CyberschuulNews Editions 476 - 480

 

 

 Cyberschuulnews 480

 The Future is about Video Demand
Echoes of Nigeria Broadband Forum 2012

 

Delegates to the recent NCC’s Broadband Forum which held in Lagos said so much to show that now that the legacy 20:80 voice /data ratio has virtually transformed into an 80:20 in favour of data, the video demand future of the market, even standing alone, provides incontestable ground for quick government intervention in broadband ubiquity in the emerging and promising Nigerian market.

The host, NCC, went straight into chesting out its often repeated 3-way roadmap, namely the utility, equal access and passive infrastructure models. Delegates said , good and well said, its the beginning, not the end.

‘Relax, we are talking’. . . . . . said CommTech Minister

Mrs Omobola Johnson, Minister of Communication Technology said matter-of-factly that serious engagement was going on with the State governments to seek out ways to reduce Right of Way charges.  Granted that per linear meter charge is understandable since states have to seek out ways for internally generated revenue but the ‘infrastructure taxing at the point of investment’, she said, is clearly a growth inhibitor. She assured that engagement with the Stakeholders in the states was taking place and the outcome would be known soon. Other initiatives to tackle the ecosystem for Broadband include creation of havens for software entrepreneurs, ICT incubators, venture capital streams and the like.

 

Re-farming of Spectrum and a switch over to the famous ‘beauty contest’ model of frequency allocation was mooted by Mr. Kamar Abass, Chief Executive of LM Ericson in Nigeria. ‘It is now getting critical to reduce OpEx’, he said and , ‘there should be an emphasis on the Network Operators proving themselves via a form of ‘audition’ rather than ‘auctioning’ to the highest bidder.

MTN’s Lynda St. Nwafor argued that the ‘scissor effect’ must be avoided by all means for Mobile Network Operators to remain profitable and sustainable while  MainOne’s Funke Opeke gave a resounding case for infrastructure sharing and how Open Access would lead to efficiencies in supply and drastically reduce Operating Expenses

 

 

 

Boost for Voice/Data Service in Nigeria
as PANAFTEL Wireless joins local Mobile Network Market

A start-up this century-compliant Mobile Network Operator which said it is out to build voice/data solutions across Nigeria made a limited launch of its service in Lagos during the week. It is called PANAFTEL Wireless Ltd.

Chairman Oluremi Sogbetun lead a team of five executives of the firm to tell industry players many of who are active SME’s that Panaftel is executing a Nationwide coverage license for services that are conceived and planned on iBurst technology and one which would make the urgently required impact on quality for money service all round the country.

Messers Victor Oisaghie (CEO) and Lekan Balogun, (Director Marketing) said their business solutions have rural Nigeria very much in mind.

 

 

Behold; 4,000Km of fibre to add to Phase3 Network soon

 

Phase3 Telecom is set to expand its network by another 4,000 kilometres of fibre, which would extend service to various local communities in Nigeria.

 

This was revealed by its Chief Operating Officer Mr Sola Teniola as he received an industry Award of The Best Internet Infrastructure Service Provider in Nigeria last weekend. Sola Teniola is also Vice President of ATCON

Tribe Media, organisers of The Africa Information Society Merit Award (AISMA) said in a citation that Phase3 has made a significant impact in broadband connectivity in the West Africa sub region noting that network was connected to the SAT-3 and other super backbones to give the network a redundancy on international sub-marine and aerial fibre routes within the West African sub-region.

 

 INDUSTRY WATCH
‘Concurrence of Broadband Initiatives, a PLUS for Nigeria’

An observation of unusual concurrence on Nigeria’s thirst for ubiquitous broadband internet infrastructure has been made and some say it is one in a life time plus for Nigeria’s planners. Opinion leaders said the practice in the past was for different brilliant but divergent destinations to be preached by industry players and eggheads but this issue of Broadband is now one in which all are agreed that Nigeria is there now and not any longer to take its right foot forward.

Another point is the consensus that the Universal Service Provision Fund, USPF, is a ready tool already existing within the laws to serve at this critical time to change the fortunes very rapidly.

Not a few newspaper reports (see BackPage) have already quoted industry leaders that USPF mandate only needs to be slightly modified to turn it into a ready tool to make the industry leapfrog on getting Nigerians on the superhighway to cyberspace very rapidly.

Corroborating the newspapers reports, Mr Titi Omo-Ettu said ‘It is true, we are as close to making a breakthrough as slightly modifying our USPF mandate to take us there.’ He said further that ‘The USPF is  a tool that we are yet to use to advantage and  if we move too slowly its object will become irrelevant and we shall have ourselves to blame for not using it to leapfrog.  Ubiquity of broadband access is a fragile matter if we do not re-orientate our understanding of un-served and under-served communities.’

 

‘There is hope’ he said ‘because those who should know have been talking like they actually know. So we are coasting home’.

 

 

Cisco flies the World further into the Cloud

No other firm believes in the power of the cloud than Cisco, all things considered. It keeps throwing goo done into cloud-focused acquisitions. First NDS and now SDN (Software Defined Marketing). And it just went ahead to announce last week that it has hired hard usher Marc Benioff into its board.

 

 

Apple? Samsung ? Who wins in Court again?

 

Apple finally made its threat real by filing additional charges in other markets outside the USA  where it said, last year, that its rival Samsung copied ‘entire design and user experience’ from its iPad and iPhone. 

 

Journey to PENTASCOPE 

PENTASCOPE is an imaginary destination in cyberspace. It has never been caught on Google Search and it may never be. Its first coming was when on March 18, 2003, Nigeria chose to hand over its ailing telecommunications monopoly to foreign contractors and, as usual, officials in the corridors of power, actively supported by those who held real power, packaged a burden in the form of a travel bag and they headed for PENTASCOPE. 

