* Posts by Alan Brown

6804 posts • joined 8 Feb 2008

Six car-makers team to build European 'leccy car charge bar network

Alan Brown
Silver badge

"As a rough guesstimate, assume a car uses 50bhp travelling at motorway speeds."

Try 15-20kW, even a slab-fronted van only pulls about 30kW at 60mph on level ground.

not all vehicles need to be electric-only. A free-piston sterling range extender would be far more efficient than any existing IC engine and the added weight isn't so much of a problem on a EV as energy used for acceleration can be recouped during deceleration.

0
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Hi Elon Musk. Welcome to El Reg

"Car manufacturers are slowly waking up to the fact that building cars alone is not enough to sustain them"

Ford has been primarily a financing company for the last 20 years. Cars are merely a means to sell the product (loans) and it's much the same with the other makers now.

0
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Hi Elon Musk. Welcome to El Reg

"So, fewer cars being built might be a good idea, if they are rust-free and not being damaged in accidents."

Carmakers are pretty easy about losing sales in the developed world - the world's potential markets are much larger than the existing ones even if ownership rates were to match the 80% reduction expected to be seen in western countries.

0
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

"Its a popular idea because ALL subscription models make the the people who run them more money in the long run than a traditional sale would."

It's a popular idea because automated vehicles eliminate the single most expensive part of a hire car - the driver.

The end result is that for most locations it will be substantially cheaper to use JohnnyCab than to own your own car.

It's already generally cheaper in cities with meatsack drivers but somewhat inconvenient. What changes even with a 80% (predicted) reduction in private vehicle ownership is the factor of nearly every remaining car being JohnnyCab. It would be unusual to not see a Johnnycab within hailing distance as soon as you step out your front door.

0
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Electric cars are a deadend

"That's why I bet on hydrogen"

Hydrogen has so many technical problems that the best way to use it is to bind it with lots of carbon atoms to keep it from attacking everything in sight.

There are more hydrogen atoms in a litre of diesel than a litre of liquid hydrogen

IE: for transportation systems where electrical sources can't be used, the liklihood is that hydrocarbon fuels will be syntheised using a modified haber process and nuclear energy source.

0
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: @Lotaresco

"It's also true (as any laptop or phone owner will know) that batteries gradually lose their capacity after prolonged use."

With current commercial technology this is true.

10,000+ cycle lithium batteries have been in the labs for a couple of years and they lose around 2% of their capacity when ordinary LiPo cathodes are simply so much graphite powder.

As I understand it, the hard part is getting the compromise between charge/discharge current and durability.

0
0

Chernobyl cover-up: Giant shield rolled over nuclear reactor remains

Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Sellafield

"Fast forward a few years, and there's a huge accident in the power station"

The Sellafield fire had nothing whatsoever to do with civilian nuclear power. The reactor in question was producing material to go into nuclear bombs.

0
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

"On top of that it seems natural processes tend to concentrate the materials,"

Yup, in particular fungi seem to like to concentrate them.

ie: DON'T eat the mushrooms.

0
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

"You'd need severe contamination by Pu-239 (24,100 years half-life) for the soil to be dangerous over 500,000 years."

Even with a 24k year halflife, Pu239 is far more dangerous as a toxic heavy metal than as a radiological agent.

2
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Twinkle twinkle

"A submarine sailor could not get BACK on the sub due to high readings..."

And having eaten radioactive mushrooms, where is he now?

0
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

"likely also practiced by the WHO whose numbers about health effects look suspiciously low, low, low"

The WHO were fully expecting much higher numbers than they found. The reality is that radiation exposure is far less dangerous than everyone believed thanks to decades of cold war propaganda.

Correlation doesn't imply causality either - the massive increase in thryoid tumours found being one example - Korea had a similiar detected increase when they rolled out enhanced screening programs and there wasn't a nuclear accident anywhere near the peninsula.

