Wednesday, 12 August 2009

New downloads page on Plum Communications website

You can now view and download fact sheets and tariff sheets in PDF format from Plum Communications’ website. We hope that this will make it easier for visitors to find information on our products, services and tariffs with less difficulty.

The downloads page breaks down our products and services catalogue into 5 categories:

  • Data Security
  • Broadband Internet Services
  • Mobile Phones
  • Voice Services
  • Telephone Hardware

The page also shows our tariffs for:

  • Directory Enquiries' Numbers
  • International Landline & Mobile Numbers
  • Special Numbers
  • UK Landline and Mobile Numbers

In addition, you can view the UK and International landline and mobiles rates for Plum Mobile Saver, a FREE piece of mobile phone software which allows for low costs calls from mobiles to 08 and international numbers.

You can find the downloads page through the ‘Downloads’ link on the left hand side
navigation bar of our homepage or by visiting directly.

Plum created this downloads page and a sample home page,, using our SiteBuilder service. If you are interested in creating your own, or getting us to create your website for you, at a low monthly cost, with a content management system included in the price, feel free to contact us.

You can view a fact sheet on our SiteBuilder service and see some screen shots of the service in use through the following links: Website Design, Plum Website Screen Shots

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Oldham town centre car parking charges are halved

In a bid to ease the financial strain, on-street car parking charges in Oldham town centre have been reduced by at least 50%. It follows concerns expressed at meetings of the Oldham Business Improvement District (BID) and Oldham Town Centre Partnership that parking charges were unreasonably high and driving away customers. It is hoped that these new lower prices will encourage more customers to visit Oldham town centre and therefore increase local business.

The new charges are: Up to 15 minutes — 20p (was 40p); Up to 30 minutes — 40p (80p); Up to one hour — 70p (£1.40); Up to one hour and 30 minutes — £1.10 (£2.30). The maximum stay has been extended by 30 minutes to two hours — for a £1.50 fee.

Councillor Lynne Thompson, cabinet member for finance and resources, said: “It is crucial that Oldham Council listens to and acts upon the genuine concerns of traders and residents who use the town centre. Customers are more likely to visit their shops specifically for a one-off visit rather than browsing and we’re confident — based on what traders and shoppers have told us — that slashing these charges will help promote the health of the High Street.”

Many local traders have expressed their delight with the new lower charges. Let’s hope that the charges do help businesses in the town centre.

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Thursday, 6 August 2009

Interest rates held at 0.5% for a 5th month

The Bank of England has announced that interest rates are to be kept at 0.5% for the time being, only the 5th month that the rate hasn’t changed since last September. This stall in changing the interest rates highlights how highly the Bank of England is prioritising its attempts to encourage banks to start lending again, therefore boosting credit and raising the ‘nominal spending’ (the cash value of spending) in the economy.

The Bank of England has also injected a further £50bn of fresh money into the economy this month, therefore meaning that £175bn has now been spent on quantitative easing. In a statement, they said that the UK recession "appears to have been deeper than previously thought". Similarly, the European Central Bank (ECB) has kept its interest rates in the eurozone (i.e. those countries who use the Euro) at a record low of 1% for the 3rd month in a row, after it was cut from 1.25% in May, its 7th cut since last October, in an attempt to help restore economic growth in the eurozone.

You can watch a news broadcast on this topic below:

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“Communications not dented by downturn” according to Ofcom communications report

Ofcom's sixth Communications Market Report into the £52 billion TV, radio, broadband, telecoms and mobile industries has found that Britons are more willing to cut back on holidays and meals out than on spending on communication technology during the recession.

When the 862 people surveyed where asked which items they were likely to cut back on, 47 per cent said they would choose to cut back on going out for dinner, 41 per cent on DIY and 41 per cent on holidays. This compares with only a fifth (19 per cent) who would cut back on mobile phone spend, 16 per cent on TV subscriptions and 10 per cent on their broadband services. To view the full report please click here for a PDF version or a detailed summary. For a breakdown of the report in a particular region in England, click here.

