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October 13, 2001 - October 18, 2001

News - October 18,2001

BTs R/ADSL Wires-Only Trial Date

By:mark.j @ 3:23:PM - Comments (0) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Following on from our news item this morning regarding BTWholesale’s 'Wires-Only (Self Install)' prices for R/ADSL based services; a date for the official trial has now been set.

According to ADSLGuide the official Wires-Only trial will start on 3rd December 2001, although how this will work and who's involved isn't yet clear. Looks like it'll be January 2002 before the service is offered publicly through ISPs.

Brazil Jumps Past UK – R/ADSL

By:mark.j @ 10:22:AM - Comments (0) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

The latest research from London-based Point Topic shows that the UK is still behind in the broadband R/ADSL stakes, with nations such as Brazil leapfrogging ahead:

Its latest analysis of the global DSL marketplace found that at the end of June 2001 there were more than 10 million DSL lines offering broadband access - an increase of 354 per cent on the same period last year.

What's more, some nations are steaming ahead with the deployment of their broadband services. The report acknowledges that growth rates in North America are slowing, while growth rates, in Europe, Asia Pacific and South America remain strong.

Said John Bosnell, editor of Point-Topic's DSL Worldwide Directory: "Twelve months ago, countries like Japan or Brazil hardly registered in the DSL totals."

So despite all of the UK governments best (cough) efforts, the UK has actually managed to drop from 21st place down to 24th, when it should really be shifting UP the field.

The Register notes the maturity of the markets around us and it'll be interesting to see if the UK EVER recovers. However one thing to note is that the UK is still ahead with unmetered access, which could be a contributing factor to the acceptance of more expensive broadband.

LINX Problems Solved

By:mark.j @ 10:08:AM - Comments (1) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Following on from the two news items we posted yesterday, the problem causing wide-spread packet loss over LINX (London Internet Exchange) with many of the UKs ISPs has now been resolved.

Apparently an unnamed member of LINX began spewing broadcast traffic onto the exchange, which forced much of the networks traffic (40 - 50%) to take alternative routs.

Important WonkyPig Service Update

By:mark.j @ 9:59:AM - Comments (4) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

The unmetered dialup ISP that likes to change, WonkyPig, has issued another service update to its customers regarding engage tones, price changes and a more restrictive cut-off (temporary - again):

You may or may not be aware but we are now offering our service at: £12.99 per month, Arghh! we hear you cry . . Don't worry your account will remain on it's original tariff and not change.

If you have got engaged tones over the last week it's because we are
adding new servers and lines to the service - Sorry - but it has to been done, this work should be complete by 1st November, however during peak periods you may get the odd engaged tone or username/password reject - just keep trying.

Cut Off:
While the work is being carried out we are having to impose temporary cut off periods across the network during peak periods these can range from 1 hr to the normal 4 hours - all will be back to normal by the 1st.

Oftel Act On LLU Service Pricing

By:mark.j @ 9:54:AM - Comments (0) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Oftel has today issued another press release, this time outlining the charges for a range of services under local loop unbundling (LLU). The release is quite short and so we'll publish it here:

Oftel today:

* Set final charges for shared access to local loops. Oftel has set an annual rent of £53 plus a one-off connection charge of £117 per shared loop – lower than the charges proposed by Oftel in June;

* Confirmed that BT must not charge operators separately for clearing a site in preparation for co-location build in its exchanges, but must recover these costs through rent charged for co-location space.

Oftel also published a statement setting out findings from its pricing investigations of BT’s co-location services. Oftel found that while in general BT's charges for co-location are cost-oriented, BT's charges for some services, for example the external tie cable rental charge, are too high, and is proposing changes to BT’s pricing.

David Edmonds, Director General of Telecommunications, said:

"These announcements provide further clarification for operators planning to offer services over unbundled local loops. Final prices for shared access to local loops are lower than those originally proposed, following analysis of additional information received by Oftel during the consultation period."

"The rental charge is now below the EU average. Oftel has confirmed its initial proposals that some of BT’s co-location charges are too high. In particular, Oftel proposed that some of the charges for distant co-location needed to fall. BT has already brought some of those charges down, and Oftel is proposing further changes."

"Oftel has confirmed that operators will not be charged separately by BT to have space in exchanges cleared in preparation for co-location build."

Clearly this news combined with that of the recently announced Co-Mingling is a big step forward, even if it is nearly a year too late.