Busybodies like yours truly went out searching for PENTASCOPE in cyberspace and returned with a report that it never existed. If it did not exist on the web, we wrote, it could not have existed anywhere. But NITEL was handed over to it all the same. The remaining, as they say, is history. 

Last Monday another journey began, this time for Nigeria’s comatose public power subsystem and a fatter packaging has been pulled through. It is a revisit to PENTASCOPE

There however is a difference between the old and the present versions. This time google search produces several hits. Then it was four 'experts', now it is eight 'experts'. 

Mr Tortoise has just commenced his journey to PENTASCOPE and he is asked when he would return.

 He said ‘not until when I am thoroughly and completely finished’ 

 

‘Confront Growth Inhibitors and Build IT’ –

A Nigeria Broadband 2012 Forum Verdict

 

   

 

The prevalence of right of way charges and challenges, infrastructure taxes, enormously high interest rates and other inhibitors does not constitute insurmountable hassles after all and there is always the way wherever there is the will. It is the same in all markets and Nigeria is not an exception.

That sums up consensus of opinions at the Nigerian Communications Broadband Forum which held in Lagos mid week.

Alcatel Lucent’s Guillermo Alarcon said surplus supply is already at the shores of Nigeria. It is a mobile driven population with bottlenecks sure to arrive as more applications are made available online. He sensitized the networks on being ready to absorb this capacity and made reference to Open Access as a method of resolving various bottlenecks along the way similar to the approach taken in Kenya. According to him, Broadband should be seen as an Ecosystem rather than a supply or demand duopoly.

 

Malcolm Corbett, CEO of Independent Networks Co-operative Association highlighted the immense opportunity in Nigeria to scale beyond the heights of countries in developed states as many developed states have legacy infrastructure and legacy problems to deal with. Nigeria’s infrastructure is still in its infancy and can grow meaning they do not have to make the same mistakes the West has made. He gave examples relating to the change in demand culture in the United Kingdom with great emphasis placed on the BBC iPlayer.

 

 

The BBC is investing heavily in creating great local libraries of the future via digitizing of BBC legacy and current contents. Mr Corbett thinks demand for bandwidth is ever growing and fibre-to-everything is the most important step for coping with this demand. For better penetration, community broadband might be the best initiative where the residents take issues into their own hands.

 

Minister Omobola Johnson who formally opened the Forum had earlier acknowledged a ‘Build IT and IT would come’ cliché suggesting that building the infrastructure and content would raise the stakes just as building content, thus demand, and the infrastructure would also sprout.

 

 

 

‘Let the telecom firms be’

by

Adekunle Adekoya

writing for VANGUARD, July 25, 2012

 

 

WHEN, a few months ago, the Lagos State Government created an agency which it named the Urban Furniture Regulatory Unit (URFU), not a few eyebrows were raised.

 

In the first instance, not a few of the raised eyebrows were concerned that in the face of exploding demand for government resources in the area of services provision, yet another organization was being created which will further take its own share of the limited resources.

 

In an era when the clamour is for less government, we are indeed expanding the sprawl of governance and increasing the cost.

 

But that can come later. What is of greater concern is the mandate of the new URFU, headed by Mr Joe Igbokwe. I had written about this issue recently under the headline: As another regulator comes alive in Lagos.

 

Igbokwe went to town a fortnight ago, and warned that telecommunications masts which did not meet ‘installation standard’ would be pulled down.

 

 

 

These standards, largely unknown, will be applied to telecom masts and I can begin to guess the first targets. However, it would appear that URFU didn’t just come out of the blue; an indication to this effect could be discerned a few years ago.

 

At a public forum in Lagos during the last year of his tenure as EVC of NCC, Engr Ernest Ndukwe had informed his audience of concerns in some government quarters in Lagos about telecom masts, and he had told them that of the figure given by those who raised the concerns, only about one quarter could be domiciled in the telecoms sector.

 

Immediate past president of ATCON, Engr. Titi Omo-Ettu, reacting to URFU’s declaration of intent said that though 6,196 masts were available in Lagos state only 1,599 or 25% of them are properties of telecommunication firms, and Omo-Ettu should know.

 

 

A number of issues come up here: the 75% or 4,597 masts, which do not belong to telecoms firms are probably the ones URFU is targeting. I assert thus because ina situation where we are all clamouring for improved telecoms services, telecoms masts should not be pulled down arbitrarily, lest innocent subscribers be cut off from their service providers.

 

That already is happening in various parts of the country, where states and local governments are shutting down base stations to effect payment of one levy or the other.

 

In fact, it is disheartening to see communities which petitioned GSM firms in 2002, 2003 for establishment of base stations turning around to “gbeghe” such base stations. That is not counting the recent face-off between NESREA and NCC on the same issue of “standards”, or uncountable demand notices fo payment of one levy or the other.

 

But that is what and who we are as a people and as a nation. The superstructure of any progressive society is law and order; in its absence, there is anarchy. If we have a constitution which stipulates that posts and telecommunications matters shall be on the exclusive legislative list, the least we can do is to respect that constitution, and abide by its spirit and letters.

 

Right now, the only regulator for the telecoms sector is NCC, and no state or local government should under any guise try to perform its functions. It is constitutional abuse to do so.

 

In any case, why don’t we all face PHCN and ensure that machinery of state-sponsored extortion stops tormenting us? Aren’t we all paying more for electricity that is not supplied? Let the telecoms sector be with its regulator and let us get another crucial sector off the ground.

 

 

taken from http://www.vanguardngr.com/2012/07/let-the-telecom-firms-be/

 

 

Demand Factors for Broadband:

Proceedings of NCC's Nigeria Broadband Forum 2012

 

 

Mr. Desire Karyabwite, the coordinator Internet Protocol at the BDT (ITU), made the point in Lagos midweek that public authorities should be a driving factor for demand in terms of e-government initiatives, transfer customer services online, and improve processes and communications between and among government departments. He likened services such as M-PESA (Meaning Mobile Money in Swahili) in Kenya as a great driving factor and symbol of success for other mobile payment services.

