Friday, June 30, 2006

Race for next-generation networks heats up

David Meyer
June 27, 2006, 17:30 BST

As Carphone Warehouse's fixed-line subsidiary announces the supplier for its next-generation network, the system's architect claims it will be up and running before BT's offering

Carphone Warehouse’s fixed-line business will beat BT to the punch on implementing a next-generation telephone network (NGN) across the UK, the system’s chief architect has claimed.

Opal Telecom, the Carphone Warehouse subsidiary responsible for administering its TalkTalk voice offering, announced on Tuesday that Sonus Networks is supplying the foundation for its forthcoming IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)-based network.

Clive Dorsman, Opal’s technical director and chief NGN architect, told journalists at an event to mark the occasion: "We’ll be ahead of [BT] by a long way".

Claiming that Opal’s network was "deployed, live and carrying customer traffic today," he said his company’s equipment was being installed in between 10 and 15 BT exchanges daily.

"Our objective is to become the clear first alternative to BT in the residential and small-business markets," said Dorsman.

"We’re targeting exchanges where a high concentration of customers currently are," Dorsman continued. He stated that Opal’s target was 1,000 IMS-enabled exchanges by the first quarter of 2007 and predicted that half of TalkTalk’s customers would be migrated into the new network within a year.

Dorsman also claimed TalkTalk would give customers "all those services customers enjoy on BT now".

But a spokesperson for BT played down Dorsman’s claims, telling ZDNet UK that the proposition was "entirely" different from BT’s 21st Century Network (21CN), which the incumbent plans to have in place across the UK by the end of the decade.

"It’s impossible to compare the two networks. We’re the first incumbent in the world to switch off the PSTN on a nationwide scale — it’s hard to see how [Opal’s] next-generation proposition could compare with ours," she said on Tuesday.

Its next, IMS-based incarnation will mean customers will be using voice over IP (VoIP) rather than the traditional phone network, although from an end-user perspective there should be no noticeable difference.

From the provider’s perspective, IMS-based systems promise a huge reduction in operating costs, as well as a unified system that can handle anything from voice to instant messaging to streaming video.

It has also become apparent that Carphone Warehouse’s eventual offering will include services such as support for dual-mode phones, or fixed-mobile convergence (FMC).

Dorsman hinted that "you will see things in the next six to nine months on the mobile front", as a result of Opal’s £155,000 purchase of some low-powered GSM spectrum in May.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

High-speed revolution puts Sandoval on world map

Broadband puts future in their hands
'Our umbilical cord is attached to Mother Earth but there are no amenities here. With high-speed connectivity the young can have a foothold in modern society and also thrive in their rich cultural background' - Senator Leonard Tsosie, of the New Mexico State Assembly, standing outside a Hogan. He understands the immense challenges facing Native Americans. -Source here

Sandoval County- Wireless Broadband Project

A communications revolution has taken place – unnoticed and away from national media attention.

The revolution offers solutions for every city and state with a digital divide, telecommunications infrastructure and information access challenges.

The revolution offers radically improved and inexpensive solutions to government, societies and private sector communications. This revolution has taken place within a county of New Mexico.


The model for broadband

In six months, without digging one trench for cable, Sandoval County has provided ten times more broadband capacity for its County seat, Bernalillo, than any other city in the United States has access to. By the end of 2006 the first Pueblos in the County will be receiving 30 times more connectivity. Sandoval County’s target is to provide 1Gbps – one billion bits of information per second – of broadband to its people, the fastest in the United States. Some FCC staff say this may be THE model for broadband for many years to come.


Applications for life

Advanced broadband applications are being developed around the world, which can be made available to Sandoval County residents via the large bandwidth infrastructure being deployed. Faster broadband speeds will allow Sandoval County schools in the most remote areas to download lessons including graphics and illustrations, not just script. Wireless applications can enable pupils from the Pueblos and Navajo Chapters to start lessons while travelling – in some instances journeys of three hours – to school or study at home through distance-learning, connecting students to teachers and learning centers in real time.

Tele-health and telemedicine applications will deliver diagnoses and treatment for better preventative healthcare. Aging populations will be able to stay in their own homes and still have constant monitoring using virtual assisted living applications through broadband. Economically, Native American products can be sold around the globe rather than only in the Pueblos or in trading posts in Albuquerque.

The revolution has heightened aspirations across the length and breadth of this county. There is no turning back.

Source here

Monday, June 26, 2006

Wi-fi crusader in $5 router giveaway
Sun Jun 25, 2006 4:05pm ET9
By Eric Auchard

LONDON (Reuters) - FON, a Spanish start-up on an ambitious crusade to turn home Wi-Fi connections into wireless "hotspots" for nearby users, is set to unveil on Monday a plan to hand out 1 million wireless routers for just $5 apiece.

FON, which aims to create a network of home users and small businesses to resell wireless access to passersby, said on Sunday it will subsidize $60 Cisco Linksys or Buffalo routers for $5 in the United States or 5 euros in Europe.

Routers are small boxes users connect to cable or telephone Internet connections to broadcast wireless signals to nearby devices, inside a home, business or surrounding neighborhood.

Juergen Urbanski, North American general manager, said FON, which in February raised $21.7 million from backers including the founders of Google and Skype, is looking to turn the brand-name equipment into what it calls "social routers."

The goal of the Madrid-based company is to build block-by-block networks of shared wireless connections around the globe, turning local Wi-Fi users into an army of "foneros" -- its term for people who share wireless access.

As the company's name implies, FON aims to provide wireless Internet access not just to computer users but also for mobile phones and the latest portable gaming devices as they roam.

"(Wi-Fi) coverage is universal in big cites, but access is not," Urbanski said of how many of the wireless Internet links broadcasting from businesses, homes, hotels and cafes remain private and unavailable, even to users ready to pay for them.

Urbanski, a former director of marketing at data storage maker Network Appliance Inc., said FON is aiming to have 50,000 working hotspots worldwide by September, 150,000 by year-end and 1 million hotspots by the end of 2007.

So far, 54,000 people globally have signed up to become "foneros," up from 3,000 in February, according to the company. The $5 router giveaway is designed to overcome obstacles to helping consumers quickly set up hotspots using FON software.

In exchange for receiving a $5 box, users must agree to share their wireless connections with other FON users for 12 months, the company said. Shipping and taxes are extra.

"We are changing the economics of Wi-Fi," Urbanski said during an appearance on a wireless innovation panel at the Supernova conference on Friday in San Francisco. "We are just piggy-backing on the back of existing Wi-Fi connections."

But FON could face legal battles with telephone and cable TV carriers who bar users from sharing Web access they supply, similar to how Hollywood sued and put the original Napster out of business for enabling millions to illegally share music.

Urbanski said FON is seeking to win over carriers who lease the underlying Internet connections by arguing its strategy can expand the market for Wi-Fi by giving customers a way to roam away from home, making them more loyal subscribers at home.

"The reality is that we are all talking with .... many of the large ISPs in the United States," Urbanski said of efforts by the company to head off a confrontation with the carriers.

FON also is set to release later this week a previously announced billing system that is key to its multistage plan to transform the appeal of free wireless access into a sustainable business that pays parties for their contributions.

Users who grant access to their Wi-Fi connections at home would be free to roam on other FON networks. Users who decline to share their home Internet access can pay $3 a day to share a wireless connection with other FON users.

BT's interactive virtual tour of Tate Modern

June 26, 2006
Andrew Marr launches BT's interactive virtual tour of Tate Modern

A new online interactive tour of Tate Modern has been launched on Tate Online, the UK’s number one arts website, by BBC News reporter and arts enthusiast Andrew Marr. Explore Tate Modern, developed jointly by Tate and online partner BT, has been completely transformed allowing users to log on for a virtual experience of visiting Tate Modern and providing a useful guide to the recent rehang. The title sponsors, UBS Openings and Tate Modern Collection, opened on 23 May.
The new additions to the site allow web users to interact with a timeline to find out how the Collection is distributed across the 20th Century or research a particular movement with the help of glossary definitions. Users can explore non-gallery spaces and can even create their own personal ‘virtual’ tour of the gallery. The map format allows users to view a layout of the building and hone in on individual galleries to see exactly which works are on display in each room. Users can then select their favourite works and save their own personal tour of Tate Modern.
Explore Tate Modern also provides interpretation material, such as a comprehensive timeline, written captions for works and audio clips drawn from a wide range of sources. These additional items allow detailed examination of the works and provide explanations of different displays.
Andrew Marr comments: “The concept of being guided through the recent rehang of the Collection at Tate Modern, and being able to explore it from your own home or from wherever you are in the world, is quite unique. Thanks to Tate and BT, Explore Tate Modern offers a depth of information and interactivity about the artworks on display that is groundbreaking, making art accessible to everyone, everywhere.”
Jemima Rellie, head of digital programmes at Tate, comments: “'Explore Tate Modern extends the re-display of the artworks to audiences all around the world, offering visitors online and onsite enhanced opportunities to interact with the new Collection displays. It has never been easier for visitors to locate a work or movement of interest or indeed to re-visit the space that captured their imagination.”
Paul Simon, head of sponsorship and partner marketing at BT, comments: “The continued rapid expansion of broadband is providing huge opportunities to broaden access and participation in the arts to new target audiences via the internet. Explore Tate Modern is a fantastic initiative which adds further value to the award winning content that BT and Tate have jointly developed over the years for Tate Online.”
BT provides creative design services and technical support to Tate Online that have helped make, the UK’s No 1 arts website. BT's in-house team uses the possibilities of broadband to create highly innovative designs, interfaces and interactive videos for Tate. The virtual tour of Tate Modern can be found at:
Since the BT and Tate Online partnership began in 2001, it has been nominated for 14 industry awards. Visitor figures continue to grow and are approaching 1 million unique visitors per month.

