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January 6, 2003 - January 10, 2003

News - January 10,2003

EU Online Banking Boom Expected

By:mark.j @ 9:47:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

The number of Europeans using the Internet to bank are expected to rise from 54 million in 2002 to 103 million in 2007, claims Jupiter research:

The research company expects the number of online banking users to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 14 percent. By the end of 2002, 39 percent of Internet users in Europe were conducting banking transactions via the Net, compared to 38 percent in the US.

Among the major European markets, Germany leads the pack in online banking users with a total of 16 million at the end of 2002. The UK follows with 10.4 million users, while France has 6.2 million users.

However, in terms of penetration, the Nordic countries are in the lead with Sweden at 54 percent of online users banking online by the end of last year. In fact, not only does Sweden have the highest Internet penetration rate in Europe, but also the most advanced online banking services. Online bill paying has accounted for a significant proportion of total online banking activity in the country since 1999.

The NUA item reports that come 2005 some 60.5% of online banking users will be adults aged between 25 to 44 years.

UK Doctors Benefit From Broadband

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

The latest research out of NOP Broadband suggests that many UK Doctors are well aware of what broadband is and the benefits it could bring.

However the survey also found that Doctors remain unconvinced that these benefits should be extended to improve the patient experience of general practices:

36% of English GPs were also not aware of the Prime Minister's commitment to get all English GP surgeries connected to broadband by 2005.

GPs are at the front line of the National Health Service's relationship with patients, so while it is good news for broadband in Britain that so many are broadband-aware and looking forward to a more productive use of the internet, say the analysts, the NHS has much to do to win them over to spreading those benefits to the patients.

The survey found that the most important perceived benefits to their practice and patients amongst GPs were the reduced amount of time having to spend researching on the internet and a Faster access to test results and medical records.

Europemedia goes on to report that GPs found the ability of patients to access their own medical records and pre-book appointment times to be the least impressive aspect. No reasons for this are given.

No UK Freeserve ISP Jobs To Go

By:mark.j @ 9:36:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

There had been fears that any forthcoming job losses at Wanadoo, the French group which owns UK ISP Freeserve, would also impact the UK. Today it has been reported by Freeserve that this is not the case:

Freeserve said: "No announcements have been made regarding redundancies at Wanadoo. Freeserve is an autonomous UK subsidiary of Wanadoo and we have no plans for any redundancies." More @ The Register.

News - January 9,2003

EU Broadband VoD - Not Until 2005

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

Broadband based Video-On-Demand (VoD) services aren't expected to take off in Europe until 2005 when improved market dynamics will brighten the business case for such a technology.

Forrester Research reports that the region's VOD market is stuck in first gear and it will take time and customers before it can shift up:

The report says that today's business case fails in every dimension: demand, investment, operating costs, and distribution margins, and that it won't improve until 2005.

With a 155 per cent increase in DVD player sales over the past year in Europe, DVD presents a huge new revenue source for movie studios - and the biggest competition to VOD. Forrester expects consumer penetration of stand-alone DVD players to increase from 19 per cent today to 53 per cent by 2005. Crucially, without blockbuster movies, European VOD operators will struggle to attract large number of consumers.

Only in 2005, when an estimated 2 million European consumers will have access to VOD, up from fewer than 100,000 today, will VOD become viable with key market advances - in particular, the availability of blockbuster content. By then, video file-sharing on sites like Kazaa will have improved in quality and download times.

We shall see, more @ Europemedia.

NDO ISP Buys Ision Internets Assets

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

UK ISP Ision Internet PLC has today announced the acquisition of their business assets by Netdirect-Online (NDO) Limited:

NDO Limited has purchased the business assets of Ision Internet PLC from the energis group administrators. This is part of a rescue of the Ision Internet PLC business. This effects three brands of ISP - Ision (UK), NetDirect and Netdirect-Online (NDO). Ision Internet PLC was formally the UK arm of the Ision Group - one of Europes leading Internet Service Providers.

In the UK Ision has over 70,000 customers; and was formed originally in 1995. As a result of the transfer all Ision customers will continue on their existing products and services from NDO Limited.

The following customer announcement was issued to all customers:

Important Customer Announcement

Dear subscriber,

On January 1st 2003, the business of Ision Internet PLC was subject to a management buyout to form a new company NDO Limited. This action took place to separate the Ision Internet PLC business from the energis plc group of companies currently in administration.

