Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Ofcom- Spectrum Framework Review conclusion is published

Ofcom publishes its conclusion to the Spectrum Framework Review

  • Read the full Ofcom Spectrum Framework Review Statement here
  • See also "Note of the Fifty Sixth Meeting of the Ofcom Board, held at Ofcom, London on 7 June 2005": Information Papers 9: The following papers were noted: i) Market Monthly Update, ii) Spectrum Framework Review Statement (see Ofcom website here)

  • Ofcom press release
28|06|05 | Ofcom approach to spectrum management |

Ofcom today published the conclusion of its Spectrum Framework Review, setting out its approach to the future management of radio spectrum in the UK. The Review advocates a market-led approach, in contrast to the previous regime under which the regulator decided the type of organisation that should have access to specific parts of the spectrum, and how they should be used. Ofcom’s proposals were subject to public consultation and were broadly supported by stakeholders. - Full Ofcom press release here

  • Press coverage
29 June 2005 | Dugie Standeford | Communications Daily (Washington, USA) | a subscription news service: | Reproduced with permission of Warren Communications News

"(...) The regulator envisions market forces will manage 72% of
spectrum, while 7% will fall under license-exempt use, and the
other 21% will be managed under current Ofcom approaches. The Open
Spectrum Foundation, which lobbies for more radio bands for license
exempt use, called Ofcom's decision disappointing. Ofcom 'made a few
minor changes, like agreeing to periodic surveys of congestion in
some of the unlicensed bands,' said Dir. Robert Horvitz. But it
failed to understand its own statement that where use of particular
equipment for wireless telegraphy isn't likely to cause harmful
interference, that use must be exempt from license requirements, he
said. Capping license-exempt spectrum at 800MHz or estimating how
much of it is 'needed' is simply wrongheaded,' he said. Ofcom is
required by law to justify the need for licensing, not license
exemption, Horvitz said."

Note: this note appeared in Communications Daily on 29 June 2005 and appears here with special permission of Warren Communications News, a subscription news service available here

[For further on
legal issues of licence-exempt access see Open Spectrum Foundation, "Radio licensing and the right to communicate" here and "New UK Group to Push for Unlicensed Spectrum," by Nancy Gohring, Wi-Fi Net News Europe, 25 February 2005 here ]

Background: Open Spectrum UK advocacy
Open Spectrum UK: see website
  • is an advocate for the balance of the public and the commercial interest in access to and use of the radio spectrum, with particular reference to the right of Licence-Exempt access
  • Open Spectrum UK was convened in January 2005 in order to make a submission to the Ofcom Spectrum Framework Review. This submission was signed by 10 UK non-profit organisations, engaged in community wireless networking and communications policy issues.
  • Open Spectrum UK is convened by John Wilson (co-founder and Julian Priest (co-founder, and has worked in collaboration with Open Spectrum Foundation
Wireless Utopias 05: An Open Future for Spectrum? | Open Spectrum UK and Cybersalon | The Science Museum's Dana Centre | 26 May 2005

Wireless Utopias 05: An Open Future for Spectrum?

“A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing.”
Oscar Wilde

Cybersalon and Open Spectrum UK host the second event in their Wireless Utopias series - a unique debate on the future of wireless communications and the strategic prospects for utilising the radio spectrum. The context for the evening is the UK communications regulator Ofcom's Spectrum Framework Review. We explore "wireless utopias" from the Open Market to Open Spectrum. This event is a part of Wireless London .

The evening includes:

Experts Roundtable - a panel of distinguished international and UK experts explore the big issues of technology, regulation and society. This is a unique opportunity to learn about the experience, vision and strategy of our wireless technologists, pioneers, and policy-makers.

John Wilson (Open Spectrum UK)

Michael Marcus (former FCC; USA)
Dewayne Hendricks (Dandin Group; California, USA)
Onno Perbo (Indonesia)
Peter Bury (Ofcom)
William Webb (Ofcom)
Gordon Adgey (Broadband4Devon)
Peter Cochrane (Concept Labs)

Q&A - exploring the strategic agenda for wireless communications, locating spectrum reform in the UK within the wider international context.

See event listing here and event web-page here


Michael Marcus, joined the Federal Communications Commission in 1979 where he held a variety of positions relating to technical policy and radio monitoring. He proposed and was responsible for the 1985 spread spectrum decision that established the unlicensed bands for spread spectrum, setting the stage for both CDMA cellular and Wi-Fi technologies. In his Think Piece for the Wireless Utopias 05: Towards an Open Future for Spectrum? session, " Thoughts on Basic Issues of Spectrum Policy", Marcus looks towards future potentials for the sharing of the radio spectrum:

"Classic spectrum management inevitably results in lots of “white space” – spectrum that is properly allocated and licensed but is unused at a given location and time. Even in crowded metropolitan areas there can be quite a large amount of white space. Why? Many users are able to demand spectrum from the regulator independent of marketplace forces and have little marginal cost on holding on to lightly used spectrum. Other users have highly time variable demands and demand spectrum sized to their peak needs even if this results in low average utilization. Traditional radio technology also gave few options to use here. But cognitive radio technology and secondary market policies are two new options to get rid of the white space and increase effective spectrum utilization".

"Cognitive radio technology searchs for available spectrum, either passively or in cooperation with licensees, and then allows it to be used on a noninterfering basis with the original licensee. It could be used for unlicensed services or licensed services. The present FCC rulemaking on unlicensed use of the TV spectrum is actively exploring the options here and they are very controversial".

"Secondary market policies, already permitted in the US for many classes of radio licensees, permit licensees to make private arrangements with others to “lease” their spectrum. While some view this as “unjust enrichment” for inefficient spectrum users, in the real world it is difficult for government regulators to take spectrum away from the “haves” without compensation and give it the “have nots” and at least the spectrum ends up being more heavily used and the increased availability drives down prices. Other regulators are moving slower than the US in this area".

