Tuesday, August 28, 2012

UK - A report on different groups of young people who discontinued their use of the Internet

Nominet has published a report.

This developed a typology of discontinued Internet use by young people:

  • primarily due to reasons of access and cost;
  • poorer quality of access to the Internet than they have experienced in the past;
  • poorer quality of access to the Internet AND not seeing the Internet as important for finding out or learning new things;
  • a combination of access, cost, skills and interest;
  • some challenges with all five factors: psychological, cognitive, physical, socio–cultural and material.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

4G - EverythingEverywhere (a.k.a. T-Mobile & Orange) will launch in September, followed by 3UK (HWL)

OFCOM has agreed that Everything Everywhere (the joint venture of Orange and T-Mobile) can use its existing 2G spectrum in the 1800 MHz band for 4G or mobile broadband services.
Ofcom’s decision to make 4G available this year is great news for the UK. Consumers will soon be able to benefit from the much greater mobile speeds that 4G will deliver. 4G will drive investment, employment and innovation and we look forward to making it available later this year, delivering superfast mobile broadband to the UK
OFCOM said:
Following a consultation, Ofcom has concluded that varying EE’s 1800 MHz licences now will deliver significant benefits to consumers, and that there is no material risk that those benefits will be outweighed by a distortion of competition.2 Delaying doing so would therefore be to the detriment of consumers.
Everything Everywhere is also to launch a new brand alongside Orange and T-Mobile.

Other operators will be able to bid for spectrum for 4G services in an auction later this year.

Vodafone, which must wait for the auction, is quoted by the Daily Telegraph as complaining bitterly:

We are frankly shocked that Ofcom has reached this decision

The regulator has shown a careless disregard for the best interests of consumers, business and the wider economy through its refusal to properly regard the competitive distortion created by allowing one operator to run services before the ground has been laid for a fully competitive market.

As part of the deal to create Everything Everywhere it undertook to competition regulators to dispose of some of its spectrum. According to IT Pro it has now sold that two lots of 1800 MHz spectrum to 3UK (Hutchison Whampoa Ltd). This will, in time, allow 3 to offer its own 4G services.

Seychelles - Fibre will now reach close to 90% of homes in this Indian Ocean island group

Total Telecom reports that the 84,000 people of the Indian Ocean Republic of Seychelles are benefitting from the undersea cable and local investments.
Cable & Wireless Communications on Tuesday announced that its subsidiary in the Seychelles has completed the rollout of a nationwide fibre-to-the-curb (FTTC) network.
It seems a little odd to discuss curb (or kerb) in a tropical island.


The FTTC network will be supported by the newly-launched Seychelles East Africa System (SEAS) subsea cable network, the first undersea cable to serve the Seychelles. The 2,000-km cable links the Seychelles' main island Mahe with Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania.

Monday, August 20, 2012

UK - to have fastest broadband in Europe by 2015 says Hunt

The Daily Telegraph as saying:
We simply will not have a competitive broadband network unless we recognise the massive growth in demand for higher and higher speeds.

Although we have loosely defined superfast as greater than 24 Mbps, I have also introduced a programme for ultrafast broadband in our cities that will offer speeds of 80-100 Mbps and more. And we will continue to develop policy to ensure that the highest speeds technology can deliver are available to the largest number of people here in the UK.

Our working assumption must therefore be that the preferred method of going online will be a mobile device – whether linked to high speed wireless in buildings or networks outside them,

But that in order to cope with capacity, we will need to get that mobile signal onto a fibre backbone as soon as possible. So no false choice between mobile or fixed line, between fibre or high speed wireless: all technologies – including satellite - are likely to have a part to play, and our approach must be flexible enough to harness them all.

Get it right and we can be Europe’s technology hub, bringing together the best of Hollywood and Silicon Valley in one country with huge competitive advantage in both content and technology.

This appears to be a revision from "best" to "fastest" in Europe, seemingly inspired by the performance of Team GB:
I am today announcing an ambition to be not just the best overall, but specifically the fastest broadband of any major European country.
Similar story in The Guardian.

See also the text of his speech.

Jersey - ends dial-up in preparation for fibre to every home

ISP Review reports Jersey Telecom (JT) is shutting down its dial-up service.

It expects to complete roll-out of fibre to 42,000 homes within three years.

