Business datacentre hosting

Jolt web hosting established at Timico Newark datacentre

Jolt web hosting launched in the UK

My pal Matt Russell is, at the tender age of 30, a veteran of the web hosting industry. He is a successful self starter and has owned a number of businesses in the space. I got to know him when he set up some services at our Newark Datacentre when I was CTO there. In those days Matt was joint owner of WebHostingBuzz which as well as the UK and Europe (Amsterdam) had resources across the USA. Matt is now rebranding to Jolt web hosting.

He is doing this to help focus the business on UK and European markets. Most of the support resources of WHB are on this side of the pond so it made sense for him to put his efforts into his home market. Matt has been remarkably successful in building a fully automated and integrated hosting system that can easily be applied to different brands. He keeps the same back end infrastructure and support teams and just replaces the front end.

The fact that he makes use of a seriously high quality date centre resource as is the TImico facility just underlines the quality of his approach to service provision. Timico massively over provision their connectivity to the datacentre to ensure the best experience for their customers.

If you are looking for some cost effective and quality web hosting take a look at Jolt. Try them out for responsiveness.

I asked Matt for an elevator pitch for Jolt and he gave me this:

“Jolt web hosting provides 24×7 support via helpdesk and also real time live chat. best blend of latest hardware, timico’s network, low prices”

There you go. It’s nice to be able to help and support a business in your home town. Matt lives half a mile from me and the Morning Star pub is approximately half way between our two houses:)

Happy Chinese New Year

shey shey


Business engineering internet

Cisco v Arista

Cisco Arista court case gets judgement

Cisco Arista court case gets judgement in favour of Cisco.  Quite an interesting spat going on in the big wide world of internet plumbing and routing at the moment. Cisco are suing Arista for patent infringement and have been given a judgement in their favour.

Now it seems to be the norm for big companies to go about suing each other these days: witness the long running Apple v Samsung saga, or Samsung v Apple – take your pick. This is no change to the status quo really. Many years ago when I was in the semiconductor business I once got a letter (yes letter) from AT&T or some similar long established telecoms giant saying that we were infringing a patent of theirs. We were using a CMOS process and they assumed that because of this we were using technology that they had patented.

They probably sent them out to every semiconductor manufacturer fishing for a response that they could grab hold of and drill deeper. I threw the letter in the bin and heard no more of it.

AT&T had a revenue generating department that specialised in doing this sort of thing – their patent portfolio was huge.

Nowadays the stakes are very high. Cisco are still market leaders (ref Gartner Magic Quadrant – Who’s Leading The Data Center Networking Market) but Arista are the fastest growing and together with Cisco hailed as leaders.

There are three reference points in respect of this court case:

  1. Cisco’s Mark Chandler (SVP, General Counsel and Secretary General Counsel) in a blog post on protecting innovation naturally takes the line that “copying and misappropriation are not a legitimate strategy”.
  2. Arista founder and CTO Kenneth Duda obviously has his own views here.His blog post entitled Protecting IP or Market Share?  is well worth a read.
  3. The third reference point, apart from the judgement itself is the online outcry from the internet engineering community. The feeling is that there is prior art that covers the meat of what Cisco are claiming as their own patented technology. There is also a sense that the patent authorities do not have sufficient expertise to vet a patent application and that we have to wait for expensive law suits to prove prior art.

Now there’s no way I’m going to get involved in this discussion (apart from the fact that I sort of already have here) other than to say that the only people who will do well out of this will be the lawyers – how much did that blog post cost Cisco? I doubt that it will make any difference to anything in the great scheme of things.

Note when we talk about data center market share we are talking about the core of the internet.

Business ecommerce google

The local wide web and the Rangemaster cooker service

Rangemaster cooker service – does your cooker need one? is back in action for 2016 after a very refreshing Christmas and New Year break. Most of you who are friends on Facebook will have seen what I’ve been up to and you can follow my daily non-work-ish diary over on In the meantime I offer you a short not too onerous post on web presence and Rangemaster cooker service.

We have a Rangemaster cooker. For the uninitiated the Rangemaster has two ovens, a grill, five gas jets and a hot plate. It is extremely useful kit for a family with four kids. This is especially the case at Christmas but before the festive season kicked in we had a problem with one of the ovens not working properly. How on earth does one manage with only one oven at Christmas? I’m not sure it is doable.

So one day I got to “get cooker fixed” on my jobslist and did a search for “Rangemaster cooker service Lincoln”. Google came up with a very comprehensive looking site that said it had engineers in our area. It looked a bit too comprehensive for sleepy ole Lincoln and my suspicions were aroused.

I then did the same search replacing “Lincoln” with “Brighton” and came up with the exact same site but this time portraying itself as a local to Brighton. Now there’s nothing wrong with a business being able to do this. It’s making great use of tinterweb to generate business opportunities. However when I’m looking for a cooker repair man I want a competent local guy who can do me a good job at a fair price without involving layers of middlemen and commissions.

The website was ignored and I popped into the local Aga gaff thinking they were the same company. There didn’t do Rangemaster but the guy gave me the name of a man who can. I rang the man and he came around the next day to advise me that I needed a new regulator (sucks in teeth).

Now whilst there is a place for location independent services on the www we have to remember that there are some times when all we want is to be able to pick up a good old fashioned (VoIP) phone and call the bloke down the road for help. The local wide web.

Happy New Year y’all…

Oh btw apparetly cookers don’t get serviced. They get repaired – there’s nothing to service. Also here’s a tip for you. Don’t put cast iron bits off the gas rings in the dishwasher. They get corroded and hinder the spark lighting function.

Also the real point to this post is that local firms need to start thinking about how they market themselves online. Innit.

rangemaster cooker repair brighton

Business scams

Telecoms Fraud, Liability and Responsibility: A Contractual Approach from a Telecoms Specialist Lawyer

Telecoms Fraud Liability and Responsibility

Danny Preiskel of Preiskel & Co is one of the world’s leading telecoms lawyers. In this final post of Manuel Basilavecchia curated posts on telecom fraud Danny looks at the subject of telecoms fraud liability from a legal perspective.

Considering the devastating effects telecoms fraud can have on a wholesale or retail telecoms business this post looks at some of the legal aspects and provides some guidance to minimise the impact from a contractual perspective.

Civil Litigation for Civil Fraud

Successfully suing in civil litigation for fraud and recovering damages is only possible in certain circumstances, and with fraud being notoriously difficult to prove, the risk of losing in court and being liable for the defendant’s costs often outweighs the potential award of damages.  This is exacerbated by the fact that even if the telco victim is successful, the defendant company may not have the funds to actually satisfy any judgment awarded.

As with other jurisdictions, English law also allows shareholders and directors to hide behind the veil of incorporation.  Only in limited circumstances will the English courts pierce the veil of incorporation to convict or fine the individual shareholders behind a company, though directors can incur liability in addition to the company.   Typically in the UK we have seen that fraudsters can simply re-appear and commit more fraud by hiding behind another company name.

Another legal principle which may accidentally protect fraudsters is the privity of contract doctrine, whereby contractual obligations are only due to the contracting party and not its sub-contractors. For example BT fraud department will usually not deal with carriers with whom it is not directly contracted with. This can be problematic as often BT’s call records as well as the knowledge and actions of its fraud department can be hugely useful.

And finally, there are the UK insolvency laws which make it hard and expensive to recover monies from a company in liquidation or administration.

Insolvency Proceedings

Insolvency proceedings in the UK involve an application to court for the winding up of the company, usually after service of a Statutory Demand; and the appointment of an insolvency practitioner (to collect and distribute amounts for all the creditors).  

If the insolvency practitioner is not convinced there are sufficient funds in the insolvent company then it will ask the company appointing it to guarantee its costs. Whilst this is understandable it can be a huge disincentive bearing in mind that any amounts recovered by the insolvency practitioner will be for the benefit of all the creditors. It is not just in the telecoms sector that it is rare for creditors who are unsecured to get any meaningful percentage recovery.

If an insolvency practitioner is funded then it could potentially sue the fraudulent director and attempt to get a recovery as well as make a report recommending the person be disqualified as a director for several years. However the harsh reality regarding insolvency related proceedings in the UK, means that the failure to properly fund an insolvency practitioner often results in a director getting away with the telecoms fraud.

The Telecoms LCR Chain – Profiting From Fraud

When it comes to the wholesale industry we find ourselves in the curious position that, often it is not just the perpetrator of the fraud who seeks to profit. Understandably carriers in the chain want to be paid in full (including their profit margin), meaning that they profit from fraud, albeit not a fraud they have committed themselves. In essence it can be quite galling for a carrier that has been left with a gaping revenue hole, to have its supplier insist on recovering not only its cost of transiting the traffic but also its profit margin.

Contractual Protection

Please consider the important recent case Frontier Systems Ltd (t/a Voiceflex) v Frip Finishing Ltd [2014] EWHC 1907 (TCC), where the Court required the telecoms carrier to be liable for the calling costs, even if the traffic was fraudulently generated.  We advise that in light of this judgment in particular that carrier review carefully and make amendments to their end user and wholesale agreements.

Carrier contracts should not only exclude, to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, all express and implied warranties but should require the other party to be responsible, even if traffic was fraudulently generated by a third party.  Looking up the supply chain, we advise our client carriers to require that the supplier’s systems should be set to block fraudulent traffic and accordingly be liable in the event that they fail to block such fraud, even if it has passed through our client’s system undetected.

There is a lot to be said for such provisions to avoid uncertainty at the outset, minimising our clients’ exposure in terms of liability whilst importantly drawing the carriers’ minds to implementing appropriate anti-fraud measures before exchanging traffic.

What the Industry Can Do

Beyond the various technical measures (not mentioned in this blog note), the blocking of certain destinations by the way of default and some anti-fraud security provisions in the contract protecting the single carrier, the telecoms industry should consider an industry code of practice:

agreeing to help other carriers in the chain in identifying the fraud, even though there is no contractual relationship;

agreeing not to profit from fraud, i.e. take out profit element of charges;

appointing industry representatives to have a better working relationship with the fraud sections of the police and the regulator;

allowing companies to refuse to pay up the supply chain where there has been fraud suspected, albeit subject to certain provisos to ensure that nobody unduly benefits in such case;

providing a reseller kitemark approach to help combat dial-through fraud (e.g. the FCS’ fraud group that Preiskel & Co helped set up; or the International Interconnection Forum For Services Over IP (I3 Forum))

considering an industry fund to make a contribution towards costs of bringing enforcement action against fraudsters

identifying a cost effective insolvency practitioner who understands the industry

This concludes telecom fraud week on, edited by Manuel Basilavecchia of Netaxis. Read our other fraud posts from the week:

Colin Duffy on “is encryption the answer to data loss
Manuel Basilaveccia on Missing Trader VAT Fraud
Dave Dadds – “telecom fraud is industry’s problem not the customer’s
Manuel Basilavecchia on “A mobile operator fraud case study
Jonathan Rodwell on “Telecoms and IT Security” and with part 2 here

Business scams

Jonathan Rodwell on Telecoms and IT Security part two

SIP Trunk Plus CEO Jonathan Rodwell in Part two of his posts on Telecoms and IT Security

Fraud week sponsored by Netaxis continues with part two of Jonathan Rodwell’s post on Telecoms and IT Security. In part one Jonathan discussed “Telecoms and IT security in the UK” together with “Technical best practice”.

The second post  concludes with  “the human wild card” and says “we need a new way of thinking”

The weak link?

The elephant in the room is the weak link in all telecoms/network scenarios. Us human beings. The bigger question being that if the ‘human’ wildcard element cannot be controlled, can any network (Telecoms or otherwise) ever be truly secure?

