UK Completes 4G Airwave Clearance

UK Completes 4G Airwave Clearance for Mobile Networks
The UK’s 4G airwave clearance is set to be completed later this Wednesday, five months ahead of the original deadline. Engineers are expected to sign off on work in the north-east of Scotland and the Western Isles, paving the way for more super-fast mobile networks. The spectrum was previously used for analogue TV. More than 270 transmitters have had their signals realigned.

Despite the achievement, most of the UK’s networks have yet to set a date for the launch of their 4G services. At present, EE is the only firm with a fourth-generation network in the UK.

EE launched its service last October by using some of the 1800MHz spectrum bandwidth previously used for its 2G services. It also sold on a chunk of the frequency to three, but made it a condition that its rival could not use it until October this year.

In February Ofcom auctioned off other parts of the spectrum to allow more companies to get involved. These were:

•             The 800MHz band previously used by the TV signals. The low frequency is best for providing long-distance 4G services, helping give access to the countryside, as well as offering superior indoor coverage.

•             The 2.6GHz band, which had previously been used by operators of cord-free video cameras to send back footage of live events, including London’s Olympic Games. The high frequency can deliver faster speeds but across smaller distances, making it best suited for densely populated cities.

Vodafone paid just over £790m for parts of both the two bands. O2 paid £550m for part of the 800MHz spectrum and Three paid £225m for other parts of the same band. In addition, EE and BT also submitted winning bids.

O2, Three and Vodafone had previously opposed EE’s early 4G launch claiming it would give the firm an unfair advantage.

Yet more than five months after paying their auction fees, the firms are only providing rough targets for when they plan to launch their next-generation services. Vodafone and O2 say they intend to begin “this summer”. But when questioned they were unable to clarify what they meant by the term.

According to some – including the Met Office – the season runs until the end of August. But it could also mean up to 27 October if used to refer to the day the clocks go an hour back. Three said it was “on track to launch in Q4”, meaning some time in the last three months of the year. The lack of clarity might appear to offer their competitor a marketing advantage.

Last week, EE announced its 4G service now covered 95 towns and cities offering access to 60% of the UK’s population. It added that it had signed 687,000 people up to the facility. However, some experts believe the other networks have little to gain by rushing out news of their services.

“EE’s launch prices were punitive and put quite a lot of people off, which has prevented it from achieving the momentum it could have done,” said Marek Pawlowski from the PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence consultancy. “The user research we’ve done also suggests few people have seen a tangible benefit. In areas where there isn’t much population density the network doesn’t exist and in the areas where it is deployed the fact that there are so many people using it means you are unlikely to get the speeds 4G is capable of delivering.”

To address such complaints EE is running a price promotion and is rolling out “double-speed” 4G equipment to offer downloads that should average between 24 and 30 megabits per second (Mbps). In theory that is fast enough to download a 45 minute high definition TV show in about three minutes. “We’re on course to cover 98% of the UK’s population with 4G coverage by the end of 2014, providing the fastest and biggest network,” a spokesman told the BBC.

Even so, others agree most UK subscribers have yet to be convinced they need to upgrade. “At the moment the demand for superfast data speeds isn’t there, unlike in places like South Korea,” said David Cleevely, a telecoms expert at the University of Cambridge. “Most people are using their phones for social networking or email, and when they do use them for video it’s often stuff they have preloaded.  “Demand will build as people see their peers using high speed services and go ‘wow’ – but we don’t have the critical mass yet.”

Meanwhile as the UK’s switchover comes to an end, another European country is beginning the process, Fourteen counties in Hungary had been given until the end of July to switch off their analogue terrestrial TV transmissions. The others must do so by the end of October.

Create a Staircase That Reflects the Style of Your Home

Create a Staircase That Reflects the Style of Your Home
Redesigning or renovating the staircase is not a simple undertaking. You need to remember that the staircase is one of the most important features of your home. It is also a focal point and in many homes, it is often the first thing people see when they walk in. The staircase is therefore highly important in helping ensure that your staircase reflects your home’s style, for example architecture and interior design, as well as being a functional part of the home.

There are plenty of things that would work when looking to transform your home and you are not simply limited to updating your staircase. The key to ensuring that you get the right type and style of staircase for your home is to select the one which best reflects your approach and design. Understand this and you can begin looking at online most appropriate staircase parts that will fit into your home.

Your staircase needs to fulfill its primary function, which is involves providing you with access from one level in the home to another. Once you fulfill this basic requirement, you can then proceed to look at the aesthetics and create a staircase that will reflect on the style of your home and personality.

Looking at Staircase Designs
There are various types of stairs and some of these include:

Straight Stairs: Straight stairs do not have to be dull and they can be as modern and chic as you want them to be. These staircases work great with modern architecture and the good thing about them is that they are great for limited spaces. If your home does not have much space then you may want to consider straight stairs.

Spiral Stairs: If you are thinking of having a spiral staircase in your home, you need to ensure that you have the space. This design sometimes takes up additional space (when compared to straight staircases) in the home and it is important that you recognise that these stairs can sometimes make it difficult for you to move furniture easily up and down the stairs. However, these types of staircase can greatly enhance your home’s aesthetic value.

Cantilevered Stairs: These staircases are very often stunning to look at and can work with many different architectural designs.

Of course, there are more other types of stairs and before you can pick out the right design for you, you may need to consider factors such as the height of your roof and the surrounding walls.


Important Considerations When Selecting the Right Staircase
As we have mentioned previously, when updating your staircase you should always look to blend the style and finish with your desired (or current) home decor. To achieve this you need to consider the following options:

Architectural Design: The design of the stairs must complement the home’s design. For example, glass staircases are contemporary and may not really work well in a home built with Victorian architecture. You need to remember that you cannot really alter the architecture and what is seen on the outside must reflect with what is inside.

Furniture: Your furniture and general interior décor also matter a lot. You want the new staircase to reflect your home’s style and not look out of place. Wood staircases are the most versatile and can blend in with contemporary, modern and traditional interior décor.

Staircase Design: The stair parts need to blend with the staircase and if you are going to mix up wood stair parts with metal ones, then you need to ensure that they complement each other.

No matter what stair case parts design homeowners choose. The important thing is that it complements the house design and furniture.

People now have a lot of options available to them when looking to improve their home with a new staircase or other DIY improvement. There are many staircase part designs available nowadays which are ready made and companies such as the UK online staircase parts provider, Stairparts Direct are likely the best place to start for most people.

If you are planning a new staircase project and would like to include help in the design and planning, then send staircase parts your plans and we can offer you a quotation for stair treads and the required components to suit your theme. Simply contact us via the Stairparts Direct website or email us on

Business:         Stairparts Direct