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MTN Nigeria accused of corporate bullying  

An indigenous telecom company, Private Networks Nigeria Limited (PNN) says it has lodged a complaint with the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC against mobile operator MTN accusing it of corporate bullying. Having negotiated a Site Integrated Maintenance contract for the management and maintenance of MTN’s base stations in northern Nigeria back in 2007, both parties are embroiled in a dispute which PNN claims presents a threat to its existence and reputation over invoicing. 

PNN says having taken the above-mentioned dispute to arbitration and been vindicated, MTN has been ungracious and proceeded to stop paying for any of its services. Given PNN’s dependency, it asserts that MTN’s behaviour is not only causing it financial hardship, but contravenes acceptable corporate rules of engagement.  

NCC sanctions Globacom Ltd.

 

The Nigerian Communications Commission has issued two notices of sanction to Globacom Ltd on two counts of non- compliance with the regulator’s direction on the sale of Fully Activated New SIM cards and its guidelines on Technical Specifications for Installation of Masts and Towers.

 

 

 

The NCC asserts that information gathered from Compliance Monitoring reports from a number of cities sufficiently demonstrate a contravention of the said directions as laid down by sections 55 and 65 of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003.

 

 

 

The sanction, it believed will be fixed penalty fine of N5million.

 

 

 

Quality Awareness Workshop to feature at ITAN's NITPPF 2011 in Benic City

 

 

This year's edition of the National IT Public-Private Partnership (NITPPF 2011), holding in Benin City from June 22-24, 2011 will feature the IT Industry Quality Awareness & Improvement Workshop to be facilitated by QAI, a leading global consulting and workforce development organization addressing ''Operational Excellence'' in knowledge intensive service organizations.

 

The NITPPF is an initiative of the information Technology Association of Nigeria, ITAN. 

 

The global and giant step towards IPv6

 

 

During the week, top websites and Internet service providers around the world, including Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Akamai under the auspices of the Internet Society and in a collaborative effort with more than 1000 other participating websites, celebrated ‘World IPv6 Day’ for a successful global-scale trial of the new Internet Protocol, IPv6.

 

 

 

By providing a coordinated 24-hour “test flight”, the event’s objective was to expose potential issues under controlled conditions and address them as soon as possible as well as demonstrate that major websites around the world are well-positioned for the move to a global IPv6-enabled Internet, enabling its continued exponential growth. In its short history, this transition to IPv6 is one of the most important steps the world will take collectively to protect the Internet as we know it.

 

 

 

Prior tests had been conducted in September and October last year in Germany and Norway respectively. In Germany heise Online - one of the biggest news sites in Germany had moved more than 150million pages. Globally, it is also one of the largest sites now running in dual-stack mode, which means that pages can be accessed via both the conventional IPv4 and via the newer IPv6. While in Norway, two of the top-5 websites in Norway, A-pressen Digitale Medier and VG Multimedia, both made their websites available over IPv6 for 24 hours - the result of which has enabled the changes to be permanent shortly after.

 

 

Regardless compatibility and security concerns associated with migration persist. Apart from the fact that traditional technologies that address the challenges in IPv4 environment do not work in IPv6, because of a single point of protection, securing the LAN from cyber attacks and intrusion is far easier in an IPv4 environment – something infinitely more difficult because of the many-to-many relationships and ubiquitous nature of IPv6.

 

 

According to James Lyne, Director of Technology Strategy at security firm Sophos, some companies are using iIPv6 without even being aware which could have perilous security consequences.

 

 

The co-ordinator of the event - the Internet Society - is a non-profit organisation founded in 1992 to provide leadership in Internet-related standards, education and policy. It is dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for the benefit of people throughout the world.

 

 

 

 

Second Worldwide Cybersecurity summit tackles the issues

 

In the light of recent developments, on the first day of the Second Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit in London last week government officials from around the world met to call for more global collaboration in the fight against cyber crime, as well as more co-ordination between governments and the private sector. Despite hostilities between the US and China, they joined heads of cyber security from the UK, India and France in high level discussions on the need and nature of more international collaboration to tackle cyber criminality, and striking the balance right between online freedoms and regulation. Government officials from Germany and Russia were originally set to be included in the discussion but did not attend.

 

 

At the summit, the UK was singled out for warning that it needs to be better protected from online attacks while France and India debated the perceived seamlessness of cyberspace and the contextual role of national borders. The question was ‘does the world needs more international regulation to provide a framework for states to effectively clamp down on cyber criminals, or is national legislation is enough?’

 

 

On the second day of the summit in London, 450 private and public sector delegates advanced solutions to the complex problems facing our digital world discussing a multitude of issues from channelling emergency messages through congested networks, to securing global supply chains, to safeguarding the undersea cables that carry over 97% of Internet traffic. Addressing the conference, the U.S. National Security Council’s former Acting Senior Director for Cyberspace Melissa Hathaway said, ‘The technology is available – it’s not the impediment. It's really that we need to move to collective action’. The event was hosted by East West Institute -a global think tank that that addresses global security concerns. Its Chief Technology Officer Karl Rauscher in an interview called for more private sector leadership to bridge the gap between policy and technology.

On the eve of the summit, the International Youth Congress on Digital Citizenship in London, was held bringing together dozens of young people with government, business and technical leaders to discuss solutions to universal Internet woes.

 

 

At the event, local students participating in Global Cyber Ambassadors for Peace (GCAP), a collaboration with UNESCO and the E-World-Wide Group, spoke about problems ranging from distracting pop-up ads to serious risks posed by pedophiles on social networking sites.

 

 

“The Internet allows a rapid and widespread distribution of false and misleading information,” Muaaz Patel, 14, pointed out.

 

 

 

 

Opinion

Now that we have found mobile telephony what are we gonna do with it?

by Abi Bilesanmi

 

 

In what is essentially a relativist world, some might argue that the issue being addressed here is premature and perhaps we need to learn to walk first before we embark on the mammoth task of learning to run and looking at the issue of service delivery that has afflicted the country of late, one would be hard pressed to disagree. But we have jumped on this bandwagon and jumping off is not a viable option. The fact that the issues of broadband, access and infrastructure are reverberating through communiqués, lectures, symposia and forums is encouraging. It buttresses a declaration of intent from the industry, the government and the public to have an adequate and integrated communication system.

 

 

But is a declaration of intent enough? The question is ‘are we fully utilising the benefits and the possibilities that mobile telephony offer’? I am particularly looking at the issue of mobile shopping. For better or worse domestic and global economies are fuelled by consumer spending which is oscillating between excessive needing moderation and not enough. Our economy is no different. Another structural problem is that despite its ingenuity (and I say that from someone who comes from a ‘throw away’ society), our entrepreneurial class remains too weak due to a plethora of reasons the most important of which is a ‘disconnect’ between our ability to make stuff and selling it. But we have a unique situation where we can use a powerful tool - incidentally one where we have made considerable progress -mobile telephony which with improved coverage and encouraging mobile shopping, to massively boost our economy.

 

 

Mobile shopping represents a massive opportunity for all producers and consumers of goods and services as well as the economy as a whole but poor service delivery due to one or a combination of patchy coverage, unreliable connections and slow connections speed has meant we are unable to remotely realise the potential of this resource in enabling communities to realize opportunities, not only but primarily economic but also socio- political. But we need to understand the potential empowering effects of mobile shopping can only be achieved through a nuanced picture of both the benefits and challenges mobile phones can bring to not just individuals communities and business i.e. communication challenges that are omni-present in Nigeria; analysis of general mobile penetration trends; innovative approaches to mobile use; the positive effects of mobiles in the creation of social capital, and it can be leveraged to generate economic opportunities.

