Archive for the ‘irishblogs’ Category

EXCLUSIVE: Limerick Blogger in Page 3 spread

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

More here. Congrats to the Limerick Blogger!

The Merlin of Irish Telecoms: ComReg – Irish Telecoms Review 2006 Part 4

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

I bash ComReg any time I can. To be blunt, my view is that ComReg are a cancer on the Irish Telecoms market. I don’t think it is intentional but at the same time their capacity for constructing grand delusions means they do not believe they have caused great harm to Ireland even when obvious to everyone else. Their level of incompetence and arrogance, to me, is legendary, from causing diplomatic incidents to a director threatening to increase wholesale dialup prices because we pointed out he did not do review flat rate prices yearly when he had the power to do so. (Generally this means prices for flat rate dialup can come down, but this chap said they could go up if we really wanted a review.)

The new commissioner Mike Byrne was in the consumer section of ComReg when they finally defined functional Internet access to be something which should have been 28.8kbps minimum. Trouble is this definition had so many loopholes for eircom that they still don’t have to supply you with a phoneline that can give you 28.8kbps dialup speed to the Internet. “Best Effort” is all through the definition but “Best Effort” is not defined. See if it was above 28.8kbps it would also guarantee your line would pass a line test forb roadband and if it didn’t then eircom would be obliged to replace the line.

Some of the facts about the Irish Telecoms regulator:

  • Sanctioned line rental increases 3 times in 12 months so we are now 8 euros a month more expensive than the EU average.
  • The Irish telecoms regulator has never fined a telco.
  • Sent directives to o2 and Vodafone to allow in resellers, (MVNOs) got taken to court by the mobile giants and before the court case started, withdrew the directives and paid 5Million in legal costs to the mobile giants. Ultimately that money came from the consumer.
  • Sent directives to eircom to get LLU working. eircom appealed and ComReg tried to force them to carry out the directives before the appeal started. eircom took them to court (remember this is outside of the appeal) saying they can’t be forced to do something they’re appealing during the appeal. The court agreed. Instead of the appeal continuing, ComReg withdrew the directives saying they will sort it without being forceful. That was nearly two years ago. Nothing has improved.
  • Release reports just before close of business, usually on a Thursday or a Friday, (and now a Sunday!) ensuring a jurnalist won’t have much time to sort through the spin and uncover the real facts. The spin says that prices are some of the cheapest in Europe, the facts buried inside say that we are 2nd most expensive for phone bills.
  • Issue a report on EU prices and slip Switzerland into a graph on mobile prices to make Ireland look like it isn’t the most expensive. I think an EU referendum is needed to allow Switzerland to join.
  • Issue press releases about me when they should really fix the fucking telecoms market.

So ComReg should win an award for making fiction look like facts. Turning lead into gold. This press release from IrelandOffline is typical of the real facts in a ComReg report. ComReg release saying telecoms prices are below EU prices, the small print reads something like “national calls are below the EU average”. That’s what they mean by telecoms prices. They leave out local calls, they leave out calls to mobiles and they leave out line rental, because naturally what would they have to do with the bottom line on a phone bill?

In 2006 more delusions than ever before were released by ComReg, they jumped to the call of eircom more than ever when they tried to stop a story on telecoms with data I supplied to a paper. I’m not quite sure where in their charter interference with the press is but they did this anyway.

In 2006 they were partly to blame for Smart falling to pieces due to a crap and highly expensive LLU system which they signed off on and a telecoms market with prices so high it was hard to compete unless you resold eircom crap. Isolde Goggin resigned as chairperson and quit ComReg completely just before her successor was named. I think this is a bad sign for 2007. As in earlier posts I expect a status quo from ComReg while eircom run riot. The current ComReg is beyond salvation but they’re a most convenient shield for Noel Dempsey. Until there is career-ending pressure on him, ComReg will be left live.

Fluffy Links – December 28th 2006

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

Some Christmas song covers. We’re still enjoying Christmas, right?

Send your name to Mars. Seems you can have your name put on a DVD that gets stuck on some Mars lander or something. That’s right folks, put someones name down on the hitlist for when the alien overlords come a-visiting.

A video reply to the Justin Timberlake “Dick in a Box” SNL video.

Charming.

Episcopal parishes in Virginia plan to place themselves under the leadership of the Anglican archbishop of Nigeria … who supports legislation in his country that would make it illegal for gay men and lesbians to form organizations, read gay literature or eat together in a restaurant.

Two please.

Ze Frank nails it about mySpace and Bebo and other online communities.

Via JH:

Radiohead live during their OK Computer tour (I think).

IIA Broadband Survey

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

Don’t forget to do the IIA Broadband Survey. It’s a quick survey.

