Business Regs surveillance & privacy

Diet of mince speeds Stephen Timms on way to recovery #deact

Former Digital Britain Minister Stephen Timms was stabbed today whilst conducting a surgery in his constituency in East Ham. It is sad that this risk must be a by product of  public service for MPs.

Whilst I didn’t support what Stephen Timms did with the Digital Economy Act I did recognise that I was dealing with a good and honest man, regardless of whether we agreed with each other on what he was doing.

I’m sure that we all wish him a speedy recovery.

PS I’m sure he would appreciate it if anyone has a CD or two to lend him whilst he is in hospital. Hospital radio must get a bit repetitive.  No home made compilations please. Let’s be sensitive now.

Not to mention the mince…

Business internet ofcom Regs

Royal Assent for Digital Economy Bill – we now need to move onto the Code of Practice for damage limitation #debill

The Queen nodded the Digital Economy Bill through last night, in keeping with her custom and practice. It seems that MPs have been getting above their station in taking a similar approach to get it passed into Law (my words not Her Majesty’s). 

It would appear that Stephen Timms has offered via twitter to arrange a session between ISPs and the Rights Holders:

“#DEBill Good dialogue, music/film people & Internet people, opposing views,could help find common ground. Much needed. Anyone interested?”

Business internet Regs

Information overload STOP #timmsguidetoIT #debill Stephen Timms Out of Parliament

We have to STOP.  The information society is grinding life to a halt.  There is so much good content out there on tinternet that I am drowning in it.

It is even becoming harder and harder to write relevant blog posts in a timely manner. Points that I might want to get across, links to useful websites etc etc etc have already been distributed, at the speed of light (or copper or air – we don’t all have fibre – believe it or not!) via twitter (mostly) and Facebook.

broadband Business internet

Rural Broadband: The Tim Padfield Interviews

This week saw a series of interviews by Tim Padfield on BBC Radio Lancashire – all focussed on highlighting the problems caused by there being no access to broadband internet connectivity in rural areas in the UK.

I won’t make specific comments but I’m sure there will be plenty of people wanting to do so on this post.

1 Christine Conder
Christine Conder of Wray Community WiFi Network says a third of the country can’t get decent broadband and on this basis this area should be first on the list for the NGA rollout. Talks about Final Third

broadband Business internet

Parliament TV Digital Britain Stitch Up

Representatives of BT, Vtesse, The TalkTalk Group, and Avanti Communications appeared before an AdHoc Committee of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills yesterday.

The guests appeared to support the 2Mbps target for Broadband Universal Service and moreover kept repeating the phrase Universal Service “Commitment” as opposed to Universal Service “Obligation”. As readers will be aware Digital Britain Minister Stephen Timms has already reaffirmed that USO is where the Government is at. The panelists may have had their own agenda here or not keeping up with the times.

I also hear “we don’t need faster broadband today”, “we should let the free market decide”, “it is very difficult to say what people will do with higher speeds”, “it wouldn’t be public money well spent”.

In my mind there is a significant level of “heads in the sand” here. Yesterday I was looking at HD TV streaming speed requirements and 17Mbps seemed to be the requirement for the BBC’s output. Multiply that by the number of family members wanting to watch in their own rooms…  There are no doubt codecs (MPEG4) that support good quality at lower speeds.  However the point is that 2Mpbs doesn’t cut it.

UK plc needs to get more aggressive in the global internet game.  The video evidence is available here.  I didn’t watch all 2 hours so there could, I guess, be some revelations after the 40 minutes mark that you might like to hear for yourselves.

Business ofcom Regs

Digital Britain Minister Stephen Timms reaffirms that 2Mbps USO remains on the table

In his speech at the Parliament and Internet Conference in Westminster today Digital Britain Minister Stephen Timms reaffirmed that 2Mbps Universal Service Obligation remains the goal of the Government’s legislation.

Having spent the morning in a workshop with Andrew Heaney of Talk Talk and Andy Carter from the Department of Business Innovation and Skills I had grown disappointed with the progress of the USO concept introduced by Lord Carter’s Digital Britain report.

People had been telling me that USO was now USC – C for commitment. This was confirmed today. What’s more there was no guarantee of 2Mbps on the table they said. In fact there didn’t appear to be a minimum speed guarantee at all! I was rapidly coming to the conclusion that the whole thing was a political con.

