Saturday, March 18, 2006

Caerphilly launches wireless road maintenance system

Caerphilly launches wireless road maintenance system: "Caerphilly County Borough Council has launched a mobile data solution for the maintenance of the council’s highway network. The solution is expected to save £120,000 per year in road maintenance costs."

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Google calendar details leaked
March 8, 2006 6:32 AM PST

Bloggers are gawking at alleged screenshots of Google's currently-under-construction calendar program.

According to Michael Arrington's Techcrunch blog, which is running the alleged screenshots, the new calendar is tightly integrated with Gmail. Features let people integrate with other calendar applications and share data. The calendar, allegedly dubbed CL2, also has a notification service that uses SMS (Short Message Service).

CL2 also apparently lets people create events that can be viewed on their calendars, or shown to the public, even to people not using the same calendar program.

While the product is still apparently well away from a launch, bloggers are excited about the possibility and are speculating whether the service is a prelude to bigger things for the company, and for online calendars.

Blog community response:

"CL2 looks to be a very strong product from Google (which has by no means been a given over the past year). Plus it seems to me that Google's much-anticipated Web Office Suite is well on the way to becoming a reality."
--Read/Write Web

"I am getting more interested in events, in the structured microformats blogging sense of the word. Will there be 3.0 Edgeio-like 'events' players who crawl the Web for posts on MySpace, Spaces, Wordpress etc. (that are) tagged 'events'...Or will the leader be whoever builds the best centralized widget...Or will the MS/Apple default rule."
--Ben Barren, RSS'ing Down Under

"The space has gone from having no good solutions to having a number of good options in very quick time, and Google entering the market will make it even more competitive."
--Nik Cubrilovic

Posted by Margaret Kane

Source here

+ Further

Google Calendar details leaked - the Web Office Suite is nigh!
Posted by Richard MacManus @ 1:50 am

TechCrunch has somehow obtained screenshots of the as yet unreleased Google Calendar, apparently called CL2. The leak came via Google's closed beta of about 200 participants. TechCrunch says that CL2 is a long way away from launch, but there are some meaty details here.


March 10, 2006 5:56 AM PST
Is Google prepping an office suite?

Google announced Thursday that it is acquiring Upstartle, maker of Web-based word processor Writely.

The move immediately fueled speculation that the search engine company may be working on its own version of an online office suite, which could compete with Microsoft's cash cow.

Rumors about the supposed suite have been percolating for some time, fueled in part by Google's partnership with Sun Microsystems and reports of a Google calendar program.

Google hasn't yet stated how it would incorporate the word processor, which is still in beta, into its other offerings. But bloggers were happy to speculate on their own.

Blog community response:

"Now buying Writely is in line with Google thinking of using browser for everything. I mean an online word processor, and online excel spread sheet make a lot more sense than making people switch to OpenOffice."
--Om Malik

"So this is how I see it working. Google Desktop is used to synchronise your local drive with your GDrive (with Lighthouse probably being the tool that you use to decide who can access and share what data). If your working on your regular computer, click a document and it opens up into OpenOffice Writer. If your on a public workstation log into GDrive, click on the same document and it opens up in Writely."

"Still, Microsoft will likely view this as a much more direct attack -- especially coming so soon after Microsoft's new focus on its 'Live' strategy. Bet you can't wait to see the response."

Posted by Margaret Kane

Google’s Growing Online Office

Does anyone remember how, less than a year ago, several commentators suggested Google was compiling a series of products that could emulate an online operating system? At the time, Google steadfastly denied such rumors. Yesterday, Google purchased Upstartle, the maker of a browser-based word processor called Writely.

Writely is an online word processor that enables multiple users to access and work on documents from any location. It can be used as a collaborative editing device and offers users online publishing options including the ability to convert Writely documents into “normal-looking web pages” or blog postings.

The acquisition of Upstartle, combined with other current and pending Google services poses a serious challenge to Microsoft’s desktop oriented products. Google is clearly building a suite of branded, browser-based applications that contains several daily use products designed to capture users from Microsoft Office.

Earlier today, Slashdot published a story suggesting Google is running a closed beta test of Google Calendar, including a link to a series of screen shots. The project, nicknamed CL2, will be integrated with Gmail in the future.

