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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 mission.

 

NITEL 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 commence. 

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 particular concern. 

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’ 

Searches faster than searchers

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 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 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 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.

Source CNN

 

Net providers get Digital Economy Act judicial review

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 High Court.

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 complex nature.
 

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 country.

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 Ovum.

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 assertions of

 

 

CaPfoP
Copy & Paste from other Publications

Vodafone, New Zealand's Telecom
Submit Joint Bid To Rural Broadband Initiative
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 New Zealand."

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 shares.

taken from http://www.stockmarketsreview.com/news/58637/

 

 

 

 

Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria

Post-OGM
Press Release
 

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 our involvement.  

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.  

Ajibola Olude
Executive secretary
ATCON

 

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 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 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.

Source CNN

 

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 continent.

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 and voice-based.

 

‘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 does best.’

 

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 university.

 

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 downturn.

 

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 package’

 

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 services.

 

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 supercomputer

 

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 the results."
 

 

Google in Trans Atlantic hot water over Street View data breaches


 

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 Robert Halfon said, ‘I 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 hotspots.
 

"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 could ill-afford.
 

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 innovate.
 

 Now more than ever SMEs need not just to place IT at the strategic level, but deploy the right technologies. Here according experts are a few of these technologies that will allow SMEs to ‘punch above their weight’
 

The Cloud
 

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.
 

Unified Communications
 

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 business.
 

Open source

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
 

VoIP

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.
 

CRM
 

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
 

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.
 

Video conferencing
 

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 functions.

 

 

 

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 business executives.

  

Shola 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 2006. 

 

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.

 

 

 The ‘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.

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 monthly income.

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 developing world.

The developed world, it says, is reaching saturation for mobile subscribers with around 116 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants.

 

REVIEW
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.

 

 In 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 projects’.

 

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 significantly further.

 

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.

 

 

 

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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, secretariat@atcon.org.ng  ;  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.



 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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