CyberschuulNews Editions 521 - 530

 
 

 

 

CyberschuulNews 530

Heins looks up on Blackberry Q10, down on tablets 

Blackberry CEO, Thorsten Heins may have given up on pushing his company's tablet, PlayBook, which did not fly. 

He was reported by Bloomberg on Tuesday as forecasting that there would be no market for tablets in five years time from his own observatory. 

According to Heins, even if people require bigger screens it may not be things like tablet.

His reasons? Tablets are not business models! 

Point really is that Heins sounds like he has very good faith in his Q10 products and still insisting that the regulators must investigate how and why Detwiler Fenton & Co. attempted a pull down of his firm by reporting that its new phones had high return rates shortly after launch.  

On the contrary, Heins feels the prospects of Q10 are very bright and promising. 

 

Have you heard?

After more than three years in orbit, the most powerful infrared telescope ever flown in space has ceased scientific operations after the last of the liquid helium used to supercool its instruments ran out.

Herschel was launched from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana on 14 May, 2009 atop an Ariane 5 rocket, the Herschel was sent into what is called a Lissajous orbit 1,500,000 kilometers (930,000 miles) from Earth. In such an orbit, the spacecraft circles, not the Earth, but the Lagrangian point L2 - a spot where the gravitational forces of the Earth, Moon and Sun balance out.

The helium was expected to eventually evaporate away and finally ran out on Monday afternoon (April 29, 2013) as Herschel was starting its daily communication session with a ground station in Western Australia. A clear rise was seen in all the instruments, which soon stopped working. 

The primary objective of the Herschel telescope was to study star formation both in our galaxy and out to the limits of observation on the edge of the visible universe and dating some 14 billion years ago. In addition to surveying thousands of galaxies, it also was used study planet formation in systems closer to Earth, molecules in interstellar space, as well as asteroids and comets in our Solar System.

eWorld Forum to tackle Digital Citizenry and Road Safety 

eWorld Magazine has announced that the 2013 edition of its eWorld Forum will coincide with this year's World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD)  and it will help raise awareness on the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide. 

Specifically the Forum will focus on Imperative for a Truly Digital Citizen and ICTs in Improving Road Safety, which is the primary focus of the WTISD celebrations for this year. 

Road traffic safety is a global concern not only for public health and injury prevention but also to improve efficiencies in traffic management as a means of combating the effects of climate change. 

The Forum will hold at Welcome Centre and Hotels, Airport Road, Lagos on May 17, 2013.

NCC Pronounces on Market Dominance

The Nigerian Communications Commission has announced that a recent study it commissioned revealed that overall market dominance is now shared between Glo and MTN. It says while MTN is dominant in the Mobile Voice Market, Glo and MTN have joint dominant position in the Wholesale Leased Lines and Transmission Capacity Market. 

A similar study which was conducted in 2005 showed that there was no dominance of any kind at that time.

 

Cyberschuulnews 529 

China to get World's largest OTEC power plant 

According to Gizmag, Lockheed Martin built the world's first successful floating Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) system that generated net power in the 70's, and in 2009 it was awarded a contract to develop an OTEC pilot plant in Hawaii. That project has apparently been canceled but the company has now shifted its OTEC sights westward by teaming up with Hong Kong-based Reignwood Group to co-develop a pilot plant that will be built off the coast of southern China. 

Gizmag reports that OTEC uses the natural difference in temperatures between the cool deep water and warm surface water to produce electricity. There are different cycle types of OTEC systems, but the prototype plant is likely to be a closed-cycle system. This sees warm surface seawater pumped through a heat exchanger to vaporize a fluid with a low boiling point, such as ammonia. This expanding vapor is used to drive a turbine to generate electricity with cold seawater then used to condense the vapor so it can be recycled through the system. 

Airtel to acquire Warid in Uganda 

India's Bharti Airtel has announced that it is set to buy Warid Telecom in Uganda with prospect of raising its 4.6million lines with Warid's 2.8million to have 39% market share and probably be on the way to close up with MTN 50% in the country in due course. 

Although the deal is yet to receive regulatory approval, no obstacle has been forecast to be in the way of the merger.

This is Bharti's first ever in-market acquisition but it is not known if it is a business strategy that may spread to other markets where Bharti operates its Airtel trade name. 

SA Communications Minister denies any romance with Ministry's Contractor  

South Africa's Minister of Communications, Ms Dina Pule has been in the eye of a storm on account of a consistent bad press that Sunday Times initiated mid 2012. She has been accused of corruption, nepotism, cronyism and especially reported to have been offering juicy jobs to her 'boyfriend', one Phosane Mngqibisa, a charge she has stoutly denied. She dismissed all the 'spurious allegations' as a show of 'shoddy journalism'. 

But the story would not die ten months after it broke, so Pule went out last Monday April 22, in a Press conference to respond, for the first time, to the allegations of Sunday Times. She went on the offensive charging that the three journalists who anchored the stories each had dirty motives that she touched on. 

According to her, the real blackmailers are businessmen who are after the multibillion-rand tender for set-top boxes in SA's migration to digital television. She argued that Sunday Times has only just been a tool but their motive had been nothing about journalism or anything in public interest. She wants the matter to be seen as 'simple yet sophisticated' blackmail. 