"The growing success of Wi-Fi systems in the US and other countries has resulted in a reexamination of the role of unlicensed systems. The previous assumption that unlicensed systems would not attract investment was clearly over simplified. Unlicensed is not longer the step child of the spectrum management community although a controversy continues as too how large a role it should play in the future".
- Read Michael J Marcus,Sc.D.,FIEEE, "Thoughts on Basic Issues of Spectrum Policy" here

Extract from John Wilson, Towards an Open Spectrum Policy?:

*Spectrum reform- from resource to commodity?*

We are currently engaged in a period of global reform and transition in Spectrum Management Policy. In country after country, the regulatory state is playing catch-up with the revolution in digital (radio) technologies and is examining new ways of allocating rights of access and use for the radio spectrum.

There was a time a generation ago when the radio spectrum was dubbed "the invisible resource" (Levin). The radio spectrum was characterised as a common public good and a global resource. A strategic resource to be managed in the public interest.

Since the latter half of the 1990's the market model has been in the ascendancy, with the implementation of auctions (by the FCC) as a means of allocating spectrum access.

In its current Spectrum Framework Review, the UK regulator Ofcom proposes a bold new market approach to spectrum Management Policy (with a focus upon liberalization, market mechanisms - auctions, and spectrum trading). This is a policy departure that is consistent with the UK's role as pacesetter of telecoms liberalization (with the privatization of BT in 1984).

Over the coming months Ofcom is due to issue its response to the submissions to the Spectrum Framework Review (and the related Spectrum Framework Review Implementation Plan).

International experts on spectrum reform view the UK as an exceptional case in the extent to which Ofcom propose using an economic policy tool for spectrum management.

Wireless has been to the fore of the digital revolution. Recent years have seen a dramatic phase of innovation in wireless communications, from the assumption of mobile cellular as an everyday communications medium to the deployment of 802.11 radio technologies - from the license-exempt Wi-Fi explosion to the current Wi-Max hype. A recent OECD report acknowledged UK and European community wireless networks (license-exempt 802.11 wireless) as innovators in broadband access. Wireless remains on the UK Nations and Regions agenda, as a strategic "community first mile" broadband solution.

We need to engage a sense of urgency about the future of wireless communications, as we move towards a new strategic framework for radio spectrum management in the UK.

On a cautionary note, we have the - unmentionable- fiasco of the 3G auctions in the year 2000 as an empirical case of the unintended consequences and adverse epochal impact of economic tools (auctions/game theory) in Spectrum Management Policy.

Above all we need to enable an open future of ubiquitous communications, bandwidth abundance and innovation; not limit ourselves to artificial scarcity, legacy interests, and the foreclosure of future options.

In this shift from spectrum-as-resource to spectrum-as-commodity, focussed debate upon the public interest has been for the greater part conspicuous by its absence.


*We close with consideration of the words of Michael Powell, the Chair of the US government's Federal Communications Commission, prior to the launch of the FCC's Spectrum Policy Task Force*.

Striking a note of both urgency and optimism, Powell's bold vision enjoins the need for a new paradigm in Spectrum Policy appropriate to the new digital wireless technologies and emerging markets and serving the benefit of all consumers - and once again a mixed approach to Spectrum Policy is the order of the day:

"Consumers Deserve a New Spectrum Policy Paradigm: All consumers (…) deserve a new spectrum policy paradigm that is rooted in modern-day technologies and markets. We are living in a world where demand for spectrum is driven by an explosion of wireless technology and the ever-increasing popularity of wireless services. Nevertheless, we are still living under a spectrum “management” regime that is 90 years old. It needs a hard look, and in my opinion, a new direction. (…) Modern technology has fundamentally changed the nature and extent of spectrum use. So the real question is, how do we fundamentally alter our spectrum policy to adapt to this reality? The good news is that while the proliferation of technology strains the old paradigm, it is also technology that will ultimately free spectrum from its former shackles".

"We are truly at a crossroads in the spectrum policy component of the digital migration. We must make critical decisions that balance the interests of existing spectrum users and potential new entrants to ensure that there is every opportunity and incentive to put spectrum to its highest and best use for the benefit of all consumers. It is important to remember that at the end of the day, we're not necessarily looking for one “right” path to our destination. There is no one-size-fits-all model for spectrum policy. We may well find that there are multiple approaches to the spectrum policy peak that should be pursued in different contexts in different spectrum bands over short, medium and long-term horizons".

Read John Wilson, Towards an Open Spectrum Policy? here


Peter Cochrane blogged the Wireless Utopias 05: An Open Future for Spectrum? event:

Peter Cochrane's Blog: Don't hold your breath for 3G | | June 02 2005

Will the mobile industry ever learn? Customers call the shots, not industry or government....

Don't hold your breath for 3G
02.06.05, 12.15 GMT, The Science Museum, London, UK

I just had a meeting with a group of young people who brought back a flood of memories from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, when the UK population wanted commercial radio but the government of the day was wed to a BBC-only world. This resulted in offshore radio stations on trawlers 'illegally' transmitting commercial radio. The government and regulators were outraged, whilst the public and advertisers were delighted. The outcome? Commercial radio was legalised. Public action and opinion won the day!

(...) Well, watch out for 4G, 5G, 6G etc... it is time to watch the users and the technology again! More...

Saturday, June 25, 2005

wireless city-, Lewisham, SE8

Community Wireless Network

Mesh map

Node list

BOUNDLESS is the broadband co-op established during 2004 to support community development of fast local internet access, inter-linking residential, business, educational, cultural and digital media communities.

The first mesh nodes of the network have been installed in Deptford, South East London, where community interest has seeded action and driven progress. It draws on a wealth of local experience and enthusiasm to share resources, presenting the work, lives and times of its users.

