BT will turn off its dial-up internet access service on 1 September.
The telecoms firm said it was taking the step because only a "tiny number" of its customers still went online using a dial-up modem.
It added that the vast majority of its 6.8 million broadband customers had switched to much faster connections.
However, a small number of people in rural areas where broadband will not work will struggle to get online after the change.
Dial-up customers were first informed about the impending closure in May and June this year, BT said, adding that most of these people would be able to migrate to a broadband service.
The company said that the shut-down meant about 1,000 people who lived in remote areas would not be able to move to broadband as their phone line was incapable of supporting the technology.
These people were likely to be living in some of the most remote parts of the UK, said Oliver Johnson, chief executive of broadband consultancy Point Topic.
"They will be too far from the telephone exchange to get any meaningful broadband," he said. "The distance means that the broadband signal degrades."
Those who had to stick with dial-up would still be able to get such services from BT via its Plusnet subsidiary.
Some phone lines will not support existing broadband technologies "No-one is being left without the option of an
alternative service," said a BT spokesman.
Sebastian Lahtinen from the Think Broadband news site, said the closure was a sign of the times.
"It's a statement of how mainstream broadband services have become, with entry-level broadband being cheaper than the dial-up plans BT is closing down," he said.
Dial-up or narrowband, was the technology that most Britons used to go online before home broadband became affordable. It involved modems sending data over lines more typically used for voice calls. The best dial-up modems despatched data along telephone lines at speeds of up to 56 kilobits per second, though compression could be used to improve this top speed. By contrast most broadband technologies work in the megabits-per-second range.
About 800,000 people still used dial-up in 2010, the last year for which figures were available, said an Ofcom spokesman.
"The number has now fallen so low nationally that it's quite difficult to get any accurate figures from a survey sample," he said. "We think it's in the very low hundreds of thousands but we cannot be any more confident than that."
With the vast majority of exchanges equipped to use broadband technologies such as DSL there was little reason to stick to dial-up, he said.
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The Ministry of Defence ran up a £40,000 bill on the speaking clock, despite a ban on staff calling it.
Employees were reportedly banned from dialling 123 to check the
They were given a list of websites they could use to get the time free,
but calls have continued - costing a total of £40,000 in less than three
An MoD spokesman blamed the "inadvertent spending" on a technical fault and said calls to the speaking clock had now stopped.
The final bill for 2012 was £18,804 and £15,162 in 2011, with more than £6,000 already spent this year.
Over the period since the ban was announced, the MoD has made more than 130,000 calls at 30p each.
An MoD spokesman said: "A ban was introduced to our newest telephone network, but due to a technical error with some IT servers there has been some inadvertent spending on the speaking clock which has now been
"Overall spend on this has decreased from more than £15,000 in 2011 to just £6,000 this year since the ban was
Labour's shadow defence minister Kevan Jones accused minsters of breaking their promise to tackle waste by allowing "thousands of taxpayer pounds" to be "squandered on costly calls".
"Personnel who have been made redundant or the public who have heard warnings from senior officers about the government's defence cuts will worry that waste is continuing.
"It is essential that a full ban is implemented. Ministers must give the country confidence that waste, rather than capabilities, is being cut." The speaking clock service was launched in 1936 and celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2011. It has never been a free service - in the early days, calls were one penny from home and two pence from a phone box.
It used to be called Tim as people would dial the first three letter of the word "time". It is now officially called Timeline.
In 2007, Sara Mendes da Costa from Brighton won a competition to become the fourth permanent voice for the speaking clock in a BT competition that raised £200,000 for BBC Children In Need.
Ofcom today announced new measures to help consumers change landline and broadband
providers with greater ease, confidence and convenience.
Consumers currently face a number of different switching processes depending on which provider they are moving from and to, or the type of service being switched.
Not only do complex switching processes cause confusion, they
also increase the perception that switching is difficult, which can prevent consumers from moving to a better deal.
Ofcom research shows that, in cases where the customer has to contact their existing company to request a change, the resulting process can be significantly more difficult for consumers to follow.
Such a process can give too much control to the existing provider, which has an incentive to delay or disrupt the transfer. This can also result in unwanted pressure on customers not to change provider.
Single switching process
To resolve these problems, Ofcom has today decided that consumers only need follow a single switching process in future, in which the new provider leads the transfer process on behalf of the consumer.
Today’s decision applies only to switching providers on the Openreach copper network.
This includes fixed telephony (landlines) as well as standard and superfast broadband which use copper into the home (including fibre to the cabinet, or FTTC). It does not currently apply to cable, or to fibre to the
premises (FTTP) customers.
Ofcom will be considering the possibility of developing a consistent switching process for consumers to ensure they have a similar experience regardless of the network.
Under this ‘gaining provider led’ process, which is already in use for most landline and broadband switches, consumers will no longer need to contact their existing provider to receive a code in order to switch
Ofcom has also set out additional measures to help prevent consumers losing their service during the changeover process or being switched without their consent.
Claudio Pollack, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director, said: “Today’s announcement represents an important milestone in Ofcom’s work to improve Consumers’ experience when switching provider.
“The move towards one clear and simple system led by the gaining provider will result in a switching process that works in consumers’ best interests. We will now be working on further measures to improve consumers’ experience of switching.”
A clear and improved switching process to help consumers
Ofcom proposes to move to a single process based on the existing gaining provider-led system. The existing process will be enhanced to deliver added benefits for consumers.
