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Rory Cellan-Jones

Virgin: some 50 Meg questions

  • Rory Cellan-Jones
  • 15 Dec 08, 17:10 GMT

Within minutes of Virgin Media unveiling its 50Mbps service, I was getting messages from cynics. They wanted to know whether 50 Megs really meant 50 Megs - or in practice would end up being something much slower.

And they were right to be cynical. Anyone who has an "up to 8Mbps" broadband deal knows that they are lucky to get three or 4Mbps. And while Virgin's cable network does not slow up the further you are from the exchange - in the way it does for BT's ADSL customers - it still uses "traffic management" to throttle back speeds at peak times.

Soon, more interesting questions were coming my way - so I decided to put them to the Virgin Media press office. They boiled down to speed and coverage.

Speed: Virgin says it is very upfront about its speed limits. For instance, if you have its 20Mbps service you will have a download limit at peak times - 4pm to 9pm - and if you exceed that you will slow right down to 5Mbps.

But the company insists that at the launch of the 50Mbps service, there will be no traffic management or throttling and you will get 50Mbps - although if you are running a wireless network, you are bound to lose some speed. However, it sounds as though limits may be imposed once the new network it has built on top of its old one fills up with traffic.

Buried in Virgin's press release is an interesting figure. Its users' average monthly data consumption has gone up from 4.7Gb to 8.1Gb over the last eighteen months. That is bound to keep on rising, perhaps more steeply, as more people download movies and watch streaming video.

In other words, the company has built a whole new motorway so that we can speed around the internet but, like the M25, it will attract lots of motorists at peak times, and eventually new speed limits will be introduced.

Some people wanted to know whether existing customers on 10Mb or 20Mb packages would see any improvements. Virgin says the new network will eventually triple its data capacity, and that should have a beneficial effect for all customers.

Others wanted to know about upload speeds. At the start, you will only get uploads at 1.5Mbps, though Virgin says that will be reviewed next year.

Coverage: Plenty of people are asking how quickly this 50Mbps service will be made available across the country - and whether there is chance that those not on the cable network might eventually get it. The answers seem to be "by the middle of 2009" and "not a chance".

Virgin says that by the end of 2008, its new DOCSIS3.0 network - that is, the system upgrade which makes 50Mbps possible - will be deployed in 40% of its network, including parts of Scotland, the Midlands and south London. The rest of the fibre-optic network will be covered by next summer. But note the "fibre-optic" - Virgin also has some broadband customers that are not on its own network but are served through a BT exchange.

They won't get the new service, and a spokesman made it clear that the company, which as NTL and Telewest spent and lost billions laying cable across the UK, "won't be digging up any more roads".

So, a few answers. But I've got a couple more questions. Are people really going to pay £51 a month for Virgin's 50Mbps broadband? And how will BT price its 40Mbps fibre broadband when that starts to make an appearance next summer?

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Virgin also has problems with different segments of its network.

    I'm in Plymouth and used to be with Virgin. Apparently, the network that Telewest used to use was very different (and somewhat limited) compared to other segments of the network.

    Since the speeds were increased to 20mbit, everyone I knew in Plymouth that had Virgin were complaining about the absolutely terrible speeds and pings. The Usenet groups were always filled with complaints. It wasn't until I found a 'secret' custom frequency on the cable modem that my speed went up (most likely because I was only one of very few that were using that bandwidth).

    In addition, some of the interleaving techniques they use make it a little difficult to use VOIP reliably, and give intermittent performance with online gaming. This isn't usually noticeable until you watch the ping jump from 20ms to 60ms and back again.

    As soon as I switched to BE (O2), my pings have held steady at 15-25ms for UK servers, and the VOIP quality is flawless.

  • Comment number 2.

    "...and you will get 50Mbps - although if you are running a wireless network, you are bound to lose some speed."

    I've never heard anything like this. Why would my home network setup affect my broadband speed? Would you clarify this please.

