"The English parliament these days"
I was unaware that there was such thing as an English Parliament. Pray, where does it convene?
1508 posts • joined 21 May 2007
"The English parliament these days"
I was unaware that there was such thing as an English Parliament. Pray, where does it convene?
The selling of off of O2/Cellnet was forced on BT by the money men after they got overextended and caught out be the telecoms market crash that followed all those overprice 3G mobile phone licence auctions back at the turn of the millennium. A lot of network companies got wiped out or had to be restructured.
All the telcos had been banking on the market price of the assets they had owned/bought into. When the share prices collapsed, then they got left with the debts. Inept management, but it was a cross-industry madness at the time. A bit like a mini banking crisis.
What everybody fails to mention, and possibly the most important point of all, is that the new Openreach will not legally own the network it operates, or any IPRs and any future network investment it makes will be on behalf of BT Group. This is explicit in the commitments if anyone cares to read it. However, as people these days appear to be happy to comment on anything and everything without actually bothering to read the documents or deal with facts, then why should this be any different?
It looks like the new OR is going to be set-up as a management/operation company for the network owned by BT group. It will make investment decisions, within a financial model agree with BT group, but it will be on behalf of BT Groups with respect to the assets.
If anybody doubts this, I invite them to read the undertakings which can be found here. Section 9 is interesting with regard to assets.
I anything, it would appear to make the floating off of OR as a truly independent company even further away if it is not to own the network assets it operates. It just becomes a network services company with an investment advice arm...
I really doubt that the German government is going to bankroll many tens of billions of investment into a UK network.
Changing the branding on vans is trivial It's just giant decals printed on film. Peak off the old one and apply another. With companies with fleets the size of BT then it can be done for a few tens of pounds each time. They do it often enough for advertising purposes, and it will just be fitted into the schedule.
The real costs are not going to be the visible ones.
So you missed the point that this is an investment bankrolled by the German federal government? It says that the Federal government is already investing €4bn a year and is going to raise this by another €3bn to €7bn a year.
To put this in perspective, the total BDUK central government budget is about £780m (albeit there is local authority match funding).
Quite some difference there...
nb. there would be major issues regarding state aid if the UK govt went down this state corparist given the competing private networks. But then the German Government has a completely different relationship with DT to the one that the UK government has with BT.
Anybody who bothered to follow what actually happened with the original Ofcom/BT agreement with would know that functional separation of OR IT operational systems was part of the exercise. They will use common technologies and software stacks, as to do otherwise would waste money for all concerned, but the systems are functionally separate and it was defined that they had to be for equivalence of inputs. That means all customers (including BT internal customers) have to use the same interfaces.
However, there are some costs that would still occur with separation, and it would include issues such as software suppliers renegotiating licenses, duplication of support and much else. There will also be non-functional systems, like payroll and HR which will be shared as they form no part of the functional software stack. However, any IT separation costs will be very minor compared to the vastly more complex issues involving untangling of legacy pension liabilities (which will, due to historical employment patterns hit Openreach hard) along with whatever the pension trustees will insist on. It's likely they will insist on the huge pension deficit being covered much faster and in ways which would have massive effects on investment.
So if people spent a bit more time investigating and rather less making random assumption which suit their prejudices, the Internet would be a rather more informed place.
Not just TV reception equipment, but also for streaming TV programmes as they are broadcast or use of iPlayer (other catch-up services do not require a licence). If you use a phone to watch "live" TV progs or watch the Internet, it still needs a license although a home one does cover you for roaming on mobile devices as long as its running off batteries.
It's unclear to me if I take my laptop to a friends house (who doesn't have a licence) and I stream live TV whether he has to divert his eyes away from the screen...
Incidentally, how on Earth to you get to £25bn extra a year from 200,000 workers? That's £125,000 a year each. Just what sort of national average wage do you think they are on? Even the accumulated numbers over a decade is not going to get anywhere near £12,500 per year per person, and that's before you even consider the expenditure side of the equation and that very many of those immigrants aren't on the national average, but doing menial jobs at minimum wage.
No, most of the increase in public debt/borrowing was NOT used to pay off (I think you mean) rescue the banks.. All the money used to rescue the banks was either on a secured loan basis or by buying the equity. As such, any debt incurred was balanced in the books by assets (the value of the loans and/or equity) and it was never counted towards the national debt. The Lloyds bail-out is a particular example as it's almost all been sold back into private ownership and a modest (paper) profit has been made (and Lloyds wouldn't have been anything like as parlous state if not prevailed upon by Gordon Brown to bail-out HBOS; a disaster for the shareholders.. RBS is a rather different thing as it's performance has been abysmal and the share price is way below what the government paid. It will be a longer haul back.
