Summer 2010 Issue 30
Special Focus |  Policy and Legislation |  e-Government |  e-Commerce |  e-Society |  e-Security |  Conference and Training

Contact Us:  unpan-ap@sass.org.cn
United Nations Public Service Awards
UN E-Government Development Knowledge Base: Global Reports - Global E-Government Development Report 2010
Shanghai World Expo: First Theme Forum Opens
UNESCO, ITU Establish Special Commission to Promote Digital Development
WSIS Forum 2010: Turning Targets into Action - Towards 2015
EU Publishes 'Digital Agenda' Five-Year Plan for IT
Brazil: Plan to Triple Broadband Internet Access by 2014
Asia's Largest Cloud Security Center Launched
South Korea: Striving to Become Global Tech Leader
Singapore: Government Projects S$1.1b Worth of Public Sector Infocomm Tenders in FY2010
India: To Be the 2nd Fastest Growing Enterprise Software Market
India: Rajasthan Launches E-Speech Application for the Poor
Pakistan: Expansion of Women's 'Literacy by Mobile Phone' Programme
Kazakhstan: E-government at Third Interactive Stage of Development
UZBEKISTAN: A New Approach to the Provision of Public Services
Australia: National Broadband Network - First Year Achievements
United Nations Public Service Awards
UN E-Government Development Knowledge Base: Global Reports - Global E-Government Development Report 2010
UNESCO, ITU Establish Special Commission to Promote Digital Development
AFRICA: Energy Access Vital to Success of Millennium Development Goals
ASIA AND PACIFIC: ESCAP Chief Calls for New Approach to Social Protection
EUROPE 2020: Commission Proposes New Economic Strategy
EU Publishes 'Digital Agenda' Five-Year Plan for IT
Brazil Celebrates Approval of Access to Information Law
NORTH AMERICA: White House Unveils Push on Broadband Rules
CHINA: Resume Personal Website Domain Name Registrations
Real Name Phone Registration Plan Gains Traction
Hong Kong Government Increases IT Budget for New Projects
China Mulls Real Name Registration for Online Shops
Gov't Issues New Rules on Internet Map Publishing
China to Quicken Pace of Telecommunications Development
Gov't Pushes IPOs for Major State-run News Portals
SOUTH KOREA: Set Policy Priorities for Information Society
Mobile Internet on Smartphones Challenging Real-name ID Law
Seoul Rethinks Mobile Regulations
S. Korea to Reinforce Telecom Collaboration with Japan
S. Korea to Set up New IT Industry Growth Blueprint This Year
Support for Software Program Aims to Foster Korea's Own 'Bill Gates'
S. Korea Introduces New IT Policy Drive
S. Korea to Establish e-Book Development Roadmap
Gov't Adopts Measures to Combat Internet Addiction
Gov't to Establish IT, Software Deregulation Strategy by June
S. Korean Research Projects to Set Standardization of Mobile IPTV
S. Korea Names 10 ICT Focus Areas
Gov't to Nurture Broadcasting, Telecom Services
MALAYSIA: The Malaysian Digital Association Is Born
THAILAND: Develop as a Digital Content Industrial Center in Line with the Creative Economy Policy
VIET NAM: IT Connectivity Increased
Vietnam Ready for 4G
Vietnam to Tighten Control of Online Game
Mobile Phones May Be Imposed with Luxury Tax
Hanoi to Control Internet Caf谷 Users
BANGLADESH: Help Build Digital Bangladesh
Wireless Revolution Across the Delta
President Stresses ICT Links to Rural Areas
INDIA: E-Waste Disposal Scheme for India's Capital
UIDAI to Issue First ID Set Next February
Finally a Law to Tackle Mounting E-Waste in India
India IT Spend to Touch $89 Billion by 2013
Rajasthan Launches E-Speech Application for the Poor
Home Ministry to Probe Chandigarh IT Park Land Deals
AFGHANISTAN: Networks Fined by the Regulator
ARMENIA: Government Amends Law on Television and Radio
AZERBAIJAN: We Should Adopt New Law to Prevent Ideas Estranging People from National Values - MP
KAZAKHSTAN: Journalists Call for Clarity on Internet Law
Government Confirmed Plan of Measures for Realization of Forced Industrially-Innovative Development Program
AUSTRALIA: Draft Legislation Released for NBN Co Operations
Government Ups Pressure on Defence ICT Reform
Government Launches Gershon-Inspired ICT Workforce Strategy
Australia to Amend Electronic Transaction Laws to Increase Certainty
NEW ZEALAND: Regulation of Mobile Termination Rates Now Likely
Trans-Tasman Broadband Cable Plan
Govt Unveils $300m Rural Broadband Plan
New Global Initiative Tests Access to Information on Anti Corruption Efforts
Role of Broadcasting Regulators Discussed at UNESCO Headquarters
AFRICA: Angola Says Information Technology Tool for Poverty Elimination
EUROPE: EU Court Stops UKE's Ad Hoc Regulation of TP's Retail Broadband Prices
Denmark Hi3G Comes Out on Top in 2.5GHz Auction
NORTH AMERICA: U. S. Citizen Satisfaction with E-Government Remains Strong
CHINA: 1st Internet of Things Center Launched
Gov't Reveals Expenses to Online Community
China Opens Intellectual Property Rights Website
CPC Top Research Institute Launches Official Website
SOUTH KOREA: Gov't to Widen Private Access to Public Data for Mobile Applications
Gov't R&D Office to Start Work Next Month
Regulator Restricts Telecom Marketing
BRUNEI: E-Govt Services Take Shortcut and Follow South Korea's Example
SINGAPORE: Government Projects S$1.1b Worth of Public Sector Infocomm Tenders in FY2010
VIET NAM: Lawmakers Get Online Q&A
INDIA: E-Procurement System Implemented by MCL
3i Infotech Pullout to Hit E-Governance Plan
Central Government Kicks Off 3G Spectrum Auction
Adobe India Sees Opportunity in E-Governance
Indian Government Set to Popularise E-Governance at RTOs
Software Asset Management Programme Launched with Centre of E-Governance of Karnataka
Bihar Government Urges for E-Payment of Taxes
3G Auction: Delhi Attracts Highest Bid at Over Rs.3000 Crore
ARMENIA: State Officials Spend Work Time in Social Networking Sites
Armenian-Russian Innovation Center to Open Soon
International Councils to Be Formed for Implementation of All-Armenian Network Project
AZERBAIJAN: First Communications Satellite Launch Project Is on the Move
President of Azerbaijan Has Established "Azerkosmos" JSC
Azerbaijani Government Pondering Ways to Control the Web
KYRGYZSTAN: Social Networks Helping to Cope with Fallout from Disorder
KAZAKHSTAN: Statistics Agency Requests Government to Allocate 15 Million KZT for Creation of Information Integrated System
Kazakhstan E-government Is at Third Interactive Stage of Development
AUSTRALIA: Regulator to Probe Consumer Complaints
Government to Extend Protection from Telemarketing Calls
Gruen: Real Government Social Media Work Begins Now
Government Going About NBN Backwards: Ludlam
Rudd Government Committed to Web 2.0 Implementaztion Across Government to Improve Engagement & Transparency
Govt to Spend $40m on Aged Care IT Systems
Abbott's Public Sector Hiring Freeze Could Hurt ICT Skills
Industry Opens Up on Finance's Gov 2.0 Blog
Federal Budget Allocates $1bn to Improve E-Government Services
NEW ZEALAND: Commerce Commission Asked to Reconsider Mobile Termination
Global Ad Industry Eyes Boost from Mobile Devices
Microsoft Losing Share in Browser Market
AFRICA: World Bank Provides US$15 Million to Help Improve ICT Services and Promote e-Business in Benin
EUROPE: German 4G Auction Raises $6billion
NORTH AMERICA: Canada 3.0 Speaker Suggests Re-Branding
CHINA: Private Video Websites Charged in 2010
IT 'Too Dependent on Imports'
In China, Investment to Expand E-Payments
3G Fueled by 160b Yuan in 2009
Google Shifts its China Search Engine to Hong Kong
China's Electronic Information Industry Reports Fast Recovery
China to Open Telecoms Market to Private Investors
Mobile Payment Market Hurt by Weak Demand
ICBC Launches China's First Online Financial Supermarket for Personal Banking
Shanghai Tops China's Online Shopping Market
China's Boom in Online Shopping to Continue in 2010: Report
JAPAN: Publishing Industry Enters New Era as 'E-books' Come of Age
Japan's Modern Art Gets an Online Boost
Rise of the E-book Presents Major Challenges for Future of Publishing Industry
SOUTH KOREA: Mobile Ad Market to Triple to $15 Billion by 2013 - report
Customs Service Tightens Rules on E-commerce Merchants
Limits on Telecom Marketing Not Likely to Have Positive Impact
KOFIA Launches Online Platform for OTC Bonds Trading
Gov't to Nurture Content, 3D Industries
S. Korea to Invest 60 Bln Won to Build up Analog Chip Industry
Controversy Builds over IT Control Tower
S. Korea's IT Sector Sees Record-High Trade Surplus in April
MALAYSIA: Businesses, Consumers to Lead IT Spending
THAILAND: Online Shopping on the Increase
Turmoil Slows Thai IT Market
Mobile Broadband Creates New Revenue Stream for Operators
Mobiles 'to Become Key to Finance'
MyGamma Launched in Thailand
VIET NAM: Software Sector to See Rapid Growth
Online Advertising Thrives in Vietnam
IT Industry's Future Far from Certain
Official Deplores 'Unhealthy' Mobile Phone Promotions
Good Signals in Broadband Internet Market
Mobile Operators Don't Benefit from 3G Networks
Minor Mobile Network Joins 3G Race
BANGLADESH: BB Goes Online
Uniform Software Planned for Brokers
INDIA: Mobile Banking from July in Rural Areas
E-Retailers to Use Targeted E-Mails to Improve Web Sales
E-Retail Again Grows by Double Digits
India to Be the 2nd Fastest Growing Enterprise Software Market
India Accounts One Third of Offshored Telecom R&D Market
Verizon: A Key Player in Retail-IT Solutions Circuit
SRI LANKA: Numbering Portability Plan Threatens Celco Profitability
PAKISTAN: Mobilink Registers Double Digit Growth in First Quarter
AFGHANISTAN: Operators Form Association
ARMENIA: Banking System Is Hyper-liquid
ArmenTel Hopes to Triple 3G Capacity
AZERBAIJAN: Become a Leader Among CIS Countries in the World Ranking of Network Technologies
Digital Database on Real Estate Established in Azerbaijan
Baku Confronts Economic Diversification Challenges
Azerbaijani State Communications Operator Works to Eliminate Accidents in Disaster Areas
IRAQ: Asiacell to Switch to Dinar
KYRGYZSTAN: KT Privatisation Annulled?
IT Industry to Profit from Public Service Reform
AUSTRALIA: Federal Data Centres Get $11.9m
FIJI: Improved Internet Banking Launched by ANZ
NEW ZEALAND: Broadband Plan Will Cut Telecom Profit by $168m
NEW ZEALAND: Voice Call Volumes Still Lag International Norms
$900m Plan to Open NZ Internet Tap
Revived IT Projects Challenged by Skills Gap
Budget Moves Get Positive Reaction from IT Industry
Gemalto, IBM, Intel, L1, Microsoft, and Pfizer Join S. Korea in Launch of World Bank's Novel eTransform Initiative
AFRICA: Mobile Phones Revolutionizing Education
Bridging the Digital Divide: NEPAD Starts to Deliver in Africa
EUROPE: Russia to Become One of World's Leading IT Trendsetters
SOUTH AMERICA: Brazil Launches Plan to Triple Broadband Internet Access by 2014
WWW.STUDENTSREBUILD.ORG Is Launched in Haiti
CHINA: Tap into Internet of Things World
Online Funeral Being Promoted in China
Copyright Service Center to Be Launched at Shanghai World Expo
Online Video Interview, New Trend in Job Hunting in China
Intellectual Property Rights Get Boost in China
Health Reforms a Boon for IT
China Has 18.08 Mln 3G Users
Mobile TV Service Launched in Shanghai
China's Online Population Passes 400 Million: State Media
JAPAN: More About Going Wireless on the Move
Digital Billboard That Watches You Shop Hits Japan
SOUTH KOREA: Gov't to Fund Research to Mix Neurological Data with IT
S. Korea to Push for E-freight System
Mobile Internet Adoption Gains Pace
S. Korea Is Leading in the E-world
KIPO Aims at 100% Electronic Applications
S. Korea Will Strive to Become Global Tech Leader
S. Korea to Run Online Health Service Pilot Program
S. Korean Carriers Rush to Expand Wireless Networks
LAOS: Lao Style Opening Ceremony for Central Payment Network
Lao Telecom Invests in Building Internet Cafe for Students
EU Opens New Information Centre at NUOL
MALAYSIA: Society Will Gain from Broadband Proliferation
Maxis Teams Up with PayPal
THAILAND: Cut in IT Set-up Costs Tempts SMEs
TCCT Establishes Thailand's First Fully Green Data Centre
Mobile Phones Offer Hope to 'Bottom of the Pyramid'
VIET NAM: Ebooks Gaining Popularity but Still Face Challenges
Manufacturers to Get IT Boost
BANGLADESH: Information Highway to Connect Bangladesh with Neighbours
INDIA: E-Office Launched in Delhi
Online Payments in Orissa for Transport
3 Indian IT Majors Hire 20k Employees in Q4
E-Readiness: India Ranks 58
IITs to Go Virtual, IT Education at a Click Away
ARMENIA: Vimpelcom to Roll Out LTE Network
Armenix Microblogging Service Launched in Armenia
AZERBAIJAN: 'E-education' Contest Launched
MCIT to Review 3G Licence Awards 'By Summer'
Azerbaijan Develops Network of Intellectual E-Libraries
IRAQ: CDN Launches Fibre-optic Connection in South
IRAN: Grassroots Voices and the Blogosphere
Iran to Launch New Satellite
KAZAKHSTAN: Popular Internet Resources to Be Provided with Free Hosting - Minister of Communication and Information
Expansion of Women's 'Literacy by Mobile Phone' Programme
TAJIKISTAN: New Credit-Card-Style Driving License to Be Introduced
UZBEKISTAN: A New Approach to the Provision of Public Services
ICT Creates New Opportunities for Blind and Visually Impaired People
AUSTRALIA: Operators to Enable Premium Rate SMS Blocking
Telstra Announces World-first Radio Trial for Emergency Services
Superfast Broadband for New Developments
National Broadband Network: First Year Achievements
Australian E-Health Spending to Top $2 Billion in 2010
More Australians Going Digital
National Library of Australia Provides Online Free Search Engine
Australia to Improve Emergency Call Location Tracking
Overwhelming Support for R18+ Games Rating
More Digital Services for Rural, Regional and Remote Australia
Royal Flying Doctor Service Backs E-Health
NEW ZEALAND: Faster Broadband Boosts Job Prospects
IT 'Cloud' Creates Pollution - Greenpeace
Fast Broadband Becoming Essential for Farmers
PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Misuse of Technology Not Just a PNG Problem
THE WRAP: India's 3G Windfall, Google's War on Privacy
AFRICA: EAC Unites Against Foreign Cyber Attacks
NORTH AMERICA: Canadian Armed Forces Delve Deeper into Social Networking
CHINA: Asia's Largest Cloud Security Center Launched
China Continues Crackdown on Porn Spread Electronically
China's Military Highlights Information Security
China's Communications Network Security Professional Committee Established
Stealing Online Assets is Real Theft
China to End Anonymous Online Comments
China Addresses 'Severe Cyber Security Threats'
81 Government Websites Attacked
China's Network Watchdog Warns of Malicious Websites Surge
JAPAN: Deal Made with China on IT Info Disclosure
SOUTH KOREA: Seoul Pushes to Organize Int'l Cyber Security Body
S. Korea Listed in Internet Censorship Watchlist: Rights Watchdog
S. Korea, China Agree to Protect Info Online
Gov't to Impose Limits on Teens' Online Gaming
THAILAND: Social Network Hackers Employ Abuse of Trust
VIET NAM: $40.5 Mil to Be Spent on Data Security
Vietnam Suffers Great Losses Due to High Tech Criminals
3G Network Targeted by Hackers
YM Virus Infects Thousands of Computers
INDIA: Govt. to Develop Software to Control Cyber Attacks
SRI LANKA: Police Raids Business Over Software Piracy
Over 50 Billion Dollars Lost to Software Piracy
PAKISTAN: NComputing to Revolutionise Desktop Virtualisation
ARMENIA: Ten EU Information Centers to Be Launched
KAZAKHSTAN: Parliament Ratified Information Security Cooperation Agreement
AUSTRALIA: Cyber-Safety - Release of Public Submissions
More Schools for the 2010 Youth Advisory Group on Cyber-Safety
Govt Forms National Cybercrime Plans
NEW ZEALAND: Phone Hackers Target Its Firms
Cybercrime Conference Shows Challenge of Gettings Govts to Play Nice
Ninth International Conference on Information Technology Based Higher Education and Training - ITHET 2010, by UNESCO Chair on Mechatronics, Bogazici University, Turkey, 29 April to 1 May
French Week of Sustainable Development 2010
UNESCO Celebrates World Press Freedom Day: World Governments Urged to Guarantee Freedom of Information
6th Meeting of the Working Group 2 on E-Government and Administrative Simplification
International Conference "The Impact of ICT in Education"
WSIS Forum 2010: Turning Targets into Action - Towards 2015
UN Forum Unveils New Regional Roadmap to Low-Carbon Economy
Sixty-Sixth Commission Session of UNESCAP
AFRICA: World Economic Forum on Africa
CHINA: Shanghai World Expo's First Theme Forum Opens
SOUTH KOREA: Host Asia-Pacific Forum on Internet Safety
PHILIPPINES: RDC-EVISNET Conducts Web Dev't Training for Member-agencies
SINGAPORE: IDA-led Delegation to Make First Appearance at COMEX 2010
VIET NAM: 47 Nominees Win Sao Khue 2010 IT Awards
Software Advice Council Debuts
BANGLADESH: Bangladesh's Position Goes Up in ICT Index
INDIA: Special Train to Showcase IT Initiatives
World Telecom Conference to Adopt Action Plan
3 Indian Firms in World's Top 10 Outsourcers
eIndia 2010 Awards Nominations
SRI LANKA: Setting Up Telecom Software Grouping
PAKISTAN: Connect 2010 Starts at Exposition Centre: ICT Sector Surpasses $12 Billion Mark
Switching on to NComputing Technology: Punjab Government to Save Over Rs 360 Million
ARMENIA: Union of Information Technologies Enterprises Is 10 Years Old
AZERBAIJAN: International Conference on E-Government to Be Held
BakuTel Becomes Partner of NETTY 2010 National Internet Award
OSCE Office in Baku Holds Seminar on Government-media Relations in Democratic Society
UZBEKISTAN: Tashkent University of Information Technologies Hosts Scientific Conference
AUSTRALIA: Join European Cybercrime Convention
Government to Open Data, Turn Social in Wake of Taskforce Report

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United Nations Public Service Awards

DESA's Division for Public Administration and Development Management received more than 200 nominations from 44 countries for the 2010 United Nations Public Service Awards. The awards are arguably the most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public service. The annual prizes are intended to "reward the creative achievements and contributions of public service institutions" which bring about "more effective and responsive public administration". Past winner and nominees have included an innovative public housing project in Singapore, a locomotive-based health care provider in South Africa and an online portal designed to assist people with disabilities find a job in Australia. Organisers said that each year's nominees showed "that governments innovate much more than is commonly believed and that good ideas and their effective implementation occur everywhere, in developed as much as in developing countries, in rural and urban areas, central and local levels of government, with or without significant resources."

"In fact, many innovations have occurred precisely because of the lack of resources and the need to come up with creative solutions to challenges of public concern" they said. Director of the Division for Public Administration and Development Management Haiyan Qian said that past winners "highlight that the most critical ingredient to promote socioeconomic development, including the Millennium Development Goals, is effective, ethical, transparent, accountable and citizen-centric government." "No progress can be made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals without a capable leadership, well-designed governance institutions, appropriate human resources and proper use of modern ways and tools, particularly ICT tools, as well as sustainable mechanism to engage citizens in public policy-making decisions and effective delivery of public services, including security, justice, health, education, sanitation, and other basic services." Ms. Qian said that number on entries this year represented a 23 per cent increase from 2009, with the Asia-Pacific region continuing to provide the highest number of nominations. She said that a process of short-listing will continue in the coming weeks until the Committee of Experts in Public Administration decide on the winners in April. For more information on the 2010 United Nations Public Service Awards please click here.


From http://www.un.org/ 04/05/2010

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UN E-Government Development Knowledge Base: Global Reports - Global E-Government Development Report 2010

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.


From http://telemd.blogspot.com/ 04/26/2010

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Shanghai World Expo: First Theme Forum Opens

The first theme forum of the Shanghai World Expo opened in the Chinese coastal city of Ningbo on Saturday, with renowned experts and entrepreneurs discussing information and communication technologies (ICT) and urban development. The two-day forum was co-organized by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Executive Committee of Expo 2010 Shanghai China, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Ningbo Municipal Government. Participants to the forum include Internet pioneer Robert E. Kahn, CEO of Microsoft Online Lu Qi and Chinese Minister of Industry and Information Technology Li Yizhong. They would join discussions on topics ranging from cloud computing to Internet of Things. A total of 189 countries would present their best at the six-month Shanghai World Expo. Carrying the theme of "Better City, Better Life", the Expo is expected to attract 70 million visitors from China and abroad.


From English.news.cn 05/15/2010

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UNESCO, ITU Establish Special Commission to Promote Digital Development

PARIS (Xinhua) - The Paris-based UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and Geneva-based International Telecommunication Union jointly announced Monday that a high-level commission to promote worldwide digital development has been established. According to a statement released by UNESCO, the high level Broadband Commission for Digital Development will be headed by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim and Rwandan President Paul Kagame to promote broadband application across the world. ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure and UNESCO Director- General Irina Bokova will serve as joint vice chairs of the commission. UNESCO hoped the new commission could help people to "transform information into knowledge and understanding that empowers them to improve their livelihoods and contribute to their social and economic development," the statement said.

A group of 30 technology, business and social leaders will work together to form out strategies on how to expand the worldwide coverage of broadband networks and how to use this kind of facilities to improve social service in fields of healthcare, education, environmental management, safety and etc., UNESCO said in the statement. The Commission was launched at a press conference in Geneva early in the day. At the conference, ITU chief Toure said the governments need to view broadband networks as basic national infrastructure. The UN telecommunication union estimated the number of mobile broadband subscriptions worldwide to exceed 1 billion this year.


From http://news.xinhuanet.com/ 05/10/2010

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WSIS Forum 2010: Turning Targets into Action - Towards 2015

The year of 2010 marks a turning point for assessing the progress made towards WSIS implementation during the past five years and for proposing new strategies to ensure the achievement of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) goals by 2015. The WSIS Forum 2010 will be held from 10 to 14 of May 2010 at the ITU Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The organizers, UNESCO, ITU, UNCTAD and UNDP set-up an exceptional event: More than 800 participants have registered. Four heads of UN agencies, many ministers, CEOs, civil society, representatives from academia and other stakeholders will participate in a week full of high-level debates, facilitation meetings, thematic workshops, interactive sessions, knowledge exchanges and kick off meetings. There will also be an exhibition and several publication releases and two receptions for the participants.

This years WSIS Forum agenda was created based on open consultations with WSIS stakeholders (see www.wsis-community.org). UNESCO will contribute to the organization of two high-level debates on social networking and ICTs for disaster management, as well as interactive sessions on Action Lines in which UNESCO is responsible including:
C3 & C7: Access to scientific information;
C3: ICTs and persons with disabilities;
C3: ICT and gender
C7: Education and ICTs
C8: Multilingualism
C8: Indigenous Peoples - a thematic workshop
C9: Community media for disaster preparedness and;
C10: Info ethics.


From http://portal.unesco.org/ 05/07/2010

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EU Publishes 'Digital Agenda' Five-Year Plan for IT

The European Commission has announced its Digital Agenda, a five-year plan that to boost legal music downloads, speed up broadband adoption and set up a rapid response system for cyber-attacks. Announced Wednesday, the agenda focuses on seven areas: creating a digital single market, interoperability, Internet trust and security, broadband, investment in research and development, enhancing digital literacy skills and inclusion, and using ICT to combat problems such as climate change. Creating a single market for digital products and services such as online entertainment seems close to digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes' heart. It is unacceptable that there are four times more legal music downloads in the U.S. than in Europe, she said during a news conference to present the plan. The reason for the disparity, she said, is a lack of legal offers and a fragmented market. The Commission intends to change that by simplifying copyright clearance and cross-border licensing by the end of 2010, according to Kroes.

The plan comes a week after the Canadian government announced two-month public consultation prior to creating a digital strategy. Providing broadband access to more people is also something the Digital Agenda sets out to d. By 2013, the plan aims for all Europeans should have access to broadband and by 2020 at least 50 per cent of European households should subscribe to Internet access above 100 Mbps. However, the Agenda includes few details of how that will be achieved. Later this year, the Commission will present a common framework for how it expects the goal to be realized, including how to attract investment capital with backing from the European Investment Bank. Digital technologies have the potential to improve people's daily lives, but for that to happen people have to feel safe online, the Commission said. To ensure that, the Agenda includes plans for a better-coordinated European response to cyber attacks, identity theft and spam, and reinforced rules on personal data protection, which will be proposed later this year.

The agenda also calls for an increased use of standards and interoperability in government procurement of IT, including proposing legal measures to reform the rules on the implementation of standards. The Commission also plans to address situations in which standards do not help because significant market players do not support them. The plan to give standards a greater role is welcomed by the European chapter of the Free Software Foundation, but the organization said the Commission isn't doing nearly enough. The Digital Agenda itself avoids any reference to open standards, according to the Free Software Foundation Europe. Instead, the Commission points to the European Interoperability Framework, which is being systematically hollowed out, it said. The Commission also urges EU Member States to double annual public spending on R&D to €11 billion (US$14 billion) by 2020, backed by European programs. "[It is] a good announcement, but the devil is in the details and we will have to see how it is concretely implemented," said Fr谷d谷ric Donck, director of the European Bureau of the Internet Society (ISOC), who wants to give the Commission the benefit of the doubt, for the moment. 

The ISOC is encouraged by the Commission's recognition of the need to strengthen security and the level of trust users have for the Internet. It is a key issue for the Internet, and a big challenge, according to Donck. When addressing these issues, the Commission and member states should concentrate on enforcing laws that already exist and not create new ones that address criminal behavior only in cyberspace, according to the ISOC.


From http://www.itworldcanada.com/ 05/19/2010

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Brazil: Plan to Triple Broadband Internet Access by 2014

BRASILIA (Xinhua) - The Brazilian government Wednesday officially launched the National Broadband Plan, under which it aims to triple high speed Internet access by 2014 and quadruple the number of households counting on the service at a speed equal to or greater than 512 kbps. The target is to increase from the current 12 million households that have Internet access to 40 million, charging a monthly fee between 15 and 35 reais (between 8.5 and 20 U.S. dollars), depending on tax incentives applied. The president's chief of staff Erenice Guerra said the plan's main objective is to expand access to poorer segments of the population. "The country's development will only be effective with broadband access being used as a tool of social inclusion", he stressed. The total cost for the project to be carried out over the next four years is approximately 12.8 billion reais (7.230 billion dollars).

In 2010, the goal is to implement the core of the network in the Federal District and in 15 states in Northeast and Southeast regions, which are being prioritized for having fiber optic ring that allows broadband to be extended and that will guarantee access to about 100 cities. Planning Minister Paulo Bernardo said that the plan will also facilitate development of small and medium-sized enterprises, including those with foreign trade which seek new markets. State-controlled communications company Telebras said Tuesday it will manage the project with a fund of 3.2 billion reais (1.8 billion dollars).


From http://news.xinhuanet.com/ 05/05/2010

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Asia's Largest Cloud Security Center Launched

Chinese anti-virus service provider Rising has announced the launch of its generically-named Cloud Security Center, which is reported to be the largest of its kind in Asia. With a total investment of CNY130 million, the center reportedly has more than 5000 enterprise level severs in various geographic locations in China which can provide security check services for up to one billion users and reduce the time for processing most of the virus files to one second. The center is said to be the first technical project initiated by Rising in 2010. Liu Gang, a chief scientist of Rising, told local media that with the improvement of its hardware and core structure, the center can reduce the time for automatically analyzing and processing most virus files to one second.


From http://www.chinatechnews.com/ 03/11/2010

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South Korea: Striving to Become Global Tech Leader

South Korea will strive to become one of the top five global technology leaders by 2020 by maximizing its strengths in information technology (IT), autos, shipbuilding and nuclear energy, the newly appointed government research policymaker said Wednesday. Hwang Chang-gyu, the knowledge economy ministry's chief technical officer (CTO), told reporters that the country must find next-generation technologies that can ensure long-term economic growth. He said that while Seoul pulled off its rapid growth by following in the footsteps of advanced countries and their research and development (R&D) efforts, it must now transform itself into a trend-setter. "We were fast followers but it is time to become a first mover," he said, pointing out that most of the leading industries have started to post single digit growth in recent years. The former head of Samsung Electronics said the country can take the lead by pursuing convergence in the areas of IT, heavy industry and advanced energy production, where it enjoys worldwide competitiveness. "As the new CTO, my goal is to develop convergence technologies so South Korea can become a front-runner in the technology field in the next 10 years," he said. He added that the government will move away from simple R&D to research and business development (R&BD), which involves finding commercial uses for new technologies. "R&BD aims to create technology that is 'alive' and can be used on a practicable level," the official said. He stressed that research for the sake of research is not the right approach.

Hwang also said Seoul will start encouraging research-related risk taking by continuing to back scientists and engineers who have engaged in ambitious projects that failed to meet expectations. "A working environment needs to be set up so researchers are not afraid to take bold steps," said Hwang, who is a minister-level official. South Korea's state R&D funding size has shot up from 3.7 trillion won (US$3.4 billion) in 1999 to 11.1 trillion won in 2008, and while the total number of researchers and patents won by locals has risen, there has been a drop in quality that must be corrected, he said. Hwang also noted a need to connect research with market requirements and products, and refrain from engaging in projects that are easy and can lead to quick results. The CTO said he plans to use his experience in the private sector to help push up the country's technological capabilities to the next level. The official is well-known for his theory, "Hwang's Law," which was introduced in 2002 and states that flash memory chip storage doubles in capability every year. Hwang will lead an office made up of 17 experts from the business community, academia and the government and tasked with the setting up of long-term research and industrial development support targets and use of state funds allocated to the ministry. The new office will take over the research-related direction setting role from government and review plans before they are sent to the National Assembly for approval. It has been created to react to criticism that despite the country's strength in the IT industry, companies have been left behind in such areas as smartphones and new, creative technologies and products. The knowledge economy ministry will control 4.4 trillion won worth of R&D-related funds this year with the total to hit 5 trillion won in 2010.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 04/21/2010

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Singapore: Government Projects S$1.1b Worth of Public Sector Infocomm Tenders in FY2010

The Singapore Government announced today that it plans to invest S$1.1 billion worth of new infocomm tenders in Financial Year (FY) 2010. This is consistent with past years' procurement trends, excluding one-off major developmental projects such as the Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network and SOE projects, with the actual procurement in FY2009 being S$1.12 billion. This announcement was made today by RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), at the Industry Briefing 2010 on Business Opportunities for Infocomm in the Public Sector. Organised by IDA, the annual Briefing provides information to the infocomm industry about infocomm projects that are in the pipeline for Government agencies in the new FY.

Some of the other projects awarded in FY2009 include the Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network Operating Company, the expansion of the Expressway Monitoring & Advisory System or EMAS to manage major arterial roads, a revamped gov.sg portal to provide citizens with a single point of access to the latest key government news, events, online feedback for the government and a consolidated directory of government offices, key personnel and services, and i-Singapore which encourages innovative geospatial services by mash-up of public, private and people sector contents to create knowledge and value. Noting that the Government's continued investment and emphasis on infocomm will contribute to sustaining and enhancing the economy's innovation potential and long-term competitiveness, RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay encouraged infocomm companies to leverage programmes like the Government Technology Experiments & Trials Programme or TREATS to test-bed cutting edge solutions to meet business needs expressed by government agencies. He also encouraged the industry to contribute their ideas for the next e-Government Masterplan, which will leverage on innovative technologies and collaboration between the public, private and people sectors for the development and delivery of public services through infocomm.


From http://www.igov.gov.sg/ 05/11/2010

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India: To Be the 2nd Fastest Growing Enterprise Software Market

Email New Delhi: India's enterprise software market is forecast to maintain its strong performance, with an estimated growth rate of 12.3 percent from 2009 to 2014, the second highest growth rate in the world. Despite the global slowdown in 2009 and the continuing challenging economic conditions, the software market in India is expected to rebound to an annual growth rate of 11.1 percent in 2010, according to Gartner. Gartner analysts said that the increasing globalization of the Indian economy is leading to a growing need for modern software with the latest features and improved functionality. "Software vendors have strong growth potential in India, but also face the challenges of operating in a commercial environment that is still developing," said Asheesh Raina, principal research analyst at Gartner. "Indian enterprises have historically preferred to develop applications using their own labour because it costs less. This tendency has resulted in legacy and quickly obsolete software as well as inhibiting Indian enterprises' sustainability and business IT continuity. Growth will mainly be driven by replacing immature infrastructure with standardised systems and the large vendors stand to benefit", adds Raina. According to Gartner's latest forecast in 2010 India will be the fourth largest software market ($ 2.4 billion) in Asia/Pacific, and the country is forecast to account for 11 percent share of the region's total revenue of $21.72 billion in 2010, the equivalent to 1.04 per cent of the total worldwide software $232 billion market share. By 2014, India's share of the software market in Asia/Pacific is expected to reach 12 percent, representing $3.8 billion in revenue or 1.3 per cent of total worldwide software market revenue of $299 billion. Compared with mature countries in the Asia/Pacific region such as Australia (with 21 percent share of regional spending in 2010), the software market in India is still relatively young and evolving. A 2009 Gartner survey found that 50 percent of respondents in India planned to increase their software spending in 2010, far higher than other countries surveyed, such as those in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, North America, and Latin America. The same survey found that organizations in India in 2010 are expected to spend approximately 27 percent of their IT budgets on software and also the same on hardware. "India has balanced growth and will tend to increase spending equally on infrastructure, hardware and application software space through the forecast period to 2014", said Raina. Optimism regarding spending within Indian organizations reflects confidence in India's regional economic performance, as well as the need to adopt better technology to effectively compete in a tougher global environment. Priority areas of software spending include enterprise resource planning (ERP), office suites, operating systems and database management systems. In the next five years, the fastest-growing segment will be Enterprise Content management (30 percent), Virtualization (27.7 percent) and web conferencing and team collaboration (26.2 percent), although it is growing from a small base. According to Gartner, Indian enterprises are lagging behind in terms of adoption of these tools, resulting in the fast growth of this market.


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 05/11/2010

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India: Rajasthan Launches E-Speech Application for the Poor

Rajasthan has launched an e-governance initiative that aims to communicate essential information to the underprivileged using mobile phones. The features of the new system include data migration, text-to-speech conversion in local languages, automatic dialing and voice message transmission. A brainchild of Tanmay Kumar, Secretary, Information Technology and Communication, Government of Rajasthan, the application will provide the public with information about the release and sanction of pensions, PDS information, alerts, campaigns, advisories, and other information of broad public interest. Named as "e-Speech Application through Network for Automated Communication Help and Response", the application is developed through a collaboration between RajCOMP, the state's computer agency and OneWorld Foundation-India. The system conveys real time information from government to citizens without an intermediary. It is currently confined to the set of citizens under beneficiary programmes. The Rajasthan government is now looking to market the initiative to other state governments in India.


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 05/10/2010

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Pakistan: Expansion of Women's 'Literacy by Mobile Phone' Programme

A programme which gives Pakistani women access to literacy by using mobile phones has been expanded. The project, the fruit of a partnership between UNESCO, Mobilink Pakistan and Pakistani NGO, the BUNYAD Foundation of Lahore, was launched last year. The five-month pilot project involved 250 adolescent female learners who were given mobile phones and who received interesting and informative daily text messages in Urdu which they were expected to respond to. The programme was conducted with the help of 10 teachers enlisted by the NGO. Participants were subsequently evaluated to assess gains in knowledge and learning. At the start of the programme, 57per cent of the girls were graded C and only 28 per cent of the girls managed to score an A. Near the end of the pilot the situation had reversed with more than 60 per cent of girls awarded an A and C grades dropping to 11 per cent.

UNESCO and partners have expanded the programme to include another 1,250 girls in rural areas of four districts of Punjab. Warren Mellor, Country Director UNESCO said that modern technology could help achieve the goal of universal literacy. He said Pakistan was a signatory to the Dakar Framework of Action for EFA in April, 2000 and has committed to achieving an 86 per cent literacy rate by 2015. Mr Rashid Khan, President and CEO of Mobilink, said those taking part had shown a marked improvement in their literacy skills and confidence. "The cell phone holds the key to social development by its very nature and we want to make sure that women are part of this revolution," he said.


From http://www.unesco.org/en/ 04/07/2010

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Kazakhstan: E-government at Third Interactive Stage of Development

The Kazakhstan e-government is at the third interactive stage of development. The participants of the 42nd session of the Board of the Communications Administrations Heads and the 15th session of the Coordinating Information Council in Moscow with participation of the delegation of the Ministry of Communications and Information headed by the head of the department, Askar Zhumagaliev, were informed during the session, the agency reports citing the Ministry of Communications and Information of Kazakhstan. According to the press service, according to the electronic government readiness index, in comparison with 2008, Kazakhstan has risen by 35 positions (from 81 up to 46), and according to the electronic services index - from 95 - up to 24. The Kazakhstan e-government is at the third interactive stage of development.


From http://engnews.gazeta.kz/ 05/12/2010

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UZBEKISTAN: A New Approach to the Provision of Public Services

Tashkent, April 7, 2010. The first in Uzbekistan, One-Stop-Shop for provision of public services in interactive way using information and communication technologies was launched today in Sergeli district of Tashkent city. One Stop Shop is a new approach to the provision of public services aimed at reducing the number of procedural steps involved by changing the mode of service. The essence of innovation is as follows - a wide range of public and social services for the population is concentrated in one place, and citizens, without wasting time, will receive certificates, licenses, accreditation and other services at the One Stop Shop. The One- Stop- Shop is found in partnership of the Communication and Information Agency of Uzbekistan, Khokimiyat of Sergeli district of Tashkent, as well the United Nations Development Programme in Uzbekistan represented by the "Assisting the Government of Uzbekistan in the formulation and implementation of ICT for development policy" (ICTP). On the OSS opening Director General of the Communication and Information Agency of Uzbekistan Mr. Hakim Mukhitdinov, UNDP Resident Representative/UN Resident Coordinator Ms. Anita Nirody, Khokim of Sergeli district of Tashkent city Mr. Mutolib Abdullaev addressed the guests with the welcoming remarks. UNDP Uzbekistan has been supporting the efforts of the Government of Uzbekistan in public administration reform, through various projects including those related to the promotion of use of ICT for development. As part of this overall framework, we attach great importance to piloting an OSS (one-stop-shop for government services) initiative in the Sergeli district of Tashkent city. This was emphasized by UNDP Resident Representative/UN Resident Coordinator Ms. Anita Nirody in her speech.

The introduction of OSS is not only expected to ensure greater access to public services, but it is also envisaged as an important measure aimed at reducing red tape and enhancing efficiency. While giving a speech for the One Stop Shop opening ceremony Mr. H.Muhitdinov, Director General of Uzbekistan Information and Communications Agency, made an emphasis on drastic changes observed in information and communications sphere of the country, an enormous job done on the way of forming an information society, wide-scale computerization and an effective implementation for practical application of the latest ICTs. One Stop Shop with its various services offered to population in an interactive way comes as a clear evidence of the above mentioned. This initiative is taken within the framework of Government efforts to improve efficiency of government administration using information and communication technology as stipulated by the Resolution ∮181 dated 23.08.2007 "On further development steps of cooperation of the governmental and economic administration bodies, state administration in places with legal and physical persons with the use of information and communication technologies" and the Action Plan for the Country Programme for Uzbekistan for the period of 2010 - 2015, signed by the United Nations Development Programme in Uzbekistan and the Uzbek government. As a result of this initiative, One Stop Shop will be able to take citizens' requests, independently interact with the various authorities, and then give citizens ready documents. A bank branch located in the OSS will be providing financial services and taking payments for various paid services, charges and other fees. Now, at OSS any resident of the area, without spending time on tedious visits to numerous offices, will be able to resolve issues concerning employment, entrepreneurship, taxation, and to obtain information from the state cadastre of real estate, public utility services, social and other issues. One-Stop-Shop being the first initiative of such kind in Uzbekistan will be offering about 80 services (with more than 25 of them being interactive) provided by almost 20 government departments.

In June 2009, Memorandum of Understanding on establishing One Stop Shop in the Sergeli district was signed in accordance with which the Khokimiyat of Sergeli district was identified as a beneficiary and a pilot site for this initiative, appointed senior officials for working with the project team, the Uzbek Agency of Communication and information assumed a leading role in the organization of work, facilitation and provision of appropriate consultations. The United Nations Development Programme, represented by the "Assisting the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan in the formulation and implementation of ICT for development" (ICTP) contributed to the project with the contribution from the Democratic Governance Thematic Trust Fund (DGTTF), aimed at supporting innovative initiatives in electronic governance, and also provided full technical assistance to the project. The One Stop Shop will be staffed with multi-tasking specialists from the regional district services, such as: district gas and electricity providers, social security department, district education department, public health department; and representatives of entrepreneurship registration bureau of Khokimiyat as well as college graduates. It should be noted that staff of the OSS has taken series of training courses to enhance skills in information and communication technologies, business communication, civil service, gender sensitivity and working with people with disabilities. The signatory parties pointed out that successful implementation of the initiative should make significant contribution to socio-economic development of the Sergeli district. They also said success of the pilot project will signal of its possible nation-wide replication.


From http://www.gov.uz/ 04/08/2010

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Australia: National Broadband Network - First Year Achievements

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy said in the 12 months since the Rudd Government announced the National Broadband Network (NBN) significant progress had been made. On 7 April 2009 the Rudd Government announced that a new company, NBN Co, would be established to build and operate a new, wholesale-only, open access, superfast broadband network. "The NBN is the largest nation-building project in our history that will transform our economy, drive future growth and productivity and help our children get the best education in the world," Senator Conroy said. "Under the NBN, every home, business, school and hospital will receive high speed broadband and no one will miss out." The NBN will connect 90% of premises with Fibre-to-the-Premises technology providing speeds of 100Mbps, and remaining premises with next generation wireless and satellite services that will deliver 12Mbps or more. The NBN will support 25,000 jobs every year, on average, over the life of the eight year project. "The NBN initiative delivers on and exceeds the Rudd Government's broadband election commitment. It will transform Australia's broadband infrastructure and ensure that every Australian consumer and business has access to affordable high speed broadband services," Senator Conroy said.

Progress Update
Rollout in Tasmania - The rollout in Tasmania commenced late last year with the construction of key optical fibre backbone links. From July this year, as part of the Stage 1 rollout, three Tasmanian towns in one of the most neglected broadband markets in Australia will start receiving high-speed broadband services delivered by NBN using fibre to the premise technology. The three towns are Smithton, Midway Point and Scottsdale. Work is also continuing on the planning of the Stage 2 and Stage 3 rollouts that will connect approximately 100,000 premises, including in seven targeted locations and the major population centres of Hobart, Launceston, Devonport and Burnie. On 1 March 2010, the Rudd Government announced an equity injection of $100 million into NBN Tasmania to facilitate the further roll out of fibre-to-the-premise broadband in Tasmania. On 15 March 2010, Senator Conroy officially opened the Mornington Proof-of-Concept Test Centre and announced the first retail service providers; Primus, Internode and iiNet, who will work with NBN Tasmania to deliver broadband services.

NBN Regional Backbone Blackspots Program - In December last year, under the $250 million NBN Regional Backbone Blackspots program, the Rudd Government signed an agreement with Nextgen Networks to construct new optical fibre regional backbone links to six priority regional locations. These six priority locations of Geraldton (WA), Darwin (NT), Emerald and Longreach (QLD), Broken Hill (NSW), Victor Harbor (SA) and South West Gippsland (VIC) were selected after public consultation. Under this program, approximately 6000km of optical fibre backbone will be laid, benefitting more than 100 regional locations and approximately 400,000 people. The project is also expected to create 1,000 full time equivalent jobs. These represent the first building blocks of the NBN on mainland Australia. In February 2010, Senator Conroy launched the start of construction in Mt Isa and the rollout is progressing well. Construction activities on all of the links are underway.

NBN Co First Release Sites - Mainland Australia - On 2 March 2010, NBN Co announced the first five sites to receive high speed broadband on mainland Australia, as part of the NBN. The first release sites will be used to test network design and construction methods and will provide crucial information to assist in the roll out of the NBN. NBN Co chose the first release sites based on a range of criteria such as demographics, climate, existing infrastructure and terrain, to ensure the physical roll out of the NBN is as smooth as possible. The first release sites are:
* A part of the suburb of Brunswick in Melbourne;
* An area of Townsville covering parts of the suburbs of Aitkenvale and Mundingburra;
* The coastal communities of Minnamurra and Kiama Downs south of Wollongong;
* An area of west Armidale, NSW, including the University of New England; and
* The rural town of Willunga in South Australia.

NBN Co industry consultations - NBN Co has commenced and undertaken a number of consultations with industry and potential suppliers. Specifically, NBN Co has:
* Undertaken a number of multi-lateral and bi-lateral consultations sessions on product design;
* Commenced consultation with respect to technical, operational and construction approaches;
* Released its initial views on the wholesale bitstream product that NBN Co plans to offer, reviewed over 50 submissions on this topic and released a response to these submissions;
* Released a Request for Capability Statement for providers to deliver a next generation satellite solution to service regional Australia; and
* Released a Request for Capability Statement for the design and construction of the Fibre Access Network.


From http://www.minister.dbcde.gov.au/ 04/07/2010

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United Nations Public Service Awards

DESA's Division for Public Administration and Development Management received more than 200 nominations from 44 countries for the 2010 United Nations Public Service Awards. The awards are arguably the most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public service. The annual prizes are intended to "reward the creative achievements and contributions of public service institutions" which bring about "more effective and responsive public administration". Past winner and nominees have included an innovative public housing project in Singapore, a locomotive-based health care provider in South Africa and an online portal designed to assist people with disabilities find a job in Australia. Organisers said that each year's nominees showed "that governments innovate much more than is commonly believed and that good ideas and their effective implementation occur everywhere, in developed as much as in developing countries, in rural and urban areas, central and local levels of government, with or without significant resources."

"In fact, many innovations have occurred precisely because of the lack of resources and the need to come up with creative solutions to challenges of public concern" they said. Director of the Division for Public Administration and Development Management Haiyan Qian said that past winners "highlight that the most critical ingredient to promote socioeconomic development, including the Millennium Development Goals, is effective, ethical, transparent, accountable and citizen-centric government." "No progress can be made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals without a capable leadership, well-designed governance institutions, appropriate human resources and proper use of modern ways and tools, particularly ICT tools, as well as sustainable mechanism to engage citizens in public policy-making decisions and effective delivery of public services, including security, justice, health, education, sanitation, and other basic services." Ms. Qian said that number on entries this year represented a 23 per cent increase from 2009, with the Asia-Pacific region continuing to provide the highest number of nominations. She said that a process of short-listing will continue in the coming weeks until the Committee of Experts in Public Administration decide on the winners in April. For more information on the 2010 United Nations Public Service Awards please click here.


From http://www.un.org/ 04/05/2010

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UN E-Government Development Knowledge Base: Global Reports - Global E-Government Development Report 2010

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.


From http://telemd.blogspot.com/ 04/26/2010

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UNESCO, ITU Establish Special Commission to Promote Digital Development

PARIS (Xinhua) - The Paris-based UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and Geneva-based International Telecommunication Union jointly announced Monday that a high-level commission to promote worldwide digital development has been established. According to a statement released by UNESCO, the high level Broadband Commission for Digital Development will be headed by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim and Rwandan President Paul Kagame to promote broadband application across the world. ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure and UNESCO Director- General Irina Bokova will serve as joint vice chairs of the commission. UNESCO hoped the new commission could help people to "transform information into knowledge and understanding that empowers them to improve their livelihoods and contribute to their social and economic development," the statement said.

A group of 30 technology, business and social leaders will work together to form out strategies on how to expand the worldwide coverage of broadband networks and how to use this kind of facilities to improve social service in fields of healthcare, education, environmental management, safety and etc., UNESCO said in the statement. The Commission was launched at a press conference in Geneva early in the day. At the conference, ITU chief Toure said the governments need to view broadband networks as basic national infrastructure. The UN telecommunication union estimated the number of mobile broadband subscriptions worldwide to exceed 1 billion this year.


From http://news.xinhuanet.com/ 05/10/2010

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AFRICA: Energy Access Vital to Success of Millennium Development Goals

"If the Millennium Development Goals are to be achieved, energy access to developing countries is crucial," Kandeh Yumkella, Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Chair of UN-Energy, told MediaGlobal in New York this week, following the launch of the 2010 global agenda of the Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change. Today, approximately 3 billion people rely on traditional biomass for cooking and heating and about 1.5 billion have no access to electricity. Emphasizing public-private partnerships, Yumkella said "an investment of $35-40 billion would be required on average per year to achieve basic universal access to modern energy services by 2030." Last year, UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon initiated a high-level Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change and appointed Yumkella the chair of this new initiative. The Advisory Group has identified two priorities - improving energy access and strengthening energy efficiency. "If countries can fix energy efficiency, we will be able to reduce gas emissions," Yumkella added.

In the new 2010 agenda, the Advisory Group has recommended a global campaign in support of energy for sustainable development. "We hope to launch an aggressive media campaign to make people aware of the immediate need of energy access and efficiency," said Yumkella, "and South-South Cooperation will be an integral part of this campaign." When MediaGlobal brought up the issue of the United States taking a lead role in addressing climate change and energy issues, Yumkella responded, "Despite US legislation being acrimonious, we need US leadership. I know that the US administration is convinced that there is a new energy revolution."

The Director General called upon the international community to help reduce global energy intensity by 40 percent by 2030. "Developed and developing countries alike need to build and strengthen their capacity to implement effective policies and market-based mechanisms." Referring to the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) initiative promised by the developed countries, Yumkella said that universal energy access will "enable the poorest of the poor to escape poverty." The Group has called upon countries to prioritize energy goals through adoption of appropriate national strategies; a combination of financial support mechanisms and significant increase in international finance, specially through "Fast Start Funding" committed in COP-15 under the Copenhagen Accord for 2010-2012; implementing public-private partnerships; and, making "Energy for Sustainable Development" a major institutional priority throughout the United Nations system.

Towards mainstreaming green issues in UNIDO, Yumkella mentioned four initiatives he had introduced towards a low-carbon future: resource efficiency; water optimization, industrial energy efficiency; and, promoting a low carbon path, particularly in the area of transportation. This week the United Nations held a meeting of the Advisory Group. Amongst those who rang a warning bell in favour of urgent energy access, was Timothy Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation, who called for "urgent development strategies for energy access in poor countries." He called it a "nexus of poverty, energy and development." The Group also released a report "Energy for a Sustainable Future." The central message of this report is that the international community must come together in a common effort to transform the global energy system over the coming decades.


From http://allafrica.com/ 04/28/2010

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ASIA AND PACIFIC: ESCAP Chief Calls for New Approach to Social Protection

Bangkok (UN ESCAP Information Services) - The top United Nations official in Asia and the Pacific has called for a renewed focus on social protection policies and programmes in areas such as employment schemes and pensions for older people, which are aimed at "getting people out of exclusion and poverty and building resilience to risks and vulnerabilities." Such measures are an essential investment in inclusive growth and human capabilities in Asia and the Pacific, Noeleen Heyzer, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), said in a keynote address on 21 April to a regional conference in Manila on "Enhancing Social Protection Strategies in Asia and the Pacific."

Convened by the Asian Development Bank to review and recommend improvements to social protection approaches in the region, the conference was attended by more than 160 senior government and United Nations officials, non-governmental organization representatives and academics. The recent financial crisis and the widespread economic and social distress it created through massive job losses, declining income security and increasing poverty, has "once again placed social protection at the centre of policy agendas and debates in the region," said Dr. Heyzer. However, "it is important that social protection not simply be seen as a handout," she said. "More attention needs to be paid to the potential contribution of social protection as a long-term investment in reducing risks and vulnerability and facilitating economic recovery itself, thereby helping to ensure the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals in Asia and the Pacific."

Dr. Heyzer pointed out that research by the United Nations and the international development banks has shown that social protection brings many long-term benefits to societies. These include empowering the poor; ensuring that women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities have equal access to employment; keeping children in schools; ensuring access to health care; and integrating jobless youth into the labour market at an early stage. But to have greater long-term impact, three major changes in approach to social protection in the region are required, said Dr. Heyzer.

First, in addition to targeting risks and vulnerabilities associated with crises and upheavals, social protection schemes must be "mindful of the structural elements in society that place social groups in a situation of vulnerability in the first place," she said. Secondly, an approach is needed that builds on the synergies between various social protection schemes, and between social protection and other social and economic policies. "To give you an example," said Dr. Heyzer, "conditional cash transfers for children to go to school will not be effective if schools are not properly staffed or the quality of the teaching is poor." And thirdly, a supportive environment for social protection is needed which includes policies leading to legal empowerment and access to justice, protection of rights, and citizenship as means for promoting social inclusion and social cohesion. Dr. Heyzer emphasised that "stronger social protection has the potential to be a powerful tool for achieving not only the Millennium Development Goals, but also for bridging the development divide in the Asia-Pacific region and ensuring sustainable and inclusive development."


From http://www.unescap.org/ 04/28/2010

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EUROPE 2020: Commission Proposes New Economic Strategy

The European Commission has launched today the Europe 2020 Strategy to go out of the crisis and prepare EU economy for the next decade. The Commission identifies three key drivers for growth, to be implemented through concrete actions at EU and national levels: smart growth (fostering knowledge, innovation, education and digital society), sustainable growth (making our production more resource efficient while boosting our competitiveness) and inclusive growth (raising participation in the labour market, the acquisition of skills and the fight against poverty). This battle for growth and jobs requires ownership at top political level and mobilisation from all actors across Europe. Five targets are set which define where the EU should be by 2020 and against which progress can be tracked.

President Barroso said, "Europe 2020 is about what we need to do today and tomorrow to get the EU economy back on track. The crisis has exposed fundamental issues and unsustainable trends that we can not ignore any longer. Europe has a growth deficit which is putting our future at risk. We must decisively tackle our weaknesses and exploit our many strengths. We need to build a new economic model based on knowledge, low-carbon economy and high employment levels. This battle requires mobilisation of all actors across Europe." First of all, Europe must learn the lessons from the global economic and financial crisis. Our economies are intrinsically linked. No Member State can address global challenges effectively by acting in isolation. We are stronger when we work together, and a successful exit therefore depends on close economic policy coordination. Failure to do so could result in a "lost decade" of relative decline, permanently damaged growth and structurally high levels of unemployment.

The Europe 2020 Strategy therefore sets out a vision for Europe's social market economy over the next decade, and rests on three interlocking and mutually reinforcing priority areas: Smart growth, developing an economy based on knowledge and innovation; Sustainable growth, promoting a low-carbon, resource-efficient and competitive economy; and Inclusive growth, fostering a high-employment economy delivering social and territorial cohesion. Progress towards these objectives will be measured against five representative headline EU-level targets, which Member States will be asked to translate into national targets reflecting starting points: 75 % of the population aged 20-64 should be employed. 3% of the EU's GDP should be invested in R&D. The "20/20/20" climate/energy targets should be met. The share of early school leavers should be under 10% and at least 40% of the younger generation should have a degree or diploma. 20 million less people should be at risk of poverty.

In order to meet the targets, the Commission proposes a Europe 2020 agenda consisting of a series of flagship initiatives. Implementing these initiatives is a shared priority, and action will be required at all levels: EU-level organisations, Member States, local and regional authorities.

Innovation union - re-focussing R&D and innovation policy on major challenges, while closing the gap between science and market to turn inventions into products. As an example, the Community Patent could save companies 289€ million each year. Youth on the move - enhancing the quality and international attractiveness of Europe's higher education system by promoting student and young professional mobility. As a concrete action, vacancies in all Member States should be more accessible through out Europe and professional qualifications and experience properly recognised.

A digital agenda for Europe - delivering sustainable economic and social benefits from a Digital Single Market based on ultra fast internet. All Europeans should have access to high speed internet by 2013. Resource-efficient Europe - supporting the shift towards a resource efficient and low-carbon economy. Europe should stick to its 2020 targets in terms of energy production, efficiency and consumption. This would result in €60 billion less in oil and gas imports by 2020.

An industrial policy for green growth - helping the EU's industrial base to be competitive in the post-crisis world, promoting entrepreneurship and developing new skills. This would create millions of new jobs ; An agenda for new skills and jobs - creating the conditions for modernising labour markets, with a view to raising employment levels and ensuring the sustainability of our social models, while baby-boomers retire ; and European platform against poverty - ensuring economic, social and territorial cohesion by helping the poor and socially excluded and enabling them to play an active part in society.

The ambition of Europe 2020 means that leadership and accountability must be taken to a new level. The Commission invites Heads of State and Government to take ownership for this new Strategy and endorse it at the Spring European Council. The role of the European Parliament will also be enhanced. The governance methods will be reinforced to ensure that commitments are translated into effective action on the ground. The Commission will monitor progress. Reporting and evaluation under both Europe 2020 and the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) will be carried out simultaneously (while remaining distinct instruments) to improve coherence. This will allow both strategies to pursue similar reform objectives while remaining as separate instruments.


From http://europa.eu/ 05/10/2010

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EU Publishes 'Digital Agenda' Five-Year Plan for IT

The European Commission has announced its Digital Agenda, a five-year plan that to boost legal music downloads, speed up broadband adoption and set up a rapid response system for cyber-attacks. Announced Wednesday, the agenda focuses on seven areas: creating a digital single market, interoperability, Internet trust and security, broadband, investment in research and development, enhancing digital literacy skills and inclusion, and using ICT to combat problems such as climate change. Creating a single market for digital products and services such as online entertainment seems close to digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes' heart. It is unacceptable that there are four times more legal music downloads in the U.S. than in Europe, she said during a news conference to present the plan. The reason for the disparity, she said, is a lack of legal offers and a fragmented market. The Commission intends to change that by simplifying copyright clearance and cross-border licensing by the end of 2010, according to Kroes.

The plan comes a week after the Canadian government announced two-month public consulation prior to creating a digital strategy. Providing broadband access to more people is also something the Digital Agenda sets out to d. By 2013, the plan aims for all Europeans should have access to broadband and by 2020 at least 50 per cent of European households should subscribe to Internet access above 100 Mbps. However, the Agenda includes few details of how that will be achieved. Later this year, the Commission will present a common framework for how it expects the goal to be realized, including how to attract investment capital with backing from the European Investment Bank. Digital technologies have the potential to improve people's daily lives, but for that to happen people have to feel safe online, the Commission said. To ensure that, the Agenda includes plans for a better-coordinated European response to cyber attacks, identity theft and spam, and reinforced rules on personal data protection, which will be proposed later this year.

The agenda also calls for an increased use of standards and interoperability in government procurement of IT, including proposing legal measures to reform the rules on the implementation of standards. The Commission also plans to address situations in which standards do not help because significant market players do not support them. The plan to give standards a greater role is welcomed by the European chapter of the Free Software Foundation, but the organization said the Commission isn't doing nearly enough. The Digital Agenda itself avoids any reference to open standards, according to the Free Software Foundation Europe. Instead, the Commission points to the European Interoperability Framework, which is being systematically hollowed out, it said. The Commission also urges EU Member States to double annual public spending on R&D to €11 billion (US$14 billion) by 2020, backed by European programs. "[It is] a good announcement, but the devil is in the details and we will have to see how it is concretely implemented," said Fr谷d谷ric Donck, director of the European Bureau of the Internet Society (ISOC), who wants to give the Commission the benefit of the doubt, for the moment. 

The ISOC is encouraged by the Commission's recognition of the need to strengthen security and the level of trust users have for the Internet. It is a key issue for the Internet, and a big challenge, according to Donck. When addressing these issues, the Commission and member states should concentrate on enforcing laws that already exist and not create new ones that address criminal behavior only in cyberspace, according to the ISOC.


From http://www.itworldcanada.com/ 05/19/2010

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Brazil Celebrates Approval of Access to Information Law

The theme of this year's World Press Freedom Day, Freedom of Information, is especially relevant in Brazil because of the recent approval by the House of Representatives of the General Law of Access to Information. This Law, which regulates access to information within the public administration, represents a great step forward for Brazilian democracy. The Access to Information Law contributes to strengthen the country's commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, especially the provisions contained in Article 19. It now awaits consideration by the Senate and sanction by the President.


From http://portal.unesco.org/ 05/05/2010

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NORTH AMERICA: White House Unveils Push on Broadband Rules

The Obama administration on Wednesday handed Google and other web content providers a significant victory as it announced that cable and telecommunications companies would face tough new regulations on how they manage their high-speed internet networks. An official at the Federal Communications Commission, the US media regulator, said that chairman Julius Genachowski would on Thursday announce that the FCC will seek to regulate broadband service providers such as Comcast and AT&T under a more rigorous legal framework. The move would open the door for the FCC to implement so-called net neutrality regulations that would bar the companies from favouring some content and discriminating against other traffic over their networks. Google, Amazon and other content groups strongly support net neutrality rules.

The FCC decision comes in the wake of an appeals court ruling last month that, in effect, stripped it of its authority to regulate broadband companies. With the announcement, the FCC begins a process to assume greater powers by classifying broadband providers as a "Title II" or "telecommunications service". It can do this by a vote of the five-member commission. An FCC official said that the commission would also set "meaningful boundaries to guard against regulatory overreach". The FCC is expected to emphasise that while it will seek new net neutrality regulations, it is not expected to enforce rules on rates, unbundling and other regulations it could have under Title II. But telecommunications and cable groups affected by the ruling are not expected to see any silver lining in the FCC's allegedly "light touch" approach.

"You can call it an ice cream sundae, it is still Title II," said one industry insider in Washington. Representatives of the cable and telecommunications industries declined to comment. Markham Erickson, executive director of the Open Internet Coalition, a group that represents Google and others, said that the move ensured "consumer choice and innovation on the broadband internet will receive the protections this essential communications infrastructure for the 21st century requires".


From http://www.ft.com/ 05/06/2010

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CHINA: Resume Personal Website Domain Name Registrations

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has issued to domain name registrars a circular which asks further work to be done to verify the registration information of websites in the coming weeks. MIIT issued a circular and initiated a government-led crackdown on pornographic content in December 2009 when it asked domain name service providers to verify domain name applicant's personal information, keep a copy of their valid personal ID certificates, and conduct inspections on the main content, contact details and Internet access information of websites using the .CN and .COM designations within China. MIIT stated in the new circular, which is intended for local communications management bureau, China Internet Network Information Center, the Internet Society of China and the three major telecom operators in China, that both companies and individuals can apply for domain names, but the person in charge of a website needs to submit a color headshot photo for verification purposes.

The circular states that domain name service providers shall review the application materials within 20 working days and issue the registration serial number and access unit to those qualified persons. Meanwhile, they shall make sure that the information of the principal of the website not be disclosed and the application materials be kept confidential. MIIT required Internet access service providers to set up an on-site verification division by the end of February 2010 and verify the registration information before the end of March for the basic telecom service providers to check in April. MIIT said the authenticity of all registration information will be validated by the end of September 2010. On December 11, CNNIC enacted a rule which asked for the registration of .CN domain names by individuals to be suspended. Chinese media reports that CNNIC is now drafting regulations to allow individuals to register a .CN domain name. A representative from CNNIC said that the purpose for making the regulation is to retain users and websites while still following the letter of the law.


From http://www.chinatechnews.com/ 02/24/2010

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Real Name Phone Registration Plan Gains Traction

The Chinese government is working on a new regulation that would require all mobile phone users to subscribe with their real names, as part of an ongoing effort to fight against cellphone fraud. But telecom operators and industry experts said the proposed regulation would require billions of yuan in investment to renovate phone carrier's existing systems, plus it may also raise public concerns over the security of their private information. Li Yizhong, minister of Industry and Information Technology, said at a conference last week that the government is working on the real name cellphone registration, which is designed to protect China's 700 million cellphone users. According to IT industry news website ChinaTechNews.com, Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department said that at the end of April 2009, the province had cracked 468 phone-based fraud cases, eliminated 46 fraud-engaged gangs, caught 323 suspects and took possession of stolen money totaling 2.45 million yuan. The public security department has suggested that due to public security risks sparked by illegal activities via SMS or text messaging, the related government departments should launch a real name mobile phone SIM card system, a ChinaTechNews.com report said. This would tie purchases of all SIM cards and phones to the identities of the people who purchase those cards and phones, the report said. Efforts for the real name registration have been discussed for years in China, as many cellphone users have complained of bothersome spam messages.

