Business Regs

Scottish Independence

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

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

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

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

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