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November 20, 2002 - November 26, 2002

News - November 26,2002

BT On Home Computer Rage

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

New MORI research conducted on behalf of BT Home Computing has found that 600,000 PC users in Britain have broken their home computer in a moment of frustration.

Typically this press release is an entertaining, if somewhat shameless, way for BT to promote its new broadband bundled PC packages. We've cut out some of the promotion material:

HOME COMPUTING WITHOUT THE HASSLE - AS COMPUTER RAGE SPREADS ACROSS THE NATION

We could be turning into a nation of computer ragers, suggests new MORI research conducted on behalf of BT Home Computing. Over 600,000 PC users in Britain have broken their home computer in a moment of frustration and 70 per cent of us have admitted to shouting, swearing or being violent towards our computer when it crashes, freezes or causes other problems.

Gender differences play a part when it comes to computer rage, with more than twice as many men (430,000) than women (210,000) likely to fly into a rage with their PC. Young people are particularly susceptible to computer rage with 77 per cent of 15-24 year olds admitting to being affected, compared with only 39 per cent of those aged 55 and over.

While a staggering 83 per cent of PC users have experienced difficulties when using their computer within the last twelve months, many of us still remain in the dark as to how to sort out PC problems. Worryingly, only 25 per cent of current home PC users feel able to fix their computer themselves if it were to go wrong. However, of that figure, men are most likely to feel confident in their abilities as PC "engineers" with over a third saying they would be able to sort out their computer themselves, compared with only 17 per cent of women. With BT Home Computing, consumers can avoid the embarrassment of putting their PC knowledge to the test thanks to the ongoing online and telephone support, which is all part of the new service.

News - November 25,2002

Local Authorities To Help Build Broadband

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

Last weeks newly announced Communications Bill, which will form a basis for the new super-regulator, Ofcom (Oftels replacement), has also been found to have another benefit.

A new clause in the bill means that third party civil infrastructure providers, such as local authorities, can help build telecoms infrastructure such as ducts and masts:

The UK government has been congratulated for deciding to make it easier for organisations such as community action groups, local authorities and construction groups to install the infrastructure needed for broadband to be rolled out across the whole of Britain.

It could also make it easier for BT to offer faster broadband technologies such as VDSL, which needs a fibre-optic path from BT's street-side cabinets to the local exchange.

The DTI has said the decision to give more powers to third party players was made back in September, but only announced last week when the Communications Bill was published.


Of course it's one thing to include the option and another for it to actually be used. More @ ZDNet.

UK SPAM Levels Continue To Surge

By:mark.j @ 2:35:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

No surprises here; the latest research out of MessageLabs confirms earlier reports that one in eight UK e-mails is now junk (SPAM):

One in every eight email messages in the UK currently contains spam, according to MessageLabs' estimates -- up from one in every 199 just last January. Judging by US trends, there is likely to be worse ahead: across the pond, one in three emails is an unsolicited bulk advertisement.

"Six to nine months ago, spam was seen as a minor annoyance or an inconvenience, but nowadays people are beginning to see that it is a serious productivity problem," said MessageLabs chief technical officer Mark Sunner.

He said that spammers methods for avoiding filtering tools have also been growing increasingly sophisticated, including polymorphic spams that change slightly to avoid static filters. "There's definitely an arms race between those sending spam and the filtering organisations," he said.


The ZDNet item reports that February 2002 saw the least SPAM (1 in every 251 messages) and September the worst (1 in every 5).

Octobers New Text Messaging Record

By:mark.j @ 2:30:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Last month, October 2002, saw yet another record of 1.54 billion text messages being sent by mobile phone users!

The daily average of almost 50 million short message service (SMS) texts per day compares with 48 million in September, 38 million in October 2001 and 21 million a year before that.

Built into phones as a peripheral function, the success of SMS has been one of the few bright spots for European mobile phone operators and has helped to dictate their strategy for growth in photo-taking phones.

The Mobile Data Association (MDA), which collects the figures, described texting as the "most inclusive communications tool", with the technology nearing its 10th birthday in December.

The October growth puts the industry on target for the MDA's prediction of 16 billion messages in 2002, having racked up 13 billion already.

BTO Denies ISP Domain Sale Plans

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

Apparently rumours have been circulating that UK ISP BTOpenworld was to sell its primary 'btopenworld.com' domain, casting further doubt over the future of BTs mass-market ISP.

The rumours, which have now been denied, surfaced through e-mail communications between a customer and the ISP itself:

The customer, who has asked not to be named, currently subscribes to BTopenworld's dial-up service but is looking to upgrade to broadband. Part of the reason for subscribing to BTopenworld was that he was told that he could hang on to his @btopenworld.com email address.

Last week, though, he was told that this wasn't the case and that if he subscribed to BTopenworld's ADSL service he would have to change his email address to one ending @btinternet.com.

