Punch up at Vauxhall Bridge

My Brush with London Street Crime

Many years ago I was on my commute back to my home in West London. I was in a business suit, and carrying my everyday briefcase. I used the London underground, which connected to an overline railway for the last part of the journey. To get to the overline from the underground, there was a long escalator up and then a bit of a walk through a dark badly lit tunnel to the steps leading to fresh air. Actually, this was Vauxhall Bridge station. While I was standing on the upbound escalator, there was a bit of a commotion and two men rushed past me – one chasing the other and shouting – and it was apparent that the guy following had had his wallet stolen by the thief in front. Anyway, I did not do anything right away, but when I got to the top of the escalator, I could see that the two men were having a struggle, and it appeared that the thief was winning. So as I passed by, I asked the apparent victim if he needed any help: I was told to “f” off by the thief, and the victim did not answer, so I carried on. There was a second man in the tunnel who I think knew the thief – the tunnel was used by a lot of dropouts as a shelter – and he decided to chase after me. As he closed in behind me, I knew that a kick or blow was coming, so turned round at the last moment, used my briefcase as a shield, and threw a right hand punch which connected with this guy’s chin and knocked him out cold. I looked back at the other fight, which had stopped, and then walked on to the main station. leaving my assailant flat on the floor. Moral of the story – I did not know how badly hurt the man was and spent the next few days anxiously watching the local news for any reports!

Punch up at Vauxhall Bridge Read More »

Third Marriage 2015 to 2021 – Personal

So What Went Wrong this Time? I married a Psychopath..


Maria was born in 1961 and was brought up in Athens. To try to understand Maria Dolianitis, it is necessary to be aware of  the history and the mental state of this woman, who has suffered much illness in her life, had a problematic and abusive childhood, has had many psychological evaluations, and is also addicted to Cannabis. When I first met Maria I knew that she was very ill and had also been diagnosed with Lupus many years previously: she had to have stomach injections every day.   She also had a history of mental illness following the very difficult childhood in Athens.

I thought that I could make a real difference to her life and that I could protect her, and despite the language barrier, we could live happily together. Indeed, this was a reality for the early years of our relationship, but now I realise that too much damage had been done and that maybe she should have been committed to an asylum many years ago. 

Finally, I blame myself for being naive, too trusting and very stupid in ever getting involved.


This woman has major psychiatric problems, but I know now that she is also very smart at projecting herself as the innocent victim: nothing is ever her fault, and I am sure she can mislead most professional psychiatrists.  And of course she is in Greece and not England, and so later in the marriage when things turned sour, it was very difficult for me to defend myself and correct any untruths. I am not sure why she turned on me: all that I had done is to help her and her unpleasant family, and save her life on several occasions. She will twist any truth to her advantage: she will lie outright and has in her mind a totally different scenario to the reality.  I can now only conclude that she is too damaged as a person and loves only her son – I do not believe she ever loved me. I was like a father for her who could give her things and protect her. She has no idea or concept about what is necessary between two people in a life partnership. Once the money ran out, and she realised that as the reality, she left me.


I first met Maria in 2011/2012 when I was visiting from the UK. She was an attractive woman, and I was sorry for her because she had no money, and was living and working in Kefalas, Apokoronas in Crete. She was also very sick, and on one particular day in the morning – this was December 2012 – I saved her life for the first time.

I was staying at a rented Villa in Kefalas, and soon after I had first met Maria, she nearly died from a major blood outage: recognising that she was near death, I drove her to the nearby Vamos Health Centre in Apokoronas, where she was diagnosed as critically ill and needing emergency treatment. She was immediately taken by ambulance to Chania Hospital, where she spent many weeks in intensive care before being transferred first to Heraklion and then as a patient to Athens where she was near her family. 

She recovered in Athens, and because I was attracted to her and admired her fighting spirit and “will to live”, I invited her to Crete in May 2013 to stay with me for some weeks to recuperate.  

After this, our relationship grew, and although I had to return to the UK, and was still married at the time, I supported her financially from the UK so that she could afford her medication and could live independently. She had the use of a small apartment in Vamos provided by George Hadjodakis, her previous business partner in a well known bistro bar in Vamos called the Liakoto, which closed down in 2011.

Maria was addicted to Cannabis and has been so for many years since she suffered from Lupus and other debilitating illnesses: she told me that on medical advice, she began smoking Cannabis more than 20 years previously as it had a beneficial effect on her Lupus and reduced the symptoms associated with this condition. Although I realised it was technically against the Law to smoke Cannabis, there are medical exemptions, and besides, it is also a matter of common knowledge that many people in Greece have this habit. 

2013 – 2016

I gave up my life in the UK to be with Maria. We lived together first in my rented villa in Kefalas and then in Vamos for one year, and I helped her with – and provided finance for – a new creperie business in Vamos (Dollys shop) – which we hoped would be a success. Maria’s sister Eugenie and husband Dimitris had been invited to come to Crete and help run the new business.

In 2014 the shop was closed because Maria was too ill to continue to work and I looked after her and paid for all her medical bills.

In 2014  I was divorced in the UK from my English wife and received some money from the sale of our property in the UK which I planned to live on, with a new life together with Maria in Crete. 

After living in Vamos and then Douliana by renting, we moved to the present house in Kefalas in 2014 which was arranged by Stavros Stavroulakis, (who was later jailed in 2019 for drug related offences). 

We were married on May 31st 2015 at the house in Kefalas with a local civic ceremony – performed by the mayor from Vamos

In 2015, she was diagnosed as needing urgent major heart surgery: of course I paid for this and she had a replacement heart valve operation at the Onassiou hospital Athens in December 2015. For 3 months after this to March 2016 I found another property in Athens and nursed her to recovery myself. I had no help from any of her family or friends or her son. During this time, she had two chronic attacks of fever and was again close to death, but I looked after her and she recovered.

Because we needed to monitor carefully her INR (blood readings) so that the daily post operation medication could be correctly prescribed (normally a blood sample is taken and analysed which Maria found to be painful) I personally researched and bought a new INR reader machine from a German manufacturer, and my son flew from the UK to Athens to deliver this to us.

In April 2016 we returned to the house in Kefalas.

2016 – 2019

Up until this time (April 2016) the marriage was OK – I believe Maria had appreciated all that I had done for her. She had recovered and was now in good health – she only needed a regular daily supply of pills.

But soon after we had returned to Kefalas, the marriage became a disaster: she smoked a great deal of cannabis – which of course was paid for with my savings – and if she did not get the supply, and if everything was not done for her, she became extremely violent disruptive and psychopathic. There was no sex. She did not want to work or help in any way to bring income to the marriage.

In 2015/2016 I advised her to apply for an early State Pension which she was entitled to because of her illness previously – she did nothing about this until 2019 – when she understood that I had no more money after spending it on her, her cannabis addiction, supporting her family and being defrauded of some 55,000 euros by Stavroulakis and 25000 euros to one of her friends here in Kefalas – Manolis Karabinis – who had said he would make work for Maria in his Kafe Neo in Kefalas if we put money into his business. 

There were three other events which were costly and unnecessary and caused me great stress, which ultimately confirmed the breakdown of the marriage

Unwanted Puppies from Maria’s Son Marios
In September 2016 I agreed to help Maria’s son living in Athens, who had stupidly allowed his dog to have puppies: there were four puppies which I agreed to help look after ONLY for a short time until Marios and his mother found a new home for them. I did not want any dogs. I spent a great deal of money converting the house and garden to be “dog proof “. Maria and her son both lied and did nothing to re-home these dogs, and they caused a great deal of damage in the home in Kefalas, and now – after many vet bills and other expenses – they are still here. Maria did very little or nothing at all to help with these dogs from her son.

Accused of being Homosexual
At the same time in 2016 I had found a man from Syria – married to a Greek woman and living in Chania – who was very helpful to me for work I needed doing in the house and garden – rewiring, solar panel installation etc.. For some inexplicable reason, Maria became very jealous of Ibrahim from Syria because I spent time discussing with him the work needed and his family back in Syria (he spoke good English): she accused me of being “gay” and hated this Syrian so much that one day in the house she screamed abuse at him and ripped off her clothes in front of him, I was extremely embarrassed and angry and of course this ended the work with the Syrian.

