51 posts • joined Wednesday 2nd May 2012 11:20 GMT
Possibly worth pointing out at an early stage that the IP intervention is a *lot* tighter than any public good. Even in the weakest patent system it must at least be novel (so Newton is way out !) . More generally equations and mathematics are not patentable anywhere, only an application derived from them could be.
In the better systems* its only a novel technical effect, leaving most of the pragmatic debate on how to set the the threshold for patentability (in particular of course where technical effect is delivered via an innovation delivered in software), how to ensure a proper review and proper disclosure.
*so not the ones who were once caught defining prior art as *only* anything already patented in their own system ....
Would be interesting to know if there is a decent analysis of the various different patent systems around the world and their effect their differences have on both their domestic and overseas markets.
Re: old wine, new bottles
I'd rather some basics were attended too. Having little choice I went with a 60mb connections as I'm a long way from the exchange so adsl was getting too poor for HD streaming and BT had no fibre as I'm not luckily enough to be in one of those rural areas that get the attention (SE London - no fibre ...).
I went for 60mb as much to get the new superhub as reviews said coverage and reliability were better but it still needs regular rebooting - at least once a week - for which it has no automatic option. Nor many other features one would expect in a basic router firmware. Slow to reboot too.
Reliability and service are OK - had a few outages but comparable to DSL but I'd rather that was improved before higher speeds.
Speed is ok - I normally get over the 30mb on testing.
Expertise in interpreting law isn't the same as expertise in setting public policy or making law!
'Because his conclusion was based on his own expert knowledge of the law: that was all that was needed.'
This is a traditional and often lucrative mistake for the legal profession and those that use them.
Re: Tough as old boots
Agreed - at least for me my plasma is superior to LCD and the only issue i have is i want a bigger plasma screen.
Note to the TV industry - I want a *screen* from you as other people do everything else better for far less money. Leave the 'smart' to them. Leave out the spurious electronics and i'd have a few more screens by now.
Re: Spoon holder...
A ceramic spoon rest? I think i have a whole set. I call them plates and saucers ....
Pocket money prices
The ability to share web sites is a boon to me alone. If it means I can actually find things on netlix by avoiding the PS3 version even better.
At this price I'll get one - which I find interesting as nothing else discussed in this arena has been of much interest since I bought a PS3 (simply as a Blu Ray player at the time) and a PVR many years ago which between them mean I've had to connect a PC to my dumb plasma screen exactly once in a decade or so.
I suspect Google have been rather smart and are using to boost their ecosystem by aggressively driving a market to commodity prices.
I suspect by the time its integrated into other devices (will watch for a release as a reference design) and simply purchased the aim is to make it a difficult platform not to supoport. Amazon/lovefilm pay attention!
After years of excellent service although not competitively priced and with somewhat dodgy routers, sadly the Sky take over was winning in the race for FTTC for me so its cable for me too. Although in fairness its as much BT failure to update my street cabinet and i've given up waiting - its due in the next year - just like the last two years.
Sky apparently have a wonderful offer for those moving over - but that meant talking to another human being over an already entirely unnecessary phone call to cancel and apparently email is beyond them. A need for more than 5 Mbps plus some outages this month nailed it. They did kindly say they didn't need the bebox returned - but have now sent me an email saying they do. Guess somethings they email, somethings they don't.
Still cancelling the BT line was even more fun as the texted a telephone number to my landline to confirm 'cancellation charges' . When I rang it turned out that i needed to talk to someone else instead as they couldn't do billing issues. Still not sure why i needed to talk to anyone.
Note - by the time I've canceled i've er... canceled. If you'd like to make me an offer stay do it preferably before then by you know, being competitive, and in writing and not only on the phone in office hours.
Re: where's the line?
my face as the origin, presumably your mum is higher up the scale then.
'a clear sign is an increase in the formality of the way your work is assigned, in emails or even bits of paper, rather than simply being asked.'
Whilst true enough the comparison with the civil service made me laugh. Getting something with 'pl dl' (please deal) was a backhanded compliment in that it meant you were 'sound' enough not to require a 'steer' on how to handle the task.
Re: SD Cards, @DJ 2
Out of interest what do you see as the advantage of Pi over say Arduinos when a school already has computing facilities?
Is it just easier access to physical computing via the likes of Pi Face or the multi media capabilities?
Just wondering as was setting up some simple demos for a class (am doing really simple things with primary school lower years without anything programmable so just putting demos together to show the next stage up as it were) and I can almost get to give away toys with arduinos if i bulk buy arduino minis and Pi seems like overkill to all but the most advanced project although i have not made any comparison of eg Pi Face vs scratch for arduino.