Specific and sundry allegations of Sunday Times include the appointment of cronies of both Pule and Mngqibisa into some Government agencies including Universal Service Agency, Post Office Board and SenTech. Specific names were mentioned and it has been difficult for Pule to wish the allegations away. She once admitted that Phosane Mngqibisa is a comrade but insisted he is not a lover. 

Even in Parliament, things may not be working in Pule's direction as the Ethics Committe is about now putting up an investigation panel to look into the persistent allegations and especially into how Pule has lived her offical life. 

While the 'press torture' lasted the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) was suddenly sacked mid March 2013 and an interim board of five was installed amidst heavy political brick backs. Pule supervises all Agencies connected to her Ministry including SABC. 

Dina Pule certainly has the courage to pull through all the 'sophisticated blackmail' but whether motive of the accusation mongers could explain away the real charges which the Minister might not have addressed beyond saying they were meant to slander, intimidate, criminalise and blackmail her is another story. 

 

Angered by report, Blackberry says it would file a compliant to Authorities

 

Blackberry fired back at Boston-based research and investment firm Detwiler Fenton which reported that the return rate of its Blackberry's Z10 had been high in the US market. The Smartphone maker charged that it would file a formal request to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and to the Ontario Securities Commission for an investigation.  

Blackberry's CEO Thorsten Heins said the report is false and misleading and matter of fact-ly that sales of the BlackBerry Z10 were meeting expectations. 

Specifically,  Detwiler Fenton had reported "We believe key retails partners have seen a significant increase in Z10 returns to the point where, in several cases, returns are now exceeding sales, a phenomenon we have never seen before,"  but gave no further details. 

For a player which had been struggling to reclaim market share for some time the report is a stab and a crash of Blackberry stock was actually reported on Thursday apparently resulting from the research firm's claims a day earlier. 

There has also been widespread report that Verizon has taken the steam out of Detwiler Fenton claim by asserting that 'after 14 days, quality performance [of the BlackBerry Z10] has been in line with other smartphone launches.' 

 

Mali's top level domain to be given free of charge 

Mali has announced that with effect from July 15 it will commence charging no free for its dotml top level domain for both national and international users. And the process will be first come, first-served. 

AGETIC (Agence des Technologies de l'Information et de la Communication) Officials in Bamako are reported to have argued that providing free domain names to the internet population will greatly improve the usage and the knowledge of the IT industry in the country. 

This free acquisition will be preceded by a Sunrise and Landrush period, to protect trademark holders worldwide. Sunrise starts on the 1st of May 2013 and will last for one month until May 31st while Landrush will begin the following day and end on July 14th 2013. 

AGETIC, located in Bamako, is the agency that promotes the usage of domain names and the internet in Mali. 

 

NOTAP Boss canvasses S-E-T-I as antidote for true development 

Dr Umar Buba Bindir, an engineer and Director General of the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion, NOTAP, said in Lagos midweek that standalone attainments in knowledge, exploitation and acquisition of the fortunes of science, engineering and technology has not and would not take Nigeria to development. Rather, an interplay of attainments in each of them as a true network of all the three with Innovation making the fourth node of the network, to use an engineering parlance, would uplift society into true development. 

Dr Umar Bindir Presenting NAE Annual Lecture 

Dr Bindir while delivering the Annual Lecture of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering midweek at the University of Lagos recommended conscious investment (He did not mean spending money) in networking of attainments in Science, Engineering, Technology and Innovation, S-E-T-I for short, as panacea. 

Lecture for who? 

The lecture commenced with an observation of the irony of giving a lecture on science, engineering, and technology to an audience of predominantly Fellows of the Academy of Engineering. 'This is preaching a sermon to the converted' he observed and he wondered what the whole objective was. He did not see a single political office holder from Local government administration to the presidency in audience but gave the lecture all the same. 

The Lecturer, himself the youngest on the List of Fellows of the Academy and the youngest ever to be elected, gave a repertoire of his personal research attainments in Agricultural engineering and how his very truly relevant, applicable, compliant, and lofty inventions had not made any radical influence on Nigeria's underdevelopment status and called absence of the 'networked SETI' for blame. 

Technology Park

 Dr Bindir discussed the idea of the largest science and technology park in Africa in Nigeria's capital of Abuja by way of transformation of a large expanse of space between the Abuja International Airport and the National Stadium as a Technology Park. There within that space, there are the National Stadium, the National Space Research and Development Agency, the National Biotechnology Development Agency, the African University of Science and Technology, the Abuja Technology Village Complex, the National Cancer Centre, the Nigerian Communication Satellite Ltd, and the National Defence College, among many others.  

He sounded like his employers have listened to him on the subject. 

Absent but present 

Conspicuously absent at the Lecture but present in a photo portrait in the Event Brochure is the Minister of Science and Technology.  

Ministers in Nigeria find solutions by travelling around the world. Those who supervised the Power Ministry over the years were known to regularly leave Nigerians in darkness and travel frequently overseas to find solution and investors. 

December 2011, the Minister of Science and Technology with his counterpart in Communication Technology in tow were in China to 'witness' and probably 'celebrate' the launch of 'a Nigerian Satellite' built and launched in China 'for Nigeria'. It was shown live on television and in celebration mood too. 