Supporting Her Family
In December 2016 Maria’s sister and brother were living and working in Crete, and looking after her elderly mother and had been evicted from their apartment in Vamos because they had not paid any rent: I agreed that they should live with us which they did for four months: in April 2017 I arranged a home for them in Kefalas at a rental of 600 euros per month because it was not possible for us all to live together and with four dogs. It was agreed that they would pay me back but of course this never happened. For helping her mother and family, all I received from Maria was verbal abuse. Attachhed below is a copy of a letter I received from her Brother-in-Law in April 2017, Dimitris Galanis, and my emailed reply.

During 2017 Maria became more and more abusive to me and would shout for hours, stopping me from working sleeping or relaxing. she would attack me and break things, throw clothes out of the door, let all the dogs in the house and do everything she could to provoke me. I have photos and some video of this behaviour. I soon understood that the plan was to make me so angry that I would hit her so that she could call the police and make a charge against me. There were indeed a few “fights” but I tried always to subdue her and never to hit her. I had no-one to help me with this major problem and could not understand why she was doing this. I could only conclude that she needed psychiatric help which I tried to persuade her to take.

In June 2017 she burnt in front of me the original of the rental agreement for the Kefalas house and some other important papers she found on my desk. About the same time she threw on the floor and broke the expensive INR reader I had organised for her when we were in Athens and which she needed to monitor her health.

Attempted Suicide and the Nightmarish Aftermath

Some time later in 2017 Maria’s mother died: after some weeks in October 2017 Maria tried to kill herself. On that day she drank alcohol and over-dosed on her mother’s medication. I took her – with a mutual friend called Pari Franceskakis who lived in Vamos and was a witness to all that happened – to the Vamos Health centre where they tried to remove the alcohol and pills from her stomach.

All this time Maria was very abusive to the doctors and staff: they could do nothing for her and she was forcibly taken by ambulance to Chania hospital. I followed in the car – the time now was about 9 pm. After many hours – and much more abuse from Maria – the doctors took her out of the emergency ward to a bed in the corridor of the hospital – the time now was about 2 in the morning.

I asked the doctors what should now happen. and another doctor – who I believe was a psychologist – came and tried to talk with Maria. Again Maria was very abusive to her and the doctor could not discuss anything with her: I asked the doctor  what could be done and she told me that there were two choices: either Maria should be entered into the psychiatric hospital or she should go home since the danger to her life was now over.

Unfortunately for me, I made the wrong decision and decided to take her home because I still cared for her: in the car – on the main road – she started again to be abusive – screaming at me and opening the car window and passenger door and throwing things out of the car. She also tried to hit me and to actually kick me while I was driving – endangering our lives and other people on the road.

As soon as I could safely do so, I stopped the car close to Vamos – just outside Kalives and off the main road – and ejected her from the car. I then called the friend Pari in Vamos and asked her to please collect Maria because I could not safely take her any further. Luckily for us, Pari was a good friend and collected Maria in her car even though this was 3 in the morning: I had stopped to check Pari was coming before driving back to Kefalas, and when I saw her car on the road, I called her and asked that she take Maria to her home for the night. Unfortunately Maria did not want this and she was brought to Kefalas by Pari.

Time for a Psychiatrist.
After this episode, which Maria said that she did not remember, I told her that she needed psychiatric help urgently because this behaviour could not continue: she agreed and started to see a  psychologist/psychiatrist called Katarina working at the Vamos Health Centre, and for some time I helped by taking Maria to the Centre for what I hoped would be beneficial for her and our failed relationship.

Maria’s Plan to Involve the Police.
Unfortunately, nothing changed: the abuse to me from Maria continued throughout 2018. Some days would be ok and she would do the things around the house that you would expect from a wife: other days she would do absolutely nothing and repeat hours of verbal and physical abuse all with – now I understand – the aim of making my life miserable and trying to provoke me into hitting her so that she could call the police and file charges.

In October 2018 she disappeared from the house for one month and I understand now that she was in a woman’s sanctuary or shelter in Chania. I was only happy that she was not in Kefalas  Unfortunately she then wanted to return and there was nothing I could do to prevent this happening.

In May 2019 she filed a complaint about me with the police and I had to attend the police station in Vrisses.

Things continued to be very stressful for me in 2019 with the same behaviour from Maria, except that she did absolutely nothing to help, and used the house as as a hotel – sometimes not returning for a few days. Of course she had keys for the house, and I provided food and paid for her mobile phone and medical precriptions.  In April 2019 Stavroulakis cut electricity and water supplies to the house, which caused me  immense stress, and I needed Maria out of the house permanently.

Luckily for me, this has now happened and I will be issuing Divorce proceedings as soon as I am able to do so. 

email evidence 2017 -2018

The truth of the matter is that in this relationship, I was the victim of abuse and assault for many years as is evidenced in part by copies of the four emails below.

emails 1 to 3 were emails asking for help and sent to her brother-in-law Dimitris Galanis who lived nearby at the time.

email 4 was sent to her son Marios who had either been lied to by his mother or – more likely – was part of the conspiracy.

Of course I received no help from this dysfunctional and unpleasant family, which now I understand has never seen me as a member of the family, but only as someone who could provide financial help.

April 22nd 2017 @ 16:10 to Dimitris Galanis Brother in Law

Dear Dimitri,

Unfortunately, and as usual, you only hear or listen to one side of the story.

It is not my style and I do not think it is correct to involve family in personal issues –  Maria should not call you every time we have an argument. For your information, she tried to break many things last night (but did not burn any more contracts, thank God). I am the one with blood today and not Maria…. she has done nothing all day and is currently talking with Pari.

I do not believe I have to prove any more how much I love Maria – I think the last 3 years have shown that – but the truth is that I am not able to continue being responsible for trying to do everything for someone who appreciates nothing and tries to break everything good and constructive that I try to do. This is the behaviour of a spoilt and unpleasant child – not the behaviour of a wife – and this is my big problem with her and why I wanted her to see a psychologist for the sake of our relationship.  About how husbands and wives are supposed to be with each other – unfortunately I am sure the relationship was not discussed, which is the entire point for me of meeting with a psychologist…..why does she get so angry? why does she believe that it does not matter how bad a thing she does – and how many times – to her husband, but expects unconditional love and forgiveness for everything….

I am committed to our agreement – please do not let Maria try and give you any stress for this. Unlike my wife, I keep my promises and I will always wish and do the best for you and Evgenia.

Warm regards Richard

May 2nd 2017 @ 17:01 to Dimitris Galanis Brother in Law to Maria 

Hi Dimitri

Sorry to trouble you – thank you for last night. I am e-mailing you rather than phoning you because it is easier for us both I think.

The problem I have with Maria continues – now it is one week of continual screaming, and poison and abuse from her, making my jobs extremely difficult if not impossible, while of course she does nothing in the house, or for the dogs (unless she wants to do something of course). The plan for Maria I believe is the same as before – to try and get me so angry that she can run to the police and say that I hit her and what a bad man I am and how she was right all the time 🙁

Now I am a very bad person because we came to eat at Xaso Mari as if now I am stealing money from you because we did not pay!!!! Of course she is trying all the time to destroy any relationship and trust between me and the family – because now in her mind I am the “devil” and gay 🙁 

And why? – because I am not now doing whatever she wants.

The main problem for her now is Ibrahim – she is putting all the blame for our failing relationship on this man, and all the time I hear bullshit from Maria about how I had a homosexual relationship with this Syrian guy while she was in Athens last summer, while I was working very hard to get the house ready for four dogs,  Of course this is not true – I have never been gay and I am sure Ibrahim is not gay either. But the truth is of no importance to Maria. After months of continuous poison and lies, I started to protect myself from this abuse by agreeing with all the bullshit I heard. 

As I said in my previous e-mail, I really need some help from you and Nannie with Maria –  and I hope you will come tomorrow so we can all talk privately – including Maria of course. She has to know from you that she cannot play with peoples lives and businesses as she is doing – she needs to fix our relationship and the way to start is to stop all the poison – if she can.

