Daily Archives:November 21st, 2006


I was in London today for the Westminster eForum on ‘VoIP and the future of fixed line telephony’. This brought home some of the difficult issues that the regulators and the security services have to deal with.

I was impressed, actually… I came away with the feeling that those concerned – at least as represented at the forum – were thoughtful, capable and understood the issues much better than I had expected. There was discussion, for example, of the need to ensure that the ‘999’ emergency services would be available to anybody picking up something that looked like a phone when a member of their household had a heart attack. But was there a better way to do this than excessive regulation, which would stifle innovation? They had some good ideas.

An interesting statistic I learned today: Every day in the UK there are 12,000 emergency calls which are ‘silent’ – there’s nobody at the other end. Generally, these come from phones in people’s pockets where the ‘9’ key has accidentally been pressed repeatedly. It has been as high as 25,000 and they were really starting to clog up the system until measures were put in place which allowed these to be detected and sidetracked fairly quickly.

As I walked back past the Houses of Parliament there was a wonderful sun on the buiildings against a dark sky, and I managed to get this photo before the rain started…

Palace of Westminster / Houses of Parliament

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser