Autumn 2010 Issue 31
Special Focus |  Policy and Legislation |  e-Government |  e-Commerce |  e-Society |  e-Security |  Conference and Training

Contact Us:  unpan-ap@sass.org.cn
ˇˇ Cell Phone Technology Can Empower the World's Poorest
World Leaders Define Vision for Globally Connected Society
Africa: Stakeholders Hold Summit on ICT
Asia Gains in Digital Economy Rankings
Asian E-Government in 2010
Australian Federal Budget Allocates $1bn to Improve E-Government Services
Azebajian President Ilham Aliyev Signs Order to Approve State Program on ICT Development for 2010-2012
Bangladesh: Integrating Microfinance with ICT
Canada: 25 Sites and Apps for Open Government
China's 1st Law on Online Games Takes Effect
India: First of Its Kind E-Governance Programme
Malaysia: ICT Is Key Enabler in 10th Plan Blueprint
Republic of Korea: Seoul Tops Global Cities Ranking for E-Govt
Thailand: Cyber Security of National Importance
United Kingdom: E-Access '10 - Access to ICT by People with Disabilities
United States: Web Search Is the New King of Government Portals
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ˇˇ Road Map Set for Global Development of Telecommunications and ICT
World Leaders Define Vision for Globally Connected Society
Lack of Standardization Around Mobile Web Conventions Presents Hurdles for Mobile Publishers
AFRICA: Continent in the Limelight as Mobile Phones Promise More Growth
Nigeria: ICT, the Fulcrum for National Development - Govt
Uganda: Cyber Law to Fight Information Misuse
APEC Launches New Cross-Border Data Privacy Initiative
EUROPE: EU Launches Consultation on Future of Internet Neutrality
Finland: Broadband Becomes 'Basic Right'
France, Netherlands Seek to Halt Internet Censorship
Italian Regulator Urges Common Broadband Plan
Italy Extends 'Bill Shock' Rules to National Mobile Data Use
Kosovo Starts Privatisation of Postal, Telecoms Company
UK Govt Extends Universal 2 Mbps Broadband Target to 2015
UK Govt Unveils Plans to Modernise Radio Spectrum
LATIN AMERICA: Brazilian Regulator Bans Bundling of Broadband
NORTH AMERICA: US FCC Abandons Net Neutrality Talks
US: Broadband Stimulus Projects Need Oversight, Report Says
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ˇˇ CHINA: New Rule to Manage E-waste
Third Party Payments Regulated
China to Try Out Program of Network Integration
Online Shops Must Register
China to Implement Regulations to Govern Internet Gambling Industry
China's 1st Law on Online Games Takes Effect
Superfast Broadband by 2020
Independent Technology Urged for China's Info Tech Drive
JAPAN: Lower House Passes Bill to Revise Broadcasting Law
Ministry Plans Data Centers for Cloud Computing
Japan, Australia to Boost Cooperation in Communications Technology
Ministry Mulls Digital Textbook Project
SOUTH KOREA: Seek to Aid Internet Addicts
South Korea Aims to Make Online Games a Key Driver for Economy
Transport Hubs to Have Wireless Internet Spots
South Korea Drops Law Forcing Internet Explorer for Shopping
S. Korea to Push "Smart Work" System
Ministry Kicks Off 10-year Tech Project
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ˇˇ MALAYSIA: More Co-operation Wanted in ICT with South Korea
ICT Is Key Enabler in 10th Plan blueprint
THAILAND: ICT 2020 Initiative to Be Drafted by End of Year
ICT Cited as Key to Stronger, More Unified Thailand
VIET NAM: IT Infrastructure Targeted
Plan to Boost Computer Literacy
Govt to Rein in Online Gaming
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ˇˇ BANGLADESH: Integrating Microfinance with ICT
ICT Act Challenged
BHUTAN: Taking Quick Steps to Digitisation
INDIA: Remaining Districts in Uttar Pradesh to Have E-District Project Soon
Maharashtra Proposes Act to Promote E-Services
Bihar to Extend IT Benefits to Agriculture Sector
PAKISTAN: Promotion of IT Must for Rapid Development: Chief Minister
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ˇˇ AZERBAIJAN: Close to Awarding Remaining 3G Licenses
President Ilham Aliyev Signs Order to Approve State Program on ICT Development for 2010-2012
Schedule of Operations and Feasibility Studies to Be Prepared to Implement Projects within State Program 'E-Azerbaijan'
GEORGIA: Limit Public Information About International Court Cases
KAZAKHSTAN: Minister of Communications Signed Order on Mass Media Monitoring Technique
TAJIKISTAN: Officials Reverse Ban Against Mobile Phone Ads
Tajikistan Criticises Telecom Industry
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ˇˇ AUSTRALIA: Federal Government Will "Never" Release NBN Co Business Plan
Coalition to Outline Its Broadband Policy Before Next Federal Election
Labor to Launch NBN Blueprint
Australia Govt Expands Proposed Broadband Network
Australian Regulator Introduces New Mobile Content Rules
Policies to Drive Services on a Faster Broadband Network Still Unclear: AIIA
Australia's PM Promotes National Broadband Plan
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ˇˇ Seoul Tops Global Cities Ranking for E-Govt
How E-Government Is Empowering Citizens Worldwide
AFRICA: Nigeria - Govt Signs Contract for New ID Card Project
Nigeria: Lagos Introduces E-Tutor in Schools
UGANDA: Audit Association to Boost IT Governance
ASIA: Govts Push Privacy Awareness
Asian E-Government in 2010
EUROPE: Connecting Albania's Remote Areas with E-School Program
Belgian Regulator Fines Belgacom €800,000 for Lack of Transparency
Italy's Antitrust Body Opens Probe into Telecom Italia
Moldova Holds E-Transformation Forum to Explore Best Ways to Leverage ICT to Catalyse Growth
Malta: Hundreds Apply for Free National ICT Courses
Polish Gov Discusses European e-Justice Portal
Russian Branch of IAOP Opens
LATIN AMERICA: Argentina's Govt Vows to Maintain Stakes in Companies
Argentina Orders Internet Provider Shut Down
Peruvian Regulator Fines Telefonica del Peru for Infractions
NORTH AMERICA: Canada - 25 Sites and Apps for Open Government
US: Government Transparency, Communication and Participation Depend on Modernizing Technology
US: 2010 Digital Counties Survey Award Winners Announced
US: E-Government Satisfaction Down Due to Websites in Progress, Report Says
US: State CIOs Want Better IT Governance and Strengthened Organizations, Survey Finds
US: Web Search Is the New King of Government Portals
US: Government Uses Social Networking Sites for More Than Investigations
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ˇˇ CHINA: 45,000 Gov't Internet Portals
US$630bln Invested in Internet Infrastructure Construction
China's State Council Information Office Publishes Internet White Paper
More Computers for Rural West
CPC Launches Online Database of Communist Doctrines
Beijing Police Establish Public Relations Office, Microblog
Chinese Netizens' Comments Key to Judicial Work
China Embraces New Internet Opportunities
SOUTH KOREA: Online Issuance of Official Documents to Be Expanded
Korea Is the Hub Nation for e-Government
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ˇˇ BRUNEI: Team Up with S. Korea for E-Government Cooperation
SINGAPORE: Collaborate with South Korea on E-Government
THAILAND: Census to Go Online for First Time
NTC Wants Regulation Overhaul
VIET NAM: Next Congress Goes Online
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ˇˇ INDIA: E-Governance Services of Chennai Corporation a Hit
Effective Execution of E-Governance Project in UP
Mission Mode Project Approved Under E-Governance
Punjab Municipal Bodies to Get Integrated E-Governance Project
All Government Services May Go Online in 28 States
E-Toll System by 2012 in India
Maharashtra Government to Reserve Budget for E-Governance
First of Its Kind E-Governance Programme in India
Jharkhand Panchayats to Have E-Secretariat
Government Departments to Replicate E-Governance Model of Jhansi
Gujarat Goes Hi-Tech with Single Portal for E-Governance Services
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ˇˇ ARMENIA: The Results of Computers for Everyone Program Were Discussed by the RA Government
Artsakh Justice Ministry Testing New National E-register
AZERBAIJAN: UN 'Ready' to Assist It in Developing ICT Sector
New Website on Azerbaijani Ghost City Presented
President.az Website's Special Application Launched for I-Phone Users
Azerbaijan's Economic Development Ministry Creates Opportunity to Communicate with Citizens Online
E-Azerbaijan State Program Envisages Independent Body in ICT
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ˇˇ AUSTRALIA: Rudd Government Committed to Web 2.0 Implementation Across Government to Improve Engagement & Transparency
Finance to Deploy New Budget Management System
Australia Delays Plan for Internet Filter
Federal Attorney-General's Department to Upgrade Network
Finance Seeks Whole-of-Government Printing
Gillard Government Actively Considering IT Portfolio
Australian Opposition Vows to Block Internet Filter
Opposition Broadband Policy Will Create Integration Dramas
NEW ZEALAND: Department of Labour Launches a New Information Tool
NZ Government Feed Standard Updated
New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing Framework (NZGOAL) Released by Minister of State Services
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ˇˇ The Internet Economy 25 Years After .com: Transforming Life and Commerce
Worldwide Wireless E-Mail Users to Reach 1 Billion by Year-End 2014
Global Mobile Subscriber Base Passes the 5 Billion Mark
Mobile Broadband Service Revenue to More than Double by 2014
Four out of Five Cell Phones to Integrate GPS by End of 2011
AFRICA: E-Commerce Technology Adoption by SMEs in Botswana
Contract Signed for Ghana's First WiMAX Network
22 in Race as Mozambique Prepares to Open Mobile Bids
New Competition Will Boost Market Share in Morocco
Tanzania: Number of Mobile Banking Clients Up
Uganda: Telecoms in War over Data Services
Zambia: Digital Migration Takes Off
ASIA PACIFIC PC Market to Grow 20.3 Percent in 2010: Gartner
Asia Gains in Digital Economy Rankings
Asian Wireless Telecom Firms Undergoing Transition
EUROPE: Mobile Ad Network Fill Rates Perform Significantly Better than Those in USA
German Mobile Pacts Unlikely, Unwelcome-Regulator
Finland: Nokia Vows to Defend Smartphone Territory
France to Award 4G Mobile Spectrum by Mid-2011
Polish TPSA Sees PLN150m Savings by 2015 on Customer Service Restructuring
Russia Said to Be Developing National Search Engine
UK to Speed Up Mobile Number Portability
LATIN AMERICA: Mobile Number Portability Levels the Playing Field
NORTH AMERICA: Canada's Public Mobile Switches on Montreal Network
US Mobile Revenue to Overtake All Fixed-Line Services by 2015
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ˇˇ CHINA: State-owned Company Enters Internet Video Industry Sector
18 Domestic Firms Get Nod for Net Mapping
China to Boost Web Retail Sales Through Better Regulation
China's Telecom, Internet and TV Network Integration to Drive RMB688 Bln Investment
Network Media Playing Larger Role in Spreading News in China: Blue Book
China Approves Online Buying of Medication at 27 Websites
E-commerce Boom Continues in China as One in Ten Chinese Shops Online
Internet Sector Value Up 56%
Online Shopping Gaining Ground in China
Beijing E-commerce Committee to Fight Poor Competitive Practices
Internet Videos: A Blow, Also an Opportunity
2010 China Mobile Internet Market Size to Hit CNY63bn
JAPAN: Online Retailing Is on the Rise, and Its Champion Is Spreading Its Wings
Japan's Publishing Companies Stepping Up Efforts to Develop E-book Market
E-money - Big, and Getting Bigger in Japan
Consumers to Gain Internet Access to Aggregate Credit Card Charge Data
SOUTH KOREA: Online Ad Market Expands Despite Overall Slowdown
Firms Anticipate E-book Boom in Korea
Men Outnumber Women in Internet Shopping
Korean IT Posts Record Exports, Surplus
Study: Korea Online Game Market Could Exceed $2B In 2011
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ˇˇ MALAYSIA: E-Commerce Industry to Grow 30% Annually Next 3-5 Years - PIKOM
East Malaysians Embracing E-Commerce
THAILAND: BSS Aims to Inject B100m to Local Software Industry
VIET NAM: Selling Software Online
Post and Telecoms Revenue Surges
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ˇˇ INDIA: E-Driver's Licence Project Hits 10 Million
Companies' E-Returns to Have Digital Signature
Punjab to Keep E-Vigil on Liquor Trade
E-Commerce Platform Soon by Railways
SRI LANKA: IT Firm to Raise Rs630mn in IPO
Sri Lanka Gets E-Commerce Investments
PAKISTAN: PTCL Launches World's First EVO 3G Nitro
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ˇˇ ARMENIA: Capital City Gets Phone Coverage on Underground Railway
ArmenTel Offers Installment Payment Plan for New Fixed Line Customers
International Top Up for VivaCell-MTS Armenia Becomes Available Across Ezetop Distribution Channels
ArmenTel Lowers Local Calls Printout Tariffs
VivaCell-MTS Launches Good Price Service
AZERBAIJAN: Award of Further Two 3G Licences Imminent
Deputy Communications Minister: Azerbaijan, Korea Consider Opportunities to Expand Cooperation in ICT Sphere
Trend Commentator: Azerbaijan's East-West Information Superhighway Project to Open Direct Access to Internet Network Core
ISRAEL: Communications Ministry Issues First MVNO Licence
MoC to Reign in MTR Reduction
IRAQ: Fourth Mobile Licence Receives Final Approval
KAZAKHSTAN: Operator Calls for 3G License Allocation
Now, an EDI Centre in Kazakhstan Now, an EDI Centre in Kazakhstan
UZBEKISTAN: UCell Acquires 4G Mobile Licence
Fourth LTE Network Goes Live: MTS Launches 4G in Tashkent
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ˇˇ AUSTRALIA: 44 ICT Projects to Share in $230m of Gershon Savings
Federal Budget Allocates $1bn to Improve E-Government Services
Government Not yet at the Green IT Tipping Point
Declaration of Open Government Imminent
Australian Government Strikes Multi-Billion Broadband Deal
Broadband Bargaining Grips Australia
Senate Committee to Investigate Data Retention By ISPs
New Zealand's Broadband: Bring It on at the Speed of Light
NBN No Cost to Homes: Gillard
FIJI: Bid to Cut Its Internet Prices
NEW ZEALAND: Commerce Commission Recommends Regulation of Mobile Termination Rates
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ˇˇ Social Networking Fastest Growing App Segment in US, Europe - comScore
Adoption of Mobile Banking Services Exceeds Expectations
Cell Phone Technology Can Empower the World's Poorest
For Africa and the Middle East, the World Just Got a Whole Lot Smaller
AFRICA: Kenya Has Third Highest Number of Blogs
EUROPE: UK: E-Access '10 - Access to ICT by People with Disabilities
Hungarian Smartphone Owners Use the Internet 20 Minutes on Average, Each Day
Colombia to Invest COP 14 Bln in Fibre, Broadband Network
NORTH AMERICA: US - E-Discovery of Social Media Continues to Challenge Organizations
US: New York City to Test Wireless Social Bicycle System
Spurning the Internet: Many Americans Not Online at All - by Choice
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ˇˇ CHINA: Internet Accessible to 45% of Population in 5 Years
Internet of Things Zone in City
China's First Mobile TV Platform Approved
China's Online Forum Users Hit 117 Million
China's Online Population Tops 420 Million
China's 3G Users Hit 25.2 Mln: MIIT
China's Mobile Phone Users Top 800 Mln
Report: Broadband Cost in China 124 Times That of South Korea
China Hearts Mobile Internet Access
JAPAN: Top Portals Unveil Mobile Websites
Japan Opening E-Learning for Nihongo Studies
Horizons Widen for Cloud Computing
Web Site Playing Cupid to Spur on Japanese Growth
Japanese Operators Win 557,900 New Subs in July
NORTH KOREA: May Be Getting an Internet Connection
SOUTH KOREA: Most Avid Readers of Online News
Online Boarding Passes to Be Accepted for Departure
Mobile Web Usage Climbs During Nighttime
South Korea Gets the Fastest Internet in the World
Enjoy Wireless Internet in the Major Stations in Korea
Telecoms, Portals Compete over Social Hubs
Domain Names in Korean to Be Introduced Next Year
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ˇˇ INDONESIA: Communicating in the Broader Broadband
LAOS: New IT Service for Tourists Officially Launched
IPT and India's Trigyn Technologies to Train Trainers of Trainers for ICT
MALAYSIA: Helping Datacentres Cut Energy Wastage
Seven Libraries Link Up over the Internet
CAT Puts in Place IT Infrastructure for E-tourism
More Cybercentres to Come
THAILAND: Four Online Inventions to Keep Away from
New Technology and Trusted Practices
VIET NAM: ICT Firms Backed to Strengthen Competitiveness
Businesses Profit from Social Networking
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ˇˇ BANGLADESH: Newly Introduced E-Tendering Cuts Time Significantly
INDIA: Drivers Get Smart with an E-License
E-Ticket Agents to Be Barred from Using Tatkal Service
E-Waste to Increase in Coming Years
Online Complaint Register System by PWD
Over 600 Citizen-Centric Services Now Available Online
IT@School to Set Up 140 Model ICT Schools in Kerala
Punjab E-Gram Centres to Be Operational by Deccember 2010
SRI LANKA: Telecom Offers New Tariffs for Fixed Wireless Phones
PAKISTAN: Government Urged to Open More IT Universities
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ˇˇ ARMENIA: ArmenTel Targets Mid-2011 to Fully Digitise Yerevan PSTN
100,000 E-passports and 250,000 Identification Cards to Be Purchased Within 2010
ArmenTel Announces New Payment System Launch
GNC Alfa Completes First Stage of IP/MPLS Network Construction
AZERBAIJAN: Government Set to Install Video Cameras in Crowded Places
AzQtel to Achieve Full Coverage of Absheron Peninsula with WiMAX Network by Next Month
ISRAEL: Post to Launch MVNO Services
IRAQ: Asiacell Widens Footprint in Bid to Achieve Nationwide Coverage
KAZAKHSTAN: GSM Kazakhstan Installs 4G Base Station in Astana
UZBEKISTAN: Digital TV Introduced
Information Technologies Skills Open New Opportunities for Blind People
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ˇˇ AUSTRALIA: Get Electronic Health Records by Mid-2012
Industry Opens Up on Finance's Gov 2.0 Blog
Agreement Between NBN Co and Telstra on the Rollout of the National Broadband Network
Size and Location of the Digital Dividend
Australia Begins Switch to Digital TV
NBN Network Operations Centre to Be Based in Melbourne
Outcome of Consultations on Transparency and Accountability for ISP Filtering of RC Content
More than Two Million Australians Use Their Mobile Phone to Access the Internet
Australia to Permit In-flight Mobile Phone Calls
Australians Fear Stalking, Badgering from Sharing Location Data
FIJI: News Site Taken Offline
Fiji Shuts Down Popular News Site
NEW ZEALAND: Telecom Focuses on Fibre Future
Internet, Text Messages to Be Rolled Out for Air NZ Flights
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ˇˇ IT Security Market to Grow by 9%
Mobile Security Risks for the Public Sector
Environmental Interference to Security
Security a Top Public Sector ICT Priority
ASIA: Dominating Global Spam League
EUROPE: EU's Reding Calls for Better Data-Protection Rules
World's Largest Public Safety Radio Network Planned
Russian Government Approves Personal Data Protection
NORTH AMERICA: Canada - Smartphone Wave Challenges Enterprise Security
US Launches Coordinated Response to Intellectual-Property Threats
US: FCC, Public Safety at Odds over Broadband Plan
US: FBI Access to E-Mail, Web Data Raises Privacy Fear
US: California Deploys Strategic Plan to Upgrade 911 System
Ex-US GCIO Warns on Cloud Security
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ˇˇ CHINA: Authorities Crack 600 Online Soccer Betting Groups
China Vows Crackdown on Internet Piracy
Internet a Resource for Finding Criminals
Hackers Use Chinese IPs to Launch Attacks
Chinese Experts Refute Pentagon Cyber Report
JAPAN: Gov't to Have Internet Providers Block Access to Child Porn Images
SOUTH KOREA: Cyber Attack a Hangover from Last Year
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ˇˇ MALAYSIA: Govt Agencies Taught to Handle Cyberattacks
THAILAND: Cyber Security of National Importance
Cybercrime on Rise in Thailand
VIET NAM: Warnings on Loose Controls of Internet Information
First Vietnamese Anti-virus Software Obtains International Certificate
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ˇˇ India-Pakistan 'Cyberwar' Claims High-Profile Victim
INDIA: Beginning of a New Era in Management of Wakf Properties
SRI LANKA: Software Group Warns of Piracy Risk
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ˇˇ AUSTRALIA: National Cyber Security Awareness Week
Kids Help Set Cyber-Safety Defence Policy
Federal Security Framework Targets Unnecessary Governance
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ˇˇ ITU Regional Forum on Digital Inclusion Boosts Regional Cooperation-Ministers of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives and Nepal Commit to Increased Regional Cooperation
AFRICA: Stakeholders Hold Summit on ICT
Connecting Rural Communities Africa 2010 Forum
Government Runs Workshop on Territorial Information System
Asia-Oceania Computing Industry Organization to Meet in Vietnam
ASIA: Fifth International Conference on Public Policy and Management 2010
Asia-Pacific: Workshop on Improving Public Service Through ICT
EUROPE: CROSSROAD Workshop on ICT for Governance & Policy Modelling - State of Play & Future Scenarios 2030
Future Network & Mobile Summit 2010
ICDGS 2010 - International Conference on e-Democracy, e-Government and e-Society
12th International Conference on e-Health Networking, Application & Services (Healthcom2010)
IADIS e-Commerce 2010 Conference
International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) e-Government Conference - 'EGOV 2010'
11th European Conference on Knowledge Management - ECKM 2010
NORTH AMERICA: 2nd International Conference on Information Management and Evaluation
Public Transit CIOs Form Consortium
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ˇˇ CHINA: Beijing to Build First 3D Technology Park
Robots Rule at 'Robotech' Expo
Beijing Hosts Cyber-security Conference
SOUTH KOREA: World IT Show Kicks Off in Seoul
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ˇˇ LAOS: National Internet Centre Opens
MALAYSIA: Host OIC Computer Emergency Workshop
THAILAND: Co-hosting of Industry Exhibitions
VIET NAM: 3D Technology Highlighted at 15th IT Expo
HCM City IT Association Gives Annual Awards
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ˇˇ BANGLADESH: E-Content and ICT for Development Award 2010 - An Initiative to Promote Innovations
INDIA: ICT Centre of Excellence for Grenada
Web Drive for Jharkhand Academic Reforms
Key E-Training for Employees in Bahrain
PAKISTAN: ITCN Asia 2010 Opens Without Formal Ceremony
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ˇˇ ARMENIA: VivaCell-MTS Organizes Training for Telecom Journalists
AZERBAIJAN: Committee Head - 'Single Window' System Introduced in Its Customs Proves Effective
TAJIKISTAN: Freedom of Expression Network to Be Set Up
TURKMENISTAN: TurkmenTEL 2010 Attracts the Full Attention of the International Telecommunications & IT Industry
UZBEKISTAN: Internet Festival Starts
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ˇˇ "Introducing and Sustaining Competition in the Telecommunications Sector in the Pacific"
VANUATU: Next Generation Internet - Security and Governance

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Cell Phone Technology Can Empower the World's Poorest

Global cellular phone coverage has far outpaced the expansion of essential services such as water and electricity, as well as access to financial services. For this reason, "mobile money" is seen as a means to transform the notion of banking around the world, and broaden access to credit, insurance and secure savings that are desperately needed in the developing world as individuals seek to enhance their well-being and emerge from poverty. The rapid proliferation of cellular phones around the world "has changed the course of human development," Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero said August 2 at the State Department conference Tech@State: Mobile Money and Financial Inclusion. Yet, at the same time, 1.7 billion low-income cell phone users do not have a bank account. In effect, they "remain outside of the realm of economic opportunities that is represented by financial access," she said. Through their phone connections, small business owners, farmers and others either living in rural areas or at the bottom end of the socio-economic pyramid are obtaining the ability to communicate instantly and transfer funds to individuals and institutions.

The service provides a quick, secure and transparent means of performing transactions. The widespread dissemination of cellular phones also means that the relative few without a phone likely will have a close friend or relative they could turn to for the same purposes. "Financial opportunity shouldn't be limited to those with traditional assets or credit stories that a bank can respect," Otero said. Microfinance efforts have shown that the poor are credit-worthy and pay back their loans despite not having assets or working capital. They have demonstrated both entrepreneurship and drive to succeed, she said. "Microfinance has demonstrated how low-income men and women are dignified by the opportunity to manage a business, build their business and make better economic decisions for their families," she said. The conference brought financial, technology, development and other experts together to discuss the current and potential uses of mobile money, and how to solve existing problems and amend regulations to allow even greater participation.

Otero said the State Department, together with the Treasury Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, can play a role in expanding mobile financial services around the world both as a convener of state, commercial and nonprofit entities, and by working with foreign governments to create more political will for effective regulatory practices. While 5 billion of the world's 6.6 billion people have mobile phones, only about 1.6 billion have bank accounts. Of those, only 1 billion are fully served by traditional banks, according to Carol Realini, the chief executive officer of Obopay, a mobile payments company. She cited a "natural ceiling on banking," and pointed out that mobile money potentially could account for $10 trillion in retail payments and $400 billion in remittances sent from overseas friends and family, Menekse Gencer said cell phones are also helping farmers receive crucial insurance coverage for their crops. "I think within five years, we are going to transform the planet," Realini said. "It has already started in some countries like Kenya and India, and what you're going to see is it's going to start to be a wildfire around the planet." Shainoor Khoja of Afghanistan's Roshan cellular service provider highlighted the importance of mobile transactions in her country, where she said there are only 17 banks and 34 automated teller machines, which serve only 3 percent of the population. At the same time, an estimated 23 percent of Afghanistan's gross domestic product is given away in bribes. "The alternative to mobile money in Afghanistan is cash," she said. People must carry around large amounts, sometimes in safes, and when employees are paid "they get shaken up by whomever wants to shake them up." "In Afghanistan, 59 percent of the population complain that corruption and bribery is a bigger problem than jobs and security," Khoja said. Along with enabling secure and transparent transactions to reduce theft and corruption, mobile money also potentially could serve the illiterate in Afghanistan and elsewhere through voice recognition systems and programs that can read text messages out loud. Menekse Gencer, the founder of mPay Connect, a company that provides consulting services to clients interested in providing mobile payments services to their customers, said mobile money can also provide the foundation for food security.

She highlighted a "vicious cycle" that currently exists in some developing countries, where a drought or bad harvest will devastate farmers, who then need to focus whatever resources they have left toward providing for their immediate families, rather than working and reinvesting in seeds or other material to produce more output. As a result, the food supply shrinks and food prices rise, sometimes leading to health consequences like malnutrition or HIV/AIDS if individuals enter the sex trade to make ends meet. Access to mobile financial services "is a very, very important foundation" for ending the cycle, Genser said. In Kenya, where 70 percent of the population relies on agriculture for income, the Syngenta Foundation has been using mobile technology to insure small farmers against drought and other conditions. When the harvests are damaged or lost, subscribers automatically begin receiving insurance payments through their phones. "Now, with this insurance, it enables them to invest back into their farming - into good seeds and fertilizers, which they couldn't do before because essentially they were worried that if they put that money into investing in their farms, what happens if the droughts come and they can't buy food?" Genser asked. "Suddenly, some of that vicious cycle ... is suddenly freed up through this microinsurance." Closing the conference, Caroline Mauldin, who works in Under Secretary Otero's office, said the conference marked "the beginning of a conversation for us," as the State Department seeks expertise and recommendations on how to expand access to mobile money around the world. There is an "alignment of market forces and stars" that will push the mobile money industry forward, she said. And the Obama administration "cares very deeply about this work," and how it can advance U.S. policy priorities such as food security, combating corruption and fighting global poverty, she said. (by Stephen Kaufman)


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

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World Leaders Define Vision for Globally Connected Society

Geneva - Leading lights from industry, civil society, UN agencies and the creative sphere, who together comprise the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, have emphasized the critical role of broadband networks in future global development. Commissioners met in private session in Geneva on 11 July to set about defining a vision for accelerating the deployment of broadband networks worldwide, with the aim of improving the delivery of services across a huge range of social and business sectors, and accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Commission is co-chaired by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Mr Carlos Slim Hel¨˛, Honorary Lifetime Chairman of Grupo Carso, with ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Tour¨¦ and UNESCO Director-General, Ms Irina Bokova, serving as joint vice chairs. It will deliver its outcomes to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 19 September 2010 at an official side event of the UN MDG Summit in New York, which starts on September 20. These outcomes will be presented in the form of two reports, the first of which will reflect expert input from the Commissioners, and the second of which will comprise in-depth analysis of the challenges and opportunities in deploying broadband across a range of different types of economies.

The first report will also include a series of top-level Recommendations designed to serve as a global blueprint for rapid broadband development worldwide, while the second report will take into account local needs, financing constraints and technical hurdles, and make practical proposals on possible routes towards deployment of ubiquitous high-speed networks at affordable prices in every country worldwide. "The global deployment of broadband networks will be as powerful a transformational force for the 21st century as the progressive installation of electricity networks was in the first decades of the 20th century," said Dr Tour¨¦. "Just as connection to the power grid is now seen as a basic element of social and economic empowerment, so ubiquitous connectivity to broadband networks will be vital to the ongoing development of every nation worldwide." "The latest information and communication technologies (ICTs) have created new opportunities for the creation, preservation, dissemination and use of information," said the UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, who was represented at the meeting by Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information Mr Janis Karklins. "We aim to go further, towards the construction of inclusive knowledge societies in which people can transform information into knowledge and understanding that empowers them to improve their livelihoods and contribute to their social and economic development. Universal access to broadband-enabled applications will be vital for achieving this goal."


From http://www.itu.int/net/ 07/12/2010

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Africa: Stakeholders Hold Summit on ICT

A conference to brainstorm on the current challenges relating to infrastructure, security and government policies slowing down the benefits accruable from a virile ICT growth for 2011 is to hold in Nigeria. The Conference will be co-hosted by Covenant University and Bells University of technology, Ota, Ogun state come March, 2011. According to the Chairman, organizing committee, Dr. Longe Babatope, the conference will focus on current research on ICTs in Africa with a particular interest on how to create awareness and identifying potentials and building capacity, as empirical evidences on ICT adoption and diffusion in Africa has revealed an upward growth, adding that this position is supported by the rapid increase in mobile telephone subscribers in the region. With the theme : ICT For Development in Africa - Sustaining The Momentum, Extending The Reach, Olumide said firm-level variables such as financial capacity and technological absorptive capacity have also influenced the intensity of the adoption of ICTs, thereby suggesting that globalization has also influenced the adoption of new technologies in Africa, but regretted that the developmental trend has concentrated in cities, metropolis and urban communities in Africa with millions still out of reach of the ICT development wave.

"This scenario raises two basic questions in the mind of ICT technocrats, practitioners and the academia: How can we sustain the present developmental momentum? And what can be done to extend the reach of ICT to the unreached?," the chairman observed. This notwithstanding, he contended that there is an urgent need to keep pace with ICT development and its benefits in Africa, while also addressing possible areas of developmental benefit of ICT to other target groups. Rural dwellers, farmers, extension officers, health workers and social workers to them, must be empowered to use and apply ICTs much more creatively and pragmatically to development problems beyond the internet-enabled PC telecenters. "There is also the challenge of the non-involvement and imbalance of gender, dearth of sound ICT-roadmap and strategies by policy makers resulting in uncoordinated and unsustainable ICT-development activities," they added.

To achieve the desired objectives, the group said that the conference will bring together a fine mix of practitioners and academicians in the area of ICTs for sustainable development, stressing that the conference apart from discussing on the current challenges facing the growth of the ICT sector in Africa, it will also explore the possibilities of continuity in terms of contributions from Africa to the ICT for Development discourse, as well as initiate pragmatic measures needed to extend the ICT reach.

"The objective is to highlight the synergy of collaboration between African countries and other developing countries, and between African countries and the developed countries towards development solutions. Discussions and panel debates will focus on what can be done to sustain the developmental pace and close the ICT gap still existent in Africa. Workshops will examine international grant-seeking opportunities for ICT research and projects, the menace of cybercrime as a limiting factor on ICT for development and e-learning for African universities and new frontiers in telemedicine," the group stated.


From http://allafrica.com/ 08/17/2010

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Asia Gains in Digital Economy Rankings

The Economist Intelligence Unit has released its Digital Economy Rankings for 2010, which find that, despite Europe maintaining top position in terms of Internet infrastructure and adoption, recent investment has dramatically improved the Asia-Pacific region's e-readiness. "The top performers in the 2010 digital economy rankings - led this year by Sweden (1st), which dislodged the perennial e-readiness leader, Denmark (2nd) - demonstrate a high degree of connectivity and score well on all fronts, from the quality of their business and legal environments to social and cultural drivers of digital progress, the existence of sound public policy on ICT, and the levels at which consumers and businesses actually use digital services," the report states. "Many in Europe and North America suffered a decline in their positions in the table, as we found the availability of ultra-high speed networks to be in considerable need of development. By contrast, those economies that have invested heavily in the next generation of Internet infrastructure saw their scores - and rankings - rise, notably Asian countries such as Taiwan (12th), South Korea (13th) and Japan (16th)," the report said. In the rankings for 2010, the United States rose two positions to finish 3rd, while Hong Kong, now in 7th place, overtook Singapore. As noted previously, Taiwan rose 4 places to 12th in the index, ahead of the United Kingdom which fell one place to 14th. Other territories of note that were placed in the top 25 include: Ireland, up one place to 17th; Switzerland which fell 7 places to 19th; Bermuda which fell one place to 22nd; and Malta which maintained 23rd position. The United Arab Emirates was placed 32nd. Sitting towards the bottom of the table, the Economist's report found that emerging markets China and India still remain considerably behind their international counterparts in terms of e-readiness, placing 56th and 58th, respectively.


From http://www.tax-news.com/ 07/13/2010

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Asian E-Government in 2010

FutureGov announces the availability of a new report, Asian E-government in 2010 - winning citizen trust for Government ICT initiatives. The study, based on a survey of 121 public sector officials from eight Asia Pacific countries and economies (within the Government, Education and Healthcare sectors) found that there was scope for increased deployment of E-government services across all organisations. Over 45 per cent of respondents indicated that they offered less than ten such e-services to citizens. "There exists a great growth opportunity for implementing E-government services within the Asia Pacific region as governments continue in their quest of improving citizen services", said Raphael Phang, Research Director, FutureGov. "However, greater citizen advocacy brings a new dimension to the challenges faced by governments, with the apparent "disconnect" in terms of attitudes towards privacy between public sector officials and citizens being one such area."

Key findings from this study include:
•The implementation of E-services would be driven by the priority to achieve greater operational efficiencies and customer/ stakeholder satisfaction within these organisations.
•The impact of the financial economic crisis would continue to play a major role as a key driver of these priorities.
•E-government planners are faced with key challenges in addressing the needs of a new citizenry brought up in the new media age, while ensuring that data security and privacy are protected

While traditional E-government models have been depicted in terms of interactions such as Government to Citizens (G2C), Government to Businesses (G2B) and Government to Government (G2G), it is important to understand that citizen governance cuts across these traditional boundaries, and customer demands as a driver is increasing the importance of this aspect of E-government. This FutureGov Research report contains the findings from 18 key questions posed to senior public sector officials across eight countries and economies within the Government, Education and Healthcare sectors. The goal of this study was to gather first-hand industry intelligence regarding the state of E-government across public sector organisations. (by Raphael Phang)


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 07/13/2010

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Australian 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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Azebajian President Ilham Aliyev Signs Order to Approve State Program on ICT Development for 2010-2012

President Ilham Aliyev has signed an Executive Order to approve the State Program on development of communication and information technology in Azerbaijan for 2010-2012 (Electronic Azerbaijan), AzerTAj State News Agency reported on Wednesday. Under the document, the coordination of implementation of the measures envisaged in the State Program was entrusted to the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology.


From http://en.trend.az/ 08/11/2010

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Bangladesh: Integrating Microfinance with ICT

Linking up and Reaching out in Bangladesh: Information and Communications Technology for Microfinance presents a new idea of introducing a centralised technology platform for the microfinance industry to usher greater efficiency and ameliorate current constraints. Linking up and Reaching out in Bangladesh: Information and Communications Technology for Microfinance. The microfinance market in Bangladesh emerged in the early 1970s out of the now-famous Jobra experiments of Dr. Muhammad Yunus and a number of other, government-led initiatives. Cover page of the report/ Photo credit: World Bank These pioneering efforts led to the proliferation of institutions that we see flourishing in the country today. Bangladesh is generally considered to be a mature microfinance market, with a multitude of players that together employ around 150,000 people (CDF 2006). According to data provided by the Microcredit Regulatory Authority (MRA), as of December 7, 2008, there were 374 licensed nongovernmental microfinance organisations in Bangladesh - out of 4,236 organisations that applied for licenses. The potential number that could qualify, given the major criteria of having 1,000 borrowers or Tk 4 million in principal loans outstanding, is 452. Data from MIX, the Web based microfinance information platform (Microfinance Information Exchange) and Credit and Development Forum (CDF), a non-profit microfinance network in Bangladesh, indicate that 77% of the market is currently served by the three largest microcredit programs: ASA, Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), and Grameen Bank. Together, the three institutions serve more than 18 million borrowers. The remainder of Bangladesh's estimated 24 million total microfinance borrowers are served by institutions classified as medium, small, or very small. While the figures seem to indicate that large institutions serve the vast majority of microfinance clients in Bangladesh, a mapping exercise carried out by the microfinance apex funding institution Palli Karma- Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) found that there is an overlap of about 33% (PKSF 2004). More recent PKSF studies indicate that the overlap rate has increased to 40 percent.

In other words, borrowers receive loans from multiple lenders, either to fulfill their investment needs or to pay back the loans they have received from other institutions. Given the overlap incidence and the absence of a robust credit bureau, totals on an institution-by-institution basis might grossly overestimate the number of borrowers served and therefore underestimate those that have absolutely no access to finance. This leads to what is widely believed: that despite the large number of (sometimes duplicated) borrowers currently served and despite the many years of experience in microfinance by the Bangladeshi operators, about 50% of the country's poor have not yet been reached (PKSF 2006). Although microfinance organisations in Bangladesh do not yet see this as a problem, it has become a troublesome issue in many other counties, as it can lead to unacceptable levels of debt that would eventually adversely affect the poor. The 2008-09 international financial crisis provides incentive for Bangladesh to be cautious about such an occurrence in its microfinance sector. Microcredit organisations in Bangladesh face a number of constraints in trying to serve the majority of the poor. Many of these constraints can be linked to insufficient availability and use of technology. Major concerns include the following: There is no reporting mechanism that correctly captures performance data. Information on the financial and operational performance of microfinance institutions (MFIs) is paper-centric and not timely, while data are not complete and cannot be independently verified. This situation is detrimental to MFIs, microfinance clients, and microfinance industry regulatory bodies. Paper-based operations consume a significant amount of loan officers' time. There is not, in most MFIs, a timely connection between the head office, the branch offices, and the loan officers in the field due to lack of, or incomplete use of, appropriate technology applications.

Due to non-use of appropriate technology applications, there is a lack of holistic, sector-wide data on MFI borrowers and outstanding portfolios. MFIs are unable to share useful information about clients with each other. This contributes to the persistent client overlap seen in the microfinance sector. Adoption of technology is expensive for MFIs, while use of currently available technology does not always correspond to gains in revenue or increases in productivity in the short term. This book presents a new paradigm for introducing technology in the microfinance Industry of Bangladesh that could help ameliorate current constraints. Under the new paradigm, a centralised ICT platform would be established to serve the microfinance industry of Bangladesh and technology would be deployed more rapidly to MFIs in all parts of the microfinance value chain, from the head office to branch offices, loan officers, and clients. Unlike in the traditional paradigm, the technology needs of all MFIs would be pooled together in one central office. The central office would offer technology tools, services, and know-how to MFIs throughout the country. Several benefits would be achieved under this new paradigm: Because all technology needs would be pooled in one place, the central office would be able to exploit economies of scale and offer technology services to MFIs at a lower cost. Because their technology needs would be outsourced, MFI staff would no longer need to devote as much time and effort to learning new technologies. The central office would provide all technology-related training and support. Because technology would be deployed throughout the microfinance value chain, all parts of the MFI would always be connected. Because all MFIs would be connected with one another through a central office, they would be able to learn useful information about clients from one another.

The new paradigm goes several steps further. If the central platform were connected to the formal financial sector, MFI activities could become integrated with those of the formal financial sector, namely through increasing MFIs' access to capital from commercial banks and financial intermediaries. In turn, the formal financial market would be able to reach out to individual MFIs and their clients, who live in remote, rural areas. Similarly, if the central platform were connected with the government, MFIs could more easily comply with government regulations and grant the government access to selected MFI information. In turn, the government could design better-targeted microfinance policies and regulations based on complete and accurate information. In the long term, the government could opt for lighter regulation, intervening strategically only when there is a need. With the new platform in place, the cost of regulation would also be lower than in the traditional paradigm, since information about MFIs would be readily available and interventions would be more strategic. Introduction of the centralised ICT platform also would open the door to new products and services, such as mobile banking, branchless banking, and electronic remittances. Because MFIs would transact business electronically, through the central office, they would be able to store information and offer services electronically. Offering clients financial services over mobile phones would expand MFIs' outreach by allowing them to exploit the full breadth of the national mobile network. By providing their loan officers with electronic devices, MFIs would gain the ability to provide a full range of financial services otherwise available only at a branch office. Since the entire microfinance value chain would be managed electronically under the new paradigm, remittances would also be channeled electronically, enabling clients to send money to (and receive money from) a person who is a client of another MFI.


From http://southasia.oneworld.net/ 06/01/2010

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Canada: 25 Sites and Apps for Open Government

Four major municipalities in Canada - Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver - have started opening their data for public use through open data catalogues on the Web. And smaller cities, like Nanaimo, are also following the trend. But what are developers doing with it? Here's a look at some Web sites and apps that are taking advantage of open data sets, and a few that are trying to promote open government, listed in alphabetical order.

1) Canadian Government Expenses. This site from Bine Consulting Corp. collects and analyzes Canadian federal travel and hospitality expenses claims published under the proactive disclosure requirement. The data is organized in multiple ways, from average claims by department to the largest and smallest claims made to the number of expenses to the longest trips taken. The current total expense bill, which includes all the data collected since 2003, is $156,656,762.80. 

2) Datadotgc.ca. A site run by Canadian open government activist David Eaves, Datadotgc.ca intends to act as an example of "what a federal open data portal could and should look like." The site lists and organizes available federal datasets by ministry or tags and includes a search bar for finding datasets by keyword.

3) DataTo.org. A community-run site from Mark Kuznicki of Remarkk Consulting, DataTo.org is for users and publishers of open access data in the Toronto region. Visitors can publish requests for data, and also comment and rate other people's requests.

4) Disclosed.ca. This site from Nurey Networks Inc. keeps track of Canadian government agency contracts. Visitors can search for past contracts by agency or department, or use the site's search bar, to find names of vendors, descriptions of work, durations of contracts and their dollar value. Disclosed.ca says 247,253 contracts are currently in the system, starting from 2004. External links to the contract details are also included.

5) EatSafe. An iPhone app that isn't yet available from The App Store, EatSafe from OpenOttawa.org uses data from Ottawa's food inspection database and GPS to provide food inspection reports on nearby restaurants. 

6) EatSure.ca. EatSure collects all the food inspection reports in the London, Ont. area and marks their locations on a map. Visitors can click on a marker to see the name of the venue, its address, date of inspection and infraction details. The site sources data from the London Middlesex Country Health Unit. There are currently 921 venues with no infractions, 415 non-critical infractions and 569 critical infractions mapped.

7) FixMyStreet Canada. A site maintained by VisibleGovernment.ca, FixMyStreet is a place for citizens to report problems like graffiti, potholes, garbage and lighting directly on maps of the area. The site them submits the report to the city for repair. Cities currently supported include Fredericton, Montreal, Ottawa and various cities in Prince Edward Island.
8) How'd they vote? Cory Horner put this site up in the spring of 2005 to provide information on what is taking place within Canadian Parliament. The site includes statistics on MPs, their voting history, lists the status of bills and includes downloadable files of the data.

9) Libraries Ottawa. A free iPhone app from SK8 Wireless Technologies Inc. that uses open data from Ottawa to provide names, addresses, phone numbers and maps of libraries in the Ottawa area.

10) Mycelium. The Mycelium site, created by Kevin McArthur, provides access to videos from the House of Commons and allows visitors to create a 5-minute clip with a link and embeddable URL.

11) My Stops. This $.99 iPhone app from Grayscale Apps provides bus and transit schedules for over 20 cities in the U.S. and Canada, including Edmonton and Toronto.

12) My TTC. A site that uses Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) data to plan travel routes on subways, streetcars and buses in Toronto. Visitors to the site enter their current location (from a mobile phone, the site uses GPS to detect location information) and destination, and the site will provide multiple options for how to get there. A description of where to go, how long it will take, what time the transit is scheduled to arrive and depart and a map of the route are provided. The ability to access stop times and receive service alerts via text messages is in the works.

