Welcome to our News Archives page

April 30, 2002 - May 5, 2002

News - May 5,2002

ISPr = 49,825 Most Popular Site (World)

By:mark.j @ 10:14:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Thanks to Mike for letting us know that Alexa's search engine traffic rankings has ISP Review placed as the 49,825 most popular site in the world.

That's good when you consider that there are millions of sites; click for official results.

Comparison:
The Register = 3,801
Barrysworld = 101,764

ISP Review Weekly Update

By:mark.j @ 9:03:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

IMPORTANT: The forums are offline for an hour due to the usual monthly maintenance, they'll be back very soon.

I'll keep this weekly update short because it's a bank holiday weekend and the last thing I want to think about is work =). Firstly there was a bug with the new survey (poll) that wiped the data file, so please vote again, thanks.

We'll also be adding something new to the site next week in the form of a brand new search engine. It'll be able to search reviews and articles and can even do our older news archives dating back to early 2000. Sadly you'll still need the news systems own search for 'active' archives.

The final forum upgrade software is due out next week and so you can expect us to be busy with that for awhile. We'd now estimate that the 'public' upgrade will occur sometime during the week after next (under two weeks).

Finally we're still trying to fix the new 'Reader Top ISPs' filtering system (stops ISPs with less than 3 votes getting the top spot), it's much harder to do than we thought because some of the scripts need to be re-coded from the ground up.

Expect another small update when the forum maintenance has been completed.

Freedom2Surf Anytime Usage Limits

By:mark.j @ 8:49:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Some of our readers have pointed out that Freedom2Surf's recent website redesign has also made clear a previously unseen usage limit on their AnyTime unmetered dialup service.

Unfortunately the usage limit on F2S's £11.99 per month 24/7 package is now quoted as being - "up to 20 hours per week." To be fair this is an economically realistic price and gives F2S little excuse should engage tones and slow speeds start to show.

On the other hand Both V21 (Free24-7) and PlusNET offer near identical packages and yet are between £2 and £3 per month cheaper. Thanks to Keith (mod) for the update.

Tele2 Comes To Humberside (Hull)

By:mark.j @ 8:40:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

ADSLGuide is reporting that Tele2, one of the UKs only fixed broadband wireless providers, is set to reach the Hull area by June 2002.

Typically this can only be good news because until now Kingston/Karoo was the only operator offering any kind of broadband; finally people should have a choice:

Broadband Humber are the people behind the arrival of Tele2 service in the area and are offering what look like reasonable packages, i.e. £39.99 a month for a 30:1 contention 512kbps/256kbps service. There are a number of options in terms of speed upgrades, which can be enabled for short periods of time.

For business users there are more expensive options that allow you to have guaranteed service levels, e.g. a guaranteed 1Mbps connection is £900/month.

News - May 4,2002

SurfAnyTime ISP Launch 128K ISDN

By:Dan.b @ 10:09:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

SurfAnyTime is the latest ISP to recognise the importance of dual channel (128Kbps) ISDN for unmetered dialup users, especially in non-broadband areas. Several readers have reported that their website is now updated with the following:

Traditionally, BT HomeHighway and other ISDN users have had 264Kbps connections but were unable to utilise them both similtaneously in an unmetered capacity. Until now...

SurfAnytime can now offer full 128Kbps, channel bonded ISDN for a flat, monthly fee.

Not only can you banish those hefty phone bills, we have bundled great webspace packages, excellent Usenet feeds and unlimited POP3 emails as standard with all our 128K solutions.

Diamond (24/7)
Cost: £29.99 PM
Cut-Off: 2 Hourly
Contention: 10:1

Diamond Plus (24/7)
Cost: £34.99 PM
Cut-Off: 4 Hourly
Contention: 10:1

Business (8am - 6pm [Mon-Fri])
Cost: £34.99 PM
Cut-Off: 4 Hourly
Contention: 8:1


The prices look about right, although the 'Business' package is probably the most feasible since even a 10:1 contention can be problematic for dual channel services.

There's also a reminder about SAT's long overdue NTL access, which is for NTL cable customers looking for some extra ISP choices.

