Brexit: what needs to happen now that our government’s gone AWOL?

Posted on Jun 29 2016 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Brexit: what needs to happen now that our government’s gone AWOL?

Shock, awe, disgust, celebration. Whatever your reaction, nobody ever expected that we’d be left with no leadership and no plan of action. With David Cameron’s resignation, George Osborne and Theresa May keeping a very low profile and Boris Johnson off playing cricket, one may be forgiven for thinking our government has gone AWOL in the wake of last week’s Referendum vote. In any case, there is no firm plan and we’re all left scratching our heads as to what Brexit actually means for our country, our personal lives and the industry that we represent.

Since businesses are keeping the country ticking over while the politicians scrabble around to decide who’s in charge and what needs to be done, we thought we’d seize the opportunity to remind Whitehall what needs to be considered so that the connectivity industry can depart from the EU as painlessly as possible.

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The EU Referendum: What You Think

Posted on Jun 23 2016 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on The EU Referendum: What You Think
Categories : Government

Today’s the day that we head to the polls and cast our votes in the Referendum that will determine the fate of our country. And while we wait with bated breath for tomorrow’s result; the culmination of months of campaigning by both Team Brexit and Team Bremain; it’s clear that no-one really knows which way the vote will go.

We’ve been running our own polls to determine what our Partners think and the results mirror those of national polls which suggest it’s too close to call.

When asked ‘How will you be voting in the Brexit Referendum?’ in synergi (our Partner Portal) with simple answer options of ‘Stay’ or ‘Leave’, a slight majority of 50.5% came out in favour of staying in the EU (103 votes) versus 49.5% or 101 votes for leaving. Yet, when asked the same question on our Opinion site, voting was tied at 25 votes apiece.

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IPB now looks certain to be passed within weeks

Posted on Jun 20 2016 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on IPB now looks certain to be passed within weeks

Back in March, we expressed our dismay about the government’s apparent determination to push through the Investigatory Powers Bill (IPB) before the summer (The IPB takes a step closer to being law). The government seems determined to do this at all costs and while there is a possibility that it will be delayed until after the summer recess due to other parliamentary business, it now looks certain to become law within weeks.

Some adjustments have been made to the Bill since March but, in our view, they are too few and do not go anywhere near far enough. At that time, we did have some hope that an alliance of Labour and the SNP would reject the Bill in it’s current form and force much greater scrutiny and the emergence of legislation that would be, as ISPA put it, clear and workable’.

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The Queen’s Speech – connectivity comes front & centre

Posted on May 24 2016 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on The Queen’s Speech – connectivity comes front & centre

The State Opening of Parliament took place last Wednesday, with the Queen setting out the Government’s legislative programme for the coming year to both the Houses of Parliament and Lords. And while the news cycle has been kept busy with coverage of this most traditional of British events, was anything said to interest us comms industry types?

In essence – yes. The announcement of the Digital Economy Bill was enough for those in the communications industry to sit up and pay attention and its aims are worthy of applause. The desire to provide Internet parity across the nation, protect innocents from the seedier side of the Web and taking steps to increase consumer choice and competition are all commendable inclusions – however – it’s the lack of thinking around the ‘detail’ or the reality of implementation which means that the politicos have gone and shot themselves in the foot. Again.

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Poll: How will you be voting in the Brexit Referendum?

Posted on May 04 2016 by Claire Dutton-Merrills | Comments Off on Poll: How will you be voting in the Brexit Referendum?
Categories : Government, Polls

The Referendum on whether the UK should remain an EU Member State or not is almost upon us (the country will be voting on the 23rd June, just in case you’d missed it) and while we all know that politicians are divided on this issue, we want to know what you think. Let us know by participating in our poll and/or leaving a comment below.   


 

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5 truths about the broadband rollout

Posted on Apr 05 2016 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | 2 Comments

An attempt to get the hashtag ‘they don’t get that in the Rhondda’ to trend on Twitter helped to raise the profile of how rural communities are fast becoming the ‘have nots’ in many aspects of modern society. Contributions to the tag varied from takeaway pizza to taxi availability after dark to the lack of fibre optic broadband. While entertaining, the underlying message is serious and one that the communications industry has been debating for years – how to ensure connectivity parity between urban and rural communities.