As a result NDO Limited is now privately owned by the directors of the new company, without external shareholders or investors - NDO can now simply focus all its efforts on bringing its customers the best possible service, support and range of products now and in the future.

The company will be re-branding under its new name, NDO on the 20th January 2003.

It's reported that NDO will also be launching a completely new range of products (details to be announced shortly) - taking the best selection from each of the brands and mixing in some new products - including Unmetered Internet Access from just £4.99 per month.

Broadband For Schools Via intY ISP

By:mark.j @ 1:45:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

UK ISP intY has today announced its new advanced Internet server features, which should enable safe and secure 'Broadband Everywhere' for UK schools:

intY Use Broadband To Satisfy LEA Needs

Internet services vendor intY today launched its latest product, a broadband enabled access server specifically targeted at the UK schools market. The intY Broadband Everywhere server is designed to be placed at the gateway of school LANs connecting into the LEA broadband access circuit. It boasts a 120Gb hard drive and 512K RAM for high performance advanced caching and content serving.

"The Broadband Everywhere server is the kind of tool that will act as a catalyst for government 'Broadband Britain' targets," said Mark Herbert, Managing Director of intY. "Its large web cache and hard drive storage capacity deliver extra performance onto the network, and the advanced filtering, security and auditing functions protect users - often under 16s - from harmful attack and unsuitable web content."

Early adopters of the system are Learning Pathways Ltd, a specialist provider of interactive curriculum content for classroom education. The nationwide company has already begun offering its services over the technology platform. "We've chosen the new intY server because of its broadband capabilities and functionality as a flexible content provisioning platform," said Dave Moore, Learning Pathways' Managing Director. "As a content provider, we now have the means to deliver an even higher performance service to our customers in the education sector."

An added bonus of the Broadband Everywhere server is its embedded Berkeley UNIX operating system that is both robust and highly NT and Microsoft interoperable, and also requires no server or client access licensing. The product is on show at the BETT event this week, and is available for order now.

Transcoms Satellite ISP Details

By:mark.j @ 1:37:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

The self proclaimed best business ISP & satellite provider in the UK (some may have a problem with that =]), Transcom, has sent us an updated price list for their broadband satellite services. Not surprisingly the options are somewhat less than affordable, never the less..:

Satellite Residential Services
1 way 320k £39pm Astra 1G
1 way 640/150 £49pm Astra 1G
1 way 640/640 £69pm Astra 1G
2 way 128/512 £133pm - £1863 equipment
2 way 128/640 £223pm - £1863 equipment
2 way 128/768 £260pm - £1863 equipment
2 way 128/1m £323pm - £1863 equipment

no contract, unlimited downloads
Dish sizes from 74cm (UK)

Satellite Business Services
1 way 128k to 1MB CIR £100 per 128k
1 way 1.8mbps CIR for MP4 Multicast
2 Way with LAN router 14 IP's 128/512 £133pm 30:1 equip £2388
2 Way with LAN router 14 IP's 128/1m £356pm 5:1 equip £2388
2 Way with LAN router 14 IP's 128/2m £356pm 5:1 equip £2388

no contract, unlimited downloads
Dish sizes from 74cm (UK)

Despite the price we do note that the service doesn't come with a contract and plainly states unlimited downloads. Other such services have offered unlimited surfing/bandwidth and yet hidden the fact that they don't tolerate lots of heavy file downloading.

We also note that the website states the phrase 'burstable surfing speeds' quite a lot, which tends to imply speed drops and not a sustained maximum; this is common with other satellite ISPs as well.

More details about the residential options can be found HERE; could this finally be a broadband satellite ISP that doesn’t penalise truly heavy users?

Snooping Code Should Be Published

By:mark.j @ 1:24:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

UK union chiefs are calling on the Code of Practice for businesses monitoring their employees' e-mail and Internet use to be published as a top priority:

The TUC today said that the latest draft of the as-yet unimplemented code of practice gets it "about right", as it says employers must have a justifiable reason before breaching employee privacy.

It also provides clear guidance on how the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) regulates employers' use of email and Internet monitoring, CCTV cameras and covert surveillance to monitor staff.

But the absence of the final version of the code has meant employers and workers have lacked clear guidance on their legal rights and responsibilities, according to the TUC. The organisation fears that employers may manage to get the code of practice changed in their favour.

More @ ZDNet.

BTs Broadband Education Service

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

In an effort to make its broadband ADSL services even more attractive, BT has teamed up with Granada and software giant RM to launch an online home education service:

BT Learning Centre will aggregate content from a range of educational suppliers that already provide material to schools, a move that will also pitch BT into the centre of the row surrounding the BBC's proposed digital curriculum.

