Campaign for Unmetered Telecommunications

Breakages, breakages everywhere (2 April 2001)

If, when looking through the site, you find broken links to OFTEL pages there is no need to tell us; we know about them.

The old OFTEL site was an embarrassment ever since we started - and before - for its bad design. One of the Committee members, a user interface designer by profession, wrote a long proposal to OFTEL in September 1999, out of which came a consultation process and, finally, the redesigned site.

Unfortunately the redesigned site, although visually and navigationally a great improvement, has a completely different structure to the old site. This means that, for example, every link to OFTEL on our Responses page and in our published consultation responses is broken.

Of course we are not the only people affected: netimperative, The Register,, ZDNet UK and a thousand others - including regulators abroad plus, more importantly, industry and government reports linked to OFTEL pages - will suffer breakages.

We are slowly going through our site and correcting the links, but OFTEL's blunder is far more than a simple issue of Web design; it affects public policy as the OFTEL site is of record and much current European telecommunications thinking is based on British concepts. It is ironic that decades of campaigning was needed for a transcript of what was said in Parliament to be made available to all yet there is now a danger of parts of the public record being casually mislaid.

We wonder what other government Web sites have made the same mistake: what will the auditor five years hence, or the historian fifty years hence, do when they see '404 not found'?

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