I suspect that even some of the most technically astute individuals cut corners.  We just can’t help ourselves sometimes. Using similar passwords on email accounts perhaps?  Not bothering with voicemail passwords?  User log on credentials that are not sufficiently robust?  No matter how robust a technical architecture is when people cut corners they expose their business to another’s malicious intent.

Larger organisations certainly have more tools at their disposal to exercise greater control over protecting their services, or offering training and technical solutions to manage passwords and so forth. But even they face challenges, particularly when staff bring their own devices onto the network.  Larger organisations often present a more attractive target to groups of individuals intent on hacking. It is generally accepted that if a group of skilled individuals with sufficient resources wants to penetrate your security, they will undoubtedly find a way. TalkTalk can tell you all about it.

As Telecoms providers, we know that as our service is predominantly IP Based, our clients and our businesses are exposed to potentially massive costs.

Both The Federation of Communication Services (FCS) and the Internet Telephony Service Providers Association (ITSPA) understands these challenges and is working with industry experts, the police and stakeholders across the board to try and help mitigate the potential risks. The FCS have a Fraud panel dedicated to working with industry professionals to help deliver best practice. ITSPA work closely with the likes of Action Fraud and the Metropolitan Police. 

FCS’s experience is instructive:  less than two years ago, fraud was a taboo subject at FCS meetings.  No business CP liked to talk about it, for fear of admitting weakness to their competitors.  Today it’s the industry’s number one pain-point.  

These trade associations provide a single voice for their members to Ofcom and to policy-makers. This protects members from the risk of individual damage to their brands. 

What can we do?

This all seems somewhat daunting, particularly for the small business owner – remember, the challenges for a multi-national are immense, too. So where do we start? A good place is the set of recommendations from GCHQ: The Cyber Essentials Scheme. Essentially, this focuses on protecting against Internet-Originated attacks against IT/IP Comms services. Cyber Essentials focuses on five key controls:

  1. Boundary Firewalls and Internet Gateways – devices designed to prevent unauthorised access, and setting them up effectively.
  2. Secure Configuration – of systems relative to the needs of the organisation.
  3. Access Control – Ensuring appropriate permissions within systems, with sensible passwords.
  4. Malware Protection – Ensuring it is installed and correctly maintained.
  5. Patch Management – Ensuring they are applied and utilised this is particularly pertinent for users of all PBXs. They need to be patched as much as any other network device.


This is all perfectly sensible and a good starting point, especially if your staff are office-based, but many businesses in 2014 support flexible working environments, such as staff who work from home and so forth. Indeed, some businesses do not have offices at all; so consider item 3: how do you control access when a home internet service is provided by BT or Sky and they have direct access to the router? If your IT support is provided by a third party, what happens if their own security is penetrated; are you vulnerable too?

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) adds a further layer of complexity when employee or visitor devices are allowed access to the network. Companies must balance the benefits versus the risks and what mitigation can be implemented (realistically) on a technical basis.

Suppliers must emphasise and help implement best practice when it comes to the protection of PBX and handset architecture. Granted, some end clients are more willing than others to be proactive on this front, but suppliers have an obligation to emphasise the security protocols that can best protect the PBX and handsets (essentially network devices). Suppliers should also take some expert advice when it comes to their client contracts, with terms and conditions requiring specific attention paid to liabilities in case clients simply do not implement best practice.

Carriers and Telecommunications providers are in an interesting and powerful position in the equation. The carrier position is interesting because they can in theory, actually benefit from Telecoms Security breaches – a £20,000 phone bill still has to be paid after all, be it by the resale partner or by the client. Moral issues aside, the dilemma arise when fraudulent activity places the client’s business in jeopardy: if a business folds, then recovering the money becomes a much harder proposition. This is not to suggest that carriers encourage fraud, rather that history has shown that the responsibility of managing security and cost has always been pushed down the supply chain. Most carriers, at best, offer simple credit limiting or algorithmic analysis of traffic patterns.

The industry has a responsibility to do more, not just from an ethical point of view, but by offering enhanced protection at the Carrier level.  Doing so means changing the whole dynamic between resellers and end clients. If we can empower both the end client, and the reseller to control in real time the volume of minutes to every possible global destination (or group of destination), we can ensure end clients will always know what their maximum liability would be. This is minute limiting for the global business environment that is both dynamic and at the control of both key stakeholders – the business and supplier chain.

Consider now the dynamic of the supplier / client relationship if ‘cost of fraud’ wasn’t an issue. How would your approach to IT and Telecoms security change if a business-crippling financial penalty wasn’t threatening to be the end result of a security breach?

If the acceptance of ‘risk’ becomes easier to tolerate because there is a layer of protection and mitigation delivered through the telecoms supply chain by partners who are proactive, rather than reactive, then choices made by end clients become simpler, and could actually be different.

This can be taken a step further, so much so that if we accept that there is no perfect system and there is always a risk, then we can decide which method of working, or what telephony connectivity represents an acceptable level of ‘risk’. Clients can then assess the practicality of a heavily locked down infrastructure versus the ability to be dynamic and innovative in working practice.

We are not advocating businesses becomes an open door to hacks, rather that the whole supply chain can be chosen to facilitate a sensible approach to IT and Telecoms security that is simple to manage and doesn’t become a rod to the back of a business.

Thought leaders for the future

So what do we do about it? Well first of all, there is no perfect solution. If you admit to yourself and accept that people by nature will always be the weak link when it comes to telecoms security, then how you deal with peoples’ nature will be the defining aspect of IT and Telecoms security for your business, either globally or domestically.

Accept the view that once a file is emailed, voicemail sent out, or words have left your mouth, you have ultimately lost control over them. From that point on they can be copied, re-purposed and distributed without your permission on an exponential scale. Within Telecoms security however, you can at least limit the financial damage to an almost negligible level.

We are therefore in a more fortunate position than our friends in the IT and Data security industry where personal information, intellectual property and company data stores are also at risk.

It is time for the telecommunications industry to regain the initiative, the ‘old way’ of doing things, and the old business paradigms the industry that apply brakes to progress. Instead of playing catch-up and adopting a siege mentality, we have to change the way with think about security. Acceptance of risk, balanced with technical mitigation solutions should be weighed against the potential cost of a security penetration.

Suppliers and clients must be both pragmatic in the implementation of security protocols, and both parties must understand their responsibilities and the corresponding risks of waiving them. This is certainly an matter of education, and business owners have a responsibility to take the time to understand what those risks are, as there are currently no formal benchmarks in the industry currently that relate to telecoms security to guide selection.

A crucial step to understanding your risks and developing a strategy that suits your business is obviously working with the right supply chain: Partners can be trusted advisors to business owners and IT specialists, that offer the right solutions, even if those solutions don’t necessarily come from an established brand that has been around for decades. Telecommunications has become a managed service.

We are now, more than ever, part of a corporate ecosystem of applications. The more you lock it down, the more you dampen the dynamism and creativity within a business. So think carefully about how you deliver services to your clients.  Deliver value and don’t be afraid of breaking from tradition.  Learn from the past, but don’t be shackled by it.

This is telecom fraud week on, edited by Manuel Basilavecchia of Netaxis. Read our other fraud posts this week:

Colin Duffy on “is encryption the answer to data loss
Manuel Basilaveccia on Missing Trader VAT Fraud
Dave Dadds – “telecom fraud is industry’s problem not the customer’s
Manuel Basilavecchia on “A mobile operator fraud case study
Jonathan Rodwell on “Telecoms and IT Security

This second post is an adaptation of an article first published by Jonathan Rodwell last year in the Journal of the Institute of Telecoms Professionals but is only available to members behind a firewall.

Business scams

Jonathan Rodwell on Telecoms and IT Security

Telecoms and IT security in the UK and Technical best practice

In an excellent and wide ranging two part series, SIP Trunk Plus CEO Jonathan Rodwell dives into the world of telecom fraud. In this first post he looks at Telecoms and IT security in the UK and Technical best practice.

Executive Summary

Telecoms and IT security is a massive industry in 2015, but the lack of security and the results thereof are talked about much more quietly. Instead service providers and technology delivery partners prefer to speak of uptime, and resilience. It is hardly surprising that what we don’t hear mentioned is who suffers from fraud. Big consumer data breaches hit the headlines frequently though only vast corporations like Target, TalkTalk and Sony really hit the headlines of the business community. Target was the result of a third party supplier breach but the snowball effect affects the entire business community.

Fraud is perpetrated every day. We fear being the victim but the reality is that often we are the problem as much as we are the solution. The IT and Telecommunications industry’s challenge is to effectively address the “elephant in the room”.  Talking about fraud with clients is interesting because service providers don’t want to sell on ‘fear’. Yet, at the same time, when they provide only one aspect of client infrastructure (e.g. telecoms), they may have no direct control over the infrastructure or the end user’s business or employees. When ‘fraud’ is perpetrated the initial and historical reaction is ‘fire fighting’ by identifying the cause and implementing a solution. Finally, they determine who gets the blame. One thing is certain, regardless of ‘fault’, the provider’s brand is damaged simply by association.

This first post is an examination of:

  1. The Telecoms and IT security in the UK
  2. Technical best practice


The second post  addresses:

  1. The human wild card
  2. We need a new way of thinking


Perfect solutions may not be available, but by removing the most painful and immediate result of a telecoms security breach – the financial cost – companies can change the way they approach security. Removing the risk of an expensive pay-out – which a service provider does not want to request, nor a client receive – massively changes the dynamic of the whole security equation.

By removing the risk, core stakeholders can then (in theory at least) work together in a cooperative, and constructive ways to firstly, ensure that a process of best practice is implemented, but also ensure that the cause of most hacks – human error – means that scapegoating and blame can be turned into a justification and positive reinforcement exercise that strengthens the client’s focus on increasing their information and network security across the board. Happy clients mean happy service providers and protection for the industry’s reputation.

Telecoms and IT security in the UK – where are we today?

In 2015, Telecoms and IT security are one and the same. A Legacy or IP PBX, or IP handsets are simply network devices that can provide huge business benefit and are crucial to most business operations. They are, however, devices that must be managed carefully along with every other network device so that they are not open to misuse. Similarly to the Local Network, infrastructure services like ISDN and SIP Trunks must also be managed, and some legacy services such as ISDN have more inherent risks associated. PBX security does not happen ‘out of the box’, it requires careful planning and control of both the network and connectivity.

Worldwide spending on Information Security showed an increase of 7.9 percent on 2013 and is predicted reach $71.1 billion in 2014 and to grow a further 8.2 percent in 2015, with roughly 10% of security capabilities delivered through cloud services1. Malware and processing power are available on an industrial scale at relatively low cost and businesses must prepare themselves to prevent becoming targets.

An enormous telephony bill at the end of the month, for some, could be the only indication that they are the victim of Telecommunications fraud. A frightening situation for anyone – be it the business owner or the IT Manager responsible for making sure that such a situation doesn’t happen. What is the initial reaction? Apportion blame? Deny liability for the costs? Fire a supplier or an employee? Contact the police or seek remedy in court? Two things are certain, a business will not be happy to pay such costs; and the resulting fallout can destroy even the longest standing business relationships.

The first question is what we can define fraud as? Is it simply exploitation of third party resources for financial gain? Or does it also extend to company employees costing their employer more, by extending their use of services provided by the company for personal benefit? We work on the basis of the full definition and focus on any expenditure that would not have been authorised by a company (in relation to their Telecommunication systems) is fraud.

Experience to date shows that the costs of fraud often never see the light of day. The reporting rate to the police the Action Fraud Bureau is just the tip of the iceberg. The Telecoms industry has been forced into a position where liability is the responsibility of the end clients simply to protect their own businesses, which in turn stimulated the development of the entire Info Security industry.