Built around RM's Living Library research tool, which is already present in most schools, the subscription service will also allow pupils to access a range of education packages from providers including Granada Learning, Netmedia Education and Actis.

"Our research suggests that parents and children want to use the web to help with school work but information often takes too long to find or is not relevant," said the head of BT Learning Centre, Jennie Martin. "We are providing children and parents with highly relevant, easy to use content, tailormade to their age group and available from just one place," she added.

The Guardian's item notes that the service is expected to cost £3.99 per month for access to the Living Library and two further titles. Further subscription options will allow access to more titles, although the price could put a lot of parents off.

Gio ISP Cuts ADSL Activation Charge

By:mark.j @ 9:47:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

The latest UK ISP to announce a cut to its broadband ADSL line activation is Gio Internet:

Gio Internet one of UK's leading business and consumer has cut the price of its line activation to £27 plus vat. Gio Internet already offers ADSL at the lowest price of £15.31/month plus vat (£17.99 inc vat) in the UK.

This is in line with BT's reduction of its wholesale cost of lince activation and Gio is passing the savings onto the consumer.

This makes Gio's ADSL service the most competive in the UK.

Line Activation: £27.99 plus VAT
Line Service: £15.31/month

For information call 0870 922 4000 or visit http://www.giointernet.com and signup online.

Pre-50's Popular With Online Shopping

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

Retail analysts at Verdict Research have reported that Internet users in their mid-thirties to mid-forties make up the largest segment of purchasers in the UKs online retail sector:

Verdict found that last year, 35- to 44-year-olds spent £1bn online – 30% of the UK’s online retail market, with 44- to 54-year-olds spending the next largest amount, £800m.

Taken together, the two age groups spend an average of £73 per shopping visit, 24 per cent more than any other group. Although younger age groups shop more often, they spend less when they do.

The Europemedia item notes that more women are also using the Internet to shop, spending an average of £60 per visit, an increase of 14.8% on last year.

Broadband ISP Contracts Cause Anger

By:mark.j @ 9:38:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Broadband Internet access customers appear to be growing increasingly unhappy with being tied into a contract, especially when their ISP suffers from poor service and support problems:

Even worse than the poor service, few seem able to walk away from the problem, instead being stuck with contracts that seem to be set in stone.

If there are problems, it is also often unclear where the responsibility for putting them right lies; the internet service provider (ISP) blames the phone company, and the phone company blames the ISP.

And it is clear that neither wants, or is willing, to accept responsibility.

The VNUNet item highlights a common problem and one that probably isn't discussed enough. Unfortunately contracts have always been problem areas, not just for ISP customers, but in every industry.

Such problems are compounded by the fact that many UK ISPs attempt to stave off their responsibilities through tedious terms & conditions (T&Cs). Certainly the issue of contract validity vs service quality does need to be addressed.

Nildram - Temporary ADSL Traffic Limits

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

UK ISP Nildram has posted an important announcement on ADSLGuide's forum regarding their introduction of 'traffic shaping' between 15:00 and 03:00 each evening/night.

This is only a temporary measure designed to hold the services performance up until additional central pipes can be installed. The problem itself is explained better below:

As many of you are aware, we are still waiting for BT to complete the installation of two new 155Mbps Central Pipes for our ADSL service. These should have been completed on 17th December, but we are now told they will be ready on 17th January at the earliest. This has led to a situation of overload on our existing pipes at peak times.

The result of this is a slight slowdown of many services at these times, plus a significant increase in ping times. This increase has a negative impact on the performance of interactive protocols that depend on low, consistent pings, such as on-line gaming and telnet/ssh.

Mozilla v1.0.2 Web Browser Released

By:mark.j @ 9:21:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

The original v1 release of the open source web browser project, Mozilla, has been updated a second time with v1.0.2.

Much as with v1.0.1, v1.0.2 contains stability and security improvements. 1.0.2 also has fixes for standards support, UI correctness, polish, performance and site compatibility.

This is not a feature release. For new features, Mozilla 1.0 users are encouraged to upgrade to Mozilla 1.2. We note that another, most likely beta (last was alpha), release of Mozilla v1.3 is also on the way.