    If you mean that if you use an a/b/g network you will not be able to use the full 50Mbs, and only 802.11n or wired 100/1000Mbs networks will be able to use it all then that is different from 'losing some speed'.

  • Comment number 3.

    Must confess I`m a little surprised at killerspam's figures on this.

    Most VOIP should handle a delay of up to 150ms so 60ms should cause no issues.

    Likewise, I`m guessing BE (o2) is a DSL technology ? if so the DSL processes involved (primarily tunneling) adds latency to the connection, and I've not personally seen a DSL connection yet with a ping response of under 20-30 ms.

    I`m a Virgin customer and the general rule of thumb with Virgin is that products are launched with huge fanfare but often the network takes a little bit of time to catch up.

    That said, when they do, from well connected systems (BBC, AKAMAI, JANET) you will get the full, or close enough to, the full throughput.

    Yes, they have their problems, the telephone technical support can be interesting at best, but the newsgroups are generally very well run and monitored by technical staff.

    As a comparison, one operator once told me that the fact I was getting 4K/sec rather than 2000K/sec was due to my firewall and that they couldn`t progress the call without my disabling the firewall.

    Cue email to newsgroups and they had booked an engineer for the next day. (This was posted at 8pm on a sunday evening..)

    If you read through the newsgroups at least 75% of issues are often related to wireless, especially when the allocated channels are congested in a particular area.

    And finally, isn't there a fairly obvious terms of service violation by changing the frequency of the cable modem ?


  • Comment number 4.

    I live in a new street, every other street in this area has Virgin Media except ours.

    Virgin Media is popular here because we are almost 5km from the BT exchange so depending on your line quality, you're deemed LUCKY to get 1Meg if not 512K.

    What disappoints me is that we are only metres away from the Virgin Media green distribution box and I am battling with Virgin Media for 1year+ to get their services installed so we can jump from 1Meg to 10/20/50Meg but they are an extremely difficult bunch to deal with and absolutely nobody working there can help with a question like mine. Its like mission impossible for them to understand such a simplistic question.

    I am very dismayed at them stating "they will not be digging up any more roads" that is extremely short sighted and a somewhat foolish business decision....

    NOW is the best time to expand the network, there are tens of thousands of builders out of work so im SURE these builders would be DELIGHTED to work for Virgin Media deploying a network lifting/digging the pavements rather than be unemployed.

    I just dont think Virgin Media are thinking properly. So many people want the services but cannot get connected.

    Why dont they think about all the customers who are just slightly off the existing network...

    I have offered to pay for my wiring and install in full, but they just aren't interested.

    Waiting for BT to make a move to 'Fibre To The Home' is (lets face it) not going to happen for a decade, despite them trumpeting on about it being a 'reality'

    Jon

  • Comment number 5.

    This still pales in comparison to institutional connections. My connection at the University of Cambridge gave me 55 Mb/s down and 60 up - and those are real world speeds, which are rather lower than the headline figures. These speeds are getting to the limits of the common 10/100 Ethernet - to go much faster, you need Gigabit Ethernet right to the computer.

  • Comment number 6.

    I'm still holding out for broadband that is able to download content before I realise I need it...

  • Comment number 7.

    "They won't get the new service, and a spokesman made it clear that the company, which as NTL and Telewest spent and lost billions laying cable across the UK, "won't be digging up any more roads"."

    That makes sense if you live in the countryside but my grandad lives in a town and is on Virgin ADSL because he's not in a cable region - yet his next-door neighbour happily uses Virgin cable! Virgin seem unwilling to extend cable coverage to the 5 or so people in the road who can't get it for inexplicable reasons.

  • Comment number 8.

    @ 2, your wireless hub has a speed limit. For example, if your wireless connection only has a speed of 48.6 (a very common wireless hub speed) then your connection to the internet will be bottlenecked by that speed. On normal broadband speeds that obviously is a bottleneck WAY above your download speed, but when your download speed is 50mbs your wireless hub is obviously slowing down your connection.

