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Nokia and Microsoft make a pact

Although it still controls the lion share of the global market, the failure of Nokia to assert itself in the smartphone market with the advent of the Google’s Android software and the iPhone has become all too apparent.  Who can be credited for this revelation? Nokia’s new boss Stephen Elop, who admitting that the phone giant is in real danger of being left behind.  He said the company is standing ‘on a burning platform with a blazing fire around us’  

To douse this fire, Elop announced this week that Nokia was forming a ‘broad strategic partnership’ with Microsoft. In an announcement that shocked the ICT world, he revealed plans that will see Nokia phones running on Microsoft software. Having conceded that Nokia was struggling to keep pace, Elop has adopted high stakes strategy to stem the tide. 

Announcing the deal at a press conference in London last week, Elop said ‘Nokia is at a critical juncture where significant change is necessary and inevitable in our journey forward’.  He highlighted the inevitability of the deal due to Nokia’s loss of market share (10 percentage points last year) and competition from Google and Apple, ‘Today we are accelerating that change through a new path aimed at regaining our smartphone leadership. It is now a three horse race’.

 But it is rather a safer alliance than it appears. They have deployed the law of comparative advantage.  Nokia is good at hardware but has struggled in the smartphone arena because its  software is so outdated.  But Microsoft, with its Windows phone 7 software which Nokia will now use is believed, an believed  even by Microsoft’s ardent critics to be pretty good, Google and Apple know that have a real battle on their hands. 

It is a gamble for Nokia but a necessary one if it is going to stop haemorrhaging market share. 

 

Apple to prescribe a new tablet

Barely after a year after releasing its first model and with almost 15million units sold, Apple is reported to be working on the new version of the iPad. The innovative gadget which most analysts gave a cautious welcome because of their reservation of how well it will do in what they perceived to be a saturated market of laptops and smartphones had sparked a scramble by its competitors to come up with their own version of the tablet. 

Apple known for its desire for market domination and to be at the cutting edge of innovation and design has aptly dubbed its second tablet computer iPad2. It is reported to be thinner, lighter and will feature an in-built camera and a faster processor. It is reported that it will be launched sometime in April. 

In Apple’s most recent financial results, the iPad is reported to have contributed some £2.8 billion sales.

 A case of ‘even if it ain’t broke, fix it.’

 

UK government open contract for SMEs

In an indication that the days of huge IT companies wining huge public sector contracts may well be over as the UK government has launched a new system designed to simplify  public sector procurement  for small and medium enterprises.

The government’s contracts finder website will become the platform to find public sector contracting opportunities over £10,000 and should make the process more transparent. Organisations will specify which contracts they are interested in and the details will be e-mailed to them free of charge.

As part of cutting bureaucratic waste, pre-qualification questionnaires for all central government procurements under £100,000 will also be eliminated, it said. Prime Minister David Cameron said, "I call on all those who think they can provide a great service for government to take advantage of these opportunities, to go online and start searching for contracts now."

Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, said, "Today marks the end of what I call the procurement oligopoly - where innovative small businesses and organisations are too often shut out of contract processes early on because of ridiculous rules and unnecessary bureaucracy. This is not only bad for those affected,  it is also bad for government, as it stifles competition."

John Walker, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, welcomed the move claiming that it will bring transparency by the publishing of  figures on the amount of contracts going to SME's allowing their success to be  measured  its success and hold the government to account if it is not working," he said. "That type of measurement and transparency is something we'd like to see adopted more widely across the public sector."

John Higgins, director general of IT trade association Intellect, said that to drive reform and generate real benefits to SME IT suppliers, public sector buyers will need to change the way they purchase and their attitude to risk.

“Small technology businesses are engines of productivity that will drive economic growth. Our members now want to see orders being placed and the full potential of SMEs recognised,” he said. 

 
 

Digital Internet/FM station for Ilorin, Nigeria

An internet radio station with plans to stream radio broadcast at http://www.royalfm.net  and also on wavelength 95.1 KHz in Ilorin area of Nigeria made its plan known during the week. 

It came as the execution of a service agreement handed over to the Management of Royal FM by the National Broadcasting Commission on February 8, 2011 in Abuja. 

A visit to the station’s internet site brings its viewer face to face with the welcome statement ‘Welcome to Royal FM. Ilorin's premier classic music radio station. Our primary aim is to put information and classic entertainment music at your finger tips. The tunes you desire but have seemingly become so hard to find, you'll find them all here and available for your listening pleasure at your one stop Classic Music Station: ROYAL | FM. Please enjoy your stay with us’

 A tour of the station’s site in cyberspace presents a programming promise that is focused on a package of culture that is rich in local content, news, education and and youth entertainment.  

Royal FM is an initiative of Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, a telecommunications engineer and incumbent Chairman of Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria, ALTON.  

Mr Adebayo told CyberschuulNews that plans are on going to open a Digital Media Centre on the University Road, Ilorin, to house digital broadcasting infrastructure including a Digital Library which is networked to 10,000 similar libraries in the world.


Why The Internet is a Human Right

 

80% of the world has access to electricity

83% of the world can read

Only 28.7 % of the world’s population has access to the internet

Only 4.6% of the world’s population has access to broadband internet

 

"The problem with communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished 

On July 28, 2010 a cross section of Nigerians, delegates to the BB4NG (Broadband for Nigeria) Forum proclaimed in Abuja that access to broadband internet access should be a fundamental right of all Nigerians.

 But that was as far as the desire of concerned citizens go and work to realise the desire is known to be on hand. 

However for those of who live in the developed world, internet access has become pretty much a given. It’s become so ubiquitous that we almost expect to have it at all times and in all places, but even in this “Information Age,” the majority of the world’s population lacks access to the internet – either because service isn’t available where they are, or they can’t afford it. Kosta Grammatis has a plan, however. Through his charity group ahumanright.org, Grammatis aims to set up a network of satellites that will provide free internet access to everyone in the world. He’s starting by attempting to buy a single used satellite that’s already in orbit and moving it to a location above a developing country. 

