Posts Tagged ‘isp’
A few people grassed TalkTalk up to the ASA about their three ad-campaigns were a load of cobblers, especially the claim that they were offering “the UK’s lowest priced, totally unlimited broadband”.
One of the grasses was BT and the ASA ruled in their favour, saying that Talktalk failed to substantiate their claims and that the ISP’s price comparisons also showed inaccuracies, which altogether, meant that TalkTalk had “misled customers”.
The ruling said (and you can read it here): “Most consumers would believe that, at the time the ad appeared, TalkTalk offered the cheapest unlimited broadband package in Britain, in comparison to both their competitors’ standard and promotional prices.
“Because that was not the case, we concluded that the claim was misleading.”
A TalkTalk spokesmachine said in a statement: “We’re committed to making Britain better off and consistently offer our customers Britain’s best prices for TV, broadband, mobile and home phone. As such, TalkTalk homes make significant savings in comparison to our competitors.”
“We note the ASA’s comments about ensuring comparison text is prominent and look forward to continuing to provide Britain’s lowest prices.”
Then, for good measure, supergrass BT got slapped by the ASA too, for a mailout that stated, “SKY TO SWITCH OFF O2 BROADBAND BY APRIL 2014″ on the envelope. They too, were being misleading.
David Cameron is determined to pop a protective wrapper around the internet to stop people looking at mucky photos and bongo videos. It soon turned out that existing smutblocks were stopping people from looking at sites designed to give helpful advice on domestic abuse and sexual health while grumble was readily accessible.
Crucially, everyone knew that it wouldn’t take long to bypass all this Mary Whitehouse nonsense.
And now, there’s a bypass to the filter called ‘Go Away Cameron’, which is an extension for Chrome that promises to “bring porn back”. Install that, and you’ll be able to watch whatever grot you please.
Go Away Cameron “automates a private and smart proxy service to route your access around censorship so you can regain your access to your favourite blocked sites in the UK,” according to the FAQ.
The reasons the extension was built, according to the site: “I enjoy my internet freedom, and urge all of you to never give that up, let alone to any government agencies.”
If you want to look at dirty things without having to ring up your ISP to opt in, have a look goawaycameron.co.uk.
They want to see the ISPs signing -up to a scheme which will see them handing over details of those who are downloading music illegally.
BT, Virgin Media, BSkyB and TalkTalk have been asked by the BPI and British Video Association to sign up to a voluntary code to create a database of file sharers, however, it doesn’t seem likely that the ISPs will want to annoy their customers, so this’ll probably fizzle away like all previous attempts.
Again, the ‘three strikes’ rule is being floated, where customers will be sent some letters advising them to legally download things, before a final warning of some kind of sanction and “ultimately prosecution.”
Virgin and Talk Talk are both resisting the collection of user data, with Talk Talk pointing out that this kind of activity is dubious under the Data Protection Act.
“We are involved in discussions about measures to address illegal file-sharing and ultimately would like to reach a voluntary agreement. However our customers’ rights always come first and we would never agree to anything that could compromise them,” said a spokesperson for Talk Talk.
Over at Virgin; “Music and film companies are speaking to broadband providers about how to address illegal file-sharing but what they’re currently proposing is unworkable.”
Of course, everyone goes to Twitter to gripe, whinge and bitch about absolutely any trouble they get with their internet connection, helpfully putting a fullstop at the start of all tweets so everyone can see their thoroughly uninteresting issues.
With that, it is worth seeing who is mostly likely to help. While Virgin is the most helpful, Sky got the plaudits for being the fastest to respond. They respond to 59% of customers within the hour, according to research company WaveMetrix.
While BT and TalkTalk don’t respond as quickly, figures show that these companies are actually more likely to fix your problem more quickly than those with the fastest response time.
Naturally, these figures won’t stop people complaining at everyone online, but it’s a start.
Those scamps at The Pirate Bay have rolled out their own browser so you can get round ISP blocks easier. Basically, with one click, you can download the pre-configured FireFox PirateBrowser, which makes all blocked sites available.
This is also coupled with Mozilla’s Firefox portable browser and the FoxyProxy add-on, which lets you bypass content-filtering in a number of countries.
With a bit of customisation, this new browser also allows you to “circumvent censorship that certain countries such as Iran, North Korea, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Denmark, Italy and Ireland impose onto their citizens,” according to the PirateBrowser site.
