Spring 2010 Issue 29
Special Focus |  Policy and Legislation |  e-Government |  e-Commerce |  e-Society |  e-Security |  Conference and Training

Contact Us:  unpan-ap@sass.org.cn
ˇˇ ABI: Mobile Voice Revenue to Decline from 2011
ARMENIA: Introducing E-governance in 2012
AUSTRALIA: E-Health Bill Introduced to Parliament
INDIA: National Knowledge Network to Be Set Up
JAPAN: 19 Prefectures Scale Down Online Services
MIDDLE EAST: ICT Sector Shows Highest Growth Potential Among Global Markets
MMA: Next Billion Mobile Users to Come from Asia, Industry Group Predicts
PACIFIC Prepares for Mobile Phone Banking
REPUBLIC OF KOREA: E-government Given Best Rating by United Nations
UNITED KINGDOM: All Public Services to Be Online by 2014
UNITED NATIONS: Leveraging E-government at a Time of Financial and Economic Crisis
UNITED STATES: Washington, D.C. to Get Massive 'Cyber Shock' in Mock Cyber-Attack
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ˇˇ Egypt Aims to Boost Broadband Penetration
AFRICA: Nigeria to Mandate SIM Card Registration
EUROPE: ICT Results Issues New Reports on E-Inclusion and Networked Devices
UK: IT Heads Target Strategy and Business Change in 2010
UK: Lords Propose Changes to Digital Economy Bill
NORTH AMERICA: Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation Unanimously Passed by the House of Commons
US Official Plans to Champion Global Net Freedom
SOUTH AMERICA: Dominican Republic Guarantees Women's Equality in Technology Initiatives and Policies
Grenada: Prime Minister Tillman Endorses the CARICOM eGovernment Strategy
Global Standard for SIM Cards to Be Unveiled
Nokia Urges Mobile Developers to Focus on Poor Nations
ASIA: Govts Eye Gains from Setting Data Free
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ˇˇ CHINA: CNNIC Halts Website Domain Name Registration for Individuals
Chinese Vice Premier Urges More Efforts for 3G Development
China Lowers Corporate Income Tax Rate for 186 Software Enterprises
China's National Institute for Digital Copyright Research Opens in Beijing's Zhongguancun
China Says Internet Regulation Legitimate, Reasonable
China Welcomes Foreign Internet Firms: Minister
Consumer Protection Enhanced for Hong Kong Mobile Phone Users
Gov't Mulls New Regulations for Online Stores
JAPAN: Ministry Begins 2nd Rehearsal for Shift to Digital Broadcasting
SOUTH KOREA: Gov't to Invest 610 Bln Won in Computing Market
Korea Planning to Shake up Software Industry in 2010
Gov't to Spend 225 Bln Won to Turn Daegu into 'Global Mobile Cluster'
Gov't to Spend 400 Bln Won to Train IT Workers
Gov't to Inject 988 Bln Won to Fuel IT Industry Growth in 2010
Korea Throws W370b behind Wireless IT
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ˇˇ PHILIPPINES: Angara Stresses Creation of ICT Department
Enrile Wants Passage of Bill Seeking to Reorganize NTC
THAILAND: Private Sector Meets with Sipa - Agencies Propose Tax Incentive Measures
VIETNAM: Appropriate Measures to Be Applied to Websites Violating the Law
Financial Efficiency Key to Software Industry
Telecommunication Law to Take Effect Next July
Foreign Social Networks on the Way Out
Legal Corridor Needed to Accelerate IT Sector
Ha Noi Gets Tough on Internet Shops
Vietnam Aims to Have 1000 Int'l Network Security Experts
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ˇˇ BANGLADESH: To Auction 3G License in 2010
Govt Activities to Be Digitised: Law Minister
BHUTAN: Launching Mobile Infosystem for Farmers
INDIA: National Knowledge Network to Be Set Up
E-Governance Project of Rs 180-Crore Launched in Karnataka
E-Literacy Program Launched in Bihar
India's First Level 3 Data Centre Soon at Karnataka
Revised ICT Scheme of HRD Ministry Cleared by Cabinet
L&T Infotech Completes E-Governance Project
Extensive Use of ICT in Indian Forestry
PAKISTAN: 'Government Taking Steps for IT Promotion'
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ˇˇ A Large Amount of Illegal Communication Means Has Nabbed
AZERBAIJAN: Keep Cutting Internet Prices
Political Uncertainties Won't Hamper Iran's Telecom Growth
KAZAKHSTAN: Intend to Increase Share of Info-Communicational Branch in GDP Up to 5%
Prime Minister Assigned ICA to Develop Project on Expansion of 4G System in Astana
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ˇˇ AUSTRALIA: Funding to Support Strong Broadband Demand
Realising Our Broadband Future
Digital Dividend Green Paper
E-Health Legislation Faces Parliament
SA Gov Moves to Cut ICT Industry Greenhouse Emissions
NEW ZEALAND: Levy to Fund Rural Broadband Scheme
Govt Favours Three Strike Internet Copyright System
Computer Literacy Standard Would Give NZ Boost - Report
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ˇˇ AFRICA: Egypt to Undergo E-Government Review
EUROPE: Russia Creates 1,100 Systems That Can Form E-Government
UK: All Public Services to Be Online by 2014, Saving £400m Says Govt
UK: Brown Hopes Range of IT Efficiency Measures Will Save £3bn
UK: Top 10 Government Tech Stories of 2009
UK: Bad Websites Cost Councils £11m a Month
NORTH AMERICA: Barack Obama Names Howard Schmidt as U.S. Cybersecurity Chief
U.S. Cellular Offers New Unlimited National Calling Plans
Socitm: Public Sector ICT Needs to Rethink Efficiency Strategy
Leveraging E-government at a Time of Financial and Economic Crisis
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ˇˇ CHINA: Embraces Government Websites Boom
China Sets Up Intellectual Property Right Protection Aid Centers
CNNIC Launches Online Complaint Reporting Service
China Pours Money into Cultural Resources Network Building
JAPAN: 19 Prefectures Scale Down Online Services
Japan Tourism Agency Web Site Seeks Foreigner Buzz
Foreign Ministry Launches Website Page on 2010 APEC Forum in Japan
N. AND S. KOREA: Set to Complete Cross-Border Cable
SOUTH KOREA: Gov't Invites Foreign Officials to Promote U-Port System
Seoul to Open Blog for Communication
Government Takes Lead in Paying for Online News Content
Korea's E-government Given Best Rating by United Nations
Over 20 'Smart Offices' to Be Built in Metropolitan Area by 2013
Korea Must Utilize Its E-government Title to Excel Further
IT Technology to Be Used for Rivers Restoration
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ˇˇ MALAYSIA: Govt Teams Up with EBay to Aid SMEs
PHILIPPINES: Lawmakers Bat for Stronger NTC to Cope With IT Developments
THAILAND: ICT Minister Tells TOT to Improve 3G Service Quality in Bangkok in 90 Days
VIETNAM: IT Use in Government Boosts Efficiency
Ministry Firm on Mobile Deadline
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ˇˇ BANGLADESH: Telecommunications Report Q1 2010 - New Report Published
Bangladesh to Follow Singapore in ICT
INDIA: Orissa Government Goes Online
MP Gets 4 E-Governance Awards of South Asia
Computerisation of Civic Body Records by Urban Development Ministry
E-Government Inaugurated in Sukkur by Sindh Minister
Delhi Gears Up for Digitised Governance
India to Use the 'Cloud' Services for E-Governance
Nasscom to Focus on E-Governance
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ˇˇ Ministry Of Communication and IT Signed a One Million USD Agreement with USAID
ARMENIA: Introduce E-governance in 2012
AZERBAIJAN: Aiming for Mobile Number Portability Later This Year
KYRGYZSTAN: Software Used to Aid Economic Reform
UZBEKISTAN: Officials Learn Ensuring Information Security
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ˇˇ AUSTRALIA: Digital Projects to Improve Services in Regional Communities
Australian Govt Centralises ICT Procurement
Govt Says E-Health Will Deliver a Safer System
Australian Government Integrates E-Health Systems
E-Health Bill Introduced to Parliament
NEW ZEALAND: Government 'Asking for a Disaster' on Broadband
NZ Local Govt Boosts Communications
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ˇˇ AFRICA: Kenya E-Commerce a Welcome Boost for the Economy
ASIA: More SMEs Plan to Set Up Online Transaction Sites
Asia IT Spend to Increase in 2010
IT Services Market in AP to Hit US$48.7B
EUROPE: Denmark Helps Businesses With National E-Invoicing System
Russian IT Market Is Expected to Start to Recover In 2010
Mobile Voice Revenue to Decline from 2011
IT Leaders Demonstrate Business Leadership Through Tech Innovation
Hardware Spend to Hit $2.5bn by 2013
Global Mobile Market Out of Recession
M-Commerce Site Performance Lagging Behind E-Commerce, Study Shows
Mobile Phones Become Pocket Banks in Poor Countries
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ˇˇ CHINA: Fujian's First Travel E-Commerce Center Goes Live
Slower Drop in IT Product Exports
Chinese Internet Shopping Security Alliance to Be Established
E-commerce in China Hits $36.6 Bln: Survey
IT Usage in Macao's Business Sector Reaches 47% in 2008
China's Ministry of Culture Publishes Online Game Market White Paper
3G Brings A Boom to Mobile Phone Industry
China's Online Travel Market Booming
New Users and 3G Lift Telecom Revenue
China Telecom Joins GSM Association
China's Bank Card Spending Up 31% in 2009
JAPAN: Companies Target China's Online Shopping
Megabanks Embrace Internet Banking
SOUTH KOREA: 58 Bln Won Injected to Development of Chip Manufacturing Equipment
Korea's Telecom Market Expected to Grow Slightly
Growth of Korea's IT Industry Slows from 2005
Samsung Presumed World's Largest Electronics Firm in 2009
Trade Balance in IT Sector Posts US$59 Bil. Surplus
Korea's IT Exports Reach $121 Bln in 2009
Korea's Internet Banking Use up 24.8%
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ˇˇ MALAYSIA: Better Year Predicted for IT Vendors
E-Commerce Initiative Aimed at SMEs
Digital TV Broadcasts for Mobiles to Be Beam in Soon
SINGAPORE: Companies Make Their Move on the Fast Growing Mobile Applications Market
THAILAND: Spending on IT Infrastructure Remains Low
IDC Issues Positive Figures: Data Services Drive Telecom Market
VIETNAM: Information Technology to Make a Breakthrough in 2010
Telecom Market 'Unstable' Despite Boom
VNPT Proposes 20 Percent Cut in Mobile Charges
Telcos Upgrade Networks to Reduce Jamming
E-commerce Set to Boom in 2010: Trade Ministry
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ˇˇ BANGLADESH: E-Franchising: A Prospective Market for Bangladesh
INDIA: Fastest Growing Mobile Market in South Asia
Indian Companies Are Top Importers of IT Workers
BSNL Launches WiMAX Services in India
Commercial Taxes Department in Kerala to Adopt M-Governance
E-Stamp for Easier Tax Collection
PAKISTAN: Largest Data Centre Launched
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ˇˇ AFGHANISTAN: MCIT Signs the Second Phase of Optical Fibers Project
The 2nd Contract of Telecom Development Fund Signed
AZERBAIJAN: 3G License Awarded
Minister: Azercell Will Get 3G Service License
AZERBAIJAN: System Technology and ULTRA Companies to Sign Agreement
TURKEY: Turkcell Fined $24 Million for Anti-Competitive Behaviour
TURKEY: Minister Hints at Turk Telekom Sale in 2010
UZBEKISTAN: MTS Expands List of Roaming Partners
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ˇˇ AUSTRALIA: NICTA Wins $1.01m to Build Advanced Surveillance System
Australia and NZ Operations Buoy Computershare Results
ISPs Target Cloud Services for Growth
Open Source Not Free, Senate Hears
Defence Gifts Thales $51m IT Contract
APAN Claims Domestic and World Firsts
Unemployed Sydney IT Worker Wins $17 Million
$19.4 Billion Spent on Consumer Tech in 2009
Analysts Report Soft Gains for IT in 2010
NEW ZEALAND: Mobile Broadband and Subscriptions Grow by 53 Percent
Technology Third-Biggest Export
Telecom Knocked Back on VDSL Unbundling Exemption
Pacific Prepares for Mobile Phone Banking
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ˇˇ AFRICA: Nigeria Customers Demand Improved E-Banking Services and Customer Relations in 2010
ASIA: Experts Divided over Market Potential of E-Books
Price, Partners to Boost Asia's E-Reader Adoption
Next Billion Mobile Users to Come from Asia, Industry Group Predicts
Asian Users Anxious over Social Networks
EUROPE: Czech Republic Telecoms Report - SIM Card Penetration Has Surpassed 100%
France to Have 71.1 Mln Mobile Phone Users in 2014 - Study
Sweden Overtakes US in 'Useful Connectivity,' Says Study
UK: Networks & Telecoms Trends to Watch in 2010
Decoding Britain's Digital Divide
NORTH AMERICA: Orascom Says Canada May Reach 100% Wireless Penetration by 2020
Mexico - 75 Million Mark Passed, 75% Penetration Beckons
U.S. Proposes Standards to Spur E-Health Records
SOUTH AMERICA: Argentina's Triple-Play User Base to Rise Nine-Fold by 2014
Penetration in Argentina Estimated at 120 Percent at Year-End 2009
ICTs and the Green City of the Future
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ˇˇ CHINA: Hope Taiwan 3G Test Will Boost Homegrown Technologies
China and Taiwan Agree to Promote EPUB E-book Standard
Sales of China's Online Gaming Industry to Hit 27.5 Bln Yuan
China Mobile Launches 4G Network at Expo Site
China Launches National Internet Television
Watch and Talk to Your Family at Any Time Anywhere Through Mobile
E-book Sales to Explode in China
China's Internet Users Hit 384 Million Mark in 2009: Report
China to Build 100 Digital Cities in 2010
HK Leads in Mobile Download Technology
JAPAN: Website Launched to Raise Money for Suicide Prevention
Internet-based Autopsy Service Begins
Free Local TV Soon to Be Available on Cell Phones
E-reader Boom Kindles a Variety of New Options
SOUTH KOREA: Gov't to Spend 2.17 tln Won on Electronic Infrastructure Upgrades
Internet TV Subscribers Top 1.5 Million
KT's Live IPTV Users Exceed 1m
The Era of Mobile Internet Dawning
E-textbooks Due Next Year
Korea Ranks 1st in Broadband Connection Speed in 2009
S. Korea, Japan Have World's Fastest Web Links
Korea, Japan Discuss Digital Economy
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ˇˇ INDONESIA: At-home Technology Can Monitor Seniors for Safety
MALAYSIA: Telecentres Urged to Have More Community Activities
MSC Firms Dive into IPTV E-learning Programmes
Libraries to Offer Online Book Borrowing
SINGAPORE: Consumers to Benefit from New Guidelines on Telecommunication Services
THAILAND: Uni Network to Digitise Libraries, Push E-Learning
ICT to Launch Satellite TV Online
Ad Agencies, PR Firms Make Full Use of Social Network Sites
VIETNAM: Developing Human Resources Critical to IT Growth, Experts Say
Slow Growth for 3G Infrastructure
E-Customs to Boost Export Efficiency
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ˇˇ INDIA: IRDA Permits Online Purchase of Insurance Policy
Delhi High Court Gets India's First E-Court
New Technology for E-Toll Payment to Be Identified
Traditional Indian Remedies to Be Digitised
Orissa to Enable Online Utility Payments
Biometrics and E-Challans for Capital's Transport and Traffic Management
High Speed Wireless Launched in Assam
2.5 Lakh E-Kiosks by 2012 in India
Jharkhand Gets Ready for E-Nagrik Services
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ˇˇ AFGHANISTAN: Ministry of Communications & IT and Anesta Telecom Sign a Contract to Utilize DSL
AZERBAIJAN: Initial Provider Launches WiMAX Internet Services
New Scientific Internet Centre Created in Azerbaijan
IRAN: 'Internet Is Our Absolute Right'
KAZAKHSTAN: Rail Users to Get Free Wi-Fi Service
KAZAKHSTAN: High-Tech Industrial Zone to Be Established in Ust-Kamenogorsk
AIC Expects 3G Launch in March
TAJIKISTAN: Cellular Company Promotes 3.5G USB Modems into Market of Telecommunications Services
Development of Mobile ICTs Discussed in Dushanbe
TURKEY: Third of Turkcell 3G Subscribers Are New to the Internet
TURKMENISTAN: MTS Details Network Expansion, Upgrade Achievements in 2009
UZBEKISTAN: 3G Service Becomes More Accessible for MTS Subscribers
Europe and Central Asia Experience Significant Growth in ICT Availability
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ˇˇ AUSTRALIA: Aussie Hospital Group Consolidates Clinical Systems
NICTA Australian Technology Park Laboratory and Corporate Head Office Opens Today
Health Professions United on E-Health, Australia
E-Prescribing Tender Cancelled
Librarians Voice Opposition to Internet Filter
Govt Laughs at Commercial NEHTA Fears
Bandwidth Quotas to Stay, Say Internet Service Providers
DEEWR to Form ICT Education Panel
NEW ZEALAND: Tourists to Get Virtual Experience
National E-Health Plan Plagued by Privacy Concerns
Telecom New Zealand Updates on Cause of Recent Network Outages
PAPUA NEW GUINEA: New Internet Technology for Academics
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ˇˇ Europe: Privacy Will Be Big Challenge in Next Decade, Says EU Commissioner
UK: Opposition Grows to Government Piracy Measures
NORTH AMERICA: New Cable to Provide More Secure Data Bandwidth Between US and Asia
Legal Battle Forces US Government to Restore Millions of Missing E-Mails
Agency Walls Too High for US Cyber Security Czar?
Utilities, Refineries and Banks Are Victims of Cyber Attacks, Report
Washington, D.C. to Get Massive 'Cyber Shock' in Mock Cyber-Attack
Businesses Face Mobile Security Challenge in 2010
What Are Government's Security Weak Spots?
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ˇˇ CHINA: Wipe out Unlicensed Video Websites - Official
BT Websites Shut Down over Copyright Infringement
China Information Security Technology Ranked Among Deloitte Technology Fast 500 Asia Pacific 2009
China Gets Tough on Credit Card-related Crimes
China Jails 11 over Online Games Scam: State Media
China Blocks 15,000 Porn Websites
Turning off Online Addiction
China Blasts Accusation of Gov't Involvement in Cyber Attacks
JAPAN: 11 Arrested in Simultaneous Bust for Uploading Copyrighted Files
8 Japanese Computer Servers Suspected in July Cyber Attack
SOUTH KOREA: Cyber Command Launched Next Week
Website Not Responsible for Data Theft
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ˇˇ MALAYSIA: More Information Security Experts Needed
'Cultural Elements,' Security Needed in ICT: Rais
THAILAND: The Unstoppable Growth of Internet Crime
Data-interception Technology Sparks Privacy vs Safety Arguments
Social Sites, Cloud Computing Pose New Threats
VIETNAM: Hi-tech Criminal Attacks on the Rise
VN Websites Face Hacker Onslaught
Hackers Besiege HCM City Business
Viruses Attack 64.7 Million PCs in 2009
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ˇˇ INDIA: E-Tracking of Crime Project
Cyber Crime Police Station in Kolkata for Net Web Offenders
E-Tendering to Bring in Transparency in Kerala
PAKISTAN: IT Sector - PCA and Microsoft to Promote IPRs
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ˇˇ IRAN: Warns Opposition on Cell Phone, E-mail Use
KAZAKHSTAN: Ministry of Defense Cleared Radio Frequencies for 3G Technology
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ˇˇ AUSTRALIA: Federal Government Builds Secret Database to Fight Cyber-Terrorism
AG's Office Defends Record on Anonymous Attacks
ISOC-AU Says No to ISP Filter
Queensland Police Roll out Building Access ID Cards
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ˇˇ Asia's Premier Event on ICT: E-Asia 2009
Asia-Pacific Telecom Conference Opens
Asia Pacific Internet-Builders to Gather at KL Summit
5th Ministerial eGovernment Conference 2009
ICT 2010 Conference: Key Themes
The 4th Internet Governance Forum
World Telecommunication Development Conference
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ˇˇ CHINA: 2010 International CES on Tech Policy to Begin on Thursday
JAPAN: Tokyo Hosts Int'l Robot Exhibition 2009
Asia-Pacific Telecom Meeting in Korea
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ˇˇ MALAYSIA: CSIRTs Hone Their Anti-cybercrime Skills
VIETNAM: Largest IT Exhibition Opens in Hanoi
Confab Vets Data Security
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ˇˇ BANGLADESH: Training on Software in Banking Held
INDIA: Government Resumes Talks with World Bank on E-Bharat
India Government to Organise National Conference on E-Governance
SRI LANKA: President Inaugurates E-ASIA
PAKISTAN: Conference on Telecom, IT Sectors on January 19
CIO Organises 'Years Ahead 2010' Summit
Punjab Government Organises IT Exhibition Today
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ˇˇ AZERBAIJAN: Teachers Launch Internet Forum
Scientific Seminar Dedicated to International Information Security Day Held at IIT
Actual Problems Were Discussed at the Meeting of the Internet Council
First Azerbaijan-Belarus ICT Forum Launches in Baku
Azerbaijan's ICT Expert Attends 2010 GSMA Mobile World Congress
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ˇˇ AUSTRALIA: Broadband Forum 'Open to Your Ideas'
The Idea 2010 Conference 10-13 March 2010

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ABI: Mobile Voice Revenue to Decline from 2011

Mobile voice service revenues are on a trajectory to reach their peak in 2010, after which they are likely to start declining, according to the latest forecasts from ABI Research. Vice-president for forecasting Jake Saunders comments: "Mobile voice has had a meteoric rise since digital cellular networks such as GSM were deployed in 1992. "ABI Research forecasts annual mobile voice revenues to reach $580 billion in 2010. From 2011 on, rising subscriber saturation will increasingly erode mobile voice revenues, not just in developed markets but also in a number of emerging markets. By 2014, mobile voice revenues will have contracted by 9.6 percent."

While mobile operators have received a substantial boost from value-added services such as messaging and Mobile Internet, competition is squeezing margins for a variety of services and carriers.

Total mobile data services should generate $169 million in 2009 and will grow at a CAGR of 9 percent until 2014. By the end of 2009 the declines in annual average revenue per user (ARPU) will have been felt most severely in Asia-Pacific (-8.7 percent to $105) and Africa (-7.8 percent to $134).

ARPU in 2009 in North America will have contracted, but only by -0.6 percent to $526). Mobile Internet revenue ($52) from use of smartphones, netbooks, etc. will help to prop up overall service revenue for the region. Wireless capital expenditure, on the other hand, shrank 5 percent in 2009 to $132.5 billion.

The global recession was widely felt in all parts of the world. Saunders notes: "As handset sales plummeted in 4Q-2009, end-users did not return their handsets nor did they put their handsets aside and refuse to use them. They did, however, try to cap tariff plan usage. Carriers therefore held up a number of CAPEX-related projects to free up some cashflow." As the economy has stabilized in the second half of 2009, carriers have started to resume capital expenditure. Key areas of spending are core network and radio access network upgrades to support higher data throughput. (by Lexton Snol)


From http://www.networkworld.com/ 11/23/2009

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ARMENIA: Introducing E-governance in 2012

The electronic governance will be introduced in Armenia in January 2012. According to the press office of the Secretary of National Security Council, an inter-agency working group will elaborate a concept of introduction of e-governance within a three-year Armenia-EU program by September 2010. As secretary of the National Security Council Arthur Baghdasaryan told today's meeting of the working group, new governance system must include not only public authorities and municipalities, but also create an opportunity for businesses to communicate with state bodies via e-mail. According to him, a new governance system will reduce corruption risks and eliminate the red tape. Elaboration and implementation of the concept will be carried out accordingly with legislative changes.


From Today.Az 02/04/2010

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AUSTRALIA: E-Health Bill Introduced to Parliament

The Federal Government has introduced a bill to Parliament will allow every Australian to be issued with electronic identification. If passed, the bill will see unique 16 digit numbers created for individuals and health care providers by the middle of this year. The Individual Healthcare Identifier (IHI) is a step towards an e-health system that will eventually give citizens comprehensive electronic health records that can be used by multiple healthcare providers. Last year, the National Health and Hospital Reforms Commission (NHHRC) also recommended that the e-health system allow individuals to determine which practitioners their information can be shared with, and how their records will be stored, backed-up and retrieved. "The government is currently undertaking the most important overhaul of our health system since the introduction of Medicare 25 years ago," said Nicola Roxon, Minister for Health and Ageing.

"This bill establishes the healthcare identifiers, without which there cannot be an integrated, consistent, e-health system in Australia." Roxon said that safeguards would be put in place so that minimal demographic information would be collected and no clinical information would be held by the service operator. Only authorised healthcare providers would be able to access the records of their existing patients, and independent regulators would manage a "robust complaints handling framework", she said. According to the bill, minor amendments would be made to the Privacy Act to ensure that the Federal Privacy Commissioner can act against any individual or company that misuses an individual's healthcare identifier.


From http://www.itnews.com.au/ 02/12/2010

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INDIA: National Knowledge Network to Be Set Up

The establishment of the National Knowledge Network (NKN) has been accorded the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure. The knowledge network is planned to be implemented by the NIC and will inter-connect all knowledge institutions trough high speed data communication network. NKN would encourage sharing of knowledge, specialised resources and collaborative research among scientists, researchers and students from diverse spheres across the country to work together for advancing human development in critical and emerging areas. It will catalyze knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer between stakeholders seamlessly. NKN would enable use of specialized applications and allow sharing of high performance computing facilities, e-libraries, virtual classrooms and very large databases. The government announced setting up NKN in 2008-09 and an initial amount of Rs 100 crore was allocated to the Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and IT for establishment.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 01/27/2010

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JAPAN: 19 Prefectures Scale Down Online Services

Financial difficulties have forced 19 prefectural governments to cancel or scale down their often-inefficient online administrative procedures for citizens, according to an Asahi Shimbun survey. With the costs of running online systems high and the number of users low, many prefectural governments have switched to cheaper systems to reduce expenses. Total operating costs for online systems around the country are expected to decrease to less than 1.61 billion yen in fiscal 2010, or two-thirds of 2.44 billion yen in fiscal 2008. The Asahi Shimbun carried out the survey concerning 10,759 administrative procedures that can be conducted online at the 47 prefectural governments. Officials were interviewed on the number of annual online applications and what percentage they accounted for, the costs to operate the online systems, and whether they have reviewed, or plan to review, the electronic procedures and the overall online system. Many prefectural government systems suffered from inefficiency, with a single application from a resident costing more than 10,000 yen to process in 22 prefectures. Okinawa topped the prefectural inefficiency list, with one application costing 91,463 yen, followed by Kagoshima (79,783 yen), Yamagata (61,216 yen), Ehime (43,209 yen), and Gifu (25,680 yen). Aichi Prefecture has the most cost-efficient system, with one application costing 67 yen to process, followed by Shiga (534 yen), Tokyo (540 yen), Niigata (745 yen), and Osaka (935 yen), the survey showed. These five prefectures simplified their online procedures by, for example, not requiring electronic authentication. In that way, they cut costs by increasing the number of users.

The central government has urged prefectural governments to promote online usage for 19 procedures because of their high volumes of applications. But online applications accounted for less than 10 percent in 10 of these procedures, such as one to change addresses for an automobile tax and another concerning food business. Some procedures had rates exceeding 80 percent for online usage, such as one for reserving sports or cultural facilities and two related to bidding for contracts, which only certain companies use repeatedly. Two prefectural governments have scrapped their online systems altogether. The Kochi prefectural government saved 32 million yen when it halted its electronic procedures at the end of fiscal 2005, while Gifu Prefecture saved 48 million yen when it did the same at the end of fiscal 2008. Under the central government's strategy for information technology, central and local governments rapidly introduced electronic filing of administrative procedures starting in 2001. However, the ease of use and cost efficiency took a backseat, prompting the Board of Audit to point out inefficiencies of the systems. An Asahi Shimbun survey on electronic procedures at the central government conducted earlier this month found that less than 1 percent of all applications in nearly 20 percent of administrative systems at ministries and agencies were conducted online. One application cost the government more than 8 million yen to process. (IHT/Asahi)


From http://www.asahi.com/ 12/01/2009

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MIDDLE EAST: ICT Sector Shows Highest Growth Potential Among Global Markets

Research covering the international information and communications technology (ICT) markets shows that the Middle East has the best growth potential in 2010. IDC MEAIDC MEA, the top market intelligence and advisory firm serving the Middle East, Turkey and Africa (MEA) territories, will gather 100 of the region's top ICT decision makers to discuss industry opportunities, trends and best practices at the upcoming IDC Middle East CIO Summit 2010 to be held from January 24 to 25, 2010 at the Madinat Jumeirah Resort in Dubai. Injazat Data Systems, the leading information technology and business process managed services provider in the UAE and the Middle East and the Summit's Gold Sponsor, will deliver a presentation on the use of managed IT services as strategic business tools. The company will also identify key prospects within the Gulf's thriving ICT sector, which has the potential to expand into a USD45 billion industry this year. The Summit will address vital industry issues in areas such as data centre efficiency, data and storage management, security, regulatory compliance, virtualization, and enhanced ICT-business alignment. It will also feature other key presentations from industry leaders.

"The impacts of government stimulus programs undertaken across the region during the past year are expected to be felt during the first half of 2010. The ICT industry thus needs to be prepared to meet the demands that will emerge from an expected recovery. ICT products and services are still viewed as essential by most organizations; it is the CIO's task to convince partners and customers of the importance of ICT in optimizing business performance and ensuring competitiveness amidst today's challenging markets," said Ibrahim Mohamed Lari, CEO, Injazat Data Systems. Injazat has been able to gain a leadership position in the Middle East's rapidly growing data centre segment by opening the region's first and only Tier IV design-certified data centre. Its support for the latest edition of the IDC Middle East CIO Summit continues its active participation in major industry gatherings; last year, Injazat hosted the inaugural Data Centre Strategies Middle East Forum and sponsored the first-ever Cloud Computing / SaaS Summit in the UAE. The IDC Middle East CIO Summit 2010 is the regional leg of global market intelligence firm IDCIDC's third annual CIO Summit Series 2010, which will also tour Turkey and Africa. To be held under the theme 'From Pressure to Performance,' the three-part Summit will run until March 2010 and will focus on the cost reduction, optimization and efficiency challenges faced by CIOs in light of today's difficult business environments.


From http://www.zawya.com/ 01/23/2010

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MMA: Next Billion Mobile Users to Come from Asia, Industry Group Predicts

The next billion users of mobile devices and services will likely come from Asia, a region that continues to lead the pace of the global mobile growth, the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), predicted. Industry group MMA, which recently released its top mobile industry predictions, said with roughly one-third of the over 4 billion mobile subscribers in the world already coming from Asia, mobile telecommunications is definitely an area that has come of age. Growth across all areas of mobile telecommunications - whether it be infrastructure, mobile phone subscriptions, mobile Internet, SMS, or gaming - is happening at an explosive pace all across Asia, as the adoption of mobile communications is outpacing internet adoption across the region, and by substantial amounts, the MMA said.

Aside from industry growth, the MMA also predicted mobile data use increase in the APAC region, brought by innovative smart devices and killer applications. Mobile use will also increase with the ongoing proliferation of high data consumption services that include video or peer-to-peer applications, the MMA said. On the user plan side, the MMA predicted that applications for smartphone devices like the Apple iPhone in the APAC region will compel carriers to include mobile data plans as value-added services. Applications that are specifically developed for the iPhone, Android phones, Blackberry devices and others will eventually convert many to mobile data use for internet access, the MMA said. This is a pull factor for subscribers to add mobile data VAS - in turn this will add to the ARPU for each subscriber and improve the bottom line for operators.

Mergers and acquisition will also impact the mobile industry, the MMA said, noting that the recent merger of Google and Admob validates the power, reach and value of the wider mobile marketing industry. For big brands that already leverage Google's vast suite of online advertising tools, there will be an expansion across mobile channels, as well as more integrated campaigns that captivate and engage across web, mobile, print and experiential channels, the MMA said.

In terms of security, higher mobile data use will raise concerns over online/mobile privacy, particularly as users share important personal information over social media, the industry group said. Platforms such as Facebook have already had to address the use of user data and put new privacy policies in place, and this will only increase with the more pervasive use of social media and as other online services go mobile. The MMA further said other mobile-based services, such as mobile payment, will continue to grow, with the global remittance moving through the Asian population. Currently, Singapore and Hong Kong are the most mature electronic payment markets in Asia. The industry is growing rapidly and provides significant opportunities for all electronic payment channels including mobile platforms. Mobile healthcare is another fast growing segment in Asia with its aging but tech-friendly population, as well as mobile music, the MMA said. Lastly, mobile application appealing to gamers will also rise, the MMA said. Smartphones can double as mobile game machines, and the delivery of advertising within mobile applications for games will only grow in the next year, the group said.


From http://www.mb.com/ 01/10/2010

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PACIFIC Prepares for Mobile Phone Banking

By the end of this year thousands of people in the Pacific may be able to do their banking using a mobile phone. Mobile phone banking has already been used to great effect in Asia and Africa, giving people in remote and rural communities access to banking services. Now the service is being extended across the Pacific, with assistance from the Pacific Financial Inclusion Program - a joint project of the United Nations, the European Union and the Australian and New Zealand Governments. Program spokesman Till Bruett has told Pacific Beat, pilot projects could get underway within the next three months in Pacific nations with strong mobile networks - including Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Samoa. "We've been working [with] different types of companies, banks, mobile network operators, micro-software firms, etcetera, to put together test solutions for how mobile phone services can be delivered in the Pacific," he said. "We think between all of them in the next quarter of probably in the first half of the year, we'll see some of these pilot projects get up and running."


From http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/ 02/05/2010

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REPUBLIC OF KOREA: E-government Given Best Rating by United Nations

Korea secured top spot in a recent e-government evaluation conducted by the United Nations, said the Ministry of Public Administration and Security on Thursday (Jan. 14). The result was based upon a survey of the 192 UN member states and Korea also placed first in the category of people's online participation. The 2010 UN e-Government Survey, completed in December 2009, has presented various roles for e-government in addressing the ongoing world financial and economic crisis. Korea has gathered momentum to lead the world's e-government development by significantly raising its standings in the "E-Government Development Index" and the "E-Participation Index" to the top, said the ministry. The country was placed 6th and 2nd in each category, respectively, in the previous survey conducted in 2008. The ministry said it would boost promotion of the country's advanced e-government status, enlarge investment into digitalization and further induce online involvement of citizens. The ministry also plans to enhance Korea's contribution to the international community in the areas of online administration by sharing the country's knowhow on the development of e-government and by exporting the country's e-government model to developing countries.


From http://www.korea.net/ 01/15/2010

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UNITED KINGDOM: All Public Services to Be Online by 2014

Nearly 100% of government transactions will be carried out online by 2014 if new targets announced today are met. The government is accelerating plans to get all services online, and is hoping it will save £400m over three years. The Putting the Frontline First report outlines how the government expects to free-up money for public services by streamlining back-office processes. The government hopes that putting all services online will lead to better services and free-up staff to deal personally with individuals.

Prime minister Gordon Brown said in his speech to launch the report this morning: "I can also state that as a result of the work of Martha Lane Fox, our aim is - within the next five years - to shift the great majority of our large transactional services to become online only." The report says: "We will accelerate plans to drive more rapid transition to online and personalised services." Departments will be required to write strategies that show how transactions for each service will move online "as rapidly as possible, with a view to targeting near 100% by 2014". Each strategy must address funding, and how internet access will be extended to the digitally excluded population. The strategies will then be used to produce a Digital Britain Roadmap, to be announced by the end of next year. This roadmap will detail how major services like student loans, job seekers allowance, child tax credits will go online. A timetable for an online child benefit service will be in place by the Budget in 2010. All VAT returns and employer tax returns will be exclusively online by 2011, and there are plans to join up Directgov, NHSChoices and Business Link so they "provide a platform for departments to design and deliver personalised digital services". The plans could see a large amount of work in store for local authorities, with the government encouraging them to process at least 80% of applications for school places online by 2011/12.


From http://www.computerweekly.com/ 12/07/2009

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UNITED NATIONS: Leveraging E-government at a Time of Financial and Economic Crisis

The 2010 United Nations e-Government Survey: Leveraging e-government at a time of financial and economic crisis was completed in December 2009 and launched in early 2010. The report presented various roles for e-government in addressing the ongoing world financial and economic crisis. The public trust that is gained through transparency can be further enhanced through the free sharing of government data based on open standards. The ability of e-government to handle speed and complexity can also underpin regulatory reform. While technology is no substitute for good policy, it may give citizens the power to question the actions of regulators and bring systemic issues to the fore. Similarly, e-government can add agility to public service delivery to help governments respond to an expanded set of demands even as revenues fall short. Since the last edition of the survey, in 2008, governments have made great strides in development of online services, especially in middle-income countries. The costs associated with telecommunication infrastructure and human capital continue to impede e-government development. However, effective strategies and legal frameworks can compensate significantly, even in least developed countries. Those who are able to harness the potential of expanded broadband access in developed regions and mobile cellular networks in developing countries to advance the UN development agenda have much to gain going forward.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Preface
Acknowledgements
Acronyms
Introduction
PART I: Leveraging E-government at a time of Financial and Economic Crisis
Chapter 1: Stimulus Packages and Financial Bailouts
Chapter 2: Financial Regulation and Monitoring
Chapter 3: Public Service Delivery
PART II: Global E-government Readiness
Chapter 4: The State of E-government by Region
Chapter 5: The State of E-government by Economic Grouping
Chapter 6: Access and Diversity


From http://www2.unpan.org/egovkb/global_reports/10report.htm

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UNITED STATES: Washington, D.C. to Get Massive 'Cyber Shock' in Mock Cyber-Attack

Familiar faces from the federal government will be tested Tuesday, Feb. 16, to see how well Washington, D.C., would handle a cyber-crisis. Pass or fail, their performance will be seen by spectators - and then broadcast on CNN for the world to see. The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), a nonprofit that develops multiparty solutions in public policy, will host Cyber Shockwave, a simulated cyber-attack on the United States, during an exercise at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, D.C. The participants will be former senior administration officials who will be put through their paces, but they won't know exactly how until it actually happens. "We've basically gathered a great group of former national security officials and administration officials, and we've actually switched up their roles, so I think it's going to be pretty interesting," said Eileen McMenamin, the BPC's vice president of communications.

At least 10 people will perform the test. They include Michael Chertoff, former secretary of U.S. Homeland Security; John Negroponte, former director of national intelligence; and Fran Townsend, former White House homeland security adviser. "The jobs that they had held are not necessarily going to be the positions that they're holding in this exercise," McMenamin said. Chertoff will operate as national security adviser for the simulation, and Negroponte and Townsend will play the roles of secretary of state and secretary of homeland security, respectively. They will be performing on a stage set up as a White House situation room, and they'll be watched by the press and other invited guests. CNN will record the happenings and air it as a special the weekend of Feb. 20. "We have gone to great lengths to work with our sponsors, General Dynamics in particular, to work with experts who have written the scenario to ensure that it is actually realistic and could happen in real life, so they will be reacting in real time," McMenamin said. "We'll have different information coming in on the screens. We'll have runners run up with cards and inject new information into the scenario, and they'll have to react."

After the exercise is completed, the BPC will issue another press release about the results. The public doesn't get to see what happens in the Pentagon or the White House situation, but the BPC will allow people the rare chance to see how something like this actually unfolds, according to McMenamin. The BPC hosted a similar series of simulations in 2007, Oil ShockWave, which addressed the country's dependence on foreign oil as a major threat. "I think a large reason that we did this is to educate the public that these threats to exist and that government needs to know how to react in real-time, and hoping to draw a larger awareness to this," McMenamin said. "I think it will also be a good tool for not only government officials, but private-sector companies as well to see what possible threats are out there, and that we really need to be ready in case an attack of this sort occurs." (by Hilton Collins)


From http://www.govtech.com/ 01/15/2010

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Egypt Aims to Boost Broadband Penetration

Egyptian communications minister Tarek Kamel has announced a plan to increase broadband penetration fourfold in the next four years to 4 million households, Reuters has reported. 'Egypt needs to invest $1bn within the next four years for broadband penetration within a plan that I'm going to announce in the first quarter of 2010 for boosting access in Egypt,' Kamel said.


From http://www.ameinfo.com/ 12/16/2009

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AFRICA: Nigeria to Mandate SIM Card Registration

Nigeria to to start requiring prepay SIM cards to have their ownership details registered with the network operators next year, the regulator has announced. The registration process will start next March and will last six months. SIM cards that are not registered after then will be shut out of the mobile networks. The Head of Consumers Affair at the Nigerian Communications Commission, Lolia Emakpore said "The SIM card registration is in line with complaints that the commission had gotten that mobile phones are used to aid crimes and government has instructed the commission to adopt a mode to help stop crime. "Nigeria does not have an effective database and that is why we think six months is enough to cover the six geo-political zones in the country and even get to the local government areas," she said. Telecoms operators are, however pessimistic about whether the process will be well conducted. According to Ms. Emakpore, the process will require subscribers to produce their National Identity card. Biometrics will also be taken, to curb fraud, during the process of registration.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 12/21/ 2009

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EUROPE: ICT Results Issues New Reports on E-Inclusion and Networked Devices

Brussels, Belgium (PRWEB) - Want to gain insight into what future connected technologies could look like? Check out two new policy reports on EU-funded technology research - one on helping more Europeans get connected to the internet, the other on the communications devices we may be using in the future. The two reports are published as part of the ICT Results' Policy Perspective series. ICT Results showcases the achievements and activities of ICT research projects funded by the European Union. The service, supported by the Directorate-General for Information Society and Media, offers analysis and insights into future technologies that will affect our lives over the coming years.

Bridging the digital divide
The first report, 'ICT for all: Technology supporting an inclusive world', explores Europe's vision of a society where every individual can make a valuable contribution. As a policy, e-inclusion aims to leverage technology to make society more inclusive. "Investments in pioneering and commercially focused research will produce information and communication technologies (ICTs) that should help everyone - including the elderly, disabled and marginalised - to fulfil their potential," the report states. The report provides numerous examples of EU-funded research projects that work to bridge this digital divide: almost one-third of the EU's citizens, or about 150 million people, do not actively participate in this high-tech, connected world for various reasons. For example, the UNIC project developed a cost-effective way to use satellite technology to connect those living in remote areas to fast internet services. Other research projects worked to develop assistive technologies to help specific disadvantaged groups make the most of existing ICTs. One of them, the ENABLED project, developed software applications with tactile, haptic and audio feedback devices to help visually impaired people feel and hear digital maps of where they want to go. Meanwhile, the SOPRANO project is developing stand-alone assistive technologies to help older adults compensate for any motor, sensory and cognitive difficulties they may experience due to ageing.

Next-generation internet
The second new Policy Perspective report, 'The future of media in a networked world', examines a future where media channels - from mobile phones to cinema - are interconnected online. The evolution of the internet is making it possible for all our media channels to connect to the internet. And there is a growing "network of things" - everyday objects embedded with chips to make them smart, networked and accessible over the internet. This diverse network of the future will provide us with new, powerful applications that deliver more interactive, personalised and "experiential" content than ever. "European R&D is embracing the many benefits of networked media, which paves the way for the next generation internet," the report states. For example, Semantic Hi-Fi developed software to help music lovers visualise the structure of a piece through a graphic display which will enable them to navigate and even to modify elements of a musical composition. The 2020 3D Media project is developing high-quality presentations through stereoscopic or immersive images in the home and for public venues, such as cinemas. And the Mobile3DTV project is developing the core elements of the next generation of 3D TV television for mobile devices.

ICT Research for everyone
The two policy reports are part of the updates on EU-funded research published by the ICT Results service. In addition to regular Policy Perspective reports, ICT Results has published more than 150 features and some 60 fact sheets in 2009 alone.


From http://news.yahoo.com/ 01/07/2010

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UK: IT Heads Target Strategy and Business Change in 2010

Strategic planning and process change are the keys to better enabling business in 2010, according to a survey of IT professionals by the British Computer Society.Almost 60% of survey participants said strategy and planning were key priorities in the coming year, while 45% targeted business change. Nurturing the talent and skills of the IT workforce followed in third place with 37%, just ahead of resource management at 36%."Current predictions of a fragile recovery for 2010 don't reveal the necessary strategic business changes and tough decisions that will be needed to make that happen across all sectors," said Cliff Lineker, strategic business development director at the BCS.The survey of 119 IT decision-makers found that 97% of participants agreed it would be important to know exactly what skills their IT team possess; 87% wanted to map those skills against business requirements.The BCS has developed a framework called SFIAplus to help firms produce skills-based job profiles and create development lists, objectives and plans.Some 55% of IT professionals said that timely, accurate job profiles would deliver more successful IT projects.


From http://www.computerweekly.com/ 01/05/2010

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UK: Lords Propose Changes to Digital Economy Bill

The House of Lords has proposed amendments to the controversial Digital Economy Bill after debating its second reading this week. The changes are aimed largely at softening its more draconian provisions and restoring balance between the rights of copyright holders and of internet users, and between administrative and judicial justice. One of the most controversial aspects is Clause 17, which deals with copyright in the online world. Earlier, online companies including Google, Facebook, Yahoo and eBay asked business secretary Peter Mandelson, who is sponsoring the bill, to scrap the clause.

The UK's Internet Services Providers' Association (ISPA) said, "The proposals grant far too much control to the secretary of state, who will have the power to make specific recommendations on costs and impose an obligation on ISPs to use technical sanctions." Lords Razzall, Clement-Jones, Whitty and Lucas gave notice of their intention to oppose the clause as it stood. The lords also tried to protect cloud service providers such as search engines, hyperlinkers and aggregators by limiting their liability for the use of their services for illegal purposes without their explicit knowledge. They also tried to draw a line under the past by calling for all forms of civil and criminal liability under Clauses 17 and 19 to become actionable only after the act came into force. Further hearings are scheduled until the end of January.


From http://www.computerweekly.com/ 01/09/2010

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NORTH AMERICA: Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation Unanimously Passed by the House of Commons

The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, is pleased to announce that the proposed Electronic Commerce Protection Act has passed third reading unanimously in the House of Commons and is proceeding to the Senate as the next step in the legislative process. The legislation, which is meant to deter the most damaging and deceptive forms of spam and other online threats and create a safer online marketplace for both individuals and businesses, will help to grow online commerce in Canada. "Our government took action through this legislation to reduce a considerable threat to electronic commerce in this country. This bill will make Canada a leader in the digital economy by providing a safer marketplace," said Minister Clement. "Now that the House of Commons has unanimously passed this bill, our hope and expectation is that the Senate will act on this legislation immediately to ensure protection for Canadian consumers."


From http://www.ic.gc.ca/ 12/02/2009

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US Official Plans to Champion Global Net Freedom

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is preparing to deliver a major speech later today elevating the importance of Internet freedom and placing the influence of the United States' diplomacy behind efforts to protect it, according to multiple people who have been briefed on the speech's contents. Clinton's speech at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., is intended to announce that support for online liberty and press freedom will become a State Department priority and will address the importance of cybersecurity, people who have been briefed said. For example, the U.S. could be prepared to require countries to declare support for basic principles around Internet freedom as part of the conditions for receiving foreign aid, sources told ZDNet Asia's sister site CNET News. The speech will come just nine days after Google's blunt declaration about Chinese censorship and illegal electronic intrusions, including allegations of theft of intellectual property. As many as 30 other companies may have been targeted, including Yahoo, Symantec, Juniper Networks, Dow Chemical, and Northrop Grumman.

One question left unanswered during the briefing by Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner, which took place Wednesday morning, is whether the State Department would risk offending the Chinese government by addressing last week's charges lodged by Google. "We did not get the impression that there would be any particular reference to the Google China incident," said Robert Mahoney, deputy director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, one of the people briefed. But a State Department official, speaking on background, told ZDNet Asia's sister site CNET later in the day that the Google-China incident will be included in the speech. The speech comes at a precarious time in Washington-Beijing relations, which have been stressed by a dispute over carbon emissions at the Copenhagen summit and controversy over the valuation of China's currency, the yuan. "If people are looking for a laying out of a 1-through-10 Internet agenda, they're going to be disappointed," said Leslie Harris, the president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, who was also briefed. "But if they're looking for the United States to put the power of its diplomacy on the line for Internet freedom, it's going to be a very important speech." Google's blunt admission that it believes the Chinese government is behind intrusions into its internal network, and perhaps theft of source code, has roiled political and technological circles since last week. It has led the State Department to indicate that it would lodge a protest in a formal letter - called a demarche - with Beijing.

In the last few days, State Department officials have had multiple meetings with their Chinese counterparts and say they plan to continue the discussions. During a press briefing on Wednesday, however, Assistant Secretary Kurt Campbell declined to say whether the demarche has been sent. "We take this matter very seriously and, as Secretary Clinton said last week, that the whole issue does raise serious concerns," Campbell told reporters. "Now, it is also clear that China has denied the allegations made by Google. But we also think that the Chinese are in the best position to explain this, and we are asking them for an explanation." Expect to hear about more than China, however. Sources familiar with the development of the policy said it dates back to last summer, when violent protests in Iran were all over Twitter and YouTube despite attempts by the Iranian government to censor the communications. Even some countries like South Korea, home to widespread Internet usage, have enacted laws such as requiring those uploading videos to YouTube to use their real names instead of pseudonyms.

And there are dozens of countries in which citizens are just starting to access and appreciate the global Internet. Some of the governments in those countries are attempting to figure out how they will respond to these new freedoms, and could potentially be swayed one way or another by a carrot-and-stick approach from the U.S. government tied to foreign aid. Human rights groups cautioned on Wednesday that a high-profile address by an administration official may be forgotten within a year or so. They said that happened in February 2006 when then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice created the Global Internet Freedom Task Force (GIFTF), convened a few meetings, and then let the effort languish. "I would hope that it's not GIFTF 2, but a decided evolution from that," said Arvind Ganesan, director of Human Rights Watch's business and human rights program. "It'll be interesting to see if they're not only supporting openness online, but supporting it to a particular end." Sharon Hom, executive director of the Human Rights in China advocacy group, also stressed a wait-and-see approach. "It's important to make a strong policy statement," Hom said. "More important is how it will become implemented."


From http://www.zdnetasia.com/ 01/21/2010

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SOUTH AMERICA: Dominican Republic Guarantees Women's Equality in Technology Initiatives and Policies

The Dominican Republic is the first Latin American country to act on their commitments to involve women in the information society nationwide. This Caribbean island nation of ten million has promised to include a "gender perspective" in every information and communications technology initiative and policy developed by the government from now on. "This is great news for women's equality in the Dominican Republic," said APC's Dafne Plou who trained government officials in November. "And it's potentially a breakthrough for millions of other women in Latin America because the Dominican Republic is leading Latin American governments' thinking around gender and technology as part of the regional eLAC2010 plan". The tool the Dominicans have chosen to design and evaluate all the public policies is the APC gender evaluation methodology (GEM).


From http://www.apc.org/ 09/07/2009

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Grenada: Prime Minister Tillman Endorses the CARICOM eGovernment Strategy

Prime Minister of Grenada, the Honourable Tillman Thomas has agreed to be the Champion for the 2010-2014 CARICOM eGovernment Strategy. He endorsed the Strategy as the Prime Minister with lead responsibility for ICT in the region, at a meeting in Grenada, earlier this year. CARICAD is the CARICOM institution with lead responsibility for developing an eGovernment Strategy for the region. During the past year, CARICAD has worked assiduously with national eGovernment representatives from across the region, regional experts, organizations and institutions to develop the 2010-2014 CARICOM eGovernment Strategy.

In an effort to raise awareness, receive feedback on and support for the Strategy, CARICAD's eGovernment Advisor, Mr. Adam Montserin and Senior Officer, Mr. Richard Madavo, engaged Prime Minister Thomas, as well as, various representatives of the CARICOM and OECS Secretariats, Permanent Secretaries & eGovernment representatives with responsibility for ICT and Public Sector Transformation in the region in a series of consultative meetings. These meetings will guide the CARICAD team to: - Synchronize the CARICOM eGovernment Strategy with public service reform programmes and national development plans
- Build consensus on the strategy, anticipated outcomes and planned work items
- Develop a resourcing and partnering strategy that leverages current and planned activities
- Design a governance framework that enhances implementation success and reduces risks

The CARICOM eGovernment Strategy was created to significantly improve the performance of government services to meet the changing needs of Caribbean people. It is founded on a philosophy that as a region, working together we can do more than the sum of our individual achievements.


From http://unpan1.un.org/ 01/14/2010

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Global Standard for SIM Cards to Be Unveiled

EUROPEAN authorities may soon approve a global standard for SIM cards designed to operate in harsh conditions that could open new enterprise markets for mobile carriers. France Telecom's enterprise group Orange Business Services, said that the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) could ratify the standard as early as next year. Anne-Marie Thiollet, machine-to-machine (M2M) marketing vice president for Orange Business Services, said ETSI was close to achieving consensus between carriers, and modem and SIM card manufacturers. "Since the beginning of this year France Telecom (has been) chairing this committee and we are very close - at the beginning of next year we should announce that we have at the ETSI level, between different carriers and module (modem) manufacturers and SIM suppliers, a standardised M2M SIM card," Ms Thiollet said.

The new SIM cards would be built specifically to withstand harsh operating climates within machines. The cards would operate reliably in temperatures ranging between -40C and 105C. Currently, standard SIM cards can only operate between -20C and 75C. The cards would also be able to withstand high-levels of vibration, shock, and corrosion, and have life expectancy up to five times those of regular cards. Having the extra resilience would allow the cards to deliver sophisticated mobile services to devices operating in environments including inside car engine management systems. In a more extreme example, Orange has been trialing a device that can monitor dilation levels in cow uteruses which warns farmers when the animal is to give birth - helping to improve calf mortality rates. More pedestrian uses of the technology would be in transport logistics, smart meters and e-health. It's not clear whether the SIM standard would immediately be adopted in Australia; however, the federal government has cited smart infrastructure as one of the key benefits of its $43 billion national broadband network plan. Also Australian energy providers have begun exploring using mobile networks to implement smart meters.


From http://www.theaustralian.com.au/ 12/21/2009

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Nokia Urges Mobile Developers to Focus on Poor Nations

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (AFP) - Nokia chief executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo praised the mobile phone on Friday as a history-changing tool and challenged developers to create programs for poor countries."These little devices have done more to improve people's lives than perhaps any technology in history," the head of the Finnish mobile phone giant said in a keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) here.The Nokia CEO said relatively cheap mobile phones had done much to improve the lives of people in developing nations."Here is the Nokia 1616, nothing to get too excited about," he said. "(But) it includes a built-in flashlight, a dust resistant keypad, an FM radio, a speaking alarm clock."Farmers in India and Indonesia can use it to get the latest information on crops," Kallasvuo said. "The mobile device has become a necessity for upward mobility."For the majority of the world's people, their first and only access to the Internet will be through a mobile device - not a PC," he said. "And this access is spreading very, very fast."Kallasvuo said there were 4.6 billion mobile subscriptions among a global population of 6.8 billion people. "We are near the day where we can talk about the whole connected world," he said.He also announced that Nokia was putting one million dollars behind the first "Nokia Growth Economy Venture Challenge" to encourage developers to design mobile products or services that raise the standard of living in poor nations."We want you to come up with new and innovative ways to help people," Kallasvuo said."We've seen what the tech community can do when it focuses on problems that are also opportunities," he said. "We want to channel that energy toward improving lives in the developing world."Nokia said the Venture Challenge is not limited to software or hardware that uses its devices or software platforms. The million dollars will be invested in the organization with the best idea with the winner announced in June.


From http://news.yahoo.com/ 01/09/2010

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ASIA: Govts Eye Gains from Setting Data Free

More of the huge reserves of information locked away in the basements of government buildings should be made available to the public. So say government modernisers in Hong Kong, South Korea and Australia following the news that the Mayor of London has sparked an "information revolution" in the British capital by putting data online for public consumption for the first time, free of charge. The 'London Datastore' web site, which is the same in principle to the Apps for Democracy initiative launched in Washington DC in 2008, gives London's software developers the opportunity to unlock the commercial value of data and create applications that are useful for citizens, government and society as a whole. London Mayor Boris Johnson (pictured) told reporters at the CES electronics show in Las Vegas last week (January 7th 2010) that the London Datastore initiative would unleash information that has "been languishing for far too long in the deepest recesses of City Hall." "I firmly believe that access to information should not just be the preserve of institutions and a limited elite," he said. "Data belongs to the people, particularly that held by the public sector. Getting hold of it should not involve a complex routine of jumping through a series of ever decreasing hoops." Johnson added that the initiative would boost transparency and accountability in government, and help trust between the authorities and Londoners.

Daniel Scott, who heads up ICT Strategy & Architecture for Landgate, the Western Australian Land Information Authority, called the London Datastore (to see a prototype go to data.london.gov.uk), a "bold move" that governments in Asia are likely to embrace. "It is a familiar scenario in government - lots of data languishing in paper format for decades, its value unrealised. Too often we don't how useful this data could be, or even if this data exists," he told FutureGov. "But the more information goes online, the closer we will move towards citizen-centric government." Landgate has a familial link with Ordnance Survey, the UK government's national mapping agency, which recently announced that it would make map data available to the public as part of Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Data.gov.uk open government information policy announced late last year. The Shared Land Information Platform (SLIP) is one way the Western Australian government has been using and sharing public data, noted Scott. "Government, developers and business users now have online access to over 350 datasets that were previously only available directly through the individual agencies, if at all." Landgate is now looking into new ways of making public spatial data more accessible. Meanwhile, the federal initiative Government 2.0, launched by the Australian Government Information Management Office's (AGIMO) last year, echoes the British data.uk.gov policy by focusing on improved access, collaboration and governance rather than technology per se, Scott added.

But how can governments make use of open data sources? "Though the London Datastore will house archival data, which perhaps does not have the more obvious commercial value of live data, it is of huge value for research purposes," Scott said. "Western Australia's hub of advanced computing, known as iVEC, has a petabyte storage array and hosts shared research data from a number of organisations." As one of the oldest agencies in Western Australia, Landgate has acted as a repository for regional location knowledge for over 170 years. In the modern era, this includes a wide range of aerial photography and satellite imagers that can now be used to spot geographical trends such as changes to vegetation cover. "Some types of information only become valuable with time. With an issue like climate change, archival data comes into its own," said Scott.

The government of Hong Kong is also looking at ways to benefit from more open public data. Building on pioneering initiatives that saw local TV companies use data from the Transport Department's video cameras for traffic reports, the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) is working with the Lands Department and the TD on a pilot scheme to open up transport and geospatial data for wider public dissemination and re-use. "We recognise the potential economic benefits to be gained from the opening up of public sector information (PSI) for public access," Bassanio So, Deputy Government Chief Information Officer (Policy and Customer Service), told FutureGov. "We hope that the pilot program will assure us that opening up PSI will spur creativity and innovation."

It is still early days for open public data in Hong Kong, as it is for most governments in Asia. The Digital 21 Strategy Advisory Committee, the highest-level government advisory body on IT matters in the territory, met last month to discuss how demographic, economic, geographical, meteorological and historical data could be effectively accessed and re-used (click here for more). In Korea, Dr Jeongwon Yoon, Director of the country's IT Policy Division at the National Information Society Agency, told FutureGov that while he is all for open government data in principle, it is important that governments decide what type of data they feasibly - and legally - make available. "Government data consists of statistics, practices and processes, to name a few examples. Personal data cannot be a consideration due to privacy issues, I would assume. But some of this data might be hugely useful, if made publically available. Whether or not this information is organised enough to be useful is another matter," he said. Weather information may translate into lucrative revenue streams for software developers and service providers that are in the business of customised weather services, Dr Yoon suggested.

But the concept is not without challenges. Scott cautioned that users in rural areas may run into bandwidth issues. A bigger issue is cost. "When government says it will make information available for free, it may be free for the end user - but government needs to work out how to pay for it," Scott said, listing storage, equipment, additional staff and licensing as budget-draining overheads. A solution to high costs could be new technology, including cloud computing, Scott suggested. "We have started to say that if we have a new service, we'll put it into the cloud. The same could apply to how we set public data free." (by Robin Hicks)


From http://www.futuregov.net/ 01/13/2010

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CHINA: CNNIC Halts Website Domain Name Registration for Individuals

Chinese domain name supervision organization China Internet Network Information Center announced that starting from 21:00 on December 14, 2009, it closed domain name registrations for individual users who are not purchasing domains on behalf of companies or organizations. Prior to this sudden announcement, China's central television station criticized domain name registration service providers and agencies for false, inaccurate or incomplete information in the registration process. In response to the criticism, CNNIC said it has implemented an examination and punished three domain name registration service providers and agencies, including Zhengzhou Dahuang Network Development Company, Beijing Xinnet Digital Information Technology Company, and Beijing Blinux Network Technology Company. According to the latest report published by CNNIC, users who want to apply for domain names should provide written application materials to domain name registration service providers while submitting applications online. The application materials include a domain name registration application form with official seal (original); an enterprise business license or organization code certificate (copy); and the identification of registration contact (copy). In addition, because individual users are not able to provide enterprise business licenses or organization code certificates, they will not have the qualifications to register domain names. CNNIC said as the domain name registration management organization in China, it will indeed fight adverse online information and will crack down on false information in the domain name registration process. CNNIC has set up a national domain name complaint center and will 24-hour accept complaints with the customer service line of 010-58813000.


From http://www.chinatechnews.com/ 12/15/2009

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Chinese Vice Premier Urges More Efforts for 3G Development

Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang Wednesday said the country should step up efforts to promote the development of third-generation (3G) and domestically-developed TD-SCDMA technology. Zhang urged accelerated construction of the 3G network, strengthened technological innovation and enhanced information security management, during a visit to the country's four major 3Goperators including Datang Telecom, China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile. Zhang said the 3G technology should be given full play to promote the informationization and upgrading of the traditional industries and boost the development of modern service industries. He required the four major telecom operators to make unswerving efforts to develop the TD-SCDMA technology, explore new business opportunities and improve the construction of a full-fledged industrial chain, so as to sharpen the competitiveness of the TD technology. Zhang also asked the technology developers to enhance information security management to ensure a safe and steady operation of the 3G technology. China issued the long-awaited 3G licenses January last year, with China Mobile getting the TD-SCDMA standard, China Telecom receiving a license for the U.S.-developed CDMA2000 and China Unicom getting permission to operate Europe's WCDMA. As of now China has invested 160.9 billion yuan (23.6 billion U.S. dollars) in building 325,000 new 3G base stations covering the country's major cities, according to Zhang.


From http://www.chinaview.cn/ 01/06/2010

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China Lowers Corporate Income Tax Rate for 186 Software Enterprises

Chinese government departments have jointly issued a notice about key software enterprises included in China's national planning layout for 2009, stating that these enterprises can pay their corporate income tax at the preferential rate of 10%. These departments, including the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Commerce, and State Administration of Taxation, will implement the State Council's policies to encourage the development of China's software industry and integrated circuit industry, and to promote the rapid development of key software enterprises. They have jointly checked and added to the list of key software enterprises included in China's national planning layout for 2009. According to the notice published by the four departments, enterprises included in the list that did not enjoy a corporate income tax rate of lower than 10% in 2009 can pay their tax at the preferential rate of 10%. The 186 enterprises include well-know names such as Datang Software, UFIDA Software, Hanwang Technology, Kingdee Software, Hundsun Technologies, Alibaba, Samsung, Canon, Ricoh, and Tencent.


From http://www.chinatechnews.com/ 01/13/2010

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China's National Institute for Digital Copyright Research Opens in Beijing's Zhongguancun

Supported by the government of Haidian district, Beijing, China's National Institute for Digital Copyright Research has recently opened in China Technology Exchange Mansion in the western area of Zhongguancun, Haidian district. Zhang Ping, director for the institute, told local media that this newly established organization will serve the implementation of China's intellectual property rights strategy and will strive to make innovations in technology and operations. Prior to this, the institute published a Self-service Copyright Agreement, which creates several new digital copyright authorization options, aiming to provide an example for copyright protection and copyright transaction to lawyers and businesses. At the opening ceremony, the National Institute for Digital Copyright Research also signed strategic cooperation agreements with China Technology Exchange, National Copyright Trade Center, and 17xie.com.


From http://www.chinatechnews.com/ 01/18/2010

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China Says Internet Regulation Legitimate, Reasonable

China's regulation on the Internet industry is in line with the laws and should be free from unjustifiable interferences, a Chinese government official said Sunday. A spokesperson with China's State Council Information Office told Xinhua in an exclusive interview, that China is regulating the Internet legally to build a more reliable, helpful information network that is beneficial to economic and social development. Such regulation, the spokesperson said, are based on laws and regulations such as the Constitution, the Law on the Protection of Minors, and the Decision on Internet Safety pass by the National People's Congress Standing Committee. Online information which incites subversion of state power, violence and terrorism or includes pornographic contents are explicitly prohibited in the laws and regulations, the spokesperson said. China has full justification to deal with these illegal and harmful online contents, the spokesperson said. This has nothing to do with the claims of "restrictions on Internet freedom", the spokesperson stressed. Different countries have different conditions and realities, thus they are regulating the Internet in different ways, the spokesperson said. China's regulation on the Internet industry is proved to be suitable for China's national conditions and in line with common practices in most countries as well, the spokesperson said. China is willing to cooperate and exchange opinions on issues about Internet development and management wit other countries, but opposes firmly to any defiance of Chinese laws, or intervening Chinese domestic affairs under the pretence of "Internet management" regardless of the truth, the spokesperson said. According to the spokesperson, as of the end of 2009, the number of netizens in China reached 384 million, and websites topped 3.68 million. China has millions of online forums and more than 200 million blogs, and every day, there are more than four million new blog entries posted online, the spokesperson said. Chinese netizens' right to express opinions within the law is well protected, and their opinions are given full consideration by the government in policy making process, the spokesperson said.


From Xinhua News Agency 01/25/2010

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China Welcomes Foreign Internet Firms: Minister

Access to the Internet in China is "completely open" and foreign firms are welcome to work in the thriving sector, China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said on Wednesday. Beijing is locked in a dispute with US Internet giant Google which has threatened to pull out of the Chinese market over cyberattacks and Web censorship in China. "We are always very happy to welcome foreign firms (in China), including Internet firms," Yang told a joint press conference with his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner on a visit to Paris. "We will continue to provide them with a suitable environment for their business. But at the same time, they must take into account China's realities and cultural tradition." "The Internet in China is completely open and China is one of the most dynamic markets in the field of Internet," added Yang, visiting Paris Wednesday. But he said foreign firms operating in China must do so while respecting "the law and the interests of the Chinese people." The Chinese government has denied any responsibility for the cyber attacks and Yang said that China wanted to cooperate with the outside world in fighting such attacks. "In fact China is the victim of attacks from hackers and we are in favour of cooperation to fight it together," he said. Prior to Yang's visit, Kouchner said he would ask for an explanation from his Chinese counterpart on Beijing's dispute with Google, describing reports about Internet surveillance as "quite troubling." Google said last month that following cyberattacks on the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists it was no longer willing to censor Web search results in China even it that means it has to leave the country.


From http://news.yahoo.com/ 02/03/2010

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Consumer Protection Enhanced for Hong Kong Mobile Phone Users

Hong Kong's Office of the Telecommunications Authority this week issued a new code of practice to provide telecommunications companies with guidelines on the drawing up of service contracts for consumers. "Hong Kong has one of the most competitive telecommunications markets in the world, and telecommunications services are also highly pervasive in our society. As a result, the number of consumer complaints has been substantial. A large proportion of these complaints are disputes about contractual matters," stated a spokesperson from OFTA. The rules will be implemented on voluntary basis and takes effect immediately, replacing two similar codes which OFTA issued in 2004. OFTA issued a voluntary Code of Practice for the Service Contracts for the Provision of Public Mobile Radiotelephone Services in 2001 and the code was subsequently revised in 2004. They also issued the Code of Practice for the Service Contracts for the Provision of Public Telecommunications Service in 2004. These two codes provided that, among other things, language should be plain and words legible and salient points of a contract should be presented in a prominent place or highlighted in the contract. In addition to the new code, OFTA has also been running a pilot alternative dispute resolution scheme since September 2008. Under this pilot scheme, selected cases of contractual disputes which cannot be resolved between the service providers and the customers are referred to independent professionals for adjudication on a voluntary basis. The aim of running the pilot scheme is to assess whether it may provide faster and more efficient out-of-court resolution of contractual disputes.


From http://www.chinatechnews.com/ 02/04/2010

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Gov't Mulls New Regulations for Online Stores

While online shopping has become increasingly popular among the Chinese, the government is mulling further regulations for online stores. The State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) is expected to publish new regulations on C2C (consumer-to-consumer) online trading next month, media has reported. The reports said major C2C sellers will have to register for a business license and pay taxes, while small-level sellers will not be required to do so. New year purchases on Taobao are expected to rise from 280 million yuan in 2009 to 1 billion yuan this year. Administration officials said late last month that a regulation for online trading services is under "research and analysis". They would not give further details. The expected tightened management has stirred speculation and discussion among online sellers. "I've heard about the new rule. At least 50 percent of online stores will close if the government levies taxes on them," says Hu Chao, a C2C online store owner. The number of online shoppers reached 108 million in 2009, up 45.9 percent year-on-year, according to figures from the China Internet Network Information Center released on Jan 15. The volume of China's online business market reached 268 billion yuan ($39 billion) in 2009, and is expected to total 464 billion yuan this year, according to the latest research results from the China IntelliConsulting Corporation. But some B2C (business-to-consumer) online storeowners do not have such worries, and, in fact, welcome the regulations. According to Han Jun, president of a popular B2C company named Yihaodian, more government intervention will help build fair competition and help stop counterfeit products from being sold online. SAIC began to work on the regulation last July. The regulation is not only directed against C2C online stores. According to media reports, several firms that sell their goods on the Internet have received a copy of the draft, and have submitted their feedback to the SAIC. "I don't think the government will directly levy tax on individual C2C sellers. They will fix different policies for different groups," said Zhang Yanping, senior analyst of the iRearch Consulting Group, a professional organization specializing in the Internet. Generally speaking, online sellers are divided into two groups: business sellers and consumer sellers. Business sellers are generally well-established companies, which are already obliged to register for a business license and pay taxes. '

But consumer sellers are different. Usually only one or two people run an online store. They often operate their store on online-shopping websites, such as taobao.com, and neither have a license nor pay taxes. Of all the online stores in China, 86.2 percent are consumer sellers, according to research results of the iRearch Consulting Group. Hu Chao is a consumer seller, and he worries about the coming policies. "I opened a store on the Internet because it is cheaper. You don't have to rent a storefront, you don't have to register a license, and you don't even have to pay taxes." He worries that his costs will have to increase if the regulations impact storeowners like him. Zhang of the iRearch group says that consumers need not worry about increasing prices. Taxation doesn't necessarily result in surging prices, she told China Daily. "Big sellers have enough capital to bargain with suppliers. So increasing prices is not the only possibility." However, B2C sellers hope that large C2C sellers will raise their prices. Many B2C sellers open stores on C2C websites. And they are making use of the legal loophole to evade taxes, says Yihaodian president Han. "They are more flexible than normal business sellers. They can lower their cost by evading taxes," he says. Zhang confirmed that, adding that many consumer sellers have developed into small companies, which are not under government regulations. "This is common; more and more are doing so. But no statistics are available now." On the other hand, if the government levies taxes on big C2C sellers, counterfeit products will lose their place in the market, Han said. Since C2C sellers will be forced to ask for receipts of their incoming goods, counterfeit products will be squeezed out because unlawful suppliers can't provide receipts. "That will be good for the overall online business," Han says. iResearch's Zhang avoids making any judgment so far. "Since the regulation is not published yet, it's hard to predict its influence ... but my suggestion is to set principles instead of detailed regulations, because China's electronic commerce business is still at a budding stage."


