N.I.E.E.E. charts path to Phone-for-ALL
The Nigerian Institution of
Electrical and Electronic Engineers, N.I.E.E.E. (A
Division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE), may
have concluded plan to commence work on the process of
putting telephones in the hands of all Nigerians.
Information from the
Institution's head office in Lagos says a Fellow of the
Institution, Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu has been invited to
present the Institution's Annual Lecture on the subject
of “Pathway to connecting the Last Man”. The
lecture is named Distinguished Electrical and Electronic
Engineer's Annual Lecture, DEEEAL, and it will hold in
Lagos on December 16, 2010.
Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu, a Past
Chairman of the Institution was also a former
Vice-President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers. He
is currently President of the Association of
Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria.
Chairman of the Lecture’s
management, Mr. Richard Adenekan, himself a Past
Chairman and Fellow of the Institution confirmed that
all things are set to host the lecture on schedule.
DEEEAL, according to
Adenekan is an important annual event in which a truly
distinguished member of the Institution is invited to
deliver a lecture on an issue of developmental
importance in which the lecturer will make
recommendations which the Institution will pursue as
shuts down - finally
In what essentially must feel like a slow death -
Nigerian Telecommunications Ltd, a government
monopoly which earned its name in 1985 - has now
been wound down permanently but without the finality
symptomatic of death as the preferred bidders for
its purchase are still looking behind the sofa for
loose change to complete their purchase.
This development comes on off the back of an
arrangement brokered by labour representatives of
NITEL workers midweek which will see the termination
process come to effect after the issue of final
settlement for NITEL and its subsidiary Mtel’s
workers receive their outstanding arrears of monthly
salary ( which stretches to some 32 months) and any
other due remuneration, have been resolved.
NITEL's equipment and services were grounded several
months ago sparking a wave of demonstrations and
public protests in which they NITEL staff bemoaned
their treatment by the government. Should the
government not renege on assurances given, December
has been mentioned as the date when payment will
NITEL’s decline dates back to 90’s against a
background of endogenous problems - infrastructural
inadequacy, poor service and according analysts,
exogenous problems of government interference, large
scale corruption – all of which have made it
impossible to find suitable buyer in ten years of
several attempts despite its unique position as
first national operator.
Worries over NCC’s independence
Key Quangos like the NCC whose prime function is to
operate independently of any arm government are
being hamstrung according to media reports. Recently
there has been simmering disquiet about what is
perceived to be a threat to Nigeria’s NCC’s
independence first by the executive and now by the
legislature. The specific bone of contention seized
on by newspapers is that the Lower House recently
sought to overturn the accent to the Commission's
budget which has already been ratified by the
Senate. According to reports, in the eye of this
storm is the N6.1billion inclusion in the budget for
‘SIM Card Registration’ raising a cacophony of
arguments among the legislators over who is
responsible for SIM card Registration, thus
prompting the Speaker, Dimeji Bankole, to put a halt
to further deliberation on the subject.
One writer said eerie silence for the most part from
those outside both legislative Houses is of
But President of the Association of
Telecommunications companies of Nigeria, Titi
Omo-Ettu in a recent interview with
Cyberschuulnews said it is good for democracy
that institutions of government are subject to
scrutiny given that they are spending taxpayers
money and that legislators are able to scrutinize
public bodies as they have the democratic mandate to
do so. He would not be drawn on the ‘N6.1billion
question’ simply asserting that without being privy
to the details, it will be prejudicial to comment.
However, he contends, ‘SIM Card registration is
NCC’s responsibility regardless of the Commission’s
right to delegate it to any body, anywhere, anyhow,
and at anytime’
Google have come up with a superfast search engine
which shows you results almost as fast as the
searcher types it. It is called Google instant and
Google say it will provide faster
Searches, smarter predictions and instant results
Google Instant lets you preview the WebPages you
will eventually find even before you do the click.
But just to prove that sometimes these things go
awry for when cyberschuulnews.com enquired if it has
been around for a while, the response was that it is
just being rolled out.
Using CNN’s appraisal, Instant Previews will let you
click on a magnifying glass icon at the top of a
search result to see an image of the page before you
Once you have clicked the icon, you can then scroll
down the list of search results, with images
appearing as your mouse hovers over each result.
A text box will show users where their search term
appears on the page, so they can better decide
whether it's a useful result, Google says.
……….and Instant Previews too
"Instant Previews provides a graphic overview of a
search result and highlights the most relevant
sections, making finding the right page as quick and
easy as flipping through a magazine," Google product
manager Raj Krishnan wrote on Google's official
The world's most popular search engine, Google
processes more than 80 billion searches a month.
According to analytics company Experian, in
September, Google was responsible for about 71
percent of all Web searches, followed by Yahoo with
about 13.5 percent and Microsoft's Bing with just
over 10 percent.
According to Google, Instant Previews should be
available in 40 languages in the next few days.
Net providers get Digital Economy Act
Ever since its inception, the contentious Digital
Economy Act has been beset with controversy. The
prospect the bill will come a cropper despite the
government publishing a new draft of a controversial
clause in an effort to ease its progress through
parliament, with two Internet service providers (ISPs)TalkTalk
and BT granted judicial review of the Act by the
For a considerable length of time have been unhappy
with the part of the Act that requires them to take
action against suspected illegal file-sharers with
BT and TalkTalk arguing that the legislation had
been "rushed through parliament" before the
election. A judge will now scrutinise whether the
act is legal and justifiable. The judge's ruling
could have huge ramifications including the
possibility the government may be forced to change
or even scrap the legislation.Some Members of Parliament described the bill as a
‘hatchet job’ during the parliamentary debate held
just before the dissolution of parliament May's
complaining it needed more debate because of its
Andrew Heaney, director of strategy and regulation
at TalkTalk called on the government to put the
legislation "on hold" pending the enquiry. He
expressed his delight in the court’s recognition of
the concerns of ISPs.
A judge will conduct a full review in February,
considering whether the parts of the act that deal
with illegal file-sharing are in breach of the
e-commerce directive, which rules that ISPs cannot
be held liable for traffic on their networks.
