Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hull is offline people

Hull used to proud of its white phoneboxes, a symbol of civic independence. Their phones had never been subsumed by the Post Office, and as such when Thatcher decided to flog off British Telecom to pad the public purse, Hull were able to sit out the experience.

Trouble is, more recently the company was floated itself and hasn't had much to be proud off since. Especially since, in Hull, it has an effective monopoly on broadband provision. Oh, and has decided to become the first UK ISP to ban filesharers:

"We have always taken a firm line on the alleged abuse of our internet connections," said Nick Thompson, director of consumer and publishing services, in the statement.

"However, we continually review our policies and procedures to reflect own customers' changing needs and evolving use of the internet.

"It is evident that we have been exceeding the expectations of copyright owners, the media and internet users. So, we have changed our policy to move in more line with the industry standard approach."

Yes, it had been throwing people off the network for a single offence - and making them sign a contract promising to not do wrong again; it seems to think that prepending two warnings to this marginally less heavy-handedness is, in some way, an "industry standard".

It's also not clear why a company would be proud of going further than the already outrageous demands of copyright holders. Unless the company is staffed by people wearing khaki uniforms and is trying to provide some sort of day centre for supercharged neighbourhood watch types, that is. Does Karoo understand that its customers are the ones who give them money, and not the people who throw the Brit Awards parties?

[Thanks to Alan B for the story]

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