The proliferation of Christmas advertisements on the TV and the start of ‘it’s never too early to buy for grandma / uncle / baby daughter / teenage son / pet’ (delete as applicable) got me thinking about what people might really want, and in particular myself.
Two items of news caught my eye this week. The first was that Transport for London has extended its Wi-Fi capability to another 100 stations, bringing the total to 250. Thoughts – is that so people don’t realise just how long they are standing on the platform waiting for their tube? I used to enjoy the silence of the underground and opportunity for no one to contact me.
The other was that T-Mobile is to allow streaming from over a dozen video services, such as Netflix and ESPN, without it affecting the users’ data allowances. This is alongside T-Mobile doubling the amount of data available to new and existing customers.
This made me realise that one thing I would really like is to be able to use my mobile phone at home, off the network. No, I don’t live in the depths of the countryside but inside the M25, not too far from the Wildfire offices in Kingston. For all that, I might just as well be on the moon for the mobile coverage we get in our homes.
It is not unusual to see neighbours hanging out of their windows or walking up and down the road seeking a good signal whatever network they are on. The problem is compounded by the fact that other people assume that your mobile is your phone of choice and call you on that number rather than a landline, so important calls are frequently missed. (Funny how the spam ones get through though, but that’s another story.)
When the government announced that people across the UK should have access to reasonable broadband speeds as a right, I thought, “getting the phone network working first might help”. What happened to the idea of mast sharing to give enhanced coverage?
It seems that there are a lot of good intentions out there about getting everyone connected in many different ways, but if I can’t get a good phone signal inside the M25 what hope is there for these other initiatives?