The stakes for both firms are high with Microsoft preparing to release its new Internet focused operating system, Vista before the end of 2006. Until recently, Microsoft was able to bank on the storage space offered by personal computers. Its operating systems run from the hard drive and most digital documents composed by computer users are stored on those users’ hard drives. The security of the hard-drive dependent storage system Microsoft enjoyed is about to change radically.



Google buys online word processor

Google buys online word processor: "Google said it was buying 'Web 2.0' start-up Writely, an online word processor, for an undisclosed sum. The move might be seen by Microsoft as a threat to its market share."

Google has challenged Microsoft in areas including search technology andemail.

Google and other internet companies such as Yahoo have been focusing on making applications, commonly run from a computer's hard drive, available remotely over the web.

Web 2.0 is the name being given to a wave of web services that offer more interactivity in the browser and "social software" such as photo-sharing and public tagging of web pages.

Writely allows users to compose and print text from inside a web browser, as well as collaborate with other users on a document.

Google revealed its acquisition in an entry in its official blog by Writely co-founder Jen Mazzon. "For the last five months, I've been part of a Silicon Valley start-up called Upstartle, which makes Writely," she wrote. "As of Monday, I'm happy to say that I and the rest of the Writely team are now part of Google."

Writely is in a developing "beta" stage, like many of Google's products, and is "far from perfect", according to Ms Mazzon.

But it will be expected to join a suite of applications being made available by Google through the browser. They include the Gmail email service and an online calendar.

Bloggers on Thursday speculated that Google would next be looking at browser-based spreadsheet applications as it sought to mirror Microsoft's Office suite of software applications.

Yahoo has followed a similar strategy of buying up Web 2.0 companies to fill gaps in its online offering and strengthen its services.

The Cloud signs airport Wi-Fi deal

Jo Best
March 14, 2006, 17:35 GMT

Edinburgh, Gatwick, Glasgow, Heathrow, Southampton and Stanstead airports are all to get near-universal Wi-Fi access

Business travellers should prepare themselves for an extra connectivity boost — BAA has announced it will be rolling out Wi-Fi access across six of its airports this month.

Stanstead airport was the first to go live earlier this week and will be followed this month by five other airports: Heathrow, Gatwick, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Southampton.

Travellers will be able to get wireless Internet access in both arrivals and departures, as well as in public seating and shopping areas.

BAA has picked The Cloud to install and maintain the network. In addition to accessing the Internet, surfers will be able to use The Cloud's network to buy services from its partners including Nintendo and Skype.

The Cloud has also recently won a contract to build a Wi-Fi network across the City of London and in nine UK cities.

Source here

MP: British Library must lead the charge on DRM

MP: British Library must lead the charge on DRM: "Derek Wyatt wants the British Library to play a major role in the DRM debate, a suggestion that may have surprised its chief executive"

Campaigners back call for DRM debate

Campaigners back call for DRM debate: "The Open Rights Group has agreed with MP Derek Wyatt that the British Library should organise the DRM debate, but disagrees with his call for a European Internet governance body"

Campus wireless network on the roll-out

Campus wireless network on the roll-out: "Trinity College Carmarthen, a member institute of the University of Wales, has teamed up with Californian web proxy server solutions provider, Blue Coat Systems, to roll out a new campus wireless network."

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

BT pushes broadband up to 8Mbps

BT pushes broadband up to 8Mbps: "BT's ADSL is finally reaching its full speed - but only if you're near an exchange


Intel details high-speed wireless plans

Intel details high-speed wireless plans: "IDF: 802.11n will feature in Centrino's successor, and future chipsets look set to benefit from a unified Wi-Fi/WiMax chip


Murdoch warns of disruptive effects of technology

Murdoch warns of disruptive effects of technology: "The News Corp boss has admitted that power is flowing away from him and his fellow old media moguls"

Next-gen broadband will exclude 6m UK homes
Next-gen broadband will exclude 6m UK homes- report
By Staff
13-03-2006 12:53 PM

Nearly 6 million UK households and businesses will not be able to receive next generation broadband of 8MB and higher, creating a new digital divide across the UK over the coming years, according to new research.

Telecoms research firm GeoAnalysis identifies a ‘next generation digital divide’ of nearly 6 million businesses and households that will not be able to receive 8MB. While 2MB is widely available there are still “pockets of unsatisfied” demand across the UK, the report stated.

