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January 15, 2014

£10 million to reach final 5% with superfast broadband

A £10 million fund from the government to help get superfast broadband to the predicted 5% of the country that will not be covered by the existing Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funded programme has had more details revealed about it today.

The fund was originally announced in December by The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and today they have released a few more details as to who they want to bid for the funds. They are after companies who can offer alternative technology to help reach those in the final 5% of premises that will still need connecting. The potential technologies that will be looked at may include 4G, fibre direct to premises, improved fibre to the cabinet and extending it further down the network and also satellite.

Maria Miller, Secretary for State and Culture, Media and Sport, said:

If we want to ensure that that all communities can benefit then we need to think imaginatively about alternative technology, and the pilots enabled by the £10m fund will be instrumental in helping us overcome the challenges of reaching the final 5% of premises.

Currently the UK has a target of 95% coverage of premises with superfast broadband by the end of 2017, much of this has been done by BT & Virgin Media with their own fibre optic networks, however for the areas that BT & Virgin didn’t deem financially viable to roll out their networks to there has been a £1.1bn fund from the government to help extend the superfast broadband network to cover 95% of the UK. On the whole it is BT who has won the contracts for the government funds along with local councils having to match some funding too.

Chris Townsend has become the new Broadband Chief Executive, he was one of the people beind the London 2012 Olympic Games and will take on being in charge of the Broadband Delivery UK programme which also includes the extra £10 million for the remaining 5%.

Mr Townsend, said:

Ensuring that broadband can reach businesses and consumers across the country is one of the most important policies in Government. Faster connections will improve the way people live, work and spend their leisure time. I look forward to starting my new role as chief executive of BDUK and building on the good work being done to get superfast broadband to people all over the UK.

 

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January 14, 2014

BT announce new man to oversee fibre broadband rollout

BT has named the former head of HSBC UK, Joe Garner, as the new CEO of BT Openreach, the division of BT that is responsible for the roll out of fibre optic broadband.

New BT CEO Joe GarnerBT’s current CEO, Liv Garfield, is due to step down mid-February to take over at Severn Trent, the water company and this left the position available for Joe Garner who left his previous role as head of HSBC UK in 2012 and in other jobs before that he has worked for Dixons and Procter & Gamble. BT will have looked at some of his previous jobs and positions and seen that he is a man who can perform well in highly regulated areas and succeed. BT were keen to point out that Mr Garner was in charge at HSBC through the financial crisis and that he helped lead the bank to be No.1 bank for service in First Direct and that while he was at HSBC in the UK he achieved the best long-term record on customer complaints amongst the major banks as well as industry-beating levels of employee engagement.

Mr Garner, said:

I am thrilled to be joining Openreach at such a critical moment – a moment when technology is redefining how our society communicates. The massive investment that Openreach is making in the UK’s high speed internet infrastructure is something of a revolution that will greatly benefit people and businesses in this country. I am grateful to my predecessor and the engineers who have already delivered so much. It is my ambition to build on this work and I intend to focus on customer service, continued innovation and maintaining fair and equal access for all.

The big target for Mr Garner will be to make sure he keeps meeting the UK targets for roll out of fibre optic broadband across the UK with the current target of 95% coverage across the UK with fibre optic broadband by the end of 2017.

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- Filed under: Fibre broadband,News
- Tags: BT CEO, BT Openreach, Joe Garner, new boss at BT
Author: Mark @ 10:22 am

January 9, 2014

100,000 homes in Wales able to get superfast broadband

100,000 homes and businesses in Wales can now access superfast fibre optic broadband as the Superfast Cymru Project continues to help with the funding of the next generation broadband.

The Superfast Cymru Project is the scheme that the UK Government have put £57m in to to help fund the deployment and roll out of fibre optic broadband to areas of Wales where BT and Virgin Media themselves wouldn’t have covered by themselves. It is much the same as the BDUK Project (Broadband Delivery UK) that has a large pot of money that is being used to help with rolling out superfast broadband across the UK.

What is usually required for funding to be given to an area is for the local council and also BT to also dip into their pockets to help fund the rollout to the specified areas. The original target had been for 100,000 homes and businesses to have been connected by the end of 2013, so with us only being 9 days over that target we don’t think that was a bad estimate. The longer term target now is to reach 96% of homes and businesses in Wales by the end of 2015 and in total it should see around an extra 690,000 properties able to connect to superfast broadband that would have been left without otherwise.