Best wishes to you and Nanny

Richard xx

May 3rd 2017 @ 18:03 to Dimitris Galanis Brother in Law to Maria

Sorry to trouble you again – appreciate you have business. However, Maria has just broken/smashed the INR reader needed regularly for her tests – I have had abuse from her all day – I fear that without someone else talking with her, this situation is out of control 🙁

Richard xx (as you see from the previous e-mail, I had hoped for a meeting today..) I need help here.

August 7th 2018 @ 21:30 Extract from email to Marios Vlachos @ 

……On this day (October 2017), Manolis (Karabinakis) was at home here in the morning with us both, and we could see what Maria was doing – drinking alcohol and taking her mother’s pills. Your mother was past “reason” (more out of her mind than normal) and should probably under other circumstances have been taken to an asylum: ask Manolis.  In the afternoon I called Pari (Frantzeskakis) to come and help, and talk with your mother – Maria had taken something more, and we tried to make her drink salt in water to make her sick and evacuate the pills from the stomach (my idea). This was not enough though to prevent her losing coherence and I decided to take her to Vamos Health Centre, and Pari – as the good friend she is – came too even though she had other commitments. 

At the Vamos Health Centre, now some time in the late afternoon/early evening, they tried to get your mother to tell them exactly what she had taken without success: next they tried for several hours to make her  take voluntarily and then by force something which would clear her stomach – ask Pari

After this, they said that because Maria was such a difficult patient, and they could not be sure they had cleared the stomach, and because she was abusive, your mother was physically (i.e. not voluntarily) put into an Ambulance and taken to Chania hospital. Of course, she told me to “fuck off” etc as normal, but I followed the ambulance and was there by her bedside when they admitted her at about 9 p.m. (does this scenario  sound familiar to you?)

Many hours later – I was at her bedside all the time – at about 2 in the morning? – she was removed to a bed outside the original ward because she was out of danger, and I was told we were now waiting for the hospital psychologists to visit and assess her condition. When they came, your mother was unbelievably rude and it was clear that they did not want to keep her. I asked one of the female psychologists who spoke good English what options there were, as I thought she should stay in the hospital until she was fully recovered. The psychologist told me that  as your mother had no intention of staying in the hospital there were only two choices. The two choices were (1) Involve the police and get an order to have Maria forcibly taken to an area for mentally disturbed patients attempted suicides etc, or (2) to take her home.

By now it was 2 or 3 a.m.  I decided to take her home even though I dreaded the thought , because she was still manic.

On the main road from Chania, she started being extremely abusive and to throw things out of the car. This quickly turned to physical violence – she was hitting me as I drove the car. She could easily have killed us both. When I reached Kalives, and was coming up the hill to Vamos, she started kicking the steering wheel, kicked me in the face and kicking anything else reachable. I stopped the car, forced her out in the interests of our own safety, and then called Pari as I drove to Vamos, explained what had happened and where she was and asked her to please go and collect Maria from the spot.

Pari did that – for which I am very grateful – but that was not the end of the problem, because unfortunately Maria then wanted to come home to Kefalas and not stay with Pari as I had hoped for the rest of that night – I had had enough by then and had hoped I could have one or two hours to myself, but it was not to be.

The truth is Marios, you ungrateful unappreciative boy, that I loved your mother at the time and did everything I could, and she should really have been “committed” to an asylum for a period. Many husbands would have walked away after this one episode, let alone many other previous unpleasant experiences too many of which to list here.. 

I did not walk away or get her “committed” to an asylum – I gave her yet another chance to show me that this would never happen again. So many chances, so many disappointments ….

And after this, what bullshit did she tell you? And you believed it all???

You and your mother owe me a great deal Marios – I have saved her life two or three times and paid for a new heart, acted as unpaid and unappreciated nurse for 3 months in Athens after the operation – what a nightmare that was –  restored her health and suffered months of abuse – for which you care nothing. And you have always known the truth about your psychotic mother – are you secretly ashamed of her? Never can you repay me for what I have done for you both. My life with your mother has been a nightmare, and I now regret that I ever got involved with her.

It is unbelievable to me now how unloving and unlovable Maria is – maybe because the money has finished? 

You deserve each other.

The Ultimate Betrayal. How the Conspiracy to Defraud Began

Despite the violence and abuse I suffered from Maria for several years, I never hit her and any “injuries” she claims to have suffered in her attempt to discredit me were self inflicted.

It is now clear to me that the marriage was failing from 2016, and that her plan was then to constantly try to provoke me into hitting her so that she could call the police and cause trouble. I have personal videos and photos taken during this time as proof of her psychotic behaviour and the damage this woman caused to me and the house. 

As a result of this violence, and because I suspected that there was a link, I had told her that I would no longer support her Cannabis addiction

What is for me very difficult to accept is that I was the target in a conspiracy involving  three people – all connected by Cannabis. My own wife Maria, Manolis Karabinis and Stavros Stavroulakis. All three colluded together.

In 2017 and 2018 my wife attempted to embarrass me with lies of physical violence to the local police, and the plan presumably was that she thought that this would mean more money for her in any subsequent  divorce settlement.

When she knew that I had no more money in 2019, she left me and went to Athens, for which I was very grateful.

In 2017, Stavroulakis with the support of Maria eventually persuaded me to loan him 50,000 euros to support his Holiday Property Business. Again I now realise that there was never any intention to repay this money, but I am sure that Maria benefitted by receiving Cannabis from Stavroulakis as she had done from 2014.

In 2018, Maria and Manolis Karabinis devised a plan to defraud me of 25000 euros, which was to be used ostensibly to rebuild the Kefalas Kafeneio, supported by a legal agreement known as a KOIIN.sep. I realise now that Manolis never had any intention of repaying this money, and that some of the loans were used to supply cannabis to Maria.

Letter from Galanis
Letter from Galanis
Reply Galanis Aug2017
Reply Galanis Aug2017

Third Marriage 2015 to 2021 – Personal Read More »

A Xmas Present from OFCOM!!

OFCOM Does it Again!


Just when I thought that I had been complimenting OFCOM – the UK Communications Regulator – far too often recently, they spring another surprise on me!

Locked Handsets

Their latest release dated  17th December 2021 – reproduced in full below – addresses a problem which has been irritating both customers and resellers for years.

Owing to the financial “muscle” of the UK Mobile Networks (the main four being O2, Vodafone, EE and Three) new and existing customers buying a new Mobile package have often been seduced by an offer to include a new Handset as part of that package.

Often most or all of the cost of the new mobile phone handset would be  incorporated into the monthly payments due under the two year + contract entered in to by the customer. In many cases, this was an unbeatable offer for the consumer, since modern handsets are expensive, and payment by instalments a very attractive option.

For the Network, it was a brilliant “win win” strategy: because the customer was tied in to a lengthy contract, they made profits both on the call volume and data usage, AND the sale of the handset.

Last, but not least, the new mobile phone was tied or “locked” to that Network, which means it could not easily be used by the customer seeking a better value contract elsewhere.

Although “Out of Contract” handsets could be “unlocked” this was and still is a tedious and inconvenient process, involving a charge and often a delay.

Now OFCOM have galloped to the rescue, and Mobile Operators can no longer “lock” customer phones. Admiitedly this applies only to new contracts, and also is probably needed to help simplify problems in the offing through the new eSIM product now part of the latest mobile phones, but it is nevertheless a very welcome development.

The Good News Does not Stop There!

Almost as an afterthought, OFCOM also confirms that the Maximum Contract Term for either a new Mobile Phone or Broadband Package cannot exceed 2 years!!

This – coupled with the new directive to simplify switching broadband providers – is exceptionally good news for Consumers, Broadband Brokers and Resellers


OFCOM Release 17th December 2021

“Mobile companies now banned from selling locked handsets

Phones and internet

Mobile phone companies are now banned from selling customers locked handsets, under new Ofcom rules that come into force today.

Some companies have still been selling mobile phones that can’t be used on other networks, unless they are unlocked. But this can be complicated for customers and cost around £10 too.