BTWholesale Introduce Wires-Only DSL

By:mark.j @ 9:44:AM - Comments (1) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Thanks to ADSLGuide for pointing out that BTWholesale has finally announced the prices for their R/ADSL Wires-Only product. Typically this is a derivative of existing R/ADSL broadband, only without the hardware on the client side (you buy / install it):

Service - Connection - Rental
BT IPStream - Home - (setup)£50 (monthly)£25
BT IPStream - Office 500 - (setup)£50 (monthly)£60
BT IPStream - Office 1000 - (setup)£50 (monthly)£80
BT IPStream - Office 2000 - (setup)£50 (monthly)£100

As expected the wholesale price for USB customers has gone down by another £5 monthly, which should make for more competitive prices. The new offers will allow customers to select their own hardware and should work alongside existing 'complete' R/ADSL installations.

News - October 17,2001

Nutshell Unmetered Update - Improves

By:mark.j @ 4:28:PM - Comments (12) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Although engage tones do still exist, specifically at off-peak (most active) times, most people have begun to notice improvements with Nutshells (Net In a Nutshell) unmetered dialup.

Hopefully this is a sign of the improvements Nutshell are working hard to integrate, according to their last update things should continue to improve. Please note that ISP nodes are regional and so some areas of the country probably won’t have seen any change, as is so often the way.

Home Office Preps Snooping Law

By:mark.j @ 4:10:PM - Comments (3) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Designed to run along side the existing Regulation of Investigatory Powers (R.I.P) act, today the Home Office (David Blunkett) has issued a proposal for the new anti-terrorist legislation.

The new proposal would force ISPs into keeping records of their customer’s on-line movements (newsgroups, E-Mail etc.) for a period of 12 months (better than 7 years!):

It will include "measures to enable communication service providers to retain data generated in the course of their business, namely the records of calls made and other data - not the content".

Caspar Bowden, director of the Foundation for Information Policy Research, warned: "Sensitive data ... could be collected in the name of national security. But Mr Blunkett intends to allow access to this data for purposes which have nothing to do with fighting terrorism."

"Minor crimes, public order and tax offences, attendance at demonstrations, even 'health and safety' will be legitimate reasons to siphon sensitive details of private life into government databases to be retained indefinitely."

Indeed the VNUNet item does a good job of highlighting how obvious it is that anti-terrorism measures allow the government to expand into areas they previously couldn't for political and moral reasons.

Clearly a line needs to be drawn as these proposals are getting somewhat ridiculous and far away from anything anti-terrorism related. Frankly we're disgusted by this increasingly communist government, which continues to erode our online freedom.

£100Million For Hastings e-City

By:mark.j @ 3:55:PM - Comments (4) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

It looks as if the clever people in government have come up with yet another way to waste £100Million of perfectly good tax payer’s money, much like they did with the millennium dome.

This time their intention is to turn the city of Hastings into an e-City using the latest broadband R/ADSL technology among other things:

What's an e-city? Well, presumably a town kitted out with the latest digital technology and broadband Internet access so that companies working over the Internet (and hot-desking employees) will move there and regenerate the area.

And even after the years it will take to sort these out, will there be any guarantee that BT will have managed to install ADSL down there?

The Register hits the nail right on the head and nails could be the perfect thing used to knock a bit of sense into those running the show.

BTOpenworld Apologise - Peer-To-Peer

By:mark.j @ 3:44:PM - Comments (0) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

It's not something we often see a BT run company doing; never the less, ADSLGuide has managed to extract an apology from the troubled unmetered and broadband provider for their Peer-To-Peer issues:

Perhaps the thing foremost in most peoples minds was the situation over the Peer 2 Peer throttling that ran for around one month, and culminated in the BBC Watchdog program last Thursday.

We talked to Mike Galvin the Vice President, Operations & Developement, he said that the throttling was basically the result of a 'cock up' and was compounded by very poor communication with customers, their helpdesk and the media. BTOpenworld apologise for the problems this caused and readily admit to the fact they simply got it wrong.

Perhaps the biggest questions will come from how they intend to improve customer communications in the future, rather than just apologising for the past. We’re still waiting for our interview questions to be returned..

High Court Throws BTs 3G Appeal Out

By:mark.j @ 3:37:PM - Comments (0) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Following on from this morning’s item regarding BTs High Court action against rivals Orange and Vodafone over 3G payments, the court has ruled against BT and thrown the appeal out:

The government granted an extra 180 days for the two mobile operators to pay a combined £10m instalment while Vodafone was in the process of selling Orange. However, the other licence-holding operators, BT, One-2-One and Hutchison 3G, had argued that the decision distorted competition by saving Vodafone and Orange around £2m per day in interest.

A BT spokesperson said that it would be taking the matter further: “We’re obviously disappointed that Vodafone and Orange have been treated differently. The High Court acknowledged this, and we will be seeking to appeal to the House of Lords.BT paid its licence fee up front so has no remaining instalments.

More @ netimperative.com .

