Category Archives: Telecoms

EE Customers Will Get Apple Music For FREE

EE customers are about to get a bonus as the UK mobile network is offering a great deal on an Apple Music subscription.  The offer allows all pay monthly handset and SIM only customers to sign up to Apple’s streaming service for FREE without paying a penny for six months.

Apple Music is available on both iOS and Android devices and EE is even allowing all music to streamed without it using your data allowance.

Plus if you already have an Apple Music account you can also swap over to the free deal for six months.

Speaking about the deal Marc Allera, CEO, EE said:

“We’re delighted to extend our exclusive Apple Music offer to existing customers and allow them to download or stream all their favourite music on us. As the UK’s biggest and fastest 4G network, not only are we connecting friends and family in more places across the UK, but we are also providing them with access to the content they love. Whether it’s the soundtrack to a Sunday morning run or the daily commute to work, EE customers can now access and stream millions of songs, playlists and shows – our treat.”

The free Apple Music offer will officially be available from July 19 with EE customers able to sign up via the EE app or by text.  Customers can cancel their subscription at any time but once the six months is up they will then be charged the full monthly amount.

Visit http://ee.co.uk/why-ee/apple-music for more details.



£60 Million Tax Reform To Boost UK’s Digital Revolution

The UK’s digital revolution is set to benefit from a multi-million pound boost, under plans announced by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid.

A new Local Government Finance Bill published today (13 January 2017) will make it easier for companies to connect more homes and businesses across England to gold standard full fibre broadband and help get the UK ready for 5G by cutting the cost of laying the cables.

Currently telecoms networks pay business rates on the fibre infrastructure needed to deliver high quality broadband and mobile connectivity to their customers. The Bill introduced in Parliament will give these companies a tax break for up to 5 years on the new infrastructure they lay for full fibre broadband – a saving of £60 million, which can be reinvested in this work.

This new tax relief will not apply to existing infrastructure, giving companies an added incentive to move further and faster to get people connected to the best possible services as they become available.

The move is part of a £1 billion package of measures by the government, announced at Autumn Statement 2016, to help communities get digitally connected. The package also includes:

  • a £400 million Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund, at least matched by private finance, to invest in new fibre networks over the next 4 years
  • £740million funding to encourage the market development of full fibre networks in both urban and rural areas
  • a coordinated programme of integrated fibre and 5G trials, to keep the UK at the forefront of the digital revolution

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said:

We need to have the best possible digital technology and broadband connections if we’re to create an economy that works for all.

The Local Government Finance Bill will offer a £60 million boost to deliver ever-faster broadband connections, making UK PLC an ever-stronger competitor on the global stage.




Supporting local economic growth – in communities and online

The government is determined to create an economy that works for everyone, by giving councils and communities the powers they need to boost local economic growth.

The Local Government Finance Bill includes a range of measures to cut business rates for small businesses and local amenities and help local communities to thrive.

They include:

  • bringing rural rate reliefs into line with those in urban areas – currently, eligible small businesses in rural areas benefit from a 50% discount on their business rates. The Bill will double this, bringing it into line with rate reliefs in urban areas
  • rate reliefs on public toilets – councils are currently required to charge themselves business rates on the public toilets they are responsible for, and cannot grant themselves any rate reliefs. This Bill will change that, and allow councils to provide rate relief to all public toilets, making it cheaper for councils to keep them open in their areas.

This is on top of the biggest ever cut in business rates announced at the Budget – worth £6.7 billion over the next 5 years – which means 600,000 small businesses will never have to pay business rates again.

The Bill also lays the groundwork for historic reform to business rates so that, by 2020, local government will keep 100% of the business rates it collects.

From April 2017, this new approach will be piloted in London, Manchester and Liverpool, as well as the devolution deal areas of the West of England, Cornwall and the West Midlands.

This is a change local government has campaigned for, for years – and will put councils firmly at the heart of efforts to drive local economic growth, encouraging them to further support local firms and jobs and, in turn, ensure their communities see the benefits of increased local economic growth.

Our Connected Future – Are We There Yet ?

NIC Chair, Lord Adonis, writes about the commission’s latest report and the UK’s connected future.

One call after another they came. Complaints from all over the UK about mobile phone reception so poor that even basic conversation is impossible.  (Wednesday 14 December) I spent my morning on regional radio besieged by news of digital deserts from across the country.

No surprise. The UK, whose inventors claim the telephone and the world wide web, is now well behind the curve. 4G is currently available in the UK just half the time we need it. We are 54th in the world, behind Romania and Albania, Panama and Peru.

This cannot go on. If our industrial strategy is to mean anything, it must address our connected future. Mobile connectivity is now a necessity and should be treated as such with a high level of service generally available. And the UK must be a world leader, not follower, in 5G – the ultra-fast, ultra-reliable, ultra-high-capacity mobile communications technology which will succeed 4G in the 2020s.

The market has driven great advances since the advent of the mobile phone. In just 30 years, mobile devices have transformed from an extravagant luxury to an essential part of work and life. There are now more mobile devices than people: 93% of adults in the UK have them, and multi-function smartphones – using 4G connectivity – have overtaken laptops as the device of choice.