  • Comment number 9.

    eek!Amoose wrote:

    "...and you will get 50Mbps - although if you are running a wireless network, you are bound to lose some speed."

    I've never heard anything like this. Why would my home network setup affect my broadband speed? Would you clarify this please.

    #######

    I imagine they are referring to the fact that most wireless networks run at considerably slower speeds than people expect.

    BT's ads for the speed of their hub are very clever. In the original TV ad they carefully showed the wireless station in the forground and the chap with the lap top in the background.

    Basically, you can only expect decent speeds if you have line of sight with the wireless station.

    In my house, my router is upstairs in the office and I only get around 12mbps, or sometimes none at all (allowing for interference from unshielded domestic appliances) downstairs in the main part of the house. So I run fixed cables.

    Virgin may be running 50 to your router, but many people will be getting significantly less on their wireless.

    Unless you HAVE to have wireless, it is much easier and faster to run with cables. My computers are networked at a 1000mbps - just a tad faster than your average wireless and one heck of a lot cheaper!

    (PS, I am a composer and need lightning speeds - a 100mbps Ethernet is fine for most people)

  • Comment number 10.

    "At the start, you will only get uploads at 1.5Mbps, though Virgin says that will be reviewed next year."

    wow that sucks, I get:
    Available Bandwidth Cells/s Kbit/s
    Downstream : 29941 12695
    Upstream : 4299 1823

    via adsl2 totally uncapped, I can hit that 24/7/365. Virgin certainly knows which side its toast is buttered. And that side is the one to many model, consume but don't share.

  • Comment number 11.

    I live a stone's throw from the central Birmingham telephone exchange. I can see it from here. You can't get much closer to the central exchange of the second biggest city.

    Yet the exchange doesn't support anything.

    Not only is there no ADSL2+, there's few ADSL ISPs that supply the area.

    Virgin Media? No chance, not on 'fibre' or copper. I don't understand why we don't have it, we are city centre.

    I had Virgin Media's top internet service (20mbit) for 3 years. The first 2 years were the best, no limits and full speed. The final year was less impressive - telephone support was really terrible, and the ping times and speeds fluctuated from time to time.

    Our current ISP is Tiscali. We have many issues but the telephone service is insufficient to resolve them. Service is very poor, this is the first time I've had terrible speeds from a broadband supplier. I wish Virgin Media was available. Or BeBroadband at least.

  • Comment number 12.

    eek!Amoose: wireless networks have increased latency and decreased bandwidth compared to wired networks. The extent to which this makes a difference to download speeds obviously depends a lot on local conditions - primarily the quality of the received signal, but this is actually difficult to judge. The software that show you "so many bars strength" is approximating the signal, and usually doesn't take in to account signal error (i.e. you might have a strong signal, but also large loss due to interference from a household cordless phone, or other wireless sites using the same channel nearby if you live in a congested urban area). In real world use, I get about 600kb/sec from my 802.11g wifi, and 1mb/sec if I switch to a wired ethernet connection to the router, so it does make a significant difference.

    cantab_314 is right about university networks though. At my old university I once got around 300Mb downloading from a Usenet server - my hard disk couldn't keep up, quite amazing really. Your media consumption habits really change when you can download anything you want in less than three minutes.

    To Mr Cellan-Jones: "4.7Gb to 8.1Gb " Did you mean 4.7GB to 8.1GB? If it were Gb (Gigabit) that would be 573 to 988 MBs per month, which isn't so impressive.

  • Comment number 13.

    I concur with JonBristol's comments.
    I used to have Telewest cable back in my Uni days (2001-2004) and loved it. Ever since then I have used BT and Sky for my broadband. BT were dog awful wherever I lived. Sky not as bad in my last place, but since moving to my new house (about 2 miles from Cheltenham town centre) We only get 760kbps, and the connection drops quite frequently. Shocking considering this is a brand new estate, right next to the Government COMMUNICATION Headquarters!
    Virgin Media's cable network stops 200 yards away at the end of my road.