Freedom of expression is nearly always considered a basic human right; in other words free and unfettered authorship is clearly privileged. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to “hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers”

 For the developed world, the internet has become the de facto standard to seek, receive, and impart information. In 2008 over 1 trillion unique URL’s existed.[1] In 2009 approximately 90 trillion e-mails were sent per day (81% being spam—leaving 17.1 trillion legitimate e-mails).[2]   In 2010 it is estimated that 21,380.09 petabytes of IP data will be transferred over the internet.[3] 

The Internet has made freedom of expression a practical fact and global phenomenon for anyone with a computer and a telephone. 

Thus to be excluded from this information technology is, effectively, to be excluded from information, full stop. Given that to receive and impart information is a universal human right, and that the Internet is more than just an incrementally useful information technology, we are led directly to the conclusion: the Internet should be a human right in and of itself.[4] 

Unfortunately, this hypothesis applies solely to the developed world as developing countries do not use telecommunications to seek, receive, and impart information. However, this does not invalidate the argument, rather it strengthens it: If the developing world is to be, in effect, excluded from the global dialog that takes place online it is, in effect, an assurance they will remain developing. If the internet is information and if information can be equated to power, then all those without access to information are in effect powerless. Benjamin Disraeli put it quite well, “As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.” 

In a 27,000 person poll conducted across 26 countries by BBC/GlobeScan: four out of five people agreed internet access is a human right.[5] Internet access has been declared a human right in Estonia [5], France [6], Finland [7], Greece [8], and Spain [9].  In some countries the right is enforced by mandating a minimum connection capability to all remaining and desiring home users in a country. 

It is our goal to fulfil the mandate, on a global scale, of ensuring that every human has equal access to the internet– because it is their right. 

Text for this report is taken from http://www.blog.ahumanright.org/

 

MobilePhones go for broke in Lagos

 Last week was one of strains and stresses for mobile telephone performance as monitored from Lagos and across all networks. Experiences of inconsistent billing, poor call completion rates and protracted outages filled the air.  

Globacom in particular issued an apology Friday morning for  a sustained outage  which, according to a  statement from its management, was as a result of a fire incident which occurred at one of 'our key installations in Lagos on Thursday night'

Mobile services account for 98% of all telephones in Nigeria. 

 

Telecom industry supports cancer awareness and prevention effort  

The Nigerian Communications Commission is collaborating with the National Cancer Prevention Programme, NCPP, an NGO, and the Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, in a month-long activity to raise awareness on prevention of cancer and its treatment in Nigeria.   

 This campaign is also aimed at raising funds from good corporate citizens for the establishment of cancer screening and treatment centres across the country to be managed by NCPP. It is estimated that around 400,000 Nigerians are diagnosed of cancer every year with more than 100,000 die yearly as a result of the disease.

 
 
ATCON set to headhunt for Executive Secretary
 

The National Executive Committee, NEC of ATCON rose from its meeting midweek to commence a process of recruiting a substantive Executive Secretary for the Secretariat. The NEC considered that for the Association to continue its reform process that will position it to best meet its mandate, it needs to adequately reinvigorate the Secretariat with both ideas and personnel. The ultimate aim of the reform is to empower the industry to deliver better quality telecom services at better prices to the consumers.

Nokia and Microsoft make a pact

Although it still control the lion share of the global market, the failure of Nokia to assert itself in the smartphone market with the advent of the Google’s Android software and the iPhone,has become all too apparent.  Who can be credited for this revelation? Nokia’s new boss Stephen Elop, who contends that the phone giant is in real danger of being left behind.  He said the company is standing  'on a burning platform with a blazing fire around us'

To douse this fire, Stephen Elop announced this week that Nokia was forming a ‘ broad  strategic partnership’ with Microsoft. In an announcement that shocked the global ICT world Elop revealed plans that will see Nokia phones running on Microsoft software. Having conceded that Nokia was struggling to keep pace, Elop has adopted high stakes strategy to stem the tide.

Announcing the deal at a press conference in London on Friday, Elop said,‘Nokia is at a critical juncture where significant change is necessary and inevitable in our journey forward’.  He hghlighted the inevitability of the deal due to Nokia’s loss of market share (10 percentage points last year) and  competition from Google and Apple, ‘Today we are accelerating that change through a new path aimed at regaining our smartphone leadership. Its now a three horse race.’

But it is rather a safer alliance than it appears. They have deployed the law of comparative advantage.  Nokia is good at hardware but has struggled in the smartphone arena because its  software is so outdated.  But Microsoft, with its Windows phone 7 software which Nokia will now use is believed, an believed  even by Micosoft’s ardent critics to be pretty good, Google and Apple know that have a real battle on their hands.

 It is a gamble for Nokia but a necessary if it is going to stop haemorrhaging market share.

 

Apple to prescribe a new tablet

Barely after a year after releasing its first model and with almost 15million units sold, Apple is reported to be working on the new version of the iPad. The innovative gadget which most analysts gave a cautious welcome because of their reservation of how well it will do in what they perceived to be a saturated market of laptops and smartphones,  had sparked a scramble by its competitors to come up with their own version of the tablet

Apple known for its desire for market domination and to be at the cutting edge of innovation and design has aptly dubbed its second tablet computer iPad2 . It is reported to be thinner, lighter and will feature an in-built camera and a faster processor. It is reported that it will be launched sometime in April

In Apple’s most recent financial results, the iPad is reported to have contributed some £2.8 billion sales – some x% of its overall venue

A case of ‘even if it ain’t broke, fix it.’ 

 

UK government open contract for SMEs

In an indication that the days of huge IT companies wining huge public sector contracts may well be over as the UK government has launched a new system designed to simplify  public sector procurement  for small and medium enterprises.

The government’s contracts finder website will become the platform to find public sector contracting opportunities over £10,000 and should make the process more transparent. Organisations will specify which contracts they are interested in and the details will be e-mailed to them free of charge.

As part of cutting bureaucratic waste, pre-qualification questionnaires for all central government procurements under £100,000 will also be eliminated, it said. Prime minister David Cameron said, 'I call on all those who think they can provide a great service for government to take advantage of these opportunities, to go online and start searching for contracts now'.

Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, said, 'Today marks the end of what I call the procurement oligopoly - where innovative small businesses and organisations are too often shut out of contract processes early on because of ridiculous rules and unnecessary bureaucracy. This is not only bad for those affected,  it's also bad for government, as it stifles competition.'

John Walker, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, welcomed the move claiming that it will bring transparency by the publishing of  figures on the amount of contracts going to SME's allowing their success to be  measured  its success and hold the government to account if it is not working' he said.  That type of measurement and transparency is something we'd like to see adopted more widely across the public sector'.

John Higgins, director general of IT trade association Intellect, said that to drive reform and generate real benefits to SME IT suppliers, public sector buyers will need to change the way they purchase and their attitude to risk.

'Small technology businesses are engines of productivity that will drive economic growth. Our members now want to see orders being placed and the full potential of SMEs recognised', he said.

 

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Telecom industry supports cancer awareness and prevention effort  

The Nigerian Communications Commission is collaborating with the National Cancer Prevention Programme, NCPP, an NGO, and the Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, in a month-long activity to raise awareness on prevention of cancer and its treatment in Nigeria.   

 This campaign is also aimed at raising funds from good corporate citizens for the establishment of cancer screening and treatment centres across the country to be managed by NCPP. It is estimated that around 400,000 Nigerians are diagnosed of cancer every year with more than 100,000 die yearly as a result of the disease.

 
 
ATCON set to headhunt for Executive Secretary
 

The National Executive Committee, NEC of ATCON rose from its meeting midweek to commence a process of recruiting a substantive Executive Secretary for the Secretariat. The NEC considered that for the Association to continue its reform process that will position it to best meet its mandate, it needs to adequately reinvigorate the Secretariat with both ideas and personnel. The ultimate aim of the reform is to empower the industry to deliver better quality telecom services at better prices to the consumers.

 

FCC proposes modernizing and streamlining universal service

The Federal Communications Commission midweek took steps to modernize and streamline its universal service and intercarrier compensation policies to bring affordable wired and wireless broadband and the jobs and investment they spur to all Americans while
combating waste and inefficiency.

According to the Commission's release, 'ubiquitous broadband infrastructure has become crucial to our nation's economic development and civic life. Businesses need broadband to start and grow, adults need broadband to find jobs, and children need broadband to learn. The distance-conquering benefits of broadband can be even more important in America's remote rural and insular areas and Tribal lands'.


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Unilag hosts senior ATCON members to speak on Engineering

An assembly to discuss 'Systems Engineering for Development' will take place at the Afe Babalola Auditorium University of Lagos on Tuesday February 15, 2011. Time 10.00am. The main speakers include two Members of ATCON Engr. Titi Omo-Ettu, (President) and Engr. Funke Opeke (CEO of MainOne Cable). Luminaries from academia include Prof V.O.S. Olunloyo, (NNOM) who is also the Special Guest of Honour; Prof. Oye Ibidapo-Obe, President Academy of Sciences; Prof. M. A Salau, Dean of Engineering; and Dr. Muyiwa Asaolu. Head of Systems Engineering Department.



Framework released on endorsements and collaborations

ATCON has announced a framework for 'Endorsements' and 'Collaborations' with willing and capable industry players in its effort to create synergies which will enable the industry deliver better especially on its roadmap to growing the Nigerian thirst for broadband.

Willing industry players who wish to receive endorsements and/or form collaboration partnerships have been advised to contact the ATCON Secretariat (secretariat@atcon.org.ng) to collect relevant application forms that specify the conditions and processes for such endorsements and collaboration.


……….Lagos to host Broadband Forum

Meanwhile a Broadband Forum as put together by Messers eWorld and eBusiness  Life Magazines with endorsement of ATCON and NCC will hold at the Golden Gate Restaurant on February 24, 2011 at 10.00am. Theme is 'Strategies for driving Broadband Revolution and Mobile Ecosystem'.

 

Google’s Wael Ghonim now released, 12 days after

Activist and Google’s Head of marketing in the Middle East and North Africa, Wael Ghonim who was apparently taken into detention by Egypt’s government apparatus was released Monday. Wael Ghonim says he was behind the Facebook page that helped spark what he called 'the revolution of the youth of the Internet' two weeks ago. He went missing on Jan. 27, two days after the demonstrations began.

He spent 12 days in detention, blindfolded almost throughout.

 

ATCON plans to engage young entrepreneurs

The Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria said in a statement at the weekend that it would encourage and support aspiring young entrepreneurs in the process of generating investment as a key component of expanding business and reducing cost of internet access. 

According to the Association's Executive Secretary, Mr. Ajibola Olude, the President and 5 members of the National Executive Committee of ATCON participated in the Mobile Web West Africa conference recently held in Lagos.  

 ''One outcome of our participation at the conference is our observation that there is an emerging generation of young entrepreneurs which ATCON must recognize and provide for in its development program. To that extent we shall mobilize them, provide the necessary mentorship and training that will make them thrive in their endeavour to grow in business''.

We are working on this along with our other established programs and in close collaboration with the regulator as well as the executive and legislative arms of Federal Government  with objective of  creating awareness on investment opportunities in broadband infrastructure construction for our members. 

In the process, we hope to identify areas of difficulty and come up with practical and effective ways of resolving them.

 

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The end is nigh for IPv4

One of the major crises facing the internet industry is the number of available IPv4 addresses which continues to decrease. This comes on the back of the recent announcement from Number Resource Organisation (NRO) which revealed that it had seen record numbers of allocations in the first quarter of 2010. This means that the last big blocks of the net's dwindling stock of addresses are about to be handed out with the event that triggers their distribution widely expected to take place in the next few days. When that happens each of the five regional agencies that hand out net addresses will get one of the remaining blocks of 16 million addresses. One current projection, the addresses in those last five blocks are expected to be completely exhausted by September 2011

The depletion levels is exemplified by the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC), one of the five Regional Internet Registries, which allocated almost 27 million IPv4 address in the first quarter of this year, more than any other registry

The impending crisis was highlighted by Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the internet, who in a recent speech, urged the UK to begin using the new addressing system or the internet could face the real prospect of years of instability. With current addresses due to run out this year, Mr Cerf said it was imperative that nations and businesses got on with switching.

