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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 222

Date:- 10 October 2005

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Talking on the phone is still tops in the North West

A SKYPE survey shows people in the North West, UK, are leaders in using the free Internet phone calling and instant messaging services. People living in the North West are more likely to pick up the phone and have a chat than many of their compatriots in other parts of the UK, according to a new UK survey commissioned by Skype. Skype if you did not know is the pioneering Global Internet Communications Company that lets anyone with a computer and an Internet connection make free high-quality phone calls.



While nearly one-third (28%) of people in the North West say the telephone is their favourite way to communicate day-to-day, this is true for only 15% of Londoners, for example. The capital’s citizens are far more likely to send an email (51%), compared with only 34% of people in the North West.

The Skype survey finds that people in the North West are also more likely than the average Briton to favour leading-edge Internet communications. For example, 1.1% of people in the North West say using the Internet for making phone calls is their favourite way to communicate day-to-day, compared with a UK average of 0.7%. Similarly, 2.8% of North Westerners prefer communicating by instant messaging (IM) day-to-day, compared with a UK average of 1.9%.

“There’s a huge buzz right now about free Internet calling, and people across the UK are starting to see the cost benefits as well as the power of more dynamic communications.

We view free Internet calling as the next big evolution in communications. Once you’ve tried Skype, you’ll think email is positively Victorian! Skype makes communicating through the Internet natural and easy to do; whether for voice calling or instant messaging.”
said Niklas Zennström, Skype CEO and co-founder.

Skype Survey Finds UK Ready for Internet Communications Revolution Skype’s survey of more than 1,600 people in the UK found that people are ready to begin benefiting from the cost and quality gains of free Internet phone calls.

Almost half of those surveyed (48%) say they know that they can use their computers to make free calls over the Internet. Almost one-tenth (nine per cent) of respondents say they have already tried using an Internet phone service. This figure represents a reasonably high proportion of broadband households in the UK, which numbered 8.1 million (or nearly 30% of all households), according to provisional figures for June 2005 from UK media regulator Ofcom.

The survey also found that the over-55s are the most likely age group to prefer to keep in touch via the Internet (53%), compared with 40% of 16–24 year-olds. The over-55s are also the most likely age group (52%) to have heard about free Internet calling, compared with 38% of 16–24 year-olds.

According to the survey, Britons are now spending on average between £50 and £100 per month on communications. Over half (53%) of 16–24 year-olds admit they have no idea what their communications bill will be each month, while over one quarter (26%) say they get a shock each month from their bill and feel they are spending too much.

Skype also found that many people wish they’d had access to Internet communications to keep a previous relationship alive. Over two-thirds (68%) of respondents say that a failed long distance relationship in the past would have stood a better chance today with the advances and cost savings that modern technology provides. Perhaps not surprisingly, the older people are, the more they agree with this with 78% of over-55s say new communication methods would have helped save a past long-distance relationship.

Skype is a simple piece of software that allows people around the world with an Internet connection to talk to each other for free, for as long as they want, forever. To start making free calls to friends, family and colleagues, all you need is the Skype software, available for free download at:- www.skype.com, and a headset. Skype has something for everyone. Other free features include instant messaging (IM), group IM chat, privacy settings, conference calling, call forwarding, a world-wide directory of contacts, photo-sharing and file-transfer. And for those who don’t mind paying just a little for a lot of bells and whistles there’s voice mail, personalised ringtones and the ability to call any phone number from your Skype account, to name just a few.

You can even phone your local internet newspaper Southport Reporter, via their online radio studio on liverpool-reporter. Go on get Skype and get calling!

BOXING'S 'CLASS OF 2012' TO HIT LIVERPOOL

THE countdown has begun for the first World Boxing championships ever to be staged in Great Britain. From Monday, October 10 to Tuesday, October 18 Liverpool will stage the 2005 World Cadet Championships. Featuring 269 boxers from 34 nations across five continents, including boxing giants Cuba, USA and Russia and from as far as Angola and Nepal to Sir Lanka and Uzbekistan - it is the biggest boxing tournament to be staged in Britain in the 21st century .

The 2005 Cadet Championships is the first world amateur event at any age group to be held in England and the boxers, all aged under-17, will compete over 13 weights in 3 x 2 minute rounds.

