26th > September > 2002 Archive

Dell Computers are American – official

After a long and tortuous process of deliberation, US Customs has decided that Dell's notebook computers are American. Even though in one of the computers under examination, the chassis is from Taiwan, the hard disk from Thailand, the floppy disk drive and power supply are from China, the CD-ROM is from Japan, and the memory from either Korea, Japan or Singapore. The BIOS and CPU are sourced in the US. This is how personal computers are assembled today; it gives us a peek into Dell Country a nation populated not by Dudes, but by robots and felons. "Based on the facts presented, foreign chassis', hard disk drives, floppy disks, memory boards and other foreign components, which are further processed and assembled into notebook computers in the U.S., in the manner described above, are substantially transformed as a result of the operations performed in the U.S," concludes the Customs Dept. "Accordingly, the country of origin of the notebook computers is the U.S." Net Stuckists take note. There are two parts missing from a Fritz-free computer, which may need to start building quite soon. For this information, we're indebted to John Young's Cryptome site, which publishes the docket here here site. ® Related Stories Prisoners go to work for Dell Apollo 11 crew quizzed by US Customs [letters] The Stuckist Net - what is your post Palladium future? A Stuckist Net - you want in [mail] Boycott Hollywood for Thanksgiving? [more Stuckist mail] Where art thou Stuckists? Intel reveals share denial PC scheme
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Sep 2002

Slapper Worm brought to heel

Two fresh variants of the Slapper worm, which spreads through Linux machines by exploiting a well-known flaw in OpenSSL libraries, have been sighted this week. Slapper.B (or Cinik) differs from the original worm in using port 1978, instead of port 2002, to control infect machines. The filename of the worm has been changed to "cinik.c". The worm also has 'backup functionality', of sorts. If the worm is removed from the host, then it tries and download a copy of the worm from a page on a Romanian web site. Although this virus page has now been deleted, this hasn't spotted the worm spreading, modestly, across infected Linux servers. Another variant of Slapper, Slapper.C (or Unlock), uses port 4156 instead of port 2002 in its infection routine. The filename used in this variant is "unlock.c". Both variants, like the original, take advantage of the same vulnerability in Open SSL libraries, which dates back to last month, to infect Linux machines running Apache web server with OpenSSL enabled. This is a particular concern given the widespread use of this configuration in numerous ecommerce operations. In addition, the worm contains code to create a peer-to-peer attack network, where infected machines can remotely be instructed to launch Distributed Denial of Service attacks. Most potential targets have now been patched to prevent infection, as a result of which the damaging worm has now been brought under control. Linux admins who haven't done already are strongly advised to update to OpenSSL version 0.96d or older to guard their Apache servers against potential infection. Infections due to Slapper thankfully ran at far lower rates to that caused by worms that infected Windows machines, such as Nimda, recorded last year. In related news, reports that a 21-year old Ukrainian was arrested on suspicion of authoring the Slapper worm earlier this week have been discounted. ISS has retreated from its earlier reported assertions that an arrest had been made while AV experts gathered in New Orleans for this week's Virus Bulletin Conference are unable to confirm the arrest. ® External Links CERT advisory OpenSSL security advisory
John Leyden, 26 Sep 2002