Industrial regulators said it is extremely difficult to track the source of spam-message senders because telecom carriers do not require all users to provide their real identities. Although Li did not disclose a timetable for the new regulation, earlier reports have said it could begin at the end of 2010. One local newspaper in Liaoning province also reported on Thursday that the regulation would first be introduced in the Southeast China province. According to government figures, China had 747 million cellphone users at the end of 2009. It is estimated that over half did not register using their real names. Although the government proposal has been circulating in the media for over two years, major telecom operators remain in the dark about the nuts and bolts of the registration plan. "If the government is planning on implementing the requirement we will have no choice but to follow it. But we have yet to hear any details about it," said a spokesman for China Unicom that requested anonymity. He said even if launched, plan execution would be "extremely difficult". Xiang Ligang, a professor at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, agreed saying real name registration will provide a much needed boost for China's telecom industry in the long term as it paves the way for new wireless business models such as a mobile payment system, which requires the secure management of data. But for Xiang nothing will happen overnight. "In the short term, it is a huge project and I don't think it could be rolled out anytime soon," he said.

Xiang estimated that the registration plan, if rolled out, will force cellphone carriers to upgrade their existing systems and overhaul their current sales and distribution channels, which could cost as much as 5 billion yuan ($732 million). Telecom operators' text messaging revenues will also be cut up to 10 percent on lost subscribers after the rollout of the plan takes place, he added. "Real name registration will inevitably increase costs for cellphone operators and their sales partners, which is one of the biggest obstacles for the new regulation," said Zhang Bing, an analyst from CITIC Securities. He said the regulation might also raise concerns from users over privacy protection. Mobile phone real-name systems have been implemented in several countries including Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Japan and Singapore. In China, major telecom carriers have also required a portion of users - mostly high-end cellphone users - to subscribe using their real names.


From China Daily 03/05/2010

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Hong Kong Government Increases IT Budget for New Projects

According to Jeremy Richard Godfrey, chief information officer for Hong Kong government, Hong Kong plans to increase its information technology budget for 2010, aiming to develop five major innovative technology projects. Godfrey told local media the government will launch a special measure to allocate HKD63 million to the education department for the promotion of a one-year Internet education activity. The fund for this activity nearly takes the entire increased budget. He emphasized that once the HKD63 million budget is approved, it will directly affect the total budget of the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer and the total annual budget will reach HKD580 million. Godfrey also pointed out that the budget for Hong Kong's IT projects such as building of a administrative computer system has been increased from HKD12.42 million in 2009 to HKD14.46 million, including HKD7.15 million for some small projects. Starting from November 2010, the Hong Kong government will include five major innovative technology projects in its budget and these projects will cost up to USD923 million. In addition, budget for these projects will be the highest in the next few years, added Godfrey. The five new projects are: re-building of a public information system for Hong Kong police; enhancing the construction of technology infrastructure for Hong Kong's police teams; enhancing the construction of information system infrastructure for Hong Kong's Inland Revenue Department; realizing a comprehensive financial aid system for students; and providing a traffic management system.


From http://www.chinatechnews.com/ 03/15/2010

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China Mulls Real Name Registration for Online Shops

Supporters outnumbered opponents Sunday in an online poll on introducing a real-name system to online retail registration after China's commerce authority issued a draft to solicit public opinion. The State Administration for Industry and Commerce released a draft regulation on its website Friday, saying personal information of people applying to start an online store, including their real names and address, would be required when registering with the e-commerce agents. It also said eligible retailers would be approved by the e-trading agents, and the move would regulate trading behavior and protect consumers' rights and interest. As of Sunday, a total of 3,727 netizens, or 48.9 percent, were in favor of the regulation in an online survey launched by China's leading web portal, Sina.com., while 43.8 percent of the total 7,608 respondents were opposed. The poll signalled the real-name system would be officially introduced, which would raise the registration threshold, said an unnamed representative of Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba.com. Corp. "It is a good news for consumers as it will help prevent Internet trading fraud and encourage online retailers to improve their services," said Chen Jiao, a 27-year-old regular online buyer.

But opponents expressed concern that the measure could increase retailers' costs. "It may incur license fees after registering with real names, which would strain many small e-retailers' finances and curb their development given the backdrop that most of the e-store owners operate on thin profit margins," said Tan Yan, who has run a clothing store in Asia's biggest e-commerce website Taobao.com for three years. The draft did not mention whether e-store applicants would have to apply for licenses. At present, online retailers are not required to provide their real personal information when registering e-shops. Data from China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) showed the number of the country's online shoppers jumped 38.9 percent year on year to 87.88 million as of last June. The volume of online shopping in the first half of this year reached 119.5 billion yuan (17.5 billion U.S dollars).


From English.news.cn 04/04/2010

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Gov't Issues New Rules on Internet Map Publishing

An updated standard for Internet map servers will be implemented next month to avoid State secrets being disclosed and uncertified maps published online, authorities have said. The new standard issued by the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping, one year after the first standard was launched, requires all Internet map servers to keep servers storing map data inside the country and provide public Internet protocol addresses. Under the latest standard, qualified online map servers must have no record of information leakage in any form in the past three years. The new regulation includes all maps downloaded or copied from the Internet onto cell phones and handheld computers. By the end of December, the authorities will also crack down on unregistered or illegal Internet map servers and release the blacklist to the public. Song Chaozhi, deputy director of the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping, said in a conference on Internet map services in Beijing on May 14 that there are two main problems existing in the field: One is publishing maps with wrong locations or information, and the other is leaking sensitive information involving State secrets on maps. All these will harm consumers' rights or even endanger national security, he said. Cases of illegal mapping are not rare in the country. The national surveying and mapping bureau reportedly punished three Germans who collected geographic information in Yichang, Hubei province and later mapped these in computers. Similarly, the Longyan bureau of land and resources in Fujian province reportedly meted out administrative punishment to a Japanese who measured 195 locations inside Longyan and located 80 of them on his map.

In April 2010, the Shenzhen land planning and supervision team detected a website named Moon-bbs.com, where confidential geographic information including military airports and locations of nuclear test explosions were published. The website was reportedly linked to the server of a foreign map website, where users can scan high-definition satellite pictures worldwide free of charge and mark the location or relevant information of a military site on it. Satellite pictures cannot be called electronic maps because no coordinates are marked, but in this case, when users marked coordinates of military sites, it can reveal state secrets, experts said. In another website called Godeyes, a well-known portal based on Google Earth with 440,000 registered users, people can pilot virtual planes from Nanning, capital of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, to Beijing. China has about 42,000 Internet map websites and as the number grows, more cases of information leakage reportedly occur. Anyone who violates the State Secrets Law or reveals State secrets can be jailed up to seven years, or up to 10 years, if the crime involves military secrets. Many analysts said the new regulation will impact Internet map servers significantly. Edward Yu, president of Analysys International, said the issue will involve balance or competition between the government and Internet map servers. Workers from online search engine Google and communications giant Nokia said they have not heard of the regulation and have no comments on its impact. "If it's about natural fields rather than cities, satellite mapping information can be sensitive and State secrets such as military bases may be exposed," said Chu Xiaowen, assistant professor of the department of computer science in Baptist University in Hong Kong. "That's quite normal for any country. No one would agree to put its own map information in other countries," said Li Zhilin, professor of the department of land surveying and geo-informatics at Polytechnic University of Hong Kong.


From China Daily 05/12/2010

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China to Quicken Pace of Telecommunications Development

China will endeavor to quicken the pace of development of its information and communications sector, China's Minister for Industry and Information Technology Li Yizhong said Monday. Li made the remarks at an event celebrating the 145th anniversary of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) held at the Shanghai World Expo park. The ITU Monday presented the World Telecommunication and Information Society Award to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak; Wang Jianzhou, Chairman and CEO of China Mobile; and Robert Kahn, President and CEO of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives. The laureates were recognized for their contribution to the ongoing digital revolution and their dedication to promoting information and communication technologies as a means to a better life for humanity, the ITU said in a statement on its website. A total of 189 countries and 57 international organizations are presenting their best at the six-month Shanghai World Expo under the theme of "Better City, Better Life."


From Xinhua News Agency 05/18/2010

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Gov't Pushes IPOs for Major State-run News Portals

The Chinese government is pushing for the restructuring of major state-run news portals - including cctv.com and xinhuanet.com - to allow them to "establish a modern enterprise system," launch initial public offerings (IPO) and abandon the "iron rice bowl" concept. Ten major news portals are involved in a pilot restructuring project: the websites of state broadcasters China Central Television, Xinhua News Agency, People's Daily, Beijing's qianlong.com, Tianjin's enorth.com.cn, Shandong's dzwww.com, Shanghai's eastday.com and Zhejiang's zjol.com.cn among others. The websites are currently affiliated to news organizations run by central and local governments. According to a symposium on the restructuring work Monday in Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan Province, the restructuring plans for people.com.cn and xinhuanet.com have been approved. The pilot project, initiated last October, covers shareholding reform, establishment of a modern enterprise system and IPOs to "strengthen the competitiveness" of the news portals. According to the symposium, the website operators have actively engaged in the development of search engines, cell phone news services, cell phone TV services, Internet TV, e-commerce, online cartoon games and other new media areas, which have strengthened their capacities. The operating incomes of people.com.cn and xinhuanet.com have witnessed "big growth," the symposium said. Domestic commercial news portals like sina.com.cn and sohu.com are listed overseas. The step is part of Chinese government's efforts to reform China's cultural industry in a bid to promote Chinese media and cultural enterprises' global influence and boost the nation's soft power.


From Xinhua News Agency 05/18/2010

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SOUTH KOREA: Set Policy Priorities for Information Society

Korea on Wednesday set 10 policy priorities to pursue under its drive to transform the country into a true information society with better cyber security and little gap between people in access to information, according to Yonhap News. Other policy goals, announced by the prime minister's office, include advancing the country's electronic government (e-government) system, promoting new information-technology technologies and strengthening international cooperation in the IT field. Also included was Korea's trademark "green growth" policy of seeking economic development in an environmentally friendly way. "South Korea should make an aggressive investment in new areas of the IT industry such as green digitalization while reinforcing the nation's ability to lead technological development in the fields of IT industry and building information-communications infrastructure," Chung told a meeting of related government officials, according to his office.


From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 03/10/2010

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Mobile Internet on Smartphones Challenging Real-name ID Law

South Korea's recent decision to exempt Youtube, the world's most-visited video portal, from the country's controversial real-name verification law has resparked a debate about the relevance of current Web regulation amid an increasingly mobile Internet environment, industry sources here said Friday. The country's regulator said earlier this week that YouTube - run by U.S. search engine giant Google - which recently became available to local customers via many smartphones with a built-in YouTube application, is not compelled to abide by the domestic Internet law. The law, devised partly to stem defamation on the Web, requires users to input their full name and ID number before posting a comment or a video. "It is difficult to apply the local law to restrict the U.S. YouTube site," Cho Hae-geun, an official from the Korea Communication Commission (KCC) said by phone. The decision, which overturns the regulator's ruling a year ago, is touching off a debate about the effectiveness of Internet regulations that have changed little over recent years, while the Web market and the industry are changing rapidly with the emergence of new Web devices such as smartphones, a mobile handset with computer-like functions.

"IT companies have long been concerned about the real-name requirement for Web portals," said Kim Joong-tae, a consultant to IT companies and head of Seoul-based IT House, a private group collecting data and analysis on the local IT industry. "It makes it practically impossible for Korean companies to make services that attract users around the world." A year ago, when most Web access was performed by desktop or laptop-like computing devices, the KCC, a government agency that regulates the country's telecommunications and Internet market, ordered that YouTube Korea identify its users who upload videos or post comments. Google at the time dodged the restriction by simply stripping the South Korea-based accounts of video uploading rights. At the time, those moves by the South Korean regulator and the U.S. search engine giant had little impact on Korean users, as they, including the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, freely posted videos by opening accounts set outside the country. But a growing number of South Korean citizens, unlike a year ago, are accessing the Web via smartphones, exposing loopholes in the country's unchanged regulations on the Web, experts said. Motoroi from Motorola, a Google's Android-based smartphone, for example, was launched in February with a disabled YouTube uploading function. Apple's iPhone, on the other hand, was made available to local customers without restrictions on posting videos on YouTube. Industry watchers said the resulted contradiction points to a larger problem where the current regulations on the Internet could be a roadblock in the country's efforts to foster the information technology industry. "Requiring real-name verification on the Web means local IT companies should make Web services only for the Koreans," said the IT consultant Kim. "Chinese, Americans, people from all over the world are joining global service like Twitter.

But making a global service like Twitter or Facebook is virtually impossible if we require users to verify their real-name," he said. Others, while acknowledging that the regulation may be effective in curbing cyber-bullies and attacks made anonymously, echoed such views that those Web regulation is doing a disservice to the country's IT industry. "Stemming irresponsible voices may be well-intentioned, but the isolation of the local Internet environment is discouraging the industry," said another industry insider who declined to be named. Many fledgling IT companies here also had to spend money to set up real-name verification processes, an investment that could be allocated to better places, the source added.


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

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Seoul Rethinks Mobile Regulations

The growing popularity of Apple's iPhone and Google's Android phone in Korea are pushing Seoul to ease regulations on smartphone services, industry watchers said yesterday. Consumers are stepping up calls on regulators to give them more freedom to use games, videos and other services on the internet-capable devices. A confrontation between Google and Korean regulators has fueled those calls. The Game Rating Board yesterday threatened to block access to Google's mobile application store, Android Market, unless it has its games reviewed and rated by the regulator. Under Korean law, all games distributed in Korea should gain prior approval from the Games Rating Board. However, critics say it is nearly impossible to screen all of the games sold online, and say that regulators should revise regulations to respond to the changing market environment. The government also submitted a revision of a game law to allow games sold on online marketplaces exemptions from the government approval process, but it is uncertain whether and when the controversial revision can gain parliamentary nod. Apple, facing calls from Seoul to have its games approved by the Games Rating Board, has shut down the games category on the Korean version of its AppStore.

Microsoft also suspended Korean service of its application storefront, Windows Marketplace, because of the regulations. A spokesperson of Microsoft Korea said the company plans to reopen a Korean version of Windows Marketplace in May, but a games category will not be included until the second half. However, unlike Apple and Google, Microsoft said its Korean Windows Marketplace will only offer games that have received approval from the Korean regulator. "We will abide by Korean law," the spokesperson said. A Google spokesperson could not reached for comment by phone yesterday. The Games Rating Board has raised concerns about the possible distribution of harmful game content is application stores, citing loose screening process by Apple and Google. A spokesperson noted that Apple had approved the game Baby Shaker, which involved shaking a baby to death, before pulling it amid parental backlash. He also said gostop and poker games, which are rated 18 and older, are offered to those older than age 12 in the entertainment category of AppStore. Motorola's Android phone, Motoroi, has banned video uploads onto YouTube because of Seoul's regulations, causing an uproar among consumers. In contrast, Apple's iPhone permits YouTube video uploads. Google has blocked Korean users from uploading videos or posting comments on the Korean version of its YouTube because of the government's "real-name verification" system. However, the Korea Communications Commission recently said it has tentatively concluded that the real-name verification system not apply to YouTube service, which is based on servers in the United States.


From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 03/12/2010

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S. Korea to Reinforce Telecom Collaboration with Japan

South Korea and Japan agreed Monday to step up their collaboration in telecommunications and to push for a minister-level summit that includes China, Seoul officials said. The two countries also agreed to start a regular conversation about policies on cloud computing, a technology that lets users save files on mother servers, which can be browsed and edited from any platform with access to the Web. Choi See-jung, chief of the Korea Communications Commission (KCC), the country's regulator in media and telecommunications, agreed in a meeting with his Japanese counterpart, Kazuhiro Haraguchi, to resume the telecom minister summit among the three East Asian countries in the near future, the KCC said in a release. During the Choi-Haraguchi talks, the Japanese minister of internal affairs and communications expressed his support for South Korea's bid to host the annual meeting of the International Telecommunications Union in 2014. On Sunday, Haraguchi toured a village in Yangpyeong, a rural town outside the Seoul metropolitan area, to see the state of information and technology infrastructure in rural communities, Seoul officials said.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 03/22/2010

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S. Korea to Set up New IT Industry Growth Blueprint This Year

South Korea will strive to create a new information technology (IT) growth blueprint within the year to maintain its global edge in the highly competitive industry, the government said Tuesday. The Ministry of Knowledge and Economy said in a meeting of a newly convened policy advisory group made up of former government policymakers and senior researchers that there is a need to recapture the initiative in the global IT sector. The move comes as the government and local companies have come under criticism in recent months for failing to respond quickly to the emergence of Apple's iPhone and other market-creating products. There has also been criticism directed toward the administrative reform program implemented by the incumbent Lee Myung-bak administration that has resulted in the break-up of the Ministry of Information and Communication. The ministry had been tasked with controlling the country's IT strategies. "The goal is to implement policies that react swiftly to changes in demand, strive to create IT convergence that can create brand new markets, build up growth potential and the promote exchange of new ideas," said Cho Seok, head of the ministry's growth industry office. The deputy minister said such efforts can help establish an "IT trend outlook" that can help both the private sector and policymakers in the future. He said that starting next month the government will unveil three-dimensional industrial development strategies that cover the merging of pharmaceuticals with IT. This will be followed by a masterplan for semiconductors in May, and policies outlining IT convergence and rechargeable batteries in June. Before the first half, Seoul will take steps to improve IT and software-related administrative rules that have been cited for hindering changes, followed by an announcement around September for an "IT industry vision 2020∪ blueprint. Meanwhile, Cho said that the advisory group made up of 20 experts, including former information and communication Minister Rho Jun-hyong and Yim Chu-hwan, retired head of the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), will meet at least every quarter to give input to government policies.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 03/30/2010

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Support for Software Program Aims to Foster Korea's Own 'Bill Gates'

The government announced Tuesday it will spend 31 billion won (US$27.4 million) this year on support for a software training program that aims to churn out South Korea's own "Bill Gates." The money will go to a "maestro" program focusing on individuals with working experience, rather than to universities, with the hope of training up star software developers and engineers, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said. "The goal is to help talented South Koreans become the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates in the software industry," the ministry said in a press release. Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, is credited with triggering the recent popularity of smartphones with the launch of the company's iconic iPhone. Bill Gates co-founded Microsoft, a company that has contributed massively to the explosive growth of the software industry over the past decades. A mentoring body of experts will review talented software engineers and students, and 100 will be selected for the training program in July. The candidates will be then be screened and tested for 15 months, with a final 10 to be named "software maestros" in September 2011. The 10 maestros will be offered special support if they try to set up companies. They may also receive other types of preferential treatment, including deferment from mandatory military service for men. The program is expected to be carried on in the future to churn out more qualified experts, the ministry said. It added that the switch to direct support for talent individuals, and away from institutions, comes amid a global paradigm shift from "hardware" to "software," emphasizing the influence of key people in creating globally dominant companies and trends. In addition, Seoul plans to launch a broader training program with Korea IT Industry Promotion Agency, which offers 2,000 people a chance to receive basic and on-the-job training at software companies.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 03/30/2010

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S. Korea Introduces New IT Policy Drive

The government has introduced a new growth blueprint for the nation's information technology industry, which faces increasing competition in the global market. "The government will openly embrace changes, create a new market through IT convergence, secure growth potential and facilitate free communication among stakeholders," officials from the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said during the first meeting of advisors for Korea's IT policies. The ministry in charge of the country's key industries plans to introduce a series of detailed measures in the first half of the year, starting with Korea's strategy on the 3-D industry and convergence between pharmaceutical and IT sectors next month. In May and June the government will also develop blueprints for the next phase of growth in the semiconductor industry, comprehensive measures for the development of the storage battery industry and promoting IT convergence. Plans to tighten regulations and crack down on illegal practices involving IT software sector will also be introduced. The plans come as Korea, one of the world's IT powerhouses, is feeling pressured by the changing global IT market environment. The growing popularity of smartphones and 3-D movies around the world shows that the market has started to attract customers using software rather than advanced hardware. "The IT industry has played a major role for the nation's economic development and we also have to support the IT sector so that we can retain the industry as a growth engine for the future," Knowledge Economy Minister Choi Kyung-hwan said. The government will list prospects for IT trends to help both the private and public sectors to deal with rapidly evolving technologies.

It also plans to launch a forum to discuss ways of applying information technologies to the nation's 10 major industries, which include automotives, robotics, machinery, the military and shipbuilding. The government will promote a nationwide campaign to reduce the use of paper by encouraging the use of IT products. Support for graduate schools will be strengthened to nurture highly skilled IT manpower. To take an advantageous position in the 3-D market in the future, the ministry will announce a comprehensive plan to develop technology and contents and create new demand at the same time. The plan also includes support for LED lighting production by offering benefits to small- and medium-sized enterprises and nurturing skilled engineers simultaneously. Support for development of broadcasting equipment, secondary cells for electric cars and U-healthcare products will be unveiled soon. U-healthcare is a new business term that adds information technology to medical machinery, allowing patients to check their condition in real time. For the nation's mobile industry, which has lost some of its market portion to foreign smartphones this year, the government will push ahead with commercializing next-generation wireless networks, developing the core parts of mobile handsets with homegrown technology and creating new mobile applications. The debut of the iPhone in Korea has prompted a sense of emergency among Korea's IT companies, which have held significant shares in both the domestic and global market based on their manufacturing edge. The success of Apple's iPhone is largely attributed to the App Store, where users can access thousands of mobile applications.


From http://business.asiaone.com/ 03/31/2010

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S. Korea to Establish e-Book Development Roadmap

South Korea plans to establish a national roadmap to develop the e-book industry within the year aimed at creating new markets and fueling economic growth, the government said Thursday. The Ministry of Knowledge Economy said it will team up with the education and cultural ministries to create necessary technologies and industrial standards to transform the country into a trend-setter in the rapidly growing business. "The surge in use of smartphones, tablet personnel computers and various other mobile communications equipment is expected to trigger a surge in demand for electronic books, newspapers, magazines in the future," a press release said. It estimated that with the rapid spread of smartphones and other hand-sized mobile terminals around the world, the related digital contents market will grow to US$8.9 billion in 2013 from just $1.9 billion. The number of mobile terminals that stood at 1 million units as of 2008 could grow to 77 million in 2018. "We will seek feedback from local book publishers, libraries, newspapers and electronics companies such as Samsung and LG to create a viable e-book standard for wide use," the ministry said. In addition to securing local consensus, South Korea will strive to make proposals to the Geneva-based International Organization for Standardization and the International Digital Publishing Forum so it can play a role in the creation of a universal rule on e-books and digital publications.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 04/08/2010

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Gov't Adopts Measures to Combat Internet Addiction

The government has implemented new measures to combat the growing problem of Internet addiction. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced that it will provide free anti-addiction software which limits Internet access after midnight and a fatigue system which makes online games more difficult the longer they are played. The ministry added that it will toughen the online identification process for gaming sites to block teenagers from joining. The move comes as a growing number of children are addicted to the Internet each year.


From http://english.chosun.com/ 04/13/2010

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Gov't to Establish IT, Software Deregulation Strategy by June

The government said Tuesday that it will establish an action plan to deregulate the information technology (IT) and software industries by June to help South Korean companies cope with the latest global trends. The plan calls for the joint IT-software deregulation committee composed of government and private sector experts to scrap outdated rules and administrative red tape and to analyze latest developments in the fast changing IT industry. "Under the plan the committee will go through regulations in the IT industry, including software, the Internet, information security and electronic transactions, by the end of April," a press release said. It said based on the committee's findings, talks will be held with businesses and government agencies to develop a workable strategy ready for nationwide implementation by June. South Korea has one of the most extensive Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructures in the world but has been cited for its "unfavorable" environment that is not conducive to adapting to change. The country's ICT development index, compiled by the International Telecommunication Union, stood at third place worldwide, but its ranking in the ICT access index used to gauge the overall industrial environment came in at 14th. Such conditions have been cited for the country's inability to better compete in the smartphone market, as well as effectively deal with convergence or develop three-dimensional technologies.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 04/14/2010

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S. Korean Research Projects to Set Standardization of Mobile IPTV

Two Korean research projects for mobile Internet protocol television have recently been selected for global standard development, the Korea Communications Commission said yesterday. The state-run Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute has proposed plans to study the scenario of mobile IPTV service and its required functions at the Standardization Telecommunication Sector's conference held in Geneva, Switzerland, from April 19-30. They were selected for standardization efforts to be launched by the international group, also called ITU-T, under the International Telecommunication Union, the global telecom regulatory organization. An ETRI official was also picked by the international organization to lead the projects. The projects will define the term "mobile IPTV service" and find out the requirements - such as network, security and service quality - and standardization factors necessary to develop the related specific technologies. "Since the level of interest on mobile IPTV service and its global standardization process are gaining weight in many countries, we believe Korea will take a leading role in realizing the goal through this opportunity," an official at the Korea ITU research committee said.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 05/04/2010

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S. Korea Names 10 ICT Focus Areas

The state telecom regulator yesterday unveiled a blueprint for the development of future information and communication technologies, targeting improvements in 10 different service areas. The Korea Communications Commission said the 10 service fields of concentration are: mobile convergence service, advanced T-DMB, or digital multimedia broadcasting for terrestrial, 4G broadcasting, machine-to-machine communication, future-oriented Internet services and the Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research. "SMART" screens and Next-Wave services and comprehensive protection and green ICT services are also among them. The government projects the nurturing of such services to form a market worth 9 trillion won ($7.78 billion) by 2014, which is expected to create 38,000 new jobs. To realize the goal, the commission plans to invest 360 billion won per year and establish an open research center which will be jointly run by businesses, universities and research facilities. The mobile convergence service will enable users to have access to speedy Internet through the building of a mobile convergence network - combining WiFi, wireless personal area networks and mobile networks - by 2012.

The T-DMB will fuse the functions of DMB and wireless broadband and the 4G broadcast will provide ultra high definition and enhanced sound for 3-D televisions. M2M technology, which permits both wireless and wired systems to communicate with other devices of the same ability, will be put in place nationwide by 2015. The new Giga Internet, offering high speed and reliable connectivity, will also be provided beginning in 2013. A magnetic fusion device called K-Star will feature UHDTV satellite broadcast service in 2018. A converged media service, such as "SMART" screen, will be available in 2014 using cloud computing and open media market, and a comprehensive security service will be prepared beginning in 2012 for information protection. "SMART" screen stands for semantic, mobile, awareness, reactive and trinity screen. The government also looks to draft ways to curb energy use by implementing green ICT and utilizing radio waves for illness treatment as part of its Next-Wave service.

The state regulator will also introduce a mid- and long-term evaluation system, which publicizes the results, to construct a stable research environment and actively promote innovative thinking in research. Joint international studies will be conducted to strengthen the ties with other nations and increased support will be provided for small and medium-sized firms in the area of media and telecommunications. The KCC's plans were devised in recognition of the need to give increased state support for the advancement of software over hardware. The country has been ahead of the game in the hardware industry, ranking first in market share involving displays and second both in semiconductor and mobile phones, according to recent data provided by the KCC. However, it fell far short in making investments in the software industry, merely taking a 1.8 percent of share in the global market, it said. The KCC added that Indonesia and the U.S. scored 4.3 and 3.06, respectively, in software development capacity index, while China was a bit behind with 2.97 and Korea with 2.94.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 05/09/2010

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Gov't to Nurture Broadcasting, Telecom Services

The government plans to inject about W360 billion a year into research and development of 10 services in broadcasting and telecommunications (US$1=W1,132). According to the Korea Communications Commission on Sunday, the 10 future services are aimed at enhancing both wire and wireless network infrastructures and the convergence of broadcasting and telecommunications. The money will be spent in R&D of mobile convergence, future Internet, fourth-generation wireless communication standards, digital multimedia broadcasting, and touch screens, among others. The latest plan is the first comprehensive R&D blueprint for the information and communications industry to be put forth by the commission since its establishment.


From http://english.chosun.com/ 05/11/2010

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MALAYSIA: The Malaysian Digital Association Is Born

The Malaysian Digital Association (MDA) has been formed to consolidate and raise the profile of the digital advertising and marketing industry. The MDA comprises online publishers, digital service providers, media owners, publishers, media agencies, creative agencies and others. The media giants in MDA are Star Publications (M) Bhd, which publishes The Star newspaper, The Star Online news portal, and various other portals; satellite TV broadcaster Astro All Asia Networks plc, and integrated media investment group Media Prima Bhd. Also there are major advertising companies Ogilvy One Worldwide and Leo Burnett & Arc Worldwide. One of MDA's main goals is to standardise and audit pageviews, unique visitors and the time Internet users spend surfing various websites. This will enable advertisers to better, more accurately gauge a site's popularity when making advertising expenditure decisions. Serm Teck Choon, an MDA council member and a representative for Star Publications, said the association wants to create one common standard of such viewing statistics, and hopes to achieve this within a year.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 04/30/2010

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THAILAND: Develop as a Digital Content Industrial Center in Line with the Creative Economy Policy

The Government is striving to develop Thailand as a digital content industrial center, as part of its policy to enhance the potential of the country for the "creative economy." The Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Second Lieutenant Ranongruk Suwanchwee, said that the project is being carried out by the Software Industry Promotion Agency (SIPA) and the Federation of the National Film Association of Thailand. SIPA is a public organization supervised by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology. Second Lieutenant Ranongruk said that the project, which is under the "Thailand: Investing from Strength to Strength 2012 Operation Plan," would provide a new source of income for Thailand. The Government has set a target to increase the share of the creative economy value from 12 percent to 20 percent of the country's gross domestic product by the end of 2012.

She explained that the development of the digital content industry would begin with making the film industry a sector of the digital content industry and an upstream industry for such digital businesses as animation games, computer graphics, advertisements, software, websites, and social networks. All these industries involve creating contents from images and sound, like film production. She said that the Thai film industry is attractive to several Hollywood filmmakers, who have selected Thailand as their shooting location. Many companies in Thailand have provided international filmmakers with various services, especially in terms of equipment and personnel. According to the creative economy concept, movie production is one of Thailand's dream industries, as it employs cultural, social, technological, scientific, and financial capital, thus stimulating the potential for massive employment from various fields. Moreover, employment generation can be expanded internationally, making this industry a global, multinational business.

SIPA and the Federation of the National Film Association of Thailand are launching the project "Film Expo Asia 2010," a competition for short films. The first of its kind in Asia, the event aims to promote Thailand as the land of rich culture and heritage and to inspire people to make the country the best destination for filmmaking and traveling. Registration for entry began on 20 January and will end on 30 April 2010. The project is an effort to propel Thailand to the forefront of the Asian film industry and to capture a larger market share of the world's digital content industry, now valued at more than 10 trillion baht. As for the Asian market, the digital content value currently stands at four trillion baht, accounting for almost 30 percent of the global digital content industry.


From http://thailand.prd.go.th/ 03/25/2010

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VIET NAM: IT Connectivity Increased

VietNamNet Bridge - Vietnam's connectivity scorecard increased four notches compared to last year, jumping from the 19th position to the 15th among developing countries, according to the Connective Scorecard 2010 report. Connectivity Scorecard is a global ICT index - the first of its kind to rank 50 countries on ICT infrastructure and 'useful connectivity' - the extent to which governments, businesses and consumers use connectivity technologies to enhance social and economic prosperity. Connectivity Scorecard 2010 highlighted the continued need for investment in information and communications technology (ICT) to stimulate economic growth. Leonard Waverman, dean of Haskayne School of Business, carried out the report along with colleagues from the London Business School. LECG, a global expert services and consulting firm, and Nokia Siemens Networks also supported the report.

Malaysia ranked first in the connectivity scorecard while Vietnam ranked 15th among developing countries. Vietnam is behind Thailand and Malaysia but beat China, India and the Philippines. The higher score indicates that Vietnamese customers are more skilled in IT and use the Internet regularly. Consumer infrastructure and broadband penetration was very low though. Vietnam's E-Government score is enhancing in line with countries that have similar economic development. However, enterprises' connectivity scorecard was very low, affecting Vietnam's entire score. Enterprises' connectivity index plays a crucial role in assessment. Nokia Siemens Networks concluded that Vietnam had scored highly as it had invested more in IT infrastructure. The company hoped that Vietnam's connectivity score would continue to improve. To achieve this, Vietnam should promote connectivity among enterprises, the company suggested. In related news, U.S. market researcher Nielsen also sees a bright future for internet users in Vietnam. In a recent report, Nielsen surveyed more than 27,000 consumers in 54 countries worldwide, including 6,604 in the Asia Pacific Region to determine attitudes concerning paid online content.

According to Nielsen, Vietnamese consumers are more willing than some of their Asian counterparts to pay for online content. When asked if internet content should remain free, less than half strongly agreed (42%), lower compared to the Asia Pacific regional average (44%). Darin Williams, Nielsen Vietnam's managing director, said in a statement that Vietnamese consumers have a much higher propensity, relative to the Asia Pacific average, to pay for content that they know has been professionally produced such as music, movies and games. He added that an overwhelming 81% majority said that paid-for content would have to be significantly better than what is currently available free online before they would consider paying for it. The survey also indicated that paid online newspapers could work better in Vietnam than in other Asian markets. A quarter of Vietnamese respondents said that they have paid for internet-only news in the past, and 27% have previously paid for online newspaper content. Asked whether they would consider paying for online newspapers or internet-only news sources in the future, more than half said they would not (35 and 29% respectively).


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 03/24/2010

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Vietnam Ready for 4G

VietNamNet Bridge - The Ministry of Information and Communications is collecting telecom firms' opinions to design a 4G (fourth generation) frequency band plan. Minister of Information and Communications Le Doan Hop assigned this task to the Department of Wireless Frequency and Telecommunications and asked them to finish in 2010. However, the ministry will only work out the 4G frequency band plan and let telecom firms choose between Wimax or LTE technologies themselves. According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the following generation of mobile technology, also called 4G, can provide connections at speeds of up to 100Mb/s, dozens of time faster than the current 3G network. Five companies in Vietnam have tested 4G Wimax, including Vietnam Data Communications Company (VDC), EVN Telecom, FPT Telecom, Viettel and VTC. VDC tested on 2.5GHz band in Hanoi, HCM City and Da Nang while EVN Telecom tried the technology on 2.3-2.4 GHz in Hanoi and Dong Nai. Viettel tested with 2.3-2.4 GHz in Hanoi and Thai Nguyen and FPT Telecom on 2.3-24. GHz in Hanoi and Hai Phong. None have asked requested MoIC's permission to implement 4G services yet.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 04/06/2010

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Vietnam to Tighten Control of Online Game

VietNamNet Bridge - The Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) is working on a draft decision on managing online games in Vietnam. According to the draft decision, the Government will assign provincial governments to set opening and closing times for Internet cafes. In locations with no regulations, Internet cafes will not be allowed to supply online game service after 10pm. For games that have interaction between gamers with servers, gamers are not permitted to play the same online game more than 3 hours per day. Those that have limited number of gamers and the interaction between them is simple and low-tension, such as chess, game providers are allowed to provide 24/7 service. Cultural and educational games are encouraged by permitting a gamer to play 4-5 hours/game/day.
 
To restrict small firms with weak capital and technology from distributing online games, which makes the online game market scattered, MoIC and the Finance Ministry will issue licensing regulations. The draft also encourages Vietnamese firms to develop online games and restrict foreign game imports. Accordingly, game providers have to register games one year before they import the games. Related to virtual assets in games, the draft said that virtual items are not assets and they can't be converted into money or assets in any form. An MoIT official remarked that objects in online games are not recognized as assets in the world and conflicts between gamers and game providers are not civil conflicts. Some experts suggested using the Vietnamese language in imported games and banning advertising online games in the media or on outdoor panels, similar to the ban on advertising cigarettes. The draft decision will be finalized and introduced on MoIT's website in the next several months for the public's comments.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 04/12/2010

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Mobile Phones May Be Imposed with Luxury Tax

VietNamNet Bridge - An official from the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIT) told VietNamNet that officials of the MoIT, Ministry of Industry and Trade and Ministry of Finance have discussed several times the proposal on imposing a luxury tax on mobile phones. These ministries have not reached an agreement, because some see cell phones as hi-tech products, while others think that they are luxuries. One official noted that 3G handsets should be considered as hi-tech products, while basic mobile phones should be seen as products serving life. With this reasoning, only expensive mobile phones should be listed as luxury goods. Cell phones like Nokia N8800, inlayed with several diamonds, are manufactured to advertise the Nokia brand and they are not imported into Vietnam in large numbers, so they should not be called luxury products. However, the Vertu series must be categorized as luxury items.
 
Government agencies can only impose luxury taxes on mobile phones once they define them as tools serving production or consumer goods, the official added. On April 6, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Thanh Bien said that it is unfeasible to ban people from using expensive handhelds like the iPhone 3G, but the Government needs to prevent the mass importation of this product to maintain balance of payments. Bien commented that the import tax on hand phones is zero, in accordance with commitments to the ASEAN Free Trade Area. This commitment can't change, so Vietnam may consider a luxury tax on expensive mobile phones priced from 3-5 million dong upwards.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 04/13/2010

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Hanoi to Control Internet Caf谷 Users

VietNamNet Bridge - If clients visit websites with bad content, both customers and Internet caf谷 owners will be served with warnings or be fined, stated Pham Quoc Ban, director of the Hanoi Department of Information and Communications to VNExpress.

The Hanoi People's Committee on April 26 issued a new decision to regulate Internet cafes. Could you tell us about the new features in this document?
Hanoi presently has around 4000 Internet agents. In the past, Hanoi and Ha Tay (which merged into Hanoi in 2008) had many instructions to manage Internet agents and now we have reorganized them into one decision. The first new point in this decision is that responsibility for controlling Internet shops is assigned to district governments. Accordingly, the Culture and Information Divisions of districts must regulate Internet agents. Previously, only the police had this duty. The second new point is that we will use technology to manage Internet shops. Specifically, competent agencies will install specialized software designed by National University. This software will oversee the activities of users and the owners of Internet shops to know whether or not they are obeying the law.
 
It is said that controlling the users at Internet shops will violate their right to privacy. How do you respond?
According to the new decision, Internet shops must have at least one employee with an A-grade IT certificate and they are allowed to open from 6am to 11pm. Internet shops must be at least 200m from the gates of schools (from kindergartens to high schools) and be equipped with anti-fire equipment, audio and lighting, etc. to protect the health of all users. At present, control of users at Internet shops is very poor. People of less than 18 years old can freely visit websites with bad content. If we continue the loose management of these shops, Vietnam will have corrupted youth infected with bad thoughts. Their personalities will be harmed because they easily see porn and violent materials. Security also worsens because some people become addicted to online games and, to have money for games, they become robbers. This is a pressing matter for society and citizens have asked the People's Council several times to crackdown on this situation. Therefore, controlling the behaviour of users at internet shops is a popular move. We also examined Internet regulations in many countries like Germany, France, Japan, China, etc. They have taken similar steps to control the behavior of users at Internet shops.
 
How will violators be punished?
Through our supervisory software, we can remind the shop owners to prevent their clients from visiting illegal websites. We can also collect evidence to fine violators under Decree 28. Fines for Internet agents may reach 70 million dong.
 
How will the Internet be controlled?
We will purchase servers and the necessary equipment to implement this policy throughout the entire city. We experimented with it in Hoan Kiem district already and the results have been very satisfactory. The experiment will finalize at the end of 2010. All Internet shops in Hanoi will have the software to control users by next year.
 
What do you think about the feasibility of this policy?
I strongly believe in its effectiveness.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 05/09/2010

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BANGLADESH: Help Build Digital Bangladesh

SAVAR: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has directed government officials to work for the betterment of the people, keeping themselves 'above' their varying beliefs and views, reports UNB. "Bangladesh is a democratic country. You may have different political beliefs, likes and dislikes. But as a government official, you have to work only for the welfare of the people," the Prime Minister said. Hasina was addressing the closing ceremony of the 45th Foundation Training Course of the Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre (BPTC) at its auditorium on Sunday morning. The Prime Minister told her audience that everyone in government services must keep in mind that their salaries, allowances and other facilities are being paid for by the people's taxes. "Never forget that you are the servants of the people. Wherever you do your jobs, you have to work with patriotism, honesty, sincerity and sacrificial mentality," Hasina said. The Prime Minister said that people of all walks of life including the government officers have to give their best to attain the development goals as soon as possible. "Because, even after 39 years of independence, we have not attained development at the expected level," the Prime Minister said. The Prime Minister observed that Bangladesh could not achieve development and prosperity at the expected level as democracy could not run uninterrupted here in the past. "For the most part, anti-democracy forces did not allow people to practice their own rights in their struggle to change their fate," she said. Hasina asked the young BCS officers to learn all facets of the history of Bangladesh, about the sacrifice and suffering that lay behind attaining Independence under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. "Learn how much hardship our people had to tolerate, how people had to sacrifice their lives to create an independent Bangladesh in 1971 Liberation War," she said. The Prime Minister also asked the young BCS officers to reach out to the masses and realize their problems and prospects from the heart.

"After this training course you will go back to your respective work field. I hope you will be very attentive to the people's problems and also in increasing the people's prospects and potential," she said. Terming herself as a mother and a guardian, the Prime Minister suggested the young government officers continue studying more and more in the days coming to enhance their professional skills, and thus work effectively for the people. She also sought their cooperation in turning Bangladesh into a 'digital' and 'modern' country by 2021. Hasina said the government is committed to establishing e-governance from the grassroots to the central level of government. "You the young officers can play the strongest role in reaching the services to the doorsteps of the people," she said. Regarding various problems faced by the BPATC, the Prime Minister asked the authorities concerned to submit project proposals on expanding and developing the existing female dormitory and day-care centre. She said the government will actively consider infrastructure development. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the function inaugurated the long-expected electronic library of the BPATC. She was eulogized by the speakers for recently donating, on behalf of her government, 100 laptops to BPATC. A total of 243 BCS officers from 21 different cadre services including 34 women took part at the training of the BPATC 45th foundation course. The Prime Minister distributed certificates and medals among participants who secured the first 30 positions by their outstanding performances. The Prime Minister was also honored with a crest. With BPATC Rector MD. Delwar Hossain in the chair, the function was, among others, addressed by BPATC's Board of Directors' chairman Finance Minister Abul Maal A. Muhith, Adviser to the Prime Minister HT Imam, and course adviser of the 45th foundation course Hussain Jamil.


From http://www.newstoday-bd.com/ 04/19/2010

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Wireless Revolution Across the Delta

Where not even 50% of the population have electricity, mobile networks have ushered in a new revolution by empowering millions in Bangladesh. With financial assistance from ADB, Grameenphone is changing the way women, farmers and small traders are conducting their business and sharing information. Bangladesh: Mobile phone operations have penetrated even the remote regions of Bangladesh to open up new business prospects for the people. Grameen Telecom has helped provide mobility and connectivity to about 20 million subscribers in Bangladesh/ Photo credit: ADB The country's mobile revolution began in 1997 with the introduction of the Village Phone program by Grameen Telecom, where ADB's private sector operations provided an initial investment of US$1.6 million in equity and US$16.7 million in loans. Grameen Telecom is one of the shareholding companies of Grameenphone and is a subsidiary of the Grameen Bank, an internationally recognised microfinance bank. Grameenphone connects users by helping them get better information instantly, and makes them aware that information is a means of increasing returns on investment. Small traders such as Abdul Khaleq have benefited by cutting out the expense of a middleman to conduct his business. "Before Grameenphone, I had to depend on the middlemen to sell my vegetables, and they used to cheat me like anything," Khaleq says. "I had to believe whatever rates they quoted." But things have changed since he got himself a phone. He now discusses prices from his home and decides which market would fetch him the best price. The change was even more radical in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in the southeast part of the country. After being denied a mobile phone network for security reasons, Grameenphone rolled out its operations there in May 2008. And now farmer Taio Mroo of Bandarban district, about 450 kilometers from the capital Dhaka, was busy making decisions about picking oranges from the orchard. "Since we can contact the buyers directly over the mobile, we get better prices," Taio says. "We can delay the picking if prices are not good." Mobile phone operations have opened up new business prospects for many like Punkhal Loncheo of Farukpara in Bandarban town. He has set up a cell phone call center where people who cannot afford a mobile phone come to make calls. "I'm happy not only because it brings me money but also because my neighbors benefit," he says. Already there was a queue in his shop for mobile use in front of a Grameenphone poster.

With its deep penetration in remote areas where land phones would probably never reach, all types of new ventures are spawning with the fast spread of Grameenphone's network. Poor village women were given mobiles, which they used as pay phones. Suddenly, the villages were hooked up to the world and the tech-shy villagers got used to the technology. Though mobiles have become cheap and widely available, the demand for Village Phone services is increasing daily, with about 58,500 new phones distributed and connected and 350,000 women using the phones commercially by the end of 2008. Grameenphone connects users by helping them get better information instantly, and makes them aware that information is a means of increasing returns on investment. Farmers of Bogra's Shahjahanpur upazila (subdistrict) found a new way to solve their crop problems as the Rural Development Academy (RDA), a government organisation, introduced its "Plant Doctor" program. RDA trained a group of local residents on plant diseases and solutions. Each "doctor" carries a mobile. When Habibur Rahman of Poranbaria village found the leaves of his eggplants dying, he approached his neighbor for the use of his Grameenphone network. Then he called the plant doctor, Piyara Begum. After a few minutes of listening, he hung up and rang the pesticide dealer in the market. The stock was available, so he hurried off to the shop. From her house, Piyara was still talking to another client who was unsure whether his land was good for potato growing. "I get so many phone calls a day," says Piyara, once a village housewife. "They all call me the plant doctor. It's amazing how they respect me."

Beyond respect, Piyara also benefits financially from her mobile advice. She gets 350 taka (Tk) (US$5.05) from RDA a month. And grateful farmers often send her a portion of their harvest. Sometimes, they pay her in cash in whatever amount they can afford. "I don't mind whatever they pay," Piyara says. "I am now at least earning something and my husband appreciates that. From my savings, I have started a small poultry business." In Sariakandi upazila, ward commissioner Phuti Begum's mobile is the only way for the Kajlar char (a small riverine island) villagers to contact the outside world. She bought a Grameenphone connection more than 4 years ago mainly to keep in touch with her fellow commissioners and local government chairperson. But then Phuti found that her mobile was in huge demand among the villagers. "Phuti Apa's mobile saves unnecessary trips to town to know if the fertiliser supply has come," says Abdul Barek, a farmer. "One trip to town means 1 day is lost and the trip fare with it, too. Now, I make sure that the supply is there and place my order. Only then do I go to town." "There are people who talk to doctors before going to Sarikandi town or who get to talk to their husbands working abroad," 42-year-old Phuti Begum says. "Sometimes, the husbands call me from abroad and I carry the mobile to their wives." Out of ADB's initial investment, several reinvestments have been made over the years in network facilities that now reach more than 23 million subscribers. Today, in Bangladesh's rural environs where not even 50% of the population have electricity, mobile networks have ushered in a new wireless revolution and empowered millions across the delta.


From http://southasia.oneworld.net/ 05/11/2010

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President Stresses ICT Links to Rural Areas

President Zillur Rahman said yesterday villages across the country need access to the information highway to bridge the gap between rural backwaters and the rest of the world. Inaugurating a programme marking World Telecommunications and Information Society Day at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka, the president also said the rural people would become one and an inseparable entity of the global population, if they enter the information technology highway. "Without confining information technology to the well-off alone, it should be expanded to all," he said. Admiring this year's slogan, Better City, Better Life with ICT, Rahman said extraordinary development of information technology has brought the people of the world much closer. The president expressed contentment over the expansion of ICT at different spheres of national life, which benefits people of different segments, including students, teachers, professionals, businessmen and researchers. Telecom Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju said Bangladesh will install its own satellite in the next five years and plans are underway to make low-cost laptops and mobile handsets.


From http://www.thedailystar.net/ 05/18/2010

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INDIA: E-Waste Disposal Scheme for India's Capital

New Delhi: The Capital would now focus on systematic and hygienic disposal of e-waste to minimise the damage being done by it to the environment, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said on Monday at a programme organised to launch e-waste disposal at Delhi Secretariat. The Hindu Dikshit, who distributed 16 e-waste collection bins and 42 paper recycling machines, described the move as "a humble beginning that would help in eliminating the danger of e-waste". She said the Delhi Government has decided to develop a systematic collection mechanism for e-waste. The need for creating e-waste disposal facilities was felt because mixing of such waste into garbage results in the e-waste finding its way to landfills and leading to leaking of heavy metals and radio active substances that causes ground water contamination. So old mobile phones, watch batteries, ordinary batteries and waste CFL bulbs are now required to be collected and disposed of in an environmentally sound way through recyclers authorised by the Central Pollution Control Board and the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. Under the scheme, e-waste collection bins will be installed at all identified places across Delhi from where the authorised recyclers will collect the e-waste for recycling. "It is time to take up systematic disposal of e-waste to ensure elimination of danger to nature," she said. To begin with, the Delhi Government has installed an e-waste collection bin at the Delhi Secretariat. The New Delhi Municipal Council would also install such bins at different locations in the area under its jurisdiction. In particular, these bins would be placed in offices, schools, colleges and markets like Nehru Place and Ghaffar Market. The Chief Minister said another common problem being faced by the schools of Delhi is disposal of waste paper. An environment-friendly way to tackle the enormous amount of waste paper generated at schools is through paper recycling. The Department of Environment under its scheme for setting up "Eco-clubs in schools and colleges of Delhi" has sensitised the students and teachers for paper recycling and has got paper recycling machines installed in over 88 schools of Delhi. Since there has been a good response, 42 more schools were on Monday distributed paper recycling machines.


From http://southasia.oneworld.net/ 04/06/2010

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UIDAI to Issue First ID Set Next February

The Unique Identification Authority of India is set to issue the first set of identity numbers in February 2011. The pilot project to begin by August this year is expected to remove the barrier of non-identity which prevented the poor from accessing government schemes, and bring benefits. The first set of identity numbers as per the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) will be issued in February 2011. Image credits: Nagara Gopal/ People queue up for registration at a special booth set up for the UID of India project in Medak district of Andhra Pradesh Extensive consultations with various stake holders-Union& State governments, public sector units, industry and civil society organisations- have already been held. Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) with Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Union territory of Andaman and Nicobar have been signed and more states have expressed their interest in having similar MoUs. "The pilot projects will begin by August this year and first issue of the identity numbers may happen before February next year", said Deputy Director of UIDAI B.B Nanawati here on Monday. He was speaking at a Unique Identity workshop, organised by the French Embassy along with Smart Card Forum of India(SCAFI), and prominent French companies in the smart card industry. Nanawati said that the residents from any part of the country can be the first beneficiaries of the project. "We have identified all the components of the project. Some are in their advanced stages. The different tracks in the field of application, data centre, hardware and registrar has to be converged together," he said. On the question of aspects of national security, Nanawati said that high level authentication at various levels might be linked with the security requirements. He rejected the fears of data misuse by saying that the authority will not share its collected data with any agency. Sharing the country's expectations from the project, he said that non-identity of the poor was the highest barrier which prevents them from accessing benefits and services provided by the government. Nanawati also made it clear that the identification authority as of now has no plans to issue any sort of smart cards or magnetic cards to the citizens. Deputy Director of UIDAI, K.Ganga said that the feedback received from the civil society was the basis for setting the standards of UIDAI. "We spoke to people who are homeless, those below poverty line, migrant workers and their representatives. We will take their views and make sure that awareness is created at the grassroot level," she said. French Ambassador to India Jerome Bonnafont said that the link between unique identification and social inclusion was well established. Terming it as a challenge to cover 1.15 billion of Indian population under the project, .Bonnafont said that there should be firewalls to protect the right of privacy of citizens.


From http://www.digitalopportunity.org/ 04/13/2010

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Finally a Law to Tackle Mounting E-Waste in India

Email New Delhi: India is finally set to have a law which can tackle head on the mounting problem of electronic waste dumped in the country. "The provisions of the new law could be such as could effectively monitor the trade in electronic waste and reduce illegal imports," Ravi Agarwal, Director of Toxics Link, said in an interview. He did not rule out a provision for penalty, which has been difficult to implement so far due to legal hassles. Toxics Link is a front-ranking NGO which is part of a coalition of NGOs and a member of several international networks, like the ELCINA Electronic Industries Association of India and the Manufacturers Association for IT, which is represented on most Indian government forums and works for the advancement of the IT industry in India. According to Toxics Link, India generates around 400,000 tonnes of e-waste annually. This estimation includes only waste from equipment like computers, TVs and mobile phones. The quantum would be much bigger if other equipment like printers, refrigerators, washing machines and small household appliances were included. Most large cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata are large generators of this waste. Even smaller cities and towns are beginning to add a lot of e-waste, according to Toxics Link. "Illegal importers bring electronic waste into the country in shipments under misleading labels as 'reusable electronic goods' or 'second hand computers," Agarwal told IANS. "It is virtually impossible to check each individual consignment in the shipments as there are so many seaports and customs do not have any proper scanning or other infrastructure in place." India and other developing countries like China, Nigeria, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Vietnam and Brazil are literally being dumped with e-waste even though there is a clear government ban on import of such waste in India under the Basel Convention, the most comprehensive global environmental agreement on hazardous and other wastes. But the government is tackling the e-waste problem. "The government has been extremely open to suggestions and have taken all our concerns on board and will soon come out with draft rules which will ultimately become law," Ravi said. The government does have clear guidelines to deal with e-waste. "But the guidelines of the Central Pollution Control Board are voluntary in nature," he said. "The producers and users are free to dispose of e-waste in any manner and hence most of this toxic waste flows to the informal sector where there are no occupational and environment safety norms," he said. "But the new rules should change all this, as both these stakeholders will be made responsible for their waste and could be penalised for violating norms laid down in the rules. Depending on the final rules notified, there might also be restrictions on use of hazardous material in products. The e-waste rules will be notified under the Environment Protection Act (EPA). The EPA is an act for overall environment protection, but it does not specify norms for handling and management of each kind of waste," he said. "The proposed Draft Rules (by Toxics Link and partners) do suggest stricter measures for controlling and monitoring the waste trade and should be able to reduce illegal imports," Agarwal told IANS. The government will soon issue the draft rules, inviting public opinion, following which the final law will come into effect, he said.


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 04/22/2010

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India IT Spend to Touch $89 Billion by 2013

Email Bangalore: The IT market in India is expected to grow 11 percent from 2009 until the end of 2013 to reach $89.3 billion, with IT services growing faster than all other segments at 17.6 percent, according to research firm Gartner. Telecommunications will have the slowest growth, increasing 9.1 percent during the same period. According to Gartner, India continues to be a vastly under-penetrated IT market relative to its potential. As IT buyers expand and mature and consumers increasingly understand the benefits of IT, acceptance of technology will increase, leading to further IT market growth. The Indian government's focus on infrastructure projects with IT dimensions will be a strong driver for overall IT growth within the country. "India's economy recorded GDP growth of more than 6 percent during the recent global economic crisis," said Aman Munglani, Principal Research Analyst, Gartner. "Its growth, and the growth of India's IT industry, has been driven largely by domestic consumption, which has left India less exposed than many emerging markets to global economic cycles." At the same time, manufacturing in India is increasing, and it is expected to show strong growth from 2008 through 2013. Other Industries to watch for growth include communications, utilities and retail.

The domestic IT services sector, at $6.1 billion, accounted for more than 10 percent of the overall domestic ICT market in India in 2009, and is expected to witness the strongest growth at 17.6 percent among the four sectors through 2013. Gartner estimates the domestic IT services market in India will grow 17.6 percent, accounting for nearly 19 percent of the overall domestic ICT market in India by 2013.


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 04/30/2010

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Rajasthan Launches E-Speech Application for the Poor

Rajasthan has launched an e-governance initiative that aims to communicate essential information to the underprivileged using mobile phones. The features of the new system include data migration, text-to-speech conversion in local languages, automatic dialing and voice message transmission. A brainchild of Tanmay Kumar, Secretary, Information Technology and Communication, Government of Rajasthan, the application will provide the public with information about the release and sanction of pensions, PDS information, alerts, campaigns, advisories, and other information of broad public interest. Named as "e-Speech Application through Network for Automated Communication Help and Response", the application is developed through a collaboration between RajCOMP, the state's computer agency and OneWorld Foundation-India. The system conveys real time information from government to citizens without an intermediary. It is currently confined to the set of citizens under beneficiary programmes. The Rajasthan government is now looking to market the initiative to other state governments in India.


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 05/10/2010

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Home Ministry to Probe Chandigarh IT Park Land Deals

Email Chandigarh: Controversial land deals worth billions of rupees at the Chandigarh Information Technology park have come under the scanner of the central ministry of home affairs. The ministry has sent here a former IAS officer, Arun Ramanathan, to examine the land records and the deals. Ramanathan will hold a three-day inquiry starting Wednesday and then submit his report to the ministry, said a senior official of the Chandigarh administration, requesting anonymity. Farmers and farmhouse owners have alleged that the administration had forcibly bought their land at prices much below the actual market value and then sold those off to private companies and builders at rates several times higher or in some cases at throwaway prices. Various farmers associations, who are protesting against the deals for the past many months, said they would meet Ramanathan to apprise him about the situation. The ministry had earlier conducted a special audit of these land deals and found gross irregularities in the allotment of land.


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 05/12/2010

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AFGHANISTAN: Networks Fined by the Regulator

Afghanistan's telecoms regulator, the Afghanistan Telecom Regulatory Authority (ATRA) has imposed fines on the country's three mobile networks for missing performance standards. ATRA says that it monitored and measured quality of telecom services during third and fourth quarters with drive test device besides sent reports of quality service of the relevant companies. Consequently, it was proved that quality of services of AWCC, MTN and Etisalat companies was not at reasonable level. According to conditions of issued licenses and provisions of telecom law, Etisalat has been fined AFN 750,000 (US$15,600) in each quarter, AWCC Company has been fined AFN 1.75 million (US$364,400) in each quarter, and MTN has been fined AFN 2.5 million (US$520,000) in each quarter.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 03/09/2010

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ARMENIA: Government Amends Law on Television and Radio

On May 13, the Armenian government approved the draft law on amendment of the RA Law on Television and Radio. The draft law includes a range of new ideas and provisions arising from the governmental concept on transfer to digital system of television and radio broadcasting. Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan stressed that the draft law has passed a relevant international expertise. Besides, the Prime Minister noted that the television and radio field is very sensitive, as it is often used for political purposes. He said that the draft law allows developing political, cultural and educational TV programs in the country to meet the needs of all groups of population and to secure effective competition.


From http://times.am/ 05/13/2010

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AZERBAIJAN: We Should Adopt New Law to Prevent Ideas Estranging People from National Values - MP

There is a need to adopt a law "Information-psychological security" for no prerequisite to occur for the emergence of ideas, estranging people from national values and turning them into cosmopolitans," the Azerbaijani Parliament Committee on Human Rights, MP Rabiyyat Aslanova said in an interview with media. Today, Azerbaijani society faces various information viruses, introduced into the human consciousness and subsequently changing the mentality of people. There is a need to adopt a law "Information-psychological security" to prevent ideas, estranging people from national values, and turning them into cosmopolitans in the globalizing world. The same law was adopted in 32 countries. It is a very important issue for Azerbaijan", Aslanova said. She said that the commission is working on this initiative now. "We use the laws existing in other countries", MP said.


From http://en.trend.az/ 04/01/2010

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KAZAKHSTAN: Journalists Call for Clarity on Internet Law

Kazakh journalists are urging authorities to explain their criteria for defining "destructive" websites, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports. Tamara Kaleeva, chairwoman of the Almaty-based media monitoring organization Adil Soz (Just Word), said at a press conference today that several organizations uniting Kazakh journalists - including the Union of Journalists of Kazakhstan - made the call in an open letter to the government. In August, the Kazakh government approved a controversial law that recognizes all websites as media outlets. In conjunction with the law, a recently established government office announced that it had begun to identify websites in the country that are deemed to contain "destructive" material. Kaleeva said the owners, moderators, and editors of online news portals in the country have no idea what criteria the new office will use to identify such content. She said that lack of clarity poses a threat to freedom of speech as "the lack of free dialogue and transparency could lead to lawless actions by state organs."


From http://www.rferl.org/ 03/29/2010

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Government Confirmed Plan of Measures for Realization of Forced Industrially-Innovative Development Program

The members of the Cabinet of Ministers confirmed the plan of measures of the forced industrially-innovative development program and the Republican Industrialization Card at the government's session, the agency reports. According to Vice Minister of Industry and New Technologies of Kazakhstan, Albert Rau, "101 projects are planned to be realized for the sum of 6.8 trillion KZT within the Republican Industrialization Card. 90 thousand workplaces will be created." The Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Karim Masimov, assigned the Minister of Industry and New Technologies, Aset Isekeshev, to begin active implementation of this program.


From http://engnews.gazeta.kz/ 04/13/2010

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AUSTRALIA: Draft Legislation Released for NBN Co Operations

The Rudd Government today released exposure drafts of legislation to establish a regulatory framework for the National Broadband Network Company, NBN Co Limited. Exposure drafts of two bills were released:
* National Broadband Network Companies Bill 2010
* Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (National Broadband Network Measures - Access Arrangements) Bill 2010.

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, said the release of the exposure drafts followed a public consultation process on the legislative framework in July 2009. "These bills deliver on the Rudd Government's commitment to change the competitive dynamics of the telecommunications sector by ensuring NBN Co will operate as a wholesale-only company, offering open and equivalent access," Senator Conroy said. "Releasing these exposure drafts is a very important first step towards providing certainty on how NBN Co will operate and what its obligations will be. "Before we introduce the bills formally we are keen to seek further feedback from key stakeholders to ensure we get the details right. We have an open mind on any amendments put forward that we believe can improve the bills." The National Broadband Network Companies Bill 2010 sets out ownership, governance and sale arrangements for NBN Co.

Minister for Finance and Deregulation Lindsay Tanner said: "It places a clear obligation on NBN Co, NBN Tasmania and any wholly-owned subsidiary corporations NBN Co might establish, to operate as a wholesale-only company. "It also firmly establishes the Government's commitment to sell its stake in the company five years after the NBN is built and operational, subject to market conditions and security considerations." The Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (National Broadband Network Measures - Access Arrangements) Bill 2010 sets out the access arrangements for NBN Co that reflect its wholesale-only status. These arrangements build on the reforms to the Trade Practices Act 1974 introduced in September 2009. The Government proposes to introduce the bills into Parliament in the Autumn or Winter sittings depending on the feedback received.


From http://www.dbcde.gov.au/ 02/24/2010

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Government Ups Pressure on Defence ICT Reform

Pressure on the Defence Department to ensure that the Strategic Reform Program (SRP) succeeds has increased with the Minister for Defence, Senator John Faulkner, linking the full implementation of the program to the ability of Australia to defend itself in the future. In a recent address to the Defence Senior Leadership Group in Canberra, Faulkner said the SRP was not only about delivering savings and efficiencies, it was an integral component of the Government's Defence strategy white paper. "It is the means by which we will build an organisation capable of delivering and sustaining Force 2030," he said. "To be blunt, while we have already started to build Force 2030 through decisions over the past year, achieving it in its full potential will not be possible without achieving the SRP in all its dimensions." He added: "Reform will not be easy. We have the opportunity and responsibility to make the SRP a reality. In doing so, we will create the Defence organisation Australia needs to help secure its future."

Force 2030 is Defence's plan to equip the military to deal with strategic change in the Asia-Pacific region. The Force 2030 report identified that Defence's ICT environment is fragmented to the point that less than half of the $1.2 billion spent by the agency is visible to the CIO, resulting in inefficiencies in delivery. "By 2012, the Information and Communications Technology reform program will build an improved Defence Information Environment to support both Defence war fighting and business reform objectives through to 2030," the report reads. "To drive this deep reform, an investment of around $700 million is required. Through this investment, savings of $1.9 billion over the decade and around $250 million per annum thereafter would be achieved." Faulkner also noted that the Government had considered and endorsed the implementation plan for the Defence SRP. "The SRP is designed to give Australia a stronger, more agile and harder-hitting Defence Force. After endorsing the detailed implementation plan, the Government is confident that Defence is well placed to achieve fundamental reform," he said.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 04/08/2010

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Government Launches Gershon-Inspired ICT Workforce Strategy

The Australian Government has released an ICT workforce strategy in an effort to fight an ageing workforce and promote new hires amongst government departments over the next three years. The plan is the latest in a spate of whole-of-government IT reforms initiated by the release of the Gershon report, and are expected to aid major government projects including the National Broadband Network, Service Delivery Reform and the Government 2.0 Taskforce reforms. Under the plan, entitled Whole-of-government ICT strategic workforce plan 2010-2013, the government would hire newly graduated IT workers through cadetship programs and hire professionals through links with the Australian Computer Society. The report was a joint effort by the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) and the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO).

In following recommendations laid out by Sir Peter Gershon in his report on government IT expenditure, the workforce strategy will not be mandated on all agencies, with individual departments offered the chance to opt-out of the program. However, those involved would be required to annually re-assess their ICT workforce plans. The report found that 34 per cent of government agencies identified a shortage of ICT professionals as their most pressing workforce challenge, though only five per cent of agencies having completed a workforce strategy to combat this. Department of Defence chief technology officer Matt Yannopoulous recently told the Australian Computer Society 2010 Canberra conference that his department was also facing the struggle. "Whilst we have more than a couple of thousand people, we have a remarkably small number of people who are actually IT professionals, and that is something we are seeking to address over the coming period," he said.

