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Wednesday, 22 July 2009

The COTS Project

The BSG (Broadband Stakeholder Group) have just sent out an invite to the initial COTS Project meeting next Wednesday. For those who cannot get to London, we will know early next week if there is to be a live stream. Anyone going please tweet or live blog on #oplan or similar...full details below

Commercial, Operational and Technical Standards for Independent Local Open Access Networks (The COTS Project) – kick-off meeting

Venue: Ingenious Media, 15 Golden Square, London W1F 9JG

Date: Wednesday 29 July 2009

Time: 14:00 - 17:00

What is this meeting about?

Around the world there are now numerous examples of successful local and community-led broadband infrastructure projects. Looking forward, it is likely that similar projects could play a key role in delivering next generation broadband to parts of the UK.

However, there is a need to ensure that this does not lead to the emergence of a disjointed ‘patchwork quilt’ of networks that results in consumers and businesses being offered a sub-optimal range of services at the retail level.

In order to mitigate this risk a degree of standardisation and harmonisation is required. This would aim to reduce costs for scale retail service providers, for whom cost minimisation is a central concern. However, any standardisation and harmonisation should not inhibit the scope for grass roots innovation at the local level.

Government, regulator, industry and other stakeholders have all indicated that this is an issue that needs to be addressed, and similar activities are currently being undertaken in other markets.

The BSG is therefore proposing the COTS Project (Commercial, Operational and Technical Standards), an industry-led project to examine what needs to be done in order to ensure consumers have access to a full range of service providers, regardless of the underlying network ownership or technology.

In addressing this issue there is an opportunity to create a win-win-win situation where network operators are able to provide a choice of services to consumers and maximise wholesale revenue potential; retail service providers benefit from a larger addressable market; and consumers and small businesses benefit from a wider range of services.

Who will be speaking?

BSG will set out the proposed project and how we intend to take it forward, with the views of government, Ofcom, and industry stakeholders put forward in order to stimulate debate amongst participants. We aim to achieve an in-depth discussion amongst participants, capturing a variety of opinions and establishing a view on the key issues the project needs to address and how this might be achieved.

Who should attend?

The project is open to anyone with an interest who wishes to participate. BSG is keen that as many stakeholders as possible are represented at the meeting, and engaged with the work going forward.

The kick-off meeting will be of particular interest to: service providers; network operators; vendors; local authorities, RDAs, community projects, developers, and their partners.

If you wish to attend, or are interested in the project and would like further information, please contact: Peter Shearman, t: 020 7331 2163, e:


Cybersavvy UK said...

One of the issues which is of utmost import from a consumjer pov is the advertising and labelling of services. We are seeing an increase in the 'misleading' of consumers, whether deliberate or otherwise by the use of terms such as 'super fast', 'fibre' etc.

The COTS project needs to ensure that all ISPs, whether community-led projects or large corporates,adopt terms across the NGA board so consumers are crystal clear what they are being sold. The Uk should take a lead in this standard and that will mean looking to the next gen services already available elsewhere, and hence which eventually be available here, and help ISPs prevent mis-selling now and in the future.

I know this is a thorny issue, which started way back when with the definition of broadband, but we need to get to grips with it. As a marketer myself, I know it is going to be an uphill struggle but if this project is going to do what Ofcom fails to ie protect the interests of the consumer, NOW is the time to get on top of this problem.

Cybersavvy UK said...

Mark Purdom is planning to attend and will not only take any matters to the meeting from those who are unable to attend, but will hopefully tweet out.....


the Broadband Stakeholders Group can once and for all use the technology they espouse.

I am willing to donate a webcam or even a smartphone preloaded with Qik for not just that purpose, but also so those of us who have been BSG members since day 1 of its existence can finally attend meetings via broadband connections, and not have to fork out £250 + lost earnings every time there is a BSG meeting in London.