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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2015 – The year in review

Posted on Dec 15 2015 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on 2015 – The year in review

It’s certainly been an eventful year within the industry, with plenty of innovations and new technologies and trends emerging, an abundance of regulatory changes both UK and EU based, industry process changes with things like the new switching process and channel unrest with a clear backlash against BT’s relationship with Openreach. We’ve tried to keep you up to date and informed about the key issues that affect you and your customers as part of this fascinating channel, as well as providing useful eBooks and sales advice along the way too.

If you missed any of the blog this year and would like a quick recap, why not download our ‘2015- A year of Opinion in review’ eBook and have a catch up over the holidays. Simply enter your email address into the form field below to receive your free copy. 

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Shhh…Don’t talk about the new Snooper’s Charter – But, here are the latest updates!

Posted on Dec 01 2015 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Shhh…Don’t talk about the new Snooper’s Charter – But, here are the latest updates!

The consultation period for the new Investigatory Powers Bill, nicknamed the Snooper’s Charter 3.0, has begun and the information emerging so far is already raising industry concerns. Mainly the fact that the new data retention orders will potentially only apply to larger ISPs; all affected ISPs will be effectively ‘gagged’ from discussing their involvement; and the consultation period has been significantly reduced to just 3 weeks!

Smaller ISPs unaffected?

According to www.ispreview.co.uk, “the Government already has data retention orders with the biggest broadband ISPs under the existing regime and told the smaller providers that, going forwards, the expectation was for such orders to continue to only be served upon the big boys.”

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Will the new 10Mbps USO solve the final 5% issue?

Posted on Nov 17 2015 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Will the new 10Mbps USO solve the final 5% issue?

Following promises in the 2015 Budget back in March, the Government has finally confirmed plans to introduce a 10Mbps Universal Service Obligation (USO) for all broadband services across the UK by 2020. With the Government already under pressure to complete the superfast broadband rollout to the final 5% of the UK’s most hard to reach communities, we ask will this latest USO help to achieve that goal or cause further issues?

Commenting on the plans Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Access to the Internet shouldn’t be a luxury; it should be a right – absolutely fundamental to life in 21st century Britain. That is why I’m announcing a giant leap in my digital mission for Britain. Just as our forebears effectively brought gas, electricity and water to all, we’re going to bring fast broadband to every home and business that wants it. That’s right: we’re getting Britain – all of Britain – online, and on the way to becoming the most prosperous economy in the whole of Europe.”

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What’s new in the Snooper’s Charter 3.0?

Posted on Nov 11 2015 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on What’s new in the Snooper’s Charter 3.0?

Labour tried it with the IMP (Interception Modernisation Programme), then the coalition Government tried it with CCDP (Communications Capabilities Development Programme). When that failed they morphed it into the Communications Data Bill which also failed, so then the new Tory Government hastily introduced DRIP (Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill) but that has a sunset clause of December 2016. It’s not surprising then that last week yet another new draft Bill was announced – this time it’s called the Investigatory Powers Bill. So what will this latest iteration which has already been widely nicknamed the ‘Snooper’s Charter 3.0’ have in store for us?

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EU misses chance to strengthen net neutrality protection

Posted on Nov 02 2015 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on EU misses chance to strengthen net neutrality protection

Last week the EU rejected further amendments to strengthen the new laws that will essentially protect the concept of net neutrality. Critics argue this leaves the legislation weak and means the Internet could still be susceptible to becoming ‘two tiered’ or having ‘fast lanes’.

The amendments were attempting to restrict ‘overly broad language’ which critics argued ISPs could interpret to allow ‘fast lanes’ and ‘two tiered’ approaches to ensure a certain level of quality for premium services such as IPTV, but they were rejected by a huge majority in the vote. Instead the EU argues that this will be managed by regulators, although at this stage no further details were provided regarding potential punishments for contradiction of the rules.

This is a concern we raised in our recent article “Net neutrality in Europe: Enshrined in law or open to abuse?” and it’s disappointing at this stage to see the EU didn’t go further to protect net neutrality when given the chance. However, looking on the positive side, this is the first time net neutrality has ever been afforded any form of legal protection, so at least it’s a start! If the regulator approach doesn’t work as effectively as they hope, let’s hope the process will be adequately reviewed and updated as necessary. We will have to wait and see.

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