PS not knocking anything here - more advance connected projects and near disposable multi media Pi wins hands down but if not needed basic microcontrollers come in about a fifth to a tenth of the cost.
8/10 - further work required
Generally I agree but Phil Lord's point is also accurate. Ideally you'd like value identification/creation to ramp up without being bogged down in the negotiations that his scenarios would create if a cut were required. Much of the public interest benefit is non - financial as Phil Lord also notes
The current licensing is naive in a number of other ways too.
It has no 'off' switch - if any use of the data is considered against the public interest - eg combining with other public data sets or FOI requests to break privacy it cannot be withdrawn. For relatively static or stable data (postcodes!) that's an issue with political backlash.
It doesn't encourage feedback - there's no benefit in providing data correction nor service improvement information back into the public sector - often there is not even a feed back route.
The other side of the equation is that public sector is not incentivised to properly document the data providence, accuracy and collection methods that define its meaning nor improve the data quality and quantity (eg sampling rates, accuracy more data fields, frequency of release).
I'd suggest a revocable free licence (possibly underpinned by regulation in case of abuse to take it from civil to criminal) whilst allowing the creation of a more privileged/engaged user group that returns some value - payment in cash or in kind, couldhave guaranteed access (so 'approved') and sharing the costs of data improvement.
Space Cadets 2?
I know I'm cynical but is this actually the first move in series 2 of Space Cadets?
Osborne to scrap a revenue source?
'Ironically perhaps, it's fairly plain that nasty old chancellor George Osborne - widely reviled as the oppressor of the poor - if left to himself would scrap the unfair, stealthy green energy taxes which hit the less well-off so much harder than the rich and have left so many poor folk shivering through the recent hard winter.'
Not convinced - one of his first acts as Chancellor was to turn the already appalling CRC cap and trade that refunded to those that best game played the league table* into a straight tax thereby doing what most involved already thought was impossible - making it worse.
Removing the credits and grants and keeping tax/levy revenue is what he has done, everything else is only words albeit in support of items like rules rather than whim based CCAs.
*hint use as much energy as possible in the baseline year and don't invest early ...
Re: great - but bring on the garment recognition
A washer drier is pretty close. One load of basic grey clothes in your life gets you the rest of the way. Doing the ironing though is a real challenge!
Re: Follow the money?
The generic issue for VoIP (no idea where Skype is at with the normal best efforts solutions to these problems) with a gateway to the telephone system is that without an additional input the system will call and locate you to the emergency operator as being at the location of the gateway. This has been a particular concern for domestic sales aimed at replacements to the normal POTS (plain old telephone) and there have been reported incidents in some countries of emergency services being routed to the wrong state.
It also the reason most offices have emergency red phones on the wall and VoIP in the lift is a bad idea as the corporate exchange may be somewhere else entirely.
Any know state of the art here as to best efforts solutions? I'm a little out of date.
I doubt it. The issue here is offering for the sale in the market - there is no provision or exclusion in the EU directives for resellers or systems integrators. If a member state has provisions that require notification of operation and fees then not doing so is illegal (but may be either civil or criminal). Real fun starts if anyone tries a cease and desist and which other MS are watching.
I suspect its not a tax either - as Skype profits in France would already be covered (or not) and not changed by this but the administrative fee that Member States can set to allow operation for any electronic communication or network service in the EU. It can be disproportionate as it is allowed to be a small percentage of revenue rather than profit- not sure of the exact fees structure in France any more.
Interception and emergency call support (as well as power over the line too) are generally part of each member states general authorisation for public telephony operators. Definitions of public vary but as Skype offers paid for services to the general public and connects to POTS it will probably be covered as an electronic communication service and therefore subject to any required notification and fees structure - the higher requirements for public or POTS competitive systems will depend on the exact wording of France's general authorisation.
BEREC and all the National Regulators have had long discussions over whether VOIP is subject to their overview and, despite the fact that the directives are explicit on voice services, they have tended to have a hands off approach for those that were self provisioned, closed user groups and similar and where they are unlikley to be used as a primary phone and picked up for emergency services. The growing tendency for default hand set support, telephone number connections and chargeable services as well as regulated operators concerns would suggest this will be watched in all of the EU 27 with interest.
Re: Can't come soon enough
this may be relevant http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/03/07/uk_rainfall/ ....