13) OpenParliament.ca. A site run by Montreal-based Web developer Michael Mulley, OpenParliament.ca publishes what takes place within the House of Commons, including how MPs vote, what bills they sponsor, their media mentions and Twitter posts and when they speak on the floor. The site also searches House transcripts by keyword.

14) Ottawa Dog Park Finder. An online app created by Liz and Thomas Bradley, the Ottawa Dog Park Finder uses Ottawa open data and Google Maps to locate dog parks by address and provides ratings on their popularity, friendliness and cleanliness. The Ottawa Dog Blog says a mobile app is in the works.

15) Ottawa Parks and Recreation. Another free iPhone app from SK8 Wireless Technologies that uses open data from Ottawa, providing maps and information related to parks and recreation facilities, including wading pools and beaches.

16) Ottawa Recycles. Using Ottawa open data, this free iPhone app provides information on where to recycle electronics, automotive, gardening, health and household products in the Ottawa area. The address, phone number and location (using Google Maps) is displayed.

17) Ottawa Trash. Developed by Willem van Bergen, Edward Ocampo-Gooding and Shawn Hooper, this no-frills site asks for an Ottawa street address and provides the corresponding garbage schedule.
18) RepresentMe.ca. An excellent way to keep tabs on elected representatives, this site asks for a postal code and then provides the name, phone number and e-mail address of the local city councilor, MP and MPP for the area along with a Twitter-like feed of their recent activities. The site, created by Shawn Simister, currently supports Ottawa postal codes only.

19) Route 411. A $1.99 iPhone app from Fusedlogic Inc., Route 411 provides public transit information for the cities of Edmonton, Guelph, Toronto and Vancouver. The app is GPS-aware and includes stops and arrival times. 

20) TaxiCity. A Web-based driving game built by graduate students, TaxiCity was created using Vancouver open data, Microsoft's Silverlight development platform and Bing Maps. Players take on the role of a taxi driver, pick up passengers and deliver them to destinations in downtown Vancouver. The students used multiple data sets from the city to generate realistic maps, including block outlines, parks, building shapes and the centre midline strokes on streets, said co-developer Dashan Yue.

21) Torontopedia.ca. This open wiki for the City of Toronto isn't an open data project per se, but it does support similar ideals by promoting citizen engagement.

22) Toronto Road Restrictions. Currently in beta, this dynamic site is run by the City of Toronto IT department to help the public plan travel routes. Maintained daily, the site uses 911 dispatch data to provide information on current and future road restrictions, festivals and events, traffic flow, electronic messages displayed on highway signs and traffic camera locations. The site supports 44 divisions and includes roughly half a million address points.

23) Traffic Ottawa. A $.99 iPhone app from SK8 Wireless Technologies, Traffic Ottawa allows users to select and display traffic cameras from the City of Ottawa and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. 

24) VanGuide. A Web app and free iPhone app developed by Nitobi Software Inc. with assistance from Microsoft Corp., VanGuide provides a "social map" of Vancouver and allows users to add, rate or comment on landmarks via their Twitter accounts. The app makes use of open data landmarks such as schools, bus stops and libraries.

25) VanTrash From Luke Closs and Kevin Jones, this site collects open data from the City of Vancouver's Garbage Collection Zones site and displays garbage schedules for the Vancouver area on a map. Visitors can click on the map for a pop-up of the current monthly schedule and opt to either add the schedule to their personal calendar or receive a reminder of the next pickup via e-mail.


From http://www.itworldcanada.com/ 08/12/2010

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China's 1st Law on Online Games Takes Effect

China's first regulation governing the booming market of on-line games takes effect on Sunday, which is expected to protect children from unwholesome content and Internet addiction. The regulation, issued by the Ministry of Culture on June 22, states that on-line games targeting minors must be free of content that leads to the imitation of behavior that violates social morals and the law. It also requires gaming companies to develop techniques that limit the gaming time of minors in order to prevent addiction. But the regulation did not specify the techniques and the permissible gaming time. The issue drew national attention last year following a series of deaths at boot camps for Internet addicted youth. Further, web players will now have to register using their real names before playing games online, according to the regulation. China's on-line population reached 420 million by June 2010, according to data from the China Internet Network Information Center. The market value of the on-line game industry in China increased by almost 40 percent to 25.8 billion yuan (US$ 3.8 billion) in 2009. Several separate sets of regulations will also come into force on Sunday, including one that governs army service, and another that stipulates health care institutions would face punishment for withholding certain information to patients and the public.


From Xinhua News Agency 08/01/2010

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India: First of Its Kind E-Governance Programme

T. A. Pai Management Institute [TAPMI] a leading B school in India has announced a unique one year Post Graduate e-Governance Programme for Executives [eGPX] for Middle and Senior level Executives from Government, Public and Private sectors. TAPMI is the only B-School to start the one of its kind course in India. The programme is being offered by TAPMI in collaboration with National Institute for Smart Government [NISG], Hyderabad with support from the Department of Information Technology Ministry of Communications & IT, and Government of India. TAPMI is the first management institute in the country to be selected to conduct a post graduate e governance programme for executives in collaboration with NISG. The eGPX Programme has been designed to produce e-Governance professionals who will fill the capacity gap in the e-Governance space, both in the government and private sectors. Keeping with its tradition of academic excellence, TAPMI aims to support the government in its ambitious National e-Governance Plan by enlarging the pool of professionals in the e-governance domain by helping them acquire adequate skills to analyze, design and implement an e-Government application.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 07/08/2010

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Malaysia: ICT Is Key Enabler in 10th Plan Blueprint

CYBERJAYA: The 10th Malaysia Plan clearly articulates the central role of ICT (information and communications technology) as the bedrock for the nation to vault forward to a high-value economy, said the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC). The quantum leap in the plan is how much more the ICT sector will see its role expand from being a vertical to include the horizontal as well, as it cuts across all spheres of the national economy and the Malaysian quality of life, said Datuk Badlisham Ghazali, MDeC chief executive. This, he said, is clearly demonstrated in the fact that ICT is selected as an NKEA (National Key Economic Area).

He said it is important to note that Malaysia's ICT industry, encompassing the hardware, software, services and telecommunications clusters, accounted for 9.8% of the nation's total GDP (Gross Domestic Product) last year. "This sector will continue to be a key focus for Malaysia and is expected to gain greater momentum driven by the convergence of industries due to digitalisation. "The contribution of the ICT industry to GDP is targeted to increase to 10.2% by 2015. Greater use of ICT will not only support the growth of the sector but also boost productivity and raise the nation's overall competitiveness," Badlisham said in a press statement. He said the imprint of ICT can be seen across the entire blueprint of the plan. "All the strategic areas mentioned by the Prime Minister have ICT written all over them. "At MDeC we are very energised by the announcement as our next phase of growth, MSC 2.0 sits squarely in the epicenter of this ICT enablement. "This essentially means that all our programmes are directly involved with various elements of the 10th Plan. This includes the ICT industry, small and medium enterprises (SME), social economic development, R&D initiatives, human capital, innovation and funding."

Corner stone
According to Badlisham, development of the ICT industry will continue to be the key focus for MSC Malaysia. In order to attain high growth from the industry, the country needs to shift from being a relatively large consumer, but small producer of ICT solutions, to a large producer and consumer of ICT solutions. Malaysia also needs to advance from an average producer of general ICT products and services to a dominant producer of selected ICT products and services, hence progressing from a nett importer to a nett exporter. "To this end, the initiatives announced by the Prime Minister in development, funding and support will facilitate local ICT players in growing and moving forward," said Badlisham. The SME space stands to benefit greatly as the laws around funding, failure and bankruptcy are a game changer, he said. "MDeC welcomes the Government's policy to make it easier for SMEs to participate in government procurement because we have highlighted the need for the Government to support our local companies so that they can have success stories as reference in order to participate in international bidding. "MSC Malaysia-status companies will also be able to take advantage of the Working Capital Guarantee and the Industry Restructuring Loan Guarantee schemes," he said. Another area in which MDeC will take a leading role is in cloud computing. This will enable SMEs to move from a capex to opex scenario giving them speed, agility and huge cost savings. In this sense, ICT becomes a utility similar to electricity or water. Also of particular interest is the creative multimedia space where MDeC is spearheading a move to make Malaysia a hub for animation, filmmaking and games. The 10th Plan clearly shows that the Government will be formulating a policy to help drive these efforts further, Badlisham said.


From http://techcentral.my/ 06/11/2010

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Republic of Korea: Seoul Tops Global Cities Ranking for E-Govt

The South Korean capital of Seoul is the world's most advanced municipal e-government, according to a global survey of city web sites. The "Soul of Asia" topped the UN-sponsored table ahead of Prague, Hong Kong, New York and Singapore on the usability, content, services, privacy and inclusiveness of its online operations. Seoul, which was the world's first city to introduce wireless high-speed mobile internet services, was singled out for giving its citizens the opportunity to play an active role in governmental processes, such as the submission of ideas and suggestions on e-policies via well-organised policy forums. Commenting on why Seoul emerged on top, Dr Jung-hee Song, Assistant Mayor for IT and Chief Information Officer, Seoul Metropolitan Government, told FutureGov: "At the core of Seoul's success is the systematic information infrastructure, which includes e-Seoul Net and ISO 27001 ISMS (Information Security Management System). On top of this we have provided convenient and customized services that give citizens plenty of opportunity to get involved in policymaking." Song pointed to Seoul's e-Clean Finance System, e-Clean Fire Fighting System and e-Clean Welfare System as successful measures to bring greater transparency and accountability to public administration in the world's second largest metropolitan area. She added that sound IT governance has paved the way for prompt decision making in the capital.

This has been made possible thanks to the integration of a wide range of information systems based on flexible enterprise architecture, she said. Seoul also topped the bi-annual ranking in 2003, 2005 and 2007. The survey was conducted by the Global e-Policy e-Government Institute at Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU), Korea and the E-Governance Institute, School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University-Newark in the US. It was co-sponsored by the UN Division for Public Administration and Development Management and the American Society for Public Administration. Looking to the future, Song said that while it was tricky to predict how technology would change the future of public administration in Seoul, "it is likely that every public service will be provided without the need for on-site visits, which will ease transportation issues. Working environments will be transformed into completely paperless offices. More people will work from home. And we will live in a city where 'ubiquitous working' is possible, raising efficiency and productivity and reducing our environmental impact." Initiatives such as u-Seoul, which aims to allow Seoulites to use mobile devices to access public services 'anytime, anywhere', will be a reality "within the decade", predicted Song. "Such developments will make citizens more satisfied, raise Seoul's image on the global stage and elevate its status as one of the world's most liveable and sustainable urban environments." While three Asian cities featured in the top five, Asia ranked third in the ranking of continents, behind Europe and Oceania (Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific islands), which topped the table. The top 10 e-government cities is as follows: 1 Seoul 2 Prague 3 Hong Kong 4 New York 5 Singapore 6 Shanghai 7 Madrid 8 Vienna 9 Auckland 10 Toronto. (by By Robin Hicks)


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 07/21/2010

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Thailand: Cyber Security of National Importance

Information security experts are urging the government to set up an independent office of national cyber security responsible for national data security issues. The unrest in Bangkok and several other provinces nationwide last week raised concerns that cyber security has become of paramount importance to the kingdom. The internet and other methods of digital communication have the potential to be used to conduct cyber warfare. For example, attacks could be launched against critical infrastructure, government and communications systems, but there is not yet any neutral organisation responsible for national security issues, said security expert Prinya Hom-anek, ACIS Professional Centre president and founder.

He told Database that cyber warfare signified how technology can be abused when there are no appropriate regulations or controls. Yet the government has not yet established a national-level cyber security policy in terms of human resources, budget allocation and threat understanding, especially in the matter of Information Operation (IO) and Information Assurance (IA). "If we'd had an agency to take care of national cyber security, the arson and street riots across Bangkok last week may not have been so harsh," he said, pointing out that cable, satellite and Internet TV (IPTV) had all been used to encourage people to join the protests. Prinya noted that US president Barack Obama announced cyber security as an item on the national agenda by having executive officers examine the country's readiness to deal effectively deal with any such problems. President Obama appointed Prof Howard Schmidt to the position of cyber security coordinator. Prof Schmidt oversees the vast task of protecting the nation's computer systems in both the public and private sectors.

Many countries, including Singapore, South Korea, Australia, Malaysia, Japan, Singapore, the US and Hong Kong, already have such agencies. Singapore's National Infocomm Security Committee defines the national cyber security policy and strategy, whereas Singapore Infocomm Technology Security Authority was founded to specifically run the cyber security operation. Meanwhile, CyberSecurity Malaysia is responsible for cyber security expertise under the Ministry of Science and Technology. In Australia, the Cyber Security Policy and Coordination Committee is responsible for the national policy and strategic plan. According to PTT ICT Solutions chief security officer Chaiyakorn Apiwathanokul, the expert group has suggested the government address cyber security as an item for the national agenda, in order to tackle ever-more sophisticated cyber issues. The group proposed that the Office of National Cyber Security should set up a centre of excellence to advise on policy and strategy matters to improved the level of information security in Thailand and co-ordinate with similar agencies in other countries.

The office should be an independent public organisation that directly reports to the prime minister and which is responsible for information security policy, regulation and promotion. The framework of the office should cover the national cyber security critical infrastructure, which includes the electricity, energy, waterworks, telecommunications, healthcare and financial sectors. "We suggest that the agency must be totally independent and neutral, not aligned to any ministry, and set the blueprint and best practice model for other agencies," said Prinya, who added that committee members should include the police chief, permanent secretary of defence, director-general of the Department of Special Investigation, director of the National Intelligence Agency, chairman of the Public Sector Development Commission, chairman of the National Telecom Commission, secretary-general of the National IT Committee, and the president of the Thai Information Security Association. The office budget should be funded by income tax from internet service providers and the capital funds of public telecommunications, according to Article 56 of the Supervising Radio/Television Broadcasting and Telecommunication Business Act, B.E. 2543 (2000).


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 05/26/2010

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United Kingdom: E-Access '10 - Access to ICT by People with Disabilities

In today's economic climate, it makes no sense to exclude any of your staff, prospective employees, customers or citizens from your website or ICT systems, even before considering the legal and ethical obligations of UK organisations. E-Access '10, the annual conference and exhibition on access to technology by people with disabilities, covers the business, legal and ethical drivers for accessibility, and the path to success for organisations of all sizes. Technologies covered include everything from the latest lowdown on web accessibility to mobile services and cloud computing.


From http://www.ifg.cc/ 07/13/2010

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United States: Web Search Is the New King of Government Portals

When governments began launching their own websites in the '90s, the results left much to be desired, to say the least. The portals were painfully difficult to navigate and had multiple tabs that were too busy - seemingly created with government users in mind rather than the general public. To everyday citizens, these websites paled in comparison to the private sector's efforts, which were constantly evolving to better suit their needs. Some argue that's still the case and will forever be, despite vast improvements over the years. Naysayers aside, a recent survey points out online features - searching and social media - are now top public priorities when it comes to navigating a government's Web page. And with every redesign, there is an opportunity to better meet those needs and engage the public.

Increasingly that means organizing a website so it's searchable. The days when it was good enough to organize a website's content in hard-to-browse categories are gone. "Search right now is the major way of finding information," said Tom Viall, manager of Rhode Island's website for e-government provider NICUSA. Equally important is sharing government information on sites people flock to, like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, Viall said, instead of forcing them to visit the state site. "You've got to, as a state government, be where the people are, and the people are on those social networking sites," he said. "Get people to the information they're looking for as quickly as possible."

Citizens Want More Engagement
Demand for search functionality and a social media presence are highlighted in the 2010 Open Government Research Report, which states that nearly all citizens who responded to the survey (96 percent) think the government could improve citizen engagement via online services. Recommended steps to accomplish this notion, however, vary:
Constituents suggested agencies could be more engaging by:
71 percent said improving search functionality on agencies' websites;
52 percent said creating an agency-branded forum or online community;
34 percent said increasing the presence on social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter; and 32 percent said delivering tailored information via mobile devices.
Government agencies are hearing similar requests from their constituents and investing in such changes. According to NIC Spokesman Chris Neff, improving search functionality remains a top priority and ongoing challenge for agencies.

"Recognizing the importance of search is more than half the battle," Neff said. "Nearly 90 percent of all Internet sessions begin with a search, which means governments need to make their information easy for these engines to find. "Search engine optimization is another key area where governments should invest their time, Neff said, which can be done by tagging images, forms and other government content so that it isn't in government jargon. "Search engine optimization is important and we constantly encourage our state and local governments to use keywords that citizens are likely to use rather than government-speak," Neff said.
Texas - which partnered with NICUSA for its Web portal - has taken this demand very seriously. The site's search feature is most prominent on the main page and uses an autofill function to better serve users, Texas Department of Information Resources Spokesman Marcus Cooper said. "We redesigned and revamped the state Web portal and introduced it in June," Cooper said. "And I think it speaks directly to the survey and what our citizens wanted in a revised website."

Search and Then What?
According to the survey, citizens are more comfortable online and engaging in social networks than ever before, the report claims. Fifty-four percent surveyed have interacted with government online or via social networks and have connected with government agencies for the following reasons:
86 percent to be able to connect in their own time, not when government offices are open;
80 percent to receive information or answers to questions faster;
72 percent to receive more detailed information; and
49 percent to support or advocate for the agency's mission or the work they do.
The survey - conducted by Harris Interactive, on behalf of RightNow Technologies - took place in March among more than 1,000 U.S. adults.
As the Internet's potential is being realized on a mass scale, constituents are wary that the government won't easily catch up to social media efforts already realized by the private sector. Nearly 70 percent of constituents think governments should prioritize use of social media tools as a way of being more open with the public, as commercial organizations have realized success through such tools.

Forty-three percent surveyed think it will take the government one to five years to catch up to commercial organizations in terms of using technology to interact with citizens, while 22 percent think the government never will. For Viall, it's important to spot future trends and evolve as an agency the same way citizens' information-gathering mediums are evolving. For example, mobile apps are an increasingly popular way to access data online, but for now, the Web is the main thoroughfare. But creating and launching those apps now rather than later is advantageous. "It's how people are going to use it and we've got to be ahead of that curve all the time," he said. The report provides further validation of citizens' expectations that government agencies improve service and information delivery, Neff said. "People want government to offer expanded functionality and more online services, they increasingly expect social media outlets, and they want it delivered to a device they use, including mobile," he said. "It's a great message for any government leader to hear and it's exciting to think about how government will continue to evolve its offerings in the future to deliver this expanded engagement." (by Karen Wilkinson)


From http://www.govtech.com/ 07/29/2010

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Road Map Set for Global Development of Telecommunications and ICT

The Hyderabad Action Plan adopted today by the ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference outlined a road map to foster the global development of information and communication technology (ICT) networks and services over the next four year cycle. The roll out of next-generation networks (NGN) and increased access to broadband services, wireless technologies and the Internet were recognized as catalysts to achieve the broader development goals.The Hyderabad Declaration states: "Broad access to telecommunications and ICTs is essential for the world's collective economic, social and cultural development, and the building of a global Information Society. This access brings new opportunities for interaction amongst people, for sharing of the world's knowledge resources and expertise, for transforming people's lives, and for contributing to the global development agenda."

Mr P.J. Thomas, Secretary, Department of Telecommunications, Government of India and Chairman of the Conference said on the closing of the Conference that the increasing role of ICT in the life of the common man cannot be overemphasized. Keeping in view the latest technological developments in ICT, the Hyderabad declaration adopted by WTDC-10 will play a decisive role in the development of the ICT sector across the world, especially in developing countries. Policy-makers and regulators pledged to promote affordable access to telecommunications and ICTs aimed at fostering sustainable development worldwide, with attention given to least developed countries (LDCs) and countries with special needs. New opportunities arising from the widespread use of ICTs were also cited in improving e-government services such as healthcare and education and to step up the drive to alleviate poverty and create jobs, especially among poor and marginalized populations, including women, children, indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities.

Speaking on the occasion, ITU Secretary-General, Dr. Hamadoun Tour¨¦ said that mobile telephony has grown phenomenally and it is considered to be the most rapidly adopted technology in history. Yet, the digital divide remains - particularly where accessibility to broadband services and the Internet is concerned. This broadband divide must be addressed by governments and industry as a priority if the capacities of ICTs are to be fully utilized to meet the Millennium Development Goals. The fifth World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-10), held from 24 May until 4 June, 2010 in Hyderabad, was attended by 924 delegates, including 758 government delegates from 138 countries and 6 representatives from Palestine, 88 public and private sector representatives from 28 companies, 16 representing telecommunication-related entities from 7 countries and 56 representatives from 25 regional and international organizations.


From http://www.mediamughals.com/ 06/07/2010

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World Leaders Define Vision for Globally Connected Society

Geneva - Leading lights from industry, civil society, UN agencies and the creative sphere, who together comprise the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, have emphasized the critical role of broadband networks in future global development. Commissioners met in private session in Geneva on 11 July to set about defining a vision for accelerating the deployment of broadband networks worldwide, with the aim of improving the delivery of services across a huge range of social and business sectors, and accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Commission is co-chaired by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Mr Carlos Slim Hel¨˛, Honorary Lifetime Chairman of Grupo Carso, with ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Tour¨¦ and UNESCO Director-General, Ms Irina Bokova, serving as joint vice chairs. It will deliver its outcomes to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 19 September 2010 at an official side event of the UN MDG Summit in New York, which starts on September 20. These outcomes will be presented in the form of two reports, the first of which will reflect expert input from the Commissioners, and the second of which will comprise in-depth analysis of the challenges and opportunities in deploying broadband across a range of different types of economies.

The first report will also include a series of top-level Recommendations designed to serve as a global blueprint for rapid broadband development worldwide, while the second report will take into account local needs, financing constraints and technical hurdles, and make practical proposals on possible routes towards deployment of ubiquitous high-speed networks at affordable prices in every country worldwide. "The global deployment of broadband networks will be as powerful a transformational force for the 21st century as the progressive installation of electricity networks was in the first decades of the 20th century," said Dr Tour¨¦. "Just as connection to the power grid is now seen as a basic element of social and economic empowerment, so ubiquitous connectivity to broadband networks will be vital to the ongoing development of every nation worldwide." "The latest information and communication technologies (ICTs) have created new opportunities for the creation, preservation, dissemination and use of information," said the UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, who was represented at the meeting by Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information Mr Janis Karklins. "We aim to go further, towards the construction of inclusive knowledge societies in which people can transform information into knowledge and understanding that empowers them to improve their livelihoods and contribute to their social and economic development. Universal access to broadband-enabled applications will be vital for achieving this goal."


From http://www.itu.int/net/ 07/12/2010

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Lack of Standardization Around Mobile Web Conventions Presents Hurdles for Mobile Publishers

Since the inception of the mobile Web, there has been no clear consensus around how the various mobile Web domains: "m.", "wap.", ".mobile" and ".mobi" should be used. In the first census-level analysis of mobile Web domains, Ground Truth today offers hard facts to inform this debate, finding a cacophony rather than a consensus: no single naming convention has emerged to adequately optimize consumer mobile browsing. Today's news reveals another hurdle for mobile Web publishers and developers, who must now create content for multiple Web domain conventions. In the week ending July 4, 2010, Ground Truth measured 5.01 billion page views that included requests to 1,555,630 unique domains. The data shows that 18,934 (1.2 percent) of those measured domains and sub-domains were mobile-centric, such as "m.", "wap." and ".mobi", but 17.3 percent of total page views were served from those domains. The remaining pages were served from domains without a mobile-specific domain, such as "www." sites. Some of these sites, however, are mobile-aware, such as www.google.com, www.facebook.com, etc.

"Here's another situation where the mobile industry has done a disservice to itself by failing to develop standards around mobile Web development," said Evan Neufeld, vice president, marketing for Ground Truth. "The last thing publishers need is another roadblock to developing for mobile, and this data shows that there are at least three of them: 'm.', '.mobi' and 'wap.'." Of the mobile-centric domains, the prefix "m." and the ".mobi" suffix appear about equally, but sites using the "m." prefix serve 21 times more pages than do ".mobi" domains, Ground Truth reports. Following in popularity (by number of sub-domains) are the "mobile." prefix and legacy "wap." prefix. However, there is significant disparity of actual usage (as defined by page views) between them. The analysis shows that "wap." is nearly as commonly deployed by publishers as "mobile." but is used 68 times more by consumers. According to Ground Truth, the least popular mobile-centric prefix by a large margin is "wireless.", showing up in only 37 domains, and serving just 127,110 pages.

"The bottom line is there is no consensus among mobile Web publishers for a mobile-centric naming convention," said Neufeld. "Publishers who want to ensure their mobile-optimized content is discovered would be advised to set up all three most-used sub domains: 'm.', 'mobile.' and 'wap.'. When available, the '.mobi' domain should be deployed as well. This study underscores the importance for publishers to serve optimized content for the device making the request - be it a PC, mobile phone, netbook or tablet; before they lose consumers to the frustration of accessing content that does not properly render on any given device."


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 07/16/2010

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AFRICA: Continent in the Limelight as Mobile Phones Promise More Growth

Nairobi - As the world celebrates this month's signing up of the five-billionth mobile phone subscriber, Africa is stepping forward to claim credit as one of the regions that have driven the phenomenal growth over the past decade. This has been accompanied by economic growth with experts foreseeing even greater development in different sectors, buoyed by the mobile phone technology over the next decade. From only 16 million subscribers in 2000, the continent now boasts about half a billion subscribers, according to telecommunications firm Ericsson. The mobile phone has also evolved to take up more roles beyond just making calls and exchanging text messages. Studies have shown that mobile phone companies are raking in more revenue through data services than voice calls. The increasing popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook is cited as a contributing factor. According to a December 2009 study by Ericsson, though the use of data services has grown by 280 per cent over the past two years, the figure is projected to double annually over the next five years. With the addition of a billion new subscribers in just 18 months, resulting in four out of five people being connected, Ericsson is now forecasting an even rapid growth over the next decade. This time it is not just mobile phones but also other devices such as computers.

Phenomenal increase
Coupled with the development in mobile phone technology such as the 3G network which will enable deployment of advanced applications such as video conferencing, mobile TV services and tele-medicine that require high speed connections, the uptake of mobile phone technology is expected to increase exponentially. Ericsson expects the number of connected devices to hit the 50 billion mark over the next decade. According to Ericsson country manager Craig Hosken, mobile broadband subscriptions will stand at more than 3.4 billion by 2015, with over 100 million coming from sub-Saharan Africa - an almost tenfold increase of the 360 million recorded in 2009. This is expected to increase even further, considering up to 80 per cent of people accessing the Internet will be doing so using their mobile devices. "This is already the case in Africa," Mr Hosken said, adding that machine-to-machine communications, also referred to as M2M, will be a key component in the future growth of the mobile industry. M2M includes medical applications such as remote medical diagnostics which would facilitate the collection, monitoring, and analysis of patient data from rural or isolated locations; or energy companies using smart meters that increase business efficiency and cut operational expenses.

Other beneficiaries
The technological advancement will see the transport sector enjoy tracking solutions that would improve route optimisation and safety for vehicles on the road. Other applications include digital signs that can be updated remotely, cameras that can send pictures halfway around the world are other examples that machine-to-machine technologies make possible. All this increased deployment of information and communications technology (ICT) is expected to contribute significantly towards the economic development of the continent. (by Cosmas Butunyi)


From http://allafrica.com/ 07/26/2010

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Nigeria: ICT, the Fulcrum for National Development - Govt

Abuja - Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo has identified Information Communication Technology as the fulcrum for national development. The vice president disclosed this during a meeting of stakeholders he convened to brainstorm, and galvanise the effective utilisation of ICT as a tool for effective governance. Arc. Sambo said that he viewed ICT as a tool for attainment of e-government as it has the advantage of reducing duplication of effort and ensuring the efficient maximisation of time. He stated that, "I consider ICT in the same category as power" and agreed that political will was required to ensure its full implementation. He emphasised the need for the development of a master plan with a road map for immediate implementation. He posited that the need for experts and stakeholders to serve in a committee to harmonise the Vision 20:2020 to aid its implementation could not be overemphasised. Furthermore, the Vice President said that the federal government was ready to invest in ICT as a lot of funds exist all over the world to be accessed by governments towards such project of urgent national importance. He noted the indiscriminate sighting of masts, especially in residential areas which experts say may be hazardous to health. Accordingly, as part of the need to improve efficiency and timely provision of government service, he set up a committee comprising the Ministry of Science and Technology which is to chair the committee. Others include, Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Ministry of Information and Communications, Office of the Vice President, National Bureau of Statistics, Galaxy Backbone, Nigeria Computer Society, Computer Negotiating Council, National Population Commission, NIGCOMSAT, Nigeria Information Technology, Development Agency (NITDA), head, e-Government strategies, National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) and Identity Management Commission, amongst others. He charged the committee to look at all the components and come up with bright ideas to aid implementation. (by Golu Timothy)


From http://allafrica.com/ 07/30/2010

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Uganda: Cyber Law to Fight Information Misuse

Kampala - The Government is soon ratifying the law against the misuse of information and communication technology to combat terror, political and criminal mischief. The Cyber Law Bill, according to the Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Aggrey Awori, is currently being discussed in Parliament. "The Bill is already on the floor of Parliament. It will cover data and network security, cyber crime, information systems and electronic transactions," he said. The move, Awori said, followed the July 11 bomb blasts in Kampala. He said the attacks had necessitated the Government to set up intelligence cameras at strategic points. Awori was opening the sixth annual international conference on computing and ICT research at Protea Hotel in Kampala on Monday. It focussed on strengthening the role of ICT in development. Dr. Josephine Nabukenya, the dean of Makerere University's Faculty of Computing and IT, said the faculty is building a crimes record system, which would enable the Police to record cases and follow them up to the courts of law. (by Winnie Nanteza and Racheal Ninsiima)


From http://allafrica.com/ 08/03/2010

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APEC Launches New Cross-Border Data Privacy Initiative

Singapore - Recognising that trusted flows of information are essential to doing business in the global economy, APEC has today launched a mechanism for regional cooperation on data privacy law enforcement. The new APEC Cross-border Privacy Enforcement Arrangement (CPEA) facilitates information sharing and cooperation between authorities responsible for data and consumer protection in the APEC region. "The CPEA is groundbreaking," said Colin Minihan, Chair of the Data Privacy Subgroup of APEC's Electronic Commerce Steering Group. "It demonstrates that privacy enforcement authorities are engaging with the realities of global data flows and the associated risks of privacy violations that transcend national and jurisdictional boundaries. The CPEA reflects the commitment of APEC privacy and consumer protection authorities to work together and across borders in enforcing consumer privacy protections." The arrangement establishes a process under which participating authorities may contact each other for help with collecting evidence, sharing information on an organisation or matter being investigated, enforcing actions, and transferring complaints to another jurisdiction. Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Jennifer Stoddart, said the CPEA is an important step forward in addressing new challenges for privacy in a globalised, online world. "This will help us deal with privacy concerns relating to organisations that operate in multiple jurisdictions and businesses that move personal information across borders for processing. These are increasingly common phenomena in the economy of the 21st century and we need 21st century tools to address them." The CPEA also encourages cooperation between privacy enforcement authorities in APEC and their international, non-APEC counterparts as the arrangement has been designed to work seamlessly with other regional and global schemes. By providing a mechanism to help investigate and enforce privacy laws across borders, the CPEA will promote consumer trust in e-commerce which, in turn, will benefit business and trade in the Asia-Pacific. Thus, the CPEA is a key step in APEC's long-standing efforts to increase e-commerce and cross-border trade in the region. The CPEA was developed by a volunteer group of APEC member economies - Australia; Canada; Hong Kong, China; Japan; New Zealand; the Philippines; Chinese Taipei; and the United States - with input from civil society and business groups. Initial participants in the CPEA are the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Australia, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of New Zealand and the United States Federal Trade Commission. Additional privacy enforcement authorities from APEC member economies are also expected to join.


From http://www.apec.org/ 07/16/2010

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EUROPE: EU Launches Consultation on Future of Internet Neutrality

Commission aims to determine whether ISPs should be allowed to manage online traffic. The European Commission Wednesday said it has launched a consultation on how to make sure the Internet remains a level playing field for all online businesses and operators. The commission wants to determine whether Internet providers should be allowed to manage online traffic, prioritizing one kind of traffic over another. This has become an issue with the onset of broadband and online services which require more bandwidth, such as voice calls over Internet or online TV." I am committed to keeping the Internet open and neutral. Consumers should be able to access the content they want," said telecoms commissioner Neelie Kroes. At the same time providers and operators should have the right incentives to keep innovating, she added. Many operators want to prioritize some online services during peak hours, but the commission is worried this may not be fair to users, who don't always know why they are having trouble using some services such as Skype, for example. The commission wants input from interested parties on whether the current level of competition between Internet service providers and existing European transparency laws are enough to give consumers real choice, or whether the commission should further regulate traffic management. The consultation, which ends Sept. 30, will be used as part of a report on net neutrality, which should be presented by the end of this year, the commission said. (by Peppi Kiviniemi, Dow Jones Newswires)


From http://www.totaltele.com/ 06/30/2010

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Finland: Broadband Becomes 'Basic Right'

Changes in universal service obligations come into force; country home to 2.47 million broadband connections at end-2009, 46% of which offer 2 Mbps or more. A new Finnish regulation that makes access to broadband services a basic right for the entire population came into force on Thursday. "New universal service obligations for telecoms operators will take effect [at] the beginning of July," Finland's Ministry of Transport and Communications reminded the country earlier this week. "From now on a reasonable priced broadband connection will be everyone's basic right in Finland," said Suvi Linden, Minister of Communications, in a statement. Broadband is defined as an Internet service with a minimum downlink speed of 1 Mbps. The minister did not specify what would be classed as a reasonable price.

The new USOs, which were included in last year's amendment to the Communications Market Act, apply to the 26 telecoms operators defined by market regulator the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA) as universal service operators. FICORA will be responsible for ensuring that the operators adhere to their obligations. According to FICORA's latest market report, 68% of Finnish households had an Internet connection at the end of 2009, 95% of which were broadband.

At the same date, the total number of broadband connections in the country numbered 2.47 million, over 900,000 of which were classified as either mobile or wireless. TeliaSonera took the lead in terms of connections during 2009, raising its market share by two percentage points to 32% and leapfrogging rival Elisa, which claimed 31% of the market after an on-year decline of two percentage points. The regulator said "the greatest changes in market shares were due to changes in mobile broadband volumes".

Many Finns already have access to broadband services faster than 1 Mbps. FICORA reported that at the end of 2009, 46% of the country's broadband connections had a connection speed of 2 Mbps or higher, 10% reached 10 Mbps or higher, and around 1% had a 100 Mbps or higher connection. Excluding mobile, the figures rise to 61% for 2 Mbps, 16% for 10 Mbps, and close to 2% for 100 Mbps or higher. (by Mary Lennighan, Total Telecom)


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

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France, Netherlands Seek to Halt Internet Censorship

PARIS - France and the Netherlands called Thursday for international guidelines to prevent private firms from exporting high-tech equipment that could be used for Internet censorship. Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said there must be "concrete measures taken to ensure that the Internet remains a universal forum" and singled out Iran for blocking access to anti-government websites. "We must support cyber-dissidents in the same way that we supported political dissidents," French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told a meeting in Paris attended by some 20 countries including the United States and Japan. France and the Netherlands plan to hold a ministerial-level meeting in October to flesh out the guidelines for firms who sell technology that could be used to suppress democracy. Officials from Google and Microsoft attended the meeting in Paris, the first by a working group on freedom of expression on the Internet.

Concerns about Internet censorship have mostly focused on Iran and China. Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi has accused German engineering giant Siemens and Finnish telecoms firm Nokia of supplying Iran with technology to help it suppress dissent. The firms have denied the charges. The Dutch foreign minister said blocking websites and social networking sites was "a violation of human rights". Jean-Francois Julliard, from the media rights group Reporters Without Borders (RSF), accused French phone equipment provider Alcatel of selling bugging equipment to Myanmar. He also singled out networking giant Cisco for allegedly selling encoders to China. "We can also raise questions about the responsibility of France Telecom as a shareholder in operators in Morocco and Tunisia where information does not flow freely on the Internet," Julliard said. Several non-governmental groups such as Amnesty International and Internet Sans Frontieres took part in the Paris talks along with experts and business groups.


From http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/ 07/08/2010

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Italian Regulator Urges Common Broadband Plan

AGCOM chairman speaks of combining Telecom Italia's fibre plan with that of rival group in annual address to parliament. Italy's telecommunications regulator Tuesday urged operators to work together to develop a fast fiber-based network, warning that failure to do so could be costly for the country's economic growth and competitiveness as Italy lags the rest of Europe in broadband penetration. In the regulator's annual speech to parliament, AGCOM Chairman Corrado Calabro said two separate plans - one from Italy's largest telecoms operator Telecom Italia SpA and another from a group of its competitors - need to converge under one nationwide plan, guided by the Italian government and with clear rules set by the regulator. "We need a common, nationwide project that avoids costly duplication on civil infrastructure and allows Italy to make the leap forward it needs," Calabro said, adding that broadband investment may be a successful "exit strategy" out of one of Italy's worst recessions in recent years.

Calabro will also attempt to boost Italy's coffers through auctioning new mobile spectrum for the country's fourth generation mobile network, following in the footsteps of Germany, the Netherlands and the U.K. 4G technology will allow customers to receive and upload data faster on their mobile devices spurring a new wave of services such as high-definition mobile video. The German auction netted EUR4.38 billion for the government in May and Calabro said the Italian proceeds may be used for much-needed broadband investment. A recent study by Italy's business lobby Confindustria showed that high-speed broadband technology could help save up to EUR10 billion a year on the country's energy bills alone, Calabro said, while also reminding operators that the European digital agenda sets a 2020 deadline to bring an ultra-fast broadband connection to 50% of the region's families by 2020.

Recent European data show broadband penetration in Italy stands at 20.6% of the country's population, against a European Union average of 24.8%, he noted. Telecom Italia recently dismissed calls to join a rival broadband project and said it will push ahead with its own plans to offer 100 megabits per second broadband to 50% of the Italian population by 2018, and to invest EUR7 billion in its fixed-line network upgrade in the next three years.


From http://www.totaltele.com/ 07/06/2010

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Italy Extends 'Bill Shock' Rules to National Mobile Data Use

News Italy's Communications Authority (AgCom), following a public consultation, has taken new measures to protect users of mobile internet services from the phenomena of "bill shocks", or the shock of huge bills. The new protection measures will be valid both in Italy and abroad and will be accompanied by the introduction of more effective means of consumption control resulting from data traffic, including the introduction of early warning systems and limits for monthly expenditure. Mobile operators will be expected to implement the new rules by 1 January 2011. Customers will be expected to set a limit for mobile data spending by the same date; if no amount is chosen, an automatic EUR 50 per month cap on spending applies for consumers and EUR 150 for businesses.


From http://www.telecompaper.com/ 08/03/2010

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Kosovo Starts Privatisation of Postal, Telecoms Company

The Kosovo government Wednesday launched the privatization of Post and Telecom, known as PTK, the largest public company, announcing that the funds raised will be invested in infrastructure."PTK will be privatized very soon to have more income for our huge economic priorities like finishing the Vermnica to Merdare highway," Prime Minister Hashim Thaci said after his cabinet endorsed the plan. The highway will run from Serbia across to the Albanian border and is seen as a vital road linking Kosovo to the rest of Europe. Construction began in April.As Kosovo's biggest public company, PTK is valued at around EUR700 million to EUR800 million.The inter-ministerial commission, which is in charge of PTK's privatization, proposed selling 75% of its assets.PTK provides mobile and fixed telephony, internet and postal services for the territory of Kosovo. It has around 1 million mobile phone customers.Kosovo declared independence in February 2008 but Serbia fiercely opposes the move, considering the territory still as its southern province.However, 69 countries, including the U.S. and all but five members of the European Union have recognized Kosovo. (From AFP)


From http://www.totaltele.com/ 06/16/10

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UK Govt Extends Universal 2 Mbps Broadband Target to 2015

News UK Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has outlined plans to deliver universal broadband at speeds of 2 Mbps and stimulate private sector investment to deliver the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015. He said the government would no longer be able to meet the Universal Service Commitment (USC) of 2 Mbps by 2012, because of insufficient funding. He has set a new target of achieving the USC within the lifetime of this Parliament - expected to end in 2015. The plans were included in a Structural Reform Plan for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. The Department plans to conduct a public consultation (with participation from Ofcom, Ofwat, Ofgem and other regulators) on access to ducts, sewers and poles that can be used to carry fibre optic cable. Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), the team set up to deliver the Government's broadband objectives, is asking the industry to identify the current barriers to providing basic level broadband to the mainly rural and remote communities that are not currently connected; develop proposals to share existing infrastructure networks as a low-cost way of connecting hard-to-reach communities; explore the use of publicly-owned broadband networks, such as those connecting schools, hospitals and local authorities; and suggest what regulatory changes might be needed to pilot the roll-out of superfast broadband in areas not currently served by the market. The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) issued a statement saying it was 'disappointed and shocked' by the decision to delay the universal broadband coverage commitment. CLA President William Worsley said this setback came at a time when rural Britain was desperately in need of effective and affordable broadband and that it would seriously compromise the ability of the rural economy to succeed in the future.


From http://www.telecompaper.com/ 07/15/2010

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UK Govt Unveils Plans to Modernise Radio Spectrum

News The UK is set to benefit from a new generation of mobile services and improved mobile broadband coverage under new government plans to revolutionise the country's digital infrastructure. Minister for Communications, Ed Vaizey, has launched a programme of measures for radio spectrum modernisation, which will allow mobile operators to deliver the latest technologies to consumers and extend the reach of mobile broadband across the country. The spectrum modernisation programme will be implemented under a Direction to regulator Ofcom, which has been laid in Parliament. This includes requiring Ofcom to co-ordinate a combined auction of 2.6 GHz and 800 MHz spectrum as soon as possible in order that operators can deliver widespread high speed mobile broadband, and requiring Ofcom to carry out a competitive assessment of future 3G and 4G markets, including the potential for new entrants. Their assessment will inform the design of the auction, aimed at enabling delivery of new competitive mobile broadband services for UK consumer and business benefit; liberalising 2G spectrum at 900 MHz and 1800 MHz, implementing the EU's revised GSM directive to allow operators to use these frequencies for 3G technologies; making 3G licences indefinite to encourage greater investment in 3G services to reach more consumers across the UK. They will also be made tradable, and requiring Ofcom to apply annual licence fees to reflect the market value of these licences which will be applied after the initial licence term (ends 31 December 2021). The Minister also announced funding for a generous compensation package to support the Programme Making and Special Events users (PMSE) who are moving out of the 800MHz spectrum.


From http://www.telecompaper.com/ 07/28/2010

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LATIN AMERICA: Brazilian Regulator Bans Bundling of Broadband

The practice adopted by some operators of requiring broadband subscribers to also take a phone line is now officially prohibited in Brazil. In a statement regulator Anatel said it had taken 'precautionary measures' against operators Telefonica, Telemar, GVT, CTBC and Brasil Telecom, determining that they stop this kind of marketing. The so-called 'bundling' of broadband connections, although vetoed by the Code of Consumer Protection, has been regularly practiced by the operators. According to Anatel, so far only Telefonica has not appealed against the decision, which must be approved by the Governing Board of the Agency. Operators face fines of up to BRL 25 million for violations.


From http://www.telecompaper.com/ 07/30/2010

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NORTH AMERICA: US FCC Abandons Net Neutrality Talks

The US Federal Communications Commission has halted talks on net neutrality proposals with industry players after failing to reach a consensus on the regulations. The regulator was holding closed-door meetings with companies such as Verizon, AT&T, Google and Skype, as well as public-interest groups, to try and broker a deal on accepted practices for internet traffic management. Sources familiar with the discussions at the FCC told the Washington Post that reports of a deal between Verizon and Google on net neutrality upset participants in the meeting, who were moving closer to agreement on stronger rules against blocking and slowing traffic on mobile and fixed networks. Eddie Lazarus, the chief of staff to the chairman of the FCC, confirmed the talks have stopped, saying "it has been productive on several fronts, but has not generated a robust framework to preserve the openness and freedom of the internet". Meanwhile Google and Verizon issued statements denying a New York Times report that said Google was in talks over paying for priority carriage on Verizon's network. Verizon said the article was "mistaken", and Google said there were no discussions on paid carriage. Separately Bloomberg reported that the two companies had reached a deal to maintain net neutrality on fixed-line networks but not on mobile networks.


From http://www.telecompaper.com/ 08/05/2010

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US: Broadband Stimulus Projects Need Oversight, Report Says

Federal agencies granting the second round of broadband stimulus funds face even greater challenges than those seen during the first round, a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report stated. While much more money is being awarded - about $4.8 billion compared to $2.2 billion - there will be more pressure to approve awards before the Sept. 30 deadline and the agencies may lack resources to adequately oversee American Recovery and Reinvestment Act-funded broadband projects, the report concluded. The Recovery Act provided $7.2 billion to the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) for grants or loans to a variety of program applicants, which are being awarded in two rounds and must dispense all funds by Sept. 30.