He said during the switch internet links could become unreliable, making sites and services hard to reach. "This has to happen or the internet will stop growing or will not be growable.  The business community needs to understand that this is an infrastructure they are relying on and it needs to change for them to continue to grow and to rely on it," Mr Cerf said.

He criticised global businesses, saying they were "short-sighted" for not making the shift sooner. "They cannot grow their business if they do not have an address space to grow it into," he added.

The net has grown to its current size using version 4 of its addressing scheme (IPv4), which allows for about 4.3 billion addresses. A system with a far larger pool of addresses has been created, called IPv6, but progress towards using it has been sluggish and as parts of the internet do eventually convert to IPv6 those trying to get at the parts still on IPv4 may not reach the site, resource or service they were after due to incompatibility problems.

The net would not stop during the switch, said Mr Cerf, but access could get "spotty".


 

........ and Migration to IPv6 now urgent

At least both the Internet registry for Africa, AfriNIC, and Internet Registry for Asia Pacific, APNIC, are known to have cried out that IPv4 addresses have run out. 

It is a policy of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) that when only five blocks of addresses remain they will be quickly distributed to regional agencies. And so Tuesday and Thursday ICANN allocated the last batches of IPv4 addresses to APNIC and all others respectively. 

IPv6 has been available for more than a decade and allows for an almost unlimited number of addresses. 

Thursday February 3, the Number Resource Organization (NRO), ICANN, the Internet Society (ISOC) and the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) held a ceremony and press conference in Miami at which the allocations were announced.

 

Burying the Hatchet? The European Commission and Microsoft

Despite hostilities between the European Commission and Microsoft, the former has extended its controversial Microsoft software contract while simultaneously intensifying its scrutiny of deals with proprietary vendors. It has been revealed that the Commission’s Directorate of Infomatics late last year curiously renewed its €49m (£41.6m) which was originally signed in 2008 with Microsoft’s certified partner Fujitsu, a day after the Free Software Foundation Europe FSFE -  non-profit organisation dedicated to the furthering of Free Software - launched  a campaign  against proprietary software deals

The extended contract which is for 12months to February 2012 has attracted scrutiny and criticism. Its legality of the deal which allows the Commission and 45 other public bodies to buy Microsoft software is being challenged on the grounds it has happened at the exclusion of competing firms who might otherwise vie for the business.

This is particularly curious because almost 3years ago, the European Commission fined US computer giant Microsoft for defying sanctions imposed on it for anti-competitive behaviour. It then ordered Microsoft to pay 899 million euros ($1.4bn; £680.9m) after it failed to comply with a 2004 ruling that it took part in monopolistic practices. Back then Commission's competition watchdog asserted that Microsoft abused its virtual monopoly in the computer world to muscle out smaller rivals, especially those that make media players and software for servers.

This time FSFE objects to the unfair advantage Microsoft has in what should be a level playing field. In its case presented to the Digit Director General Francisco Garcia-Moran, it highlights the contracts specification of the Microsoft trademark – which is prohibited in the European tendering process as it prevents anyone but the trademark holder from competing for the business.

FSFE President, Karsten Gerloff said, ‘It is like they are asking for cars as long as they are from Volkswagen."

 

Ofcom ratifies frequency trading

In a clear demonstration of the importance of frequency management in the development of ICT, the UK Communications regulator Ofcom is to allow mobile network operators to trade their existing rights to frequencies for others they would like to use.

Ofcom's view is that the trade would lead to more efficient use of spectrum and a more competitive market as well as creating the maximum flexibility for the spectrum to be used efficiently and benefit citizens and consumers.

The proposals allow Ofcom to consider whether competition is likely to be distorted by a trade and to make a trade conditional.  In a published a consultation paper, it set out its proposals about trading frequencies in the 900MHz, 1800MHz, and 2100MHz frequency bands. In a statement it said,’This makes it possible for us to do a prior impact check on competition where that seems appropriate. We believe that this will lead to a better outcome for citizens and consumers than relying solely on competition’

Everything Everywhere - the company which runs the UK’s two biggest brands Orange and T-Mobile - owns 2x80MHz of spectrum, mainly in the 1.8GHz band, following their merging of operations. The next biggest holding is Vodafone's 2x37.8MHz of spectrum.

The regulator is expected to announce draft proposals on an auction of so-called 4G frequencies in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands later this month.

 Beemer leads on Automotive Technology with multipurpose key

There is ever more increasing evidence that technology will continue to be dominant and continue to permeate all facets of everyday life.

With this ever increasing demand for Information Technology resources, comes the blurring of the distinct line between disparate systems and as future technologies emerge, these system will  integrate them into common platforms in a cost effective way.

In a paper published on its web site, BMW laid out plans to turn the car  key into a universal access device using near-field communications (NFC) technology -  a RFID-based (radio frequency identification) wireless communications technology that works at ranges of under 10cm - allowing drivers to customise their electronic car keys which already store a multitude of data such as  distance, fuel level, battery charge level and service data albeit at specialised garages, but also allow them driver to pay for goods, to book and pay for travel on trains, to tune radios, and even to book and open hotel rooms.

The NFC interface in the research prototype already allows for a range of new functions. For example, the driver can buy a train ticket (KeyTicketing), call up the latest vehicle data for display on a mobile device (KeyInfo), make a contactless payment (KeyPayment), and even open hotel room doors (KeyAccess).

BMW researchers have added an NFC interface and a security controller to a current BMW car key to extend interactions with contactless payment, ticketing and access systems.

"Our vision is that, in future, the key will not only mean access to the car but, inside and outside the car, will become as it were the 'key' to many functions. I would then be able to set out while checking for just one thing: have I got my BMW key on me?" said Thomas Kratz of BMW development access and authentication systems division.

BMW allayed security fears saying the modified car keys were "far more secure" than mobile phones because of the many communications channels on a mobile, such as GSM, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and that the threat of downloading malware presented serious risks.

