Ofcom Tells BT to Open up Cable Network to Rivals

Ofcom Tells BT to Open up Cable Network to Rivals
Communications watchdog Ofcom has said BT must open up its cable network and allow competition to improve UK internet connections. The regulator has so far stopped short of demanding a complete break-up of BT, but said this was still an option.

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BT welcomed the report and said it was happy to let other companies use its network, if they were keen to invest.

Ofcom also said there was a digital divide in the UK between those with the latest technologies, and those without. It has proposed that decent, affordable broadband should be a universal right.

Rivals had called for a split between BT and its Openreach operation, which runs its cables, fibre and network infrastructure. Companies such as Sky, Vodafone and TalkTalk, who pay to use the network, say that BT underinvested in Openreach, leading to a poor service with interruptions and slow speeds.

Now BT will be told to allow easier access for rivals to lay their own fibre cables along Openreach’s telegraph poles and in its underground cable ducts.
Ofcom also says it intends to introduce tougher rules on BT’s faults, repairs and installations. It says Openreach should be governed at arm’s length from BT, with greater independence in taking its own decisions on budget, investment and strategy. It adds that a complete split between Openreach and BT “remains an option”.

The Chief Executive of Ofcom, Sharon White told the BBC: “Openreach does need major reform and the key thing is that it’s independent so that it responds to all its customers, not just BT. If we cannot get the responsiveness to customers that we’re seeking, then … we reserve the right, formally, to separate [BT and Openreach].”

BT’s shares were up more than 4% following the publication of the report.

A BT spokesman said: “Openreach is already one of the most heavily regulated businesses in the world but we have volunteered to accept tighter regulation.
“We are happy to let other companies use our ducts and poles if they are genuinely keen to invest very large sums as we have done.”

But Ofcom’s report says that the evidence “shows Openreach still has an incentive to make decisions in the interests of BT, rather than BT’s competitors”.

BBC technology reporter Jane Wakefield said: “That will be something rivals, from big players like Sky to small internet service providers that are attempting to bring broadband to areas not yet served by BT, will recognise all too well, and Ofcom’s decision that the two should stay together for now will be seen as a blow.”

A spokesperson for Vodafone said: “BT still remains a monopoly provider with a regulated business running at a 28% profit margin. “We urge Ofcom to ensure BT reinvests the £4bn in excess profits Openreach has generated over the last decade in bringing fibre to millions of premises across the country, and not just make half-promises to spend an unsubstantiated amount on more old copper cable”

What future for BT and broadband?
Telecoms consultancy CCS insight said: “The news will be a relief for BT, but rivals will also claim victory as Openreach remains under severe scrutiny. “The tone of the statement reflects concern about BT’s role in the UK’s broadband future. Opening the network offers opportunities for competitors; new minimum standards will ensure customer service stays in the spotlight.”

The report also says the surge in data speeds has led to a “digital divide” between those who have the fastest internet access and those who are left behind. It says: “As the world goes increasingly online, those left behind risk social and economic exclusion. We have found that people who are left behind are usually less well-off or living in vulnerable circumstances. 2.4 million households and small businesses (around 8% of all UK premises) cannot yet access a decent broadband speed of 10Mbits per second,” the report said.

The report, Making Communications Work for Everyone, says: “We will work with the UK Government to make decent, affordable broadband a universal right for every home and small business in the UK.  The universal right should start off at 10Mbits per second for everyone, and then rise in line with customer demand over time.”

Car and Van Hire in Newcastle & Northumberland

Car and Van Hire in Newcastle & Northumberland
Metro car and van hire are a North East based business, located close to Newcastle Airport, Newcastle upon Tyne City Centre, Gateshead and all of South Tyneside.

Established for over a decade, the company has thrived as it has always prided itself on offering a friendly and efficient service from private hire to all types of business hire and leasing. Providing new cars, minibuses and wide range of vans all available for short and long term rental, all of the hire cars, minibuses and vans come with insurance for at least 2 people, breakdown cover and unlimited mileage options.

northumberlandTouring Northumberland
Although much of the business Metro attracts is local, they are also a well-known car rentals company for tourists looking to explore the North East, the Scottish Borders, Northumberland and Yorkshire.