 

  

Another way demand can be created in Mr Lanre Ajayi submission is by putting online, appropriate applications that citizens need such as Business, Health delivery, Revenue payment and more. The problem is not just long distance communication and penetration but lack of content for consumers to demand. Creating an appetite for demand would always bring along supply.

 

 

How does Google justify $12.4billion for Motorola Mobility

 

 

 

Google has justified, perhaps to itself, the hefty $12.4billion which it files SEC papers to justify.

May also be that buying patents is not a tea party. Not a few people think other wise but that is only their own problem.

 

 

 

 

OPINION

Journey to PENTASCOPE

 

 

 

PENTASCOPE is an imaginary destination in cyberspace. It has never been caught on Google Search and it may never be. Its first coming was when on March 18, 2003, Nigeria chose to hand over its ailing telecommunications monopoly to foreign contractors and, as usual, officials in the corridors of power, supported actively by those who held real power, packaged a burden in the form of a travel bag and they headed for PENTASCOPE.

 

Busybodies like yours truly went out searching for PENTASCOPE in cyberspace and returned with a report that it never existed. If it did not exist on the web, we wrote, it could not have existed. But NITEL was handed over to it all the same. The remaining, as they say, is history.

 

Last Monday another journey began, this time for Nigeria’s comatose public power subsystem and another packaging has been pulled through. It is a revisit to PENTASCOPE

 

There however is a difference between the present version and the old. This time google search produces several hits.

 

Mr Tortoise has just commenced its journey to PENTASCOPE and he is asked when he would return.

 

He said ‘not until when I am thoroughly and completely finished’

 

 

 

 

Handover of Transmission System to Manitoba sealed by FG

 

    

A reform in the Nigerian power sector has started taking the shape which the reformers said is the answer to Nigeria's electricity problems . That should be good news to the telecom sector whose players have said unavailable public power system poses extreme danger to their investments.

 

Last Monday, BPE, Nigeria’s Bureau of Public Enterprises which midwives privatisation of government firms signed a three-year management agreement with the Manitoba Hydro International, a Canadian firm, to take over management of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

 

Television cameras caught Mrs Bolanle Onagoruwa Director General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) signing while Prof Barth Nnaji Minister of Power witnessed for and on behalf of Federal Government.

 

According to Mrs Onagoruwa, The key objectives of the $23.7million contract is to serve as stabilization of the national grid, reduction in electricity losses during transmission, provision for the achievement of certain predetermined targets that would improve grid security, general performance, cultural change and staff re-orientation.

 

 

Other objectives include provision for reward and penalty clauses as incentives for success; provision of efficient management of government investments; ensuring adequate and equitable generation dispatch according to a fair merit order based on sound regulatory principles; ensuring fair market settlements between electricity traders; and provision of skills and expertise transfer to Nigerian counterparts who will serve as deputy and other positions to the management staff of the management.

 

 

“With the signing of the agreement, the Federal Government expects the management contractor to mobilise and resume on Monday, July 30, 2012 with all the eight key personnel and the associated support staff,” Ms Onagoruwa said.

 

 

Minister of Power, Prof Barth Nnaji, said the deal would see Manitoba managing both the systems and also the staff. He told the PHCN workers that they have nothing to fear about the ongoing reform, as it would bring multiplier socio-economic benefits to the country, particularly for the workers who would build on their technical competences and skills in the international environment in the long run.

 

‘If we do things right, TCN of Nigeria can have TCN International, and by that we would have gained competence, best practices and we will be able to sell our competence’. He said

 

The workers he was counselling were on strike as the signing ceremony was going on.

 

Friday July 27, Prof Barth Nnaji while answering a Channels TV interviewer said the  two months promise he made in May 2012 that things would turn better was having problems which were traceable to 'little hitches here and there'.

 

 

 

 

For the First time, Microsoft posts a loss 

Microsoft posted a loss of almost $500 million in its earnings report for its fourth fiscal quarter. And it is official. The company came up to world reckoning in 1986.

Many saw it coming and it therefore did not come as a surprise. The truth may be that the software giant may be up to a good turnaround very shortly when Windows Phone 8 comes live. 

And  

Smart guy Scott gets a brand new job 

ShopRunner, an e-commerce Shopping outfit has hired Scott Thompson as CEO few weeks after he was fired at Yahoo for what has been reported to be a certificate scandal. He listed a degree in Computer Science on his resume a claim which was found to be false. May 2012, barely five months after he resumed as CEO of Yahoo Inc, he was excused out of the job.

The Philadelphia based ShopRunner said yesterday (July 23) that it has named 'Internet and payments executive Scott Thompson its Chief Executive Officer'. ‘Scott joins ShopRunner at a time when the company is enjoying a fast growth trajectory and represents the ideal time to bring on a new leader to further accelerate the company’s expansion. Current CEO and co-founder Mike Golden will continue with the company as its president’ 

Scott on resumption said “Joining ShopRunner is a tremendous opportunity to build on the strong foundation that the company has already established,”  

ShopRunner is 24 months old. 

Court Upholds FCC Move of Universal Service Funds to Broadband

 According to the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Appeals Court for the D.C. Circuit Friday upheld the Commission's decision last fall to plow Universal Service funds into the fertile field of broadband via the newly created Connect America fund. 

The Rural Cellular Association and the Universal Service for America Coalition had challenged the FCC's order. 