News - January 8,2003

Eclipse ISP Cuts ADSL Prices

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

No it hasn't stopped with Timewarp and Wisesurfer, now UK ISP Eclipse Internet has joined the fray and sent us their latest press release, which, you guessed it, touts another broadband ADSL price reduction!:

Eclipse Internet is the first to cut the cost of broadband and hardware, for business and consumers

Eclipse Internet, the Internet Service Provider that is bringing broadband Internet connectivity and services to businesses and consumers, today announced that it has cut the price of its ADSL services, including hardware. Eclipse Internet is the only ISP to reduce its hardware prices in addition to the broadband connection reductions that were announced in December 2002. Eclipse is offering a broadband starter pack, including set up fee, modem and microfilters, for only £74.99, a saving of £50. The connection fee will be halved from £50 to £25 and prices for broadband routers, modems and microfilters have been significantly reduced by between 30% and 50%. For increased flexibility, Eclipse will also be launching a reduced price router starter pack for networks.

Mark Lang, managing director of Eclipse Internet said, “We are very pleased to be able to offer customers ADSL connection and hardware at lower prices. At Eclipse, we firmly believe that connection fees are not the only barrier to entry for broadband as hardware costs too represent a significant part of the installation costs. Only by offering potential customers both reduced set up fees and hardware pricing can you really encourage more businesses and consumers to enjoy the benefits of broadband.

For further information please visit http://www.eclipsebroadband.com

We note that, unlike others, Eclipse makes no mention of the reduced activation cost being limited to a specific time period (until March / April).

Illegal Online Music Sites Set To Stay

By:mark.j @ 2:53:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

The president of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Cary Sherman, has today admitted that illegal Internet based music download sites will probably never be completely eradicated:

He said the aim was to bring the proliferation of sites under control so that business were free to continue to make money. "Our aim is not to completely eliminate music piracy or illegal peer-to-peer services altogether," said Mr Sherman.

"As long as it is within a reasonable amount of control then we will be happy but we are still a long way from that."

Mark Mulligan, an analyst with Jupiter Research, agreed that the music industry would never fully be able to eradicate illegal file sharing. "There will always be those willing to develop alternative illegal services. It has got to be accepted that file sharing will always be there just as shoplifting is accepted as wastage in the retail sector."

More @ BBC News Online.

Timewarp ISP Cuts ADSL Prices

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

It's all happening today =), now UK ISP Timewarp Internet has become the latest service to announce a reduction in its broadband ADSL service charges to £21.76 +vat per month:

Timewarp reduces Broadband charges

Due to the impending reduction of BT’s line activation charge, Timewarp are reducing their Home ADSL Wires Only package to a staggering £21.76 (£25.54 inc VAT).

And as if that was not enough the activation charge is FREE!!!

Timewarp are also still offering the same top quality FULLY ACCOUNT MANAGED SERVICE, including: -

 Free static IP
 Email accounts
 20 Meg Web space
 News groups
 Gaming server access
 Full technical phone support

12 Month contract applies. This offer is open to new customers only and is available from 10/01/03 till 31/03/03.

It certainly seems as if a good number of UK ADSL offering ISPs are shifting their prices into the £20 +/- bracket.

Wisesurfer ISP Cuts ADSL Prices

By:mark.j @ 2:41:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

UK ISP Wisesurfer has today announced two price cuts to their broadband ADSL service. ADSL Line activation is now down to just £30 +vat and monthly rental has decreased to £18.99 per month:

Wisesurfer Announce Price Reductions for ADSL Services

From today Wisesurfer (http://www.wisesurfer.com) have lowered pricing for all its ADSL services. In keeping with the cost reduction for ADSL Line activations from BT Wisesurfer have today reduced activation by 50% to £30 (ex VAT). Monthly rental has also been reduced for all new sign-up to £18.99!! Coupled with modems from £55 (ex VAT) this offer makes Wisesurfer a great deal!

We see the next few months as a critical growth period for ADSL and want to ensure we offer a service at a price that makes it easy for people to convert to broadband!

£18.99 per month seems like a somewhat unrealistically low price to charge for ADSL, although it remains to be seen how such pricing will affect providers over the long-term.

ActiveWare ISP Withdraws Unmetered

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

UK ISP ActiveWare Internet, which had only been in operation for a few months, has today announced the withdrawal of its unmetered dialup platform:

Withdrawal of Dial-Up Internet Services

It is with regret that ActiveWare Consultants Limited announces withdrawal of our range of Dial-Up Internet Access Services. Unfortunately as a small business we lack the financial support required to sustain short term losses accrued while building our customer base. In view of this fact our major supplier has decided to withdraw credit facilities to our company. This has meant that we have been unable to provide internet access through our 0808 99 33 268 number since 4:34pm on 7th January 2003.