Though ICT workers are typically better educated than other public service employees, the report found the IT workforce suffers from a number of issues. This includes an increase in the average age of IT workers, and a concentration of the workforce within the capital territory. Currently, three quarters of the public service ICT workforce is located in the capital state which, according to the report, increases "the competition between agencies for skilled ICT employees." Another issues is the increased off-shoring of IT services, which government departments are traditionally reluctant to become involved in. The report urges government agencies to begin implementing workforce strategies immediately, though initial investigations and implementation of the hiring programs will not be due until December this year. "Our aim is to have a workforce that can meet the Federal Government's future ICT needs," Minister for Finance and Deregulation Lindsay Tanner said in a statement. "That workforce needs to be sufficiently skilled and mobile to apply the new technologies that will deliver improved services to Australians."   

Without the plan, the government's IT workforce is expected to organically increase by 179 people or 1.5 per cent of the total workforce between June 2009 and 2010. This is half of the overall growth in job vacancies expected in the same period within the private sector. A job index recently released by recruitment firm Peoplebank found that, although the Australian Capital Territory has seen an increased demand for contract ICT workers in the past three months, salaries for full-time workers have remained stagnant and the pool of professional IT skills is likely to dwindle through this year. Acting chief executive officer Jeff Knowles told Computerworld Australia that Canberra has seen an increase in the number of permanent IT roles in the past 18 months, but hasn't seen growth at the same rate as the private sector. According to Peoplebank's survey, growth in the ACT has largely revolved around project management and software developers familiar with the .NET and Java platforms. Surveys conducted in collaboration with the workforce report found that those existing public service IT workers intending to leave were worried about future career opportunities and salaries.

Under the government ICT workforce strategy, the APSC would investigate the possibility of improving salaries for ICT workers depending on their role and classification. The Federal government expects to hire entry-level workers from universities and vocational and training institutes by establishing graduate and cadetship programs at relevant institutions. The intakes for both these and professional-level hiring programs are expected to be established by AGIMO in June of this year. However, the reduction in IT course enrolments and completions, as well as the increase of non-resident students at universities are likely to have an impact on the number of IT professionals available for hire.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 04/29/2010

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Australia to Amend Electronic Transaction Laws to Increase Certainty

The Model Electronic Transactions Amendment Bill 2010 aims to increase certainty for international trade and encourage the further growth of electronic commerce, such as online retailing. The Bill will strengthen Australia's electronic commerce laws in relation to:
* the determination of a party's location in an electronic environment;
* the time and place of dispatch and receipt of electronic communications; and
* the use of automated message systems for contract formation.

To implement the model provisions set out in the Bill, States and Territories will seek to amend each of their respective Electronic Transaction Acts within the next 12 months. The amendments will apply to both domestic and international contracts. The implementation of the Bill will update Australia's electronic transactions regime to reflect internationally recognised legal standards on e-commerce and will enable Australia to accede to the UN Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts 2005. The Convention facilitates international trade by removing possible legal obstacles or uncertainty in the use of electronic communications in the formation or performance of international contracts. The Government remains committed to ensuring Australia's laws meet the challenge of existing, new and emerging technology.


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 05/11/2010

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NEW ZEALAND: Regulation of Mobile Termination Rates Now Likely

New Zealand's Commerce Commission has issued a preliminary report that is recommending that the country's two incumbent mobile networks, Telecom and Vodafone should have their mobile termination rates regulated. The Commission is recommending that the Minister for Communications and Information Technology rejects undertakings from Telecom and Vodafone. Following the Commission's final report released in February 2010 Vodafone announced a new Talk Add-on product. The Minister then requested that the Commission reconsider its earlier recommendation that Telecom and Vodafone's final undertakings should be accepted in light of that and any other relevant retail offers released since the Commission's final report. The Commission's preliminary view in this reconsideration is that, in light of the new Talk Add-on plan, the mobile termination rates contained in the final undertakings offered by Vodafone and Telecom will not address the competition concerns identified by the Commission during its mobile termination access services (MTAS) investigation.

"The on-net retail pricing component of Vodafone's new Talk Add-on plan, offered since the final MTAS report, perpetuates the barrier to expansion that the final undertakings, if accepted by the Minister, were designed to remove," said Dr Ross Patterson, Telecommunications Commissioner. "While lower retail prices are generally good for consumers, the competition concern which arises in relation to the Talk Add-on plan is the combination of low on-net retail prices and above-cost wholesale mobile termination rates which creates a barrier to efficient expansion by a new entrant," said Dr Patterson. "In light of such developments, the Commission's preliminary view is that if cost-based mobile termination rates were put in place, then all mobile operators would be able to vigorously compete in the retail market and provide consumers with competitive and innovative calling products," said Dr Patterson.

"Our preliminary view is that the introduction of Vodafone's Talk Add-on plan is evidence that the assumptions made by Commissioner Gowan Pickering and me in the Commission's final report, in respect of Vodafone's future behaviour, have been undermined. As a consequence, the conclusion that 'the competition concerns identified by the Commission would be addressed in a timely manner by acceptance of the final undertakings', which was based on those assumptions, cannot stand," said Dr Patterson. The Commission is now inviting submissions on the draft reconsideration report. Submissions are due with the Commission by 5pm on 19 May 2010.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 03/12/2010

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Trans-Tasman Broadband Cable Plan

A group of businessmen wants to build an international fibre cable across the Pacific Ocean to bring unlimited broadband to New Zealand and Australia. The 13,000-kilometre fibre optic cable would link New Zealand and Australia to the United States. The New Zealand businessmen behind the project say the cable will deliver five times the capacity of the existing Southern Cross network. The group is yet to raise the money for the Pacific Fibre project, which is expected to cost around $900 million. One of Pacific Fibre's founders, Mark Rushworth, concedes it is an ambitious plan. "It has many, many risks," he concedes. The group says if it gets the funding it needs, the fibre cable could be operating by 2013.


From http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/ 03/12/2010

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Govt Unveils $300m Rural Broadband Plan

Cabinet has approved a $300 million plan to roll out high-speed broadband services to rural New Zealanders while overhauling the way Telecom is compensated for supplying services that aren't commercially viable. Under the proposal signed off by the Cabinet, broadband services of at least 5Mbps will be extended to 97 per cent of rural households, with the remainder getting at least 1Mbps, Communications Minister Steven Joyce said in a statement. Part of the initiative involves connecting 97 per cent of rural schools, and therefore 99.7 per cent of students living outside urban areas. "These speeds will ensure every student has access to fast internet that will help prepare them for living and working in the 21st century world," Joyce said. Under the plan, school will become a hub for rural broadband. It comes after farmers and others who increasingly rely on the internet for communications, have clamoured for better speeds and connections, saying current slow or unobtainable services are hampering their business.

The cost will be met by a government grant of $48 million plus $252 million from the Telecommunications Development Levy, which replaces the TSO, at a rate of $42 million a year for six years. Under the existing TSO, telecommunications companies pay a levy which is then paid to Telecom in compensation for maintaining rural services including free local calling. Telecom issued a statement this morning saying that if the plans were enacted in their current form, Telecom's EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) guidance for each of the 2011, 2012 and 2013 financial years would be adversely impacted by up to $56 million. The government will put the project out for tender in April, with work to start in early 2011.


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 03/16/2010

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New Global Initiative Tests Access to Information on Anti Corruption Efforts

A new global access to information initiative launched today to mark World Press Freedom Day, will test how easy (or not) it is to obtain information from 30 governments (*) on their anti-corruption efforts. The Tell us what you've done! Initiative, initiated by Access Info Europe and Transparency International (TI) is an attempt to verify whether governments are complying with the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and other anti-corruption conventions. Starting immediately, simultaneous information requests will be submitted in 30 countries by TI chapters and members of two coalitions, the Freedom of Information Advocates Network and the UNCAC Coalition. The aim is to see how transparent governments are about their anti-corruption efforts under the anti-corruption treaties they have signed on to. Results will be presented in 2011 at the 4th UNCAC Conference of States Parties in Morocco.

"Access to information is at the heart of the anti-corruption agenda. The number of cases where power is abused for private gain uncovered by enterprising journalists, shows that access to public information is vital," said Gillian Dell, coordinator for the initiative at TI. Established by the UN in 1993, World Press Freedom Day 2010 is dedicated to the "Right to Know" - the right of all citizens to have access to information held by public entities. Although there has been a surge in freedom of information legislation, the UN notes that it is often complicated to use, prejudices minorities and not enforced. "The right to know what the government knows is essential for journalists and civil society watchdogs to identify corruption and hold public officials accountable," said Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info Europe.


From http://www.transparency.org/ 05/03/2010

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Role of Broadcasting Regulators Discussed at UNESCO Headquarters

UNESCO, in cooperation with Albany Associates, organized the third Master Class in Broadcasting Regulation at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris last March. Representatives of broadcasting regulators and operators from Bhutan, Iraq, Kenya, Malawi, Montenegro, Nigeria, Rwanda, Thailand, and Trinidad and Tobago gathered to exchange experiences and to discuss broadcast regulation with a particular focus on the role of regulation for elections. One of the participants, Kunrada Chaisorm, from the Office of the National Telecommunications Commission of Thailand, said, 'The class was great. I learned a lot from the discussions and the interaction with colleagues from many other countries".

The Master Class provided delegates with an in-depth analysis and knowledge of the following topics:
international broadcast regulation law and standards;
application of media rules during elections;
monitoring, compliance and enforcement; and
political advertisements.

It also examined new and emerging issues such as the use of social networking technologies and how new media tools can support election campaigns.
Opening remarks were presented by the Deputy Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, Mogens Schmidt, and the Director of Albany Associates, Dieter Loraine. Many people turn first to their televisions or radios to learn about elections. Therefore election coverage in the media, and especially in the public media, involves some of the most complex rules of broadcast regulation. Mr Schmidt stressed that the public media have a general duty to inform about matters relevant to the elections. UNESCO's mandate in the field of public service broadcasting is to support and promote comprehensive action focusing on the role and functions of public service. It is particularly relevant to UNESCO's core mission - to promote the free flow of ideas through word and image.


From http://portal.unesco.org/ 05/12/2010

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AFRICA: Angola Says Information Technology Tool for Poverty Elimination

LUANDA (Xinhua) - Angolan minister of Sciences and Telecommunications Jose Carvalho da Rocha said here on Monday that information technologies are an important tool for combating poverty and boosting economic and social development of families in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. The minister made the remarks at the opening session of the meeting of experts and officials of the sector of telecommunications, mail and technology of information of SADC countries, a four-day event which is expected to focus on digital innovation, universal access, protection of consumer's rights, management of frequencies and development of infrastructures.

The number of mobile-phone users in the host country Angola has mushroomed from 30 to some 8 million after the market liberalization in the 1990s, Director of Angola's Telecommunications Pedro Mendes de Carvalho said at the meeting. The growth of mobile subscribers, in particular, fits the government's goal which is intended to offer services of good quality, good price and benefiting all regions of the country, the official told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of experts of telecommunications, mail and information technology and communication from the Southern African Development Community ( SADC), Angola's official Angop news agency reported.

Pedro de Carvalho expressed optimism that the event, which preceded a meeting of SADC ministers, addresses strategies that will lead to the positive impacts on the lives of citizens in the region in terms of telecommunications. He said Angola would make proposals on the technological development and innovation from analog to digital television and communications, the protection of the consumers' rights who use the telecommunication services in Angola and elsewhere in the region.


From http://news.xinhuanet.com/ 05/10/2010

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EUROPE: EU Court Stops UKE's Ad Hoc Regulation of TP's Retail Broadband Prices

Polish telecoms regulator, the Office of Electronic Communications (UKE), has lost a dispute in The Court of Justice of the European Union (EU), which ruled that it does not have the right to regulate incumbent national PSTN operator Telekomunikacja Polska's (TP Group's) retail broadband access tariffs without formal prior market analysis. UKE chairwoman Anna Strezynska told Dow Jones Newswires that the watchdog is looking into the legal possibilities of appealing the EU's verdict. UKE issued TP Group with a fine of around PLN340 million (USD107 million) in 2007 after the telco refused to cut retail monthly fees it had introduced for broadband internet access offered independently from fixed voice line services (so-called 'naked DSL'), which became available in February 2007. TP had introduced the data-only version of its 'Neostrada' ADSL service under orders from UKE, which subsequently called its monthly charges excessive. The telco appealed the fine, and Strezynska said the case is still pending at the Polish administrative courts.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 05/07/2010

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Denmark Hi3G Comes Out on Top in 2.5GHz Auction

Danish telecoms regulator the National IT and Telecom Agency (Telestyrelsen) has announced the completion of the main phase of its auction of spectrum in the 2.5GHz frequency band suitable for the provision of Long Term Evolution (LTE) services. The regulator revealed that Hi3G Access Denmark, which is 60%-owned by Hutchison Whampoa with the remainder held by the Swedish Investor Group, won the largest block comprising 2x10MHz paired and 25MHz unpaired spectrum in the 2.5GHz band, while the mobile unit of incumbent telco TDC was awarded 2x20MHz paired spectrum. Telenor Denmark, the local unit of Norwegian telecoms group Telenor, and TeliaSonera of Sweden's Telia Denmark both received 2x20MHz paired and 10MHz unpaired spectrum. A final round of bidding will allow the operators to name preferences for a specific position in the band. Following that allocation round, Telestyrelsen said it will announce the exact awards and prices for the licences.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 05/06/2010

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NORTH AMERICA: U. S. Citizen Satisfaction with E-Government Remains Strong

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - (BUSINESS WIRE) - Citizen satisfaction with government websites remains high into the second year of President Obama's administration. After a slow start and small decline following the inauguration in early 2009, satisfaction with e-government climbed to an all-time high last year and remains high this quarter. The ACSI E-Government Satisfaction Index registers a 75.1 on a 100-point scale in the first quarter of 2010, 1.5 points higher than Q1 2009 and just shy of the highest level of citizen satisfaction with online government (75.2), set in the third quarter of 2009.

"Under President Obama, e-Gov is enjoying some of the best citizen satisfaction scores we've ever recorded," said Larry Freed, President and CEO of ForeSee Results. "The Open Government Directive has resulted in a significant increase in satisfaction that has been successfully maintained over the last three quarters. But nobody should be resting on their laurels. People's expectations are also higher than ever before and private sector websites continue to set the bar high. The only way citizens will remain satisfied is if these agencies continue to measure and respond to the needs of their visitors."

ForeSee Results applies the methodology of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) to help organizations better understand how improvements to specific aspects of the online experience (such as navigation or site performance) positively affect overall satisfaction, which in turn increases loyalty, recommendations, and customers' likelihood to use the website again. Inside knowledge into site visitors' likely future behaviors empowers organizations to prioritize site enhancements and allocate resources efficiently.

High citizen satisfaction with federal websites is a key driver of desired future behaviors, saving taxpayers money and improving the government's relationship with its citizens. When compared to less satisfied site visitors (below 70), highly satisfied website visitors (80 and higher) are:
﹞ 52% more likely to return to a federal government website;
﹞ 79% more likely to recommend the website;
﹞ 54% more likely to trust the government agency;
﹞ 80% more likely to use the website as their primary resource instead of using more costly channels like call centers;
﹞ 50% more likely to participate in government by expressing their thoughts.

"The best e-Gov sites will experience the same benefits as the best private sector websites: more repeat visitors, a better reputation, and more efficient servicing of their customers," said David Lewan, Director of Government and Public Markets at ForeSee Results. According to the report, federal websites realize the most improvement in website satisfaction by improving search functionality and perceptions of agency or department transparency. Transparency was recently added as a measured element contributing to satisfaction, joining search, navigation, functionality, look and feel, content, site performance, privacy and transactions. Transparency's importance underscores the importance and timeliness of Obama's Open Government Initiative.

"At a time when public trust in Government is near record lows, it may seem strange that people are satisfied with many of the things government does. But what this means is that federal agencies, and e-Gov in particular, often do a job that is appreciated by the individuals they serve," said Claes Fornell, founder of ACSI and a business professor at the University of Michigan. "General mistrust of government, which is more of an overall attitude, does not seem to translate into dissatisfaction with actual government services." "The more we focus on customer satisfaction the better our government websites become," said Ron Oberbillig, Chief Operating Officer of the Federal Consulting Group. "I expect to see as many as 30% of government websites achieving an ACSI score of 80 or higher in the near future." ForeSee Results surveyed more than 250,000 visitors to 106 federal websites in the first quarter of 2010. The full study reports individual scores for each of the 106 websites on the ACSI's 100-point scale.


From http://finance.yahoo.com/ 04/27/2010

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CHINA: 1st Internet of Things Center Launched

China's first "Internet of Things" center opened in Shanghai Tuesday, as part of the country's effort to enhance competitiveness in what is regarded as a promising industry. With a total investment of 800 million yuan (117.2 million U.S.dollars), the 170,000-square-meter center in the suburban Jiading District was designed to study technologies and industrial standards, said Liu Haitao, a leading information technology expert. The center was built by the district government and the Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The Internet of Things is a network of real-world objects linked by the Internet and interacting through web services. Technologies such as RFID (radio frequency identification) and sensors were the basis of the Internet of Things, Liu said. In China, the network, integrating various technologies, has been applied to safety monitoring, public transportation and logistics. In Wuxi, eastern Jiangsu Province, China's first batch of "smart buses" using the network have been put into operation. Through a combination of GIS (geographic information system), GPS (global positioning system) and electronic controls, people can learn nearly everything about a bus, including its location, speed and road conditions. "But the application of the network is not at a high level of sophistication yet," Liu said, adding the State Council was working on supportive policies to boost the emerging industry.


From Xinhua News Agency 03/02/2010

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Gov't Reveals Expenses to Online Community

A recent online notice listing all government expenditures of a small township in Sichuan Province grabbed the online community's attention. The news of the list was first released by a post dubbed "the first case of a naked government" on Bazhong Forum, saying the Baimiao township government had detailed, on its website, the money they spent in January on items ranging from office supplies to cigarettes and drinks for higher authorities. The list shows 44 payments totaling 8,240 yuan (US$1,207). The largest part of the expenses - 1,269 yuan (US$186) - went to receptions for higher authorities, while the least amount - 1.5 yuan (US$0.22) was for paper. Every expense was signed off by Chen Jiacai, the township's chief in charge of discipline inspection who is responsible for approving all expenditures. Zhang Yingshang, secretary of the township Party committee, said he came up with the idea two years ago at the Party school. "We need to make sure everyone knows where the money goes if we are to exercise our right to govern." The amount spent on receptions drew some criticism from netizens, who wondered why it was so high. About 65 percent of the total budget, or 5,425 yuan (US$798), went to receptions. Zhang said there are usually more meetings in January because many annual reports are released then. Zhang said he wanted to cut the budget for receptions, to 300 yuan (US$44) at most for up to six people and 500 yuan (US$73) for 10 people. Others questioned the authenticity of the list. But Zhang said there is no reason to lie about how much was spent because government officials must report their spending to get reimbursed. Still, many netizens praised the Baimiao government. "Pay high tribute to the government!" one commenter wrote. "Hope more and more governments and authorities will make their expenditures in public!" "The mass will understand this government even if the government did not do it perfectly," another wrote. "We are afraid some governments have no courage to do so."


From China.org.cn 03/17/2010

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China Opens Intellectual Property Rights Website

China opened a website for intellectual property rights Monday. The website, www.court.gov.cn/zscq, run by The Supreme People's Court of China, is a platform for disseminating information relating to protection of intellectual property rights (IPR). Information such as judicial interpretations, court notices and decisions, surveys and research on IPR protection will be available on the website.


From Xinhua News Agency 04/27/2010

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CPC Top Research Institute Launches Official Website

Party Literature Research Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee launched its official website Tuesday, offering the public a window into the Party's top research institute. The office, established in 1980, compiles and publishes works and manuscripts of key Chinese leaders. Its tasks also include studying the Party's history and its important historical documents. The launching of the website caught the attention of many Chinese media and scholars. By 10:00 p.m., the website wxyjs.org.cn had attracted more than 5,000 visits. "As the Party's top research unit, the office has remained mysterious and out of reach to the public. The website will surely help close the distance," said Prof. Dai Yanjun with Party School of the CPC Central Committee. The authoritative information provided by the website could also help clarify some ambiguous concepts or ideas about the Party's history, he said. Other scholars said they saw the website, which releases information of seminars, the office's publications and latest research developments, as a good academic platform. "Studies on Party history have become increasingly popular. The website offers an easy access for scholars to follow the latest academic development," said Sun Yan, associate professor on Party history of the Peking University. "It also offers an easy access to the public, especially the young, to party theories and historical documents," Sun said. The website has uploaded more than 60 pieces of dissertations written by the office's researchers with topics ranging from the policies of Tibetan works adopted by the first generation of Chinese leaders to Jiang Zemin's thoughts on economic globalization. China has the world's largest Internet population. Nearly half of its 400 million netizens are youth.


From Xinhua News Agency 05/12/2010

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SOUTH KOREA: Gov't to Widen Private Access to Public Data for Mobile Applications

The government said Tuesday that it will take measures to broaden access of public data, in response to the growing demand to use information held at state-run agencies to create mobile or new media services. South Korea will aggregate all public data at an upcoming Web site whose address will be "data.go.kr" and allow users to search and download all publicly available information from there, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security said. The ministry will also gradually remove barriers in Web portals that bar access to data, as well as reviewing related laws and providing incentives to government agencies to encourage data sharing with the public, it added. Previously, the government allowed Web browsing of the public data, such as weather, real-time operation information of trains, or gas prices at a local gas station. But it barred downloading and using those information to create Web or mobile programs in several cases, as the growing number of Web and mobile developers try to tap the increase in demand for smartphone applications. The move, which marks a turn in government's previous position toward mobile applications based on public data, comes after a series of events that highlighted the increasing public need to have an access to transportations or gas prices on mobile devices.

In December, the Gyeonggi provincial government revoked its decision to block an iPhone application that sent real-time location information of city buses to users, when the shut-down flared up public opinion. The blockage and resumption of the Seoul Bus application, released shortly after the December launch of Apple's iPhone in the domestic market, sparked the debate in Korea regarding regulations and bureaucratic barriers on the information that was claimed "public." Officials said it recognized that allowing the creation of Web and mobile services based on information held at government, helps promote the industry. "The measures are expected to stem further conflicts and confusion between government and citizens regarding the use of public data," said an official from the ministry. The domestic sales of the iPhone passed the 400,000 mark as of Friday, and the country's telecommunication regulator estimates that domestic smartphone users will reach 3.4 million by the year's end.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 03/09/2010

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Gov't R&D Office to Start Work Next Month

A new government research coordination office will start work next month to help set long-term industrial development support targets, a senior government official said Monday. "The office is new so there may be some complications in getting it up to full efficiency, but there is wide agreement that this is the way to go to better manage state R&D," Vice Knowledge Economy Minister Ahn Hyun-ho said. He added that the ministry's research plan must be linked with similar efforts taking place at the education and science ministry and national defense. "South Korea, like other middle-ranking industrialized economies, should have clear objectives when providing support for research," the official said, making clear that every effort will be made to bolster results that can have practical applications. The ministry on average controls 4.4 trillion won (US$3.87 billion) worth of R&D-related funds annually. The new office, meanwhile, will be made up of 17 experts from the business community, academia and the government and will be co-chaired by a civilian chief technical officer (CTO) and the knowledge economy minister. Government officials, however, will not be able to vote on R&D related policies. Hwang Chang-gyu, former head of Samsung Electronics's chipmaking division, will lead the new search and development office. Hwang is well-known for his theory "Hwang's Law," which was introduced in 2002 and states that flash memory chip storage doubles in capability every year. The 57-year-old is also famous in the electronics industry for helping develop the world's first 256 megabit RAM in 1994. He will become the ministry's first chief technical officer and will be tasked with setting new directions for future R&D efforts, submitting budget proposals and adjusting industry-wide investment portfolios to maximize effect.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 04/12/2010

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Regulator Restricts Telecom Marketing

The Korea Communications Commission yesterday set the market cost ceiling for telecom companies at 22 percent of their annual sales starting this month to prevent excessive competition. The state telecom watchdog said the telecom service companies will be permitted to invest 22 percent of total sales on marketing in each of the wireless and wired sectors. The restriction will be readjusted after looking at the results in late July. Marketing costs mainly include the fees injected to attract new customers such as fees given to outlets which sell mobile phones to individual customers, the costs spent to maintain their customers such as fees for mileage and incentives, and the subsidies paid to purchasers of new mobile phones. Although the KCC has potential plans to lower it to 20 percent beginning next year, it will look at the conditions of the local market at yearend to devise a final figure for marketing costs. The state watchdog said it expects to save nearly 1 trillion won ($880.36 million) in this year's marketing fees compared to last year if the guideline is abided by the three major telecom firms. "As we've seen in the past, the market doesn't change through marketing. What is more important is the type and quality of service, technology and the level of contents provided," said Shin Yong-sub, director-general of telecom policy division at the KCC. "There were many conflicts about the specifics of the guideline but we decided to give it a green light on the basis that it could no longer be delayed. We could make alterations to it later."

According to the guideline, the telecom firms could shift the unused marketing fees - up to 100 billion won - from the wired to wireless sector and vice versa if necessary. The measure was designed to promote the growth of new areas under development like WiBro and Internet protocol television. It also states that the sales of mobile devices will be exempted from the total yearly sales which will be calculated to determine the maximum for marketing costs. Advertisement fees will not be included in the calculation either. SK Telecom and LG Telecom agreed to follow the guideline but KT Corp., the country's largest telecom operator, refused to do so arguing that the figure 100 billion won should be increased up to 300 billion won, said Shin. "We will publicize the outcomes per quarter and we believe the telecoms will abide by the rules," he said. The guideline was released after KCC Chairman Choi See-joong held a meeting with the CEOs of the nation's three telecom companies earlier in March. They also requested last year that the state telecom regulator must make efforts to curb marketing competition between the telecom firms. In the wireless sector, KT used 29.8 percent of total sales on marketing in the first quarter of this year, while SKT and LGT spent 26.8 percent and 32.9 percent, respectively. This was an increase compared to the percentage used in marketing - 27.5 percent for KT, 21.4 percent for SKT and 24.4 percent for LGT - in the first quarter of last year. For the wired sector, KT used 7.9 percent of total sales, SK Broadband invested 19 percent and LGT spent 13.4 percent on marketing in the same period.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 05/13/2010

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BRUNEI: E-Govt Services Take Shortcut and Follow South Korea's Example

Brunei should take a leaf out of South Korea's experience in the development of its e-government services so that the Sultanate could save both time and money in the transformation towards e-governance. said a visiting professor from South Korea's Kookmin University. Currently ranked first in the world by the United Nations for the advancements made in their e-government implementation, South Korea possesses a lot of information and experience on e-government services which it could share with Brunei, Dr Sung Gul Hong told reporters yesterday on the sidelines of an international e-Government forum. As a Professor of Public Administration and Director of Kookmin Institute for Strategic Governance, Dr Sung suggested Brunei study South Korea's journey towards e-government, looking at both the success stories as well as the failures. "We have experienced most of the possible ways of establishing e-government services. So I think if Brunei would like to develop e-government services, then you have to study about what South Korea did and what were the outcomes of those policy efforts," he said. "Not just the success stories but the stories behind it - that is the trials and errors," he added. Dr Sung remarked that Korea had faced many failed cases as one of the pioneer countries to take on the transition towards e-governance. "We spent unnecessary money and in some cases, we have established new systems (which) are not used for three or more years.

Maybe (the system) is used just one time and that's it, and then we have to have a new system," he said. "So it costs a lot, but nothing is really created. There are many of that kind of stories," he added. Dr Sung cited one incident which occurred about a decade ago, when the South Korean government attempted to upgrade its "citizen registration card" from paper documents to the "smart card". However, civil groups voiced their opposition to the move, arguing the potential dangers of privacy leakages. At the time, civil groups were very active in promoting their own agenda and therefore, the policy of adopting the smart card was abandoned, despite a lot of money spent," he said. It was from such experiences that Brunei could learn from and avoid repeating the mistakes made, the professor said. As a follower, you (Brunei) can reduce a lot of costs. We (Korea) as a first-runner, we spent a lot of money on trials and errors, but you don't have to do that," he said. "By doing it that way, you can be successful in a shorter period of time." The South Korean also expressed his view that political leadership played the most crucial role in a country's transition towards e-government. "If you ask me to pick just one; the decisive factor in achieving e-government as well as national implementation in such a short period of time in Korea, I would like to say it is the political leadership," he said. "Having e-government, as I always emphasize, is a political issue, not a mechanical nor an economic issue. The strong willingness of the political leadership to adapt e-government services and provide e-government services to the public is the most important aspect".


From http://www.brudirect.com/ 05/12/2010

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SINGAPORE: Government Projects S$1.1b Worth of Public Sector Infocomm Tenders in FY2010

The Singapore Government announced today that it plans to invest S$1.1 billion worth of new infocomm tenders in Financial Year (FY) 2010. This is consistent with past years' procurement trends, excluding one-off major developmental projects such as the Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network and SOE projects, with the actual procurement in FY2009 being S$1.12 billion. This announcement was made today by RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), at the Industry Briefing 2010 on Business Opportunities for Infocomm in the Public Sector. Organised by IDA, the annual Briefing provides information to the infocomm industry about infocomm projects that are in the pipeline for Government agencies in the new FY.

Some of the other projects awarded in FY2009 include the Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network Operating Company, the expansion of the Expressway Monitoring & Advisory System or EMAS to manage major arterial roads, a revamped gov.sg portal to provide citizens with a single point of access to the latest key government news, events, online feedback for the government and a consolidated directory of government offices, key personnel and services, and i-Singapore which encourages innovative geospatial services by mash-up of public, private and people sector contents to create knowledge and value. Noting that the Government's continued investment and emphasis on infocomm will contribute to sustaining and enhancing the economy's innovation potential and long-term competitiveness, RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay encouraged infocomm companies to leverage programmes like the Government Technology Experiments & Trials Programme or TREATS to test-bed cutting edge solutions to meet business needs expressed by government agencies. He also encouraged the industry to contribute their ideas for the next e-Government Masterplan, which will leverage on innovative technologies and collaboration between the public, private and people sectors for the development and delivery of public services through infocomm.


From http://www.igov.gov.sg/ 05/11/2010

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VIET NAM: Lawmakers Get Online Q&A

VietNamNet Bridge - The National Assembly launched its official Yoosk site yesterday, March 23, creating another digital engagement platform between lawmakers and their constituents as well as the general public. Yoosk, which simply means "you ask", is a web platform that enables people to communicate with their representatives. The launch was attended by Scott Wightman, director of the Asia-Pacific Region, the UK's Foreign&Commonwealth Office; British Ambassador Mark Kent; deputy head of the National Assembly Office Nguyen Si Dung; and several legislators. http://hoidap.quochoi.vn, the site, allows the public to raise questions to National Assembly deputies by directly sending them to specific members in a list of participating deputies putting them under a broad topic. The questions will be answered immediately or before a specific deadline.

One feature of Yoosk is the voting mechanism which allows users to rate the questions/answers. Users are also allowed to post their comments on questions and answers. The British embassy in Ha Noi has provided £30,000 (US$45,270) since last October to create the site which is widely used by government officials in the UK. "Our Foreign Secretary and many MPs have been using Yoosk to engage with the public," Kent said. "In Viet Nam, our colleagues at the National Assembly Office have been very active in taking forward this initiative to foster their public engagement."


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 03/24/2010

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INDIA: E-Procurement System Implemented by MCL

The Mahanadi Coalfield Limited (MCL) has implemented the e-Procurement system for finalising its various tenders on the state government e-Tender portal developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC). The system of e-Procurement as implemented in the MCL has got a system online for evaluation of tenders apart from online submission of tenders by the bidders. The MCL e-procurement portal (http://mcltenders.gov.in) was inaugurated for all the tenders valuing Rs 10 lakh and more on August 15, 2009. After four months, on December 15, 2009, the MCL took another decision to reduce this limit to Rs 2 lakh. The implementation of e-procurement has started showing its results.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 03/15/2010

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3i Infotech Pullout to Hit E-Governance Plan

ICICI Bank-backed IT firm 3i Infotech has withdrawn its bid to set up 11,500 Common Service Centres (CSC) giving a blow to the government's ambitious plan of setting up a network of 1,00,000 CSCs across the country. The CSCs are part of the Rs 23,000-crore National e-Governance plan (NeGP) which was announced in the UPA's first tenure and was conceptualised for providing government and private services in the hinterland through e-Enabled kiosks.

Not just 3i Infotech (which was allocated the second highest number of CSCs after the West Bengal-based SREI group), Comat Technologies, which was supposed to set up around 6,000 CSCs has also pulled out of the venture. Around one-fourth of the 1 lakh CSCs have either been terminated, shut-down, withdrawn or not bid for. Another 5,000 CSCs have not received any interest from private players so far.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 03/17/2010

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Central Government Kicks Off 3G Spectrum Auction

New Delhi: The Union Government on Friday kick-started the much awaited auction of the third-generation (3G) telecom services, which is proposed to smooth the progress of high-speed mobile services in the country. In the current fiscal, the government has approximated a profit of about Rs. 35,000 crore from the sale of 3G services, which would provide faster connectivity and offer applications like internet TV, video-on-demand, audio-video calls and high-speed data exchange. According to reports, major telecom operators, including Vodafone, Bharti, Aircel, Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices, are participating in the auction process for airwaves in all 22 service areas. The Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) for the auction was issued on February 25, and as per NIA four operators will be allowed in five states of Punjab, West Bengal, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu Kashmir. There will be three private players for most of the circles, including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. The bidders will be allowed to start the 3G services on commercial basis from September 1.


From http://www.newkerala.com/ 04/09/2010

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Adobe India Sees Opportunity in E-Governance

With the government pushing e-Governance in a big way, software firm Adobe India sees a huge potential and growth in this segment. Adobe has made its mark in the Indian market in document management system and document rights management. Adobe has also been part of a few projects like MCA 21 (an e-Governance initiative of the corporate affairs ministry), where a lot of companies are involved. Two other sectors in which Adobe has a strong presence are finance and education. Adobe India is a subsidiary of the US-based leading software maker, Adobe Systems Inc.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 04/13/2010

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Indian Government Set to Popularise E-Governance at RTOs

A visit to any Regional Transport Office (RTO) in the city is an indicator of how government-to-citizen (G2C) interfaces work. While the frustrating, long queues and short-staffed counters were supposed to be addressed by e-Governance initiatives, such hopes largely remain on paper. Not many of those visiting the RTOs even seem to be aware of the Transport Department's e-Services portal - http://transport.tn.nic.in/transport/ - which has been active for almost to two years. Various forms can be downloaded for free from the portal. One can also fix up an appointment with the Regional Transport Officer to get a license instead of waiting in long queues or use it to send in grievances.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 04/15/2010

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Software Asset Management Programme Launched with Centre of E-Governance of Karnataka

Business Software Alliance in partnership with Center of e-Governance, Karnataka Government launched the programme 'Relevance of Software Asset Management (SAM) for Public Sector Undertakings'. The programme was targetted at taking the ISO Standard of Software Asset Management and its benefits to the State-run PSUs in Karnataka. With the program, BSA aims to introduce the principles of SAM, its salient features and its core business benefits to PSUs as part of its education/awareness initiatives with the support and endorsement of the Center of e-Governance, Government of Karnataka.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 05/03/2010

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Bihar Government Urges for E-Payment of Taxes

Bihar deputy chief minister have urged to the Centre to arrange for e-Payment in all banks for realisation of taxes. Lack of e-Payment facility with banks other than the State Bank of India was the biggest hurdle in the way of realisation of taxes and the Centre should take immediate initiatives for it. The Central Excise department was availing e-Payment facilities from 26 leading banks in India, but the same facilities don't exist in the states. Bihar could realise revenue of Rs5531 crore during the last fiscal (2009-10) of which the state government received 46 per cent as payment of taxes through e-Payment system. With the introduction of the e-Payment system in other banks can help boost the state government's effort to improve revenue collection.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 05/12/2010

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3G Auction: Delhi Attracts Highest Bid at Over Rs.3000 Crore

Email New Delhi: India Saturday concluded 172 rounds of an auction to award spectrum for third generation (3G) telecom services in the country, with the government's provisional revenue from the sale of airwaves reaching Rs.63,885.45 crore and Delhi attracting the highest bid at over Rs.3,000 crore. At the end of the 31st day of the auction, which began April 9, the pan-India 3G licence price stood at Rs.15,814.15 crore, which is 352 percent higher than the Rs.3,500 crore reserve price. With aggressive bidding in few circles, the government is poised to get more than Rs.65,000 crore from the 3G auction alone, though it had estimated to rake in Rs.55,000 crore from both the 3G auction and the rolling out of broadband wireless internet services. Slots for three-four players are available in each of the 22 circles into which the country has been geographically divided for the 3G services, which will facilitate faster connectivity and enable applications such as Internet TV, video-on-demand, audio-video calls and high-speed data exchange. Nine telecom companies - Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Vodafone Essar, Idea Cellular, Tata Teleservices, Aircel, Etisalat, S Tel and Videocon Telecommunications - are participating in the online auction process which will end only when the demand is equal to the number of slots available in each circle. The government has already given Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) spectrum for 3G services on the condition that they pay the same licence fee as would be levied on private players after the auction. Data on the Department of Telecommunications' website showed that Delhi once again became the favourite of bidders attracting the highest bid at Rs.3,032.85 crore. The provisional winning price for Mumbai stood at Rs.2,998.66 crore, followed by Karnataka at Rs.1,564.27 crore, Tamil Nadu at Rs.1,464.94 crore and Andhra Pradesh at Rs.1,280.79 crore. While Punjab, Orissa, Kolkata and Uttar Pradesh (west) witnessed more players in fray than the number of slots available, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Rajasthan could not attract enough bidders. The ongoing 3G auction is a simultaneous auction for the 22 circles over a secure website. At each round, the price is hiked from between 10-1 percent based on demand. The auction is being held on all days except Sundays and national holidays. The bid data, including the winning companies' names, will be made public only after the auction's completion and approval by the government. The winning firms will have to deposit the money within 10 days after the auction and the successful bidders would be allowed to offer 3G services on a commercial basis from Sep 1.


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 05/16/2010

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ARMENIA: State Officials Spend Work Time in Social Networking Sites

Armenian state officials log into their free online email accounts and into different chatrooms while at work, said Armenian Presidential Staff Public Relations and Information Department Chair and IT specialist Ara Saghatelyan at a press conference. According to him, these actions put the security of internal data at risk. We have an issue of a lack of "information hygiene," said Saghatelyan. "How to explain to officials not to log into Odnoklassniki [a sort of Russian-language Facebook] from state computers?" The state employee also added that it's not possible to shut down in a year that which has been open for many years. On this matter, he said, we will organize corresponding lectures in the second half of this year.


From http://www.today.az/ 03/24/2010

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Armenian-Russian Innovation Center to Open Soon

The Armenian government has approved the decision to sign a memorandum of cooperation in the filed of information technologies between the RA Ministry of Economy and the RF Federal Agency on CIS affairs, compatriots living abroad and international humanitarian cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo). According to Armenian Economy Minister Nerses Yeritsyan, the memorandum envisages establishment of the pioneer Armenian-Russian innovation center, which will bring together leading specialists in the filed. The opening ceremony till take place in mid-April.


From http://www.panarmenian.net/ 04/08/2010

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International Councils to Be Formed for Implementation of All-Armenian Network Project

Executive Director of the National Competitiveness Foundation of Armenia (NCFA) Bekor Papazyan said that certain steps are taken for the implementation of All-Armenian Network project, specifically, specialized international councils will be formed. "The councils will deal with three basic fields, in which works have already started: education (with participation of the RA Ministry of Education and Science), healthcare (for the establishment of an oncological center) and tourism," Mr. Papazyan told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter. He noted that the councils will consist of local and foreign specialists. Armenia will be the ideological link to unite Diaspora," he said.


From http://www.panarmenian.net/ 05/03/2010

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AZERBAIJAN: First Communications Satellite Launch Project Is on the Move

The winner of the tender for determining launch vehicle producer within the framework of Azerbaijan's first communications satellite launch project will be known in the second half of this year. Minister of Communications and Information Technologies Ali Abbasov said that the launch vehicle producing company will be determined three months after the contract is signed with the main producing company. According to Abbasov, the main criterion in choosing the company will be the reliability of the launch vehicle. Azerbaijan's Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies invited Russia's State Enterprise named after Khrunichev, which produces Proton launch vehicle, Ukraine's Yujnoe commercial organization, which produces Zenit launch vehicle, and European Space Agency, which produces Ariane launch vehicle, to participate in the tender. According to the international experts, taking into account that Azerbaijani satellite has been prepared in the same module with the Orbital-built Intelsat 15 communications satellite, which was launched aboard a Land Launch Zenit rocket from Baikonur, Russian and Ukrainian companies will struggle seriously to win the tender. They also say Zenit is a lighter, cheaper, but a less reliable variant. Moreover, it is noted that deficiency of launch vehicles has been observed in Yujnoe company recently. As regards, Ariane, experts consider that in this case the question will be a joint launch and one of the producers will have to wait.


From http://www.today.az/ 04/17/2010

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President of Azerbaijan Has Established "Azerkosmos" JSC

In order to launch into orbit a telecommunications satellite, its management and implementation of maintenance work, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on Monday to establish Joint Stock Company "Azerkosmos, subordinated to the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of Azerbaijan, whose shares are publicly owned, AzerTAj state news agency reported. Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan charged to approve the charter and the structure of society, establishment of charter capital; Ministry of Communications and Information Technology - to determine the direction of the company, giving consent to the appointment and dismissal of heads of branches and representative offices of the company and and its subordinate bodies with legal personality; approval of annual reports, balance sheets, profit and loss account, profit and loss distribution of the company, giving consent to the transaction in excess of twenty-five percent of the net asset value of the company (transactions of particular value), approve a numerical limit of the workers and the budget cost of the company; appointment and dismissal of vice-chairman of the company.

The State Committee of Azerbaijan Republic on the property issues charged giving consent to creation or abolition of branches and representative offices of the company, creation, reorganization or abolition of its subordinate bodies with legal personality, related to the power of the general meeting in accordance with the Civil Code of Azerbaijan Republic, except where noted in this decree. The appointment and dismissal of the chairman of the company, solution issues of reorganization and the abolition of the company will be implemented by the President of Azerbaijan. Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan also charged in a two month period, in coordination with the President of Azerbaijan, to approve the charter and the structure of society, ensure planning in project of state budget of Azerbaijan for successive years of appropriate funds for the manufacture and placing in orbit a telecommunication satellite, development and construction in accordance with basic international standards of primary and backup ground Satellite Control Centre, with the condition of their return, before orbiting a telecommunication satellite of Azerbaijan provide funding for the maintenance of the company at the expense of state budget, within two months to take the necessary measures for providing a company relevant land area for construction of primary and backup ground Satellite Control Center; resolve other issues arising from this decree.

Ministry of Taxes of Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijan State Committee on property issues are charged within its authority to implement the necessary measures for the state registration of the company. Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of Azerbaijan is also charged for establishing in Azerbaijan Republic a relevant council to explore the scientific and technological achievements and excellence in the field of space activities, participation in acceptance of appropriate measures to implement the state policy in this area and to prepare proposals concerning the development of the industry. In order to return funds to the company, requested to establish a special foundation for collecting and ensuring the accumulation in this foundation and returning to Azerbaijan's state budget funds, received from the services of telecommunication satellites.


From http://en.trend.az/ 05/04/2010

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Azerbaijani Government Pondering Ways to Control the Web

A game of free-speech cat-and-mouse is moving into another media sphere in Azerbaijan, where officials in Baku are mulling the introduction of a licensing system for online radio and TV operations. Media rights advocates are decrying licensing plans as a means of control over the free flow of information. Citing claims about Internet users' alleged "illegal activities," Minister of Communication and Information Technologies Ali Abbasov on April 17 called for the licensing of websites, including radio, TV and online "commercial services." The minister did not provide details about the supposed "illegal activities," but described licensing as a way to provide for Azerbaijan's information security. "There is no mechanism today to influence them," the news portal Sia.az quoted Abbasov as saying, referring to news websites. "If we would have licensing, we would be able to systematize our Internet activities and it would lead to [their] development, as well." The head of Azerbaijan's National TV and Radio Council (NTRC), Nushiravan Maggeramli, made similar comments on April 22, when he called for stronger controls for online radio and TV. EurasiaNet.org could not reach Maggeramli for clarification, but NTRC attorney Tohid Aliyev said that the council has been working to develop a mechanism for the regulation of online media outlets for some time. He could not state whether or not a draft plan for licensing has been formulated. "There is no doubt, electronic media should be under control," Aliyev said. "It is not permitted that everyone can say whatever comes into his mind, something against the state or pornographic materials. Therefore, a legal framework should be established in order to prevent illegal activities."

Azerbaijan's Internet usage has exploded in recent years, a period that has coincided with a government crackdown on more traditional broadcast and print media outlets. These days, television and radio stations are largely limited to government-sympathetic programming. [For additional information see EuarsiaNet's archive]. Minister Abbasov put the number of Internet users in Azerbaijan at between 2.3 million to 3.0 million - roughly a third of the number of mobile phone users, Radio Azadliq reported. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development stated in a May 4 release that Azerbaijan's number of Internet users has quadrupled since 2002, although as many as 70 percent of subscribers still rely on dial-up service providers. Despite a paucity of Internet Service Providers outside of Baku, the country features an active network of bloggers; social networking sites like Facebook are also routinely used to disseminate information critical of the government. Facebook reports that its number of users from Azerbaijan has increased by 50,000 people since January 2010 alone to almost 155,000 people. Calling the licensing statements "a shameless offensive against the Internet," international media watchdog Reporters Without Borders asserted in a May 6 statement that Azerbaijani officials want to license radio and TV sites in order "to maintain their monopoly of news and information." On May 3, World Press Freedom Day, representatives of 15 media and civil society organizations expressed similar concerns, noting that "[m]any Azerbaijani citizens have lost their trust in traditional TV and radio broadcasters, and have moved on to more credible and objective information sources." Mehman Aliyev, director of the pro-opposition Turan news agency, who signed the statement, asserted that the government's motivation for the licensing plan was to restrict opportunities for free debate and discussion. The government's desire to control public discourse is expected to intensify in the coming months, as the country is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections November 7.

"The Internet is a platform for mass communication between people on various issues, including political, social and economic. ... As the number of Internet users increases, the Internet's impact on public opinion increases, too. And, this is dangerous for an authoritarian power," Aliyev said. Currently, only Azerbaijan Network Television (ANTV), a citizen-journalism operation, could be termed an online TV outlet; it also uses YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to broadcast its video reports. One founder of ANTV, Emin Milli, is now serving a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence for alleged hooliganism. [For background see EurasiaNet's archive]. The website for Radio Azadliq, the Azerbaijani service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, has also become an increasingly popular source for news. The station lost its ability to broadcast on Azerbaijan's domestic airwaves in 2009. [For background see EurasiaNet's archive]. Emin Huseynov, director of the Institute of Reporters' Freedom and Safety, said there are ways for websites to evade the licensing scheme's apparent intent. Online TV sites can easily register abroad to broadcast Azeri and Russian-language programs, he noted. Huseynov added that efforts to introduce regulations for online TV sites may be influenced by how quickly the channels develop. "If, indeed, alternative Internet TV channels appear in Azerbaijan, which could attract a wide audience, then the adoption of such a law is not excluded," he said. Together with Turan, Huseynov's Institute plans to launch a "professional online TV" site modeled on Euronews with news reports five times per day, Huseynov said. Tests for the site have already begun. If Azerbaijan moves to license such sites, he continued, "[t]hen Azerbaijan will be in line with China and Cuba, where the Internet is under state control."


From http://www.eurasianet.org/ 05/13/2010

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KYRGYZSTAN: Social Networks Helping to Cope with Fallout from Disorder

The ability of social networking platforms to mobilize anti-government protesters is a well-documented phenomenon. But in the aftermath of recent political unrest in Kyrgyzstan, social networks also have proven themselves a useful tool for maintaining order, and for helping the victims of violence. Before the April 6-7 events that sent former president Kurmanbek Bakiyev into exile, social media platforms had become a critical outlet for independent reporting and information sharing, given the Bakiyev administration's growing control of mainstream media outlets. [For background see EurasiaNet's archive]. In the midst of the popular upheaval, a handful of social networking websites - including Twitter and Facebook, but predominantly popular, local forums, such as diesel.elcat.kg and kloop.kg - became the focal point of a massive online information exchange. In particular, Diesel - with nearly 40,000 registered users - established itself as a go-to source for information, as well as rumors, concerning the violence, looting, and the subsequent workings of the provisional government. [For background see EurasiaNet's archive]. "Posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Diesel Forums provided immediate information later confirmed by credible news agencies. From these sources I was able to update my relatives in remote parts of the country with a phone call," said Nazima Adbybekova a young woman from the southeastern city of Naryn now working in Bishkek. Before the unrest, "Diesel was where everyone came for an honest and fair discussion on the political situation in Kyrgyzstan. This continued as protests grew in Bishkek and everyone needed quick and accessible information," said Ajara Beishembaeva, chair of the Masters of Business Administration program at the American University of Central Asia. To the satisfaction of many social networking users, such rapid-fire communications platforms were useful not only in helping to tear down of a corrupt administration, but in attempts to construct a new order. Almost immediately after the collapse of Bakiyev's administration, social media users shifted their focus, using networks to stop looting. For example, as rioters smashed shop windows and ransacked government ministries on the nights of April 7-8, social networking websites led the effort to organize volunteer, civilian defense brigades.

The volunteer groups saw their membership swell when online posts called for emergency protection. Organizers then published relevant contact information for interested individuals. "People posted my phone number and the contact information of our druzhina [civilian defense group] on Diesel. If there were any problems for those facing the looters, we would receive a call and come immediately to protect and defend their property," said Orzubek Nazarov, a former MP and champion boxer who founded the 3,000-member strong Spartak Druzhina. On the street, civilian defense group members used cell phone browsers to check updated postings to track the movement of looters, Nazarov said. Once the immediate threat of looting was contained, social networking was instrumental in organizing charity efforts to help those affected by the unrest. "We used social media and networking sites like Diesel and Facebook to quickly raise money," said Asel Kasenova, one of the founding members of the April Relief Fund, a group that raised more than $1,700 from local donors and over $3,500 internationally in one week. Another charity effort provided material assistance to police officers who were deployed against protesters in Bishkek on April 7. Many members of security forces were afraid to come to work after the April events, fearing they would be blamed for the bloodshed and face retribution. But hearing how young police cadets injured in the riots were unable to afford medical treatment, former journalist Sveta Shonarova created a Diesel post that immediately received widespread support across the country. Spurred on by her efforts, Internet users sent food, medicine, and 10 kilograms of letters to police officers injured during the uprising. "The 10,000 visitors in two hours after posting was quite a shock. Everyone was willing to help, offering their time and wanting to donate their resources," said Shonarova. In an April 20 news release, the Interior Ministry recognized the role played by social media platforms and thanked Diesel users for assisting injured officers.

While beneficial in many instances, social networks during the April events also helped propagate false rumors, stoking fears and, possibly, inciting violence. "Of Course Diesel and Facebook were huge for informing people across the country [about events], but, at times, individuals with suspicious agendas spread lies and even dangerous provocations," said Aizat Jakybalieva a local university student who followed the events of April 6 and 7 online. In perhaps the most significant case of fear-mongering, one online post during the evening of April 7 reported that 50,000 pro-Bakiyev supporters were intent on converging on Bishkek, with the apparent intention of restoring the ousted president. The rumor was false, but it nevertheless circulated quickly, spreading panic throughout the city. Diesel tried to curb such abuse by placing a moratorium on new registrants and introducing guidelines, but plenty of subsequent unsubstantiated rumors have made it into circulation. Some were later deleted. There are some in Kyrgyzstan who believe that meddlesome foreign actors used the anonymity provided by social networking websites to carry out an information campaign against the Bakiyev government. And many fingers are pointing not westward, but to Kyrgyzstan's large neighbor to the North. A US Embassy official told EurasiaNet.org; "Look at the huge number of newly registered users on Diesel Forums leading up to the uprising. I'd say the Russian government was using the site as a way to influence events on the streets."


From http://www.eurasianet.org/ 05/06/2010

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KAZAKHSTAN: Statistics Agency Requests Government to Allocate 15 Million KZT for Creation of Information Integrated System

The Statistics Agency of Kazakhstan has requested the government to allocate 15 million KZT for creation of the information integrated system E-statistics. The chairman of the agency, Alihan Smailov, informed during the press conference, the agency reports. "We asked this money for creation of the information integrated system E-statistics," A. Smailov said. "The head of the Statistics Agency said the agency requires 15 million KZT for creation of the E-statistics system." "I think that the uniform integrated information system will start its work from the beginning of 2015. All will depend on financing, on how we will be supported by the Republican Budgetary Commission," he noted.


From http://engnews.gazeta.kz/ 04/06/2010

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Kazakhstan E-government Is at Third Interactive Stage of Development

The Kazakhstan e-government is at the third interactive stage of development. The participants of the 42nd session of the Board of the Communications Administrations Heads and the 15th session of the Coordinating Information Council in Moscow with participation of the delegation of the Ministry of Communications and Information headed by the head of the department, Askar Zhumagaliev, were informed during the session, the agency reports citing the Ministry of Communications and Information of Kazakhstan. According to the press service, according to the electronic government readiness index, in comparison with 2008, Kazakhstan has risen by 35 positions (from 81 up to 46), and according to the electronic services index - from 95 - up to 24. The Kazakhstan e-government is at the third interactive stage of development.


From http://engnews.gazeta.kz/ 05/12/2010

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AUSTRALIA: Regulator to Probe Consumer Complaints

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has announced that it will conduct a formal inquiry into customer service and complaints handling in the telecommunications industry following what it says is an on-going high volume of complaints to the industry ombudsman. Announcing the inquiry, ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman said, "Many would share the ACMA's concern about whether the current arrangements which underpin telecommunications consumer protection are really effective in dealing with the issues that concern consumers most." "The trend-line growth and sheer quantum of complaints about complaint handling and customer service - up to 900 every working day - reflects poorly on the entire industry. Whether this is evidence of a failing regulatory system or just a perception of that failure, I now believe this issue has to be confronted directly and urgently otherwise we will be talking about these same issues for years to come." Mr Chapman also foreshadowed other regulators with roles in the telecommunications sector joining the ACMA in a regulatory forum.

"As part of the inquiry, I will personally brief CEO's of the larger service providers (representing 90 per cent of the TIO complaints) and ask for their support. As the learnings emerge from the inquiry, I will seek their collective agreement on enforceable strategies for lowering the number of complaints to the industry ombudsman about complaint handing." he added. "As regulators, we need to turn the mirror on our structures and roles. I do not believe the current regulatory 'alphabet soup' of ACMAs, TIOs, ACCCs, DBCDEs, CAs and TISSCs (along with the state Offices of Fair Trading) is leading to the best solution for some of the bigger problems. In the short-term, I will be seeking to work with my colleagues at the ACCC and the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and with consumer groups, led by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, to identify emerging issues in telecommunications and develop appropriate regulatory responses. This is best done in collaboration."


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 04/20/2010

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Government to Extend Protection from Telemarketing Calls

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy today announced he would introduce amendments to extend the registration period for the Do Not Call Register. "Current legislation requires that phone numbers be re-registered every three years," Senator Conroy said. "That means from the end of May, the phone numbers of those who registered in May 2007 will start to become available to telemarketers, unless they are re-registered." Senator Conroy said he would introduce an amendment to the Do Not Call Register Amendment Bill 2009 which was currently before the Parliament. The amendment would replace the current registration period with an arrangement that enables the Minister to determine the appropriate registration period. "Initially, I propose this be set at five years," Senator Conroy said. "As soon as these amendments come into effect, the numbers of those who registered later in 2007 will not need to be re-registered until 2012."

The Government has had constructive discussions with the Greens on this issue and calls on the Opposition to support these beneficial measures. To facilitate the quick passage of these amendments, the Government will not proceed with the proposal to extend the Register to include business numbers in the current legislation. Stakeholders, including the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia, raised concerns that the inclusion of business numbers would impede legitimate business communications. "The Government is keeping an open mind on this issue and intends to do further research and consultation with stakeholders." People can re-register their details at any time by visiting the Register website at www.donotcall.gov.au or by calling 1300 792 958. Information on proposed changes to the Do Not Call Register can be found at: www.dbcde.gov.au/donotcall.


From http://www.minister.dbcde.gov.au/ 04/30/2010

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Gruen: Real Government Social Media Work Begins Now

The real social media work in Federal Government will come from agencies and public servants rather than high-level bureaucrats, according to author of the Government 2.0 Taskforce report. Nicholas Gruen told Computerworld Australia he was "very pleased" with the Federal Government's response to the report announced this week. "We gave them a good plate full of quite strong recommendations and they've dealt with them, not only in good faith but with enthusiasm," he said. However, Gruen said he was more interested in how the Government's response would affect the way departments and individuals enact the recommendations. "People were always talking to me about the Government's responses, if it was the make or break for the taskforce and for the policy. While at the highest levels of Government we could have done a good job or stuffed it up, the real work gets done at the agency level and the individual public servant level. That's where the really important work gets to be done."

Under the report's recommendations, which were agreed to by the Government, the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) would negotiate with the Department of Finance and Deregulation as well as individual departments on developing online engagement policies for staff. "It is incumbent on the senior APS leadership to ensure that top-down change is enabled in agencies," the Government's response reads, "and that APS employees are genuinely encouraged and empowered to engage online within their agency-specific context." Some policies already exist - such as those from Immigration and Finance itself. In addition, the Finance department's Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) has established the first Government blog hosted on the Joomla-based Govspace website. According to the Australian Government chief information officer, Ann Steward, the blog intends to be an open forum of discussion between the office and the public, in which comments will be lightly moderated and acknowledged.

However, how these policies translate to action from the agencies and the individuals is yet to be ascertained. The recognition of Government 2.0 effort in the Federal Government's existing e-government awards system is believed to incentivise change in this regard. "Agencies may wish to develop internal incentive mechanisms - in addition to the Government 2.0 awards proposed at recommendation 5 of the Report - to encourage employee innovation and online engagement," the response said. Acidlabs founder and social media expert, Stephen Collins, applauded the Government's efforts to recognise public servants and whole agencies that engage online. "Very many public servants already engage online," Collins wrote on the Acidlabs website. "That they now have an imprimatur to do so should see a significant growth in such engagement... I suspect, however, that many agencies will remain reluctant to engage openly while certain attitudes amongst some senior management, IT and agency security staff and DSD remain in place."

Collins said that a directive from higher-level government agencies, rather than a recommendation, would help push traditionally reluctant agencies to rethink policies. As part of the changes, the Finance department will also establish a restricted online forum to "assist agencies to record their initiatives and lessons learned", though no specific timeframe has been set. Collins pointed to an existing forum, Govdex, but suggested that a new, less restricted forum may provide better incentive to some departments. Gruen said he wasn't concerned about one of the major pitfalls of the Government's response; the lack of clear timelines for implementing the recommendations. "That's one of the difficulties of the agenda; it's not something that one can simply conjure up," he said. "You can't say 'within six months at least three departments will be running blogs.' We argue that there are lots of opportunities for government agencies to behave like we behaved when we ran the taskforce." "The only thing is, we can't know if it's a success until we see how projects get delivered and the extent to which things change."


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 05/04/2010

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Government Going About NBN Backwards: Ludlam

The NBN Implementation Study is another sign that the Federal Government has gone about building the National Broadband Network (NBN) in a backwards manner, according to Greens Senator, Scott Ludlam. "The government's put itself into a very difficult position," he told Computerworld Australia. "Because we've established NBN Co, it's started digging trenches and rolling out cable before we've got legislation and before we've got the implementation study. There's no framework around this thing, we've got a business that's up and running needing, for the minister's purposes, to score points before the election season really gets run up." While Ludlam recognised the KPMG and McKinsey & Company-penned implementation report as important to assessing the economics of the fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network, Ludlam agreed with criticisms that it told Senator Stephen Conroy what he wanted to hear.

"They're doing all of the thinking and all of the legislative work after the entity has been created, and have already started spending taxpayers' money." Conroy's two-month delay on the public release of the report has further slowed the legislative process, which is meant to ensure the company building the network doesn't become another taxpayer-funded Telstra. Those fears have been previously echoed by Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, who told radio personality, Alan Jones, recently that a nationalised telecommunications carrier would reiterate the monopolistic attitude held by Telstra. However, unlike Abbott, Ludlam said he believed the key to avoiding another Telstra was to keep NBN Co in public hands. "Even if it's got at a very strong mandate only to provide wholesale, open access services to all access seekers, there's still enough wiggle room for that entity to become a concern," he said. One of the key losses in privatising NBN Co is Parliamentary accountability, a government mechanism the Senate has already utilised to draw out concealed or poorly understood information from chief executive officer, Mike Quigley.

"We lose those mechanisms the day they privatise it," Ludlam said. The public also loses any further return on taxpayer investment into the government. The implementation study estimated NBN Co could deliver a six to seven per cent return on investment by year 15. However, given the company is already expected to be completely privatised by that time, any further return goes directly to private, rather than public, interests. With surrounding legislation expected to reach Parliament from next week, Ludlam said greater visibility would ensure these concerns did not become reality. "I think it would help all of the crossbenchers if the Minister could be a bit freer about disclosing information before being expected to debate bills."


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 05/07/2010

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Rudd Government Committed to Web 2.0 Implementation Across Government to Improve Engagement & Transparency

The Rudd Government has taken a major step towards more participatory and open Government with the release of its response to the Government 2.0 Taskforce report today. Lindsay Tanner, Minister for Finance and Deregulation and Senator Joe Ludwig, Cabinet Secretary and Special Minister of State commissioned the Taskforce last year to investigate how the Australian Government could utilise Web 2.0 technologies to deliver better services to, and facilitate greater engagement with, citizens into the future. Lindsay Tanner said:  "Web 2.0 technologies provide significant scope for the Government to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of service delivery, public administration and community engagement.  "The Government's response to the report prepared by the Taskforce shows we are supportive of the overwhelming majority of their recommendations and committed to progressing this agenda across government."

The report recommended that the Australian Government make a declaration of open government.  Senator Ludwig said the Government had accepted that recommendation and expects to make such a declaration in the near future. "The Government has progressed a number of issues recommended by the Government 2.0 Taskforce.  For instance, the FOI reforms will require more government information to be released and published under the new Information Publication Scheme."  "Along with these FOI reforms, today's announcement represents a significant cultural change for the Australian Public Service, as does broader use of Web 2.0 tools such as social media applications," Senator Ludwig said. Twelve of the report's 13 recommendations were generally agreed to. One recommendation regarding tax deductibility for information philanthropy has been deferred for consideration until it can be considered in the context of the review of Australia's Future Tax System and the research report on the Contribution of the Not-for-Profit Sector. Lindsay Tanner said:  "The task now is to implement these changes, beginning with assisting agencies to make the most of the opportunities offered by Web 2.0.

"One of the first examples of this is a new blog which will be managed by the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) within the Department of Finance and Deregulation to provide a forum for discussion on issues surrounding government use of ICT, and essentially to continue the conversation that was started by the Gov 2.0 Taskforce. "There is no doubt that the Australian Government will increasingly be looking for ICT solutions to 21st century challenges and there is also no doubt that not all of those solutions are going to come from inside government.  That is what Gov 2.0 is all about, sharing information and engaging with citizens to determine better ways of doing things."


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 05/07/2010

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Govt to Spend $40m on Aged Care IT Systems

THE federal government will spend nearly $40 million on IT systems to support its plan to take responsibility for aged care service from states and territories. Budget papers reveal that the Department of Health and Ageing will spend $38.3m over four years on a new national IT system as part of its plan to reform management of Home and Community Care (HACC). An initial tranche of $20m was expected to be spent establishing the system in the 2011 financial year, the government said. The government first revealed its plan to reform HACC in its National Health and Hospitals Network (NHHN) agenda last April but did not announce the new IT system at the time.

Budget papers released last night said that the national IT system would "consolidate and manage contracts and to remove inequalities and inconsistencies across the states in aged care fee structures." The April statement also contained a detailed sketch of a $32m plan to provide older families with a national network of telephone and web-based "one-stop-shops" to dispense aged care information and assessments. Last night's budget papers revealed that the network of information centres would cost $36.8m over four years. The government plans to take responsibility for the management of aged care HACC services from July 1, 2012.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 05/12/2010

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Abbott's Public Sector Hiring Freeze Could Hurt ICT Skills

The Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's 2010 Budget reply has left some serious questions within the ICT industry around its impact on the ongoing skills shortage within the sector. The reply commits the Opposition, upon taking power, to implementing a freeze on public sector graduate recruitment for two years and the non-replacement of 6000 senior bureaucrats who retire or resign each year. According Bob Olivier, director at recruiter the Olivier Group, announcing a headcount freeze, rather than hiring freeze would leave the public sector without the flexibility to manage its skill base. "I could understand if they said they wanted a headcount freeze... but if you freeze recruitment it's a really short sighted thing especially if you have key people leaving, or simply don't have the talent existing at the government agency," he said.

