2017: The year in review

Posted on Dec 21 2017 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on 2017: The year in review

What a packed year 2017 has been for Entanet and for the sector as a whole. From the exciting news of us joining forces with CityFibre and creating a new breed of wholesaler, to an array of legislative developments including ongoing changes to the Investigatory Powers Act and Digital Economy Act and of course the continuing debates on related issues such as online encryption and how ISPs broadband speeds should be advertised – with much more to play out in all of these areas in 2018!

As ever we’ve tried to keep you at the heart of all the key issues through our opinion blog, so if you fancy a festive recap or perhaps an opportunity to catch up on some of the bits you may have missed over a mince pie, then download our ‘2017- A year of Opinion in review’ eBook for free.

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UPDATE: Is a compensation compromise possible?

Posted on Nov 27 2017 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on UPDATE: Is a compensation compromise possible?

Ofcom have now announced the final details of their automatic broadband compensation scheme. Not much has changed since the initial proposals, with some back and forth between industry and Ofcom over the final agreed compensation amounts. But, the biggest surprise is the fact that this will now be a voluntary agreement between Ofcom and several of the UK’s consumer focused providers, namely BT, Virgin Media, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk and Zen Internet with EE and Plusnet also indicating an intention to join the scheme.

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Is a compensation compromise possible?

Posted on Aug 24 2017 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on Is a compensation compromise possible?
Categories : ADR, Broadband, Ofcom, Regulation

Back in March, Ofcom announced plans to introduce a new automatic broadband compensation system which would award customers set amounts of compensation where they experience delayed repair following loss of service, delays with start of new service or missed engineer appointments. We originally stated that the proposed claim amounts were disproportionately high when you consider most residential broadband services cost around £20 a month and Ofcom were proposing claims of £10 per day for an outage.

Since then the proposals have entered a consultation period and this week the Citizens Advice bureau has slammed ISPs for their counter proposal of slightly reduced claim amounts, calculating that customers could be ‘short changed’ by up to 32% when compared to Ofcom’s original proposal.

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It’s USOs all round in the party election manifestos

Posted on May 31 2017 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on It’s USOs all round in the party election manifestos

It’s election time again, and regardless of your personal political preferences, we thought a brief summary of what each of the major parties has to say about all things Internet related could be useful for our readers.

While we’re not endorsing any particular party in this article and are only reporting the details of each party’s published manifestos with regards to our industry, we found all the pledges to be  somewhat underwhelming. Unsurprisingly to most, as this is them essentially ‘selling themselves’ to the public they’ve clearly scooted over any details around funding or implementation and instead focused on headline-grabbing claims and pledges. Although, they too leave us somewhat flat.

Superfast broadband rollout pledges

A positive to take from this year’s campaign trail is that it’s good to see all three major political parties promising to ensure superfast broadband delivery to the whole of the UK in one form or another.

In summary, Labour has promised 30Mbps minimum by 2022 with hints of 300Mbps within 10 years, the Lib Dems made a similar promise of 30Mbps by 2022 but added a 6Mbps upload and unlimited usage cap with further 2Gbps fibre pledge and the Conservatives are already in the process of introducing their 10Mbps USO and completing their superfast broadband rollout.

However, it’s not anything new and exciting, is it? It’s all been discussed before. The Government recently threw out suggested amendments from the House of Lords to increase the current 10Mbps USO to 30Mbps due to funding and implementation concerns so how exactly do Labour and the Lib Dems plan to overcome these issues? Your guess is as good as ours! As for the Conservative manifesto, as we would expect with the existing Government, it’s just a confirmation of their existing strategies and plans – nothing particularly new there either.

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New broadband advertising proposals – clearer or even more confusing?

Posted on May 15 2017 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on New broadband advertising proposals – clearer or even more confusing?
Categories : Advertising, Broadband, Fibre

CAP (Committees of Advertising Practice) has opened a public consultation seeking views on 4 new proposals to strengthen the current broadband speed advertising guidelines. We’re pleased to see CAP take this approach but we still have some concerns over their practicality and potential impact.

The consultation will last for 10 weeks, closing on 13th July 2017 and the options they propose (whilst also stating they are open to suggestions) are to base all broadband speed claims on:

  • Peak-time median download speed
  • 24-hour national median download speed
  • Range of peak-time download speeds available to the 20th to 80th percentile of users
  • Range of 24-hour national download speeds available to the 20th to 80th percentile of users

They also encourage the provider to direct consumers towards more specific broadband speed estimators to receive a more accurate idea of the speed actually achievable on their line.

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UPDATE: Where there’s blame there’s a claim – really?

Posted on Mar 28 2017 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on UPDATE: Where there’s blame there’s a claim – really?
Categories : Broadband, Ofcom, Reselling

Last week further details emerged regarding Ofcom’s plans for a broadband compensation scheme. In our previous article (Where there’s blame there’s a claim – really?) we clearly stated a number of concerns we have about this and with the release of the additional information from Ofcom, unfortunately many of those concerns remain.