European Commissioner Neelie Kroes, Vice President for the Digital Agenda, was typically direct in her views of the Telecommunications industry: ‘Sometimes I think the telecoms sector is its own worst enemy.’ She went on to ask whether we will be leading the industry or whether we will be dragged ‘kicking and screaming’2. This may seem negative, but the Telecommunications industry has been around for over a hundred years, and like many mature industries, change can come very slowly.  While consumer telecoms, driven by the likes of Apple and Samsung, has commoditised the industry and radically adjusted consumer perception, the more traditional business to business market moves much more slowly.

The business and technical challenges

The fact is that we, as providers of telecommunications services, are providers of business critical services; the security of which we don’t necessarily have control over. This seems counter intuitive, doesn’t it? However, the challenge does not end there; types of exposure to fraudulent activity can vary significantly depending on a number of factors, not the least of which is the actual size of organisations.

For example, a company with 5 employees may have no IT expertise in house; they could rely on outsourced network support (or no network support at all) and leave themselves exposed on a variety of levels. A FTSE100 company on the other hand, may have an IT department consisting of dozens (or even hundreds) of staff, with a multimillion pound budget, but the sheer volume of devices that access their network and potential complexity of the network alone doesn’t offer them certain protection. Consider the recent cases of Home Depot and Target in the US, for example, who were penetrated at the point of sale at a cost to their own brand and their bottom line.

So what are the key considerations when it comes to telecoms security?

An onsite PBX is inherently vulnerable.

Physicality – As we know, unless equipment is in a secure environment with biometric and prescribed access control procedures, the PBX can be accessed and call routing tables amended. Note that organisations such as the NICC refer to a plethora of documentation in respect to best practice for such installations; however, how many companies are in a position to adopt such best practice?

Unauthorised access can be gained by anyone, from a systems administrator to a cleaner.

Remotely – many PBX’s are connected to the internet to enable remote access from their providers and to interface with cloud servers such as Jabber for IM and contact centre technologies, for example.

The first challenge is securing the local network, such as blocking port 5060; however, who controls the network? Is it the IT support company (in-house or contracted) or the communications provider? More often than not it is both – two brains potentially acting separately. This creates grey areas of responsibility as demonstrated by a recent High Court case where £35K of fraud was held against the communications provider.

There are two principal methods by which fraud is perpetrated:

  1. Hacks over the internet
  2. Dial-through fraud – Hacks via voicemail pin


Both of these methods aim to divert traffic to premium rate numbers (usually international) whereby the fraudsters are rewarded with the profit generated from such numbers.

What about at a national and global level?

Typical Methods of Prevention

The Telecoms supply chain can be very complex.  A carrier provides minutes to a sub-carrier and in turn to a reseller and in turn to, say, a SIP trunk provider and then again to the end client, or indeed another reseller. There are many combinations and permutations in the supply network.

What about at a Carrier Level?

Responsible carriers will offer protection using two principal methods:

  1. Referring to a fraudulent number repository – and blocking calls to such destinations
  2. Algorithmic – detecting unusual traffic patterns and blocking calls accordingly.


At Sub-Carrier Level

  1. Credit Limits – Imposing credit limits on resellers globally


The only real way to protect against fraud is the intelligent and real time monitoring of call traffic via Call Detail Records, or the logging of minutes. The challenge the reseller community has is that they are reliant on carrier provided monthly CRDs which only deliver the information after an incident has taken place, over a period of time. A very large cost can be accumulated in the space of an hour, let alone a month.

There is a major consideration too for the reseller community: They will have a company credit / supply limit with their SIP Trunk carrier globally. If that reseller hits their credit limit an automatic block on their services is implemented (automatically); that could potentially mean a block on all of their clients trunk services – a total service outage in effect. It is absolutely crucial the telecoms channel be able to manage their client base at a granular level and in real time.

This is telecom fraud week on, edited by Manuel Basilavecchia of Netaxis. Read our other fraud posts this week:

Colin Duffy on “is encryption the answer to data loss
Manuel Basilaveccia on Missing Trader VAT Fraud
Dave Dadds – “telecom fraud is industry’s problem not the customer’s
Manuel Basilavecchia on “A mobile operator fraud case study

This post is an adaptation of an article first published by Jonathan Rodwell last year in the Journal of the Institute of Telecoms Professionals but is only available to members behind a firewall.

In his second post, to be published tomorrow at 1pm Jonathan conclude by looking at

  1. The human wild card and
  2. We need a new way of thinking


1 Gartner Press Release, Sydney, Australia, August 22nd 2014
2 Adapt or die: What I would do if I ran a telecom company, FT ETNO Summit 2014, Brussels, October 1st 2014

Business Mobile scams

Mobile operator fraud case study

A Mobile Operator Fraud case study but it could apply to any type of network

In this article this week’s guest editor Manuel  Basilavecchia of Netaxis describes a mobile operator fraud – in other words a telecom fraud that impacted a mobile operator. He describes the type of traffic pattern (destinations) and fraudster behaviour. For obvious reasons we are keeping the name of the operator out of it. It could happen to anyone dropping their guard.

The mobile operator in question underwent some planned maintenance work on its network.  Few details are available on the nature of the planned work but from a security point of view the activity was a total failure as the following day their switch was accessed from outside their network. We may assume that the planned work cleared the access list on the SBC/firewall.

Once the fraudster had access to the switch, he initiated some test calls. The goal was to check if it was possible to terminate traffic to specific destinations. To avoid detection the tests calls were kept to a low volume.

It is important to note that the hijack and the test phase took place on weekdays. On the Friday evening, fraudster rolled up his sleeves and got on with the real work of sending volume traffic to several destinations.  

The traffic pattern was as follows:

  • Fake CLI’s used like 1001111,1000001,123456; etc
  • Massive calls to Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Gambia etc….
  • Big volumes generated per CLI

The fraud was detected the next day in the morning by a service provider of the mobile operator. The time elapsed between the beginning of the fraud and the detection allowed the fraudster to generate quite high volumes.

As it was a week-end it was difficult for the SP to get in touch with the mobile operator to inform him about the ongoing fraud and to align on measure that needs to be taken. Again here, few hours lost which benefits the fraudster……

Once the decision to block fraudulent traffic has been taken a game of cat and mouse started. Indeed,  when the fraudster identified that a destination was not generating revenues due to barring implemented, he immediately and simply switched to targeting another country. The same principle applied for CLI’s. Any time he noticed that a CLI was blocked he just moved on to another. This game lasted the entire day.

On day two, a major change in the destinations targeted was seen: Nauru, Senegal, Maldives Zimbabwe was now part of the fraud scheme.

Again, barring had to be implemented on the targeted destinations. It is important to note that the barring had to be implemented so as to stop fraudulent traffic but without impacting the legitimate traffic

In parallel, the mobile operator attempted to solve the security breach which took some time.  Once the issue solved on the SBC, fraudulent traffic finally stopped.

Lessons learnt:

Security is key to protect  a network and in the case where a modification is made to a SBC, a cross check needs to take place after the intervention

Based on the short time between the planned work and the hacking it is clear that networks are scanned by fraudster to find an open door.

Fraud monitoring needs to be made live or near real time to minimize the impact and this 24 x 7

Barring solution must be available to stop fraud. This barring solution needs to be flexible (A number, B number, range, destination).

This is telecom fraud week on, edited by Manuel Basilavecchia of Netaxis. Read our other fraud posts this week:

Colin Duffy on “is encryption the answer to data loss
Manuel Basilaveccia on Missing Trader VAT Fraud
Dave Dadds – “telecom fraud is industry’s problem not the customer’s

Business scams

Missing Trader VAT Fraud

Missing Trader VAT Fraud

Fraud is for telecommunication companies a wide problem. Several fraud scenarios are well know like IRSF, PBX hacking, Bypass, and could be managed using a Fraud Management System (FMS).

Nevertheless, there is a fraud mechanism that could severely affect the business of a company even if this company is using an FMS. This fraud mechanism is called Missing Trader VAT fraud and is a significant problem for both business and tax authorities.

This type of fraud becomes possible because of the way the VAT system works within the European Union. This article aims to describe the Missing Trader VAT fraud mechanism at least at the top level.

How it works?

As a first step, fraudsters create a company (telecom reseller in this case). As a second step, traffic is purchased and resold.  Following the normal VAT mechanism, VAT is charged to and recovered from the end customer by the fraudster.

Up to this point, everything is ok. However the fraudster then disappears before having handed over the cash to the VAT authorities.

This in turn can cause a problem for the innocent party who has handed over the VAT to the crooks because the taxmen believe that they can recover it from said innocent party. This is a major risk for the business, especially as tax authorities can apply penalties. 

They get you with the “should have known” clause. They repeated say that you must know your customer and your suppliers and you have to prove to them that you’re innocent – a reversal of natural justice.

It is important that you read the leaflet linked to below. If you do not take due care and HMRC can demonstrate that you knew or should have known that your trading was linked to fraudulent tax losses then you will lose your entitlement to claim the input tax linked to those transactions.

missing trader vat fraud

In reality of course, when a MTIC is established, it is made is a more complex way than the basic principle described above.

Indeed, the fraud can be perpetrated on genuine traffic, meaning that no alarm will be triggered by the FMS. Also, a “clean” supplier with which a customer has business relations since years can suddenly enter in this bad game

Last but not least, in many cases several companies involved in the supply chain are complicit (buffers). This help to hide the full picture if the fraud and enable carousel mechanism.

How to detect Missing Trader VAT Fraud?

We have seen that this fraud can occur on legitimate traffic which makes detection more complicated. For that reason, a number of different checks must be made on various aspects of the workings of a business: legal, financial, and traffic analysis.

This is especially although not uniquely for new interconnections. Existing interconnections also should also be regularly checked.

Market intelligence is also a great added-value in order to avoid to connecting with suspect companies or companies managed by people who have had issues with tax authorities in the past

Considering the nature of this fraud it is important to set up alert processes across your finance, legal and fraud management departments.


MTIC (VAT fraud) in VoIP- B.U school of law/Boston University, School of law Working Paper No10_03. Richard T.Ainsworth

ETNO/ Missing Trader Fraud. Telecommunications Industry Standard Risk Management Process

HM Revenue & customs/ Missing Trader Intra Community (MTIC). VAT Fraud presentation. Joanne Cheetam MTIC National Co-Ordination Unit . 2012

Bad Stuff Business security

Is encryption the answer to data loss?

Is encryption the answer to data loss?  Voipfone CEO Colin Duffy thinks not

The TalkTalk hack and subsequent data loss – and to a lesser extent the Vodafone hack only a few days later – bring the issue of data security and telecommunications into the news. In the media, much emphasis has been placed on the use of encryption as a line of defence against data loss. This is only very partially true – encryption is not a panacea.

When it is useful, the system has already been compromised, the data is already lost and can be worked on at the criminal’s leisure or sold on to more sophisticated criminals with the tools to decrypt it. Encryption is not perfect and through cryptanalysis it can be broken. For example, knowing that you are looking at a list of tens of thousands of postcodes that are encrypted with the same key can provide sufficient information to decrypt the entire list. Moreover, the encryption key itself then becomes a prime target for hackers.

Encryption is most useful when it is used to protect data transport over a hostile medium e.g. when data is exchanged between two parties over the Internet or a laptop being taken out of the office or situations where physical hardware can be stolen.

But inside private networks it is far less useful. This is because customer data is in constant use by multiple users – for billing, reporting, and customer support and by customers for updates and information. Customer databases need multiple entry points and authorisations for both human and machine access. Encrypted information is unencrypted on the fly by the computer which processes it. If the hacker gains access to that computer as a user the data is automatically unencrypted and visible.

Any breach that allows an attacker access to a component such as remote code execution and login access would also give them access to the encrypted data and the encryption key. There are very few remote attack forms where encryption would prevent data loss once the hacker has penetrated the system.