News reposted with no comments due to abuse

ALPHAPHE Upgrade

By:Dan.b @ 10:05:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

The recently launched unmetered dialup ISP AlphaPhe.Net has today issued a press release regarding their latest service upgrade. Apparently the upgrade is to help the system cope with 'HUGE DEMAND':

ALPHAPHE UPGRADE THEIR SERVICE TO COPE WITH HUGE DEMAND

We have recently noticed that some AlphaPhe users have been experiencing a few of those dreaded engaged tones that unfortunately every ISP encounters at one stage or another. We appreciate that some people actually like the constant engaged sound, even composing a tune from the beat :) However, most of us don't like the tune much and don't see it as a future No.1, so as promised, as of 30th April 2002, we doubled our FRIACO dial-up port capacity. This should reduce the engaged/busy tones at any time of the day and keep the squawking dial-up sound at the top of the charts :)

For the more techie out there the current user to modem ratio, reflecting the above-mentioned upgrade, is displayed on our home page, which is currently hovering at a very acceptable 4.2 to 1 - the lower the number the less the engaged tune is played :) However, we have now gone one step further and displayed a graph on our site at: http://www.alphaphe.net/cgi-bin/networkstatus/status.pl#usage that reflects the total percentage of usage on the AlphaPhe ports over the last 24 hours - both are very bold moves that have been received with praise from our reassured users.

You will gradually see the user to modem ratio and the graph climbing over the next few months, however don't be alarmed as we monitor these figures very closely to ensure that new upgrades are installed at the right time to minimise disruption.


It’s certainly the first service to introduce a live ‘usage’ graph of statistics (that we know of); we just hope it doesn’t become daily viewing later in the ISPs life.

BT Update ADSL Availability Checker

By:mark.j @ 8:51:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

ADSLGuide is reporting that BT has once again updated their ADSL availability checker, only this time it's not just with the addition of some recently enabled exchanges:

The extra info covers the ability to spot whether your line is an ISDN/HH line, uses a line sharing device (i.e. DAC's) or has some fibre optic cable between you and the exchange. This is the first time it has been made easy for users to spot whether they have a DAC's on their line.

Apparently the messages themselves also vary and should now give more detailed and differing output depending on your location.

News - May 3,2002

BTOpenworld Cut Wireless LAN Prices

By:mark.j @ 3:15:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

BTOpenworld has cut the price of its residential and small business broadband wireless LAN solution by roughly 10%:

The Linksys/BTopenworld co-branded wireless offerings consist of a wireless network laptop card, wireless network USB desktop adapter and a wireless network access point.

The products are offered individually, and in packages such as a Wireless Network Starter Pack (for peer-to-peer connections) which consists of a mix of any two wireless USB adapter or wireless laptop cards for £146.38 (excluding VAT). Prices used to start at £157.45.

The Wireless Network System Package adds a 802.11b certified Wireless Network Access Point with the wireless adapters and cards and costs £288.51 (excluding VAT). It is designed to connect up to four computers.


Note that The Register reports the above 'System Package' to be down from £297.02 to £288.51.

MPs Call For Rural Broadband

By:mark.j @ 3:03:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

MPs are calling on the government to address the lack of AFFORDABLE broadband Internet access in rural areas.

Official figures show that more than 30% of people in the UK live in areas unable to access such technologies and 2010 is far too long for people to wait for it:

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, MP for Cotswold, wants the government to take action to ensure that broadband infrastructure is rolled out faster in rural areas.

Speaking in parliament on Thursday, Clifton-Brown said he had been told that certain parts of his constituency might not get broadband until around 2010. "Will that not create a technological apartheid?" asked Clifton-Brown. "Businesses (that need) broadband will have to move away from those areas, because they will not be able to receive it."

In response, e-commerce minister Douglas Alexander said that some parts of the Cotswolds already had access to broadband both from BT and from cable companies, but acknowledged that it is important to roll out broadband to more parts of the UK.


Sadly this wouldn't be the first time such an issue has been raised and BT remains adamant about not expanding into rural areas unless there's strong demand.

Typically the e-commerce minister, Douglas Alexander, has highlighted broadband Satellite as an alternative, clearly missing the point of 'affordable' broadband. Unless of course he thinks we can all afford £800 for hardware and £60 per month for such a thing?

ZDNet's item then highlights the government and business schemes to promote broadband in rural areas, but don't let this fool you, it'll only help a handful of places - not nearly enough.

Internet e-Voting Proves Popular

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

Early signs are that trials of Internet based e-Voting, among several other new methods, have proved to be a resounding success. There were also no reports of electoral fraud or hacking, something that had concerned more than a few people:

Postal voting appeared to be "particularly popular" raising the turnout from 29% to 53% in Stevenage, says the Electoral Commission.