Our research shows that more than a third of people who decided against switching said having to get a handset unlocked put them off changing provider. This means they could be missing out on a better deal.

And almost half of customers who try to unlock their phone have difficulties doing so – including long delays or loss of service.

So we have brought in new rules that come into force today, and mean mobile companies are now banned from selling locked phones. This will make it easier for people to move to a different network with their existing handset, hassle-free.

Any mobile customers who want to change provider can take advantage of the simple text-to-switch process, where you can now get the code you need by simply sending a free text message.

Bundles limited to two-year contracts

Other new measures that come into force today include extending our rules that limit phone and broadband contracts to a maximum of two years, so they cover bundles. Also, if a customer adds a service to their package, providers will not be able to extend the contract periods of the existing services the customer already has without their consent.

This will help give customers more flexibility to switch package or provider, without being locked into long deals.

More support for disabled customers

We’ve also strengthened our existing requirements on phone and broadband companies to provide blind or vision impaired customers with bills and contract information in accessible formats, such as braille or large print.

We’ve extended the scope of these rules, so disabled customers can request that any important information about their service – excluding marketing materials – is provided in a format that is reasonably acceptable to meets their needs, and at no extra cost.

These rules are part of a package of changes we are introducing, to help ensure phone and broadband customers are treated fairly and they can find the best deal for them with ease.

Find out more on how to make sure you’re getting the most out of your phone and broadband services from our consumer advice pages.”

A Xmas Present from OFCOM!! Read More »

Full-fibre broadband in 8 million UK homes?

The Latest OFCOM Report on UK Broadband Availability - Comment


On December 16th, 2021 OFCOM published it’s latest report on how UK Fixed Broadband coverage – or “roll-out” – is progressing. According to the Article (reproduced below) 8 million homes in the UK can now theoretically enjoy full fibre – the fastest type of fixed broadband. Less than 2 million Homes have actually got full fibre installed. For the first time, the OFCOM also report on 5G coverage (the fastest mobile or wireless broadband) and claim that approximately half of the UK can now access 5G.

Comment on Full Fibre Rollout

Whilst I would not argue with the figures or the claimed broadband coverage – both of which look impressive – the  more interesting information concerns the “take-up”.

According to the report, if full fibre is now connected to 2 million Homes (presumably mostly city based) then 6 million customers have not upgraded, which means that there is a huge market available to the various broadband salesmen and resellers.

Along with this opportunity comes a big requirement for resellers to educate the customer – after all, many UK Homeowners are quite happy with their existing ADSL for internet browsing etc and have no requirement or desire to download or stream Videos and Films or take part in online Gaming, both of which would need full-fibre speeds.

And many have not as yet given any thought to the ramifications of the BT switch off, the most important being the loss of their traditional phone line.

Here are some of the reasons why Homeowners may resist upgrading:

  • Price – unless there is an immediate cost benefit, any decisions will be delayed. 
  • Inertia/Resistance to Change – the majority of customers are happy with the status quo and need valid reasons or imminent deadlines to change
  • Education – if they are unaware of the advantages of upgrading their Broadband
  • Age – many older customers have a natural resistance to new technology
  • No Necessity – where broadband data usage is minimal (e.g. single occupancy)

Where Better Broadband is Really Needed – 123,000 Homes

The OFCOM report also mentions that around 123,000 homes still do not have access to a ‘decent’ broadband connection – defined as offering download speeds of 10 Mbit/s and upload speeds of 1 Mbit/s. However, orders have been placed under the Government’s universal broadband service that will result in around 6,500 households being connected to full-fibre broadband, and thousands more are expected to benefit from this scheme and others”. 


I would urge any reader who is unhappy with his Home Broadband Service to check out the Universal Broadband Service . Or to contact an Independent Broadband Broker – here is a helpful Video with the names of some recommended Brodband Broker Services.

For information on Fixed Broadband in the UK, choices available and technical terms simply explained, I recommend this website.

Comment on 5G Rollout

The same OFCOM Report states: “We estimate that around half of UK properties are in areas where 5G is available outside from at least one mobile network operator.” 

Again I would not dispute the figures, but I would point out that the key word in this statement is “outside”, meaning outside the Home.

Most consumers would want to use their Broadband inside the Home, and this is where 5G coverage deteriorates rapidly. The strongest 5G signal – and therefore the higher speeds – are available only with (1) “line of sight” to a suitable mast and (2) no impediment, such as trees or property walls or structures in the vicinity. Although it is possible to construct an outside antenna, which connects by cable to a wireless router inside the Home, this does add to the installation costs of the service.

However I am a big fan of Wireless Broadband, which has other advantages over Fixed Broadband and can be cheaper in the long run. I recommend this site for further information on 5G.


There is no doubt that rapid progress is being made in Full Fibre roll out and 5G Broadband, but to improve the “take-up” new customers will need to be properly educated and informed – either by OFCOM, Independent Broadband Advisers and Brokers and Company Salesmen. And if you are a potential Broadband customer, make sure you are aware of the Community Fibre companies operating in your Home Town or Area: these Broadband providers are normally independent, and can offer special deals.

The Full OFCOM news release is published below.

Please feel free to add any Comments to the Blog and/or sign up.


Festive movie favourites in less than a minute – full fibre reaches 8m homes

Telecoms infrastructure
  • Full-fibre broadband now available to more than 8 million homes, as rollout accelerates
  • Millions have already boosted their broadband, but many others yet to take advantage
  • Decent broadband at highest-ever level, but more to do to reach remaining 123k homes
  • Around half of the properties in the UK are now in an area with outdoor 5G coverage

Fast, reliable internet connections are now available to more people than ever before, allowing millions of families to download their favourite Christmas movie in less than a minute.

With many people across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland currently working from home, Ofcom’s annual Connected Nations reports on the availability of broadband and mobile services across the UK.

Growth of full-fibre broadband availability in the UK. More than 8 million homes (28%) can now get full-fibre broadband.

It reveals that the rollout of future-proof, full-fibre technology is accelerating at its fastest ever rate. More than 8 million homes (28%) can now get full-fibre broadband – an increase of 3 million properties in the last year.

In 2021, 750,000 homes upgraded to faster, more reliable full-fibre services, taking the number of properties connected to nearly two million. But these homes still represent less than a quarter (24%) of those to which full-fibre upgrades are available.

With 7.4 million broadband customers out of contract and likely to be paying higher prices for slower speeds, many households could upgrade to a discounted full fibre package without paying more than they currently do.

Why would I need full fibre?

Full-fibre connections – along with upgraded cable networks – can deliver download speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s[1], which could be particularly beneficial over the Christmas period when data use increases. At this speed, families with full-fibre services could download Christmas film favourite Elfin High-Definition in less than a minute, compared with around 25 minutes for those with superfast broadband (30 Mbit/s).

On a decent (10 Mbit/s) connection, it would take around 1 hour and 15 minutes to download Elf. On a gigabit (1 Gbit/s) connection, it would take less than a minute.

Full fibre can better support data-hungry households where family members need to stream, work, game, video-call and study online at the same time. In a year when many people continue to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, average monthly data use grew to 453 GB per connection – more than treble the level of five years ago (132 GB).

Connecting the hardest to reach

Around 123,000 homes (0.4% of the UK) still do not have access to a ‘decent’ broadband connection – defined as offering download speeds of 10 Mbit/s and upload speeds of 1 Mbit/s. At this speed, it could take up to an hour and a half to download an HD film.

The UK Government and governments in each of the UK nations continue to deliver projects aimed at making sure people in the hardest-to-reach areas can get the connections they need.

Since its launch in March 2020, orders have been placed under the Government’s universal broadband service that will result in around 6,500 households being connected to full-fibre broadband, and thousands more are expected to benefit from this scheme and others.

Many families now have multiple devices on the go at the same time for work, learning and entertainment – and the festive holidays can see a particular battle for bandwidth.

Full fibre is helping meet those demands, with millions more benefitting from faster speeds and more reliable connections. But some homes in hard-to-reach areas still struggle to get decent broadband, so there’s more work to do to make sure these communities get the connections they need.

