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Digital Voices: Fibre Pedants and Pirates

All’s quiet on the western front this week – are you all out Christmas shopping or something? To be fair, as the wind down to Christmas kicks in we can expect less and less breaking announcements from ISPs and Digital TV providers though that hasn’t stopped BT revealing prices for FTTP On Demand (finally), Sky form announcing a beta test of Sky Sports on Now TV and the BBC taking the wraps off of a shiny new Red Button service, debuting on Virgin Media TiVo.

None of this seems to have captured your attention this week however. Here’s Digital Voices for 08/12/12.

Digital Voices: Fibre Pedants and Pirates

Piracy or Privacy? Comments of the week – Anonymous DDoS forces Virgin Media offline in revenge for Pirate Bay blockade and The Pirate Bay: Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media, O2, Orange and T-Mobile ordered to block site

Most of the comments we’ve seen on Pirate Bay stories are usually in favour of the plucky privateers and against the likes of the big media companies that have been overcharging us for content for too long.

But recently we’ve seen more people voicing opinions against the Pirates. “Copyright theft is theft – grow up those people who think Pirate Bay is something to campaign for,” said somebody named, er, Copyright, echoing the sentiments of June Clark who last week thundered: “Theft, is theft and so is stealing. Free downloads of stuff that isn’t free, IS Theft, get used to it and get a life!!”

But is the Pirate Bay more than just a place to get the latest blockbuster flick for free? Hayley Seal seems to think so, pointing to there being something bigger at work:

“ask why are there things that are kept secret ? well these things are not only criminal .i can’t put into words but every channel of communication is being monitored .if they find something they do not want people to see it gets taken down.”

Like what?

“.i have no interest in the movies or copyrights on this occation because it is irrelavent . people need to see whats going on and these are possibly the only channels that can do this .gagging orders in the press .oh it goes on and on”

What do we need to see?

“.i realise the copyright thing is not so good ,but people desperatly desperatly need to see things now .it cant be kept secret .this is serious and we need this”

Are you going to tell us what this big secret is or not? You’re not? Oh. OK.

FTTC isn’t real Fibre Broadband comment of the week – BT Infinity 40Mbps vs Virgin Media 30Mbps

In certain quarters there’s a school of thought that goes that FTTC shouldn’t be called true fibre broadband, because the copper last mile suffers from the same distance dilemma as ADSL broadband does.

While this is something we’re aware of we don’t quite follow this argument – those in close proximity to a street cabinet will benefit hugely from FTTC. While it’s not a true replacement for full FTTP fibre broadband it’s still better than ADSL and it’s still fibre broadband. The first F on FTTC stands for fibre.

Luke Styles is a chap who knows his broadband onions and pointed this out in an older article where we compared BT’s then only up to 40Mbps product with Virgin Media.

He also points out that in areas where BT FTTC won’t make a difference – beyond 3 kilometers – it’s not likley that you’ll be able to see Virgin Media there:

“The problem with this argument is that most people further away from the cabinet don’t have a Virgin cable running down their street either. So these people face taking a reduced speed from BT or nothing from Virgin.”

While this isn’t strictly true it’s fair to say that Virgin Media like BT Infinity is serving those in built-up areas first before moving out to the sticks.

This is something that rural broadband providers and altnets know only too well…

Henry David Thoreau comment of the week – 4G will wipe out Freeview in 1.9 million homes, confirms Ed Vaizey

4G nixing Freeview for a good chunk of the population has generated howls of protest against the government and the sheer unfairness of it all. Help is on the way but that doesn’t seem to offer much salve for everyone.

Then again, who needs Freeview anyway? We should all down tools and return to a simpler, more idealised way of living according to Burl Solomons.

“Whatever did people do before the goggle box came to take over their living rooms? Oh yes – they used to read books, play games, musical instruments, make models, paint/draw, work on the car/motorbike, go for walks, cycling, swimming, running, with their families. What a strange concept…”

We still do all those things but we do like a bit of telly from time to time as well.


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