Vodafone Plan TV Services

Joining the likes of EE recently in terms of mobile/internet service providers who believe they can cut it in the other field of telecommunications, TV, Vodafone have announced their intention of offering both TV and home broadband services in the UK as of ‘spring 2015′.

vodafone_logoWhether that will be two ventures that cross streams with their intention and delivery remain to be seen, but it is known for the broadband service that the company are set to take on BT alongside their own ‘business fibre network’ in order to provide an alternative package deal option on the market for customers, according to BBC News.

On the TV, side, though, plans remain a little more secretive, with no details yet as to what they will offer with regards to services or content, or potential manufacturing or delivery partners.

Looking to at least claim a part of a market that Sky clearly lead the way in (followed by Virgin Media, BT, and now EE), could Vodafone have what it takes with their currently vague plans to go home-based with a TV platform (and broadband) in 2015?

The stock market seems to think so at present, with the company shares rising by over 5.5% following the news of their future plans breaking, but will it continue to have such boosts following launch, or will they have been better off sticking to mobile phones? If potential users or investors want a preview of what might be to come, the company may offer an antipodal guinea pig for examination…

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Dish Network Continue On Frontier

Dish Network‘s coverage in the USA has received a boost this week with the guarantee that they will be a part of the Frontier Communications telecommunications bundle for the foreseeable future.

frontier_communications_logoDish signed a ‘multi-year extension’ to the present arrangement they have with Frontier, in which the latter offer Dish’s satellite TV services amongst a Frontier bundle of broadband and phone packages to select regions.

The Stamford-based company specializes in offering internet and communications services to America’s rural areas, with Dish set to again be a key part of that focus as they seek to attract more customers.

Dish Network’s president/CEO Joseph Clayton noted: “We have worked with Frontier to make it even easier for consumers to design the highest value bundle for their information, connection, and entertainment needs. I am pleased to continue this relationship with a company that shares our commitment to providing advanced technology solutions through an affordable, service-driven approach.”

His Frontier counterpart Maggie Wilderotter added: “Dish is a great partner for Frontier. It offers our customers access to a portfolio of award-winning brands. The bundled offerings pair Frontier broadband and voice services with a suite of Dish products and services, including the Hopper with Sling Whole-Home HD DVR. Frontier makes it simple by being a single and local point of contact for service and billing.”

Continuing a partnership that recently saw them launch a $10m ‘America’s Best Communities’ contest project, will Frontier and Dish Network’s continued harmony be the key to continued growth for each in their respective markets?

BT Sport Free Another Season On Broadband

Having been in the sports broadcasting game since August 2013, BT Sport have decided a few months ahead of their one-year broadcasting anniversary that nothing fundamental will change about their business model going into the second season of sport.

BT Sport blackFollowing 9 months of operation, it appears as though the open offer of all BT Broadband customers being able to access BT Sport online at no additional charge is one which will continue into a second season.

Viewers of the service ordinarily have to pay a subscription fee to gain access on a TV package provider such as Sky or Virgin Media, but those with existing BT entertainment subscriptions (either with broadband/telecommunications packages or BT TV) can receive the three channels of the service (BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2, and ESPN) for free on their platform of choice (including online and the BT Sport app).

It is noted that the latter option is the cause of around 3 million homes that receive the channels, from a total of 5 million receiving BT Sport, meaning that 2 million not under BT’s contracts otherwise have subscribed only for access to contracted sports, including a range of football coverage both domestic and international, Moto GP bike racing, UFC mixed-martial arts fights, and upcoming European rugby tournaments, amongst other rights held.

John Petter, the chief executive of BT Consumer, stated: “Fans have been the winners with BT Sport. Millions of homes have enjoyed the very best sporting action for free. We said we would shake up the market and we have done just that. The great news for fans is that BT Sport will remain free with BT Broadband for another season, during which we will broadcast live action from the new European rugby tournaments. There has never been a better time to switch to BT Broadband so I would encourage sports fans to sign up.”

