Thursday, November 13, 2008

Newport Technical Institute

Newport Technical Institute (Photo taken on 1 May 2006) 

Abandoned building: Responses from 2003 - 2007

With its distinctive green dome visible from a distance, the Newport Technical Institute building was opened at Clarence Place in 1910. It's state of abandonment has made it a talking point for the past few years.

  • Home to the Newport Art College through the boom years of the 60s/70s, the building fell into a state of abondonment, neglect and serious deterioration following the college's removal (to the new Caerleon campus) many years ago. 
  • For the past few years the deteriorating state of the building has been a matter of running controversy in the local press and council chamber, as private developer's schemes failed to materialize and the building fell prey to the inevitable "planners blight". 
  • Finally, through 2007 and 2008, there are signs of the building's development - although people's comments in the local press have challenged the fate of the building as a luxury apartmenst complex, as opposed to its re-use as a public cultural facility for this unique riverside location.

Newport Art College, Clarence Place
Flickr: Comments on Newport Art College, Clarence Place (Photo taken 27 Feb 2006)

From the Municipal to the Entrepreneurial city space

The first class public educational facility provided by the municipal "Newport Technical Institute" (and subsequently Art College) epitomizes the era of local municipal enterprise, and the new building in Clarence Place provided the very cynosure of civic pride. A clear contrast with today's world, beyond municipal enterprise.

Today's city space is re-cast as a template "entrepreneurial city" of the competitive city-region (- policy documents relate Newport's strategy framework to that of the North East of England), with its mix of public-private sector enterprise. 

Whilst Newport has forged ahead with its urban regeneration plans following the assumption of official city status in 2002, the ambitious plans for the regeneration of the banks of the river Usk have not included this landmark building.

  • Early in 2003 the building was entered on the Newport City Council's ‘List ofBuildings at Risk Through Neglect and Decay in the City of Newport’.
  • In January 2007 Newport City Council intervened with an Urgent Works Notice in order to stabilize the building fabric of this listed building.
  • With serious deterioration to the building fabric the months of 2007 ticked by, with faltering news of imminent building work by developers. The local press reported keenly on the appearance of scaffolding (June 2007) and a temporary roof (June 2008) - and such is its visible state at the time of writing November 2008. - The property developers said that the damage caused by vandalism to the building had added considerable cost to the project, and that this remedial work was the reason that there were no more visible exterior signs of progress with the building to date.

Riverside redevelopment: Luxury apartments ... and a new university campus

The visible reality of neglect of the building notwithstanding, the property developers nevertheless trumpeted that "1,000 people are queuing up to buy luxury apartments in Newport's former art college".

Reader's comments highlighted the city council's lack of vision and action to come up with a plan for re-use of this building for public cultural purposes, for the benefit of the people of the city at this unique river-side location.

The final irony is that Newport's city centre and Usk riverside development plans do include a new university campus building on the west bank of the river Usk, to include parts of the Business and Art schools ( -
£35m campus building work begins, 30 June 2008; and here).


The following links document some recent responses to the abandoned building of the Newport Technical Institute, ca. 2003 - 2007.

"The Newport Technical Institute, more recently known as the Former Arts College, is a grade ll listed building which is in a serious state of disrepair. Early in 2003 the building was entered on the ‘List ofBuildings at Risk Through Neglect and Decay in the City of Newport’. Since this time, and despite a change of ownership and the grant of planning consent for a major conversion to flats, the condition of the building has continued to decline. At the present time there is uncertainty that the approved development will be implemented and as a consequence prompt action is required to stave off further decay (Newport City Council, Cabinet, Jan 2007)"


Google search:
"newport technical institute" ( x )

South Wales Argus
"art college"


Jan 2007 |
Newport City Council: Urgent Works Notice relating to the Former Arts College, Newport

Cabinet, January 2007 | Item No. : Additional | Item Subject: The Former Arts College, Clarence Place, Newport Urgent Works Notice - Update | Purpose To update Members regarding the present situation in respect of the Urgent Works Notice relating to the Former Arts College, Newport

1. The Newport Technical Institute, more recently known as the Former Arts College, is a grade ll listed building which is in a serious state of disrepair. Early in 2003 the building was entered on the
‘List ofBuildings at Risk Through Neglect and Decay in the City of Newport’. Since this time, and despite a change of ownership and the grant of planning consent for a major conversion to flats, the condition of the building has continued to decline. At the present time there is uncertainty that the approved development will be implemented and as a consequence prompt action is required to stave off further decay. 2. Section 54 of The Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 empowers local authorities to ‘execute any works which appear to them to be urgently necessary for the preservation of a listed building their area’. 3. The Planning Committee has delegated authority to the Head of Planning and Economic Regeneration to issue an Urgent Works Notice in respect of the former Arts College.



