Update: ASA broadband guidelines – What will it mean for resellers?

Posted on Nov 02 2012 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Update: ASA broadband guidelines – What will it mean for resellers?

As of Thursday, all British mobile operators will be forced to comply with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) guidelines designed to prevent misleading mobile speeds being advertised.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

The guidelines have already been in place for some time now for fixed-line broadband providers and are now applicable to mobile operators following a 3 month notice period.

The guidelines operate in much the same way as for fixed-line providers whereby speeds should only be advertised if 10% of their customer base can achieve the speed, whilst also being “clearly explained” to customers. However, the further difficultly mobile operators face is that they must make speed calculations based on the various locations users access the services.

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Will Superfast broadband really save the UK economy?

Posted on Aug 23 2012 by Neil Watson | 2 Comments

For years now successive Governments have promoted the importance of superfast broadband in the UK and its expected impact on the growth of the UK economy. They believe this mantra so much that they have invested over £530million (rising to £830 million by 2017) to ensure we have the best broadband network in Europe by 2015 with a further £150 million invested for super-connected cities, £150 million for the mobile infrastructure project, £32million announced a few months ago for Scotland and a potential £20million in a Rural Community Broadband Fund. But will this hefty investment into broadband really save the UK economy?

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

Well the Government certainly thinks so and so do a number of other interested stakeholders including BT (who have also invested heavily into the availability of superfast broadband across the UK) and the Federation of Small Business (FSB). John Walker, National Chairman, FSB said: “Online trading has helped to empower small businesses to find new markets, sell new products, try new models and compete on an equal footing with larger businesses. Online trade has great potentials for small businesses but it still has its barriers. These must be removed. The biggest obstacle for many small businesses is the lack of broadband speeds and so as a result they cannot compete online.”

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Poll: Do you agree with the House of Lords Select committee inquiry into superfast broadband?

Posted on Aug 20 2012 by Gemma Dickinson | Comments Off on Poll: Do you agree with the House of Lords Select committee inquiry into superfast broadband?

The House of Lords recently announced the findings of their inquiry into the Government’s plans for superfast broadband. The key points included a recommendation not to focus on speed and instead ensure the networks are future proof and a suggested focus on solving the current digital divide through the provision of new community hubs and open access to dark fibre.

The Government’s investment into superfast broadband is a highly topical industry subject at the moment and we would like to know what you think about the House of Lords’ suggestions so we have added a new poll to obtain your thoughts. You can also leave us a comment with more detail below.

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Do we really need ‘super-connected’ cities?

Posted on Mar 01 2012 by Steve Lalonde | Comments Off on Do we really need ‘super-connected’ cities?
Categories : Digital Divide, Government

Politicians are fond of grand gestures and the plans to create 14 ‘super-connected’ cities in the UK with networks that will run at up to 100Mbps could easily be seen as just another arrangement of fine words that, in the end, will have little in the way of substance. Following the recent debates over the need for superfast broadband in the UK, do we really need to focus on making connectivity in a handful of selected urban areas especially good? Or could this investment be better spent elsewhere?

Steve Lalonde, Chief Technical Officer

Steve Lalonde, Chief Technical Officer

It is all too easy to be cynical about such schemes of course, especially when the £530m set aside to help bring superfast broadband to the more remote areas of the UK has yet to be properly exploited, even though the four pilot areas were announced as long ago as autumn 2010. According to the BBC none of these areas have yet spent any money or even chosen a supplier for the proposed network.

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Poll: What do you think about the government spending £100m on ‘super-connected’ cities?

Posted on Jan 25 2012 by Gemma Dickinson | Comments Off on Poll: What do you think about the government spending £100m on ‘super-connected’ cities?

The Government recently announced its plans to invest £100m in 14 ‘super-connected’ cities across the UK which will then benefit from up to 100Mbps broadband services. We would like to know what you think about these announced plans and have added a new poll to capture your views. Alternatively, you can tell us your thoughts on this subject by adding a comment below.

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Poll: Which of the following issues will most greatly affect the Internet market in 2012?

Posted on Dec 05 2011 by Gemma Dickinson | 1 Comment

It’s been a busy year for the Internet industry with lots of controversial issues and news affecting ISPs, consumers and other industry bodies. We have covered many of these items on this opinion website. However, we would like to know your thoughts. Which of the issues raised in 2011 do you think will most greatly affect the Internet market in 2012? You can let us know your opinions on this by participating in our poll or by leaving us a comment below.

