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Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Wednesday 12/10/2005Wandering through King's Cross, I notice some striking yellow postersoffering "Broadband as you've never seen it before. Wireless", andpicturing a hand holding what looks like an overfed walkie-talkie.

Wednesday 12/10/2005

Wandering through King's Cross, I notice some striking yellow posters offering "Broadband as you've never seen it before. Wireless", and picturing a hand holding what looks like an overfed walkie-talkie. The ad is for Now broadband, the recently renamed Netvigator service from PCCW, which has a nationwide licence for delivering megabit services over the air.

Well. I wonder if I can get the service at home -- sitting as I do half-way up a hill overlooking London. Perhaps there's a coverage map on the website? First, find your website -- Netvigator might have been an ugly world, but at least you can Google it. Now is not.

I get there in the end. There's no coverage map, but there is a postcode checker. I enter my postcode. No dice. I enter a few more - it's a bit like Minesweeper, with me finding postcodes for as many areas of London as I can, but I'm clearly very bad at this. Wherever it is that Now is, it is intent on escaping my attentions.

Still, never mind. The pricing seems good for the very low end -- 256k for £10 a month -- but the higher speeds are less attractive. Eighteen quid a month for a meg is as fast as it gets and "The service is not capped, but the fair usage policy says that 10 gigabytes a month is acceptable" sounds like capping to me. "That's about eight hours of video", the website explains helpfully, so it's not going to be much good for BBC iMP fans. There are also worrying caveats about peer to peer file transfers quickly using up the fair usage cap, and about latency perhaps being a bit stringy for gamesplayers. That's ruled out anyone under 40, then.

The one thing that Now does which DSL doesn't is let you have a contract that you can cancel after a month, making it attractive to people who are just renting or in temporary accommodation.

So by the looks of it, Now is ideal for the more mature, less affluent lady or gentleman who tends to move around London a lot. Tramps with laptops should love it - but for the rest of us, it's a case of not Now, darling.