Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Filling the gap in my Apple system - TV

I just found this product from Elgato:

Screen shot 2010-12-07 at 15.24.16.png

Wow! Looks just what I want. EXCEPT

1 The software and setup is much too complicated, and works the wrong way round. Netstream to Router (by Ethernet?), router to Mac, Mac to iPad!! No output to Apple TV as far as I can see.

This needs a HUGE amount of costly electronics to do a simple job.

A simple system would be Netsteam + iPad + Apple TV only. Then if a Mac book is around they can pick it up too...

2 It does not fit in my Apple eco-system (Apple TV feeding LCT TV and HiFi system, MacBook, iPad)

I want this:Eco-system.png

Where the STB steams by Apple's Airplay to my TV, or my iPad or my Macbook. And the STB can be controlled remotely from the iPad or MacBook. Simple.

Elgato get on the job.

Broadband round-up

It is really tricky to get all the stuff about broadband in one place, after chasing around the web this is my summary

The EU

1 800MHz reserved for BB from 2013

2 No exclusivity time for payback of telcos new investments, but can charge proportional to investment risk

3 Co-investment partnerships in NGA

4 Local admin (e.g. Ofcom) to decide if open telcos fibre networks to rivals (unbundle)

5 CCs to coordinate digs

6 Money from EU Investment Bank, currently €2bn loans, schemes to be decided spring 2011

UK Government

1 EU Basic BB 2Mbps to all by 2013, Superfast 30 (100%)-100 (50%)Mbps "capability" by 2020

2 UK "best" 'fast by 2015, 85-90% of country

3 BDUK £530M - includes £150M/yr from BBC from 2013 to 2015, then possibility of another £150M/yr from the BBC up to 2017. Money to go to local CCs/LEPs. [Must do a spread sheet to see if I can make all this add up! Total is £830M...]

4 BT Openreach investment £2.5bn to reach 10M homes by 2012 & 2/3rd UK homes by 2015 (FTTC/40Mbps). Adding 100,000 homes/week.

Testing FTTH (100Mbps) in York, Leytonstone, Milton Keynes, London.

30,000 engineers and 50,000km of fibre!

5 DVP idea - Digital Village Pump, i.e. local Fibre exchanges (FTTC), then VDSL2 or fibre to the home - could line up with Oxfordshire CC use of its existing OCN network?

6 Mobile 800Mhz and new 2.6GHz to be available for 4G/LTE and existing 900Mhz and 1800Mhz (2G) for 3G.

7 Superfast BB could add 280,000 jobs and £18bn to GDP

UK Projects

1 South Yorks "DR" co. VDSL 20Mbps, 280km fibre, 546,000 homes + 40,000 biz, Who pays?

2 Cornwall with BT 80-90% premises, £132M project/2015 (BT + EU ERDF finding)

3 BDUK four: Cumbria, Herefordshire, North Yorkshire, Highlands & Islands, £50M each.

Are there any more?

Friday, 3 December 2010

Keeping us informed - broadband Oxfordshire

David Robertson has sent out a letter to local District, Town and Parish councils about "A Connected Oxfordshire".

His letter

1 Broadband is more than a luxury. It is a right and OCC agree

2 We are an LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and have a duty to grow business, science and acedemia

3 Whole county must be connected, and this is achievable, realistic and viable

The information


* Government wants fast, reliable broadband by 2015.


* Broadband in a rural county like Oxfordshire is very important to attract inward investment. It will allow home working, links to academic resources, health support, technological advantage. In addition to personal access to education, entertainment, local social endeavours and public services.

BB is a right.


* We have already the OCN (Oxfordshire Community Network) a fibre network linking schools, libraries, offices etc. This was set up by the CC. We will seek partners who can build on the OCN. Our partner will have to dig new cabling, but the OCN will provide a backbone

What can you do?

* Show private ISPs and broadband suppliers how much we want it. E.g. signup for BT Retail's "Race To Infinity".

* Have broadband champions across the county

My comments

There seems to be a lot of confusion between supplying USC/2Mbps to us all (the broadband map of Oxfordshire shows lots of areas below 2Mbps today, the north part of Banbury around where I live gets less then 2Mbps today, mine is only 0.5Mbps.