    I can understand a company like Virgin Media and all it's debts being reluctant to extend into towns where it currently doesn't have coverage. But I think it should take the time to fill in the gaps where new housing has cropped up.

  • Comment number 14.

    My partners mother lives in Milton Keynes.

    She has had really bad TV reception from the hole in her wall. Particularly disappointing since she has paid a monthly fee to NTL/Virgin for the pleasure.

    Her complaints were met with "it must be your equipment."

    Eventually she gave up and a chap came to fit an aerial. He looked at her connection and asked "where is your box?"

    "What box?"

    She, and a few of her neighbours, it turns out, have never been supplied with the conversion box that comes with the connection. THe fact that she got any reception was down to shadowing on the line.

    Virgin have refunded her money, but it is interesting to note that they themselves have NEVER asked whether she had a box or not - they only help out when people complain ....

  • Comment number 15.

    I used to be with VM and they treated me like dirt right up to the second I left, the childish comments from the operator about my new service I was going to, sealed the deal!

    VM may release full 50M for the first 2-3 months but after that they will cap like crazy.

    This is what gets me, we get all this baloney about you can have staggering lightening fast access the down to the small print and it's all "subject to fair use" this and "only 1GB a day tops, anything over that and we'll start sending nasty letters about line abuse".

    Do yourselves a favour, keep your lower speed for now if you want to keep shifting the data, as they will be less interested in those maxing out the connections on lower speeds.

    Those maxing out a 50MB connection will be in for some serious written warnings!

  • Comment number 16.

    Good comment - whilst most news reports seem seduced by the press releases you have hit the nail on the head.

    My 'up to 8 meg' connection really is (nearly) 8mbs - in the morning.

    In the evening everyone else on the street is sharing it and it slows to a crawl. Just when you actually want to use it.

    I think the recent calls for honesty in advertising should include this issue - if this new service is actually going to be 50mbs shared by X people then lets see that advertised, along with a realistic estimate of what you will get in real life.

  • Comment number 17.

    I tried an interesting experiment the other day.

    I did a speed test with thinkbroadband and got download of about 17Mbps

    Then I tried an American test (speakeasy) and tried two of their servers - New York and Seattle.

    That gave me 11Mbps and 5 Mbps respectively

    No particular surprise. But when I was with BT and my speed was about 6Mbps, I was still getting 5Mbps to Seattle.

    So, even if I was on Virgin's "Superfast" cable, I would not see it's benefit for many websites round the world.

    So, the conclusion?

    If you need high speed AND you tend to connect to local sites in your country, then forking out for higher speeds may be of benefit (though still a luxury)

    If your browsing habits are outside of your country local zone, then you may not see any benefit at all.

  • Comment number 18.

    Virgin seem unwilling to extend cable coverage to the 5 or so people in the road who can't get it for inexplicable reasons.

    ----------

    Because the major cost of laying cable is the digging up the road bit. What is the point of them doing that for 5 potential customers?

  • Comment number 19.

    hackerjack wrote:

    Virgin seem unwilling to extend cable coverage ....
    ----------
    Because the major cost of laying cable is the digging up the road bit. What is the point of them doing that for 5 potential customers?

    ########


    Actually, they often shove it down existing trunking these days

  • Comment number 20.

    As I live in a small village the Virgin hype leaves me cold. We don't even have gas let alone cable, and the electricity supply has horrible spikes. The upside is that I have peace and quiet, neighbours I actually know, and a village pub.

    But I do get something like 5 meg most of the time from BT, sometimes a bit more, and this is perfectly adequate for my needs.

    I'm more concerned about consistency of performance and the very slow upload speed than the headline download speed.

  • Comment number 21.

    Not that upfront, they kind of forgot to mention their plans to throttle BitTorrent next year.

  • Comment number 22.

    Japan have 1Gbps broadband already which is 20x faster than this. We are ridiculously behind in broadband technology in the UK.

  • Comment number 23.

