Arbitrary Arbitration?

Posted on Sep 04 2012 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | 1 Comment
Categories : Featured, Ofcom, Regulation

We understand the need for an open Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme but like many within the industry we have some key concerns with the current schemes and it seems Ofcom have finally decided to do something about it.

Paul

Paul Heritage-Redpath, Product Manager

For some time now the industry has had the choice of two ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) services; CISAS (Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme) and OS (Ombudsman Services: Communications). These services are used where a customer has a dispute or complaint with a CP that they have been unable to resolve using the CP’s usual dispute resolution processes and require independent help. It’s regulated that all CPs must utilise the services of one of these companies and make this available to their customers.

However, over recent years an increasing number of concerns have been raised about these ADR services by customers and CPs. Therefore, Ofcom has now announced new guidelines which aim to resolve these concerns.

The key issue the review hopes to resolve is the fact that two similar claims are often dealt with very differently by the two schemes and they hope to unify the processes and compensation claims. On average CISAS awards £173 and OS awards just £103, noticeably less than CISAS. OS argues the average is skewed because they award a larger number of smaller compensation amounts and it could be affected by the CISAS policy that if compensation is not initially requested it cannot be awarded at a later date. CISAS will be required to change this process to comply with the new guidelines.

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Is the DEA old before its time?

Posted on Jul 12 2012 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Is the DEA old before its time?

We’re not fans of the DEA, that’s no secret, but it’s been two years since its ‘back door’ entry into law and we have seen very little progress. In fact last month, with the launch of it’s Initial Obligations Code, Ofcom announced that the controversial three strikes warning letters will not commence until 2014 – a whole four years after the law was passed! With so much notice, surely the most prolific infringers will have discovered even more ways to circumvent the DEA by the time it’s enforced. So we ask, is the DEA old before its time?

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

The Digital Economy Act (DEA) was the brain child of Lord Mandelson who controversially passed it into UK law through the pre-parliamentary wash-up. This meant it received very little parliamentary discussion before becoming an Act – much to the dismay of ISPs and other objectors across the country. However, two years on and we’re still waiting for one of the most debated aspects of the DEA to be implemented – the three strikes policy. This will see copyright infringers receive warning letters and potentially face court action from the copyright holders and even disconnection from the Internet if they persist with their unlawful behaviour.

In Ofcom’s recent announcement of its Initial Obligations Code it states: “Ofcom will now consult on the revised draft code. Subject to further review by the European Commission, it will be laid in Parliament around the end of 2012. ISPs will then prepare to meet their obligations, and Ofcom will appoint an appeals body. Ofcom currently expects the first customer notification letters to be sent in early 2014.”

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Get into VoIP – It’s perfect timing!

Posted on Jul 09 2012 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Get into VoIP – It’s perfect timing!

Have you toyed with the idea of reselling VoIP solutions in the past? Maybe you were put off by lack of knowledge or didn’t believe there was a market for these services. If that was the case then now is the perfect time to re-evaluate your thinking.

Get into VoIP – It’s perfect timing!

Get into VoIP – It’s perfect timing!

The emergence of more stable and affordable connectivity solutions such as fibre broadband and EFM, coupled with a general market acceptance of the concept and practice of hosted applications, as well as advancements in VoIP services to reduce jitter and improve call quality mean that demand for VoIP is increasing rapidly.

An Illume consulting report states that between 2010 and 2011 there was over 20% growth in VoIP, 85% of which was in small businesses and shows the hosted VoIP market is growing 11% quarter on quarter. Similarly, IDC believe the Western European market will grow by 49% CAGR to be worth $0.7bn by 2014.

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The consumerisation of IT

Posted on Jun 19 2012 by Guest | Comments Off on The consumerisation of IT
Categories : Cloud Computing, Featured, LLU

By now you’re probably aware of terms like ‘cloud computing’ and ‘BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)’. In our guest article from O2 Wholesale, Head of Partners and Strategy Dan Cunliffe looks at another – the ‘consumerisation of IT’. What challenges does this pose for the channel?

Dan Cunliffe, Head of Partners & Strategy, O2 Wholesale

Dan Cunliffe, Head of Partners & Strategy, O2 Wholesale

In just a few short years, consumers, not corporates, have found themselves in the driving seat of IT in the workplace and they’re breaking a new balance of power. In most instances, technology innovation is driven by the demands of the corporate and industrial world, with consumers benefitting further down the line. With the ‘consumerisation of IT’, this status quo has been turned on its head, causing pain for those responsible for managing corporate IT as they look to deliver what their users want without losing control altogether.

According to Michael Fauscette of IDC, the consumerisation of IT has been driven by two shifts – innovation in the technology and the expectations of employees. As technology becomes more accessible to people for their own use, their expectations are that what they use at work should be the same or as good as what they use at home.

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Is business good or could it be a lot better?

Posted on May 14 2012 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Is business good or could it be a lot better?
Categories : Featured, Food for thought

So, how’s 2012 shaping up for you business-wise? In our January Food for Thought article (So what’s your strategy for 2012?) we highlighted the need for having a clear strategy if your aim is to build upon what you’ve already achieved last year. Now that we’re five months into this year, are you following a specific plan or simply throwing money and resources at activities you hope will work?

Is business good or could it be a lot better?

Is business good or could it be a lot better?

