The scrapping of the Communications Green Paper in favour of a seminar programme into the issues to be covered in a White Paper indicates that the DCMS is readying itself for the loss of its technology and infrastructure related roles after the Olympics. As I indicated in my previous blog , DCMS is focussed on the intra-UK issues of the past. Ian Grant says that DCMS does not get it . At one level he is correct. But they have different priorities after the public victory of those who have used the Leveson enquiry to see off the threat that an integrated and aggressive Sky operation might have presented to dominance of both the BBC and BT. If you subtract the phone hacking scandal and add competition from ubiquitous broadband players like Vodafone (including Cable and Wireless) and Telefonica (O2 in the UK), we might even have had genuinely competitive world-class markets for infrastructure and content carriage by this time next year.
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Given that the dead hands of the BDUK frameworks and of Spectrum policy are also holding back the scale and nature of private sector communications investment that is needed for a future of ubiquitous broadband supporting smart cities, infrastructures, social and health care, the sooner these are moved out of DCMS the better.
That is still, however, too myopic a vision. As I said in my last blog, we need to look at the issues in the context of the global fight for control over inter-operability standards (and the world of IPV6) between ITU and the agglomeration of Western organisations (ICANN, IETF, W3C et al) who turned the addressing routines for a pilot packet switched service (Arpanet and IPV4) into the basis of a global critical infrastructure after the ITU fouled up over X25.
In that context DCMS is not alone in displaying all the strategic vision and co-ordination of the rules of the Middle East and of Europe when they were faced by the Mongols: capable of advancing at 60 miles a day, co-ordinated by Yam messengers travelling at over twice that speed. The Olympic summer offers a great opportunity for those who are not sport obsessives to take a good look at what needs to be done.
P.S. I enjoyed the Media cover of the Jubilee Regatta. I had been watching the Sky stream covering the assembly of the boats on my PC and knew what was about to come when I went downstairs to watch the BBC cover – assuming it would be better. Then I was faced by talking heads who were going to blot out what I had been looking forward to watching. So we switched over. I am told that the BBC camera work was indeed better, when you were allowed to watch it, but it appears the BBC has also lost the plot. Maybe it is the air in Manchester.