Siebel reference sites give poor references

Already reeling from the effects of poor sales, job cuts and a tumbling share price, further bad news appears to come from Siebel Systems Inc's own reference customers as they are said to reveal a catalog of issues with Siebel and its software suite. A report from Nucleus Research Inc, an analyst firm that specializes in assessing software ROI, indicates that 61% of Siebel's reference customers interviewed by Nucleus Research analysts said they did not believe they had achieved a positive ROI from their Siebel deployment. In 78% of cases, the interviewed customers cited lack of user-friendliness as a challenge to achieving a positive ROI; difficulty in customization and performance were also key issues. In addition, 57% of interviewees said their deployment took longer than planned, and 55% said it cost more to deploy than was originally budgeted for; 17% of interviewees cited consulting or consultants as the primary challenge to achieving positive returns, while customers also experienced problems with Siebel support services. In fairness, with the exception of the support issue, these criticisms could be applied to the vast majority of enterprise roll-outs. The results are based on a small sample of 23 customers out of a total customer base of about 3,500, and Siebel dismissed the results as being statistically insignificant and totally refutes the report. "It is not statistically accurate sample," said Phill Robinson, VP of international marketing at Siebel. "We have 3,500 customers around the world and our own research bears out a different result. It is not clear who they talked to. It is anecdotal and we would not expect anyone to take it seriously." Nucleus found 66 customers profiled on the Siebel Web site. Following communications with each one, 23 agreed to be interviewed, 12 declined to participate and 21 did not respond to requests for interviews. In many cases, Nucleus says, the individuals interviewed were the same people quoted in the customer case studies on the Siebel site. While the sampling is not statistically representative, what is disturbing is that Nucleus says its information sources are all Siebel reference customers who are featured on the Siebel web site and would be expected to have had positive experiences and ROI results. In response, Robinson raised the issue of why there were so many failures to respond, pointing out that in general when customers are called for customer-satisfaction surveys, they call the vendor to assess the legitimacy of the survey and suggests that this was why customers failed to respond. Robinson stressed that the Nucleus results are at odds with its own twice-yearly customer-satisfaction surveys that have been in place for several years, and are independently carried out by Satmatrix Systems. He said the surveys show a range of customer benefits including a 13% reduction in operational costs, ROI in 12 months, revenue gains of 8%, a 23% increase in customer sales, a 13% increase in customer retention, and a 23% increase in employee productivity. As further evidence of customer satisfaction, he pointed out that on average 50% of license revenue over the past seven years has come from existing customers, maintaining that that would not be the case if they were dissatisfied. He dismissed the suggestion that customers continue to deploy because exiting from Siebel would be too costly saying that customers could opt to deploy competitors' products on a departmental basis. Never-ending deployments as cited by Nucleus are anecdotal, he said, and may not take into account the scale of a project. The Nucleus report also looked at the average cost of a Siebel deployment for the first three years and found that it cost more than $6.59m on an average, or $18,040 per user per year. Based on data received from the interviewees, the company concluded that during the first three years software license and maintenance costs come to $1.501m, consulting adds another $2.667m to the bill and the cost of personnel to support the deployment is an additional $2.422m. While it would expect higher costs in the first few years and progressively lower costs thereafter, the research house which specializes in ROI analysis, found that many customers were continuing or increasing their consulting and personnel investment to support Siebel after more than two years of deployment, making a dramatic reduction in total costs after the first three years unlikely. As a result of its survey results Nucleus advises potential Siebel customers to negotiate value based pricing and defer payment until the expected benefits have been realized. However that approach is likely to receive short shrift from Siebel. "We do per seat pricing," says Robinson. "The success of a project has many factors. There can be 20 to 30 factors outside our control that dictate whether a project succeeds or not. Making Siebel responsible would make us more of a systems integrator than a software provider." © ComputerWire
ComputerWire, 26 Sep 2002

Register.com renewal strategy responsible for loss?

