Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Broadband Britain arrives - official | Wednesday 22nd February 2006 | 10:44AM

The inexorable march of Broadband Britain continues. In the latest official figures for the end of 2005, the National Statistics Office found that nearly two thirds of Internet connections are now broadband while dial-up continues its slow decline.

The NSO found that throughout 2005 broadband connections continued to rise and increase their market share. Broadband connections made up 64.2 per cent of all Internet connections in December 2005, up from 62.3 per cent in November 2005. In December 2004, broadband had a 43 per cent market share. Overall, this represented a year on year increase of 58.8 per cent for broadband usage.

Meanwhile, dial-up connections continued to decrease, with a year on year fall to December 2005 of 34.1 per cent. Following a peak in February 2002, Dial-up connections now account for only 35.8 per cent of all Internet connections.

National Statistics says that it is not only existing users which are switching their services. The researchers also found that between December 2004 and December 2005 there was a 5.6 per cent increase in the total number of active subscriptions to the Internet.

If so, it will also mark a change in the way ISPs promote their broadband services. Instead of marketing the benefits of broadband to sign up or transfer existing dial up users, increasingly they will be offering faster services, better content or cheaper deals in order to attract and retain customers.

However, National Statistics indicates that the great shift in customers to broadband may be coming to an end. The Office says that from now on it will not be reporting changes in the broadband market on a monthly basis but intends to switch to quarterly reporting.

Steve Malone

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Value of Attention

OpenBusiness talked to Esther Dyson about how business models are adapting to an internet environment that champions openesss. Esther’s upcoming PC Forum focuses on how users are transforming the internet and placing new demands on businesses. From Open Source to Open Content, new forms of organization, production and distribution are emerging. But how can these ventures produce a revenue and sustain themselves? For how long can we give content away for free? (...)


OB: Though the internet environment is very different to phsyical retail or entertainment space. It’s global, virtual and without physical presence….

Esther: Yes, that’s true, and it creates different opportunities versus the physical space. Communities and individuals have more choices. And within these choices lie opportunities for businesses to create attention….

OB: Isn’t that what seems to puzzle so many people out there? There are businesses being created with not much else besides the hope to create attention. Attention seems to be the basic currency and the game seems to be to give ever more away for free to get this attention.

Esther: Well, true, right now, a lot of companies seem to be using the ‘get attention from the blogosphere, and then sell out to Yahoo! or Google’ strategy. That’s another attention strategy, but it’s not a sustainable one for most of the market.

Attention is a concept I have used in this context for a long time. Yes, it is basically the kind of currency we usually talk about, but it comes in many different forms, and the strategies to create it and texploit it are consequently very diverse. Some times it’s about preference, or getting people to spend their time at a space you offer. Once you get attention – which may be a brand preference, a community people want to join and stay in, a recognition for your expertise, a software platform people want to use – then you need to figure out how to charge for something related – storage of photos, for example, or programming or training services, or personal appearances, or membership in the community.

OB: This brings me to perhaps the two most prominent internet businesses at present – Google and Yahoo!. They both seem very open. They offer excellent services for free, from email, to search, to maps, to community services. They both seem not interested in owning content, but still pose a significant challenge to established content industries. Would you call these “Open Businesses”?

Esther: Yes, they both offer tremendous services for free – though they certainly charge advertisers to share the attention they have earned! They have found ingenious ways to turn access to content into a business. Yahoo! is actually more interested in providing high quality content – such as services information, news and entertainment – and building communities than Google. In many ways, Yahoo! believes in smart, “intelligent design” and careful strategies, while Google follows blind evolution and operates a Darwinian fitness landscape within its development organization. They create services, put them out there and let people figure out how useful they are. GoogleMaps for example is a basic service – it gives access to maps – but it lets people build not just on top of it but next to it. In this sense Google provides a platform and then lets creativity blossom without too much direction. (Although I suspect they do a little more internal strategic thinking than they get credit for!)


Source here

Monday, February 13, 2006

Knowledge Economy in Wales

By Andrew Davies, Minister for Economic Development and Transport for the Welsh Assembly

Published Monday, 13 February, 2006 - 13:00

Andrew Davies, Minister for Economic Development and Transport for the Welsh Assembly

Andrew Davies, Minister for Economic Development and Transport and e-Minister for the Welsh Assembly Government discusses the body's vision for the Knowledge Economy in Wales.

Since 1999, the Welsh economy has undergone a dramatic transformation. Over 100,000 more people are in employment compared to 1999, and having been 30% above the UK average when the Assembly came into being, Wales’ unemployment rate has fallen to levels below the UK average.