Boundless is building an open wireless network offering free access to local network resources for all the community and 'at cost' quality internet connectivity by subscription.

Access to this network is available at each node location where a web browser 'splash screen' introduces the services and each new user to local resources and internet connection,.

Registration establishes an account at to represent users interests in articles and forums by engaging with authoring tools. Users can set subscription periods, review node health and make full use of the many advanced provisions and explore rising opertunities for low cost voice calling, instant messaging and present their own work, reccomend the elements of the network that most appeal and inform others on local news and comment on the world around them.

(...) Co-operation is a well proven and compelling option to competition to deliver service, be that for food, transport and as in this case, telecommunications. It is a widely held assertion that the community proposition for self provision (of telecommunication services as with other utility and core services) will emerge as the optimal mechanism to bridge cultural and wealth divides. Where community determines the optimisation of shared resources so diverse activity and quality services flourish.

wireless city- public authoring and civil society

Urban Tapestries

Public Authoring in the Wireless City

Urban Tapestries is an experimental software platform for knowledge mapping and sharing – public authoring. It combines mobile and internet technologies with geographic information systems to allow people to build relationships between places and to associate stories, information, pictures, sounds and videos with them.

Urban Tapestries aims to enable people to become authors of the environment around them – Mass Observation for the 21st Century. Like the founders of Mass Observation in the 1930s, we are interested creating opportunities for an "anthropology of ourselves" – adopting and adapting new and emerging technologies for creating and sharing everyday knowledge and experience; building up organic, collective memories that trace and embellish different kinds of relationships across places, time and communities. It is part of an ongoing research programme of experiments with local groups called Social Tapestries.

+ Urban Tapestrie
s website
+ Urban Tapestries weblog

wireless city - BT, MDA, Wi-Fi...Westminster, Cardiff

Some snippets on the "wireless city" theme | re BT and Wi-Fi and Microconnect Distributed Antenna (MDA)technologies | in Cardiff, Westminster, Lewisham

Westminster goes Wi-fi with BT | Source: Westminster City Council | Published Tuesday, 24 May, 2005 - 16:00

Westminster City Council's ambitious Wireless City Project today moved a step further forward with the announcement today that BT has joined the City Council's Wireless City Partnership. BT will become the network infrastructure provider for the project, which aims to enable the Council to operate more efficiently and improve the delivery of Council services across the city.


The Wireless City project was launched in April 2004 as part of Westminster's ambition to be world leaders in city management. It will be BT's responsibility to install the Wi-Fi network and a Microconnect Distributed Antenna (MDA) network across Westminster.


Cllr Simon Milton, Leader of Westminster City Council said: "This is the first deal of its kind in the UK and will establish Westminster City Council as a world leader for technology and innovation. The Wireless City will benefit those who live and work in Westminster by improving the street environment through reducing crime and disorder, improving the delivery and effectiveness of council services and enabling us to maintain low tax through delivering significant cost savings. BT is the ideal partner for us, combining in-depth communications expertise with a strong experience of working with other local authorities to provide wireless technology."


BT has also been working with several local authorities to explore, evaluate and document best practice in delivering wireless broadband access for local authorities and has installed wireless technology in Cardiff and the London borough of Lewisham. The Westminster partnership is the most ambitious because it will use wireless technology to transform a wide range of applications within a local authority, becoming a showcase for how a Local Authority can deliver the Government's Gershon efficiency targets.


The Wireless City Partnership comprises Westminster, BT, Intel, Cisco Systems, Capgemini, Vertex, BTSkyNet and Telindus. The project's pilot will now extend from its technical pilot in Soho to include wider parts of the West End and the Churchill Gardens and Lisson Grove housing estates.

Full article here

+ For further on City of Westminster, Wireless City project see here

+ Intel press release, Westminster pilots "The Wireless City", 8 March 2004

BT, 3 offer new mobile delivery technology in Cardiff
pingwales | By Staff Writer | Friday, 24 June 2005


Selected mobile phone users in Cardiff have become the first in the UK to benefit from a new mobile delivery technology.

Mobile network operator 3 is to take advantage of BT’s new microconnect distributed antenna (MDA) system that allows operators to share small antennas to provide enhanced service in city centres and heritage sites.

The new system is part of BT Wholesale’s growing portfolio of low-power, mobile-coverage solutions for mobile operators, aimed at minimising the visual impact of mobile masts and cabinets in towns and city centres. Together with other solutions being developed by BT, the MDA system will enable mobile operators to offer a greater range of new services including 3G video streaming and information and location-based services.

The new system uses low-powered BT antennas attached to, or housed in existing street furniture such as street signs, lamp-posts and CCTV poles. Each antenna is linked by BT Wholesale's fibre-optic cable network to a BT exchange which houses the mobile operator’s equipment.

BT has worked closely with Cardiff Council to design, trial and implement an MDA network for the city. 3 will make use of the MDA network in key locations such as Cardiff city centre and the entrance to the Millennium Stadium.

BT director Wales, Ann Beynon, says, “BT, 3 and Cardiff Council are leading the way in adopting this collaborative approach to mobile services in city centre and heritage sites and are building on the wireless city concept.”


Councillor Mark Stephens, executive member for economic development and finance commented, "This is a very exciting time for Cardiff. Major IT providers such as BT are looking upon the capital as a key cost-effective city to pioneer technological advances and it's the people of Cardiff who are the first to benefit. This is exactly the type of local partnership we are very keen to support."

BT plans to deploy MDA services in selected cities during 2005 and 2006 in agreement with local authorities and in consultation with the mobile network operators, adhering to the Mobile Operators Association’s ten commitments.

Full article here

+ BT press release

BT in mobile technology UK first

News - BT in mobile technology UK first

Selected mobile phone users in Cardiff have become the first in the UK to benefit from a revolutionary new mobile delivery technology.

