Tag: ISP

Smaller US ISPs put in more effort

mouseA new study has found that the UK;s biggest broadband ISPs are rubbish when it comes to something minor like answering the phone.

The BROADBANDRating report found that the average call answer time for small ISPs was 84.76 seconds versus 320.85 for the biggest five.
The results reveal that the big boys such as PlusNet and KC are among the slowest, while smaller providers such as. Exa Networks and B4RN tend to be the fastest.

PlusNet actually came bottom of the pile by forcing customers to wait for an average of 16.48 minutes. This is unfortunate as it is one of the few big providers to offer UK based support.

Automated answering systems, which are common among larger ISPs don’t count as an answer and lengthened the wait.

Here is the league table of results

Average Call Waiting Times for UK Internet Providers (seconds)
Exa Networks – 9.83
B4RN – 10
FastNet – 17.16
Daisy – 17.66
Timico – 26.66
Gigaclear – 32.5
Andrews and Arnold (AAISP) – 36.66
Easynet – 39.16
Fidonet – 43
Claranet Soho – 58.66
Gamma – 65.66
Zen Internet – 73.33
Gradwell – 89.66
TalkTalk – 95.75
Hyperoptic – 103.16
Manx Telecom – 123.83
Virgin Media – 142
BT – 170.85
JT – 186.33
Eclipse Internet – 261
Fuel Broadband – 273
Sky Broadband – 330.75
KC – 381.16
Plusnet – 988.57

Cameron advisor wants ISPs to spy for studios

Mike_WeatherleyDavid “one is an ordinary bloke” Cameron’s top internet advisor has suggested that ISPs spy on their customers to work out which are downloading pirated content.

Mike Weatherley, a Conservative MP and Intellectual Property Adviser to UK Prime Minister David Cameron also wants ISPs to censor the Internet better.

According to his report, ISPs have a moral obligation to do more against online piracy.

One would think that Weatherley would have worked out that sort of thing did not work very well. He has previously suggested that search engines should blacklist pirate sites which does not seem to have changed much.

So going “more draconian” seems to be Weatherley’s answer. The just-released 18-page report stresses that these companies have a moral obligation to tackle copyright infringement and can’t stand idly by.

The report uses information which has been helpfully provided by people with a history of providing accurate and not at all misleading figures – the pro-copyright groups including the MPAA, BPI, and the Music Publishers Association.

It offers various recommendations for the UK Government and the EU Commission to strengthen their anti-piracy policies.

One of the key points is to motivate Internet services and providers to filter content proactively. According to the report it’s feasible to “filter out infringing content” and to detect online piracy before it spreads.

“There should be an urgent review, by the UK Government, of the various applications and processes that could deliver a robust automated checking process regarding illegal activity being transmitted,” Weatherley said.

Weatherley added that ISPs should not just remove the content they’re asked to, but also police their systems to ensure that similar files are removed, permanently.

“ISSPs to be more proactive in taking down multiple copies of infringing works, not just the specific case they are notified of,” he said.

This type of filtering is already used by YouTube, which takes down content based on fingerprint matches. However, the report suggests that regular broadband providers could also filter infringing content.

Weatherley also said that protecting the rights of copyright holders has priority over a “no monitoring” principle that would ensure users’ privacy. If the monitoring is done right.

“There is also the question as to whether society will want to have their private activities monitored (even if automatically and entirely confidentially) and whether the trade off to a safer, fairer internet is a price worth paying to clamp down on internet illegal activity. My ‘vote’ would be “yes” if via an independent body.”

Tories blame ISPs for Sony hack

Mike_WeatherleyEver willing to blame ISPs for any problems in the world, the UK’s Tory government say ISPs are behind the Sony hack.

The Tories are trying to get ISPs to act as unpaid censors to stop anything that someone with a blue rinse might not want to see on the internet.  The ISPs have told them that they can’t be responsible for everything that appears on the internet, so the Tories are trying to convince the world that they really are.

Last week Prime Minster David Cameron claimed that the ISPs were responsible for terrorism because websites from terror groups could be found online.  Before that he claimed they were responsible for child porn, for similar reasons.

Now as the fallout from the Sony hack continues, the UK Prime Minister’s former IP advisor, as “facilitators” web-hosts and ISPs must step up and take some blame.

You would think that someone who advises a Prime Minister about the internet might actually know a little bit about it, but clearly Mike Weatherley MP does not have a clue.

He claims that the ISPs are encouraging internet piracy by allowing stolen films to go down their tubes.

