Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ofcom - public spectrum trading

ofcom | 31|01|08 | Freeing up the valuable public spectrum

Government, its agencies and other public organisations including the Ministry of Defence (MoD) will be able to share, trade or release their considerable radio spectrum holdings under new plans announced by Ofcom.

Ofcom expects the arrangements to free up some of the most valuable spectrum for new wireless services for the benefit of citizens and consumers. This will enable the key public users such as the MoD to trade their spectrum holdings and acquire new spectrum in the market.

Public bodies use around half of the radio spectrum below 15 GHz – the most sought after and congested frequencies. An independent study published in 2005 estimated that the spectrum held by the public sector could have a market value of between £3bn and over £20bn.

The news is of particular significance to the MoD which holds about a third of the most sought-after public sector spectrum. The MoD has already committed to sharing and releasing a significant proportion of its spectrum holdings and plans to consult on proposals in May 2008.

Ofcom will enable public spectrum trading by issuing new regulations and aims to consult on them in the summer. The Government will take responsibility to ensure that in trading and releasing public spectrum, defence, national security and public safety remains paramount.

Ed Richards, Chief Executive of Ofcom, said: “Public bodies and the MoD in particular hold some of the most valuable and sought-after radio spectrum. By working with these organisations we are enabling them to trade and release this spectrum which will create new opportunities for the development of wireless services for the whole country.”

The statement can be found at:


[market approach to spectrum, property model, commons : Defence Estates : MOD land sales: google]

25th anniversary of TCP/IP

[IP | Schumpeter's railroadization thesis; technology; development cycle; marketing; service]

Vint Cerf on why TCP/IP was so long in coming | Vint Cerf responds to our discussion on 25 years of TCP/IP | Wide Area Networking Alert Newsletter By Steve Taylor and Jim Metzler, Network World, 01/29/08In the past couple of newsletters, we've been celebrating the 25th anniversary of TCP/IP, and, as such, we've been taking a look back at the path that TCP/IP has taken over the past quarter century. In response to the first newsletter in the series, Vint Cerf pointed out that there was a long development cycle for both TCP/IP and for X.25.

Vint wrote: “Keep in mind that TCP/IP development began in 1973. X.25 started almost concurrently. Larry Roberts was running Telenet at the time and when he asked me what protocol to use for his service I recommended TCP/IP, but he rejected this on the grounds that he could not sell a datagram service. He thought he could only sell ‘virtual circuits’ to replace real circuits at a lower price. (Based on statistical multiplexing, you could offer the same burst rate service at a lower price because the statistical sharing allows more users on the same capacity.) Ultimately, we just ran TCP/IP over X.25, ATM, Frame Relay, MPLS, PON, etc etc. That was the whole point of the design of TCP/IP.”

Thanks to Vint, first of all, for pointing out that there was a long development cycle for both TCP/IP and for X.25. (...) Vint also brings up an excellent point in terms of marketability vs. technology. Over the years, we can come up with many examples both of where the best technology did (or did not) win and of how marketing has defined a service. For example, many of the “best” features of frame relay, such as the ability to use Switched Virtual Circuits (SVC) in addition to Permanent Virtual Circuits (PVC) were never widely marketed because the pricing was too complex. Rather, the PVC was a simple replacement for a leased line at a fraction of the cost with better performance. This pricing model, for which we’ll give primary credit to Christine Heckart, was carried forward to ATM, and helped define roughly 10 years of “state-of-the-art” networking.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Flickr: Tower Colliery, South Wales

Tower Colliery - the last deep mine in Wales closed on Friday 25th January 2008 (...)

Flickr: Tower Colliery, South Wales

"(...) Tower closed. And so – led by no band, but instead walking heads up to the continuous applause of a large crowd lining the way – the men marched on Friday away from the pit.

"Silence was right because everyone has memories," affirmed Tyrone O'Sullivan (...)". [ x ]

"Finally, though, the coal has run out and yesterday the Tower miners, together with wives and families, gathered and marched away from the pithead. In a biting wind that howled off the Brecon Beacons, they reached the end of the pit road, turned, and tipped their union banner towards the mine in tribute.

It was a time for memories, good and bad (...)". [ x ]

"We've created a workers' owned company ... We've mined the last ounce of coal, so that makes us so proud ... "

"The last wheel then, will be the last wheel to turn in the South Wales mining area ... "

"Our final tribute must be to that pit there".

