Like that of a story someone would eventually make into a movie – the opening scene is of a young fellow called Ajit Chambers standing in City Hall presenting his incredulous business plan to then London Mayor - Boris Johnson. A plan showing how to make £200 million by opening London’s Disused Tube Stations as tourist attractions, writes Ajit Chambers.
I am Ajit Chambers, and whilst I am no blonde Jennifer Arcuri, my tale gets even more unbelievable as Boris Johnson leans across the table vigorously shouting 'Hurrah, I think you have something here, brilliant man’and tasks Transport for London's Commercial Director Graeme Craig to manage Mr Chambers project.
However every story has a culprit, two in this case. Instead of working with me as Boris had asked, like a devious school child, Graeme convinces TfL project manager Niall Brolly to pretend they have designed the project Mr Chambers presented to Boris.
Both Graeme and Niall now see dollar signs, Mercedes for their wives, posh schools for their kids, new houses all round and decide to present Mr Chambers complex plan to the Board of Transport for London pretending it was their own brainy idea.
Now at this point, I could use the word alleged or just wait for Transport for London to deny any of the above but instead I jump to the facts that I have seen.
Emails and phone calls from the Struengmann Brothers to Donald Trump, all offering investment to me. Large sums like the £20 million I showed Boris in City Hall or the offer of a cheque by the end of the day for the whole £200 million from a certain British Greek-Cypriot.
Meanwhile Dastardly and Mutley (aka Graeme and Niall ) busily start a public bidding competition for my project ( think Hanna-Barbera’s Wacky Races) and then boom - they claim to be the winner of the race and award the contract to themselves.
When Boris Johnson finds out that Graeme and Niall have been behind his back he authorises a meeting with Graeme to discuss a settlement to avoid the embarrassment, but I turned this meeting down with a bigger goal in mind.
Although many errors of judgement go unnoticed, like Monica Lewinsky I ‘kept the dress’ - diligently recording phone calls, emails and meetings with Graeme and Niall to collate all the proof necessary to enable his lawsuit, if timed right, to render Transport for London Bankrupt.
The real question is will it be Graeme Craig and Niall Brolly who cause Lady Justice to order TfL to close forever?
When asked for my opinion, I answer: "The horse left the stable long ago. No one likes a thief, there will be no settlement. When the time is perfect the UK’s Highest Court will decide."
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone, and do not represent the opinions of EU Reporter.
An exhibition of contemporary Kazakh art is opening its doors in London, writes Lucía de la Torre.
Almagul Menlibayeva: It’s Easy to Be a Line / Yerbossyn Meldibekov: It’s Difficult to be a Point is a dual exhibition featuring two contemporary artists.
The exhibition is curated by Almaty-based arts hub Aspan Gallery, and is the gallery’s first project in the UK. The artists’ work will be on show at London’s Cromwell Place, and will be open to the public for free.
The project brings together Almagul Menlibayeva and Yerbossyn Meldibekov, two Kazakh artists born in the 1960s whose art broke away from the socialist realist conventions of the Soviet era. Menlibayeva’s work fuses video and photography to create telling artworks that explore the female identity in the context of the migration stories of Central Asia, mirroring them with the contemporary migrant crisis.
Meldibekov, whose work has been previously exhibited at the Garage Museum in Moscow, combines performance, installation, video, and photography to explore the changing identity of places and monuments during the Sovietisation and decommunisation of Central Asia.
The exhibition will be open 5-18 October. You can find more information and book your tickets here.
The crackdown on China’s largest technology company has given startups such asAltiostar Networks Inc. and new entrants includingQualcomm Inc. a rare opportunity to grab a slice of the $35 billion the telecom industry spends each year on this crucial part of mobile phone networks.
“This could break up that tech vendor lock-in that’s been around for decades,” said Andre Fuetsch, chief technology officer of network services atAT&T Inc., the third largest U.S. wireless carrier. “It’s about how do you create a much more competitive, innovative ecosystem.”
Base stations are the heart of cellular networks, powering millions of antennas that perch on cell towers and city rooftops all over the world. Until recently, these boxes were a proprietary combination of processors and software that had to be purchased all at once. Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia account for three quarters of this market, which is worth as much as $35 billion a year, according to researcher Dell’Oro Group.
Open radio access network, or O-RAN, changes this by creating an open standard for base station design and ensuring all the software and components work well together -- no matter who is supplying the ingredients.