When he wrote to BTopenworld for clarification he was told that the BTopenworld domain would be discontinued. When he wrote back again just to make sure there had been no mistake he was told that the domain "will be discontinued at some point in time" although no date had been set for its termination.


The Register reports a quote from BTOpenworld as being adamant that there were/are no plans to discontinue the domain.

BT & MSN Team Up Over Broadband

By:mark.j @ 1:17:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Following up on an earlier item of the same subject, BT has today reminded us that their special broadband alliance with Microsoft will kick off this week.

Microsoft and BT plan to co-promote MSN 8 with BTs 'no-frills' broadband ADSL subscription service:

The two companies will kick off a multi-million pound advertising campaign tomorrow to mark the launch of the new software, which offers updated child protection, email and spam filtering features and will be charged out at £7 per month.

The two products are seen by the firms as an 'ideal match' as BT Broadband is being marketed to BT Retail customers as a 'cheaper' internet access package without typical add-on services such as email, although there are less expensive packages on the market from other ISPs.

MSN UK marketing manager Stuart Anderson told netimperative: "(With BT Broadband) you get a big pipe, they've stripped out all the services. With MSN 8 offering no access with subscription services, it's a match made in heaven."


A match made in heaven? What kind of heaven is it that offers a basic home broadband ADSL service + content at an extortionate rate of £35 per month?

Get a real ISP account instead and save yourself at least £5 per month, more @ netimperative.info .

Cymru1 - Connect247 (Unmetered ISP)

By:Keith @ 12:56:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Yet another isp we noticed for the first time today that offers an unmetered service for £7.99 a month. Cymru1.net is not a new isp, just one which we have only just become aware of:

For as little as £7.99 (including VAT) per month, you can now connect to the Internet at any time of the day, any day of the week, without worrying about the cost of the telephone call. This new unmetered Internet access service is called Cymru1.net Connect 247 and is available today.

Connect 247 Lite:

IDEAL FOR OCCASIONAL HOME USERS
Internet Access 24/7 with
NO CALL CHARGES
7x cymru247.net Email Addresses
10Mb of personal Webspace
Contention ratio: 15:1
Maximum hours per month: 80
Only £7.99 per month

Connect 247 Standard:

OUR MOST POPULAR HOME USER PACKAGE
Internet Access 24/7 with
NO CALL CHARGES
7x cymru247.net Email Addresses
10Mb of personal Webspace
Contention ratio: 10:1
Maximum hours per month: 160
Only £14.99 per month

Connect 247 Premium:

PERFECT FOR HEAVY BUSINESS OR HOME USERS
Internet Access 24/7 with
NO CALL CHARGES
7x cymru247.net Email Addresses
10Mb of personal Webspace
Contention ratio: 7:1
Maximum hours per month: 200
Only £23.99 per month

Connect 247 ISDN Plus:
HOME USERS - SURF THE WEB AT 128K !
128K ISDN Internet Access 24/7 with
NO CALL CHARGES
7x cymru247.net Email Addresses
10Mb of personal Webspace
Contention ratio: 10:1
Maximum hours per month: 160
Only £27.99 per month

SurfAnyTimes Special Unmetered Offer

By:mark.j @ 10:41:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

UK unmetered dialup ISP SurfAnyTime (SAT) has today issued a new service update with a special Christmas offer:

Due to our recent capacity upgrade, effectively doubling our resources, we will be running some special deals throughout December. The first of which is free online time.

Until 1st January 2003, all 128K 24/7 customers will benefit from free online time !

Access between the hours of 01:00 and 07:00 will not be deducted from Customer's monthly allowance, which equates to over 200 128K hours absolutely free, perfect for those big, overnight downloads.

Other ISPs may offer similar but with only 64K access which makes our offer twice as good !

This offer applies to existing and new customers, for more details on all our 128K packages, see http://www.surfanytime.net

Hutchison3G Targets 5.2Million By 2005

By:mark.j @ 9:58:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

The next-generation broadband wireless mobile phone operator, Hutchison3G UK, has issued another business plan.

The plan dictates that Hutchison3G have 5.2 million UK subscribers by 2005, spending an average of £50 per month (Not likely!):

It is understood the UK targets bear strong similarities to its plans in other markets including Australia, Hong Kong and Italy, the FT said.

Recent delays to the rollout 3G technology have raised questions over its ability to meet the target. But company is not thought to be in danger of breaching any banking covenants, the newspaper said.


What was that we just heard said below about GPRS being a flop due largely to its poor pricing? Do operators seriously expect so many mobile users to stump up £50 per month for 3G? More @ Ananova.

UK Gov To Push Broadband Wireless

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

The Broadband Stakeholders Group (BSG), a group of government-appointed broadband experts, has urged the government to help the spread of broadband wireless technologies:

Broadband Stakeholders Group, urged ministers to rethink its policy and instead open up frequencies reserved for military use. BT has also called on the government to sell off more of the appropriate spectrum.

