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PlusNet has been declared the NUMBER ONE ISP for Broadband by the readership of PC Pro, one of the UK's most respected computing magazines. In last Thursday night's celebrated awards ceremony, PlusNet were voted the outright winner in the 'ISP Broadband' category for the 'PC Pro Reliability and Service Awards 2003'.

At the glitzy presentation, held at the Dorchester Hotel, London, PlusNet beat other nominated national ISPs; AOL, BT Openworld, NTL, Pipex and Telewest Blueyonder to scoop this prestigious award.

The Reliability and Service Awards 2003 are based upon a comprehensive survey completed by the PC Pro readership, in which feedback was polled relating to quality, value for money and overall reliability of broadband service.

"This is a tremendous accolade to be presented with," stated Marco Potesta, Commercial Director at PlusNet.

"We're extremely pleased to have been voted Number One Broadband ISP by the readership of one of the UK's most highly respected IT magazines. We'd like to extend our sincere thanks, both to our customers and PC Pro magazine readers. This is testament to PlusNet's superior operating model that delivers an enhanced customer experience at a lower cost structure than any of our competitors, the success of which is entirely due to all our employees. I would like to thank them for all their continued efforts."

PlusNet join the illustrious ranks of other PC Pro 2003 award winners, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, NEC-Mitsubishi amongst others.

 

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Plusnet, the first choice for low-cost and high-value Internet connections have today reminded ISDN users that a simple, hassle-free upgrade to high-speed, always-on broadband is now available.

The new simplified and automated ordering system means that a single order is placed with Plusnet, with the entire conversion process and subsequent activation of the customer's ADSL service being carried out by them.

If for any technical reason the conversion fails, BT will now convert the line back to the original ISDN service at no cost to the end user. Only upon successful line conversion is the customer charged BT's £27.99 inc VAT administrative cost.

"Line conversions have been made so much simpler with Plusnet's new ordering system," explained Alistair Wyse, Technical Director of Plusnet. "Those currently using ISDN can now order ADSL with confidence, understanding that should the conversion not go ahead they will not be out of pocket."

The simple upgrade process applies to both Home and Office Highway versions of ISDN, as well as ISDN2. This comes as great news to users of these services who want to take advantage of Plusnet's lowest-cost 'Starter Packs' that were introduced last week.

Everything you need to get started with ADSL is included in your Broadband Starter Pack - line activation, choice of internal modem, external modem or router, 2 splitters, an easy-to-follow setup guide and delivery. With prices starting from only £85.10 for your Starter Pack and £17.86 per month for your subscription (prices exclude VAT), you simply can't get better value.

 

 

 

Checkout the latest deals on PlusNet broadband here.

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An independent broadband channel envisaged as an internet version of the Channel 4 television station should be set up if the UK is to gain and retain broadband users.

It is among recommendations in a government report to drive take-up of high-speed internet services.

The report acknowledges that faster speeds and lower prices will not in themselves be enough to secure a truly broadband Britain.

While lower prices have been vital in kick-starting broadband take-up to its current levels of around 600,000, compelling content will drive the next wave of broadband services according to the study, commissioned by the Department of Trade and Industry.

The report recommends a major government investment of between £5m and £10m to set up an independent organisation to bring together broadband content and applications.

"The organisation would commission from the UK content development sector and work with internet service providers, portals, mobile platforms and TV companies to meet their content demands where appropriate," reads the report.

"In short, the Broadband Channel would represent a Channel 4 for the broadband age," it goes on.

Without such a channel, the UK risked having an undeveloped content market, said the report.

It warned providers would just offer subscription niche services such as gaming, adult content, gambling and music from which they can make money.

"There is a real risk that as mass market users adopt broadband they will find only a set of relatively niche offerings," reads the report.

They may well choose not to remain broadband users."

Among other recommendations is the creation of a tourism portal with video and sound clips and interactive virtual visitor centres.

The report also suggests the government set up channels for transactional e-government services in each region, accessible in shopping centres, football grounds and railway stations.

The government has broadly welcomed the recommendations.

"For many, speed alone is not enough to justify upgrading to broadband," said e-Minister Stephen Timms.