3 is the first mobile operator anywhere in the UK to take advantage of BT's new Microconnect Distributed Antenna (MDA) system that allows operators to share small antennas to provide enhanced service in city centres and heritage sites.

The new system is part of BT Wholesale's growing portfolio of low-power, mobile-coverage solutions for mobile operators, aimed at minimising the visual impact of mobile masts and cabinets in towns and city centres.

Together with other solutions being developed by BT, the MDA system will enable mobile operators to offer a greater range of new services including 3G video streaming and information and location-based services.

The new system uses low-powered BT antennas attached to, or housed in existing street furniture such as street signs, lamp-posts and CCTV poles. Each antenna is linked by BT Wholesale's fibre-optic cable network to a BT exchange which houses the mobile operator's equipment.


Source here
Broadband Britain to overtake dial-up

Interesting statistic showing that broadband is about to over take dial-up- see ZDnet UK article below...

Hence, timeline for UK communications:

* from memory:

2000 Internet use (data) overtakes voice as traffic on UK landlines
2002 mobile overtakes landline for voice telephony

* and now:

2005 broadband overtakes dial-up for Internet access

* Q - the extent of VoIP use over broadband connections?

Broadband Britain to overtake dial-up
Graeme Wearden, ZDNet UK, June 20, 2005, 13:55 BST

Brief: High-speed Internet access is well on the way to becoming standard in the UK

Latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that broadband is poised to overtake dial-up as the most popular way of accessing the Internet in the UK.

The ONS reported on Monday that, in April 2005, 49.2 percent of UK Web users were surfing over a high-speed connection, versus 50.8 percent using dial-up. A year before, broadband represented just 28.5 percent of the market.

Full article here

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Get smart, get broadband

Latest advertising campaigns from the Welsh Assembly Government

Minister dons his driving cap to steer broadband into regional Wales

You may not think you can squeeze much into the boot of a Smart Car… perhaps a shopping bag or two… but did you ever consider turning it into a gateway to the World Wide Web?

The Welsh Assembly Government’s Broadband Wales Unit did. They’ve wired-up three Smart Cars so they can drive broadband into Welsh communities on a six month roadtrip called Get Smart – Get Broadband.

Welsh Assembly website: More


more: | Minister dons his driving cap to steer broadband into regional Wales | Mon, June 20, 2005 |
Broadband Wales is hitting the road for six months with three wireless enabled Smart Cars to drive broadband into Welsh communities on a six month roadtrip called Get Smart - Get Broadband. More

eGov monitor | Broadband into regional Wales | Source: Welsh Assembly Government | Published Friday, 17 June, 2005 - 10:38 |

... includes the following information on the Broadband Wales Programme:

The multi-million-pound Broadband Wales Programme was launched by the Welsh Assembly Government in July 2002. The Programme aims to achieve a competitive and sustainable broadband infrastructure across Wales by March 2007. Specific targets include increasing access to, and take up of, affordable broadband by individuals, communities, businesses and public sector organisations.

Increased availability and improved take-up of broadband is expected to generate a step-change that will help to underpin the successful transition from an industrial to a modern, knowledge economy.

Full article here| Broadband Wales Gets Mobile, Gets Smart | Mike Slocombe | 17 June 05

(...) Andrew Davies, Minister for Economic Development and Transport and e-minister donned his Steve McQueen racing gloves and opined: "We believe the very best way to spread the good news about broadband is not by sitting behind our desks but by hitting the streets of Wales."

"That's why we're taking broadband on the road so that many people will be able to chat to our team of experts face-to-face, and get hands-on with broadband."



( Fleeced by the telcos ? ... )

Break free with Broadband

More on Broadband Wales

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Welsh Consumer Council Conference
Making it Happen: Consumer Policy in Wales
Cardiff City Hall | Thursday 7th July 2005 | 10.00am-4.30pm

Includes workshop session:

The Communications Agenda for Wales:
Delivering the Benefits for All

Workshop chair: John Wilson, Wales Broadband Stakeholder Group

Against a background of market and regulatory failure, post-devolution Wales is developing a proactive agenda for the new Digital Age. This workshop will explore the strategic agenda for the future. Our panel of experts will explore the key issues of technology, regulation and society, before the workshop focuses on what we need to do, how we can take it forward, and how we can deliver the benefits for all.

  • Michael Eaton, Director Broadband Wales, Welsh Assembly Government
  • Rhodri Williams, Director, Ofcom Wales
  • Charles Bass, Chair, Wales Broadband Stakeholder Group
  • Dr Nich Pearson, Director, Welsh Consumer Council

See here for full conference programme and registration


[In preparation for the above workshop, The Communications Agenda for Wales: Delivering the Benefits for All, I have put together the following notes]


The following links highlight the engagements - vision, strategy, programme - of some key stakeholders in Wales. Followed by some recent Wales, UK and European policy developments. Together they provide a context for locating a communications agenda for Wales.

Will the traditional focus of consumer policy upon a user-centric view of the world find a fresh impetus in the digital world, with its promise of universal IP-based technologies, ubiquitous communications and user-centric products and services?

A critical challenge that emerges from this basic mapping of the policy landscape is the need for a convergence of policy agendas - across the government, industry and social spaces - to negotiate the ongoing convergence of digital technologies.




The Welsh Consumer Council has been monitoring the development and use
of the Internet in Wales since the late 1990s and remains an
enthusiastic supporter. The Internet can give the user more direct
access to information and services and has the potential to bring
services back to individuals and communities that have lost them.

We are currently working to ensure:
+ all consumers in Wales have access to ICT facilities that are
convenient and readily available, be it at home or elsewhere;
+ education campaigns focus more effectively on the features and
benefits of the Internet in order that those who are resistant to this
technology feel able to use publicly available services, when and if
they come to recognise a need;
+ the advantages of broadband Internet connections are widely promoted
to help encourage demand for such services and hence cheaper supply;
+ the growing number of services and facilities being provided via the
Internet does not ultimately result in those without access to this
technology becoming disadvantaged, both economically and socially.

