Following yesterday’s news that Virgin Media is planning to crack down on illegal downloaders, new UK startup JOY Internet has vowed to stand up for the rights of UK Internet users.
“We’re totally against this collusion between the British Phonographic Industry [BPI] and Virgin Media,” said JOY’s Managing Director, Ken Jowes. “We don’t advocate the mass illegal downloading of music and film, but we believe that innocent people will have their Internet connections terminated, without recourse. Those downloading small amounts of content for personal use will also be criminalised, when the real problem of organised gangs working from outside the UK is totally ignored. That’s why we’ve set up JOY Internet.”
JOY’s service aims to provide a stopgap for anyone who finds themselves without the Internet, for whatever reason.
“We’re not here to judge. We believe the Internet is a fundamental right for every British citizen. If your ISP cuts you off, JOY is here to help.”
For a small monthly subscription, JOY will loan out basic communications equipment to allow disconnected users to get online, though as a new startup without large amounts of capital, they currently rely on older computer equipment.
“Sadly, we can’t offer the best equipment,” Jowes explained. “Fortunately, it looks as if we’ll be getting a job lot of 56.6k modems from the Museum of Computing.”
Given that dial-up modems died (or should have) in the late 1990s, JOY is also offering a service whereby they’ll post a “Best of the Web” DVD each month to subscribers.
“We know that users won’t be able to access YouTube, BitTorrent, and other heavy multimedia sites from our dial-up account, so we’re providing a DVD packed full of the best legal and not-so-legal stuff each month,” Jowes proclaimed. “Hopefully users will feel that they haven’t missed out while they’re waiting for their high speed broadband to be reconnected. There’s not really that much good stuff online anyway.”
Sounds a bit “AOL” to me.
According to JOY, “the dial-up service should be perfectly adequate for email and bulletin boards”. Erm, bulletin boards? I think JOY is living in the early 1990s.
Is there a place for JOY? Well, if other ISPs sign up to the voluntary code to ban users after three offences, and share data with each other, miscreant Net users may have nowhere else to turn. Dial-up’s better than nothing, right?
Jowes hopes that, in time, they’ll be able to set up their own high speed network. “We like to think that, in time, we could become the ‘pirate radio’ of the Internet age,” he mused. “maybe we’ll have to go wireless to get our service out.”
Mr Jowes hopes that JOY will start rolling out a trial service within the next couple of months.