Internet and telephone polling available in Liverpool's Church and Everton wards was used by four out of 10 voters. Their votes were counted electronically. There are 15,000 registered electors in Church Ward, and 6,500 in Everton Ward.

In Sheffield, the pilot involved people voting through the internet, text messaging and smart card kiosks in supermarkets, libraries and churches. Postal voting helped to increase the turnout by between 4% and 9.5% in three wards.


Unfortunately it's still not clear whether the government intends to open such options up in the next general election (2006). It had previously been ruled out.

BTOpenworld Restrict Unmetered Use

By:mark.j @ 9:37:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Not content with increasing their unmetered dialup (narrowband) price for 24/7 access to £15.99 per month, BTOpenworld has also started to inform customers of an update to their T&C's related to usage:

We currently maintain the quality of our unmetered internet access service for the majority of customers by restricting daily usage under our current terms and conditions.

However, some customers are now going online for long periods of time which makes it difficult to maintain quality at a reasonable price. We therefore intend to introduce a lower daily use limit - down from 16 hours to 12 hours in any given 24-hour period. This change will take effect from 5th June 2002.


To be fair we're surprised they were able to cope with 16Hrs, even at £15.99 per month you're still not paying enough. Our recent article on unmetered usage and expectations can explain the reasons why somewhat better.

On the other hand it’s also the ISPs own fault for not being completely clear and open about the usage limits on such a service.

NTL & Telewest Merger - Update

By:mark.j @ 9:15:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Two of the UKs biggest cable operators, NTL and Telewest, yesterday moved closer to merging as both voiced enthusiasm for a deal once the current debt problems have been resolved:

Barclay Knapp, chief executive of ntl, told the Times he would revisit plans for a merger with Telewest when ntl completes one of the world's biggest corporate rescues, which on Thursday got crucial support from lenders.

"I have been trying to work in that area for ten years, consolidating UK cable," Knapp told the Times. "It makes a lot of sense for us to get together and we look forward to taking that issue up again when we come out of this process."

As ntl and Telewest own cable franchises that do not overlap, any deal would result in little duplication of services and would be unlikely to face regulatory hurdles, analysts say.


There's little in ZDNet's item that we didn't already know, although any merger would bring the combined customer base to an impressive 5 Million. Good competition for BT and BSkyB no doubt.

BT Enable More ADSL Exchanges

By:mark.j @ 8:51:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Whoops, we missed this one from ADSLGuide. BT has announced that 6 more exchanges from the previously announced list of 100 are to be enabled by the end of May:

Abergavenny, Alloa, Farnham Common, Hook, Plymstock and Towcester

ITVDigital Collapse To Hit Net Uptake?

By:mark.j @ 8:48:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

ITV Digital, which collapsed earlier this week, was hardly a major player in the ISP market thanks to limited access/service options.

That said and there are now warnings that ITVD's collapse could put a kink in the government’s plans for universal Internet access by 2005:

The select committee of culture, media and sport believes that the high-profile failure of ITV Digital, which ceased transmitting its pay television channels after administrators failed to find a buyer for the business, will damage the take-up of digital television. This could have a knock-on effect on Internet take-up, especially within lower-income groups, and sink the government's target of universal Internet access by 2005.

The committee would like the government to consider giving away interactive set-top boxes that people could use to access the Internet as well as to view digital television.

"If the take-up of digital television does falter as a result of ITV Digital's failure, and a cheaper and non-interactive set-top box comes into vogue, then a major opportunity to achieve progress with an important government target may have been wasted," said the committee in its Communications report.


While ITVD's collapse is a slap to the governments digital TV plans, we don't believe it's quite such a blow for Internet access.

You simply can't interact with Internet on your TV as easily as you can with a computer, not to mention that nobody offers unmetered TV ISP access! Now there’s a wasted opportunity; give people the choice to choose their own ISP on such systems. More @ ZDNet.

Freedom2Surfs ADSL Capacity Issues

By:mark.j @ 8:40:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

ADSLGuide has reported the following announcement from the popular UK broadband ADSL and unmetered dialup ISP Freedom2Surf:

We are experiencing temporary capacity problems and in the best interests of all our customers we have disabled the KaZaA and eDonkey P2P file sharing facility. This is a very temporary measure until our new capacity has been installed. We have been waiting on BT for some time now for this upgrade and hope to have the problem resolved in the next few days - after which these protocols will be re-enabled.

Our apologies for any inconvenience caused and thank you for your patience.