BT goes hi-tech in battle

BT goes hi-tech in battle with low-cost rivals
By Tony glover Technology Editor
25 June 2006

BT last week began offering futuristic services such as free internet video calling to its broadband customers in an attempt to take on low-cost rivals such as Carphone Warehouse and internet voice specialist Skype.

Skype, recently acquired by eBay, became the traditional operators’ worst nightmare by offering free international voice and video calling on the internet.

Now BT is offering a service called Softphone that also enables free voice calling using a PC as part of its Total Broadband service. PC users can also use the service for high-quality video conferencing. Free calls can be made anywhere in the world and people who are not BT broadband customers can access the service from their PC by downloading software from the BT website.

As exclusively predicted in The Business, Carphone Warehouse recently started an industry price war in the UK by offering “free” broadband as part of a package of telecoms services.

BT has hit back with its own bargain-basement broadband offer. Its new service starts at only £9.95 ($18.71, E14.60) a month – half the rate charged for the Carphone Warehouse Free Broadband Forever. But the £9.95 offer only runs for six months before rising to £17.99 a month. This tariff is for the most basic package and means consumers will also have to fork out a one-off payment of £30 for BT’s wi-fi base port, the Home Hub. This kit comes free with the more expensive £22.99 and £26.99 a month tariffs. Since these two options also comprise other essential features such anti-virus protection while first does not, it is hard to see BT’s £9.95 a month offering as anything more than a marketing ploy.

But BT’s real competitive edge is not price but the quality of its 8Mb service. As from last week, BT Total Broadband offers users a wireless networked home with services not available from other UK service providers. These include free internet video calling of a high standard plus internet voice calling that has a far wider sound frequency than standard fixed lines and offers better sound quality than any other phone service on the market.

BT also has a number of add-ons. These include always-on video phones which do not involve using a PC screen and look much like a normal phone. These cost £149.99 each or £199.99 for two. Other kit includes a remote access security service that monitors the user’s home in real time with up to 18 digital video cameras.

BT press release
DC06-305 June 20, 2006
BT launches Total Broadband - the complete service for today and tomorrow

BT today announced BT Total Broadband, the most comprehensive broadband packages yet seen in the UK - available from June 21st. Powered by ultra-fast download speeds of up to 8Mb, BT customers now get more for their money through free internet voice calls, free video calls, and a suite of security software – and all brought together through the revolutionary BT Home Hub. BT Total Broadband even gives freedom to roam outside the home with Wi-fi via free BT Openzone wireless minutes.

The launch of BT’s complete Total Broadband service demonstrates that not all broadband is equal and that simple access through a basic broadband connection is often a false economy, where customers end up paying later for additional features and services. With BT Total Broadband, new customers taking Option 3 get an estimated £370 of value included in the first year.

In addition to enjoying a comprehensive set of features as standard, only BT Total Broadband customers will be able to enjoy BT’s cutting-edge broadband-based offerings. These include the intelligent mobile service, BT Fusion, and BT Vision, the next-generation TV service scheduled for launch in Autumn 2006.

From June 21, new BT customers will get a choice of three simple Options starting from £9.95 a month, all offering ultra-fast download speeds of up to 8Mb and free Evening & Weekend UK* voice calls with BT’s Broadband Talk service.

Ian Livingston, CEO of BT Retail, said, “The broadband experience is about so much more than just having basic access to the internet. Customers want their broadband to offer a range of exciting content and services as standard, without having to pay extra for these features.”

“BT Total Broadband is the complete broadband service. Combined with the BT Home Hub, there is now a simple, powerful way to experience the full range of exciting broadband services at home or when out and about with Wi-fi via BT Openzone.

“Customers will enjoy free voice and video calls, and with helpdesks they can trust and a suite of security software included, can have complete confidence when using the internet. In fact, Total Broadband includes products and services worth over £370 a year for free in its subscription price.”

In addition to free connection charges and 24/7 helpdesk support, BT Total Broadband customers benefit from complete confidence in their broadband with a comprehensive all-in-one security software suite providing online protection and support against identity theft, spam email, pop-ups, viruses and hackers. BT’s helpdesk can even take over your computer to fix problems remotely, or arrange to visit your home.

BT Total Broadband now includes 250 free BT Openzone Wi-fi minutes per month during the minimum term. This gives customers access to the internet at any of the thousands of BT Openzone Wi-fi hotspots in places such as cafes, hotels and airports in the UK and around the world.

The BT Home Hub is a stylish, powerful device, designed to sit at the heart of the digital home. It supports BT’s full range of services including both Total Broadband and Broadband Talk, connecting wirelessly to PCs and other broadband devices. The Home Hub is future-proofed, updating automatically to work seamlessly with future BT Broadband offerings including BT Fusion and BT Vision.

The BT Home Hub is provided free of charge to all new customers taking Total Broadband Options 2 or 3. Option 1 customers can buy it separately for £30.00 online or for £50.00 via the BT call centre. A matching digital cordless phone handset is included with Option 3 or is available to buy separately for £49.99.

BT has upgraded its BT Broadband Talk suite of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) products, and is launching two new services: Broadband Talk Softphone and Broadband Talk Video. Developed at BT’s Adastral Park research laboratories, BT Broadband Talk is one of the most advanced VoIP services on the market and is now available with high-definition sound for delivering crystal clear internet voice and video calls.

BT Broadband Talk combines ease of use with great features and superb value, giving free Evening and Weekend UK* calls, great low international call rates and includes calling features such as 1471 and BT Answer. BT’s new PC-based Softphone, gives free global PC-to-PC chat at any time of day and compatibility with BT Broadband Talk through one calling plan and one phone number.

Finally, BT announced the launch of BT Broadband Talk Video, including the BT Videophone. Customers equipped with a BT Videophone can see the person they are talking to, and the service is compatible with PC users equipped with Softphone and a webcam. Two models of Videophone will be available, starting from £149.99.

New customers can order BT Total Broadband from June 21, 2006 at or by calling 0800 800 150.

- ENDS -


BT Total Broadband portfolio from June 21, 2006

BT Total Broadband Option 1 BT Total Broadband Option 2 BT Total Broadband Option 3
Fast and secure surfing plus free calls Family surfing and free calls Power surfing and free calls
£9.95 for 6 months then £17.99 £14.99 for 3 months then £22.99 £22.99 for 3 month then £26.99
Free BT 220v Router Free BT Home Hub Free BT Home Hub and handset
*Free Evening and Weekend UK BT Broadband Talk calls **Free video calls
2GB usage allowance 6GB usage allowance 40GB usage allowance
250 free Openzone a month minutes for the length of the minimum term
Download speeds of up to 8Mb
24/7 Helpdesk support
18 month contract 12 month contract 12 month contract

Usage allowance will take effect one month after installation for new customers and one month after existing customers are migrated.

With BT Total Broadband, customers get an estimated £370 of value included in the first year:

* Wirelessly connect up to 15 devices via BT Home Hub - £90 value
* Broadband out of the home via Wi-fi - £120 value.
* Free Evening & Weekend calls - £36 value
* Hi-definition sound – handset £80 value.
* Norton PC anti-virus and firewall - £42 value.
* Free video calls until Jan 2007
* Pop-up blocker, anti-spyware, anti-spam, anti-phishing, parental controls, ID theft support.
* 24x7 Local Rate support with remote PC access.
* Market-leading content from Yahoo!
* Up to 8Mb.
* Access to BT Vision & BT Fusion
* BT Videophone
* Expert support for all your Home IT needs – over the phone or via a visit.

Based on first 12 months of contract length.

Broadband speed and availability

BT’s Up to 8Mb BT Broadband service uses new ‘rate-adaptive’ ADSL technology to automatically provide and maintain the fastest broadband speed a phone line can physically support. The actual maximum speed depends on a range of factors, including the customer’s proximity to their telephone exchange, the quality and length of any telephone extension lines in their home, and the speed of their computer and modem. So, for example, customers living close to their exchange could get the full 8Mb speed, whilst those living further away might achieve lower maximum speeds of 6Mb, 4Mb, or 2Mb. The Up to 8Mb service is also subject to local availability.

As with all broadband services, actual download speeds will also vary by time of day and will depend on factors such as how busy the internet is, the speed of the internet website or service you are accessing, and whether the connection is being shared with other users.