Our mission as a company is to become a leading player in the dial internet market by delivering an economical service while ensuring customer satisfaction by providing an honest approach to customer support. Coupled with our recently announced product line we believe that our service represents a viable business proposition and as such we intend to investigate further avenues in order that we can bring our plans to fruition.

It is our intention to refund customers on a pro-rata basis assuming service was available until 7 January 2003. Unfortunately this is largely a manual process and may take a few days to complete, if you have any enquiries please email us at support@activeware.co.uk

In the meantime we would like to thank our customers for their support over the past year and particularly for bearing with us through recent technical difficulties.

As always we are keen to hear our customers views and if you would like to discuss this matter further please contact us on 0800 279 2696 where we will do our best to assist.

The e-mail introduction to the above press release also stated that essentially BT had chosen to pull the plug on the service. Activeware do state their intention to come back, although we'll have to wait and see what form that will take, if any.

Barely more than a week into 2003 and already two ISPs appear to be suffering major problems; hopefully this is not a sign of things to come.

Irish Unmetered Dialup By June 2003

By:mark.j @ 1:21:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Unmetered Internet access should finally become a practical reality for Irish Internet consumers come June 2003, so says the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg). The official press release follows:

ComReg Sets Timetable for FRIACO

ComReg has put in place the next steps enabling consumers to have access to flat rate, predictable internet access charges.

In a Decision Notice issued today ComReg have set out a detailed timescale to be met so that operators can order a wholesale FRIACO (Flat Rate Internet Access Call Origination) product by end February 2003. This will enable the provision of a retail offering by operators no later than the end of June 2003. From that date, operators, including eircom, who wish to supply a flat rate internet access offering to the public will be in a position to do so, as the full arrangements including network, processes and costs of availing of the wholesale product will be in place.

Following requests from a number of operators in July 2002 for a FRIACO service, eircom engaged in a series of bi-lateral discussions until November 2002. To assist in expediting the process ComReg then established a special forum which further assisted in developing the product in line with that available in many other countries across Europe. However in view of increasing demands for a flat rate offering from consumers and because of a number of technical and commercial constraints ComReg have now intervened to formalise the definition of the product description and to set out a timetable for its introduction on a phased basis. ComReg envisages the development of other FRIACO products in the future.

The programme set out now is in line with the thinking set out by the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources in his draft policy direction of December 2002. Building on the momentum that this initiative brings, ComReg looks forward to working with the industry to meet the demands of the consumer by making a FRIACO product a reality in Ireland.

It's still too early to know what kind of price and services customers can expect, although Ireland Offline (consumer group) believes that any price above 35 Euros per month would be excessive.

BTs Mesh Wireless Trial Flops

By:mark.j @ 1:12:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

ADSLGuide has issued a brief update on BTWholesale’s trial of Mesh broadband wireless technology in the Pontypridd (Wales) area, which ended on 31st December 2002.

Unfortunately the trial was apparently hit by a number of difficulties, including the immaturity of the technology, thus BTs Mesh technology is unlikely to be deployed in its current form.

Thankfully BT is still looking at other broadband wireless technologies.

Scotland’s Powerline Broadband Trial

By:mark.j @ 9:45:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Andrew Quinn from the World of ADSL website has today managed to send us more details on the Powerline broadband trial being conducted by Scottish Hydro-Electric.

For those that don't remember, Powerline is a broadband Internet access technology that uses a buildings own power cables to send and receive information as well as power.

The limited trial being conducted by Scottish Hydro-Electric is for a 2Mbit line costing just £15, £25 or £40 per month (different options); the trial itself covers Crieff and Campbeltown:

- Crieff - Residential Users

+ £25 per calendar month inclusive of VAT. This rate is fixed until 31st December 2003, as the trial period has received funding support from the DTI UK Broadband Fund; Scottish Enterprise Tayside and Perth & Kinross Council.
+ No connection fee will be charged.
+ Charges must be paid by Direct Debit.
+ Payments will be collected by SSE Telecommunications Limited on behalf of SSE Energy Supply Limited.
+ Minimum contract duration is one calendar month.

- Crieff - Business Users

+ £40 per calendar month plus VAT. This rate is fixed until 31st December 2003, as the trial period has received funding support from the DTI UK Broadband Fund; Scottish Enterprise Tayside and Perth & Kinross Council.
+ No connection fee will be charged.
+ Charges must be paid by Direct Debit.
+ Payments will be collected by SSE Telecommunications Limited on behalf of SSE Energy Supply Limited
+ Minimum contract duration is one calendar month.