The region has a great many attractions included Hadrians Wall, Durham Cathedral and Castle, the twin Anglo-Saxon monasteries at Wearmouth – Jarrow, the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and Hexham Abbey to name but a few.

 

For those who enjoy shopping there is of course, Europe’s largest shopping centre, the Metro Centre. And with Christmas approaching now is a great time to visit the hundreds of shops all under one roof.

No visit to the North east would be complete without a visit to Newcastle. United by seven bridges across a spectacular riverscape, Newcastle (a city on the north bank of the River Tyne) and Gateshead (a town on the south bank) form a single, diverse and extremely vibrant visitor destination. With so many different areas each offering new sights, sounds and experiences, you’ll be amazed at how much is on offer whatever your tastes. World-class culture, vibrant nightlife, award-winning dining, inspiring heritage, fantastic shopping and acclaimed architecture are linked here, as nowhere else, by the famous Geordie spirit.

Metro Rental Vehicle Hire
So the next time you visit the region give Metro Rental a call and they can help you ‘access all areas’, whatever type of vehicle you may be after, they can provide it. For further information simply visit the Metro Rental website or call 0191 4603344 and the friendly staff will be happy to help.

MPs – Relax Sunday Trading Laws

MPs; Relax Sunday Trading Laws to Help Shop
Rules on Sunday opening hours for shops in England and Wales are out of date and need to be relaxed, a group of 200 MPs and council leaders has said. In a letter to the Sunday Telegraph, they wrote that increasing spending on Sundays would boost job prospects and help shops compete with online firms. They backed government plans to devolve Sunday trading laws to local councils.

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However, the shopworkers’ union said the majority of its members opposed extended Sunday trading hours.

In the letter, the group – which includes the cross-party British Infrastructure Group (BIG) of MPs – said the world had changed “a great deal” since Sunday trading laws were last updated in 1994.

“Yet whilst times and attitudes have changed, Sunday Trading laws have stayed the same,” they wrote. “Our high streets and physical retailers have been left trying to compete with 24/7 online shopping, a task which is made harder by a shortened trading day at the weekend, just when many families might hope to go shopping together.”

In England and Wales, shops over 280 sq m, or 3,000 sq ft, in size can open their doors for only six consecutive hours between 10:00 and 18:00. Retailers can be fined up to £50,000 if they break the rules. There are no trading restrictions in Scotland, while in Northern Ireland shops can open for up to five hours between 13:00 and 18:00.

The letter supported a report by the BIG, which backs the modernisation of “outdated retail law”.

The group includes more than 40 MPs and is led by former Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps.

Its report argued the trend across Europe is for “liberalising” Sunday trading laws, saying that changes on the continent resulted in a 7-9% net increase in employment.

The Sunday Telegraph letter added: “Ultimately, we believe that the best way to determine whether large shops are open for longer than six hours on a Sunday is to hand this decision to local communities. It is for this reason that we back the proposed change in England and Wales which would update our trading laws for the 21st Century.”

Campaigners opposed to longer opening hours question if the move would really benefit the High Street, pointing out that under the existing law, smaller traders are allowed to open for longer.

Last year, Chancellor George Osborne promised that councils and mayors would get the power to set Sunday trading laws in their areas. Business Secretary Sajid Javid earlier this month said ministers plan to press ahead with the proposal, saying the move would allow local authorities to “help struggling high streets”. However, it faces strong opposition in the Commons.

And retail union, Usdaw, has said the current trading hours give “everyone a little bit of what they want. Retailers can trade, customers can shop, staff can work; whilst Sunday remains a special day, different to other days, and shop workers can spend some time with their family,” general secretary John Hannett said.

