Adrian Wooster’s Blog

Adrian Wooster is a widely respected consultant working with INCA on the development of technical and business process standards to support the emerging patchwork quilt. We have syndicated the content of his influential and widely read blog for the convenience of INCA members and site visitors. You can view Adrian's site at http://wooster.org.uk

Public or private?

I seem to have found myself in a number of discussions recently where the role of public and private funding has become a hot topic – not specific to any scheme or country but in general – so I decided to write up my own view of this.

Most parts of the modern world take a position that private enterprise should prosper where it makes sense, and that of some kind should be focussed where its most needed. I haven’t met any fundamentalists recently so no-one questioned this and the focus of debate was primarily on when should the state intervene and what form should the intervention take.

Personally I like graphs – especially ones with axes that have no clearly identifiable scales – so this is my graph of where and how might a state fund industry.

No more “quick thoughts”

With the demise of Posterous in April, I decided to merge all the old “quick thoughts” into this site, keeping everything on one place.

It was an interesting process – and not without frustration. The Posterous plugin for self-hosted WordPress sites doesn’t seem to work with current versions of WordPress,  the native import process only works for WordPress.com websites, and the Posterous backup process is ponderous – it took hours and hours to produce a relatively small xml file.

I have to say, it could have been made a lot easier!!

In the end I gave up and manually copied articles across. The naturally gets yo thinking about what you’ve written before – Do you still think the same thoughts? Have things moved one?

In the end I decided that revisionist  of my thinking was not right so in just about every case I just copied the article over unaltered while preserving the date of publication – If I changed my mind then its all in context and my vacillation will be laid bare.

A market view of the fibre evolution

It can be argued that the telecommunications market is undergoing what may be the single largest transformations in its as it migrates away from copper-based services towards -based solutions.

The debate surrounding the shift often focusses on the immediately practical points of the technology choices and the mechanics of who pays for it and how. In this post I try to consider the movements in the market that are under-way and how these might best be supported.

I’ve taken as a starting point a model borrowed from work done by Evans and Wurster in their excellent book, “Blown to Bits”, looking into some of the reasons the dot.com bubble burst and some of the survival strategies that helped others prosper. While I’m not suggesting we’re approaching a similarly apocalyptic moment, their view of how organisations align to form a market is pertinent.

A year in deeply rural broadband

It seems to have come along very quickly but I’ve now been helping out in BDUK for a year, so it felt like a time for reflection - what has happened in the world of in the last year?

BDUK will speak for itself and this is not the place for making announcements on their behalf but from a personal observation the Broadband Fund has become a major provider of support for community broadband schemes. The RCBF is now arguably the biggest investor in community-led broadband in this country at the moment with some exciting projects about to emerge from the fund.

Gigabit? Who needs it?

Recently two things got me thinking a little:

  • One of my main PC’s needed a little maintenance
  • I visited the launch of Gigaclear’s Appleton network in

My main Windows PC developed a memory fault and I needed to get a little support from Yoyotech, the excellent people who made it for me. When I got it back up and running, I benchmarked the machine using the Windows Experience Index and saw it was hovering between 7.8 and 7.9 – the index only goes to 7.9.

I’m yet to find a task this PC, when it’s feeling fit and well, can’t do in its sleep.

Where business chooses to go

Its not the most recent of but I was browsing through the Cushman & Wakefield “European Cities Monitor 2011″ – it looks at the attractiveness to business of the key European business hubs after I picked up a reference to it in a report by Benoit Felton and caught him debating the merits of city-level analysis over country-level tables on Twitter.

In the C&W survey, they found “Easy access to markets, customers or clients” remains the most important factor, followed by “Availability of quality staff” and “Quality of telecommunications“.

London tops their table, consistently and across the board – including in telecoms:

Twitter, mapping and you!

I’ve finally got around to catching up with some of my favourite GIS blogs and the latest from Underdark got me thinking:

MAPPING MOVEMENT USING TWEETS

Twitter provides a goldmine for anyone interested in people, geography and maps. I’ve played with the Twitter API before and have a geo-coded database table of well over a million records I play with from time to time to see what I can learn about how the on-line world relates to the real world

I’ve a small python script I leave running from time to time, days at a time, on my (free) Amazon instance that captures every geo-tagged tweet from the UK and Ireland and logs it to a gigantically enormous CSV file. A few minutes after I’ve stopped the script the whole lot is nicely stored in a database, the co-ordinates with pinpoint accuracy calculated and ready for use.

A professional clique of technologists

I sat down with my 12 year old son to set-up our new family PC – me for work that requires Windows, he for his games and video editing.

During our chat we got to talking about ICT at school. Last week his class had to create an advert in MS Publisher; database lessons extend to setting up a card index in MS Access; there is no computer architecture, networking, programming,……

No-one has ever explained that a computer has a hard disk, or the purpose of RAM or an operating system, or what the actually is.

He went in to tell me that he learns more about technology and the Internet from his family and from sessions like this with me than he ever learnt in seven years at school.

Horses for Courses – picking the right tools for the fibre job!

This blog started life on my Posterous page which I use for quick thoughts but the impacts have been troubling me so I decided to move it to my main page and add a little to it.

It started when I spotted this tweet from FiberNews, run by the excellent Marc Duchesne (If you don’t follow @mduchesn, then why not!):

“MikroTik RouterOS – Hardware suggestions for FTTH ISP bit.ly/IVK6v9

Seeing it raised some big questions in my mind, and ones which I think are largely a UK specific issue and not one which may be of particular relevance to other countries beginning to -up.

FttH is long-lasting national strategic infrastructure. At some point in the future there will be a copper switch-off and the fibre infrastructure left behind will become default telecommunications network in each country.

Reaching out for take-up

At this year’s European FttH Summit in Munich Benoit Felton presented some research on the different market approaches adopted by a broad spectrum of established European project. His work identified that successful projects make a conscious decision to either to aggressively develop market share or to adopt a premium position in the market.

As a rule of thumb, many incumbents tend to prefer a premium position for the NGA services as a means of managing their transition from their existing first generation services, while new entrant NGA providers were more varied in their approaches. But one thing was clear from Benoit’s findings – successful NGA schemes need to be very clear about which approach to adopt; sitting on the fence or having an ambiguous market strategy is a mistake.