Yes - its take openreach two years after the original date to ready my exchange only to find that in the two years someone else has installed services where they were going to put the street cabinet. Oh how I laughed when I dug that out of the openreach online systems that BT retail and BT customer services said they couldn't access.
Seconded. BT appear to have handled my complaint over misleading dates for my area - next three months for over two year in that sparsley populated area known as south east London - by pulling the date entirely and giving a range of reasons as to why it might be someone else's problem. Inquiries lead to a run around of people in BT who seem unable to communicate with one another or access data. Attempts to use the BT website lead to pop up and a conversation that directs me to customer service because apparently they aren't customer services. They keep implying it may be my councils fault without actually confirming it - and that's plain nasty.
Will saty with BE until the results of the takeover but owing to distance from the exchange its not brilliant at about 6mbps but BE have been reliable and helpful. At this rate I'll end up with an LTE mifi.
Re: Makes no sense to me
Stand behind a skyscraper on the opposite side of the prevailing wind direction ...
They aren't saying it does more than a fixed structure but that it affects the density with which you can harvest the wind energy.
Only if by quick you mean 10,000 years or so with fission alone.
Ok more conservative estimates give 3000 years or so but I'll take that level of breathing room to get something better and more resources including off planet.
Re: i don't normally double post on a topic but...
This oddly points to the subscription I wish they would do for consumers. A modest annual fee for a properly supported and evolving operating system. I will - eventually - find that my Win XP partition stops being of any relevance - its already vastly reduced.
I'm very unlikely to buy another one from them, especially as the pricing structure and upgrade paths available actively puts me off as it penalises the choice of staying a version behind the bleeding edge and becomes increasingly hard to do maintenance and run my system as I would choose.
Oh well more experience of cross platform applications it is then if you insist Mr Ballmer! I'll spend the money on an Android tablet instead.
Re: A nice lady rang me up the other day...
BT infinity (FTTC) - coming to me in next three months - just like the last eighteen months or so! I need to move out of London for a better connection...
Still not quite. You can transfer data without issue in the EU+EEA regulatory regimes and in safe harbour countries or use contractual processes to safe guard data out of the EU. The EU have published model contracts. http://ec.europa.eu/justice/data-protection/document/international-transfers/transfer/index_en.htm
So as long as the contract between the parties is sufficient to protect the data you can move the data. Makes sense as the issue is really about protecting private data not its geographic location. However its geographic location even in the EU will affect what level of legal interception is allowed and what level of due process is required to release such data to the various authorities that may ask for it.
The examples of this are endless. I once talked to a VC who pencilled in the combined inertia of competition, consumer education and regulation as requiring non-green field investments to show a 1-2 order of magnitude of improvement (combined out of better, faster , cheaper) in the lab. By the time the various hurdles had been inefficiently overcome it would still need to be at least twice as good to beat the incumbent advantages. I'd also factor in a decade or two as well.
There is another subtly I've noticed over the years that is even harder to pin down - the approach and attitude of regulators who are often interpreting the law to guide their actions. This can be good - the UK removed the prohibition on 'commercial' use of free spectrum like 2.4Ghz rather quickly because of basically a good ability to talk to non-obvious stakeholders. It can also be bad when new environments mean people don't expand beyond their existing network despite changing times. The early days of TV without Frontiers that became the AVMS directive comes to mind.
Re: Wot no WWWW?
Quite - the World Wide Web Worm was revolutionary in its day. Not sure if it was the first although it was the first I was aware of but a major omission.
The role of the early search engines in providing functionality to the web would be more interesting though. Still seems forgotten in many of the semantic web debates today.
I picked up an arduino kit for pretty much the same rationale - i admit that was more an excuse for me to play with one originally - to model things so I could show my four year old models of traffic lights she could poke at in response to the entertaining barrage of how do things work questions. I now have a similar barrage of questions and demands on building in buttons and pots that have her at least introduced to decisions about basic design/control logic by simple interaction such as 'what would you like the button to do and how many do we need'
Will change to a RPi and Pi-face when its out so can use scratch for control as she gets older.
Re: If it's legal then there is no problem
and that's back to it being addressed in a relevant Select Committee as the one thing PAC most definitely can't do is comment on tax policy.
One of the interesting things here is why is the PAC apparently looking at business ethics and business taxation when its scope is actually about whether public expenditure is properly managed in line with Government policy. Business ethics, tax policy all belong elsewhere. The only valid query here is whether HMRC is acting properly.