The FCC is migrating phone subsidies to broadband, a transition it has recognized will be hard on some incumbents -- including smaller rural carriers -- who relied on those funds. 

taken from http://www.thetelecomblog.com/2012/07/23/microsoft-posts-first-quarterly-loss%e2%80%a6ever/#more-17605

 

Lagos State insists on regulating telecommunications
 Re-starts Naira for Telecom Masts Campaign
  

Lagos State Infrastructure Maintenance and Regulatory Agency (LASIMRA) which went underground two yeas ago after a court ruling over its legitimacy to regulate telecommunications has now resurrected as ‘Urban Furniture Regulatory Unit’ (UFRU) of Lagos State. Mr Joe Igbokwe who headed the former LASIMRA is also the Head of UFRU. 

Igbokwe went to town a fortnight ago warning that telecommunications masts which did not meet ‘installation standard’ would be pulled down. 

The State Commissioner for the environment Mr. Toyin Ayinde to whom Joe Igbokwe reports had earlier told the public that any of the morethan 6,000 telecom masts would be examined and pulled down if they were found to be improperly installed. His figure was however challenged by Mr Titi Omo-Ettu, a private telecommunication Consultant who said although 6,196 masts were available in Lagos state only 1,599 or 25% of them are properties of telecommunication firms. 

With that piece of information it would appear Igbokwe has now included banks and other owners of masts to be ready for UFRU’s examination. 

It is public knowledge that Lagos State was doing all these to shore up revenue by focusing on telecommunication service providers against whom it has drawn up a huge charge plan for telecom masts in the state. It needed to present the case in the form of protecting life and property to secure public sympathy. 

Sources from within Association of Licensed Telephone Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) indicate that telephone operators are set to challenge Lagos State on the matter. A spokesperson of the operators said they would not hesitate to sue the state if it fails to redirect the mandate of the agency from intervening in the telecom regulation which is a statutory function of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). 

Mr Omo-Ettu however thinks the Lagos State plan is a potential huge burden on telecom growth, quality, and cost. He said it is in the interest of the public to challenge Lagos State on the matter failure of which telecom operators might just commence pressure on the Nigerian Communications Commission for different telephone tariff for Lagos phone users to cover the unfair cost that the State government was surely going to introduce.

 The Constitution empowers NCC only to regulate telecommunications and Lagos being a big centre of telecom operation in Nigeria is bound to slow down the progress that has been made in telecommunications and other means must be found to address the problem. 

High quality video Transmission now guaranteed 

The recent public presentation of a Global Video Connect by MainOne Cable company is a resounding answer to requirement for a dedicated video network connecting to key broadcasters as well as production and post-production houses enabling them broadcast live television programs and to also store media content for subsequent access. 

The  telepresence product offers high quality, better value and professionally managed broadcast services on a robust network with low downtime and affordable pricing. 

The Global Video Connect project is a partnership between Main One Cable Company and Tata Communications. The network is managed by Tata Communications while marketing and technical support is provided by MainOne Cable Company.

 

NCC shuts First Bank Communication systems for Spectrum Infringement

 For illegally using 5.4Ghz frequency band, the communication systems of First Bank branches in Ring Road Ibadan and Alagbaka in Akure were shut down  last week. 

An NCC enforcement team led by Mr. Efosa Idehen who stormed both banks confirmed that the frequencies were being illegally used at the banks and it served the bank’s officials with warrants of arrests for illegal use of licensable frequencies. 

The enforcement action, which was carried out with the security personnel, paralyzed activities at both branches of the banks as the disappointed customers were forced out of the premises of the banks at midday. Mr. Efosa Idehen, said that the use of illegal frequency band by the bank is against the prescriptions of the Communications Act 2003. 

At Ibadan, officials of the bank mounted resistance to the shutdown and the Operation Manager was arrested and taken to the Iyaganku Police station. The case was different at Akure where the officials cooperated with the enforcement team.

It will be recalled that the Commission has forewarned all those transmitting illegally on these frequencies through public notices in the media and that those in contravention would be prosecuted. 

Mr. Idehen said the banks would remain shut until the offending equipment are isolated and taken to the police station.

He commended the police for their support to the Commission to sanitize the air space. He stated that the 5.40GHz is meant for data communication and can only be issued by companies licensed by the Nigerian communications Commission. 

ANATEL sanctions Telephone Operators for poor service 

The Brazilian Agency of Telecommunications also called Anatel (in Portuguese, Agência Nacional de Telecomunicações) placed sanction on three leading carriers by ordering them to stop selling new mobile lines in some states until there was improvement in consumer complaints about dropped calls and  poor network coverage.

 The suspension will be effective on Monday July 23 and remain in place until the carriers present an investment plan to improve service quality.

Should any of the carriers violate the sales ban, a fine of $99,000 per day will be imposed.

 Those affected are TIM Participações  (19 States); Grupo Oi (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) 5 States and Claro in 3 states.

 

Yahoo: More about its new CEO 

37 years old Marrisa Mayer who was announced as new CEO of Yahoo last week is also expecting both a baby and fat pay. Very fat when all benefits offered by yahoo add up. 

Marrisa graduated BS and Msc Computer science, came up to Google as one of the pioneer staff and rose quickly to the top. The Google big guys she is leaving behind are happy that hiring one of them is saying they are just the best around. 

The new CEO has already told inquisitive new hounds that she will work with other employees ‘to bring innovative products, content, and personalized experiences to users and advertisers all around the world’.

 

Cyberschuulnews 478

 INDUSTRY WATCH
Growth Forecasts favour Telecom Sector
 

Discount uninspiring record of the power sector performance, which telecom service providers say has been a pain in the neck of business, contemporary forecasts still favour Nigeria’s telecom industry retaining its star position within the economy in the years leading to 2015 end time for the current government. 

Dr. Hamadoun Toure, Secretary General of ITU is expected in Nigeria in two weeks time as guest of Government. Toure, a bureaucrat known for his passion for Nigeria’s prospects of leading African markets will be at home with his host Mrs Omobola Johnson, Minister of Communication Technology. The latter is expected to give a report card on e-governance agenda and especially to tell the story of a workable policy which she may present as fulfilling and timely. 