More information here:

+ Welsh Consumer Council submission to the OFCOM Universal Service
Review 2005: here


+ Welsh Assembly website- Broadband Wales

+ Broadband Wales Programme Strategy 2005-2007 (January 2005): Full report here

Edited excerpts:

* Broadband Wales Programme Vision
An advanced and competitive broadband services infrastructure which supports and enables a Welsh knowledge economy to thrive and prosper.The Broadband Wales Programme will work with the private sector to provide affordable access to, and take up of, communications infrastructure for businesses, public sector, voluntary organisations, individuals and communities in Wales. Its goal is to ensure that Wales can compete effectively both on a National and International basis through the existence of advanced infrastructure, as well as being home to educated and aware people / businesses who take full advantage of what the new infrastructure enables.

* 2001-2004: Evolution of the Broadband Wales Programme:
The Broadband Wales Programmewas launched in July 2002 and was based on the 'Ubiquitous Broadband Infrastructure for Wales’ report (Prepared by Analysys for the Welsh Development Agency, July 2001) and a subsequent proposed Implementation Plan. The Programme was designed to address market failure and facilitate the roll out and take up of broadband throughout Wales – rural and urban areas. A Broadband Wales Unit was established within the Welsh Assembly Government (with joint working with the WDA broadband team) to deliver Programme targets by March 2007.

* 2005- 2007: The future direction of the Broadband Wales Programme:
In April 2004 a strategic review of the Broadband Wales Programme was announced, and subsequently undertaken by independent consultants. The review took account of the developments that have taken place in technology alongside the changes in provision of broadband since July 2002. It also considered whether the priorities of the Programme continued to reflect market conditions and looked at a variety of options for ensuring that Wales has access to modern broadband infrastructure.
The review concluded that:
• Supply side projects of the Programme should focus on the stimulation of the wholesale broadband market;
• The Programme should be pan Wales and that some actions should be specifically targeted;
• Emerging technologies potentially offer new ways to nomadically use broadband;
• The Programme itself should anticipate changes in the organisation and funding of its projects to ensure it remains extant and up to date.

Executive Summary:

The five year Broadband Wales Programme began in July 2002 with high aspirations and a clear vision on where Wales needed to go in order to fully exploit the benefits that broadband can offer. It had ambitious targets, some of which have been achieved over 2 years ahead of schedule.

Since the Programme launched many things have happened – a new regulator has been created and mass market broadband is now available on a widespread basis. The telecommunications market has had its ‘ups and downs’ but is largely on an ‘up’ at present due to increased investor confidence and the prospect of emerging and exciting technologies coupled with fast growing demand for broadband from both the business and consumer sectors in Wales, and indeed, the UK.

This Strategy seeks to set further challenging targets to 2007 on both an incremental and aspirational basis. These will need to be achieved against an increasingly clearer policy position from the European Commission on state aid as it applies to broadband, Ofcom’s Strategic Review of Telecommunications and the imminent approach of spectrum trading. These coupled with telecommunications market volatility make the broadband Wales Programme exciting and yet challenging. Nevertheless, the Programme is something which is clearly an important component of Wales’s national economic development strategy as well as its strategy for improving public service delivery in Wales.

+ Ubiquitous Broadband Infrastructure for Wales: Status Review and Policy Recommendations (Prepared by Analysys for the Welsh Develpment Agency, July 2001)

"Widespread access to ICT is becoming increasingly important in today’s society, as an essential enabler of economic growth, social inclusion and efficient public sector services. Higher bandwidth telecommunications is an ever more crucial aspect of ICT infrastructure as usage of connectivity increases and as a convergence of content and of delivery technologies blurs the boundaries between broadcasting, publishing, and the Internet".

"A key concern in Wales, however, is that competitive supply of higher bandwidth services has tended to concentrate in the dense urban areas of the south east coastal strip, leaving the disadvantaged areas of the Valleys and rural Wales relatively underserved. This raises the prospect of a developing ‘digital divide’, with a lack of affordable higher bandwidth services leading to these areas falling further behind in terms of relative economic prosperity".

Full report here
Also available


+ Wales and Ofcom: A Report by an Advisory Group to the Minister for
Culture, Sport and the Welsh Language, Welsh Assembly Government, 27th March 2003: here

+ Ofcom advsory Committee for Wales

+ Ofcom Annual Report 2003 - 04


Responses to Ofcom reviews in 2005:

+ Spectrum Framework Review
WBSG response
All responses

+ Spectrum Framework Review- Implementation Plan
WBSG response
All responses

+ USO review
WBSG response
All responses
CMA response (cites WBSG reponse)


5 Consumers and the communications market: where we are now (Ofcom, April 2005)
6 Connecting the UK: the Digital Strategy (Strategy Unit and DTI, March 2005)
7 Rethinking the European ICT Agenda (Price Waterhouse Coopers, September 2004)

Consumers and the communications market: where we are now (Ofcom, April 2005).

The Ofcom Consumer Panel research report 'Consumers and the communications market: where we are now' along with key findings, plus focus documents on national and consumer segments.

This report details the findings from the market research project commissioned by the Consumer Panel into the current residential consumer and SME experience of the communications market. This will be an annual survey to assess changing consumer concerns year on year, and will be used by the Consumer Panel to inform its work in a number of areas.

The research focused on the residential consumer and SME experience of telecommunications (fixed and mobile), the internet (including broadband) and (for consumers only) broadcasting – including digital switchover – and use of technology.

The two key objectives for the research are to establish:

* What is the level of consumer knowledge regarding what is going on in the communications market and the choices/ alternatives they have now and will have in the future?

* What is the current consumer experience in the communications market?

