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Myths and megabits: How much broadband do you actually need?

Tuesday, August 22nd 2017

“640k should be enough for everyone”. That’s a quote famously (he says apocryphally – well, you would, wouldn’t you?) attributed to Microsoft founder Bill Gates circa 1981, of the at-the-time uber-powerful personal...

Ask the expert: Do broadband deals include line rental?

Monday, August 14th 2017

In May of last year (2016), the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) announced that after looking into the way broadband had been advertised thus far, it had decided that the separation of ‘broadband’ and ‘line rental’...

Cable.co.uk’s worldwide broadband speed league – how has the Earth reacted to our findings?

Wednesday, August 9th 2017

The figures/rankings are now public. Have a look yourself and see what you make of them. What's been most interesting to me, however, has been the worldwide reaction, which depending on the country (and the outlet) have...

You & Yours, BBC Radio 4, August 3 – Interview with Dan Howdle on mobile roaming charges

Monday, August 7th 2017

Prior to the interview, You & Yours played a pair of case studies from people who have gone abroad with their mobiles, but been caught out by picking up signal from providers across the border in non-EU countries and on trains...

Stick, twist, or argue with the dealer? What to do about the Virgin Media 4.7% price hike

Thursday, August 3rd 2017

Broadly speaking there are three options you should consider: Stay and do nothing, switch, or stay and try to haggle Virgin Media down to something you find palatable. Or, as I like to think about it: Stick, twist, or argue...

Ask the expert: What's the fastest broadband you can get?

Wednesday, August 2nd 2017

Traditional wisdom (that is to say, wisdom received from organisations trying to sell you things) says bigger numbers (megabits, megapixels and so on) are always better. But are they? Not really. 4K TVs offer pixels...

Virgin Media to home movers: You’re damned if we do, and damned if we don’t

Wednesday, July 26th 2017

The explanation for how this works from Virgin Media’s own website reads thus: “If you decide to end part or all of your services with Virgin Media during a minimum period, then we’ll usually charge you an Early...

Ask the expert: When should I consider switching my broadband provider?

Tuesday, July 25th 2017

People are funny. In an area of psychology called ‘behavioural economics’ (don’t let that put you off, it’s just the science of why we make irrational decisions), studies have found that we put a far greater value on...

Ask the expert: Do I need a landline to get a broadband deal?

Monday, July 24th 2017

So why can’t we separate the two? The answer is tricky, so I’d like to split it into two parts. In the first part, I’m going to explain why most broadband deals demand a landline, and in the second what the options...

TalkTalk’s growing debt pile: What it means if you’re a TalkTalk customer

Wednesday, January 11th 2017

Let’s start with the basics: Both the government and corporations (or public limited companies) issue bonds as a way of raising cash when they need to. Bonds are sold at a nominal value (£100), with a promise to pay a...

The cost of line rental: Where the hell does the money go?

Thursday, December 1st 2016

In January of 2014 use of landlines was like the Leaning Tower of Pisa: Irrevocably tilted towards the older generation, but unlikely ever to fully collapse. 62% of those aged 16-45 never used their home phone. Over 60% of...

Okay, so let's talk about today's Virgin TV V6 box announcement

Wednesday, November 30th 2016

The name conjures a powerful hatchback – simultaneously enough grunt to impress your mates with the odd wheel-spin down the Tesco car park, enough functionality to pop in afterwards and pick up the monthly shop. Perhaps this...

Broadband connectivity alone will not persuade the last 20%

Thursday, March 12th 2015

We appear to have got stuck. Despite the overwhelming predominance of technology in society and our personal lives it is estimated that close to 20% of adults in the UK lack the digital skills to fully engage and participate in...

Is social media better at distributing wealth than Governments?

Friday, February 13th 2015

There have been several heart-warming stories recently that involve the public donating at times large sums of money to individuals who need help. In the US, there was the story of James Robertson who walked 21 miles a day to...

You can keep your landline – I just want my broadband, TV and mobile

Wednesday, February 11th 2015

Last week I found myself attending a roundtable event hosted by new broadband provider Relish which claims to be able to provide superfast broadband into your home without the wires, or more importantly without the need for a...

