As many of you already know, 2014 has been an exceptional year for Fluidata as we were awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation 2014 for our Service Exchange Platform (SEP) solution. This innovative solution has managed to alleviate the issue of rural broadband for millions of households and small businesses across the UK, thus reducing the digital divide and enabling digital literacy for a wider proportion of the population.
We were extremely honoured to win these awards as well as have our Managing Director Piers Daniell be included in the Digital Entrepreneur of the Year shortlist for The Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2014. Innovation has always been at the heart of everything that we do here at Fluidata, which is why we are becoming an ever-more prominent name in the technology industry.
However, none of this would be possible without our dedicated partners, and this year we teamed up with a number of new carriers including Gigaclear, CityFibre and ITS Technology in conjunction with Hammersmith & Fulham council. In order to honour our newest partners we hosted a partner event where we discussed the future of Fluidata and how we can work together to create further services and solutions in the future.
Throughout the year we have published numerous online articles discussing how even though solutions such as our Service Exchange Platform and ardent partners including Gigaclear, CityFibre and ITS Technology, the digital divide will continue to exist without the help of the UK government. This is why we were pleased to hear that the new head of Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Chris Townsend, is aiming for alternative network providers to deliver 5% of Internet connections.
Speaking at the Independent Networks Cooperative Association’s (INCA) annual conference – an event where Fluidata also regularly speaks – Mr Townsend outlined his plans to standardise network frameworks, ultimately ensuring that one day high-speed Internet access will be available to everyone in the UK regardless of what type of region they are based in – rural or otherwise.
The issue of the digital divide was just one talking point for the online industry this year, as governments across the world started to make clear their stances on privacy and net neutrality. We all know that an open Internet is becoming less feasible in this day and age, especially when hackers and cybercriminals use new technologies to harm both businesses and territories.
Earlier this year the coalition government showed its support for Internet censorship with the introduction of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIP) 2014. Now, Home Secretary Teresa May wants to take Internet regulation one step further with the Draft Communications Data Bill (more commonly known as the ‘Snooper Charter’) which will require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to provide the government and other official bodies information concerning users’ Internet activity.
Naturally, a large percentage of ISPs are uncomfortable with the idea of providing governments across the world users’ data, with many claiming that this is against privacy laws and could cause international tensions in the future. Without a clear definition of when and how data should be provided, international ISPs could be forced to provide sensitive information to conflicting countries across the world.
Along with how much privacy users should have online, this year there has also been an ongoing debate as to what information, if any, should take precedence on the Internet. US President Barack Obama recently came out in support of net neutrality, a move that has not been popular with carriers such as ComCast. However, by treating all forms of Internet data with the same level of importance the Internet will not succumb to an informational and corporate divide or even monopolisation.
With the Internet becoming an increasingly powerful tool worldwide, ethical issues such as market monopolisation, the digital divide and net neutrality will continue to be high-priority talking points for governments and industry players next year. Here at Fluidata we aim to be at the forefront of these discussions and solutions that will make the Internet more accessible for all.
We hope that you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Make sure you visit our website next week to read Fluidata’s plans for 2015!