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The age of aquarius: Digital Voices 11/08/2012

You can learn a few things reading the comments, and this week we’ve learned that it’s the Age of Austerity, it’s hard to be sarcastic without smilies, and some people don’t know what a monopoly means.

Welcome to Recombu Digital Voices for week ending August 11, 2012.

Hippy comment of the week

BT’s trouble with copper-rustling bandidos in Scotland has earned itself a few comments along the lines of Richards’s: “10k Volts down the same lines should deter them in future!”

But nothing has topped the melancholy of Marty James Poulson’s wistful: “The age of austerity? Shouldn’t it be the age of Aquarius? The depths the human species delve to in greed and lust!!”

The depths of greed and lust

Fastest comment of the week

If we’ve learned one thing at Recombu Digital, it’s not to visit Tavistock if we want to use the internet.

Within hours of posting a profile of Fibrewave Networks, the East of England rural broadband ISP, we received a post from the most frustrated surfer in the south-west: Tavistock Superfast Broadband:

“If Fibrewave ever expands their search for areas such as a Town could be tried – Tavistock is going begging and has some 12,500 residents. No BDUK funding here though – now that is a problem – thank you Jeremy.”  

4G will wipe out Freeview in 1.9 million homes, confirms Ed Vaizey  

Worries about the damage 4G could cause to Freeview has rapidly morphed into a discussion of the alternatives, with dishes getting quite a bashing.

Mark Parker wrote: “Who wants a dish outside their property? Bloody ugly things and Mr Murdoch can kiss my ass before I get Sky or go down the freesat route. When they were inventing 4G did no one with a common ounce of sense check to see what frequencies were being used for other devices and suggest they go higher up the spectrum?

But andrewi thinks she’s missing the point. After all, who’d getting the most out of the situation?

“This is not what we should be asking. The government had to sell the frequency range to the three providers first. It would have been sold for tens of billions total, minimum. They basically sold our freeview frequencies to Virgin and co.

RobbinK knows: “Well we all know who is in charge don’t we ! We have ways of making you buy sky!!!”

Sarcasm doesn’t work in print: BT’s killer RABIT foils copper cable thieves

The 19th-century ‘hang ‘em high’ attitudes that crop up in response to the problem of cable theft shock us some time, so it was no surprise to see vlad_the_imp write this in response to a particularly brutal suggestion:

“Yes, brilliant, let’s execute people for minor theft. Why not deport them to Australia too, then execute them. Idiot.”

Is it obvious he’s being ironic? And what about KevintheB’s response:

“This is a stupid comment. Either deport them OR execute them. It’s really idiotic to send them all that way, at public expense, then pay someone to top them. Just do it here – we can then save some money for the NHS by using all the spare parts.”

Vlad_the_imp didn’t see the joke: “It was meant to be sarcastic, obviously a bit too much for a limited intellect.”

And this time, KevintheB didn’t see the funny side: “If you can read, read what you have typed, and then reconsider just whose intellect is limited! Get out of your bedroom and get a job!”

Virgin pirates: Robin Hoods or rotten mugs?

When a gang who pirated Virgin Media to thousands of non-paying viewers were jailed and stripped of their ill-gotten gains, we didn’t expect them to be praised as content liberators.

But more than few law-abiding citizens have struck back, like Carl:

“So if I can’t afford an Aston Martin, I should steal one? Cable TV is a luxury, the people who bought this could have got Freeview from a box that cost £19.99 which has a lot of channels.

“Just because something is out of your price range doesn’t mean you can steal it. And Virgin is not even that expensive (£12 a month for the basic pack, £6 for first 6 months), they have to pay fees to the channels to carry them on their network.”

Oldster Bill Ward has no time for pay-TV (although it’s not Virgin who bought his favourite TV shows):

“What you don’t get you rich Daily Mail reading clown is that because of Sky/Virgin have priced the terrestrial TV companies out of the market when it comes to the decent programs and sports, (we have now lost F1 to Sky, and before you open your silver spooned gob, I don’t want to watch highlights).

“I am a pensioner and can’t afford Sky/Virgin and wouldn’t have Sky on principle anyway. I used to have Virgin until I moved, and although I’m surrounded by Virgin I couldn’t transfer my basic package because of a deal done by BT and the government stops Virgin from laying more cable, and I’ll be dead before BT get around to upgrading the copper to me. But if it was sorted right now I couldn’t pay the new tariffs, and anyway the package has less and the cost has increased.

“The people who were using the dodgy boxes were not getting the service totally free as they would have to have had a live connection to their property which would have probably included telephone and broadband. All that Virgin would have lost are the profits from parts of the pack that these people couldn’t afford to pay anyway, so in effect they lost nothing.”

That’s just tough luck, says jonno: “You don’t need to subscribe to Virgin to watch TV. There’s always Freeview which like the name implies is FREE. Theft is theft.”

Bill answers: “And just what is on Freeview? The bleeding Olympics and bugger all else. I’m watching reruns of Quest over and over again. C5 is also winding down.”

If there’s one thing this summer has taught us, it’s that the British have been won over by the Olympics (except Bill). Cussing World Sports Fortnight crosses the line for Prcorden:

“Guess what? Most of the UK is loving the olympics. Get a life, OR, get Virgin/Sky!”

Not understanding the meaning of ‘monopoly’ of the week

One of BT’s strategies in the UK broadband rollout debacle has been to paint Virgin as a broadband provider which won’t share its high speed network.

Some would say it’s fair enough that a network built without any private money can do what it wants, especially when there’s always a choice of alternative providers using BT’s network.

If one thing’s certain, a cool analysis means nothing to a disgruntled customer, like Ed, who wrote:

“Virgin initially looks cheap but ends up being expensive. With BT it’s possible to find great deals on both Broadband & calls – with Virgin you are stuck with whatever they want to charge on broadband. The calls are really expensive too – I never use my fixed line. Yes it’s a good service but I’ve been trying to ditch Virgin for some time. They can be negotiated with on mobile pricing though. Virgin is essentially a monopoly & needs more competition on the broadband & calls front.”