Last month the High Court in Ireland ruled that laws
cutting off internet users who have illegally
downloaded content cannot be enforced in the
Share and share alike
In the current climate of economic uncertainty and
in the spirit of co-location or infrastructure
sharing, analysts say that Mobile network operators
will face increasing pressure to merge their
networks as they roll out the next generation of
mobile broadband, according to leading analyst firm
Senior telecoms analyst Emeka Obiodu said the high
cost of moving to fourth generation technology, such
as LTE, will force mobile operators to find savings
by sharing their infrastructure.
In a fiercely competitive market, it is envisaged
that eventually, some countries could end up with
mobile phone providers sharing a single network,
competing on price, services and mobile content,
rather than geographic coverage.
In an interview with Computer Weekly. Obiodu
asks "Can the industry collectively invest the
billions expected for them to migrate to LTE ?"
"Prices are perpetually doing down in mobile.
Everyone [in the developed world] who needs a mobile
phone has one anyway. There is not a new crop of
cash left. This is a market where you have to be
more efficient rather than expand your services."
"Why does the mobile industry have to maintain
separate networks ?"
Obiodu says that concept of infrastructure is not a
new one as it is already in place in the UK which
for all intent and purposes is a two-network country
with T-Mobile, Orange and Three already sharing
their networks. Vodafone and 02 have also been in
discussions about network sharing. Highlighting the
benefit accrued by some in the coalition of
providers, he said the provider Three has arguably
the biggest network in the UK and the best coverage
in the Greater London area achieving the economises
of scale beyond what Vodafone and O2 could have
imagined. But says despite network sharing, there
are massive opportunities to differentiate network
quality, particularly high speed data analysis. He
also asserted that there will be a need for the
government to relax regulation to free mobile phone
operators to merge their networks.
The need for co-location was also highlighted by
another study conducted by
Juniper Research, which says
LTE, the next generation mobile technology, will
earn mobile network operators $100bn a year by 2014,
despite a lack of clarity over usage prices.
It author Howard Wilcox, said that sales, at least
in the short term, will be driven by business usage
rather than consumer demand i.e. trade-ups to
smartphones and laptops but in the medium/long term
consumer demand - especially for streamed video and
for online games - will overtake business use by
2015, . This suggests the early stage of the market
said author of the study.
Wilcox said 90% of telecoms professionals surveyed
by Juniper believed network operators' price plans
were likely to change as a result of the
introduction of LTE concurring with Obiodu’s the
Copy & Paste from other
Vodafone, New Zealand's Telecom
Submit Joint Bid To Rural Broadband
Date: 12 November 2010
UK-based mobile phone network operator
Vodafone Group Plc (VOD, VOD.L) and Telecom
Corp of New Zealand Ltd. Thursday said they
submitted a joint proposal to the Rural
Broadband Initiative or RBI to build new,
open access network infrastructure for the
provision of broadband across the rural
areas of the country.
Under the scheme, the RBI seeks to provide
fibre to 97% of rural schools and a minimum
5Mbps broadband service to 80% of rural
households within six years. It also aims to
provide priority users with access to
fibre-based broadband services.
The Ministry of Economic Development is
running the bid process for the RBI, and a
decision by the Minister is expected to be
made by Christmas.
Under the companies' joint bid, Telecom's
existing fibre infrastructure could be
extended to key rural points of presence,
including schools and hospitals, while an
expanded Vodafone wireless infrastructure
could deliver high speed broadband services
wirelessly. Telecom will be responsible for
building fibre to schools and hospitals,
cell sites and rural exchanges and cabinets.
As per the submission, Vodafone would design
and build open access tower infrastructure
that Vodafone and Telecom XT will co-locate
their mobile services. Both companies will
also invest more in their own networks in
the areas covered by the RBI scheme.
Telecom CEO Paul Reynolds stated, "This
solution sees New Zealand's two largest
telecommunications providers combining their
extensive resources and skills to bring the
benefits of high speed broadband to rural
communities as quickly as possible."
According to Vodafone CEO, Russell Stanners,
"Wireless is now recognised internationally
as playing a critical role in reaching rural
areas, where it is the most efficient way to
deliver high speed internet access. The
spin-off benefit of building more cell sites
to deliver a broadband service to homes and
businesses is the significant expansion of
mobile voice, SMS and data coverage in rural
There will not be any material changes to
Telecom's EBITDA or Capex guidance, with the
acceptance of the joint bid.
Vodafone and Telecom added that they remain
open to future collaboration with other
parties to deliver broadband services to
regional and remote parts of New Zealand.
VOD closed Thursday's regular trading at
$28.00, down $0.01 or 0.04%, 6 million
Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria
The Association of Telecommunications Companies
of Nigeria rose from an Ordinary General Meeting held in Ikeja
on Thursday October 28 with an approved business plan for 2011.
The Association, by the business plan, has put in
place a three-phase agenda of Mobilisation (Awareness), Training
(of stakeholders), and Invitation (of Government) to Action in
which it calls for the need to expand the frontiers of recently
commissioned international submarine cables and other emerging
developments in the Nigerian telecommunications market.
Primarily, we will impress on the Federal
Government the enormous role that MainOne and Glo1 have played
in their endeavours in putting Nigeria in its rightful place on
the global broadband map and that their effort is worthy of both
commendation and the fullest support. Federal Government
officials have, at various launches, indicated as much but we
will hold them to account to match the rhetoric both in sprit
and deed. Now more than ever, governments globally are
duty-bound to protect existing and potential investors
especially in the international market and strengthen their
economy consequently delivering good and affordable service for
all citizens. We will facilitate investors, starting with our
current members to commence an awareness campaign of the
business opportunities these developments present. We will
highlight the need for an in-flow of investment in the areas of
opportunity which are best described as the downstream end of
the broadband infrastructure.
By approval of the business plan, the first of a
three-phase agenda has commenced.
On completion of the first and second phases, the
Association will present the Federal Government with a shopping
list of ideas of how to help our investors maximize available
resources. At the top of the Agenda will be a Stimulus Fund
which, if government has not initiated by then, will be
presented for consideration. But we must first embark on some
house cleaning to mobilize and prepare the industry before we
call for its institution. We aim to bring the government’s
attention to this mid-year 2011 when a new set of government
programmes, we anticipate, would have emerged and hope the
government may have even launched on its own initiative prior to
Stimulus Funding is a strategic investment of a
government in its people and their future. It requires extensive
planning and focused implementation. In its modern form, it will
be new in the Nigerian ICT industry but there already exists the
statutory framework for an easier path of its implementation. It
also poses a challenge to government because Stimulus Funding is
understandably very difficult, certainly not impossible, to
implement against the backdrop of a corrupt polity.