While the previously established ‘digital divide’ was biased towards the less-populated parts of the country, GeoAnalysis said the ‘next generation digital divide’ affects both urban and rural areas, including parts of London and the South East.

The firm said this divide is due to the geographic limitations of the two main platforms for delivering broadband - cable broadband and DSL.

Cable broadband is only available to around 55% of UK addresses. DSL is only able to deliver higher bandwidths to addresses close to the exchange.

Recently there has been a flurry of positive stories concerning the availability of broadband. BT has rolled-out DSL to virtually every exchange in the country.

Over 90% of businesses and households can now get broadband of up to 2mbps, with many operators now launching ADSL2+ broadband services offering speeds of up to 24MB.

These higher bandwidths are required to deliver the next generation of broadband applications, such as IPTV which requires at least 8MB to deliver an acceptable quality of service, with the emerging HDTV platform requiring even higher bandwidths.

Whilst this presents an opportunity for those offering broadband via radio or satellite, in reality the scale of the problem is likely to require intervention via some form of public and private sector partnership at national, regional and local levels, the firm said.

This study is based on mapping 30 million business and household addresses. Areas where cable modem is available have been identified and mapped. Those addresses close enough to their local exchange to receive ‘next generation broadband’ have also been identified.

Source here

BT announced as RIBS roll-out partner

BT announced as RIBS roll-out partner: "After months of delays, the Welsh Assembly Government has announced that BT will upgrade the final 35 exchanges standing in the way of 100% broadband coverage in Wales. The target for rollout is September this year."

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Broadband Wales silent on RIBS project delays

Broadband Wales silent on RIBS project delays: "The £13m RIBS project is now 18 months behind schedule, as Broadband Wales keeps mum on the identity of the company it has chosen to roll out up to 2Mb broadband to 35 blackspots around Wales."

Britain turns off - and logs on
Britain turns off - and logs on: "More time is now spent on the internet than on watching TV, according to Google survey."


More time is now spent on the internet than on watching TV, according to Google survey

Bobbie Johnson, technology correspondent
Wednesday March 8, 2006
The Guardian

We may be known as a nation of couch potatoes, but it seems that Britons are grasping the 21st century with both hands: we now spend more time watching the web than watching television, according to internet giant Google.

A survey conducted on behalf of the search engine found that the average Briton spends around 164 minutes online every day, compared with 148 minutes watching television. That is equivalent to 41 days a year spent surfing the web: more than almost any other activity apart from sleeping and working.

Television addiction has been Britain's national pastime for years, but experts agree that viewers around the country are increasingly switching on their computer screens instead of their TV sets. And it is a phenomenon that is set to grow, with two thirds of respondents in the Google survey saying that they had increased the time spent online in the last year.

"This is not a changing of the guard," said Richard Gregory of Google UK, "but it does show how people think about the place the internet has in their lives."

The research was conducted with a weighted sample of 1,100 people around the country, who were asked to estimate how long they spent on a number of different activities.

The Google survey found surfers in London and Scotland are the country's heaviest web users, spending more than three hours a day online. That was around 40 minutes more each day than those in the lowest category, the north-west of England.

It is a high water mark in the rise of the internet. It is little more than 10 years since the start of the dotcom revolution but already more than 1 billion people around the world are connected to the internet. Television, in contrast, took decades to reach a similar number of people.

Experts say Google's figures are disputable, but that they do mark part of a wider trend towards the broad adoption of the web.

"What has always held the web back has been the technology," said Arash Amel, senior analyst with Screen Digest.

"Now you have another screen in the house. The internet is also used for entertainment other than just web surfing and email. The bandwidth is now several megabits as standard in most homes, and this has opened up the possibilities."

That change is almost certainly a result of increased business connectivity, which allows office workers to surf the web all day. Combined with the increase in high-speed broadband connections at home, the opportunities to get online are far greater than at any previous time.

"It's definitely linked to the increase of broadband penetration and internet access as a whole," said Mr Gregory. "There's a learning curve as people find out how to interact with the web."

Google's claim is contradicted by the latest research from the television audience ratings group Barb, which uses electronic measurement to determine the extent of television viewing. Barb said that in January viewers watched television for an average of almost 238 minutes - nearly four hours a day.