Planning to Update your Bathroom or Shower

Planning to Update your Bathroom or Shower
If you have been considering updating your bathroom you may want to consider taking a look at the excellent variety of bathroom products available from P T Ranson, where you will find everything you need to completely revamp your bathroom. With products available from top manufacturers such as Imperial Showers, Fiora Showers and Hangrove Showers you can be sure that whatever you may decide to purchase it will be of the best possible quality and completely suited to your needs.

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A New Shower for your Bathroom
A modern and effective shower is the ideal addition to any bathroom, whether you are planning to install a totally new suite or to just update your existing one with a great range of showers on offer at P T Ranson you can be sure to find one that not only has all the features you require but also complements the overall style of your bathroom as well.

If you are looking for a more traditional style to your bathroom, but also want the advantages of modern technology take a look at the great range of Imperial Showers on offer, with a great range of complementing items such as baths, basins, toilets and other accessories all made using the highest quality materials this is the ideal range if you want to create a perfectly co-ordinated classic look.

If you want to create a modern and efficient space that is functional, economical to run and performs to the highest standards you may want to take a look at the showers available from Hansgrove, with a focus on creating showers that always deliver the highest possible results no matter what your requirements they are a great choice for anyone that enjoys unwinding in the shower.

If you want to make a real feature of your shower why not consider adding a totally separate cubicle or even creating a whole wet room?  Fioira Showers have a great range of revolutionary Silex Shower trays available at P T Ranson in a wide variety of styles and colours giving you the opportunity to have a high performance and durable shower tray that is attractive and stylish as well.

So take a look at the excellent range of showers, shower trays and other accessories at P. T Ranson for some excellent ideas about how you could turn your bathroom into a relaxing and beautiful haven where you can relax and unwind in peace.

P T Ranson Bathrooms & Showers
So if you want to install a new shower in your bathroom why not get some inspiration from P T Ranson? Regardless of your tastes or the style you are hoping to achieve with such a wide range of top quality products you are sure to find the ideal shower for your bathroom. With so many unique and high performance products on offer from some top bathroom design companies you can be sure that you won’t be disappointed.

Simply call 0191 469 6999 or visit the PT Bathroom and Showers designer bathroom website today.

The Perfect Prom Dress in Newcastle

The Perfect Prom Dress  in Newcastle
If it is the year of your high school prom or you are looking for a prom gown for a formal event it’s definitely worth paying a visit to Just The Way You Are, although they are predominantly a supplier of wedding dresses you are guaranteed to be impressed with their extensive range of prom dresses and other accessories.  Based in Newcastle this boutique gives you the opportunity to book an appointment at a time that is convenient to you and take advantage of an individual consultation so you can be certain you find something that you are totally happy with.

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With a wide variety of designs in stock ranging from traditional full skirted gowns to sophisticated figure hugging formal dresses you can be certain that no matter what kind of image you are hoping to achieve at Just The Way You Are there will be a prom dress available that you are sure to love.  View Gallery.

Throughout the duration of your visit one of the friendly team will be happy to initially fully discuss all your ideas with you and then find you a selection of prom dresses to try on, then based on your feedback find you more choices to try until you have found the prom gown that is perfect for you.

At Just The Way You Are they aim to make sure that every woman or girl has a chance to look and feel amazing on their special day, and with that in mind they stock a wide range of sizes and different cuts of prom dress so you can be sure to find something that you look totally fabulous in regardless of your size or shape.  No matter what member of staff assists you during your visit you can be sure that they will help you find designs that flatter your figure and fit you like a glove and give you honest and helpful advice so you can be completely happy and comfortable in whatever prom dress you decide on in the end.

All prom gowns are supplied by carefully selected designers who only provide products that are produced to the best possible standards so you can be sure that no matter what gown you decide on in the end it will be top quality and well made.  With a wide range of accessories available to help you really complete your look at Just The Way You Are they have everything you need to make sure that you get noticed for all the right reasons.