Although our members will be in forefront of the
implementation modalities, all players will be involved.
2. Constitution of Committees
Committees chaired by CEO’s of member-firms have
now been established.
The Association calls on all its members to be
aware of their obligations as laid down by the laws of the land
and the rules of engagement. We urge them to seek clarification
should there be any ambiguity regarding any of the
interventions of the industry Regulator.
3. ATCON Membership Certificate
The Association now has a Certificate of
Membership in place and our members are already aware of the
requirement criteria to earn it.
4. Industry Synergy
The Association commends the Nigeria Internet
Group, NIG, for its Internet for Jobs ICT4J sensitization
programme for Nigerian youths and also the Information
Technology Association of Nigeria, ITAN, for its focus on
fulfilling the promise of bringing Nigeria into the digital age.
Search results ahead of thought
Wondering if you experienced it. Google search comes faster
than the mind of the searcher these days.
It’s like they would rather you preview the
WebPages you will eventually find even
before you do the click. Google Instant is
its name and that makes a whole lot of
sense. When CyberschuulNews.com enquired if
it has been around for a while, the response
is that it is just being rolled out.
Using CNN’s appraisal, Google Instant will let you click on
a magnifying glass icon at the top of a
search result to see an image of the page
before you choose it.
Once you have clicked the icon, you can then scroll down the
list of search results, with images
appearing as your mouse hovers over each
A text box will show users where their search term appears on
the page, so they can better decide whether
it's a useful result, Google says.
……….And Instant Previews too
"Instant Previews provide a graphic overview of a search
result and highlights the most relevant
sections, making finding the right page as
quick and easy as flipping through a
magazine," Google product manager Raj
Krishnan wrote on Google's official blog.
The world's most popular search engine, Google processes more
than 80 billion searches a month.
According to analytics company Experian, in September, Google
was responsible for about 71 percent of all
Web searches, followed by Yahoo with about
13.5 percent and Microsoft's Bing with just
over 10 percent.
According to Google, Instant Previews should be available in
40 languages in the next few days.
Africa gets first voice recognition technology
In recognition of the proliferation of ICT in
Africa, Google has launched its first voice
recognition search technology for Africa as part of
a long-term bid to extend its influence in the
In what the internet search giant company hopes will
encourage more Africans to get online (as they make
up 14% of the world's population but only 5% of its
Internet users) and in a tailor-made way for them,
this latest launch forms part of Google's mission to
nudge users onto its sites such as Gmail, Maps and
Chat. Aiming to capitalise on the widespread use of
mobile technology which has already given millions
of people in Africa access to a whole range of
services and which outnumber desktop computers
tenfold, smartphone owners in South Africa will now
be able to enter a voice command in Afrikaans and
Zulu which will return written search results via
Google's search engine.
Google is drawing on the Africa's myriad languages
offering a service in 24 of them using computer and
human translators to ensure there is sufficient
content on the Internet to make searches in such
languages worthwhile by further encouraging more
locals to enter their own content to boost the
material available in each language. Etienne
Barnard, a linguist expert from North West
University, has helped to build a database of one
million recognisable words for each language by
finding volunteers to ask common questions. Google
Baraza is one of the flagship projects it is using
to make itself more relevant. Users can send in
questions such as "Where can I buy a reasonably
priced camera in Accra?" and ‘What is the best
university in Nigeria?’ and other users get points
for providing helpful answers.
‘We see speech technology as the way to cross the
digital divide,’ he said.
Richard Mulholland, a motivational speaker for
businesses and founder of South Africa's
Entrepreneur magazine, said that like Baraza, much
of what Google will become known for in Africa will
be alien to its fans elsewhere, and 90 % will be SMS
‘In many areas, it will find it's providing the
platform to the content creation and the community
itself comes up with the algorithm,’ he said.
On reaping the mutual benefits for both Google and
the African continent, Mulholland said, ‘Africa
needs Google but in the same way, Google needs
Africa because it's going to push it to work out all
kinds of new solutions, which is what it actually
US lays down framework for cloud computing
From its inception, cloud computing has been dogged
with security concerns with practitioners
highlighting issues of abuse
and nefarious use, insecure application programming
interfaces, shared technology vulnerabilities, data
loss/leakage to name but a few.
Having initially shown reticence about cloud
computing applications due to concerns about
replicating IT security policy in the cloud, this
week the US federal government released The Federal
Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRamp)
- draft plans for a programme to ensure cloud
services meet federal cybersecurity guidelines.
The voluntary programme, expected to begin in the
first quarter of 2011, will apply to both private
and public cloud services in a bid to standardise
and security accreditation and certification.
As a more cost-effective and energy-efficient mode
of service delivery, the US government has been
encouraging federal agencies to adopt cloud
computing, but federal IT managers have consistently
raised security concerns as the biggest barrier to
adoption. This development indicates a change of
heart – perhaps
UK IT graduates are still in choppy waters
In a situation that does not bode well for the UK IT
industry, report by the government's Higher
Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU) revealed
that IT graduates in the UK are among the least
likely students to find a job after leaving
Unemployment in IT rose to 16.3% this year, an
increase of about 2%, compared with an overall
average of 8.9% across all industries indicating
that the industry is still feeling the aftershocks
of the economic downturn with graduates from
mathematics, IT and computing-related degrees
greatly affected because most of them have sought
careers in affiliated sectors such as banking and
finance – sectors seriously affected by the
The report however infuses a gender angle with
Charlie Ball, deputy director of research at HECSU,
saying that one reason for the current high rates of
could be the high proportion of male students,
(currently 83%) taking the subject who customarily
are happy to bide their time and wait for the ‘right
job’ as against female students who are often more
likely to try something else either in the interim
or long term.
