Feeds

Royal Mail promises 2nd class service on postcode data

Keeps PAF in its sack

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The Royal Mail looks set to disappoint members of the public hoping to see the contentious Postcode Address File database opened up for free access on the internet.

On Monday the UK government reiterated plans to get the Ordnance Survey to open up some postcode data from April 2010.

In November, Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that the government would grant British citizens more access to some OS data from next year.

Earlier this week the PM added a little more detail about what data would be made available to the public.

“From April next year Ordnance Survey will open up information about administrative boundaries, postcode areas and mid-scale mapping,” he said.

“All of this will be available for free commercial re-use, enabling people for the first time to take the material and easily turn it into applications, like fix my street or the postcode paper,” said Brown on Monday in a speech dubbed ‘Smarter Government'. It came ahead of Wednesday’s pre-budget speech, which alluded to £5bn cuts from technology projects.

However, it’s less clear if such a move would lead to the Royal Mail’s PAF database, which in 2007 pulled in £1.6m in licensing fees for the state-owned company, being opened up.

We asked the Royal Mail what the prime minister's announcement on postcode data meant for the PAF database. And for now it's remaining resolute about its data and who owns it.

"Royal Mail invests significantly in collating and maintaining the Postcode Address File (PAF) and this cost is recovered in an independently regulated licensing," it told The Register.

All of which seems to suggest that the government's postcode proposals fall short of opening up the PAF database to all comers.

In recent months the Royal Mail has been bullish about keeping the PAF under wraps, despite attempts by some to free up the database.

As we reported in September, an alleged copy of the UK postcode list - though not the entire PAF database - tipped up on whistleblower website WikiLeaks. Shortly afterward the Royal Mail's lawyers served legal papers against a number of sites, including El Reg, in an effort to have links to the data removed.

Come October, a UK postcode lookup service (North London-based Ernest Marples Postcodes Ltd) was slapped with a cease and desist letter from the Royal Mail, forcing it to close down its website. It had been providing web outfits with an API to power their sites that helped people search for information specific to their area.

In not unrelated news, UK.gov opened up a further 146 datasets over the weekend, the details are here, however you will need to be a member of the UK government data developers group in order to gain access to it. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.