From a reliance on traditional manufacturing industries, like coal and steel, Wales in the 21st Century is becoming internationally recognised as the place to establish and grow high technology, knowledge-driven busineses.

'Wales: A Vibrant Economy' our new strategic framework for economic development, was launched for consultation in November. WAVE builds on the remarkable transformation of the Welsh economy, working with employers and employees to improve skills, encourage innovation, support entrepreneurial activity and build a strong and sustainable knowledge-based economic force.

Last year I announced a £50 million investment to create the Institute of Life Science (ILS) at Swansea University. Life Sciences, recognised as one of the most fertile sources of technology transfer in the world, has the potential to create massive economic wealth from developments in the knowledge economy, through research, intellectual property licensing, spinout companies, inward investment, and SME support.

The ILS will become one of the world’s premier scientific and computing facilities and will host a new European Deep Computing Visualisation Centre for Medical Applications. The result of a collaboration agreement between the Assembly Government, IBM and Swansea University, the Centre will include a new IBM supercomputer - which the university has named 'Blue C'. Designed to accelerate ILS programmes, 'Blue C' will be one of the fastest computers in the world dedicated to life sciences research.

In addition, the ILS will provide dedicated incubator support for micro-companies, translating knowledge into commercial opportunities, enhancing our culture of entrepreneurship and innovation and complementing the work carried out by the Technium Project and the new Medical School in Swansea.

This announcement represented a quantum leap in the development of our knowledge economy, propelling Wales into the premier league in the international development of the vibrant and dynamic life science sector.

I have also recently announced a major investment in telecommunications research for Wales, with the creation of the £30m Institute of Advanced Telecommunications. This investment again builds on our strong links with our World class academic institutions, and is the result of a collaboration between the Welsh Assembly Government, Swansea University, IBM, Motorola, Marconi, Agilent Technologies and through Traffic Wales, the Assembly Government’s state-of-the-art traffic information centre. Based at Swansea University, the institute opens up new research in areas such as deep space telecommunications, optical systems and networks, wireless communications and telematics.

The Institute not only propels Wales into the forefront of international research into the fast growing telecommunications sector, but will drive the development of a communications cluster around the City, attracting high-value, knowledge-driven companies to the area, and delivering considerable and sustainable economic benefits for the Welsh knowledge economy.

The IAT is a prime example of how we are working in partnership with major international companies and our outstanding academic institutions to develop our knowledge economy and create high-value employment opportunities.

These major investments illustrate how we are transforming Wales into a knowledge driven economy, a transformation supported by our multi-million pound Broadband Wales programme, launched in 2001 to provide accessible and affordable broadband services in rural and urban area throughout Wales. Wales is leading the way in broadband access, with 99% of the population of Wales already having access to broadband technology, a key factor in the continued transformation of Wales into a knowledge-driven, innovative, successful and sustainable economic force.

Encouraging innovation and building a knowledge economy are key priorities for the Assembly Government. The recent launch of the Knowledge Bank for Business (KB4B) is a clear demonstration of this continued commitment to provide tailored programmes to support innovative Welsh companies.

KB4B, is a radically new way of supporting high-growth potential companies in Wales. Designed in consultation with the private sector, the £14m programme is a collaborative approach to developing high growth companies, providing tailored support and creating a flexible and seamless interface between individual businesses and resources and expertise from across the public and private sectors.

As a centre for innovation and enterprise, our knowledge economy is proving to be the best place to start a business, the best place to grow a business and the best place to see that business prosper.

Source here

Broadband in 39% of Welsh homes
Last Updated: Monday, 13 February 2006, 15:03 GMT

The whole of Wales should be broadband enabled in 2006

Two in five people in Wales now have access to broadband internet services, according to a survey.

Research found uptake of the faster connection had grown by 14% over the past year.

There are still 35 telephone exchanges which are unable to provide a broadband service to customers, although they are due to be converted in 2006.

The survey for the Welsh Assembly Government of 5,500 residents found 63% had internet access at home.

A total of 39% used broadband connections to get online.

It also showed an increase in alternative devices such as mobile phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), digital televisions and games consoles like the Playstation2 being used to download high-speed data.

