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October 16, 2002 - October 21, 2002

News - October 21,2002

Tesco Teams With NTL To Launch ISP

By:mark.j @ 1:41:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Tescos online division, Tesco.net, has partnered with the UKs largest cable operator, NTL, for a new ISP launch:

Tesco.net partners NTL Business for new ISP launch

* NTL Business seals a major contract to provide total Internet service to leading online retailer

* Complete ISP solution encompasses access package, user registration, member services, content management, billing and technical support

* Deal reaffirms NTL Business' position as the UK's leading provider of wholesale Internet solutions

NTL Business, a leading national and local provider of integrated business communications, today announced that it has won a major 3-year contract to deliver a complete ISP solution to Tesco, the UK's largest supermarket chain and a leading online retailer.

Under the deal, NTL Business will provide an end-to-end Virtual ISP (VISP) solution to Tesco's customers under the Tesco.net brand. NTL Business will deliver and manage subscribers' access to the worldwide web, and will handle user registration, member services, billing and technical support. It will also manage the Tesco.net portal, including providing and managing content and handling media sales.

The partnership will enable Tesco to provide its customers with a range of innovative and competitive ISP products, including the recently launched Tesco.net Anytime, an unlimited Internet access package at a market-leading price of £12.99.

Phase one of the contract saw NTL Business migrate Tesco.net's existing dial-up subscribers to the new platform. In phase two, NTL Business will deliver a new suite of market-leading subscriber packages, including pay-as-you-go and unmetered options, designed to increase significantly the number of people logging on to the Internet in Britain.

NTL Business, which already numbers some of the UK's leading online brands, including Virgin.net, among its VISP customer base, was chosen on the strength of its experience of providing wholesale Internet services to UK ISPs. The nationwide reach of its network, coupled with its ability to offer additional services such as broadband Internet access in the future, were also important differentiating factors.

"Our focus on innovation and quality of service is the common thread running through all aspects of the business, and Tesco.net is no exception," commented John Browett, CEO, Tesco.com. "We needed to find a technology partner to whom we could entrust not only our ISP services, but more importantly our brand. The proven track record of NTL Business in this market demonstrated its ability to meet our stringent criteria."

"We are delighted to be working with Tesco on this project, and we look forward to extending the relationship in the future," said Paul Rusby, Director Wholesale Internet Services, NTL Business. "This deal demonstrates our commitment to maximising the value of our network assets by working with wholesale partners to develop and deliver tailored solutions."

NTL Business is currently the largest provider of infrastructure to the UK's ISP community. Its nationwide and local network assets enable NTL Business to offer ISPs access to the largest customer base available from any UK telecoms company, and its innovative product portfolio allows ISPs to select the elements they need to create a bespoke ISP solution.

Via Questions UKs Broadband Future

By:mark.j @ 1:26:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Via Net.Works UK has today issued a new press release questioning the future of UK broadband, specifically the rollout of ADSL services in urban areas:

VIA NET.WORKS UK, a provider of managed Internet services for business, believes the recent announcement from Oftel that the UK now has a million users signed up to broadband is promising news, but questions whether the UK telecommunications infrastructure can sustain rapid growth in the broadband market. While there has been much focus on the problems of rural broadband rollout, VIA believes that there are also technical barriers limiting the rollout of broadband in many urban areas of the UK.

VIA's experience shows that just under one in every ten ADSL orders that VIA receives from customers who have passed the provisional telephone and postcode checks on broadband availability cannot be completed. VIA found that the two most common problems are that the customer's telephone is too far from the BT exchange or that the telephone line failed BT tests.

"The advantages of broadband are numerous and many companies are waking up to its potential business benefits," said Jeff Meulman, managing director, VIA NET.WORKS UK. "But it is important that the problems of the UK's legacy telecoms infrastructure are tackled by the telecoms regulator. Our experience shows that nearly 10% of businesses within areas that can be theoretically served by ADSL-enabled telephone exchanges end up being disappointed because the quality of their phone line is not good enough for broadband services. Although BT has made commitments to upgrading telephone exchanges, the rollout of broadband is being hampered by the UK's ageing telephone lines."

VIA NET.WORKS UK is one of a new breed of managed service providers (MSPs). VIA provides business Internet services including reliable connectivity, web hosting, security, remote access, wide-area networking, messaging, professional consultancy services and web development. Offering a number of broadband options designed for businesses including ADSL and dedicated leased lines, VIA has recently launched advanced broadband - SDSL - services in several parts of Britain.


Of course such words aren’t surprising from a company with a vested commercial interest, yet they do still highlight some interesting issues.

E-Envoy - Talking Up UK Broadband

By:mark.j @ 1:20:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

While issuing a keynote speech at the TMA 2002 this morning, the governments e-envoy, Andrew Pinder, was quick to talk up the progress of UK broadband connections:

Opening the conference stream at the annual Telecoms Managers Association conference in Brighton, Pinder claimed that growth is now exponential, but warned that the sector would suffer another year of pain before the turnaround.