"Government departments do a lot of graduate recruitment and they do it so they can build from the bottom up. If you pull the plug on that you, it is again a very short sighted thing to do, as you will inevitably suffer down the track." Olivier also stressed the importance of managing the growing number of senior baby boomer staff who would be retiring in the next couple of years, leaving a "black hole" at the top of many organisations and departments. "The public service will have quite a few people who fall under that category, and find it hard at the best of times to replace them, so it will leave a vacuum and will be probably even more catastrophic, so it doesn't bode well at all." Bruce Lakin, CEO at the Australian Computer Society (ACS) said the industry organisation was concerned about the potential impact on skills - particularly around those used to maintain the legacy systems common to the public sector.

"We would have concern if Tony's policy caused the loss of skills relating to established legacy systems as that could expose the government, in terms of the ability to provide services," he said. "However, we would support the policy if it brings more focus on the use of ICT to increase the productivity of government because if they are to maintain the level of services they commit to supply, and with less employees, then it's difficult to see how they would do that without better leveraging their ICT. It's an excellent challenge for ICT professionals." On the issue of freezing graduate hires Lakin said the two-year time frame could allow universities the space to adopt a greater degree of "workplace integrated learning" into their ICT curiculla. "In the horizon Tony has painted - if we can get universities and industry onboard - the government sector would get the added human capital resource of undergrads with ICT qualifications as interns which might offset the hiring freeze, plus at the end of Tony's horizon, you will have a pool of ICT graduates much better equipped to enter the workforce at a time when their skills are in high demand."

Despite this potential upside, Olivier said that the Opposition would do well to remember the dangers of hiring freezes as seen in the private sector following the 2001-02 dotcom crash. "Organisations that didn't hire - just put freezes on for a couple of years - constantly struggled significantly after that," he said. "Whereas what hasn't happened this time around with the GFC is that organisations have continued to hire - albeit in smaller numbers - because they don't what that situation reoccurring." Olivier said that recent hiring within the public sector had not been particularly high - largely due to cutbacks driven by the Gershon Review and the GFC - so further cuts to hiring could hurt the sector. Despite this, the Opposition's plan could potentially be worked around by the public sector - via the use of third party consultants and outsourcers - effectively negating the fiscal saving intended by the hiring freeze, he said. "It's all in the wording," he said. "Yes, there's no new, fresh hires, but [Abbott] has left open a way to escape this and get around it so it is just political posturing. And what about the NBN? There will have to be some exceptions there otherwise the thing won't get off the ground." Earlier in the week the ICT sector appeared to have missed out on a share of a new $200 million Critical Skills Investment Fund announced as part of the Budget. In addition to the fund, the Federal Government announced it would create 39,000 new training places in sectors facing high skills demand. It highlighted the construction, infrastructure, renewable energy and resource sectors as priority markets. No mention was made of the ICT sector despite recruitment firms and analysts warning of a skills shortage in the industry for some time.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 05/14/2010

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Industry Opens Up on Finance's Gov 2.0 Blog

Finance's freshly minted Government 2.0 blog may be just days old, but it is already prompting detailed discussion on how the Federal Government can improve its tendering and procurement processes. Posting as a comment on the site, online director at the Department of Health and Ageing, Craig Thomler, offered a raft of recommendations aimed at improving the procurement process, such as the standardisation of tenders for common products and services such as HR, content management systems and telephony services. "I have observed that different government departments often seek to procure similar or identical systems... however each department creates its own [request for tender] separate to the others," the post reads. "There appears to be limited cross-fertilisation or standardisation of how the same requirement is written, making it difficult for vendors to sometimes understand and interpret the key requirements."

To address this, a government 'playbook' of key requirements, shared among departments, could aid vendors in better understanding tender requirements, Thomler suggested. To further assist vendors in their tendering, Thomler recommended the introduction of a rebate to SME-sized companies to help cover the costs of tendering to the Government, and a plain English summary for each tender. "Given the number of government tenders released at all three levels, plus commercial tenders, any mechanisms that help potential respondents to very quickly review and assess whether they wish to commit time to a response will aid vendors and potentially increase the quality of responses," the post reads. Thomler also questioned the common requirement that tender responses be lodged in Microsoft's proprietary Word or Excel format when alternatives such as Open Office and Google Docs existed.

Nigel Russell, of collaboration vendor NoMad Meetings, wrote in his post that, while input from SMEs was being sought by Government, the overhead costs required to respond to a tender was frequently too great. As a result, a separate or single section for SMEs to respond to could increase submissions from smaller tenderers. "An SME response area will raise the level of innovation for the project, open up the minds... and provide a supported opportunity for the SME to engage," the post reads. "We need to feel that the words 'encourage SMEs' are matched with appropriate language and empathetic requirements in the tender, and a genuine desire and mechanism to seek input from SMEs." As reported by Computerworld Australia, the Gov 2.0 blog is being trialled by the Department of Finance and Deregulation to tender a panel of providers for Telecommunications Operational Management Services (TOMS). The quality of responses to Finance's Government 2.0 blog stands in stark contrast to the Department of Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy's latest Government 2.0 effort, a wiki asking for comment on the NBN Implementation Study.

While comments initially trickled in, the wiki has slowly gained traction among readers since its 6 May launch. However, most comments relate to the quality of the wiki itself, rather than the NBN Implementation Study. "I can't add anything new, or edit outside the narrow categories. I wanted to add 'plain English' translations of each recommendation, but that's blocked. I can only comment on it as is. So the whole point of the wiki has been removed. Good job, DEBACLE," one reader posted. "Why don't you explain your summaries and recommendations in plain English so that everyone can understand what on earth you are talking about?" another post reads. "53 Pages for the Executive Summary? Can we have a Summary of the Summary please?" a further post reads. One reader was also critical of the wiki for breaching its own privacy guidelines. "The privacy statement says: A contributor's email address will not be published on the wiki' However, if you create a user account and use your email as your user ID, then your email address is in fact visible," the post reads. Following this, a Department of Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy moderator posted: "Apologies if any email addresses were temporarily visible, this problem should now be rectified."


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 05/17/2010

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Federal Budget Allocates $1bn to Improve E-Government Services

THE federal budget delivered strongly for the IT industry, with more than $1 billion allocated to public-sector technology projects, as the Rudd Labor government seeks to simplify service delivery. Federal government chief information officer Ann Steward said most of the budget funds would be spent on applications development, as more than 15 agencies benefited. The allocation includes $466.8 million over two years to establish a personally controlled e-health records infrastructure. The government's push to simplify the taxation system will result in $70m being spent on technology projects at the Australian Taxation Office. "It's good news for both agencies and the ICT industry ... there's more than a billion dollars in this budget again, across about 15 or more portfolios for ICT," Ms Steward said. "It shows continuing support for what agencies need to do and the importance of ICT to government programs. When we look at the towers of technology and where the funding will be spent, there's a lot that will be in the applications development area, and other areas such as storage and security."

As foreshadowed in The Australian last week, Terry Moran's public service reforms will create opportunities for IT companies. Mr Moran, secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, led the Ahead of the Game report, which made 28 recommendations on improving service delivery. "There's a lot of IT work in Ahead of the Game. Technology, especially the internet, will be used increasingly to address the needs of citizens ... there will be a strong focus on enhancing the australia.gov.au website," said Ms Steward, who is also the Australian Government Information Management Office deputy secretary. "There will also be a fair bit of work in the government 2.0 space and additional guidance to agencies on how to use such tools effectively." The internet's importance as a communications medium between government and citizens is on the rise. In a government survey last year, 45 per cent of respondents said their preferred method of interaction with agencies was the internet. Five years ago, the web was only 31 per cent, and face-to-face engagement was the most popular method at 33 per cent.

The Moran report outlined many ways the internet could be used to simplify government services, including allowing agencies to reuse and share existing data (where permitted), provide more pre-filled online forms, allow citizens to register once - by single sign-on - for myriad services, and accommodating the different ways citizens prefer to be contacted. Another big budget expenditure area, and one that threw up the most challenges, was ICT skills and workforce planning, Ms Steward said. The government would continue to look for people with skill sets in security, web-based technologies and project management. Her billion-dollar projection does not include the ICT Business as Usual Reinvestment Fund, which budget papers revealed had $113.6m to deliver 41 new technology projects.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 05/18/2010

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NEW ZEALAND: Commerce Commission Asked to Reconsider Mobile Termination

New Zealand's Communications and Information Technology Minister, Steven Joyce has asked the Commerce Commission to reconsider its recommendation on mobile termination access services. Earlier this year, the Minister received the Commission's final report on mobile termination access services. In that report, the Commission recommended the Minister accept the offers put forward by Telecom and Vodafone in lieu of regulation. "In a letter to me dated 19 April 2010, the Commerce Commission indicated that a new retail offer launched by Vodafone on 13 April 2010 may be material and may have the potential to affect the basis for the Commission's recommendation," says Mr Joyce. "Under Section 19 of the Telecommunications Act I am required to make the decision that best gives, or is likely to best give, effect to the purpose of the Act - that is to promote competition in the telecommunications market to the long-term benefit of end-users of telecommunications services," said Mr Joyce. "I consider that requiring reconsideration in these circumstances meets this test." "I would like the Commission to consider any relevant retail offers released since their report was sent or that may be released before they finalise their reconsidered advice, and the implications (if any) that those offers have on the recommendation that I accept undertakings put forward by Telecom and Vodafone." "While the Telecommunications Act does not require the Commission to report back to me within a specified timeframe, I am keen to see decisions around mobile termination access services made as soon as is practicable and appropriate."


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 04/27/2010

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Global Ad Industry Eyes Boost from Mobile Devices

MOSCOW - The global advertising industry is eager to capitalize on booming use of mobile phones for Internet access as more enhanced devices are coming to the market to get more consumers reachable online. The trend is promising bumper returns in future years especially in markets like Russia where Internet usage is growing rapidly and is forecast to do so for years to come as people's incomes find support from oil-based economic growth. "I think mobile is a fantastic opportunity," Nikesh Arora, Google President of Global Sales, said on the sidelines of an International Advertising Association conference. "The advent of the iPhone, the Android devices and the Blackberry have finally given people reason in the western world start using the mobile data. And as you see that go up, you begin to see the relevance of advertising in those applications," he told Reuters Insider Television.

Data is seen as the main driver of mobile companies' future revenue streams as new-generation technologies develop to allow the transfer of large amounts of information at a high speed. Top global advertising and marketing chiefs, gathered in Moscow for the two-day IAA Congress to consider growth strategies for the $450 billion industry, have called for a new approach to consumers, based on a deeper understanding of their needs and the context they are living in. The mobile phone has become an essential tool for the vast majority of people in the developed world and is moving fast on this path in developing countries like Russia and China, and as the handsets are increasingly used to access the Internet, the advertising has to catch up, industry players said.

Google, the online search global leader, announced a $750 million deal in November to buy AdMob, which controls about one-third of the market for putting ads on mobile applications and Web pages. And last month Apple announced a new advertising platform for the iPhone and iPad, dubbed iAd, showing the potential large players believe the market has. Google said Apple's move was evidence of a highly competitive market.

RUSSIA GROWTH
"Mobile offers unique opportunities in targeting, understanding a customer behavior, not only what the customer does but where the customer is ... at this particular moment, and this allows to give the customer a very relevant message," Mikhail Gerchuk, Chief Commercial Officer of Russia's top mobile phone operator MTS, told the conference. Gerchuk said the Russian mobile advertising market could grow to $100 million by 2013 from $15 million now, and forecast that this type of advertising will surpass some other ways of advertising in a few years time. Advertisers are in general bullish on Russia where consumer markets are expected to boom again as strong oil prices are helping the country out of recession. "We are seeing growth in early stage markets where more people are going on the Internet, and markets with large populations are wonderful places," Google's Arora said.

The number of Internet users is expected to rise to 5 billion worldwide over the next 10 years from about 1.8 billion now, Arora said. "I think in the next 5 to 8 years 30-50 percent of the media is going to be consumed on the web, and if you look at the advertising proportion of the Internet versus the overall ad market, we are still under 10 percent." From the mobile perspective, it means booming growth of content including advertising distributed via portable devices. "I believe that for communications the content experience on the mobile is very important. Mobile is a very important platform for content distribution," Emilio Azcarraga, CEO of Mexico's top broadcaster Televisa, told Reuters. Televisa has been expanding into mobile services and after buying a 30 percent stake in Nextel Mexico, a unit of NII Holdings Inc, it aims to bundle together fixed-line telephone, wireless, Internet and video, becoming the first provider of so-called quadruple services in Mexico.


From http://sg.news.yahoo.com/ 05/15/2010

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Microsoft Losing Share in Browser Market

BEIJING (Xinhuanet) - Microsoft is gradually losing its grip in the browser marker with Internet users shifting to other platforms like Mozila's Firefox and Google's Chrome browser. According to new figures published by NetApplications, Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) web browser, now accounts for less than 60 percent of the market, down from 95 percent at its peak in 2003. Meanwhile Firefox has risen to nearly a quarter. Google's Chrome browser remains a distant third, however it has widened the gap over Apple's Safari. Chrome now accounts for a 6.7 percent share of the market and has risen sharply in last year by nearly 2 percent. Microsoft's loss of market share is largely due to concerns over security. Attacks on Google's systems last year were due in part to flaws in Internet Explorer and prompted Microsoft to role out security updates and encourage users to move from IE6 to IE7 or IE8.

Another factor is the introduction forced on Microsoft by the European Union of giving consumers a browser choice. In March all IE users in Europe began to be greeted with a welcome screen offering them other browsers instead of their usual Internet Explorer. But the so-called browser wars are not yet at an end. Microsoft may reclaim some of the market when IE9 is released. IE9 promises to support HTML5, the next-generation standard for coding web pages, which aims to reduce the need for software plug-ins, such as Flash. Apple remains a key rival for Microsoft in the browser market and it has seen its Safari browser gain market share but the two rivals are united when it comes to supporting the HTML5 web standards. Apple sees HTML5, and other new web standards such as the h.264 standard for video, as a replacement for Flash and has been involved in a high-profile spat with Flash owners Adobe. In fact Apple has already banned the video standard Flash on many of its products.


From http://news.xinhuanet.com/ 05/04/2010

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AFRICA: World Bank Provides US$15 Million to Help Improve ICT Services and Promote e-Business in Benin

WASHINGTON - The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved a US$15 million (approximately CFAF 7.5 billion) grant to help Benin improve its Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. This is a technical assistance grant that will cover the period between July 2010 and June 2015. The new project, called "e-Benin," proposes an integrated approach to development of the ICT sector, and takes into account its main dimensions - the promotion of access to ICTs, enabling applications and e-business, and support to the IT industry.
 
Through its first component, which aims to create an environment conducive to improved access to ICTs and for which US$6.2 million (approximately CFAF 3 billion) are allocated, e-Benin will support efforts by the Government of Benin to implement a legal, regulatory and institutional framework that can effectively promote greater competition in the sector. This will not translate into a direct investment in infrastructure, but will rather strengthen the capacity of the regulator to provide technical assistance to the ministry in charge of the sector to help improve service quality and reduce costs of access to broadband internet services.
 
The main activities selected under this component include: (i) the implementation of the new sectoral framework, centered on the adoption of secondary legislation and key regulatory instruments; (ii) supporting the establishment of the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Postal Service (Benin-ARGEP), followed by an enhancement of its technical and human capacity; (iii) strengthening capacity for decision making to ensure further growth and development of the sector; (iv) supporting policies and regulations that promote broadband connectivity and affordability, including tools to ensure open access to terrestrial and submarine cables; and (vi) support for policies, strategies and regulations to promote wider access to ICT services, including the ability to use the postal network as an electronic gateway.
 
The project's second component focuses on promoting electronic applications and the adoption of e-business (US$ 7 million, about FCFA 3 billion). It will support the creation of a legal framework and enterprise architecture, and interoperability standards for e-government applications. Using enterprise architecture is very important for the coordination of investments across various state entities and to avoid duplication. In this context, the project will help build capacity within government to adopt enterprise architecture methodologies in the design and execution of all applications and e-government programs. Since this is a new concept in Benin, the approach will be gradual, starting with small initiatives that provide tangible results. It is hoped that this will ultimately be used to improve public service delivery.
 
E-business will also support the development of more skills in the ICT field, and help create new business opportunities for local companies. The project will thus promote the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are already operating, supporting innovative applications, including mobile telephony, through a grant program based on a competitive selection process. Startups will also be promoted through an approach of "incubators" that will provide a critical mass of small ICT companies with reliable and affordable access to the Internet. Finally, e-business will finance capacity building at the Agency for the Management of New Technologies of Information and Communication (AGeNTIC) for the implementation of an e-business agenda.
 
Upon project approval, the World Bank Country Director for Benin, Madani Tall, congratulated the Government Benin for positioning the reform of the telecom sector, and improved access to ICTs, at the center of its development agenda. This is evidenced by the conceptualization of a sector strategy in 2008, and its inclusion in the Benin's Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy. "A better environment for the ICT sector should encourage private investment and promote a greater role for the private sector," Tall said. "In addition, the proposed project will strengthen the capacity of SMEs to incorporate ICT into their activities through e-applications, training programs and business incubation." Tall added that a more efficient and more functional ICT sector will play a key role in achieving the country's objectives for diversified economic growth, greater competitiveness and greater transparency and accountability of the public sector. "I sincerely hope that Benin will benefit from this new project, which should lead to further development and strengthening of the ICT sector for the benefit of all," Tall said.


From http://web.worldbank.org/ 03/25/2010

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EUROPE: German 4G Auction Raises $6billion

Germany's 4G spectrum auction provided little cheer for other countries looking to make a quick buck from the sale of next generation licenses, raising $5.47 billion compared to the €6-8 billion analysts predicted at the outset. Bidding closed yesterday, with Vodafone Germany submitting the highest bid of €1.42 billion, followed by Telefonica O2 (€1.38 billion), Deutsche Telekom (€1.3 billion), and E-Plus (€283.6 million), according to the country's regulator. The amount raised fell short of KPMG's estimate of €6-8 billion according to WSJ.com. It also failed to live up to the €8.1 billion Moody's Investors Services predicted, or Commerzbank's €7.5 billion forecast reported by BusinessWeek when the auction opened in April. The leading trio spent a combined €3.55 billion securing slots in the sought-after 800MHz band. However E-Plus didn't bid on the frequency claiming the price was too high, Reuters reports. The carrier pulled an initial €8.6 billion bid for two 800MHz slots last month. Around €50 billion was raised in the auction of 3G licenses in the country a decade ago.


From http://www.telecomasia.net/ 05/21/2010

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NORTH AMERICA: Canada 3.0 Speaker Suggests Re-Branding

Lofty ideas from high-profile speakers are just around the corner as government, academia and industry gears up for Canada 3.0. The two-day forum, dedicated to discussions on how Canada can position itself as a leader in the digital economy, kicks off on May 10 in Stratford, Ont. Canada has the potential to re-brand itself as the go-to nation for innovation around the globe, according to Tony Chapman, CEO of Toronto-based branding and advertising agency Capital C. Scheduled to deliver the first keynote speech, Chapman will present his concept of the Launch Lab - an idea that can turn ideas into reality. The biggest obstacle to getting good ideas off the ground is that there are too many ideas out there, he said. The world today is awash in ideas and concepts, said Chapman. "We are so digitally enabled and globally connected that it is no longer the United States or Japan or a handful of corporations that are innovating - we are seeing innovation everywhere," he said.

The focus is no longer about getting capital to validate ideas for 12 to 18 months, he said. You need to get your idea to market quickly and get your intellectual protocol in place to protect it - it's now about getting the first-mover advantage, he said. "You might have the best idea in the world, but if it can't rise about the clutter and stand and be validated, not only are you going to have difficulty getting your capital, you are going to have difficulty even putting together the complexity of the launch," he said. The world is producing so many ideas and so much innovation that a lot of these great ideas are now starving for the attention and intellectual capital they need in order to determine if the idea is simply a concept or something that could have tremendous traction, he said. And this is where the Launch Lab, a bricks-and-mortar establishment that takes conceptual ideas and turns them into ideas that can be launched in the market, comes in.

Chapman envisions the Launch Lab as a centralized hub combining technology and intellectual capital to serve as a place where innovators - such as inventors, multi-national corporations and nations - bring their ideas to. The Launch Lab fast-tracks the process of validating the proof of concept and determines where the idea would be viable in markets around the world as well as the best way to go after that demand, he said. It's a one-stop place to determine what you need to put an idea in place and achieve your goals in less time and at a lower cost than if you did it on your own, he said. The idea starts with one Launch Lab, but Chapman envisions multiple lab locations built across Canada that would focus on particular industry sectors, such as environment, water, pharmaceuticals or sustainable farming.


From http://www.itworldcanada.com/ 05/10/2010

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CHINA: Private Video Websites Charged in 2010

China's private video websites, such as Xunlei, Cool 6 and tudou.com, will promote a new operating model this year, according to Guangzhou Daily. Payment will be required to watch some videos on these sites; others will remain free of charge. Online video service provider Xunlei has announced that its paid service for copyrighted video content will be in operation by late February, when users will not be allowed to upload videos either. According to Luo Weimin, COO of Xunlei, its premium online video service, "Ruby Theater", will provide copyrighted high-definition movies to Internet users for set fees. Viewers will have to pay one to two yuan for each video-on-demand movie played by "Ruby Theater", while monthly subscribers only need to pay a few tenths of a yuan per movie. "The present videos on demand will still be free, but a certain gap exists between them and paid movies in definition and speed," Luo said. Meanwhile, another domestic well-known video site, Cool 6, also announced plans to push forward its charging model among users, which is said to supplement its advertising model. Cool 6 will be developed into two parts: high-definition videos and netizens' video sharing, said Li Shanyou, CEO of Cool 6.

There is a possibility of charging users for high-definition movies. Tudou.com, the largest Chinese video website, indicated it will charge for some of its videos late this year and increase the number to a reasonable proportion. According to a report from China Internet Network Information Center, as of the end of 2009, China's online video users amounted to 240 million, 38.44 million more than the previous year and accounting for two thirds of the present netizens. If the charging model achieves popularity among such a large number of users, these video websites will greatly increase their income. However, in a random survey by a Chinese web portal, only 383 netizens said they would be willing to pay for video-on-demand service while 6,095 said they would not. Private video websites, such as Xunlei, Cool 6 and tudou.com are all keen to charge for content but video channels of large web portals including Sina, Sohu and NetEase, as well as CNTV, China's state Internet-based television station, launched in late 2009, are taking no action. At present, they all offer free video content, with no exception for high-definition movies and TV dramas.


From Xinhua News Agency 02/25/2010

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IT 'Too Dependent on Imports'

The Chinese electronics industry is still too dependent on imported high-end products and oversupply in the low-end sector remains a problem, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said Tuesday. China's IT and electronics industry revenue reached 6.51 trillion yuan (US$957 billion) last year, a 3.4 percent growth year on year, compared with a 12.5 percent growth rate in 2008, the ministry said. "The industry output grew rapidly in the past 10 years but structure problems still exist in the industry because of historic legacy and the economic environment," said Zhou Zixue, the ministry's chief economist. IT and electronics exports grew rapidly but Chinese high-end IT products still depended on imports. Meanwhile, the majority of export-oriented firms were invested by overseas capital and there was a lack of strong home-grown firms, Zhou said. In 2009, IT exports reached US$457.2 billion, accounting for 38.1 percent of total exports nationwide, compared with only 20 percent in 1999, the ministry said. China is now the world's biggest personal computer and mobile phone manufacturing base. Almost all the top brands have OEM (original equipment manufacturer) plants on the Chinese mainland, from Apple Inc and Hewlett-Packard to Microsoft Corp. Workers are involved only in assembly and packaging in the plants on the Chinese mainland, which created low added value, industry insiders said. Among total IT exporters in China, about 66.6 percent of firms are invested by overseas capital, followed by 15.8 percent as joint ventures. The state-owned enterprises and private firms only accounted for less than 20 percent, the ministry said. After the global financial crisis, China has adapted the industry structure to develop high added value sectors, such as software, Zhou said. In 2009, the software industry revenue was 951.3 billion yuan, accounting for 14.6 percent of total IT revenue, 2.6 percentage points more than the previous year, the ministry said.


From Shanghai Daily 03/10/2010

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In China, Investment to Expand E-Payments

China Mobile agreed to buy 20 percent of Shanghai Pudong Development Bank for 39.8 billion renminbi ($5.8 billion) to expand its electronic payment business. China Mobile and Pudong Bank will form a strategic alliance to offer wireless finance services including mobile bank cards and payment services, according to a statement on Wednesday filed with the Hong Kong stock exchange. The carrier's Guangdong Mobile unit plans to buy 2.21 billion new China-listed shares for 18.03 renminbi apiece. That was 13 percent lower than the bank's last close. The phone company's shares have underperformed the benchmark Hang Seng index since Feb. 26, when trading in the lender was halted, on concern the operator was deviating from its main business. "This is not something we'd prefer," said Pauline Dan, chief investment officer at Samsung Investment Trust, which oversees $80 billion in assets, including China Mobile shares. "From a return perspective, it's much better for the company to return the cash to shareholders." The deal will help Pudong Bank replenish capital after Chinese banks extended a record 9.59 trillion renminbi of credit last year. Pudong Bank "is just the right size," Wang Jianzhou, chairman of China Mobile, told reporters in a videoconference. "If a bank is very big, an investment will give us only a very small stake; if the bank is too small, it may not have the necessary scale." The purchase will make China Mobile the second-biggest shareholder in the bank after Shanghai International Group, according to the statement. The investment presents China Mobile a platform to offer wireless banking services to more than 527 million customers in the world's fastest-growing major economy. China Mobile had 256 billion renminbi of cash at the end of June, according to its interim report in August. Shares in the carrier fell to a two-month low on March 4, a day after the company confirmed it had begun talks to buy the Shanghai Pudong stake.


From http://www.nytimes.com/ 03/11/2010

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3G Fueled by 160b Yuan in 2009

China's three major telecom operators have built 325,000 3G base stations and invested up to 160.9 billion yuan ($23 billion) last year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, YICAI.com reported Wednesday. The ministry's statistics show development of 3G has attracted nearly 589 billion yuan of domestic investment and brought 36.4 billion yuan of direct spending and 14.1 billion yuan of indirect spending. It contributed 34.3 billion yuan directly and 141.3 indirectly to GDP growth. It has also created 260,000 jobs directly and 670,000 indirectly, according to the report. By the end of 2009, China's 3G users have reached 13.25 million, 5.08 million of which are TD-SCDMA (a Chinese 3G standard) users, the report said. The ministry said that China will keep encouraging and promoting the development of TD-SCDMA technology.


From China Daily 03/17/2010

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Google Shifts its China Search Engine to Hong Kong

Google, the operator of the world's largest search engine, has withdrawn its China-based operations and has begun redirecting visitors to Hong Kong, according to the search engine's Web site early Tuesday. Users who type in www.google.com.cn or www.google.cn in the search box of a Web browser will automatically be transferred to www.google.com.hk, Google's Hong Kong-based service. In January, Google announced that it was considering withdrawing from China, the world's largest market in terms of the number of Internet users, citing cyber attacks on its e-mail service and strict censorship regulations in China. While no proof has been found, suspicions within the Internet giant have revolved around the Chinese government's involvement in the attacks. Beijing has flatly denied such accusations and has criticized the U.S. company for its stance. Google's uncensored Hong Kong site provides services in simplified Chinese characters used by the majority of people in mainland China.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 03/23/2010

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China's Electronic Information Industry Reports Fast Recovery

China's large electronic information manufacturers recovered at a faster pace in the first two months of this year, according to figures released Tuesday by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). The output, export volumes and operating revenue for the large manufacturers, meaning those with annual sales exceeding 5 million yuan ($732,500) in China, all posted growth of more than 20 percent year-on-year, the MIIT statistics revealed. Though China's traditional Lunar New Year holidays fell between Feb 13-19, Jan-Feb sales for the manufacturers still rose 35.5 percent year-on-year to 796.3 billion yuan ($116.66 billion), up 18.1 percent from the same period in 2008 before the global financial crisis hit the industry. Exports by them jumped 28.2 percent year-on-year to 457.9 billion yuan ($67.1 billion) in the first two months. Operating profits of large electronic information manufacturers surged 350.8 percent to 21.76 billion yuan ($3.2 billion) but still 5,797 companies were operating at a loss during the Jan-Feb period. However, the number of those operating at a loss was down 24.9 percent with their deficits narrowing by more than half compared to the same period last year, according to the MIIT. China's electronic information manufacturing industry produces mobile phones, personal computers, television sets, digital cameras and other communications equipment, electronic components and home appliances. In the first two months, the industry produced 108.31 million mobiles phones, up 29.7 percent year-on-year; 31.97 million personal computers, an increase of 41.3 percent year-on-year; and 18.01 million color television sets, up 68.6 percent year-on-year, according to the MIIT figures.


From Xinhua News Agency 04/07/2010

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China to Open Telecoms Market to Private Investors

Private capital will be encouraged and guided to enter the Chinese telecommunications industry, Wen Jiabao, premier of China, said in a recent executive meeting of the nation's cabinet State Council, signaling that private investors are expected to edge into the vast and lucrative but absolutely monopolized industry. In fact, telecoms restrictions are cracking open in Foshan City, Guangdong Province, Southern China. Foshan Long Xun Communications Technology Ltd., a local newly-established private telecoms builder, partners to make Foshan a wireless city with the local government and telecoms carrier, pioneering a new tripartite government-carrier-plus-service-provider telecoms model in China. Remarkably, the private company will be acquired by Neo Telemedia Ltd. (SEHK: 8167), a Hong Kong-listed company engaged in the production and sale of videos and films, the licensing of videos and copyrights, and the management of film rights and artists. Neo Telemedia was known as BIG Media Group Ltd. before. The Chinese telecoms market is now shared by three government-controlled corporations, namely, China Mobile Ltd. (SEHK: 0941, NYSE: CHL), China Telecom Corporation Ltd. (NYSE: CHA, SEHK: 0728), and China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd. (NYSE: CHU, SEHK: 0762, SHSE: 600050).


From http://www.tmcnet.com/ 04/14/2010

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Mobile Payment Market Hurt by Weak Demand

In a country with over 700 million mobile phone users, exploring the mobile payment market may appear lucrative. And that may explain why telecom operators, banks and technology firms - from home and aboard - are aggressively pushing their services in China's mobile payment industry. As a payment alternative to cash, checks or credit cards, making mobile payments ranging from mobile banking to mobile credit cards to mobile commerce via a 3G phone is widely gaining acceptance in Asia and Africa, as well as select European markets. However, Chinese consumers are slow to adopt mobile payment services, at least in the short term. Analysts predict that strong user growth may not come for years. According to Beijing-based telecom consultancy Maverick China Research, 75 percent of mobile phone users in China don't have access to mobile payments. Of the 25 percent that do have access, less than 2 percent actually use it to conduct transactions. "Users demand is the major force behind any nascent industries but the big problem in China's mobile payment industry is that the user demand has not been identified and exploited," said Cao Fei, an analyst from research firm Analysys International. He said competition between telecom operators and banks for a dominant role in the new industry may also thwart the development of mobile payments in China. The technology did not grab public attention in China until the authorities began issuing 3G licenses last year.

China Mobile, the country's biggest cellphone operator, announced last month it inked a deal to buy a 20 percent stake in Shanghai Pudong Development Bank for 39.8 billion yuan to enter the mobile payment industry. China UnionPay, an inter-bank credit card organization, also announced plans earlier this year to launch trial mobile payment services in seven selected cities, including Shanghai, Shenzhen and Changsha. "In China, mobile payments are still in their infancy and most projects were initiated by different organizations - in some cases it is a telecom operator and in others it is a bank," said T.K. Ng, general manager of Motorola networks services in the Asia-Pacific and China. The company partnered with China UnionPay and China Unicom to provide mobile payment services in Changsha, Hunan province, earlier this month through its iSIM solution, which is based on a flexible wafer that can be attached to the subscriber's original SIM card. Cao from Analysys added that different telecom operators and banks are using various technology standards, which further inconveniences end users. Meanwhile, retail outlets looking to capitalize on potential growth in the market are seeing poor results. "During the past few months we only had one consumer who paid their bills via mobile phone," said Hao Shanhong, a cashier at a MerryMart supermarket in Beijing. Although the supermarket chain upgraded about 25 percent of its point-of-sale machines to support mobile payments, few users tried the service due to the lack of 3G handsets and the complicated transaction process, Hao said. Under the terms of a January agreement between WuMart Stores and China's biggest cellphone operator China Mobile, subscribers equipped with RF-SIMs card will be able to use their phones to make payments, collect loyalty points and recharge their account balance at 300 WuMart and MerryMart supermarkets in the Beijing area.


From Xinhua News Agency 04/29/2010

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ICBC Launches China's First Online Financial Supermarket for Personal Banking

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (OOTC:BACHY) (OOTC:IDCBY) (OOTC:IDCBF) (ICBC) recently launched the first online financial products trading service for personal banking in China, the financial supermarket. In the online financial supermarket of the ICBC, personal banking customers can select from the six financial products that are currently traded in the supermarket, including funds, foreign exchange, insurance, financial products of the ICBC, gold, and treasury bonds, and will be guided into personal banking to pay. Personal banking customers can also check their query orders and conclude the unpaid orders through the query management system.


From http://www.istockanalyst.com/ 05/07/2010

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Shanghai Tops China's Online Shopping Market

Shanghai has topped the online shopping market in China in terms of purchases and sales turnover, according to an industry report. The city's residents spent 17.42 billion yuan (US$2.56 billion) online in the year ended May 1, accounting for 8.67 percent of the total online trade and ranked No. 1, according to the report compiled by Taobao.com, the biggest online business platform in China. They were also China's biggest online sellers as local online shops sold the most products in value in the period, equivalent to 12.05 percent of the total online trade in the country, the report released Monday said. Shanghai has 19.21 million permanent residents based on official population data. That meant each local citizen spent 906 yuan annually in shopping online. "An increasing number of online buyers turned into sellers at the same time while many sellers like to shop online as well. As a result, the cities with strong online purchasing power usually have a larger number of online shops and more trading activities," Taobao.com said in the report. Among the top 10 biggest traders were all first- and second-tier cities in China, including Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Hangzhou. But the report also noted lower-tier cities in the country's western areas have substantial growth potential in the online shopping market.


From Shanghai Daily 05/11/2010

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China's Boom in Online Shopping to Continue in 2010: Report

A report on business in China predicts Chinese consumers will spend 500 billion yuan (about 73.5 billion U.S. dollars ) via online shopping in 2010, accounting for over three percent of all retail sales. The report forecasts total retail sales of consumer goods in 2010 at 15 trillion yuan. The report was jointly released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the Li & Fung Research Centre, and the Social Sciences Academic Press on Wednesday in Beijing. The report said online shopping accounted for one percent of total retail sales of consumer goods in 2008 and more than two percent in 2009. Online trading volume of home electronics will double to 80 billion yuan in 2010, the report said.


From English.news.cn 05/19/2010

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JAPAN: Publishing Industry Enters New Era as 'E-books' Come of Age

For some people, "e-books" probably bring to mind the cell phone novels that enjoyed explosive popularity in the past. In reality, since about five years ago, general novels and business-related books have slowly been made into e-books. With the exception of manga, however, almost none of them had been turning a profit. That was until late last year, when it was forecast that the year 2010 would mark the real "dawning" of e-publishing, based on predictions that Amazon would begin marketing a Japanese version of its Kindle, and that numerous other second-generation e-readers would be brought into the market. No longer the laughing stock that it was three years ago upon its release, the spread of the new and improved Kindle 2 suddenly has people buzzing about e-publishing's possibilities. The resistance readers have to e-books is really an expression of their attachment to print on paper, with which they are deeply familiar. The first and foremost concern of such apprehensive readers is the readability of e-books, but the Kindle 2 screen is comparable in size to printed books, and unlike computers and cell phones, uses an electronic paper technology that makes reading easy on the eyes. E-paper is also groundbreaking in that it doesn't use electricity when a page is left open, allowing batteries to remain charged for a week.

The Kindle 2 is light, and surprisingly thin. Moreover, it can store around 1,500 books' worth of data. So wherever and whenever the urge strikes, one can access Amazon wirelessly for free and choose from among over 300,000 books that are said to be currently in the Amazon Kindle shop. Its book prices had been set at a maximum limit of $9.99 per book until recently, when Amazon decided to allow for exceptions. The Kindle 2 reader itself costs 259 dollars. Indeed, print books appeal as objects. But the essence of books lies in their content. It is hard to believe that many people will still stick to print books when e-readers become widespread and their use more convenient. This prediction is supported by the route taken by hardcover books. So what effects will e-books have on writers and publishers? There are multiple reasons for the publishing industry's current financial straits, but if books were to be e-published, in one stroke, it would eliminate publishers' costs of: printing on paper, distributing the books to bookstores through wholesale booksellers, receiving 40 percent of those books that were left unsold, and keeping those books in the publishers' inventory. To encourage restructuring of the publishing industry and as a competitive measure against Apple, which just recently unveiled the iPad, Amazon has decided to increase royalties for publishers and authors from 35 percent to 70 percent. As author royalties for authors in print publishing have traditionally been 10 percent, and the cut for publishers 20 percent, the new rate is an enormous increase. During the most recent Christmas season, sales of e-books surpassed sales of print books at Amazon in the U.S. for the first time in history. The same shift is bound to take place in Japan soon. The question is how we will ride the transition as the publishing industry enters a tumultuous era. (By Keiichiro Hirano, award-winning novelist)


From http://mdn.mainichi.jp/ 02/20/2010

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Japan's Modern Art Gets an Online Boost

The Bank of Japan has come under a lot of fire of late, but there's at least one thing it can be proud of: the work of former employee Rasa Tsuda. Azito, the online art gallery Rasa Tsuda established last year with the aim of increasing exposure for Japanese artists abroad. The 30-year-old, who spent three and a half years at the bank before quitting in 2006 to launch a career in the art world, has displayed the kind of entrepreneurial spirit that would surely please the nation's economic czars. After 18 months cutting her teeth at Gallery Tagboat, a large dealer with an online sales component, Tsuda and a colleague quit to launch an online art dealership called Azito. The site opened just over a year ago. At a time when sales of contemporary art are contracting - the nation's largest auction house, Shinwa Art Auction, moved their contemporary art sales to Hong Kong this spring - Azito represents one of Japan's first full-fledged attempts to combine the highbrow world of art with the low-cost world of online trading. Tsuda reasons that the Internet is a natural fit for art. "In comparison with film and music, which people were always able to enjoy on television or radio, opportunities to encounter art have been limited," Tsuda told The Japan Times last week. "You had to go to a museum or buy an art book, but now the Internet makes art available at any time." And so visitors to www.azito-art.com can browse and purchase from a selection of around 70 artworks - mostly photographs, prints or multiples - by artists ranging from domestic big names such as Takashi Homma to young groups such as Paramodel. The site features Japanese artists only - a policy that reflects Tsuda's motivation for making the site. "I spent some time in New York a few years ago and was surprised how little exposure Japanese artists had over there," she explained. "Sure, if you are showing with the big international galleries, then you get shows in New York, but if you are outside of those, it is difficult to be seen." Tsuda decided that a Japan-based online commercial gallery was the answer.

The site is aimed firmly at the international audience - a point that distinguishes it from Tagboat, the only other company doing anything similar here. Azito is available only in English, and it offers the kind of detailed background information on each artist that is difficult to access from abroad. Nevertheless, when it comes to buying art, collectors are an understandably finicky bunch. Would you pay hundreds of thousands of yen for an artwork you have only seen on the Internet? Tsuda has made a lot of effort to allay any apprehension. First, she adopted an "agent-model" of sales. No artwork ever comes into Tsuda's own possession. Instead, she has partnered with several established galleries, who supply her with photographs of artworks that she then uploads to her site. When someone chooses to make a purchase, the artwork is delivered directly from the gallery to the buyer. "People know the galleries that we work with - Gallery 360∼, Yamamoto Gendai, Nanzuka Underground, MA2 Gallery, Mori Yu Gallery - so they feel more comfortable," Tsuda said. Tsuda keeps a percentage of the value of each sale - the remainder goes to the gallery and the artist. She is also careful to keep the prices down - to an average of around ¥200,000, although some can be bought for less than ¥50,000. "I've found that people will buy online if the artist is well known," Tsuda said. "If the artist isn't well known, they will buy if the price is cheap." Tsuda sells "a few" works per month on the site, which is not enough to support any paid full-time staff, including herself. She has three interns helping her with translation and production. The former colleague with whom she initially launched the site, Takahiro Maki, has left to set up his own gallery. One of Tsuda's partner galleries is Mori Yu Gallery, which has outlets in Kyoto and Tokyo. The owner, Yuichi Mori, explained that he signed up for the service because he felt it complemented his gallery's work. "Online sales are fundamentally different to what we do, which is to run a gallery where people can come and actually see real artworks for themselves," he said. "But, we recognize there are people willing to buy online and Azito allows us to tap that market." Mori is satisfied with the "three or four" works that have sold via Azito in the two months since he started working with the Web site. Tsuda and Maki coined the name Azito from the English words "agitating point." While the site might not be as confrontational as that English suggests, it has the potential to shake up the local art world. Never before has a dealer so deftly harnessed the reputations of brand-name galleries, the convenience of the Internet, a good understanding of English-language sales and the undisputed quality of Japanese contemporary art.


From http://search.japantimes.co.jp/ 04/30/2010

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Rise of the E-book Presents Major Challenges for Future of Publishing Industry

With e-readers proving increasingly popular - prompting many observers to dub 2010 the inaugural year of e-books - the industry has involved the government into a serious discussion on the digitization of books to answer such questions as: will books made of paper disappear? And, how will reading styles change? To deal with the coming "era of e-books," 31 major publishing houses including Kodansha and Shinchosha have come together to form the Electronic Book Publishers Association of Japan (EBPAJ). "The ramifications of a burgeoning e-book market for the Japanese publishing industry is not something that can be ignored," said Yoshinobu Noma, senior executive vice president of Kodansha and the head of EBPAJ, at a press conference at the organization's inaugural meeting in Tokyo in March. Also in March, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications; the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry gathered writers, publishing and telecommunications companies for a conference on the promotion of widespread utilization of publications. A "Japanese-style" publishing business model is currently under review, and a report on such issues as the creation of e-book data standards is expected to be compiled by the end of June. Major U.S.

Internet search company Google's one-sided digitalization of published books is said to be what kick-started the frantic public- and private-sector discussion on e-books in Japan. But another motivating factor has been the popularity of U.S. online retail giant Amazon.com's Kindle e-reader, and the sense of impending crisis that its effects will spill over into the Japanese publishing industry. Kindle, which went on the market in November 2007, is currently available in English only but is sold in over 100 countries around the world, including Japan; over 3 million have been sold in the U.S. alone. Meanwhile, Apple's new iPad tablet computer has also seen brisk sales. In the U.S., more than 500,000 iPads were sold within the first week of its release, and its launch in Japan has been postponed by a month because production cannot keep up with demand. The mystique that inevitably surrounds a rare product has made the iPad even more popular. According to Tokyo-based media research company Impress R&D, the e-book market has been expanding every year. A fiscal 2009 prediction said that it would increase by over 10 percent from the previous year, making it a 52 billion yen industry. Cell phones in particular have been a driving force in this growth, with comics read via cell phones accounting for 70 to 80 percent of the market.

Many in the publishing industry point to the "mistake" of digitization made by the music industry, in which the availability of music on line brought down CD sales. One EBPAJ official says that the association is searching for a way to generate profits from a medium that's being sought by the times. "Achieving a balance between print and digital publications or the issue of copyrights are not things that can be dealt with by individual publishing companies anymore; they are problems that must be tackled with industry-wide efforts." This reporter had a chance to play around with the Amazon's Kindle DX, which went on sale in Japan in January, at Amazon Japan in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward. The reader takes only a few seconds to boot up, a pleasant surprise for those of us who have no patience for the time it takes our computers to turn on. The black-and-white screen may be easy on the eyes, but makes the device look rather plain. At 26.4 centimeters by 18.2 centimeters, with a thickness of 0.96 centimeters and weighing in at 535.8 grams, it's compact but can hold approximately 3,500 books. Readers can select books from 23 genres. Or type in "Murakami" on the small keyboard at the bottom of the device, and a list of Haruki Murakami's books appears on the screen.

Unfortunately, the most recently published "1Q84" is not available, so I selected "Kafka on the Shore" instead to find that the first chapter is available for browsing free of charge. There's also a plot summary and comments from those who've read it. Downloading the book costs $11.99, and there is no telecommunications charge. "Kafka on the Shore" is probably not available at small neighborhood bookshops. You could easily buy it online, but it takes a few days for the book to be delivered. Only the English version is available on Kindle at the moment, but once Japanese books hit the market, being able to buy books in "under 60 seconds," as touted by Amazon will no doubt increase the device's appeal to Japanese readers. There's a read-aloud feature, which does just that, and six font sizes to choose from, increasing ease of use for older or disabled consumers. There's a convenient built-in dictionary, and if you turn the screen on its side, the words automatically do the same. Once you go Kindle, it'll be tough to go back. Available currently on Kindle are 390,075 English books, but the number is expected to keep rising. Meanwhile, of the 110 newspapers from 17 countries that are also available, two are from Japan, including the Mainichi Daily News. Using e-readers means you no longer have to take the time to re-sell your books to used bookstores to clear out space in your room. But the thought of accidentally losing all my data - that is, all my books - makes me cringe. The books I've read represent my life and the person I am. I've never had to worry about losing all of my print books at once. Perhaps my need to have tangible objects is a sign that I am behind the times.


From Mainichi Japan 05/03/2010

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SOUTH KOREA: Mobile Ad Market to Triple to $15 Billion by 2013 - report

The market for mobile advertising could grow to be worth $15 billion by 2013, the IT consulting firm Strabase projected yesterday. The company estimates that this year, the market will expand to be worth $5 billion from last year's $3 billion. According to Strabase's projections, the pace at which the market grows will pick up from this year allowing the value of the market to reach $8 billion next year and $11 billion in 2012 before reaching $15 billion in 2013. The company said that the market's growth will mainly be fueled by the spread of wireless broadband, smartphones and applications stores over the next three years. Strabase estimates that the number of wireless broadband users will increase to 941 million this year from last year's 728 million. In 2011, the number would reach 1.16 billion, 1.36 billion in 2012 and 1.53 billion in 2013. The company also cited the ability to localize marketing using location-based services and targeting groups that share interests through social network services as factors that will drive the market's growth. In addition, large firms including Google and Apple moving into the market will also fuel its growth, the company said. As for type of mobile advertising, the company said that search adverts carried by search engine operators will grow at the fastest rate to account for 74 percent of the U.S. market in 2013. In contrast, the company projected that advertisements sent out as text messages will rapidly decline and the proportion of mobile adverts accounted by the method will be reduced to 9 percent in 2013. In 2008, text message adverts accounted for 63 percent of the market, the company said.


From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 03/04/2010

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Customs Service Tightens Rules on E-commerce Merchants

The Korea Customs Service will implement more stringent measures against those involved in electronic commerce from next month, officials said yesterday. According to the Korea Customs Service, changes will be made to regulations concerning electronic merchants approved for special customs status. Items imported by companies and individuals approved for special customs status for trading electronically are subjected to a simpler inspection regulations when being processed by customs. Due to the light inspection given to items imported by merchants, the system has been abused in the past by bringing in products which are illegal without import licenses. At present, companies with paid in capital exceeding 100 million won ($87,000) and individual traders with annual revenue exceeding 48 million won can apply for the special status. Under current regulations, individual traders can meet the 48 million won limit by including revenue generated from other businesses operated by the applicant. Under the new regulations, only revenue generated from electronic commerce business will be valid. In addition, electronic traders will be required to show information concerning the overseas seller of the item being imported, including the address of the website the purchase is being made from clearly on their websites. The information will also have to be made available to consumers who are not members of the Korean electronic trader's website. The revised regulations also dictate that the person operating the business must be the same as the person who is the registered representative of the business, and more than 500 items must pass through customs each month to qualify for special customs status. Those looking to achieve the status will also be required to establish a system to verify that an item being imported is not banned in Korea, and will be barred from applying for the status for six months following a rejection.


From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 03/05/2010

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Limits on Telecom Marketing Not Likely to Have Positive Impact

A South Korean regulator's recent decision to limit the marketing costs of telecom operators will not positively impact them, the global credit rating agency Moody's Investors Service said Wednesday. Moody's released a special comment, saying that the new marketing cap guidance from the Korean Communications Commission (KCC) is unlikely to cause an immediate change in the rating for Korean telecom operators. In the wake of a substantial increase in competition stemming from the deregulation of handset subsidies, the KCC earlier this month announced that telecom operators should cap their marketing spending at 22 percent of annual revenue in 2010 and 20 percent from 2011. The cap will likely help large-scale operators protect their superior market positions from smaller operators, Moody's said. According to the KCC, the telecom operators will be able to save around 1.9 trillion won (US$1.67 billion) in 2010 and 2.4 to 2.5 trillion won in 2011 if they comply. This could help the industry improve its operating profit margin on an EBITDA basis - earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization - by approximately 3-5 percent in 2010, with an additional 1-3 percent in 2011, the rating agency said.

"But these margin improvements are unlikely to be sufficient in themselves to prompt any upward rating pressure for the industry, given the extent to which margins have declined over the past three years," said Laura Acres, Moody's vice president and senior credit officer. The KCC has also requested that the telecom companies reinvest the amounts saved in R&D and advanced network expansion. "This initiative is likely to drive more capex (capital expenditure) and R&D spending in advanced telecom technologies, particularly for wireless data services, in the short to medium term," said Jaywon Jung, an associate analyst at Moody's. "From a ratings perspective, this may adversely impact free cash flow metrics, which have already been under pressure from high capex budgets over the past few years." Moody's said it is doubtful about companies' willingness to implement the regulator's guidelines over the medium to long term, citing the absence of legally enforceable measures to restrict marketing costs and the lack of a detailed execution plan on where and how an operator should lower its marketing spending.

"For these reasons, we still believe that the Korean telecom industry will remain highly competitive, and that we are unlikely to see any tangible proof of a sustained market cooldown in the short to medium term," Jung said. As the nation's telecom market becomes increasingly saturated, companies are trying to promote combined fixed and mobile services to cut costs and woo customers from rivals. LG Telecom, the smallest mobile carrier in the market, competing with bigger rivals SK Telecom and KT, merged in January with its two affiliated fixed-line Internet operators, the latest in an industry-wide move to converge the fixed-line and wireless businesses. KT, the nation's top fixed-line operator and broadband service provider, absorbed its mobile service affiliate KTF Co. last year, and industry leader SK Telecom also controls its fixed-line affiliate SK Broadband Co. South Korea is one of the world's most wired nations, with more than two-thirds of homes connected to high-speed Internet and more than nine out of 10 people owning a mobile phone.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 03/24/2010

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KOFIA Launches Online Platform for OTC Bonds Trading

The Korea Financial Investment Association yesterday launched FreeBond, a bond trading program for over-the-counter transactions in response to longstanding calls by the Financial Services Commission to replace the online messengers. FreeBond will enable OTC bond traders and brokers to exchange real-time quotations and communicate through a messenger system embedded in the program, KOFIA said. It is expected to significantly reduce sudden trading-halts caused by errors in the online messengers. "It will increase transparency in coming up with quotations and encourage more foreign investors to participate in bond trading," said an analyst at KOFIA. FreeBond restricts users to registered investors and brokers for security and management reasons. A total of 874 professionals at 113 trading companies and brokerages have registered as of Tuesday, of which 43 are securities companies and 34 are asset management firms. They include Daewoo Securities, Prudential Securities, Samsung Asset Management, Hanhwa Investment Trust Management, Hana Bank,Korea Development Bank, Korea Life and Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance. "It's trading board allows investors to search registered users and negotiate based on text orders. It's basically a one-stop station for all the information needed for bond trading," said the analyst.


From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 04/08/2010

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Gov't to Nurture Content, 3D Industries

The government aims to create up to 80,000 new jobs in the media and content industries by joining hands with the private sector to invest some W20 trillion by 2014 (US$1=W1,124). The decision was made in a government strategic meeting for employment on Thursday. "The service sector [including the content and media industries] accounted for just 68.5 percent of jobs in Korea last year, ranking 23rd among the member states of the OECD," said Kwak Seung-jun, chairman of the Presidential Council for Future and Vision. "We need to create more jobs in the sector." The content industry will receive W6.5 trillion, including W1 trillion from the government, and the media industry W4.7 trillion, including W500 billion in public funding. Particular focus will be put on the 3D content and broadcasting sectors, for which the government will spend W800 billion and encourage the private sector to invest some W10 trillion by easing regulations. As part of plans to nurture 3D television broadcasting, the government aims to make 20 percent of all contents in 3D by 2015 and introduce 3D TVs that do not require viewers to wear special glasses. The government will also ease regulations that currently hamper usage of smartphones, such as those related to mobile financial transactions. The number of wireless Internet hot-spots will be doubled within this year, and WiBro service will be expanded to 84 cities nationwide.


From http://english.chosun.com/ 04/09/2010

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S. Korea to Invest 60 Bln Won to Build up Analog Chip Industry

South Korea plans to invest 60 billion won (US$54 million) until 2015 to build up its analog chip industry to help local companies expand their presence in the global semiconductor market, the government said Thursday. The Ministry of Knowledge Economy said both state and private sector funds will go into the development effort that aims to push up local production to $2.5 billion in the target year from just $100 million at present. Analog chips such as power management integrated circuits (IC), motor drive and light adapter devices are semiconductors designed to convert physical pressure, light, sound and electricity into digital signals. Power windows used in cars are one example of devices that use analog chips. They are also widely used in digital TVs and light-emitting diode (LED) systems. "The growth of information technology convergence has bolstered global demand for analog chips, but because South Korea had not invested in this field, its companies have fallen behind global leaders with imports effectively dominating the local market," a press release said. Of the $3.5 billion domestic market, 97 percent of analog chip demand is met by imports from the United States, the European Union and Japan. Texas Instruments is the largest producer of analog chips, with sales reaching $12 billion in 2008.

The ministry added that while South Korean companies dominated the $45.5 billion global memory chip market as of 2008, the size of analog chips reached $43.2 billion in the cited year. To overcome this gap, it said funds will be used to develop two analog chip manufacturing processes and four types of chips with the private sector to spend 300 billion won from 2013-2015 to build two or three chip foundries in the country. "A high voltage, high performance biopolar complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) and laterally diffused metal oxide semiconductor" process will be developed by 2015 with the development of a 0.18 micrometer-level analog CMOS to be pursued at the same time. In the analog chip field, research and development will be centered on making motor drive ICs, LED operating chips, mobile audio semiconductors, and power management devices. The ministry, meanwhile, said that it plans to support the training of 1,000 experts in this field by 2015 and create a new analog chip research center around June to coordinate work. It said if all goes according to the plan, South Korea can reduce imports by $1.1 billion from 2015 onwards, with exports in analog chips to reach $1.4 billion and 18,000 new jobs to be created in the country.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 04/15/2010

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Controversy Builds over IT Control Tower

Controversy is escalating over the necessity of a single state control tower for the rapidly-changing information technology industry as the role of the Korea Communications Commission remains in question. Ahn Chul-soo, founder and former CEO of computer security firm AhnLab, said yesterday that a governmental body must be in place to find solutions by structural means for the currently lagging information and technology sector. "In Korea, large firms are likely to take away the benefits and new companies are often troubled with disadvantages. The market is also not transparent or fair, which comes down to the weak infrastructure for industrial support," said Ahn, who is now a professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. Knowledge Economy Minister Choi Kyung-hwan, however, refuted the argument by saying that reestablishing a single branch to take control of information technology duties is an out-dated idea. "Some claim that the country's fall in competitiveness in the IT sector has resulted from the dispersion of the Information and Technology Minister which existed in the past," he said. "It is rather appropriate to think about how to stimulate the market by relaxing government regulations."

Last week, National Assembly Speaker Kim Hyong-o told reporters the government must establish a single agency which could take responsibility for projects involving information, communication and content technology. "If the restructuring consumes too much time, then the government must build a negotiation body to reasonably iron out conflicts between ministries," he said. Once claimed to be the global leader of the information technology industry, the country is now struggling to develop alternative measures to compete in the fast-growing smartphone market. A strong warning was issued when Apple released its popular mobile device iPhone here late last year when the nation's major electronics giants such as Samsung and LG were basically left unprepared. Since then, four different government organizations - the KCC, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, the Culture Ministry and the Ministry of Public Administration and Security - have been scrambling to devise related policies and support measures. KCC chairman Choi Si-joong arranged a meeting last month with industry chiefs to discuss ways to provide increased wireless Internet service. The event was shortly followed by the Knowledge Economy Ministry's meeting with company chiefs which focused on how to jointly become a leading player in the global mobile industry. The culture and public administration ministries also announced some supporting policies for the smartphone and the wireless Internet contents markets.


From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 04/21/2010

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S. Korea's IT Sector Sees Record-High Trade Surplus in April

SEOUL (Xinhua) - South Korea posted a record-high trade surplus in the information technology (IT) sector in April, on the back of demand rise for semiconductors and display panels, a report showed Thursday. According to the report by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, IT exports marked an annual rise of 34.1 percent, registering 12. 67 billion U.S. dollars last month. The April reading marked a 11-month-straight surplus over the 10 billion-U.S. dollar level. On the other hand, South Korea's IT imports, on the other hand, also advanced 17 percent from a year ago to 5.96 billion U.S. dollars, resulting in a record surplus of 6.71 billion U.S. dollars. The previous record in IT surplus stood at 6.36 billion U.S. dollars which was tallied in October 2009, according to the report.


From http://news.xinhuanet.com/ 05/06/2010

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MALAYSIA: Businesses, Consumers to Lead IT Spending

Corporate and consumer spending on IT products and services in Malaysia will continue to make up for the shortfall in government spending in that segment this year, said industry researcher IDC. Maggie Tan, associate research director at IDC Asean, said businesses and consumers spent US$3.92bil (RM12.6bil) on information technology products and services last year. In comparison, the Government's IT spending totalled US$523.1mil (RM1.67bil) in the same period. Tan was speaking at IDC's Asean Directions 2010 conference here, an annual event. She said this corporate and consumer spending will continue to exceed the government spending this year.

Local consumers, she predicted, will continue to buy portable computers and other devices, which accounted for US$1.69bil (RM5.42bil) of the total spending last year. "It's not just about people buying laptops with Windows 7; Malaysian consumers feel they must always own the latest and most stylish products," she said. As for the corporate sector, businesses will continue to spend on cloud-computing services this year, she said without specifying which sectors. The economic dip last year made local companies look for cost savings and these organisations are finding that cloud computing is the way to go, according to IDC.

This year's conference is themed Capitalising on the Recovery: Building the Foundation for the Intelligent Economy. According to Tan, the economic recovery has thrust South-East Asian markets back into the spotlight this year. "There is opportunity for Malaysian companies to market their software and services to other countries such as Indonesia and Vietnam," she said.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 04/29/2010

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THAILAND: Online Shopping on the Increase

A MasterCard survey of online shopping habits has found that 77 percent of Thai respondents accessed the Internet every day, while 63 percent enjoy shopping online, with women's clothes, CDs/DVDs and cosmetics among the top selling products. The latest survey of online shopping habits by MasterCard Worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2009, which covered 8,000 respondents across 14 markets, revealed that Thai online shoppers shopped more frequently. The top reasons for using the Internet are for receiving/sending emails (94 percent), followed by reading news online (87 percent), online shopping (63 percent), browsing materials for work or study (63 percent), browsing for leisure (61 percent), and chatting with friends (58 percent). Eileen Wee, vice president and country manager Thailand, MasterCard Worldwide, said it has been a big year for Thailand e-commerce, with increased availability of high speed Internet.

More importantly, the average spending in Thailand over the three months has also gone up from $400 (13,200 baht) to $550 (18,150 baht), with males between the ages of 35 and 44 spending above average at about $620 (20,460 baht). In addition, the study found the top five products or services bought online for Thais were women's clothing and accessories (47 percent), CDs/DVDs/VCDs (30 percent), cosmetics (30 percent), personal care and beauty (29 percent), and airline tickets (24 percent). The survey also found the top five merchant websites were music downloads (53 percent), clothing and accessories (50 percent), cinemas (49 percent), supermarket/superstores (43 percent) and books/CDs/DVDs (41 percent).

The industry will also be encouraged by the positive attitudes exhibited towards online shopping, with 85 percent saying that shopping online is convenient, 81 percent saying it is easy and 77 percent saying it is fun. The increase in online shopping was driven by key factors which included convenient payment methods (88 percent), goods exchange or return policy (87 percent), secure payment facilities (86 percent), price/value of the items (86 percent), low or no extra charges for usage of payments methods or delivery of service and good customer service (83 percent). Among the total respondents, 500 were Thais between the ages of 18 and 64 years with personal bank accounts and who accessed the Internet at least once a week.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 04/14/2010

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Turmoil Slows Thai IT Market

Political turmoil in Thailand will slow down the growth of the IT market by at least 10 percent and make Indonesia and Vietnam more attractive in Asean, according to a Thai IT executive. Meanwhile a computer event at Siam Paragon will be postponed to May. Narong Intanate, Executive Director Asean at ECS Holding, a regional ICT provider, said the political situation in Thailand will make the IT market less attractive in terms of foreign direct investment compared with Vietnam, which offers special privileges and ECS is considering the possibility of investing there.

Under his territory in five countries, which is worth $2 billion in business, Indonesia is a high-growth market due to political stability, low consumer IT penetration and a 7 percent GDP growth rate. "In the first quarter, our business grew 200 percent, ahead of Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand," said Narong. "Thailand's IT market still grew well in the first two months of this year, but was affected in March, especially IT retailers in Pratunam's Pantip Plaza and Ratchaprasong district, with overall spending reduced by around 15 percent. "Normally, these two areas contribute around 30-40 percent of the IT business in Bangkok. If the situation continues we may adjust the previous projection which expected a 30-percent growth from the Value Systems in Thailand. Even in the first quarter our business grew 26 percent and rotated some resources to areas of growth, especially upcountry and commercial projects. We will draw up a contingency plan for the next 3-6 months," he added.

Suphan Mongkonsuthi, President of Synnex (Thailand), one of largest distributors, said each side in the current conflict should take one step back and renegotiate in order to stop this conflict as soon as possible in order to reduce damage to the country. "If the situation continues, the impact will be clearly seen in the second half of this year. However, the company's business is still growing well based on both Government and commercial spending, with target growth estimated at 15 percent," Suphan said. Prasert Charoonpaisal, General Manager, Personal Systems Group (PSG) of HP (Thailand), said during the political situation, overall spending has been reduced by at least 10 percent and it will continue to fall if the conflict lasts beyond April. "However, the company's business is still going well because of gains in spending in upcountry provinces and commercial projects in the first quarter and it plans to launch new products in May or June, which should not be affected by the situation," Prasert said. Wiroj Assawarungsi, deputy managing director of The Aspirers Group (TAG), organisers of COM World 2010, said the political turmoil has frozen the consumer IT market. Due to the violence on April 10, the company decided to postpone COM World 2010 to May 20-23.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 04/21/2010

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Mobile Broadband Creates New Revenue Stream for Operators

The explosion of mobile broadband is bringing new market opportunities for mobile operators to create new revenue streams beyond voice communication through cloud computing and home networking business. According to a Huawei magazine article entitled "Telecom Industry Trends in the Next Decade", the number of mobile broadband subscribers will increase tenfold, reaching three billion in the next five years. However, it still has not fully utilised mobile broadband, which depends on joint efforts by the entire industry chain, including "terminal, network, and service". Although new network technologies such as HSPA/LTE are capable of supporting the cost-effectiveness of mobile broadband development, there are many challenges ahead in facing the thousandfold traffic increase of mobile broadband over the next decade.

New types of smart terminals such as the iPhone bring convenient man-machine interactions, yet the high price of smart terminals is the biggest bottleneck that restricts the popularity of mobile broadband. WOA technology, represented by widgets, can move Internet services and industry services to mobile phones, enriching the services and applications for mobile broadband. Currently, an open ecological environment that includes "terminal, network, and service" centred on broadband is in an early form. With the challenges of traffic and cost being overcome, it is predictable that mobile broadband will become the most significant force to promote industry development. Operators can achieve sustainable growth if they focus on developing mobile broadband services rather than voice communications. The popularity of broadband provides a basis for cloud computing. Cloud computing appears in the form of an "information power plant" and is overturning the traditional business mode of software, hardware and media. Users are moving from buying products to buying services.