Then, talk about a roller coaster conference, Stephen Timms in his speech told us that no, 2Mbps remained the minimum speed people should be getting, and indeed it was an “Obligation”. He confirmed this when I asked the question from the floor.

This is a clear steer from Government here and is in fact an example of the clarity being sought by Ofcom CEO Ed Richards in his own speech earlier in the day.

So there you go you doubters everywhere! Unless the Government changes its mind, 2Mbps is what rural dwellers and the digitally deprived townies will be getting.

Of course the real debate is whether 2Mbps is enough. MP Derek Wyatt suspects it isn’t. We are about to see 3D video games and TV channels which will run over broadband connections.

Business internet ofcom Regs

Digital Britain high on the agenda at Parliament and Internet Conference

Another busy week in prospect. Tomorrow I’m off to Muswell Hill to test some routers we are considering using for the FTTC trials. Wednesday I’m doing a Hosted VoIP demo at the Convergence Summit South in Sandown Park and finally on Thursday it’s the Parliament and Internet Conference at Portcullis House in Westminster.

You should take note of the latter.  Posts on Parliamentary meetings seem to attract a lot of interest/blog visits long after the event itself has finished. In a sense there is a market for blogging non-stop on this subject. In my book it would make writing the blog a bit boring though.  Order, order!

Anyway this year’s conference has ’em all: Stephen Timms (Minister for Digital Britain and erstwhile commenter on,  Ed Richards (Ofcom) and Martha Lane Fox (the Government’s Digital Inclusion Champion). Lesley Cowley of Nominet is also speaking.

I’m genuinely excited about this year’s event.  With Digital Britain high on everybody’s agenda the conference includes a workshop suggested by yours truly on whether 2Mbps is an adequate target for USO.

If you haven’t already got your name down you are probably too late.  All seats have gone.  If you are going I look forward to seeing you – tap me on the shoulder and say hello. 

Footnote:  “Blazing the Digital Britain Trail from Muswell Hill to Westminster “.   A  pioneering new adventure based somewhere on the wild wild web.  Read all about it on

Business internet piracy

Stephen Timms Digital Britain Minister

I met with Stephen Timms, Communications Minister today. His official title is Minister for Digital Britain.

I have met Government Ministers before in a long career spent lobbying Parliamentarians on behalf of various trade associations. This was my first meeting in what might be termed a formal environment. I was there with some of the ISP Association Council members to discuss topical issues pertinent to the ISP industry.

I was quite impressed with the process. We assembled in reception at 1 Victoria Street in plenty of time. At some stage an aide met us, whizzed us up to the top floor of the Department of Business Innovation and Skills. It was a round elevator – very impressive – funny what sort of things you notice.

Arriving at the 8th floor we were ushered into a holding room before moving in to see Steve himself. At the appointed time a different aide moved us into ST’s office where we said our hellos and got down to the business of the day.

I was quite impressed with Stephen Timms. Being in the Dept of BIS his remit is to look after industry and he seemed genuinely interested in doing so.

In 45 minutes there is only a limited amount we could cover. We discussed the P2P aspects of the Digital Britain report. I’ve written plenty about this. Key points put across today were that in considering the legislation the Government should ensure that a fair way of apportioning the costs was implemented and that a review of the licensing framework should be conducted.

The current proposals hinge more around sticks than carrots. If illegal music downloaders are to be pursued then a legal alternative should be offered. This is not easy at the moment because of the complexities of licensing the Intellectual Properties of the various rights holders. I’ll detail this in a separate blog post.

We also discussed “prospective effect” and, briefly, more of the Digital Britain report. I doubt many of you have heard of prospective effect – again I will need to write a separate post on this. If I said “mere conduit” perhaps that gives you a clue.

I have to apologise to those of you who wanted me to bring up the subject of broadband 2Meg Universal Service Obligation. We ran out of time on this occasion but now contact has been established there will be other opportunities. 45 minutes, though it seems short, is quite a lot of time to be given by a Government Minister. His diary is chock a block and the next lot were already waiting in the holding room as we were leaving.

As a footnote the clock in his office had stopped – funny what you notice!…

Business internet

Digital Britain meeting with Stephen Timms Communications Minister

I have a meeting with Stephen Timms, Communications Minister at his office next Thursday. The topic of discussion is largely going to be Digital Britain.

If anyone has a specific internet related issue they want to pitch to me to bring up then please drop me a line through the usual channels.

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.