With a deadline looming to approve the awards, the report stated, they lack "detailed data on the availability of broadband service throughout the country, making it difficult to determine whether a proposed service area is unserved or underserved, as defined in the program funding notices. "While the NTIA and the RUS are putting oversight plans in place, some risks remain, the GAO report stated. "The agencies will need to oversee far more projects than in the past and these projects are likely to be much larger and more diverse than projects funded under the agencies' prior broadband-related programs," the report stated. "Additionally NTIA and RUS must ensure that the recipients construct the infrastructure projects in the entire project area, not simply the area where it may be most profitable for the company to provide service. "In response to these challenges and the short time frame, the NTIA and the RUS have streamlined their application review processes by, for example, eliminating joint reviews and reducing the number of steps in the due-diligence review process. The NTIA also started using census tract data to verify the presence of service, the report stated.

But it's hard to enact oversight when there are no funds to do so. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, in a letter to the GAO, said the Recovery Act doesn't provide authority or funding for administration and oversight of program-funded projects or maintenance of the national broadband map beyond Sept. 30. But the president's fiscal 2011 budget includes authority and funding for NTIA to administer and monitor the grant projects, he stated. "The department is determined to obtain and provide the funding necessary to successfully monitor and oversee these grants," the letter stated.


From http://www.govtech.com/ 08/06/2010

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CHINA: New Rule to Manage E-waste

Under a new regulation set to take effect in January, old refrigerators, washing machines and other unwanted electronic devices must be sent to a government-authorized facility for processing before they are recycled. The regulation was developed to help reduce waste and curb environmental pollution. The government will establish a licensing system for the disposal and recycling of e-wastes, under which only enterprises with a proper license are eligible for e-waste disposal. Furthermore, a centralized system to deal with e-waste will be established after manufacturers, flea markets, appliance repair networks or individual vendors collect them. The centralized treatment plants must have adequate facilities for treating pollutants based on standards and requirements of pollution control and environmental protection. Unlicensed scrap metal facilities will be shut down and face fines of up to 500,000 yuan (73,209 U. S. dollars) for violations. Zhang Lijun, vice-minister of environmental protection, said China produces more than 10 million pieces of such waste a year. Government data indicates that nearly 25 million TV sets, 5.4 million refrigerators, 10 million washing machines, 1 million air conditioners, 12 million computers, 6 million printers and 40 million mobile phones were thrown out in 2009.

The regulation anticipates the cooperation of everyone including governments, companies and individuals to help reduce e-waste, authorities said at a ceremony to mark World Environment Day Saturday. "Due to the pursuit of economic interests, a large number of workshops in China use some backward methods to deal with e-waste including burning them outdoors or acid soaking, which will cause serious damage to our environment and people's health," Zhang said. The regulation is expected to recover valuables such as copper, iron and aluminum, and curb the pollution caused by uncontrolled handling. The regulation also targets e-waste that ends up in China from Western countries, which has been on the rise in years. A report from the Basel Action Network and Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition estimated that 80 percent of the world's high-tech trash is exported to Asia, and 90 percent of that flows into China. The regulation said all imported electrical products should meet the requirements for pollution control and enterprises should adopt the design conducive to innocuous treatment and recycling. In January of this year, two people suspected of smuggling more than 10 tons of e-wastes from Western countries to Chongqing were arrested. "Discarded home appliances contain reclaimable metals and other materials whose recycling value cannot be underestimated if properly treated," Zhang said.


From Global Times 06/07/2010

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Third Party Payments Regulated

The People's Bank of China (PBOC) on Monday said that non-bank payment service providers would need a license to conduct third party payment transactions in the nation. Under the new rules, the companies will have to report to the central bank the commission rates it charges for third party transactions. The companies would also be subject to periodic checks by the PBOC. According to the central bank, the companies will have to apply for a license within one year after the policy comes into effect from Sept 1 onwards. Analysts said the new rules will help regulate the online payment market, which reached 555 billion yuan ($81.4 billion) last year, up 135.6 percent from 2008. Non-bank payment service providers will need to have a registered capital of at least 100 million yuan for a nationwide business license, and should have been making profits for two successive years, the central bank said. "The policy will help in the healthy development of the online payment industry," said Cao Fei, an analyst with domestic research firm Analysys International. The nation's online payment market has been growing at more than 100 percent annually in the past five years.

It has also been attracting more and more players. According to industry experts, there are more than 100 online payment companies in China at present. But at the same time, there are also problems due to lack of regulation. Some online payment companies have been accused recently of making money through illegal activities. Online payment company 99Bill Corp allegedly helped a gambling company to collect funds of over 3 billion yuan, and one of its senior officials was detained. "The license rule is fair for all online payment companies," said Wang Ziling, who looks after public relations at Alipay.com Co Ltd, the largest online payment company in China. Alipay had a 52 percent share of the online payment market in 2009, followed by Tenpay, an online payment unit of Tencent, with 24.7 percent. Since companies have to be profitable for at least two successive years, analysts said the policy will restrict entry of newcomers in the market. As for foreign funded companies, the central bank will issue separate rules. Cao from Analysys International said the new rules are likely to mean stricter requirements for foreign funded online payment companies.


From China Daily 06/22/2010

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China to Try Out Program of Network Integration

Chinese TV, Internet and mobile phone users will soon be able to do all three activities through a single device after the government announced Thursday a pilot scheme to integrate the three systems. The cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Dalian, Harbin, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Xiamen, Qingdao, Wuhan, Shenzhen, Mianyang and regions around central Hunan Province's three boom cities of Changsha, Zhuzhou and Xiangtan, were approved for the pilot program, according to a statement from the State Council posted on the government website (www.gov.cn). However, the statement gave no schedule and did not elaborate on the development of the trial program. The program, known as "three networks integration" in Chinese, aims to make the three systems compatible and allow users to make telephone calls, surf the Internet and watch television through only one cable or wireless entrance. Currently, TV, telecom and Internet networks are separated in China, and different operators provide access to cable TV, telecommunications and the Internet. The State Council, China's Cabinet, said in January the program would be accelerated through pilot projects from 2010 to 2012, focusing on trials connecting broadcasting and telecommunication networks. It vowed to achieve comprehensive integration by 2015.


From Xinhua News Agency 07/01/2010

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Online Shops Must Register

Internet entrepreneurs are now required to register their personal details, including their real names and addresses, with e-commerce agents before they begin to operate their businesses online, according to a regulation that came into effect on Thursday. Many online shop owners are worried that the regulation, issued by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), the country's market regulator, is a signal that the government is preparing to start collecting taxes from them. As the country's first regulation administering online trade and services, the rule lists the obligations of online shop owners and e-commerce agents. It also stipulates the obligations of commerce authorities over the management of e-shopping. If online business owners fail to abide by the regulation, they face a fine up to 30,000 yuan ($4,410), according to the regulation. Some online trading platforms, including taobao.com and paipai.com, can expect to be targeted by the SAIC as it monitors the implementation of the regulation, since they are the most influential e-commerce agents, with the largest number of transactions, the administration said. The platforms are required to register and review online shop owners' identities along with their business credentials, establish mechanisms to ensure the safety of online transactions and protect the buyers' legal rights.

They also need to monitor sites and bar the sale of counterfeit goods, according to the regulation. Commerce regulators in east China's Zhejiang province put the SAIC's regulation into effect on Thursday, specifying the local online trade inspectors' duties and urging businesses to protect their credibility. Half of the profits produced by the country's online transactions are from the province, according to a report by 21st Century Business Herald. Beijing and Shanghai are also reportedly due to publish their local online trade rules. "The regulation poses no impact on my business," said Zhang Dan, who works for a logistics company in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, while she also moonlights with an online clothes shop. "As an online shop owner as well as an ordinary consumer, I hope the authorities will strengthen their supervision of online business to ensure all those who sell counterfeit goods are purged from the market," she told China Daily. However, some online entrepreneurs have begun to worry that taxation may follow in the wake of the regulation's implementation, which may reduce their net profit and inflict further burdens on their operations. "There is nothing about the regulation that worries me, other than the buzz that taxes may soon be imposed on us," said Lin Nan, the owner of an online garment shop. "The way we make profits online is by always keeping the goods cheaper than the same ones in the department stores.

If the authorities order us to pay taxes, the advantage of doing business online will disappear," Lin said. "A considerable number of college graduates who run online shops will also lose their jobs. The government should take these concerns into consideration," she added. "If any tax is levied on us, we will have to pass the extra expense on to the buyers," said Crystal He, a Shanghai-based cosmetic dealer. "In order to establish a sound and credible online market, the government should certainly push forward the real name registration. The move will have positive effects on the development of China's online market," said Fang Yingzhi, an analyst with the China e-Business Research Center. "The regulation has not mentioned the collection of tax from online shop owners, which suggests the authorities are currently aiming to boost e-commerce in the country. In the long run, however, it is inevitable that the regulators will seek to collect taxes in the booming market," she added. According to a research conducted by the China e-Business Research Center, the number of China's online business websites will rise to 25,000 by the end of this year and the number of online shops is estimated to be more than 3 million.


From China Daily 07/02/2010

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China to Implement Regulations to Govern Internet Gambling Industry

China's first regulation that will govern the booming market of internet gambling will take effect on Sunday, which has been implemented to allegedly protect children from unwholesome content and Internet addiction, state-run media announced on Saturday. The regulation, which was issued by the Chinese Ministry of Culture on June 22, legislates that online games targeting minors must be free of content that can lead to the imitation of behavior that violates social morals and the law. However, it's not entirely clear exactly what content would be behavior that violates social morals. The law also requires that gaming companies develop techniques that limit the gaming time of minors to prevent addiction, though; the regulation did not specify the techniques and the permissible gaming time. The issue drew international attention last year following a series of deaths at boot camps for "Internet addicted youth." This will require web players to have to register using their real names before playing any games online, according to the regulation. China's online population reached 420 million by June 2010, according to information from China Internet Network Information Center. The market value of the online gambling industry in China was estimated to be almost $3.8 billion in 2009. A separate set of regulations will be enacted on Sunday as well, which would stipulate that health care institutions would face punishment for withholding certain information to patients and the public.


From http://wireupdate.com/ 07/31/2010

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China's 1st Law on Online Games Takes Effect

China's first regulation governing the booming market of on-line games takes effect on Sunday, which is expected to protect children from unwholesome content and Internet addiction. The regulation, issued by the Ministry of Culture on June 22, states that on-line games targeting minors must be free of content that leads to the imitation of behavior that violates social morals and the law. It also requires gaming companies to develop techniques that limit the gaming time of minors in order to prevent addiction. But the regulation did not specify the techniques and the permissible gaming time. The issue drew national attention last year following a series of deaths at boot camps for Internet addicted youth. Further, web players will now have to register using their real names before playing games online, according to the regulation. China's on-line population reached 420 million by June 2010, according to data from the China Internet Network Information Center. The market value of the on-line game industry in China increased by almost 40 percent to 25.8 billion yuan (US$ 3.8 billion) in 2009. Several separate sets of regulations will also come into force on Sunday, including one that governs army service, and another that stipulates health care institutions would face punishment for withholding certain information to patients and the public.


From Xinhua News Agency 08/01/2010

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Superfast Broadband by 2020

Most homes will have Internet access with speeds of 100 megabits per second by 2020, Sina.com.cn reported today, citing an IT expert. Bandwidth is the foundation of a high-end information society, Zhou Hongren, deputy director of the State Council Advisory Committee for Informatization told the 2010 Digital TV Industry Summit. He said 100 megabits is a target accepted by most countries. The US plans to give 100 million homes access to the Internet at downstream speeds of 100 megabits and upstream speed of 50 megabits by 2010. Australia's goal is to give 90 percent of homes superfast broadband and the remaining 10 percent access through wireless networks.


From China.org.cn 08/18/2010

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Independent Technology Urged for China's Info Tech Drive

A blue paper on China's information-based development published on Thursday warned that lack of independent core technology is likely to hinder the country's info tech drive. According to the blue paper, titled "Analysis and Forecast on China's Informatization (2010)," more than 90 percent of personal computers' CPUs and basic software in the country were imported. "This condition is inevitable during our country's process of reform and opening-up, but as the country goes deeper in informatization, it's bad for sustainable development," the paper warned. The blue book was published by the Social Sciences Academic Press under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. "Although China has been experiencing fast development in information technology since the 21st century, it should be noted that our information and communication technology practices are mostly at a level that developed countries already achieved in the 1990s," said the paper. The paper urged measures to promote the speed and quality of China's information technology drive. However, the book also noted obvious information development in the country's rural areas, citing the population of rural Internet users surpassed 100 million last year. According to the paper, about 72 million countryside people log on to the Internet through cell phones, up 79 percent year on year. Figures from the China Internet Network Information Center show that China's online population rose to 420 million, the world's largest, by the end of June.


From Xinhua News Agency 08/20/2010

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JAPAN: Lower House Passes Bill to Revise Broadcasting Law

The House of Representatives passed a bill at its plenary session Thursday to drastically change broadcasting and telecommunications legislation for the first time in 60 years. The legislation enables a broadcaster to be separated into a company with broadcasting facilities and one to produce broadcasting content. It also includes an easing of restrictions on the ownership of broadcasters so as to facilitate television networks' support for regional broadcasters.


From http://www.japantoday.com/ 05/28/2010

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Ministry Plans Data Centers for Cloud Computing

The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry plans to invite companies from at home and abroad to set up large-scale data centers in the nation in expectation of the spread of cloud computing. Cloud computing allows data and information to be stored off-line in interconnected databases. Customers using cloud computing receive such services as e-mail, document management and electronic commerce by accessing data centers established by information technology-related bodies without the need to install software on their computers. Cloud computing data centers house thousands of networked computers. The ministry aims to approach companies that plan to set up or expand data centers, such as the U.S. search giant Google Inc., the U.S.-based e-commerce company Amazon.com and Nihon Unisys Ltd. METI expects cloud computing-related investment in the nation to increase by 30 percent to 1.7 trillion yen in five years. The ministry believes the nation's high standard of public security and many areas with cool weather, which makes it easy to maintain and control computers, make Japan attractive for cloud computing data centers. The ministry aims to invite companies to areas with nuclear power plants, which would be able to supply large amounts of electricity to the data centers. Local governments that host nuclear power stations receive grants and subsidies from the central government. The funds are used to give discounts in electricity fees and financial assistance for capital investment for companies in their respective areas. The government plans to ask such local governments to use some of these incentives to encourage companies to set up data centers in their jurisdictions. Regarding facilities to house computer servers, the ministry will consider establishing a special district where screening to meet the requirements of the Building Standards Law would be simplified. The ministry plans to incorporate the plan in the new strategy of innovation for an information economy that METI plans to announce Tuesday.


From http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/ 05/31/2010

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Japan, Australia to Boost Cooperation in Communications Technology

Visiting Japanese Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Kazuhiro Haraguchi agreed with Australian officials Monday to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the area of information and communications technology, Japanese officials said. Haraguchi met separately with Chris Chapman, chairman of Australian Communications and Media Authority, and Michael Quigley, chief executive officer of NBN Co, a public corporation established to build and operate a new high-speed broadband network. Haraguchi and Chapman also exchanged views on a shift to the digital format from the analog format in terrestrial broadcasting, the officials said. Japan is set to terminate analog broadcasting and shift completely to the digital format in July 2011 while Australia is seeking a similar shift by the end of 2013.


From http://www.japantoday.com/ 07/20/2010

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Ministry Mulls Digital Textbook Project

Hoping to respond to the growing needs of working with online technology to survive a fast-changing world, the education ministry is considering launching a research project next fiscal year on using digital textbooks in schools. Experts say, however, the ministry should thoroughly examine the influence of electronic devices on children's health and shouldn't rush to introduce the new technology. "Fostering students' abilities to utilize information means bringing up those who can independently collect, judge, express, process, create, emit and convey necessary information," the ministry said in a draft proposal for its "Information-Oriented Vision of Education." The ministry said it may seek funding for the project at the end of this month. The research is expected to take around three years. "The education ministry should conduct examinations responsibly on the method of teaching each subject (with digital devices) and its effect, and how digital content should be produced," ministry official Shinichi Nakamura said. A concrete research plan, including what kind of devices should be used and what kind of functions they should have, has yet to be determined, Nakamura said. But he suggested the ministry would distribute information devices with content to a test group of students and teachers. Nakamura said the ministry will need to determine whether it is necessary to study the affect of using digital textbooks on kids' health. Meanwhile, Naoki Ogi, an education critic and pedagogy professor at Hosei University, said the kind of research the ministry intends is unprecedented in the world and suggested several brain scientists participate in it. "This (research) will have to be conducted very carefully," Ogi said. "It would be too late after brain irregularities are detected." Although the new technology may be convenient, Ogi said, education is fundamentally about the relationship of trust between teacher and student, as well as communication among students, and overdependence on electronic devices would hamper them. "Humans have hearts and feelings and can't live without exchanges of them or understanding each other," Ogi said, adding that electronic education devices should be used as a secondary tool. He said paper media shouldn't be abandoned because the smell and the sound of turning textbook pages stimulate a child's brain, which is why paper tools are different from digital devices. Given the health concerns about mobile phones and the human brain, including the effect of electromagnetic field radiation, Ogi stressed that the government should be careful about introducing new devices into classrooms.


From http://search.japantimes.co.jp/ 08/13/2010

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SOUTH KOREA: Seek to Aid Internet Addicts

Day and night, Lee Mi-hwa's son stays on his computer, slaying dragons in his online fantasy world while his dinner and homework sit untouched. Lee says the 15-year-old fights her attempts to get him to log off, screaming and physically lashing out at her entreaties. She pulls up her sleeves to reveal bruises she says come from his blows. Her son is among some 2 million people classified by the government as "Internet addicts" in South Korea, a nation of 49 million considered one of the most technologically wired in the world. Some are becoming increasingly violent. Last month, a couple let their 3-month-old starve while they raised a virtual child in an online game, spending most of their days at an Internet cafe instead of caring for their newborn, police said. The baby looked like "a mummy" because she had not been fed for so long, according to a Suwon police officer who investigated the case. In February, a 22-year-old bludgeoned his mother to death for "nagging" him about playing Internet games, police said. He then played games online for hours, paying with his mother's credit card, a police statement said. Such incidents have alarmed the country, with the public calling for better measures against gaming addictions. The government announced last month that it would take action by restricting access to popular games and is sending counselors to elementary schools to teach children about healthy Internet usage. "It's a little ironic that what was invented to make our lives better has come to make it worse for some," said Park Hye-kyung, director of the I Will Center, a government-funded counseling center created in December to focus on the growing issue of Internet addiction. Internet addiction may not be recognized as a medical condition or psychiatric disorder, but it often serves as a symptom of more serious underlying mental disorders such as attention deficit disorder and depression, said Dr. Kim Tae-hoon, a psychiatrist who treats teenagers. Kim said the Internet is almost too readily available in South Korea.

More than 90 percent of homes have broadband Internet access, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In addition to widespread broadband, Internet cafes known as "PC rooms" are open 24 hours throughout the country. "In South Korea it's easier for citizens to play online games than to invest in their offline personal relations through face-to-face conversations," he added. "People are becoming growingly numb to human interaction." Three out of 10 adults and 26 percent of teenagers are addicted gamers, according to Eo Gee-jun, president of the Korea Computer Life Institute. "Children start to play Internet games when they become fourth- or fifth-graders," Eo told The Korea Times newspaper last month. "They tend to be more attached to them as they grow up." The Culture Ministry announced a joint project with major South Korean gaming companies earlier this month to implement a "late-night shutdown" on Internet games popular among young users. Access to three games will be blocked from midnight until 8 a.m. to users under age 18 when the program goes into effect later this year. The ministry urged top game providers to monitor users by their national ID numbers, which include their ages, and to allow parents to check whether their children are using their IDs to play after hours. And starting next year, gamers will be able to install free programs on their computers that limit their access to the Internet, the government said last month. "Government policies are important but it's also crucial for the public to take charge as well," said Lee Young-ah, an official at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. "We want to alert as many people as possible on the seriousness of Internet addiction so that individuals can start monitoring themselves." Nexon, a major gaming company, says the curfew is a first step in the battle against Internet addiction. "We want to create a healthy culture of enjoying our games and not suffering from them as an illness," said Nexon spokesman Lee Young-ho. The government has earmarked $9 million to educate the public about the dangers of Internet addiction and to fund counseling centers for the Web-obsessed. Park warned that precocious school-age gamers will find a way to get their fix. "Clever kids know how to work their way around any hurdles to gaming, and I am sure they can quickly find a way to get around this one as well," she said. Her counselors visit elementary schools to teach children about safe Internet usage in hopes of preventing Internet addiction early on.


From http://www.boston.com/ 05/30/2010

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South Korea Aims to Make Online Games a Key Driver for Economy

With more than nine in 10 homes enjoying broadband access, South Korea is one of the most wired countries in the world. This provides not only convenience, but cultivate one of the country's fastest growing industry. Online game is more than child's play in South Korea. It is a national sport. Tournaments are held in lavish, high-tech stadiums, with every move and explosion broadcast nationally on dedicated TV channels. Top players are equivalent to American basketball stars in terms of pay and fame. All that is not surprising because gaming is a mega business in South Korea, valued at billions of US dollars. Kim Cheol Hak, Planning Department General Manager of Korea e-Sports Association, said: "The reason behind Korea's strength in online game is that IT is advanced and there's foundation and network of PC Bangs. Also Korea has a high-speed internet environment. Since client server technology is important for online games, I believe good infrastructure is Korea's biggest strength." PC Bangs, also known as internet cafes in Korean, is a key player behind the country's online game boom. Most PC Bangs are equipped with fast computers and connections, and yet they charge only a dollar an hour, attracting more than a million people daily.

There are nearly 30,000 internet cafes in South Korea. And it is believed 30 million Koreans play regularly. That's about two-thirds of the country's total population, making online game one of the fastest growing industry. PC Bangs are profitable business, estimated to generate six billion dollars in revenue a year. For game developers, fierce domestic competition has prompted them to expand overseas - further spreading the wings of Korean gaming. C.S. PARK, Dragonfly President, said: "Our target is the entire global market. Asian online game market is developing fast and we also think it's an important market. We are cooperating with partner companies in China and Japan, and Singapore will be our hub." South Korea is already a major exporter of online games, seizing a quarter of the global online game market. And exports this year are expected to double to two billion dollars. Even the government has high hopes for the business. It is investing hundreds of millions of dollars a year, hoping to make the industry a key driver for the Korean economy.


From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 06/02/2010

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Transport Hubs to Have Wireless Internet Spots

The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs announced on Tuesday it will have wireless Internet hot spots set up in major transportation facilities by 2013, including subways and railway stations, bus terminals and rest areas along expressways. The WiFi zones will open in major rest areas and transfer areas along expressways within this year, and in all 161 rest areas in the country by 2013. Currently, 60 rest areas including Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, have hot spots. The plan calls for adding WiFi zones in 29 bus terminals in major cities by the end of this year, expanding to all terminals nationwide by 2013. "We'll also join hands with wireless service providers to enable bus passengers to get wireless Internet access on-the-go," the ministry said. Hot spots will be set up in 23 stations servicing KTX express trains and 56 major railway stations. Onboard WiFi, currently available only on KTX trains, will be expanded to Saemaeul and Mugunghwa trains from next year.


From http://english.chosun.com/ 06/09/2010

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South Korea Drops Law Forcing Internet Explorer for Shopping

Rivals to Microsoft were given a significant victory on Thursday with a ruling in South Korea that opens up financial transactions to browsers besides Internet Explorer. The country's Financial Services Commission has scrapped a 1999 rule that required using ActiveX to verify shoppers' IDs, effectively giving Microsoft a government-backed monopoly over business. The change came after the Korea Communications Commission decided in May that the rule prevented most smartphones owners from buying things online. The legal change takes effect immediately, but a committee to oversee the transition won't arrive until later this month. Opening the browser rules is poised to quickly erode some of Microsoft's market share in Korea, as locals will no longer be required to use Internet Explorer, and therefore a version of Windows, to shop online. The browser has lost much of its share in the US and much of Europe, where Chrome, Firefox and Safari now have significant share. Windows Mobile has some level of support for ActiveX, but unlike its desktop counterpart has much less share and has been losing ground to the iPhone, and Android, in Korea.


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

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S. Korea to Push "Smart Work" System

The Korean government said it would introduce the so-called "Smart Work" system, which permits anyone to work anytime and anywhere by using the Internet and smart phones. The new system would be expected to make an environment of "working without going to work" for 30 percent each of the public and private sectors by 2015.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 07/28/2010

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Ministry Kicks Off 10-year Tech Project

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology next month will kick off its 10-year project to develop ground-breaking neo-technologies. Through its Global Frontier research and development project, the ministry will be supporting 15 research units until 2021, aiming to secure five or more original leading technologies, said officials Thursday. The Global Frontier is the third among the ministry's 10-year projects to renovate the country's science-technology level. The 1990-2000 G7 project resulted in the development of the Code Division Multiple Access technology and flat screen televisions. The following 2000-2010 21C Frontier project led to biomedicines and diminutive disposal of carbon dioxide. The 2010 Global Frontier has adopted as its issues new technology platforms such as bio fuels, augmented realities and human-friendly biotechnology, said officials. The outputs of the project are expected to be deployed on a commercial scale in 10 years and put on general use in 20 years, according to the ministry.

Among the total of 136 originally developed technologies, 15 were initially selected through the online Open Global Frontier Forum, among which seven will be propelled this year, said officials. The project will mostly focus on three major R&D teams, respectively led by a state scientist, said officials. Seoul National University's innovative medical bio convergence team aims at developing high-efficiency medicine by using bio fusion technology. The neo carbon circulation biomass team, led by Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology, is to develop an eco-friendly fuel from the carbonic biomass created through nature photosynthesis. The simulation bio sensor solution team of Korea Institute of Science and Technology will work on an interactive communication between humans and simulation worlds. The selected teams are to receive a government research fund of 5 billion won ($4.2 million) this year, which will be raised to 10-30 billion per year until 2020, said officials. "Based on our last 10 years experience in the previous 21C Frontier project, we have now established an improved set of management rules," said a ministry official. In order to properly evaluate the research results and to maximize fund efficiency, the ministry is to introduce a strict fail or pass system to filter out under-qualified teams, the official also said.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 08/12/2010

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MALAYSIA: More Co-operation Wanted in ICT with South Korea

Malaysia wants to have more co-operation in information and communications technology (ICT) with South Korea, which is well ahead in that field. Information, Communications, Culture and Arts Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said Malaysia hoped the current co-operation could be translated into ICT-related projects. Both nations are celebrating 50 years of relations this year. He said Malaysia would try to venture into various areas of ICT where South Korea has strengths in implementing the projects. "We see how South Korea could advance and be the No 1 country in ICT, and how it has incorporated ICT use in its villages, besides educating South Korean youths on how to use ICT to generate income, especially in the content industry," he said. "These are interesting areas and we will try to venture into some."
Rais was speaking to Malaysian journalists covering his attendance at the World Information and Communications Summit (WICS) 2010 in Seoul.

Win-win
He said South Korea has an interesting programme to develop animation and research in 3D computer graphics. 3D technology has been used in movies, such as Avatar recently. "These fields are very interesting and can give huge returns to both countries. We are looking at South Korean ICT as the champion in the industry because it has pioneered various advanced areas at the international level," Rais said. "We need to learn how South Korea managed to push its animation, movie and cinematography culture and expertise outside the country." Rais said agencies involved in ICT in Malaysia should study the ICT developments in South Korea and make proposals to the Government on the approaches that can be taken to emulate South Korea's success. He said Malaysia-Seoul co-operation in ICT could also be forged through ICT training programmes involving the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission and the Korean Communications Commission, and between the ICT practitioners of both countries.

New start
"Perhaps there will be some of our ICT practitioners coming here and some from South Korea going to Kuala Lumpur to see how the Malaysian ICT industry can develop in the best possible way," said Rais. He regarded the organising of the WISC, where the leaders, ministers and deputy ministers from nine countries including those in Asia discussed and exchanged ideas on ICT, as a noble effort by South Korea. "As an experienced country, South Korea has further strengthened its friendship with the developing countries, so that Asia as a whole will not lag in the field. "We (Malaysia) shall take this as a new beginning for us, in a new era where ICT is part of our lifestyle that can bring us economic, cultural and industrial benefits," Rais said. The two-day WICS 2010, organised by South Korean Multimedia Communications, was aimed at strengthening co-operation and building a sustainable future for the participating countries by sharing experiences and vision on ICT.


From http://techcentral.my/ 05/27/2010

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ICT Is Key Enabler in 10th Plan blueprint

CYBERJAYA: The 10th Malaysia Plan clearly articulates the central role of ICT (information and communications technology) as the bedrock for the nation to vault forward to a high-value economy, said the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC). The quantum leap in the plan is how much more the ICT sector will see its role expand from being a vertical to include the horizontal as well, as it cuts across all spheres of the national economy and the Malaysian quality of life, said Datuk Badlisham Ghazali, MDeC chief executive. This, he said, is clearly demonstrated in the fact that ICT is selected as an NKEA (National Key Economic Area).

He said it is important to note that Malaysia's ICT industry, encompassing the hardware, software, services and telecommunications clusters, accounted for 9.8% of the nation's total GDP (Gross Domestic Product) last year. "This sector will continue to be a key focus for Malaysia and is expected to gain greater momentum driven by the convergence of industries due to digitalisation. "The contribution of the ICT industry to GDP is targeted to increase to 10.2% by 2015. Greater use of ICT will not only support the growth of the sector but also boost productivity and raise the nation's overall competitiveness," Badlisham said in a press statement. He said the imprint of ICT can be seen across the entire blueprint of the plan. "All the strategic areas mentioned by the Prime Minister have ICT written all over them. "At MDeC we are very energised by the announcement as our next phase of growth, MSC 2.0 sits squarely in the epicenter of this ICT enablement. "This essentially means that all our programmes are directly involved with various elements of the 10th Plan. This includes the ICT industry, small and medium enterprises (SME), social economic development, R&D initiatives, human capital, innovation and funding."

Corner stone
According to Badlisham, development of the ICT industry will continue to be the key focus for MSC Malaysia. In order to attain high growth from the industry, the country needs to shift from being a relatively large consumer, but small producer of ICT solutions, to a large producer and consumer of ICT solutions. Malaysia also needs to advance from an average producer of general ICT products and services to a dominant producer of selected ICT products and services, hence progressing from a nett importer to a nett exporter. "To this end, the initiatives announced by the Prime Minister in development, funding and support will facilitate local ICT players in growing and moving forward," said Badlisham. The SME space stands to benefit greatly as the laws around funding, failure and bankruptcy are a game changer, he said. "MDeC welcomes the Government's policy to make it easier for SMEs to participate in government procurement because we have highlighted the need for the Government to support our local companies so that they can have success stories as reference in order to participate in international bidding. "MSC Malaysia-status companies will also be able to take advantage of the Working Capital Guarantee and the Industry Restructuring Loan Guarantee schemes," he said. Another area in which MDeC will take a leading role is in cloud computing. This will enable SMEs to move from a capex to opex scenario giving them speed, agility and huge cost savings. In this sense, ICT becomes a utility similar to electricity or water.Also of particular interest is the creative multimedia space where MDeC is spearheading a move to make Malaysia a hub for animation, filmmaking and games. The 10th Plan clearly shows that the Government will be formulating a policy to help drive these efforts further, Badlisham said.


From http://techcentral.my/ 06/11/2010

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THAILAND: ICT 2020 Initiative to Be Drafted by End of Year

ICT for public service, one of the seven strategies of the National ICT policy framework 2011-2020 (ICT 2020), has been addressed with the target to transform e-government to i-government by 2020. The ICT 2020 policy framework is now en route for drafting by the ICT Ministry and the National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre (Nectec).I-government embraces intelligence, integration and inclusion, according to the joint-working committee of the ICT Ministry and Nectec. The goals of i-government are to improve the quality of life of Thai people under good governance and make Thai businesses competitive in the world with widespread public service facilitation by 2020. Meanwhile, the electronics industry of the public sector will become more environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient. Chadamas Thuvasethakul, Nectec's deputy executive director, said that the aim of ICT 2020 is to have the i-government of Thailand placed in the top 20 percent based on the ranking by the United Nations.

I-government is effectively based on the principles of open government, and satisfaction of the people and business sector with e-service higher than 90 percent, along with increasing the quantity of electronic transactions of the public sector. Chadamas noted that the key principle of i-government is to have open government - a government that must be transparent, responsive and with information accessible to the public. It must be open for public participation and collaborate with every party. Also, the government must comply with i-government that supports social networking technology. According to the draft, the strategies of the smart government 2020 are to have a neutral organisation responsible for i-government policy development; promote the service innovation based on the open government approach by utilising Web 2.0 technology, social networking and service science; promote software designs that are reusable, especially Service Oriented Architecture (SOA); promote the universal design of ICT that serves every group of people, including people with disabilities; set up the government CIO council; develop the human resources of the public sector in line with the trend of technology and develop research in service science.

The government's CIO council will coordinate and undertake integration between the organisations, in which the council partakes in considering the ICT budget allocation of the public sector. Recently, the working team held a brainstorming session on the draft for ICT for smart government 2020 as part of the ICT 2020 policy framework. Pravit Chattalada, the Association of Thai ICT Industry (ATCI) executive director, suggested that the visions of ICT 2020 should be stronger because Thailand must be transformed one way or another over the next 10 years. The problem for Thailand is the effectiveness of the operation because of political intervention and inefficient management. "How to have the ICT plan that is unhindered by the politicians is a key concern," he said. Pravit said that e-government so far has not been successful because there are too many organisations without integration, inter-operability and fixed standards and which are not be reusable. "The ICT Ministry must take collaboration seriously," he said, adding that it must have the CIOs at the government level who have the right to drive the effort.

Jantima Sirisaengtaksin, principal advisor on information and communication technology at the Revenue Department, pointed out that each public organisation must take one step back and not think that they own the data. The data used by the various organisations should be shared and it should have a neutral body to take care of it. Microsoft (Thailand) National Technology director, Prasopchoke Pramongkit, pointed out that the plan should look ahead to the year 2030 because the infrastructure constructed today must also be usable in the year 2030. "Thailand has to buy technology from abroad, as we are not inventors," he said, adding that the point is how to make Thai people smarter and gain more capabilities. Apart from smart government, Prasopchoke noted that it should have a smart grid and smart metering to control whatever is happening. Smart cards should have more applications than this. "If we look at Japan, their ICT responds to all that the Japanese people want," he said.

According to Phairash Thajchayapong, National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) chairman of the board, the e-government of Thailand needs to be monitored. The e-government readiness index of Thailand has been dropping year by year because e-government did not coincide with the requirements of the people and there is no organisation to oversee it. Strategies and measures are crucial, but there should be a body to carry them out. "We cannot only rely on the government budget," he said. Bongchan Kanchasasat, the ICT Ministry's director of policy and strategic planning, said that the organisation to carry out e-government is probably the one that the ICT Minister Chuti Krairiksh recently announced to set up as the public organisation, the e-government office.

After the brainstorming, the working group will hold a public hearing and then submit the findings to the National IT Committee (NITC) in order to make proposals to the cabinet. It's expected that the ICT 2020 draft will be completed by the end of this year.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 07/14/2010

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ICT Cited as Key to Stronger, More Unified Thailand

Thailand has defined its vision to increase and improve its use of ICT to help develop a stronger economy as well as boost social equality and environmental friendliness by 2020, as part of the Smart Thailand concept.Speaking at a public hearing hosted by Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Chadamas Thuvasethakul, Nectec's deputy executive director , said ICT can be used to strengthen the kingdom's economy and reduce the social gap by boosting the public's knowledge and the quantity of smart human capital through increasing the availability of high-speed Internet.There are seven strategies of development to drive this vision, starting with building a next-generation infrastructure to allow equal access to high-speed Internet, with a target to reach 80 percent of the population by 2015, up from 3.4 percent today.

The second strategy is to build a more advanced ICT professional workforce and increase hiring so that the field represents at least three percent of the country's overall workforce, up from 1.09 percent today. The kingdom will build more highly skilled professionals and new skill capabilities, especially in multidisciplines that are necessary for creativity and innovation in ICT services. The third approach is to build the ICT industry to become more competitive at Asean level and uplift Thailand's ICT benchmarking industry competitiveness. Furthermore, the use of domestic products will be encouraged, especially in software, ICT services and digital content. 'Smart Government' is the fourth strategy, providing intelligent and integrated services open to all stakeholders. Currently e-Government services are still not yet widely used or accessible to citizens, causing Thailand's rank in the e-Government index to slip from 64 in 2008 down to 76, from a total of 183 countries, in 2010.

Software Park Thailand board chairman Manoo Oradeedolchest said the government should adopt social networking as a tool to reach their citizens and encourage them to become e-Participants, and as a tool to recruit a talented workforce. "Free trade and investment liberisation represents an opportunity to recruit talented people, but it is also a challenge to retain existing talent," he explained. "The government should be aware of this and leverage use of social media to reach global specialised talent and the young generation." Chadamas continued that using ICT to build a stronger economy is the fifth strategy, which can be achieved by enabling the use of ICT in agriculture and encouraging the use of wireless sensors with embedded systems and creating innovation in the service industry. The use of ICT to encourage social equality is the sixth strategy, with the aim that all citizens should gain greater IT literacy through improved access to and utilisation of telecommunications and information services. Using ICT to sustain environmentally friendly practices is the final strategy, with research and development of green ICT to be encouraged alongside the use of an intelligent transportation system and Smart Grid.

Moreover, Chadamas plans to propose some pilot projects for key initiatives such as Smart Grid, Green Data Center, e-Waste and the second phase of the Intelligent Transportation System. "The success of this vision will depend on a strong political and a strong leadership and governance structure, together with an effective coordinating mechanism across ministries," she said. A representative from the Royal Thai Police said the draft should promote the use of domestic security ICT, such as CCTV, to reduce costs from imported technologies and open opportunities for domestic professionals. "Currently, any incident related to domestic security affairs needs CCTV footage as evidence," said the police source. "It is estimated that 10 million CCTV cameras are needed to cover all critical areas." Meanwhile, a representative from the Royal Thai Navy said the draft concentrates only on cyber security, but it should consider using ICT more to strengthen national security issues such as protecting the country and tackling cyber crime. Methini Thepmani, executive director, Policy and Strategy Bureau, Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, said the draft will be proposed to the National Information Technology Commission (NITC), of which Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is the chairman, and submit to cabinet a solution by next month. Currently, there are discussions to establish a sub committee with the Labour Ministry to endorse national IT professional certification for project managers, system analysts and security experts.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 08/11/2010

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VIET NAM: IT Infrastructure Targeted

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has requested the Ministry of Information and Communications to complete submissions for a Government strategy to upgrade the country's information technology (IT) infrastructure by 2020 by this Thursday. The Ministry of Science and Technology will co-ordinate with the Ministry of Justice and other relevant agencies to draft further submissions to the Prime Minister before June 25. If successful, the project, designed by the Ministry of Information and Communications, will transform Viet Nam into a 'strong IT nation' by 2015, lift the country's information technology rank on the list of the International Telecommunication Union to 70th or higher, and increase total revenue of the IT sector as a percentage of GDP from between 17 to 20 per cent. Longer term, the strategy aims to lift Viet Nam to a ranking of 60th or higher in the Union's list and increase the information communication sector's contribution to GDP to between 20 and 23 per cent.

In response to the strategy, the ministry has outlined six phases of implementation: To continue developing and improving telecommunications infrastructure; to extend access to telephones, audio-visual equipment and computer systems nationwide; to develop IT applications in State-run agencies; to develop IT solutions that serve the daily needs of the people: to develop an IT-skills base in the labour market: and to support international IT cooperation. Highlighting the importance of IT in the public sector, Dung emphasised in April: "In this era, the development of IT application for the operation of State-run agencies is a matter of urgency for our country." IT applications will enable the smooth and uniform operation of State agencies. This is essential to maintain a harmonious relationship between the people, the business community and state agencies. It is also a necessary component of reforming the Government and State agencies to ensure democracy and transparency, improve effectiveness, and increase efficiency of public administration.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 06/08/2010

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Plan to Boost Computer Literacy

VietNamNet Bridge - Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Tran Duc Lai met with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) in Ha Noi recently to discuss expanding a pilot project to improve general computer and internet skills across the country. Following the meeting, Lai and BMGF Global Library's Sam Sternin and Michael Aldridge said they would submit proposals to extend the project. The agreement for implementing the five-year project extension from November 2010 to October 2015 is expected to be signed in October. It is estimated to cost US$50 million, of which BMGF will sponsor $30 million and Microsoft, $3.6 million of software. The extended project will invest in infrastructure at 1,500 village culture houses and 400 district and provincial libraries in 40 provinces cross the country.

It will provide these facilities with 12,000 desk computers and accessories. More than 300,000 people will be trained in computer skills and advanced office applications. The project aims to design services, training content and media content to meet real demand and improve people's lives. A website www.i4ra.vn was launched on October 22, 2009, including information in Khmer. It provides people with socio-economic, agricultural and market information. The pilot project, which was implemented at three provinces - Thai Nguyen, Nghe An and Tra Vinh - provided 235 computers, including 120 for the village culture houses; 33 printers, LAN equipment and accessories. Phan Huu Phong, deputy director of the Viet Nam Public Telecommunications Service Fund (DVVTCI) and director of the pilot project, said most of work in the pilot that would end in October was already finished.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 08/02/2010

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Govt to Rein in Online Gaming

VietNamNet Bridge - The Minister of Information and Communications has outlined strict temporary measures to curb the extreme aspects of online gaming after the suspension of licensed online video games. Minister Hop said the ministry has applied groups of measure with 15 specific solutions to limit the extreme aspects of online gaming. Following stringent proposals outlined by HCM City Information and Communications Department and several localities to control online gaming, Hop called on authorised agencies to act with caution and avoid coming to hasty management plans. He added that Viet Nam could learn from other countries but was confident that a comprehensive solution would be formulated that would effectively tackle the issue. In five groups of measures set out to manage online games, the Minister has requested authorised agencies and businesses to implement provisional solutions including temporally granting licences on electronic online gaming so as to review mechanisms, policies and practices and draw experience to develop a new comprehensive policy.

Authorised agencies will cut the connections to internet agents from 23 pm to 6 am. Companies, businesses and families will not be subject to this measure. Games designers will be instructed to produce healthy online games relating to history and cultural traditions. The ministry plans to carry out basic measures to improve the legal framework in order to pass a law on information security. Through researching network management in other countries, it hopes to learn managerial skills for online gaming which is a social problem. Hop said an agency will be established to take care of secure online information. Specifically, if companies violate the law, their licences will be revoked. The inspection of production facilities on online games will also be carefully controlled and any company found with products containing scenes of violence or sex will receive heavy fines. Along with the new legislation, the minister also mentioned the importance of co-ordination between ministries, local authorities and families. In particular, close co-ordination with the Ministry of Public Security will be necessary to prevent the access of games hosted on foreign servers. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will also conduct inspections on CDs and tapes on sale in market and the Ministry of Education will monitor network connections in school and hostels. The minister also stressed the importance of the role of family and schools.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 08/18/2010

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BANGLADESH: Integrating Microfinance with ICT

Linking up and Reaching out in Bangladesh: Information and Communications Technology for Microfinance presents a new idea of introducing a centralised technology platform for the microfinance industry to usher greater efficiency and ameliorate current constraints. Linking up and Reaching out in Bangladesh: Information and Communications Technology for Microfinance. The microfinance market in Bangladesh emerged in the early 1970s out of the now-famous Jobra experiments of Dr. Muhammad Yunus and a number of other, government-led initiatives. Cover page of the report/ Photo credit: World Bank These pioneering efforts led to the proliferation of institutions that we see flourishing in the country today. Bangladesh is generally considered to be a mature microfinance market, with a multitude of players that together employ around 150,000 people (CDF 2006). According to data provided by the Microcredit Regulatory Authority (MRA), as of December 7, 2008, there were 374 licensed nongovernmental microfinance organisations in Bangladesh - out of 4,236 organisations that applied for licenses. The potential number that could qualify, given the major criteria of having 1,000 borrowers or Tk 4 million in principal loans outstanding, is 452. Data from MIX, the Web based microfinance information platform (Microfinance Information Exchange) and Credit and Development Forum (CDF), a non-profit microfinance network in Bangladesh, indicate that 77% of the market is currently served by the three largest microcredit programs: ASA, Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), and Grameen Bank. Together, the three institutions serve more than 18 million borrowers. The remainder of Bangladesh's estimated 24 million total microfinance borrowers are served by institutions classified as medium, small, or very small. While the figures seem to indicate that large institutions serve the vast majority of microfinance clients in Bangladesh, a mapping exercise carried out by the microfinance apex funding institution Palli Karma- Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) found that there is an overlap of about 33% (PKSF 2004). More recent PKSF studies indicate that the overlap rate has increased to 40 percent.

In other words, borrowers receive loans from multiple lenders, either to fulfill their investment needs or to pay back the loans they have received from other institutions. Given the overlap incidence and the absence of a robust credit bureau, totals on an institution-by-institution basis might grossly overestimate the number of borrowers served and therefore underestimate those that have absolutely no access to finance. This leads to what is widely believed: that despite the large number of (sometimes duplicated) borrowers currently served and despite the many years of experience in microfinance by the Bangladeshi operators, about 50% of the country's poor have not yet been reached (PKSF 2006). Although microfinance organisations in Bangladesh do not yet see this as a problem, it has become a troublesome issue in many other counties, as it can lead to unacceptable levels of debt that would eventually adversely affect the poor. The 2008-09 international financial crisis provides incentive for Bangladesh to be cautious about such an occurrence in its microfinance sector. Microcredit organisations in Bangladesh face a number of constraints in trying to serve the majority of the poor. Many of these constraints can be linked to insufficient availability and use of technology. Major concerns include the following: There is no reporting mechanism that correctly captures performance data. Information on the financial and operational performance of microfinance institutions (MFIs) is paper-centric and not timely, while data are not complete and cannot be independently verified. This situation is detrimental to MFIs, microfinance clients, and microfinance industry regulatory bodies. Paper-based operations consume a significant amount of loan officers' time. There is not, in most MFIs, a timely connection between the head office, the branch offices, and the loan officers in the field due to lack of, or incomplete use of, appropriate technology applications.