From China Daily 02/12/2010

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JAPAN: Ministry Begins 2nd Rehearsal for Shift to Digital Broadcasting

The communications ministry began rehearsing for Japan's shift to digital television broadcasting on Friday in Suzu, Ishikawa Prefecture, to prepare for the switch from analog slated for July 2011, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said. The rehearsal, the second of this sort, will be conducted for 48 hours from noon Friday. The first rehearsal was implemented for one hour on July 24 last year in the same city at the northern tip of the prefecture's Noto Peninsula, which protrudes into the Sea of Japan. During the rehearsal, Japan Broadcasting Corp (NHK), and private TV broadcasters will stop airing analog programs. NHK will display a message in Japanese saying, ''The rehearsal for terminating analog broadcasting is under way,'' on TV screens that cannot receive digital signals. The private TV broadcaster channels will just show ''snow,'' a term referred to as ''sand storm'' in the Japanese television industry. If the affected households complain about the suspension, local business operators, designated beforehand by the ministry to respond to such claims, will scramble to the households to hear the claims and lease decoders to enable their TVs to receive digital signals, if they wish. When the ministry conducted a survey in the wake of the first rehearsal, only 2 percent of the affected households lodged complaints, it said. If only a small number of TV viewers are negatively affected by the second rehearsal, the ministry said it will implement a complete shift to digital broadcasting for the city of Suzu on July 24 - one year before the shift is implemented nationwide.


From http://www.japantoday.com/ 01/23/2010

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SOUTH KOREA: Gov't to Invest 610 Bln Won in Computing Market

The government will spend 610 billion won ($522 million) by the end of 2014 to boost the country's competitiveness in cloud computing, one of the latest information technology services, government officials said Wednesday, according to the Yonhap News. Cloud computing allows users to save, store and retrieve data and files on remote third-party host servers. Users can access the data from any computer with an Internet connection, and don't have to make their own backups. The government plans to quadruple the domestic market for cloud computing services to 2.5 trillion won within four years and increase South Korean companies' global market share to 10 percent, the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) said in a statement. "Cloud computing has stood out as the next generation Internet business model as it is cost-effective and speedy," the KCC said in a statement. "But we came in late in adopting the service and developing technologies." The cloud computing industry is expected to grow by $343 billion in 2014 from its current $80 billion, according to the KCC report.


From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 12/30/2009

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Korea Planning to Shake up Software Industry in 2010

The government is planning to shake up the local software industry this year and address structural issues that have been holding the industry back in order to improve its competitiveness. The Ministry of Knowledge Economy's operations report for the year showed that it plans to reorganize the software industry environment and strengthen the local industry's basis for globalizing their operations. According to the ministry, Korea's software market accounts for only about 1 percent of the world's $1 trillion market. Of this limited market, the ministry estimates that only a 6 trillion won ($5.3 billion) segment is open to competition. In addition, large companies that rely heavily on in-house dealings account for 44.4 percent of the industry's output, causing excessive competition among smaller companies resulting in 2,000 companies being founded and closed down each year. In order to address such issues, the ministry plans to introduce measures to prevent large companies abusing their dominance and give SMEs advantages in biddings for contracts. In addition to the government addressing such fundamental issues, the local industry is expected to see a larger injection of public funds into IT project.

According to a survey conducted by the National IT Industry Promotion Agency, Korea Software Industry Association and the council of public sector hirers, the government and state-run organizations have a 2.17 trillion won budget, 7.4 percent larger than that of last year, for IT projects this year. Of the total, 142.4 billion won will be used to purchase software, while 1.65 trillion won is slated for projects establishing systems and developing new software. The software industry is also set to receive public sector support in expanding exports, which remain far behind other nations. According to the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, the country's software industry's exports were recorded at about $5.7 billion won in 2008, equivalent to about 3 percent of India's software exports and 20 percent of Israel's. As part of the efforts to address the problem, KOTRA and the Korea Software Industry Association signed an agreement to collaborate in seeking out overseas buyers, distribution routes and in drawing up guidelines for overseas expansion. Supporting local software firms expand overseas is also on the Ministry of Knowledge Economy's agenda for 2010, with the ministry planning to launch a body spanning all government ministries to support the industry's exports.

The ministry is also planning to promote collaboration in the private sector to facilitate expansion into the U.S. and Japanese markets, and breaking into emerging economies by taking part in projects organized by international organizations. In addition, smartphones are opening up new areas in the software industry and allowing individuals to enter the market, which has generally been dominated by larger companies. Local telecom and electronics firms have opened up applications stores to cater for the rising demand for such software. Of the 700 users registered to sell applications on SK Telecom's T-store, from which more than 1.6 million downloads have been made since its launch in September, 500 are individual developers.


From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 01/12/2010

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Gov't to Spend 225 Bln Won to Turn Daegu into 'Global Mobile Cluster'

The government said Thursday that it will spend 225.3 billion won (US$200.6 million) in the next five years to transform the industrial city of Daegu into a "global mobile cluster" that can strengthen South Korea's leading position in wireless phones. The buildup plan for the city 302 kilometers southeast of Seoul aims to counter challenges posed by Apple's iPhone and foreign-made smart phones, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said. South Korea currently controls 30 percent of the global market for mobile phones making it one of the top three manufacturers of the product along with Finland and the United States. Of the total to be used from 2010 through 2014, 157.4 billion won will come from the central government. The government plans to use the money to enhance research and development infrastructure in mobile convergence needed to make next-generation mobile phones, and create a effective testing environment for prototypes and new products. "Daegu is an ideal site for the cluster since 51.1 percent of all locally manufactured mobile phone handsets are in the city and there are over 400 companies engaged in such businesses in and around the city," an official said. Companies based in the city churn out 18 trillion won worth of mobile phone products per year. "Making a cluster is expected to help companies save up to 50 billion won per year on test related costs and reduce development time by around 30 days," he said. This can translate into a 10 percent increase in sales and creation of 5,000 new jobs.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 02/04/2010

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Gov't to Spend 400 Bln Won to Train IT Workers

South Korea plans to inject 400 billion won (US$341.1 million) by 2013 to help train quality information technology (IT) industry workers to sharpen its competitive edge, the government said Monday. The Ministry of Knowledge Economy said state and some private companies will train 35,000 qualified workers within the cited period along with 4,000 high-grade experts. A further 2,000 engineers specializing in product convergence will also be trained in the coming years. Qualified workers will have the necessary skill level to hold jobs in this sector. South Korea is a global leader in high-speed Internet access and hardware areas such as semiconductors, displays, mobile phones and hightech electronic appliances. The country has a large number of experts, but there have been steady calls to train more skilled workers that could help establish longterm growth strategies and cope effectively with changing trends. Seoul said earlier in the month that it will pour 1 trillion won into the country's software industry over the next three years. The ministry will support the creation of "university IT research centers" and the introduction of a local version of the MIT Media Lab program aimed at utilizing an unorthodox research approach to find emerging technologies.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 02/08/2010

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Gov't to Inject 988 Bln Won to Fuel IT Industry Growth in 2010

The government said Tuesday that it will inject 988.1 billion won (US$845.6 million) to fuel research and growth in the information technology (IT) sector this year. The total represents a 6.1 percent gain from 931.3 billion won used in 2009 with the money to come from the country's ICT Promotion Fund and the state budget, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said. It said the government will offer support in the form of contributions that do not require repayment and loans, with emphasis placed on such areas as IT convergence, the buildup of original technologies and eco-friendly green growth businesses. The support scheme is focused on the acquisition of original technologies vital for maintaining the country's lead in the IT field, which will receive 700.9 billion won, including 112.5 billion won for the state-run Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute. In the past, South Korea had to borrow technologies from foreign sources that hampered development of cutting-edge products and services. A further 108.2 billion won is to be given to expanding the country's knowhow in convergence areas like linking IT to cars, ships, textiles and machinery, with 65.8 billion won to be set aside for overall infrastructure building, the ministry said.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 02/09/2010

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Korea Throws W370b behind Wireless IT

The government plans to spend billions of won to support venture companies in wireless IT-related fields, Korea Communications Commission Chairman Choi See-joong said Wednesday. Speaking at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Choi said that a second "venture boom" is required for the country to become a "wireless IT powerhouse," and that the government will use the 370-billion won ($322-million) Korea IT Fund, KIF, to support venture companies in related areas. "Policy support will be provided so that star companies like NHN and NC Soft can be created from the mobile sector," Choi was quoted as saying by the Yonhap news agency. Choi also said that he is hoping that the scale of the KIF will expand from the current 370 billion won next year. The KIF was established in 2002 by the country's three telecom operators to invest in the IT sector. Although the fund was originally scheduled to be dissolved in December, the dissolution date will be postponed. The KIF is operated by a six-member committee whose seats are filled by three KCC-nominated individuals, and one recommended by each of the three telecom operators. Choi said that investments will be focused on venture companies in the early stages of development that specialize in a number of wireless IT-related fields including content, advertising and smartphones. The KCC's plans for the mobile IT sector includes establishing a center providing support to application developers, and encourage mobile carriers and handset makers to collaborate in related fields including operating applications stores. In order to facilitate the establishment of a collaborative environment between the concerned parties, a conference for the heads of mobile carriers, device makers and contents providers will be held on March 5, the KCC said. As part of its plans for stimulating the growth of the mobile IT field, the KCC will also form a taskforce with mobile carriers, device makers and contents providers that will oversee the execution of related projects. The KCC also plans to create an optimal wireless environment for smartphones by expanding Wi-Fi and WiBro coverage. The KCC will also review plans for introducing payment plans that will facilitate the spread of smartphones, officials said.


From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 02/19/2010

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PHILIPPINES: Angara Stresses Creation of ICT Department

Senator Edgardo Angara emphasized on Wednesday the importance of the creation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) department to boost the country's global competitiveness. "Ensuring the capability of the country in providing accessible and competitive information and communications technology services fosters growth and opportunities for Filipinos to compete in a fast-evolving ICT environment of the world," explained Angara, chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology. "ICT is a tool to boost a country's overall competitiveness by improving the efficiency of production processes across sectors and industries, accelerating the growth of knowledge-based services, and empowering people to access unprecedented sources of information and markets," he added.

Angara said the ICT department shall coordinate with various public and private agencies to facilitate different government initiatives such as the e-government objectives in particular and national objectives in general. The E-Government Fund which shall be created for the Department will serve as a special fund for cross-agency and government-initiated ICT projects. "The fund will be used to support and co-finance projects that enable the government to expand its ability to conduct activities electronically and provide frontline services through the development and implementation of innovative uses of the Internet or other emerging technologies," he said. Angara said the Senate Bill 2546 seeks the creation of the Department of Information and Communications Technology. "We must develop our government's ICT capabilities in order to provide our Filipinos with adept ICT-enabled programs that will equip them to be globally competitive individuals. Coordination between the private, government and even the academe is perceived to be a good way to combine different perspectives for ICT development," said Angara. (PNA)


From http://http://balita.ph/ 01/13/2010

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Enrile Wants Passage of Bill Seeking to Reorganize NTC

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile called on Thursday for the immediate passage of a bill that would reorganize the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to further develop the information and communications sector in the country. In his sponsorship speech of Senate Bill No. 3465, Enrile pointed out that since a number of new industry players have emerged in the past years and advancements in technologies have changed the industry from a monopolistic industry to one that provides a wider choice for consumers, the government should now provide a better regulatory environment for the industry.

Enrile's proposal is to reorganize the NTC by strengthening its existing organizational structure and capabilities to meet the rapid developments of emerging technologies in the fields of information, communications, broadcast, cable TV and other multi-media infrastructure and services. "As the regulatory agency overseeing the business operations of the telecommunications industry, the NTC structure needs to be re-engineered and transformed into a politically-independent and fiscally-autonomous body to insulate it from political pressure," Enrile said. At present, the NTC is an attached agency of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT). Its mandate is "to develop an integrated nationwide transmission system by itself or through or together with other entities in accordance with national and international standards to meet all telecommunications requirements." "The agency's powers and functions need to be enhanced for them to be able to cope with the evolving information and communications technology landscape. More importantly, the NTC must be able to independently regulate and equalize the playing field for all industry players while affording better protection for the consuming public," Enrile explained.

The proposed NTC reorganization, Enrile said, would "foster a competitive business environment through a fair and professional market behavior among industry players and ensure universal access to reliable and affordable services." Moreover, Enrile added, this would "protect the interests and welfare of both the industry players and the consuming public." Enrile said that through Senate intervention, the NTC is now in the process of undertaking reforms in its regulatory policies. These reforms include load expiry, where the NTC ordered the extension of the validity of prepaid loads; push messages, where the NTC bans telcos and content providers from sending push or unsolicited messages such as ring tone alerts, etc.; dropped calls, where the NTC has ordered the service providers to improve grade of service to lessen the incidence of dropped calls among cell phone users; and the 6-second per pulse unit of billing, where cell phone users are now billed on a 6-second per pulse unit, instead of a per-minute-rounded-up-rate.

The reorganized NTC would be empowered to impose fines and penalties on persons and entities that operate without authorization, or violate the terms and conditions of any authorization issued by the agency. The revamped NTC would be a collegial body of three Commissioners, composed of a Chairperson and two Commissioners, all of whom shall be appointed by the President on recommendation of the CICT. The Commissioners shall have a fixed term of five years with an option to be reappointed for another term of five years. The reorganized agency, Enrile added, should enjoy fiscal autonomy and all moneys appropriated and earned by the Commission should be utilized solely for its operations. (PNA)


From http://http://balita.ph/ 01/28/2010

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THAILAND: Private Sector Meets with Sipa - Agencies Propose Tax Incentive Measures

The private sector has urged the Software Industry Promotion Agency (Sipa) to effectively promote local software by addressing tax incentive measures and become the centre of government agencies to buy software. Seven IT associations last week met the Sipa board to acknowledge the direction of software promotion policy and approach to incorporating with Sipa to exercise the budget most effectively for the software industry as a whole. These are the Association of the Thai ICT Industry (ATCI), the Thai Software Export Promotion Association (Tsep), the Thai e-Learning Association and the Thai Embedded System Association (Tesa), the Association of Thai Software Industry (Atsi), the Thailand Animation and the Computer Graphics Association (Tacga) and the Thai Game Association (TGA).

As the policy maker, Sipa should define the direction so that the private sector can walk on the same course, according to ATCI president Bunrak Saraggananda, who proposed the idea of tax measure incentives. "One way that Sipa can promote the industry without spending its budget is by offering an incentive tax measure," he said. Sipa can coordinate the government agencies in promoting IT utilisation and IT entrepreneurs. Acting as a payroll, Sipa can accumulate the IT budget spending of those government agencies, and this will help drive and promote the local IT industry. Bunrak also proposed to have the private sector partake as advisor to the board who provide information and make recommendations so that the industry can go on without stumbling because Sipa is now getting involved in politics and this always affects changes in policy.

Atsi director Somkiat Ungaree noted that he would like to see the 2010 action plan of Sipa. "We would like to have a body to promote the industry," he said, adding that three problems that have not been solved for a long time include capital, labour and technology. He urged Sipa to urgently tackle those problems and have a clear roadmap in software promotion. Chalermpol Punnotok, Tsep president, pleaded with Sipa to cease symbolic activities, MoU signing and flagship projects as these offer no benefits to the country. The sick industry needs the right health indicators. It's not quantitative KPI, but it must consider the value of software that substitute the import products and services, and the value of export. "These are two essential issues for designing all activities of Sipa," Chalermpol said, proposing Sipa consider an incentive program whereby the government helps promote the local industry by offering a tax reduction for those who buy software from Thai companies.

Meanwhile, he said, there should have been incentives for Thai people who work with local companies so that they will be not lured away by foreign companies. "How Sipa will spend the budget to tackle with these two issues," he said, citing the example of Vietnam where the government promotes the local industry by eliminating personal income tax for Vietnamese programmers. Tesa president Apinetr Unakul noted that the embedded system was one of the key technologies promoted by Sipa in the past, but many years ago the investment environment of this sector was getting worse. "We would like to have a clear direction from Sipa to promote this sector," he said.

Apinetr suggested Sipa allocate the budget with a healthy balance. One third should be cross-industry, one third for specific industries and one third for others. Projects endorsed by the industry should be the same direction of industry development. Precha Am-oaj, e-Learning Association vice president, said the association was launched two years ago and has support from Sipa for one project worth less than one million baht. "We would like Sipa to be a centre between the public and private companies," he said, pointing out that the government has a budget of 480 million baht for universities to do e-learning and this is the opportunity of the members of the association. He asked Sipa to have a concrete mechanism helping private companies to work in this project.

Pravit Chattalada, ATCI executive director, noted that the first thing that Sipa should change is its the internal administration regulations to make them modern and flexible. The auditing system need not to be only done by the Office of the Auditor General, but by a body that is widely recognised. According to Sipa chairman Jeerasak Pongpisanupichit, the agency is now rationalising everything and trying to have all information transparent to the public. "We try to utilise the present limited resources to support the industry at most and try to have others partake in the activities as much as possible," he said. Sipa continues to encourage the government agencies to use Thai software as a substitute for exported software.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 12/09/2009

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VIETNAM: Appropriate Measures to Be Applied to Websites Violating the Law

The Foreign Ministry has confirmed that in response to public concern, official agencies are evaluating the contents of certain social websites. At a press briefing on December 3, the Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman, Nguyen Phuong Nga, was asked on if "it is true that Vietnam is blocking Facebook and a number of other social websites?" Ms. Nga replied that the State has created favorable circumstances for the Internet in Vietnam and it has developed strongly. Nearly 22 million Vietnamese, more than 25 percent of the population, access and use it. This is higher than the Asian average. There are more than four million bloggers.

However, according to the Ministry spokeswoman, just as in other countries, rules out Internet uses that affect habits and customs, social virtue, public order and national security. That, she explained, is consistent with international conventions on human rights, in particular the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. "Recently, many people in Vietnam have been upset that a number of social websites have been misused to convey information with contents that oppose the Democratic Socialist Republic of Vietnam in contravention of Vietnamese law, threatening information security and causing a bad influence on Internet users. Responsible [Government] agencies will examine and evaluate the incidence of violations in order to apply appropriate measures in conformity with the stipulations of the law," Ms. Nga said.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 12/04/2009

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Financial Efficiency Key to Software Industry

Finance is the key to developing the software industry, director of Vietsoftware Tran Luong Son has said. Son made the comment during a panel discussion concerning the development of a fund to support the software industry. The panel was held by the Institute of Software Industry last week. The establishment of the fund is a result of a decision made by the Minister of Information and Communications. Son said setting up a fund to support the claims was extremely necessary for the business sector. He added that software companies have not received financial support from the State. Meanwhile, banks had largely been unwilling to give loans to software companies, which has stalled the development of the sector. Son said Vietsoftware were seeking for investment sources. However most investors operating in Viet Nam had very little professional experience. Therefore many investments were not efficient.

According to Son, investors must have thorough knowledge of the field before providing funds to the IT sector. Nguyen Quang Trung, director general of the Viet Nam Union Securities Investment Management Fund, said capital was very necessary for business, but the mechanism of how the funds are used should be re-examined. He said if the capital was invested without the proper, preliminary research, then the investments would not be profitable. Therefore, market mechanisms would help the funds and be more effective than direct investment from the State. Hoang Le Minh, director of the Institute of Software Technology and Digital Content, said the institute would study to create two or three models in order to find out the most effective methods. For efficiency, the fund will consider new investment methods for projects starting in April and will choose a pilot project first.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 12/08/2009

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Telecommunication Law to Take Effect Next July

VietNamNet Bridge - The President's Office on December 17 made public the Telecommunication Law and the Radiotelegraphy Law, which will take effect on July 1 2010. Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Le Nam Thang said that the Telecommunication Law will facilitate individuals and organizations of all economic sectors to invest and do telecom businesses to quickly develop and modernize the country's telecommunication infrastructure. Under this new law, the state will only control the charges of the fixed telephone service, which is defined as a social service for all citizens. Service providers will have the right to set the telecom charges for other services but they have to register with the Ministry of Information and Communications before they apply new charges for important services like mobile telecom services or the Internet.
 
The new law has regulations to control competition among service providers. The law also clearly points out the duties and missions of telecom service users in providing personal information for the service providers and they have to be responsible for the information they transmit on the telecom market. Those who use telecom equipment to bug or to steal personal information will be prosecuted under the law.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 12/18/2009

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Foreign Social Networks on the Way Out

VietNamNet Bridge - This year Vietnam will build its own social network to gradually replace foreign social networks like Yahoo and Google, stated Minister of Information and Communications Le Doan Hop at a meeting in HCM City on January 9. In the meeting with agencies under the aegis of the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) in HCM City, the Minister listened to reports on the situation of the information and communication sector. He cited ten important tasks for 2010, including boosting and developing information technology and IT infrastructure as well as developing a local social network to replace foreign ones.

According to Hop, despite many challenges, the sector developed strongly and obtained many achievements in 2009 and "The ministry completed its plans to turn Vietnam into a strong country of information and communications." He admitted that decentralization in ministry management for 2009 was incomplete, resulting in ineffective management of publications and the press. MoIC will set up a publication assistance fund, establish some new agencies, drastically decentralize management to curb unnecessary procedures and improve the responsibility and management effectiveness of its agencies. The Minister said that this year MoIC will restructure television and broadcasting stations speed up the development of the information and communication sector from now to 2020.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 01/11/2010

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Legal Corridor Needed to Accelerate IT Sector

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has urged the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) to exert a greater effort to provide a more favourable legal climate for its sector to develop strongly and sustainably. He also asked the ministry to quicken the completion of a project to turn Vietnam into an international power in the field of IT. The government leader emphasized the urgent need to build mechanisms and policies to facilitate human IT resources training, manufacturing, and infrastructure construction. He said attention should also be paid to the application of IT in state management and the building of national IT and telecommunications groups that are capable of penetrating the global market.

PM Dung requested that the ministry boost the progress of IT application in localities to support administrative reform and promote transparency. He highlighted the government's policy to encourage the use of electronic documents (instead of conventional paper), and video conferences as cost-saving and ecological measures as well as the creation of online socio-economic services in education, consultancy, medical diagnosis and treatment, and commerce. Addressing the 2010 conference of the MIC in Hanoi on January 15, Mr Dung praised the IT sector for having played an important role in helping the country weather the socio-economic difficulties of 2009. He said that last year the sector strived to maintain its high growth rate, modernize IT and telecommunications infrastructure, devise more laws and policies for its development and enhance state management in the field.

Press and publishing agencies also actively disseminated information about measures to curb inflation, stabilize the macro-economy and ensure social security, according to Mr Dung. PM Dung asked the MIC to cooperate with press agencies to fully inform people of the state's policies in a timely and responsible manner, and requested that the media refute erroneous arguments, serve as a forum for people and act in the interests of the nation.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 01/16/2010

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Ha Noi Gets Tough on Internet Shops

The Ha Noi department of Information and Communications just began its stricter management initiative on internet shops, due to the large number of violations in trade registration and using distorted and pornographic information. According to the department's inspectors, one-third of 800 internet shops recently checked had made such violations. Duong Ky Lan, deputy director of the department, said that internet management was difficult because there were more than 2,500 internet shops registered, but they could not check the number of unregistered ones.

The department, in co-operation with the city police and other relevant departments, will make regular checks on the activities of internet shops, and has started to hold training courses on internet management skills for district and commune-level officers so that they can assist the department to actively boost supervision on internet shops in their localities. Lan said that if any violations were discovered, relevant authorities would have the right to punish the businesses according to the law. Nguyen Ba Bo, a lawyer from the Ha Noi Bar Association, said that the Government decree noted that fines related to trade registrations and the operation of internet shops could be up to VND70 million (US$3,684), 1.5 times higher than the previous level.

Specifically, fines of VND1-2 million ($52-104) will be given for violations on regulations of fire prevention or operation times. This figure will be raised to VND50-70 million ($2,631-3,684) for internet shops that provide or do not prevent downloading information from websites with distorted or pornographic information, and those without licences. Ha Noi People's Committee has asked internet service providers to actively supervise internet shops' implementation of their contracts, and stop providing services to violating locations. Lan said that the department was also responsible for drafting legal documents related to the management of internet shops in the city, as well as the management tools to supervise the information posted on websites. Nguyen Thanh Huyen, head of the Electronic Information Department of the Ministry of Information and Communications, said that the ministry would also assign more inspectors to make checks on the contents of websites to prevent the illegal ones as well as to ask software companies to work on new online games with healthy and useful content, originating from Viet Nam's traditional tales.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 01/22/2010

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Vietnam Aims to Have 1000 Int'l Network Security Experts

VietNamNet Bridge - Developing human resources, building institutions and technical infrastructure for national information security are key goals in the plan for national information security development up to 2020. Under this plan, Vietnam will develop standards for information security experts and train 1000 up to international standards to ensure information security for national information systems. IT human resources will be also trained with skills on information security at the same level of leading countries for IT in Southeast Asia. By 2020, 100 percent of system managers of the national information systems will be trained and granted national certificates of information security. To raise social awareness of information security, users will be equipped with necessary knowledge about how to use available information security functions. The users of information services and equipment will be updated on newly emerging risks.

Nearly 770 billion dong for six priority projects
From now to 2020, the state budget will pay 765 billion dong for six key projects to build institutions and technical facilities for national information security. The Ministry of Information and Communications will preside over three projects totaling 500 billion dong to build the National Centre for Network Security Technology, a system to evaluate and verify national information security, train information security experts for government agencies and the national key information systems. The three other projects will be carried out by the Ministry of Public Security, the Government Secrecy Committee and the Ministry of Industry and Trade, including: building cyber crime warnings, a discovery and prevention system, a verification and security system for the government's information systems and a system to ensure information security for e-commerce activities of the industry and trade sectors.

The National Agency for Information Security will be established in the second quarter of 2010, by the Ministry of Information and Communications. In addition, computer security incident response teams (CSIRT) will be set up at agencies to build up a national network of CSIRT to cope with information incidents. The legal aspects of information security will be developed to deal with violations of information security regulations and combat information security crimes. Laws on cyber crime will also be designed.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 01/22/2010

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BANGLADESH: To Auction 3G License in 2010

In a bid to invite billions of dollars of investment, 3G auction will be organized by Bangladesh's telecom regulator this year. A number of top telecom companies have already indicated their interest in the four slots of bandwidth that will be sold off at open auction by the end of 2010. According to Zia Ahmed, head of Bangladesh Telecommunications and Regulatory Commission, BTRC would open up its international telecommunications gateway to the private sector, which would for the first time allow operators to lay underwater cables and connect terrestrial lines with India. The announcement has come after Bharti Airtel's deal while U.K. mobile phone giant Vodafone had approached the commission for a 3G license. Last year, Japan's NTT DoCoMo Inc bought a 30% stake in operator AKTEL. In 2005, Singtel bought a 45% stake in Bangladesh Telecom and in 2004, Egyptian Orascom took over Sheba. However, lack of infrastructure investment has slowed down the growth in Bangladesh's mobile market thus inviting the moves to attract investment for 2010.


From http://wirelessfederation.com/ 01/08/2010

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Govt Activities to Be Digitised: Law Minister

Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Barrister Shafique Ahmed said yesterday that the government had taken measures to digitise the activities of the government offices. " The registration department provides significant revenue to the government exchequer since its function is increasing day by day. The activities of the department should be digitised so that the people of the country could get maximum benefit," he said as the chief guest of the annual general meeting of 'Registration Service Association' at the auditorium of LGED at Agargaon in the capital. Munshi Nazrul Islam, convenor of the association's ad hoc committee presided over the function. State Minister for Law Advocate Quamrul Islam and additional secretary of the ministry Md Shahidul Haque, among others, were present. The Law Minister urged the officials of the registration department to initiate measures to digitise the land registration and preservation system of relevant facts and information. Replying to a question he said the trial of war criminals would commence from March this year. " The services and glory of the registration department have drastically tarnished. The registration process should be digitised and the officials of the department should be people oriented to bring back the heritage of the registration department," said Advocate Quamrul Islam.


From http://nation.ittefaq.com/ 01/30/2010

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BHUTAN: Launching Mobile Infosystem for Farmers

The launch of the advanced mobile-based information system last week will boost the local farmers income, by helping them find the right place to sell their farm produce in Bhutan. Providing access to information in four languages, it reads out to the caller a range of prices. A farmer's greatest concern after every harvest is whether their returns would be in proportion to the hard work they put in on the field. Lyonpo Pema Gyamtsho launches most advanced market information system of its kind in the world/ Photo credit: Kuensel Determining which auction yard to take their produce to can be a tricky venture as an auction yard in one dzongkhag could offer a better deal than the other. With the recent launch of mobile phone-based market information system (MIS) in Gelephu, farmers can be assured of finding the right place to sell their farm produce, as this facility enables farmers to keep abreast of the latest market prices for farm produces like potatoes. "If a farmer can be given up to date market prices for his produce, he or she is in a much better position to make arrangements with middlemen, and to control the marketing of his products," the agriculture minister, Lyonpo (Dr) Pema Gyamtsho said. "If a farmer can't access this information, he's at the mercy of middlemen, who may exploit the situation, and pay lower prices." The new technology offered by B-Mobile promises farmers across the country access to going market rates prices of vegetables in four languages, Dzongkha, Sharchopkha, Lhotshamkha and English 24/7. The farmers can simply dial 2009 on their B-mobile phone and press 1 for Dzongkha, 2 for Sharchop, 3 for English and 4 for Lhotsham. The system will further allow them to dial 1 for Phuentsholing auction prices, 2 for Samdrupjongkhar, 3 for Gelephu, 4 for Samtse and 5 for Thimphu. The latest prices for each of the main commodities for that market will then be read out to the caller, giving a range of low and high or average prices. "Around 80% of the farmers, who send produce to market, are able to receive the MIS signal," said Lyonpo Pema Gyamtsho. "Our pre-launch test of the system showed that 87 %of areas tested had clear signal, and that message was understood and appreciated by almost 100% of the farmers who received it," he said. Farmers welcomed the agriculture ministry's initiative. "So far, we've been relying on BBS radio to learn about potato prices in Phuentsholing and Gelephu," said a farmer from Ura, Bumthang. "But their information was irregular, which made it difficult for farmers to stay abreast with up-to-date prices on vegetable," said Pema, 30, a potato grower from Ura. "We're looking forward to reaping the benefits of this new technology." Lyonpo Pema Gyamtsho said that the new technology, called the interactive voice technology (IVR) acquired by Bhutan Telecom, was probably the most advanced market information system of its kind in the world today.


From http://southasia.oneworld.net/ 01/13/2010

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INDIA: National Knowledge Network to Be Set Up

The establishment of the National Knowledge Network (NKN) has been accorded the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure. The knowledge network is planned to be implemented by the NIC and will inter-connect all knowledge institutions trough high speed data communication network. NKN would encourage sharing of knowledge, specialised resources and collaborative research among scientists, researchers and students from diverse spheres across the country to work together for advancing human development in critical and emerging areas. It will catalyze knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer between stakeholders seamlessly. NKN would enable use of specialized applications and allow sharing of high performance computing facilities, e-libraries, virtual classrooms and very large databases. The government announced setting up NKN in 2008-09 and an initial amount of Rs 100 crore was allocated to the Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and IT for establishment.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 01/27/2010

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E-Governance Project of Rs 180-Crore Launched in Karnataka

The Government of Karnataka launched the Karnataka State Wide Area Network (KSWAN) on December 7, 2009 which is a part of the National e-Governance Programme (NeGP). The aim is to establish a State Information Highway connecting the Government from the State level to the taluk level administration. The project will be introduced at the offices of the Deputy Commissioners of Dakshina Kannada and Shimoga on a pilot basis. It would be extended to other districts in phases. The project has been executed at a cost of Rs 180 crore by the Centre for e-Governance of the State Government. The main objective of the project is to establish a reliable and secure communication corridor at all levels of the Government - State, district and taluk. It would help the Government take quick decisions and delivery services at effectively and efficiently.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 12/08/2009

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E-Literacy Program Launched in Bihar

Bihar Information and Technology Minister launched the e-Literacy program, a project under the World Computer Literacy Mission. For the state to develop, the need for computer literacy was stressed to make people familiar with the current technology. The Bihar government is trying to push the e-Governance agenda by connecting each department with the other to improve efficiency. Emphasizing the need of computer literacy among the state government employees, the minister urged private companies to step up and help the government set up the required infrastructure for a better-managed Bihar.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 12/10/2009

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India's First Level 3 Data Centre Soon at Karnataka

Karnataka will soon have the country's first level 3 data centre. The data centre will be used to host government applications and related data, and will have a massive storage capacity of over 90 terabytes to meet the digital storage needs of Karnataka. The state government has already prepared a request for proposal for the project and is awaiting approval from the central government. A level 3 data centre typically has advanced storage capacity and has 98.98% availability, making it operational almost 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 01/07/2010

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Revised ICT Scheme of HRD Ministry Cleared by Cabinet

New Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs today approved a Revised Scheme of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in schools during the XI Plan. The scheme is aimed at bridging the digital divide. Priority would be given to educationally-backward blocks and areas with special attention to Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), minority and weaker sections and the disabled. Use of ICT in schools is expected to improve quality of teaching, learning, school administration and information management system. Under the programme, computer literacy and ICT-enabled teaching and learning will be promoted in about 1.08 lakh Government and Government-aided secondary and higher secondary schools during the XI Plan. The schools would be provided the required computer hardware, software and e-content for the purpose. Dependable power supply and internet connectivity, preferably broadband, would be provided to the schools. More than 10 lakh teachers will be able to use ICT-based tools for teaching through induction and refresher trainings. Besides, appropriate e-content in the regional languages will be developed to enhance comprehension levels of children in various subjects. A scheme of rewards for teachers and schools for encouraging use of ICT in the teaching-learning process will also be instituted. It is estimated that an amount of Rs 6926.13 crore would be required during the XI Plan. The actual expenditure by the Central Government would be restricted to the Plan allocation of Rs 6,000 crore for the scheme. The funding will be provided on a 75:25 sharing basis between the Centre and the states, except for North-eastern states, including Sikkim, where the sharing pattern would be 90:10. Recurring cost will be provided for a period of five years from the year of sanction. All students of Government and Government-aided secondary and higher secondary schools (more than 1.5 crore) would be benefited from the revised scheme. The existing Centrally-sponsored scheme 'Information and Communication Technology in Schools' is being implemented through the state governments and Union Territories since 2005-06. Sanction has been given so far to more than 53,000 Government and Government-aided secondary and higher secondary schools for establishing and using enabled infrastructure for ICT-based teaching-learning processes. A need was felt to expand the outreach of the scheme. The revised scheme focuses on coverage of more schools, development and sharing of appropriate e-content and capacity building of teachers.


From http://www.newkerala.com/ 01/09/2010

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L&T Infotech Completes E-Governance Project

L&T Infotech has completed the first phase of an e-Governance project for the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), an institution affiliated to the Union Ministry of HRD, Government of India. In addition to bringing visibility into the governance process, this project aims to enhance productivity and standardization by automating various approval and accreditation processes and work flows across bureaus and regional offices. The project also includes a four-year support of the applications and hardware. L&T Infotech will be integrating payment gateways and biometric features in the e-Governance solution. During the next phase of this project, students would also be able to have a single window to genuine national academic institutions, thereby replacing the current multi-directional process.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 02/05/2010

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Extensive Use of ICT in Indian Forestry

The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) is planning extensive use of ICT. The aim is to set up national forestry knowledge forum, national forestry information network, fire monitoring and detection and forest genetics resource network. The knowledge forum in Delhi will facilitate virtual interactions of experts in the Forestry Department and will help in sharing issues of forestry with national and international experts in the department. The objective of the network is to identify, characterise and preserve the valuable germplasm of a wide number of forestry species in the country. This will help the Ministry to protect valuable genetic resource against extinction and exploitation. The national forestry information network is being established using remote sensing, GIS and MIS. All land based forestry interventions will be geo-mapped and monitored on a time scale, and will be put in the public domain.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 02/08/2010

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PAKISTAN: 'Government Taking Steps for IT Promotion'

LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that the government is taking solid measures for the rapid development of the province and promotion of information technology for equipping the youth with the modern knowledge. He expressed these views during a briefing given by senior representative of Microsoft Chris Bunio and Kamal Ahmad regarding promotion of information technology in Punjab here on Friday, disclosed an official. Additional Chief Secretary and Secretary Information Technology were also present on the occasion. He said the setting up of IT labs in more than 4000 schools of the province would prove to be a milestone in the uplift of education sector. He also said an information technology park (ITP) would be constructed for promoting IT activities and all out encouragement and facilities would be extended to private sector for this purpose. According to him, the Punjab government would set up an IT park in the province, which would be a hub of IT activities. Private sector would be offered all out facilities regarding establishment of the park. He said IT is essential for speedy development, therefore, the government has completed IT labs project in 4286 schools of the province at a cost of Rs 5 billion in a record period of time. More than 3.4 million students would benefit from this project annually. IT would also be used for improving efficiency of government machinery that would result in capacity-building of government departments and solution of problems of the people expeditiously, he added. He said that Microsoft is one of the leading companies in the world and the government is interested in collaboration with this company for the promotion of information technology in the province. The Microsoft representatives paid tributes to the Chief Minister for the completion of the historic project of IT Labs and assured that they are interested in working with the Punjab government for the promotion of IT and practical measures will soon be taken in this regard.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 12/05/2009

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A Large Amount of Illegal Communication Means Has Nabbed

Afghanistan Telecom Regulatory Authority (ATRA) monitoring team evaluates and investigates telecom activities regularly and permanently and reacts legally with violators in accordance with their action plan. In continuation of the activities of this authority, we were informed in January 24, 2010 that some violators have illegally installed telecom equipments in one of the areas of Kabul city and operate practically telecom illegal activities. Receiving the information, monitoring team of the ATRA, including representatives of Attorney General and relevant district police station spontaneously went to the area of telecom network operation at 4:00 PM in January 24, 2010. When the aforementioned team and representatives went to the area, it was found that four Sim box machines were illegally providing telecom services.

Using these equipments, the violators have breached the law in accordance with following issues: 1. They have used radio frequency without legal license. 2. They have provided telecom services without legal license. 3. Without receipt of approval form ATRA, they have imported illegal equipments to the country. 4. They have caused government and telecom companies thousands of US dollars damage per day. 5. Anti security activities may have been performed by violators through importing the mentioned telecom equipments. 6. Use of mentioned equipments has caused decrease of the quality of services of Afghanistan domestic telecom companies. 7. The telecom equipments have been used illegally.

According to provisions of telecom law, whenever someone resorts to providing telecom services, using frequency or importing telecom equipments to the country without legal license, their telecom equipments are seized on the basis of wireless regulation and more over the person is convicted to pay fines from (2) up to (200) million Afghani, performing any of the mentioned cases. The violators were arrested by joint efforts of aforementioned representatives and illegal activities prevention team of ATRA with the cooperation of telecom companies, and the received equipments were seized. Observing the provisions of telecom services law, wireless regulation, penal code and temporary code of penal executions, the case is being carried out by law protection organs for tracing different dimensions in order to investigate it.


From http://www.mcit.gov.af/ 02/14/2010

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AZERBAIJAN: Keep Cutting Internet Prices

Price of broadband Internet services will continue to decline in Azerbaijan, said Elmir Velizade, Deputy Minister of Communications and Information Technologies. He added that the current prices are at the level of prices charged in the CIS area. "Providers need time to make next wave of discounts. Each company makes every effort to provide quality services and the quality of broadband Internet is at an acceptable level," he added. Internet prices were last cut from AZN 130 to AZN 60 per 1 mbps on September 1. The prices were down fivefold from early this year.


From http://www.today.az/ 12/03/2009

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Political Uncertainties Won't Hamper Iran's Telecom Growth

Despite formidable regulatory and legal hurdles, Iran's telecom market will grow to $12.9 billion by 2014, a CAGR of 6.9 percent, according to a new report from Pyramid Research. From a revenue point of view, Iran is one of the most attractive markets in the Middle East region given its size - by year-end 2009, it was the fourth-largest market in the region at $9.2 billion and is expected to grow to $12.9 billion by 2014 at a CAGR of 6.9 percent, notes Dearbhla McHenry, Senior Analyst at Pyramid Research and author of the report. "However, regulatory and legal hurdles forbid foreigners from owning majority stakes in telecom companies, and with most of the fixed sector still under the monopoly of the government-owned incumbent, TCI, the Internet sector in particular is still only beginning to enter the growth phase," she adds.

"The country's comparatively late introduction of competition means that the market is still in a rapid-growth phase, with the data segment in particular (both fixed and mobile) developing very fast in terms of number of users and amount of use," says McHenry. "We expect data's share of total revenue to double over the next five years, reaching $4.5 billion by 2014; important drivers of new growth in both segments will keep the split between fixed and mobile services steady over the forecast period," continues McHenry. "On the mobile side, Pyramid expects the launch of a third operator to boost adoption and revenue, while on the fixed side, the launch of new WiMax operators will herald the beginning of Iran's broadband era."


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 01/24/2010

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KAZAKHSTAN: Intend to Increase Share of Info-Communicational Branch in GDP Up to 5%

According to the project master plan presented by the Agency of Kazakhstan for Informational Support and Communication at the Coordination Council for forced industrial-innovative development Kazakhstan intends to increase the share of info-communicational branch in GDP up to 5 percent in 2014. According to the Agency the share of this branch in GDP of the country amounted to KZT 521 bln or 3.3 percent in 2008. In 2014 this index is expected to be KZT 1 100 bln.


From http://www.inform.kz/ 01/05/2010

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Prime Minister Assigned ICA to Develop Project on Expansion of 4G System in Astana

The Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Karim Masimov, assigned Information and Communications Agency (ICA) to develop the pilot project on expansion of 4G mobile communication system in Astana by the middle of 2010, the agency reports. "I set a goal: to develop the pilot project on expansion of 4G mobile communication system in Astana by the middle of 2010," the Prime Minister said, addressing ICA chairman, Kuanyshbek Esekeev. According to the Prime Minister, realization of this project "will provide an opportunity to make the next step forward." He has also assigned to speed up the work on further development of digital TV in Kazakhstan.


From http://www.kt.kz/ 01/15/2010

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AUSTRALIA: Funding to Support Strong Broadband Demand

The Rudd Government has committed to bring forward $23.8 million in funds to meet strong demand for the Australian Broadband Guarantee. "The Australian Broadband Guarantee is an important program and bringing forward funding will ensure more people are able to benefit this financial year," said the Minister for Broadband, Communications, and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy. "It is important that people are able to access broadband services while we deliver the National Broadband Network, and that is why we have brought forward Australian Broadband Guarantee funding for this financial year." "Such strong demand for the Australian Broadband Guarantee is further evidence of a growing demand for better broadband services across the country and the need for better services in regional Australia." The Rudd Government has demonstrated strong support to the Australian Broadband Guarantee, providing a four-year funding commitment and enhancing conditions for consumers and providers.

The Government has also enhanced the services delivered under the program, tripling the monthly download limit for a metro-comparable service. Bringing forward funding of $23.8 million will ensure providers can accommodate all new subscribers for the remainder of the financial year. "The Australian Broadband Guarantee remains a very popular and successful safety-net program while the National Broadband Network is rolled out," Senator Conroy said. "The National Broadband Network will ultimately provide high-speed, high-quality services to 100 per cent of Australian homes and workplaces, but it is important that people have access to basic services in the interim."


From http://www.minister.dbcde.gov.au/ 11/27/2009

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Realising Our Broadband Future

A major two-day discussion and planning session for the future of Australia's digital economy began today in Sydney. "Australia stands on the cusp of a digital transformation," said the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy. "We stand at a time of great opportunity to improve education, to better our health and aged care systems, to create new business opportunities, to make more efficient infrastructure, and to strengthen our communities." "This is why the Government is investing in the National Broadband Network as the enabling infrastructure for this emerging environment and it is why we are here today to consider how to maximise Australia's digital potential." Realising Our Broadband Future is a major two-day forum exploring how Australia can maximise the benefits enabled by the National Broadband Network. Discussion will focus on five main themes - Smart Infrastructure, Digital Education, e-Health, e-Business and e-Communities.

Key speakers include:
* Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.
* Premier of Tasmania, David Bartlett.
* Jeffrey Cole, Director of University of Southern California's Annenberg School Centre for the Digital Future.
* Vint Cerf, Google Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist.
* Mike Quigley, NBN Co Executive Chairman and CEO.
* Genevieve Bell, Intel Director User Experience.
* Brad Wearn, BHP Billiton Iron Ore CIO.
* Jane Bennett, Ashgrove Cheese CEO.
* Craig Mundie, Microsoft Chief Research and Strategy Officer.
* Abigail E. Thomas, Australian Broadcasting Corporation Head, Strategic Innovation and Development.

"The National Broadband Network will turbo-charge our digital capacity and enable Australia to become a global leader in the digital economy of the 21stcentury," Senator Conroy said. "Over two days, this forum will discuss and debate the new applications and business models that will emerge in an NBN-enabled world. We will conduct a reality check of where we are now, and establish priorities take full advantage of our high-speed broadband enabled digital economy," said Senator Conroy. Forum participants and the general public can contribute to the discussion via Twitter and assist in planning our next steps via a wiki. Plenary sessions of the forum will be webcast live, with audio streaming of other sessions.


From http://www.minister.dbcde.gov.au/ 12/10/2009

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Digital Dividend Green Paper

The Rudd Government today released a Government green paper seeking public comment on the benefits and costs of maximizing Australia's digital dividend. The 'digital dividend' is the term used to describe the radio-frequency spectrum made available up as a result of the switchover to digital-only television. "The transition to digital-only television will free up spectrum that is currently used to deliver analog television services," Senator Conroy said. "This valuable resource will potentially provide a once in a generation opportunity to encourage the introduction of new communications services and to improve existing services for the benefit of Australian businesses and individuals." "Releasing the digital dividend will be an important microeconomic reform that will boost productivity in the Australian economy by enabling new services and applications."

The green paper establishes a Government target of 126 megahertz (MHz) of contiguous ultra-high frequency spectrum. Achieving this will involve moving some digital television services to new channels. "Technical studies demonstrate that this target is feasible," Senator Conroy said. "It is anticipated that a contiguous block of dividend spectrum will be suitable for a larger number of potential communications uses, maximizing the potential benefits that the spectrum could provide to Australians." The Government is committed to achieving a maximized digital dividend while maintaining Australians' existing access to free-to-air digital television services.

However, before making its final decision on the size and location of the digital dividend, the Government is inviting comments on the benefits and costs to the Australian community and economy of realizing its target."I encourage all interested parties to access the green paper and provide comments by the 26 February deadline," Senator Conroy said.


From http://www.minister.dbcde.gov.au/ 01/05/2010

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E-Health Legislation Faces Parliament

Legislation required to introduce a national e-health identifier for all Australians was introduced into parliament today. The Healthcare Identifier Bill will allow a unique 16-digit number to be assigned to individuals and health care providers, which will enable the transfer of patient information between those involved in an individual's care. The numbers will be assigned by the middle of this year and are expected to reduce current excesses of patient treatment in the current healthcare system, like running a test more than once or doubling up on patient histories. Deloitte stated in 2008 that "studies have found that up to 18 per cent of medical errors are due to the inadequate availability of patient information."

Implementation of the health identifiers is expected to assist in privacy issues related to healthcare; however, there have also been privacy issues raised. The minister for Health and Ageing said in a release that amendments would be made to the current Privacy Act to enable the Federal Privacy Commissioner to act against those found to be misusing identifiers. The identifiers will be the backbone of a national e-health system, which has been in the hands of the National E-Health and Transition Authority (NEHTA) which last year developed a four-part e-health strategy for 2009 to 2012. These included: "urgently" developing the foundations to enable e-health, coordinating the progress of priority e-health solutions and progresses, accelerating adoption, and leading the progression of e-health in Australia. The strategy was formed based on recommendations by the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission (NHHRC) and Deloitte, which found record-keeping practices in Australian hospitals to be a "relic of the pre-computer age".


From ZDNet.com.au 02/10/2010

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SA Gov Moves to Cut ICT Industry Greenhouse Emissions

The South Australia government and the state's Technology Industry Association (TIA) have struck a new deal aimed at reducing electronics and ICT industry greenhouse gas emissions. The Business Sustainability Alliance within State Government will initially see a range of resources to five electronic businesses as a trial to demonstrate the commercial benefit in energy and greenhouse gas emissions reduction. Specific resources include eco-efficiency training modules and information materials, assistance for resource audits, support and mentoring, strategic planning support, monitoring and data collection, and assistance in implementing lifecycle management assessment. According to TIA president Peter Charlesworth, the SA Government entered into the agreement in order to achieve State targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent of 1990 levels by 2050 and to increase the proportion of renewable electricity generated and consumed. "Sustainable businesses seek to lower costs and improve profits by continually increasing efficiency and reducing waste. The strong link between this and its positive effect on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is a key focus of this agreement," he said in a statement. The South Australian electronics and ICT sector has an estimated total revenue in excess of $7.5 billion per annum and employs more than 30,000 people in the state.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 02/17/2010

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NEW ZEALAND: Levy to Fund Rural Broadband Scheme

The Government looks set to press ahead with plans to fund the bulk of a $300 million upgrade to rural broadband through a levy on telecommunications companies, despite opposition to the scheme. Nearly 1000 rural schools would get ultrafast broadband through fibre-optic cable within six years and more than 500,000 rural New Zealanders would get speeds of 5 megabits per second. A series of regional tenders would be let to supply the necessary infrastructure. Communications Minister Steven Joyce said the plan had received a "strong and positive" response, with 67 submissions giving the Government a clear mandate to move quickly. The Government's final policy on rural broadband and an industry levy to pay for the scheme would be decided early next year. Federated Farmers said it supported the ambition of a step-change in broadband services, but it was "not good enough" that rural New Zealand would get less funding and a slower service than towns and cities, where the Government proposes to lay fibre to people's homes.

The New Zealand Regional Fibre Group, which comprises lines companies and utilities that hope to partner with the Government in its urban fibre roll-out, applauded the proposal to connect most rural schools with fibre, but saw "significant deficiencies" with the plan. "The fundamental cause of the deficiencies, as we see them, arise from an apparent acceptance of Telecom as the most likely provider for rural areas," it said. "The policy positions set out in the proposal seem to accept a world in which Telecom provides rural broadband on terms that suit Telecom, and remains the vertically-integrated monopoly provider." Telecom, Vodafone and TelstraClear all objected to the rural scheme being funded by a levy on telcos. Analysts have calculated Telecom could be $340m worse off over six years. It would shoulder the full cost of providing phone services to uneconomic customers.


From http://computerworld.co.nz/ 12/02/2009

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Govt Favours Three Strike Internet Copyright System

The Government favours a three-notice procedure to deal with illegal copying of material over computer networks which includes termination of internet access as a punishment, Commerce Minister Simon Power said today. The previous government's attempt to police copyright infringement was withdrawn after many internet user groups complained it was too draconian and would result in people being unfairly cut off by their internet service providers (ISPs). Mr Power today released a Cabinet Paper that outlines the basis of new legislation, which will be introduced to Parliament early next year. This follows a review of section 92A of the Copyright Act 1994.

The main points of the proposal are:
* Right holders will be able to request that ISPs give alleged infringers notice to stop infringing activity.
* The first notice will inform the account holder that infringing has occurred and is illegal. Two further notices may be sent.

Article continues below
* If infringing continues after three notices, the right holder may seek a penalty of up to $15,000 at the Copyright Tribunal. The amount will be based on the damage to the copyright owner.
* Where serious and continued breaches occur, right holders will be able to go to court to seek a range of remedies, including the suspension of accounts for up to six months.
* Account holders will be able to issue counter notices, and can request a hearing if they feel they should not be penalised.

Mr Power said the three-notice procedure was the key to the process. "The procedure will both educate and warn file-sharers that unauthorised sharing of copyright works is illegal, and in turn stop a large proportion of illegal file sharing," Mr Power said. Mr Power said though right holders would be able to seek suspension of accounts through the courts, he expected that would happen only in cases of serious offending. "I want to stress that account holders will have the opportunity during each of these processes to defend claims by right holders." Many internet users are opposed to any punishment that includes termination of internet accounts and are likely to be vocal as the legislation passes through Parliament.


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 12/17/2009

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Computer Literacy Standard Would Give NZ Boost - Report

A computer-savvy New Zealand could increase workforce productivity by $1.7 billion per year, according to a new report. The New Zealand Computer Society Inc (NZCS) report released today shows improved digital literacy could benefit the economy and help marginalised social groups. The report said that adopting a digital literacy standard would heighten productivity in about 70 per cent of employees at work by 20 minutes a day, or 1.7 hours a week, resulting in an annual $1820 productivity gain per employee. The report, completed by research consultants Knowledge Weavers NZ, addressed international research and case studies and applied them to New Zealand to find the expected outcome of adopting similar programmes. "It was interesting to find that there was also a gain in productivity amongst those very familiar with the use of computers," NZCS chief executive Paul Matthews said. "It's a case of people not knowing what they don't know - the gaps in knowledge and skills, large and small, making a clear difference to workplace and community productivity.

"This research is ground breaking. Not just because of the size of the productivity gap digital literacy can fill, but the clear line drawn between actual results achieved in various studies around the world and what is achievable in New Zealand. "This isn't pie in the sky stuff - this is real results and a real outcome to move New Zealand forward." The report also stated being technologically competent was an essential life skill and right of every New Zealander. It would benefit marginalised groups build confidence, overcome isolation, improve employment opportunities, and lead to further learning. The International Computer Driving Licence was recommended as the most appropriate digital literacy standard. Mr Matthews said the program was used in 148 countries around the world and with over nine million participants had helped more people than every other recognised international literacy standard program combined.

"It's really about putting out a benchmark in place for New Zealanders across the board. You are not just talking about the workforce, you are not just talking about communities or schools," he said. "Fundamentally, the purpose of bringing it in is to grow a line in the standards and say 'well this is what as a country ... we believe is the minimum acceptable level for somebody working with computers or IT'." The report said the Government's digital strategy received credit for focusing on the education environment and communities lacking digital skills, but more needed to be done. "If we want to see real benefits as a country, we need to expand the focus to cover right across the board," Mr Matthews said.

The report suggests:
* The Government take a leadership role in implementing digital literacy initiatives, starting with expanding its digital strategy to include all New Zealanders;
* adopt an international digital standard and promote it strongly within the public sector;
* set digital standard targets; and encourage support programs to look at digital competence.

The findings also suggest NZCS, a non-profit charitable organisation, alongside other organisations, should promote and deliver digital literacy programs. NZCS planned to present the findings to the Government later this month and implement programs that would "help make a difference," Mr Matthews said.


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 02/02/2010

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AFRICA: Egypt to Undergo E-Government Review

The Egyptian government has announced that it's e-government initiatives will undergo a peer review, conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The review, which was announced yesterday by Egypt's Deputy Minister of State for Administrative Development, His Excellency Dr. Ashraf Hassan Abdelwahab, will provide an objective assessment on the country's e-government programs, to help guide further development and improve existing implementations. Italy will finance the review, the first such OECD peer review in the MENA region, with support from the OECD. Three peer reviewers who have their own practical e-government experience will be appointed, to then conduct a systematic review process of qualitative and quantitative factors in e-government implementation, which attempts to assess the state of e-government programs, identify barriers to implementation and suggest future steps to take. The OECD Secretariat supports the review process by providing the analytical framework, producing documentation and analysis, stimulating discussion, upholding quality standards, and maintaining continuity of the historical memory of the process. The review will also benefit other OECD member countries through sharing of its findings. Work is expected to start on the review process early next year.


From http://www.itp.net/ 11/23/2009

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EUROPE: Russia Creates 1,100 Systems That Can Form E-Government

MOSCOW (Bernama) - Russian regions have created 1,100 systems that can become a part of the future e-Government, Itar-Tass news agency cited Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov as saying. "In 2008, the president of Russia approved an information society development strategy," Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said at a joint meeting of the State Council and the presidential Council for the Development of Information Society recently. He delivered a report titled "Regional Experience and Major Obstacles in the Development of Information Society and E-Government". "During this time, regions have created 1,100 solutions for the first stage of e-Government, and this should be done quickly," he said. He mentioned Tatarstan where a housing capital repair monitoring system is working, the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area where a regional databank of natural resources has been created, and Khabarovsk where a unified city utilities monitoring system has been put in place. "Moscow has the electronic Muscovite's card which serves both as an ID and a payment means."


From http://www.bernama.com/ 12/24/2009

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UK: All Public Services to Be Online by 2014, Saving £400m Says Govt

Nearly 100% of government transactions will be carried out online by 2014 if new targets announced today are met. The government is accelerating plans to get all services online, and is hoping it will save £400m over three years. The Putting the Frontline First report outlines how the government expects to free-up money for public services by streamlining back-office processes. The government hopes that putting all services online will lead to better services and free-up staff to deal personally with individuals.

Prime minister Gordon Brown said in his speech to launch the report this morning: "I can also state that as a result of the work of Martha Lane Fox, our aim is - within the next five years - to shift the great majority of our large transactional services to become online only." The report says: "We will accelerate plans to drive more rapid transition to online and personalised services. "Departments will be required to write strategies that show how transactions for each service will move online "as rapidly as possible, with a view to targeting near 100% by 2014". Each strategy must address funding, and how internet access will be extended to the digitally excluded population. The strategies will then be used to produce a Digital Britain Roadmap, to be announced by the end of next year. This roadmap will detail how major services like student loans, job seekers allowance, child tax credits will go online. A timetable for an online child benefit service will be in place by the Budget in 2010. All VAT returns and employer tax returns will be exclusively online by 2011, and there are plans to join up Directgov, NHSChoices and Business Link so they "provide a platform for departments to design and deliver personalised digital services". The plans could see a large amount of work in store for local authorities, with the government encouraging them to process at least 80% of applications for school places online by 2011/12.


From http://www.computerweekly.com/12/07/2009

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UK: Brown Hopes Range of IT Efficiency Measures Will Save £3bn

The government has announced a raft of measures to save money and increase efficiency using technology. It wants all public services to go online by 2014, greater access to public data and less money spent on big IT projects. The money saved will go towards improved frontline services, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said this morning. There will be £3bn extra savings on top of the £9bn efficiency savings identified in the Budget this year. Moving services online will save £400m over three years and the government also says it will also reduce spend on IT projects by "making greater use of existing systems rather than creating new ones". It will move highly-paid civil servants from London and the South East to cheaper parts of the UK. Spending on consultancy will drop 50% and on marketing and communications by 25%, saving £650m.Greater access to public data will, the government hopes, increase efficiency through services like the recently announced online crime maps of areas. The Putting the Frontline First report says, "Data can also be used in innovative ways that bring economic benefits to citizens and businesses by releasing untapped enterprise and entrepreneurship. Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt predict a significant increase in economic growth if more publicly held data are released for reuse."

There are also plans for a potential "public-sector shared-service company." The government wants to expand the current most successful shared service centres, saying, "A specialist company of this kind could then offer services across the public sector, providing a platform for public organisations to transform their back offices more easily to reach private-sector benchmarking levels." Gordon Brown said, "Today, inspired by the opportunities new technology offers us and aware of not just the technological but the demographic economic and fiscal challenges ahead, I want to set out how in the next few years we will accept our responsibilities for good government - and not walk away from our responsibilities; and how we will empower patients, parents, pupils and citizens in new ways with better more personal more interactive services that put them, the users, in charge."


From http://www.computerweekly.com/ 12/07/2009

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UK: Top 10 Government Tech Stories of 2009

1. NHS IT scheme to be scaled back
After years of bullishly rolling out the NHS IT scheme, chancellor Alastair Darling made headlines by saying it "isn't essential to the frontline". The jury is still out on whether the UK's biggest IT investment will turn out to be the UK's biggest IT disaster.

2. Overview of today's IT efficiency announcements: data access and online services
This year was the first of many that will see public sector belt-tightening, and the government is obviously hopeful that technology will help it cut spending without cutting services. One plan, as outlined in the recent Putting the Frontline First report, is to put every government transaction online by 2014.

3. Government picks centralised network for £10bn smart meter project
The government has opted for a centralised communications network to control information flows to and from 47 million smart meters that will replace the UK's gas and electricity meters over the next 10 years at a cost of £10bn.
Announcing the roll-out plan, energy minister Lord Hunt also published a paper setting out the case for developing smart grids. "Globally, the business of developing smart grids has been estimated at £27bn over the next five years, and the UK has the know-how to be part of that," he said.

4. Access to public data
UK politicians would love to know how to recreate some of the excitement Barack Obama generated using social media, but they are all too busy claiming pricey flowerpots on expenses to get their heads around it. The UK government has however managed to emulate the US government's open attitude to public data, with its recent announcement that all public datasets would be available to all on the web.

5. Photos: What does Digital Britain mean for you?
Digital Britain was one of the biggest technology stories of the year, setting out plans for universal access to broadband by 2012. The implications are far-reaching, but the report has not come without controversy - rural businesses and residents are sceptical about the plans to extend broadband to all, and some parts of the related Digital Economy Bill have attracted high-level criticism.

6. Government IT strategy aims for billions of savings
The government's latest IT strategy was leaked, showing its plans to save £5.7bn using IT-related strategies by 2020. Included in the document were plans to create a common IT infrastructure and telecoms network, a Government Cloud for organisations to host their systems on, and a government app store. It will be interesting to see how work on these projects goes over the next year.

7. What lessons can UK politics learn from Obama's use of IT?
It is easy to attempt to ignore it, but Obama's presidential campaign showed the potential power of social media if it is harnessed properly. His campaign team used social media to mobilise an army of volunteers to campaign for them, and social networking, e-mail and texts were all utilised to connect and communicate with people. In comparison, only a handful of UK politicians have really understood the way social media works.

8. Illegal dumping of IT waste must be stopped
The dumping of toxic technology in developing countries is continuing, and in September the government said it was unable to stop it. Green IT has been a bit of a buzzword for years, but real change is hard to come by. The government is asking IT departments and companies for their cooperation in helping to stop this particular problem.

9. Why technology must get a mention in Copenhagen text
The importance of the technology sector in reducing emissions was ignored by officials drawing up plans for the Copenhagen summit, the biggest meeting on global warming since the Kyoto agreement. The absence of the ICT sector in the official Copenhagen agenda shows a lack of understanding at the highest levels of the importance of technology in tackling global warming.

10. High public sector salaries soon to be under pressure
Top CIO salaries in the UK public sector are among the best in the world, which makes it all the more likely they will come under pressure next year. Typical CIO salaries in the UK and US are between £100,000 and £200,000, but whether this is sustainable in a culture of public spending cuts remains to be seen.


From http://www.computerweekly.com/ 01/02/2010

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UK: Bad Websites Cost Councils £11m a Month

Badly designed or poorly built websites could be costing councils £11m a month, according to the Society of IT Managers (Socitm). Socitm warns that if users are not able to find the information they need quickly and easily on the web, they will either call or visit council contact centres, which is a much more expensive way for local authorities to provide services. On average, a fifth of visitors to council sites do not find what they are looking for, according to research by Socitim. Of 7.3 million unique visitors to 120 local authority websites in September 2009, 21% did not find what they wanted, and 21% only found part of what they wanted. This means nearly 4.4 million people who visited UK council websites in September did not what they were looking for. If they called the council instead, with each call costing a council £2.50 to serve, the monthly cost of bad site design would be £11m.

The poor web service at councils continues despite evidence of the cost savings good websites can bring. Despite its popularity - 70% of customer interaction comes through the web - it is also the least satisfactory, with 42% of visitors rating the service as poor. But predicted public sector spending cuts mean investment in user-friendly websites is becoming more crucial. Martin Greenwood, programme director at Socitm Insight, said, "With the coming cuts in public spending, councils must invest in their web channel so that they save money through self-service, rather than adding unnecessary cost because customers cannot do what they want to online."


From http://www.computerweekly.com/ 01/08/2010

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NORTH AMERICA: Barack Obama Names Howard Schmidt as U.S. Cybersecurity Chief

US President Barack Obama has named Information Security Forum president Howard Schmidt as national cybersecurity coordinator. The White House has announced that Schmidt, who is a former Bush advisor, will coordinate the US government's protection of computer systems. In a recent interview with GovInfoSecurity.com about the role of Cybersecurity, Schmidt was asked, what are the greatest challenges the federal government faces in developing an IT security culture? He said there are a few things. "One, we have come to take the IT systems that we use almost for granted in the fact that they are always going to be there, that there is always somebody else looking after not only maintaining them, but more importantly for our topic, the security of them. And, as we have seen over the years as personal computers become even more of a computer, it is a shared responsibility between those that are providing the services and those of us who are using the service to make sure that not only are we using it to its fullest capabilities, which is just absolutely wonderful, but also to make sure that they are secure. "As we have gone through the years, we focused more on the richness and robustness and the great technology it brings us and sort of not put as much forward as we needed to the risks that are out there and more importantly how one could really do things themselves to mitigate those risks."

Neil Fisher, vice-president global security solutions at Unisys, said, "At a time when our vulnerability to online crime and computer hacking attacks is at its height, this appointment will have positive reverberations around the world. Schmidt brings with him important lessons learnt during the dot com boom (and subsequent bust), which have been largely forgotten by other cyber ambassadors, to our detriment. "While this appointment will beckon Schmidt back to the US, the UK will benefit from a more joined up, coordinated cybersecurity strategy, in recognition of the borderless nature of the cyber threat leveled at our governments, industries and public."


From http://www.computerweekly.com/ 12/22/2009

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U.S. Cellular Offers New Unlimited National Calling Plans

CHICAGO/PRNewswire via COMTEX/ - U.S. Cellular today announced new unlimited national calling plans that give customers simple and affordable options to staying connected with their friends and loved ones. Beginning January 19th, new and existing customers can sign up for the Unlimited National Individual Plan and pay only $69.99 a month for unlimited voice calls. Families can save big and talk as much as they want each month with the new Unlimited National Family Plan that includes two lines for just $119.99. Customers can get up to three additional lines for $49.99 each. Current customers can switch from any other plan to the new plans without a contract extension. "Our customers can combine the new calling plans with any of our unlimited messaging and data options and create the perfect plan to meet their individual needs," said Alan D. Ferber, executive vice president of operations for U.S. Cellular. "We want to provide more value to make saving simple for our customers and let them know that we have their backs." U.S. Cellular prides itself in offering innovative services to meet customers' needs that that go above and beyond its award-winning network. Last year, the company introduced its industry-first, free Battery Swap program that allows customers with dead or dying batteries to go into any U.S. Cellular location and swap them out for fully-charged ones. U.S. Cellular also launched its free Overage Protection program that sends text alerts to customers before they reach their voice and texting limits and again when they've topped out for the month, eliminating phone bill surprises.

My Contacts Backup automatically protects the valuable contact information stored in customers' mobile phone for free and lets them easily transfer those contacts to a new handset - or remotely erase them from a lost or stolen phone. The company remains the only wireless provider to offer free incoming calls, pix and texts, saving customers nearly half on their bills. Information on the Unlimited National Plans is available at www.uscellular.com, at any retail store or by calling a customer care representative at 888-944-9400, or 611 from your U.S. Cellular phone. The 9,000 associates of U.S. Cellular believe a wireless phone enhances people's lives and a wireless company should be in the business of bringing people together. U.S. Cellular has a wide range of monthly plans, including those with unlimited nationwide calling, unlimited free incoming calls and options to prepay. The company has a growing catalog of phones like the BlackBerry(R) Tour and Pearl Flip, and the touch-screen LG Tritan, which offer e-mail and Web access. Those features are delivered 10 times faster over U.S. Cellular's new 3G Mobile Broadband network. The company recently received its eighth J.D. Power and Associates award for overall call quality in the North Central Region, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio. Based in Chicago, U.S. Cellular is the nation's fifth-largest full-service wireless carrier, serving 6.2 million customers across the country. To learn more about the company visit one of its retail stores or uscellular.com.


From http://www.tmcnet.com/ 01/19/2009

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Socitm: Public Sector ICT Needs to Rethink Efficiency Strategy

Declining levels in efficiency savings, increased pressure to help reduce cost without compromising service levels, and falling budgets, highlighted in Socitm's IT trends in local public services report. Socitm, the Society of IT Managers which represents ICT executives in the local government sector, has published its annual report into IT trends amongst public sector services. The 2009/10 report highlights the daunting challenges facing ICT managers as they come under increased pressure to deliver cost efficiencies. The report, Stretched to breaking point, predicts a greater dependency on ICT within the sector in the coming years, (a symptom of reduced "belt-tightening" budgets) and calls for a "radical rethink about how technology can be exploited for the public's benefit. "Whilst ICT within the public sector is increasingly coming under pressure, Socitm's report suggests the amount of resource spent has significantly decreased in the past twelve months. Negativity permeates through many areas of the report: cuts to staffing levels are already impacting on service levels; planned shared service projects are now stalling; efficiency savings are on the decline; and the biggest challenge facing ICT managers on a local government level is the need to "do more with less."