Finland - Bottlenecks to broadband in rural areas

The Helsingin Sanomat reports complaints about red tape in obtaining broadband in rural areas of Finland.
A number of telecommunications operators, as well as companies and cooperatives set up by local authorities to bring broadband internet service to the most remote villages in rural Finland are voicing frustration at the bureaucracy surrounding state aid for the installation of the networks..

The Finnish government and the European Union have earmarked EUR 91 million to the effort bring high-speed broadband cable to sparsely populated areas. Only a fraction of the allocated funds have been spent.

FICORA puts up EUR 66 million of the funding, and the state centres for Economic Development, Transport, and the Environment (ELY Centres) will put up EUR 25 million. So far, FICORA has distributed EUR 2.5 million.

Apparently the complexity of the process has delayed processing, in particular a failure by applicants to include all information.

UK - broadband speeds up 20 per cent in six months to 9 Mbps

The Guardian reports a rise in average broadband speed to
The arrival of superfast broadband connections from BT and Virgin Media has boosted the average residential download speed by nearly 20% during the last six months, to nine megabits per second.

Speeds have more than doubled in three years, up from 4.1Mbps in May 2009, and are comfortably ahead of last November's average of 7.6Mbps, according to twice-yearly research by the telecoms watchdog, Ofcom.

See also the OFCOM press release:
In May 2012, over two-thirds of UK fixed-line residential broadband users (68%) were on packages with advertised speeds above ‘up to’ 10Mbit/s, an increase from 48% in May 2011.

The proportion of broadband connections which are superfast (i.e. they have an advertised speed of ‘up to’ 30Mbit/s or above) has increased in recent months with the launch of new superfast packages. By May 2012, 8% of residential broadband connections were superfast, compared with 5% six months previously and 2% in May 2011.

Residential superfast broadband connections are also getting faster, with average speeds increasing from 35.5Mbit/s in November 2011 to 35.8Mbit/s in May 2012.

Full details can be found in the OFCOM report.

Speeds in rural areas had an average of 3.5 and a maximum of 4.0 Mbps, against UK figures of 9.1 and 10.1.

Perth & Kinross - £31 million plan for broadband to be approved, mostly funded by HMG

The BBC reports that Perth and Kinross Council is set approve a broadband plan.
Rolling out the high speed service is expected to cost £31.2m.

The council expects at least 25% of the funding to come from the private sector, with the rest being provided by the UK and Scottish governments.

The plan aims to give everyone in Perth and Kinross the best possible access to broadband where there is currently poor or no access, and provide access to a service of at least 20mbps by 2020.

The council wants to bid for funding for Perth under the "super-connected cities" programme of HM Treasury, but may be too small for that.

Lincolnshire - Consultation on £57 million broadband project by county council

The Peterbrough Telegraph reports a consultation on broadband.
Lincolnshire County Council is welcoming views on its plans to roll out high speed internet access for the vast majority of the county, with standard broadband guaranteed for the remainder.

A £57 million scheme, it be a joint-project between the private and public sector.

The Lincolnshire County Council is investing £10 million and district authorities are investing £4 million.

UK - 16% of adults have never used the Internet, a substantial decline from 2011 and 2010

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has published its latest data on Internet access. The key points are:
  • At 2012 Q2, 7.82 million adults (16 per cent) had never used the Internet. This is 4 per cent lower than 2012 Q1 and 10 per cent lower than 2011 Q2
  • There were 42.52 million adults (84 per cent) who had ever used the Internet at 2012 Q2
  • Men (87 per cent) were more likely to be Internet users than women (82 per cent)
  • By region, the South East and London had the highest rate of Internet users (88 per cent); Northern Ireland the lowest (77 per cent)
Those who have not used the Internet are predominantly older adults, especially those over 75.

For Scotland, the percentage of Internet users rose from 81.1 to 83.1, between Q2 of 2011 and 2012, putting it ahead of NE England, Yorkshire, W Midlands, N Ireland and Wales. The UK figures for the same period were 82.3 and 84.3.

Scotland - Scottish Govt finds £5 million for rural broadband

The Scotsman reports a £5 million programme backed by the Scottish Government.

According to the Kincardineshire Observer, this was welcomed by Nanette Milne, Scottish Conservative MSP for the North East. Cable reports similar support from Richard Lochhead, MSP for Moray.