Court To Rule On Unfair 3G Auction

By:mark.j @ 10:37:AM - Comments (0) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Today the High Court is set to rule on whether the extension of time given to Vodafone and Orange by the government, in order to come up with the payment for 3G licences, was unfair.

BT and One2One claim it was wrong of the government to grant an extra 180 days for the operators to pay a combined £10Billion for their 3G licences.

They were given longer to pay because Vodafone was in the process of selling Orange and auction rules prevented one company from owning two licences.

BT and One2One argue that the extension saved their rivals roughly £2Million a day in interest on loans. They say a fundamental rule of the auction was that there should be no distortion of competition.

The Little ADSL Adaptor That Cooked

By:mark.j @ 10:30:AM - Comments (1) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

No it's not a multi-role broadband ADSL power adaptor that's able to cook food, not that we wouldn't welcome such a thing, but they're simply not designed for it. Sadly this is exactly what one of Cisco's 95,000 recalled R/ADSL power adaptors could do:

Cisco states that adapters used with its 827, 827-4V, 826, SOHO77, SOHO77-50 and 827-EUR (small business and telecommuter) ADSL routers "can overheat and melt a hole through the housing, posing a fire hazard. In addition, the exposed wires pose a shock hazard."

The recall affects power adapters with the part number (which is located on the adapter label) of "34-0949-02".

The Register's item states that only one item has been reported to overheat, although nobody was harmed and the recall measure is being taken as a safety precaution. So it looks as if the ever elusive Cooker come ADSL power adaptor will remain a dream for the future =).

ASA Slap Salford-Based ISP

By:mark.j @ 10:18:AM - Comments (0) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

The Advertising Standards Authority has today hit back at yet another arrogant ISP claiming itself to be offering the UKs ONLY non-contended dial-up service, which is completely wrong:

Net Services Ltd admitted it knew the advert was wrong, and had intended to claim it was the only free non-contended dial-up in its advertising.

Rival provider Zereau Internet lodged an objection with the company, pointing out that it – along with many others – was a service provider offering a non-contended service.

And this morning the Advertising Standards Authority warned the service provider not to make the same claim in its ads again, after agreeing the magazine advert had been misleading.

It's a pity that so many ISPs constantly have to advertise themselves using arrogant wording, we've lost count of how many times "The UKs Best ISP" has come up with more than one provider etc. Hopefully when OFCOM arrives we'll finally see some clear conduct and guidelines, More @ netimperative.com .

French Reduce 3G License Costs

By:mark.j @ 10:12:AM - Comments (0) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

UK operators are likely to take a fresh look at what they paid for 3G / UTMS (3rd Generation) broadband wireless mobile phone licenses following a change in the French pricing:

The announcement came as part of France's budget statement and will see the cost of a 3G licence fall from E4.95bn (£3.1bn) to E619m (£388m). In addition the lifetime of a licence will be extended from 15 years to 20.

In return the French government will impose a tax levy on 3G revenues. By the time the UK 3G bid reached its conclusion in April 2000 successful bidders had pledged a combined £22.5bn, the highest total for any European auction.

Now Vodafone, One2One, BT, Orange and TIW will hope the Labour government reconsiders that commitment in the light of the French announcement.

While France may operate differently to the UK, that doesn't mean to say the same option couldn't be given used this side of the water. It'd allow operators to get started without the cost burden, although would invariable impact further down the line with profits. More @ Silicon.

Blueyonder’s Broadband Channel

By:mark.j @ 9:50:AM - Comments (0) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

According to DigitalSpy, Telewests broadband cable modem ISP blueyonder has signed a deal with Digital Classics. Apparently this will help create a new broadband channel on the blueyonder service:

The new broadband channel will give Blueyonder subscribers access to Digital Classics' content either by subscription or pay-per-view, according to the report. Chris Hunt, CEO Digital Classics, told Europemedia that the deal was:

"an important psychological step towards using the internet as a 'sitting room' entertainment medium and demonstrates our belief that television and the internet will converge."

Exactly what 'Digital Classics' is supposed to cover isn't clear, although Telewest continue to grow their portal technology.

Onstar (Europe)/Beam Abandon Satellite

By:rich @ 8:38:AM - Comments (1) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Broadband4uk have announced in a recent e-mail to people who pre-registered that they will be unable to offer the 'Beam' service provided by OnStar:

Dear Broadband Enquirer,

It comes as a disappoint to us, to be advised as marketing partner of Onstar (Europe) Ltd that the 'Beam' service (broadband internet access via satellite) will no longer be offered by OnStar (Europe) Ltd. The business operations associated with Beam will therefore be closing with immediate effect.

As a company seeking to meet the challenges of enabling choice of provision of broadband to the UK and Europe we are already active in securing an alternative partenrship to assist to bring to market

We thank you for your interest in this site and will advise you as soon as possible of our alternative solution.