"I was deep in the mire of broadband depression last year," he said. "But now we are seeing the beginning of an uplift."

Addressing a packed audience, he said that the Japanese had woken up to broadband, but that it would take a lot for them to overtake the UK.


Indeed there has been significant progress this last year, although sadly there's still no mention of a viable solution for those living in rural areas. More @ VNUNet.

Freeserve Boosts Subscriptions - 43%

By:mark.j @ 1:09:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

The French Wanadoo backed UK ISP Freeserve has announced a 43% rise in its unmetered dialup (narrowband) services for the past year.

The ISP stated that it had 2.553Million active subscribers at the end of September 2002, compared with 2.078m at the same point in 2001:

Of this figure, 855,000 were signed up to pay services via narrowband dial-up connections, compared to 596,000 last year.

Its parent company also reported a sharp increase in subscribers to its broadband services across Europe. It claims to have 981,000 broadband users at the end of September, compared with 363,000 last year. 239,000 come from outside its core French operations.

Meanwhile, Freeserve has also taken on search and retrieval technology from technology firm FAST Search and Transfer to boost the content available to users of its UK portal.


Clearly Freeserve also has a lot of free (no subscription) dialup customers and broadband ADSL subscribers as well, although specific figures aren't mentioned. More @ netimperative.info.

Freedial.biz ISP Update

By:Keith @ 11:45:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

The yet to be launched ISP, Freedial.biz, has today sent out an update to pre-registered members with the following details:

SERVICE UPDATE

We're going live!!

The first batches of confirmation requests are being sent out next week!
These will include instructions on finalising the order and setting up your account. The allotted Budget Plan spaces will be allocated on a first come first served basis to those customers that complete the signup procedure - this will include paying the Activation fees. As soon as this is done you will be allocated your service.

To make it fair the confirmation requests will be sent out in batches in the order that the pre-registrations were received.

Remember though - If you don't make it in the first rollout you will
automatically be allocated service for the November rollout (if required).

Dial-up users and other DSL plan users are not affected by this and will be allocated their service upon completion of the signup process. More about this will be explained in the confirmation requests being sent out next week.


Although the update suggests that those who registered first will receive their details next week, it doesn’t actually give a firm date for the service going live.

Hopefully those who do get their details and start using the service(s) will be able to issue feedback via the forums on how they rate the quality of the dialup and budget ADSL package.

Demon ISP Launch New ADSL Product

By:mark.j @ 9:51:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

THUS Telecom have sent out a new press release announcing the launch of a new 'differentiated' broadband ADSL product, which will be sold via its ISP wing, Demon Internet:

THUS Launches First Differentiated ADSL Products For High-End Business Users

THUS plc, one of the UK's leading providers of voice, data, Internet and contact centre services, today launched Demon Premier Express, a suite of revolutionary ADSL products for business customers, delivering superior performance and reliability to standard ADSL based products. Demon Premier Express is the perfect choice for high-end business users, meeting the demand for an intermediate service between "one size fits all" ADSL offerings and high-capacity leased lines. Demon Premier Express is now available to customers based within 3.5km of enabled exchanges in the central London area with further UK roll-out planned.

Demon Premier Express provides businesses with a number of competitive advantages over existing ADSL connections:

Improved throughput capacity via contention ratios of 5:1 or 1:1, compared to existing 20:1 and 50:1 offerings.

Delivery via THUS's state-of-the-art national network instead of BT's "best effort" IP network, offering improved quality of service compared to other ADSL services.

Cost savings compared to traditional leased line offerings.

The increased performance delivered by Demon Premier Express is achieved by THUS allocating up to ten times more backbone network capacity per customer than standard ADSL services. This provides business customers with significantly improved bandwidth throughput. Service providers "overbook" backbone network capacity, similar to the way the airline industry overbooks seats on flights, because customers do not typically use their broadband connection to its full potential at the same time. It is recognised that customers will see a slow degradation in the speed of standard ADSL connections as more and more users compete for scarce backbone capacity, especially since broadband growth in the UK has increased significantly since April 2001 while BT's backbone capacity has not.

THUS has achieved significantly improved quality of service by being the first UK service provider to offer an ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) based ADSL service allowing THUS to use a proven carrier class switching technology, as the platform for Demon Premier Express. ATM will enable THUS to offer a variety of new services such as Voice over DSL (VoDSL). A key benefit of using ATM interconnect is that it enables THUS to intercept and carry a higher proportion of a customer traffic over its own highly resilient fibre optic network using what is called an "In Span Handover". This innovation, made possible by a recent Oftel determination in THUS's favour, means customers will benefit from further increased reliability and a more economical service.