- Campbeltown - All Users

+ £15 per calendar month plus VAT. This rate is fixed until 31st December 2003, as the trial period has received funding support from the DTI UK Broadband Fund and Highlands & Islands Enterprise.
+ No connection fee will be charged.
+ Charges must be paid by Direct Debit.
+ Payments will be collected by SSE Telecommunications Limited on behalf of SSE Energy Supply Limited.
+ Minimum contract duration is one calendar month.

More information can be found on the World of ADSL website, or the companies official Powerline broadband trial page HERE.

MPs - Ofcom Needs Broadband Clout

By:mark.j @ 9:35:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

MPs from the latest committee to scrutinise the forthcoming Communications Bill, which forms a foundation for Oftels replacement - Ofcom, believe that the new super-regulator will lack enough clout to take on the issue of broadband coverage:

According to several MPs, the Communications Bill should be amended so that Ofcom -- the new regulator that will replace five existing regulators, including Oftel -- has the power to force telcos to make faster data services available to everyone in the UK.

The Communications Bill is currently being examined by a parliamentary standing committee, and is expected to be passed into law this summer. Once this happens, Ofcom will begin regulating the broadcasting and telecommunications sectors.

John Whittingdale MP, a member of the standing committee, is concerned that Ofcom's proposed powers to impose universal service conditions on telecoms operators do not include any reference to broadband.

The ZDNet item highlights an all too familiar issue, although more senior ministers have already stated that the situation is unlikely to improve.

New E-Mail Virus (Worm) - Lirva / Naith

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

MessageLabs reports that Lirva, otherwise known as w32.Lirva@mm or W32/Naith.A-mm, is the latest e-mail virus (worm) to hit the Internet and is named after the popular singer Avril Lavigne.

The virus was first spotted on Monday 6th January 2003 in France and has since appeared in 10 other countries including Switzerland, Pakistan and Hong Kong. Infection rates are rising, although the virus itself isn't deemed to be destructive.

More details HERE.

102 Million New Year Text Messages

By:mark.j @ 9:19:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Mobile phone users broke yet another record on New Years day when they sent a whopping 102 million text messages, more than twice last years recorded number.

The 102 million short message service texts in the 24 hours after midnight on December 31st represents a 59% increase on one year before, offering a further indication of how pervasive text messaging has become in Britain.

"The large amount of text messages sent at New Year confirms that most people see text messaging as a warm and personal way to greet their friends and loved ones on special occasions," Mike Short, chairman of the Mobile Data Association said on Tuesday.

News - January 7,2003

Unmetered ISP Found - Highstream

By:mark.j @ 4:18:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

While trawling the Internet we came across the UK wing of another previously unknown (to us) unmetered dialup ISP called Highstream. The service offers the following packages; all include a standard 2 hourly cut-off and Anti-SPAM/Virus filters:

Nights £3.99 / month
Unmetered Access 1am to 6am Every Day

Days £5.99 / month
Unmetered Access 9am to 6pm Monday through Friday

Nights & Weekends £7.99 / month
Unmetered Access 6pm to 9am Monday though Friday
Anytime on Weekends

Anytime £9.99 / month
Unmetered Access All Day, Every Day

Gio ISP Offers £1.99 Unmetered Dialup!

By:mark.j @ 2:50:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

It may only be for a limited period, however UK ISP Gio Internet is now offering the first month of its £14.99 unmetered dialup service for just £1.99!:

For a limited period Gio internet is offering unmetered Internet access for an incredible price of only £1.99 for a month.

This offer is only available until Sunday 12th January 2003.

The Gio Anytime Special £1.99 package offers 160hrs for the month with a contention of 10:1 and with 7 email accounts and 10Mb WebSpace

After the initial month the price will increase to £14.99/month with same usage.

Liberty Broadband ISP Liquidates

By:mark.j @ 2:02:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

The broadband wireless ISP formerly known as Tele2, Liberty Broadband, has called in the liquidators. The news, which we had been rumoured of before Christmas, was finally confirmed today:

Customers of the fixed wireless broadband outfit are continuing to be supported while liquidators look for a buyer. A couple of interested parties are understood to be interested in taking over the business.

However, a decision on the company's future is unlikely to be known until the end of the week.

Details are scarce and The Register doesn't say anything specific, hopefully some of our readers can fill in the blanks. More soon..