Does the end of Google Glass mean the end of wearables? I don't think so

Friday, January 16th 2015

Google did a brave thing. Just one week after CES and at a time when the industry is beside itself with excitement over the possibilities of wearables, they have announced they are withdrawing their Glass products. It was only...

Is the UK ready for a digital democracy?

Monday, January 12th 2015

I was listening to the radio this morning and on came a debate about the government's proposed change to the minimum threshold of voting to allow strike action. The government want a minimum of 40% of eligible voters to support...

The 10 tech trends for 2015

Tuesday, January 6th 2015

It’s that time of year when you can be guaranteed two things with complete confidence: anyone in tune with technology will be inundated by news from CES, and that self-styled ‘thought-leaders’ will share their wisdom on the...

Digital exclusion is everyone's problem

Thursday, November 27th 2014

Being excluded from the internet makes life a little harder. Some choose this, but most do not, and they suffer as a result. Their freedom is compromised. By this definition, many people who have a physical or mental...

Is Xbox One's fast food fetish unethical?

Wednesday, November 5th 2014

Microsoft’s endorsement of fast food brands has a history. The purpose of three ‘advergames’ launched on the Xbox 360 platform in 2006 was to gamify promotion of the Burger King brand – ditto for a series of Doritos...

Proposed ‘troll’ laws sound more like election strategy than serious policy

Monday, October 20th 2014

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling’s quotes on the issue refer to a “baying cybermob” spreading “venom”, a choice of language which should be saluted for its moderation and thoughtfulness. Bandwagons are alluring...

Broadband faster than 56Mbps is too fast – for now

Monday, October 20th 2014

Because numbers sell, as attested by the more pixels than the human eye can see TV industry, or the six more blades than could possibly matter safety razor marketplace. How fast is fast enough? At what point do the megabits...

How the Phones 4U collapse will hurt the UK mobile market

Friday, September 19th 2014

On Monday (15 September 2014), 5,000-plus Phones 4U staff – and thousands more of the company's customers – woke up to dismal news that the 18-year-old retailer had entered administration, and that stores and...

Could security concerns sink Apple's mobile payment platform?

Friday, September 12th 2014

It wasn't just two new phones and a smartwatch that Apple announced this week. You'd be forgiven for having missed it, but the Cupertino company also took the wraps off a new mobile payment platform – something...

IFA 2014 - this year's highlights

Friday, September 5th 2014

The consumer electronics industry descended on Berlin for the IFA 2014 conference yesterday, showing off a slew of new gadgets like smartphones, tablets and wearables. While we're only a couple of days into the trade show,...

Sky and BT to do battle once more as Premier League returns

Friday, August 15th 2014

This weekend's return of the Barclays Premier League means two things: football fans will finally be sated after making it through the barren one-month stretch since the end of the World Cup, and Sky will resume its most...

When will the UK's broadband postcode lottery end?

Friday, July 18th 2014

It seems like barely a day goes by without members of one of the UK's many rural communities complaining that their area is being overlooked by the government's broadband rollout. Communications Minister Ed Vaizey told...

Sky hearing impairment issue highlights importance of accessibility

Friday, July 4th 2014

Common sense prevailed this week, when Sky took the eminently sensible decision to continue allowing hearing-impaired customers to cancel their subscriptions without having to phone up and speak to one of the pay TV giant's...

Are app developers taking security seriously enough?

Friday, June 27th 2014

Mobile messaging apps have skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years, sparking something of a gold rush in the software world and the tech sector in general. There's still no better evidence of this than...

Can Amazon set the smartphone market on Fire?

Friday, June 20th 2014

After allowing the hype to build up for a period of months, Amazon finally announced a smartphone this week. The Fire Phone features advanced 3D effects, tilt controls and an app that scans objects in order to redirect the user...

Will the internet of things really impact everyday life?

Friday, June 13th 2014

There's no end of buzz around the so-called 'internet of things' at the moment. For the uninitiated, the term refers to device-to-device communications that don't require human input – connected cars could...

Can a supermarket phone shake up the mobile market?

Friday, May 9th 2014

Visions of the budget ‘brick’ often sold in supermarkets such as Tesco sprang to mind, although chief executive Philip Clarke was quick to tell the BBC this would be an ‘aggressively priced’[1] model, comparable in...