It seems the primary reason more cancers were being found was simply that people were looking harder for them in the first place - and the rotten health problems of the Chernoybl responders wasn't due to radiation exposure, but because they were treated like pariahs by uninformed people and authorities who thought they might be contagious, etc (in the following decades they had a hard time actually GETTING medical care at all.)

4
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Obligitory XKCD refference

"Uranium babies exist for a reason, and it's just due to heavy metal dusting."

The epidemiological effects of uranium are because it's a chemically toxic heavy metal, not because it's radioactive.

Which is a very good reason NOT to use DU bullets to kill tanks.

The uranium vapourises and burns inside the tank, killing the occupants and covering everything with a fine dust, which usually spreads around as the ammunition explodes. When you visit old warzones and see kids playing around dead tanks, you realise this is a VERY BAD THING, when Tungsten would be equally effective and has no long-term health effects. (The reason the US military uses DU is because it's cheap - 75%+ of mined uranium is thrown away as depleted uranium after the enrichment process is done. Moving to Thorium fuel would eliminate the need to mine uranium and thorium reactors can burn DU/Plutonium and most other "high level waste" components of current conventional reactors.)

7
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

"Even operating normally, coal power plants kill far more people that nuclear power ever has due to accident."

You could factor in everyone who's ever died of anything remotely related to nuclear research, plus all the deaths related to handling weapons nuclear material, populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and STILL not even make a noticeable dent in the ratio of deaths per terawatt-hour vs coal.

3
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

"it only failed because they weren't prepared for a tsunami."

It was worse than that. Tepco management were told NOT to put the generators where they did, because of the flooding risk, but smiled, said yes - and promptly put them there anyway as soon as the site advisors left. When the disaster struck, it was Tepco management trying to cover up and pretend all was well (sound familiar?) that compounded things. Thankfully the chief engineer onsite grew a pair of gonads and in a most characteristically UNjapanese way told them to go fuck themselves - that point is where everything started to go better.

Fuckupshima really is an example of how badly you have to screw things up to have a nuclear disaster with a modern plant - even a 50 year old one that was over a decade past its planned shutdown date. There were over 20 other nuclear plants along that coastline and none of the others had any problems at all.

Bear in mind that conventional (water moderated) designs have become a whole lot safer since TMI - Fukushima predates that cockup. The improvements include passive safety systems like having control rods able to drop into place when the power goes off instead of being lifted into place, and water circulation systems which will operate using the passive thermosyphon effect in the worst case scenario of pumps failing.

3
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: RE: Chernobyl wildlife

"The metal Nickel is supposed to have got its name from Old Nick, the Devil, because of the incidence of birth defects and other illnesses in the Harz Mountains, where leaching from nickel deposits contaminated water. "

Radioactive spots can be detected and cleaned up from a safe distance - and radioactivity dissipates over time.

Chemical poisons and mutagens are forever and tend to be difficult to detect.

1
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

"The radioactivity has greatly reduced in the last few decades to where it is now possible to do that soft of work, of course technology being much more advanced also helps so they can send in cheap remote-control vehicles "

One of the initial problems at both Fukushima and Chernobyl was that the radiation levels were so high they fried the robots sent in to explore and do cleanups - turning them into more obstacles for the real cleanups in future.

Which should be a reminder that the best thing to do when a meltdown happens is to secure the perimeter and wait 3 decades rather than trying to wade in and remove red hot pieces - they're better off where they are until they're a bit less radioactive.

Whilst chernobyl was an old design, the biggest danger for nuke plants was - and remains - the water. In order to run at suitable temperatures to drive steam turbines (4-600C), it needs to be pressurised - which means steam explosions if there's a leak. It's also slightly acidic, but water at those temperatures and pressures is corrosive anyway. The other problem is that fission reactions tend to stabilise (doppler effects) at about 1100-1200C(*), so if the cooling pumps fails, your water's going to get very hot, react with metals in the vessel and generate hydrogen - which is what happened at Fukushima.

(*) That's the approximate temperature in the middle of a fuel rod too. because the fuel is oxide pellets, it takes a long time for the heat energy in the middle to percolate to the outside of the rod and _that_ is why it takes so long to cool a reactor down after a SCRAM event.