Cornwall's Broadband Scheme Expands

By:mark.j @ 1:56:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Cornwall's rural broadband scheme, Actnow, could be expanded following a recent surge in demand:

The £12.5m project, which is funded jointly by BT, Europe and local government bodies and offers subsidised ADSL connections to small businesses in the area, has signed up 2,500 users since its launch last year and will now extend its area of coverage.

Four further local exchanges, in St Ives, Bude, Saltash and Penryn, will be ADSL-enabled from the beginning of next month, taking the total involved to 13. The project, now in its ninth month, also expanded in September last year after its user base reached 1,000.

Under the scheme, businesses are provided with free ADSL installation and reduced monthly line rental charges to encourage them to sign up. The partnership model has also allowed broadband infrastructure to be rolled out in rural areas considered to be a commercial risk by BT.

Unfortunately it's not entirely clear what's responsible for the recent surge in demand, although perhaps the increased BT advertising has helped? More @ netimperative.info .

North Ayrshire Broadband Update

By:mark.j @ 10:32:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

One of our readers, Jim, has kindly passed on an update that he'd received from the North Ayrshire I.T department regarding the schools getting broadband, which was reported in the Irvine Herald (newspaper) last week some:

The broadband connectivity that is mentioned in the article is basically 10Mb fibre circuits between schools and Cunninghame House and from there a link presently to an ISP but by the end of this year hopefully a connection to the Scottish Executive's SPARK project, giving significant bandwidth to the Internet and other education establishments throughout Scotland.

We are not using ADSL or wireless connectivity at the moment, for various reasons. However, as we move on to the next phases covering Arran, Millport and the Garnock Valley we will not rule anything out.

Blueyonder ISP Hikes Support Charge

By:mark.j @ 10:26:AM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

Thanks to one of our readers, Jon, for highlighting an issue that appears to be getting a lot of Telewests broadband cable modem ISP customers (blueyonder) quite hot under the collar.

Apparently Blueyonder's broadband ISP wing is to move its free phone support number to a local call rate charge (effective 1st March 2003) for the following reason:

Telewest Broadband is introducing a range of product and pricing changes in March this year. As part of these changes we will be introducing local rate charges for broadband technical support, to enable us to maintain the high-level of 24/7 service we currently provide.

"The cost of a few pence per call still represents one of the lowest technical support rates amongst our competitors and blueyonder customers will only be charged for time spent talking to a technical support representative. We have already made many improvements to the range of additional support services available to our customers, such as the introduction of a free instant support tool, and will continue to develop these alongside the phone service.

Our blueyonder internet services will remain highly competitive and 512kbps and 1Mb internet access will still be available from £25 and £35 per month, respectively. We will be explaining all pricing and product changes in a letter to customers this month, many of which will further improve the value of our services.

If this were any other non-cable ISP then most people would be more than happy to have a local rate number, especially since most BT based ISPs still unfairly penalise users with a premium rate line.

Of course this isn't any other ISP and what might be perceived by many as a trivial change still appears to have angered a good number of Telewests ISP customers.

Net Libel Laws Threaten Free Speech

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

The Times Newspaper has run an interesting item on how some of the UKs new libel laws could be threatening our online freedom of speech (haven’t they already done that?):

In the relatively young and developing world of internet law it is unsurprising that internet service providers (ISPs) should react with extreme caution to complaints about postings to hosted websites or bulletin boards. At the first whiff of trouble most ISPs will both remove an offending item and terminate the access of any contributing subscriber. This overly cautious approach has led to complaints that censorship is being imposed on the right of free speech that the internet was intended to foster.

The censorship v freedom of speech arguments are particularly vociferous in the UK. The restrictive libel laws, when applied to the internet, produce findings curiously at odds with the stance taken by, for example, the American courts. When the internet first emerged as a mass communication medium, US courts were swift to secure a relative safe haven for ISPs on the premise that they are “passive carriers” of information akin to phone companies. ISPs sued in America can call upon freedom of speech protection under the First Amendment and are also able to shelter behind Section 230 of the US Communications Decency Act, which offers service providers extensive immunity from liability for third party content.

In contrast the UK offers only limited protection to ISPs. Given the net’s global reach, such diverse national approaches to liability will almost certainly encourage claimants to forum shop. ISPs that have sites accessible from many jurisdictions will be concerned about the repercussions of the recent Australian High Court decision to permit Joseph Gutnick to commence proceedings in Australia, where he resides, against an American ISP over a story that was both written and posted in the US (Law, December 17, 2002).