The change in the business model is redefining the industry structure. By changing the distribution mode of software to "terminal (iPod/iPhone) + application (iTunes/Appstore)", Apple has surpassed Wal-Mart and become the largest music distribution channel; Google is incubating a larger revolution to achieve development, deployment and operation of software and services through its APP engine, with flexible expansion based on traffic through the cloud computing platform and cloud storage platform at the bottom layer.In this case, there is no need for software vendors and users to buy any hardware equipment or platform software. This technology will overturn the sales modes of hardware and software for companies such as IBM, HP, Microsoft and Oracle. The development of cloud computing also brings opportunities for operators. On the one hand, cloud computing has shown the significance of networks and thus promotes network development.

On the other hand, cloud computing services rely on secure and reliable service providers, which is to the advantage of operators. Operators can employ new business models and cultivate new revenue streams through building data mining and advertising platforms.
The market size of cloud computing will exceed $200 billion in the next five years and it will be the key for business development for operators to extend network value. The increase of mobile broadband also enriches user experiences in home networking technology. And there are six components of home networking.

The first is an audiovisual entertainment network dominated by the TV screen. The second is communication dominated by PCs and mobile phones. The third is a sensor network. The fourth is a video surveillance network. The fifth is a home network, and the sixth is interconnection and control network. Among the six components, the TV screen is the first to experience revolutionary change. "On-line and on-demand" will bring consumers a brand new service experience. Consumers can freely select content, releasing themselves from a rigid schedule, overturning the video industry dominated by broadcast and DVDs. An European Union report from last year entitled "Future Internet 2020" pointed out that by that year, TV channels will be distributed as other Internet services, and will not need terrestrial or satellite broadcasting anymore, except in isolated areas. If the past decade witnessed the convergence of telecom and the Internet, the next decade will witness the convergence of broadcast, TV, and the Internet.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 05/05/2010

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Mobiles 'to Become Key to Finance'

The mobile phone will definitely be the centrepiece of consumer interaction for financial services in the future, but the real battle is being fought behind the scenes by major players to establish the ecosystem that empowers it. Roar Bjaerum, Telenor Pakistan Vice-President for Financial Services, said that further into the future, the phone will definitely be used for some type of tap and pay mechanism. The handset will be the carrier, but the question is whether the money will be held in a chip, in a smart phone application, or in a closed ecosystem like Apple's, or whether it will be with the mobile operator in some sort of mobile wallet system? Many players are coming into this space. Google has Google Checkout and there is also Paypal. Everyone is trying to go from the PC to the handset. On the other hand, mobile operators are offering functionality with mobile wallets and proven carrier billing systems. Handset maker Nokia has also joined the fray and has introduced Nokia Ovi Pay.

With the huge amount of players at both local, regional and global levels, the only certain thing is that without interoperability, the ecosystem will not succeed. Bjaerum himself uses an HTC Hero Android phone and cannot pay for Android Market applications on it while in Pakistan, but can when he is back in Norway, citing one example of the complexity of the ecosystem. Many questions are facing the industry. One particular challenge to operators and their billing systems is why merchants should pay them 20 percent revenue share for a transaction when PayPal can do the same for five percent. Ultimately it is the consumer who decides. Bjaerum said he does not believe the two-Sim model that Nokia is pushing will work, as it is simply too complicated. Everyone says NFC is a great idea but fundamentally, NFC on a phone does not change the relationship structure of existing payment systems. Nokia has been saying for the past three years that NFC will take off "next year" and it still has not happened.

More likely will be more advanced Sim cards where the mobile operator rents out some space in it, whether it is to financial institutions or other operators. A new, common, non-profit company will be needed to play the role of trusted service manager to cater to the different demands of the financial institutions and telecommunication companies. This is like the national banking switches that are owned by all the banks in many countries. Telenor has joined in setting up such a company in Norway. Other countries such as France and Malaysia are pushing a central bank-led mobile payment model.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 05/05/2010

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MyGamma Launched in Thailand

Assistant Professor Dr Puree Sirasoonthorn from Thammasat University's faculty of economics spoke of her research on mobile social networking at the bottom of the pyramid. MyGamma, a mobile social networking community, is run by a Singapore company called Buzz City. It has 4-5 million users worldwide and entered Thailand in 2005 to focus on those in the lower to middle income groups and is accessible through all the major Thai telcos. In Thailand, MyGamma has 200,000 users as of July 2009. Buzz City has some limited success in selling content. The revenue sharing model means the mobile operator gets the major part of any revenue received, between 40 to 50 percent. This has not worked well as they have to compete with the operator's own content portals.

The platform has since shifted its revenue model to mobile advertising. Buzz City takes 30 percent revenue from external ads and 90 percent of its own advertisements. Here the problem is that despite the number of eyeballs the buyers of media, the advertising agencies, do not think of mobile as a major platform. This is in contrast to India where advertising agencies regularly tell their clients to buy mobile advertising space. The platform allows advertisers to target advertising campaigns with granularity down to the handset model and network. Will next year be the year of the mobile ad? No. It will still be very, very small compared to TV and radio and advertising agencies are still not taking mobile advertisement seriously. However, what is happening is that the SME who do not have huge amounts of advertisement budget are looking to highly targeted mobile advertisements for things such as contact lenses, massage chairs and mobile accessories.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 05/12/2010

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VIET NAM: Software Sector to See Rapid Growth

VietNamNet Bridge - The software industry this year is expecting growth of roughly 30 per cent - as it achieved in the 2005-08 period - according to industry insiders. Pham Tan Cong, general secretary of the Viet Nam Software Association, said if the world's economy did not rebound as expected, Viet Nam's software industry could expect growth of roughly 20 per cent. That would result in a Vietnamese GDP growth rate of around 6.5 per cent. However, Ngo Hung Phuong, general director of the CSC Viet Nam, said software giants were confident the global IT sector would fully rebound this year. FPT Software has set itself a growth target of 20 per cent for this year thanks to the recovery of the American and Australian markets. Run Systems on the other hand is targeting growth of 30-40 per cent. Nguyen Ich Vinh, Tinh Van Outsourcing Co deputy director, said last year local software outsourcing firms should have focused on training staff, adding that this year would open up new business opportunities for companies that had planned for the future. Domestic software firms believe Japan is still the best export market. Nguyen Lam Phuong, deputy general director of FPT Software, said that his company's main turnover this year would come from Japan. Meanwhile, Vinasa's Cong said domestic software firms should focus on enlarging their market share in Japan. Viet Nam currently has roughly 150 software companies, 19 of which are joint ventures.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 03/20/2010

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Online Advertising Thrives in Vietnam

VietNamNet Bridge - The revenue of the online advertising industry in Vietnam reached 278 billion dong in 2009, equivalent to $15.5 million, according a market research firm, Cimigo. "Vietnam's infant online advertising market grew 71 percent in 2009," reported Cimigo's Lukas Mira. This is the first time a report on online advertising in Vietnam has been released. Cimigo measured data on income from websites and networks, media agents and companies using online advertising services. Data was collected from online advertising service providers and their report analyses revenues in each business category. According to Cimigo, online advertising in Vietnam is not developing at the same pace as the development of the Internet. Online advertising accounts for a small part in the total advertising investment. The revenue from online advertising in Vietnam is lower than that of some neighboring countries and Vietnamese advertisers spend only 50 cents for access to Internet users per year, while the figure is 15 times higher in China.
 
"Over half of Vietnam's population use Internet and they spend over two hours a day on average to surf the net," estimated Mira. "However, advertisers still doubt the effectiveness of this channel of information." The growth of online advertising in Vietnam last year, according to Cimigo's research, is better than the common situation in the world. According to AFP, revenues from online advertising in the US felt by 11 percent in 2009 to $2.74 billion. The Financial Times revealed that global advertising revenues in 2010 may grow by 2.9 percent and 4 percent in 2011. Global online advertising is expected to grow at two-digit speed in 2010. Established in HCM City in 2003, Cimigo is a group of independent experts on marketing research. With 200 members, Cimigo operates in many countries in the Asia-Pacific region.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 03/27/2010

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IT Industry's Future Far from Certain

VietNamNet Bridge - The nation's five-year plan to change the IT industry from being assemblers to producing their own core products would not be an easy task, domestic information technology specialists say. They were responding to the Government's draft plan, due to be publised by next month, which targets a shift in the IT industry from being a nation of assemblers for foreign companies to designing and supplying their own core products. In the years from 2015-20, the plan will focus on designing and producing components and spare parts and enhancing the parts and accessory production industries, plus gradually developing product research. The Ministry of Information and Communications said electronics and IT hardware assembly using foreign products accounted for the major part of the IT industry, but added value remained modest.

The supporting industries - to supply the parts - had not yet been developed or attracted investment in Viet Nam. And even when assembly companies use foreign parts, production quality failed to reach international standards, said Nguyen Trong Duong, acting director of the IT Department of the Ministry of Information and Communications.

However, experts said to change from assembly to manufacturing the core products would require a major effort. In fact, Nguyen Xuan Quynh, a member of the National Policy and Science Council said that it would take longer than five years for Viet Nam's IT industry to move to core production. It would require more time and a greater effort to manufacture the basic chips to escape dependence on foreign producers, Quynh said.

Today, the assembly industry in Viet Nam has partly succeeded with computer and TV brands such as CMS, FPT, VTC and VTB and Tien Dat DVD players. But little thought and investment had been committed to "designing devices". A foreign company specialist said that when PCs were assembled from imported accessories, circuit boards and chips, Viet Nam would not be a master of technology. It was expected that in the third quarter of this year, the ministry would announce specific policies to encourage the IT industry to focus on developing core technology and building pilot models. Giant telecos Viettel and Viet Nam Post and Telecoms Group were expected to participate in the plan.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 04/06/2010

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Official Deplores 'Unhealthy' Mobile Phone Promotions

VietNamNet Bridge - Large wireless telephone service providers may be trying to drive upstart rivals out of business by offering huge sales promotion programs. This practice can actually hinder market development, says Pham Hong Hai, chief of the Ministry of Information and Communications' Telecommunications Department. "Since March 1, mobile operators' promotional activities have become extraordinarily complicated. We asked them to report about all of these programmes and new mobile service packages. We will work with the Trade Promotion Agency (a unit of the Ministry of Industry and Trade) to see which programme is wrong and which is right," said Hai. Hai said that Viettel, Vinaphone and MobiFone, which dominate the market, are not allowed to offer their services below cost. However, "it's well-known that a strong company may accept temporary losses to take over the market later. Selling below cost is an unhealthy practice that is prohibited because it will create market instability and monopoly."
 
Competition in the mobile service market is very fierce. In quest of high profits, operators have launched many promotional programmes. Some even accept losses to attract new customers. According Hai, this is a step to monopoly. Vietnamese regulations stipulate that bonuses offered by businesses cannot exceed 50 percent of the value of the product they are selling. The Trade Promotion Agency last year specifically ordered mobile phone networks to stop illegal sales promotions. However, earlier this month, MobiFone launched a program that awarded customers an additional 170 percent of the recharged value of a prepaid card. Hai said MoIC (the Ministry of Information and Communication) will tighten controls over promotional campaigns to "prevent price wars that can cause the telecom market to collapse."  Businesses may reduce prices to benefit their customers in the long term but they cannot misuse short term promotion programs to kill off smaller players, he said. Hai also said wireless carriers will not be granted new series of numbers unless they have actually used up 70 percent of their available numbers.
 
VinaPhone, MobiFone and Viettel last November urged the MoIC to allocate a new 11-digit number series, saying they were running out of numbers for new customers. Military-run Viettel had 16 million new subscribers last year, according to MoIC statistics. MobiFone and Vinaphone, both managed by state-owned Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications, each attracted more than 10 million new customers. New regulations governing telecoms' promotion programs are expected to take effect July this year. According to drafts, mobile operators will be permitted to use the following types of promotions: reducing the prices of SIMs, recharge cards, and the prices of mobile phones that are sold with a service pack for pre-paid subscribers. For post-paid subscribers, permitted promotions include reducing activation charges, daily and monthly subscription rates and information fees, as well as increasing times for communication, the volume of information and the information pack when the charges are unchanged.  Any other form of promotions must be approved by MoIC. Further, the maximum reduction through a promotion must not exceed 50 percent of the selling price applied before the promotional campaign. For example, if the information charge before promotion is 1000 dong per minute, the promotional charge must be at least 500 dong per minute.
 
Since the telecom market exploded, promotional campaigns have been launched often, even several times a month. The promotional value for recharge cards were raised 50 percent to 100, 130, 150 and even 200 percent.  Prize lotteries for new subscribers escalated from mere motorbikes to such rewards as tours to Europe, Innova cars and then even Mercedes autos. In late 2009, the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Trade Promotion Agency proposed that MoIC allow mobile operators to launch promotional campaigns with limited promotional values of up to 50 percent of recharge cards. The ministry claimed that the telecom market was a mess as mobile operators were always involved in promotional races. During these campaigns, mobile networks could attract 5000-8000 new subscribers a day, but most providers stopped the service after they used up its promotional value.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 04/26/2010

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Good Signals in Broadband Internet Market

VietNamNet Bridge - Vietnam currently has six providers of Internet services, named VDC, Viettel, FPT Telecom, NetNam, SPT and EVN Telecom, with VDC, Viettel and FPT Telecom in the tripod position. According to the Vietnam Internet Centre, the country had over 23 Internet users by the end of March 2010, accounting for 27.52 percent of the population. Of this number, there were approximately 3.2 million broadband Internet subscribers, up nearly 40 percent from last year. Vietnam's total international bandwidth capacity is 10,8820 Mbps and 13,5197 Mbps for total local bandwidth capacity. VDC has gained an advantage over Viettel and FPT Telecom when it holds around 70 percent of the broadband Internet market, with 2.5 million subscribers. However, the game is changing because some service providers are trying to expand their coverage and renew their business strategies.
 
The Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) has invested billions of USD in its broadband Internet network, which is operated by VDC, and expand this network to rural and remote areas. As a result, the number of subscribers of VDC is high because people in many regions have no choice than VDC. Viettel and FPT Telecom are remarkable rivals in the Internet market but Viettel, which ranks the second, accounts for only 12 percent of the market shares, equivalent to 350,000 subscribers. FPT Telecom's figures are a little less than Viettel. This firm only focuses on big cities. However, since late 2009, it has begun expanding its service to many provinces and outlying cities. It plans to develop broadband Internet network to 18-20 provinces in 2010 to raise the total number to 40-42 provinces. This firm opened seven branches in March. Viettel's broadband Internet network has reached rural areas. In late 2009, this company has implemented a new strategy: concentrating on potential areas and expand its bandwidth to provide more value added services. Meanwhile, CMC group became a strategic shareholder of NetNam late March 2010, holding 43.8 percent of shares. NetNam's deputy director Vu The Binh said that NetNam aims to be one of the top five Internet service providers in Vietnam by 2012. These are new signals in the market, which promises to benefit everyday Internet users.


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

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Mobile Operators Don't Benefit from 3G Networks

VietNamNet Bridge - After investing hundreds of millions of dollars in third generation (3G) technology, the growth of subscribers has not met Viettel, MobiFone and VinaPhone's expectations. To get the licence to develop 3G networks, the three firms and EVN Telecom-Vietnamobile deposited 8.1 trillion dong (over $426 million), including 4.5 trillion dong from Viettel alone. After half a year of offering 3G services, mobile operators have not earned much from their 3G network investments. After 8 months, Viettel has around 7 million 3G subscribers. MobiFone currently has 6 million after five months and Viettel has over 1 million. A VinaPhone official complained that subscribers don't use 3G services frequently, so the numbers of subscribers should be reconsidered as frequent visitors. The true subscribers are less than 1 percent in comparison with 2G subscribers.
 
Viettel, VinaPhone and MobiFone laid high hopes on broadband Internet services via mobile phones and laptops, using mobile networks. However, most users still like surfing the Internet using GPRS technology of 2G networks. Viettel Deputy Director Nguyen Viet Dung noted that broadband Internet (ADSL) and wireless networks cover all cities. Mobile users can easily surf the net at cafes and on the street using the wireless band from cafes. 3G users, therefore, are not in cities, but in rural areas where ADSL is unavailable. VinaPhone's director Lam Hoang Vinh said that 3G service providers need several years to build up their stamps in the market and VinaPhone needs seven years to recover its investment capital in the 3G network. The 2G networks, therefore, are still the major sources of profit for mobile operators. The average revenue from 2G subscribers in Vietnam is around 100,000-150,000/month. Mobile operators plan to further invest trillions dong into 3G networks. Viettel has committed to an additional 12.789 trillion in the next three years, while VinaPhone and MobiFone will invest around 9.556 trillion.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn 05/07/2010

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Minor Mobile Network Joins 3G Race

VietNamNet Bridge - EVN Telecom is quickly building facilities to launch 3G services by June 6, 2010 to avoid being fined for violating its 3G commitment by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC). This firm deposited a billion dong to obtain a licence to develop a 3G network. If it doesn't supply 3G services as of June 2010, it will lose its deposit. EVN Telecom officials reported that they expect to launch their 3G network in mid-June. Three other 3G networks have been launched already by Viettel, MobiFone and VinaPhone, using 2G facilities to support their 3G networks. EVN Telecom, in contrast, hoped to build a separate 3G network, which would be more costly, but would provide better service quality. Viettel, MobiFone and VinaPhone customers have complained that the quality of 2G services were affected by 3G and the companies worked hard to fix the problems.
 
To use EVN Telecom's 3G services, clients must buy 3G SIM cards, but current 2G subscribers can keep their phone numbers when switching to 3G. EVN has invested around 2 trillion dong (over $100 million) to build about 2500 3G base transceiver stations (BTS). In the second phase of the EVN plan, it will install an additional 5000 BTS. Vietnamobile, which shares the 3G licence with EVN Telecom, is negotiating with foreign partners to buy additional 3G equipment. Many doubt that they will be able to launch 3G services in time. "Our 2G network is not fully used, so it is costly to build a 3G network. We must design suitable policies for 3G and only join the 3G race if we can win," commented a Vietnamobile official.
 
Some warn that 3G is a trap. VinaPhone, MobiFone and Viettel have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in 3G networks, but earnings are not high. After eight months, VinaPhone has around 8 million users, MobiFone has 6 million and Viettel has 1 million. Without appropriate policies, EVN Telecom and Vietnamobile will find it difficult to compete. EVN Telecom's mobile market share is also low and the company is known more for their E-com wireless fixed phone service. Vietnamobile has lost tens of millions of dollars to switch its mobile technology from CDMA to GSM. However, by late April 2010, the firm reported over 4 million users (out of over 130 million mobile subscribers) in Vietnam.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 05/15/2010

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BANGLADESH: BB Goes Online

All the branches and departments of Bangladesh Bank (BB) yesterday came under an online network to ensure faster and transparent services at the central bank. "The online networking would be the platform for bringing the entire financial sector under ICT technology," said Governor Atiur Rahman while inaugurating the online system at the BB headquarters in Dhaka. The new system will enable the BB staff to intercommunicate and share necessary information online without physical movements, saving both time and resources. Under the system, all the data are stored at a data centre at the central bank, backed by a highly secured disaster recovery site.


From http://www.thedailystar.net/ 05/18/2010

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Uniform Software Planned for Brokers

Dhaka and Chittagong stock exchanges have prepared a "needs assessment" report as the first step to design uniform back-office software for stockbrokers. The market regulator has moved to put the software in place to curb market manipulation and ensure accurate information on trading to be maintained by the stockbrokers and stock dealers. The report was submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for feedback, Md Shakil Rizvi, president of Dhaka Stock Exchange, told The Daily Star by phone. Mansur Alam, an SEC member, said the commission is reviewing the assessment report. Around 500 brokerage houses are affiliated with the Dhaka and Chittagong bourses, with investors numbering around 25 lakh.


From http://www.thedailystar.net/ 05/18/2010

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INDIA: Mobile Banking from July in Rural Areas

Banks have been advised by the Government to start mobile banking services in rural areas by July 31,2010 and complete the roll by the end of next year. People will be able to withdraw cash and transfer funds using their mobile phones in rural areas. After the implementation of the scheme, people in far flung areas would be able to operate no-frills mobile-linked account to withdraw cash, deposit money, balance enquiry, transfer of money from one to another. This will also facilitate transfer of funds of various government schemes like NREGS, to a mobile linked account. A significant feature of the proposed framework is that funds remain within the banking system throughout and the intermediary does not have custody of the funds even momentarily.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 04/19/2010

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E-Retailers to Use Targeted E-Mails to Improve Web Sales

Email Bangalore: About 79 percent of retailers plan to send more targeted e-mails to customers to improve their web sales, said the E-tailing Group in its 9th Annual Merchant Survey. It states that about 72 percent will refine site search and 70 percent will enhance site merchandising. The study also found many merchants optimistic about their web sales for the year. 92 percent anticipate 2010 Internet revenues to increase year over year by 6-15 percent. And, 8 percent predict a flat or downward trend in their e-commerce business compared with 34 percent who forecast flat or downward sales last year. As the web channel grows, more merchants plan to put money into e-retail technology. 59 percent say they plan to invest more in e-commerce than they did last year as compared to that of 36 percent in the 2009 survey. Retailers also seem to be happier with their e-commerce marketing investments this year, compared to a year ago. 47 percent say their marketing plans are performing at or above expectations, compared with 37 percent in 2009. "Seasoned sellers, emerging retailers and manufacturers are all positioning themselves for growth as the economy rebounds," says Lauren Freedman, President of the E-tailing Group. "Results of our 9th Annual Merchant Survey find retailers taking a laser-like focus on performance where results dictate category-centric demands and solid execution sets the tone for incremental revenue."


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 05/03/2010

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E-Retail Again Grows by Double Digits

Email Bangalore: According to the MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse report, online retailing witnessed a growth of about 15.6 percent in April, the sector's ninth consecutive month of double-digit growth. "E-commerce growth continues to outpace brick-and-mortar sales," says the MasterCard report, which did not provide an estimate for changes in stores sales or overall retail sales. A positive note in the e-commerce report was a 0.2 percent year-over-year increase in the average price of an online purchase. That was the first time average ticket had gone up year over year since September 2008, when the collapse on Wall Street sent consumer spending into a tailspin. "E-commerce, luxury and electronics continue to drive high year-over-year increases," says Michael McNamara, Vice President of research and analysis for SpendingPulse. "Most of the weakness in April's data can be attributed to Easter occurring a week earlier this year, shifting demand into March. For those weaker categories, most notably apparel, April and March taken together yielded a slightly positive year-over year growth over April and March 2009. Pricing throughout showed a steady and sustaining strength." According to the report, Luxury sales role 15.5 perecnt after growing 22.7 percent in March and 15.2 percent in February, which is a sign that the shift of Easter purchasing into March negatively impacted April. Also, the average ticket was up 10.6 percent compared with a very weak April 2009, SpendingPulse says. The SpendingPulse report is based on sales data from MasterCard's credit and debit card network combined with survey-based estimates of retail purchases using such payment forms as cash and check. MasterCard Advisors is the consulting arm of MasterCard Worldwide.


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 05/11/2010

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India to Be the 2nd Fastest Growing Enterprise Software Market

Email New Delhi: India's enterprise software market is forecast to maintain its strong performance, with an estimated growth rate of 12.3 percent from 2009 to 2014, the second highest growth rate in the world.Despite the global slowdown in 2009 and the continuing challenging economic conditions, the software market in India is expected to rebound to an annual growth rate of 11.1 percent in 2010, according to Gartner. Gartner analysts said that the increasing globalization of the Indian economy is leading to a growing need for modern software with the latest features and improved functionality. "Software vendors have strong growth potential in India, but also face the challenges of operating in a commercial environment that is still developing," said Asheesh Raina, principal research analyst at Gartner. "Indian enterprises have historically preferred to develop applications using their own labour because it costs less. This tendency has resulted in legacy and quickly obsolete software as well as inhibiting Indian enterprises' sustainability and business IT continuity. Growth will mainly be driven by replacing immature infrastructure with standardised systems and the large vendors stand to benefit", adds Raina. According to Gartner's latest forecast in 2010 India will be the fourth largest software market ($ 2.4 billion) in Asia/Pacific, and the country is forecast to account for 11 percent share of the region's total revenue of $21.72 billion in 2010, the equivalent to 1.04 per cent of the total worldwide software $232 billion market share. By 2014, India's share of the software market in Asia/Pacific is expected to reach 12 percent, representing $3.8 billion in revenue or 1.3 per cent of total worldwide software market revenue of $299 billion. Compared with mature countries in the Asia/Pacific region such as Australia (with 21 percent share of regional spending in 2010), the software market in India is still relatively young and evolving. A 2009 Gartner survey found that 50 percent of respondents in India planned to increase their software spending in 2010, far higher than other countries surveyed, such as those in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, North America, and Latin America. The same survey found that organizations in India in 2010 are expected to spend approximately 27 percent of their IT budgets on software and also the same on hardware. "India has balanced growth and will tend to increase spending equally on infrastructure, hardware and application software space through the forecast period to 2014", said Raina. Optimism regarding spending within Indian organizations reflects confidence in India's regional economic performance, as well as the need to adopt better technology to effectively compete in a tougher global environment. Priority areas of software spending include enterprise resource planning (ERP), office suites, operating systems and database management systems. In the next five years, the fastest-growing segment will be Enterprise Content management (30 percent), Virtualization (27.7 percent) and web conferencing and team collaboration (26.2 percent), although it is growing from a small base. According to Gartner, Indian enterprises are lagging behind in terms of adoption of these tools, resulting in the fast growth of this market.


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 05/11/2010

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India Accounts One Third of Offshored Telecom R&D Market

Email Bangalore: India accounts for about one-third of the outsourced telecom R&D market, including the R&D centres of global telecom firms and telecom R&D service providers, says a study. Also, the study stated that about 52 percent of India's telecom R&D market is captured by both MNC and domestic service providers such as Aricent, Wipro, TCS, HCL, Tech Mahindra, and may more. According to a study - 'Analysis of telecom R&D in India - An MNC and vendor perspective' conducted by the Bangalore-based consulting and research company Knowledgefaber, highlights the fact that post 2000, a large number of telecom companies set up their R&D centres in India to cut costs. Due to factors like lower costs, available talent, a sizable R&D vendor base and growing domestic market, India has been successful in attracting R&D work from global telecom companies. Knowledgefaber says that the availability of talent, both fresh and skilled, has been a major factor in attracting global telecom companies to set up their R&D bases in India. The country has a base of over 120 global telecom companies with their R&D centres employing over 25,000 people. The five leading telecom R&D employers in India are Alcatel-Lucent, Motorola, Nokia Siemens, Cisco and Siemens. Also, a significant percentage of telecom R&D professionals are spread across Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai, thus causing R&D centres to be set up in these cities.


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 05/13/2010

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Verizon: A Key Player in Retail-IT Solutions Circuit

Email Bangalore: Verizon topped the list of top 10 IT consulting companies that have clear focus on serving the retail vertical market with integrated IT solutions, based on the 20th Annual RIS/Gartner Retail Technology Study. According to the study, consulting consumes about 45 percent of overall retail spending for third-party IT services. "Verizon is making new inroads into the retail IT market this year with our increased focus and commitment to this market. This ranking demonstrates that we're making solid progress in becoming the go-to retail IT solutions provider," said Ravi Bagal, vice president and global managing director of retail at Verizon Business. The company was quick to respond to the trend and built up its strategy in relation to retail market changes. The company announced its framework for retail. It offers the clients a retail IT solution, which is built on a SaaS model and cloud based platform. The solution is designed to help retailers improve their IT performance and enhance their business processes. The framework leverages Verizon's established global IT network and data centers to host and securely connect disparate applications and technology platforms - both internally and across vendors. Verizon's presence is not going to be restricted within the limits of retail sector alone. According to RIS-Gartner study, Verizon is going to emerge as one of the most vital IT forces in the upcoming years.


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 05/14/2010

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SRI LANKA: Numbering Portability Plan Threatens Celco Profitability

(LBO) - Plans by Sri Lanka's telecommunications regulator to introduce mobile phone number portability, allowing subscribers to switch networks while using the same number, could threaten industry profitability, Fitch Ratings said. Implementation of Mobile Number Portability (MNP) could increase subscriber acquisition and retention costs within the industry, it said in a statement. Fitch said it believes the threat from MNP to larger and more established operators is higher, including Sri Lanka Telecom and Dialog Telekom. To limit further damage to the industry, formal tariff floors and strict laws that enforce healthy competition should precede MNP implementation, it said. Last month, Sri Lanka's Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) called for consultancy services to suggest ways to introduce mobile phone number portability. "Severe price competition in the Sri Lankan mobile space since mid-2005 has significantly eroded the telecom operators' profitability," Fitch said. "However, price-based competition has eased since 2009 given the operators' weakened financial profiles, and an unofficial tariff floor implemented by the TRC." Hasira De Silva, Associate Director with Fitch's Asia-Pacific Corporates team, said while the present unofficial tariff floor should help curb continued deterioration in mobile operators' finances, implementation of MNP could increase subscriber acquisition and retention costs within the industry. "This would exert further pressure on the operators' balance sheet quality."

MNP would allow subscribers to switch mobile service providers while keeping the same mobile number, and is seen as a tool to encourage competition and operator efficiency. Over 80 percent of Sri Lanka's 12.7 million mobile subscribers at end-December 2009 were pre-paid users. Sri Lanka is estimated to have a 60 percent 'headline penetration' rate, based on the number of SIM (subscriber identity module) cards in use, an indication of the percentage of population that are mobile subscribers. But a "sizable" share of these pre-paid customers uses multiple SIM cards and "arguably have little or no loyalty to any one operator," Fitch noted. "With MNP, there will be more competition for post-paid and premium pre-paid users who are arguably more profitable for the operators," said De Silva. While MNP could force the operators to improve service standards, its implementation could also provoke greater expenses pertaining to loyalty-based rewards, brand-building and product differentiation. "Furthermore, those operators who currently maintain a premium above-the-floor tariff, on account of greater investments in network capacity and coverage, and prior brand name investments, could be forced to match competitors' lower tariffs, in order to retain market share." Fitch said falling industry profitability was neglected by TRC for several years, in favour of higher competition. In a special report published in December 2009, entitled Fitch identified Sri Lanka as having the highest "regulatory risks" in the region due to weak and uncertain regulations. "Fitch however considers TRCSL's recent actions, such as the introduction of floor tariffs for voice services, as positive for operators' credit profiles," the statement said. "However, to limit further damage to the industry, the agency believes formal price floors and strict laws that enforce healthy competition should precede the implementation of MNP."


From http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/ 05/07/2010

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PAKISTAN: Mobilink Registers Double Digit Growth in First Quarter

KARACHI: Mobilink, Pakistan's market leader in cellular services and part of Orascom Telecom Holding (OTH), has posted strong revenues, higher EBITDA and increasing subscriber base in the first quarter of 2010 as compared to the same period last year. According to the results published by OTH, Mobilink subscriber base increased by 11.8%, closing at 31.6 million at the end of Q1 2010. Mobilink EBITDA reached PKR 9 billion, representing an increase of 20% over the same period last year and reflecting an EBITDA margin of 38.9% versus 35.8% in Q1 2009. Mobilink closed the first quarter of 2010 with revenues of PKR 23.1 billion showing a YoY increase of 10.5%.Commenting on the results, Khaled Bichara, Group CEO, OTH shared that Mobilink has shown healthy revenue growth in comparison to Q1 of 2009, thanks to an increased number in subscribers. Orascom Telecom continues to remain focused on delivering innovative and high quality services to over 96 million customers across the globe, Bichara added. Expressing satisfaction on the results, Rashid Khan, Mobilink President and CEO, shared, "At a time when the market is approaching saturation point, I am pleased to share that our base is continually growing. The positive results are a strong reflection of Mobilink's investment in enhancing infrastructure to further improve quality of service. Our coverage, quality and network strengths have enabled us to post higher EBITDA, healthy revenues and add more subscribers in this challenging economic and competitive environment. We look forward to continuing this growth trend throughout the year." Mobilink earlier announced plans to invest over $250 million in the country in 2010. This will bring the total investment made by the company in Pakistan to over $3.5 billion, which is the largest foreign direct investment by any cellular operator in the country.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 05/15/2010

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AFGHANISTAN: Operators Form Association

Five Afghan telcos have announced the formation and launch of the Afghanistan Telecommunication Operators' Social Association (ATOSA). Together, Afghan Telecom, Afghan Wireless Communications Company, Etisalat Afghanistan, MTN Afghanistan and Roshan will collaborate closely with the government to ensure the continued growth and provision of high quality and reliable telecommunications services. 'The telecommunication operators of Afghanistan are committed to building on growth in the sector in a manner which is transparent and conducive to creating an enabling environment for the private sector throughout Afghanistan. ATOSA looks forward to supporting growth in the years ahead as we focus on extending coverage into rural areas,' said Najibullah Kamali, President of ATOSA.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 04/15/2010

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ARMENIA: Banking System Is Hyper-liquid

Bagrat Asatryan, the ex-chairman of the RA Central Bank, said that the liquidity index of Armenia's commercial banks exceeds twice the established standards. "These are the funds, which should have contributed to the economy, but due to a state policy, they have remained unused," Mr. Asatryan told a press conference in Yerevan. According to him, in 2009 the RA Central Bank implemented significant intervention to keep the banking system away from stresses, announcing return to a floating rate on March 3. "Despite this, there is a range of problems in the country's banking system, specifically Armenia's banks have attracted much more funds, than they have placed in 2009, while some banks ended the year with losses. The attracted monetary funds in AMD totaled 46% as of the beginning of 2009, while by the end of it they decreased and made 25% in the entire volume of the funds attracted by commercial banks," he noted. Besides, the banker added that in 2009 the volume of capital investments in USD exceeded those in AMD. "As of the beginning of 2009, credit investments in USD made 39% in the entire volume of commercial banks' credit portfolio, while by the end of the year they increased to 51%," he said. Speaking about the banking system hyper-liquidity, Mr. Asatryan stressed that Armenia's government should have referred to the internal sources of funding (citizens, banks and public bonds), instead of taking credits from foreign sources and spending them ineffectively.


From http://www.panarmenian.net/ 03/30/2010

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ArmenTel Hopes to Triple 3G Capacity

PanARMENIAN.Net reports that national fixed line and mobile operator ArmenTel, trading under the Beeline trademark of its parent Vimpelcom, plans to triple its 3G communication capacity by the end of 2010. More than 100,000 Beeline subscribers currently use the cellco's mobile internet services, including 3G. Last month Armentel CEO Igor Klimko says the group's Russian parent is planning to roll out Long Term Evolution (LTE) in the country, following successful trials of a test LTE network in Kazakhstan. At the time Klimko said: 'It is very important to note that the decision on frequency harmonisation, in which the LTE network construction will be permitted in Armenia, will also have an impact on our plans. We think that frequencies within 700MHz-800MHz harmonisation will be optimal.' The telco's rivals in the mobile market have mixed views on LTE. VivaCell-MTS intends to introduce a 4G service based on LTE technology during 2010, while Bruno Duthoit, the CEO of the third operator Orange Armenia, is on record as saying that the company does not plan to replace 3G+ (HSPA) technology with 4G.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 04/06/2010

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AZERBAIJAN: Become a Leader Among CIS Countries in the World Ranking of Network Technologies

World Economic Forum presented the annual report "Global Information Technology 2009-2010". According to the report presented on the website of the World Economic Forum, as of 2009, Azerbaijan took the 64-th place (3.75 points), and thus became the leader among CIS countries in terms of work technologies. The closest to Azerbaijan comes Kazakhstan (68-th place, 3.68 points). Russia took the 80-th place, Ukraine - 82nd, and Georgia 93rd. Azerbaijan was also ahead of Poland (65th) and Turkey (69th). Armenia took the 101th place, before Ghana and Mauritania. Sweden became the all-around leader with 5.65 points total.


From http://www.today.az/ 03/27/2010

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Digital Database on Real Estate Established in Azerbaijan

The Azerbaijani State Committee on Property expand use of updated geo-technologies (G?S) in the sphere of state registration of real estate in creating cadastre, which is largely applied in the international experience, official statement said. In this system database of real estate cadastre are related to address, coinciding the relevant digital map or plan. The key objective of applying digital data is create topographical maps or thematic maps of universal content, due to which it is necessary to include all data into database for compiling cadastre and cadastre cartography. Creation of digital cadastre cartography is realized on the base of special software. Under the administrative border of the country's regions electric base of maps are developed currently by the use of UTM (universal transfer mercator) in projection of WCS-84 (World coordinate system). The country's geodesy system is used in this process. This geo-information system will create an opportunity for shaping a unified base of registering property rights, transfer of property, its liquidations and restriction. Registration of relevant documents, their turnover in electronic form, inclusion into database about images, rights and restrictions on real estate, their activation, protection, archiving creates terms to automate reference issuing system and exclusion from the register. Electronic text archive on real estate at the State Committee will soon be connected to graphic data, which will result in formation of a proper digital data base on real estate. In turn will contribute in building an electronic government in Azerbaijan, promote efficient, realizable and fair management of real estate. Electronic archive will ensure achieving online and correct reply only to inquiry by relevant agencies, the statement said.


From http://en.trend.az/ 04/09/2010

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Baku Confronts Economic Diversification Challenges

Wanting to diversify its energy-export-dependent economy, officials in Azerbaijan have expressed a desire to turn Baku into a high-tech hub. But industry executives in Baku say the government is not backing its words with actions. For the past few years, information technologies have ranked as Azerbaijan's second official economic priority after the oil & gas sector. A Baku computer manufacturer's efforts to break into the EU market, though, is serving as a test case of the government's commitment to put Azerbaijan on the global map of high-tech producers. The Baku-manufacturer, Ultra, claims to hold about 20 percent of Azerbaijan's notebook market. Since 2005, the firm has been exporting its Nexus notebooks to regional states, including Georgia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. A pilot consignment of Ultra's notebooks was shipped to two firms in Belgium and Germany in early 2009. Ultra Chief Executive Officer Tahir Mirkishili tells EurasiaNet.org that the company now plans to ship 5,000 to 7,000 notebooks per month to the two countries for distribution in retail stores throughout the European Union. But, he claimed, Ultra has run into a snag: without an exemption from Azerbaijan's 18-percent Value Added Tax (VAT) and customs duties, the Azerbaijani notebook will find it hard to compete pricewise in Europe against larger-volume producers like HP, Toshiba and Acer, asserted Mirkishili. "All these companies produce notebooks for the EU market in the free economic zone (FEZ) in China, thus they are exempt from VAT, some other taxes and customs duties," claimed Mirkishili. "There is no FEZ in Azerbaijan." Ultra prices range from $375 for a 1.6Ghz/512 kilobytes model to $2,750 for a 2 GhZ/2megabyte Nexus. Mirkishili said that Ultra has petitioned Prime Minister Artur Rasizade for discounts on export duties and exemptions from VAT. So far, the talks are ongoing. And could be ongoing for some time. A senior source in Azerbaijan's Cabinet of Ministers told EurasiaNet.org that the government cannot grant exemptions to such duties and taxes to a single company. "It could be preferences ... to all exporters in a non-oil sector, or to all exporters of IT products. But such an issue is not on the government agenda at present," said the source, who asked not to be named. Aside from Ultra, Azerbaijan has two other PC makers: the state-owned Kur manufacturer in the city of Mingachevir in western Azerbaijan and the privately held firm AZEL in Baku.

Not all Azerbaijani IT experts, are optimistic about the Ultra notebook's chances for success in the EU market, even if they secure exemptions from export duties and VAT. "It is a very competitive market," commented Dmitri Andrianov, editor of the IT magazine InfoCiti. "[T]here are several known notebooks producers in Turkey, including Beko, but even they have not been able to enter the European market yet." Andrianov estimated Ultra's maximum export capacity at only a handful of notebooks. Regardless of the competitiveness of Ultra's products, one IT sector watchdog, Multimedia, raised questions about the government's role in high-tech exports. It identified a possible conflict-of-interest, noting that the government is at the same time a market regulator and market player. Frustration has been expressed over the government's actions in the much-hyped "The People's Computer" program. The initiative, run by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technologies, aims to provide more than 100,000 teachers and students with computers and notebooks at prices discounted by 25 to 40 percent. But rather than one of Azerbaijan's computer producers, the government picked HP as its approved computer vendor for the program. Some 6,300 packages of computers and software have so far been sold under the program. "I think it would be logical to support local producers with such a large contract," commented InfoCiti Editor Andrianov. Deputy Communication and Information Technologies Minister Elmir Velizade, however, stated that while the government initially considered local computer producers for the project, "some organizational issues" prevented their participation.

"Moreover, HP made a very good offer which allowed us to get good-quality computers with fine technical parameters for a price lower than the market one," Velizade said. He did not provide details. Ultra's Mirkishili tells a slightly different tale. The government expected vendors participating in The People's Computer program to finance promotion for the campaign and declined to provide VAT discounts, he claimed. "We considered this project not commercial, but about social welfare, and believed that the government should pay for it," Mirkishili said. When the government balked at providing financial incentives, Ultra opted not to participate, he claimed. State-owned Kur supplies broadband modems for the program, and AZEL, Symantec's main retail partner in Azerbaijan, sells anti-virus software at 30-percent discounts. The project coordinator is Baku-based IT company BestComp Group. The heads of AZEL and Kur declined to comment about the decision to opt for a foreign PC-maker for the program. AZEL President Igor Yakovenko, however, asserted that the quality of local PC and notebook producers' products is the same as that of "leading international brands."


From http://www.eurasianet.org/ 04/15/2010

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Azerbaijani State Communications Operator Works to Eliminate Accidents in Disaster Areas

Production Union Aztelekom of the Azerbaijani Communications and IT Ministry works to eliminate accidents in the zone of disaster caused by increased water levels in the Kura River, Aztelekom Spokesman Vidadi Ismayilov said today. Ismayilov said about 15 kilometers of the main fiber-optic lines in the Shirvan city (in the direction of Baku), owned by the operator, come under water. But despite this, the connection breaks are not observed. "The company involved three teams to resolve problems in the disaster zone. The same problem is observed in the Sabirabad region and nearby settlements. Amount of damage is not yet known. The ministry plans to conduct collegium in the scene, "he added. The company's employees installed telephones and laid the Internet lines to the headquarters, established in the Shirvan city and the post of the traffic police. The operator also instituted a hotline in the camps of temporary settlement. The disasters did not affect base station wireless CDMA.


From http://www.today.az/ 05/12/2010

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IRAQ: Asiacell to Switch to Dinar

Iraqi mobile operator Asiacell plans to change the currency it currently uses for its financial dealings and transactions from the US dollar to the Iraqi dinar, AME Info reports. The cellco has said it is carrying out the move as part of its ongoing commitment to contributing to the development of the Iraqi economy and telecoms market. The company's mobile tariffs will also undergo the change. 'Asiacell is a leading national company in the Iraqi telecom sector, and is an authentic Iraqi investment that adheres to national policies aimed at serving the nation and its people,' commented Faruk Mustafa Rasool, chairman at Asiacell, adding, 'As such, we proudly bear our responsibility towards driving the country's economic development, overcoming all economic obstacles, and contributing to restoring the domestic currency. Our decision confirms our ongoing dedication to enhancing the trust our customers have placed in us in order to remain as their number one choice for telecom services in Iraq and contribute to supporting the collective developmental efforts towards building the new Iraq.'


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 03/30/2010

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KYRGYZSTAN: KT Privatisation Annulled?

Kyrgyzstan's interim government has cancelled the results of a tender to sell the state's shareholding in incumbent telco Kyrgyztelecom (KT) and two electricity companies, PRIME-TASS reports, citing the country's State Property Ministry. According to the report, the interim government claimed that the tenders were held in order to sell the stakes to investors close to ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev at 'unreasonably low prices.' As reported by CommsUpdate, a consortium of four investors won the tender for the government's 78% stake in KT in February 2010. The consortium members, including Investment Company of Kazakhstan, Cypriot companies Nimisco Holdings and Colimar Holdings, and local firm Ala-Too Keni Company, offered USD40 million for the stake and pledged to invest USD200 million in the fixed line operator. KT's other shareholders include the country's social fund (12.51%), the company's employees (5%), individual investors (3.65%) and management (1%).


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 04/19/2010

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IT Industry to Profit from Public Service Reform

BIG-BANG, big-ticket items such as the $2 billion digital education revolution project could be missing from today's budget, but there are signs the federal government will spend hundreds of millions of dollars to improve citizen engagement, which would see the IT industry as the main beneficiary. Industry players have been expecting a relatively low-key budget for the IT industry and were surprised to learn that all 28 recommendations in Terry Moran's blueprint for Australian Public Service reform had been accepted. The 96-page report was prepared by the Advisory Group on Reform of Australian Government Administration, led by Mr Moran, secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

The reforms seek to deliver a raft of improvements using technology, from better services to citizens to creating a more open, approachable government. On March 29, Kevin Rudd said the government would respond to the recommendations "later in the year". But over the weekend, the Prime Minister casually mentioned the decision in a speech at the Australian National University. Ovum Australia public sector IT research director Kevin Noonan said the Moran report had "IT opportunities all the way through it". "Whatever comes out of the budget will not be the whole story for IT. The Moran report will have a big impact on industry and offer work for industry over the coming years," Mr Noonan said. "Overall there's a strong push for government 2.0 initiatives." Among the recommendations in the report are simplifying service delivery so that citizens can access multiple government services from a central portal and extending the Standard Business Reporting functionality to ease the regulatory burden imposed by government on business.

The government has also been urged to start surveying how the public views agencies' service delivery. The report suggests agencies should be more proactive in integrating myriad services on offer instead of citizens searching high and low for the right agency to match their needs. An efficiency drive among smaller agencies was another area highlighted in the Moran report. It said significant opportunities existed for the 63 agencies - with fewer than 500 employees - to share corporate services. Medicare and Centrelink are already leading the way in such back office consolidation with IT services merged under a Human Services Department mega-reshuffle. While the government roped in British efficiency expert Peter Gershon to see how and where IT savings could be delivered, the Moran report was "the other side of the coin to Gershon", Mr Noonan said. "Gershon talked about efficiency but in a business vacuum. Moran's report will look at how the APS revamps itself and that means IT will have a big part to play over the coming years," he said. Meanwhile, the $50 million reinvestment fund borne out of savings from Sir Peter's review was expected to be allocated in the budget, Australian Information Industry Association chief executive Ian Birks said.

Mr Birks said funding for electronic health is a logical area. "We hope there's money for (e-health) although overall, it is going to be a low-spending budget," he said. CSC Australia and Gartner also have e-health on their wish list for the budget. The IT services giant would like to see funding for electronic chronic disease management and telehealth models and tools to allow patients to better self-manage and enable clinicians to offer remote or virtual care. "We'd like to see federal funding for e-health, in particular an individual electronic health record," Matthew Day, CSC vice-president of financial services, health and public sector, said. Gartner research vice-president Geoff Johnson said while a lot of emphasis had been placed on reforming the national healthcare environment, it was unclear if any e-health funding would be contained in the budget. Bruce Lakin, Australian Computer Society CEO, is hoping for some funding to boost green IT and encourage electronic waste programs. He believes there will not be enough attention in the budget to address the IT and communications skills shortage.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 05/11/2010

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AUSTRALIA: Federal Data Centres Get $11.9m

THE federal government's bid to consolidate data centre facilities received a $11.9 million boost in yesterday's budget. The amount, allocated over three years from 2010/11, will be sourced from the government's $113.6m ICT Business As Usual Reinvestment Fund, better known as the Gershon reinvestment fund. It will be used for the procurement of data centre facilities and services as the government tries to "avoid" spending an additional $1 billion on such items over 15 years. It currently spends $850 million per year on data centre needs. The government's current data centre footprint is 30,000 sqm, which is expected to double in coming years, Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner said in March when he unveiled the government's 15-year data centre reform strategy. The central plank of the vision is for agencies to use a single panel of data centre suppliers instead of going it alone. The government hopes to go to market in the third or fourth quarter to establish the panel.


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 05/12/2010

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FIJI: Improved Internet Banking Launched by ANZ

The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) has launched a range of improved internet banking features in Fiji which it says is intended to provide convenient and secure internet banking for its customers. ANZ's head of retail banking in Fiji, Haroon Ali said at the launching that the new features will provide customers with greater security and functionality including moving money between accounts more easily and setting up regular bill payments. "ANZ internet banking provides customers with a convenient and secure alternative to traditional over-the-counter transactions where they can use a computer to access an instant banking experience," he added. Ali said customers will be protected against unauthorised transactions. "We have a range of security measures in place such as data encryption, firewalls and the latest security technology to ensure this," he said.

In addition to the internet banking features, ANZ customers will now be able to transfer funds between ANZ accounts, view account balances, view 12 months of transactions on all linked accounts, manage investment online and pay bills as well as make payments to anyone in Fiji. "We are also pleased that our business customers will be able to customise their internet banking to suit their business and manage employee payroll payments," Ali said. He said this was another way they hoped to help customers by simplifying the way they ran their business. This service is offered at no charge for individuals while businesses will be charged $50 quarterly for using internet banking. The launch follows last month's launch of Money Minded Pacific, a new financial literacy program aimed at building the financial skills, knowledge and confidence of Pacific staff and communities.


From http://www.fijilive.com/ 04/07/2010

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NEW ZEALAND: Broadband Plan Will Cut Telecom Profit by $168m

Telecom said the New Zealand government's plans to roll out high-speed broadband services to rural areas while overhauling how the phone company is compensated for uneconomic lines will slash earnings over the next three years. The shares sank to a record low. The Cabinet has approved a $300 million plan to roll out high-speed broadband services to rural New Zealanders while amending the Telecommunications Service Obligation, under which other phone companies pay a levy to Telecom in compensation for maintaining rural services including free local calling. The company won't receive additional compensation because the benefits of being nationwide supplier of the TSO will outweigh costs for the foreseeable future, Communications Minister Steven Joyce said in a statement today. The proposal approved by the Cabinet is little changed from the one outlined last September.

"Telecom NZ advised today that if these plans are enacted in their current form, Telecom's EBITDA guidance for each of the 2011, 2012 and 2013 financial years will be adversely impacted by up to $56 million," the company said in a brief two-paragraph statement to the NZX from spokesman Mark Watts. Shares of Telecom fell 1.4 per cent to $2.18 on the NZX today and have declined 18 per cent in the past six months. Ongoing costs to comply with government regulations in a market where landline customers are migrating to mobile, where Telecom faces more rivalry, have helped toppled the company from its position as the largest company on the NZX50. Under the proposal signed off by the Cabinet, broadband services of at least 5Mbps will be extended to 97 per cent of rural households, with the remainder getting at least 1Mbps, Communications Minister Steven Joyce said in a statement. Part of the initiative involves connecting 97 per cent of rural schools, and therefore 99.7 per cent of students living outside urban areas.

The cost will be met by a government grant of $48 million plus $252 million from the Telecommunications Development Levy, which replaces the TSO, at a rate of $42 million a year for six years. Under the existing TSO, telecommunications companies pay a levy which is then paid to Telecom in compensation for maintaining rural services including free local calling. The government will put the project out for tender in April, with work to start in early 2011.


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 03/16/2010

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NEW ZEALAND: Voice Call Volumes Still Lag International Norms

Increased competition in New Zealand's mobile market has improved pricing in the local market, but voice call usage still remains low by international standards, concludes the annual report from New Zealand's Commerce Commission. As well as looking at developments in 2009, the report also assesses the progress seen since the 2006 amendments to the Telecommunications Act came into effect. "The report shows that competition in all telecommunications markets has increased between 2006 and 2009. Consumer choice and service quality have improved while prices have fallen," said Dr Patterson, Telecommunications Commissioner. "However, despite increased competition in the New Zealand telecommunications sector, the market shares of incumbents remain high and markets remain concentrated when compared with other jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom and Australia." "Alternative providers of broadband services on Telecom's network have increased their market share from 24 per cent to 37 per cent in the last three years. Over the same period, broadband uptake has doubled and New Zealand has improved its position when compared with 30 other OECD countries from 22 in 2006 to 18 by 2009. Uptake of broadband is now at or around the OECD average and broadband speed availability and quality have improved significantly," said Dr Patterson.

"In the mobile market the entrance of a new network operator, 2degrees, has had an immediate impact in terms of consumer choice and competitive offering. Although there is evidence that competition in the mobile market is increasing following the launch of 2degrees, mobile voice usage remains low by international standards. In addition, price and usage vary significantly depending on whether calls or text messages are sent to another subscriber on the same network or to a subscriber on a different mobile network. On the positive side, both Telecom and Vodafone have upgraded their networks for 3G capability, and a number of mobile virtual network operators have entered the market," said Dr Patterson. "In the fixed line market, alternative providers of fixed line voice services have increased their market share in terms of connections from 8 per cent to 25 per cent over the three year period," said Dr Patterson.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 04/23/2010

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$900m Plan to Open NZ Internet Tap

Lower internet prices and unlimited downloads for home connections are predicted to be the result of a new high-speed link planned between New Zealand, Australia and the United States. The project would build a $900 million, 13,000km high-speed link within three years. The "Pacific Fibre" project is backed by some of New Zealand's best-known businessmen, including high-flyers Sam Morgan, Sir Stephen Tindall and Rod Drury. It would provide a broadband connection with five times the capacity of the current connection, part-owned by Telecom. "Businesses love very high resolution multi-party video conferencing while grandparents expect to be able to Skype video their grandchildren - and that, too, will be in HD [high definition] or better," said another Pacific Fibre founder, Mark Rushworth. "But mostly we want to unleash that creative talent New Zealand has, and be on a level footing with the rest of the world." Telecommunications Users Association chief executive Ernie Newman was delighted with any move to improve international connectivity.

"We hope it would provide some choice, and particularly our hope is that it would bring prices down to the point that data caps ... might disappear as they have in other parts of the world." Data caps restrict the amount of information people are able to download. Mr Drury, who owns the software-as-a-service accounting system Xero, is a long time critic of New Zealand's broadband links. "People love to live and work here, but we're not playing on the global stage." The do-it-yourself approach came about after a conversation between Mr Drury and Trade Me founder Sam Morgan late last year. "I think we're doing it for the right reasons which allows us to build something that ... really makes a difference," said Mr Drury. Mr Rushworth, a former Vodafone executive, said 90 per cent of New Zealand's internet traffic was to the US. The project - which is now seeking customers and financial backers - was a commercial one. "We hope to bring in extra capacity at a low price, which our carriers and ISP [internet service provider] customers can end up passing on to their customers," he said. It was too early to give an estimate of price for the service.


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 05/12/2010

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Revived IT Projects Challenged by Skills Gap

There are signs that the recession is loosening its tight grip on IT projects within companies. Recruitment firm Manpower is seeing an increasing demand for business analysts, whose research and scoping skills are typically required at the first stages of a project. That indicates an increase in the number of projects about to kick off, says Matt Love-Smith, business manager of Manpower Professional in Christchurch. "We can expect more demand in coming months," he says. IT professionals reached number three on Seek's top-five most sought-after employees list last month, says Love-Smith. "ICT managers, ICT professionals and ICT and telecommunications technicians are the most popular jobs," he says. "Specific skill sets in demand include Java and C# developers." SQL developers and business analysts are also in hot demand, according to Manpower's research. More emphasis is also being placed on ICT professionals who are able to communicate and integrate effectively with the broader business, he says. "Job seekers can no longer rely on technical skills alone."

A year ago, Manpower's research showed that 70 percent of local ICT companies didn't believe the economic recession would have an impact on their hiring plans. And it looks like their gut-feeling was right - Manpower has seen an ongoing demand for tech workers, especially from smaller companies that export their products and are not as reliant on local market conditions, says Love-Smith. However, the brain-drain is continuing to cause a skills shortage in the ICT market. With the economic signs now appearing more positive, the skills chasm is becoming more acute. Even in the middle of the recession, 60 percent of local ICT employers were reporting difficulties in finding skilled ICT workers. Now, this number is likely to increase dramatically, says Love-Smith. "We know that the technology sector in New Zealand is growing," he says. The ICT Taskforce estimates the sector has the potential to grow from 4 percent to 10 percent of GDP in the next 10 years, he says.

"The ICT sector is also one of New Zealand's fastest growing industries, generating over $1 billion a year in export revenue. Couple this with the current demand for ICT skills and the number of employers finding it difficult to recruit skilled workers can only increase," says Love-Smith. To avoid being held back by a skills shortage, employers need to focus on presenting a compelling proposition to attract staff. "Pay isn't always necessarily the answer," he says. "Employers need to offer interesting and challenging work and the ability to work with new technologies. Flexible working hours and work/life balance will also come into play." Once coveted staff members are on board, employers need to actively work to retain them by providing a positive culture and leadership, he says. Employers should also think about on-the-job training, particularly for those jobs they are finding difficult to fill. Another smart move would be to invest in nurturing new talent, which sets the company up for the future, he says. It seems the tech sector is once again an attractive choice for students or seekers of a career change. Love-Smith even calls it a "future-proof career option", especially for those who have solid technical skills combined with broader commercial understanding. Demand for long-term ICT contractors is still restrained though, and investments in large IT projects are still on ice, he says.


From http://computerworld.co.nz/ 05/20/2010

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Budget Moves Get Positive Reaction from IT Industry

In general, response to the Budget from members of industry lobby the NZICT Group has been positive, says CEO Brett O'Riley. Members attended a breakfast meeting with Prime Minister John Key this morning where they had the chance to express their views directly. The lowering of business tax rates is a plus, O'Riley says. It improves, in particular, businesses' competitive position with their Australian counterparts, which is an important factor in an industry like ICT where there are a large number of mobile contractors. The research, science and technology package was pre-announced and the ultra-fast broadband announcements were much as expected, he says. The former will be valuable not only in enabling ICT companies to draw on research for product development, but in helping the industry as a whole assess its own shape and prospects for growth, O'Riley says. NZICT is embarking on a piece of research with Canterbury University, which will construct various scenarios for ICT industry growth and assess the requirements in capital funding and staff needs.

"Anything that gets Crown Research Institutes and universities working more closely with industry has to be positive for the economy," says O'Riley. There were strong indications in the Budget speech that government is moving to a shared-services model, with "smarter ways of procuring and using ICT" and this should strengthen the position of local ICT providers, he says. "And at the smaller end, I was delighted to see a sum [$2.78m] under Vote Community and Voluntary Sector going to digital literacy." This is likely to end up with projects such as Computers in Homes and the Computer Clubhouse, both of which NZICT supports. Xero CEO Rod Drury was "on the road" and about to depart for the UK when contacted and admitted at that stage he had not read much of the Budget detail. Overall, he says in a brief email, "I agree with the [media] comment 'a few good steps but no step change'. Looks like a solid budget, good for business, that moves things in the right direction."


From http://computerworld.co.nz/ 05/21/2010

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Gemalto, IBM, Intel, L1, Microsoft, and Pfizer Join S. Korea in Launch of World Bank's Novel eTransform Initiative

Washington - Today the World Bank Group, six leading companies, and a national government announced plans to collaborate in support of a new eTransform Initiative. The initiative leverages the expertise of the public sector, the private sector, and academia to help developing countries use Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) (e.g. telecom networks, computers and mobile phones), to improve lives and transform development efforts. Seed funding from the Korean Trust Fund on ICT for Development has made this initiative possible. The initial focus of the initiative is ICT for governance, in particular eProcurement. In a second phase the scope will broaden to include issues such as food security and climate change. Korea, Gemalto, IBM, L1, Microsoft and Pfizer signed agreements with the World Bank to collaborate on the initiative and will soon be bringing to developing countries cutting edge knowledge and resources to advance this agenda. Intel is also supporting the initiative and will be signing a similar agreement shortly. Discussions are underway with other leading companies and interested governments, in this open partnership.

The launch of the eTransform Initiative marks a new way of doing business for the World Bank. Instead of mainly relying on its own technical expertise and financial resources to assist developing countries, the World Bank will also help bring to bear cutting edge expertise and resources from leading corporations and governments. The eTransforn Initiative helps developing countries access global expertise through peer-to-peer networks of industry innovators and country leaders. It also fast tracks promising projects by funding their initial design. "The eTransform Initiative is about tapping information technology, expertise and experiences", said Mohsen Khalil, Director of the World Bank Group's Global Information and Communication Technologies Department. "Government transformation is about change management facilitated by technology. This initiative will facilitate the exchange of lessons and experiences among various governments and industry players, to maximize impact and lower risks of ICT-enabled government transformation."

Over half of the world's 6.5 billion people now use mobile technology, and more than 60 percent of mobile phone users live in developing countries. While much progress has been made in establishing such connectivity infrastructure across the developing world, much less has been achieved in using ICTs to transform development efforts and services across sectors. Innovative use of ICTs, and mobile-based applications in particular, represent the new frontier in making development efforts more impactful by improving efficiency, transparency and accountability.

Examples of such innovations abound:
1. In South Africa, companies like Wizzit have used mobile technology to make mobile banking services available to poor communities that never before had access to modern financial services. Today, more than 120,000 South Africans are able to send and receive payments and make purchases using Wizzit's simple, effective approach.
2. After the recent earthquake in Haiti, the World Bank and partners were able to leverage technology to do rapid damage assessment. By collecting high resolution, satellite imagery within 24 hours of the event and mobilizing the volunteer technical community to analyze building and infrastructure damage, the Bank and its partners were able to mobilize resources and humanitarian assistance quickly and effectively.
3. In Uganda, the government uses mobile technology to collect province-level data on tuberculosis, HIV, malaria and other diseases that is more accurate than the data available at the national level. The improved data quality has helped public health officials better allocate resources and medicines to where they are most needed.


From http://web.worldbank.org/ 05/10/2010

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AFRICA: Mobile Phones Revolutionizing Education

In parts of Africa where traditional classroom education is inaccessible, people have taken education into their own hands by utilizing mobile phones and laptops. This innovative way of garnering information, known as eLearning, provides great potential to expand education. "Interest in technology-supported learning is constantly increasing in Africa," Rebecca Stromeyer, managing director of International Conferences, Workshops and Exhibitions (ICWE), told MediaGlobal. "eLearning supports lifelong learning, providing access to a global knowledge base and facilitating cooperation and information-sharing." ICWE is involved with eLearning Africa (ELA), which will hold its fifth annual conference in the Zambian city of Lusaka. The conference discusses technology-enhanced learning across the continent with a range of informative and innovative sessions held between 26 to 28 May.

Utilizing mobile phones for informal learning will be the focus of a seminar at ELA titled African Digital Diaries lead by Adam Salkeld and Stephen Haggard. Salkeld and Haggard's session spotlights success stories through informal and incidental eLearning. "Mobile phones offer great potential for learning," Salkeld, a documentary filmmaker, told MediaGlobal. "The main reasons for this are [mobile phones] ubiquity and the acceptability and accessibility of them as technology platforms for the widest range of Africans." "Laptops are, sadly, still way out of the reach of most Africans," explained Salkeld. He expressed that mobile phones offer the optimum way to disseminate information of any kind over distances great and small in Africa. "The extraordinary explosion in mobile use has had the most impact on ordinary African people and the potential they have to learn."

Salkeld described two examples of people using phone technology for learning. The first story he tells involves a former colleague in Zimbabwe who uses SMS/text messaging to pass on vital information to rural farmers to improve their agriculture. The second story is about a young man from Zanzibar whose passion for Liverpool Football Club motivated him to learn computer skills. The young Zanzibari "will beg or borrow computer time and online access to find about his club and connect with other fans worldwide," said Salkeld. "His bank of knowledge, his ICT (information and communication technologies) skills, his mastery of English and his ability to interact globally have all been developed using this informal mode of eLearning."

People such as the young man from Zanzibar are what Salkeld deems Africa's online heroes. Salkeld's ELA session follows many more of Africa's digital citizens. "I am inspired by the ingenuity with which Africans access technology, the way they adapt to less-than-perfect circumstances, the passion for learning and the hope for improvement." Salkeld added, "I hope that focusing on a few of Africa's online heroes will encourage the many more I know are out there, quietly working away, overcoming barriers and building a better future." Nations across Africa are trying to make it possible for everyone to be an online hero. "Many countries in Africa are expanding national and regional ICT infrastructure, in order to improve access to education and training for large sections of the population," said Stromeyer. "Most governments have concentrated on expanding access to ICT, strengthening the capacity of the population to use new media and harnessing the potential for modern technology for teacher training."

Stromeyer is a strong believer in the lifelong-learning process and the valuable role ICTs can play in education. However, she is "deeply convinced that nothing can replace a fantastic teacher in a face-to-face learning environment." Training more teachers can be done through eLearning. "In Africa, capacities for higher qualification are very limited; eLearning, which includes online and blended learning possibilities, is thus an indispensable measure to widen the scope of training possibilities," said Stromeyer. "Professional education is a crucial development issue too." As eLearning continues to spread education through mobile phones, and online communities provide valuable sources for learning, it is crucial to get eLearners more information. Salkeld has some advice, "Now the learning content providers need to catch up and produce suitable materials to use on mobile phones. It is happening, but not fast enough."


From http://allafrica.com/ 05/06/2010

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Bridging the Digital Divide: NEPAD Starts to Deliver in Africa

NEPAD, the New Partnership for Africa's Development, was set up in 2001 to produce an African framework, run by Africans, for social and economic development in this continent. The latest success story is the NEPAD ICT Broadband Infrastructure Network, providing broadband Internet connections across the continent, bridging the digital divide and providing Africans with equal opportunities. The days when one's fate was decided by the accident of the birthplace are thankfully numbered. Disappearing is the world in which people were labelled according to which side of an invisible line they were born, which determined whether they were haves or have-nots, or whether they had access to services such as freedom of travel, education or healthcare.

