Tuesday, 21 June 2011
This blog post can be read at 5tth.blogspot.com
The next step, surely, should be for each region to calculate how much money is required for the solution(s)and where any money assigned to the area will do most good in generating, as quickly as possible, the remainder of the money required?
This is how a business would work... Which product should we develop and put out to which market for maximum ROI, particularly during a recession when times are tough?
One wonders what criteria are being used to decide which region gets what considering the vast majority of the regions do not seem to have a pre-defined plan for what they will do with what they are given. Some do seem to have realised the BDUK money is for rural areas where there has already been market failure to deliver broadband 1.0; others do not seem to gave truly grasped even that basic point.
Once awarded funds, surely the very first step should be for the council to appoint a suitably knowledgeable panel to assess appropriate solutions available with said pot of gold, or have we taken to developing products blindfolded and in the dark now?
Not having more than the most vague idea of what is possible per £, the approach appears to be putting out a similarly vague procurement doc with untold extra limiting factors to see who may be interested in laying their hands on the dosh. Or who the Council is left with after excluding a substantial number of potential solution providers due to the (quite unnecessary) restrictions.
Hard evidence is available from around the world that FTTH is profitable with some networks going in to profit at the moment of switch on. However, a business-like approach appears to be lacking here. Which provider and/or solution is providing a business plan and road map showing how further areas of Market failure will be funded once the pilot area is complete? Because this is not a one off task but rather an ongoing one for each area. It is unlikely further central funds will be available; ergo each region should be deploying solutions which seek to generate the monies required for further investment.
This could be done by ensuring that any solution is set up to run as a commercially viable entity, rather than just lobbing the money at a solutions provider looking to bank all profits themselves. Councils are more accustomed to having an annual budget made available to them, rather than operating as a business needs to where next year's spend comes from the wise decisions of previous years. In this instance, and knowing what work lies ahead, the required approach would seem to be obvious for any business-minded person.
But obviously logic and common sense has gone out the window! In fact, we seem to be watching an abject failure to put Big Society into action. Us little folk who need and know this stuff plus the biz people with required acumen to create business plans are being steam rollered and ignored by the very agencies Big Society was supposed to give ears and a brain to.