The Superfast Broadband Programme – announced by Prime Minister David Cameron back in 2010 – aims to level the playing field by bringing fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) connectivity to at least 95% of the UK by the end of the 2017. This spring has seen a flurry of press activity around Phase One completions (i.e. counties achieving their 90% coverage target) demonstrating that BT and BDUK are on target with the rollout, but consumers continue to feel duped and disappointed that the reality doesn’t match up to their expectations. And for this the Government needs to accept some responsibility.

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The IPB takes a step closer to being law

Posted on Mar 24 2016 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on The IPB takes a step closer to being law
Categories : Government, Privacy, Regulation

Timing is everything in the world of media relations – one of the cardinal rules is that if you have bad news, try and “break it” when there’s something else going on to mitigate its impact. For the cynical, it seems that the Conservatives tried to employ this strategy last week by scheduling the reading of the Budget the very next day after the lengthy debate and first House of Commons vote on the IPB. Whether they were hoping for the sugar tax to sweeten any negative publicity over the controversial and divisive IPB, or vice versa, is anyone’s guess.

The key takeaway from last Tuesday’s reading, debate and vote is that the IP Bill took a step closer to becoming law. 281 MPs voted in favour versus just 15 against, while both Labour and the SNP abstained to vote (the Bill would have been defeated had they voted against it). Shadow home secretary Andy Burnham defended Labour’s ‘on the fence’ stance by saying “Britain needs a new law in this area. Outright opposition which some are proposing… risks sinking this Bill and leaving the interim laws [DRIPA etc] in place”. The SNP meanwhile is holding its power to sink the Bill until after the next Committee stage, wherein they seek to change the proposed legislation “significantly”.

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May rushes through Snoopers Charter – why are we not surprised!?

Posted on Mar 01 2016 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on May rushes through Snoopers Charter – why are we not surprised!?

Less than three weeks after it received scathing criticism from no fewer than three parliamentary committees, news that a revised Investigatory Powers Bill was to be published today was gently released by Theresa May at the weekend. From past experience we’re not surprised this has happened but we’re hanging our head in despair. How can a government be able to rail-road such a controversial Bill through without proper consultation or, at the very least, further dialogue on the points the three committees raised? Today’s action is indicative of a Government that is intent on forcing through legislation that furthers its own agenda with little consideration of the consequences.

Back in December 2015 Entanet provided written evidence to the Select Committee, raising concerns over the definition of a ‘Communications Service Provider’, the timescales to implement the IPB, the cost of implementation and who will pay, the vagueness of ‘Internet Connection Records’ and the robustness of any system to guarantee that data on private citizens would remain secure and not open to abuse or intrusion for malevolent means.

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Guest Blog: ISPAs ongoing concerns over the IPB

Posted on Feb 03 2016 by Guest | Comments Off on Guest Blog: ISPAs ongoing concerns over the IPB
Nicholas Lansman, Secretary General, ISPA

Nicholas Lansman, Secretary General, ISPA

The ‘Snooper’s Charter’ in its various iterations has been an ongoing cause for concern for Entanet and the industry as a whole for several years now and, as we move ever closer towards its seemingly inevitable implementation as the Investigatory Powers Bill (IPB), we decided to have a chat with ISPA’s Secretary General, Nicholas Lansman to find out his concerns for industry and what he thinks the committee scrutinising the Bill should be focusing on.

ISPA’s View

Parliament is currently scrutinising the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill, which aims to ‘consolidate existing legislation and ensure the powers in the Bill are fit for the digital age’.

Whilst ISPA welcomes a new Bill to replace the outdated legislation governing this area, there are specific concerns from ISPA, Entanet and industry around the lack of clarity in the Bill, its costs and what exactly will be expected of ISPs.

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Will UK net neutrality be broken by parental controls?

Posted on Jan 19 2016 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on Will UK net neutrality be broken by parental controls?

Most of our readers are well aware of the ongoing debate over the protection of net neutrality and its recent legal protection thanks to the EU. However, it looks like net neutrality could potentially be under threat once again and this time it’s from the UK Government and its plans to protect their existing ‘opt-in’ based parental controls.

The Government already has agreements in place with most of the major ISPs to force Internet users to specifically ‘opt-in’ via their ISP to view sexually explicit or violent material, in an attempt to help protect children from inadvertently seeing unsuitable material online. This means the account holder has to specifically request to turn off any parental control style filters (usually at the point of signup by unchecking a box which is known as an ‘enforced’ option) and all filters will be turned on by default.

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