At the Broadband Stakeholder conference in Birmingham, the Department of Trade and Industry's newly appointed Director of Broadband Policy, Claire Durkin, said two new frequencies would soon be available.

Wireless broadband could be a useful way of filling the gaps left by cable and DSL, broadband via the telephone line, suggested Tim Johnson, analyst with research firm Ovum. "So far fixed wireless broadband has been a complete flop," he said.


The BBC News Online item reports that the two new low frequency wireless spectrums to be offered are 3.4Ghz and 5GHz, which should be cheaper to set up and run.

GPRS - Bigger Failure Than WAP

By:mark.j @ 9:43:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

We suppose it was inevitable that a technology launched barely a year or two before 3Gs initial introduction would flop.

Denmark-based research firm Strand Consult certainly seems to think so, they've branded GPRS as a bigger flop than WAP:

"The way GPRS is priced today is as if all phone calls cost the same, whether they were long distance, international, or local," said Strand chief executive John Strand. "Operators need to understand that pricing of GPRS is much more complicated than that."

European operators struggled with how to bill for GPRS even after the technology was ready, which contributed to a slow rollout. But now that the GPRS services are available, Strand says that pricing regimes are still not attractive to customers. The result is that few are signing up for the services, and even fewer are using them.

"GPRS is a bigger failure than WAP was," he said. He noted that the revenue brought in by GPRS among the four Denmark network operators in the past year amounted to only about 23,000 euros (roughly £14,0000), which would not be enough to pay for the lunches of the engineers that installed the GPRS equipment.


Unfortunately it's probably too late for GPRS to redeem itself, 3G is coming. No doubt operators will ultimately end up making exactly the same mistake with that as well. More @ ZDNet.

News - November 23,2002

Preventing Online Music Piracy Won’t Work

By:mark.j @ 9:46:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

The latest research from scientists working for Microsoft suggests that industry attempts to stop the swapping of music via online networks such as Kazaa will never work:

The four researchers believe that the steady spread of file-swapping systems and improvements in their organisation will eventually make them impossible to shut down.

They also conclude that the gradual spread of CD and DVD burners will help thwart any attempts to control what the public can do with the music they buy.

The researchers point out that the growth of consumer broadband and cheap data storage will mean the numbers of people willing to swap is growing and will soon outstrip attempts to shut them down.The growth of instant messaging systems will also contribute to this gradual loss of control.


The BBC News Online item only confirms what most people have known for sometime now.

AOL UK Launch Broadband Sports

By:mark.j @ 9:41:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

ISP AOL UK has followed up BTOpenworlds announcement of a broadband sports portal with their own service, albeit a somewhat more limited one:

It boasted: "The Sportal OnDemand will also feature content available nowhere else in the UK including the hugely popular Italian Serie A football."

Not so, says AOL UK, which today also announced that it too is bringing Italian football back to the UK, with the launch of Serie A football coverage on its AOL Broadband service.


Well.. perhaps it was correct at the time BTOpenworld sent out the press release? More @ The Register.

News - November 22,2002

UK ISPs & Downtime Survey

By:mark.j @ 2:46:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Network management firm Parallel has today released the results of a 3-month web monitoring survey of 18 UK ISPs. The survey found that only 6% remained online for the whole quarter:

The research, from network management firm Parallel, found that the ISP sites surveyed were down for an average of eight hours and 25 minutes in the quarter, which equates to more than 33 hours a year.

"The overall availability of ISP sites is fairly good compared with data gathered about top companies in other industries," said Parallel director Tim Moore. "However, the availability of some still leaves much to be desired."

Parallel also found that 80% of the ISP's Web sites had a home page size of more than 40 Kbytes, which meant download time was always more than eight seconds for dial-up modem users.


The surveys results are very interesting and note that the largest ISP homepage size was 151.6Kbytes, while the average was 76Kbytes.

This is an often unnoticed issue, yet one that our readers have been known to complain about. Hopefully ISPs will now take more notice and try to code their sites more efficiently. More @ CW360.

Unwanted Wireless Data Services?

By:mark.j @ 2:33:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Yankee Group's latest study has revealed that just 18% of wireless network users (mobile phones) have used wireless data services. Indeed a significant percentage shows no interest at all in the technology (WAP, MMS, e-mail etc.):

When the Yankee Group asked this large grouping why they don't use wireless data services they got a damning response. 42% said that they simply didn't need them. To an intelligent industry, that's a comment that will be received with the response, '..that's because we haven't told them they need them yet.' The problem this time around is that the industry has told everyone they need these services - and everyone still isn't interested.

Even those whoe are interested in wireless data services are not convinced. 16% say that wireless data services is too expensive and 6% that they are just too complicated. It's not getting any easier is it?


