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

Twitter geopolicy – what types of areas tweet the most?

To dig further into the relatively small sample of data I collected on UK geo-tagged twitter activity, I matched it against the ONS geo-policy dataset – this classifies census super output areas* by the broad types of people that live there.

Far and away the most prolific areas are those classed as “Professional City Life” – three times more than any other area.

Next were “Multicultural City Life” and “Miscellaneous built-up areas” – each about the same level and 50% more “twitterous” than the trailing groups.

Finally the remaining groups, made up of “Disadvanataged urban communities“, “Urban fringe“, “Countryside“, and “White-collar urban” areas, were neck-and-neck at just 20% of the professionals.

Blackberry, Apple, outages, control and collaboration

Its been interesting to watch from afar the and stories this week.

When my last contract came up for renewal I looked around, asked the opinions of those around me and after long deliberation I still opted to renew with another Android phone.

Android isn’t as fast of slick as an iPhone but its nearly there; the battery life of most Android phones doesn’t match any Blackberry model; and the Market doesn’t offer as many apps as Apple (although its rare I can’t find what I need).

However, the consensus of opinion was clear – if I bought into the world view of RIM or Apple, that I liked their way of doing things, then Blackberry and iPhone handsets were great – in fact arguably better than anything else on the market. BUT if I didn’t, and I wanted to tailor the device to the way I work, choose what features I had and how they worked then neither was a good choice.

Following Tweeters

The world never stops amazing me, and this time (again) its the QGis with a new Timeline tool to map geo-coded information over time -- very cool but what to do with it?

With a very basic understanding of the Titter API and scripts openly available (remember, I’m no programmer) I captured a morning’s worth of Twitter data and plotted the geo-coded tweets as a time-lapse sequence.

Steering the QE2

The hand wringing over the global economy continues, and the UK is now having to consider a second round of quantitative easing (QE – hope no-one thinks this will be about luxury cruises).

In normal times we have Qualitative Easing – changing the quality of the money supply by adjusting interest rates. When you can no longer adjust the quality of money then you need to adjust the quantity – in earlier times that meant printing new notes but today that typically means the central bank buys bonds (debt).

Its all about black and white

Anyone who has been close to any public sector involvement in is likely to have come across references to Black, White and Grey areas but I get the impression that the meaning is often not well understood; this is perhaps not surprising because there are in fact two models and rarely in my experience is the specific one being used named.

A bit of background. In 2009 the EU laid down some guidelines on where it was reasonable for a state to consider intervening in the broadband market; this introduced the concept of Black, White and Grey areas for classifying market failure in both and basic broadband areas. A black area is generally one with a strong, competitive market; grey with a developing market; and White where the market has essentially failed. White does not necessarily mean there is no broadband, just no functioning market.

Unintended consequences

Even the best planned actions can fall foul of unintended consequences but its probably fair to say that the more rigorous the thinking the less likely they are.

In this vein I’m beginning to hear of a growing number of communities that are finding that, far from supporting them as they try to become part of the solution to their problems, their local authorities are becoming hostile. Of course this is far from common but it is being reported and does appear to be growing in some districts.

The root behind it seems to be the mechanism which is supposed to protect them. BDUK is only allowed to spend its funds in what the EU calls “White areas” – areas where the market has failed to deliver a viable broadband solution.

The logic chain says that if a provider delivers a viable solution then the area must be designated as either “Grey” or “Black” depending on the level of new competition.

Reliable data

Recently we have seen BDUK announce the funding allocations to local authorities and the devolved assemblies, and the companies aiming hoping to get on the national framework have been short-listed. The sums awarded to councils were modelled by BDUK according to their understanding of need, and at the moment the framework companies are trying to develop a consistent understanding of what will be required of them and their shareholders should they be successful.

At stake is the investment of billions of pounds and public and private money, and the future competitiveness of the UK economy. Yet questions have been raise in several quarters for quite some time now about the accuracy of BDUKs data on which all this investment sits. So for the record I decided to correlate a source of data I have grown to trust – from who in turn get their DSL data from BT – against a set of BDUK data for the same area. The sample included a little over 19,000 postcodes.

Suffolk issues two important tenders

I’ve recently been working with Suffolk ACRE on shaping up two key tenders for the county – one a small but very important project in the village of Parham, the other a model for wireless to ensure everyone in East Suffolk has access to good, reliable  wherever they may live.

Clearing up a little confusion. . .

I just wanted to clear up a little confusion that I’ve had fed back to me.

BroadwayPartners is a new venture which has brought together the financial acumen of Michael Armitage and Alexander Sleigh with the experience of David Brunnen and myself, with hopefully two or three surprising additions coming on board very soon to complete the team.

While we are very supportive of what INCA is doing in the industry, BroadwayPartners isn’t an INCA venture or subsidiary – although we do aim to become members very soon (all part of the bootstrap phase) and will work to support their aims.

I suspect the confusion came about because this blog is very kindly syndicated by INCA on their website (and long may it remain so!), and my involvement was announced here.

Speech to INCA workshop – Community Broadband is Dead

What follows is the transcript of a speech I gave to INCA’s workshop help on the 19th July at the Frontline Club. This was a difficult speech to give, but one I felt I had to give.

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The speech was given as part of the events opening “provocations” to seed debate, so it was just 5 minutes long. To help clarify some points, I’ve added footnotes to the text – hover over the numbers to see some of my clarifications.

It saddens me – that I feel it necessary to say what I’m about to say but it does come from the heart.

There is no such thing as “ ” – its dead, gone.

Or rather “community broadband” as its often described – a neatly delineated, easily identifiable scheme run by ardent enthusiasts on the fringes – is dead.