But the point remains, this was never counted against the National debt. The credit options offered (mostly not taken up) were of the same sort. They were offered as a sort of over-draft facility to be drawn on as a lender of last resort.
Where the huge deficit did come in was the collapse in government tax revenues after 2008 due to the recession that followed and the cutting off of tax revenues from the financial sector (previously a huge source of income). Add to that the reduced economic activity and the the efforts that Alistair Darling made to stop the economy tanking, mainly by being fiscally very loose, and you got those huge deficits following on from 2009. That was on top of a 3-4% deficit at the height of the economic cycles to which we can add Gordon Brown had been rather loose with his fiscal approach and had generated a lot of off-book liabilities through such things as the massive increase in PPP projects which had the short term effect of not dumping debt on the public accounts by direct investment, but at the huge cost of future, unbooked, current account liabilities for some very expensive contracts.
So yes, the banks reckless actions triggered it, but they had politicians on the sidelines (in many countries) cheering on this financial castle built on sand as, for years, it poured forth money into public coffers. This wasn't helped when some countries also dipped heavily into the pot of easy money willingly lent by (often state-backed banks) in Europe. Hence the crisis of sovereign debt, a mess that Greece is still floundering in followed by a few others (like Italy, Spain and Portugal). The exposure of those commercial banks (even if state owned) to sovereign debt is still hanging there as a threat.
Changing your employment status now will not mean that HMRC might not choose to audit you retrospectively. Note that it's retrospective audit, not retrospective taxation as it would be an interpretation of the rules are they were believed to operate at the time. However, there may be hop for those who escape abroad.
Nope, it is "trying to avoid tax" or, tax avoidance as it's officially called. Tax evasion is the other, elicit version. However, just because something is legal doesn't necessarily make it ethical. There are many grey areas in all this.
1) The UK taxpayer did not pay for the original BT (phone) network. It was, in effect, paid for by the monopoly revenue from customers who, under state ownership, paid incredibly high prices for phone calls.
2) Nevertheless, the government still owned this network and then sold it to private investors. Notice that little point? They sold it, meaning that the the government got back the value of the assets which, incidentally, was dominated by obsolete equipment such things as Strowger exchanges. How you can sell something to private investors and then, somehow, claim it is still somehow paid for by taxpayers beats me. You clearly live in a strange world when you sell something yet still claim some sort of ownership.
3) whilst it was a (mostly) copper network - there was a significant amount of aluminium in the mix, it was not a broadband network. Any investment in broadband has been subsequent to the privatisation.
Whether you are innocent of a charge is entirely irrelevant to the matter of whether it's false arrest of not. What matters is whether the arresting authorities have reasonable grounds for making an arrest in the first place. Many people are arrested, go to court and are found not guilty. Very few succeed in winning false (or unlawful) arrest cases.
However, this one does sound odd. I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to tell on this case.
The stories in the financial sections this morning shed rather more light on this. The official justification appears to be that the value is in the spectrum bandwidth owned by the company. It might get become and important asset should it be included in the 5G technical standards.
However, perhaps just as important, 3 is owned by on of the richest man in Asia (Li Ka-shing), and UK Broadband was a venture by his son (Richard). It appears that the price paid will just about cover the investment and accumulated operating losses of UK Broadband...
Over £16k per subscriber? That's quite some premium. Of course there will be fixed assets, but that's rather a lot of money. I assume they are planning some major expansion, but it's a pretty crowded market place.
"I presume that the every electrical goods retailer will now be prosecuted for supplying devices that can also be used for this purpose. They're called computers."
Note this ridiculous old trope. On that basis, you'd end up prosecuting the electricity supplier, or maybe the builder of the house under which roof the modified set-top box is being used to breach copyright.
There is a very clear common sense difference in intent between selling a device that has been specifically modified to facilitate the breaching of copyright and which is knowingly sold on the basis of that facility and the case where a general purpose machine with many functions is sold even though it might conceivably be used for that purpose.
The law is not stupid in this matter. Judges (and, where relevant, juries) will consider the issues of intent and use on the basis of evidence. We do not, after all, prosecute cooks for possession of kitchen knives whilst we might very well prosecute somebody who was carrying one in the street with no good reason.
