National Broadband Plan Hits Another Speed Bump

Conal Henry’s departure from Enet raises more questions than answers at this critical juncture.

Conal Henry’s departure from Enet raises more questions than answers at this critical juncture. And the people need answers, writes John Kennedy.

The decision of Conal Henry to step down from Enet during what seemed to be the pinnacle of his success only serves to raise more questions than answers about the National Broadband Plan (NBP).

I heard about Henry’s departure from the helm of Enet as I was traveling back from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, in a race against the weather and to avoid being stranded away from home for a week.

As the plane descended on Dublin amidst a blizzard, my own mind was a-blizzard about what this could potentially mean.

It is yet another strange twist in the yet-to-begin NBP, which has up until this point sown more confusion than actually given people what they really want: connectivity.

A plan such as the NBP ought to be clear-cut and decisive. Instead, it has become a tangled web of intrigue, promises and frustration.

The departure of Eir from the NBP in recent weeks – just months after the Vodafone-ESB joint venture Siro left – from the process was not encouraging.

Either way, Communications Minister Denis Naughten, TD, was bullish at the time that the NBP would go ahead and that Enet-SSE, as the last consortium standing, would be awarded its contract in September 2018, with shovels due to hit the turf days later.

It signified a key moment of success for Henry after 12 years of stewarding the company, in terms of winning the contract to manage the 94 metropolitan area networks, and growing it from nothing into a network that includes dark fibre backhaul infrastructure transiting the rail and gas network, and three proprietary metro networks, including a 100km fibre ring in Dublin. Enet also operates one of the largest licensed wireless networks in the country.

Last week, however, Enet announced Henry’s departure.

Henry said: “After 12 years working with the wonderful team at Enet, the time has come for me to hand over the reins. I am so exceptionally proud to have been associated with this great company.”

David C McCourt, Enet’s chair, said: “Conal’s departure does not impact on Enet’s participation in the National Broadband Plan procurement process. Peter Hendrick, who is continuing as managing director for all growth initiatives for Enet, will also continue to lead the Enet team and as bid director of the Enet-SSE consortium.”

Another twist in the road to full connectivity?

After so many twists and turns in the road to 100pc broadband in Ireland – remember, shovels are not yet in the ground – you could be forgiven for suspecting that there’s more to this than meets the eye.

To read more click to view the full article on Silicon Republic



Moleskine’s latest smart pen saves your writing to download later

So long as you don’t mind paying $180 for a writing implement.

Moleskine has valiantly tried to bridge the divide between analog writing and digital files for years. The company released its Smart Writing Set in 2016 as a $200 holistic solution of pen, proprietary smart paper and app that instantly sent whatever you wrote or drew over to your paired device — which worked as long as your smartphone or tablet was nearby. But its newest writing implement, the $180 Pen+ Ellipse, liberates you from the latter need, saving all your scratchings in an offline mode until it connects to your device again.

This could actually be handy for writing in busy situations — trains, outdoors, in low-light — where pulling out your device to sync up is cumbersome. Unlike the pen that comes with the Smart Writing Set, the Pen+ Ellipse also has a little clip on the cap to slide on to your favorite notebook — though, of course, you’ll be using a $30 one from Moleskine’s Smart Writing Set line, since those are the only ones with the aforementioned Ncode smart paper. If you want to make it to the digital note-taking future, you’ll have to pay to get there.

Jump over to Engadget to learn more
Credit: Engadget

The Technology and Social Media Rules Kids and Teens Wish Their Parents Would Follow

7 general rules children wished their parents would follow

We talk often about the rules we should be setting for our children around their use of technology and social media, but here’s the rub – the way we as parents use technology can affect our children as much as their use of technology affects them. Rules around technology usage in families can be a source of angst for both parents and kids. Even when rules are agreed on, enforcing them can bring as much joy into the household as a three-day old temper.

Researchers explored technology usage rules in families, but from an angle which is rarely considered – the rules children would like their parents to follow. The study, involving 249 families with children between the ages of 10 and 17 has revealed some fascinating details.

The research found 7 general rules children wished their parents would follow.

To find out more jump over to the full article on Hey Sigmund.

Credit: Hey Sigmund

What is 4K TV?

Learn about 4K technology in this guide.

With rapidly falling prices and big names like Sky and Netflix on board, 4K Ultra HD TVs are fast becoming the norm.

The best TVs from the likes of Samsung, Sony and LG are all now 4K Ultra HD televisions. These are fast replacing HD models as the TV of choice in our living rooms. Sky and Netflix are geared up for 4K, and you can now buy a 4K TV for under £500.

Click Tech Talk for the full guide
Credit Teck Talk Currys


Hottest Tech Gadgets for 2018

Want to find out about the hottest tech gadgets for 2018?