In these circumstances, encrypting data adds extra load on processors and systems, adds system and managerial complexity and cost and mostly does little more than provide a false sense of security. In reality, encryption of data inside networks is of most use not for the protection of the data, but from subsequent media accusations of security laxness.

Finally, encryption does not protect against the database deletion or interference.

For a limited number of risks, data encryption can bring some security value to a system, but for most it has no benefit whatsoever. Therefore it certainly isn’t a replacement for the other security measures – protecting access to systems, minimising SQL injection or code execution vulnerabilities. It has to be considered a last line of defence, added on top of all other reasonable measures.

Colin Duffy

This week of telecoms fraud posts is edited by Manuel Basilavecchia of Netaxis.

Bad Stuff Business scams

It’s telecoms fraud week on

Telecoms fraud – a massive cost to the industry

I periodically run themed weeks on this blog. This week it’s going to be a few posts on telecoms fraud, edited by Manuel Basilavecchia of Belgian anti fraud specialists Netaxis. Manuel has already contributed a post on PABX fraud during a previous fraud week.

The telecoms industry loses a huge amount of money to fraud. The total amount has been estimated to be in the tens of billions of dollars (see global fraud loss survey by cvidya). It is a problem that affects most businesses of any size. The worst aspect of the problem is that it often alienates service providers with their customers. The fault is often down to inadequate network security practices amongst end user companies who in turn blame their communications provider.

It is in everyone’s interest to do something about telecoms fraud but because these scams are usually perpetrated across national boundaries with multiple networks involved in the loop making any progress is a difficult thing to do. It is only the local communications provider who has the problem – of recovering the cash from their customer.

This week’s contributors include some heavy hitters in the industry including Colin Duffy of Voipfone and Dave Dadds of Vanilla IP. Keep your eye open for their posts.

First one goes live today at 1pm. Catch ya later…

broadband Business

Long Line Issues – Living & Working with a 0.18Mbps Internet Connection

Long line issues – makes you appreciate good broadband when you have it

This is Lincolnshire broadband week on Most of the posts have been pretty upbeat. Feelgood stuff about how superfast broadband has changed life/work for the better. Well it ain’t all good I’m afraid. Businessman David MacGregor tells us about his long line issues – broadband so slow as to be almost unusable.

Working and living with a 0.18Mbps connection (…on a good day) is beyond ridiculous. Trust me when I say Broadband rage is real thing. My other half Kirsty and I run a small business (Terranomade) making and designing vinyl graphics, signs, wall art, stickers etc. from our small-holding just outside Theddlethorpe. It never ceases to amaze me that we have managed to grow the business as much as we have, with such limited internet access. Previously we have had some reasonably high profile clients, and attempting to draft and discuss previews and mock-ups via email, whilst operating on such a painfully slow connection speed, has very nearly cost us contracts and further commissions. As you can maybe imagine, in a competitive market place, speed is quite often the key. We genuinely feel as though we are losing business as a direct result of our internet speed issue.

As previously mentioned, one of the main problems with a slow connection is obviously downloading and sending attachments. A considerable portion of our day is spent waiting on pictures uploading, which eats into the time that should be spent on other projects and before you know it you find yourself still working at 9pm at night and thinking I wish I had got more done today.

Quite often friends will ask if we’ve watched some series or another on Netflix or its ilk, and then the quietly embarrassing conversation of “No, we can’t get Netflix etc” ensues. No-one ever quite believes that a connection speed of 0.18mbps is even possible. So, we never get to use on-demand services that’s just a huge no no! Hell, even to watch a 2 minute video on YouTube it takes 10mins and three attempts to get it to play all the way through whilst “buffering”. We have a rule of only one person connected to the internet at a time, primarily because if we are both attempt to go on ebay or facebook we spend the night getting messages of “no internet”.

We are currently awaiting an investigation being completed by BT as to what can be done to improve not only our connection, but also that of the six other houses along our road that are in the same boat. According to Openreach we are some 9.5km down the line and our cabinet has been fibre enabled, which is all well and good, but due to the length of the copper line, it has meant no improvement whatsoever. In the three years of living here our line speed has in fact has become considerably worse. When we first moved in we were lucky enough to get almost 0.35Mbps at times, now, due to more houses or line degradation, we are subjected to a pitiful 0.18Mbps.

Tref writes:

Remember the days of the 56k modem. You’d set something going and walk off to make a cup of tea whilst it downloaded. Might even set it going overnight and hope that it didn’t crash in the wee small hours making you have to start again. Well for some people this is still a reality as David can testify.

Other posts in Lincolnshire broadband week:

Tim Mackintosh gets excited

There’s tiles in them thar clouds

Superfast translation

No more commuting to Budapest by composer Ervin Nagy

Philip Little of Bluecube Move to the cloud accelerated by superfast broadband

Intro to day 4 by Tref

Broadband for all by Tref

Could we have a B4RN in Lincolnshire (B4RL)

Gigaclear Ultrafast broadband in Lincolnshire by CEO Matthew Hare

BT fibrebroadband Managing Director Bill Murphy discusses superfast broadband progress in Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire broadband programme update by Steve Brookes

broadband Business

Tim Mackintosh is getting excited at the prospect of high speed B4RN internet access and has some suggestions of how he might use its excess capacity

ultra high speed broadband uses – innovative ways of using your high capacity internet connection

Tim Mackintosh is about to dig himself onto the B4RN hyperfast hyperhighway. In this post he discusses innovative ways of using the capacity that will soon be made available to him and talks about TV White Space.

Well, it’s a bit too wet today to do anything to help push forward that twenty kilometre trench today … so, I thought I’d just ponder what it might mean to us all once the sods are replaced and Silverdale residents have gigagot their gigabits.

As Karen Adams posted on B4RL Facebook page recently, in an extract from a CNET article written five years ago, Verizon Communications Chief Information Officer Shaygan Kheradpir said:- “I remember when AOL first came out and people wondered why people would ever need faster than 56Kbps downloads,” he said. “Every time we have increased the speed of service, consumers and others have found a way to fill the pipe. I’m confident that someone will figure out what to do with all that capacity.” With our B4RN gigabit fibre broadband, we’ve got 18,724 times more capacity.  That’s a very big pipe to fill.

Of course, we don’t need to fill the pipe.  There’s no obligation upon us to do any more on line than we are doing now.  B4RN fibre is just going to let us do what we do much more reliably.  But what sort of things could we do, if we wanted to?

There’s a company in the Netherlands called Nerdalize.  For people in places like B4RNland with a gigabit at their disposal, they are offering the opportunity to use some of their unused bandwidth to heat their houses.  They will supply storage heater sized server units which will be processing information for universities, research centres and other industrial data managers whilst at the same time, heating the premises.  Nerdalize pay for all the electricity used by the servers and can still offer data processing at 30% – 55% cheaper prices than its competition. – Green, clean and environmentally friendly.

In the USA, there are a number of initiatives where communities can share their surplus bandwidth with less well connected neighbourhoods.  These initiatives are made possible by the use of TV white space and it doesn’t take a huge leap of the imagination to see how it would work in Lincolnshire.

What is TV White Space (TVWS)?

Between 2008 and 2012 the UK’s terrestrial television system switched from analogue to digital broadcasting. The TV transmission system is arranged regionally and so to avoid interference between neighbouring regional signals there needs to be space between the channels used in each region.

Devices used for program making and special events (known as PMSE), such as wireless microphones, occasionally use some of these spare channels, but the remaining channels can be shared for other uses. TV White Space technology makes use of these available channels using an online geo-location database that tells the wireless device which frequency it can use without causing interference to TV broadcasters and PMSE operators.  Depending on the availability of channels in an area, TVWS can offer tens of Mbps per channel over several kilometres.  One of these databases has  already expressed an interest in working with community projects for community benefit.

The Gigabit Libraries Project in the ‘States, has libraries with spare broadband bandwidth, sending some of this connectivity to more remote locations in their communities to provide a WIFI connection for special community events and activities.  TV white space technology is being developed extensively in many parts of the world and the equipment required is becoming more affordable all the time.  Individuals in B4RNland, with connectivity to spare and an interest in community art, could decide to use TVWS to share some of it, as a WIFI hotspot, with a ‘Woodstock’ like music festival visiting the vicinity, or a ‘Hay on Wye’ type book fair a field or two away.

Another TVWS initiative being explored in UK would be particularly resonant in B4RNland with Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, National Parks and Sites of Special Scientific Interest as prolific as fleas on a dog’s back.  TVWS would easily allow any B4RN connected environmentalist to furnish a bit of bandwidth to a local university or conservation organisation that wanted eyes and ears on a remote location 24/7.  They could set up an HD video feed serviced by a TVWS link and put it immediately up on the web for the world to see and study.

Our community owned and managed gigabit connectivity is going to give us opportunities that not only don’t exist today but that will open doors to whole new worlds that we cannot even imagine from where we’re standing now.  

From the horse’s mouth, I have it on good authority that TVWS connectivity will soon be able to be mounted on a vehicle.  In the event of an emergency – road accident, rail crash, cockling disaster – anywhere in B4RNland, this TVWS mobile WIFI hub will facilitate immediate high bandwidth WIFI inter connectivity between all the emergency services, volunteers and local community resources to co-ordinate the best possible response in the quickest possible time.  All that’s tomorrow.  But we can start exploring its potential whenever we like.  

Once we’ve dug that twenty kilometre trench …

Tim Mackintosh found B4RN in 2011, attended their launch in Lancaster, bought some shares and started making a nuisance of himself locally. In 2013 he got together with a few like minded individuals and set up B4YS (B4RN broadband for Yealand, Silverdale and Storth) and obtained a grant from Arnside and Silverdale AONB to grease its wheels. So far, BAYS has connected most of one of the three parishes – Yealand. Tim has been interested in TVWS since before B4RN.

Other posts in Lincolnshire broadband week:

There’s tiles in them thar clouds

Superfast translation

No more commuting to Budapest by composer Ervin Nagy

Philip Little of Bluecube Move to the cloud accelerated by superfast broadband

Intro to day 4 by Tref

Broadband for all by Tref

Could we have a B4RN in Lincolnshire (B4RL)

Gigaclear Ultrafast broadband in Lincolnshire by CEO Matthew Hare

BT fibrebroadband Managing Director Bill Murphy discusses superfast broadband progress in Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire broadband programme update by Steve Brookes

broadband Business

There’s tiles in them thar clouds

Superfast Broadband is Picture Perfect for Tiling Company cloud storage of 50,000 images

As we approach the end of Lincolnshire broadband week on this blog we have a couple more case studies for you hot off the press – onlincolnshire are sponsors of this themed week on

Superfast broadband has been a success story for tile and heating specialist Martin Pocklington whose business like many is evolving to being online and cloud based. I’m sure that the day is not far off where we will all be exclusively cloud based. We will look back fondly (really? – maybe not) at the old days where we had to remember to make backups and waited patiently whilst Microsoft updates finished downloading. Here is Martin’s story:

Having been in the industry over 20 years, Martin has owned Horncastle Tiles Ltd since 2002 and bought Boston Heating Limited in 2010.

As well as websites for both businesses, Martin also runs online retail and wholesale operations at and

Having signed up to superfast broadband in June 2015, Martin has also made the move to the cloud.

He explained: “I have up to 50,000 images of tiles stored on the cloud, which is great as before it was a nightmare to store and track them down.

“Without switching to superfast broadband it would have been a very long, slow and painstaking process.

“We turn over £1 million a year by being able to process sales quickly and delivering fast, without the broadband speeds we would get left behind by competitors. We can now trade online competitively as we have fewer overheads being based in rural Lincolnshire, but it is essential to have that speed.”

Martin added that thanks to making the switch to superfast he can also access online accounting software.

“Quickbooks means everything is centralised and I can access the information from any device, anywhere in the world so long as I have an internet connection. It’s also linked to our ecommerce site and updates automatically which means I don’t have to input information manually,” he explained.

