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Vodafone and CityFibre digging for gigabit broadband in Aberdeen

Vodafone has named Aberdeen as the next place where it’ll be installing gigabit broadband. Work with infrastructure provider and network partner CityFibre will begin on the project this July and the first customers are expected to be able to order Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) services by early 2019. Building on CityFibre’s existing fibre optic infrastructure, which has been in place since 2015, Vodafone will be able to pass a currently unnamed number of homes and businesses across the city with ‘minimal disruption’ promised.

Once finished, customers will be able to experience download and upload speeds of 1Gbps (1,000Mbps), significantly faster than the speeds currently offered by BT and Virgin Media’s G.fast[1] and HFC-based services[2]. CityFibre chief executive Greg Mesch said: “Our commitment to Aberdeen is further evidence of the action CityFibre is taking to deliver Britain’s full fibre future. Our existing network in Aberdeen provides us with an eighteen-month head-start on a full fibre roll-out to nearly every home and business in the city.

“With similar FTTP backbone networks already built in over 40 UK towns and cities, our contribution to national full fibre coverage is well underway. We are getting on with the job of building Gigabit Britain – at full speed.” Vodafone and CityFibre named Milton Keynes as the first place where it would begin work on rolling out new FTTP connections[3].

While BT is planning on passing 3 million homes with FTTP by 2020[4], Vodafone, using CityFibre’s existing networks, plans to pass 5 million by 2025, but in the shorter term, the companies expect to have passed one million homes across the UK with gigabit fibre broadband by 2021. Vodafone UK’s chief executive Nick Jeffery said: “Our Gigabit broadband services, delivered over CityFibre’s new full fibre networks, will help Aberdeen build on its credentials in innovation and as one of the best places to start a business. It will also transform consumers’ daily lives through superior Internet access.”

While CityFibre has a presence in over 40 UK towns and cities, the partnership with Vodafone will see homes and businesses in at least 10 more locations earmarked for new FTTP connections.

Customers in Aberdeen and Milton Keynes can pre-register at this Vodafone landing page here[5].

References

  1. ^ G.fast (uk.pcmag.com)
  2. ^ HFC-based services (uk.pcmag.com)
  3. ^ the first place where it would begin work on rolling out new FTTP connections (uk.pcmag.com)
  4. ^ planning on passing 3 million homes with FTTP by 2020 (uk.pcmag.com)
  5. ^ can pre-register at this Vodafone landing page here (www.vodafone.co.uk)

Stamp prices rising in March (and other price hikes to watch)

From stamp prices to passport renewals, you could end up paying much more than you bargained for next month. There are a number of price changes that will fall in March that could impact your budget. Which? rounds up the main hikes to be aware of and what you can do now to beat them.

First and second class stamps

Royal Mail has confirmed it will put up the cost of stamps by 2p from 26 March. The price of a first class stamp will rise from 65p to 67p and the price of a second class stamp will change from 56p to 58p. You’ll also pay 3p more if you are positing a large letter.

The cost of a large letter first class stamp will rise from 98p to GBP1.01 and a large letter second class stamp will go up from 76p to 79p. Royal Mail said it was putting up prices to help ensure the sustainability of the Universal Postal Service. It maintains the cost are still among the best value in Europe compared to other postal operators.

You can beat the price hike by stocking up on stamps you’ll need for invitations, birthdays and Christmas before the rise kicks in.

Passport renewal fees

The Home Office is planning to overhaul passport renewal fees from 27 March – and for the first time, it will be more expensive to apply by post. The change is meant to reflect the higher costs of processing postal applications compared to online applications. Below we’ve set out how prices are set to change for a standard 32-page passport:

Type of application Cost now Proposed cost from 27 March Percentage change Adult online application GBP72.50 GBP75.50 4% Adult postal application GBP72.50 GBP85 17% Adult fast track application GBP103 GBP142 38% Adult premium one-day application GBP128 GBP177 38% Child online application GBP46 GBP49 7% Child postal application GBP46 GBP58.50 27% Child online fast track application GBP87 GBP122 40% Child online premium one-day application – GBP151 n/a

You can find more of the proposed fee changes for 48-page passports and those that were born on or before 2nd September 1929 here[1].

The proposed changes are subject to parliamentary approval. But if your passport is due to expire this year you might want to renew earlier than you had planned to avoid the hikes. When renewing a passport, any time remaining on your old document is added to the new passport, up to a maximum of nine months.

So if your passport expires before 26 December 2018, you can apply for a new one before 27 March without losing out.

Mobile phone bills

EE is putting prices up for pay-monthly customers by 4.1% from 30 March 2017. The rises are in-line with the Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation for December 2017. Unfortunately, if you are still within the minimum term of your contract, you won’t be able to switch without incurring a penalty.

But if your contract term has ended, you can leave penalty-free – so you may want to shop around for a new deal to avoid having to pay more. Just be cautious as other providers are also planning to hike prices. Vodafone and O2 have confirmed they will put pay-monthly prices up by 4% from April 2018 and Three will do the same from May 2018.

So far the smaller networks – including BT, Giffgaff, Talk Talk, Plusnet and Virgin Media – have yet to announce price rises.

Energy bills

When you come to the end of an energy deal, you will be dumped onto your provider’s standard tariff. This means you will normally pay much more and be vulnerable to price hikes. There are 46 energy tariffs that will expire in March, according to comparethemarket.com.

It estimates that 60,387 households are on these tariffs that are about to end and could face an average increase of GBP183 a year by reverting to the standard tariff. We’ve listed the deals about to expire in the table below.

If you are on one of these tariffs, you should act now to stop your bills going up. You can compare and switch energy tariffs using Which?

Switch[2].

References

  1. ^ here (www.gov.uk)
  2. ^ Which?

    Switch (switch.which.co.uk)

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