In 1963, a powerful rocket sent a satellite into space from the US Naval Ship, Kingsport, which moored outside Lagos harbour opposite 15 Marina, the headquarters of the newly established Nigerian External Telecommunications Ltd. and command signals were communicated from Lagos via submarine cable to Goddard Space Flight in USA, home of the Syncom Project.  

 

No tariff reduction 3 weeks into new Interconnect Rates  

An interconnect tariff direction which the Nigerian Communications Commission gave  for implementation with effect from April 1, 2013 does not seem to have resulted in reduced call charges as envisaged by Nigerian phone users. 

PUNCH reported on April 23, 2013 under the heading  No plans to slash call tariffs yet - Operators that telephone operators have given different interpretations to the direction indicating that call tariff may not reduce about now.  

 

CyberschuulNews 528

NCC Flags off Mobile Number Portability, MNP 

 

Senior Government officials and top communication technology industry leaders witnessed the official flag-off of Mobile Number Portability system in Lagos on Monday.

 

The Scheme which is limited, for the moment, to telephone operators that deploy GSM mobile, has suffered delay and several postponements thus presenting it as a complex process which has tasked all those concerned in its management even ahead of implementation.

 

In spite of the delay and postponement in take off-date, however, Mr. Uche Onwudiwe of Interconnect Clearing House Ltd which is at the head of a Consortium hired by the industry regulator, NCC, to provide the interconnect management told a large audience of stakeholders at the flag-off event in Lagos that all players in the platform are now fully ready.

 

Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC, Dr Eugene Juwah also assured that the new platform would spur further competition among telephone operators and ultimately raise quality of service levels.  Other senior executives of Airtel, MTN, Etisalat and GloMobile one after the other assured Nigerians that the new platform would help competition in the Nigeria telephony system.

 

Number Portability enables a phone subscriber in a multi-network environment to change service provider from one network to the other without changing his/her telephone number. Its implementation has various flavours in many administrations across the globe.

 

What is unique about the Nigerian situation is that it is being implemented in phases beginning with GSM Mobile networks. Besides, virtually all the mobile networks involved in the process have matured into a long period of delivering poor services. Although there is no charge attached to porting phone numbers, a ported number must spend 90 days before it can make another request for porting.

 

The networks involved in the present phase of implementation are Airtel, Etisalat, Glo Mobile and MTN.

 

 

FG launches online Services Portal

 

A web portal for transacting business with the Nigerian government was put to service in Abuja on Tuesday. 

 

Officials explained that Services of Government of Nigeria, www.services.gov.ng  is conceived and implemented by the Federal Ministry of Communication Technology as a platform developed to provide a one-stop shop for all who wish to interact and engage with the Federal Government on any service provided through its Ministries and Agencies.

 

The Minister, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, said the objective was to get Government on line and use ICT to drive transparency in governance and improve the quality of public service delivery.

She calls it The Government Service Portal.

Dr Henry Akpan, formerly Permanent Secretary in charge of Special Duties in the Presidency who assumed duty recently as Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Communication Technology was also at the launch.

 

He was in Galaxy Backbone during the week to familiarise with the Agency's infrastructure, products and services. 

He described the Agency as 'well positioned to support the e-government initiatives of the federal government'.

Angered by report, Blackberry says it would file a compliant to Authorities
 

Blackberry fired back at Boston-based research and investment firm Detwiler Fenton which reported that the return rate of its Blackberry's Z10 had been high in the US market. The Smartphone maker charged that it would file a formal request to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and to the Ontario Securities Commission for an investigation.
 
Blackberry's CEO Thorsten Heins said the report is false and misleading and matter of fact-ly that sales of the BlackBerry Z10 were meeting expectations.
 
Specifically, Detwiler Fenton had reported "We believe key retails partners have seen a significant increase in Z10 returns to the point where, in several cases, returns are now exceeding sales, a phenomenon we have never seen before," but gave no further details.
 
For a player which had been struggling to reclaim market share for some time the report is a stab and a crash of Blackberry stock was actually reported on Thursday apparently resulting from the research firm's claims a day earlier.
 
There has also been widespread report that Verizon has taken the steam out of Detwiler Fenton claim by asserting that 'after 14 days, quality performance [of the BlackBerry Z10] has been in line with other smartphone launches.'


Mali's top level domain to be given free of charge
 
Mali has announced that with effect from July 15 it will commence charging no free for its dotml top level domain for both national and international users. And the process will be first come, first-served.
 
AGETIC (Agence des Technologies de l'Information et de la Communication) Officials in Bamako are reported to have argued that providing free domain names to the internet population will greatly improve the usage and the knowledge of the IT industry in the country.

 
This free acquisition will be preceded by a Sunrise and Landrush period, to protect trademark holders worldwide. Sunrise starts on the 1st of May 2013 and will last for one month until May 31st while Landrush will begin the following day and end on July 14th 2013.
 
AGETIC, located in Bamako, is the agency that promotes the usage of domain names and the internet in Mali.

 

 CyberschuulNews 527

NCC refines its vision as new Strategic Management Plan unfolds

 

The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, said last week that its vision is now retuned 'to be a responsive world class communications regulatory organisation' and a mission statement 'to support a market driven communications industry and promote universal access'.

 

These were the highlights of the launch of a new five-year strategic management plan to drive its regulatory mandate in the fast evolving telecom industry from 2013 to 2017.

