Friday, December 19, 2008

Phorm Management leave sinking ship

Debate continues to rage about spyware vendor Phorm.

This week sees there management team run for the door with their hair on fire... Phorms indominatable CEO Hugo Drayton and CFO Lynne Millar both resigned this week, saying that it had all been very rewarding - I hope they meant in terms of pay, because I doubt it's done their careers any good.

Just last week Hugo Drayton recently put up this spirited defence of Phorm and it's business model. While talking to the folks at TelecomTV

It's about time for BT, Virgin, EasyNet et al, to follow Hugo and Lynne over the side of the boat; So folks, if you're listening, . Stop it now! It poisons everyone who goes near it. It's a PR disaster, even the people who work their know it

Also, stop trying to steal each others marketshares by cutting the prices it just leads to churn which is incredibly expensive let the little guys have the small price sensitive customers like my mum who uses it to shop at Tesco online and email recipes to her friends in the WI, and get back to selling people a good product that homeworkers, businesses and people who want streaming media; they will be prepared to pay a fair monthly fee.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Obamafication of the Internet: We will renew Information SuperHighway

In his weekly address to the US President Elect Barack Obama staed that it was unacceptable for the US to be ranked 15th out of 30 developed nations in the adoption of Broadband.

In his regular Saturday broadcast, Obama has promised that he would make the single largest new investment in our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s. A high-tech new deal if you like, though he does suggest that his administration will move to bring all schools and hospitals on line so that they can communicate and share data across the Internet; I can hear Richard Granger and his NHS National Program for IT team dusting off their CV's as I type. But seriously in a month when over 1/2 a million Americans were released form their jobs and a further 1/4 million contractors sent home the proposals to revitalise the economy by investing tax $ in infrastructure and training is a lead that other countries should be following, giving people who have been laid off the opportunity to earn, learn and contribute to the future of their nation, perhaps for a short while it might remind people that creation of real things is what carries civilisation forward; not, pretend trading in made up things that benefit the very few.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Sprint and Google show Wimax has legs with $3.2Bn Clearwire investment

Google, Comcast, Time Warner, Intel & Bright House have coughed up $3.2bn (about £2.1bn) and Sprint has 'donated' their country wide Wimax license to a new company Clearwire.

As a connectivity nut I've been waiting for this since I first saw Wimax demo'ed at Intel back in 2003, it was low powered and pretty ropey but it worked. How things have changed take a look at this Clearwire Demo 7mb up 3mb down when your driving around, ok it's a demo: then again a $3.2Bn investment in the middle of the worst recession in 70+ yrs, tells me that they're sure it's going to work.

The reality of a truely mobile wireless high speed "broadband" internet is interesting (exciting) enough, but when it finally becomes ubiquitous as it will, forget personal Internet access for a moment think of the huge array options for in car entertainment, roadsafety, traffic management; streaming audio, video, headup displays, location based services and advertsing etc... I for one can't wait to see what opportunities this will eventually deliver.

In the realm of personal communications you can shove a lot down 7mbs; most of us will no longer need land-lines for home broadband, or telephony; most former PTTs can wave goodbye to their cash cows. You can see why the mobile service providers who have been poo-poo'ing Wimax for years, and who spent all those billions in overhyped auctions are certain to keep the Andrex puppy in dog biscuits for the next few years.

Remember as late as 2000 BT and Co were denying DSL Broadband would ever be widely available and that ISDN, X-25 and Dial-up was here to stay.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

AT&T Cut even more staff

After cutting 7,000 staff in October, Randall Stephenson CEO of AT&T (pictured) announced that another 12,000 are to go in 2009. The cuts represent 4% of the total workforce and is the largest single staff cut since the 1998 when it axed 15,000 in a bid to cut costs.

What is interesting is the difference in the cuts as a percentage of the overall headcount. In '98 AT&T had 130,000 staff and the redundancies in that round made up 12% of headcount. With the US economic situation far worse AT&T's current headcount at over 300,000 is likely to carry on shrinking.

Let's hope they don;t make the same mistake as BT did, and allow their top IP engineers to take the very generous redundancy option; leaving Global Services short handed and costing the CEO is job.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Don;t pay for 0870 to contact Government helplines: Robbed by the DVLA

I've come over all Martin Lewis today! I've just spent £3.50 on a 20 second conversation with the DVLA, @49p/min.

I wasn't aware that public service help lines had become a government profit centre; but apparently they are.

According to Hansard: The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has received the following amounts from its use of revenue sharing phone numbers for each of the last five years.


What a great scam! Apparently premium rate numbers were introduced in 1999 to "Not there to raise money but to flatten out discrepancies in the amount paid to call Swansea from different parts of the UK"

Well as a reader of On the BackChannel I'd like to introduce you to SayNoto0870 and if you ever need to phone DVLA here is the number you should call to get around the rip off 01792 782341.