Due to non-use of appropriate technology applications, there is a lack of holistic, sector-wide data on MFI borrowers and outstanding portfolios. MFIs are unable to share useful information about clients with each other. This contributes to the persistent client overlap seen in the microfinance sector. Adoption of technology is expensive for MFIs, while use of currently available technology does not always correspond to gains in revenue or increases in productivity in the short term. This book presents a new paradigm for introducing technology in the microfinance Industry of Bangladesh that could help ameliorate current constraints. Under the new paradigm, a centralised ICT platform would be established to serve the microfinance industry of Bangladesh and technology would be deployed more rapidly to MFIs in all parts of the microfinance value chain, from the head office to branch offices, loan officers, and clients. Unlike in the traditional paradigm, the technology needs of all MFIs would be pooled together in one central office. The central office would offer technology tools, services, and know-how to MFIs throughout the country. Several benefits would be achieved under this new paradigm: Because all technology needs would be pooled in one place, the central office would be able to exploit economies of scale and offer technology services to MFIs at a lower cost. Because their technology needs would be outsourced, MFI staff would no longer need to devote as much time and effort to learning new technologies. The central office would provide all technology-related training and support. Because technology would be deployed throughout the microfinance value chain, all parts of the MFI would always be connected. Because all MFIs would be connected with one another through a central office, they would be able to learn useful information about clients from one another.

The new paradigm goes several steps further. If the central platform were connected to the formal financial sector, MFI activities could become integrated with those of the formal financial sector, namely through increasing MFIs' access to capital from commercial banks and financial intermediaries. In turn, the formal financial market would be able to reach out to individual MFIs and their clients, who live in remote, rural areas. Similarly, if the central platform were connected with the government, MFIs could more easily comply with government regulations and grant the government access to selected MFI information. In turn, the government could design better-targeted microfinance policies and regulations based on complete and accurate information. In the long term, the government could opt for lighter regulation, intervening strategically only when there is a need. With the new platform in place, the cost of regulation would also be lower than in the traditional paradigm, since information about MFIs would be readily available and interventions would be more strategic. Introduction of the centralised ICT platform also would open the door to new products and services, such as mobile banking, branchless banking, and electronic remittances. Because MFIs would transact business electronically, through the central office, they would be able to store information and offer services electronically. Offering clients financial services over mobile phones would expand MFIs' outreach by allowing them to exploit the full breadth of the national mobile network. By providing their loan officers with electronic devices, MFIs would gain the ability to provide a full range of financial services otherwise available only at a branch office. Since the entire microfinance value chain would be managed electronically under the new paradigm, remittances would also be channeled electronically, enabling clients to send money to (and receive money from) a person who is a client of another MFI.


From http://southasia.oneworld.net/ 06/01/2010

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ICT Act Challenged

A Writ petition was filed yesterday with the High Court challenging the legality of some provisions of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973 under which the war crimes trial is being held. Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami senior Assistant Secretaries General Muhammad Kamaruzzaman and Abdul Quader Mollah, who are now detained, jointly filed the Writ petition seeking HC direction to suspend the proceedings of the International Crimes Tribunal and the trial against them. The HC bench comprising Justice MA Wahhab Miah and Justice Kazi Rezaul Haq fixed August 17 (today) for hearing on the petition. The petitioners challenged the Sections 3(1), 6(2), 6(8), 19(1), 19(3), 20(2) and 23 of the International Crimes Tribunal Act, 1973 which have restricted the accused to challenge the formation, proceeding and order of the tribunal. These sections of the Act have violated the basic structure and supremacy of the Constitution, the petition said. The petitioners also challenged the First Amendment to the Constitution that said the fundamental rights would not be applicable to the armed forces, defense forces, auxiliary forces and prisoners of war who were involved in war crimes. In 1973, the Constitution (First Amendment) Act 1973 was passed inserting Sub-art (3) in Article 47 whereby any law providing for the detention and trial of war criminals was kept out of the purview of the provision of Part III relating to fundamental rights. The petition stated that the first amendment to the Constitution was done violating the fundamental rights of the people. The petition further stated that according to the Section 3(1) of the Act during the war criminals trial the fundamental rights would not be applicable to the people who were involved in war crimes. This section violated the constitutional rights of the people which guaranteed them under the Constitution. The petition also stated that the appointment of the two High Court judges in the Tribunal under the Section 6(2) of the Act violated the Articles 147 (3), 99 and 94 of the Constitution. Their appointments also violated Sections 94 (3), 94, 99, 109 and 144 of the Constitution, the petition said. The petition stated that as per the Section 20(2) of the Act, the Tribunal could award capital punishment to the accused, but it was not mentioned in the Act for which offence it would award this punishment. The Criminal Procedure of Code (CrPC) would not be applicable under the Section 23 of the Act, which is contradictory to the Constitution, the petition said. The petitioner also challenged the first case of the Tribunal under which it was issued arrest warrants against four top leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami for alleged crimes committed during the War of Liberation in 1971. The four Jamaat leaders are: party Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami, Secretary General Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujaheed and Senior Assistant Secretaries general Muhammad Kamaruzzaman and Abdul Quader Mollah. Barrister Abdur Razzaq appeared for the petitioners.


From http://nation.ittefaq.com/ 08/17/2010

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BHUTAN: Taking Quick Steps to Digitisation

For computer engineer Philip Smith, connecting Bhutan to the world wide web was just another task, but it was a quantum leap for the Bhutanese. Since then information technology has progressed by leaps and bounds and has helped locals to share their unique culture. "I see website and email addresses on the signboards of shops now, back then it was just the telephone numbers," said Philip Smith. "I'm happy to have been a part of this." Paul Smith/ Photo credit: Kuensel In 1999, Bhutan went online. The man who connected Bhutan was Philip Smith. Some time in March of 1999, Philip, a computer engineer, received a phone call. He was to connect Bhutan to the world by June 2, less than three months away. Philip downplayed his role. "There was already a project underway," he said, and the necessary equipment like servers and routers already in place. He simply made sure the people handling the equipment knew what they were doing, so that a connection could be established and maintained to the web, allowing Bhutanese access to the world. Although establishing internet connections for service providers like Bhutan Telecom (BT) was nothing new to Philip, he said, "but it was the first time I was bringing a country online." From a technical point of view, it was nothing different, he said. But from a personal perspective, he said he was happy to facilitate a new form of communication that would allow the Bhutanese to show the world their unique culture. Eleven years after he introduced the internet to Bhutan, Philip, who has been returning periodically ever since, said that "progress has been amazing." Currently involved in a five-day program with Bhutanese information communications technology operators in Paro, he observed that Bhutanese operators were "hungry" for the more sophisticated aspects of networking. "Ten years ago, I was only teaching the basic functions," he said. But Philip wants to know more about how the internet has impacted Bhutanese society. "There are a lot of implications, on how people's perceptions change," he said, "it's a shame no one has done a study." On why, he himself had not done a study, especially with his personal connection to Bhutan, he replied, "no time." Philip said he usually has around 300 emails he has to read through almost on a daily basis. Such a task would be better suited for a sociologist, he said. Until such a study, Philip will have to do with only seeing the changes on the surface of an internet connected Bhutanese society, that he helped create.


From http://southasia.oneworld.net/ 07/21/2010

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INDIA: Remaining Districts in Uttar Pradesh to Have E-District Project Soon

The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Ms. Mayawati has directed that the e-Governance programme should be effectively implemented to provide important services to the people in the State. All the departments will have to implement e-Governance on a priority basis. Besides, the different Government departments should provide their services to the people through e-District project. She emphasised the need for making the functioning of Jan Sewa Kendras being set up in rural areas better and transparent, so that the people could get the certificates and other documents easily. e-District project needs to be speedily started in the remaining 65 districts of the State. The Chief Secretary has been advised to monitor e-Governance scheme continuously.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 06/17/2010

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Maharashtra Proposes Act to Promote E-Services

The Information Technology Department of the government has proposed a Maharashtra Mandatory Electronic Delivery of Public Service Act 2010 to promote e-Services to the citizens. The people of Maharashtra might soon do away with long queue and receive birth certificates, land documents and other important papers online as the state government plans to provide various services via internet. Maharashtra government plans to make it mandatory for all state departments to provide various online services. Along with online services the citizens would also have choices to opt for the earlier manual system.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 06/29/2010

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Bihar to Extend IT Benefits to Agriculture Sector

The Bihar government is building state-of-the-art e-Kisan Bhawan at block level to extend benefits of Information Technology (IT) to the agriculture sector of the state. Construction work of e-Kisan Bhawan is in progress in 324 blocks out of the total 534 blocks in the state. To be equipped with genset and Internet connection, the e-Kisan bhawan would act as a information and advisory centre for farmers. It would also work as a soil testing lab, training centre, will provide weather information, among others.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 08/13/2010

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PAKISTAN: Promotion of IT Must for Rapid Development: Chief Minister

LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister, Shahbaz Sharif has said promotion of Information Technology for the rapid development of the country is need of the hour and the government is implementing a comprehensive programme for this purpose. He said that after setting up of IT labs in high schools their scope was being extended to middle schools level and as a result million of students would benefit from this facility. The chief minister was addressing a meeting held on Wednesday to review the pace of implementation of various development programmes in the province. The meeting was attended by Vice Chairman Investment Board, Chairman Planning & Development, Secretary Finance, Chairman Punjab Board of Information Technology, Country Manager of Microsoft and other concerned senior officers. The chief minister said that government was paying due attention for providing basic amenities to the people as well as rapid development of the province and a record development budget of Rs 193 billion was reflective of this fact. Shahbaz said that government had strictly implemented financial discipline during the last year and in the next fiscal the same would be implemented by reducing non-developmental expenditure and would spend it on the welfare of the people. He said that imparting latest knowledge to the new generation was of vital importance keeping in view the changing phenomena of the world. Therefore, special attention had been paid for harmonising the syllabus of technical education in accordance with the latest demands, provision of modern equipment and highly trained teachers to the institutes besides promotion of Information Technology. Shahbaz said that foundation of revolution had been laid in education sector by setting up IT labs in more than 4286 schools of the province and now a project had been evolved for establishing computer labs at middle level in the same transparent manner. He said that setting up of computer labs would leave far reaching impacts on education sector.

He said besides establishment of IT labs, planning was also being made for utilising IT for providing facilities to the people and increasing capacity buildings of various departments and a special committee had been constituted in this regard. He said that Rs 1.96 billion have been allocated for Information Technology in the province. Shahbaz said that the Punjab government had accelerated work on the project of Land Record Computerisation pending for the years together so that people could get rid of the traditional role of patwari and forgery in registration and transfer of properties. He said that Rs 6 billion had been allocated in the budget for provision of free medicines in the hospitals whereas, scope of facility of free dialysis was being expanded throughout the province during the current financial year and an amount of Rs 300 million had been allocated for this purpose. The chief minister pointed out that the health department would have no concern with the mobile hospitals whereas, the company providing hospitals would be responsible for maintenance of these hospitals and provision of medical facilities to the people and the Punjab government would provide remuneration for its services. He said that besides upgradation of rural and basic health units, new hospitals were also being constructed throughout the province. The Punjab government was paying special attention to medical education and four new medical colleges would be constructed in the province during current year. He averred that liver transplantation was also being started in the province and the patients suffering from liver diseases would benefit from this facility. Chairman Planning and Development gave detailed briefing in the meeting with regards to implementation of various projects.


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

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AZERBAIJAN: Close to Awarding Remaining 3G Licenses

The Azerbaijani Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies has confirmed that it is considering applications for 3G licenses from Azercell and Bakcell. Minister of Communications and Information Technologies Ali Abbasov said that the licenses should be awarded in the near future, so long as no problems are found in their applications. Currently, only Azerfon has a 3G operating license, having paid 11,000 manat (US$13,681) last December. The Mobile World database notes that there are three GSM operators, along with one CDMA operator in the country. At the end of March 2010, there were just over 7.2 million subscribers in the country - representing a population penetration level of 87%.


From Mobile World 06/17/2010

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President Ilham Aliyev Signs Order to Approve State Program on ICT Development for 2010-2012

President Ilham Aliyev has signed an Executive Order to approve the State Program on development of communication and information technology in Azerbaijan for 2010-2012 (Electronic Azerbaijan), AzerTAj State News Agency reported on Wednesday. Under the document, the coordination of implementation of the measures envisaged in the State Program was entrusted to the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology.


From http://en.trend.az/ 08/11/2010

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Schedule of Operations and Feasibility Studies to Be Prepared to Implement Projects within State Program 'E-Azerbaijan'

A Coordinating Council on the implementation of the "State program on development of communication and information technologies in Azerbaijan for 2010-2012 (Electronic Azerbaijan)" has decided to prepare schedule of operations and feasibility studies of the projects indicated in the program within a month by executive bodies, the Communications and Information Technologies Ministry said. According to the Ministry, the Council has also decided to determine necessary funds to execute plan on specific points during the reported period. He decision was made during the first meeting of the Coordinating Council, which was held the day before in the Ministry. The Council will coordinate activities and prepare a work plan to implement the tasks under the state program on the relevant directions.

The main goals of the state program, approved by President Aliyev are to fulfill the tasks of the "National Strategy for Development of Communication and Information Technologies in Azerbaijan Republic" (2003-2012). The state program will be implemented in four main areas, including development of telecommunications, postal infrastructure and services, introduction of information and communication technologies and development of electronic services in state and local bodies, creation of conditions for the transition to an information society, as well as expansion of export and competitive potential. The program will be financed from the state budget, domestic and foreign investments, through loans, grants and technical and financial assistance of the international and foreign organizations, as well as through other sources that are not contrary to the law.

After the state program is implemented, conditions for the development of information society will be created. The Internet segment will be developed. The circle of computer users will be expanded. The "digital inequality" will be liquidated. Solutions of "electronic government" will be introduced. Digital signatures and others will be applied. A plan of actions within the "Electronic Azerbaijan" program includes measures to develop the network infrastructure of operators, full electronization of the network, establish an independent regulatory body of the telecommunications industry, provide services based on satellite communication and develop e-commerce. According to the Azerbaijani President's decree, the Communications and IT Ministry will coordinate the execution of the state program.


From http://en.trend.az/ 08/19/2010

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GEORGIA: Limit Public Information About International Court Cases

A new amendment to Georgia's freedom of information law is introducing strict limits on "third-party" access to information about cases involving the Georgian government in international courts. Civil society watchdogs term the change a setback for the country's democratic development. The amendment's sponsor, however, contends that the change reflects international standards. Prior to the amendment, Georgian law stipulated that all information in administrative cases remain public; exceptions to the freedom of information (FIO) law included commercial and professional secrets, criminal cases and covert operations. The amendment, passed on July 21, will require journalists, human rights activists and others not directly involved in an international court case to apply to a Georgian court for the release of any details about the case. The fact that the case itself had been filed in an international court would remain accessible. The change has sparked outrage from two organizations that monitor judicial reform and human rights in Georgia. The amendment marks the first time the government has restricted the country's FIO legislation since the 2003 Rose Revolution, commented Tamar Gurchiani, a lawyer with the Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA). "This is the worst step that could ever be made," commented Gurchiani, who termed the measure a violation of the constitutional right to information. "That is the closing of information in advance, without any discussion." Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee Deputy Chairperson Lasha Tordia, who drafted the legislation, argues that the changes are in line with international court procedures and will not obstruct the flow of information to the public. The government had decided to amend the law based on "requirements" from the Paris-based International Court of Arbitration, he contended.

The Court "required that some part" of information in cases between the Georgian government and private companies be kept "private" because discrepancies between Georgian law and the Court's requirements were causing "concrete" problems in cases involving the government, Tordia claimed. Contacted by EurasiaNet.org, Sylvie Picard Renaut, a lawyer at the International Court of Arbitration, responded that the organization may "lobby" to promote arbitration, but does not have any leverage over countries' policy-making. Tordia did not detail the cases or complaints in question, and referred questions to the Ministry of Justice. A ministry spokesperson had earlier directed EurasiaNet.org to parliament for information about the proposed amendment. The amendment wouldn't just potentially impact cases in the International Court of Arbitration. Several cases against the Georgian government are pending in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and elsewhere; arguably the most prominent within Georgia is the 2006 slaying of banker Sandro Girgvliani by four Ministry of Internal Affairs officers. The case had a public hearing at the European Court of Human Rights this April; a ruling has not yet been issued. "In [the] Georgian context, considering the general situation, I would say this is another restrictive law which limits the possibilities of NGOs, lawyers and the general public to discuss the issues which are of public importance," said Ana Natsulishvili, a lawyer at Tbilisi's pro-opposition Human Rights Center.

A representative of the US democratization watchdog Freedom House echoed that concern. "In general, adding exceptions to FOI laws does weaken them and, as such, is a threat to media freedom," Freedom House senior researcher Karin Deutsch Karlekar, the managing editor of the organization's Freedom of the Press Index, wrote in an email interview with EurasiaNet.org. "This has occurred in recent years in the United States, as well as in a number of other media environments. So local activists are right to be concerned." Tordia, a member of the governing United National Movement, maintains that the amendment is in keeping with citizens' right to information since the public will be able to seek access to documents via the Georgian courts. "If the courts require the information to be public, it will be," he said. "Otherwise, it will be closed." Natsulishvili and GYLA's Gurchiani counter that Georgian courts' pro-government sympathies will predispose them to rule against petitioners. Both worry that the amendment's restriction about releasing information concerning "activities related" to international cases could be interpreted broadly to pertain to domestic cases as well. Tordia responded with a shrug when asked about this interpretation of the amendment. In his February 2010 state-of-the-country speech to parliament, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili disputed the notion that the government still exerted a controlling influence over Georgia's courts. He declared that years of reform have made Georgian courts "more effective" and independent. "[W]e have done what we said we would do," he said.


From http://www.eurasianet.org/ 07/21/2010

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KAZAKHSTAN: Minister of Communications Signed Order on Mass Media Monitoring Technique

The Minister of Communications and Information of Kazakhstan, Askar Zhumagaliev, signed the order on the mass media monitoring technique in regards to observance of the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan on July 21, the agency reports citing the Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech Adil Soz. "This order concerns all mass-media in the territory of Kazakhstan and the Internet resources as well." "Among the infringements of the legislation subject to monitoring are infringements of the Laws on Languages, on Advertising, on State Secrets and many other laws." "Monitoring will be done by the local executive powers and to be supervised by the authorized body that is the Ministry of Communications and Information. The officials of all akimats engaged in monitoring are granted the right to issue administrative offences reports and send them to the judicial bodies," the fund informs.


From http://www.kt.kz/ 08/03/2010

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TAJIKISTAN: Officials Reverse Ban Against Mobile Phone Ads

Tajikistan's industry and government officials say a government ban on mobile phone advertising in Dushanbe has been suspended, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports. Ghaffor Erkaev, head of the Association of Tajik Mobile Communication Companies, told RFE/RL on May 11 that Dushanbe officials have reversed their previous decision to remove advertisements for mobile phones from billboards in the Tajik capital. Shuhrat Nematboev, the deputy head of Tajikistan's State Committee on Investments, told RFE/RL that the decision by the Dushanbe Mayor's Office to remove the billboards was hurting mobile phone companies' business and had "spoiled their work environment." He said state lawyers are checking the legality of the billboard ban. Meanwhile, billboard advertisements for mobile phones are being restored in Dushanbe and the surrounding areas. Erkaev said some officials misunderstood Tajik President Emomali Rahmon's message when he spoke against the excessive use of mobile phones during his annual address to parliament last month. Rahmon said Tajikistan, with a population of 7 million, had 6 million mobile phone numbers.

He added that the annual profit of mobile companies is more than 1.4 billion somoni ($320 million), most of which, he said, goes to foreign companies. Rahmon also instructed Health Minister Nusratullo Salimov to start a television campaign explaining what Rahmon said was the "physical harm" mobile phones cause, especially to children. Marina Rozhkina, a spokeswoman for the Russian-owned mobile phone company Bee-line, told RFE/RL in Dushanbe that mobile phone companies pay their taxes and have an active role in donating to charities and sponsoring sports teams. Other major mobile phone operators in Tajikistan include the Tajik-American Babilon Mobile, Tajik-Russian company MLT, and Chinese-owned TK Mobile. The Indigo mobile phone company recently changed its name to TSL and sold 40 percent of its shares to the Agha Khan Foundation, with the rest being held by the Scandinavian company Telia Sonera. Rahmon also criticized mobile phones during his annual address last year and told the Education Ministry to ban mobile phones from schools and universities.


From Radio Free Europe 05/12/2010

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Tajikistan Criticises Telecom Industry

Tajik authorities have been trying to take control of the cellular communications market, which is divided among eight operator companies, half of them foreign co-owned. The campaign to regulate cellular provider activities began with President Emomali Rakhmon's speech in parliament April 30, in which he claimed cell phones are unhealthy and that telecom services cost too much. By his estimates, keeping one cell phone costs a Tajik family US $11 per month. The average monthly salary is US $80. In 2009, cellular providers earned more than US $320m. Seventy-five percent of the country's 8m inhabitants own mobile phones, Rakhmon said. Authorities took down cell phone billboards in Dushanbe May 6, then re-installed most just four days later. Mayoral press spokesman Shavkat Saidov said subordinates misunderstood the mayor's orders. "What is at issue is regulation of the advertising market, not tearing down all the billboards", Saidov said.

Local television networks launched a campaign against cell phone use, which the president called a possible cause of cancer. Rakhmon personally instructed all educational institutions and the local media to transmit his message. "Each reporter must prepare several stories explaining the hazards of using cellular telephones", said a state TV journalist, who requested anonymity. "We are supposed to persuade people this is unaffordable luxury at a time of a financial crisis". Konstantin Bondarenko, director of the National Association of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses, who has worked in telecom regulation for six years, said neither doctors nor the Transport and Communications Ministry has ever seen any medical research data showing that cellular communications indeed threaten health. A recently completed ten-year study of 13,000 people by the World Health Organization found no conclusive link between cell phone use and brain cancer. However researchers said there were some problems with the study and that more research needs to be done. For many, having a cell phone is a necessity. But some feel the Tajik government is now making the phones less efficient. "When I once called my sick parents and failed to get through to them via the land line, I realised what it means to be left without the telephone", said Sabrina, a 29-year-old Dushanbe resident.

On May 14, the Transport and Communications Ministry prohibited calls from the stationary home telephones operated by the state company TochikTelecom to clients of the cellular provider TaCom, which provides services under the Beeline trademark. Communications Deputy Minister Beg Zukhurov pinned the blame on TaCom. "We found that company breaching existing regulations", he said. "It unlawfully set up a radio relay station - an antenna receiving and transmitting satellite signals - near the Afghan border". TaCom has a licence to operate the relay station, company spokeswoman Marina Roshkina said. "Our subscribers are now unable to get through to emergency services, police, etc., in case of emergency", she said. "Unless they have a land line, people may find themselves in a desperate position". TaCom has suffered tens of thousands of dollars in losses; if the conflict drags on, the company will have the right to sue, Roshkina said.

Telecom firms operate at the mercy of the government and have no option to take the issue to court, said an employee for a cellular provider on condition of anonymity. "Earlier this year MLT, which is 75% owned by Megaphone Russia, attempted to re-brand to Megaphone Tajikistan and spent huge sums on advertising but finally was blocked by the Tajik government", he said. The newspaper Fakty I Kommentarii, citing local analysts, reported that cellular providers received unofficial suggestions to purchase shares in the Rogun hydropower project worth US $5m-10m, but they declined. "That's pure gossip", said an MLT representative who asked to remain anonymous. "Of course, telecom operators did buy the hydropower project's shares, but the whole thing most likely boils down to yet another attempt to unite us within a single switching centre (within) the state-run TochikTelecom." The government has been seeking to regulate cellular providers, who reported an income of US $320m in 2009 while actually earning over US $1 billion, political scientist Saimuddin Dustov said.

"Quite understandably, the state wishes to take this market under control", he said. "To do that, it needs a Unified Switching Centre to handle all the cellular operators' traffic and make sure they have zero opportunity to conceal their earnings. At the same time, its attempts to put the industry in order have been wrongful and aggressive." Government policy has only been scaring potential investors away, complained Gafur Irkayev, president of the Telecom Operators' Association. "With over 90% of Tajikistan's territory mountainous, cellular providers have run a loss trying to serve the hard-to-access regions", he said. "Cellular communications is a dynamically developing market, and the involvement of ever more players gives the industry an additional boost", Dustov said. "Over the past two years, our telecom operators have got a firmer foothold in Tajikistan - and this despite what they perceive as growing government pressure. I am positive the government will lose again". "Unfortunately, (cellular provider-bashing) policy may be detrimental to the state budget, into which cellular providers have annually paid up to US$100m in taxes", Irkayev said.


From Central Asia Online 06/08/2010

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AUSTRALIA: Federal Government Will "Never" Release NBN Co Business Plan

The Federal Government will "never" release NBN Co's business plan according to communications minister, Senator Stephen Conroy. Speaking at a Senate Estimates hearing, Conroy said it would be "absurd to suggest or even think it is going to happen" The minister had interjected on behalf of NBN Co chief executive, Mike Quigley, who said the company has a draft three-year corporate plan that includes a business case. "We have had a number of discussions on draft business cases as we have been going along," Quigley said. "We've kept the government informed of the development of the business case." However, neither Quigley nor Conroy could say whether the business case would be submitted in final format by 31 May, as has been previously stated.

"...the government will not be releasing the business plan. It does not release the business plan of Australia Post, it never released the business plan of Telstra and it is absurd to suggest or even think it is going to happen that the business plan of NBN Co will be released publicly by the government," Conroy said. When pressed to provide further details on the business case, Quigley said he would be happy to repeat previous publicly made quotes on headline figures but couldn't offer further detail. "What I am not happy to do and wouldn't have been at that event [CommsDay summit in Sydney], and I can't here now, is give the details behind that, to quote all of the figures that build up that conclusion," Quigley said. He added he will not provide them on notice also as it is for the company to provide to shareholders. "As I have said, we have provided draft business cases and overall plans but there are still some issues that are under discussion with the government," Quigley said.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 05/25/2010

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Coalition to Outline Its Broadband Policy Before Next Federal Election

The Federal Opposition has committed itself to outlining an alternative policy to the Government's National Broadband Network (NBN) before the next election. In a joint statement panning the announcement of an $11 billion deal between Telstra (ASX: TLS), NBN Co and the Federal Government outlining the telco's role in the NBN, the Liberals restated their intention to scrap the project and intimated they would rely on the private sector. "Labor's ill-conceived plan will risk billions of dollars of taxpayers' money to recreate a government-owned telecommunications network with any services years away," shadow communications minister, Tony Smith, and shadow finance minister, Andrew Robb, said in the statement.

"The Coalition does not believe that it is the role of government to force taxpayers to spend billions of dollars to build and or buy businesses in areas where the private sector is able to perform the role." Since losing power the Liberals have steadfastly refused to provide an alternative policy to the NBN or outline how it would restructure the industry to enable greater competition. Instead it has called the NBN a "reckless and risky adventure" and despite industry consensus to the contrary described the choice of a fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) rollout as a "technology gamble". Additionally, it has attempted to criticise the government for not having yet connected any customers to the NBN, claiming any new services are "years away" and that consumers will "inevitably pay significantly more than they currently do to use the network".

To date no substantial evidence has been presented by any Opposition minister to outline why consumers will pay more or to show how a Liberal government that scraps the NBN would be able to deliver "faster broadband" any quicker or cheaper than the existing plan. Further, it has not acknowledged that the private sector has so far failed to deliver a ubiquitous and scalable broadband network. Yet, in the wake of the Telstra and NBN Co deal, which is being viewed as a win for the government and the NBN generally, the Liberals said they would now release an alternative policy. "Prior to the next election the Coalition will outline a responsible alternative policy to deliver fast, reliable and affordable broadband. Our policy will be responsible and deliverable," the statement from Smith and Robb said. "It will ensure those in under-served broadband areas receive a better service as quickly as possible and promote the broader commercial rollout of faster broadband more generally." Requests for comment from Smith went unanswered at the time of publication.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 06/21/2010

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Labor to Launch NBN Blueprint

Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and communications minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, will tomorrow unveil a blueprint for the National Broadband Network (NBN) in hope of sparking political debate on communications policies between the two parties ahead of the Federal election. According to Conroy, the blueprint will allow the Australian public to see which towns receive fibre, wireless and satellite aspects of the Labor party's proposed network. Tomorrow's announcement was pre-empted in a speech given by Senator Conroy today to attendees of a press conference held by the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), in which he summarised the party's broadband, digital economy and digital television policies while also slamming the Liberal party for the lack of a communications policy.

"We've got a very very exciting announcement that will actually be the footprint of the National Broadband Network," Conroy said. "You'll be able to see if you're the 93 per cent fibre, you'll be able to see if you're in the 4 per cent wireless and you'll be able to see if you're in the 3 per cent satellite." The announcement, which will be held in Perth, will allegedly mark the start of the Labor party's campaigning for communications to be "front and centre" on the Federal election agenda. "I'm hoping [it] will mean next time we see each other - hopefully next week - we'll be able to say, 'yep it's on the agenda now', and it's going to be debated all the way through," Conroy said. Throughout his speech, Conroy continued to argue that communications was a key point of differentiation between the two political parties throughout the election campaign.

Conroy's announcement comes as the Federal election campaign continues between Liberal and Labor parties with little mention of communications policies from either party, despite the release of election manifestos from industry bodies like the AIIA and the Internet Industry Association (IIA). Conroy has already announced that, in accordance with the NBN Implementation Study released earlier this year, the amount of premises receiving fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) technology will be extended to 93 per cent from 90 per cent. However, the Coalition is yet to announce its policy, fuelling speculation that it will revive the terminated OPEL project, with some sources claiming the party will introduce a fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) network in order to cut costs.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 07/29/2010

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Australia Govt Expands Proposed Broadband Network

Australia's government expanded its ambitious plan to bring broadband to much of the vast country, adding 300,000 homes and businesses to the coverage area Friday in hopes of winning votes in next month's federal election. The opposition has already pledged to ax the expensive, high-speed fiber optic network, known as the National Broadband Network, if it takes power in the Aug. 21 election. The plan previously promised to deliver high-speed access to 90 percent of Australian homes and businesses, but Prime Minister Julia Gillard pushed its coverage Friday to 93 percent of homes. "Every Australian household and business will be better off with the National Broadband Network," Gillard said.

Australia trails behind other industrialized nations in terms of accessibility and cost of broadband Internet. The vast size and sparse population of the country increases costs of the infrastructure needed for high-speed Internet. Under the National Broadband Network, those who can't connect to the broadband network would rely on wireless or satellite communications. Campaigning in the western city of Perth, Gillard said the high-speed fiber optic network would create 25,000 new jobs and facilitate development of world-class education. A trial of the network, which is expected to take eight years to complete and estimated to cost 43 billion Australian dollars ($38.6 billion), began in three towns in Tasmania earlier this month. The opposition fears the cost could exceed AU$80 billion plus, and Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott has said he would scrap the plan if his party takes power. "We all want to see better broadband, more affordable broadband," Liberal communications spokesman Tony Smith told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio. "But we make no apology for not matching Labor's monumentally reckless spending in this regard."


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 07/30/2010

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Australian Regulator Introduces New Mobile Content Rules

Australians will not be billed for premium SMS and MMS from suspect mobile premium service providers under new rules introduced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority. It will now be an offence for mobile phone companies to contract with content suppliers who are not listed on an industry register. Also, from 3 November 2010, the ACMA will also be able to issue a temporary Do Not Bill order to stop suspect content suppliers from charging customers while it investigates a service. The rules are the latest in a package of measures dealing with consumer concerns about the unexpected costs of some SMS and MMS services. "This will be the toughest sanction the ACMA will be able to impose against premium SMS and MMS providers who break the rules," said ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman. "It cuts straight to the heart of industry's rogue element by drying up their revenue stream." A final order preventing a company from charging for up to three years can be made where a content service provider is found to have breached the Mobile Premium Service Code in a way that causes significant financial harm to consumers.

The new rules build on the recently implemented mobile premium services regulatory package. This includes the capacity for mobile phone users who do not wish to use any premium SMS and MMS to request their mobile phone company to bar these services and an industry-developed Mobile Premium Services Code. The code sets out detailed rules covering procedures for subscribing to premium SMS services; the banning of advertisements targeted at children under 15; how advertisements (and charges) are displayed; and complaints handling obligations. A key feature of the code is a 'double opt-in' requirement. A prospective customer has to give two independent confirmations of a request before they can subscribe to an ongoing premium SMS service. The ACMA has already taken action against several service providers for breaches of the code. "The rules introduced by the ACMA have seen complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman about premium SMS and MMS drop by over two-thirds in the previous twelve months," Mr Chapman said. "This further step is intended to prevent unscrupulous operators profiting from non-compliance."


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 08/09/2010

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Policies to Drive Services on a Faster Broadband Network Still Unclear: AIIA

Policies on what the respective political parties would do on top of a faster broadband network infrastructure remain disappointingly absent, according to the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA). Despite being asked specifically to outline the policies they would take to drive ICT innovation and services on a faster broadband network at a debate at the National Press Club, communications minister, Stephen Conroy, shadow communications minister, Tony Smith, and the Greens' Scott Ludlum, failed to provide any real detail. AIIA chief executive officer, Ian Birks, who earlier in the day published an open letter criticising all parties for a lack of focus on ICT in the election discourse, said fibre is a "future proof investment" but that ultimately he was disappointed the politicians didn't go beyond the network to address what they would deliver on it.

Overall, Birks said the debate was successful in raising the profile of the issues in the mainstream but he was critical of the policy positions put forward. "Inevitably the fact that the Opposition policy position was only released an hour before the debate firstly limited our ability to understand it but also probably limited the opportunity for the Opposition to socialise it and understand what some people's issues with it are," Birks said. "That was a little disappointing but at least because the lunch was held [the debate] it forced the hand of the Opposition to release it when they did. We have to say that it is good now we have a broadband solution from both sides of politics."

The AIIA chief, who counts among his member ranks Dell, Microsoft, Data#3, Fujitsu, Google, HP, IBM, Lenovo, Oracle, Cisco, Red Hat, SAP, SingTel Optus, Telstra, Unisys and a raft of other well-known and successful ICT organisations, said it was also disheartening the politicians didn't talk about the economic benefits to be derived from broadband infrastructure. "I was very disappointed by the response. For us it is a conversation about the economy, it's not a conversation about our sector. The economy will be enabled by how we take advantage of this broadband investment," he said. "To not be able to crisply state we will take advantage of it and the policies to support that, I think is to the detriment of all sides." Birks is now seeking an audience with the shadow communications minister to discuss the plan.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 08/11/2010

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Australia's PM Promotes National Broadband Plan

Australia's Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has used a trip to Townsville in the state of Queensland to sell the benefits of her $US38 billion national broadband network. Julia Gillard says regional cities like Townsville will benefit most from video conferencing services that link patients with specialists in capital cities. "They will be able to get that specialist support through the internet through the national broadband network." Ms Gillard is also visiting Mackay and Emerald today to campaign in marginal seats. She's being trailed by a large press pack from Canberra, but there have been some curly questions from the local media. "Do you think tomato sauce should be free when you by a pie from the bakery?" The PM says its better when the sauce comes for free.


From http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/ 08/17/2010

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Seoul Tops Global Cities Ranking for E-Govt

The South Korean capital of Seoul is the world's most advanced municipal e-government, according to a global survey of city web sites. The "Soul of Asia" topped the UN-sponsored table ahead of Prague, Hong Kong, New York and Singapore on the usability, content, services, privacy and inclusiveness of its online operations. Seoul, which was the world's first city to introduce wireless high-speed mobile internet services, was singled out for giving its citizens the opportunity to play an active role in governmental processes, such as the submission of ideas and suggestions on e-policies via well-organised policy forums. Commenting on why Seoul emerged on top, Dr Jung-hee Song, Assistant Mayor for IT and Chief Information Officer, Seoul Metropolitan Government, told FutureGov: "At the core of Seoul's success is the systematic information infrastructure, which includes e-Seoul Net and ISO 27001 ISMS (Information Security Management System). On top of this we have provided convenient and customized services that give citizens plenty of opportunity to get involved in policymaking." Song pointed to Seoul's e-Clean Finance System, e-Clean Fire Fighting System and e-Clean Welfare System as successful measures to bring greater transparency and accountability to public administration in the world's second largest metropolitan area. She added that sound IT governance has paved the way for prompt decision making in the capital.

This has been made possible thanks to the integration of a wide range of information systems based on flexible enterprise architecture, she said. Seoul also topped the bi-annual ranking in 2003, 2005 and 2007. The survey was conducted by the Global e-Policy e-Government Institute at Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU), Korea and the E-Governance Institute, School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University-Newark in the US. It was co-sponsored by the UN Division for Public Administration and Development Management and the American Society for Public Administration. Looking to the future, Song said that while it was tricky to predict how technology would change the future of public administration in Seoul, "it is likely that every public service will be provided without the need for on-site visits, which will ease transportation issues. Working environments will be transformed into completely paperless offices. More people will work from home. And we will live in a city where 'ubiquitous working' is possible, raising efficiency and productivity and reducing our environmental impact." Initiatives such as u-Seoul, which aims to allow Seoulites to use mobile devices to access public services 'anytime, anywhere', will be a reality "within the decade", predicted Song. "Such developments will make citizens more satisfied, raise Seoul's image on the global stage and elevate its status as one of the world's most liveable and sustainable urban environments." While three Asian cities featured in the top five, Asia ranked third in the ranking of continents, behind Europe and Oceania (Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific islands), which topped the table. The top 10 e-government cities is as follows: 1 Seoul 2 Prague 3 Hong Kong 4 New York 5 Singapore 6 Shanghai 7 Madrid 8 Vienna 9 Auckland 10 Toronto. (by By Robin Hicks)


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 07/21/2010

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How E-Government Is Empowering Citizens Worldwide

Had Franz Kafka been born in 21st-century Tallinn, Estonia, instead of 19th-century Prague, some of the gems of modernist literature might never have been written. Instead of the man from the country who spends years trying to get past an implacable gatekeeper in the short story "Before the Law," all he'd need in Estonia is a government-issued electronic identity card. Then he could go online or stick the bar-coded ID into a card reader and, moments later, sign a contract with an international corporate partner, pay a traffic fine, and file his taxes. No lines, no bribes, no forms in triplicate, and no need to plead his case "with one doorkeeper after another, each more powerful than the last," as in Kafka's hellish vision. OK, so our bookshelves would be the poorer - but our lives are a hell of lot easier. Such is the promise of electronic government, or using technology to deliver public services. E-government was born in the 1980s, when many countries sought to break down the walls of pomp and paper that separate the government from the governed. Australia, Belgium, Canada, the U.S., the U.K., and New Zealand have well-developed programs. South Korea is an international showcase, topping every list of electronic problem solvers for most of the last decade. Seoul's Cyber Policy Forum encourages residents to debate urban policy online with city administrators, while Web-based services help citizens find housing, child care, and travel tips.

Of course, powerful technology in the wrong hands can be dangerous. E-gov raises concerns about privacy and data security. In Brazil last month, with just weeks remaining before the presidential elections, tax statements of a leading Brazilian politician were leaked to the press. Fortunately, Brazil's tax authority keeps digital signatures of all of its staff, which quickly allowed for the identification of the mole. But such a security breach could easily change the course of an election. Despite those issues, the growing availability of high-speed Internet access, the spread of democracy, and the emergence of a demanding global middle class are likely to continue reshaping public service and breaking down the culture of bureaucrats. "There's a huge amount of pressure for improving services around the world, and the Web is the best place to empower people at low cost," says Marc Holzer, dean of the Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration, which runs a biannual survey on e-government around the world. "Though bureaucrats resist, the technology may just overpower them."

Nations on the cutting edge of e-gov are, unsurprisingly, the high-income countries with easily available broadband. But there's something far more important uniting the leading e-powers: a culture of openness. Governments must be willing to unlock information and make it accessible to ordinary citizens. In that spirit, the Obama administration has created an open-government initiative that provides citizens with access to Web sites that allow them to expedite veterans' health benefits, get traffic reports on mobile phones - or blow the whistle on corruption. Even the famously clubby British bureaucracy has fallen for transparency. Launched earlier this year, the U.K.'s open-data initiative gave citizens access to the massive Treasury database. Now taxpayers can find out, for example, which civil servants earn more than the prime minister or the London hospitals where patients face the greatest risk of contracting lethal infections. Bureaucracies are not always as open in the developing world, where broadband penetration is scarce and democracy tender. And yet some surprising models of e-government are coming from emerging nations. Computerizing old land records is jolting rural India out of the 19th century. Since 2001 the Bhoomi ("land" in Hindi) program, brainchild of Bangalore engineer turned administrator Rajeev Chawla, has scanned 20 million deeds held by 6.7 million farmers in the southern state of Karnataka, meticulously mapping property lines. Farmers can review their deeds at public Internet kiosks and download the crucial official property title that Indians use both as an identity card and as collateral for bank loans. In a region where land disputes represent seven out of 10 court cases and illiterate peasants often fall prey to powerful land grabbers practiced in doctoring deeds, the Bhoomi movement is "nothing short of a silent revolution," says Srikanth Nadhamuni, an e-government pioneer in Bangalore. Authorities in New Delhi plan to invest $6 billion to take Bhoomi and other e-gov services nationwide.

Brazil's savvy tax authority has deployed computer technology that has made the country the benchmark for fiscal efficiency. Brazilians grumble about high taxes (they pay 36 percent of their earnings to government) and how little they get for their money (European taxes for African services is the running joke). But they are masters of tax collection. The centerpiece is the electronic tax ID - called the CPF - which registers an individual's every monetary move, from a trip to the beauty salon to an investment in the stock market. Each transaction generates a numbered receipt that is uploaded to a central data bank, creating a fiscal footprint that auditors can cross-reference with declared income. At the same time, agile personal-computer software has encouraged 99 percent of Brazilian taxpayers to file online, compared with 88 percent in the U.S. Such efficiency makes tax evasion difficult; Bras¨Şlia has canceled 60 million invalid tax numbers since 1995 and quadrupled the number of taxpayers. "People have a great deal of fear of the tax authority," says a former tax official. Of course, e-government isn't just about intimidating scofflaws. It may soon go beyond delivering public services to engaging citizens in public administration - or to e-gov 2.0, as insiders call it. Taking first lady Michelle Obama's cue on combating childhood obesity, Washington has tapped Web developers to create videogames that challenge kids to design healthier meals. United Nations relief workers used a mobile-phone application developed in Kenya to locate earthquake victims in Haiti. Even Libya has launched an e-gov program to engage local communities in decision making.

Many nations are looking to Estonia for leadership. It is exporting its digital-democracy technology through its e-Governance Academy, which has trained bureaucrats from 36 countries, including Sri Lanka, Senegal, Pakistan, Namibia, and Tajikistan. "Our goal is to make Estonia so paper-free that the only place where you would need to use it will be in the toilet," says Indrek Vimberg, managing director of the Estonian ICT Demo Center. Kafka couldn't have said it better.


