Kimber's Corner: July 2007

30 July 2007, Carolyn Kimber

As you all know we held our AGM last week and it gives me very great pleasure to announce that we had a significant vote (87%) in favour of going ahead with changing our Articles of Association to allow us to become a subsidiary of BCS.

Before I go any further I would like to repeat what I said in my email earlier this week - thanks to all of you who took the time to come along to the debate prior to the AGM, the AGM itself and for those of you who took the trouble to send in a proxy vote.

I know it’s not always easy to spare the time to be involved but the more people that contribute the less the contribution needs to be. And as we approach our 50th year in 2008 I can certainly say that we wouldn’t be here now without many, many volunteers.

If any of you would like to read what I had to say at the AGM please follow this link

Returning to the BCS, I went to the Swindon HQ last Tuesday and completed the formalities to bring the change into effect. It took place at 1100 and we have the photos to prove it! Initially you shouldn’t see any changes - Glenn’s team in Leatherhead will still be running all our activities and what was the Board of Directors becomes the CMA Strategic Board.

Over time the two organisations will get to know each other and find appropriate ways of working together or utilising each other’s resources - whilst maintaining our separate brands, identities and cultures. So watch this space!

You might wonder if anything else has been happening over the last two months with all this going on but believe you me things have been far from quiet.

Back in May we were very pleased to welcome INTUG to London and bring together significant speakers from Ofcom, DTI (as was), Openreach and the industry to make their conference a great success. Obviously there is a great deal of interest worldwide with regard to the functional separation of BT and the progress on 21CN.

It was also a great opportunity to hear what our sister organisations are doing across the globe and understand the differing or similar issues they are facing. I would like to give a thank you here to Bird and Bird for hosting a reception for INTUG delegates on the top floor of their impressive new offices - both the view and hospitality were excellent.

The team have had an extraordinary workload what with the Fibre Future’s Forum meeting kindly hosted by Rob Bratby of Mayer Browne, the Billing and Information Management Forum Meeting hosted by BT, the Security Forum meeting, to say nothing of the Next Generation Communications Focus Day - and all of which I’m pleased to say were extremely well attended and successful. If you throw in the AGM, membership renewals and getting your Annual Survey ready to launch I’d say that’s pretty good going. We really should not underestimate the effort that goes on in Leatherhead.

On the external front there’s been a fair amount of news. I don’t know whether you have heard but our premium rate regulator, ICSTIS, is changing its name. The new name to be launched in October is PhonePay+. I know, it sounds like all sorts of things other than the name of a regulator but apparently they carried out a lot of research and it was a name that consumers (of the citizen variety) could understand and relate to. It will be interesting to see if the number of complaints go up post October because people understanding who to complain to.

There has been a couple of Parliamentary IT Committee meetings which, as ever, have brought together interesting speakers to talk about the subjects of NHS Information Systems (a thorny subject if ever there was one) and the Security of our Energy Systems.

The latter should be of great concern to us all because there are many risks of disruption including terrorism, a pandemic, and extreme weather. When you think along those lines (physically & metaphorically) it really can be quite frightening when you consider what will stop working if we lose power. In our industry that would be pretty disastrous.

One other thing about PITCOM, they have got a new website and are rather keen for some feedback on it. There is a very short questionnaire and all the participants will go into a draw for a bottle of House of Commons champagne. I just thought some of you might be interested in taking part - the link is

We were recently invited to go to the DTI, now DBERR (although for some unknown reason the seem to want to drop the D and just be called BERR!) and talk about the business user’s perspective on broadband access in the UK. We have been pretty vocal on this front for some considerable time now and they realise that we have a role to play in helping the Broadband Stakeholders Group get an understanding of our members’ problems.

It is taking a long time for those that should know better to realise that broadband access from a business point of view is no longer confined to metropolitan areas. With increasing pressures for enterprises to commit to environmentally conscious policies it stands to reason that the deployment of personal will decentralise.

And, if people are going to be expected to work from home in a sensible manner they will need decent quality, reliability and bandwidth broadband to be able to do so. So, we are exploring ways in which we can get your views on this subject after the Summer break.

There has been another bi-lateral meeting with Ofcom in June which brought us up to date on the current status of BT’s roll out of 21CN. They did ask us to remind you all of the “Switched On” website which has some very good information particularly regarding compatibility. Do have a look and let us know what you think about it.

BT has transferred all the regular PSTN exchange lines in Wyk and by now should have moved 600 lines in Bedinog in one go, followed by 2000 in Nelson a couple of days ago. After another large exchange at the end of the month the real fun will start when the first broadband migration, ISDN trials and the upgrade of IP stream to ADSL2+.

So things are moving along which means we have now been able to schedule the much postponed follow up workshop for 18th September as there will be plenty to tell you about. One thing that would be really useful is if you would tell us what you would like to be briefed on. It’s all very well Ofcom, BT and the like coming along to tell us what they want us to know but we should be a bit more proactive on this front. I look forward to receiving your input on this.

Finally and returning to the AGM briefly I just want to mention a couple of thank you’s and a welcome. First of all thanks to Mike Mikkelsen for his year on the Board – a very important year to be involved at that level. Secondly I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to David Bunting for taking on the arduous and demanding role of treasure over the last six years.

He gave a tremendous amount of his time and expertise in getting us to where we are today. And last, but by no means least, I’d like to welcome our newly elected board member - Andrew Titley who was elected at the AGM - I look forward to working with him over the coming year.

As ever - do let me have any input that you may have and I do hope that you have an enjoyable and not too wet summer.

Warmest regards


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