Demon Premier Express Plus (£50 connection and £100 per month subscription) excl VAT:

. Self install
. 20Mbyte commercial web space
. Up to 3 domain names with mail and web forwarding
. Electronic fax
. Choice of NAT or non-NAT configuration (Non-NAT with open ports)
. Choice of SMTP and POP3 E-mail
. Up to 0.5Mbps downstream bandwidth and 0.25Mbps upstream
. 5:1 contention ratio
. Unlimited TCP/IP traffic, 24 hours a day
. 24 hour technical support

Demon Premier Express Pro (£50 connection and £200 per month subscription) excl VAT:

. Self install
. 20Mbyte commercial web space
. Up to 3 domain names with mail and web forwarding
. Electronic fax
. Choice of NAT or non-NAT configuration (Non-NAT with open ports)
. Choice of SMTP and POP3 E-mail
. Up to 2.0Mbps downstream bandwidth and 0.25Mbps upstream
. 5:1 contention ratio
. Unlimited TCP/IP traffic, 24 hours a day
. 24 hour technical support


Demon Premier Express Gold (£50 connection and £600 per month subscription) excl VAT:

. Self install
. 50Mbyte commercial web space
. 3 Domain names with mail and web forwarding
. 2 electronic faxes
. Choice of SMTP and POP3 E-mail
. Non-NAT with open ports
. Up to 2.0Mbps downstream bandwidth and 0.25Mbps upstream
. 1:1 contention ratio
. Unlimited TCP/IP traffic, 24 hours a day
. 24 hour technical support
. Includes 4 IP addresses

For more information on Demon Premier Express please go to
http://www.demon.net/adsl

News - October 20,2002

Websites Forgetting About Dialup Users?

By:mark.j @ 5:32:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Paul Cockerton, a Newbytes news editor for The Technology Vault, has today informed us of a new article they have.

The piece, titled "Loading Please wait...", looks at how a growing number of website developers are updating their content for broadband only to neglect their slower dialup audience:

In Britain where an ever increasing number of computer users are upgrading to broadband we ask "Is the dial-up user being left behind?". It sure seems like it at times. Users with broadband seem to have forgotten their fellow dialers when it comes to creating websites.

There used to be an unwritten rule that a webpage should take no longer than 10 seconds to load. Some websites probably do only take 10 seconds to load if you've got broadband, but the poor throttled dial-up user would have to wait 2 or 3 minutes to see the same page.


There are some very interesting and valid points made in the article, although thankfully the highlighted problem isn't quite so common, yet.

Thankfully most, but not all =(, websites with extensive multimedia and FLASH content etc. normally offer a cut-down version. For the most part the vast majority of people do still cater for dialup users.

ISP Review Forum Maintenance

By:mark.j @ 10:48:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

The ISP Review discussion forum is now back online following our usual maintenance sweep.

ISP Review Weekly Update

By:mark.j @ 10:04:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

It's been a very busy week and I'll tell you why in a moment, however first I should mention that the discussion forum will be offline for 1hour+ due to monthly maintenance.

As for what we've been up to in the last week, the broadband Satellite ISPs list has been updated a fair bit and the xDSL (ADSL) listings have also been completely re-done with all service and prices now correct.

We also appear to have finally squashed that nasty prune database bug in our forthcoming 'Reader ISP Reviews' system, hopefully some extensive testing in the coming week won't reveal any further showstoppers.

We're also still putting plans together for a future (not for awhile) forum software change and a new ISP Listings system with more interactivity and flexibility. More next week..

News - October 19,2002

ONS Internet Connectivity Report

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

Net4Nowt and Internet Magazine have been quick to spot that the governments Office of National Statistics (ONS) has issued their Internet Connectivity Report - August 2002 (Adobe Acrobat .PDF format).

The big news appears to be that dialup (narrowband modem) ISP subscriptions fell between July and August by 0.3%, yet remained up by 11.8% compared to 12 months earlier:

More impressive were the figures for broadband growth. The year-on-year increase for high-speed connections was 354.8 per cent, with an increase of 9.9 per cent from July to August.

According to the figures, dial-up narrowband connections continue to dominate the overall number of Internet subscriptions in Britain but broadband connections are continuing to increase their share.

Overall, broadband connections made up 7.2 per cent of total Internet subscriptions in August 2002, up from 6.5 per cent in July.


It'll be interesting to see whether the dialup decline continues into September, although it did drop by 0.5% in May only to pick up sharply in the following months.

Freeserve ISP Cuts ADSL Cost

By:mark.j @ 10:06:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Much as had been expected, the French Wanadoo backed UK ISP Freeserve has cut the cost of its broadband ADSL services to be more competitive, it's now £27.99 per month:

The price cut comes into effect from Monday and Freeserve, which claims to be "Britain's favourite internet company", will support the promotion with national press, TV and radio advertising. The company is also offering £25 worth of "premium broadband content" free, as part of the deal.