What's more, a table breaking down ICT resources available to authorities across the country shows a stark difference at local government level. For instance, ICT budgets at Scottish unitary authorities stand at £13m, have over 10,500 computers in use, and 121 ICT employees - that's 87 computers for every ICT employee. On the other hand, the ICT budget at Northern Irish districts stand at £6m, have 802 computers, and 38 ICT employees - that's just 21 computers for every ICT employee. Furthermore, the report forecasts the number of ICT staff employed within the public sector will fall by around 3,000. This fall comes during a period of more innovative use of technology by the sector, with the report pointing towards a trend of increased use of mobile technology and home working. Such innovations are at the crux of internal efficiency measures for many organisations, with ICT managers turning to virtualisation, the Cloud, and improved service management, to streamline operations and facilitate the change being demanded of them. According to the Socitm survey, local government authorities are expected purchase less than in 2008, with employees increasingly using aging technology.

The report also challenges the government's G-Cloud initiative. Besides its misgivings about the creation of the 'government cloud', a key concern of the report is the pace of the change; is it happening fast enough? "In reality," the report states, "our respondents are suffering from the perennial pressures of funding cuts alongside increased demand and are under greater pressure than ever." "I think Socitm's report is a timely warning shot about the negative impact continued lack of investment in IT will have on the ability to make further cost reductions in local authority spending," responds Sift Media's market analyst arm, K2 Advisory. "For example, look at the G-cloud initiative: it is critical that local authorities invest now in assessing the types of information they have to manage so that some can safely be delivered at greatly reduced cost from the public cloud. But investment needs to be made in that review process in 2010 to save money going forward."


From http://www.publictechnology.net/ 01/20/2010

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Leveraging E-government at a Time of Financial and Economic Crisis

The 2010 United Nations e-Government Survey: Leveraging e-government at a time of financial and economic crisis was completed in December 2009 and launched in early 2010. The report presented various roles for e-government in addressing the ongoing world financial and economic crisis. The public trust that is gained through transparency can be further enhanced through the free sharing of government data based on open standards. The ability of e-government to handle speed and complexity can also underpin regulatory reform. While technology is no substitute for good policy, it may give citizens the power to question the actions of regulators and bring systemic issues to the fore. Similarly, e-government can add agility to public service delivery to help governments respond to an expanded set of demands even as revenues fall short. Since the last edition of the survey, in 2008, governments have made great strides in development of online services, especially in middle-income countries. The costs associated with telecommunication infrastructure and human capital continue to impede e-government development. However, effective strategies and legal frameworks can compensate significantly, even in least developed countries. Those who are able to harness the potential of expanded broadband access in developed regions and mobile cellular networks in developing countries to advance the UN development agenda have much to gain going forward.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Preface
Acknowledgements
Acronyms
Introduction
PART I: Leveraging E-government at a time of Financial and Economic Crisis
Chapter 1: Stimulus Packages and Financial Bailouts
Chapter 2: Financial Regulation and Monitoring
Chapter 3: Public Service Delivery
PART II: Global E-government Readiness
Chapter 4: The State of E-government by Region
Chapter 5: The State of E-government by Economic Grouping
Chapter 6: Access and Diversity


From http://www2.unpan.org/egovkb/global_reports/10report.htm

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CHINA: Embraces Government Websites Boom

More than 45,000 government websites have been set up in China amid growing awareness of promoting information transparency, official figures showed. Websites had become an important platform for governments at various levels to disclose information and interact with the public, said Lu Shiche, chairman of China Information Industry Association at a forum here Sunday. China initiated the government website construction campaign in 1999. The Ministry of Defense is the latest ministry to open its official website. In the three months after its opening on Aug. 20, total visits hit 1.25 billion.


From Xinhua News Agency 12/07/20009

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China Sets Up Intellectual Property Right Protection Aid Centers

According to Xinhuanet.com, China's State Intellectual Property Office has approved the establishment of 61 intellectual property rights protection aid centers and launched a special nationwide hotline (12330) dedicated to IPR protection aid in an effort to encourage individuals, lawyers and organizations to actively respond to intellectual property disputes. The IPR protection aid service is available to Chinese citizens and legal persons who can't afford the cost involved in the processing of intellectual property disputes and lawsuits due to financial difficulties or who encounter intellectual property issues beyond their own solving capabilities. The IPR protection aid center mainly provides IPR consulting, IPR analysis, IPR pre-warning and fund support to the eligible parties. These parties shall submit an application for aid in their own domicile or permanent residence area, or the domicile or habitual residence of the violation party.


From http://www.chinatechnews.com/ 12/23/2009

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CNNIC Launches Online Complaint Reporting Service

News from China Internet Network Information Center is that CNNIC has published an online complaint reporting service to encourage Internet users to report issues related to bad domain names in an effort to purify the online environment for teenagers in China. In recent weeks, CNNIC and Chinese government agencies have launched a crackdown against pornographic websites. One way they are attacking the proprietors of the websites is to disallow new .cn domain name purchases to individual users. Another method is to have domain name registrars revoke ownerships of domain names that point to pornographic websites. Users can log on jubao.cnnic.cn to report bad domain names. CNNIC states it will investigate and verify the domain name complaints while protecting the personal information of the users who make the report. In addition, the original reporting means of telephone: 010-58813000; email: supervise@cnnic.com; and fax: 010-58812666 are still open to users. Meanwhile, to encourage Internet users to actively report on bad domain names, from now on CNNIC's complaint treatment center will draw ten users each day from users whose reporting has been verified to give each of them a gift worth about CNY200.


From http://www.chinatechnews.com/ 12/28/2009

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China Pours Money into Cultural Resources Network Building

Chinese central and local governments have poured money into the building of a national cultural information and resources sharing network, deemed as the base for the country's public cultural service system, the Ministry of Culture said Monday. The central government has planned to invest 2.476 billion yuan (362.6 million U.S. dollars) in the project during the country's 11th five-year (2006-2010) plan, among which 2.07 billion yuan (303 million U.S. dollars) has been allocated so far, according to the ministry. The total investment from local governments has reached 2.7 billion yuan (395 million U.S. dollars). One national service center has been established, along with 33 provincial-level centers and nearly 3,000 county-level branch centers, according to the ministry. Initiated in 2002, the project was committed to digitizing domestic cultural resources and sharing them nationwide via Internet, satellite transmission and discs. Vice Minister of Culture Zhou Heping said Monday that the project has made new progress as local governments kept innovating in ways of transmission. The project has extended to a population of 50 million people, according to Zhou. The ministry on Monday also launched a promotion scheme of county-level digital libraries, aiming at transmitting resources from the National Digital Library to nationwide county-level libraries via the cultural information and resources sharing network. The plan would be implemented in 320 counties ahead of the two-week-away Spring Festival, while by the end of this year, a total of 2,940 counties across the country would have libraries with digital library services, the ministry said.


From Xinhua News Agency 02/02/2010

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JAPAN: 19 Prefectures Scale Down Online Services

Financial difficulties have forced 19 prefectural governments to cancel or scale down their often-inefficient online administrative procedures for citizens, according to an Asahi Shimbun survey. With the costs of running online systems high and the number of users low, many prefectural governments have switched to cheaper systems to reduce expenses. Total operating costs for online systems around the country are expected to decrease to less than 1.61 billion yen in fiscal 2010, or two-thirds of 2.44 billion yen in fiscal 2008. The Asahi Shimbun carried out the survey concerning 10,759 administrative procedures that can be conducted online at the 47 prefectural governments. Officials were interviewed on the number of annual online applications and what percentage they accounted for, the costs to operate the online systems, and whether they have reviewed, or plan to review, the electronic procedures and the overall online system. Many prefectural government systems suffered from inefficiency, with a single application from a resident costing more than 10,000 yen to process in 22 prefectures. Okinawa topped the prefectural inefficiency list, with one application costing 91,463 yen, followed by Kagoshima (79,783 yen), Yamagata (61,216 yen), Ehime (43,209 yen), and Gifu (25,680 yen). Aichi Prefecture has the most cost-efficient system, with one application costing 67 yen to process, followed by Shiga (534 yen), Tokyo (540 yen), Niigata (745 yen), and Osaka (935 yen), the survey showed. These five prefectures simplified their online procedures by, for example, not requiring electronic authentication. In that way, they cut costs by increasing the number of users.

The central government has urged prefectural governments to promote online usage for 19 procedures because of their high volumes of applications. But online applications accounted for less than 10 percent in 10 of these procedures, such as one to change addresses for an automobile tax and another concerning food business. Some procedures had rates exceeding 80 percent for online usage, such as one for reserving sports or cultural facilities and two related to bidding for contracts, which only certain companies use repeatedly. Two prefectural governments have scrapped their online systems altogether. The Kochi prefectural government saved 32 million yen when it halted its electronic procedures at the end of fiscal 2005, while Gifu Prefecture saved 48 million yen when it did the same at the end of fiscal 2008. Under the central government's strategy for information technology, central and local governments rapidly introduced electronic filing of administrative procedures starting in 2001. However, the ease of use and cost efficiency took a backseat, prompting the Board of Audit to point out inefficiencies of the systems. An Asahi Shimbun survey on electronic procedures at the central government conducted earlier this month found that less than 1 percent of all applications in nearly 20 percent of administrative systems at ministries and agencies were conducted online. One application cost the government more than 8 million yen to process. (IHT/Asahi)


From http://www.asahi.com/ 12/01/2009

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Japan Tourism Agency Web Site Seeks Foreigner Buzz

The Japan Tourism Agency is kicking off a Web site Tuesday to give foreigners a forum to pitch this country in their native tongues to promote more tourism. On the Live Japan site, foreigners residing in Japan, mainly English speakers, will hopefully lure their families and friends to come over for a visit. "It's an activity that approaches foreigners residing in Japan to invite their family members and friends more," a JTA official said, noting not much effort had been made in this direction in the past. Registered users of the site, who first must answer a survey, will be deemed "correspondents" who share their Japan experiences with others by uploading pictures and writing blog commentaries. Participants will qualify for points if relatives or friends access their blogs. Building up enough points will make them eligible for more than 500 prizes, including airline tickets, hotel vouchers and travel packages. People can also win prizes by just completing the survey. The promotion is part of Visit Japan, the government-sponsored campaign to attract more foreign visitors. The tourism agency hopes to attract 10 million foreign visitors next year. The government launched Visit Japan in 2003, and the number of foreign visitors increased each year, reaching 8.35 million in 2008. This year, however, the number is expected to fall below 7 million because of the swine flu outbreak, the yen's appreciation and the worldwide economic slump. According to the agency, the number of foreign visitors has been declining since August 2008. Japan ranked 28th in the world and sixth in Asia in foreign tourists in 2008. Seiji Maehara, minister of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism, has repeatedly stressed the need to increase foreign visitors. He brought forward the target year for increasing the annual number to 20 million by 2016 instead of 2020. The Internet site's address is www.live-japan.jp


From http://search.japantimes.co.jp/ 12/01/2009

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Foreign Ministry Launches Website Page on 2010 APEC Forum in Japan

The Foreign Ministry on Thursday launched an official page in its website on the 2010 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum which is to meet in Japan. With Japan holding the rotating chairmanship this year, the APEC forum will begin at a high working-level session in Hiroshima on Feb. 22 and 23. The page carries the schedule for APEC meetings and an explanation for children about APEC. The address is www.apec2010.go.jp.


From http://www.japantoday.com/ 02/05/2010

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N. AND S. KOREA: Set to Complete Cross-Border Cable

South and North Korea were set Tuesday to complete the construction of an optical fiber cable line across the heavily armed border, a defense official said, according to Yonhap News. The divided nations will test the line for two days staring Thursday and expect to open it formally next week, the official at the Ministry of National Defense told reporters.


From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 12/22/2009

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SOUTH KOREA: Gov't Invites Foreign Officials to Promote U-Port System

The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs announced that it will invite government officials of Guatemala, Tanzania, Libya and the Philippines to promote YES! U-Port. The first and second promotion will be held in Seoul Renaissance Hotel from November 30 to December 4 and from December 7 to December 11 respectively. Yes! U-Port is a representative ports and logistics information system that was developed by MLTM. It includes Port-MIS, Single Window, GCTS, AFACT and Intelligent Port Working System that was awarded 2009 eAsia Award. Through the promotion programs, MLTM will provide more detailed information to participants from developing nations who have much interest and help them visit Busan New Port where such system is currently under development and operation. The Ministry invited Vice Minister of Information, Communication and Transport of Guatemala, Administrator of Tanzania Port Authority and Vice Administrator of Cebu Port Authority and other 19 officials from 8 nations. It is expected that the promotion programs provide a great opportunity for Korea to export the excellent system, strengthen cooperation with participating nations and raise the status of Korea as an IT superpower.


From http://www.korea.net/ 11/30/2009

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Seoul to Open Blog for Communication

Seoul City launches its official blog, "Seoul on Talk and Tag," today as part of efforts to enhance communication with its citizens, officials said yesterday. SOTT (sott.seoul.go.kr) is a "meta blog" that interconnects individual blog sites and enables viewers to see developments in each site registered on it at once. It will help citizens conveniently search for information on transportation, culture and traffic and present their suggestions to enhance city administration.


From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 11/30/2009

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Government Takes Lead in Paying for Online News Content

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said yesterday it would seek ways to pay local media firms for news content they provide to government websites in a bid to enhance public awareness about the copyright of online news content. The ministry's move in favor of paid online news content, revealed as it reported the 2010 plan to President Lee Myung-bak yesterday, is expected to have a sizable impact on the local online distribution of news. Korean newspapers and broadcasters are struggling to come up with viable business models for their news material on the Web, which is currently available free of charge. The government's latest plan to pay fees for online news content might set the stage for a new business model where media companies charge a fee on news items for private companies and individual users. According to the ministry's yearly plan, Korea's 39 government agencies bought news content worth 290 million won ($244,789) this year, a nominal figure considering that the ratio of copyright infringement concerning news by public agencies amounts to 32.4 percent, according to the Korea Press Foundation. The culture ministry said the government's total payment for news content will rise roughly 16-fold to 4.6 billion won once the new plan gets implemented next year. The ministry said that the new payment plan would be applied to 59 offline media firms, excluding online-only media. The ministry's move toward paid online news comes at a time when global news media such as News Corp. are striving to stay afloat by introducing new pay-to-use distribution of news on the internet, as the traditional offline newspaper business confronts a make-or-break crisis due to the prevalence of free online news. The ministry also plans to provide newspaper subscription fees to some 33,000 low-income households, set up 45 state-run gyms nationwide and publish 2,000 audio books for the visually impaired to bridge the cultural gap separating different social classes.

Another major plan the culture ministry sketched out yesterday was a revision to the copyright law in November next year in order to put more legal responsibility on those engaged in illegal downloads of copyrighted material. Under the current regulations, there is no legal restriction for individuals' download of copyrighted material for private use. While heavy uploaders who place copyrighted material on public websites are now subject to severe penalties and lawsuits, individual users who download such files have been exempt from such legal responsibility. The ministry said the purpose of the revision to the copyright law is largely to help change the public perception about illegal downloading on the internet, not pushing some individual users to legal confrontation. If the revision is passed, individual users who download copyrighted material illegally will be subject to civil lawsuits, but the ministry officials noted that no copyright holder will file a massive lawsuit against individual users due to logistical and cost issues. Other major projects in the 2010 yearly plan include hosting large events featuring Korean food and culture, coinciding with its 2010-2012 "Visit Korea" campaign and increasing the annual number of foreign visitors from the current 7.8 million to 8.5 million. The Culture Ministry says it will support Korean companies in films, gaming, broadcast and other cultural content to enter overseas markets with a goal of reaching an export volume of $3.8 billion next year. It has set aside at least 100 billion won ($84 million) next year to help strengthen the cultural content business. The ministry is also preparing various traditional and cultural events during the May 25-28 UNESCO World Conference on Arts Education hosted by Seoul next year. The second such conference, considered the largest global event in the arts education sector, is expected to attract some 2,000 culture experts and government officials.


From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 12/23/2009

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Korea's E-government Given Best Rating by United Nations

Korea secured top spot in a recent e-government evaluation conducted by the United Nations, said the Ministry of Public Administration and Security on Thursday (Jan. 14). The result was based upon a survey of the 192 UN member states and Korea also placed first in the category of people's online participation. The 2010 UN e-Government Survey, completed in December 2009, has presented various roles for e-government in addressing the ongoing world financial and economic crisis. Korea has gathered momentum to lead the world's e-government development by significantly raising its standings in the "E-Government Development Index" and the "E-Participation Index" to the top, said the ministry. The country was placed 6th and 2nd in each category, respectively, in the previous survey conducted in 2008. The ministry said it would boost promotion of the country's advanced e-government status, enlarge investment into digitalization and further induce online involvement of citizens. The ministry also plans to enhance Korea's contribution to the international community in the areas of online administration by sharing the country's knowhow on the development of e-government and by exporting the country's e-government model to developing countries.


From http://www.korea.net/ 01/15/2010

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Over 20 'Smart Offices' to Be Built in Metropolitan Area by 2013

The government is to usher in an era of full telecommuting by introducing a remote work system for government officials. The Ministry of Public Administration and Security and the Presidential Committee for National Development of Information Society announced a plan on Wednesday (Jan. 13) to build 22 "smart offices" in the metropolitan cities, including northern Goyang and Ilsan and southern Seongnam and Bundang, by 2013. According to the plan, government employees will be able to work at the smart offices near their residence, instead of reporting to the headquarters office located in busy downtown. The plan is aimed at promoting a work environment which emits less carbon gases and is more efficient. According to a 2009 survey of 37,000 government offices - central and local - just 1,300 offices, 3.6 percent, said they were taking advantage of telecommuting, and the government plans to boost the rate to 20 percent by 2015, the public administration ministry said. With an injection of 1.4 billion won, the government will establish two model offices in the Seoul metropolitan area and keep conducting research on where such offices are mostly needed. Smart offices are expected to resolve traffic congestion problems and also help working parents to balance work and childrearing in a much more efficient manner, eventually helping raise the nation's low birth rate, the ministry said.


From http://www.korea.net/ 01/15/2010

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Korea Must Utilize Its E-government Title to Excel Further

Alongside the roar of the white tiger in celebration of 2010, South Korea has yet another reason to applaud the New Year: it has placed first in an e-government survey conducted by the United Nations. Every other year, the UN carries out such a survey of its 192 member nations. According to this year's assessment, Korea has surpassed all leading nations, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Denmark and Japan, proudly taking first place. For a thorough appraisal, the UN levels its eyes and perspectives to those of citizens, and Korea was regarded highly for its ease of website use, efficient methods for handling civil complaints and online participation in policy making. Korea received, for the first time ever, a perfect score. This award is noteworthy for a multitude of reasons, but foremost because it is the outcome of our e-government's services that revolved around the desire to maximize citizens' benefits and because it symbolizes Korea's status as a leading IT nation. In the last two years, the Lee Myung-bak administration has worked on turning the direction of national digitalization from "promotion" to "utilization" and "integration," hence improving people's access to government e-data. It has also invested an incredible amount of effort to increase online accessibility for the disabled and to counter the adverse effects of Internet use, all of which made this award a possibility. However, the real hero of this award, hidden behind the anonymity of the Internet, are the citizens of the Republic of Korea. The citizens are the ones who have held high standards and been persistent, seeking a more convenient, speedy and efficient service.

This is what ultimately became the driving force that helped the e-government to advance all the way to first place. The award has come just in time for this year's G20 Seoul Summit, to be held this November; it has proven to the world that Korea is a host-worthy nation and will serve to make G20 related events shine even more. Through the Summit, the other 19 advanced and developing countries will experience our e-government's excellence and take a new look at our nation from a new perspective. Furthermore, those of the countries that are on par with our own in economic terms will be fueled to strive to raise their e-government standards. We must maximize this opportunity that is already playing in favor of us. Several countries around the world will adopt our IT products to discuss Korean e-government and our exported goods will rise in popularity. This all will add up to raise the country's brand value exponentially. But, this doesn't mean we have the right or the breathing space to become the least bit vain. We are just becoming one of the many leaders and we must strive to advance overseas, as well as reinforce the contribution we make to international society.


From http://www.korea.net/ 02/05/2010

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IT Technology to Be Used for Rivers Restoration

The Office for the Four Major Rivers Restoration announced that it will carry out a project to use IT technology in river restoration, especially in securing water resources, controlling floods, improving water quality and ecosystem and developing multi-use areas around the rivers. Firstly, it will set up an infrastructure for water resource information to respond to extreme weather events that will be caused by water scarcity and climate change in the future. To this end, the river flow management system will be improved for better identification of real-time water quantity and usage and the existing 2-dimensional river topographical information management system will be transformed into a 3-dimentional one. The water resource management information system that is currently provided to the public will have more information on the four rivers. Secondly, it will establish an infrastructure to preemptively respond to frequent floods To this end, the existing flood warning system will be used for 16 weirs and 96 agricultural reservoirs that are currently under construction. It will create a river facility safety system and an alarming system that provide information on natural disasters and reduce preventable accidents.

Thirdly, the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs and the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries will jointly cooperate to preserve water quality and ecosystem. They will create a water quality monitoring system that measures the water quality of 16 weirs as well as a system that prevents algae bloom in the four rivers. Furthermore, underwater fish robots will be developed for aquanautics and monitoring. Lastly, the Office will develop water fronts and a digital tour system to provide information to river visitors and revitalize local economies. It will also install Solar LED trees for better night view and an optical communications network to meet the future demand of communications around rivers. The Office will spend about 115 billion won in this project and start it from this year to finish it by 2012. It is expected that the project will help operate rivers more efficiently, prevent floods and other natural disasters and thereby significantly improve people's living standard.


From http://www.korea.net/ 02/12/2010

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MALAYSIA: Govt Teams Up with EBay to Aid SMEs

Online auction site eBay and its payment provider PayPal have signed a deal with government-controlled SME Corp Malaysia that will benefit small- and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) in the country. "We want to help the SMEs break into e-commerce to give them a competitive advantage in the global arena," said Datuk Dr Mohamed Al Amin Abdul Majid, chairman of SME Corp. "By taking their business online, they will be able to compete with the larger firms - local and international." Under the agreement, eBay will organise education services and e-commerce workshops in several major cities across the country. These eBay education specialists will be onsite to help interested SMEs get started.

"The SMEs will also receive dedicated account support and discounts on selected fees," said Jeff Liao, eBay's chief executive for Greater China, South-East Asia and Japan. The discounts include a waiver of insertion fees and selected features for the first 100 eBay listings, as well as a 25% discount on fees for the first 100 payments received via PayPal. PayPal recently added the ringgit as an official trading currency, making it more convenient for Malaysian users and businesses to operate on eBay. "There are a lot of misconceptions with regards to transactions on the Internet in Malaysia," said Abdul Majid. "We hope this partnership with the world's largest e-commerce platform will go a long way in making Malaysians more comfortable with trading online."


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 02/01/2010

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PHILIPPINES: Lawmakers Bat for Stronger NTC to Cope With IT Developments

Lawmakers have urged for the reorganization of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to enable it to meet rapid developments in information and communications technologies. Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Villafuerte and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez filed House Bill 6968 that would reorganize the NTC and strengthen its existing powers. "As a number of new players have emerged in the past years, it has become imperative for the government to provide a regulatory environment to develop a viable, adequate, efficient and universal information and communications sector using the best available and affordable technologies," said Villafuerte. "Universal access to reliable and affordable services must be ensured and the interest and welfare of both the industry players and the consuming public must be protected," he said.

On the other hand, Romualdez has called for the immediate approval of the bill, saying "governments throughout the world have devoted efforts towards the development and management of information systems to streamline and improve efficiency in the delivery of basic services to the people." Under the bill, which also grants the NTC fiscal autonomy, its appropriation may not be reduced below the amount appropriated for the previous year. The fund shall be automatically and regularly released after approval. The NTC shall also have jurisdiction over all persons and entities engaged in the operation and/or provision of information and communications technology, broadcast, cable TV and other multi-media infrastructure and services. It shall also have the power to establish standards, specifications, measures, guidelines, rules and regulations that will govern the operations of service providers in the areas of information and communications technology, broadcast, cable TV and other multi-media service providers. HB 6968 also requires the NTC to establish a rigorous training program, to include the setting up of training center, for its personnel to enhance the technical and regulatory competence of the Commission in its monitoring and enforcement of laws, rules and regulation, and compliance thereof. (PNA)


From http://balita.ph/ 01/03/2010

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THAILAND: ICT Minister Tells TOT to Improve 3G Service Quality in Bangkok in 90 Days

Information and Communications Technology Minister Ranongruk Suwanchawee said Sunday that she had instructed the TOT Plc to improve the network and quality of 3G wireless broadband service in 90 days.Ranongruk said the TOT must ensure that the signals of its 3G 1900 MHz will work well in Bangkok in three months. She said the TOT would also have to rush to expand its customer base to meet the target of 500,000 numbers. She said the TOT is now drafting a business plan to launch its service in major provinces, which are tourist destinations, in the second phase expansion.The business plan will be submitted to the National Economic and Social Development Board for approval by the middle of this year.


From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 01/03/2010

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VIETNAM: IT Use in Government Boosts Efficiency

The use of information technology in public administration has played an integral part in the country's socio-economic development, the Ministry of Information and Communications said at a conference in Ha Noi last week. About 85 per cent of officials in ministries and ministerial agencies and 55 per cent at city and provincial levels used computers, the ministry said. More than 80 per cent of state agencies at ministerial, municipal and provincial levels had internal networks, the ministry reported. About 80 per cent of ministerial agencies and 39 per cent of municipal and provincial agencies used email and many had websites, the ministry said. Many ministerial meetings and others were held online, saving costs and time, it said. Also, a number of Government officials held online discussions with the public on socio-economic issues.

A new version of the Government's e-portal had been opened in October, helping support people's access to information, the ministry said. Last year the Government provided the media with information through online press conferences. Meanwhile, a seminar held by the Ministry of Information and Communications heard a call from businesses for Government policies to help develop the IT labour force. They said the lack of practicability in current policies and development strategy was restraining IT development. Viet Nam had a lower competitive advantage in technological infrastructure, market share and price, but the country could develop its intellectual, design and technological capabilities, they said. Minister of Information and Communication Le Doan Hop said the country must develop hardware and digital services. Hop said the ministry would develop a network plan to provide information on domestic and overseas labour sources.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 12/28/2009

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Ministry Firm on Mobile Deadline

VietNamNet Bridge - The deadline for mobilephone users to declare personal information will remain, according to the Ministry of Information and Communications. Pham Hong Hai, head of the ministry's telecommunications agency, told Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper (The Labourer) that circular letter No 22 stipulates that today (December 31) is the final date for all subscribers to declare their personal information. If they don't, their information will be deleted from the database of mobile networks. Under the new government regulations, a subscriber can own a maximum of three phone numbers on one mobilephone network. The three largest mobile networks, Viettel, Vinaphone and Mobiphone, said it would be difficult to ensure that all pre-paid subscribers complete their registration by the deadline. They have proposed an extension for this work.

More than 60 million SIM cards need to be registered, according to the seven mobile networks in Viet Nam such as to Vinaphone, Mobiphone, Viettel, S-Fone, EVN, Telecom, Vietnamobile and Gtel. In order to speed up the declaration, three of the mobilephone operators launched promotions for prepaid subscribers, such as free minutes worth VND30,000. Service providers set up a network of agents and bureaus aiming to create favourable conditions for subscribers.

However, a large number of prepaid subscribers have not registered. MobiFone network said by December 29, 85 per cent of its subscribers had registered their personal information. Meanwhile, nearly 125,000 out of 45 million subscribers had not registered their information. A large number of activated SIM cards are in circulation, but they are not being used. Lan, an owner of a SIM card shop on Nguyen Khuyen Street in Ha Noi, said yesterday that many customers were buying SIM cards and ignoring the ministry's regulation. Many buyers said they were using the card for one or two days only.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 12/31/2009

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BANGLADESH: Telecommunications Report Q1 2010 - New Report Published

Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL)'s share of the fixed-line market is in decline, as it faces growing competition from rivals, which total 11 operators. The market leader, which has witnessed a decline in fixed-line market shares to reach 54.8% in Q309, which was down from 60.6% in June 2009, compared to 62.9% in Q308, has plans to create a further 10mn new landline connections by 2015. There are also plans to install 1mn new fixed connections across the country at a cost of BDT12bn by the operator, which is to be aided by a Chinese government soft loan valued at US$189mn. The fixed-line market of Bangladesh continues rise, in contrast to many of its regional peers, which have witnessed a decline in their markets. At the end of September 2009, the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) stated there had been more than 158,000 net additions in the quarter, which was up from 50,400 net additions in Q209, to take the total to 1.592mn subscribers. The stronger than anticipated growth led BMI to revise upwards its expectations for the year ended December 2009, which we now believe will reach 1.611mn, to account for a penetration rate of 1.11%. By the end of our five-year forecast in 2014, we expect around 3.298mn lines, to account for a penetration rate of 2.11%. While the fixed-line market is expected to continue to grow over our five-year forecast, there are greater concerns within the telecoms industry over the development of the broadband market. As we cited last quarter, a study by JETRO found Bangladesh to have among the highest charges for broadband services, potentially leading to a loss of foreign investment to neighbouring countries. To resolve this, the government sought to reduce broadband tariffs, while broadband market leader BTCL also dropped its broadband service tariffs. However, this may appear to have been insufficient. The operator announced in November 2009, the introduction of three new tariffs. The operator reported that earlier tariff reductions had gone unnoticed by customers due to a lack of publicity. With these new tariffs, it aims to attract new customers. Commercial WiMAX services were also launched in the quarter by Augere Wireless Broadband. In October 2009, the operator had launched WiMAX services in some designated areas of Dhaka under the brand name of Qubee. Two packages have been offered in the initial phase: 521Kbps at BDT3,400 per month, while the 1MB package has been fixed at BDT6,200. The modem price for both packages is BDT7,000. Although the operator admits its tariffs are by no means cheap and could be lower, it is focusing on quality first. BanglaLion launched WiMAX services in Dhaka in November 2009 and was reported to have placed an order for 10,000 WiMAX customer premises equipment (CPE) units with telecoms equipment vendor Accton.


From http://www.officialwire.com/ 01/13/2010

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Bangladesh to Follow Singapore in ICT

Bangladesh on to follow experiences and practices of Singapore in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to achieve its vision for a digital country by 2021. Singapore has been consistently ranked as one of the top countries in e-Governance and for ease of doing business. Today in Singapore, over 2,000 government services are available online. Drawing on the Singapore example, the Bangladesh government's vision of Digital Bangladesh can be a catalyst to improve service delivery to citizens and business in Bangladesh.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 02/04/2010

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INDIA: Orissa Government Goes Online

The RTI portal developed by the Information and Public Relation (I & PR) Department and the State Information Commission in association with Luminous Infoways, allows the access to different departments and wings of the Government, to file RTI applications and receive the response by logging on to www.rtiorissa.gov.in. As per the Section 4 (1) A of the RTI Act every Government department or organisation would have to make available all information through computer network, display board and maintain registers for public. Every department and their subordinate offices would be linked up in the network through a software christened Lok Soochana and provided with individual IDs and passwords for uploading information. About 600 departments and Government organisations have been linked up with individual IDs. Besides, providing comprehensive information on their organisation and activities, the network would enable each parent department to monitor if their subordinate offices were implementing RTI properly. The I&PR Department being the nodal agency would also be able to monitor the RTI implementation by the other wings of the Government and report to the CIC.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 12/11/2010

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MP Gets 4 E-Governance Awards of South Asia

Madhya Pradesh would get the prestigious e-Governance Manthan Award 2009. Four departments of the state government have been appreciated at the international level. MP has been selected for this award considering the working and quality of e-Governance. Madhya Pradesh has already received NASCOM CNBC IT Award and CSI Nihilent Award for Best e-Governance State. Manthan e-Governance award is given for all round development in e-Governance. The award jury is very much impressed by the use of Information Technology in development works. The jury was so impressed that it has announced Best Jury Award to the Automatic Meter Reading system introduced by the state electricity department. School education department is awarded for its MP State Education Portal, higher education department for its e-Samvad, and for mobile governance in management of forests by the forest department.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 12/14/2009

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Computerisation of Civic Body Records by Urban Development Ministry

The Ministry of Urban Development has developed a project for computerisation of all civic body records to facilitate an efficient e-Governance in municipalities. The main objective of this project is to empower citizens and increasing the efficiency of urban administration. This step would address various problems that the people are facing due to rapid urbanisation. The project seeks to offer a public interface for enhanced service delivery of all records related to municipalities, decentralisation, better information management and transparency. By improving the interaction between local governments, people and other stakeholders, such as Non Government Organisations (NGOs) and Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs), it will try to ensure the involvement of citizens. In the beginning, the scheme would be a part of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) for 35 cities with a population of over 10 lakh. Based on the analysis of its implementation under JNNURM, a new Centrally-sponsored scheme for other cities and towns would be initiated.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 01/11/2010

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E-Government Inaugurated in Sukkur by Sindh Minister

Sindh Minister for Information Technology (IT) inaugurated the e-Government project in Sukkur on January 25, 2010. e-Government was meant for providing basic facilities to the people. The project would ensure transparency and merit in the recruitment of employees in various departments. The project would be launched in 22 districts of Sindh and all the departments will be linked for the convenience of the people. The purpose behind the e-Government was to secure documentation of the data of the district government departments. Such projects would also be initiated at Taluka level. Activities of all the departments would be monitored through the project and data regarding finance, domicile and accounts would be secured as well.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 01/27/2010

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Delhi Gears Up for Digitised Governance

With the 3-Dimensional Geographic Information System (GIS) Mapping of the city now complete, the city is ready for a digital governance ride. Governance in Delhi will be a hi-tech affair from April 2010 as the state government has completed the 3-Dimensional Geographic Information System Mapping of the city. When the system becomes operational, the Government of Delhi will virtually be run by Satellite. Entire Delhi will be displayed on the computer screens of its officers and with a click of button of the mouse; officials can see the status of different works going around the city. The satellite system will be able to take pictures 10 metres under the ground in the city. Top level officers will be able to give instructions to their juniors after watching the display of various works going on around the city on their computer screen.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 02/03/2010

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India to Use the 'Cloud' Services for E-Governance

India is to become the first country in the world to deliver e-Governance services to citizens using cloud-based IT services. The government is in talks with software industry body, Nasscom, on the roll-out of e-Governance services using the emerging technology. The advantage of using this technology is that the IT infrastructure need not be set up by the government. In addition, because of the ability of the technology to handle large number of transactions, citizens can look forward to less congestion bottlenecks.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 02/11/2010

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Nasscom to Focus on E-Governance

The IT industry's apex body, Nasscom, announced that it will further enhance its focus on 'e-Governance' during the year. Its initiatives cover the areas of e-Governance and other mission mode government IT projects at both Central and State Governments. Kicking off the 18th edition of the Nasscom India Leadership Forum, the flagship event of Nasscom, here, it said the domestic sector in the past year has witnessed rapid growth, largely led by government spending on IT. Nasscom has been a keen proponent of e-Governance which has become a top priority for the government.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 02/12/2010

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Ministry Of Communication and IT Signed a One Million USD Agreement with USAID

In the past 8 years Ministry of Communications and IT has achieved huge success; the ministry has served the country with advanced and developed telecom services based on adoption of best policies. Besides these achievements ministry has also built its internal capacity by putting together capable team in the areas of finance, procurement, inspection and reporting. During the past year USAID has conducted an evaluation of Ministry in the above areas and declared that MCIT has enough capacity to receive grant from USAID and perform direct procurement. USAID has given grant of USD 1 million on pilot bases, if MCIT invest this fund in transparent and efficient way in the area of ICT development, USAID will consider expanding the grant value in second phase of Host Country Contracting. Ministry has contracted Grail Consulting for USD 860,000.00 out of USD 1 million for the development of 80 government websites and email system (which will be hosted in the recently established National Data Center y the Ministry of Communications and IT), Electronic Document System (on pilot bases in MCIT) and CIO (Chief Information Officer) training for the IT heads of 30 government organizations.


From http://www.mcit.gov.af/ 01/24/2010

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ARMENIA: Introduce E-governance in 2012

The electronic governance will be introduced in Armenia in January 2012. According to the press office of the Secretary of National Security Council, an inter-agency working group will elaborate a concept of introduction of e-governance within a three-year Armenia-EU program by September 2010. As secretary of the National Security Council Arthur Baghdasaryan told today's meeting of the working group, new governance system must include not only public authorities and municipalities, but also create an opportunity for businesses to communicate with state bodies via e-mail. According to him, a new governance system will reduce corruption risks and eliminate the red tape. Elaboration and implementation of the concept will be carried out accordingly with legislative changes.


From Today.Az 02/04/2010

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AZERBAIJAN: Aiming for Mobile Number Portability Later This Year

Azerbaijan's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has confirmed that it is working on plans for Mobile Number Portability to be offered later this year. Minister Ali Abbasov told a meeting at the Ministry that the plans have been submitted to the Cabinet for approval. "However, there is one issue outstanding: mobile operators and stationary communication operators have to reach agreement. We will try to implement this service this year," Abbasov told the local News Agency. He also confirmed that Azercell Telecom may be granted a 3G license this year. "Azercell is the first candidate to apply for a 3G licence," he added, although local media reported last year that Azerfon had already been granted a 3G license. The licence fee is AZN 11,000 (US$13,700). The Mobile World database notes that there are three GSM operators, along with one CDMA operator in the country. At the end of Q3 '09, there were just over 8.1 million subscribers in the country - representing a population penetration level of 78%.


From News.az 01/25/2010

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KYRGYZSTAN: Software Used to Aid Economic Reform

The government of the Kyrgyz Republic is implementing an integrated Treasury Management Information System (TMIS) and Human Resource Management Information System (HRMIS) as part of the former Soviet country's push for economic reform. The TMIS is designed to improve the efficiency of government, decision-making, cash management and budget execution. The system will help ensure that all government budgets are executed according to government priorities. The HRMIS was implemented to aid civil service reform and increase human capacity within government. Effective human resource management systems will assist in the improved professionalisation of the civil service through setting standards, training programs for personnel development and assessing progress. "The Government of the Kyrgyz Republic is committed to public expenditure reform that will establish a more strategic and transparent budget formulation and budget execution process," said Saidbek Zulpuev, Director of the Central Treasury and Deputy Minister of Finance of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic.

"The introduction of integrated planning solutions as part of the reform process positions our Government to affect change and provide new levels of accountability and value to our citizens." The new technology, branded the FreeBalance Accountability Suite, will be implemented in over 100 sites, including all central government ministries, agencies, departments, and regional treasury offices. Software will also be implemented in 3000 state agencies and budget organisations. The payroll system will handle a civil service workforce of 76,000 employees. The reform of the Kyrgyz Republic's public sector has been supported by a Governance Structural Adjustment Credit from the World Bank's International Development Association.


From http://www.futuregov.net/ 01/04/2010

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UZBEKISTAN: Officials Learn Ensuring Information Security

Deputies and assistants of governors of Tashkent city, Tashkent region, Jizzakh region and Syrdarya region participated at the educational seminar in Tashkent on 3 February 2010. The seminar is aimed at improving skills and knowledge of local officials in political, social and economic spheres, their responsibility to implement priority tasks on reforming and liberalization of economy. During the seminar, the officials also discussed issues of information tools in management and ensuring national security in informatization process. The seminar underlined that Uzbekistan pays great attention to ensuring information security in state level. Participants reviewed issues of threat classification at construction of information security organization, selection of anti-virus solutions, combating cyber crimes and others. The similar educational seminars are organized in other regions of Uzbekistan.


From http://www.uzdaily.com/ 02/04/2010

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AUSTRALIA: Digital Projects to Improve Services in Regional Communities

The Prime Minister today announced a $26.5 million investment in the first seven Digital Regions projects that will deliver more connected health, education and emergency services in regional, rural and remote communities across Australia. The Prime Minister made the announcement at the Realizing our Broadband Future Forum held at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. The Digital Regions Initiative is about making sure that regional, rural and remote communities benefit from broadband and digital technologies and are not left behind.

* Ambulance Mobile Connect in South Australia will provide vehicles with mobile computing terminals connected via a high speed mobile network ($2.3 million).
* Health e-Towns in the Northern Territory will deliver ICT enabled health, education and training services for 17 remote towns ($7 million).
* Bushfire Spotting and Response technologies in North East Victoria will use remote cameras, telemetry and video conferencing to enhance fire detection, management and response capability ($500,000).
* Chronic Disease Management systems in the Hunter New England region in NSW will increase coverage of facility based telehealth services ($5 million).
* Bushfire prediction technology project In Western Australia will provide communities with bushfire alerts and access to simulation maps ($2.8 million).
* Connected - Any Student, Any School project in Tasmania will deliver practical, hands on global e-learning programs to schools ($4.9 million).
* The CDM-Net health project in Bar won, Victoria and Queensland, will assist in developing and managing a chronic disease care plan for patients ($4 million).

The $60 million Digital Regions Initiative co-funds projects in partnership with state, territory and local governments. It was announced in the 2009-10 Budget as part of the Government's response to the Regional Telecommunications Review (RTR), which was chaired by Dr Bill Glasson AO. The two-day, Realizing our Broadband Future Forum has been held to plan for Australia's digital future and identify ways to maximize the potential benefits from a high speed National Broadband Network. The Forum brings together hundreds of broadband and digital experts, and business and community leaders. Forum participants and the general public can contribute to the discussion via twitter and collaboratively edit the map of our next steps. Plenary sessions of the forum will be web cast live, with audio streaming of other sessions.


From http://www.minister.dbcde.gov.au/ 12/10/2009

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Australian Govt Centralises ICT Procurement

All information communications and technology products and services will be centrally procured by the end of this financial year, the Australian government has announced. According to Lindsay Tanner, Minister for Finance and Deregulation, each agency currently makes its own ICT purchases. However, "recent scoping studies have shown that greater coordination in the purchasing of these goods and services has the potential to achieve significant savings and efficiencies," said Tanner. The government estimated a five to 15 per cent cost reduction per year could be retained by each agency, Tim Naughtin from the Office of Lindsay Tanner told FutureGov. In the first half of 2010, the government will start off with the centralised purchase of desktop computing equipment, telecommunications invoice reconciliation services and internet-based network connections.

"We identified opportunities for savings through aggregating and standardising agencies' desktop computing requirements. Their requirements will be aggregated centrally on a regular basis. And a panel of hardware suppliers will be established," Naughtin added. In the next financial year 2010/2011, the government has plans for a government-wide contract for telecommunication management services and devices, such as mobile phone handsets. In the meantime, any agency with immediate requirements to purchase desktop computing equipment can piggyback the Department of Defence's request for tender which was recently announced.


From http://www.futuregov.net/ 12/18/2009

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Govt Says E-Health Will Deliver a Safer System

THE federal government says its proposed e-health system will improve patient safety and free up GPs. The system, currently under design, will see patient records stored in one national database that can be accessed by different health professionals. The government hopes to see the opt-out system up and running in ten years, and says more than $1 million has been put on the table to get it started. Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon says it will cut the time GPs spend pulling up patients health records during visits. She insists the system will be secure and won't affect strict patient privacy laws. "This doesn't change the existing laws of when it's appropriate for an individual have their records...accessed," she told reporters in Canberra.

States, territories and health professionals will also have to invest in technologies to allow them to link in to the system. Former Australian Medical Association boss Mukesh Haikerwal says it will enhance current medical practices. "This is the way healthcare should be delivered in the future, safer, more effective and more efficient," Dr Haikerwal told reporters in Canberra. The government will introduce legislation to get the system started into parliament during the first half of the year.


From http://www.theaustralian.com.au/ 01/18/2010

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Australian Government Integrates E-Health Systems

Tasmania's Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has released a request for tender for the implementation and support of a system to pull together data from various legacy systems into one electronic health record. The contract will be for five years, and will commence from July 2010 and last until the end of June 2015. Tasmania's hospitals and health professionals have been running multiple systems for different requirements, such as iSoft's iPatient Manager and Homer for patient administration, as well as iSoft's EDIS system for the emergency departments. The idea was to have a single view of Tasmanian patients. Integration, ease of navigation and user interface were key for the tender. The finished product will serve as a foundation for the three areas of health services, statewide and mental health services, Tasmanian Ambulance Service and other business units within DHHS.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 02/08/2010

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E-Health Bill Introduced to Parliament

The Federal Government has introduced a bill to Parliament will allow every Australian to be issued with electronic identification. If passed, the bill will see unique 16 digit numbers created for individuals and health care providers by the middle of this year. The Individual Healthcare Identifier (IHI) is a step towards an e-health system that will eventually give citizens comprehensive electronic health records that can be used by multiple healthcare providers. Last year, the National Health and Hospital Reforms Commission (NHHRC) also recommended that the e-health system allow individuals to determine which practitioners their information can be shared with, and how their records will be stored, backed-up and retrieved. "The government is currently undertaking the most important overhaul of our health system since the introduction of Medicare 25 years ago," said Nicola Roxon, Minister for Health and Ageing.

"This bill establishes the healthcare identifiers, without which there cannot be an integrated, consistent, e-health system in Australia." Roxon said that safeguards would be put in place so that minimal demographic information would be collected and no clinical information would be held by the service operator. Only authorised healthcare providers would be able to access the records of their existing patients, and independent regulators would manage a "robust complaints handling framework", she said. According to the bill, minor amendments would be made to the Privacy Act to ensure that the Federal Privacy Commissioner can act against any individual or company that misuses an individual's healthcare identifier.


From http://www.itnews.com.au/ 02/12/2010

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NEW ZEALAND: Government 'Asking for a Disaster' on Broadband

Australasian telecommunications specialist Paul Budde laid into New Zealand's $1.5 billion plan for ultra-fast broadband yesterday, saying he didn't see how anybody could respond to a tender to take part in the project. Budde says he has grave doubts about the outcome of the initiative due to a lack of information about the shape of the network, applications and the regulatory environment. Budde, speaking at a Wellington roundtable, says anybody looking to invest needs to know what the end result will be. If it that is just to provide internet services to the home, there is no business model for investors. They also need to understand Telecom's role, if any. "Steven Joyce talks about the national interest, but he needs to fill in the gaps," says Budde. He says potential investors need to know who will be participating and to understand the regulatory environment in which new local fibre companies will operate. At the time tenders were called for, none of this information was available.

"The tenders can't be accurate if half the ingredients are missing," he says. Budde is also critical of the local fibre company structure. He says telecommunications is about scale, and the proposed 33 local fibre companies will not be large enough to deliver affordable services. "It's totally ridiculous. It's not going to work. You are asking for a disaster," he says. He says in Australia, Telstra is now becoming enlightened about the government's broadband objectives. Telecom could respond positively as well, but there's not enough detail on the table for the company to embrace the plan. The business case for investors, he says, will be built around trans-sector applications in health, education and electricity, such as electricity smart grids, not entertainment services, which are becoming commoditised, and not home internet services on their own. Budde was also concerned at what he sees as a disjointed approach to the UFB proposal, delivering a "suburban" network to 75 percent pf the population and coming back later for the other 25 percent. In contrast, Australia's plan is for fibre broadband or equivalent to the entire population.

He says New Zealand's rural areas are some of the richest in the world and he wouldn't be surprised if farmers take to the streets to protest. Budde says a national plan is required, with a national design and standards. "Now is the time for a national plan," Budde says. "If you separate rural and urban areas it becomes a hell of a job to finish." The government has boosted its commitment to rural broadband since its original announcement with a levy on providers of $300 million to be used for rural network investment.


From http://computerworld.co.nz/ 12/02/2009

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NZ Local Govt Boosts Communications

The city of Porirua, immediately adjacent to the New Zealand capital Wellington, is home to more than 50,000 residents and 3136 businesses. The city is managed by Porirua City Council (PCC), which is responsible for all the local affairs in relation to the well-being and development of the community. As the Council's Manager of Information Systems, Peter van der Burg highlights to FutureGov that limited budget with strict budget constraints is a big challenge they have to overcome to deliver good customer service. In addition, Porirua is ethnically very diverse, with residents belonging to European, Pacific, Maori, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and African groups. "We face different expectations from citizens, which are often related to ethnicity," van der Burg, who manages the information systems at the Council as well as leading specialists which develop and maintain these systems, says. "However they all demand very high standards for services and expect them to be available 24 by seven." To meet these challenges, organisational changes have been planned and executed. A roadmap was created and rolled out for investments aimed at creating new platform base, which is used to extend and enhance core applications helping improve citizen service delivery.

For example, communications portals will be integrated into the web site, and further investment in mobile technology is now made possible with enhanced core infrastructure which can support good performance in mobility. PCC's web site has been enhanced and redesigned, which now offers GIS, online events calendar, request for service, career opportunities, emergency management notifications, sport field status as well as water disruption notifications. Online library catalogue is also available through the portal, which offers reservations, renewals, remind emails and text messages. In addition, an 'A-Z services' page allows residents to quickly search and locate what they want from the hundreds of services that the council provides. A call centre is now available 24x7, while kiosks are available for citizen to check land and property rating information as well as property records, which are now all digitally stalled. The specific information available through kiosks, which come from the council's Electronic Document Management System, offers greater detail than the internet accessible database.

Van der Burg says the result of the changes have been obvious over the last year. "They have resulted in a 2 per cent rise in customer satisfaction last year after many years of static satisfaction," he says. Ranging from asset maintenance crews to dog rangers, to staff who telecommute, the council has more than 30 per cent of its employees who are constant mobile workers. A variety of technologies, including radio and mobile phone, keep them connected with each other as well as with the council. Smart phones have been successfully introduced for dog rangers, who can now access greater detail on their job allocation through email or calendar appointments. And after-office-hour job details are sent directly to them so that they don't have to go through the office to attend to the job.

The council has a System Support specialist stationed in the South Island, 150 kilometres away from Porirua which is located in the North Island. She is now able to support her colleagues through the unified communications platform. "The technology we've given her helps her to be productive when and where she likes, such as in airport lounges," van der Burg says, adding that a modification of the UC system is being rolled out to very small offices dotted around the city such as suburban libraries. The modified system would allow staff members working in these offices have full access to the council network resources and communications channels. In order to better enhance the communication capabilities between the staff, the Council recently overhauled its existing Nortel voice network to provide coverage to additional sites including the newly established Arena and Events Centre - Te Rauparaha Arena.

Inside the council's network, voice traffic is prioritised through VLANs; and a single mode Gigabit fibre optic connection has extended to all council office locations within the CBD. New servers are deployed and virtualised to gain electrical efficiency. "We maximise the value of our infrastructure through effective maintenance of the assets, and extending out its productive life," says van der Burg. "We use our servers for as long as possible rather than replace on a strict three year cycle." When a server needs to be retired, it is sent to recyclers for stripping down to bare metal and recycled. The council also keeps the PCs - it has around 350 now - as long as they can 'still operate well within the acceptable price/performance envelope'. Older PCs are pushed to perform less demanding tasks such as kiosks. And when they have to retire from the organisation, they are donated to community groups to be deployed as home PCs, as part of the household PC recycling programme happening in the Wellington region.

Another area, which van der Burg believes the council has been very innovative, is the recycling of packaging - cardboards and plastic/polystyrene. Not only are they separated based on different materials, the council uses a polystyrene recycler to create under-floor insulation from the material, which would otherwise be dumped.


From http://www.futuregov.net/ 12/14/2009

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AFRICA: Kenya E-Commerce a Welcome Boost for the Economy

For decades - long before mobile phones became the byword of Kenya's ICT success and fibre optic technology was unheard of in the country - Kenyans have waited anxiously for a day when e-commerce would become a reality. For what has felt like eons, potential e-entrepreneurs have lamented over the lack of appropriate legal framework and innovations to usher in e-commerce into the virtual economy. Worse still, business people have continuously missed out on billions of shillings worth of business deals in the global market because of the inability to accept online payments as Kenya grappled with obstacles to the growth of e-commerce.

But this wait seems to be edging to a halt at least following Tuesday's landmark development that saw I&M Bank and the global financial services provider Visa Card ink a deal that allows consumers to buy goods from the internet in local currency using credit and debit cards. This shift, the first in the East African region has pushed Kenya right into the centre of the world of electronic e-commerce, a buzz word in the global economy especially in the developed World. This big leap will potentially offer potential Kenyan e-commerce merchants, like airline, tour and travel companies hotels, utility service providers the opportunity to expand their sales online globally with significant reduction in transaction is significant.

It effectively relieves recipients of online payment of the trouble of engaging offshore electronic gateways to receive money, whose use has remained a costly affair for both businesses and individuals. The development by the two institutions should be a wake up call to other players who should also consider venturing into such initiatives in order to push costs to customer further down and also ensure better services as they fight for a slice of the market share. For years, local financial institutions have been reluctant to establish electronic payment gateways, curbing the growth of e-commerce in the country and thus giving Kenya the distinction of having one of the lowest levels of electronic transactions in the World. But even as the ink dries on the agreement between I&M Bank and Visa Card, Kenyan business, regulators and other players can ill afford to rest on its laurels. This is an opportunity to also examine other factors that are critical to the industry's success. E-commerce is driven by two key pillars - reliable payment systems and extensive delivery channels.

This means as the country watches the uptake of the new service among its increasingly tech savvy population, key industry players need to start implementing an effective mapping system that will enable the door to door deliveries that are so key to e-commerce's success. The financial and retail industries also need to consider how they can adopt and enable electronic signatures in order to enhance e-commerce activities. As a whole, the industry also needs to create more awareness about the value of e-commerce to stakeholders. Enticing more of the population to embrace electronic commerce for their benefit and the economy should also form the next item on the agenda for e-trade proponents. And given the country's rapid adoption on new mobile technologies, m-commerce needs to become a reality through the development of mobile enabled trade websites.

The foundations of Kenya's e-commerce are already founded in the Kenya Communications (Amendment) Act passed in Parliament over a year ago. Among other things, the Act allows businesses to participate in e-commerce, execute electronic signatures, and recognises the use of electronic communication as an official means of conveyance between companies and their shareholders. Simply put, the Act paved the way for an e-commerce revolution, providing a regulatory framework for the ICT sector removing a great impediment that had dogged investment in the ICT sector thereby putting Kenya at a disadvantage in an increasingly competitive world. The time to act, it would appear, is now.


From http://allafrica.com/ 01/21/2010

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ASIA: More SMEs Plan to Set Up Online Transaction Sites

A survey by money transfer e-commerce company PayPal showed on Thursday that two-thirds of e-commerce sites by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were launched in the last two years. In the next 12 months, a further 36 per cent of firms were expected to follow suit. The survey polled about 1,500 SMEs from India, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. PayPal said this shows a growing trend of companies using the online space to expand their customer base and benefit from low overheads and costs. Online watch retailer Gnomon Watches was set up about seven years ago. It is just one of many start-ups that thought that the online space represented good growth potential. Indeed, for Gnomon Watches, its business has grown 20 per cent annually since its inception. The watch retailer also receives some 80 per cent of its business from online sales. The firm said in the past few years, the attitude towards selling quality items online has shifted.

Anders Tan, director of Gnomon Watches, said: "A lot of watch brands, watch companies are all going online. If you look at it five years back, they were not into this online thing, it's like a taboo. If you start selling their watches online, they are not too supportive of the idea. "But now, a lot of watch companies are going online, doing a lot of online marketing and online sales because customers are very Internet savvy. I think the online model is the first step to getting new customers and old customers to buy again." PayPal said for smaller companies, going online is becoming a common business strategy to boost global customer base. In fact, some 88 per cent of companies surveyed used e-commerce sites for online orders. Mario Shilashki, managing director & general manager, SE Asia & India, PayPal, said: "90 per cent or so look to e-commerce to grow, but only a third of their turnover is actually coming from e-commerce. So I think there is a significant opportunity for SMEs in Singapore to take their websites and make them transactional... e-commerce for Singapore is potentially a huge avenue for growth, compared to the rest of the region." However, for many SMEs in Asia, a lack of capability and appropriate sources of information to launch a cyber arm remain as a key challenge. (by Rachel Kelly)


From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 11/26/2009

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Asia IT Spend to Increase in 2010

Asia will see growth in IT spend next year as the market continues to rebound, according to Springboard Research, which adds that the region is emerging from the economic downturn much quicker than its Western economies. In a report released Monday, the research firm said IT expenditure in Asia will increase 8.8 percent in 2010, compared to 6.4 percent this year. Asian markets were not affected by the recession as badly as other economies, due to the continued growth of China, India and other markets, said Springboard. IT products and services providers can expect 2010 sales to improve over 2009, the analyst added. However, despite the general optimistic outlook, market players will face challenges as buyers remain cautious and "increasingly skeptical" of vendors. The Springboard report noted that organizations are expected to continue focusing on extracting greater value from existing IT investments, rather than on spending significant, new capital expenditure. They will also continue to look at reducing operational expenditure from both business and IT perspectives. Springboard included data center transformations, IT manageability advancements and virtualization investments, as some of the ways organizations will be looking to reduce "traditionally high and stubborn costs".

The report also outlined 10 predictions that the research firm said will shape enterprise IT in the Asia-Pacific region next year:
1. Analytics, or more broadly the evolution toward "intelligent solutions", emerges as a key driver of new business value.
2. Convergence of computing platforms accelerates.
3. Cloud computing momentum increases dramatically.
4. Virtualization will play an increasingly critical role on the desktop.
5. Mobile devices and applications are crucial for overcoming the digital divide in emerging markets.
6. Collaboration continues to shine as organizations leverage initiatives put in place during the economic crisis.
7. A wave of innovative new payment technologies emerge.
8. Online developer platforms and communities will become the new ecosystem battleground and epicenter of application innovation.
9. Social networking will be as accessible and commercialized as the Internet itself.
10. IT abstraction forces CIOs to change or fall by the wayside. (by Liau Yun Qing)


From http://www.zdnetasia.com/ 12/21/2009

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IT Services Market in AP to Hit US$48.7B

The Asia-Pacific IT services market will rebound to its growth trajectory to reach US$48.7 billion in 2010, notes IDC in a report Wednesday. The research house said recovery will see a rise of 9.3 percent, over 6.5 percent in 2009. This growth will be driven by continued demand for outsourcing as hosted and managed services gain prominence in the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan. According to the research firm, cost management will still be the top concern for most organizations. However, as cautious optimism returns to the market, selective investments will be made to take advantage of the potential recovery in 2010.

Philip Carter, Asia-Pacific associate research director for IT services at IDC, noted in the report that the financial turmoil in 2009 forced CIOs in the region to evaluate new service and delivery pricing models. The key focus was to "de-capitalize" IT in the face of significant budget constraints. "As a result, the financial model of the cloud and 'everything-as-a-service' became more attractive. This has set the scene perfectly for the locus of power to shift from traditional enterprise hardware and software vendors to the services players, particularly in cloud services, in 2010," explained Carter. He added that organizations that can successfully integrate these new models into existing technology architectures, and vendors that can develop mindshare with CIOs, will be best placed to "ride the recovery wave" in 2010.

Top 10 IDC predictions for the region's IT services sector in 2010:
1. Locus of power will move from the enterprise customer to the provider of services. Private clouds will become increasingly important to enterprises in 2010, and there will be fundamental changes within information, communications and technology (ICT) in the next three years as users consistently adopt externally sourced services.
2. "Chargeback" will "charge back" onto the CIO agenda. According to IDC, the IT world has been considering a capital expenditure (CAPEX) to operating expense (OPEX) migration even before the economic crisis. In 2010, there will be more emphasis on the need to justify the "business value" of IT infrastructure demands.
3. Services "productization" to move up the value chain. Service providers will look to adopt a template-based model for consulting services related to business transformation, compliance, governance and risk management.
4. System integration 3.0: New models = New services. IDC predicts that the adoption of cloud solutions, hosted delivery models and data center transformation will drive the need for a new system integration engagement model.
5. Emergence of Intelligent X: The services opportunity. Driven by a mix of government stimulus packages focused on e-governance initiatives and environment sustainability, where carbon footprint and intelligent infrastructure implementations will be the next big wave for public-private investment in 2010 and beyond.
6. Business process outsourcing (BPO) versus knowledge process outsourcing (KPO). Drivers for divestiture of captive BPOs are the lack of growth opportunities, need for a cash flow influx, focus of management on strategic and core activities. KPO will still be retained by the parent as organizations continue to be wary of outsourcing intellectual property.
7. Business analytics and pricing innovation will collide in the KPO market. IDC predicts that analytics will be incorporated into broader KPO engagements to lower costs, which will include a significantly higher proportion of business outcomes-based type of model.
8. The "Mobius strip" of business continuity will enter the boardroom. Business continuity and disaster recovery will become an integral part of the business strategy planning because of security concerns and business risk mitigation.
9. Connectivity and convergence: Growth in next-generation network services. Flexibility, customization of services, enhanced quality of service and reliability will drive the transformation toward next-generation "all-IP"-based networks.
10. Infrastructure vendors will make the most of the setting Sun.Infrastructure vendors will capitalize on Sun's decline in the market by building competitive strategies such as channel recruitment and target multi-vendor environments.


From http://www.zdnetasia.com/ 01/20/2010

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EUROPE: Denmark Helps Businesses With National E-Invoicing System

A national electronic invoicing infrastructure has eased government-to-business and business-to-business transactions in Denmark. Catherine Lippert, Acting Deputy Head, Division for IT Infrastructure & Implementation, National IT & Telecom Agency (NITA) spoke to FutureGov about the drivers for the project and the agency's plans to migrate the system into the cloud. It is mandatory by law for businesses to submit an electronic invoice when supplying goods or services to the Danish government. This regulation creates a barrier to the 300,000 small and medium size enterprises which are mostly relying on paper-based invoicing. "Most of the existing solutions for e-invoicing have been too complex and costly to be viable alternatives for smaller businesses," explained Lippert. As for the remaining 200,000 businesses which could afford digitising the invoicing process, there was still inefficiency. Most corporations use stand-alone invoicing applications or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems which could not interact directly with the systems of other companies. In order to facilitate business with the government and among the industry, the NITA deployed a national e-invoicing service, called 'NemHandel'. It allows businesses to send standardised e-invoices through the internet. Based on open and common standards, NemHandel also allows businesses to send e-invoices which were generated in their internal ERP or invoicing systems.

By December last year (2009), approximately 66,000 Danish companies had used NemHandel, which accounts for more than 20 per cent of all companies. On average, the system registers 4000 new users per month. According to Lippert, NITA has seen growth in the number of users integrating NemHandel into their internal systems, using it for business-to-business transactions as well. "We are very pleased to see this trend. NemHandel is allowing true interoperability among businesses in the country," she added. NITA estimates that the project will save businesses about EUR 591 million (US$849 million) per year from reduced invoicing costs. The public sector expects to save EUR 10 million (US$15 million) annually. Savings come from ceasing payment for the use of proprietary networks and subsidies which government uses to give to smaller businesses to scan paper invoices. For the next step, NITA is working to migrate all NemHandel infrastructure components to the cloud. The migration progress is expected to be completed in the beginning of March this year. (by Kelly Ng)


From http://www.futuregov.net/ 01/13/2010

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Russian IT Market Is Expected to Start to Recover In 2010

The Russian IT market is expected to start to recover in 2010 from a steep contraction in 2009. The Russian market was buffeted by strong economic headwinds, with conditions continuing to worsen in the first half of 2009. A contraction in PC sales in H109 continued the negative trend of Q408, with leading economic indicator data showing little sign of improvement through Q309. Looking forward, Russia is still on course to emerge as one of the largest IT markets in Europe, even if this is at a slower rate than previously expected. In 2010, the Russian IT market is forecast to recover to US$15.9bn, up 12% on 2009, but still short of the 2008 pre-crisis level. While purchasing power remains relatively low in the consumer sector, the low level of computer penetration should mean organic growth opportunities for vendors. Growing computer penetration, government ICT projects and immense potential for IT spending by Russia's traditional industries could drive an increase in IT spending per capita from around US$113 to US$185 over the 2010-2014 period.

Industry Developments
The Russian government has suggested that it will consider new measures if necessary to drive Russian government bodies to achieve key e-government targets. In a strongly worded speech in August 2009, President Dmitry Medvedev said that progress on e-government projects had been 'a disgrace' and threatened to introduce financial penalties for government bodies that failed to meet targets. The Russian president pointed to a number of projects where 'no real progress' had been made. These included: The development of the inter-agency electronic document management system; Setting up a fully fledged online public procurement system; Establishing a unified system of state registration of the results of scientific research and experiment and design work. The president's address echoed similar remarks made in May 2009 by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who also called for urgent drafting of a new e-government programme for the period up to 2015. Meanwhile, in a meeting with the Russian Free and Open Source Software (RFOSS) industry sector in February 2009, Ministry of Communications chief Igor Schegolev called for Russia to strengthen its capabilities in this area. The Minister was cautious, however, about the prospects for an exclusively 'Russian' operating system.

Competitive Landscape
Acer brand Packard Bell said that it plans to achieve a 10% share of the Russian notebook segment by 2012, from just 1.5% currently. The notebook market share target for 2010 is 5%. Packard Bell is expected to invest heavily in brand promotion in Russia in order to achieve its goal. Acer's total notebook market share is estimated at around 30%. In November 2009, Microsoft said that it was considering launching its own retail presence in Russian in 2010. The outlets would be opened in Russia's largest cities and would be used more for brand development rather than as a new sales channel. Microsoft hoped that sales of its Windows 7 operating system, launched in October 2009, would boost local sales. Fellow US IT giant HP admitted that it had been hit hard by the Russian market contraction in 2009. The firm said that it expected 2009 annual output decline to be about 40% in Russia. However, HP said that it had outperformed the Russian IT market in the second quarter and that it expected to restore revenues to pre-crisis levels by 2011.

Hardware
We forecast a return to growth for the Russian computer hardware market in 2010, following a sharp contraction in PC sales in 2009. The PC market was forecast to contract 20% in dollar terms in 2009. According to our projections, the computer hardware market is forecast to recover to US$8.7bn in 2010, up from US$7.5bn the previous year but still short of 2008 levels. Despite the adverse economic situation, future hardware spending will have support from a number of fundamental drivers including low PC penetration, rising incomes, government IT initiatives and industrial reform in many sectors. PC market compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the next five years is projected to be in the region of 11%, with spending reaching about US$10.8bn by 2014.

Software
The domestic software market is projected at around US$3.2bn in 2010. Spending on software is therefore forecast to return to positive growth territory, after demand was hit in 2009 by the much sharper decline in PC sales. Going forward, the market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 14% to US$5.4bn by 2014, making Russia potentially one of the most significant global software market opportunities. The domestic software market is forecast at around US$3.1bn in 2009. Although Russia has the fifth highest software piracy rate in the world (87%), we expect that government efforts to strengthen IP protection will see this fall closer to average Eastern European levels, boosting the market. There are, unsurprisingly, regional disparities, with Moscow some way ahead of its closest rival St Petersburg in terms of enterprise resource planning (ERP) deployments.

Services
We project an IT services market value of US$4.1bn in 2010, which will see some recovery from 2009 when the market experienced a sharp contraction. The IT services opportunity is forecast to grow to around US$7.0bn by 2014, as the IT market gradually recovers from recent external shocks. The broader use of ICT in government and other sectors will ensure an upward market trajectory in the medium term. Systems integration is the largest IT services component, with as much as one-third of segment revenues and, together with implementation of hardware and software, probably account for about half of all IT services. However, more value-added services such as consulting and applications development are growing fast. Outsourcing is also on the rise, although below the levels in some other Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries.

E-Readiness
The government's ambitious policy is that every locality in Russia should be provided with fixed-line telephony infrastructure, mobile phone coverage and internet by 2015. According to the Ministry of IT and Communications (MITC)'s target, every populated area in the country should be provided irrespective of its economic 'weight' and 'population'. IT and Communications Minister Reiman has described the 'digital divide' as a very challenging issue for all CIS countries and one that the Russian government was seeking to overcome. Internet usage is forecast to see robust growth over the remainder of our forecast period. However, the current tight credit markets are limiting the ease with which broadband operators are able to source muchneeded funds to invest in broadband network proliferation. Coupled with the economic uncertainty, this is creating a troublesome environment for operators to plan their investment decisions. That said, growth will still be strong, it will just not meet its full potential. Competition between the incumbent's holdings and alternative operators such as Comstar-UTS, Golden Telecom and Net By Net will continue to drive the sector forward. Continued expansion of networks, both fixed and wireless, should see penetration increasing in the regions, while uptake remains strong in the more urbanised areas. Alternative technologies such as WiMAX and fibre will also play their part in expanding the market, by introducing competition as well as offering services over a wider area.


From http://www.officialwire.com/ 02/18/2010

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Mobile Voice Revenue to Decline from 2011

Mobile voice service revenues are on a trajectory to reach their peak in 2010, after which they are likely to start declining, according to the latest forecasts from ABI Research. Vice-president for forecasting Jake Saunders comments: "Mobile voice has had a meteoric rise since digital cellular networks such as GSM were deployed in 1992. "ABI Research forecasts annual mobile voice revenues to reach $580 billion in 2010. From 2011 on, rising subscriber saturation will increasingly erode mobile voice revenues, not just in developed markets but also in a number of emerging markets. By 2014, mobile voice revenues will have contracted by 9.6 percent."

While mobile operators have received a substantial boost from value-added services such as messaging and Mobile Internet, competition is squeezing margins for a variety of services and carriers.

Total mobile data services should generate $169 million in 2009 and will grow at a CAGR of 9 percent until 2014. By the end of 2009 the declines in annual average revenue per user (ARPU) will have been felt most severely in Asia-Pacific (-8.7 percent to $105) and Africa (-7.8 percent to $134).

ARPU in 2009 in North America will have contracted, but only by -0.6 percent to $526). Mobile Internet revenue ($52) from use of smartphones, netbooks, etc. will help to prop up overall service revenue for the region. Wireless capital expenditure, on the other hand, shrank 5 percent in 2009 to $132.5 billion.

The global recession was widely felt in all parts of the world. Saunders notes: "As handset sales plummeted in 4Q-2009, end-users did not return their handsets nor did they put their handsets aside and refuse to use them. They did, however, try to cap tariff plan usage. Carriers therefore held up a number of CAPEX-related projects to free up some cashflow." As the economy has stabilized in the second half of 2009, carriers have started to resume capital expenditure. Key areas of spending are core network and radio access network upgrades to support higher data throughput. (by Lexton Snol)


From http://www.networkworld.com/ 11/23/2009

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IT Leaders Demonstrate Business Leadership Through Tech Innovation

IT departments are beginning to show business leaders howtechnology can power business innovation, according to aCapgemini studyof 490 CIOs from companies based in 14 countries. More than half of the companies in the study said IT is key to business innovation. IT departments need to develop better links with the business to share innovation. This means holding forums with business users to present the latest technologies and their potential use. "Developments such as Web 2.0, social networks, RFID, internet mobile and search engines are strong sources of innovation for most companies. Thus CIOs are at the heart of the company innovations as innovation will often be technology-driven. Business managers need to be aware of the potential that new technologies carry in terms of innovation and value creation. On the other hand, CIOs can and must contribute to the identification of added-value use of this potential," Capgemini said. The research found that almost half of IT teams had organised visits to other companies to demonstrate the value of new technologies to business users.