The key could also connect to useful information. A proposed CarFinder would be able to read the password-protected GPS position data and guide the driver back to the car if they forgot where they left it.

The Ultimate Driving Machine? Indeed.

African Virtual University flies OER@AVU Portal 

The African Virtual University announced mid week that it has launched its OER interactive portal http://oer.avu.org/   The portal named OER@AVU is available in 3 languages: English, French and Portuguese. The portal is expected to host 219 commissioned AVU courses: mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry, teacher education professional courses, and ICT in education. More than 100 videos will be available as well.  

Rector of the University Dr Bakary Diallo said  uploading of the resources is a continuous process. 

Funding fo the portal was provided by African Development Bank.
 

Migration to IPv6 now urgent

 

At least both the Internet registry for Africa, AfriNIC, and Internet Registry for Asia Pacific, APNIC, are known to have cried out that IPv4 addresses have run out. 

It is a policy of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) that when only five blocks of addresses remain they will be quickly distributed to regional agencies. And so Tuesday and Thursday ICANN allocated the last batches of IPv4 addresses to APNIC and all others respectively. 

IPv6 has been available for more than a decade and allows for an almost unlimited number of addresses. 

Thursday February 3, the Number Resource Organization (NRO), ICANN, the Internet Society (ISOC) and the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) held a ceremony and press conference in Miami at which the allocations were announced.

 

Executive Movement in NCC

Directors and deputy directors will swap portfolios in the Nigerian Communications Commission this week.
 

In a memo to the affected staff, Dr. Eugene Juwah,  Executive Vice-Chairman of the Commission, said the exercise, meant to re-inject dynamism and functional mobility in the deployment of staff,  is geared towards making the workforce more rounded and challenging them to optimal performance.
 

A study of the detailed movements shows that more attention is now being put on compliance and project implementation.

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Olufuye gets CSTD appointment

President of Information Technology Association of Nigerian, ITAN, Dr. Jimson Olufuye was, midweek, appointed by United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) as a representative to the new Working Group on Internet Governance. As one of only five business representatives globally, Dr. Olufuye will play an instrumental role in influencing the recommendations from the working group, which will be presented to the CSTD at its 14th session in Geneva on May 23-27.

It will be recalled that the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD)  last Friday changed course and will henceforth allow participation by stakeholders, including business, civil society, the technical and academic community, and intergovernmental organizations.

Falling Mubarak attacks ICT as Egypt Internet goes on lockdown

The dreaded premonition that it will only be a matter of time before tyrannical regimes in developing countries begin to view the proliferation of ICT as hindrance rather than help has at last become a reality 

Last Thursday CNN reported that protesters, active on Twitter and Facebook, publicly documenting demonstrations on the streets of Cairo, Alexandria and other cities, went quiet. And just about the same time many websites centralized on servers in Egypt disappeared. 

Vodaphone, a cell phone provider said operators were told by authorities to suspend services in parts of Egypt,  

The protests are aimed at ‘Hosni Mubaracks governance which Egyptians say is not satisfactory. Mubarack on the other hand is blaming ICT for his woes. He chose to sack ICT, and also at last count, his cabinet.

 

PRESS RELEASE
Africa’s Leading Mobile-Focused Event Coming to Nigeria

Titi Omo-Ettu, President of ATCON and Jared Cohen, Director of Google Ideas, to deliver key addresses at crucial event.

 

 

Mobile Web West Africa will be taking place on February 2nd and 3rd 2011 at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria. The event is to be delivered by all amber, the leading company specialising in organising interactive, discussion based events specifically aimed at high level strategists. 

 

Titi Omo-Ettu, the President of ATCON, will deliver the opening address at the conference and Jared Cohen, Director of Google Ideas, has also confirmed that he will present the Keynote Address for the second day of the event. Industry leaders Nokia, Samsung, InMobi, MapIT, Sponge, BlackBerry, MapIT and Sponge have agreed to significant sponsorship packages and in doing so have joined Fontera, Ecobank, ConnectNigeria.com, the World Wide Web Foundation, the W3C Mobile Web Initiative, startupsNigeria.com, web trends Nigeria and others in partnering with all amber, illustrating the extremely strong industry wide support that the event is attracting. Five key representatives from Google will attend Mobile Web West Africa, including business and product leaders from Africa, Europe & the USA. Additionally, the AppCircus Developer Competition will provide an opportunity for developers and start-ups to win prizes and foster business opportunities. 

 

The conference will give attendees the opportunity to gain and exchange knowledge surrounding harnessing the potential of the mobile internet and applications on mobile devices in Africa. The Mobile Web in Africa series of events is firmly established as the industry’s most progressive and interactive mobile-focused events, bringing together all the major stakeholders. Other key contributors for Mobile Web West Africa include Ayo Alli (Goal.com), Obi Asika (Storm 360), Lola Masha (Google), Chris Uwaje (Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria), ‘Gbenga Sesan (Paradigm Initiative Nigeria), Yomi Adegboye (MobilityNigeria.com), Bankole Ojutalayo (Glo Mobile), Russell Southwood (Balancing Act), Alex Meisl (Sponge), Deon Liebenberg (Research in Motion), and Kenneth Omeruo (TechTrends Nigeria). 

 

Mobile Web West Africa will provide abundant networking opportunities, which will lead to growing business and new partnerships. This will be achieved through:

  • A highly interactive roundtable seating format that facilitates genuinely constructive

discussion and networking

  • Panel discussions featuring senior strategists from industry leading companies such

as Google, Storm360, Fontera, Sponge, InMobi and MapIT

  • Networking sessions designed to encourage maximum interaction between attendees

Full event details can be found online at www.mobilewestafrica.com  

Contact: info@allamber.co.uk

 

 

 

The complete speaker faculty at the event: 

