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2024 New Year Honours for TalkTalk CEO and Tove Valley Broadband Leader

Saturday, Dec 30th, 2023 (7:22 am) - Score 2,800

The UK Government has published the New Year Honours List for 2024, which sees the CEO of UK ISP TalkTalk, Tristia Harrison, being named a Dame for services to telecommunications. The Founder and Chair of the Tove Valley Broadband project, Eric Malcomson, also picked up an MBE for services to his community.

The King’s New Year Honours list is said to recognise the achievements and public service of people across the UK, from all walks of life. Anyone can nominate someone for an honour, and nominees are then “checked by various government departments to make sure they’re suitable for an honour” (this may include checks by HMRC) and an honour’s committee will also review the nominations.

This year saw more than 1,200 recipients being awarded for their achievements, including two people from the country’s telecommunications and broadband fields.

Order of the British Empire

Dames Commander of the Order of the British Empire

Tristina Adele HARRISON (Tristia Harrison)

Chief Executive Officer, TalkTalk Group. For services to Telecommunications (London, Greater London)

Members of the Order of the British Empire


Founder and Chair, Tove Valley Broadband. For services to thecommunity in the Tove Valley, Northamptonshire (Towcester, Northamptonshire)

The boss of TalkTalk needs no introduction, although people may be less familiar with the Tove Valley community broadband project (Abthorpe Broadband Association) in Northamptonshire (England). This began life as a wireless network some years ago, but in more recent years they’ve adopted government vouchers to upgrade most of the area to a full fibre (FTTP) network (here).

Tove Valley Broadband Statement

Our erstwhile chairman and one of the founder members of the Abthorpe Broadband Association (in 2003), Eric, has been awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the new year 2024 King’s honours for service to the community.

Eric says that whereas other awards he received in the past are directly associated with and on behalf of the teams of volunteers, this award is more personal. He is humbled by the recognition of the communities and of course, the King, of the part he has played in delivering superfast and gigabit fibre broadband services to the Tove Valley businesses and residents.

We are coming to the end of our fibre-to-the-premises projects for the core area having completed more than 450 connections, with about 50 to go. These connections cover the villages of Abthorpe, Astwell, Bradden, Lois Weedon, Weston, Wappenham, Slapton and Woodend which form our communities core area. We deliver service to over 80% of the properties therein.

We are also upgrading the wireless access points in Helmdon with a direct fibre connection so that their capacity is greatly increased. In all, there are more than 710 properties connected to the Tove Valley Broadband service.

2024 will see the hamlet of Plumpton connected to fibre and our redundant loop connections through Woodend completed. Abthorpe Broadband Association volunteers manage this work and uses local contractors where at all possible.

Meanwhile, Dame Tristia of TalkTalk said: “I am humbled to have been nominated for this honour. I have spent over 20 years in Telecoms and as a team at TalkTalk we have been proud to champion affordable connectivity, invest in Greater Manchester and encourage more women into telecoms and technology … I would like to thank everyone at TalkTalk, in UK telecoms and across the various charities I’ve worked with for this prestigious recognition.”

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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20 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Andrew G says:

    The CEO of miserable, failing TalkTalk gets a gong for “services to telecoms”? The company that offshored every job it possibly could, provided the crappest customer service it could, and still isn’t profitable. What a laugh.

    Then again, perhaps flying TT into the ground at speed is indeed a service to telecoms and the world.

    1. Avatar photo Anonymous says:

      Yes we know you’re not a big fan of TalkTalk, you’ve already told us a trillion times! Are you a twin of Adrian aka Zyborg47?

    2. Avatar photo Andrew G says:

      No – I sometimes post anonymously, but I don’t use different posting names. But you mistake something – I’m commenting on the subject matter of the article, you’re just complaining that I’m not a fan of TT. To be quite honest, I’m not a fan of any large ISP, they’re all pretty poor, but TT manage to take the biscuit.

      But let me help you back on topic – what are your thoughts on Ms Harrison being made a dame?

  2. Avatar photo Billy says:

    Did I miss the B4RN awards? usually one of theirs who takes the bins out gets one!!

  3. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

    A gong for the CEO of a company that’s in danger of being overwhelmed by its debts and being broken up? What a total farce. Just shows how totally corrupt this country now is.

    1. Avatar photo buggerlugz says:

      Its par for the course. Our corrupt politicians patting the backs of mates for not doing a good job either, just like them.

    2. Avatar photo Theodore Dalrymple says:

      “I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better.”

  4. Avatar photo Bungs for the chums says:

    May as well rename it the dishonours list, also Truss’ should be flushed down the nearest toilet to join her legacy.

    1. Avatar photo Jack says:

      Where did the Scottish lady touch you for you to be angry at her on a broadband website?

    2. Avatar photo Bungs for the chums says:

      @Jack: …. What a bizarre place your mind leaps to… is sexual abuse something you spend a lot of time fantasising about?…

  5. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

    About time, they got rid of these honours, we don’t even have an Empire any more. So how many of these people donated to the Tory party then?

  6. Avatar photo Optimist says:

    Most of these gongs don’t matter. What I object to is the doling out of peerages so they can sit in the Lords and have a say in legislation for the rest of their lives without ever having to seek election.

  7. Avatar photo Ben says:

    Ah yes, TalkTalk, a shining example of British telecommunications at their finest.

    1. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      When they first started many years ago, when they part of car phone warehouse, Talk Talk was ok, I never used them, but I know people who did at the time. What mucked Talk Talk up and gave them a bad reputation is when they did their free broadband forever. They had so many people sign up that they could not cope. They really did not recover from that.
      customer service decreased as well around that time. Over the years I knew a fair few people who had problems with Talk Talk, I have spoken to their customer service so many times, on behalf of people, it is no wonder I am grey and going bald 🙂 .

      They have improved since FTTC have been a thing, but their customer service is still awful. I vowed never to go with Talk Talk, for a number of reasons.

  8. Avatar photo Ed says:

    That “Honour” for the TalkTalk boss won’t half be embarrassing when they go bust next year

  9. Avatar photo Anthony says:

    Why reward TalkTalk, the most anti-British company there possibly could be. Why not reward an ISP like Grain that seems to employ British and aid Britain with its under-the-ground rollout. I think if you needed the most British ISP to give an award to. I think Grain could be a contender for this. British founders, British funders and British staff.

    1. Avatar photo XGS says:

      The main driver of Grain’s build seems to be to build a point to point network in the cheapest to build areas of as many towns and cities as possible.

      This looks a lot more like a strategy to flip the network as quickly as possible than build a sustainable business longer term.

      Doing that would require building scale in fewer places to achieve economies of scale in locations: the main thing Grain’s build will do is massage their cost per premises passed for the access network downwards.

      To actually run the network will be expensive as relatively few customers in each area to split costs of network kit and backhaul between. Backhaul, etc, will be all leased at commercial rates and can’t do a B4RN and build own dark fibre between access network builds as they’re in the middle of towns and cities where terraces with minimal frontage are.

      Actually you’ve a point. Short term thinking in pursuit of personal gain is very British. Changed my mind.

  10. Avatar photo Civilisation says:


  11. Avatar photo The 17th Doctor says:

    How on earth did Tristia Harrison gets a Damehood? She threw Tiscali under the bus by blaming them for billing issues. Completely devalued TalkTalk after Dido Harding departure.

  12. Avatar photo Daniel T says:

    Dame Tristia!? She made me redundant and replaced me with cheap overseas labour. Failing company desperately buying up pools of customers and offshoring staff. Absolutely reprehensible company and the worst I’ve ever worked for.

Comments are closed

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