Packet loss has absolutely nothing to do with distance from the exchange. That just slows the sync rate. Packet loss is almost invariably due to insufficient backhaul.
There is already price controlled access to fibre for back haul. Not from cabinets, but from fibre aggregation points (cabinets are not aggregation points - they only have the fibre required for their functioning). However, there are a large number of aggregation points as well.
There are two problems though. The first is people complain even about price controlled fibre. However, the second is it doesn't get you very far on its own. It is the costs and logistics of running fibre to properties that is the killer.
If you read the note at the end of the article, you'll find it's a crap bit of mathematics by Tim Worstall. Basically he'd assumed that the total BT line length was for 10 pair cable and it's not. It's for single pairs. Secondly he'd not allowed for the weight of the insulation, which is half the weight of the cable he looked at (easily worked out from density of copper and the wire gauge).
That little bit of a kindergarten mistake by the ever egotistic Mr. Worstall overestimated the amount of copper in BT's network by a factor of about twenty. I responded at the time. Neither he or the Register ever noted that howler.
Technically a US president can serve almost 10 years if, as VP, they "inherit" the presidency with less than two years to go, as they can be elected in their own right twice. (If they inherited the presidency with more than two years to go, they could only then be elected to the presidency once).
Interleaving drives is not an option. HDDs rely on a smooth airflow to fly the heads, and having two interleaved drives will cause horrible turbulence issues.
I think you can 100% guarantee those BT ducts have been there for a very long time. No latest version required. In any event, it only needs the duct to be a few metres from where the piling operator thinks it is, map or not, and chaos will ensue.
I don't know what the procedure for this "thorough" survey, but if it's just consulting maps and assuming their accurate, that will surely not be enough. I would hope that the actual surveying involves using detection equipment and positively locating what are known services. The Network Rail contractors surely must have known there were major infrastructure ducting (and other infrastructure services) and positively located them before they started the work. I know that area quite well and it is a densely populated urban area.
One big problem is it's often extremely difficult to trace the originators with a distributed DOS attack through compromised devices controlled by heavily disguised control systems which, themselves, can go through compromised devices. Often this can be triggered by anybody, anywhere using any old public network. Even when the controlling source (or the source of the compromising agent) can be identified, these are often residents of countries where the rule of western law doesn't hold, or even regimes where this sort of activity serves a purpose of the state (or even agencies in that state not under full control).
It might be that some really draconian action will be required on ISPs and network operators to manage the security on their devices. A can conceive of ISPs and network operators being compelled to police their own user base for illicit traffic on pain of having some of their service access cut off which means, by implication, they have to police their users the same way.
Perhaps also some penalties for manufacturers and suppliers of devices that can be compromised which don't fix security holes. This is one huge issue for the "Internet of Everything".
Ultimately, the whole infrastructure needs to be hardened, and especially core services, such that they are far more difficult to attack in this way.
The Internet does route around damage, but this isn't an attack on routing. It's an attack on a network service. That's rather a different thing.
However, it's certainly true that far too little effort has been put into fundamentally hardening network services of all sorts against these sorts of attacks. Unfortunately far too many Internet protocols and services are built around assumptions of good behaviour.
So a device with 8 times the amount of flash memory achieves about 7.6 times the throughput on writes. That's almost linear, and it surely just implies that it's simply a factor that scales sidewise as more flash devices are added so more things happen in parallel. The memory isn't slower as such, it's just the way throughput scales.
Presumably on the read side, there are other bottlenecks which prevents the 256GB device maxing out all parallelism of multiple flash chips.
So not really "punishing", and how much does it matter in real life? Even at 42MBps, that 32GB flash storage device could be overwritten in about 13 minutes.
I seem to recall cases where the IP addresses used to edit some Wikipedia entries allowed the identification of sock puppet activity causing the perpetrators some embarrassment. In those cases it was IP addresses allocated to organisations or offices and not, directly, individuals but the culprits (or close associates) were obvious.
There have been some much more complex versions of this whereby sources of deliberately misleading or derogatory information have been identified. So there are occasions where publicly visible IP addresses have some public interest.
That has been tested in court on several occasions and the challenges to the rates authorities have all failed. It's been challenged in UK courts and in an EU case on state aid grounds.
Here's just one example.
Well buy your broadband from an operator that doesn't bundle sports into the broadband costs, not BT Consumer (or for that matter, Sky or VM bundled products). The wholesale costs for lines and FTTC contain precisely no element for those sports rights. Full stop. None. Not a penny. There are many other ISPs to choose from.
