Tag Archives: Ofcom

Vodafone Ranked Last for Rural Calls

In a report that has been released by Ofcom, Vodafone has been ranked last for the quality of call for mobile phone users in rural areas.

Ofcom used independent firm RootMetrics to measure network performance on mobile phones. The results were based on the quality of calls in areas which had coverage and the number of calls that failed to connect or cut out unexpectedly.

The study that was conducted resulted in network providers EE, O2, Three and Vodafone going head-to-head.

The overall results showed that EE provided the best service across the UK whilst O2 provided the best service within cities.

Overall Results:

  • 97% of all calls on the EE network were successfully connected.
  • 95.3% on O2,
  • 94.5% on Three,
  • 92.6% on Vodafone.

The results for calls made in rural areas were:

  • 93.7% on the EE network were successfully completed.
  • 87.4% on O2,
  • 86% on Three,
  • 79.9% on Vodafone.

A very unsurprising result was that more consumers in urban areas were happier with their mobile phone service that those in rural areas.

Ernest Doku, from uSwitch believes that everyone should now be able to get mobile reception, no matter where they are in the UK.

Doku stated, “In this day and age, we should all be able to get mobile reception, whether we’re in the heart of the city or out in the sticks. While it’s good to see that the majority living in cities are satisfied with their networks, this doesn’t help me if I’m in a field, in rural Wales, with a broken leg and unable to call for help.”

All four network providers have agreed to work with Ofcom to develop a common methodology for measuring the rates of successful mobile phone calls.

Vodafone have responded to the results and believe that the results do not show a fair reflection as they are now outdated.

A Vodafone spokeswoman stated, “The previously published RootMetric report is based on network measurements taken between June and December last year which were disproved by more up-to-date findings in spring this year.”

Do you have to make regular phone calls in rural areas? Are you happy with the quality of calls that you make/receive from your network provider?

Slowest Broadband Streets Named

Broadband speeds that consumers and businesses have been receiving have been a topic of discussion over the last 6 months and has hit the headlines again.

The results that have been released by uSwitch which detail the download speeds available for each street. The results were based on nearly two million speeds test which were ran by broadband users over a six month period.

The results show that Wheatley Road in Corringham and Erw Fawr, in Henryd, North Wales, topped the charts with an average download speed of 0.6Mbps. To put this in perspective, the average download speeds achieved across the UK is 17.8Mbps. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the fastest download speeds recorded were in Loundes Road, in Unstone, Derbyshire. The download speeds recorded here registered at 57.58Mbps.

This difference is quite staggering and would result in downloading a HD-quality film from the slowest areas taking 15.2 hours whilst it would only take nine minutes from the fastest area.

As a whole, Essex ranked as the worst county with six streets appearing in the top 50 list of streets having the slowest broadband speeds. The results that were obtained by uSwitch also prompted them to state that on 15% of Britons receive download speeds of 30Mbps or higher. These speeds are classed as superfast by the EU.

Ofcom have released a statement in response to the results and believe that the availability of superfast broadband is on the increase which is the result of significant investments but acknowledge that more work still needs to be done.

An Ofcom spokesperson stated, “Ofcom’s own research shows growth in superfast broadband and a rise in average speeds which is testament to the investment in the sector. But the benefits are not shared evenly across the UK.”

The spokesperson added, “There is more work needed to deliver wider availability of broadband and superfast broadband, particularly in rural communities but also in some locations within cities to enable wider access to fast internet.”

Have you run a broadband speed test? Would you like faster broadband speeds to be available in the area that you live?

BT: No More Subsidies for Sky and TalkTalk

BT have asked communications regulator Ofcom, to stop subsidising the price of wholesale broadband to Sky and TalkTalk.

At the moment, BT subsidise Sky and TalkTalk for Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) which allows them to install their own equipment in BT exchanges. BT believes that the imposed subsidies have benefited Sky and TalkTalk by 623 million over the last nine years. BT also refers to a report from Plum Consulting which suggests that this figure could increase to over 1 billion if the subsidies remain in place for a further six years which was originally planned.

The subsidies were initially imposed by Ofcom to create a competitive broadband market which it has now done. BTs share of the retail broadband market currently sites at 31% and therefore, they now believe that the subsidies should stop ahead of schedule as their aim has been achieved. It is largely regarded by many that Ofcom has successfully created one of the most competitive broadband markets in the world.

John Petter who is the BT Consumer CEO believes that companies such as Sky and TalkTalk are now more than capable of standing on their two own feet and that it is now time that they are on a level playing field in this highly competitive market.

Petter stated, TalkTalk and Sky have enjoyed subsidies for the best part of a decade but it is time for that to end. Both are successful companies and both are more than capable of standing on their own two feet. It is particularly unfair that BT has to give Sky a commercial leg up when they consistently refuse to provide us with fair access to their own services.

Petter added, Ofcom should be given credit for driving competition deeper into the network but that success needs to be reflected in current regulation. We know that Ofcom want to tackle this distortion but we want them to act now given this is a highly dynamic and competitive market. All we are asking for is a level playing field where prices reflect costs and consumers benefit as a result.

TalkTalk have already issued a statement of their thoughts towards such demands from BT and claim that BT want the subsidies to end so that consumers and businesses have to pay more for broadband and therefore increase their profits.

A TalkTalk spokesperson stated, The people who have benefited from Ofcom’s regulation are consumers. What BT are actually calling for is for consumers and businesses to pay more for broadband, and for that money to go straight into BT’s pockets.

The spokesperson added, Ofcom should be proud of how their approach to regulation has led to the UK having one of the most competitive markets in the world and they must keep it that way. We urge Ofcom to ignore this self-serving request.

BSkyB has also issued a statement in response to BTs claims in which they have reminded everyone that firms such as themselves are investing money to help improve the broadband network and that any changes need to be implemented at a slow rate.

In a statement, BskyB stated, We have already invested more than 1bn in our broadband network to create more choice and competition for consumers, and which has helped drive down prices for millions. We’ve been able to do this thanks to certainty over the regulatory framework against which our investments are made. It’s this very principle of regulatory certainly that BT itself argues for when making investments of its own.

BSkyB added, If regulatory charges are to change, this should happen gradually over time as Ofcom proposes. In any event, we believe that Openreach’s customers are currently paying too much based on inappropriate costs being loaded onto its customers, which hits UK consumers in the pocket.

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