Register.com Inc may have shot itself in the foot to an extent when it introduced a controversial customer retention system in January 2001, writes Kevin Murphy. The company reported yesterday that it will make a loss for the first time in over a year, and its SafeRenew system seems at least partly to blame. The New York-based domain name registrar yesterday told analysts it now expects third-quarter revenue of $23m $25m, compared to a previous estimate of $27m. While not breaking out expected earnings per share, CEO Richard Forman said it would be negative, rather than the $0.01 to $0.02 profit it had expected. The company blamed a number of factors, including the general slowness of the domain name industry and a goodwill write-off on its Afternic site, which will be closed. The company also blamed, and has warned about in recent regulatory filings, increased credit card chargeback penalties, which are forcing it to rethink its SafeRenew system. When the term of a domain name registration expires, Register.com automatically attempts to bill the credit card of the registrant for renewing the domain for another year. The company implemented this SafeRenew system to reduce its customer churn, which became a significant problem with the entrance of budget registrars in the market. The system is believed to be unique to Register.com, and is partly responsible for its very respectable renewal rates, but many customers dislike being billed without their explicit authorization, and choose to tell their credit card companies or banks that the charge was unauthorized. These refunds not only mean Register.com loses the future revenue from the registration, but that it sees mounting chargeback penalties and threats from its credit card processors. Forman said the firm saw "significantly higher penalties" in the current third quarter resulting from excessive chargebacks. In Register.com's report for the second quarter, the firm said it has been "assessed significant financial penalties from one credit card association and have been informed that if we do not reduce our rate of chargebacks and refunds to a level acceptable to it in the near future, we may lose our ability to accept payment through credit cards issued by the association." A company spokesperson said: "Our problem with credit card chargebacks and refunds is not only due to SafeRenew. People who get their name renewed automatically may not want it, so SafeRenew is indeed one (significant) cause for a chargeback or refund" Forman said during a conference call yesterday that the company has "changed the SafeRenew program to 'opt-in' for international transactions" in order to reduce the problem, and that the firm is considering increasing the marketing of the program domestically over the coming months. The Register.com spokesperson said: "The other major issue that relates to chargebacks and refunds is fraud. Online credit card fraud is much more prevalent internationally than it is here." Chatter on registrar mailing lists yesterday suggests that the problem of credit card fraud is industry-wide. Several Register.com competitors report users taking out 10-year registrations using stolen credit card information, and many concurred the problem originates largely overseas. Register.com does not disclose the amount of the chargebacks, but includes the problem as a prominent "Risk Factor" in its quarterly filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission and accounts for the expense on its cash-flow statement as accounts payable. The company is also currently being sued by an individual in New York who claims SafeRenew breaches state law and amounts to "violation of certain New York statutes as well as a breach of contract, money had and received and unjust enrichment." The plaintiff seeks class status. © ComputerWire
ComputerWire, 26 Sep 2002

KDE – Red Hat spat escalates

A leading KDE developer has quit Red Hat, in objection, he says, to the leading distro's decision to "unify" the desktop. "I don't want to work on crippling KDE, and they don't want an employee who admits RH 8.0's KDE is crippleware" wrote Bernhard 'Bero' Rosenkraenzer in a posting to the KDE developers list. People leave projects citing all kinds of reasons, sometimes these aren't what they say: but we'll take Bero at his word. In August Red Hat debuted the beta of version 8.0 of its distro, which tries to erase - the hygienic word is "nullify" - the difference between the Gnome and KDE user experiences. It's easy to blame Red Hat, so we won't: it has a good business case for making the user experience consistent, even though it's carried it out in a ham-fisted fashion. There are two Linux desktop environments, and the two parties would rather hang separately than stick together. One common environment would still offer users a million ways to customize the look and feel of the desktop, and we'd be applauding Red Hat, not jeering. We'd also have a much more efficient experience: to use the best browser under the most reliable desktop now, entails loading KDE, loading Mozilla libraries, loading the Gtk libraries, then firing up Galeon. As a seasoned observer (who shall remain nameless) described it, "they'll be screaming 'choice!' all the way to the $3.99 bargain bin at CompUSA". ® Related Stories The Red Hat, IBM pitch for Linux in the enterprise Red Hat nullifies KDE, Gnome Review: Lindows 2.0 has beautiful skin, iffy personality
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Sep 2002

'Yes, I cheat', admits Microsoft manager

Oh, the perils of blogging. On her new weblog, the Belle of every PocketPC Ball Microsoft's Beth Goza admits to cheating at Xbox games. "i finally found some buffy cheats over the weekend over at gamefaqs.com. i had to do some soul searching on whether or not to use them, and this is what i decided." "it's not a matter of morality - it's a matter of economics" "will i be a happier member of society having finished with the aid of cheating. heck ya! at any rate the range of moral greyness when it comes to cheating, cutting corners etc. is pretty relative and squishy not to say the least," she writes. Not that we're going to get moralistic about it. At school, I cheated at the Rubik's Cube twice: once by removing the tiles under the flimsy pretext of "seeing how the joints worked" and again, by reading the book. When you're raised a Catholic - the guilt never leaves you. But it does confirm two of our darkest suspicions about Microsoft managers. First, that Redmond keyboards don't have shift keys. And we've forgotten what the second one is. ® Related Story Back in the Bloghouse You've got Blogs! AOL buys into homegrown media [related mail]
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Sep 2002

