Internet Story: 03 August 1999
More Telecoms Revolution Last week BT finally announced their least well kept secret about the introduction of fast Internet access for the masses called ADSL (Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line). At last!!! A service that gives high speed connection and doesn't charge for calls - it's a flat monthly fee. So what are the downsides? Well, it will cost between £40 and £150 per month (512k to 2M) to the ISP, charges are likely to be higher to end users, though let's see how inventive ISPs become with this new toy to play with! Today BT announced that for the early subscribers they will supply an ADSL modem and install it for free. Rollout should commence in November in the big cities. Most of the population should be able to have access by March 2000 - though I've no idea when Pendle will see this service. Rest assured, I will be first in line :-) See Rupert Goodwins' excellent explanation of how ADSL works.
On another front, NTL, the cable operator that just bought Cable and Wireless cable operations has announced that it will stop charging long distance call rates and treat the whole of the UK as a local call. Prices will be simplified to 3p/min peak, 2p/min off peak, 1p/min weekends. Calls to an ISP will be charged at 1p/min all the time.
Unsigned Bands According to the Press Association, "The battle for unsigned bands and artists has moved from sweaty bars and clubs on to the Internet with the launch of a site dedicated to showcasing emerging talent. What they don't tell you is that there's been an excellent site for unsigned bands around since 1996 called "BURBS". This site has developed from a rather cluncky "hobby" site to a great resource for music that you may never hear except for the Net! Go and see what Drive North West are doing at the moment, and don't forget to go and see them live at the Fringe of Colne Blues Festival over the August Bank Holiday.
UK Home use soars Looks like those guys at Freeserve can pat them selves on the back. UK home Internet use went up from 5% to 17% of the population in the last 18 months. 37 per cent of the population now have access to the Internet, and 22 per cent of adults -- or 6.5 million people -- have access at home. The report, from research firm Continental Research predicts five million homes will have Internet access by January 2000, and attributes the increase to the introduction of free access from ISPs like Freeserve.
UK Consumer Gateway The UK government has just opened a site to handle consumer advise. Consumer Gateway covers topics such as buying a car or a holiday, making investments or checking home safety. Run by the Department of Trade and Industry, it has links to various government and non-government sites and has been built with a text version designed to work with screen readers used by blind people (BETSIE).
Andrew Stringer, © Pendle.Net Ltd, 1999
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