NEPAD has been instrumental in providing frameworks staffed by Africans, for Africans, sorting out Africa's problems without interference from ex-colonial powers which created the continent's problems by carving up territories, dividing societies and drawing lines on maps. Providing solutions in a variety of areas including Gender Development, Science and Technology, Human Resources Development in Education and Healthcare, Governance and Capacity Development, Infrastructure, Environment and Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, Trade and Market Access, NEPAD's latest success story is in the area of broadband Internet access. In an age in which a child who does not have Internet access is at an immediate disadvantage, the Network has as its main aim the target to connect all African countries to one another and to the other continents through existing and planned cable systems.

NEPAD states, "The primary aim of the program is to integrate the continent so that commercial, social and cultural exchanges are easier and cheaper". This will be implemented through submarine (Uhurunet) and terrestrial (Umojanet) networks. There will be three main advantages of this new network. Firstly, it will reduce the digital divide by enabling digitally isolated communities to communicate via Internet; secondly, it will provide a cheaper and more affordable platform for regional and international communications, opening Africa's communities up to the rest of the world and providing opportunities; thirdly, regional and international connectivity will have enhanced reliability and quality.

To date, the ACE Consortium and NEPAD have linked Western Africa to Europe through the Uhurunet submarine cable network, the first stage of a Pan-African project, a process which should be taken further at the e-Africa Commission's governance bodies in Senegal from June 7 - 9. After Africa has suffered so profoundly over so much time from scars caused by outsiders creating one-way channels for the exit of its resources into foreign hands, it is the duty of the international community to facilitate Africa's development and to give its children an equal opportunity. It is time that the notion that someone's chances are shaped by the place where (s)he was born is laid to rest forever.


From http://english.pravda.ru/ 05/11/2010

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EUROPE: Russia to Become One of World's Leading IT Trendsetters

Russia must become one of the world's leading developers of IT technologies, President Dmitry Medvedev told the committee for modernization and technological development of the nation's economy. The president also said that he was satisfied with the introduction of telecommunication systems of new generation in Russia. "We do not have to invent a wooden bicycle in the field of communication standards. But if Russia could become a trendsetter in the field of IT technologies, it would be good. It is much more pleasant when the world lives on your standards than when you have to adjust to someone else's standards," he said. Medvedev also said that the solution of such complicated problems as rescue operations, effective energy-saving and the work of the electronic government depends on the development of information technologies.

"The total income which 3G communication systems can give today may reach the number of $300 billion," Medvedev said. "Russia is currently modernizing its communication networks, provides high-sped access to information networks, introduces digital technologies and replaces outdated telephone stations with state-of-the-art communication systems," the head of state said. Most of the above-mentioned projects are conducted successfully, the president said. Medvedev also reminded that Russia successfully launched its first-ever Cyrillic .rf (.把扳) national domain. "I have just checked, the website 扭把快戒我忱快扶找.把扳 is up and running. The Cyrillic website of the government downloads too. The websites of other state departments will have Cyrillic domains ready this month. Commercial companies will be able to use Cyrillic domain names a bit later. Russia has become the first country in the world which obtained the national domain of the top level," Medvedev said.


From http://english.pravda.ru/ 05/14/2010

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SOUTH AMERICA: Brazil Launches Plan to Triple Broadband Internet Access by 2014

BRASILIA (Xinhua) - The Brazilian government Wednesday officially launched the National Broadband Plan, under which it aims to triple high speed Internet access by 2014 and quadruple the number of households counting on the service at a speed equal to or greater than 512 kbps. The target is to increase from the current 12 million households that have Internet access to 40 million, charging a monthly fee between 15 and 35 reais (between 8.5 and 20 U.S. dollars), depending on tax incentives applied. The president's chief of staff Erenice Guerra said the plan's main objective is to expand access to poorer segments of the population. "The country's development will only be effective with broadband access being used as a tool of social inclusion", he stressed. The total cost for the project to be carried out over the next four years is approximately 12.8 billion reais (7.230 billion dollars).

In 2010, the goal is to implement the core of the network in the Federal District and in 15 states in Northeast and Southeast regions, which are being prioritized for having fiber optic ring that allows broadband to be extended and that will guarantee access to about 100 cities. Planning Minister Paulo Bernardo said that the plan will also facilitate development of small and medium-sized enterprises, including those with foreign trade which seek new markets. State-controlled communications company Telebras said Tuesday it will manage the project with a fund of 3.2 billion reais (1.8 billion dollars).


From http://news.xinhuanet.com/ 05/05/2010

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WWW.STUDENTSREBUILD.ORG Is Launched in Haiti

SAN FRANCISCO/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ - In response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Architecture For Humanity, the Bezos Family Foundation and Global Nomads Group have partnered to create "studentsrebuild.org," a $500,000 matching challenge grant and call to action for junior high and high school students around the globe to help rebuild stronger, safer, permanent schools in Haiti. "Schools and learning are vital to rebuilding," says Cameron Sinclair, co-founder of Architecture For Humanity. "We urgently need to restore a sense of normalcy in these young hearts and minds and not allow this tragedy to dictate how they see their future. This is an opportunity for young people here to see how they are connected to the global community and learn the real challenges of rebuilding after disaster."

But, the goal is not simply to raise funds for the cause. Students can become real partners in the sustained reconstruction effort. Through interactive video, conversations with building professionals and live connections to Haitian students, they will learn first-hand how people can work together in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake to rebuild communities and lives. Partners also hope Students Rebuild participants take this opportunity to learn about philanthropy and make it a lifelong practice.

"Global Nomads Group is about dialogue and exchange so it's important that students develop a deep connection to the people on the ground," says David Macquart, co-founder of Global Nomads Group. "Our live interactive broadcasts will enable participants to glean real insight into Haiti and the people who live there, not just their plight. At the end of the day, making connections with the people they help will make students' philanthropic efforts that much more gratifying."

The dynamic new site - studentsrebuild.org - will add content often: video, challenge team updates, curriculum, news from our partner field teams in Haiti, and more. "If students, teachers and schools are looking for ways to help the people of Haiti, the Architecture For Humanity and Global Nomads Group team is an excellent choice," explains Jackie Bezos, who with her husband, Mike, founded the Bezos Family Foundation. "They will treat students and teachers as real partners, value their support and keep them informed of the progress in Haiti." Participating teams are encouraged to get creative in their fundraising. For example, one team in Dallas raised more than $2,800 by asking fellow students to forego purchasing corsages/boutonnieres for a dance and instead, donated that money to Students Rebuild. In return, they received a simple gold ribbon to pin to their dresses.

THE CHALLENGE Donations are matched 1:1, up to $2,500 per team.
1. The challenge is open to junior high and high school students and educators at schools worldwide. Create teams, brainstorm ideas and raise cash!
2. All donations will go through Architecture For Humanity and will be matched by the Bezos Family Foundation up to $500,000.
3. In order to encourage as many schools and teams as possible, we will cap the match of $2,500 per team. However, there is no limit on what teams may donate.
4. The top three fundraisers will be recognized at the end of the challenge.
5. Creative fundraising is a must! Students will have opportunities to exchange ideas with other participants. The most creative ideas, by a tally of votes, will be recognized at the end of the challenge.


From http://www.informationweek.com/ 05/12/2010

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CHINA: Tap into Internet of Things World

The idea in a world even everyday objects such as books and air conditioners are plugged into a network - Internet of Things, seems like a scenario from a science-fiction movie. China is tapping into such a world. In Wuxi City of east China's Jiangsu Province, an intelligent transportation system is under construction, which by using the Internet of Things technologies, would enable traffic lights to change automatically according to traffic flows. The system would also help drivers avoid traffic congestions by sending messages about road conditions and suggesting driving routes, said Zhang Xin, vice manager of Wuxi public bus company. Some 2,153 buses in Wuxi, or 92 percent of the total, are the first batch of the country's "smart buses" using the network, Zhang said. Through a combination of GIS (geographic information system), GPS (global positioning system) and electronic controls, people can learn nearly everything about a bus, including its location, speed and road conditions, he said. The Internet of Things, or the sensor web, is a network of real-world objects linked by the Internet and interacting through web services. Technologies such as radio frequency identification and sensors were the basis of the network. According to the International Telecommunication Union, in the future world, the Internet of Things, by embedding short-range mobile transceivers into a wide array of additional gadgets and everyday items, enables new forms of communication between people and things, and between things themselves.

The Internet of Things is considered as the third wave in information industry since the introduction of computers and Internet. In the government work report delivered to the National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature, Premier Wen Jiabao set forth an ambitious plan last week for the country to mount the commanding height of science and technological innovation, such as in the field of Internet of Things and new energy-powered vehicles. The research and development of the network has been booming in China since the second half of last year after the government decided to promote the promising industry, along with industries such as new energy, new materials and information networks. In China, the network, integrating various technologies, has been applied to safety monitoring, public transportation and logistics. China set up its first Internet of Things center in Shanghai last week. With a total investment of 800 million yuan (117.13 million U.S. dollars), the 170,000-square-meter center is designed to study technologies and industrial standards in the field. Liu Haitao, head of the Wuxi research institute of Internet of Things, said China has gained an initial advantage as it starts early on research and development in the sector. However, industry analysts believed there are still many obstacles. "China should step up efforts to standardize the industry and develop a technological system with independent intellectual property rights," said Jian Qin, the board chairman of China Mobile's branch in Jiangxi Province. Jian, also a deputy of the NPC, suggested that the government work out regulations and laws to guarantee legal use of the network as "like the Internet, the network will exert challenge on information safety and privacy."


From Xinhua News Agency 03/14/2010

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Online Funeral Being Promoted in China

Holding a memorial ceremony for your deceased beloved ones online is being discussed by the Chinese public ahead of the traditional Qingming Festival that falls on April 5 this year when people will offer sacrifices to their ancestors and sweep the tombs of the deceased. Zhu Yong, deputy director of a research institute under the Ministry of Civil Affairs, told a recent forum in Beijing that the new type of green funeral and interment was a worldwide trend, which avoided waste of social and natural resources. Usually, cremains are not kept for online funerals. Instead, a portrait of the deceased and pictures of the farewell party and elegiac couplets, and eulogy are put online for relatives and friends to commemorate. A virtual cemetery is also set up on the Internet. Zhu said the green concept of interment was popular in countries like Australia and New Zealand where some online gravestones were simply of name card size. This kind of funeral suits China because of the country's "sparse land and huge population," he said. However, the convention that only "burial brings peace to the deceased" still influenced the Chinese public, and they could not accept online funerals immediately. Zhu suggested more policies be made to encourage the "green burial" concept. Vice Minister of Civil Affairs Dou Yupei said more regions in China had cremation instead of inhumation, and more people preferred cremation which saved land and wood resources. "More members of the public are willing to remove undesirable funeral customs and transform some traditions," Dou said. He said efforts would be made to reduce the financial burden of people in preparing funerals and promote more ecological ways of interment.


From English.news.cn 03/27/2010

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Copyright Service Center to Be Launched at Shanghai World Expo

China's National Copyright Administration and the Shanghai World Expo organizer will jointly launch a work station to provide copyright services for participants to the Expo. The work station will provide legal consultancy, take copyright-infringing complaints, authorize the use of copyright and mediate disputes, according to a circular issued by the General Administration of Press and Publication on Friday. These services would be carried out by national and Shanghai copyright administrations and the Bureau of the Shanghai World Expo Coordination, according to the circular. The circular, which does not say when the center will be launched, is the latest government move to protect intellectual property rights ahead of the Expo. The National Anti-Pornography and Anti-Illegal Publications Office on Monday announced a fresh campaign to crack down on illegal publications and harmful information to ensure a wholesome environment for the upcoming Expo.


From English.news.cn 04/03/2010

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Online Video Interview, New Trend in Job Hunting in China

In China, more and more employers are using web-based video job interviews to screen candidates for employment. "For our new company, the video interview could save time and money for us and our candidates," Tan Jun, a company manager in southern China's Guangzhou city told a reporter from news portal Chinanews.com.cn. "The candidate's expression and conversation will be an important part to help us work out a comprehensive assessment. Furthermore, during the video interview, we can evaluate a candidate's computer skill by asking him or her to type or conduct some special applications. It is more efficient than traditional interviews." But it needs some time for the people to accept the new way for job hunt having mainly relied on job markets and sometimes electronic resumes. Xiao Ya, an accountant working for a Shenzhen-based magazine, said it took quite some time to change her mind on the online video interview. "When I received the interview invitation a month ago, I was afraid of being cheated due to more and more job fraud stories. But my doubt soon disappeared after both the manager and I felt satisfied through an online interview." Some experts see the online interview as a highly efficient way to job hunt and believe it could realize a win-win situation for both employers and candidates. On one hand, employers initially screen candidates through the online interview on a larger scale, saving employment costs. On the other hand, it saves candidates' costs too, moreover, the familiar environment of a sitting room or study can help to put candidates at ease helping them perform better at interview.


From English.news.cn 04/08/2010

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Intellectual Property Rights Get Boost in China

China's National Office Against Pornography and Illegal Publication, the General Administration of Press and Publication, the National Copyright Administration of China and China Central Television have jointly initiated the 2010 Green Bookmark intellectual property rights initiative in Beijing. It is reported that the initiative will be carried out from April 12 to April 30, 2010, when green bookmarks will be sent to 100 selected publishing houses, 1,000 selected book stores, 100 selected websites, 100 selected primary and middle schools and 100 selected theaters across China. As part of the initiatives, on April 22, a batch of illegal publications will be destroyed. On April 26, a themed program will be hosted by CCTV, focusing on the protection of intellectual property. The Green Bookmark initiative will go along with the elimination of pornography and an illegal-publication campaign to create a good cultural market environment. Statistics show that China confiscated a total of 56.844 million illegal publications in 2009. In the first four months of this 2010, over seven million illegal publications were confiscated.


From http://www.chinatechnews.com/ 04/15/2010

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Health Reforms a Boon for IT

Since announcing plans last year to revamp the Chinese medical system with the injection of 850 billion yuan over the next three years, foreign technology firms have been scouting for opportunities amid healthcare reform plans in the world's most populous nation. "The whole market is about to boom," said Ben Zhou, managing director, Dell Services Public Sector, China, who oversees the company's healthcare arm in China. "Everyone is getting prepared and those firms who previously don't have business in this sector are also coming into the market." Zhou expects the details of the government's 850 billion yuan healthcare stimulus, which is expected to unleash huge IT demand for massive facility upgrades in hospitals and the establishment of a national healthcare system, will be unveiled as early as this year. That, he said, would double the size of China's healthcare "informatization" market in the next two years and result in explosive demand for new software, hardware and IT services, especially from rural areas where there were few IT facilities. The Chinese government announced last year its plans to invest 850 billion yuan over the next three years to ensure fair and affordable care for the entire 1.3 billion population. That could translate into orders worth billions of dollars for hardware and software from the country's huge public health system and over 300,000 hospitals, where demand for IT systems and facilities has long been stifled by the country's rigid medical system. Deng Haihua, spokesman for China's Ministry of Healthcare, said in January that the detailed health care plan has been sent to the State Council, China's cabinet, for approval.

That has raised expectations that a government-led healthcare reform covering China's entire population is in the offing. Chien Dah-Chuen, general manager of IBM Greater China Group, said his company expects at least 1,000 Chinese hospitals to invest a minimum of $1.5 million each on software and related services in the coming years, encouraged by the government's investment plan. According to statistics from China Hospital Information Management Association, a non-profit industry organization, investment in computerization only amounted to 0.7 percent of a Chinese hospital's total income, while the IT budget of hospitals in developed countries is on, an average, 2.4 percent of their total budget. "In fact, investment in IT plays a critical role in China's medical reform plan because it is nearly impossible to provide fair and affordable healthcare service in such a huge country without the support of information technology," said Yao Zhihong, an expert from the Chinese Health Information Society. With the current mix of a socialized and private healthcare, which was implemented in the early 1990s, China's hospitals, especially those in rural areas, are often without even basic IT infrastructure. At the same time, as a result of a government push to reduce funding and encourage hospitals to fend for themselves, most hospitals purchased medical equipment that directly generated revenue rather than computers and software. Zhou from Dell Services admits that it is very difficult to quantify the return on investment in software applications, infrastructure and IT services in hospitals. But he expects the ongoing healthcare reform plans will encourage hospitals to spend more on IT facilities.


From China Daily 04/16/2010

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China Has 18.08 Mln 3G Users

BEIJING (Xinhua) - The number of China's 3G mobile telecommunication users reached 18.08 million in March, an increase of 4.83 million from the first quarter, said a senior official with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) Thursday. China Mobile took the biggest 3G market share at 42.5 percent, followed by China Telecom at 30.8 percent and China Unicom at 26.7 percent, Zhu Jun, deputy director of the ministry's telecom development department, told a press conference. The three giant telecommunication operators had invested 6 billion yuan (878.9 million U.S. dollars) in 3G network construction in the first three months, out of the total 95 billion yuan planned for the year, said Xin Guobin, director of the ministry's Performance Inspection and Coordination Bureau. The ministry said earlier this month that China aimed to have 150 million 3G mobile telecommunication users by 2011 when investment in 3G development would hit 400 billion yuan.

Zhu said at the conference that the Internet industry in China had been expanding and boosting social and economic development. The number of Internet users rose by about 20 million in the first quarter to hit 404 million in March, Zhu said. China had 191 million subscribers to the country's social networking sites in March. By the end of 2009, China had 3.23 million domestic websites, said Zhu.


From http://news.xinhuanet.com/ 04/22/2010

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Mobile TV Service Launched in Shanghai

China Broadcasting Corp, China Mobile's Shanghai branch, and Shanghai Oriental Pearl (Group) Co launched commercial mobile TV services yesterday in Shanghai, which used both telecommunications and TV broadcasting networks and resources. It was the first time a telecommunications carrier and a TV broadcasting operator cooperated so closely in Shanghai, following the country's announcement to develop "Three Network Convergence," which refers to the Internet, TV broadcasting and mobile network convergence.


From Shanghai Daily 04/28/2010

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China's Online Population Passes 400 Million: State Media

The number of Internet users in China, already the largest in the world, has surpassed 400 million and accounts for almost a third of the country's population, state media reported Saturday. The online population in the world's most populous nation has reached 404 million, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing the State Council Information Office. That compares with 384 million users at the end of 2009. Users accessing the Internet with mobile phones was steady at 233 million while the number of people with broadband access reached 346 million, the report said. China's spiralling online population has turned the Internet into a forum for citizens to express their opinions in a way rarely seen in a country where the traditional media is under strict government control. The growing strength and influence of the web population has prompted concern in Beijing about the Internet's potential as a tool for generating social unrest, and authorities have stepped up surveillance in recent years. The government blocks web content that it deems politically sensitive in a vast system dubbed the "Great Firewall of China".


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

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JAPAN: More About Going Wireless on the Move

In reply to a computer user seeking advice on "Going wireless on the move" (Lifelines, Jan. 5), M.H. wonders why Bic Camera (www.biccamera.com) and Emobile (www.emobile.jp/en) were mentioned, but not UQ WiMAX (www.uqwimax.jp/service/trywimax/). "When I visited Bic's Shibuya store, faced with five days without Internet due to a move December last, they were really pushing the Try WiMAX plan," he writes. Back in November when he first checked the UQ WiMAX Web site, M.H.'s new home in Chitosedai was too far from the center of town, train lines, etc. to use the service. That changed in December, however, so he had fairly good results: Not the advertised peak 40 megabits per second ("as available") for downloads, but 15 Mbps - usable for e-mail, Web surfing and so on, but not Flickr, Windows Update and other "broadband heavy" sites. "The loaner unit came with a CD-ROM, but the software was also stored right in the unit. When I plugged it into a USB slot, my 'English only' Windows XP instantly recognized it as a 'mass storage device' - a phrase familiar to users of digital cameras, thumb drives, etc." (Note, he adds, that it only takes five minutes to add the necessary "East Asian" Unicode support to Windows XP.) "

After that, it was smooth sailing. During that trial week, I had to manually connect or reset the device exactly once each. Not bad considering interference and other problems associated with wireless links. "When my FTTH (fiber to the home) hookup arrived on Dec. 28, I was glad for the speed (60 Mbps is four times the 15 Mbps that I'd been using), but I soon discovered a hidden advantage to UQ WiMAX (and, I assume Emobile): no ISP contract. Why should I pay Nifty ¥1,500 a month when I never use their mail servers, portal or paid content?" UQ WiMAX has two payment plans: a flat rate of about ¥4,500 a month and a "per packet" rate with a ¥380-minimum, ¥4,900-maximum monthly fee. "I have FTTH and never leave my home, so would only use UQ WiMAX as a backup, but I suspect that the average user would opt for the flat rate and take the device on the road with their laptop." In short, according to this satisfied user: affordable, convenient, flexible, and well worth a look.


From http://search.japantimes.co.jp/ 03/09/2010

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Digital Billboard That Watches You Shop Hits Japan

Sci-fi is becoming reality. Did you know they now make digital billboards that capture your expression, response, age, and relevance to their product on the billboard? Digital billboards are new in Japan currently. They want to get to know their audience and consumers better by seeing people's reactions to their advertisements. This way they can create more affective advertisement. Billboards will capture you expression towards the ad. Digital advertising expert Omaid Hiqaizi said that the photos will be discarded but people's age and sex will be recorded. The Sun made a point when they said the digital billboard idea is one that was shown in the movie, Minority Report. Tom Cruise's character gets approached by a billboard saying he could use a drink. Advertisement targeting is everything now in today's market. Just like on computers where your internet explorer saves everything you do and ads you click on, or products on websites you visited. Companies will take this info and try to build upon it. Currently companies are watching the technology blossom in Japan, depending on how everything goes the product could be spread to different countries.


From http://www.postchronicle.com/ 03/10/2010

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SOUTH KOREA: Gov't to Fund Research to Mix Neurological Data with IT

Korea will finance studies to merge neurological data with information technology that may be able to assist people with neurological disorders, the government said Wednesday, according to Yonhap News. The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said it plans to select five projects this year that can advance understanding of neural functions and cognitive perception and transform the knowhow into usable data. Each project selected in this areas can receive 1 billion won ($883,000) in state support. "The focus of this year's efforts is to acquire original technologies that can later be used to help treat people with cognitive impairments," a press release said. Research could also be used to help people find out what babies want. It said researchers may be able to gauge emotions by analyzing voices, expressions and movement of eyes with the information collected to be incorporated with IT for easier access and wider application. Such data can be used to build smarter robots, medical equipment, computers and household appliances.


From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 03/10/2010

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S. Korea to Push for E-freight System

Korea's transportation ministry said Friday that it has signed a deal with an international freight body and the nation's largest airport jointly to push for an e-freight project designed to turn all paperwork related to air cargo into an electronic system, according to Yonhap News. The preliminary deal was signed with the International Air Transport Association and Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, according to the ministry. It was inked on Thursday in Vancouver, where an air cargo symposium was held.


From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 03/12/2010

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Mobile Internet Adoption Gains Pace

The country's wireless operators seek to expand mobile internet services from smartphones to conventional handsets as part of their efforts to accelerate the growth of wireless data usage. KT and LG Telecom, the No. 2 and No. 3 mobile carriers, respectively, said they plan to increase their line-ups of feature phones that support Wi-Fi networks, allowing users to enjoy free web access in Wi-Fi hotspots. This is a major turnaround for operators, who offered few Wi-Fi enabled handsets, worrying that the devices would cannibalize data revenue coming from their third-generation mobile networks. KT yesterday announced the launch of the "Webaholic," its first Wi-Fi-capable feature phone that offers a variety of internet services. The IM-U570K, manufactured by Korean handset vendor Pantech, will allow users to enjoy e-mail, web-surfing and other wireless internet services in not only Wi-Fi hotspots, but KT's wireless internet zones, Qook & Show, KT said. "We expect customers to enjoy wireless data services on feature phones without much burden," the company said in a news release. "KT will continuously try to allow customers to enjoy mobile internet conveniently by rolling out Wi-Fi phones via Samsung, LG and KT Tech." LG Telecom, the smallest of Korea' three mobile carriers, also recently rolled out the Wi-Fi capable feature phone, MAXX, which is manufactured by LG Electronics.

The LG-LU9400 supports Qualcomm's Snapdragon processor, making it faster for users to browse the mobile web. LG also will allow users to enjoy applications on feature phones, as they do on smartphones, under its new version of mobile internet service OZ 2.0. "A significant number of customers still use feature phones, and they find it difficult to use mobile internet with feature phones ... We seek to address those issues," LG Telecom president for personal mobile business Jung Il-jae said at a press conference in Seoul. But analysts say although the lines are blurring between smartphones and feature phones, feature phones lag behind in terms of the number of applications. "High-end feature phones equipped with Wi-Fi functions are certainly attractive to users who undergo difficulty in using smartphones. But chances are high that such phones would remain a niche market," said Daniel Jin, an analyst at Shinhan Investment. Mobile carriers vigorously seek to expand their mobile internet services by introducing competitive wireless data plans and an array of internet-capable handsets. The popularity of smartphones, triggered by KT's launch of Apple's iPhone late last year, has accelerated such moves. Carriers seek to generate new revenue streams as the traditional voice market is nearing a saturation point in a country where nearly all of the population has a mobile phone. In its latest move, KT said it will enable its subscribers to connect to the internet with a variety of portable devices such as laptops, using their smartphones as a modem. The "teetering service" will give customers web access anywhere and anytime based on the company's 3G networks.


From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 03/15/2010

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S. Korea Is Leading in the E-world

Even the most analog-loving Korean enjoys some benefits of the country's advanced IT systems. They just may not know it. Take the urbanite who whips out a T-Money pass to get to work. These plastic cards, which are used to pay for buses, subways, cabs, convenience store purchases and some expressway tolls in and around Seoul, come equipped with a central processing unit. Or the office worker who suddenly realizes he must extend his passport for a business trip. By logging in to his PC, he can submit his resident registration on a Web site that issues civil affairs documents. Or visitors to the Dibrary, a portmanteau of "digital" and "library," where a busy reader can check out digitalized books and other publications. The digital-based lifestyle is everywhere in Korea, from personal to government systems. And now it appears Korea - which the UN ranks No. 1 in terms of readiness to bring its government systems fully online - is inspiring some other countries. Japan, the country from which modern Korea took most of its government administration during its years as a colony (1910-1945), is only the latest. On March 21, Kazuhiro Haraguchi, the minister of internal affairs and communications, visited Korea, hoping to learn from its e-government system. During his two-day stay, Haraguchi visited the Ministry of Public Administration and Security, Gangnam District Office and Samsung SDS, among others. "I'm glad to have seen the big picture of Korea's e-government administration," he was quoted as saying. "[Japan] hopes to sign memorandums of understanding on various technologies." "I think the reason why an increasing number of other countries are taking a cue from Korea is because with Korea's system, the disparity between the central government and local district governments can easily be solved," said Choi Jong-seok, a senior researcher at Korea Local Information Research & Development Institute.

Perhaps Haraguchi's visit was foreseeable. TV Tokyo, one of Japan's major private broadcasters, aired a feature report earlier this month dubbed "Wake Up, Japan's IT" showcasing Korea's digital lifestyle, including the e-government administration, digital library and transit card system. Also in early March, Masamitsu Naito, vice minister for internal affairs and communications, visited the Guro District Office to learn about e-government. "We are getting increased requests from Japanese clients," said Baik Sang-yeop, a director at LG CNS, which developed the online issuance system for civil affairs documents. Last month, reports also surfaced that IT systems developed by Korean companies such as Samsung SDS, LG CNS and SK C&C have become foreign importers' favorites. Ecuador recently signed a deal to import Korea's electronic customs-clearance system, developed by Samsung SDS and used at the Korea Customs Service. Indonesia has also signed a deal with LG CNS for its electronic financial information systems, already in use at Korean government agencies, in addition to a separate deal to provide the electronic crime information systems used by the National Police Agency. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan has imported SK C&C's advanced transportation system, which collects and analyzes traffic volume and flow.


From http://joongangdaily.joins.com/ 03/31/2010

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KIPO Aims at 100% Electronic Applications

Of all IPR applications filed in Korea in 2009, 94.3 were filed by electronic (online) means, the Korean Intellectual Property Office said. The rate of electronic application (or 'e-application') made to KIPO has been highest in the world since 2005, surpassing those of USPTO and JPO. Under this trend, it is likely that 100percent rate of e-application will be realized within a few years. Meanwhile, the remaining 5.7% of applications were paper-based (non-electronic) and primarily filed by small & medium seized enterprises (SME) or private inventors without an appointed patent attorney. It is assessed that, even though the cost of e-application is cheaper, some applicants still prefer paper-based application as they feel the internet application process is too difficult." To accommodate the difficulty felt by these applicants, we will tailor the e-application process to focus on applicants with limited access to information and economic resources, so that the rate of e-application will increase." We plan to provide ongoing supports for e-applications, such as the KIPOnet system (http://www.patent.go.kr), customer center (1544-8080), and more; offer on-site e-application education that is available to anyone, anywhere starting from April; launch a one-on-one e-application support system for applicants who visit the Seoul Office (+82-2-555-9293) or Customer Service Center (+82-42-481-5215) of KIPO. Organization and institution wishing to receive on-site education for e-applications are asked to apply through the website of the Korean Patent Document Service (http://www.kpds.or.kr). Education fees will be borne by KIPO.


From http://www.korea.net/ 04/13/2010

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S. Korea Will Strive to Become Global Tech Leader

South Korea will strive to become one of the top five global technology leaders by 2020 by maximizing its strengths in information technology (IT), autos, shipbuilding and nuclear energy, the newly appointed government research policymaker said Wednesday. Hwang Chang-gyu, the knowledge economy ministry's chief technical officer (CTO), told reporters that the country must find next-generation technologies that can ensure long-term economic growth. He said that while Seoul pulled off its rapid growth by following in the footsteps of advanced countries and their research and development (R&D) efforts, it must now transform itself into a trend-setter. "We were fast followers but it is time to become a first mover," he said, pointing out that most of the leading industries have started to post single digit growth in recent years. The former head of Samsung Electronics said the country can take the lead by pursuing convergence in the areas of IT, heavy industry and advanced energy production, where it enjoys worldwide competitiveness. "As the new CTO, my goal is to develop convergence technologies so South Korea can become a front-runner in the technology field in the next 10 years," he said. He added that the government will move away from simple R&D to research and business development (R&BD), which involves finding commercial uses for new technologies. "R&BD aims to create technology that is 'alive' and can be used on a practicable level," the official said. He stressed that research for the sake of research is not the right approach.

Hwang also said Seoul will start encouraging research-related risk taking by continuing to back scientists and engineers who have engaged in ambitious projects that failed to meet expectations. "A working environment needs to be set up so researchers are not afraid to take bold steps," said Hwang, who is a minister-level official. South Korea's state R&D funding size has shot up from 3.7 trillion won (US$3.4 billion) in 1999 to 11.1 trillion won in 2008, and while the total number of researchers and patents won by locals has risen, there has been a drop in quality that must be corrected, he said. Hwang also noted a need to connect research with market requirements and products, and refrain from engaging in projects that are easy and can lead to quick results. The CTO said he plans to use his experience in the private sector to help push up the country's technological capabilities to the next level. The official is well-known for his theory, "Hwang's Law," which was introduced in 2002 and states that flash memory chip storage doubles in capability every year. Hwang will lead an office made up of 17 experts from the business community, academia and the government and tasked with the setting up of long-term research and industrial development support targets and use of state funds allocated to the ministry. The new office will take over the research-related direction setting role from government and review plans before they are sent to the National Assembly for approval. It has been created to react to criticism that despite the country's strength in the IT industry, companies have been left behind in such areas as smartphones and new, creative technologies and products. The knowledge economy ministry will control 4.4 trillion won worth of R&D-related funds this year with the total to hit 5 trillion won in 2010.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 04/21/2010

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S. Korea to Run Online Health Service Pilot Program

The government will support local companies and seek to revise the country's medical law that currently bans tele-medical practices between doctors and patients, officials said yesterday. The Ministry of Knowledge Economy said the government will invest 52.1 billion won ($46 million) to run the﹛"ubiquitous health" pilot project in October to provide quality medical services to a large number of people. It is the world's largest project that tests online health operations, they added. The project is to nurture the country's online health services by combining the latest information technology and also the biotech sector. About 12,000 people will benefit from the pilot program. It runs through 2013, officials said. The online health service is designed to offer patients timely and detailed monitoring by healthcare providers. The new concept of medical services are believed to reduce overall medical expenses and the time to patients spend when visiting hospitals far away from their homes. But it still faces opposition from a group of Korean doctor and has to solve administrative and legal hurdles to fully nurture the new industry, an official at the ministry said. "Some doctors are opposed to the plan saying patients won't go to small clinics instead of visiting general hospital," said Cho Hyun-ho, a deputy director at the ministry. "We will keep pushing the new medical law as well to begin full fledged u-health services starting in 2014," he said. Projects in countries such as the United States had only about 600 participants, the official explained. Of the total funds needed, 25.7 billion won will come from central and regional governments, with the rest to be funded by participating companies such as SK Telecom and LG Electronics. The fund will also be invested into equipment and research and development, the ministry said. The use of long distance, real-time medical examinations will be made possible by using the country's advanced IT infrastructure that includes mobile phones and laptops. U-health may help create 39,000 new jobs in 2014. The size of the industry will reach 3.03 trillion won by 2014, the ministry said.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 05/11/2010

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S. Korean Carriers Rush to Expand Wireless Networks

Wireless Internet is becoming an inevitable part of people's lives in technology-savvy Korea. But its network infrastructure lags so far behind demand that an expansion of availability is a key campaign promise for many metropolitan candidates for the June 2 local elections. To cope with surging mobile data traffic, especially from smartphones, telecom carriers are coming up with plans to widen their high-speed Internet networks. The government and the private sector plans to invest 1.5 trillion won ($1.35 billion) to promote wireless Internet services by 2015, according to the Korea Communications Commission, the state telecom regulator. The comprehensive package, announced last month, also included developing mobile technologies, easing regulations and running an open research center with local companies, universities and research institutions to nurture manpower in the sector. "I would say this is a positive change for the increased Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity) zones would further develop the mobile business sector," said Yim Jin-sik, an information technology expert. "It would add flexibility to the working environment for a great number of office workers since they would be using the mobile office system with their various gadgets, which have access to the increasing (number of) Wi-Fi hotspots." KT Corp., the nation's No. 1 telecom service provider, plans to establish about 27,000 Wi-Fi zones by the first half of this year. KT had already constructed 13,000 Wi-Fi zones before its merger with KTF. The company featured a QOOK and SHOW Zone Street, which provides wireless Internet, at the COEX mall in southern Seoul. SK Telecom - the country's No. 1 mobile carrier - said it is in the process of expanding its broadband mobile Internet networks in populated locations. It plans to build about 10,000 Wi-Fi zones, or " T spots," in theaters, large shopping districts, public transport stations, leisure parks, main streets and family restaurants as well as cafes and hair salons.

The company plans to offer its free wireless Internet services to all users, including subscribers to its rivals, KT and LG Telecom. Politicians are even jumping on the wireless bandwagon, seeking to win over young voters. In his campaign for reelection, Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon, pledged to create 25 additional free wireless internet zones in the nation's capital. If reelected he would transform subway stations into Wi-Fi areas and operate Internet information centers in low-income residential towns. Cisco had previously projected that wireless Internet traffic would increase up to 66-fold by 2013, compared to 2008 levels. "That is becoming a reality after the launching of the smartphone," said Kim Myung-chul, a professor of the software policy research center at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. What the surging number of free Wi-Fi zones will create is an open echo system made possible with many different devices, networks and contents, according to experts. "By utilizing the Wi-Fi networks, we could open up measures to apply and invent an array of services which were prohibited due to high cost, security issues, varied interests between the involved parties and legislative regulations," said Kim. "We can also improve public welfare in terms of information use by permitting anyone to use the wireless Internet networks." The rivalry for expansion without coordination among carriers raised concerns about overlapping investments. "Currently, there seem to be no plans for drawing any kind of connection between the Wi-Fi zones for the different telecoms, which means I would be only privileged to use wireless Internet in my own designated area," said Yim. "Repetitive investments are likely to be made and it will be the consumers who will suffer the disadvantages resulting from it." Experts also voiced the need for measures to secure data. Last week, the global top search engine Google was found to have been collecting sensitive personal information from unencrypted wireless networks through a program dubbed Street View. Alan Eustace, Google senior VP of engineering and research admitted that the firm had been "mistakenly collecting samples of payload data from open Wi-Fi networks, even though we never used that data in any Google products."


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 05/18/2010

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LAOS: Lao Style Opening Ceremony for Central Payment Network

The Lao Central Payment Network (LCPN) was officially opened on Monday by the Governor of the Lao Central Bank, Mr Phouphet Khamphounvong and Minister of Finance for Singapore, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam. During the opening ceremony at 4.45 pm, when the governor and minister walked from the Central Bank building to the stage where the ribbon was placed, the Lao dancing maidens in their multi-coloured traditional dresses, threw blood red, pink and white rose petals, frangipani and exora flowers on their path. The wind blew and the smell of the sweet smelling perfumed flowers filled the air around them. After the duo cut the ribbon, balloons with helium gas were released, they soared to the sky and were caught by a jet stream that blew them so high up that they reached Heaven. The angels saw them, blew their trumpets to announce the debut of the LCPN and the goddess of money gave her blessing to this Lao-Singapore company.

While the guests dined and networked, a Lao songstress, Aruna gave her rendition of two Lao songs, Get the feeling to tell? and Kiss me.This body, LCPN, acted as a clearing house for various types of electronic transactions, such as debit and credit cards and ATM money withdrawals. It would then produce settlement reports on such transactions, transmit them to the Central Bank and the latter would carry out the task of transferring the money. Mr Khaikeo, Director of IT of the Central Bank of the Lao PDR, said that Singapore, a major financial hub in the region, exported its financial knowledge to Laos, in the form of LCPN and he predicted it would play a role in moving the Lao economy forward.

For Mr Arnold Khoo, Chairman of the LCPN, a Singaporean, the official opening affirmed the deep friendship and economic ties between Singapore and Laos. Looking into the future, Mr Khoo said that the debit card, Lao1 standard, would facilitate tourist spending in Laos and at the same time enable Lao merchants to tap into the global consumers. He also said that this home grown debit card would be seamlessly linked to the network systems of the nine other ASEAN countries, thereby facilitating cross-border transactions.


From http://www.kplnet.net/ 03/24/2010

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Lao Telecom Invests in Building Internet Cafe for Students

(KPL) The Lao Telecom Company has decided to invest three billion kip in the construction of a Lao Telecom Shop and installation of Internet lease line in the National University of Laos (Dong Dok campus). The Lao telecom Company (LTC), a main supplier of telecom in Laos, signed a constructing agreement with the National University of Laos. The signatories to the document were the LTC Director, Mr Thansamay Kommasith and the Dean of the National University of Laos, Associate Professor Dr Soukkongseng Sayaleuth, at the Dong Dok campus, last Friday, in presence of both side officials. The internet service is part of education development and gives a chance to students and teachers to be able to access to up-to-date information and technology (IT), said Mr Thansamay. It will also be used for research and useful information study of all faculties, which paves a way for specialists and students of all levels to develop their knowledge comprehensively, he added. This is a part of the LTC contribution to the Lao education development which is hoped to reach the international standard.


From http://www.kplnet.net/ 03//29/2010

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EU Opens New Information Centre at NUOL

(KPL) The European Union in collaboration with Dong Dok National University of Laos (NUOL), the Ministry of Education opened yesterday its first information corner European Union Information Corner EU inside the Central Library of the National University by promoting more understanding and providing more useful information for students, teachers and others. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Phetsamone Khounsavath, Deputy-President of the National University of Laos, and Mr David Lipman, Ambassador/Head of the European Union Delegation in Laos attended the opening of the European Union Information Corner. The National University-based EU Information Corner is part of EU's effort to enhance more understanding and provide more facilities among Lao students, teachers and EU. This information corner involves the main purposes to help the host structure promote teaching and research and information on the European Union; makes information on the European Union and its policies available to the public, both university-based and others; particularly in the debate on the European Union.

Mr David Lipman, and Ambassador/Head of the European Union Delegation in Laos said that the EU would certainly help improve a better understanding of the European Union and its roles among officials, teachers, students and the general public. Visitors of the EU will have access to a wide range of information on the European Union activities. By hosting the European Union Information Centre, the Central Library of the National University of Laos will receive EU-related publications directly from the EU Publication office for free of charge and also access to online information. There are currently 217 EU corners in the world including the one opened yesterday in Laos. Mr Somxay Khamphavong, Deputy Director of the Central Library of the National University of Laos, disclosed yesterday that many students and teachers have increased their interest continuously by looking for the several information sources as he estimated that at least 700 people a day came to the Central Library for information in 2009. Until now the number of service users has increased to 1,000 a day. However the Central Library of the National University of Laos has limited space for interested readers, said Mr Somxay, In the future the National University has already had a budget of three billion kip allocated by the government to build a new library, but the budget was not enough? He added. Mr Somxay told KPL News that the National University had many kinds of learning-teaching materials, magazines, newspapers and others for students, teachers and the general public, but almost all the education materials available at the Central Library have been supported from the state and private sectors and international organisations.


From http://www.kplnet.net/ 05/05/2010

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MALAYSIA: Society Will Gain from Broadband Proliferation

Broadband proliferation is poised to bring radical improvements for society, said Sweden-based Ericsson AB's strategic marketing director, Bo Ribbing. He said said by 2020 more than 50 billion devices would be connected via broadband and each person would be surrounded by an average of 10 such devices. "We are moving towards a converged broadband-enabled world with connectivity embedded into all kinds of devices," he said at a media briefing on 2020 - 50 Billion Devices Connected here. Ribbing said engaging in connecting new types of devices would bring significant profit potential to operators and service providers. According to Ericsson, M2M (machine-to-machine) technology would support wired or wireless communication between devices. It said wireless M2M encompassed a wide range of wireless network technologies including cellular networks, satellite networks, radio frequency identification (RFID), WiFi and WiMAX. "Currently, most of the wireless M2M market is related to RFID applications where access control, animal ID, automobile immobilisation and electronic toll collection encompassed 56% of the market," it said.

Ericsson Malaysia's head of business development, multimedia and consulting system integration, Sebastian Barros, said new opportunities would be generated in industries like automotive, home appliances and utilities for information and communications technology stakeholders. He said M2M has been there for years, but currently wireless M2M is having a new lease on life thanks to the mobile broadband explosion in most of the markets. "As the mobile broadband-everywhere vision becomes a reality, any device that needs an Internet connection will have one," he said. According to Barros, it is estimated that roughly a billion machines were produced globally in 2008 for housing, transportation and industrial purposes. Barros said among these, energy meters, automobiles and communication devices stood out as the key industries for wireless M2M in the coming 10 years. "Adoption of wireless M2M technology is still at a very embryonic stage accounting for just 1% of total cellular connections," he said. He said Europe is experiencing a big adoption of wireless M2M technology across a wide range of vertical markets.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 04/30/2010

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Maxis Teams Up with PayPal

In just three simple steps Maxis subscribers will soon able to pay for online purchases using their PayPal account via their mobile phone or a laptop connected to the Maxis broadband service. Expect to start early next month, new users can sign up for a Maxis-PayPal account while existing PayPal customers have to upgrade their account to the Maxis-PayPal version for the purpose. According to Maxis, any phone that can connect to the mobile Internet can use the service. Users can register at the company's website and download the free Maxis-PayPal application for their smartphones from the respective vendor mobile application stores such as the iTunes App Store, Ovi Store, BlackBerry App World or Android Market. Feature phone users can get the app from the Maxis WAP portal. Once registered users only need to key in their phone number, the PIN number and click on the "pay" button in the application.

The details of purchases made via a Maxis-Paypal account will appear in the customer's itemised billing. However the application will only be available in stages depending on the platforms. Maxis expects the service to be fully up and running in August. In the meantime, users can also download the generic PayPal application directly from the company if the Maxis-PayPal application is not yet available for their mobile phone model. As a standard, PayPal payment will be deducted from the user's linked bank account, debit card or credit card. However, with this partnership, a source close to Maxis revealed that charging the PayPal amount to a user's monthly bill is also a possibility but no official information was available at press time. According to Maxis chief operating officer Jean-Pascal Van Overbeke, mobile Internet is fast gaining traction here and this collaboration is slated to fuel the local e-commerce ecosystem further.

He said that over 16 million Malaysians interact online with 80% going online to identify what they want to buy and where they want to buy it from. "However only about 30% actually proceed to make the online purchase," he said. One of the main reasons cited is that local users are not comfortable in revealing their financial details due to the increasing problem of online fraudulent transactions, he added. With the Maxis-PayPal initiative in place, Maxis hopes that the number of online transactions will increase as the process is highly secure thanks to PayPal's renowned antifraud controls. Customers will also enjoy a high level of privacy because information such as credit card numbers and expiry dates are kept confidential from merchants during payment, he added. Maxis has over 12 million subscribers out of which over 50% are active mobile data users. Meanwhile PayPal has over eight million merchants and 84 million active accounts worldwide.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 05/14/2010

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THAILAND: Cut in IT Set-up Costs Tempts SMEs

Integrated collaboration between public and private partnerships is encouraging the cloud business model in Thailand and prompting Thai software developers to look towards the Indochina region. Furthermore, by using automated IT, SMEs are seeing they can save 25-30 percent in operating costs. Arthit Wuthikaro, Director-General of the Department of Industrial Promotion, said the agency has allocated a budget of 38 million baht this fiscal year to the Enhancing SMEs' Competitiveness Through IT (ECIT) project, which is now in the second of its three-year span. This project sees integration collaboration between several government agencies, including ToT, and private sector organisations such as software houses and data centre hosts, in order to encourage SMEs to use IT to increase productivity and reduce costs, ultimately creating innovation and opening more market opportunities. The project reduces barriers for SMEs to invest in IT because it allows them to use the software as a service model (SaaS) and pay monthly without outlaying on new hardware. At the same time, it also helps Thai software developers to gain more market opportunity as they can customise software for these SMEs.

Meanwhile Vatee Phiravaranuphodng, Director, information service at the Department of Industrial Promotion, added that in this fiscal year, it is expected that about 100 more SMEs will join the program. Seventy eight joined in 2009. By the end of the project's three-year run, it is anticipated that 250 companies will have joined, and they will have gained a minimum of 3.5 percent productivity. Currently, there are nine local software companies involved in the project and this year the tally will increase to 14 companies. The project is expected to make an overall economic impact of 92 million baht, by reducing costs, increasing productivity and increasing tax revenue. Apirak Chiangcharoen, Business Development Director at Double M Technology Management, which provides ERP for Jewelry business, said the government agencies established the cloud model to help software houses offer their services at more affordable rates and boost confidence in the model among prospective SME customers.

Tunyaporn Chiewhutpong, marketing manager at Amorn Gems International, said that this project spurred the company to invest in IT faster because the Saas model meant they would only need to invest a few thousand baht, compared with typical IT set-up costs for the jewellery sector of 1-6 million baht. After implementing IT systems, the company reduced its inventory costs by around 1-2 million baht by eliminating the problem of overstocking, as the system can automatically update stock levels, and by reducing fraud and error risks. The software also helped the company with product planning thanks to status updates at each stage of every customer order. Apirak added that within the next year, Double M plans to extend its cloud base solutions market to the Indochina region, as Thailand's neighbouring countries also have significant jewellery industries.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 03/31/2010

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TCCT Establishes Thailand's First Fully Green Data Centre

Borderless trade and cloud technology are accelerating Internet traffic and the demand for data centres, while political instability and disasters have added disaster recovery backup requirements, which have driven TCC Technology (TCCT) to inject 200 million baht to establish Thailand's first fully green data centre with IBM technology to support future opportunities. Increased regional trade, cloud computing technology, virtualisation with high-density servers together with risk management in unstable political situations and disaster recovery have boosted the growth of data centre business in Thailand by more than 30 percent, according to Kosit Suksingha, Managing Director of TCC Technology, carrier of neutral data centre services, which is managed by the Thai Charoen Corporation Group (TCC Group), one of Thailand's largest conglomerates. "FTA and AFTA should increase international trade transactions and open a wide range of new opportunities for Asean businesses. This will also help to spur demand for data centre businesses because of regional economic integration and cooperation among data centre operators in each country, which will expand and deepen in the years to come. "Moreover, if tariffs are lowered, this will enable a higher quantity of data centre export services, which will boost our economic growth." Kosit said. "However, Thailand has fewer major data centres than neighbouring countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam, which have 28, 16 and eight, respectively, compared with Thailand's five major data center providers. The data centre business will grow as the country's economy grows, while the price of bandwidth and consumption are other key factors.

"While neighbouring countries are reaching the mature stage, outsourcing from local companies is still in the early stage for Thailand. Foreign customers make up the majority of data centre customers in the high end data centre sector. "However, the situation is likely to evolve as local companies become more aware of the benefits of outsourcing information management services. This means that the data centre industry will grow dramatically given the increasing demand for both international and local IT outsourcing and rising international bandwidth consumption." Kosit added that cloud computing is one of the main drivers of data centre demand. "By the second or third quarter of this year, the company will provide computing services as a utility to its customers in Thailand. The users can conveniently and securely access their information anytime, anywhere and use our services based on a 'pay per use' or a 'pay as you grow' model." TCC Technology continues to invest in new data centres; within the next two years it will open a 9,000-square-metre dedicated data centre at North Park, which is one of the TCC Group's property, and one in Chiang Mai province in order to reduce location risks so that it does not rely on its Sathon and Bang Na branches in Bangkok.

The company has invested more than 200 million baht in the expansion phase of its newest site at the Bang Na Data Centre (BNDC). The site was designed from scratch and fully uses green data centre technology engineering in collaboration with IBM. And energy costs are expected to be reduced by at least 20 percent after the new expansion phase. Panot Sirivadhanabhakdi, Executive Director, TCC Technology, said that it is Thailand's first green data centre on this scale and the new expansion phase will set a benchmark standard for the data centre business. "Being green is one of our values added to differentiate us from our competitors as well as security and linkage with the Asia Data Center Alliance (ADCA). The Alliance also plans to be announce its Crossborder Disaster Recovery plan between its members soon, which help to benefit customer more," Panot said. Currently, TCCT has set up a total of 29,700-square-feet of data centres in Bangkok and its vicinity. And last year, its existing data centre saved up to 15 percent in energy consumption. This is equivalent to the reduction of 290 tons of CO2 emission annually. Thanwa Laohasiriwong, Country General Manager, IBM Thailand, said that the new TCCT data centre will be a pioneering model for IBM Reliability Level 3+ data centre, which is IBM's green data centre based on reliability and efficiency. An interesting point is that the centre uses water cooling instead of air conditioning to save costs.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 04/07/2010

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Mobile Phones Offer Hope to 'Bottom of the Pyramid'

Sriganesh Lokanathan, senior research manager at LIRNEasia, spoke of the need to address the agricultural sector in South Asia which makes up a large share of the labour pool but a low share of GDP. "You have highly inefficient agricultural markets with a large information disparity," he said. ICTs cannot solve all problems, chief of which is land reform, but when it comes to making decisions, lowering transaction costs and going to market and selling, information can make a big difference. The researched categorised the decision-making process and information value in each from decisions to seed, planting, growing to harvesting and selling. Information search costs are highest at the beginning of the cycle. Information on deciding what to grow are three times all other costs, and this is where ICTs have a potential role to play. Lokanathan said that ideally he wanted to change the decision-making chain into a cycle where the decision on what the farmer wants to grow is based on the price when he expects to harvest. For this to happen, prices and supply and demand needed to be predicted and farmers need to get into forward sales contracts which does not often happen in this part of the world.

A number of mobile information services aimed at farmers are now available in India offering crop advisory, weather forecasts and market price information. Bharti Airtel offer a non-subscription voice-based service through the phone with 1.5 million subscribers. The revenue model is through the sale of specially enabled SIM cards and the service costs one Indian rupee (0.70 baht) a minute. Dr Harsha De Silva explains how mobile phones with near-field communications can enable feedback and choice so that perfect pricing and resource allocation can be possible even with very cheap bus services in Sri Lanka. Reuters Market Light has 170,000 subscribers in 17 states. It does not partner with telcos and instead sells scratch cards directly to the farmers. Mobile operators are getting into the market to gain subscribers now that the urban market is saturated. Apart from Reuters, revenue from the service itself seems to be secondary right now.

The problem with agricultural value-added services is that it is very localised. A farmer in Punjab wants weather conditions, markets and soil conditions for his farm, not what is happening in the city. Lower literacy levels mean that they prefer voice to text, but with the younger generation becoming more technology-savvy, the farmers' children are now serving as information conduits. Harsha De Silva, PhD Professor of economics at the University of Missouri, conducted a study on the use of mobile payments to create efficiencies in public transport in Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka 93 percent of public transport is by bus. Buses are old and public buses have archaic ticketing machines. Twenty five percent of bus revenue is lost in leakage and as a result, buses are over-crowded to make up for lost revenue. Commuters were getting played out. In a study for a 6.50 Sri Lankan rupee bus ride (1.80 baht) where 7 rupees were paid, 60 percent of the time change was not given. Often tickets are not issued at all after payment.

Muriuki Mureithi explains that while the mobile payment system in Kenya has been a great success, lack of regulation means it is a lock-in by incumbent telcos. For the state, the issue becomes a matter of subsidies. Instead of subsidising the bus operator, money needs to be focused on the poor. Many have moved to the use of contactless smart cards, but De Silva thinks that the mobile phone will be the future. Buying a bus ticket by SMS would be cumbersome, but a NFC (near field communication) enabled phone allows the system to ask yes or no to authorising a payment. It gives an additional layer of security. The state could offer a conversion subsidy for NFC-enabled readers or the duty-free import of NFC equipment. A lot of work needs to be done on standardisation of the SIM card for NFC-enabled chips and with regulatory concerns both from the radio and banking regulators.

But after all this is done, what are the benefits of mobile ticketing? De Silva believes that intelligent ticketing with feedback from the phone will enable better use of resources, for instance, selecting a different bus if it is less crowded. First and last buses often run almost empty so pricing by congestion and time of day would increase utilisation. In other words, mobile public transport ticketing would bring about perfect pricing. Muriuki Mureithi of Summit Strategies, Kenya, spoke of the mobile payments experience in Kenya - a country were 26 percent of the 39 million population have bank accounts but 52 percent have mobile phone SIM cards. A study of the unbanked said that most did not have a bank account as they do not have regular income; that they do not need a bank account or that they did not quality for a bank account. "That was a challenge, for these people not to be excluded from the mainstream of society," he said.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 05/12/2010

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VIET NAM: Ebooks Gaining Popularity but Still Face Challenges

VietNamNet Bridge - In the wake of the global economic downturn and green movement, ebooks have emerged as the latest method of publishing a literary piece without the drawbacks of traditional publishing methods. Last year saw a dramatic spike in the popularity of ebooks, both locally and around the world. Amazon.com, an online shopping website offering a large selection of books and magazines, has reported the turnover of ebooks is now much higher than hardcopies and paperbacks. Ebooks have the advantage of being cheap while offering readers quicker access to the latest titles. They are also environmentally friendly, saving huge amounts of trees and paper. The largest Vietnamese online book distributor, Vinabook.com, plans to offer ebooks in the future, but says that currently, hard-copies are still more popular in the country.

Some local book aficionados, however, have established their own websites like thuvien-ebooks.com or thuquan.net, where members can read books for free. Other domestic enterprises provide digital libraries, while the Lac Viet Company has implemented its own software to make it convenient for readers and online shoppers to access books. Experts say Ebooks have yet to become as popular in Vietnam as they are globally for two main reasons: difficulty in utilizing ebook technology and copyright issues. Most Vietnamese readers can't afford a professional wireless reading device like Kindle, which costs more than US$200, and thus resort to reading ebooks via their mobile phones. Moreover, once initially purchased online, ebooks are relatively easy to copy. This has deterred local online book distributors from offering them as they don't stand to make large profits.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn 03/18/2010

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Manufacturers to Get IT Boost

VietNamNet Bridge - IT solutions provider Global CyberSoft Viet Nam and its Japanese partner Asprova introduced a Production Planning Scheduler to executives from more than 50 companies at a meeting in HCM City yesterday, April 8. The software will help manufacturers to maximise their profits by reducing time, inventory and laborious efforts for production scheduling. In the wake of intensive global competition, businesses need to find measures to remain competitive and profitable, according to Le My Phuc, a solution consultant at Global CyberSoft Viet Nam. Besides having qualified human resources, Phuc said businesses should re-assess how their planning function is carried out, and look for tools that will support the decision-making process and generate schedules in a timely manner.

Plants often employ people to perform production scheduling, and the complexity of the task requires experts who have 10-20 years of experience. But even with such experts, scheduling time often takes weeks to complete and efficiency is not very high due to human limitations.

Inefficient planning and unclear objectives could lead to significant increases in variable costs, Phuc said. At the seminar, Global CyberSoft and Asprova representatives gave a demonstration of the software, and explained how the solution could address the problem of maintaining balance between capacity and demand. "Scheduling cycle reduction is obviously the key benefit of this tool. There will no longer be weeks after weeks spent on production planning, but instead only days or even hours," said Tran Ngoc Son, another solution consultant at Global CyberSoft. In addition, all important information would be fully visualised, and scheduling results would have much higher efficiency and accuracy, he added.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 04/09/2010

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BANGLADESH: Information Highway to Connect Bangladesh with Neighbours

An ambitious Information Highway (Bangladesh Part) scheduled to begin in July and completed by December 2011 will boost connectivity between South Asian countries in key areas and make Bangladesh self-reliant. It aims to reduce the power distribution loss and connect rural e-centres to generate new jobs. The government's vision of a "digital Bangladesh" came a step nearer on Tuesday when the Executive Committee on National Economic Council approved a Tk 29 crore project to establish an information highway with India, Nepal and Bhutan. Govt okays info highway project/ Photo credit: The Daily Star Fifty-five kilometres of fibre optic cables will be installed between Panchgarh and Banglabandha and a landing station will be built in Panchgarh, which will provide a rural wireless broadband network and portal service. Five or six community e-centres will also be established, which are expected to stimulate job growth and income in rural areas. The project is titled "Establishment of South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation Information Highway (Bangladesh Part)" and it is scheduled to begin in July and to be completed by December 2011. India, Nepal and Bhutan will also install a fibre optic cable network in their own territory. Digital connectivity among these countries is currently run via submarine cables operated by third party companies. Once the project is complete, Bangladesh will not have to rely on anyone for data transfer. The Ecnec meeting, which was chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, approved six other projects relating to forestry, health, power, education and port facilities. The seven projects demands a total spend of Tk 2,886 crore. The other projects include a Tk 109 crore social forestry project for poverty alleviation under the environment ministry, a Tk 684 crore project to prevent poor students from dropping out of primary school and a Tk 215 crore project to build "Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Memorial Specialised Hospital and Nursing College. Ecnec also approved a Tk 770 crore project to set up a new grid substation to improve power transmission, a Tk 100 crore project to dredge the Pashur River near Mongla port and a Tk 979 crore central zone power distribution project. The central zone power distribution project involves the installation of 2,500km power distribution lines, plus sub-stations and transformers in Mymensingh, Tangail, Jamalpur, Sherpur, Moulavibazar and Sylhet. The project aims to reduce the power distribution system's loss. Cooperation between the four countries in the areas of education, trade and poverty alleviation is also likely to increase.


From http://southasia.oneworld.net/ 03/25/2010

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INDIA: E-Office Launched in Delhi

e-Office developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC), was launched on April, 5 2010. It provides a platform for personalised, role based, secure access to internal information for the employees that is accessible through any browser. Its salient features include unified view of data, content and document management, collaboration and messaging services with SMS interface, single standards based directory service, identity and access management role and integration of applications. The implementation of this system is expected to improve the employee productivity by introducing collaborative working in digital workspace and thus pave the way towards paperless office.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 04/06/2010

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Online Payments in Orissa for Transport

Online payment system has brought a relief to the citizens of Orissa to pay the transport fees. The online payment in Orissa is the first in the country to introduce online payment for tax, application, processing of license and issue of vehicle permits. It will be easily accessible and largely available. The users of this system can have the necessary data for reference at any time. The system is operative under the tie-up with Smart Chip Ltd through a dedicated portal. To avail this facility, the users must possess an account with SBI on Net Banking facility. The Transport department of Orissa state has been in the practice of employing the services of Private Public Partnership, through the assistance of SmartChip. The e-Governance activities are carried out through these means.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 04/19/2010

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3 Indian IT Majors Hire 20k Employees in Q4

Email New Delhi: With improving business conditions pushing their hiring plans, IT majors Infosys, TCS and Wipro hired over 20,000 employees in the January-March quarter. According to human resources experts, IT and IT-enabled services are expected to see a huge jump in hiring this year and major companies in the sector have already set the pace, reports PTI. The three IT companies put together have made net additions of 20,014 employees (taking into account attrition) in the January-March quarter. IT major Tata Consultancy Services took on board a net 10,775 employees in the last quarter of 2009-10 fiscal. TCS' total employee strength has soared to 1,60,429 at the end of the last fiscal. The hiring momentum picked up from the third quarter of the last fiscal, when TCS had made 7,692 net additions, compared with just 320 recruitments in the previous quarter. IT giant Infosys hired as many as 9,313 employees in the quarter, but the net addition after taking into account attrition was 3,914, according to the company's financial statement for the period. The hiring increased the total workforce of the company and its subsidiaries to 1,13,796 employees at the end of March this year. Another Besides, Wipro made net additions of 5,325 employees in the Q4 FY10, taking its total strength to 1,08,071. According to a recent survey by staffing firm TeamLease, Indian companies are increasingly upbeat about their hiring plans across almost all sectors in April-June period this year, led by an improving business outlook. HR experts predict companies in the IT and ITes sector would hire 1,50,000 professionals in the fiscal year 2011.


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 04/25/2010

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E-Readiness: India Ranks 58

India ranks 58 in the world on e-readiness ranking - an important measure of a digital society, Minister of State for Information Technology Sachin Pilot informed the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour, he said e-readiness is the measure of the quality of country's information community technology infrastructure and ability of its consumers, businesses and Government to use ICT for their benefit. "As per the Economist Intelligence Unit's e-readiness ranking for the year 2009, India ranks 58 among the countries of the world," he said. IT sector provides direct employment to 2.5 million people and has created eight million indirect jobs, he said.

The government, he said, had launched National Knowledge Network at an outlay of Rs 5,990 crore (Rs 59.9 billion), to interconnect all universities, libraries, laboratories, hospitals and agricultural institutions to enable them to share data and resources over high speed information network. He said the government plans to connect all village panchayats through broadband internet connection in three years. Under the National e-Governance Plan, the department of information technology was establishing common, shared e-Infrastructure. Rs 1,623.20 crore (Rs 16.23 billion) has been approved for State Data Centres Schemes besides Rs 1,649 crore (Rs 16.49 billion) for setting up 100,000 Common Services Centres. "High mobile penetration (more than 550 million) and increasing internet penetration in the country is providing a conducive environment for moving towards a digital society," he added.


From http://business.rediff.com/ 04/22/2010

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IITs to Go Virtual, IT Education at a Click Away

Email Mumbai: In a bid to spread Information Technology education among more students, IIT directors are now drafting plans to set up a virtual university, according to a report by Hemali Chhapia of Times of India. IIT-Madras Director, M S Ananth said, "We basically want to make quality education accessible to many more students using modern tools instead of setting up brick and mortar campuses." Though the proposal has been accepted as part of the National Mission of Education through ICT (NMEICT) the details are yet to be worked out and the plan would be rolled out over two years, Ananth added. The report cited that the IITs and Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore have already designed 240 courses that were captured in studio set up in the institutes. They will develop 1,000 more courses in the second phase. The Ministry of Human Resources Development has allotted Rs. 4,600 crore for three years till March 2012 for NMEICT, the mission under which course content is being developed and virtual labs will be credited. BSNL has been asked to provide the necessary bandwidth to ensure that no college is without connectivity. The idea of a virtual technical university was first mooted by the P Rama Rao Committee, which looked at expanding quality engineering education across the country in 2006. The report had pointed out that engineering colleges are plagued by factors like faculty shortage, forcing several institutes to recruit teachers who do not have the minimum prescribed qualifications. Kannan Moudgalya, member of the NMEICT standing committee, described the exercise as ambitious. He said, "The two plans (of setting up a virtual platform and allowing access to existing colleges) should not be viewed as being mutually exclusive." IIT-Kanpur Director Sanjay Dhande, who is also working on NMEICT, cautioned that the IITs would have to ensure that quality did not suffer in the race to expand student intake. "But there is no denying that we want to reach out to more candidates using technology," he added. The IIT directors have often lamented that there are several bright brains who are identified in the grueling Joint Entrance Exam but get left out because of the restrictive student capacity.