Yours sincerely,


There have been many recent announcements regarding satellite internet but only one or two actually seem to be running. Will broadband satellite ever get off the ground or is it just too expensive?

News - October 16,2001

LINX Update

By:Dan @ 5:27:PM - Comments (5) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

We have had unconfirmed reports that the LINX is being DOS'ed
The following is a statement by blueyonder

"The London Internet Exchange (LINX) is having major problems at the moment. This is currently affecting ALL ISP's who peer at LINX. We have been forced us to shutdown our Primary peering connection and to drastically cut down the number of peering sessions we have on our Backup router. LINX is currently working on the problem and it has the highest priority.

Until the problems are resolved most of our Internet traffic will flow
via one of our other gateways or via transit.

We have taken the step of shutting down our Primary LINX router as the
problems at LINX itself was causing instability, affecting all routing."

Update on LINX
Posted today at http://www.linx.net/announce.thtml

"At around 09h50 this morning LINX saw a broadcast storm at the exchange which has caused members on that switch to experience packet loss. We believe that the problem was initially caused by a member port spewing large amounts of broadcast traffic onto the exchange, in contravention of the LINX Memorandum of Understanding.

This was quickly remedied by disconnecting the member port however the switch is still experiencing problems and causing some packet loss."

CharityDAYS Launch Unmetered & ADSL

By:mark.j @ 4:14:PM - Comments (4) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Avid readers may remember that roughly a month ago we briefly made mention of a new charity ISP, which was also planning unmetered and broadband products - CharityDAYS.

With a site that has a passing familiarity to Plus.NET's, CharityDAYs has today furnished us with a full press release announcing their launch on 22nd October 2001:

CharityDAYS announce eleven new fixed access and ADSL accounts to take range to fifteen.

CharityDays (Donate As You Surf) which launches on October 22nd, today announced that it will be launching a further eleven products on November 19th. This will give the charity ISP a total of fifteen products, which include ‘Pay As You Go’ ‘Subscription’ ‘Fixed Access’ and ‘ADSL’.

Sales and Marketing director Nick Aldrich commented, “We have always said from the offset that we would take on the best of the UK ISP’s and yet still donate 60% of our total income to UK charities. Without decent products and a range to compete with even the UK’s biggest, we would never have been taken seriously and would have simply fallen into the ‘another charity ISP’ bracket.

Our range includes six home user and nine business user products. Two free accounts, two subscription accounts, six fixed access accounts and five ADSL accounts. Our 2 Meg ADSL business account, Donate At Work ADSL 2000, is competitively priced at £149.99 and our Donate At Home Lite fixed access account is just £8.99, which includes a £1.20 charity donation built in.

More information regarding the service, as well as pre-registration can be found at http://www.charitydays.net

Hopefully the new provider will manage to succeed where so many have fallen and bring a working charity broadband and unmetered ISP to our shores. Expect all our usual listings and forums to be updated tomorrow accordingly.

Expensive Broadband Satellite Criticised

By:mark.j @ 4:03:PM - Comments (0) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

We've known for sometime that there's currently no such thing as a cheap and flexible broadband Satellite solution, at least not since StarSpeeder / SkyStorm suspended operations.

However experts in the field have only just woken up, proclaiming that SMEs are being ripped off by existing satellite broadband providers.

One example highlighted is that of Cedars business package, 256Kbps up / 512Kbps downlink, with capped downloads of one gigabyte for £300 per month (multi-user) + £600 installation!:

But one satellite expert says SMEs are being ripped-off, as the service cannot be considered a viable business proposition.

Roger Runswick, satellite expert at telecoms consultancy Schema, claims that satellite broadband is restricted by a maximum bandwidth per satellite, so a busy service forces providers to cut down the bandwidth available to users.

"The problem with any satellite offering is they have a restricted link, as opposed to DSL or a leased line that offer unrestricted limit for downloads," Runswick explained.

Most residential broadband R/ADSL and Cable Modem services actually have the potential to exceed in a day what Cedar offers per month, yet cost many times less. The Silicon item shows how Cedar does a poor job of justifying itself by quoting sceptical information.

Thankfully residential customers and SME's alike will be pleased to know that come next year there WILL be more viable alternatives from the likes of BTOpenworld (£100 PM) and Tiscali (£40-£50 PM) among others.

BT Preps First Public 3G Service

By:mark.j @ 3:48:PM - Comments (2) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

The first outing for BTs future 3G / UTMS broadband wireless mobile phone technology is likely to occur in November for The Isle Of Man. It's also exactly the same time the debt laden Telco plans to split its Wireless unit off into mmO2:

The launch was postponed in May because the handset partner NEC failed to produce 3G-enabled handsets and also because the network was hamstrung by technical problems.