 

The Commission said it signed on a new Strategic Management Plan for several purposes which include ensuring the alignment of day-to-day work to the Commission's strategy, prioritizing programmes and projects to achieve its goals and objectives; ensuring optimal use of the Commission's recourses; providing objective basis for performance monitoring and management, and meeting the Commission's vision and mission.

 

There was a ceremonial declaration of commitment to the new plan by all the directors and heads of departments of the Commission on behalf of the staff as affirmation and commitment to executive all tasks assigned to them in their departments. 

 

Promo Ban on Mobile Operators now Lifted : Not yet for MTN

 

A News Agency of Nigeria report says that for meeting the NCC's Key Performance Indicator requirement for December 2012, three mobile operators: Airtel, Etisalat and Globacom now have the ban on their promos lifted. 

Mr. Tony Ojobo, Director of Public Affairs at NCC however said the ban placed on promotions on MTN was still in force until the network performance improves. 

 

TRANSITION : Dr. Engr. Ademola Banjo, 1928 - 2013 

'In 1949, there were only two colonial scholarships to train natives in England for the colonial empire. One scholarship was for the first and best boy and the second scholarship for the first and best girl in the newly founded University of Ibadan. The undisputed best and first boy was Ademola Banjo and the best and first girl was Miss Adetoun Banjo. There were grumblings in some quarters that the only two scholarships for the University should not be given to a boy and a girl from the same parents. But Prof Mellanby, the Vice-Chancellor, said 'I am looking at the list and the first boy on it is Ademola Banjo and the first girl on the paper is Miss Adetoun Banjo and it is all that I need to see and to know'. Miss Adetoun Banjo (later Prof Adetoun Ogunsheye) proceeded to University of Cambridge and Ademola Banjo proceeded to University of Manchester and graduated First Class Honours in Mechanical Engineering in July 1952 and a PhD in Metallurgy in 1954.'

(Taken from Tribute to a Genius and a Patriot written by Prof Adesegun O. Banjo) 

Dr. Engr. Ademola Banjo, Fellow, Nigerian Academy of Engineering, died at 84 on February 23, 2013 and buried in Ijebu-Ode April 12, 2013. 

Engr Prof Ayo Ogunye, President, Nigerian Academy of Engineering in an Eulogy at Dr Ademola Banjo's funeral said the Nigerian Academy of Engineering has lost a Foundation Fellow who contributed immensely to engineering projects in Nigeria. The academy was to pay him a visit on March 27, 2013 according to its calendar but the distinguished engineer translated on February 23, 2013. 

 

OAU+LAUTEC Team wins Microsoft's Imagine Cup Competition 2013 

12 teams assembled from among Nigerian University students competed in the just concluded Microsoft Imagine Cup Competition 2013 edition. 

Team Life Saver (Adewale Adeyinka, Oluwole Michael, Afolabi Olamide, and Akinlaja Solomon), the winner Team, which presented 'Cardiolife', comprised students of Obafemi Awolowo University and Ladoke Akintola University. 'CardioLife' is a solution that tackles heart attack by monitoring heart reading on the fly via the Microsoft Windows Phone.  It provides a rehabilitation programme for stroke patients using Kinect sensor.  The team will represent Nigeria at the global finals where a prize of $300,000 is at stake.  

Previous finals of Imagine Cup Competition had held in Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Korea, France, Egypt, Poland, USA and Australia, while the next is scheduled for St. Petersburg, Russia from July 8 to 11, 2013. 

 

Enter: Microsoft Imagine Cup Competition 2013 Courtesy MainOne, Microsoft 

The National finals of a student technology competition, Microsoft Imagine Cup Competition, in which student innovators from all over the world, compete to produce various ground-breaking app ideas has held in Lagos. 

Main One Cable Co, as sole bandwidth sponsor, provided high speed internet connectivity to the event for live-streaming and apps demonstration. 

CardioLife, a design by Team Life Saver, that tackles heart attack by monitoring heart reading on the fly via the Microsoft Windows Phone, won the Nigeria finals. The team will go on to represent Nigeria at the global finals where the ultimate price is $300,000.

 

CyberschuulNews 526

Government Services to go on-Line April 16

The first leg of eGovernment services may have commenced in Nigeria. 

The Federal Ministry of Communication Technology announced during the week that it would launch the Federal Governments Service Portal on April 16. 

Efem Nkanga, special Adviser on Media to the Minister, said the Portal will create an easy and single point of entry for Nigerians to access government services online. 

It will be recalled that the Minister, Mrs. Omobola Johnson said at a social media week event in Lagos in February that the webportal would go live in the second quarter of the year.

 

OAU+LAUTEC Team wins Microsoft's Imagine Cup Competition 2013 

12 teams assembled from among Nigerian University students competed in the just concluded Microsoft Imagine Cup Competition 2013 edition. 

Team Life Saver, the winner Team, which presented Cardiolife, comprised students of Obafemi Awolowo University and Ladoke Akintola University. CardioLife is a solution that tackles heart attack by monitoring heart reading on the fly via the Microsoft Windows Phone.  It provides a rehabilitation programme for stroke patients using Kinect sensor.  The team will represent Nigeria at the global finals where a prize of $300,000 is at stake. 

Previous finals of Imagine Cup Competition had held in Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Korea, France, Egypt, Poland, USA and Australia, while the next is scheduled for St. Petersburg, Russia from July 8 to 11, 2013.