Toure will pay a mock visit to Prof Barth Nnaji as bodytalk to show world concern for the lacklustre performance of the power sector. He will then head for Lagos July 26 to superintend over NCC’s Broadband Forum for unveiling its blueprint for ubiquitous broadband. 

On the cards are several initiatives which raise the stakes in future investment climate in Nigeria among which are significant inroads being made by Long Distance Broadband Infrastructure Providers such as Glo1, MainOne Cable Co, Phase 3 Telecom and others in bringing access into hinterlands. Notable among several initiatives is the ATCON (Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria) roadmap which final lap of a 3-phasal approach is being fine-tuned as we speak. According to industry analysts, the Association will be mobilising emerging entrepreneurs in a manner that will stimulate broadband investment and content creation into the hinterlands to increase by at least 20% hinged on focused planning and funding facilitation.

 Meanwhile the industry now has 5 international submarine cables, namely SAT3, Glo1, MainOne, WACS and ACE all hungry for traffic from the greater Nigeria out side of Lagos Sea shore. 

On the other hand, in a cursory overview of the recent SIM Card registration, JACITAD (Joint Action for ICT Awareness and Development) which published a status report in May said going by the strict rules of engagement established by NCC and its technical partners, particularly NIMC (National Identity management Commission), the Nigeria SIMs database could become the most trusted database that would eventually make up the planned Nigeria National Identity Database. 

Other databases, in JACITAD's opinion, would include data from existing government agencies such as INEC (voters’ registration), immigration (international passport registration), FRSC (drivers’ license) and FIRS (tax registration). These would be integrated with the Nigeria Identity Number (NIN) to be issued by NIMC. 

The decision by the NCC to engage NIMC as Technical Consultant to the project would ensure the seamless integration of the SIMs card database to the National ID database. 

All these are tools which the industry managers require to hold firmly to a credible management of several investments and opportunities which can only be slowed but not stopped by the clueless, combative journey of a so-called power sector reform.

 

PRODUCT LAUNCH
Launch of Main One Media Suite is for Tuesday

MainOne Cable Company will launch its MainOne Media Suit and a demonstration of its Global Video Connect, GVC, product on Tuesday July 17, 2012 in Lagos.

 Global Video Connect is a dedicated global video network with simultaneous global distribution and reach. It is a solution to content challenges in today’s evolving global media industry. 

It is built on the world’s most advanced dedicated video network in partnership with Tata Communications.

 The product will benefit broadcasters, studio production houses, crusaders for religion, sports and music who require sophisticated means of receiving and broadcasting video content around the world. 

 

TECHNOLOGY/TRAINING
Data Centre Administration: Next level in ICT Development
 

Internet Service Providers, Oil and Gas firms, Financial Institutions especially Banks, are known to be high stakers in the resourcefulness of data centres. All eyes are therefore on the emerging markets in Africa in this regard. 

Nigeria is already known to benefit from a synergy between Capitoline of UK and KITS Technologies  of Nigeria to jointly mount a training that focuses on best practice data centre design, operation and management leading to BICSI credits. 

Highlights of the high-level training include understanding the basics of successful data centre operational management including the documentation which should be in place and the policies and procedures to operate. Such training are known to take issues such as redundant or backup power supplies, redundant data communications connections, environmental controls and security devices as very important. The training will hold in Lagos and Kano. 

 

NEWS
MTN Nigeria builds services on WACS
 

MTN Nigeria is using the opportunities of its recently launched West African Cable System (WACS) to introduce a range of new services for business customers. 

The USD650 million WACS cable system went live in May 2012, linking Europe, West Africa and South Africa with landings in the UK, Portugal, Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Namibia and South Africa.  

In Nigeria the cable is managed by MTN from its landing point to the last mile operated service. The total capacity of the system is 5.12Tbps. 

Nigeria now has 5 submarine cables linking to its shores in Lagos. They are Sat 3, Glo1, MainOne, WACS and ACE. 

‘Driving in Reverse Gear’ – another title for Oransaye Report 

A telecommunication engineer has described the Oransaye Report and recommendations as a solution which seeks to drive Nigeria in reverse gear. 

Mr Titi Omo-Ettu made the point at a discussion with a group of young Nigerians who paid a pre-implementation visit on a project which focuses on youth development in security applications of technology. Mr Omo-Ettu commended the young men for their bright ideas and urged them to keep lifting Nigeria up regardless that those who conceived the ‘Oransaye ideas’ seek to pull it down. 

‘Today’s managers of our polity are stealing our commonwealth blind and they also want to shut down our research centres in the name of conserving funds’. He told the young men that they should use their intellect to contest every inch of Nigeria’s battle ground in the project of using ICT for development of the country.

 

Observations in Nigeria's Management of Power Failure 

On May 10, 2012, we published Prof Barth Nnaji, Minister of Power’s promise at a Ministerial briefing of May 9 that two months from then there would have been signs of positive changes in regularity of electricity supply across Nigeria.  

As usual, he did not sound convincing but he could not be ignored either. 

On July 9, 2012, two months after the Ministerial briefing, we selected 500 subscribers of CyberschuulNews (in a Mailing List of 54,336) who are certainly resident in different parts of Nigeria and put the question to them by email if they had made any notable observation on power supply in their locations. The responses to date, put in groups of reactions, are as follows: 

Total Respondents                                                                                                              391

‘No, no change for the better in my area’                                                                       301

‘I did not expect any improvement in spite of what you said

The Minster promised so I am not surprised nothing has changed’                          22          

‘No change both in my residence and in my office’                                                     35

‘Things went worse in my area’                                                                                        33

 

Up to this moment, Prof Barth Nnaji is yet to come public with a statement on the up to date report on the extent to which his two months promise was accomplished. He has to do so if he wants to be taken seriously by Nigerians. 

