Net neutrality – is legislation necessary?

Posted on Nov 11 2009 by Neil Watson | 3 Comments
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Categories : Featured, Net Neutrality

Last month the US FCC (Federal Communications Commission) announced plans to enforce net neutrality through new legislative proposals and a couple of weeks ago these proposals took a step closer to adoption, moving into the stage of public input.

Neil Watson, Head of Operations

Neil Watson, Head of Operations

The new proposals would force broadband providers to be transparent about the management of their networks and the services they are providing and would stop them from blocking or slowing down certain types of lawful traffic such as P2P. Unsurprisingly the proposals have met with opposition from several American ISPs and support from net neutrality advocates.

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Mandelson’s mindless meddling infuriates Internet industry

Posted on Oct 29 2009 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Mandelson’s mindless meddling infuriates Internet industry

Once again Lord Mandelson has sparked anger amongst ISPs by announcing that the controversial three strikes policy for tackling illegal file sharing will be adopted in the UK by April 2010, despite ongoing criticism from the Internet industry.

Darren Farnden, Marketing Manager

Darren Farnden, Marketing Manager

Speaking at the ‘C&binet Conference‘, Mandelson announced that if the amount of illegal downloading had not dropped by 70% come April 2011 following the introduction of the new proposals (which include bandwidth squeezing and download caps), then further harsh measures including the disconnection of file sharers would be imposed from July 2011. Whilst the use of disconnection is expected to remain a ‘last resort’ measure, the news has once again infuriated the Internet industry.

Since the conception of these proposals Entanet has voiced its concerns and, following Mandelson’s announcement, ISP TalkTalk said that it would “continue to resist any attempts to make it impose technical measures on its customers” and has set up a campaign called “Don’t Disconnect Us” to lobby against the plans.

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Ofcom flexes its muscles on mis-selling but is it tough enough?

Posted on Oct 20 2009 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on Ofcom flexes its muscles on mis-selling but is it tough enough?

The issue of mis-selling in the telecoms industry has been around for several years and for several years regulator Ofcom has been trying to tackle it. Despite regulations for fixed line telecoms providers and a Code of Practice for sales and marketing activities mis-selling remains a serious problem in the UK. Ofcom’s statistics show one in forty UK households fall victim to mis-selling every year with an estimated cost to consumers of £40million in 2008.

Neil Watson, Technical Support Manager

Neil Watson, Technical Support Manager

Now Ofcom has decided it’s time to get tough. Following an original consultation in March, last month Ofcom announced a two staged set of proposals to tackle the issue:

Stage One Proposals

  • Clarification and simplification of regulations and, particularly, moving away from a Code of Practice approach to absolute prohibitions within General Conditions (GCs);
  • Extending Cancel Other rules to all providers [and withdrawing BT’s Cancel Other Direction]; and
  • Clarifying record keeping obligations.
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Clash of the techy titans

Posted on Sep 24 2009 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Clash of the techy titans

It’s not surprising to find two of the IT industry’s giants, Microsoft and Google, coming to blows now and again and these two have certainly had their fair share of scraps in the past, yet the momentum of their latest clashes has been significantly noticeable and has definitely got the industry press talking. In this article we investigate what all of the hype is really about and we’ll start with a recap of what’s been happening.

Darren Farnden, Marketing Manager

Darren Farnden, Marketing Manager

September 2008
The latest round of clashes started with Google’s launch of Chrome, an alternative browser based on new technologies which enables faster loading times, improved security and a number of new features, including the sandboxing of tabs.

By sandboxing individual tabs if a single website hangs or crashes the rest of the tabs are unaffected, an innovative and useful feature. This product launch was seen as a direct challenge to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer service but in fact it makes perfect sense that Google would want some control over the method of delivering traffic to its core search business.

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Is residential broadband recession proof?

Posted on Sep 08 2009 by Neil Watson | 1 Comment

It might come as a surprise to learn that Ofcom, in some of its latest research, reports that residential customers now view broadband as an essential utility for communication. Previously it was thought only business customers had come to rely on it significantly.

