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

Localism, innovation – and national frameworks?

I think it was Cisco’s John Chambers that once said that big companies can’t innovate, as he refocussed a large part of their R&D budget to nurturing and developing partnerships with small companies that could. Today we are seeing a similar trend in the pharmaceutical industry, where large internal research labs are being replaced by smaller external research companies.

And it is smaller, more nimble companies that are developing innovative business approaches, technologies, and service delivery models in ; not just in the UK but across Europe. Heavy Reading predicted that around 60% of European connections would be delivered by non-incumbents, with the largest sector being local municipal networks led by smart, small-scale innovators.

Mixed Ambitions

(Or why this isn’t an IT project)

Last year , when announced the BDUK competitions, I commented at the time that it felt like ambition was back on the agenda.

A year on, is really beginning to play out – or perhaps more accurately, a developing understanding of what it might mean is beginning to grow  as local authorities construct their strategies. This process has created a space for communities, the public sector and the telecoms industry to have a dialogue.

An observation on British broadband #2

One of my long-term predictions has been that Service Providers will ultimately disappear as we know them today. They were a necessary middle-man when we were trying coax our voice-grade network into the -era; dial-up would never have happened if banks of modems hadn’t been racked up and evolved from providing access to bulletin boards and mail hosts to an interconnected .

What’s super about the injunction?

Fast becoming the national centre for new media, Manchester stands to gain the most from the move by companies like Twitter to the UK. Yet it is allegedly a Mancunian footballer that is doing his damnedest to make the UK the last place on earth you’d think of locating a social media company.

The sad irony of the super-injunction fiasco is that if Twitter decide not to move to the UK because of a Mancunian footballer’s alleged immaturity to face up to his own actions, it may be the Mancunian economy that pays the price in the longer term.

Enough said.

An observation on British broadband #1

Some key announcements have been made in the last couple of weeks or so and its worth considering what they may mean for in the UK – I don’t know why it took me so long but the conclusion is quite startling!

Firstly, we are seeing a host of new models and investment announcements which are making the final third – the most rural parts of the UK – a viable and exciting place to invest in -optic broadband – providing you have the logistics and business model sorted. Fujitsu, Rutland Telecom, NextGenUs and Jendens – jointly and severally – all making headway in their own distinctive way.

An observation on Ireland

At a conference this week I saw a slide which provided a league table of countries according to some measure of , and it showed Ireland as being some places ahead of the UK – albeit with both languishing in the lower ranks. Mmmm I thought – doesn’t really tally with my by experiences. When over in Dublin recently I managed to upset over a comment I made on Twitter – thankfully no super injunction in place so it went no further!

Eircom’s current adverts promote “next generation broadband” but when you look at the detail its “up to 8 Mbps” – Ireland’s next generation broadband is the same speed as the UK has had for quite a few years on the surface of it (except its a lot more expensive!). So how do Eircom justify the monika “next generation”?

The (broadband) world is changing

I’ve just finished a week of very different conferences and workshops which lead me to just one very important conclusion – the world has fundamentally shifted.

My evidence? On Friday CPEND, a partnership in rural North Dorset, hosted an event to report the findings their broadband study. There have been many similar events over the years, looking into the nature and possible solutions to rural broadband problems. But this was very different.

The event, hosted in the community hall in the town of Blandford Forum, was well attended by local people, parish and district politicians, with local MP, Bob Walter, putting his full support behind the work. But attending in equal number were senior industry figures – people who make the decisions about where, when and how to invest in broadband.

Why Sony needs the British

Sony’s well reported problems with the PlayStation Network are costing the company dear – but there is a solution to hand!

When the UK approached next generation it could never have been accused of rushing at it – we’ve taken our time, analysed every possibility and then thought about it a bit more. Something that has frustrated just about everyone but it sometimes feels like we’re just built that way.

The up-side of this is that we will be deploying one of the best thought out networks anywhere in the world, and one of the things that sets us aside is ALA – Active Line Access – the method of connecting service providers with customers.

How does this help Sony?

12p or a fifth-of-percent

The Stakeholder Group’s (BSG) Commercial, Operational and Technical Standards (COTS) working group has written to BDUK recommending that they find their way to supporting the development of framework to ensure retail service competition on next generation networks.

This comes about two years after the team at BIS declined a proposal to do exactly that, feeling that it should be formed and funded by the industry at the recommendation of the BSG which, in turn, lead to the formation of the COTS process.

Funding the Final Third workshop – 9th May

The UK ’s rural initiative, investing more than £500m of public funds, places a significant burden of responsibility on Councils and the new LEPs:

  • To demonstrate the economic viability of rural broadband, often against conventional wisdom;
  • To develop, present and execute a comprehensive, county-wide broadband strategy;
  • And to present plans that are sustainable, with assured access to ongoing private funding.

These assessment criteria represent significant challenges for Councils to match.