Where’s ALTO? Irish Telecoms Review 2006 Part 3

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

Where is ALTO? ALTO is the Alternative Telcos lobby group for Ireland. It represents many of the telcos who are not eircom or the mobile companies. The 2006 year in telecoms seemed to be quite bad for the ALTO members especially Smart telecom. Smart almost went bust and to stop total bust they cut off all their voice-customers after owing eircom and many others a significant amount of money. Most of those in the telecoms area knew well that Smart were on death’s door for a long while and so it was like a private slow-motion car crash. As a result of the Smart fallout and the total lack of concern about their voice customers, many who had a little faith in non-eircom telcos had their faith shook even more.

It was also bad for any new entrants to the market. Would consumers trust them and as importantly, would investors part with cash for them? The reasons for the Smart demise might be covered in another long telecoms rant but blame should be given to a very arrogant and short-sighted Smart telecom, an incompetent regulator and an aggressive eircom.

So, to get to the point. What were ALTO doing for the year? IrelandOffline released 16 press releases, which wasn’t a lot for us in fairness, it was 22 the year before. This is ALTO’s news section. Not much there. Anyone hear anyone from ALTO on the radio this year? See them in the papers? Few and far between. I think IrelandOffline averaged at least one media appearance a week without really trying. I think I personally did about 20-30 radio interviews this year too. As a fee collecting and money generating lobby group, the public profile of ALTO was terrible in 2006.

Now, the public profile is one small part and I know that ALTO are working very hard in the background on behalf of industry but to get the media and the public behind you and with it political pressure, it is my view that you need to engage the public. It’s a bit bloody much when it is me giving out the contact details for ALTO to journalists because they’re all but forgotten. “Oh are they still around?” one journo said to me! Now I don’t know the exact remit of ALTO and maybe 99% of the time they are meant to be working on the tedious negotiations between ComReg and industry so maybe they are not meant to be engaging the public but there does seem to be a need for an industry group to be in the public view too.

I could be wrong too but they seem like they are the excuse the bottom feeders I mentioned yesterday are using for inaction. “Sure ALTO should be doing that”. How about doing it yourselves and ALTO also doing it.

Here’s a very good example about the lack of ALTO presence and pressure: Each month ComReg, the telecoms poodle release a half-arsed report about Local Loop Unbundling and each month it is later and later in the month before it is released. Generally the report talks about the great progress of the LLU negotiations, which for those that read my telecoms rants know, ComReg are not to be trusted for reports or statements which say everything is fine. BT walked from the LLU talks earlier in the year and ComReg got a little irked. (It is also known that Minister Dempsey went apeshit over what BT did and gave out stink that they went public on it. There’s concern for the consumers, eh Minister? )

Anyways, after the walk-out, things started moving again and everyone went back to the tables and progress reports started to be released. Each month a report with the surrounding spin is sent out and each month there is silence from ALTO. I think the only ones to publicly comment have been Magnet. This months report is one of the most damning, not that the public would know about it. We press released about it but nobody else did. Should a consumer lobby group really be caring about a wholesale technology?

The report says that 50% of all LLU orders sent to eircom are being rejected by them for various reasons, that they will NOT create an automated ordering system for LLU meaning no mass migrations of userbases from bitstream to generally cheaper and faster LLU products. (This is what TalkTalk in the UK did) and eircom also said if they do decide that there is a need for an automated ordering system it will take them 12 months to create it.

Effectively it means that LLU has been stalled for yet another year at the very least. So where’s the industry reaction? Where’s ALTO? Shouldn’t the public have a right to know that 2007 is another year of them being told they can’t get decent choice in broadband? I guess the industry is far too comfortable with what they’re doing.

So I think I’ll offer a reward. Anyone that spots ALTO will win a prize. Come on and do your job ALTO, it’d be nice to not be the sole voice out there. Right now it seems IrelandOffline are filling a vacuum that was left by someone.

Irish Discussion Forums – Got a list?

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

I’m gone through DMOZ and I can’t find a comprehensive list of Irish Discussion forums. I looked at BoardTracker.com and it says there are 38 discussion forums from Ireland in their database but I can’t find an actual list. Anyone got a list or shall I start one and people can add to them? I thought there’d be one by now. I’m sure James wouldn’t mind such a list for the OPML directory. 🙂

Fluffy Links – December 27th 2006

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

Some poor chappies (like me) are working today. So here’s some fluff:

Nice story from the Sunday Times on the lack of engagement in the Dail by some of our TDs. Love some of the excuses.

Nothing left to read as everyone is logging off, says Donncha. Nice quote and good questions:

A good blog, like a good book, is something you can get lost in and forget yourself in. It tickles your brain cells and gets you thinking. What blogs do you put off reading until you have quality time to really enjoy them? What are the blogs you know you can’t read by skimming over them?