Mr Ball also added that the generally high levels of
remuneration in IT also dictate that people are more
willing to hold out for the ‘right financial
He also cited a glut in the supply of IT graduates
coming onto the market at once without necessarily
sufficient number of outlets i.e. work placements
which offer these graduates practical work
experience as possibly responsible for the high
unemployment rates in the IT sector.
However, there is some good news as recent research
indicates green shoots of recovery in IT- affiliated
sectors as they set to recover some lost vacancies
in 2010 with an increase graduate opportunities by
18% since the depths of the downturn in 2009.
Consortium winner for NITEL yet to pay first tranche
at close of deadline
Messers New Generation Group, the Consortium who
came up as the preferred bidder for NITEL with
$2.5billion offer was yet to pay the first tranche
of $750m at close of business on Wednesday October
4, 2010. It was understood that the bidder has
requested for extension of time to pay up.
Nigeria’s Telecom players reveal post transatlantic
fibre construction plans
Member-companies of the Association of
Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, ATCON, rose
form a midweek Ordinary General Meeting with plans
to engage the industry and the Nigerian government
with a three stage plan to make the resources of
recently launched submarine cables available to
Nigerian consumers at reduced prices for better
Inside sources said the general meeting approved a
2011 Business plan which practically gives meaning a
three-stages plan of Mobilise, Train, and Invite
Government to Action.
Made in China: The world's fastest
The Chinese aspiration of global domination moves up
a notch as it is reported that a new super computer,
believed to be the fastest in the world, has been
built in that country.
The supercomputer named The Tianhe-1A , according to
Nvidia -the chipmaker who helped build it -
has running power which is the equivalent of 2.5
petaflops and the presence of more than 7,000 of
graphics processing units from Nvidia - horsepower
equal to 175,000 laptops.
The Tianhe-1A located at National Supercomputer
Centre in the city of Tianjin
is said to be almost one third faster than the
world's second quickest supercomputer – an American
device in the Oak Ridge National Lab, of Tennessee.
Guangming Liu, chief of National Supercomputer
Center, said, "The scientific research that is now
possible with a system of this scale is almost
without limits; we could not be more pleased with
in Trans Atlantic hot water over Street View data
Having only recently resolved its spat with the
Chinese authorities, Google is now in a spot of
bother in the UK where Members of Parliament have
accused the internet search giant of deliberately
collecting wi-fi data for commercial gain.
The bone of contention is the company’s Street View
cars deemed to be used in the giant collection of
millions of pieces of sensitive information.
Discovery of the data triggered investigations
around the globe.
Google has always maintained its innocence
contending that the acquisition of the data was
inadvertent and a code originally created by a
Google to map wi-fi hotspots was mistakenly included
in the Street View software and should never have
found its way into Street View cars.
UK parliamentarians however remain unconvinced. In a
two-hour parliamentary debate, an outspoken member
find it hard to believe that a company with the
creative genius and originality of Google could map
the personal wi-fi details, computer passwords and
e-mail addresses of millions of people across the
world and not know what it was doing’
He further said, "My own feeling is that this data
was of use to Google for commercial purposes and
that is why it was done. The question is whether the
company underestimated the reaction of the public,
and many governments around the world, once it had
been revealed what it had done."
Graham Cluley - a senior consultant at security firm
Sophos – was also unconvinced. In a BBC interview,
he said he found it "surprising" that Google staff
did not realise that the Street View cars were
storing more than just the location of wi-fi
"If you were competent then it would be surprising
that you wouldn't know that you were storing far
more than you actually needed," he said.
On the issue of regulation, following its
investigation of the matter, the Information
Commissioner's Office (ICO) in July concluded that
Google did not harvest "significant" personal
details when the data was collected. In the
debate,MPs criticised the ICO’s handling of the
matter, describing it as "lily-livered".
Google still faces on-going investigation in the US,
with a lawsuit looming and a large scale enquiry
backed by 38 states demanding detailed explanations
about the process which led to so much personal data
being stored by them.
IT, SMEs and the near future
About a decade and half ago, the general consensus was
that reality of running small to medium-sized companies
(SMEs), more so in an economy like ours, was more
focused on client interface, service delivery and
finding new markets and opportunities. To many, growing
customer base, increasing competition and
self-motivation are seen to be more compelling reasons
behind growth rather than ICT. Research then revealed
that only less than 20% per cent of smaller businesses
had an effective IT strategy perceived as a luxury it
But in recent times and according to recent surveys,
SMEs realise they are losing business to bigger
competitors not just due to economies of scale, but as a
result of inadequate IT and communication strategy,
which has been detrimental their
operational effectiveness, profitability and growth as
well as their ability to
than ever SMEs need
not just to place IT
at the strategic level, but deploy
technologies. Here according experts are a few of these
technologies that will allow SMEs to ‘punch above their
In these hard times where big capital investments are at
a premium, buying products as a service can give smaller
businesses access to enterprise solutions that was once
the preserve of larger companies. Many business
applications are now run through the cloud thus
affording SMEs huge savings on infrastructural storage
and maintenance cost which are often sunk costs with a
crippling rate of depreciation and often need upgrading.
Cloud, it is believed, is the way forward.
In business, particularly SMEs, flexibility and the
ability to work remotely is crucial as it brings about savings
on staff overheads and running costs giving greater
control over the expansion of costly premises and an
ability to have a workforce mix of full-time, part-time,
job-share with 'work remotely' or
work-at-the-office-and-at-home positions. A system of
unified communications where
employers can see what their staff are doing; allow
employees them to send messages on one medium and
receive the same communication on another and not lose
money through staff downtime. Unified communications
again means SMEs can eliminate the cost of ownership and
maintenance while simultaneously expanding their
Providing software and allowing users access to a shared
community of knowledge via a source code, businesses
need not develop a bespoke product from scratch thanks
to open source – the development of which analysts say
is set to rise over the next year. It allows businesses
to pool resources and expertise via community pages to
solve problems and develop existing packages
SMEs can make considerable savings on their phone bills
by using Voice over IP which delivers voice
communications via the internet in place of a landline.
Knowing your market in its entirety is crucial to the
growth of SMEs. Better management information via
Customer relationship management systems store customer
information in a centralised database is essential. CRM
systems can improve efficiency by using and identifying
vital customer information – demography, purchasing and
spending trends and habits to which businesses can
tailor their strategies accordingly.
