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Week of the happy Yorkshireman: Digital Voices 27/07/2012

We lead this week’s comments with a happy voice, because they’re a rare sight on our comments amongst angry Freeviewists, slow broadband sufferers and campaigners for rough justice.

An after at least a few days of sun and genuinely summery temperatures, how better to start Digital Voices for the week ending July 28, 2012.

Digital Voices: Ye Happy Northman

Happy comment of the week

North Yorkshire will be the first of the UK’s rural broadband pilots to launch, after BT beat Fujitsu to win the £70m contract.

Naturally, some Yorkshiremen are pleased about this, but none more than Matt, who wrote: “Briiiiilllianttttt!!!!!”

Can we replace copper?

When copper thieves struck a vital BT cable in the Scottish Highlands it raised a practical question – can we replace copper with something less valuable?

Trash reports that Chinese experiments haven’t been successful so far: “By reducing the copper content, it increases the resistance, the cables get hot and cause fires. Not a very clever alternative.

“Trading Standards seized 5 million miles of duff cable last year. I have even witnessed rolls of cable being lifted out of an electricity company storage yard by crane. If it is there and it can be got at, they will do it.”

Unlimited broadband: Who is playing by the new rules?

It’s always nice to know you’ve made a difference, and our feature on unlimited broadband contracts has caused Steve K to check whether he can now go for broke on an unlimited contract that used to be throttled:

“Although I’ve not hit it for a year or two, now, BT’s Option 3 broadband used to warn that I’d used 80GB of data in that billing month, and if I reached 100GB, my speeds would be limited the following month…and that was supposedly an Unlimited service. I might have to try that again, now, and see what happens…”

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

The 4G Freeview fiasco will go down as a great administrative blunder, but the thought of having to get a dish instead of Freeview is just too much for some people.

We thought that dish phobia was just a middle-class relic of the 1990s, but for Mark Parker it’s alive and well:

“Who wants a dish outisde their property? Bloody ugly things and Mr Murdoch can [kiss? – we think it’s 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?” said Mark.

Are people who live in conservation areas conservative by nature? Dom MJ Mangles isn’t happy with the thought of a dish, or the expense: “What if we live in conservation areas where the local government won’t allow a dish, and nor do i want one.”

David Bloomfield thinks that aerials are a far uglier infestation than dishes: “Freeview is a waste of energy in my option. TV aerials in my option look so ugly up on top of houses, where a small satellite dish can be hidden and not have to be high up in view. A satellite dish has more shape than an aerial, bit like me ! I think one day land transmitters will be thing of past for TV. But I personally use Virgin Media cable TV, even better as I need neither :-)”

For people like Andy, it’s just an invitation to go down the broadband route with a mini media PC (he proposes the MK802): “Looks like we are going to have to use an MK802 with TV catchup on it then!”

Mr Mangles adds that the winner for this will be whoever the government and mobile phone operators appoint to run the agency to fix the interference, Mitco: “

“Good little earner for the friend of government who owns Mitco. Already alloted £100 per person who ‘may’ be affected. We all the know the amplifier costs 50p from China and the man to fit it will do 8 a day for £80. Nice profit margin there.”

Virgin TV pirates’ ringleader stripped of more than £7,000 in illegal earnings

Virgin Media raised the modern evil of organised crime when an international gang were convicted of pirating its signals.

Stephen O’Donnell thinks its wrong to equate the operation with Mafia-style organised crime, even if it must have taken some planning:

“It’s completely erroneous to state that this kind of fraud funds organised crime, when in fact the reverse is true. Organised crime doesn’t need funding, and generates bigger profits, but has a far higher risk of arrest, or serious injury in gang wars.

“The truth is that criminals get involved in this kind of fraud INSTEAD of more serious crime (drugs and robbery) because there is a very low arrest and conviction rate, and sentences are very light indeed.”