Kickstarter-backed film bags Oscar

Still from InocenteThe documentary follows Inocente, a homeless girl in San Diego, as she prepares for her first art show

The true story of a 15-year-old homeless girl has become the first Kickstarter-funded film to win an Oscar.

Inocente was made with the help of $52,527 (£35,000) raised by 294 backers in June last year.

The documentary was awarded with the prize for best documentary short at the ceremony.

Two other crowd-funded films, Kings Point and Buzkashi Boys, were also nominated but came away empty-handed.

Speaking to Mashable, Inocente’s co-director Seth Fine said of crowd-funding: “It really helped galvanise a community.”

“It helped fund a bunch of the film and kept us going through post-production. It’s a great outlet for films, especially for documentaries.”

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Often they are about topics that are shunned by the normal funders because they might be too risky”

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Elliot Grove
Founder, Raindance Film Festival

The win has been seen as further proof that crowd-funding has established itself as an important revenue stream for independent film-makers looking to abandon traditional routes to the screen.

Other sites such as Indiegogo and Wefund.com also back films.

“Crowd-funding has become a very important part of any film-maker’s finance strategy,” said Elliot Grove, founder of the Raindance Film Festival and British Independent Film Awards.

‘Feeling pretty good’

He told the BBC about 30% of the 250 films on show at Raindance last year had been crowd-funded – a “huge increase” on the previous year.

Among them was How Do You Write A Joe Schermann Song, which won the film-of-the-festival award.

“It means that you cut out the middleman,” Mr Grove told the BBC. “You go straight to the money and go straight to the audience.

“The crowd-funders will have a personal stake in this – if you put 50 or 100 bucks on an Oscar-winning film, you’ll be feeling pretty good about yourself today.”

In previous years, other Kickstarter-backed films have been nominated, including Incident in New Baghdad, Sun Come Up, and The Barber of Birmingham.

Still from How Do You Write a Joe Schermann SongHow Do You Write a Joe Schermann Song is another crowd-funded hit

The films have been met with considerable critical acclaim. According to website Rotten Tomatoes – which creates an aggregate score based on hundreds of film review sites – three of the 20 best-reviewed films of 2012 were Kickstarter-funded.

Backing a cause

Mr Grove said he believed that while crowd-funding allowed film-makers to circumvent traditional studios and publishers, it had not meant a drop in quality.

“The lower barrier to entry is not so much to do with crowd-funding, but to do with digital film-making.

“If anything crowd-funding means the films are better because they have to convince the audience, their funders, that what they’re making is worth making.”

A blog post by Kickstarter earlier this year revealed that since launching in 2009, the site has raised $85m (£56m) for independent films, funding more than 8,000 individual projects.

The majority of this money has gone towards documentary films. Mr Grove credits this to the appeal of backing not only a film, but a cause.

“Often they are about topics that are shunned by the normal funders because they might be too risky or politically incorrect – which makes what we as viewers get to see so much more interesting.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21574994#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Samsung and Huawei show off devices



Ascend 2

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Huawei describes its Android-powered Ascend P2 as the world’s “fastest” smartphone

A fresh tablet from Samsung and a new Android handset from Huawei have been announced at the start of the Mobile World Congress (MWC).

About 1,500 exhibitors are taking part at the annual event in Barcelona.

Samsung’s tablet features an 8in (20.3cm) screen with a resolution of 189 pixels per inch (ppi) making it slightly bigger and more detailed than Apple’s bestselling iPad Mini.

Huawei’s Ascend P2 has a 4.7in screen with 315ppi, and a 13 megapixel camera.

The Chinese firm said it also featured a facility called Magic Touch, which allowed it to be used while wearing gloves – similar to Nokia’s Lumia 920.

Tablet wars

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8.0 is being promoted as a device on which users can multi-task – running two apps in split-screen mode – and can act as alternative to “traditional pen and paper” thanks to its included stylus, the S Pen.

The South Korean firm adds that it is light enough to be held by one hand, and can also be used to make phone calls.

According to the research firm IDC, Samsung was the world’s most successful smart device manufacturer in the October-to-December period, accounting for 21.2% of all shipments.

However, that position was secured in large part due to its smartphones, and IDC noted that in the tablet sector Samsung came in second with a 15.1% market share compared to Apple’s 43.6%.