Also announcing that their BT TV channel/on-demand set-top box service has surpassed 1 million units sold, BT’s broadcasting future, despite not looking likely to having the level of overall coverage that rivals such as Sky have, is looking bright, particularly offering up a decent challenge in the sports market…

Sky And TalkTalk Team To Battle BT Broadband

While a quick response to their recent study will be what they would have wanted, British media regulators Ofcom might not have been as pleased on a first glance at the latest news of the broadband industry, after well-known providers Sky and TalkTalk are joining forces to create a broadband service that rival the market-leading prowess of… BT.

talktalk_in_the_skyWhile it is in fact Virgin Media who were the stand-out performers when it came to coverage for its subscribers (at nearly double the speeds of all other service providers including BT, Sky, and TalkTalk), it is in fact the coverage in quantity that BT hold that the new collaboration is seeking to challenge.

The two companies are noted as agreeing to pool together their resources in order to place infrastructure of their own in the form of fibre optic cabling across several UK cities, a move planned in order to end the the pair’s reliance BT’s ‘Openreach’ infrastructure.

Planning to debut the project in York (England) and two unconfirmed British cities in 2015, the initiative will take place in co-operation with 1gb/s fibre optic network providers CityFibre.

TalkTalk’s chief executive officer Dido Harding summarised: “This marks TalkTalk taking its first steps into investing in building infrastructure as part of our mission to make British homes and businesses better off.”

While the move is confirmed by Sky as one which should give both companies much higher speeds in their areas of direct coverage to broadband consumers, it has also been announced (fairly obviously) that the partnership starts and ends with planting the tubes, with all other aspects falling under the category of traditional business competition…

Ofcom Announce Average Rise In UK Broadband Speeds

While the absoloute peak of the industry is represented by huge numbers that for now will rarely be seen outside testing or well-established environments, the growth of broadband speeds around the world is heading up more steadily, but higher nonetheless.

ofcom_logoThis trend is prevalent in the UK region, according to a recent report, where media regulators Ofcom were pleased to announce an increase in ‘average broadband speeds’ by a total of 3mb/s across the last 6 months.

They noted that the nation-wide average for broadband speeds was now up to 17.8mb/s as of November 2013 when compared with a report from six months previously, and that an increase in speeds from 3.6mb/s has occurred in the space of 5 years since November 2008, a growth of 14.2mb/s.

Going further into the figures, Ofcom suggested that for fastest overall speeds, consumers would be best suited subscribing to Virgin Media, who offer their customers ‘the fastest broadband in Britain’, peaking at an average of between 113.2mb/s-116.7mb/s across a 24-hour period.

This is seen as being almost twice that of any other rivals, with providers such as BT, EE, Plusnet, Sky, and TalkTalk all recording 24-hour average speeds in the range between 61.6mb/s-68mb/s on their ‘super-fast package’ options. While the average growth is naturally a good sign, Ofcom have implied that it is primarily in urban areas in which the developments have been of note, with claims that ‘more needs to be done’ in improving coverage for rural areas, which were accounted in November 2013 at a 11.3mb/s average.

How long it will take for that to happen depends on how well providers act on the current findings, but will the providers who are not Virgin Media be able to up their game in general with these statistics now present as potentially-jarring public knowledge?

Kansas City Given Second Trial For Google Fiber With Free Tablets

Would-be superfast internet users that missed out on the limited ‘Google Fiber’ trials in Kansas City (USA) in 2012 have been offered a reprieve, as the search engine giant open up their package to an additional select wave of applicants in the city as they further develop their testing process for the ambitious service.

google_fiber_conceptThe efforts from Google are ones which they will aim to increase their customer base in preparation for a possible ‘real’ launch, as they began their new customer recruitment drive yesterday (Wednesday 20 November) for people interested in joining up to the experimental internet/TV service.

It appears as though the move will for now be a limitless one despite the highly powerful 1GB/s speeds, allowing the people of Kansas City (in covered neighbourhoods) until 22 December to set up with Google Fiber under a service contract pre-agreement, which Google claim will be good for connections that begin in spring 2014, with further incentives including that only houses in ‘fibrehoods’ with enough people signed up will be able to acquire the service, and that pre-registering users may also be in line for a free Google Nexus 7 as a ‘Christmas gift’, depending on conditions.

It is believed by analyst that the change in structure to a more open offer by Google is one which has been made in attempt of claiming as much revenue as possibly from the Kansas City market in order to prove the fiber-optic investment worthwhile.

With service prices ranging from $25-120/month, Google will hope that their ‘fiberhoods’ are a good source of future income and the potential pinnacle of super-fast internet in America over future years, but will the next stage be successful enough to convince them to expand beyond a small selection of cities?