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Broadband, Mobile & Energy News: Weekly Roundup 16/07/18


We’ve got your weekly roundup of the most important broadband and energy news stories for you right here:

Government Launches New Regional Digital Strategy Fund

The combined local authorities of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have pledged £5.6m towards their Delivering Digital Connectivity Strategy. The stated aims of the project are to “significantly improve mobile, broadband and public Wi-Fi coverage, whilst securing future proof full fibre [FTTP] and 5G networks” over the next four years.

The Government has provided £190m for the purposes of upgrading fibre optic networks across the whole of the UK. £4m of this will go towards the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough strategy fund in order to provide more FTTP infrastructure in the local area. The plan is to use this money to provide 30 public buildings in the area with fibre optic connectivity.

It will also be used to build a “digital innovation corridor”. This will be a 40km stretch of fibre optic cabling, which will link up existing fibre optic networks between St. Ives and Linton. When completed, the corridor will be capable of providing broadband speeds of 1 Gbps to homes and businesses in the surrounding areas.

The fund will also be used to improve public Wi-Fi access in the smaller towns and villages in the local area. Additionally, the cash will be used to trial 5G connectivity, as well as ensuring that there is complete 4G coverage across all the “A and B roads, and rail services” in the local area.

Virgin Media Brings Broadband Further North

As part of Virgin Media’s Project Lightning – the company’s £3bn project to expand their 350 Mbps ultrafast broadband network to an additional 4 million premises across the UK – the ISP has this week announced that a host of additional premises in Scotland and Leeds have now been connected to the network.

Three years ago, Virgin pledged £40m to work towards bringing its ultrafast broadband to an additional 80,000 premises in Leeds. They now say that they’re just shy of halfway off their target, having now extended their coverage to an additional 35,000 premises since initially announcing the initiative.

Virgin said that they would be targeting 360,000 premises in Scotland and recently confirmed that they have so far have achieved one third of that target.

In total, Virgin hasve just surpassed a quarter of their overall target of adding 4 million homes and businesses to their ultrafast network by 2019, having completed 1.2 million. The project appears to be running behind schedule so far, however, having been announced in 2016, and being slated to end at the beginning of 2020. Although Virgin hasve reiterated their confidence that they will be able to “extend the total reach of our network to up to 17 million homes and businesses” within the original time frame.

Welsh renewable energy hub study awarded £16k

The local action group for Pembrokeshire, Arwain Sir Benfro (Welsh for Leading Pembrokeshire) has raised £16,000 worth of funds to go towards developing a renewable energy project in Wales. Project Dynamo is an initiative geared towards creating a renewable energy hub which will supply communities and businesses in the Martletwy region of Pembrokeshire with green energy.

Emma Ratcliffe, a spokeswoman from Project Dynamo said: “We hope to create an energy network in the area that could lead to a business partnership delivering energy across a diverse community. By working together as a community, we can take advantage of renewable energy from solar and wind, with battery storage to supply business and local communities in Martletwy. As well as supplying the businesses, we want to supply the local community and explore models of community ownership.”

The first step Project Dynamo needs to take is determining what the energy needs of the local communities are. The project will then establish how to supply these communities with energy generated by solar panels and local wind farms. Arwain Sir Benfro, which is heavily involved with, and comprised of representatives from, the local communities and businesses, will be leading the way on this initiative.

Thousands of Businesses Warned of EU Energy Efficiency Fines

The energy certification firm, DNV GL, has issued warnings to firms across Europe that they could be fined up to up to €1 million (£0.88m) for falling afoul of the EU’s rules on energy efficiency. The European Energy Efficiency Directive (EEED) is an EU policy geared towards holding large businesses across Europe accountable for their environmental practices.

In line with the rules set out by the EEED, large organisations – classed as those with either over 250 employees or an annual revenue greater than €50 million (£44m) – must conduct energy audits before the 5th of December, 2019. DNV GL has said that over 45,000 companies could be in danger of being fined.

The audits are completed every four years., with the last one falling in 2015The most recent audit, completed in 2015, saw that saw over 3,000 companies receive a fine for failing to comply with the regulations.

Prajeev Rasiah, of DNV issued warnings for companies to plan ahead for the 2019 deadline, “since each of the 28 EU member states has different compliance requirements, submitting the correct information can be a cumbersome task.”

Conducting the audit means as a baseline that companies will have to work out their total energy consumption, and identify ways in which they can become more energy efficient over the next four years. However, as pointed out by Rasiah, any company which operates in more than one EU country will have to meet the different standards required by each company respective country.

In order to assist companies with avoiding the fine, DNV GL say that they have launched an online tool which will help them collect all the data needed for the audit.

Want cheap Sky Sports? Talk Talk is Now the Place to Go

In the wake of England’s World Cup semi-final heart break, there is good news for sports fans across the country as TalkTalk plans to offer their customers the cheapest ever Sky Sports deal. The deal will offer a 9 month Sky sports package for £15 a month, rising to £34 a month afterwards. The deal is available for customers who subscribe to their “Faster Fibre” package with line rental and their YouView paid TV service.

TalkTalk isare offering the deal between the 13th of July and the 16th of August. Existing customers can opt in and out of the package anytime, but new customers will have to subscribe to a 24- month contract for TalkTalk’s “Faster Fibre Broadband and Sky Sports bundle.” For new customers, the package costs £39.50, with a £30 set up fee, and rises to £58.50 after the initial nine- month period.

With the package, customers will get line rental, a new TV box and Wi-Fi router, and unlimited broadband with average speeds of 35 Mbps. Customers will also have access to all 8 of Sky Sports’ channels. These feature exclusive access to 126 Premier League matches, and over 700 football games in total, alongside other sporting events such as Golf’s Ryder Cup, and the Formula One World Championships. While new customers will have to sign on for a 24- month contract with TalkTalk, it is worth adding that the Sky Sports package is on optional extra monthly cost, and can be cancelled at any time.