Despite this enthusiasm, the original press release from Alex Neil MSP is remarkably vague on who is eligible or what the money is to be spent on.

The Community Broadband Scotland initiative will act as a one-stop-shop for rural community groups, providing them with information and advice to find solutions for broadband delivery in their areas.

Communities will be eligible to apply for seed funding under the initiative to enable them to obtain greater access to the internet.

The first round of funding will focus on supporting a small number of community projects, which will be used as case studies for wider roll out across Scotland.

CBS is a partnership between Scottish Government, Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE), Scottish Enterprise, COSLA and Local Government.

CBS will provide a suite of support mechanisms including advice, guidance and toolkits; an online and telephone resource; a network of staff on the ground delivering hands on advice and support locally to communities; and a Rural Seed Fund.

It will initially be targeted at communities in the 10-15% least likely to benefit from a next generation broadband (NGB) solution under the Step Change 2015 Programme and will provide an opportunity for those communities to take greater ownership, progress more quickly and trial innovative technology and business models.

The commitment to invest £5 million initially over the next three years in a Rural Seed Fund was made in the Infrastructure Action Plan. Round 1 (Pioneer Phase) of the fund (up to £1m) will be focussed on providing targeted support to a small number of community projects.

For Argyll notes that much of this is unintelligble, making it is almost impossible to apply for the money, it being unclear how much there is or what you can bid for.

UK - Fibre will be a game-changer for economic recovery

The Glasgow Herald carries an article by Openreach boss Liv Garfield.

The fibre network being built in the UK will be able to offer speeds of up to 330 mega bits per second (mbps) for business and 80 Mbps for consumers. The average is currently around 9 Mbps. She expects BT to have fibre broadband available to more than 50% of the Scottish population by the end of 2014 as part of its £2.5 billion commercial roll-out across the UK.

Ms Garfield said:

The Scottish Government has potentially the most ambitious plan of any government in Europe.

It has said, 'let's not sit on our laurels' and has two ambitious procurements going on: Highlands and Islands and one for all of Scotland.

The ambition is to see whether we can get to more than 90% of everyone living in Scotland having access to fibre.

I would say that if you live in Scotland you have got a really good chance of having access to something which will be a game changer for economic recovery, social awareness and even just social behaviour in terms of networking, and it is not that far away.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Scotland - Population is now 5,254,800, rising by over 87,000 July 2010 to June 2011

The Registrar General reports Scotland’s population in mid-2011 reached 5,254,800 - the highest ever. Rising by 190,600 since the 2001 Census and growing older .
Scotland’s population has seen a continuous increase in recent years, partly because there have been more births than deaths, but mainly because more people have moved to Scotland than have left. This trend continued in 2011, with migration largely responsible for an increase of 0.6 per cent in the population. At 5,254,800 the population is now the highest ever recorded, 14,000 higher than the previous high in 1974.

Behind this headline figure, the pattern of population change is more complex. The population in some areas of Scotland has decreased. Although births still outnumber deaths, there were fewer births than in 2010. In 2011, the number of deaths in Scotland dropped to 53,661, the lowest annual total since registration began in 1855. But life expectancy is still lower than in many other European Union countries.

Despite this, the number of older people has increased and this has contributed to a rise in the number of households. This is likely to continue, with an anticipated increase of 63 per cent in the number of people aged 65 or over by 2035.

In the 12 months between July 2010 and June 2011, around 43,700 people came to Scotland from the rest of the UK and a similar number from overseas. Most migrants to Scotland are young, aged between 16 and 34.

Life expectancy has increased over the last 25 years, from 69.1 years for men and 75.3 years for women born around 1981, to 76.1 years for men and 80.6 years for women born around 2010.

From more detail see GRO Report.

UK - Significant delays in procurement of broadband by local authorities delaying achievement of national targets

The Financial Times reports:
A key target for the UK government’s rollout of superfast broadband will be missed this year, raising doubts about ambitions to build a national high-speed network by 2015.
The problem appears to be that many of the local authorities have failed to commence their procurement exercises.

Shetland Islands - Meeting with BT on broadband in cancelled due to fog

The Shetland Times reports that a meeting with BT organised by Alistair Carmichael MP.
BT Scotland’s director Brendan Dick was to visit the isles to answer criticism about slow broadband connections.