BT Openreach Told to Reduce its Wholesale Broadband Prices

While Openreach – the company that holds a monopoly over the main broadband and telephone infrastructure in the UK – has managed to dodge calls for it to break its affiliation with BT over fears that it is at odds with the spirit of competition law, the UK telcom regulatory body OFCOM has demanded that the self-appointed ‘guardians of the last mile’ reduce the wholesale prices it charges businesses and ISPs to use its network, and improve the speed at which it installs leased lines after failing to meet its own targets more often than not.

In a statement released today (22nd March), as part of its investigation into the efficacy of Openreach, OFCOM accuses BT of taking “too long” to deliver services to business customers, and of charging too much for its sub-standard service.

“This means BT would have to give competitors physical access to its fibre-optic cables, allowing them to take direct control of the connection,” OFCOM’s Business Connectivity Market Review reads. “This service is often referred to as ‘dark fibre’, because the cables would not be ‘lit’ using BT’s electronic equipment. Instead, they would be ‘lit’ by the competitor installing its own equipment at either end of the optical fibre.”

“BT is already required to offer wholesale leased line products, which bundle the optical fibre and BT’s own network equipment, at regulated prices to competitors. BT would still be required to provide these services, but the new proposal would go further, allowing operators to use BT’s fibre-optic cables with their own equipment, rather than rely on BT’s equipment.”

“This should increase the opportunity for competitors to develop new high-capacity services for their customers,” the report adds.

The report calls for Openreach to complete 80% of leased line installations by its promised deadline by March 2017, raising to 90% in April 2018, and reduce its prices over the next three years.

UK Needs Faster Internet Says Business Leaders Group

Buffering, downloading, pausing, even trying to make out the shapes on a low-resolution video have become common place for so many people as their internet speed caps out, normally before they are anywhere near their advertised (and purchased) speeds. It seems that we aren’t the only ones annoyed by this though as a group of business leaders have spoken out now, accusing the UK government of creating a “poverty of ambition” for internet speeds.

The Institute of Directors (IoD) is formed from business leaders within the UK, and in their report titled Ultrafast Britain, they state that the UK is lagging behind when it comes to enabling faster broadband connections. The government states that 90% of UK properties have access to superfast speeds, with that reaching 95% by next year.

The IoD don’t think this is good enough, with them calling for speeds of 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) by 2030. Currently, the government wants just 10 megabits per second by 2020, a speed which many are already getting.

This isn’t the first time that the internet as a structured provision has been discussed this week, with Ofcom telling BT that its cable network should be opened up to other companies. Currently, BT contains two parts, the core company and Openreach, the part of the company responsible for the cable, fibre and network infrastructure that the UK relies on for its internet.

What is your internet speed? Is it ever what you were actually advertised to be getting? Do you know anyone with super fast/slow internet and does it have a big impact on them?

BT Internet and Phone Suffers Nationwide Outage

BT’s phone and internet services have crashed across the UK over the last hour. Down Detector, a website that tracks internet failures, has been inundated with reports that BT customers all over the country – from London to Birmingham, Manchester to Glasgow – have experienced outages. The faults peaked at around 15:00 (3pm GMT), with 18,399 reports. Many BT websites and services are also down.

BT’s customer care Twitter account claims that the issue is being dealt with, saying, “Sorry if you’re experiencing network problems. Engineers are on site now. We will keep you updated.”

https://twitter.com/BTCare/status/694547101854896128

“It is true that we are down at the moment,” a BT spokesperson later told Sky News. “We are aware of the problems and are working on them as fast as we can.”

Judging by the inevitable Twitter meltdown, the issues began just after 14:00 (2pm GMT), with BT customers complaining:

https://twitter.com/MikePattinson/status/694535277033984001

https://twitter.com/richypie/status/694535485486698496

The incident is the largest network failure the UK has ever experienced. There is no indication as to what has caused the issue yet, nor hor long it will take to repair.