More @ netimperative.info .

fairADSL ISP On Service Problems

By:mark.j @ 10:01:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

The recently launched and ultra-cheap UK ADSL offering ISP, fairADSL, has today issued us with a service update that it hopes will better explain their recent bandwidth and speed problems:

fairADSL statement dated 18th October 2002

fairADSL has now been providing Broadband services based on the BT Home 500 service for just under 3 months. Since launching, the service has proven to be extremely popular due to our low monthly fees. We had a fair few 'knockers' when we launched with the usual, 'they are too cheap, so they can't be any good' comments, but apart from a few problems with BT provisioning we have managed to provide a good service to our users.

We have always been aware that our customers want to have a service that is not only on 24/7, but provides good connectivity and download speed. To this end we placed upgrade orders with both BT and our outgoing bandwidth providers in plenty of time to keep up with demand. Unfortunately due to ineptitude and bureaucracy on behalf of these parties, the bandwidth upgrade did not operate correctly and the BT Central Pipe upgrade has not been implemented in time. We are very annoyed about this, and extremely angry on behalf of our customers.

We would like to assure our customers that we have been doing everything in our power to resolve these issues. We have been informed by BT that the Central Pipe upgrade, due to have taken place on the 14th October, will now take place on 22nd October. The outgoing bandwidth upgrade is in place, and has been brought into operation but cannot operate correctly without the BT upgrade.

We would like to thank those users who have been very patient whilst these problems were being resolved, and ask them to bear with us for the next couple of days until all the outstanding issues are concluded.

UK Businesses & Internet File-Swapping

By:mark.j @ 9:57:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

A new report from Packeteer, a network traffic management firm, has found that 4 in every 5 UK businesses allow potentially illegal file swapping programmes to be in active use on their networks:

many firms are unaware that employee file swapping could land them in legal hot water. Packeteer wants firms to buy its software, root out MP3-swapping action, and then ban it.

"UK companies should take this problem seriously as they risk getting their fingers burnt by a record industry that is resolutely trying to protect its revenues," admonishes Arnold Pijpers, EMEA Director at Packeteer.


The Register points out the on-going £1Million battle between Stelios' EasyInternet Cafe and the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) as an example of what can happen.

Clueless - Employee Internet Habits

By:mark.j @ 9:52:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

UK ISP Star Internet has become the latest group to issue the results of a survey into business Internet access habits.

The ISP found that, similar to other surveys, 43% of employers are currently unaware of how much time their employees spend on the Internet:

One in every three employers actively encourage their staff to go online for leisure purposes while at work, indicating that attitudes towards the web are more lenient than previously thought.

The fact that the net enables users to carry out personal tasks such as shopping and booking holidays more quickly than if they left the office is one reason why it might be encouraged at work, according to Star.

Jos White, founder and marketing director of the ISP, said: "The internet is an essential tool for maximising business processes and productivity, as well as being something which many people turn to for recreation and leisure. Many employers feel that strict policing of internet usage is not conducive to a positive working environment, and a third actually promote non-work usage."


We know a few developers of Internet filtering technology that would love to disagree =), more @ Silicon.

News - October 18,2002

Three Exchanges Hit ADSL Trigger

By:mark.j @ 2:23:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

ADSLGuide reports that a further three local exchanges, Bradford-on-Avon, Buckley and Drayton, have today hit their broadband ADSL pre-registration trigger levels, bringing the total so far to 26.

AOL ISP Solves 30 Hour Usage Limit?

By:mark.j @ 1:43:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

It had previously been announced that AOL would be limiting the unmetered dialup usage of customers connecting via a Telewest Eurobell line to 30 hours per month, yet this may no longer be the case. Net4Nowt notes the following customer e-mail:

We recently told you that your AOL FLAT RATE price plan would need to be replaced by the new AOL 30 HOUR package. However, a technical solution is now being implemented by Telewest, which would allow us to continue offering AOL FLAT RATE to Telewest Eurobell telephone customers.

If a deal is agreed based on the technical solution, you would no longer have to change from our market-leading AOL FLAT RATE price plan to the AOL 30 HOUR package.

We are sorry if the proposed changes caused you any concern and we are thrilled that Telewest is considering a new deal. Once a deal has been concluded you will receive an email and a popup which will instruct you on how to change to the dedicated AOL FLAT RATE access number for all Telewest customers.


Full details remain veiled in secrecy, although AOL does promise another update in the not too distant future. We'll be waiting.

UK To Become E-Commerce Leader

By:mark.j @ 9:30:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

The UK government’s e-Envoy, Andrew Pinder, has again stated his belief that the country could soon become the best place in the world for doing e-commerce:

Pinder's positive assertion comes despite his confirmation that the 2005 target for getting all government services online won't be reached.

The e-Envoy's third annual report, due to be handed to the Prime Minister on 19 November, will show that around a quarter of UK businesses are trading over the Web, eclipsing the proportion in the US.

Pinder told a meeting of the Society for Computers and Law Internet Interest Group last week that the UK Government's laissez faire approach to e-commerce regulation was proving a success.


It's no surprise that Pinder has chosen to issue his comment now, which follows on from a report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing a boom in UK online spending.

