Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Broadband - Wales (again)


April 24, 2009

Broadband essential for Wales

by David Allen 

 For most broadband users the ability to shop, bank and even watch on-demand television has become a way of life, no matter what the connection speed.

Yet in Wales there are rural areas where broadband is not available at all.

The communications minister, Lord Carter’s, Digital Britain plan calls for the entire UK to have 2 Mbps broadband by 2012, which means that at least there is the prospect of getting broadband in the future.

However, Lord Carter has now conceded that not all of Britain will be getting the minimum standard 2 Mbps broadband by 2012, and this includes rural Wales.

In fact, Lord Carter has said that there could be around thirty per cent of the country where super fast broadband is not practical.

So going on those figures, if Virgin Media and BT have fifty per cent of the UK connected to fibre, thirty per cent cannot have fibre and that leaves just twenty per cent of the country to be connected by 2012.

Samuel Morse

itpro.co.uk |Today in history: Happy birthday Samuel Morse | The creator of Morse code and the single wire telegraph was born on this day back in 1791.| By Maggie Holland, 27 Apr 2009 at 09:45

Today marks the birthday of the brains behind Morse code – a universal communications system that revolutionised the world as we knew it and came to be a truly enabling assistive technology for people with disabilities.

On 27 April 1791, Samuel Morse was born. He died on 2 April 1872 but packed in a great deal of innovation during his lifetime.

Initially a painter of historic scenes, Morse also had a technical brain and was responsible for creating the single wire telegraph and, most notably, Morse code.

Morse’s technical breakthrough occurred almost as a by-product of his painting enthusiasm. Following a tour of France, Italy and Switzerland from 1830-1832 to enhance his painting expertise, Morse returned to America by sea. It was during this homebound voyage that he met up with Charles Thomas Jackson who happened to be somewhat of an expert in electromagnetism.

It was observing Jackson’s electromagnetic experiments during the long journey home that Morse came up with the concept of the single wire telegraph. His painting plans – the reasoning behind the trip - were immediately put on the back burner so that he could focus his attentions solely on this new project.

Great minds think alike

However, Morse was not alone in his Eureka moment. William Cooke had also worked to create a commercial single wire telegraph and, thanks to a large pool of cash, was some way ahead of Morse in the development stakes. Professor Charles Wheatstone was also in on the action. The two paired up and patented their electrical telegraph back in May 1837.


Money makes the world go round

Greater funding was required the make the telegraph a commercial reality. That funding was clearly more likely to go to Cooke and Wheatstone in Europe, so Morse had to look closer to home.

Following a demonstration connecting two committee rooms in the US Capitol building, Morse was awarded $30,000 to build a pilot line between Washington DC and Baltimore.

The real breakthrough came as Morse used the wire back on 24 May 1844 to say: "What hath God wrought" – a message that marked the official opening of the new communications network.

The technology was patented in 1847, following legal battles regarding rightful ownership of the “inventor of the telegraph” moniker.

In 1851, Britain adopted Morse’s invention as the European telegraphy standard. The use of Morse code also became key to aviation.

The Morse code we use today has been tweaked as it based on the Modern International Morse code that was actually developed by Friedrich Clemens Gerke back in 1848.

Broadband trends - BT

Broadband trends - BT

itpro.co.uk | Communications giant BT has launched what it calls the UK’s cheapest home and mobile broadband bundle. | By Maggie Holland, 27 Apr 2009 at 11:07

BT has launched a new broadband package that provides both home and mobile connectivity for just over £15 a month.

Customers signed up to the company’s BT Total Broadband offering will now be able to get up to 8Mbps wireless broadband in addition to 1GB of free mobile surfing each month.

That data allowance should be enough for 300 emails, 400 minutes of web surfing plus quite a large handful of songs, according to BT – enough for a light business user or average consumer.

Those who have a larger appetite for mobile data will be able to top up their data usage levels for a fee.

To benefit from the new package, users connect using BT’s USB modem. Depending on the area they’re connecting in, some users will be able to surf the web at speeds of up to 7.2Mbps using HSDPA connectivity.

"This is an absolutely fantastic deal, the most complete home and mobile broadband for only 56p a day is a no-brainer. Now you can use broadband wherever you are without worrying about the cost,” said John Petter, managing director of BT’s consumer division, in a statement.

"You can use mobile broadband on the train, in the coffee shop or in the park for all the things you go online for, to look at your emails, check the football results, or watch Britain’s Got Talent star, Susan Boyle on YouTube."

Customers can also opt for BT’s standalone 1GB prepay USB modem, which costs £129.99 for 18 months. Top-up prices for this are £10 for 1GB and £20 for 3GB.

Last week BT announced that Starbucks customers could snack on Wi-Fi as well as coffee and crossiants while frequenting its stores. Wi-Fi has peaked in popularity for the communications giant of late, with it reporting that Wi-Fi usage doubled in 2008.