The Register highlights an age old problem and one that other surveys have contradicted, not least because a good number of people don't even know what a wireless data service is.

Supanet ISP Launches ADSL Service

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

Curious, we first announced Supanet's broadband ADSL service on October 21st 2002 and today the ISP has finally sent us an official press release, over a full month later.

Either way UK ISP Supanet has today 'officially' announced their new broadband ADSL Internet access product:

supanet launch broadband internet access kit

supanet, the UK's fifth largest Internet Service Provider (ISP), has announced the launch of its new super fast broadband Internet access kit, supanet broadband.

To mark the occasion, supanet broadband is giving away a free Hewlett Packard 3325 printer worth £49.99 and a free connection worth £65.00 with every kit purchased at The Computer World stores across the UK. The supanet broadband internet access kit costs £79.99, with line rental costing just £29.99 per month.

supanet broadband is up to 10 times faster than a regular analogue modem Internet connection, allowing Internet users to download and receive multimedia content speedily.

supanet broadband allows web users to:

* Get Better Connected - supanet broadband users can make telephone calls and send faxes whilst surfing the net, and, as supanet broadband web users are always connected, there's no need to dial-in every time you want go online.

* Play Games - the speed and smoothness of broadband takes online gaming to new heights.

* Watch Videos - supanet broadband enables you to enjoy the video-on-demand revolution. The service enables fast downloads of movies, while ensuring superb quality visual and audio playback, no jumping, buffering or jerkiness.

* Listen to Music - broadband allows you to download and play CD quality MP3s in super fast time.

* Have a Flutter - the speed of broadband enables people to gamble online, while also receiving live price feeds in an instant, quality web-casts of sporting events in a flash, casino-style gambling without a hitch, together with the security of an ultra-reliable connection at all times.

The supanet broadband service is enabled by BT Wholesale, the part of BT that manages the network, ensuring that consumers get a high quality service connection. In addition a customer help-line and email support service is available to deal with any questions.

The kit has everything you need to get started, including digital modem, sign-up CD, cables and full instruction manual so joining the Supanet Broadband revolution couldn't be easier.

Gov Could Force Broadbands Rollout!

By:mark.j @ 1:18:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

The government’s e-commerce minister, Stephen Timms, has suggested that there could be support for a policy of forcing Telco’s to make broadband available to all:

Speaking on Tursday at Building Broadband Britain, a conference organised by the Broadband Stakeholder Group, Durkin indicated that the issue of extending existing universal service obligations to cover high-speed Internet services was under consideration within the DTI.

"I can tell you our minister is very interested in it," Durkin said during a question and answer session at the conference, in response to one delegate who said that he believed universal service obligations should be used to extend broadband coverage in Britain.

However, it is understood that there are no immediate plans within government to push the issue of universal broadband provision. "We're committed to creating a competitive and effective broadband market in the UK, including driving up availability through as many different platforms as possible, including DSL, cable, satellite and wireless," explained a DTI spokesman.


For those less aware, ZDNets item notes that current universal service obligations mean that BT must provide all UK consumers with a telephone line.

Clearly the impact of widening this to broadband is obvious, although it's early days yet and would be a difficult decision for the government.

BTs New ADSL Exchange Upgrades

By:mark.j @ 1:13:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

BTWholesale has confirmed that the local exchanges for Tottington, Danbury and Bradford-on-Avon will all be upgraded to broadband ADSL after having confirmed enough advanced orders.

The highly questioned Merthyr Tydfil exchange, which recently saw its advanced orders period extended following some trouble with pre-registrations, has also now joined the above list:

It also confirmed that Wymondham, Alton (Hampshire), Merthyr Tydfil and Inverness Culloden would also be upgraded to broadband after sufficient orders were received.

There's further good news for Net users in Helensburgh, Kilsyth, Olney, Wivehoe, Bursledon and Matlock, which have now passed their trigger levels. They now need to validate their orders. So far 21 exchanges have been earmarked for broadband, with Todmorden being the first to be upgraded.


The Register also notes the progress of BTs mini DSLAM project, which enables exchanges to be upgraded with as few as 16 users.

Apparently 50 people are now on the trial, something which could ultimately help extend the reach of broadband ADSL services to more rural areas.

ISPs Must Learn - September 11th 2001

By:mark.j @ 9:00:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Damage to the Internet following last years September 11th terrorist attacks was minimal; however a new report from the National Research Council suggests that ISPs must prepare for future emergencies:

Because of its resilience, the report noted, the Internet was enlisted as a tool in the rescue and recovery efforts. Some individuals used instant messages on their wireless handheld devices and mobile phones to communicate. Websites were created to distribute lists of missing persons.

New York City is a densely packed communications hub, with private data networks and public networks criss-crossing below the city's streets. And many trans-Atlantic cables come ashore near the city, bringing Internet traffic from Europe.