Extra microfilters as well a range of 8Mb-compatible wired and wireless routers are available for sale from BT by calling 0800 800 150.

* BT Broadband Talk free Evening and Weekend UK calls
Free Local or National calls of up to one hour between 1800 and 0600 evenings and weekends. Excludes calls to the Internet, non-geographic numbers (i.e. 0845 or 0870 numbers), premium rate services, mobiles and the Channel Islands.

** BT Broadband Talk free Video Calls
If you buy a BT Videophone or PC to PC when caller and recipient have BT Softphone and Webcam Offer with purchase of BT Video phone ends 31.01.07. Applies when using a BT Videophone, or BT Softphone with webcam on calls to other BT Videophones and BT Softphones used with Webcams. Excludes video calls to mobiles (3G calls) and voice calls. Requires broadband, BT Broadband Talk Subscription and compatible router or BT Home hub. Terms and Conditions apply.

Source here

Monday, June 19, 2006

Motorola's HotZone Duo mesh Wi-Fi product

Wi-Fi gear could put Motorola up against partner
Marguerite Reardon
June 19, 2006, 17:40 BST

Motorola's HotZone Duo mesh Wi-Fi product is designed for citywide wireless networks

Motorola has introduced a new product to its citywide Wi-Fi equipment portfolio that could strain relations with partner Tropos Networks.

On Monday, Motorola announced the HotZone Duo mesh Wi-Fi product that is likely to compete directly with equipment developed by Tropos Networks and resold by Motorola.

For more than a year, Motorola has teamed up with Tropos to win several contracts to build high-profile citywide Wi-Fi networks, including EarthLink's deployments in Anaheim, California, New Orleans, Philadelphia and San Francisco.

In each of these deals, Motorola is the systems integrator, selling the technology, selecting what pieces to use and deploying it in the network. As part of these large city deployments, Motorola plans to use the Tropos Wi-Fi access points, which it resells under the Motorola HotZone brand, to provide wireless Internet access. It uses its own Canopy fixed-radio product to aggregate this traffic and send it wirelessly to a backbone Internet network.

But now that Motorola has introduced HotZone Duo, the company has its own Wi-Fi product. What is more, Motorola claims that the HotZone Duo actually improves throughput and coverage for cities over the existing Tropos gear. Unlike the Tropos equipment, which uses one radio to communicate with other access points and provide Internet access to customers, the HotZone Duo uses two radios, explained Rick Rotondo, director of marketing for mesh products at Motorola.

One radio uses the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) standard 802.11b/g, which transmits in the 2.4GHz spectrum to provide users with dedicated airwaves for accessing the Internet. The other radio uses 802.11a in the 5.8GHz spectrum, which provides connectivity between devices. Rotondo said HotZone Duo can increase throughput on the network by 100 percent.

"Our customers told us they wanted a smaller, lighter and faster access point," Rotondo said. "So that's what we developed."

The new product is being tested in Apopka, Florida, and it will be available commercially later this summer, Rotondo said. Motorola isn't yet saying how the price of the new dual-radio product stacks up against the gear it already sells from Tropos. But Rotondo said the total cost of deployment would be comparable to the Tropos product.

While some cities, such as Philadelphia and Anaheim, have finalised the products they plan to use in their networks, most cities are still planning, testing or negotiating contracts. This means that Motorola and Tropos could be going head-to-head on many accounts. Still, Motorola said it will continue to sell the Tropos product.

"We supply a portfolio of HotZone products," said Craig Newman, market development manager for Motorola's Canopy products. "The Tropos product is mature and has been tested, so we'll continue to sell it. But we also offer customers a choice with our other products like the HotZone Duo. It's really the customer's choice."

Tropos, which is tiny compared with Motorola, said it doesn't think the new Motorola product will strain the partnership. It also plans to continue the relationship with Motorola.

"Ultimately, it's in the best interest of Motorola to do what's good for customers," said Bert Williams, senior director of marketing for Tropos. "We trust Motorola will sell the appropriate product for the appropriate situation. And because our product is proven to scale in large cities like Anaheim and Philadelphia, we're confident it will continue to sell well in deployments where scalability is important."

Why the wired and the wireless converge

Dan Milmo and Richard Wray
Monday June 19, 2006
The Guardian

Convergence is the buzzword in the media, telecommunications and technology industries. Six years ago bringing traditional media - print, TV, fixed-line telephony - together with the new digital world of the internet and mobility was a concept that held much promise but delivered little in the way of actual products. The promise drove share prices to unsustainable heights but the failure to deliver actual services and real revenues triggered the inevitable crash.

Now convergence is becoming a reality. Music downloads are becoming a mass-market phenomenon thanks to hardware such as the iPod; mobile phone owners scroll through Google on their increasingly sophisticated handsets, which tap into more powerful mobile networks that can even show TV, and the mobile phone companies themselves are looking to provide broadband internet access both at home and on the move.

Corporate activity has followed, from Orange merging with Wanadoo and BSkyB acquiring Easynet to NTL buying Virgin Mobile.

The Nokia and Siemens deal is at the less glamorous end of the convergence trend, out of sight of people surfing at airport departure lounges or Vodafone subscribers catching up on the latest Premiership action on their handsets. It is all about infrastructure. None the less, today's deal appears to be a classic case of convergence: a maker of wireless networks joining up with a fixed-line equivalent.

Any provider of a wireless broadband network, such as wi-fi hotspots in Starbucks outlets around Britain, needs to tap into the fixed-line network that carries the ultimate high-speed internet connection. The growth of networks that combine wireless and fixed-line networks - such as wi-fi and its long-distance cousin Wimax - is one line of business that the combined entity is hoping to tap into.

"It's about having a broader range of products in order to serve a converged market," says Frederic Huet of Greenwich Consulting.

One telecoms equipment supplier, Cisco, is making a determined push into the convergence market by targeting wi-fi. It has also held on-off talks with Nokia about building networks for IPTV, which delivers TV programmes via broadband.

Dan Bieler, research director at Ovum, adds that convergence is undoubtedly a driving force behind the deal but that is nothing new for a technology sector that saw the acquisition of Marconi's networks business by Ericsson last year: "It fits into the overall picture of convergence but most things do these days. Convergence is the biggest theme in the telecoms space. Everything is coming together somehow."

The rather more prosaic reason for the Nokia/Siemens tie-up - and the one dominating market analysts' coverage of the deal - is the financial benefit to both companies.

Firstly, the need for both companies to save money is fierce in a world where new Chinese upstarts such as Huawei are able to produce kit at a fraction of the price of European competitors. In fact, the cost-saving rationale behind the deal is just as strong as the need to tap into demand for converged broadband networks. Siemens, which has already off-loaded its mobile phone business, needs to secure the future of a business that is struggling. Both companies will be able to benefit from significant up-front cost savings.

Secondly there is the potential for cross-selling across the converged business's customer base, generating new revenues. Nokia, for instance, wants a stronger presence in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America as well as more depth of product within Europe.

"There is obvious rationale for this joint venture, as fixed-mobile convergence and the need for scale in networks are two places where Nokia has been weak," said Richard Windsor, an analyst at Nomura.

As with the first abortive wave of convergence back in the dotcom boom, however, the real test of this deal will be whether consumers - in the case of Nokia and Siemens, major communications industry clients - buy the idea that bringing everything together is actually a benefit to them.

Telecoms - get creative

Peter Cochrane's Blog: Telecoms - get creative
Don't go backwards just because your service is now a commodity
Published: Monday 12 June 2006

So here we are, an industry that was prized and happily operating with greater than 15 per cent profit margins 20 years ago is now looking at the prospect of becoming something akin to the local supermarket.

What is the reaction? Does it start to adjust to this reality by deploying optical fibre to increase efficiency, reduce manning and operating costs whilst releasing even more bandwidth in order to cope with even more competition and slimmer pickings in future?

No! Quite the reverse!! Telecoms actually wants to go back 50 years to an age when time, distance and bandwidth were expensive and chargeable. But I'm afraid the genie is out of the bottle and it ain't going to go back in.

In the US for example we have telcos trying to carve up the net traffic so they can charge a premium rate for heavy users. They actually want to charge the profitable service providers for generating net traffic and users for consuming bits. Ouch! Who us, a two-tier net, a society divided by access speed?

As for the mobile operators - especially those who invested heavily in networks unlikely to break even from their licence loading for many years - they complain that data services are starting to exceed voice but say only voice was 'properly dimensioned' for charging. Worse still, the customer base is using their phones and the networks in ways that were never intended.

Well, welcome to the 21st century!

How about taking a trip to Japan where 16Mbps is the lowest rate broadband provision at $29 per month, and plans are now in place for 1Gbps for everyone at $50 per month. Or nearer home, look at Finland, where wireless-access is profuse, low-cost and often free. If these societies and companies can figure it out, then so can everyone else.

This is not about technology! It is about business models and mindsets. When things become a commodity everything changes, especially the perception and position of the customer base. Competition is a wonderful vehicle and the customer a brilliant driver. Failing to fully understand this can really hurt! Any fixed line or mobile operator that clings to the past, or tries to return there, is unlikely to survive - let alone prosper.