Ascend P2Huawei’s Ascend P2 features a smaller screen than the D2 it launched in January

“The Note 8 marks Samsung’s relentless charge to grab a slice of the tablet market from Apple, but also to defend itself from the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7,” Ben Wood, head of research at CCS Insight, told the BBC.

“I think there’s a diminishing window of opportunity because Amazon and Google are playing by different rules – they are effectively willing to sell their hardware virtually at cost and then make money through content sales, whereas Samsung is a hardware manufacturer selling something for a margin.

“It’s very difficult for consumers to tell the difference between these products – but what does make Samsung stand out is the fact they are prepared to carpet bomb marketing with an eye-watering budget, which effectively marginalises some of the other companies trying to get into the tablet space.”

The Galaxy Note 8.0 is being made available in Europe, South Korea, China and a limited number of other countries in the April-to-June period.

Chinese ambition

Huawei describes its Android-powered Ascend P2 as the world’s “fastest” smartphone thanks to it being the first to include an LTE Cat 4 chip which – in theory – allows 4G download speeds of up to 150 megabits per second,

The device also includes an NFC (near field communication) chip, allowing it to support wireless payments, and is relatively slim measuring 8.4mm (0.33in) thick,

However, its screen is lower resolution than recent models from LG, HTC and Nokia, and can display 720p HD video rather than 1080p output. But this may help it last longer between recharges, and the device also features a larger than average 2420 mAh battery.

According to IDC, Huawei accounted for 10.8 million smartphone shipments in the fourth quarter, making it the world’s third-biggest vendor.

However, it could still only claim a 4.9% market share since Apple and Samsung dominated the sector – something the Chinese firm itself acknowledged describing itself as a “brand in the making” at its Barcelona launch,

“Because this is a very aggressively-priced LTE phone, Huawei have a good chance of getting it into operator portfolios for 2013,” said Mr Wood.

“Brand awareness and credibility remain a challenge for Huawei. But this is a company that will never give up.

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Press conferences at MWC

Sunday:

Mozilla: 1800 local time (1700 GMT)

Monday:

Nokia: 0820 local time (0730 GMT)

Sony: 0845 local time (0830 GMT)

Ford: 1000 local time (0900 GMT)

Asus: 1300 local time (1200 GMT)

ZTE: 1600 local time (1500 GMT)

Visa: 1630 local time (1530 GMT)

“Huawei is determined to make inroads into the mobile phone market, though the competitive intensity of this segment means they will need to spend a lot of money to succeed.”

Huawei said the phone was already confirmed to go on sale in France in June, and should launch elsewhere around the globe around the same time.

MWC’s competition

Other early MWC announcements include:

  • A 16 gigabyte version of Acer’s budget Iconia B1 tablet.
  • The Samsung HomeSync – a 1 terabyte hard disk designed to allow families to share content between their Samsung devices and display it on their television.
  • A marketing campaign from Asus – the maker of the Google Nexus 7 – suggesting it will be the latest to launch a tablet that can also make calls at its event on Monday.

In past year’s Sony Ericsson also held a major press conference on the Sunday ahead of Monday’s official start to MWC.

But the business – which is now controlled in whole by Sony – has opted for a smaller event on Monday this year.

The move reflects it decision to launch its flagship Xperia Z phone earlier in the year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

Other firms have also preferred to hold one-off events, such as Blackberry with its Z10 and Q10 unveiling in New York last month.

It is also notable that Samsung has chosen to hold off updating its key Galaxy S handset until later in the year. It unveiled the Galaxy S2 at MWC in 2011.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21566272#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Google unveils touchscreen laptop

Chromebook PixelSo far, Google has struggled to generate mass consumer interest in the Chromebook line

Google has unveiled its first touchscreen-enabled laptop.

The Chromebook Pixel runs Google’s Chrome operating system and has been “largely built” by the web giant.

The laptop has Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors, fast 4G LTE connectivity and a high-resolution screen aimed at challenging Apple’s Retina Display.

Analysts say the move represents a fresh bid to build market share for Chromebooks against machines running Microsoft and Apple operating systems.

Unlike PCs that use installed software such as Microsoft Word, Chrome OS computers run their applications through the firm’s web browser and store their files in the cloud.

The internet giant told the BBC the device was “largely built by Google, with components that are manufactured globally”.

The laptop’s 12.85in (32.64cm) display’s resolution is similar to the so-called Retina Display of Apple’s MacBook range, aimed to have pixel density high enough for the human eye not to notice pixelation when looking at the screen at a typical viewing distance.