From http://www.computerweekly.com/ 12/04/2009

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Hardware Spend to Hit $2.5bn by 2013

A report by research firm IDC has projected hardware spending to grow by 39.23% to about $2.5bn (Dhs9.2bn) in 2013 from $1.8bn in 2009, Gulf News has reported. Of the estimated total PC sales of 1.76 million in 2009, notebook sales are expected to be 1.22 million followed by desktops at 269,825 and netbooks at 265,640 units, the report said.


From http://www.ameinfo.com/ 12/13/2009

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Global Mobile Market Out of Recession

Communications Minister Eamon Ryan has appointed Alex Chisholm as the new chairperson of ComReg. From 1 February Chisholm will replace John Doherty, who has held the position for the past two years. Doherty recently took up the position of chairperson of the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC). Chisholm's appointment is in keeping with the practice of rotating the Chair of ComReg.

Some 324 million mobile phones were shipped globally during the fourth quarter of 2009, a rise of 10 percent on last year's tally, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. This was the handset market's first quarter of positive growth since the third quarter of 2008, and signals an end to the industry's year-long recession. Market leader Nokia had a solid quarter, shipping an impressive 126.9 million handsets worldwide, up 12 percent from 113.1 million units in the year-earlier quarter. As mentioned in its financial results on Thursday, Nokia's good quarter came as a result of growth in its smartphone segment. Samsung continued its good form, shipping 69 million handsets, 31 percent growth on the same quarter in 2008. In third place, LG shipped an all-time high of 33.9 million handsets during the quarter, up 32 percent. Sony Ericsson and Motorola both had poor quarters, shipping just 14.6 million and 12 million handsets, respectively.

Business software firm CA has posted a profit for the quarter to end of December of USD257 million, or USD0.49 a share, up from USD208 million, or USD0.40 a share, a year earlier. Revenue increased by 8.3 percent to USD1.13 billion. Thomson Reuters analysts expected per-share earnings of USD0.42 on revenue of USD1.1 billion. CA also announced the appointment of a new CEO. Chairman William McCracken will take up the role, succeeding John Swainson, who retired in September. E-tailer Amazon had quite the fourth quarter, with net profit jumping a massive 71 percent to USD384 million, or USD0.85 per share, from USD225 million, or USD0.52 per share, a year earlier. The figure soared past Thomson Reuters analysts' estimates of USD0.72 per share. Revenue increased by 42 percent to USD9.52 billion, higher than the USD9.04 billion expected by Wall Street and also significantly higher than the USD9.13 billion that was at the high end of Amazon's own forecast.

In more news of results German chipmaker Infineon recorded fiscal first-quarter net profit of EUR66 million, or EUR0.06 per share, compared to a loss of EUR404 million, or EUR0.46 per share, in the same quarter a year ago. Revenue was EUR941 million, a rise of 27 percent compared to the same period a year ago. Infineon said it expects sales for its second fiscal quarter to be around the same level as in the first or down slightly because of seasonality. Increased demand for its products from auto and industrial customers was cited as the main reason for the solid results. (Deirdre McArdle)


From http://www.electricnews.net/ 01/29/2010

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M-Commerce Site Performance Lagging Behind E-Commerce, Study Shows

The time it took to download the home page of 10 mobile commerce sites this holiday season ranged from 8.3 seconds to 34.4 seconds; it took 4.5 seconds to 37.9 seconds to view search results pages and 5.7 seconds to 26.8 seconds for product information pages, according to a new study by Keynote Systems Inc., a web and mobile web testing and measurement company. The overall range of availability was between 97.6% and 74.7%. Consumers who connect to the Internet via a computer expect 99.5% or better availability, Keynote says, so even the very best mobile web sites are not fully meeting expectations. In fact, the Keynote study showed only two m-commerce sites achieving availability better than 90%, while three sites were below 80%.

Shopping on mobile web sites still has a lot of catching up to do in both download performance and uptime when compared to the performance of [computer-] connected web sites, says Ben Rushlo, senior manager of Internet technologies at Keynote. consumers on the wired web are used to much, much faster times, and often expect pages to load in two seconds or less. Even the best mobile web sites take two to three times as long as that despite being optimized heavily for the mobile phone experience, and the worst sites are taking over a half a minute on average to load each page.? Using Keynote Mobile Application Perspective technology, the company measured the performance of 10 m-commerce sites between Nov. 18 and Jan. 4. The 10 sites included in the study were from Amazon.com Inc., Barnes & Noble, Best Buy Co. Inc., Costco Corp., Dell Inc., Foot Locker, Musician Friend Inc., Sears Holdings Corp., Target Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Measurements were taken in New York and San Francisco using AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon wireless data connections.


From http://www.internetretailer.com/ 02/02/2010

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Mobile Phones Become Pocket Banks in Poor Countries

AFP - The rise of banking transactions through mobile phones is giving a whole new meaning to pocket money in parts of the developing world that lack banks or cash machines. Mobile money applications are emerging as potent financial tools in rural and remote areas of the globe, allowing people with no bank accounts to get paid, send remittances or settle their bills. "One billion consumers in the world have a mobile phone but no access to a bank account," said Gavin Krugel, the director of mobile banking strategy at GSM Association, an industry group of 800 wireless operators. "We see it as very big opportunity," he said this week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, the industry's annual four-day event that ended on Thursday.

Mobile banking began to emerge six years ago in the Philippines and South Africa, where 8.5 million and 4.5 million people, respectively, use such services. Today, 40 million people worldwide use mobile money, and the industry is growing, according to the GSMA. "Africa and Asia are the most active regions right now," Krugel said. "We expect Latin America pick up this year." There are 18,000 new mobile banking users per day in Uganda, 15,000 in Tanzania and 11,000 in Kenya, he said.

Mobile phones can offer a wide range of banking solutions, from sending transfers to a relative to buying goods in a store or putting money aside for a rainy day - all by dialing a few numbers on one's handset. Mobile banking can also make life easier for people in parts of Africa where paying a simple bill can be time-consuming, said Reg Swart, regional executive of Fundamo, a company that makes banking applications. "It takes one day to pay one bill. You have to physically go to the bank, then you must queue, a long queue," he said. In Afghanistan, the national police has been testing a service from mobile operator Roshan to pay its officers - a system that helps to limit corruption, the company said. "We are currently moving from a trial to a full launch in paying the Afghan national police," said Roshan's head of mobile commerce, Zahir Jhoja. Every month, police officers receive a text message in the language they prefer informing them they have received their salaries, Jhoja said. A voice message is also left on the phone "because a lot of them are illiterate and cannot read," he said.

The officer can then go get his money from an authorised Roshan agent. "The benefit is that police and police officers don't have to carry cash anymore: from their post they are able to send their money home, buy items, and take whatever cash they want from an agent, or to store for future," he said. The system has helped officers who were not receiving their full salaries due to "corruption and skimming. "The police officers who received the money electronically were very surprised to learn that they earn so much money. When they were getting cash they were receiving 25 to 30 percent less," Johja said.


From http://ph.news.yahoo.com/ 02/22/2010

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CHINA: Fujian's First Travel E-Commerce Center Goes Live

Fujian's First Travel E-Commerce Center, the name of Fujian CTS Group's e-commerce center, has been formally opened to netizens. The center has three main functions including a travel e-commerce platform at fjctsgroup.com, an offline call center hotline at 968877, and a management system for corporate travel. It is an information system for online travel searches and complaints handling for the large travel agency. This online marketing and service system enables customers to search and book tourist products and pay for it all online, which is planned on helping netizens avoid having to visit other Chinese travel websites that merely aggregate deals like Ctrip.com or eLong.com.


From http://www.chinatechnews.com/ 12/03/2009

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Slower Drop in IT Product Exports

Exports of information technology equipment, which accounted for more than one-third of China's total exports, fell by a slower pace in the first 10 months of this year, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said yesterday. The exports of laptops, cell phones and hard disks dropped in the period but shipments of liquid crystal display TVs surged on robust global demand. From January to October, the IT exports from the Chinese mainland were worth US$359.37 billion, a drop of 18.35 percent year-on-year. But the rate narrowed from a 19.8-percent fall in the first nine months, according to the ministry, which added that the industry "has started to recover." Laptop exports dropped 3.61 percent annually to US$51.9 billion while those for mobile phones fell 6.27 percent to US$30.1 billion in the period. The exports of LCD TVs jumped 36.67 percent to US$5.64 billion, the ministry said. Global TV shipments started to recover in the third quarter as the global recession began to ease. Sales of LCD TVs globally surged 38 percent to a record 37.5 million units, according to DisplaySearch, a United States-based IT consulting firm. But the research firm warned that prices could not keep dropping in the global LCD TV market. "The strong demand from consumers is predicated on attractive retail prices in the current economic environment, but manufacturers and retailers can't maintain price declines forever as production costs fall more slowly and new advanced features require modest to high price premiums," said Paul Gagnon, director of North America TV Research at DisplaySearch.


From Shanghai Daily 12/04/2010

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Chinese Internet Shopping Security Alliance to Be Established

Chinese anti-virus solution provider Kingsoft says it will join hands with e-commerce service provider Taobao.com, online payment provider Alipay, and browser platform Maxthon to launch an online shopping security platform to meet the ever-increasing risks faced by online shoppers. The alliance will take measures on anti-phishing websites, viruses and online shopping safety by making use of each party's security technologies. It is learned that the total value of China's online shopping business will reach CNY500 billion in 2009, but computer viruses and other unsafe factors are expected to cause a total loss of CNY7.6 billion to the e-commerce users in the meantime. The latest statistics of China Internet Network Information Center show that by November 22, 2009, about 8342 phising websites had been identified, and the website of Tencent, Taobao and ICBC ranked among the top three targets for online phishing. Wang Xin, COO of Kingsoft, said that Kingsoft wants to build up the alliance with the parties to jointly attack online phishing and effectively protect users' virtual assets and ensure e-commerce transaction safety.


From http://www.chinatechnews.com/ 12/10/2009

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E-commerce in China Hits $36.6 Bln: Survey

Internet shopping in China hit a staggering 250 billion yuan ($36.6 billion) in 2009 accounting for 1.97 percent of all domestic retail, the Beijing News reported Wednesday. About 100 million Chinese shop online, most of which through consumer websites, or C2C, like Taobao.com, but it is business-to-consumer platform, or B2C, growing faster, according a report released by the investigation agencies Anylysys and iResearch. "The online shopping industrial chain is developing more segments. More storage, service, express and techniques companies emerged to share the E-commerce market with C2C and B2C," said an online food store manager, surnamed Wang.


From http://www.chinaview.cn/ 12/30/2009

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IT Usage in Macao's Business Sector Reaches 47% in 2008

The rate of usage of Information Technology (IT) in Macao's business sector stood at 47 percent last year, an increase of four percentage points over 2007, according to the figures released on Thursday by Macao's Statistics and Census Service (DSEC). Analyzed by industry, the rate of IT usage of wholesale and retail trade (43 percent) surged significantly by seven percentage points year-on-year in last year, and that of the gaming sector and travel agencies reached 100 percent and 97 percent, the figures indicated. In 2008, among the establishments or enterprises using IT, 80 percent have connected to the Internet and the major purposes of accessing the Internet included information search (39 percent) and purchasing (17 percent), the DSEC said. Meanwhile, 76 percent of local households possessed IT equipment or devices such as computer, Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), etc., with 55 percent of the male aged three or over were computer-users and 51 percent had access to the Internet. Regarding the age group, 90 percent of those aged 15 to 24 were computer-users and 89 percent had access to the Internet. Analyzed by educational attainment, the rate of computer usage and Internet usage for those with tertiary education was 88 percent and 86 percent respectively. With respect to the location of accessing the Internet, the majority were at home (91 percent) or at work (26 percent); the major purposes of accessing the Internet included information search (87 percent), communication (84 percent) and government services (46 percent), according to the DSEC.


From http://www.chinaview.cn/ 12/31/2009

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China's Ministry of Culture Publishes Online Game Market White Paper

China's Ministry of Culture has published "2009 China Online Game Market White Paper", which reviews the general development and management of China's online game industry in 2009 and reveals authoritative data for the industry. Statistics in the white paper show that in 2009, the market scale of China's massively multiplayer online role-playing games increased by 35.2% year-on-year to CNY20.38 billion, accounting for 79% of the country's online game market; and advance casual games, with high development speed, increased by 49.7% year-on-year to CNY3.55 billion. For online game exports, China gained incomes of USD106 million from this sector in 2009, an increase of 47.2% compared with the previous year. According to the white paper, Tencent was the top Chinese online game operator, followed by Shanda and NetEase; and these three companies occupied 52.9% of China's total online game market. Meanwhile, the white paper points out the four major problems in China's online game industry: first, vulgar contents exist in online games affecting the health of Chinese minors; second, minors are easily addicted to online games; third, some online game enterprises ignore the protection of rights and interests of users; and finally, the homogenization of online games is severe and the product structure of online games seems irrational. In addition, the white paper predicts that China's online game industry will continue to grow rapidly in the next five years and the supervision over online games will be "perfected and stricter". Exported Chinese-made online games will gain greater development opportunities and the online game industry will further integrate with other culture and entertainment industries.


From http://www.chinatechnews.com/ 01/21/2010

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3G Brings A Boom to Mobile Phone Industry

When the Chinese government issued the long awaited third generation (3G) license to three domestic telecom operators a year ago, few imagined the number of the country's 3G users would reach nearly 15 million within one year. Industry analysts predict, if the momentum continues this year, there would be an "explosive" growth in the world's largest mobile phone population, with 3G users expected to hit 170 million. "To be frank I didn't expect the number of China's 3G users would grow as much in its debut year as it did because it often takes eight to 10 months for the telecom operator to finish its network deployment," said Yang Hua, secretary-general of TD-SCDMA Alliance. He said Chinese telecom carriers had been very quick to finish establishing 3G networks in major Chinese cities in the first three quarters of last year and the 3G user numbers started to take off in the fourth quarter. As part of its efforts to stimulate the economy, the Chinese government issued licenses for 3G mobile networks to three telephone operators, paving the way for an investment of around 280 billion yuan in upgrading and expanding the network over the next two years. According to government figures, Chinese telecom operators showed unprecedented aggression in deploying 3G networks in 2009. The total investment in network upgrading and expansion was 160.9 billion yuan last year. It was the biggest and fastest network construction in the global telecommunications industry. "Compared with our foreign competitors, which are more market-oriented firms, Chinese telecom operators are State-owned enterprises that are more generous in making investments," said Pang Jun, an analyst with research firm GFK. He predicted 3G users would number 170 million this year in China.

Compared with 2G and 2.5G services, 3G allows simultaneous use of speech and data services and higher data rates. This gives telecom operators a great chance to cash in on the use of data traffic to counter their declining revenue from traditional voice services. In China, however, the 3G market is unique in that different telecom operators have adopted different 3G standards to deploy their networks. The country's largest cell phone operator China Mobile, for example, was mandated to adopt the country's home-grown 3G standard Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access (TD-SCMDA) technology. Smaller carriers China Unicom and China Telecom have adopted the WCDMA and CDMA2000 technologies respectively. The government hopes that by adopting the more mature technologies, China Unicom and China Telecom could challenge the domination position of China Mobile, thereby increasing competition in the country's telecom market. According to company figures, China Mobile's market share in the new user market has fallen from 78.2 percent in January to 47.63 percent, although the company still far outpaces its two rivals in total user numbers. GFK figures show that China Mobile picked up less than half of the country's 3G market last year. "Judging by the current figures, the Chinese government's plan to increase competition is working well," said Wang Yuquan, a senior consultant with research firm Frost & Sullivan. During the past few quarters, Chinese telecom carriers have launched huge marketing campaigns to promote their 3G services. The fees charged by every carrier have also significantly reduced because of intensified competition. In order to attract users, the carriers have also promised a huge subsidy plan for 3G handsets makers. This sparked a wave of new 3G handsets being launched in the market.

However, Pang, from GFK, said that although sales of 3G handsets would rise substantially this year - and are expected to account for 30 to 40 percent of the total cell phone market in the country - many Chinese may still use the 2G network even though they bought a 3G handset. "Some people may just buy the fancy 3G handset but not necessarily use 3G services," he said. That worry was echoed by David Tang, vice-chairman of Nokia's China business. "According to our estimation, there are many Chinese 3G handset users who don't actually use 3G services, partly because of the telecom operator's limited network coverage," he said. "If China's 3G is to be a success, there should be more users actually using the service, rather than buying a fancy handset and closing the 3G function." Nokia last year launched a beta version of its online application market "Ovi Store" in China, in an effort to boost 3G services in the country. It is providing a free navigation service for its cell phone users in China. Tang said Nokia launched 18 different types of 3G handsets in China last year, compared with more than 30 2G devices.

He said it planned to sell more 3G handset and less 2G phones in China this year. telecom operators, experts said the real challenge for operators in the long run may be from Internet firms or even traditional media groups such as TV stations. Earlier this month, China's Premier Wen Jiabao said convergence of telecom, broadcasting and Internet networks should be stepped up. Wen said the country was ready for such a convergence given its existing technology, network infrastructure and market potential. According to the government plan, cross-industry operations will be encouraged between the telecommunications, broadcast and Internet fields through limited trials over the next two years, with the aim of promoting full network convergence by 2015. "If the telecom network can connect with the broadcasting network, it would mean many State-owned media groups, such as CCTV, could become a telecom service provider," said Pang from GFK. Because the broadcasting firms have a huge advantage on user penetration and making content, "that will change everything currently in the market". Tang from Nokia said industry convergence was a natural trend. "We believe that it is good for cell phone users whether the telecom operators provide television programs or Internet news," he said. Tang said his company would provide more services in coming years. Frank Meng, president of Qualcomm China, said he was optimistic about the Chinese telecoms industry. "No matter what the future holds, China's 3G boom will unquestionably accelerate the technology's development across the world," he said.


From China Daily 01/25/2010

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China's Online Travel Market Booming

China's online tourism market is booming as an increasingly wealthy middle class travels for pleasure and the use of credit cards and the Internet soars, analysts say. As millions of people pack their bags for Lunar New Year holidays, the busiest travel period of the year, many will have booked their trips home online, according to Chinese Internet research and consulting firm iResearch. Revenue from online flight, hotel and package tour bookings will hit 4.75 billion yuan (695.8 million dollars) in 2010, up 27 percent from last year, iResearch says, with that figure due to balloon to 9.01 billion yuan by 2013. "People's lifestyle attitudes have changed and their spending ability has improved and people now view holidays as part of a healthy lifestyle," the firm said in its latest report on the fast-growing sector. China's travel industry generated 1.3 trillion yuan in revenue in 2009, up nine percent from 2008, state media reported earlier this month, citing figures from the National Tourism Administration. While a separate figure on overall bookings revenue was not available, China Market Research Group senior analyst Ben Cavender estimated online bookings accounted for 8-10 percent of the market. "More and more consumers are turning to the Internet to book trips," Cavender told AFP, adding he expects online bookings to make up 15-16 percent of the total within two years.

"Consumers are becoming more and more comfortable with the concept of online purchases... and the use of credit cards has exploded over the last few years," Cavender said. China has at least 384 million Internet users, according to official figures, more than any other country in the world and the number of credit cards issued has ballooned. As the nation's 1.3 billion people become wealthier - urban and rural per capita income each rose more than eight percent in 2009 - more and more Chinese are taking holidays. In 2009, the number of domestic tourist trips rose 11 percent to 1.9 billion from a year earlier, state media reported, citing tourism bureau figures, indicating some people went on more than one holiday during the year. The number of overseas tourist trips increased 3.6 percent to 47.5 million compared with 2008, according to the report. This year is expected to be even better for the domestic tourism market with the World Expo in Shanghai expected to draw at least 70 million visitors, most of them Chinese, said Royal Bank of Scotland analyst Wendy Huang. "Travel consumption per capita should increase over the next three years, said the Hong Kong-based Huang. "I think 2010 will be an especially good year for the travel industry because you have the Shanghai Expo and it should benefit travel demand in China." Cavender said young professionals between the ages of 24 and 35 living in Beijing and Shanghai were driving demand for flights, hotel rooms and package tours. "They are by far the most optimistic consumer segment... they are also the ones most comfortable with alternative forms of payment like credit cards," he said.


From http://news.yahoo.com/ 01/31/2010

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New Users and 3G Lift Telecom Revenue

China's telecommunication industry revenue grew 4 percent annually in 2009, thanks to a rise in the number of new mobile phone subscribers and also on the debut of 3G technology, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said Wednesday. The national telecom revenue totaled 842.43 billion yuan (US$123.8 billion) and mobile phone users contributed 70 percent of the total revenue, according to MIIT. In Shanghai, the telecom industry generated a revenue of 50.5 billion yuan in 2009, a growth of 4.4 percent from the previous year, according to the Shanghai Economic and Information Technology Development Commission. "During the dismal economic environment, the telecommunications industry grew at a stable rate," said Shao Zhiqing, vice director of the Shanghai Economic and Information Technology Development Commission. In Shanghai, the number of mobile phone users touched 21.06 million by the end of last year, 12 percent annual growth, which means every resident has one or more handsets, according to the city's IT regulator. By the end of 2009, China had a total of more than 13 million 3G, or third generation, users and about 5 million of them use 3G phones based on the home-developed TD-SCDMA (time division-synchronous code division multiple access) technology, according to MIIT. The 3G users base in China will hit 60 million by the end of 2010, a fourfold rise from a year ago, analysts said.


From Shanghai Daily 02/04/2010

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China Telecom Joins GSM Association

The GSM Association (GSMA), an organization representing the interests of the worldwide mobile communications industry, announced Monday that China Telecom, KDDI and Verizon Wireless have joined the organization after committing to deploy services based on Long-Term Evolution (LTE). LTE is seen as the next generation of wireless technology for mobile broadband and will out perform today's fixed-line broadband networks with peak rate speeds of up to 100Mbs downlink and 50Mbs uplink. The organization unites almost 800 mobile operators and over 200 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem in 219 countries and regions. Under its umbrella one can find such diverse interests as handset makers, software companies as well as media and entertainment organizations. "As the largest state-owned operator in China, China Telecom is very excited to join the GSMA, which will enable us to extend our reach and network across the global mobile ecosystem," said Cao Lei, Director of Technology, China Telecom in the GSMA official press release. Meanwhile Alex Sinclair, the Chief Technology and Strategy Officer at the GSMA, commented on the decision taken by China Telecom and the other new members. "With its compelling, high-speed and cost-effective network architecture, LTE is bringing the GSM and CDMA communities together," he said. "We are delighted that China Telecom, KDDI, and Verizon Wireless have joined the GSMA along with Qualcomm, and will be among the first operators to launch commercial LTE services," added Sinclair. "LTE is widely regarded as 'the' Mobile Broadband technology that will be adopted by the vast majority of mobile operators globally," he concluded.


From English.news.cn 02/15/2010

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China's Bank Card Spending Up 31% in 2009

Chinese consumers spent 166 trillion yuan (24.3 trillion U.S. dollars) with their bank cards last year in China, up 30.5 percent from 2008, the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, said Monday in a statement on its official website. The total number of bank card transactions in China topped 19.7 billion in 2009, a growth of 18.1 percent year on year, said the PBOC. China issued 270 million new bank cards last year, down 10.1 percent from 2008, according to the statement.


From Xinhua News Agency 02/08/2010

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JAPAN: Companies Target China's Online Shopping

China's online shopping sales in 2009 are expected to reach 238.8 billion yuan, while in 2012 the figure is expected to hit 791 billion yuan, according to a report form Japan's Kyodo News. As of the end of 2008, the number of Chinese netizens has surpassed the U.S. totaling 298 million people, ranking the first in the world. And the scale of e-commerce has reached 2.4 trillion yuan. So Japanese businesses have begun to turn their eyes to China, and the rapid development of online shopping in China is considered as the key to opening the Chinese market. Chinese market is too attractive because its population is 10 times bigger than Japan's. But China is too large, it is impossible to open stores in all regions, so online sales will become the key to opening the Chinese market, said a manger from a Japanese children's wear manufacturer. Many Japanese companies have opened online stores targeted at Chinese consumers. Japan's largest online shopping company Rakuten mall has launched a Chinese-language homepage on its online store, "Rakuten Ichiba". Buy-j, the first Japanese online store which offers payment via CUP cards, has many Chinese characteristics, and the homepage is very colorful, different form ordinary Japanese Web sites, elegant and simple style. These Japanese businesses are very attentive when catering to Chinese consumers' psychology, such as their emphasis on the same price of goods with that in Japan, or even lower, the quality of products, no fake goods and more.


From http://www.ecommerce-journal.com/ 12/23/2009

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Megabanks Embrace Internet Banking

The nation's three megabank groups, which own a vast network of banking outlets, are embracing Internet banking. In their efforts to compete with banks that specialize in Internet-based banking, the megabanks reward customers who use such banking services with lower commission charges and allow them to manage several accounts at once. One of the most common transactions conducted with Internet-based banking is fund transfer. The three megabanks charge an over-the-counter commission fee of 630 yen for bank transfers to other banks for amounts less than 30,000 yen. The same transaction costs 210 yen when it is done online. Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ's customers who have housing loans with the bank and customers who have outstanding loans with the bank receive even more favorable treatment, including being able to make fund transfers to other banks up to three times a month free. Banks are reducing commission charges related to mortgages one after another. When customers change the type of interest rate on their loans, which incurs a charge, the charge for doing so online is far lower than that for over-the-counter transactions.

This includes partial early repayment of loans and switching from a fixed interest rate to variable interest rate. For example, an early partial repayment conducted over the counter at Sumi-tomo Mitsui Banking Corp. incurs a handling charge of 15,750 yen. However, this transaction - regardless of the type of loan interest - costs nothing when done online, including repayment and changing from a fixed to a variable interest rate. The other two banks also give preferential treatment to customers who bank online. For customers who have outstanding loans with the banks, some banks cut the commission for using ATMs. Meanwhile, banks are trying make Internet banking easier. Mizuho Bank's membership-based Mizuho Mileage Club allows customers to view a variety of items online, not just transactions with the bank, but stock and credit card details and the balance of their air miles, among others. Lottery tickets can be bought online and winnings collected online. SMBC is introducing foreign currency deposit transactions via Internet banking that can be done while viewing constantly changing exchange rates.


From http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/ 02/19/2010

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SOUTH KOREA: 58 Bln Won Injected to Development of Chip Manufacturing Equipment

The South Korean government and private sector will jointly inject 58.4 billion won (US$50.5 million) over the next three years into building up the local semiconductor manufacturing equipment sector, government officials said. The Industry and Ministry of Knowledge Economy said the investment is aimed at helping local companies develop technologies needed to make next-generation semiconductors and replace imported manufacturing machinery. Of the total to be used up till November 2012, the government will pay 35.9 billion won, with companies including Samsung Electronics and Hynix Semiconductor to foot the remainder."The Injection of state money will be made under the condition that Samsung and Hynix will buy finished products and technologies if they meet international standards," said Park Tae-sung, head of the ministry semiconductor and display division said. The plan calls for the local production of seven manufacturing equipment currently imported from abroad and the development of five key future technologies needed to meet future industry demand, Park said. According to him, the project includes the local production of machinery capable of manufacturing sub-30 nanometer semiconductors and technologies to make so-called phase change random access memory and resistive random access memory. If the injection of funds bears fruit, local output of related products is expected to reach 1.2 trillion won for five years after 2013. This could further strengthen the country's leading status in the semiconductor sector.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 12/08/2009

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Korea's Telecom Market Expected to Grow Slightly

Korea's telecommunications market is forecast to grow marginally next year, with the country's mobile phone penetration rate expected to top 100 percent, a report showed Tuesday and Yonhap News reported. The telecommunications market will grow 3.9 percent to 61.7 trillion won ($53.1 billion) in 2010, helped by increasing wireless Internet services and a recovery in the advertising market, according to the report by Digieco, an economic and management research institute under KT Corp., a local mobile carrier. "Telecommunications service providers will see tangible outcomes next year as they laid the foundation to boost the local telecom market this year," said Yoo Tae-yul, head of Digieco. Digieco said that the number of mobile phone subscribers will increase 2.8 percent in 2010 from a year earlier, reaching a penetration rate of 101.1 percent. Mobile phone penetration rate refers to the number of active mobile numbers as a percentage within a specific population.


From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 12/15/2009

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Growth of Korea's IT Industry Slows from 2005

The once explosive growth of Korea's information and technology (IT) industry has begun to slow down in recent years due to an imbalance in the expansion of related sectors, a private report said Wednesday. Yonhap News reported that the country's IT industry grew by an annual average of 16.8 percent since 1989, but since 2005 the pace of growth has fallen to within the 5-7 percent range, according to the report by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The growth of Korea's IT industry exceeded global standards throughout the 1990s, though in the past four years it has remained on par with other nations, the report said. The slowdown was attributed to a widening gap in the growth of three IT sectors - hardware and software, finished goods and parts, and large and small-and mid-sized companies - the report said. Between 2000 and 2008, the hardware industry recorded an annual average growth rate of 9.5 percent, while the software industry grew by an annual average of 7.5 percent.


From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 12/23/2009

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Samsung Presumed World's Largest Electronics Firm in 2009

Samsung Electronics, a global giant in memory chips and LCD TVs, appears to have become the world's largest electronics firm in 2009 in terms of revenue, according to the company's preliminary earnings results. The company's annual sales last year are estimated to have reached 135 trillion won, which is equivalent to $116.8 billion with the foreign exchange rate of 1,164.5 won to the dollar as of the last trading day Dec. 30, 2009. Samsung's preliminary 2009 revenue is larger than those of HP and Siemens, the only two electronics firms listed on Fortune's list of the top 500 companies in 2008, which were larger than Samsung in terms of revenue. The 2009 revenue of HP was $114.6 billion and that of Siemens, $109.8 billion. However, if the 2009 annual average foreign exchange rate of 1,276 won is applied, Samsung's revenue is smaller than that of Siemens. "The figures are just preliminary results. We will announce detailed earnings in late January," said a Samsung Electronics spokesperson. Industry watchers attributed Samsung's performance in 2009 to its aggressive global market expansion despite the global economic downturn.

Samsung is the world's largest memory chipmaker with more than 40 percent market share and the world's second-largest handset and LCD TV maker. Samsung sold 2 million mobile phones last year, with an operating profit margin exceeding 20 percent and a market share exceeding 20 percent. Samsung sold 2.6 million units of LCD TVs backlit by light-emitting diodes in the global market, with an 86.9 percent market share in the United States in 2009, according to the company. Samsung Electronics recently said it aimed to boost flat-screen TV sales to 39 million units this year, up 30 percent from last year. Samsung Electronics CEO Choi Gee-sung told reporters in Las Vegas on Wednesday that the business environment for Samsung in 2010 will be "incomparably better" than that of 2009, expressing confidence in the growth of core businesses.


From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 01/09/2010

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Trade Balance in IT Sector Posts US$59 Bil. Surplus

The Ministry of Knowledge Economy has released its IT trade figures for 2009. The national trade balance in the information technology sector posted a $58.97 billion surplus, the second-highest IT trade surplus in Korea's history. Exports of IT products fell 7.8 percent over 2008 levels, recording $120.97 billion. Outbound shipments of display panels rose 3.2 percent to $26.52 billion and drove the recovery of IT exports. With total exports standing at $31.04 billion, semiconductors reclaimed their place as the top export item, having been overtaken by mobile phones in 2008. Meanwhile, exports of mobile phones and televisions slid 14.2 percent and 10.5 percent to $28.68 billion and $5.23 billion, respectively. Exports to primary trading partners the United States, the European Union and Japan contracted 5.8 percent, 21.9 percent and 17.0 percent, respectively, but exports to China increased 2.7 percent. IT imports dropped 15.7 percent to $62 billion. After a 14-month year-on-year decline, imports picked up in November. Import volume for all of 2009 was down across the board, with the notable exception of display panels (up 0.7 percent). December was a good month for IT exports, which surged 73.4 percent to $11.29 billion while imports climbed 34.6 percent to $5.68 billion. The movement of key export items - mobile phones (up 12.8 percent), semiconductors (up 125.6 percent) and display panels (up 113.7 percent) - substantially increased. Most other items posted double- or triple-digit growth rates.


From http://www.korea.net/ 01/12/2010

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Korea's IT Exports Reach $121 Bln in 2009

Korea's information technology (IT) exports fell 7.8 percent annually in 2009 mainly due to weak demand for electronics goods caused by the global economic slump, a government report showed Wednesday, Yonhap News reported. Overseas shipments of IT products reached $121.0 billion last year while imports decreased 15.7 percent on-year to $62.0 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $59.0 billion, according to the report by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy. The 2009 trade surplus is the second largest tallied since the $60.3 billion reported in 2007, it said. "Despite the drop in export volume, Korea's IT sector expanded its global market presence in such key areas as displays, semiconductors, and mobile phones," said Seo Seok-jin, head of the ministry's IT policy coordination division. He said that while outbound shipments of semiconductors and mobile phones fell 5.3 percent and 14.2 percent on-year in 2009 to $31.0 billion and $28.6 billion respectively, both have solidified global market control. South Korea's DRAMs accounted for 56.9 percent of the world's total, while roughly a third of all mobile phones sold were Korean made products. Display panels grew 3.2 percent on-year to $26.5 billion buoyed by dominance of local companies like Samsung and LG in this field. By country, exports to China, including Hong Kong, edged up 2.7 percent on-year to $50.1 billion with those to the United States, Japan and the European Union all falling off compared to the previous year.


From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 01/06/2010

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Korea's Internet Banking Use up 24.8%

Use of Internet banking in Korea rose 24.8 percent in 2009 from a year earlier as more people went on-line for financial transactions, the central bank said Wednesday, according to Yonhap News. On-line banking transactions reached an average of 28 million per day last year, compared with 22.4 million the previous year, according to the Bank of Korea. The number is based on on-line users checking financial records, transferring funds or taking out loans. The total value of Internet banking transactions came to 29.5 trillion won ($25.4 billion) per day, up 28.9 percent from a year earlier. The number of Internet banking subscribers registered with 17 local banks, the state-run Korea Post and HSBC Holdings grew to 59.2 million as of the end of last year. The figure has grown by double digits since 2005, the BOK said.


From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 01/27/2010

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MALAYSIA: Better Year Predicted for IT Vendors

Industry researcher IDC expects IT spending by businesses and other users in Malaysia to perk up this year. It predicted an increase to RM6bil by year end - up from the RM5.64bil recorded last year. It said the rise will be mainly due to pent-up demand caused when companies here postponed purchases in the wake of the global economic slowdown last year. Roger Ling, IDC Asean research manager for software, said the companies are expected to spend on new hardware, broadband and cloud-computing capabilities.

"Companies want to cut (operating) costs (to increase competitiveness) and are opening up to cloud computing," he said. Cloud computing enables businesses to use applications off the Web without having to pay licensing fees for each computer the programs run on.
IDC believes local small- and medium-scale enterprises will be particularly drawn to this type of operational savings. IT spending will also get a boost from the Government's efforts to increase broadband penetration and its scheme offering 100,000 Internet-capable portable computers to university students at a special price.

Telcos to gain
IDC also predicts that the nation's telecommunications industry will grow by 4.4% this year, compared to 1.7% last year. The growth will come from an increased demand for wireless voice and data services, due to the higher penetration of smartphones which are getting cheaper. "You can get a smartphone for less than RM1,000 these days," said Lincoln Lee, telecommunications research manager at IDC Asean. "We see that smartphone shipments will hit 1.8 million units this year, growing by 19.8%. This is close to the double digit growth of 20% the year before," he said. This continuing move toward mobile computing will also result in the growth of HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) broadband services, said IDC. "The demand will come from tertiary students, sales staff and residents of new townships," Lee said.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 02/01/2010

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E-Commerce Initiative Aimed at SMEs

KUALA LUMPUR: e-Business specialist Skali Sdn Bhd hopes to consolidate 8,000 small- and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs nationwide by year-end through its newly launched e-commerce service, EmbunWeb. EmbunWeb offers web-hosting services, Internet marketing strategies and courses on developing websites, creating blogs and setting up e-stores. Skali already has 4,000 SME clients and plans to get another 4,000 more SMEs onto this initiative through discussions with SME Corp, an agency set up to spur the development of SMEs in the country.

Kevin Zahri, co-founder of EmbunWeb.com, said a lot of people out there have good products to push to local and overseas markets but don't know how to go about it.

"For less than RM500, we can sit down with them for five to six hours and build a website together," he said. He said SMEs and entrepreneurs that sign up for EmbunWeb will also be shown how to get a high ranking in Google searches, how to integrate their business with Twitter and other social networking tools, and more. "There will be monthly seminars on search engine optimisation, some of which will be free of charge," he said.

It is very easy to set up a website, he said, but businesses need to know what they hope to achieve with the site and how to make their site stand out in an ocean of webpages. "That is where EmbunWeb comes in," he added. Saiful Zainuddin, executive chairman of Skali Managed e-Business (SMeB), said EmbunWeb will help SMEs compete with the bigger and more established players. For more information, go to www.embunweb.com.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 02/08/2010

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Digital TV Broadcasts for Mobiles to Be Beam in Soon

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians will be able to watch digital TV broadcasts on their mobile phones by the end of the year, said wireless communications company Asiaspace Digital Network Sdn Bhd. "Our product is called amaxAV and allows us to broadcast digital content such as sports, news, radio and cartoons directly onto your mobile device if it has the required receiver," said Asiaspace Digital Network chairman Datuk Abdul Ghani Abdullah. "This is already being done in South Korea with great success and we hope to replicate that here."

To that end, Airspace has signed a mutual co-operation agreement with South Korean broadcast support company Korean Radio Promotion Association to provide assistance in the implementation of amaxAV. The company said it has already installed digital transmitters on existing telecommunication towers, which allow it to broadcast to mobile devices with the amaxAV receiver within a certain range. Additionally Asiaspace said it has signed deals with CNBC and local radio conglomerate AMP to provide content. The company hopes to have 300 transmitters installed by the time amaxAV is due to be rolled out. "We are also in talks with ESPN to broadcast sports highlights in high definition (HD)," said the company's vice-president of content development and broadcasting Ahmad Shah.

He said that the Asiaspace could broadcast full-length football matches live on mobile devices. However this would be contingent on demand and whether those who own the copyright agree to such a move. Asiaspace insists it is not trying to compete with or replace local satellite TV provider Astro. "The service we are offering is for mobile devices only and therefore it complements rather than competes with satellite TV, which is generally watched at home or on a public TV," said Abdul Ghani. AmaxAV is due to be launched by the end of the year at a base rate of RM30 per month depending on the package. The company declined to give dates or elaborate on the packages.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 02/19/2010

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SINGAPORE: Companies Make Their Move on the Fast Growing Mobile Applications Market

Last year, a group of 8 Singapore companies returned from the Mobile World Congress with $9 million worth of projected sales as a result of their meetings with potential clients and partners; of which $2 million have since been realised. This year, 9 Singapore companies are now in Barcelona participating in the show, hoping no doubt for a repeat performance. Led by Singapore Manufacturer's Federation (SMa), and supported by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, the delegation will be showcasing the latest applications developed for mobile phones under the Singapore pavilion. As a result of its participation in last year's Mobile World Congress, Mobiquest, a company that helps service providers develop, test and port mobile applications across different handset platforms, has signed a partnership agreement with PACA Mobile Centre in Southern France and Wavefront in Canada, to provide an integrated suite of mobile testing and porting services to customers globally through the Mobile Test Centre in Singapore.

Clearhub, another company that participated in Mobile World Congress in 2009, also met up with several potential partners, eventually closing a deal in Brazil for the provision of push-mail services to consumers in partnership with TIM, a leading mobile operator in Brazil.
Magma Studios, a new media company in Singapore who combines online games, rich media and social networks to create exciting and engaging virtual worlds, also secured a consultancy project with the Netherlands Public Broadcasting company, to develop educational virtual worlds for children in Netherlands. Said Terence Swee, Founder and CEO of Muvee Technologies, "Muvee is a pioneer and leader in automatic video editing software and through past participation at Mobile World Congress, we have cemented strong relationships with handset makers like the Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung and LG. Muvee's patented technologies are now included in many popular LG phones like the Viewty, Cookie, Arena and Prada2."

According to the ITU (International Telecommunication Union), which is the leading UN agency for ICT issues, global mobile phone subscriptions were set to rise to 4.6 billion by the end of 2009, a jump of 15 per cent from about 4 billion at the end of 2008.1 In Europe specifically, mobile internet usage is expected to triple from 13% in 2008 to 39 percent by 2014, according to a Forrestor Research study. In addition, the same study projects that by 2014, a third of Western European consumers will own Internet-enabled phones compared with 18 percent in 2009. "At 131%, Singapore's mobile penetration is an indicator of great potential in the provision of value-added mobile services beyond the traditional offerings. Singapore-based companies have developed innovative mobile services to meet these demands. Innovative services, such as WaveSecure - a mobile security suite that provides for remote control, muvee Reveal - a video editing software that creates video from photos, video and music, and TransferToTM - a global airtime remittance network, are successfully deployed and used in Singapore and exported through major international players. We believe Singapore's representation at Mobile World Congress will help companies with solutions such as these to expand their overseas reach, especially into sophisticated markets such as Europe," said Mr Andrew Khaw, Senior Director of Industry Development at IDA.

Said Mr Thian Tai Chew, Group Director, Infocomm Technology at IE Singapore, which promotes the overseas growth of Singapore-based enterprises and trade, "For companies involved in developing mobile applications, volume and the resulting economies of scale are critical to remain profitable. The domestic market is too small to sustain this industry, and it is hence necessary for us to support our players to participate in international flagship shows and other platforms where they get to meet and sell their solutions to a large audience. Europe is an important market for Singapore mobile technology players because of its high mobile penetration rates, advanced 3G mobile networks and proliferation of highend smart-phones - factors that create conducive eco-system for mobile applications and services to flourish."


From http://www.ida.gov.sg/ 02/16/2010

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THAILAND: Spending on IT Infrastructure Remains Low

A new survey showed that despite increasing digital information, spending for information infrastructure is still low, reflecting levels of information leverage in the organisations and shortcomings that need to be addressed in data security, consistency of storage, back-up and recovery. The most recent study from IDC entitled "Is Your Company at Risk? Preparing a Strategy for Information Management", forecasts that digital information will reach 2502 Exabytes in 2012 or a five-fold growth compared to 486 Exabytes in 2008 while IT budgets worldwide will only grow by 1.2 percent according to Peter Goh, Acting Country Manager, Thailand at EMC, who sponsored the study. The study, which collected data from IT managers in 405 companies in India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, found that Thailand's IT budget for information infrastructure is less than 20 percent of the overall IT budget, similar to Malaysia's budget. The Philippines spends the highest at 25 percent while the figure is less than 15 percent in Singapore.

Thai respondents spend most of their information infrastructure budget on storing and protecting data while spending less on optimising efficiency of storage hardware and leverage using tools for information management to create business advantage which is still lower than 10 percent of the budget. Divided by five sectors in this survey, financial services spend the highest percentage, allocating almost 23 percent of IT budgets on information infrastructure solutions. Meanwhile governments allocated about 20 percent, manufacturers in the region averaged 17 percent, while energy and telecommunications firms averaged 14 percent. "IT spending opportunities in the financial sector will largely be driven by regulatory compliance due to the implementation of regulations such as Basel II, HIPPA, IAS39 and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act," Goh explained. He continued that in the telecom industry, there is a greater need to integrate 3G mobile, WiMAX and broadband applications into new technologies so the race is about which telecom service provider can offer the most value-added and creative content on these applications. As such, those require highly available, high performance and secure information infrastructures that are both manageable and efficient.

The study also found that data security is a missing piece in information infrastructure, with 22 percent of the survey respondents confiding that they either had no data security policies or had ad hoc data security policies. And 23 percent of those surveyed had policies in place just covering business critical information. Governments spend less on data security with 30 percent of respondents admitting that they has no data security policies compared to only 10 percent in the financial sector. The study also highlighted inconsistent policies with regard to storage, back-up and recovery in the region. Some 47 percent of respondents had no solutions in place to store or back-up company information located on employee laptops and desktop PCs. Thailand ranked lowest among the five countries, with less than 40 percent of respondents having solutions for back-up while Singapore had highest level with over 60 percent having back-up.

Moreover, the study pointed out that companies are still not prepared to cover disasters. One-third of executives said their company could experience total IT system failure. Only about 22 percent felt they had a back-up IT system. Meanwhile, lower spending on information infrastructure also opens windows of opportunity for storage vendors like EMC. The company plans to increase its staff by 25 percent dedicated in key vertical account manager to help targeted customers. While it emphasised more on data back-up solutions from Legato, which EMC acquired in 2003. The company is in discussions with enterprise customers to use storage on demand that allow them to pay storage price according to capacity use per month per user. It will also provide solutions for enterprise customer to implement virtual computing environment in next generation data centre and enable them to build their own private cloud through "Acadia" joint venture company.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 12/16/2009

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IDC Issues Positive Figures: Data Services Drive Telecom Market

Attaphon Satidkanitkul, Asean Senior Analyst for IT and Business Services, said in 2010 the IT market, which covers hardware, software and services, will grow at a rate of 6.8 percent, compared to 1 percent growth in 2009. This year should show a rebound of the market pushed by the country's economic recovery and fuelled by vertical sectors such as financial markets and communications, which are all highly competitive, while the government will be the key IT spender. Moreover, the consumer sector will contribute up to 35 percent of Thailand's overall spending. "The economic crisis in 2009 brought several challenges to the business world, resulting in both enterprises and consumers having concerns about IT spending. This resulted in Thailand's IT spending growing by only a single digit for the first time and will continue until 2011, when it is expected to grow by 9.5 percent and the local political situation still plays a significant role in Thailand's economic recovery," Attaphon said.

He said that this year will see continuing cost-cutting and cost-controls by many organisations that has made IDC see both operators and enterprises transform their spending orientation from being capital expenditure (Capex)-intensive to operational expenditure (Opex)-intensive. This will lead enterprises to use more outsourcing services, especially in managed niche or specialised services, especially in financial banking, insurance and manufacturing. This will also drive the IT service segment to grow by two digits, compared with hardware and software which will see single-digit growth. In addition, telecom service providers (TSPs) will actively expand services offered in the IT services arena and compete with IT service providers (ITSPs) directly. TSPs are becoming better equipped at providing managed services, various hosting services and outsourcing for networks and desktops as well as business processes. In 2010, IDC expects TSPs to see major wins related to provisioning of managed IT services.

Moreover, the need to lower Capex but continuously improve business services will push enterprises to seriously consider adopting cloud computing. The lower risk of in-house infrastructure investment and flexible pricing models will attract the enterprise segment. Most of the projects will be initiated for private clouds, such as email and collaborations and sales.

The readiness of telecommunication service providers' infrastructure and intent to find new sources of revenue will push service providers to offer this service to enterprises. Attaphon added that security was one of the areas least affected by the financial turmoil in 2009, as enterprises continued to give high priority to protecting data and possible weak links across the organisation. IDC believes that 2010 will see a bigger traction of security as a service among enterprises and SMBs, given that the country is still on the up-trend when it comes to compliance directives to increase competitiveness.

There will be significant inroads in security and vulnerability management (SVM) and fundamental investments in secure content and threat-management. In addition, with the ever increasing adoption and popularity of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter in 2009, security concerns will continue to rise in order to protect the privacy of users. Moreover, IDC also sees that social-media marketing has become a key medium to target a wider audience through existing social networking sites and online communities. In Thailand, the impact of this concept is positive, drawing attention from banking, retail and the hospitality industries, allowing straight communication with consumers for service enhancements. In 2010 it will attract more businesses to social-media technology as a marketing tool to interact with respective audiences. Social networks like Twitter and Facebook as well as sites like YouTube, Flickr and Wayn will become prominent channels for this.

Negative growth for telecom spending
Worajate Chareoennish, analyst at IDC, said that in the telecom sector, Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia that still hasn't issued 3G commercial licenses. The market will grow at conservative levels without 3G. In 2010, Thailand's telecom revenue will be worth $5.6 billion, which is still negative growth at 0.7 percent but better than the previous year's growth, which was minus 2 percent. The industry experienced minus growth over the past three years due to the decline of voice revenue for operators from high competition and voice revenue still remains a large source of revenue for carriers. However, data services are helping to drive the growth of the industry. IDC sees the growth of data service revenue at 12.7 percent compared to 2009.

There is a similar trend throughout the Southeast Asian region, where mobile data will lead to a projected 13 percent revenue expansion, fuelled by aggressive competition, wider services selection and strong demand for services such as mobile Internet and a host of applications. Growth will be highest for Vietnam and Indonesia at 15 percent and 13 percent year-on-year, respectively. Moreover, IDC also sees that mobile broadband adoption growth in Southeast Asia will reach its highest point at close to 80 percent in 2010 due to declining service rates from service providers revamping contract plans and making pre-paid options available in some markets. The falling price of devices that support mobility such as notebooks, mini-notebooks and smart phones and the continued roll-out of HSDPA/HSPA and WiMAX-based stations in Southeast Asian countries will drive new subscriptions. Universal serial bus (USB) dongle-based broadband services operating on 3G/HSDPA technology will be the prevailing mobile broadband flavour in the region.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 02/17/2010

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VIETNAM: Information Technology to Make a Breakthrough in 2010

The government has approved a series of projects to develop the Information Technology (IT) sector on large-scale in 2010. Vietnam now ranks 18th in the world and 6th in Asia in terms of the number of Internet users with an annual growth rate of 20 percent currently, according to the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC), a quarter of its population have access to the Internet, 27 times as many as did, just 5 years ago. In 2009, Vietnam ranked among the top ten IT developing countries, it was also one of Asia's top ten most attractive software processing countries and was recognized by the World Bank as a leading country in ICT application.

Chances to thrive
At the World Information Technology Forum 2009 (WITFOR 2009), which took place in August 2009, the PM emphasized that Vietnam views IT as a key industry to achieve the nation's millennium targets, build an information-based society and speed up the industrialization and modernization. Under the government's policies, the MIC established a multi-billion VND project to make Vietnam become one of the top 70 IT developing countries in 2015 and then rank among top 60 in 2020. The project also was aimed at helping ICT businesses to penetrate the global market, build strong brand names, set up ICT corporations and ICT stimulus funds and complete the legal framework to create better conditions for ICT companies.

Truong Gia Binh, president of the Finance and Promotion of Technology Corporation (FPT) said these projects and policies provide chances for Vietnam in general and for ICT companies and corporations in particular to expand. He said that although FPT and other businesses have implemented many campaigns to promote Vietnam's ICT image, they have scored limited achievements. He said he hoped government assistance would help to enhance the prestige of businesses. MIC Deputy Minister Tran Duc Lai said that apart from efforts by businesses, it is essential for the government to build up a long-term policy to provide a backbone for the sector. It should also have supporting policies to help businesses promote their strengths.

Human resources - top priority
At a conference on the assessment of IT, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan emphasised the importance of human resources in developing the IT sector. He said that Vietnam should be prepared to meet the demand for skilled workers. Developing a well-qualified workforce is a key target for the project. Vietnam now needs about 100,000 people for the hardware industry and 30,000 for the software industry. FPT President Truong Gia Binh said it is now a good time to take advantage of Vietnam's human resources. In order to become one of the top five countries in terms of IT development, Vietnam needs well-qualified software engineers. He expressed that the country can meet the target in the next 5-10 years if it cranks up constant efforts. Concurring with Binh's thinking, Deputy Minister Lai said Vietnam should focus on making products with high intellectual value. He added that the country should create a breakthrough in human resources for not only the IT sector but other socio-economic sectors as well.

Assisting training schools
In October, the PM approved a VND900 billion overall plan to develop a workforce for the IT sector to 2015 with a vision towards 2020. The plan aims to ensure that 30 percent of newly graduated students will be qualified enough to work for international organisations. Vietnam, like other countries, should base itself on a workforce coming from universities and colleges, said experienced experts from India and other IT developed countries. According to statistics from Ministry of Education and Training (MOET), Vietnam now has 230 IT universities and colleges with 25,000 IT officials and 150,000 people working for IT companies. However, the country does not have enough workers in the field, especially high-tech employees. Also, foreign language competency is a barrier for the development of the IT workforce. Only 10 percent of IT employees can currently use English at work. Mr. Binh said in order to improve the quality and quantity of the IT workforce, MOET needs the close cooperation of related agencies and localities. The government should also encourage foreign investment in training human resources in IT by issuing a legal frame for businesses to follow. Along with the concerted efforts of all businesses, the government's support policies will provide fresh impetus for the IT sector to make a breakthrough in 2010.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 01/05/2010

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Telecom Market 'Unstable' Despite Boom

VietNamNet Bridge - Though the telecommunications market has continued to grow rapidly, it is unstable because industry operators depend too much on promotions, Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Le Nam Thang said. Viet Nam had 107.5 million phone subscribers at the start of this year for a ratio of 126 phones per 100 people and the industry achieved a turnover of VND150 trillion (US$8 billion) last year, a 62 per cent increase year on year. Many experts had predicted that 2009 would be the year of value-added services and the number of subscribers would stop growing. But mobile networks undercut each other to sign on more subscribers, and offered amazing promotions last year.

The three largest mobile service providers, Viettel, Vinaphone, and MobiFone, each have dozens of millions of subscribers, and new companies like Vinamobile and Beeline have more than a million. But the actual number of subscribers who still use the companies' services could be much lower and remains a closely guarded secret. Of the 92 million mobile subscribers, only half are estimated to be actual users. The rest, known as "virtual" subscribers, bought SIM cards to take advantage of the promotions.
The phenomenon of virtual subscriptions has now spread to landlines too.

Investment drain
A representative of the Sai Gon Post and Telecommunications Service Corporation (SPT), said virtual subscribers are a drain on investment and infrastructure and affect the city's beauty. He pointed to SPT's landline package of VND1 million valid for one year as an example of the profligacy. SPT spent $500 per subscriber but collected only VND80,000 - 90,000 a month on average. If another service provider offered a more attractive promotion, the subscribers would switch to it, he said. Telecom businesses have complained that monopoly power supplier Electricity of Viet Nam (EVN) has hiked the charges they pay to put up their cables on electric poles.

The Viet Nam Post and Telecommunications Group had to ask authorities to stop EVN from cutting their cables. EVN has hiked the electricity-pole rental charges by around eight times, a VNPT official said. The Ministry of Industry and Trade has ordered EVN and VNPT to negotiate the rate. An FPT Corporation official said: "In 2009 FPT offered its landline service in 17 cities and provinces, and met difficulties when EVN hiked its rent." To resolve the problem, Viettel plans to erect around 300,000 of its own poles and already has 250,000 in place at a cost of VND1 trillion ($54 million), Nguyen Manh Hung, its deputy general director, said.

It now saves a huge amount, Hung said, adding that if his company rents out the poles to other companies, it would save even more. Another FPT official said, however, that it took two months to set up poles for a 5-km road section, adding that the problem is not about money, but time and effort. "The Ministry of Information and Communications should act to prevent EVN's monopoly," Hung said. Minister of Information and Communications Le Doan Hop has ordered the establishment of a Telecommunications Association and upgrade of the Telecommunications Department into a Telecommunications Bureau in an effort to resolve the industry's difficulties. He also instructed his deputies to work with the ministries of Finance, and Industry and Trade to fix reasonable rentals for electric poles.


From http://English.vietnamnet.vn/ 01/09/2010

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VNPT Proposes 20 Percent Cut in Mobile Charges

VietNamNet Bridge - The Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) last week asked the Ministry of Information and Communications' permission to cut charges for clients of VinaPhone and MobiFone. The highest reduction suggested is 20 percent, starting in early February if the MoIC agrees. VNPT submitted this plan to the MoIC just two days after Viettel announced it's decision to cut charges by 20% for its subscribers from February 1. An official from VinaPhone, which holds 30 percent of the mobile market in Vietnam, said that they are awaiting the MoIC's instruction. If the plan is approved, the firm would reduce the charges as soon as possible.
 
According to this official, VNPT's plan is to reduce around 200 dong per minute for post-paid services for both VinaPhone and MobiFone. The average reduction is around 15 percent and 20 percent at the highest level. If this plan is approved, then the charges for VinaPhone and MobiFone would be around 10 dong/minute lower than Viettel. The MoIC will provide an answer to VNPT within ten days.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 02/02/2010

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Telcos Upgrade Networks to Reduce Jamming

VietNamNet Bridge - Mobile carriers have completed their network upgrades to reduce jamming incidents caused by overload during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday when phone usage demand traditionally soars. Tran Minh Huy, deputy director of Viettel Telecom in HCMC, on Monday told the Daily that network jamming in the Lunar New Year, or Tet, would lessen because Viettel recently completed its network upgrade. According to Huy, last year Viettel added another 8,000 base transceiver stations (BTS), taking the total to 21,000. In the lead up to Tet, the military-run telecom provider will install about 7,000-8,000 BTSs for the third generation network (3G). "With the new 3G stations, it will contribute to increasing its network capacity and reducing network overload," he added.

Besides network upgrade, Viettel plans to use 30 mobile BTSs in highly populated areas to meet strong demand at Tet. Although Viettel is well prepared to cope with network jamming, Huy noted, network overload may happen when millions of users made calls to or text each other at the same time. Viettel now has around 48 million subscribers. Like Viettel, MobiFone and Vinaphone are working hard to put network overload under control during Tet. The two carriers said the situation will be less severe when they upgraded their networks to 3G.

According to Vinaphone, the carrier now has 17,000 base transceiver stations using 2G technology and 5,000 other stations using 3G technology. It has just completed the maintenance of its call center and increased its network capacity to accommodate 50 million users although it has 27 million subscribers at the moment. Vinaphone expects to lure another one million subscribers during the Tet holiday. MobiFone said it had enhanced its network capacity and connections with other networks up to 5Gbps. It will have 30 mobile BTSs in busy areas. However, carriers have advised clients should not make calls or send text messages during peak hours, especially at the moment the old year is out.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 02/04/2010

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E-commerce Set to Boom in 2010: Trade Ministry

VietNamNet Bridge - The vigorous development of e-commerce in Vietnam last year has created an optimistic outlook for even stronger growth in 2010, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has said. A survey by the ministry of more than 2,000 businesses in Vietnam last year showed that most enterprises have invested in IT infrastructure; 98 percent of businesses use the Internet; and 36 percent sell goods and services using online trade systems. Other encouraging signs were that 37 percent of businesses have set up websites, of which those with e-transaction capabilities account for 38 percent; and those with e-payment systems make up 3.5 percent, said Duong Hoang Minh, deputy head of the ministry's E-Commerce and Information Technology Department. Of the total number of businesses nationwide, 12 percent have made deals on e-trade floors and 69 percent have signed contracts through such floors.

Consumers in Vietnam have been keen on online-trading since 2008 when several e-payment companies were set up including Payoo, VinaPay, Mobivi, PayNet and VnPay. In 2009, when consumer spending slowed due to the global financial crisis, customers became more interested in buying goods and services online to save time and money. To boost e-commerce, it is necessary to promote the benefits of non-cash payment; step up the interconnectivity of e-payment systems in the country; increase ATM card use; and issue regulations on e-payments and e-invoices, said Mr. Minh. Last December, he said, the E-commerce department launched an export information site at www.vnex.com.vn, an official channel connected with the industry and trade departments of 63 provinces and cities, and 60 commercial offices of Vietnamese consulates around the world. More than 10,000 Vietnamese importers and exporters are listed on the website.

HCMC to step up e-trade
In mid-December 2009, the city's Industry and Trade Department organized a program titled "Selection of prominent e-commerce businesses," aimed at boosting e-commerce activities; assessing e-commerce efficiency; and allowing the city's business community to gain experience in the field of e-commerce. Deputy chairwoman of the HCMC People's Committee, Nguyen Thi Hong, has called on relevant agencies to open training courses in e-commerce for local managers and entrepreneurs. Such programs would include intellectual property education and training in measures to protect consumers in the e-commerce environment. At the same time, official agencies should work out plans to popularize e-payment practices amongst the public and business communities, Ms. Hong said.

The city will also mobilize all available media outlets to help promote e-commerce to the public including e-information related to city authorities, departments and agencies. A center for e-certification will be built in HCMC this year; the use of e-signatures for trade transactions using digital technology will be applied; and banks and credit institutions will receive assistance in applying more technology to their services, especially e-payment systems. HCMC aims to introduce e-commerce to 100 percent of city-based businesses and have 20 percent of households using online trading systems this year. The city now has around 1.3 million computers in use; with 96 percent of HCMC households owning a computer and more than 600,000 households subscribing to broadband Internet services, according to the city Department of Information and Telecommunications. To create sustainable development of e-commerce by 2015, city authorities will also strive to improve relevant legal systems; and adopt policies to acquire advanced technologies and encourage businesses and the public to apply e-commerce.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 02/16/2010

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BANGLADESH: E-Franchising: A Prospective Market for Bangladesh

The fate of a successful organization lies in making its parts working together. It can be through achieving synergy resulting in additional value creation within the organization or through strategic alliances where two or more organizations share pool of resources & activities to pursue strategies & business goals. One of the frequent reasons for alliances is to obtain resources that an entity needs but does not itself possess. Among the different types of strategic alliances, Franchising is gaining prominence over time around the world. It involves the franchisee to undertake specific activities such as manufacturing, distribution, selling or service providing whilst the franchisor is responsible for the brand name, marketing & training. It engages the pooling of resources, investments and risks for mutual gains. In such regard, a franchisor that can be named in disseminating the radiance of Information Technology throughout Bangladesh is 'BracNet' through its project 'E-hut'. The term 'E-Hut' seems to be quite self explanatory. E-huts are franchisees of bracNet and are owned and run by local entrepreneurs. BracNet e-hut is a one-stop cyber shop catering to different type of digital services. Through e-hut, bracNet hopes to bring internet and data connectivity to the grassroots of Bangladesh & is a catalyst towards achieving 'Digital Bangladesh'. A vast majority of e-hut shops will be located all over the Bangladesh. BracNet would work with prospective franchisees and financial institutions to facilitate small scale financing if the prospective franchisees require starting e-hut in their communities. Some critics might refer to this approach as a unique selling proposition (USP) of bracNet, but if we look at the broader picture, the e-hut is a scheme towards mass improvement and convenience.

We are residing in the Information Age & when the world is talking about wireless internet or WiFi hotspots which are spreading extremely fast, we are still struggling to make internet facility available to our colossal population let alone other digital services. But it is now or never scenario; the truth is Bangladesh will not be able to sustain the harsh competition in the world market unless we work towards a tech-friendly culture. Bangladesh has a population of 160 million, making it the 7th most populous country in the world. Although internet connectivity is expected to become highly marketable due to demand, internet penetration remains low at 2%. Hence, swift improvements of such services are highly anticipated by the populace. BracNet through its e-hut program is taking a stride towards providing internet broadband connectivity & digital services all over Bangladesh. Their effort is to provide people with the necessary internet facility & to set up digital services for the people even in the remotest areas of the country. This will not only be a convenience for the local people but also the spark to a lot of entrepreneurs who wants to start their businesses being a franchisee of the bracNet. It might be through franchising, but our economy demands the spread & impact of more & more entrepreneurship in whatever scale the case might be which is surely beneficial for our plummeting economy. Thus, in a sense bracNet is contributing towards the value creation of our economy. Recently bracNet has established a strategic partnership between KDDI, a Japanese corporation which is a global communications company and experienced player in the industry worldwide. The alliance will enable bracNet to expand their internet broadband coverage over Bangladesh. The synergies generated between bracNet & KDDI will enable the creation of truly effective and sustainable internet broadband environment and social infrastructure across the country.

By deploying local communications infrastructure and promoting high quality and low cost internet broadband, bracNet's effort will bear beneficial results for the country. Bangladesh has not been urbanized as it should be outside Dhaka city & some major cities compared to other developing countries. So the hustle of the overall population is on the capital which is taking the city on the verge of a collapse in different respects. The problem lies in the lack of industrialization & the trifling span of technology outside Dhaka & its suburbs. Almost all the trade & activities has been Dhaka based which makes it the centre of mass congregation. A potential option for this setback is to extend the beam of information technology & digital services all over the country specially countryside with ample training facilities which will relieve the intense load on Dhaka city inevitably and be the foundation for self sufficiency & entrepreneurship. E-hut has come up with such a concern to educate people through training, facilitate through internet services and be an aid for digital exposure to eradicate deficiencies and work our way towards a progressive nation. E-hut is elaborated in simple terms as 'Digital Business Centre' which makes a lot of sense from the standpoint of the entrepreneur who will be incorporated with the franchisor bracNet. The reason being as it will draw income for the entrepreneur as well as be the source of various digital services for the local people. BracNet which is a concern of BRAC is expanding their activities of e-hut as a major project which aims to propagate internet & data connectivity among the people all over the country. The e-hut project office of bracNet will provide indispensable guidelines to the entrepreneurs or franchisees for their business improvements. Services provided by e-hut includes internet browsing, broadband connectivity, IT training, web cam & digital camera, computer compose & printing, computer servicing, graphics designing, photocopying amenities etc. to the locality. Moreover, e-hut is optimistic about introducing services like IP phoning, e-commerce, video conferencing, money transfer and courier services in the future. Thus providing all these services for the betterment of the local people under one roof is simply a positive concern & long-awaited by our mass population who are deprived from the blessings of the information age & digital world. We have a dream, & that is to have a 'Digital Bangladesh' and to transform our huge unskilled population which is a burden at the moment into skilled manpower which will be a resource for our nation in near time to come. For such a vision to come true, the need for more project instances like e-hut is inevitable from organizations, just one is never enough.


From http://nation.ittefaq.com/ 12/01/2009

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INDIA: Fastest Growing Mobile Market in South Asia

DUBAI: India is one of the fastest growing mobile markets in South Asia with a huge potential for growth amongst the rural population, an industry analyst has said. According to Lavanya Palani Batcha, Industry Analyst for ICT Practice at Frost & Sullivan, South Asia and Middle East, the mobile value-added services (VAS) market is set to grow at a strong CAGR of 16.6 per cent from 2008 to 2015. With tumbling voice tariffs contributing to declining Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) rates, mobile operators are actively pushing for growth of the non-voice value-added services market, the analyst noted. "Despite the economic uncertainties, the mobile services market in South Asian and Middle East countries continues to sustain a growth path, especially in countries such as India," Batcha said. The trend in regional areas across countries is equally inte resting, he added. "Mobile markets across regions are intensely competitive and some of them have reached saturation in terms of penetration of addressable markets," he said. Presently, mobile voice revenues constitute the largest chunk of operator's revenues, relegating mobile data revenues to a miniscule percentage. In the case of messaging, the popularity of Peer to Application (P2A) SMS, where mobile subscribers respond to an application such as voting through SMS for a TV program, is on the rise.


From http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/ 12/01/2009

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Indian Companies Are Top Importers of IT Workers

Seven out of the top ten importers of IT workers to the UK in 2008 are Indian companies according to data obtained by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (Apsco) under the Freedom of Information Act. Indian giants Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys Technologies and Wipro Technologies were the top seven. US companies Accenture and IBM were came eight and tenth for importing the most IT staff to the UK, while French company Capgenmini was ninth. The seven Indian companies accounted for 43% of the IT workers entering the UK on intra company transfers (ICTs). The total number of IT workers coming in on the Intra-Company Transfer scheme ICTs was 29,240 with 12,573 working for the Indian firms. ICTs allows staff to apply for a permit to transfer to the UK from an overseas branch of their employer. Employers need to have a sponsor's licence to use the permit system, and could be at risk of losing their permit if they abuse the system. Bringing overseas workers to the UK using the onshore/offfshore model to complete UK jobs is controversial, particularly when UK IT workers are being made redundant. "Since [the offshoring boom] these companies have established subsidiaries in the UK to tap into the UK outsourcing IT market, but they are importing vast numbers of staff from India for jobs which could be filled by EU workers," said Apsco. "These figures show just how easy it is for foreign companies to bypass the UK labour market. The majority of companies relocating non-EU IT workers to the UK aren't British companies looking to plug skills shortages, but foreign companies with their headquarters abroad moving staff to UK subsidiaries," said Ann Swain, CEO at Apsco.


From http://www.computerweekly.com/ 12/03/2010

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BSNL Launches WiMAX Services in India

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has become the first company in the country to announce the nationwide launch of wireless broadband services using worldwide interoperability for microwave access (WiMAX) technology starting with Ajmer in Rajasthan, with a tariff starting with Rs 140 per month for rural areas. WiMAX technology is the latest 4th generation wireless broadband service working in 2.5 Ghz band. The total cost of the project is Rs 225 crore. For WiMAX in rural areas, BSNL has planned to spend approximately Rs 1,200 crore. It will offer broadband speed of 7 Mbps at a distance of 15 km with mobility in wireless broadband. This will provide high speed wireless broadband connectivity to 11,500 common service centres in respective blocks. Through this technology, BSNL has planned to cover the remaining block headquarters for connecting 50,000 common service centres in the next phase.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 12/13/2010

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Commercial Taxes Department in Kerala to Adopt M-Governance

The Commercial Taxes Department of Kerala would launch an m-Governance initiative for grievances redressal. This would basically be an interactive voice response system (IVRS) in which an aggrieved trader or assessee can dial a toll-free number and register a complaint on his cell phone from anywhere/anytime in the State. The complaint can be made in English, Malayalam, Tamil or Hindi. On giving the caller's address and other coordinates, the system would recite back the recorded complaint in the caller's own voice. Once this is through, a docket number would be messaged to the complainant, which would need to be messaged back to the toll-free number.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 12/24/2009

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E-Stamp for Easier Tax Collection

e-Stamping is a major e-Governance initiative in the country. Delhi and Gujarat were the first states to start a paperless e-stamping system. Inspired by this successful implementation, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Assam, too, have deployed the system. India is the third country to adopt e-stamping after Singapore and Hong Kong. Having stamp duty paid via the e-stamping system, the record created is 100% tamper-proof, accurate and secure and is accessible 24x7 for verification by all parties involved in the transaction based on a unique identification number. This web-based secured system offers complete protection. A stamp certificate is generated by the system on the payment of stamp duty. The certificate comes with a unique identification number and its authenticity can be verified with the help it.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 02/15/2010

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PAKISTAN: Largest Data Centre Launched

Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) has launched the largest data centre in Pakistan, the first of which will be located in Karachi. The PTCL Data Centre is protected from intrusion and failure with multi-layered security, fail-safe redundancy, diversity measures, and rapid response recovery measures. It is designed and built to accommodate the comprehensive data in a secured managed and climatically controlled environment. This data centre is engineered using the same rigid specifications, consistent with international standards and data centre certification bodies and is enabled with technologies that proactively manages and enterprises mission-critical applications for predictable and continuous performance.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 02/15/2010

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AFGHANISTAN: MCIT Signs the Second Phase of Optical Fibers Project

On Wednesday, December 9, 2009 Ministry of Communications and IT signed an agreement with Shaid-Qandi (Iranian Company) to implement the Optical Fiber Project in the south part of Afghanistan. The Ceremony organized by this purpose at MCIT Ministry of Communications & IT, H. E. Eng. Amirzai Sangin Minister of Communications & IT, Eng Baryalai Hassam Deputy Minister Technical and other senior officials of the MCIT and Mr. Hamid Reza Tosi the second secretary of the Iran Embassy in Afghanistan were present. At the beginning, His Excellency Eng. Amirzai Sangin Minister of Communications briefed all reporters and participants of the conference from the importance and essence of this Project.