From http://www.newsweek.com/ 08/16/2010

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AFRICA: Nigeria - Govt Signs Contract for New ID Card Project

Abuja - The Board of the National Identity Management Commission has signed an agreement with Chams Consortium and One SecureCard Consortium to provide data capture and related services for the national identity management system for the country. Speaking at the signing of the new deal with representatives of the two consortia, the Chairman of the NIMC Board at the weekend, Prince Uche Secondus, said that government has put everything in place to ensure the sustainability of the project. He said the planning of the project had taken three years for the agreement to be reached, adding that nothing good comes easy. Chams Consortium is made up of Chams Plc and Nextzon Communications while One SecureCard Consortium is made up of Interswitch Nigeria Limited, SecureID and Iris Technologies. The NIMC chairman observed that signing of the contract marks the "beginning of the process to deliver a National Identity Database of 100 million enrollments over the next 30 months." He said the board has ensured that there will be no job losses for those who have integrity and the right mindset for the operation of a national identity management system in Nigeria. "This giant step is a necessary commitment that signifies Federal government's resolve to partner with the private sector to deliver important social infrastructure that would enable government to deliver on its important responsibilities - securing lives and property, access to consumer credit and a host of other services that would touch the lives of the poor amongst us and improve our image as a nation." he said. According to Secondus, the task ahead would be more challenging - that of sourcing for funds to finance the roll-out plans and instituting the necessary security control and protocol as well as the need for technology transfer. He assured the consortia of the support and cooperation of the board towards the successful completion of the project. Managing Director of Chams Plc, Mr. Demola Aladekomo, said the absence of a robust and viable national identity management system in Nigeria is scandalous. According to him, "For a country with over 150 million people and immense resources like Nigeria not to have a sound, secure and sustainable identity system that will stand the test of time, is a scandal. Therefore, we are committed towards creating this new beginning that would lead the way in the image and identity management for the people of this country." Speaking further, the Managing Director of Interswitch Nigeria Limited and head of the One SecureCard Consortium Mr. Mitchell Elegbe noted that the task of creating the national identity management system is a huge task. "This country is waiting for us to deliver and effective, efficient, secure and transparent Identity management system and we do not have a choice than to do this," he added.(by Onyebuchi Ezigbo)


From http://allafrica.com/ 07/26/2010

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Nigeria: Lagos Introduces E-Tutor in Schools

Lagos - Lagos State government has introduced an education software known as e-tutor in its schools, as part of its continuous efforts to improve the quality of education in the state. The software, which was launched, in collaboration with an IT firm, Cognitive Solutions, would complement class teachers' efforts and enable students to learn at their own pace and have fun in the process. Speaking at the flag-off ceremony, Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Education, Mrs. Omolara Erogbogbo said the move was part of the state government's efforts aimed at exploring additional positive ways of improving on the delivery of quality education to students in its schools. She said the software, which comes in 15 subjects for secondary schools, was developed after some years of research, which revealed that there was a huge gap between examiners' expectation and students' performance, especially in Mathematics and the Sciences. According to her, the software has been installed in 28 of the 35 schools approved for the first phase, while the Teachers' Establishment and Pensions Office has trained 1,516 teachers on the use of the software. "This pilot scheme was encouraged because the government observed that the children, while enamoured of ICT through the use of computers, very often, only play games or chat on-line with their friends. However, with e-tutor, more of our children can now use computers for more rewarding activities that impact directly on their education beyond games, movies, music and word processing." She added that the software would assist in integrating information technology into the mainstream of education, as students could study and evaluate themselves at their own pace, using either the practice centre or test centre available in the software, while the counseling centre would counsel them on preparation for examinations, common errors, as well as on subjects leading to career choices. "Additionally, the burden on teachers is eased since it can serve as resource and instructional materials centre to teachers and thus make their jobs easier." Another distinctive feature of the software, she said was that it had the added advantage of providing blind students the opportunity of comprehensive self study using materials prepared by the best teachers in the subject fields, thus giving them a fair playing ground. Chief Executive Officer of the IT Firm, Mr. Kola Omotunde-Young said. "Every child is unique and learns best through a combination of various learning method, which may be different from that of his or her colleague and e-tutor recognises this uniqueness and offers the students variety of ways to learn and have fun doing so."(by Uchechukwu Nnaike)


From http://allafrica.com/ 07/27/2010

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UGANDA: Audit Association to Boost IT Governance

Kampala - There have been recent highly publicised incidents of fraud and system failures have brought IT security and reliability in focus. Last week Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) was launched in Uganda to promote the education of individuals for the improvement and development of their capacity in relating to auditing. "Members will get auditing management consulting in, or direct management of the fields of IT governance, IS audit, security, control and assurance," said Keto Kayemba the president of ISACA Uganda Chapter and the current assistant auditor general. ISACA is a non-profit, global membership association for IT and information systems professionals. IT growth in the country has raised issues concerning governance which is fast becoming a success factor in any organisation. "Organisations recognize the critical dependence of many business processes on IT, the need to comply with increasing regulatory compliance and the benefits of managing risk effectively," Kayemba adds. She also adds that with the complexity of information systems, increased risks, and the need for compliance, it is important that organizations recruit and retain employees who can take a comprehensive view of information systems and their relationship to enterprise success.(by Mark Muhumuza)


From http://allafrica.com/ 08/03/2010

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ASIA: Govts Push Privacy Awareness

The Commissioners of the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities (APPA), constituting representatives from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Korea, and Hong Kong, celebrated the annual Privacy Awareness Week (PAW) by promoting a slew of initiatives aimed at informing the public about privacy concerns. The website, http://www.privacyawarenessweek.org, detailed the specifics of the initiative, which includes a free ID Theft Prevention Tool that tests and educates people about privacy issues in eleven situations presenting heightened vulnerability towards identity theft. Karen Curtis, Privacy Commissioner of Australia, told FutureGov: "The theme for 2010 was 'Privacy: It's in Your Hands'. Identity theft is an important concern for individuals, businesses and government as it can have significant impact on the lives of individuals. The week focused on highlighting the privacy responsibilities that organisations have to protect the privacy of their customers, as well as the things that individuals can do to protect their personal privacy."

Curtis detailed the importance of citizens being aware of their own legal rights: "In Australia, the Privacy Act of 1988 regulates the way in which personal information can be collected, the accuracy of the information, how it is kept secure, and how it is used and disclosed. It also provides individuals with a right to access and correct the personal information organisations and government agencies hold about them." Together with the online tool, Australia also launched the Mobilise Your Mobile Phone Privacy guide, and released an ID Scanning Information Sheet, the Privacy Impact Assessment Guide, and the Emergencies and Disasters Information Sheet. The Hong Kong Privacy Commissioner's Office held seminars and conducted surveys with a focus on privacy of senior citizens, while New Zealand's theme for 2010 was "The Future of Privacy", on which the Commissioner's Office held a one-day forum and launched several consolidated privacy-related survey results. (by Rahul Joshi)


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 06/07/2010

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Asian E-Government in 2010

FutureGov announces the availability of a new report, Asian E-government in 2010 - winning citizen trust for Government ICT initiatives. The study, based on a survey of 121 public sector officials from eight Asia Pacific countries and economies (within the Government, Education and Healthcare sectors) found that there was scope for increased deployment of E-government services across all organisations. Over 45 per cent of respondents indicated that they offered less than ten such e-services to citizens. "There exists a great growth opportunity for implementing E-government services within the Asia Pacific region as governments continue in their quest of improving citizen services", said Raphael Phang, Research Director, FutureGov. "However, greater citizen advocacy brings a new dimension to the challenges faced by governments, with the apparent "disconnect" in terms of attitudes towards privacy between public sector officials and citizens being one such area."

Key findings from this study include:
•The implementation of E-services would be driven by the priority to achieve greater operational efficiencies and customer/ stakeholder satisfaction within these organisations.
•The impact of the financial economic crisis would continue to play a major role as a key driver of these priorities.
•E-government planners are faced with key challenges in addressing the needs of a new citizenry brought up in the new media age, while ensuring that data security and privacy are protected

While traditional E-government models have been depicted in terms of interactions such as Government to Citizens (G2C), Government to Businesses (G2B) and Government to Government (G2G), it is important to understand that citizen governance cuts across these traditional boundaries, and customer demands as a driver is increasing the importance of this aspect of E-government. This FutureGov Research report contains the findings from 18 key questions posed to senior public sector officials across eight countries and economies within the Government, Education and Healthcare sectors. The goal of this study was to gather first-hand industry intelligence regarding the state of E-government across public sector organisations. (by Raphael Phang)


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 07/13/2010

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EUROPE: Connecting Albania's Remote Areas with E-School Program

Overview
Free movement and efforts for a better life near urban areas in the early 1990s caused intense migration of tens of thousands families from their local dwellings and areas of origin within Albania. As a result, education in a once large network of well-organized schools in those areas slackened and attendance dropped.

Challenge
Education is universally recognized as key to fostering economic growth and alleviating poverty, both local and nationally. The Albanian economy increasingly needs a more sophisticated labor force equipped with competencies, knowledge, and workplace skills that cannot be developed through only a basic education. While the quality of education and student performance is increasing in Albania, the progress for rural communities is not as fast as those in urban ones. According to the Ministry of Education and Science and to Matura exam results, rural children enrol less in secondary education and have lower exam results as compared to those in urban areas. As a strategy to improve education outcomes while reducing the education gap between urban and rural areas, the Government of Albania introduced the E-school program with support from the World Bank and other donors. This program seeks to promote education excellence for all students, while diminishing the many differences that exist between urban and rural schools. In the rural areas, a particular problem targeted under the project are the overall degraded school facilities, including lack of laboratories, and insufficient teaching and learning materials. Under the E-school program, a new curriculum on computer technology was introduced in schools, computer labs were purchased and delivered to schools all over Albania, schools gained access to internet services, and teachers were trained on teaching computer skills at basic and secondary schools. This was particularly important in terms of closing the digital gap - according to UNICEF in 2006 only 20 percent of rural children knew how to use computers, compared to 50 percent of urban children.

Approach
People use communication technology as an effective way to meet new people, research, and work in a globalised society. The introduction of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in schools through the E-Schools Program was chosen as a strategy to improve the education of primary and secondary level students, including connecting those living in remote areas to their peers in urban areas and to the rest of the world. Under the program, schools receive a computer lab with internet connection, and teachers are trained on how to use interactive tools with their curriculum. The World Bank is supporting this program by providing a credit in the amount of US$15 million under the "Education Excellence and Equity Project" (EEE Project).

Results
The objective of the e-school component of the EEE Project is to introduce ICT skills for all Albanian students in basic and secondary education. In particular, the component supports:
The development and implementation of a national ICT curriculum framework and computer textbooks for basic and secondary school level. Equipping all schools with computer laboratories and internet connection and other ICTs facilities such as laptops, projectors, and digital resources. Teacher training under the E-Schools Program. Presently, more than 1,380 basic education teachers and around 400 secondary school teachers have received training on informatics. Over the next year, the project will support the training of an additional group of teachers on incorporating technology into teaching methodologies.


From http://web.worldbank.org/ 07/14/2010

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Belgian Regulator Fines Belgacom €800,000 for Lack of Transparency

Belgian incumbent failed to provide customers will full information, regulator rules. Belgium's telecommunications watchdog BIPT has fined state-controlled telecommunications company Belgacom EUR800,000 for failing to provide full information to consumers on their rights following price rises. Belgacom had supplied "incomplete or incorrect information to its users" about their right to terminate their contracts without penalty in the event of rate increases, president of BIPT, Luc Hindryckx, said in a statement. In February, Belgacom said two of its Internet plans, Internet Light and Internet Go, would be renamed to Internet Comfort and Internet Favorite and would increase their prices by EUR0.95 and EUR1.15, respectively. In its letter to subscribers, however, Belgacom didn't mention that users could cancel their contracts without financial penalty. A following letter made mention of this right to some subscribers, but stipulated incorrectly that they could only do so after receiving the first bill with the new rate, instead of immediately as prescribed under Belgian law.(by David Tidmarsh)


From http://www.totaltele.com/ 06/30/2010

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Italy's Antitrust Body Opens Probe into Telecom Italia

Fastweb, Wind have accused incumbent of abusing its dominant position. Italy's Antitrust Authority said Thursday it was opening a probe into allegations Telecom Italia SpA was abusing its dominant position in the nation's telecommunications market. The charges were brought by rivals Fastweb SpA and Wind SpA, the competition regulator said on its website. Both companies reported that Telecom Italia has engaged in anti-competitive practices by refusing or delaying to activate new clients, as well as offering sharp discounts for business clients. In a statement released later, Telecom Italia called the allegations "groundless" and said it "trusts" it will demonstrate to the regulator that it acted in full compliance with the rules. At 1433 GMT, Telecom Italia shares are down EUR0.01, or 1.1%, to EUR0.95.Telecom Italia, the country's incumbent operator, controls Italy's national telecommunications network, but is obliged to unbundle final connections to allow rivals to compete.

Wind says connection refusals have been anomalously high among its applications for them, the Antitrust Authority said. Both Wind and Fastweb have claimed that Telecom Italia is engaging in "discriminatory behavior" in offering "notably differentiated prices" for business clients in areas not subject to unbundling rules. Discounts offered can be up to 69%.The antitrust investigation comes at a time when Telecom Italia is facing pressure to join forces with other telecommunications companies, including Vodafone Group PLC's Italian business, as well as Wind and Fastweb, to pool resources and create a national fiberoptic broadband network. The government is brokering a first dialogue between high-level executives of all the companies later Thursday.

Earlier in the day, telecommunications executives met with labor union leaders to discuss ways to overhaul contract types and industrial relations in the sector. All parties agreed that a new-generation broadband network was a national priority and called for the government and regulators to push for a viable solution. (by Christopher Emsden)


From http://www.totaltele.com/ 06/24/2010

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Moldova Holds E-Transformation Forum to Explore Best Ways to Leverage ICT to Catalyse Growth

The event was jointly sponsored by the World Bank and the Government of Moldova as part of a series of meetings aimed at helping Moldova leverage advances in information and communication technologies (ICTs) to catalyze growth, spur innovation and transform governance. The meeting brought leading international ICT experts together with Moldovan government leaders and World Bank representatives to discuss issues such as how ICT can catalyze government transformation over the next decade and which ICT approaches governments should consider to enhance country competitiveness and growth. Moldova was the first country to join the World Bank's e-Transform Initiative, which was launched in April 2010 as a major new initiative to use the transformative power of ICTs to enhance developing countries' delivery of government services.

"The Government has placed ICT at the center of its strategy to transform Moldova into a competitive economy with an efficient, effective, and transparent government," said President Zoellick. "I am pleased to be here today to open this Roundtable with the Prime Minister and am impressed that we have been able bring together such a high-level expert group. The Bank will continue to help Moldova to make this e-transformation vision a reality. The Bank team is working with the Government to prepare the Governance e-Transformation project to attract investments in ICT and promote transparency in governance." Other key participants in the E-Transformation Forum included former prime minister of Estonia Mart Laar, UK Government Chief Information Officer John Suffolk, IDA Singapore CEO Chin Siong Seah, Institute for the Future Director of Technology Anthony Townsend, Garter Research Vice President Andrea De Maio, and IDA International Executive Consultant Sebastian Foo of Singapore. In addition to Prime Minister Filat, top Moldovan officials participating at the event included Government Ministers and private sectors leaders in the area of ICT.


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 08/12/2010

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Malta: Hundreds Apply for Free National ICT Courses

Hundreds of individuals have applied to follow one of the free National ICT Diplomas offered through the Second Step Training Programme. The Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA) received a total of 375 applications for this programme through which participants will achieve a BTEC National Diploma in Information Systems, Information Technology, or Computing and Information Systems. In a statement on Wednesday, MITA said that such a large turnout of applications clearly indicates that there is a substantial unsatisfied demand for further training in ICT skills amongst the local population. This confirms MITA's plans in devising additional training programmes that seek to attract additional human capital to the sector from various sources, including the current workforce.

Initial data, MITA said, shows that a large percentage (80.1 per cent) see part-time courses as a route to better employment and as a step into an ICT related career. Even though ICT is still predominantly dominated by males, it is very encouraging to see that a third of applicants are females. Such a high turnout, and the age distribution of applicants, is an indicator of a healthy outlook to lifelong learning in training programmes related to ICT. Of interest, MITA stated, is that 31 per cent of applicants are older than 40 years of age. Data also shows that 55 per cent of applicants are currently employed on a full-time basis, 16 per cent are part-timers whilst 17 per cent are currently unemployed. 12 per cent of applicants are currently full-time students pursuing non-ICT related studies.

According to the MITA statement, the main reason why people applied for Second Step is because they believe that a diploma in ICT will improve their employment opportunities (31 per cent). Other reasons for applying for the course were: career progression (22 per cent), to increase knowledge in ICT (21 per cent), to switch the current career into an ICT one (18 per cent) and to return to work (8 per cent). Second Step is organised by MITA and co-financed by the European Union through the European Social Fund and National Funds with a co-financing rate of 85 per cent EU funds and 15 per cent National Funds. Training will be provided by a private training institution situated in Mosta. However, 40 per cent of the course content will be followed online through a specifically designed online-training system. MITA's Chairman, Mr. Claudio Grech said "Such a positive turnout confirms the Agency's vision for the local supply of ICT human capital. We believe that there is significant untapped supply of individuals out there that can be attracted to ICT professional training programmes to better meet industry's demand. The challenge lies in developing innovative ICT curricula to attract this 'dormant' talent."

Currently all applications are being evaluated through a pre-determined scoring system. This exercise is envisaged to span until the end of August. The Agency will then notify all applicants about their acceptance or otherwise into the Second Step training programme. Applicants which might not have all the necessary requirements will need to undergo an aptitude test to determine whether they have the desired level to complete the training. The Second Step training programme will commence by mid-September 2010. Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA) is the prime Government agency with a mandate spanning from ICT policy to programmes and initiatives in Malta. MITA manages full implementation of IT programmes in Government focusing on enhancing public service delivery and provides the infrastructure needed for the provision of ICT services to Government. MITA is also responsible for the propagation of ICT within society and the economy and to promote and deliver programmes with the intention of enhancing ICT education and the use of ICT as a learning tool.


From http://www.maltamediaonline.com/ 08/18/2010

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Polish Gov Discusses European e-Justice Portal

The Polish Ministry of Justice (Ministerstwo Sprawiedliwości) has announced the launch of the European e-Justice Internet Portal. Department Head at the European Commission responsible for the portal "e-Justice" is Polish - Jacek Garstka, a judge and a long standing employee of the Ministry of Justice, where he was seconded to the Polish Permanent Representation in Brussels. Since March 2009, his work has been with the European Commission. The Polish announcement notes that the European side of e-Justice "was officially launched at a meeting of the EU Council for Justice and Home Affairs, held in Brussels on 15th to 16th July 2010. During a press conference, Krzysztof Kwiatkowski, Justice Minister, described how it was possible to access the e-Justice portal from the Polish Ministry of Justice's home page (left side under main menu). A special guest at the press conference was Marie-Therese Duffy-Haeusler, Director of the European Commission Delegation in Poland. Some extracts from the news announcement about the Press Conference.

The initiative "e-Justice" is intended to help citizens, businesses and lawyers have access to justice information from all European Union countries - said the Minister Krzysztof Kwiatkowski. - The portal is a common way to access information on EU law and domestic law of all Member States - he added. The information on the site is available in 22 official EU languages, including of course in Polish. - This will help to overcome language barriers that often prevent people gaining information on the legal systems of Member States - said the Minister Krzysztof Kwiatkowski. - The portal is constantly upgraded with new tabs. Ultimately, information about the laws in force in the country of the Union will be given in all 22 languages, which is 27 legal systems of EU countries in the 22 official EU languages - he added.


From European Public Sector Information (PSI) Platform 08/16/2010

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Russian Branch of IAOP Opens

The Association of Strategic Outsourcing has announced the launch of the Russian branch of the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP). The new office will be managed by representatives of the Association and Accenture. The Russian office of IAOP aims to develop an open forum among companies, service suppliers and educational institutions in Russia and the CIS for the purposes of knowledge transfer and learning about various aspects of outsourcing.


From http://www.ictrussia.com/ 06/28/2010

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LATIN AMERICA: Argentina's Govt Vows to Maintain Stakes in Companies

BUENOS AIRES -(Dow Jones)- Argentina's government says it has no plans to sell the stakes in local companies that it inherited when it nationalized private-sector pension funds in late 2008, as it would damage the interests of both the state and the companies. With the opposition calling for higher payouts for pensioners, and a debate under way about how the government should finance government pensions, Economy Minister Amado Boudou ruled out the sale of shares in the 43 companies in which it now owns stakes, ranging from tiny fractions to a 31% stake in Banco Macro (BMA). "We haven't done this [sell any shares], nor are we going to do this," Boudou said at a press conference to discuss pension payments. This provides peace of mind for directors and workers, and safeguards the Argentine economy, he said. In late 2008, the state social security plan ANSES took over some $23.5 billion in assets, including shares, from about 10 private-sector pension funds. Small stakes owned by each of the funds in some of the largest Argentine companies were merged under single ownership, giving the government significant clout.

According to ANSES, its total investment in shares was worth 15.9 billion Argentine pesos ($4 billion) at the end of April, equivalent to about 11% of its total assets. It received ARS311 million in dividends in 2009, and expects to receive ARS577 million in 2010, according to a June 1 presentation by ANSES to Congress. ANSES, through its Fondo de Garantia de Sustentabilidad, owns about 19.4% of Pampa Energia (PAMP.BA, PAM), about 25% of Telecom Argentina (TECO2.BA, TEO), 20% of Grupo Galicia (GGAL), and about 7% of Petrobras Energia (PZE). Boudou said that if the government took the "irresponsible action" of selling the shares, losses would be about 50% of the value of companies such as Telecom, Siderar (ERAR.BA) and Banco Macro. It would also risk putting ownership of the companies into the hands of international speculators, Boudou said. "This would be a loss of private and social capital which this government is going to defend," Boudou said. "When we see what effect the instantaneous sale of shares and investment funds could have, we also see this would have a stong impact on the consumption and credit of Argentine families."

The impact of the pension fund takeover on the local stock market was devastating. Not only did the government remove the main players practically overnight, but it also consumed most of the free float, leaving just a small fraction of shares available for investors to trade. Market participants say that ANSES is far less active than the pension funds were. Share trading, which had already dwindled since an economic collapse in 2001-2002, shrunk even further to levels of around $10 million a day. Furthermore, the government has been accused of using those stakes to exert influence over some of the companies. ANSES's role should be limited by a rule that prevents it from having more than 5% of the voting shares, but at least one company has questioned whether that works in practice. "ANSES has already attempted to exercise voting powers commensurate with its total share ownership at various shareholder meetings of many companies, including Telecom Argentina," the Argentine telephone company said in a recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. "In the majority of these cases, these companies have opposed ANSES' actions and the parties have reached an agreement."

One of Telecom's main owners, Telecom Italia (TIT.MI, TI), has been involved in a long antitrust battle with the Argentine state. The government wants Telecom Italia to sell its stake because the Italian company is partly owned by Spain's Telefonica (TEF), which owns the other main Argentine telephone company, Telefonica Argentina, creating what authorities consider a monopoly in the local market. In the SEC filing, Telecom Argentina said that the "nationalization of Argentina's pension and retirement system constitutes a significant change in the government's approach to exercising influence over Argentina's main publicly traded companies." "On average, approximately 20% of the share ownership and a significant portion of the public float of these companies were owned by the [private pension funds] and are now held by ANSES," Telecom said. There's an "absence of clearly established policies," and the criteria for electing ANSES representatives to boards of directors "is still unknown, as are its mandates," it added.


From http://www.foxbusiness.com/ 07/06/2010

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Argentina Orders Internet Provider Shut Down

Argentina's government on Friday ordered the closure one of the nation's three leading Internet providers, demanding that Grupo Clarin immediately inform "each and every one" of its more than 1 million customers that they have 90 days to find new ways of getting online. The order says Grupo Clarin - which has grown through mergers to become one of Latin America's leading media companies - illegally absorbed the Fibertel company through its Cablevision subsidiary in January 2009 because it failed to obtain prior approval from the commerce secretary. Cablevision denied that Friday, citing a previous approval obtained in 2003, and planned to appeal, accusing the government of continuing a campaign to stifle opposition viewpoints. President Cristina Fernandez has made dismantling Grupo Clarin a priority of her government. A new law that has been challenged in court would force the company to break apart in a drive to dissolve media monopolies.

The immediate effect of taking Fibertel offline may actually reduce competition for high-speed Internet access in Argentina, where Cablevision competes with two major multinational telephone companies - Grupo Telecom and Telefonica SA. Together the three have roughly equal shares of an overall market that adds up to more than 4.2 million Internet connections. While the government says there are more than 200 providers in Argentina, most have tiny market shares. Removing Fibertel would enable Telecom's Arnet and Telefonica's Speedy to reach nearly 90 percent of Argentina's Internet users between them, and in many locations in the country, customers would only have one of those two companies to choose from. Cablevision and Fibertel called the order "illegal and arbitrary," and "one more step in a brutal campaign of persecution, attacks and hostility" that will result in a telecom duopoly. Cablevision's chief executive, Carlos Moltini, said he's confident the courts will overturn the "crazy" order in an interview Friday with radio Mitre. (by Michael Warren)


From AP News 08/20/2010

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Peruvian Regulator Fines Telefonica del Peru for Infractions

Ospitel levvies $1.39 million fine on Spanish operator's local unit. Peru's telecommunications regulatory agency, Osiptel, has fined Telefonica del Peru SA a total of 3.95 million soles ($1.39 million) for breaking a number of regulations. The agency said Monday that this was the largest fine it has issued in its history. Osiptel said the fine follows years of court cases in which Telefonica del Peru was found to have infringed on the rights of AT&T Peru, now owned by Telmex del Peru. The regulator said the legal challenges started in June 2001 and that in July 2002 it found that Telefonica had committed six infractions. Those include sabotaging AT&T's interconnection to Telefonica del Peru's long-distance network by generating calls and saturating AT&T's call center. Telefonica del Peru is owned by Spain's Telefonica SA, while Telmex del Peru is owned by Mexico's Telefonos de Mexico SAB, or Telmex.


From http://www.totaltele.com/ 06/01/2010

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NORTH AMERICA: Canada - 25 Sites and Apps for Open Government

Four major municipalities in Canada - Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver - have started opening their data for public use through open data catalogues on the Web. And smaller cities, like Nanaimo, are also following the trend. But what are developers doing with it? Here's a look at some Web sites and apps that are taking advantage of open data sets, and a few that are trying to promote open government, listed in alphabetical order.

1) Canadian Government Expenses. This site from Bine Consulting Corp. collects and analyzes Canadian federal travel and hospitality expenses claims published under the proactive disclosure requirement. The data is organized in multiple ways, from average claims by department to the largest and smallest claims made to the number of expenses to the longest trips taken. The current total expense bill, which includes all the data collected since 2003, is $156,656,762.80. 

2) Datadotgc.ca. A site run by Canadian open government activist David Eaves, Datadotgc.ca intends to act as an example of "what a federal open data portal could and should look like." The site lists and organizes available federal datasets by ministry or tags and includes a search bar for finding datasets by keyword.

3) DataTo.org. A community-run site from Mark Kuznicki of Remarkk Consulting, DataTo.org is for users and publishers of open access data in the Toronto region. Visitors can publish requests for data, and also comment and rate other people's requests.

4) Disclosed.ca. This site from Nurey Networks Inc. keeps track of Canadian government agency contracts. Visitors can search for past contracts by agency or department, or use the site's search bar, to find names of vendors, descriptions of work, durations of contracts and their dollar value. Disclosed.ca says 247,253 contracts are currently in the system, starting from 2004. External links to the contract details are also included.

5) EatSafe. An iPhone app that isn't yet available from The App Store, EatSafe from OpenOttawa.org uses data from Ottawa's food inspection database and GPS to provide food inspection reports on nearby restaurants. 

6) EatSure.ca. EatSure collects all the food inspection reports in the London, Ont. area and marks their locations on a map. Visitors can click on a marker to see the name of the venue, its address, date of inspection and infraction details. The site sources data from the London Middlesex Country Health Unit. There are currently 921 venues with no infractions, 415 non-critical infractions and 569 critical infractions mapped.

7) FixMyStreet Canada. A site maintained by VisibleGovernment.ca, FixMyStreet is a place for citizens to report problems like graffiti, potholes, garbage and lighting directly on maps of the area. The site them submits the report to the city for repair. Cities currently supported include Fredericton, Montreal, Ottawa and various cities in Prince Edward Island.
8) How'd they vote? Cory Horner put this site up in the spring of 2005 to provide information on what is taking place within Canadian Parliament. The site includes statistics on MPs, their voting history, lists the status of bills and includes downloadable files of the data.

9) Libraries Ottawa. A free iPhone app from SK8 Wireless Technologies Inc. that uses open data from Ottawa to provide names, addresses, phone numbers and maps of libraries in the Ottawa area.

10) Mycelium. The Mycelium site, created by Kevin McArthur, provides access to videos from the House of Commons and allows visitors to create a 5-minute clip with a link and embeddable URL.

11) My Stops. This $.99 iPhone app from Grayscale Apps provides bus and transit schedules for over 20 cities in the U.S. and Canada, including Edmonton and Toronto.

12) My TTC. A site that uses Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) data to plan travel routes on subways, streetcars and buses in Toronto. Visitors to the site enter their current location (from a mobile phone, the site uses GPS to detect location information) and destination, and the site will provide multiple options for how to get there. A description of where to go, how long it will take, what time the transit is scheduled to arrive and depart and a map of the route are provided. The ability to access stop times and receive service alerts via text messages is in the works.

13) OpenParliament.ca. A site run by Montreal-based Web developer Michael Mulley, OpenParliament.ca publishes what takes place within the House of Commons, including how MPs vote, what bills they sponsor, their media mentions and Twitter posts and when they speak on the floor. The site also searches House transcripts by keyword.

14) Ottawa Dog Park Finder. An online app created by Liz and Thomas Bradley, the Ottawa Dog Park Finder uses Ottawa open data and Google Maps to locate dog parks by address and provides ratings on their popularity, friendliness and cleanliness. The Ottawa Dog Blog says a mobile app is in the works.

15) Ottawa Parks and Recreation. Another free iPhone app from SK8 Wireless Technologies that uses open data from Ottawa, providing maps and information related to parks and recreation facilities, including wading pools and beaches.

16) Ottawa Recycles. Using Ottawa open data, this free iPhone app provides information on where to recycle electronics, automotive, gardening, health and household products in the Ottawa area. The address, phone number and location (using Google Maps) is displayed.

17) Ottawa Trash. Developed by Willem van Bergen, Edward Ocampo-Gooding and Shawn Hooper, this no-frills site asks for an Ottawa street address and provides the corresponding garbage schedule.
18) RepresentMe.ca. An excellent way to keep tabs on elected representatives, this site asks for a postal code and then provides the name, phone number and e-mail address of the local city councilor, MP and MPP for the area along with a Twitter-like feed of their recent activities. The site, created by Shawn Simister, currently supports Ottawa postal codes only.

19) Route 411. A $1.99 iPhone app from Fusedlogic Inc., Route 411 provides public transit information for the cities of Edmonton, Guelph, Toronto and Vancouver. The app is GPS-aware and includes stops and arrival times. 

20) TaxiCity. A Web-based driving game built by graduate students, TaxiCity was created using Vancouver open data, Microsoft's Silverlight development platform and Bing Maps. Players take on the role of a taxi driver, pick up passengers and deliver them to destinations in downtown Vancouver. The students used multiple data sets from the city to generate realistic maps, including block outlines, parks, building shapes and the centre midline strokes on streets, said co-developer Dashan Yue.

21) Torontopedia.ca. This open wiki for the City of Toronto isn't an open data project per se, but it does support similar ideals by promoting citizen engagement.

22) Toronto Road Restrictions. Currently in beta, this dynamic site is run by the City of Toronto IT department to help the public plan travel routes. Maintained daily, the site uses 911 dispatch data to provide information on current and future road restrictions, festivals and events, traffic flow, electronic messages displayed on highway signs and traffic camera locations. The site supports 44 divisions and includes roughly half a million address points.

23) Traffic Ottawa. A $.99 iPhone app from SK8 Wireless Technologies, Traffic Ottawa allows users to select and display traffic cameras from the City of Ottawa and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. 

24) VanGuide. A Web app and free iPhone app developed by Nitobi Software Inc. with assistance from Microsoft Corp., VanGuide provides a "social map" of Vancouver and allows users to add, rate or comment on landmarks via their Twitter accounts. The app makes use of open data landmarks such as schools, bus stops and libraries.

25) VanTrash From Luke Closs and Kevin Jones, this site collects open data from the City of Vancouver's Garbage Collection Zones site and displays garbage schedules for the Vancouver area on a map. Visitors can click on the map for a pop-up of the current monthly schedule and opt to either add the schedule to their personal calendar or receive a reminder of the next pickup via e-mail.


From http://www.itworldcanada.com/ 08/12/2010

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US: Government Transparency, Communication and Participation Depend on Modernizing Technology

When President Barack Obama took office, he promised increased transparency, communication and participation would be three major priorities for the new administration - a fitting pledge given that today's government serves an ultraconnected and technologically advanced constituency. Combined with an economic meltdown and increased security threats, this has required government agencies to be more effective, well optimized and highly communicative. Technology is at the core of meeting these demands, and will ultimately help the public sector deliver on its promises to connect more effectively with constituents. It's commonly suggested that government is 10 to 15 years behind the private sector in its use of enabling technologies. As such, it will be the leading private-sector practices in technology usage for improving performance that will most impact and advance government programs.

Modernization
The first logical step in an information transformation agenda is technology modernization. Not only are many of today's government systems antiquated, they are also expensive to maintain and manage. The federal government alone spends more than $75 billion annually on IT-related projects, much of which goes for upkeep on legacy systems that are no longer commercially available or are one-off, custom environments, making operation and repairs extremely costly. In addition to a high cost of ownership, these systems were never intended to integrate information as today's challenges require. In today's connected world of collaboration and information delivery, siloed systems that can't easily and cost-effectively integrate with other environments are rendered ineffective, and in some cases, unusable.

Not only do the various technology systems within a typical agency need to communicate better, there's also growing urgent need to provide tools that enable enhanced interagency communication and collaboration. The lack of information sharing exhibited among various agencies in the failed 2009 Christmas Day attack on our airlines is the latest example of the integrated information gaps that currently exist in U.S. government - problems that could largely be alleviated with the right technologies, strategies and tools. There's certainly no ill intent among the government agencies that serve to protect the country, but there's an unquestionable lack of information flow and communication that is partly the result of technology environments built for operational and not informational purposes.

Given what's at stake, the highest levels of integrated data mining, analytics and business intelligence are critical for making informed, timely decisions - thus improving performance and delivering on virtually all government services. Every major program or initiative today - including securing the homeland, protecting freedoms abroad, reforming health care, providing for citizens and addressing the current financial challenges - are inextricably linked to integrated, secure, timely and accurate information flow through a connected government.

Web 2.0
Confusion persists about how to properly utilize Web 2.0 technologies, such as wikis, Facebook and Twitter. These tools have introduced a revolution from a "push" model, whereby any corporation can push products, services and information through a one-way channel, to a "pull" model, where consumers use technology to participate, provide feedback and make purchasing decisions based on user preferences. Rather than being stalled by Web 2.0, many in the private sector are developing business plans around these technologies and using them for competitive advantage. The music industry, and most recently the book publishing industry are private-sector examples that have recognized the change in consumer behavior around technology and have adapted accordingly. As Americans become more accustomed to operating and communicating through digital channels, government will also need to meet the expectation for collaboration and participation. Such reform will mean modernization beyond just technology replacement - it requires a modernization of how governments function in the new world.

In the haste to move everything online, it's important to remember that although a large segment of the end-user community (or citizens) are natives to the digital world, there's still a great number of less-savvy constituents who prefer to
operate in the traditional, paper-based world where fax machines and printers prevail. Government will increasingly look at private-sector examples to determine how to meet the needs of both groups simultaneously. Financial services, for example, is one industry that has successfully revamped itself for the digital consumer, while maintaining its paper-based practices for those who aren't comfortable accessing their bank statements online. By providing customers with the power and independence to communicate with their bank and make transactions in a manner that fits their comfort level, financial institutions have achieved increased participation on behalf of their customers. This is one area government could learn to replicate, despite the industry's latest major mishaps.

Transparency Versus Security
As government looks to incorporate emerging technologies, one of the biggest challenges is the dichotomy between transparency and security. Because government holds highly sensitive and critical data, it's faced with the huge responsibility of data stewardship, and at the same time, the highest demand for information accessibility from citizens. Unfortunately transparency and security are still diametrically opposed in government and are very difficult to satisfy concurrently. This challenge is a fundamental difference between IT demands in the public and private sectors. While businesses today need to ensure that an employee's mobile devices are secure, it is not a matter of national security as it was when Obama was issued his BlackBerry. A summer intern divulging company information on Facebook, though reckless and problematic, doesn't carry the same consequences in the private sector as a government employee posting information about troop movement in Afghanistan.

Although the stakes aren't always as high, the private sector has found a happy medium for technology that allows for collaboration and communication with its public, while maintaining the highest degrees of security. An example of this is the retail industry. In its transformation from brick-and-mortar shops to e-commerce, the industry has had its fair share of setbacks, including identity theft and phishing. However, the need for both information accessibility and security for its customers has spurred some of the most advanced systems for maintaining privacy online.

Tiny Waves of Change
The nation's first tech-savvy president and his appointment of the first-ever national CTO are just a few examples of the paradigm shift that's taking place in government today. In fact, the federal government's use of cloud computing is one area where government is leading the private sector in the use of emerging technologies. Integrated information systems and the use of Web 2.0 technologies will be two critical components of increased transparency, communication and collaboration - both within government agencies and between governments and citizens. The movement toward a more technologically advanced government requires a technology-based shift in how it conducts business. It will take a re-examination of organizational structure and processes, and most of all, leadership at every level. This transformation presents a huge opportunity for the private sector as government seeks industry best practices, tools and guidance to meet the 21st century's technological demands. Joe Moye leads Capgemini's U.S. public-sector practice. Moye has more than 25 years of technology leadership and management consulting experience in the private and public sectors. (by Joe Moye)


From http://www.govtech.com/ 06/22/2010

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US: 2010 Digital Counties Survey Award Winners Announced

The Center for Digital Government announced the winners of its 2010 Digital Counties Survey Awards on Tuesday, July 13. The top winners in each of the four population categories came from Virginia and Maryland: Montgomery County, Md.; Chesterfield County, Va.; Hanover County, Va.; and Charles County, Md. For 2010, the program's judging approach changed. Unlike years past, when participating governments put together an inventory of their cutting-edge technologies, this year the counties had to submit numerous explanatory narratives on why technologies deployed actually improved life for government employees, citizens or both, explained Todd Sander, director of the Center for Digital Government's Digital Communities program, the division that conducted the survey. Overall, applicants scored well if they reported collaborative projects involving multiple jurisdictions.

"We were looking for places that were working within their own organizations, but also with their neighbors," Sander said. "Examples would be if they had townships or cities, or if they were working with school districts, the state or with the federal government. "Server virtualization efforts - as a means to reduce server maintenance - produced better too, Sander said.Projects that were motivated to bring transparency got high marks from the judges, and one such project put Montgomery County in first place in the 500, 000 or more population category. The county measured its IT functionality against benchmarks and published the data on its portal, unlike some other applicants, said Sander. Another area of particular interest among judges was deployment of technologies that reduced energy usage in concrete ways. Chesterfield County had such a project with its automation of park lights. The upgrade eliminated the need for a worker to drive to various parks in order to turn off lights, which eliminated the possibility they would be on unnecessarily and saved money, Sander observed.

Hanover County won the top spot in the 150,000-249,999 population category, partially due to the large volume of IT efficiency projects the county implemented, said Sander. "Probably more than anybody else in their group size, they were able to use technology to compensate for having to do with fewer employees in dealing with the economic downturn," Sander said. "That included improved project management capabilities, a bunch of cop stuff and lots of mobile devices. "Charles County took top honors in the less than 150,000 population category. Sander cited several upgrades implemented there, one of which was video conferencing for human resources. Video conferencing enabled the county to interview potential employees who were located far away, which eliminated the need for candidates to travel to the county's administrative office for interviews.

Full List of Digital Counties Survey Winners
500,000 or more population:
1st: Montgomery County, Md.
2nd: Prince George's County, Md.
3rd: Palm Beach County, Fla.
3rd: San Diego County, Calif.
4th: County of Orange, Calif.
5th: Oakland County, Mich.
6th: Wake County, N.C.
7th: Fairfax County, Va.
7th: Sacramento County, Calif.
7th: Westchester County, N.Y.
8th: Hennepin County, Minn.
9th: Miami-Dade County, Fla.
10th: Anne Arundel County, Md.
10th: King County, Wash.

250,000-499,999 population:
1st: Chesterfield County, Va.
2nd: Loudoun County, Va.
3rd: Clackamas County, Ore.
4th: Ottawa County, Mich.
5th: Dutchess County, N.Y.
5th: Placer County, Calif.
6th: Guilford County, N.C.
7th: Dakota County, Minn.
7th: Douglas County, Colo.
8th: Forsyth County, N.C.
9th: Washoe County, Nev.
9th: Washtenaw County, Mich.
10th: Hamilton County, Ind.

150,000-249,999 population:
1st: Hanover County, Va.
2nd: Cumberland County, Pa.
3rd: Doña Ana County, N.M.
4th: Boone County, Mo.
4th: Gaston County, N.C.
5th: Roanoke County, Va.
6th: Yuma County, Ariz.
7th: Sussex County, N.J.
8th: Mohave County, Ariz.
9th: Kenton County, Ky.
10th: Onslow County, N.C.

Less than 150,000 population:
1st: Charles County, Md.
2nd: Nevada County, Calif.
3rd: Franklin County, Va.
4th: Skagit County, Wash.
5th: Albemarle County, Va.
6th: Martin County, Fla.
7th: Columbia County, Ga.
8th: Olmsted County, Minn.
9th: Napa County, Calif.
10th: Bay County, Mich.
(by Andy Opsahl)


From http://www.govtech.com/ 07/13/2010

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US: E-Government Satisfaction Down Due to Websites in Progress, Report Says

Although government agencies have been debuting new e-government functionality the past few months, citizen satisfaction with government portals and department home pages has gone down this quarter, dropping nearly half a point from the first quarter's score of 75.1, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) released Tuesday, July 27.The ACSI E-Government Satisfaction Index received an aggregate score of 74.7 on the 100-point scale this quarter. The score remains above last year's second quarter score of 73.6, but the decline can be attributed to the changes that agencies have been making on their websites in order to adapt to the President Barack Obama's Open Government Initiative. In some cases, these changes mean visitors have had to figure out new navigation layouts to find the services they want on the updated sites.

"The challenge is that there are so many different reasons people visit any agency or department website, and it can be hard to direct people to the information they are looking for," said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results, ACSI's partner for the E-Government Index. "That is why search and navigation are consistently the top priorities for so many individual portals and department main websites."According to the report, satisfaction with department home pages is down 1 percent this quarter to 74 overall. Also, satisfaction with nearly half of the 32 federal websites in this category has been dropping for the last three quarters in a row. On the flip side, three categories remain on the upswing: E-commerce and transaction sites still stand as the best-performing category (82), followed by career/recruitment (78) and information/news sites (74).

Facing pressure to improve site functionality, transparency and navigation, government agencies have employed various tactics, performed assessments and sought input from users. In Rhode Island, for example, the RI.gov team implemented the Five-Second Test to solicit instant feedback from testers on the design and usability of the state's website. By addressing these top priorities, agencies can potentially save time and money, and attract more visitors to the sites that serve as gateways to online services. Even though the overall e-satisfaction numbers may be in decline, the most recent score may only be an indication of these current transitions, which could lead to all-around improvements, said Claes Fornell, a professor at the University of Michigan and founder of ACSI. "Although there is a slight decrease in satisfaction this quarter, it remains to be seen whether this will develop into a trend or just a blip on the radar," he said. "Satisfaction remains reasonably strong, though it still lags the private sector. Despite the slip, it is a good sign that citizen satisfaction is still higher than a year ago."


From http://www.govtech.com/ 07/27/2010

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US: State CIOs Want Better IT Governance and Strengthened Organizations, Survey Finds

A recent survey of state CIOs shows most want upgraded IT governance and strengthened central IT organizations to provide better services and new efficiencies while working with tighter budgets. Released Tuesday, July 27, by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), TechAmerica and Grant Thornton, the report found that CIOs are consolidating applications and data centers, rolling out shared services and managed services models, and embracing emerging technologies like cloud computing and social media - while expecting smaller IT budgets and increased demands for new IT-enabled services. "State governments will continue to endure tough fiscal conditions, which makes the state CIO's job even more challenging," NASCIO Executive Director Doug Robinson said in a press release. "However, the results of the survey clearly indicate this situation presents opportunities for CIOs to execute on cost-saving strategies, innovative business models and advance the use of emerging technologies."

Some of the highlights of the report (from the executive summary) include:
Two-thirds of CIOs expect lower IT budgets in 2011 through 2013. Some are turning to staff reductions, IT consolidation, shared services and other solutions to lower costs. However, they say that tight budgets stimulate creative solutions for increasing IT efficiency and effectiveness.
Many CIOs bear much of the responsibility for statewide IT governance but do not have an equal share of authority. About three out of five CIOs say their states have a formal IT enterprise portfolio management process, but on average give these processes a C grade for effectiveness.
In the next three years, most CIOs plan to expand IT shared services and managed services. New customers most likely to participate in IT shared services include state executive branch agencies and public educational institutions at all levels.
CIOs give state IT procurement processes C grade and say that related laws, rules, processes and practices must be modernized and aligned with IT industry standards and best practices. Increasing CIOs' procurement authority and using trained and experienced IT procurement officials will improve how states acquire and deploy IT.

Many CIOs say that cloud computing is nothing new, but half are investigating it and one-third are running active or pilot projects. Two-thirds report that state agencies are using social media (YouTube, Twitter and Facebook) and almost half use it themselves. Three out of five CIOs say their states are preparing social media policies for state agencies. "The results of this survey provide valuable insight to state government legislative and executive leadership as they formulate new budgets and enact policy changes in the coming months," Hank Steininger, managing partner of Grant Thornton's global public sector practice said in the release. "With 37 governors' races this year, the information presented in this survey makes available to the incumbents and candidates the candid thoughts of the IT leadership on the current status of state IT as well as ways to improve efficiencies and operations and produce cost savings for states. The survey was conducted in spring 2010 and included responses from 40 state and territorial CIOs, or their equivalents.