    The speed vs volume paradox is quite interesting, as is the shared-resource issue. When most people want to use the high throughput, it isn't there.

    What I wonder is what people do with 50 Mb/s. When I started my first job 11 years ago (as a software engineer) our LAN was 10 Mb/s. It was fine for the vast majority of what we needed (after all, we weren't moving large media files around).

    So now you can download a film in less than 5 minutes. But why? What's the point? It still takes 90 mins to watch it! You could download it in real time and there'd be absolutely no difference to your viewing experience!

    Most online gaming and VOIP depend far more on low-latency than high throughput.

    So, there are 24 hours in a day. Assuming someone spends a whopping 12 hours watching films, they can download all the films they want in 40 minutes.

    All that time saved! Wow! Except it isn't, because it still takes 90 minutes to watch a film.

    So I'm still left wondering, what's the point? What are people using it for? For small firms I can see a commercial value, but for home use?

    I don't get it.

  • Comment number 24.

    I have the Virgin 10 Mbps and I have found that throttling is a problem. A late night test renders speeds of 9.8Mbps and pings of 13ms.

    Whereas 5pm gets to 200ms and 3Mbps. this seems to be quite consistent regardless of my personal internet usage.

  • Comment number 25.

    Like JonBristol I live in an area without cable and long distance from what is a very old exchange.

    At BEST I get a speed of 512k - what about users like us? Even BT have admitted there's not much they can do.

    Seems like all this new technology is being introduced in places that are actually fairly well served by broadband.

    For me, it takes about 5 minutes to download a single MP3!

  • Comment number 26.

    I won't hold my breath for this service. Still waiting for cable here.

  • Comment number 27.

    I'm with VM and have to endure their 'traffic managed' service.

    I find their current service on like being given keys to a brand new BMW but only a couple litres of petrol. Very fast for the first 100 metres, but soon spluttering to a crawl.

    So can someone explain why I should part with even more money for no doubt less?

  • Comment number 28.

    Here in Holland, I'm lucky to have a good cable internet service offering 30 Mbps Down and 3Mbps Up. I've tested this speed at all times of the day to various locations around the world, and I'd have to say its pretty consistent (setting aside the expected routing/traffic delays). It baffles me that many ISPs still 'shape' their traffic dependent on the time of day, yet none of their glossy ads ever come close to mentioning it. Its one thing I don't look forward to whenever I have to return back to the UK.

  • Comment number 29.

    I just wish we had a choice here in Hull - Karoo run a shocking monopoly.

    My 8mb service, like many others, is only 4mb at the best of times, and at £30 a month is a rip off.

    Over to Stockholm, where I recently enjoyed speeds of 89mb up and down. Yes up to. Truly amazing.

    When will the UK government realise they need to invest in our broadband for the future? Idiots.

  • Comment number 30.

    Surely it is common sense to assume that if ISP's have to throttle back between various hours of the day, the service being offered is inadequate. In Virgin Media's' case, 5 hours of throttling per day equates to a 20% reduction in maximum capacity. What ISP's have never grasped is that what is offered is not what the customer gets and that is surely bordering on fraud despite the contractual disclaimers. When you fill up your car with petrol, you don't expect to get 20% less in your tank than you have paid for.

  • Comment number 31.

    The impetus to give us faster broadband just isn't there, because we're locked into a system which means we all pay the same whether we're getting the speeds we're paying for or not.
    If we actually paid for the speed we got, in the same variable bill way we pay for our electricity, gas, phones, etc, then we'd soon see the ISPs giving us faster and faster speeds, as the faster speed we've got, the more we'd use it.

  • Comment number 32.

    With regard to routers, also note that although many routers have 100mbit ports on them and 54mbit wireless connection only a handful of routers are actually capable of through putting over 12 or 14 mbits and the internals are incapable of such speeds.

    I also advise people to give VM feedback on their newsgroups, virginmedia.feedback

  • Comment number 33.