The good news is: in my crystal ball I see rafts of new technology coming along that will accelerate and exacerbate the change. Even better, I see legions of new people and companies that are capable and waiting to accept the challenge. My advice to the incumbent operators is to follow the payload, provide the services and facilities people really value.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Wales to achieve blanket broadband coverage

press release | Welsh Assembly Government | Wales to achieve blanket broadband coverage | 14/03/2006

The Welsh Assembly Government has today announced that the BT Group has been selected to provide the broadband infrastructure for the remaining exchange areas in Wales.

This landmark development is a major step towards 100% broadband coverage – a remarkable achievement that will position Wales as one of the few countries in the world at this level.

The Assembly Government’s Regional Innovative Broadband Support Scheme (RIBS) is designed to enable those areas of Wales described as ‘broadband blackspots’.

This is fantastic news for approximately 10,000 households and businesses who will receive access to at least first-generation (512kbps to 2mbps) broadband services at prices comparable with urban areas of Wales. Work will begin immediately, and once complete, virtually every single household in Wales will have access to broadband for fast downloads, video conferencing, Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) and an infinite range of business and entertainment uses.

Andrew Davies, Minister for Economic Development and Transport and eMinister for the Welsh Assembly Government says, "currently, around 99% of the Welsh population can access broadband technology – a remarkable achievement in its own right. However, the Assembly Government is committed to ensuring that virtually every single individual and business in Wales has the opportunity to benefit from the advantages offered by this technology.

In addition, broadband uptake in Wales has grown substantially, almost doubling over the past 12 months, reflecting the huge appetite for broadband in Wales and underpinning our economic transformation to a dynamic, knowledge-driven economy.

‘Today’s announcement will lead to further growth in broadband uptake as these final unviable exchange areas are enabled.’

‘This landmark announcement will now push Wales across the line in meeting our target of developing a competitive and sustainable broadband infrastructure for Wales by March 2007.

‘This is particularly significant when you look at figures for broadband connectivity across other European countries, for example, in Ireland, where only about 18.0% of the population have broadband connections.’

"With Wales clearly leading the way in broadband access, we are setting the scene for continued and sustainable growth as an innovative, knowledge economy that is not only benefiting indigenous companies, but attracting inward investment from some of the UK’s and Europe’s best businesses," he said.

Ann Beynon, Director BT Wales, added "BT is pleased to be working with the Welsh Assembly Government on completing the broadband map in Wales. BT, like the Welsh Assembly Government, is contributing to the cost of enabling these final exchanges and without the Assembly’s assistance, the upgrading would not have been commercially viable. But work will not stop with the upgrading of these exchanges. The next step is to ensure the technology is adopted as widely as possible to reap maximum benefit. We need to demonstrate to Internet users that whatever you do online you can do it better with broadband."

Work to equip the remaining BT exchange areas with broadband will commence immediately, including selected infrastructure improvements with the majority of exchanges enabled by the end of Summer 2006.

The contract will bring these exchange areas into BT's National broadband network so they can be upgraded to newer technologies, which will effectively level the playing field with all other exchange areas in the country. As faster broadband speeds become more widely available, the exchanges will be upgraded with the same technologies being deployed elsewhere in Wales and the UK, which means that these exchange areas will have the capability to offer ever faster broadband as technology develops.

The broadband rollout will be implemented in a two-staged approach. Stage one will concentrate on enabling the final exchange areas. Once this work is completed, there will still be a small proportion of the population who live inside enabled exchange areas but still cannot access broadband.

As a result, stage two of the rollout will then focus on identifying these remaining blackspots and exploring ways of bringing broadband to these residents. These people should register their details on the Broadband Brokerage website at or This impartial market information pin-point their communities for future rollout.

RIBS is part-financed by the European Union Objective One Programme through the Welsh Assembly Government.


Policy & Programme

Computers, mobile media and the Internet now impact upon all aspects of our daily lives from education, health and business, through to security, culture and leisure.

It also changes the way people deal with their government, the private sector and with each other.

Government policies and programmes must enable all aspects of society in Wales to benefit from the opportunities and benefits of existing and emerging technologies.

The e-Wales division, created in 2006,
will ensure that Wales has the right policies and programmes in place to ensure that information, communication technology (ICT) is exploited to:
• boost economic development
• improve the way public services are delivered
• promote social inclusion – in particular tackling the digital divide

A core component of the e-Wales portfolio is the Broadband Wales programme.
With the support of partners from across the public, private and voluntary sector of Wales, the programme aims to provide accessible, affordable broadband access across Wales by March 2007.

Source here



e-Wales is a new strategy and policy development division within the Welsh Assembly Government. It is charged with maximising the advantage to individuals, communities and businesses of using the powerful channels offered by information and communications technologies to earn, learn and interact effectively with the world.

e-Wales will work collaboratively with other Welsh Assembly Government departments and its partners to strengthen Wales’ international standing on the global information and communication technology (ICT) stage.

To ensure that e-Wales will develop best possible policies and programmes we will continuously identify and enhance best practice in the use of ICT from across the world.

e-Wales will provide a new focus, ensuring that strategy and policy embed these technologies in public services and the nation’s life.

To achieve that we focus on:

* Building Wales’ knowledge of ICT best practice
* Increasing Wales’ capacity to exploit ICT
* Developing a culture of innovation in the use of ICT
* Ensuring our physical infrastructure is equal to the challenge
* Developing the appropriate information infrastructure
* Understanding and exploiting convergence

Source here

The New Strategy

We are currently working with partners to develop a strategy to give Wales a genuine international lead in the application of ICT.

Wales has an impressive track record in the adoption of new technologies for public services, business and private life.

We are conscious of how quickly the world is embracing these technological innovations, and the new e-Wales strategy is being designed to ensure that we keep pace with the most advanced nations in the world.

The strategy document will set out how the Welsh Assembly Government plans to drive and embed ‘e’ across its policies and practices and enable Wales’s transition to a knowledge economy and society.

The e-Wales strategy will be available to download for consultation in the near future.

Source here


‘The communication of information over a distance by means of radio waves, optical signals or along a transmission line.’ Source:

With the rapid growth of new technologies, the impact of telecommunications has far reaching impact. Mobile phones, PDA’s, digital radio and the internet all have a major part to play in the way that we engage with one another and conduct our daily lives.

‘In 2004 total revenues in the UK communications market were £55.9 billion, accounting for 4.1% of UK GDP. The majority of this was derived from telecommunications.’
Source: Ofcom Communications report 2005

Mobile phone calls now exceed fixed-line calls; there are more households with a broadband connection than those connected by dial-up and digital radio and TV continues to be adopted throughout the UK.

The need for new services and applications is being driven by the rapid change in technologies which will affect businesses and individuals across Wales.

With this in mind, e-Wales has a clear aim to ensure that Wales has an appropriate and effective strategy, encompassing telecommunications and broadband. With active involvement and consultation with the public and private sector in both the UK and European, e-Wales will strive to develop a telecommunication strategy and develop policy that will build on examples of best practise from around the world.

Source here

Digital ecosystem

What is a Digital Eco-system?

‘…geographical (or virtual) (area) where specific policies foster growth and employment and improve innovation, productivity and social inclusion, through the optimal use of local assets empowered by ICT’.

Source: Innovative Ecosystems: a specific roadmap, European Commission Directorate Generale, Information Society and Media, January 2006

e-Wales aims to promote and support a holistic approach to the effective exploitation of ICT across both the public and private sector in Wales.

Key to driving this forward will be developing new, and building on existing, relationships between the private and public sector in Wales.

What will the digital eco-systems approach aim to do?

* Identify what support is needed to help the public service and private sector work cohesively to create the digital ecosystem necessary to underpin a vibrant, thriving ICT sector in Wales.
* Improve and strengthen the collaboration between e-science and e-commerce
* Improve the availability and affordability of a broadband infrastructure
* Address security and confidence issues, standards and intellectual property

Source here

What is the Broadband Wales Programme?
The multi-million-pound Broadband Wales Programme was launched by the Welsh Assembly Government in July 2002 to address broadband market failure within Wales.

With the support of partners from across the public private and voluntary sectors of Wales, the programme aims to provide accessible affordable broadband across Wales by March 2007.

There is much discussion on broadband, not only within the UK but across the world and the Broadband Wales Programme is identifying best practice from around the globe to ensure a sustainable programme is rolled out across Wales.

There are 5 strands to the programme

1. Promote and improve Demand
2. Improve Supply
3. Encourage Local Initiatives
4. Specific Procurements
5. Aggregate Public Sector Demand

The programme is working in a rapidly changing market place, and is regularly reviewed to ensure that the programme maintains its focus and delivers the best broadband infrastructure possible.
Promote and improve Demand

The Wales-wide marketing initiative is designed to raise awareness amongst business and consumers of the benefits of broadband.

Our over-riding aim is to achieve a ‘step change’ in Wales with regards to the perceptions and attitudes towards broadband and subsequently to increase the uptake of broadband and encourage more effective use of the technology at home, at work and leisure.