From http://www.govtech.com/ 07/28/2010

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US: Web Search Is the New King of Government Portals

When governments began launching their own websites in the '90s, the results left much to be desired, to say the least. The portals were painfully difficult to navigate and had multiple tabs that were too busy - seemingly created with government users in mind rather than the general public. To everyday citizens, these websites paled in comparison to the private sector's efforts, which were constantly evolving to better suit their needs. Some argue that's still the case and will forever be, despite vast improvements over the years. Naysayers aside, a recent survey points out online features - searching and social media - are now top public priorities when it comes to navigating a government's Web page. And with every redesign, there is an opportunity to better meet those needs and engage the public.

Increasingly that means organizing a website so it's searchable. The days when it was good enough to organize a website's content in hard-to-browse categories are gone. "Search right now is the major way of finding information," said Tom Viall, manager of Rhode Island's website for e-government provider NICUSA. Equally important is sharing government information on sites people flock to, like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, Viall said, instead of forcing them to visit the state site. "You've got to, as a state government, be where the people are, and the people are on those social networking sites," he said. "Get people to the information they're looking for as quickly as possible."

Citizens Want More Engagement
Demand for search functionality and a social media presence are highlighted in the 2010 Open Government Research Report, which states that nearly all citizens who responded to the survey (96 percent) think the government could improve citizen engagement via online services. Recommended steps to accomplish this notion, however, vary:
Constituents suggested agencies could be more engaging by:
71 percent said improving search functionality on agencies' websites;
52 percent said creating an agency-branded forum or online community;
34 percent said increasing the presence on social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter; and 32 percent said delivering tailored information via mobile devices.
Government agencies are hearing similar requests from their constituents and investing in such changes. According to NIC Spokesman Chris Neff, improving search functionality remains a top priority and ongoing challenge for agencies.

"Recognizing the importance of search is more than half the battle," Neff said. "Nearly 90 percent of all Internet sessions begin with a search, which means governments need to make their information easy for these engines to find. "Search engine optimization is another key area where governments should invest their time, Neff said, which can be done by tagging images, forms and other government content so that it isn't in government jargon. "Search engine optimization is important and we constantly encourage our state and local governments to use keywords that citizens are likely to use rather than government-speak," Neff said.
Texas - which partnered with NICUSA for its Web portal - has taken this demand very seriously. The site's search feature is most prominent on the main page and uses an autofill function to better serve users, Texas Department of Information Resources Spokesman Marcus Cooper said. "We redesigned and revamped the state Web portal and introduced it in June," Cooper said. "And I think it speaks directly to the survey and what our citizens wanted in a revised website."

Search and Then What?
According to the survey, citizens are more comfortable online and engaging in social networks than ever before, the report claims. Fifty-four percent surveyed have interacted with government online or via social networks and have connected with government agencies for the following reasons:
86 percent to be able to connect in their own time, not when government offices are open;
80 percent to receive information or answers to questions faster;
72 percent to receive more detailed information; and
49 percent to support or advocate for the agency's mission or the work they do.
The survey - conducted by Harris Interactive, on behalf of RightNow Technologies - took place in March among more than 1,000 U.S. adults.
As the Internet's potential is being realized on a mass scale, constituents are wary that the government won't easily catch up to social media efforts already realized by the private sector. Nearly 70 percent of constituents think governments should prioritize use of social media tools as a way of being more open with the public, as commercial organizations have realized success through such tools.

Forty-three percent surveyed think it will take the government one to five years to catch up to commercial organizations in terms of using technology to interact with citizens, while 22 percent think the government never will. For Viall, it's important to spot future trends and evolve as an agency the same way citizens' information-gathering mediums are evolving. For example, mobile apps are an increasingly popular way to access data online, but for now, the Web is the main thoroughfare. But creating and launching those apps now rather than later is advantageous. "It's how people are going to use it and we've got to be ahead of that curve all the time," he said. The report provides further validation of citizens' expectations that government agencies improve service and information delivery, Neff said. "People want government to offer expanded functionality and more online services, they increasingly expect social media outlets, and they want it delivered to a device they use, including mobile," he said. "It's a great message for any government leader to hear and it's exciting to think about how government will continue to evolve its offerings in the future to deliver this expanded engagement." (by Karen Wilkinson)


From http://www.govtech.com/ 07/29/2010

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US: Government Uses Social Networking Sites for More Than Investigations

In the midst of recent controversies over Facebook's privacy settings, it's easy to forget how much personal information is available from other sources on the Internet. But the government remembers. EFF recently received a number of documents from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) highlighting the government's ability to scour not only social networks, but record each and every corner of the Internet. These documents were released in the second of a series of government disclosures resulting from EFF's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in which EFF, with the help of UC Berkeley's Samuelson Clinic, sought information on the procedures and guidelines employed by government agencies when conducting social network monitoring or investigations.

As an example of the government's substantial information collection capability, several documents [PDF] in the CIA's disclosure discuss the CIA's so-called Open Source Center, established in 2005, which has been collecting information from publicly accessible Internet sources such as blogs, chat rooms and social networking sites, in addition to monitoring radio and television programs. The Open Source Center's website, opensource.gov, bills itself as the "US Government's premier provider of foreign open source intelligence." It is accessible to almost 15,000 local, state, and federal government employees and offers products ranging from reports and analysis on publicly available information dating back to the mid-90s, video reports and internet clips, translations, and media mapping and hot spot analysis.

In the other document [PDF] included in this release, FBI emails reveal the FBI's interest in the University of Arizona's Dark Web Project, an attempt by computer scientists to "systematically collect and analyze all terrorist-generated content on the Web." Information in the document describes the Dark Web Project as especially effective in employing spiders to search Internet forums and find hidden web sites in the "corners of the Internet." In addition to being able to search the Internet for content, the Dark Web Project is developing a tool called Writeprint that claims to help identify the creators of anonymous online content. The FBI emails reveal an interest in applying the Dark Web Project's tools to the FBI's own "operational analysis and exploitation of data, including web forums."

As EFF and the Samuelson Clinic continue to seek information about law enforcement investigation techniques used on the Internet, we hope to learn more about how the government uses this information and especially how long it plans to keep it. In the meantime, however, it is clear that government investigators are collecting a wealth of information though the Internet in general and outside of the law enforcement context. It is also a good reminder that while social networks and other websites have privacy settings, the Internet does not. Stay tuned here for the next release.


From http://www.eff.org/ 08/16/2010

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CHINA: 45,000 Gov't Internet Portals

China had established more than 45,000 government Internet portals by the end of 2009 to publicize government information, said a white paper issued by the Information Office of the State Council Tuesday. According to the paper, titled "The Internet in China", 75 central and state organs, 32 provincial governments and 333 prefectural governments and over 80 percent county-level governments had set up their websites, providing various online services to facilitate people's work and life. "The building of e-government has substantially improved the work efficiency and transparency of government information," the paper said. Governments at all levels are making every effort to improve the government spokesman system. By promptly releasing authoritative information through all kinds of media including the Internet, government spokesmen brief the public on the implementation of related policies, and on responses to natural disasters, and public health and social emergencies. "The role of the Internet in satisfying people's right to know has become increasingly prominent," it said. Furthermore, the Internet has become an indispensable tool in people's every-day life, the paper said. Citing a sample survey, the paper said that in 2009 alone, about 230 million people in China gathered information using search engines, 240 million communicated through real-time telecommunications devices, 46 million received education with the help of the Internet, 35 million conducted securities trading on the Internet, 15 million sought jobs through the Internet, and 14 million arranged trips via the Internet. "In China, more and more people are collecting information, enriching their knowledge, establishing businesses and realizing their aspirations, and communicating to know each other better through the Internet." the paper said.


From Xinhua News Agency 06/08/2010

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US$630bln Invested in Internet Infrastructure Construction

China invested a total of 4.3 trillion yuan (630 billion U.S. dollars) in Internet infrastructure construction from 1997 to 2009, said a white paper issued by the Information Office of the State Council Tuesday. According to the paper, titled "The Internet in China", China built a nationwide optical communication network with a total length of 8.267 million kilometers, 840,000 kilometers of which were long-distance optical cables, it said. By the end of 2009, Chinese basic telecom companies had 136 million broadband Internet access ports, and international outlet bandwidth was 866,367 Gbps, with seven land-submarine cables and 20 land cables, boasting a combined capacity of 1,600 Gb, the paper said. The infrastructure development ensured Internet access to 99.3 percent of towns and 91.5 percent of villages, and broadband to 96 percent of the towns, it said. The Chinese government began to issue third-generation (3G) licenses to mobile service suppliers in January 2009. At present, 3G network covers almost the whole country. "Along with the swift expansion of the mobile Internet, more people will benefit from this technical advance," the paper said.


From Xinhua News Agency 06/08/2010

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China's State Council Information Office Publishes Internet White Paper

China's State Council Information Office has published a white paper outlining China's Internet status. The white paper states that the Chinese government is fully aware of the irreplaceable role of the Internet in accelerating the development of national economy, advancing technology, and promoting the process of information to citizens. It states the national government pays great attention to and actively promotes the development and application of the Internet. The white paper introduces the basic situation of the development of the Internet in China and it explains the Chinese government's basic policies about the Internet as well as its views about related issues, to help the public and the international society to fully understand the true conditions of the development and management of the Internet in China. The white paper has a total of about 13,000 words, including a preface; promotion of Internet development and its popularization; promotion of Internet applications; protection of citizens' freedom of expression on the Internet; basic principals and practices for Internet management; protection of Internet security; active implementation of international communication and cooperation; and a conclusion. The white paper states that the Chinese government will continue to improve its Internet development and management policies to make them better meet the internal laws and objective needs for the development and management of Chinese society. In practice, the Chinese government will refer to useful experiences of various countries and the government hopes to contribute to the sustainability of the Internet with other countries.


From http://www.chinatechnews.com/ 06/09/2010

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More Computers for Rural West

The Chinese government is to continue a project - sending computers to the country's western rural areas in a bid to close the digital divide. According to a circular jointly released Thursday by five Party and government agencies, these computers will be specially for students, rural residents and officials at the grassroots. The central government will invite public bids from computer manufacturers. The circular did not specify how many computers the government planned to purchase for the project. However, in 2009 the project sent 53,000 computers to 12 western provinces and regions including Xinjiang, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Guangxi and Sichuan. All bidders must first guarantee to pre-install filter software on the computers, the circular said. The activity was jointly launched by the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, the civilization office of the CPC Central Committee, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the Ministry of Culture.


From Xinhua News Agency 06/18/2010

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CPC Launches Online Database of Communist Doctrines

The Communist Party of China (CPC) on Wednesday launched an online database on Marxist theory by uploading the Party's major political doctrines to an Internet website, an effort that analysts said is promoting its ideology through information technology. Uploaded contents to www.ccpph.com.cn include collected works in Chinese of Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, as well as former CPC leaders Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin. All the works are available free of charge for Internet users to read, while visually impaired readers can listen to recorded voices reciting the content in Chinese. The website also contains dozens of works explaining the doctrines, research of the communist party as well as the CPC's important documents, files and speeches of General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Hu Jintao and other current leaders. The database is sponsored by People's Publishing House, copyright owner of those Chinese works and major publisher of translated works of foreign political figures in China. Liu Binjie, Director of General Administration of Press and Publication, said that the official launch of these works on the Internet would expand the spread of Marxist theories. The world has entered an era when information, digitalization and other new communication methods are booming, said Huang Shuyuan, president of the People's Publishing House.

The more advanced and powerful communication methods a party uses, the more influential it will be, Huang said. To help online readers find a classic Marxist reading, the database of the website provides a smart search function which finds the origin based on fractional words that readers input. "It will greatly help researchers on Marxist doctrines like me, since many of those works could only be available in libraries," said Professor Zhang Guangming with the School of International Relations of Peking University. "We could search for information about Marxist works at any time in my reading room," Zhang said. Prof. Zhang Xixian with the Party School of the CPC Central Committee said that the online database represents a new trend for the Party to promote its theories in a more attractive way. By the end of last year, the number of Internet users in China had reached 384 million users, covering about 28.9 percent of the country's total population. Li Changchun, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, also attached great importance to the publication of the Party's theories by using multimedia technologies. The People's Publishing House plans to digitalize its 3.6 billion-word Marxist theories books within two years to complete the database and provide it free of charge to the public.


From Xinhua News Agency 07/01/2010

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Beijing Police Establish Public Relations Office, Microblog

The Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau established a public relations office Tuesday and said it will institute a series of measures, including the opening of a microblog, to enhance transparency and interaction with residents. The office will interact with residents, build the image of the bureau and deal with public relations issues. Besides regular press releases, the office will solicit public opinion by opening a microblog, consult "opinion leaders" and interact with citizens online. It would also produce videos and appoint promotion ambassadors to boost its public reputation. The municipal police bureau has ordered all police bureau branches in Beijing to establish their own public relations office. The public relations services will cover permanent residents, migrant workers and foreign residents in Beijing. "With the aid of modern technology, we hope to communicate with residents and vulnerable groups with frankness and sincerity, as well as promote the publicity of social justice," said Fu Zhenghua, head of the bureau. While some residents appreciate the open attitude of Beijing police, some expressed concern. "They have good intentions, but I wonder whether the service will become merely a formality," said Yu Yian, a reporter with Beijing-based Health Times. "I hope the microblog can be fully utilized, unlike those badly maintained administrative websites," said Liu Juan, an employee with a IT company in Beijing. Wang Yukai, a professor with the Chinese Academy of Governance, said public relations services provide residents with an easy and more effective access to police affairs. On the other hand, police can learn more about public opinion and social conflict, Wang said. He said Chinese courts and procuratorates could also open microblogs, which may help solve conflicts caused by miscarriages of justice.


From Xinhua News Agency 07/14/2010

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Chinese Netizens' Comments Key to Judicial Work

Senior Chinese official Zhou Yongkang Friday called for improving publicity work in the judicial sector. Zhou, secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China Central Committee (CPC) , made the remarks during his visit to the Beijing-based Legal Daily, the official newspaper of the commission, where he chatted online with netizens and answered questions. Zhou highly praised Chinese netizens for their complaints and suggestions, which are key to the nation's judicial work. Founded on Aug. 1, 1980, Legal Daily is known for its outstanding judicial news reporting in China and abroad. Zhou, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, hosted a seminar on the improvement of publicity work in the judicial sector, which was joined by representatives from mainstream media such as the People's Daily newspaper, Xinhuanet.com, website of Xinhua News Agency, and China Central Television. "The mainstream media has contributed a lot to the legal career development of the country. Many dedicated reporters have been working with the police in fighting against crimes and protecting peoples' lives," Zhou said. As democracy and legal systems develop further in China, the expectation of Chinese citizens on the fulfillment of their rights to know, to participate, to express and supervise will become much higher, Zhou said. Therefore, the nation's judicial agencies at all level, together with the media, should work with more concern on the people's basic rights, the stability of society, and the dignity of law, Zhou said. In particular, the media should report news stories that are close to people's lives, and judicial agencies should focus on those problems exposed by the media and set up regular news release systems for the timely dissemination of news to the public.


From Xinhua News Agency 08/14/2010

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China Embraces New Internet Opportunities

The Ninth China Internet Conference (CIC) powered up with the theme of "Green Serivce-based Internet" on Tuesday. As a vane of the Asian Internet industry, the annual conference attracted over 160 IT CEOs and experts this year. "In the context of post-global financial crisis, China now faces brand new challenges and opportunities both on economic levels and new IT industries. Huge new IT-related industries will emerge as the Internet develops at a rapid pace, this however, will also to some extent be dangerous if improperly used," Hu Qiheng, chairman of China Internet Association said in his opening speech. To ensure the discussions runs in a comprehensive and insightive way, the CIC organized a three-days forum which covers twelve main themes, including topics "Internet application and service," "Internet and advanced culture development," "Green internet environment development," and "Cloud computing's potential." Liu Yun, vice president of Google cast a general prediction for future internet development patterns, featuring with infinitive users all over the globe, smart-end-user service, tailor-made internet service, scientific and artistic media paterns which will require every media person with no-choice but to grasp the new technology. More topics like mobile Internet service, cyber-advertisement and neo-media future, Internet games, and Internet securities will be discussed in the coming two days.


From China Daily 08/19/2010

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SOUTH KOREA: Online Issuance of Official Documents to Be Expanded

The Ministry of Public Administration and Security said that from Friday people can get copies of land registration maps and land usage certifications online. The government website for civil affairs, at www.egov.go.kr, can now issue the documents usually used in real estate transaction and leasing contracts. Until now, they were only allowed for viewing online, not download. The website of the Seoul city government's Korea Land Information Service will also issue the documents starting next month. People will also be able to get download car registration documents from July 5.


From http://english.chosun.com/ 06/25/2010

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Korea Is the Hub Nation for e-Government

June 23 marked the day when the whole world found out how advanced Korea's IT was. The Korean government had the honor of winning the 'Global e-Government System 2010' award at the 2010 United Nations Public Service Day, which was held at the AXA Convention Center in Barcelona, Spain for 3 days. It was another outstanding accomplishment the nation achieved after it was ranked first on the 'development of e-government index' and the 'online participation index' earlier this year. Now Korea is positioned to be a hub nation of e-government. In this moment when Korea indeed takes on an important role as a model for many other countries, Korea IT Times interviewed Kang Jung-hyup, Assistant Minister of Informatization Strategy Office in the Ministry of Public Administration and Security to have a conversation about information system and the current challenges Korea faces. Assistant Minister Kang explained that the Korean e-government system is the e-systematization of all the government affairs. He said, "The UN specified e-government as a process with 4 steps. Currently, there are only five countries including Korea that have entered the 4th step." He continued by saying, "The tasks of the central government can be divided into 1,100 kinds in the medium category and 40,000 kinds by sub-category. All these tasks are systemized. This means it has a complete base for integration and connection between services and the ability to create a 3rd government system service." It is known that the e-government award is highly perceived by the UN. Earning this award shows that the system was actively used by people and provides easy access for all its users. In addition, Kang described it by saying, "Our system is like reading a book. It is well organized and the only thing we have to do is read it and study it." Kang concluded by saying, "You need to catch a chance when the opportunity is given. Since we are respected by the UN right now, now is the best time to develop national information system and enhance international cooperation."

Following is a series of questions and answers with Kang Jung-hyup.

Q: What is a national information system and tell us about the features and advantages?
A: Generally, e-government, or the 'computerization of administrative systems' in other words, has reached the point that one click takes care of everything through the internal affair connection. For instance, in the past when you changed your residence, you needed to undergo 17 different notification procedures such as address, banking, cars and many others. Nowadays, you can use address transfer which will complete all the other procedures automatically. With this development, city halls and ward offices are able to perform administrative tasks much more efficiently than before.

Q: What is the present status of development work related to standard common components of e-government?
A: To structure the informational system, we practically need a methodology for development. The large enterprises such as Samsung and LG have their own methodologies, but the rest of the SME's (Small & Medium Enterprises) generally don't have one. When you construct the governmental affair system, a standard system is certainly needed. The standard systems which are developed in levels of government are intellectual products. Since they are intellectual products, the update is achieved annually. SME and large enterprises use the system developed by us and we receive good responses from them. 'Common component' could be explained as the componentization of the common tasks in government ministries. At the moment, there are 219 tasks that are organized as the common component. However, the common component flexibly changes over time. Personnel management types can not avoid these changes because the social organizations started emphasizing collaboration. This is unlike the past, when they used a vertical organizational structure.

Q: Tell us about the policy's directions to develop e-government between nations and enterprises as an export power.
A: To export our outstanding system to other nations, we need cooperation between countries. We also should strive for export with the brand value, which was winning the UN e-government award. With the start of national interchange overseas, there are particular areas who want to share the technology including Southeast Asia, Latin America, CIS, South Africa and the Middle East. Countries in these areas would like to benchmark our system, and we should help them by forming a cooperative relationship in telecommunications with these countries. So far, the Korean government has built the 'International IT Cooperation Center' in 6 nations and has been participating in various businesses including consulting. The Korean government has signed a MOU agreement with 20 countries. The Korean government steadily cooperates with other countries such as Bulgaria, Kuwait and Rwanda in this year alone. Like so, if the government paves the way for these systems, the consulting work will be efficiently completed by domestic IT and SI industries and telecom companies. Besides that, we provide an one week educational program for foreign interested parties free of charge.

Q: Lastly, what topic do you place an emphasis this year?
A: Most of all, we are focusing on the package of software and structuring of archives. As it is impossible for each company to operate due to it's high cost, it is imperative to structure the archives so that everyone can use it. The shift of the information paradigm should be noted as well. As the paradigm changes, the daily life changes as well. Smart workers have been increased by the spread of smartphones and the development of mobile internet. Accordingly, the situational change and the change of government business is inevitable. Additionally, internet addiction needs appropriate measures as it still remains to be one of the biggest problems in our society. We will try to make plans to make a brighter internet world and focus on the marginalized people in information technology. Finally, we will strive to pass the Personal Data Protection Act within this year to resolve the leaked personal information problem.


From http://www.koreaittimes.com/ 08/09/2010

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BRUNEI: Team Up with S. Korea for E-Government Cooperation

In line with one of the top priorities of the e-Government Strategic Plan of 2009-2014, Brunei has reached another remarkable milestone in its drive towards achieving the national e-government initiative by joining venture with the Republic of Korea. The signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and the Ministry of Public Administration and Security (MOPAS), Republic of Korea, on cooperation in the area of e-Government was held at the Empire Hotel and Country Club yesterday morning. In his welcoming address, Deputy Permanent Secretary (IT and e-Government) at the Prime Minister's Office Abdul Mutalib bin POKSS Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof said "One of our top priorities now is to address the challenges of ICT skills not only in the specialised skills of 400 IT personnel of the e-Government National Centre (EGNC), to manage and support e-Government projects, but also in basic skills of end-users within the civil service." He went on to say that the signing of the MoU is a timely response to capacity building towards achieving the national target of delivering at least 100 online services using various channels of delivery by the year 2014. "With currently at least 10 services per ministry already identified and prioritised to be made available online from now until 2014, we aim to achieve this not only through strong collaboration within ministries and the industry, but also through collaborative efforts with international organisations and best practice model countries like Korea, among others," Abdul Mutalib said. Korea ranked number one in the 2010 UN e-Government survey and it has since became a benchmark for other countries, including Brunei.

Meanwhile, in his speech, Kang Jung Hyup, Assistant Minister/ Cio, Ministry of Public Administration and Security, Republic of Korea, expressed his support of and gratification over the joint effort between the two countries towards the development of e-Government initiative. "By combining the advanced technology of Korea and the rich resources of Brunei, a synergy can be created to ignite more opportunities for future development. I believe this is a very important step forward in building a solid foundation not only for e-Govemment cooperation, but also other economic, cultural and social cooperation between our two countries in the future," he said. The guest of honour and witness at the ceremony was Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Paduka Awg Haji Mohammad Yasmin bin Haji Umar, the Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister's Office cum Chairman of e-Government Leadership Forum (ELGF). Also present was Park II, Counsellor and Charge d'Affaires (Acting Ambassador) of Korean Embassy of the Korea to Brunei Daussalam. Signing on behalf of the Brunei government was Abdul Mutalib bin POKSS Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof, who is also the Overall Government Chief Information Officer (CIO) in Brunei. Meanwhile Korea was represented by Kang Jung Hyup, Assitant Minister/CIO of Ministry of Public Administration and Security. Other attendees present to wimess the event were permanent secretaries, deputy permanent secretaries at the Prime Ministers' Office, e-Government Leadership forum (EGLF) members, chief information officers, chief technical officers, Republic of Korea delegates and embassy delegates. The MoU aims to establish a general framework for cooperation in the field of e-Government, explore opportunities and to sustain and foster the e-Government capabilities in areas of common interest and in accordance with the country's respective roles and competencies. This milestone does not only pave the way for cooperative activities between the two countries such as joint studies and workshops on e-Government, but it also allows the establishment of countermeasures to lessen any unfavourable effects of e-Government, for instance the provision of support for the establishment of information security policy and technology. - Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin


From http://brudirect.com/ 08/07/2010

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SINGAPORE: Collaborate with South Korea on E-Government

To promote cooperation in the field of infocomm technology between the Republic of Singapore and the Republic of Korea, the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today on e-Government cooperation. The MOU seeks to increase opportunities for e-Government collaboration between Singapore and South Korea. Elevating bilateral relations between the two countries up a step, the MOU was sealed today by Mr Kim Seang-Tae, President, National Information Society Agency, Republic of Korea and RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore. The MOU sets the framework for greater cooperation efforts between the two countries to promote further advancements in the delivery of e-Government services in each respective country. As part of the agreement, both parties will: i. Collaborate on projects in the area of e-Government; ii. Support major workshops and conferences hosted by either country by facilitating the participation of delegates, panel experts and speakers, and; iii. Exchange information, knowledge and experience in relation to e-Government. RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, said, "As the Government CIO, IDA constantly seeks to encourage innovation and the exchange of ideas on e-Government. South Korea and Singapore both share a common goal of delivering ever better services to citizens and businesses in its own country. We hope that such a collaboration will allow both countries to tap on each other's expertise and experiences to propel e-Government service developments to an even higher level." Mr Kim Seang-Tae noted, "Through the partnership, both governments would enhance mutual cooperation. This not only further develops both nations' e-Government standards, but also helps to further enhance share e-Government knowledge and experience sharing with other Asian countries." The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is committed to growing Singapore into a dynamic global infocomm hub. IDA uses an integrated approach to developing infocommunications in Singapore. This involves nurturing a competitive telecoms market as well as a conducive business environment with programmes and schemes for both local and international companies. For more information, visit www.ida.gov.sg.


From http://www.japancorp.net/ 06/16/2010

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THAILAND: Census to Go Online for First Time

In July, Thailand will carry out a population and housing census online for the first time to collect national information to aid planning policy for the next decade. All people who live in Thailand should complete the survey so the nation's details can be updated, according to Jirawan Boonperm, director general, National Statistical Office under the Information and Communication Technology Ministry. This is the first time Thailand will gather the information over multiple channels, including the online survey at http://www.nso.go.th. The system has already been upgraded, although it is expected that less than 10 percent of respondents will use this channel. "The kingdom carries out a census every 10 year and this year marks the 100 anniversary of the census," said Jirawan. "Now, Thailand, alongside Japan, is one of the pioneering countries to use the Internet to conduct the census." She added that respondents can still take part via post, by telephone on ToT's 1111 hotline, or undergo the traditional face-to-face interview.

The NSO will keep all personal data strictly confidential and will not even share it with other government agencies because this would violate the law and the office is counting on co-operation from every resident to ensure the best coverage possible. This information gathered from the census will help Government to set its policies and allocate resources to fit the demands identified by factors such as age demographics, health, income levels, labour force and population projection. Moreover, it can also map areas of poverty, while the private sector can use population density details in each area to aid business investment decisions.
After completing the census, the NSO will present a preliminary report of national statistics such as the number of population of males, females and the total of both sexes, the number of households at regional, provincial and national level, and so on. There will then be a detailed report at provincial level published, based on a special sample of approximately one per cent of households. The NSO will also provide a National Information System to exchange info between all government agencies and index economic, social, environmental and Information Technology factors which support decision-making. "Previously, the NSO signed an agreement with all stakeholders to exchange data and now it expects to deliver the prototype system for the government to use in key data indexing within the third quarter," Jirawan concluded.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 05/26/2010

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NTC Wants Regulation Overhaul

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) hopes to set up an office to regulate broadcasting, including over satellite and the Internet, ahead of the establishment of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC). The NTC is looking for approval to establish the office to support the regulation of community radio stations and broadcasters, cable and satellite TV and Internet Protocol television (IPTV), according to Pana Thongmeearkom, NTC Commissioner. The priorities for this office would be the registration of non-frequency use of service providers related to broadcasting, the issuing of licenses, auditing and enforcement of laws, including punishment, as well as promoting awareness of ethical practices among providers.

Moreover, the office would set a regulatory framework based on the principle that regulation would not mean direct intervention in the freedom of the media by censorship or shutdown of services. However, if service providers break the law by broadcasting content which threatens national security or which incites violence, police can arrest offenders.

Investment in the office would total more than 50 million baht, to include recruitment and training of staff, plus operational expenses, and it will existing NTC branches upcountry as local contact points for service providers. However, at this time, the NTC is involved in the public hearing process of the legal framework for satellite TV licensing and is considering using this framework to cover IPTV as well. "Satellite TV is more complex because this technology is being used for political purposes and manipulates the content to foster the political divide," said Pana.

The main idea of the new framework is the implementation of hybrid regulation of both ex-post regulation, which allows service providers to be audited later when doing something wrong, and ex-ante regulation, which rewards or gives incentives for good practice, as well as place obstacles in illegal practices. This hybrid model will regulate all related stakeholders across the entire system and network, from broadcasting stations to equipment, program producers, media sponsors, satellite systems, ISPs and internet gateways, as well as professional associations, including the encouragement of an audience council to monitor content.

"In this era of technology convergence, employing traditional regulation will no longer be effective," said Pana. "If the government wants to solve the regulation problems of community radio stations and satellite TV, it needs to empower the NTC to do the NBTC's task.
"This will enable the NTC to issue permanent licensing and set program standards."


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 06/09/2010

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VIET NAM: Next Congress Goes Online

Viet Nam yesterday, August 18, launched a website to provide local and world viewers with information about the 11th National Congress of the Communist Party of Viet Nam (CPV) in January. Politburo member and secretary of the Central Committee of the CPV To Huy Rua said the website could be viewed at http://daihoi11.dangcongsan.vn. Rua said it would provide useful information for Vietnamese at home and abroad, Government officials and Party members. He added that the site would bridge an information gap and clearly present the significance and viewpoints of the CPV Central Committee about the congress. The website contains a variety of categories, including news, information on delegates and the congress, and initiatives for draft documents. It is also intended to help promote efforts to successfully implement the resolutions of the 10th congress, strengthen Party unity and gain public trust in Party leadership. The website will also collect opinions about draft documents for the congress. It will close in May 2011.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 08/19/2010

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INDIA: E-Governance Services of Chennai Corporation a Hit

The e-Governance initiatives of the Chennai Corporation to provide a hassle-free system for public welfare services are a hit. Almost 6.48 lakh people visited the local body's website in the last 18 months, with a majority of them accessing the birth/death events in the online database. The civic body has made a formal request to the union and state government departments, including the passport offices and schools, besides embassies of various countries to approve the online certification, a valid legal paper documented by the municipal body, with the available hospital records. About 56 lakh births and 22 lakh deaths have been uplinked till date and the numbers are likely to go up in the coming months. The local bodies of Delhi, Pune, Hyderabad and Bangalore have approached Chennai Corporation for advice on implementing a similar facility. The online certification also help non-resident Indians to get the certificates from corporation offices.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 05/31/2010

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Effective Execution of E-Governance Project in UP

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has directed the officials to effectively implement e-Governance programme for faster delivery of welfare schemes to the people. The e-District scheme, being implemented in six districts on pilot basis, should be implemented in the remaining 65 districts of the state. At present the scheme is being implemented in Gorakhpur, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Ghaziabad, Sultanpur, Sitapur and Rae Bareli under National e-Governance Programme (NeGP) of the central government. The working of the Jan Suvidha Kendras (JSK) set up in rural areas should be made more effective and transparent so that people were not required to run unnecessarily for obtaining various certificates.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 06/10/2010

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Mission Mode Project Approved Under E-Governance

The focus of the project is to improve the efficiency and transparency of the financial administration of the State Governments. The Union Cabinet approved the Mission Mode Project (MMP) for computerisation of State Treasuries. This scheme, at an overall cost of Rs.626 crore aims at supporting the State Governments to computerise their treasury functions and provide the required interface for data sharing among treasuries, State finance departments, Accountant General Offices, Reserve Bank of India, Agency Banks and Central Plan Schemes Monitoring System of Controller General of Accounts.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 06/14/2010

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Punjab Municipal Bodies to Get Integrated E-Governance Project

The state has decided to introduce an integrated e-governance project for all municipal bodies. The project aims at setting up service delivery infrastructure in the form urban suvidha centres (facilitation centres) across the state. Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Company (PMIDC), is overseeing the project. The major municipal corporations across the state were trying to develop their independent systems for payment of bills, management of data and other civic facilities. This was not suitable as a long term approach and also increased the over-all cost for the state. To solve this problem the services of Deloitte were hired. The state has expedited the process of implementation of the e-Governance project. All the municipal bodies across the state will implement the same systems. Since the municipal staff will not have the expertise to process the data and operate the system, a private management partner will be chosen for the purpose.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 06/14/2010

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All Government Services May Go Online in 28 States

Citizens across 28 Indian states will be able to avail all government services including payment of utility bills and applying for a driving licence, through common internet portals being developed as part of Rs 2,000-crore State Portal Project. The government plans to develop portals for at least 10 states by October 2010, and the rest will follow suit. These state portals will offer services right from getting a birth or death registration certificate, to applications for pensions, to getting a domicile or residence certificate all online. The forms will be available and submitted electronically. Citizen service centre (CSC) kiosks, in rural areas, will help citizens who are technologically challenged submit these forms online. The government plans to rollout almost 10,000 more CSC kiosks, by December 2010 taking the total number to 90,000.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 06/30/2010

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E-Toll System by 2012 in India

India will soon see a uniform electronic toll collection system on its national highways, increasing the revenue, curbing leakages and ensuring smooth travel across the country. The system, which will use passive RFID (radio frequency identification) technology, is likely to be in place by May 2012. The system will increase the revenue and curb leakages in toll collection across highways. RFID technology is a tracking system and has widespread applications across several industries like retail and logistics. The RFID tag will be stuck on the windscreen and cost about Rs 100, while the toll booth will have a tag reader, which is expected to cost about Rs 2 lakh. A vehicle owner can "recharge" the account for the vehicle (the account number will be the RFID tag number), and when the vehicle passes through the lane of any toll plaza across the country, the appropriate toll will be debited from the account.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 07/05/2010

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Maharashtra Government to Reserve Budget for E-Governance

In a bid to promote e-Governance policy of Maharashtra Government, all the departments have been asked to spend half per cent of their budgetary provision on computerisation and providing online services to citizens. The IT department has proposed mandatory electronic delivery act. The idea is that the Government wants the citizens should receive the services faster and cheaper with the help of the e-Governance. Learning from the past experience, the resolution has said that the departments should buy software along with hardware otherwise the machines lay unused. The IT department has also proposed a 'Maharashtra Mandatory Electronic Delivery of Public Service Act 2010' to encourage e-services. With the proposal, if implemented, the people might soon do away with long queue and receive birth certificates, land documents and other important papers online as the government would provide various services via Internet.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 07/06/2010

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First of Its Kind E-Governance Programme in India

T. A. Pai Management Institute [TAPMI] a leading B school in India has announced a unique one year Post Graduate e-Governance Programme for Executives [eGPX] for Middle and Senior level Executives from Government, Public and Private sectors. TAPMI is the only B-School to start the one of its kind course in India. The programme is being offered by TAPMI in collaboration with National Institute for Smart Government [NISG], Hyderabad with support from the Department of Information Technology Ministry of Communications & IT, and Government of India. TAPMI is the first management institute in the country to be selected to conduct a post graduate e governance programme for executives in collaboration with NISG. The eGPX Programme has been designed to produce e-Governance professionals who will fill the capacity gap in the e-Governance space, both in the government and private sectors. Keeping with its tradition of academic excellence, TAPMI aims to support the government in its ambitious National e-Governance Plan by enlarging the pool of professionals in the e-governance domain by helping them acquire adequate skills to analyze, design and implement an e-Government application.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 07/08/2010

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Jharkhand Panchayats to Have E-Secretariat

All panchayats offices across Jharkhand will have e-Secretariat to encourage e-Governance mechanism at the lowest-level of democratic set up. To begin with, as many as 1,610 gram panchayats out of the total 4,565 will get computers with net connectivity. Secretariat of the rest gram panchayats will be computerised in two subsequent phases. Computerisation work will commence by the end of this fiscal, when the building would be handed over to Gram Panchayats. Apart from serving as storehouse of database of each individual of the panchayats and documents related to development activities, the e-Secretariat will also be tasked to keep the records of work and payments made to the workers under various schemes of the MGNREGA going in the area. Labour cost of the building of each panchayat secretariat is estimated to cost Rs 10 lakh. The fund for the purpose has been arranged from the MGNREGA scheme. Construction cost pegged around Rs 11 lakh, however, would be borne out by the state from the central assistance under the Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF).


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 07/16/2010

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Government Departments to Replicate E-Governance Model of Jhansi

The Jhansi Jan Suvidha Kendra (JJSK), part of the district's e-governance mechanism, has been functional for nearly 13 months in Uttar Pradesh and has quietly been at work, addressing complaints from over 20,000 families since its inception in 2009. The system, which most of the senior government functionaries are now trooping in to see and replicate, works on a relatively simple format. A complainant calls JJSK at the registered numbers and lodges a complaint. The software system monitors a total of 193 government departments in the district. On receiving a complaint, it immediately assigns a category - `A' demanding action within 24 hours, `B' seeking redressal in three days and `C', needing disposal in seven days - and allots a complaint number. The calls are attended to round the clock and complaints are forwarded to government departments concerned for timely disposal. With all complaints being digitally recorded, the system is also able to monitor any instances of false complaints, while also keeping officers - their conduct and performance - in check. And if officers are unable to address concerns within the allotted time, the district magistrate, who conducts weekly meetings to interact with public and officials concerned, also sets fresh deadlines by which the work must be completed. Now, since the implementation of JJSK, from nearly 50 complainants visiting the collectorate every day, the numbers have fallen sharply to single digit figures. The IT department of the state government has been promoting its e-governance system with much gusto, the JJSK model has not found mention despite its success. Interestingly, with the success of JJSK, the e-governance model is now being replicated in various government and private offices. While the Jhansi Cantonment Board and the UP Housing Development Board have already incorporated the grievance redressal mechanisms on their web portals, the Jhansi authorities are also in the process of `selling' the idea to the Indian Railways and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited.


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

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Gujarat Goes Hi-Tech with Single Portal for E-Governance Services

Gujarat has unveiled a single stop portal for all its e-governance services. More than 50 G2C services will be made available to the people of the state through this portal. Government service applications like VAT (Value Added Tax), HMIS (hospital management), e-dhara (revenue records), e-procurement, swagat (public grievance portal), jan suvidha kendra at district collectorates and city civic centres in municipal corporations can be accessed through this portal. The decision to put all services in a single portal is due to the fact that IT connectivity in Gujarat is now reaching villages and most of the departments are likely to have client groups in the villages.


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

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ARMENIA: The Results of Computers for Everyone Program Were Discussed by the RA Government

On July 14, the Armenian government hosted a meeting on results of Computers for Everyone program under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan, the RA government's press service reported. Meanwhile, around 3,500 computers were sold in Armenia under the program, representative of Enterprise Incubator Foundation (EIF) Norayr Vardanyan said during a discussion hosted by the World Bank the same day. "The program has involved all regions of Armenia and Artsakh. We are going to organize educational programs for buyers of computers under Computers for Everyone program," noted Norayr Vardanyan. Computers for Everyone program is implemented by the Armenian government, Enterprise Incubator Foundation, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft corporations in partnership with Unicomp company and ACBA-Credit Agricole bank. The pilot project of the program has started since September 22, 2009. $5-7mln will be allocated for the program, which has provided the population with the opportunity to purchase computers at market prices. The program aims to increase the level of households' computerization from 6% to 30%. Seven models of HP computers, including 6 notebooks, are available for Armenian consumers in 7 shops of Yerevan (4), Vanadzor (2) and Gyumri (1).


From http://www.panarmenian.net/ 07/14/2010

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Artsakh Justice Ministry Testing New National E-register

Nork analytical center has developed a new e-system of national register for Artsakh Justice Ministry. "The system is currently being tested," Hayk Chobanyan, director of the center, told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter. "Our center opened a branch in Stepanakert 2 years ago. Now, we cooperate with 5 state agencies with a purpose to create instruments of e-governance in the republic, including circulation of documents, personnel control, etc," he said.


From http://www.panarmenian.net/ 08/18/2010

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AZERBAIJAN: UN 'Ready' to Assist It in Developing ICT Sector

The United Nations' Resident Coordinator in Azerbaijan has expressed the organization's readiness to continue assisting the country's government in developing the information technologies sector. "The Trans-Eurasia Super Information Highway project is an example of this," Fikret Akcura told journalists. He expressed confidence the project would allow Azerbaijan to play the role of a transit information highway between Europe and Asia. "And this will boost Azerbaijan's development and also serve to prosperity of the whole continent," he added. Akcura is also Resident Representative for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Azerbaijan. UNDP Azerbaijan is advocating for the development of Azerbaijan based on converting the country's "black gold" (oil) into "human gold" (improved human capital). It is committed to bringing knowledge, experience and resources to help the Azerbaijani people to build a better life in partnership with the Government and international community.


From http://www.today.az/ 07/12/2010

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New Website on Azerbaijani Ghost City Presented

"Ireli" Public Association's Information Technologies Centre presented a new website about Agdam (http://myaghdam.wordpress.com). The site contains general information about the Agdam city, its historical monuments and architecture, culture and heroes, as well as extensive information on television, radio, newspapers and other media, information about roads and railways of the city. "Ireli" Public Association's Information Technologies Centre till the end of 2010 will present websites / blogs on all the occupied areas of Azerbaijan. It should be recalled that creation of blogs is held under the motto "My Karabakh! My Azerbaijan!"."Ireli" Public Association's Information Technologies Centre is the author of more than a dozen similar projects, implemented to propagandize the truth about Azerbaijan throughout the world. Today, 17 years pass since occupation of Azerbaijan's Agdam region by Armenia. Armenian invaders occupied majority of territory of Agdam on July 23, 1993. The Armenian aggressors seized 882 sq km of 1094 sq km territory of Agdam, one city and 80 villages. Some 128,000 people have become internally displaced persons and 17,000 of them are adult people.


From http://www.today.az/ 07/23/2010

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President.az Website's Special Application Launched for I-Phone Users

The Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's official website President.az launched a special application for I-Phone users. After downloading the free application, users will get instant access to the President's speeches, interviews, publications on the activities with his participation, as well as photographic materials. To download an application, you must use your user account in the Apple Applications Store. It's enough to enter the link. The Presidential Administration explained creation of the application with the increased attention to public relations, including with the use of the newest forms of communications. It should be noted that a month ago, President.az website has been updated, its official channel on Youtube was also launched, and the Azerbaijani President's special account on the network of Twitter microblogs in Azerbaijani and Russian languages was launched. The Azerbaijani President's website is the only Internet resource, which has similar applications in the post-Soviet space.


From http://en.trend.az/ 08/04/2010

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Azerbaijan's Economic Development Ministry Creates Opportunity to Communicate with Citizens Online

Ministry of Economic Development (MED) of Azerbaijan on its updated website created a page for communication with citizens, the Ministry said on August 4. "The page on the Ministry's website provides an opportunity for citizens' communication with Ministry's officials online," the same source said. For the first time since August 2, the Ministry's official has received a citizen via video over the Internet. The Ministry is continuing to use the most advanced ICT capabilities. For the first time in Azerbaijan, the Ministry has implemented an electronic signature in the corporate information system of the Ministry. In addition, within the program of the German Technical Assistance Society (GTZ) "Support to the private sector", the Ministry has created a portal for e-commerce www.b2b.az.


From http://www.today.az/ 08/05/2010

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E-Azerbaijan State Program Envisages Independent Body in ICT

The main objectives of the "State program on development of communication and information technologies in Azerbaijan for 2010- 2012 (Electronic Azerbaijan)", approved by President Aliyev is to fulfill the tasks of a national strategy in this area, ensure the transition to an information society, build a competitive economy, based on knowledge, using information and communication technologies, the official press reported. One of the points of the plan is to restore the communication infrastructure in the areas liberated from the occupation (within one year after the release). The program also involves the use of ICT solutions at all levels of state management, the formation of public information systems, electronic services on a "single window" and others.

The state program will be implemented in four main areas, including development of telecommunications, postal infrastructure and services, introduction of information and communication technologies and development of electronic services in state and local bodies, creation of conditions for the transition to an information society, as well as enhancement of export potential and competitive ICT. The program will be financed from the state budget, domestic and foreign investments, through loans, grants and technical and financial assistance of the international and foreign organizations, as well as through other sources that are not contrary to the law. After the state program is implemented, conditions for the development of information society will be created. The Internet segment will be developed. The circle of computer users will be expanded. The "digital inequality" will be liquidated. Solutions of "electronic government" will be introduced. Digital signatures and others will be applied.

A plan of actions within the "Electronic Azerbaijan" program includes measures to develop the network infrastructure of operators, full electronization of the network, establish an independent regulatory body of the telecommunications industry, provide services based on satellite communication and develop e-commerce. TV and radio broadcasting zone (including digital) will be expanded. A single portal on culture and tourism will be created. A single document system will be created and used by public authorities. According to the Azerbaijani President's decree, the Communications and IT Ministry will coordinate the execution of the state program.


From http://en.trend.az/ 08/12/2010

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AUSTRALIA: 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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Finance to Deploy New Budget Management System

The Department of Finance and Deregulation is to overhaul its Central Budget Management System (CBMS) in an effort to better meet its financial management, monitoring and reporting responsibilities. In addition to these responsibilities, the CBMS is used by Finance for the collection and maintenance of up-to-date budget estimates, the management and tracking of cash, and the collection of monthly estimate profiles, and monthly and annual actuals. According to Finance documents, the new CBMS would ensure that financial and budgetary information provided would be relevant, accurate, authoritative, and at a level suitable to support strategic decision making. "This will ensure that decision makers can rely on the information provided by the system, and that there is no ambiguity around financial and budgetary information provided by the system," the documents read.