However, NEC - one of the two manufacturers to deliver 3G handsets for NTT DoCoMo's network users in Tokyo - has finally coughed up the goods.

A NEC spokesman today told silicon.com: "We have the 3G terminal for the European market, which will be launched commercially at the same time as the demerger of BT Wireless."

Expect us to be covering the first public / commercial 3G launch with our Island contacts come November; More @ Silicon.

ISPA On Data Retention CoP

By:mark.j @ 3:34:PM - Comments (0) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

We've just noticed that the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) has issued a small press update regarding their position towards the controversial data retention plans for ISPs in the UK and Europe:

The Internet Services Providers Association (ISPA) has welcomed the opportunity to consult with the Government on the issue of data retention.

Following the Home Secretary’s announcement of proposals for a Code of Practice to be adopted by Communications Service Providers (ISPs), Nicholas Lansman, Secretary-General for ISPA, said; ‘ISPA looks forward to working in co-operation with the Government, law enforcement agencies and the Information Commissioner to develop a Code of Practice that is reasonable and practical in its requirements and effective in its objective.

ISPA believes a number of complex issues must be addressed during the forthcoming consultation, such as the definition of traffic data, the practical aspects of data handover and compliance with data protection law. ISPA will continue to contribute to these discussions on how the industry can assist law enforcement in combating crime.

Hopefully the ISPA won't tip their hand too much towards the government and sell out ISP subscribers to harsh privacy destroying rules, such as R.I.P.

LINX Pack Loss Problems

By:mark.j @ 3:29:PM - Comments (0) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

If you've been experiencing unusual pauses (brief moments of packet loss) today then it's likely due to some undetermined problems at the London Internet Exchange (LINX).

Apparently the packet loss and DNS issues have hit many of the UKs ISPs, Clara.net have been one of the first to notice:

There has been some instability with routing via the LINX all day. This will affect traffic to all our LINX peers, which are mainly other UK ISPs. LINX engineers are currently investigating the problem.

We may shut down our LINX peerings, and allow the traffic to take alternative routes to its destination. Customers may experience packet loss across the LINX, or sub-optimal routing.

We've noticed this on almost all our test ISPs, although there's presently no information on when it's likely to be fixed, although they're usually very quick with such things.

Gov Officially Re-Opens BBFW Auctions

By:mark.j @ 10:33:AM - Comments (0) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

As reported last week, today is the day the UK government officially re-opens broadband fixed wireless license auctions for the second time:

Last year's auction failed to raise nearly as much money as ministers expected. Only 16 out of the 42 available licences were sold raising £38.2m for government coffers.

Analysts, buoyed by the sums raised from the 3G auction in the UK earlier in 2000, had predicted the sale of the licences could raise as much as £1bn.

However, the DTI has already come under criticism for failing to alter the terms of the auction significantly to attract new investors.

According to the Silicon item, the auction will remain open for a period of no more than 12 months rather than the previously one-off period.

Whether or not the second attempt will improve matters remains to be seen, although it'd be in the interest of those outside xDSL and Cable Modem coverage areas if they do.

Monkeys WILL Rule The World

By:mark.j @ 10:16:AM - Comments (0) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Finally a solution to the problem of poor management in ISPs has been presented in an interesting news item that's currently doing the rounds.

Until now most people have thought of Monkey's as nothing more than an aging pop group.., sorry.., fury animals that wave their arms about with shocking ferocity. No - we're still on the pop group - damnit!

Scientists have been amazed by two baboons, which can apparently use computers and demonstrate previously undetected powers of abstract thought:

According to researchers, the discovery may have "profound implications for the evolution of human intelligence and the stuff that separates homo sapiens from other animals."

Apparently the baboons demonstrated that they were able to perceive "sameness" even when its cues were subtle and abstract. Figuring out a solution required analogical (this is to this as that is to that) reasoning, which many theorists view as the foundation of human reasoning and intelligence.

Results concluded that the baboons learnt to match the grids at a rate greater than chance. It took thousands of trials for them to learn the "relation between relations" required by the task, but they did it.

What in blue Jesus does this have to do with ISPs? Well.., isn't it obvious? If monkeys have gotten so far as to learn 'sameness' by matching small blocks on a screen then it's only a matter of time before they can replace the management of some bad ISPs =).

AOL Europe Reaches 5 Million

By:mark.j @ 9:59:AM - Comments (1) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

AOL TimeWarner, one of the longest standing ISPs in Europe, has finally released its latest EU wide subscriber figures showing a climb past 4.8Million from the second quarter into 5+Million now.