◦Jared Cohen, Director, Google Ideas
◦Titi Omo-Ettu, President, ATCON
◦Chris Uwaje, President,  (ISPON)
◦Bankole Ojutalayo, Senior Manager, Glo Mobile
◦Deon Liebenberg, R/Director, Research In Motion
◦A senior representative from Nokia
◦A senior representative from Samsung
◦Obi Asika, Chairman & CEO, Storm 360
◦Stefan Magdalinski, GM,  MIH
◦Lola Masha, Bus. Dev. Mgr, Google Nigeria
◦Dayo Ogunyemi, CEO, 234 Media
◦‘Gbenga Sesan, E/Director, Paradigm Initiative Nig
◦Yomi Adegboye, Publisher, MobilityNigeria.com
◦Abasiama Idaresit, Founder, Wild Fusion
◦Gustav Praekelt, Founder, Praekelt Foundation
◦Ayo Alli, Bus. Dev. Consultant, West Africa, Goal.com
◦Alex Meisl, Chairman, Sponge
◦Loy Okezie, Founder, StartUps Nigeria
◦Russell Southwood, Editor, Balancing Act
◦Emeka Okoye, CEO, StorySpaces.org
◦Simon Leps, CEO, Fontera
◦Mohamed Diaby, DiabyMohamed.com
◦Etienne Louw, MD, MapIT
◦Tim Akinbo, Founder, TimbaObjects
◦Kenneth Omeruo, CEO, TechTrendsng.com
◦James Adeyemi Fowe, Mobile Monday Nigeria
◦Chike Maduerbuna, MD, FansConnectOnline
◦Matti Ilmanen, Founder, Solumo

More details:
Visit the Mobile Web West Africa Website 

 

taken from
http://www.yomiadegboye.com/mobile-web-west-africa-2011/

 

 

 

 

Cyberschuulnews 411

Study ranks Nigeria high in internet usage
by Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf, THE NATION NEWSPAPER 26/12/2010

Nigeria is gradually overcoming the problem of poor digital divide, as the internet revolution in the country has not only impacted the globe, but may have raised the bar as far as deployment of strategies for digital marketing platform in sub-Saharan Africa.



Indication of this emerged with the recent collaboration between TNS Global (number one consumer market research agency in the world) and RMS Group (the leading market research agency in West and Central Africa) in a research tagged: ‘Digital Lifestyles Study’, which gave insights into the attitudes, behaviours and needs of Nigerian online population.



From a staggering penetration figure of 0.1% in 2001 grew to 3.5% in 2006 and now stands at 28.9%. The growth of the Internet in rapid growth markets like Nigeria did not follow usual trends in what we know as the developed markets. Uptake of the service was aggressive (Nigeria accounts for 39.6% of Africa’s current internet population and this, ahead of South Africa, Egypt and Kenya).



To achieve this mileage, Mobile is leading and driving Internet usage in Sub-Saharan Africa. This perspective will increase further over the next 12 months if necessary impetus is available. Entry of affordable telecom operators, mobile technology with lower cost, greater bandwidth and importantly low priced yet quality Smart Phones manufactured in China utilising intuitive user-friendly operating systems will aid internet access in the Nigerian market more.



The incisive digital market analysis according to TNS Global Director for Technology and Emerging Markets, Mr. James Fergusson; is the first of its kind to interview almost 50,000 consumers in 46 markets, including all BRIC and most N-11 economies.



He went to say it provides answers to questions like: how does the global digital landscape look like; how do I maximize opportunities with the digital consumer and how do I tailor my messages; and uncovering these offers a holistic view of the digital world. Provision of framework for strategic and tactical deployment of marketing resources across channels, platforms, geographies and targets were highlighted, as core benefits of this tool.



Unlike Nigeria, in western markets, email has been king for over a decade with more consumers still accessing their email daily than their social networks. The opposite is the case in the Nigerian markets where social networking offers many advantages over email. Such advantages include opportunity to choose additional messaging forms like IM/chat, upload multi-media and broadcast regular updates to your social network. Nigerians do not have the email legacy so their uptake of social networking is both logical and all embracing.



Findings from this global study revealed that amongst online users, digital is the primary daily media channel (61%) while television and radio come second (54%) and third (36%); respectively. It also revealed that digital is the clear leader in many mature markets and some emerging markets like China. However, a key differentiating factor is access point(s).



While speaking on initial findings from Nigeria, Fergusson said internet access is driven primarily by mobile phones and cyber cafes. However, its use (18%) lags behind television (60%) and radio (58%) among Nigerian online users; as daily media channel



taken from http://thenationonlineng.net/web3/business/22799.html
 

 

UK Business Secretary slapped down on media merger

At a time that most governments are thinking of fusing broadcasting, telecommunications and computer sectors due to developments in ICT, the UK government has decided to put this union asunder.



This week the Business Secretary will be stripped of all responsibility for competition and policy issues relating to media, broadcasting, digital and telecoms sectors.


The reason is Mr Cable’s bellicose language of a ‘declaration of war’ on News Corporation in a transcript of his conversation with the undercover reporters. In what many privately have expressed as a threat to press freedom and consumer choice, too much power in the hands of one man - Rupert Murdoch. He set up Sky and merged it with British Satellite Broadcasting in 1990 to form BSkyB in which he had a controlling stake was its chairman for many years. News Corporation’s, which he also owns and currently owns 39% of BSkyB is bidding to for take full control of BSkyB. The huge concentration of media ownership in one man was probably deemed a bridge too far for the Business Secretary who was to have the final say over whether the takeover should be allowed to go ahead.


It is widely believed that his impartiality had been fatally undermined by his comments and therefore stripped of his responsibilities to rule on Mr Murdoch's affairs, which will be handed to Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt.


This is a serious setback not just for Mr Cable who some politicians have said should be sacked for breaching the ministerial code, but for the industry and the regulator Ofcom whose activities in these areas come under his jurisdiction but must decide by 31 December whether to refer the bid to the Competition Commission however the final decision on blocking it will now rest with Culture Secretary.

War of prices starts 

The Nigerian telecommunication market was recently thrown into what some analysts describe as war of prices. The coming of Bharti Airtel which bought Zain Assets meant the firm introduced price reduction in its tariff plans and this has arguably set off a series of tariff reviews among operators. Subscribers who seem to enjoy the war-game have been wondering if all these where not mere Xmas ginmicks

 

Titi Omo-Ettu, President Association of Telecommunication Companies, himself an analyst, seems not perturbed by it all. ‘It is nothing new that a new comer does something to establish its presence and if he has a big war chest, what he does may jolt everybody into a jerk. But beyond that it is no big deal. That is why a multi-network environment supports competition but the competition we want to see, and which ATCON is working towards is in quality not in prices. Reason is that the former assures the latter while the converse is not necessarily true’. 