Work on restoring Newport’s historic former art college has started with scaffolders now on site.
The council has been in extensive talks behind the scenes with the building owners to bring forward the works on the delayed development.
The works are set to take around 12 weeks and will include installation of a temporary roof to allow the building to ‘dry’. Following this the construction of
luxury flats and leisure facilities will commence.
The council has been involved in detailed negotiations with the owners of the building to resolve issues over car parking arrangements and scaffolding.
Councillor Bob Bright, leader of the council, said:

”This is something we have waited a long time to see and we expect to see the development now proceed swifty and smoothly and this landmark building brought back into use.
“There is no doubt that in everyone’s mind the regeneration of the riverside area would not be complete without this building’s restoration. The city council has driven this forward through extensive negotiations to prevent further delays – it has been frustrating at times but we have always made our intentions clear that this building will be retained and developed.”
The council ensured that George Wimpey’s City Reach development of around 400 apartments is to include a open public square on land in front of the college to showcase the former art college building.


South Wales Argus
"art college"

Roof goes up on Art College
4:27pm Tuesday 3rd June 2008

WORK to protect one of Newport's much-loved buildings from further damage is under way.

A temporary roof is being installed on the former art college and technical institute.

It is another step towards the proposed refurbishment and conversion of the landmark building into luxury apartments.

Community leaders and residents have expressed concern over the future of the former college for a number of years.

About £1 million worth of damage was caused to the much-loved building by vandals and the broken windows left the inside of the grade-ll building vulnerable to the weather.

Specialist scaffolding took some months to erect but the temporary roof is finally being put in place.

Final decision imminent on art college
10:16am Thursday 8th May 2008

A FINAL decision on the main contractor for the conversion of Newport's former art college is "imminent", says the project's architect.


Mr Merritt also revealed that all the costings of the project had to be reviewed because of the £1 million worth of damage caused to the former technical institute and art college by vandals.

"It is a significant amount of money and will, therefore, come as no surprise to realise that, while the client is very keen that the end product is going to be something they and the city are going to be proud of, it has been necessary to review the the costings of just about every item."

He added that because the building was grade-ll listed, any potential savings or variations had to go through a number of council departments although he praised the co-operation given by the authority.


He said work on installing a temporary roof should have begun last week.


Art college work set to start (yes, really!)
2:29pm Sunday 30th September 2007

LONG running saga could be near an end

WORKERS are set to move into the former Newport Art College next week in the next stage towards its restoration.

Proposals to covert the landmark into luxury apartments were announced in and given the go-ahead.

Some scaffolding has gone up recently but this has paused for design work on a temporary roof, explained architect Michael Merritt.

It was felt this was the best way to be able to carry out repairs to the roof, roof lights and windows.

But clearing out of the building is now due to start at the beginning of next week and is likely to take several weeks, he told the Argus.

He said it was hoped to recover a lot of the original features from the grade-ll listed building.

"It has to be done with a little bit more sensitivity and we have to make sure that we keep any bits that can be returned to effective use."

He accepted it was frustrating for people waiting to see progress on the much-loved building.

"Everybody has to appreciate that because it is a listed building it is not like an ordinary building and even the scaffolding, which has to be put up for safety reasons, cannot go up without reference to the council's conservation officer," said Mr Merritt. (...)

Art College scaffold finally goes up
11:51am Friday 29th June 2007

THE first sections of scaffolding are being erected outside the former Newport Art College - the first step on the path towards the building's restoration.

After lengthy delays, sub-contractors yesterday began putting up scaffolding along a section of the building fronting the river Usk.

The work is due to take 12 weeks and will include installation of a temporary roof to allow the Grade II-listed building to "dry".

Following this, 63 one-to four-bedroomed apartments will be built, along with a swimming pool, gym and spa complex, and sauna and steam rooms.

Work had been due to begin last week, but no progress was made, and the delays led to increasing concerns being voiced by Newport city council and residents.

It is more than eight months since the council lost patience and issued an urgent repairs notice requiring developers First Investment and Finance to carry out work to protect the building from further damage.

Gaping holes in the roof and damage through water, fire and vandalism have gradually weakened the Clarence Place building, which has lain empty for several years.

Project architect Michael Merritt has told the Argus there have been complications due to the building's listed status.

Council leader Bob Bright said: "This is something we've waited a long time to see and we expect to see the development now proceed swifty and smoothly and this landmark building brought back into use.

"It's been frustrating at times but we've always made our intentions clear that this building will be retained and developed."



Turv, Newport&Cwmbran says...
1:43pm Fri 29 Jun 07

I think the building should have been CPO'ed years ago, and brought into use as a public facility - this fine old building could be fronted by a green space onto the river and used as an arts centre/theatre instead of the eyesore contraption on the other side of the river.