The question is not whether there's a demand. The question is whether there's an economic level of demand. There are many, many things people and companies want, but there's a limit to what they are prepared to pay for it. A company can have pretty well whatever speed broadband it wants if its prepared to pay the price. Just because somebody wants gigabit level speeds to (say) £50 a month, it doesn't mean that there is a sufficiently big demand to make it worthwhile spending the £25bn or more required to reach (almost) 100% fibre coverage (even that expenditure will not reach everybody).
It's about time people learned there's a difference between a demand and an economic market. Many people will be happy enough with a few tens of mbps and those that are prepared to pay extra could not be enough to pay for a comprehensive network uplift. Hence the current approach of incremental upgrades in the most cost-effective manner.
The Australian NBN tied itself up in knots trying to deliver FTTP (and even then to nothing like 100%) and has had to cut back its aspiration such that it is now dominated by FTTC. That is with a budget which would equate, in UK terms, to around £45bn when adjusted for population.
Yes, and it was Tim Worstall on this very site who made the idiotic claim that the copper in BT's network was worth about £50bn at the market rate for copper ingots. He even included the calculations. Sadly for him, there were laughable errors in the estimate (and would-be copper thieves) there were some elementary mistakes. First, he assumed that BT's network of 75m miles of cable was the length of 10 pair cable (when it's single pair). Secondly, in he used the weight per unit length of 10 pair cable which included all the insulation rather than just the copper. The upshot was that he over-estimated the amount of copper in BT's network by about 2,000%. That's without even taking into account the fact that scrap copper wrapped up in plastic insulation is a lot cheaper than pure copper ingots as it needs a lot of processing.
In practice, some copper (especially that direct buried) would be a lot more expensive to recover than it was worth as scrap.
Anybody much older than 30 in the UK also lived in an era when there was a state-owned phone network, and it was pretty awful. Expensive, inefficient, unreliable, over-manned and under-invested. In 1984 the vast majority of local exchanges were still based on ancient Strowger equipment.
So he'd rather they both sat on the floor together rather than sort the position out during the journey?
Anybody who has ever been on a "ram packed" (I prefer jam packed) commuter train will know that the original video was rather dubious. On such a commuter train there would simply be no empty floor space to sit upon. Indeed there's often barely enough space to stand.
The issue of unclaimed booked seats on long distance routes is always a pain though. However, it's always a good idea to look at the details. If the reservation is for a different leg of the journey then it's free until that point. If the leg it applied to started some time ago then its unlikely that it will ever be claimed (and the worst that happens is you are asked to move). Note that removing booking tags can (at least in theory) get you into trouble.
The fact is that a lot of people who book seats find that they are all crammed into two or three carriages and they fancy a bit of space and go and find some in an carriage without any bookings. As far as I'm aware there's no actual requirement to sit in the seat that was booked for you.
nb the one place where booking on long distance trains tends to get rigorously applied is on cycle spots. They really are in short supply and, in my experience, there's little flexibility.
You can have renationalize as that's a verb and by all means spell it according to local standards. However, The Labour Party is the registered name of the political party and really ought to be spelt that way.
There is, or at least was, in this country the principle of being considered innocent unless proven guilty. In England and Wales at least, there was no "grey area" such as Scotland's "not proven" verdict.
This drives a coach and horses through that principle.
18:1? I've never heard of such a definition. A reference would be interesting. In any event, 18:1 is pretty lax. It would mean that about 5% of innocent people end up being convicted. That's a non-trivial proportion.
Most of the cases I've seen which involved misuse of stats weren't down to the actual level, but a complete misconception. For example, the famous cot death case which had two misconceptions. The first being that incidents of cot death were independent (so there was no common genetic or environmental factor), and the second that even if something was very rare (even one in several million), if the activity is frequent enough some examples will appear.
It's not necessarily true that the householder has to have a licence if somebody is accessing iPlayer of live TV via the Internet. If you are a guest in a property and are using a mobile device powered off its own batteries (and not plugged into an aerial) then, if they have their own TV licence at their own home, they are covered by that. That even applies to use of a mobile device as a second home if covered at the first.
It's all on the official website.
Just a scare story. Quite apart from the WPA-2 encryption issue and some vague stuff about pattern matching with iPlayer, there is another issue in that mobile devices (when running off of batteries, but not the mains) are covered by any TV licence at the owner's place of residence. So somebody using a tablet to watch iPlayer at a friend's house is covered by their own TV licence. That's also true for second homes too (as is confirmed by the official website) if you have a licence at your primary home. Just don't watch whilst your tablet/laptop is plugged into a mains socket or any device plugged into an aerial socket.