The piece is quite long and covers a number of all too familiar cases and issues. Hopefully in the future ISPs won't be blamed for the action(s) of their customers.

NTL Investigates Internal Hack Attack

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

The UKs largest cable operator, NTL, is reported to have launched an internal investigation after allegations surfaced that one of the operator’s employees hacked a website for the operator:

The alleged incident, which took place on New Year's Eve, resulted in subscribers of ntlhell.co.uk receiving an email containing the phrase "ntlhell.co.uk is shitntlhell.co.uk" repeated almost 300 times.

Following an investigation, those behind ntlhell.co.uk say they believe whoever compromised the site's security did so using a computer behind NTL's firewall.

It's quite possible that politics will prevent us hearing anymore on this matter, time will tell. More @ The Register.

News - January 6,2003

Supanet ISP Launches Mobile Content

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

UK ISP Supanet has teamed up with Telecom One to market and distribute the latest and most popular mobile content to all of supanet's UK site visitors:


Java mobile games, logos and ringtones now available to download from http://www.supanet.tx1.com

Telecom One, the UK provider of specialist mobile services, and supanet, one of the UK's leading internet service providers, have joined together to market and distribute the latest and most popular mobile content to all of supanet's UK site visitors. A wide selection of Java mobile games, logos, animated screensavers and ringtones - including the latest polyphonic tunes - are now available to download from www.supanet.tx1.com. This content is available to everyone, regardless of which UK mobile operator they are contracted to.

Using its relationships with a growing number of games and mobile content developers from across the globe, Telecom One has sourced digital content which specifically meets the requirements of supanet's many customers. Telecom One will constantly update this content to ensure that supanet visitors can always access the newest games, logos and ringtones. Telecom One will also handle the distribution and billing for downloads. At supanet's request, users can be billed via premium SMS or Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR), charged directly to their phone bills.

"As phones become increasingly sophisticated, content for mobile phones - particularly Java mobile games - is becoming more and more popular," said Patrick Naughton, founder and managing director, Telecom One. "As a leading ISP, supanet is in an ideal position to market and publicise this content to a large number of UK customers. Deals like this will help mobile games achieve mass market status."

"Telecom One's experience of delivering great content to customers on any mobile network made it the ideal partner for supanet," said Adrian Kerr, senior editor, supanet. "Telecom One's expertise means we can now offer a wide range of exciting mobile games, ringtones and logos, that is both easy to download and pay for."

Telecom One is one of the UK's largest mobile content aggregators. It also has experience of developing bespoke mobile content solutions using technologies such as WAP, premium SMS and IVR (interactive voice recognition).

This deal follows Telecom One's launch of TX1, the UK's first TV channel solely dedicated to mobile gaming, which is now available on Sky Digital channel 689.

Demon Waives ADSL Setup Charges

By:mark.j @ 1:42:PM - News Comments - SendNews [HERE] / PrintNews [HERE]

The THUS Telecom backed UK ISP Demon Internet has today announced that it is to waive all connection charges on its entire range of ADSL broadband products!:


THUS plc, through its Demon brand, announced today that it is to waive all connection charges on its entire range of ADSL broadband products.

The Demon branded ADSL services are one of the widest ranges in the UK - from single user services providing up to 500kb/s downstream bandwidth to those offering 2Mb/s downstream bandwidth and able to support multiple users. In addition to the standard services in which bandwidth is shared with up to 50 users, premium Demon ADSL services are on offer in which bandwidth of up to 2Mb/s is made available exclusively to a single user or business. Connection charges for all these services, whether provided in private or commercial premises are to be waived from 6th January 2003.

Product Director, Nigel Stevens, commented: "In these tough economic conditions no business should ignore the commercial and technical advantage offered by high speed, always on connections to the Internet. The benefits to individuals in terms of information, entertainment and communication are now undeniable but the only way to achieve a truly inclusive 'broadband Britain' is to remove the barriers to entry.

Coupled with a significant reduction in the charge levied by our suppliers we believe the demand now exists to enable us to waive all connection charges until at least the end of March 2003, at which point we will review our connection charges policy once again. Our growing broadband subscriber base coupled with recent technical and regulatory developments are changing the dynamics of the market. We believe there may be further opportunities to make broadband services more affordable.

Now if only BT could increase the coverage of ADSL a little faster so that we could all get it, that or Cable Modem access. Could we be asking too much? Hopefully not!

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