As news of Everything Everywhere's possible buy out and merger with Virgin Media mixes with their trials of 4G, it's hard to see how Talk Talk will survive in a market where a 'big three' (Sky, BT, EE/VM) will exist:
The latest figures from Ofcom have revealed that Talk Talk still receives more complaints than any other broadband or fixed line provider. Sky, Virgin Media and O2 have the lowest number of complaints. During the first quarter of 2012, Talk Talk received 0.56 complaints per 1,000 customers, while BT received 0.38 and Sky received just 0.15. It is thought that the failing of Talk Talk is down to their line faults and other service issues. Despite these disappointing figures, the provider has seen the levels of complaints fall since 2011 and it is thought that this may be part of an overall downward trend. Ofcom have said that they receive 300 calls each day to complain about broadband, mobile, fixed line and pay TV services. They point out that this does not reflect the actual number of complaints received by the providers themselves. Talk Talk have said that they are working hard to deliver better service and they are receiving 31% fewer calls to their contact centres.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a Virgin Media ad featuring the athlete Usain Bolt. The ads showed Usain Bolt impersonating Richard Branson and commenting on how he was doubling everyone's broadband speeds. However the small print points out that the offer applies to cabled areas only and 100mb customers will not see a doubling of their speeds, but will receive a price cut instead. The complaint had been made by BskyB and members of the public. The ASA decided that the ads could not appear again in their current form because the ad implies that all customers would benefit from the speed changes. This was not the case. Virgin Media have said that they have communicated with all of their customers about the changes and in particular about the 100Mb price cut.
Ofcom has released a draft code designed to require providers to inform broadband customers when their internet connection is being used to infringe copyright laws. The provider will also be expected to explain the steps the internet user must take to protect their network from being used illegally and also inform them of where they can get the content from legal sources. The warnings will come via the post and are expected to start as early as 2014. The new code will cover all of the major internet providers. If a user receives more than three letters in a one year period it is possible that information may be provided to the copyright holder who may seek a court order and take legal action. Customers will be able to appeal this decision, but will need to pay £20 to do so, but this will be refunded if it is successful.
Everything Everywhere (EE) has begun their first customer trials of 4G mobile broadband in Cumbria. Local businesses around the village of Threkeld have new routers and broadband dongles to allow them to test the service. The village is able to receive speeds of around 20Mb. The area was chosen because it has very unreliable broadband services and in some cases residents can get no broadband at all. The trial is required because EE needs to know if things like geographical location and terrain can affect performance of the 4G service. Olaf Swantee from the provider has said that the businesses will benefit from 4G and it will lead to increased investment and jobs. † [last update: 27.06.12]
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