"There are 30,000 gun related deaths per year by firearms, and this number is not disputed. U.S. population 324,059,091 as of Wednesday, June 22, 2016.
Do the math: 0.0000925% of the population die from gun related actions each year."
I did, and it's 0.00925%. When you turn a decimal factor into a percentage remember to factor in the 100...
The Falkirk Wheel is not an aqueduct. It's a boat lift and was long pre-dated by the one at Anderton, albeit of a different design. There have been many examples of boat lifts, with incline plane lifts probaby being the most popular. Possibly the most bizarre one of all was the cassion lock on the Somerset Coal Canal which involved boats being floated into a sealed box which was raised and lowered through a water-filled cassion. It never really got beyond a demonstration.
Whilst the headline says 300 million pelicans, the text in the story says 3 million, a much more reasonable 10Kg per bird. So I've no idea why The Register has a difference of a factor of 100 between the story and the headline.
So your grand plan is to confiscate a £20bn asset (Openreach) from the shareholders?
"Oh yes, and the company is not permitted to use that forced payment in any positive promotion of how they are handling their finances."
What on Earth does that mean? There is no positive promotion of a pension deficit. It's a drag on the share price.
As for the suggestion that there is a cap on the pensions paid, just how many people do you think that would affect and how much difference would it make to the total? The number of people involved in making decisions which would have impacted on any pension deficit is tiny and the BT pension scheme has well over 300,000 members.
In any event, it's a complete irrelevance as the whole thing is covered by pension regulation. BT are obliged to agree a plan to cover the deficit with the trustees of the scheme. It clearly has impact on the OR division as they will (due to historic employment patterns) have a duty to provide some cashflow to cover the deficit (at the moment it's only reported at group level). If you care to read the Ofcom proposals on OR separation you will find a large section given over to that very subject.
There is no Philip Green figure that can extra money from a privately owned company leaving it unable to service the pension deficit. BT is a PLC, whilst BHS was not.
nb. ultimately the government is on the hook for the deficit due to the Crown Guarantee at the time of privatisation. Briefly, if BT Group were to go insolvent then any deficit is guaranteed by the state (which has been established in court). Given that the government had to pick up the Royal Mail pension deficit (about £8n), I doubt they want to see that happen.
Many fewer than are killed by cats and, in any event, car drivers don't set out to kill birds and most will try and avoid them. Cats methodically set out to hunt them down. Note, it's not the cat's fault. It's humans for keeping them in massively larger numbers than could be supported in the wild.
Ofcom is not financed by public money. It's financed by a levy against network operators and broadcasters.
A "civil restrain order" (CRO) is nothing to do with criminal cases. CROs are issued when a judge considers that an application to a court for a hearing is vexatious. For example, when an individual tries to sue another on the same issue when the case is considered to have no merit.
I've also no idea what such a subject would be doing on the Radio 4 programme "The Bottom Line". That's a business-orientated programme which doesn't normally deal with legal issues beyond those that are relevant to businesses. Nor can I see where it was discussed last week (which was about the business implications of Brexit).
Linux can run on mainframes of course, but one problem is poor support for applications only available as binary distributions. For obvious reasons a lot of vendors only want to support a limited range of distributions, let alone processor architectures.
More recently, Plusnet had been selling the GEA-FTTC 40/2 mbps product, and not the 40/20 it started out with originally. That, I believe used the GEA-FTTC 80/20 product and throttled download in the network.
So for recent customers this is much better all round. It is all what Infinity 1.
There's a pretty good chance Brexit will not happen (as David Allen Green has pointed out). It is significant that Cameron didn't invoke Article 50 immediately which (short of unilaterally abrogating treaties) is about the only way that the country can leave. To invoke Article 50 there would have to be a PM elected who was willing to do it, and whilst it might be possible to do it by executive action under the Royal Prerogative (which would probably require a cabinet decision), but I suspect that any PM will really want a Parliamentary vote behind them. It's always possible that might not happen - the considerable majority of MPs are in the Remain camp.
It might be that even Boris might not press the button given the noises he's making. Of course all hell would break loose from the exit camp (or at least the convinced wing of the exit camp) if that happened, but stranger things have followed. Then there is the thought of a bit of horsetrading. .
I'd put the odds of article 50 not being invoke as high as one in four, albeit the probable outcome is that it will be and there will be a deal where a lot less changes than people might expect.
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017