“This Chromebook has the highest pixel density (239 pixels per inch) of any laptop screen on the market today,” said the company.

“Packed with 4.3 million pixels, the display offers sharp text, vivid colours and extra-wide viewing angles.

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The challenge for the Chromebook is that computing is shifting towards tablets”

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Geoff Blaber
CCS Insight

“With a screen this rich and engaging, you want to reach out and touch it — so we added touch for a more immersive experience.”

Embracing the cloud

The first Chrome-powered laptop, built by Samsung, went on sale in June 2011. Chrome laptops that followed were made by Acer, Lenovo and HP.

But so far, Chromebooks have had difficulties challenging Windows-powered computers, said CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber.

“Chromebooks have struggled for relevance to date, stuck between comparably-priced but entertainment-centric tablets – many of which run Android – and more functional PCs,” he said.

“[The new computer] won’t transform its prospects but Google will hope it serves as a flagship device that has a halo effect for the broader portfolio.”

Windows 8, Microsoft’s latest operating system launched last year, has touchscreen capabilities.

Mr Blaber said: “Touch is now pervasive across every computing category from phones to high-end PCs.

“The challenge for the Chromebook is that computing is shifting towards tablets whilst most consumers lives are not yet fully embracing the cloud versus local storage.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21534382#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Hackers attack Microsoft computers

Microsoft logoThe company says its investigation is continuing

Microsoft has become the latest US technology company to confirm that it has been targeted by computer hackers.

In a blog post, Microsoft announced that “a small number” of its computers had recently been deliberately infected with malicious software.

The firm said it found no evidence that any customer data had been accessed, but an investigation is continuing.

On Tuesday Apple said its computers were attacked by the same hackers who targeted Facebook a week earlier.

At the time, Facebook said it had traced a cyber attack back to China which had infiltrated employees’ laptops.

In Friday’s blog post, Microsoft spokesman Matt Thomlinson said: “This type of cyberattack is no surprise to Microsoft and other companies that must grapple with determined and persistent adversaries.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21556611#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Samsung faces disability setback

VoiceOverThe VoiceOver function is designed to help blind and partially sighted consumers use the iPhone

Samsung has suffered a setback in its effort to win an iPhone ban based on a function making its software accessible to blind people.

The South Korean firm had sought an injunction in a German court arguing Apple’s VoiceOver screen-access facility infringed one of its patents.

However, the judge has ordered the case to be suspended pending another ruling that could invalidate Samsung’s claim.

Disability campaigners had expressed concern about the case.

Apple’s VoiceOver function is used by blind and partially-sighted people to hear a description of what the iPhone is showing by touching its screen.

The software covers text and icons including audio descriptions of the battery level and network signal. It also allows the phones to be operated via Braille-based add-ons.

Samsung had argued that Apple had failed to licence a patent it owned which describes pressing a button to make a handset describe its display. The basis for this was that VoiceOver could be switched on by triple-clicking the iPhone’s home button.

Apple declined to comment.

A statement from Samsung said: “For decades, we have heavily invested in pioneering the development of technological innovations in the mobile industry, which have been constantly reflected in our products.

“We continue to believe that Apple has infringed our patented mobile technologies, and we will continue to take the measures necessary to protect our intellectual property rights.”

‘Regrettable in the extreme’

Patent consultant Florian Muller, who was first to report the Mannheim Court’s decision, questioned Samsung’s tactics.

“If Samsung had only requested monetary compensation in this action, it would have made a much better choice than by trying to achieve, through the pursuit of an injunction, the deactivation or (more realistically) degradation of the voiceover functionality Apple provides to its German customers,” he wrote on his blog.

The British Computer Association of the Blind said it was worried such an important feature might be threatened.

“A lack of access to information is arguably the biggest potential barrier to inclusion in society for blind and partially-sighted people,” a spokesman told the BBC.

“If something as important as access to telephone technology had been blocked by the actions of one company over another the consequences for blind people everywhere would be regrettable in the extreme.”

The Wall Street Journal’s AllThingsD tech site was more damning.

“Leaving aside the ethics of asserting a patent against a feature designed to help the blind, this is unwise,” wrote John Paczkowski.

“It’s the PR equivalent of punching yourself in the face. Samsung has now identified itself as a company willing to accept the loss of accessibility for the vision-impaired as collateral damage in its battle with Apple.”