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Is this the beginning of the end for the BDUK?

Posted on Nov 22 2011 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on Is this the beginning of the end for the BDUK?
Categories : BT, Digital Divide, Government

The announcement of BT’s PIA (Physical Infrastructure Access) pricing last week appears to have had some severe affects on the BDUK (Broadband Development UK) and their plans for hitting the Government’s superfast broadband targets.

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

Geo Networks announced that they will be withdrawing from the BDUK bids due to issues with BT’s PIA pricing and flexibility. Chris Smedley of Geo Networks said: “Whilst pricing may have reduced for the current PIA product (still not far enough in our view), the real issue is that it can only be used for providing the final drop from local exchange to a residential broadband consumer’s house. PIA cannot be used for the far more costly task of crossing the long distances in rural areas to get to these remote communities (backhaul) – making the idea of being able to build new fibre connections within them faintly ludicrous.

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The net neutrality black list

Posted on Oct 20 2011 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on The net neutrality black list

In the UK and across most of Europe we have no legislation to protect net neutrality, the principle of treating all traffic equally on the Internet. The reason for the lack of legislation is because most parties within the industry believe it is unnecessary and can be managed through self regulation and voluntary codes. However, two civil groups, La Quadrature du Net (France) and Bits for Freedom (Netherlands) disagree and have introduced a new website via which citizens can report any net neutrality violations.

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

The main concern with regards to net neutrality revolves around ISPs using their traffic management strategies to give priority to certain content providers who pay a premium, or alternatively blocking or restricting the performance of content from rival organisations or content providers that have not paid the ISP. For example, a mobile provider could restrict content from Skype or if an ISP had an agreement with the BBC they could prioritise their traffic over rival content providers. Such agreements could stifle creativity and lead to a tiered Internet.

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ASA broadband guidelines – What will it mean for resellers?

Posted on Oct 03 2011 by Darren Farnden | 3 Comments

The ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) and CAP (Committee of Advertising Practice) have released their guidelines for the advertising of broadband speeds and ‘unlimited’ broadband packages, which will come into effect from 1st April 2012. We discuss the details of the guidelines, the likely impact on end users and for the industry, and what they will entail for resellers.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Broadband speeds
Let’s look at broadband speeds first. Currently, the usual practice is for ISPs to advertise the speed of the broadband service based on an ‘up to’ maximum speed achievable by that technology (e.g. ‘up to 24Mbps’ for ADSL2+ or ‘up to 40Mbps’ for FTTC). These headline speeds are supported by disclaimers (in small print), which explain that the actual speed achievable is dependent on the quality and length of the line. At the point of order the end user is then given further information based on their telephone number, which details the access technologies available to them (e.g. ADSL, ADSL2+ or FTTC) and the likely maximum speed they will be able to achieve.

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Will the threat of Fujitsu’s new network finally force BT into fairer duct access?

Posted on Apr 21 2011 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on Will the threat of Fujitsu’s new network finally force BT into fairer duct access?
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Categories : 21CN, BT, Digital Divide

Last week news broke that Fujitsu has plans with TalkTalk and Virgin Media to implement its own fibre network in order to reach 5 million homes in rural areas and provide a competitive alternative to BT Openreach’s infrastructure.

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

In a rather woolly press release, Fujitsu says its network will run fibre optic cables direct to the home, using Cisco hardware to deliver up to 1Gbps symmetrical speeds with an option to increase to 10Gbps and beyond at a later stage. It will also bypass the existing BT cabinets by using underground and overhead infrastructure, enabling the ISPs involved to reach areas where broadband provision is at its poorest.

As well as involving TalkTalk and Virgin Media, Fujitsu plans to offer the network to other interested ISPs on a wholesale basis, providing “truly open access to all ISPs offering the end customer unrivalled choice of services over a single physical connection.” Whether or not TalkTalk and Virgin Media will be granted a preferential deal is still to be determined, but it would seem likely considering their early involvement.

However, this entire plan is reliant on Ofcom successfully forcing BT Openreach to provide access to its ducts and telegraph poles on a “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” basis. This has been a controversial topic in its own right over recent years and has been the subject of ongoing industry debate.

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