China implicated in Dalai Lama hack plot

China has repeatedly attempted to crack into the Dalai Lama's computer network, according to its administrators. Over the last month there have been repeated attempts to infect systems used by the exiled spiritual leader. This takes the form of a computer virus which attempts to send information back to China, Jigme Tsering, manager of the Tibetan Computer Resource Centre told AP. The centre runs Internet services and administers the computer systems of the spiritual leader's government-in-exile, located in Dharmsala, India. Tsering also alleges that Tibetan lobby groups were also targeted by the unnamed virus, which is designed to fool the unwary by posing as an email from the Dalai Lama's office. Chinese crackers also attempted to break into Tibetan systems in 1999 and 2001, Tsering also believes. The latest virus-infected emails, capable of lifting confidential files from PCs used by the Centre, were traced back to six different addresses in China, used by government and educational institutions. This evidence, such as it is, falls short of convincing proof and could be explained by innocent infection of Chinese machines by SirCam, or the like. AV experts, however, suggest it is possible that China could have developed bespoke malware in an attempt to obtain confidential emails or documents from the Tibetans. Such cyber nasties would have a greater chance of evading detection than well known viruses. Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos AV, said it was more likely that the reports referred to a piece of malicious spyware or Trojan horse than a conventional virus. Given the political strains between China and Tibet its not surprising that Tsering has drawn the worst possible inference about a darker purpose behind the virus infected emails. The allegations come at a time of particular political sensitivity. A Tibetan government in exile was established by the Dalai Lama in 1959, following China's occupation of the mountainous country. AP reports that a delegation of exiled Tibetans is visiting Tibet this month for the first time since 1985. China is yet to comment publicly on the allegations. ®
John Leyden, 26 Sep 2002
cable

HP ships Itanium workstations running Red Hat

The new HP Workstation zx2000 and zx6000 Itanium-based workstations can now be configured with Red Hat Linux Advanced Workstation edition in addition to HP's own HP-UX 11i Unix variant, Timothy Prickett Morgan writes. These Itanium-based workstations are built on HP's Pluto zx1 chipset and Intel Corp's McKinley generation of 64-bit processors. The entry zx2000 workstation has a single 900MHz McKinley chip with 1.5MB of L3 cache, AGP4X graphics, and up to 4GB of DDR SDRAM main memory, and up to 146GB of disk space all packed into a 4U rack or tower. A base machine with 1GB of main memory, a 40GB disk, an ATI Radeon 7000 graphics card, and an HP-UX license costs $5,865. A zx2000 workstation with the same 1GB of memory and 900MHz McKinley chip plus a 36GB disk and an ATI FireGL4 graphics card, plus HP-UX, costs $8,340. The midrange zx6000 workstation uses the 900MHz version of the McKinley processor with 1.5MB of L3 cache and has AGP4X graphics as well as support for up to 12GB of main memory. The high-end zx6000 has the faster 1GHz McKinley chip with the 3MB L3 cache memory. Both workstations come in a 2U rack or tower chassis. A dual-processor zx6000 workstation using 900MHz McKinleys and with 2GB of memory, a 36GB disk, an ATI Radeon 7000 graphics card, and an HP-UX license costs $12,205; the same machine equipped with the higher-performing ATI FireGL4 graphics card costs $14,160. By the way, supplies are limited at the moment as this is in back-ordered status at HP. Between now and October 18, HP is offering two special configurations running Red Hat Linux Advanced Workstation 2.1 for Itanium that it says costs thousands of dollars less than current pricing. Under this promotion, a zx2000 with a 900MHz McKinley, 512MB of main memory, a 36GB disk, a DVD-ROM drive, an Nvidia Quadro2 EX graphics card sells for $3,991. A dual-processor zx6000 with two 900MHz McKinleys, Red Hat Advanced Workstation 2.1, 512 MB of memory, a 36GB disk, a DVD-ROM drive, and a Gigabit Ethernet adapter costs $7,851. The first 100 buyers under this deal get an official Red Hat fedora and a free license to Ericom Software's terminal emulation software suite for Linux. © ComputerWire
ComputerWire, 26 Sep 2002