So if you live in the North East and are hoping to find the perfect prom dress why not book an appointment with Just the Way You Are?  With excellent customer service every time, a stylish and relaxing store and the opportunity to have a personal consultation, along with a really impressive range of beautiful prom gowns you definitely won’t be disappointed, take a look at their excellent customer reviews and you will see why so many people would recommend them to someone they know.

For more information or to arrange a visit and consultation about finding the perfect prom dress or gown for you, visit the Just the Way You Are website today or call us on 0191 261 0778 to make an appointment. You won’t be disappointed.

Lotus Fitness Studio in Morpeth

Lotus Fitness Studio in Morpeth, Northumberland
Direct Submit are pleased to announce they are now working with Lotus Fitness, a boutique fitness studio located in the heart of Morpeth offering a range of health & fitness classes. The studio currently offers official Spinning classes using the latest blade exercise bikes, Pilates classes and Kettlebell workout classes. With many new fitness and well-being classes coming soon.

pilates-classesWith many of us now having busy lifestyles, plus demands of business and family, it can make it very difficult to find time to stay fit and healthy. Typically gym memberships require a financial commitment and often memberships end up being wasted. So if you want a more flexible pay as you go solution where you have greater control over what you want to spend and how often you want to go then Lotus Fitness Studio is the place to come to.

If you would like to know more about getting your website or business found on the Internet then give Direct Submit a call today on 0845 2722350 or visit the Direct Submit website.

Growing Your New Business with Local SEO

Growing Your New Business with Local SEO
Newcastle’s thriving business community is both a positive and a negative for new business owners. On the one hand, it seems like a better time than ever to be in the retail or service industries. On the other hand, so many businesses are already established that any newcomers might worry about how to bring customers to their doors.

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If you are a new business owner in the Newcastle area or in the North East of England, you may be wondering how to set your business apart from the vast competition. You might have begun a word-of-mouth campaign among friends or considered how you might use social media to spread the word about your new business. You might have even considered a pay-per-click advertising campaign. While these are all worthwhile endeavours depending on the type of business you are running, one must keep in mind that not every potential client will be searching for your business by name.

Let’s say you’ve recently opened, or will soon be opening, a vegetarian restaurant near Eldon Square and would like to attract customers who have just been shopping nearby. How would you begin to make your restaurant type and location known to hungry shoppers who don’t want to drive home and cook or stop somewhere for a burger? Since they are likely searching for “vegetarian restaurants Newcastle city centre” on their smartphones as you reflect upon this, it stands to reason that the key to drawing them into your restaurant lies in keyword-specific content on your website or elsewhere in cyberspace that will raise your profile in online search results.

This is exactly what search engine optimisation, or SEO – specifically local SEO, can do for your business. By publishing keyword-rich content that will draw more traffic to your website, you will gain market share simply by growing your online presence. SEO is a very effective part of a comprehensive Internet marketing campaign and will do more than any other form of advertising to increase your visibility to potential clients searching by business type, product or service.

Direct Submit Internet Marketing Services is dedicated to helping businesses of any size and in all sectors to reach and exceed their profit goals through effective and ethical SEO marketing. Whether yours is an established business with a website in need of more traffic or you’re just now venturing into cyberspace, Direct Submit will develop the ideal SEO marketing campaign to bring in new clients so that you can focus on the core business while watching revenues soar. As a leading Internet Marketing business, we specialise in SEO and other Internet marketing strategies for UK businesses, both large and small – local and National.

No matter your advertising budget, we will work with you to develop a campaign to help your clients find you right when they need you.  To learn more about how we can help you maximise profits, call us today on 0845 272 2350 or visit our Internet Marketing Services website today.

Successful Sound Testing in London

Achieving Successful Sound Testing in London
There are many considerations to achieving a successful sound test in London. Two key areas that need to be addressed when improving a floor construction are the airborne aspect (TV noise, music and speech) is typically dealt with by applying ceiling treatments and mass and isolation to the building components. Impact sound (footfall) performance is increased by the used of resilience layers and isolation of components. 