Fast24 ISP Accelerates Upgrades

By:mark.j @ 9:20:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

It looks as if a problem with one of Fast24's unmetered dialup numbers has forced the ISP to issue another service update and accelerate their planned capacity upgrade:

As some of our customers may note, the BT number (08089933225) has been unavailable since this afternoon.

As we recently informed you, we currently purchase our BT ports from a third party common port pool - a situation which anyway was due to cease at the end of this month. However, as of today our supplier of the common port pool has a currently unresolved issue with BT, which has led to the ports becoming temporarily unavailable. We are hoping that the supplier will resolve this issue in the very near future.

Since we have already announced, by email to you all, that from the end of this month we were going to be providing our own port capacity, together with new connect plans, we have, in the light of this latest development decided to accelerate our announced plans as a precautionary measure. Consequently, we are hoping to have significant new port capacity online either tomorrow, or Monday. Unfortunately, we cannot provide a cast-iron guarantee that the additional capacity will be available tomorrow but, thanks to the already advanced nature of our ongoing discussions with our own port suppliers, both we and these suppliers are working hard to make this a reality.

The major downside for you, our customers, apart from the short-term connection difficulties, will be the necessity to introduce what we hope will be a final number change. This would have been a requirement anyway at the end of this month, as part of our new service proposals, since the new ports have their own access numbers - user loginswe are now purchasing our own capacity (with its' own number range).

Once we have our own capacity fully in place we hope that our history of number changes, which have been enforced upon us by our current port pool supplier, will cease.

We shall continue to utilise the 08089996356 number, and many of you those that are currently unable to access the BT number should be able to connect using this number until either our new capacity becomes available, or the BT issue is resolved.

We sincerely regret that the current circumstances have arisen, particularly after sending you the email yesterday afternoon. However, the developments of today were completely unexpected by ourselves, and were totally beyond our ability to influence.


Please be aware that 'tomorrow' refers to today in the above update as it was issued yesterday afternoon. It's good to see Fast24 doing what they can to keep people informed.

BTOpenworld & Brightmail Fight SPAM

By:mark.j @ 9:02:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Following on from a similar move by Microsofts Hotmail service, UK ISP BTOpenworld has become the latest group to team up with Brightmail and offer its customers a free anti-spam (junk e-mail) service:

BT OPENWORLD ZAPS SPAM

BT Openworld is the largest UK ISP to form a strategic partnership with Brightmail to provide a free anti-virus and anti-spam service to its customers.

The service, from the market leader in anti-spam technology, significantly reduces the spam email that users receive and removes viruses from email content and attachments. Brightmail's technology uses a network of decoy email accounts with a statistical reach of more than 1 million inboxes to attract and identify spam. Spam filtering rules are then automatically generated and pushed to BT Openworld every five to ten minutes, keeping users' inboxes clear of junk email.

By opting-in to the free service on the BT Openworld web site or on the webmail service, spam will be transferred to a separate folder. Emails containing viruses will be cleaned, using Symantec technology, and then sent on to the user. The sidelined spam messages will be held for 30 days, after which time they will automatically be deleted.

The service will be rolled out from the end of October. BT Openworld is committed to making the service available to all broadband consumer customers, and Anytime and Surftime narrowband customers, by the end of the year. Customers will receive an email, letting them know when they can use the service.

Duncan Ingram, senior vice president at BT Openworld, said: "Brightmail filters more than 3 billion messages a month. We're using its technology to ensure our customers enjoy the net and don't have to waste time wading through junk email or have viruses corrupt their email content."

Enrique Salem, president and CEO at Brightmail, said: "We are pleased BT Openworld has taken the lead by protecting its subscribers against spam and viruses. Independent research has shown spam is on the increase - in the UK 76 per cent of home email users receive some form of spam on a daily basis. The amount and type of spam is becoming an increasing problem for internet users and the protection BT Openworld will offer consumers is a valuable competitive edge."


Hopefully BTOpenworld won't also make the same mistake as Hotmail and turn a free service into a commercial one.

News - October 17,2002

Telewest Responds – BT & Sky Deal

By:mark.j @ 2:34:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Telewests broadband ISP wing, blueyonder, has just issued their response to the recently announced broadband ADSL promotion deal between BT and Sky:

Gavin Patterson, managing director of Telewest Broadband, said: "BT can't compete with the simplicity and value of our blueyonder broadband service. For £50 we will send a qualified technician to get you up and running, where as Sky customers will still have to pay a £65 activation fee for the pleasure of doing the wiring themselves."

"We passionately believe that making broadband approachable and offering comprehensive, quality services is the key to making broadband Britain a success. Our blueyonder broadband services have already won six major internet awards this year and consumers will always value a service that provides all the essentials, rather than one that offers none."


The response is hardly surprising given that the new BT/Sky deal is technically on competitive ground with both Telewest and NTL.