MainOne's Head of Marketing, Mrs. Jumoke Akande, told stakeholders at the Lagos finals during the week that 'New technology is rapidly changing businesses, socio-political landscapes and the lives of consumers in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Main One has consistently recognized the opportunities software development, especially indigenous, will play in Nigeria's development. We therefore support initiatives, like Imagine Cup, that equip our youths with necessary technology competencies and platform to materialize their innovative ideas'. 

More than 1.65 million students across the globe have participated in Imagine Cup since it started in 2003 and a number of the teams that made it to the finals went on to create thriving startup companies in their various countries.

 

 

Atiku Abubakar and Nasir el-Rufai trade blames for Pentascope Tragedy

 

Local Newspapers in Nigeria reported during the week that former NITEL operatives whose careers went down with the Company have put all the blame on Mr. Nasir el-Rufai who, as Director General of Bureau for Public Enterprises, BPE, took the many decisions that drowned the first National Operator.

 

Nasir, in his 'The Accidental Public Servant', an account of his days as Minister avoided recounting the Pentascope tragedy apparently as it was outside the scope of the book. But former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar who got hit in the book told a newspaper interviewer that Nasir it was who destroyed NITEL by his deeds especially by handing over NITEL to the lackluster Pentascope contract managers in 2003. Nasir disagreed with Atiku and suggested that it was indeed Atiku as Chairman, National Council on Privatisation (NCP), who blew up NITEL.

 

 

 

Those who know the story very well said the difference between Atiku and Nasir on the NITEL matter could, at best, be like differentiating between six and half a dozen.

 

However, a 2005 House of Representative investigation into the Pentascope deal put all the blame on Nasir el-Rufai.  The report after exonerating two Boards of Directors of NITEL, two Ministers of Communications and the Vice-President reported in paragraph 7.6 as follows:

 

Quote

7.6       BPE Leadership under Mallam El-Rufai      

The BPE had overall responsibility for the successful privatisation of NITEL. In order to achieve this goal the leadership would need to work with many stake holders from inception. But the evidence provided by minutes of meetings, memoranda and testimonies of all the stakeholders show that BPE leadership treated others with trepidations. This breeds distrust, but more dangerously it attracts resistance from others. Good managers carry others along, but BPE treated stakeholders as intruders and therefore failed to carry others that might otherwise be helpful to the process.

 

When BPE suddenly recognised that NITEL should get involved the management contract selection was close to completion. It may not be wrong to infer that the need to involve NITEL only became obvious during the preparation of the contract document since NITEL has enormous role to play in the future. If this theory is right then the NITEL involvement was after-thought. However, if the leadership of BPE says that it was because there was no board in place hence NITEL did not get involve earlier, then this would be absurd since they would have co-opted some senior management staff of NITEL right from beginning to bring in specialist knowledge. By keeping NITEL out of the loop until the tail end of the process and treating their complaints with disdain only served to deepen the distrust for the process chaired by BPE. The BPE as a result lost the regard of MOC and NITEL Board because of its lack of understanding of the basic principles of negotiation and listening skills, when BPE tried to use senior officials of NCP to compel but these only serve to deepen the hate created and postpone the doom day.

 

The BPE presided over a process with many warning signs detailed in the sections 6.1-5 but failed out of unscrupulous and callous attention to details and incompetence to spot the warning signs. Recognising and addressing the warning signals would have made significant difference that would have redirected the process to the part of success.

 

Going through the different stages of the process, we have shown that the product of the stages drawn up by PWH (Price Water House) and supervised by BPE were flawed and could therefore not produce the expected result. In section 1.2 we showed that the advert for the contract was poorly drafted and ambiguous, but BPE and its adviser failed to recognise this. We also showed that there were problems with the selection process and the drawn contract (see 3.1 - 3.4) and every step were marred with untold incompetence that collectively led to the failure of the management contract.

 

The former DG of BPE, Mallam El-Rufai contended during the presentation to the House that Pentascope failed because the executive committee that was supposed to help expedite action was not created after he left office. This has been addressed in (4.4) and in my opinion the process already failed before it began. There was nothing that would have made Pentascope to be successful because it was never qualified to manage a company with the attributes of NITEL.

 

 

 

e-Learning : A turn around for Nigerian teachers seems to be on the card

 

When experts assembled in Lagos to discuss the various issues relating to effective e-learning in Nigeria recently, it became clear going by the submission of the Director of Professional Operations at the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, TRCN, that the retooling of teachers for tomorrow's requirements had actually begun.

 

In the first place the case was made that the TRCN has kept the light glowing that 'investment in education' will eventually replace what is considered to be mere 'spending on education' at this time. Besides, the need to review the train-the-trainers concept has been identified and given effect by the Council's programmes.

 

What is more, TRCN declared the year 2007 as ICT year for teachers in Nigeria during which it advocated that the greatest part of resources and efforts for professional development of teachers be dedicated to their ICT training. TRCN used all channels of communication within its reach to spread this message and embarked on advocacy at a national scale to ensure implementation among teachers, teachers unions, employers of teachers, development partners and general stakeholders.

 

The outcome was profound because any scholar who cared to research into teachers' engagement in ICT would notice a rapid increase beginning from 2007 and that was strongly tied to the TRCN advocacy.