+ Full report
+ Focus report on Wales: Ofcom Consumer Panel Research, Quantitative Research Findings, Focus on Wales (Saville Rositer-Base, April 2005)

Excerpts from Focus report on Wales: Ofcom Consumer Panel Research, Quantitative Research Findings, Focus on Wales (Saville Rositer-Base, April 2005)

Summary of key findings for consumers in Wales compared to UK

•Less likely to have heard of broadband, digital radio and 3G
•Awareness and understanding of digital switchover does not differ from the UK as a whole

Keeping informed
•Less likely to keep informed of developments in communications technologies at all

Ownership, use and satisfaction
•Less likely to have mobile phone or internet at home
•More likely to have digital TV
•Less likely to access the internet at all
•Less likely overall to have ever switched suppliers for their home communications services
•Less likely to be dissatisfied with their home communications services
•More likely to have any difficulties using a TV, but no real difference regarding other technologies

6 Connecting the UK: the Digital Strategy (Strategy Unit and DTI, March 2005)

Government announcement on a Digital Strategy for the UK. From Prime Minister's Strategy Unit: The Strategy Unit led a cross departmental piece of work to establish a digital strategy for the UK.

Information and communication technology has become all pervasive in our working lives and increasingly in our homes as well. How we adopt and use this technology will be crucial for our future prosperity. But there is evidence of a digital divide with some groups largely excluded from benefiting from access to the internet.

This joint report with the Department of Trade and Industry sets out the digital strategy for the UK.

Source: Prime Minister's Strategy Unit

+ Read online here
+ Full report pdf download here
+ See press release by Intellect: Government and Industry Take Steps to Close the Digital Divide (1April 2005)

Report Contents:

Foreword by the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
Executive Summary
Chapter 1: A ‘digitally rich’ UK – progress to date
Chapter 2: The ‘digital divide’: problems with low take-up
Chapter 3: What is the rationale for Government intervention?
Chapter 4: How can we close the digital divide and become a world leader in digital excellence?

Raising our game: Making the UK a world leader in digital excellence
Action 1: Transform learning with ICT
Action 2: Set up a “Digital Challenge” for Local Authorities
Action 3: Making the UK the safest place to use the Internet
Action 4: Promote the creation of innovative broadband content
Constructing a robust strategy to achieve our vision
Action 5: Set out a strategy for transformation of delivery of key public services
Action 6: Ofcom sets out regulatory strategy
Tackling social exclusion & bridging the digital divide
Action 7: Improve accessibility to technology for the digitally excluded and ease of use for the disabled
Action 8: Review the digital divide in 2008
Annex A
Annex B

Executive Summary

1. In the last five years, we have made substantial progress towards our vision of a ‘digitally rich’ UK. Since 1999 there has been a transformation in the way the UK economy and civil society have embraced new technology and the UK has moved from bottom of the pack into the premiership of digital excellence. We have a world-leading position in digital TV. We have one of the most advanced and most competitive mobile phone markets in the world with 3G now starting to make a real impact. We implemented the EU telecoms framework rapidly and in full, and with the advent of Ofcom we remain the leader in regulatory – and deregulatory – innovation.

2. In broadband, we have gone from being a poor relation to having the most extensive – and one of the most competitive – broadband markets in the G7. By this summer, over 99% of the population will have broadband services available. Prices are falling and data speeds are increasing. In terms of competitiveness, the UK has maintained its third position overall, behind Japan and Canada.

3. However if the UK is to thrive in the future, to succeed in competitive markets and to enjoy better and better services, all of us need to be confident and comfortable, living and working in a digital world. Information and communication technology (ICT) has become all pervasive in our working lives and increasingly in our homes as well. How we adopt and use this technology will be crucial for our future prosperity.

4. We need therefore to create a country at ease in the digital world. Where all have the confidence to access the new and innovative services that are emerging, whether delivered by computer, mobile phone, digital television or any other device, and where we can do so in a safe and secure environment.

5. But there is still evidence of a digital divide with some groups largely excluded from benefiting from access to the Internet. But cost is not the only or even the main barrier to take-up. First, some individuals may not have the confidence or skills to use computers, even though they may actually want to get online. Others do not see the relevance of the Internet to their needs. They do not see how ICT and broadband particularly can transform their lives.

6. Government has a clear role in helping to promote and increase public awareness about the Internet and harness the economic and social returns in a way that benefits all society. We aim to make the UK a world leader in digital excellence with public services that are even more responsive, personalised and efficient than the leading companies that have so successfully deployed the Internet to serve their customers. We will help protect consumers from the dangers of the “darker side” of the digital world. We will use ICT to minimise social exclusion and ensure that the UK is the first nation to succeed in closing the digital divide.

7. In order to achieve this vision we need to harness the transformative power of ICT and to make the rewards of that transformation available to all by overcoming the barriers to take-up. The Government is therefore committed to taking the following action:

* The Government will ensure that ICT is embedded in education to improve the quality of learning experience for all, re-engage those who have been disaffected and equip children with skills increasingly essential in the workplace. All learners will have their own virtual learning space where they can store and access their work. We will also aim to give secondary school pupils – including those from low-income backgrounds – the opportunity to access ICT at home and ensure schools can buy equipment at the lowest possible prices through a national procurement scheme. As part of this scheme, we will aim to have anti-virus software, firewalls and parental controls installed as standard.

* The Government will launch, in collaboration with industry a “Digital Challenge” awarded to a local authority and its partners – both public and private – to establish by 2008 universal local access to advanced public services delivered through and powered by information technology. The winner will have the opportunity to demonstrate the ability to transform service delivery through a holistic use of technology to deliver truly modern services for modern citizens.