After all PAC were to look at business ethics then presumably all of the Parliamentary members with external business interests - most pointedly including the Chair - would be on the witness stand or at least excuse themselves on a blatant conflict of interest and not be the interrogators.
If it isn't in scope then the PAC is wasting their own time (which we pay for!) and the time of their witnesses. They wouldn't do that at public expense for their own political ends would they ...
Re: Who's definition of open?
The UK government's in this case. As published in annex 2 of the Open Standards Principles http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/sites/default/files/resources/Open-Standards-Principles-FINAL.pdf
Which is a rather good document. It is also quite clear on the distinction be open standards and open source. Open systems mean something different again ....(gaah flashback..) In this case the definition is for central government, software interoperability and excludes standards with essential royalty bearing patents.
A quick read suggests anything over £5m has to go through spend approvals, anything below is the responsibility of the accounting office (normally the Perm Sec) who is responsible to Parliament and under threat of having the spend controls threshold reduced . Exceptions are by appeal to the Cabinet Office.
Nice to see the Reg focusing on the key issues here ....
a) its a very good and testable definition
b) Really looks like Cabinet Office have thought through not only the policy but how to implement it .
All in all that is something really different in an area that's been subject to policy after policy since 2002.
Well done UK gov! I'm rather pleased about being able to say that!
Re: Erm, M Gale...
Or - possibly - Parliamentarians getting confused about the enacting laws in the UK that set up the copyright system as a framework of civil licences leaving enforcement up to the rights holder? Those would be the ones that , er , Parliament is reponsible for.... Of course if they want Civil Servants making up new enforcement authority without recourse to Parliament historical precedent suggests it may not be in their interests.
I wonder about the capability of the underlying concept. The ability to connect a wide array of screens to a smaller smartphone would be quite something - and far more flexible than the padfone style ideas.
In fairness its quite hard to get a UK patent on plain code, as a non-obvious technical effect is required. Not impossible mind but certainly harder than say the US. However make that code related to a video game, animation and you may have access to other tax breaks instead.
Need to have a dig into the details to find out which patents they will recognise for this mind. Presumably UK and EU at least.
The IFS did a tear down in 2010:
I'm a little more satirical more recently (http://www.hypothetical.org.uk/?p=73) but this process is stacking one incentive on another so almost by definition poorly targeted.
It is most definitely not business neutral as if fails to recognize defensive patenting and royalty free licensing, offers a tax cut to patent trolls and fails to recognise and reward other forms of innovation.
Maybe a lower overall tax rate would be an idea and, say, tax simplification instead of all these interventions ?
Whatever next, a tax break for video games? Oh ...
Lets try a though experiment and play this quote out in a Chinese context:
'the companies didn't hand over all the documents requested, including information about their relationships and regulatory interaction with the Chinese government.'
So they'd expect say Google, Microsoft, Apple and CISCO to detail all their dealings with the US government - a customer and a regulator - if those companies were asked by a Chinese politician? And that would be just fine by the US then?
Re: Sounds great...
apart from series link - functionally apart from HD it was a step back from my old beloved Toppy with Mystuff that used keyword search instead.
Isn't it just a civil case?
Does Portugal have the same distinction between civil and criminal offenses as the UK? No reason why non-criminal (ie commercial fraud) copyright infringement should involve a public prosecutor is there?
Re: Not just prototyping
On prototyping (or er playing more honestly in my case) ...
Should also give a hat tip to openscad - free interpreted simple programming tool for 2d-3d extrusion and constructive solid geometry (think basic set operations with geometric shapes). Easy and fun with only basic programming and cartesian math skills - most reg readers would surpass that I'd guess!
Can get it to export STL files for printers and the like (although some post processing also by free tools).
Re: Re Bronze
Was only a side thought - its a complex process http://www.rosalindcook.com/clay-bronze-sculptures.htm at the moment. Sculpture -> mould -> wax -> mould -> bronze. Looks like it could be shortened somewhere but given the engineering could be a challenge - maybe printing the wax ...
Not just prototyping
The economics for use in production would seem to be dependent on the cost and ability to recycle the raw material, the volume of production runs and complexity.
Direct deposition/3D printing has the advantage of very little wastage. So if you are using high grade titanium and know that your wastage can be recycled but only as a downgraded material saving about 90% of the amount needed to mill an aerospace turbine housing from a solid block of aerospace grade titanium is very interesting.
As long as you are within material and printer parameters some forms of complexity become almost a non issue - hence the use by jewelers and so on.