Alvin Weinberger solved these problems 50 years ago: Surely it would be better to use something like a molten salt as your working fluid/coolant/fuel carrier. No pressure, can safely go to 1200C, hot enough to be thermodynamically efficient. Can't burn, doesn't need large bodies of water to carry off the excess heat. (and a bunch of nice knock on effects such as easy chemical reprocessing, virtually no waste on the input vs the 75% wastage now and 99% reduction of the waste output (which is currently about enough to fill an olympic pool over the lifespan of a 1200MW plant), most of which can simply be stored for a few months/years and sold on - Say hi to the helium economy, amongst other things.

If Nixon hadn't killed LFTR research in favour of fast breeder reactors (Molten sodium coolant - whoever decided that would be a good idea??) we might have _really_ safe nuclear power, but even the unsafe version is 300,000 times safer than coal.

8
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: RE: Chernobyl wildlife

"the serious cancers associated with radiation?"

Citation needed.

Ionising radiation generally kills cells and high level exposure (temporarily) damages the immune system, making the victim susceptable to infection.

Most serious cancers are induced by chemical toxins (which are known as mutatgenic for a reason).

There's no evidence that organisms in the exclusion zone are living shorter lives on average. There are some hot-spots and some evidence of radiation damage but the majority of the evidence is pointing to the zone being both vastly larger than necessary and in any case not needing to be permanent.

6
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: "A structure like this is not needed for Fukushima."

The amount of radiation actually leaking out at Fukushima is below normal background levels at many other places on the planet. Those contaminated tanks of water are slightly less radioactive than "an olypmic swimming pool with an old-style glow in the dark watch dropped in the middle".

If Japanese radiation level standards were applied in Europe, most of downtown Helsinki would be too hot to handle thanks to the granite there, along with the thermal pools at Bath - and in the US Denver Colorado would be a no-go area along with anything at the same altitude.

37
2
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Good luck to building the same for Fukushima.

"The Chernobyl reactor was destroyed to such a degree (and so radioactive) that the only option was to "bury" it and wait a few dozen years for things to cool off."

It already has done to a significant extent.

People forget that "highly radioactive" also means "won't be radioactive for very long"

24
3

Spinning rust supply chain seizes up after BIG disk demand spike

Alan Brown
Silver badge

" Flash has FAR less write cycles than spinning disks."

For the vast majority of applications, that much storage (the 32TB you fingered) is write once, read never, which means that flash limited to 1000 or fewer write cycles is fine. And if you're concerned about it you can use some sort of hierarchical filesystem manager.

1
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

We aren't placing desktops with spinners in them anymore.

SSDs are cheap enough that they've eaten the sub-1TB end of the market and they'll inexorably start closing in on the larger sizes.

Large, slow QLC SSDs will still be more reliable then spinners, which means 5+ year warranties vs 12 months on consumer drives. It doesn't take many warranty claims to eat a retailer's margins so they'll start putting these in as a self-defence measure.

1
0

Ofcom to force a legal separation of Openreach

Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: "and action is required now to deliver better outcomes for phone and broadband users"

"FFS the problem is not who owns or manages openreach the problem is their monopoly."

A monopoly isn't necessary harmful. There are plenty of functional/natural monopolies which work well for everyone concerned.

Leveraging a monopoly (lines) to gain advantage in another area (dialtone) most certainly is harmful and that's what BT do.

BT are exponents of margin squeeze tactics and the only reason they're able to do this is because they hold the Wholesale monopoly (lines) and are therefore able to use income from the lines sales side (openreach) to subsidise the (supposedly) equal rates they're paying for lines access.