Some general findings from the report found:

• 50% of internet users use Facebook
• There were 2.6m Twitter users in May 2009
• Men are more likely to watch catch-up TV
• Leeds has the highest take-up rate for mobile broadband (29%)
• Mobile broadband take up was lowest in the Scottish Borders (3%)

In relation to telecoms, 7 key themes have become apparent in the report:

A decade of change: the shift towards mobile and data services. The transformation of the telecoms market over the last ten years as mobile phone and internet services have become mass-market.
The growth of local loop unbundling is reshaping the internet service provider market. With the cost structures associated with providing LLU-based services determining that 'bigger is better', the broadband market has been transformed since the introduction of LLU, both in terms of market size and the subscriber shares of the larger players.
Super-fast broadband becomes a reality. The emergence of the UK's first super-fast broadband services, which are now being implemented after much anticipation, and consider how these services might impact the ISP market.
The maturity of mobile broadband. Around three million people in the UK now access broadband services provided over a cellular network via USB modems (or 'dongles'). The relationship between mobile and fixed broadband services has matured.
Smartphones and applications drive more sophisticated use of 'mobile internet'. The rise of the ‘mobile app’ and advances in mobile handset technology is affecting the way in which we use our mobile phones to access online services.
SIM-only contracts central to new focus on low-cost tariffs. The changes in operator strategy and consumer behaviour have resulted in a growth in the share of pay-monthly contracts, driven primarily by the take-up of sub-£20-a-month tariffs.
New MVNOs gain market share. The market conditions that have seen a raft of virtual network operators and service providers launch in the last couple of years and win market share

Figures regarding the use of mobiles and broadband have also been released:

Mobile phone facts and figures

  • Almost 77 million mobile subscriptions - up 3 million on the year
  • Nearly 30 million mobile phone contracts - up more than 3 million
  • Pay as you go connections down by 100,000 to just under 47 million
  • Over 80 billion texts sent last year - an average of 100 texts per person, per month
  • More than 100 billion minutes of calls - equivalent of 123 minutes, per mobile, per month

Broadband facts and figures

  • 17% growth in the number of UK homes with broadband.
  • 19 million (50 per cent) of internet users now visit Facebook
  • 29% of homes in Leeds have mobile broadband - the highest in the UK
  • 22% of homes in the Highlands and Islands have mobile broadband
  • 21% of internet users had used VoiP in 2008

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New tram stops in Bury and proposed 2nd city line in Manchester City Centre

Government funding has been granted to build two new Metrolink stops - Queens Road and Abraham Moss - on the Bury line. Transport Minister Sadiq Khan announced the funding on Tuesday as part of £30m million allocated to new transport projects. A Manchester Evening News broadcast of the news can be viewed here. Also, plans to add a tram line from Rochdale to Manchester via Cross Street in Manchester City Centre, as a means of bypassing Piccadilly Gardens and St Peter's Square, have been sent to government officials for approval. Please scroll down to read more on both events.

New tram stops

Following news of new tram stops being introduced in Oldham previously, new stops are to now be added in Bury. Councillor Keith Whitmore, chair of the Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority Chair (GMITA), said of the new tram stops: “This is fantastic news for people living in North Manchester. These new stops will open up transport opportunities to thousands more households in the area.”

Council leader Sir Richard Leese has said that the new stops should be in use at the same time as the wider Metrolink expansion, which is due to be up and running by 2012. Commuting times from Abraham Moss to Victoria will be five minutes by tram. The Queens Road stop will be located close to Collyhurst and the journey time to Piccadilly Gardens will be seven minutes. The new stops will open up Metrolink services to 34% more people living within 400 metres of a stop.

2nd city tram line

A 'business case' has been sent to the Department for Transport (DfT) for a second city-centre tram crossing to help cope with the hundreds of extra services which will become available when the `Big Bang' extensions are built to Rochdale, Oldham, Ashton and the airport. Transport bosses believe that the current Metrolink line from Victoria to Piccadilly and Manchester Central does not have enough capacity to cope with an extended system, so they would want a new line to bypass Piccadilly Gardens and St Peter's Square.

A new map of the extended Metrolink network showing the new stops can be viewed here. A map showing the proposed 2nd line between Manchester Central and Victoria through the city centre can be viewed here.

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