[ Tyrone O'Sullivan - Tower Colliery Miners, YouTube]

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Rheingold, On Habermas

Habermas blows off question about the Internet and the Public Sphere
November 5th, 2007 by Howard Rheingold

"I recently asked Jurgen Habermas in a public forum what his current opinion is about the state of the public sphere, now that the broadcast era has been supplanted by the many-to-many media that enable so many people to use the Internet as a means of political expression. He blew off the question without explanation, and a little further investigation into the very sparse pronouncements he has made in this regard has led me to understand that he simply does not understand the Internet. His ideas about the relationship between public opinion and democracy and the role of communication media, and the commodification and manipulation of political opinion via public relations, are still vitally important. But I think it’s important now to build new theories and not simply to rely on Habermas, who is signalling his ignorance of the meaning of the changes in the infosphere that have taken place in recent decades. He did his part in his time, but the ideal public sphere he described — a bourgeois public sphere dominated by broadcast media — should not be taken as the model for the formation of public opinion in 21st century democracies. Some background on my interest in this subject and Habermas’ personal opinion follows. And then I’ll briefly describe my recent encounter with the man himself".


Saturday, January 19, 2008

American scientists awarded Japan Prize | January 18, 2008

TOKYO, Japan, The Science and Technology Foundation of Japan announced three winners of the 2008 Japan Prize Wednesday in Tokyo. All three laureates are American scientists engaged in Internet technology and medical genetics.

The Japan Prize is awarded to people whose original achievements in science and technology are recognized as having advanced the frontiers of knowledge and served the cause of peace and prosperity for mankind. Each laureate receives a certificate of merit, a commemorative medal and a cash award of 50 million yen (US$468,000) in each prize category.

The Japan Prize "should reveal a history showing both scientific and technological progress and the resultant history of peace and prosperity," says Hiroyuki Yoshikawa, chairman of the Science and Technology Foundation, a non-profit foundation affiliated to the Cabinet Office, the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. The foundation has awarded the prize to 63 recipients in the last 23 years.

Each year, two categories are designated for the awards. This year's awards were selected from the categories of information and communication theory and technology and medical genomics and genetics.

Already known as "fathers of the Internet," Dr. Vinton Gray Cerf, vice president and chief Internet evangelist for Google Inc., and Dr. Robert Elliot Kahn, chairman of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives, received an award for the creation of network architecture and communication protocol for the Internet.

In the course of their efforts, they proposed the concept of open architecture as a way to meet the need to connect diverse devices to a network. Also in order to realize this concept, they created the TCP/IP protocol used in today's Internet, presenting it in a co-authored paper published in 1974 in a leading technical journal. Based on the results of their early research, they jointly developed the Internet's communications protocol.

The foundation said that thanks to their work, a social network, unprecedented in human history, had come into being, people's living space had been enormously enlarged, and the most important foundation for sustaining globalization had been laid. Thus, these two pioneers played a decisive role in the evolution and advancement of modern culture and society.

Another laureate, Dr. Victor A. McKusick, also respected as the father of human genetics, received his award for the establishment of medical genetics and contributions to its development.

With the completion of the human genome project, we have come to understand almost all of the genetic information contained in DNA, which is encoded in a series of letters. However, we are still some way from fully identifying those parts which are related to the treatment of diseases.

The foundation commended McKusick for spending over half a century compiling knowledge on genetics, and advocating the importance of the formulation of a genomic map for genetic disorders. Today, researchers and clinicians around the world are sharing the fruits of McKusick's labors, which have become indispensable to the world of genetic medicine.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

BT bets its future on broadband

BT's Ebbsfleet fibre trial announcement-

1) as covered by the Guardian, 2) the real story behind the announcement from the FT- Minister Timms stands down, 3) some further details.

A significant move towards an open access model... and the reality of the market, investment, and failure of a government NGN/fibre policy.

1) Richard Wray, communications editor | The Guardian, Thursday January 10 2008 | BT bets its future on broadband 20 times faster than now · Openreach to install fibre system at Ebbsfleet · Kent Network will rival those of Japan, Korea and the US

2) | Pressure off BT over superfast broadband
BT would not be forced to invest billions of pounds in a national, superfast broadband network, ministers said last night, as the company outlined tentative plans to accelerate broadband speeds hugely.
The government's move is likely to be greeted with relief by investors, who feared it had been pressing BT to spend £15bn or more on a fibre-optic network connecting all homes. (...)

more details --

More: news

Related: Ofcom launches fibre-access consultation


bbc | Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 January 2008, 14:04 GMT

'There is no Ebbsfleet'

A £2m, 50-metre sculpture has been commissioned to represent the huge regeneration scheme in north Kent. The BBC's David Sillito visits the site and asks whether it will live up to its grand ambition.

"There is no Ebbsfleet, it's a train station and that's it. That's all Ebbsfleet is. There is no Ebbsfleet".


In the past they might have just built some houses and left it at that, nowadays the buzz phrase is "placemaking" and that involves trying to create the intangible things that turn a place you live into a place you care about.

"You can't make a community. Community comes from the heart. All we can do is give it the best start possible."

And a 50-metre piece of art will help?

"Oh, I think all sorts of things have a very important role to play in that but certainly yes, helping put Ebbsfleet on the map, giving it a sense of pride, giving it a totem."

So icon first, town second.

Building houses, you see, is easy. Building a place that people care about is rather harder