But 4G service remains patchy and unreliable because infrastructure investment has been too little and too slow. Many trunk roads and railways remain digital deserts; and not just remote areas, but many city centres, are plagued by ‘not-spots’ and intermittent coverage.

Government and Ofcom, the industry regulator, must ensure that good 4G mobile coverage – for talk, text and data – becomes the norm. It is time for a general service obligation based on a measure of the service consumers really receive where they need it. This should be agreed in 2017 and delivered as quickly as possible thereafter. In very remote locations it may not always be possible to achieve, but reliable coverage should extend across cities, towns and villages across Britain and the mass transport networks.




Poor coverage on the rail network is legendary. We all know what it is like to sit on a train wondering when the next precious minute of connectivity will arrive.

Rail passenger journeys have more than doubled in the last two decades to a 1.7 billion a year. Years worth of productive time is lost to British business whilst their employees stare at empty screens. Passengers on the principal lines – including the tube in London – should have reliable 4G wireless connectivity. The same goes for the motorways where poor connectivity is equally stark, impairing the flow of essential travel and traffic information. Network Rail, Highways England and Transport for London should forge and lead partnerships with private investors to achieve general 4G coverage as soon as possible, backed up by a general service obligation set by the government.

These 4G networks should be capable of conversion to 5G when it becomes available. Local authorities also have a critical role in preparing for 5G. They need to work with local business and mobile network providers to enable rapid installation of infrastructure – small masts and cabinets – to support tens of thousands of new transmitter ‘cells’ required to deliver 5G across urban Britain.

Ensuring this general 4G mobile coverage, and preparing for 5G, should be a core part of the government’s new industrial strategy. Today, the government’s interest in digital infrastructure is fragmented across departments and agencies. This is a clear recipe for inaction and lack of focus. A single cabinet minister should have the authority to lead 5G policy and delivery across government, advised by Ofcom.

No-one could have predicted what Amazon would do to publishing with the internet, nor that Uber would revolutionise private hire transport with 4G. The same will be true of the transformative applications which change our lives based on 5G.

But if the services that future mobile networks will enable cannot be known in advance, the network requirements are clear. More data, greater reliability, wider coverage, and the power, fibre and transmitters necessary to make it happen.

South Korea, Japan, Singapore and the US led the world in 4G connectivity. They did so through ambitious and interventionist national industrial strategies, even if Washington’s highly activist Federal Communications Commission rarely used the term. Tom Wheeler, chairman of the FCC, calls 5G a ‘national priority’ and in July published an initial strategy. We are already being left behind.

Andrew Adonis is chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, whose Connected Future report can be found here




Story via gov.uk

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Government Clamps Down On Nuisance Call Crooks

Government Clamps Down On Nuisance Call Crooks

Company bosses and firms could face fines of up to £1 million under tough new Government plans aimed at tackling nuisance calls.

From Spring 2017, firm directors can each be fined up to £500,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office, if they are found to be in breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations.

Prior to this, only businesses were liable for fines, many of which try to escape paying nuisance call penalties by declaring bankruptcy – only to open up again under a different name. But in a move to tackle this issue, Government is providing the ICO with powers to hold company directors directly responsible.

Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock said:

Nuisance callers are a blight on society, causing significant distress to elderly and vulnerable people. We have been clear that we will not stand for this continued harassment, and this latest amendment to the law will strike another blow to those businesses and company bosses responsible.

This tough new stance is just one of a number of measures introduced by Government in its ongoing campaign against nuisance callers and work to better protect the personal data of UK citizens. These have included forcing companies to display their caller ID and working with Trading Standards to provide call blocking devices to vulnerable members of society.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said:

The people running nuisance call companies have little regard for the anxiety and upset they cause all in the name of turning a fast profit.

We are inundated with complaints from people who are left shaken and distressed by the intrusion on their daily lives.

We’re quick to fine the companies responsible, but we’ve been speaking to the government about going further than that because we must do all we can to help protect people from these calls.

Making directors responsible will stop them ducking away from fines by putting their company into liquidation. It will stop them leaving by the back door as the regulator comes through the front door.

To date, the ICO has issued fines totalling almost £3.7million to companies behind nuisance marketing. And this year alone, the ICO has fined firms responsible for more than 70 million calls and nearly 8 million spam text messages.

More than 114,000 nuisance calls and texts have been reported to ICO this year.

Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home & Legal services, said:

This is a massive victory for the hundreds of thousands of people who supported our Nuisance Calls campaign. It’s good to see the Government has listened to consumers and will be introducing new rules to hold company directors to account. This legislation will stop rogues dodging fines for bombarding consumers with nuisance calls and side-stepping the rules by closing one business and re-establishing a new one.

Report a nuisance call

Reporting a nuisance call is simple – visit the ICO website – www.ico.org.uk or call their helpline – 0303 123 1113 – and they will take it from there.



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story via.gov.uk