 

 

 

Mobile retailing would infinitely augment the domestic economy particularly in our heavily populated cities where a lot of transactions could be small amounts and can be delivered over short distances. Less populated and more agrarian rural areas could also benefit from this proliferation which will be further amplified by broadband reliability and coverage

 

 

 

We can not underplay the substantial impact this represents. Mobile shopping alone is expected to boost the UK economy by £4.5billion in the next five years. The proliferation of smart phones in the Nigerian market and with the introduction of various applications and barcode scanning technology, the retail sector can move to another level – but the infrastructure has to keep up.

 

 

How big is this market? In 2010 eBay generated £1.3billion in global sales through mobile devices alone. Nigeria with a population in excess of 150 million people must have a piece of this action. It is where we will appreciate the benefits of both Telephone Subscriber and SIM card registration which leading lights in the industry have been calling for and which have formed an integral part of contemporary intra and inter industry debates.

 

 

 

To those who might argue that the constituents of this piece are for the future and not now, well the future is now.

 

 

 

 

 

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NCC throws its weight behind Broadband Investment Summit

 

 

Words came out at the Breakfast Meeting which ATCON hosted for the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Dr Eugene Juwah on Friday that the Commission has given full support to the forthcoming Broadband Investment Summit scheduled for July 26/27, 2011 in Lagos.

 

 

 

Dr Juwah will deliver the keynote address at the Summit.

 

 

 

CEO’ss of ATCON Members had invited Dr. Juwah for an Executive Breakfast Meeting in Lagos and their guest gave a good account of himself and of the Commission. Issues of enhancement of local content in the telecom industry, penetration of broadband internet access, improvement in quality of service, and restoration of fixed land line services constituted major issues that ATCON members tasked their guest to.

 

 

 

In a welcome address, ATCON President Mr Titi Omo-Ettu, told his members that the National Executive Council of the Association was working with the NCC to refocus the industry and to make access to telecommunications service better for Nigerians. He admonished his members to embrace opportunities that would be offered by the various projects which the Association was embarking on and flagging of with the breakfast meeting.

 

 

 

Explosion at Apple’s plant in China

 

Disaster struck last weekend at Apple’s Chinese iPad factory where there was a blast killing two and 16 injured 3 of which are critical. The blast occurred at the Foxconn factory which is located in Chengdu, a high-tech region in the South of China. It is also believed that at the time of explosion there were hundreds of workers present, who were working in the assembly line of the iPads.

 

 

 

Some argue that Apple could face pressure to review its position in China but this is most unlikely given the fact that there is a history of poor health and safety observance in that country that modern industry has failed to learn from. The company had said it had been working through what it called the ‘mother of all backlogs’ to meet demand and this incident is therefore bound to generate unwanted publicity for Apple particularly around the issues of its corporate responsibility.

 

 

 

Foxconn has been under scrutiny over the last 18months over working, health and safety conditions of workers in its factories following a spate of suicides. Production has been suspended at the factory until completion of the investigation and Foxconn is cooperating fully with the police.

 

 

 

Analysts envisage that the shutdown will could last until the end of June, could cause production loss of half a million iPads the production of which has already been hampered by the shortage of raw components due to the Japanese earthquake in March.

 

 

 

 

ANALYSIS

Is there a Dotcom bubble mark II on its way?

 

Easy money met smart ideas; interest rates were low as central banks had eased monetary policy after a financial crisis; new technology creating new ideas and new internet-based companies of which  no-one is sure which of them was real and which was a waste of time;  many coming  to the stock market at massive valuations with odd names and faith-based business plans; others are  getting funded from venture capitalist; anything and everything was going to be done on the web

 

 

 

Sounds familiar? Well those were the tenets of the the last dotcom bubble but like most bubbles, it burst. The trailblazers of the first dotcom boom made millions, today’s new web giants are arguably or justifiably valued at billions but loss-making Twitter has been valued at $10bn and facebook is said to be worth more than Ford.  For some investors, the alarm bells are starting to ring and questions are being asked whether we have learned from the dotcom failures of over a decade ago.

 

 

 

Just last week LinkedIn the first major US social network to go public made its debut at the New York Stock Exchange NYSE. The ensing frenzy from investors saw the company double its share price from $45 pre-floatation, peaking at $122 before settling at $94 at the end of its first day – not bad for a company that made modest profits of  $19.4million last year.

 

 

 

LinkedIn’s stock market evaluation of $10billion (£6billion) makes its founder and largest shareholder a billionaire overnight. While LinkedIn's stellar debut signifies an appetite among investors for shares in the new generation of technology and digital media companies, it has raised concerns about the re-emergence of a new tech bubble which will spark a frenzy of social media flotations where the revenue streams and operation models of their businesses remain slightly obscure.

 

 

 

Others profusely disagree with the prospect of  a return to the dotcom bubble over a decade ago or indeed any smiliarity between the  dotcom companies of then and now. In a blogpost and unambiguous about his thoughts on the comparison, Scott Cutler, Vice President  at the NYSE said, ‘the dotcom firms in the 2000s were companies with no revenues, no profits and dreams. The companies coming today are marked with significant revenues, profits, global growth, business penetration and most importantly, experience, maturing business models through at least one major financial crisis. If today is any sign of things to come, we are in for an exciting race in the next year. Pick the winners.’

 

 

 

 

 

Is it ‘Adieu’ to  the PC?

 

 

From a period dating back to 2009, the expenential increase in mobile PCs and as tight budgets squeezed corporate IT spending, it had precipitated a contraction in the sale of desk top computers. In a 12month period between 2008 and 2009, global PC shipments shrunk by 4%. In the fourth quarter of 2010, PC shipments in western Europe declined of 4.4 per cent on the same period in 2009. Between October and the end of December 2010, the consumer PC market in western Europe continued its downward spiral, with shipments declining 8.1 per cent. Despite the reason given that  uncertain economic factors and unemployment causing  consumers to delay discretionary spending, all indicators suggest the decline is more structural. 2011, it is said  will be a defining year for the consumer device market, but it appears on the face of it to be the knell that summons the death of the PC  as the PC market has taken another hit this month. Analysts IDC and Gartner both reports claiming shipments had fallen globally, with the former citing a 3.2 per cent drop and the latter offering a more modest 1.1 per cent year-on-year. Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner, said the PC market may have gone through ‘one of the worst declines in its recent history’.

 

 

What is irrefutable is that mobility has won the PC battle not on technicality, but with a knockout punch. With a plethora of smartphones and media tablets in an already overcrowded market, more consumers either switched to buying an alternative device, or simply held back from buying PCs. In fact in the final quarter of 2010, two major PC vendors saw their market share  fall year-on-year across western Europe.

 

 

Analysts also cite extended PC lifetimes and the lack of compelling new PC experiences as playing equally significant roles in the decline.

 

 

The decline is bound to have an adverse effect on Corporate PC refresh cycles. Companies entrenched in the PC market are bound to find it pretty hard going as businesses remain cautious in investing in new desktop hardware . Economic uncertainty and budgetary constraints are bound to have an effect on sale and post sale service contracts which may be delayed or shelved completely as IT managers consider mobile devices as viable and cheaper alternatives.

 

 The days we can predict big corporate PC upgrades are long gone as more companies are increasingly embracing a ‘bring-your-own-computer’ strategy. Although the migration to Windows7 and virtual desktop infrastructure has recently galvanised corporate refreshes, the advent of cloud based devices is bound to render traditional corporate PC even more redundant.