"The CBMS... will be the single, authoritative source of financial and budgetary information and reduce the number of manual reconciliations and quality assurance checks currently in place to ensure data quality and integrity." The CBMS is also expected to provide better performance, stability and availability, and will cut the time and resources required to maintain and operate the system through the use of greater automation and analysis tools. Some 1,200 users across Australian Government agencies use the current CBMS to perform activities to support the Budget cycle. Some 177GB of data was transferred, and more than 1.5 million user transactions were performed on the CBMS during the last Budget. In June, Finance said [artnid:350278| it would overhaul its IP network|new]] with an architectural redesign and installation of new hardware and software.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 07/02/2010

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Australia Delays Plan for Internet Filter

The Australian government has delayed the introduction of its mandatory internet filtering program. Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy says the filter will not be put in place until an independent review can be carried out into what content would be banned. He says the review is likely to take about a year. Senator Conroy has also announced measures to address concerns that the proposed list of blocked websites would go too far and lack transparency. Among them, an independent expert would review the list every year. Senator Conroy says the measures are not designed to appease international critics of the plan, including the US government. "International companies and other governments don't determine Australia's classifications scheme," he said.

Several major internet service providers, including Telstra, Optus and Primus have agreed to block websites known to contain child pornography while the review is carried out. The Government announced the filter two years ago as part of its cyber-safety program to protect children from pornography and offensive material. Last year it ran tests on the system. Senator Conroy had intended to introduce the legislation in the first half of this year, but deferred it to later in 2010. The plan has been criticised by internet users who claim it will slow download speeds and lead to unwarranted censorship.


From http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/ 07/09/2010

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Federal Attorney-General's Department to Upgrade Network

The Attorney-General's Department (AGD) has announced it will upgrade its network to improve availability and performance. The upgrade will see the AGD deploy a unified network management system in an effort to provide a unified view of the systems and services that underpin vital business services at the agency. Additionally, it will provide a network configuration management view of patching levels for Microsoft, Cisco and VMWare products and a view of certificate currency. It will also will provide the capability to monitor applications, websites, services, environmental components, WAN links, storage, network infrastructure, servers (virtual and physical) and software patching levels across all domains and will give dashboard users a global view of network performance/network health across the entire AGD ICT domain.

Explaining the upgrade, the AGD said it currently runs several monitoring applications throughout its ICT operational environment that monitor unique parts (components, services, environmentals) of the networks, but there was no enterprise-level, unified system that can provide a high-level view of events throughout AGD. "The AGD does not currently have a unified view of the systems and services that underpin vital business services delivered to customers across the various networks that comprise the AGD ICT domain," the AGD said in documents detailing the upgrade.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 07/14/2010

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Finance Seeks Whole-of-Government Printing

The Federal Department of Finance and Deregulation has gone to market for multi-function devices (MFD) such as printers and faxes, in a purchasing initiative which will cover the majority of the Federal public sector. According to tender documents, the department will establish two new three-year whole-of-government panels for the purchasing of what it describes as "major office machines such as printers and multi-function devices, and a managed print services panel for those devices to be purchased through a services arrangement". The panels are believed to work independently of each other. Various sections of the printer industry have moved towards the managed services model over the past few years as a preferred option for delivering printing services to large organisations. HP has continued to be a dominant force in the market, strengthening ties with once-competitor, Canon and more recently launching a cloud printing service off the back of its managed print service fleet in several notable organisations.

Fuji Xerox has also traditionally been a force in the public sector, while rumours have circulated over recent months that Dell may look to enter the managed print arena as well. According to the documents, the Federal Government spends about $57 million each year on the category. It will hold an industry briefing on the matter on 26 July in Canberra, with interested suppliers able to send four staff each. Finance is seeking to execute contracts with the successful suppliers in early 2011, with the supply agreement to commence in the second quarter of the year. The panel contracts do not guarantee work to any particular supplier - instead they provide an avenue for the Federal Government to achieve economies of scale while still giving individual departments the flexibility to buy from certain suppliers.

The news comes as Finance has increasingly sought to ink whole-of-government technology contracts in areas such as data centres to utilise its bulk buying power, primarily through its IT strategy group, the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO). Contracts for telecommunications services, Microsoft software, data 0centre services, desktop PCs, datacentre services and more have all come to light over the past several years as the centralisation policy has gradually been implemented across a variety of fields.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 07/23/2010

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Gillard Government Actively Considering IT Portfolio

The Gillard Government is believed to be "actively considering" an IT portfolio and accompanying minister, should it win Government on 21 August. The portfolio would consolidate some of the responsibilities currently under the lead of the existing Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Lindsay Tanner, as well as the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Kim Carr. It would complement the existing Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy portfolio currently headed by Senator Stephen Conroy, and look to encourage the development of the IT industry, with a focus on government engagement and online services. Tanner has announced he will quit Parliament following the election. Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, refused to comment on a possible replacement until after the election.

The second Howard cabinet added IT responsibilities to the communications portfolio under "Communications, Information Technology and the Arts," led by then Senator Helen Coonan until the 2007 federal election. However, since the Labor Government won power in 2007, various aspects of responsibilities pertaining to the IT industry have been disaggregated into at least three different portfolios. The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy largely pertains to the existing telecommunications industry as well as aspects relating to consumer protection and the Internet, particularly the Government's National Broadband Network (NBN) and a mandatory ISP-level Internet filter. The Department of Finance and Deregulation's Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) has assumed responsibility of some of the "harder" aspects of IT, including those recommendations outlined in the Gov 2.0 Taskforce report on government engagement, and the consolidation of IT procurement and assets outlined by the Gershon report released last year.

Carr's Innovation, Industry, Science and Research portfolio is largely focussed around the research and development aspects of the ICT industry, including the Government's proposed tax concessions pertaining to software development, and IP Australia. Some in the IT industry, as well as the media, have suggested the possibility of instating an overarching IT ministry to consolidate some of these responsibilities, with campaigns supporting Labor ACT senator, Kate Lundy, for the role. One media report suggested a reevaluation of the portfolio divisions was certain, should Labor succeed in winning Government. Lundy told Computerworld Australia that it was no secret she would appreciate being given such a role but that it was "the leader's call on where it sits in that relative policy".

"I'd encourage it to be considered as an option," Lundy said. "I'm sure it is actively considered as an option. "I think part of the issue is that the ministers are all doing a terrific job in that area, so whether or not it warrants an emphasis over and above the other priorities of government, that really comes back to the Prime Minister's decision." A spokesperson for Julia Gillard refused to confirm or deny speculation on the ministry. "The Prime Minister is focussed on the election and her positive plans for the future," they said. "We will not be getting ahead of ourselves by speculating about portfolios in a possible future Government."

Some have pointed to Lundy's husband, David Forman, as a potential point of conflict. Forman founded anti-Telstra telecommunications alliance, the Competitive Carriers' Coalition (CCC), in 2001, and was executive director there until recently. It is believed he left the group in March to work at consulting firm and lobbying group, CPR. Lundy confirmed that CCC remained a client of CPR, but said that all of his interests and business relations had been fully disclosed. David Forman was not available for comment at time of writing. Australian Industry Information Association (AIIA) chief executive officer, Ian Birks, said the current distribution of IT-related responsibilities was "siloed" into separate departments. "There isn't a lot of communication between the Department of Innovation and Industry, and the Department of Broadband and the other key sector portfolios like health, education and energy," Birks said. Instead of a specific IT ministry, the industry group has been lobbying for a productivity portfolio that would work in a cross-government sense to provide a focal point for application of technologies in varied sectors.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 07/28/2010

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Australian Opposition Vows to Block Internet Filter

Australia's Opposition treasury spokesman, Joe Hockey, says the Coalition will not back the government's proposed internet filter. The government announced the filter two years ago as part of its cyber safety program to protect children from pornography and offensive material. The plan has been criticised by internet users who claim it will slow download speeds and lead to unwarranted censorship. Mr Hockey says if Labor wins the election the opposition will not vote in favour of the filter. "We believe the internet filter will not work and we believe it's flawed policy," he said. "It is not going to capture a whole lot of images and chatter that we all find offensive ... that are going through email." He says the Coalition would stick to the plan of "giving parents more control". "The ISP filter-based system does not work, therefore it creates ... an assumption of trust that cannot be met by the technology."

Last month the Government announced an independent review of its filter policy. The review, which could take up to a year, will look at what makes up "refused classification" rated content. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said the review had nothing to do with criticism of the proposal from the likes of Google and the US government. Senator Conroy had originally intended to introduce the legislation in the first half of this year but then deferred it to later in 2010. Electronic Frontiers Australia, which monitors online freedoms and rights, has welcomed Mr Hockey's stance. "We call on Minister Conroy and the Gillard Government to now admit the mandatory filter policy is dead, and to move on to a debate more grounded in reality," EFA chair Colin Jacobs said.

"The Government must now listen to the experts and get back to working on giving Australians access to better and faster broadband." Greens Senator Scott Ludlam says the Coalition's announcement is "excellent news"."The Liberal Party should be congratulated for finally declaring their hand," he said. "The ALP should drop the censorship proposal rather than fighting what now looks inevitable."


From http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/ 08/06/2010

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Opposition Broadband Policy Will Create Integration Dramas

The Opposition's decision to rely on a mix of technologies to deliver faster broadband infrastructure as part of its recently-announced policy could create major integration headaches for both telecommunications and ICT companies. In comparison to the Federal Government's fibre-to-the-premises National Broadband Network (NBN) the Opposition has announced it will let the market decide what technologies it will roll out while also funding a fibre backbone, telephone exchange upgrades and unspecified wireless technology networks. Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) CEO, Ian Birks, who earlier in the day published an open letter criticising all parties for a lack of focus on ICT in the election discourse, said fibre is a "future proof investment".

"The hybrid, HFC wireless solution the Opposition have tabled is obviously going to be significantly cheaper," he said. "But it is not as future proof and that is the critical issue. "The degree of interoperability issues that could be created by that kind of approach means you could end up having different styles of solutions in different geographic regions and a degree of issues with how they work together. So it is one of the things that needs to be sorted through." Birks was quickly joined by telecommunications provider, Tecloinabox, in blasting the plan. In a statement, Telcoinabox managing director, Damian Kay, echoed concerns the Opposition's policy was not future proof and said it was "destined for integration dramas".

"Having a 'mish mash' of technologies ranging from upgraded copper, wireless, HFC and fibre will make integration impossible. This is not a future proof solution. We need to roll out a scalable and upgradable core infrastructure as far as is economically feasible and then deploy wireless and/or satellite at the fringe of the network as well as complementing in the middle (hotspots)," Kay said. "The demand for data is exponentially growing month by month, year by year. Upgrading aging copper is a waste of time. We might as well stay in the dark ages." The long-awaited policy has been severely criticised from many corners in the industry and it is yet to be in the public for 24 hours. The Competitive Carriers Coalition (CCC) was quick to say the policy will not provide greater competition and will make the market "worse". In the wake of the broadband policy announcement, CCC spokesperson, David Forman, said the Coalition's focus on the HFC network that "runs past 2.5 million homes" in its plan was "very, very troubling". It was also panned by renowned analyst, Paul Budde, who said it would take Australia to the bottom of the international telecommunications rankings.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 08/10/2010

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NEW ZEALAND: Department of Labour Launches a New Information Tool

The Department of Labour today launched a new information tool about employment relations and health and safety for small business owners and self-employed people. Infozone: Business Essentials is a web resource which provides simple, straightforward downloadable templates, documents and spreadsheets to enable people to generate their own information and data for use and future reference. This includes schedules, registers, employment agreements, self-assessments and action plans. Department of Labour Acting Group Manager Information and Promotion, Tony Waldegrave says Infozone: Business Essentials is a first stop for small business owners. "It explains the basics of employment relations and health and safety regulations so business owners can see how these things are done. There are also links to more detailed information," Mr Waldegrave says.

"There are minimum obligations that every business or self-employed person must meet and this web resource provides small business owners and self-employed people with the information they need to get these right". "Employing people can be challenging. Infozone: Business Essentials takes business owners through correct employment procedures step by step for hiring, managing and paying people, with templates and a calculator to help". Mr Waldegrave says business owners are responsible not only for the health and safety of employees but also of everyone who comes to the workplace. Infozone: Business Essentials sets out key health and safety requirements to enable them to meet those obligations.


From http://www.dol.govt.nz/ 07/12/2010

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NZ Government Feed Standard Updated

The e-GIF standard for publishing web feeds has been updated. The new standard specifies the use of the Atom format. In 2003 the State Services Commission published an e-GIF specification for New Zealand Government feeds, which is a customisation of RSS 1.0. That specification is not understood by common feed readers and aggregators because of its customisation, resulting in a loss of both semantics and functionality. The 2010 feed standard specifies the use of the technically preferable and widely supported Atom format and ensures core functionality is delivered through standard (non-customised) elements, while proposing extended functionality as allowed for in the Atom specification.


From http://www.e.govt.nz/ 08/04/2010

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New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing Framework (NZGOAL) Released by Minister of State Services

Today's release of the finalised and Cabinet-approved New Zealand Government Open Access and Licensing framework (NZGOAL) by the Minister of State Services marks a major step towards unlocking government's non-personal copyright works and non-copyright material for re-use. NZGOAL was approved by Cabinet on 5 July 2010 as government guidance for State Services agencies to follow when releasing copyright works and non-copyright material for re-use by third parties. It standardises the licensing of government copyright works for re-use using Creative Commons licences and recommends the use of 'no-known rights' statements for non-copyright material. It is widely recognised that re-use of this material by individuals and organisations may have significant creative and economic benefit for New Zealand.


From http://www.e.govt.nz/ 08/06/2010

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The Internet Economy 25 Years After .com: Transforming Life and Commerce

This report was issued 25 years to the day in 1985 when symbolics.com was registered as the first .com in the world. The report quantifies the dazzling growth and economic benefits of e-commerce, especially in the last decade since bubble collapse, and recommends ways to ensure a growing and vibrant Internet in the years to come. From its quiet beginning in 1985, the Internet has grown to 80 million .coms and well over 200 million websites. E-commerce is the driving force behind rapid innovations, new products, services and business models and redefining our roles as consumers and citizens.

Among the findings in the report are the following:
* Of the roughly 250 million websites about 80 million are .coms. Even after the collapse of the .com bubble, the number of domain names grows by an average of 668,000 a month.
* The .coms alone account for some $400 million in economic benefits to businesses and consumers and that figure will likely double in the next ten years.
* Despite high-profile failures in the dot-com bubble burst, typical survival rates for these new businesses were actually higher than normal and spectacular success stories have followed.
* Only about 25 percent of the world's 6.7 billion participate in the dot-com economy but is changing - 73 million Chinese became Internet users in 2007 alone.

In order to sustain the progress that has been made in empowering consumers, spurring innovations and boosting productivity, the report urges:
* Adoption of policies that allow for the deployment of technologies, like wired and wireless broadband, mobile payments platforms, health IT, and other Internet platforms.
* Removal of regulatory and legal barriers to the emergence of new e-business models.
* Creation of incentives for companies to invest in Internet-enabled business practices.
* Advancing digital literacy.
(by Robert D. Atkinson, Stephen Ezell, Scott M. Andes, Daniel Castro and Richard Bennett)


From http://www.apo.org.au/ 05/28/2010

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Worldwide Wireless E-Mail Users to Reach 1 Billion by Year-End 2014

Standardization, interoperability and growing competition from e-mail servers and services are accelerating the commoditization of wireless e-mail, according to Gartner. Vendors are responding by pursuing differentiation in the areas of collaboration, applications and the cloud. Gartner predicts that worldwide wireless e-mail users will reach 1 billion by year-end 2014. Worldwide business wireless e-mail accounts were estimated at more than 80 million in early 2010, including large, midsize and small organizations, as well as individual professionals - corresponding to about 60 million active users. "Productivity gains with wireless e-mail are driving adoption beyond executives," said Monica Basso, research vice president at Gartner. "In 2010, enterprise wireless e-mail is still a priority for organizations, whose mobile workforces are up to 40 percent of the total employee base. Most midsize and large organizations in North America and Europe have deployed enterprise wireless e-mail already, but on average, for less than 5 percent of the workforce." Wireless e-mail makes an individual's e-mail account accessible and usable via mobile networks on mobile devices, within a local client application or through a Web browser, through a software gateway connected to (or part of) the e-mail server. An enterprise wireless e-mail deployment has a software gateway that is behind the corporate firewall, possibly connected through a network operations center (NOC) to a mobile client.

Most products support Microsoft Exchange Server. IT administration, security and remote device management are supported to a different extent. A consumer wireless e-mail deployment has a software gateway that is deployed by carriers and service providers. The offline e-mail client on the device can be native or downloaded separately. Alternatively, a mobile browser connects to Internet e-mail accounts. As wireless e-mail begins to integrate with social networking and collaboration, social networking is increasingly complementing e-mail for interpersonal business communications. Gartner predicts that by 2014, social networking services will replace e-mail as the primary vehicle for interpersonal communications for 20 percent of business users. "People increasingly want to use mobile devices for collaboration to share content, information, and experiences with their communities," Ms. Basso said. "Social paradigms are converging with e-mail, instant messaging, voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and presence, creating new collaboration styles."

Cloud e-mail and collaboration services by Microsoft, IBM, Google and other players already include mobile support, but are very early in adoption. However, Gartner predicts that adoption will grow significantly in the next three to five years. In 2009, only 3 percent of e-mail accounts were in the cloud but by the end of 2012, that number will increase to 10 percent. "Thanks to ease of access, the cloud will generate indirect competition in the wireless e-mail software market and will transform it in the long term," Ms. Basso said. "Cloud e-mail offerings from software and service players, such as Google's Gmail, will begin to be adopted, pulling wireless e-mail implementations into the cloud as well. Research In Motion and other wireless e-mail vendors will build partnerships with cloud providers to address their customers' cloud strategies. Through 2012, wireless e-mail products and services will be interchangeable, shipping in large volumes at reduced prices. Wireless e-mail will be highly commoditized and on any device. This commoditization will, in turn, drive standardization and price reductions on service bundles from mobile carriers."


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 06/30/2010

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Global Mobile Subscriber Base Passes the 5 Billion Mark

The number of mobile connections worldwide reached five billion in the first week of July, according to research from The Mobile World. Q1 2010 saw net additions of 168m, taking the total to 4.82 billion, and the Q2 gain is likely to have surpassed this figure, with China and India adding 50m in April and May alone. These two markets are the world's largest, and they accounted for almost 28% of the global total at the end of Q1, but their contribution to the net quarterly gain in connections was double this at 56%. In absolute terms, the two markets added 94m in the three months ending 31st March 2010. By contrast, the G7 nations accounted for just 4.6% of the Q1 gain. If we exclude the US, this figure falls to a mere 1.7%. The BRIC grouping (Brazil, Russia, India and China) made up 59.2% of the total net additions, and the so-called 'Next Eleven', which includes Indonesia, Vietnam, Mexico and Iran, contributed 20.1%. With the world population at around 6.8bn, the global mobile penetration rate stood at just under 71% at the end of Q1. The Q2 figure is likely to be around 73%, while the 100% level will be reached before the end of 2014.


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

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Mobile Broadband Service Revenue to More than Double by 2014

The number of mobile broadband subscribers is expected to reach 1.8 billion worldwide by 2014, or 28% of total mobile subscribers, reports Infonetics Research. Of these, the number of LTE subscribers is forecast to reach 153 million by 2014, mostly in Asia Pacific and EMEA. Revenue collected by service providers for cellular services totaled $675 billion in 2009, and is expected to top $829 billion by 2014. By 2014, W-CDMA/HSPA revenue will almost be 7 times that of CDMA2000 1xEV-DO revenue, as the majority of worldwide mobile subscribers are on GSM networks "Total mobile monthly ARPUs are still trending down across the board, despite fast rising mobile broadband revenue that partly offsets the decline of voice and SMS, which have been affected by new tariff regulation in the middle of a global recession, prompting many subscribers to shift to prepaid accounts. Moving forward, a two-race game is developing: how to keep up with the onslaught of low ARPU prepaid customers, and how fast can messaging and mobile app downloads replace phone calls as the major revenue drivers?" notes St phane T ral, Infonetics Research's principal analyst for mobile and FMC infrastructure. Due in large part to the high concentration of mobile operators in developed markets in Western Europe with good HSPA coverage, the EMEA region leads the mobile broadband race, having outpaced early 3G adopters such as Australia, Japan, and South Korea. In emerging Asian economies such as China and India, data revenue, including SMS and mobile broadband, is already having a positive impact on total ARPU, more than offsetting the rapid decline of voice ARPU that's occurring despite double-digit percentage annual increases in voice traffic.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 07/14/2010

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Four out of Five Cell Phones to Integrate GPS by End of 2011

With cell phones increasingly becoming the nexus of the burgeoning markets for navigation and Location Based Services (LBS), the use of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology in such platforms is set to explode during the coming years, according to iSuppli Corp. In the fourth quarter of 2011, 79.9 percent of cell phones shipped - amounting to 318.3 million units - will incorporate GPS functionality, up from 56.1 percent in the first quarter of 2009 - or 187.8 million units - iSuppli predicts. The adoption of GPS in mobile handsets is being driven by smart phones. "The smart phone is the key product driving the technology industry today - and social networking services and applications spurred by GPS-related features are critical elements in the smart phone market today," said Dr. Jagdish Rebello, director and principal analyst for iSuppli. "This is illustrated by Google Inc.'s decision to make turn-by-turn navigation, LBS and mobile ads the central features in its bid to take on Apple in the smart phone market, and make up the central pillars of its strategy to increasingly monetize mobile search." Smart phones are taking over from Portable Navigation Devices (PNDs) as the major platform for navigation. By 2014, usage of navigation-enabled smart phones will exceed that of PNDs. Furthermore, the smart phone is likely to generate many innovative LBS apps in the next five years.

Apple's iPhone already has more than 6,000 LBS apps available. Meanwhile, both Apple and Google are focusing on mobile advertising as a key source of revenue used in association with LBS. Apple's new iAd platform, part of the company's updated iPhone OS 4 operating system, enables the embedding of advertisements into applications, allowing iPhone users to interact with the ad without leaving the app. Similarly, Google in May acquired leading mobile ad provider AdMob. Nonetheless, Apple recently upped the ante in the smart phone GPS segment with the addition of a gyroscope to its latest iPhone model. Used in combination with GPS, an accelerometer, a compass and the gyroscope can be used for in indoor navigation with floor accuracy. iSuppli also sees an increased penetration of embedded GPS in a range of consumer and compute electronic devices by 2014. For example, iSuppli estimates that 18 percent of laptops and 42 percent of portable handheld video game players will have embedded GPS in 2014. Altogether, the boom in mobile handset navigation will benefit suppliers of GPS semiconductors such as Texas Instruments, Broadcom Corp., Infineon Technologies and CSR. GPS is not the only embedded connectivity technology that will be increasingly embedded in consumer and compute electronics devices. With the ratification of the Bluetooth 4.0 standard supporting the Bluetooth Low Energy profile, iSuppli expects increased penetration of Bluetooth in wireless mice, keypads and other interface devices for the mobile and desktop market - an area that has been dominated by proprietary technologies.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 07/17/2010

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AFRICA: E-Commerce Technology Adoption by SMEs in Botswana

Attracted by the prospective opportunities offered by the Internet for market and communication diversification, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) adopt information and communication technologies (ICT), hoping to better their performances. This study assessed the adoption of e-commerce by SMEs in Botswana. It aimed at finding out the factors that led to e-commerce adoption, the kinds of e-commerce technologies that were adopted and used, as well as the services provided with these technologies. It also identified the challenges faced by SMEs with regard to e-commerce use. A survey design was adopted in the form of a structured questionnaire, which was used to collect data from a sample of 145 SMEs. Analysis took the form of computation of means and frequency distributions. Findings revealed that the point of sale system was the most widely used e-commerce technology and the major reason for e-commerce technology adoption was competitive advantage. The main challenge faced by the firms in their use of e-commerce technologies was threat to security. The results clearly indicate the necessity to provide support to SMEs if they are to successfully adopt and use e-commerce. The results have implications not only for managers of SMEs but also for government bodies in developing countries such as Botswana. (by Wole Olatokun)


From http://www.apo.org.au/ 07/26/2010

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Contract Signed for Ghana's First WiMAX Network

Intracom Telecom says that it has won a US$1.2 million contract from DiscoveryTel Ghana (DTG) to deploy a WiMAX network in Ghana's capital city, Accra. The project will be completed by the end of 2010 and will enable DTG to provide services to the greater Accra area (home to approximately 2 million people) and other major Ghanaian cities. The contract also includes an extension option to provide equipment for mobile WiMAX coverage to other major cities in the country. Within the framework of the contract, Intracom Telecom will build a turnkey mobile WiMAX network based on the company's OmniMAX access solution, and its Ethernet microwave backhaul, the OmniBAS platform. Intracom Telecom's unified Management Suite will be deployed at DiscoveryTel Ghana's NOC for supervising and managing the network while ensuring the continuous monitoring of the systems' performance. "Our new wireless product lines enable our customers to deploy high-bandwidth high-quality services, while minimizing time-to-market and operational expenditure. We are looking forward to vastly enhancing DiscoveryTel's offering through the combination of our feature-rich OmniMAX and OmniBAS platforms with our extensive experience in deploying large scale-high complexity wireless networks internationally," commented Mr. Stefanos Chatziagapis, Head of Wireless Network & Systems Division of Intracom Telecom.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 07/19/2010

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22 in Race as Mozambique Prepares to Open Mobile Bids

National and international firms line up to become African country's third mobile licensee; penetration estimated at 23%. Mozambique's telecoms regulator will on Tuesday open up bids for the country's third mobile licence, and with 22 applications to consider the contest looks set to be fierce. Last week Americo Muchanga, director general of regulatory body the Instituto Nacional das Comunicações de Moçambique (INCM), informed newspaper O Pais that the 22 companies that have submitted entries include both national and international players. Muchanga said the names of the interested parties will be revealed when the bids are opened.

Companies must be registered in Mozambique to be eligible to win the licence, but foreign players can partner with local companies in order to comply, Muchanga said. He also noted that local companies might need foreign partners in order to ensure their own eligibility; the winning bidder must have operating experience in the telecoms sector. Existing mobile operators Vodacom and mcel are not permitted to bid for the licence, and neither is fixed-line player TDM. The Mozambican government authorized the entry of a third player into the market "to meet customer demand", the paper reported. The government claimed that the right market conditions exist in the country to warrant the sale of a new licence. Indeed, Vodacom estimated mobile market penetration at 23% at the end of March 2010, at which date it reported 1.99 million connections on its network. Mcel says it has more than 3 million customers. (by Mary Lennighan)


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

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New Competition Will Boost Market Share in Morocco

The next five years will be marked by an increase in competition in Morocco's fixed and mobile markets, while adoption of 3G+ handsets is already witnessing solid growth, according to a new report from Pyramid Research. The entry of Wana to the mobile market in 2008 and its competitive offers are proving disruptive to market dynamics. "After only four months of launching its GSM-based service, Wana reached 1 million mobile subscribers; the per-second service and the option for customers to use their SIM card for prepaid BlackBerry services, unlimited mobile Internet and MSN messaging are the major reasons behind this growth," says Mehdi Ben Said, Senior Analyst at Pyramid Research. Wana's market entry as a fixed wireless and limited mobility CDMA operator has also brought major changes to the fixed market. "The new environment is expected to significantly affect Maroc Telecom's share of revenue, which is expected to decrease by 13 percent over the next five years, reaching 59.6 percent by 2015," Mehdi says. "Also, new commercial initiatives and promotions introduced in early 2009 by Meditel are making a positive impact on the company's market share, leaving Maroc Telecom to bear the cost of declining overall growth." Adoption of 3G+ handsets - a category that includes 3G, 3.5G, and 4G handsets - is already witnessing solid growth in the Moroccan market, making up about 24.1 percent of the handset market by year-end 2010. "Morocco's booming 3G market and improving purchasing power is a great opportunity," Mehdi adds. "However, Wana's recent acquisition of a GSM license still offers a stable market share for 2.5G handsets."


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 08/07/2010

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Tanzania: Number of Mobile Banking Clients Up

The NMB Bank's year-old mobile banking has attracted more than 280,000 clients. NMB Bank CEO Ben Christianse told reporters yesterday in Dar es Salaam that the number of customers was expected to increase as the service was accessible in four mobile networks. It was originally being available on Vodacom and Zain netwoks, but last month, the bank entered into agreements with two other mobile companies - Tigo and Zantel. The service started in July 2009 and clients can transfer money, check their bank balances and buying power vouchers. Marketing and communications head Imani Kajula, since reaching agreements two more mobile networks, nearly 1000 new customers were subscribing to the service daily. "We had about 270,000 customers by last month, and we had since added other 10,000 customers after adding the two networks," he said. Mr Christianse noted at the same occasion that plans were underway to add new features to improve the NMB mobile.


From http://allafrica.com/ 08/04/2010

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Uganda: Telecoms in War over Data Services

Kampala - Data and mobile internet services are emerging as the new competition war front for service providers ever since the landing of undersea fibre optic cables, TEAMS and SEACOM, about a year ago. Service providers and telecom executives have admitted that uptake for mobile connectivity and data services are rising. MTN chief executive officer, Themba Khumalo, has described it as another turning point. "This is the beginning of a data revolution in Uganda, it picks the ordinary person," said Khumalo at the launch of the MTN 3G experiential. The undersea cables have increased bandwidth capacity by almost double while prices have not come down. This has increased the speed and amount of data that can be transmitted on desktops and mobile handsets. ICT analysts view the rash for the data market (especially mobile internet) as being mostly spurred on by the very crowded voice market. "12 years ago, voice was a luxury for a lucky few. Now we have the perfect match between service and pricing. If everybody can access data, the economy would be richer," said MTN's Isaac Nsereko. Uganda has seven telecom operators: MTN, utl, Zain, Warid, Orange, Smile and I-Telecom. But competition is mainly among the first five. This competition has also mainly focused on voice, until the entry of larger data capacity through the undersea cables. According to Edouard Blondeau, Orange chief officer strategy, Orange today has 30,000 corporate and individual clients on their data service. It is estimated that Orange controls about 70-80% of the mobile internet market with their modem plug-ins priced at sh25,000 per month (500MB) service, making it one of the cheapest on the market. Meanwhile, MTN has presented several 3G enabled handsets and devices. The 3G provides enhanced data capacity and high speed mobile internet access. With the MTN devices, all that a customer requires is a 3G+ compatible device to gain access to a portable internet access service. The MTN mobile internet goes for as low as sh500 for 20 MB for an hour. "The uptake has been beyond our expectations from data consumption per customer and number of customers signing up," said Nsereko. The emergence of data as a new avenue for competition has seen telecoms paint the city with creative billboards and newspaper adverts selling their different data offers. Uganda telecom was the first to build a 3G network in Uganda and still leads overall data market with about 80% market share. But utl's Mark Kaheru could not disclose the number of clients who have signed onto the 3G service but says clients as far as Gulu can access their 3G services. Yaron Assabi, the chief executive of Digital Solutions Group, a private provider based in South Africa, says African markets do not yet have the right environment for widespread adoption. "In many African markets, technology is still stifled by reasons including cost, accessibility and regulation. While in recent years, we have witnessed sizeable amounts of deregulation and investment in these markets that have created more competitive environments, cost remains a crippling variable to widespread access and adoption," said Assabi. However, there is very visible rise in mobile phone penetration numbers across Africa that indicates a mass demand and existing potential. Internet penetration is between 2-5% compared to voice that stands at over 30%. "We believe we can bridge the gap," said Nsereko. Experts also believe that to make mobile internet more relevant, service providers must find rich-media content and lower browsing costs. "This will play a revolutionary role in bridging the digital divide and building African economies by connecting previously constricted communities across Africa to the rest of the world," said Assabi. The pricing structure seems to stir data tariff war. The competition has enabled end users use their sim cards both for voice calls and internet connection. The July 11 bomb blasts forced service providers to explore new ways of service delivery. Orange, for instance, sought a regional alliance by integrating its loop with a Kenyan partner to hook onto SEACOM. After the bomb blast, only about 20% capacity was available for the market as providers opted for the slow and expensive satellite back up. The bomb also interrupted certain real time applications like skype and related voice applications. It also brought to the fore questions of infrastructure sharing in which service providers with underground cables were able to stay connected while those with limited connection were cut off. Makerere University Vice-Chancellor, Prof Venansius Baryamureba, advised service providers to maintain high quality service because it is the only guarantee that will keep customers. "The best customers have the money, they are not worried about the price," said Baryamureba. (by David Mugabe)


From http://allafrica.com/ 08/04/2010

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Zambia: Digital Migration Takes Off

PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda has authorised the establishment of a digital migration national task force to oversee Zambia's change of broadcasting mode, Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Ronnie Shikapwasha has said. At a Press briefing in Lusaka yesterday, Gen Shikapwasha said the task force would be responsible for the migration process from analogue to digital before the 2015 deadline set by the International Telecommunications Union. "The Government recognises the importance of this matter and this is the reason why a national taskforce on digital migration is being set up. The taskforce is a multi-stakeholder body that would develop a national roadmap, make recommendations and generally oversee the national digital migration process," Gen Shikapwasha said. He said Luwani Soko would chair the taskforce. Other members would be from public and private radio and televisions stations, the Zambia Information and Communications Technologies Authority (ZICTA) and private mobile service providers. Gen Shikapwasha said the operations of the taskforce would be coordinated by a secretariat while it would report to the inter-ministerial committee to be chaired by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services. The terms of reference would be to formulate an appropriate switch-over strategy, oversee the switch-over programmes, identify likely tailbacks to the uptake of digital terrestrial television (DTT) broadcast and make necessary recommendations relating to financing of the set up top boxes. The taskforce would formulate appropriate consumer awareness strategies, monitor the awareness and recommend a licensing policy regime relating to network.


From http://allafrica.com/ 07/30/2010

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ASIA PACIFIC PC Market to Grow 20.3 Percent in 2010: Gartner

Bangalore: The Asia Pacific personal computer (PC) market is expected to grow 20.3 per cent in 2010, reaching 114.6 million unit shipments, according to Gartner Inc, the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. Spending on PCs in Asia Pacific was forecast to grow 12.4 per cent this year as against only 2.9 percent in 2009, due to a sharper decline in average selling prices for PCs in 2009, according to a release here today. Mr Lillian Tay, Principal Research Analyst at Gartner, said "while overall growth in Asia Pacific was strong in 2009, at a country level India and the more mature markets with high PC penetration exhibited weak PC shipments. However, the improving worldwide economy should lead to better confidence to invest in 2010, especially in Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore. Similarly in India, PC buyers are now more confident to spend, with employment on the upswing."


From http://www.newkerala.com/ 07/06/2010

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Asia Gains in Digital Economy Rankings

The Economist Intelligence Unit has released its Digital Economy Rankings for 2010, which find that, despite Europe maintaining top position in terms of Internet infrastructure and adoption, recent investment has dramatically improved the Asia-Pacific region's e-readiness. "The top performers in the 2010 digital economy rankings - led this year by Sweden (1st), which dislodged the perennial e-readiness leader, Denmark (2nd) - demonstrate a high degree of connectivity and score well on all fronts, from the quality of their business and legal environments to social and cultural drivers of digital progress, the existence of sound public policy on ICT, and the levels at which consumers and businesses actually use digital services," the report states. "Many in Europe and North America suffered a decline in their positions in the table, as we found the availability of ultra-high speed networks to be in considerable need of development. By contrast, those economies that have invested heavily in the next generation of Internet infrastructure saw their scores - and rankings - rise, notably Asian countries such as Taiwan (12th), South Korea (13th) and Japan (16th)," the report said. In the rankings for 2010, the United States rose two positions to finish 3rd, while Hong Kong, now in 7th place, overtook Singapore. As noted previously, Taiwan rose 4 places to 12th in the index, ahead of the United Kingdom which fell one place to 14th. Other territories of note that were placed in the top 25 include: Ireland, up one place to 17th; Switzerland which fell 7 places to 19th; Bermuda which fell one place to 22nd; and Malta which maintained 23rd position. The United Arab Emirates was placed 32nd. Sitting towards the bottom of the table, the Economist's report found that emerging markets China and India still remain considerably behind their international counterparts in terms of e-readiness, placing 56th and 58th, respectively.


From http://www.tax-news.com/ 07/13/2010

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Asian Wireless Telecom Firms Undergoing Transition

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) - The Asian telecommunications space is undergoing an evolution as more markets in the region approach maturity after years of growth led by an explosive increase in subscribers. Although the emergence of smart-phones and high-speed third-generation mobile services, as well as mobile Internet and banking applications, offer new opportunities for revenue growth, investors in the sector may need to be prepared for a change in the way the returns are measured. Analysts at HSBC Global Research said that wireless-service providers in the Asia-Pacific region are transitioning from a period of "easy" top-line growth driven by addition of subscribers to a "more complex" model that emphasizes on free cash flow-dividend yields. "We argue that most Asian operators are reluctant to acknowledge this shift from a supply-constrained to a demand-constrained environment. We maintain a cautious view on the two key markets of China and India," HSBC said in a report. "We maintain a cautious view on the two key markets of China and India, which are at the beginning of a long, complex transition to a slower growth model," they said.

The analysts said the new growth model in Asia has become more delinked from earnings growth. The Asia-Pacific region - by far the largest in the world in terms of wireless subscribers and still among the fastest growing - had about 1.91 billion users out of the 4.31 billion subscribers in the world as of June 2009, according to Mobile Infolink data posted on the Web site of industry group GSM World. Figures released this month showed that China alone had more than 785 million subscribers by the end of June 2010. India, the second largest market by subscribers, had close to 650 million subscribers by the end of last month. HSBC analysts said they were cautious on the Chinese telecom companies, as a "slower 3G roll-out forestalls a growth rebound," while India's players faced a fiercely competitive environment, with an "opaque regulatory structure and poor outlook for industry profitability in the near term." The brokerage said that telecom operators in Taiwan, South Korea and Australia offered the best dividend yields, with Australia's Telstra Corp. being a clear standout, while Southeast Asian telecom companies also generally offered higher dividend yields. Telstra currently has a dividend yield of 8.7%, according to FactSet Research data. HSBC listed Korea as its favorite country-stock-sector combination in the telecom space, saying a shift there to a consumer-focused policy and an empowerment of management teams to make structural changes in their business models create the potential for superior returns.

Wireless telecom sector shares were broadly lower in Asia on Thursday, in line with the broad market performance in the region. Shares of Telstra fell 0.3% in Sydney, China Mobile Ltd. slid 0.5% and China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd. rose 1% in Hong Kong. NTT DoCoMo fell 0.2% in Tokyo, while Singapore Telecommunications and Bharti Airtel lost 0.3% each in Seoul and Mumbai, respectively. In the wider markets, Japan's Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.7%, the Hang Seng Index fell 0.2% in Hong Kong, South Korea's Kospi dropped 0.4%, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.6%, Taiwan's Taiex gave up 0.3% and India's Sensex lost 0.3%. (by V. Phani Kumar)


From http://www.marketwatch.com/ 07/22/2010

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EUROPE: Mobile Ad Network Fill Rates Perform Significantly Better than Those in USA

The Smaato Metrics for June show further significant increases by Android in global click through rates (CTR) for mobile adverts, while leaders Symbian and Feature Phones both suffer a dip in CTR Index. Smaato serves over 8 million ad requests in its network of more than 6,000 registered mobile publishers and over 40 mobile ad networks. In the US, Smaato's metrics reveal that while Symbian still dominates the region in terms of CTR (and despite small market share of handsets), Android has closed the gap with a CTR Index of 192 (118 in May), while Apple iOS drops down to fifth place in the US with a CTR Index of 73. The performance of mobile operating systems regarding the click through rates (CTR) again shows Symbian and Feature Phones on top worldwide. They both dropped in comparison to May, but are still leading the performance metrics compared to the other operating systems. Symbian achieved a CTR Index of 144 (159 in May) and Feature Phones came to 135 (147 in May). Android made the largest gains in the CTR Index this month, as it climbed above Apple, to third place with an Index of 58, compared to 40 in May. Interestingly, while Symbian and Feature Phones dipped, Android, iPhone, Palm and BlackBerry all saw increases. The Index consists of the average CTR of all devices and this number is set to 100. Symbian remains the leading OS in terms of click through rates worldwide, this month with almost three times the click through rate of iPhone. Putting this into perspective, we have to consider the sheer number of Symbian devices compared to Apple devices, but it should again also serve as further proof to advertisers that the iPhone is far from the be-all and end-all in mobile advertising. After three months in decline, the fill rates of the global top 10 ad networks have recovered slightly, climbing to an average of 22%. However, in June, there were only four ad networks performing above this average. The top performing ad network lost 40 percentage points in comparison to May and in June only had a fill rate of 56%. These monthly fluctuations help to prove that an ad network aggregation system can help partners achieve the best possible return and the highest possible fill rate, across the globe.

Mobile Advertising Spotlight: USA vs. South Africa
As the world's eyes turned to South Africa for the FIFA World Cup, Smaato turned spotlights on the USA and South Africa. For the second time now, it has compared how two of the biggest mobile advertising markets line up against each other in terms of operating system click through rates and ad network fill rates.

Click Through Rates
The differences in CTRs in the USA and South Africa are apparent from the charts above. In the USA Symbian made further small gains and is still dominating the market with a CTR Index of 329 (316 in May), although on a small volume. Its closest rival Android made a huge increase in volume as well with an Index of 192 (118 in May), stretching further ahead of rival Apple, which dropped down to fifth place with 73 (compared to 111 in May) In comparison to the USA, the different operating systems in South Africa are much closer together. Feature Phones top the CTR Index with 110 (108 in May), but the range only differs from 34 (Blackberry) to 75 (iPhone/iPod Touch). Palm is left out of this graphic, as the number of users is too small in South Africa.

Fill Rates: USA vs. South Africa
The average fill rates decreased in both countries from May to June: in the USA the average dropped by 11 percentage points (from 42% to 31%); in South Africa the fill rate decreased 21 percentage points from 72% to 51% in. Despite the drops, both countries stay well above the worldwide average of 22%.

Mobile Advertising Spotlight: Europe
In Europe, Windows Phones increased its lead over its competition with a CTR Index of 205 (157 in May). All other operating systems saw increases in CTR Index, apart for BlackBerry, which dropped by 16 points, from 91 in May to 75 in June. Android's CTR Index remains the lowest in Europe, but it has closed the gap on BlackBerry. In Europe the average fill rate rose again to 42% (36% in May and 25% in April). Europe's fill rate is almost double the worldwide average of 22% and for the first time it's better than the US fill rate of 31%. Aside from the top performing ad network, which dropped 10 percentage points, all other ad networks improved fill rates from May to June.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 07/13/2010

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German Mobile Pacts Unlikely, Unwelcome-Regulator

Consolidation in the German mobile segment wouldn't be welcome and isn't more likely after the conclusion of the recent spectrum auction in the country, according to the regulator. "All mobile network providers have been able to double their spectrum, hence I consider a consolidation process unlikely," said Matthias Kurth, president of Bundesnetzagentur, the country's network regulator. In any event, the regulator wouldn't welcome the prospect of fewer mobile providers as the German market, which has the most customers of any European country, is "balanced," Kurth told Dow Jones Newswires. At the end of 2009, there were 108.3 million SIM cards active in Germany. Right now, Germany has four mobile network providers: Vodafone Group PLC's (VOD: 22.1, -0.46, -2.04%) local unit; Deutsche Telekom's (DT: n.a., n.a., n.a.%) T-Mobile; Telefonica's (TEF: 62.3, -1.88, -2.93%) O2 and Royal KPN NV's (KPN.AE) E-plus. That is the same number as in the U.K., for example, where following the joint venture between T-Mobile UK and France Telecom's (FTE: 19.01, -0.49, -2.51%) Orange, there are also four main mobile providers. Still, after KPN failed to secure spectrum in the most valuable 800 megahertz band in a landmark auction of fourth-generation frequencies in Germany, speculation grew that it could be subject of a bid by one of its rivals. A joint venture, such as that of T-Mobile and Orange in the U.K., would also come under the regulator's definition of consolidation, as it would reduce the number of operators competing against each other. Kurth said that E-Plus doesn't need to build up 4G networks in rural areas, a condition for buyers of 800 MHz spectrum, and also noted that it paid considerably less than its competitors for new spectrum. Germany sold spectrum in the 800 MHz, 1.8 gigahertz, 2 GHz and 2.6 GHz bands in an auction that ended May 20 and netted EUR4.38 billion for the government. The 800 MHz band is the most valuable as it is the most cost-efficient way to build next-generation mobile networks. Spectrum in the 2.6 GHz band is suited to build up 4G networks in urban areas, while that in the 1.8 GHz and 2.0 GHz bands is best suited to expand existing networks. Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica secured two 10 megahertz blocks each in the 800 MHz band, while KPN got eight spectrum blocks in other frequencies. As a result, "no one went away empty handed," said Kurth. After the auction, KPN said it took a "value-driven approach" that doubled its existing spectrum, and will help cut the cost for planned capacity and coverage increases.