2018 is here! To get your year started right, we’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of the most innovative, unique, and useful gadgets that we’ve found on the market today. There are gadgets that help save money, save time, or could even save your life – and others that are just plain cool!

We’ve purchased and tested each of these gadgets ourselves, to ensure they’re of the highest quality and not just some cheap knockoff.

Without any more waiting, here’s our top gadget picks for 2018. However, please be aware that most of these products are selling out everywhere. If you see some gadgets that you might want, you should order them now before they run out of stock!

Click here to see the hottest picks!

From Amazon Echo to Google Home, the best smart home devices for 2018

In recent months a push by Google, Amazon and other tech giants has propelled smart home devices into the mainstream.

Voice-automated lights, virtual assistants and everyday artificial intelligence; a little over a year ago this technology was in its infancy, but in recent months a push by Google, Amazon and other tech giants has propelled smart home devices into the mainstream.

While at the turn of 2017 we only had Amazon’s Echo smart speaker andGoogle’s Home, now both line ups have been bolstered by a range of new hardware, and in 2018 we can expect speakers from the likes of Apple and Samsung to vying for buyers attention.

What are smart home devices?

Smart home devices let you turn your home into an automated, voice-activated and app-controlled hub. Set your thermostat from your workplace, keep an eye on the pets with a remote camera, or set an alarm with your voice.

Some of the most popular smart home devices are the current generations of smart home hub. These include Amazon’s Echo speakers and Google’s Home speaker.

Click here to learn more about how to use Amazon Echo and Google home and how to set up your smart home.

Colm McCarthy: Telecom giant’s exit leaves taxpayers to count cost of rural broadband pledge

It could be time to think again about the privatised State telecoms network, writes Colm McCarthy

Communications minister Denis Naughten shrugged off last Thursday’s news that Eir, the former State-owned telecoms monopoly, had withdrawn from the procurement process for the Government’s rural broadband scheme. With just one bidder left, he claims the procurement process will be simplified and the process will go ahead smoothly. But the minister represents the taxpayers as well as those expecting early connections, and the taxpayers are on the hook for the costs of the scheme. Would you be pleased to arrive at the fair, with a horse that must be sold, to discover that just one buyer had bothered to attend?

The minister’s reluctance to acknowledge this predicament illustrates some familiar pitfalls for policymakers in utility-type industries. The main one is that the regulation of monopoly utilities is not simple. When Telecom Eireann was privatised back in 1999, the company owned the core national telecoms network. Almost 20 years later, and despite technological change and the arrival of new providers of wholesale network capacity, the successor company Eir remains the dominant provider of fixed-line communications infrastructure.

To read more click here


High prices force firms to boycott Eir’s rural networkl

Companies such as Sky and Vodafone say Eir has set a price that is so high, rivals can’t afford to offer rival services to rural residents.

Ireland’s main broadband firms are boycotting Eir’s private rural fibre broadband network in what may be a further blow to rural internet development.

Companies such as Sky and Vodafone say Eir has set a price that is so high, rivals can’t afford to offer rival services to rural residents.

“The current access price of €270 is too expensive,” said JD Buckley, managing director of Sky Ireland, Ireland’s fourth largest broadband provider and the country’s fastest-growing internet service.

“We’re really hoping this will be dealt with by ComReg when it finally publishes its market review. But the level Eir is charging is way above others and isn’t realistic for us to offer services.”

Eir’s charge of €270 to rivals to connect to its rural fibre network sits in contrast to €70 for connection to Siro, a similar fibre network in regional towns.

Other major broadband networks echoed Mr Buckley’s views.

To read more, click here

Eir chief says broadband plan was ‘complex and onerous’

Eir’s Chief Executive has said the company withdrew from tendering process for the National Broadband Plan because the process became increasingly onerous

Eir’s Chief Executive has said the company withdrew from tendering process for the National Broadband Plan because the process became increasingly onerous and the business case did not stack up.

Richard Moat said Eir entered the process with the full intention of winning all, or as much of it as it could.

He said it will provide full support to the eventual winner because the company is fully supportive of the policy to provide high-speed broadband to everyone in Ireland.

Mr Moat said Eir was still rolling out to 300,000 homes as part of its Irish investment.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Moat said the Government’s aim is achievable and he regretted that Eir would not be part of that process.

To read more click here

National Broadband Plan in crisis as Eir poised to quit process

Eir is poised to quit the National Broadband Plan, the state-subsidised rural broadband rollout that promises to connect 540,000 households and businesses.

The move will come as a huge blow to the government’s plans on getting high-speed internet to non-urban areas.

It leaves just one remaining company, Enet, in the bidding for the state contract.

This could mean a much more expensive deal for taxpayers or the abandonment of the process altogether.

A spokesman for Eir said that he had no comment on the issue, but that the company would clarify its position shortly.

To read more click here