Feeds

Ofcom's Nathan Barley quango slammed by public

Letter of the week, via the telco regulator...

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Ofcom has published the public consultation responses to its PSP concept. And they don't make comfortable reading for the regulator.

The PSP, or Public Service Publisher, is a new quango that would cost taxpayers between £100m than £150m a year - handing out money to new media types for interactive websites, and other "user generated content" gimmicks. Ofcom loves the idea - and gave the task of investigating it two new media production houses who would stand to gain handsomely from the new gravy train.

Unsurprisingly, they thought a Nathan Barley Quango, or NBQ, was a splendid idea.

The public responses should be sobering, however. Most are skeptical of the need for the new quango, while many more are completely indifferent. And some are very scathing. Step forward, W Jackson:

As a self-actualizing media node, I welcome this redistribution of government funds from provincial luddites to new media 'creative' Sohoites.

Cool Britannia lives! The creative industries initiative was good but didn't radically empower young creatives and their 360-degree thinking. Unleash the collective wisdom of new media and see us swarm!

If Tony had done this when he first got in (and I know how hard you tried, Ed) then thousands of people could already be employed - let's use those redundant factories to turn out polyphonic ringtones.

Critics - like Orlowski at The Register - will complain that this is pork-barrel politics for tech. utopians. That this has no relevance to' 'ordinary' people and their lives.

Well, I've had enough of that patronising rubbish. I've launched a post-ironic web brand - nar.ciss.us - that was created using the competitively-priced labour of redundant industrial workers. It shows that anyone can 'get' asynchronous java - even people from the North.

If anyone wants to brainstorm this - then twitter/IM/SMS/Skype/email me. I'm up for an 'emergent conference'.

Ed Richards's initiative 'gets' new media on so many levels. Let's flashmob this bitch up to escape velocity.

PEACE

Excellent stuff, sir - take a bow.

Another, Dr Stephen Jones, points out that new and old media are complimentary, and don't need taxpayer-funded pampering.

The consultation document is founded on several dubious premises.

The report states that new media displaces old media, and that public service material should therefore be targeted at new platforms. However, as commentators have pointed out, new media enhances old media.

Nor is there a rationale for public investment in platforms where the barriers to entry are already low, and where private investment is plentiful.

The PSP idea in its current form is little more than a taxpayer-funded subsidy for web production houses.

OFCOM should instead fulfill its commitment to strengthening public service broadcast material.

Reader Mark Splinter submitted a long, thoughtful, and passionate response that boils down to: why not just give the money to a thousand mavericks directly? You don't really need a quango.

The Ofcom proposal before me does absolutely nothing to alter the problem that the best creative ideas can be lost in bureaucracy. The examples given are uninspired grey goo, the illustration styles used are ten years old, and sending text messages to a panel of experts is elevated to the status of innovative debate.

It smells bad, and I must present to Ofcom the possibility that they are a regulator, not an artists' loft, and they really don't know what they are doing. Asking a couple of the internet equivalents of Werner Hogg to comment on the idea of receiving free public money will get you a distorted answer, probably involving "yes please" and "exactly how high would you like us to jump?"

If you offered me 50,000,000 I would also probably tell you that you need an "edgy urban mix of interrelated electronic Web 2.0 synergies" and then laugh all the way to the bank.

Trust the punks, the mavericks, the lunatics, the fringe of the fringe. Use public money to help them fight against the bland requirements of corporations and venture capitalists. Be not afraid of 1000 failures. Be bold, or you are being superfluous and irrelevant, and perhaps ridiculous.

Ofcom doesn't think it's being ridiculous though. Turning its own "evidence based" policy-making guideline on its head, it concludes there's "broad support" for OFCOM intervening with a new quango, so it's full steam ahead.

That's democracy in action, then. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.