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Complaints About Broadband Providers Fall In 2009

Complaints about the UK’s broadband providers have fallen significantly during the first six months of 2009.

The Office of Fair Trading’s Consumer Direct service has revealed that there were 6,256 complaints about broadband suppliers in the first part of this year, representing a circa 16% drop compared to the same time last year.

This means the UK’s internet service providers (ISP’s) have fallen three places in Consumer Direct’s league table study of the most complained about services in the UK.

The ISP’s now lie tenth on the table, while second hand cars brought from independent dealers remain top. Mobile phone service agreements along with TV’s and mobile phone handsets also feature highly.

The complaints that have been made mainly involve defective goods and poor service issues.

The latter will come as no surprise to broadband users as most are disappointed with at least one aspect of their service, with speed and connection problems often being the most complained about issues.

Karoo Has New Policy For Illegal Broadband File Sharers

Karoo, the internet service provider in Hull has introduced a new policy to combat illegal broadband file sharers on its network.

The new ‘3 strikes and you’re out’ policy comes after it was widely reported that the company was disconnecting users suspected of piracy without any prior warning.

Such action provoked anger from the residents of Hull where Karoo is the only ISP with a near monopoly position and also the Open Rights Group and Consumer Focus.

According to reports, in order for a user to get re-connected, they were required to sign a document which admitted their guilt and also confirmed that they would not repeat the offence again.

Commenting on the new policy, the Director of Consumer and Publishing Services at Karoo, Nick Thompson said, “It is evident that we have been exceeding the expectations of copyright owners, the media and Internet users. So, we have changed our policy to move in more line with the industry standard approach, whilst still taking the issues of copyright infringement and illegal internet activity seriously. Going forward, we will provide customers with three written notifications before their service is temporarily suspended”.

Internet piracy is a big problem within the UK and one the government has tried to cover in the recent Digital Britain Report.

Measures including bandwidth capping and site blocking, rather than actual disconnection were put forward as possible ways to help address the problem.

Minister Says Wales Getting A Raw Broadband Deal

A UK Minister has stated that Wales is still getting a raw deal when it comes to broadband access.

Sion Simon, the Creative Industries Minister admitted that for rural Wales in particular, access to broadband was a real problem.
Speaking on the AM-PM programme on BBC Wales, he said, “You are right that Wales currently gets a raw deal from commercially provided broadband”.

Following on though, he also reaffirmed the Government’s Digital Britain goals by saying that “the commitment is for universal broadband at a minimum of two megabits per second across the UK by 2012″.

The minister also pledged that work would be undertaken earlier in Wales to ensure that rural parts of Wales got broadband access.

It is no secret that rural Wales has one of the poorest broadband connection capabilities throughout the whole of the UK. However, the commitments and pledges made here are positive signs that this could change.

Swine Flu Could Threaten UK’s Broadband Infrastructure

Industry officials are worried that swine flu could cause serious problems for the UK’s broadband infrastructure.

With the virus expected to hit most of the UK within the next few months and people likely to be kept at home for two weeks if they have suspected swine flu, the worry is that the broadband infrastructure will not be able to cope with the increased usage.

Broadband provides a convenient way to work from home and can be extremely useful. However, if millions more people in the UK were to increase their broadband usage it could dramatically slow down internet speeds and likely cause the internet to shutdown.

According to sources, BT has already been unable to give a definite assurance that it could fully cope with millions more users & usage.

Many UK businesses have no measures in place for a swine flu epidemic – despite experts claiming that it will affect millions of people over the next few months.

The problems with broadband access will only arise if people are expected to work from home, so it is vital that businesses come up with suitable measures to prevent workers having to rely solely on the internet.

Illegal Broadband File Sharing On The Decrease

According to a new survey conducted by leading digital music strategy company, Music Ally, and research specialists, The Leading Question, illegal broadband file sharing has decreased considerably since 2007.

The 1,000 strong UK music fan survey revealed that regular illegal file sharing had decreased to 17% in January 2009 from 22% in December 2007.

It is the younger music fans, aged 14-18, who have mainly stopped regularly downloading illegal files, with figures dropping dramatically from 42% to 26%.

Music video streaming is said to be the main reason for this with websites such as Spotify and YouTube allowing users to watch streaming music for free in return for watching or listening to a few advertisements.

Despite the drop in regular illegal file sharing, the number of users who have ever downloaded illegal files has increased. In December 2007, the figure stood at 28% but in January 2009 it went up to 31%.

Paul Brindley, the CEO of Music Ally said, “File sharing is a moving target, so industry and Government policies need to recognise this. It’s already being somewhat displaced by other means of accessing music for free. Some are licensed and some involve a bit of both”.

Brindley continued, “Kids find services like YouTube much more convenient for checking out new music than file sharing. But even YouTube can become a source of piracy with some kids ripping YouTube videos and turning them into free MP3 downloads”.

Sheffield Set To Benefit From Super-Fast Broadband

Homes and businesses in Sheffield may soon benefit from super-fast broadband speeds that will run through the city’s sewers.

H20 Networks, the company providing the network infrastructure has already built similar broadband networks in Dundee and Bournemouth.

The network will be built on top of the existing fibre optic broadband network that is currently used for Sheffield student accommodation and luxury flats in the town.

When ready in September, it is expected that broadband speeds will reach up to 100Mbps compared to the UK’s average broadband speed of around 3Mbps.

Once the super fast network has been installed, a small 4 inch box will need to be attached to the front of a subscribers home which will connect to the network.

This will enable the home to benefit from HD gaming services and on demand HDTV, together with the ability to download full length high quality films in just a matter of minutes.
While H20 Networks will be providing the network infrastructure, it is likely to be one of the UK’s major broadband providers who will act as an agent and provide the actual broadband service to customers – though to date none have yet signed up to do this.

H20 Networks plan to install similar networks across other towns in the UK once Sheffield is completed at the end of September.

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