The other tactics used are things like forcing customers to use (and pay for) BT NTUs when you take a circuit from a third party instead of just plugging the ends together or allowing use of 3rd party NTUs This drives the costs up dramatically for competing providers and means that BT makes a handsome profit on last-mile services even if they're not selling directly to the customer (and as noted, BTOR techs are known to make statements that customers wouldn't have so much trouble if they were with BT, despite that being illegal)

2
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Openreach to the installs & repairs - facours BT customers

"Well I can only talk about myself but BT Openreach took more than 3 weeks to fix a fault after missing two appointments and twice suggested that if I changed to BT from my ISP I would be able to use the BT WiFi from my neighbours while they repaired the fault."

_If_ BT Openreach actually suggested that then there's a very serious breach that's happened from the outset and if you can substantiate that then I'm sure the competition commissioner would love to hear from you.

The reality about the large alternative telcos is that they pay a discount rate to Openreach for a lower levels of service and don't bother telling their customers about this. If you go with a smaller one (I'm with http://phone.coop/) they're far more willing to ride herd on Openreach not showing up and ensure that not only are you actually compensated for the no show, but that Openreach will show up within 4 business hours of a missed appointment.

They also don't close tickets about intermittent problems, unlike some telcos I can think of (where intermittent is "plays up when it's raining" - obviously a common fault cause but in BT or TalkTalkese, these are new, unrelated faults.

0
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

"had their been decent investment in nuclear power generation in this country rather than listening to the irrational fears of the un-informed we could have been, almost, energy independent by now."

The main barrier to nuclear investment in the UK has been the vastly higher than anticipated costs.

Which is what you'd expect when every single nuclear plant installed was a new, unproven design radically different from every other existing design - because that's what the british government and the electricity board used to do, instead of picking a design and standardising on it for long enough to amortise the R&D costs.

This was all at the same time as the british civil service picked winners - like dumping the UK's orbital launch program because there was no commercial future in satellites.

The vast majority of successful british businesses have become successful DESPITE uk government policy, not because of it - and a lot of formerly successful ones have been nobbled by misguided attempts to tell them what to do and who to merge with.

0
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Err.....

"Only by cherry-pciking the places where they could lay it cheaply for large returns. "

In a world where Openreach is able to sell to all comers, how long would it take before they cut a deal with Virgin to provide duct and lines access to all those small villages with 3 farms without having to pay the ludicrous expenses of tearing up roads.

The reason that there aren't "competitor" cables in BT ducts _now_ is because BT see them as rivals in selling retail services and won't let Openreach sell to "competitors". When Openreach is a pure lines access company, all those "competitors" are now valuable customers and WILL be courted for business.

1
1
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Be careful what you wish for!

"POTS does this by having the pairs powered from the switch. How do we manage this with FTTP?"

Battery, or a battery supply from the cabinet. The energy requirements are low enough that a supercap might suffice.

In the old days before central battery working, a pair of #6 cells used to be the norm at every house. Those cells normally lasted 20 years between changes.

0
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Be careful what you wish for!

"Let's face it, there is only so much you can put up with as Regulator, before it makes the regulator look predictable and weak"

Yup and this is all looking like a replay of New Zealand up to 2004 where the regulator was saying "no need to change" despite the mounting disquiet around it - and by 2005 was forced to agree that the situation was untenable

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/05/25/tnz_split/

This is the real reason BT is scared of losing Openreach: "Telecom's long-term credit rating has been cut one notch by Standard & Poor's to reflect the demerger of the company's Chorus business and the loss of its network revenues." http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10765942

And just like the New Zealand, the demerger case is being driven from _outside_ Ofcom, on competition grounds.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/06/13/telecom_nz/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/05/03/telecom_inflatesassets/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/05/26/tnz_vs_compwatchdog/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/04/17/nz_rural_rollout_gets_chorus/

One of the more ironic stories was Spark (former Telecom New Zealand) crying publicly about a year on from the split that the rate it was paying for lines access was far too high and it couldn't possibly afford this, give us a special deal, oh woe is us - when the (regulated) rate was based on figures TNZ had provided the ministry of commerce, the same for everyone, half the previous cost that everyone else had to pay - and all the competitors were happy at paying lower rates (which have since been revised downwards - unlike what BT keeps doing now).

etc etc

There's some argument that the regulated rate has been pushed too low now, but it will settle. The important thing is that all players are charged the same rates (no preferential access - but bulk discounts apply) and there's enough profit to keep reinvestment going. Regulations also prohibit any entity gaining a controlling interest in the lines company, which helps a lot.