In my opinion the development of expensive apartments, well out of reach of the average Newportonian, is a waste.

etheridge, newport says...
2:03pm Fri 29 Jun 07

Hear, hear Mr Turv! - the long neglect of the Art College building has been a scandal and the site should have been secured as a public cultural facility.

Where's the vision?

The waterfront should be opened to the people of Newport.

James, says...
3:38pm Fri 29 Jun 07

Etheridge, clearly you've not read "The Vision". It's available at Newport Unlimited's web site.

FIRST step taken towards building's restoration

Further delay to art college work
3:00pm Friday 22nd June 2007

Contractors fail to erect scaffolding at Newport landmark

Relief as Art College work set for start
10:53am Monday 18th June 2007

REPAIR work due this week.

ARGUS COMMENT...Hope at last for Art College
11:31am Friday 15th June 2007

WE hope frustrations are finally over for restoration of city's historic building

Art College repair work to start
10:17am Friday 15th June 2007

LONG-AWAITED work to save Newport's Art College due next week

Buyers line up for college apartments

9:19am Friday 6th April 2007
Comments (8) Have your say »

IT might not look like your dream home right now, but already more than 1,000 people are queuing up to buy luxury apartments in Newport's former art college.

And given the alluring promises from architects and developers it is not surprising.

The 63 one to four bedroom apartments - many with river views - will share a communal swimming pool, gym and spa complex with sauna and steam rooms.

The grand entrance will keep its original coliseum pillars, terrazzo flooring and sweeping staircase, while the apartments will blend traditional features with modern fittings.

Three penthouses will have roof gardens and one will include the building's iconic dome, which will offer the owner a 360 degree panoramic view of the city.

Developers say the crumbling building could be transformed before the end of next year.

They are keen to put an end to scepticism about the future of the Grade II listed building which overlooks the river in Newport's city centre.

The former college, built in 1910 as a technical institute, has huge holes in the roof, water damage, and has been plagued by vandalism and fires.

In October, Newport council lost patience with developers First Investment and Finance, and issued the company with an urgent repairs notice to carry out work to protect the building from further damage.

But developers say full permission was only granted six months ago and that massive amounts of behind the scenes work was needed before work could start.

Bristol-based architect Michael Merritt said: "There has been hundreds of thousands of pounds of damage caused to this building. If we could have started building work three years ago, we would have done it."

Developers also rejected rumours they plan to sell the building without carrying out the work.

David Bance of First Investment and Finance developers said: "We are totally committed to this building.

"Over the last two and a half years we have had eight approaches from people wanting to buy the building. But we did not want to sell then and we don't want to sell now."

Next, workers needed to remove vast amounts of debris on the site left by squatters and vandals, and get construction underway.


It is hoped work will start within 12 weeks and will take an estimated 15 months.
The flats will be launched in coming weeks by Savills selling agents.

One-bedroom flats are expected to start from £129,000 but no price has been fixed for the unique penthouses.

To join the 1,000 people who have already applied for an apartment contact Savills on 01179 100352.

Work starts on former Art College
11:14am Monday 5th February 2007

Workmen have now moved onto the site of city landmark.

Shocking state inside art colleg
3:01pm Thursday 11th January 2007

PICTURES show how bad landmark has deteriorated.

Huge holes in the roof and smashed windows mean that rain pours through into the fabric of the old Art College building at Clarence Place.

Frustrated Newport council chiefs have given developers who want to tun the building into luxury flats a repairs notice which ends tomorrow and council planning officials were meeting today to decide whether to take further action.

The council issued the developers with the repairs notice in October, which will force them to carry out work on the Grade II-listed building.

The repairs notice, under The Planning Act 1990, is the first step towards a compulsory purchase order of the building.

It forces the owners to carry out preservation works, which, if ignored, will lead to an urgent works notice being issued under which the council will carry out the work and bill the owners.

The council has lost patience with the developers, who were granted planning permission two years ago for 63 luxury flats with swimming pool, gym and sauna.

The scheme's architect claims work will begin by the end of the month, but the council's planning committee heard from officers that unless action to weatherproof the landmark is taken by the end of the week an urgent work notice will be served. (...)



Laura, says...
4:52pm Thu 11 Jan 07

The council should be discusted with them selves leaving this go on for so long. The building is beautiful and the council should take firm action to restore this building and use it to promote Newport not as just another council downfall in protecing listed buildings but to restoring some of our history.

Ceri, says...
4:58pm Thu 11 Jan 07

Laura well said!!

Jeff Parry, says...
5:04pm Thu 11 Jan 07

This is an oft-repeated story. A developer buys a listed building and applies for planning permission. Then the building is left unattended for a few years before being demolished as it is to far gone to repair.

We've already had the problems of the redevelopment of the Westgate Hotel, Westgate Chambers and the demolition of other old Newport buildings. What next?