Fibernet Announces Pre-Tax Loss

By:mark.j @ 2:29:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Fibernet, the UK telecoms group helping to supply SDSL to Scotland, has reported a pre-tax loss of £91m, causing its shares to slip by a single percentage point:

Much of the loss - £70.1m - was attributed to an exceptional charge relating to Fibernet's exit from its French and German operations in the summer following the collapse of KPNQwest.

Putting this to one side, the company still reported a pre-tax loss of £21.1m, compared to a pre-tax profit of £3.6m in 2001.

Group turnover fell from £54.5m in 2001 to £43.1m for the year to the end of August 2002.


The Register reports that UK revenue has fallen from £52.3m last year to £36.2m this year, yet orders have remained strong and tripled.

Gio Internet Introduces Fair Use Policy

By:mark.j @ 1:46:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

The UK ISP Gio Internet has quietly sent out a new service update to its customers. Unfortunately the update touts the ISPs introduction of a new 'Fair Usage' policy for unmetered dialup packages:

The ongoing improvements being made to our Internet Access service is part of our effort to improve the service that is offered.

Gio Internet has introduced a Fair Usage Policy (FUP) for each of its services.

Package - Hours/month - cut off (hrs)

56k/64k
Gio Universal - 80 - 1
SurfAccess E/W - 80 - 2
SurfAccess Day - 100 - 2
Twilight - 80 - 2
Gio Unlimited - 160 - 2

Gio Business Day - 100 - 2
Gio Business 24/7 - 200 - 2

128K
Gio Ignite - 80/160* - 1
Gio Ignite plus - 200/400* - 2
Gio Ignite Gold - 200/400* - 2
Gio Opium Day - 100/200* - 2

Business 24/7 Stat IP - 200 - 2
Business 24/7 Stat IP 128K - 200/400* - 2

* 128K/64k

The above changes will limit excessive usage and allow fairer and consistent level of service to all users. Please note that the above changes are effective immediately.

Should customers require any additional information please do not hesitate to email: support@giointernet.com


It would seem, judging from the E-Mails we’ve been getting, that a fair few people are less than pleased with the changes.

Expert Warns UK Gov - eVoting Danger

By:mark.j @ 1:38:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Rebecca Mercuri, a leading expert on electronic voting and assistant professor of computer science at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, has warned the UK government about the dangers of online voting:

Voting through the internet or touch screens gives more chance for electoral fraud, says Ms Mercuri. The warning comes as the government continues to consult the public and experts about moves towards so-called e-democracy.

Ms Mercuri has already given evidence to the American Congress and now is bringing her research to the UK - "I am horrified that anybody would even consider using the internet for elections."

The commission is looking at potential abuses of new voting methods, but says no electoral system is immune to fraud.


Many believe that not going the online rout could seriously impact on voter turnout, although hopefully they're also wise to any potential security problems as well. More @ BBC News Online.

AOL UK v8 May NOT Prevent Pop-Ups

By:mark.j @ 1:27:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Existing AOL UK customers may be concerned to learn that while the USA version of the ISPs latest software (v8) contained measures to help prevent third-party pop-ups, the forthcoming UK release may not!:

A spokesman for AOL UK said the company is still debating whether to adopt the US stance, when it launches AOL 8.0 over here. "We are still deciding the official position on this," said the spokesman. "We don't see it as an immediate problem because we have not had many complaints. We have two million members and only the occasional complaint."

"There has been a lot of kick-back from US web users about pop-ups interfering with their surfing," he said. "In the UK surfers have not been swamped by pop-ups. We have been more restrained as there has been less external pressure from advertisers."


Web-User reports that AOL UKs excuse is that the USAs advertising market is two years ahead of ours. In other words, if you're ever annoyed by AOL UK pop-ups - TELL THEM!

BT No Frills Broadband Joins With Sky

By:mark.j @ 1:19:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

BT has today release the official details for their previously rumoured link with Sky (SkyDigital), which will see the operator offering Sky customers a free broadband ADSL modem, among other things.

Satellite TV group BSkyB will now serve up its 6.1 million subscribers for BT, as the former telecoms monopoly aggressively promotes high-speed Internet access in an effort to reach an ambitious target of 5 Million broadband users by 2006.

Under the promotion, Sky subscribers will save £80 on ADSL equipment (modem) for BT 'No Frills' Broadband, and get a £20 pound credit on their Sky bill after signing up to broadband for a year. However there's still the £27/£28 rental per month and £60 connection fee to consider.

"We are very confident that this will be a competitive proposition and I expect the offer to Sky customers to account for around 20 per cent of BT Broadband sales," said Angus Porter, managing director of BT's consumer division.