AOL said in a statement on Monday that flat-rate (unmetered) members in the UK and France average more than an hour a day online, while German subscribers are now online more than half an hour a day.

The unit has maintained continued growth in advertising and commerce revenues this year. "Not only are we experiencing record subscription growth in Europe, but we also are continuing to lead all comers in time online -- the most closely watched barometer for ad/commerce partners."

"That's why AOL Europe is also experiencing a growing roster of deals with leading partners around the world," said Michael Lynton, president of AOL International. The ISP continues to expand well into Europe and the rest of the world.

BTOpenworld Anytime Update

By:rich @ 7:42:AM - Comments (13) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

BTOpenworld have issued their latest update to the users of the new (AnyTime) number whom have been having constant connection problems:

Over the last few weeks you, and a very small percentage of our 1.5
million customers, have downloaded a new dial-up access number for the BTopenworld Anytime service. Since then, some of you may have experienced congestion problems. I'm sorry if this has been the case for you and hope this email will explain what we've done and what the future options are.

**What we've done to provide a good and fair service**

Our Anytime service was launched in January 2001, in response to
customer demand.

As our service grows we continually invest in increasing network capacity to improve the quality of the service and the value that it offers.

Whilst managing this network capacity across our customer base we've
found a select number of customers contravening our Terms and Conditions through;

a) allowing several people to use their service at the same time whilst only paying one subscription

b) leaving their PC online, unattended, for long periods of time (we define this as over 16 hours or more in 24, to ensure that there is scope to fairly accommodate those customers who, exceptionally, need to make really long use of the internet)

Both of these actions seriously affect our other customers' ability to use of the service. In order to ensure a good level of service to our other customers, we have removed the customers who do this, typically after they have had at least one warning in the case of unattended use.

We've also recently asked a number of customers, including you, to use a new dial-up access number. We did this to improve the quality and effectiveness of our service across all our customers by dividing our network by type of use. Our aim was to give all customers a fairer chance to access and enjoy the service. For the great majority of customers this has had excellent results.

However, for customers on the new dial-up access number there have been high levels of failure in first time connection due to very high usage levels. This is even though the new number gives a very much better ratio of users to modem* - around 3 to 1. We believe that this ratio is easily the best available in the UK at anything like a comparable price and we had expected it to give appropriate capacity.

**What more can we do?**

We've checked the service on the new dial-up access number and again found a significant number of customers breaching our Terms & Conditions. We're taking action against them to protect the integrity of the service. This should improve availability on the new number but, with the level of use we're seeing, it's possible that the benefits will simply be 'swallowed up'.

Our experience of the past few weeks suggests that the real requirement of those on the new number is much closer to one user per modem - more than even the exceptional level around 3 to 1 we're already providing. Such a service would need to be charged at about £100 a month, a cost we don't believe we should pass onto all our customers - to whom we want to keep offering an economic service. This would make it much more expensive than our broadband internet service which uses a more appropriate technology and is designed as an uncontended, 'always on' service for people who make regular extended us of the internet.

**What are the options?**

We're committed to maintaining a high quality, affordable and
economically viable mass market internet service. In some countries unmetered services such as Anytime have been slow to be introduced or have been withdrawn because of the difficulties of running them economically.

A recent Oftel survey showed that the UK has the cheapest internet prices in the world and is an extremely competitive market. It's now clear to us that going back to sharing the same capacity across the great majority of our customers and those on the new number will affect service quality for the great majority, or mean increasing prices for all. We don't plan to do either of these things.

**What can we offer you now?**

We do value your custom and very much want to keep you as a customer. I can offer you the following options:

i) you can continue to use Anytime on the number we have given you.
But, while you may see some improvement as a result of the continuing action we're taking with those customers in breach of our Terms & Conditions, bearing in mind the above, we can't guarantee high levels of first time connection success.

ii) broadband may better suit your needs - our service offers a fast
'always on' connection to the internet with no additional call charges or the need for a second line - and we're currently offering free installation to all our Anytime and SurfTime customers (normal price £150). The monthly subscription fee is £39.99. To find out more, and check if it's in your area, please go to http://www.btopenworld.com/broadband

We recognise that this option may not be available to you if you do not live in a broadband-enabled area.

If you feel neither of these options meets your needs, you may, of course, cancel your subscription by calling the BTopenworld team on 0870 241 6307 (4.00pm-midnight, national rate) or by emailing us on userhelp@btopenworld.com

We'll be as disappointed as you are if you do decide to cancel, so as a gesture of goodwill - and to thank you for your patience - we'll arrange a credit to your account with a sum equivalent to one month's subscription. You'll be able to keep your email access and service as part of our Pay-as-you-go option.