1
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Be careful what you wish for!

"For all its faults, BT have a good credit rating and can borrow money far more cheaply than an independent Openreach could."

BT's "good credit rating" is largely a consequence of having a near captive market.

In the event of a split, it's Openreach which would get the decent credit rating, whilst BT would find itself in rather deep shit.

Why are all the schills rolling out the same rhetoric about pensions and credit ratings and company stability which Telecom New Zealand used to try and stave off the inevitable, when history shows that the lie of those claims was shown within 6 months of the split occuring?

Do they think that observers won't be looking at what happened in other markets where this was done to see what happened there? The banks most certainly are - and this is one of the reasons why BT is _terrified_ of losing Openreach.

1
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: And in the course of time

"will Ofcom also move to prevent the then independent Openreach being taken over"

This has already been thought through.

Selling lines services should remain a highly regulated service (in particular the charges and ensuring that all comers get equal treatment.

Rules should be put in place to ensure that no entity can hold more than 5% of the shares

New Zealand's original privatisation of their telco was a postr child for how NOT to do it. The rules and laws put in place to prevent the broken up telcos (baby bell style) from recombining were inadequately thought out (The first step - moving to being state owned enterprises resulted in companies that played nice) and naively trusted that the newly privatised SoEs would continue playing nice.

That lesson was very thoroughly learned over the ensuing 25 years and the structure placed on Chorus (NZ's equivalent to Openreach) is extremely well thought out to prevent any repeats of "rapacious telco holds the country to ransom".

British regulators should look long and hard at what was done and why things were done that way - one of the driving reasons for splitting Spark/Chorus (which is what Telecom NZ was trying to sell the NZ govt on) was a study of the british market and the realisation of how easily British Telecom was able to continue its economy-damaging(*) anticompetitive practices despite the supposed "chinese wall" between the devisions.

(*) As in, "acting as a a damaging agent to the UK economy" - with estimates of the damage running into billions of pounds per year in order to increase BT profits slightly and keep the market captive.

1
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Explanation please...

"On its own, Openreach will have even less financial clout and won't be able to borrow much to invest because it will be seen as being easily dominated by Ofcom."

The funny thing about all these nay sayers is that they seem resolutely blind to the fact that this event has already happened - in a country which has 1/10 the population density of the UK (even in rural areas) and a LOT more rugged terrain.

The experience of Chorus shows that an independent Openreach unconstrained by the handbrakes of BT head office is no longer prohibited from going out and hunting down customers - and it will do so.

BT's REAL fear is that losing control of Openreach leaves them incredibly vulnerable and subject to market competition forces - which they're simply not equipped to handle even after 30 odd years of privatisation.

1
1
Alan Brown
Silver badge

"Have you tried contacting an independent CP? There's a fair of these 'altnets' around and if they haven't been making any overtures to you then your area must be particularly difficult to cater for."

Or they've gotten tired of almost making sales and having BT say "thanks for the marketing", announce that they can supply BB after all, then sending in teams of doorstoppers to sign up customers to broadband contracts when it may be 2 years before they can actually supply it.

Yes, I've seen this happen and yes, I've seen the altnets driven out of business as a result.

0
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Probably not good enough

"Expect the same logic when BT's main board requires the OR board to make a bigger contribution to overall profit."

The problem at the moment is that OR _IS_ the cash cow. Creative accounting is used to make it look sick but what happened in New Zeland when separation was finally forced showed how much of a fiction "sick lines companies" would be.

In particular one of the big things played upon was the pension liabilities (sound familiar) but in reality the separateed lines company has been going from strength to strength selling (regulated) service to all comers(*), whilst the old dialtone company is looking quite ill.

