BBC Radio 5 commentary on Bose SoundTouch

Our kitchen radio gave up just before Christmas so we decided to treat ourselves and splash out on a Bose SoundTouch 20 wireless speaker which includes Internet radio.  We preferred the Bose over the Sonos offering because the Bose has six preset buttons on the unit so you don’t have to use the app to change stations.

Don’t get me wrong this is a great unit with fantastic sound quality but there is one major downside for sports fans who listen to match commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and Sports Extra.  During most live commentary you receive a recorded message stating that due to licensing restrictions the programme cannot be broadcast which is highly disappointing.

Upon contacting Bose support we were told that this was due to their internet radio provider (vTuner) and “a licensing issue”.  I replied to Bose but have had nothing in reply.

I haven’t looked into the licensing further to know whether the BBC, vTuner or Bose are causing the issue but it does put a black mark against internet radio over DAB for listening to live sporting events in the UK and wish I’d known about this before spending £350 on a new sound system.


Sharedband: DSL bonding but not for business

I originally chose the Sharedband solution back in 2009 as we required more upstream bandwidth to support our multiple remote sites and initially it did what it said on the tin. However back then the product was in its infancy and there were issues with stability. To their credit, Sharedband relocated their aggregation servers to a better data centre and the product benefitted with reduction in outages.

Unfortunately in the last few months I have lost faith in the product and due to the greater availability of Ethernet services over technology like FTTC, I have made the decision to switch.

The first issue we had was packet loss and it took a large amount of persuasion and troubleshooting on my part to convince Sharedband that their service was at fault (yes I’m the customer here!). The Sharedband service sits on two FTTC connections and one ADSL2 and after pinging Google DNS and the Sharedband NOC via both Sharedband and direct connections and seeing the difference, it was accepted that something had to be done.
According to Sharedband the fix was to migrate to a new temporary aggregation server where the packet loss issue had been fixed. I asked why the fix couldn’t be applied to the aggregation server we wee using but Sharedband wouldn’t commit to when that would happen. To my knowledge it still hasn’t.

As part of the move we had to change public IP addresses, not too much trouble but still there is downtime waiting for public DNS propagation to occur. This change would have had to happen again if/when Sharedband fix the issue on the old aggregation server and move us back! Compensation for this inconvenience; credit for one months service!

Further outages last month (emergency maintenance on a weekday afternoon which disconnected the service) and then today (15/11/2014)(service stopped for 90 minutes) have done nothing to persuade me to stay with this company. The biggest frustration when an outage occurs is information and accessibility to support and today Sharedband have not covered themselves in glory. Phone lines, emails and tweets unanswered on a Saturday morning, maybe I expect too much for £20 per aggregated line per month. However the combined cost of the DSL lines and the Sharedband service is £220 per month and Ethernet over FTTC is now as low as £150 per month.

I would also suggest, from my experience in the past 12 months, that a single FTTC connection is more stable than the Sharedband service.