His Excellency added that, this project will be launched with the transmitting capacity of (STM-16) which is extendable to (STM-64) and will be connected with the main OFC circle which has 3100 Km length. This project will cover 470 Kilometer distance among the south parts of Afghanistan from Kabul-Char Asiab - Mohammad Agha - Pol-e-Alam - Kardiz - Khost - Zarmat - Matakhan - Sharan - Andar - Ghazni and then back to Kabul by the extension of 3300 kilometers of OFC. This Project has been given to Shaid Qandi campy after all procurement process the cost of this project is USD 12.087.579 which is going to be financed through core budget of MCIT by the coming 18th months. Finally the agreement was signed between H. E. Eng. Barialai Hassam Deputy Minister Technical of MCIT and CEO of Shaid Qandi Company.


From http://www.moc.gov.af/ 12/10/2009

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The 2nd Contract of Telecom Development Fund Signed

Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) is responsible for provision of telecom services throughout the country. Based on the Afghanistan telecom market economic requirements, MCIT had forecasted that development of telecom services started from big cities and will be developed to the rural areas of the country step by step. It should be mentioned that telecom companies include the remote areas in the end of their extension list for telecom networks due to logistics difficulties, expensive cost of investment and receipt of less income related to provision of telecom services. MCIT there fore established Telecom Development Fund (TDF) to cover the rural and remote areas of the country with telecom services on time. Based on terms and conditions of the issued licenses to the telecom companies, each company pays 2, 5% of its net revenue to the mentioned fund quarterly, and about 2 billion Afghani ( 40 forty million US$) has been collected for this fund so far.

Afghanistan Telecom Regulatory Authority (ATRA) of MCIT prepared and finalized universal access policies for telecom services and procedures for usage of the (TDF) amount for rural areas in 2008. Based on that, the first project of universal access for provision of telecom services in the rural and remote areas of the country was launched in 29 July, 2009 and the project is being implemented. Based on the development plan of universal access services in the rural and remote areas of the country, ATRA submitted the second project of universal access for tender notice in 24 October, 2009, and its offer opening took place in 24 November, 2009. Consequently, Afghan Wireless Communication Company bidding was announced the winner for bidding of second project of universal access. Currently, all legal processes for bidding of the second project of universal access have been completed and agreement of the second project of universal access is entered in to agreement with Afghan Wireless Communication Company (AWCC) based on that. Based on this project, twenty (20) districts which have not benefited from provision of telecom services yet will be covered with telecom services by TDF in Kunar, Paktia, Paktika, Badakhshan, Farah and Urzgan provinces.


From http://www.mcit.gov.af/ 01/31/2010

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AZERBAIJAN: 3G License Awarded

Azerbaijan's Azerfon has been awarded the country's first 3G license, reports local media. According to Azerfon General Director Guido Helbich the company is planning to launch 3G services on the 2.1 Ghz frequency within the next few days. Azerfon is expected to make 3G services available not only in Baku and the Absheron peninsula but across the country. Each operator that is granted a license will be charged 11,000 manat (US$13,681). The Mobile World database notes that there are three GSM operators, along with one CDMA operator in the country. At the end of Q3 '09, there were just over 8.1 million subscribers in the country - representing a population penetration level of 78%.


From News.az 12/01/2009

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Minister: Azercell Will Get 3G Service License

Azerbaijan's Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies will issue a 3G service license to Azercell Telecom. Ali Abbasov, Azerbaijan's Minister of Communications and Information Technologies, said Azercell has recently sent a letter of application to the ministry with the required documents to get a license. "It turned out during discussion that several other documents are required. Azercell will get the license after submitting all the documents," he added. According to the regulations approved by Azerbaijan's Cabinet of Ministers, in order to get a license for 3G mobile services, an applicant shall submit a document about the stages of putting the network in operation, specifications of network equipment, information on zone coverage and types of services, experience in a 3G experimental zone, as well reference showing availability of the applied radio frequencies as approved by the State Commission for Radio Frequencies. The license fee is 11,000 manats.


From Today.Az 12/11/2009

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AZERBAIJAN: System Technology and ULTRA Companies to Sign Agreement

The System Technology and ULTRA companies will sign a strategic partnership cooperation agreement in the framework of the Azerbaijani-Belarusian business forum on IT technologies, which will be held in Baku Feb. 9, the ICT information center reported. The sides are planning to hold bilateral meeting with six Azerbaijani financial companies' representatives. The Azerbaijani Communications and IT Ministry and Belarusian Embassy in Azerbaijan organized the forum with participation of the High-Tech Park (HTP). HTP residents will present their products. System Technology is part of the Innovation Association ST Group, leading software and the Belarusian financial sector's services developer and supplier. ULTRA is a major supplier of technology and software solutions and services for corporate customers, representing different sectors of the Azerbaijani economy. The company is actively involved in implementing various solutions of the Azerbaijani e-government.


From http://capital-en.trend.az/ 02/04/2012

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TURKEY: Turkcell Fined $24 Million for Anti-Competitive Behaviour

Turkey's dominant mobile network operator, Turkcell has been fined TRY36.1 million (US$23.8 million) by the country's Competition Commission for alleged anti-competitive behaviour. The fine stems from allegations that the operator created de facto exclusivity for companies seeking to sell mobile content and marketing services to its subscribers. In a statement, Turkcell said that its "partners choose to cooperate with us of their own free will thanks to our popularity within the Turkish market, which is based on the value we create." Our company does not create 'de facto exclusivity' as it is stated in the allegations. Furthermore, all of our applications are in line with the Competition Board's regulations. The company confirmed that it will take necessary legal actions with regards to the fine that it believes lacks any legal basis.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 01/04/2010

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TURKEY: Minister Hints at Turk Telekom Sale in 2010

Turkish Communications Minister Binali Yildirim has announced that the government could hold a second public offering this year to sell part of its remaining 31.7% stake in incumbent fixed line operator Turk Telekom (TT), Reuters reports. In May 2008 the state offloaded a 15% stake in TT via an initial public offering (IPO), raising around TRY2.42 billion (USD1.9 billion) for state coffers. The country's privatisation administration, which has a revenue target of TRY10.4 billion for 2010 and is overseeing sales of electricity and gas grids, roads and sugar factories, denied last month that it had started preparations for a TT stake sale. However, Binali Yildirim has contradicted the organisation, saying: 'I believe it will be a public offering again, the privatisation administration is working on it. The timing will be determined by the situation on the stock exchange and global financial markets. It could be in 2010. We see 2010 as a year where the effects of the global crisis will be less. 2010 may be a good year in that sense. The size of the public offering will be determined after further assessments.'


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 01/07/2010

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UZBEKISTAN: MTS Expands List of Roaming Partners

MTS Uzbekistan, largest mobile operator of Uzbekistan and subsidiary of Russia's Mobile TeleSystems, expanded list of roaming partners in January 2010. The company said its subscribers can use 3G roaming at the networks of Vodafone (Spain), SingTel (Singapore), V§ŕdafone (Egypt) and T-Mobile (Austria). The operator said the speed of data transfer at the networks of roaming partners can reach 3.6 Mbit per second. Currently, subscribers of MTS Uzbekistan, possessing handsets with support of UMTS (HSDPA) standard, can use 3G services at the networks of 45 operators in 34 states. Besides, the company added Idea of India to the list of its GPRS roaming partners in January 2010. Currently, number of GPRS roaming partners of MTS Uzbekistan reached 105 in 62 countries. Subscribers of the operator can also user services of international voice roaming in networks of 316 operators in 171 countries.


From UzDaily.com 02/04/2010

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AUSTRALIA: NICTA Wins $1.01m to Build Advanced Surveillance System

NICTA has secured one million dollars in Commonwealth Government funding to develop an advanced video surveillance demonstrator for the Port of Brisbane. Awarded under the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's Research Support for National Security Program, the $1.01 million grant will be delivered in four trenches over the term of the project, with an expected completion date of 31 December 2011. "This new funding will help us build an advanced video surveillance system at the Port of Brisbane which could then be replicated in other settings where the protection and safety of people and critical infrastructure is important," said Professor Brian Lovell, NICTA's Advanced Surveillance Project Leader.

The new system, being developed at NICTA's Queensland Research Laboratory, will combine NICTA technologies with commercially available, off-the-shelf surveillance tools. NICTA's contribution will include software that recognizes individual faces from live video feeds and then matches them to a database, along with technology that improves the clarity of video footage taken in poor conditions, where images may be obscured by rain, dust or fog. The demonstrator will be further enhanced by NICTA's sensor network research which will link all of these capabilities, creating a robust, superior system. "I would like to thank the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet for supporting our development of this adaptable, integrated security and operations management technology," said Professor Terry Caelli, Director of NICTA's Queensland Research Laboratory, "We plan to use the funding to develop a world-leading blueprint that will help ports, combat agencies and commercial security companies to secure their personnel and assets."


From http://nicta.com.au/ 12/16/2009

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Australia and NZ Operations Buoy Computershare Results

Computershare (ASX:CPU) has announced its financial results for the half year to December 31, 2009, recording modest revenue growth of three per cent. The share registry and financial technology services company reported a statutory net profit after outside equity interest (OEI) of $174.4 million. Total revenues grew three per cent against the first half of 2009 to $807.5 million. The company also announced management adjusted earnings per share of 31.38 cents, an increase of 20 per cent over the prior corresponding period. In an ASX statement the company said the result was underpinned by a focus on expenditure, with controllable costs, excluding cost of sales, falling three per cent on the January to June period in 2009 despite acquisitions and large project-related work in relation to Hong Kong initial public offerings and the company's US Mutual Fund proxy solicitation business. Focusing on its local operations, the company said its Australia and NZ business had delivered a positive outcome in the first half of the 2009/10 financial year with EBITDA climbing 24 per cent on the prior six months to $57.4 million.

"High levels of secondary capital raisings were the catalyst for the improvement, assisted by the stronger Australian dollar," the company said. "Revenue for the region grew four per cent over the previous corresponding period whilst costs were three per cent lower. Investor services drove the uplift as corporate actions persisted whilst the Communication Services business saw revenues fall. New Zealand maintained earnings at similar levels to 1H09." The company also runs US, Canada, Asia, and EMEA operations. Looking at the year ahead, Computershare's CEO, Stuart Crosby said there is was no certainty that some of the larger transactions behind the company's 2009/10 first half result would be matched in the second half of the year. "These factors, combined with the fact that over the past few years 1H has been stronger than 2H, leave us anticipating management earnings per share growth for the full 2010 financial year of between 10 per cent and 15 per cent," the ASX-statement reads. "This guidance assumes that equity, interest rate and FX market conditions remain broadly consistent with current levels for the rest of the financial year." In January the company signaled that its forthcoming results for the six months to 31 December 2010 would exceed expectations. At the time, the company said preliminary numbers indicated that management earnings per share will be approximately 20 per cent higher than they were in both the first and second halves of financial year 2009.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 02/10/2010

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ISPs Target Cloud Services for Growth

Cloud computing is driving major changes in the business models and services provided by internet service providers, opening new areas of potential business for those willing to invest. Most internet service providers have also provided hosting for customers, as it was a natural extension of their businesses. At first it was website hosting but, over time, more and more different types of servers found a home in their creaking, ad hoc datacentres. The arrival of virtualisation technologies allowed such providers to consolidate, to work smarter rather than harder, and to improve their narrow margins - and it also encouraged the shift to outsourcing among user organisations. Internationally, the likes of Amazon and Rackspace are targeting user organisations globally and attracting business from New Zealand users. Locally, IBM has announced a major datacentre build, while Unisys has similarly invested over the past few years. Telecom and Gen-i have announced their push into cloud provision. But now, encouraged by technology providers such as VMware and Microsoft, smaller players, many of them ISPs, are taking a plunge to build cloud platforms. VMware's global cloud architect, Mike DiPetrillo, who was in New Zealand recently, says VMware's vCloud Express initiative, unveiled last September in the US, offers an interim solution for service and hosting providers developing clouds, and an alternative to Amazon's web services.

"It is an onramp to the cloud and designed to help our service providers and telcos go after that Amazon market. We said to partners that we wanted to help create something similar to it, so the customers can come in and run on this VMware powered cloud," he says. To do that, they needed to deploy new, powerful blade servers and virtualisation software as well as management tools, but they also need to ensure their datacentres are of industrial strength. Iconz is best known as an ISP, but like many mid-sized service providers it has a substantial hosting business, especially after its acquisition of Freeparking and WebFarm. CEO Sean McDonald says 25 percent of New Zealand registered domains and hosting customers. That demand prompted Iconz to invest in 250 racks of capacity at its Airedale St, Auckland premises, where it has invested $2 million in developing its platform. "Talking to customers it became obvious they were looking for something more flexible, virtual private servers and so forth," McDonald says. The Iconz platform uses HP hardware and is modelled on Mosso.com, now Rackspace, he says. "They were at the forefront of virtual server offerings, now known as 'cloud'. I'm not sure where that silly name came from."

Local VMware partner Maxnet was a founding partner for vCloud Express and is also in the process of building a VMware-powered cloud. Maxnet chief technical officer Derek Gaeth says the public rollout will take place later this year, at a yet to be confirmed date. "We're working on the billing side at the moment before we launch a self-service public offering to clients. All the infrastructure is there, but we want to take a complete end-to-end view to servicing our customers' cloud needs," he says. But technology is only part of the equation. "We also employed good people, with skills in virtualisation and blade hardware," Iconz's McDonald says. His experience in server-side computing goes a fair way back. He was at Unisys when it invested heavily in infrastructure for Application Service Provision, the buzz phrase around in the year 2000. It was a case of build it and they will come, he says. They didn't. McDonald says he finds the acronyms being thrown around about cloud computing "tiresome". He thinks of Iconz's model as platform as a service, which he defines as the same as infrastructure as a service.

Part of the service includes what he calls a "stress testing" environment for applications to determine their suitability for a cloud environment. Of those that enter, one in three do not proceed, he says. Most applications sit in this quarantine for a few days, but if they are "raw" they can be there for a number of months, he says. Maxnet's marketing manager, Wayne Voss, says the company is looking at much more than the server element of virtualisation. "The endgame is the delivery of applications and services reliably and cost effectively," he says. But there is no point in virtualising only one slice of the system. Maxnet is virtualising across multiple datacentres and across components of its services, including firewalls, load balancing and the network itself, he says. He says F5 load balancing, for instance, is used to balance loads on pools of servers and across datacentres in Auckland and Christchurch. In the case of auto failover, everything goes with the servers, including the firewall and network.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 02/10/2010

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Open Source Not Free, Senate Hears

Government could be stuck with $500m software spend. The cost of transitioning from proprietary software to open source could outweigh any benefits of making the switch, according to the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO). AGIMO's policy and planning division general manager Graham Fry told a Senate Estimates Committee hearing that scoping the potential for a platform change could cost more than it saves. "Agencies are obliged to consider value for money on each occasion they apply a software," he said. "That means considering value for money between the alternatives of open source and proprietary software. "If the cost of assessing it was greater than the cost of the software, you would have to think twice." The Government spent over $500 million on software annually, according to 2008-09 data from the senate's Finance and Public Administration committee.

A 2007 AGIMO survey revealed that 68 percent of government agencies were either piloting or using open source software. But further questioning from Greens Senator Scott Ludlam yesterday revealed research had not been undertaken since. AGIMO took on notice a suggestion that the research be revisited. Centrelink, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and National Archives of Australia were known to use open source products; however, it was up to individual agencies to make procurement decisions, AGIMO said. Greens spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam had been pushing for the government to adopt open source software to promote openness and reduce costs. While open source software may reduce licensing costs, the cost of support could be an issue. "Open source does not necessarily mean no cost," Fry said. "There cannot be an assumption that we would save by doing that [converting to open source software]."


From http://www.itnews.com.au/ 02/10/2010

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Defence Gifts Thales $51m IT Contract

The Department of Defence has gifted a $51 million contract for the provision of command and control systems support services to Thales Australia. In a statement the minister for Defence Personnel, Material and Science, Greg Combet said the five-year contract began this month, supports 37 jobs and will be delivered from Canberra and Perth facilities. "The command and control systems support military planning and the conduct of ADF operations and exercises," Combet said. "The systems are used at the strategic and operational level of command both in Australia and on deployment. They are vital to the planning and conduct of ADF operations and exercises. "The command and control systems, comprising software application and information technology equipment form part of the Joint Command Support Environment." In January, Defence said it had initiated a new approach to procuring ICT services and equipment two months after announcing the changes to its sourcing strategy. In November, Defence flagged its sourcing strategy as a major area of review in its Defence Information and Communications Technology Strategy 2009 report. According to the report, while the vast majority of the Defence CIO's ICT spend was external, a strategic management approach had to date not been taken with this spend.

"85 per cent of expenditure is spent on external providers yet sourcing is highly fragmented, and procurement is decentralised and uncoordinated," the report reads. "Existing contracts focus on inputs rather than end-to-end accountabilities for business outcomes [and] sourcing acts as a bottleneck, hindering the delivery of business outcomes." To address the issue Defence said it planed to consolidate the number of vendors from which it sourced in an effort to have more strategic relationships. Defence's infrastructure sourcing strategy will revolve around five technology areas, or bundles: distributed computing, centralised processing, terrestrial communications, specialist communications and applications. It has also set itself the goal of saving up to $1.9 billion over the next decade by spending $940 million to develop an improved Defence Information Environment (DIE) to support the armed forces and business reform objectives to 2030. As part of its ICT strategy report Defence reconfirmed its commitment to building a new DIE by 2012 and claimed it would bring savings of $1.9 billion over 10 years with continuing savings of $250 million per annum. Not long after announcing its intentions to modify its procurement approach, Defence released the details of an audit into its ICT spend.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 02/11/2010

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APAN Claims Domestic and World Firsts

Organisers of the 29th Asia Pacific Advanced Networking Consortium meeting (APAN) held in Sydney earlier this week are claiming a handful of Australian and world firsts. Speaking to Computerworld, Australia's Academic and Research Network (AARNet) CEO Chris Hancock pointed to telemedicine, IPv6 and Eduroam (a location independent wireless network) demonstrations as highlights. In what Hancock said was an Australian first, the event witnessed the use of three conferencing technologies - uncompressed DVTS, Polycom's large-scale equipment, and desktop solution Vidyo - to observe an endoscopic operation. The video stream of the operation was viewed by people around the Asia-Pacific region. "I think this sort of stuff is not being done anywhere in the world, quite frankly," Hancock said. "The US and Europe are doing it, but Asia seems to have a wonderful telemedicine stream." He also noted the IPv6 stream that let attendees access Google and YouTube over the next generation internet protocol and an Eduroam wireless network demonstration - what is being claimed as a world first - that took place on a boat on Sydney Harbour and then moved onto Shark Island.

"We took a UPS (uninterruptible power supply), a WiFi access point and 3G router and created a 3G cloud basically." Participants were then able to take photos on their mobile phones and send pictures of the iconic harbour views around Asia. Other announcements to come out of the event, which was held over four days from February 8-11, include AARNet launching a partnership with the University of Queensland, Queensland Cyber Infrastructure Foundation (QCIF) to offer "Australia's first SAGE Bridge to support the multidirectional streaming (or visualcasting) of ultra high resolution videos and images at up to five Gigabits per second (Gbps)". The organisation also revealed Southern Cross Cable Networks (SCCN) extended its sponsorship arrangement for the SXTransPORT to continue providing dual 10 Gbps capacity in "North America for scientific, research and education traffic through until 2020".


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 02/12/2010

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Unemployed Sydney IT Worker Wins $17 Million

A computer industry worker made redundant in the financial crisis has scooped $17 million in prize money after winning Powerball. The man, from Sydney's west, bought the ticket for $57.30 at a news agency in Hoxton Park. He said mounting debts after losing his job in the computer industry had forced him to sell his house a few months ago. "It will take me a long time to settle in with the idea of winning $17 million but the future is rosy," he said. "I've been studying and now I'm looking forward to starting my own business with my winnings." He said when he checked the numbers on his computer last night he thought he "might have won $16 million. "But I wasn't sure if I was daydreaming or I'd just lost my mind," he said.


From http://www.itnews.com.au/ 02/12/2010

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$19.4 Billion Spent on Consumer Tech in 2009

Consumer spending on technology goods surpassed the $19 billion mark in 2009, according to the GfK TEMAX index. The $19.4 billion result was an increase of 7.1 per cent on 2008 and was driven by strong notebook and panel TV sales. Despite overall retail sales falling by 0.7 per cent in December according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the technology goods sector remained strong across the last three months of the year. The GfK TEMAX index shows a rise of four per cent in the October to December period over the same period in 2008. Notebook PCs sales rocketed to a 20 per cent rise in the fourth quarter of 2009 over the same period the previous year to achieve a 12-month increase of 24 per cent year on year. "The launch of Windows 7 at the start of the quarter, together with reduced average prices and the growing demand for all things digital, were major contributors to this upward trend," the analyst firm said in a release. "Leading retailers helped to promote this push by opening stores at midnight on the day of launch.

"Competitive retail promotions resulted in the overall notebook average sales price dropping to under $1000 dollars for the first time in Australia." Panel TV sales rose by 17 per cent during October to December over the same period in 2008, while set top boxes jumped by 76 per cent. GfK also noted "more than 75,000 Blu-ray home theatre systems, DVD recorders, games consoles and bonus TVs were given away during quarter 4, 2009". Notably, the mobile phone sector suffered an eight per cent drop in the last three months of 2009 compared to the same quarter in 2008. This was caused by a poor showing in the prepaid mobile handset market. The continued strong performance of high-end smartphones sold on a contractual basis - 51 per cent of all handset sales for the year - was not enough to prevent a decline.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 02/16/2010

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Analysts Report Soft Gains for IT in 2010

Australia's software market is bouncing back, but analysts say growth will be slow for at least the next three years. By that point, however, the market will top $5.6 billion according to an IT software forecast by analyst firm, Ovum. It claims the IT software market in Australia and New Zealand will grow by more than 4.8 per cent this year. The growth coincides with better than expected growth across the global IT market, which Gartner says will grow by 4.6 per cent growth to $3.8 trillion, up from its previous prediction of 3.3 per cent. Spending fell globally by 8.9 per cent last year, according to research firm, Forrester. Forrester also predicts an upturn this year in IT spend across the private and sectors, buoyed in part by economic growth in Australia and the Asia Pacific. It claimed a rise in global spending of about 8.1 per cent to more than $2 trillion, with a 7.8 per cent rise across the Asia Pacific. Analysts have backed Canada as the biggest IT growth region this year with an increase in spending of about a 9.9 per cent.

Forrester analyst, Andrew Bartels, went as far to say the technology downturn of the last two years was "unofficially over". According to the Ovum report, it will take at least three years for pre-recession growth to return. Principal analyst, Jens Butler, said Australia is ahead of the world in economic growth. "The ANZ software market did not suffer a huge drop off in growth during the financial crisis period and these ongoing revenue streams have enabled the major players to be well positioned for the predicted upturn," Butler said in a written statement. "Australia and New Zealand [are] currently leading the pack in terms of economic performance and will see further influx of investment." Long software contracts safeguarded much of the local software market from the global recession, Ovum says, but the two countries contribute less than 3 per cent to the global market. Butler noted that Australia is a test-bed for IT software, an idea espoused by other analyst houses including Gartner and IDC.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 02/16/2010

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NEW ZEALAND: Mobile Broadband and Subscriptions Grow by 53 Percent

Broadband adoption in New Zealand is continuing to grow strongly, with mobile and wireless connections standing out in analyst Paul Budde's latest market analysis. Over a 15-month period, from March 2008 to June 2009, the number of subscribers with cellular, cable or satellite connections climbed by 53 percent, Budde says, to total 220,000. Fixed line broadband grew by 14 percent in 2009, above the OECD average. Budde says this trend is likely to continue through to 2010 and 2011, "by which time fibre-based services will be more widely available". "While DSL continues to be New Zealand's most common broadband connection type (77 percent), there is a notable trend toward mobile broadband connections," he says.

Budde says the next step in New Zealand's broadband development is revolutionary. "The New Zealand government has given further details on the policies it announced earlier in 2009 regarding its $1.5 billion investment in a national ultra-fast broadband network. The plan has received widespread support," he says. "Based on a wholesale-only open network the new infrastructure will set the country up for the new direction that is being taken in telecommunications - from a telephone, and in recent times an internet network, to essential infrastructure for a range of other economic and social sectors including the development of e-government, e-commerce and digital media." The government's commitment to New Zealand will create a booming ICT industry based on the services being able to be developed and delivered using the ultra-fast broadband network, Budde predicts.

And, continuing a theme he outlined in his recent New Zealand roundtables, Budde emphasises the importance of trans-sector uses of broadband, including synergies between water, gas and electricity networks. "The New Zealand government is expected to further enhance its trans-sector policies for the [ultra-fast broadband network] during 2010," he says.


From http://computerworld.co.nz/ 12/29/2009

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Technology Third-Biggest Export

Move over lamb chops with a glass of red, technology was New Zealand's third-biggest export industry last year, outpacing wine and meat exports, a report says. The Technology Investment Network's 2009 report, sponsored by Ernst and Young, says technology exports last year rose 4 percent to $5.1 billion. Technology firms also appear to have weathered the recession better than most, with 37 percent reporting a profit compared with 27 percent in other industries. Ernst and Young partner Ben Willems said tech firms had coped better than others during the recession because they were more comfortable with rapid change. "They're more able to cope with what the market is throwing at them all the time," he said. "They were the first businesses to wise up (to the recession)." Technology firms were among the first to cut costs and remodel their businesses in response to the recession, without making the mistake of cutting research and development, he said.

"If there was one lesson that technology companies learned from the dot-com bust, it was not to put your strategic plans on hold." Last year, New Zealand technology sat behind only dairy and tourism in terms of export revenue, having overtaken meat exports for the first time in 2008. Willems said the New Zealand tech industry deserved greater recognition for outperforming areas considered more quintessentially Kiwi, such as wine or wool. "They [tech firms] are beginning to collectivise but the technology space is still a lot more fragmented." Christchurch has been the key hub for the growing industry, with the report saying 21 of New Zealand's 100 biggest technology firms were based in Canterbury last year. These include well-established firms, such as Tait Electronics and Dynamic Controls, and firms new to the list: Moffat Ltd, Windflow Ltd, Datasouth, Orthopaedic Synergy and Steelbro New Zealand.

Moffat, which designs and manufactures commercial food service and baking equipment, debuted as New Zealand's ninth biggest technology firm while Windflow Ltd was propelled into 49th place on the list off the back of a 169 per cent revenue increase last year. "I think it [Christchurch] is well recognised as the tech hub in New Zealand, especially in software." Willems said Christchurch had benefited in recent years from an influx of world-class technology workers from other countries, sacrificing big pay packets in favour of a better quality South Island lifestyle. "They've built up a bit of critical mass and that industry has really grown in Christchurch." Debutant of the top 100 list, information technology firm Datasouth, continuing to grow, working with big clients including PGG Wrightson and Tourism Australia.

The privately owned company designs networks and software, and provides a consultation service. Last year, it won the Core Infrastructure Solution Provider of the year for the second year running at the Microsoft Partner Awards. Datasouth general manager Craig Gerken said the industry needed to work harder to market itself beyond just potential clients. "I think the industry as a whole has been pretty poor at promoting itself," he said. That was leading to a serious skill shortage.


From http://computerworld.co.nz/ 02/02/2010

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Telecom Knocked Back on VDSL Unbundling Exemption

Telecom's new super-fast internet technology won't be exempt from local loop unbundling rules, if it chooses to use it to deliver the regular service, the Commerce Commission says. In a draft decision released today, the commission responded to Telecom's request for clarification on how the unbundling rules, where Telecom has to open its phone exchange to its rivals, affected the new Very high bit-rate Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL) - which is about five times faster than the current phone network DSL. "The commission's view is that if Telecom delivers the existing regulated bitstream service using VDSL technology, it must do so on the terms of the regulated service," said telecommunications commissioner Ross Paterson.

"It is for Telecom to choose which DSL technology it wishes to use to deliver the regulated service, and it is not obliged to use VDSL. "On the other hand, Telecom may use VDSL to deliver bitstream services with higher quality specifications than the regulated service, and can offer these services commercially," he said. The commission could investigate whether the commercial service should be added to the regulated service, but as VDSL technology was in its infancy here it preferred to see how it operated in the commercial market and if competition concerns emerged it could investigate, Dr Paterson said.


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 02/18/2010

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Pacific Prepares for Mobile Phone Banking

By the end of this year thousands of people in the Pacific may be able to do their banking using a mobile phone. Mobile phone banking has already been used to great effect in Asia and Africa, giving people in remote and rural communities access to banking services. Now the service is being extended across the Pacific, with assistance from the Pacific Financial Inclusion Program - a joint project of the United Nations, the European Union and the Australian and New Zealand Governments. Program spokesman Till Bruett has told Pacific Beat, pilot projects could get underway within the next three months in Pacific nations with strong mobile networks - including Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Samoa. "We've been working [with] diferent types of companies, banks, mobile network operators, micro-software firms, etcetera, to put together test solutions for how mobile phone services can be delivered in the Pacific," he said. "We think between all of them in the next quarter of probably in the first half of the year, we'll see some of these pilot projects get up and running."


From http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/ 02/05/2010

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AFRICA: Nigeria Customers Demand Improved E-Banking Services and Customer Relations in 2010

Banks' customers have demanded improved electronic banking services and better customer relations from their banks in 2010.A cross section of banks' customers interviewed by Financial Vanguard on what they expect from their banks in the new year conducted listed poor ATM and internet banking services as the greatest shortcomings of their banks in 2009.They also listed poor customers relations, lack of adequate staff in meeting the human traffic in banking halls as well as extra-legal charges in transactions among others.In his own view, Mr Patrick Ezeakacha, a customer with GTBank Plc said that though all banks have their own shortcoming, GTBank PLC should enhance its ATM system and amend the time it spends in attending to customers' problems. Sharing his experience, he said, "There was a time my ATM was stuck in one of GTBank's branches, I lodge my complaint and was told that it would take 12 hours for it to be rectified. When the 12 hours elapsed, I went back there only to be told to fill a form and wait another 24 hours, which I did and yet to no avail. I had to complain bitterly the following day before a staff came out to finally attend to me. And within the next 15 minutes my card was retrieved and returned to me. Thus something of 15 minutes took 2 days to work on." The issue of long queue in GTBank is frustrating said Mr Lucky-James Umem, a businessman .He said "Though on the average Guaranty Trust Bank Plc is fairly doing well in meeting customers' challenges. But there is the problem of long queues which are always frustrating most time. This might not be unconnected with slow pace in attending to customers need."Mr Patrick also disapproves the habit of the bank making across the counter charges for withdrawals made with withdrawal slips. He feels one should have the alternative of having an individual withdrawal

slip, just like other banks, to make withdrawals when ATM operation is unavailable and without any sundry charges.Mr Lucky-James who also has an account with Oceanic bank Plc lamented the degree of service rendered by the bank. He blamed this on the long queue usually witnessed at the Automated Teller Machine centre and inside the banking hall."This is coupled with not too spacious banking halls and parking lots. It is even worsened by the slow pace in attending to customers even as it is difficult to locate the customers care unit in the bank. There are even occasions when this large human traffick makes the banking hall very hot and because their air conditioners hardly work, the environment becomes absolutely unconducive to stay in," he said. Mrs Adekamnbi Gbeminiyi, a graduate and an Oceanic bank customer however expressed satisfaction with the servies of the bank and noted that the long queues might not be unconnected increased customer patronage more than what halls and staff of the bank can contain at a time.

In his own observation, Francis Ibeabuchi, a student and customer with Bank PHB Plc, described the bank's internet services as nothing other than being too poor which inadvertently affects the ATM services. "On many occasions when I go to the bank to cash money in their ATM machines, there is usually this problem of 'your financial institution is unavailable' response from the Automated Teller Machine. Their were even many times between August and September last year that the bank's internet was absolutely down that one cannot carry out a withdrawal transaction. I had even witness many cases where when I am sent money for my upkeep in school, it would take some couple of days for the money to be posted into my account. The bank's SMS alert is an issue of worry. I have noticed several occasions where a wrong SMS is sent to me other than the actual transaction I have carried out." "I am also yet to understand why the bank charges me Value Added Tax monthly from my account when as a student and not working, I am not subjected to paying a tax."

Mr Obioma Henry, Engineer, a First Bank Customer also expressed dissatisfaction with the ATM services of banks. He said he has had several disappointing moments trying to use the bank's ATM most especially when he needs it very urgently. He said, " There was a time I wanted to travel and I rushed down to use the bank's ATM only to be told insufficient fund in their machine. And this has happened on several occasions." On his part, Mr Chukwujindu Gabriel, a student and customer of Diamond Bank is not only worried about the bank's poor ATM services but also the bank's inability to notify its customers on new policies before making any deductions from their accounts. "Though this issue of un-notified deductions are witnessed in most banks, yet it's uncalled for any deduction to be made without or before seeking the consent or knowledge of their depositors. I noticed a recent deduction from my account and tried to seek the rationale behind it only to be told that I need a minimum of N5000 in that particular savings account for there not to be any deduction. I wasn't notified prior the deduction." "Also, their branches are not widely spread like other banks. For example in Enugu metropolis, the bank has about two or three branches which thereby reduces availability of banking services to their customers," he stressed.

Some of the banks' customers interviewed said they would want the ongoing banking reforms by the CBN translating to improved services in the industry. They specifically expressed desire for banks to deploy more ATM in their premises even as they expect much more ATM services in strategic locations "Eateries, hotels, market places, etc. This the respondents said would help quicken transactions." "This will also stop me paying charges using other banks' ATM if my bank's ATM are scattered everywhere and within proximity", said Mr Chukwujindu. Mr Ibeabuchi disclosed that he would like his bank to upgrade its internet system so that when transactions are initiated, they are posted to the destinations and communicated to the account users instantly. Mr Peter Ekeh, an accountant and a customer of United Bank for Africa (UBA) said he would also like the bank to work on their internet system so that the frequently network breakdowns which many times hinder transactions, will be a thing of the past. Mr Justice Uwakpe, a Civil Engineer and also customer of United of Bank for Africa (UBA) however said he is satisfied with the ATM charges per month of the bank unlike some other banks that charge per withdrawal. Bank customers would also like their respective banks to overhaul their operational system which include their workforce to cater for their growing customers with a bid to reducing the amount of time delayed in attending to customers and establish cordial relationship with them. They said they would also want the banks to duly notify them on any recent development that might lead to new charges on their accounts and, also notify them after such charges no matter how minimal it is.


From http://allafrica.com/ 01/03/2010

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ASIA: Experts Divided over Market Potential of E-Books

Electronic books, or e-books, are gaining in popularity around the world, thanks to their features which promise convenience and space-saving benefits over traditional books. But there are mixed views among experts over the market potential for e-books in the Asia Pacific. While some publishers believe this technology represents the next chapter of growth for the industry, there are lingering doubts over how fast electronic content will catch on. Some experts said the high cost and limited functions offered by dedicated mobile reading devices, used to read e-books, are hindering their popularity. From print to screen, the market for e-books is expected to heat up, especially with more new e-readers - which allow consumers to read electronic content - entering the market. And some publishers have been positioning themselves to tap this sector, which is forecast to hit growth rates of US$4.2 billion a year by 2014. They said electronic content can be at least 40 per cent more profitable than traditional physical books, thanks to savings from warehousing and shipping. Some publishers have also been exploring their own online platforms to sell their own content. The best-selling genres so far appear to be travel and business-related titles. Chris Newson, general manager, Marshall Cavendish International (Asia), said: "Most of the users who are using the e-readers tend to be professionals, so the content that they want would be slightly different from the average customer in the bookstore. So we are in the process of developing our more professional intellectual property.

"The travel books, for instance, will represent a significant market because it is information on the go, delivered to a handheld device. It is the same for business/marketing titles which are very much for the professional community. So it is this professional community who are more tech-savvy and will download content more regularly." However, before e-books can really take off, experts believe there are issues that need to be fixed. These include the lack of a universal format for electronic content, which means that files may not be interchangeable among devices. And besides the high start-up cost of owning an e-reader, consumers are also unlikely adopt a gadget with limited functionality. Ilham Samudera, senior market analyst, IDC, said: "(At) the current stage, the e-reader vendors need to incorporate more features into the e-reader itself. As it is right now, they can only read and jot some notes and it is not a lot. "And some of the Asia-Pacific countries use English as a second language, so at least some browsing or Internet search capability would be good. Or perhaps another favourable feature such as watching movies, or MP3 player to listen to music." On a brighter note, observers said telcos may seek to subsidise the devices and promote electronic content, in order to boost bandwidth usage on their networks for downloads. Another catalyst may come from the government, which may push the technology as a new medium in schools and libraries. Market watchers believe that with more e-readers expected to enter the market in the next 12 months, prices will also become more attractive.


From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 12/11/2009

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Price, Partners to Boost Asia's E-Reader Adoption

E-reader manufacturers such as Amazon, Sony and Fujitsu, have to work more closely with telcos and Internet service providers (ISPs) to develop a better pricing system for Web access and their e-reader devices, an analyst has urged. Currently, Amazon's international version of its Kindle e-book reader comes ready with access to an internal 3G network that allows users to tap its database of books for browsing and available for purchase in the United States and some100 other countries around the world. Other e-readers such as Sony's Daily Edition Reader, also use cellular wireless connectivity to access the Web. This need for 3G network connectivity effectively brings network providers into the equation, according to Ilham Samudera, senior market analyst for communications research at IDC Asia-Pacific. "There has got to be some pricing model applied to the device. Either through revenue sharing, or content providers like Amazon or Barnes and Noble have to pay a fixed fee for the bandwidth provided by the 3G network operator," Samudera told ZDNet Asia in an interview. However, determining the type of pricing model for e-readers is a challenge as no relationship has been established between the various market players such as Amazon and local telcos, he noted. These dedicated devices, which are capable of displaying e-books and note-taking, are also facing price competition with other devices such as netbooks and smartphones. The latter offers much more functions within the same price range, the IDC analyst said.

Fellow analyst firm Forrester, provides a different perspective and predicts that the e-reader market will start heating up, especially next year. "We expect [e-reader] sales in 2010 to double, bringing cumulative sales of [these devices] to 10 million by year-end," Forrester noted in a report. It also predicted that total e-reader sales in the U.S. to reach 2 million by the end of this year. It also noted that as competition increases, market leaders such as Amazon and Sony, will have to cut prices in order to stay attractive to consumers. This, in turn, would help boost the popularity of e-readers, it added. The Forrester report cited an example in startup, Interead, which launched a low-end e-reader in June this year called the "COOL-ER Reader", which was priced at US$249. Subsequently, Sony launched a pared down version of its Reader device - the Pocket Reader - and set its price at US$199. Amazon also reduced its Kindle 2 prices from US$359 to US$299. The drop in initial cost of these devices is necessary to boost the adoption of e-reader, according to Forrester's report. The research firm surveyed 4,706 online shoppers from the U.S. and discovered that most customers "substantially undervalue these devices", where more than 60 percent of them thought an e-reader should be priced below US$99.

Samudera also noted that compared to other markets, people in the Asia-Pacific region are "not that keen to read", with the exception of Japan and Korea. As such, besides the inhibiting cost factor, manufacturers of e-readers need to "drill down" to determine the region's consumer behavior. In order to overcome this "cultural" barrier, he suggested that manufacturers work closely with influential entities such as local governments, to increase the demand and coverage of these devices. "The only way I can see e-readers taking off is for governments to support it" said Samudera. "Take for example the education sector. If the government is willing to invest and push e-readers for all students, so the teaching materials, which have been centralized in a common database, can be distributed to all students quickly and efficiently." This will allow the education ministry to better control and monitor the development of educating its population, and help in bridging the digital divide between urban and rural areas, he added. But, he noted, the selling price of these devices must first fall to an acceptable level. Agreeing with Samudera's assessment, Fujitsu's marketing lead for its color e-reader, FLEPia, said it would take time for governments to assess the feasibility of such an investment. Asked about the importance price plays in increasing adoption of e-readers, the Fujitsu spokesperson said in an e-mail: "We agree. We are always trying to lower the cost of our e-readers to meet market requirement as the market grows." In Taiwan, the Ministry of Education is reportedly planning to offer e-readers to schoolchildren in 2010, according to an IDG article. The ministry said in the report that it is currently reviewing designs for e-readers and does not yet know how many it will purchase for 2010. The investment is part of a five-year, NT$50 billion (US$1.55 billion) budget earmarked for IT initiatives in classrooms.


From http://www.zdnetasia.com/ 12/24/2009

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Next Billion Mobile Users to Come from Asia, Industry Group Predicts

The next billion users of mobile devices and services will likely come from Asia, a region that continues to lead the pace of the global mobile growth, the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), predicted. Industry group MMA, which recently released its top mobile industry predictions, said with roughly one-third of the over 4 billion mobile subscribers in the world already coming from Asia, mobile telecommunications is definitely an area that has come of age. Growth across all areas of mobile telecommunications - whether it be infrastructure, mobile phone subscriptions, mobile Internet, SMS, or gaming - is happening at an explosive pace all across Asia, as the adoption of mobile communications is outpacing internet adoption across the region, and by substantial amounts, the MMA said.

Aside from industry growth, the MMA also predicted mobile data use increase in the APAC region, brought by innovative smart devices and killer applications. Mobile use will also increase with the ongoing proliferation of high data consumption services that include video or peer-to-peer applications, the MMA said. On the user plan side, the MMA predicted that applications for smartphone devices like the Apple iPhone in the APAC region will compel carriers to include mobile data plans as value-added services. Applications that are specifically developed for the iPhone, Android phones, Blackberry devices and others will eventually convert many to mobile data use for internet access, the MMA said. This is a pull factor for subscribers to add mobile data VAS - in turn this will add to the ARPU for each subscriber and improve the bottom line for operators.

Mergers and acquisition will also impact the mobile industry, the MMA said, noting that the recent merger of Google and Admob validates the power, reach and value of the wider mobile marketing industry. For big brands that already leverage Google's vast suite of online advertising tools, there will be an expansion across mobile channels, as well as more integrated campaigns that captivate and engage across web, mobile, print and experiential channels, the MMA said.

In terms of security, higher mobile data use will raise concerns over online/mobile privacy, particularly as users share important personal information over social media, the industry group said. Platforms such as Facebook have already had to address the use of user data and put new privacy policies in place, and this will only increase with the more pervasive use of social media and as other online services go mobile. The MMA further said other mobile-based services, such as mobile payment, will continue to grow, with the global remittance moving through the Asian population. Currently, Singapore and Hong Kong are the most mature electronic payment markets in Asia. The industry is growing rapidly and provides significant opportunities for all electronic payment channels including mobile platforms. Mobile healthcare is another fast growing segment in Asia with its aging but tech-friendly population, as well as mobile music, the MMA said. Lastly, mobile application appealing to gamers will also rise, the MMA said. Smartphones can double as mobile game machines, and the delivery of advertising within mobile applications for games will only grow in the next year, the group said.


From http://www.mb.com/ 01/10/2010

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Asian Users Anxious over Social Networks

With increasing cybercriminal activities specifically targeting social networks, consumers in the region are now more wary about how these sites identify their users, according to a report released Wednesday. In a survey conducted by security vendor RSA, 67 percent of respondents in Asia indicated the need for social networking sites to strengthen the level of security used to identify users. This number was higher than the United States and Europe, where only 48 percent in each of the two regions indicated likewise. The RSA survey polled 4,500 respondents globally, 1,100 of whom were from five Asian markets: Singapore, Malaysia, India, China and Japan. According to RSA, which is the security arm of EMC, 20 percent of online attacks are now targeted at social networking sites, which have become hotspots for cybercriminals looking to initiate phishing attacks, spread malware and hijack user accounts. Not surprising then that 86 percent of survey respondents in Asia indicated they were concerned about their personal information being accessed or stolen at such sites.

Some 94 percent Asian respondents were also anxious about such security breaches on their online banking site, compared to the global average of 86 percent. This concern also extended to other portals including healthcare, highlighted by 92 percent of Asian respondents, and government (83 percent) sites. Because of these concerns, 88 percent said their banks should apply a stronger form of security to identify users when they log into the banking site. This number is higher than the global average of 80 percent. Some 88 percent of Asian respondents also said they expected their banks to monitor their online banking accounts to identify unusual activities Despite their anxiety, only 75 percent of consumers in this region said their concerns over security would impact their willingness to provide personal information or interaction with such Web sites. Some 92 percent said they had conducted an online banking transaction in the last month, while 80 percent had made an online purchase.

Consumer worry intensified when services move to the mobile platform. Only 51 percent of respondents in Asia said they felt secure using mobile banking services, and 93 percent called for banks to implement stronger security measures for the platform. In fact, 90 of respondents in the region said they were willing to use enhanced security measures if they were implemented at their online banking site. Drawing a direct correlation between an e-tailer's security well-being and user confidence, RSA said security is most often cited as the primary reason why consumers hesitate to transact online. The IT vendor pointed to a case study of how a U.K. bank clocked a 20 percent increase in online transactions, one month after it implemented a new authentication system. "Consumer confidence and the willingness to transact online was clearly correlated. In Asia, when consumers were asked how stronger security would impact their confidence in transacting online, 95 percent stated they would be more confident," RSA said.

Lowdown on vishing, smishing
Consumer anxiety over security breaches, however, remains high. A whopping 97 percent of Asian respondents said they were concerned about the threat of phishing, with 30 percent admitting that they had fallen victim to phishing e-mail attacks. Half of the respondents in China acknowledged they had been a victim of a phishing attack, compared to 38 percent in India and only 6 percent in Japan. RSA attributed the significant number of phishing victims in the region to the use of more sophisticated and targeted attacks deployed by cybercriminals. "For example, many phishing e-mail [attacks] today directly replicate the design of a legitimate communication from a bank, online retailer or other organization and lack the poor grammar that once made phishing attempts so obvious. Therefore, it is not a surprise that more consumers are falling victim to phishing scams." In addition, the volume of such attacks has increased significantly, clocking in "record-breaking figures" for three consecutive months. However, while respondents were highly aware of phishing attacks and Trojans, they were less knowledgeable about newer threats such as vishing and smishing, which refer to voice-based phishing and phishing via SMS or text messages, respectively. Just 31 percent of Asian consumers knew what vishing was, while 41 percent were aware of smishing. RSA noted that the growing number of vishing attacks, which climbed fourfold over the past 12 months, alongside the apparent lack of user awareness will prove to be a cause of concern for such attacks in Asia this year.


From http://www.zdnetasia.com/ 01/ 20/2010

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EUROPE: Czech Republic Telecoms Report - SIM Card Penetration Has Surpassed 100%

The Czech Republic - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts provides a comprehensive overview of the trends and developments in the telecommunications and digital media markets in the Czech Republic. An open, export-driven economy with Germany as its main trading partner, the Czech Republic grew by over 6% annually from 2005 until 2008 when the global financial crisis and the resulting drop in demand for Czech exports in Western Europe saw export growth turn negative followed by real GDP growth during 2009. To its credit, domestic financial markets are relatively healthy, with low exposure to sub-prime securities and structured financial products and falling interest rates in response to lower inflation expectations for 2009. Despite the difficult conditions the telecoms market is expected to fare well given the essential nature of most telecom services although it may accelerate ongoing trends such as fixed mobile substitution, evident by the ongoing annual decrease in fixed lines in service.

Healthy infrastructure-based competition in the fixed broadband market is evident as xDSL accounts for 40% of fixed broadband connections; fixed wireless and cable are the second and third most popular fixed broadband access methods respectively. Fibre-to-the-Home maintains only a foothold in the market although increasing availability and consumption of higher bandwidth content such as HD web TV and IPTV is creating evident demand for faster broadband connections. Like its EU neighbours the Czech Republic has taken steps to develop an Internet society, with the aim of applying ICT to improve both social and economic development, primarily through capturing efficiencies by migrating existing physical processes online. The most visible example is the provision of e-government services. Recent developments such as mandated e-government usage by all businesses and legal entities by 2010 will undoubtedly increase usage of online services and have spill over effects as awareness and familiarity with such services increase among the public. As in much of Europe, mobile subscriber penetration is at saturation levels; SIM card penetration has surpassed 100% with GSM/CDMA/WCDMA services available via several mobile networks from four mobile network operators. Future revenue growth is based on increasing usage and hence revenue per subscriber, mainly in the form of minutes of use and marketing of HSDPA-based mobile broadband services. The latter holds much promise given the current low mobile broadband penetration levels and hence strong annual growth rates of mobile broadband take up.

Key highlights:

• Broadband accounts for majority of all fixed Internet subscriptions. Narrowband subscriptions are decreasing as users migrate to broadband services. The nature of broadband services is changing; fixed broadband growth slowed during 2008, with mobile broadband subscriber numbers growing rapidly during the same period.
• Encouraging business usage of e-government services is evident, with up to 70% of businesses using e-government services to obtain information, forms and return forms online. New legislation mandates businesses utilise e-government services. Private uptake of e-government lags that of businesses but is expected to grow on the back of increased awareness and recognition of its benefits. Similar initiatives extend to the health and education sectors, with the scope of such initiatives expected to broaden due to EU commitments to online services.
• Despite the launch of numerous IPTV offerings, it continues to represent only a small portion of total digital TV subscribers; cable and satellite remain the most popular digital TV platforms. The push by cable TV operators such as UPC into complementary services such as broadband access and telephony is paying off, with non-video service subscriptions representing 40% of UPC's total service subscriptions, with this figure increasing annually.
• Mobile broadband is the next growth opportunity for mobile network operators, with take up of CDMA/HSDPA-based mobile broadband penetration at only 13%; take up has been boosted by the introduction of mobile plans with generous data allowances. The market for mobile broadband is potentially larger than that of fixed broadband, given the individual subscription-based nature of mobile broadband services.

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year. The following notes provide some background to our scenario forecasting methodology:
• This report includes what we term scenario forecasts. By describing long-range scenarios we identify a band within which we expect market growth to occur. The associated text describes what we see as the most likely growth trend within this band.
• The projections shown in the tables in this report are based on our own historical information, as well as on telecommunication sector statistics from official and non-official, national and international sources. We assume a possible deviation of 15-20% around this data.
• All statistics for GDP, revenue, etc are shown in US$, in order to maintain consistency within and between markets. At the same time we acknowledge that this can introduce some irregularities.


From http://www.officialwire.com/ 02/10/2010

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France to Have 71.1 Mln Mobile Phone Users in 2014 - Study

There are forecast to be 71.1 million mobile phone subscribers in France in 2014 with Orange enjoying higher EBITDA margins that competitors SFR and Bouygues Telecom over the next five years, according to a study by Canada's IE Market Research. Orange France is projected to have 29 million mobile subscribers in 2014, as its market share falls to 40.8 percent from 43 percent in 2009. SFR's share is expected to fall to 32.9 percent from 34.1 percent and Bouygues' to stay within the 16-17 percent range. MVNOs are likely to see their share rise to 7 percent in 2014 from 3.9 percent in 2009, with the market share held by SFR MVNOs anticipated to grow to 3.3 percent from 2.1 percent. IE Market Research's model forecasts that EBITDA margins at Orange, SFR and Bouygues will be about 39.1 percent, 36.7 percent and 27 percent in 2014, with an industry average of 35-36 percent over the next five years. Monthly ARPU is projected to slip to EUR 32.60 from EUR 33.30 for Orange, EUR 32.84 from EUR 34.99 for SFR and approximately EUR 41.50 for Bouygues between 2010-2014.


From http://www.telecompaper.com/ 01/20/2010

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Sweden Overtakes US in 'Useful Connectivity,' Says Study

Sweden leads the world in "useful connectivity," overtaking the United States, a new study suggests. The study, called Connectivity Scorecard 2010 commissioned by Nokia Siemens, also said countries are now increasing focus on improving ICT infrastructure, broadband penetration and developing the right workforce skills will counter the lingering effects of the current recession. Nokia Siemens said the results from this year's study reveal a leadership change in the innovation-driven economies with Sweden now on the top spot. The company said the Connectivity Scorecard is an annual study of "useful connectivity" in 50 countries around the world.

Useful connectivity is defined as the bundle of infrastructure, complementary skills, software and informed usage that makes ICT the key driver of productivity and economic growth. "The telecommunications and technology sectors proved to be remarkably resilient during the current global financial and economic crisis," said Leonard Waverman, dean of Haskayne School of Business in the University of Calgary, who co-authored the study. "Broadband penetration and mobile telephone adoption continued to grow in most economies - developed and developing - as did the adoption of many other ICT technologies. Economic recovery and government stimulus packages aimed at boosting broadband deployment and ICT development should provide room for optimism in the coming years." Already in its third year, the Connectivity Scorecard for the first time shows a change in leadership among the innovation-driven economies, with the US losing its Number 1 ranking to Sweden.

The US, though still a very strong performer, proved not as consistent as Sweden in the past year; and its continued leadership in business infrastructure was not enough to overcome lasting gaps relative to the very best-performing nations, especially in the area of consumer broadband. Conversely, Sweden has successfully narrowed the lead on Asian countries, such as Korea and Japan, in mass-market, next-generation, broadband infrastructure. In addition, the country has performed consistently well on all human skills levels particularly the proportion of highly-skilled workers. Frequent use of Internet banking, internet commerce and e-government offerings also indicate advanced ICT usage patterns.

"The comparison between the US and Sweden actually brings us to the very essence of the Connectivity Scorecard," Waverman said. "When we urge countries to step up the use of ICT to better exploit their potential, it is imperative that driving ICT infrastructure to the next level goes hand in hand with investment in human resource training. Sweden not only has the best current mix of attributes, but it also shows few signs of losing its lead. By contrast, there is the beginning of a gap in what was once the essence of US leadership in most industrial and service sectors - education and skills." Closely following Sweden and the US among the innovation-driven economies of the Scorecard, Scandinavia remains a technological leader with Norway and Denmark ranked third and fourth, while the Netherlands completes the top five group. The poor showing of southern European economies is repeated again this year with Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece sharing the lowest rankings together with eastern European nations. There remain marked gaps between the bottom five or six innovation-driven economies and their better performing counterparts.

While most of the countries in the middle ranks show at least a few areas of the Scorecard in which they are substantially strong, this is not the case for southern and eastern European economies that are still lagging behind on all the dimensions of ICT deployment, uptake and utilization, the Scorecard seeks to capture. Equally significant are the economic opportunities in these countries precisely because there is so much scope for them to catch up. Malaysia maintained its lead among the 25 resource and efficiency-driven economies for the third year in a row. South Africa finished second, helped by strong corporate spending on IT hardware, software and services, while Latin American countries such as Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico all registered relatively strong performances. As with previous iterations of the Scorecard, the Asian giants, India and China, did not perform impressively. China finished 17th in the Connectivity Scorecard 2010 study and India 21st. These findings might be surprising in light of the economic weight of the two countries, but they also highlight the tremendous economic ground that these sprawling and regionally varied nations still have to cover. Generally, there is a greater degree of convergence between the innovation-driven economies on many metrics such as telephone access, internet usage and broadband penetration, whereas there are fundamental differences between the various resource and efficiency-driven economies. (by Robin Hicks)


From http://ph.news.yahoo.com/ 02/20/2010

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UK: Networks & Telecoms Trends to Watch in 2010

What will have the biggest impact on networking and telecoms in 2010?
1.Passing of the Digital Economy Bill
2.Auction of "digital dividend" spectrum
3.Growing pressure to derate telecommunications infrastructure for business taxes to encourage investment to fulfil the Digital Britain goals
4.More surveillance by the authorities of who is on the net and what they are doing
5.Increasing congestion on mobile networks as people switch to smart (ie, mobile networked) devices
6.Lots more investment by mobile and fixed network operators to boost capacity, speed, reliability and quality of service
7.Faster switch among corporates to hosted unified communications services to cut costs and improve quality of service
8.Increasing use of mobile and social network technology to reach customers, workers and friends
9.Growing pressure for homogenity with respect to technology platforms, regulations and prices throughout Europe, and increasingly, the world
10.Climate change and the need to be green to rise up the agenda for both cost and political reasons


From http://www.computerweekly.com/ 01/07/2010

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Decoding Britain's Digital Divide

Society is split between those who embrace technology and those who don't have the skills - or the money - to live in a wired world. Tim Walker explains the drive for cyber-equality The numbers 10 million adults in the UK have never used the internet, and four million of them are among the least advantaged members of society. Following last year's Digital Britain report, Lastminute.com founder Martha Lane Fox, below left, was appointed the Government's digital inclusion champion, charged with connecting those who found themselves left behind by the digital revolution not by choice but by circumstance - be it age, unemployment or poverty. RaceOnline2012, the national initiative she heads, is tasked with getting four million of those digitally disadvantaged people online by the time of the London Olympics in 2012. Supplementary goals include giving all unemployed adults an email account and internet access, and ensuring that 60 per cent of over-65s get online. The many groups under the RaceOnline umbrella range from Digital Unite, a computer training organisation, to the BBC, which runs outreach programmes as well as its "media literacy" website for the information technologically-challenged.

The players Five per cent of Britons believe Steve Jobs, below, is a Second Division footballer, according to a survey recently conducted by the PR firm, Lewis. Of course, the survey was carried out prior to last week's launch of the iPad, after which many more of the globe's population must be aware that Jobs is, in fact, the CEO of Apple, Inc. However, the survey also found six per cent of people were convinced that Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the internet, was an Arctic explorer (and that a wireless dongle was a sex toy). While it it is certainly useful to own a computer with a broadband connection, however, there's nothing to suggest that a knowledge of the computer industry's history and personnel makes any difference to your ability to participate in society (though knowing of Steve Jobs probably aids participation in conversation at a lot of dinner parties). After all, you've no idea who the CEO of your electricity provider is, and you use his services considerably more frequently than those of Mr Jobs.

The social networks More than 20 million Britons now have Facebook accounts, with its seven million twenty somethings being the site's most active demographic. Some of those users spend up to 125 hours per year on Facebook, the equivalent of an entire working week. A survey by Nielsen Online found that 31.3 million Britons - or 80 per cent of the UK's internet users - spent time on one of the top 75 social media sites during a single month in 2009, and that Facebook dominates the social networking charts, accounting for 75 per cent of their total usage. YouTube came second, followed by the Farmville online game. Manchester had more Facebook users than London. Though many remain staunch social network refuseniks, for others it is becoming a core means of staying in touch with friends, colleagues and loved ones. While the lack of a home computer might limit your social networking, age certainly needn't be a barrier. Bradford's Ivy Bean, above - who, at 104, is the oldest Twitter user in the world - has almost 55,000 followers.

The goods The average UK shopper spent £1,102 online in 2009, and the UK overall spent £38bn - more than any other European nation, accounting for almost a third of all online sales in Europe. Online shopping also made up 10 per cent of all retail sales in the UK, according to research commissioned by the online shopping and price comparison site Kelkoo. But do those shoppers know exactly what they're getting? "People are confused by the technology involved in TV, broadband and phone. They're confused about the providers in the market. And they're confused by the deals on offer," says Charlie Ponsonby, CEO of SimplifyDigital.com. To help navigate the thousands of possibilities, the site has created a "Personal Shopper" service on its site, "for people who don't want to be asked whether they need an 8Mb or 20Mb broadband service, but do know what they want to use the broadband for. It lets you explain in plain English what you want and matches your needs to the right technical specs." The idea is to reproduce the sort of conversation you'd have with the sales assistant in Dixons, over the net. "Online retailers need to take a leaf out of Google's book and understand better how consumers want to express themselves," says Ponsonby, "for everything from mortgages to flatscreen TVs to mobile phone handsets."

The money Cheques cost £1 each to process, around four times as much as an electronic payment. For this reason, among others, the future of the 350-year-old system of money-moving looks set to be abolished. In December, the Payments Council Board voted to close the central cheque clearing system by the end of 2018: a reflection of the steep decline in paper banking. In the 12 years since internet banking began, 22 million UK adults have accessed their current accounts on the web. Now over 50 per cent of UK internet users regularly bank online, while cheque use has declined 40 per cent in five years. If there are elderly or disadvantaged people left out in the analogue cold by 2018, they'll find themselves partially cut off from their finances as well as their Facebook accounts.

The jargon Less than 8 per cent of passers-by in Times Square, New York, knew what a browser was, according to a viral video. And that's in one of the world's most wired cities. A company trying to make technology simpler for those who are baffled by the lingo is SimplifyDigital, the Ofcom-accredited consumer advisory service for TV, broadband and phone. "These things are utilities and everybody's got to buy them and everybody finds them complicated," says Charlie Ponsonby. The providers of technology must meet customers half-way. The future of the web, Ponsonby adds, "is about getting inside the head of the consumer and understanding what they want from a search. Retailers online show products and expect the consumer to navigate between them according to technical attributes they may not understand".

The connections A 50p per month tax will be applied, if the Government has its way, to every copper telephone landline in the UK to pay for next-generation broadband across the country. By 2012 the tax - which will raise between £150m and £175m a year - is expected to pay for upgrading the existing fibre networks, giving 90 per cent of the UK next generation broadband by 2017. Meanwhile, last year's Digital Britain report contained a commitment to deliver 2Mpbs of broadband (enough to support applications such as the iPlayer) to the entire country by 2012. This week, however, the Conservatives promised to deliver an even-more ambitious broadband roll-out if they win power (on a par, claimed shadow Chancellor George Osborne, with the construction of the railways and motorways), making the UK the first large EU nation with 100Mbps broadband. Their plans involve the possibility of diverting 3.5 per cent of the BBC licence fee, and breaking BT's monopoly of the networks. One of the first areas to benefit from super-fast broadband will be South Yorkshire, where four local authorities have raised £90m to provide a minimum of 25Mbps to homes beginning in 2010.

The hardware 270,000 laptops will be provided to low-income families by the Government, after Prime Minister Gordon Brown promised to invest £300m in the scheme. The plan is for families to use the computers for their children's education - not only allowing the children to do their homework with Wikipedia's help, but also giving their parents access to their child's school reports. "From 2010 all secondary schools - and from 2012 all primary schools - will guarantee reporting online to parents," Brown told the annual Learning and Technology World Forum in January. Then again, children with computers in the home are spending six hours per day in front of screens, according to a recent survey by research specialists ChildWise. Which is six hours they could be spending climbing trees or reading books. Private companies are also investing in inclusion. Newcastle company Broadband Computer Co recently launched Alex, a basic, super-user-friendly laptop aimed at making computing simple for new users.


From http://www.independent.co.uk/ 04/01/2010

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NORTH AMERICA: Orascom Says Canada May Reach 100% Wireless Penetration by 2020

(Bloomberg) - Canada's mobile-phone penetration rate, which trails poorer countries like Algeria, may climb to 100 percent within a decade as more customers opt for prepaid contracts, according to Orascom Telecom Holding SAE. There were 66 wireless subscriptions for every 100 Canadians in 2008. There's no reason why Canada can't match rates in Greece or Italy, which are above 120 percent, said Khaled Bichara, chief executive officer of the Cairo-based company that is backing Canada's newest wireless carrier. "Passing 100 percent is a matter of when not if," Bichara, 38, said in an interview yesterday. If the penetration rate in Canada doubled to European levels, and "if we even take a small percentage of that doubling, that's still a big business for us," he said. Orascom is investing as much as $700 million in Globalive Communications Corp., which began selling mobile phones to Canadians last month. Globalive's Wind Mobile service is the first of at least five new wireless carriers challenging BCE Inc., Telus Corp. and Rogers Communications Inc., which are cutting jobs to invest more in their discount brands. Annual revenue of C$800 million ($764 million) by 2013 is "entirely possible," said National Bank Financial analyst Greg MacDonald if Globalive reaches its target of 1.5 million customers in three years and earns about C$45 per subscriber each month.

'Optimistic Number' Globalive's goal "is an optimistic number but an achievable number provided wireless growth and penetration accelerates," said MacDonald, who is based in Toronto. "There's no doubt we'll go to 100 percent and we'll probably go higher as multiple devices penetrate households and individuals." Toronto-based Rogers, Canada's largest mobile-phone carrier, has more than 8 million customers. Rogers, BCE and Telus account for 95 percent of the national wireless market. Mobile phone subscriptions in Canada trails some nations where Orascom operates, according to the International Telecommunication Union. In Algeria, the penetration rate was 93 percent, and Tunisia, 85 percent, in 2008."For a country that wealthy, it is very low," Bichara said of Canada. Globalive CEO Anthony Lacavera said last week that he's in talks with banks to raise "several hundred" million dollars to possibly finance the company's expansion or repay debt. Orascom "will not put pressure on Globalive for any repayment earlier than needed because, at the end of the day, we have a 65 percent equity stake," Bichara said. "We want this business to be as prosperous and successful as it can be." Orascom had 200,000 customers in Egypt in 1999. Orascom's parent company, Weather Capital Sarl, and its subsidiaries have 120 million subscribers worldwide, Bichara said. The company is expanding in other new markets outside Canada. The Egyptian carrier began operating a wireless service in North Korea a year ago after winning an exclusive four-year license from the government. It had 91,800 customers there at the end of last year, Bichara said.


From http://www.businessweek.com/ 01/21/2010

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Mexico - 75 Million Mark Passed, 75% Penetration Beckons

The Mexican mobile market surpassed the 75m mark during Q3 08 to finish the quarter with just under 75.7m customers. In proportionate terms, annual growth continued the decline that began in Q3 07, although the rate of 17.2% was still a reasonably strong figure. At the end of the quarter penetration stood at 68.6%, up 9.4pp annually, and it thus seems a near- certainty that the 75% mark will be reached during 2009.Mexico is the home of America Movil, and its network - Telcel - is utterly dominant here. At the end of Q3, it had 54.38m customers, equivalent to 71.8% of the total market. Although its market share was down 1.8pp year- on-year, its lead in real terms over nearest rival Movistar increased from 36.4m to 39.7m. In fact, both companies have been remarkably consistent in terms of actual growth: Telcel added 6.87m customers year on year, compared to 6.80m for the prior twelve months; while Movistar added 3.59m, down only slightly from the year-earlier figure of 3.63m. Movistar (a subsidiary of Telefonica) ended the quarter with 14.66m customers and market share of 19.4%, up 2.3pp annually.

In quarterly terms, Telcel was up 1.53m while Movistar gained 0.55m, compared to year-earlier figures of 1.40m and 0.84m respectively. Third- placed CDMA player Iusacell added just 21k, and it gained just 71k annually. Proportionate annual growth stood at a disappointing 1.8%. However, Iusacell has managed to improve its customer quality since its merger with Unefon, with 27.7% of its customers on contracts at the end of the quarter, up from 25.6% a year earlier; this is by far the highest figure in the market, with Telcel recording 7.2% contract and Movistar 6.0%. The fourth operator, Nextel, does not give a prepaid/ contract split, but its total customer base grew 30.0% to 2.58m and its market share was up 0.3pp to 3.4%.Nextel also has by far the highest ARPU in the market with a quarterly average of US$68 per month in Q3 08. Although direct comparison is difficult as Telcel reports in Mexican pesos and Movistar in Euros, Telcel's ARPU was roughly US$16 in Q3 while Movistar's was around US$12. Iusacell does not report a figure, which may well mean it has nothing to shout about.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 01/14/2009

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U.S. Proposes Standards to Spur E-Health Records

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. health officials proposed standards for electronic medical records on Wednesday, seeking to spur the technology in hopes of cutting health costs and reducing medical errors. Congress required the standards as part of about $19 billion in this year's economic stimulus bill that was targeted at encouraging doctors and hospitals to convert paper records into digital files. The proposals seek to define "meaningful use" of electronic health records, in order for health care providers to be eligible for incentive payments. One proposed usage measure would require that at least 80 percent of all patients who request an electronic copy of their health records receive it within 48 hours. Electronic health records have been available for years, but many doctors' offices remain mired in paper. "Widespread adoption of electronic health records holds great promise for improving health care quality, efficiency, and patient safety," David Blumenthal, the national coordinator for Health Information Technology, said in a statement.

Part of the problem is that despite dozens of available software choices, there has been no clear standard so that information is easily shared between different providers or hospitals. With no clear choice, many have been reluctant to spend money on systems that could quickly become obsolete. February's stimulus bill directed the Department of Health and Human Services to offer standards by the end of the year. The proposals, which are expected be finalized next year after a public comment period, could affect companies such as Allscripts-Misys Healthcare Solutions Inc, Cerner Corp and McKesson Corp. Larger technology companies such as General Electric's GE Healthcare unit, Siemens, Microsoft Corp and Google Inc are also involved in the health information technology business.


From http://news.yahoo.com/ 12/30/2009

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SOUTH AMERICA: Argentina's Triple-Play User Base to Rise Nine-Fold by 2014

Mobile penetration in Argentina has reached 120 percent at end-2009, compared with 89 percent for Latin America as a whole. Additionally, at 64 percent of households, Argentina's pay-TV penetration is among the highest in the world, according to a study by Pyramid Research. The number of double-play connections is expected to continue to increase at a 3.2 percent CAGR through 2014, while triple-play connections will expand nine-fold over the same period. Pyramid also estimates that triple-play connections could expand even faster if telecom and cable companies manage to find an agreement with the regulator over pay-TV and voice service provision. The report also indicates that mobile operators are increasingly focusing on mobile broadband internet services, translating into an estimated 59 percent CAGR over the forecast period, to reach USD 343 million by 2014.