“Piracy is a huge international problem. The recent cyber-attack on Sony and subsequent release of films to illegal websites is just one high-profile example of how criminals exploit others’ Intellectual Property,” Weatherley wrote.

“Unfortunately, the theft of these films – and their subsequent downloads – has been facilitated by web-hosting companies and, ultimately, ISPs who do have to step-up and take some responsibility.”

Of course Cameron’s internet adviser can’t provide detail on precisely why web hosts and ISPs should take responsibility for the work of malicious hackers.  Particularly when these ones appear to be state sponsored.

His theory is that something must be done and it is the ISPs who must do it. Of course he could equally have blamed the Prime Minister’s cat and come up with a more viable reason.

It is also tricky because in the UK almost every major torrent site is already blocked by ISPs.  So in this case it is just Weatherley opening his mouth and letting the wind blow his tongue around.

Cameron claims that ISPs are protecting terrorists

stupid cameronUK Prime Minister David “one is an ordinary bloke” Cameron has been claiming that ISPs are responsible for the deaths of fusilier Lee Rigby.

Responding to a report by the intelligence and security committee, Cameron said that internet companies are allowing their networks to be used to plot “murder and mayhem”.

He demanded that internet companies live up to their social responsibilities to report potential terror threats and said there was no reason for such firms to be willing to cooperate with state agencies over child abuse but not over combatting terrorism, or anything else that he might not happen to likethat week.

The parliamentary intelligence and security committee (ISC) concluded that the brutal murder of Rigby could have been prevented if a US internet company had passed on an online exchange in which one of the killers expressed “in the most graphic terms” his intention to carry out an Islamist jihadi attack.

However Cameron’s blaming the ISPs was probably more to cover up for the fact that the agencies had made a cock-up in their monitoring of Rigby’s murderers, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale.  He focused on a comment which said that if MI5 had had access to the exchange between one of the killers, Adebowale, and an extremist overseas, Adebowale would have become a top surveillance priority. By failing to alert the authorities, the company had, “however unintentionally,” provided a “safe haven for terrorists.”

The report did say that MI6 and MI5 had made errors but that the murder would have happened even if the errors had not.

This is one of the problems – terrorists are darn hard to spot at the best of times and these two were known as self-starter terrorists, whose connection with other terrorist groups is slight. The report says the two men appeared between them in seven different agency investigations but were for the most part regarded as low-level subjects of interest.

“Adebolajo was a high priority for MI5 during two operations: they put significant effort into investigating him and employed a broad range of intrusive techniques. None of these revealed any evidence of attack planning,” the report said.

Adebowale was never more than a low-level subject of interest and the agencies took appropriate action based on the rigorous threshold set down in law: they had not received any intelligence that Adebowale was planning an attack and, based on that evidence, more intrusive action would not have been justified.

However Cameron said there was no possible justification for US internet providers not to inform agencies of terrorist activity since they already cancelled the accounts of suspected terrorists.

This summer, the government updated its legislation to require internet companies to cooperate with the state and report potential terrorist activity, but he said the level of cooperation was not satisfactory, mostly because of a reluctance for ISPs to be involved with what would be a police state.

Given that the ISP in this case was based in the US, it would have been incredibly unlikely that Cameron cracking down on UK ISPs would have made the slightest difference.

However, he admitted there was legal uncertainty about the duty of internet companies based in the US to cooperate with UK agencies due to conflicting laws in the US.

“There were errors in these operations, where processes were not followed, decisions not recorded, or delays encountered. However, we do not consider that any of these errors, taken individually, were significant enough to have made a difference,” the report says.

Tesco Broadband intros £2/month deal

tescoTesco Broadband is offering potential customers the chance to sign up for £2 a month, if they’re quick, which the company boasts is “cheaper than a box of eggs”.

Not quite. Customers who sign up will also have to pay Tesco line rental at £14.90 a month for 12 months, putting the bill up to £16.90 per month for a yearly contract. A rolling 30 day contract is also available, but this will cost £40 to set up. For the 12 month contract, there will be early termination charges per month remaining. The deal is pretty good but certainly costs more than a dozen eggs, even if you are buying them from Waitrose or M&S.

As with many unlimited deals, Tesco is able to impose a fair use limit on broadband usage.

The supermarket offshoot boasts that the contract saves compared to BT, TalkTalk and PlusNet equivalents.

Evening and weekend calls are Included in the deal.

When asked about the purposes of this promotion, a Tesco spokesperson said “Tesco always looks at where it can help families by cutting the costs of its services”.

The offer is valid until the end of June.