Although the effect of the attacks may not reflect how the Internet would respond during any future attacks, they do shed light on possible vulnerabilities, the report says. Key businesses and services that use the Internet should review their reliance on the network and plan alternative communications strategies during emergencies, for example.


Easier said than done, more @ ZDNet.

UK Employees Waste Time Surfing

By:mark.j @ 8:54:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

No surprises here, the latest research out of Halifax Share Dealing suggests that British employees spend an average of an hour and a half a day emailing, surfing the net, gossiping and flirting:

Researchers found that during a typical working day an employee would spend around 14 minutes surfing the net, 9 minutes emailing mates and 3 minutes shopping online.

In short, nearly one quarter of the day is wasted with such activities, more @ Web-User.

BTO Launch Broadband Sports Network

By:mark.j @ 8:50:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

UK ISP BTOpenworld has today announced the launch of a new broadband sports network, which it believes to be the first such service in the UK:

BT OPENWORLD ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF SPORTAL ONDEMAND

BT Openworld today announces that it has joined forces with ukbetting plc (AIM: UKB), Sportev Ltd and InTheBox Media to launch the UK's first broadband sports network. The new digital network, called Sportal OnDemand, will be available to broadband users on any ISP* via BT Openworld's new internet sports site Sportal (http://www.sportal.com) which also launches today. The Sportal brand name has been licensed from ukbetting plc by BT Openworld as part of a long term licensing agreement. Sportal OnDemand runs on Sportev OS, Sportev's proprietary operating system for broadband channels.

Sportal OnDemand provides the passionate sports fan with a one-stop solution for video sports coverage. The service will enable broadband subscribers in the UK to watch a wide range of video-on-demand sports programming including as-live action, highlights, previews, interviews, archive and magazine programming. Covering major sports events worldwide, Sportal OnDemand will also feature content available nowhere else in the UK including the hugely popular Italian Serie A football.

Sportal OnDemand's initial video-on-demand programming runs across six channels. "This Week in Sport" features the latest sports highlights and features; "Stars & Stripes" focuses on US sports; "Football Plus" hosts UK, Italian, Brazilian and Argentine football and "Fight Club" boasts extensive coverage of UK boxing, as well as classic bouts from the past such as those of Ali and Tyson. "Back in The Day" features additional sports classics as well as made-for-broadband programming like Sportal's exclusive "History of the Ashes" and "Greatest Sporting Moments" series. "Sports Extra" will contain off-the-wall items such as bloopers, obscure profiles and world's sexiest sportspeople.

Sports fans can take advantage of a special 10 day free trial of the service. The basic cost of subscription to the Sportal OnDemand service is 4.99 per month giving the user full access to the entire service. There are also pay-per-view options enabling the user to access the service for 24 hours for 1.99. Additional one-off premium pay-per-view events will also be available, with prices varying according to the sports event. The first premium pay-per-view event will be full coverage of the Milan football derby from the San Siro on November 24, 2002, screened shortly after the final whistle. Access to the narrowband Sportal.com web site will remain free to all users (including broadband users).

Broadband programming and technology is being provided by Sportev, the UK's leading provider of broadband sports solutions, and InTheBoxMedia, a JV-partner of The Television Corporation Plc. Both Sportev and InTheBoxMedia have extensive experience in broadband programming. Sportev has exclusive contracts to produce broadband channels for England Rugby, the Extreme Sports Channel, Wisden Online and Frank Warren's Sports Network. Key associate ukbetting plc will continue to provide sports content to BT Openworld, in addition to extensive audio content and a fixed odds betting service.

Two Countries Oppose ISP Data Retention

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

Two European countries, Germany and Austria, have chosen to stand against the controversial new ISP data retention proposals:

At present, service providers retain data only for billing purposes, but that is set to change because of plans that would compel ISPs to retain data for up to two years, in case the information became of might prove useful in police or security service investigations into serious crime or terrorism.

This data would include catalogues of web sites visited, records of e-mail recipients, lists of telephone numbers dialled, and the geographical location of mobile phones at all times they were switched on. It doesn't include the contents of messages.

The only countries expressing some uncertainties are Austria (due to disagreement between the Federal Chancellery, which is sceptical, and the Ministry of Justice) and Germany. German authorities say that they need proof that the proposed European instrument is compatible with German constitutional law.


The Register notes that the UK is one of the strongest supporters of the new proposals and is thus unlikely to change its tune.

News - November 21,2002

PlusNET ISP Expands Unmetered Use

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

UK ISP PlusNET has today announced the expansion of its existing 'Connect' range of unmetered dialup packages by allowing free night time access at no additional cost:

Good News for Night Owls with PlusNet

PlusNet today announced that all customers subscribed to their current range of unmetered dial access packages will now benefit from bonus connectivity, offered free of charge. Their new 'Night Time' scheme provides up to 42 additional connectivity hours per week for those using the popular UK ISP's 'Connect' packages.