Paul King, Liverpool City Council's - and the UK's only - Boxing Development Officer, said:-
"This is one of the biggest boxing events a city can stage and a huge coup for Liverpool. It is an amazing treat for British boxing fans too."

Paul, who was recently appointed England ABA Chief Executive, added:- "These are the world's best young boxers. They are all national champions and future Olympic champions - the class of 2012 without doubt. We'll be seeing the next Amir Kahn or Mario Kindalhan at their first major championships. It's going to be an "I was there" tournament."

The 2005 Cadet Championships will also be the most transparent boxing tournament ever staged. In a trial for future Olympic Games, IABA are introducing open scoring for the bouts which means points awarded by the judges will be shown instantaneously on huge screens above the ring. It will also be the most family friendly with prices set at £5 for every session - including finals night.

Liverpool's premier sporting facility - The Greenbank Sports Academy, in Aigburth, South Liverpool, will host the action from the qualifying rounds up to the Semi-Finals. 2 rings will be erected for the championships with capacity set for up to 1,000 people. Bouts begin for the qualifying rounds, from Monday-Saturday, October 10-15, at 5pm. Bouts on Semi-Finals night - Monday, October 17 - will begin at 6pm. Finals night on Tuesday, October 18 begins at 7pm and will be staged in the city's spectacular Grade 1 listed St George's Hall on Lime Street.

The 2005 World Cadet Championships, sponsored by the Liverpool Culture Company, is the 6th major boxing tournament to be staged in Liverpool in 2005. The city has also hosted England international bouts with America, Canada and an historic first time match against Cuba as well as the Senior Four Nations and a Multi-Nations event which involved 9 countries.

Next weeks tournament is seen as perfect preparation for when the city hosts the European Senior Boxing Championships in 2008 - which also doubles as the qualifiers for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. More than 200 people are working behind the scenes to ensure the tournament goes without a hitch. Staff include those erecting the 2 rings to inputting results every night on Liverpool city council's website at www.liverpool.gov.uk/sportsdevelopment.

Councillor Warren Bradley, Liverpool city council's executive member for sport and culture, said:-
"This has been Liverpool's best year for boxing and to host the first World Major championships in the country is a huge honour. The city will be rolling the red carpet out to give competitors a welcome they'll never forget. This is great preparation for the European seniors in March 2008 at the Liverpool Arena on Kings Dock."

Halifax Home Insurance renews rogue trader warning

THIS week Halifax Home Insurance is issuing a fresh warning to homeowners who are planning some renovations or home improvements this year.

First and foremost the insurer strongly advises not to pay for any work up front, especially since most insurance policies will not cover them for any resulting deception. Secondly, the insurer urges the public to choose their tradesmen wisely, and go with the recommendation of a friend or family member. It’s also a good idea to consult your insurer before embarking on work as they may have access to a list of reputable tradesmen in your area. Halifax offers its customers a 24-hour ‘Home Emergency’ helpline, manned by fully trained colleagues, who can offer advice and provide a list of approved tradesmen within their local area.

But it’s not just fraudulent builders that homeowners need to be careful of. Shoddy workmanship can often cost thousands to fix too. Last year alone Halifax Home Insurance received over 50,000 claims relating to DIY disasters or work done by rogue traders, with the average cost of a claim consistently exceeding £350. Given that the insurer also encourages homeowners to check, not only that their home insurance policy covers accidental damage, but that any employed 3rd party has their own comprehensive insurance should things go wrong.

Vicky Emmott, senior underwriting manager, Halifax Home Insurance comments:- “Although the majority of builders are reputable, homeowners should always keep their wits about them. We would recommend only using tradesmen who have been recommended by a friend or family member or those who offer to put you in touch with satisfied customers. People should never pay substantial amounts of cash up front for work, a much better way is to arrange for payment in instalments, whereby the builder gets a payment each time they reach an agreed target.” She continued:- “Before going ahead with any home improvement homeowners should always check the terms of their home insurance. And, if they intend to use a third party they should also check that they have appropriate insurance too.”

According to the Department of Trade and Industry, the shoddy work and rip-off tactics of rogue tradesmen has become Britain’s number one complaint with dodgy improvement work wasting £1.5 billion annually. In addition, the Trading Standards Office receives over 100,000 complaints about rogue tradesmen a year.

www.liverpoolreporter.com

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