Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Akamai - global average connection speed increased 13 percent to 3.0 Mbps from the first to second quarters of 2012

Akamai has launched its latest state of the Internet report.

It noted that:

The global average connection speed increased 13 percent to 3.0 Mbps from the first to second quarters of 2012, continuing a trend of strong growth. South Korea continued to have the highest average connection speed at 14.2 Mbps for the quarter. Japan was second at 10.7 Mbps and Hong Kong was third at 8.9 Mbps.

Only two of the top 10 countries saw an increase in average connection speed during the second quarter, with Switzerland and the Czech Republic rising 4.0 percent to 8.4 Mbps and 0.7 percent to 7.2 Mbps, respectively. The remaining eight countries experienced declines ranging between 0.5 percent in Denmark to 9.8 percent in South Korea.

The most significant quarter-over-quarter increase in average connection speed was in Kenya, which rose 227 percent to 1.8 Mbps. The most dramatic decline occurred in Cote D'Ivoire, where the average connection speed dropped 29 percent to 0.4 Mbps.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Independence - Scotland would need access to services of GCHQ for cybersecurity and signals intelligence

The Royal United Services Institute in a report on independence identifies Scotland's defence requirements.

It notes the importance of cyber-security and signals intelligence. The present facility is GCHQ which has cost £2 billion to create and £200 million in annual running costs.

RUSI suggests:

Accordingly, it would seem likely that, in the early years of independence at least, Scotland would need to come to some arrangement with the rUK to supply the appropriate level of access to GCHQ expertise.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Inner Hebrides - Wireless link for broadband to serve 150 people under the Community Broadband Scheme

STV reports a boost for rural broadband in the small isles:
  • Eigg (popn. 67)
  • Rhum (popn. 22)
  • Muck (popn. 30) and
  • Canna (popn. 6)
They are to be connected to by a wireless relay network with the Sabhal Mor Ostaig, one of the campuses of the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) on nearby Isle of Skye.

The service is provided by HebNet. The Tegola project.

A small conference is being held this afternoon in Skye on the launch of the project. The speakers included Alastair Nicolson, Project Manager, Community Broadband Scotland.

BBC visited some of the customers to see the reactions (see video).

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Report - DCMS is stating that the EC will soon approve its state aid scheme for rural broadband

The BBC reports that the UK support scheme for rural broadband has finally been approved by the European Commission under the state aid rules. The scheme involves a total of £540 million in payments

A Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) spokesman was quoted as saying:

It is our understanding that the commission is on track to issue its final decision in late October or early November, which will allow projects to get under way,
However, the EC has yet to publish the UK approval on its list.

The designated bodies, local authorities in England and HIE in Scotland, cannot begin projects until full EC approval is given.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Statistics - How quickly is broadband adoption growing in Scotland?

According to the Scottish Household Survey, levels of households using broadband have shown relatively consistent growth in the period 2003 to 2011. While there are a couple of blips where the survey showed more growth or in one case a drop, these evened out over time.
It is therefore surprising to find that the following comment in the annual progress report:
The most recent report from Ofcom published in July 2012 shows a 7% increase in broadband take up, bringing Scotland into line with Wales and Northern Ireland (68/69%.) This is highly encouraging progress towards the participation targets described in our initial strategy and suggests that we are on the right track in ensuring that the benefits of the digital age are not confined to a few.
Whereas, OFCOM conducts a survey at the end of the first quarter of each year.
Firstly, the "growth" of 7 per cent in Scotland is unexplained(e.g., a fall in prices or increase in competition) and out of line with the historical evidence. Indeed, it looks as if a problem was the 2011 sample, which may have generated an unusually low number, but within statistical error ranges, then the 2012 number corrected this. It is highly unlikely that the OFCOM broadband survey in 2013 would show another jump of 7 per cent, a figure of 3 per cent would seem more likely.

