The Early Writings

The OPLAN concept is not proprietory to any one person – indeed, we maintain that any person undertaking an informed, objective and rationale analysis of the impact of the various digital technologies of ‘abundance’ and their potential deployment in a free market, will arrive at the same broad principles underlying the OPLAN concept. However, it is nearly a quarter of a century since Malcolm Matson was probably the first to formulate and articulate some of these OPLAN concepts that are now increasingly commonplace. Some of his early original writings and papers are included here for the record and for the interest of those studying the origination of radical ideas and change.

FMCI & the 4th Utility
(PDF document, 179Kb) by Malcolm Matson, 1994 — last modified 2006-05-31
Drawing on the model of the FMCG (‘fast moving consumer goods’) industry, this article written in 1994 proposes that the ‘fast moving consumer information industry’ (FMCI) may turn out to have some startling similarities – segregating the various vertical functions around a “4th Utility” – the OPLAN infrastructure which deliver them.

Project Beany
(PDF document, 67Kb) by Malcolm Matson, 1986 — last modified 2006-05-30
Project Beany was the code-name given to the “exemplar” OPLAN project which Malcolm Matson and his company, National TeleCable Ltd. had planned for execution in Bolton in 1986 under the uniquely enabling UK legislation. It had the explicit support of The Cable Authority; Office of Telecommunications; the Department of Trade & Industry and Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council. The project failed to secure a £5m ‘innovation subsidy’ from the DTI when, having received approval from the Officials, it was turned down by the ‘DTI industrialists committee’ – peopled entirely by executives from companies ‘within’ the then extant incumbent telecom cartel which would be challenged had it succeeded.

Information Exchanges: Pushers & Pullers
(PDF document, 18Kb) by Malcolm Matson, 1985 — last modified 2006-05-31
Written in January 1986 by Malcolm Matson, this seemingly obvious note was part of the Appendix of a document submiited to the DTI in support of his ‘Project BEANY’. At a time when 0800 numbers were barely in use and world lived by the fact that “the caller pays” – this provides a simple analysis of who, when and why the various parties in an ‘information exchange’ may be prepared to pay.

Location, Location, Location – A new Principle for the IT age
(PDF document, 1303Kb) by Malcolm Matson, 1986 — last modified 2006-05-30
Written in 1986 by Malcolm Matson, the note argues that proximity and connection to the broadband infrastructure of the future will increasingly become a primary determinant of a building’s usefulness and hence value. It was writtten in an attempt to engage the world of commercial real estate in understanding the important and potential impact of IT on existing property portfolio values. It fell on deaf ears.

Integrated Broadband Communications – 1986
(PDF document, 113Kb) by Malcolm Matson, 1986 — last modified 2006-05-30
Written in 1986 by Malcolm Matson as a ‘confidential briefing note’ for the then Minister responsible for telecoms at the UK Department of Trade & Industry and Prof. Bryan Carsberg, the first Director General of Oftel (the regulator – formed just 2 years earlier). This note builds on the visionary legislation enacted in the UK in 1984 which was aimed at promoting a new, local broadband infrastructure, but argues, for the first time ever, that there will be an eventual and inevitable desegregation of ‘infrastructure’ and ‘services’ in the digital world. Furthermore, it sets out the principles of the ‘layered approach’ to network strategy and argued for a public policy of regulation based upon “regulated open access”.

Local Networks – The PTT’s Asset or Liability 
(PDF document, 134Kb) by Malcolm Matson, 1995 — last modified 2006-05-30
This paper was delivered by Malcolm Matson at the Technology Summit of the Telecom 95 Forum held by the ITU (International Telecommunications Union) in Geneva. It sets out the basic OPLAN argument in the context of the conventinal telecoms industry and argues that this might present incumbent operators with an ‘opportunity’ if they are bold enough to adopt a radically new business model – or if not, it might prove to be a ‘poisoned cocktail’. This paper was subsequently found to be being circulated quite widely in Africa – where the arguments found particular relevance with some enlightened government officials.

Pavo Christatus, Aunty and Boolean Algebra
(PDF document, 217Kb) by Malcolm Matson, 1985 — last modified 2006-09-11
1985 Submission to the Committee on Financing the BBC (‘the Peaock Committee). The impact of the digital revolution and the internet is graphically described and the impact upon the BBC and other broadcast media – all of which is now taking place with a vengance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>