* Posts by Tachisme

11 posts • joined 4 Apr 2019

Working from a countryside plot nestled in a not-spot? Consultation opens on new rural mobile planning laws for bigger masts, wider coverage


Re: low population density

>“EE (added with its nice govt subsidy for airwave replacement, rather screwing over chance of other networks to compete…”

You’re insane - or, at least, ignorant:

- EE are losing money on the Emergency Services Network tender: there is no “subsidy”.

- There was a competition, and other networks had the opportunity to bid for it.

- mandating full coverage across the entire geographical UK would exponentially increase everyone’s mobile bills.

Your comment is an example of what is wrong with the Internet: any moron with an opinion, despite how ignorant, can assert something and if it arouses people’s emotions, it will be propagated and upvoted.

Full disclosure: I used to work for EE. One of the reasons I left is because of my contempt for the puddle-deep level of understanding, and sense of entitlement, of the average customer, and the implications that has for the demands made on telecoms companies by government/Ofcom.

Ministry of Defence's cyber warfare drive is helping burn a hole through its budget, warns UK's National Audit Office


You're correct, but GCHQ are largely responsible - this is indeed the MOD's desperate quest for relevance. Perversely, that quest will further damage what the department does actually need to be able to do: generate force elements at readiness for specified military tasks.

For many reasons, the armed forces are the wrong place to attempt to curate cyber capabilities. Not least, the sort of people who want to join and stay in the military to wear uniforms, obey orders, have short haircuts, do annual fitness and weapons handling tests, etc. are usually not the same sort of people who are the best possible 'cyber operators'.

UK Court of Appeal rebukes Home Office for exceeding its powers with bunkum 'national security' GSM gateway ban


What's the commercial imperative behind this case?

What's the commercial imperative behind this case - i.e. why is it still being progressed so many years later?

We won't CU later: New Ofcom broadband proposals mull killing off old copper network


Re: Cancelled my BT account

Of course BT didn’t offer to reduce your bill: you would have been exponentially more expensive to support than any other customer. Your decision to relinquish a landline will allow BT to save money maintaining that line. Previously, you were heavily subsidised by urban customers.

BT told government and Ofcom years ago that it could roll out fibre everywhere, it just needed a ‘fair bet’ in terms of regulations allowing it to recover its costs. The current rules aren’t fit for purpose: Openreach installs fibre and then is both (a) obliged to allow competitors to use it; and (b) it capped at the rates it can charge. There’s simply no business case to it.

This may be annoying, but it’s the commercial reality!

While Apple fanbois rage at Catalina, iGiant quietly drops iOS and macOS security patches


I’m selling my Mac

I have been at Mac user for over a decade, but Catalina has broken me. I have bought a lovely Lenovo X1 Carbon laptop, and my Mac is now on eBay.

How bad is Catalina? It's almost Apple Maps bad: MacOS 10.15 pushes Cupertino's low bar for code quality lower still


I installed Catalina on my Mac Mini, and immediately lost all screen output. Apple support could not help me, and I was going to have to take my machine into an Apple Store in London, when I stumbled across an answer on a Reddit forum. It transpires that Catalina doesn’t like some 4K monitors. I had to completely remove the power from my Mac Mini, and then reconnect it, and my monitor started working again. Not a great user experience...

TalkTalk bollocked after fibre marketing emails found to be full of sh!t


TalkTalk is awful

I used to work for BT, so I know that one of the reasons they were more expensive is because they invested more in backhaul than their competitors. TalkTalk is renowned for underinvesting - they remind me of the Ruskin quote:

“There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey.”

When I left BT, I lost my free employee broadband, so I looked for a cheap alternative (I’m rarely home, so I just wanted 38/10, rather than 80/20, and I don’t need any ‘value added services). I joined Direct Save Telecom, and while I’m content with it, it has brought home the reality of differing levels of investment in backhaul and core networks: at peak times, it’s faster for me to use my iPad on 4G than it is to use broadband. They also have tried a couple of upselling gimmicks/mistakes, which I avoided but which I thought were slightly underhand.