The marketing campaign will target residents, businesses, voluntary sector and key influencers, using a range of communication tools to deliver the message.
Improve Supply

To overcome the identified obstacles regarding broadband supply in Wales, the Broadband Wales Programme have implemented a number of initiatives to support the roll out of Broadband across Wales.
Try before you Buy

ICT Centres involved with the Try Before You Buy scheme offer free impartial advice on broadband communication technology in general. You can try out broadband 1st hand to experience the benefits that broadband can bring.
Encouraging local initiatives

The Broadband Wales Programme has recognised that communities and businesses have a substantial impact towards the roll out of broadband across Wales. This has been proven with the over-whelming success of the BT registration scheme that helped to provide DSL broadband across the country.

There are, however some areas where access to broadband is still limited or not available, and the initiatives that come under this banner are aimed at communities, citizens and SME’s that would not otherwise be able to gain access to broadband.

The Regional Innovative Broadband Support (RIBS) project has been designed to enable all areas of Wales previously deemed as broadband blackspots to have access to first-generation broadband services. The project will focus on filling the gaps where no form of comparable broadband service is currently available.
Specific Procurement

The Specific Procurement element of the Programme looks at interventions in the market to increase the availability of broadened in specific circumstances, addressing gaps in provision.

The main objective is to deliver high bandwidth connectivity - 2Mbps and above to key strategic parks and business locations throughout Wales at an affordable price.

This is currently in its consultancy stage and further information will be provided, as further developments are made.
Public Sector Aggregation

Throughout the UK, Public sector aggregation is being heralded as the way forward for providing broadband services to private and public sector alike.

In theory, by aggregating the procurement of public sector demand the investment decisions of the suppliers may be influenced and broadband would become more widely available.

In England the Government announced the creation of nine limited liability partnerships (ADITS) charged with aggregating public sector demand for broadband in England. Set up in partnership with Regional Development Authorities (RDAs) – they will be responsible for buying broadband services for public sector organisations while cutting costs for the public sector.

Scotland has also recognised public sector procurement as a catalyst to encourage suppliers to invest benefiting local communities and crucially, businesses that are based in rural areas. The Scottish Executive will work with the public sector to ensure that every school has access to a rich online world in which it will be possible to communicate with others by text, voice or video. That all parts of the health service can transfer data and use telemedicine as necessary and ensure that all local authorities can provide modern, customer focused services

Ireland is delivering similar services to Wales through their Classroom 2000 (C2K) project that will provide educational services through ICT in schools. All 1200 Northern Ireland primary, secondary and special needs school will have a broadband connection to enhance teaching and learning by the end of 2006.

In Wales there are two high-speed communications networks which have been designed to aggregate Public Sector Demand. The high bandwidth networks have been developed with three key aims in mind

1) Improve communications
2) Reduce costs by aggregating demand
3) Service the ever-changing needs of public sector bodies and their end users.
Lifelong Learning Network

The Lifelong Learning Network (LLN) is the Wales-wide high bandwidth network funded by the Welsh Assembly Government. Designed to address the aggregated broadband connectivity requirements of public sector organisations the network connects schools (primary, secondary, and special), libraries and ICT learning Centre to Broadband across Wales.

Janet is the UK education and research network that offers a high capacity backbone connecting UK education and research organisations to each other and to the rest of the world. The network connects UK universities, colleges of Higher Education & Further Higher Education, research council establishments and some local authorities and schools.

Source here

EIN/Minister welcomes "clearer focus"

Minister welcomes "clearer focus" to business support at B2B Wales event
Source: Welsh Assembly Government
Published Thursday, 15 June, 2006 - 05:01

Andrew Davies, Minister for Enterprise, Innovation and Networks, said his new department was “making a positive difference” to the economy of Wales with a clearer focus on business support.

Speaking at the official launch of the B2B Wales business exhibition at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Mr Davies said two months after the establishment of the Department for Enterprise, Innovation and Networks, there had already been a been a much clearer focus on the delivery of business support and that the Welsh Assembly Government was now providing a true “one-stop shop” for businesses.

“The B2B Wales event is highlighting the broad and diverse range of businesses that we have within a wide array of sectors here in Wales. It is also an excellent way of highlighting to businesses – under one magnificent roof – the business and investment opportunities that we have here in Wales and the chance for our companies to inter-trade, collaborate and interact,” said Mr Davies.

“This is something that we as the Welsh Assembly Government very much believe in and mirrors our approach through public sector reform to provide a “one-stop shop” for business support and investment.

“From investment in public transport, investment in broadband and ICT, infrastructure, investment in skills, the Assembly Government is building a Welsh economy that is holding its own in the competitive global arena.

“On the 1st April this year we established the new Department that brought together the best features of the merged organisations in order to provide a world-class service for our businesses and individuals. And in the first two months of the new Department for Enterprise, Innovation and Networks – a mission statement in itself – we are encouraging enterprise and innovation, and we are ensuring we deliver the networks that a modern economy needs – transport infrastructure and broadband links.”

Mr Davies said it remained early days for the Department, but he believed the first few months were already proving a firm foundation for the way forward. “We’ll be open minded – willing to learn best practice from anywhere in the world – and we’ll have a culture of challenge – constantly reviewing and evaluating what we do and why we do it. We have a team committed and able to deliver a step change in the way we deal with the challenges of a dynamic Welsh economy in a competitive global setting.”

During his visit to the B2B Wales event – sponsored by the Welsh Assembly Government - Mr Davies met with some of the more than 150 exhibiting companies and organisations within the Millennium Stadium as well as the DEIN stand where information and advice on business support is available to some of the thousands of visitors expected to attend the event over the next two days.

He commented: “It is testament to the wide range of businesses that we have here in Wales that an event such as this can be made into such a success. It is a true showcase of what we have to offer here in Wales and I hope as many people and businesses grasp the opportunities, seminars and discussions that will take place.”

See also:
* Welsh Assembly Government, press release here
* ITWales , 16 June 2006 here
* Western Mail | Bonfire of the quangos 'benefiting economy' | Sion Barry | Jun 14 2006: here

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Department for Enterprise...

Welsh Assembly Government: Enterprise, Innovation and Networks

The Department for Enterprise, Innovation, and Networks delivers the economic and transport agendas set out in Wales: a Better Country, Wales: a Vibrant Economy, and The Transport Framework. In doing so, it works with partners across the Welsh Assembly Government and beyond. The Minister responsible for the Department is Andrew Davies, AM.

The Department’s principal functions are:

* supporting job creation and helping individuals to tackle barriers to participation in the world of work
* investing to regenerate communities and stimulate economic growth across Wales
* helping businesses by supporting entrepreneurship, innovation, inward investment, trade, and skills as drivers to growth
* ensuring that all economic programmes and policies, especially those for clean energy generation and resource efficiency, can support sustainable development
* building a world-class 21st-century transport system that provides affordable, environmentally friendly road, rail, and air transport for business access to markets and personal travel, especially commuting
* building on Wales’ already formidable ICT network

The Department’s work on behalf of the people and communities of Wales is very wide ranging. Stakeholders include local authorities, academic and financial institutions, voluntary organisations, the private sector, our customers, the Wales Office, and all users and providers of our transport networks.
Structure of the Department

Andrew Davies is the Minister responsible for the Department and Gareth Hall is the lead civil servant. A staff of some 1,700 who bring a wide variety of expert professional abilities to their work in the Department’s operational divisions.

The Department has offices across Wales in Aberystwyth, Cardiff, Colwyn Bay, Newtown, St Asaph, Swansea, and Treforest.

Its International Business Wales team has bases in North America, mainland Europe, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and London.. The work of International Business Wales focuses on:

• maintaining and enhancing the global profile of Welsh business

• attracting inward investment into Wales

• securing export business and promoting international trade for Welsh companies


Welsh enterprise department 'will be world-class'

The revamped Welsh Assembly Government now has a better focus on boosting business success, Cardiff's enterprise minister has said.

In April this year the devolved administration reshuffled its organisation and launched a new Department for Enterprise, Innovation and Networks.

Speaking at a business conference on Tuesday, Andrew Davies said the new structure would produce better policies.

It had "brought together the best features of the merged organisations in order to provide a world-class service", he said.

"And in the first two months of the new Department for Enterprise, Innovation and Networks – a mission statement in itself – we are encouraging enterprise and innovation, and we are ensuring we deliver the networks that a modern economy needs – transport infrastructure and broadband links."

The department is in its early days, he added, but had established a firm foundation for the future.

"We'll be open minded, willing to learn best practice from anywhere in the world, and we'll have a culture of challenge, constantly reviewing and evaluating what we do and why we do it," he said.

"We have a team committed and able to deliver a step change in the way we deal with the challenges of a dynamic Welsh economy in a competitive global setting."

Davies also said the Cardiff administration would set about "building a Welsh economy that is holding its own in the competitive global arena".

Hotzone boost for city web users/Cardiff

Tuesday, 6 June 2006, 16:30 GMT 17:30 UK
Hotzone boost for city web users

More people will be able to exchange information on the move]

Cardiff will boost its status as Wales' wi-fi capital by extending its wireless internet coverage next year, say BT.