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s Network and Communications Group Director

5G coverage revealed

The rollout of 5G mobile continues to make swift progress, and for the first time we have published 5G coverage data.

We estimate that around half of UK properties are in areas where 5G is available outside from at least one mobile network operator. Take-up of 5G-enabled handsets has increased substantially, from just 800,000 last year to more than six million in 2021.

Although doubling in the last year, 5G traffic still accounts for a relatively small proportion of overall mobile data traffic at 3 per cent, with 4G remaining the dominant technology at 91 per cent.

Overall, mobile data consumption increased by 37% in the last year.

Notes to editors

  1. By September 2021, Gigabit-capable broadband was available to 13.7 million homes (47%). This includes full-fibre and upgraded cable networks that are capable of delivering download speeds of 1Gbit/s or higher. This figure has since further increased following Virgin Media O2 completing the upgrade of its network.
  2. We estimate that 5G is available from at least one mobile network operator in the vicinity of 42-57% of premises. The range is based on the information provided to us by operators and informed by our own measurement work.
  3. An interactive version of the report, also published today, allows people to look up how coverage compares in their area.
  4. The International Broadband Scorecard compared broadband availability and take-up across 17 different nations.
  5. Improving your wifi experience
  6. Estimated download speeds used in the Elf graphic are indicative

Related content

Full-fibre broadband in 8 million UK homes? Read More »

The Formula 1 Season 2021 Comment

Mercedes Have Only themselves to Blame


I have just finished watching the last race of the Formula 1 Season in Abu Dhabi. Those who know me will also know that Formula 1 is one of my passions, and I will never miss a televised race if at all possible. My favourite F1 Racer is Nigel Mansell – who could ever forget his bravery and commitment and his hugely exciting battles on the track with other “Greats” like Ayrton Senna?

Contrast him with Michael Schumacher – a seven times World Champion – but not a “sportsman” in any sense of the word, winning at least two of his world titles by foul means.

I mention Schumacher because there was a real danger that one of the two protagonists in this year’s championship would resort to – let’s be polite – unfair methods to win the title. 

Mercedes and Red Bull – the two Teams in Contention

The F1 Race teams are run by two individuals – Toto Wolf for Mercedes and Christian Horner for Red Bull. 
I happen to like Christian Horner who is obviously passionate about his job, and backs this up with excellent team management – especially when team strategy is required. In many of the Races this season, the Red Bull race pitstop strategy has been exemplary – they have almost always made the right decisions.
Contrast this with Mercedes, where in several races in 2021, their pitstop strategy has been – to put it politely – questionable, and in my view have undoubtedly cost their lead driver his chance for an 8th World Title. There was no more glaringly obvious cock-up than in today’s final “winner takes all” Race.

The Contestants – Hamilton and Verstappen

I have huge respect for Lewis Hamilton as a Racing Driver and deserved World Champion, his seven World Titles matching Michael Schumacher. Although I feel that his personal opinions about life outside F1 would be better kept to himself, there is no doubting his racecraft and outstanding ability. Above all, he has a deserved reputation as a “fair racer”. He is in my mind the best F1 Driver out there, notwithstanding the result of today’s final race of the sesaon.
At this point I should make it clear that I wanted Hamilton to win.

Max Verstappen is another hugely talented driver, for whom I have great respect. However, his “will to win” is borderline kamikaze – and he will not back out of a confrontation which will result in an accident, even when he is the driver who should clearly give way – as most reasonable drivers who value life and safety would do. This is why I mentioned Schumacher earlier.

Abu Dhabi Race 2021

The Final Race of the season was as exciting and absorbing as one could have hoped for, but for the wrong reasons, as I will explain.

Red Bull’s Verstappen had put together an awesomely good qualifying lap (possibly with some help with slip streaming his team mate Sergio Perez) and started on Pole, with Hamilton in second. 

Hamilton made a blistering start, overtook Verstappen into the first corner, and proceeded to extend his lead, as Verstappen could not make any impression. After some 20 laps or so, Verstappen pitted for fresh tryes,  closely followed by Hamilton (Mercedes got that right – all they had to do was mirror the Red Bull pitstop strategy) and the race positions were then (1) Sergio Perez (2) Hamilton (3) Verstappen – at this point, Perez had not pitted.

The Value of a Good Team-Mate
As Hamilton inexorably closed on Perez, we were then treated to a fierce defence of the lead by Perez – some might say that the defence bordered on “dangerous driving” – but after holding Hamilton back for some laps, which cost Hamilton seven seconds of his lead over third placed Verstappen – the inevitable overtake was accomplished and Hamilton re-took the lead.

I have speculated many times on the value of a determined team-mate, for example Alonso‘s defending against Hamilton in an earlier race which allowed his Alpine team-mate Ocon to win, and possibly – in retrospect – denied Hamilton the World Champonship. Valtierri Bottas – Hamilton’s team-mate – has failed time and time again to  put up any resistance in similar scenarios.

The Finale

Having passed Perez, Hamilton’s lead over Verstappen had reduced to under 2 seconds, and both drivers were now on hard tyres which could last until the end of the race. However, Hamilton started to pull away again, the lead extending lap by lap until it was some 8 seconds, a comfortable gap to defend. At this point, with only six or seven laps remaining, barring some major track incident, the race was Hamiltons.

Safety Car

Unfortunately for Hamilton and Mercedes, the young and relatively inexperienced Williams driver Latifi lost control of his car and slammed into the barriers, with about six laps remaining. This meant a Safety Car, and Red Bull took full advantage by pitting Verstappen almost immediately for a fresh set of soft tyres (the fastest compound)

This was where Hamilton lost the Race and the Title – inexplicable behaviour from the Mercedes team, which was later compounded by the Race Director, Micahel Masi, in an inexplicable “about turn”, allowing lapped cars to overtake the Safety Car, which meant that Verstappen regained second place immediately behind Hamilton, on brand new fresh tyres.

When the Safety Car pitted and the race restarted with only one lap remaining, there was only going to be one winner.

If I was Lewis Hamilton, I would be extremely unhappy with the Mercedes Team, whatever diplomatic language we may hear from him. A lack of strategic common sense from his support team has definitely cost him an 8th Formula 1 World Title.

Analysis – Final Pit Stop

Red Bull
There was only one option open to Red Bull when the Safety Car was deployed: Verstappen was never going to catch Hamilton if he stayed out with the Hard Compound Tyre. Bringing him in as soon as possible and hoping for an opportunity was a “no brainer”

The situation was admittedly more complex for Mercedes. Their driver had performed brilliantly, done all he could be expected to do, and the only scenarios which could prevent Hamilton from winning were either a car problem (maybe tyre related) or a Safety Car.

Earlier in the race, Hamilton’s engineer was on the radio asking which tyre he would prefer in the event of a Safety Car – Hard or Medium – which meant that they were at least alive to that possibility. This should have meant that strategies had been prepared.

However, once the Red Bull had pitted for new tyres, the Mercedes team seemed unsure what to do: there was TV footage of Mercedes mechanics appearing to be ready for Hamilton pitting, only to then return to the garage – this happened a couple of times while the race continued slowly behind the Safety Car. Presumably they then thought that it was too late to pit, and maybe the Safety Car would remain out for the rest of the race. Unfortunately, this did not happen.

If Verstappen had stayed out on track, and not pitted, the right decision would have been to leave Hamilton there too. However, the reason these guys at Mercedes are paid the “big bucks” is because they should be able to predict factors such as the actions of the Red Bull Team, the likely delay necessary to clear the track (the position of the crashed car) and the number of laps remaining in the race when and if the Safety Car was no longer deployed. 

The correct decision would have been to bring Hamilton in for fresh tyres as soon as possible, and even before Verstappen, if the Pit Lane entrance had been available. Even if he then dropped a couple of places to Verstappen, he would still have had a fighting chance for the win. Once that window of opportunity had closed, they could only hope that the race would finish under the safety car.

Conclusion – An Unfair Result compounded by Inconsistency

The outcome of the final race of the 2021 season and the winner of the Formula 1 World Title was decided by a back marker crashing out of the race. Red Bull and Verstappen should be extremely grateful to Nick Latifi.