But the assertion is backed up - at least in part - by a recent study from the media watchdog Ofcom that showed how younger audiences are moving away from television.

The report into media literacy, which was published last week, said that television viewing has declined in recent years for the first time in its history. It also said that the "reach" of television - the number of people switching on for at least 15 minutes - had declined by 2.5% among those aged between 25 and 34. The shift is even more marked among younger users, with reach declining by 2.9% among the under-25s over the same period.

As teenagers spend more time on time-intensive activities like blogging and surfing social networking sites like, the reduction of their other media consumption is inevitable.

But industry observers are at pains to point out that TV and the internet are not mutually exclusive. Like radio, which is often played in the background, television watching does not have to be active. In fact, internet users are increasingly using their computers to watch television and video, read web pages and listen to radio simultaneously.

Competition between the different media may not even be a question for younger users, as broadcasters and technology companies move ever closer towards converging with each other.

Sky and BT are among those who have announced plans to deliver TV channels over the internet, following an industry-wide trend towards providing video over the web.

So-called internet protocol television - IPTV - is one of this year's hottest technologies, being pushed by broadcasters, computer firms and consumer electronics companies alike.

"The new generation doesn't have the same attachment to physical products," said Mr Amel. "There are a lot of vested interests in making the PC a central entertainment hub delivering TV, music and movies."

Google, perhaps unsurprisingly, believes that the internet still has a lot more growing to do. "As consumers, we're really just seeing the beginning. The increasing richness of the web means that we're going to spend more and more time on it as time goes on."

Changing habits

The teenager
Saqib Khan, 16, student

I spend quite a lot of time on the internet. Some days I could be on for hours, but I spend much more time on the internet than watching TV. I'll download music or look at websites about things I'm interested in, like American pit bulls, or coursework for school. It's a lot more useful than TV.

The thirtysomething
Sarah Chandler, 30, office manager

I'm on the internet all the time. It's essential at work, but it's pretty much a necessity at home too. I do online banking, book any form of travel - trains, flights - and all my holidays on the internet. I probably spend about 90 minutes a day outside of work on the net, which does sound like quite a lot, I suppose. But I don't watch very much television; I'm more of a reader.

The fortysomething
Frances McCondochie, 47, nursery manager

I will use the internet for work and to book holidays, but I don't understand people who spend hours on it. I have a friend whose kids are on it from four in the afternoon until 10 at night. They have to book slots to stop any fighting. I'll only use it for half an hour at work. I watch a fair bit of television, around a couple of hours or so a night. I can't see that ever being eclipsed by the internet.

The seventysomething
Elizabeth Roberts, 71, retired lecturer

I've been using the internet for at least 10 years now. I use it for at least four hours each day. I do about an hour a day to help my daughter's work and I use it for booking holidays, checking what's on at cinemas, shopping and research. I also use it for my finances, and I send lots of emails as I don't really phone people. Lately I've been spending about two hours a day watching television, because there's not much good on. But I will watch films.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


e-Wales is a new area of focus in the Economic Development & Transport Department, intended to drive and embed effective delivery of e-strategies across policy areas in the Welsh Assembly Government. The unit is currently being set in place.

A new e-Wales Strategy and action plan is being prepared for publication in 2006. It will build on the Welsh Assembly Government's current Information and Communication Technology Strategic Framework, Cymru Ar-lein: Online for a Better Wales.

e-Wales will support the e-Minister, Andrew Davies. The division will proactively interface with UK and European organisations to positively influence ICT and telecommunications policy development in Wales.

Source here

+ Related

Broadband Wales

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

BT denies claims it is planning free 'dial-up' broadband
Wednesday 1st March 2006

BT has denied claims by a Sunday newspaper that it is planning to introduce free 'dial-up' broadband when it switches on its 21st Century Network (21CN) in 2008, a year earlier than planned.

The Mail on Sunday had claimed that a 'senior company source' within BT said that 21CN will provide for a broadband dialtone that will allow broadband users to connect simply by plugging into a phone line. This could remove the need for new users to cough up the �58 activation fee and would allow occasional Internet users - those who dial-up to check their email - to upgrade to broadband on a true pay-as-you-go basis and without the additional expense.

