Superfast Broadband To Reach Wales By 96% In 2016
Dozens more towns and villages in Wales are set to be connected by 2016 as many companies say that they are still missing out. The Welsh Government says that it is on target to see that faster internet is available for 96% of the country under the premises of its Superfast Cymru venture with the broadband market leader BT. In June 2014, statistics showed that superfast broadband was available in 58% of places in Wales, compared with 78% across the UK.
The Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology said of the project:
“By the time the Superfast Cymru programme is completed in Spring 2016, Wales will be one of the most highly connected countries in Europe.”
Equally, the BT director for Wales said:
“This is big news for Wales as people will now know when work will start for every single telephone exchange in Wales. It’s probably the biggest engineering programme Wales has seen in the last ten years with the potential to improve the lives of individuals, families and businesses across Wales.”
Broadband will particularly make a difference to the businesses in Wales. It means more sales for some of them and will help farmers provide the information they need to file with Government departments. However, critics argue that converting the telephone exchanges does not mean that every company will get faster broadband as cabling the exchanges to the premises will not support it fully.
Just under half of the spend for the project, £205 million is coming from the Welsh and UK Governments with the rest being provided by BT.
Sky Broadband Outage in the North
Sky’s service via a number of exchanges across the North West has collapsed, damaging broadband connections for customers living in the surrounding areas of Manchester and Liverpool. The provider blamed the issue on ‘complications surrounding planned network maintenance’ and stated that engineers were on site working to fix the issue.
The list of affected places includes Eccles alongside some other smaller Northern towns and villages including: Frodsham, Stepping Hill, Birkenhead, Runcorn, Rockferry, Bury, Denton, Hyde, Pendleton, Stockport, Walkden, Alderley Edge and Wimslow.
Many subscribers to the Sky service are taking to the internet to complain that their broadband is not working full stop at the moment and hasn’t been for several hours. The Sky website has a large broadband checker feature which is currently stating that Liverpool and Manchester are the worst hit areas above anything else. Some customers are complaining that this is the second time in a week that there has been outage. Sky Talk service is also down as it is connected to broadband. It is hoped that the outage will not last much longer.
For updates on the outage, the best place to look is the Sky Broadband Twitter page as they will let everyone know when the service is back online via that. The most important thing is that engineers are working hard to fix the problem.
Broadband Hailed By World’s Fastest Knitter
The arrival of superfast broadband
to the Shetland Islands has been long awaited and now it is finally there. To celebrate, Hazel Tindall, who holds the title of the World’s Fastest Knitter was draped in a 35 metre scarf as she helped mark the arrival of the new generation technology to the islands.
Da Muckle Gravit is the longest scarf in the Shetlands. The first stitches were done in 2005 by Mrs Tindall and since then many other local residents have played a part in knitting it, with each one creating their own unique section.
The superfast broadband is set to be delivered to over 4,000 businesses and homes in Lerwick, Quarff and Sumburgh. They form part of a publicly funded network worth £146 million which is rolling out across the Highlands and Islands as part of the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme.
The Director of Highlands and Islands said:
[quote] “The first phase of roll out on the Shetland Islands is opening up fibre based services to one in three homes and businesses in one swoop. It’s a great start. The Shetland Islands have links across the world in leading sectors including energy, creative industries, tourism and food and drink. Access to better broadband can open up opportunities for business growth across all these sectors and at home makes for more flexibility in every day life. Having now pushed through almost all of Shetland’s existing cabinets our next steps are to build the new networks and cabinets in order to reach customers currently connected directly to their exchanges.” [/quote]
Argos Offers Free Tablets To Workshop Participants
Consumers who choose to take part in Internet Workshops provided by Argos can get their hands on a brand new free tablet computer and 12 months free broadband. The retailer is working in association with the digital skills charity Go On UK and broadband provider Talk Talk and is hoping to increase online participation rates in Britain.
As estimated, around 9.5 million consumers in the UK are still not online. Argos wants to see many more of these people fully embrace the internet. The programme of workshops will run across 120 communities, starting later this month and continuing on until January. Argos employees who have been specially trained will help participants learn how to use a tablet, connect to the internet and surf the web as well as teach them how to use a search engine, set up email and stay safe online.
A total of 10,000 will be able to take part in the scheme and they will be charged £20 to take part but will receive a free 8GB Proscan 7″ Dual Core Internet tablet as well as a free broadband subscription. Each participant will be registered to the TalkTalk Simply Broadband package which is usually priced at £3.50 per month for 12 months. The only cost that customers will pay during this time is line rental, which may already be covered depending on whether they have a home phone service with the company.
TalkTalk will also provide free of charge broadband installation.