    "If we actually paid for the speed we got, in the same variable bill way we pay for our electricity, gas, phones"

    - this would not involve paying for speed, but paying for you use of the connection. £10/month plus £1/GB for example.

    You don't pay for the rate of consumption of gas or electricity, only the amount consumed.

  • Comment number 34.

    I'm another some distance from the exchange and without cable. I usually get a around 1.6M.

    I do make about 4 installation dvd downloads (which I start after midnight) a year which take ages but apart from that, I can't say I often find myself wishing I could download more quickly.

    I don't know whether I'd use it but increased upload speed would potentially be of more interest to me than download speeds. It could open up new possibilities for the small website I host from home.

  • Comment number 35.

    Yet again this is broadband for the elite wealthy people.

    What happened to the government closing the digital divide and all that?

    They need to look at the pricing strategy of broadband providers for a start if they do.

    Besides we all know that 60% of the UK cannot get cable, and I very much doubt Virgin or any other company is willing to invest the money to enable that 60% to do so, so any talk of 50mbps fibre-optic cable broadband is pointless because it'll only be for a select few people, as is the case with all the "top technology" in this country.

    Have money - will get, don't have money - who cares.

  • Comment number 36.

    @ravenmorpheus

    "Have money - will get, don't have money - who cares".

    I don't think it is like this at all, but to be brutally honest, what is the problem with this?

    Why not Ferraris for all? Why not holidays in Aspen for all?

    It is this kind of attitude which makes the UK a miserable, uninspiring and unmotivational to live in.

    As soon as people realise that to have money you have to work and work hard, and not sponge off the government, this country MAY improve.

    People cannot expect to get something for nothing.

  • Comment number 37.

    @theappleofmyi -

    I'm sorry I didn't realise that working for a living would give me the money to invest in "top end technology"...

    ...If it does I'd like to know how.

    I like a large and growing number of workers (native to this country, not those coming into the country) earn a low wage (£15k to be precise), I struggle to keep up with technology and as web surfing/IT/gaming enthusiast I frequent many technology forums and all I see is people bleating on about the latest technology and throwing £50, £100, £200 into "upgrading" each month, quarter, year etc. without even blinking, and the phrase "it's only x amount" crops up a lot as though money is nothing to people.

    I work very hard for my £15k, footballers, politicians and many other "professionals" get paid far more for doing far less.

    I don't expect something for nothing but when your working your arse off just to make ends meet keeping up with technology, which is necessary these days in order to "network" and remain in the "worldwide social scene" and to not look like a "noob" is not possible on a low wage and because of this people on low incomes (and I don't mean the sponging single chav mums, but I do include pensioners in the low income bracket) are being left behind and excluded from the technology push that is happening because they don't have the money, and unless I'm much mistaken that sort of thing used to happen in the Victorian era, funny how it's happening again in the 21st century...

  • Comment number 38.

    @ravenmorpheus, I can imagine that with something like high end gaming but does it need to be that expensive?

    I've just had a look at one web site and I see a barebones (it would need a hard disk and a dvd drive) AMD X2 AM2 Dual Core 4200 with 2GB of RAM for £126. (Although my own desktop is a AM2 6000), that spec exceeds my requirements for anything I do.

    Compare that to my first PC. Amstrad PC1512 twin 5 1/4 floppies, 512Mb RAM, no hard disk. say £550 in 1986-87.

    As someone who these days only really needs to look around the entry level and certainly never the top end, it is far cheaper than it used to be.

  • Comment number 39.

    I have been with virgin and the only time I got anywhere was when I threatens to leave....which is when they gave me 20mb line for a pound a month.

    However I moved house and now have BT connection which I have not had a problem with at all. I can have a speed all day of around 6mb. Ok the upload is not great 512kb but does what I need.

    And surley that's the point it does what I need. I can watch a film when I want and agree with the comments above. In fact why the he'll would I want to download the film in under 10mins when it takes so much longer to watch????

