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Mid week broadband news brief

There's a lot going on in broadband land this week: BT has been a busy ISP - it's made 220Mb superfast broadband available and snagged a £35m contract to provide rural East Sussex with superfast broadband. Ofcom is set to review switching standards this summer, and broadband ISPs may be prevented from blocking free Wi-Fi based voice services like Skype.

By on June 04, 2013 at 11:41 AM
Mid week broadband news brief

Normally we fill you in on the week's broadband news in one tasty snippet on a Friday afternoon, but this week there's so much going on we're doing a double news wrap! If even faster superfast broadband doesn't get your attention, the likelihood that mobile operators will no longer be able to limit the performance of free voice services like Skype may do. Most of us use services like this to stay in touch nowadays, so it's an encouraging thought that we may not experience drops in performance or problems with connection due to mobile broadband throttling soon. Also, Ofcom has something up its sleeve that should make your switching experience better!

BT makes 220Mb Openreach broadband available to ISPs

Hurrah! Superfast broadband is going to get even faster, thanks to new capabilities from Openreach. The new up to 220Mb FTTP service is going to replace BT's current up to 110Mb offering, and make it more affordable for ISPs to offer you ultrafast speeds. The dream of consistently getting 330Mb broadband speeds is getting closer to reality.

Not everywhere in the UK has FTTP fibre optic broadband - it's more common for FTTC connections to be used that limit up to speeds to 80Mb, because of the use of old copper wiring between the street cabinet and your home.

According to Broadband Analyst, the new service is now available for ISPs to add to their current offerings, since 1st June 2013, so you may see TalkTalk and Plusnet offering you better broadband speeds and different packages soon.

BT to roll out superfast broadband in rural East Sussex

Living in a rural area is lovely, but it does have some disadvantages - like waiting behind tractors during the morning rush and suffering from slow broadband speeds or expensive package options.

We're delighted that BT will be rolling out superfast broadband across areas of rural East Sussex and Brighton and Hove, allowing more people to get online with decent browsing speeds for an affordable price.

Fibre optic broadband will be made available to 66,500 rural homes and businesses in the local area, with 96% of premises covered and receiving download speeds of up to 24Mbps in the next three years. The remaining 4% will be covered by 2017.

Ofcom is planning a broadband switching shake up

We're proud to have Ofcom approve our postcode checker tool, and take our accreditation very seriously. So we're pleased to hear that the telecoms industry regulator is planning a shakeup of current switching processes in order to make customers' experiences more consistent across the board.

Ofcom will be announcing the changes this summer, and we are looking forward to the results on your behalf.

ISPs may be prevented from throttling or blocking free voice services

Sometimes you don't want to use up your precious free minutes to make a phone call, or you need to speak to someone on a different network, maybe in a different country, and can't afford the additional charges for making this call via your mobile network.

That's when free voice services like Skype come in handy - it's free to call friends and family over Wi-Fi using your Skype application on a smartphone or tablet, but did you know that some mobile networks throttle or ban the service in order to reduce competition and encourage you to spend more on calls?

Something needs to be done about this, so it's encouraging that Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission (EC) for the Digital Agenda, wants to impose a new EU "safeguard" that stops mobile and home broadband ISPs from blocking or throttling access to free voice applications.

Kroes commented:

...It's clear to me that many Europeans expect protection against such commercial tactics. And that is exactly the EU safeguard we will be providing. A safeguard for every European, on every device, on every network: a guarantee of access to the full and open internet, without any blocking or throttling of competing services.

We'll keep you apprised of any updates as the safeguard petition progresses.

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