 

Flashback to CyberschuulNews Edition 470 of May 10, 2012.
2 months to Stable Electricity –
 Goodluck Jonathan, Barth Nnaji, Sam Amadi all say that is a promise.
 

Minister of Power, Prof Barth Nnaji, gave a fresh pledge for reliable power during the week when he talked at a Ministerial briefing brokered by the Federal Ministry of Information in Abuja. He said gaps which lack of gas supply to new power generating station caused in the past have now been bridged by a solid plan for gas supply to the stations.  

He gave two months as target time when things would start happening for the better. Those who believed him clapped while those who did not booed. 

In another Power Reform implementation meeting, President Jonathan joined both Prof Nnaji and Dr Sam Amadi - Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to reaffirm the reality of achieving improvement in power supply. 

Nigeria looses top-seed Software Engineer 

The Founding President of Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) and Chairman of Neptune Software, Engr. Simeon Chijioke Agu, died last week in Lagos. 

Mr. Simeon Agu, founder and Chairman of Computer Systems Associates (CSA) Limited was a 1970 Electrical Engineering graduate with Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting and Finance. He worked for Shell Petroleum Development Company, later for National Electric Power Authority where he rose to the position of Director of Computer Services. Then he incorporated CSA Ltd. 

Simeon Agu metamorphosed Computer Systems Associates (CSA) to Neptune Software, putting Neptune on the platform to thrive globally. 

An announcement from ISPON President Mr Chris Uwaje said ‘it is with tremendous shock, heavy hearts and great sense of loss that we received and now officially announce the sad demise of Engr. Chijioke Simeon Agu, the founding President of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), a distinguished IT practitioner, Software Industry pioneer and Fellow of the Nigeria Computer Society who passed-on on Sunday July 9th, 2012. 

Tribute and condolences came from far and near especially from industry leaders and experts all commiserating with ISPON.  

Chiefs Don Etiebet and Dapo Sarumi both former Ministers describe the passage as ‘sad and touching’ while President of ATCON Mr Lanre Ajayi said ‘The stock of iconic Information Technology professionals has just been depleted. We have lost a gem, a bridge builder, an elder statesman, a quiet performer, and industry pioneer’. 

Prof. Adenike Osofisan, Past President of CPN, hailed the “Town & Gown” attributes of the deceased by his genial collaboration with research and academics, while Mr Ladi Ogunneye Past President NCS described the deceased as one of the greatest icons of the industry who did not discriminate in responding to social invitations of all members..

To Mr Titi Omo-Ettu, a Past President of ATCON, the late Simeon Agu is ‘a true Iroko of our industry indeed and certainly one of the Titans of our generation’ 

A Condolence register has been opened at http://www.ispon.org

 

To be on top of national security
Obama seeks to control the internet during natural disaster and security emergencies
 

President Barrack Obama is reported to have handed down an executive order which deals with how the country would respond during natural disasters and security emergencies. It basically gives tremendous powers to certain government agencies that can control telecommunications and the web at such unusual times.

According to an explanatory note on the order, the Federal Government must have the ability to communicate at all times and under all circumstances to carry out its most critical and time sensitive missions. Survivable, resilient, enduring, and effective communications, both domestic and international, are essential to enable the executive branch to communicate within itself and with: the legislative and judicial branches; State, local, territorial, and tribal governments; private sector entities; and the public, allies, and other nations. Such communications must be possible under all circumstances to ensure national security, effectively manage emergencies, and improve national resilience. 

Of course the private sector will frown at anything that attempts to shut down business under any circumstances. 

‘RIM is in Good Business’ says Heins 'But I am not satisfied' 

Research In Motion (RIM), Blackberry maker, said though its CEO Thorsten Heins, that everything is ok with the company. ‘I’m talking about now’, he said, ‘not six months ago when I took over’. He was talking to interviewers from Canadian Broadcasting Corp before facing shareholders during the week. 

But RIM, at the same time, announced that it has delayed the launch of BlackBerry 10 for very early next year. Heins defended the delay saying it would, when finally released, rely heavily on improved BlackBerry Messenger social networking tools, including new video chat capabilities, adding that "BlackBerry Messenger is a very strong platform in Asia, Africa and Europe, and we're upgrading it with video chat in BlackBerry 10" 

"RIM is a company at the beginning of a transition that we expect will once again change the way people communicate." Is how Heins wraps it all over when the issue of his company’s trouble seemed being over pressed for his comments and as shareholders become restive.

When he finally met the shareholders on Tuesday he said "I want to assure you that I am not satisfied with the performance of the company over the past year" It was palpable that an attempt to paint satisfaction may mean he was insensitive to Shareholders frustrations.

Cyberschuulnews 477 

Cellphone Radiation Emission is Dangerous? Not Dangerous? Indifferent?
How do you vote?
 

Contrary to popular belief, telecommunication regulators do not set policies outside of communications, and certainly not on health but, rely, instead, on input from the Ministries and Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, and other agencies to make pronouncements on how effect of usage of telecommunication devises affect human health. 

Three weeks ago, USA Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski told his fellow commissioners that there was sufficient reason that the Commission made fresh investigations into phone emission radiation for which standard they had set fifteen years ago. The reasons were merely that phone users kept pressing for such a review and corporate governance required that the matter be looked into. 

In Nigeria, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC yielded to severe pressure from many quarters that another look be taken at claims that radio emission from phone lines were not known to be harmful to human life. It ordered that a meeting of its own experts and others from renown international bodies who are authorities in the subject to be held. For two days June 27 and 28 experts from the Federal Ministry of health, World Health Organisation WHO, International Commission on Non-ionizing Radiation Protection, ICNIRP, ECOWAS Commission, Telephone Operators and concerned stakeholders met in Lagos to brainstorm on the subject. 