    If some wants wants that connection then they must have a reason but surley it will not go past the point to make a difference on viewing a web page like google as the server speed will be slower than the connection speed.

    Lastly I belive that we should get charged for our true connection speed not pay for a up to speed as you hardley get it! And we should have more money to get everyone connected not just improve who is connected (be says typing from his iphone) but really we need to get a standard and then we can catch the likes of japan!

  • Comment number 40.

    @39 - Japan schmapan - I read last year of a coach full of Samsung execs going round Seoul testing the city's wifi coverage and were hitting about 50 meg on the coach. Four out of five Korean homes have broadband, mostly paying around £25 a month for 100Mbps. Whereas, aah, bless, the home of the industrial revolution we might (in certain select areas) hit half that only after years of digging half the country's roads up and struggling in the face of the country's largest telecoms monopoly who could've done so much more but, for some reason haven't.

    The chances of hitting VMs quoted speed for any length of time, taking their "fair use" policy into account, is very slim I suspect. Yet another reason to choose a different ISP (one that doesn't shape your traffic or plan to use Phorm, for example).

    Out of interest, how does "unlimited" transform into "fair use"? If I've paid for unlimited at a specific speed, that's what I expect to get. If I'm getting less I expect to be billed less.

  • Comment number 41.

    @Jon Freeman

    No it doesn't have to be expensive. And ok a run-of-the-mill user may not need to spend a lot, but why should technology in this country be expensive if you want something better than bare bones?

    AS unclegiblets has pointed out Korean cities such as Seoul have a 50mb wifi conneciton available which as I understand it is free to use and 4/5 Korean homes have 100mb connections for 25 a month (If that is 25 South Korean Won that works out as 0.0130158 GBP but I'm assuming he meant GBP (not sure why this blog doesn't display currency symbols?)), if that sort of connection were to be provided in the UK it would not be 4/5 homes that would have it, certainly not to begin with, because it would be hugely overpriced and thus only available to "those that can afford it".

    By the time the price actually came down to a level where 4/5 homes could afford it an even faster connection speed would be available, but again only at a price that the wealthy can afford.

    That's my whole point, here in the UK new technology seems to be viewed as something to make money out of the wealthy and the wealthy allow companies to do so because, and I'm making a general assumption here, they like to show that they have the latest whatever it is, so it's a case of the old "ooh look at me, I am considerably richer than you"...

    Whereas in the far east, countries like Korea, Singapore etc., everyone has the opportunity to have the latest technology because it's priced at a level all can afford from what I have seen.

    And slightly OT but I believe that Phorm and other such data collection means should be banned and unlimited downloads should mean unlimited downloads, not subject to a fair use policy.

  • Comment number 42.

    @ravenmorpheus. To try to comment on your points:

    I might at times question the cost of goods here compared to the US - if you see something selling at say $100 there and £100 here, you might well wonder... but I'm not sure that the relative prices of say the "latest and greatest" cpu and the "nearing obsolescence" cpu is unreasonable.

    I'd be more inclined to question whether many (not the high end gamers or others that really need all the processing they can get) can be sold rather more than they need but, selfishly, I wouldn't want to shout too much about it in case the price of lower end stuff went up.

    I think the broadband services is a different matter and I think the cost of laying cable and recovering that cost comes into it. I'd have thought with this and having services available that the density of population is likely to be a bigger factor than personal wealth? As such, I don't worry about the likes of Virgin but I think there should be some duty with the telephone network and the replacement of copper wire with fibre optic.

    I have nothing against people opting into to a system that collects data for targeted advertisements but as far as I understand it, the Phorm system itself can not be properly opt in. An implementation that requires me to have an "opt out" cookie and/or still intercepts my data is not acceptable.

    Unfortunately "unlimited" means "there is a limit but we won't tell you what it is and we can change our minds as and when we see fit"...

    --
    Re the pound, I'll try £ (it rejected & pound) but I doubt they will come out wrong. The symbol does display correctly for me if I select ISO-8859-1 but the document is described as utf-8.

 

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