 

TRCN created twelve ICT training centres (two in each geo-political zone) where teachers nominated by the state governments were trained free of charge. The training lasted for one week and each centre had a minimum of 100 computers with live internet running and the best of ICT experts in Nigeria and USA were used as resource persons. At the end of the training, participants wrote examinations and the first three best candidates for each training centre were given computer laptops as prizes by TRCN. Over 3,600 teachers were trained in the twelve centres. Before that time, no organisation, government or employer in Nigeria has given ICT such attention in the training of teachers.

 

These and other attainments of the Council provide a basis to expect more from the Council in the years ahead.

 

 

 

Phase3 Telecom earns Telecom Infrastructure Development Icon Award

 

The African Leadership Magazine may have kicked off the 2013 edition of its annual awards as it rose from a recently concluded Africa - America International Business Forum in Atlanta - Georgia, USA by announcing Phase3 Telecom Ltd as winner of an industry recognition award as Telecom Infrastructure Development Icon of the Year 2013.

 

The Award was presented in Abuja on Friday by Kingsley Okeke, Managing Editor of African Leadership Magazine.

 

An excited Stanley Jegede, CEO of Phase3 Telecom accepted the honour and said 'This Iconic award is a true reflection of the entire Phase3 Family's efforts and resulting successes achieved over the past years. I am pleased to see Phase3 Family recognized for its skill sets and expertise. This year, our strategy and focus remain stronger in our commitment to delivering the most robust and reliable Open Access Network in Nigeria and West Africa as a whole'.

 

 

 

e-Learning: Leapfrog tool for Mass Education and Driver of Change
Lagos Forum engages in reviews, forecasts and prescriptions

 

The Book, Teachers, Broadband Internet Access, and Electricity Challenges were identified as the major issues Nigeria must resolve to mass-educate its citizens and mobilize them for higher productivity.

 

When the University of Lagos hosted delegates to the West African e-learning Conference and Exhibition midweek under the auspices of Baobab Media, speakers took turns to examine the place of each of these problems and it appears that Nigeria might just wriggle out of the e-learning crises if what they said as on-going solutions is anything to go by.

 

Dr. Steve Nwokeocha, Director of Professional Operations at the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, TRCN, told delegates that the Council has developed Professional Standards for Nigerian Teachers with which employers of teachers can now work to raise existing standards. He listed 10 unique products on which the TRCN has invested time and money to improve the quality of teachers. He also suggested that there would be a refining of the Train-the-Trainers concept to give more value to teachers and investors.

 

Phase3 Telecom's Othello Obaro who gave a product demonstration and Titi Omo-Ettu who chaired the technical session spoke about broadband internet access and the various efforts and initiatives which government and industry players are working together to resolve.

 

'The Book' which matter was brought under focus by Mr. Dayo Ogunniyi, Chairman Spectrum Books turned out an area which the Conference organizers pledged to do more work. Although delegates observed that there had been some advertised top level effort at restoring the place of the Book and reading in national life, it was generally believed that it was likely a political expediency of Government and not the type required to mobilise Nigerians towards reading as culture.

 

Wrongly focused taxation is bane of broadband expansion in Nigeria

 

Government authorities in Nigeria, whether federal, state or local governments are dangers to the extension of broadband internet access because of their desire to impose taxes on installation of telecommunication infrastructure. They are imposing taxes on investment rather than waiting for businesses to commence before imposing taxes on commercial operations. By so doing they create impediments only to turn round and expect telecom systems to be accessible and affordable for the citizens they are elected to protect and provide comfort for.

 

The point was made by Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu, Coordinator of the Broadband Expansion Program when a Bill of Requests was presented to the Hon Minister of Communication Technology in Lagos recently.

 

The Hon Minister, Mrs. Omobola Johnson told the participating firms in the Program that discussions were in progress to resolve this and other area of taxes which Governments, especially State Governments, are imposing without realizing the dangers of their actions.

According to her, 'We are working with state Governments to streamline a couple of things, for example: a pay-once, dig-once strategy, classification of ICT systems as critical national infrastructure, harmonizing taxes to assure an enabling environment for investment and competition, etc etc'

 

The Participating Firms also asked the Minister to regard the entirety of Nigeria as an underserved community and to consider deploying Universal Service fund to address the problem of lack of access to investment funding. 

 

Cyber-Attacks : US stops buying Chinese IT systems

 

Recent cyber-espionage accusation which the United States has made against China may be taking a new turn as President Obama signed a new law this week restricting US Government buying information technology systems from China. The law specifically forbids any purchases by Justice, Commerce departments, National Science Foundation, and NASA from China without clearance from Government Law enforcement agencies.

 

 

Rough Language was used a few weeks ago when President Obama voiced a complaint on cyber-attacks to his Chinese counterpart  as President Xi Jinping told him to stop making 'groundless accusations'.

 

This law, coming several months after Congress had advised US firms to stop purchasing information system technology from Huawei and ZTE may mean that an affront in other commercial areas may be predictable.

......Apple under watch in China

Meanwhile, few days after Obama signed the law, Apple Inc., America's top phone-maker, came under fire in China over what authorities there called unfair treatment of Chinese consumers.

 

In a warning sent out by State Administration for Industry and Commerce on Thursday, authorities were asked to watch Apple very closely because it has been infringing on consumer rights on after-sales matters.

