Business internet

Movie rights

We live in interesting times. UK Film and TV producers today called for the Government to take action to tackle potential online copyright infringement.


I fully support rights holders’ right to enforce their intellectual property rights. In fact this has been the subject of discussion in the industry since the publication of the Gowers’ Review in December 2006.


The ISP Association, of which I am a council member,  has previously stated its preference for an industry-led system based on the agreement of providers from across the Internet industry and stands ready to facilitate the involvement of a greater number of ISPs in discussions. This remains the ISPA’s view despite what appears to be an attempt to make government provide additional legislation in this area.


In other words ISPA is saying don’t go making unnecessary regulations. You might think that this is a good cause to regulate but in fact there are many areas where regulation is being considered and if we are not careful we will end up being regulated into a straight-jacket and the internet will lose the ability to be the incredible environment that it is now.


I fully believe that the ISP industry’s efforts in advocating a positive and proactive cooperation between the Internet and rights holder industries is the correct one. In fact the UK Government noted in its July consultation document that enforcement is one tool and that consumer education and the availability of legal remedies are also essential factors in combating online copyright infringement.


The Internet provides tremendous opportunities to make more music and video available in legal and efficient ways. Music, film and software industry rights holders should continue to embrace the Internet and the opportunities it offers to disseminate their materials efficiently, legally and profitably.


You can read the statement online here.


broadband Business ofcom

Ofcom Broadband Code of Practice

Ofcom’s new code of practice in respect of how consumer ISPs sell broadband comes into force tomorrow. It has been brought about because up to 25% of consumers consider that they don’t get the speeds they expect from a broadband connection.

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding how ISPs sell broadband, specifically in the consumer space as they have been desperately trying to outdo each other with tales of superior performance, unlimited downloads, bigger, faster, better etc.

Whilst the code does not apply to business services it is a good code. Timico has always operated in a transparent way in respect to selling ADSL. For example our 21CN ADSL2+ service in theory will provide download speeds of up to 24Mbps. In reality users are unlikely to get this. I will be publishing the results of our trials after Christmas showing what speeds the trialists have been getting.

The ISPA is issuing a press release today supporting this Ofcom code of practice.

Business internet

21CN Line Speed Expectations

A busy time at the end of this week with ISPA Council meeting followed by lunch, a trip to the CRN Awards dinner (more food!) and today lunch with a supplier (aaargh!!). The Christmas run in seems to start earlier each year!


Timico is about to start its 21CN ADSL2+ trial in earnest. Initial line tests on the trialists suggest an average expected performance of around 8Mbps. Interestingly talking to others in the industry at the CRN Awards their experience, limited as it may be at what is still a relatively early stage of the 21CN rollout, the average speeds are turning out to be nearer 12Mbps.


This does suggest that BT is being very conservative in setting expectations of 21CN performance. I can’t really blame them. The technology is in theory capable of reaching 24Mbps but in practice very few people will actually get this speed.  


I will certainly report back on the real world performance as the data comes in.

Business internet ofcom voip

999 Call Traceability

Had a very interesting discussion with Chris Rowsell, Ofcom Project Director, who clarified what obligations the ISP community were likely to have regarding the traceability of calls to the Emergency Services.

Location information requirements for Internet Telephony Service Providers have been covered in a previous post. Ofcom, together with the emergency services establishment, and for obvious reasons, is trying to understand how real time information regarding the location of a caller might be provided.

The only information available that might help pinpoint a location is the IP address from which the call is being made. There are, however, many problems to be over come, and I’m sorry about the technical nature of some of these points for those who just read this blog for the occasional light entertainment. 

  • The IP address might be behind a NAT
  • There might be multiple Internet Service Providers involved
  • The call might be made from a wifi mesh network
  • Many ITSPs are not ISPs  and cannot easily relate IP addresses to locations.

It is physically possible to imaging the process by which this tracing could be done. Timico, for example, has records of where calls are made to and from. These are kept for billing purposes and contain IP address information. Timico can also link the address of a broadband customer to the IP address of that connection.

The act of hooking up both sets of data is far from being real time and  the cost of developing a system to do so would be huge and disproportional to the value. Certainly it would be unlikely to get past a cost benefit analysis. Interestingly the establishment values a human life at £1.4 million for the purposes of these CBAs.