* The Government will work with the ICT industries to create the safest possible online environment. Backed by the police, charities and the industry, the Home Office will set up a multi-agency national Internet safety centre to deter criminals targeting the UK for Internet crime and reassure parents. We will work with the banking industry to make that sector a market leader in terms of online authentication. The Department of Trade and Industry will explore with industry how best to deal with unsuitable material, including more effective use of parental controls, firewalls and web blocking technology and to raise awareness on best practice in operating safely online.

* The Government will work to create the right environment for the creation of innovative broadband content. We will set out guidance on broadband content procurement by the public sector, informed by an industry perspective. We are already a leader on mobile and wireless technologies. We want the UK to be a world leader in allowing people to use or reach any content, with any device, anywhere, anytime. Content, whether as a business tool, for entertainment, a community portal, e-learning or generated by consumers themselves is the main driver for increasing the effective use of ICT.

* The Government will draw up a vision of public service delivery transformed by modern technology and a strategy for achieving that vision. As part of that strategy, the Government will consider how it moves its business to a wholly digital environment where it is appropriate and cost-effective. Private-sector services transformed by modern technology to give more choice, greater personalization, convenience and flexibility have become enormously popular. There is a real opportunity to transform public service delivery if government seizes the opportunity offered by effective use of modern information technology in a strategic way.

* The Government will ask Ofcom to take account of the prospects for home broadband take up, with a particular focus on uptake amongst the more disadvantaged. We will also ask Ofcom to monitor take up across social groupings and age bands to give a clear picture of the development of the market and the prospects for widening access to broadband technologies.

* The Government is committed to improving accessibility to technology for the digitally excluded and ease of use for the disabled.

* We will take further steps towards closing the digital divide by building on the network of UK Online centres and other communal access points – giving adult learners the support, incentives and skills they need to make the most of ICT. We will also ensure that every adult who enrols on a basic skills course is given an email account.

* We will assess any changes necessary to the Home Computing Initiative to make it more attractive to lower earners and to businesses to implement.

* We will give a clear commitment to ensuring that all government websites and online services present no barriers to use for those with disabilities. We will also raise awareness both in private and public sectors about these barriers.

* These measures will make substantial inroads in creating a more digitally inclusive society. We also expect the market to drive take-up and use, through the creation of new and innovative services, falling prices and awareness-raising. So the Government will review the position in 2008 in order to explore whether further action is necessary to close any residual digital divide.

8. The issues raised above are truly cross-departmental. Taken as a whole they go beyond the scope of any one department or the new e-Government Unit and even beyond government into the private sector. It is therefore important to establish a process or structure that drives forward the implementation of the digital strategy and reports on progress. Under Ministerial ownership, OGC and eGU will support DTI in determining the right structure to drive forward a programme to implement the strategy. This will include appropriate representation from government departments, No10, and other key stakeholders, for example, the Broadband Stakeholder Group.

7 Rethinking the European ICT Agenda (Price Waterhouse Coopers, September 2004)

Price Waterhouse Cooperswas commissioned by the Dutch EU Presidency to produce a report on Rethinking the European ICT Agenda: Ten ICT-breakthroughs for reaching the Lisbon goals.

Edited excerpts:

Now is the time for breakthroughs!

(...) Now is the time to think about the future. Now is the time for breakthroughs!

This report is tentative and provocative. It is meant to inspire you to re-think and revitalize the Lisbon agenda and especially the European ICT agenda (...)

Time is right to enter a new phase in the integration of ICT in our economy and society. From the period of roll out and installation of ICT-infrastructures and applications we are moving towards the phase of deployment. We have moved away from a technology-push approach and have emphasized the importance of now better reaping the benefits of ICT. Today, we are better connected than ever. But how can we use these connections to reach our goals? How should we transform the processes of production and distribution of goods and services to embed ICT in an effective way? How can we make a successful transition to a network economy and a knowledge-based society? Do we share a European culture as a foundation for a flowering EU content industry or for a fruitful exchange of knowledge, R&D and science? Can ICT provide us with the means to build a European community while retaining our national identities? (...)

ICT paradigm and global context

However, it is necessary to take account of the ICT paradigm of today and proven best practices in an international setting to achieve the best results in the future.

There are several countries that are very successful with their creation and implementation of ICT. The few that were investigated in this study: Korea, India, China, USA and Japan all outperform the EU in many respects. These countries have bold initiatives and dare to improve their position in the field of ICT with proactive industrial policies.

Europe too can be successful. Present policies are very useful but not instrumental enough to enable Europe to catch up with other economic powers.

10 potential breakthroughs

We have to reconsider the present policies to identify the issues that are obstructing further progress and consider further the breakthroughs that could be achieved. In this study we have identified ten of such potential breakthroughs.

Breakthrough 1: Shift the e-Business and e-Government policy from connectivity to taking up complex ICT applications
• A crucial condition for more economic growth is a broad deployment and use of ICT by enterprises and public institutions. Therefore the EU needs national strategies that focus on flanking investments in skills and organizational transformation. Special attention is needed for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Breakthrough 2: Standardize ICT environments in Europe to trigger and enable new business
• Standardization is a prerequisite for a broad deployment and use of ICT, and will trigger and enable new business. Pan-European interoperable solutions for electronic authentication and electronic payments are needed to boost innovation and economic growth significantly

Breakthrough 3: Accelerate the introduction of disruptive technologies
• The speed with which new technologies are accepted and put to work has a serious impact on economic growth. The EU needs to play a key role by accelerating the introduction of new (disruptive) technologies like smart tags and Voice-over IP.

Breakthrough 4: Realize the vision of "any content, any time, anywhere, any platform"
• Content is considered an important engine for future economic growth and employment. The EU needs to fuel this engine by realizing the vision of 'any content, anytime, anywhere, any platform' by e.g. introducting multiplatform access for content producers and new digital rights management regimes.

Breakthrough 5: Go for global platform leadership in the ICT industry
• An excellent and competitive European ICT industry is a crucial condition for economic growth and employment. The EU needs to define a strategy towards global leadership in specific areas, for example by stimulating a (new) European standards policy (in cooperation with the market) and making an explicit choice for e.g. the future of 3G mobile telecom in Europe.

