Northern Ireland has excellent broadband.

Due to multi-million pound investment, Northern Ireland has the best broadband in Europe. Apparently.

We just moved from Belfast (BT5) where I was getting around 3-4 Mbps of bandwidth (and no ability to get BT Infinity) to Bangor (BT20) where I’m now getting about 1.8 Mbps of bandwidth (and no ability to get BT Infinity).

Service has definitely gotten worse rather than better due to the last time we lived here (about 18 months ago), the line was capable of 6 Mbps. So we’ve gone from 6 Mbps to 1.8 Mbps.

BT still think we’re capable of getting 6 Mbps.

The point about BT Infinity is a little bizarre because people up the road can get it. And BT’s own Infinity Checker says the Bangor Exchange is enabled. Infinity, of course, is not accurate and tends to permit 10 Mbps upstream and 40 Mbps downstream. That’s obviously quite a bit off “infinity”.

So how can my exchange be enabled and I’m still unable to get BT Infinity? Because the exchange being enabled is only part of the equation. The problem is that the number of exchanges enabled is seen as the key performance indicator – not actual coverage, download speed or upload speed. In other words – none of the indicators that actually matter.

The problem I see here is smoke and mirrors. Unless we start to be honest about the level of broadband provision in Northern Ireland, nothing will improve.

Proprietary Solutions in Schools

Remember when everyone had all these concerns about proprietary software when they piled into Windows software for schools? No, me neither.

While this isn’t really a comparison of iPad and Windows, it serves two purposes.

  • To remind us that proprietary solutions are sometimes the only way to get something decent
  • What a shambles open source free software is. Especially in the education sector.

But, despite my love of apps, there is a place for open protocols and file formats. I love that HTML is still the great leveller. The potential of ‘HTML5’ to deliver standardised content to dedicated native apps has been proven again and again.

So, I have an idea that I’m going to chat to the awfully smart folk at Learning Pool about. Their system, learning solutions for the public and third sector, presents one of the cleverest uses of digital technology combining with value for money that I have ever seen. It actually boggles my mind that large private corporations haven’t snapped up their solution despite their sector focus. (And if you can find two founders in a digital startup who give more time to helping other startups and good causes, I’d need to see proof because Paul and Mary are tireless)

Do yourself a favour and send a link to My Learning Pool to your local HR representative or manager.

No honest money in Android. And only crack at Google.

Distimo recently published a report saying there was no honest money in Android.


  • 80% of all paid apps have been downloaded less than 100 times until now.
  • There are only 5 Android games that cost money and have reached 250,000 downloads. The App Store has ten in the U.S over the past two months alone!

Yes, I’m being a little melodramatic here but advertising is such a bad experience on mobile, it’s a point I feel very strongly about. When you see apps like angry Birds being paid on iOS and advertising-supported on Android, it makes me feel very uncomfortable regarding the money-making potential on the platform.

Doesn’t it depend on the product? If your content delivery is what you’re trying to sell (and not additional services) then you are really just trying to sell the bits that you’ve crafted over many months. And when you can’t sell them, are you seriously supposed to survive on the pennies gleaned from producing a polluted application experience?

Over at MobileOrchard they have a different report.

“During the LeWeb conference in Paris Eric Schmidt (Google Chairman) commented that he believes developers will abandon iOS for Android in less than 6 months”

The reason for this shift will be the “high volume of Android shipments”. There’s no doubt that this will favour Google and they are motivated to make it easy for developers to sell advertising but they don’t have the same motivation to help developers make money directly off consumers.

It’s plain to me that Android has replaced Symbian in the market. There have been a plethora of app stores for Symbian over the years and still, bugger all money came out of them.

How do you reconcile releasing a polluted (advertising supported) product for free on Android and a premium paid product on iOS?