Kernowserve Preps 128Kbps Unmetered

By:mark.j @ 12:14:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

The UK unmetered dialup and broadband ADSL offering ISP, Kernowserve, has announced the launch of a third type of unmetered package, one which supports 128Kbps ISDN:

128k ISDN access for HomeFree24 and Business24
We've enhanced our popular unmetered call-charge-free internet access packages to take advantage of dual-channel ISDN. Ideal for areas where ADSL is not available yet.

homefree24/128... £32 per month
Twice the speed of HomeFree24! Max Contention ratio 9:1. 5x email accounts included.

business24/128... £60 per month
Dual-channel ISDN version of Business24 - idea for networks or areas that can't get ADSL yet. 20 email accounts included. We can provide advice, hardware and installation if necessary. (price excludes VAT)

IAP Broadband ISP Enters Wales

By:mark.j @ 10:03:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

The broadband wireless ISP, IAP Broadband, looks set to expand their coverage into Wales following a number of successful tests in the region:

Initial results show a very good chance that coverage will be available in parts of Caldicot with a good chance of coverage in parts of Roiget and Magor.

Due to the distances involves this needs further testing.


IAP is also investigating the possibility of covering other regions in north Wales and has even begun talks with the MP in charge of the recently (yesterday) announced government broadband funding.

However IAP reminds people that they're a small ISP and such coverage improvements will take time.

Cumbrias £30Million Broadband Boost

By:mark.j @ 9:57:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

The North West Development Agency (NWDA) has announced that Cumbria will gain £30Million for development of broadband Internet access infrastructure.

This follows a similar move by the North Yorkshire County Council, which last week pledged £12Million for a similar project:

The contract will be put out to tender in the next month and should be signed by summer 2003. The winning supplier will provide a managed service for three to five years, supplying 500kb/s links to private citizens, 2mb/s to businesses, and an egovernment network connecting council buildings.

Under the agreement, user costs will be the same as if they were buying broadband in a metropolitan area, such as London or Manchester.


More @ VNUNet.

Silvermead Launch New Satellite ISP

By:mark.j @ 9:48:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Silvermead has just become the third ISP this week to tout a new broadband satellite ISP. Similar to Isonetrics new service (announced Monday); Silvermeads offer costs £34.99 per month with unlimited data transfers.

Installation costs £49.99, however you can also get the hardware and an installation for a combined £149.99 (one-off payment). It should take up to 14 days before an engineer is able to install it at your home:

There are three key components needed in order for you to receive Silvermead Satellite Broadband at your home or office:

Hardware - To receive broadband through a satellite you'll firstly need a mini-dish on your home or office. The starter kit includes a dish or an upgrade if you already have a dish for Sky. It also includes a Satellite modem to decode the signal and all the software you need.

An internal (PCI) Starter kits costs £99.99 or a USB kit costs £149.99. There is also a router (network) version available for £199.99. All prices include VAT.

Installation - Your mini-dish needs to be installed or upgraded for you and aligned with the satellite we use. This is done within 14 days and we will run the cable to your computer and test the signal for you. Installation costs just £49.99 including VAT.

Subscription - Your subscription fee includes a Silvermead Unlimited account for you to dial-the internet with and a satellite account for your data to be downloaded through. You can start using your Silvermead Unlimited account straight away and your satellite download as soon as we've installed or upgraded your mini-dish. The subscription is £34.99 a month including VAT.


Typically this is another one-way service, meaning that you'll still need a secondary modem/ISDN dialup ISP for the upstream requests. The service itself should provide for downstream speeds of between 350 and 450kbps (500Kbps Max).

It's worth noting that although the service appears to offer unlimited data transfers, they also state that a Fair Usage policy is under development in their FAQs.

The ISP itself is associated with PlanetSky, a Satellite IP provider based in Cyprus. Little is mentioned about the satellite itself, although you'll need a 60cm dish to receive it and most SkyDigital customers can simply be upgraded to have both.

Fast24 Preps New Unmetered Offers

By:mark.j @ 9:30:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Several readers have let us know of a new and very long service announcement being sent out to customers of the unmetered dialup offering ISP, Fast24.

Much of what is stated in the update has been mentioned before, yet Fast24 has also decided to re-do some of its existing packages and launch a few new ones. The changes will be effective from 30th October 2002.:

In accordance with our Terms and Conditions we hereby notify you that from midnight on the 30th October all customers shall be ported to the most appropriate package from our new range, as detailed below:

WHAT PACKAGE WILL YOU BE PORTED TO?

'Off-Peak' will become 'Primetime 200'
'Anytime' will become 'Anytime 200'
'Alltime' (Personal users) will become 'Anytime 200'
'Alltime' (Business users) will become 'Anytime Business 300'

NEW SERVICE DESCRIPTIONS (PRICES INCLUDE VAT):

Primetime 200 : £9 per month

- 24*7 Access to the Internet.
- Unmetered internet access (no call charges) during the hours of 4pm to Midnight, Monday and Friday, and all day Saturday and Sunday.
- Lo-call rate internet access at all other times.
- 200 hours max usage per month

Twilight 200 : £3 per month

- 24*7 Access to the Internet.
- Unmetered internet access (no call charges) during the hours of Midnight to 8am, 7-days a week.
- Lo-call rate internet access at all other times.
- 200 hours max usage per month

Insomniac 300: £11 per month

- 24*7 Access to the Internet.
- Unmetered internet access (no call charges) during the hours of 4pm and 8am, 7-days per week.
- Lo-call rate internet access at all other times.
- 300 hours max usage per month

Anytime 200 : £11 per month

- 24*7 Access to the Internet.
- Unmetered internet access for up to 200 hours per month.
- Lo-call rate internet access at all other times.

