2011- Broken Telephone, Mobile and Computer

Happy 2011! Digital Dividend is back – w00t.

Only a few days into the year and already it is becoming clear that 2011 must see changes in the telco industry, particularly with forward thinking rather than backward regulation. And procurement for the sake of consumers, not shareholders.

Broken Telephone – New Year’s Eve/Day and this small rural village is awash with tales of woe regarding broadband connections being paid for, that quite simply, don’t and won’t work. Fit for purpose? Pah. In fact, it is beginning to look like downright consumer always-on robbery right now; yet, this is not limited to Cumbria, and Ofcom seem nowhere in sight protecting the consumer from this “fraud”. Which I hate to say can only be placed, as far as ADSL goes, at the door of BT’s failing copper network.

On the plus side, the New Year has brought emails bearing glad tidings of yet more rural, community, almost-100Mbps+ connections in the UK, now up and running. (I refer you to my crystal ball post on 5tth for other predictions for 2011….)

Broken Mobile – on several counts, it seems that consumers are beginning to query why they even need a mobile operator (or ISP) when open fibre and femto cells are not just on the horizon, but becoming more prevalent daily, even beyond the geeksphere. Once again, it seems Ofcom need to come out of the shadows and regulate appropriately to remove these unnecessary, money-grabbing, middle men from the consumers’ wallets. Especially in times of austerity.

Broken Computer – convergence is the new black. Most unexpectedly, from my POV, even in my house! I suspect we are beginning to see the start of a ‘mass migration’ – give it time, I’m usually approx 4 years ahead – from computers to mobile devices. Sprog2 announced she didn’t need her laptop at college as she can do everything she wants on her mobile – a Blackberry Curve.

I argue the case for larger screens – she points me to a newly-released mobile phone with a built-in projector, and then throws back at me a link I sent her 3+ years ago for similar, that at the time I thought was superfunky. (At least I now have her laptop to play on!)

The need for computers is going to diminish, particularly with the younger generation, who *get* convergence. Comprehension of the need to cater for connectivity with such devices means that this country needs to get to grips with basic infrastructure so the ‘device of choice’ can be used – anytime, anywhere.

So, as BDUK procurement bids progress, it is vital that all four regions ensure that the bids set the bar for the future, which is now clearly visible, and not as a stop gap. Mobile coverage and mobile internet should no longer be infills when telcos’ (shareholders) fail to commit funds to FTTH, but as an essential, especially for rural areas, so they have CHOICE.

If we fail to take into account all that we already know, or look to the future we can already see, plus that we can only imagine, our telco industries will fail everyone.

And that, my dear friends, is not an option.

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I think your post helps to bring home a point we have been trying to make for a long time, the internet is the key, a computer is only one of many tools we access it with. There is no point in spending a fortune on 'free computers' or 'free online centres' or 'free lessons' or 'raising awareness' and all the other misguided stuff that has sprung up to tempt in the 'refusniks'. The key to getting people online is connectivity, and it has FAILED in at least a third of the country. The old telephone network can't cut it. It was great for a taste of first generation access, everyone could get dial up. (well nearly everyone) and everyone had a phone. (again nearly everyone). Once broadband came in it was obvious to all except government (including the regulator who is as much use as tits on a bull) that many couldn't get it. The situation is the same today, with the added issue that people are giving up their landlines for mobile. In order to provide connectivity for all we need fibre. Moral and optic. With ubiquitous fibre throughout the land the mobile signals can be made to work everywhere too. A cheap mobile costing £9 can be kept in a home on charge to take the place of the copper phone line in case of power failure and all calls can go through voip, saving householders a fortune. It is pretty obvious why the incumbent telco doesn't want us having fibre. The copper cabal is simply protecting its asset and tying us to the phone network and stifling innovation. I think you have always been spot on with your predictions. I just wish you had a magic want to remove the blinkers from the policy makers who are the only ones who can sort out the greedy telco ruining the digitalrevolution in the UK. In the meantime we will keep JFDI ourselves, I see yesterday that bt wholesale are starting to panic now they realise their cushy number may be up... http://www.ispreview.co.uk/story/2011/01/05/bt-wholesale-uk-warns-against-market-of-smaller-rural-fibre-optic-broadband-isps.html chris
"Broken Mobile - on several counts, it seems that consumers are beginning to query why they even need a mobile operator (or ISP) when open fibre and femto cells are not just on the horizon, but becoming more prevalent daily, even beyond the geeksphere." femto cells are controlled by mobile operator e.g. Vodafone's suresignal on basis of operating using licenced spectrum So unfortunately for mobile users, i.e. us, the pre-pay 3G/voice deal between HM Treasury and mobile operators prevents disintermediation.