Colors: Purple Color

The landline is in terminal decline, with five million households never using theirs for phone calls, reveals research by, the comparison and switching service. The number of homes with a landline has fallen by four million since the year 2000 to about 22 million connections now, down 15% from its peak of being present in 95% of UK homes at the turn of the century. 

However, although 80% of homes have a landline, a quarter (26%) don’t have a handset attached to their landline. More than a third of people (35%) say they only have a landline because it's necessary for having a broadband connection.

On average, households spend just five minutes a day — 35 minutes a week — talking on their landlines, down more than a quarter (27%) from two years ago, when people made 48 minutes of calls a week. Older consumers make 46 minutes of calls a week on their landlines, compared to 25 minutes for young people. Almost three in ten landline users (29%) say the last call they received was suspicious or an unsolicited marketing call, almost two thirds higher than for those on mobile phones (17%). 

While the number of nuisance calls reported has not changed dramatically in recent years, the proportion of scam calls has risen to now make up more than one in four (26%) of unwanted contacts — up from just 4% in 2017. More than a fifth of consumers with a landline (22%) say they avoid answering their phone in case it is a nuisance call, and over a quarter of older people (28%) have had a bad experience with scam and sales callers. 

There’s a generational divide in attitudes to landlines, with their popularity far lower among younger consumers. More than nine in ten (95%) of the over-65s have one, but this falls to four fifths (82%) of consumers aged 35 to 54, and ownership drops to just over half (52%) among 18 to 24-year-olds. Landlines remain a lifeline for residents in rural areas where mobile reception can be poor. More than four fifths of rural households (83%) have a landline, compared to less than two thirds (65%) in urban area].

Surprisingly, landline use has even fallen during lockdown, with more than a quarter of households (27%) using their connection less, compared to only one in seven (15%) using it more frequently. Over a third of households (35%) have registered for the Telephone Preference Service to dodge nuisance calls. Younger consumers have taken more drastic action to avoid such calls, with the most popular option among 18 to 34-year-olds being to stop answering the landline altogether.

Part of the reason for the decline in landline use is that calls are more expensive than on a mobile phone. Almost three fifths of households (59%) that have both a landline and a mobile phone say making a call on a mobile is cheaper. More than a third of landline users (37%) don’t know how much their calls cost[11], and almost a fifth of people (18%) can’t remember the last time they used their landline for a call[12].

Nick Baker, telecoms expert at, comments: “With the rise of mobile phones and network coverage improving all the time, landlines aren't the necessity they once were.

“Many consumers - especially younger generations - don’t see the need for landlines, and find it odd that they have to pay line rental in order to have a broadband connection. Nuisance calls have been a problem on landlines for years, and unfortunately they are not getting better, with nearly one in four households reporting the last call they received was from a scammer or sales person. 

“However, it isn’t time to forget about the landline just yet, as they continue to be a lifeline for those in rural communities where mobile reception can be unreliable. If you’re struggling with nuisance calls, make sure you have registered for the Telephone Preference Service, which should reduce the amount of sales and marketing calls you receive. And if you suspect you are being targeted by a scammer, hang up immediately.” is offering consumers tips on how to avoid nuisance calls and avoid getting conned by scammers.

Sony has pulled Cyberpunk 2077, one of the year's most-anticipated games, from the PlayStation store and offered refunds to all players. The unprecedented move follows complaints that the game has been riddled with bugs and glitches, and is prone to crashes. Earlier this week, the game’s developers CD Projekt Red offered refunds for the game.

The company has also committed to releasing patches to improve the game. It’s unclear when Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) plans to return the game to the PlayStation Store.

The company said: “SIE strives to ensure a high level of customer satisfaction, therefore we will begin to offer a full refund for all gamers who have purchased Cyberpunk 2077 via PlayStation Store”.

Some users reported being unable to request the refund, even after the announcement - something Sony said it was working "to get up and running as soon as possible". It can still be bought on Xbox and PCs - and gamers who do not want be reimbursed for their PlayStation copies can still play the game and receive updates.

In Cyberpunk 2077, players live in a criminal world where they can pay to upgrade their bodies with technology. The action role-playing game was originally "announced" in 2012, but then re-announced in 2018 and then showcased with huge fanfare - and an appearance by Keanu Reeves - in June 2019.

The game reviewed well, with critics praising its gameplay and visuals - despite many visual glitches and bugs, which are common in large open-world games and often patched after launch day. But on release it became clear that versions of the game for older consoles like the PS4 and Xbox One ran poorly, with hitching, visual quality drops and slowdown that many players said made the game unplayable.

