Skip to main content
Somewhere between the vision and the dream sits BT's well overdue announcement that it plans to slash the cost of Broadband (wholesale) to under £15.00 a month to ISPs. Of course that suggests that over 40 Service Providers, the likes of BT Anytime and Freeserve will soon be offering it out to surfers at close to the £25.00 to £30.00 mark at a guess, making it an achievable option for the man on the street.

Pipex has announced that it plans to go below the £25.00 mark and other are muttering that even this figure is too expensive and I agree it has to go lower still if the Digital Dive problem is really going to be solved. By this I mean those with no access, 43 million people according to government figures, those with dial-up access and the new elite... those with broadband.

BT's CEO Ben Verwaayen, believes that broadband will be the De Facto connection in 40% of homes in two years and at these prices, who is to say he's wrong. It is after all, just what the country needs and the Prime Minster wants if the dream of Britannia is going to become anywhere near a reality before 2005; The PM's date for 100% capability for the delivery of central government services on-line, UK Online

I rather think that like the Net's beginnings, Broadband acceptance will be driven by the really important things in life. Live soccer and a heady mixture of sex and music. With Napster looking respectable, there are the Grid alternatives like Kazaa. Downloading an MP3 file is really tedious over a 56 Kb modem conection and broadband's high speed will prove irresistible to the Internet porn industry with its latest in pay per view webcam offerings, "Live from Amsterdam" or so I'm told!

Just one other thing bothers me though when I add-up my communications bills. A lot of things really not least of which is security, the imps of Satan trying to hack your PC through an open broadband connection, which I won't go into here, but look at my last column for an idea of the problem.

First the BT bill. My last one came in at £220 for the quarter. Of this £170 reflected line rental, special deals, equipment rental etc. - I have three lines. BT of course are incapable - They've give up or as the very nice customer service girl said to me "We're rubbish" - trying to consolidate my bills to include my Internet Anytime bill. This now comes separately, so that's an extra £15.00 a month. And if your broadband connection fails? God help us. Have you ever tried reporting a residential fault to BT?

Then there's the two mobile phone bills for me and my wife. Let's say £50.00 a month

Next comes Sky Television. With terrestrial TV now too awful to contemplate 90% of the time - it's either cooking or gardening or decorating - or all three - There's the Sky subscription at £30.00 a month. (The basic package for me, the Disney Channel without the football and the PLayboy TV options)

Finally, there, the TV license. Extortion at £109 a year for a BBC I rarely watch. Worse still most of the good BBC stuff is now on Sky through BBC Knowledge, which I'm paying for anyway and for that money, they still can't get the decent sports events, which go to Sky's "Pay per View".

So in total, the cost of being a member of this digital society is already over £100 a month. I have a Mb link here at the office and a perfectly good dial-up connection at home - two in fact because you need a reserve when BT Anytime become BT no time at all at peak period - Am I ready for the broadband experience? We'll see but for now, I'm planning to sit on the fence. And you, what will you do?


Popular posts from this blog

Mainframe to Mobile

Not one of us has a clue what the world will look like in five years’ time, yet we are all preparing for that future – As  computing power has become embedded in everything from our cars and our telephones to our financial markets, technological complexity has eclipsed our ability to comprehend it’s bigger picture impact on the shape of tomorrow.

Our intuition has been formed by a set of experiences and ideas about how things worked during a time when changes were incremental and somewhat predictable. In March 1953. there were only 53 kilobytes of high-speed RAM on the entire planet.

Today, more than 80 per cent of the value of FTSE 500* firms is ‘now dark matter’: the intangible secret recipe of success; the physical stuff companies own and their wages bill accounts for less than 20 per cent: a reversal of the pattern that once prevailed in the 1970s. Very soon, Everything at scale in this world will be managed by algorithms and data and there’s a need for effective platforms for ma…

Civilisational Data Mining

It’s a new expression I haven’t heard before. ‘Civilisational data mining.’

Let me start by putting it in some context. Every character, you or I have typed into the Google search engine or Facebook over the last decade, means something, to someone or perhaps ‘something,’ if it’s an algorithm.

In May 2014, journalists revealed that the United States National Security Agency, the NSA, was recording and archiving every single cell-phone conversation that took place in the Bahamas. In the process they managed to transform a significant proportion of a society’s day to day interactions into unstructured data; valuable information which can of course be analysed, correlated and transformed for whatever purpose the intelligence agency deems fit.

And today, I read that a GOP-hired data company in the United States has ‘leaked’ personal information, preferences and voting intentions on… wait for it… 198 million US citizens.

Within another decade or so, the cost of sequencing the human genome …

The Big Steal

I’m not here to predict the future;” quipped the novelist, Ray Bradbury. “I’m here to prevent it.” And the future looks much like one where giant corporations who hold the most data, the fastest servers, and the greatest processing power will drive all economic growth into the second half of the century.

We live in an unprecedented time. This in the sense that nobody knows what the world will look like in twenty years; one where making confident forecasts in the face of new technologies becomes a real challenge. Before this decade is over, business leaders will face regular and complex decisions about protecting their critical information and systems as more of the existing solutions they have relied upon are exposed as inadequate.

The few real certainties we have available surround the uninterrupted march of Moore’s Law - the notion that the number of transistors in the top-of-the-line processors doubles approximately every two years - and the unpredictability of human nature. Exper…