Business intelligence allows businesses to collate and
use sales, revenue, and products data to build
historical, current, and predictive perspectives of
business operations. The selective collation and
retention of information allows businesses to profile
customers and target specific audiences with promotional
campaigns rather than embarking on costly and generic
marketing and advertising.
Travel costs are bound to have an adverse effect on
profitability particularly if a company has clients
spread across multiple locations. Video conferencing
does exactly that by allowing companies to stay in touch
with clients, while maintaining some of the personal
feel of face-to-face encounters. The recent ash cloud
saga in Europe which prevented a lot of business travel
had effectively made the case for video conferencing and
the cost savings will undoubtedly mean that businesses
are more likely to deploy than not.
Printing and storage
As we are still a long way away from the paperless
office, printing overheads are still a drain on company
resources running into thousands. SMEs and even
government departments are now alert to the savings that
can be made by leasing machines or investing in copiers
with double sided printing options and energy-saving
Glo 1 goes live
Globacom’s submarine cable commenced commercial
service midweek as the feat was marked with a
ceremony which newspapers reported was attended by
government officials and a select audience of
Taylor receives ITU's Medal for performance
Nigeria’s Shola Taylor, CEO of Kemilinks
International, received an ITU Medal for outstanding
contributions to the work of the world body last
week in Mexico.
Mr. Taylor was elected to the highly coveted
membership of the ITU Radio Regulations Board for a
4 year term in 2002. He rose to become Chairman of
the Board and was re-elected for a second term in
With over 30 years postgraduate and professional
experience, and extensive worldwide travel he has
developed an enviable record of professional
expertise in telecommunications and ICT
infrastructure development in Africa and has become
a well known and widely respected consultant in the
African ICT community.
Solar cyber café: A first in Africa
In a first of its kind, the UK charity Computer
Aid has completed a solar-powered cyber cafe capable
of providing internet access to the most isolated
communities in the world. The cyber cafe, built
inside a shipping container, houses a fully
functional computer set up, comprising a thin client
network of 11 monitors running off a standard
Pentium 4 PC. They were sent to Macha in Zambia to
provide the community with internet access through
Africa's largest rural Wi-Fi network.
Computer Aid’s record in the sphere of introducing
ICT, particularly in the underdeveloped and far
flung parts of Africa and Latin America, is
legendary. Over the past 13 years it has refurbished
over 175,000 PCs for use in agricultural, health and
education projects in more than 100 countries.
‘roaring’ success of the iPad?
An assessment of the success of Apple’s iPad depends
on who you listen to. For the fiscal 2010 fourth
quarter, Apple reported sales of 4.19 million iPads
- a significant increase from the 3.27 million sold
during the tablet PC’s inaugural quarter. Despite
the increase, some analysts who have been predicting
enormous sales for the iPad into 2011, view the
figures as disappointing but predict that due to the
combination of Apple's evolving store channels and
an aggressive iPad push into retail stores aside
from its own, sales could increase.
In its latest report on mobile devices attesting the
popularity of the iPad, Gartner forecasts a
continuous upward trend for at least the next four
years, as tablets replace other devices such as
e-readers, gaming handsets and media players tablet
computer with sales of 19.5 million units in 2010,
54.8 million units in 2011, 103 million in 2012, 154
million in 2013, and more than 208 million in 2014.
"Mini notebooks will suffer from the strongest
cannibalisation threat as media tablet average
selling prices drop below $300 over the next two
years," said Carolina Milanesi, researcher at
Gartner expects the biggest impact will be on
high-end smartphones. "It will be hard for a user to
justify owning both when the differentiation in
usage model is very limited," she said.
Internet users to exceed 2 billion by
the end of 2010
About a third of the world's population will be
online by the end of the year, according to United
Nations statistics. On line users are said to have
doubled to two billion in the last five years
according to a report released by the International
Telecommunications Union (ITU).
In what is exceedingly good news which bodes well
for the future, of the 226m new net users that have
come online this year, more than two thirds are from
developing countries. This is particularly
impressive against the backdrop of inadequate
connectivity which still plagues the developing
world the result of which means that only 21% of
people in developing countries are online compared
to 71% in the developed world
ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure re-affirmed
belief that broadband is a "transformational
technology" and will be a catalyst for development
generating jobs, driving growth and productivity and
underpin long-term economic competitiveness but
warned that prices remained disproportionately high,
particularly in those countries with low incomes.
A recent study shows that in most developing
economies particularly in Africa, the cost of
broadband connection remains highly prohibitive in
some cases costing nearly 40 times the average
The report says although broadband use is increasing
in some of the developing economies, it has been
outstripped by mobile connections. It estimates that
there will be 5.3 billion mobile subscriptions by
the end of 2010, of which 3.8 billion will be in the
The developed world, it says, is reaching saturation
for mobile subscribers with around 116 subscriptions
per 100 inhabitants.
Broadband and the ‘common good’
Proponents of ICT often appear to have a crystal
ball through which they can look into the future and
often seem capable of telling us what it would look
like. But that is because the pace and intensity of
development in the industry is such that the future
is often imminent, clear and bright. One of such
insights was offered in a comprehensive report by
a well-known researcher Paul Budde in ‘Global
- Fast Broadband and Trans-sector Policies’
in which it
chronicles the development of FTTH government
policies in several countries.
its introduction, Budde highlights the fact that the
deployment of Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH) will take the
world to a nadir of telecommunications upholding the
Australian example where there are proposed
government plans to invest AU$43 billion in a
national FttH broadband network as ‘a clear
indication that it believes broadband infrastructure
is important for the collective good’. This huge
scale investment, he contends, is providing the
foundation for smart communities and cities ‘where a
number of technologies and services are combined to
create an enhanced value proposition for residents’.
This he says is fostering ‘increased activity in
fibre deployment as a result of the falling price of
fibre builds and regulatory approval of municipal
and government involvement in large infrastructure
The report also concentrates on the particular
benefits of a trans-sector approach with particular
reference to telecoms. It asserts that contemporary
discourse in the USA and Australia centres on FttH
infrastructure investments (telecoms and smart grids
‘to be deployed in such a way as to create a social
and economic multiplier effect for a whole range of
sectors that use it independently of each other
(open networks) for a new range of applications in
healthcare, education, energy, water, transport and
community services, as well as for entertainment and
high-speed Internet access’.