 

 

However it is not all doom and gloom. Lenovo – worlds fastest growing PC manufacturer – expects buying habits still be shaped by consumer rather than corporate purchases. Both it  and Toshiba both saw substantial growth in a difficult quarter. Lenovo rose by around 16.5 per cent, according to both IDC and Gartner , while Toshiba grew by 5.3 per cent according to Gartner or 3.8 per cent according to IDC. It is also worth noting that 30% of Dell’s $15billion global sales in the first quarter of 2011 came from its enterprise services division. The company is in fact thinking of expanding its enterprise services in the UK by the end of June 2011.

 

 

 

These point towards possibly a presumptuous and premature demise of the PC, I have a strong feeling it might still be with us a while yet.

 

 

 

WAfritel and WAFICT shift to October

 

 

 

Organisers of the W.Afri.Tel exhibition and WAFICT Congress announced at the weekend that the event has been  rescheduled to October 18, 19, 20, 2011 ‘in order to give our teeming participants, exhibitors, speakers, conference delegates and visitors, who would otherwise be unable to attend the event, a chance to make adequate preparations to be at the events’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nigeria’s professional/business class prepare ‘terms of engagement’ with new government

 

 Although Nigeria’s government transition next week does not involve a change at the very top, three professional and trade associations are known to be warming up to engage the new and in-coming Goodluck Jonathan government to chart a new path for growth in the various sub sectors of the economy.

 

 

 

President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers Mr. Alade Ajibola told the media in Abuja this weekend that President Jonathan should use his popular mandate to attract the best brains into government with less emphasis on political patronage.

 

 

 

The Nigeria Computer Society has also planned two quick events to steer the government on the direction they expect it to tow on patronage of software applications. The Association will exhibit home-made software resources in a trade show it calls NITEX 2011 on June 15 in Lagos. This will be followed by an assembly of its eggheads in Abuja to map out a strategy of engagement with the government on improving the quality of service in their industry.

 

 

 

The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, ATCON is also known to be holding a strategy meeting of its members on May 27 after which its National Executive Council will address the media on implementation of its plan on broadband access and its blueprint for improvement of the industry and its players.

 

 

 

Mr. Ajibola Olude, Executive Secretary of ATCON said in Lagos during the week that although the strategy meeting is for members only, the briefing immediately after will be open to the public and the media. The meeting and subsequent media briefing will be held at Golden Gate Restaurant at 2.00pm

 

 

 

Its more work and no play for the PlayBook

 

 

It appears that the foray of Research In Motion (RIM), manufacturers of Blackberry, into the tablet market has run into difficulty early days with about a thousand of its ‘all-conquering’ tablet – the Blackberry PlayBook – having to be recalled due to software problems.

 

 

Despite a number of indicators – Android’s open source technology offering fantastic value and scope for development making it popular with user; analysis from many authoritative bodies that consumer demand and trends for Android phones are strong; and the upturn in global shipments in the fourth quarter in 2010; RIM seem to have not fared too well. The launch of the iPad2 could not have helped.

 

 

Sales are reported to be lacklustre. This has undoubtedly been exacerbated by the news that models that were shipped had a faulty operating system. According to RIM, the recall involves only the 16GB models of the PlayBook. It said majority of the affected devices were still at retailers and have not reached customers. The problem, they say, involves the initial setup of the device. ‘In the small number of cases where a customer received a PlayBook that is unable to properly load software upon initial set-up, they can contact RIM for assistance’, a RIM statement said.

 

 

News of the recall played badly with the markets with RIM shares closing a an all-time low of $41.72 on the Toronto Stock Exchange – lower than the low of $42.53 at the peak of the recession in March 2009 and an astronomical drop from $150 at its peak in June 2008.

 

 

Under these conditions, markets and investors are always jittery. RIM’s slipping sales and market value have got tongues wagging and there is talk that Microsoft might buy the company which virtually invented the smartphone just to have some leverage with both their competitor - Apple - which only arrived in the smartphone market in 2007.

 

 

 

IBM expands its accreditation programme in Scotland

 

The role of universities in the knowledge-based economies of today has expanded from providing education and conducting research to an ever-increasing contextual application of knowledge outside the academic walls. Apart from economic performance, ICT firms need to continuously augment their innovative capacity and ability to create new markets.

 

 

IBM, as part of the trend of collaboration with further education (FE) institutions, has introduced qualification courses for its Power systems and System z mainframes throughout universities and colleges in Scotland. The Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA)- provider of qualification, assessment and certification in Scotland has partnered with IBM to help develop new IT skills for the next generation IT professionals.

 

 

In an era when take-up of IT courses are on the wane, and the basic IT skills of the workforce is woefully inadequate to meet the skills requirement of employers, these kind of supplier qualifications will go quite a way to alleviate the aforementioned skills shortage and also ensure that companies spend less time up skilling their staff.

 

 

Gary Kildare, IBM Vice President in Scotland said, ‘There is a greater demand for technical skills entering the job market. Our clients have told us that they need these skills to help run and build their organizations and students want IBM certification on their CVs.’

 

 

Having introduced courses on its System I to 43 colleges in Scotland back in 2007, IBM courses for its System z will be available for free institutions through individual teaching membership for the start of the 2011/2012 academic year. Postgraduate students and IT professionals will also have access to these courses

 

 

 

Android vulnerability exposed

 

Just an Android is enjoying unprecedented success in the crowded mobile marketplace with analysts forecasting that it will own almost half (49.2%) of the market by next year, and handset manufacturers who have deployed the popular OS growing easily dominating its next-placed competitor – iOS, questions are now being asked whether the increasing adoption of Android poses a serious IT risk.

 

 

These question follow a damning finding from research which say that that almost all Android smartphones are wide open to data leaks which foster cyber criminality. The researchers from the University of Ulm in Germany have asserted and precisely worked out that Android devices connect to unsecured Wi-Fi networks leak personal data 99% of the time. The vulnerability, they contend, is due to an improper implementation of the ClientLogin protocol.

 

 

The researchers Bastin Koning, Jens Nickels and Florian Schaub say that when a user logs in their information, ClientLogin receives an authentication token which is sent as a clear text file and can be used for up to 14days – ample time for cyber criminals to do as they please.

 

 

The security implications are largely due to the fact that Android platform is open source thus making it an easy target for malware which studies reveal have increased by 400% in the last year. The worry now is that if Android inevitably becomes the biggest mobile platform, consequences for data management are even more serious.

 

 

‘The latest research just show that Android users need to be even more careful with their phones than they are with their PCs’, said Omri Sigelman, Vice President of AVG Mobilation, a provider of security software for Android.

 

 

 

 

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CONNECTING NIGERIA:

ATCON flags Broadband Access Implementation Plan

 

 

Information came from ATCON’s Secretariat during the week that the Association’s implementation of its broadband roadmap plans has commenced. It is understood that the Association is inviting its members and all existing and prospective players to make investment in broadband opportunities which abound in the Nigerian market. The Association says it is collaborating with Businessworld Communications Ltd to present an investor Userguide to delegates at a High Level Summit on Broadband scheduled for July 26/27.

 

 

The President of ATCON, Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu, also revealed in Abuja that the Summit will be an expose on business opportunities which are available and to tell everybody who is doing what in the market to enable investors latch into the massive opportunities.

 

 

Although a roadmap document has already gone to Government, a bulk of what is required to provide jobs, access, enhance reach and increase profit is within the realm of private investments. ‘We do not need government’s money to spend but we need its good decisions to make us do business smoothly’ he said.

 

 

Better life in rural communities with ICTs is Theme for this week’s celebration

 

This year, World Telecommunication and Information Society Day highlights the theme “Better life in rural communities with ICTs”, which was adopted by ITU Council in 2009 and follows up on the theme for 2010: “Better city, better life with ICTs”.