Those with the newest versions of consoles, or a high-end gaming PC, have not experienced the same level of issues. CD Projekt Red, which traditionally has focused on the PC market, had already acknowledged it "should have paid more attention to making it play better" on those consoles. The company says it will release patches to solve the problems in January and February.

A statement on the company’s website said: “They won’t make the game on last-gen look like it’s running on a high-spec PC or next-gen console, but it will be closer to that experience than it is now.”  It also encouraged users to use refund systems on the Sony and Xbox stores if they were unhappy.

However, PlayStation's policy is to usually not offer refunds if the game has been downloaded and played, "unless the content is faulty". That led to much confusion among players seeking refunds as directed by CD Projekt Red, who were refused such refunds by Sony. It is not clear if the removal of the game from the PlayStation store means that Sony has decided the game is "faulty" under its rules.

Hours after PlayStation's announcement that it was pulling Cyberpunk 2077 from sale, CD Projekt Red said the game was "temporarily" suspended "following our discussion with PlayStation". It said the game would "return as soon as possible" - but gave no date. Xbox users have also reported trouble with refunds, with many saying refund requests have been refused, despite an apparently flexible refund policy.

Microsoft says that while it considers all sales final, "we understand there may be extenuating circumstances" and it considers several factors for refund requests. But CD Projekt Red's chief executive told Reuters news agency it was not in discussions with Microsoft about pulling the game from the Xbox store in a similar way to Sony's move.

The studio also came under fire from fans when it announced staff would have to work overtime to finish the game - a process known in the industry as "crunch".

It had previously promised not to impose that kind of demand on its staff.

Twelve people were fined after they were caught playing dominoes in a restaurant in east London.

Police officers found the group hiding in a dark room when they entered the building in Whitechapel, in the capital. The owner of the restaurant initially claimed those inside were workers, before admitting they were playing the game.

Tower Hamlets Council has been asked to consider issuing a fine to the owner for breaching tier four Covid-19 restrictions, the Metropolitan Police said. A video released by the Met shows the restaurant owner saying: "They're playing dominoes."

Chief Inspector Pete Shaw HQ and Covid Lead Central East BCU (Hackney & Tower Hamlets) said: "The rules under tier four are in place to keep all of us safe, and they do not exempt people from gathering to play games together in basements.

"The fact that these people hid from officers clearly shows they knew they were breaching the rules and have now been fined for their actions."

Nokia announced the technology that is supporting UK-based sailing team Alex Thomson Racing on its round-the-world race. British sailor Alex Thomson is onboard his HUGO BOSS boat from Les Sables-D’Olonne on France’s west coast for the Vendée Globe – a 24,000-mile, solo, non-stop, unassisted race around the world.

The technology partnership, which began in September 2018, has Nokia Bell Labs working alongside Alex Thomson Racing and its IMOCA (International Monohull Open Class Association) 60-foot boat to adapt existing and develop new connectivity and sensory technologies in extreme, mission-critical environments that will optimize and improve the performance of the skipper and the boat.

Utilizing technologies, ranging from augmented intelligence and wearable devices to sensors, machine learning, analytics and advanced communications networks, the partnership seeks to optimize the human performance of Alex Thomson while discovering and creating technologies for the 5G era that can enhance industrial IoT and mission-critical networks, so that they can operate in harsh physical environments.

Thierry Klein, Head of Enterprise & Industrial Automation Research Lab, Nokia Bell Labs, said: “Nokia Bell Labs is able to apply its expertise and innovations in industrial automation and the industrial internet of things (IoT) to solve some of the biggest challenges Alex will face in the race. These challenges are not that different from the situations faced by workers in remote mines trying to operate cranes or engineers in wind farms in desolate and rural settings. By optimizing Alex and his racing boat, we are creating the ideal symbiosis between man and machine that will help give Alex the edge he needs to win.”


Advanced sensors collect a large amount of data that is linked to data analytics and machine learning algorithms. Alex is wearing a custom-built sensing device to continuously monitor his physiological well-being. An array of hardened sensors are augmented with a network of nine cameras to deliver live video streams for a full 360-degree view of the boat and the sails. To guide Alex towards effective decision-making, Nokia Bell Labs built custom mobile applications for onboard data visualization.


The new state-of-the-art IMOCA 60 boat, HUGO BOSS, is equipped with advanced technology and communication solutions based on Nokia Bell Labs innovations. Seamless and reliable connectivity provides timely weather information for navigational and routing systems, and allows Alex to remain connected with his family and fans onshore in harsh conditions in the most remote parts of the world. An onboard edge intelligence and compute server collects, stores and analyzes data from all sensors and interfaces with the critical boat systems. Designed for rugged environments and optimized for size, weight and power consumption, it serves as the central brain of the onboard intelligence and data analytics modules that power the real-time awareness and optimization of the boat.