To find out more about Martin’s business visit or

To learn more about onlincolnshire, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, visit

PS this post was begging for a caption such as night out on the superfast broadband tiles or simlar but I couldn’t think of one that worked with the content 2 free tickets to trefbash 2015 if you can think of a good one.

Other posts in Lincolnshire broadband week:

Superfast translation

No more commuting to Budapest by composer Ervin Nagy

Philip Little of Bluecube Move to the cloud accelerated by superfast broadband

Intro to day 4 by Tref

Broadband for all by Tref

Could we have a B4RN in Lincolnshire (B4RL)

Gigaclear Ultrafast broadband in Lincolnshire by CEO Matthew Hare

BT fibrebroadband Managing Director Bill Murphy discusses superfast broadband progress in Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire broadband programme update by Steve Brookes

broadband Business

Last day of #Lincolnshirebroadband week

But not the end of Lincolnshire broadband! 🙂

Ok playmates today we finish off Lincolnshire broadband week with three posts.

First up at 10.30 we find out how Horncastle tiles stores 50,000 images of tiles in the cloud.

At 1pm guest contributor Tim Mackintosh discusses innovative ways of using high capacity broadband services and

Finally at 2.30pm David MacGregor talks about the problems associated with being 9.5km from his cabinet.

It’s been a highly successful Lincolnshire broadband week so far with 368 social media shares and comments. And that’s not counting all the comments left on Facebook and LinkedIn and the retweets.

Check out the other posts this week using the links below:

Superfast translation

No more commuting to Budapest by composer Ervin Nagy

Philip Little of Bluecube Move to the cloud accelerated by superfast broadband

Intro to day 4 by Tref

Broadband for all by Tref

Could we have a B4RN in Lincolnshire (B4RL)

Gigaclear Ultrafast broadband in Lincolnshire by CEO Matthew Hare

BT fibrebroadband Managing Director Bill Murphy discusses superfast broadband progress in Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire broadband programme update by Steve Brookes

broadband Business

Superfast speeds = superfast translation? #lincolnshirebroadband

Superfast broadband speeds have been an enabler for Lincolnshire based translation services company

Iwona at PABPAB Translation is a forward-thinking, multi-award-winning translation company with branches in England and overseas.

Nearly all of PAB’s translations are conducted by a native language speaker and more than 70% of its customers come through word of mouth based on the quality of work and the level of service the company offers.

The company’s operations team guarantees to reply to customers needing translations within one working hour from a quote request, so being responsive is part of the firm’s daily routine.

When Managing Director Iwona Lebiedowicz wanted to ensure that the company could reach the next level of service to offer its customers worldwide, she decided to invest and sign up to superfast broadband to aid the company’s growth.

She said: “Our team members come from all over the world as we are one of the largest firms of certified translators and language interpreters in the east of England. As our staff are from all over the world, we wanted to be able to use cloud-based computing and so upgrading to superfast broadband was the next logical step for us as a company.”

Signing up for such speeds has meant Iwona and her team have been able to perform the tasks they normally do, but in a fraction of the time.

Ruta Rubina, PAB Translator and IT Co-ordinator, explained: “We decided to upgrade at the end of 2014 but waited until April when we installed a new cloud-based IT system. The technical demands and the potential enhanced performance cloud computing offers made it necessary to switch to superfast broadband if we were to benefit fully from our new IT infrastructure.”

“We’ve also noticed fewer errors happening,” added Operations Manager Ana Maria Silvago, “which for translation is invaluable.” “Most of our business is done online and our freelancers are located in various locations across the world so it’s great not to be running into problems with regards to getting vital information out there. It now means we are more efficient and more productive overall.”

Sales Ledger Assistant Monika Przybyszewska agrees, saying the superfast speeds on their broadband give greater capacity to send and receive data electronically.

“With invoices especially in my case, it’s much faster. Costs are reduced because we can now rely on our invoices being received by email,” added Monika.

“We are also enjoying faster payments with reliable internet banking and we are able to handle customer issues more efficiently.”

To find out more about PAB Translation please visit This case study was first published yesterday on the wesite.

broadband Business

Superfast broadband replaces long distance commute to Budapest for Lincs based Hungarian composer

Lincolnshire superfast broadband enables composer to work over the internet.

Ervin Nagy is a Hungarian Concert pianist and composer who has been living in Lincoln since 2009. As a pianist he has travelled the world to give concerts and would periodically land back in the Hungarian capital city Budapest to collaborate on composing music for video games with his partner, BAFTA winner Tamás Kreiner.

As the demands of a growing family increased this long distance commute no longer became attractive but thanks to superfast broadband Ervin is able to keep his work going. In this post he tells us how it works.

Ervin writes

As I have told you earlier, sometimes I went to Hungary to work in a studio, writing music for games, animation films etc. As we are spending less time every year in Hungary, we had to find another way to work. So I invested in some tools, so I can record some music myself.

The software which is responsible for the recording and editing of the recorded notes is called “Cubase“. But to make the actual sounds, one needs to use so called “instruments banks”. These are storage softwares for various instruments. There are hundreds of thousands of them, from pop rock instruments to symphony orchestra instruments or ethnic instruments from all over the world.

The one I use is called Sample Tank 3. This has a little bit of everything and gives me access to a whole range of instruments. Sample Tank 3 gives me some idea of the basic sound, but the quality of these instruments are not the best. In the big studio in Budapest-due to all the investments and purchase of more than a decade we can make a much more up to date sound. This is where internet helps us a great deal.

When we want to work together we both, my sound engineer colleague and I, log in to Teamviewer and within seconds my colleague is in my laptop and see everything as I have recorded. Because I am still learning these programmes, he knows many tricks how to make unique detailed editing. The more you know of these small details the more natural effects you can create. So I tell him how I want to change things etc…

The one thing is missing yet and that is we have to use Skype to hear each other’s computers and sound systems. (oh yes, that is the other very important feature of our long distance work 🙂 ) Luckily the newest generation of Cubase will enable us to do it so. We will be able to log into each other’s sound system and we hear exactly the same quality of sound. Maybe the next generation will allow us to share our lunch as well 🙂

When all is done the recorded and mixed music goes to an even bigger studio for final mastering, all this could not happen without the internet!!

The very first piece of work we have produced like this just left my laptop last week.Tamás will try to find the best samples for the various instruments, and then goes to mixing and mastering. I know that many musicians and studios work this way. Mainly because someone has a great equipped studio in let’s say LA but the singer they need is based in France. And possibly they also need a great flamenco guitar player who lives in Andalusia….

You can hear some great music productions nowadays, where great musicians play together, although they never actually physically meet. Sounds absolutely crazy:)

As I just said, the first ” long distance” music is in the let’s say last third state before finishing. Some others can be seen on  or sound cloud link is:

Other posts in Lincolnshire broadband week:

Philip Little of Bluecube Move to the cloud accelerated by superfast broadband

Intro to day 4 by Tref

Broadband for all by Tref

Could we have a B4RN in Lincolnshire (B4RL)

Gigaclear Ultrafast broadband in Lincolnshire by CEO Matthew Hare

BT fibrebroadband Managing Director Bill Murphy discusses superfast broadband progress in Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire broadband programme update by Steve Brookes

broadband Business Cloud voip

The move to cloud based services gathers momentum as superfast broadband penetration grows

Philip Little of Lincoln cloud based telephony service provider Bluecube discusses the growth of cloud services in Lincolnshire

The trend in businesses moving to cloud services in Lincolnshire has been gathering momentum for quite some time now. However, at Bluecube, we have seen an exponential growth in this over the last 18 months in particular, so why is that?

The swing could be attributed to increased awareness of hosted voice services through better marketing and advertising efforts from providers and networks. The technology gets better, slicker and the argument to move to cloud services more compelling than ever, but we think the main reason so many businesses are moving to the cloud is because of the availability of superfast broadband services.

The majority of businesses, regardless of their size or industry now have superfast broadband available to them, yes even in Lincolnshire! What this article centres on is whether these businesses are taking full advantage of the speeds they now have at their disposal.

If you upgrade to superfast broadband and carry on working the way you always have done, you’re not going to see huge changes. Yes you will be able to open large email attachments much faster and streaming video should be a much smoother experience (goodbye buffering!), but that’s about it. Once you have the speed available you’ll need to adopt a cloud strategy to take full advantage of your investment.

That might sound complicated, expensive, and scary or even a little over the top if you’re only a small business, but bear with me on this – a cloud strategy can be as simple as deciding your one man business is going to move all documents from an external hard drive to something like, Google Drive and start using Skype for calls. If you’re a larger company it might mean that you start to work on a migration plan to get rid of your legacy on site equipment (phone system, servers, storage) and start moving services, data and processes into the cloud. Whatever the size of your of business or the business you are in, you’ll need to start thinking differently to take advantage of this opportunity.

What opportunity I hear you ask? A recent report from Deloitte has shown that SMB’s that use cloud technology grow 26% faster and deliver 21% higher gross profits.  85% of those surveyed believe cloud enabled their businesses to scale and grow faster. This means that the advantage of being a city based company is slowly disappearing. Small businesses now are also able to compete on a more level playing field with larger businesses, as cloud services are generally charged on a per user/per license basis. Small companies can now have the same specification phone system as a large corporate because they don’t have to invest in expensive equipment, as it’s all hosted in the cloud. Starting to get the full picture now?

To realise the full potential of superfast broadband and the real savings you can make through replacing on site equipment and resources with cloud based services, you’ll need some expert advice. There are plenty of companies out there that can help guide you through the process, Bluecube are just one of them.

One thing is for certain, the cloud revolution will continue and it will grow until either it cannot be ignored or your hand is forced. For example, BT have announced that digital ISDN services will have been completely phased out within 10 years and replaced by the 21st century network (i.e. internet based) completely.

Philip Little is Senior Business Development Manager of Lincoln based Internet Telephony Service Provider Bluecube Telecom.

Footnote by Trefor Davies

The concept of Internet Telephony is growing in popularity. Although it has been around for over a decade in the early stages of the market growth was stymied by the lack of good broadband upload speeds.

With the advent of superfast broadband this has changed and the reliability and quality of experience of cloud services has dramatically improved. If you have fast broadband then the move to cloud services is a no brainer and most of’s business is conducted through this medium.

Read our other posts in Lincolnshire Broadband week

Intro to day 4 by Tref

Broadband for all by Tref

Could we have a B4RN in Lincolnshire (B4RL)

Gigaclear Ultrafast broadband in Lincolnshire by CEO Matthew Hare

BT fibrebroadband Managing Director Bill Murphy discusses superfast broadband progress in Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire broadband programme update by Steve Brookes

broadband Business

Today on – how people are using their new superfast broadband connection

Lincolnshire broadband week continues

Ok playmates (or meates seeing as this is Lincolnshire broadband week – if you aren’t from around here you might not understand that one me duck) today we have three guest posts talking about how people are taking advantage of their new superfast broadband connection.

At 1pm we have Philip Little of Lincoln based hosted VoIP company talking about how they have seen a huge uptake in hosted voip services since the advent of superfast broadband. Was really nice to come across Bluecube btw – someone doing my thang in my home town (thang is an Americanism – not from Lincolnshire, btw).

Then at 2.30 pm we have my good friend and internationally renowned Hungarian concert pianist Ervin Nagy discusses how he has managed to stop having to commute to Budapest and get more quality time with his family in Lincoln, all thanks to superfast broadband.

Finally at 4pm we have an case study showing how Lincoln based translation company PAB is using hteir new superfast broadband connection to access cloud the based IT services that have revolutionised their business.