Katie


Freedom2Surf is one of the cheaper ADSL ISPs and others such as PIPEX have had brief, yet similar problems.

Such things won't always get better with improved capacity, there could come a point where bandwidth contentions (50/20:1) are the firm limit. Expect more such problems from other ISPs in the future.

BBCi Launch Google Beating Search?

By:mark.j @ 8:33:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

The BBC's Online/Interactive division, BBCi, has announced the launch of its own Internet search engine, which is supposedly better suited to UK web users than the likes of Google, Yahoo or Ask Jeeves etc.:

Called simply Search, the feature provides search results from around the web alongside links to BBC recommended sites and relevant BBC news stories.

The BBC claims UK web users are frustrated with the current selection of search engines either because they have too much advertising, not enough parental protection or the search results are too US centric.

"It's Google on steroids," said Tom Loosemore, head of applications at BBCi. "We spent a lot of time making sure we gave the most UK relevance we can. All we focus on is UK users." Search can be found on the middle of the BBC home page. The search box at the top of other BBC pages also leads to the new web search.


The Web-User item notes that the BBC's search engine may actually take longer to load due to the BBC's home page being 6.5 times bigger than the Googles.

Gio Internet ISP Launch vISP Service?

By:mark.j @ 8:20:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Gio Internet, which is itself a reseller of NeonHippo, has announced their own vISP (Virtual ISP) service HERE. Potential clients will have the option of choosing an 0845 (Local Call Rate) or 0800/0808 (unmetered) deal.

It's not clear how the system will work (under the bonnet) or whether Gio will simply be re-circulating NeonHippo's own services or have a completely separate network? It's hardly going to help the market if we start seeing new start-ups reselling the services of another reseller. Can anybody clarify?

News - May 2,2002

Online Banking Users Happy - Just

By:mark.j @ 3:24:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Despite that fact that more than 50% of people using online banking have experienced problems with customer service in the first three months of this year, many still remain happy:

The group's latest findings, which were derived from interviews with more than 5,000 e-banking customers in the UK, showed that 55% experienced service problems - such as site outages, log-on failures and slow access speeds - in the first quarter of this year, down from 60% in the last three months of 2001 and 64% in Q2. Around 24% of respondents described their banks as excellent, up 4% from the previous quarter.

While the rise appeared driven by improved satisfaction of users of Lloyds TSB, RBS/Natwest and Cahoot, Co-op owned bank Smile continues to lead the league table with a score of 4.1 out of 5 from its users - down from 4.2 in Q4.


More @ netimperative.info.

Argos Turns Into A Telco

By:mark.j @ 2:45:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Strange, Argos, the high-street catalogue shop, has become the first such store to offer cut-price phone calls to BT landline customers. Apparently it's new CallSave service can cut the cost of national telephone calls by 50% and 83% on international:

While Argos expects many other retailers to follow in its wake, Matthew Nordan, research director at Forrester Research, is not convinced more than "one or two" will do so this year.

Anna Lord, brand controller at Argos, admitted that in addition to taking advantage of millions of fixed-line phones it sells each year, it is also offering the telecoms service to improve customer relationships.

The concept of reselling landline services it not new. Telcos such as BT have flirted with the idea of farming out the customer contact element of their business many times.


Note that the new venture, Argos Telecom, is done with the aid of Quip!, which many will recognise from the pre-Tiscali ISP LineOne; it's also an associate of BT. Quip! is said to be handling the billing and customer service side of things.

Unfortunately there's no word on whether discounts will also be offered on local voice calls, although few ever come up with a truly competitive ‘local call’ offer. More @ Silicon.

PIPEX Issues Broadband Price Warning

By:mark.j @ 8:46:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

One of the UKs cheapest broadband ADSL offering ISPs, PIPEX, has today issued a new press releasing warning that those paying more than £25 per month for ADSL are paying too much.

While the release is easily designed as a self-promoting measure, it could also be seen as a nock to BTs recently announced 'No Frills' BT Broadband ADSL service:

PIPEX Issues Broadband Price Warning - If you're Paying More Than £25 A Month - You're Paying Too Much!

1 May 2002 - Broadband Pioneers PIPEX, the largest provider of ADSL services in the UK (outside the BT family) with over 20,000 customers, today announced its concerns that if ISPs continue to blatantly overcharge for Broadband Internet access, the UK will be left further behind in the world's race to create a new digital environment.

