Thursday, 30 July 2009
[UPDATE: an attendee's thoughts]
Imagine the scenario....60 people in a room, many more unable to attend through geographic or time issues, a smidgen of wi-fi so that at least 2 people can use their Macs and iphones to tweet or liveblog out, so others can respond, no major industry players, no audio let alone webcam to allow remote attendance....
That was today's first COTS (Commercial, Operational and Technical Standards) meeting, called by the Broadband Stakeholder Group.
IMHO, it doesn't bode well. But I truly hope I am wrong.
1) Why host a meeting where there is no opportunity to use the technology under discussion? We know from past experience eg 2003, Simmons and Simmons, ABC1 conference, that you can find venues with 400+ capacity in central London with decent broadband for all. We had approx 100 x more people communicating from within that event to the outside world way back when than there were today....
2) Why no major players? They are all BSG members.. [Oops, I am mistaken, Andy from Sky was there....]
3) Why no 'scribe' from BSG to keep us all up to date in real time? We ended up dependent on Brian who was speaking on a panel and obviously struggling to multitask (who can blame him?), and mark. Thanks to both but they were there to represent important views, not scribe.
4) How does COTS fit in with INCA? Who knows...it was not made clear to remote attendees at all, even those who had spoken to the organisers and delegates, but reading how the INCA empire was destroyed, I have to admit to being a bit worried at the modern day parallels....
We know we need to try to avoid a patchwork of broadband solutions. When Antony Walker stood up (was it only this time last year?) at the BSG conference and said we were better waiting and learning from other's mistakes to do FTTH etc, I didn't think he meant that those of us in rural communities in the UK needed to learn from those in the capital..... I sincerely hope he didn't.
But, I have to admit to struggling to comprehend this project, its purpose, how it will engage all stakeholders, how long it will take, and whether it is in tandem with or opposition to INCA, community action that is ongoing and succeeding in connecting communities, the incumbents etc.
I hope I can persuade Peter Shearman, prior to the proposed COTS meeting out of London, (date to be announced shortly) to be interviewed here to explain to others exactly what is proposed, the timescale, and what has been learnt from this first meeting.
If you have questions for (and about) COTS, BSG, Peter, Antony et al, please post to the comments section, or if you wish to remain anonymous, send to l dot annison at gmail dot com and I will, as always, respect your wishes.