And Micahel Masi must go – there is no place for inconsistency in Formula 1 especially from the Race Director, He has lost the confidence of the Teams and many of the drivers.

Please feel free to add any Comment – see below. Did you watch the race?

The Formula 1 Season 2021 Comment Read More »

OFCOM is doing its job!

Latest OFCOM Report - Why You should'nt hesitate to change Your Broadband Supplier.

As my readers will know, I am no fan of Regulatory Bodies, but where they are doing a decent job, I am more than happy to say so. Reproduced below is the latest report from OFCOM (dated 30th November 2021) in its entirety.


This OFCOM report centres on residential rather than business customers, but if you are “out of Contract” – i.e. free to move suppliers without penalty – the typical savings are about £5 per month. 
This is surely worth having especially since OFCOM have simplified the switching process.
Apart from the cost saving, the benefits may well include a faster Broadband Service

So how do you go about changing providers? 

If you don’t want the hassle of contacting individual suppliers, I recommend the services of a suitable UK Broadband Broker – here is a short Video about Broadband Brokers.

Or  just complete a FREE Broadband Report

OFCOM Publication 30th November 2021

  • 1.3 million broadband users secure better deals since introduction of prompts to shop around
  • Overpayment among mobile customers has dropped by £100m, after operators committed to cut prices when initial contracts end
  • Vulnerable broadband customers who are out of contract have greater protection from higher prices

More broadband and mobile customers are shopping around and signing up to better deals – and saving themselves millions of pounds – following Ofcom rule changes.

Last year, around two thirds (62%) of broadband customers who were nearing the end of their contract either signed up to a new deal with their current provider, or switched to a new one when their existing deal ended. This is up from 47% of customers in this position in 2019.

In addition, the number of broadband customers who are out of contract fell from 8.7 million (40%) in 2019 to 7.4 million (35%) in 2020. On average, these customers pay around £5.10 per month more than they need to.

End-of-contract alerts prompt customer action

Last year, new Ofcom rules came into force that require phone, broadband and pay-TV providers to warn customers when their current contract is ending, and what they could save by signing up to a new deal.[2] We also secured commitments from major telecoms firms to reduce the bills of many out-of-contract customers.

On average, out-of-contract broadband customers pay


more than they need to each month

There is evidence that indicates that these timely prompts from providers are working. In our research, two thirds of customers who were sent an end-of-contract notice recalled receiving one. Of those, 90% found it helpful and a fifth reported that they were prompted into action they would not have otherwise taken.

Broadband customers better off

The number of broadband customers who were out-of-contract in 2020 fell by around 1.3 million from the previous year. This reduction was largely driven by people securing a new contract with their existing provider, rather than switching. The average prices paid by broadband customers also fell over the same period, from £39 in 2019 to £38.10 in 2020, while average speeds continued to increase.

Our analysis also shows that some providers have a greater proportion of out-of-contract customers than others. More than half of Virgin Media’s customers (52%) remained out of contract in 2020 – although less than in 2019 (61%) – while EE had the lowest proportion at 21% (down from 24% in 2019). Plusnet saw the biggest decrease in the proportion of out-of-contract customers year on year – from 42% to 31%.

In September 2020, 52% of Virgin Media customers were out-of-contract. This was higher than Sky (32%), Plusnet (31%), TalkTalk (29%), BT (28%) and EE (21%).

Mobile customers save £100m

Mobile customers on bundled contracts, who pay for their handset and airtime together, are particularly likely to sign up to a new deal when their existing one expires, with just 11% of these customers out of contract. And our research suggests customer engagement in the market is increasing.

Since the commitments we secured came into effect, more than three quarters (76%) of mobile customers on bundled tariffs who were nearing the end of their contract took action to shop around and secure a new deal – up from 70% in 2019.

Also, the amount that bundled out-of-contract mobile customers overpay, relative to customers on like-for-like SIM-only deals, has more than halved – from £182m in 2018 to £83m in 2020.

Vulnerable customers protected

Vulnerable broadband customers who pass the end date of their initial deal now also have greater protection from higher prices, due to the commitments we secured from providers.

On average, these customers pay around £2.30 per month more than their provider’s average price for their service, a significant reduction from £4.40 in 2019.

Prompts from providers are turning into pounds in people’s pockets. It’s great to see more people shopping around and saving money since we took action.

But millions are still potentially paying more than they need to. We’ve made it easier to grab a better deal, so it’s worth taking a few minutes to check what’s out there.

Cristina Luna-Esteban, Ofcom’s Director of Telecoms Consumer Protection

Are you in or out of contract?

Out-of-contract customers don’t have to wait to hear from providers before securing a better deal. Ofcom has a simple, three-step journey to help people find the best offers on the market.

Notes to editors

  1. Figures for broadband and mobile customers nearing the end of their contract who either signed up to a new deal with their current provider, or switched to a new one are from September 2020 and September 2019.
  2. End-of-contract notifications came into force on 15 February 2020. They can be sent by text, email or letter – between 10 and 40 days before a contract comes to an end – and must include:
    1. when your contract is up;
    2. what you’ve been paying until now, and what you’ll pay when your contract is up;
    3. any notice period for leaving your provider; and
    4. your provider’s best deals, including any prices only available to new customers.
  3. Ofcom conducted research among a sample of customers of five mobile and three broadband providers, who had been sent an ECN for a service contract ending in September 2020.
  4. Average broadband prices are based on customers from six providers from whom we obtained data (BT, EE, Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media).

OFCOM is doing its job! Read More »

UK Broadband and BT’s SoGGY

Comment on Broadband in Britain and BT's SoGGY

At Power Comms, we are building some new customer sites to promote UK Broadband Broker Services, as a result of which I needed to dive back into this market place and update myself with all the changes to the Broadband services and products.

As a small business owner for the last 40 years or so, I have regarded IT Departments and Marketing Departments with deep suspicion. Whilst they may be a necessary evil in large organisations, it seems to me that the inhabitants of these departments are working to protect their jobs by producing a large amount of b***shit designed to cloak their activities and promote their indispensabiliy to their bosses. One of the ways this is done is to come up with new and impressive names for simple functions or new services. The Telecoms industry is a case in point. 

And BT (British Telecom – the UK’s largest PSTN) does not disappoint. With the advent of the heavily promoted “Switch Off”, their replacement Broadband Service for ADSL and ISDN services is called SoGEA – which apparently stands for “Single Order Generic Ethernet Access”. Who the f*** came up with that one? What idiot in BT’s Marketing Department seriously thinks that the vast majority of BT customers (home-owners and small businesses) will be impressed? Which customer will give a s**t about “Single Order“? What the f*** does “Generic” mean in this context? Why use the technical term “Ethernet“?

Moving on to IT departments, the Broadband industry has spawned a whole new Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations. Some of the new stuff is fair enough – FTTC, FTTP, FTTH, FTTDP – where the FTT stands for Fibre To The …but do we really need GPON, EoFTTC, GEA etc. etc.?

And while on the subject of ridiculous names and abbreviatons, who the hell came up with the names “Openreach” and LLU (Local Loop Unbundling) to describe the sharing of BT’s UK Network, and The Channel to describe the UK Telecom Reseller Business?

So what opportunites are there for UK telecoms resellers in the new Broadband environment, where the news is all about faster and faster fixed broadband speeds, Fibre Roll Out (another dubious name) and 5G Networks?

OFCOM’s latest initiative will be a big help.

Fixed Line Broadband.
The market of potential customers in the UK for Fixed Line Broadband is broadly divided into two sectors: the large business (for example Corporations and Government Departments with 100s of employees and a giant appetite for Broadband) and secondly the end-consumer – Homeowner and Small Business.

The first sector – big business – is pretty much wrapped up by BT or Openreach. There are signs of some major city-based competiton for the provision of ultra fast broadband – for example Community Fibre in London, who recently raised £400 million to further facilitate their own independent fibre network. However, larger companies usually have their own IT Departments who have something to prove, and will be a hard nut to crack for the average Reseller.