Stuart, says...
5:11pm Thu 11 Jan 07

Yet another example of our beloved Council 'looking after' our Cities heritage. Sold or given to developers for what was probably a pittance, developers who promised much and delivered so very little while the good people of Newport have to put up with one of the few worthwhile buildings in the City turning into an eyesore. So we hear that a small fortune is to be spent by our Council on of all things new doors for the Museum and Library in John Frost Square. Why not compulsary purchase the Art College and return it to it's former glory to house the Museum, Art Gallery and Library? Come on Newport Council, do something that we can be proud of for a change!


gadriel, says...
7:48pm Thu 11 Jan 07

What a brilliant idea from stuart!
I cant believe that that newport council has let this stunning resource come to this..I went to college there in the early 80's and felt priviliged to study in such an awesomely beautiful building.What is so shocking-they spent 5 million paying for such a useless, incongruous, footbridge. Butthen Isuppose there was no lucrative contract for mr Hoppe in the art college?

john sicola, says...
8:31pm Thu 11 Jan 07

I have contacted the council about turning the old college into a leading music venue, i have plans to call it the john peel studios, and as we see in tj's lots of under18's getting teenage kicks.

wendy, says...
9:41am Fri 12 Jan 07

I think that turning the old art college into an art gallery or museum is a brilliant idea!! If they turned the area in front into a plublic place with benches etc.and some nice arty sculptures it would be a lovely place to go to!!




Significant Dates and Events

This webpage contains the significant dates in the history of the University of Wales, Newport

1841 Opening of Mechanics Institute, Newport

1872 Classes in Art and Science begin under the Free Library Committee

1882 New building opened in Dock Street, Newport

1886 Teacher training classes begin

1889 Technical Education Act

1891 Newport Technical School opened

1894 - 5 Single institution created for Art and Science

1898 New premises opened at 24 Bridge Street Separation of Art Department and Science, Technology & Commerce Two Heads appointed

1899 Clarence Place land bought from Lord Tredegar

1908 Teacher training college at Caerleon suggested

1909 Foundation stone laid at Clarence Place

1910 Newport Technical Institute opened at Clarence Place

1912 Foundation stone laid at Caerleon Training College

1914-18 World War One 12 Caerleon students killed in the war

1915 Schools of Art and Science, Technology and Commerce combined under single Principal

1919 Newport Technical Institute renamed “The County Borough of Newport Technical College and Institute”

1923 Ordinary National Certificates offered for the first time

1934 Name changed to “Newport Technical College”

1938 Higher National Certificates offered for the first time

1939 – 45 World War Two College used to troop lectures and evacuees 19 Caerleon students killed in the war

1940 – 41 Classes run by Ministry of Labour

1944 Education Act

1950 Board of Governors given more power to run Caerleon College of Education

1958 Opening of Newport and Monmouthshire College of Technology. Closure of Newport Technical College.Clarence Place continues as Newport and Monmouthshire College of Art.

1962 Female students admitted to Caerleon College of Education for the first time

1972 White Paper “Education for Expansion” suggests merger of colleges

1975 Colleges merge to become “Gwent College of Higher Education” Four new faculties created

1985 New Art and Design building opens at Caerleon Campus

1987 First degree ceremony held at Newport

1992 Fire at Caerleon Campus GCHE leaves Gwent County Council control

1994 Student Village opens at Caerleon Campus

1995 GCHE granted taught degree awarding powers

1996 GCHE formally changes to University of Wales College, Newport

2003 Becomes a full Constituent Institution of the University of Wales and is renamed the University of Wales, Newport

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Google - clean energy

Google proposes $4.4 trillion clean energy plan

Google says its proposal would yield a net saving of $1 trillion by 2030 and slash U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 48 percent

By James Niccolai, IDG News Service

October 02, 2008


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Smart Grids

[ Smart grids - energy, IT, comms ]

Grid Week 2008 | A realization is emerging that a new view of energy, beyond oil, coal and other fossil-based fuels, will result in decentralized components of the electricity grid, a far cry from the central generation and structured system of the past. A smart information network for the electric grid is seen as necessary to manage and automate this new world.GridWeek is focused on this vision. (...)