(*) Including duct access and dark fibre to "competitors" who wouldn't have been allowed through the door in the old days or in a "Seperate business unit" operation. Imagine a world where Virgin can run its cables though BT ducts to get to tall the areas where it can't currently go without tearing up roads and where 10Gb/s fibre only costs about 50% more what 1Gb/s does.

1
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Probably not good enough

"Theres no good argument for not doing complete separation."

This is exactly why New Zealand's regulators chose that option.

And there's no need to go through court cases to force the issue - just make any further broadband funding rollouts conditional on the separation.

1
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

"The business guys there told me that BT was actually officially barred from offering competitive prices due to its dominance in the market...."

And barred from offering competitive customer service, because they simply don't have to.

2
0

50 years on, the Soviet-era Soyuz rocket is still our favorite space truck

Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: @TitterYeNot

"Go for the simplest design with least failure possibilities."

Sea Dragon it is then.

0
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

"why design something totally new when you've already got thoroughly tested, improved and reliable kit"

If you know how complex and risky the design for the SSMEs are, you might not be keen to ride on a rocket using them. Rocket engines are generally better with fewer moving parts in them, not more of the things coupled with complex bell designs that use the fuel to keep it from melting. (The F1 protected the bell by injecting the the exhaust gas from the turbopump along the inner edge, which provided a shielding effect. That's the black "sheath" you see over the flames as they emerge in the famous slo-mos of Apollo launches.)

0
0

Sysadmin denies boss's request to whitelist smut talk site of which he was a very happy member

Alan Brown
Silver badge

"Seriously that made very little sense unless it's some kinda weird kink spin-off."

The style of electrical fittings in the background of a photograph is a dead giveaway about what region of the world someone is in vs where they say they are - and they're so ubiquitous that if you can't see them in at least a couple of shots then you know the shots have been staged to deliberately hide them.

There are subtle features on vehicles too thanks to regional regulation variations and regional model mixes.

Google image search is your friend too. It's amazing how many of these "online friends" are the spitting image of Reilly Reid or some other porn star (and have the same personalised text block as a few hundred other people)

Lastly there's the language syntax and idiom. Even if someone's a native english speaker what they put in conversations offers enormous amounts of information about their origins. (Hint, West African english structure is a lot different to US or British english, as are Indian english and russian ESOL)

For added shits and giggles if you're bored you can read the fun at ebolamonkeyman.com

5
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: So where was the save?

" It did nothing to prevent the Boss from being arbitrarily stupid online from elsewhere."

You could hold such people's hands and they'd STILL be arbitrarily stupid - and roundly abuse you for trying to stop them.

The best you can hope for is to prevent their fuck ups taking out the outfit that you work for.

5
0

IBM Australia didn't stress-test #censusfail router and blocked password resets

Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Axiom vs Meme

"Looking at IBM's general performance"

Nothing new there. A long time ago an IBM mainframe we had (on full maintenance) failed. Phone calls to the 24 hour helpline rang out over a 3 hour period and at 5pm switched to a message saying they were closed for the day.

0
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

"copy running-config startup-config."

Unfortunately in some Cisco routers, this doesn't necessarily mean that it will start.

Ask me how I know this. :/

0
0

Small ISPs 'probably' won't receive data retention order following IP Bill

Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: don't make a fuss

"they'll just go after the backhaul providers. "

My thought exactly.

It would be "interesting" if smaller ISPs were to start providing VPN services across the backhaul.

1
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: If I said the next thing a say will be a lie and the last thing I said was the truth

"The whole Snooper's Charter is illegal according to European Human Rights law."

Which _should_ mean that it can be thrown out.

Oh those pesky EUrocrats. What was the real reason for Brexit again?

2
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: If I said the next thing a say will be a lie and the last thing I said was the truth

"They state that they don't have any monitoring or filtering systems in place. They point out that they could be forced to in the future and that they could be forced to lie. "

It's not just that.

Virtually all smaller ISPs resell services from larger ISPs - which means they can be snooped anyway.