 

ICTs are increasingly in demand to meet the Millennium Development Goals. In the rural context, ICTs provide enhanced opportunities to generate income and combat poverty, hunger, ill health and illiteracy.

 

 

Half the world’s population resides in rural districts and far flung communities. This half — three billion people — represent the poorer, less educated, and more deprived cousins of our urban citizens. Indeed, latest figures indicate that as many as 70 per cent of the developing world’s 1.4 billion extremely poor people live in rural areas1. They are also among the least connected to the benefits of ICTs. We cannot allow this situation to continue.

 

 

As the leading specialized agency of the United Nations for information and communication technologies (ICT), ITU looks towards its Members to raise awareness of the role of ICTs in creating fresh opportunities for a better life through long-term, sustainable development, not least among the most vulnerable sections of our society.

 

 ICTs and related e-applications are key instruments in improving governance and rural services, such as providing community health care, safe drinking water and sanitation, education, food and shelter; improving maternal health and reducing child mortality; empowering women and the more vulnerable members of society; and ensuring environmental sustainability. As ICTs increasingly dictate lifestyles and behaviour patterns and power the growth of trade and commerce, rural communities must not be allowed to fall behind cities in their quest for connectivity.

 

 

Broadband connectivity is essential to establish the information and communication highway that will feed both urban centres and rural communities with the means to meet their development goals and aspirations. ITU's Build on Broadband initiative is aimed at increasing the roll out of this state-of-the-art technology. Last September, the ITU/UNESCO-led Broadband Commission, which includes leading proponents from around the world, submitted its report to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon ahead of the MDG Review in New York.

 

Developing a global partnership for development and using the power of ICTs to meet the MDGs is a goal in itself. We therefore call upon our Member States, Sector Members and Associates as well as academia and citizens’ groups to pull together every conceivable resource to ensure that rural communities worldwide are fully connected to ICTs. Acting as catalysts, ICTs open the door to myriad solutions in the quest for a more productive and better life in our rural communities.

 

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), which met in Geneva in 2003 and in Tunis in 2005, called upon countries to consider establishing national mechanisms to achieve universal access in underserved rural areas in order to bridge the digital divide. ITU is committed to connecting the world and to ensure that the benefits of ICTs reach the remotest corners as well as the most vulnerable communities.

 

 

The theme of this year’s WTISD, “Better life in rural communities with ICTs”, aims to ensure that ICTs will contribute to a better future for our rural populations. As a means of bringing global attention to this theme, ITU will present the annual World Telecommunication and Information Society Award to eminent personalities who have contributed to connecting rural communities to the benefits of ICT.

 

source: ITU

 

 

 

 

 

Big and done deal as Microsoft hypes Skype

 

 

Microsoft – the world’s largest computer software manufacturer, licensee, products and services designers has acquired the Luxembourg-based internet phone service Skype for an eye-watering $8.5bn (£5.2bn). The deal, Microsoft's largest acquisition, has seen it pay three times what Skype was worth only 18 months ago.

 

 

 

Talking about the mammoth deal, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO, told the Wall Street Journal that the company hopes the acquisition will be worth the money by allowing Microsoft to ‘be more ambitious, do more things.’ ‘Skype is a phenomenal service that is loved by millions of people around the world. Together we will create the future of real-time communications so people can easily stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues anywhere in the world’, he said.

 

 

 

Skype said to become a new business division within Microsoft will have Skype CEO Tony Bates assume the title of president of the newly formed division reporting directly to Ballmer. ‘Microsoft and Skype share the vision of bringing software innovation and products to our customers. Together, we will be able to accelerate Skype's plans to extend our global community and introduce new ways for everyone to communicate and collaborate,’ he said.

 

 

 

Skype, with 170 million regular users for calls and chats for more than 207 billion minutes of voice and video conversations, is not that much of a risky acquisition. Its potential is reflected in the fact that it was bought by Ebay for $3.1 billion in 2005. Failing to make a profit, eBay to put the company on an auction block in 2007 and sold a 70 percent stake in the company to private equity firm Silver Lake Partners for $2.75 billion. In August last year it announced plans for a share flotation which, presumably in search of a suitor, was subsequently put on hold. However Skype’s business model based on the premise that country-to-country calling in Europe can be considerably more expensive than long distance calls in the US state to state and where a majority get a free service, it is difficult for Skype to reap any profits despite its millions of users. With a net loss of $7 million last year, something had to change.

 

 

 

Microsoft hopes to capitalize on the acquisition by weaving Skype's technology into more and more of its products, including Windows which operate 8 out of 10 computers and servers on the planet. It will support Microsoft devices like Xbox and Kinect, Windows Phone and a wide array of Windows devices, and Microsoft will connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live and other communities. Microsoft will continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms.

 

 

 

The deal would provide Microsoft with the ability to sell more online advertising and offer business conferencing tools, as well as better leverage social media platforms such as mobile phones, video and social outlets to help Microsoft catch up with Google, Facebook and Apple.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OPINION

For Microsoft, Skype Opens Vast New Market in Telecom

by Steve Lohr, NewYork Times: May 10, 2011

 

 

Microsoft has peered into the future, and placed a bet that people the world over want to stay in touch with someone anytime and anywhere — preferably at no cost.

 

 

 

By buying Skype, Microsoft would immediately become a leader in online voice and video calls.

 

 

 

In agreeing Tuesday to pay $8.5 billion to buy Skype, the pioneer in Internet phone calls, Microsoft is embracing a technology that is transforming the way people communicate at home and at work. And by stitching Skype technology into Microsoft products, used by hundreds of millions of people, the software giant could hasten the mainstream adoption of video communications, especially in businesses.

 

 

 

Microsoft, although rich and powerful, lags in new fields like smartphone software. Skype could help it better compete with the new giants of technology, like Google and Apple.

 

 

 

“Skype has been a forerunner, and this deal is Microsoft trying to become relevant in this new age of Internet communications,” said Berge Ayvazian, a telecommunications consultant. “It could really change things for Microsoft and accelerate the spread of this new technology.”

 

 

 

The future of communications, industry analysts and executives say, will be animated by Internet technology and rests increasingly on video calls, as well as voice and text messages. Skype started on personal computers less than a decade ago, but is now beginning to make its way onto smartphones. As it heads for living rooms with applications like at-home videoconferencing on digital televisions, it could change the way people make even the most routine calls.

 

 

 

This next generation of communications is both a threat and an opportunity to telecommunications and technology companies — a focus of energy, investment and anxiety for corporations including AT&T, Verizon, Apple, Google and Facebook.

 

 

 

Microsoft is betting that Skype can help change its fortunes. Skype is a leader in Internet voice and video communications, with 170 million users each month connected for more than 100 minutes on average. In the last year or two, video use has surged, now accounting for 40 percent of Skype’s traffic.

 

 

 

That large and active community of users represents a major asset, said Steven A. Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive. “It’s an amazing customer footprint,” Mr. Ballmer said in an interview. “And Skype is a verb, as they say.”

 

 

 

Mr. Ballmer never mentioned Google, Microsoft’s archrival whose name is used as a verb for Internet search. In that market, Microsoft is spending heavily to try to catch Google, and making some progress with its Bing engine, but at great financial cost.

 

 

 

Google, like Skype, has a free Internet phone call and video messaging service. So Microsoft, analysts say, is taking a bold step to grab a leadership position instead of risking falling behind Google in a crucial market and then facing the difficult task of trying to catch up.

 

 

 

“Skype gives Microsoft instant size and scale in this emerging market,” said Howard Anderson, a senior lecturer at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The merger with Skype, if successful, could give Microsoft a leading consumer Internet service — something it has lacked — and help lift its other businesses, like smartphone software, Office productivity programs and Xbox video game consoles, analysts say.