Keynote Speakers and Conference Tracks Announced for GridWeek 2008

GridWeek 2008 is where U.S. electricity grid thought leaders will explore the smart grid's role in delivering sustainable energy. Energy policy makers and members of public utility and information technology industries will examine smart grid successes, role in carbon reduction, alternative distributed generation, and the implementation of the Energy Act of 2007. With speeches and other sessions about enabling energy and utility efficiencies, IT and grid interoperability, new business models, and energy security, GridWeek, produced by Clasma Events Inc., is the event to outline smart grid possibilities and expectations as the U.S. electricity system moves into the 21st century.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Singapore NGN - fibre grid

[1] | Singapore Chooses OpenNet for Next Gen Fiber Project 
The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has selected the OpenNet consortium as its successful Network Company (NetCo). OpenNet will be contracted to provide passive fibre grid services for Singapore's Next Generation National Broadband Network (NGNBN). OpenNet will be making use of existing ducts and other underlying infrastructure, thereby minimizing disruption to the public and enabling the network to reach homes and buildings nationwide by 2012

Art Price, Chairman and CEO, Axia NetMedia, said: "OpenNet's approach is future-proof with no compromises from either the technology or business structure perspectives for the passive segment of the network. I believe that Singapore will be the showcase for how compelling the no-conflict open access fibre-to-the-premise solution can be for end-users in metropolitan communities."

Some key elements of the project:
  • As the selected NetCo, OpenNet will design, build and operate the passive infrastructure of the Next Gen NBN that will be capable of delivering speeds of up to 1 Gbps and beyond.
  • The Government of Singapore will provide a grant of up to S$750 million to the NetCo to support the network rollout.
  • OpenNet will offer attractive wholesale prices of S$15 per month per residential fiber connection and S$50 per month per non-residential fiber connection, to the Operating Companies or OpCos. Such wholesale prices are expected to bring about competitive retail prices in the ultra-high speed broadband market.
  • To encourage premise owners to connect their homes and businesses to the network, OpenNet is required to waive installation charges for home and building owners when the network first reaches their premises.
  • Under a Universal Service Obligation, which will take effect from 2013, OpenNet will also fulfill all subsequent requests to install fibre termination points in homes, offices and buildings.


Singapore is undertaking the world’s most radical structural separation of fixed telecoms following the award of the contract to build its National Broadband Network. (...)

OpenNet will design, build and operate a passive national broadband fibre-to-the-premises network with speeds of up to 1Gbps using up to S$750m provided by the government. 

SingTel is to transfer existing ducts, manholes and exchanges used for the NBN to an independent asset company by mid-2011 and sell down its stake in that entity by 2014. That independent company will be owned by a business trust working under a regulator-approved structure which in turn will lease those assets toOpenNet. 

However, OpenNet will directly own the fibre links. It will operate to a tight deadline —scheduled to reach 60 per cent of premises in Singapore by 2010 and 95 per cent of premises by 2012.OpenNet will also assume universal service obligations after 2013. 


The overall Singapore NBN plan is the most radical in the world. The duct and exchange network, the fibre and the electronics deployed on it, will effectively be split between three separated entities with a fourth layer of retail service provision.

Separation on this level has only previously been attempted on municipal rollouts in Amsterdam and Stockholm. The OpenNet win also provides both Axia NetMedia and SingTel’s Australian unit Optus with a credentials boost in their own RFP bids for the Australian national broadband network plan. 

The details of the structural separation arrangements, the progress of the build, and the business models the network fosters, will be watched closely by telco strategists and regulators in the rest of the world - especially in Europe where last week the European Parliament paved the way for national telecom regulators to push forward with structural separation arrangements.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

802.11v - alphabet

Wireless LAN standard to cut power useUpcoming 802.11v standard scheudled for ratification in 2010 will improve power savings in wireless LANs | By Mikael Rickn√§s, IDG News Service | September 19, 2008

(...) As the 802.11 group continues to develop more wireless LAN standards and uses the entire the alphabet, it's time to add another letter. "When the alphabet runs out, you start over, but with an 'a' in front: aa, ab, ac, and on up to az, followed by ba, bb, bc, bd, and on up to bz. In fact, there already is a task group aa at 802.11, which is developing a specification for video streaming," said Gast.

Open Access Networks for Wales - Gigabit capability

Welsh Assembly Government - ICT  

The FibreSpeed Project (...)
  • Open Access Networks for Wales | FibreSpeed will meet the demands of high-bandwidth users (supporting a minimum of symmetrical 10 Mbit/s services with Gigabit capability) and enable the setting of retail prices on a par with London and the South East of England. The project’s initial focus is on serving key strategic business parks as this is where the benefits will be delivered most rapidly, but it is also envisaged to benefit those outside of business parks, including other businesses communities, citizens and the public sector.

  • The project is also expected to have a positive impact on the telecoms market by making available an alternative infrastructure that could be used by other network operators, such as local loop unbundlers, fixed network operators, system integrators; wireless and mobile network operators. This will ultimately benefit end-users and the economy as whole.

NGA - role of government?

[ Next generation? ]

(...) The debate about having superfast access to homes has been going on for at least 25 years, when the first proposal (by BT to deliver huge capacity fibre optic threads to the home in exchange for being given a monopoly of delivering video-on-demand) was turned down by Margaret Thatcher's government in favour of competition by encouraging media companies to lay cables. Since then there have been regular cries, still heard today, that there will never be enough demand to fill the capacity" (...) 