It’s very noticeable that case studies are always business oriented. We overlook the fact that superfast broadband has allowed sea changes in the way we use technology at home. Multiple TV streams for the family in multiple rooms. Backups of family photos – how often do you hear of people losing all their precious family photos (“often Tref“). Keeping in touch with the kids using video Hangouts/Facetime/Skype/Facebook. etcetera, etcetera etcetera (as in the movie the King and I). I think I’m losing the plot this morning. I’d better go.

I may add more as they come in. and already have some lined up for tomorrow.

Ciao amigos meates.

Posts in Lincolnshire broadband week:

Philip Little of Bluecube Move to the cloud accelerated by superfast broadband

Intro to day 4 by Tref

Broadband for all by Tref

Could we have a B4RN in Lincolnshire (B4RL)

Gigaclear Ultrafast broadband in Lincolnshire by CEO Matthew Hare

BT fibrebroadband Managing Director Bill Murphy discusses superfast broadband progress in Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire broadband programme update by Steve Brookes


broadband Business

Will the B4RN business model work for Lincolnshire

Will the B4RN business model work elsewhere or is it the result of an unique set of circumstances.

B4RN, or Broadband For the Rural North is a community owned provider of internet connectivity services offering 1Gbps fibre to the home technology for £30 a month. B4RN bill themselves as “the world’s fastest rural broadband”. You don’t need to rent a phone line as well which is the case with “traditional” fibre broadband technology which still  relies on the copper phone line for the last bit of connectivity to your house. So the £30 is it and the 1Gbps is also it. If people want a phone they can get a low cost VoIP line from any number of providers – B4RN recommend Vonage.

Fibre to the home is not generally available from mainstream broadband providers such as BT and Sky because these providers typically reuse the country’s existing copper line infrastructure to carry most of  their services. The cost of rolling out totally new fibre connections to everyone would not make business sense. This was estimated at £29Bn by a government funded report a few years ago. BT is spending around £2.5Bn on the current Fibre to the Cabinet rollout.

How does B4RN do it?

You can see there is an order of magnitude difference between the two costs. It doesn’t make sense for BT to spend £29Bn on a broadband service. For one with that kind of up front cost they wouldn’t be able to do it for £30 a month and I doubt their shareholders would consider it money well spent.

So how come B4RN can provide a 1Gbps FTTH service whilst BT can’t. B4RN’s cost per metre to roll out fibre is around £5 whereas I remember seeing up to £140 in the BT pricelist, at least for the most awkward stretches of fibre. That’s a big difference.

b4rn fibre entry point
B4RN fibre enters a stone walled building (pub actually)

B4RN relies on donated labour from communities served by their broadband. People accept that the price of getting broadband is their free labour. BT will have union regulated price structures for this kind of work. BT also has to provide scale. They need to be able to provide the same services across the whole country. They won’t find volunteers to help them dig trenches if those volunteers think they are helping to line BT’s pockets. B4RN is a community owned organisation. The volunteers are lining their own pockets.

B4RN volunteerMoreover one of the costs associated with digging fibre into the ground is what is known as a wayleave. This is the fee (per foot) paid annually to a landowner whose property is being traversed. Landowners will see this as a “nice little earner” from BT. In the B4RN business model scenario the landowner normally waives the wayleave either as a gesture towards the community, the desire to get broadband themselves or having been subjected to peer group pressure ie leant on by friends. There have been cases where a landowner has just not been interested in helping out and in this scenario his or her property is simply bypassed and doesn’t receive the service.

Chris Conder B4RNThis whole way of working relies on having champions within each community to round up volunteers and manage the digs in their area. This is typically done on a parish by parish basis.

The original B4RN assumed there would be 8 parishes involved with up to 1,300 premises. Once a parish had been “lit” (in other words the fibre connected and providing broadband services) interest in the scheme would naturally be generated from neighbouring parishes. People talk.

The process of connecting to adjacent parishes is fairly straightforward and largely only involves the planning of the fibre digs. In principle the B4RN network could spread across the whole country, eventually even reaching rural Lincolnshire, simply by connecting adjacent parishes. It’s a little more complicated than that but not much more.

The difficult bit is setting up the first parishes. This is because just digging local fibre connections isn’t enough. This fibre has somehow to be connected to the internet. It also requires significant technical expertise to do so. B4RN were lucky in having Professor Barry Forde living in the community. Barry was Professor of Networking Technology at nearby Lancaster University.

B4RN was also able to secure cost effective access to a fibre connection that ran to Manchester which is the main internet meeting point in the North of England. The combination of Barry’s tech, the fibre link to Manchester and a ferociously focussed team led by a farmer’s wife named Christine Conder has resulted in a network that is now booming, spreading (13 parishes as I write) and the toast of rural broadband networks across the whole world (B4RN frequently receives global media coverage). Moreover Barry Forde and Chris Conder have been warded MBEs in recognition of their work promoting rural broadband.

Would B4RN work in Lincolnshire (B4RL)

So would a B4RN model work in Lincolnshire. The answer is quite possibly but of course this relies on fulfilling the three criteria – tech knowledge, access to a fibre backhaul (to the internet) and finding a team of parishioner interested enough to make it happen. It also needs enough householders interested in taking the service. All of these factors are difficult to achieve.

There is a scenario whereby B4RN could run the project which would satisfy the tech knowledge criterion. You would still need enthusiasm and local fibre, the latter being the hardest/most expensive to find. It is going to take the B4RN network a long time to reach Lincolnshire by organic means and the building of a new “node” would provide a shortcut to making this happen.

If the government were only to chose one thing to assist rural communities access good quality broadband it would be by helping them to access the fibre backhaul. The B4RN experience in getting state assistance has not been good. In fact they have had no government assistance and moreover consider the red tape associated with such help to be more hassle than it’s worth. However this doesn’t mean that a government provided fibre connection into rural communities isn’t doable.

It’s a model that should be looked at could be the wholesale provision of dark fibre into markets that would otherwise be uneconomic and not attractive to private investment. Any Service Provider would be able to avail themselves of the facility.

There is one note of caution to this tale. One of the reasons the BDUK project was structured towards only allowing large businesses to bid for the money was because of the government, in line with all public bodies, needs to be seen to be spending our cash wisely. Part of that is making sure that the investment isn’t thrown away because the Service Provider goes tits up sometime down the line. In other words the entity being given the cash needs to be seen to be a good long term prospect.

There is some validity in this approach. After all broadband has become part of our critical national infrastructure and BT isn’t going to go bust anytime soon. Witness The Ashby Digital Village Pump project providing 100Mbps symmetrical FTTP in Lincolnshire. This was announced with great fanfare but was badly run and soon fell apart. There are others like it.

This doesn’t meant to say there aren’t well run small businesses or organisations that can do the job. B4RN obviously can and the likes of Gigaclear appear to be thriving despite being a provider of fibre to the premises.

This is going to be an ongoing discussion for some time to come.

B4RN country

Other posts in Lincolnshire broadband week:

Philip Little of Bluecube Move to the cloud accelerated by superfast broadband

Intro to day 4 by Tref

Broadband for all by Tref

Could we have a B4RN in Lincolnshire (B4RL)

Gigaclear Ultrafast broadband in Lincolnshire by CEO Matthew Hare

BT fibrebroadband Managing Director Bill Murphy discusses superfast broadband progress in Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire broadband programme update by Steve Brookes

broadband Business

Gigaclear ultrafast broadband in Lincolnshire

Starting to bring Gigabit Internet to Lincolnshire

In early October, Gigaclear connected the first customers to their new Gigabit Internet service in Carlby in Lincolnshire.  This was as an extension to the newly upgraded Gigabit FTTP network just over the border (and railway line) in Rutland.  The map below shows Carlby and Essendine and the customers who have ordered service.  The green icons show where the network build is complete and the customer is now live.

gigaclear ultrafast broadband in lincolnshire

As the network build draws to a conclusion at the end of this year, all the residents of Carlby who have chosen to take up the service will be installed. Once live on the network they will experience transformational performance.  Some question whether a new buried FTTP Gigabit network is really needed.  Gigaclear believes that making, building, designing, advising and marketing anything just works better with improved access to information. The better the underlying speed, the better we all work.  So really, ultrafast speeds are like having running water in your home – once you’ve got it, you don’t know how you ever did without it.  And we really can use it when we get it – as this customer has shown in their first four weeks of service:

gigaclear ultrafast broadband in lincolnshire

Gigaclear builds these new pure fibre networks because we see a substantial unmet demand for much better Internet access from both consumers and businesses.  The demand is for faster speeds, predictability, reliability, symmetry and clarity.  A brand new Fibre-to-the-Premises (“FTTP”) network delivers this, literally in spades. By focusing on delivering these things, we are adding customers at record rates every week.

gigaclear ultrafast broadband in lincolnshire

Yes G.Fast is being promoted as an alternative, and it can make a lot of sense for urban areas where loop lengths are short, property ownership is complex and you are already served by a high quality copper local loop.  Because in this scenario, G.Fast should in almost every case deliver you download capability of more than 100Mbps.  But if you want faster speeds, need fast upload as well as download, don’t have great copper or are on a long loop – that is to say you live in rural Lincolnshire – then G.Fast is a dead end for you.

gigaclear ultrafast broadband in lincolnshire

Matthew Hare is a serial entrepreneur and is CEO and founder of Gigaclear plc.

Trefor Davies writes:

True Fibre to the Premises or FTTP is the holy grail amongst broadband services. FTTP doesn’t suffer from the same environmental problems as copper based services such as Fibre Broadband (yes it’s still copper to your house) and doesn’t degrade with length of line. FTTP can easily be upgraded as technology speeds increase because all you have to do is change the kit at either end of the fibre. You don’t need to lay new fibre.

Once the initial outlay on laying the fibre is out of the way it should in theory be cheaper to run.

BT isn’t rolling out FTTP everywhere because of this initial cost of putting the fibre in the ground (or on the poles etc). It doesn’t make economic sense for BT and whilst BT has its detractors I am not one of them. I can understand the business issues.

However this doesn’t mean to say we shouldn’t look around for alternative business models and tomorrow I will be describing one in the guise of B4RN. Stay tuned.

Other posts in Lincolnshire broadband week:

Philip Little of Bluecube Move to the cloud accelerated by superfast broadband

Intro to day 4 by Tref

Broadband for all by Tref

Could we have a B4RN in Lincolnshire (B4RL)

Gigaclear Ultrafast broadband in Lincolnshire by CEO Matthew Hare

BT fibrebroadband Managing Director Bill Murphy discusses superfast broadband progress in Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire broadband programme update by Steve Brookes

broadband Business

Lincolnshire Broadband Programme Update


Lincolnshire Broadband Programme Update – 31st October 2015

Lincolnshire broadbandSteve Brookes is Programme Manager at Lincolnshire County Council responsible for the Superfast Broadband project.


Total Homes Passed (THP) at the time of writing is 137,817 and we are on target to meet the end of Quarter target of 144,794 THP. There are currently 626 cabinets upgraded and a total of 704 cabinets stood to date, out of a total 801 applicable to this project.

The Quarterly targets within this project are very demanding and amongst the highest in the UK in terms of BDUK projects and to ensure we continue to hit target, BT has brought in additional resource from local companies. Both Openreach and LCC are confident that we will hit the end of Quarter target, as we have done at every Quarterly Milestone to date.

Take Up across the Project Intervention Area is now 19.86% as of September 2015, so we are confident that by today’s date, we will have hit 20%. Whilst the rate of Take Up can be described as a steady, consistent growth, we have pointed out that the huge numbers of THP in Lincolnshire per Quarter does have the constant effect of slewing the numerator/denominator ratio adversely towards Quarter end when the vast majority of THP are completed.  

The overall growth is encouraging and a planned marketing drive starting on 1st November involving press, radio and bus advertising, should drive numbers further forward.