Netflix offers mixed message on ultra-HD

Friday, May 9th 2014

Consumers can be a little wary when it comes to adopting new TV viewing technology. High-definition (HD) TV is now pretty much the industry standard, but took several years to reach the mass market; 3D was widely touted as the...

The lessons we've learned from Asda's network migration

Friday, May 2nd 2014

Mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) play an important role in the UK's telecoms market. With a slim four cellular networks – EE, Three, O2 and Vodafone – for consumers to choose from, much of the...

What mobile means to the tech world's bottom line

Friday, April 25th 2014

There's lots of blue sky thinking in the technology sector these days, which results in no shortage of remarkable news. Projects such as Google Glass and Amazon's automated delivery drones seem to have come straight from...

Will 2014 be the year of the smartwatch?

Friday, April 11th 2014

It's become passe to predict the smartwatch will be the technology world's next big thing. Year after year, Apple surprises the world by not launching the iWatch, while other entrants such as the Samsung Galaxy Gear fall...

Will network consolidation hurt consumer choice?

Friday, March 28th 2014

The inevitable has finally happened – EE has stopped selling Orange and T-Mobile plans online. Consumers can still sign up with the brands if they so desire, either by popping into a high-street store or calling the sales...

Are we still using Facebook to keep in touch?

Friday, March 7th 2014

According to a 2013 study 71% of adults use social media to stay in touch with current friends and reconnect with old ones[1]. The most successful social network, Facebook started as a tool for students so that they could...

Rural broadband needs competition, not cash

Wednesday, March 5th 2014

Another week, another tale of rural broadband woe. Property expert Henry Pryor has revealed houses without broadband could be worth 20% less than similar properties with a fast connection[1]. This isn’t surprising to those of...

MWC 2014 - this year's highlights

Friday, February 28th 2014

After a packed four days of product launches, grand unveilings and hands-on demonstrations, 2014's Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona has come to an end. A record-breaking 85,000 attendees and 1,800 exhibitors made the...

Will ITV Encore capture audience imagination?

Friday, January 31st 2014

ITV caused great excitement this week with the news that it's poised to launch its first new channel in eight years. To be called ITV Encore, the station will - at least initially - be exclusively available on Sky TV, as well...

Will BlackBerry find a niche in 2014?

Friday, January 10th 2014

Even amid the hubbub of the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, BlackBerry managed to make headlines this week - though admittedly, it wasn't announcing new smartphones. First, news broke that the struggling Canadian smartphone...

Five major events to hit the telecoms industry in 2013

Friday, January 3rd 2014

As you're no doubt aware, 2013 turned out to be a pretty big year for the telecoms industry. With the government pushing forward with efforts to boost superfast broadband coverage, former Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt's...

Has WhatsApp killed the SMS?

Friday, December 6th 2013

It's something of a cliche to claim that social messaging services have sounded the death knell for the SMS, but recent developments in the mobile space mean it's becoming harder and harder to argue otherwise. Earlier...

Sports fans to reap benefits of BT and Sky rivalry

Friday, November 22nd 2013

As the battle between BT and Sky over sports TV grows ever-more bloodthirsty, it increasingly seems there'll only be one real winner: the consumer. This month, BT dished out perhaps the deadliest blow of the scrap so far by...

Community broadband projects boast faster speeds than Virgin's 152Mbps service

Friday, November 15th 2013

Virgin Media made waves this week by promising to launch the UK's fastest widely available broadband service early next year. Set to offer speeds of up to 152Mbps, the new top tier package will hit the market in February...

Ofcom makes accreditation tougher - and we couldn't be happier

Wednesday, November 6th 2013

The Ofcom accreditation logo means comparison sites must provide consumers with accurate and transparent information. That’s why it’s so good to hear Ofcom is strengthening the criteria comparison sites like ours have to meet...

Why broadband is key for house hunters

Wednesday, November 6th 2013

If you’ve ever experienced buffering while trying to watch a favourite show on catch-up TV or found yourself impatiently tapping your fingers waiting for files to download, you’ll appreciate being able to check the available...

How will 4G growth affect public Wi-Fi usage?