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 05/17/2010

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ARMENIA: Vimpelcom to Roll Out LTE Network

The chief executive of Armenian national PTO ArmenTel (Beeline), Igor Klimko, says the group's Russian parent Vimpelcom is planning to roll out Long Term Evolution (LTE) in the country, following successful trails of a test LTE network in Kazakhstan. Online news service panArmenian.net quotes Klimko as saying: 'It is very important to note that the decision on frequency harmonisation, in which the LTE net construction will be permitted in Armenia, will also have an impact on our plans. We think that frequencies within 700MHz-800MHz harmonisation will be optimal.' The telco's rivals in the mobile market have mixed views on LTE. VivaCell-MTS intends to introduce a 4G service based on LTE technology during 2010, while Bruno Duthoit, the CEO of the third operator Orange Armenia, is on record as saying that the company does not plan to replace 3G+ technology with 4G.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 03/30/2010

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Armenix Microblogging Service Launched in Armenia

NeoMedia company has launched Armenix microblogging service, having completed 1,5- year preparatory works, NeoMedia project manager Vardan Papikyan told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter. In contrast to Twitter, Armenix will be offering 200 symbol message content, as well as a possibility of attaching videos, pictures, text files. The new microblogginbg service contains elements of social network, allowing for post comments and RSS flow. "Armenian microblogging system creation was triggered by the need to follow local events," Vardan Papikyan said, adding that the new service is aimed to promote internal internet content development and Armenian blogosphere activation.


From http://www.panarmenian.net/ 04/19/2010

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AZERBAIJAN: 'E-education' Contest Launched

2010 has been announced as "Year of ICT in education" by the Ministry of Education. This is one of the activities provided by the contest, the education system informatization department head Samir Mammadov said. "The contest is held under the State program on informatization of education in 2008-2012 and supported by organizations of Microsoft Azerbaijan, Ultra, HP and Madad. We would like each teacher to have own website, blog," Mammadov said. The contest was organized in the following spheres 'Internet technologies in education' and 'E-learning resources in the modern school'. The main goal of the contest is to promote the use of electronic educational resources, web-based technologies in education, public awareness in this field, new forms of Internet use for educational purposes, the promotion of teachers actively using information technologies in education. The methodical educational materials relating to the practical application of electronic educational resources in the education process can be sent for the contest 'E-educational resources in the modern school'. The winners in this direction will be identified in the nomination "The best technique to use ?T in teaching subjects," "The best technique to use ?T in primary education," "The best model constructed with use of electronic teaching aids." The contest will be held in two stages under the guidance of the jury, formed from professionals and specialists by the Ministry of Education. The winners of the contest on each of the five nominations will get notebooks, netbooks, and other special awards. There is also the website of the contest. Concerned people can register at the website www.musabiqe.edu.az until May 21.


From http://en.trend.az/ 04/06/2010

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MCIT to Review 3G Licence Awards 'By Summer'

Azerbaijan's Ministry of Communication and Information Technologies (MCIT) is reviewing an appeal by mobile operators Azercell and Bakcell over the award of 3G licences in the country, News. AZ reports. According to Minister of the MCIT, Ali Abbasov, 'all issues with licensing operators will be settled by summer of this year.' According to TeleGeography's GlobalComms Database, Azerfon is the only cellco in Azerbaijan to have been awarded a licence from the MCIT to provide 3G services. Shortly after receiving its concession in December 2009, Azerfon launched its 3G network in Baku, Sumgait, Ganja, Shirvan, Nakhchivan, Mingachevir, Tovuz and Shamkir, as well as in the Absheron Peninsula. Meanwhile, the country's two other GSM operators, Azercell and Bakcell, did not receive licences as they had not submitted the relevant documents required by law detailing 3G network rollout progress and planned coverage.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 04/12/2010

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KAAzerbaijan Develops Network of Intellectual E-Libraries

A seminar on "E-Libraries: Existing Situation & Prospects of Development" has been held in the Institute of Information Technologies of Azerbaijan. The Institute reports that the country's library and information network includes more than 12,000 libraries of different types at the moment. "The seminar covered activities of e-libraries, prospects of development, ways of tackling of problems available in the area," it was reported. At the event it was stressed that one of the important matters is creation of e-catalogs. The seminar presented analysis of work of commercial e-libraries in Europe, United States, Russia, and Azerbaijan. Presently, the Institute is working to develop network of intellectual e-libraries.


From http://www.today.az/ 04/13/2010

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IRAQ: CDN Launches Fibre-optic Connection in South

Kuwait-based regional systems integrator and internet service provider (ISP) Computer Data Networks (CDN) has announced that a high speed fibre-optic connection between Iraq and the rest of the world is now fully operational. Under a deal inked between CDN and Iraqi telecoms service provider Iraq Telecommunications and Post Company (IPTC) last November, CDN agreed to operate and market part of the country's new nationwide DWDM fibre-optic network. The Kuwaiti company is responsible for operating the southern portion of the network, which runs from Baghdad to Basrah and on to the borders of Kuwait and Iran. Following extensive testing, the network is now fully operational and is already handling customer traffic. The Ministry of Communications (MoC) and CDN believe that the new fibre connection will allow regional operators, carriers and ISPs to exchange traffic with the fast-growing user population of Iraq.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 03/25/2010

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IRAN: Grassroots Voices and the Blogosphere

An April 12 conference held in Washington assessed Iran's social-networking sphere. Panelists asserted that even in the face of severe government repression, the vibrancy of Iran's blogosphere is offering the international community opportunities to develop citizen diplomacy and people-to-people connections with Iranians. The conference, titled Iran's Blogosphere and Grassroots Voices: Risks and Rewards of Engagement, was sponsored by the US Broadcasting Board of Governors and the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication at George Washington University. In her keynote address, Azar Nafisi, an Iranian writer residing in the United States, and author of Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir, called for a massive international effort to help Iranians connect with the outside world. "Do not feel sorry for Iranian people," Nafisi said, referring to the violent government crackdown in Tehran following the controversial 2009 presidential election. "They have taken responsibility for their lives. And they have refused to be victims." She went on to urge individuals in Western democracies to "support their voices, and to add your voice to them, and to communicate to them."

According to data compiled by Mohamed Abdel Dayem, the Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Iranian blogosphere comprises about 70,000 blogs that are updated at least once per week. In addition, there are hundreds of thousands of other Internet users in Iran who post news and opinion on blogs on a less frequent basis. In contrast, "the Arabic-language blogosphere is roughly half that, with about 35,000 blogs," Dayem said. This data, Dayem added, "really gives you an idea as to how active the Iranian blogosphere is," despite the wide range of censorship tools used by the Iranian government to muzzle the dissemination of independent opinion. In his assessment, Iranian officials "are perhaps only really second to China" in the extent and sophistication of their censorship, Dayem said. For example, Iran has the only government in the Middle East "that is developing its own soft- and hardware to filter and block," Dayem added.

Hida Fouladvand, who works for VOA Persian News Network TV, explored the importance of international broadcasting for Iranian bloggers, saying that the events of the past year have demonstrated "when the Iranians want to pursue information, they have ways to do it." Fouladvand related that there were 22 million visits to the VOA Persian website during the past year, adding that VOA listeners were no longer mostly older people. Instead, 70 percent of those accessing the site in recent months are 30 years old or under. To best address this audience, VOA is using social-networking tools to reach them - including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube - as well as more traditional TV and radio broadcasts. Geneive Abdo, an Iran Analyst at The Century Foundation, said several Iranians have told her that the blogosphere is an important means of communications for Iranians who are "not necessarily identified as part of the opposition." Without blogs, these people would lack essential information about developments in their country, due to state censorship, Abdo noted. Editor's Note: Richard Weitz is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC.


From http://www.eurasianet.org/ 04/14/2010

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Iran to Launch New Satellite

In the current year (new year in Iran begins from March 20) Iran will launch a new satellite into orbit, Iran's Communications Minister Rza Tagipur said, the Fars agency reported. According to him, date of launching satellite is unknown yet. It is planned that this will happen in the first half of the year, but in case of problems, launch of the satellite will be postponed to a later date. Today a spaceport operates in Iran. From this spaceport it is possible to launch the objects in one direction only due to its geographical location. And operations on identifying area for the construction of several more launch sites are underway, Tagipur said. According to him, Iran holds talks with other Islamic countries on launching joint satellite. The preliminary agreement has already been reached and at present its details are being discussed.


From http://en.trend.az/ 05/07/2010

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KAZAKHSTAN: Popular Internet Resources to Be Provided with Free Hosting - Minister of Communication and Information

"Popular Kazakhstani internet resources will be provided with free web hosting", Kazakh Minister of Communication and Information Askar Zhumagaliyev said in his web blog where he informed on the plans on development of Kaznet. "Together with the internet community we try to increase the number of Kazakhstani resources and make them more qualitative and popular today. According to the latest statistics data, there are only 11 Kazakh sites among top 50 popular sites of the country. This is a good result, but we believe that realization of our mechanisms on Kaznet development will increase the number of our sites in this list in the nearest future", the statement posted at the web blog writes. According to the Minister, the state support of local resources is one of such mechanisms. "The support will be rendered in form of free hosting. As the result, resource owners will receive extra funds for improvement of the content of sites", the Minister said.


From http://www.inform.kz/ 05/14/2010

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Expansion of Women's 'Literacy by Mobile Phone' Programme

A programme which gives Pakistani women access to literacy by using mobile phones has been expanded. The project, the fruit of a partnership between UNESCO, Mobilink Pakistan and Pakistani NGO, the BUNYAD Foundation of Lahore, was launched last year. The five-month pilot project involved 250 adolescent female learners who were given mobile phones and who received interesting and informative daily text messages in Urdu which they were expected to respond to. The programme was conducted with the help of 10 teachers enlisted by the NGO. Participants were subsequently evaluated to assess gains in knowledge and learning. At the start of the programme, 57per cent of the girls were graded C and only 28 per cent of the girls managed to score an A. Near the end of the pilot the situation had reversed with more than 60 per cent of girls awarded an A and C grades dropping to 11 per cent.

UNESCO and partners have expanded the programme to include another 1,250 girls in rural areas of four districts of Punjab. Warren Mellor, Country Director UNESCO said that modern technology could help achieve the goal of universal literacy. He said Pakistan was a signatory to the Dakar Framework of Action for EFA in April, 2000 and has committed to achieving an 86 per cent literacy rate by 2015. Mr Rashid Khan, President and CEO of Mobilink, said those taking part had shown a marked improvement in their literacy skills and confidence. "The cell phone holds the key to social development by its very nature and we want to make sure that women are part of this revolution," he said.


From http://www.unesco.org/en/ 04/07/2010

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TAJIKISTAN: New Credit-Card-Style Driving License to Be Introduced

A new credit-card-style driving license is expected to replace the present driving license style in Tajikistan next year, with a microchip is expected to be introduced in Tajikistan in 2011, Bahodur Ghaybulloyev, the chief of the software unit within the Tajik traffic police directorate, said in an interview with Asia-plus. According to him, they have already announced an international tender for delivery of appropriate automated system for issuance and registration of the plastic-covered driving licenses. "The new driving license will have the credit card-style with a photograph and possibly a microchip or a bar code containing information about the car and its holder," Ghaybulloyev said, noting that the main objective of the license is to decrease the risk of fraud. "The license will be a credit-card-style, single plastic-coated document, very difficult to falsify," he noted, adding that the new driving license must meet requirements of the Vienna convention on road traffic of 1968 and amendments to this document, made by the UN Transport Committee in 2004. The Vienna Convention on Road Traffic is an international treaty designed to facilitate international road traffic and to increase road safety by standardizing the uniform traffic rules among the contracting parties. This convention was agreed upon at the United Nations Economic and Social Council's Conference on Road Traffic (October 7, 1968 - November 8, 1968) and done in Vienna on 8 November 1968. It came into force on May 21, 1977. This conference also produced the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals. "The amendments came into effect on March 28, 2006," said Ghaybulloyev, "The contracting parties should issue national driving licenses in accordance with the new edition of supplement 6 to the convention not later than five years after the new edition comes into force, that is beginning on March 28, 2011."


From http://www.asiaplus.tj/ 04/12/2010

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UZBEKISTAN: A New Approach to the Provision of Public Services

Tashkent. The first in Uzbekistan, One-Stop-Shop for provision of public services in interactive way using information and communication technologies was launched today in Sergeli district of Tashkent city. One Stop Shop is a new approach to the provision of public services aimed at reducing the number of procedural steps involved by changing the mode of service. The essence of innovation is as follows - a wide range of public and social services for the population is concentrated in one place, and citizens, without wasting time, will receive certificates, licenses, accreditation and other services at the One Stop Shop. The One- Stop- Shop is found in partnership of the Communication and Information Agency of Uzbekistan, Khokimiyat of Sergeli district of Tashkent, as well the United Nations Development Programme in Uzbekistan represented by the "Assisting the Government of Uzbekistan in the formulation and implementation of ICT for development policy" (ICTP). On the OSS opening Director General of the Communication and Information Agency of Uzbekistan Mr. Hakim Mukhitdinov, UNDP Resident Representative/UN Resident Coordinator Ms. Anita Nirody, Khokim of Sergeli district of Tashkent city Mr. Mutolib Abdullaev addressed the guests with the welcoming remarks. UNDP Uzbekistan has been supporting the efforts of the Government of Uzbekistan in public administration reform, through various projects including those related to the promotion of use of ICT for development. As part of this overall framework, we attach great importance to piloting an OSS (one-stop-shop for government services) initiative in the Sergeli district of Tashkent city. This was emphasized by UNDP Resident Representative/UN Resident Coordinator Ms. Anita Nirody in her speech.

The introduction of OSS is not only expected to ensure greater access to public services, but it is also envisaged as an important measure aimed at reducing red tape and enhancing efficiency. While giving a speech for the One Stop Shop opening ceremony Mr. H.Muhitdinov, Director General of Uzbekistan Information and Communications Agency, made an emphasis on drastic changes observed in information and communications sphere of the country, an enormous job done on the way of forming an information society, wide-scale computerization and an effective implementation for practical application of the latest ICTs. One Stop Shop with its various services offered to population in an interactive way comes as a clear evidence of the above mentioned. This initiative is taken within the framework of Government efforts to improve efficiency of government administration using information and communication technology as stipulated by the Resolution ∮181 dated 23.08.2007 "On further development steps of cooperation of the governmental and economic administration bodies, state administration in places with legal and physical persons with the use of information and communication technologies" and the Action Plan for the Country Programme for Uzbekistan for the period of 2010 - 2015, signed by the United Nations Development Programme in Uzbekistan and the Uzbek government. As a result of this initiative, One Stop Shop will be able to take citizens' requests, independently interact with the various authorities, and then give citizens ready documents. A bank branch located in the OSS will be providing financial services and taking payments for various paid services, charges and other fees. Now, at OSS any resident of the area, without spending time on tedious visits to numerous offices, will be able to resolve issues concerning employment, entrepreneurship, taxation, and to obtain information from the state cadastre of real estate, public utility services, social and other issues. One-Stop-Shop being the first initiative of such kind in Uzbekistan will be offering about 80 services (with more than 25 of them being interactive) provided by almost 20 government departments.

In June 2009, Memorandum of Understanding on establishing One Stop Shop in the Sergeli district was signed in accordance with which the Khokimiyat of Sergeli district was identified as a beneficiary and a pilot site for this initiative, appointed senior officials for working with the project team, the Uzbek Agency of Communication and information assumed a leading role in the organization of work, facilitation and provision of appropriate consultations. The United Nations Development Programme, represented by the "Assisting the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan in the formulation and implementation of ICT for development? (ICTP) contributed to the project with the contribution from the Democratic Governance Thematic Trust Fund (DGTTF), aimed at supporting innovative initiatives in electronic governance, and also provided full technical assistance to the project. The One Stop Shop will be staffed with multi-tasking specialists from the regional district services, such as: district gas and electricity providers, social security department, district education department, public health department; and representatives of entrepreneurship registration bureau of Khokimiyat as well as college graduates. It should be noted that staff of the OSS has taken series of training courses to enhance skills in information and communication technologies, business communication, civil service, gender sensitivity and working with people with disabilities. The signatory parties pointed out that successful implementation of the initiative should make significant contribution to socio-economic development of the Sergeli district. They also said success of the pilot project will signal of its possible nation-wide replication.


From http://www.gov.uz/ 04/08/2010

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ICT Creates New Opportunities for Blind and Visually Impaired People

Computer Resource Center for Blind People will be opened at the Republican Central Library for blind people. The Center was created with the support of ACCESS and ICTP projects of the United Nations Development Program in Uzbekistan, and equipped with special technical appliances and free network access to the Internet. Now blind and visually impaired people will be in touch with the news around the world and communication technologies using special software programs such as JAWS, SARA, TOPAZ, and also be able to access various literature, read newspapers and magazines, use the Internet, find friends there, and communicate and exchange information. Through these special programs blind and visually impaired people will be able to listen to information in audio format displayed on the computer, and use special magnifying equipment to increase the text to the right size for independent reading. Moreover, special scanner helps translate books into a special format that allows one to read and print any kind of literature and publications. By now nearly 80 libraries specialized for blind people operate throughout Uzbekistan where nearly 40 thousand of visually impaired users come to find information they are interested in. The Republican Central Library for blind people serves approximately for 4000 users with disabilities and their families, provides them "talking" literature in the form of magazines and books printed in Braille. The Library is ready to provide visually impaired people with not only the above mentioned literature, but also the opportunity to better discover the world through ICT, which helps them to integrate fully into society.

Today, the services of the library are used by blind citizens, employees of organizations, institutions and enterprises of Blinds society, students and teachers of boarding schools for blind children. In addition to equipping the library, several trainings and study classes for blind and visually impaired people were conducted for improved access to the information. According to Nodira Zokirova, a reporter of the magazine "Bir Safda" who is also visually impaired and works for Blinds society, these training programs organized by ACCESS and ICTP projects were very helpful for further development of her journalism career. "Before I wrote my articles in Braille alphabet, and then for publication I used to ask external assistance to rewrite them. It took longer time and was not an easy process. Now, with the help of JAWS, I can type my articles on the computer and prepare them for publication myself. It is more comfortable and exciting process," says Nodira. Braille version of UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan "On social protection of people with disabilities", and "notes" of Sashmaqom collection will be also presented at the opening ceremony of "Computer Resource Center for Blind People" where you can also find booklets of the project in Braille.


From http://news.uzreport.com/ 05/12/2010

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AUSTRALIA: Operators to Enable Premium Rate SMS Blocking

New rules to come into effect on 1 July 2010 will give Australian consumers the choice of barring all premium SMS from their mobile phones and thus preventing unwanted premium SMS charges. "If you don't want these services, you can simply contact your phone company and ask for them to be turned off," said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman. "This will be a great option for parents who want to make sure their kids don't sign up for something without understanding the charges. And people trying to manage their phone budget can stop premium charges by barring these services from their phone." "This is the latest in a package of measures we have put in place so mobile users can feel confident they will only receive and pay for services they actually want." The ACMA added that it considers mobile phone companies should also move towards enabling consumers to request quick and easy barring via SMS. The ACMA will meet with senior representatives from mobile phone companies to discuss the introduction of this service for consumers and timings.

New rules to stop mobile phone companies engaging with rogue operators are also being developed. Following the measures introduced last year, complaints to the Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman about premium SMS services have decreased by 50 per cent. "That is a dramatic turnaround." said Mr Chapman "The ACMA expects this trend to continue and will be monitoring the industry closely over the next twelve months to ensure that consumer concerns are being adequately addressed." "The ACMA has demonstrated its willingness to pursue, to the full extent of its powers, providers of premium SMS services that repeatedly operate in breach of rules governing these services," said Mr Chapman.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 03/07/2010

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Telstra Announces World-first Radio Trial for Emergency Services

Australia's Telstra says that it has completed trials of a new service known as Group Radio Solution that could see Australian emergency service organisations use its HSPA (Next G) network to operate their emergency radio communications. If interest is expressed by private mobile radio network operators, the Group Radio Solution capability designed by Ericsson could be made available across the Next G network footprint and complement existing essential and emergency radio networks. Telstra is also working with mobile device manufacturers to design a prototype that would allow mobile voice and data services as well as two-way radio functionality on a single device should Telstra decide to deploy the Group Radio Solution. Telstra Wireless executive director Mike Wright said the trial found a very real potential to combine Telstra's Next G coverage footprint and range of services with the specific needs of private radio network operators.

"The extreme weather conditions over the past week illustrate the extraordinary challenges our emergency services organisations face and it's at these times when communications are paramount," Mr Wright said. "If we proceed with this technology, it will provide a complementary interworking service to our existing private emergency networks by allowing customers to use the same device to access advanced private radio features, together with their mobile voice and broadband services." Ericsson Australia/NZ VP Business Development and Marketing Tony Malligeorgos said the demonstration of this integration was the culmination of several years of collaboration with Telstra and Harris Corporation, Ericsson's technology partner for Group Radio Solution.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 03/15/2010

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Superfast Broadband for New Developments

Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy said legislation was today introduced to ensure new homes were connected with infrastructure to deliver superfast broadband. The Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Fibre Deployment) Bill 2010 provides the legislative framework for having superfast fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) infrastructure installed in new developments across Australia. On 7 April 2009, the Government indicated that, to complement the National Broadband Network, it would introduce legislative changes to facilitate the roll out of fibre to greenfields developments.

"Our legislation takes a sensible, targeted and measured approach to the implementation of this policy," Senator Conroy said. "It allows us to target those estates where it is possible to have fibre now, while ensuring others have fibre-ready infrastructure installed so it is easier and cheaper to connect them later. It doesn't make sense for new houses to be fitted with old copper technology, particularly when it is easier to put fibre or fibre-ready technology in when homes are first built. High speed broadband is becoming a critical utility service like water, electricity and gas. We want to see people in new estates getting access to superfast broadband as soon as possible." The Government envisages that fibre networks in new developments will operate on an open access basis, just like the NBN, and that wholesale services will be offered on an equivalent basis.

The Government recognises that the future structure of the telecommunications sector needs to be addressed. This is precisely why we have separately introduced the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2009, which is currently before the Senate. The Bill introduced today amends the Telecommunications Act 1997 to provide a legislative framework for the installation of optical fibre and fibre-ready telecommunications infrastructure. The framework allows the Minister to set out, in subordinate legislation, which kinds of developments need to have optical fibre installed and which ones need to be made fibre-ready. The Minister may also specify conditions for both fibre and fibre-ready facilities, in order to ensure they meet technical and service standards.

Details of the subordinate legislation will be publicly released by the Government in the coming weeks, before the Bill is considered by the Senate Communications Committee and Parliament. Regulations made under the legislation will also provide for an access regime to facilitate third party access to fibre-ready facilities. The Bill also amends the industry codes and standards processes under Part 6 of the Telecommunications Act to make it easier for codes and standards to be made about optical fibre infrastructure and services where this is required. Since April 2009, the Government's greenfields policy has been the subject of extensive consultation, including a discussion paper, input from a Stakeholder Reference Group, one-on-one consultations and release of an exposure draft Bill in December 2009.


From http://www.dbcde.gov.au/ 03/18/2010

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National Broadband Network: First Year Achievements

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy said in the 12 months since the Rudd Government announced the National Broadband Network (NBN) significant progress had been made. On 7 April 2009 the Rudd Government announced that a new company, NBN Co, would be established to build and operate a new, wholesale-only, open access, superfast broadband network. "The NBN is the largest nation-building project in our history that will transform our economy, drive future growth and productivity and help our children get the best education in the world," Senator Conroy said. "Under the NBN, every home, business, school and hospital will receive high speed broadband and no one will miss out." The NBN will connect 90% of premises with Fibre-to-the-Premises technology providing speeds of 100Mbps, and remaining premises with next generation wireless and satellite services that will deliver 12Mbps or more. The NBN will support 25,000 jobs every year, on average, over the life of the eight year project. "The NBN initiative delivers on and exceeds the Rudd Government's broadband election commitment. It will transform Australia's broadband infrastructure and ensure that every Australian consumer and business has access to affordable high speed broadband services," Senator Conroy said.

Progress Update
Rollout in Tasmania - The rollout in Tasmania commenced late last year with the construction of key optical fibre backbone links. From July this year, as part of the Stage 1 rollout, three Tasmanian towns in one of the most neglected broadband markets in Australia will start receiving high-speed broadband services delivered by NBN using fibre to the premise technology. The three towns are Smithton, Midway Point and Scottsdale. Work is also continuing on the planning of the Stage 2 and Stage 3 rollouts that will connect approximately 100,000 premises, including in seven targeted locations and the major population centres of Hobart, Launceston, Devonport and Burnie. On 1 March 2010, the Rudd Government announced an equity injection of $100 million into NBN Tasmania to facilitate the further roll out of fibre-to-the-premise broadband in Tasmania. On 15 March 2010, Senator Conroy officially opened the Mornington Proof-of-Concept Test Centre and announced the first retail service providers; Primus, Internode and iiNet, who will work with NBN Tasmania to deliver broadband services.

NBN Regional Backbone Blackspots Program - In December last year, under the $250 million NBN Regional Backbone Blackspots program, the Rudd Government signed an agreement with Nextgen Networks to construct new optical fibre regional backbone links to six priority regional locations. These six priority locations of Geraldton (WA), Darwin (NT), Emerald and Longreach (QLD), Broken Hill (NSW), Victor Harbor (SA) and South West Gippsland (VIC) were selected after public consultation. Under this program, approximately 6000km of optical fibre backbone will be laid, benefitting more than 100 regional locations and approximately 400,000 people. The project is also expected to create 1,000 full time equivalent jobs. These represent the first building blocks of the NBN on mainland Australia. In February 2010, Senator Conroy launched the start of construction in Mt Isa and the rollout is progressing well. Construction activities on all of the links are underway.

NBN Co First Release Sites - Mainland Australia - On 2 March 2010, NBN Co announced the first five sites to receive high speed broadband on mainland Australia, as part of the NBN. The first release sites will be used to test network design and construction methods and will provide crucial information to assist in the roll out of the NBN. NBN Co chose the first release sites based on a range of criteria such as demographics, climate, existing infrastructure and terrain, to ensure the physical roll out of the NBN is as smooth as possible. The first release sites are:
* A part of the suburb of Brunswick in Melbourne;
* An area of Townsville covering parts of the suburbs of Aitkenvale and Mundingburra;
* The coastal communities of Minnamurra and Kiama Downs south of Wollongong;
* An area of west Armidale, NSW, including the University of New England; and
* The rural town of Willunga in South Australia.

NBN Co industry consultations - NBN Co has commenced and undertaken a number of consultations with industry and potential suppliers. Specifically, NBN Co has:
* Undertaken a number of multi-lateral and bi-lateral consultations sessions on product design;
* Commenced consultation with respect to technical, operational and construction approaches;
* Released its initial views on the wholesale bitstream product that NBN Co plans to offer, reviewed over 50 submissions on this topic and released a response to these submissions;
* Released a Request for Capability Statement for providers to deliver a next generation satellite solution to service regional Australia; and
* Released a Request for Capability Statement for the design and construction of the Fibre Access Network.


From http://www.minister.dbcde.gov.au/ 04/07/2010

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Australian E-Health Spending to Top $2 Billion in 2010

E-health is a major opportunity for the ICT sector despite persistent underfunding, according to analyst, IDC. The firm says that the healthcare industry will spend $2.26 billion on ICT in 2010, with $721 million of that going on telecommunications, $509 million on services, and a further $102 million spent on software. Top investment priorities during the year will include Electronic Health Records with appropriate standards and privacy, and interoperability and security around integration and compliance with standards. Business intelligence for next-generation hospital operations and collaboration tools for improved communications across service providers will also be key areas. Senior market analyst for verticals at IDC Australia, Melissa Martin, said that the national push by the Rudd government for a comprehensive health reform over the next five years will significantly increase investment in the industry.

"The next-generation broadband simultaneously will play a key role in delivering e-health services right to the doorstep of patients' homes, and increasing the capacity of service providers to digitise their clinical operations and workflow, transfer and share patient information and high-resolution medical images," she said. "Reaching out to people in the rural area through telemedicine, improving communications amongst hospitals, GPs and community, service providers will drive the adoption of health technologies." The Royal Children's Hospital has flagged that it will make a significant investment in e-health, with the move to an Electronic Health Record. South Eastern Sydney Illawarra Area Health Service (SESIAHS) has also forged ahead with a major e-health investment.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 04/15/2010

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More Australians Going Digital

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy said new figures show 95 per cent of Australian households are now aware of the approaching switch off of analog television signals, and more than two-thirds have already converted to digital TV. The Minister today released the latest summary figures from the Digital Tracker survey for the first quarter of 2010. The summary report is being released ahead of the main survey report to provide more immediate information on the switch to digital free-to-air TV around Australia. Switchover to digital-only television is occurring region-by-region around Australia until 31 December 2013 and commences in the Mildura/Sunraysia region on 30 June 2010. "The Digital Tracker showed positive growth in the first quarter of 2010 across all of the indicators, including awareness, understanding, attitude, intention, conversion and satisfaction with digital TV," Senator Conroy said. The figures show 68 per cent of Australians have already converted to digital TV, an increase of seven per cent in the national conversion rate since the last quarter of 2009.

There was 99 per cent awareness of the switchover in Mildura/Sunraysia which is the first region of the country to go digital-only from 30 June 2010. Eighty-seven per cent of households in the region were digital ready during the first quarter of 2010, up from 79 per cent in the previous quarter. "Taking into account additional households helped through the Government's Household Assistance Scheme and not recorded in the survey period, and those who watch digital TV channels through subscription TV, more than nine out of ten households in Mildura/Sunraysia are now digital ready," Senator Conroy said. "Public meetings and workshops to be held in Mildura, Ouyen and Robinvale in the next few weeks are targeted at the last remaining households yet to switchover to digital TV," Senator Conroy said. The introduction of new digital TV services for Ouyen and Underbool during May 2010, further installations through the Household Assistance Program, and the introduction of the new digital TV satellite service are expected to further drive up the number of digital-ready households in the Mildura/Sunraysia region.

Conversion to digital TV in regional South Australia, the next region to go digital-only on 15 December 2010, showed strong growth as it reached 74 per cent, up from 64 per cent in the previous quarter. Andy Townend, Executive Director, said the Digital Switchover Taskforce would be on the ground in Mildura/Sunraysia region working to achieve a smooth and successful transition to digital-only TV on 30 June 2010. "We will be significantly stepping up our activities with the local community to ensure those households who haven't switched over yet to know what they need to do before 30 June 2010," Mr Townend said. "This will include providing practical advice on how to switch to digital TV, dealing with local reception issues, and helping people who can't get terrestrial digital TV reception to get access to the new satellite TV service. "Our commitment is to help every household in the region get ready for digital TV, and people in the region will be seeing a lot of us over the next couple of months as we countdown to switching off the analog TV signals in Mildura/Sunraysia for good," Mr Townend said.


From http://www.minister.dbcde.gov.au/ 04/23/2010

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National Library of Australia Provides Online Free Search Engine

CANBERRA (Xinhua) - A treasure trove of information gathered by the National Library of Australia can now be accessed online. The library's director-general, Jan Fullerton, said Trove is a tool for anyone with a question about Australia or Australians. "If you are researching social sciences, literature, local or family history, or need inspiration for a school assignment, then this is for you," Fullerton said in a statement. The free search engine features more than 90 million items, including books, diaries, manuscripts, news articles, images, maps and music. Three years in the making, Trove also includes archived websites and Australian newspapers in full from 1803 to 1954. The content came from more than 1,000 Australian libraries, cultural and educational institutions. Some international collections relevant to Australia have also being sourced. The search engine is also interactive, allowing users to leave comments and suggest ways to better organize or improve the available data.


From http://news.xinhuanet.com/ 04/29/2010

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Australia to Improve Emergency Call Location Tracking

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has started a consultation on improving access to location information from mobile phone calls made to the emergency services number (Triple Zero). "Mobile phone calls now account for around 63 per cent of all calls made to Triple Zero. This is not well appreciated, but unlike landline phones, emergency calls from mobile phones don't automatically give emergency operators accurate details about a caller's whereabouts," said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman. "This is not an issue for the vast majority of mobile calls made to Triple Zero as in most cases the caller can tell the emergency operator where they are located. But there are times - estimated at less than one per cent of calls - when people are too distressed or unfamiliar with their environment to report their location. It is in such instances where access to enhanced location information will assist emergency service organisations locate callers." The ACMA has released a discussion paper on its proposal to amend emergency call service rules to require mobile carriers to provide all location information available in association with a genuine emergency call at the request of an emergency service organisation.

"The ACMA is concerned that the community may have unrealistic expectations about the current ability of mobile technology to help them in an emergency situation - for example, a recent ACMA survey found that 52 per cent of people believe they can be located automatically via mobile phone." "This is not the case. There is currently no single and widely-available method that can accurately pinpoint a mobile phone user's location and then pass the information to emergency operators. Such accuracy is not expected to be made available on a reasonable cost basis for some years to come and will always be difficult in a country with the land mass and sparse population of Australia," said Mr Chapman. To better inform the community on these issues, the ACMA has also released its 2009 study into whether there is an appropriate and consistent mobile location solution for Australia's emergency call service that cost-effectively meets demonstrated needs. Submissions should be provided to the ACMA by 18 June 2010 and will be used to inform the drafting process of formal amendments to the Telecommunications (Emergency Call Service) Determination 2009.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 05/04/2010

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Overwhelming Support for R18+ Games Rating

THE federal government has received overwhelming support for the introduction of an R18+ classification band for computer games, largely due to lobbying efforts by games retailer EB Games. For months EB Games convinced customers at its stores to support R18+ for games by getting them to participate in the public consultation process. In preliminary figures released last week, a whopping 98.2 per cent out of the 58,589 submissions to a public consultation backed the move. The federal Attorney-General's Department received 59,678 submissions in total from individuals and various organisations including religious groups. EB Games was the most active participant, providing 34,938 submissions where only 4202 had individual comments. The classification changes are crucial to the gaming industry as adults have been unable to legally purchase certain computer games because they are unsuitable for minors.

The industry is hopeful the adult rating for games would be introduced as soon as possible. The 23-page status report said myriad women's, children's and church groups do not back an R18+ scheme because they believe violent content in games would be "more widely acceptable". The Sporting Shooters Association of Australia, 13 West Australian parliamentarians, FamilyVoice Australia, the Commissioners for Children and Young People and Child Guardians (CCYPCG) and the Australian Council on Children and the Media provided research to back their claims that violence in games was a source of aggressive and anti-social behaviour among gamers. But Interactive Games & Entertainment Association, Media Classifiers' Association of Australia, XLAN and civil liberties group Electronic Frontiers Australia argued that there was a lack of conclusive scientific evidence to back the violent trigger claims.

The report concluded that there was no clear consensus on any correlation between violent computer games and real-life violence. Other organisations to back R18+ include Telstra, Australian Computer Society, the Older Gamers, Fox Interactive Media and the Communications, Entertainment & Technology Law Committee of NSW young lawyers. Those opposing include the Australian Christian Lobby, Media Standards Australia, Women's Health Victoria and Australian Catholic Women's League. The Australian Catholic Bishops would rather R18+ material be banned outright but since such material is currently available - despite being illegal - it would prefer the new category be available so children would not be able to access these games, the report said. Censorship ministers will continue to deliberate on the R18+ classification for games. "Censorship ministers have not yet made a decision on whether or not an R 18+ classification for computer games should be introduced and have requested further analysis of community and expert views," Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said. "The Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department continues to process and analyse submissions from the public consultation, so figures are preliminary and may change as the processing and analysis of submissions continues. This feedback will play an important role in assisting ministers to make a decision on this important public issue."


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 05/11/2010

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More Digital Services for Rural, Regional and Remote Australia

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today called for a second round of proposals to deliver innovative digital services for communities in regional, rural and remote areas of Australia. Senator Conroy has released the guidelines for round two funding under the Government's Digital Regions Initiative which calls for full applications by 14 July 2010. "The $60 million Digital Regions Initiative will fund projects that deliver vital high-quality digital applications for education, health and emergency services," Senator Conroy said. "Eleven projects totalling $32.9 million were offered funding under round one of the Initiative."

Round one initiatives included:
* An ambulance mobile connect service in South Australia which will link ambulances to emergency response and medical information
* Bushfire spotting and response technologies in Victoria
* Chronic disease management systems in the Hunter New England region of NSW.

"The Government has received positive feedback on the services that round one funding will deliver and we're now looking for more projects to support," Senator Conroy said. "The Rudd Government is delivering high speed broadband for all Australians through the National Broadband Network. "While the rollout is underway, this funding allows regional, rural and remote communities to benefit from innovative digital applications in the short term." Senator Conroy said the Digital Regions Initiative was announced as part of the Government's response to the Glasson Regional Telecommunications Review.


From http://www.dbcde.gov.au/ 05/18/2010

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Royal Flying Doctor Service Backs E-Health

The Royal Flying Doctors Service (RFDS) has come out in support of the Federal Government's $466.7 million commitment to personally controlled electronic health records. RFDS chief executive officer, Nigel Milank, said that, while the initial burst of publicity in the Budget was around the metropolitan issue of hospital beds, the famed healthcare provider was pleased that there is more money for primary healthcare. "We were further encouraged by... the government's announcement on an individual health record for every Australian," he told Computerworld Australia ahead of speaking at the CeBit conference next week. "Again these are very positive announcements. The general point is we think the overall thrust of policy is actually moving in the right direction. The devil of course is in the detail and how to turn that policy into action on the ground. I guess an issue for us is we see ourselves very much as a 'can-do' organisation; we are right in the midst of delivery of primary healthcare services to very remote parts of Australia where there is no other provider in some cases or in many cases.

"The question we have to ask ourselves, and I am indeed as much looking for answers and asking questions, in how technology can enable to do that. What sort of technologies are really going to help us deliver the patient outcomes for rural and particularly remote Australians." One of the potential tools the RFDS has trialled is video conferencing but, unlike metro-based hospitals and healthcare providers, using video in remote locales isn't always the best option. "Everyone has thought that video conferencing would be of use to the Flying Doctor's service," RFDS national health program manager, Robert Williams said. "But in our few attempts to do it - we tried it early when it was first introduced in the 90s and more recently - it has actually been difficult to demonstrate that it can value-add to the doctor. "The telephone is incredibly mobile; doctors can answer calls when they are travelling, when they are at home, when they are in the aircraft or wherever. Where as video conferencing tends to be fixed to one point. There have only been rare occasions when the visual has value added to the telephone and I don't think it has got to that point." Unless video conferencing can catch up with the mobile phone, the RFDS is unlikely to adopt it further. However, the organisation is also considering greater online engagement and the use of web 2.0 tools.

"That is another way now to communicate with people about their health and improving access to information, increasing self-literacy and increasing self-management of illness," Milan said. The RFDS has recently consolidated its websites from five down to one, but it is still primarily an information tool, and doesn't offer the engagement the healthcare service is aiming to use technology for. "We are just at the stage where we are engaging some people to help us look at developing that," Milan said. In February last year, the RFDS said it was deploying what may be the first national e-health records management system to unify disparate medical databases across its four regional sites. The $2.9 million government-funded e-health records system will replace siloed databases and manual processes throughout the organisation.

The RFDS was established in 1928 as the Area Medical Service and provides non-profit aero-medical and primary healthcare to regional and remote Australia. It consists of four independent divisions, with 25 sites and 776 staff, and services all but the upper region of the Northern Territory. Yesterday, the Opposition confirmed they would cut the Federal Government's $466.7 million e-health funding. Milan will be talking at next week's CeBit conference in Sydney. Computerworld Australia will be bringing you all the news direct from the event so stay tuned.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 05/20/2010

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NEW ZEALAND: Faster Broadband Boosts Job Prospects

The promise of a $1.5 billion spend-up on broadband is one reason employers in the telecommunications sector are the most optimistic about hiring, according to a survey out today. Recruitment firm Hudson has found 39 per cent in that sector intend to hire permanent staff during the next three months, up almost 5 per cent on the previous quarter. Hudson says the strength of confidence in the industry may be because of the fast fibre plan, $1.5 billion is being funded by the Government. Indications of who will build the network are likely around the middle of the year but contenders, including Telecom and lines company Vector, appeared to be building up for it, said Hudson's New Zealand manager Marc Burrage. The survey of 1158 employers finds hiring sentiment has risen for the fourth consecutive quarter.

Although sentiment has increased by just 0.2 per cent for the April-June quarter, it has improved by more than 31 percentage points since the historic lows in March 2009. For the next three months 19.8 per cent of employers intend hiring. During peak hiring years of 2004 and 2007, this figure was around 30 per cent. "Employers are holding their line this quarter, which is a pleasing sign of stability for the slowly emerging economic recovery," he said. The South Island remains the most confident of the regions with 26.1 per cent of employers indicating an intention to hire, while the upper North Island had fallen back slightly. "It's particularly encouraging to see the strong improvement in confidence among employers in manufacturing and the construction, property and engineering sectors."


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 03/31/2010

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IT 'Cloud' Creates Pollution - Greenpeace

The digital photos, videos, tweets and Facebook chatter that make up our online lives may appear to have no physical form, but they create some very real environmental damage, the campaign group Greenpeace warns. The vast amount of digital data that we upload and access via social networks and on websites such as YouTube is stored in what the internet industry calls the "cloud", by which it means a vast number of computers owned by the likes of Google, Yahoo and Apple. These computers are housed in "data warehouses" across the world, and a new Greenpeace report says many of these power-guzzling sites have been built in parts of the United States where electricity is generated mainly at coal-fired power stations. Coal, the most widely used source of energy in the US, is also the dirtiest, in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, the group says.

"The last thing we need is for more cloud infrastructure to be built in places where it increases demand for dirty coal-fired power," the report says. Greenpeace is putting pressure on internet firms to be more careful about where they build and says they should lobby more for clean energy. A Facebook facility being built in Oregon will rely on a utility whose main fuel is coal, while Apple is building a data warehouse in a North Carolina region that also relies mostly on coal, according to the report, Make IT Green. The companies criticised by Greenpeace say that they always take the environment into account, and Facebook says it chose Oregon so that it could use natural means to cool its servers, instead of having to power air-conditioners. "As the cloud grows, the IT industry's appetite for energy will only increase, so the industry must become strong advocates for renewable energy solutions and strong laws that cut global warming pollution," says a Greenpeace spokesperson. The group says that at current rates of growth, data centres and telecoms infrastructure will consume about 1963 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2020, more than triple their current consumption and more than France, Germany, Canada and Brazil combined.


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 04/01/2010

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Fast Broadband Becoming Essential for Farmers

So why exactly do farmers need fast broadband? It's pretty simple, says Hamilton dairy farmer John Bluett - time and money. Bluett has two farms milking about 920 cows, with one using broadband and the other on dial up. "As information is becoming more web-based then the need for speed to download that information is pretty critical," Bluett said. "No one sends paper out ... it's all sitting on websites." Bluett - who is Federated Farmers Dairy vice-chairman - said his broadband speed was pretty good. "Not as good as when I was in Melbourne ... when I wanted to get my Fonterra records it came a lot quicker than we get here, even though we're only about 1.8km from the exchange." The internet can be used to monitor milk production and record data including culling, calving and health treatments. "Probably an hour or two after the tanker's been you know what milk's there," he said.

"Let's say you've got a milk quality problem - you can actually rectify it quicker whereas otherwise you'd be waiting for the phone call tonight. It's all worth money and time." Farmers lease management software programmes which are used directly on providers' websites, he said. Technology using GPS can show where trucks placed fertiliser on paddocks, systems are being developed that use pond and soil monitors to help farmers decide when and how to apply effluent, while satellite mapping technology can show pasture growth. "If you've got multiple farms, the information coming to the main office or the main operations manager is going to become more critical," Bluett said. "There's actually more need to have good rural broadband than there's ever been before." Federated Farmers chief executive Conor English said the Government's rural broadband initiative, which is expected to cost about $300 million over three years, was a good first step. "Our farmers have shown that they're leaders in improving productivity and production, generating the export dollars that pays the country's bills," English said. "Ultra-fast broadband is the next big enabler, so it's critical we get it right."


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 05/18/2010

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PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Misuse of Technology Not Just a PNG Problem

Tribal violence in Papua New Guinea's Southern Highlands flared-up last week when a young man from the Tapo clan in Tari sent a pornographic SMS to a woman in the Pipi clan. The girl was offended, and her brother gathered his clansmen and attacked the Tapos with home-made guns, bush knives and bows and arrows. One man was killed in the clash, and another was later pulled from a bus and killed with an axe. Several others were wounded and houses were torched. The attack demonstrates the same downside of Internet and mobile phone usage that the whole world is facing.

Presenter: Pius Bonjui
Speaker: Brother Alfred Tivinalik, an advisor in Information Technology Studies at the Divine Word University in Papua New Guinea's Madang province

TIVINALIK: My opinion as an educator is that these things are here to stay, they are part of the development that a country like Papua New Guinea cannot go without. But society and each institution have got to create ways in which they can harness such developments. On the downside of it if we do not embark on these things Papua New Guinea will go down like other first world nations who have had that same experience. I can give you a clear example of how that happened in the history in Russia where they shut out any relationships with the outside world. This is happening in China and it happened some years back with Japan. We cannot lock ourselves in. However the issues are issues that society has to deal with, there is because of its newness a sense of it being a novelty. It is something new and people are experimenting on different things. And I'm looking and hoping for a body like ICCC to look at the legal issues of this. But a lot of it also is good education to the users and particularly good education to guardians and parents of children who are going to be using these facilities. We cannot go without them otherwise we lose out in development, because the world around us as you well know like where you are now in Australia and particularly in Melbourne it's in use. But we have to have ways to harness that. The use of society will always be there, the hunger for misuse is always going to be something that societies have to handle but we have to minimise, and we have to work ways of minimising and controlling those systems.

BONJUI: This now is a question for the legislators to look at pretty soon to how to as you say minimise the bad use of mobile and internet access in Papua New Guinea.

TIVINALIK: Yes, it is with legislators, but I also just don't see it as a legal question. I see it also very much within the context of a social question. I see it as a question that parental upbringing has to coin in. It is education right across the board, and the legal system will only be informed by the users that are there, so it is not just something given only to the legal side. It is something that schools need to address, parents need to address, would-be parents need to address, and institutions need to address this, as well as the private sector. So it is an issue that cuts right across all facets of society.


From http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/ 02/01/2010

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THE WRAP: India's 3G Windfall, Google's War on Privacy

This week Indian operators spent big on spectrum as Google enraged Europeans. India's 3G auction came to end, with the totals bids topping out at $14.6 billion. Bharti Airtel ponied up $2.6 billion for 13 circles, Vodafone splashed $2.5 billion and Reliance $1.8 billion. Vodafone wrote down the value of its Indian business - acquired three years ago for $10.7 billion - by $3.4 billion, blaming the auction and tough competition. India's hyper-competition also hit Reliance Communications, which announced a 16% fall in earnings. Google faced criminal prosecution after admitting its StreetView cars had collected 600GB of personal data from home Wi-Fi networks in Germany. Fresh probes are underway in Spain, France and the Czech Republic. Google conceded defeat to operators when it abandoned efforts to sell the Nexus One online. In a busy week, Google also unveiled an internet TV platform and a Chrome app store, and paid $68 million for Global IP Solutions, which makes IP video chat technology.

Indonesian cellco XL Axiata picked Ericsson to supply gear to its LTE trial. China's State Council called for private investment in telecom networks and other basic infrastructure. The Beijing Consumers' Association called on China Telecom and Unicom to cut monthly phone rentals. China Unicom's poor image is stymieing sales of the iPhone in China, according to a poll. US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said Washington would continue to lobby Beijing over its "indigenous innovation" rules in government contracts, which heavily favor Chinese companies. The EC fined Samsung, Infineon and others more than $400 million for fixing DRAM prices. The commission called for an end to roaming charges within Europe by 2015. Dell boosted earnings 52% in the first quarter as corporate spending recovered. HP beat four other companies to Palm, filings revealed. YouTube average daily downloads topped 2 billion. Softbank and live video firm Ustream set up a JV to deliver Ustream content to Asia. Adobe launched a version of Flash for smartphones. A ten-year research effort by the WHO failed to find a clear link between mobile phone use and brain cancer. The UN banned its drivers from sending text messages while at the wheel. And HP researchers outlined a plan to run data centers on cow gas.


From http://www.telecomasia.net/ 05/21/2010

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AFRICA: EAC Unites Against Foreign Cyber Attacks

Communications regulators in East Africa are teaming up to combat foreign attacks on communication equipments and systems in East Africa, a top official has said. Mr Patrick Mwesigwa, the executive director of Uganda Communication Commission said the five East African states are in the process of establishing coordinated Computer Emergence Response Teams (CERTs) aimed at detecting sources of attacks on regional networks by international internet criminals to secure users' information. CERTs are information, and technology communication expert groups that handle computer security incidents. UCC plans to establish Uganda's CERT in the new financial year that starts in July 2010.

"We are doing this as a region with the help of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and Impact, another international telecommunications organization based in Malaysia," Mr Mwesigwa said last week in Munyonyo during the East Africa Communications Organisations Committees. The move to establish the regions CERTs comes two months after regional Internet Service Providers like Africa Online, Broadband and others complained about the rise in cyber attacks.


From http://allafrica.com/ 05/06/2010

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NORTH AMERICA: Canadian Armed Forces Delve Deeper into Social Networking

Canada's Department of National Defence (DND) is currently working with a simulation and modeling firm to investigate social networking technologies and eventually develop internal prototypes for the military. DND's project with CAE Professional Services - the planning, and technology development arm of Montreal-based CAE Inc. - was launched last year and is now moving into its second phase. "We're concluding the first phase of the project, which is to help the military understand the lay of the land," said Chris Pogue, president of CAE Professional Services. He said the second phase would focus on more specific technology tools and the kind of security that could be embedded in them for military purposes. In the U.S., the Department of Defense recently approved the use of social media by military rank and file. Some of its top officials have even launched their own Facebook pages.

Pogue said for any social networking application to be adopted by the Canadian military, it would need to possess security controls consistent with the armed force's stringent demands.

"When putting information on the Internet, you need to be certain it does not fall into the wrong hands and no operations or personnel are jeopardized." He foresees two major possibilities for social media in the military. One is for strictly professional use such as an operational network that helps soldiers and personnel communicate and coordinate activities in a "networked battlefield." Another model, he said, could be more like the civilian Facebook that would enable soldiers, families and friends connect with one another, or with common interest groups. The CAE official said it is too early to tell what form a Canadian military social media app would take, but noted that one of the most useful features would be geo spatial capabilities.


From http://www.itbusiness.ca/ 05/07/2010

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CHINA: Asia's Largest Cloud Security Center Launched

Chinese anti-virus service provider Rising has announced the launch of its generically-named Cloud Security Center, which is reported to be the largest of its kind in Asia. With a total investment of CNY130 million, the center reportedly has more than 5000 enterprise level severs in various geographic locations in China which can provide security check services for up to one billion users and reduce the time for processing most of the virus files to one second. The center is said to be the first technical project initiated by Rising in 2010. Liu Gang, a chief scientist of Rising, told local media that with the improvement of its hardware and core structure, the center can reduce the time for automatically analyzing and processing most virus files to one second.


From http://www.chinatechnews.com/ 03/11/2010

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China Continues Crackdown on Porn Spread Electronically

Authorities in northwest China's Gansu Province said Friday they had caught several cell phone retailers suspected of selling obscene content to mobile subscribers. In the most recent case uncovered two weeks ago, market regulators seized more than 1 GB of vulgar video, photos and texts from computers and other devices at the privately-run store in downtown Lanzhou, the provincial capital. The store owner, who authorities did not name, admitted he had sold such content for mobile subscribers, mostly students and migrant workers, for 5 to 10 yuan per GB and helped transmit the content to their cell phones. Some stores even offered obscene content for free as part of their special cell phone "promotion packages" to attract buyers. "Obscene content is particularly harmful to youngsters, which is why the government has taken actions," said Meng Yingqi, an official in charge of cultural market administration in Lanzhou. Meng said the crackdown in the market was very difficult because dealers could easily defend themselves saying the obscene content was private and not for sale. The Chinese government unveiled a regulation last year to ban pornographic and vulgar content spread through the Internet or mobile WAP sites. More than 140,000 mobile WAP sites that offered pornography to mobile phone users were shut down or blocked in the five-month crackdown. As part of China's latest efforts to curb porn, a judicial interpretation issued in February further clarified that production, replication, publication, sale and spread of obscene electronic information (video) targeted at minors aged under 14 via Internet or mobile WAP sites was a crime. China's Internet users reached 384 million at the end of 2009, of which 233 million, or 60.8 percent, browsed webpages via mobile phones, according to the China Internet Network Information Center.


From Xinhua News Agency 04/02/2010

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China's Military Highlights Information Security

China's Central Military Commission has issued a set of guidelines aimed at developing a comprehensive system upgrading military information security, a statement from the commission said Monday. Approved by Hu Jintao, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, the Guidelines on Enhancing Military Information Security under New Situations set out an overall arrangement to advance military information security work by "tackling critical issues" facing China's armed forces. Improvement of military information security is a requirement for the modernization of China's national defense and military buildup, said the guidelines. The document stressed the importance of enhancing organizational bodies, working mechanisms, specialized personnel and technical safety to realize improved information security in the ranks. It gave priority to network security and electromagnetic safety as two major working areas, among others. Military officers and solders should receive proper education to get prepared for military information security against the new backdrop, said the guidelines.


From Xinhua News Agency 04/06/2010

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China's Communications Network Security Professional Committee Established

With online and wireless security more important than ever, the Communications Network Security Professional Committee of the China Association of Communications Enterprises has been created in Beijing to address issues surrounding spam, hacking, and phishing activities. The members of the committee include China's three major telecom operators, China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom as well as communications and information security related enterprises in China. Liu Liqing, director of the China Association of Communications Enterprises, said during the founding ceremony that the year 2009 saw frequent outbreaks of communications network security problems, including Internet attacks, information thefts, and other hacking activities. The establishment of the committee aims to help security service organizations realize standardized management; provide policy bases to telecom regulators and operators; and implement objective assessments for the protection of network units and the capacity of security service providers. Lu Yang, party secretary from the telecom research institute of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China, said that depending on its technology strengths, the telecom research institute will provide full support to the work of the newly established committee.


From http://www.chinatechnews.com/ 04/07/2010

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Stealing Online Assets is Real Theft

Online virtual assets of local netizens will be protected and supervised by police in the booming southern city of Shenzhen, a local white paper said. After publishing the White Paper of Public Services of Shenzhen Public Security Bureau, Shenzhen has become the first city in Guangdong province to introduce concrete policies to protect residents' online virtual assets. The city's police authority will coordinate with major operators of online games and websites to protect residents' virtual assets in the following months. By the end of this year, local police will cooperate with major Internet and online game operators to establish a new system to help local residents retrieve their lost online virtual assets. Wang Likun, a Guangzhou-based lawyer, said Shenzhen's white paper is of great significance to helping protect locals' online virtual assets, which are usually ignored by governmental departments. "The number of internet theft and fraud cases have been on the rise in recent years, and police should take concrete and effective measures to fight the online crimes," Wang told China Daily. Stealing others' virtual currencies, online game accounts, passwords and other virtual assets should also be regarded as committing thefts, Wang added.

Chen Chuxiang, a white collar worker, said Shenzhen's move will certainly help contribute to the introduction of legal means to protect residents' online virtual assets in the future. "I usually felt sad and disappointed when I found my QQ account had been stolen or used by others," the online gamer said. QQ is a popular social networking site. Shenzhen's white paper to protect locals' online virtual assets was published after a growing number of Internet theft cases have been reported in recent years. More and more local online gamers have asked relevant departments to introduce laws and regulations to fight Internet thefts. Shenzhen's Nanshan district people's court took the lead in Guangdong to hand out sentences ranging from six months to a year in jail to 11 defendants who stole QQ accounts and passwords. The case had raised great concerns among local residents, lawyers and legal experts. According to statistics, more than 52 percent of Chinese netizens were victims of Internet fraud, thefts, hacking and viruses in 2009. The economic losses caused by the Internet security incidents hit more than 15.3 billion yuan (US$2.24 billion) last year. More than 46.6 percent of cyber citizens lost their online virtual assets after their online game and QQ chat room accounts and passwords were stolen.


From China Daily 04/07/2010

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China to End Anonymous Online Comments

China will push to end anonymous online comments, according to Wang Chen, director of the State Council Information Office, who recently reiterated the need for more regulations in cyberspace. The news regulator said on Friday that China would strengthen its monitoring on "harmful information" on the Internet, in an attempt to block bad overseas information from spreading into the country via the Internet and prevent "overseas hostile forces from infiltrating through the Internet," according to his full speech published by the People's Daily. In Friday's speech, Wang confirmed, for the first time, that major news websites and business portals in China have already complied with the no-anonymity comment rule; a trend that Wang said will be pushed through the Internet, including the populous online bulletin boards. China would also intensify its crackdown on online crimes, which netted 5,510 suspects last year, according to Wang. Tough measures would be employed to tackle online pornography, gambling and fraud as the country has witnessed a growing population of over 400 million internet users.


From Xinhua News Agency 05/04/2010

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China Addresses 'Severe Cyber Security Threats'

China supports international efforts to secure cyberspace but believes each nation's "Internet sovereignty" must be respected, a top Chinese official said at a cyber security conference on Tuesday. "China, like many other countries, is very concerned about cyber security," said Liu Zhengrong, deputy director general of the Internet Affairs Bureau of the State Council Information Office. "China faces severe cyber security threats," Liu told participants here at the Worldwide Cyber Security Summit, a gathering of government and business leaders from 40 countries hosted by the EastWest Institute think tank. "International cooperation is much needed to safeguard international cyberspace," Liu said. But "Internet sovereignty of each country needs to be respected," the Chinese official added. "Different national and cultural conditions" should be taken into account. Liu declined to answer repeated questions about cyber attacks last year on Google which the Internet giant said originated in China and led to the California company's decision to reroute its searches through Hong Kong. "The Chinese government firmly opposes cyber attacks in any form and Chinese law clearly states that any hackers will be held liable for their actions," he said. Liu said China itself is "a major victim of cyber attacks and network viruses" and has laws in place to deal with hackers. "Internet-related crimes (in China) are showing a steady upward trend," Liu said. "We suffer big economic losses from hacking networks and viruses - around $1 billion dollars (6.8 billion yuan) a year."

In 2009, Chinese law enforcement authorities investigated about 48,000 cases, a 37 percent increase over 2008, he said. While China has a dynamic Internet population of more than 400 million users and millions of bloggers, there is no "absolute freedom" on the Web, Liu said. "I don't think there is absolute freedom in this world," he said. "When you are speaking via the Internet you must abide by laws and respect others' lawful rights." Last Thursday, Wang Chen, minister of the State Council Information Office, said China has been actively promoting a real-name registration system for Internet and cell phone users to better manage Internet information and services. China needs laws that will step up monitoring for "harmful information" and block "overseas hostile forces from infiltrating through the Internet," Wang said. Last week, China tightened its State Secrets law, holding Internet and mobile phone operators responsible for customers who try to leak State secrets. Some 400 government officials, business leaders and cyber security experts are attending the summit, which features three days of discussions on ways to protect the world's digital infrastructure from electronic threats.


From China Daily 05/06/2010

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81 Government Websites Attacked

Hackers have attacked 81 government websites in the past week leaving 29 still paralyzed, according to figures released by the National Computer Network Emergency Response Center of China (CNETCC). The CNETCC also revealed in its report, that four provincial websites in Anhui, Jiangsu, Sichuan and Tibet autonomous region were down, Chinanews.com.cn reported on Wednesday. The latest figure, covering May 10 to May 16, marks a decline in the cyber attacks compared to the previous week, May 2 to May 9, where the number of affected websites was 124. In this CNETCC report, about 150 website with .CN suffix are blacklisted. Five malice codes and five software loopholes are also included. The most active malicious website is the one from Poland with .xorg.pl as the domain.


From China Daily 05/19/2010

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China's Network Watchdog Warns of Malicious Websites Surge

China National Computer Network Emergency Technical Team (CNCERT) has alerted Chinese netizens that websites containing malicious software showed a sudden increase last week. There were 5,087 IP addresses connected to servers in the Chinese mainland that were controlled by Trojan horse viruses last week, up 12 percent from the previous week, according to a network security weekly report released by the CNCERT. The report said that more than 100 domain names registered in Poland with the suffix ".xorg.pl" and some other domain names suffixed ".cn" were being used to hack into Chinese Internet users' computers. The websites containing malicious software were actively used by hackers, Liu Jun, an editor of the report, told Xinhua on Wednesday. Despite the surge of the number of pernicious websites, the CNCERT rated last week's network security as "Good," the second highest level in its five-level rating system. "This is due to a decline in Internet security accidents and no major cyber attacks to the mainframes around the country," Liu said.


From English.news.cn 05/19/2010

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JAPAN: Deal Made with China on IT Info Disclosure

Tokyo and Beijing have reached a broad deal regarding China's planned requirement that classified information technology data of products by Japanese firms be disclosed, limiting it only to products purchased by the Chinese government, it has been learned. The system, which also will apply to other foreign firms, will start in May as scheduled and the Chinese government is expected to put the agreement in writing. The United States and European countries likely will make similar agreements with China. The system announced by the Chinese government would force manufacturers to disclose classified information including source codes of IT products. Under the system, many high-tech products that Japanese firms have the lead in manufacturing could possibly be targeted. If a firm were to refuse the disclosure, Beijing would ban all imports, manufacture or sale of the company's products in China. Since Japan, the United States and European countries strongly protested the new system, saying intellectual assets could be leaked to Chinese companies, the Chinese government compromised, limiting the system to products purchased by the government, but excluding purchases by government-owned companies from the disclosure requirement.


From http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/ 03/21/2010

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SOUTH KOREA: Seoul Pushes to Organize Int'l Cyber Security Body

The government said Tuesday it is contemplating a plan to create a Seoul-based international organization against cyber terrorism, according to Yonhap News. The Ministry of Public Administration and Security said it will lay out a roadmap for the plan through consultations with relevant ministries in the first half of the year and make a proposal at the Group of 20 summit to be held in Seoul this November. A series of DDoS attacks on U.S. and Korean government and private Web sites last July called to attention the need for a world body for combating cyber terrorism.


From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 02/23/2010

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S. Korea Listed in Internet Censorship Watchlist: Rights Watchdog

South Korea, the world's most wired country, has been listed as one of the few democracies where the Internet is "under surveillance" by the government, according to a recent report by the Paris-based rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The media organization also said in the report dated Friday it has listed North Korea among the world's 12 top enemies of the Internet, the worst violators of the freedom of expression in the cyber world. The RSF said South Korea was put on the list of the second most serious violators of Internet freedom, along with Australia, because of the South Korean government's alleged censorship promotion. "Draconian laws are creating too many specific restrictions on Web users by challenging their anonymity and promoting self-censorship," read the report explaining how South Korea's freedom on the Web was restricted. The South Korean government requires visitors of some Web portals to input their real names and residential registration numbers to verify their identity before posting messages or comments. The report warned that the government's battle against proliferating false information could even alienate potential investors. "Its drastic rules with regard to Web user registration and surveillance are considered by such international websites as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter as a deterrent with regard to their entry into the South Korean market," it said. It also introduced the case of the popular blogger Minerva whose 2007 portrayal of the South Korean economy was accused of disseminating false information on the Web. The report from RSF analyzed that the government's strengthening of censorship was motivated by its attempt to maintain order in a period of social unrest. But the authorities have resorted to "excessive means," it said, which guides users to practice self-censorship.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 03/15/2010

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S. Korea, China Agree to Protect Info Online

The Korean and Chinese governments tentatively agreed to launch a joint action committee on protecting private information on the internet, the Korea Communications Commission said yesterday. In their first director-level meeting in Beijing last week, the two parties reached an agreement to closely work together on online information protection, however, details involving their communication channels are yet to be specified, said a KCC official. "We made the preparation measures (for the meeting) beginning last year because personal information leakage of Koreans in China was becoming a problem," he said. They also exchanged views on drafting policies and developing technologies which would solve online hazardous issues like hacking, illegal spam and viruses. In a related effort, the government plans on meeting with Japanese government officials by May to discuss similar measures.


From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 04/04/2010

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Gov't to Impose Limits on Teens' Online Gaming

The South Korean government will limit teenagers' online gaming at night as addiction to virtual games has emerged as one of the most prevailing social problems in the country, Seoul officials said on Monday. The government will stop teens from playing three popular online game titles between midnight and 8 a.m. starting in September, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said. More games will be subject to the shutdown rules later, the ministry said. It will also introduce a "fatigue system" by December to 19 online game titles that account for nearly 80 percent of the local role-playing game market, ministry officials said. Under the fatigue system, gamers will lose their game items if they play games for certain number hours at a stretch. Addiction to online games has been a chronic social issue in South Korea, where nine out of 10 households have broadband Internet access and public "PC rooms" that charge for computer use on an hourly basis are found on nearly every corner of major cities. In March, a three-month-old baby girl was found dead in Suwon, south of Seoul. While her game-addicted parents raised a virtual baby online, they neglected and starved their real baby to death, police said. In February, a 32-year-old man died after playing an online computer game for five days, with few breaks or meals. A similar incident was reported in 2005 involving a 28-year-old man.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 04/12/2010

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THAILAND: Social Network Hackers Employ Abuse of Trust

Hackers are now taking advantage of trusted friendships in social networks by mimicking the identities of users and luring their connections into attacks. According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), which is a partnership between the FBI and National White Collar Crime Center (NWC3), nearly 3,200 cases of account hijackings have been reported since 2006. One of the more popular scams involves online criminals planting malicious software and code onto to victim's computers via emails sent under the name of a trusted contact. When the email is opened and the malware activated, it allows the intruders to steal passwords for any account on the computer, including social network memberships. The thieves can then use these passwords to gain access to inboxes and from there send messages to online friends, sometimes claiming that the person is in trouble and requires financial assistance. Ryan R Flores, who leads the APEC threat research team at TrendLabs, said social network threats are pretty much same as traditional email threats in terms of their approach, but are more dangerous because email-based worms can proliferate through contact lists, and social network contacts tend to feature more trusted friends.