1
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Look at the details to find the devil

"There have been many cases of disgruntled Plod and other Gov officials deliberately searching in secure databases for ex-partners or even just the neighbour who won't stop cutting his lawn at 8am on a Saturday. "

As in criminal prosecutions for doing it, thankfully.

The interesting part is when standover tactics have been used to try and get the discovering parties not to file complaints.

0
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

" if ISP A is required to do some task to comply with the law, it can simply outsource it to IT company B and present the invoice to Mr. Plod. "

For maximum effect, IT company B is a company setup by ISP A for the express purpose of doing the work and billing through the nose.

PROFIT!

3
0

Surprise, surprise. BT the only Universal Service Obligation provider in town

Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Who else has £1B a year to invest?

"OpenReach turn over.......... around £5b

BT turn over.......... over £20b"

Don't believe a word of that.

Openreach is not a separate company and as discovered with Telecom NZ's Spark/Chorus circus, the way those figures are arrived at are incredibly suspect.

It is in BT's interest to make Openreach's income and expenditure figures look as sick as possible in order to dissuade the government from forcing a demerger. Therefore by creative accounting techniques we all know and loathe - they will do exactly that.

As for the money BT's been given for rural broadband, most of it's been pissed up a wall, not spent where it's supposed to have gone.

2
1
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Nationalise openreach

"The trouble with that is that it puts Virgin and B4RN and Gigaclear out of business. "

NO, absolutely, it doesn't.

The lines company ends up selling to all comers equally. What happened in New Zealand is that the "competitors" got the same deals on leased access that the incumbent was getting AND the option to run their own cables in the ducting. which they took with gleeful abandon.

One unforseen and very welcome outcome of the demerger was that with the dead hand of head office released from the handbrake, the lines company was now incentivised to go out and find customers to sell services to, resulting in a _very_ rapid diversification of its customerbase and the company being extremely approachable.

The ironic thing is that 2 years after the split, the former incumbent telco was crying foul and that the (regulated) line charges were far too high - despite competitors being charged less than half the previous rates it had been charging them and despite those figures being set by the regulators based on figures originally provided by the incumbent. It then demanded special treatment to a loud chorus(pun intended) of laughter from every other player in the market. (It's arguable that regulated rates have subsequently been set too low, but the market in NZ is still vibrant.)

The other part that the incumbent was crying would sink the demerged linesco - pension liabilities - proved to be smoke and mirrors. In fact the linesco is in robust health whilst the old incumbent is looking rather shaky.

2
1
Alan Brown
Silver badge

"Not sure if Openreach actually "own" anything:"

Given that Openreach isn't even a registered business, it can't own anything.

0
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

"A relative put a lot of work and a considerable amount of money in getting costings to set up an ISP not too far from Cambridge where -- at the time -- there was no (known) plan to upgrade the exchange."

Same thing happened in Surrey (Cranleigh).

Several years after killing the competition and 2 years after the promised provision date (which was 2 years after the private outfit would have been providing broadband) , BT _started_ installing the equipment to be able to do the rollout.

Blatent anticompetitive behaviour, but ofcom won't deal with that and the competion commission won't touch telecoms companies when they pull this stuff as it's supposedly ofcom's remit.

2
0
Alan Brown
Silver badge

Re: Calling our bluff, are you?

"So which foreign telecoms operator do you want to see buying a demerged Openreach?"

I don't. Look at the New Zealand model and the way it revolutionised the market there. No single entitity is allowed to own more than a small chunk of the company - and after the experience there with hostile telecomms takeovers the rules were written with teeth instead of trusting that business would do the right thing.

It worked there and was implemented there BECAUSE of what BT was pulling with Openreach (Telecom NZ proposed the BT/Openreach model as a way of staving off govt regulation, NZ's competition authority looked at what's happening in the UK and said "nyuh uh, no way")

And the way NZ did it is duplicatable too - make demerger a condition for any further funding for broadband rollout. No need to try and haul it through the courts if you can simply not pay them if they don't.

0
0

Forums