“Consumers are free to jubilate. It is normal for people to jubilate when goals are scored but it is not the end of the game. When operators fight war, it is expected that they should do it ‘neat’ and they must not be allowed to fight ‘dirty’. And it explains why we have the regulator. The regulator is not meant to watch and enjoy the game but to moderate it”.

 

Ministry of Health employs SMS in child health programmes 

A Ministry of Health partnership with UNICEF has initiated the systematic use of SMS technology to plan and coordinate the distribution of long lasting insecticide treated nets, polio vaccines, and the management of other anti-epidemic programmes in Nigeria. The use of SMS can provide specialists and focal persons with real-time information from clinics and health officers in the hinterland, allowing for better coordination of supply and resource planning.
 

Anambra, Akwa Ibom, Kano and Rivers States have already seen successful tryouts of the SMS Partnership for Child Survival, and has involved the monitoring of mosquito net distribution and administration of child immunization vaccines. The stated goal of the programme is to take SMS monitoring and support to facility level in health centers at 774 local government areas nationwide.

 

Google Docs Goes Fully Mobile 

 Thanks to continuing innovation at the ---- based web search giant, you no longer need access to a PC to edit your documents away from the office. Google has announced that Android devices (version 2.0) as well as Apples iOS devices like the iPhone and the iPad (iOS 3.0 and greater), can now edit their documents, tables and even spreadsheets through their mobile browser.
 

Google Docs previously permitted mobile users view-only access to their documents, but now English language users of the application will be able to make adjustments to text, and Android users even have the extra option of doing so using the software's spoken dictation feature. Non-English language support will follow subsequently.
 

Now business travelers using the Google app can make last minute adjustments to their presentations on the go, without having plug in or boot up their laptops, with just a smartphone and a web connection.

 

IT Industry unimpressed with UK government’s cap on immigration

 

The UK government has made good on Prime Minister David Cameron pledge during the election campaign, to cap immigration levels as the government announces a cap of 21,700 on the number of skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area allowed into the UK. The figure represents a cut of 6,300 on the equivalent figure for 2009.
 

But the IT industry remains unimpressed. They point to the controversial exemption of Intra Company Transfers (ICTs) as the hub of their discontent. ICT visas are used by multinational suppliers to bring thousands of IT workers particularly from India to the UK to cover their operational needs.
 

The government alleges that the scheme is subject to abuse and therefore  has introduced a policy that means ICTs staying more than a year will have to earn at least £40,000. This is an attempt to make offshore suppliers less willing to bring staff from overseas to the UK because it is more expensive. The IT industry the not only believe the cap will do little to prevent abuse of an immigration loophole, but also that it is based on a false premise given that the bulk of immigration is non-work related and comes through student and family visas,
 

The negative impact of the cap was highlighted by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), who argue that about 80% of non-EU IT workers come to the UK on intra-company transfers. It also argues the incongruence of a shortage of tier-one immigrants, who are deemed highly skilled in IT and the imposition of the cap which will see this group hardest hit  fact that However, the government's cap will see, hit hardest, with a paltry 1,000 people being able to enter next year but incidentally tier-two immigrants, low-level IT workers from offshore are entering the UK on ICT visas and who according to commentators allegedly pose a threat to the long-term future of the UK IT profession increase from 13,000 to 20,700.
 

The £40,000 minimum pay is set too low for the IT sector according to APSCo. "Whether the £40,000 minimum salary will reduce the number of intra-company transfers in the IT sector is debatable. The average UK wage for IT professionals is close to £40,000, and it is questionable how many workers earn less that that once they arrive," said CEO Ann Swain. "We will be seeking clarity from the government on how the £40,000 minimum will be reviewed."
 

 

MLF recommends ‘revolution’ of UK government website
 

The Uk’s Digital champion Martha Lane Fox has published a report calling for a centralised government internet address to replace 750 websites.
 

In a review entitled ‘Revolution not evolution’ of the already operation website www.directgov.uk – a single access point for all public sector information she recommended an overhaul of separate government websites to be replaced by a single internet "front door" to public services on the web which will:
 

·         Be the government front end for all departments' transactional online services to citizens and business, with the kudos to mandate cross-government solutions, set standards and force departments to improve citizens' experience of key transactions.

  • Change the model of government online publishing, by putting a new central team in Cabinet Office in absolute control of the overall user experience across all digital channels, commissioning all government online information from other departments.

·         Be a wholesaler as well as the retail shop front for government services and content by mandating the development and opening up of application programme interfaces (APIs) to third parties
 

Other key proposals include a new central commissioning team which will to take responsibility for the government's sites, which should publish content on a single government website with a new CEO for digital in the Cabinet Office with absolute authority over the user experience across all government online services (websites and APIs) and the power to direct all government online spending. It calls for Departments to stop publishing to their own websites, and instead produce only content commissioned by this central commissioning team.
 

Mark Flanagan, former Downing Street head of digital and strategic communications, said a single centralised site would be a more efficient system. "Everyone accepts that government news and messaging aimed at print and broadcast should be controlled from Number 10, so why not online too?"
 

This would save money in back-end systems and hosting and reduce government costs in public service transactions by hundreds of millions of pounds a year, he added.

 

Multilinks-Telkom kicks CDMA into touch 

Nigeria’s Multilinks-Telkom has decided to move away from its CDMA operations in Nigeria for reasons of challenges that call for a check. Telkom SA bought into Multilink’s Nigeria in 2007 and has since the takeover been unable to turn it around.  Mr. Jeffrey Hedberg who was in Nigeria briefly to rescue the Nigerian operations returned to SA to assume duty as acting CEO of Telkom SA in July while incumbent Vincent Raseroka replaced him in Nigeria to fix things. It is clear the problems are more than simple to resolve as Hedberg must have chosen to review the entire transaction. 