Reports from users suggest that BT’s customer service has started turning people away while the outage continues. BT customer Jason Mills wrote on Down Detector: “DY2 [Dudley postcode] down but my big problem was when i spoke to BT, not sure where this foreign call centre was but after being informed of an issue and being told to ring back in a few hours before i had chance to speak they hung up. Totally shocked and dissapointed in there actions towards paying customers and will be changing asap!”

 

BT Promises ‘Ultrafast’ Broadband Speeds in Excess of 300Mbps by 2020

BT’s Chief Executive Gavin Patterson, has promised broadband speeds between 300 and 500Mbps by 2020. Currently, BT is one of the major UK internet service providers and aims to provide super-fast broadband to over 10 million homes. The company also said they will offer a 1Gbps service to the cope with severe network demands from heavy users. This could include 4K streaming, downloading huge games or backing up data on a home server.

2020 seems like an ambitious figures for rural areas which struggle to even access relatively low speeds of 5Mbps. BT is hoping the combination of their G fast technology and Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) connectivity can help revolutionize the service’s internet speeds. Patterson argued speed increases are integral to BT’s market strategy:

“BT would ‘never say no’ to providing faster broadband to communities, promising the company would instead explore innovative funding and technical solutions.” 

Even if BT manages this feat, I’m not entirely convinced it will be able to beat Virgin Media’s network speeds and a great deal depends on network traffic management. It’s unknown if the latest BT network will begin to throttle speeds after so much is downloaded or during peak times. This is becoming a more well-known phenomenon, and customers should access the speeds they pay for all the time.

Thank you The Next Web for providing us with this information.

BT to Launch Europe’s First 4k Channel

BT have released some exciting news.In August, with the start of a new season of Premier League football in the UK, BT are going to launch the BT Sport Ultra HD channel, Europe’s first 4K TV channel. The channel will show a range of matches from the Premier League, Champions League, and even some Premiership Rugby.

BT haven’t announced the pricing for the new channel but have said that it will require both a BT Infinity Internet connection and a new, 4K-capable Youview+ set-top box. You’ll also need an Ultra HD/4K TV, too, otherwise having a 4K channel without a 4k TV may be rather pointless.

The new  box will have double the amount of storage as the existing YouView+ box, but when you consider that 4K video has four times the resolution of 1080p it actually means you could only be able to store half the amount of shows in 4k. You’ll probably only get around 60-70 hours of 4K recording. BT haven’t stated any more than that though.

While BT’s 4K channel will be delivered via an Infinity Internet connection, Sky’s service would probably be provided via satellite. If you’re wondering how good 4k looks, here is a youtube video available in 4k:

Thank you to ArsTechnica for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of ArsTechnica

Ebook Piracy Sites to Be Blocked by UK ISPs

Yesterday, the UK’s High Court ordered that websites carrying pirated ebooks should be blocked by the country’s internet service providers. The court ruled that an application made by The Publishers Association grants that the sites be blocked under Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988). Within the next 10 days, BT, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk, and EE will be legally obliged to block any and all sites deemed to be carrying copyrighted reading materials.

Richard Mollet, Chief Executive of The Publishers Association, said of the victory:

“A third of publisher revenues now come from digital sales but unfortunately this rise in the digital market has brought with it a growth in online infringement. Our members need to be able to protect their authors’ works from such illegal activity; writers need to be paid and publishers need to be able to continue to innovate and invest in new talent and material.

“We are very pleased that the High Court has granted this order and, in doing so, recognises the damage being inflicted on UK publishers and authors by these infringing websites.”

Much like the MPAA, it seems that The Publishers Association hasn’t heard of proxies or VPNs, and I would not be surprised to discover that the cost of this legal action was more than any offset loss of sales through piracy by publishers.

Thank you The Publishers Association for providing us with this information.