The Culture Secretary, Maria Miller, said:

It’s brilliant news that more than 100,000 Welsh homes and businesses are already gaining real social and commercial advantages as a result of the nationwide rollout.

The contribution that the Governments’ delivery of superfast broadband by 2017 will make to the economic growth of the nation cannot be underestimated.”

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December 18, 2013

Fibre broadband “Super Switch On Day”

Today is “Super Switch On Day” when it comes to fibre optic broadband in rural areas as 5,000 homes  were turned on to be able to receive fibre optic broadband this morning.

The 5,000 premises cover homes and businesses across Cheshire, the Cotswolds, Hampshire, Kent, Medway, Shropshire, South Gloucestershire and Wiltshire that will have their new green street side boxes set live today according to the Telegraph newspaper.
Much of the money that has been invested to reach parts of these areas is from the government and local councils as part of the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) project, with BT covering the extra funds. It is these areas that BT themselves wouldn’t roll out their fibre optic broadband too with just their own investment as they said it didn’t make financial sense for them to do so.

It is now estimated that more than 200,000 premises are connected to a fibre optic enabled cabinet as part of the BDUK scheme.

Initially the UK government had planned to have 90% of the UK with connections to fibre optic broadband by the end of 2015, however this target isn’t going to be met and the revised target is to reach 95% by the end of 2017.

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- Filed under: Fibre broadband
- Tags: BDUK, Fibre optic broadband, Super Switch On Day
Author: Mark @ 12:29 pm

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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December 9, 2013

£100 million available for SMEs for Super Connected Cities

The Super Connected Cities scheme is now launched meaning mall businesses can claim up to £3,000 to help with the funding of faster or better broadband.

The scheme is backed with a £100 million pot of money from the government and is currently open to 10 cities across the UK, with a further 12 being included in early 2014. The 10 cities that the scheme is available today are: Belfast, Salford, Portsmouth, Cardiff, Derby, Bristol, Edinburgh, Newport, London and Manchester.

What the Super Connected Cities programme does is allow small and medium enterprise businesses (SMEs) to apply for grant of up to £3,000 each to help cover the cost of installing better and faster broadband connections which will mean that they can then offer customers a faster and better service. The hopeful knock on effect of this is that more jobs will also be created by these businesses due to the improved productivity that they will be hopefully able to offer and also because of the extra productivity then companies will hopefully also be able to deal more internationally with other countries too.

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said:
“Up to £3,000 of broadband vouchers for small business in these cities is not only a massive boost for growth in the UK, but also has the potential to bring China to Cardiff, Brazil to Bristol and the Emirates to Edinburgh in an increased export market.”

The grants available are for between £250 – £3,000 but this is to help cover any installation or upgrade to a service that is capable of delivering broadband at 30Mb or higher. The monthly line rental charges from then on will have to be covered by the businesses.

SMEs can check if they can apply by going to the www.connectionvouchers.co.uk website there.

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- Filed under: Business Broadband,News

Author: Mark @ 4:43 pm

December 3, 2013

Virgin Media offers new customers £100 credit

Virgin Media are offering new customers who sign up online for their broadband & phone or a broadband bundle packages an extra bonus in the form of £50 or £100 credit on their account depending on which package they take out.

Virgin Media £100 off offerThe extra bonus is running alongside existing offers such as the 6 months reduced price already in place and free installation too and will be available until the 10th December 2013 providing customers take out an 18 month contract.

The broadband and phone packages are entitled to the £50 credit, and this is for the Up to 30Mb, 60Mb and 120Mb packages. They all have line rental at £15.99 per month and come with unlimited UK calls to UK landlines.

  • Up to 30Mb
    • £7.50 per month for 6 months then £15.50 a month
    • Extra £50 off
  • Up to 60Mb
    • £12.50 per month for 6 months then £20.50 a month
    • Extra £50 off
  • Up to 120Mb
    • £20 per month for 6 months then £28 a month
    • Extra £50 off

The Collections packages are where the £100 off is available (excluding the Starter Collection which is £50). These Collection packages include broadband, phone and TV services and come with a 500Gb TiVo box.

