Virgin cable now available to 10m homes

Virgin Media has announced that its fibre network now reaches 10 million households in the UK. The roll out of its cable, which allows for up to 100Mbps broadband speeds (soon to be upped to a maximum of 120Mbps), has … Continue reading

Facebook rolls out Timeline globally

Facebook is now rolling out its new Timeline feature across the globe.

It was first announced as beta testing back in September, and then last week was made available in New Zealand as part of a larger scale test.

Now the Timeline is rolling out worldwide, so you may already have it on your Facebook profile as we type.

If you’ve somehow missed the various announcements about this over the last couple of months, Timeline replaces the existing profile screen with a more detailed affair.

As the name suggests, it provides a chronological account of your life, with a year by year breakdown on the right hand side of the screen.

The idea is that friends can more easily delve into your past, right back to birth, by clicking on a year and seeing important events highlighted. Currently, going back into a person’s past is a clunky and painful affair, clicking repeatedly back through a quagmire of posts.

Although whether some folks will want friends to be able to delve more easily into their past is another question.

However, Facebook has instigated a system whereby people can not only highlight important events they want people to see in their lives, but they can hide events they don’t want viewed.

Although the fact that the system is coming in automatically has caused the usual privacy concerns, as if you aren’t going to comb through your new profile, you might be in for a surprise as to what friends and acquaintances might suddenly be able to access from your past that you might have forgotten all about.

Facebook has given a seven day grace period upon launch, meaning when the timeline goes live on your account, it won’t be public for a week. This is to allow users to organise and vet what appears on it.

While you don’t have to switch to the new profile just yet, apparently everyone will be made to switch in a few weeks time, so this isn’t an optional move.

Responses have been predictably mixed, with some concerned about privacy as mentioned, and the usual cries of “why do you keep messing around and changing things?” are plentiful.

Others, however, are impressed with the new look. The Timeline profile features a large picture for a more magazine style appearance, and certainly looks funkier. And undeniably it makes delving back into the past and important events far easier, obviously, and a process some will doubtless enjoy.

Expect more reaction and Facebook comment flames over the next couple of weeks as the Timeline spreads its chronological tentacles throughout the social network.

BT a year ahead of fibre schedule

BT has announced that it’s a year ahead in terms of the schedule of its super-fast fibre roll out across the UK.

The roll out of fibre-to-the-cabinet and fibre-to-the-premises services was originally expected to reach across two-thirds of the UK by the year 2015, and BT reckons it’ll now be finished in 2014.

In order to speed along the process, 520 more engineers have been taken on by the company, the majority of who are ex-armed forces.

Currently some 6 million premises in the UK have access to fibre, and that will be increased to 10 million next year.

BT notes that the accelerated pace of deployment will help the government achieve its ambition of having the best super-fast broadband network in Europe come 2015.

We didn’t realise that was still on the government’s official broadband shopping list, given that there isn’t much chance we’ll be able to outdo countries like the Netherlands who are already well ahead of us in broadband terms, and unlikely to stand still over the next few years.

Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport commented: “Superfast broadband is essential for achieving sustainable growth and it is vital that homes and businesses have access to it as soon as possible.”

“BT’s accelerated fibre roll-out plan is great news for the UK. With access to superfast broadband UK businesses will have the infrastructure they need to grow and develop new products and services. This investment means new jobs today, but also allows us to build the digital infrastructure we need for the jobs of tomorrow.”

BT also pointed out that it is set to increase the headline speed of its fastest fibre product from 100Mbps to 300Mbps in the spring of 2012. The company will also be doubling up the speed of its fibre-to-the-cabinet from 40Mbps to 80Mbps.

The downside of FTTC is that even when it rolls out in your area, you’re not guaranteed coverage, as only a percentage of the area is hooked up. The exact percentage varies from exchange to exchange.