What are the compensation plans?

When a consumer (specifically a residential consumer or SME) with a domestic fixed line broadband service experiences a fault they would be entitled to claim automatic compensation at set rates eliminating the need for any lengthy or difficult claims processes.

Ofcom states the situations allowable for compensation and set rates are:

  • Delayed repair following loss of service – the service has stopped working and is not fully fixed after two full working days = £10 per calendar day that service is not repaired
  • Delays with start of new service – Promised start date for new service is missed = £6 per calendar day of delay including missed start date.
  • Missed engineer appointment – engineer doesn’t turn up for appointment or the appointment is cancelled with less than 24 hours notice = £30 per missed appointment
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30 Mbps Universal Service Obligation (USO) – Achievable or over ambitious?

Posted on Mar 21 2017 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on 30 Mbps Universal Service Obligation (USO) – Achievable or over ambitious?

Last month we learned that the seemingly ever-changing Digital Economy Bill has been subjected to yet another last minute amendment. This time, following its debate in the House of Lords, Lord Mendelsohn successfully proposed increasing the existing 10Mbps USO to 30Mbps – with 6Mbps upload – by 2020. But is delivering 30Mbps by that date realistically possible and is it a necessary requirement, or over-ambitious overkill?

The initial plan was for the current BDUK programme to hit its expected 97% coverage by 2020 and then the 10Mbps USO would ensure the same minimum level of connectivity for the remaining 3%. Whilst specific methods and technologies have not yet been confirmed by Ofcom, achieving the existing 10Mbps USO is widely accepted as realistically possible via a variety of technologies that are expected to be delivered predominantly by BT, albeit with other providers in the mix. However, delivering a minimum service of 30 Mbps to 100% of the UK is a whole new ball game!

Whilst we welcome the desire to increase speeds for consumers and encourage network investment across the industry, we believe this should be achieved through technological developments, not Government-imposed demands.

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Where will the BT/Openreach soap opera end? And do we need a separate Openreach for business?

Posted on Mar 17 2017 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Where will the BT/Openreach soap opera end? And do we need a separate Openreach for business?
Categories : Broadband, BT, Ofcom

The recent saga concerning the separation of BT and Openreach has set many industry observers speculating about whether it will have any real impact. Only time will tell. But perhaps a further and more important question is whether or not the interests of UK businesses will be well-served in the future when the dust has settled and the storyline has moved on.

Besides competition, there is another good argument for tearing BT and Openreach asunder. It might actually be good for BT in the long run, as it means the company won’t have to fight on as many fronts.

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The State of the Broadband Nation

Posted on Feb 02 2017 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on The State of the Broadband Nation
Categories : Broadband, BT, Fibre, G.Fast, Ofcom

Progress. It’s what we all work for and it seems there was quite a lot of it last year in terms of broadband availability. ADSL coverage increased by 1% nationally, while FTTC saw a 6% increase and FTTP coverage grew by 1.7%. It’s no surprise that FTTC – or superfast broadband in layman’s terms – saw the biggest increase given that the Government is quickly coming up on its self-imposed deadline of 95% coverage by the end of this year.

The question now is of course where BDUK and BT will look to upgrade cabinets in order to achieve their 95% coverage target. The logical answer is that they’ll focus on the low-hanging fruit – that is cabinets that are easy and therefore more cost effective to upgrade than those requiring lots of engineering works. This will likely mean that the focus remains on urban and semi-rural locations, leaving those in the countryside to wither on a sub-par service until the Universal Service Obligation (USO) gives them something a little better – if they request it and it won’t cost too much to provision… As you can see from our infographic ‘Connectivity in the UK’, Ofcom’s Connected Nations Report 2016 says that there are 1.4m premises in the UK that can’t currently access a minimum speed of 10Mbps, the proposed minimum threshold speed of the USO.14% of these – or 200,000 premises – are small to medium-sized businesses and 69% (that’s 960,000 buildings) are in rural locations.

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Will rural customers be left out in the cold again?

Posted on Jan 31 2017 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Will rural customers be left out in the cold again?

Just when we thought things were looking up for rural customers suffering from low speeds and poor service with the Government’s 10Mbps USO plans, it looks like a spanner has been thrown into the works by Sky Broadband’s new advertising approach.

It was recently reported by ISPReview.co.uk that Sky Broadband has changed their Internet access packages and will no longer sell broadband (of any type) to customers unable to support a Minimum Access Line Speed (MALS) of 2Mbps.

Why? Well, this news follows recent changes to the providers’ advertising approach where they now promote average speeds as opposed to the more prevalent ‘up to’ speed approach used by the majority of the industry (including Sky previously).

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