2015: the year in review part 1

ByDuncan Heaney
2015-2016 sign

With 2015 almost in the rear view mirror, it seems like a good time to reflect on the year that was.

All things considered, it's been an eventful 12 months - a BBC mainstay drove himself to the firing line, BT Sport's Champions League exclusivity changed the game for football coverage, the prime minister doubled down on broadband, and there were some massive shake-ups among mobile operators.

This isn't an exhaustive list, but take a look at some of the broadband, TV and mobile phone news that made 2015 a year to remember:

January

Three's parent company tries to buy O2

The year kicked off with big news. Hutchison Whampoa, the company that owns Three, announced plans to buy O2 from Telefonica for £10.25 billion - that's a hefty chunk of change. UK and EU regulators are yet to approve the deal though - there's concern that it may stifle competition, which in turn hurts UK consumers.

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February

Falling broadband prices mask rising cost of line rental

In February we published research that revealed that the steady drop in the price of broadband has been substantially offset by increasing line rental charges. In 2009, the average monthly line rental was £11.14 - by February 2015, it was £16.61. And of course, now it's even higher…

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Ethernet cable

March

Jeremy Clarkson causes a fracas

Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson was no stranger to controversy, but he finally drove the BBC too far up the wall in March. A much publicised physical confrontation between the presenter and producer Oisin Tymon, left Clarkson suspended, and then unemployed. It was a story that gripped the nation, making the incident one of the most searched events on Google this year.

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Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge unveiled

While the world's biggest mobile phone expo, Mobile World Congress (MWC), was going on in Barcelona, Samsung revealed their latest flagship handset. Or rather handsets. Two news phones were revealed- the standard Samsung Galaxy S6 and the S6 Edge, which had a funky curved screen. Both were predictably excellent, and the Edge in particular very cool. That said, a few cynics at broadbandchoices HQ still think the Edge's curved screen is a solution in search of a problem.

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HTC One M9 launched

Another flagship that impressed us this year was the HTC One M9. Announced at MWC, it wasn't a dramatic step forward compared to the previous model, but a host of small improvements meant it was still one heck of a phone.

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April

Jeremy Clarkson's final Top Gear episodes break iPlayer records

BBC iPlayer had its biggest week so far in April, as millions of people used the service to watch Jeremy Clarkson's final Top Gear episodes.  Of course, it wasn't just Clarkson they were saying goodbye to - his co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May also departed the show. Of course, they weren't in the wilderness for long, as we'd find out in August…

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Top Gear

June

New Ofcom rules make it even easier to switch broadband

In June, Ofcom introduced a 'one touch' system to make it much easier for people to change internet providers. The new rules mean that once a customer has chosen to go with a different company, that new provider manages the entirety of the switch, including cancelling the old contract. As a result, switching broadband packages is simpler than ever before.

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BT kicks off its full Champions League plan

BT has exclusive rights to this year's Champions League and Europa Leagues, and it announced its plans for the season in spectacular style. It launched a new channel dedicated to the best of European football, BT Sport Europe, and also a Freeview channel so everyone could watch some matches - sort of a try before you buy. It also hired a who's who of presenters and punditry, including Gary Lineker, Jake Humphrey, Rio Ferdinand, Robbie Savage and Steven Gerrard.

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That's the first half of the year, but the rest of the year was equally eventful... Read all about it here.

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