 

 

 

In doing so, Microsoft aims to keep people seamlessly connected at work or at home. “We want to enable communications across people’s lives,” Mr. Ballmer said in a press conference in San Francisco.

 

 

 

Skype, founded in 2003, is a creation of the new technology that is transforming telecommunications. “For some time, it has been clear that telecommunications is going to move to all-digital Internet technology,” said Kevin Werbach, an associate professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a former official at the Federal Communications Commission. “Skype shows what can be done.”

 

 

 

Skype was founded by two entrepreneurs, one Swedish and one Danish, with software developed by a small team of programmers in Estonia. They deployed a version of peer-to-peer software, initially associated with illegal file-sharing of pirated music and movies. The voice and video travel over the Internet rather than dedicated phone landlines or cell tower networks.

 

 

 

Skype has had a bumpy ride as a business. EBay bought it for $2.6 billion in 2005, and then sold most of it to a private investors’ group in 2009, after eBay could not figure out how to make money on Skype.

 

Taken from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/11/technology/11skype.html?_r=1

 

 

 

 

 

OPINION

Is skills shortage choking off ICT development?

by Abi Bilesanmi, Editor, CyberschuulNews

 

As we endeavour to advance into the 21st century information age, it will appear that apart from inadequate infrastructure provision, progress  is hamstrung by the dire lack of trained, skilled and knowledgeable IS workers who are able to interact with online and off-line information sources. Technological advancement has made it possible that we can tap from the rich intellectual capital lying dormant. The utilisation of this capital rests on the presupposition of the availability of not just  integrated infrastructure but a skilled workforce that can design different interaction methodologies and technologies as well as  use special-purpose information systems devices and approaches such as web-based database applications to access and query on-line databases developed for today’s market

 

According to OECD reports, the shortage of information and communications technology (ICT) skills in developed countries could become a serious issue once the worldwide economic crisis starts easing, The problem is currently mitigated however by  the Indian service firms increasingly recruiting internationally. We need to emulate the Asia-Pacific region which has been performing well hence the rise of the Indian tech service firms who have been changing their product-product mix to adapt to the changing market demands.

 

For our domestic market, we will need to stem the tide by not just by increasing the number of undergraduates and postgraduates  in science and engineering, but also incentivise so as not to lose them to cross-border movement of IT professionals to other sectors or countries.

 

The Nigerian IT industry must resist playing the familiar blame game while the skills shortage gathers momentum. Top IT and business leaders have been highlighting the shortage of IT skills as having an increasingly negative impact on business, with many companies being forced to delay introducing new products and services due to an innate inability to fill vacancies. This is not primarily the industry’s problem. Government, business and academia need to come up with effective strategies that marry the millions of people wanting jobs with the thousands of jobs wanting people and realise it cannot successfully do that from a rapidly dwindling skills pool. It should not work on the best case scenario that it has a skills problem but on the worst case that it has a full-blown skills crisis and wake up to the fact that if it does not do something about it quickly, then at best the entire industry will suffer a slow and agonising decline.

 

As ICT permeates wider and deeper into everyday life, IT skills become more indispensable. These skills are the foundations of most businesses. IT-intensive companies are looking to utilise the abundant human capital we have to meet burgeoning business requirements. It is therefore imperative to up-skill our workforce not just for the purposes of attracting investment, but also to avoid the ‘brain drain’ to other countries.

 

Training more technicians

We need to fully incorporate ICT into the educational curriculum as well as establish specialist ICT academies to produce a stipulated significant number of highly trained technicians a year. Through a credible system of funding, scholarships, bursaries and work placements, businesses, in collaboration with higher education institutions, need to have a mechanism (a quota) of producing graduates in IT and IT-related skills.

 

A well-structured, stratified career path with adequate remuneration is best way not only to keep the skills within the industry but also a means of attracting young people – to raise awareness on the bright possibilities of a chosen career in IT, and encourage them to take the right subjects at school level – most notably maths and science – to allow them to take advantage of these.

 

One notable thing that some in the industry have deployed to encourage others is providing mentorship programmes, but this is expensive. The government, through a range of financial incentives and a diminution in bureaucratic red tape, should encourage business to extend this. It needs to facilitate the ability of companies to bring in personnel (from outside the country if and where necessary) on fixed term contracts to plug gaps in the short term but with a long term objective of training local workers to do these jobs.

 

The issue of skills shortage is not beyond redemption but while the industry has cause for celebrating certain achievements, we all have cause for trepidation on its long term future. The industry is no doubt doing its best but now we are on the march, the prospect of stagnating or even falling off is real and imminent.   We wait with bated breath for others to also play their roles for it is far more in everyone's interests for employers to have access to the expertise they need, and this means tackling the skills gap at its root – and quickly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Its more work and no play for the PlayBook

 

It appears that the foray of Research In Motion (RIM), manufacturers of Blackberry, into the tablet market has run into difficulty early days with about a thousand of its ‘all-conquering’ tablet – the Blackberry PlayBook – having to be recalled due to software problems.


Despite a number of indicators – Android’s open source technology offering fantastic value and scope for development making it popular with user; analysis from many authoritative bodies that consumer demand and trends for Android phones are strong; and the upturn in global shipments in the fourth quarter in 2010; RIM seem to have not fared too well. The launch of the iPad2 could not have helped.


Sales are reported to be lacklustre. This has undoubtedly been exacerbated by the news that models that were shipped had a faulty operating system. According to RIM, the recall involves only the 16GB models of the PlayBook. It said majority of the affected devices were still at retailers and have not reached customers. The problem, they say, involves the initial setup of the device. ‘In the small number of cases where a customer received a PlayBook that is unable to properly load software upon initial set-up, they can contact RIM for assistance’, a RIM statement said.


News of the recall played badly with the markets with RIM shares closing a an all-time low of $41.72 on the Toronto Stock Exchange – lower than the low of $42.53 at the peak of the recession in March 2009 and an astronomical drop from $150 at its peak in June 2008.


Under these conditions, markets and investors are always jittery. RIM’s slipping sales and market value have got tongues wagging and there is talk that Microsoft might buy the company which virtually invented the smartphone just to have some leverage with both their competitor - Apple - which only arrived in the smartphone market in 2007.



IBM expands its accreditation programme in Scotland

 

The role of universities in the knowledge-based economies of today has expanded from providing education and conducting research to an ever-increasing contextual application of knowledge outside the academic walls. Apart from economic performance, ICT firms need to continuously augment their innovative capacity and ability to create new markets.


IBM, as part of the trend of collaboration with further education (FE) institutions, has introduced qualification courses for its Power systems and System z mainframes throughout universities and colleges in Scotland. The Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA)- provider of qualification, assessment and certification in Scotland has partnered with IBM to help develop new IT skills for the next generation IT professionals.


In an era when take-up of IT courses are on the wane, and the basic IT skills of the workforce is woefully inadequate to meet the skills requirement of employers, these kind of supplier qualifications will go quite a way to alleviate the aforementioned skills shortage and also ensure that companies spend less time up skilling their staff.


Gary Kildare, IBM Vice President in Scotland said, ‘There is a greater demand for technical skills entering the job market. Our clients have told us that they need these skills to help run and build their organizations and students want IBM certification on their CVs.’


Having introduced courses on its System I to 43 colleges in Scotland back in 2007, IBM courses for its System z will be available for free institutions through individual teaching membership for the start of the 2011/2012 academic year. Postgraduate students and IT professionals will also have access to these courses



Android vulnerability exposed

 

Just an Android is enjoying unprecedented success in the crowded mobile marketplace with analysts forecasting that it will own almost half (49.2%) of the market by next year, and handset manufacturers who have deployed the popular OS growing easily dominating its next-placed competitor – iOS, questions are now being asked whether the increasing adoption of Android poses a serious IT risk.