In a keynote address at the meeting, Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson warned that given the large number of mobile phone users it is important therefore to investigate, understand and communicate any potential public health impact from mobile phones which work by transmitting radio waves through a network of fixed antennas called base transceiver stations (BTS) 

At the end of it, those whose views should be respected said there was yet no reason to suggest that emissions from telephones or base stations were harmful.

A report of the Conference by The Guardian is used as lead elsewhere in this bulletin.

 Across the globe the number of mobile phones has risen sharply since the early 1980s, with nearly five billion handsets in use today, prompting lengthy debate about their potential link to the main types of brain tumour, glioma and meningioma.

 

 World Health Organisation’s perspective on effect of radiation on health 

Dr Emilie van Deventer, Team Leader of Radiation Programme, Department of Public Health and Environment at the World Health Organisation, WHO, told an EMF Exposure and health conference in Lagos recently that the Organisation has paid very close attention to increasing EMF human exposure due to electricity demand, medical technologies and wireless devices especially as there has been increasing concern from the public.

 She referred to various opinions from different researchers some claiming that cell phone boost cancer while some others say radiations make tumours grow faster.

 However to date, she said, research does not suggest any consistent evidence of adverse health effects from exposure to RF fields at levels below those that cause tissue heating and research has not been able to provide support for a causal relationship between exposure to EMF and self-reported symptoms, or “electromagnetic hypersensitivity’. 

What is more “Electromagnetic hypersensitivity, EHS, is characterized by a variety of non-specific symptoms that differ from individual to individual EHS has no clear diagnostic criteria and there is no scientific basis to link EHS symptoms to EMF exposure.”

 

And an Engineering perspective too…

 At a BTS FORUM late last year, Mr Titi Omo-Ettu, a Telecommunications engineer, had argued that from an engineering standpoint, a claim that base stations are as dangerous to health as has been presented is baseless. 

According to him ‘For those of us who are telecommunication engineers and managers, we are not authorities in the subject of how these things affect human health but we rely on what health experts tell us and we use their opinion to moderate our designs and specifications when constructing BTS’s. For example, the specification on how we locate the waveguide horn which really is where radiation is pumped into the environment already takes care of the remote possibilities of their harmful interference with human beings. When we put the antenna in the sky where communication from one transceiver to another is at such high-level above ground we have eliminated possibilities of harmful interference. That is just in case it is even harmful in the first place’. 

He went further ‘it is not the Mast structure that emits radiation neither is it any of the physical structures that are in the base station location.  And for those who say the standby generating sets are noise polluters, I am surprised that that is being argued in a country where every citizen generates his own power while government only supplements. What happens to the noise that every one of us generates? And what makes our own the only culprit?’ 

The engineer said it is  understandable to counsel that people avoid excessive exposure to radiations in any form but it is an overstatement to say the heath of those who live close to base stations are endangered. 

 

A harvest of arrests for Preregistered SIM Card Fraudsters 

Nigeria’s telecom regulator, NCC  announced recently that it found that an illegality crept into the SIM card registration process when it discovered that SIM cards were being preregistered and sold to unsuspecting  users. It declared the act as illegal and mounted nationwide  awareness  on the subject.

 According to Head of Enforcement of NCC, Mr. Efosa Idehen, said Pre-registered SIM Cards are those in which the biometric identity of a different person is used to register a number of SIM Cards, and then sold to different people such that identity of the user is not same with the one who registered the SIM.

 The Commission said any new SIM Card purchased must be detached from its pack and registered by the user, as nobody is allowed to register new SIM on behalf of another. In addition, all new SIM Cards are expected to be able to receive only until it is registered by the user after purchase but in the case of preregistered SIM Cards, they begin to make and receive calls instantly, which is contrary to the rules guiding SIM registration in the country.  

After extensive warning and monitoring, the Commission has started to arrest offenders and it has made remarkable arrest: 2 in Owerri, 2 Enugu, 3 in Osogbo, 3 in Akure, 5 in Makurdi, 7 in Minna and 2 in Lokoja.

 In all the cases the suspects were caught with bags of pre-registered SIM cards in their possession and they were handed over to the police for further investigations. 

 

Yahoo about to appoint CEO 

Troubled Yahoo is known to be putting finishing touches to appointing a new Chief Executive after firing Scott Thompson a few weeks ago. The two guys on the cards in the photo finish race are current interim CEO Ross Levinsohn and Hulu CEO Jason Kilar.

It will surprise many if the balance goes not in the direction of the interim incumbent.

 

Monday July 9 - Internet blackout for many  

Thousand of internet users especially in USA have high prospect of losing access when the FBI shuts down temporary DNS Servers that replaced those operated by hackers. 

Late last year the FBI said it intercepted cyber criminals who had successfully downloaded malware onto an estimated four million computers in more than 100 countries. 

The FBI estimated the gang made at least $14 million in ill-gotten gains through what it called ‘click hijacking’ and advertisement replacement fraud and instead of shutting down the rogue servers, the FBI replaced the servers with clean ones and redirected users. 

Cyberschuulnews 476

 Nigeria: A Transformation so Close and so Far
CTO Boss canvasses creation of application and services for EVERYONE

 

Mr Bashir Patel, Chief Operating Officer of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation, CTO, was in Lagos last week to give a Dinner Speech at the Nigerian Academy of Engineering Investiture. He told the elite gathering of very senior and distinguished engineers and their contemporaries in other professions that there is a thin line that divides Nigeria’s rural and urban societies. And that the thin line is ubiquitous broadband infrastructure. 

First the usual fine stories of Africa’s growth rate in mobile telephony as being very high and more than 40% of African countries having not only democratised, they have also liberalised their telecommunications market in the last two decades. Added to this is the noticeable interest of investors in China, India and Middle East knocking on the doors of Africa’s emerging markets. Then Nigeria's truly liberalised telecommunication sector, 5 international submarine cables, high mobile subscriber base and all the inroads of MainOne, Phase3 Telecom and others. 