Budde, unlike many others, provided a well balanced
and realistic assessment of the picture in
developing economies by acknowledging ‘the
spectacular growth in mobile communications’ but
also talked of the potential of the rural poor of
the world, with a basic level of connectivity, can
and will continue to benefit from these
developments. He also acknowledges the impediment
posed by affordability of 4G broadband access and
other devices such as PCs stating they ‘would still
be out of reach of most people in the developing
world for some time to come’. However he says the
basic ‘always on’ facility will lead to ‘providing a
range of extra services by healthcare, education and
other organisation to the social and economic
benefit of the local people’. He further says the
social structure in the developing world which is
more community based than individualistic as it is
in developed countries, will encourage the further
spread and deployment of these applications
In the development of infrastructure and its
success, the reports advocates a far more
incremental and basic development needs to be
fostered rather than hug eone-off prestige projects
(often white elephants) which tend to be the modus
operandi in developing economies.
In its synopsis the report says with the advent of
the financial crisis, the tail is wagging the dog.
It contends that it is rather the crisis that is now
driving fibre beyond its first stage with such as
the USA, UK, Australia and New Zealand, have
included broadband networks in their economic
stimulus packages and for those that had already
embarked on FttH, to augment their fibre markets.
Fibre-to-the-Home, he predicts, will be the leading
infrastructure force behind the economic and social
transformation post- the financial crisis.
He is unambiguous in his assertion that the key to
success here is government leadership. The industry,
he says, has shown that it is undoubtedly and
largely on board with this transformation concept
and is more than happy to do its share. On the
issues of development of infrastructure and smart
communities with trans-sector policies for
healthcare, education, smart grids, transport and
public safety he argues it is incumbent on policy
makers to resist lobbyists representing the vested
interests(and of course their own), hell bent on
holding these back developments.
NITEL to go to New Generation Consortium
The attempt by powerful forces to stall the sale of NITEL to New Generation Consortium which won on auction in February 2010 may have failed. At least for now.
Local Newspapers in Nigeria reported during the week that President Goodluck Jonathan has approved that the winners be allowed to continue the payment and takeover process of the government owned monopoly which went from buoyancy to full distress in ten years of privatisation process.
Graft remains the most notable reason why the privatisation of the company has been consistently troubled leaving it distressed while it workers remained unpaid so far for thirty one months at a stretch. The company’s telephones are not known to be serving any customer.
If the process goes through and the preferred bidder is able to meet all obligations, a new company with all privileges of a First National Operator may emerge and that may trigger substantial changes in the fortunes of the Nigerian telecommunications industry.
Telecom Firms to re-strategise service delivery
The association of telecommunications companies in Nigeria has given an indication that its members will be encouraged to imbibe new methods of doing business as it goes into year 2011 with new plans and projections. The association’s Executive Secretary, Mr Ajibola Olude said in Lagos mid week that an ordinary general meeting will hold on October 28 during which plans for 2011 will be reviewed an approved for the executive committee to implement.
Mr Olude said a Certificate of Membership will now be issued to ATCON members while endorsement of credible industry recognitions and awards will commence in the New Year if the ordinary meeting approves a couple of innovations which shall be presented before it. He said there has been a steady increase in membership registration in recent time and new members are welcome to attend the ordinary general meeting of October 28, 2010.
He said every company registered to engage in telecommunications business in Nigeria is a bonafide member and intending members only need to go through an accreditation process to become members.
For more information, email@example.com ; 0806 662 9111.
Internet usage rises in emerging markets
With the proliferation of internet particularly broadband provision in emerging economies, a study has revealed that user numbers in these markets are overtaking Western Europe and North America. According to the digital life survey by market research firm TNS, of these group internet users in the Middle East and China are the busiest and most enthusiastic.
The survey of nearly 50,000 people in 46 countries ranked nations according to how much time people spend online and their attitudes to technology. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and China emerged as global leaders with around 55% of the sample populations found to be highly engaged in the internet, compared with only 42% in the UK and the US. Turkey is the only European country to appear in the top ten.
The survey revealed heterogeneity in usage. In contrast to more developed markets, people in China, the Middle East and Latin America spend more time on social networking than e-mail. Increased mobile access is boosting internet use in these regions, where people are more likely to post blogs, photos and videos online and value internet access more highly than in more developed markets.
The study found that 61% of people with internet access used it daily, but only 54% watched television every day, 36% listened to the radio and 32% read newspapers.
Other surveys conducted by the management consulting firms McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group highlighted diverging habits and preferences in internet usage due to cultural factors and that is posing challenges to multinationals’ marketing strategies.
The BCG report, to be published this week, offers the first comprehensive comparison of internet usage patterns in China, India, Russia, Brazil and Indonesia, that account for one-third of the world’s internet population reveal that China’s internet population more than 400m and by far the world’s largest online population, usage is mainly driven by entertainment features - instant messaging and online music, videos and games while work plays a larger role in the web usage patterns in Brazil and Russia with a focus more on search and e-mail.
David Michael, managing director at BCG in Beijing and one of the report’s authors, explaining the cost and availability of broadband connections and third-generation mobile services as contributor to divergent usage when he said, “About half of all internet connections in India are dial-up – slow and expensive,” said Mr Michael. “Therefore if you go online there, you log on, check mail, and log off again, whereas in China you might be online all day.”
Microsoft arrives in the smartphone market with Windows Phone 7
This week and eight months after unveiling Windows Phone 7 OS, Microsoft made the anticipated and almost inevitable foray into the realm of smartphones with the launch of the latest version of its mobile phone operating system, called Windows Phone 7 series at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Launching the software which has a redesigned user interface and incorporates many Microsoft services such as Xbox LIVE games and the Zune music service, Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Ballmer, conceded that the SmartPhone market has been an Achilles heel for Microsoft and in an acknowledgement that it has a lot of catching up to do in relation to Apple and Blackberry, he said Microsoft will and are doing things differently to “the other guys”. According to research firm Canalys, Microsoft's software currently has around 9% of the smartphone market and will be looking push on from its current fourth position in the global market behind Symbian, RIM (makers of the Blackberry) and Apple's iPhone OS.
