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TalkTalk has responded to the free broadband offer by Sky with its own new range of offers that run until 8th January 2015.
For all the services voice line rental at £16.70 per month applies, which can be lowered to the equivalent of £15.03 per month if you pay 12 months in advance.
The battle for our broadband subscriptions has been turned up a notch again as Sky returns with its free broadband offers.
The Hyperoptic footprint is growing and Greater Manchester is the latest area to see its gigabit network go live. Sovereign Point and Imperial Point (Salford Quays) are now live with residents able to place orders for the up to 1 Gbps service.
"Manchester and Salford have long been on the map for their creative digital scene, but dire broadband speeds available to many have slowed progress.
Thanks in part to our campaign to raise awareness of this problem, thousands of residents are now able to gain access to the fastest available internet speeds through Hyperoptic's industry-leading service.
We will continue to work with providers like Hyperoptic, property developers, building managers and residents themselves to rollout out genuine hyper-fast fibre optic broadband to as many residents as possible to bring Manchester and the wider city region up to speed with the broadband it deserves.Manchester city councillor, Kevin Peel
"This area is constantly developing and there is an obligation to offer residents real technological advances to match their lifestyle demands.
The new hyper-fast connectivity is already making a practical difference to users’ online lives and adding to the value of the property for residents and owners alike."Simon Wilson from The Emerson Group
The Emerson Group who manage the buildings seem to be one business who have got the message that good broadband is a key requirement for many people, we wish lots more developers would understand the issue, all too often we still see people moving into a new house and finding out far too late it will have poor broadband and with buyers falsely assuming that a new build property would have the latest and greatest broadband made available automatically.
The four large mobile operators are set between them to invest some £5 billion to tackle poor signal issues across the UK. The Government has managed to get an agreement in place that will be enforced by Ofcom that should see voice and SMS coverage of the UK increase to 90% of the UK geographic area by 2017 and full coverage from all four operators will be increased to 85% from the current 69%.
"We support the Government’s objective of delivering better coverage to rural areas including partial not spots. This is why Vodafone is already spending £1 billion on our network and services in the UK this year alone and will continue to spend a similar amount next year as well.
The voluntary industry commitment we have agreed with the Government today will deliver 90 per cent of the UK’s land mass with voice services and a major improvement in mobile internet coverage as well. It is a great result for UK consumers and businesses and it will make the UK a leader across Europe in terms of the reach of mobile coverage.Vodafone UK spokesperson
The Vodafone comment suggests that maybe this £5 billion is not new all money, but may include investment already underway, e.g. improving 4G coverage will help a good number of areas. The spending by the operators also is a stark contrast to the £150m from the Government that is the Mobile Infrastructure Programme.
No guarantee appears to have been given on the provision of data access and with people increasingly relying on constant connectivity ensuring data coverage of at least the UK road network would go a long way to resolving many complaints. An important point is that the coverage is referring to land area rather than households or postcodes.
The new wave of PlusNet fibre based broadband offers may not beat the previous six months free on their entry level fibre service, but for those looking for the full speed up to 76 Mbps product the new six month reduced price offer will be very welcome.
PlusNet Home Phone voice line rental is a requirement at £15.95 per month or you can pay 12 months rental in a lump sum of £155.88.
For those who want even more bargain basement broadband or cannot get a fibre based service yet, the current £70 cashback and £2.50 per month ADSL2+ service offer ends on the 18th December, and the fibre offer pages reveal the low price will continue, but with a smaller cashback cheque of £50.
Hopefully in between the mince pies and office parties ISPA members will find time to complete their registration forms for the 2015 ISPA Awards. Registration has opened for the fifteen categories that this year are:
Registration is open until 30th January 2015 and entrants into any of the technically tested categories will need to be ready for testing to run during February, March and April 2015. The technical testing of the broadband, VoIP and hosting categories is used to provide a shortlist for consideration by the judging panel and ensure that any minimum technical criteria are met, e.g. is an entrant in the Superfast category delivering Superfast speeds.
For more information about the awards themselves, visit the ISPA Awards website.
Too late to get Sky TV installed by Christmas now, but the TV and broadband bundle operator is still trying to reduce the pain of the New Year credit card bill with its latest flash sale that ends at 23:59 on 18th December 2014.
The Original and Movies TV bundles are available at half price for six months and a choice of a reward of £100 M&S voucher or £100 Pre-Paid MasterCard or £100 Tesco Gift Card.
The alternative longer term offer is 25% off for 12 months and £75 credited to your Sky bill.
If you have decent broadband at your address then you can consider the Unlimited broadband Now TV Entertainment and Sky Movies bundle for £15/month for the 12 month minimum term (plus the obligatory voice line rental at £16.40 per month).
The Government target of 95% coverage of superfast broadband is either ambitious or a waste of money depending on your viewpoint, but Northamptonshire with the signing of its extension contract with BT is spending money to improve broadband in the county.
Northamptonshire is working towards 90% coverage at superfast speeds by the end of 2015 currently (fibre based availability will be higher) and the new £10.6m contract will extend this work, starting in 2016 and ending in September 2018. The contract comprises £7.6m of public money and another £3 million from BT with the goal of getting superfast broadband to another 20,465 premises.
Northamptonshire was previously thought to be working towards superfast for everyone at some point in 2017 and thus hitting 95% in late 2018 is a shift of the goal posts and reading the council blog it seems they are going to try and apply pressure to BT to get this date brought forward.
Of course it would be possible to complete earlier, but whether this is possible with all the other projects underway and also allowing for unforeseen circumstances and remaining within the fixed budgets is another matter. As for that final 5%, more news next year.
The Northamptonshire site is one of the better sites for information in that it provides a list of which cabinets have been enabled via the project and also gives the breakdown for the number of premises that can get fibre based broadband as a result of the funding.
While we would love BT or anyone other provider to promise FTTH for a decent percentage of UK households, the fact that BT who is already employing contractors for much of the BDUK is sometimes struggling to keep up suggests that any roll-out with a high percentage of full fibre connectivity would actually be an even longer job (even if you ignore the costs).
Fuel Broadband has added an extra incentive on top of its free broadband for a year, people signing up to the broadband offer will now get a free Google Chromecast.
The unlimited broadband usually costs £4 per month, but is free for the full 12 month contract, you only need to pay the voice line rental at £15 per month.
The Chromecast usually retails for £30, and there are a series of offers, though which you qualify for may vary according to the outlet, and its not clear if any of these will also apply on the free Fuel Chromecast. The offers available seem to include free digital copy of X-Men movie, £15 of credit for movies on Google Play, 90 days of free Google Play All Access and 3 months of NOW TV entertainment pass, to check what your dongle qualifies for visit www.google.co.uk/chromecast/offers using Chrome on the same network the Chromecast is running on. If you purchased a Chromecast in the recent £20 sale it is worth checking the offers as we have been given all four of the above offers.
Ofcom is waving goodbye to Ed Richards after eight years as the regulators Chief Executive and Sharon White has been appointed as his replacement and will start in the role from late March 2015. The interim three months will see Steve Unger holding the reins as Acting Chief Executive.
Sharon White currently is Second Permanent Secretary at HM Treasury and has spent 25 years working in the public sector and Government. The lack of broadcasting/mobile/Internet experience may raise some eyebrows but the role as Chief Executive is a lot less about understand the nuances of a sector but rather managing a complex organisation that wears many hats and the daily interaction with politicians and lobbying groups.
The term of Ed Richards has seen the broadcast TV landscape change radically, but the next few years are going to be just as radical, since there is a generation maturing that may not see the TV in the corner of the room as the focal point, but rather the mobile or tablet that they hold.