrightSparks engineers based on their most common diagnosed problems:

  • 38% – speed lost through poor wiring
  • 34% – router needed to be set up or reconfigured
  • 15 % – other problems such as not connecting router to the master socket
  • 13% – new broadband filter required

TalkTalk BrightSparks engineer, Keith Myles, said:
We see thousands of homes wasting broadband width simply because of a poor in home set up. People need to think about their broadband in the same way as other utilities such as water and electricity – it’s a commodity that can go to waste if you’re not careful.

They report than over 100 million megabytes of bandwidth capacity is “leaked” in these half a million homes each year which is enough for the BBC iPlayer to run continuously for 59 years!

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October 3, 2013

White Space technology to help improve UK wireless broadband

The UK is to be one of the first countries in the world to take part in a first major pilot of “white space” technology, which is a new wireless technology.

White Space technology is the process of using the “white spaces” that are left un-used in the frequency band that is used to deliver digital television. These white spaces exist to act as buffering gaps between the transmissions taking place so that there is no interference between them, however the size of the frequencies and when they are available changes which means that there is no constant white space area that can be used around the whole country. However, databases compiling the available white spaces, the time of day they are available and at what power levels are available at specific locations means that electronic devices such as mobile phones and tablet computers could tap in and use the spectrum at specific times when available.

The UK will be the first country in Europe to look to use white space technology, however we won’t be the first in the world as America and other countries have already made a start to utilise and use their white space.
The trials have some big names backing it who also want to get involved, including Microsoft, Google and BT for starters.

In Glasgow, Microsoft will be rolling out a free public WiFi service across the city using white space technology, this is because Glasgow is a city with one of the lowest take ups of broadband in the UK.

Google are hoping to be able to test intelligent databases which would be used to ensure that the white spaces can be used without causing harmful interference to other devices.

BT & Neul (a technology specialist) will be working with the Department for Transport to see if they can enhance traffic information. They will be running their trial along the A14 between Felixstowe and Cambridge by using the white space to transmit traffic congestion data and also varying traffic conditions to vehicles, this will then help give drivers extra information which could hopefully help ease congestion if drivers avoid certain areas.

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