Under the single switching process, providers would have
Ofcom aims to finalise these details by early 2014, with the new process coming into effect within a year thereafter.
Next steps on switching
Following today’s announcement, the next phase of work on switching will be focused on two key areas:
In the future, Ofcom may also review switching processes for pay TV and mobile. Today’s statement and consultation and an accompanying plain English summary can be found online.
A smartphone is commonly defined as a device that has built-in applications and can connect to the internet
Smartphone sales exceeded feature phone sales for the first time in the April-to-June period, according to research firm Gartner.
Worldwide mobile phone sales totalled 435 million units. Smartphone
sales accounted for 225 million units, up 46.5% from the previous
Feature phones totalled 210 million units, down 21%.
The highest smartphone growth rates came from Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe, the firm said.
A smartphone is commonly defined as a device that has built-in applications and can connect to the internet.
In contrast, feature phones tend to perform fewer functions and are priced more cheaply.
"Smartphones accounted for 51.8% of mobile phone sales in the second quarter of 2013, resulting in smartphone sales surpassing feature phone sales for the first time," said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at
However, a competing firm, IDC, said this milestone had already been reached in the first three months of 2013.
However, some analysts said that the price of entry-level smartphones has come down sharply over the past few months, resulting in a major sales boost.
Andrew Milroy Frost & Sullivan, "Feature phones will be a hard sell in about five to 10 years time".
We have a lot of Asian manufactures such as Samsung, Huawei, ZTE and LG who are coming put with much more affordable smartphone models," said Andrew Milroy of consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.
"That has helped them tap into a vast consumer base, especially in emerging markets."
Mr Milroy added that some mobile phone carriers had also been offering pre-paid data plans, allowing consumers in these markets to limit their bills while using features such as email and mobile applications, which had also helped attract new customers.
Global smartphone sales (Q2 - 2013)
Manufacturer Units sold (million) Marketshare
Samsung 71.4 Samsung 31.7%
Apple 31.9 14.2%
LG 11.5 5.1%
Lenovo 10.7 4.7%
ZTE 9.6 4.3%
Others 90.2 40%
Gartner said Samsung continued to be the top seller of smartphones globally, while Apple saw its market share come
down to 14.2% from 18.8% in the same period a year ago.
Meanwhile, Lenovo, the world biggest PC-maker, managed to gain a lot of market share very quickly with an aggressive push into the smartphone market.
Gartner said that in terms of operating systems, Google's Android was top, with 79% market share, followed by Apple's iOS with 14.2%. However, Microsoft overtook Blackberry for the first time to come in third place.
Mr Milroy said that given the growth in smartphones sales, coupled with a drop in their prices, the future for feature phones looks bleak.
"Feature phones will be a hard sell in about five to 10 years time," he said.
"It will reach a point where the sales of a new model of feature phone will not be able to justify the amount of time and money that is spent into developing it."
"So............Whilst we still call them phones, how much of your time do you spend using it a as a phone"??
Vodafone has revealed that it will launch its 4G service on 29 August
to customers in London after investing £900m in the network. It will roll out to 12 other cities including Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield by the end of the year, the firm said.
Prices for customers will begin at £26 per month for a SIM only deal
with a 12-month contract.
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O2 has announced that its 4G mobile network is set to launch on 29
The service - offering higher mobile data speeds than 3G - will initially be available in London, Leeds and Bradford.
O2 said it planned to extend the service to a further 10 cities by the year's end. It will compete against EE, which is already offering 4G data to 95 cities and has a cheaper basic tariff than O2's lowest-cost option. O2 - which is owned by Spain's Telefonica - has said that its basic 4G tariff would cost £26 a month.
By contrast EE's cheapest rate is £21 a month for voice and data, or £15 a month for just data. However, until O2 reveals what its cheapest rate includes it is not possible to compare the offers properly.
Telefonica UK's chief executive, Ronan Dunne, said that his firm intended to match EE's launch speeds. But he acknowledged that his network would be slower, at least initially, in areas where his rival had subsequently
installed "double speed" 4G equipment.
He also confirmed that unlike EE, O2's 4G network would not be compatible with Apple's iPhone 5, but said he "would be frankly gobsmacked if their roadmap didn't address that issue".
Vodafone and Three have also said they intend to launch 4G services before the end of the year but have not given dates.
Chris Ward got fed up with corporate life!!
Public relations entrepreneur Chris Ward is speaking to me over an internet connection from a McDonald's somewhere in central France.
He's not quite sure where because he's just completed another stage of this year's Tour de France route in aid of charity. Names and places have become a little fuzzy after the 200km (124 miles). He's exhausted. But at least Ward, 50, is practising what he preaches. His book, Out of Office, is a hymn to coffee-shop creativity and the myriad advantages of ditching the deadening confines of the office and working where you like.
"It's the way I've lived my life for 10 years," he says. "I started hanging out in coffee shops, and found I was being far more creative and productive. I do so many different things and people wanted to know how I managed it, so I wrote the
It wasn't always like this. From a young age Ward was a driven businessman, "brought up to believe that owning possessions was what you were worth". He managed bands in his 20s, then set up PR company Beatwax in 1992 to help brands target the newly burgeoning student population.
"My original ambition was to be a boss and get a gold watch at 65," he says.
High-profile clients included social networking pioneers Julie and Steve Pankhurst, founders of Friends Reunited, and various beer companies. Another project was First Movies, a research firm offering members free movies and other incentives to provide feedback to Hollywood film studios.
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