Homechoice: Contracts, 512k, etc.

When are Homechoice going to upgrade to 512k?

17/7/2002 Customers are being selected for the phase 2 trials which run until November.

For further details, read the letter and terms and conditions which I have received today, located HERE.

If you want to be on the trial yourself, simply call the 0800 092 3333 helpline and ask.

15/3/2002 For the latest news on this, read the minutes of the meeting between HUG and HC.

Homechoice personnel, including those woking in sales, installation, and the Managing Director himself, have all persistently put out rumours that the service speed will be upgraded to 512kbits/sec at some point in the not too distant future.

For a long time these rumours were then effectively met with an official "no comment" by the support personnel when pressed for an answer.

On 9th January 2002 an official statement was made by Stephen Hughes, and is as follows:

We are currently developing a 512Kbps service in our labs in Welwyn.  This
service will operate at speeds up to 512Kbps when the Video service is not
operating, but will drop to a lower speed when used at the same time as
video.  The service will be connected to the Set Top Boxes via a USB port
and a dongle.

This service will then be tested by Videonetworks employees prior to
potential launch. Depending upon the outcome of the trial, we may require
to undertake a brief subscriber pilot. A selection of Subscribers who take
several VOD services and rent four or more films per month will be
contacted nearer the date with a view to participating. We have a target
date for launch, subject to a satisfactory trial which we will announce
closer to the date.

Network Address Translation

We are actively investigating how we may remove Network Address
Translationfrom our network. This will then allow all programs/software to
operate as desired by the subscriber base.

However, before we do so, we must be certain that we can protect our video
servers from external attack from hackers and also we must be in a position
to offer those Homechoice subscribers who do not have security software in
place as a means of protection.

Again, we have a target date for launch subject to a satisfactory trial,
which we announce closer to the date.
Ed, Wed Jul 17 10:47:02 2002

Update December 2003 Since early 2003 almost all Homechoice users have been on a 1 Mbit/sec download / 112k upload arrangement, in which all regular video on demand (VoD) programming has been included in the 35/month fixed charge. Films are charged extra.

NAT has been withdrawn, so that most Homechoice customers have their own IP address. This is good for many peer-to-peer sharing applications, such as Kazaa, but bad for security. It is recommended Homechoice customers use appropriate firewalls with protection against virii, trojan horses etc.

The service appears to be much more reliable than it was in 2001/2002. Download speeds are good compared with other 'broadband' connections, which typically operate at 512kbits/sec, or half the nominal speed of Homechoice. The cost of 35/month is fair compared to other 1 Mb/sec providers.

Upload speeds, however, are a different issue. Many people think the 112k is too slow. Regular gamers also report issues about ping times.

There are frequent rumours about Homechoice offering more flexible tariffs, with higher upload/download speeds, better ping times and alternative pricing on the VoD service. None has been confirmed officially by Homechoice.

Ed, Wed Jul 17 10:47:02 2002, Tue Dec 9 20:13:05 2003

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