Seeing the Value – will the UK Public Accounts Committee make the connections?

June 29, 2013 Leave a comment

Groupe Intellex

WestminsterIn matters of broadband policy many folks would not normally rate the chances of UK Parliamentarians having sufficient awareness to probe government policy to any great depth but in July their Public Accounts Committee will have the benefit of the National Audit Office report on the delivery performance of the Department of Culture Media and Sport – the current policy owner for the UK’s most critical infrastructure development.

The committee can, of course, give witnesses a fully televised hard time for the benefit of the wider public but much will depend on the members’ ability to ask incisive questions.   In their deliberations over the state of broadband policy the PAC will also have the benefit of the Information Economy industry strategy recently launched by the Department for Business (the former owner of broadband infrastructure policy) and, of course, the brilliant independent review of Public Sector Information by Stephan Shakespeare


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Categories: Uncategorized

Horse meat – the hardest thing to digest is that it’s your fault.

February 17, 2013 Leave a comment
Categories: Uncategorized

B4RN project launched

December 30, 2011 1 comment
If you live in the countryside your broadband is likely to be slow and unreliable. The necessary investment for next generation rural broadband from the big telecom players is not happening. This is because it is very expensive for them to install better broadband and there are so few customers to sell services to. B4RN has been set up to do something about it…

Dec 15th Share forms now available here – the launch presentation with attached photos and videos is also on that link if anyone needs it.

B4RN is go!! We have passed the target number of households who want a true broadband connection. Company and share launch was 15th December. See the latest news page on the website. Latest News

Supporters page updated with video from Neelie Kroes the Vice-President of the European Commission and many more!

B4RN will go the extra mile and it will change your world.

Categories: Uncategorized

Can’t Get Online Week

November 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Some reflections by John Popham

Can’t get online week was sponsored by the CLA and was a tour of rural areas who just can’t get a decent internet connection and have little hope of any support from government. It highlights the issue faced by the ‘final 10%”

This campaign to help the ‘final third’ seems to have given the telcos the means to access the funding available but they are only using it to help the lucrative ‘bits’ of the third and ignoring the difficult ones.

Categories: Uncategorized

Village #twicket match to be livestreamed…

April 15, 2011 Leave a comment

CLA applauds world’s first village cricket broadcast

Posted on April 15, 2011 by johnpopham

Country Land and Business Association
News Release
15 April 2011

CLA applauds world’s first village cricket broadcast

The CLA in the North has praised an initiative at Wray village in rural Lancashire as a clear demonstration of the effectiveness of communities working together as well as and of the potential of superfast broadband.

A cricket match to be held on Easter Monday – Wray vs the Rest of the World – will be streamed live by video over the internet in what organisers believe is a world first. Yet the broadcast is possible only because a team of dedicated local volunteers, working with Lancaster University have achieved the seemingly impossible and installed a 30Mbps community network with download speeds eight times faster than the typical UK household’s broadband and upload speeds about sixty times faster.

Organiser John Popham said: “I’m excited about this. It’s a bit of fun, but it has a serious purpose too. The serious side is to demonstrate that it can be done, it IS possible to stream live broadcast events like this using relatively cheap equipment and a good internet connection. It will also demonstrate the importance of good internet connectivity in rural areas, and the need for fast UPLOAD connections if we are to realise the aspiration to use the internet to enable more people to produce their own content.”

The CLA, which has been campaigning since 2002 to enable fast, affordable broadband in rural areas, says that for all the hype, many rural areas still cannot access fast broadband via conventional technology and is concerned that the race for ever faster speeds simply widens the divide between the broadband haves and have nots.

Douglas Chalmers, Director CLA North, said: “I think that this is a tremendous initiative. While others were talking and waiting for broadband, the villagers of Wray simply rolled up their sleeves and just did it. The network will bring both economic and social benefits to this rural area, and local businesses can now compete on equal terms with their urban competitors.

“Broadcasting a village cricket match to the world is a master stroke. Of course it will interest cricket fans, and I can imagine many ex-pats very keen to be virtual spectators at the type of quintessential English event they remember and miss.

