Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

The other Fianna Fail Party Political Broadcast

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

With special guest stars. In fact, now it HAS Bertie too!

Green Party Broadband Manifesto – Short but where’s the sweet?

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

The Green Party will:

• carry out a feasibility study into the State re-taking control of Eircom, divesting any commercial operation, and maintaining the fixed-line network as an open access infrastructure to all operators;

I dunno lads. Why buy junk? Might be better to build an alternative network and merge existing assets and then tell the Dept of Environment to bring out a universal planning regulation for carrier neutral ducting everywhere in Ireland. Every estate should have neutral ducting going to each home.

Set the mobile phone operators, cable companies and Eircom into direct competition to get cheaper, faster and more integrated broadband services;

Isn’t that what they are doing in Dublin without intervention? But how do you do that? Isn’t that what’s meant to be in a manifesto?

Review the Government’s rollout of metropolitan area networks to resolve the issues of the delivery of ‘back-haul’ connections and the ‘last mile’ connection to the consumer;

Yes. Definitely. Total waste of money so far.

Consolidate post offices into local community internet/broadband facilities;

Surely we should be aiming to have all households using broadband instead? But I like the idea. Not bad for people afraid of the Internet, maybe a good way of introducing them to it. Why not use Post Office property as drop centres for massive fibre hubs that locals can possibly dig to? Circumvent eircom exchanges, though with real and proper fibre, exchanges become obsolete.

Introduce a proper policing and monitoring system for the operation of mobile phone masts;

Oeeer. This must have been proposed by the same wing that Typhoid McKenna is in. No masts, no anti-biotics.

Establish a new unified broadcasting regulator and the similar reconstitution of the RTE Authority to ensure its future independence;

Regulators send shivers up my spine.

Develop an all-island digital ‘free to air’ broadcasting service carrying RTE 1 & 2, TG4, TV3 and the Northern Ireland BBC/ITV public service main channels.

Yes, and how about making them licence their content using creative commons licences?

Not as detailed as Labour, better than Fine Gael’s. I think we need something far more in-depth. No spectrum policy. Nothing about the sloppy telecoms regulator. Half arsed. Nothing abour future planning whatsoever. Nothing about making sure things can get worse, which they easily can. Nothing at all ambitious.

Fifty quid to whoever uploads the Gormley V McDowell fight to YouTube

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

Edit: Fifty quid sent out. Thanks!

In case you missed it, John Gormley gatecrashed McDowell’s poster launch. Then Lucinda Creighton came along and also had some fun. Cue Benny Hill music.

Raw footage – The good proper fight (quality is crap):

Direct link to RTE real media file.

RTE News Report with edited footage:

Labour Broadband Manifesto – *Warning contains vision extracts*

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

Labour Communications Manifesto.

Our vision will be to create, by 2012, a new, high speed, open access, next generation telecoms network, designed and managed to support competing service operators that will use a variety of wireless and fixed wire “local loop� technologies, depending on local settlement patterns and geographic conditions, to deliver triple-play (TV, Internet and voice) services to every home in Ireland that wants them.

They’re starting well, this opening comment covers exactly what is needed. A hybrid of many different technologies.

Establish an ambitious new government vision of how Irish broadband connectivity should develop and the wider economic and social benefits intensified broadband development will facilitate. Renewed objectives, vigorously approached targets and a commitment to delivering on these targets will be a policy priority.

I don’t like documents that talk up what they might do as “ambitious”. That’s the job of an outsider. So far, talking themselves up.

Set-up a specific broadband task force headed by an e-envoy to concentrate resources and responsibility in a central location to drive an intensified rollout. The ICT industry will be encouraged to lead this development.

Taskforces can be good. A broadband Minister or Czar is what is needed. Someone who is just empolyed to sort broadband. Right now too many different groups appear to be responsible for different bits.

Within six months of coming to power, we will tender for the upgrade and “broadband enabling� of telephone exchanges in those, mainly rural, areas where it has been uneconomic for the private sector to do so.