Out of interest, who’s the best *cheap* provider? Direct Save Telecom seem decent value, the above caveats notwithstanding, but I was wondering if there are alternatives, mainly for family members who are more reliant than me.

UK mobile companies score £220m cashback from Ofcom over spectrum fee dispute


There is no purpose to spectrum pricing than a tax by any other name

(From the FT comments:)

The article lacks a bit of  context. All the 3G, 4G and now 5G spectrum has been auctioned. The 3G auction raised £22.4 billion, 4G auction raised £2.3B and the 5G auction (part 1) raised £1.3 billion.  It is a nice little Treasury racket as the price of spectrum is now so high that no new network entry is feasible, as we saw in the 5G auction. The 5G spectrum at 3.4 GHz fetched £7.38m per MHz - the same spectrum was sold in 2003 for £175,000 a MHz.

In general the spectrum cost is treated as a capital asset and when spectrum prices go too high, as they did with 3G, the mobile operators directly cut back on the extent of network they initially roll out...one of the reasons 3G coverage was so awful for so long. It is one of the reasons why 5G coverage may be a while reaching you.

The 2G spectrum at 900 MHz was given to the Vodafone and Cellnet free in 1987 in exchange for them investing in the GSM networks early (they had only just rolled out their 1G networks). This led, as a matter of fairness, to the new competitors at 1800 MHz getting their spectrum free. The auction fees in dispute relate to this 900 MHz and 1800 MHz spectrum, where the mobile operators are required to pay an annual fee  based upon a market value, which Ofcom guesstimates. What upset the mobile operators was when Ofcom, acting as the spectrum branch of the Inland Revenue, suddenly jacked the price up. There is no purpose to spectrum pricing than a tax by any other name.

Sky customers moan: Our broadband hubs are bricking it


Re: Sky Broadband FAQ

The reason why ISPs need to see most people's networks is that 99% of customers are not technically capable, and so they blame the ISP whenever anything interferes with their user experience. Unfortunately, that's often due to issues within the home, so contact centre agents need tools to allow them to understand what's happening within the LAN. If all users were as technically capable as the average Register reader, ISPs wouldn't need huge, expensive contact centres, and your broadband costs would be halved! We don't live in that universe, sadly...

Unionised BT workers reject plans to revamp pay, grading structures


Re: BT is changing - the redundancies and reorganisation are necessary

This isn't my first post - I've been a users since 2006, and posted dozens of times (the moderators could confirm that; not that they should care). I realised that my user ID might 'out' me though if I were to comment on this story (if cross-referenced to posts on other sites using the same username ), so I changed it. Apparently that's a risk that other people recognised years ago (see below). It's annoying that resets my history on The Register: I hoped it would retain my history, but keep it under new name.

1. https://www.technologyreview.com/s/422715/how-your-username-may-betray-you/

2. https://www.tomsguide.com/us/single-username-risks,news-18288.html

3. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/82300834.pdf

[Edit: I've just realised what the issue was - my previously posts were anonymous, so while they're listed in my 'https://forums.theregister.co.uk/my/posts/' section, they're not attributed to me'.]

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BT is changing - the redundancies and reorganisation are necessary

I've worked for BT for many years, in a variety of roles. I'm one of the minority who voted in favour of the 'People Framework' (the term for the new conditions).

BT is changing - we recognise that customer service hasn't been good enough. We also recognise that there is work to do to both maintain and improve the value proposition: EE and BT Mobile have the best network of all of the operators, but will it still be the best in five years, i.e. once 5G is rolled out? Not unless we continue to innovate. (Fibre to the premises is a different issue - blame Sharon White and her highly-politicised Ofcom for their refusal to engage with commercial realities, there).

My job is currently at risk, so I'm currently reviewing my options and making myself as employable as possible. The redundancies and reorganisation are, however, necessary. We can't whinge that BT isn't efficient enough, and/or charges too much, and then also complain that they dare to address this by reorganising and becoming more efficient. Well, we can, but we shouldn't because it's ignorant at best, and hypocritical at worst. I therefore voted in favour of the changes: BT will remain the key communications provider in the UK for decades, and we should all hope that it succeeds. It will only do that if it can evolve.


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