BT to Buy EE For £12.5 Billion

British Telecom is to buy mobile network Everything Everywhere (EE) for £12.5 Billion ($19 Billion). This unprecedented deal makes BT, an already giant organisation (owning much of the UK’s landline infrastructure), even bigger with the largest UK mobile network in the fold.

EE was formed as a partnership between Orange and Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile) in 2010. It currently has 31 million customers and the largest 4G customer base in Europe. This new deal will make BT exceptionally large – BT is already one of the world’s largest telecom companies, a company that consists of most of the assets that belonged to the UK’s state telecoms network before privatisation under Margaret Thatcher in the early 1980s. Deutsche Telekom will still have a part to play however – they will hold 12% of the new company, with a seat on the board.

It will certainly be interesting to see how this plays out – whether EE will be rebranded as part of BT, or whether it will stay as a separate entity is something we don’t yet know.

Source: The Verge

BT Aims for 500Mbps UK Broadband Speeds by 2025

British telecoms company BT has announced plans to upgrade its fibre network to offer  “initial speeds of a few hundred megabits per second to millions of homes and businesses by 2020″ and up to 500Mbps speeds by 2025.

“We know the technology is capable, so it’s just looking at how we deliver that on a larger scale,” a BT spokesperson said.

BT hopes to achieve this by implementing its “third-way” (copper and fibre being first and second) G.fast technology, which should prove more cost-effective than expanding its network to fibre-to-the-premises.

“[Government money] probably wouldn’t mean it would be faster [to deploy G.fast upgrades] as we’re still rolling our fibre program and as that winds down G.fast will deployment will wind up hence we believe it will stay in broadly  the same capex envelope. It might mean the scope of any program could be larger, however but it is a significant engineering task,” the spokesperson added.

Source: TechCrunch

Sky and TalkTalk Compete With Three for O2 Purchase

Until this week, Hutchison Whampoa, owner of the Three mobile network in the UK, was thought to be in pole position to buy rival network O2 from Telefonica. But now, Sky and TalkTalk have entered the fray, with Telefonica eager to sell its asset for £9 billion to pay off existing debts.

Sky and TalkTalk, both major UK providers of broadband services, are eager to expand into the mobile communications sector, with TalkTalk already engaged in a partnership deal with the Vodafone network, and running its own small network hosted by O2. Financial Times sources claim that Sky, carrying a large debt after a £7 billion European expansion, is thought to prefer a partnership deal with O2, rather than an outright buy-out.

BT is not considered to be interested in O2 since its £12.5 billion takeover of EE.

Source: Wired

UK ISPs Hijacking Browsers to Force Porn Block on Customers

In order to comply with UK legislation by the deadline at end of December, UK ISPs – including Virgin Media, BT, TalkTalk, and Sky – have been redirecting users’ web connections to force them to choose to opt in or out of adult content blocks.

The browser redirects to a permission page, where the user must choose ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the many blocks – designed to censor content including pornography, violence, and gambling – before they are allowed to continue to the desired site. BT is even stopping all internet access to customers until they make a decision.

The controversial legislation, foisted on the country by Prime Minister David Cameron, is meant to user in a “family friendly” internet experience, taking the responsibility for monitoring children’s online activity from the parents and giving it to the Internet Service Providers.

Internet rights groups have described the move as “completely unnecessary” and “heavy handed”. Open Rights Group, a digital rights organisation, has been especially critical, saying, “How can a customer tell the difference between an ISP hijack and a phishing site made to look the same? There are better ways for ISPs to contact their customers—particularly given that they have our phone numbers, email and actual addresses.”

Source: Wired

BT in Exclusive Talks to Buy EE

BT have entered into exclusive talks to buy EE for £12.5 billion. The period of exclusivity will lasts “several weeks”, according to BT, to ensure enough time to negotiate a satisfactory deal.