SCH acquires French dealership

ComputerWire, 26 Sep 2002

HP pink slips another 1,800

Another 1,800 Hewlett Packard Co workers are set to lose their jobs in the wake of the company's merger with Compaq Compaq Corp. Palo Alto, California-based HP confirmed yesterday that it had raised the number of planned job cuts following the merger, and that 16,800 workers would lose their posts by the end of its fiscal year 2003, instead of the 15,000 originally planned. Of that figure, 10,000 will have gone by the end of its current fiscal year, October 31. The increase in lay-offs was put down to "a continued market slowdown, and HP's clear intent to have a competitive, world-class cost structure." HP said the slowdown in enterprise IT spending was "persisting 6 to 18 months longer than previously estimated by most economists." © ComputerWire
ComputerWire, 26 Sep 2002

C&W preps massive job cuts

Another huge round of job cuts is expected at Cable & Wireless Plc after the London, UK-based carrier asked trade unions for a meeting within the next three weeks. With revenue on the slide and shares that have lost two-thirds of their value in the past year, cost-cutting remains the only route to an improved performance. An official of the Communications Workers Union told Reuters that employees were worried about another round of lay-offs though the company refused to comment ahead of the meeting. C&W currently has a workforce of around 25,000, half of whom work in its global operations, with the remainder at its regional telecoms unit. Even though the workforce at global has been cut by 8,000 since December 2000, analysts are predicting that another 2,000 to 3,000 jobs could go there, particularly since the company plans to stop offering services to smaller, more labor-intensive customers. Earlier this month, C&W said it expected second-half revenue in its global business to decline by about 6%, and that it was suffering from ruthless price-cutting in a sector itself suffering from considerable over-capacity. © ComputerWire
ComputerWire, 26 Sep 2002

Sony to unleash Wi-Fi, camera toting PalmOS 5 Clie

Next week, 2nd October, Sony will launch a deeply cool-looking PalmOS 5.0 Clie range, according to confidential Sony documentation seen by The Register. It's still only PalmOS 5.0 of course, rather than the Next Big Thing, but from the look of the flagship PEG-NX70V Sony is mounting a serious stab at making the stop-gap intensely desirable, even compelling. The NX70V will be available in November, and has a US price tag of $599.99. It and the NX60 have a "wireless card slot" which takes a Sony 802.11b card, but presumably no other variety. The 70 runs a 200MHz ARM chip, has a 310K pixel camera (this is the only one that does), 320x480 TFT, an MP3 player, and it does video clips too. Interfaces are serial and IR, plus a USB cradle for PC connectivity, and Sony's Memory Stick. It's very very dinky and silver, about 3x5.5in, and weighs eight ounces. Reverse-engineering the claims in the Sony documentation, we'd guess battery life will be five hours continuous use with the backlight switched off. In the package size it has a full, albeit somewhat small, qwerty keyboard. We like the infrared remote facility for your audio gear very much. Now, let's get that so it'll do the media player on your PC as well, and not bother with whole new "Media Center" systems. Despite the size of the keyboard, it's intended to allow you to do a little light editing. It has Word and Excel viewers/editors, does web browsing and email, and is is positioned to govern your life on the move, syncing with your desktop. The usual stuff, and it'll all depend on how well it does it. As slideware (which we regret is all we have), it looks a pretty convincing bid by Sony to on the one hand inject some life into a platform that is severely threatened by the PocketPC juggernaut, and on the other demonstrate to certain people which very large company really owns consumer electronics and what goes on in your pocket. We know it's not the Next Big Thing really, but we want one anyway, and if Sony pushes it hard this fall it will be seriously dangerous. Palm - not dead yet. ® Related stories: Palm 'mulled Linux' for next-gen OS Be Inc. completes takeover of Palm Don't ask - don't tell: Palm clarifies OS strategy
John Lettice, 26 Sep 2002