Then, of course, the gaps. That despite the high growth rate, investment in ICT in Africa trails behind all regions apart from Oceania and issues of access, human capacity, and consumers/creators gaps. 

The truth, according to Bashir Patel, is that the trick that Nigeria needs to play is to use mobile systems to achieve MDGs and that requires that applications and services, call it content which is what it is, needs to be created for everyone especially the illiterates, rural, underserved and disabled. 

He revealed that CTO is working with Governments, Operators, Vendors, Investors, Funding agencies and others to help in bringing about National Telecom Infrastructure Development and bring about social and economic development through universal access / connectivity. 

The conclusion is that it does not take rocket science to turn rural Nigeria into fulfilled urban metros going by the achievements of the market so far in growing its infrastructure so close to requiring only radical investment into broadband infrastructure. 

 

IXPN, ICT Forum synergise to reduce cost of Bandwidth for Higher Institutions

 The Nigerian ICT Forum of Partnership Institutions and the Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN), announced last week they would enhance inter-network connections between Higher Education Institutions in Nigeria and reduce cost of internet bandwidth to them. 

This collaboration, consummated on April 20, this year through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), also seeks to establish the Research and Education Network (REN) clusters. 

The managing director of the IXPN, Mr. Muhammed Rudman, who made these disclosures, noted that REN would serve as a vehicle for the interconnection of all the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) via ICT in order to promote content development and sharing amongst the member institutions.

 Nigeria ICT Forum's Dr. Aminu Ibrahim said that this is in line with the  Forum’s mission which focuses on developing internal capacity for HEIs and cultivating a favourable policy environment that aids development. 

Additionally, Nigerian ICT Forum, he said, seeks to utilize, sustain and advance ICT networks, services and shared resources that are owned by the HEIs themselves.  

This, he said, includes aggregation of their bandwidth, thus driving the formation of a National Research and Education Network (NREN) to the letter. 

Mr. Rudman also said the MOU vested IXPN with the responsibility of providing a national core infrastructure that facilitates internet operations in Nigeria, as well as localizing traffic and reducing local routing cost. 

He outlined some of the advantages of the collaboration to include the formation of clusters within the next two years in at least six geo-political zones in the country; promote content development in Nigerian Higher Education Institutions; provide lower cost of bandwidth for Higher Education Institutions; conduct training and campaign awareness on the need for Research and Education Network (RENs); and mobilize support and resources towards achieving the above goals. 

Mr. Rudman explained that some of the benefits of the collaboration is ‘to synergise our efforts towards building sustainable clusters of RENs across the country.  

“The collaboration will go a long way in promoting content development and sharing, thus accelerating the development of the educational sector as well as boosting the economy at large,” he asserted.

 

 NCS to diagnose cashless Nigeria at its 2012 Annual Conference

The Nigerian Computer Society will confront troubling aspects of  the recently launched cashless initiatives in Nigeria's financial system when it holds the 24th edition of its Annual Conference and AGM in Uyo.

 The theme Towards a Cashless Nigeria: Tools and Strategies was chosen to evaluate the roles and strategies the Information Technology Industry plays in the reforms and changes in the financial, economic and social sectors in Nigeria.  The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in its efforts to drastically reduce money laundering, terrorist financing and other economic and financial crimes in Nigeria, pegged daily cash withdrawal to N150,000.00 and N1,000,000.00 by individual and corporate respectively.  

Theme:          Towards a Cashless Nigeria: Tools and Strategies

Venue:          Uyo, Nigeria 

Date:             Wednesday 25th – Friday 27th, July  2012

  

Angaye accepts his Nomination as AfICTA’s Patron

  The recently inaugurated Alliance of Africa’s ICT Associations, AfICTA, has received Prof Cleopas Angaye’s acceptance to serve as its Patron.

 Prof Angaye is Director-General of the (Nigerian) National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

 AfICTA announced during the week that it is hosting the Africa ICT Public-Private Summit in Abuja Nigeria on 19-23 November, 2012. The theme of the Summit is “Harvesting intra-African Low Hanging Fruits”. 

 AfICTA’s spokes person, Dr Jimson Olufuye told CyberschuulNews that with a population of more than 1billion, GDP of over US$1t, growth rate of more than 5%, and  with a huge natural resource base, Africa is poised to cheetahpolevault its development for a 21st Century African renaissance. As the voice of the Continent’s ICT industry and in line with its vision towards the fulfilment of the promise of the digital age for everyone in Africa, AfICTA is convening this Summit to connect key ICT leaders in the public and private sectors across Africa to promote the harvesting of intra-African low hanging fruits.

 It is a known reality that intra-African trade is below 5% of the continent’s total trade. The expected renaissance will not happen if the huge potential of intra-African trade is not tapped. AIPPS therefore will set the agenda for important set-off contacts and networks among the public and private sectors’ stakeholders to boost intra-African communication, information sharing and trade.

The maiden edition is being hosted by the Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) in collaboration with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

  

Ethiopia denies banning Skype service 

The Minister in charge of government communications in Ethiopia, Mr Shimeles Kemal  announced publicly last week that it was untrue that VoIP or Skype services have been banned in the country.

There was report which spread fast that government had banned VoIP services, an issue which is a common line of thinking in telecom markets that operate monopolies. Such monopolies especially where they are managed by government bureaucracies usually arrogate the right to make frivolous laws which they consider favourable to their business using government legislative powers. 

According to Shimeles Kemal, although there is indeed a draft law that is in the making ‘the law does not aim to prevent IP-related internet activities, that is cyber activities like social media, Twitter,” 

No one trusts Kemal denial though. 

Ethiopia is one of the few African countries that have not liberalised  the telecom market which is served by a government monopoly called Ethio-Telecom.

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