Apple and Samsung have fought a number of patent cases against each other in courts across the world.

The biggest award involved a US jury ordering Samsung to pay Apple $1.05bn (£688m) in damages. The judge in the case later rejected Apple’s call for the sum to be increased and a sales ban on some Samsung handsets.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21552733#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Paypal launches chip-and-pin device

Mark Thomas, Greedy Goat ice creamIce-cream salesman Mark Thomas will be one of the first to try the machine

Payments firm Paypal has launched a chip-and-pin machine designed to offer new sales methods to UK small businesses that have previously relied on cash or cheques.

It means market traders, taxis and shops will be able to accept credit and debit cards as well as Paypal payments.

There will be an initial cost “under £100″ for the Paypal Here device.

The firm, which faces competition from other similar devices, said it will take a transaction fee of less than 3%.

“At Paypal, we spend a huge amount of time talking and listening to small businesses. They are the core of Paypal’s business and they’ve told us that they want a simple, secure way to take card payments anytime and anywhere they trade,” said David Marcus, president of Paypal.

‘Trusted brand’

Paypal is offering the devices to a few select businesses before a full launch in the summer. It will roll out in the UK first with other countries to follow.

In the US, it has already brought out a similar device, a dongle that can be plugged into a mobile phone to act as a credit card reader.

Eden Zoller, an analyst with research firm Ovum, said the move was an obvious one for Paypal to make.

“It hasn’t released figures about the dongle it launched in the US but has indicated that it is popular so it makes sense to have an optimised version for the European market,” she said.

There are other similar devices on the market from companies such as iZettle, Intuit and mPowa.

“It is going to have a bit of competition but Paypal is an established a trusted brand,” said Ms Zoller.

Mark Thomas runs an ice cream stall at London’s Borough Market. He will be among the first to try out the device.

“Cash is king in the market, but people run out of cash very quickly, and we often lose sales because customers can’t face the long weekend wait at the ATM,” he said.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21536535#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

North Korea to launch mobile internet

Girls on mobiles in a park in North Korea North Korean citizens will not have access to the 3G network.

North Korean mobile phone provider Koryolink is planning to launch a 3G data service for foreign visitors and residents from abroad.

Egyptian telecoms firm Orascom, which is a partner in Koryolink, estimates that more than 1 million North Koreans use mobile phones.

They will not be able to use the new service, according to reports.

Orascom launched a 3G phone network inside North Korea in 2008, but users can only use it to make phone calls.

International calls, including calls to South Korea, are banned.

In January 2013 the government began allowing foreign visitors to bring their own mobile devices into the country with them for the first time.

Following a recent visit to the notoriously closed country, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt wrote in a blog post that North Korea’s decision to isolate itself “is very much going to affect their physical world and their economic growth.”

He added that it would be “very easy” for 3G internet access to be enabled on the existing service.

Current internet access is extremely limited for locals, with most people only having access to a small number of state-run pages.

North Korea expert Scott Thomas Bruce previously told the BBC this comprises mainly of “message boards, chat functions, and state sponsored media”.

“The system they’ve set up is one that they can control and tear down if necessary,” he said.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21546877#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Apple patent hints at smart watch

Apple patentApple describes a device which wraps itself around the user’s wrist

Fresh evidence that Apple has been working on a smart watch concept since at least 2011 has emerged in a patent filing.

The document describes a flexible touchscreen display which would communicate with a smartphone or other electronic device.

It coincides with a report from a tech consultancy suggesting there is huge pent up demand for such a gadget.

But ABI Research warns that battery life issues still need to be addressed.

It says assuming such problems can be resolved, about 485 million wearable computing devices might ship by 2018, providing a significant growth opportunity for Apple and the wider consumer electronics industry.

Not all published patents lead to actual products, but Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times have all published reports this month saying sources had confirmed Apple was experimenting with a watch-like device.

The iPhone-maker declined to comment when contacted by the BBC.

Slap wraps

The US Patent Office only revealed Apple’s filing on Thursday, but the document dates back to August 2011.

The mooted device is likened to a “slap wrap” – a thin strip of metal covered in fabric which snapped around the user’s wrist to form a bracelet.

The toy was popular with teenagers in the late-1980s, but fell out of favour after complaints that it lost its ability to retain its shape over time,. There were also complaints that some users had experienced injuries after the fabric wore away to reveal a sharp metal edge.