A lot of businesses exist because of owner interest in a particular market, product or service. It’s maybe where they have previous experience or a passion. Others have evolved from an earlier idea that changed over time as new customers came on board. Whichever, a common problem that many owners and managers face is knowing where to apply their marketing spend in an effort to create opportunities for new business. Often a limited budget is focused on a limited number of activities that aren’t particularly successful. Furthermore, these activities are trying independently to generate enquiries. Realistically then, what level of success can be expected?

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The EU Cookie Law – Bureaucracy at its worst

Posted on Apr 24 2012 by Darren Farnden | 1 Comment

As if the latest ASA/CAP guidelines dictating how broadband should and shouldn’t be advertised weren’t enough to disarm UK Internet Service Providers’ marketing, another new law is about to come into effect that will cripple all UK companies trying to make best use of the Internet to market their products and services. It’s known as the EU Cookie Law and it comes into force from May 26 2012.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Under the new law, every single company or individual in the EU using cookies on their website will have to alert every visitor and give them the choice to continue with or without the use of cookies. Failure to comply could result in a fine of up to £500,000! This will result in website owners having to use pop up boxes or splash pages to inform visitors and gain their consent. As a result, websites will now run the risk of their visitors declining all cookies, which in effect stops them from working all together. No more logging into secure sites, no more adjusting text sizes and remembering preferences and no more Google Analytics to help marketers produce websites that are helpful and relevant for visitors.

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Mobile operators must follow net neutrality principles, says ITSPA

Posted on Mar 08 2012 by Guest | Comments Off on Mobile operators must follow net neutrality principles, says ITSPA

The issue of net neutrality has been regularly debated over the years and is something we’ve covered many times on this blog, but a recent report by ITSPA (the Internet Telephony Service Providers’ Association) identifies clear breaches of net neutrality by mobile operators with regards to VoIP traffic and raises new concerns for the industry. ITSPA have kindly agreed to share their concerns on this issue with us…

Guest article from ITSPA

Guest article from ITSPA

“VoIP (Voice over IP) is the future of voice services. As readers will know, VoIP provides new added-value applications and cost benefits to both businesses and home users. It will only continue to grow as the UK’s next generation network rollout continues. The technology has developed significantly in recent years, to the point where in many instances the customer experience exceeds that of traditional circuit-switched telephony.

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Big brother returns with a new name

Posted on Jul 21 2011 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on Big brother returns with a new name
Categories : Featured, Government, Privacy

The IMP (Interception Modernisation Programme) was a highly controversial plan from the then Labour government which planned to intercept and store immense amounts of communications data in a bid to fight cybercrime and terrorism. It would have been the world’s largest surveillance system and was expected to cost a whopping £2billion but, with the change of government and in the face of constant criticism, it looked like the IMP had been scrapped. In fact in the new government’s original coalition agreement they pledge “An end to storing Internet and email records without good reason”.

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

That was until the Home Secretary Theresa May announced its reincarnation, albeit under a new name, earlier this month. The IMP, now known as the Communications Capabilities Development Programme (CCDP), will be included in the Government’s Counter Terrorism Strategy known as CONTEST.

The CONTEST document says: “Legislation will be brought forward to put in place the necessary regulations and safeguards to ensure that the response to this technology challenge [from terrorists using the internet] is compatible with the Government’s approach to information storage and civil liberties.”

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Professor Hargreaves restores the balance

Posted on May 23 2011 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Professor Hargreaves restores the balance

The UK’s IP (Intellectual Property) law has been knowingly out of date for many years and, as the Internet becomes of increasing importance to our day to day lives and our business practices, an overhaul of the IP laws which were first conceived several hundred years ago are well overdue. This, coupled with the forthcoming implementation of the DEA, means the Government has had little choice but to review the current legislation. It therefore called upon Professor Ian Hargreaves of Cardiff University to conduct an in depth review and last week he published his much anticipated report.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Hargreaves estimates that changes to the Intellectual Property systems could add £7.9 billion to the UK’s economy. He stated “In recent years the UK has failed to make the changes needed to modernise copyright law, for which we will pay an increasing economic price as we make our way into the third decade of the commercial internet. My recommendations are designed to enhance the economic potential of the UK’s creative industries and ensure that the emergence of high technology businesses, especially smaller businesses, in other sectors is not impeded by our IP laws.”

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Is the devil in the detail?

Posted on Dec 14 2010 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Is the devil in the detail?

Last week the Department for Business Innovation and Skills published a 61 page plan titled “Britain’s Superfast Broadband Future” as part of its aim for the UK to have “the best broadband network in Europe by 2015”.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

For quite some time now we and others in the industry have discussed the Government’s plans for rolling out superfast broadband, often focusing on key aspects like the 2Mbps USC and using the BBC license fee to fund this, opening up the fibre ducts and reaching the most rural communities via the use of satellite and mobile services. When discussing these highly topical issues the industry has continuously called for more detail explaining exactly how these plans would be achieved and funded. And so we had high expectations of the new publication.

So what does the report reveal?

Having read the report our conclusion is ‘don’t hold your breath’. Don’t get me wrong, we think it’s laudable that the Government recognises the need to deliver a good level of access to communities that fall outside of the more densely populated areas that ‘the market’ first generally serves. It’s just that, well, we can’t help but feel its grand plan will become logistically constrained by complexity, regulatory debate and excessive demand. 

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