From http://www.telecompaper.com/ 01/20/2010

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Penetration in Argentina Estimated at 120 Percent at Year-End 2009

DUBLIN - (BUSINESS WIRE) - Despite Argentina's soaring mobile and pay-TV penetration, the country has not seen the same level of development in converged and bundled offers than in other markets in the region as regulators continue to block competition, according to a new report.Argentina: Regulators Block Competition in Key Telecom Sectors offers a precise, incisive profile of the country's converged telecommunications, media, and technology sectors based on proprietary data from our research in the Argentinean market. This 30-page report provides detailed competitive analysis of both the fixed and mobile sectors, tracks the market shares of technologies and services, and monitors the introduction and spread of new technologies, such as WiMax, IPTV, and VoIP. It provides a comprehensive view of the Argentinean communications market by analyzing key trends, evaluating near-term opportunities, and assessing upcoming risks factors.Mobile penetration in Argentina is estimated at 120 percent at year-end 2009, compared with 89 percent for the region as a whole, while its pay-TV penetration, at 64 percent of households, is among the highest in the world, notes Luis Portela, Analyst at Pyramid Research and co-author of the report."The number of double-play connections will continue to increase over the forecast period at a 3.2 percent CAGR through 2014, and triple-play connections will expand nine-fold over the same period," says Portela, "but the latter could expand even faster if telecom and cable companies manage to find an agreement with the regulator over pay-TV and voice service provision." Portela continues: "The high pay-TV penetration in Argentina would make it ripe for multiplay offerings, however, regulations preventing operators from offering IPTV and VoIP services mean that the Argentinean multiplay market is not as developed as it could be."

From a service revenue perspective, mobile broadband Internet access is one of the most promising. "Mobile operators are increasingly focusing on this application as the killer application for its 3G network, translating into an estimated 59 percent CAGR over the forecast period, to reach $343 million by 2014," says Portela. "With mobile operators competing for 3G value-added services, near-term mobile capex spending will be driven mainly by continuous network expansion, capacity increases and upgrades to new technologies, such as mobile broadband technologies (UMTS/HSPA). Also, if the regulator allows telecom companies to offer pay-TV services, opportunities in IPTV may arise with Telecom and Telefnica."

Executive Summary
The Argentinean telecom market generated P32.9bn in service revenue in 2008, a figure that we estimate increased 16% to P38.2bn in 2009, mostly as a result of inflation-driven increases in prices for most services. A roughly 20% depreciation of the peso against the US dollar, however, caused the market to appear to shrink when expressed in US dollar terms, from $10.5bn in 2008 to $10.1bn in 2009. Going forward, we expect the market to grow at a 4.5% CAGR between 2009 and 2014 in US dollar terms. The most significant segment behind this growth will be mobile data, for which revenue will double over the next five years, expanding at a 15.1% CAGR between 2009 and 2014.Increased penetration will let operators deliver more services over the 3G networks launched in 2007, with services such as mobile Internet, music and video expected to grow quickly, as well as data card connectivity, currently being heavily promoted by operators in the country. Fixed broadband Internet will expand at a more modest 7.4% CAGR in the same period, well below the regional average of 13.9%. A new media law that will force cable operators to focus attention on fighting legal battles and potentially selling assets as opposed to expanding their coverage and innovating, as well as telcos' inability to launch IPTV, will ultimately depress adoption of broadband in Argentina.


From http://finance.yahoo.com/ 01/20/2010

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ICTs and the Green City of the Future

ICTs and the green city of the future is the title of an ITU Workshop that will be held during the Shanghai World Expo 2010. The theme of the Shanghai World Expo 2010 is: "Better City, Better Life". ITU's The Workshop will aim at capturing visions of ICT's role in providing for urban sustainability. A call for abstracts has been issued and invites submissions until 15 March 2010. A prize fund totaling $10,000 will be awarded to the three best papers. The Workshop will take place in the UN Pavilion dedicated to "One Earth, One UN" at the Shanghai World Expo 2010 on 14 May 2010. ICTs and the green city of the future is an event organized within the framework of ITU Kaleidoscope activities, open to members and non members of ITU, general visitors of the Expo, students, experts and high level industry officials. This workshop aims at increasing the dialogue between academia and experts working on the standardization of ICTs. Submissions are encouraged by all, but especially young people, students, researchers and professors from universities and research institutions. They can cover any topic along these broad guidelines but should reflect the sessions listed in the call for abstracts.


From http://www.itu.int/ 02/17/2010

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CHINA: Hope Taiwan 3G Test Will Boost Homegrown Technologies

China on Wednesday lauded Taiwan's launch of a 3G mobile network using Chinese TD-SCDMA technology as a successful display of how they can work together on technical standards. Executives and officials from both places on Wednesday concluded a technical standards forum in Taipei where they discussed TD-SCDMA (Time-Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access), as well as the creation of standards for LCD screens, LED technology, audio/visual devices, Internet TV, green technologies and more. TD-SCDMA, developed in China, is one area of technology on which the nation has hoped to work more closely with Taiwan. China and Taiwan have worked more closely in recent years on the joint development of technical standards in the hopes of matching Taiwan's technology prowess with China's huge market. Their goal is to develop technical standards so they don't have to rely on or pay license fees for standards developed in the West, and ultimately to create their own global standards. The TD-SCDMA trial network in Taiwan will be a good place for local handset makers and network equipment developers to test TD-SCDMA devices, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said Wednesday. Companies from Taiwan and China also gained experience in dual-network compatibility by researching ways to deploy TD-SCDMA technology alongside WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) technology, the Ministry said.

Its statement concluded with the hope that China and Taiwan can deepen cooperation in areas such as 3G services, wireless city projects, and TD-LTE (Time Division - Long Term Evolution), a 4G mobile broadband mobile broadband standard promoted by China. The mutual work on technology standards is also a way to cooperate peacefully. The two split in 1949 amid civil war and China has considered Taiwan a renegade province ever since, with a standing threat to attack if the island formally declares independence. The 2008 election of a more China-friendly president in Taiwan has brought about much warmer relations between the two places. Taiwanese 3G mobile operator Vibo Telecom launched the TD-SCDMA trial network on Tuesday in Taipei,. It is one of the few companies running a TD-SCDMA trial outside of China. China's Vice Minister of Industry and Information Technology, Lou Qinjian, attended the launch ceremony. The launch of the network is the result of several trips made by officials and executives from China to Taiwan. In August, for example, the chairman of China Mobile, the world's largest mobile network operator, spent several days in Taipei meeting with companies to promote TD-SCDMA. Taiwanese smartphone developer High Tech Computer (HTC) agreed to launch seven TD-SCDMA smartphones by the end of 2010, it announced during a news conference with China Mobile during the visit. The head of HTC noted that China Mobile is an important ally due to the size of its customer base. China Mobile had 513.5 million subscribers at the end of October, according to its Web site. The company's goal is to reach 3 million 3G subscribers by the end of this year, up from the 2.3 million it reported last week.


From http://tech.yahoo.com/ 11/25/2009

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China and Taiwan Agree to Promote EPUB E-book Standard

China and Taiwan agreed in principal to promote the EPUB e-book format for the Chinese-language market at a technology conference last week, and officials plan to meet again next year to solidify the deal, Taiwan's economics ministry said Wednesday. The push to promote a standard e-book format by the two economies could have far-reaching implications for the e-book and e-reader markets. The Chinese are avid readers and publishers will have to use the EPUB (.epub) format for materials they hope to sell in the market of 1.3 billion people. People in Taiwan also enjoy reading, and companies on the island are leading the charge to build e-readers. Government backing by China and Taiwan will encourage them to make EPUB one of the standards available on their devices. Currently, there are dozens of e-book formats, from the Amazon Kindle's proprietary AZW (.azw) format to Open E-book's XML-based .opf and APABI (.xeb, .ceb), another format aimed at Chinese materials by Founder Electronics. The numerous specifications make it hard for the average person to choose one, but it's an important choice. E-books with the Kindle's AZW format will only work on Kindles or in Amazon.com reader software for other devices, so as a person builds their e-book collection, they will always be tied to that vendor. EPUB is different. It's an open standard and e-books made on the format can be used in multiple devices (not the Kindle, however), including Barnes & Noble's new Nook e-reader, Sony's Reader and with Adobe Digital Editions. "With keen interest in technical and content-related cooperation between businesses in Taiwan and mainland China, authorities on each side of the Taiwan Strait have already in principle agreed to adopt the free and open EPUB digital standard," Taiwan's economics ministry said in a statement. The statement notes the importance of using an open standard that will allow global cooperation "in many languages in addition to Chinese that are readable using any kind of e-book reader."

The EPUB announcement comes on the heels of a China-Taiwan technical standards forum held in Taipei last week, where officials from the two places discussed TD-SCDMA (Time-Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access) 3G mobile network technology, as well as the creation of standards for LCD screens, LED technology, audio/visual devices, Internet TV, green technologies and more. China and Taiwan have worked more closely in recent years on the joint development of technical standards in the hopes of matching Taiwan's technology prowess with China's huge market. Their goal is to develop technical standards so they don't have to rely on or pay license fees for standards developed in the West, and ultimately to create their own global standards. Taiwan will on Thursday formally announce an NT$2 billion (US$66 million) plan to promote the development of the electronic publications industry in Taiwan. The government has already launched numerous efforts to build the e-reader industry, and Taiwanese companies have moved aggressively into the product segment. Far EasTone Telecommunications, one of Taiwan's largest mobile service providers, has applied for government funding to provide e-book content to mobile readers over WiMax wireless broadband signals. Book publishers in Taiwan, software developers and hardware makers joined Far EasTone in the application, the ministry said. The e-reader industry has become a key focus for Taiwan ever since Amazon's Kindle took the U.S. by storm. The device was built by Prime View International, a Taiwanese contract electronics manufacturer, which as been boosted by the success of the device. Prime View in June announced a deal to acquire E-ink Corporation, the U.S. developer of digital ink technology, for US$215 million. Prime View is only one of a number of Taiwanese electronics makers that see a bright future in designing and producing e-readers. Others include Foxconn Electronics, Asustek Computer, AU Optronics, Delta Electronics and Inventec Appliances. Companies in Taiwan and China have already started selling e-readers and e-books, including China Mobile, the world's largest mobile network operator. The Chinese telecom company, which boasted 513.5 million subscribers as of the end of October, already offers two e-readers in China and sells e-books on its Mobile Market online store. The shop sells around 30,000 books, magazines, comics and other material available from several Chinese publishers.


From http://news.yahoo.com/ 12/02/2009

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Sales of China's Online Gaming Industry to Hit 27.5 Bln Yuan

The sales revenue of China's online gaming industry is expected to reach 27.5 billion yuan (about $4.03 billion) in 2009, according to Ma Huateng, president and CEO of China's leading Internet service provider Tencent Holdings Limited. Ma made the prediction at the opening ceremony of the Seventh China International Digital Content Expo on Friday. The third quarter financial reports of major Chinese online game companies including Sohu, Tencent, NetEase and Shanda, showed most of them recorded a 60 percent or even higher increase in gross profit, Beijing Daily reported Saturday. The sales revenue of China's online gaming industry reached 18.38 billion yuan in 2008, up 76.6 percent from 2007. An executive from the gaming department of NetEase attributed the continuous growth of the online gaming industry to the development of Internet technologies and preferential policies from the government. Chinese online game companies' expansion overseas also contributed to the growth. The Nasdaq-listed Perfect World, a leading Chinese online game developer and operator, entered the Russian market and set up a branch company in the United States in 2009.


From Xinhua News Agency 12/07/2010

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China Mobile Launches 4G Network at Expo Site

China Mobile's Shanghai branch has launched a 4G, or fourth generation, network at the World Expo site in the city, which is 20 times faster than 3G networks, the telco said Thursday. During the World Expo 2010, the 4G network will support features such as high-definition video broadcast, remote monitoring and high-speed Internet access services, Shanghai Mobile said. "It will be the first time that the next generation technology is put to practical use on a large scale in China," Shanghai Mobile said. China Mobile adopts TD-LTE (long term evolution) technology, an evolved technology from its 3G TD-SCDMA (time division-synchronous code division multiple access) technology. Shanghai Mobile will complete building the indoor LTE signal coverage by the end of this month and it plans to launch LTE data cards later. By the end of December, China Mobile had 5.51 million TD-SCDMA users, the company said. In January last year, China issued 3G licenses to three telcom operators.


From Shanghai Daily 12/15/2009

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China Launches National Internet Television

China on Monday launched its national Internet TV station, China Network Television (CNTV). The online station currently includes three major channels of news, sports and entertainment and an online community where users can upload self-made video content and communicate with each other. With five overseas mirror sites, CNTV now covers countries and regions including Europe, North America, Southeast Asia, Middle West and Russia. Mainstream media must actively expand themselves to new media area to improve their capacity of communication, said Li Changchun, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, at the opening ceremony. Li said that establishment of the station is a major landmark event for China's traditional media in their effort to advance into online media. It will help to promote the construction of a modern communication system of wide coverage and advanced technology in the country. The online station is wholly owned by China Central Television.


From http://www.chinaview.cn/ 12/28/2009

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Watch and Talk to Your Family at Any Time Anywhere Through Mobile

A new remote video communication product was launched on December 19, 2009 in Beijing. The new product Qshitong, which enables you to watch and talk to your family at any time anywhere through a 3G mobile phone, was developed by Beijing Vision Info Technology Co., Ltd. Ms. Zhou is an office lady in Beijing. She is watching and interacting with her one-and-a-half year old son through Qshitong in her free time at work. According to company president Li Gang, Qshitong combines Internet with 3G mobile communication technology. It integrates video communications with personalized services to bring about different experiences for consumers. Qshitong brings an intelligent and green life experience to people. In terms of intelligence, it means you can interact with your baby, parents, pets or other family members through controlling the camera remotely at home wherever you are. Through the Qshitong intelligent platform, three-party conversation can be realized so that a doctor can be invited online to give consultations for your baby or old family members. Even if you are abroad, interaction with family members at home through Qshitong can also be carried out. Li Gang said Qshitong has been put into use in several industries. The company has developed sub-products in three fields including "watching your baby", "watching the aged" and "watching your pets". Especially for "watching your baby", value-added services such as "seeing a doctor", "personalized child care service - Q Weekly Magazine" and "warm reminding" are also added.


From Xinhua News Agency 12/28/2009

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E-book Sales to Explode in China

Chinese hi-tech firm Hanwang Technology said yesterday it expects shipments of its e-book readers to increase 400 percent this year, as demand for the portable reading device grows both domestically and overseas. Liu Yingjian, president of Hanwang, said the company plans to sell 2 million e-book readers this year as compared with 500,000 in 2009. "We see great opportunities here," said the 56-year-old executive, noting that the global clamor for e-books will help boost the company's revenue from 670 million yuan last year to nearly 3 billion yuan this year. And although domestic e-book makers like eREAD Technology Ltd and Tianjin Jinke Electronics had similar products in the domestic market several years ago, the reading public was not yet ready for portable-reading devices. According to research firm DisplaySearch, China's e-reader sales will grow from 800,000 units in 2009 to 3 million units this year, accounting for 20 percent of global e-reader sales. Hanwang claims to control 95 percent of China's e-book market, and 20 percent of its products were sold abroad, mainly in Russia, Italy and Spain. According to Liu, foreign revenue will make up 40 percent of Hanwang's total revenue this year, as it provides a cheaper alternative to Amazon's popular Kindle e-book reader. Hanwang's e-book uses the same electronic-paper display as Amazon's Kindle and also enables users to mark pages using handwriting-recognition technology. Unlike Kindle, Hanwang's e-book does not allow users to download books wirelessly, but the company plans to link up with China Mobile - the country's largest wireless carrier - and leverage their 3G network to achieve that feat. Guan Dai, an analyst with hi-tech research company Instat, expects China's e-book reader market to have explosive growth in the next three to four years when Chinese telecom operators finish deployment of their 3G networks and start pushing the service. But she cautioned that rampant piracy and the lack of copyright protections will make it harder for Chinese firms to duplicate Amazon's success. Amazon, Sony and Samsung are currently the world's top producers of e-book readers, yet none of their products are officially available in China, partly due to the lack of support from domestic telecom carriers and opposition from copyright holders.


From China Daily 01/07/2010

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China's Internet Users Hit 384 Million Mark in 2009: Report

A new report has revealed that China's Internet users hit 384 million by the end of 2009 due to the expansion of Internet access and a rapid increase of mobile phone Internet users. According to the report by China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), the numbers registered a 28.9 percent jump since the end of 2008, while the mobile Internet users increased by 120 million to reach a total of 233 million. More people have chosen to access the Internet through mobile phones since the Chinese Government issued third-generation (3G) licenses to major telecom operators in January last year, which enables high-speed connectivity to the Internet, The China Daily reports. The report further said that by November 2009, the government had used 277.3 billion yuan, part of its four trillion yuan stimulus package, to develop telecommunications infrastructure. Internet usage in rural areas also registered a new high as it reached 106.8 million by the end of 2009, an increase of 26.3 percent from 2008. The most frequent online practices included listening to music, reading news, and doing searches, the report said. It also indicated that China's Internet users were gradually shifting to consumption related practices, including tourism reservations, online stock playing, and e-banking, which respectively registered increases of 77.9 percent, 67 percent, and 62.3 percent. China passed the United States to boast the largest population of Internet users in 2008, but the country's Internet penetration rate is still low, with just 28.9 percent of the total population online in 2009.


From http://www.newkerala.com/ 01/16/2010

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China to Build 100 Digital Cities in 2010

Information from China's national meeting of directors at the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping shows that following the completion of China's first digital city geospatial framework construction project, the country plans to build 100 digital cities to promote its overall geospatial framework construction. The construction of digital cities is a major part of China's digital geospatial framework construction. Mainly based on basic geographic information of cities and related information databases, this project aims to build a unified and authoritative geospatial information public platform, promote the integration, sharing, and full use of information resources, and accelerate the information processes of cities. As the first model of digital city in China, the digital Taiyuan project improved the basic geographic information database, established a new digital Taiyuan geographic information public platform, formed three datasets, and developed five application demonstration systems. According to the meeting, the overall scale of China's geographic information industry reached CNY75 billion in 2009, with an over 20% annual growth. About 400,000 people were working in this industry for over 10,000 organizations.


From http://www.chinatechnews.com/ 01/29/2010

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HK Leads in Mobile Download Technology

Hong Kong's leading mobile network operator Create a Simple Life (CSL), its parent company Telstra International and the ZTE Corporation said on Tuesday that they have made good progress in introducing Long Term Evolution (LTE) into public use. The LTE is the method used for the next generation of mobile broadband technology and is expected to enter into widespread commercial use in 2011. Addressing the Fifth Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Christian Daigneault, CTO of CSL, said the three companies had already begun testing the LTE at 20 active and fully operational cell sites on the streets of Hong Kong. "A unique aspect of this trial is that it has moved out of the laboratory and 'into the streets'. We are now testing the cell sites with a 'consumer ready' LTE USB modem and field trials of this are presently being conducted throughout our LTE network," said Mr. Daigneault. "We are very pleased with the results of these trials and the USB modem is performing extremely well, showing peak download speeds upwards of 100Mbps on the streets of Hong Kong." "This means that maybe we have to revise the time in which LTE will be commercially available and rolled out in networks across the world," he added. The CSL and ZTE's experimental work has helped position them at the head of the global mobile telecommunications industry. "Data traffic has increased by 20 times over that of the legacy 3G network and has now eclipsed voice traffic within our network." "With the constant evolution of the network to higher speeds toward LTE and the proliferation of Smartphones and other devices, CSL expects the exponential growth in data traffic in Hong Kong to continue for many years and will continue the investment in LTE technology to build one of the world's most advanced networks in Hong Kong," said Tarek Robbiati, group managing director of Telstra International and CEO of the CSL.


From Xinhua News Agency 02/17/2010

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JAPAN: Website Launched to Raise Money for Suicide Prevention

A Japanese private organization launched a website Thursday where visitors can donate money with the click of a mouse to help stem the rise in suicides. Each visitor to the website called ''Joining Efforts to Prevent Suicides with a Click'' is allowed to make one click a day, which will translate into a one-yen donation to a volunteers' group tackling suicide problems, according to ''Stop! The Suicide Conference'' set up by four media and consulting companies. When the number of such clicks reaches a certain level, Home-One Law Office, a law firm that assists people in debt, will donate the equivalent amount to the volunteers' group, the Federation of Inochi No Denwa Inc., which offers round-the-clock counseling services to those having suicidal thoughts. With more than 30,000 people taking their lives each year for the past 11 years, the conference said it hopes to raise awareness among the public about the suicide issue in Japan by allowing them to make a click on the website, http://www.inochinobokin.jp/.


From http://www.japantoday.com/ 12/10/2009

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Internet-based Autopsy Service Begins

A group of Japanese medical examiners have inaugurated an entity to provide an Internet-based autopsy service to enable doctors in remote places to accurately determine the cause of death by sending postmortem imaging data. The autopsy imaging information center, established by members of the Japanese College of Radiology, is designed to increase the accuracy of autopsies by using forefront imaging technologies such as computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging. At present, autopsies are rarely conducted in Japan. Instead, the cause of death is mostly determined based on only a surface physical examination, which may result in the examiner overlooking the presence of crime or errors in decision making. Under these circumstances, autopsy imaging is used as an alternative screening method when a conventional autopsy is not undertaken. Even if an autopsy is allowed, the method will provide supplementary information to assist the medical examiner during the autopsy. The newly launched center will try to establish a system in which suspicious deaths are to be subject to a full-fledged conventional autopsy.

Chiba University hospital doctor Seiji Yamamoto, a member of the center, said there are fewer than 10 doctors in Japan who can accurately read postmortem imaging data. Some of these doctors who are registered with the center will read imaging data sent from remote hospitals via the Internet to determine the cause of death. Diagnoses are expected to cost 10,000 yen to 50,000 yen. Imaging autopsy began at Chiba University hospital in 2007 under the leadership of Yamamoto. In principle, all patients who died at the hospital have undergone autopsy imaging, also known as postmortem computed tomography. Recently, the hospital has been increasingly asked to read imaging data for other hospitals and investigative authorities, both of which have faced many difficult cases in determining the cause of death due, for example, to the increase in child-abuse cases. The development prompted Yamamoto and other doctors to move to set up a neutral entity to provide an autopsy imaging service. ''Autopsy imaging plays an important role given that autopsies cannot be performed for all deaths in Japan,'' Yamamoto said, calling for not only medical institutions but also investigative bodies to use this medical technology.


From http://www.japantoday.com/ 12/13/2009

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Free Local TV Soon to Be Available on Cell Phones

The prospect of watching live, local TV shows on mobile phones and other portable devices is getting closer. Manufacturers this week are showing off gadgets can receive a new type of digital TV transmissions. "Mobile DTV" gadgets will be available this spring for consumers in the Washington, DC, area to try. The devices include a cell phone made by Samsung Electronics Co and a Dell Inc laptop. There's also the Tivit, a device about the size of a deck of cards that receives a TV signal, then rebroadcasts it over Wi-Fi so it can be received by an iPhone or BlackBerry. The devices are being displayed this week at the International Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas. Conventional digital TV broadcasts are designed for stationary antennas. So devices that are moving - because someone's carrying them or because they're in a car - have a hard time getting a picture. The Mobile DTV technology gets around that problem, letting broadcasters add a secondary signal to the towers they use for sending TV signals to homes. About 30 stations have done so in the last year, hoping to reach viewers on the go as gadgets like smart phones gain in prominence. So far, only prototype devices have been able to receive these new signals. Cell phones, particularly ones with large screens, would be natural devices for Mobile DTV reception, but U.S. carriers have shown little interest in the technology. The two largest ones, AT&T Inc and Verizon Wireless, sell phones that are compatible with a rival broadcasting system, FLO TV, run by Qualcomm Inc. It provides 10 channels for $15 per month. Mobile DTV differs from FLO TV by providing local channels with traffic, weather and sports content, and by being free, at least for some channels.

One of the goals of the consumer trial is to figure out how willing consumers will be to pay, according to the Open Mobile Video Coalition, an industry group that represents both broadcasters and equipment makers. The new Samsung phone is a version of the already available Moment, with an added telescoping antenna for TV reception. It has a screen made of organic light-emitting diodes, providing eye-popping color saturation. Samsung spokesman John Godfrey said about 300 of them will be in consumers' hands in the DC area in the first few months of the year. Phone service will be provided by Sprint Nextel Corp, which doesn't have a deal with FLO TV. But the extent of Sprint's support doesn't yet go very far: it hasn't said that it will sell Mobile DTV phones. The Tivit approaches the phone market differently: It's a separate device that can beam a TV signal to most Wi-Fi-capable phones. It thus bypasses the cellular carriers. It was originally designed to provide TV viewing to the iPhone in Japan, where TV reception is considered a must for phones. Valups, the Korean company behind the device, said the Tivit will go on sale this spring for about $120. LG Electronics Incwhich like Samsung has helped develop the Mobile DTV technology, has said it will introduce a portable DVD player that will also tune in Mobile DTV. It will be available later this year for $249, it said. Dell will be supplying hundreds of small laptops for the trial in Washington, and the computer maker believes it will be able to sell Mobile DTV tuners as upgrades for its laptops, said spokesman James Clardy. Dell already sells laptops with the option of a built-in receiver for standard digital TV, for about $50.


From http://www.japantoday.com/ 01/07/2010

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E-reader Boom Kindles a Variety of New Options

When most people think of electronic book readers, Amazon's thin, white Kindle probably springs to mind. But that could be about to change. cascade of e-readers will hit the market this year, taking the devices far beyond gray-scale screens with features like touch navigation and video chatting - and probably lowering prices, too. It's happening as other gadgets, such as mobile phones and tablet computers, give people even more choices for diving into their favorite books. Perhaps the only downside is worrying you might buy an e-reader from a company that won't stick around. This week, nearly two dozen companies that make the devices or deliver reading material to them are showing products at the International Consumer Electronics Show, the first time it has devoted a section to e-books. In a good sign for the mainstream status e-book companies hope to achieve, they are clustered at a prime location in the Las Vegas Convention Center often taken over by the likes of Microsoft Corp And Amazon isn't even at the exhibition. E-books make up a tiny portion of book sales, but their popularity is growing rapidly. According to the Consumer Electronics Association, which organizes the trade show, 2.2 million e-readers were shipped to stores in 2009, nearly four times as many as the year before. This year, the group expects 5 million will be shipped. "It's an incredible growth category," said Jason Oxman, senior vice president of industry affairs at the electronics association.

E-readers from Sony and other companies were around before Amazon released the Kindle in 2007, but the Kindle was the first to offer wireless downloading of books, making impulse buys easier. Since the Kindle debuted at $399, Amazon has lowered the price to $259 and lured buyers with inexpensive material, such as new releases of books for about $10 each. On Christmas Day, Amazon sold more e-books than physical copies for the first time. To keep up, Barnes & Noble has come out with its $259 Nook, and Sony Corp has stayed in the game with its Readers, with an entry-level model at $200. Each offers hundreds of thousands of titles, with relatively few exclusives - publishers have shown little interest in favoring one device over another. Now other companies are getting in the game. Samsung Electronics Co, the leading maker of phones and TVs in the U.S., will launch an e-reader this year, too. Interead Ltd already sells a $249 device called the COOL-ER and has two new models at the trade show: a smaller, lighter version called the Compact and a touch-screen model called the Connect that can download books from Interead's online store if the user is in a Wi-Fi hot spot. Interead plans to launch both in the first quarter. It also plans to roll out a model with access to a "3G" cellular network, for use outside Wi-Fi locations, by summer. EnTourage Systems Inc is showing off a $490 e-reader at the trade show that has two screens - a 10.1-inch (25.6-centimeter) color touch-screen on the right and a 9.7-inch (24.6-centimeter) black-and-white display on the left. That screen is controlled with a stylus. Like the Nook, enTourage's device, called the eDGe, will run Google Inc's Android operating software, so you can use the color screen to browse the web and watch videos.

There will even be a small camera for video chats. Customers will be able to buy books from enTourage's e-store over Wi-Fi, and the company expects to release a version with service through a wireless carrier. The eDGe is expected to ship to customers in February. The price is twice what the smaller version of the Kindle costs. But Doug Atkinson, enTourage's vice president of marketing and business development, believes people will gravitate to his company's device because it combines Web browsing and book reading. Success in this market might require more than selling a specific gadget, though. Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Sony, for example, also sell electronic books for people to read on other devices, such as the iPhone. That gives those companies a way to profit if the most popular reading device turns out to be, say, a tablet-style computer like the one Apple is expected to launch this year. Another company hedging its bets this way is Skiff LLC, an e-reading company developed by media conglomerate Hearst Corp that hopes to funnel content to devices from various producers. Skiff is focused on trying to make newspapers and magazines look good on e-readers - which is difficult because they have more complex layouts than the single column of text we're used to seeing on the pages of a book.

Skiff also plans to include ads. The first Skiff product, the Skiff Reader, will have an 11.5-inch, gray-scale touch screen that can download material from Skiff's online store. The company is partnering with Spring Nextel Corp. for wireless delivery. It's expected to be available this year, though Skiff has not announced a price or named the device's manufacturer. The Kindle can already deliver publications like Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal. Yet Skiff's president, Gil Fuchsberg, thinks people will be drawn to his company's service because it's dedicated to newspaper and magazine content. Indeed, NPD Group technology analyst Ross Rubin says his firm's research has found people are more interested reading magazines on e-readers than books. While the choices are overwhelming, shoppers stand to benefit. "The great thing about competition," Oxman said, "is it inspires innovation among the manufacturers."


From http://www.japantoday.com/ 01/12/2010

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SOUTH KOREA: Gov't to Spend 2.17 tln Won on Electronic Infrastructure Upgrades

The government plans to spend 2.17 trillion won (US$1.86 billion) next year to update its public sector electronic infrastructure, government officials said Thursday. The sum represents a 7.4 percent gain from this year and is part of a broader move to create a paperless, e-government that can streamline the country's overall policymaking process, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said. The measure, if approved by parliament, is aimed at buying new hardware and software for 1,082 central and regional government agencies and state-run corporations and supporting research and development (R&D) activities. Of the total, 377.7 billion won will be spent on hardware purchases, with 142.4 billion won to be used to acquire software programs. The rest of the money will be allocated for software R&D support. The ministry said it plans to use the bulk of the money in the first half of next year as part of its efforts to spur economic growth.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 12/10/2009

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Internet TV Subscribers Top 1.5 Million

The number of Korean subscribers to real-time Internet-protocol television (IPTV) has topped the 1.5 million mark a year after the service started, a telecom regulator said Thursday, according to the Yonhap News. According to the Korea Communications Commission, the country's three IPTV service providers - KT Corp., SK Broadband Co. and LG Dacom Corp. - have achieved the landmark a year after the IPTV officially launched in December last year. IPTV delivers television and movie content real-time through broadband Internet networks instead of using radio frequency or satellite signals as traditional TV does, and also offers video-on-demand (VOD) services. IPTV services are spreading faster than other new media services. Cable television channels took more than four years to recruit 1 million subscribers while satellite television service took one year and nine months.


From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 12/10/2009

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KT's Live IPTV Users Exceed 1m

The number of subscribers using KT Corp.'s QOOK TV Live, IPTV with real time broadcasts, broke the 1 million mark, the company announced yesterday. KT is the first of the three IPTV service providers to secure more than 1 million subscribers. The other local service providers are SK Broadband and LG Dacom. To mark the breaking of the 1 million mark, the company will hold a concert at a ski resort in Gangwon Province on Saturday and Sunday.


From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 12/25/2009

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The Era of Mobile Internet Dawning

A director of Korea's top search engine operator NHN said last month that the iPhone is a "trigger" for mobile internet in Korea. The remark underscores the impact that the small gadget is having on Korea's IT sector. Korea has touted itself as an IT powerhouse, but it has lagged behind its advanced peers in terms of mobile internet partly because of expensive wireless data services and lack of dominant smartphones. But the rollout of Apple's iPhone in late November is expected to spur the growth of mobile internet in Korea by driving the popularity of smartphones, which are computer-like devices that allow users to surf the internet and download content and software from the web. "The local mobile internet market is on the verge of exploding," Denny Kim, an analyst at Eugene Investment & Securities, said. "The second internet revolution is coming to Korea." Research firm ROA Group Korea predicted that smartphone sales would more than triple to 1.85 million units in 2010, compared with 500,000 units last year. That would make up nearly 10 percent of total handset sales in Korea. "It would not be an exaggeration to say that 2010 is the year in which the revolution from feature phones to smartphones will take place," ROA Group Korea said in a report released last month. "This is can be seen as part of the ripple effect of iPhone's launch," the report said. The rise in smartphone users will increase wireless traffic, which will contribute to pushing up the value of the market to 4.6 trillion won ($3.9 billion), up 12 percent from last year's figure, according to a recent report from Hyundai Securities Co. The mobile internet is expected to offer new growth opportunities for not only wireless operators and handset vendors but internet companies and content providers, all of which are competing to grab a bigger piece of the mobile internet market pie. Operators have expanded their smartphone lineup and introduced competitive data plans, hoping to boost mobile data traffic. This will generate new income sources for carriers, which face slow growth in traditional voice business. SK Telecom, the top mobile carrier, is planning to nearly triple the number of new smartphones to 16 from last year's six, according to a company official. Second-ranked KT also intends to bring out 10 new smartphones while the smallest, LG Telecom, is said to be planning to add five or more smartphones to its lineup.

Along with expanding the smartphone lineup, carriers have also put together package payment plans that offer cheaper data rates, allowing users to access wireless internet services at relatively low costs. In particular, a series of Android-powered smartphones are expected to be rolled out by Samsung, LG, Pantech and Motorola this year. Currently, most smartphones sold here run the Windows Mobile operating system, which is losing ground over Android. Handset vendors see a big opportunity in smartphones, given their higher profit margins and faster sales growth than other phones. Not only the mobile industry, but content and internet firms also seek to cash in the potential expansion of the wireless internet market in Korea. Leading search engines such as Naver.com and Daum.net are bolstering mobile services to increase mobile traffic, which would translate into a rise in advertising revenue. Content providers such as game companies and music firms saw their shares soar in the past couple of months on market expectations that they could benefit from the boom of smartphones, which allow users to download music, games and other content and software from online application stores. The government has also thrown its weight behind mobile internet services. The Korea Communications Commission said last month that it aims to stimulate the growth of wireless internet in Korea as part of its plans to create the "second internet boom." One of the main tools both government and industry are using in their efforts to boost wireless internet in Korea is the smartphone. The KCC plans to encourage carriers to offer more smartphones through various policy measures with the aim of raising the proportion of new phones accounted for by smartphones to 24 percent in 2010 from 14 percent in 2009. "Smartphones are important because users must first have devices capable of accessing wireless internet networks if such services are to take off," a KT Corp. official said. "There are other portable devices that can access wireless internet networks, but unlike a smartphone, which has the functions of a computer, other wireless internet-capable devices have limited applications."


From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 01/01/2010

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E-textbooks Due Next Year

Students at primary and secondary schools will begin using electronic textbooks along with paper ones next year, which will ease the burden of carrying heavy thick books, the Education Ministry said yesterday. The ministry will also expand the use of "government-recognized" textbooks, which will allow students to use other books - containing up-to-date information - as their textbooks. It announced a set of measures to enhance current textbooks, which have been denounced for containing out-of-date information and being too condensed and concise in content. "There have been complaints from parents and students saying they have to buy supplementary books as the textbooks contain only summaries and are too concise," said Vice Education Minister Lee Ju-ho in a press briefing. "Experts have also pointed out that the textbooks failed to immediately reflect up-to-date knowledge." Beginning next year, students will use English, Korean and math textbooks in the form of a compact disc. As textbooks are expected to become much heavier and thicker under the government plan to improve content, students will use e-textbooks at home and paper ones at their schools, the ministry said. E-textbooks will be provided free of charge to students at elementary and middle schools since their education is obligatory in Korea.

The ministry plans to financially assist high-school students from low-income families in purchasing e-textbooks. The plan to increase the use of the "government-recognized" textbooks will allow students to use a wide variety of books, including those written by teachers. It will also make it easier for new textbooks to be developed or corrected in a shorter time. There are three kinds of textbooks. One is the "state-made" textbook. Another is the "government-approved" textbook, which was made by a private company in accordance with state standards. The "government-recognized" one refers to one made by a private company and authorized by a local educational superintendent. It takes about 30 months for a government-approved textbook to be distributed - after the state approval process - to schools while it takes only six months for a government-recognized textbook. Some have raised concern that as the time for the government-recognized textbooks to be authorized is shorter compared with other types of textbooks, their quality could worsen. In response, the ministry said it would designate and run a supervisory organization consisting of private experts to ensure the quality of the textbooks. Anther concern was regarding the possibility of textbook prices going up given that content will increase along with the number of pages. The ministry said that it would continue to allow private companies to independently decide the prices, but would check them in advance and make a recommendation if necessary.


From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 01/13/2010

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Korea Ranks 1st in Broadband Connection Speed in 2009

South Korea grabbed the top spot in a ranking of broadband connection speeds around the world last year, while the gap separating first and second place finishers widened from the year before, an industry report showed Tuesday. According to the report from Akamai Technologies Inc., a U.S.-based Web content and solution company, broadband connection speeds in South Korea in the third quarter of 2009 were the fastest among 226 countries at 14.6 megabits per second (Mbps). The speed was also 16 percent faster than a year ago and marked a 29 percent on-quarter increase. Akami's State of the Internet report also said that Japan placed a distant second with average broadband service at 7.9 Mbps, followed by Hong Kong and Romania at 7.6 Mbps and 6.2 Mbps, respectively. The United States was ranked 18th in Internet connection speeds. The report showed that the average broadband connection speed of all countries included in the ranking was 1.7 Mbps, 13 percent faster than a year ago. South Korea's broadband connection showed a higher and faster improvement than other countries, according to the report. While Japan's Internet connection speed improved 8.2 percent on year and 11 percent on quarter, South Korea's broadband connection speed was 16 percent and 29 percent faster on year and on quarter, respectively. Ireland was the only country among those ranked in the top 10 that improved its broadband connection speed at a faster clip than South Korea. The European country's broadband speed increased 26 percent in the third quarter of 2009 from a year earlier and 73 percent from the previous quarter. South Korea was also ranked first in the penetration rate of high-speed Internet with 74 percent of the country's broadband network offering Internet connection at speeds of 5 Mbps or higher, according to the report.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 01/19/2010

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S. Korea, Japan Have World's Fastest Web Links

East Asian countries led by South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan are the best wired in the world with the highest number of fast broadband connections to the Internet, a recent report has found. South Korea boasts the world's highest average connection speed at 14.6 Megabytes per second (Mbps) and also has six of Asia's 10 cities with the fastest link-ups, all with average speeds above 15 Mbps. Japan had the second highest average connection speed of 7.9 Mbps, followed by the Chinese territory of Hong Kong with 7.6 Mbps, said the report by US-based network provider Akamai Technologies. The other countries in the top ten are Romania, followed by Sweden, Ireland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark and the Czech Republic, with the United States at 18th place, with an average speed of 3.9 Mbps. The survey classifies "broadband" connections as those of two Mbps or more, and "high broadband" as five Mbps or over, while link-ups at 20 Mbps and better were categorised as "extremely high speed connectivity." In South Korea, 74 percent of connections were "high broadband," the world's top rate, while the figure was 60 percent in Japan, followed by Hong Kong with 46 percent, said the report. The United States came 12th, with just 24 percent of its connections at five Mbps or more. Worldwide, the high broadband percentage was 19 percent. Growing demand for online high-definition video content is driving demand for faster connections, said Akamai's 'State of the Internet' report for the third quarter of 2009. "As the quantity of HD-quality media increases over time and the consumption of that media increases, end users are likely to require ever-increasing amounts of bandwidth," the report said.


From http://www.google.com/ 02/02/2010

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Korea, Japan Discuss Digital Economy

The Ministry of Knowledge Economy shared IT policy information and sought new opportunities for cooperation with the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry at a two-day meeting in Kanazawa last week. It was the 12th such meeting since 2000, when national leaders of the two countries promised to facilitate partnerships in e-commerce and digital economy. Participants resolved to coordinate policies and identify promising joint projects in the information technology sector. Both sides acknowledged that information technology will lead the world out of the economic recession. On the sidelines of the main event, legal professionals met to discuss such issues as privacy on the Internet; separately, e-commerce experts discussed ways to standardize green information technologies and facilitate information sharing among businesses. "Our active cooperation to utilize information technology in a variety of industries will advance the information technology industries in both countries," said Director General for Electronics and IT Industries Jeon Sang Hwon. "Future discussions will address ways to upgrade production and promote economic development through better utilization of information technology."


From http://www.korea.net/ 12/23/2009

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INDONESIA: At-home Technology Can Monitor Seniors for Safety

At 88, Grif Crawford knows he's at risk of a fall or other sudden health problem. So he wears a pendant around his neck that can summon help if something goes wrong. "It's kind of like life insurance," said Crawford, of Lee Summit, Mo. "I feel very comforted with this." The device has come a long way since the days when it merely allowed the wearer to alert someone that he or she had fallen and couldn't get up. Crawford's equipment also can be programmed to answer his phone, remind him to take his medicine or alert him to a fire, among other things. It's one of several new products designed to help seniors stay in their homes rather than move to a nursing home or assisted living facility.

At-home technology now can monitor senior citizens' movements, vital statistics, and sleep and bathroom patterns. There are products that remind seniors to take their medicine. Such devices allow older people to remain in their homes with more oversight from loved ones or medical specialists. The products can monitor how well seniors are managing the chores of daily living, and offer "peace of mind" to caregivers or family, said Majd Alwan, director of the Center of Aging Services Technology, in Washington. The products are most successful when they are tied to an agency that can dispatch meals, medical help or other senior services, he said. Currently, the monitoring systems, which cost about $150 to $200 a month, are more often prescribed to seniors for a limited time after a hospitalization or health issue, Alwan said. Some also are being used in assisted living facilities where operators like the additional protections they offer.

But many people would like to see the technology become more mainstream, added Elinor Ginzler, senior vice president for livable communities for AARP, which recently surveyed seniors about their interest in the products. Seniors are willing to use the technology if it's affordable, she said. "We're at the beginning of the wave," she said. "Money is an issue." Alwan foresees technology allowing seniors to avoid "unnecessary early institutionalization" because it will relieve the anxiety of loved ones. The ability to closely monitor a person's lifestyle also can help family members know when the older person is unable to remain home, said Katie Boyer, director of marketing for Home for Life Solutions, in Lee Summit. Besides monitoring falls and day-to-day activities, her company sells equipment that will turn off a stove if the user forgets. A built-in motion detector turns the appliance off if the user leaves the room and does not return in a specific timeframe.

As for managing medicine, systems exist that will dispense it at appropriate times and remind patients to take it. If the patient fails to take the medicine, the pills can move into a locked chamber to avoid an overdose. Many older people like having technology provide this extra layer of security because it doesn't require them to give up privacy, said Agnes Berzsenyi, general manager of home health for GE Healthcare in Milwaukee. GE has two products aimed at seniors: Health Guide allows users to check their blood pressure, sugar levels or heart rate daily. The information is sent to a medical provider who tracks it. If problems arise, the patient can have a teleconference with a nurse or schedule an appointment with their doctor.

The company also offers QuietCare, which uses sensors that learn a customer's daily activities and behaviors, and then watch for changes, Berzsenyi explained. The sensors will alert help if a person falls, goes to the bathroom at night and doesn't return to bed, or fails to get out of bed in the morning. Sensors also can be placed near the medicine cabinet or refrigerator, so monitors can track whether the person is taking their medicine and eating. "It makes them feel like someone's taking care of them but no one is watching them," Berzsenyi said. John Cobb, CEO of Senior Lifestyle Corp., started to install QuietCare in some of his company's 70 senior living facilities this summer because he thought it would make residents safer. With Quietcare, his staff can keep track of residents' whereabouts at night, he said. "This is not a nursing home," Cobb said from his company's Chicago headquarters. "We're not watching people at night." Within 30 days, the system alerted staff members to five residents who had problems overnight, he said. "That was a very telling moment," he said.


From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 12/30/2009

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MALAYSIA: Telecentres Urged to Have More Community Activities

The Multimedia Development Corp (MDeC) wants the 2,000 telecentres across the country to step up ICT awareness programmes for their rural communities. MDeC, which is tasked with helping to empower businesses and connect communities through information and communications technology, is disappointed with the low levels of activity at most of these telecentres. "Out of the 2,000 telecentres, only 18 submitted proposals for the recent MSC Malaysia Karnival Usahawan & ICT event," said MDeC chief executive Badlisham Ghazali, citing an example. MDeC is guardian of the MSC Malaysia initiative to build a knowledge-based economy. "Six were chosen and these performed very well. But a lot more needs to be done and by all the telecentres," he said.

The only way Malaysia will achieve high ICT literacy is if everyone gets involved in their own community, according to Badlisham. He said the first step is to create awareness and the telecentres should know the best way to do this for their own community. "People must learn to not be intimidated by technology. Once we have achieved that, we can create a portal to gather feedback and assess what the community needs in terms of ICT," he said. The carnivals were held between October 2009 and last month. Those who attended were treated to a digital storytelling activity, an introduction to blogging, and various traditional performances. Each carnival attracted about 5,000 visitors, said MDeC.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 02/11/2010

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MSC Firms Dive into IPTV E-learning Programmes

The next step in e-learning is making educational programmes for IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) for students, especially those in the nation's computer-equipped smart schools. This is the reason two MSC Malaysia-status companies - Telekom Smart School Sdn Bhd (TSS) and Zeal Hi Tech Sdn Bhd - are working with a South Korean company, Dunet Inc, to develop such programmes. "We will be able to raise the standard of learning, as well as increase ICT (information and communications technology) adoption in Malaysia," said TSS chief executive officer Zainuddin Ismail.

Azman Awalludin, managing director at Zeal, said the country's High-Speed Broadband (HSBB) initiative will play a part in making e-learning via IPTV even more relevant in the near future. Dunet, which is regarded as an e-learning solutions expert, will help the two local companies gather expertise to develop products for Malaysia and the world. "The venture will also allow us to pool our strengths and come up with a standard for developing content for e-learning via IPTV," Azman said. This will be a world-class benchmark for industry players in the country so that they can penetrate global markets.

Holly Lee, Dunet's marketing manager, said the venture will involve technology and knowledge transfers between the three companies. Norrizan Razali, senior manager of the Smart School Department at the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), said the companies have until August to draw up standards for e-learning content, and must deliver some solutions by October. MDeC, the custodian of the MSC Malaysia initiative, expects the local e-learning solutions development sector to generate a revenue of RM10mil and create about 2,000 jobs in the next five years.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 02/17/2010

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Libraries to Offer Online Book Borrowing

KUALA LUMPUR: Seven of the country's libraries will be the first in Malaysia to offer online book borrowing through a programme implemented under the Information Technology Strategic Plan 2010-2013 launched Thursday. Malaysian National Library director-general Datuk Raslin Abu Bakar said the seven were the National Library as well as the Intan Bukit Kiara Library, Negri Sembilan Public Library, Pahang Public Library, Kuala Lumpur Library, Selangor Library and the Sarawak State Library. "The books borrowed online will be sent by post. "This way it will be easier for members anywhere to obtain books that are not available in their library from another library using the online system," he said during a news conference here Thursday. He said the affordable plan was expected to be offered by all 189 libraries nationwide within four years. "We hope that between 2010 and 2013 libraries in rural and remote areas will also have access to online book borrowing," he said. - Bernama


From http://thestar.com.my/ 02/18/2010

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SINGAPORE: Consumers to Benefit from New Guidelines on Telecommunication Services

Come March 2010, Singapore will reap more benefits from competitive telecommunication services as new guidelines for such services kick in. The new guidelines will apply to new or renewed contracts for all fixed-line, mobile and broadband services offered to consumers from 1 March 2010 onwards. With these guidelines, the maximum contract period for all such services will not exceed 24 months. Consumers who sign on to contracts longer than three months and who terminate their contracts before the end of their contract period will no longer have to pay fixed early termination charges, but will see these charges decrease over time on a month-by-month basis as they serve out their contract. In addition, operators offering these services must also ensure that these early termination charges do not include costs which they can avoid when the consumer terminates his service. Such costs could include back-end administrative and operational costs that the operator would not have to incur once the customer terminates the service.

The new guidelines were prompted by consumers' concerns that contract periods might be becoming unduly long, and early termination charges excessively high, which together hinder them from terminating the service and switching between operators. These guidelines were subsequently developed after a public consultation and a review by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA). IDA Deputy Chief Executive and Director-General (Telecoms and Post) Leong Keng Thai said, "We encourage the operators to compete with each other on price, quality and innovative services. In promoting effective competition in the telecoms sector, we have to lower barriers for consumers to terminate services legitimately and switch from one operator to another to enjoy more attractive or competitively-priced services. The new guidelines will give consumers greater flexibility and freedom to pick from the wide variety of plans in the fast-changing and dynamic telecoms market, unhindered by long contracts or excessive early termination fees."

"On the other hand, the guidelines will continue to allow the operators freedom to innovate in designing new service plans to attract customers, including offering discounts and gifts. IDA would also like to encourage operators to provide no-frills service offerings that come with shorter contract terms, to cater to a segment of consumers who prefer such services. The consumer can look forward to more competition in telecommunication services." The guidelines seek to ensure that industry practices will be more reasonable and fair, and strike a balance between protecting the interest of both consumers and providing operators with the freedom to innovate in designing service plans, while enabling them to seek early termination charges on a cost-recovery basis.


From http://www.ida.gov.sg/ 12/15/2009

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THAILAND: Uni Network to Digitise Libraries, Push E-Learning

The Office of Higher Education Commission (OHEC) will implement its Internet infrastructure backbone, the Uninet (Inter-university network), running on 50GB and expected to be Thailand's largest network within three years. OHEC secretary general Sumate Yamnoon told Database that the present 10GB bandwidth of Uninet backbone has been running on the leased line network of ToT and CAT, but the new one will be owned by OHEC.

Uninet is the ICT infrastructure for research, teaching and academic service, which OHEC has run for 12 years. Funded by the government's Stimulus Package 2 plan, the 50GB Uninet network, is worth some 5 billion baht. Based on the plan, the first phase of the fibre optic network will cover 8,000 kilometres in the first year, eventually covering 24,000 kilometers in three years, making it the largest network in the country.

UniNet director Wicharn Lertwibhatrakul noted that it is now in the process of implementing the cable network and equipment which will gradually extend the network. "In some areas, we still have to lease the TOT and CAT lines because the OHEC network cannot reach the last mile," Wicharn said, noting that Uninet is now considering a backup route. Thailand is the first country to build a high-speed fibre optic network connecting universities and research networks nationwide and have students access Internet free of charge. Uninet has linked to the research network globally. The director said that through the connection with InternetII, the academic and research high-speed Internet designed for higher education and research institutes allows access to more than 2,000 research resources of universities in the US.

Wicharn adding that the network also serves consultations, removing the need to travel, as presentations can be conducted in 10 countries simultaneously. UniNet will connect to more than 400 vocational education and 185 education service area offices, community libraries and schools under the Border Patrol Police, the Office of the Basic Education Commission and non-profit foundations within three years. The office also has a plan to broadcast UK-based Teacher TV programming. Wicharn noted that there will be around 10 programs broadcast initially. "At the first stage, the program will be run with Thai subtitles," he said, noting that programs cover a variety of modern teaching techniques that both teachers and parents can view.

In addition, OHEC has a plan to leverage academic resources by initiating a system, called Union Catalogue, to integrate all libraries of universities into the one network. Every university is required to adjust its call numbers, book reference numbers and have computer systems running on the same standard. So far, 24 public universities have done this with more than 3 million books. "This system will lead to book-borrowing between the universities, and we can check which are the most popular titles," the secretary-general noted. OHEC also supports digitising the content of the libraries, including bachelor, master and doctorate degree theses. Eventually regulation will be in place for universities to store five hard copies together with soft file. Thailand Cyber University (TCU) is another example of OHEC promoting e-learning by creating a learning management system on the basis of SCORM2.1 standard. Currently TCU is developing an e-learning package for schools and universities.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 12/09/2009

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ICT to Launch Satellite TV Online

BANGKOK (NNT) - The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is going to launch a satellite television broadcasting information technology news, to begin in February 2010 via www.ictnetwork.tv. ICT Minister Second Lt Ranongruk Suwunchwee said the ministry has cooperated with CAT Telecom Plc, TOT Plc, and the Software Industry Promotion Agency (SIPA), in launching the first online TV channel concentrating on ICT information. Mr Jirayuth Rungsrithong, Managing Director of CAT Telecom, stated that the company was primarily assigned to set up the 24-hour network in response to the ministry's policy which aims to promote ICT news and knowledge. A 30 million THB budget has been allocated for equipment and networking to be installed by CAT while TOT is in charge of seeking sites of transmitters. SIPA is responsible for the program content. The program pattern and schedule is expected to be concluded by January 2010 and broadcast for the first time on 14 February 2010 on the website.


From http://www.bday.net/ 12/29/2009

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Ad Agencies, PR Firms Make Full Use of Social Network Sites

Social networking is not just impacting advertising agencies but also driving public relation agencies to extend their business by setting up dedicated teams to listen and get immediate feedback from customers as a key element in integrated marketing. Kanpirom Ungpakorn, Managing Director at Hill & Knowlton Thailand, said the advancement of technology in recent years has helped to bring digital content to consumers anywhere, anytime through a wide range of devices. The younger generation and working professionals are now more likely to spend more of their day viewing digital and social media. In Thailand this is also coinciding with a boom in the popularity of networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Figures as of January show that Thailand has now become Facebook's second highest growing market in the world, with over 150,000 new accounts created every week.

As such, it is essential for PR professionals to not only recognise this changing behaviour of consumers, but to also fully understand how and when to include an online element in their campaigns. This led the company to establish a specialised digital communications practice by using social media and conducting blogger-related activities to help clients. Any customer of a product or service who is active in social networking should be considered a target customer. Nonetheless there may be some differences among different industries. For example, some industries are hot topics online, such as telecoms, gadgets, beauty, fashion and automobiles, while other industries are less talked about within the online community. To be successful, PR agencies need to fully understand their target audience and environment and lay out an effective communications strategy accordingly. "Companies today cannot afford to overlook social media if their target audience is represented online. However, you still have to identify the right online communities and engage yourself with them in a way that will capture their interest and loyalty to the brand," Kanpirom said.

For example in the launch of Windows 7 in Thailand, Microsoft wanted to take a different approach and focus first and foremost on consumers. With this in mind, social media - namely a Facebook fan page and a Twitter account linked to a purpose-built website - proved to be the most effective communications channel for reaching general consumers, students and bloggers. She also said that there is some overlap with advertising agencies which have a digital team that can develop online campaigns using social media . However, PR agencies by their nature have a deeper expertise in developing content and finding ways to get target audiences engaged in conversation with the company and brand. The company also handles blogger relations, which despite some similarities, are very different from media relations. In addition, PR agencies are also better positioned to offer a fully integrated approach by bringing together the online element with traditional media channels.

Social media as digital influences
Jintana Daungkaew, Business Director at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, said we live in a new world where anyone and everyone can be an influencer. Social media like the Internet and mobile communications networks have tremendously changed the way people live and communicate. Social media have allowed both business and governmental corporations and individuals to have effective two-way communications and have influenced each other. "Digital influence is transforming communication. Our public relations' programs using social media that we developed for our clients have created open and honest conversations; they are not delivering a top-down marketing message to consumers," Jintana said.

She added that digital influence or social media are very different from mere online advertising. The company used digital influence not only to inform about the brand or send corporate messages but also to listen to, and get the immediate feedback from customer. "Michael Dell used to say that people talk about social media programs but I just think about conversations with customers. We have hundreds of millions of them every year. We listen on the phone and in the offices of our customers. Why not improve our online listening skills and the number of ways we can do it?, " Jintana said. "Interestingly, Direct2Dell generates 3.5 million page views every year. This means that corporations can do so much more using social media to influence and understand specific customer needs and reach even broader targets." She added that the company has developed a unique "Three-Step Methodology for Using Twitter", and no matter what the business objective, its approach involves three steps - Follow, Create and Engage. This can create a successful sales and promotion plan which is based on identifying a target audience, providing useful content and being prepared to engage in conversation. When done right, the followers will not only become loyal customers, but also evangelists for the brand.

Tools for reaching foreign buyers
Peter Bachner, Director of Strategic Marketing at Penner Madison, said social media is also referred to as Web 2.0. It's a platform within integrated online marketing that's been utilised as a tactic within an integrated strategy. "Social network sites can be powerful if you know how to utilise them within a larger integrated strategy that includes personal development, targeted landing pages and SEO architecture, and geo-targeting that speaks to the target audience. "It's sort of a trend now for companies to see social networking sites as an opportunity to market, but few companies are truly successful in utilising it as you also need to be an expert in integrated marketing, both offline and online," Bachner said. "On the other hand, charities have been extremely successful in mobilising fundraising campaigns through Facebook and MySpace and companies like Dell have touted the fact that they've been successful in selling computers through social media sites."

Social media sites and Twitter, for example, allow a two-way conversation between the company and the consumer and hence allow product and brand credibility to take place. For PR companies, utilising online marketing tools is essential in reaching foreign buyers, foreign exhibitors and target industries. Companies such as Bitec and TICEB utilise integrated online marketing more and more as a critical means to reach out to their target audiences in foreign markets. It can be also of great value to the travel and tourism industries, allowing real consumer feedback and dialogue to take place on fan pages. Facebook also allows groups to be created and that allows PR companies to better isolate groups to create a dialogue. Social media tactics for public relations is time consuming and one also has to give the impression of credibility in what one is promoting. One also has to be extremely relevant in what one is talking about to the target group or efforts will be seen as spamming and not only will the company lose credibility, but also can be blacklisted by online platforms. A representative from Weber Shandwick said many businesses are now discovering the immense reach and influence of social networking. Hence, when they seek a PR agency, they are now also including online marketing in their communication plans.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 02/17/2010

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VIETNAM: Developing Human Resources Critical to IT Growth, Experts Say

The National Instruction Board for Information Technology convened a meeting November 25 in Hanoi to discuss developing Vietnam's information technology. Human resources in the sector should be prioritized, experts agreed. Professor Vu Minh Giang from Hanoi said it was critical for the government to develop personnel resources to strengthen the field. The president of the National Instruction Board for Information Technology, Prof. Do Trung Ta from Hanoi, agreed, saying that it was even more important than developing IT infrastructure in the country. Participants said it was wise for the government to focus on the burgeoning IT sector and that Vietnam had received recognition for its strength in the field.
 
However, there is much room for improvement, the meeting heard, and the IT sector must be analyzed in terms of strategic socioeconomic growth to 2020. Discussing a project to fortify the country's IT, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Nguyen Quan said the allocation of funds for the project was unreasonable. Total funding for the project is estimated at VND144 trillion (US$7, 8 billion), of which VND131 trillion (US$7 billion) (91 percent), is allocated for implementing broadband infrastructure. The remaining VND210 billion is slated for developing human resources. The divisions should receive equal funding, he said. IT experts at the meeting agreed, saying the actual cost of developing a strong human resources sector to 2020 is closer to US$1-2 billion.
 
Following the meeting, a proposal was submitted to the Ministry of Information and Communications, and policymakers, outlining the strategy and projected costs of the project. In addition, Prof. Ta said the project should focus on training and foreign language skills rather than simply churning out large numbers of IT graduates. Furthermore, the government should concentrate on integrating IT into other fields like security and national defense, rather than treating it as an exclusive sector. If the project is successful, it will be a boost to the country's socioeconomic development to 2020, said Prof. Ta. Moreover, the implementation of the project must have the participation of ministries like Science and Technology, Education and Training, Planning and Investment, and Finance in addition to the Ministry of Information and Communications.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 11/27/2009

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Slow Growth for 3G Infrastructure

VietNamNet Bridge - The country's mobile network infrastructure has been sluggish in meeting the boom in third generation (3G) technology services in Viet Nam. Many consumers have complained about 3G network jamming, low memory capacity, sound and image quality.

"Although my mobile phone is in a covered region, I experience network jamming problems," said a consumer using the 3G service. The VMS - MobiFone director, Le Ngoc Minh, said the infrastructure to service 3G technology in Viet Nam is still weak although the maximum data transfer speed of 3G technology is 7.2 Mbps (megabits per second).

A representative of the Posts and Telecommunications Quality Control Department of the Ministry of Information and Communications also said that the country's current mobile phone network has been built to service a 2G technology network, and even that is outdated. Hoang Ngoc Vy, general director of the A Telecommunication Company, one of the country's largest mobile phone retail chains, agreed that the 3G mobile phone market share had seen little increase, as it takes several years more to develop 3G technology service networks in Viet Nam. However, in the wake of complaints about the quality of 3G services in Viet Nam, the Ministry of Information and Communications is drawing up a plan to inspect 3G service quality. The ministry will only inspect 3G quality based on service providers' commitments as made when they applied for licences to provide 3G service.

Nguyen Phong Nha, deputy head of Telecommunication Department said it is expected to implement the inspection in the first quarter of this year. Currently, MobiFone and VinaPhone officially launched 3G services last year. While in April, EVN Telcom and Viettel will announce their 3G services, followed by Vietnamobile which also will begin their services in June 2010. The Ministry of Information and Communications has granted licences to operate 3G services to domestic mobile phone operators, including MobiFone, Viettel, VinaPhone, G-tel, EVN Telecom and VietnamMobile.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 01/09/2010

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E-Customs to Boost Export Efficiency

VietNamNet Bridge - As many as 60 per cent of the country's total export turnover this year would be through e-customs, which has been launched in 10 cities and provinces, the General Department of Customs said. It planned to widen the range of e-commerce applications and products, such as processing, while it created legal documents for express mail e-customs procedures. The department said it would divide its e-customs procedures into three blocks. The first would be for receiving, processing and responding to information automatically. Machines and equipment to carry out these procedures would be located at data centres.

The second block would be for checking information in detail in customs branches. The third block would be physically checking goods. These blocks would make customs clearance more convenient and faster, the department said. In addition, they would improve flexibility and information storage. The department said e-customs clearance was of benefit to both businesses and customs offices, reducing time spent in custom documentation and clearance.

As for consignments exempt from checking, businesses would still have to fill out a customs declaration. For goods needing to be checked, firms would have to submit necessary documents. Meanwhile, the initial introduction of e-customs would upgrade information and technology infrastructure to international standards and help officials prepare for expansion nationwide.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 02/03/2010

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INDIA: IRDA Permits Online Purchase of Insurance Policy

Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority has permitted the online selling of insurance policies, through which the players in Insurance sector can offer their policies on Internet and citizens can easily opt it, without needing to go to a policy agent. Now since citizens don't have to pay commission to agents, they can directly deal with the insurance company, which will offer them policies at lower premiums. Mr R. Kannan, Chief Actuary, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority, said the conditions for selling online policies are twofold, first - actuarial calculations should determine the premiums and, hence, there should not be undercutting among insurers, and the policies must be compliant with IRDA norms. Previously, this was not the case. IRDA did not allow the selling of policies on Internet, with the concern that this may result in discrimination between rural and urban markets- because of risk involved of rural population being left untouched by the benefits, especially the cheaper policy premiums. However, after various surveys and market research, the authority concluded that Information Technology (IT) revolution has reached the villages so it sanctioned relaxation in its norms.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 12/02/2009

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Delhi High Court Gets India's First E-Court

Delhi high court created history on December 15, 2009 by showcasing the first e-Courtroom in the country. The court of Justice S Ravindra Bhat looked unlike any other courtroom, with a sleek, wide LCD screen on the wall and a touchscreen handbook replacing the bulky files as the HC launched its first eco-friendly initiative to go paperless and also bring about speedy justice. Cumbersome paperwork has been replaced by digitalized files and judges can directly access them on a display monitor. With a target of digitalizing all documents within two years, the court has launched a pilot project which went on smoothly on the first day. Though 33 matters were listed for the day, around 18 cases were disposed of within the first two hours, which on a routine basis take the entire day. The judge used his special LCD touchscreen to make corrections and his digital signature to certify the copy.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 12/16/2009

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New Technology for E-Toll Payment to Be Identified

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has planned to conduct three pilot studies next year, 2011 for identifying suitable technology for electronic toll collection along three highways across the country. These are Panipat-Jalandhar section of NH-1 in the states of Haryana and Punjab, Gurgaon-Jaipur section of NH-8 in the states of Haryana and Rajasthan and Surat-Dahisar section of NH-8 in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. All these locations are four to six lane widening projects. Different technologies, 5.8 GHz Microwave (Passive), 5.8 GHz Microwave (Active) and Communication Air-interface Long and Medium Range-infra red (CALM-IR) have been identified in the pilot project. Electronic tolling would reduce the delay at the toll plaza due to reduced transaction time, thereby improving the operational efficiency of the National Highways.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 12/18/2009

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Traditional Indian Remedies to Be Digitised

The Government of India has digitised traditional Indian remedies and healing systems to prevent international pharmaceutical companies from claiming patents on them. The Traditional Knowledge Digital Library contains details of all known Indian remedies and healing processes and the manner in which herbs and other items are used to affect this. It has been translated into five languages and put it in the public domain.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 12/18/2009

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Orissa to Enable Online Utility Payments

After signing of memoranda of understanding (MoU) between Government of Orissa and four power distribution companies - CESU, Nesco, Southco and Wesco, the way for online payment of electricity bills in the state has been laid out. The common services centres (CSC) in the state will be used as collection centres for the utility companies. The new system will make the cumbersome bill collection process easier and the manpower engaged in bill collection can be utilised for other meaningful purposes. The target is to convert five to 10 percent physical bill collection to online mode in the current financial year with ultimate target of 90 percent online payment in two to three years. The state currently has about 4,000 operational CSCs and as per state officials another 7,500 centres will be in place during the next six months. Each gram panchayat will have at least one CSC where electricity consumers will pay their bills without visiting the offices or collection centres of the distribution utilities. Even consumers who have not received their electricity bills for a particular month can pay their dues.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 01/04/2010

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Biometrics and E-Challans for Capital's Transport and Traffic Management

The Delhi Transport Department will issue public service vehicle (PSV) badges cum biometric cards to the taxi, auto-rickshaw drivers in the Capital. The traffic zonal officers will be issued biometric card readers, to check the authenticity of cards. Y S Dadwal, Delhi Police Commissioner while making this announcement, in the annual press conference of Delhi Police, said that the biometric card would register the violations committed by the auto-taxi drivers and will make available the prosecution history to the cops. In another important announcement, on the same occasion, it was revealed that the e-Challan system would be operational by the mid of this year. According to the Traffic Department official, the archives are cumbersome to manage and so it will change that part of traffic management in short period of time. e-Challan system would require a GPRS enabled hand held electronic device, similar to the size of a BlackBerry phone with a touch screen and stylus. It would be attached to a compact printer to print challans in English and Hindi. The device would be connected to a central database through which the cops can transact business details on the basis of vehicle number, name of driver and driver's license, inter alia.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 01/05/2010

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High Speed Wireless Launched in Assam

BSNL's high speed wireless data services for rural areas was launched in Chhayagaon on February 03, 2010 by Union Minister of State for Communication and Information Technology Sachin Pilot. The Rs 1,200 crore project with a peak speed of 7 mbps would offer a minimum speed of 1 mbps and support all government schemes in the rural areas. This technology has been specially designed for difficult geographical areas where laying cable is difficult and cumbersome. As part of its e-Governance programme, the Union Ministry is going to roll out Rs 250 crore for an 800-kilometre long Optical Fiber Cable Network project that would connect the State capital with all the district headquarters and blocks. In the next financial year 2010-11, the Union Government would put up 843 new mobile towers in the Northeastern region putting more emphasis on the areas affected by insurgency, and border areas as well.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 02/04/2010

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2.5 Lakh E-Kiosks by 2012 in India

The Government of India along with the private sector partners have completed putting up 60,000 out of the one lakh Common Service Centres (CSCs). The government will also have another round of bidding for another 150,000 CSCs that have to be operational by 2012, taking the total to one CSC per 2.5 villages. 15 states already have their State Wide Area Network (SWANs) up and running the remaining will come onstream by September 2010. The government will also allocate nearly Rs 2,500 crore in the upcoming budget to convert local government records into digital format for being fed into its the new Internet-like backbones being set up in each state.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 02/11/2010

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Jharkhand Gets Ready for E-Nagrik Services

To extend the reach of Information Technology (IT) facilities upto the village level, the Jharkhand State Government has planned to launch e-Nagrik services at all 4562 Panchayat Kendras, known as Common Service Centres (CSC), at the panchayat levels, across the State. The IT facilities will be made available to villagers under the e-Nagrik scheme that envisages issuance of various certificates like birth, death, income, caste, etc, from the CSCs at a nominal cost. The JharNet, State Wide Area Network (SWAN) and JAP-IT (Jharkhand Agency for Promotion of Information Technology) together have been assigned the job for developing necessary infrastructure at the Panchayat levels to make the CSCs function smoothly.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 02/17/2010

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AFGHANISTAN: Ministry of Communications & IT and Anesta Telecom Sign a Contract to Utilize DSL

Afghan Telecom and Anesta Telecom signed an agreement to utilize the DCL (Digital Subscriber Line) in Afghanistan. The ceremony was organized in the Ministry of Communications and IT on December 23, 2009 attended by H. E. Deputy Minister Technical Eng Barialai Hassam, H.E Eng. Abdul Wakil shirgul Deputy Minister Administrative, Eng. Rastman CEO of Afghan Telecom and CEO of Anesta Telecom as well as a number of representatives of national and international media. At the beginning, Deputy Minister Technical Eng Barialai Hassam briefed the audiences regarding the benefits and facilities of the DSL and said that the DSL is an important milestone for the development of Afghanistan and the telecommunications industry. 