Apple patent drawingApple suggests components would harvest kinetic energy and provide wireless connectivity

Apple puts a hi-tech spin on the idea proposing a “slap bracelet” featuring a flexible circuit board and display, a touch sensitive user interface and a two-way communication chip, which would curl around the user’s skin.

It suggests the gadget could detect which part of its surface was covered so that its readout would be limited to the exposed screen, with information flowing over the join.

Apple suggests lights along the device’s edge could be programmed to blink when the user receives an alert, before displaying the details on its screen.

It says the user could then provide a brief response or use the bracelet to command a wirelessly connected smartphone, tablet or laptop to carry out another function such as adjusting the order of a song playlist or reviewing what recent calls had been made.

Apple acknowledges that the relatively thin nature of a wrist band would limit its uses, but suggests a wider armband could also be developed.

“At the width of a few inches the display can function to temporarily view and manipulate the screen of the portable device it is in communication with,” says the paper.

“This might be desirable when the portable electronic device is stored in an inconvenient location such as a cargo pocket, or the bottom of a backpack.

Martian Victory watchMartian’s voice-controlled smart watches are about to join the market

“A larger display is also more desirable for map viewing… as a traveller or explorer can easily reference the information with a flick of the wrist while exploring.”

Recharge worries

ABI Research notes that several companies already sell smart watches – such as Fossil, Pebble and Sony – while others (including Samsung and Martian) are known to be working on such products,

For the time being, however, it says the sector is dominated instead by activity trackers – such as Nike’s Fuelband and the Garmin Forerunner – which account for an estimated 61% of the wearable tech market.

Some of these devices do tell the time, but they only offer limited functionality beyond monitoring exercise or the owner’s sleep pattern.

The consultants instead suggest a much wider range of uses giving the example of linking the watch to a home automation system so that “a quick shake of your wrist can turn off/on room lights”.

The idea of a smartwatch has been around for years – but the firm says technology only recently caught up with our imagination.

“Moore’s law has driven silicon to the point where it’s small enough and powerful enough to drive applications that mean things to consumers,” ABI’s chief research officer, Stuart Carlaw, told the BBC.

Nike FuelbandApple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, sits on the board of Fuelband-maker Nike

“Bluetooth Smart has also brought us high-bandwidth, low-energy connectivity at a less than a dollar a chip and takes up little space while offering robust performance.

“But one note of caution is that when we look at wearable technologies the use of power becomes an issue. You don’t want to have to be plugging in four or five products a night to recharge – energy harvesting or wireless recharging technologies are going to become incredibly important.”

Apple’s patent confirms the company is aware of the problem.

It suggests harvesting energy from the movement of the user’s arms and only coming out of standby mode when a sensor detects the device has been rotated to face a certain way.

It adds that the use of an AMOLED (active matrix light emitting diode) display would also help since it can allow individual pixels to be turned off, allowing the watch to only activate the parts which are facing the owner’s eyes.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21547947#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

New Google Glass features unveiled

A man wearing Google GlassWearable technology is expected to be a major growth area for hardware makers

Fresh details about Google’s eagerly-anticipated smart glasses have been released by the company.

A YouTube video uploaded by the company shows Google Glass in action – including the interface which appears in the wearer’s line of sight.

The search giant has also opened up the trial of the product to “creative individuals” and developers.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin was recently spotted on New York’s subway testing the device.

The product was first unveiled as part of a demonstration at a Google launch event last year where developers were offered early access to the device for $1,500.

The company is now inviting people in the US to use the hashtag #ifihadglass to suggest ways they would make use of the headset.

“We’re looking for bold, creative individuals who want to join us and be a part of shaping the future of Glass,” Google said.

Google Glass screenshotIt will be possible to take pictures from the perspective of the person wearing the device

“We’re still in the early stages and, while we can’t promise everything will be perfect, we can promise it will be exciting.”

‘OK, Glass’

The demo video showed how Glass can be used to take pictures and record video, as well as share content directly via email or social networks.

Voice commands such as “OK, Glass, take a picture” were used to control the device.

Other features appeared to include Skype-like video chats, and other related information such as weather reports and map directions.

All of this information appeared in a small, translucent square in the top right of the wearer’s field of vision.

The display is considerably less intrusive than previously published concept videos.