Neil Watson, Technical Support Manager

Neil Watson, Technical Support Manager

Equally unsurprisingly, the report shows that during the recession we are spending more time at home browsing the Web and that this pastime has become more important than other forms of social enjoyment. When asked which activity they would rather cut back on, 47% of respondents said dining out and 41% said holidays compared to just 10% willing to cut back on their broadband service. While these findings may not raise eyebrows, they do reiterate the fact that residential users are now viewing their broadband service as more of an essential utility than an expendable luxury. Therefore we pose the question, is broadband recession proof?

Despite the findings that only 10% would sacrifice their broadband connection, the report highlighted that the same respondents are however keen to control how much they spend. In the last year the average household spend on Internet services fell by 66p a month and there is now a growing trend towards the adoption of bundled services. Again hardly earth shattering results, after all we are in a recession and we are all looking for ways to save money!

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Swine Flu: The end of the Internet?

Posted on Aug 14 2009 by Elsa Chen | 1 Comment
Tags :
Categories : Business, Featured

You must all be aware by now of the swine flu pandemic that has gripped the country (and in fact the world) over the last few months. You can’t turn on the TV, grab a cup of coffee in the canteen or even walk down the street without overhearing someone talking about it. But what we are going to discuss is the effect of this pandemic on our industry, your businesses and the UK economy as a whole.

Elsa Test

Elsa Chen

So first off let’s discuss swine flu and the Internet. Contrary to several reports the pandemic is highly unlikely (never say never) to bring the UK’s Internet crashing down. Well, why would anyone think that in the first place you may ask? Concerns have been raised that if the pandemic reaches the worst case scenarios recently described by leading health officials it would have a huge impact on many of our fundamental services such as transport. With significant numbers of transport staff affected the rail and road networks would struggle to cope, possibly restricting services and making it difficult for unaffected people to get into work. This would mean more and more people would need to work from home, therefore putting increased strain on the Internet in the UK.

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Social Networking: Harmless fun or security risk?

Posted on Aug 04 2009 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Social Networking: Harmless fun or security risk?

Updated: 19th November 2009

Leading social networking website Facebook has revised its existing privacy policy, stripping out technical and legal jargon and opting for a plain English approach. The new policy is also reported to encourage the use of Facebook’s privacy and security tools. Full details can be found at:

When you receive an unrequested sales call or a suspicious email do you provide them with your personal information? No, didn’t think so. Yet we appear more than happy to publish immense amounts of personal information online. Growth in the popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and LinkedIN to name but a few, has led to growing concerns that those publishing their personal information online are unaware of the potential risks.

Darren Farnden, Marketing Manager

Darren Farnden, Marketing Manager

Tiscali recently commissioned a report into this issue and found that, of 2,505 people surveyed, the most common personal details published online are photos (68%), date of birth (49%), email addresses (40%) and 20% have even uploaded their job details. Worryingly the report also found that almost 1/3rd (30%) make their social networking profile public, whilst 13% were unaware of the difference between public and private profiles and an alarming 5% published their home address.

So why should we be worried by these stats? Well, information such as your full name, date of birth and address can easily be used by fraudsters to set up loans and credit cards in your name plus, by gathering detailed information about you, they can use this to try to persuade you that they are genuine and obtain more information from you such as your bank details. There are also more obvious security concerns over publishing things like you home address, telephone number or email address on the Internet.

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IPv6: Ready or not?

Posted on Jul 21 2009 by Neil Watson | 4 Comments
Tags : ,
Categories : Featured, IPv6, Wholesale

Since 1984 IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) addresses which consist of four groupings of numbers (e.g. 123.45.67.89) have been used to access the Internet. Twenty five years on and unsurprisingly the 4.3 billion addresses originally available are now running out with only an estimated 700,000 left. Previous estimates stated IPv4 addresses would be depleted by 2011 or 2012 but a more recent announcement from ARIN (American Registry for Internet Numbers) states this could be as soon as 2010.

Neil Watson, Technical Support Manager

Neil Watson, Technical Support Manager

The suggested replacement for IPv4 is IPv6 which provides infinitely more IP addresses due to their hexadecimal format, separated by colons e.g. 2ffe:1800:3525:3:200:f8ff:fe21:67cf. This is just as well, as the number of devices we use to access the Internet continues to increase.