The second sector – Homeowners and small business – is an easier target, even though many of those potential customers have existing contracts with the Incumbent (another dreadful word, which means BT) and the main competition wil be from SoGEA. One major difficulty for resellers will be in overcoming the normal antipathy of customers to changing suppliers, even though it would be to their clear advantage to do so. Resellers will be helped by the BT Switch Off  which will provide a unique selling opportunity, and may be able to persuade some of these customers to consider changing to Wireless Broadband  but I expect fierce competition from the BT salesforce, who will be tasked with doing whatever it takes to retain customers reaching the end of their contract periods.

What About Making and Receiving Phonecalls?
In all the excitement generated by “fibre optic rollout” and the “switch off” and “5G” it is often possible to overlook the fact that the majority of customers in the UK are not that interested in superfast broadband: most of them just need to know that they can continue to make and receive phonecalls and that their internet service will be at least as good if not better. So keeping their phone number is almost always important, together will the ability to make and receive local UK calls (for free if possible). They need to understand if a new handset or router is required, and if they have to pay for it, and how the new VOIP based services will affect them. 

Fixed Wireless Broadband
Although mostly controlled by the “Big Four” (Vodafone, O2 EE and Three), fixed wireless broadband offers good opportunities for Resellers in all customer sectors – including Big Business.

For data hungry companies, a line of sight 5G service to a nearby mast will offer seriously fast Broadband, often matching Leased Line and other FTTP services. Obviously, location and mast proximity will be key factors.

For small businesses and Home Owners, most locations will have 4G coverage, and the broadband speeds available via a suitable fixed wireless 4G or 5G router will often be more than sufficient. And a final mention of  prepaid or PayAsYouGo (PAYG) options, which are available for the purchase of Data in some Mobile Networks – thus avoiding the need for a Contract.

Mobile Broadband – Retail
By UK Mobile Broadband, I mean access to the Internet via a 3G or 4G connection using a SIMcard provided by the Network Operator. Normally, the SIM provided allows both Voice and Data, so that voice calls are made and received over the Network Operator’s routing which gives them control of pricing. There is normally a 12 month (or longer) contract in place which may also include the cost of a locked smartphone – giving the Network Operators another source of income. 

The opportunity here is that many data only SIM products are available from the same Networks, which can be used to provide the 3G or 4G Broadband via an unlocked smartphone or a dongle or MiFi (Wireless Router) on many wireless devices such as a Tablet or a Laptop. The data SIM can also be used with an unlocked wireless router.

VOIP services can be used to make and receive phonecalls to those devices independently of the Mobile Networks. And these SIM packages can be PAYG – so no contract required.

Satellite Broadand
Although Satellite Broadband has been thought of as a niche product, only suitable for consumers in rural areas – i.e. outside traditional cable network coverage or the range of wireless masts – the Broadband speeds and reliability of Satellite Broadband have markedly increased in the last 10 years. 
Providing the installation of a satellite dish prevents no obstacle (planning permission and/or cost) there are good reasons for considering Satellite Broadband, which include redundancy (as a back up service) and the international coverage available. So there are opportunities here for resellers.

Final Thoughts?
A Broadband reseller, will need to be familiar with all the Broadband options available and to be prepared to fight to win new customers by offering them something special. Only one thing springs to mind: first class personal service (one on one is always the best)

UK Broadband and BT’s SoGGY Read More »

Roaming Charges for UK Customers


I suppose it was inevitable that BREXIT would affect the UK’s travelling public.

Sure enough, the National Telecom Operators (both in and outside the UK) have reacted by imposing much higher charges on those customers who use their mobile phones abroad: this is known as “Roaming” and a good explanation of Roaming can be found on our independent Calling Accounts website at

Prior to “Brexit”, roaming charges in the EU had stabilised to a reasonable level, but now as can be seen from the OFCOM article reproduced below, the “big four” UK Mobile Network Operators – O2, EE Vodafone and Three – have jumped on the bandwagon, and used BREXIT as a reason (excuse?) for imposing much higher prices.

Our Advice

It is always worth checking out independent SIM cards – providing your phone is unlocked.

Otherwise, you may be able to purchase a “local” data only SIM card affiliated to and provided by your Home Mobile Network, and then use a VOIP solution via a Mobile Phone App (requires Internet Access)

Lastly, Calling Accounts can offer local access numbers in various different countries which bypass the requirement for internet, but this still requires a local SIM card.


“Travelling abroad? Don’t forget to check for roaming charges”

If you’re looking to head abroad soon, it’s important to be aware of any charges you could face for using your mobile phone when you’re outside the UK.

Since 31 December 2020, the EU rules on mobile roaming charges no longer apply in the UK. That means the amount your mobile provider can charge you for using your mobile phone in EU countries, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein is no longer capped.

Some mobile companies have recently announced changes to their charges for using your mobile when in the EU.

  • EE has confirmed that from January 2022, customers joining or upgrading from 7 July this year will pay £2 a day to use their usual data allowances. This charge will not apply to customers when in the Republic of Ireland.
  • O2 has announced a new 25 GB limit for customers traveling to the EU from 2 August 2021. Customers will pay £3.50 per GB after they have reached that limit.
  • Three: From 23 May 2022 customers who have taken out a new contract or upgraded with Three from 1 October 2021 will pay a charge of £2 per day when roaming within the EU and £5 a day when roaming outside the EU. Pay-as-you-go customers and customers who have taken out a contract before 1 October 2021 are unaffected by these changes, as will customers roaming in the Republic of Ireland.
  • Vodafone: From 6 January 2022, pay-monthly personal and small-business customers who join Vodafone, upgrade or change their plan on or after 11 August 2021 will pay a daily charge for using their phone in Vodafone’s European roaming zones. Customers whose Vodafone Pay monthly plan started before 11 August 2021 will pay no additional roaming charges as long as they stay on their current mobile plan. For other business customers, changes will come into effect from November, but charges will not start until 6 January 2022.

Ofcom does not have the power to prevent mobile companies from charging customers for using their services when travelling, but there are a number of measures in place to protect people from running up unexpectedly high bills.

Mobile companies must tell their customers about any contract changes. Where those changes will particularly disadvantage customers, companies must give customers at least a month’s notice and the right to exit their contracts without being penalised.

Providers must also publish details of roaming charges on their website and send you an alert with pricing information when you start roaming.

There is also a £45 (excluding VAT) per month cap on all roaming charges. Your provider will send you an alert once you reach 80% of this and another once you have reached the limit. After this, providers must stop charging for roaming unless you opt-in to continue.

So if you are travelling abroad it is important to check with your provider what charges you may have to pay, before you leave the UK.”

Article reproduced from OFCOM September 6th 2021 

Roaming Charges for UK Customers Read More »

UK Broadband Switching made easy

Fairer Broadband Choices for UK Consumers


I am no big fan of OFCOM: being part of a small business, we seem to be constantly fighting both our competition and the Regulators.

OFCOM – the UK Communications Regulator – has an unusually large remit.

From initial responsibility only for the telecommunications sector in the UK, it has now assumed control over all types of communication in the UK, including Broadcasting (TV Satellite etc) and even the Postal Services.

My experience is that too often OFCOM has been guilty of siding with the large operators in the Telecoms sector, and not supporting the smaller. Recent examples are the handling of the “Nuisance Calls” problem and the proposal to do away with revenue share on Non Geographic Numbers

The first has led to large rises in call charges across the board affecting both the small business and the end consumer.

The second will adversely affect small businesses in the Telecoms sector, and lead to a reduction of choice of service for consumers.

However, this latest action by OFCOM is very good news for consumers of Broadband. For too long, the customer has been “locked in” to a Broadband Service  and this latest move by OFCOM is to be applauded!

Full Text of the September release from OFCOM - Good News for UK's Broadband Customers

“Simpler broadband switching in as little as a day”

“Broadband and landline customers will find it easier than ever to change provider and secure a better deal, under a new ‘One Touch Switch’ process announced today by Ofcom.  

The change means all home broadband users – including cable and full fibre customers – will only have to contact their new company to switch, with no need to speak to their current provider before making the move.  