Addressing the media H.E. Deputy Minister Technical reiterated that the main purpose of launching of this project is to facilitate the excellent internet services with good facilities, high speed and low price in the country he mentioned that these services are passing through fix-line of Afghan Telecom. DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) is a high-speed Internet service that competes with cable Internet to provide online access to local customers. DSL operates over standard copper telephone lines like dial-up service, but is many times faster than dial-up. In addition to being faster than dial-up, DSL does not tie up the phone line. Coexisting with telephone service in this way allows users to surf the Net and use the phone at the same time as well as high-speed Internet service is available at speeds up to several megabits per second (Mbps), which matches closely with the highest speeds. DSL service requires a DSL modem, which connects to the telephone wall jack and computer and it has the capacity of transmitting of more then 1000 TV channels, Video Conferencing and in the near future the VOIP will also be accessible by using DSL.

After Signing the Contract, H.E Deputy Minster Technical answered to the questions of journalists. According to the officials of the MCIT, the total cost for this project is 4 million USD which was funded by Anesta Telecom Company to provide the abovementioned facilities and services in Afghanistan.


From http://mcit.gov.af/ 12/23/2009

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AZERBAIJAN: Initial Provider Launches WiMAX Internet Services

Delta Telecom Company has launched commercial exploitation of WiMAX Internet services, the company said. The cost of the Internet access via WiMAX technology will vary from 10 to 100 manat. User devices (WiMAX modems) will be available directly at the Company. Data transfer rate in the Mobile WiMAX network will reach six Gbit/s. The 2.6 GHz frequency will be used to set up wireless access to WiMAX. At present, operations have been completed over the first phase of the project. About 110 base stations have been installed in Baku and the Absheron Peninsula. The company has launched realization of the second phase of the project. It envisages expansion of WiMAX network at a regional level. Specialists of the company conduct operations to determine relevant places where WiMAX base stations will be installed. The work is conducted in Guba, Ganja, Astara and other areas. The second phase of the project envisages installation of 140 base stations. The WiMAX Delta Telecom network is based on standard 802.16e, also known as Mobile WiMAX, and intended for mobile devices moving at speeds up to 120 km/h. The network is built on the base of Alcatel-Lucent equipment, with which Delta Telecom Ltd signed an agreement in September 2008.


From http://www.today.az/ 01/15/2010

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New Scientific Internet Centre Created in Azerbaijan

The Institute of Information Technologies of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences (AMEA) held the next meeting of the Internet council. ANAS informed that creation of new infrastructure of the local network, establishment of new Internet centre of the institute, improvement of quality of the Internet services, staffing and other issues were under discussion at the meeting. "At the meeting importance of the organization of network ElmNet, covering scientific structures and implementation of integration into the international scientific network were emphasized," it was informed. Presently, the new Internet centre of the Institute is prepared for using. Necessary conditions will be created for rendering qualitative the Internet services to a number of structures, including Cybernetics Institute, Mathematics and Mechanics Institute, Shemakhi Astrophysical Observatory.


From http://www.news.az/ 01/28/2010

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IRAN: 'Internet Is Our Absolute Right'

Blogger "The Little Sociologist" says free and fast Internet is the right of all Iranians but that their government is violating that right through censorship and painfully slow Internet: The above statement reminds us all of the famous [government] slogan "Nuclear power is our absolute right," although many Iranians doubt whether it is in fact their absolute right or not, while some believe perhaps it is not. It is safe to say that this is a mere slogan, simply being repeated by the parrots, with many different opinions about it. Usually, the rulers imply anything that could help strengthen their rule is an absolute right, while the parrots spread [such a message] by repeating it without knowing what it actually means. Let alone the times when people's actual rights are denied and the government doesn't even take a glance in response to the shouts of its people. This is the case with our country. While every developed country struggles to offer the best facilities to its citizens, the developing nations - even African ones - strive to provide their residents with the latest technological facilities; and their rivalry is all about higher speed of communication and Internet and ways to improvise better facilities.

[But] we have to keep looking for cyber cafes and proxies in order to carry out our tasks related to the virtual world - or at least spend some time chatting in this world - as we are either meddling through self-censorship or being suppressed by an outside censor and are unable to debate freely. Those who can easily shout out "Internet is our absolute right," those who pay for their Internet and taxes, are in a better spot than us. We are the subject of the decisions of the government; if we protest, they are capable of turning off drinking water on us. Yes, there's no end in sight to this story, with the slight difference that the same old citizens are now aware of things like Internet and nuclear power. But the rights of these citizens are decided by the government; it can suppress them to the extent that they give up hope, or tease them with the facilities that they are equipped with until they wish to die. But never are they entitled to raise a voice. Despite the situation at hand - and the unavailability of information - I am well-informed enough to know that Internet is my absolute right, although I am not sure whether nuclear power is or not.


From http://www.rferl.org/ 01/06/2010

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KAZAKHSTAN: Rail Users to Get Free Wi-Fi Service

Kazakhstan railways are to offer free Wi-Fi services on commuter routes after signing a backhaul contract with satellite operator, SES World Skies. Local telecoms provider, Astel has tapped its NSS-6 satellite to deliver the first high-speed mobile broadband and phone services to train passengers traveling the busiest commuter rail in Kazakhstan. The service covers the 1,300 kilometer route between Kazakhstan's largest city Almaty and its capital, Astana. The mobile communications, featuring transmission speeds of up to 2048 Kbps, are being offered free of charge to passengers along the popular rail line. Other rail routes are expected to be added in the near future. "Our delivery of The National Railway Company's broadband and telephony service marks a significant first in Kazakhstan," said Vladimir Breusov, President of Astel. "The expertise of SES World Skies people and the reliability and reach of its satellites have enabled Astel to provide this groundbreaking service that is keeping commuters connected and driving economic growth across the region."


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 11/26/2009

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KAZAKHSTAN: High-Tech Industrial Zone to Be Established in Ust-Kamenogorsk

Establishment of "High-Tech Industrial Zone" in Ust-Kamenogorsk including "Metallurgy Center" and "Design Engineering Bureau" on the basis of "Altai" technological cluster was discussed in order to increase the Kazakh content in the production of the ore-mining complex. KZT 1 bln was allocated for this purpose from the republican budget. Regional Governor Berdybek Saparbayev said it last week at the enlarged sitting of the regional akimat with participation of Governors of all levels. He also noted that the Regional Industrialization Map was developed as well within the formation of industrial-innovative development of the region. 80 projects to the amount of KZT 740 bln were approved and submitted to corresponding Ministries for mutual approval. 40 projects to the amount of KZT 60 bln will be realized in the nearest future. It was stated at the session that in order to promote the regional production it was presented in 13 regions and 24 memos were signed between the regional enterprises and regions of Kazakhstan to the amount of over KZT 1 bln last year. Besides, 355 enterprises of the region purchased goods and services to the amount of KZT 250 bln last year 80% out of which is of the Kazakh content.


From http://www.inform.kz/ 01/18/2010

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AIC Expects 3G Launch in March

Kazakhstan's Agency on Information and Communication (AIC) has revealed following a board meeting on 14 January that plans have been put in place to bring 3G services to the country for the first time. Head of department Kuanyshbek Yessekeyev told reporters that as long as wireless frequencies currently held by the Ministry of Defence are vacated and a final decision on which frequencies are to be used for the 3G concessions is made, operators should be awarded licences later this month. Yessekeyev added: 'If the cellular operators are awarded permits in January, then services should be available in March.'


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 01/19/2010

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TAJIKISTAN: Cellular Company Promotes 3.5G USB Modems into Market of Telecommunications Services

Tajik cellular operator, close joint-stock company (OJSC) MLT/TT Mobile (Mobile Lines of Tajikistan) is promoting a unique wireless communications technology - 3.5G USB modems - into the market of telecommunications service in Tajikistan. According to MLT's press service, the action is made within the framework of events related to the announcement of 2010 the Year of Science and Innovations in the CIS. The 3.5G USB modems are a perfect option for Internet access on the go. This innovative creation features great speeds that can be used by computers without wires. These USB modems connect computer to a high-speed wireless connection.

"Taking this important aspect into account, MLT is continuing to implement programs aimed at raising quality of communications via wireless technology," the MLT director general Gulmahmad Qayumov said. MLT/TT Mobile is a joint venture between the Russian cellular operator MegaFon and Tajikistan's national fixed-line operator, Tajik Telecom. MegaFon owns 75 percent of the shares and Tajik Telecom holds a 25 percent interest in MLT/TT-Mobile. MegaFon, an open joint stock company, was founded in May 2002 with the renaming and reorganization of the Russian cellular operator North-West GSM. MLT/TT Mobile was the first cellular operator in Tajikistan to offer its clients the 3G standard in 2005.


From http://www.asiaplus.tj/ 11/26/2009

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Development of Mobile ICTs Discussed in Dushanbe

Use of mobile information and communication technologies, or ICT, in the system for management of social issues and their direct influence on the process of development of local communities were in the focus of a training seminar that took place at the Sohibkor Business Center in Dushanbe on December 7-9. Organized by the UNESO Almaty Cluster Office for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in cooperation with the public foundation, Civil Initiative on Internet Policy (CIIP), the seminar brought together 17 heads of Internet centers, local community leaders responsible for spread of information among the population, and university and school teachers from all regions of the country to discuss issues related to integration of mobile ICTs into the education sector, methodology of development of electronic materials and prospects of use of open educational resources to promote development of intellectual capacity of specialists.

Speaking at the meeting, the CIIP director Muhammadi Ibodulloyev noted that the number of users of mobile services was increasing in Tajikistan. "They now constitute some 60 percent of the country's population, while Internet users constitute only some 15 percent of the population," Ibodulloyev noted. "Flexibility of mobile devices allows using their additional functional opportunities in case of lack of signal of communications such as receiving and transferring files, photo and video materials, as well as downloading and reading electronic books," he noted. At the end of the seminar, Sergey Karpov, the head of the communication and information department, UNESCO Almaty Cluster Office, noted that knowledge and skills obtained by the seminar participants would be introduced into mobile service centers and Internet providers in Tajikistan. In the future, competent specialists will conduct training for local communities on use of various services offered by mobile ICTs, he said. "We plan to work out a number of recommendations for the government of the country and representatives of the United Nations on use of mobile technologies for development of society," Karpov stressed.

Information and communication technologies allow users to participate in a rapidly changing world, in which work and other activities are increasingly transformed by access to varied and developing technologies. ICT tools can be used to find, explore, analyze, exchange and present information responsibly and without discrimination. ICT can be employed to give users quick access to ideas and experiences from a wide range of people, communities and cultures.


From http://www.asiaplus.tj/ 12/12/2009

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TURKEY: Third of Turkcell 3G Subscribers Are New to the Internet

A survey of Turkish operator, Turkcell's VINN modem subscribers found that 34% of Turkcell's customers who now use VINN 3G modems have become Internet subscribers for the first time. Turkcell CEO Sureyya Ciliv said: "Turkcell 3G, with its speed and mobility, has introduced Turkish customers to the Internet and helped them get easier, and thus more frequent, access to the Internet. Turkcell has always been passionate about 3G and its potential to help increase Internet usage in Turkey. We continue to be the leader in 3G in Turkey with the widest coverage, the fastest mobile Internet, the best quality and most affordable service."

Turkcell 3G in numbers:
* Turkcell has sold about 200,000 VINN modems and netbooks since it introduced 3G on July 30th 2009
* The number of people in Turkey who have transitioned to 3G since July 30th is more than 4 million
* There are about 2 million active 3G users in Turkey
* The number of Turkcell subscribers who have used Turkcell's video service has reached 1 million
* About 72% of Turkcell's total data traffic takes place within the 3G network
* 93% of VINN modem users prefer 4GB packages and 78% of VINN subscribers use Turkcell 3G for their broadband Internet needs.

This research was conducted in November 2009 among Turkcell's VINN modem subscribers.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 12/08/2009

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TURKMENISTAN: MTS Details Network Expansion, Upgrade Achievements in 2009

MTS Turkmenistan, the largest Turkmen mobile network operator by subscribers, has revealed that in 2009 it expanded its network coverage to 139 settlements across the country, Isria.com reports. According to the operator its coverage area was expanded by some 30% in the twelve months to December 2009 through a combination of newly installed base stations and upgrades to existing cell sites. In total MTS said that it had inaugurated 375 new base stations across the country, boosting the total number in operation by approximately 60%. Among the newly covered settlements are the towns of Tahtabazar, Etrek, Bekdash, Kerkichi, Hodjambaz, Repetek, Erbent and Bakhardok. In addition MTS claims that its improved and expanded network allowed it to overlay its entire GSM network with EDGE technology, increasing the download speeds available to its subscribers, while also boosting the reliability of internet connectivity. Commenting on the cellco's future plans, general manager of MTS Turkmenistan, Oleg Atamanov, said that the operator 'will continue to increase the capacity and expand the coverage area, including remote areas, small towns and socially important facilities' during the course of 2010.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 01/18/2010

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UZBEKISTAN: 3G Service Becomes More Accessible for MTS Subscribers

3G service becomes more accessible for MTS Uzbekistan subscribers. Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) - Now, subscribers of MTS Uzbekistan can use services in 3G standard automatically, the largest mobile operator of Uzbekistan said on 1 February 2010. The operator said MTS Uzbekistan introduces new conditions for subscription ad use of 3G High-Speed Internet and Video-call from February 2010. Now subscriber can use 3G service automatically in coverage area without additional settings. 3G High-Speed Internet is rendered on HSDPA technology and allows to use Internet at the speed of 3.6 mbit/sec., but WAP/MMS/GPRS service should be activated. The operator said subscribers will use Internet at 2G or 3G networks, depending coverage network. It added now MTS Uzbekistan will charge single subscription fee at the size of US$0.02 per day for use of GPRS-MMS+WAP+INTERNET and 3G High-Speed Internet services. Video-call service is also activated automatically and for free, the company underlined.


From http://www.uzdaily.com/ 02/01/2010

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Europe and Central Asia Experience Significant Growth in ICT Availability

Countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia have seen significant growth in the availability and use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) over the past decade, according to World Bank experts convened in Moldova for the Europe and Central Asia launch of the Information and Communications for Development 2009: Extending Reach and Increasing Impact (ICT4D) report. In fact, most countries in the region have seen such exceptional increases in the mobile telephone market, for example, that many now have more telephone subscriptions than people. However, the region also exhibits a growing broadband divide between the richer central countries and their poorer eastern counterparts. The use of e-services is also lagging among the eastern countries: Hungary, Slovenia and Poland are world leaders in the United Nation e-government readiness index, while Belarus, Moldova and Russia rank about average. Likewise, the region's record with information technology (IT) and IT-enabled services (ITES) industries exhibits a gap. While there is a strong tradition of science and technology education, the post-transition era has seen some countries maintain that lead while quality has eroded in others. The enabling business environment also varies widely across the region. Countries such as the Baltic States, Bulgaria, Poland and Romania are strong performers attracting significant investments and creating jobs in these industries. Other countries lag significantly.

The ICT4D report addresses the critical role that information and communication technologies (ICT) play in economic development. Effective use of ICT is known to increase productivity, generate employment and create a foundation for a country's long-term growth. Not integrating ICT into growth strategies will limit development prospects now and in the future. Globally, the report finds that for every 10 percentage-point increase in high speed Internet connections, there is an increase in economic growth of 1.3%. It also identifies the mobile platform as the single most powerful way to reach and deliver public and private services to hundreds of millions of people in remote and rural areas across the developing world. Broadband in particular plays an essential role in providing the basis for local IT services industries, which create youth employment, increase productivity and exports, and promote social inclusion. Report authors say that developing countries should seize this largely untapped opportunity, with less than 15% of the potential global market for IT services industries currently being exploited. In 2007, this market represented nearly $500 billion. "These technologies offer tremendous opportunities. Governments can work with the private sector to accelerate rollout of broadband networks, and to extend access to low-income consumers," says Mohsen Khalil, World Bank Group Director for Global Information and Communication Technologies.

"Governments should proactively encourage the development of local IT services industries through policies and incentives directed at entrepreneurs and the private sector, and through investments in skills and infrastructure." "Access to broadband completes the information foundation for a modern economy and should be a priority in national development plans," says Katherine Sierra, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development. "Governments can play a key role in expanding broadband access by policies and incentives that encourage competition and private investment." In Europe and Central Asia, attention is beginning to turn to the use of ICT platforms for service delivery and in transforming governments. Some countries are now trying to integrate ICT in economic growth and public sector management. Russia, for instance, has adopted strategic and targeted e-government programs, and has increased federal, regional, and municipal ICT spending. The Electronic Russia program is part of the administrative reform agenda, with activities focusing on service delivery to citizens and businesses. Moldova has also begun its work on a new information society strategy to better integrate ICT into the lives of the citizens, and into businesses and government transactions and processes.

The World Bank's ICT Engagement in Europe and Central Asia
The World Bank Group is the largest international donor in the field of ICT for development, and supports ICT activities projects in over 100 countries with a portfolio amounting to more than $3 billion. The World Bank is actively engaged in supporting ICT sector development in the region, through self-standing ICT activities, as well as through ICT components of sector programs in various sectors, including integrated financial management information systems, e-education, agriculture information systems, etc. The Bank has been involved in Europe and Central Asia in a range of activities to assist governments in implementing e-government: to implement on-line service delivery applications in agencies and departments that provide measurable benefits to citizens, business and employees; to promote the IT/ITES industries; and to strengthen e-services adoption. The Bank is also helping countries to explore the deployment of national broadband networks for innovation and growth. The following is a sample of Bank engagements across the region. Albania. The Bank provides strategic advice on the potential of adopting e-government, taking into account policy and infrastructure requirements for an enabling framework. Armenia. The Bank is preparing the E-Society and Innovation for Competitiveness Project (approximately $25 million) that aims to increase competitiveness of the Armenian economy by developing the IT sector, facilitating public-private partnerships for ICT infrastructure investments, and deploying a national broadband network with a focus on rural access. Bulgaria. The Bank is presently providing input to the Country Partnership Strategy for developing ICT-enabled initiatives and ICT projects that advance national development goals. Kazakhstan. The Bank is advising on the introduction of e-government applications and on extending ICT across the country. In the past the Bank supported capacity building and training of government officials and the integration of e-government programs across agencies. Kosovo. The Bank is preparing a Public Sector Modernization Project in Kosovo that will include e-procurement and electronic human resources management systems, as well as technical assistance to move the broader e-government agenda forward. Moldova. The Bank is providing technical assistance on ICT sector policy reform, regulatory capacity building, and to help identify ways to increase the efficiency of the telecommunications sector. Russia. The Bank is providing technical assistance on the adoption of new information systems − as well as the related training for the public sector staff − to increase the efficiency and transparency in the areas, including country's judiciary system, treasury, customs, registration and cadastre. Tajikistan. The Bank is helping the government to reform the National Statistical System, and apply ICT systems to improve its efficiency and effectiveness for collecting, processing and disseminating accurate, timely, coherent and reliable statistical data.


From http://www.turkishweekly.net/ 12//17/2009

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AUSTRALIA: Aussie Hospital Group Consolidates Clinical Systems

Mater Health Services, based out of the Australian State of Queensland, has integrated its disparate clinical information systems to form a single Electronic Patient Record across its seven hospitals. This was achieved through the roll out of an integration and development platform which links more than 95 clinical systems. Overall, 1.4 million patients, 10 million pathology results and 12.5 million events are captured within the hospitals' information systems. The care provider expects cost savings as staff members no longer have to spend time transporting charts around hospitals. And combing information from different applications has been made easy. Cross-referencing appointments against pathology, for example, avoids clinicians wasting time searching for test results. Andy Richards, Integration Specialist for Mater Health Services explained that the task would previously take 15 minutes during every appointment.

According to Richards, the platform also enabled the hospital to continue its 'best-of-breed' approach for clinical applications. HL7 clinical information sharing standard is used where possible and Ensemble, as the integration platform is called, will use its built-in adaptors where it is not. All HL7 messages generated by clinical applications are now captured and stored permanently in a structured database. "Now, not only do we have resilience with HL7 messages - we can store, forward and replay messages, for example - we only have to worry about interfacing to one system at a time," said Richards. "A single system can be added or removed, and only one interface needs to be configured. Perhaps the best part of this integration strategy is that we're vendor independent, scalable and flexible." Mal Thatcher, Mater's Chief Information Officer said that Ensemble's hub and spoke approach is much more efficient and timely to implement than previously disparate interfaces.


From http://www.futuregov.net/ 12/07/2009

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NICTA Australian Technology Park Laboratory and Corporate Head Office Opens Today

Senator the Hon. Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, and Mr Barry Buffier, Deputy Director General of the NSW Government's Industry and Investment NSW, officially opened NICTA's Australian Technology Park Laboratory and Corporate Head Office today. "The NSW Government built this landmark research facility to stimulate innovation and excellence in ICT research for the benefit of the state," said NICTA CEO Dr David Skellern. "At NICTA, we are playing an important role in bringing that goal to fruition, so it gives me great pleasure to welcome Senator Conroy and Mr Buffier to these wonderful premises today." Senator Conroy welcomed the launch of NICTA's new laboratory and head office. "NICTA is a world-class innovation player and helps demonstrate the great capacity for Australia to lead the world in the digital economy," he said. "This new facility will strengthen NICTA's ability to foster ICT innovation and skills, driving the development and commercialisation of Australian technology."

NSW Treasurer and Minister for State Development Eric Roozendaal said that NICTA and the science and research hub around NICTA in Sydney is building a smart future for NSW and Australia."The NSW Government's priority is supporting jobs and the growth of the $360 billion state economy," he said. "The Government is aware of the vital importance of NICTA's place at the centre of a vibrant hub of research and development that is world-class and produces work of global significance. We are confident of the power of this hub, employing the best scientists to create economic growth, jobs, and to attract global companies to invest in NSW." The new NICTA laboratory houses around 134 researchers, corporate staff and 63 PhD students in state-of-the-art, energy-efficient premises. The building was designed to support collaboration, with an open internal staircase linking three floors of offices and laboratories. NICTA was previously located in temporary space at the Locomotive Workshop on ATP.


From http://nicta.com.au/ 12/03/2009

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Health Professions United on E-Health, Australia

A high-level meeting of health organisations in Canberra has scoped the development of a robust, patient-centred e-prescribing system through a collaborative partnership between doctors and pharmacists. The roundtable, hosted by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, reaffirmed that e-prescribing of medications can provide substantial benefits to consumers through better medication management and reduced medication errors, as well improved communication between doctors, pharmacists and patients. The meeting however, identified a range of issues which need to be addressed before e-prescribing could be routinely implemented. These include the interoperability of systems, clarification of questions related to data ownership, remuneration concerns, finalisation of technical and professional standards, security of systems and the safeguarding of consumer choice.

The PSA welcomed the opportunity to contribute through the NEHTA reference group, of which the RACGP is an existing member, and highlighted the need for a speedy introduction of e-prescribing, calling on the Government to commit to a firm date and supporting action plan for the implementation of e-Health for all Australians. President of the PSA, Warwick Plunkett, said the widespread implementation of e-prescribing would be a significant step forward to using technology to assist in the reform of Australia's health-care system. "But it is essential that we get it right from the very beginning and so we must have in place the necessary standards as well as the technical and professional protocols to ensure its efficient and sustainable operation," he said. Mr Plunkett also supported the significant enhancement of efficiency and accuracy in prescribing and dispensing to improve patient outcomes.

President of the RACGP, Chris Mitchell, said there were challenges to be addressed before e-health became a reality, including integration of currently used systems. The roundtable made up of representatives from the Australian Medical Association, the National E-Health Transition Authority, the Consumers Hearth Forum, the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia, the Australian Association of Practice Managers, the PSA and the RACGP.


From http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/ 12/20/2009

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E-Prescribing Tender Cancelled

NINE months after a tender aimed at resolving key management arrangements for new national electronic prescribing systems closed for consideration, the federal Health Department has quietly advised bidders by letter that the project has been canned. Department officials say the call for a consultancy to develop an e-prescribing and dispensing "benefits realisation and implementation plan" has been overtaken by recent events. A copy of the letter, seen by The Australian, was also published by health IT blogger David More. It says "the governance arrangements for electronic medication management will now be addressed within the scope of the broader e-health agenda". "The National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission recommendations, released in June, have materially affected the department's anticipated workplan in the e-prescribing and dispensing arena," the letter says.

"In light of these developments, and considering the Government's health reform agenda, the department has taken the decision to terminate (this) tender." The NHHRC report signalled a loosening of bureaucratic reins, backing the National E-Health Strategy developed by Deloitte which advocates a "middle-out approach" for health IT projects. It also held out hope for a bigger role for local IT developers. Deloitte also picked out e-prescribing as a key early initiative, recommending the establishment of a nationally integrated service that would allow consumers to obtain their medicines at any pharmacy. It is understood that bidders are unimpressed by the unexpected news the project has been dumped, as the tender was detailed and complex. The department has also given assurances that the matter was under active consideration late into last year. The contract required the successful party to "identify options for governance and ownership of a national system" - essentially to determine whether any such system should be government-owned and operated; operated by industry under government control, or handed entirely over to the private sector.

The tender was based on recommendations made by KPMG in its 2008 report, which found there was a "clear imperative that the issues of control, access, security and integrity of (these) systems are recognised as high priorities". However, Canberra is widely believed to have lost control over e-prescribing initiatives in the past year, with several commercial offerings now carving up the marketplace between them. With a 25c fee levied on the electronic transmission of each of some 240 million scripts annually from doctors' desktops to community pharmacies, a new transaction business worth around $60 million a year has been created. The two main contenders are eRx Script Exchange, half-owned by the Pharmacy Guild, and MediSecure, which is endorsed by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and backed by doctors.

Meanwhile, leading health organisations gathered in Canberra last month for what was described as a "high-level meeting" to scope the development of a "robust, patient-centred e-prescribing system through a collaborative partnership between doctors and pharmacists". Hosted by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA is the professional body for pharmacists) and the RACGP, the roundtable identified a range of issues still to be addressed before e-prescribing could be routinely implemented. It's understood the Pharmacy Guild did not attend the event; participants included representatives from the National E-Health Transition Authority, the Australian Medical Association and the Consumers Health Forum. PSA president Warwick Plunkett said it was essential "to get this right from the very beginning".

"We must have in place the necessary standards as well as the technical and professional protocols to ensure its efficient and sustainable operation," he said. The PSA will join NEHTA's e-prescribing working group, which is developing standards in conjunction with Standards Australia. Mr Plunkett called on the government to commit to a firm date for the full introduction of e-prescribing. RACGP president Chris Mitchell said integration of current systems was a challenge to be addressed. Electronic prescribing and medication management systems are expected to greatly boost patient safety through fewer dispensing errors, while also saving time and costs. E-prescribing networks also provide a platform for future health IT initiatives including individual health records and targeted programs such as better management of chronic illness, monitoring of medication compliance, and the provision of medicines data for research or public health purposes.


From Australian IT 01/13/2010

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Librarians Voice Opposition to Internet Filter

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) is the latest to join a swathe of groups opposed to the Federal Government's plans to introduce mandatory ISP-level Internet content filtering. The policy, announced by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy in December last year, will block URLs that received a Refused Content classification by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). In a statement, the association said Australia needs to take action to ensure that internet users, particularly children, have a safe experience online, but it voiced concern that the policy may give parents a false sense of security and encourage them to reduce their supervision. "As a large proportion of child sexual abuse content is not found on public websites, but in chat-rooms or peer-to-peer networks, we know the proposed filtering regime will not effectively protect children from this objectionable material," the statement said. "We are concerned that the scope of content to be filtered is too wide. Filtering all RC material could block content with a strong social or educational value." Last week, a conglomerate of Australasian computer science academics voiced opposition to the Internet content filtering policy.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 02/14/2010

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Govt Laughs at Commercial NEHTA Fears

The Federal Department of Health and Ageing has rejected "laughable" questions on whether the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) would ever compete against e-health companies as a commercial entity. The authority was established back in mid-2005 by state health ministers as a non-profit company. With funding running into the hundreds of millions of dollars over the years, its mission is to develop electronic health standards to better tie together the IT systems of Australia's health institutions to better outcomes for patients. Yet according to Liberal Senator Sue Boyce in Senate Estimates last week, firms in the health IT industry were feeling uncertain about whether NEHTA might ultimately use the information it has been gathering for a national e-health system to compete against them. She asked whether there were any intention for NEHTA to be a commercial entity.

"This concern has been put to me by people from private companies or who are stakeholders who are concerned that they are being asked to share secret commercial information with an organisation that they are not entirely confident may not at some stage be in competition with them," said Boyce, "when we drop the 'T' out, presumably". DOHA secretary Jane Halton said the commonwealth, state and territorial governments had not had a discussion about NEHTA's future governance arrangements. "I have to say, my personal opinion is it is unlikely it would function in a commercial way," she said. " I cannot say one way or the other, but certainly given its function is quite specified and its owners are commonwealth and state ministers, I cannot see why that would be the case."

Halton further added that the notion that governments could supplant commercial organisations or play in the commercial e-health sector was "frankly ... laughable". "If I, in my case as a director, with my state and territory colleagues were interested in building some vast monolith, we would have indicated that. That is not what we are interested in," she said. " It is not our business, core or otherwise, to be competing with the commercial sector." The questions about NEHTA's status came as part of a prolonged questioning session on the part of the Opposition into the Federal Government's introduction into parliament of legislation to introduce a National Health Identifier to be implemented by the middle of 2010.


From http://www.zdnet.com.au/ 02/15/2010

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Bandwidth Quotas to Stay, Say Internet Service Providers

AUSTRALIA'S top internet providers have ignored a challenge to free consumers from broadband download quotas. Australian consumers have long been the only internet users in the world slugged with download caps on their access plans. However, Telecom New Zealand's local arm, AAPT, yesterday challenged the status quo by introducing the country's first unlimited broadband plan and inviting other ISPs to follow suit. That means consumers who sign up for the plan - and accept a minimum two-year contract - will be able to run the connection at full speed around the clock collecting as much content as they want without billshock or having their connection throttled upon hitting a preset download quota. AAPT chief Paul Broad challenged other ISPs to match the offer and end the practice of imposing quotas on Australian consumers, which he says is seen as a joke in other countries. "Compared to the US we're seen as luddites out here to have such a thing called a cap," he said. AAPT's unlimited plan offers consumers an ADSL2+ broadband, bundled voice service and a music download package for $99.95 a month. In a statement released early yesterday, Mr Broad said AAPT's competitors would be forced to match the offering, but internet providers that The Australian spoke to seemed indifferent to the challenge.

iiNet said it would "watch with interest" but said most consumers didn't exceed their monthly download caps. iiNet chief Michael Malone wrote in a forum yesterday the plan would be a magnet for "leeches" a term to describe BitTorrent users in internet parlance. "I'm still of the belief that only the leeches will take up this offer . . . if someone wants to download hundreds of (Gigabytes) a month at retail price points, then I'm quite happy for them to move to AAPT. We'll stay focused on delivering a high-quality network and service centre at a sustainable and competitive price point," Mr Malone wrote. A Telstra spokesman said: "Our customers overwhelmingly find that plans with defined download limits are adequate for their use, so we believe this plan will appeal only to a small segment of the market." Optus also said it already offered a "similar" product to customers willing to bundle their broadband and home phone. The Optus plan includes a broadband and home-phone service with unlimited calls to local, national and mobile numbers. There no data limits set for the broadband service but it is slowed to 256KB after the customer reaches a 30GB limit.

Ovum analyst David Kennedy said AAPT was in a unique position to attempt the unlimited plan. "It makes sense for AAPT to be the company to attempt this because they've got a lot of corporate capacity to service corporate clients, it's a lot of backhaul which is not really being used outside business hours to anywhere near the same extent (as consumer ISPs)," he said.


From http://www.theaustralian.com.au/ 02/16/2010

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DEEWR to Form ICT Education Panel

The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) is to form an "Applied ICT in Education Panel" to support the development, implementation and evaluation of initiatives that support the use of ICT in education. The panel will provide expert technical advice and analysis and contribute to the development and implementation of initiatives aimed at the effective integration of ICT in education including the Government's Digital Education Revolution (DER) and the Vocational Education Broadband Network (VEN) initiatives. The panel will also assist in developing, reviewing and providing quality assurance of technical documents and reports and provide expertise around infrastructure, networking, e-Learning, technical standards, copyright, security and privacy.

In DEEWR documents the Department said the initiative was aimed at supporting the Government's push to increase the proportion of Australians with educational qualifications. "The Government is supporting the education and training sector to achieve this objective through the investment of $2.2 billion under the DER and $80 million under the VEN initiatives," the documents read. "Reflecting Government policies DEEWR aims to promote the effective integration of ICT in teaching and learning in Australia. "DEEWR has identified a need to have access to ongoing external specialist technical advice. The panel arrangements ˇ­ will assist in the timely delivery of technical and specialist advice and reports."


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 02/18/2010

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NEW ZEALAND: Tourists to Get Virtual Experience

New 3D computer technology will give tourists a near-life experience of attractions and help them plan their holidays, according to its New Zealand developer. Zeddd Virtual combines digitised panoramic images and transforms them into 3D imaging, which allows a viewer to experience and investigate an attraction or potential destination. Mike Hodges of Zeddd Technology said it had other applications such as retail or education. Unlike video footage, Hodges said Zeddd Virtual operated like a gaming console, allowing the user to use an avatar to move around the virtual site, exploring and viewing attractions, gathering information about trips or activities or entering buildings or stores to view retail items for sale. Someone visiting a site can click on an item and learn more about it, while businesses can sell advertising in the virtual environment.

Hodges claimed the technology was a world-first as it embodied a number of computer systems. He said it was ideal for tourism because by engaging web users, there was a greater probability of converting inquiries into sales or product promotion. "The objective is that by enhancing the online experience, they will identify the attraction as being a must see, and include it in their itinerary," he said. Initial discussions with regional tourism organisations has been greeted favourably.


From Oago Daily Times 12/10/2009

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National E-Health Plan Plagued by Privacy Concerns

The Rudd Government has not been able to calm the fears and concerns that are currently plaguing people with regards to the patient privacy and data security risks which could be related to the planned Healthcare Identifiers routine. Consumer and industry groups are now warning that the draft Bill is very "flawed". Concerns are that the proposed identifier system will end up allowing the linkage of "personally identifiable information across multiple networks", the proposed routine is based on an old technology and has been designed in order to support a countrywide e-health records system that might never be built. In addition to the potential safety threats, concerns have also emerged with regards to the expenses related to integration of new ID numbers into the medical systems, as well as the decision to exclude health funds which offer members various attractive health program packages.

Under the Government's proposal, it has been planned that each patient would be receiving an individual health ID number, which would be linked to his or her Medicare numbers. The identification number, together with a person's name and address, is intended to help ensure that personal information sent across computer systems has been accurately matched. It has been speculated that Medicare has already finished the development work, but technical details have not been provided.


From http://www.topnews.net.nz/ 01/19/2010

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Telecom New Zealand Updates on Cause of Recent Network Outages

Following Telecom New Zealand's recent serious network failures, the company has been holding a review of what happened and published its preliminary findings. The company said that the root cause of the recent issues with the Alcatel-Lucent supplied WCDMA network South of Taupo is established and is due to traffic surges in the network overloading the Radio Network Controller in Christchurch. During the outage on 27 January, the traffic surge was caused by thousands of users suddenly re-registering after a separate network routing fault took down some cell sites. Since the network failure, Telecom has been adding processing capacity and surge protection measures in the Radio Network Controller to prevent surge issues from one part of the network affecting customers in other parts, along with adding further Radio Network Controllers. There is also ongoing improvements to coverage and capacity, including new cell sites, the addition of signal amplification technology, and more fibre optic backhaul.

The additional processing power and surge protection is helping to protect overall service, but Telecom has still seen localised problems in recent days caused by local traffic peaks. Following criticism that the network was reliant on just two RNC's compared to six deployed by Vodafone, the company plans to install two new Radio Network Controllers by mid March. UK based Analysys Mason has appointed to undertake independent review of the network failures and expects to report its findings within a couple of months. Rajeev Singh-Molares, President Asia Pacific of Alcatel-Lucent, said "Resolving the XT Network problems in New Zealand is the single most important operational matter in the world for Alcatel-Lucent right now, our entire Executive and Senior Engineering team, including Global Chief Executive Ben Verwaayen are involved. "We apologise to the customers of Telecom New Zealand. The full resources of our global business are available to address these problems - we will do whatever it takes."


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 02/18/2010

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PAPUA NEW GUINEA: New Internet Technology for Academics

Academics in Papua New Guinea will soon have an easier way to access the internet. Secure wireless technology is being installed in universities that will access the the world-wide Edu-roam Federation. It means researchers and academics from any university connected to the system will be able to log-in as if they were at their own desk - both within PNG and anywhere in the world. The project is a collaboration between AARNet, Australia's Academic and Research Network, the local equivalent, PNG-Arnet and Queensland University of Technology, the QUT.


From http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/ 02/05/2010

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Europe: Privacy Will Be Big Challenge in Next Decade, Says EU Commissioner

Our privacy faces new challenges: behavioural advertising can use your internet history to better market products; social networking sites used by 41.7 million Europeans allow personal information like photos to be seen by others; and the 6 billion smart chips used today can trace your movements. The European Commission today - Data Protection Day - warned that data protection rules must be updated to keep abreast of technological change to ensure the right to privacy, legal certainty for industry, and the take-up of new technologies. EU rules say that a person's information can only be used on legitimate grounds, with their prior consent. With the Lisbon Treaty and the Charter of Fundamental Rights now in force, the Commission today said it wants to create a clear, modern set of rules for the whole EU guaranteeing a high level of personal data protection and privacy, starting with a reform of the 1995 EU Data Protection Directive.

"EU rules are there to protect everyone's personal data. The European Commission has proved its commitment to making these rules fully respected by all 27 EU countries. Innovation is important in today's society but should not go at the expense of people's fundamental right to privacy. Now we have to make sure that the general data protection rules are up-to-date with technology and as comprehensive the Lisbon Treaty requires," said Viviane Reding, the EU's Information Society and Media Commissioner. "EU rules should allow everyone to realise their right to know when their personal data can be lawfully processed, in any area of life, whether boarding a plane, opening a bank account or surfing the internet, and to say no to it whenever they want."

At today's 4th annual Data Protection Day , the European Commission said that the measures it applied to internet technology are needed throughout the economy and society to protect Europeans' privacy and personal data. To do this, Commissioner Reding announced that she will propose to modernise EU privacy rules, building on the general rules ( Data Protection Directive ) in place since 1995, and specific telecoms and internet rules ( e-Privacy rules ). The improved rules would be vigorously applied across all policy areas and international agreements, be it new technologies, consumer rights or public security.

In 2009 the Commission took a number of initiatives to make sure that privacy keeps up with technology: A Recommendation on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) smart tags in products like bus passes, saying that tags used in retail should be automatically deactivated unless the consumer purchasing an item with a tag "opts in" ( IP/09/740 ). In February 2009, it brokered an agreement between 18 (20 since June) major social networking companies to improve minors' online safety, and privacy, on social networking sites like Facebook ( IP/09/232 ). It will report on their progress at Safer Internet Day 2010 next month: for example, how many make profiles of under-18s private and not searchable by default.

Following Commission proposals, new EU telecoms rules oblige providers of communications services like the internet to tell authorities when security breaches lead to personal data loss or misuse ( MEMO/09/513 ). They strengthen consumers' rights to be informed when information like internet cookies is stored or accessed on their equipment. The Commission launched legal action against the UK on 14 April 2009 ( IP/09/570 ), reacting to citizens' concerns about UK internet providers testing behavioural advertising (PHORM) that scanned their internet use. The Commission warned the UK that its law does not comply with EU rules on confidentiality in telecoms in areas like user consent to interception of communications, sanctions against unlawful interception and supervision of interception activities. The case entered its second phase on 3 November 2009 ( IP/09/1626 ). If the Commission does not get a satisfactory reply, it may refer the case to the European Court of Justice.


From http://europa.eu/ 01/28/2010

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UK: Opposition Grows to Government Piracy Measures

Opposition is growing to clauses in the Digital Economy Bill aimed at stopping illegal file-sharing. Web heavyweights Google, Facebook, Yahoo and eBay have asked business secretary Peter Mandelson to scrap Clause 17 from the Digital Economy Bill, saying it could give government "unprecedented and sweeping powers" to change copyright laws arbitrarily. Civil rights activist group Liberty says it has "significant concerns" over the approach taken in the Bill to online infringement of copyright. It believes it limits rights to receive and impart information, to fair trial, and to protection of property. The UK's Internet Services Providers' Association (ISPA) said, "The proposals grant far too much control to the secretary of state, who will have the power to make specific recommendations on costs and impose an obligation on ISPs to use technical sanctions." Privacy campaigner Open Rights Group executive director Jim Killock, said the clauses appeared to show the government was preparing for the rapid introduction of enforcement procedures under the international Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement, currently being negotiated behind closed doors.

Francis Davey, a lawyer who specialises in technology issues, wrote on the Open Rights Group website that there was no "democractic control" over who could be cut off from the net, nor did the home secretary have to consult with anyone in making such a decision. A Department of Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) spokesperson said businesses would not find government had suddenly taken extensive digital powers. "There are substantial constraints on how the power can be used, with requirements for a consultation and votes in both houses of parliament before anything can happen. Also the powers can not be used to create or modify a criminal offence." The spokesman said Google, Facebook, eBay UK and Yahoo were important contributors to Britain's digital economy and shared the government ambitions set out in Digital Britain. "The government is pleased they have taken recent steps to work with rights holders in ensuring consumers can enjoy continued access to content," the spokesman said. The law had to keep pace with technology, so that the government could act if new ways of "seriously infringing" copyright developed, she said.

At present, the six largest ISPs (BT, Virgin, Orange, Tiscali, BSkyB and Carphone Warehouse) are signed up to a memorandum of understanding that means once they receive reasonable evidence of illegal file-sharing, they will send letters notifying the account holder at the relevant IP address to stop. ISPA secretary general Nicolas Lansman told the House of Lords during the second reading of the Bill that tens of thousands of letters had been sent out, but he was unaware of how effective they had been. "Did the government see a huge drop in file-sharing? The Digital Economy Bill says we should do the same thing again, so I presume that there is some analysis of the trial," he said. He said the legislation was being fast-tracked by the government and would do little to address the underlying problem, which was that new ways of licensing content for use online were needed. A BIS spokesman said the MoU signatories had blocked the release of the results, but that they had been used in developing the bill.


From http://www.computerweekly.com/ 12/03/2009

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NORTH AMERICA: New Cable to Provide More Secure Data Bandwidth Between US and Asia

There will soon be more secure data bandwidth between Asia and the US, with a new submarine cable launched on Tuesday. The 20,000 kilometre-long submarine cable network system - called the Asia-America Gateway - will also connect places like Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, along with Brunei, Hong Kong and the Philippines. The US$500 million cable was built by a 19-member consortium, which included StarHub. StarHub will manage and operate the Singapore-link of the new network through its first cable landing station. High-definition multimedia content, data and applications over the new cable system will be commercially available in January 2010. Terry Clontz, CEO, StarHub said: "The emergence of cloud computing, the explosive growth in mobile data, new digital devices and the new applications that those devices enable, are just some of the reasons why the demand for broadband capacity - both domestic and international - is growing exponentially. "Business customers are also demanding high levels of reliability and lower latency as many enterprise applications are mission-critical."


From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 12/08/2009

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Legal Battle Forces US Government to Restore Millions of Missing E-Mails

Millions of e-mails from George W Bush's administration that went missing as a result of a defective e-mail archiving system will be restored after the US government reached agreement in a legal battle. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and the National Security Archive (NSA), which accused the George W Bush administration of a cover-up, announced the settlement. The two year legal battle was over 94 days' worth of e-mails that went missing during George W Bush's tenure as US president. The lawsuits began after a revelation in April 2008 that the White House had discovered a problem with the system in 2005 but failed to recover or restore the missing e-mails. The Executive Office of the President (EOP) will now restore a total of 94 days worth of missing e-mails, which will then be preserved and eventually made available. "Documents produced so far show the Bush White House was lying when officials claimed no e-mails were ever missing. The record now proves incontrovertibly that Bush administration officials deliberately ignored the problem and, in fact, knowingly allowed it to worsen," said CREW. Melanie Sloan, executive director at CREW, said, "We may never know exactly what happened to all the missing e-mails, and which Bush administration officials were involved in the cover-up, but we do know the American public never got the full story."


From http://www.computerweekly.com/ 12/16/2009

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Agency Walls Too High for US Cyber Security Czar?

Howard Schmidt, the newly appointed United States Cyber Security Coordinator, faces the daunting challenge of ensuring that different government agencies cooperate on cyber security issues, a senior government official has told FutureGov. Mark Weatherford, the Director and Chief Information Security Officer of California, said that the tallest hurdle for Schmidt, who was appointed Cyber Security "czar" in December after seven months of political wrangling over the role, will be to ensure that agencies "understand that the problem is enterprise (national) in scope and to think outside their agency walls." Another problem, he added, was "government inertia".

However, Weatherford noted: "The good news is that it's relatively early in the Obama Administration so he has time to begin developing relationships stay the course for the length of time it takes to get the job done." Many were interviewed for the "cyber czar" position, which has since be renamed Cyber Coordinator. But candidates including former Virginia congressman Tom Davis, Microsoft executive Scott Charney and Symantec Chairman John W. Thompson declined the job over concerns that it lacked real power. But this should not concern Schmidt, Weatherford said. "If he [Schmidt] can use his influence with the President to come out strong and direct agencies to cooperate, he can make a huge difference. He is well-known and respected on a national level which gives a great advantage in working throughout the federal government. Time is his enemy and he needs to take advantage of the problem/policy/political streams to avoid missing the current policy window."

Schmidt, a former Microsoft and eBay executive, served as Special Adviser for Cyberspace Security from 2001 to 2003 and was a Senior Advisor for the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace. His appointment followed the launch of a "cyber-command" unit by the Department of Homeland Security to bolster the protection of civilian networks. While Weatherford declined to give advice for governments in Asia looking to appoint a cyber czar, he said that any government should think carefully about whether or not they want to make cyber security a national priority. "If it's not a national priority, it could result in the creation of another government structure without any influence or the ability to make change. And that could make the situation worse - it might diminish future hopes of establishing a credible national cyber security program." (by Robin Hicks)


From http://www.futuregov.net/ 01/04/2010

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Utilities, Refineries and Banks Are Victims of Cyber Attacks, Report

By SIOBHAN GORMAN WASHINGTON - Companies that run key public infrastructure assets like electric utilities, oil refineries and banks are regularly victims of the kind of cyber attacks that recently penetrated Google Inc., according to a new report by a former top homeland security official. Cyber attacks are often coupled with extortion demands, according to the report commissioned by the computer antivirus company McAfee, which found that 20% of the 601 companies and government agencies surveyed said they had been a victim of such an attack within the past two years. It wasn't clear whether any companies actually paid extortion demands.

Stewart Baker, a former senior official at the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency, led a team that surveyed executives at companies responsible for critical infrastructure. One hundred executives were American, and 20 to 50 participated from each of 13 other countries, including China, Russia, and the U.K. The report was funded by the antivirus company, but Mr. Baker said his team at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank had a "free hand" in constructing the survey and report.

Among the executives surveyed, 54% said their company had been the subject of infiltration, according to the survey, and two thirds of those companies said the attacks had harmed company operations. "That suggests it's a form of attack that's rife in critical infrastructure," Mr. Baker said in an interview. "I'm astonished at how pervasive it is." The Wall Street Journal reported last year that Chinese and Russian cyberspies had infiltrated computer systems controlling the U.S. power grid and other U.S. infrastructure. Chinese and Russian officials denied any government involvement in the attacks. The survey results suggest extortion attempts have expanded beyond their traditional targets - financial institutions, said Tom Kellermann, a former World Bank cybersecurity official.

The survey found that rates of extortion were highest in the oil and gas sector, where 31% of executives reported their companies had been victimized by such a scheme, followed by 27% for electric utilities. Mr. Baker said the extortion rates across industries were much higher than he'd expected. Extortion plots were most common in India, the Middle East, and China and were least prevalent in the U.S. and the U.K. Part of the growth of extortion schemes is because organized crime, in general, has moved to the Internet, a former law enforcement official said. Over three quarters of executives who oversee computerized control systems said that those systems were connected to the Internet, and nearly half of them said that connection posed "an unresolved security issue."

Among the different infrastructure sectors, oil and gas had the highest levels of victimization, with 71% reporting they experienced a "stealthy infiltration." The Christian Science Monitor reported earlier this week that three U.S. oil and gas companies - ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, and Marathon - had been victimized in 2008. A former law enforcement official confirmed an attack on Exxon, but said it only targeted the company's administrative network. All three companies said they wouldn't comment on security matters.Meanwhile, the survey suggested that the financial sector, which is often commended for having the strongest computer security in the private sector, isn't as safe as advertised.

One in five executives in the financial sector said they had experienced cyber attacks carrying extortion threats. Meanwhile, 59% of financial service executives said they had experienced a common penetration attack in the past couple years. The measure that would do the most to secure cyberspace in the U.S., said Tata Communications security chief Adam Rice, is for the U.S. government to direct the top Internet providers to provide the government with data about Internet traffic to analyze and create a "blacklist" of bad actors.

The government could then direct the providers to block those actors from the Internet, he said. That direction would have to be coupled with funding, and any large Internet provider would require legal protections. Mr. Rice participated in the survey and said he was speaking for himself not his company. Indian-owned Tata provides Internet service in the U.S. Some U.S. intelligence officials have advocated a similar approach, but it's met with political resistance over concerns about the government playing a role in policing the Internet.


From http://online.wsj.com/ 01/29/2010

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Washington, D.C. to Get Massive 'Cyber Shock' in Mock Cyber-Attack

Familiar faces from the federal government will be tested Tuesday, Feb. 16, to see how well Washington, D.C., would handle a cyber-crisis. Pass or fail, their performance will be seen by spectators - and then broadcast on CNN for the world to see. The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), a nonprofit that develops multiparty solutions in public policy, will host Cyber Shockwave, a simulated cyber-attack on the United States, during an exercise at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, D.C. The participants will be former senior administration officials who will be put through their paces, but they won't know exactly how until it actually happens. "We've basically gathered a great group of former national security officials and administration officials, and we've actually switched up their roles, so I think it's going to be pretty interesting," said Eileen McMenamin, the BPC's vice president of communications.

At least 10 people will perform the test. They include Michael Chertoff, former secretary of U.S. Homeland Security; John Negroponte, former director of national intelligence; and Fran Townsend, former White House homeland security adviser. "The jobs that they had held are not necessarily going to be the positions that they're holding in this exercise," McMenamin said. Chertoff will operate as national security adviser for the simulation, and Negroponte and Townsend will play the roles of secretary of state and secretary of homeland security, respectively. They will be performing on a stage set up as a White House situation room, and they'll be watched by the press and other invited guests. CNN will record the happenings and air it as a special the weekend of Feb. 20. "We have gone to great lengths to work with our sponsors, General Dynamics in particular, to work with experts who have written the scenario to ensure that it is actually realistic and could happen in real life, so they will be reacting in real time," McMenamin said. "We'll have different information coming in on the screens. We'll have runners run up with cards and inject new information into the scenario, and they'll have to react."

After the exercise is completed, the BPC will issue another press release about the results. The public doesn't get to see what happens in the Pentagon or the White House situation, but the BPC will allow people the rare chance to see how something like this actually unfolds, according to McMenamin. The BPC hosted a similar series of simulations in 2007, Oil ShockWave, which addressed the country's dependence on foreign oil as a major threat. "I think a large reason that we did this is to educate the public that these threats to exist and that government needs to know how to react in real-time, and hoping to draw a larger awareness to this," McMenamin said. "I think it will also be a good tool for not only government officials, but private-sector companies as well to see what possible threats are out there, and that we really need to be ready in case an attack of this sort occurs." (by Hilton Collins)


From http://www.govtech.com/ 01/15/2010

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Businesses Face Mobile Security Challenge in 2010

Businesses will start rolling out mobile anti-virus software over the next six to 12 months, but companies are generally ill-prepared for how mobiles will impact business security. A study of more than 50 large and mid-sized companies by Acumin Consulting and security analyst Goode Intelligence found that businesses believe mobile security will become increasingly important. The findings are mirrored by anti-virus security company Kaspersky, which has predicted that hackers will target the iPhone and Google Android phones in 2010.Goode Intelligence said, "Apple's mobile App Store, distributed through iTunes, and Google's Android Marketplace are changing the face of the mobile phone industry, allowing users to benefit from increased mobility and convergence." However, Goode Intelligence believes businesses have not fully considered the security impact of mobile technology on their businesses. The analyst noted that organisations were increasingly allowing employees to use smartphones in business, where the mobile phone operating systems supported downloadable applications and access GSM and Wi-Fi networks. "To support these devices, organisations must have effective and relevant information security policy and procedures and adequate technology controls to manage them," Goode Intelligence said.


From http://www.computerweekly.com/ 01/07/2010

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What Are Government's Security Weak Spots?

Microsoft's global public safety and national security head Tim Bloechl has a Facebook account, but doesn't trust social media as a reliable source of intelligence. Not yet anyway. When confronted with a threat to public safety, dealing with it should be second nature. So says Tim Bloechl, Microsoft's Managing Director for Worldwide Public Safety and National Security.

Bloechl joined Microsoft from the United States Department of Defence, where he was Director of the International Information Assurance Program responsible for policy and program development as well as interagency, international and operational cyber security coordination. Systems should be in place, and working together, to allow public sector bodies to use information to respond in time and to good effect - without the joins in the system slowing things down, he says. Since taking on his role, Bloechl has observed two key weak spots in the capacity of Asian government systems to cope with security situations. One is interoperability. "Common and control, situational awareness - there are too many systems that can't talk to each other," he says. "Technology is there to make systems effective. There is a clear need for open standards to enable government systems to work together, otherwise they will fall behind." The other lacking faculty in government departments is the ability to work collaboratively, says Bloechl. "It's one thing to put technology in the hands of operators. It's quite another thing for them to know how to use it." He cites the US Air Force as an entity that needed ICT training to ensure that their response mechanism was "second nature".

Microsoft honed in on the public sector as a customer base in 2000, launched a security unit in 2005 and now counts the US army as its biggest customer globally. In Asia, seven of Microsoft's top 10 customers are public sector bodies, the biggest being ministries of the interior, the police and the military. Microsoft's latest security offering is the Intelligence Framework, which enables law enforcement organisations to share information and provide a coordinated approach to tackling security situations. But one of the areas Microsoft has yet to tackle is how to use social media to react to security situations quicker. Bloechl has his reservations, but doesn't discount it as a useful tool in the future. "I'm a user of Facebook, but only with people I know. It comes down to trust. I trust the information my Facebook friends give me. But if you start to trust sources you're not hundred per cent sure on, you can quickly become overwhelmed. It only adds to the fog of war." Data accuracy is the big worry, says Bloechl - disinformation. "It's sad to think that this could happen in a disaster situation, but you have to be mindful of those who will give false information on purpose." He speaks for many in government when he says it's an area in need of exploration. (by Robin Hicks)


From http://www.futuregov.net/ 01/19/2010

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CHINA: Wipe out Unlicensed Video Websites - Official

An official of China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television said Tuesday that it would enforce the eradication of unlicensed websites offering online videos. Tian Jin, deputy director of the administration, said at a forum on online media that the move would secure the healthy development of the Internet for the country's 200 million or more online video service users. Tian said online video programs had become a new platform for information transmission in recent years, and he praised the positive roles of major media websites, such as xinhua.net and cctv.com. But some videos circulating on the Internet contained obscene or violent content, he said. He did not say when exactly the crackdown would start. Wang Chen, director of the Information Office of the State Council, said at the same forum that China would step up regulation of online media as Internet safety issues were increasingly "prominent." "Undesirable" content had "severely undermined" the physical and psychological health of minors, Wang said. Wang urged online media to tighten self-discipline and raise their sense of responsibility to build a healthy, civilized and orderly online environment. The Chinese government has launched repeated campaigns to crack down on websites and publications with obscene content. China has up to 360 million Internet users nationwide and nearly 200 million mobile phone users obtain Internet services from their phones.


From Xinhua News Agency 11/24/2009

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BT Websites Shut Down over Copyright Infringement

As hundreds of downloading web sites were shut down, China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) said Saturday that sites offering free movie and music downloads will have to solve the "copyright problem" if they want to reopen. "In recent years some web sites spread a large number of pirated films, TV dramas and other programs publicly. Some of these programs contain lewd content. Such behaviors severely harmed young people's health and copyright owners' interests," said an official with the online video and audio program department under the SARFT. The official said that regulating online audio and video services is a "long-term task", and as long as these web sites don't solve the copyright problem, they won't be allowed to reopen. According to the SARFT, these closed web sites didn't have a license issued by the administration. Statistics show that currently more than 530 BitTorrent (BT) web sites have been closed, including major download search engine BTChina.net. BT is a peer-to-peer file sharing agreement. Li Yongqiang, president assistant of multi-media software company Baofeng, said the government's crackdown would promote the common sense of normative operation among Chinese web sites and was a step forward to solving problems such as piracy and online porn. However, as many netizens expressed support for the activity, others pointed out that licensed web sites should not blame everything on unlicensed sites. Netizen "Yanshan Tanke" said licensed sites should expand their resources and offer more convenient services with high connection speed and reasonable prices. According to the SARFT, the administration will continue the crackdown while further regulating licensing.


From Xinhua News Agency 12/13/2009

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China Information Security Technology Ranked Among Deloitte Technology Fast 500 Asia Pacific 2009

China Information Security Technology, Inc., (Nasdaq: CPBY) ("CIST" or the "Company"), a leading total solutions provider of digital security, geographic information, and hospital information systems in China, today announced that the Company has been ranked among the "Deloitte Technology Fast 500 Asia Pacific 2009 Award" (the "Fast 500 Asia Pacific") for the second consecutive year. CIST was ranked the 39th fastest growing company in the Fast 500 Asia Pacific in 2009, as compared to 78th in 2008. The Fast 500 Asia Pacific program ranks leading technology companies in a broad range of industries across the Asia Pacific region based on their fiscal year revenue growth rates over the last three years. Companies are considered technology companies if they own proprietary intellectual property or proprietary technology that contributes to a significant portion of the company's operating revenues. Mr. Zhi Qiang Zhao, CIST's Chief Operating Officer, received the award on behalf of the Company at the Deloitte award ceremony, which took place at the Intercontinental Hotel in Hong Kong on Thursday, December 10, 2009. "We would like to thank Deloitte for this great honor, which follows on the heels of our award from the "Deloitte Technology Fast 50 China 2009 Award" program in November," said Mr. Jiang Huai Lin, CIST's CEO. "It is especially rewarding to be ranked for the second consecutive year, and having increased our rank over the period. We believe that this award reflects our sustained growth over the past two years, relative to our peers, even in the face of the challenges posed by the global financial crisis, and validates our long-term business model. We continue to be confident in our outlook and credit the efforts and dedication of our employees and the confidence of our shareholders for our performance to date."

About China Information Security Technology, Inc. Through its wholly-owned Chinese subsidiary, China Information Security Technology, Inc. ("CIST" or the "Company") headquartered in Shenzhen, China ("PRC"), is a leading application software developer, systems integrator and full-service Geographic Information Systems ("GIS") solutions provider to the public security and civil-use markets in China, dedicated to the use of information technology to improve public safety and information management. Its main business lines range from digital information security, to GIS, and digital hospital information systems. The Company provides a broad portfolio of fully integrated solutions and services, including its First Responder Coordination Platform, Intelligent Border Control System, Residence Card Information Management System, Police- and Civil-use GIS products, and Digital Hospital Information System, to serve the growing demand for digital geographic information, hospital and electronic medical record systems in China. Its commitment to leading-edge technology and quality assurance has won the Company numerous government and enterprise contracts throughout China. To learn more about the Company, please visit its corporate website at http://www.chinacpby.com .

Safe Harbor Statement. This press release may contain certain "forward-looking statements" relating to the business of China Information Security Technology, Inc., and its subsidiary companies. All statements, other than statements of historical fact included herein are "forward-looking statements" including statements regarding: the significance of the awards granted to the Company; the general ability of the Company to achieve its commercial objectives, including the ability of the Company to sustain growth in the coming years relative to its peers; the business strategy, plans and objectives of the Company and its subsidiaries; and any other statements of non-historical information. These forward-looking statements are often identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "believes," "expects" or similar expressions, involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, they do involve assumptions, risks and uncertainties, and these expectations may prove to be incorrect. Investors should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. The Company's actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of a variety of factors, including those discussed in the Company's periodic reports that are filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and available on its website (http://www.sec.gov ). All forward-looking statements attributable to the Company or persons acting on its behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by these factors. Other than as required under the securities laws, the Company does not assume a duty to update these forward-looking statements.


From http://www.korea.net/ 12/14/2009

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China Gets Tough on Credit Card-related Crimes

China has announced detailed punishment standards against credit card related crimes in a bid to fight "increasingly rampant" frauds, officials said on Tuesday. The Supreme People's Court (SPC) and the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) Tuesday announced a judicial interpretation that clarifies several Criminal Law articles concerning credit card fraud. Offenders could face more than 10 years in jail or even life imprisonment, as well as a fine as high as 500,000 yuan (73,200 U.S. dollars), if a case involves more than 25 fake credit cards, according to the legal document, which will become effective on Wednesday. Card users could be charged if he or she intentionally delays the payment three months after the second notice of card-issuing bank arrives. Xiong Xuanguo, vice president of the SPC, told a press conference that credit card fraud had been on the rise in recent years as the bank card service expanded rapidly in China. "Card fraudulence, such as using fake ID to apply a card or withdrawing a large amount of money with faked cards, has become so rampant that it even develops as an industry," Xiong said.


From Xinhua News Agency 12/15/2009

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China Jails 11 over Online Games Scam: State Media

A court in east China has handed down jail sentences of up to three years to 11 people for their roles in online gaming scams that netted them around 140,000 dollars, state media said. Lu Yizhong and Zeng Yifu wrote malicious Trojan horse viruses to steal 5.3 million user names and passwords from online gamers, which were then used for "illegal gains", the Xinhua news agency reported late Wednesday. Defendants Yan Renhai, his girlfriend Chen Huiting and other accomplices sold or used the viruses to steal online credits, the Gulou District People's Court in Jiangsu province found, according to Xinhua. The report said that Lu and Zeng made 646,000 yuan (95,000 dollars) through the scam, and Yan and Chen made 310,000 yuan. The report gave no further details as to how the gains were made. Lu was sentenced to three years in jail and Zeng to two-and-a-half years, while the others received lesser sentences, Xinhua said. The group of 11 were also ordered to pay a fine of 833,000 yuan. A total of 80 people nationwide were involved in what the report described as a 30-million-yuan case, without giving further details. Other defendants were to be sentenced soon, it said. Internet use has expanded at a dizzying pace in China, which now has the world's largest online population of at least 338 million users. The number of Internet gamers in China reached 217 million at the end of June, or 64.2 percent of the nation's total online population, according to the government-linked China Internet Network Information Centre.


From http://news.yahoo.com/ 12/17/2009

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China Blocks 15,000 Porn Websites

More than 15,000 pornographic websites, including over 11,000 mobile WAP sites, have been shut down or blocked in 2009, an official from the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) said Tuesday. "More than 1.5 million items of lewd content have been deleted from the Internet" during the same period, said Mao Xiaomao, vice director of the GAPP's anti-illegal or banned publications bureau. Among 65.96 million illegal publications confiscated last year, 1.44 million had pornographic contents, Mao said. Sun Jungong, spokesman of the Supreme People's Court, said China's courts have concluded trials of 1,273 cases of porn-related criminal cases in the first ten months of last year, involving a total of 1,580 people. The Supreme People's Court was making efforts to improve relevant legal interpretation on mobile-related pornographic cases, which was expected to be introduced in the near future, according to Sun. In a legal interpretation issued by the Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate in 2004, makers and distributors of pornographic materials sent through the Internet, mobile phones and other communication devices could face penalties as severe as life imprisonment. China intensified its fight against online porn recently. On Dec. 8, the country launched a new round of crackdown on spreading pornographic contents through Internet or mobile WAP sites to "purify the social environment." The campaign is expected to run to May.


From Xinhua News Agency 01/12/2010

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Turning off Online Addiction

Parents in China can pull the plug on their kids' online gaming by asking game operators to end services for minors, according to a program launched over the weekend by the culture ministry and six major online gaming companies. The program is designed to address the increasingly serious problem of teenagers younger than 18 obsessed with online games, according to a statement by the Ministry of Culture on Friday. Parents and guardians can submit their kids' account numbers, as well as documents proving kinship between them, if they want the online gaming companies to restrict or terminate services. With the online gaming market growing rapidly in China, the problem has drawn the attention of society, added the statement. But the program falls short of defining what is meant by obsession with online games. Teenagers currently account for 17 percent of online game players, totaling 11.8 million, according to the 2009 White Paper on China's online gaming market published last month by the culture ministry.

In 2009, revenues from online games in China increased 39 percent from the previous year to 25.8 billion yuan ($3.8 billion), according to the report. Six online gaming companies, including Shenzhen-based Tencent, Inc, Shanghai-based Shanda Interactive Entertainment Ltd and Guangzhou-based NetEase.com, Inc, joined the program. The three companies have a combined 52 percent share of the total online gaming market in China. Companies in the industry should do their best to prevent teenagers from becoming addicted to online games, an unnamed chief of the ministry's department of cultural market said on Friday. The department regulates the online gaming industry. Compared to adults, teenage players are less addicted to online games, found the 2009 White Paper. On average, 19 percent of them played for more than 20 hours per week. Since last Friday, NetEase.com has begun to accept reports from parents who are worried that their kids are addicted to online games or that the entertainment will impair their studies. The company's staff will contact parents within 72 hours after receiving their reports, according to a post published on the company's website. Once the parent's complaints are confirmed, the kids could have their gaming accounts suspended until they are adults.


From China Daily 02/08/2010

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China Blasts Accusation of Gov't Involvement in Cyber Attacks

The Chinese government neither gets involved in nor supports any cyber attack, a high-ranking official with the State Council Information Office said Tuesday, refuting recent western accusations of the government and military's involvement in hacking. "The government has never supported or been involved in cyber attacks, and it will never do so. Those remarks are sheer nonsense," said Peng Bo, official with the Internet bureau under the Information Office. Some U.S. experts recently said Chinese military or government agencies might be breaking into computers to steal technology and trade secrets to help state companies. "The remarks are groundless. In fact, China is the country worst hit by worldwide hackers," Peng told Xinhua. But Peng stressed that even if an attack was traced to China, it was very likely that the attack was controlled by people from other countries. "There are tens of thousands of computers in China hijacked by people outside the country," Peng said.


From Xinhua News Agency 02/09/2010

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JAPAN: 11 Arrested in Simultaneous Bust for Uploading Copyrighted Files

The National Police Agency arrested 11 people in 10 areas on Monday in a simultaneous bust for uploading copyrighted files on the Internet using file sharing software Share. Among the 11, one 47-year-old man from Nagano distributed 18 copyrighted songs between September and October. In October he shared another 40 or so, which were downloaded by around 9,600 people with damages estimated at 77 million yen. The other 10 were arrested for sharing games and other software, including Square Enix's "Dragon Quest IX: Defenders of the Starry Sky" for the Nintendo DS. While currently it's only illegal to upload copyrighted files, revisions to the Copyright Law coming into force from January will also make it illegal to download them as well.


From http://mdn.mainichi.jp/ 12/01/2009

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8 Japanese Computer Servers Suspected in July Cyber Attack

Japan's National Police Agency said Thursday it suspects eight computer servers in Japan were involved in a wave of cyber attacks in July against government and private sector websites in South Korea and the United States, Japan's National Police Agency said Thursday. Japanese police have detected a software program on the servers for issuing instructions to terminals outside of Japan to send large amounts of data. The so-called denial-of-service attack in July overloaded the web servers of 35 government and private sector organizations in the two countries including the South Korean presidential office. However, it is not clear whether the eight servers in Japan actually issued instructions to the terminals that sent the large amounts of data, the police agency said. The program appears to have been installed on the servers via the Internet. But the place of origin of the program is unknown, it said. Japan is conducting a joint investigation with South Korea to identify the eight servers, agency officials said. North Korea or a pro-North Korean entity is widely suspected of having conducted the cyber attack. The police agency added that hundreds of similar servers have been confirmed in dozens of countries and that tens of thousands of terminals were involved in the cyber attack.


From http://www.breitbart.com/ 12/17/2009

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SOUTH KOREA: Cyber Command Launched Next Week

South Korea will launch a military cyber command next week to tackle the increasing threat of cyber attacks by North Korea, the country's defense ministry said Friday, according to Yonhap News. Seoul's first cyber command, to be led by a one-star general, will begin official duties on Monday, working on Internet hacking prevention, cyber security and restoration of damaged networks. It will also carry out military operations in cyberspace in cases of emergency, the defense ministry said in a press release. The independent command will represent the country's military in case of a major cyber crisis like the "distributed denial of service" attacks that took place last July, the ministry said. Officials here suspect that North Korea, which is technically still at war with the South, was behind the major cyber assault that paralyzed dozens of South Korean and U.S. government Web sites last summer.


From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 01/08/2010

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Website Not Responsible for Data Theft

Auction, a major online open market, is not responsible for the theft of its customers' personal information, the Seoul Central District Court ruled yesterday. "Auction cannot be seen as having violated any duties as a Web service provider," ruled the court. The company also immediately reported the data breach to authorities and to its customers, and thus may be seen as having taken appropriate countermeasures, said the court. In February 2008, the personal information, including the names and resident registration numbers of 11 million online customers was stolen from the Auction Web site, resulting in a class action lawsuit of 145,000 plaintiffs. Despite the complaints, the company was also seen as a victim of the hacking and thus released from sole responsibility for the information breach. Experts, too, emphasized the importance of rapid and transparent countermeasures by companies, especially as hacking was very difficult to anticipate and prevent. "Auction, at least, showed a good example by promptly responding to the en masse breach and by opening up the issue to the customers," said an official of the Korea Internet and Security Agency. Legal experts also showed concern about the immediate class action lawsuits taken by the victims, saying that such suits should only be considered an option when all other forms of negotiation have failed.


From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 01/15/2010

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MALAYSIA: More Information Security Experts Needed

Although Internet banking cybercrimes are still at a manageable level, the country still needs to produce more information security experts, according to CyberSecurity Malaysia. "I do not want to claim we have a lack of experts or that our experts are enough to solve problems but we need to collaborate to produce more experts," said its chief executive officer Lt Col (Rtd) Husin Jazri. He said with the number of Internet users rising and the trend moving into advanced levels, such as mobile banking, the country needs to be prepared in all areas, particularly with information security experts.