This is a potentially radical shift. When telecom giants such as AT&Tand China Mobile Ltd. want to expand their network they usually have to call their existing supplier and order more of the same because a box from Nokia won’t work with one from Ericsson. The new technology lets wireless carriers mix and match more easily.
The initiative also means that new suppliers can succeed by focusing on one or two components, or a single piece of software, rather than spending lots of time and money building a whole base station from the ground up.
O-RAN gear has been used sparingly since an industry alliance was formed to promote the technology in 2018. But when the U.S. toughened its stance against Huawei last year and encouraged other countries to crack down, interest in O-RAN adoption increased. The Chinese tech giant is a low-cost provider. Now it’s unavailable in some markets, carriers are more willing to look at alternative suppliers embracing the more flexible O-RAN approach.
“Increased geopolitical uncertainty is helping them to get an invite to the table they would not normally have had,” Dell’Oro Group analyst Stefan Pongratz said. “Multiple vendors, not just in Europe but across the world, are basically reassessing their exposure to Huawei.”
Open standard base stations will generate sales of about $5 billion in the next five years, more than originally predicted, according to Dell’Oro.
Ericsson questions the performance and cost-efficiency of current O-RAN offerings. But the telecom companies, who decide where the money is spent, aren’t being shy about telling incumbent providers to get on board or risk being left behind.
“We’ve been candid with them: This is the architecture that the operator community is pursuing,” said Adam Koeppe, who oversees technology strategy, architecture and planning atVerizon Communications Inc., the biggest U.S. wireless carrier.
O-RAN proponents point to the success ofRakuten Inc., a Japanese e-commerce provider that has used the technology to break into mobile phone services. The company began 4G wireless service in April and is upgrading to 5G now, using O-RAN suppliers including NEC, Qualcomm, Intel, Altiostar and Airspan. Rakuten said using this more open approach has cut capital expenditure by 40% and reduced operating costs 30%.
Dish Network Corp. is building a 5G wireless network in the U.S. with help from Altiostar. New projects like this are great, but the real opportunity is with operators that are shifting their existing networks to O-RAN, according to Thierry Maupilé, Altiostar’s executive vice president of strategy and product management. The Tewksbury, Massachusetts-based company has raised more than $300 million from investors such as Rakuten, Qualcomm and Cisco.
O-RAN is part of a broader push to make all kinds of computer networks more flexible and easy to control. By standardizing hardware and using more software in centralized data centers, companies can run networks more cheaply, while fixing and upgrading them more easily. 5G will need this flexibility to work well.
For AT&T, the new approach has already started to help. The company has introduced Samsung equipment based on O-RAN in areas where it had previously been limited to Ericsson gear, AT&T’s Fuetsch said.
Nokia expects to have a full range of O-RAN offerings available in 2021. Some of the final standards aren’t yet set and they need to be completed and tested which will take time, according to Sandro Tavares, global head of marketing.
“O-RAN is supported by more than 20 major operators around the world, so it is pretty clear that there is a strong push for it to happen,” he said. “This is a big move for our industry, and it is clear for the main players that we should not be cutting corners in this process.”
People in England who break new rules requiring them to self-isolate if they have been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19 will face a fine of up to £10,000 ($12,914), Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday (19 September),writes David Milliken.
The rules will apply from 28 September to anyone in England who tests positive for the virus or is notified by public health workers that they have been in contact with someone infectious.
“People who choose to ignore the rules will face significant fines,” Johnson said in a statement.
Fines will start at 1,000 pounds for a first offence, rising to 10,000 pounds for repeat offenders or cases where employers threaten to sack staff who self-isolate rather than go to work.
Some low-income workers who suffer a loss of earnings will receive a £500 support payment, on top of other benefits such as sick pay to which they may be entitled.
Current British government guidance tells people to stay at home for at least 10 days after they start to suffer COVID-19 symptoms, and for other people in their household not to leave the house for 14 days.
Anyone who tests positive is also asked to provide details of people outside their household who they have been in close contact with, who may then also be told to self-isolate.
To date there has been little enforcement of self-isolation rules, except in some cases where people have returned from abroad.
However, Britain is now facing a rapid increase in cases, and the government said police would be involved in checking compliance in areas with the highest infection rates.
Johnson has also faced calls to reintroduce more wide-ranging lockdown rules for the general public.
However, the Sunday Times reported he was poised to reject calls from scientific advisors for an immediate two-week nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of the disease, and instead reconsider it when schools take a late-October break.