People can already switch between providers on Openreach’s copper network, such as BT, Sky and TalkTalk by following a process where their new provider manages the switch. 

But for the first time, customers switching between different networks or technologies – for example, from a provider using the Openreach network to one using CityFibre’s, or from Virgin Media to Hyperoptic – will be covered by the simpler process. 

Currently, these customers need to contact both their existing and new provider to co-ordinate the switch, which includes trying to bridge the gap between the old service ending and the new one starting.

An Ofcom news release with more detail about the announcement is also available.”

Article reproduced from OFCOM Spetember 26th 2021

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The Rise and Rise of Call Charges in 2021



This year 2021 has seen an unprecedented reversal of the trend towards lower costs for telephone calls – particularly for International calling. These increases have been imposed by both cable and mobile networks.

So why is this, when to all intents and purposes – with the growth in coverage of fibre optic cabling and the rollout of 5G – call costs should be trending downwards?

I should make clear that this Blog concerns International Call traffic and does not relate to telecom businesses offering Broadband VOIP and PBX services to contracted residential and business customers in the UK or elsewhere.

Neither does it relate to international calls made by internet users with popular apps such as WhatsApp and Skype: this form of communication – where endusers can talk for free with friends and family abroad using the same app – has severeley impacted on the marketplace for international calling, to the extent that Telecom Service Providers previously offering international calling as their “lead product” are now relegated to niche players.

Although our niche client customers are primarily retail and resident in the UK, where the “post Brexit” scenario has been a marvellous reason (excuse?) for Networks like EE and Vodafone to re-establish Roaming charges, the general increases seen in international telephony costs are caused by other factors, which are not related to the COVID 19 crisis. For example, there have been sizable increases in the rates to call certain Mobile networks in  the EU.

The reasons for these increases have not been fully revealed or explained by the networks involved or their regulatory bodies.

In this Blog, I speculate on some of the real reasons behind the increases.


Put simply. the only influence over the PSTNs and major Mobile Networks is that exerted by the respective Regulators, who in turn are tasked by Governments to prevent unduly high call prices (competition?) and to address and/or react to the concerns of the Public. In the UK for example, the appropriate Regulator is OFCOM

One such concern which has been around for a long time is the excessive number of inbound “nuisance” calls received by the public from either salesmen or customer call centres. I have to agree – it does annoy me to receive a call from someone who I do not know on my private number (at least I thought it was private) and who tries to sell me some service or product – which may or may not be legal, and often involves the potential for fraud.

This problem became more widespread with the use of SIP/VOIP telephony and sophisticated call center programmes by the businesses involved in the practice, which allowed high numbers of “impersonal” calls to be made at very low cost, and from various countries where telephony regulation was a good deal more lax – for example India.

CLI/ANI Compulsory
In order to combat this nuisance call epidemic, and to be able to identify the “culprits”, there has been since the end of 2020 a global tightening of the rules: effectively, no inbound call can now be received without the caller’s identity being transmitted – CLI (ANI in the USA)  

For the UK, OFCOM has produced more information on Nuisance calls and what they describe as “Number Spoofing Scams”

Naturally, as with other regulatory enforcements – some “babies are thrown out with the bathwater” – and many smaller operators and telecom service providers have had to adjust their services to comply with the new caller identity directive. 

The Effect on International Call Rates
Again – put simply – the International Regulators have authorised penalties to be applied to any incoming calls that do not meet the Caller Identity criteria. This of course is not a problem for the PSTNs and major networks who are responsible for 99% of call traffic – but it does mean that the smaller operators (competition?) who piggyback on these major networks have to apply increased vigilance and some of them have chosen to cease offering some call termination services, and/ or just increase rates to certain destinations to compensate: this in turn adversely affects the whole chain of telephone service providers, from the medium size to the small.


Fraud in this context does not relate to the fraud potentially involved in a Nuisance Call as described above.

I am referring to the non-payment of call charges due, usually affecting the higher priced international destinations such as countries in Africa and the Middle East, and calls to Premium Rate Numbers which has been a problem prevalent within the telecoms Industry – particularly with the “second tier” Carriers and smaller telecom operators – i.e. not PSTNs 

The fraudsters range from those exploiting smartphone technology to internet hackers – who try to access mobile phones and telephone accounts and the servers hosting telephone switches so that they can open call channels to make free international calls or calls to premium rated numbers. There are also dishonest resellers who have no intention of paying suppliers for calls made by their customers.

As far as we know, the major International PSTNs and Network Operators have not been directly exposed to this problem, although there have been rumours that the “netting off” procedure described below has been abused by some Carriers or Networks from countries not regulated in the same way.

Large international telecom companies have a procedure known as “netting off” to establish who owes what: it is obviously not practical to individually invoice each call out of the millions of calls made daily: as a very simple example, 10 million minutes of calls from Indian Operator X  made and delivered to the USA on Operator Y’s Network may be “netted off” against 10 million minutes made and delivered to India on Operator X’s network from USA Operator Y.

As they own the fibre optic cable networks or mobile networks, and they are dealing with other large Corporations, major telecom Operators are unlikely to suffer from non-payment. However, there have been instances of major problems with large telephone companies – WorldCom for example, 20 years ago, although this was more to do with fraudulent internal accounting practices rather than any non-payment of revenue owing.

The problems mainly affect businesses further down the Telecoms “food chain” – such as Service Providers, who do not own a network and rely on agreements with major operators to deliver their traffic. And these operators will normally require prepayment of  call credit, so that they are insulated from any risk of bad debt. Even if there is no prepayment in place, the Service Provider will be liable to the Carrier for any fraud perpetrated – and their customers or endusers are normally protected.

The Effect on International Call Rates
Successfully combatting the risk of fraud and hacking attacks inevitably results in higher call prices.


If I was the CEO of a major international Telecoms Company, for example a PSTN with an existing cable network and with a large shareholding in a Mobile Network, I would argue that many of the problems and issues described in this Blog could be avoided if telephony was left in the hands of large well funded organisations and that all customers – both retail and business – should be on a monthly contract for all their telecom and internet requirements.

However, for good or bad, most International Regulating Bodies have decided that consumers should be allowed the choice and that competition is desirable within their national Telecoms industry, particularly with regard to call costs.

The problem is that with the rise and rise of the main Mobile Networks – many owned by the Cable Networks – and with the control exerted over mobile phones and their operating systems – the opportunity for true competition is decreasing. For example, in the UK there are effectively four choices for Mobile networks (Vodafone, EEowned by BT the UK PSTN02 and Three) with very similar packages available: is this competition? And since most people now use their mobile phones most of the time, as a matter of convenience, the natural choice for international calling would be either through routes provided by and controlled by those four major Mobile Networks or via internet apps like Skype.

The Effect on International Call Rates
Where no real competition exists, the only trend for prices is upwards.


it was inevitable that Brexit would provide an excuse for price increases, and so it has proved – with Vodafone and EE announcing steep price increases on Roaming charges (using your mobile phone abroad). It is expected that O2 and Three will shortly announce similar increases – so much for “competition”.

Some years ago, the cost of using one’s mobile phone to call home from abroad was outrageously expensive: in the UK, following complaints from the public and intervention from the Regulator, this was corrected and charges reduced to reasonable levels.

The Effect on International Call Rates.
Now – with the marvellous excuse that is Brexit – charges are set to rise again to much higher levels.


Someone has to pay for the costs of Regulation and Fraud and you can bet your life that it is not the major Telecom Operators.

These costs are passed on “down the line” to the Service Providers and the public in the form of higher charges, which leaves the way clear for the empire building to continue at the top of the Telecoms tree, where the target is to build faster and larger networks – either by Investment in new networks or by Takeover (buying out the competition)

The reasons for many of the price increases in 2021 remain unclear – they cannot in my opinion be explained solely by Regulation and Fraud. 

It seems far more likely that the issues outlined in this Blog have been used as excuses for the largest companies in the telecommunications sector to hike prices. So much for true competition in the Telecoms Industry.

Let us hope that the Telecom Regulators actually do their job – which is primarily to create competition and keep costs competitive.

They are failing the Public at the moment.

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