This launch celebrates the 10th anniversary of The Pirate Bay and will invariably annoy loads and loads of people.
It is available on Windows but as yet, no Linux or Mac versions have been announced.
Virgin Media is bracing itself for DDoS business at they have become the latest ISP to block access to Newzbin 2 (a site which sorts you out with pirated films and music) after they received a court order from the Motion Picture Association.
Sky and BT have already blocked the site.
“As a responsible ISP, Virgin Media complies with court orders addressed to the company, but strongly believes that changing consumer behaviour to tackle copyright infringement also needs compelling legal alternatives to give consumers access to great content at the right price,” said Virgin in a statement.
Of course, people will be able to circumnavigate this block, so is this just a case of shutting organisations like the BPI up?
Data has shown that the Pirate Bay block only saw their track dip for a week before going back to normal levels. And still, no letters have been sent to those infringing copyright from the Data Protection Act and there are no plans to do so until 2014.
BT and Talk Talk have lost an appeal over measures to tackle copyright infringement online. All the ISPs argued that the UK’s Digital Economy Act was incompatible with EU law, which says that they’ll have to be the ones to send warning letters to illegal downloaders as well as cutting users off.
The firms’ lawyers said that stricter measures could result in an invasion of privacy and create disproportionate costs for both ISPs and consumers.
In a statement, Talk Talk said it was now “considering our options”. They added: ”We’re disappointed that our appeal was unsuccessful though we welcome the additional legal clarity that has been provided for all parties. Though we have lost this appeal, we will continue fighting to defend our customers’ rights against this ill-judged legislation.”
A spokesman for BT said: “We have been seeking clarification from the courts that the DEA is consistent with European law, and legally robust in the UK, so that everyone can be confident in how it is implemented. Now that the court has made its decision, we will look at the judgment carefully to understand its implications and consider our next steps.”
Of course, the ISPs have been long chided by the creative industries. Christine Payne, general secretary of the Actors’ union Equity, called on the ISPs to “stop fighting and start obeying the law”. Through the medium of dance, she continued: ”Once again the court is on the side of the almost two million workers in the creative industries whose livelihoods are put at risk because creative content is stolen on a daily basis.”
Adam Rendle, a copyright specialist at international law firm Taylor Wessing, expects BT and Talk Talk to take this to the Supreme Court, saying: ”We know how keen internet users are to protect what they see as freedom of speech. When the Digital Economy Act itself was passed in the dying stages of the Labour government, there was a huge amount of disquiet that this kind of important legislation was being introduced without proper scrutiny.”
“That kind of disquiet didn’t result in the kind of action we’ve seen against Acta and Sopa. It wouldn’t be surprising to see a lot more public outcry than there was when the Act was first passed.”
Hollywood is having a bad time of it at the moment, basically because it is made up entirely of idiots. For example, there’s a bit of excitement surrounding a film called Super 8 which has been released in America. However, for some stupid, arbitrary reason, it isn’t hitting UK screens ’til August. By this time, you will have invariably seen a whole bunch of spoilers and whatnot, so you may as well watch it online, illegally.
Watching it online means you don’t have to deal with idiot humans spoiling your fun in a cinema screen also.
Of course, this is a big problem for those who want to make money from films. So, instead of looking at ways in which the whole cinematic process could be improved, people like the Motion Picture Association have turned against That Nasty Internet for spoiling everything.
Naturally, chasing every IP address on Earth is too time consuming and expensive, so the logical answer is to harangue ISPs so they do the dirty work instead. The MPA have decided to hound BT to block copyright-infringing content by seeking an injunction which will force the ISP to refuse everyone access to download site Newzbin. The MPA is also lobbying the Government to implement a web-blocking system to prevent people from accessing illegal download sites.
However, the ISPs want to be onside with those that pay their phone bills as that’s where the money is – not some already wealthy coalition of studios in America.
BT say: “We can confirm that we will be appearing in court, following an application for an injunction by members of the MPA. We have no further comment to make at this stage.”
It is thought that BT will probably tell the MPA to sling their hook because, if they play ball, other ISPs will be able to say ‘we would’ve fought them… come to us with your direct debits please’. The MPA say: “Newzbin has no regard for UK law and it is unacceptable that it continues to infringe copyright on a massive and commercial scale when it has been ordered to stop by the High Court. We have explored every route to get Newzbin to take down the infringing material and are left with no option but to challenge this in the courts.”