This is also important in the comparison with Northern Ireland and Wales, which seem to have seen very little growth in the 2012 figures. Thus they might well be showing the same statistical dip as Scotland in the previous year. To conclude that in 2013 Scotland will remain at a level comparable to Northern Ireland and Wales could be thought a rather risky bet.

The relatively modest levels of broadband adoption in urban Scotland and especially in Glasgow are sufficiently well known that they must by now be influencing decisions by operators who will prefer to deploy networks in the cities of the three other nations.

The proposal to develop a new measurement framework is welcome. It will need to identify factors explaining the lower levels of adoption at sufficiently disaggregated levels to enable interventions. It must also ensure comparisons with other countries in terms of the OECD, Eurostat and the EU Digital Agenda Scoreboard.

Scotland - Govt seeks to identify white, grey and black areas for purposes of state aid investment in broadband

Scottish Government is consulting on the plans of operators to install next generation broadband networks.
In responding to this consultation, operators will need to provide sufficient information to enable the Scottish Government to make a judgement about whether areas should be classified as NGB Black, Grey or White, for the purposes of defining our intervention area.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Highlands and Islands Enterprise - A dedicated head of its superfast broadband project

STV reports the promotion of Stuart Robertson, from head of Digital and Broadband, as well as its area manager for Shetland, to a dedicated role as director of digital Highlands and Islands.

Scot. Gov - Progress report of digital agenda repeats aspiration to be world class, but provides little funding

The Scottish Government has published its progress report on digital Scotland.

Its press release stressed the creation of jobs:

Scotland is set to benefit from nearly 15,000 new jobs thanks to investment in broadband infrastructure, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced today.

Echoing the success of Team GB in the London Olympics, the Deputy First Minister states:

I am also clear that whilst the Scottish Government must continue to provide strong leadership for our digital strategy, we will only deliver the benefits that the Scottish people and Scottish businesses expect, if our vision, and the actions to deliver that vision, are shared and owned by all sections of our economy and society.
The report goes on to assert:
Whilst nobody can predict the future of digital technologies with absolute certainty, this strategy will ensure that, by 2020, Scotland will have a world-class, future-proofed digital infrastructure that enables everyone, regardless of where they live, to get online and connect with people; access a wide range of essential public services; grow their business; and enjoy a wide range of on-demand entertainment options. Our people will feel confident in their ability to use digital technology to improve their personal and working lives.
It is claimed that it:
Lobbied the UK Government and Ofcom successfully on 4G Spectrum to improve the levels of 4G coverage in Scotland that will be delivered following the forthcoming spectrum auction.
This is disingenuous, since it asked for and did not get 98 per cent coverage in every local authority area.

The very broad, rather generic claim is made that:

Participation rates in Scotland now equal Wales and Northern Ireland.
If that means use of broadband, it fails to note that Scotland lags England, dragged down by urban Glasgow and Dundee.

Echoing the FCC broadband plan for the USA:

Scotland wants to be recognised as a country that welcomes and encourages the introduction of new mobile and wireless technologies as a potential stimulus to economic growth.

It is extraordinarily difficult to work out how much of its own money the Scottish Government has put into broadband. Prima facie, it seems to be mostly EU and HM Treasury that is paying.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

EE - formerly Everything Everywhere will launch 4G on 30 Oct in Edinburgh and Glasgow and 14 other British cities

Mobile World Live reports that EE, formerly Everything Everywhere (a.k.a. Orange and T-Mobile) switched on LTE (4G) in London, Bristol, Cardiff and Birmingham for testing on 11 September.

On 30 October it will launch a commercial services in sixteen (16)cities:

  • London,
  • Edinburgh,
  • Cardiff,
  • Belfast,
  • Birmingham,
  • Bristol,
  • Derby,
  • Glasgow,
  • Hull,
  • Leeds,
  • Liverpool,
  • Manchester,
  • Newcastle,
  • Nottingham,
  • Sheffield and
  • Southampton.
It expects to cover one third of the UK population this year, 70 per cent in 2012 and reach 98 per cent in 2014.