Wednesday, October 30th 2013

Public Wi-Fi networks are more popular than ever. With both the number of hotspots and the volume of data consumed increasing, it seems the UK as a nation has embraced public Wi-Fi and is in no hurry to stop taking advantage of...

Why you don’t need an iPad Air

Wednesday, October 23rd 2013

Yes, you. Moreover, I’m sure that you don’t need the new iPad mini either. And this applies if you’ve got a previous generation iPad or not. Now before my iTunes account gets wiped, I’m permanently banned from the...

Could 4G offer a solution to rural broadband woes?

Friday, October 18th 2013

Earlier this week, EE revealed that a raft of new products and services will be launched this month and next - a lineup that roughly coincides with the first anniversary of the operator's UK-leading 4G network. Perhaps the...

Why ISPs need to make customer service a key focus

Friday, September 20th 2013

Good customer service is important in any industry, and the communications market is no different. The average consumer may not understand the inner workings of their broadband connection in intimate detail, so it's crucial...

Figures highlight difference between urban and rural broadband access

Friday, August 9th 2013

There was cause for celebration this week, as Ofcom released figures showing that the average broadband download speed for residential properties had hit 14.7Mbps in the six months up to May 2013, up from just 9.0Mbps in the same...

Is Sky making 3D work?

Friday, July 12th 2013

As a viewing technology for the mass market, 3D TV is widely seen as a failure.  When the first affordable 3D television sets went on sale, industry commentators confidently predicted that consumers would leap at the chance...

BT vs Sky - Game of Thrones for the broadband and sports markets

Tuesday, July 2nd 2013

A titanic struggle between two fierce rivals hell-bent on achieving victory over the other at whatever cost - no, it's not the plot of some new Game of Thrones-esque drama on Sky Atlantic, but instead the tale of the...

No surprises as govt admits it won't achieve broadband target

Friday, June 28th 2013

The government has faced a stinging attack from broadband analysts and campaign groups in the wake of its latest spending review - and it's only got itself to blame. When the coalition first promised to deliver Europe's...

Will UK govt heed the message and spend HS2 cash on broadband?

Friday, June 21st 2013

Ever since the government first mooted plans for the construction of a new high-speed rail network, the HS2 project has come in for criticism. From landowners unhappy that the lines will cross their property to campaigners who...

DCMS seeks plaudits for 'broadband progress'

Friday, May 17th 2013

There's no doubt that the government has come in for plenty of flak over its broadband plans. Everything from the overall target - delivering the best super-fast broadband network in Europe - to the methods of achieving it...

Huge downloads and 'always-on' demands frustrate gamers

Monday, April 29th 2013

Unsuspecting PC gamers got a bit of a surprise after picking up a copy of Bioshock Infinite on launch day. Not such a bad thing, you’d argue. Bioshock has always had the ability to surprise – it’s one of the strengths of...

Reasons to be cheerful about the 4G auction

Friday, February 22nd 2013

There's no doubting that the big news affecting the broadband industry this week has been the announcement of the winning bidders in the UK's much-vaunted 4G auction. Operators have been busily battling it out over the...

Should broadband customers be excited about HS2?

Friday, January 25th 2013

Rural broadband campaigners baulked at the government's decision to splash out £33 billion on the HS2 high-speed rail project. Opponents of the development argued that the huge sum of taxpayers' money could be far...

Wi-Fi a fierce battleground for broadband providers

Friday, November 16th 2012

Competition in the UK broadband market has never been fiercer. Consumers are getting more for their money than ever before and speeds are increasing as internet service providers (ISPs) look for ways to keep hold of their...

BT's Premier League football on ITV - what's the story?

Thursday, August 23rd 2012

With the Premier League's many armchair followers only just settling down for another season, a potentially groundbreaking development in the terrestrial TV market emerged this week. According to a report in the Telegraph,...

Debate on illegal downloading set to run and run

Wednesday, July 13th 2011

The debate over how to curb online piracy has been raging for years now, but figures published last week appear to suggest rights holders are no closer to resolving the issue. According to Envisional, the number of films...

BT makes it better to bundle

Monday, April 12th 2010

It has become common to see money saving experts of some kind or another tell us how cost-effective it can be to bundle home phone, broadband and even digital TV packages together. Financial website Think Money even recently...

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