And what do Newzbin have to say about it all? A spokesperson told The Telegraph that attempts to shut Newzbin down would always fail because “we can run faster than them [the MPA] and shapeshift”.
Ofcom (them again) are pushing for broadband and landlines to be cheaper after they said that BT would have to cut their charges that they demand from those that use their network.
The watchdog have proposed lower prices for BT’s wholesale wing that gives other ISPs access to install their own kit in the telcom giant’s Openreach exchanges. If BT lower their price, everyone else can too, presumably.
Ofcom are gunning for BT’s Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) and the Wholesale Line Rental (WLR) services.
BT’s LLU service has been asked to drop between 1.2 per cent and 4.2 per cent every year. Ofcom have also requested that a shared unbundled line, where an ISP uses a proportion of the line only for the provision of broadband, should see a drop in price between 11.6 per cent and 14.6 per cent.
The regulator would also like to see BT’s WLR service a fall between 3.1 per cent and 6.1 per cent every year.
BT say: “BT invests more than any other company in the UK’s communications infrastructure, so it is critical that it is able to achieve a fair rate of return in order to continue its investment in copper and fibre based services. Upon initial review, we are encouraged by Ofcom’s recognition of this fact, but would question some of the underlying assumptions being used. As a result, we will be raising such concerns with Ofcom during the consultation process.”
Broadband customers will soon be able to reach speeds of 110Mbps (which equates to roughly 65mph) under plans announced by BT Openreach.
Openreach, if you don’t know, are the BT arm that manages the network for other internet service providers and they’re saying that the 110Mpbs service will be available in March 2011.
The service will be a fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) service, but it is worth noting that the 110Mpbs won’t be constant. At peak times it will be reduced, but Openreach are guaranteeing a minimum of 20Mpbs.
As part of this service, it is reported that you’ll also be able get an upload speed of 15Mbps.
Rival ISPs are able to rent the high-speed network and Openreach have said that prices would be £258.48 per year (£21.54 per month). How much this is going to eventually cost the consumer isn’t clear. There’s also a one-off connection charge which will also be added at £75 (plus VAT).
Just imagine how quickly you’ll be able to clog up your hardrive with absolute filth!
Ofcom, who for the most part, are entirely useless, are considering changing the way in which we switch broadband providers.
Now, when you want to leave your broadband provider in favour of another, the side losing you has to fanny about supplying a Migration Authorisation Code (MAC) which is then handed over to a gloating new supplier.
As such, the resultant faff has seen 45% of broadband users having the opinion that switching to a new provider is too much hassle.
So, in a bid to grease the cogs a little, Ofcom is considering switching to a Gaining Provider Led (GPL) process, to put the onus on your new ISP, which will hopefully mean that there’s an all-round greater need for customer care.
“The gaining provider has an incentive to ensure that the switching process is as smooth and easy as possible,” said Ofcom.
“GPL processes are also more likely to deliver lower prices, greater choice and innovation for consumers as they force providers to compete vigorously for rivals’ customers,” Ofcom added.
“In Losing Provider Led (LPL) processes this incentive for providers to enter and compete for rivals’ customers is reduced because of the ability of the losing provider to identify (via the code request) and retain customers willing to switch through ‘save offers’.”
You there. Are you living in Britain? Well then, you’re probably being dicked on your broadband speed. That’s what Ofcom are saying.
They’ve analysed the broadband speeds of Britain and as many as 97% of consumers don’t get the advertised speed. So will we get faster broadband as a result of this? Don’t hold your breath. Ofcom will initially ask the ISPs to start changing the way they sell their broadband services.
The BBC reports that Ed Richards, chief executive of Ofcom, said the survey revealed a “growing gap” between what people were sold and the reality of their broadband service.
“The gap between the average headline speed and actual speed has increased in this period even though the actual speed has risen,” he said.
One of the problems, clearly, is that ISPs advertise products with the get-out-of-jail-free card of “speeds up to…”.
Ed Richards from Ofcom again: “We do want to see clearer advertising and we make no secret about that,” he said. “We want advertising that is more meaningful to the consumer.”
Better news is that, over at PCPro, they’re reporting on new rules that will allow broadband customers to break contract if they don’t get the speeds promised by their ISP. Ofcom have developed a code to work out if you’re getting what you paid for and, if you’re in the lowest 10% of expected speeds, you can demand to leave your ISP. However, the code to help you work out your speed is already being chastised for being stupidly complicated.