The launch of YouView is finally here after delays to the 2010 expected launch. They may sound like a ridiculous delay, but to be honest, considering that the top 10 cities in the UK are only just now being upgraded to broadband technology that can handle it - perhaps it's been for the best:
The chief executive of Virgin Media Neil Birkett has spoken to the London Evening Standard this week regarding the introduction of YouView which is expected to be launched this year. The service will be subscription free and will allow the downloading of television programs from the major channels. It is a joint venture between the major broadcasters and broadband providers such as Talk Talk and BT. Birkett has suggested that the service will be the first "data hungry" product to be used in the UK and this will highlight the importance of having faster broadband. He has pointed out that instant gratification is what people want these days and it could be the first time that the average consumer understands that superfast broadband is worth paying for.
Ultra fast broadband is to be supplied to Birmingham as part of the UK's £150 million Urban Broadband Fund scheme. Permissions has been given from the European Commission to provide the public funding required for the project. It is thought that between £7 million and £10 million will need to be spent in the city to create a broadband service of between 80Mb and 100Mb. Ten cities will be sharing the bulk of the available funds, while another ten smaller cities will be able to bid for a share of the remaining £50 million. Joaquin Almunia, the EC Vice President for Competition Policy has stated that it is important to ensure that subsidised networks are benefiting competition in the cities where they are established.
A study from Sky has found that one in five people (22%) in Leeds have used public wi-fi during the 24 hours before the survey was taken. This is double the national average of 11%, making Leeds wi-fi hotspot in terms of usage. In second place at 20%, London was the only other UK city to come close. Manchester was at 13% along with Birmingham. 24% of people had used wi-fi in the past week and 41% in the last month. More than half of respondents had used wi-fi for emailing and 32% used it in cafés. Pubs and bars were also popular at 19%. Lyssa McGowan from Sky has said that wi-fi is now an everyday part of life and this is why Sky offers easy access wi-fi across the UK.
Smartphone uses who are concerned about roaming charges while on holiday will be able to take advantage of a new roaming charge from Three. The network has announced an international add-on which provides unlimited data for just £5 a day in many EU countries. This compares to huge charges of up to hundreds of pounds for just a few minutes of watching a video. This is despite the EU ruling earlier this year that roaming charges must be reduced significantly. The Three Euro Internet Pass is for smartphones only and not dongles, but it is unlimited for the day of purchase until midnight, with no fair usage policy. However it is intended for basic browsing and may be a slow connection for video streaming. Other providers are now announcing reduced roaming charges and deals, but the Three deal is considered the best so far. † [last update: 13.06.12]
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