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Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Should we worry where our money goes?

Each day, a conflicting range of reports about next gen, public spend, grants, feasibility studies etc are issued. For those on Twitter or other social media tools, commentary and opinions come in by the minute, flooding our senses with rationales for doing x.... no, y...errr, surely z would be better?

This country has to make decisions about how to proceed with next generation access. Those are never going to be easy choices. However, the waters are constantly being sullied as companies seek to satisfy their shareholders, politicians fight for their seat or non-exec place on well-paying Boards, civil servants endeavour to keep their jobs and pensions, and normal folk strive to see the right/logical/honourable choices that will benefit all in the long run.

It is time to somehow put aside all those conflicting interests and just for once do right by those poor unsuspecting people who actually live and work in the real world that is present day Britain. This is not about your share price, your fat cat wage, your career or any other selfish aspect or spin that you are currently working to. This is about Britain. Just for once, let's try and be patriotic. And realistic.

One of the great aspects about the human race is the ability to INNOVATE. Each day there are discoveries and developments which move the goal posts. The problem for next gen in the UK seems to be in absorbing all of these discoveries and developments to ensure we have a cohesive strategy for the future. It is blatantly obvious that by adopting one particular solution and then endeavouring to implement it, by the time such happens, it will be out of date.

So, what to do? Well, it seems that at the moment, in the media, government, public sector and so on, all of the new wave of next gen progress revolves around funding. Choosing the right project to let our public sector procurement, State Aid, fixed line levies etc loose on causes no end of grief. Fund one project and many will cry "Foul", though usually not until it fails. Which in this country, with IT projects, it tends to do spectacularly.

If finding money is the main issue, and then who to give it to, what we need to do is accept a known constant.


We are more likely to choose VHS than Betamax anyway so why fight it? Fund lots of different options, get people connected, then learn from the mistakes and connect the next bunch differently. It is just like painting the Forth Road Bridge anyway. By the time everyone has SOMETHING, it'll be out of date and we'll need yet more bandwidth!! But at least aim for the best we can now eg 100Mbps+++ symmetrical, instead of being satisfied with 2Mbps asymmetrical maybe, sort of, well, up to that speed anyway......

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