I know this may not be the solution that you had hoped for, but I, and the BTopenworld team, have spent a long time discussing our options. We want to continue to provide an efficient and economic service to the majority of our customers and feel that this is the most realistic and fairest way forward.

I sincerely hope that the above has helped to make clear why we've made these recent changes and would like to thank you for bearing with me through this rather long email.

Thank you for your understanding and for using BTopenworld Anytime.

Yours faithfully,

Ben Andradi
President & Chief Operating Officer

As a customer of BTopenworld Anytime and a user of the new number myself, it seems to me that BTO Anytime is only suitable for people using the Internet for less than 40 hours per week (To stay on the original number). This is the figure that one of the support line staff quoted us.

ISPs have high users and light users, with some using the internet for 16 hours and others for 1 or 2 per day, this generally levels out the service to an acceptable level and is what Anytime offered before they switched users onto the new number.

BTO must have known that this was going to happen, putting lots of high users onto the same number will create this sort of problem. The interesting thing is that you can get connected (I've never had an engaged tone), yet the authentication server rejects you. So they have the ports but don't want the customers using them?

News - October 15,2001

Monthly Internet Usage (UK) Rises

By:mark.j @ 3:43:PM - Comments (4) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

According to the latest report out of Jupiter MMXI, monthly Internet usage has risen to 446 minutes (roughly 7.5 hours) per month, which is equal to 282 web site visits during that time.

This is a dramatic increase from the 257 minutes (4+ hours) and 184 pages logged two years ago during October 1999:

"Increasing numbers of consumers are still embracing the web to research and buy products and services and to access information," Jupiter MMXI vice president Mari Kim Coleman said.

Figures released by the company in April showed 20% of users accounted for 70% of all time spent online. Perhaps something ISPs should take better account of when offering unmetered services.

Questions remain over how long these figures will keep increasing before the effects of market saturation begin to set in.

NTL Preps Massive Job Cuts

By:mark.j @ 10:21:AM - Comments (2) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Earlier NTL had expected to cut 7,000 jobs in an effort to save £275Million and increase average revenue per subscriber to £46 per month (up from £39) by the end of 2002, yet once more the cuts have increased.

Having previously risen to 7,500 in the last two months, today NTL has announced that 8,200 staff will need to loose their jobs in order for its goals to be met. Another £1.2Billion is expected to come from the sail of its aerials business.

Ultimately NTL is currently in debt to a tune of £12Billion, which reminds us of another operator.

The Singleton Saga Continues

By:mark.j @ 10:00:AM - Comments (5) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

It's beginning to look as if the new unmetered ISP, Do.dotv (see previous posts) hasn’t been telling us the whole truth. You may remember that Mr D.Singletone's (BigBlueSky) E-Mail was found as a 'contact' address on the site, however they later explained this.

At the time their excuse seemed plausible, if still somewhat of a dubious and questionable mistake to make. Sadly several readers have now reported another slip up that would seem to expose more concerns.

Apparently while disabling his E-Mail account (assumption), Singleton may have neglected to update the forwarding details with the Do.dotv server quick enough. In other words and during the period of change, E-Mail sent to addresses such as info@do-doisp.com were returning with errors via d_singleton@email-com - OH DEAR!

This is more than just a simple mistake since the ISPs contact E-Mails are quite clearly linked to David Singleton's personal E-Mail address, or use to be. Two different examples of the evidence can be found in our forums HERE and HERE. Here's an exert from one of the examples, we have 6 more from different people:

Received: from spf1.us4.outblaze.com (205-158-62-23.outblaze.com [])
by spf11.us4.outblaze.com (8.11.0/8.11.0) with ESMTP id f9DLbEl08653
for ; Sat, 13 Oct 2001 21:37:14 GMT
Received: from mail1.cluster.vnoc.murphx.net ([])
by spf1.us4.outblaze.com (8.11.0/8.11.0) with SMTP id f9DLbDY10371
for ; Sat, 13 Oct 2001 21:37:13 GMT
Received: (qmail 394 invoked by uid 503); 13 Oct 2001 21:41:06 -0000
Delivered-To: catchall@do-doisp.com@do-doisp.com
Received: (qmail 391 invoked from network); 13 Oct 2001 21:41:06 -0000
Received: from unknown (HELO wpk-smtp-relay.cwci.net) (
by mail1.cluster.vnoc.murphx.net with SMTP
for ; 13 Oct 2001 21:41:06 -0000

Clearly there's something fishy going on here and we're not keen on jumping to any (obvious?) conclusions, although the evidence speaks for itself. Could Singleton be up to his old tricks again? Lies and distrust don't make for a good start, yet seem to be the norm for some providers.

We've dispatched an E-Mail to the ISPs supplier, NeonHippo, to see if we can finally be told the honest truth.

