Where there’s blame there’s a claim – really?

Posted on Aug 04 2016 by Neil Watson | 1 Comment
Categories : ADR, Broadband, Ofcom, Regulation

Over the last fortnight there have been a litany of connectivity faults preventing users getting online. First up was a power outage at TeleCity on the 20th July, followed by a failure at Telehouse North the very next day. Zen then suffered an outage that affected its DSL and leased line Internet services, and this week Sky’s fibre network was hit with an unusual routing problem and Virgin Media suffered a major fibre break. No business – no matter how big or small – is immune from faults that affect service delivery.

The outages that affected central infrastructure (TeleCity, Telehouse North and Virgin’s fibre break) impacted everyone in the supply chain. Some of our partners’ customers were unable to get online, along with the retail customers of BT, Plusnet and others, for several hours. There wasn’t anything we could do to physically fix the issues as the repair work was under their control; we could only keep our customers informed and manage their dissatisfaction as best we could. But the experience got us thinking: if Ofcom’s proposals for automatic compensation had been in place, how much happier would affected customers have been, and whose pocket would be feeling the pinch?

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So, who is Matt Hancock?

Posted on Jul 21 2016 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on So, who is Matt Hancock?
Categories : Government, Ofcom, Regulation

We certainly can’t take all the credit, but Ed Vaizey was unceremoniously dumped from his role as Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy last Friday evening. His replacement is the MP for West Suffolk, Matt Hancock.

Representing West Suffolk since 2010, and serving as George Osborne’s chief of staff before that, Mr Hancock isn’t a complete neophyte when it comes to politics. But what of that subject so close to our hearts? Is he likely to be any better at promoting connectivity issues and engaging with the industry than his predecessor?

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Digital Economy Bill: More empty promises from DCMS

Posted on Jul 07 2016 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on Digital Economy Bill: More empty promises from DCMS

The Digital Economy Bill – first outlined by the Queen at the State Opening of Parliament –  has now been introduced to Parliament and it has made for some fairly interesting reading. However the concerns that we raised back in May haven’t been assuaged.

“Universal” Service Obligation

Let’s take the Universal Service Obligation (USO) for starters. The Bill Overview Factsheet says:

“What are we going to do?

  • Empower consumers and provide better connectivity so that everyone has access to broadband wherever they live”.
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Update 2 – Could new data protection rules mean the end of SMEs?

Posted on Jul 05 2016 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Update 2 – Could new data protection rules mean the end of SMEs?

Yesterday Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG, Minister for Data Protection, gave a speech at the Privacy Laws & Business 29th International Conference held at St. John’s College in Cambridge outlining the UK Government’s perspective on the EU data protection package.

In essence, she outlined that any country outside of the EU – including the UK – wanting or needing to either share data with EU Member States or handle EU citizens’ data will need to gain an ‘adequacy status’ to do so. This ‘adequacy status’ is essentially an approval from the EU that the applicant country has data protection policies and practices in place that are equal to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) due to enter into force on the 25th May 2018.

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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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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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Update: Could new data protection rules mean the end of SMEs

Posted on May 26 2016 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Update: Could new data protection rules mean the end of SMEs

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – the new data protection law that applies to every organisation that handles the data of European citizens – has now entered the two year grace period for businesses to comply. This means that all firms from one-man-bands to multinational corporations are working against the clock to ensure that they’re compliant with the new rules by Friday 25th May 2018. As we discussed in our previous post, failure to adhere to the rules laid out by the GDPR could be extremely costly – with bankruptcy a very real threat.

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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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Could new data protection rules mean the end of SMEs?

Posted on May 03 2016 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Could new data protection rules mean the end of SMEs?

Data Protection. Whatever your views on it, it’s about to take up a whole lot more of your time, even if you’re a sole trader.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the new legislation to come from Brussels which is designed to create consistent data protection laws that apply to every European citizen and which aims to “strengthen consumer protection and enhance trust and confidence in how personal data is used and managed”. This new law replaces 1995’s Data Protection Directive (from which the Data Protection Act was born) and covers how personal data is gathered, stored, shared, processed and used.

The GDPR has been four years in the making and, although it’s not due to be formally published until this summer and then enforced in 2018, it’s already bringing the subject of data protection into the boardroom for the simple reason that a DP breach poses such a massive financial risk that even the largest company could see its operating profit disappear.

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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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