In 2004 the city became the first in the UK to offer broadband access to the web without cables in 'hotspots' around the centre and Cardiff Bay.

After a deal between BT and Cardiff Council, coverage will be extended from the inner city by February 2007.

But Cardiff University, which will be in the new 'hotzone' is launching a free service for staff and students.

BT's Wireless City initiative will make a four sq km area (1.6 sq miles) a wireless 'hotzone', with signals carried by antennas attached to buildings and street furniture.

Hotzones cover a wider area than so-called hotspots, and the network for people with suitable equipment will link more buildings.

New services will include wireless CCTV.

Covering sporting events at the Millennium Stadium is so much easier now.
Photographer Steve Pope

Ann Beynon, BT director Wales, said: "The Wireless City initiative offers wide area wireless broadband access across the city, enabling people to use the network on a range of devices for entertainment, education and communication, such as e-mail, video and voice calls, even when they're on the move."

City councillor Mark Stevens said: "BT has come forward with plans to invest further in creating a robust network in Cardiff which should be encouraged."


South Wales-based sports and PR photographer Steve Pope is among those who already benefit from the city's wi-fi service.

"Covering sporting events at the Millennium Stadium is so much easier now," said Mr Pope.

"Whereas before you had to dial up and watch each photograph being sent slowly over the internet, now you can take your pictures and within minutes they can be circulating worldwide."

Cardiff University, based at Cathays Park, will fall within the widened BT wi-fi zone, but university spokesman Tom Wiersma said they were developing their own free wireless network.

"Cost is an issue," Mr Wiersma said. "Would a student pay for BT Openzone or go on campus and use it (wireless broadband) free?"

He added that security was a concern for anyone using wi-fi.

"While I would not question BT Openzone security, we are putting in a highly secure system at Cardiff University," he said.

The Cardiff roll-outs coincide with the Welsh Assembly Government's Broadband Wales Programme which aims to increase access and take-up of affordable broadband across the nation by March 2007.

A BT spokesman said the firm was currently talking to a number of councils to explore the possibilities of similar wi-fi zones in other Welsh towns and cities.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

BT, Wi-Fi Lewisham

BT press release | 9 September 2004
Borough of Lewisham teams with BT to create best practice Wi-Fi access template

Steve Bullock, directly elected Mayor of Lewisham and Chair of London Connects, today announced that the Council is breaking new ground by working in partnership with BT Openzone, the public wireless broadband service from BT, to develop best practice in setting up Wi-Fi coverage in cities.

Lewisham Council's initiative is one of a number of work streams defined in the National Project for Mobile Working (known as NOMAD), which is sponsored by the Office of The Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM).

The NOMAD project explores, evaluates and documents best practice in delivering real-time wireless access for local authorities.

The new Lewisham model is a template that can be used by any UK local authority working with the private sector to roll out urban Wi-Fi. Already the council and BT's good progress on the project is attracting considerable interest from many other local authorities,

Wi-Fi is a key component of Lewisham Council's innovative e-government programme that will allow local people to interact in new ways with the Council's on-line services from a wide range of locations across the borough.

Lewisham citizens who are currently not able to access the internet will be able to try it through user-friendly Wi-Fi technology in their own communities. This will encourage them to participate in the 'information society'.

The Council chose BT Openzone because of its willingness to develop a solution that met Lewisham's specific needs and, at the same time, provided access to BT's large national network of access points.

The first phase of the Lewisham project has seen the installation of BT Openzone wireless broadband in a number of Council owned locations, including the town hall. Some of these have been funded by the Council, some by BT. The BT Openzone access points will allow council employees and members of the public to use their laptop computers when out of their offices, or away from base, to access their organisations' email, intranet systems and the internet.

The Council plans to evaluate the benefits to local people, council staff and local businesses - indeed the community at large. Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, said: "We are looking at a range of mobile computing technologies to help us reduce cost and improve the delivery of services across Lewisham.

"Developing a public wireless broadband access network across key areas will not only support our front-line workforce but will also encourage new technology based businesses into the area. Indeed, we hope many local people will become new users".

In Lewisham, the wireless network will allow council employees to access the council's IT networks from the new locations being put in place in the borough - in addition to the existing 4000 plus BT Openzone hotspots across the UK

Local people will also be able log on to the internet via BT Openzone and access their offices or council services. Some Council staff, in particular field workers, will be provided laptops or PDAs so that they can make maximum use of the new service.

Chris Clark, chief executive, BT Wireless Broadband said: "Our aim is to make wireless broadband as accessible as possible for our customers and partners, making mobile working and eGovernment a reality for all.

"This project is a truly collaborative approach between BT and Lewisham Council, and we look forward to using and continuing to develop the best practice template so that Local Authorities elsewhere in the UK can roll out BT Openzone wireless broadband access for the benefit of their employees and citizens".

- Ends -

Notes to editors

About BT

BT Group plc is the holding company for an integrated group of communications businesses and is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York. British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group.

BT is one of the world's leading providers of communications solutions serving customers in Europe, the Americas and Asia Pacific. Its principal activities include network centric Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solutions, local, national and international telecommunications services, and higher-value broadband and internet products and services..

BT consists principally of three lines of business:


BT Retail, providing fixed and mobile communications services and solutions to over 20 million business and residential customers in the UK. It is also a leading UK internet services provider.

BT Wholesale, providing network services and solutions within the UK to more than 600 fixed and mobile operators and service providers including the provision of broadband, private circuits and PSTN.

BT Global Services, providing ICT services internationally to meet the needs of multi-site organisations with European operations. BT Global Services operates in 136 countries and also offers international carrier services.

In the year ended 31 March 2004, BT Group's turnover was £18,519 million with profit before goodwill amortisation, exceptional items and taxation of £2,013 million.

For more information, visit

London Borough of Lewisham

Lewisham Council provides services for 248,000 local people in 107,000 households - and is working to make Lewisham the best place in London to live, to work and to learn.

The Council has won approval from independent inspectors, who rate its services as 'good'. A radical new programme, called 'From Good to Great', has been set up to achieve more service improvements for local people.

The London Borough Of Lewisham covers 13.4 square miles south of the River Thames. A total of almost 110,000 local people are in employment. More than half travel outside the borough to work - with 60,000 using its rail and bus public transport links. These include the Docklands Light Railway line from the City of London which was extended to Lewisham in 1999. Lewisham Council provides almost 1,000 acres of green and open public space in 44 well-maintained parks - and was a London in Bloom winner last year (2003).

For more information, visit

*Steve Bullock is the directly elected Mayor of Lewisham. London Connects is a London-wide agency bringing together local, regional, and central government to support the delivery of the e-government agenda across the capital.

Cardiff becomes first UK city centre with extensive Wi-Fi coverage from BT

BT press release | May 19, 2004

Towns and cities throughout Wales could soon follow in the footsteps of Cardiff, which today became the first city centre in the UK to offer extensive Wi-Fi coverage.

A network of BT Openzone access points will offer extensive coverage across the city centre precinct, the Café quarter and the prestigious Cardiff Bay development.

BT and Cardiff County Council have agreed a public/private partnership to fund the roll out of BT Openzone. The Council will also receive a share of the revenue generated in return for their investment.

New access points implemented under this agreement will augment those already located in hotels, pubs and restaurants to provide a total of nearly 50 BT Openzone access points across the City centre. Any new hotspots will be located in key payphone kiosks and in both council owned and commercial premises.

The innovative partnership builds on work undertaken by BT and the London Borough of Lewisham within the Nomad (the National Project for Mobile Working) project which aims to develop best practice templates for Local Authorities wishing to deploy wireless technologies.

Cardiff is the first local authority to deploy the model, but BT expects that many other councils will take the chance to have extensive Wi-Fi coverage in their city centres with BT Openzone access points using the same partnership approach.

The Cardiff deal reinforces BT's leading position in the UK for public Wi-Fi. The company already has a network of more than 2,500 prime access points, including Hilton hotels, McDonald's restaurants, British Airways customer lounges, railway stations, airports and motorway service stations.

Chris Clark, CEO, BT Wireless Broadband, said: "This forward-looking deal demonstrates how BT is seeking to make public Wi-Fi accessible to all across the UK, either through partnerships like this with Cardiff County Council or roaming agreements.

"Anybody who is in the centre of Cardiff for business or pleasure will be able to use their wireless-enabled laptop or personal digital assistant (PDA) and experience the speed of wireless broadband. And what Cardiff has done today, any other local authority can do tomorrow. We now have a partnership model that works and are ready to team up with other councils."

Crispin O'Connell, Chief Officer for ICT at Cardiff County Council, said: "The Council is delighted have signed this agreement with BT. Cardiff is a city on the move and the installation of wireless broadband in 50 locations across the City Centre and Bay area will give it a unique factor to attract investment and visitors to the area."

The launch this summer will be followed by an intensive marketing campaign to promote the benefits of high-speed, wire-free working, including demonstrations at Cardiff hotels.