These question follow a damning finding from research which say that that almost all Android smartphones are wide open to data leaks which foster cyber criminality. The researchers from the University of Ulm in Germany have asserted and precisely worked out that Android devices connect to unsecured Wi-Fi networks leak personal data 99% of the time. The vulnerability, they contend, is due to an improper implementation of the ClientLogin protocol.


The researchers Bastin Koning, Jens Nickels and Florian Schaub say that when a user logs in their information, ClientLogin receives an authentication token which is sent as a clear text file and can be used for up to 14days – ample time for cyber criminals to do as they please.


The security implications are largely due to the fact that Android platform is open source thus making it an easy target for malware which studies reveal have increased by 400% in the last year. The worry now is that if Android inevitably becomes the biggest mobile platform, consequences for data management are even more serious.


‘The latest research just show that Android users need to be even more careful with their phones than they are with their PCs’, said Omri Sigelman, Vice President of AVG Mobilation, a provider of security software for Android.

 

CONNECTING NIGERIA:
ATCON flags Broadband Access Implementation Plan

 

Information came from ATCON’s Secretariat during the week that the Association’s implementation of its broadband roadmap plans has commenced. It is understood that the Association is inviting its members and all existing and prospective players to make investment in broadband opportunities which abound in the Nigerian market. The Association says it is collaborating with Businessworld Communications Ltd to present an investor Userguide to delegates at a High Level Summit on Broadband scheduled for July 26/27.

 

The President of ATCON, Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu, also revealed in Abuja that the Summit will be an expose on business opportunities which are available and to tell everybody who is doing what in the market to enable investors latch into the massive opportunities.

 

Although a roadmap document has already gone to Government, a bulk of what is required to provide jobs, access, enhance reach and increase profit is within the realm of private investments. ‘We do not need government’s money to spend but we need its good decisions to make us do business smoothly’ he said.

 

 

Better life in rural communities with ICTs is Theme for this week’s celebration

 

This year, World Telecommunication and Information Society Day highlights the theme “Better life in rural communities with ICTs”, which was adopted by ITU Council in 2009 and follows up on the theme for 2010: “Better city, better life with ICTs”.

 

 

ICTs are increasingly in demand to meet the Millennium Development Goals. In the rural context, ICTs provide enhanced opportunities to generate income and combat poverty, hunger, ill health and illiteracy.

 

 

Half the world’s population resides in rural districts and far flung communities. This half — three billion people — represent the poorer, less educated, and more deprived cousins of our urban citizens. Indeed, latest figures indicate that as many as 70 per cent of the developing world’s 1.4 billion extremely poor people live in rural areas1. They are also among the least connected to the benefits of ICTs. We cannot allow this situation to continue.

 

 

As the leading specialized agency of the United Nations for information and communication technologies (ICT), ITU looks towards its Members to raise awareness of the role of ICTs in creating fresh opportunities for a better life through long-term, sustainable development, not least among the most vulnerable sections of our society.

 

 

ICTs and related e-applications are key instruments in improving governance and rural services, such as providing community health care, safe drinking water and sanitation, education, food and shelter; improving maternal health and reducing child mortality; empowering women and the more vulnerable members of society; and ensuring environmental sustainability. As ICTs increasingly dictate lifestyles and behaviour patterns and power the growth of trade and commerce, rural communities must not be allowed to fall behind cities in their quest for connectivity.

 

Broadband connectivity is essential to establish the information and communication highway that will feed both urban centres and rural communities with the means to meet their development goals and aspirations. ITU's Build on Broadband initiative is aimed at increasing the roll out of this state-of-the-art technology. Last September, the ITU/UNESCO-led Broadband Commission, which includes leading proponents from around the world, submitted its report to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon ahead of the MDG Review in New York.

 

 

Developing a global partnership for development and using the power of ICTs to meet the MDGs is a goal in itself. We therefore call upon our Member States, Sector Members and Associates as well as academia and citizens’ groups to pull together every conceivable resource to ensure that rural communities worldwide are fully connected to ICTs. Acting as catalysts, ICTs open the door to myriad solutions in the quest for a more productive and better life in our rural communities.

 

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), which met in Geneva in 2003 and in Tunis in 2005, called upon countries to consider establishing national mechanisms to achieve universal access in underserved rural areas in order to bridge the digital divide. ITU is committed to connecting the world and to ensure that the benefits of ICTs reach the remotest corners as well as the most vulnerable communities.

 

 

The theme of this year’s WTISD, “Better life in rural communities with ICTs”, aims to ensure that ICTs will contribute to a better future for our rural populations. As a means of bringing global attention to this theme, ITU will present the annual World Telecommunication and Information Society Award to eminent personalities who have contributed to connecting rural communities to the benefits of ICT.

source: ITU

 

 

Big and done deal as Microsoft hypes Skype

 

 Microsoft – the world’s largest computer software manufacturer, licensee, products and services designers has acquired the Luxembourg-based internet phone service Skype for an eye-watering $8.5bn (£5.2bn). The deal, Microsoft's largest acquisition, has seen it pay three times what Skype was worth only 18 months ago.

 

Talking about the mammoth deal, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO, told the Wall Street Journal that the company hopes the acquisition will be worth the money by allowing Microsoft to ‘be more ambitious, do more things.’ ‘Skype is a phenomenal service that is loved by millions of people around the world. Together we will create the future of real-time communications so people can easily stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues anywhere in the world’, he said.

 

Skype said to become a new business division within Microsoft will have Skype CEO Tony Bates assume the title of president of the newly formed division reporting directly to Ballmer. ‘Microsoft and Skype share the vision of bringing software innovation and products to our customers. Together, we will be able to accelerate Skype's plans to extend our global community and introduce new ways for everyone to communicate and collaborate,’ he said.

 

Skype, with 170 million regular users for calls and chats for more than 207 billion minutes of voice and video conversations, is not that much of a risky acquisition. Its potential is reflected in the fact that it was bought by Ebay for $3.1 billion in 2005. Failing to make a profit, eBay to put the company on an auction block in 2007 and sold a 70 percent stake in the company to private equity firm Silver Lake Partners for $2.75 billion. In August last year it announced plans for a share flotation which, presumably in search of a suitor, was subsequently put on hold. However Skype’s business model based on the premise that country-to-country calling in Europe can be considerably more expensive than long distance calls in the US state to state and where a majority get a free service, it is difficult for Skype to reap any profits despite its millions of users. With a net loss of $7 million last year, something had to change.

 

Microsoft hopes to capitalize on the acquisition by weaving Skype's technology into more and more of its products, including Windows which operate 8 out of 10 computers and servers on the planet. It will support Microsoft devices like Xbox and Kinect, Windows Phone and a wide array of Windows devices, and Microsoft will connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live and other communities. Microsoft will continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms.

 

The deal would provide Microsoft with the ability to sell more online advertising and offer business conferencing tools, as well as better leverage social media platforms such as mobile phones, video and social outlets to help Microsoft catch up with Google, Facebook and Apple.

