|What's New - Site History|
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Site History from 1996
Version 243 in late August 2018 updates BT (residential), ACN (business and residential), Daisy Communications (business), Direct Save Telecom (residential) and TalkTalk (residential).
Ofcom is continuing it's long awaited campaign against high call prices for special service numbers with a review of 070 personal numbers which were originally intended for 'follow me' services but never seemed to reduce in price to match reducing mobile call costs, and are now often used for premium services like calling patients in hospital and for fraud. Ofcom plans to regulate the cost of 070 numbers to no more than that of other 07x mobile numbers, but probably for not another year. Good for this comparison since 27 different charge bands should become obsolete.
BT is increasing residential call prices again from 16th September 2018, the second increase this year. Line rental is up £1 to £19.99/month, unlimited evening calls up 50p to £4.50/month, Anytime calls up 49p to £9.99/month, inland calls and access charge up 2p to 15p/min, mobile 1p to 18p/min, call set-up up 1p to 23p/call, international calls up 5p/min, line features also increasing in cost by about 50p/month each.
BT will have increased the Access Charge 50% in just three years, causing massive increases in many 084 numbers that used to cost less than 5p/min, and are now 20p/min or more, perhaps time for Ofcom to investigate similarly to the 118 price inflation. For business, the increase is even higher because a 28p call set-up is added to the 28p/min Access Charge, which 084 numbers did not suffer until 2015 when Ofcom declined to specify how much business users would pay leaving business customers open to such pricing schemes.
BT Business is increasing line rentals, broadband, and some call charges from 1st October 2018, standard business line rental up £1.30 to £25.90/month, Business Plan call prices up 2p/min and set-up up 2p, Business Essentials no longer includes a call allowance.
Version 242 in late July 2018 updates BT (residential), Gradwell (business), PlusNet (business), TalkTalk (business and residential). Xinix World (business) and XLN Telecom (business).
The National Infrastructure Commission has told the government that the copper PSTN should be discontinued by 2025 (as planned by BT Openreach), with 15 million homes have full fibre (FTTP) by then, 25 million by 2030 and full coverage to all homes and businesses by 2033 at an estimated cost of £25 billion. The Commission recommends a taxpayer-subsidised infrastructure delivery scheme to uncommercial areas, along the lines of the successful Broadband Delivery UK programme, which directly subsidised up to 50 per cent of the capital expenditure for installing superfast broadband in rural areas. However, a reasonable cost threshold will be necessary: the most expensive premises can cost above £45,000. The few premises which are above the cost threshold should be able to use the subsidy to fund their own solution.
Ofcom is proposing to bring regulation of 084 numbers under the same rules as 087 and 09 numbers by the Phone-paid Services Authority (previously called PhonepayPlus and ICSTIS). This is primarily to control scams involving expensive 084 numbers being advertised which redirect calls to cheaper or free numbers for public services or businesses.
BT has increased the out of contract price of standard broadband packages by £2.50/month, but no longer sells the 15G package if fibre is available since fibre is now cheaper.
BT is increasing residential call prices again from 16th September 2018, the second increase this year. Line rental is up £1 to £19.99/month, inland calls and access charge up 2p to 15p/min, mobile 1p to 17p/min, call set-up up 1p to 23p/call, international calls up 5p/min, line features also increasing in cost.
BT will have increased the Access Charge 50% in just three years, causing massive increases in many 084 numbers that used to cost less than 5p/min, and are now 20p/min or more, perhaps time for Ofcom to investigate similarly to the 118 price inflation. For business, the increase is even higher because a 28p call set-up is added to the 28p/min Access Charge, which 084 number did not suffer until 2015 when Ofcom declined to specify how much business users would pay leaving business customers open to such pricing schemes.
Version 241 in late June 2018 updates Adept Telecom (business and residential), Direct Save Telecom (residential), Everything Everywhere (residential), John Lewis Broadband (residential), Post Office (residential), Skype (PC only residential), and Vonage (residential). First Number and TopUpDial Direct Dial have disappeared and been removed.