David Rickards, PIPEX MD, commented "PIPEX set the pace to kick-start Broadband Britain when we launched the Xtreme Solo ADSL service for residential users at a ground-breaking price of £23.44 Inc VAT (19.95 ex VAT) per month. In addition, we made a commitment to pay the BT line activation fee of £58.75 for the first 40,000 customers to join Broadband Britain which immediately resulted in over 400 new sign-ups per day."

Rickards continued "It was clear that price was a major obstacle for Broadband services to really take off in the UK. Our progressive pricing policy proved this and yet today other large residential providers including Freeserve and BT continue to overcharge their customers making Broadband unaffordable to the masses. The bottom line is that if you are paying more than £25 inc VAT per month for Broadband, you are simply paying too much".

"For example, the BT Retail "no frills" Broadband access only services due to be released late autumn have certainly not been priced to match their "no frills" service. At £27 inc VAT per month, this limited Broadband service has been ridiculously overpriced and I believe they know it. Do they really believe the British public are so naive? In my opinion, this is blatant liberty-taking of their dominant and unfair market position."

Rickards concluded, "I believe that these large residential ISPs are squeezing every last penny out of dial-up services at the expense of their customers. The margins available with ADSL are workable and it is possible to offer a quality service at an affordable price whilst remaining profitable. We believe that Broadband is the future of the Internet and now is not the time to be counting the profits but rather we should be concentrating on promoting awareness and educating Britain on the benefits a fast, always on Internet connection can bring."

PIPEX will continue to campaign for more affordable Broadband and will shortly be announcing several initiatives aimed at helping even more customers discover the joys of a Broadband connection.

Oftel Confirms 500,000+ Broadband Users

By:mark.j @ 8:40:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Much as previously expected, Oftels (telecoms regulator) director general David Edmonds has today confirmed that Britain now has over 500,00 broadband connections:

In a statement, Dave Edmonds, director general of Oftel, said: "The 500,000 doesn't take into account the cable operators' connections for March and April, so the actual figure is significantly more."

Edmonds claimed that the UK broadband market was more competitive at network and service levels than many European countries.

Ecommerce minister Douglas Alexander said: "The UK now has some of the cheapest internet prices in the world- for bother narrowband and broadband. As a result , the number of people signing up to broadband is accelerating."


We've already known for a week that the number had surpassed 500,000 (xDSL, Cable Modems etc.) and so there's little else needed to be said, the number speaks for itself. More @ Silicon.

Telewest Cut 1,500 Staff

By:mark.j @ 8:32:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Telewest is cutting 1,500 jobs in a bid to save up to £50 Million:

The group says it wants to "streamline management and flatten reporting lines" in its business as it looks to cut costs.Telewest has run up debts of £5.28 billion as it expands its cable TV, phone and Internet operations in the UK.

Chief executive Adam Singer says the job cuts, which will trim Telewest's workforce back to 9,000, would help the company operate more efficiently.

He adds: "The steps we have taken are aimed at helping stabilise our financial future and are a necessary but painful response to market conditions."


More @ Ananova.

News - May 1,2002

MPs Call For BT Split - Broadband

By:mark.j @ 3:01:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

UK government MPs from culture, media and sport select committees have called on Oftel to take regulatory action against BT in the hope that the operator could be separated to boost broadband take-up.

We must admit to being somewhat bemused by all this; BT only recently made a drastic cut to their ADSL prices and up-take is soaring. The concentration should now be on improving coverage, not making it cheaper:

The network is BT's physical infrastructure -- including local exchanges and cables -- as opposed to its service-based operations, such as BTopenworld. This separation, the committee believes, might bring down broadband prices and could also provide a boost to local-loop unbundling.

The committee's advice was delivered in its Communications report, which was published on Wednesday, and echoes a widespread belief among BT's competitors who say broadband prices would be likely to fall if a third party owned BT's fixed-line network. Companies such as AOL believe that ADSL prices must fall if broadband is to become a mass-market product, but BT blames regulatory restraints for the fact that prices are not lower. BT isn't allowed to sell any products at a loss -- an attempt to prevent the company undercutting rivals to boost market share. Another company might not face the same financial restraints -- which might allow it to offer cheaper wholesale broadband packages.

In its report, the committee said, "We recommend that Oftel, and OFCOM when it takes over the responsibilities of Oftel in due course, should take serious note of criticisms of its effectiveness in establishing a competitive UK market for broadband and follow up with remedial action -- taking account of the proposal to require BT's network to stand on its own as a distinct business."