Most parents don't use Web filters

A new UK survey of parents whose children use the Net shows that only a minority employ a filter to restrict access to certain Web sites. The survey found that while nearly 70 percent of parents said they monitored their children's use of the Internet, only 32 percent said they used a technical filter that limited access to certain kinds of Web sites. The survey, conducted late last year by the BBC, the Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) and the Independent Television Commission (ITC), concluded that the Internet as a medium raises more concerns and uncertainties than television for parents monitoring their children's media consumption. Media publicity has made parents cautious about sites featuring pornography and paedophilia, and about chat rooms. Even when they were confident in their children's ability to regulate their own use of the Internet, they still worried about accidental exposure. However, when it came to actually controlling their children's usage, parents did very little, according to the survey findings. Most control, as with television, tended to be informal -- such as placing the computer where it was visible or only allowing the parent to switch on the computer. Parents in the survey felt this was the most effective way of balancing their anxieties with the educational potential of the Internet. Out of the 32 percent of parents whose children were Internet users who said they used a technical filter of some kind (either software or ISP-based) around 62 percent of this group thought they were effective, while 11 percent thought it blocked too little. But, most parents felt that the current technical tools available for controlling their children's use of the Internet were too complex to install and lacked simple age categorisation. They wanted simple labelling and easy to use filtering systems. However, the propensity for "accidental exposure" meant that there was a greater urgency among many of the parents surveyed that more needed to be done to deal with the unregulated nature of the Internet. "The whole issue of censorship and control has been left way behind by technology, because as soon as people got the Internet into the house, there was something so new and so different and potentially so dangerous for children in people's houses and I don't think either the law or protection has really caught up with that," said one parent in the survey. Some parents were aware of informal actions such as using the history button, registering site warnings, and using top-level domain names, but few knew about more effective parental or server-based control mechanisms such as password protection or ICRA (Internet Content Ratings Association). The study included interviews with 36 parents, carers and children from London, Solihull, Newcastle, Cardiff and Glasgow from homes with and without access to multi-channel television and the Internet. In addition, over 500 parents of children aged 5-16 took part in a survey. ©ENN.
ElectricNews.net, 26 Sep 2002

Freeserve gets nod for AOL legal action

Freeserve has been given the green light to challenge HM Customs and Excise's decision not to charge VAT on AOL's Internet service in the UK. In London's High Court yesterday Mr Justice Moses cleared the way for Freeserve to continue its long running battle to achieve what it regards as a "level playing field" regarding the taxation of ISPs. No date has been set for the full judicial review. Freeserve has argued throughout that AOL benefits to the tune of around £40m a year thanks to a tax loophole that excludes it from paying Value Added Tax (VAT). In a statement Freeserve said: "Freeserve is pleased to have won the opportunity to proceed with its challenge to what we believe to be the unlawful VAT treatment of AOL in the UK. "We estimate that £100m of tax has been lost to the Treasury through Customs' failure to apply existing law, and find it extraordinary that we should even need to undertake this action for the UK Treasury when this is money to which the UK government is already entitled. "Naturally, we intend to continue our campaign for a level playing field between ourselves and AOL," it said. AOL levies no VAT on its services in the UK thanks to a 1997 ruling that maintains that the company is a content provider operating outside the European Union, and therefore not liable for VAT. If AOL UK had, like Freeserve, been a classified as a telecoms provider within the EU, then it would have had to charge VAT. AOL UK appears to have avoided this classification because its servers live in Virginia. In March it was confirmed that AOL would have to start charging UK customers VAT from July 1, 2003, bringing it into line with other British ISPs. However, Freeserve was not happy with this and argued that AOL should still be forced to pay the tax now and not wait until next year. Announcing in March the ISP's intention to press ahead with legal action Freeserve's former CEO, John Pluthero, said: "The UK government has been fobbing off Freeserve and BT for over a year on this issue. It's time for the evasion to stop and the litigation to begin." In July Freeserve said it was moving its unmetered ISP business Madeira to take advantage of the island's cheapo VAT regime. ® Related Story Freeserve Anytime moves to Madeira EU closes AOL UK VAT loophole (but not yet) Freeserve goes legal in AOL VAT spat Tax AOL now, says Freeserve
Tim Richardson, 26 Sep 2002