CR accepted that there was currently no practical way of quickly linking the two sets of data. He did intimate that Ofcom would be initiating a project sometime next year to discuss a way ahead. I suspect that this will be a long and arduous process.

Business internet ofcom

ISPA Conference

Another busy week in prospect starting on Monday with the ISPA conference in the City of London. This is an annual event where the industry gets together to debate “commercial and regulatory issues of today and tomorrow”.

I’m on at 14.00 on a panel that discusses how ISPs can work in harmony with content providers. Other panelists are Feargal Sharkey of UK Music, Jeremy Olivier of Ofcom and Steve Purdham of We7, a music download business that was co-founded by Peter Gabriel.

This is a pretty hot topic at the moment, not only because of how piracy is hurting the music industry but also because of the pressure that legal download sources such as BBC iPlayer is placing on both ISP networks and margins.

Business internet

UK Council For Child Internet Safety

The UK Council For Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) was launched today at the Science Museum in London. This initiative is supported by the Prime Minister to whom the council will report directly.

The council is made up from a number of government departments and in the words of the Department of Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) brings together a wide range of experts from industry, education, law enforcement and children’s charities.

The clear aim is to make internet a safer place for children. Timico is participating via the ISP Association. One of my fellow ISPA Council members is on the Exec Board of UKCCIS. You might ask why a B2B ISP might concern itself with child safety? The answer, simply, is that Timico has several thousand homeworking customers that use its ADSL connections.

It behoves us all to understand whether there are working practices that can be implemented that makes the world safer. I cannot believe that there is a single homeworker out there who would want their ADSL connection to be the conduit by which their children’s safety is compromised.

Moreover more and more large organisations now use Timico homeworker solutions. It is important that they understand that they are working with a partner they can trust to support their obligations for corporate responsibility.

Business internet net neutrality

The complex world in which we live

I have sometimes observed at how complex the world of technology is and how difficult it is for small businesses to know whether they are making the right choices technically. 

As a provider of practically every type of communications service you can think of (satellite is the one I think we have never provided although I’m sure that some one from Timico will now correct me) we not only have to juggle with the technology and the commercial complexities thereof but also with the regulatory minefields that are liberally scattered in our way. 

As a good citizen I am actually happy to be seen to properly negotiate these minefields. My first Internet Service Providers’ Association meeting this morning  brought it home in no uncertain terms the need to have friends that can help you through.

ISPA is or has had recently to deal with subjects ranging from 

  • whether ISPs are being fair to consumers in how they advertise their broadband speeds
  • is the use of a “fair use” policy fair when your literature majors on “unlimited” broadband
  • Net Neutrality and the throttling of certain types of traffic such as peer to peer (remember P2P has legitimate uses as well as illegal ones)
  • liability of ISPs in respect of websites hosted on their equipment
  • the safety of children on the internet – ref UKCCIS – UK Council for Children Internet Safety
  • the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AMSV) and what constitutes TV and should therefore be licensed
  • Piracy
  • who pays for free content downloaded from the internet (it is possible to put a cost against a 60 minute TV show for example)
  • legal intercept of VoIP based telephone conversations
  • provision of 999 location based information
  • data retention
  • should ISPs moderate content on their network

The list is endless and represents rich pickings for the legal profession hovering nearby. I trust that I will be able to provide readers of this blog with suitable insight into these subjects as we move forward.

broadband Business


I am please to be able to tell you that yesterday I was elected to the council of the UK’s Internet Service Providers’ Association at their Annual General Meeting. You might ask why do I bother when I am already on the Council of ITSPA (Internet Telephony Service Providers Association).

Well I’ll tell you. There is so much change happening in the internet world that it is important to keep in touch with what is going on, both in the VoIP and ISP fields. As a growing player in this market Timico has a lot to say and to contribute to the debate. It is an opportunuity to influence and lead.

The AGM, which was held at the Liberal Club in Westminster, was followed by a reception which must have had in attendance in excess of 200 individuals all involved in the provision of internet services in the UK. These are not all just straight bandwidth providers. They include content providers, equipment providers, end user organisations and analysts. The event was a great forum to meet people and discuss what is going on in the industry.

I look forward to being able to provide ISP insights in future blog posts from a position near to the action.