Before we run out of IPv4 addresses completely (possibly as soon as next year), we really need to start implementing IPv6 ones. It’s just a matter of getting on and doing it!

It all sounds relatively straightforward, doesn’t it? Well you’d think so. The media and several leading Internet figures have expressed concerns that ISPs’ take up of IPv6 has been too slow and that unless adoption is accelerated we will have consumed all of the available IPv4 addresses before IPv6 is fully supported. In the worst case this would make it impossible for ISPs to accommodate any more subscribers. In reality IPv6 is already available and some ISPs are already utilising it, including Entanet. Whilst several of our competitors may not be implementing IPv6 just yet I find it hard to believe that any would be so negligent that they actually reach this crisis point without taking action. Nevertheless it is possible and if it does happen it will be you and your customers that will be affected.

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ISPs vs BBC iPlayer – Missing the point?

Posted on Jun 25 2009 by Neil Watson | 5 Comments

The last month has seen substantial media coverage of the latest row that has erupted between BT Retail and a number of content providers including the BBC. However, we think a fundamental issue is being missed. Instead of BT Retail focusing attention on the BBC et al to contribute to its increasing costs, it should instead be tackling its wholesale provider to reduce the price of bandwidth. Here I explain why this has a wider significance to ISPs and the industry as a whole.

June 2009 proved to be a turbulent month for two of the UK’s industry giants, BT and the BBC. The month began with reports that BT was throttling its option 1 customers’ connections to the BBC’s iPlayer service (and other bandwidth hungry services including YouTube) during peak times, reducing speeds to less than 1Mbps on the advertised up to 8Mbps service. This, according to the BBC, notably affected the iPlayer’s service quality.

Neil Watson, Technical Support Manager

Neil Watson, Technical Support Manager

The argument escalated when the BBC claimed that BT’s advertising of its option 1 package shied away from detailing this level of throttling. Instead it states that the package is capable of 25 hours of iPlayer streaming and only refers to the throttling in its FUP.

By mid June the plot thickened with a request from BT for content providers to pay towards the cost of delivering customers to their sites, claiming that the “free ride for content providers was over”.

“We can’t give the content providers a completely free ride and continue to give customers the [service] they want at the price they expect,” said John Petter, managing director of BT Retail’s consumer business.

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USC: Solving the digital divide?

Posted on Jun 17 2009 by Darren Farnden | 2 Comments

Updated 26th August 2009:

It seems the government has proposed a controversial amendment to the Digital Britain report. The disconnection of illegal file sharers was originally ruled out in favour of warnings and technical measures but it now appears to be back on the agenda. You can read more about this here:

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The Digital Britain final report has now been released by Lord Carter and outlines Government’s plans to introduce a new Universal Services Commitment (USC) ensuring 100% UK broadband coverage with speeds of at least 2Mbps by 2012. The existing USC which applies only to BT and Kcom will be replaced and the burden will be shared by the industry as a whole.

Darren Farnden, Marketing Manager

Darren Farnden, Marketing Manager

The long awaited report confirms the ongoing speculation of the 2Mbps USC and confirms that this will be achieved by a number of technologies including home wiring improvements, Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) and mobile and satellite solutions to reach the most remote areas. Over recent months there has been mounting speculation as to how this expected USC would be achieved and funded. Possibly the most shocking outcome of the report is the news that public funding will be used to find the most cost effective technology to bring 2Mbps broadband to the UK’s ‘not-spots’.

We’re pleased to see that Government recognises the importance of improving customer experience to all areas of the UK. However, if customers in more rural areas are to actually enjoy the same level of service as those in urban areas then achieving 2Mbps really must be viewed as the first stepping stone. Lord Carter clearly concurs with this view, stating his reasoning for the 2Mbps limit is based on “current consumer expectations, the growing importance of video and increasing multiple use in the home.” He continues “At 2Mbps, all homes should be able to fully benefit from the most basic range of applications, services and opportunities offered by broadband.”

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