Back in November, BT was linked with the purchase of either EE or Telefonica-owned O2. EE is the largest mobile network in the UK, with a 33.8% market share, according to Citigroup. As part of the proposed deal, EE’s owners, Deutsche Telecom and Orange, would take a 12% and 4% stake in BT, respectively. With its 12% stake, Deutsche Telecom would be entitled to appoint a member to BT’s board. BT issued a statement regarding the potential purchase, saying, “The proposed acquisition would enable BT to accelerate its existing mobility strategy.”

Source: BBC

Hutchison to Battle BT for EE and O2 Acquisition

Telecoms company Hutchison Whampoa, owner of the Three mobile network in the UK, has emerged as a contender to buy EE and O2 networks. BT was the first telecoms company linked with EE and O2, earlier this week, but it seems they might have competition from Hong Kong-based Hutchison, who are hopeful of buying up one of the two companies.

Three has a network sharing agreement with EE, which may be terminated should BT purchase the company, which might worry Hutchison. However, Hutchison has already purchased O2 Ireland, so may be inclined to continue the takeover. EE is valued at £11 billion, whereas O2 would be the cheaper option at £9.4 billion, but EE – a joint venture between Orange and Deutsche Telekom – is the largest network in the UK.

Source: telecoms tech

List of Blocked Torrent Sites in the UK Doubles

The High Court has ruled that 53 torrent websites be prohibited by UK Internet Service Providers, in the largest mass blocking yet. The list of sites include BitSoup, IP Torrents, Isohunt, Sumotorrent, Torrentdb, Torrentfunk, Torrentz, Warez BB, and Rapid Moviez. The Motion Picture Association (MPA) is responsible for submitting 32 of the requests.

The ISPs obliged to comply with the order are Sky, BT, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2, and Virgin.

Chris Marcich, president of the MPA’s European division, said, “Securing court orders requiring ISPs to block access to illegal websites is an accepted and legitimate measure to tackle online copyright infringement.”

According to Ernesto Van Der Sar, editor of Torrentfreak, the move will deter very few from accessing their favourite torrent site, explaining, “It deters a few people who can’t access their usual sites, but most people will try to find ones that are not yet blocked or use VPNs or proxy sites to get the same content.”

Source: BBC

BT Confirmed to be in Talks to Buy EE

Just a few days after we reported on the news that BT is in talks to purchase O2, it’s now been confirmed that they’re also interested in Everything Everywhere – EE.

Deutsche Telekom and Orange, the two owners of EE, say that they are in the early “exploratory” stages of acquisition talks.

“Deutsche Telekom AG and Orange SA are having  highly preliminary exploratory discussions with British Telecom,  although it is too early to state whether any transaction may occur.  Deutsche Telekom and Orange will make further announcements if and when appropriate.”

This wave of acquisition talks from BT has come as no surprise. BT’s main source of income, landlines, has obviously been in decline with the rise of mobile devices and communication. That’s why many are seeing this as BT’s way of staying relevant in this new mobile world.

Source: The Next Web

 

BT in Talks to Buy O2

 

BT has confirmed that it is in talks to buy back 02, a company which it sold to Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica over a decade ago.

The move would make BT a major player in the UK mobile network market, a market that BT has been interested in joining for some time. BT recently signed up to use EE’s network as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator, MVNO.

Engadget points out that BT already owns its own 4G spectrum, but that is not nearly enough to make it a major player in the mobile network business. Purchasing o2 however, would certainly expand BT’s current operations massively.

Interestingly, Telefonica would receive a 20 percent stake in BT if the deal took place, with the two forming a “strategic alliance”.

Source: Engadget 

BT Failing to Hit Broadband Fibre Target

During the early days of BT’s fibre broadband rollout, the telecoms provider claimed that up to 25% of its customers would receive fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP). Although BT has succeeded in implementing fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC), the final push to the customer’s home relies on their aging copper network. FTTP can achieve speeds up to 300Mbps, but copper lines from FTTC limit that to 80Mbps.

