The UK Budget 2015: What’s in the bag for the channel?

Posted on Mar 19 2015 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on The UK Budget 2015: What’s in the bag for the channel?

It’s that time of year again – Budget time and as this one comes before a General Election it’s unsurprisingly packed full of promises and big ideas.

Here’s a quick summary on what it has in store for our channel:

1. Ultra-fast broadband

First they promised (and delivered) superfast broadband (mainly achieved using Openreach’s fibre broadband roll-out) and now it’s all about a new ‘ambition’ to provide ‘nearly all UK premises’ with at least 100Mbps ‘ultrafast’ broadband.

From what we can tell they haven’t quantified that statement as yet but to be fair, most of the hard work to achieve this has already been done or has been committed to by the industry. For example, Virgin Media recently announced expanding their network to reach 17 million premises by 2020 (60% coverage) and BT have recently been discussing G.fast which would also help to achieve this target.

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Should broadband be a utility?

Posted on Mar 17 2015 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Should broadband be a utility?
Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

For most of us, broadband has become essential to our day-to-day working and home lives with the vast array of ways in which we use our connection continuing to increase and bandwidth demands booming. So, is it time broadband was officially recognised as a utility, like gas, water and electricity?

The recent Digital Skills Committee report commissioned by the House of Lords suggests that broadband is now as essential as our other utilities and that designating broadband as a ‘utility’ could help to solve the issue of ‘not-spots’ in the UK and ensure a future-proof connectivity infrastructure. The Government is already working with providers to rollout superfast broadband to 95% of the country by 2017. But what about that final 5% – would broadband being classed as a utility really help to solve this?

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Is broadband’s bargain basement pricing to blame?

Posted on Oct 01 2014 by Steve Lalonde | Comments Off on Is broadband’s bargain basement pricing to blame?
Categories : 21CN, Digital Divide, Fibre, Network

The ‘superfast broadband’ rollout has regularly come under fire for its focus on utilising FTTC rather than FTTP/H to deliver superfast services to 100% of the UK population by 2017, but is the lack of FTTP coverage simply due to the ongoing rock bottom price war we are seeing across the broadband market?

Steve Lalonde, Chief Technical Officer

Steve Lalonde, Chief Technical Officer

While FTTC delivers superfast broadband speeds to its customers of up to 80Mbps, critics argue that this is not future-proof enough to accommodate our ever increasing demands and we should be aiming to implement FTTP which delivers speeds of up to 330Mbps. However, FTTP coverage is currently very limited and the initial target of delivering the service to 2.5 million premises was cut back in 2013, due to its expensive and more difficult installation.

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Is the price of independence too high?

Posted on Sep 03 2014 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Is the price of independence too high?

In just a few weeks, on 18th September to be exact, Scotland will vote on whether or not to become an independent country from the UK. Now don’t worry – we’re not going to get into a long winded political debate about whether or not this should happen, we’re simply going to discuss the potential impact of a ‘Yes’ vote on our beloved industry and what it might mean for UK ISPs and Scottish customers…

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Everything will stay the same, right?

Well the simple answer is, we don’t know! Very little has been confirmed so far about the potential impact on broadband in the case of a ‘Yes’ vote. All we do know is that the Scottish Government plan to provide a USO (Universal Service Obligation) and they are expecting to invest a further £2.5million to the CBS (Community Broadband Scotland) fund to help deliver this.

The Scottish Government aim to provide 95% of premises with speeds of at least 24Mbps by 2017, with the remaining 5% receiving at least 2Mbps and they argue that without this ‘intervention’ and additional funding, coverage would have only reached 66%. Interestingly, the UK currently only has a lesser USC (Universal Service Commitment) to provide 100% coverage of at least 2Mbps by 2017. We wonder if a USO north of the border would encourage or maybe even force this commitment to be upgraded to an obligation covering potentially faster speeds?

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The A-Z of industry issues (Part 1)

Posted on Jun 25 2014 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on The A-Z of industry issues (Part 1)

We cover a great deal of topical industry matters on this blog so as a quick overview and update, here is an (almost) complete A-Z to highlight some of the most controversial ones that we discuss regularly and that you might be interested in or at least should be aware of…

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

A – ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution)

Back in 2012 OFCOM announced its plans to change the current ADR system for ISPs to make it more consistent. With the current system, very similar complaints can be dealt with very differently leading to dissatisfaction for the ISPs and the complainants. Little news has followed this announcement as OFCOM continued to gather feedback on the proposals but in March 2014 ISPA echoed our original perspective and called for changes to the cost allocation of the disputes as ISPs are usually left to pay for the ADR charges even when they win their cases. This is one to keep an eye on and we will provide updates as further news is announced.