“But of course it highlights the potential of effective broadband in a novel and entertaining way. To some, it may be just a village cricket match, but if an action based event can be beamed from a remote village to around the world, the other applications seem limitless. Of course you will need a good broadband connection to watch it!

“This may encourage other communities to consider following Wray’s example, and I would hope that our politicians take note and recognise broadband as an essential utility worthy of priority investment.”

“This is one match where everyone could win.”

For full details see

Categories: Uncategorized

2015 is a lot better than never …

December 6, 2010 2 comments

Hard on the heels of mounting not-spot desperation, it looks as if hope may be rewarded by the government’s announcements today. The Minister’s comments were timely.
Perhaps our villages’ children will be able to download their school work, small businesses survive, households save petrol (£1.229 a litre here), people work from home, e-government social discrimination removed, etc etc.
Lets’ hope fixing the regulatory anomalies (VOA fibre tax, market domination abuse, post and duct sharing) doesn’t slow matters down.
Is cautious applause premature? … I won’t plan to take out my appendix on line just yet!

Categories: Uncategorized

IJDGI – I just don’t get it – Digital Inclusion Task Force Quango ignores Final Third

December 5, 2010 8 comments

It’s been almost 12 months now since the Digital Champion’s team gushingly briefed me on Martha’s role: to motivate people to race on line yet ignoring broadband infrastructure as not her problem. The team said it would represent rural exclusion, but I’ve seen no evidence. Last week’s MLF press coverage adds further insult to injury for those who have only DIAL UP broadband, and no hope of anything better.

Has MLF tried to excite anyone to race on-line at dial-up speed? Has she or her team tried living with dial-up to get things done?

How on earth do they rationalise ignoring the interests of 1/3rd of the population which is currently doomed to unacceptable broadband speeds, and the 1/10th which will not get any, ever?

It’s analogous to DITF (them) obtaining (our) funding to teach everyone to drive, but with only bridleways serving 1/3rd of the people out there!

Come on, please, get some heads out of the sand and put some weight behind the disenfranchised 1/3rd too.

Or is the DITF team desperately spending its last funding any way it can before the quango cull?

Quote DITF “Race Online 2012 will continue to support and challenge government to get more people online and we will highlight the importance of rural broadband issues through our campaign wherever possible by linking it to our cause.”

I just don’t get it!

Categories: Final Third First

The Final Third First Campaign

March 21, 2010 1 comment

final third wordle mapThe Final Third First Campaign has come into existence because there are thousands of people in the UK who do not have a functional broadband connection at present (in “notspots” and because of technical issues with the existing telephone network), and approximately a third of the country whose future connectivity requirements will not be met by the market by 2017.

This 30+% of the UK who will not get a high speed connection capable of delivering next generation internet, as well as the many other services and applications that will be possible, is known as the “Final Third”, a term coined in the Digital Britain Report (PDF).

The market includes commercial operators, such as BT, Virgin, Vtesse, H20, as well as  municipal players who are using public funds to create regional projects which will deliver Next Generation Access through public-private initiatives.

At present, these commercial players cannot find a business case for connecting the Final Third, with the most common arguments being that where fibre needs to be laid in rural areas, where the number of potential connections are less than in urban areas, the economics do not stack up for this to be profitable for the telcos.

However, there is considerable evidence from other countries that it is possible to make such a business case, particularly where the communities get involved. It is also well-known what the social and economic impacts of future-proofed connections are, and how important it is that every citizen and business has access to affordable, universal broadband.

As we move towards a much more ‘online world’, the need for everyone to have access to future-proofed connectivity increases by the day.

What can you do?

  • Support the Campaign
  • Promote the campaign and our principles
  • Talk to your MP and election candidates about broadband as an issue for you
  • Involve your Parish Council, District Council, County Council and Local Strategic Partnership in the campaign
  • Help us to create the necessary resources for a nationwide, cohesive resolution to solve this problem. Working together and collaboration is key.
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