This would be one of the read when less hectic posts I’d read. This is another.

A good example of reverse parking. Maith an pilot.

To sleep perchance to dream.

The Dreaming (arguably better known as ‘The Dreamtime’) is more than just the story of how the world was created as told by Aboriginal Australians. It is also the basis for their way of life and death, their source of power in life and it tells of the life and influence of their ancestors on their culture.

This is a real gravestone. The ex-wife and mistress got the final say about this guy.

The kids are alright
. Seems the web and text messaging are making the kids more literate? Perhaps in some countries where literacy was suffering.

More Wii on Wii action. Using the Wii to stream movies and music using Orb.

Also control your smarthome with a Wii:

Is YouTube blocking Wii Opera browser access?

Eur24.99 hub/wireless DSL router in PC World

Tuesday, December 26th, 2006

Thanks to Spongebob – the bargain hunter and tech extraordinaire on boards.ie, is a great find of a €24.99 hub and wireless router. It’s for the eircom 1mb broadband service but in actuality will work with any of the resellers, once you change the username and pass to be your own (obviously) and even with a little reconfiguring you can use them on Smart and Magnet. PC World does not ask you to sign-up for eircom whereas Harvey Normans and others might. There are still stacks of them in PC World. It is now replacing a crappy old and noisy hub in my house. It also means I can shut down the main computer that was connecting to the usb modem and not have anyone else in the house complaining anymore. Might save a little bit of energy too. More instructions on configuring it.

Scum sucking bottom feeders – Irish Telecoms Review 2006 Part 2

Tuesday, December 26th, 2006

With the exception of groups like Irish Broadband, Clearwire, Digiweb and some of the regional providers, most of the consumer telecoms companies in this fair land resell eircom products. BT Ireland, UTV, Imagine, Perlico and all the rest are almost completely reliant on eircom. Even Digiweb use the resold version of eircom’s dsl product for their DSL offering. So while we see reports that eircom now only have 50% of the broadband market or some other “fact” like that, it really means that eircom retail has 50% of the reseller market. eircom wholesale still has 89% of the market or a figure around that mark. The same excuse is given when Noel Dempsey is questioned about the telecoms market. Lots of competition, hundreds of telecom companies. That’s like calling every tupperware salesdroid a kitchen utensil company. The press should know better than to swallow the usual telecoms poodle and DMCNR bullshit.

Imagine if we relied on just one food wholesale in this country? A wholesaler who really can do what they want and get away with it because the body regulating it doesn’t like to make a fuss. The regulator who has never fined a telco for any bad behaviour. We wouldn’t let them regulate our food supply I bet. The regulator who won’t take a complaint from a consumer until they’ve gone through the complaints process with their existing telecoms provider. By the time they’ve exhuasted themselves going through the complaints maze, they’re too pissed off and tired to then start the whole thing again with a regulator who doesn’t want to know.

I hear many complaints from telcos about eircom taking twice as long to connect a reseller’s customer to dsl as they do for their existing customers. You ring eircom and they can have you connected in 3 days to broadband, you ring a reseller and they have to ring eircom and they get told 2-3 weeks. The resellers have complained to ComReg and it seems ComReg don’t want to do anything. After that the telcos give up. They give up easily don’t they?

We really need a Ryanair type telco in Ireland. Someone not tied to the likes of TIF, someone not giving a fuck about the Minister, someone who doesn’t care about brown-nosing. The brash style of Michael O’Leary has got him a lot. Pissed off everyone but made him king nonetheless. I’d love to see full page advertisments taking the Minister to task and the Government to task about telecoms. Instead we have pussy-whipped telcos muttering in non-public places when they should be picking fights in public and getting consumers and the public behind them. Keep pushing for prices to lower but instead they are those ugly creatures at the bottom of the ocean, getting sufficiently fat on the shit that falls to the bottom when the eircom shark is finished devouring the market. There’s still a sufficient margin for them to make money so they don’t care about the crazy wholesale prices.

BT, UTV and Magnet have considerable resources and they don’t seem to be using them to change the game in Ireland. Shame on them. So guys, step forward and take some of the blame for the terrible state of the Irish telecoms market.

Nice work Allyn Quigley!

Tuesday, December 26th, 2006

I found this video of a boyband-like cover for a Shakin Stevens song on Bebo:

I love the snow or is it talcum powder and washing powder? 🙂

Directed by Allyn Quigley. Other videos from Allyn are another boyband like video covering Westlife which had me laughing out loud in some bits:

and moving on to something more original, a trailer for “irish/white/catholic”. Anything using the Doors song “The End” gets bonus points:

Lastly, my favourite so far “Size Matters”:

Good editing, good sound and the shots really flowed well together. Simon should try and get Allyn to enter the VoteTube contest.