broadband Business internet

How to Win Votes at a General Election: Promise Next Gen Broadband!

Spanish Minister of Industry, Tourism and Trade Miguel Sebastian has just announced that 1Mbps broadband will be a legal right in Spain by January 1st 2011. Apparently 4 million people in Spain cannot get 1Mbps today.

What’s more they are putting up 400M Euros to help with this.  Whether this is enough is in my mind neither here nor there. Also I don’t know how solid this is – the UK Government also made bold statements with Digital Britain that have become more confused and wishy washy as more people get involved.

Here in the UK we now await tomorrow’s Queen’s Speech to tell us exactly what we will be in for. It already seems that the 50 pence broadband tax is not going to be part of it or at least this is deferred to a Finance Bill that is unlikely to see the light of the Royal Seal.

Years ago when I worked for Mitel there was a story that a politician running for election as Prime Minister of Ontario ran on a manifesto of getting rid of speed cameras.  Apparently he won with a large majority.

Here’s a tip for those running in the next UK General Election. Promise Next Gen broadband for all by 2012. It a guaranteed election winner and the cost is also neither here nor there.

PS the link is to a Spanish online service – I used Google Translate to read it – it is brilliant.

broadband Business internet online safety piracy Regs

UK Government Efforts ISP Regulation Gets Opposition from Unexpected Sources

There has been a lot in the press recently regarding Government plans to regulate the ISP industry. ISPs have been vociferous where they consider that this regulation is unnecessary and adds cost burdens that will have to be borne by consumers.

Quite pleasingly other industries which the Government is likely to think would be the beneficiaries of the legislation have also come out against it.

For example the high profile “three strikes” approach to Music Piracy whereby persistent file-sharers have their broadband cut off is attracting a lot of opposition from the music industry itself. The BBC reports:

Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien, a member of the Featured Artists’ Coalition (FAC), said: “It’s going to start a war which they’ll never win.”

Feargal Sharkey’s UK Music allegedly has a war chest of up to £20 million a year to lobby Government on the subject of ISP regulation. This FAC stance seems to be clear disagreement within that industry.

The leak in the Independent this week that the Queen’s Speech currently is planned to propose mandatory blocking of consumer broadband connections for child abuse images has also created a bit of a stir.

The vast majority of consumer broadband connections already have such screening and it seems that the Government is trying to make political capital out of a subject which everyone will of course support in principle.

The issue is how much effort and money will it take to cover the last few consumers not already “protected” particularly as it is smaller ISPs who are most likely to be affected. This is particularly relevant considering that all we are not talking about stopping hard core child abusers who already know how to get around the blocking.

The Register has come out with an interview on this subject with Jim Gamble, Chief Executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), and effectively the UK’s leading investigator of online child abuse who has come out against legislation in this area.

There is potentially a lot more regulation in the pipeline. Somewhere in a Government office near you someone is plotting to gain more control ever our every day lives. It is at least nice to see that there are people out there with some common sense who are willing to stick their hands up and say “this is not right”.