An augmented intelligent auto-pilot uses sophisticated machine learning models and algorithms to enhance the performance, robustness and stability of the onboard auto-pilot system through automated sensor-driven adjustments and performance prediction. An easy-to-use human interface allows Alex to configure and fine-tune the auto-pilot settings and parameters.


Birmingham City Council received its first batch of e-cargo bikes – manufactured by Raleigh - that was used by the Active Wellbeing Society (TAWS) to support community food deliveries in the lead-up to Christmas. The city was one of the local authorities to secure funding to run an e-cargo bike pilot scheme.

The pilot, a long-term lease programme that includes maintenance and training for 13 e-cargo bikes and 7 e-cargo trikes, will provide a basis for the wider take up of e-cargo vehicles in the city. The scheme forms part of the Council’s broader plan to support sustainable freight vehicles and practices more widely.

Four of the new bikes will be kept by Birmingham City Council and will replace van trips as part of a move to modernise its transport fleet. The Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, Councillor Waseem Zaffar said: “I’m delighted that e-cargo bikes have arrived in Birmingham and in time to support the amazing work of the Active Wellbeing Society. This pilot scheme will help to improve air quality in our city and support organisations in their efforts to reduce emissions. It is another step towards achieving net zero carbon in Birmingham.


“We will be monitoring the impact of the pilot closely as we look to develop more sustainable freight initiatives in the future.”

The first delivery bikes arrived with four used by The Active Wellbeing Society (TAWS) over Christmas and beyond, to collect donations and deliver food and clothing to vulnerable people across the city. The bikes will also transport growing, bike repair and sports equipment as part of other free initiatives delivered by the cooperative.

Chair of TAWS and Ward Councillor Lisa Trickett said: “The eCargo bike scheme will really help our staff and volunteers to get essential items to where they are needed over the Christmas period. It is vitally important that we are able to work with our partner organisations to support individuals and families during such challenging times.

“The eCargo bikes will enable us to meet local need in a sustainable and efficient way.”

The bikes have been supplied and manufactured by Raleigh and are brand-new designs with the ability to carry up to a 100kg payload, plus the rider and travel up to 40 miles on a single charge with zero emissions.

Raleigh’s Commercial Partnerships Manager, Ed Pegram said: “Raleigh are very pleased to support the Birmingham eCargo bike share, it marks one of the first cargo share schemes in the UK supporting businesses become more sustainable and creating more liveable towns and cities with improved air quality and reduced congestion.”

A second batch of bikes will be delivered this year and loaned to the Council’s local partner organisations, to demonstrate how they might be used to support day-to-day operations and deliver goods and services.


Phoenix Point: Year one edition moves to December 3rd
on Steam and the Epic Games Store


Phoenix Point, the turn-based strategy game from X-COM creator Julian Gollop and Snapshot Games, announced that the upcoming “Year One Edition”, which collects the game with all previously released DLC and digital extras, will now release for Windows PC and Mac on December 3rd, 2020. This is one week earlier from its previously announced date of December 10th. Phoenix Point: Year One Edition will be available from most PC digital retailers, including Steam and the Epic Game Store.

Snapshot Games Head of Marketing, Eric Neigher said: “We know a lot of fans have been eagerly waiting for Year One Edition since we announced it earlier this year, and that’s why we are extremely pleased to be able to bring it to them a week earlier than we had planned.”  

Phoenix Point: Year One Edition includes all previously released content: 3 DLC Packs (“Blood & Titanium”, “Legacy of the Ancients”, and the “Living Weapons Pack”) and a slew of updates, upgrades, fixes, and new content suggested by the community.

Year One Edition is the best, most complete version of Phoenix Point yet released, and we’re excited for players to dive into new campaigns with new challenges.” said Julian Gollop, CEO of Snapshot Games and Lead Designer for Phoenix Point. “The team has worked extremely hard to get Year One Edition ready to go, and we know players are going to appreciate that hard work when they play the game.”

Phoenix Point delivers a new breed of turn-based strategy and action against an alien invasion. Build global alliances, manage your base, and command your forces in battles with dynamic objectives and destructible environments. Procedurally generated maps, branching storylines with multiple endings, and enemies that mutate to counter your tactics ensure no two playthroughs are ever the same. Since launch, Snapshot Games has continued to build on the core Phoenix Point experience with free and premium DLC, as well as a variety of gameplay improvements driven by community feedback.