Microsoft has gone all out to show that the Windows Phone 7 is not the desktop PC experience shoehorned into a cellphone (which it had done with Windows Mobile rather unsuccessfully) but this week it is rather officially launching the retail hardware with nine new WP7 handsets, some for the European and Asian markets from 21/10 and others for the US market from early November. Microsoft will only provide the software for the phones but will specify certain hardware requirements to manufacturers e.g. all handsets will be multi-touch and will come with a dedicated hardware button for Microsoft's search engine Bing.
The phones will find their way to over 60 cellphone operators in more than 30 countries this year. Microsoft tapped Dell, HTC, LG, and Samsung to deliver the Snapdragon-based handsets with a carrier list that includes AT&T, T-Mobile USA, Vodafone, TELUS, América Móvil, Deutsche Telekom AG, Movistar, O2, Orange, SFR, SingTel, and Telstra for the first wave and will launch even more handsets in 2011 including the first for Sprint and Verizon in the US.
On this collaboration, Ballmer says, "Microsoft and its partners are delivering a different kind of mobile phone and experience - one that makes everyday tasks faster by getting more done in fewer steps and providing timely information in a 'glance and go' format."
‘We have a chance to make an impact on the market," said Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer, having taken so long to delve into the market, whether they do remains to be seen.
UAE rescind Blackberry service ban
After months of upheaval and in what can be seen as a ‘compromise’ from Research in Motion (RIM) the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has cancelled a potential Blackberry service suspension from 11 October and said Blackberry-maker) services are now compliant with its security needs.
The UAE reportedly asked RIM to provide access to encrypted services, threatening a suspension of Blackberry messaging services from 11 October until the firm co-operated.
But the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said Blackberry now meets its security requirements.
In a statement, it said, "Blackberry services are now compliant with the UAE's telecommunications regulatory framework, Therefore, the TRA has confirmed today that all Blackberry services in the UAE will continue to operate as normal and no suspension of service will occur on October 11, 2010. The TRA would like to acknowledge the positive engagement and collaboration of RIM in reaching this regulatory-compliant outcome."
Confirming that there had been some climb down, RIM who had previously resisted requested access to its encrypted corporate e-mail service and messaging services, said other governments were finding ways to live with strong encryption, and the only way forward was to work together.
"The use of strong encryption in wireless technology is not unique to the Blackberry platform. It is unquestionably an industry-wide matter," it said
EASSy taunts SEACOM and SAT 3 on price
There are reports from East Africa that with the emergence of EASSy cable in that region, a price war might have been ignited posing a challenge for SEACOM and SAT 3.
Although pricing is a manifestation of wrangling amongst carriers in accordance with specific requirements and demands of their customers, there is no doubt that what has emerged as operating figures exposes the need and inevitability of ISPs re-modeling their tariff.
A senior industry player in Nigeria in response to the question on how he sees this development said, ‘my take really is to wait and see the trajectory Nigeria and West Africa will follow now that MainOne is playing in these parts.’ Another in an internet conversation, said, ‘It is a matter of months for West Africa too!’
Road to assured cyber-security
Global Network for Cybersolution (GNC), and International Multilateral Partnership Against CyberThreat (IMPACT), will commence local Cybersecurity Capacity building Programs in Nigeria and West Africa in November 2010 in Lagos.
This synergy will equip GNC with technical and management capacities to deliver training and manpower development in Cybersecurity.
The partnership, according to a release from GNC, will be reflected in the emergence of a Cybersecurity Industry which is capable of engaging a large number of young Nigerian graduates and professionals.
For more information, please visit www.cybersolutionafrica.org
Nigerian Telephone Operators challenge Government
Nigerian telephone operators who lost six lives into rampaging vandalism in the country recently used the occasion of a Telecommunications Consumer Parliament to canvass for government’s rigorous and effective action on protection of telecommunication infrastructure and operatives from the problem of vandals while it also asks government to make concerted investment into development an application of technology.
Boss of NCC, Dr Eugene Juwah, promised to work with police authorities to unravel those who murdered telecommunication operatives in Aba and to further prevent loss of lives and infrastructure.
The Consumer Parliament is an initiative of the Nigerian Communications Commission which has used it in the form of a regular meeting of the general public and service providers in the form of a peoples’ parliament to discuss and resolve industry complaints before they grow to become big and complex issues which when allowed to stray into the realm of litigation might be costlier to resolve.
One which held in Lagos last Friday was the 7th anniversary and 58th edition which also coincided with Nigeria’s 50th independence anniversary and perhaps the first to be superintended by a new Chief Executive of the Commission.
Earlier in the day, Dr Juwah had met with top executives of telephone operating companies during which he notified them that the Commission would henceforth devote more resources towards monitoring, compliance and enforcement of quality of telephone services since network performance would normally be measured by the satisfaction of the average subscriber.
ATCON explains how SA trip was frustrated by SA embassy
The President of Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu has expressed disgust and dissatisfaction at the manner in which the South African embassy both in Lagos and in Abuja worked to frustrate a recent trade mission of the Association to South Africa to participate in a Broadband Forum.
According to Mr. Omo-Ettu, ‘all the stories about the visa processing read like the SA Embassy was out to frustrate our being in SA. It is amazing how a system is designed to appear as it did to us. But I recall that our marketing for this project had met with almost all our members who had experiences with SA Embassy warning me on these issues and predicting this outcome of events. I thought we should ignore such references and march on, even if only to have a first-hand experience. As events unfolded, I learnt to believe the stories’.
Asked if the association would take any further measure, the ATCON President said
“Of course we would discuss the matter within the Association and take a decision. It is in the nature of these things that strict rules and procedures need to be adhered to and on that I have no qualms. Ordinarily, every Embassy has its rules to keep and its mistakes to make but no one can spank Nigerians as a habit without expecting us to spank back. I would tolerate mistakes any day but not when some folks hide behind rough rules to act nasty to Nigerians’
October 3, the Association issued a statement to explain why it was boycotting a trip to Bryanston, South Africa as earlier planned for October 5-6, 2010.