How can we achieve the nirvana of being a world leader in superfast broadband? A recently published report by ex-Cable & Wireless chief executive Francisco Caio contained a wealth of practical proposals, but came out against government intervention on the grounds that the market solutions had so far delivered well. But today's report by Ofcom, while commending the success of the market, sensibly points out that it needed public intervention to get 99% internet capability and that if theBroadband Stakeholder Group is confident it could deliver broadband to two-thirds of the UK that would still leave a third without it, thereby aggravating the digital divide.

Broadband companies are asking the government for a stable regime so that they can plan without fear of government intervention. That is understandable but it would be a foolhardy government that decided not to intervene especially if the oncoming recession proves so deep that broadband providers start cutting back. The government has provided a lifeline to financial companies and it may find that it needs to intervene in a Keynesian counter-cyclical way to invest in superfast broadband during a recession in the knowledge that it will give Britain a competitive advantage afterwards. With the shrinking of the financial sector it becomes all the more vital to back Britain's creative industries, whose medium is the internet (...)


The European Commission | Brussels, 18th September 2008 | Broadband: Commission consults on regulatory strategy to promote high-speed Next Generation Access networks in Europe 

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the regulatory principles to be applied by EU Member States to Next Generation Access broadband networks (NGA). NGA optical fibre-based networks enable bitrates several times higher than those currently available on traditional copper wire networks. NGAs are required to deliver high-definition content (such as high definition television) and interactive applications. The objective of a common regulatory framework for NGA is to foster a consistent treatment of operators in the EU and thereby ensure the necessary regulatory predictability to invest. The Commission is consulting on the basis of a draft Recommendation, addressed to the regulators in the 27 EU Member States and suggesting definitions for harmonized categories of regulated services, access conditions, rates of return and appropriate risk premiums. The public consultation will be open until 14th November 2008. The Commission will then finalise the Recommendation in the light of comments received and formally adopt it in 2009.

EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: "The deployment of new fibre-networks will shape the competitive conditions of the future. We need an appropriate framework to give European companies fair access to the new networks. We want national rules that will not only encourage the necessary substantial investment in fibre investment but also strengthen broadband competition."

"For consumers, whether private or business, to benefit from the competitive provision of services over optical fibre, it is vital that the Commission provides the regulatory guidance the market needs", said Viviane Reding, EU Telecoms Commissioner. "We want to reduce the scope for divergences of regulatory approaches across Europe, in the interest of legal certainty. Uncoordinated or even contradictory action of national regulators as regards Next Generation Networks could seriously damage competition and undermine Europe's single market. We propose in particular that project-specific risk premiums should be applied, so that competition can flourish while those who invest are rewarded in line with the risks they have incurred."

The deployment of NGA is indispensable to deliver new broadband services to European consumers. While a number of operators, both incumbents and alternative operators, have launched large-scale rollouts of new broadband infrastructure in a number of Member States, Europe appears to be still lagging behind other economies, notably the United States and Japan.

The Commission is committed to ensuring that the transition to NGA takes place in a consistent, efficient and timely manner. To this end, it is consulting on the regulatory principles it considers the most appropriate to foster investment in NGAs, while at the same time strengthening competition.


EU Considers Strategies for Promoting Next Generation Access Networks 
| 19 Sept 

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the regulatory principles to be applied by EU Member States to Next Generation Access broadband networks (NGA). Specifically, the EC is seeking proposals on a common regulatory strategy best suited to promote the rollout of fiber-based access networks. There are 229 million copper lines in the EU, compared to slightly more than 1 million fiber connections. Analysts forecast a further EUR 20 billion spending on NGA by 2011.


image | news

mobile platform, open, smart phone, mobile v fixed-line internet, the wireless internet | Last modified: September 23, 2008 8:30 AM PDT | The Android era begins Tuesday | roundup T-Mobile's unveiling of the first phone powered by Google's Android software will be only the beginning of a long effort to rewrite the rules of the mobile communications industry.

(...) | Android is set to take on smartphone market | By Paul Taylor in New York and Andrew Parker in London| Published: September 23 2008 03:00 | Last updated: September 23 2008 03:00

When Apple launched the iPhone 14 months ago it shook up the market for so-called smartphone handsets. The technology company highlighted the true potential of what has become known as the wireless internet - accessing internet-based services and content using a mobile phone rather than a personal computer.

(...) Today, Google is hoping to break the mould by unveiling the first smartphone running a fully "open" operating system, called Android.

The open format means that software developers can, free of charge, devise mobile internet services that run on the phone.

Made by Taiwan's HTC and called the G1, the Android smartphone is expected to be the first of many. Google sees these handsets as an integral part of its strategy to position itself as the mobile search and advertising market leader.