Unmetered 'Connect' allows both Home and Business customers to dial up and connect to the Internet using either a standard modem or ISDN, without the online time appearing on their phone bill, paying instead a low-cost monthly subscription. Prices start from just £8.99 inc VAT per month.

"We are very pleased to be able to offer even greater value to our customers at no extra charge. For those unable to get ADSL service in their area, unmetered Connect provides the most cost-effective way to get online," said Alistair Wyse, Technical Director for PlusNet Technologies Ltd.

Night Time access now gives you even more flexibility in how to use your PlusNet unmetered connection. One of the major benefits is the ability to schedule downloads of larger files while you sleep, so freeing up the rest of your online time for web surfing and email.

Connect has proven itself to be an extremely popular product for PlusNet, due primarily to its low-cost and proven value for money, but also because it was designed and launched it as a sustainable product for the long term.

"We set fair guidelines for the expected use of each of our unmetered services without imposing any cut-off restrictions on the end user", explained Wyse. "Effective network management has allowed us to expand our unmetered offering whilst maintaining the quality of service our customers have come to expect from us."

Today's news means that subscribers to PlusNet's unmetered Connect services can connect between 1am and 7am without these connections being recorded in their 'fair-usage' allowance.

You can find out more about PlusNet's range of low-cost, high-value unmetered accounts and Broadband ADSL services for Home and Business, at http://www.plus.net - start saving money on your Internet connections today!

PlusNet Connect - "Simply more online time at significantly less cost"


PlusNETs offer is only the latest in a growing stream of special offers coming out of various ISPs; no doubt existing subscribers will be pleased by the move.

Scottish Executive Pushes Broadband

By:mark.j @ 1:22:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

The Scottish Executive has begun seeking suppliers to help deliver broadband services to government, education and health services in the South of Scotland, Highlands and Islands:

The two regions have been selected to pilot a new approach to broadband procurement by aggregating demand within the public sector. In both areas it is considered unlikely that market forces will meet anticipated demand under the present procurement regime.

Peter Peacock, the Executive's Deputy Finance and Public Services Minister, said that broadband would offer "the opportunity for different parts of the public sector to work together more effectively" and provide "real opportunities for local government services to be delivered more easily to customers".


The Europemedia item notes that the successful bidder will be announced toward the end of next summer (2003).

DSLW.net ISP Cuts ADSL Price

By:mark.j @ 1:17:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

UK ISP DSLW.net has today announced a reduction in the monthly charge for their broadband ADSL service from £27.99 to £24.99 inc. VAT per month.

Happy Birthday 123ISP

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

123ISP, a well known NeonHippo reseller service, has issued a new press release on our forum to celebrate its first year in operation:

http://www.123isp.co.uk is celebrating a successful year as a NeonHippo reseller

123ISP has been one of the first Neonhippo Resellers since their creation in mid-2001. We have been trading for a year, and have many satisfied subscribers. We now boast a huge range of unmetered packages to suit anyone’s need, from night-time access for £4.95, to static 128k access, with customer support rivalled by none.
Unmetered access to all NTL users is to be launched shortly.

To celebrate, we have launched a new website design, and are holding a prize draw to all unmetered members (new or existing). The overall winner will receive 1 years unmetered internet access on 123 Standard, and 2 other users will receive 6 months free access on 123 Lite. New users will be entered into the prize draw for the next 10 days, up to November 30. The winners will be announced December 2nd.

It's been a bumpy year for us; plenty of ups, and plenty of downs. We personally believe that customer support throughout this year has not been the highest level of quality we want to give, so things will continue getting better.

NeonHippo Offers fully managed branded Internet access, with partners NTL, Murphx and Bloomley.

BTs ADSL Proves Hard To Install

By:mark.j @ 9:43:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Despite BTs continued success with broadband ADSL technologies, many industry experts still believe that the operator has set itself an impossible target.

Either way the issue isn't being helped by people finding the technology very hard to install, let alone use:

A quick glance at the website http://www.btopenwoe.co.uk cites numerous examples of horror stories that BT customers have had with its broadband products. "I have had BT ADSL installed now for over 12 months. In that 12-month period I have had an engineer back eight times, and I have reported faults with the line 35 times. In one day alone I lost connection with the exchange 194 times during a 22-hour period," one said.

And it is the installation of the product, according to one technical expert, that generally causes the greatest problems. "If you're trying to do [install] it yourself, you're not too sure whether it's your PC, your internal wiring in the house or whether it's the BT line itself.

One of the biggest problems people have is the quality of the line going back to the local exchange. If the quality is not there, the signal is degraded which means you don't get the speed,
" he said.


The item, which can be viewed HERE at the Independent, is long and goes into a lot of interesting detail.