Noel beat you to it there.

Introduce serious regulatory reform to ensure that the broadband sector is regulated much more effectively. The communications regulator ComReg will have the ability to impose much greater financial penalties on telecom operators. Operational changes will also be examined to allow ComReg to operate without the current intensely prohibitive legal restrictions and to strengthen its anticompetitive mandate.

I would still want ComReg erased from the telco landscape but at least they are recognising the massive problems with the current ComReg but again, Dempsey has addressed the fines issue as of yesterday. I like the sound of “operational” changes but would rather “remove the people in there who think it is their job to maintain the status quo”.

To expedite competition blockages and remove obstruction, a separate High Court division of regulation will be established.

There wouldn’t be enough work at all for this. The big issue is the current ECAP (court-like appeals panel for ComReg decisions) is slow and appeals can still end up in a Court. Wishful thinking for this but perhaps just have a regulation expert in the companies divison of the Courts.

Introduce co-competition powers for ComReg with the Competition Authority

Let the Comp Auth do the work of ComReg maybe?

We will strengthen the hand of the regulator, and seek a settlement with Eircom to create an operationally separate network division to address the absolutely crucial problem of access to the local loop. This should ensure greater access for other broadband operators to provide services, and a greater variety and less expensive range of broadband products will be on offer for Irish consumers and businesses.

No no no no. ComReg no matter what powers will do nothing with them. They fear court cases and as has been said to me in private a good few times, they don’t want any additional hassle from eircom. They will always take the path of least resistance which so far has meant consumers are scrawed over. Also, how exactly can you make a private company split itself? I’d like to see any Irish body manage to do that. Maybe it can work in the UK, not sure about here.

Promote innovative measures for the delivery of a range of platforms for delivering different broadband technologies. These would include a widespread designation of ‘hot spots’ for wireless transmission, and making entire urban areas ‘hot zones’ that are entirely wireless broadband enabled.

Make ComReg allocate spectrum properly. This is weak. Hot spots and hot zones? Someone’s been at the jargon cheat sheet again.

Incorporate local government institutions including partnerships, county leaders and county development boards in broadband rollout

This needs to be clearer but this makes sense. Make all the bloody councils and so forth offer their roof spaces or land on hills for masts for wireless.

Create a Universal Service Obligation (USO) for broadband. Accessibility to broadband networks will assume the same character as the present expectation of universal access to the postal service or telephone network. The development of mechanisms for ensuring that a broadband USO is in place creates considerable potential for ensuring a widespread and universally accessible broadband network.

Vision! The EU already mentioned this a year or two ago but thought it too soon to build it into EU law but said there was nothing stopping individual countries from doing it.

Instigate a national information technology education programme in order to provide the essential knowledge and training for using the critical ICT infrastructure of a modern economy. Although some schools provide such education, it is essential that all children regardless of the school they attend have access to a proper IT education so as to equip them with the knowledge and practical experience to participate fully in society

Connect every school to the MANs where possible. Schools should have better broadband than homes. This is more an education issue but it is nice to see it addressed by some party.

Ensure access to laptops for secondary school children. Broadband connectivity needs to have a practical application. An objective of a national ICT policy should be the provision of all secondary school students with laptops so
the relevant knowledge of and necessary skills for advanced technology can be experienced within the classroom.All methods of practically facilitating such a scheme, such as a partnership agreement with the IT industry, should be examined to ensure the widespread provision of laptops at second level.

One laptop per child? IBEC are trying that crap aren’t they? If they get involved expect each laptop to have to use a Microsoft operating system and connect using eircom.

Ok, overall this communications manifesto makes more sense and contains more forward thinking than all the rest I’ve gone through. Whoever put this together almost knew all the current issues and how to tackle them. More needs to be done in regards to ComReg but I like the Universal Broadband requirement. The big question is, can Labour implement them?

