Recently in Consultations Category

The Digital Economy (emergency) Act?

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Last night, at the Convergence Conversation (Digital Economy Bill, Swan or Albatross) there was surprisingly unanimity across Telcos, ISPs and even Content producers that the agreement of the LibDems and Conservatives to the rushed compromise over the Bill had been a mistake. Their aim had been to get the Act out of the way so that the new government could concentrate on sorting out Public Finances before the IMF did it for them - but it was likely to backfire on all concerned. 

Labour trump Tories on Broadband: game over or just beginning?

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In a surprisingly detailed speach yesterday the Prime Minister apparently leapfrogged two of the three Conservative commitments on broadband. Do read the full text. He linked the Government agendas on cutting the cost of public service delivery, social inclusion and universal broadband and said that government must plan and lead because the market had failed. Today Ofcom delivered the coup de grace, by stating that BT must open its ducts to its competitors thus addressing the third Conservative commitment. Does that mean that the game is over or just beginning?      

What is the current cost of bringing broadband to all?

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Estimates for the cost of bringing "next generation access" (now as nebulous a term as broadband or cloud computing) range from £5 - £29 billion. The Broadband Stakeholders has just asked for inputs of the actual costs for recent networks, by 17th March, so that it can re-run its model for input to the NGA consultation by 1st April. This should present a great opportunity to bring sanity to the debate over business rates.

Universal access to on-line government is the "real" Digital Britain target.

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We have much heart-searching as to what the 2 mbps universal service target means. The "answer" is to redefine it as "reliable, working, access to government's on-line services by 2012" - particularly those of Defra, DWP and HMRC - to be assessed by the NAO. With the Audit Commission assessing the performance of Local Government in parallel.

How many active silver surfers are there?

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 The on-line petition on the Number 10 Website to save the London Freedom Pass for those over 60 has under 14,000 signatures - yet the over 60s are more likely to vote. Interestingly I had not heard of this petition until I received an e-mail ten minutes ago. Is this symptomatic of a disconnect between the concerns of the blogogracy and those of real people? Or does it mean that Londoners are ready for savage public spending cuts - even if they directly affect them and their parents?

BBC asks Ofcom for permission to lead the way into 1984

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In George Orwell's 1984 the TV screen in the corner also watches you. The PC or mobile that is the "extension to your mind" and your "window into world" is also the world's window into your mind, available for rent to any those will pay or who the government deems should have uncharged access. Surveys indicate that about a third of population is deeply suspicious - but not yet in a state of open revolt. The rest think "so what's new"?  

 

Drowning in Data Slurry as the "pipes" clog and burst

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The HMG actions to put more of its information on-line at data.gov.uk are surprisingly modest compared to today's hype. They are right to be so. THere are major issues to do with the accuracy of much of the data on their files, The Audit Commission and the Information Society Alliance (EURIM) are organising a round table on February 22nd on the quality of public sector information and the actions needed to ensure that much more of it is "fit for purpose".    

Off to the Seaside: to see how others see the world of ICT.

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I blogged last week on plans for the EURIM Dragon's Dens at the Party Conferences. On Monday it is Bournemouth. After each Den I plan to post a note on the political priorities for action on ICT as seen by the Candidates of that party.

The Ofcom Consultation and the future of Digital Britain

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HMG has just launched a consultation to extend the remit of Ofcom to promote "efficient investment in infrastructure". The six week timescale is determined by the need to legislate before the next government reviews the very existance of Ofcom. But can we afford a two year wait for a proper review of the UK communications infrastructure, given the stress tests it will face in 2012 if not before? And can we afford to leave that review to Ofcom? 

Has Ofcom passed its sell-by date?

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Those involved in the pre-legislative scrutiny of the Communications Act 2003 which created Ofcom were well aware of the need to subsequently review implementation and perfomance. There were various ideas as to how to achieve this: including a joint committee of both Houses. None came to pass.

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