 

Tim Cook, Apple's CEO was quoted to have said that its warranty policies were the same worldwide with specific adjustments to adhere to local law.

 

Apple has a production assembly in China.

 

 

 

Broadband Expansion Handbook Launched in Lagos.

 

A new publication from the Stable of Telecom Answers Associates that seeks to serve as handbook for the Broadband Expansion Program was unveiled in Lagos last week.

 

 

 

Titled Nigeria's Broadband Expansion Program 2013 and Beyond, the handbook was presented to the Closing Ceremony of the Broadband Business Workshop held at Sheraton Hotel & Towers, Ikeja as an industry networking data meant to assist prospective investors in Nigeria's Communication Technology industry.

 

It was unveiled by the Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson.

 

 

Telephone calls to cost less from April 1

 

New telephone interconnection rates which can practically reduce cost of telephone calls in Nigeria have been directed by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC. According to the new rates announced last week, the Termination Rates for voice services provided by major mobile operators in Nigeria irrespective of the originating network shall be N4.90 (Four Naira Ninety Kobo) from 1st April, 2013.  

That is to say that a network that is completing a telephone call will charge N4.90 to the network that originates the call. Up till now the operating rate was N8.20 

The Commission said this rate will change to N4.40 (Four Naira Forty Kobo) from 1st April, 2014; and N3.90 (Three Naira Ninety Kobo) from 1st April, 2015. 

For smaller operators and new entrants, the Termination rate is N6.40 (Six Naira Forty Kobo) from 1st April, 2013. This rate will change to N5.20 (Five Naira Twenty Kobo) from 1st April, 2014; and N3.90 (Three Naira Ninety Kobo) from 1st April, 2015.  

Smaller operators are those who have less than 7.5% market share in terms of subscriber base while new entrants are those who entered the market in less than 3 years 

These rates will remain in force for three years except the Commission reviews them. 

The last review was made on December 31, 2009. 

 

PWD's make specific demands for inclusion in total communication

 

Relying on the Disability Law which Lagos State enacted in June 2011 and also on the institutional support which the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC has given to their concerns, representatives of people who live with disabilities met with telephone operators in Lagos two weeks ago.

 

A communique generated from the proceeding of the discussion calls on Telecom service providers to develop and implement inclusive business policies which take cognizance of the accessibility needs of Persons with Disabilities (PWD's).

 

Specific issues of deploying and using recharge cards, SMS and other advert/marketing instruments as Disability Advocacy Tools as well as providing free voice activated menu were mentioned.

Telecom service providers are also urged to partner with manufacturers of assistive technology software in providing accessible packages and include either speech input options on customer support menu options or immediate customer support representative package to which dexterity impaired persons may subscribe.

 

Nigerian Youths mobilised for self employment ICTs Tools

 

A motivational seminar which seeks to expose Nigerian youths to self employment opportunities using web-based job platforms took off in Lagos lat week under a program endorsed by the Federal Ministry of Communication Technology.

 

The seminar discussed online platforms where skilled youths can bid for and execute jobs. These include tools that create level playing ground employment opportunities such as MicroWorks, elance.com, freelance.com odesk.com

 

Femi Bayode presenting the odesk.com opportunities

A high point of the seminar was the testimony of Osogbo based Mr. Femi Bayode, who earns a living by working remotely for Odesk.com

 

OUTSIDE THE BOX
Nigerian Icons Obadare, Achebe, Akinnola Transform

 

Within a space of 24 hours last Wednesday, three Nigerian icons were announced to have passed on, two at home, one abroad. Prophet Timothy Oluwole Obadare, 85, iconoclast pastor and Founder of World Soul Winning Evangelical Ministry (WOSEM) in Akure, Prof Albert Chinualumogu Achebe a.k.a. Chinua Achebe, 82, renown scholar and Doyen of African Literature, in Boston, USA,  and Chief Bayo Akinnola, 78, an Ondo High Chief, industrialist and Prime Minister of Ondo Kingdom, in Lagos.

 

N90million fine against MTN again 

MTN's failure to improve the quality of service it offers to Nigerian consumers has earned it another N90million fine. 

Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC said it measured the Key performance indices for mobile telephone operators between July and December 2012 and found MTN culpable. 

Broadband Expansion Program gets on to a good start

 

A common view expressed by both the Minister of Communication Technology and the Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, at the closing ceremony of a recent Broadband Workshop in Lagos is that the Federal Government would support initiatives which aim at fast-tracking the rollout of broadband infrastructure and content development.

 

In an address titled ''A Commitment to Growing and Funding Ubiquitous Broadband Access' Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, noted that Government will (also) continue to intervene financially in network build out in unserved and undeserved areas through the universal service fund and other creating means of funding.

 

Dr Eugene Juwah who spoke through Mr. Tony Ojobo, NCC's Director of Public Affairs also said with the level of interest being shown at the highest level of governance in Nigeria, there is reason to believe that government will support these initiatives when they are well defined for implementation.

 

Earlier in the 3 days Business workshop which is the take-off event of the Broadband Expansion Program, Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu, Coordinator of the Program had asked delegates to regard the entirety of Nigeria as an underserved community in terms of high speed internet access and urged them to formulate an initiative that is capable of providing a wholesale solution to the issue of broadband paucity in the country.