Notes to editors

Using BT Openzone
BT Openzone provides access to the internet and the ability to get secure and fast connection to corporate networks while working "on the pause" away from the office. Users with a laptop and a Wireless LAN access card and software can access data at speeds of up to 500 kbps (almost 10 times faster than a standard 56K modem), enabling them to send and receive large quantities of information at broadband speed. Users need to be within range of an Openzone site (approx 100 metres) - zones will be badged with the BT Openzone logo. Anyone with a Wi-fi enabled device, such as a laptop using Intel Centrino mobile technology, can instantly access Wi-fi hotspots. Users without an enabled device can buy a wireless LAN card, such as a BT Voyager card, from as little as £25.

Subscriptions start at just £10 a month for 120 minutes. Occasional users can use the new pay-as-you-go option at 20pence per minute or the one-hour pass for £6. A full list of prices is available at


Cardiff takes next step as BT invests in wirelss city roll-out

BT press release | DC06-268 | June 6, 2006

Cardiff is set to reinforce its position as the wireless capital of Wales in a new deal with the Council.
Two years ago the city centre became the first in the UK to offer extensive Wi-Fi coverage.
Now, as part of BT’s Wireless City initiative, and with the support of Cardiff Council, BT Openzone is set to be extended to cover up to four square kilometres of the city centre, placing such sites as the university buildings and other major areas of Cardiff within reach.
The Wireless City network will bring together the very latest technologies and applications for use by public services, businesses and people. Higher bandwidth and greater intelligence being built into the wireless broadband network will allow more buildings in the city to be linked up using Wi-Fi and offer new services such as wireless CCTV.
Ann Beynon, BT director Wales, said: “Cardiff has been the pioneer of Wireless City and was chosen for its commitment to embracing the possibilities brought by the technology.
“This deal with Cardiff Council will allow us to extend the wireless reach and improve the services we can offer to people and businesses. Our networks will make sure customers are connected at all times, but all people will notice is how valuable the services are, such as knowing where to park, access to tourist information and public services.
“The Wireless City initiative offers wide area wireless broadband access across the city, enabling people to use the network on a range of devices for entertainment, education and communication, such as email, video and voice calls, even when they’re on the move.”
Cllr Mark Stevens, executive member for economic development and finance at Cardiff Council, said: “This is an exciting development for both the businesses community and people of Cardiff. Innovation and technology are at the heart of the Council's vision for the future of the City and to successfully deliver upon that vision we need access to the latest business and communications infrastructure.
“BT has come forward with plans to invest further in creating a robust network in Cardiff which should be encouraged. The Council also has a role to play in the evolution of the network and will look at how wireless technology might contribute towards the modernisation agenda in the future."
BT has one of the widest portfolios of wireless access products and applications in the industry, meeting the needs of local authorities, businesses and consumers. Intel has been working with BT to develop the technology, and is sharing its expertise of developing these services in cities like Philadelphia in the US and was one of the lead organisations involved in the Wireless Westminster project.
BT’s strategy is to work with Intel, other leading partners in wireless solutions and local authorities to roll out a wide area of wireless broadband in metropolitan areas. This will be based around wireless broadband in the home, BT Openzone Wi-Fi hotspots, Wireless Cities, and high speed mobile access. The result will be that customers can do anything, anytime, anywhere.
Leisure and business applications, many developed by councils with BT and partners, will be available to a wide range of devices, including the forthcoming Wi-Fi version of BT Fusion and a similar product currently being developed for corporate customers.
These handsets will use the wireless broadband network to make calls over broadband at landline rates and provide a rich media experience, such as video calling and access to internet applications and services.

Boundless, Wireless London

Community wireless network, Deptford, London

Boundless continues to extend its coop membership and registered user base with 38 fully operational access points centred in the Deptford area of SE London.
BOUNDLESS has been possible as a result of successful partnership between local individuals, community organisations, a cooporation of energy and interests free from the constraint of commercial pressure or public purse whilst welcoming the support of genuine persons and organisations with skill and resources to share: here

BT Wireless Cities

BT | press release | DC06-225 |May 17, 2006

BT announces major investment in roll out of wireless cities across Britain

Six major cities sign deals with BT.

BT today announced agreements with six cities to become wireless pioneers as part of its plans to create a first phase of 12 Wireless Cities across the UK. People in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Cardiff and Westminster will benefit from huge wireless networks, giving them access to information and services. That could be anything from where to park to what’s on at the local cinema, as well as improved public services, like health monitoring, traffic monitoring and public safety.

BT started the Wireless City rollout in Cardiff, where BT Openzone hotspots have been installed in many locations in the city centre.
In Westminster, a dedicated high-bandwidth wireless network is already in place and is now being extended. The first six cities were chosen for their commitment to embracing the possibilities brought by the technology. BT aims to announce deals with many other cities.
In Westminster, where the project is now moving on to its second phase, the pilot results showed that after wireless technology enabled the council to expand the public safety network, residents on housing estates now feel safer walking in their area after dark.

The wireless cities network will bring together the very latest technologies and applications for use by public services, businesses and people. Intel has been working with BT to develop the technology, and is sharing its expertise of developing these services in cities like Philadelphia in the US and was one of the lead organisations involved in the Wireless Westminster project.
BT’s strategy is to work with Intel, other leading partners in wireless solutions and local authorities to roll out a wide area of wireless broadband in metropolitan areas. This will be based around wireless broadband in the home, BT Openzone Wi-Fi hotspots, Wireless Cities, and high speed mobile access. The result will be that customers can do anything, anytime, anywhere.
Leisure and business applications, many developed by councils with BT and partners, will be available to a wide range of devices, including the forthcoming Wi-Fi version of BT Fusion and a similar product currently being developed for corporate customers. These handsets will use the wireless broadband network to make calls over broadband at landline rates and provide a rich media experience, such as video calling and access to internet applications and services.
Steve Andrews, BT’s chief, Converged Communications Services, said: “We are delighted to announce the first batch of many wireless agreements. We have been thrilled with the overwhelming response of local authorities and businesses wanting to be part of this wireless revolution. This first phase of 12 cities is just the start. We are already negotiating with many other cities.
“Our networks will make sure customers are connected at all times, but all people will notice is how valuable the services are, such as knowing where to park, access to tourist information and public services.
“The Wireless City initiatives offer wide area wireless broadband access across metropolitan areas, enabling people to use the network on a range of devices for entertainment, education and communication, such as email, video and voice calls, even when they’re on the move.
“BT is at the forefront of deploying wireless broadband today to realise customer benefits, and researching and testing evolving technologies, such as WiMax.
“This is the first key step towards a future of rich, high speed services enabled by new technology.”
BT has one of the widest portfolios of wireless access products and applications in the industry, meeting the needs of local authorities, businesses and consumers.
Gordon Graylish, vice president and GM Intel, EMEA, said: “We are continually looking to drive the adoption of new technology within the market and are delighted to be working with BT to bring the benefits of wireless technology to UK cities.”

Related BT press releases:

06 June, 2006
Cardiff takes next step as BT invests in wirelss city roll-out

Cardiff is set to reinforce its position as the wireless capital of Wales in a new deal with the Council.

17 May, 2006
Birmingham to be freed by BT wireless revolution

Birmingham City Council and BT have agreed plans to make the city a pioneering test-bed for new wireless communications that could revolutionise the way people live work and play.

17 May, 2006
Liverpool to be freed by BT Wireless Revolution

Liverpool City Council and BT have agreed plans to make the city a pioneering test-bed for new wireless communications that could revolutionise the way people live work and play.

17 May, 2006
Leeds to be freed by BT wireless revolution

Leeds City Council and BT have agreed plans to make the city a pioneering test-bed for new wireless communications that could revolutionise the way people live work and play.

17 May, 2006
Edinburgh named BT's first 'Wireless City' in Scotland

The City of Edinburgh Council and BT today announced plans to work together to make the capital a pioneering test-bed for new wireless communications. It becomes the first Scottish city to be part of

17 May, 2006
BT announces major investment in roll out of wireless cities across Britain

BT today announced agreements with six cities to become wireless pioneers as part of its plans to create a first phase of 12 Wireless Cities across the UK.

07 February, 2006
WI-FI to become TRY-FI as RBS six nations moves to Cardiff

Rupert Moon, former Wales rugby player and head of group commercial and business development WRU/Millennium Stadium, joins Scotland’s assistant coach Sean Lineen in some friendly email banter over Wi-Fi.

Friday, June 09, 2006

BT: Google is our biggest threat

David Meyer in Lisbon
June 08, 2006, 13:15 BST

As BT begins its shift into broadband content, the telco’s chief information officer has identified Google as a key rival — much to the bemusement of analysts.


Bulldog put out of its broadband misery

Graeme Wearden
June 08, 2006, 12:30 BST

Parent company Cable & Wireless is giving up on the UK retail broadband market after racking up major losses, hordes of complaints and an Ofcom investigation

Cable & Wireless has abandoned its goal of making Bulldog a major force in the retail broadband space.