The volume of the run is also important - shouldn't be too long before dental work is a large user of 3d printing - quick bespoke crowns and so on . No need for one - off casting.
(anyone know if anyone can print bronze? should bring back that craft at a much lower cost)
Given the range of material one might wish for I suspect bureau printing (eg shapeways has a material list http://www.shapeways.com/materials ) has an interesting future.
But still - me want. fab@home material syringe seems like fun but the reprap seems more sensible ....
Re: More industry input to the EU?
Well I wasn't around when we joined the EU and the free trade is good (and if you are in EFTA you get the directives without a vote) but to your points (and i'm largely eurosceptic as it happens):
Firstly the EU can only produce rules within the competencies granted to it by Member states. I think castration might be pushing the social chapter rather. Although the commission has little ability to assess enforcement notification of transposition is compulsory - so no doing that will give rise to a probable fine.
Second. According to these guys http://beefandlambmatters.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/british-beef-toast-of-paris.html 'the value of fresh and frozen beef exports to France has also been on an upward curve – worth £12.5 million in the first quarter of 2012' - I'd guess they'd know. The Official Journal of the EU (OJEU) is stuffed with tenders from around the EU - famously the Eiffel tower was painted by a British firm. The UK pioneered the framework or catalogue process to pre-clear a small subset of vendors and then handle call off contracts that may or may not be competitive and may or may not ever be publicised in advance (or ever before the current transparency regime) - but certainly not published in the OJEU. When it looked like that process would be subject to infraction proceedings the UK negotiated for it to be written in to the last procurement directive. Again its the level of compliance that is the issue not black or white. Worth noting that in the UK the full process takes anything up to 18 months, the Netherland's averages around 6 months.
Three - good question - what happened about reforming the CAP! We do get a voice in making the trade barriers ( or single market in goods as it is otherwise known :) ) whereas everyone still has to comply to get access. Take a look at all the CE markings and ROHS compliance stickers around the world - even in their domestic markets as it is too expensive to run multiple manufacturing lines.
More industry input to the EU?
Hmm. In theory yes the ICO is under UK law that HAS to transpose the EU directives. Without knowing the details of the enforcement clauses and mutual arrangements however normally enforcement process, priorities and resources are up to the individual Member states as that is not a Commission competence (in the legal sense, not the skill sense, though that too as it happens). The Commission and related EU authorities don't get much of a say on domestic prosecution priorities.
As long as a lack of enforcement wasn't discriminatory or affecting cross border business in particular then there is actually little to prevent very low levels of enforcement of an EU directive transposed into EU law. The trick is not to ask the Commission for a derogation. The UK does tend to 'play fair' and attempt to enforce the law - with good reason as it makes us more influential over all though it does affect our ability to negotiate sometimes.
As to the issue of companies being more involved in the early stages of EU law the problem is that the EU process is full of ideas that may or may not make it to this stage which can take a decade or more (I first objected to a cookies law something like fifteen years ago when in DTI). Data protection, website accessibility, European accessibility act, any amount of ideas on financial services, standards regulations (those are actually a good update), public procurement (in draft forever it seems) are all alive plus many, many more. Discussion documents are often confidential and interservice consultation makes it very difficult to have confidence any points will be heard. Then add in the tripartite co-decision process of Commission, Council and Parliament - each with their own incentives and agenda. On top of that add in that businesses are often conflicted - many types of business benefit from poor law - erm especially law firms - many would like their domestic market protected over single market benefits and so on.
It is actually often much easier to talk to the UK gov who can filter, criticise and negotiate with other MSs better and they should have more and better resources prioritised (ie not more resources per se!) to the EU process , especially early Ministerial intervention. Currently laws derived from the EU do not count to the UK Government's deregulation targets and one in one (plus a bit ) process, which is itself rather flaky. That's an invite to not prioritise issues that will then become unavoidable during someone else's tenure in the next parliament.
Sorry I appear to have ranted - a little more balanced here : http://www.hypothetical.org.uk/?p=81 .
In general the more simplistic issue is that regulatory affairs is an expensive, highly intensive process that eats into the knowledge base you employ for other matters, whether it be management time or R&D. Organisations like CBI, Intellect and Digital Europe pool resources but that creates a consensus making and administrative burden and the odd conflict of interest again. A very small amount of resource from mostly large multinationals largely pooled with or competing with one another is involved but even then it is very hard to make the business case for even the obvious high impact issues in the EU owing to the very long timescales and slim chances of high impact. A round of applause is deserved by those that have successfully improved many a law from SMEs and individual interventions over and above their day jobs and our officials who wrestle with negotiation fatigue on a perpetual basis.
