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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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February 27, 2014

£250m rural broadband fund dished out

The £250 million extra funding by the government for superfast broadband in rural areas has finally been divvied up between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The extra £250m which was announced by the government last year is on top of the £1.2 billion already to be given out by the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) project which was set up to fund the roll out of superfast broadband to more rural areas that the likes of BT & Virgin Media themselves wouldn’t roll out too on their own because of it not being financially viable to do so.

The £250m is to be split up as follows:

  • England £184.34m
  • Scotland £20.99m
  • Wales £12.11m
  • Northern Ireland £7.24m

The extra funding is being spent to help make sure that the government meets their target of reaching 95% of UK homes with superfast broadband by 2017. Superfast broadband is classed as broadband that works at 24Mb or above. A further fund of £10m has also been set up to look at connecting the final 5% with other technologies that the standard fibre optic network isn’t suitable for. This fund is due to open on the 17th March 2014 for any potential technologies that can be piloted via this scheme.

Maria Miller, the Culture Secretary said:

Superfast broadband will benefit everyone whether they need it at work or to do to homework or simply to download music or films, thousands of homes and businesses now have access and it’s helping people with everyday tasks. We want to make sure that Britain is one of the best countries in the world for broadband and with this extra £250m that we are investing we will help ensure communities around the UK aren’t left behind in a digital slow lane.

In previous reports and studies the government believe that for every £1 invested in the BDUK scheme that £20 will be delivered back to the UK economy by 2014. Along with this there is also expected to be many tens of thousands of new jobs created because of this in rural areas.

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- Filed under: Fibre broadband,News
- Tags: BDUK, Rural broadband, £250m rural broadband fund
Author: Mark @ 11:02 am

February 20, 2014

Newcastle to become Super Connected City in £150m scheme

Newcastle is to become one of the first super-connected cities in the UK with the benefits to the area’s economy set to be boosted by £150m by becoming so.

Newcastle City Council are to use government money to help with their Go Digital Newcastle scheme that will aim to have 97% of the city able to access superfast fibre optic broadband by Summer 2015.
Around £9 million of public funds are to be used, with BT investing £1.89m, the Council investing £970,000 plus £970,000 from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK). Other funds come from the Governments Super Connected Cities Programme.

Along with the availability of superfast broadband, there will also be free wi-fi provided in the city centre and also on the Metro, also businesses can claim vouchers worth up to £3,000 to help them get connected too.

For more details about the scheme, visit www.godigitalnewcastle.co.uk

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- Filed under: News
- Tags: Newcastle superfast broadband, Super Connected cities
Author: Mark @ 11:03 am

February 18, 2014

Go Ape invest £30,000 in faster broadband

Go Ape, the tree top adventure company has had to shell out £30,000 to bring superfast fibre optic broadband to their new offices.

The company has moved to the outskirts of Bury St Edmunds which is close to its original base, however due to the fact that the network infrastructure in that area was out-dated it means that they had to invest £30,000 into bringing faster broadband to the offices, which their boss says will help create 100 jobs this year.

Mr Mayhew, the Go Ape boss also feared that rural locations may lose out on new jobs with fast growing companies moving into cities where they can have faster internet connections already there ready for them, rather than keeping in their rural locations where extra investment, such as what Go Ape have had to do, will be required.
He said:
It is an incredible frustration and it really holds back the rural economy. It funnels all the job creation into Cambridge and Norwich, jobs that would otherwise be spread more evenly.

Go Ape managed to get the faster broadband for £30,000, this is substantially lower than the £105,000 that they were quoted from one broadband provider.

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February 7, 2014

New BT Broadband customers £100 Sainsbury’s gift card offer

BT Broadband are bringing back their popular high value Sainsbury’s gift cards for new BT Broadband customers starting from today.

The offer is only eligible to new BT Broadband customers and does not include any existing customers who are re-grading from copper to copper or copper to fibre.
The existing offer of a £25 Sainsbury’s gift card for new BT Broadband customers is to be doubled to £50 and the current £50 Sainsbury’s gift card for new BT Infinity (fibre optic broadband) customers is also to double to £100.

The offer is to run from today 7th February until Monday 17th February.

Also not to be forgotten is that BT Broadband customers also receive the BT Sports channels on TV for free.

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- Filed under: Offers
- Tags: BT Broadband, BT Broadband offer, Sainsbuty's gift cards
Author: Mark @ 2:34 pm

January 31, 2014

BT’s profits up as Superfast broadband & live sports bring customers

BT has reported an increase in profits and sales for the last quarter of 2013.

Free BT Sport with BT BroadbandBT reported pre-tax profits of £617m on revenues of £4.6bn for the last 3 months of 2013, this is a rise of 2% on turnover and is the first time they have had a rise since the first quarter of 2009 and also marks a substantial 6% rise in the pre-tax profits.

Much of BT’s growth has come because of the strategic investment in live sports of their BT Sports TV channel to compete against BSkyB. They now have 2.5 million customers using their TV service, many of which are BT Infinity broadband customers who get to receive free access to the BT Sports channels. BT has got a broadband customer base of 7.1 million customers with 1.9 million of those taking out a fibre optic broadband connection with BT.

In the 3rd quarter of 2013 BT Openreach took on 339,000 new superfast broadband customers (not all BT as BT Openreach is the division of BT that deals with rolling out their network), this was up 38% on a year previous. On a net basis, BT added 150,000 standard and superfast broadband customers which equated to 60% growth in the overall market.

BT have invested very heavily in the rights to live sports, with football being the main area they have put most of their money, they have spent £738m per season for 3 years for the rights to exclusively show 38 live Premier League games, they have also spent a further £900m for the exclusive rights to show Champions League and Europa League games for 3 years from 2015 too.

To view a full breakdown of BT’s Third Quarter results visit btplc.com.

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- Filed under: News
- Tags: BT Broadband, BT increase customers, BT Infinity, BT results, BT Sport
Author: Mark @ 2:47 pm

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 24, 2014

BT to spend further £50m on fibre broadband for cities

At least another 400,000 premises in cities are set to get upgraded to fibre optic broadband as BT is to invest a further £50 million into its own commercial roll out of fibre optic broadband.

More than 30 cities across the UK will benefit from the extra investment that will target the areas that have not originally been targeted due to either not being originally deemed commercially viable at the beginning or due to local planning restrictions that stopped the deployment. Along with these areas there will be the deployment of fibre cabinets to apartment blocks and other multi-dwelling units and also the laying of Fibre-To-The-Premises (FTTP) on some new build sites in the cities.

In total BT are spending over £3 billion of the deployment of fibre optic broadband, £2.5 billion on its own commercial rollout which once complete will cover around 19 million UK premises, plus then further investment to roll out with rural fibre optic broadband schemes such as those organised through the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) project.

Mike Galvin, MD Network Investment at BT Openreach, said:

Our fibre programme is going extremely well with our engineers connecting homes and businesses across the UK. Some city areas have proved challenging in the past but we are returning to those and will pass hundreds of thousands of additional premises with fibre.

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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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