At this point in time, BT has released an advance of £4.6M back to Lincolnshire County Council under the claw-back agreement within the contract. This in itself is testament to the confidence they feel regarding take across the county as claw-back under the contract is scheduled to be paid on a 2 yearly basis across the 10 years from project start. This money will be fully reinvested into the broadband programme to further enhance Superfast broadband coverage.

We are in discussion with BT regarding the early use of some underspend from the current project and we are pleased to note that they have agreed to look at 20 structures (localities presumably Tref) initially with a view to establishing feasibility/cost etc. and then, hopefully moving to an early deployment. LCC has been compiling an ongoing list of communities that do not benefit from the initial deployment, with a view to potentially dealing with them under Phase 2 or via underspend from the current project. Value for Money and coverage will be the key drivers here.

Trefor Davies adds

There are 156k homes in the intervention area, based on the assumption that 50% of county was already covered. It was initially estimated that  76% would get superfast broadband. The project is currently running higher than this at 83%. This figure does fluctuate from quarter to quarter – depending on mix of scenarios in each community. For some cabinets only perhaps 60% of THP will be able to get coverage but others can be in the nineties. Overall 17% of homes passed are not going to get superfast broadband ie above 24Megs.

Phase 2 of the project, which has not yet been announced, will look to pass 6,000 premises with fibre of which 4,081 should get superfast broadband. an element of this will be fttp although BT will only deploy this where it makes sense to do so, the cost of provisioning here being the barrier – eg new greenfield site with new ducts is easy brownfield sites where the ducts can often be blocked, not so easy.

In this post we are reporting on progress. This is not a discussion on the pros and cons of a technology or a complaint as to why can’t everyone get the best speeds.

About Steve Brookes

Steve was with BT for 20 years, ultimately managing teams in their external network. From there he spent several years in Europe building a European Fibre ring and following that was with Fujitsu before programme managing the Fibrespeed network across North Wales. Prior to working for LCC, he was a consultant to the Saudi Telecom Company on the deployment of FTTH, before moving on to be the Fibre consultant to the Abu Dhabi Government on a multi million dollar tourism programme.

Other posts in Lincolnshire broadband week:

Philip Little of Bluecube Move to the cloud accelerated by superfast broadband

Intro to day 4 by Tref

Broadband for all by Tref

Could we have a B4RN in Lincolnshire (B4RL)

Gigaclear Ultrafast broadband in Lincolnshire by CEO Matthew Hare

BT fibrebroadband Managing Director Bill Murphy discusses superfast broadband progress in Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire broadband programme update by Steve Brookes

broadband Business

Intro to lincs broadband week on #lincsbroadband

This week is Lincolnshire broadband week on periodically holds themed weeks. These are weeks where all the posts are focussed around on single subject and tend to get a lot of engagement from the readership. This is usually manifested in a high level of social media shares, typically on Facebook and/or LinkedIn depending on the subject matter but also Twitter. Living as I do in Lincoln I decided it was time to have a Lincolnshire broadband week.

During Lincolnshire broadband week we will be publishing a mix guest posts that include service providers, wannabe service providers and a range of case studies concerning innovative uses for broadband. We will feature BT’s next generation tech, Fibre to the Premises and wireless. Also covered will be how superfast broadband is driving the use of cloud technologies, how the pace of technology development is driving the need for faster and faster broadband and innovative examples of how the availability of superfast broadband is changing the working patterns of some people.

Lincolnshire is a very rural county with in parts very low population densities. Our County Council has for years made efforts to drive availability all over the region. This week is also an opportunity for people living in Lincolnshire to have their voices heard. Are you happy with the progress of superfast broadband in your area? How has superfast broadband changed your behaviour when it comes to using the internet, or even in your everyday lives?

As well as leaving comments and sharing blog posts with your own social network we are also encouraging people to join the B4RL Facebook group. Short for Broadband 4 Rural Lincolnshire B4RL aims to emulate similar fora in other parts of the UK where there is already a lively debate on the subject of superfast broadband and its availability.

Whether you already have superfast broadband, are still eagerly awaiting its arrival or are disillusioned and deep in the trough of despair because your house isn’t even on the waiting list you should be tuning in to for Lincolnshire broadband week. Bookmark the site, follow @tref on twitter and join the B4RL group. is the personal blog of Trefor Davies. Tref was cofounder and Technical Director of Newark based business broadband ISP Timico and is Chairman of one of the world’s leading Internet Exchange Points LONAP. Lincolnshire broadband week is generously supported by onlincolnshire.

#lincsbroadband is supported by onlincolnshire.

PS couldn’t find a Lincolnshire broadband image per se so you get this one of the cathedral in the snow:) We get real winters here in Lincolnshire 🙂

Other posts in Lincolnshire broadband week:

Philip Little of Bluecube Move to the cloud accelerated by superfast broadband

Intro to day 4 by Tref

Broadband for all by Tref

Could we have a B4RN in Lincolnshire (B4RL)

Gigaclear Ultrafast broadband in Lincolnshire by CEO Matthew Hare

BT fibrebroadband Managing Director Bill Murphy discusses superfast broadband progress in Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire broadband programme update by Steve Brookes

Business peering travel

First train to London – just leaving town

Stardate 4th November Editor’s vlog early morning report

Catching the 19.06 back from King’s Cross if anyone else is around at that time. FIrst train to London – just leaving town – I’m not sure i like the term vlog but this is the beginning of me doing more of this kind of stuff. It’s quicker and easier than writing it:)

PS new pic of me – good quality capture though not sure it captures the essence – needs the right combination of niceness and rebelliousness.

Bad Stuff Business voip

Tickets now available for Exec Dinner with Danny Prieskel – Telecom Fraud Experiences

Danny Prieskel discusses Telecom Fraud at Exec Dinner

Fraud is a big problem for providers of telecommunications services, be they traditional voice or VoIP services. ITSPA runs workshops where we discuss the subject and has been very active in working with the Metropolitan Police where it comes to fraud response and anti-fraud measures.

The next UC Exec dinner will focus on Telecom Fraud and has Danny Prieskel along as guest speaker. If you want to understand more about Telecom Fraud and be part of the debate then you need to be at this event.

Danny PrieskelDanny Prieskel is a co-founder of Preiskel & Co and has over 20 years’ experience working in the telecoms, media and technology sectors, advising across the globe. He has been ranked for over 15 years in major independent research guides as one of the world’s leading communications lawyers.

He is a friend of our industry and has very generously agreed to come along to this dinner to chat about his experiences with VoIP fraud.

voip fraudTelecom fraud is a subject that affects most of us in the communications game. Both the Internet Telephony Service Providers Association (ITSPA) and The Federation of Communication Services (FCS) have active programmes on the subject and the joint ITSPA/ biannual workshops frequently cover the topic.

This evening is an opportunity to get together with senior peers in the industry to discuss the issue.

This event is very generously supported by anti-fraud vendor NetAxis who are currently offering free trials of their Engo fraud detection services to ITSPA members. Exec Dinners are events that gather together leading players from industry for evenings of debate over dinner. Our guest speakers are experts in their field and are there as a catalyst for the debate which is conducted under Chatham House rules. The speakers get as much out of these dinners as the other attendees so we are able to attract some of the leading players in their field.

Previous dinners and lunches have had an interesting variety of guest speakers:

  • Tony Cox of Microsoft talking about the future of Lync
  • Huw Rees of 8×8 on the USA market for hosted Internet Telephony
  • Joe Baguley of VMware talking virtualisation futures
  • Mehdi Nezarati of talking about the Google Unified Communications landscape for business
  • Prof Alan Johnston talking WebRTC
  • Steph Watson on the future of the PBX
  • Andy Davidson on “instant on” WANs
  • Dean Elwood on the Large Telco market
  • Kevin Murphy of BT on the challenges of moving Voice to the 21CN
  • Curtis Peterson Global SVP Operations RingCentral


What people have said about Exec Dinners:

Sally Fuller – Director Marketing & Centres of Excellence, KCOM
Trefs annual UC dinners are held twice a year and that should give you a clue about their surprising nature from the outset. Tref has a knack of picking interested, interesting and inspiring people that are at the core of making our industry a great one (yes I sneak in on the b list). Tref’s guests get more from sharing their insights and ideas than withholding them. Every time I learn something new, meet someone new, get a new perspective & miss my last train home.

Colin Duffy – CEO,  Voipfone
The dinners are always good for high quality gossip, industry chit chat and networking – you can guarantee learning something or meeting someone new and useful. Far more importantly though, they’re just a damn good evening out.

Tim Meredith – Director of Unified Communications and Mobile, Daisy Group PLC

I just wanted to thank you for being an excellent host and putting on a really informative (and fun) evening. I hope to attend many future evenings!

Andy Davidson – CTO Allegro Networks, Chairman LONAP, Chairman IX-Leeds, Director Euro-IX

Lively, informative, and tasty!  That’s how I’d describe each evening I’ve spent in the company of Tref and his invited guests.  You’re guaranteed several conversations with colleagues and key decision makers at organisations across the industry over a relaxed dinner at a fantastic hand-picked menu and location.

Business voip ITSPA workshop final lineup announced ITSPA workshop attracts global players to panel

The Autumn workshop is colocated with Convergence Summit South in Sandown Park Racecourse on 7th October. The final lineup has been announced and includes some big names from the global VoIP community. The general theme is how to make money and how to stop losing money.

Curtis Peterson (SVP of Operations, RingCentral), Mike Wilkinson (Vice President, Market Offers, Broadsoft) and Dave Axam (DIrector Hosted Communications, BT) join Trefor Davies on a panel to discuss opportunities for Communications Providers to make money.


After the coffee break  we have an update on ITSPA’s work with ActionFraud, an introduction to the ENGO fraud protection system from sponsors Netaxi, an introduction from Jose Saras (Partner, Preiskel & Co) on the ITSPA/Preiskel & Co guidance on end user terms and conditions and sponsors Yaana Technologies are going to talk about data retention and the upcoming Investigatory Powers Bill.yanna

The full schedule is below:

The workshop will start at 2.30pm in the Royal Box and finish around 4.30pm.

The agenda:

2.30pm – Part 1: The Telecoms Business – How can providers still make money?

As the market changes, this panel will discuss the best opportunities available for CPs to make decent returns, the market developments that will bring extra value as well as highlighting the markets to consider avoiding.

The panel will include:

  • Trefor Davies (
  • Curtis Peterson (SVP of Operations, RingCentral)
  • Mike Wilkinson (Vice President, Market Offers, Broadsoft)
  • Dave Axam (DIrector Hosted Communications, BT)

3.15pm – Teas and Coffees

3.30pm – Part 2:  The Telecoms Business Fraud Update- The ITSPA tool kit to stop your business losing money

This session will provide a summary of ITSPA initiatives to prevent against fraud and options to consider to help strengthen your current fraud prevention procedures, including:

  • Update on ITSPA’s work with ActionFraud
  • Introduction to the ENGO fraud protection system from sponsors Netaxis
  • Introduction from Jose Saras (Partner, Preiskel & Co) on the ITSPA/Preiskel & Co guidance on end user terms and conditions

If you want to come just RSVP to [email protected]

Apps Business business applications webrtc

Winners of Genband WebRTC Apps Competition

Metronet win prestigious WebRTC Apps competition.

The WebRTC apps competition we ran in conjunction with/sponsored by GENBAND came up with three clear leaders and one eventual winner. One entry showed how WebRTC would be monetized and the others presented their solution it as an an overlay to existing support services.

The idea was that entrants would be given free accounts on the Genband Kandy WebRTC Platform as a Service and then use those accounts to put together innovative service ideas.

The eventual winner was Metronet.

The judges were hugely impressed at the number of levels Metronet were able to utilize WebRTC and KANDY. The technology was used in a mobile devices, M2M connectivity to their monitoring systems and integrated into their core CRM platform. The solution also utilized messaging, file sharing, voice, video, conferencing and collaboration.