Furthermore, social network users are often less cautious in guarding their personal information and often accept friend requests without knowing their real identity. Such complacency can risk users becoming victims of hackers. The more popular social network sites do already have some security measures in place, but nevertheless users are encouraged not to share any information that can lead to unknown people tracing their identities and contact details. Sensitive data includes location information, phone numbers and alternative email addresses. Simon Axten, a member of Facebook's communication team, said security is a top priority for the company and the site has built numerous defences against phishing attempts and malware, including complex automated systems that work behind the scenes to detect and flag suspicious accounts. Such accounts often display behaviour such as sending vast numbers of messages in a short time, and/or sending messages with known malicious links. Once Facebook's security system detects a potentially dangerous message, it deletes all replicated instances of it across the site. It also works to add malicious sites to browser blacklists or to have them taken down from the Internet completely.

Affected users can then be taken through a remediation process in which they can reset their passwords and take other appropriate action to secure their accounts against further attacks. Moreover, the site also works with others across the industry to identify and respond to potential threats to users. For example, on the malware front, Facebook worked with Microsoft to find a solution to the Koobface virus, which was specifically developed for social networks, via Windows Update. It also worked with McAfee to integrate a unique Scan and Repair tool for compromised user accounts and has made this available for free to all 350 million Facebook users. Alex Rice, of Facebook security, said the company also views spam sent through its site differently to the traditional email method. Facebook defines spam as any unwanted action, including the traditional text-based form, as well as creepers, chain letters and friend requests from strangers.

Alex Rice Security at Facebook said that the site view computer threat differently comparing traditional threat in other sites such as Spam. The site redefined that any unwanted action from users are Spam including classic spam (Text, URLs), friend requests, creepers and chain letters. Another security measure in place sees Facebook keep track of its users' geographical locations, so if it notices frequent logins from unusual locations, or from different locations in too short a space of time to have travelled between them, the system will seek additional verification to the mere username and password. Park Jong Seob, of global information security at eBay, said social networking threats are among the three most common internet dangers in the Asia-Pacific region, adding that the trend for user impersonation makes it more difficult to detect offenders, who are finding it easier to access valuable information which can be sold on. He said that there have also been incidences of convergence between online crime and physical crime, for example victims being lured into personal meetings via false messages from the compromised accounts of trusted friends, and then falling victim to blackmail or even kidnapping.

Furthermore, online gaming also poses risks, as hackers can introduce malicious items into gaming worlds. "Most of the Asia-Pacific region is sharing information about cyber threats with governments and state enterprises, but rarely with business," said Park. "In the US, the likes of eBay, Google and Yahoo! are sharing threat information and collaborating to tackle these threats, and this approach should be taken in Asia-Pacific as well." Kitisak Jirawannakool, of ThaiCert under Nectec, said this year was the first that Thailand hosted the Apcert Conference, which took place in Phuket on March 2-3. As Thailand is one of the world's biggest users of social networks, one of Apcert's main themes this year was social networking threats, with the aim of building trust and collaboration between ThaiCert and the most popular of these sites. Over the past two years, the three most common cyber threats in Thailand have been phishing, spam and viruses/malware via email and traditional websites, but now social networking hazards are among the top problems due to the rapid increase in number of users here.

ThaiCert will select and co-operate with more organisations to implement a sensor appliance as part of the Tsubame Network Traffic Monitoring Project, which is owned by JPCERT/CC.

The project aims to encourage collaboration across the Asia-Pacific region, especially in the sharing of Internet threat monitoring data through sensor systems, which can display results in 3D visualisations to help Cert members to better understand attack patterns.

Wisit Atipayakoon, a specialist in telecommunication infrastructure development at the International Telecommunication Union, said the ITU will discuss with the Information and Communication Technology ministry and NTC the option of bringing in expert help to review and assess the cyber security legislative framework and increase staff capacity on cyber crime and law enforcement. "Cyber security and related laws should be reviewed and updated to make it appropriate to the current situation," he said.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 03/24/2010

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VIET NAM: $40.5 Mil to Be Spent on Data Security

VietNamNet Bridge - Viet Nam will draw about VND765 billion (US$40.5 million) from the State budget to ensure national information safety from now until 2020. The money would be used for technology infrastructure and institutions to protect national information, the Ministry of Information and Communications' Computer Emergency Response Team (VNCERT) director Vu Quoc Khanh told the Security World 2010 conference in Ha Noi earlier this week. The national information security development plan would create a legal foundation for ministries and agencies to fight against hackers, he said. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung approved the plan in January. The director said a lack of skilled personnel was the major challenge to security in Government agencies, organisations and businesses. "There is also shortage of guidance and regulations relating to information security while the ability of ministries, agencies and business to forecast and use information about security problems is limited," he said.

State agencies needed to train IT workers to improve their professional skills and awareness about information security. This was particularly true of network security and data protection. The ministry's professional computing technology director Nguyen Viet The told the conference: "2010 is forecast to be a 'hot' year for information security as many new variants of viruses had appeared and hackers become more professional and dangerous." Hackers were forecast to focus on finance, banking and the stock exchange, he said, and the development of mobile technology would make it easier for transmission of viruses. The theme of the conference, which opened on Tuesday, is building effective security strategy in response to new economic challenges.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 03/25/2010

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Vietnam Suffers Great Losses Due to High Tech Criminals

VietNamNet Bridge - Last year, Vietnamese enterprises and State agencies lost thousands of billions of dong due to high-tech criminals, the Ministry of Public Security said at the 5th Security World 2010 Conference in Hanoi on Tuesday. The event was organized by the Ministry of Public Security's General Department of Logistics&Technology, the Vietnam Computer Emergency Response (VNCERT), the Ministry of Information and Communications and International Data Group (IDG Vietnam). The event's aim is to promote security and safety among enterprises and State agencies. Nguyen Viet The, head of the IT Department under the Ministry of Public Security, said security should be lightened to prevent high-tech violations in business activities. The Ministry of Public Security uncovered 40 such violation cases in 2009, he said. He added that violations became more complicated year after year, costing enterprises more. According to The, more than 1,000 websites were attacked in 2009, or twice the number in 2008 and three times the 2007 figure.

Already this year, foreign hackers have attacked more than 300 websites that focus on finance, online trading and domain supply. Normally, hackers use phishing websites like Trojan, Spy Ware, Key Logger and Adware to steal personal information and user names and passwords. In addition, high-tech violators steal credit card information through online trading, ATM transactions and fraud on commercial websites. IT experts noted that security in 2010 would need to tighten as many new viruses have been created. Criminals have access to even more complicated techniques and information fraud will increase as a result. The IDC in the Asia and Pacific Region expect the Security and Vulnerability Management market to grow 19% to US$115.44 million this year. The Secure Content and Threat Management market can also expect 18.4% growth this year compared to 2009, as the sector's revenue is forecast to reach US$1,130 million. The Identity and Access Management market is estimated to grow 15.2% to reach US$325 million as well. In Vietnam, phishing is expected to increase in number and complexity in 2010. The Government recently approved a plan to develop information security by 2020 to guarantee information security at a state level. Until 2020, VND765 billion will be invested from the national budget into six major projects to improve technical infrastructure.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 03/25/2010

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3G Network Targeted by Hackers

VietNamNet Bridge - The 3G network, commonly used for wireless phones in Vietnam, is the next target for hi-tech criminals, warn police engaged in combating cyber-crimes.

At a seminar on combating hi-tech crime in HCM City on April 21, police pointed out that Apple Iphone, increasingly used in Vietnam, is at high risk for attacks by hackers. They also referred to the boom in social networks, which offer hackers a good reason to try new tricks to threaten web security. In the first three months of 2010, more than 300 websites with the domain name ".vn" in Vietnam were attacked by foreign hackers and some 150,000 PCs were infected with viruses and Trojans - spyware used to steal private information from individuals. Vietnam is still among the top ten nations in the world with the highest rate of email spam. In recent years, hackers have focused on IT networks in the financial and banking sectors as well as their online payment systems. In 2009, they hacked more than 1,000 websites in Vietnam.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 04/24/2010

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YM Virus Infects Thousands of Computers

VietNamNet Bridge - By May 4, 10,500 computers in Vietnam were infected with a new virus named Ymfocard, which attacks computers via Yahoo Messenger, according to Bkis Security, a prestigious network security agency in Vietnam. Thanks to early warning and the vigilance of YM users, the spread of this virus has been slowed down compared to the fast speed of infection during the recent holiday (April 30-May 2). Ymfocard.Worm and its variations attack computers through messages in form of links sent via YM. If users open the links, an exe file will be downloaded to computers and the computers will be infected with virus when users open that file. Once computers are attacked by this virus, YM will automatically send virus links to the list of friends.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 05/07/2010

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INDIA: Govt. to Develop Software to Control Cyber Attacks

Email New Delhi: After growing worries over the cyber attacks on the Indian establishments, the government has planned to develop its own software and end the dependence on foreign operating systems and anti virus products. The government has formed a high level team to develop the plan for building software. According to a report by Harsimran Singh and Thomas Philip of Economic Times, the panel will suggest different ways to conduct third-party audits on existing software in government offices to prevent online sabotage attempts until the software's launch. Followed by the cyber attacks by China based hackers, the Defence Ministry raised concerns over use of anti-virus products of foreign vendors and hence the government acted actively by forming a task force to get over with the problem. Hackers from Pakistan and terrorist organizations too have stepped up attacks on Indian websites in recent years. The taskforce is expected to submit its recommendations by June. A technical head of a U.S. based network security firm said that it is very much in favour of the government to devise its own software for the operations. The person also added that it will give it the independence of customizing it according to its needs. India is now making a late scramble to join nations that own both hardware and software technology critical for the safe upkeep of their defence, space and nuclear programmes. The government recently sanctioned Rs. 50 crore to design an indigenous microprocessor. The government's unease with foreign technology and hardware has been on the rise in recent years. Recently, it warned telcos against installation of foreign gear. Last week, Junior Minister for Communications & Information Technology Sachin Pilot told the Rajya Sabha about several measures the government has taken to detect and prevent cyber attacks. No sensitive information will be stored on systems connected to the internet, while ministries and departments have been told to carry out regular IT systems audits.

The government has also established a Crisis Management Plan against cyber attacks to be implemented by all central ministries, state governments and critical sectors, he said. Last week, US counter terrorism head in the Clinton and Bush regimes, Richard Clarke, warned nations of an 'electronic Pearl Harbour' that can shut down power, transportation, communication and all money from banks and exchanges. He said a massive cyber attack could paralyse the U.S. in 15 minutes. The defence ministry has already removed many of its computers off the internet. Its officers can't carry pen drives inside offices. The government has also decided to connect all key government ministries and offices, which number over 5,000, to an alternate exclusive communication network that is being built for the armed forces. This will provide a secure backup during emergencies, or at times when the networks of private telecom operators cannot be used to transmit sensitive information. State-owned BSNL and MTNL are building the Rs 10,000-crore, 40,000 km alternate-fibre network. The armed forces will shift a bulk of their communication needs to this network, thereby enabling them to vacate huge chunks of radio frequencies or spectrum they occupy for commercial telephony. Globally, most operating systems and anti-virus software are linked via the internet. This ensures that as soon as security loopholes are found in browsers, operating systems or a product software, companies start installing and updating them online. But glitches can still occur. Last week, US-based McAfee, the world's second-largest anti-virus software maker, sent an update that started to recognise a genuine file as fake. This resulted in millions of computers getting shut down by themselves. The errors were rectified later.


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 05/10/2010

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SRI LANKA: Police Raids Business Over Software Piracy

(LBO) - Sri Lanka's police have raided a company suspected to be using pirated and unlicensed software, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) which represents software firms said. The company is suspected to be infringing the intellectual property rights of BSA members, Adobe, Autodesk and Microsoft, it said in a statement. The raids on Tuesday and Wednesday involved the seizure and examination of over seventy computers installed with an estimated 120 copies of pirated software valued at about 10 million rupees. "Final results will be known upon further investigations," the BSA said. Those guilty of violating intellectual property laws are liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding 500,000 rupees or for imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or both. "We have conducted another enforcement action against a business suspected of using pirated and unlicensed software," the BSA statement quoted Wijaya Amarasinghe, Director of Criminal Investigations Division which did the raid, as saying. "The use of pirated software is a clear violation of the country's copyright laws, and we are determined to remind businesses of the severity of the violation through enforcement." Senior Director - Anti Piracy of the Business Software Alliance (BSA), Tarun Sawney said the software industry in Sri Lanka need to be protected against criminal acts which cost millions in losses to the industry. The BSA includes local software developers, distributors, resellers and value-add partners.


From http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/ 04/01/2010

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Over 50 Billion Dollars Lost to Software Piracy

SINGAPORE (AFP) - Software piracy cost technology companies more than 50 billion dollars around the world last year, with Asia accounting for the largest share of losses, an industry report said Tuesday. Despite successes in the fight to protect intellectual property rights, on average 43 percent of software used in computers worldwide in 2009 was pirated, from 41 percent the year before, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) said. Worldwide, piracy losses reached 51.4 billion dollars in 2009, of which 16.5 billion dollars was in the Asia-Pacific region, the annual report found. The deluge of counterfeits was largely due to the growth of the personal computer market in Brazil, India and China, said the BSA, a global trade alliance with a regional office in Singapore. However, last year's losses worldwide were three percent down from 2008 while the rate of pirated software use fell in 54 economies, remained steady in 38 and rose in 19. On average 59 percent of the 900 million pieces of software installed in the Asia-Pacific region last year were unlicensed, said Victor Lim, a vice president at IDC, which carried out the study with the software alliance. Bangladesh had the highest software piracy rate in Asia, followed by Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Vietnam, with China and India also among the worst culprits. "This study makes clear that while efforts to bring down piracy levels in the Asia-Pacific are enjoying some success, dollar losses at over 16.5 billion (dollars) remain the highest in the world," said Jeffrey Hardee, BSA's vice president and regional director. "This is unacceptable and there is still much to be done to engage governments, businesses and consumers on the risks and impact of software piracy." The BSA said that for every 100 dollars of legitimate software sales in 2009, another 75 dollars-worth of unlicensed programmes were sold. Ex-Soviet state Georgia was the world's top pirate user, with 95 percent of all software deemed illegal. That was followed by Zimbabwe (92 percent), Bangladesh (91 percent), Moldova (91 percent), Armenia, and Yemen (90 percent). The United States had the lowest piracy rate with 20 percent, followed by Japan (21 percent), Luxembourg (21 percent), New Zealand (22 percent) and Australia (25 percent). Singapore was the only Southeast Asian economy in the report's list of the 30 economies with the lowest piracy rates. Hardee said the problem affected not just global technology giants, but also small and medium-sized firms, including some in Asia, as it hindered them from growing domestically and expanding overseas. A 10-percentage point reduction in the software piracy rate in the Asia-Pacific over four years would "directly contribute" 41 billion dollars to the region's economies, he said at a briefing. It would also create 435,000 jobs, generate another 5.4 billion dollars in taxes and increase revenues to local vendors by 33 billion dollars. "There is a compelling case here for governments to bring down piracy levels," Hardee said. He told AFP subsequently that companies rather than individuals, using bootleg computer programmes, were inflicting the heaviest damage. "Surprisingly, quite a few listed companies are caught using pirated software. They just have unsophisticated or no software management policies in place," he said. "It's quite shocking." In addition to risking legal action, companies also risk compromising the security of their databases by using pirated software, he said. "To make them vulnerable without managing the problem is really irresponsible," Hardee said.


From http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/ 05/11/2010

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PAKISTAN: NComputing to Revolutionise Desktop Virtualisation

KARACHI: "NComputing U170 will be the hottest computing solution that will revolutionise the desktop virtualisation market and is perfectly suited for small businesses, schools and home users in Pakistan." This was stated by Khawaja Samiullah, CEO NConnexion, Ncomputing's distributor and authorised service centre for Pakistan and Afghanistan, while announcing the launch of award winning world's first USB-connected virtual desktop (model U 170) in Pakistan. "U170 kit, from global leader in desktop virtualisation - NComputing, is the ultimate and ideal IT solutions for a country like Pakistan facing dearth of energy, it cuts computing costs, saving electricity up to 90 percent and enabling multiple users to share a single computer. These costs savings appeal to large schools and businesses that need to do more with their IT budgets," he added. World's first USB-connected plug-and-play desktop virtualisation solution, the U 170, is based on the simple fact that today's PCs are so powerful that the vast majority only use a small fraction of their PC processor's capacity. The U170 thin client taps this unused resource so that computer can be simultaneously shared by many users. "Pakistan offers a high potential market for NComputing in the desktop virtualisation domain and NComputing is going to revolutionise the desktop computing in Pakistan. With the launch of U 170, the plug-and-play computing solution will optimise and expand the performance of existing computers," said Manish Shamia, Vice President, NComputing, APAC region. "Organisations, schools, colleges and institutions will benefit from the ability to increase their productivity whilst driving down costs," he added.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 05/12/2010

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ARMENIA: Ten EU Information Centers to Be Launched

Armenia's National Security Council, chairman of interdepartmental commission of Armenia-EU cooperation Arthur Baghdasaryan met with ambassadors of EU countries to Armenia to discuss establishment of EU information centers in Armenia. "Armenia will be the first country in the region to have such centers," Baghdasaryan said. In all, 10 centers will be established with the purpose to raise public awareness about the Eastern Partnership and activity of the EU advisory group to Armenia.


From http://www.today.az/ 03/27/2010

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KAZAKHSTAN: Parliament Ratified Information Security Cooperation Agreement

The deputies of the Senate of Parliament of Kazakhstan passed the law on the ratification of the agreement between the governments of the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on cooperation in international information security, the agency reports. The cooperation agreement between the governments of the SCO member states in the field of maintenance of international information security was signed in Ekaterinburg on June 16, 2009. According to the document's article 2, implementing cooperation according to the present agreement, the parties proceed from the following basic threats in the field of guarantee of international information security: development and application of information weapons, preparation and conducting "an information war"; information terrorism, information security; use of the dominating position in the information field to the detriment of the interests and security of other states; spread of the information harming the political and social and economic systems, the spiritual, moral and cultural environment of other states; threats to security and stable functioning of the global and national information infrastructures, having natural and (or) technogenic character.


From http://www.kt.kz/ 05/06/2010

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AUSTRALIA: Cyber-Safety - Release of Public Submissions

Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy said public submissions on improved transparency and accountability measures in relation to the Government's ISP-level filtering policy were now available on the Department's website. Senator Conroy said the public consultation was announced when the Government outlined its Cyber-Safety policy, including ISP-level filtering, in December last year. "The discussion paper outlined additional measures to improve the accountability and transparency of processes that lead to Refused Classification (RC) material being placed on the RC Content list," Senator Conroy said. "I'm pleased to note there was strong interest in the discussion paper with the Department receiving 174 submissions from a range of organisations and individuals."

Of these, 36 submitters requested that their submissions not be published and one submission was a product endorsement and therefore outside the Department's guidelines. "A range of views have been expressed in the submissions and I would like to thank everyone who contributed their comments and valuable ideas to the public consultation process," Senator Conroy said. "The Department will now work with other Government agencies to consider the submissions and examine whether the ideas can be used to enhance the proposed accountability and transparency measures." The submissions will feed into the development of the legislative framework whilst the Department is also continuing to consult ISPs on the implementation of ISP-level filtering. Once these processes are complete the legislation will be introduced into Parliament.


From http://www.dbcde.gov.au/ 03/23/2010

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More Schools for the 2010 Youth Advisory Group on Cyber-Safety

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy today announced that 30 schools would participate in the Australian Government's Youth Advisory Group on Cyber-safety in 2010. "I am delighted to welcome the participation of an additional 17 schools in our second year of the Youth Advisory Group on Cyber-safety," Senator Conroy said during a visit to Ballarat Grammar. "I was impressed with the thoughtful advice the Youth Advisory Group - or YAG - members provided last year on issues such as cyber-bullying, mobile phone safety, privacy, social networking sites and online computer games. "The Government's recent expansion of cyber-safety education, awareness-raising and counselling services was informed by feedback and advice provided by YAG members in 2009. "In December I announced a package of measures to improve safety of the internet for families, including an additional $16.6 million to expand the cyber-safety outreach program run by the Australian Communications and Media Authority and the Cyber-Safety Online Helpline. The additional funding will reduce waiting times for schools to participate in the outreach program, and increase the Cyber-safety Online Helpline operating hours to ensure it is available when children are most at risk."

The YAG has now expanded its membership to include primary school students. School students aged 8 to 17 years will have the opportunity to advise the Government on cyber-safety issues currently faced by their peers. "The Government recognises that young Australians need to be involved in the development of effective responses to cyber-safety risks. I look forward to working with the YAG again in 2010," Senator Conroy said. The YAG will consider cyber-safety risks faced by Australian children and young people and communicate to the Government how best to address these and how to communicate cyber-safety messages to other young Australians. The 30 schools represent a cross-section of the Australian community covering all states and territories. They were selected from a comprehensive list provided by various government and non-government bodies who were asked to identify schools that were interested in cyber-safety issues. The YAG is one part of the Government's cyber-safety plan which includes education, international co-operation, a Joint Parliamentary Committee, research, law enforcement and filtering measures.

The 30 schools participating in the 2010 Youth Advisory Group on Cyber-safety are:
* Amaroo School (ACT)
* Telopea Park School (ACT)
* Ascham School (NSW)
* All Saints College, St Joseph's Campus (NSW)
* Cabramatta High School (NSW)
* Killarney Heights Public School (NSW)
* Monaro High School (NSW)
* William Carey Christian School (NSW)
* Alice Springs High School (NT)
* Sanderson Middle School (NT)
* Burpengary Primary School (Qld)
* John Paul College (Qld)
* St Joseph's College Gregory Terrace (Qld)
* Springwood State High School (Qld)
* Ipswich Girls Grammar (Qld)
* The Heights School (SA)
* Port Lincoln Primary School (SA)
* St Mary's College (SA)
* Brighton Primary School (Tas)
* Rose Bay High School (Tas)
* Ballarat Grammar (Vic)
* Caroline Springs College (Vic)
* St Bede's College (Vic)
* St Bernadette's School (Vic)
* Wesley College (Vic)
* St Ignatius College Geelong (Vic)
* Como Secondary School (WA)
* Donnybrook District High School (WA)
* John XXIII College (WA)
* Narembeen District High School (WA)


From http://www.minister.dbcde.gov.au/ 04/14/2010

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Govt Forms National Cybercrime Plans

The Standing Committee of Attorneys-General has outlined a national response to cybercrime, including establishing a group to review current Australian efforts to combat it. The agreement will create a national approach to clarifying the responsibilities of state and national law enforcement agencies and improve tools to more easily allow individuals and financial institutions to report cybercrimes. The announcement has come after Attorney-General Robert McClelland and Minister for Foreign Affairs Stephen Smith announced plans last week to adhere to principals decided on by the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime, joining over 40 countries currently involved in the convention, including Canada, Japan, South Africa and the United States. The convention is the only binding international treaty against cybercrimes and aims to share information about international cyber threats between council members. However, local groups like Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) have suggested Australia's membership could lead to tougher copyright infringement laws. Other local efforts to regulate cybercrimes have included the Federal Government's Cyber Security Operations Centre, which monitors and details cyber threats within Australia, and coordinates responses to those threatening government and critical infrastructure.


From http://www.zdnet.com.au/ 05/07/2010

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NEW ZEALAND: Phone Hackers Target Its Firms

New Zealand businesses are being targeted by overseas phone system hackers who are running up big bills on the victims' accounts. Telecom and TelstraClear are warning customers to ensure they are not vulnerable to the scam, in which office phones are hijacked and used for calling an 0900 number in Somalia. One of the victims was Auckland pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim, which found itself with a bill for hundreds of dollars. General manager Darcy Downey says dozens of calls were made to a Somalian number in the early hours of a Saturday in February. Telecom's fraud team spotted the unusual activity, tipped him off and a toll bar was put on the company's line. "Full credit to Telecom for getting on to it so quickly," Downey said. Telecom gave Boehringer Ingelheim, and about 40 other affected customers, a credit for the charges. It is not known how much money was collected by the scam, one of a variety hackers can use to profit from insecure office PABXs. In this instance, every call to the 0900 number saw money added to the number owner's account, and victims are also hit by international toll charges.

Thousands of automatically dialled calls can be made in a very short time. The hackers, who could be operating from anywhere in the world, have a number of ways into a badly managed PABX. They can exploit the voicemail feature of office phones that lets staff call from a remote location, enter a PIN and check messages. Or they can breach codes used by engineers to carry out system maintenance. TelstraClear advises PABX owners to introduce PIN and password policies to foil would-be hackers. Spokesman Chris Mirams says it is the PABX owner's responsibility to make sure it is secure. The telco is seeing "a couple of customers a week" being hacked. TelstraClear does not have a blanket policy of waiving the charges of scam victims, but deals with each on a case-by-case basis, Mirams says. Igor Portugal, whose company Vadacom installs phone systems, says he has warned of the risk of PABX hacking. "Of all computer systems you have on your network, your PABX is one of the few that is directly linked to your wallet through your phone account."


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 04/06/2010

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Cybercrime Conference Shows Challenge of Gettings Govts to Play Nice

SAN FRANCISCO - As governments around the world amass armies of hackers to protect their countries' computer networks and possibly attack others, the idea of getting officials together to discuss shared threats such as cybercrime is challenging. "You just don't pick up the phone and call your counterparts in these countries," said retired Lt. Gen. Harry Raduege Jr., former head of the federal agency responsible for securing the military's and the president's communications technologies. "They're always guarded in those areas, and they're always wondering if there's some other motive" behind the outreach. So the idea behind an international security conference in Dallas this week is to get government officials, industry executives and others talking, informally, about where they might find common ground. The Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit, organised by the EastWest Institute think tank, is different from some other big security conferences in that the focus isn't on hackers showing off their latest research or security-technology vendors connecting with customers.

"It's reaching across the table," said Raduege, who is honorary chair of the conference. "It's not official US policy that's going to be put out there, but it's an opportunity to exchange ideas of the possible." Scheduled speakers include Howard Schmidt, the White House's cybersecurity coordinator, as well as other influential cybersecurity officials from the European Union, Canada, Japan, India and China. Also on the agenda are the CEOs of AT&T and computer maker Dell and executives from Microsoft and Huawei Technologies, China's biggest maker of telecommunications equipment. Dialogue among them is important as concerns rise about computer warfare between nations and the potential damage that can be caused from computer attacks. As more computers get connected to the internet - Intel estimates there are a billion PCs worldwide on the web - they're used for more sensitive things, such as online banking and even remotely controlling critical infrastructure, such as power plants.

Underscoring the threats: recent attacks on Google that caused the internet search leader to move its search engine out of mainland China, and the revelation last year that spies hacked into the US electric grid and left behind computer programs that would let them disrupt service. The Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit, which runs until Wednesday, is substantially smaller than other security conferences. Although more than 400 government officials and industry executives from 30 countries were expected to attend, that pales in comparison with the thousands who have attended the annual Black Hat and DefCon conferences in Las Vegas, which focus on hackers' demonstrations of their latest research. Still, Dmitri Alperovitch, vice president of threat research at computer-security software maker McAfee, said the conference "has a lot of potential because of the stakeholders that are involved." "I think it's going to be a first step," said Alperovitch, who is participating on a panel talk on national security. "Right now we have situations where many countries are speaking past each other. The Google attacks are a great example of that. That's just not productive or helpful to any country, and I think having a frank and open conversation between all parties is critical."


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 05/04/2010

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Ninth International Conference on Information Technology Based Higher Education and Training - ITHET 2010, by UNESCO Chair on Mechatronics, Bogazici University, Turkey, 29 April to 1 May

Virtual environments, e-training and e-learning will be some of the topics covered at the ITHET 2010 to be held in Cappadoccia, Turkey from April 29 to 1 May. The conference will bring together experts to discuss the current state of the art for learning both in industry and universities. The convergence of current technologies provides the infrastructure for transmitting and sharing information faster and cheaper. However for information to be used to gain knowledge, environments for collecting, storing, disseminating, sharing and constructing knowledge are needed. Such environments, knowledge media, bring together the telecommunication, computer and networking technologies, learning theories and cognitive sciences. The web is one such technology that provides access to valuable educational resources such as e-mail, e-groups, bulletin board services, audio conferencing, video conferencing, e-journals, search engines and databases. It is also used to deliver online instruction or support conventional courses. Effective delivery of this type of instruction must be fast and timely and cater to students, academic, administrative and support needs.


From http://www.unesco.org/ 03/23/2010

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French Week of Sustainable Development 2010

Education events for the French week of Sustainable Development 2010 include seminars, video sessions and a photo exhibition on waste management. The annual French Week of Sustainable Development, takes place from 1 to 7 April with the aim of increasing awareness of sustainable development issues and encouraging people to adopt a more responsible attitude towards the environment. This year the French Ministry of Sustainable Development has invited companies, associations, public services, communities and educational institutions to promote the principles of sustainable development. Last year almost 4300 participants responded to the call for projects reflecting growing interest in the subject. This year the week also focuses on behavioural changes since the establishment of the roundtable, Grenelle of Environment.


From http://www.unesco.org/ 04/01/2010

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UNESCO Celebrates World Press Freedom Day: World Governments Urged to Guarantee Freedom of Information

More than 300 participants attending UNESCO's World Press Freedom Day Conference in Brisbane (Queensland, Australia), have urged national governments to enact legislation guaranteeing the right of access for all to information held by public bodies at all levels, local, national and international. The call was issued in the Brisbane Declaration adopted at the close of the conference, organized in collaboration with the School of Journalism of the University of Queensland on 2 and 3 May to mark World Press Freedom Day. Participants included 75 journalists from Pacific Island States, and media professionals from all other regions. At the Conference, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, also presented this year's UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize to Chilean investigative reporter M車nica Gonz芍lez Mujica of Chile.

During her keynote address at the opening of the event on 2 May, the Director-General stressed UNESCO's role as a champion of freedom of expression and the right to know, which are "indispensable for the attainment of all human rights and fundamental for strengthening democracy". "It is clear, also, that in a more direct way, individuals are seriously hampered in their everyday affairs if they do not have access to information that affects or has the potential to affect their lives," the Director-General said, adding that: "Wherever you are in the world, when you have lived through a period of history during which your 'right to know' was severely restricted, you have a special grasp of what its absence entails - and you tend to have a very high regard, indeed, for freedom of information."

At the ceremony for the World Press Freedom Prize, the Director-General pointed out, however, that freedom of information is not enough. She denounced the fact that "countless journalists all over the world continue to endure harassment, intimidation or physical assault in the course of defending our right to know." "I cannot emphasize strongly enough that national authorities have the primary obligation to prevent and punish crimes against journalists," she said. "Today, I call upon governments everywhere to assume this responsibility as a matter of urgency."


From http://portal.unesco.org/ 04/05/2010

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6th Meeting of the Working Group 2 on E-Government and Administrative Simplification

Meeting Objectives
The purpose of this working group meeting was to:
1. present the "Progress in Public Management in the Middle East and North Africa: Case Studies on Policy Reform" publication;
2. present "G@G 2009", discuss the new project "Government at a Glance in the MENA Region" and present OECD's work on indicators in the field of e-government;
3. discuss the impact on and opportunities for e-government and administrative simplification in the aftermath of the global financial crisis and their contribution to growth;
4. Present and discuss MENA and OECD good practices in the field of e-Justice;
5. provide participants with an update on current activities within the MENA-OECD Governance Programme; and
6. approve the Program of Work for the period 2010-2013.

The meeting was held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on the 27-28 April 2010.

Working Group Background
This working group, which met for the first time in Dubai in September 2005, gathers together the most high ranking e-government officials in MENA countries and invites government experts from OECD countries to discuss key policy issues on the e-government agendas of MENA and OECD countries. The members of the working group also design a plan of activities and provide directions and support for their implementation. In the past, activities included a capacity building seminar on e-procurement, measurement and evaluation of e-government, personalised portals, partnerships and collaboration on e-government, and electronic ID cards. The working group is chaired by Dubai (UAE) and co-chaired by Italy and Korea.


From http://www.oecd.org/ 04/12/2010

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International Conference "The Impact of ICT in Education"

The UNESCO Brasilia Office, the UNESCO Regional Bureau of Education for Latin America and the Caribbean, OREALC/UNESCO Santiago, and the Department of Distance Education of the Ministry of Education Brazil have convened the International Conference "The Impact of ICT in Education" to build knowledge and advance in the definition of agendas and policies. Objective: To review the focus and practices in use and to assess the impact of information and communication technology on the quality of education in Latin America and the Caribbean.


From http://portal.unesco.org/ 04/27/2010

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WSIS Forum 2010: Turning Targets into Action - Towards 2015

The year of 2010 marks a turning point for assessing the progress made towards WSIS implementation during the past five years and for proposing new strategies to ensure the achievement of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) goals by 2015. The WSIS Forum 2010 will be held from 10 to 14 of May 2010 at the ITU Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The organizers, UNESCO, ITU, UNCTAD and UNDP set-up an exceptional event: More than 800 participants have registered. Four heads of UN agencies, many ministers, CEOs, civil society, representatives from academia and other stakeholders will participate in a week full of high-level debates, facilitation meetings, thematic workshops, interactive sessions, knowledge exchanges and kick off meetings. There will also be an exhibition and several publication releases and two receptions for the participants.

This years WSIS Forum agenda was created based on open consultations with WSIS stakeholders (see www.wsis-community.org). UNESCO will contribute to the organization of two high-level debates on social networking and ICTs for disaster management, as well as interactive sessions on Action Lines in which UNESCO is responsible including:
C3 & C7: Access to scientific information;
C3: ICTs and persons with disabilities;
C3: ICT and gender
C7: Education and ICTs
C8: Multilingualism
C8: Indigenous Peoples - a thematic workshop
C9: Community media for disaster preparedness and;
C10: Info ethics.


From http://portal.unesco.org/ 05/07/2010

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UN Forum Unveils New Regional Roadmap to Low-Carbon Economy

Bangkok (UN ESCAP Information Services) - Business leaders and governments meeting this week at a United Nations forum in China unveiled a roadmap for promoting low-carbon economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region. The Asia-Pacific Business Forum in Kunming, which concludes today, recognized that combating climate change is a major challenge and identified opportunities for the Asia and Pacific region to meet the double objective of economic development and long-term sustainability. Participants said the region has the capacity to lead the development of a roadmap to low-carbon development, requiring the region to come up with its own strategy and early action, with proper differentiation to meet different development contexts.

Noeleen Heyzer, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), noted that embracing low-carbon development requires a fundamental change in the way energy is produced and used - opening a potential market of over $9 trillion by 2030 in the Asia-Pacific region alone. Because this will not happen automatically, "collaboration between the public and the private sector to create markets and grasp the huge business opportunities of low-carbon goods and services should be promoted," Dr. Heyzer said. In the end, "increased regional dialogue and cooperation among diverse stakeholders will be vital to sustain low-carbon economic growth in the long-run."

Forum participants agreed that regional cooperation is needed to address critical climate change-related issues such as drought. They fully supported the efforts to develop a regional cooperative mechanism on drought disaster monitoring and early warming, to assist drought-prone countries in the region to build operational capacity through sharing of relevant technical and information resources and services, based on a multi-stakeholder approach. The forum also recognized the importance of developing partnerships among public, private and civil society organizations. The business sector has a unique and critical role to play in converting climate change challenges to business opportunities. A region-wide network of green business can give Asia-Pacific business a voice in economic, social and ecological issues of global importance. Governments have to create an enabling policy environment and to provide appropriate incentives. International organizations such as ESCAP promote regional cooperation. All have responsibilities in achieving a low-carbon economy for common global prosperity.

The Forum, which had the theme, "Business Opportunities and Low-Carbon Economy," brought together some 230 representatives from the private sector, governments, civil society and international organizations, and was co-organized by ESCAP and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT).


From http://www.unescap.org/ 05/15/2010

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Sixty-Sixth Commission Session of UNESCAP

The 66th Commission session is hosted by the Government of the Republic of Korea and Incheon Metropolitan City, at the Songdo Convensi, A Convention Centre, Incheon, from 13 to 19 May 2010. The Commission session comprises two parts:
• Senior Officials Segment from 13-15 May 2010
• Ministerial Segment from 17-19 May 2010

The following events will be held during the Ministerial Segment:
(a) A Ministerial Round Table on the theme of the 66th session "Supportive Financial System and Green Growth for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals in the Asia-Pacific Region" on Monday, 17 May 2010 from 11:15-13:00 hours.
(b) A High-level Panel on "Sustaining the Recovery and Dynamism for Inclusive Development" on Tuesday, 18 May 2010, from 09:00-10:30 hours

The Special Body on Pacific Island Developing Countries was held during the Senior Officials Segment on Thursday, 13 May 2010. Special events that will take place alongside the 66th session of the Commission will be published in due course.


From http://www.unescap.org/ 04/15/2010

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AFRICA: World Economic Forum on Africa

African Development Bank (AfDB) President, Donald Kaberuka, and his delegation are participating in the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa which started on Wednesday, 5 May 2010, in Dar es-Salaam, Tanzania. For the first time, the AfDB is the WEF's official partner and, it is in this regard, playing an important role in the deliberations. In order to bring the institution's development themes to the fore, Mr. Kaberuka has attended several discussion forums on the "state of investment in Africa and how to make the African market more attractive". Mr. Kaberuka was also part of a discussion panel that focused on "women and entrepreneurship in Afrique". Meanwhile, AfDB vice president & Chief Operating Officer, Nkosana Moyo; research director, Leonce Ndikumana; and private sector director, Tim Turner, who are on the president's delegation, had attended other meeting sessions.

Speaking during discussions on business, Mr. Kaberuka underscored that "we must attract foreign investors to Africa," adding that it was also important for the continent to create its own world-class businesses which will, one day, compete with major multinational institutions. Similarly, a roundtable on women entrepreneurship also took place with the chairperson of "New Faces, New Voices", an African financial and business sector professional association, attending. Mr. Kaberuka used the occasion to draw attention to the last summit on women entrepreneurship organized by the AfDB recently in Nairobi, Kenya. Women entrepreneurship is a theme we have been discussion for a long time With Graça Machel. The AfDB will do everything in its power to continue supporting women entrepreneurship, Mr. Kaberuka said.


From http://allafrica.com/ 05/06/2010

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CHINA: Shanghai World Expo's First Theme Forum Opens

The first theme forum of the Shanghai World Expo opened in the Chinese coastal city of Ningbo on Saturday, with renowned experts and entrepreneurs discussing information and communication technologies (ICT) and urban development. The two-day forum was co-organized by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Executive Committee of Expo 2010 Shanghai China, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Ningbo Municipal Government. Participants to the forum include Internet pioneer Robert E.Kahn, CEO of Microsoft Online Lu Qi and Chinese Minister of Industry and Information Technology Li Yizhong. They would join discussions on topics ranging from cloud computing to Internet of Things. A total of 189 countries would present their best at the six-month Shanghai World Expo. Carrying the theme of "Better City, Better Life", the Expo is expected to attract 70 million visitors from China and abroad.


From English.news.cn 05/15/2010

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SOUTH KOREA: Host Asia-Pacific Forum on Internet Safety

South Korea will play host for next year's annual general meeting of the Asia-Pacific Computer Emergency Response Team (APCERT), a regional forum on on-line security, the country's officials said Monday. The APCERT members have agreed to select the South Korean resort island of Jeju over Malaysia as the upcoming place to discuss on-line information security and computer safety, the Korean Communications Commission (KCC), the telecommunications regulator, said in a release. APCERT is an international forum established in 2003 to foster collaboration against cyber attacks and violations of on-line information security. Its members comprise of 23 private security groups from 16 countries from the Asia-Pacific region.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 03/08/2010

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PHILIPPINES: RDC-EVISNET Conducts Web Dev't Training for Member-agencies

Tacloban City - To enhance the skills of the Regional Development Council (RDC) member-agency webmasters on website development and updating, the RDC through the Eastern Visayas Information Sharing Network (EVISNET) conducted recently a three-day training on Website Development using Joomla 1.5. Joomla is a Web Content Management System which enables one to build websites and powerful online applications through simple text, photos, music, videos, documents, among others. Teresita I. Escobar, NEDA Supervising Economic Development Specialist and EVISNET Manager said that the training used Joomla 1.5 CMS as it is more advanced and beautiful, easier to handle, provides more support and user-friendly compared to Joomla 1.0 which the RDC members website are using now.

Escobar said that migration from Joomla 1.0 to Joomla 1.5 will pave the way to a more beautifully-designed and even world class websites with competitive ICT content that will provide the service needs of the public. Likewise, the said training was done in preparation for the forthcoming search for the Best RDC Website Contest which will be conducted in July this year, Escobar said. Topics discussed and applied during the workshop includes installation of Joomla 1.5; installing and customizing templates, modules, components; populating website; and editing photos using fireworks, among others, through the brilliant I.T. know-how of Peter Philip Pates, the workshop trainer supported by the EVISNET team. One of the highlights of the activity was the presentation of the output by agency where the EVISNET Manager expressed her gladness as she was impressed of the beautiful websites that were designed by the more than 40 participants. Escobar also expressed her appreciation to the participant's interest to learn as manifested in their participation leaving no time wasted.


From http://www.pia.gov.ph/ 05/15/2010

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SINGAPORE: IDA-led Delegation to Make First Appearance at COMEX 2010

In a sign of warm relations following the extension of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and the Information Technology Authority of Oman (ITA) in October last year, IDA will be leading a delegation of Singapore infocomm companies to participate in COMEX 2010, scheduled to take place from 26 to 30 April in Muscat, Oman. Exhibiting under the Infocomm Singapore banner, this is the first time that IDA is leading a contingent to showcase at Oman. Building on their experience and capabilities in developing and implementing infocomm solutions both in Singapore and abroad, the Singapore contingent will showcase their innovative offerings in e-Government solutions. "Singapore infocomm companies have gained much experience in the development and implementation of a wide range of infocomm projects within the Singapore government and various economic sectors over the years," said Mr Shaik Umar, IDA's Centre Director for Middle East. "They are well-placed to contribute and value-add to the region with their innovative solutions and capabilities. We hope our presence at COMEX 2010 will further generate awareness about Singapore companies and provide them with further opportunities in Oman and the region."

Besides the showcase at COMEX 2010, IDA will also be leading the sharing of Singapore experience at the COMEX CIO Forum - Government Focus Session on 28 April. IDA will be presenting Singapore's perspective of leveraging Public-Private Partnership to create and deliver services at best value for long term sustainability and the development of a vibrant infocomm industry. As implementation partners in Singapore, the Infocomm Singapore companies will share their case studies, strategies and experiences in implementing e-Services in Singapore and around the world. Participation at COMEX 2010 underscores IDA's strong working relationships with governments and related organisations in the Sultanate of Oman and the other GCC states, as well as its commitment to help facilitate collaboration and exchanges between Singapore and the Middle East region. Since its first point of presence in the region was set up in 2007, IDA has facilitated several Singapore business and official delegations to the region, and hosted Middle East official delegations to Singapore.


From http://www.igov.gov.sg/ 04/26/2010

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VIET NAM: 47 Nominees Win Sao Khue 2010 IT Awards

VietNamNet Bridge - From 90 nominees, the Sao Khue Awards board has decided to present the award to 47 individuals and organizations. The board set up 11 working groups to evaluate submitted works. The government's information portal at chinhphu.vn and the Vietnamese search engine - Xalo.vn - by Tinh Van Company were presented grand prizes. The only award for an individual who greatly contributed to the IT sector belongs to Dr. Vu Duc Dam, Party Secretary and Chair of Quang Ninh province. Dam was the former Deputy Minister of Information and Communication. The three awards for software and IT application went to the Vietnam Industrial and Commercial Bank (VietinBank), Lien Viet Bank and the French-invested NeoPost Company.
 
The awards ceremony will take place at the Hanoi Opera House on April 21 and will be aired live on VTV2. In East Asian and Vietnamese culture, Sao Khue is the symbol of literature and learning. Famous scholars in Vietnamese history are compared to Sao Khue. The Sao Khue Awards was initiated by the Vietnam Software Association (VINASA) in 2003 to praise organisations and individuals who make great contributions to the development of the IT and software industry in Vietnam.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 04/14/2010

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Software Advice Council Debuts

VietNamNet Bridge - A council on Viet Nam software development policy consultation made its debut on Wednesday in Ha Noi, according to the Viet Nam Software Association (Vinasa).

The council was established by Vinasa, and it boasts 21 members from Viet Nam's leading software enterprises, as well as representatives from information technology training establishments and research institutes. The council would not only have roles in building strategies and policies for the development of Viet Nam's software industry, it would also research and make recommendations for Vinasa leaders on policies and strategies for software development and the information technology sector, said Nguyen Minh Hong, deputy minister of Ministry of Information and Communications.

The same day, the council organised a seminar themed "Policies to develop Viet Nam's software industry", with the participation of more than 100 enterprises nationwide.

The delegates discussed the software market, software encouragement policies and information technology labour forces at the seminar. Bui Manh Hai, chairman of the software development policy consulting council, said that the problems discussed at the seminar would be researched by the council to build up a strong software industry. According to statistics from the Ministry of Information and Communications, despite the global economic recession, the country's software industry had reached a growth rate of 30 per cent in 2009, with nearly US$900 million in revenues.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 04/23/2010

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BANGLADESH: Bangladesh's Position Goes Up in ICT Index

Bangladesh's position on the global index for information communication technology (ICT) has gone up significantly, reflecting the government's success towards achieving Digital Bangladesh by 2021. The World Economic Forum (WEF) has prepared the index, considering some key issues including market, political situation, rules and regulations, infrastructure, individual efforts, business and government's approach to this sector. The ICT index, the main theme the Global Information Technology Report, was released worldwide yesterday. Published for the ninth consecutive year with an extensive coverage of 133 economies worldwide, the report remains the world's most comprehensive and authoritative international assessment of the impact of ICT on development process and competitiveness of nations. Under the theme ICT for sustainability, this year's report explores many and diverse links between ICT and sustainability, in all its dimensions. Bangladesh this year ranked upward at 118 from last year's bottom level position of 130 among 133 surveyed countries. Five among eight SAARC nations got positions on the index where India was placed 43, Sri Lanka 72, Pakistan 87 and Nepal 124. Sweden topped the rankings of the index followed by Singapore, Denmark, Switzerland and the United States at top five positions. The bottom five countries are Chad, Zimbabwe, Bolivia, Timore-Leste and Burundi. The report sees most progress in Bangladesh ICT sector in the government's initiatives to adopt information technology for providing efficient and better services. The report also observed individual efforts as a major driving force for development of this sector. The business environment, rules and regulations and technology adoption are also improving, the report indicated. The report also highlights the key role of ICT as an enabler of a more economically, environmentally and socially sustainable world in the aftermath of one of the most serious economic crises in decades.


From http://nation.ittefaq.com/ 03/26/2010

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INDIA: Special Train to Showcase IT Initiatives

Email New Delhi: The government will soon launch a special train to showcase its e-governance initiatives, Minister of State for Communications and IT Sachin Piolt said. "IT is playing an important role in facilitating economic progress of the country and it is a key objective of the government to broadbase access of IT-enabled government services and e-governance initiatives," said Pilot. A joint initiative by the ministries of IT and railways, the train will run across the country. The minister said the national e-governance programme aimed to leverage IT to deliver services like birth and death certificates, land records and information related to farm techniques at a fraction of the cost and time involved. It will have nearly 40 stops, some of which will be synchronised with the passing of the Commonwealth Games baton at those locations. The train is expected to have six exhibition coaches for IT and five for the railways. A telecom ministry statement said the railways ministry had waived off all costs related to operation of the train.


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 04/25/2010

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World Telecom Conference to Adopt Action Plan

Email Hyderabad:A world telecommunication development conference here later this month will assess the growth of information and communication technologies (ICT) and adopt an action plan for the next four years to bring in benefits to all communities of the world. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to inaugurate the event being organised by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a United Nations agency. "A key objective is to promote international cooperation, regional initiatives and partnerships that can sustain and strengthen telecommunication infrastructure and institutions in developing countries," said a statement by the Geneva-based ITU. Beginning May 24, the event will continue till June 4. It will be attended by heads of state and government, ministers, heads of international organisations, development banks, regulatory agencies and private companies. The event would focus on issues like broadband connectivity, digital broadcasting, open source software, cyber security, E-accessibility for people with disabilities, e-applications in health care, human capacity building and emergency communications.


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 05/07/2010

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3 Indian Firms in World's Top 10 Outsourcers

Email Poughkeepsie: India's leading IT firms Infosys, Wipro and Tata Consultancy Services has been listed among the world's top 10 best outsourcing providers. The list released by International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP). The ranking of the top ten firms which made to the list is as follows: Accenture bagged the top position followed by Infosys and Sodexo. Wipro Technologies won the fourth position while IBM and ISS are at fifth and sixth. TCS is at the seventh position while ARAMARK, CSC and Convergys bagged the eighth, ninth and 10th positions respectively. The leading players on both lists possess strong customer references, management capabilities, balanced performance and demonstrated competencies in an industry that is increasingly becoming more strategic and used for higher skilled knowledge-based activities. "These firms on the Global Outsourcing 100 are leaders who are helping the companies that use their services realize greater value and business flexibility, as well as a lower cost structure that will make them stronger in the long term," said IAOP Chairman Michael Corbett, who led the judges' panel.


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 05/10/2010

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eIndia 2010 Awards Nominations

eINDIA 2010 Awards are among the most coveted accolades given to innovative endeavours made by organisations in assimilating technology for developmental concerns. eINDIA 2010 is inviting nominations from individual participants, government organisations, non-governmental organisations, private institutions and enterprises, who have transformed any development opportunity into a sustainable enterprise through innovative use of Information and Communication Technologies. The award categories are Digitial Learning Awards, eGov Awards, eHealth Awards, Telecentre Awards, MunicipalIT and eAgriculture. The nominations are invited from schools, universities, engineering and management colleges, hospitals, government officials, PSUs, academicians, government organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), private institutions and enterprise who have transformed the process through the effective use of ICTs in the above mentioned spheres. Award winners will be felicitated at the eINDIA2010 Conference to be held between 4-6 August, 2010 at Hyderabad International Convention Center, Andhra Pradesh, India.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 05/12/2010

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SRI LANKA: Setting Up Telecom Software Grouping

(LBO) - Sri Lankan firms developeing mobile and telecom software have teamed up with other players in the the sector to set up a 'centre of excellence' to foster collaboration, an industry body said. "Our national strategy is to focus on several high potential niche areas to compete globally as a niche player," chairman of Sri Lankan Association for Software and Services Companies (SLASSCOM) Dinesh Saparamadu said in a statement. "Mobile & Telco is one of the verticals we have chosen after careful market study and internal strength analysis" SLASSCOM say telco solution providers including Dinota IT, Eurocentre, hSenid, Informatics, Motorola, Sabre, Virtusa and Wavenet are in the grouping. "Mobile Telecommunication is a fast growing industry sector with massive global growth potential," DinotaIT chief Nayana Serasinghe, who leads the collaboration centre said. We believe in the next five years, large part of IT solutions will be mobile based in a way which is unimaginable today. "Our focus is to stay ahead by leveraging our collective forces as an industry." SLASSCOM's Mobile & Telco Centre of Excellence will drive joint marketing, research and build capacity.


From http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/ 04/20/2010

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PAKISTAN: Connect 2010 Starts at Exposition Centre: ICT Sector Surpasses $12 Billion Mark

KARACHI: Advisor to PM on Information Technology, Sardar Latif Khan Khosa on Saturday said that the country's information and communication technology (ICT) sector had surpassed $12 billion mark with $1 billion of foreign direct investment (FDI). Speaking at the inaugural session of fifth Information and Communications Technology Exhibition and Conference - Connect 2010 at Expo Centre, he said that the country had the potential to grow further in the field of IT. He pointed out that Pakistan had one of the fastest growing teledensity in the world at a rate of 63.5 percent as compared to the teledensity rate of 37 percent in India. Khosa apprised the participants that the cellular phone spread in terms of connections had gone over 95 million in the country which, according to him, was further increasing and termed it as an "exponential" growth as mobile telephone market had gone up 14-fold since 2000. Expressing satisfaction, he said that the growth in cellular phone market had an immense potential to thrive the country's economy. He hoped that the CONNECT, the IT fair would help the Pakistan receive a attention from companies of the same field, saying that it had provided IT and telecom sector companies a better platform to exhibit their products as well as services. Khosa also stressed on benefiting from the technology, urging the professional to help the people acquire knowledge and expertise of IT across the country. Advisor said that there should be interaction and co-operation between the government, industry and academia to share their expertise about the field and get maximum benefits. He said that his government was committed to extend all-out support for the promotion of IT, as the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) manifesto said and supported the right of information to people as their fundamental right. Later Khosa told reporters about the government's move of inviting the foreign IT companies to resume their businesses in Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa and Balochistan. He said that the government had asked the foreign companies to identify the volume of damage to their infrastructure in Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa in the war against terror. The broadband spread and the optic fibre lying will begin in Balochistan to provide the people with a faster and dependable Internet facility there, he said. He said, while answering to a question, that the government was making efforts to eliminate grey traffic in IT sector with the help of International Traffic Control Room. Khosa said that the government was implementing e-governance system, besides providing LDI licenses. Advisor later paid visits to different stalls of IT and telecommunication. Earlier, Sindh IT Minister Mohammad Raza Haroon, Minister for Science and IT Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa Muhammad Ayub Khan Ashari and IT Minister of AJK Sardar Farooq Ahmad Tahir spoke about their respective governments' efforts for IT growth.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 05/09/2010

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Switching on to NComputing Technology: Punjab Government to Save Over Rs 360 Million

KARACHI: With switching of the traditional computer network to NComputing Virtual Desktop Technology, Punjab government will save about Rs 1.8 billions in up-front and ongoing costs, ie over Rs 360 millions during the three years of project. The government will also use 90 percent less electricity compared to a traditional all-PC solution, said Khawaja Samiullah, Regional Representative of NComputing for Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan at a briefing. He said that with the completion of largest IT Lab Project in Punjab, NComputing was set to revolutionise desktop computing in Pakistan. He said that the Punjab government had successfully established a 15-seat computer lab in its 4286 high schools recently with each three desktop computers and 12 virtual desktops through NComputing device, at a very low cost. "With the installation of NComputing on such a large scale, Punjab government will save nearly Rs 1.8 billions in up-front and ongoing costs, which translates into more than 360 million over the project life of 3 years. The government will also use 90 percent less electricity compared to a traditional all-PC solution," Samiullah elaborated. Throwing light on the technology benefits, he said, "NComputing systems save 75 percent on hardware and since they draw less than 5 watts, energy footprint can be reduced by as much as 90 percent per user," he said, adding that NComputing devices produced practically no heat. He further said electricity savings alone could pay for the NComputing virtual desktops in a year span, adding that the devices lasted for a decade and generated just a few ounces of e-waste. The Regional Representative revealed that NComputing had added 3.4 million new Internet users in Pakistan in 'one go'. He added that Punjab was now the only province of the country with spread of Internet facility, which was available in all its parts. "The NComputing devices are the greenest computers on earth as they use just 1-5 watts of electricity (compared to 110 watts or more for a typical PC) - a major benefit in Pakistan which is facing power crisis. NComputing devices help the users save cost on energy consumed by expensive back-up generators due to their low power usage," he added. He pointed out that NComputing's desktop virtualisation had revolutionised the education system in Macedonia, where every student was having access to a computer through this technology. Similarly, he said, in Andhra Pradesh, India, the government's decision to deploy NComputing's low-cost and eco-friendly solution had provided computing access for the first time to 1.8 million schoolchildren. "We have just introduced NComputing U 170 kit in Pakistan that will be the hottest computing solution that will revolutionise the desktop virtualisation market and is perfectly suited for small businesses, schools and home users in Pakistan," he concluded.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 05/14/2010

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ARMENIA: Union of Information Technologies Enterprises Is 10 Years Old

A jubilee congress of Union of Information Technologies Enterprises (UITE), dedicated to the organization's 10th anniversary, takes place in Yerevan. Congratulating the Union on behalf of the government, Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan noted that UITE is a serious partner of the state, with which a dialogue can be established. "2009 turned to be a critical year - despite a reduction in GDP, a 17% growth was recorded in the IT field. And it referred not only to the scope of services, but also to the growth in companies' number. This means that our joint efforts already yield results. It is important that we enjoy international organizations' support as well," said Tigran Sargsyan. He noted that despite a significant growth in the IT field over recent years, the field representatives are unhappy with the low rate of reforms. Mr. Sargsyan promised that the existing problems will be overcome due to cooperation with the government.

Specifically, he referred to the Law on Control over Export of Dual-Purpose Goods, which was amended recently and caused discontent of UITE. According to the Prime Minister, the government jointly with representatives of the field will try to do so that the security regime does not hamper IT development in the country. UITE CEO Karen Vardanyan stated that primary goals of the organization include assistance to the newly established organizations, enlargement of the Union's services, introduction of a center on Internet-traffic exchange, as well as education in the IT field. He noted that in 2010 they plan to develop a concept on the IT field development and to improve the organizational level of ArmTech exhibition. Around 150 representatives of the Armenian government, ministries and agencies, as well as international organizations and IT-companies participate in the congress. Union of Information Technologies Enterprises NGO has been representing interests of enterprises in the field of information and telecommunication technologies since 2000. The Union has been founded by private IT-companies of Armenia. According to most recent data, it unites 40 companies.


From http://www.panarmenian.net/ 04/14/2010

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AZERBAIJAN: International Conference on E-Government to Be Held

International conference titled "Electronic government in Azerbaijan: achievements and prospects" will be held in Baku on April 26-28. The Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences (ANAS) informs that the event will be held to discuss the work carried out in the sphere of the electronic government, definition of prospects, generalization of scientific results and expansion of participation of the public in e-government formation. "For the most part, rational state administration, development of e-government and private sector, electronic universities and other subjects will e discussed." The conference will be organized by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies, the Ministry of Education, the Estonian Academy of Management, the Azerbaijan Technical University, Institute of Information Technologies and non-governmental organization AKTAM.


From http://www.today.az/ 04/03/2010

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BakuTel Becomes Partner of NETTY 2010 National Internet Award

"One of the main objectives BakuTel is the comprehensive introduction of modern communication technologies, ideas and knowledge, both for industry professionals and for the young generation in Azerbaijan. "As organisers of the leading IT event in the region, we welcome the NETTY national internet award, which will make a significant contribution to the development of the national segment of the World Wide Web and the IT market as a whole, and stimulate a creative approach to creating web projects in Azerbaijan," BakuTel Exhibition Project Manager Mrs. Rena Abutalibova said. The best project in the category 'IT Event of the Year' will be awarded by the organizing committee of BakuTel.


From http://en.trend.az/ 04/09/2010

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OSCE Office in Baku Holds Seminar on Government-media Relations in Democratic Society

A two-day seminar by the OSCE Office in Baku and the Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media on government-media relations in a democratic society started Monday, OSCE official website reported. The seminar will look into the domestic and international legal aspects of freedom of information and freedom of expression, including best practices in successfully managing government-media relations. "During OSCE workshop held in December 2009 there was great interest from the press officers and spokespersons in elements of the media law, including the 2005 law on information and defamation. In addition, both journalists and press officers said that it would be ideal to convene a seminar for them together, which is why we have organized this seminar today," said Ambassador Bilge Cankorel, the Head of the OSCE Office in Baku.

Sixteen heads of press and information offices of the ministries and government agencies, and sixteen editors-in-chief of various media outlets, are attending the seminar. Local and international experts will brief participants on domestic and international laws relevant to the government-media relations; management of successful government-media operations; access to information by the media in the OSCE region; and on practical recommendations for improved press relations and communication strategies. Participants will also discuss the state of media relations in Azerbaijan and ways to improve co-operation between the government agencies and journalists. This seminar is a follow-up to workshops held in December 2009 for spokespersons and journalists, which focused on the rights and responsibilities of both the media and government press offices under the 2005 Law on the Right to Obtain Information.


From http://en.trend.az/ 04/20/2010

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UZBEKISTAN: Tashkent University of Information Technologies Hosts Scientific Conference

National scientific conference of postgraduates, undergraduates, researchers and talented students on the "Information and communication technologies in science and education" was held at the Tashkent University of Information Technologies (TUIT) on 26-27 March. The event was organized by TUIT jointly with the Scientific Technical Society of Radio Engineering, Electronics and Communication of Uzbekistan. The meeting participants considered some 400 reports and presentations during the four section discussions. The reports covered such themes, as programming, database creation, knowledge formation systems, distance education, information security, business plans in international tourism, communication lines management automation, etc. Besides, participants of the conference discussed issues of mobile communication systems, digital TV development, virtual laboratories in distance education, marketing and management in the sphere of ICT, effective use of Internet in education, e-document and e-commerce systems and others.


From http://business.uzreport.com/ 03/29/2010

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AUSTRALIA: Join European Cybercrime Convention

The Federal Government has announced its intention to sign the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime. Australia will join the European Union, the United States, Canada, Japan and South Africa after the EU pushed for its convention to become the international standard on cybercrime. Among other things the treaty requires countries to have a representative available 24 hours a day to assist in investigations while also obliging them to create domestic laws. It also promises the facilitation of greater international cooperation. To date, 27 countries have ratified the treaty, but more than 100 are using it as a basis for reforming their domestic legislative framework. The treaty outlines four criminal offences:
* "Offences against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems, including illegal access to computer systems, illegal interception, data interference, systems interference and the misuse of devices;
* computer-related offences, including forgery and fraud;
* content-related offences, including child pornography; and
* offences related to the infringement of copyright and other related rights".

The announcement follows Australia's involvement in the negotiations for the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) by 10 nations and the European Union. In recent months, the issue of cyber security has hit the headlines with the revelation that mining giant, Rio Tinto, had its systems hacked and a corporate customer of Optus' was hit by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. A group calling itself 'Anonymous', also recently 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. Despite a lot of this recent spotlight revolving around attacks allegedly coming out of China, the greatest threat to Australian organisations is corporate espionage, rather than state-sponsored hacking, a security expert has warned. Aside from the move to join the European cybercrime treaty, the Australian government has made several other moves to combat these threats and other potential cyber risks.

Australia's biggest banks, telcos, and utilities, for example, 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. 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/ 05/01/2010

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Government to Open Data, Turn Social in Wake of Taskforce Report

The Federal Government has agreed to implement 12 of the 13 recommendations laid-out in the Government 2.0 Taskforce report released last December. The report, entitled Engage: Getting on with Government 2.0, reviewed the government's use of Web 2.0 technology and made recommendations based on three pillars: Leadership, policy and governance to achieve necessary shifts in public sector culture and practice, The application of Web 2.0 collaborative tools and practices to the business of government, and Open access to public sector information.

The 13 recommendations cover a range of topics, from the public accessibility of government data and information to the use of copyright and volunteering of information to the Internet. The government acknowledges all recommendations in the report, and agreed it should make a declaration of openness through technology, saying it would "assist in driving a pro-disclosure culture across government". Though the government's response is largely positive, it doesn't agree to move licensing of copyright material from the current agency - the Attorney-General's Department - to the Office of the Information Commissioner, proposed in the recommendations. "These functions are best performed by, and should remain with the (Attorney-General's Department)," the response reads. The sole recommendation not agreed to, "encouraging info-philanthropy", was deferred in light of the release of the Henry Tax Review this week. The recommendation encourages the Federal Government to recognise not-for-profit organisations and individuals who contribute publicly accessible information to the Internet, by affording them a charitable status.

"We have deferred our response to one recommendation about tax deductibility for information philanthropy until it can be considered in the context of the review of Australia's Future Tax System and the research report on the contribution of the not-for-profit sector," the Minister for Finance and Deregulation Lindsay Tanner said in a statement. Both the tax review and the Productivity Commission's report on non-for-profit organisations are now available. The Minister did not return comment at time of writing as to when this recommendation would be reconsidered. As part of the its response, the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) - charged with implementing the Govt 2.0 taskforce recommendations - has established an overarching blog for the department in which it plans to open a communication channel between the Federal Government and Australians. While the response details the government's view of the recommendations, it is yet to set a timeframe on implementing them. "The greatest barrier to Government 2.0 is cultural," the taskforce report reads. "Leadership on the issue of more open disclosure and engagement is the key driver of cultural change."


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 05/03/2010

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