After a number of BT customers complained about false advertising on behalf of BT – that the use of the copper network means “fibre broadband” is a misnomer – the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) investigated, revealing that only 0.7% of homes on BT’s network (144,000 premises) had access to true fibre. The ASA agreed that BT was being disingenuous with claims of fibre broadband while still using copper cables to the home.

Source: engadget

Turns out Brits Aren’t Signing up to ISP Filters

ISP filters, you either love them or you hate them, I personally have no use for them but families with small children do. The numbers are on the decline with less and less people wanting this additional protection their ISP has to offer. It really depends on the buyer and what situation they may be in, like I said previously, some may have families with small children who use the internet for school and the parents don’t exactly want their small child watching pornography now do they. On the other hand there’s people like myself, old enough to know what’s good and bad on the internet and will automatically detect a scam or phishing website.

The stats are interesting to read through, only 5 percent of new customers accepted the filter at BT, while 8 percent did so at Sky. About 36 percent of customers signed up for the TalkTalk filter, and 4 percent bought into Virgin Media’s offer. To me this shows that TalkTalk has a lot of customers that live in family households as they have the highest sign up rate for their filter.

The Office of Communications determined that 100 percent of BT, Sky, and TalkTalk customers were immediately informed about the option to add a filter upon activation of their service. Only 35% of customers from Virgin Media were informed about their options regarding a filter.

In the end it all comes down to personal preference and whether or not you trust your kids, if you have any, when they are online but by looking at those results, it seems that British folk just don’t want to know or don’t care much for ISP filters. Can’t blame them really.

Thanks to Venturebeat for supplying us with this information.

Image courtesy of Wired.

The UK is Looking Into Alternate Solutions to Stop Illegal Torrent Downloads

The UK’s biggest internet providers in collaboration with the government and content creators are said to change the way they deal with people illegally downloading and/or sharing entertainment online. They say that instead of punishing the person, they will be sending out letters in an attempt to ‘educate’ him or her, as well as pointing out legal and comprehensive alternatives.

“We believe people will ultimately pay if they can get what they want, how they want, at a price that’s fair to them.” Virgin Media stated.

The ISPs are said to team up under the Creative Content UK campaign, which includes BT, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk and Virgin Media, as well as entertainment institutions The Motion Picture Association (MPA) and the British Record Music Industry (BPI). A significant multimedia awareness campaign is said to be the first phase, having ISPs sending out letters to users pirating content after the awareness. It’s said that people can receive up to four letters per year and nothing will happen if you choose to ignore them.

“Any alert will clearly recognise the account holder may not have engaged in copyright infringement themselves and we will be informative in tone, offering advice on where to find legitimate sources of entertainment content,” said Virgin Media. “At no point will we share any customer information as part of this campaign. By embracing digital, the creative industries can realise significant benefits, reaching millions of people with new and innovative services.”

This looks similar to what Polish developer CD Projekt, The Witcher series’ maker, did a while back. They have found alternatives to pirated entertainment by changing its focus from people who don’t want to pay and encouraging people who do.

Thank you Eurogamer for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Eurogamer

Google Fiber Project Aims to Provide UK Homes with Ultrafast Internet Connection

Google is said to be planning on expanding its Google Fiber services in British cities. The move is said to put a lot of pressure on BT and its upgraded network, having Google offering speeds of up to 10 times faster than what BT currently has to offer.

The corporate giant has reportedly been in talks with a British company by the name of CityFibre, hoping that a partnership between the two will bring the Google Fiber services to UK citizens. However, CityFibre is said to have concerns regarding the partnership with Google.

It is said that CityFibre’s partnership with BSkyB would be threatened if a partnership with Google would be formed, having BSkyB to see Google as a rival in the pay-TV market. Also, BSkyB and TalkTalk are said to be funding a pilot fibre-optics network, reaching 20,000 homes and businesses in York.

Though Google publicly said it will not bring its fibre outside of the US, a source has stated that the company is talking with “people here in the UK and looking at projects”. The move seems to make sense, since the UK has been known to be the biggest market outside of the US.