Anytime Business 300 : £16 per month

- 24*7 Access to the Internet.
- Unmetered internet access for up to 300 hours per month.
- Lo-call rate internet access at all other times.

Always On 720 : £99.99 per month

This package is not subject to any fixed disconnection period but is subject to our idle out disconnection policy.

- 24*7 Access to the Internet.
- Unmetered internet access for up to 720 hours per month!
- Lo-call rate internet access at all other times.

FINALLY:

All new internet services will be subject to a 3-hour automatic disconnect. However, for an additional £3 per month (including VAT) you may upgrade this to a 12-hour automatic disconnect. All accounts shall continue to be subject to a 10-minute idle disconnection (please note: The use of any means to defeat inactivity timeout controls we have in place is not permitted - please see Clause 2.5 of our Terms & Conditions). It is our intention to offer all of the above packages with a dual channel ISDN option during the course of November, at additional cost.


Some of the services still look too economically questionable, such as 200 hours per month for £9, although we note that Fast24 has avoided mentioning any contention ratios, which makes all the difference in both price and quality.

Hopefully they’ll have better luck with the new options than they did with the old.

Hutchison To Display 3G Phones

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

Hutchison will give members of the public in central London and Birmingham a chance to view 3G (UTMS) broadband wireless mobile phones in three new shops from next month:

The shops, the first anywhere in Europe to sell the next-generation phones, will allow the public to trial a 3G phone and use the new service, which offers feature such as fast wireless internet access and video conferencing.

But Hutchison 3G has yet to give a firm date for when the shops would be opening or when the commercial services would start.

"We are not going to stick to a strict timetable. The key business target is the successful introduction of services," said the company's spokesman, Edward Brewster. "There is not going to be a big bang launch. This is going to be a step-by-step phased launch of our services. This is an important part."


It should be interesting to see whether early 3G phones are capable of living up to the promises operators have made, more @ VNUNet.

News - October 16,2002

ISPr Site Update - Brief Downtime

By:mark.j @ 2:54:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

It looks as if a test of some new server technology caused our website to go off-line for a few minutes; lucky I was checking it at the time or it would have been down longer.

The server has reverted back to the previous system until the bug can be isolated.

The Global Fight - CyberCrime

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

Senior cybercrime related police officers from 37 different countries have concluded a key meeting in South Korea.

Attendees agreed that worldwide investigations were needed in order to chase online criminals whom operate with little regard for borders:

"Cybercrimes are global crimes, using global IT networks," said Des Berwick, an executive officer of the Australasian Centre for Policing Research, on the sidelines of the fifth Interpol conference on computer crime.

About 50-60 countries have their own laws against cyber crimes, but more than 100 countries have no laws on computer offences, said Marc Goodman, a representative of Interpol's US operations.

"Having laws on the book is the first step," said Berwick.


It remains to be seen whether the newly agreed changes will improve the ability to capture those responsible for, among many other things, writing E-Mail viruses and conducting credit card fraud. More @ ZDNet.

Welsh £15Million Broadband Boost

By:mark.j @ 1:40:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Thanks to one of our readers for pointing out that the National Assembly for Wales has today announced their budget for economic development, which will be a record £1.7 billion over the next three years. However that's now all:

The Minister said that new technology and innovation will be the top two priorities for creating jobs in Wales over the next three years:

Broadband – an extra £15m on top of the £100m already announced for the Broadband Wales programme, to help increase affordable, broadband access throughout Wales.


Unfortunately it's not clear whether the assembly has earmarked the extra cash for anything specific, or just as an overall cash injection.

E-Mail SPAM Threatens Privacy

By:mark.j @ 1:34:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

The chief executive of Mirapoint, Satish Ramachandran, a company that specialises in anti-SPAM software, has today warned that some online privacy could be lost in the battle against junk e-mail:

For the lucky few, the workplace is still a relatively spam-free zone, but filtering firm MessageLabs reports that the problem is on the rise with one in seven business e-mails now identified as spam.

MessageLabs estimates that around 10% of the working day is spent dealing with unsolicited e-mail, which in turn is having a big impact on business productivity.

The answer, according to Mr Ramachandran, will be more surveillance in the workplace and even tighter controls on what goes through the corporate e-mail network.


Perhaps predictably, Mirapoints chief executive is more than happy to envisage a future where we'd all use anti-SPAM filters, although they'll have to get a heck of a lot better first. More @ BBC News Online.


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