Metronet have based a large amount of their success in both their Data and Voice offering on their proactive customer service and saw the potential to be able use WebRTC to grow that service commitment still further. The underlying monitoring platform was already in place so triggering a the group message to the Engineering Application from there was quite simple. Metronet were able to use the KANDY reference mobile apps to very quickly allow the engineers access to the group from both Android and Apple mobile devices.

By then adding WebRTC calling into their NOC CRM they were able to build a consolidated environment fault resolution environment for voice, video, conferencing and collaboration with the result of a “cradle to grave” resolution for faults so inevtiably improving already impressive SLAs.

Everyone involved would like to congratulate Metronet for their entry and look forward to seeing more of their inventive use of the technology.

Stuart Goble, GENBAND VP Sales UK, Ireland and Nordics was pleased with how the competition and sponsorship went: “Metronet took a real business problem and defined a solution using KANDY technology.  The application is built with a combination of rich-messaging and real time voice and video provided by the KANDY platform.  KANDY provides a set of tools that makes the process simple for IT developers, allowing very specific applications like this to be cost effectively developed.”

In conclusion:

  • Winner is Metronet – WebRTC and Metronet portal advances engineer response
  • Second Place – Manor Telecom – WebRTC powers the “
  • Third Place – DRD – WebRTC powers Uboss Test line functionality

See our WebRTC section on this blog for other related posts.

Apps Business webrtc

Second WebRTC Apps Competition finalist

WebRTC Apps Competition finalist DRD Communications.

The WebRTC apps competition we ran in conjunction with/sponsored by GENBAND came up with three clear leaders and one eventual winner. One entry actually showed how WebRTC would be monetized and the others presented their solution it as an an overlay to existing support services.

The idea was that entrants would be given free accounts on the GENBAND KANDY WebRTC Platform as a Service and then use those accounts to put together innovative service ideas.

The second WebRTC Apps Competition finalist was DRD Communications. DRD will be more familiar to you as the holding company that owns the Vanilla IP Broadsoft wholesale provider..

DRD’s simple but very effective entry showed the simplicity by which WebRTC via the KANDY APIs can be integrated into existing successful applications to provide useful day to day functionality. The original scenario allowed DRD to add a test calling function to their augment their market leading back office provisioning, billing and integration Uboss but the same JavaScript APIs could have just have easily been used to provide voice and video access to a support engineer or sales representative. Additionally using the conferencing and collaboration functionality provided by the KANDY platform those conversations could allow users to be walked through configuration or other troubleshooting scenarios on a shared screen.

The judges saw that the DRD’s development company were implementing small and simple code additions to an already powerful management platform to provide significant functional options. The code they used meant they could quickly apply the WebRTC/KANDY functionality to other areas of the application allowing them to react quickly to Uboss developments or potentially to a customer’s needs.

This application is likely to one of the big wins for the WebRTC technology.

See our WebRTC section on this blog for other related posts.

Apps Business business applications webrtc

GENBAND Summer of Apps WebRTC Competition finalist Manor IT

WebRTC apps competition winners include monetisation of the technology

The WebRTC apps competition we ran in conjunction with/sponsored by GENBAND came up with three clear leaders and one eventual winner. One entry actually showed how WebRTC would be monetized and the others presented their solution it as an an overlay to existing support services.

The idea was that entrants would be given free accounts on the GENBAND KANDY WebRTC Platform as a Service and then use those accounts to put together innovative service ideas.

The first of the finalists was Manor IT:

Manor IT  

Manor IT’s “WebPhoneBox” entry impressed the judges as it directly monetized the WebRTC where as other entries used the technology to augment services improving existing commercial or business process functions. The Website allowed Manor to  address the maximum subscriber audience on two levels. Firstly it was designed so you could use the service without having a to register an account just like a “PhoneBox” but secondly the access could be from any device and network without having to download an app.

To make a call the user logs onto ‘” website (currently this function is in beta and not openly available) and enters the dialed number, payment method and payment amount. This information is then securely passed to the Manor IT Application Server. Alternatively existing account details and DDI can be used.

The Application Server verifies the payment details with the appropriate financial house.

The destination tariff is identified via Manor IT’s JeraSoft rating platform providing a maximum call duration. An authentication token is then provided to the KANDY WebRTC platform and passed to the web browser which then initiates the call

The call can then be established through KANDY and via Manor IT’s Session Border Controllers utilizing and utilizing Manor IT’s full LCR. 1 minute before call is cleared down a pop up allows the user to top up the account.

Using this method of paying for a call groups of people can share PC or Tablet devices far more easily as logging out of the website or the time restrictions on the access keys meaning there is no fear of other users accidently using their credit. The inbuilt WebRTC protocol NAT traversal and variable codecs on the media path coupled with the use of HTTPS on the signaling path means that any network should be usable even if it is locked down for SIP (e.g. Hotel WIFI) or has complex NAT or bandwidth issues.

Overall this was a simple idea that used various properties of WebRTC to provide an innovative solution and Genband congratulate Manor IT and their development are Devine IT

See our WebRTC section on this blog for other related posts.

Business webrtc

WebRTC where is the money?

webrtc monetisation

carlos aragon webrtc monetisationCarlos Aragon, Senior Solutions Marketing Manager at GENBAND, asks ‘how might UC vendors and service providers profit from WebRTC’? Carlos has extensive experience with both mobile and fixed-line UC services, Unified Communications as a Service and WebRTC. Today, he is intimately involved in GENBAND’s Hosted UC offers to both service providers and enterprises.

Last week, I fielded an interesting question on WebRTC.

If WebRTC is an Open Source technology, how can companies like yours profit from it?”

While I provided a fast answer to the customer (time is crucial when dealing with customers), I believe this topic is worthy of further discussion. Firstly, we need to clear up some misconceptions.

Open source software is not always free

There are still people out there that have this equation locked into their brains:

Open Source = Free

And it is partly true, just partly. First, not all open source is free, it depends on the license that you get with it. For example, there are open source projects that are free for personal or educational use but when you want to use it commercially you have to open your wallet.

Even if the software itself is free e.g. Linux or Asterisk, there are still ways for individuals and companies to profit from it: training, installation, operation, maintenance, professional services… The list of profitable options is quite large.

In the case of WebRTC in particular, the technology behind it is not totally open source. Yes, the HTML5, Javascript and CSS3 technologies that constitute the basis of WebRTC are free. The codecs, however, are a different story, not all were free until recently.
H.264 is a royalty bearing codec and there was some friction with it because an open project like WebRTC could not use a for-profit codec. VP8 was proposed but its lack of hardware acceleration on mobile devices was a serious handicap. In the end, WebRTC made both codecs mandatory thanks to someone else taking the royalty tab (in this case Cisco via their browser plugin).

So now that WebRTC is truly free, and ignoring for now the training, consulting and professional services opportunities, there are still other ways for companies like mine to make money.

The do-not-throw-that-away factor

Contrary to what companies try to force on consumers – that everything has an expiration date and we are supposed to discard old products and embrace the latest novelty – when it comes to their infrastructure and assets they want to make them last as long as possible.

Sometimes the motivation is their own amortization schedules, other times it is because of their existing customers and this is particularly true for Communications Service Providers (CSP). Customers that are happy with a service or a device take a long time to accept a new technology (especially if the user experience changes and it means they have to learn how to use it).

If everyone exclusively used a WebRTC browser (like ChromeFirefoxOpera) all the time, it would be feasible to have every person in the world communicating using pure WebRTC and most CSPs would go out of business or relegate themselves to the role of a broadband pipe provider.  Reality however is somewhat different. Almost everyone out there has a phone, whether it is mobile, fixed or attached to a business PBX and these phones are not going to disappear anytime soon.

There needs to be a connection between that legacy phone world and the new web world and that is where companies like GENBAND are leading the way in WebRTC. We were the pioneers in launching a WebRTC Federation Gateway that provides the interworking (signalling and media) between the traditional CSP networks and the WebRTC browsers. CSPs are willing to pay someone a little money to preserve their larger investments while, at the same time, enable their networks to find new revenue streams facilitated by WebRTC.

And if that WebRTC Federation Gateway also brings SDKs for iOS, Android and Javascript to allow the developers to save time interconnecting to the CSP’s network, then you have another community that will be willing to pay a reasonable fee.

But not everyone wants to build applications or maybe they don’t have the skills for it. In that case, there are companies such as SAP or IBM and other specialist developers that will be happy to build the WebRTC applications for a cost.

And if someone wants to build an application that benefits from WebRTC, how will they interconnect it to the telephone network? What if they are a small developer? In this case, it is better to get a platform-as-a-service solution such as Kandy that allows them to access and use the real time communications features that they need for an affordable cost.

So where’s the webrtc monetisation?

WebRTC is a new frontier where there is a lot of land ready for the taking, and whoever comes first and does a good job building a brand, a reputation and a good service and product portfolio will harvest the fruits. Here is a summary of the areas related to WebRTC where profit can be found:

  • Network Federation – products or cloud services that provide interconnection between the legacy networks and the new WebRTC world. Includes signalling and media.
  • Application Development – companies or individuals that build tailored applications for service providers, enterprises or organisations.
  • Professional Services – Network design, planning, consultancy, installation & commissioning, operation & management, maintenance, troubleshooting, support, etc.
  • Training – Technology training, user training, product literature, as with any new technology, there are people who have the knowledge and there are people who need the knowledge.
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offerings – the middleman that wraps the real time communications services into a package that developers can embed into applications easily and affordably.

These are the ways I could think of. If you have any more, or you don’t agree with these. I would definitely like to hear about it in the comments.

Try out WebRTC for yourself… GENBAND KANDY is a real-time communications Platform-as-a-Service that provides access to voice, video, rich-messaging and collaboration services using WebRTC as an enabling technology.  Developers can sign up to KANDY and start using their free accounts to run Quick-Start tutorials before integrating into their own applications.  ITSPA UK members can enter their KANDY applications and ideas into the GENBAND UK Summer of Apps competition.

Read my previous post on WebRTC monetisation on Loads of posts on WebRTC in general on this site here.

Read the previous posts in this Genband sponsored WebRTC week:

The disruptive potential of WebRTC to communications networks by Greg Zweig
The role of the reseller in a software world by Chris Barley
WebRTC and Client Container Technology by Ralph Page
Another step forward for telecommunications for business by Peter Gradwell

Business media UC Tech Marketing lunch # 2 Building communities of interest Tech Marketing lunch

Had some great feedback on the 1st Tech Marketing lunch that took place last month. Despite the tube strike we had almost 100% attendance and a very useful session.

Thought if anyone was interested in coming along to the next one which is entitled “Building communities of interest” you might like to see some of this feedback:

What people said about the first Tech Marketing lunch

Kate Stolworthy, Marketing Exec, Provu Communications

Great afternoon meeting marketing minds within the VoIP channel. There was plenty of useful advice and the chance to share thoughts and ideas.

Wayne Mills-Kiddals, Head of Voice Services, Metronet

Attendance at these events is invaluable, Tref is someone who knows the industry inside out and brings a wealth of knowledge to the table along with like minded people from the industry​. Great way of networking and well worth the money.

Karen Adams, Director, Express Telephony

I found the Tech Marketing lunch to be a really great use of my time and has given me plenty to think about in terms of what to do with our own business

More details on the next tech marketing lunch can be found on the events page here. We have in Helen Jeffrey great guest speaker who you will find extremely engaging and have invaluable insights into the world of building communities using social media. also produces Executive dinners. These are occasions where C Level individuals from the internet communications world get together to discuss issues of import to our industry. if you want to hear more about these dinner please do get in touch. You can do so by leaving a comment on this post – it won’t be published. tech marketing lunches – makes sense for your business for you to attend.