Wisesurfer ISP Cuts Unmetered Costs

By:mark.j @ 9:27:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

UK ISP Wisesurfer has announced a special set of unmetered dialup discounts as a Christmas present to any new subscribers:

Wisesurfer Announce Special Xmas Bonanza!

ADSL and Unmetered ISP Wisesurfer (http://www.wisesurfer.com) announce a seasonal offer on unmetered services, even Rudolf will be impressed!

As from Thursday 21st November Wisesurfer’s high quality Unmetered services will be offered at CRAZY prices for the next 2 months surfing!

SurfAccess normally retailing at £13.99 will be made available for £6.99

Wisesurfer ISDN normally retailing at £26.99 will be made available for £16.99

Lite Surfer normally retailing at £7.99 will be priced at £5.99

The offer will be available for a few days only, so get there fast!!

Watch out for our ADSL bonanza next week…………!

Be wise, pay less. Wisesurfer…!

Albion Offers Free ADSL Connections

By:mark.j @ 9:23:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

UK ISP Albion (formerly known as netAxis), a London-based provider of IT and communications solutions, has today announced a raft of new measures designed to promote their business broadband services:

Albion Computers’ free connection offers put ‘Broadband on a Plate’ for SMEs

Albion Computers plc, a London-based provider of IT and communications solutions, services and support has today announced a range of offers designed to encourage London SMEs to take up broadband technology. It has also developed an interactive ‘speed tester’ tool to model the gains SMEs can make in time, money and productivity by moving to a broadband internet connection.

Howard Cole, managing director of Albion, says: “Until recently broadband benefits have predominantly been the preserve of big business however deals like ours mean that any organisation, no matter how small, can take advantage of the productivity gains offered by fast internet access.

The offers include:

Ø Free connection for business broadband across the entire ADSL range
Ø Unmetered high speed access on 3 month trial basis for under £50
Ø Albion IT support package from just £90 per user per year
Ø Business broadband bundle for just £99 per month - includes support, installation, hosting, domain name registration, 20 email accounts and virus scanning

A report entitled ‘Broadband: Connecting to London’s Future’ is due to be published shortly by the office of the mayor of London. It will highlight an apparent lack of awareness among London SMEs as to the benefits of broadband connection.

In a bid to counter this, Albion has developed the Speed Tester, (http://www.albion.co.uk/speedtester) an online tool which uses real-life figures to give specific and detailed feedback on improved access costs, transfer speeds and employee productivity that can be obtained.

Cole commented: “We want SMEs to take advantage of one of the most critical business enablers - broadband access to the internet. If they don’t, they may well be jeopardising their businesses.

Albion provides business class, high-speed internet access to thousands of users with specific expertise within the legal, accounting and media sectors. In addition, it offers its customers four different SDSL packages ranging from 256K to 2MB. SDSL is a brand new technology that provides the ideal solution for SMEs that have an equal need to download and upload data over the internet.

BSG - Explaining Broadbands Benefits

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

The Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) has urged the UK's telecoms industry to concentrate on promoting the value of broadband:

Antony Walker, chief executive of the BSG, told ZDNet UK on Tuesday that it is important for broadband providers to explain the wide benefits of a high-speed Internet connection, rather than just focusing on technical issues such as always-on connectivity and bandwidth. Otherwise, Walker fears, broadband take-up could falter.

"If we are to attract more users we need to target the non-early adopters," said Walker, warning that while most of the UK's existing 1.1 million broadband users migrated from narrowband because broadband is faster and always on, different selling points are needed for mass-market uptake.

"They experienced less frustration when surfing, and were more relaxed. As a result, they spent more time online and achieved more, and their Internet experience became deeper. Some advertising campaigns have focused on broadband being fast and exciting, but perhaps the new message should be 'relax with broadband'," suggested Walker.


Advertising broadband appears to be a highly contentious issue, with many different schools of thought and belief. Normally such a situation calls for a combination of all ideas rather than any one specific path, more @ ZDNet.

The Final Draft - Communications Bill

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

DigitalSpy reports that the final draft of the Communications Bill, which will see Oftel and other media regulators combine into a super regulator - Ofcom, has finally been published:

The creation of Ofcom is also a big step -the new media super-regulator replacing the Broadcasting Standards Commission, the Independent Television Commission, Oftel, the Radiocommunications Agency, and the Radio Authority. Commercial channels will be particularly pleased to note that Ofcom now has the power to fine the BBC if it breaks taste and decency rules. The BBC has consistently argued against fining powers, but both Lord Puttnam's committee and the government weren't swayed.

Patricia Hewitt, the Trade and Industry Secretary, said: "It will liberalise the market, removing unnecessary regulatory burdens and cutting red tape, but at the same time will retain key safeguards that will protect the diversity and plurality of our media."


It's sometime now since we submitted our ISP standard proposals, although it remains to be seen whether Ofcom will indeed be an effective industry regulator for UK ISPs, something we doubt.