Currently, Malaysia has about 16 million Internet users, he told reporters after delivering the opening speech at the CyberSecurity RSA Seminar 2010 here. On online banking, Husin said it was the users rather than financial institutions that were most affected by cybercrimes. "I am not worried about the banks. They have a lot of money to secure their systems. They can have the world's best consultants to look into their security systems," he said. "It's the human part that gets affected, not the technological part. The users become the victims. When the users communicate with the banks, they are exposed to social engineering, online scams and other threats."

According to Husin, online users should be aware that banks never do online maintenance as far as Internet banking is concerned for their customers. "We need to educate users on this fact which can contribute towards curbing the problem (of social engineering)," he said. From the total of 3,564 cases reported last year, 1,022 were fraud and forgery cases, which accounted for one-third of the reports, Husin said. "We should share know-how and identify the necessary strategy to address threats such as the increasing risk of security breaches, identity theft, phishing and cyberterrorism," he said. - Bernama


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 02/10/2010

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'Cultural Elements,' Security Needed in ICT: Rais

The Malaysian Government wants cultural elements and aspects of security of a country to be given attention in tandem with progress in information and communication technology (ICT), Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim told the GSMA Mobile World Congress 2010 here Monday. He said stakeholders and players in the industry could not disregard these aspects as they were very important to the identity and security of a country. "We managed to put forward our views that despite the speed at which the industry is progressing, these elements should not be forgotten," he told reporters here.

Malaysia is one of the few countries invited for the ministerial-level deliberations of the three-day congress which began Monday with over 800 international stakeholders and 200 industry players participating. "The mobile telephone industry, for example, has seen an explosion in its progress ... so much so, every country has the facility for communication.

"Nevertheless, content and the issue of security has to be taken into account," he said without elaborating. Malaysia made a similar call at the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity in Bali earlier, as it did not want advances in ICT to alter the character of a country or affect its security, he said. "This conference which we deem a success also focuses on the human aspects where technology is concerned," said Rais, who was accompanied by Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (SKMM) chairman Tan Sri Khalid Ramli.

According to Rais, other views that also received the attention and support of Malaysia at the ministerial-level meeting were on welfare concerning health, facilities for health and high-speed connectivity. "We also supported these views because they must be seen in the context of nation-building and from the international aspect," he said, adding that Malaysia would continue giving its views "for the betterment of all peoples" and that the SKMM had several concrete proposals towards this end. "In the final analysis, we also stressed that the standards and spectrum owned by a country where ICT is concerned should not be solely for commercial interests but to serve humanity," he said. Khalid said the congress was important for Malaysia as it provided a platform not only for industry players to give their views but also governments as well and that in this regard, Malaysia was widely respected for having achieved a high level of success in the industry with use of mobile phones now standing at 102% and broadband penetration rate exceeding the 31% rate that had been set for last year. - Bernama


From http://thestar.com.my/ 02/16/2010

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THAILAND: The Unstoppable Growth of Internet Crime

In 2009 cyber crime grew larger than the illegal drug trade, the spread of malware continued unabated and the first proof-of-concept iPhone and Mac viruses proved that no platform is immune once it is large enough to catch the eye of cyber criminals. David Freer, Symantec Vice-President, Consumer Business, Asia-Pacific and Japan, said that while 2009 saw the first iPhone virus, it was not an attempt by an antagonised cyber-criminal, rather it was by a spotty-faced kid who did it for the fame. Even today, there is still not enough of a mass market for smart phones and it is still not worth the criminals' time - better to target the PC and the Mac. Besides, people do not usually have their personal and banking information on their phones... yet.

The image of the Mac as not needing anti-virus crumbled in 2009. Today it does not matter if you are using a Mac or a PC; if you are using a common browser or plug-in you run the risk of infection. The only reason PCs have been targeted in the past is that if the PC had a 95 percent of the market. The commercial success of the Mac changed that. Freer said that the low point of 2009 was when the amount of money involved in cybercrime exceed the illegal drugs trade in the United States. A close second is the sheer amount of of malware. In 2008, Symantec identified more viruses than in the past 19 years put together. In 2009 that figure was topped in just one quarter. Over 90 percent of all email is spam. The size of the Internet means that if a criminal can hook one in 10 million recipients, that number suddenly makes a lot of criminal-commercial sense.

Today malware is a hidden world, the iPhone virus aside, with people aiming for big money and hiding in the shadows. Banks are not eager to push the message of being attacked to the media so it falls on industry bodies and law enforcement to see that cyber-criminals are brought to justice. The high point of 2009, according to Symantec, is the release of new reputation-based technology. Before that, there were twelve different technologies, such as anti-virus, firewall, IDS. The names go on, but they all had to depend on something being known about the piece of malware before a fix could be pushed out. If there were only a few instances of a virus being unleashed, the chances of catching it were very low. Reputation changes that by looking at a range of 70 parameters such as how many people are using it, where did that file come from, and how how recent it was. With the Norton community of 35 million, it is a large enough user base to be representative and can identify a problem file without having to scan it or check it against a whitelist or blacklist. Awareness is getting better, through engaging media and industry groups.

In 2010, one of the biggest problems will continue to be URL-shortening services. Most people have learned to look at the URL before clicking on a link, but URL shorteners make life for security vendors a lot more difficult. Windows 7, being a brand-new operating system, will be a big target. Microsoft may be hardening it, but an OS, by definition, needs to run a variety of software. Microsoft Security Essentials, a free anti-virus, is a mixed blessing. It is a cure, rather than a prevention that cleans up the mess, while Norton prevents the mess in first place, he explained. Other threats include social engineering and spam that will continue to grow. By far the weakest link will continue to be the consumer. Over 95 percent of attacks are aimed at the consumer as opposed to the corporation.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 12/30/2009

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Data-interception Technology Sparks Privacy vs Safety Arguments

Experts have raised concerns over whether using Sniffer software to resolve suspicious internet activity violates the Computer-related Crime Act B.E. 2550.It is suggested that the technology should only be used for data interception where there is a strong legal case for suspicion, rather than detecting all traffic, which would violate data privacy. The ICT Ministry considers Sniffer to be one method in the cabinet's resolution to reduce the piracy of intellectual property in Thailand. Currently, the working group is comprised of the ICT Ministry, National Telecommunication Commission of Thailand, Department of Intellectual Property, Department of Special Investigation, Royal Thai Police and Thai e-Commerce Association.

However, there are objections to Sniffer in the cyber community to due to concerns it will violate their privacy, including an official "Thailand No Sniffer" Facebook group. Ajin Jirachiefpattana, Executive Director, ICT Industry Promotion Bureau, said there is a plan to ask internet service providers to implement Sniffer to intercept all data traffic for analysing the transfer of potentially suspicious data. Using Sniffer to intercept data in the public internet is similar to CCTV in public areas in that it aids the police in their attempts to create and maintain safer environments. Sniffer offers a proactive way to identify and monitor suspicious websites showing unusual traffic patterns. Under the current system, the authority has to ask for court approval to take down suspicious sites, which it more of a reactive approach.

However, using this technology requires co-operation from ISPs to set up Sniffer at their gateway, and the ICT Ministry has to ask the NTC for help in issue policy mandates to compel ISPs under their license to act on this. "The ICT Ministry has a 120-million-baht budget for technology investment to correctly and analyse internet data which may harm national security, but this money cannot be put to use if we cannot use Sniffer," said Ajin. Morakot Kulathamyotin, chair of the Thai Internet Association, said the association still has not been formally acknowledged by the ICT Minister, although as a commercial company they do everything to comply with the law.

In terms of technical perspective, there is a big barrier to establishing sufficient machine capacity to monitor and store all data traffic without slowing down network speed. "You could think of using Sniffer as similar to setting up police checkpoints on the roads, which makes traffic slow down," said Morakot. She continued that normal procedure is for police to apply for search warrants once they suspect a website of publishing illegal content, although logistically it is impossible to search every suspect's address. They must also obtain court orders before they can block websites. ISPs do already co-operate in these efforts under the Computer-related Crime Act and Securities and Exchange Act. Sujate Jantarang, President, Mahanakorn University of Technology, who is a law and technology expert who previously worked in revising the Computer-related Crime Act law, said if the ICT Ministry used Sniffer or other data-interception technology, the government would be in violation of the Computer Related Crime Act B.E. 2550, section 8.

This is because if data which is not for public use is intercepted and sent into the computer system, the government action will be deemed to have acted illegally. "There needs to be a balance of freedom and duty. If we are comparing Sniffer with CCTV, then consider that CCTV should only be used in front of the house and is now allowed to zoom inside the house, as that would violate privacy," said Sujate. "Any misuse of private data, especially banking information, could damage Thailand reputation and economy. "Today's process is already quick to enforce, because the court can issue warrants in 24 hours," he emphasised. A security expert source said other countries the United States also uses the lawful interception model in its Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) , and makes clear that telecommunications carriers have a duty to co-operate in the interception of communications for law enforcement purposes.

CALEA's purpose is to enhance the ability of law enforcement and intelligence agencies to conduct electronic surveillance by requiring that telecommunications carriers and manufacturers of telecommunications equipment modify and design their equipment, facilities, and services to ensure that they have built-in surveillance capabilities. However, use of technology which can see details of all data inside the network should only be done on a case-by-case basis because misuse of this technology will violate data privacy. This is especially a concern for personal financial transactions. For example, in the physical world, if police suspect a criminal is residing in a condominium, the police need a search warrant to target that specific resident because cannot search everybody in the building. Similarly, in the cyber world, police can ask to intercept only the data required to collect evidence against a particular suspect. "In the wrong hands, this technology could be dangerous, as businesses and political parties could use it to monitor their rivals," the source said.

Meanwhile Prasit Prapinmongkolkarn, Commissioner, National Telecommunications Commission, said the proposal to compel ISPs to implement Sniffer is outside of the NTC's authority. "This does not involve the NTC because if we do something that is later overruled, there is the possibility that the NTC could be sued for using improper power," he concluded.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 01/27/2010

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Social Sites, Cloud Computing Pose New Threats

The increasing popularity of social networking and new technology development in cloud and virtualisation environment as well as new operating systems create loopholes for security threats in 2010. According to the Trend Micro 2010 Future Threat Report, cloud computing and virtualisation, while offering significant benefits and cost-savings, move servers outside the traditional security perimeter and expand the playing field for cybercriminals. The industry already witnessed Danger/Sidekick's cloud-based server failure that caused major data outages in November 2009, highlighting cloud-computing risks that cybercriminals will likely abuse. Trend Micro believes cybercriminals will either be manipulating the connection to the cloud, or attacking the data centre and cloud itself.

Moreover, the new OS Google Chrome offers many IT administrators hope for a safer computing experience. However, with Google Chrome, the OS is very small and open source, and the data and applications are stored in the cloud. This means there should be fewer bugs, as there are fewer lines of code. As it is smaller it is also not so powerful, locally installed multipurpose malware perhaps could become a thing of the past. It is possible that certain attack scenarios could still work, such as manipulating the connection to the cloud. If a cybercriminal were to fiddle around with the OS code just a little bit to change the DNS records, a user might first visit an underground site, which then automatically redirects to his/her Web application page. This might reveal all the users' data, if the communication channel cannot be locked down. It is possible to rely on a combination of IPv6, encryption and certificates, but this is still a possible attack vector.

Or it may attack the cloud itself. If cloud-based applications and cloud-driven OSs become mainstream, a 99.99 percent availability is absolutely critical. A computer is unable to reach the information and application host is useless. Attackers could potentially use standard botnets to overload the cloud infrastructure of the host. Or an attacker might ask for the payment of a small donation to ensure that the cloud host, being overwhelmed with requests, could deliver the service again. These would certainly provide a lucrative business for cybercriminals. In fact, these types of attack are already taking place, albeit on a small scale, but if one business driver loses importance or profitability then another business model will replace it.

Social network sites targeted
William Tan, Regional Country Manager, Thailand and Vietnam, Blue Coat Systems, said that in networks like Twitter and Facebook, users build online relationships with people they know and invite into their circle. Cybercriminals disrupt the trust that is inherent in these relationships through stolen log-ins that prey on the unsuspecting users. The combination of attacks that exploit the trust model and search engine poisoning that relies on users to click on the top search engine results without question will prove to be one of the biggest threats for enterprise security managers in 2010.

Meanwhile Symantec sees that social networking third-party applications will be the target of fraud due to the popularity of social networking sites poised for another year of unprecedented growth, expect to see fraud being leveraged against site users to grow. In the same vein, expect owners of these sites to create more proactive measures to address these threats. As this occurs, and as these sites more readily provide third-party developer access to their APIs, attackers will likely turn to vulnerabilities in third-party applications for users' social networking accounts, just as attackers leverage browser plug-ins more as Web browsers themselves become more secure. Tan also points out that search engine poisoning, where cybercriminals exploit search engine algorithms to position hacked sites higher in the results, is an easy way to drive users to malware, particularly of the variety that offers fake anti-virus scanners or fake warez. Most recently, Blue Coat Labs detected attacks that utilised hacked blog pages to poison search results related to Halloween and this year's popular Christmas toy, zhu zhu pets. In 2010, the ease with which results can be tainted through blogs will encourage more attacks like this.

Mac and mobile malware to increase
The Symantec report mentions that in 2009, the company saw Macs and smart phones targeted more by malware authors, for example the Sexy Space botnet aimed at the Symbian mobile device operating system and the OSX.Iservice Trojan targeting Mac users. As Macs and smart phones continue to increase in popularity in 2010, more attackers will devote time to creating malware to exploit these devices. Moreover, highly specialised malware was uncovered in 2009 that was aimed at exploiting certain ATMs, indicating a degree of insider knowledge about their operation and how they could be exploited. Expect this trend to continue in 2010, including the possibility of malware targeting electronic voting systems, both those used in political elections and public telephone voting, such as that connected with reality television shows and competitions.

For spammers, they will break the rules. As the economy continues to suffer and more people seek to take advantage of the loose restrictions of the CAN SPAM Act, the company sees more organisations selling unauthorised email address lists and less-than-legitimate marketers spamming those lists. The report also said Fast Flux Botnets will increase which is a technique used by some botnets, such as the Storm botnet, to hide phishing and malicious websites behind an ever-changing network of compromised hosts acting as proxies.
Using a combination of peer-to-peer networking, distributed command and control, web-based load balancing and proxy redirection, it makes it difficult to trace the botnets' original geo-location. As industry counter-measures continue to reduce the effectiveness of traditional botnets, expect to see more using this technique being used to carry out attacks.

While URL shortening-services have become the phisher's best friend because users often have no idea where a shortened URL is actually sending them, phishers are able to disguise links that the average security conscious user might think twice about clicking on. Symantec is already seeing a trend toward using this tactic to distribute misleading applications and expects much more to come. Also, in an attempt to evade anti-spam filters through obfuscation, expect spammers to leverage URLs shorteners to carry out their own evil deeds. And finally, Windows 7 will come into the cross-hairs of attackers. Microsoft has already released the first security patches for the new operating system and as Windows 7 hits the street and gains traction in 2010, attackers will undoubtedly find ways to exploit its users.

Attacks move to file sharing networks
Kaspersky Lab sees a shift in the types of attacks from via websites and applications towards attacks originating from file sharing networks. Already in 2009 a series of mass malware epidemics have been supported by malicious files that are spread via torrent portals. In 2010, it expects to see a significant increase in these types of incidents on P2P networks. Cybercriminals will continue to compete for traffic. The modern cybercriminal world is making more and more of an effort to legalise itself and there are lots of ways to earn money online using the huge amount of traffic that can be generated by botnets.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 01/27/2010

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VIETNAM: Hi-tech Criminal Attacks on the Rise

The HCM City Department of Information and Communications warned on November 21 that attacks on information networks are escalating and becoming a permanent concern for government agencies, enterprises and individuals. The HCM City Department of Information and Communications and a local police agency recently fined Fibo Company, Ltd. for attacking the network of another firm in HCM City, using the DDoS and Botnet modes.

Ngo Vi Dong, Chairman of the Vietnam Information Security Association's southern branch, said that a recent survey of over 200 enterprises in southern provinces proved that information security is below average because network security investment has been very modest. According to Dong, information networks of nearly 34 percent of the surveyed enterprises had been attacked since early 2009. 38 percent of the businesses admitted that they didn't know whether their networks had been attacked or not.


From http://www.english.vietnamnet.vn/ 11/23/2010

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VN Websites Face Hacker Onslaught

As many as 1,037 websites were attacked by hackers in Viet Nam in 2009, while 461 and 342 websites were hacked in 2008 and 2007 respectively. In 2009, there were over 47,000 computer viruses in Viet Nam, up 30 per cent compared with 2008, according to statistics from the Bach Khoa Internet Security Centre (Bkis). Websites of internet service providers, financial companies, banks and governmental agencies were hackers' most common targets. In November and December last year, Bkis was aware of 18 websites of government ministries and departments being attacked by hackers.

According to Nguyen Tu Quang, general director of Bkis, the websites were vulnerable 'due to companies' lack of security knowledge and their failure to communicate their security needs to the website builders. Quang said there should be more security regulations for government sites and each department should employ professional technicians on computer network administration and security. Vietnamese websites' lax security contributed to 73,000 computers being infected with Conficker, a computer worm targeting Microsoft Window's operating system, and Viet Nam was second worst hit of 103 countries by cyber-spyware GhostNet.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 12/01/2009

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Hackers Besiege HCM City Business

HCM City firms are failing to adequately protect themselves from hackers, according to the municipal Information and Communications Department. Ngo Vi Dong, chairman of the Viet Nam Information Security Association (VNISA)'s southern branch, said security systems at the majority of 200 businesses inspected in the south were failing to invest enough in anti-hacker software. "Up to 34 per cent of businesses had their sites hacked in the first six months of this year. Around 38 per cent of them were not aware that they had even been hacked. The figures last year were 28 and 26 per cent respectively," Dong said.

Dong said hackers tended to attack not only information systems and databases of private firms but those of State agencies as well. He said they used a variety of mean to bypass security measures, such as spyware, adware, software, Trojan horses and key loggers. "However, half of the businesses inspected had no policies or budgets for information security," he said. He added that only 10 per cent of inspected firms that had been hacked had reported the matter because they were afraid it would detrimentally affect their image.

Recently, the department in co-ordination with the Ministry of Public Security's Economic Crime Police Bureau, took action against Fibo company for hacking into the Queen Bee company's main server using the so-called distributed denial-of-service (DDOS), which makes a company's data unavailable to intended users, and botnet, which is a hidden programme. An investigation showed that Fibo had been attacking the company over a long period of time.

Nguyen Duong Vu, the company's director, admitted the offence. According to Tran Anh Minh, general secretary of the association, high-tech crime fell into two categories. The first involved sending viruses to computer databases or networks in an attempt to steal, attack information system and DDOS.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 12/04/2009

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Viruses Attack 64.7 Million PCs in 2009

VietNamNet Bridge - Up to 50,128 types of virus appeared in 2009, 1.5 times more than 2008. The most prevalent virus was SalityVF.PE, which infected 483,000 PCs. Metamorphic virus like W32.Sality.PE and W32.Vetor.PE topped the list for the most widespread viruses, becoming a challenge for users and anti-virus software. Metamorphic viruses are dangerous because they can reprogram themselves. This is used by some viruses when they are about to infect new files, and the result is it's "children" don't look like their "parents". Computer viruses using this technique do this in order to avoid the pattern recognition of anti-virus software. According to the Back Khoa Network Security Centre (BKIS), 2.2 million PCs in Vietnam were attacked by this type of virus. They caused serious problems for the system and damaged data.

In addition, a number of fake anti-virus software products appeared, confusing users. By sending emails or using search engines, hackers enticed victims to fake anti-virus websites which have Windows-style interfaces. By visiting these sites, users downloaded fake anti-virus software to their PCs. In 2009, viruses increased in number and became more complicated. According to BKIS, this year virus will continue increasing, especially dangerous types like the metamorphic virus. Mobile phones could be the new targets for hackers, especially when the 3G network is available in Vietnam. The amended Penal Code, which took effect on January 1 2010, will be the foundation for dealing with violations of this kind. In the past, those who spread computer virus were only fined administratively but from now on, this violation may mean imprisonment for up to 12 years.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 01/21/2010

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INDIA: E-Tracking of Crime Project

14,000 police stations and 6,000 police offices across the country have been interconnected by the Government of India for an IT-enabled sophisticated tracking system in crime investigation and detection of criminals. The total estimated cost of the nation-wide project, called Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS), is estimated to be Rs 2,000 crore. The central government will help in the development and management of the Core Application Software and issuing guidelines, review and monitoring of the project implementation". A kind of similar platform has been developed by three states, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Gujarat, to automate the processes related to case registration, investigation, arrest and status of court trials.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 12/01/2009

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Cyber Crime Police Station in Kolkata for Net Web Offenders

Kolkata Police is all set to have a separate cyber crime police station to deal with new-age crimes. The website on cyber crime was inaugurated on December 19, 2009. The website will seek to create awareness about cyber crimes and cyber laws and also tell victims where to lodge complaints. The work is on for the formation of a cyber crime police station, which will be manned by some handpicked officers conversant in cyber laws and cyber crime. The website will also monitor the functioning of cyber cafes across the city. Every cyber cafe will be registered with the website.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 12/21/2009

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E-Tendering to Bring in Transparency in Kerala

The Rural Development Department in association with the National Informatics Centre (NIC), Kerala, is set to launch GePNIC, a web-based online government e-Procurement system. The objective of this e-procurement system is to bring in transparency in the tendering process. The system, for tendering works under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) in the State, will enable online creation, publishing, evaluation and award of bids. The NIC has already conducted a training programme for the department officials and 70 government contractors on using GePNIC, which is expected to be launched by January 15, 2010. Shorter procurement cycle, accurate processing and enhanced security ensured through digital signing of all uploaded documents are some other advantages of the system.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 12/24/2009

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PAKISTAN: IT Sector - PCA and Microsoft to Promote IPRs

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Computer Association (PCA) and Microsoft have reaffirmed the resolve to make joint efforts to promote Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) in the industry to ensure healthy and steady growth in the IT sector. According to a press release of the PCA issued here on Wednesday, the efforts would focus on consumer awareness regarding the IPRs and facilitation of the industry to provide affordable software to the end-users in Pakistan. Both the organisations expressed this resolve during a special consultative meeting between PCA delegation and Microsoft officials held here at the PCA office. Besides others, PCA delegation comprises Munawar Iqbal, Central President, Abdullah Malik, President PCA Islamabad Chapter, Arshad Janjua, General Secretary Central, Abrar-ul-Haq, Joint Secretary Islamabad and Executive Members of Islamabad A. R. Tahir, Zafar Shahzad, Asad Haider and Muhammad Younis while Salman Siddiqi, Manager Anti Piracy, Faysal J. Kayani, Shoaib Khalil Manager Marketing and Wamiq Ali represented Microsoft in the meeting. Munawar Iqbal, on the occasion, suggested that the proposed awareness campaigns for promotion of IPRs ought to be stipulated with facilitation and incentive for the industry so that the equilibrium related to cost-effectiveness and affordability could be maintained. Referring to recently signed MoU between two organisations, he suggested that practical measures should be taken to involve all the stakeholders, especially, the vendors' community to achieve the stated objectives effectively and for the overall well being of the industry. Both the sides agreed that the proposed awareness campaign for the promotion of IPRs would include countrywide seminars, informative literature and special training as effective tools of communication. Moreover, consistent support to reseller community would be ensured to enable them to manage their businesses in an ethical, legal and profitable manner, PCA added.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 01/21/2010

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IRAN: Warns Opposition on Cell Phone, E-mail Use

Iran's police chief on Friday warned opposition supporters not to use cell phones and e-mail messages to organize protest rallies against the government, saying those who do so will be prosecuted and punished. Gen. Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam said spreading the word of the opposition through Internet or cell phone SMS is a crime that deserves severe punishment and that the authorities would continue monitoring those systems. The remarks are the latest reflecting the government's frustration at various imaginative ways the opposition has sought to rally supporters following the disputed June presidential election. A harsh government crackdown has left the opposition with little means to make its voice heard. Almost all pro-reform newspapers have been closed since the June 12 vote in which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner. Those still in circulation have been openly threatened against publishing opposition statements. Iranian state media, controlled by hard-liners, regularly ignore the opposition.

Pro-reform Web sites are also blocked, making it difficult for statements, such as those of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, to be seen by the wider public. However, Iran's tech-savvy and mostly young opposition activists have turned to cell phone SMS and e-mails as a potent weapon in organizing anti-government rallies. In response, cell phone service is regularly blocked during opposition demonstrations - but often, not before the message gets out."These people must know when they send the SMS messages or e-mails out, these systems are completely under (our) control," Moghaddam was quoted as saying by the semiofficial ISNA news agency. "These individuals should not assume ... they can hide their identities. That is a wishful thinking." Moghaddam added that those who continue to use cell phones and e-mails in service of the opposition would be punished. "Those involved in organizing or issuing appeals have committed a worse crime than those who take to the streets," he said.

The opposition says more than 80 protesters have been killed in the postelection crackdown, although the government puts the number of confirmed dead at less than 40. At least eight people died in clashes between security forces and opposition protesters in late December, the worst bloodshed since the height of the unrest last summer. In the past, Moghaddam has warned opposition supporters to stay off the streets or face harsh consequences, saying the "era of tolerance is over. Anyone attending such rallies will be crushed." The SMS and e-mailing appear to be part of wider back-to-basic tactics used by the opposition, such as pamphlets and graffiti. Other tactics include scribbling pro-opposition statement on banknotes, mostly in the signature green color of the opposition movement. This has riled authorities and the central bank has scrambled to pull the notes out of circulation.


From http://www.msnbc.msn.com/ 01/15/2010

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KAZAKHSTAN: Ministry of Defense Cleared Radio Frequencies for 3G Technology

The Ministry of Defense of Kazakhstan has already cleared radio frequencies for 3G technology in Kazakhstan. The chairman of Kazakhstan Agency for Information and Communication, Kuanyshbek Esekeev, informed today. "The Ministry of Defense has already cleared frequencies," K. Esekeev said. He informed that now the agency is already conducting the work "on the parallel frequencies." Earlier, the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Karim Masimov, assigned the Minister of Defense and the Agency for Information and Communication to transfer Kazakhstan military frequencies for civil use until the end of the year to develop 3G sector.


From http://www.kt.kz/ 12/03/2009

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AUSTRALIA: Federal Government Builds Secret Database to Fight Cyber-Terrorism

Australia's biggest banks, telcos, and utilities have handed sensitive data to government for the protection of critical infrastructure (CI) against terrorism and natural disasters. The rare move, which began in 2009, makes the country one of a few in the world with a centralised national critical infrastructure protection model. The Critical Infrastructure Protection Modeling and Assessment (CIPMA) program was launched in 2007 and received a $23.4 million funding boost to 2012 in last year's budget. It is spearheaded by the Federal Attorney-General which received a $15.2 million share and its research department Geoscience Australia which scored $800,000. The CIPMA program is also an initiative of the Trusted Information Sharing Network formed to examine the relationships and dependencies between CI systems and how failures in one sector affect other sector operations. A spokesperson from the Attorney General's Department responding to Computerworld questions said the program is on time and budget, and owes its success to the industry's willingness to trust the government with highly sensitive data.

"Identifying, tracking the cascading effects of [CI] and quantifying these consequences is a key rationale for establishing the CIPMA program," the spokesperson said. "Direct relationships with industry means that there is a high level of trust to enable the provision of accurate data for modelling and analysis." The department would not elaborate on what scenarios are being tested or what organisations are participating but said all scenarios use factual data and produce realistic results, something few countries have the ability to do. Participants with approval can use the data to defend Australia in the annual international wargame Cyberstorm, which pits countries against each other including the US, UK and New Zealand in a mock online attacks on CI. They can also use the models to cut internal costs by examining supply chain data and manufacturing processes. About 4Tb of CI data will be stored in central databases, eliminating the need to retrieve information from knowledge experts who may be unreachable in a disaster. System Dynamic Models are used to examine stock and flow data in CI such as network connectivity and the energy output of generators, to create an amalgamated output to be fed into a People, Building and Infrastructure profile. Data is then broken down into demographic, economic and business profiles, and statistical divisions to create unique disruption footprints.

An ASIO T4 approved security system protects stored data which includes highly secretive industry information entrusted to CIPMA. The Attorney-General's Department is establishing a panel of additional technical providers for the 2010 service delivery phase, following an expression of interest process. Work will be guided from the results of a pending interim review. The CIPMA program is one of many actions that have been taken by authorities in recent times to counter the growing number of threats from cyber space, including those such as those undertaken this week by a group calling itself 'Anonymous', which launched a denial of service (DoS) attack on two government websites to protest the Federal Government's plans to introduce mandatory ISP-level Internet content filtering. The attack, named "Operation Titstorm", hit the Australian Parliament House and the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) websites. In January, the Federal Government moved to step up its cyber warfare defence capabilities with the opening of the Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC) announced as part of the Defence White Paper released last year. The centre, housed inside the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) headquarters in Canberra, will provide critical understanding of the threat from sophisticated cyber attacks, according to the minister for defence, senator John Faulkner.

In November 2009, Computerworld revealed the CSOC had already reached some operational capability but an acute lack of information on the offensive capabilities being developed remains with the government and Defence department refusing to divulge details. There is also little clarity around its governance or oversight mechanisms, a circumstance that sparked calls from academics and information security analysts for greater public debate and disclosure. Also in early November, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) confirmed that Internet-based attacks have been used by hostile intelligence services to gain confidential Australian Government and business information. That same month the Government created a new national computer emergency response team, CERT Australia.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 02/11/2010

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AG's Office Defends Record on Anonymous Attacks

The Federal Government has defended its ability to combat cyber-crime in the face of repeated successful attacks on Government websites carried out under the name Anonymous. Responding to Computerworld Australia, the Australian attorney general's department said it was taking action to address attacks such as the recent denial of service (DoS) attack on two government websites to protest the Federal Government's plans to introduce mandatory ISP-level Internet content filtering. "Government departments, in conjunction with Internet service providers are making every effort to ensure that their websites remain available," a spokesperson for the attorney general said. "Where Internet addresses of illegitimate users have been identified these can be prevented from connecting to an affected site. The Cyber Security Operations Centre within Defence Signals Directorate is coordinating the sharing of these addresses with impacted Government agencies." The spokesperson also referred to the attorney-general launch of Australia's "first ever comprehensive Cyber Security Strategy" in November last year.

"The strategy describes how the Government is harnessing the full range of resources to help protect government, business and individual Australians and their computer systems," the spokesperson said. "The strategy sets out the priorities that the Government will purse to achieve these objectives, ranging from ensuring Australia has an effective legal framework and skilled workforce to working with the business community and international partners on cyber security issues." In September Anonymous launched a distributed denial of service (DDos) attack against the pm.gov.au web site aimed at protesting the Government's mandatory ISP-level content filter. Despite the gravity of the situation there has been little public comment coming from both the Opposition and Government. Opposition finance minister Barnaby Joyce did however make some comment but seemed unable to grasp the intricacies and severity of the situation.

"Who are these creeps? Why do we even have to discuss it? Just knock it out," Joyce said speaking on ABC TV's Q&A program. "These people are horrible creepy bits of work - get rid of them. Get them off the Internet." Earlier this month it was revealed that Australia's biggest banks, telcos, and utilities have handed sensitive data to government for the protection of critical infrastructure against terrorism and natural disasters.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 02/16/2010

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ISOC-AU Says No to ISP Filter

The Internet Society of Australia (ISOC-AU) has voiced its criticism of the Federal Government's mandatory ISP-level content filter, arguing ISPs should have no role in determining what content their customers can access. In its submission on the Government's Accountability and Transparency for Refused Classification Material consultation paper, the organisation representing the interests of Internet users said a mandatory ISP-level filter was neither practical or effective. "We do not support the Government's announced policy to require ISPs to block Refused Classification (RC) rated material hosted on overseas servers," the submission reads. "ISPs should not have a role in determining content that their customers access. Their only proper role is to transfer packets from the sender to the recipient(s)." ISOC-AU said such a filter would not prevent access to a vast array of "unacceptable material" on the Internet either because it is delivered by means other than the web or because the URL of the material varies with each access. "As the Enex Testlabs report recognised, with the ease of changing domain names and IP addresses, any such list can never be considered as either complete or current," the paper reads. "Further, blocking of RC material will not stop children from viewing material that is inappropriate for them.

"The Government's announcement suggests that the report supports the efficacy (and utility) of blocking URLs on a very small blacklist. However, the report highlighted that it is not feasible to filter traffic accessed through HTTPS, peer-to-peer, instant messaging, or any mechanism other than simple web traffic, including any sites using dynamic database-driven content where the URL varies with each access." ISOC-AU also said that to filter all RC content - such as material which included the detailed instruction of crime or drug use - had the potential to block many topics of legitimate public debate. "However, the use of some drugs, or the nature of some 'crimes' such as euthanasia or the advocacy of informal voting or a form of voting which is legal but unconventional are the subject of legitimate public discussion and debate, and should not be automatically included in a list of content to be blocked from the Internet," the report reads. "There is also quite legitimate debate about whether images that are readily available publicly (painting, photography or sculpture) should be classified as RC and therefore blocked."

In a media statement the organisation said that if the Government did proceed with its filtering proposal, then a review of the use of RC classification as the basis of blocking URLs was required. ISOC-AU also called for notification to both the site owner and user if a site is found to contain RC material, and for an independent and efficient review process to review the classification of any blocked material based on agreed community standards. Google continues filter opposition. Google this week also published its submission in which it argued that the wide scope of content to be filtered could include not just child pornography but also socially and politically controversial material. Iarla Flynn, head of policy at Google Australia noted in a blog post that it would also remove choices for parents as to what they and their children could access online. "Moreover a filter may give a false sense of security and create a climate of complacency that someone else is managing your (or your children's) online experience," the blog reads.

"A large proportion of child sexual abuse content is not found on public websites, but in chat-rooms or peer-to-peer networks. The proposed filtering regime will not effectively protect children from this objectionable material. "Moreover, the filter appears to not work for high volume sites such as Wikipedia, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, as the impact of the filter on Internet access speeds would be too great."


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 02/16/2010

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Queensland Police Roll out Building Access ID Cards

Queensland Police Service (QPS) is the first police force in Australia to issue employees with new electronic ID cards which integrate access to the premise and network resources, the Police Media and Public Affairs Branch told FutureGov. Previously, employees keyed in user-IDs and passwords to log-on to the network. As user-ids and passwords can be easily guessed or cracked, QPS decided to deploy smart card technology which it believes to be more secure. Users now need to insert their card into a contact reader or place their card on a proximity reader and enter a PIN to access network resources. Network administrators are more confident of the identity of the user because credentials cannot be shared or compromised without having both the ID card and PIN. Looking ahead, QPS is looking to leverage this new ID card for other applications, such as digital signatures and encryption, remote access to QPS systems, and paperless management of accoutrements.

One of the biggest challenges QPS faces is maintaining the confidentiality, integrity and availability of its information resources. It faces increasing pressure to exchange information with its partners and the need to support employees who are working on the field. There is also strong demand to use web 2.0 technologies to support investigations and operations. These changes demand greater vigilance and cost-effective measures to protect infrastructure. The smart card goes further by providing building access to the Police Headquarters. Officers at the state agency no longer need to carry separate photo identification cards and building access cards. The card replaces out-of-date proximity card technologies currently used for building access in other QPS buildings and will eventually replace most other card-based physical access systems. "Queensland police is at the forefront of law enforcement to protect life and property, and it is pertinent that their internal systems are also highly safeguarded from threats that could compromise their duty to the public. This digital security solution will not only heighten security but also optimise identity management processes within the Service," said Tan Teck Lee, President, Gemalto Asia, which provided the smart card technology.


From http://www.futuregov.net/ 02/19/2010

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Asia's Premier Event on ICT: E-Asia 2009

Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies (CSDMS), India and Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA), Sri Lanka have joined hands to organise 4th annual eASiA 2009 conference and exhibition in Colombo, Sri Lanka to celebrate the year 2009 as the year of ICT and English as declared by HE Mahinda Rajapaksa, President, Sri Lanka and to promote growth of ICT4D, through consultative dialoguing, strategic planning, knowledge networking and business partnering.

eAsia 2009, is the annual international Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for development event with the objective of reinforcing technology and knowledge-centric growth and needs of Asia vis-¨¤-vis Sri Lanka, through capitalisation of market economy and boosting human development. eAsia 2009 - Opportunities for Digital Asia will provide the right opportunity for all stakeholders in the ICT arena to come closer and share a level-playing ground through active conferencing and networking. Spanning over three days, the event will comprise unique thematically inter-related conferences, in the domains of e-Governance, Digital Learning, e-Health, Telecentres and Emerging e-Technologies.

The three-days of conferencing will consist of a number of plenary and technical sessions, focused workshops, seminars, discussion round tables and a full-fledged exhibition, providing excellent opportunity for showcasing projects, programmes and initiatives of government and private sector agencies/corporations, as also for demonstrating innovative ICT products, solutions and applications for various domains covered under the scope of the event. The speakers and attendees will include policy-makers, senior government officials, industry leaders, international development agencies, civil society, academia, and investors. eASIA 2009 will thus be a unique networking and learning opportunity for one and all.


From http://www.e-asia.org/ 11/20/2009

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Asia-Pacific Telecom Conference Opens

The third Asia-Pacific telecom conference (UNI-APRO) opened in Hanoi on December 11, drawing participation of representatives of telecom groups and organisations from 15 countries and territories in the Asia-Pacific region. The two-day conference is an opportunity for telecom trade unions to strengthen solidarity, promote protection of labourers' rights and build a sustainable UNI-APRO telecom trade unions bloc. It is a forum for the Vietnamese trade unions as well as regional and international telecom trade unions to share their experiences in the telecom sector. It is also an opportunity for regional participants to discuss and propose measures in response to the global financial crisis and difficulties in the telecom sector. With plans to integrate into the world economy, Vietnam needs to have strong economic groups, playing a vital role in national development, said Chairman of the Vietnam Post Trade Union Hoang Huy Loat at the conference. The Vietnam Post and Telecommunication Group (VNPT) strives to become the state's spearhead economic group in telecommunications and information technology, he added. During the conference, participants plan to discuss issues relating to telecommunication-IT infrastructure investment, enhancement of capacity for regional telecom trade unions, environmentally-friendly economic development and future priorities for the Asian-Pacific telecommunication sector. (VNA)


From http://www.nhandan.com.vn/ 12/12/2009

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Asia Pacific Internet-Builders to Gather at KL Summit

KUALA LUMPUR: A technical summit on the Internet and operational technologies will take place here next month. This 10-day forum targets Internet builders, including backbone and regional network operators and engineers. It will feature training activities, workshops, conferences, social events, plenary and more. The Asia Pacific Regional Internet Conference on Operational Technologies (Apricot) 2010 is hosted by the Association of the Computer and Multimedia Industry of Malaysia (Pikom). It is scheduled to run from Feb 23 to March 5 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, and is expected to draw about 600 participants from 40 countries.

Among the many topics to be discussed are security issues, network management, and Voice-Over-Internet Protocol which is technology that enables phone calls via the Web. Pikom president C.J. Ang said Apricot's objective is to provide a forum for Internet service providers, telcos and other key players in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry to learn from their peers in the Internet building community. "With the proliferation of broadband services and close to 50% Internet penetration in this country, Apricot's agenda will help enhance the knowledge of our ICT professionals," he said.

Ang said the conference would also benefit professionals in the Asia Pacific, where Internet services, regional networks, web-hosting facilities, firewalls and corporate intranets are being created and deployed at a staggering pace. "ICT engineers are under tremendous pressure to master the skills needed to build and operate these increasingly complex systems," he said. Apricot is organised by the Asia & Pacific Internet Association (APIA), which is a non-profit trade association whose aim is to promote the common business interests of the Internet-related service industry in the Asia Pacific region. APIA was established in 1997. The event here is is supported by the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry, Information, Communications and Culture Ministry, and the Multimedia Development Corporation, guardian of the MSC Malaysia initiative.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 01/14/2010

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5th Ministerial eGovernment Conference 2009

19 - 20 November 2009 in Malmö, Sweden At the conference, jointly organised by the Swedish Presidency and the European Commission, high-level speakers, including ministers and more than 1,000 delegates met to discuss topics of particular interest to actors in the field of eGovernment. The conference was organised in 22 sessions providing an opportunity to address the forward looking perspectives for eGovernment in the post i2010. The exhibition hosted the 52 European eGovernment Awards finalists who showed innovative eGovernment practices in Europe. Highlights include:

New ministerial declaration on eGovernment Announcement of the winners of the 2009 European eGovernment Awards Eighth benchmarking report on eGovernment in Europe Accessible, interactive and customised online public services in Europe by 2015 On the eve of the conference, 18 November 2009, Member State ministers responsible for eGovernment adopted unanimously the new ministerial declaration. It outlines a joint forward-looking vision and defines policy priorities to be achieved by 2015. The key objectives that Member States together with the Commission aim to achieve in the next five years are:

to empower businesses and citizens through eGovernment services designed around users' needs, better access to information and their active involvement in the policy making process; to facilitate mobility in the single market by seamless eGovernment services for setting up business, for studying, working, residing and retiring in Europe; to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of government services by reducing the administrative burden, improving organisational processes of administrations and using ICT to improve energy efficiency in public administrations which will result in a greater contribution to a sustainable low-carbon economy;

The implementation of the policy priorities is made possible by appropriate key enablers and legal and technical preconditions. The Ministerial Declaration has received support from the industry as DigitalEurope adopted an Industry Declaration that was presented at the conference. An Open Declaration on public services 2.0 resulted in the involvement of citizens and endorsement of key 3 key principles including transparency, participation, and empowerment. The way ahead

The European Commission is already working in close cooperation with Member States to set concrete targets for the eGovernment agenda in Europe and will launch an action plan in the second half of 2010 proposing concrete measures to achieve the objectives set out in the ministerial declaration. The forthcoming 6th Ministerial eGovernment Meeting and Conference will be held during the Polish Presidency of the EU in the 2nd half of 2011.


From http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/ 01/19/2010

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ICT 2010 Conference: Key Themes

Sharing visions of current and future research trends and exploring key policy options. Key themes for the 2010 conference:the potential of digital solutions to promote sustainable growth in a low carbon economy The continuing constructive role of ICT in the daily life of citizens. the importance of public participation in the innovation process. The conference will include special sessions presenting the European Union's funding priorities for the 2.8 Billion Euros of EU funding available for ICT research and development during 2011-2012.

These themes will be discussed and debated by leading figures from business, academia and politics. See, for example, the speakers who participated in ICT 2008. ICT research 2010: crucial issues facing Europe: Central themes for the 2010 conference: Digital solutions for sustainable growth in a low carbon economy; ICT for a sustainable recovery and improved energy efficiency. ICT for and by the people: benefits of EU-funded research on daily life; involving the citizen in the innovation process.


From http://ec.europa.eu/ 01/03/2010

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The 4th Internet Governance Forum

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) held its fourth meeting from 15 to 18 November 2009, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. With more than 1800 participants from 112 countries, the 2009 Forum saw the largest attendance record since its inception in 2006. The participants reflected a diversity of Internet users and came from governments, international organizations, the Internet community, the private sector, civil society and the media.

Discussions in Sharm el-Sheikh, chaired by Tarek Kamel, the Egyptian Minister of Communications and Information Technology, examined ways to improve Internet access by all and promote local content and cultural diversity; ensure the safety of the Internet and fight cybercrime; and manage key Internet resources such as the root server system, technical standards, interconnection and telecommunications, the domain name system and Internet protocol addresses. The meeting also discussed new issues related to the continued growth of social networks, and the ensuing governance issues that are emerging, in particular, the need for new approaches regarding privacy and data protection, rules applicable to user-generated content and copyrighted material, and issues of freedom of expression and illegal content. Parallel to the main sessions on these issues, more than 100 workshops, best practice forums, dynamic coalition meetings and open forums were held around the broad themes of the main sessions and the overall mandate of the IGF.

The Forum, which was set up with an initial mandate of five years that expires next year, discussed the issue of the future of the Forum beyond 2010. Under-Secretary-General Sha Zukang, who led formal consultations on the "desirability of the continuation of the Forum", stressed the centrality of the principle of inclusiveness and the need for continued discussions on public policy issues related to the Internet in some form. A report on these consultations will be presented to the Secretary-General, who will then communicate his recommendation to the General-Assembly next year.

Many speakers emphasized the usefulness of the IGF as a platform for dialogue, free from the pressures of negotiations. Most of the speakers who supported improvements would like the IGF to refocus its attention on certain points such as international public policy issues; capacity-building; participation by developing countries; improved transparency; improved communications; improved remote participation; creating a data base for best practices; more visibility for outcomes; and possibly, the ability to make recommendations. Many speakers supported a continuation of the Forum as it is, that is, to continue the IGF as a multi-stakeholder platform that brings people together to discuss issues, exchange information and share best practices, but not to make decisions, nor to have highly visible outputs. Other speakers, while supporting a continuation of the IGF along similar lines to its current form, called for some changes. The proposed changes ranged from small improvements to major changes in its functioning, such as adding provisions that would allow it to produce outputs and decisions on a multi-stakeholder consensus basis. Most of those at Sharm el-Sheikh who supported the continuation of the Forum would like it to continue for at least another five year term. The next IGF meeting will be held in Vilnius, Lithuania, from 14 to 17 September 2010.


From http://unpan1.un.org/ 01/14/2010

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World Telecommunication Development Conference

The International Telecommunication Union, through the Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT), organizes a World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC) every four years and a number of Regional Preparatory Meetings (RPMs) within that same period. The Telecommunication Development Conferences serve as forums for free discussion by all concerned with the Development Sector. In addition, they review the numerous programmes and projects of the Sector and BDT. Results are reported and new projects are launched. The World Conferences set the agenda and the guidelines for the following four-year cycle, while the Regional Conferences review "work-in-progress" towards the overall objectives and ensure that goals are met. Each Regional Preparatory Meeting brings together the countries in its region to explore and discuss their needs and the present and future projects of the Sector.

ITU's fifth World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-10), will take place in Hyderabad, India from 24 May to 4 June 2010 (consultation of Member States is underway) with participants to include government delegates, Ministers, Ambassadors and representatives from the private sector, as well as regional and international organizations. It will be an opportunity to review the programmes and activities of ITU-D as well as to set the agenda for the following four-year cycle. The Regional Preparatory Meetings (RPM) being held in 2009 and early 2010 will provide regional input for WTDC'10.


From http://www.itu.int/ 02/10/2010

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CHINA: 2010 International CES on Tech Policy to Begin on Thursday

The CES has played an important role in the development of technology in recent years and introduced products such as the XBOX and HDTV. The tradeshow is owned and produced by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). "The International CES brings together the policymakers who will make decisions that directly impact technology - from broadcast to cable, broadband to wireless and telecom to satellite, "said Michael Petricone, senior vice president of government affairs at CEA." We are excited to hear from top government officials as they discuss significant technology policy issues that will impact all sectors of the technology industry." CES attendees will hear the priorities of the FCC when the Commission's Chairman Julius Genachowski joins CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro for a policy discussion on Friday. FCC Commissioners will talk about the national broadband plan, accessibility, net neutrality and demands for more spectrum. The Tech Policy Summit at the 2010 CES will converse about issues such as broadband deployment and spectrum allocation. "The Legislative Roadmap for 2010,"will involve key policymakers addressing policy priorities for 2010 and beyond. The CEA has joined forces with the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) to produce the CES Technology and Emerging Countries (TEC) Program. Focused on technology's impact on economic growth in emerging economies, the TEC Program will include panel sessions on "Technology for Smart Energy, "leaders from General Electric and Valence Energy will be present. "Healthcare Technology for Emerging Markets, "will be discussed by panelists from Intel and Cisco Systems. Leaders from Microsoft and Motorola Session panelists as well as senior government officials from around the world will participate in "Study Time: How Advances in Technology Improve Education Opportunities". Additionally, Nokia's Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo and Hisense's Zhou Houjian will both deliver keynote addresses as part of the TEC program on Friday. Environmental policies will be addressed during the Technology and the Environment Knowledge Track. Thursday panels include, "Dollars and Watts: Energy Use Information for Electronics, "with participants including California State Senator Alex Padilla, as well as executives from Best Buy, Dell and Motorola. "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About State E-Waste Laws but Were Afraid to Ask, "addressing e-waste challenges across state lines will take place on Friday as will "The EPA Recycling Leadership Roundtable."


From China.org.cn 01/16/2010

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JAPAN: Tokyo Hosts Int'l Robot Exhibition 2009

For as long as anyone can remember, the Tokyo International Robot Exhibition has been a showcase for Japan at its wackiest: stern industrial machines lurked backstage as waltzing, noodle-making or ping-pong-playing humanoids stole the limelight. But in recessionary 2009, with Japanese industry writhing in pain, the national robot obsession has turned serious. For the first time, the show explained how the machines really are going to take over. A new mood was in the air: the downturn, said one Tsukuba University engineer, had honed Japanese robotics research and forced it to be more practical. Companies and universities that were once given unlimited budgets to push the boundaries of robotics were now being told to come up with something usable and commercial and fast. Toyota's recent decision to pull out of Formula 1 was a hot topic of discussion: would its next cost-cutting move be to close the robotics division or would it still throw millions into perfecting a trumpet-playing automaton? The fun stuff, accordingly, was downplayed while potential applications were pushed to the front. That gave many of the companies a chance to show that, quietly but steadily, the technology has been improving by leaps and bounds. Getting a cute humanoid robot such as Honda's Asimo to go from walking to running took decades of effort, said one Tokyo University engineer, but the work of making a machine into a better pizza-maker than a human moved much faster. Japanese robots are being built with open software codes, to encourage outside programmers to come up with ideas to make them even more useful. It is all working rather too well.


From http://www.geo.tv/ 11/26/2009

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Asia-Pacific Telecom Meeting in Korea

The Korea Communications Commission announced yesterday that Korea will be hosting the 12th general assembly of the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity in 2011. This is the second time Korea hosted the general assembly. The Asia-Pacific Telecommunity is an international organization for the promotion of telecom industry with 34 full-member nations and four associate members. The decision to hold the next general assembly, which is held every three years, was finalized at the Session of the Management Committee of the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity held in Tehran.


From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 12/17/2009

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MALAYSIA: CSIRTs Hone Their Anti-cybercrime Skills

Members of the Asia Pacific Computer Emergency Response Team (APCERT) have completed an annual cybercrime fighting drill, further refining their anti-cybercrime tactics. The drill, aimed at testing the response capabilities of leading Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs) from the Asia Pacific economies, had Cybersecurity Malaysia playing the role of exercise co-ordinator for the third year. Cybersecurity Malaysia is a member of the APCERT, a body set up by leading and national CSIRTs from the Asia Pacific region.

Roy Ko, chairman of APCERT, said the drill is important because cyberattacks are borderless. "It is vital for every CSIRT to share information and experience on cross-border incident handling," he said in a statement here. "This helps all teams to refine and test their points of contact and procedures, as well as to respond more efficiently to in-progress Internet attacks, he explained. The theme for this year's drill was "Fighting Cyber Crimes with Financial Incentives." It was attended by 16 teams from 14 economies that responded to the simulated cyberattacks. Last year, Malaysia CERT - part of Cybersecurity Malaysia - handled more than 3,500 security incidents involving phishing, online fraud, malware infection and system intrusions.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 02/01/2010

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VIETNAM: Largest IT Exhibition Opens in Hanoi

One of the largest events in the year in the field of information technology, telecommunications and communications, was opened in Hanoi on November 19. The Vietnam International Communications Expo 2009 / International Exhibition on Electronics Products (Vietnam Comm & Vietnam Electronics 2009) will celebrate the sector and exhibit up to the minute technology. Speaking at the opening ceremony, deputy minister of information and communications, Le Nam Thang, confirmed that the role of telecommunications, electronics and IT in the economy is getting more important because it helps enterprises enhance competitiveness and develop in a sustainable manner. For state agencies, telecommunications, electronics and IT can assist them to better meet the requirements of the society and the people. Most of government agencies have had their websites and made public administrative procedures.
 
Thang said that there are many chances to develop this industry in Vietnam, especially to serve the rural and isolated areas, to fight the impact of climate change and for use in rescue activities. Vietnam's licensing of 3G networks attracted the public's attention and also foreign firms. 3G was the outstanding topic at the Vietnam Comm & Vietnam Electronic 2009 exhibition. Visitors can see the latest models of 3G mobile phones, solutions for 3G networks or attractive 3G services at the exhibition. This year, Vietnam Comm & Vietnam Electronic 2009 gathered more than 200 companies from 18 countries and territories, including big brands like NTT DoCoMo from Japan, Huawei from China, ZTE, Range France Telecom, Nokia Siemens Networks among others.
 
The event also has the presence of Singapore Industrial Automation Association, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, the Taiwan Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers' Association and the Economic mission of the French Embassy in Vietnam. The Vietnam Comm & Vietnam Electronics 2009 will run until November 21 Last year, Vietnam's ICT sector earned US$5.4 billion, a 38% increase over 2007. With the 3G licenses in 2009, Vietnam's telecom market expects to reach a turnover of US$6 to 7 billion in 2010.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 11/20/2009

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Confab Vets Data Security

VietNamNet Bridge - The Chief Security Officer (CSO) Conference, organised in Viet Nam for the first time, explored the critical importance of information security for all organisations and individuals. The conference was held in HCM City yesterday by the city's Information and Communications Department, the Viet Nam Computer Emergency Response Team (VNCERT) and the International Data Group (IDG). Many leading CSOs here and abroad shared experiences on the role of a CSO in today's complex information security situation. "Information security is critical, but in Viet Nam, the role of a CSO is not taken seriously. I hope State and company leaders can become aware of the situation through this conference," said Nguyen Anh Tuan, deputy director of the department, who opened the conference.

According to Ernst&Young's 12th annual global information security survey, conducted with 1,865 organisations in 61 countries, emerging technologies present innovative opportunities for organisations to introduce new risks. "A cost-effective security management initiative is needed, along with the important role of a CSO," said Gerry Chng, partner in Ernst&Young Advisory Pte Ltd for IT Risk and Assurance. To cope with ongoing changes, Gerry suggested that a CSO should address risks arising from emerging technologies; work with the constraints of operational challenges; apply cost-effective management initiatives to meet regulatory requirements; and use proactive security management rather than point-in-time demonstration of compliance.

According to Thomas Parenty, managing director of Parenty Consulting Ltd, a CSO should be intelligent, articulate and persuasive. He should have experience in auditing, risk management, vendor negotiations and business continuity. "Furthermore, a CSO should have knowledge of information technology and security as well as laws and regulations," Parenty said. He suggested that a CSO's job should be considered as important as the chief executive officer, chief finance officer or at least chief information officer. "A CSO's job is to manage the procedures and organisation that protects your company," he added. Cisco Systems' chief technology officer Phan Thanh Son said a CSO must face the biggest operational risks. "Operational risk is the risk of loss, resulting from inadequate or failed internal processes, people and systems, or from external events," Son said, adding that the CSO needed to control risk from the beginning.

Tran Nguyen Vu from the Ministry of Finance's Statistics and IT Bureau, one of nine top Vietnamese CSOs, shared his concerns about information security. "The finance sector will apply international ISO 27001/27002 and other information security management standards, but we have to face the remaining 80 per cent of challenges from a lack of experienced CSOs," he said. - VNS Currently, several top universities throughout the country have offered training in information security in recent years with a limited number of students. "Along with rising awareness about information security for leaders, one policy should be created to improve the situation, including human resources training," Vu added.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 12/13/2009

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BANGLADESH: Training on Software in Banking Held

A three-day long training workshop on Flexcube software in banking operation concluded in the city on Thursday. Dhaka Bank Limited organised the training at Dhaka Bank Training Institute in the city. A total of 32 officers and executives from different branches and divisions of Dhaka Bank, Head Office took part in the training programme. Khondker Fazle Rashid, managing director of Dhaka Bank addressed and distributed certificate among the participants. Shamshad Begum, principal of the training institute also spoke on the occasion.


From http://www.newstoday-bd.com/ 02/07/2010

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INDIA: Government Resumes Talks with World Bank on E-Bharat

The Department of Information and Technology (DIT) has restarted discussions with the World Bank to work on a revised framework and modalities for the operationalisation of e-Governance support project, e-Bharat. The objectives of e-Bharat are the same as those of National eGovernance Plan (NeGP). The project is expected to contribute to improving government effectiveness, empowering marginalised communities, increasing fiscal revenue, reducing public procurement costs and promoting private sector led growth through Public Private Partnership (PPP).


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 12/23/2009

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India Government to Organise National Conference on E-Governance

The government is organising the 13th two day National Conference on e-Governance, starting February 18, 2010, in collaboration with the Central Department of Information Technology (DIT) and a state government, with Rajasthan being the partner state this time. The focus of this year's conference is "ICT (Information and Communication Technology) in education- enhancing quality and reach" and topics like e-Governance, leveraging mobile technology for better service delivery and public distribution system with direct access to citizens through e-Governance will be discussed. The various stakeholders interact and exchange opinions and views, discuss issues and problems and also analyse various solution frameworks and necessary action plan for firming up the road map for e-Governance. These conferences have proved to be very useful in creating awareness in service providers dealing with IT and have helped as a useful forum in which new initiatives of various states and central government in IT are explored. Awards in categories like excellence in government process re-engineering, best government website and innovative technology usage in e-Governance will also be given out during the conference.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 02/15/2010

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SRI LANKA: President Inaugurates E-ASIA

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa inaugurated the e-ASIA 2009 - Asia's Premier ICT Event on Wednesday, December 2, 2009 in Colombo. He said that Sri Lanka is moving ahead in ICT literacy with national IT literacy crossing the level of 30 %, in comparison to 4% in 2004 and assured that the Government was committed to ensure that it goes up to 60% by 2012. Delivering the keynote address at e-ASIA, Rajapaksa said: ICT is the future driving force of economies. It is the tool and the enabler that will push the boundaries of socio-economic development in countries such as Sri Lanka. It is with this aim that Sri Lanka has given priority to ICT, and mainstreamed ICT in all its development activities. It is in this regard that Sri Lanka firmly pushes ahead with pioneering initiatives such as e-Sri Lanka. These efforts have resulted in numerous achievements and successes in the field of ICT in Sri Lanka. The percentage ranking in the Network Readiness Index has moved up from 72 to 53 in a span of three years. Voicing his concern over the impact of Internet on young population of the country, he cautioned, "Our children must be protected from the dangers in the cyber space at any cost. Our culture also should not be harmed due to any advances in ICT. I am therefore appealing to all the Asian leaders to take precautions in this regard." The three-day conference cum exhibition will be attended by about 1,000 delegates from 30 countries, including a 300-strong group of IT professionals from the host country, Sri Lanka. In addition to Asian countries, delegates from the US, UK, Japan, South Korea and Sweden were present. eAsia 2009 has five tracks, which includes: eGov, Digital Learning, eHealth, Telecentre Forum and Emerging Technologies.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 12/03/2009

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PAKISTAN: Conference on Telecom, IT Sectors on January 19

LAHORE: The 7th mega event in the Telecom and IT sectors involving a high-level experts conference and Expo of Telecom and IT technologies are being held on January 19 to 20, 2010 which organising by a magazine in collaboration with Institute Of Telecommunication Engineers Pakistan. While the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, government of Pakistan, Federal Ministry of Telecom and IT, Pakistan Software Export Board and Engineers Study Forum has also extended co-operation for the event. A sizeable number of organisations: IT Companies, Universities and Telecom Groups are exhibiting in the Expo,including interalia Punjab Information Technology Department, Software Export Board Government of Pakistan, Telecom Foundation Group, Universities of Engineering and Technology Lahore, University of Central Punjab, Overseas Companies and leading software IT groups. The theme of the conference is Development and Investments in Telecom and IT sectors, which contribute a big share in GDP of our national economy. Experts would make technical presentations on various subjects based on updated review and futurist approach. A large number of executives, professionals, business executives and intellectuals will be participating in the Programme.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 12/15/2009

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CIO Organises 'Years Ahead 2010' Summit

KARACHI (December 19 2009): CIO Pakistan organised the "Years Ahead 2010" summit at the Karachi Sheraton Hotel, offering leaders and senior professionals of the ICT industry an opportunity to interact regarding the global information technology report of the World Economic Forum. The report assesses readiness of countries and helps to put in perspective Pakistan's position on the map. The session, in an effort to establish a formal engagement process, engaged the report's editorial team with the local community and stakeholders, so that a more direct information gathering approach could be taken. Co-Editor and Senior Economist Irene Mia shared the report findings and comparative analysis to strategic countries that Pakistan is traditionally compared to. In addition to Mia, other members joining the session included, Economist Global Leadership Fellow Thierry Geiger, and Senior Manager India & South Asia Christoph S. Sprung. According to Country Manager Intel Pakistan Ashar Zaidi, "The report, based on a number of indicators, is of considerable importance to documenting growth and progress in the country. The discussion was important to have highlighted the methodology the World Economic Forum follows to gather information for report, and also was critical in identifying a communication roadmap that the local industry should follow with such external authorities." CIO of Central Depository Company (CDC) Asif Shah said, "this provides technology buyers and implementers a chance to present our experience with the state of technology readiness, and a much-needed healthy dialogue with the industry. The event was attended by concerned professionals in the local ICT industry and business community as well as representatives from the trade and mainstream media. The CIO Years Ahead Summit was supported by Central Depository Company (CDC), Intel, Cisco, Ovex Technologies, CommTel and Multinet, with Dawn News as the media partner for the event.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 12/19/2009

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Punjab Government Organises IT Exhibition Today

LAHORE: Punjab government is organising a one-day IT exhibition here on Saturday (today) where NComputing Inc USA will display its virtual desktop technology, which is being used in IT Labs project of 4286 secondary schools of the province. According to the organisers the exhibition is being organised to create awareness among the public and educationists about the importance of the IT in imparting education to the children. A model computer lab, similar to the labs established in the government schools using NComputing technology, was established at the exhibition where the visitors experienced the benefits of shared desktop technology. Organisers claimed that NComputing technology has been selected for this project due to its cost effectiveness and energy efficiency. Punjab government was able to save Rs 1.8 billion (one point eight billion) from the allocated budget for the project by using the NComputing technology, while another Rs 10 million per month would be saved on the account of electricity charges, as NComputing device consumes just one watt of electricity, making it the most energy efficient computer in the world, have travelled the world and met students in many countries. Their interest in learning it takes a big leap forward when they have access to computers," said Stephen Dukker, CEO and Chairman of NComputing. "It is wonderful to see NComputing technology used to teach and empower the next generation of Punjab's workforce and equip them with the skills they will need to compete in the global economy." "The Government of Punjab has shown a great deal of vision and foresightedness in designing a model for enhancing the education of the next generation, and the early success is very positive," Khwaja Samiullah, President of NConnexion, the sole distributor of NComputing in Pakistan said. With the shared-computing technology successfully deployed in 4,286 schools in Punjab, it is now a proven and suitable model for other provinces to adopt as well." He claimed that 'Shared Desktops' in fact is a new concept in Pakistan and would create interest among the small and medium businesses and private schools to establish integrated IT system in their offices and schools at lower cost without compromising the quality and efficiency of information system.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 12/19/2009

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AZERBAIJAN: Teachers Launch Internet Forum

Azerbaijani teachers has launched an internet forum at education portal edu.az. The forum organizers said the Internet Forum created in accordance with the Azerbaijan State Program of Education System Computerization in 2008-12 aims at exchange of knowledge between teachers in the area of information and communication technologies in education sector, exchange of experience and discussions over urgent issues related to ICT introduction. The Forum will also be used as effective method to bring together teachers from different regions of Azerbaijan.


From http://www.today.az/ 12/03/2009

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Scientific Seminar Dedicated to International Information Security Day Held at IIT

Scientific seminar dedicated to International Information Security day was held at the Institute of Information Technology of ANAS. Director of the Institute of Information Technology of ANAS, corresponding member of ANAS, prof. Rasim Alguliev mentioned in his speech, "Information Security: state-of-the-art, problems and solutions", that International Information Security day celebrated by the world society had been serving to trusted information protection in computer systems and networks, directing attention of producers and users of devices and program means to the security problems, extending safety measures in this sphere and etc. for 20 years. Giving detailed information about history of the event the speaker reminded about the first network virus "Morris worm" caused destruction of thousands of ARPANET nodes, including the US scientific-research institutions, military offices, even Pentagon in 1988. He mentioned that this event had changed the imaginations of the mankind about computer security: "Just since that time the experts began to think seriously about the complex approach to problems of information security".

Stressing the role of information security problems as one of the base component national security of the Republic of Azerbaijan R.Alguliev claimed, that base formation of normative-juridical in this sphere was of the prior matters in information society building. Numbers of essential laws, normative acts and orders had been adopted for legislative basic formation and development for information security provision in Azerbaijan, he said, and spoke about significance of the laws adopted • "About information, informatization and information protection", "About State secret", "About Electron documents and electron signature", "About electron commerce", "About getting information", "About telecommunication". He emphasized some important problems as electron signature usage in information systems, formation of state resources and services, information resources and their protection as national values, certification rules of information security means, classification of information as state secret, its protection and usage aiming for state security, developing technical, cryptographic, program and other means, as well as biometric identification systems intending for protection of information containing state secrets.

Informing about the meetings and projects realized at the Institute of Information Technology in the field of information security, R.Alguliev spoke about the joint implementations carried out with concerned state bodies, and touched investigated scientific-theoretical bases of information security problems, and study of world experience in this field. He also talked of high specialized cadres' training, as well as scientists on specialty of information security, information protection ways and systems, and stressed that more than 10 doctors and PhDs had been trained. Touching the problems solution of Cyber-crime, the speaker spoke about the work fulfilled in Azerbaijan in this area, and added that information technologies development, mobile telephone networks enlargement caused opportunities for crimes.


From http://www.science.az/ 12/09/2009

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Actual Problems Were Discussed at the Meeting of the Internet Council

The following meeting of the Internet Council of the Institute of Information Technology of ANAS was held. The meeting was devoted to discussion of issues such as new infrastructure of local network at the Main Building of ANAS, the Internet provision of institutions located in this building, construction and operation of new Internet PC Center of IIT, improving the quality of Internet services, staffing and etc.


From http://www.science.az/ 01/23/2010

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First Azerbaijan-Belarus ICT Forum Launches in Baku

The first Azerbaijan-Belarus business forum on telecommunication and information technologies was launched today in Baku, at hotel Park INN Azerbaijan. The program of the forum is drawn up in accordance with the potential investors' interests in the implementation of specific projects in this area. Innovations in ICT field, promotion of business cooperation between two countries will be in the focus of event.


From Today.Az 02/09/2010

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Azerbaijan's ICT Expert Attends 2010 GSMA Mobile World Congress

Official of Azerbaijan Ministry of Communication and Information Technologies Alyar Tamirov attends Mobile World Congress that started in Barcelona on Feb. 15. According to the Ministry, the congress will discuss the impact of mobile industry and information communication technologies on education, health and environment.


From http://www.today.az/ 02/16/2010

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AUSTRALIA: Broadband Forum 'Open to Your Ideas'

Realizing Our Broadband Future is now open for public contribution and discussion online, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy announced today. "We are inviting the public to be part of shaping our future vision by suggesting ideas and commenting on other contributions to the Realizing Our Broadband Future forum this week," Senator Conroy said. "This forum is an important event to explore how Australia is already planning to maximize the benefits enabled by the National Broadband Network." "By providing their ideas online at www.broadbandfuture.gov.au, the Australian public can play an important part in guiding this discussion."

The 'Open to Your Ideas' discussion tool, available online now, allows people to suggest ideas and discussion priorities for contribution to the forum agenda in Sydney on December 10 and 11.Online discussion will reflect the five main themes of the forum - Smart Infrastructure, Digital Education, e-Health, e-Business and e-Communities."The digital economy offers exciting opportunities for all Australians; it is a key factor in the dynamism and growth of our nation. This event and our online discussions will help ensure we maximize those opportunities," Senator Conroy said.The public can vote on which digital economy ideas most appeal to them and can contribute their own ideas, including posting links to You Tube videos.

Remote and online participation will also be encouraged during the forum, including:
* Live web casts of the plenary sessions and audio streaming of discussion during the five stream sessions.
* Twitter messages posted at #bbfuture, which will be displayed on a live 'Twitter wall' at the forum.
* A wiki, developed to enable forum participants to collaboratively edit records of the discussion from each of the five streams.
* Independently organized remote group consultations.

'Open for Your Ideas' will be operating until 9:00pm Wednesday 9 December via www.broadbandfuture.gov.au More information on the Realizing Our Broadband Future and all aspects of participation is also available at www.broadbandfuture.gov.au.


From http://www.minister.dbcde.gov.au/ 12/07/2009

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The Idea 2010 Conference 10-13 March 2010

The IDEA (Interoperability Demonstration Event for Australia) Conference 2010 - Learning futures: technology challenges will focus on current and emerging technologies that support learning. The events will address opportunities and challenges for the infrastructure necessary to support digital education. The conference will be held in Melbourne at the Sebel Albert Park over three days and is sponsored by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, Link Affiliates and the University of Southern Queensland.

IDEA10 will provide a national, cross-sect oral forum to:
* discuss infrastructure supporting education
* share intelligence on emerging technologies and technology supported learning
* discuss opportunities and challenges for digital education
* foster alliances and communities of practice around technologies used by the Australian education community
* provide a showcase for Australian projects focused on enhancing learning through the use of technology

The conference will start with the IDEA Lab Workshop on 10 March, a technical workshop focusing on technical standards and innovation supporting interoperability of education systems. IDEA Lab is aimed at those developing learning technologies for schools, vocational, or higher education communities. From 11-12 March the Technology in Education Open Forum will be held. This will include a discussion of opportunities and challenges regarding infrastructure necessary to support digital education. Panel sessions will provide a voice to both technologists supporting learning and teachers using technology to enhance learning.

Guest speakers include:
* Larry Fruth from the international Systems Interoperability Framework (SIF) Association
* Dr. Rob Abel - IMS Global Learning Consortium
* Ian Dolphin - International e-Framework
* Paul Jesukiewicz - Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative (ADL)
* Peter Croger - Croger Associates Pty Ltd

The judging and announcing of the winners of the IMS GLC Learning Impact Awards Australian Regional Finals will also take place. The awards are unique for their recognition of the use of technology in context. The top Australian finalists will receive support to attend the international IMS GLC Learning Impact Awards in Long Beach, California from 17-22 May 2010.


From http://www.deewr.gov.au/ 01/06/2010

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