Senior industry players in Nigeria say Telkom’s withdrawal may not necessarily be an indictment of the Nigerian CDMA market as being strongly presented since Telkom itself has problems even at home in SA. Moreover, analysts say not much was seen in terms of unusual steps which were capable of turning things round for the company since the buy over.

Econet Wireless (2001) now Airtel (2010)

Nigeria’s Telephone Brand ‘Zain’ last week was re-named ‘Airtel’. In an announcement to its customers, it advised them to switch over to the new callsign by switching their cell phones ‘off and then on’. Airtel, formerly Zain; formerly Celtel; formerly VMobile; formerly Vodago; originally Econet Wireless was the first GSM deployer to commence business in Nigeria in 2001. That is six times it has changed name on the account of acquisition.  

Airtel is the trade name of Bharti Airtel of India which acquired Zain’s African assets for $10.7 billion earlier in the year. Bharti is now the world's fifth largest mobile phone company by subscribers base.

At the launch of rebranding during the week Communications Minister, in unprotected excitement, wished the new player more than it wished for itself.

 

UK Government backs ‘two-tier’ internet

The UK’s Communications minister Ed Vaizey is on a collision course with the two pioneers of the internet, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, and Vint Cerf, in his implicit support for the development of a "two-tier" internet.

In a statement at a communications conference in London this week, Vaizey said the government had to continue to encourage the market to innovate and experiment with different business models and ways of providing consumers with what they want.

"This could include the evolution of a two-sided market where consumers and content providers could choose to pay for differing levels of quality of service," he said.

His comments are bound to cause consternation amongst advocates of net neutrality who assert equality of internet content and its transmission by the best mode by providers. They contravene the contention of  Berners-Lee, the UK government's internet consultant, who in a keynote address at Nokia World in September, said if the world abandoned net neutrality, "we would lose the Web as it is, and with it, the innovation that has brought us to this point. That's very important". They also breach Cerf’s assertion at a US Senate committee on commerce, science, and transportation hearing on network neutrality back in 2006 when he said, "Allowing broadband carriers to control what people see and do online would fundamentally undermine the principles that have made the internet such a success."

Discontent with Vaizeys comments however is not universal. ISPs have welcomed it saying that a lightly regulated, market-based approach should be taken towards internet traffic management but advocates of net neutrality are scathing. Jim Killock, spokesman for Open Rights Group – a Campaigning organisation that aims to raise awareness of digital rights and civil liberties issues - in statement said, "Money and commercial interest can easily over-ride public interest if we do not assert it. In this case, unlike the USA, there is a degree of collusion going on which may lead our governments down a dangerous path

Taking a sideswipe at the UK regulator Ofcom - accused of lobbying against net neutrality at the European Parliament, Killock said, "It seems that regulators like Ofcom and ministers of our governments do not see the future of the internet as being best served through (open) competition, but wish to encourage 'walled gardens' of ISP-provided services."

Ofcom is yet to respond to this accusation.

 

India's 3G mobile goes under the hammer ……

 

Like many other countries of the world, who have adopted a gradual approach to telecom sector reform through selective privatization and managed competition in different segments of the telecom market, India’s effort is bearing fruit as its auction of third generation (3G) bandwidth for mobile phone services has ended with the government reaping $15bn, twice the sum expected.
 

It was reported that nine telecoms firms, including market leaders Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications, took part in more than 180 rounds of bidding over 34 days with no firm wining the 3G mobile spectrum in all 22 geographic areas up for grabs outright, but unsurprisingly Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar, and Reliance Communications all won phone spectrum in the lucrative Delhi and Mumbai areas.
 

Large private operators in India, the world's fastest growing mobile market with nearly half a billion mobile phone subscribers, had been restricted in their ability to deliver voice and data services until now. The new 3G networks will give people faster access to the web from their handsets as well as downloading music, video and other content.
 

Arun Kejriwal, strategist at Kris Research in Mumbai said. "For the operators it's a large sum of money that has to be paid out. We have to see how these services are priced and received by the subscribers and how it will impact their profitability."
 

The total number of mobile phones sold in India has jumped nearly 300% over the past few years, from 35 million in 2005 to 130 million in 2009, according to the Indian Cellular Association

….meanwhile the date is set for 4G auction in the UK

Chief Executive of Ofcom - the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, Ed Richards has laid out the timetable for 4G Mobile Broadband - the next-generation technology considered to be the next complete advancement in communication on a wireless basis allowing for much faster data transfer and far greater area of coverage. 

Mr Richards, speaking at the FT World Telecoms Conference, said the airwaves that will enable 4G networks will be auctioned off in the first half of 2012 indicating that the spectrum will become available from 2013.

The auction was originally earmarked for 2009 had been put back because of legal wrangling with mobile operators over the distribution of spectrum.

Mr Richards urged them to try and resolve their differences with the government warning that "further litigation against the government or regulator will jeopardise this timetable".

The auction will see two chunks of the spectrum - the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands  sold off - both of which are of immense value to operators as it bridges the digital divide. The 800MHz slice - which has been freed up as a result of the switchover to digital TV - allows mobile signals to travel over greater distances thus increasing the reach of broadband to rural areas, while the higher capacity 2.6GHz band will be more useful in urban centres where lots of users require a plethora of services.

The impending auction puts the UK behind other European countries like Germany whose 4G auction began in April 2010. Despite the demand for new networks, and like Germany,
the amount raised by this auction is expected to be well below its 3G equivalent which raised £22bn for the UK Treasury (£44bn in Germany) when it was sold in the respective countries back in 2000.

Early recognition for MainOne

 A Best Telecom Project honour in the form of a publicly announced award by IT & Telecom Digest magazine has been bestowed on MainOne Cable Company. 

MainOne is an upstart broadband cable company based in Nigeria and it opened its submarine cable to business recently. 

Its Chief Executive, Ms Funke Opeke was also awarded the Telecom Personality of the year in recognition of her vision to improve telecoms infrastructure on the continent. 

The company offers open access, wholesale broadband capacity in West Africa.



 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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