Ofcom has proposed steps to reverse the massive increase in call directory enquiries since the 118 range was introduced. The maximum call price will be limited to £3.10 per 90 seconds, including VAT, no doubt co-incidentally the exact price that BT has charged since 1st June 2018. This new price is less than half the cost BT was previously charging, and £10 less than 118118 now charges for 90 seconds having increased it's price 11 times since 2010. The new cost maximum should take effect in about 12 months.
Version 240 in late May 2018 updates BT, JT (Jersey) (residential), KC (residential), PlusNet (residential), Post Office (residential), Virgin Media (residential) and Vodafone (residential).
BT has reduced the cost of directory enquiries by changing 118500 from band SC070 to SC066, which halves the cost of a call, making two minutes about £4 against £8.50 now.
BT has stopped using the Infinity brand for fibre packages, and is now calling them Superfast Fibre or Ultrafast Fibre. To comply with Advertising Standards Authority requirements, BT is now quoting average broadband speeds instead of up to speeds. So ADSL is now average 10Mb, and fibre is a little lower than before. BT has increased the broadband out of contract prices for new customers by about £2/month.
BT Openreach is progressing it's plan from three years ago to close most or all traditional System X and AXE10 telephone exchanges by 2025 ceasing the current copper wire based PSTN and ISDN networks. BT plans to stop offering wholesale line rental to new customers from about 2023, instead a new transitional product SOTAP (Single Order Transitional Access Product) that is an FTTC line without voice, which can be added using VoIP. BT is currently trialing SOGEA (Single Order GEA) which is ADSL without voice and SOGfast (Single Order Gfast) for FTTC without voice.
Version 239 in late April 2018 updates BT Business, 118185.co.uk (residential), 11899.com (residential), Call 18866 (residential), Post Office (residential), Sky Talk (residential), Skype (PC only residential), Virgin Media (business) and XLN Telecom (business).
BT Business has raised many inland call rates and call set-up costs from 1st May 2018. BT Standard is now 28p/min for inland and mobile plus 28p set-up so £1.12 for three minutes. BT Business Call Essentials inland remains 6p/min but call set-up is now 6p and most mobiles up to 10p/min. BT Business Plan and One Plan are now mostly 18p/min and 12p call set-up. Call and network feature rentals have increased a little, except for caller display which remains the same but is not yet free as it is for residential services.
Version 238 in late March 2018 updates BT, Call2Call (residential), John Lewis Broadband (residential), Virgin Media (business and residential) and XLN Telecom (business).
BT is introducing a £7/month discount for residential landline rental only customers from 1st April 2018, reducing line rental to £11.99/month. This discount is not available to any customers that have fixed broadband from any provider (including Virgin Media), or who have BT Home Phone Saver or BT Basic. But the discount is available if you only use broadband on a mobile phone or device.
This discount was forced by Ofcom to benefit the estimated two million residential customers that do not buy a package of BT services such as broadband or TV. BT Openreach currently charges wholesale line rental at £8.67/month including VAT, but line rental usually retails for at least £10/month more, although the best value operators charge only £12/month. While wholesale prices fell, retail prices rose up to 50%, effectively keeping broadband prices artificially lower but costing more for those without broadband.
Version 237 in late February 2018 updates BT, John Lewis Broadband (residential), JT (Jersey) (residential), KC (residential), Sky Talk (residential), Virgin Media (residential) and Vodafone (residential).
Ofcom has announced changes to boost high speed broadband penetration and reduce entry cost. BT Wholesale FTTC 40/10 cost will drop about £20/year this year and a further £10/year from next year, but there will be no price controls over higher speeds. BT Openreach will have more onerous targets for installations and repairs and will need to allow competitors to install fibre in BT ducts and poles, potentially halving the cost for each new property to £250 and will need to repair or expand ducts to meet such demand. Various telecom operators have promised to install fibre to several million properties over the next seven years and BT will be prevented from offering localised price offers where new competition emerges.
Version 236 in late January 2018 updates BT (residential), ACN (business and residential), John Lewis Broadband (residential), PlusNet (business), SSE Energy Supply (residential) and Vodafone (residential).