We can understand the need to split BT for 'competitive' reasons and that of local loop unbundling (LLU), yet we can't help but be surprised that nobody has highlighted coverage. More @ ZDNet.

Easynet Touts LLU & Broadband

By:mark.j @ 2:45:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Easynet, having established a firm 4,500 strong user base for its own-branded BT business ADSL product, has today been happy to shout about its LLU and broadband success @ AGM.

So far Easynet has unbundled 30 local loop exchanges, which now account for 300 of its business customers:

It intends to open further exchanges in London, Reading, Leeds and Scotland. easynet chairman Keith Todd said: "Cooperation with BT has been constructive and we have achieved our target roll-out to date within budget and to plan."

easynet amended its strategic focus to provide business broadband products via unbundled loops and its own loops, which it has developed in London, Manchester, Slough and Brighton. Its technology offers lightning-fast speeds of up to 8Mbs over its own loops, which it claims "sets the pace for the rest of the industry".

Todd said: "The decision to scale back exposure to the wholesale market and continue our strategic focus on providing business broadband solutions is reaping rewards. As a viable alternative to BT, easynet's business went from strength to strength during 2001. We are well placed to suceed in this rapidly developing market."


The netimperative.info item shows that there can still be light at the end of the tunnel for those still involved in Local Loop Unbundling (LLU), unfortunately there aren't many of them.

Madasafish Hike ISP Prices

By:mark.j @ 9:40:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

One of our readers has informed us that the Brightview owned unmetered dialup ISP Madasafish is to increase the cost of its 24/7 service from £12.99 to £14.99 per month (+£2):

We write to you to formally give you notice that with effect from 1st June 2002 the monthly subscription fee to our 24/7 unmetered internet access service will increase to £14.99 inc vat.

But we hope you'll agree that we are still the coolest unmetered offering in the land - and what's more we're still cheaper than AOL and BT!

The unmetered service take up and the feedback from our users have been particularly encouraging.

Our ongoing commitment to providing an efficient service is reflected in our continuing investment in the service. For your information this investment is being made in those areas that contribute to increased overall platform performance including improved connectivity and email access.

Thank you for subscribing to this service. We appreciate it.


While the increase may take it from a more tedious pricing point to the standard one, it's still a heft rise for such a service all at once.

Madasafish has also failed to explain just why the rise is needed; customers certainly don't seem to be getting anything extra for it. This same rise could also affect other ISPs under Brightview’s wing, we’ll have to wait and see.

Airpath's Turns ISPs Into WiFi Providers

By:mark.j @ 9:32:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Airpath has today issued us with a new press release announcing 'Hot Spot in a Box', which allows ISPs (among others) to expand and offer 'Hot Spot' wireless Internet access:

AIRPATH WIRELESS ANNOUNCES HOT-SPOT-IN-A-BOX
Growing A Worldwide “Hot Spot” Footprint


Toledo, OH – April 24 2002 - Airpath Wireless, Inc., a WiFi solutions provider announced today the availability of its new WiFi product, Hot-Spot-In-A-Boxsm.

A Hot Spot is a location that provides high-speed wireless Internet access for people with laptops or hand-held computers. Airpath has designed its Hot-Spot-In-A-Boxsm to include everything needed to install a wireless Hot Spot—the network equipment, the end user billing, even a branded portal.

We’ve taken our experience and expertise in our three service segments, Airpath Internet, Airpath Roaming and Airpath Integration, and designed a turnkey product that will let our customers become instant WISPs,” said Todd Myers, President and CEO of Airpath. “Hot-Spot-In-A-Boxsm features our Airpath Roaming Connector, ARC100C, which provides all the network equipment required to build a Hot Spot bundled into a single unit—just add broadband and you’re ready to go.

Our plug and play package is low cost, easy-to-install and includes everything you need to be able to offer the value-added service of high-speed wireless Internet access while generating additional revenue for your property,” said Tim Barrett, Vice President of Airpath. “Now anyone with a venue that attracts WiFi users can install a Hot Spot in less than a week.

As a part of the package, Hot Spot owners automatically become a part of the Airpath Roaming Network, incorporating their equipment into its growing, worldwide provider-neutral WiFi network. By being provider-neutral, Airpath Roaming remains transparent to end users while providing a single-source of network integration for its members. Any telco, ISP or independent provider that has subscribers can share access to the same equipment or infrastructure by being a part of the Airpath Roaming Network. Customers with existing end users retain control of their branding while being able to offer the benefit of roaming anywhere within the network.