BYs Half-Price Install Offer - Extended

By:mark.j @ 9:18:AM - Comments (3) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Telewest's blueyonder, no doubt drawing a line with BT, has extended their half-price broadband cable modem installation offer to 31st October and also extended it to all new subscribers.

DigitalSpy reminds us that this brings a typical installation price down from £50 to £25, not too shabby.

News - October 14,2001

ISP Review Weekly Update

By:mark.j @ 10:50:AM - - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

It's been yet another busy week, not just for news, but because we've been busy putting all the third party features into the newer forum technology in preparation for the upgrade.

We had intended for the new forum tech to go live on Friday, yet this was thwarted thanks to a major show stopping bug. The bug doesn't seem to occur in the raw code, only after we've added our own features (polls, who's online and SSI output etc.).

Typically this means we'll have to take things slowly if we're to find the feature that causes the problem (data corruption on key forum controls). The bare and final forum code should be out on the 19th and instead of adding features and then upgrading; we'll upgrade and add the features one-by-one as a LIVE process.

This is likely to remove almost all the cosmetics we've added along with making things such as the polls, unusable. However so long as the forums basic operation functions then we're happy and can re-add the features over a period of two weeks.

We're also waiting to see the next beta of our new 'Readers Top ISP' software, to which we requested changes after last weeks private beta test. It's currently working as intended, although misses some of the key management and order controls we require.

Expect a status update on the Forums next week; in fact we could be using the base for the new technology by then.

News - October 13,2001

Bulldog Attack BTs Co-Mingling Fears

By:mark.j @ 10:33:AM - Comments (0) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Oftel has already been quick to refute BTs 'security fears' as a last ditch attempt to prevent the use of Co-Mingling within their exchanges under Local Loop Unbundling (LLU).

Today another operator - still in the process of LLU, Bulldog Communications, has also thrown itself into the fray. The following comments were made by the groups CEO, Richard Greco.:

"BT should treat local loop operators as it treats itself. All we want is a level playing field," said Mr Greco, who believes equal access to BT exchanges would help bring down the cost of LLU.

And he scoffed at BT's fears that contractors might interfere - deliberately or otherwise - with other operators' equipment arguing that many telcos use the same sub-contractors as used by BT.

The Register reports that Mr.Greco believes BTs response is nothing more than a "smokescreen" and they'd probably be right.

TheFreeInternet (TFI) Troubles Continue

By:mark.j @ 10:22:AM - Comments (6) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Roughly two months ago the unmetered dialup ISP, TheFreeInternet.net (TFI), announced a lengthy upgrade due to last through August and cause various problems throughout the ISP.

According to the complaints we've received and despite more than twice the length of time passing, there's still no sign of improvements. One such TFI user writes:

Initially I was told that the service would be disrupted during August and despite daily checks since, this has now extended into late September with no sign of any change. Though they do seem to be taking new subscriptions!!!. Emails go unanswered and there seems to be no option but to go else where.

We'd be interested in hearing from people, especially anybody whom might have seen improvements rather than problems.

Do-do.tv Clarification

By:mark.j @ 10:05:AM - Comments (5) - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

We posted an item yesterday regarding how the ex-owner of BigBlueSky, Mr D.Singleton, was pointed out (rumor) to be running a new provider going by the name of Do-do.tv.

As usual we promptly dispatched a few E-Mails to which we now have the replies:

Message to ISP Review.

I have noted that an article has appeared on your site today with regards to the launch of do-do.tv (http://www.do-doisp.com). It is also the subject of a minor discussion article in one of your forums.

I would like to put the record straight with regards to the ownership status of do-do.tv

Firstly, I would like to state that Mr David Singleton is not the owner of do-do.tv. It is in fact an VISP of Bloomley UK Ltd based in Cambridge UK. We at NeonHippo (www.neonhippo.com) provide the total VISP solution for the ISP service, including sign-up, connectivity and billing.

Some weeks ago a database of users was made available for purchase, to Bloomley, upon which to start the marketing campaign for do-do.tv. Many of these were previous users of BigBlueSky, the recently suspended ISP.

Unfortunately the name of the supplier of the list was inadvertently used as a contact name on the web portal, do-do.tv. This has subsequently been removed and the correct contact applied. You may have also noticed that many of the sign-up pages were linking through to 24-7Freecall, another recently launched NeonHippo VISP. Again this has now been rectified.

Dan was also able to get a response from Mr.Singleton, whom simply confirmed what Do-do.tv had told us. It's certainly quite an unusual mistake to make, although the information checks out as authentic.

One thing that's likely to annoy is the transfer of personal contact details following BBS's liquidation. This is legal if an option was given in the BBS signup, although the info. should be protected once liquidation starts.


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