Whilst Utility Warehouse has been smacked back over their claims at being the cheapest for everything, Talk Talk and Microsoft have come forward to offer a real deal for those with low incomes:
Talk Talk has joined together with Microsoft to offer broadband and a PC to those people who cannot afford to get connected. The scheme could see people offered computers for as little as £49 plus a Talk Talk broadband connection for just £5 a month. A laptop could cost just £149 with £30 off for those on benefits. The PC's will come with Microsoft software installed including security software. Kristine Olson from Talk Talk has commented that she hopes this will motivate people to take their first steps towards getting online. Martha Lane Fox, the UK digital champion has also backed the initiative as the cost of buying a PC can be a significant barrier to getting online.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint against Utility Warehouse regarding their claim about having the cheapest homes phone, home phone and broadband bundle, mobile and gas and electricity tariffs. Just one complaint was made, but it was questioned whether these claims could be substantiated and that the claims were misleading. Utility Warehouse has agreed that it is difficult to accurately check all possible tariffs and to provide comparisons. They also stated that there may be deals which they are unaware of. However they did say that the basis of the claim was that they would guarantee that their customer would pay less based on a like for like basis if they switched to them. The ASA felt that this price promise could be construed as being a lowest price claim and that because the market changes so quickly this would be difficult to prove. The company works by relying on authorised distributors and the marketing material which was supplied to one of these distributors was that which was in question.
The first free to air TV service which combines freeview digital channels such as the iPlayer is to undergo a trial this week. YouView will be tested in 350 homes. The service is joint venture between the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel Five, Talk Talk, BT and Arquiva and will involve the use of a set top box to offer the on demand content. Viewers will also be able to access the Amazon service LoveFilm via the box. The service was to have started from 2010, but various setbacks have meant it has been on the back burner. In March this year Lord Alan Sugar took over as non-executive chairman and it has been suggested that he has spearheaded the latest push to get the service to market. Experts have pointed out that there are already a number of on demand TV services available and YourView has almost missed the boat. Therefore the timing is critical. The boxes will cost around £200 to buy.
A study carried out by Everything Everywhere has found that 93% of business leaders would like to see 4G services in the UK as soon as possible. 94% also said that in order for the UK to remain competitive the high speed mobile networks are needed and 86% pointed out that a 4G network would increase their productivity. The survey highlighted that nine out of ten business leaders use the mobile internet on a weekly basis and 72% use it daily. Martin Striven from Everything Everywhere has said that half of the countries in the G20 already have 4G and the UK could fall behind. Everything Everywhere would like to launch a 4G service later this year, but is being held up by other providers who want to wait until a spectrum auction planned for next year. † [last update: 30.05.12]
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