The Oxfordshire Broadband DisasterScreen shot 2010-11-01 at 16.44.11.png

I look forward to getting some of the vast confusion clarified, announcements from central government (Vaizey/Osborne) do not help as they are confused, spin, and inadequate, as they try to push the responsibility over to local government. They talk about £200M 'faster" for 2M homes by 2015 (18-10-10), £530M/4 yrs being available for "faster" (20-10-10), with a "significant amount" coming from the BBC budget... turns out to be 2 x £150M/yr. Where did the odd £30M come from? They may continue with another £150M/yr up to 2017 also from the BBC.

However BT say that they will spend £2.5bn, and fibre could be delivered to 85% of Oxfordshire.... or this more spin?

What government did say (July 2010) is that USC will slip from 2012 objective to 2015, and that by 2015 some undefined % of the population will get NGA through a mish-mash of pressure on BT and private/local enterprise.

I have expressed my opinion on signing up "I disagree with signing up for "Race To Infinity" as it gives BT retail a commercial advantage, gives Openreach free market data and is actually a very limited program".

Oxfordshire's on the move to broadband for all

Very good news.

I have received some very good inputs from Tony Baldry (MP) and David Robertson (OCC) giving an update on Oxfrodshire's broadband targets and actions.

1 A Digital Summit was held in Culham, 25-09-10

2 100% broadband coverage is the target

- negative impact on economy without it

- needed to help rebalance economy toward more businesses

- benefits for tele-health, e-learning, working from home

3 Roll out of broadband to everyone in Oxfordshire by 2015 (by OCC, Ox Economic Partnership & Local Enterprise Partnerships)

4 Set up Broadband Working Group. Project manager is Dawn Pettis

- focus 1st on OCN (Oxfordshire Community Network for CC Offices, Schools, Libraries etc). Divest OCN to a service provider to allow us by others

- engage with service providers (BT Openreach, Vitesse, GEO, STL, T James, JON Exchange

- meet Cornwall Development Company who have started a project

- document examples of best practice for communities for broadband access, need & desire for broadband expressed in Community Led Plans

5 Funding

- BDUK (Broadband Delivery UK), a government BIS find set up to address broadband deficiencies in rural areas. Workshop 25-11-10 in Guilford. Plan bid in Waves 1 or 2 in 2011

- EU ERDF, investigating

- Regional Growth Fund, investigating

6 All District, Town & Parish councils informed - see next blog post, progress will be posted on the OCC / LEP web site

7 Select a tier 1 partner, detail a project plan for rollout, prepare bid for funding


My reply was simple "Excellent".

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Looking into BT and UK broadband

I have looked into a few things about BT and UK broadband, and I intend to research the whole thing further, looking at what ISPs are doing (e.g. Virgin) and at what the government policy and actions are. The main inspiration for this is my terrible 0.5Mbps speed that I have today, when the government says it has a Universal Service Commitment to provide 2Mbps for everyone.


BT is organised into a group of companies like this

Screen shot 2010-11-20 at 14.47.02.png

Here you can see two of the significant ones as far as getting better broadband is concerned: BT Retail is the company that sells end user products, such as phones and broadband. Openreach is the company that installs the equipment for the exchanges and the wires/fibres to bring it to my home.

Race to Infinity

BT Retail has a current marketing campaign running to get us to sign up our interest in having new fibre (FTTH (home) or FTTC (street cabinet)). They are collecting our names so they can then mailshot us with offers... In the mean time they will pass the inquiries to Openreach who will use the interest expressed to decide where to install fibre first. The rules of the game called "Race To Infinity" are:

1 Each exchange needs 1000 votes to enter the lottery

2 The exchange(s) must get into the top 5 in UK, judged by having the most votes as a percentage of the lines served by the exchange

3 Winners will get FTTC by 2012

4 Some local authorities have agreed to co-fund BT and get programs moving early (e.g. Cornwall)

5 If an exchange has less than 1000 lines, 75% of people connected must vote and must contribute money for a service

This is obviously not as exciting as it first sounds, it is of most benefit to Openreach as a marketing survey, but much less of interest for consumers.

Other ISPs as part of the game

Other ISPs can nominate up to 6 exchanges for fibre FTTC. They must give a commercial commitment that 10% of their customers will switch to fibre within one year or pay Openreach for the cost and, what is more, if BT disagrees with the choice of exchanges they have to pay an extra £5000 for BT to conduct a survey of their own...

Pretty much a complete turn-off for other ISPs, and so far non have announced their participation in the scheme.

[About the Cornwall deal. The EU development fund will provide £53M and BT £78M to upgrade all Cornwall to as fast a connection as they can, some outlying areas may just get 2Mbps, most will get fibre (FTTH, take note "H").