Google is said to currently provide its fibre optic services in four major US cities, which is said to extend into 34 additional cities this year. While BT’s network is said to rely on copper wire technology for the home-street connection, Google Fiber is said to rely entirely on fibre optic connections.

Thank you Telegraph for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Telegraph

BT Launches “One Phone” Mobile Service For Businesses


BT is returning to the mobile market for the first time in 10 years with its “One Phone” service that allows business users to make fixed-line and mobile phone calls using the same handset.

Designed specifically towards small and midsize-businesses (SMBs), One Phone lets users to transfer all home, office and mobile calls directly to a smartphone.  All that is required is a BT SIM card and a picocell in the office to help broadcast the 4G signal.

Once an employee leaves the office and enters the field, calls will be transferred to EE networks – and includes access to BT’s Wi-Fi hotspots, which number more than five million.

Here is what Graham Sutherland, BT business chief executive said:

“With an increasingly mobile and demanding workforce, businesses need communications technology that is as flexible as they are.  Missed calls mean missed business.”

Mobile is an “exciting area” for the company, as the communications market is largely leaving behind traditional land lines and transitioning towards mobile solutions.

BT One could also be a test platform for the company to jump into the consumer mobile market before the end of the year, though nothing has been confirmed just yet.  However, the consumer offering is expected to transfer between 4G in the office/home and use EE’s network or Wi-Fi.

Thank you to FT for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Manchester Evening News

BT Apologizes For Broadband Downtime, Says Problem Resolved

BT apologized to subscribers for a weekend broadband problem that prevented users from accessing Facebook, Amazon, eBay, and other popular websites on Saturday morning.

BT has 7 million customers, but it’s unknown how many customers were affected by the technical problem. The outage lasted only a few hours, but was still a major inconvenience for customers that expect dependable Internet access all the time.

Most outage reports circulated from London, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, and Leeds, but other cities throughout the UK suffered.

The company confirmed there was some type of network incident that is being investigated by BT engineers. The BT website and phone apps also suffered during the network problem – so subscribers were unable to post to the BT support forums.

Here is what BT tweeted through its customer care account:

Did you suffer from the outage?

Thank you to BBC News for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of PC Pro UK

BT Announces The “Home Smartphone S” Designed For Your Landline

BT recently revealed something a little bit quirky, the Home Smartphone S, which as the name suggests is a “smartphone” for the home and for your landline. The BT Home Smartphone S acts as your landline phone with a wireless dock but it also has all the features of a touchscreen Android smartphone with applications such as Facebook and YouTube. The main features though are the ones that are more relevant to landline functionality such as BT’s Nuisance Call Blocker feature which means users can choose to block certain numbers. Users can block group numbers, such as all international numbers, withheld numbers, premium numbers or unknown callers, as well as up to 10 individual numbers if there are just some people you don’t want contacting you.

Additionally the BT Home Smartphone S has a “Do Not Disturb” mode allowing you to switch off the ringer at certain times of the day or week.

“The new BT Home SmartPhone S allows customers to enjoy the features they would expect from a smartphone combined with the great features of a BT home phone, including nuisance call blocking to put them back in control of who they want to speak to,” commented Erik Raphael, director of Wi-Fi and Devices at BT.

The BT Smartphone S costs £170 and is available from the BT shop.

Via Periscopepost

Image courtesy of BT

BT And Alcatel-Lucent’s Fiber Optic Tests Reveal 1.4 Tb/s Speeds

BT and Alcatel-Lucent have been reportedly working on a way to address the current internet speed bandwidth and congestions which some parts of the UK are facing. In an experiment performed, the companies managed to achieve a speed of 1.4 Tb/s over an existing fiber optic connection and commercial grade hardware, something which is the equivalent of transmitting 44 uncompressed HD films in one second.