'The 21CN system will give customers a broadband dialtone - meaning broadband will be available just by plugging a computer in as part of basic line rental,' the newspaper claimed (via ISP Review).

But a BT spokesperson said that although such a service is possible it will certainly not be free, although it may be bundled with other services.

Simon Aughton

+ Further
Posted: Monday, 27 February 2006, 08:44
Free broadband so says Mail On Sunday
Author: MrSaffron

The Mail On Sunday has been looking at the BT Groups 21CN plans, and what seems like great news in that BT will offer free broadband to all 20 million of its customers in a couple of years. See (warning does include adverts with sound).

Reading the article it appears that someone has latched onto the term broadband dial-tone, and interpreted this to mean free broadband, with people just paying extra for extra-fast downloads. We very much doubt this will be case, certainly a free service will leave no room in the market for competitors, and what is a healthy competitive service provider retail market would wither away. What we think was actually meant, is that once 21CN has rolled out, everyones telephone line will be connected to a MSAN, with the DSLAM providing both the PSTN voice service, and as a by product the availability of a DSL service. In effect everyones telephone line will be DSL enabled by default, which is where the free bit arises, i.e. there should be no need for an activation fee.

Source here

Broadband will be free in two years/ BT/ Daily Mail

[February 26, 2006]

Broadband will be free in two years

(Daily Mail (London) (KRT) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Feb. 26--

BT IS planning to offer free broadband to all its customers -- currently 20 million -- when the telecoms giant's 10 billion 21st Century Network project is switched on.

This was originally scheduled for 2009, but will now probably be a year earlier, according to a senior company source.

"The 21CN system will give customers broadband dialtone -- meaning broadband will be available just by plugging a computer in as part of basic line rental," a spokesman said.

Additional services, including the possibility of buying extra fast download speeds for as little as a day at a time, will be possible. "With the new network, there is no need to install boxes or send engineers," the spokesman said.

The company is trying to decide whether it should also make its video-on-demand service, set for launch this summer, available to non-BT customers.

Crucial to the scheme is rapid progress in development of the new network. BT has only awarded half the contracts for building the system but says the signing of contracts is "imminent." The company will probably operate the old network in parallel with the new system to ease the transition.

The first city to be fitted with the new system will be Cardiff, where development should be complete before the end of the year.

Broadband dialtone will also help BT sell its mobile phone product Fusion, which switches calls to BT Broadband when the customer is at home.

So far the company has sold only 13,000, but this summer sees the launch of handsets from major manufacturers that can use wi-fi, the radio system millions of Britons use to connect home PC networks.

Ryan Jarvis, head of mobile products at BT, said: "At the moment, I can serve only customers with BT Broadband. Obviously, I want everyone to be a broadband user."

BT Openreach faces first Ofcom probe

Regulator to rule on 'discriminatory' dispute
By Tim Richardson
Published Friday 10th February 2006 12:17 GMT

BT Openreach is facing its first formal investigation by telecoms regulator Ofcom - less than a month after the official launch of BT's access services division.

Openreach installs and maintains telecoms services on behalf of the UK's phone companies and ISPs and its creation was part of a regulatory deal with Ofcom following last year's strategic review of the UK's telecoms sector.

As part of that deal, Openreach is "committed to ensuring all communications providers have transparent and equivalent access to the local BT network" in the "same even-handed way".

Now, though, it's emerged that Opal Telecom - part of Carphone Warehouse which is keen to invest in LLU - has called on the regulator to resolve a dispute between it and Openreach.

Its beef concerns the rate charged by Openreach for the bulk migration of fully unbundled lines, as opposed to shared lines, claiming that this is "discriminatory" and in breach of Openreach's "obligations".

According to the investigation, which was opened on 3 February: "Opal has claimed that the refusal by Openreach to extend the offer rate of £20 per customer line (offered for migration in bulk of customer lines to 'shared' loops, or 'shared bulk migration') to full MPF is discriminatory, in contravention of Openreach's obligations under its Significant Market Power Conditions, set following Ofcom's review of the wholesale local access market. Following failure to resolve the matter through commercial negotiation, Opal has referred the matter to Ofcom for resolution."

No one from Opal was available for comment at the time of writing. A spokeswoman for Openreach said it was cooperating with the investigation.