 

 

 

 

OPINION
Is skills shortage choking off ICT development?

by Abi Bilesanmi, Editor, CyberschuulNews

As we endeavour to advance into the 21st century information age, it will appear that apart from inadequate infrastructure provision, progress  is hamstrung by the dire lack of trained, skilled and knowledgeable IS workers who are able to interact with online and off-line information sources. Technological advancement has made it possible that we can tap from the rich intellectual capital lying dormant. The utilisation of this capital rests on the presupposition of the availability of not just  integrated infrastructure but a skilled workforce that can design different interaction methodologies and technologies as well as  use special-purpose information systems devices and approaches such as web-based database applications to access and query on-line databases developed for today’s market

According to OECD reports, the shortage of information and communications technology (ICT) skills in developed countries could become a serious issue once the worldwide economic crisis starts easing, The problem is currently mitigated however by  the Indian service firms increasingly recruiting internationally. We need to emulate the Asia-Pacific region which has been performing well hence the rise of the Indian tech service firms who have been changing their product-product mix to adapt to the changing market demands.

For our domestic market, we will need to stem the tide by not just by increasing the number of undergraduates and postgraduates  in science and engineering, but also incentivise so as not to lose them to cross-border movement of IT professionals to other sectors or countries.

The Nigerian IT industry must resist playing the familiar blame game while the skills shortage gathers momentum. Top IT and business leaders have been highlighting the shortage of IT skills as having an increasingly negative impact on business, with many companies being forced to delay introducing new products and services due to an innate inability to fill vacancies. This is not primarily the industry’s problem. Government, business and academia need to come up with effective strategies that marry the millions of people wanting jobs with the thousands of jobs wanting people and realise it cannot successfully do that from a rapidly dwindling skills pool. It should not work on the best case scenario that it has a skills problem but on the worst case that it has a full-blown skills crisis and wake up to the fact that if it does not do something about it quickly, then at best the entire industry will suffer a slow and agonising decline.

As ICT permeates wider and deeper into everyday life, IT skills become more indispensable. These skills are the foundations of most businesses. IT-intensive companies are looking to utilise the abundant human capital we have to meet burgeoning business requirements. It is therefore imperative to up-skill our workforce not just for the purposes of attracting investment, but also to avoid the ‘brain drain’ to other countries.

Training more technicians

We need to fully incorporate ICT into the educational curriculum as well as establish specialist ICT academies to produce a stipulated significant number of highly trained technicians a year. Through a credible system of funding, scholarships, bursaries and work placements, businesses, in collaboration with higher education institutions, need to have a mechanism (a quota) of producing graduates in IT and IT-related skills.

A well-structured, stratified career path with adequate remuneration is best way not only to keep the skills within the industry but also a means of attracting young people – to raise awareness on the bright possibilities of a chosen career in IT, and encourage them to take the right subjects at school level – most notably maths and science – to allow them to take advantage of these.

One notable thing that some in the industry have deployed to encourage others is providing mentorship programmes, but this is expensive. The government, through a range of financial incentives and a diminution in bureaucratic red tape, should encourage business to extend this. It needs to facilitate the ability of companies to bring in personnel (from outside the country if and where necessary) on fixed term contracts to plug gaps in the short term but with a long term objective of training local workers to do these jobs.

The issue of skills shortage is not beyond redemption but while the industry has cause for celebrating certain achievements, we all have cause for trepidation on its long term future. The industry is no doubt doing its best but now we are on the march, the prospect of stagnating or even falling off is real and imminent.   We wait with bated breath for others to also play their roles for it is far more in everyone's interests for employers to have access to the expertise they need, and this means tackling the skills gap at its root – and quickly.
 

ATCON/Bussinesworld set to host Summit on
 ‘Broadband as enabler for connecting the next 50 million users’ - July 26/27, 2011



 
Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria, ATCON said in Lagos during the week that it has commenced initial implementation of massive mobilization of investment into its Broadband penetration agenda.
 
The Association is working in collaboration with Businessworld Communications Ltd, to field the first in the series of Broadband Investment Summits in the form of Conference/Exhibition/Booklaunch to propagate available investment opportunities in broadband availability across Nigeria.
 
World-class speakers and investment managers will lead discussions on how to bring access to remote areas of the country and various solutions which ultimately motivates massive investments in the industry.
 
The collaboration effort has already received a funding support of the Universal Service Provision FUND, USPF.
 
Providers of broadband solutions and technology options will have wide latitude to exhibit their products and services and a study report which contains industry information of those players who will participate in the next phase of telecommunication development in Nigeria will also be presented to delegates at the Summit.
 
Already in progress is a research work which is collecting data from players in the telecommunication industry with a view to publishing THE NIGERIAN TELECOM INVESTORS BOOK - a roadmap into future investments into broadband in Nigeria.
 
The Association calls on interested players to contact ATCON Secretariat secretariat@atcon.org.ng ; 0806 662 9111 to firm up their participation arrangements.
 
 
 
Huawei takes Google’s challenge on smartphones


 
A large audience of undergraduates, Google ambassadors, developers, and entrepreneurs were treated to intro-talks on several Google tools at G-Nigeria which held in Lagos midweek.
 
Google engineers and product managers from across the world took the audience through materials on Google Sites, Google Webmaster, Google Insights, Google Ngram, Google Fusion Tables, Google Places, Google Earth, Google Press, Google Bot, Google Trend, Google Reader, Google Translate, Google Analytics, Google Alert, Google Docs, and Google Baraza etc
 
A major fallout of the meeting is the hint that Huawei may, very shortly, bring its cheaper smartphones to the Nigerian market.
 
 
NCC mounts bigger campaign for SIM Card Registration


 
There are indications that the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, will intensify the enlightenment campaign on the on-going, nationwide SIM registration exercise.
 
Head, Media and Public Relations at the Commission, Mr. Reuben Muoka, said in Abuja that the campaign will now include radio jingles in local languages giving subscribers the location of SIM Card registration centres in all the states of the federation as will also be published in key national dailies and also on the Commission’s website.
 
He said SIM Card registration centres will continue to grow in various states of the federation and that some of the registration agents will move around with mobile units to cover areas that may not have fixed registration centres in any particular locations such as markets and other similar locations.
 
In the NCC SIM registration centres, subscribers are able to register all their SIM cards irrespective of any network, at the same spot. The Commission said all those who have already registered with their telecom service providers need not come for the registration.  
The Commission had on March 28, 2011, flagged off the six-month nationwide SIM registration exercise which will end on 28 September, 2011.  
 
African Submarine cables network.


 
Main One and SEACOM have interconnected their West and East African Cable Systems to launch capacity services from PoP to PoP (points of presence), from a STM-1 level and above. This partnership extends the Main One and SEACOM networks to create a system that offers connection between any SEACOM and Main One PoPs all around Africa between South Africa and Nigeria.
 
Point is: the joint solution is provided on an open-access basis and is immediately available, providing customers with a timing advantage ahead of the completion of other planned systems around the African continent.
 
 
Royal wedding breaks Internet records

 
The strength of the internet as a broadcast medium was proven recently when with live streaming of the British Royal wedding of Will and Kate, over 1.6 million concurrent video views were recorded, beating all records and making it the biggest event to be watched on the Web,
 
Datran Media Acquires Allvoices,
 
Allvoices, one of most trafficked social news sites in the world was acquired during the week by Datran Media, a leading digital marketing technology company.
 
Datran Media says this strategic move will provide it with the ability to enter the social news category with scale and an extensive base of talented contributors and extend the Allvoices crowd-sourcing platform into other relevant categories beyond news,


Community ICT Centre hit by post-election violence;
Call for material support.



 
Kafanchan-based Fantsuam Foundation has been reportedly devastated by the post-election violence which ravaged Northern Nigeria during the past week.
 
Fantsuam Foundation is the community ICT solutions NGO which, along with Nigeria ICT Forum of Partnership Institutions and the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, ATCON, hosted the Broadband For Nigeria (BB4NG) Forum that prepared the Broadband Access Roadmap Document for the Nigerian environment in July 2010.
 