Airpath also offers custom designed solutions to accommodate all types of venues, including large hotels, convention centers, airports, marinas and campuses.

ISPs Demand To Know Cost Of R.I.P

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

It looks as if the industry has had enough of being kept in the dark with the UK government set to face a backlash over its draft code of conduct for the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act:

The criticisms are contained in feedback from industry groups to the government's draft code of conduct. Of particular concern is the government's refusal to detail how it will pay ISPs and other companies who will, under the Act, have to install "black boxes" in their premises that will allow police to intercept communications from employees and customers.

Tim Snape, who chairs the law enforcement group at the ISP Association (ISPA), told ZDNet UK recently that the costs of intercepting could, in combination with the costs of logging data, which is being introduced in separate legislation, cripple small ISPs. "The actual data acquisition costs could be low," he said, "but the costs for data retention, processing, hand-over, billing, management and regulatory compliance will all be very high."

Just how the interception capabilities are built into ISPs and other communications providers will be worked out by a technical advisory board -- the second area of concern for respondents to the draft. Eurim, ISPA, and the CBI were among the organisations to call for more clarity on the board, which has to agree to the wording of the draft before Part I of the Act can be implemented. A spokeswoman at the Home Office said the government is still in the process of recruiting the 12 members of the board and still has no chairman.


The ZDNet item goes into a lot of detail and makes for some good reading, although we certain hope that the 'cost' issue can be ironed out because otherwise customers may have to fit 'some' of the bill (you never know).

The Top 10 Monthly Viruses

By:mark.j @ 9:10:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

According to THIS MONTHLY REPORT from MessageLabs, the Klez-H E-Mail virus (worm) remains in the top spot:

1 - Klez-H
2 - SirCam
3 - Klez-E
4 - Magistr-B
5 - Hydris-B
6 - Magistr-A
7 - BadTrans-B
8 - Vavidad.E1
9 - Yaha-A
10 - MyLife-J


There's also an interesting chart showing the monthly 'virus interception' figures:

BTCellnet Becomes O2

By:mark.j @ 9:05:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Today sees the formal launch of BTs new 'O2' wireless brand, which is to replace the familiar 'BTCellnet' logo many of us recognise.

As its share price hovers above a record low, the company prepared to mark its name change with a champagne reception and a ride on the London Eye, the giant ferris wheel on the banks of the River Thames.

The launch will formally cast off old names such as BT Cellnet in Britain, Viag Interkom in Germany, Telfort in the Netherlands and Digifone in Ireland in favour of O2 - spelled like the chemical symbol for oxygen.

MmO2, which has seen its shares whipped around by the movements of Vodafone, was down 3.4 percent at 42-3/4p on Tuesday. The stock is just above its lowest since demerging from former telecoms monopoly BT last November.

We can't help but wonder how long it'll be before share holders start seeing the chemical symbol for CO'2, get it? Bahahahahaha.. no I know, it's not funny - SORRY!

News - April 30,2002

The Decay Factor - Outdated Websites

By:mark.j @ 3:27:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

New research has found that content on the web suffers a 60, 70 and 80% decay rate at three, six, and 12 month intervals respectively. Apparently this means that OVER half of the Internet is out of date after three months:

The research was published by geek site Slashdot this morning and suggests that, if a company wants to maintain a freshness rate on par with the web as a whole, its website content should be updated at the inverse rate.

"In other words 60 per cent of the site should change every three months, 70 per cent should change every six months, and 80 per cent should change every 12 months," it said.

"The only way to do this effectively is to either have a very small site, or have a site with dynamically generated information."


There's more @ VNUNet.

Troubles Ahead For Vizzavi ISP?

By:mark.j @ 3:12:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Concerns are growing that Vivendi Universal could soon purge its cash-draining Internet activities, including co-owned portal and ISP Vizzavi.

The Financial Times reported on Tuesday that Vivendi CEO Jean-Marie Messier had raised the subject, also mentioning European portals iFrance and Scoot, at a board meeting in Paris last Wednesday.

"Messier last week raised with his board the possibility of selling Vizzavi, the multi-platform portal that was meant to be the glue holding together Vivendi Universal's content and distribution assets," the paper reported. A Vivendi spokesman declined comment.

