Business internet Regs

1995 flashback

Timico Head of Network Operations Ben has just moved house.  Fourteen years of accumulated “stuff” moved with him including a cutting from the Daily Express he found from 1995.  He was just setting out to seek his fortune in the big wide world and thought he would get into this up and coming thing called the internet.

The 33 ISPs around at that time were offering dial up internet to around 500,000 customers in the and Trade and Industry Select committee chairman Richard Caborn was warning the House of Commons that “many people could be denied access to the information superhighway because much of Britain is not covered by the necessary technology.  Even if the cable companies met their obligations in full it would still leave more than one third of the country without access to a fixed cable network”  he said.

The article could, with a few name changes, be applied to the debate regarding Digital Inclusion going on in UK plc today.

What also struck me was that the pricing has changed very little since then with a range of options not dissimilar to what you can get today.  Speeds have changed of course :-).

Daily Express Guide to the Internet from 1995
Daily Express Guide to the Internet from 1995
broadband Business internet Regs

Stephen Timms MP to Become the New Communications Minister

Stephen Timms brings significant telecommunications industry experience to his new Communications Minister role.

I understand that Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP is set to become the new Communications Minister, with responsibility for taking forward the recommendations of the Digital Britain broadband review. The position had been vacated when Lord Carter stepped down following the publication of the Review. It is likely that the role will change slightly, given that Mr Timms will sit jointly across the Department for Business and the Treasury, whereas Lord Carter’s position sat jointly across the Department for Business and the DCMS.

A former Internet Hero at the ISPAs, Stephen Timms brings significant experience to the role having worked in the telecommunications industry before entering Parliament and having previously served as a Minister with responsibility for e-Commerce at the DTI and BERR.

Whether the treasury connection will have any relevance remains to be seen.  I see one of the biggest challenges for this Government is going to be how it faces up to the need to invest massively in the Next Generation Access network (ie fibre).

Whilst I was on holiday I visited my in laws in Liverpool. Grandad had saved me an article from the local paper describing the outcry amongst Liverpudlian councillors when they found that BT’s initial £1,5m investment in Fibre To The Cabinet was not going to be gracing their fair city with it’s presence whilst favouring local rivals Manchester.  Nonsense I cried and reached for my BT FTTC broadband rollout map (never go anywhere without it).

To my surprise, he was right. All the dots identifying the initial (spring 2010) roll out sites come no closer than Altrincham. The good burghers of Liverpool should not feel that they have been singled out, because there will be huge swathes of the UK left out in the high speed broadband cold.  I don’t for a moment blame BT, although I’m sure that competition from Virgin will in due course give them a bit of a prod in the right direction.

This is why I say that the Government has a lot to do in this space, and why I wish Stephen Timms every success in his new role.