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Monday 25 April 2011

#Twicket shows what can be done

Read more! The now globally infamous #Twicket Match in Wray, Lancashire today highlights just what can be done when rural areas have true broadband. The live streamed cricket match was a first on the Internet.....more details and full archive on

This blog post can be read at

Over 2700 people tuned in during the match from around the world to watch, and the online 'tickets' reached a staggering 1/2 a million(!) on Eventbrite.

The main problem with 21st century UK broadband from the telcos is that it is asymmetrical. This means that live streaming with multiple TV and video cameras, as well as the internet connectivity that was being used to tweet etc today is simply impossible in the vast majority of villages in the UK. This is why BBC and other outside broadcast teams have to rely on satellite for connectivity.

In fact, the opinions expressed on Twitter during and after the match were that there are only three such villages where such an event could take place - Ashby de la Launde in Lincolnshire, Great Asby and Wray / Wennington.

These three places have one thing in common - they are all home to community broadband networks that have been built because the telcos refuse to bring rural areas into the 21st century. Communities have worked together to bring FiWi (fibre-wireless) to their inhabitants.

What Twicket should graphically illustrate to everyone, whether they understand what true broadband is or not, is that when grassroots and communities get involved in delivering services that are required in rural areas, fantastic results can be achieved. (Including fully-clothed, 15 ft high, scarecrow streakers!). Additionally, a globule of imagination is all that is required to see how Twicket equivalents will benefit every community.

For instance, livestreams and archives of Parish Council meetings, church services, village events, remote education opportunities for undersubscribed classes (or for when the village hall is just too cold for yoga!), gigs, telehealth solutions, sharing village traditions across the fact, you name it, once you can create and share content over a symmetrical connection, the world really is your lobster.

To all those involved, a huge round of applause for creating a trend, firing up imaginations, and showing up the telcos.

Thank you to.....

@JohnPopham for his incredible work in making this happen and never being stumped by problems, and @DAnSlee for inspiring him
@Cyberdoyle (plus Debs etc) and Lancaster Uni for constantly evolving the Wray and Wennington networks to show other communities what can be done when academia and community join forces
Aquila TV for livestreaming
CLA, (CLA Photos) NGU and Talk about Local for sponsorship
RadioYouthology for live radio commentary
Mike Rawlins for his aerial photos
@Twicketbrenda for introducing a whole new field of cricket commentary, ably assisted by @Simon_Magus
Breakdance Billy (aka Adam) for the tea time entertainment
Stephen Fry for his RT
The Guardian, Metro and Radio Lancashire for publicity.
All the players, umpires and their yellow cards, tweeters, and everyone else involved.


P.S. A #Twicket secret - there is ethernet strung with the bunting across Wray main street!

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Wednesday 13 April 2011

BT: 100meg symmetrical..It's just not (their) cricket....

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If it wasn't so sad, it'd be funny. Community network put in a 100Meg symmetrical backhaul, announce its usage for a livestream of a village cricket match....BT spam the village with A3 posters....
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Bear in mind, this is a 7 year story so we'll keep it to the last month alone.

@johnpopham, talking to @danslee, realised that there is a need to bring people into community events needing tech. The event in question became Wray's Easter weekend cricket match, livestreamed over the Wray network. Wray has a symmetrical broadband connection, provided by Lancaster Uni. Most communities, unless they have a Digital Village Pump, can only dream of this type of community activity because the major supplier of backhaul hate the idea you could be a content provider....

It hit Twitter. As an idea. But Twitter ideas become real in moments. Even @stephenfry tweeted it. (Just like @yokoono did with Quakebook - Buy it now, please).

BT have just hit Wray with an A3 poster dissing wireless connections.


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Friday 8 April 2011

Two Leetle Questions for BT.....

Read more! At times, it is difficult to comprehend why telcos and incumbents do what they do, say what they say.'s a coupla questions.............
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1. BT plan to upgrade "up to 80% of their copper network to deliver connections of up to 20Mbps by the end of the year?"

Our question to BT: how many up to's can you get in one sentence? What do these "up tos" mean, after Ofcom has told telcos to stop using the term? What precisely are you trying to achieve? Both separately and together, with your Up Tos? For consumers? For your network? For Ofcom's plans and regulations? IN REALITY?

2. When you announce FTTC connectivity to market towns, are you planning to connect 100% of cabinets in those areas, wherever existing infrastructure lies? Are up to 100% FTTC areas 100% connected, and to what? How do you define when an area is "FTTP connected?" Do you think you can make it up by connecting one house from one cab = FTTP from that street cabinet?

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Wednesday 6 April 2011

This week's catch up

Read more! Scotland thinks it's being left behind, BDUK is under fire, and BT reckons it can spend yet more money on copper roll out for s'posedly superfast broadband

This blog post can be read at

Not read that lot yet? I suggest you do. All on Twitter, Google and a multitude of other platforms.

And when you have, the reality that will dawn on you is that if this country was hit by an earthquake, the chance of you having a halfway decent connection as you leg it out of your tower block in the City, to any type of connection to the Internet, is MINIMAL.

DoCoMo went down, big style, but internet connections stayed up in Japan. Why? Not mobile towers but fibre connectivity and decent DSL. The UK has *NONE* of that. We can't even offer mobile coverage to a vast proportion of the country - been on a train lately? Fancy reading your texts on the Tube?

This country's incumbents can be 'offended' and 'furious' when new entrants and non-SMP players tell the truth about the reality of pricing for access to ducts, poles and masts, and then send it to committee and the regulator. Or we can get on top of the problems caused by a creaking incumbent to whom we gifted the access network, which needs replacing with fibre. For Open Access. For competition. For consumer choice. For next generation access delivery.

Or we can just keep forking out for AM reports and hope one day they are read by the folk with the money and comprehension to do what is required in this country. Who may well be, at this rate, building train sets in their attics for their grandchildren instead. I suggest that could well prove to be more rewarding.
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Saturday 2 April 2011


Read more! Sometimes, we all have to put aside our own concerns to help others. The catastrophe in Japan has led to a group of people around the world coming together, via Twitter, to create Quakebook - an anthology of first hand experiences of the Tohoku earthquake.
This blog post can be read at

I am extremely proud to have been one of those people (one of the editors, blog creator, and part of the Yammer promo community) and that Amazon, Sony, Apple and others have all come on board to help us get the book out to the widest audience possible. Yoko Ono, Barry Eisler and Jake Adelstein have all contributed pieces to the Quakebook, which should be on sale in a variety of formats over the next few days.

Please tweet about it, blog about it, talk about it, and then BUY it! All revenue will go directly to the Red Cross in Japan. - A Twitter-sourced charity book about how the Japanese Earthquake at 2:46 on March 11 2011 affected us all. Raising money for the Japan Red Cross.
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