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Airborne Sound Testing in London
Firstly we need to look at the airborne performance requirements which are 45dB for new build properties and 43dB for conversion developments, this applies both to party walls and floors between properties. This level is the difference between the source level and the receiver level during London sound tests. Therefore, if the source level in one flat is 110dB and the receiver level in the neighbouring flat is 55dB, the level difference (or sound reduction performance) is 55dB. Thereafter the measurement is corrected for several factors such as background noise, room characteristics and frequency weighting, giving the final sound insulation performance value of the tested partition.

In this case the higher the number the better the sound insulation performance, whereas Impact testing is the opposite, i.e. the lower the figure the better performance. The measurement is done by using a Class 1 Analyser, Speaker (as shown below)

Impact Sound Testing In London
Impact insulation performance only applies to party floors and related to the effectiveness of the floor construction in absorbing shock such as footfall noise. The measurement is done by using a Norsonic tapping machine (as shown below). The machine has 5 weights which tapping in regular succession on the tested floor which emulates footfall noise. The noise levels are taken in the receiving room below, which are then measured and averaged for different tapper positions, which then gives the sound reduction rating of the floor. In this case the lower the figure, the better the performance.

Design Detailing to Improve Sound Test Results
To meet the required requirements Building Regulations Part E for both the impact and airborne testing, careful consideration to design detailing should be used from the offset of the project whether it’s new built or a conversion project. Tackling these two aspects involves different construction techniques and careful acoustic design detailing. This is good news for the new residents as it proves adequate levels of soundproofing have been incorporated into the buildings design and construction which is demonstrated by the final sound testing in London, prior to building sign off.

We offer an acoustic design package, which contains the following elements:

  • Site Survey Visits – to let us view the existing site construction. This allows us to check for potential problematic construction such as inclusion of lightweight blocks in the existing construction. It also lets us check that the installation teams are installing the acoustic materials as per manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • Sample Sound Testing – of the existing construction. This offers an accurate overview of the acoustic performance of the existing partitions which enables us to offer a targeted acoustic design using the sound insulation performance of the existing construction.
  • Acoustic Design Review – a full design review of the proposed developments party walls and floors.

Acoustic Design Considerations

  • Avoid the use of lightweight blocks in the inner envelope construction as sound will travel both vertically and horizontally from dwelling to dwelling.
  • The use of resilient suspended ceilings will help improve the performance of the floor partition.
  • Ensure all support steels/timbers are carefully boxed out where they travel from flat to flat vertically and horizontally.
  • Use a high quality resilient acoustic membrane on top of the floor to improve the impact performance of a floor.
  • Ensure all penetrations are fully sealed where they terminate through floors and they are adequately boxed with acoustic quilt and two layers of plasterboard.

Avoiding Sound Flanking

In our experience by simply constructing a good separating wall or floor this may not in itself provide sufficient sound insulation to comply with Building Regulations Part E as the junctions of each separating wall and/or floor with other parts of the building are as equally important. One of the main problems with partition failure is down to noise flanking, this can occur via construction components such as:

  • The internal partitions
  • The inner leaf of the external wall
  • The external wall cavities
  • The external façade or outer leaf
  • The roof structure
  • The foundations.

The overall design and construction system should therefore be considered and not just the separating wall or floor partitions.  Flanking sound transmission may in some cases be the dominant pathway between adjoining dwellings, especially in existing buildings where you are planning to convert offices/large houses into flats.

In our experience if the acoustic design is taken into consideration from the offset of the project, then it usually results in compliance with Building Regulations Part E.  In Some cases, sound test failure can also be down to the poor workmanship rather than the acoustic design, that is why we offer a full acoustic package which includes for site survey visits; that way we have the acoustic design and onsite construction covered, reducing the chance of sound test failure.

If you have a project that’s needs acoustic design advice or sound testing in London, then please contact us at: info@aptsoundtesting.co.uk or phone us directly on 07775 623464.