Search This Blog

Friday, 17 September 2010

Highs and Lows

There are days when I wonder why we do this sh*t (sorry Dad). Why do we fight people on £70k (min) salaries to explain why we need to connect a farm in the middle of nowhere when that guy with PAYE and pension sorted can't even begin to understand our problems here at ground level?

This blog post can be read at

Today is one of those days when I remember why. See that image there? We hit front page BBC News and we knew it had gone global as soon as we hit #5 most read stories. I say 'we' with the utmost confidence in the fact I was involved in this to some extent. All I wanted to do was shift a few mole ploughs around the country and redo the Google car park dig in Cumbria this weekend, in a field to show how rural fibre digs work (ta, Google, for t'idea) - nothing major, and it will still happen but....

Luckily, there are others around me who can think out of the box more than me and @cyberdoyle is entirely responsible for making an event happen for Rory Stewart's event that puts every sponsor, speaker, quango, minister, knowledge network, etc etc into the shade.

Yep, the pigeons won. IP over avian carrier, get on!!

So, you, oh incumbent with your big pots of shareholder cash and, oh regulator, who can't see what is coming nor regulate 3 or 4 years behind the real, the gobby consultants creaming money off the half empty pot we have to invest in this country in a recession............where were ANY OF YOU TODAY???

Today, a small ISP with a big conscience and huge imagination (Timico Tref), a farmer's wife (@cyberdoyle Chris), and a company with a CIC conscience who has already(I think?) dug in more fibre to homes than BT (Spurn Point, Great Ashby, and more 'in the digging' right now - Fibrestream Guy) did something that our Government, ministers, quangos, incumbent etc can't - they broke the mould and proved what can be done and, most importantly, highlighted in PLAIN ENGLISH what is wrong in this country with broadband so every single person, worldwide, could GET IT.

As you brush your suit off for the autumn round of conferences, or for your next high powered meeting with investors, please think very hard about what YOU ARE DOING to bring the issue to Joe Public and connect the people who really matter.

I am bloody proud to know these people. I was especially proud to be sitting in a small rural hotel in Penrith, Cumbria, with Dave Isenberg as this story went mainstream. (Actually, having seen who he emailed, p'raps DaveI is partially responsible!)

And if you don't know these folks...then think very carefully before ringing them up tomorrow or the next day. What are you doing to progress this country if you take up all their time with demands for help for your overpaid consultancy proof of concept etc?

The reality is that we need fibre. It is nigh on 10 years since I first threatened to sing "Come on baby light my fibre" at the BSG conference in Birmingham and it is now time to actually JFDI to the people who keep this country going - the small ISPs, the social enterprises, the farmers, and the SMEs in rural areas.

Stop talking and get on with it guys and gals. If you need help, then the toolkit aka CAN in a Box (Community Access Network) is already here, online. On Twitter, on Youtube, in the forums, comments on blogs, and on community websites and in the #big society that has existed in this country for generations.

Stop quangos, regulators, incumbents, RDAs, councils wasting money on broadband. This "stunt" today would have cost several million if it was for the Olympics when the reality is it took some imagination, fuel, goodwill and a couple of journos who know a good story when they see one. We can connect this country in a similar way. We do not need over-paid folks ticking boxes, we need to Just F***ing Do It.

Well done to the pigeons, Tref, Guy and Chris.


Anonymous said...

Managed to get's article on it up a few hours before the BBC and have it slashdotted. This morning almost 8000 unique people had read it, placing it top for the past 7 days. This does not include the 3000 or so who might have viewed it front our front page :) . Good job all, the message was heard.

Cyberdoyle said...

Thanks for the hat tip, but it was all down to tref really, my pigeon race fell through cos the keeper got pneumonia and his wife wouldn't let him do it. (although he wanted to) so lincolnshire took up the baton and did it superbly. Well done Tref and Guy.
Well done ispreveiw as well, their story was the first with pictures, I won't enforce the deact and claim copyright for the photo they used, it was taken by Guy, phoned through to me and uploaded to tweetphoto where they spotted it and used it. Citizen journalism in action. Very good. Sharing knowledge and news. I like IT. By the time the newspapers get it out it will be history.
This is the future, and this is why we do what we do.
We are nearly there.
Our time has not been wasted. I think the city cogs are starting to hear us.

MB94128 said...

@ ISPReview - Clickie :
UK Pigeons vs. LSI (aka fake broadband)

NB - Speed chart (my viewpoint as of 2010) :
LSI - Under T-1 (1.544 Mbps)
MSI - Under 10 Mbps symmetric * + > LSI
HSI - Under 50 MBps symmetric + > MSI
USI - better than HSI
[Low / Medium / High / Ultra]
* I'd settle for a reasonably priced T-2 (6.312 Mbps).
"T-carrier" (Wikipedia article)

P.S. I'm a techie with data communications experience. I loathe the Newspeak of "up to X Mbps" used to describe internet connections. Give me throughput (e.g. just over 4KBps with a good connection) instead of a chimerical top speed (e.g. 56Kbps via an analog modem).

Anonymous said...

A big thank you to Michelle for being such a good sport when the combined forces of the BBC, Tref "Coppola" Davies and a flock of pigeons invaded her farm :)

Good to see ISPR picking up the story first, as usual!!

And as to the serious point - think Big Society and every community can have a future-proof FttH 4th Utility that is owned and operated in the interests of who we all are, regardless of our day jobs - customers.