Green Party Political Broadcast – Best Cinematography in an Election Ad

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

Another party political broadcast and like Fianna Fail it is without any members of the party. The Greens have decided to use kids in their video (and I’m sure people will cry out about child exploitation). Overall maybe it is good to have kids explain the issues in the simple way kids explain things but a kid talking about universal broadband and another one talking about corporate donations just seems forced and unnatural. A great pity that they are blocking comments on the videos.

Slickest video I’ve seen to date though. How many of the kids are vaccination free I wonder?

3 mins video here:

1 min video here:

The video itself very much reminded me of this Sigur Ros video which has the same colourful cinematography and also uses kids:

3rd political journalist starts a blog

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

Mark Hennessy, political correspondent for the Irish Times is now blogging. Other political journalists blogging are Kevin Rafter and Harry McGee.

I wonder is there any truth to the rumour that after the Irish Times get more of their journalists blogging they’ll offer blogs to subscribers of

Fact: Green Party give a shit and will take your shit

Monday, May 14th, 2007

Well I think that’s what they mean when Ciaran Cuffe says all their election posters get turned into sewerage pipes.

The smell of Polypropylene on my hands from the election posters. (yes we are recycling them, into sewer pipes)

But will they take any shit from Fianna Fáil if they find themselves in Government with them?

Fine Gael’s Broadband Manifesto – Talk about clueless

Monday, May 14th, 2007

Amazing that the political parties pay experts to brief them on broadband and telecoms and then they come up with the following backwards, mundane, buzzword laden tripe:

Fine Gael in Government will adopt a two-stage strategy to revolutionise broadband access in Ireland recognising that Ireland has one of the lowest take-ups of broadband in the EU and the total failure of Government policy in this area, with many householders and businesses unable to connect to a broadband service.

It’s more than just takeup. There’s quality, there’s competition and there’s the future.

• We will immediately prioritise the extension of access to basic broadband services across the whole country. Other countries with similar population density and settlement patterns, such as Norway and Northern Ireland, have achieved 100% coverage of basic broadband services long ago. We will ensure it happens here.

How? Care to mention the way this will be done? Do you actually know or would you do what Dempsey did and just ask the Civil Servants? Cos you know, that really worked didn’t it?

• We will move quickly to put in place so-called Next Generation networks that will improve on the existing broadband service as a second stage in our strategy to create a fresh vision of our future telecoms needs. The fastest broadband available to households in Ireland is still slower than that available in many countries.

If you do get into Government, how will you do this? How how how? NGN is a buzzword that the current Government are latching on to as well.

• We will achieve this vision in a way that will be efficient and speedy and will not be characterised by an overblown budget or an inordinate delay. A number of options are available.

Talk, talk, talk.

One possibility is to create a brand new infrastructure under State control.

A little more detail there lads?

Another possibility is the pooling, integration and further development of existing telecom assets of private and public bodies under the management of a new Public Private Partnership, with organisations taking ownership shares in the new entity commensurate with the value of the assets contributed – subject to control by the State of the infrastructure.

Sounds really messy. Too many stakeholders spoil the broth?

• We will work, over a short and well-defined period, with ComReg and the industry participants to agree a plan to achieve this vision in the shortest time and most cost effective manner.

Same ole shit,, different political ribbon. You cannot guarantee shortest time and cost effective. Working with the telecoms poodle means it’s doomed.

If this is how Fine Gael plans on our telecoms future then Ireland isn’t going improve.

Michael Howard on Newsnight again

Sunday, May 13th, 2007

Via the BBC Editor’s blog is another Michael Howard Newsnight moment. No, not the most famous one where he got asked the same question 12 times by Paxman but where he rips into Alistair Campbell and does it in such a cool and reserved way. Campbell really seemed stuck for a reply besides the “You’re a sore loser” line.

This is of course the most famous Newsnight clip ever:

Via IrishElection – Bertie Ahern statement on his monies (Not communion or confirmation)

Sunday, May 13th, 2007

Via Irish Election is the Bertie statement. Leave my family alone is the gist. Good spin.