Blog - Companies

Today it has been proved that small villages don't need to be left behind when it comes to faster speed internet access. Rutland Telecom found that there was nothing stopping them performing what is known as Sub Loop Unbundling (SLU).

Some of you may know of Local Loop Unbundling (LLU - very common in the UK) where a company fits their own equipment in the telephone exchange and then simply connect lines to their equipment instead of the incumbent operator's equipment. This allows them to bypass the incumbent's network and cut costs. Sub Loop Unbundling on the other hand is done by building a new cabinet next to an existing street cabinet, fitting some equipment into it and then connecting lines to this equipment instead of to the initial street cabinet. The advantage of this is your syncronisation speed is then determined by the distance you are from the street cabinet rather than the distance from the exchange.

Today I spotted something that has been around for a few months but I never noticed - PayPal have begun offering near instant withdrawal of funds via the FPS (Fafter Payments Service) in the UK. I had put in multiple feature requests for this over the latest year and am pleased it has now happened.

For those of you who don't know, in the UK, we have a system called BACS (Bankers' Automated Clearing Services) for sending funds between bank accounts electronically without using Cheques. This system was annoying as it took 3 days for payments to arrive in the bank of the person the funds were being sent to. The alternative was CHAPS (Clearing House Automated Payment System) which, while not instant, arrived in the account the same day if done before 3pm. This service costs £25 to £35 per payment depending on the bank, is only available during weekdays and generally requires you to fill in payment forms at a bank branch to do. FPS was created to remove the delay and eventually replace BACS. The majority of banks now send payments between banks via FPS without any additional charge.

Some good news for those looking forward to 4G technologies being rolled out and the increased coverage and faster speeds it will bring. The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) in the USA today has created a new "shot clock" rule that will make it a requirement for all requests to add equipment to existing cell sites to be approved within 90 days and 150 for applications for new cell sites. Currently, the process can take anywhere up to a year which greatly increases the cost of setting up the cell site.

There had been media speculation that the requirement to even put in a request for additional equipment on an existing cell site would be removed but it looks like the FCC stopped short of doing this which is a shame as generally, the majority of these requests get approved anyway unlike applications for new cell sites.

A little more than two years after the previous strikes, we are now on the first day of another Royal Mail postal strike which appears to focus on the same issues that the previous strike did.

Because of my involvement in Its Elixir, a skin and hair care products business, postal strikes create a lot of problems as the majority of items are sent out via this this method. We are having to repeat what we did in the previous strike and drop the price of courier deliver, at a cost to the business, to encourage people to use this method instead if they are in need of their products quickly.

The strike focuses on the modernisation plan Royal Mail have had for a few years. This involves the purchase of walk sequencing machines that organises mail into the order the postman will deliver them on his or her round. You can understand why this sort of thing needs to be implemented as its bread and butter business of delivering letters is falling year on year. Previously, all this work would be done manually so the union has been concerned about job losses but this cannot be a reason they choose not to implement it.

Well, its official. T-Mobile (the company I have business mobile contracts for a few businesses I am involved with) and Orange have decided to merge operations within the UK.

T-Mobile has had the "For Sale" sign on its UK operation for a few months now to reduce debt at the parent company - Deutsche Telekom. Both O2 and Vodafone had shown some interest based on media speculation but in the end they have opted for a deal which will see a new company in the UK created - the name of which has not yet been announced (although The Register appear to like T-Orange) - and both Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom (Orange UK's parent company) getting a 50% stake each. Both the T-Mobile and Orange brands will stay for at least 18 months but after that we will most likely see these phased out and replaced with a single new name. During the next 18 months, through, back office staff will be merged within the company with the aim of cost cutting and removing duplication.

I am a technology enthusiast living up in Carlisle, Cumbria in the UK and am the managing director of Its Elixir which sells Henna Hair Care Products and Ear Candles, Craig Brass Systems which creates and custom develops quality software and LonsdaleNET which delivers high speed wireless and fibre optic broadband in Cumbria.