The UK now has a new e-commerce minister, Stephen Timms and we’re told he’s a strong believer in broadband.
Joltage, one of the new WiFi access companies, now have their first UK access point in Purton, a small Wiltshire village a mile west of Swindon.
The Joltage service works by owners of broadband connections attaching WiFi kit to it and allowing roaming WiFi users in the local area to use their connection. The roaming WiFi users pays $25/month Joltage for the privilege and the base station owner gets paid for usage of each packet.
A seemingly neat arrangement, but currently there are two problems for Joltage. Firstly it is illegal in the UK to commercially exploit the 2.4GHz band that WiFi runs on. Secondarily, reselling ADSL is against the terms and conditions of service.
The idea behind Joltage has been running since October 2000 in the UK by a collective, consume.net, who freely share their bandwidth, making it completely legal, as neither of the problems above are triggered. Being a collective they don’t have a marketing budget but do have huge amounts of enthusiasm to see the service succeed. I’ve been watching the progress of consume.net since early 2001 and have been impressed at the way they’ve continued to improve and expand the service.
A Swedish government Minister has called for government subsidies for broadband access bringing the price to E22-23/month.
I’ve written here in glowing terms about the theory and features of the Moxi Media Centre. Back in March Diego bought Moxi and they’ve now reported receiving a positive from the cable industry at the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) annual tradeshow in New Orleans. Motorola showed their Moxi based “Broadband Media Center’s”, the BMC8000 and 9000, which they are building under license.
They also reported their first sale to Charter Communications, the fourth largest cable company in the US, who will be deploying them in Fall this year. I’m sure there’s no coincidence that Paul Allen owns large portions of both Diego and Charter. He may succeed where his old business partner, Bill Gates, failed, in becoming THE household entertainment device.
After a challenge from US radio Webcasters to the level of fees they are being asked to pay for playing songs on their station (up to $1.40 per song heard by one thousand listeners). The Library of Congress, who decides these matters, has to deliver its final determination before 20 June.
Murmurs that the frequency that was/is used by ITV Digital in the UK could be sub-divided for wireless broadband access.
BBC Worldwide have just signed their first licensing deal for Interactive content with the Australian broadcaster ABC.
At E3, Microsoft announces details their online Multi-user broadband gaming network, “Xbox Live”. At just short of $50/year it will initially offer an “Xbox Communicator” – a mike for in game chatting with remote players. Making clear their commitment to the Xbox over the next five years they’ve also pledged a further $2Bn support budget.
BT’s offer to wave the £65 activation fee for new ADSL users has been extended until August 2002 from the end of May.
About eight years ago I remember when working on the product structure of the pre-launch of BT’s Wireplay service (Multi-user gaming service – great idea, badly executed, later sold on). One of our suggestions involved placing various charging items on the regular or ‘Blue bill’ and BT were very clear that this was and would only be allowed to be billed for phone charges – although they very much wanted to use it.
I was really surprised to see that Oftel recently gave BT the ability to charge their broadband services on the hallowed ‘Blue bill’. Freeserve can clearly see the advantage of BT having this and have blown a gasket.