See also http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/6961947-sa-embassy-frustrates-nigerian-delegates-effort-to-attend-broadband-forum
Microsoft claims lead on cloud computing
As cloud computing becomes more engrained in the IT lexicon and the reality of “anytime, anywhere” accessibility of applications through the internet rather than desk top computers and servers becomes increasingly closer, Microsoft has stolen a march on its competitors as its main proponent. In a speech at the London School of Economics this week, Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer says it is better positioned to benefit from the switch to cloud computing than any of its competitors.
In his customary ebullient manner, he said Microsoft had both feet in both the public and private cloud markets, whereas competitors such as Amazon and Google were essentially public cloud competitors, and Oracle and VMware offered only private clouds.
He said contrary to the widely held industry belief and prediction that all the system intelligence would shift to the server, we are rather seeing massive shift to intelligent devices at the user end with consumers were always "implicitly moving to the cloud" . With the server ‘out there somewhere’, rather than somewhere down the hall or down in the basement, issues around security, data availability and privacy remain. "We have to weigh out who owns and controls data. That's a fundamental responsibility for us all," said Ballmer.
He referred to the imminent launch of the Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system, a new Wii-like version of Xbox called Kinect, and internet TV as examples of the different ways people connected to the cloud and the critical next stage was for the cloud to become smarter at understanding who was on the network, how they accessed it, and how best to deliver what they wanted by stratifying relatively obscure and complex information converting it into knowledge that will be useful to users.
BT ‘ups its game’ on broadband provision …..
Amidst a degree of consternation from certain quarters, BT, the UK's biggest network operator, has announced the extension of its optical fibre-based broadband network to 159 locations in the counties of middle and northern England as part of a £2.5bn plan to upgrade the nation's access to broadband.
BT's fibre to the cabinet would provide up to 40 to 60Mbps download speeds and 10 to 15Mbps upload speeds. It said it was testing fibre to the home, which would provide downloads at up to 100Mbps. Last week the counties of Western England secured a £53.4m grant from the European Regional Development Fund which would help pay BT for a £132m contract to provide 100Mbps broadband to "80% or 90%" of residents in Cornwall and Scilly Isles.
The company said the latest expansion covered more than one million homes and businesses and that it based decisions on which exchanges to upgrade to fibre on anticipated demand (which was also linked to interest from third-party broadband service providers), predicted performance of the service, economics, topography, and the levels of interest from local and devolved government..
….but not everyone is happy.
The Communications Managers Association (CMA) has expressed consternation about the regulator Ofcom's proposed extension of relief to BT from its formal obligation to provide certain high-speed network products.
Its regulatory spokesman David Harrington, talking to Computer Weekly contends that the regulator is giving BT too much of an easy ride. "While it is clearly necessary to have some flexibility in this complex area, we question whether Ofcom is too ready to accept BT's requests"
He castigates a five-year period of nugatory discussion and negotiation saying "We understand this means, in plain English, that BT would have to spend money in order to provide an equal offering to other CPs (communications providers) and Ofcom has decided that this would be disproportionate 'because the demand isn't there' and would result in increased prices for end consumers"
Harrington was disparaging about BT’s monopoly saying "Our view is that this is a cosy, even circular argument that ignores the potential impact of competition. In other words, spend the money, allow competition, and prices will fall. Do not spend the money, and enjoy your monopoly."
He also took a swipe at Ofcom for entrenching it with negative consequences saying Ofcom was ignoring its own commitment to infrastructure competition. "It appears that Wavestream is destined to remain a monopoly service and prices will be regulated as such, but not without the sort of argument that always characterises such ex-ante regulation’
Ofcom of course defends its position with a spokesman saying, "Openreach has committed to proceeding with the development of a suitable product that other providers can use. However, as the standards and technology for this product are still evolving, it cannot meet this requirement by 1 January 2011, as currently required, which is why we have proposed to grant this exemption.
"We have said we will review the situation when we conduct the next relevant market review (due in 2011). We welcome views from all interested stakeholders on our consultation."
BT, it is reported, did not respond to requests for comment.
Openreach is a division of the of the BT Group, established after BT reached an agreement with Ofcom to implement certain anti-competition undertakings such as all rivals having equality of access.
UK Government scrapped IT projects worth £1.2bn
As details of the deep cuts by the UK government on departmental spending emerge, the reality of its implication is making IT companies increasingly jittery. This week and in response to written parliamentary questions from Scottish National MP Pete Wishart, it emerged that almost £1.2bn of large IT systems have scrapped in the past five years with big names being hit and contracts worth huge sums of money being pulled.
The largest of these contract cancellations was Fujitsu’s £1.1bn deal to provide IT systems for local health care outlets in the south of England National Health Service (NHS) National Programme for IT (NPfIT) was cancelled in 2008. This was subsequently taken up by BT. The ripple effect of this mammoth contract cancellation is that Accenture - the management consulting company helping with the project walked away from NPfIT contracts worth £2bn after providing for a £250m loss on the projects. It escaped lightly with just a £63m penalty instead of a possible 50% of contract value. An existing NPfIT contractor, picked up the Accenture business for an unknown sum. Fujitsu also had a £55m NHS Help Desk contract cancelled.
According to the House of Commons official records (Hansard), other big IT contracts cancelled include the Ministry of Justice’s Enforcer and Courts document Tracker system Services valued at £4.3m and £6m respectively, the Department of Works and Pensions Contact Management Service valued at £6.2m and the Ministry of Defence’s Land Information Architecture system valued £5m.
With the government intent on carrying on with its programme of massive cuts, this sure is not the last we will hear on this thorny issue
Nigeria is an Investment Haven
A huge demand; a professional, independent regulator; an emerging ICT Industry; and ongoing review of communications policy are the basis for which the Nigerian market should be considered attractive to investment.
Those were the points President Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, ATCON, would have used to convince his Broadband Forum audience in Bryanston SA had his aborted presentation gone ahead. Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu also a telecommunications engineer and consultant shared his planned presentation with CyberschuulNews and the local media while wondering why government operatives would, by their work, discourage cross border investors from sharing their thoughts. He says notwithstanding the often quoted huge number of mobile lines in the country, the good and the bad, the ups and the downs, the market is not close to saturation.