According to Dr John Dada, Founder/CEO of the Foundation, the ravaging of Kafanchan city, the town market, and the rural communities left Fantsuam overrun as it served as haven for deprived citizens. The immediate needs of the Centre and community include:
 
A health clinic that has run out of basic essentials: dressings, dettol, panadol, etc; Households that have run out of food: grains, kerosene, cooking oils and inhabitants who have no clothes as they have lost all there possessions.
 
Dr Dada asks for support. He can be reached on johndada@fantsuam.org ; +234 (0) 807 948 6175
 
A weekend report posted by Dr Dada to CyberschuulNews reads as follows:
 
‘’ The violence was ferocious and widespread from the night of 19th April. The Fantsuam Foundation compound was home for over 200 displaced persons, assisting them with basic shelter, food and clothing. Our Health Centre services were in high demand because the Kafanchan General Hospital was shut down and all patients forcibly evacuated. Our Finance Officer’s mother who was on admission sustained a fracture when armed men invaded the hospital. Fantsuam Foundation undertook the evacuation of patients with gunshot wounds to the Kaura Rural Hospital.
 
As at the time of this reporting, one of our staff members, the award winning Abdul Afana, is still out in the bush with what is left of his family. They lost several family members. Our Health Centre staff, Mrs Atuk had her son shot over 8 times, and he still has bullet embedded in his body. The homes of cashier Solomon, Emmanuel Atuk, Saidu Gambo, Comfort’s uncle, Zakariya Sheyin’s younger sister, Mbah’s elder sister were all burnt down. Virtually everyone on our staff has lost relations and/or friends and properties to the violence. We have now been able to make contact with our wireless engineer, Ahmed Adamu, he is safe in Abuja
 
The loss of lives and livelihood is demonstrated through the burning down of the Kafanchan market. When the market was razed down, many of our microfinance clients, who took refuge in the Fantsuam compound, lost cash and properties. Survival has become difficult for many Kafanchan residents, and southerners, especially those traders who are among our clients are moving out in large numbers.
 
The destruction of the Kafanchan market, closure of banks for over one week, have all contributed to the worsening humanitarian crisis: there is serious shortage of cash and food. The week of the crises was the time our microfinance field officers would make their highest loan recoveries; all of that is now on hold. At the moment, FF has not been able to mobilize enough funds to pay the April staff salaries.
 
We are still making efforts to compile details of losses suffered by our clients, from those of them who are still alive, and who are still in Kafanchan. The enormous scale of destruction indicates that economic recovery in Kafanchan will require sustained and committed planning and support. Fantsuam Foundation is working hard to continue to provide humanitarian support: medical, food supplies, shelter and evacuation of vulnerable people.
 
As we embark on a new challenge of helping our host communities to meet the economic and social peace challenges of this crisis, we look forward to working more closely with like-minded individuals and organizations to rebuild our communities, so that restoration of peace is closely linked to poverty elimination and job creation. We will be happy to explore any options of economic recovery, peace building, market reconstruction, and other social investment activities that may be feasible’’.
 
 
Triumph of Modern Media as
EU plans to engage world’s ruthless regimes



 
Following the more difficult problems that have been raised by plans in the UK to censor traffic and deny websites the right to operate, and recent attempts by Mubarak government to block  internetaccess as a means of repression during the recent uprising in Egypt, the Council of Europe has proposed international rules to govern the internet and insisted human rights must be at the fore.

The draft rules, aimed at establishing a treaty to protect the international flows of information, will lay the parameters of the law and interdependency between countries for the purposes of internet access – similar to what already exists in the aeronautical and maritime spheres for protecting airspace and shipping lanes respectively.

Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe (CoE), addressing a conference in Strasbourg this week told delegates that the internet should be governed by international rules that protect freedom of expression across bordersas well as the security of critical infrastructure.

"We cannot simply sit and wait for some hidden force governing this new ecology to achieve a self-balance that will miraculously satisfy all our needs and expectations," she said in reference to those who claimed the market should be left to regulate the net.

The CoE presented the conference with draft rules inspired by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights - the right to freedom of expression - and drafted for two years by a committee of academics and civil servants from institutions in Austria, France, Germany, Russia and Switzerland.

Jan Malinowski, policy lead for the CoE initiative, told Computer Weekly: "In terms of fundamental rights, of access to information, of freedom of expression, of participation in democracy, you need to keep the internet running today. The rest can wait.


"The technical aspect cannot be separated from human rights. We hear the argument that there is a clear distinction between [them]. I don't believe there is such a big gap. Technical decisions impact human rights; there consequently has to be a policy that ensures the fundamentals are preserved while working out the technical solutions."

The rules would make architects answerable to human rights law. But in a radical departure for treaties, engineers – the Internet Engineering Task Force – will be responsible for building the internet architecture and will be brought into the fold and given a say over its drafting.

The CoE is seeking to emulate the multi-stakeholder model of internet governance, which involves state, private and civil stakeholders, in creating international rules for internet governance. Malinowski proposed a process so unconventionally fluid that its outcome could not be determined but the Council, he said,  would encourage as wide participation as possible towards an international system to protect the internet with private sector agreements integrated such as those already used for corporate social responsibility.

The problem of cross-border internet governance has been addressed in recent months by the UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and Secretary Clinton. Brazil has led the way on introducing governance rules for the internet. But the US has yet to back the European effort. 

 
I
SPs dealt a blow by the court on DEA



Following it’s rushed passage into law, the Digital Economy Act (DEA) - the fight over copyright enters a new phase as a judicial review has rejected claims by Internet service providers' claims that the law needs clarification and clauses are unfair were dismissed at the High Court. In its submission, the ISPs - BT and TalkTalk – claim that government, in the legislation, overstepped its authority with anti-piracy measures and had violated several European laws on commerce and privacy.

In his deliberation which may force the government to re-visit the issue of who pays for the Act’s enforcement but with little impact on its implementation, Mr Justice Kenneth Parker rejected these claims saying that the DEA, in the absence of other methods of combat illegal file sharing, there had to some specific in place and that the DEA was one such method.

"Parliament has proceeded on the basis that existing procedures are inadequate and that legislative measures must be specifically directed to, first, educating and, second, inhibiting unlawful copyright infringement at the level where it is occurring, namely, through a huge number of individual decisions.

"For the reasons already given, I find nothing disproportionate in that position," he said.


He however agreed internet service providers (ISPs) should not have to pay towards some costs of setting up systems such as appeals procedures.

Opponents of the Act remain incandescent. Chris Watson, head of telecommunications at law firm CMS said if the government remains committed to this Act it could have a significant effect on the way people use the Internet.

"The court's decision that the government order stating that service providers should be liable for 25% of the costs of the new measures is unlawful will be welcomed by ISPs, although it remains to be seen what mechanism of costs recovery will replace it," he says.

Supporters of the Act say the ruling confirms the Act is proportionate and consistent with European law and gives the green light to action to tackle illegal downloading in the UK.

The ruling concludes a bad week for the ISP TalkTalk which, according to a new report form the regulator Ofcom, tops the league in terms of number of customer complaints. It received the most complaints about TalkTalk Group with 1.27 complaints per 1000 customers from October 2010 to February 2011 peaking in November 2010 following its investigation into the company for billing consumers for cancelled services.

Both ISPs declared their intent to fight on.

 
MTN, Vodacom to face workers' trouble




Report from South Africa indicates that the Communication Workers Union (CWU) is waging a war against MTN and Vodacom, S.A's two largest cellular companies, in a bid to force the telecoms sector to stop using labour brokers, and hire staff on a permanent basis.
 




 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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