Here’s a roundup of the week’s mobile, broadband, and energy news:
Big wins for Hyperoptic at this year’s World Communication Awards
The annual World Communications Awards were held earlier this week and Hyperoptic won two of the biggest awards of the night: Broadband Pioneer and CEO of the Year, which went to MD Dana Tobak.
Hyperoptic has brought 1Gbps broadband to “large urban apartments and office builds since around 2011”, using fewer resources that some competitors and at a lower price point. Until recently, Hyperoptic was also the “largest provider of Gigabit fibre packages”, though that title now belongs to Openreach thanks to their FTTP coverage. Throughout the UK, Hyperoptic covers over 500,000 properties and last year “they set a new target of 2 million premises by 2022” and a further goal of 5 million by 2025.
The Broadband Pioneer prize represented the industry’s recognition of Hyperoptic’s innovation in the implementation of its network. The judges commented on their decision, saying, “Hyperoptic is to be commended on its dynamism and is a great credit to the UK broadband industry”. Dana Tobak was also praised for being “a true disruptor, taking on some huge industry giants and making a significant change to the UK market in a relatively short amount of time”.
EDF Energy to provide energy to Scotland and the North East in April 2019
EDF Energy has two new contracts to provide “electricity to public sector organisations” in Scotland and the North East. In Scotland, the energy provider has been contracted to supply 1.6TWh of power to 28,000 mostly public-sector sites. Among the sites are hospitals, schools and universities and the volume of power is roughly 10% of Scotland’s yearly energy usage. The contract also allows for Scottish public sector sites to decide whether or not to receive 100% renewable energy.
The energy provider also won a contract to provide 2TWh to the North East Procurement Organisation. This is a four year contract affecting local authorities as well as the public sector “via its associate membership scheme”.
Both contracts will begin 1 April 2019 and EDF Energy will deliver its expertise on “optimising energy consumption and encourage the uptake and understanding of demand side services”, both of which will help public sector organisations make money through changing their energy use. Ultimately, the contracts will help reduce carbon emissions, increase energy efficiency, and reduce costs.
ISP Plusnet £50 Cashback to its Broadband Deals
ISP Plusnet is set to extend its £50 cashback offer to its FTTC broadband and phone line packages, which are currently priced at £23.99 for 66Mbps. New customers joining Plusnet receive a wireless router, phone line rental, parental control, and customer support. There are additional add-ons also offered at an added cost, and for a new phone line installed at your home, it will cost you an installation fee of £49.99.
Plusnet began offering fixed priced contracts in August of this year, meaning that customers on this type of contract pay the same rate for the entire duration of the minimum contract. However, this does exclude some optional add-ons such as call plans, call charge rates, and set-up fees.
Brexit may allow mobile phone companies could bring back roaming-charges
As of last year, roaming charges for Brits going on holiday in Europe were banned. However, Brexit could allow mobile providers to bring these charges back, according to The European Scrutiny Committee.
When the roaming charges were banned in June 2017, it allowed UK mobile phone users to use their minutes, texts and data anywhere within the EU at no extra cost. The European Scrutiny Committee have been examining government documents involved with Brexit and the report states that “As the government does not plan to maintain the EU’s ban on mobile charges domestically, some mobile operators may choose to re-introduce mobile roaming charges, and, even where they do not, the increased wholesale roaming charges they incur may be passed on to consumers indirectly”.
Alex Neill, managing director home service at Which?, emphasises the need for a Brexit that “works for consumers” and this would include upholding the ban on roaming charges. Neill also commented on importance of tourism in the UK and the benefits of not charging roaming fees to those visiting the country.
Vodafone’s monthly FTTC service price drops by £1
This week has seen a small drop in the monthly price of Vodafone’s “superfast broadband (FTTC) and phone line rental packages” by £1. For new customers this means they will be charged £20 per month for 35Mbps, which is the average speed service, or £26 for 63Mbps.
Both of these deals “include a wireless router, unlimited usage, phone line rental, Parental Controls, 6 months of free F-Secure anti-virus software for up to 5 devices and an 18 month minimum term contract”. There will be a £60 fee for a new phone line to be installed on the property, but the majority of customers will not face any upfront charges.
For new subscribers who aren’t already a part of Vodafone’s mobile network, the monthly prices come at an additional £2 per month, but ISPreview has deemed it to still be a very affordable broadband option.
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