 

Mr. Kunle Awoluyi, who presented a report of the Workshop and a Bill of Requests to the Minister, said the major output of the 3 days discussion is the need that government supports the cost of Right of Way across the country using the USPF and other institutional funding mechanisms.

 

 

FG forecasts 500% increase in broadband penetration by 2015

 

Nigeria's Federal Government will continue to be alive to her responsibilities in developing the appropriate policy, legal and regulatory framework to attract the necessary domestic and foreign direct investment to fuel the data/internet revolution that we now need.

 

This was the view canvassed by Mrs. Omobola Johnson, Minister of Communication Technology when she spoke in Lagos last week on 'A Commitment to Growing and Funding Ubiquitous Broadband Access'.  It was at the closing ceremony of a Broadband workshop and launch of an industry hand book titled Nigeria's Broadband Expansion program 2013 and Beyond.

 

According to the Minister, with the leadership and support of His Excellency Vice President Arc Namadi Sambo as the chairman of NEC the industry has commenced the engagement of State governments on the criticality of their role in the deployment of a ubiquitous broadband network. Central to this engagement is the agreement that taxing the benefits that accrue from ubiquitous broadband infrastructure is much more sustainable and potentially of greater value than taxing the roll-out of the infrastructure - those multiple and illegal taxes that the industry is a battling with now.  This fundamental agreement has paved the way for discussions and negotiations with the State governors along the following principles:

Streamlining and harmonizing of regulation on all telecoms infrastructure for federal, state and local government authorities - 'pay once dig once'

Standardization of agreed levies and fees on telecoms infrastructure

Abolition of all incidents of multiple and illegitimate taxation at the state and local governments

Acceleration of the processing  period for obtaining approvals for the deployment of ICT infrastructure

Significant reductions on right of way

We are quite confident that these negotiations will yield fruit.

 

Furthermore, and more holistically President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR inaugurated a Presidential Committee on 20th Sep 2012, mandated to produce a broadband strategy and roadmap. In essence bringing all the uncoordinated efforts of broadband infrastructure deployment under a national initiative. To the initiated we have at least three national backbones.

 

Two very experienced ICT sector professionals, Engineer Ernest Ndukwe and Mr. Jim Ovia co-chair the committee, supported by a team of fifteen (15) core members representing various ICT stakeholder groups, and an additional set of co-opted members.

 

The Presidential Committee considered amongst other issues, the matters of:

Classification of ICT infrastructure as Critical National Infrastructure

The issue of a converged regulator

Applying the Open Access model to installed broadband infrastructure

Spectrum re-farming to ensure optimal usage of this scarce national resource

Appropriate financial incentives for operators and options financing the required aggressive rollout

Affordability of broadband services through the reduction of device costs or lowering or eliminating import duties and other taxes as appropriate

Reviewing and harmonising existing ICT laws to ensure support of all efforts to ensure increased broadband penetration

Rolling out applications that will increase the demand for broadband services

 

The end result of deliberations over the last five months is a roadmap with clear time bound phases that will deliver our policy objective of a 500% increase in broadband penetration by 2015.

 

Approval of the document by Mr. President is imminent and once approved, the industry can commence what it does best- building networks that extend to the population regardless of their geographical location.

 

These two initiatives clearly demonstrate that developing a broadband network is receiving attention at the highest levels of government in recognition of the importance of this infrastructure to national socio-economic development.

 

BbExPro Coordinator says Broadband is Catalyst for other Development Attainments

 

A telecommunications engineer and coordinator of the Broadband expansion program, Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu said in Lagos last week that the good record of achievements of the Ministry of Communication Technology since its inception in 2011 requires that he Ministry addresses the pervasive poor access to high speed internet lest those commendable strides be slowed down.

He told delegates to the Broadband expansion Business workshop in a welcome address that the program was an initiative to  support the giants strides of the New Ministry which  came on the back of convergence.

 

Mr. Omo-Ettu said the platform on which business, governance, education, health and communications ride these days is high speed internet and a lack of it even for the remotest communities provides a compounding drawback to true growth and development.

 

He recounted that 'the first unique attainment of the Ministry was that it stabilized so quickly by defining its mandate, setting the necessary goals, and making the necessary consultations which led to the unusually speedy delivery of its major responsibility. That is the provision of an ICT Policy for the country. We are aware that a Draft ICT Policy has been delivered to the Federal Executive Council for accent.

 

'We are also aware that a broadband strategy and roadmap for national development is about now being worked out.

 

Other specific attainments include significant work on issue of resolving the Right of Way guidelines, the creation of a critical infrastructure bill that will protect communications infrastructure and ,

 

Even if the above may not be easily discernable to ordinary citizens, there are other major development instruments and mechanisms such as the Student PC Ownership Scheme, the establishment of ICT incubation Centres to facilitate software development, The Patronise locally made or assembled models of computers decision of Government, and the Technology Launch Pad initiative to develop capacities of software developers. The IT Innovation Capital Venture Fund comes for mentioning and we are aware work is being done on process of deploying fibre optic based network to connect Nigerian Universities to the wider research and education networks

 

Using all these as realities, we can only take advantage of them if we bring to attention of our people to them and attention of Government to the major hindrance which lack of access to investment funding is capable of throwing in to slow the march towards realizing these goals.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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