Breakthrough 6: Develop a strategic response to job migration to low-wage countries
• Economic growth and employment can be seriously affected by the accelerated job migration to low-wage countries. The EU needs to develop a strategic response.

Breakthrough 7: Remove barriers for the development of an innovating European electronic communications sector
• The electronic communications sector is a proven source for economic growth and employment. The EU needs to anticipate in an early stage the barriers for investments in next generation networks.

Breakthrough 8: Move to a new and flexible model of spectrum innovation
• The spectrum is one of the major battlefields for innovation and new business. Modernization of spectrum policies will have a large economic impact. Therefore the EU urgently needs to make its rigid spectrum allocation model flexible.

Breakthrough 9: Enforce real solutions for consumer confidence and security
• A crucial condition for a broad deployment and use of ICT by business and consumers is user confidence. Therefore the EU needs to enforce structural solutions for viruses and spam by creating liabilities, give priority to cybercrime within law enforcement and ensure the availability of critical infrastructures.

Breakthrough 10: Shift e-inclusion policy from "access for all" to "skills for all"
• A crucial step for a broad deployment and use of ICT by consumers is that Europe's e-Inclusion policy does not only focus on broadband access, but also on the skills Europeans need to participate in the information society. Therefore the EU needs to redefine the current universal service obligation and adopt strategies for improving ICT skills.

Full Report Rethinking the European ICT Agenda (Price Waterhouse Coopers, September 2004)

Peter Cochrane's Blog: Don't hold your breath for 3G

June 02 2005, by Peter Cochrane
Will the mobile industry ever learn? Customers call the shots, not industry or government....

Don't hold your breath for 3G
02.06.05, 12.15 GMT, The Science Museum, London, UK

I just had a meeting with a group of young people who brought back a flood of memories from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, when the UK population wanted commercial radio but the government of the day was wed to a BBC-only world. This resulted in offshore radio stations on trawlers 'illegally' transmitting commercial radio. The government and regulators were outraged, whilst the public and advertisers were delighted. The outcome? Commercial radio was legalised. Public action and opinion won the day!(...) Well, watch out for 4G, 5G, 6G etc... it is time to watch the users and the technology again! More...

[Peter's blog followed his participation in our panel at the Wireless Utopias 05 event at the Science Museum's Dana Centre, London, 26May 2005, organised by Open Spectrum UK and hosted by Cybersalon. A panel of UK and international experts plus regulators from Ofcom explored the agenda for spectrum policy and the public interest in the UK]

Muniwireless 2005, Sept 26-27, San Francisco, USA
The Premier Conference for the Municipal and Local Wireless Industry

For programme details see here

See the Muni Wireless website here
  • This site is devoted to municipal wireless broadband projects worldwide that are funded or supported by cities and towns. These range from downtown hotzones to city-wide wireless broadband networks. Although I often use the word "city", rural municipalities receive equal coverage because they are leading the fight for affordable, fast, universal access to the Internet.

  • I included a category called Community Wireless to highlight wireless projects organized and run by local residents, with or without support from the municipality. These grassroots initiatives -- run by volunteers -- force local and regional governments to remove barriers to affordable wireless (and wired) broadband access. Where governments have been too slow and risk-averse, these groups unwire their communities with do-it-yourself networks".

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Watershed Media Centre, Bristol

To blog, or not to blog
This week I attended the conference Up to Speed:The Potential of Broadband as a New Space for Research, Development and Production ( Arts and Humanities Research Council, Arts Council of England, and The Watershed Media Centre) at the Watershed, Bristol.

In his presentation Open Source:From Belgrade to New York (available here ), Drazen Pantic (- Serbian Internet pioneer with the pirate station Radio B92) asked the audience how many were blogging the conference.There was a dismal show of hands. "Mia culpa", I thought. We had plush cinema seats and there was wi-fi access throughout the building- this was a bloggers paradise. At our dinner gathering that night we also mused on the fact that few of us blogged.

From Radio B92 days, Drazen continues to explore the digital frontier in New York (- "I was amazed, New York was harder going than Belgrade when it came to support from the wider tech community"- my paraphrase). His experiments with non-profit NYC Wireless with a laptop-WiFi broadcast process, and with P2P-TV and video blogging in the unmediated project, have captured the imagination of many.

"The Revolution Will Be Sketched Out on Paper (Then Televised)", muses Glenn Fleischman's blog, "It’s not just a sign of things to come. It’s a sign that things have changed".

"On January 14, 2003, we met in New York's Bryant Park for the first successful live broadcast uploaded over a public wireless network for transmission over cable TV", explains Drazen,

We established a wireless connection through a local, public WiFi network maintained by the non-profit NYC Wireless, and broadcast from that spot to a computer at MNN studios. The video and audio was captured by the camcorder and fed into the laptop, where it was encoded as MPEG4/AAC streams, then sent out as a unicast stream via the WiFi connection. At MNN they played the stream through a scan converter — which converts the stream on a computer into a video signal — then broadcast it live on the air.

Braving the freezing winter afternoon of Bryant Park with two lap tops -one as a backup in case of battery failure due to the cold. The proof of concept exercise was both simple and profound:

The motivation for this exercise was to demonstrate that classical TV production equipment, requiring hundreds of thousands of dollars and a specialized infrastructure, is becoming a thing of the past. It is now possible to use a laptop-Internet system for on-the-fly transmissions from remote locations for distribution over a television network. The hardware and software we used was deliberately chosen because it is within the skill level of even a moderately technical person.

Read the whole of Drazen's essay P2P vs Infotainment here.

[Today I was online, viewed some blogs and the impulse took over to follow the link to And so caution to the wind, lets dip my non-tecchy toes in the water and start a blog].