MySpace User Get Free Wi-Fi Access

Broadband, Social Networking No Comments »

Plans were revealed today that would see users of social networking site MySpace given free Wi-Fi access when they use Broadband provider The Cloud.

The Cloud currently has 7,000 hotspots, and users logging on will be made aware of the deal by MySpace branding and multimedia content.

By following the advertised link users will be granted free access to MySpace.com, or alternatively continue to use a range of other services from The Cloud at the usual tariffs.

With some 75 million users, the deal could be providing a lot of Wi-Fi for a lot of users!

As part of the deal The Cloud’s Wi-Fi network will also be advertised across the MySpace network, with the joint promotion due to run until October. After this time users will have to subscribe to The Cloud’s Wi-Fi network as usual.

“The Cloud is delighted to be working with MySpace to provide many millions of its users free access to their music, video and friends over Cloud Wi-Fi,” – Steve Nicholson, The Cloud’s chief executive.

Sky to Challenge Market Leader iTunes

Broadband, Music 1 Comment »

In previous posts on The Shelf we have followed the plans of several companies who have recently entered the digital music download market, including 7digital, (7digital to offer DRM free music from Warner), and PlayDigital, (PlayDigital Offers DRM Free Downloads)

Sky is now the latest player to enter the digital download market, with plans to launch a subscription based music streaming and downloading service.

A Sky representative said of the plans to launch the service that it is “Providing a simple new way for fans to consume music, both streamed tracks and downloads to keep are available through just one monthly subscription, a world first.”

It is expected that a range of subscription options will be available to customers that offer differing download packages which can be tailored to the individual needs of users.

With contracts already signed to offer the complete back catalogue of Universal Music users are sure to get access to some of the biggest names in the music industry, and with negotiations ongoing with major and independent record labels, Sky’s catalogue of digital music offering is likely to expand significantly.

Currently Apple’s iTunes dominates the music download industry in the US and UK and Universal has long been unhappy with the company’s reluctance to offer a subscription based service, instead opting to sell tracks individually.

The digital download market it one of the few areas of growth in the music industry and Universal also believe Apple’s dominance is strangling its development.

Recently Universal, the world’s biggest record label, has stopped providing Apple with exclusive annual rights to sell its catalogue and is instead looking to retain greater flexibility as to where it can sell its tracks.

The new service from Sky will be launched independent of Sky, with the satellite provider acting as majority stake holder providing “expertise in the delivery of subscription services… content aggregation, packaging and marketing”

As yet the plans are unclear as to what format music tracks will be available in and whether there will be any form of digital rights management, but the tracks will be playable “on any mp3-compatible fixed or portable device”. Some reposrts have gone as far to say that it will be offering a DRM free format

Both services from 7igtal and PlayDigital are offering DRM free music to customers.

As yet the name and date of launch is undecided, however it is thought to go live at the end of the year.

Universal said of the deal that – “The new Sky service will provide a compelling digital music experience, built for the ever growing digital appetite of music fans. In a world where a majority of UK homes have high speed broadband access, consumers will welcome a safe, state-of-the-art service and legal alternative to those services which exploit musicians without compensation.”

Redten Offer Free PC and Broadband For £19.99

Broadband 2 Comments »

Today The Shelf has learned that broadband provider Redten is pushing the boundaries of the highly competitive broadband market by offering new customers a free PC worth £500.

Already taking orders for the promotion, Redten have also promised to reward the first 10,000 customers with an upgrade to a 19” monitor instead of 17”.

The spec of the PC being offered is pretty good too:

- Intel Pentium 4 3GHz processor
- 512MB DDR2 Ram
- 160GB hard disk drive
- DVD player/rewriter
- 17”/19” LG LCD monitor
- Microsoft Windows Vista
- 3-year warranty
- 365-day support

The free PC is available to all customers who enter into three years of 8Mb broadband which will cost £19.99 a month. The company has also stated that it will upgrade customers to a 24Mb line, when the BT exchanges are upgraded.

As part of the broadband package you get:

* Up to 8Mb broadband (powered by BT)
* Unlimited * internet downloads
* FREE LG Redten PC and 19” LG LCD monitor
* FREE ADSL2+ modem
* FREE upgrade to Microsoft Windows Vista
* 365-day telephone support
* Anti-virus/anti-spyware software
* Parental control software
* Three-year hardware warranty
* Free software worth up to £20 each month
* Optional home-installation and static IP
* Costs as little as £19.99 per month

The only catch with the promotion is that as a customer you don’t actually own the PC until your three year contract has been completed, and if for some reason you cancel the contract the PC must be returned as the customer’s expense in decent working order. There is also a £49.99 connation fee making the broadband £7.50 a month for the term of the contract minus the price of the PC, as well as the telephone line rental which has to be BT.

Concerns were raised on consumer forum moneysavingexpert that the service may contain a range of unwanted adverts. Others stated that by the time the contract was up the PC would be out of date, or that the internet connection could be poor leaving customers stuck for three years in a contract they are unhappy with.

Additionally one clause in the terms and conditions stated that “we (Redten) cannot guarantee that the equipment will work with our Broadband Service”.

Nick Mounfield, marketing manager at Redten said - “There will be a web portal which will have revenue streams – we’ll be selling advertising space on the portal, and also emailing offers to people from selected companies and partners,” and that “customers won’t be forced to watch adverts and that they can change their internet homepage from the Redten portal, should they choose to.”

It seems that the company also said it will cross-sell IT products from its Savastore.com brand and other electronics retailers. It claims to be partnering with BT, Intel and Microsoft on the deal.

The company claims on its site to be the first broadband and PC package provider, and uses BT wholesale, Cable&Wireless and Tiscali networks to deliver its broadband service claiming 99% coverage.

For those without a home computer or those in need of an upgrade but simply don’t have the money, it seems that this PC and Broadband solution could be the answer. Additionally it puts pressure on other providers to deliver more which cannot be a bad thing for consumers.

Virgin Rapped Over Broadband Speed Claims

Broadband 2 Comments »

I thought I would take the opportunity to post abut UK broadband speeds after I saw a an article last week that detailed how Virgin Media were forced to pull a press campaign for television and radio after a complaint by a competitor that quoted speeds were in fact inaccurate.

The ‘Hate to Wait’ campaign featured information on download times for TV shows and music tracks in relation to which broadband package users had. It was this information that was said to be misleading, because the traffic management policy implemented by Virgin Media capped downloading speeds at peak times.

It has long been a key marketing factor that Virgin Media provide broadband via a cable network offering superior broadband speeds to rivals, but with the traffic management system in place it seems this in not the case.

In a statement Virgin stated that their traffic management policy “only focused on the heaviest downloaders and uploaders”

The story pushed me to investigate further and in a recent survey of 20,000 lines to find the fastest broadband speeds in the UK by moneysupermarket.com, it was 02 that came out on top, with TalkTalk broadband and Sky broadband making up the top three.

The survey also highlighted concerns raised in the Virgin Media case that customers are not always getting the speeds which are advertised.

In response to the issue of broadband speeds, Ofcom is in the process of putting together a voluntary code of conduct, which will ask ISPs to explain to customers that the further they are from the telephone exchange, the slower their speeds so hopefully we will get some clarity from credible broadband providers in the not to distant future.

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