"People need to be able to do more than play games and swap music files to convince them of the benefits of broadband," he said.

The findings come as figures from internet research group NetValue show that while uptake of broadband services in the UK has doubled in the past six months it still trails most of its European neighbours.

 

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Four out of 10 households in the UK had digital television before the collapse of ITV Digital, according to research published on Tuesday.

A year ago the figure was 30% of homes, the survey conducted by MORI and released by Broadcasting Minister Kim Howells revealed.

The biggest attraction of digital TV was the choice of programming, followed by improvements in picture and sound quality.

However, the public remained concerned about the cost and "hidden" extras such as subscriptions and other charges.

The effect of the collapse of ITV Digital was not covered in the survey.

The aim of this research was to "gain a better understanding of people's perceptions of digital TV, their awareness of the issues and an insight into people's future intentions".

Mr Howells, speaking at a radio festival in Cambridge, said: "It is very clear that more people are aware of the benefits of digital TV and are making the switch themselves.

"This is very encouraging. But what is apparent is that there is more work to be done to demystify digital television's benefits to those unsure about making the move."

The government is formulating a digital action planning process together with the industry.

The government has said it wants to shut down analogue television signals by 2010 - although some in the industry believe that target to be unrealistic - provided that enough people in the country had access to digital TV.

But the survey revealed that only 42% of people without digital television at the moment will switch to the new technology in six to 10 years.

If that figure proved accurate, it would leave the number of people without digital TV below the level needed to warrant switching off analogue signals.

According to the survey, 71% of people know about digital television and consider it to be better than analogue.

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The whole ISP industry and community are waiting for BT to confirm "significant" wholesale price cuts for consumer ADSL.

Sheffield based ISP, Plusnet are of the opinion that in addition to reducing the wholesale cost of ADSL by at least £8 per month, from the current level of £25 (excl. VAT), BT should also reduce the activation fee, which is currently £50 (excl. VAT) (It's worth noting that activating an ADSL service involves similar work to that which needs carrying out to activate a standard phone line, for which BT charges no fee).

Plusnet, like most ISPs, are very keen to see wholesale price cuts to BTs ADSL service. Alistair Wyse, Technical Director for Plusnet said, "Meeting the mass-market consumer price point of £25 per month (incl. VAT) will undoubtedly create significant demand for Broadband ADSL services," he continued, "We want to see BT stimulate the market by cutting the monthly rental by at least £8 to £10, and lowering the activation fee to below the £25 mark."

Plusnet would also like to confirm that they will indeed be passing on cost saving benefits when BT announce and get approval on the impending wholesale price changes. "Anybody thinking of getting Broadband now does not need to wait. If they signup with Plusnet, the applicable monthly bill will be adjusted when the BT prices are confirmed," Wyse commented.

As well as the main issue, above, Plusnet would also like to see a change in strategy from Oftel.

During the evolution of Internet Service Provision in the UK, over the last five years, Oftel have operated a strategy which assumes that a competitive market (and therefore consumer benefit) exists if BT are regulated in such a way as to protect the interests of the Other Licensed Operators (or 'OLO's', such as: Energis, Colt, NTL and Telewest). It was thought, given the growth potential of Internet services, that the OLO's would have the necessary incentive to work with ISPs and deliver the services the market demanded. The reality, especially over the last three years, has been somewhat different.

"Since demand was initially created for Unmetered access and subsequently Broadband, we have seen little or no wholesale Unmetered or Broadband Internet services from the OLO's." Wyse continued, "The situation is so bad, that we have ended up being dependant purely on BT to build Unmetered and Broadband networks. Things could have been very different if Oftel had a realistic strategy for the wholesale of BTs network, instead of the folly of Local Loop Unbundling."

Another symptom of the situation is that even today, ISPs are still being prevented from reselling NTL's & Telewest's networks to each of these cable companies' customers, be it for Unmetered or Broadband Internet access.
"It would seem that, consistent with what most people outside, and also inside BT, have thought for a long time, BT are finally going to take the appropriate action on wholesale aDSL pricing. We only hope that Oftel comes to its senses and establishes formal dialogue directly with the ISPs in parallel to the Other Licensed Operators and BT."

 

 

  

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