Lukewarm Reception for New UK Broadband ISP Switching System

A new survey of 748 ISPreview.co.uk readers (*), which is a broadband and Internet technology focused consumer information website, has revealed that 85% of respondents have at some point switched their Internet or phone provider. Never the less only 15.2% believe that Ofcom’s new migration system will make them more likely to switch in the future and that’s despite 66.5% saying they were aware of the new system.

Do you think Ofcom’s new process will make you more likely to switch?
No – 45.8%
Maybe – 38.8%
Yes – 15.2%

The telecoms regulator introduced its new harmonised approach to switching on 20th June 2015 (**), which puts all the migration power into the hands of the gaining provider instead of your existing one. As a result consumers who wish to swap ISPs need only contact their new / chosen ISP in order to begin the process of switching and everything else is handled automatically.

The need for a new system is supported by the fact that only a little over half of respondents to ISPreview.co.uk’s survey have actually experienced a smooth switching process, with others tending to find it either slow or problematic.

What was your experience of the switching process?
Smooth – 54.6%
Problematic – 25.1%
I’ve never switched – 13.2%
Slow – 6.9%

“It’s too early to say whether the improvements introduced by Ofcom’s harmonised switching process will overcome past problems or simply create new ones,” said ISPreview.co.uk’s Founder, Mark Jackson. “Never the less it’s clear that most consumers are aware of the change, even though only a small portion may feel specifically encouraged to swap because of its introduction.”

“The fact that switching is now much easier should be generally welcomed, although the process will still take around 10 working days to complete and currently only applies to ISPs that operate off KC’s network in Hull and Openreach’s (BT) national UK telecoms infrastructure. In an ideal world we’d like to see it being extended to include Virgin Media’s cable platform, although the physically separate nature of their network does present some complicated challenges,” concluded Jackson.

Google looking to expand their Google Fiber service into 34 more cities in coming years

Google today revealed that they have invited 34 cities in nine metro areas to talk to them about Google Fiber.

The company said:

We aim to provide updates by the end of the year about which cities will be getting Google Fiber. Between now and then, we’ll work closely with each city’s leaders on a joint planning process that will not only map out a Google Fiber network in detail, but also assess what unique local challenges we might face. These are such big jobs that advance planning goes a long way toward helping us stick to schedules and minimize disruption for residents.

Checkout: Official Blog: Exploring new cities for Google Fiber

By making this public announcement, Google probably wants to get the folks living in these cities to put pressure on their city administrator to get serious about the Google offer. The problem of ISPs getting monopolies across a large number of cities and towns means that consumers do not get the benefit of competition.

Google has an update for Provo residents about their Fiber rollout

Google has an update for Provo residents about their Fiber rollout

Google Fiber team blogged about the new developments related to the rollout in Provo.

The company said that they are working hard on upgrading the fiber network in the region to support gigabit internet. Google said:

First — and many might argue, most importantly — we’re working to upgrade the existing fiber network in Provo to be Gigabit-ready. Secondly, we’re spending a lot of time talking with property managers and owners of large apartment building and condominiums. Planning for and installing Google Fiber in these big buildings takes a lot of time, so if you manage a building with 5 or more units, we’d love to start chatting with you now — please get in touch with us!

Interested customers would of course have three package options to choose from:

Free Internet. Get today’s basic broadband speeds (up to 5 Mbps download, 1 Mbps upload) for free for at least the next seven years.
Gigabit Internet. Connect to the web at speeds up to 100 times faster than basic broadband (up to 1 Gbps download and upload) for $70/month.
Gigabit Internet + TV. Get 100 times faster Internet plus hundreds of HD channels. Record up to 8 shows at once and store up to 500 hours of HD content on your Storage Box for $120/month.

@speak2tweet now available for users in Syria to connect to folks outside country

Syrian administration seems to have disabled all internet connectivity in the country. Google has stated that @speak2tweet service is now open to people who want to connect with friends and relatives.

They would need a working telephone line. Users can post and access messages by dialing any of these international numbers: +90 212 339 1447 or +30 21 1 198 2716 or +39 06 62207294 or +1 650 419 4196.

Google said:

Press 1 to leave a voicemail and # when you’re done, and the service will tweet the message. No Internet connection is required, and people can listen to the messages by dialing the same phone numbers or going to twitter.com/speak2tweet.

Internet slowdown in India to continue for around a month

Internet slowdown in India to continue for around a month

Kapil Sibal claimed in statement that internet access in India is not at all affected by the ongoing war between Cyberbunker and Spamhaus. But the problem that we consumers are facing are related to the damaged undersea cables in Egypt.

Industry sources are now reporting that the problem is likely to continue for around a month.

Rajesh Chharia, president at Association of Internet Service Providers of India said in a statement:

Currently, internet and data usage are low because of the festive season. India will feel the impact from Monday when offices and businesses come back. Telcos have diverted all traffic from the Atlantic route to the Pacific, but our connectivity to the latter route is not sufficient to cater to all of India’s traffic.

A few ISPs in India have managed to handle the situation better as they have rerouted the traffic. However, most operators do not have the necessary deals in place. BSNL for example is majorly affected because they are mostly reliant on VSNL’s network.

airtel broadband once again forcing new plans on customers

airtel broadband is doing it again. It is switching customers to newer plans automatically without giving them the option to retain their older plans.

The company claims that newer plans are better in nature. But they are also more expensive.

airtel broadband once again forcing new plans on customers

Most of the updated plans cost around 100 bucks extra. Small change for the company but not everyone is happy.

Fair usage policy of course remains the biggest problem with airtel broadband packages. It is as low as 3GB on some plans. The maximum they offer is 150GB on their higher end packages.

Reliance Communications: Websites blocked because of the court order

Reliance Communications has said that they blocked the file sharing services operating from outside India based on the order from the court they received.

Funny enough, the order was filed by Reliance Entertainment which is practically a sister company.

A bunch of file sharing services are currently banned on Reliance Broadband. Airtel customers have reported a partial ban. Most other ISPs have either a partial ban or no block on the services.

Reliance Communications: Websites blocked because of the court order
Worth noting is that the blocked websites show the text Copyright © Reliance Entertainment

Reliance Communications said: “Under Section 79 of the IT Act, an ISP has to adhere to any copyright infringement notice and court orders. Given that Reliance Entertainment has obtained a specific order from Delhi high court to protect Don 2 from online piracy, we are in full compliance of law.”

Reliance Entertainment had this say to justify their actions: “All websites like Megaupload and Filesonic are located out of India. They rampantly promote online piracy. In fact, steps such as the John Doe Order from a court are the only step we copyright owners have.”

Reliance distributing a new movie means file sharing services are blocked in India

This is not happening for the first time. We have seen this happen before with Singham and others.

Don 2 was released this week and Reliance has done it again. They probably got the same court order that enabled them to block file sharing services for a couple of days in the past.

As a result, on most ISPs in India today, you are unlikely to be able to access services like: MediaFire, FileSonic, Wupload.

Reliance distributing a new movie means file sharing services are blocked in India

The ban would probably be removed in a week or so once the movie has gone through its honeymoon period.

The bigger question is… How can a private company have so much influence over what we can and cannot access on the internet?

How long would it take for them to start targeting blogs and social media networks criticizing them with similar strategies?

Our government of course is not bothered. They are in fact supporting menaces like Reliance by recommending laws and regulations that would result in more censoring over the internet.

If you value your freedom of speech and other rights given to you by the constitution of India, you would not want to ignore the new developments in the country today. Even if it does not affect you right now, it would soon someday.