Wearable technology is seen as a major growth area for hardware makers in 2013 and beyond.

In 2008, Apple patented a laser-based “head mounted display system” that it suggested could stream video from its iPod, among other features.

Google GlassThe glasses have a small camera and display built in

Other patents obtained by Sony and Microsoft allow for creation of miniature displays to go over users’ eyes.

Oakley recently launched Airwave – ski goggles with built-in sensors which provide information on an in-built screen about an owner’s speed, the size of their jumps and what music they are listening to.

Away from the head, the newly released Pebble watch links directly to a smartphone – a concept Apple is also rumoured to be working on.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21519859#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

4G auction raises less than forecast

HTC One Smartphone


Ed Richards, chief executive of Ofcom

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Telecoms regulator Ofcom has raised £2.34bn from its auction of 4G mobile spectrum, less than expected.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) had forecast that the auction would raise £3.5bn for the Treasury.

The winning bidders are Everything Everywhere; Hutchison 3G UK; Niche Spectrum Ventures, a BT subsidiary; Telefonica (O2); and Vodafone.

4G mobile broadband should provide smartphone and tablet computer users with superfast download speeds.

The auction netted far less than the £22bn raised from the 3G auction in 2000.

Ed Richards, Ofcom chief executive, told the BBC that the figure was lower because “we are in very, very different times”, but he insisted that maximising the size of the auction was not the objective it was set by the government.

“What we were trying to do was ensure that a valuable economic resource was brought into productive commercial use,” he said.

The shortfall has important political implications, because Chancellor George Osborne included £3.5bn worth of 4G auction receipts in his Autumn Statement in December.

BBC political producer Andrew Fagg says this allowed Mr Osborne to play the “trump card” of predicting that the UK’s budget deficit would fall in 2012-13.

However, economists have now pointed out that without that full amount, borrowing would have been going up.

“The lower-than-expected windfall means that all bets must now be off on whether the deficit will in fact come down,” says our producer. “Next month’s Budget will reveal the answer.”

Responding to the announcement, a Treasury spokesperson said: “The £3.5bn number at Autumn Statement 2012 was certified by the independent OBR and based on external expert independent analysis based on similar auctions, including the last 3G one.

“The final auction revenue will be accounted for at Budget in the usual way.”

The OBR in its turn said it had described the £3.5bn “Government’s estimate” as “an area of particular uncertainty” in its December 2012 forecast.

But Rachel Reeves MP, Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said: “This is yet another blow to George Osborne’s failing economic plan. It shows how foolish and short-termist the chancellor was to bank this cash in the Autumn Statement to make his borrowing figures look less bad.

“He couldn’t bring himself to admit that borrowing was up so far this year, but his trickery has now badly backfired.”

Even senior Tories took the opportunity to criticise Chancellor George Osborne’s figures.

John Redwood, MP, said: “The figure for the 4G auction was optimistic, just like most of the numbers in George Osborne’s strategy. This is a dent, but there are far bigger dents in the public finances.”

Radio frequencies

Ofcom says 4G will provide £20bn of benefits for UK consumers over the next 10 years.

But the culture secretary, Maria Miller, is even more bullish, saying: “Spectrum use is worth more than £50bn to the UK economy and 4G mobile broadband is a key part of our digital growth strategy, so I am delighted the auction has been completed.”



EE chief executive Olaf Swantee

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Everything Everywhere chief executive Olaf Swantee: ‘Auction pricing fair’

The regulator auctioned the spectrum in two bands, 800MHz and 2.6GHz, equivalent to two-thirds of the radio frequencies currently used by wireless devices, such as tablet computers, smartphones and laptops.

This “will allow 4G networks to achieve widespread coverage as well as offering capacity to cope with significant demand in urban centres”, said Mr Richards.

“4G coverage will extend far beyond that of existing 3G services, covering 98% of the UK population indoors – and even more when outdoors – which is good news for parts of the country currently underserved by mobile broadband”, he said.

Vodafone bid £791m, the most of all the bidders, for five chunks of spectrum; EE, the T-Mobile and Orange joint venture formerly called Everything Everywhere, paid £589m for four chunks.

EE was the first to launch a 4G service in late 2012, but has struggled to attract users, leading it to run a cut-price special offer in January.

Its chief executive, Olaf Swantee, said: “One in four consumers and businesses are already buying this service when they are in a 4G area.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21516243#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa