Department of Trade and Industry - Consultation

The DTI is holding a consultation on whether to use fixed penalties for infractions of the Wireless Telegraohy Act 1949.

The act covers broadcasting and receiving of radio waves and equipment.

Currently anyone transmitting (or receiving) in the UK needs a license, though some bands are license exempt (which means as long as you stick to the license published by Ofcom, you don't need a specific license).

Though serious offenders will still be prosecuted, this allows enforcement officers to give spot fines for things like transmitting using excess power (or using high gain attenae) in the 2.4GHz band. Previously most of these infractions have been ignored as it is too expensive to prosecute.

Though some people may see this as an extra tax, it may actually give Ofcom some teeth to stop offenders where in the past they haven't had the will or the resources to do so, which may be a good thing in the long term as spectrum is very crowded and this possibly will allow better management.

The consultation closes on 31st March 2006.


TomTom GO 700

The TomTom GO 700 us the top model from TomTom with complete maps of UK and Western Europe installed on a hard disk internally.

It's a neat unit, the navigation is very precise and worked flawlessly it even picked up a private road which was "unnamed" but once down the road it's possible to set a mark there, so you can get back to it.

The Speed Camera database is an optional extra for about £40 per year - but worthwhile, TomTom keep it up to date.

There are other TomTom PLUS services such as weather (at your destination) and traffic conditions. These can both be downloaded in real-time using Bluetooth through your mobile phone (data charges may apply). If the route you've planned happens to hit the road conditions, the GO will navigate another route to avoid them.

It's a slight pain fitting the system to the car and dangling wires out the cigarette lighter, but it all worked very well and the built-in aerial picked up the satellites with ease. Unfortunately it is worth removing all the bits when you leave the car, as they've become a target for thieves.

When the permanent docking station arrives that should makes things easier.

Carphone Wares buys Onetel and Tele2

Yesterday Carphone Warehouse (CPW) agreed a deal with Centrica to purchase Onetel, they also bought the business (UK and Ireland) of Tele2.

This gives CPW around 2.4m carrier pre-select (CPS) customers making them the 3rd largest residential voice carrier in the UK (BT is largest with about 15m, followed by NTL with about 4m).

The acquisitions makes senses considering the CPW are moving into the Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) market which is all about economies of scale and having large ammounts of customers per unbundled exchange. Having a greater number of customers means that there are more likely to be some on any given exchange. CPW have stated they want to go into 1,000 exchanges in the UK.

CPW will offer combined broadband, voice and mobile which should allow them to be very competetive and in future if they can find a content provider they'll be sure to offer a broadband TV service too.

Centrica will continue to push CPW (TalkTalk) services to their own customers for 3 years.

The big losers in this are BT who gain to lose even more residential customers to TalkTalk, and probably business customers too as TalkTalk Business is now being offered.

However it's also the current providers of services to Onetel and Tele2 as CPW migrate all their services on to their own infrastructure.