Scottish Independence

The debate on the subject Scottish independence rolls on, and I don’t really have a personal view other than that the peoples’ right to self determination should be upheld and respected, however I am thinking  about the ramifications right now as I train back from Glasgow.

We presently live with different rates regimes and other devolved affairs running networks between England and Scotland, but the consequences for independence are high. Will Scotland join the European Union, or will they have a special relationship like Jersey? This is important as the former protects travelers and those living on the border from roaming charges whereas the other does not (Jersey isn’t subject to the EU caps, for example). And what about VAT? What about a hosted PBX installation to an office in Scotland and one in England? How do you account for that under one contract, especially if there’s a different currency? Will there be a different Country Code and numbering plan? Jersey, Guernsey, and Isle of Man all use the UK code despite having substantial telecommunications sovereignty. Could BT and Vodafone’s nexus of Nortel DMS 100s and System Xs handle such a situation?

If there are call centres in Scotland but no EU membership, data protection legislation becomes interesting in terms of passing EU citizens data outside the EU for processing.

BT’s regulated assets are averaged out across the country, and they are less concentrated in Scotland. Thus, if an independent Scottish regulator applied the same charge control logic in Scotland we could see increases in Scottish consumers prices for broadband and WLR, and a commensurate reduction in English (and Welsh and Northern Irish) consumers.

The mind boggles once you really get in amongst the practical issues, and if there’s a “Yes” vote later this year I shall write substantially more on the subject as that would no doubt ring in a exhilarating and very interesting time for all in the sector.

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Published by Peter Farmer

Peter Farmer is the Commercial and Regulatory Manager at Gamma, writing here on Trefor.Net in a personal capacity. He sits with Tref on the Internet Telephony Service Providers' Association Council and is their Chair of the Regulatory Affairs Committee. Peter's experience covers consultation responses and disputes with Ofcom, lobbying government (UK and European) on telecommunications matters, litigations at the Competition Appeal Tribunal, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Despite all of that, and having three Masters degrees, his main job is actually being a Personal Assistant to his two cats.

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  1. Peter Farmer

4 Comments

  1. But the biggest change by far is that we’d finally get the government we vote for. Until now we just have to hope the neighbours vote for the government we want. The last time the government changed on the basis of Scotland’s vote was 1974.

    My entire adult life there has literally been no point in voting. I spoke to Sir David Edward recently, he opposes independence but poured scorn on the idea Scotland would not be swiftly admitted to the EU. Indeed remaining in the UK is the main threat to remaining in the EU. As the English seem to fall increasingly for the dubious charms of ukip the more we risk being dragged out of Europe by the neighbours.

  2. A very interesting perspective, Domhnall. The UKIP charms are increasingly dubious*, but to be fair, no-one since 1975 has had a direct say on the matter of Europe, and there has been a lot of “scope creep” from what our ancestors voted for then.

    * according to their constitution they are a democratic libertarian party and pro-free market. Nothing I have seen in politics has been more ironic than that.

  3. “But the biggest change by far is that we’d finally get the government we vote for.”

    works both ways. Can you take your incomprehensible Trade Unionists back too please 😉

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