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Flee to the cities, plug in and get rich!

Posted on Oct 24 2013 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Flee to the cities, plug in and get rich!
Categories : Digital Divide, Government

In one of our previous blog posts: ‘They may say that, we couldn’t possibly comment’ we discussed the suggestions that BT Retail has been gaining a commercial advantage as a result of winning multiple contracts to supply rural areas with super-fast broadband under the BDUK scheme.  It is now being suggested that a lack of broadband in rural areas (namely in Scotland) may drive people to leave rural communities for urban areas that have faster Internet speeds and that this is leading to a decline in rural population.

Paul

Paul Heritage-Redpath, Product Manager

Last week, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment , Richard Lochhead said:

“The Scottish Government is very keen to step in with Scottish resources to try and ensure that we do all we can to connect our more remote and rural communities to the 21st century.
While you have traditional conversations about people leaving rural communities due to lack of access to higher education, affordable housing or employment, now there is an added factor where there is not good connectivity that can also lead to rural depopulation.

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ASA broadband advertising guidelines – any clearer now?

Posted on Mar 28 2013 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on ASA broadband advertising guidelines – any clearer now?

Last year in April the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) and CAP (Committee of Advertising Practice) released new guidelines governing the advertising of broadband speeds and ‘unlimited’ broadband packages.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

In a previous article ASA broadband guidelines – What will it mean for resellers? we discussed the details of the guidelines, the likely impact on end users and for the industry and what they would entail for resellers. We came to the conclusion that although we recognised that the ASA and CAP were attempting to protect consumers and prevent them from being misled, the guidelines would cause further confusion and could potentially have a negative impact on the digital divide in the UK. We feared that these guidelines would put a lot of providers off advertising altogether and that this could lead to speed information being withdrawn completely. A year on we review the situation and see what the effect has been.

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Looking back over 2012

Posted on Dec 13 2012 by Elsa Chen | Comments Off on Looking back over 2012

Well 2012 was certainly a great year for the Brits. The eyes of the world were watching as we celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and played host to a magnificent celebration of sporting talent with the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games, where we actually did pretty well. But, moving back to business, what happened in 2012 that affected the IT industry? Here is a little reminder of this year’s key events, debates and market trends.

Elsa Chen, General Manager

Elsa Chen, General Manager

Superfast broadband

This seems to have filled the industry news on a weekly basis this year. If it’s not the Government’s targets and deadlines or latest plans to provide super connected cities and obtain more EU funding, its progress updates on the various BDUK projects that are going on across the country. Whilst most of us are pleased with the development of superfast broadband in the UK there has still been a lot of debate around the details.

Firstly, the Government’s announcement of further funding to support ‘super connected cities’ caused concern that they were focussing too much on urban areas and not attempting to solve the digital divide that already exists. Whilst we applaud their efforts to roll out superfast broadband (in this case up to 100Mbps) we agree with many of the critics that more focus needs to be placed on areas currently struggling on sub 2Mbps speeds. A large number of businesses within these city locations are already taking advantage of high end connectivity through services such as Ethernet.

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Poll: Will Scottish independence result in more expensive broadband for Scottish residents?

Posted on Nov 20 2012 by Gemma Dickinson | Comments Off on Poll: Will Scottish independence result in more expensive broadband for Scottish residents?

As per our recent article ‘Costlier broadband – the price to pay for Scottish independence?’ we would like to know how you think the potential independence of Scotland could affect broadband services in Scotland and Northern Ireland. You can let us know your thoughts by particpating in our new poll or by leaving us a comment below.

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Costlier broadband – the price to pay for Scottish independence?

Posted on Nov 06 2012 by Darren Farnden | 1 Comment

Following the signing of the ‘Edinburgh agreement’ last month a referendum on Scottish independence is expected to take place in 2014, which could see Scotland gain independence from the UK. Focus so far has been around the impact on taxes, finance and the legal system but what effect would this have on broadband services and costs for Scottish citizens?

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Due to its natural geography and dispersed population Scotland houses a large proportion of the UK’s not spots and slow spots, many of which are already causing headaches in the Government’s 2Mbps USC plans as they are difficult to reach. If Scotland was to gain independence would this problem get worse? The Government’s 2Mbps USC deadlines are in 2015 with the referendum expected to take place in 2014, so the timescales are tight leading us to believe the UK Government would of course still aim to deliver this minimum level of service to all Scottish citizens by the deadline. However, going forward as speed requirements continue to increase and technology evolves, could Scotland suffer from slower broadband upgrades than its English neighbours?

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