Google and many technology analysts believe the mobile internet - and the advertising revenues associated with it - could eventually eclipse the fixed-line internet. They argue the online advertising market has grown quickly in part because consumers were able to purchase PCs from multiple manufacturers, and then cheaply and easily hook them up to the internet so as to access content and services from a wide range of suppliers.

But there are only about 1bn PCs in the world, compared with 3bn mobile phones, so the advertising market on the wireless internet has huge potential.

Google's mobile strategy could have serious implications for at least three sets of players - handset makers, software companies responsible for smartphone operating systems and mobile operators.

In addition to HTC, Samsung and LG Electronics, two of the big five handset makers, are expected to launch Android-powered smartphones early next year. This will put extra pressure on Nokia, the world's largest mobile maker, whose smartphones run on the rival Symbian operating system.

Nokia responded to the threat posed by Android in June. It announced plans to take control of Symbian and make its operating system available to other handset makers on an open source basis, in a similar way to what Google is doing with Android.

Apple's move to enable software developers to create new applications for the iPhone and make them available through its iTunes "App Store" looks to be a step in the same direction as Google. More than 3,000 software applications can be found in the App store, launched in July. Google plans to emulate these arrangements - users of the G1 phone will be able to download applications from the company's website.

Some of the mobile operators feel uneasy about Google, and Nokia, getting into mobile internet services.

This is because the operators were hoping to provide the services themselves - and capture the associated revenues.

Ofcom - nga

Delivering super-fast broadband in the UK

Setting the right policy framework

Consultation published: 23|09|2008
Consultation closes: 02|12|2008

(...) / x

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

802.15 - PAN, BAN, mesh, etc

IEEE 802.15 | Wireless Personal Area Networks

  • wikipedia
  • Task group 5 (Mesh Networking) Mesh Networking of Wireless Personal Area Networks (WPANs)
  • Mesh Networking| An MIT Media Lab project has developed the XO-1 laptop or "OLPC" which is intended for under-privileged schools in developing nations and uses mesh networking (based on the IEEE 802.11s standard) to create a robust and inexpensive infrastructure. The instantaneous connections made by the laptops are claimed by the project to reduce the need for an external infrastructure such as the internet to reach all areas, because a connected node could share the connection with nodes nearby. A similar concept has also been implemented by Greenpacket with its application called SONbuddy.

  • While still in a preliminary development stage, the 802.11s draft is supported by a wide variety of industry leaders. The One Laptop per Child[2] project uses the 802.11s draft standard for itsOLPC XO laptop and OLPC XS school server networking. A reference implementation of the 802.11s draft is available as part of the mac80211 layer in the Linux kernel, starting with version 2.6.26[3].

  • Mesh Networking in Mining and IndustrialMines and industrial sites are becoming increasingly more networked. Emerging safety requirements in the US and internationally, demand real-time wireless communications for voice and data. Process control and other operations are increasingly monitored by hand-held data devices and/or centralized IP video. These new networking applications create expectations of high performance over many wireless "hops" (node to node relays), with dependable support for video, voice, and data. 

  • 802.15 | Task Group 6 (BAN) | This task group is focusing on BAN or Body Area Network Technologies. The goal is a low-power and low-frequency short-range wireless standard

  • IEEE launches new working group for Body Area Network tech | By David Chartier | Published: December 06, 2007 - 12:25PM CT | The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) this week approved the formation of a working group for IEEE 802.15.6. Otherwise known as a "body area network" (BAN), 802.15.6 is a low-frequency technology intended to endow a future generation of short-range electronics—both in body and on or around it—with a wireless communication standard for exchanging information. How far into the future this standard and any electronics that utilize it will arrive, however, is anyone's guess; presently, there is no official timeline for ironing out the standard. (...)

  • History | These projects are in many senses an evolution of amateur radio, and more specifically packet radio, as well as an outgrowth of the free software community (which in itself substantially overlaps with amateur radio). The key to using standard wireless networking devices designed for short-range use for multi-kilometre Long Range Wi-Fi linkups is the use of high-gaindirectional antennas. Rather than purchasing commercially available units, such groups sometimes advocate homebuilt antenna construction. (...)  As with other wireless mesh networks, three distinct generations of mesh networks are used in wireless community networks. In particular, in the 2004 timeframe, some mesh projects suffered poor performance when scaled up.
  • Organisation | Organizationally, a wireless community network requires either a set of affordable commercial technical solutions or a critical mass of hobbyists willing to tinker to maintain operations. Mesh networks require that a high level of community participation and commitment be maintained for the network to be viable. The mesh approach currently requires uniform equipment. One market-driven aspect of the mesh approach is that users who receive a weak mesh signal can often convert it to a strong signal by obtaining and operating a repeater node, thus extending the mesh network.Such volunteer organizations focusing in technology that is rapidly advancing sometimes have schisms and mergers. The Wi-Fi service provided by such groups is usually free and without the stigma of piggybacking (internet access). An alternative to the voluntary model is to use a co-operative structure.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Gigabit Wi-Fi

IEEE readies launch of gigabit Wi-Fi project

Intel, Nortel, Motorola among those active in Very High Throughput Study Group
By John Cox , Network World , 09/11/2008

The IEEE working group that is putting the finishing touches on the 802.11n 100Mbps wireless LAN standard is about to launch a new project, for a 1Gbps WLAN standard.