Vizzavi, a 50-50 joint venture between Vivendi and British mobile phone operator Vodafone founded in January 2000, was originally valued at eight billion euros (5 billion pounds), but some brokerages have written it down to zero in their valuations of Vivendi.

It's not yet clear how this would affect the groups Affinity based unmetered dialup ISP offerings.

Fujitsu ADSL Exchange HW - Update

By:mark.j @ 3:06:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Most of you should probably recall the news items from the past two weeks regarding BTs Fujitsu ADSL line-cards, some of which seemed to be causing a few problems with service.

ADSLGuide has a good summary of the problems and the latest status report, which is as follows:

BT Wholesale have informed ISP's that work has been undertaken during the last weeks that fixes the problem for users connecting to a 2nd generation Fujitsu line card.

Users with the 1st generation hardware at the exchange have a fix on the way, it has been tested and is due for rollout within the next 2 weeks and in theory starts from 30th April.


It's still not clear exactly when 'everything' will be resolved and no doubt there will be a further update within the next few weeks.

WonkyPig (Route Unix) & friaconet ISP

By:mark.j @ 3:02:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

There has been some concern that yesterdays newly announced unmetered ISP, friaconet, may not have been all it seemed. Typically we did our usual investigation and found several things. Firstly we noted the following:

https://cp.friaconet.co.uk

That's a NeonHippo (Murphx) 'sign-up' control panel and the logo is displayed as follows (funny rounded squares in front) - FRIACOnet. By signing up with some dummy details we noted that the address returned was the same as ROUT UNIX (WonkyPig) used (NOTE: Different name at the top - FRIACOnet):

FRIACOnet
Suite 344
80 High Street
Winchester
SO23 9AT


Thankfully friaconet was able to respond and clarify that they had actually brought the domain from ROUT UNIX, yet were not the same company:

Please accept my apologies, friaconet.co.uk was originally purchased from RU Ltd in January. We had yet moved over the name servers etc, as you can imagine we have busy trying to work with BT to get the ports operational.

I'm glad to say that we have this morning informed nominet to change the tag and name servers and this will reflect the correct information.

cp.friaconet.co.uk we were un-aware existed, however looking shows that the logos etc are not the same.

Hope this clears the matter up, we are based in Newbury and I will happily provide you our trading address as soon as our site is complete.


It's not clear quite why the cp.friaconet.co.uk exists, although hopefully this has helped clear some of the details up for those that asked us to look into it.

Government - 40% UK Homes Online

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

Barely a day after Oftel announced that UK Internet penetration for home users stood at just under the 50% mark, the government's quarterly Expenditure and Food Survey has found the results to be somewhat less.

An estimated 9.8 million homes (39% of the total) were able to access the Internet by the end of December 2001, an increase of around 100,000 from the third quarter.

This rise compares with gains twice and three times as large in the previous two quarters and a surge of 800,000 in the "Christmas" quarter one year before. The October to December quarter of 2000 had been the second largest rise on record.

The slowing growth in home access fell against a backdrop of a less certain economic outlook and a general wane in enthusiasm for all things online.

Government promoters of a digital nation also face the challenge that most of the "early adopters" are on board, leaving a more sceptical remainder of the population. This marries well with our belief that market saturation is soon to become more apparent.

Telewest Start CHEAP Broadband Trial

By:mark.j @ 2:39:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

From 1st May 2002 Telewests ISP wing, blueyonder, will launch a new 'broadband taster' offer to tempt people away from dialup and towards broadband, it almost undercuts their own unmetered 'SurfUnlimited' service:

Entitled the "broadband taster", new customers will receive the blueyonder 512kbps downstream/128kbps upstream service at the reduced rate of £13.48 for the first three months. After this, the price will rise to the standard £25 per month (if taken with another Telewest service; £29.99 per month if taken as a standalone service). If customers don't want to continue at the normal price, they can then claim back the installation fee (£50).

This seems like a clever offer and one that's no doubt going to be seen as another kick in the teeth for BTs recent price cuts.

Indeed Telewest's sales and marketing director, David Hobday, was been keen to address this: "BT has made a big fuss over its belated wholesale ADSL price cuts recently, but we don't think they would have the broadband-nerve to offer customers such good value with an optional installation refund. It's confidence in our service that enables us to launch such a ground-breaking offer."

The DigitalSpy item notes that you'll still need to be in an area covered by Telewest's cable lines in order to apply. It’s possible that ‘some’ ADSL ISPs could match this, although they’d need to be one of the few charging around £29.99 per month to be stable.


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