Broadband uptake - survey
Vale of Glam - 51%
Newport - 48%
Neath Port Talbot - 46%
Torfaen - 45%
Swansea - 44%
Cardiff - 41%
Monmouthshire - 41%
Flintshire - 40%
Bridgend - 40%
Conwy - 38%
Denbighshire - 38%
Pembrokeshire - 37%
Gwynedd - 36%
Ceredigion - 35%
Rhondda - 35%
Caerphilly - 34%
Wrexham - 33%
Carmarthenshire - 33%
Merthyr Tydfil - 32%
Blaenau Gwent - 31%
Powys - 30%
Anglesey - 29%

BT said in October 2005 that 99.6% of Wales was covered by broadband. Some rural areas, such as Rhiw on the Llyn Peninsula, were still awaiting connection because the company said there were too few customers to make it viable.

The 35 remaining unconnected exchanges should be converted to broadband under the assembly government Broadband Wales regional support programme in 2006.

Powys in particular is affected, with 11 of the unconverted exchanges within the county's borders.


Computer ownership in Wales is now 71%, according to the research.

In January 2005, Cardiff had the highest levels of broadband connection at 41% take-up levels.

Now the Vale of Glamorgan has the highest claimed broadband usage at 51%, followed by Newport at 48% and Neath Port Talbot at 46%.

The lowest three were Blaenau Gwent (31%), Powys (30%) and Anglesey (29%).

Across the UK as a whole, over 50% of homes now have access to broadband. This figure is expected to rise to around 60% by the end of the year.

Economic Development Minister Andrew Davies said: "This research provides an accurate outlook on the Welsh broadband arena.

"Broadband availability and uptake is playing a pivotal role in the continued transformation of Wales into a knowledge-driven, innovative, successful and sustainable economic force."

Source here

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Gmail gets Google Talk
Tuesday 7th February 2006
Gmail gets Google Talk 4:11PM

In a bid to unseat the giants of the instant messaging world, Google has begun integrating its recently released chat client into its hugely popular Gmail service.

Gmail users will be able to access the chat interface at the bottom of the email window or open up into a new window. The Gmail interface has further been altered to provide a list of Quick Contacts on the left-hand side, which is synchronised with the user's Google Talk Friends list.

A coloured ball shows the online status of each contact.

Chats will be automatically archived to the Gmail account where they are listed in a separate 'mailbox' and are easily searched. Archiving can be disabled across the board or on-the-fly through the 'off the record' setting. If this is activated then both parties are warned that no record is being stored by Google, although it doesn't stop either party from simply copying the text and pasting it elsewhere.

Google Talk was released last August and last month Google announced that it was opening up the software to any other IM client or application that supports the Jabber/XMPP protocol.

For more information go to and

Source here

Google Book Search supporters

Support Book Discovery

Today's topics:

* Join the Google Book Search fact-checking brigade! - 1 messages, 1 author

TOPIC: Join the Google Book Search fact-checking brigade!

== 1 of 1 ==
Date: Wed, Feb 8 2006 2:10 pm
From: Jen Grant

Greetings, Google Book Search supporters --

In December, novelist Susan Cheever, a member of the Authors Guild,
published " Just Google 'thou shalt not steal,'"
an article suggesting that there's some kind of official word limit, or
percentage limit, to material you can copy in order for it to qualify as
fair use. She writes:

"The Copyright Statute…includes a 'fair use' clause, so that a few lines or
phrases of a writer's work can be used as illustration by someone else.
...The amount of words that constitute fair use varies according to court
case. *At present, it is 400 words*. …Google cites 'fair use,' but it isn't
using 400 words; it plans to digitize whole libraries and make them
available piece by piece." (Emphasis added.)

Even this small quotation from Cheever's article fundamentally misstates
copyright law and misleads readers about Google Book Search..

First, no such 400-word rule exists. Indeed, in some cases courts have ruled
that copying and republishing the entire work is fair use. (You can read
about one such court decision

Second, Google does not show more than two or three sentences without the
author's permission. And that's not all. If a copyright holder chooses not
to participate in Google Book Search, not a single word from the book will
appear in any searches.

Here's where you come in. One of the reasons we set up this mailing list is
that we hope you, our supporters, can help clear the air when misleading
articles like this one are published. When Stanford law professor Lawrence
excellent video presentation last month to clarify the facts about
Google Book Search, we began to envision bloggers joining in.

If you want to help set the record straight, consider this your invitation
to get involved. Below are links to resources where you can find accurate
information about Google Book Search, copyright and fair use. If you see a
misleading article or blog post, we encourage you to write a letter to the
editor, post a comment or blog about the facts.

Lawrence Lessig: Is Google Book Search Fair Use?

The Google Library Project: The Copyright Debate:

Stanford Copyright & Fair Use Center

Chilling Effects: FAQ About Copyright and Fair Use

Thank you for your support!