BT increased residential new line installation without notice by £10 to £140, and line takeover to £60. Unfortunately Ofcom no longer requires BT to give advance notification of price increases, so only minimal information is offered to customers. Paper bill fee up 5p to £2.50. Calling features are up 50p to £5/month each, £9.25 for four or £12.25 for five or more. Unlimited Infinity Broadband 1 is down a few pounds to £23/month but the first 18 month is up to £16/month. Unlimited Infinity Broadband 1 is up a little to £37.50/month. With FTTP and G.Fast (fibre to the pole) being slowly installed, BT has added Ultrafast Broadband 1 with 152Mb up and 29Mb down for £36/month, and Ultrafast Broadband 2 with314Mb up and 49Mb down for £41/month, both have a minimum speed warranty of 100Mb with £20 refund if it drops below rat speed (but only four times a year).
Version 235 in late December 2017 updates BT (business and residential), Everything Everywhere (residential), Hyperoptic (residential), and TalkTalk (business and residential).
BT has increased residential call packages and call charges from 7th January 2018, set-up up 1p to 22p/call, inland calls and access charge up 1p to 13p/min, inland mobile to 17p/min, and international calls up by 4p/min, so now 80p/min for most of Europe. Rental for Unlimited Evening and Weekend calls is up 20p to £4/month, Anytime calls up 51p to £9.50/month. Calling and network feature rental and one-off prices have also increased a little. BT retail is cutting residential line rental by £7/month from 1st April 2018 to £11.99/month, due to pressure from Ofcom. This cut will apply to residential voice only customers, so broadband package cost will be increased to compensate.
BT Business has increased PSTN and ISDN-2 line rental, and many call charges from 1st January 2018. PSTN rental is up 66p to £24.60/month, ISDN-2e up £2.20 to £56.20/month. BT Business Plan (and variants) and BT Business Call Essentials inland and mobile calls up 1 or 2p/min, set-up up 2p/call. BT Business Plan and Essentials have merged two more international bands leaving just seven, so some countries have increased in price.
Version 234 in late November 2017 updates CIX (business and residential, previously called ICUK), Direct Save Telecom (residential), Phone Co-Op (residential), PlusNet (residential) and Post Office (residential).
Ofcom has plans for the main landline and broadband operators to provide automatic compensation for slow repairs, missed appointments and delayed installations from early 2019, to provide time for implementation. Lost service not fully restored after two full working days will receive £8 per calendar day the service is not repaired. A missed or cancelled (within 24 hours) appointment will pay £25, and delay for new service will be £5 per day from the missed agreed start date. Currently, this will apply to customers of BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet that serve about 90% of customers, with other operators encouraged to do the same. Ofcom is also introducing new rules to ensure small and medium sized business customers are given clearer, more detailed upfront about service quality and compensation schemes.
Version 233 in late October 2017 updates Daisy Communications (business), Everything Everywhere (residential), Hyperoptic (residential), John Lewis Broadband (residential), PlusNet (business), Virgin Media (business and residential) and Zen (residential).
BT retail is cutting residential line rental by £7/month from 1st April 2018 to £11.99/month, due to pressure from Ofcom concerned about rapidly escalating prices (to pay for football) when wholesale cost has been reducing. Line Rental Saver will drop to £131.89 each year. This cut will apply to residential voice only customers, so broadband package cost will be increased to compensate. Effectively voice only customers have been subsidising broadband customers.
This change will effect about 1 million BT customers and will mostly be applied automatically except for those on Home Saver package that will need to change to standalone rental. It will not apply to any line with broadband, whether supplied by BT or another provider or to business customers. BT will not increase line rental until April 2019, and for the following two years by no more than CPI + 2.5%.
Version 232 in late September 2017 updates KC (business), PlusNet (business), Post Office (residential). Xinix World (business) and Zen (business).
Ofcom is making some improvements that will apply to all communications providers to address nuisance calls, complaints and billing. From October 2018, Ofcom will ban operators from charging for caller display identification which helps to screen calls, although some operators already effectively off it free. There will also be new CLI guidelines for operators to ensure calls have valid CLI that uniquely identifies the caller and block calls that can not be returned due to invalid CLI. Ofcom is also changing other general conditions of entitlement to be able to withdraw telephone numbers that are misused.