  • Starter Collection
    • Up to 30Mb
    • 60+ TV channels
    • £10 per month for 6 months then £20 a month
    • Extra £50 off
  • Essential Collection
    • Up to 30Mb
    • 100+ TV channels
    • £15 per month for 6 months then £28 a month
    • Extra £100 off
  • Premiere Collection
    • Up to 60Mb
    • 100+ TV channels
    • £25 per month for 6 months then £52 a month
    • Extra £100 off
  • VIP Collection
    • Up to 120Mb
    • 225+ TV channels
    • £50 per month for 6 months then £104.45 a month
    • Extra £100 off
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November 29, 2013

UK 25th fastest according to Ookla speed test results

According to the latest Net Index results of broadband speed tests done by Ookla, the UK is down in 25th position for broadband speeds.

The results are gathered from the speed test results that Ookla gather on their Speedtest.net service. What the results showed is that the average broadband speed in the UK is 23.55Mb, however despite not being close to the fastest countries average broadband speeds of Hong Kong at 71.03Mb we are still above the global average of 16.22Mb.

The fastest countries are Hong Kong (71.01Mb), Singapore (52.94Mb), Romania (51.40Mb), South Korea (47.50Mb), Sweden (42.69Mb).
Other “big” countries that joining the UK further down the list are France in 22nd place (24.72Mb), Germany in 27th (23.18Mb), United States in 31st (20.77Mb), Spain in 37th (18.93Mb).

The average broadband speed in the EU stands at 21.65Mb which means the UK is just above the average for the EU.

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- Filed under: Broadband Speeds
- Tags: average UK broadband speed, broadband speed test, Ookla
Author: Mark @ 9:02 am

November 20, 2013

Free broadband from Tesco Broadband until 1st December

12 months free broadband is available for a limited time from Tesco Broadband as they run a free unlimited broadband offer until the start of December.

Free broadband from Tesco BroadbandThe special free unlimited broadband deal is available online from www.tescobroadband.com by using the Promo Code: BBSAVER and will give users broadband speeds up to 14Mb, the availability to earn Tesco Clubcard points on every bill, a free wireless router, inclusive evening and weekend calls and a UK call center for any issues customers may have.
The package usually would cost £6 per month which Tesco had in a previous offer reduced to £2 per month for the first 12 months, however they have gone one step further and are now offering it free for customers for 12 months, after this it will revert to the current price of £6 per month. This means customers can make a saving of £72 per year on this broadband package compared to its usual full price.

Users just need to pay for 12 months line rental which costs £14.90 per month and it is in line with the standard cost of line rental from other providers.

The free broadband offer is only available until the 1st December so for those who want to make use of it they should sign up soon to make sure they don’t miss out and odn’t foprget to use the Promo Code: BBSAVER to make sure you get the free broadband offer.

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- Filed under: Offers
- Tags: Free broadband, Tesco Broadband
Author: Mark @ 11:08 am

November 19, 2013

Government claim fibre broadband spending will return £20 for every £1 spent

The government have defended their £1.2 billion investment of tax payers money to help with the roll out of next generation fibre optic broadband claiming it will return £20 to the UK economy by 2024 for every £1 it is investing, even though many claim that it is once again helping BT become a monopoly broadband provider since they are the only company to win any of the public funds and are the only company left in the bidding process for the remaining funds.

However, the government say that for every £1 that they are investing in the broadband deployment the UK economy will benefit by £20 by 2024. The Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme was set up to help distribute the government funds to the various areas where fibre optic broadband roll out was needed but would not be covered by BT Broadband or Virgin Media with their own funding because they were not deemed to be financially beneficial to the companies to do so.
Originally the government put £530m in the pot with local authorities who bid for funding expecting to match this amount for each of their own individual schemes, a further £250m is to be put into the pot after 2015.

These findings were made in a government commissioned “UK Broadband Impact Study – Impact Report” and other benefits that were detailed were that households could save £45m per year by 2024 with more people being able to remote work from home and that by 2014 that it would help with the creation of 11,000 jobs and a net increase in jobs of 20,000 by 2024.

Some will wonder if BT really needed the extra funding in light of their recent high spending on rights for both Premiership football which has cost them £738 million for 38 live games per season for 3 seasons and their 3 years of exclusive UK rights to the Champions League football from 2015 which is to cost them £900m.

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