Ultimately our law makers in the UK and the EU have given relatively little attention to how to permanently improve the process of making law.
FRAND only definitively means the same deal should be on offer to everyone (non-discrimination). IPR only has to be offered on FRAND if there is a prior commitment to do so - normally as part of a contribution to a standards process.
The 'fair and reasonable' part is ultimately up to a court challenge as it is not defined. So they may well be there anyway.
CRC - still?
'the CRC, a mandatory scheme aimed at improving energy efficiency and cutting emissions in large public and private sector organisations not caught by the EU ETS.'
As ETS affects electricity generation and the CRC affects energy users that's an interesting distinction. Overlap is 100% as all downstream users are affected by the additional upstream costs of ETS. You also pay the CCL as well. So that's three regulations all supposed to be doing the same thing and 'non-intensive' users get caught by all three. Pick one - fix it.
Bizarre that such a known poor piece of legislation is still only up for 'improvement' - this is the one that penalizes growing companies like those that sell energy efficient services! It was under review even before it was implemented.
Oh of course it's said best with poetry:
'David Porter, chief executive of industry body Energy UK, welcomed the changes to "a number of overly complex regulations", but stressed that the review should form part of an ongoing process.'
Just maybe a decent better regulation team with teeth would be able to ensure they didn't get passed in the first place? How about automatic sunset clauses for regulations that turn out to have exceeded the regulatory impact in the regulatory impact assessment or not met their objectives?
Your logic is impeccable. I agree with it mostly. Your okey assumption is its flaw I fear. Government struggles to be consistent let alone logical in areas of such detail. Take for example the common imposition of legal sanctions for relatively minor first offences that prevent the accused of earning a living. How about the Patent Box - giving you a monopoly now means they also give you a tax break to ensure you exploit it .... because a monopoly wasn't good enough. Want to give your innovation away or licence it in a non-exclusive way - pay up the full tax ....
I'd suggest that if they did go down the 'cut-off' route they'd then point out the number of people unable to access on line services and create a whole new set of local physical access points with public sector moderators and guardians etc. Oh and probably not ever get the local council one stop shop office properly able to access their own services, nor staff the internet cafe in the local library.
Actually , cynicism aside on certain departments , I am being somewhat unfair. Many people in governance discussions get this point easily, especially those involved in technology matters. I've been privileged to work closely with some of them. The downside is the eagerness outside of that expertise to regulate what are global capabilities locally rather than ensure proper consistent incentives exist to migrate and transform public services and wider exploitation of digital technologies.
There are by the way some reasons not to have a 'no cut off' in principle either. Some evidence that restrictions on water severance on public health grounds (entirely reasonable) are exploited by middle income people not paying the water bill.
argumentum ad absurdum
I followed the article's link to the 'charging practice' part of the Crown Prosecution Services website covering the Obscene Publications act.
This contains blunt text that has highlighted a number of practices of which I was not previously aware of a perverted sexual nature. I therefore consider it depraved and obscene and it has by definition corrupted my innocence.
I therefore would like to complain about the CPS website under the obscene publications act .
It is also one of the most entertaining official documents I have ever read - for all the wrong reasons.
Need data on baseline cost of public services
Actually there are some interesting ways of doing this an net zero or better overall cost before even going to total economic cost. It's likely that delivering public sector services online is cheaper - and many public sector services are likely most expensive in rural areas (at least on a per head basis).
If we could track that the costs and savings could well easily pay for the infrastructure possibly even without adding in the added value of wider private services. The missing data is normally a cross public sector understanding of the baseline costs.
This could be linked to the sort of franchise/mutualisation model in the public services white paper order to handle the freeing up of investment and cross silo issues that plague public sector (so eg bundle up services and pay someone for achieving delivery by any outcome orientated means - ultimately the service is not the internet and online/offline hybrids will be required eg local nurse/remote doctor or even more generally remote cameraman linked back to various back end services and regulatory issues such as building regs). However some key policy/regulatory issues like public lending libraries being limited to physical books and similar issues would quickly surface.
Given local authorities handle a couple of thousand transactional services finding a few reasonable subsets and piloting it a sepcified areas makes senses given any success could be easily replicated as all such areas are rural and sparsely populated.
Might even find more things than few things urban councils could copy too. Like answering the phone and replying to calls and providing enough information to find out who's responsible for incomplete information at every turn - but i digress ...
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