As first reported by ZDNet UK on Wednesday, Bulldog will not sign up any new broadband customers. Instead, it will concentrate on selling wholesale broadband services to other Internet service providers.

In a statement released on Thursday morning, Cable & Wireless said it would “cease any further proactive sales, marketing or advertising activities to acquire new residential and small business customers.” Around 150 jobs will be lost, mainly from sales and marketing.

Bulldog added that its existing broadband customers will be retained, with “ongoing customer care and launch of new innovative services.” However, Bulldog has suffered repeated problems with its customer service and support over the last year, which led to an Ofcom investigation.

C&W said that it still hopes to reach its target of 800 unbundled telephone exchanges by September 2006, compared to 411 today. This would allow it to offer wholesale broadband services in many urban areas in the UK.

C&W bought Bulldog in May 2004 for £18.6m. Since then, it has launched an expensive network rollout programme and invested heavily in advertising. In the 12 months to March 2006, Bulldog made a loss of over £100m on turnover of £33m.

Last year, C&W said that it was aiming to capture 30 percent of the UK broadband market. According to sources familiar with the situation, the news that Carphone Warehouse had signed up around a third of a million customers for its 'free' broadband service since April was the last straw.

Analysts said they weren’t surprised by C&W’s decision, following the problems suffered by Bulldog.

“Rather than trying to compete head-on, it makes more sense for Bulldog to leverage its investment in unbundling by becoming a potential supplier to its current rivals. Currently operating as a retail ISP, Bulldog now has, on average, less than 300 customers per unbundled exchange, and prospects for growing this significantly are fading by the day,” said Cesar Bachelet, senior analyst at Ovum.

“However, if Bulldog is to successfully capitalise on the UK Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) boom, which has been fuelled by substantial reductions in LLU charges and the creation of BT Openreach, the challenge, as ever, will lie in execution. Ditching a tarnished brand may be a good way to start,” Bachelet added.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Openreach slashes prices in unbundling push

David Meyer
June 06, 2006, 12:00 BST

After failing to hit a target of one million unbundled lines by this summer, BT's network services arm is taking measures to stimulate interest

BT Openreach has made it cheaper for other broadband operators to take control of its telephone lines, in a bid to boost the process of unbundling the local loop.

Unbundling gives other operators the opportunity to install their equipment in BT exchanges and offer different services to those offered by the telecoms giant's Wholesale arm.

Now, operators who make use of local loop unbundling (LLU) will see a 27 percent cut in the price of migrating customers from BT Wholesale's IPstream and Datastream to an unbundled line.

Openreach, the access services division of BT, was formed at the start of this year after regulator Ofcom forced BT to give up it what it viewed as a monopolistic approach to the broadband market.

Anne Heal, Openreach's managing director of sales, products and marketing, said the company was "fully committed to making LLU a success".

"This pricing reduction, along with the introduction of a new mass-migration product and the ability to transfer a customer's telephone number, will make it simpler for customers to move between operators," she said in a statement on Monday.

One reason for the move could lie in a target that BT was set by Ofcom in April. BT is not allowed to charge variable prices to different operators until July 2007, or until it reaches 1.5 million unbundled lines.

"We made a commitment not to change the pricing on IPstream until we hit that target," a spokeswoman told ZDNet UK on Monday.

Peter Black, the telecoms adjudicator, announced last week that the number of unbundled lines in the UK is nearing 500,000. However, the original target was for a million lines to have been freed up to competitors by this point, which suggests that unbundling has not been happening at the desired rate.

"The target that we had comes from an amalgamation from the targets of each of the operators," Black told ZDNet UK on Monday.

"We'd certainly hoped to be at a million by this spring or summer," he said. "Some of it is down to the operators not being quite as aggressive with their plans as they said they'd be."

Although Black said he was "fairly confident that we'll hit the million by the end of the year", he added: "Openreach have had challenges on this, particularly regarding backhaul, which is pretty fundamental.

"We can see the signs of recovery. The new management of Openreach have been very positive and open, and the problem has been slightly bigger than they anticipated," he said.

Openreach's spokeswoman told ZDNet UK that "in terms of LLU, a year ago people were sticking their fingers in the air", but promised that "the speed of progress has been accelerating and will continue to do so".

"By reducing the price we give industry the certainty to invest," she added.

"Ofcom's view is that the coming weeks and months are very important in the LLU process, and we're going to continue to monitor Openreach's progress very closely, [along with] the views of the telecoms adjudicator in relation to that process," an Ofcom spokesperson told ZDNet UK on Monday.

Peter Cochrane's Blog: The GDP threat

A vibrant 21st century economy needs 1,000Mbps
By Peter Cochrane
Published: Friday 5 May 2006

Written whilst driving from Ashville to Durham, North Carolina, and despatched via a free company wi-fi service that appeared on my screen in the downtown area

After more than 15 years of discussion and debate I am picking up some interesting vibes relating to broadband across North America and elsewhere.

After degrading the broadband definition to much less than 2Mbps, and endlessly wondering why people would want more, and what would they do with it, governments, regulators, telcos, cable cos and ISPs are starting to realise the Japanese and Koreans got it right. A dedicated 100Mbps service is a minimal specification and 1,000Mbps looks like a more realistic target for a vibrant 21st century economy.
Beyond the creation of new industries and the transformation of the old, internet communication is about the only technology that allows us to offset travel and the associated burning of a lot of oil.

A few copper and wireless rollout programmes appear to have recently been stopped whilst the incumbents consider their position and technology options. The good news is the necessary optical fibre technology has been ready to go these past 15 to 20 years, and the civil engineering costs still dominate the full rollout equation.

And best of all, the cost of ownership is far less than any copper alternative, even for basic telephony. The bad news is there has been around 20 years of investment in the wrong technologies (ie more copper cables and DSL) and any abrupt change of course now is really going to hurt!

Are there any other limiters to the rollout of fibre to home and office? If there are, manufacturing the cables and terminal equipment isn't one of them! Most likely we are going to see a skills gap in the area of installation. Rollout could be limited by people, rather than equipment or investment.

On the upside, we may be able to use wireless drops for the last 100 metres to save a significant amount of time and money getting directly into home and office. There are also bandwidth aggregation technologies that might just help a little in the interim.

Are there any other choices? As far as I can see the only other options are a reduced GDP at a national level followed by a rapid slide down the global economic scale of productivity.

Beyond the creation of new industries and the transformation of the old, internet communication is about the only technology that allows us to offset travel and the associated burning of a lot of oil. But in this regard, we need big screens, hi-fi sound, telepresence technologies and more to make it work. And this we have, except we don't have the bandwidth necessary to get the level of realism of connection and communication to make it really work.

Hopefully the GDP threat will tip the balance where all previous logic, technology, economic and futurism arguments have failed. Fingers, wires and fibres crossed that we can catch up in time - the leaders in the field are way ahead and stealing more than a march!

Peter Cochrane's Blog: Wi-fi activism

If enough of us whinge and complain, maybe we can get free wi-fi

By Peter Cochrane
Published: Wednesday 29 March 2006

Written in the lobby of a nice new London hotel that shall remain nameless, and despatched via an abnormally free wi-fi link to

I have just been booked into a new hotel by a sponsoring company which is employing me most of the day tomorrow. The check-in was slick, the hotel staff obviously trying very hard and the service is excellent. The decor is very nice and the whole place is very clean and smart - so no complaints.
I am suddenly aware that I have slipped into the American mode of complaining in real-time on the spot, and not the polite EU mode...

Before I arrived my PA had already checked out the availability of high-speed wi-fi access here and 20 minutes ago I looked all set to get some work done. I got a coffee, set up in the library and tried to log on. But in some perverse mode I have never seen before, my log-on screen came up with a verification number that I have to take to reception to gain authorised access. Ho hum, what fun - I have plenty of time to waste!

So having got authorised I'm now presented with a new screen demanding a payment of 30p per minute. What? But the good news (not) is they have a price cap of £20 per day! They gotta be kidding, really kidding.

I present them with the alternative model of free access because it costs nothing to provide the service and if it is free I'll be back but if not, I won't. And by the way there is a free access-point that serves coffee and food only a block away.

After a bit of arm wresting the management make me an offer of half price, ie only £10 per day. I don't think so! I make to pack up and leave - and they suddenly decide to make an exception and give me free access, plus a free room upgrade. So here I am, at last, all set to get some work done but it cost me 20 minutes of hassle and downtime. It might not seem like much but a third of an hour is really worth having, as is the lack of a £20 or £10 payment.

I am suddenly aware that I have slipped into the American mode of complaining in real-time on the spot, and not the polite EU mode which consists of writing a letter of complaint later in the week from my home. I gave them the full facts on the hotel operating costs, facilities charges, soap, towels, bedclothes and so on to contrast with the less than £1 per day for wi-fi provision. They don't charge me separately for the former so why the latter?

Anyway, the point is, if enough of us whinge and complain, and refuse to stay in hotels that levy absurd charges, we can change the world - a bit at a time. In about 10 years the EU might just catch up with North America, and perhaps the productivity will improve too? Now, to make up that lost one-third of an hour...