Fibernet offers SDSL in Scotland

Fibernet is to roll-out SDSL services in Scotland to offer businesses a a super-fast 2Mb broadband service. The wholesale operator, which provides services over unbundled lines, has signed up Scotland On Line as its first ISP to offer SDSL to Scottish businesses. The service will be available in Glasgow initially with Edinburgh set to follow shortly. Other areas will be included in the roll-out once there is sufficient demand. Said Richard Callison, Scotland On line's CEO: "What is particularly pleasing is that this is not some far-off prospect. Businesses want to be able to take advantage of the highest quality services now. "In addition, the competitive pricing structure we have constructed will bring these services within reach of the vast majority of small and medium-sized enterprises," he said. Mr Callison's reference to the availability of the service is, perhaps, a wee dig at the progress of dominant telco BT, which will begin trials of its SDSL service from next month. A full commercial roll-out is not due until sometime next year. Fibernet has been offering SDSL services to business consumers for almost a year now. ® Related Stories BT to trial 2Mbit/s SDSL, rollout next year Fibernet offers unbundled DSL from next week
Tim Richardson, 26 Sep 2002

Virgin.net does sub-£25 ADSL

Virgin.net has under-cut the UK's big name ISPs* with the launch of a broadband ADSL service for less than £25 a month. The service goes live from October 1 and will cost £24.99 a month - a couple of quid lower than its trial price, which was run during the summer. As part of a promo the cost of activating the service will set punters back £39.99 (it's normally £59). And you can get a self-install broadband starter kit - which includes a Speedtouch modem - for £84.99. What else? Oh yes, the first 1,000 people to sign up will get three bottles of bubbly and entry into a draw to win a holiday in Havana. * Thise big name ISPs are AOL, BT Openworld, Freeserve, Tiscali and Virgin.net. ® Related Story Virgin.net pilots broadband
Tim Richardson, 26 Sep 2002

Judge postpones easyGroup CD burning hearing

The BPI (British Phonographic Industry) today failed in its bid to get an injunction gagging easyGroup and its Internet café business from talking publicly about its row with the music business. The judge did not see any urgency in the matter and postponed the hearing until next week. A dozen or so people in orange boiler suits - including easyGroup boss Stelios - waved placards outside the High Court in London in protest against the proposed gagging order. The row centres on a demand from the music industry for £100,000 in lost revenues after it claimed easyInternetCafe allowed people to burn downloaded music onto CDs. EasyGroup considers the amount of cash demanded by the BPI to be "extortionate". Related Story Stelios protests at threat of music biz CD burning gag
Tim Richardson, 26 Sep 2002

xDSL overtakes cable in Europe

DSL has overtaken cable as the most popular broadband technology in Europe, according to the latest research from Forrester. Comparing the two technologies, it found that 56 per cent of broadband connections in Europe were based on xDSL, with cable making up the rest. The reserach did not compare other broadband technologies such as satellite or wireless. In total, analysts found that almost six per cent of people in Europe have broadband - up from four per cent six months ago. According to the latest stats available from telecoms regulator Oftel, there were some 709,000 ADSL & cable modem lines in the UK at the end of June 2002. However, Forrester estimates that the number of broadband users in the UK is more than two million. Said Forrester analyst Paul Jackson: "With 56 percent of subscriptions, xDSL technologies have become the lead access mechanism for the first time. After a very slow start last year, we have seen a faster-than-expected ramp-up of high-speed services in the UK." Despite this progress in the UK (it is now the second-largest broadband community in Europe don't you know) it still trails Germany which boasts some seven million broadband users. ®
Tim Richardson, 26 Sep 2002