That would mean gigabit Wi-Fi.


UBB - Ultra Broadband


The Next Generation of Communications - The Dawning of the Ultra-Broadband Era | Friday, October 31st, 2008, 9 A.M.-6 P.M. | Columbia University Campus, New York City

With broadband penetration progressing rapidly, one must think ahead to the next stage, where broadband transmission rates of over 1Gbps on the consumer level will likely be the driver of major changes in ICT, mass media, and consumer electronics.

The Next Phase of Broadband UK

The Caio Report to UK government, Sept 2008:

(Francesco Caio, the Europe vice-chairman of Lehman Brothers and a former chief executive of Cable & Wireless:)

The Next Phase of Broadband UK: Action now
for long term competitiveness
( X: pdf)

"The evidence gathered through the process indicates that the case for any major public intervention at this time is weak at best."

- - - 

Broadband, until a few years ago a minor interest confined to the tech-literate, is today a domestic essential for millions across the UK. It has in a short space of time come to rival technologies established for a century as a vital component in the country’s communication, entertainment, and cultural life, and a crucial enabler of economic activity.
The government is proud to have helped foster development of broadband in the UK. In ten years, we have gone from no broadband connections to being one of the world leaders in coverage, with high up-take and consumer choice.
These factors are not coincidental. The development of a competitive market in broadband has been the cornerstone of the Government’s strategy.
We now stand at the edge of another rapid development in communications technology. Next Generation Access (NGA) marks a major change in the services people can enjoy. It also brings to smaller businesses the promise of high-speed connections previously only available to their much larger competitors.

- - - 

2 | FRIDAY 12 SEPTEMBER 2008, 11:14 AM | Govt fibre report to nix subsidies? | Posted by David Meyer

3 | No aid for next-gen network firms | Friday, 12 September 2008

There is no need to use public money to bankroll next-generation broadband in the UK, says a report.The six-month long review of the UK's readiness for high-speed net access said the case for government intervention was "weak".The review said there were "promising signs" that the market was already delivering high-speed broadband.But, it said, the government must oversee initiatives that will smooth the route to high-speed access.Speed boost"There is little evidence that in the short term the UK is going to suffer from the lack of an extensive next generation access network," said review author Francesco Caio as he unveiled his conclusions.

Government review set to advise against state aid for high-speed broadband network | Jemima Kiss | | Thursday September 04 2008 15:16 BST

A government review on Britain's broadband infrastructure looks likely to advise against major public investment in a high-speed network, with the inquiry's head, Francesco Caio, saying that this decision would not impair the competitiveness of Britain's digital market.

Caio, the Europe vice-chairman of Lehman Brothers and a former chief executive of Cable & Wireless, said he was minded to advise the government that it leave the development of a high speed broadband network to the market, rather than recommend state intervention.


CMA Adds Its Welcome to the Caio report on Next Generation Broadband

15 September 2008

The Communications Management Association (CMA) - speaking for its UK business broadband user membership - has welcomed the government's Caio report on Next Generation Broadband and supports the proposal that telecoms and internet companies should finance a new broadband infrastructure.

According to David Harrington, regulatory forum leader at the CMA, "Not only does the report endorse the need for broadband as a major enhancer of enterprise and creator of wealth, but it also emphasises that Ofcom (supported by government) must assume leadership in the process.

"The CMA believes that in rejecting the case for an immediate injection of government subsidy, but recommending an immediate start on policy initiatives (and their associated planning), this will encourage and facilitate national broadband coverage, thus echoing CMA's long-term stance. 
"CMA especially welcomes Mr Caio's positive approach to the issues. He identifies four main areas where government action is needed to support investment, further defined as ten initiatives, or specific and detailed actions, such as creating an overall framework and implementation path, accelerating the release of spectrum, resolving the long-running saga of unfair business rates on infrastructure, making new buildings fibre-friendly and ways of reducing civil works costs. 

"All of these things have been addressed or protested by CMA over the last few years and we are therefore delighted to see them reflected by Mr Caio. We sense that at long last the UK is off and running on the broadband track and we now await Ofcom's Statement on NGA together the government's response to the report."