The new Counter Terrorism and Security Bill – Will the UK Government ever listen to industry?

Posted on Nov 26 2014 | Make a comment

Here we go again! Another classic example of rushed-through legislation without sufficient industry input or parliamentary scrutiny (or even technical understanding), in reaction to a high profile (and in this case highly emotive) issue in the run up to an election. Is this ringing any bells? No it’s not the DEA this time, it’s the brand new Counter Terrorism and Security Bill (CTSB) which has been published today.

Paul Heritage Redpath1 The new Counter Terrorism and Security Bill   Will the UK Government ever listen to industry?

Paul Heritage-Redpath, Product Manager

Following yesterday’s published review into the tragic death of Fusilier Lee Rigby, which found that his death could not have been prevented by MI5 and instead criticised the ‘ISP’ (which in actual fact wasn’t an ISP but the social media platform Facebook!) for not monitoring its customers’ communications and reporting potential threats to the authorities, the Government has today published a new Bill which is set to target the increasing terrorism threat to the UK.

Unfortunately, once again Parliament has failed to grasp the technical aspects of this issue. Not only have they confused Facebook (and Google) with ‘ISPs’, they seem to think that this new Bill will enable ISPs to ‘snoop’ on their customers’ social media posts – which isn’t the case. Facebook in particular encrypts all information, which means no UK ISP will be able to access this information, regardless of the new laws! The additional fact that Facebook is a US-based company adds to the un-likelihood that they will comply with any ‘requests’ from the UK to change these practices.

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Is the upload speed REALLY important?

Posted on Nov 24 2014 | 1 Comment

ISPs’ controversial headline speed adverts pretty much exclusively focus on broadband download speeds. After all, that’s what the customers are really interested in, isn’t it?! Not according to, who recently ran a poll of their readers that found that almost 25% rated upload speed as ‘very important’. So, should ISPs be providing this information more readily?

darren farnden Is the upload speed REALLY important?

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing at Entanet

In fairness,’s readers are probably a bit more tech savvy than many broadband users and therefore are more aware of the increasingly important role upload speeds play in their day to day Internet usage habits. So, are customers really concerned with (or even aware of) the importance of their upload speed?

Changing Internet usage habits

That depends on how they use their Internet connection. If they are using it to support an application that is reliant on two-way data transfer such as VoIP or video conferencing or predominantly upload based such as FTP, then they are likely to be more aware of the importance of a good upload speed. Even in the residential broadband market, where customers are uploading more and more information (e.g. photos) to social media sites or online gaming for example, they will be significantly aware of the impact a faster upload speed can have. Alternatively, if they are predominantly downloading information it may be a less important factor to them.

However, with market trends showing an increasing adoption of hosted services and analysts predicting significant growth in things like the IoT and connected devices, surely upload speed is set to become increasingly important to everyone’s day to day Internet usage.

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Broadband Speed Guarantees – Oh come on Which? get real!

Posted on Nov 18 2014 | 1 Comment

Which? have once again called for broadband speed guarantees for customers, demonstrating their continued lack of understanding of the complexity of this issue and the multi-tier structure of the broadband delivery market – including Openreach’s critical role in fault resolution.

Paul Heritage Redpath1 Broadband Speed Guarantees – Oh come on Which? get real!

Paul Heritage-Redpath, Product Manager

Back in March, they called on all ISPs to provide a ‘broadband speed guarantee’ which would provide customers with written speed ‘estimates’ at the start of the contract; allow customers to exit contracts without penalty if that speed isn’t achieved (so, actually they want a ‘guarantee’ not an ‘estimate’); fix loss of connection as quickly as possible; refund people for loss of service; and remove the jargon and ‘take responsibility’ for fixing problems. All in all, they wanted a basic SLA for broadband providing guarantees and compensation.

Their latest survey of over 2000 UK adults reportedly found that only 5% of people agreed that broadband speed is advertised in the clearest way and 88% agreed that speed was the second most important factor when choosing a broadband deal (after price). This has led Which? to re-issue their calls for a ‘broadband speed guarantee’ although in fairness, this time they appear to have dropped the request for early contract exit options where the speed provided isn’t achieved.

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Nee Naw Nee Naw – Internet police coming through!

Posted on Nov 11 2014 | Make a comment

Once again the role of technology firms has been called into question in the never ending debate over ‘policing the Internet’. This time its new GCHQ boss, Robert Hannigan, who has suggested the need for a new ‘deal’ between the technology industry and intelligence organisations such as GCHQ.

Paul Heritage Redpath1 Nee Naw Nee Naw – Internet police coming through!

Paul Heritage-Redpath, Product Manager

Hannigan requested the new deal between “democratic governments and technology companies in the area of protecting our citizens”. However, Julian David, CEO of TechUK which represents 860 technology companies has been amongst the first to reject the idea stating: “To ensure public confidence, both in the digital economy and our democracy as a whole, any obligations placed upon technology companies must be based upon a clear and transparent legal framework and effective oversight rather than, as suggested, a deal between the industry and government,”

Hannigan also suggested that technology firms are in ‘denial’ about the use of their services by criminal and terrorist organisations to which David replied:

“He is wrong to suggest that this is an issue that technology companies are in denial about. As we made clear in our recent tech manifesto, technology firms which we represent have important legal obligations to work with government to help keep the UK safe and secure which they take extremely seriously.”

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Poll: Have you and your customers encountered issues with the existing MAC system and will the new one solve these?

Posted on Nov 05 2014 | 1 Comment

Next year the current MAC based migration process for broadband services will change due to reported issues with the existing system. The new system will be ‘Gaining Provider Led’ and intends to speed up the migration process for customers by eliminating the losing provider’s ability to cause unnecessary delays. The new process is due to go live in June 2015 but will the new GPL based system really solve the alleged existing problems? Will it cause new ones? We would like to hear your opinion so we have created a new poll on this subject – take a look and cast your vote.

You can also leave us a comment below!

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