The test has been performed from the BT Tower in London, all the way to a research campus located 255 miles away. The team has reportedly reached a speed of 5.7 bits/second/Hertz as part of a “Flexgrid” infrastructure, having a 50 GHz transmission channel rate and allowing a 42.5 percent data transmission efficiency compared to common fiber optic networks. But the best part still remains the means through which this has been achieved. Having the tests successful on the current fiber optic network means that ISPs will be able to deploy the new system without the need of additional physical cables, drastically reducing the costs.

The current broadband users will have no say in this, since the system requires at least fiber optic connection, though it will improve bandwidth for both broadband and fiber optic users. The discovery also has also opened some doors into the high-bandwidth Internet service required for heavy traffic, such as streaming high quality tracks and even 4K resolution videos in the future.

Thank you electronista for providing us with this information

The UK’s Ambitious Broadband Plan Now 2 Years Behind Schedule

An ambitious plan by the UK to lead Europe with its internet provision is already starting to fall apart. After downgrading objectives from providing the fastest speeds in Europe, to providing the best coverage in Europe, the plan is now being labelled unattainable. The UK National Audit Office stated that the plan is already two years behind schedule and is simply too ambitious. Of the 44 rural areas included in the project only 9, that’s 20%, are on target to reach the 2015 deadline. Furthermore, 4 out of the 44, that’s 10%, may not even reach the second 2017 deadline.

The overarching goal of the project was to attain 90% broadband coverage in the UK by 2015 but this now looks unlikely. Additionally, if a stonking big delay wasn’t enough to cheese off UK citizens then the fact BT is the only bidder means they can set their own price without any competition. Naturally BT are pulling a lot of funding to exploit this and the public purse is having to pick up the extra, BT’s contribution has fallen from 36% to 23% in recent times according to the report.

That said rural Brits have got at least another 2-4 years before the majority can see decent broadband speeds.

Image courtesy of kc.co.uk

Rural Internet Access: Finding High-speed Connections

The author of this article Sarah Bolloum advised her daughter to do a broadband speed test when she had some speed issues on her computer.

In rural communities, high-speed Internet access is not always easy to find. Even if a local provider offers service, your home might be ineligible for various reasons. Consider these tools and options to help locate a provider that serves your area.

Check with companies that offer other services

Sometimes, nationwide companies bundle different services for rural customers. For example, your telephone or satellite-TV provider might offer Internet access via satellite dish. Visit the company’s Web site, or make a phone call, to learn more.

Get on waiting lists

Waiting lists tell providers that they have potential customers in the area. If access is close to your home, but not quite there yet, a list of interested people might persuade the company to plan for expansion. This can take time—months, even years—but adding your information to the list does not take long. Afterward, you can move on and continue looking for other providers.

Search online for providers

Sites like DSLReports.com have searchable databases. These sites include different kinds of Internet connections; customer reviews; and multiple search options (by ZIP code, for example, or by state). Some companies that come up in your search results don’t serve your area, but others might.

Look for more than one kind of connection

You might not be able to get a Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) through your telephone provider, but what about a WISP (terrestrial wireless) connection from another provider? This kind of access is ideal for some people in rural areas. Others can use satellite dishes. In some parts of the country, cell-phone providers’ connections work well. Don’t limit yourself to one or two kinds of service; you might have other, unexplored options.

Use local resources

Ask your neighbors how they get Internet access at home. If the family next door has a high-speed provider, the odds are very good that you, too, can subscribe. Sometimes, providers advertise in your area. Keep an eye on billboards, the local newspaper, and even signs staked out in yards. Rural areas are no different from more-populated regions as far as advertising goes; companies find creative ways to get your attention.

You might have only one option other than dial-up. If that’s the case, keep looking while you make the most of what you have. Companies expand coverage areas on a regular basis. New providers move into underserved areas and set up shop. Businesses that offer other services expand. Keep looking, stay on the waiting lists, and talk with your neighbors; convincing them to express a desire for high-speed Internet in their homes can encourage a company to sell you all what you want.

Image courtesy of NYnet