Fast4 Unmetered ISP Launch No.2?

By:mark.j @ 9:04:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

UK ISP V21 has already announced (16th Nov) the launch of its latest ultra-cheap unmetered dialup off-shoot, Fast4, yet that same service has once again announced itself today, independently of V21:

UNMETERED INTERNET ACCESS FOR AN AMAZING £6.99 PER MONTH - LAUNCH OF 'FAST4.NET' GIVES INTERNET USERS AN EARLY CHRISTMAS PRESENT

Unmetered dial-up Internet access, non-premium rate technical support and no annual contract to sign all for an amazing £6.99 per month - this is what's on offer from the UK's newest Internet Service Provider (ISP), Fast4.net (www.fast4.net). The new service does not even limit the amount of time subscribers can spend online.

Unlike other ISP's, Fast4.net concentrates its efforts on offering just one service; unlimited monthly Internet access at just £6.99 (including VAT) - the cheapest in the UK. With a 'no-nonsense', straight forward connection to the Internet, Fast4.net's down to earth price includes all Internet call charges, free POP 3 Email, free Webmail, no fixed contract or commitments, easy monthly payments and non-premium rate technical support five days per week.

The service is easy to set up and there's no need for additional software or number changing. Internet enthusiasts can be surfing to their heart's content within minutes - all that is required is a standard BT phone line and a 56K modem.

Fast4.net's service operates on an unlimited Internet access basis, with a cut off point of two hours. After two hours, if users want to carry on surfing, they can simply reconnect. If a computer has been inactive for more that fifteen minutes, the connection will also terminate.

With a guaranteed contention ratio of no more than 10:1, Fast4.net subscribers can be assured of a fast, reliable Internet connection at the UK's lowest price of £6.99. Log on to www.fast4.net for further information or to activate a new account today.


We still have serious doubts about the unlimited aspect, which V21 has put down to having "thousands of ports being unused." Sadly that's not very clear and is also typical of any new ISP.

News - November 20,2002

Internet Enabled Digital TV Set-Top Box

By:mark.j @ 2:51:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Netgem has today launched its latest set-top box solution, which costs £150 and combines terrestrial digital TV reception with narrowband (dialup modem) access to the Internet and online games:

Dubbed the i-Player, the device will be launched commercially in the UK across various electrical retailers over the next few weeks, but is being made available now in around 100 Sainsbury's stores, selected John Lewis outlets and those of other retailers.

The box is priced at £149.99, compared to the £100 currently charged for the cheapest digital receivers, and is wired into the viewer's TV and telephone socket to connect to the web. It is operated by an adapted remote control or wireless keyboard, which costs a further £29.99.

A spokesperson for the firm said it had been developed to provide narrowband access on a pay-as-you-go basis, with viewers being charged at local rate for connecting to the web, but the device can also be configured to users' existing fixed rate ISP contracts or cable broadband connections.


The netimperative.info item notes that online games have also been built into the system.

Netgem has partnered with an unnamed ISP to provide the 'default' backbone connection, although this can be changed. It's a pity they didn't include hard-disk recording functions as well, then it would've been perfect.

UK Broadband Still Too Expensive?

By:mark.j @ 2:51:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

A new survey conducted by the Berlin-based market research firm, Metrinomics, found that 9 out of 10 people still believe that broadband subscription charges are too expensive.

Contrary to reports the study also revealed that 6 out of 10 claimed they could quite easily swap back to dial-up access after having used broadband!:

In particular, this finding from the survey explodes the current hype surrounding broadband and warns broadband service providers to ensure that in the race to sign up users, existing customers are not given a raw deal.

The report, Broadband Internet Access, is based on a survey of 1,000 IT professionals. It revealed that the provision of content is far less important to users than issues such as high installation costs, which were regarded as a significant barrier to the adoption of broadband.


The Register notes the lack of better coverage as another key upset, although much of the rest only confirms what we've been saying before. People care more about price and speed than they do about specialised content.

EU - 18.6 Million Use Online Banking

By:mark.j @ 1:54:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

The latest survey out of Nielsen//NetRatings has shown that 18.6 million Western Europeans visited an online bank or building society during October 2002. That's equivalent to one in four active Internet users for the whole region.

In the past six months, the number of Europeans visiting banking sites rose by 3 million people, providing further evidence that online banking is quietly becoming a near-everyday activity for many Europeans; a promising sign for retail banks that are investing heavily in online branches.

In the UK, over 7 million Britons managed their finances online at home and at work last month. Britain's most popular online bank is Egg, attracting 1.5 million people to its site last month.

The UK is a uniquely competitive online banking market, Netratings reported, with five to six high street banks, including Lloyds TSB, Barclays, HSBC and NatWest, all vying for audience share. The UK is currently regarded as the second best country in the world for e-commerce, after the USA.


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