From http://www.foxbusiness.com/ 06/10/2010

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Finland: Nokia Vows to Defend Smartphone Territory

Finnish handset maker launches its N8 in Asia; highlights its smartphone market share. Finland's Nokia Corp. on Monday vowed to defend its number one position in the lucrative "smartphone" business, where it is under fierce pressure from Apple Inc.'s iPhone and Research in Motion Ltd.'s Blackberry. The Finnish giant's latest top-end device, the touch-screen N8, was unveiled at its annual Asian trade event in Singapore. The regional launch of the N8 comes exactly one week after Apple chief executive Steve Jobs unveiled an upgraded version of the phenomenally successful iPhone in San Francisco. Smartphones are advanced handsets capable of Internet surfing, video recording and other multimedia functions on top of voice and text messaging. The N8 is based on the company's updated Symbian operation system. "Nokia's leadership has been questioned in recent months," Jo Harlow, senior vice president for smartphones, said in an opening speech at the event. "However, it is often overlooked that we continue to have the largest market share in mobile devices and the largest share in smartphones, which is the fastest growing segment," she said. Nokia is still the world's top mobile phone maker but the company has struggled to find an answer to the iPhone and Blackberry in the smartphone sector, where profit margins are much higher. In April, Nokia announced it managed to boost the company's smartphone market share to 41% from an estimated 40% in October-December 2009. In absolute figures, it meant Nokia sold 21.5 million of the 52.6 million smartphones sold globally during the first quarter. For the first quarter, Nokia's net profit rose to EUR349 million ($425 million) from just EUR122 million a year ago, when it was hit by the global economic downturn. "The mobile telecom business as we once knew it, no longer exists," Harlow said. "Today's smartphones are capable of doing things that were considered impossible not long ago."


From http://www.totaltele.com/ 06/14/2010

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France to Award 4G Mobile Spectrum by Mid-2011

Regulator Arcep says it is talks with French government on frequency allocation process. France's telecom regulator, Arcep, Wednesday said it will award mobile spectrum for the country's fourth-generation mobile network before the summer of 2011. "We are discussing with the government how to attribute the frequencies and will launch the attribution process before the end of this year, with an attribution taking place in the summer of 2011 at the latest," Arcep President Jean-Ludovic Silicani said. However, Silicani said there are still disagreements about the timing and method of the allocation of the 800MHz and 2,6GHz frequency bands, which will make up the 4G mobile network. "4G is a complex dossier," he said, adding that experts don't agree whether the two frequency blocs should be awarded at the same time, or one after the other. Some European countries such as Germany have already started auctioning spectrum which will serve for building 4G networks. With 4G technology, users will be able to receive and upload data faster on their mobile devices, allowing them to watch high definition videos on mobile phones. All major telecom operators, including France Telecom and Vivendi's SFR are testing 4G technologies, notably Long-Term-Evolution, or LTE.


From http://www.totaltele.com/ 06/09/2010

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Polish TPSA Sees PLN150m Savings by 2015 on Customer Service Restructuring

Telekomunikacja Polska, Poland's largest telecommunications operator, plans to generate savings of 150 million zloty ($45.5 million) within five years by transferring 5,000 of its employees to a new customer service company, the company said Tuesday. The new company will take over customer service employees currently working for TPSA's landline and mobile arms. TPSA is currently working on the details of the planned savings, and is in talks with its trade unions, TPSA's spokesman Wojciech Jabczynski told Dow Jones Newswires, declining to provide further details. The transfer of the employees will begin in October, he added. TPSA will keep all the employees that it plans to transfer for one and a half years, guaranteeing the terms of their employment and compensation, and doesn't plan group layoffs at the new customer service firm after that period. TPSA trade unions Tuesday staged a protest against the plan, saying they don't want "more layoffs." (by Marcin Sobczyk, Dow Jones Newswires)


From http://www.totaltele.com/ 06/22/2010

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Russia Said to Be Developing National Search Engine

Recruiting firm reportedly contacting developers at country's top search providers for $100 million project. An adviser to Russia's president says the government has an interest in developing a new Internet search engine, business daily Vedomosti reports Wednesday. The admission Tuesday by Leonid Reiman is believed to be the first by a Russian official about potential state involvement in a sphere dominated by private enterprise. Executives of domestic Internet companies told Vedomosti that recruiting firm Arthur Hunt Group has been contacting developers at the top Russian search providers - Yandex, Mail.ru and Rambler - to work on the state's new project, which they said has a budget of $100 million. Work is to begin within three months, with the goal to have the search engine ready for users by the end of 2011.

Reiman, a former communications minister, wouldn't say which companies will be working on the project. He said the endeavor isn't the result of a government order but is based on "market history." Private companies involved will be supported by the Ministry of Communications and Mass Media, said Reiman, who didn't rule out the possibility of some government financing once the search service is up and running. A ministry spokesman told the newspaper he was unaware of the search engine project. He said the ministry's purview doesn't include implementing "market-based projects." Plans to develop a national search engine were discussed in 2009 by a presidential commission tasked with modernizing Russia's economy, but no results emerged, Vedomosti cited Kremlin officials and Internet company executives as saying at the time. Now, some of the officials say they didn't know about the project on which Reiman commented. Creating a competitor to existing search engines is pointless and expensive, one said. Another, a senior Kremlin official, wished the developers success, saying the project could benefit the state.

Internet company executives identified as potential contractors on the project Rostelecom, Russia's nationwide landline-phone operator; Abbyy, a private, U.S.-based provider maker of document-recognition software and online dictionaries; and Ashmanov & Partners, a Moscow Web-hosting and online marketing company that's working on search technologies. Managing partner Igor Ashmanov said only that he wasn't involved in hiring employees.


From http://www.totaltele.com/ 07/07/2010

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UK to Speed Up Mobile Number Portability

British consumers will next year be able to transfer their mobile number to a new provider in just one working day rather than the current two days, the telecoms regulator Ofcom has confirmed. In 1999 it used to take consumers up to 25 days to switch their number to a new provider via a fax-based system. Nowadays, web-based systems mean that faster switching times can be achieved. The new regulations, which will require mobile operators to make changes to their systems and processes, will come into force on 11 April 2011. Immediate Porting Authorisation Code (PAC) provision. The new regulations also require the PAC that consumers need to switch provider and keep their number to be issued either immediately over the phone or within a maximum of two hours by text message. The time and way in which PACs are issued currently varies with some PACs only issued by letter, which can take several days to arrive. Ofcom Chief Executive, Ed Richards, said: "Ensuring consumers can switch between communications providers by removing unnecessary barriers is one of Ofcom's priorities for 2010/11. Being able to switch quickly and easily between mobile providers is an important part of healthy and effective competition."


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 07/08/2010

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LATIN AMERICA: Mobile Number Portability Levels the Playing Field

Mobile number portability represents both a threat and an opportunity for operators in Latin America. Which one it is depends on a given operator's ability to anticipate customer needs and to offer services that have more value to them, according to a new report from Pyramid Research. Pyramid believes any operator can benefit from Mobile Number Portability (MNP). "For many operators, the main source of revenue growth is the acquisition of new clients, but as mobile penetration reaches high levels in many Latin America markets, finding new clients becomes more and more difficult," says Juliana Gomez, Analyst at Pyramid Research, and author of this report. "In these circumstances, MNP becomes an important consideration because it allows customers to churn between networks." "In a market that is reaching saturation, the best way to grow is either by stealing clients from your competitors or by taking your customers to the next level by increasing the usage of data services," Gomez says. "MNP levels the playing field, giving all market players a relatively equal opportunity to acquire customers as it shifts the battle to a more strategic ground; this enables operators to compete with better market tools, such as service."


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 07/29/2010

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NORTH AMERICA: Canada's Public Mobile Switches on Montreal Network

ZTE to deploy 1,000 base stations after operator secures C$350 million loan from Chinese bank. New Canadian mobile entrant Public Mobile on Friday switched on its Montreal network, claiming to become the first alternative operator to offer services in Canada's second city" We want to give the people of Montreal an economical option," said Alek Krstajic, CEO of Public Mobile in a statement. Public Mobile first launched services in Toronto in May. The company offers unlimited contract-free voice and text plans, with the option of paying extra for long-distance calling services across Canada, as well as to the U.S. "For the first time, people in Montreal can have a cellphone with unlimited talk and text at a predictable price," said Krstajic. Public Mobile also said that in July it will begin offering unlimited international calling to 45 countries for $15 per month, and will add unlimited international SMS to 190 countries to its text tariffs at no extra cost.

"Whether they are calling friends and family locally, or in other parts of Canada, the United States, or overseas, Public Mobile's plans are all unlimited, which means customers will never be surprised by price, no matter how much they talk or text," said Krstajic. Earlier this week Public Mobile also announced it had agreed a C$350 million loan with Export-Import Bank of China to fund the rollout of its CDMA network, which will be built by ZTE. "We chose to work with ZTE because of their expertise in technology and commitment to financing," said Krstajic. Under the terms of the agreement, the Chinese vendor will design, build and operate the company's end-to-end network, which includes wireless, core network, services platforms and IP architecture, as well as 1,000 base stations. "Our work with Public Mobile and their CDMA network is just one example of ZTE's focus on continuing to increase our resources in the North American market," commented Cheng Lixin, president and CEO of ZTE USA, in a statement. "ZTE has provided products and services to major telecom operators in 140 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America - this is ZTE's first end-to-end network solution in Canada and are proud to work with Public Mobile," added Shi Lirong, president of ZTE, in a statement. (by Nick Wood, Total Telecom)


From http://www.totaltele.com/ 06/25/2010

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US Mobile Revenue to Overtake All Fixed-Line Services by 2015

Through 2015, the U.S. will add more mobile subscriptions (about 80 million) than any other developed nation with mobile revenue surpassing all fixed-line services by end of 2015, according to a new report from Pyramid Research. With an estimated $362 billion in service revenue in 2010, the U.S. will continue to be more than twice as large as the next most sizable markets - Japan and China - throughout the forecast period. Over the next five years, Pyramid expects total communications service revenue to grow at a CAGR of 2.53 percent to reach $410.2 billion in 2015. By 2015, mobile broadband computing will comprise about 40 percent of total mobile subscription net adds. "We believe embedded 3G, WiMax, and LTE devices, including M2M communications, e-readers, and telematics, will continue to drive adoption after the market exceeds 100 percent penetration," says Ozgur Aytar, Research Director at Pyramid Research. "All of the major broadband service providers already, or are beginning to, provide service bundles that integrate mobile broadband services, a key area of differentiation. By 2015, we expect mobile services to overtake fixed in terms of revenue." The U.S. fixed-line segment is in a stage of transformation in which broadband services, and no longer fixed voice, are rapidly becoming core services for network operators. Pyramid expects broadband to surpass fixed voice penetration of households by 2011 as broadband becomes the primary means of communication, notes Aytar, enabling a slew of extremely popular value-added services, including social networking, online video and blogging.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 08/04/2010

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CHINA: State-owned Company Enters Internet Video Industry Sector

A representative from China Hualu Group has revealed that the video website Hualu5.com developed by its subsidiary Hualu Culture Industry Company is expected to be launched in a month. As one of the biggest Chinese state-owned enterprises that focuses on the audio and video industry, Hualu Group's new video website will adopt a business model which combines videos with e-commerce, including broadcasting of popular TV series, interactive advertising, and sales of Blu-Ray discs. The company goes head-to-head now with a multitude of privately-funded Chinese online video ventures such as Tudou.com and Youku.com. Hualu has reportedly inked agreements with Internet shopping websites such as Amazon.cn and Dangdang.com to allow consumers to buy TV and movie products produced by Hualu on these websites. The company has also formed partnerships with Chinese social networking sites such as the micro-blog zone of Sina.com and Kaixin001.com to allow users of these websites to interact with performers appearing in programs made by Hualu. With the entry of Hualu, which owns a large number of copyrights and media industry resources, the competition in the Chinese Internet video market will become more fierce as privately-owned companies try to fight a losing battle against companies backed with Chinese government resources.


From http://www.chinatechnews.com/ 06/18/2010

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18 Domestic Firms Get Nod for Net Mapping

Authorities have approved 18 domestic companies to provide Internet mapping services in the country, with a number of applications from foreign vendors still being considered. The domestic companies were selected out of about 30 applicants and the list of approved providers is expected to be announced soon, the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping (SBSM) told China Daily. The move is expected to pose challenges for the operation of foreign Internet companies such as Google in China. "According to China's Surveying and Mapping Law, foreign firms are not allowed to provide surveying and mapping services. Their activities in China must be under joint ventures or in partnership with domestic firms," the SBSM said. The regulator said it has received a few applications from eligible foreign firms and is "still examining" them. To avoid state secrets being disclosed and uncertified maps published online, the SBSM launched a regulation last month requiring all companies providing online map and location services in China to apply for approval. The regulation, which took effect this month, gives the authorities the right to shut down providers that fail to get a license by the end of this year. A Wall Street Journal report said last week that Google has applied for such a license, citing anonymous official sources.

Nokia China is also seeking a license for its Ovi Map service in China, the company confirmed with China Daily on Wednesday. Microsoft, which runs its Bing Maps service through a domestic joint venture in China, did not want to comment. "Among all the foreign vendors, Google may have some trouble getting a license because currently all its servers that provide map services are outside China," said Ren Yanghui, an analyst of research firm Analysys International. According to the latest regulation, qualified online map service providers are required to keep servers storing map data inside the country and must have no record of information leakage in any form in the past three years. Although Google moved its Chinese online search services to Hong Kong in March, the US-based search engine is still providing its Google Maps service on the Chinese mainland via Google.cn, a domestic website run by Google's domestic joint venture. In the past few weeks, authorities in Germany, Canada and New Zealand have started investigations over Google's Street View service, which is an option on Google Maps that allows panoramic views of streets worldwide.

The countries cited privacy concerns for their probe of the Internet giant's service. Multiple US states are also expected to launch inquiries into the collection of data from unsecured wireless networks. Google China did not want to comment on Wednesday. Guan Dai, a senior analyst at research firm In-Stat China, said Google may still have a good chance of getting its map services approved, as its decision to move its search services to Hong Kong has raised concern from the foreign business community. The total revenue of China's online map market rose from 245 million yuan ($36 million) in 2008 to 330 million yuan last year, figures from Analysys International showed. Baidu, DDMap and Google are the major online map providers in China, which altogether account for more than half of the market share. Baidu said on Wednesday the SBSM has yet to approve its Internet map service.


From China Daily 06/24/2010

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China to Boost Web Retail Sales Through Better Regulation

China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Tuesday it would boost web retail sales in the next five years through better regulation of online sales. To increase the share of web retail sales in China's total retail industry to five percent by 2015 from some two percent at present, measures would be taken to improve regulations and legislation concerning online transactions, said the MOC. In some areas where electronic business already shows signs of maturing, the target was set at 10 percent, according to the statement. The MOC also said that when the time is appropriate, China would require any person selling online to register with industrial and commercial agencies to bring them under government regulation. Further, more efforts would be taken to encourage businesses in the production, sales and services industries to develop more goods and services that fit online transactions, said the statement. In 2009, two percent of China's retail sales were conducted on the Internet, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said in a report released earlier this month. By the end of 2009, China had 384 million Internet users and more than 100 million online shoppers, according to data collected by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).


From Xinhua News Agency 06/30/2010

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China's Telecom, Internet and TV Network Integration to Drive RMB688 Bln Investment

The pilot plan for China's telecommunication, Internet and television networks integration has been submitted to the State Council, or the cabinet, and the pilot cities have been announced, said Li Yizhong, Minister of Industry and Information Technology. The network integration program will ensure Chinese TV, Internet and mobile phone users will be able to access all three activities through a single device. Industry insiders hold that although the cities were not named on June 28 as the market expected, Li's words show that the network integration program is in progress. Zhao Yujie, an analyst for China Merchants Securities, believes that market expectation for the integration the telecom, Internet and TV networks has stimulated network equipment manufacturing and set-top box producers to take a lead in making preparations. The program will benefit network and equipment producers in the short term, and content providers will be the beneficiaries in the mid- and long-term. Goldman Sachs said in a report that the telecom operators and cable TV stations will increase capital expenditure to upgrade their networks, and new investment will generate new services, which in general increase the firms' revenues. Wu Hequan, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said that the network integration program would drive up investment and consumption by about 688 billion yuan over the upcoming three years. The cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Dalian, Harbin, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Xiamen, Qingdao, Wuhan, Shenzhen, Mianyang and regions around central Hunan province's three boom cities of Changsha, Zhuzhou and Xiangtan, have been approved for the pilot program, according to a statement from the State Council posted on the government website (www.gov.cn).


From http://call-center-software.tmcnet.com/ 07/01/2010

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Network Media Playing Larger Role in Spreading News in China: Blue Book

Network media in China is rising from the "grass-roots" to the mainstream of the country's distribution of news, according to a blue book issued by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' journalism and communication research institute on Wednesday. Thanks to the rapid development and growing popularity of the Internet, network media in China is playing a larger role in expressing public opinions and in the distribution of information about major news events, the blue book reported. The blue book further said Chinese network media successfully played its role when covering the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2007, the country's relief efforts against the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008, and the annual sessions of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee and the National People's Congress in 2009. "They showed the network media's maturation after more than ten years' of development," the blue book read. According to Liu Ruisheng, professor with the Huazhong University of Science and Technology and one of the authors of the blue book, by March this year, China had boasted 400 million Internet users. Despite the rapid growth of online communities, websites, blogs and social networking services websites in China, news portals remained an irreplaceable mainstream network media, Liu said.


From English.news.cn 07/07/2010

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China Approves Online Buying of Medication at 27 Websites

China has approved 27 websites to sell medicine to individual consumers via the internet, the State Food and Drug Administration announced on its website on Tuesday. The administration stipulates that the 27 online pharmaceutical dealers could only sell over-the-counter medications to individual consumers, not to other businesses or medical facilities. According to a provisional regulation regarding the online transaction of drugs, those selling medications online must receive a license and put their license code on the front page of their transaction websites. The list of the 27 websites permitted to sell medications online is available on the administration's official website, www.sfda.gov.cn.


From Xinhua News Agency 07/14/2010

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E-commerce Boom Continues in China as One in Ten Chinese Shops Online

For Wen Zhenhua, the biggest success of her career was the bulk sale of condoms on www.meituan.com, a newly-opened and flourishing group-buying website. Some 50,000 international brand condoms sold out within hours of going on sale, and to Wen's delight, many Chinese Internet users discussed the sales as such trade in condoms is rare in China. "As the first among Chinese group-buying websites to sell condoms, we were pleased with the consumer response," said Wen, marketing manager at Meituan. The condoms were sold for a price of one yuan (15 U.S. cents) each, down from the market price of 3 yuan each. Meituan has more than 200,000 registered users only four months since it was established. It is now one of the leading Chinese group-buying websites. Wen said she is not surprised about the rapid increase in registered users - she is "of course very happy about it" - given that Chinese e-commerce is developing at a dazzling speed. Nearly 34 million Chinese people joined the online shopping army in the first six months the year, bringing the total number to 142 million. These figures mean one out of every three Chinese Internet users, or one out of 10 Chinese people, shops online, according to a report by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) released Thursday. "The rise of group-buying websites showcases the regional development of e-commerce," the report says.

Online retail sales increased 117 percent annually between 2007 and 2009, and they are expected to amount to 450 billion yuan this year, according to the research center of Alibaba Group, which runs the global e-commerce site Alibaba.com. "The Internet in China is moving from a platform for information and opinion to being a network with diverse applications and mass participation," said Hu Yanping, general manager at Data Center of China Internet, an independent Internet market monitoring agency. Hu says Chinese Internet users' online consumption will continue to grow rapidly. Nowadays, Chinese people not only buy articles of everyday use like clothes and snacks on the Internet, they also buy cameras and laptops and luxury goods like diamonds. Reports say some automakers plan to sell vehicles online. For many people, online shopping means a change of lifestyle and convenience with a few mouse clicks. Tsinghua University student Liu Dun, 21, bought a ticket to a Beijing golf tournament for just 20 yuan - instead of the usual 1,000 yuan - on group-buying website Aibang.com. Liu says he made "a lot of friends" after the tournament. "I will continue to shop through online team buying because it brings people with similar interests together and it saves money." "We provide personal consumption goods for local white-collars workers rather than real goods," said Meituan founder Wang Xing in a recent magazine interview. Meituan and its counterparts have sold coupons for Karaoke singing classes and laser-gun battle parks. "We want our clients to get out of their home and enjoy something they have not tried before," said Wen Zhenhua. Wang Xing attributed the success of his website to accurate market positioning and the development of the Internet itself. "We could not have survived five years ago because of the lack of a mature online payments system and the limited information dissemination back then," he added.

According to the latest CNNIC report, about 128 million people have used online payment systems and 122 million have used online banking services. But veteran Chinese Internet users still remember an Internet-based life experiment in 1999. The experiment involved 12 volunteers spending 72 hours connected to the Internet and trying to get food and clothing online. One of the volunteers with little knowledge about the Internet was forced to leave after starving for more than 26 hours. None of the volunteers were able to persuade people to accept their electronic currency as payment. They had to pay cash for everything. One of them tried to pay with electronic currency at five or six websites but failed.


From English.news.cn 07/17/2010

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Internet Sector Value Up 56%

The market value of China's Internet industry climbed more than 56 percent from a year ago to 38.9 billion yuan (US$5.7 billion) in the first half, industry statistics showed. E-commerce remains the largest sector, contributing 27.6 percent of the total, while online advertising accounted for 21.9 percent as the World Cup and other seasonal events pushed marketing spending, according to a report released by Internet consulting firm iResearch yesterday. "The strong growth showed robust domestic demand although the Chinese economy is mostly boosted by investment and exports," iResearch said in the report. "Low inflation and strong consumer potential will push the Internet economy," iResearch analysts Hu Yuanyuan and Zhang Mobai wrote in the report. The mobile Internet proportion dropped to 10.3 percent from 12.8 percent in the first quarter as the government went after illegal wireless value-added content providers. The popularization of 3G and upgrades to telecommunications services are expected to lead to strong growth in the next few years. China Internet Network Information Center said earlier this month that the country's web users reached 420 million by the end of June. Penetration rate rose to 31.8 percent and mobile Internet users increased 18.6 percent from the end of last year to 277 million. China's Internet economy is expected to exceed 44 billion yuan by the end of the third quarter, according to the research firm.


From Shanghai Daily 07/22/2010

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Online Shopping Gaining Ground in China

Online consumers from China are the most prolific online shoppers in the Asia Pacific region and nearly 95 percent of them are planning a web purchase in the next six months, said John Burbank, chief executive officer of Nielsen Online, the online division of research firm Nielsen. According to the survey, books and clothing, accessories and shoes top the list of planned online purchases in the next six months for Chinese online consumers. Compared with other countries in the Asia Pacific region, Chinese online consumers are the keenest to purchase clothing online, followed by consumers in South Korea (56 percent) and Philippines (37 percent). The Nielsen survey polled over 27,000 Internet users in 55 markets globally to understand how consumers shop online and the other factors that come into play when they decide how to spend their money. "There is not much of difference in the buying patterns of online consumers compared with other countries. The purchases are mainly for price and convenience," said Burbank. "But given the country's comparatively low Internet penetration and the huge base, the e-commerce market has huge potential." As of June 2010, the number of Internet users in China climbed to 420 million, 36 million more than the end of 2009, according to a report from the China Internet Network Information Center.

But the country's Internet penetration rate, which was 31.8 percent by the end of June, still lags behind many other countries. Online retail sales increased 117 percent annually between 2007 and 2009, and is expected to reach 450 billion yuan (US$66.45 billion) this year, according to the research center of Alibaba Group, which runs the global e-commerce site Alibaba.com. The Nielsen report shows that total online spending as a percentage of total monthly spending varies by country, with Chinese and South Korean online consumers making the most purchases through the web. Online consumers from New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia and Hong Kong make the least number of purchases on the Web. Chinese consumers on average spend route 6 to 25 percent of their average monthly spending through the web. Nearly one-third of online consumers said they primarily do their Internet shopping with retailers who have an online presence. Over 26 percent of the respondents opt for sites that also have traditional "brick and mortar" stores and those that allow you to select products from different online stores. Though e-commerce in China is growing at a rapid pace, online shopping's share of total retail sales in China is still lower than the US and the rest of world. "Online payment security, ensuring product quality and after sales services are the key barriers for online shopping," said Burbank. "The online market must take steps to improve the credibility of suppliers and transaction security. This will help bolster consumer confidence in online shopping."


From Xinhua News Agency 07/31/2010

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Beijing E-commerce Committee to Fight Poor Competitive Practices

The Beijing E-commerce Industry Collaboration Committee has been established to encourage resource sharing and industry self-regulation, and to resist unhealthy competition. Chinese e-commerce and industry websites, including Hc360.com, Dhgate.com, 99114.com, Zhongsou.com, expressed their support for the newly established committee and said they promise to be honest and self-disciplined to resist unhealthy competition and to create a good e-commerce environment. According to Gao Yingwei, director of Beijing Electronic Commerce Association, in 2009, the market scale of B2B e-commerce industry in Beijing reached about CNY280 billion, accounting for 10% of the total sales of social goods in the city; and the market scale of B2C online retail sector was about CNY17 billion, accounting for 3% of the total retail sales in Beijing. At present, the number of B2B platforms in Beijing accounts for 10.7% of that in the entire country. Of these websites, 11 enterprises are the top 100 e-commerce websites in China.


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

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Internet Videos: A Blow, Also an Opportunity

Zhang Minxiao, owner of a trading company in east China' s Jiangsu Province, has not turned on a television since 2008. Instead, the 29-year-old business man now spends more than 20 hours every week watching programs on the Internet, often sports games. "I enjoyed watching my favorite programs any time I like. I watched nearly 50 matches of this year' s World Cup on the Internet," said the busy entrepreneur, who was also a die-hard fan of Argentina. Zhang said Chinese TV viewers would not have access to programs produced outside the Chinese mainland, unless they paid extra fees for satellite TV channels. However, online video sites provide more choices, notably, for free. "A great attraction of watching serials on the Internet is that you'll not be bothered by the interminable advertisement that is broadcast every 15 minute during an episode," Zhang said. He began watching online videos in 2003. For Zhao Yayuan, a 25-year-old enthusiast of American and Japanese soap operas, the limited number of serials broadcast on television cannot feed her growing appetite. "Chinese TV stations just broadcast old serials again and again," said Zhao, who worked for the Beijing-based China Today. Zhao spends her leisure time hunting for the latest episode of the hottest foreign serials on YOUKU and TUDOU, two popular video websites in China. "The update of hit serials on such websites can be simultaneous or a one-day delay at most, compared with the broadcasting schedule of foreign TV channels. Besides, I can decide when and how many episodes to watch," Zhao said.

Zhang and Zhao are among many Chinese web users who prefer online videos for a wider selection of programs and a more flexible watching schedule. By June 2010, the number of the Internet users in China had hit 420 million, according to a report issued by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC). An earlier survey, also conducted by the CNNIC, noted that by the end of 2009about 240 million web users, mostly youths aged 10 to 29, watched online videos. Some 67 percent of the total spent less time watching TV programs while nearly 40 million users had abandoned watching traditional television. Although major video websites are dragging more viewers away from television sets, they also provide a win-win opportunity for China' s TV industry. In recent years, the boom of delivering television programs on the Internet has brought large profits to their producers, said Li Jingsheng, an official with the State Administration of Radio Film and Television. "The TV program producers can earn big money by selling the Internet copyright of its works to websites, while the latter will win more clicks," said Wang Chong, a teacher of journalism and communications with the Capital University of Economics and Business in Beijing. In March 2010, the Internet copyright of the 60-episode serial, Journey to the West, which was adapted from a Chinese classic, was sold for 16.8 million yuan (about 2.5 million U.S. dollars), while the popular 81-episode sitcom, My Own Swordsman, was sold for a mere 100,000 yuan in 2006. Accompanied by the rapid development of video websites, however, the number of lawsuits over copyright piracy on the Internet among websites, their counterparts and program producers has surged. "This shows all parties' rising awareness of their due rights, which is good for the healthy development of the industry," said Wang, who also called for regulations to combat copyright piracy. "The video websites should enhance oversight on their users and delete illegal contents, which are uploaded by users and often cause copyright disputes," said Lu Heng, a PhD in the Department of Media and Communication with the City University of Hong Kong.


From Xinhua News Agency 08/09/2010

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2010 China Mobile Internet Market Size to Hit CNY63bn

The number of mobile Internet users reached 214 million in the first half of 2010, and the market size hit CNY 23.7 billion, according to the latest data issued by Analysys International, a leading information and data provider in the Chinese IT market. The number of users is predicted to hit 300 million by the end of this year, and annual revenue will be CNY 63.3 billion. In the first half of this year, the revenue of the Chinese mobile Internet market arrived at CNY 23.7 billion, compared with CNY 18 billion in the same period of a year earlier and growing 31.67% over the second half of the previous year. Traffic charges hit CNY 14 billion, accounting for 59.1% of the total market revenue; application service revenue contributed CNY 9.7 billion, making up 40.9%; wireless music, mobile phone reading, and mobile phone games respectively accounted for 41.2%, 12.6%, and 11.3% of the total application service revenue.


From http://call-center-software.tmcnet.com/ 08/11/2010

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JAPAN: Online Retailing Is on the Rise, and Its Champion Is Spreading Its Wings

THE Japanese economy is stagnant, the population is shrinking and retail sales have declined by around 1% annually for years. But one area is bucking the trend: e-commerce. Revenues have expanded every year by around 17% since 2005, and are expected to grow at nearly 10% a year for the next five years (see chart). One company in particular has capitalised on this trend and dominates the sector: Rakuten. Rakuten has pursued a "shopping mall" strategy, providing all the services that enable merchants big and small to set up digital shopfronts, including hosting their sites, broking their advertising and processing their payments. This greatly simplifies things for both seller and buyer. There are around 90m internet users among Japan's population of 130m; a massive two-thirds use Rakuten. Online retailing, though growing fast, remains small in Japan at a mere $30 billion a year in sales (excluding digital downloads and travel), but Rakuten handles nearly one-third of all transactions. Now the company is using its strength at home to go abroad. Although Japan is a technology trendsetter in many respects, e-commerce lags far behind the West. People seem to prefer shopping in person, perhaps because they tend to surf the web using mobile phones, which are less suited to online shopping than computers, with their bigger screens and calmer surroundings. Yet the recent recession has made the Japanese more frugal, prompting them to stay at home and spend more time on their computers, fuelling a boom in e-commerce many years after those in America and Europe. It is aided by the country's excellent, cheap delivery services, which typically transport packages across the country within a day. However, Rakuten's past strength may soon become a vulnerability. Retailers that it has hitherto chaperoned online may now want to set off on their own rather than share the spoils. And retailers that had previously shied away from online sales altogether may set up virtual shops of their own now that Rakuten has established the demand.

As a result, Rakuten is shifting its approach in two important ways. First, it plans to sell through its own online store. This "hybrid" model of e-commerce, whereby sites serve as a marketplace for other vendors as well as for their own products, is becoming commonplace. Amazon and eBay, for example, have both moved in that direction, albeit from different starting points. Second, Rakuten is trying to tap new markets with its "shopping mall" strategy. The latest move came last month, when it announced a joint venture with Global Mediacom, Indonesia's largest media group, to bring the Rakuten formula to that country. It followed the acquisition in America for $250m of buy.com, a small but fast-growing e-commerce site with a similar model. Rakuten also struck a wide-ranging partnership with China's search-engine giant, Baidu, earlier this year. Hiroshi Mikitani, Rakuten's founder and boss, hopes to move into around 30 markets - with ten countries to be added in 2010 alone. One factor in Rakuten's success is its loyalty system, a more fungible version of an airline's frequent-flyer programme. Buyers receive points for purchases from any Rakuten merchant, which they can redeem for discounts at any other merchant. This makes customers keen to buy via Rakuten rather than a merchant's independent website. The scheme could help Rakuten compete in other countries too, believes George Hogan of Macquarie, an investment bank.But the inefficiencies that Rakuten exploited in the Japanese market do not exist to the same extent elsewhere. Moreover, as it ventures overseas, Rakuten faces stiffer competition at home: its nearest rival, Yahoo! Japan, which is majority-owned by Softbank, a telecoms operator, struck a partnership last month with Taobao, China's largest e-tailer. To foster a cosmopolitan spirit, Rakuten is making English the working language of its top brass. Yet the factors that have made it a striking success may be purely Japanese.


From http://www.economist.com/ 06/10/2010

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Japan's Publishing Companies Stepping Up Efforts to Develop E-book Market

Japan's publishing industry is searching for new business opportunities in the e-book market as major publishers plan to make a full-scale foray into electronic publishing. According to research company Impress R&D, the Japanese e-book market grew 24 percent from the previous year to an estimated 57.4 billion yen in fiscal 2009, with about 80 percent of the total revenue coming from digital comics for mobile phones.


From http://www.booktrade.info/ 07/21/2010

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E-money - Big, and Getting Bigger in Japan

Though Japan is known as one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, it's curiously still a cash-based society. The one exception is electronic money, which is stored in a tiny chip in a special card or one's cell phone. The concept is pretty cool: one can make purchases by simply swiping their cell phone on an electronic reader. And it's growing in popularity too. During the first half of 2010, the number of electronic money transactions swelled by 39% compared with the same period a year ago, according to the Nikkei newspaper. Electronic money became popular around 2007, when two major retailers, Aeon Co., Ltd. and Seven & i Holdings Co., Ltd., started their own versions of electronic money. The transactions by Aeon and Seven & I account for roughly 50% of all transactions in Japan. Retailers have promoted the use of their money by giving points to shoppers. For example, users of the Nanaco card, offered by Seven & i, earn 1 point for every 100 yen of shopping, which can later be used to pay at a rate of 1 yen per point. "Convenience increased because stores (in which electronic money can be used) expanded, and the usage of electronic money has started to become established," said Yukinobu Kitamura, a professor of economics at Hitotsubashi University. Aeon is the operator of several retailers, including a convenience store chain, while Seven & i operates the Seven Eleven stores and retailing stores such as Denny's Japan. However, experts think the popularity of electronic money will not change how people pay for more expensive goods. The current outstanding amount of electronic money in Japan is only about 0.11% of Japanese currency, according to a 2009 Bank of Japan report. According to a 2009 survey by the Central Council for Financial Services Information, 25.2% of singles said that they would use electronic money to pay for shopping goods cheaper than 1000 yen, while only 12.4% responded credit cards. In contrast, only 2.7% said they would use electronic money for payments greater than 50,000 yen, and 68.5% said credit cards.


From http://blogs.wsj.com/ 07/23/2010

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Consumers to Gain Internet Access to Aggregate Credit Card Charge Data

Consumers will be able to check for themselves on the Internet how much they have been charged on their multiple credit cards and other relevant credit data held by card issuers possibly from fiscal 2011, according to industry sources. The move is intended to address an increasing number of inquiries from consumers who want to know the aggregate balance of their charges or why their attempted credit purchases have been rejected, following the enforcement in June of a tightened money lending law. Credit Information Center Corp, which gathers personal information on credit transactions from credit card issuers, will start a trial run of the service in December to verify user identification, the sources said. CIC, based in Tokyo, currently provides personal credit card data to individuals but only when they visit one of its offices in Tokyo or six other cities in person or ask it to mail the information, which takes around one week. The Internet disclosure service would cover billing data, balances and past payment records including delinquencies, if any, held by multiple credit card issuing companies, the sources said.


From http://www.japantoday.com/ 08/09/2010

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SOUTH KOREA: Online Ad Market Expands Despite Overall Slowdown

Advertisement revenue for Internet media increased 4.5 percent last year, threatening broadcasters and newspapers, industry data showed Sunday. The Korea Press Foundation said the overall revenue for media advertisement in 2009 stood at 7.26 trillion won ($60.5 billion), down 7 percent from the previous year, affected by the economic slowdown. But the figure for Internet-based media increased from 1.19 trillion won to 1.24 trillion won. The online ad market expanded by eight times since 2001, the data showed. The growth chipped away at revenues for traditional media. TV and newspapers held the top two positions for most advertisements, but TV ads shrank 12 percent from 1.9 trillion won to 1.67 trillion won. Likewise, newspaper ads declined 9.5 percent from 1.66 trillion won to 1.5 trillion won during the same period. Cable TVs also saw their ad revenue cut 9.3 percent to 779 billion won despite an increase in the number of subscribers. The four largest media - TVs, newspapers, online outlets and cable TVs - accounted for 71.5 percent of the overall market. Digital mobile broadcasting sold 54.3 percent advertisement to record 17.6 billion won. Revenue for radio and satellite TVs remained unchanged at 2.77 trillion won and 9.5 billion won.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 05/30/2010

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Firms Anticipate E-book Boom in Korea

Electronics makers and content providers are gearing up for a robust growth in demand for e-books. Experts expect the industry to expand especially with the upcoming launch of Apple's tablet PC iPad, which would pose tougher competition to Samsung and LG, and other local electronics firms. "The local e-book market has not seen a big leap but I expect it to soon become an opportunity for development," said Lee Sung-eung, an analyst at Eugene Securities Co. "It may take some time but I have no doubt about the rosy market for the industry." KT Corp., the country's largest fixed-line service provider, launched a digital contents providing service system called "QOOK Book Caf¨¦" in late April, recording up to 20,000 registered users as of last month. Enabling services in multiple electronic devices, 400 e-books per day have been provided through the new system, including both free and paid for books. The figure of daily visitors to the online book caf¨¦ has reached about 3,000 on average, its official said, adding that the open market is to fully launch to all users in August. "We will offer differentiated services by working together with other professionals in the field and enhance the portability of purchased contents by allowing users to share them in their multi devices," said a KT official. The devices include e-book readers, PCs and smartphones such as Apple's iPhone to Internet protocol TVs and Internet based fixed-line phones.

The telecom giant, the exclusive provider of iPhones in Korea, plans to provide up to 100,000 e-book material to users through the system. Other online and offline large book store chains such as Kyobo, Interpark, Booxen and Bandi & Luni's have all recently set their focus on the growing digital book market by supplying a greater number of digital books and providing smartphone Apps for mobile contents. LG Display and iRiver also signed an agreement on Monday to establish a joint venture named "L&I Electronic Technology Limited" in China to reinforce their presence in the fast-growing e-book industry. Globally, top global search giant Google expects to service its own digital book store called "Google Editions" this year, possibly in late June or July. "Google Editions is a new way for publishers to sell their books online by allowing users to purchase online access to an in-copyright book," an official at Google Korea said on behalf of the company. "We want to build and support a digital book ecosystem to allow our partner publishers to make their books available for purchase from any Web-enabled device. Google has more than 30,000 publisher partners worldwide and we would like to make these tools as widely available as possible." In a related effort, the Ministry of Culture also announced earlier in April that it would invest 60 billion won over a five-year period to nurture the local e-book industry.

It pledged to work on increasing the ground which the industry could bloom on, standardize e-book publishing technologies and spread digital reading habits. The plan also includes supporting small and mid-sized publishing firms that have financial difficulties, and will nurture 1,000 people who are needed on-site by 2014. The ministry said it would assist the production process of 10,000 well-recognized e-book contents every year and look for talented writers through giving out awards to them. A total of 240,000 e-books are to be made available for borrowing from public libraries by the government in 2014. Observers, however, caution that it is not the number of digital books which matter for further blooming of the industry but the type of differentiated service providers can offer compared to the printed versions. "The contents of the digital material have to be appealing to the public," said Lee of Eugene Securities. "It should go over the basic digitalization of the books and add value to the already-existing contents. That's what is selling hot on devices like iPads overseas."


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 06/15/2010

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Men Outnumber Women in Internet Shopping

More men than women shop online, according to survey results released by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry and online research firm Rankey.com on Monday. A survey of users at 12,000 online shopping malls shows that male shoppers (64 percent) nearly doubled female shoppers (36 percent) in the first half of the year. Men also spend more time shopping online than women. Male shoppers browsed an average of 28 minutes and one second at online shops, compared to 27 minutes and 50 seconds for women. The number of male customers has been bolstered by a trend that encourages men to pay more attention to grooming and fashion, KORCHAM said. Compared to the first half of 2006, the proportion of male shoppers surged in fashion-related segments, by 131 percent in luxury goods, 76 percent in food and diet products, 74 percent in cosmetics, and 72 percent in clothing.


From http://english.chosun.com/ 07/13/2010

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Korean IT Posts Record Exports, Surplus

The IT sector posted record exports and a record trade surplus for July. The Ministry of Knowledge Economy on Wednesday said IT exports rose 26.9 percent on-year to W13.79 billion (US$1=W1,169) in July while imports increased 13.7 percent to W6.56 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of W7.23 billion. This is the first time the sector's surplus topped the W7 billion mark.


From http://english.chosun.com/ 08/05/2010

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Study: Korea Online Game Market Could Exceed $2B In 2011

The Korean online game market could surpass $2 billion in revenues next year, as the country's game companies take steps towards rapid expansion overseas, San Jose-based Pearl Research said Monday as part of the results of a new study. Pearl said three of the top five Korean game operators grew revenues more than 50 percent in 2009, marking aggressive overseas growth among the country's top online game companies. MapleStory and Dungeon Fighter Online publisher Nexon recently announced for the first time that non-Korean sales accounted for the majority of its global revenue of 703.6 billion won ($585 million) in 2009, Pearl said. NHN, publisher of Soul of the Ultimate Nation established a U.S. arm in 2007, with U.S. revenues jumping 50 percent in 2009. Neowiz, publisher of CrossFire, saw overseas revenues rise 526 percent to 62.1 billion won ($52 million), outpacing all other segments within the company, Pearl said. Korean companies have helped lead the way with new online business models, including charging for microtransactions on top of a monthly subscription fee. Pearl said, "It remains to be seen if this hybrid model will be accepted by consumers and spread to other countries." U.S. companies are also gaining an audience in Korea. Electronic Arts' FIFA Online 2 temporarily topped online game rankings at internet cafes, thanks to July 2010's World Cup event. Blizzard's World of Warcraft is also a top online game in the region. Other leading titles include NCsoft's Aion and Lineage series, CJ Internet's Sudden Attack and Nexon's Dungeon and Fighter (a.k.a. Dungeon Fighter Online). PC usage in Korea is among the highest in the world, at 80 percent. Pearl said that games such as Blizzard's StarCraft II will help expand the games market in the region in the near-term, but a "glut of content" in the market, government scrutiny and rising development costs could hinder further expansion.


From http://www.gamasutra.com/ 08//09/2010

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MALAYSIA: E-Commerce Industry to Grow 30% Annually Next 3-5 Years - PIKOM

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's electronic-commerce (e-commerce) industry is expected to grow by between 20 and 30 per cent annually in the next three to five years. "The growth will be driven by the readiness of infrastructure, availability of online services, broadband maturity and a strong awareness of e-commerce," said National ICT Association of Malaysia (Pikom) chairman, Wei Chuan Beng. Wei told reporters this after the launch of the National ICT Month 2010 (NIM 2010), themed "e-Commerce for Global Reach", by Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili, here Tuesday. He said for this year, the e-commerce was expected to grow by 32 per cent to US$29.24 billion (US$1=RM3.16) from US$22.15 billion in 2009 amid a stabilising growth rate in the past few years. Wei urged financial institutions to lower the fees of e-payment, which were currently higher than the manual payment, to boost the e-commerce activity in Malaysia.

Earlier, Ongkili said the 10th Malaysia Plan has identified the information and communication technology (ICT) sector as one of the 12 National Key Economic Areas and its contribution to economy was expected to increase to 10.2 per cent by 2015. "Thus, we envisage the ICT to be massively deployed to bring about productivity enhancements, service level improvements and innovation throughout businesses, government and consumers alike," he said. At the same function, Ongkili also launched the Leadership Summit 2010, which gathers business and technology leaders to discuss and deliberate on issues related to ICT industry.


From http://biz.thestar.com.my/ 07/13/2010

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East Malaysians Embracing E-Commerce

Six out of 10 East Malaysians are booking their Malaysia Airlines tickets online, said Amin Khan, senior general manager of commercial strategy for MAS. This is a sign that more in the country are using e-commerce facilities, which should encourage more businesses here to embrace the technology. In comparison, Amin said, only one in four MAS customers in other parts of the world book their ticket online. "In East Malaysia, the guy with the credit card and PC becomes an 'electronic ticketing agent.' People find it more convenient to go to that guy up their street, than to the city centre to a ticketing office," he said. "They hand him the cash (for the ticket) and he makes the online booking." According to Amin, while high-speed broadband is the ideal catalyst to spark off e-commerce adoption, the nation's basic Internet infrastructure can still be taken advantage off and be a convenience to most people.

MAS is embracing e-commerce in a big way. Two years ago, only 3% of its tickets sales were booked online; today it is 25%, thanks to MAS' iPad bookings and mobile booking applications. "e-Commerce has opened up a new market for us. Online tickets sales do not cannibalise our regular ticket sales. With our online process, we also get more visibility. "A customer can visit our site everyday until he gets a good price. This beats calling up many travel agents for quotes everyday," Amin said. The national airline spent roughly RM400mil to set up its Passenger Service System, which includes an e-commerce component, two years ago. Amin declined to quantify the airline's return on investment for that initiative but said it enjoys a cost savings of RM3 per ticket sold online, which can be passed on to its customers. He was presenting a paper - Case studies: Lessons for e-commerce ventures - at the Business Success Forum.

Unaware
Earlier, Shaifubahrim Saleh, president of the Association of the Computer and Multimedia Industry of Malaysia (Pikom), said many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are still ignorant about e-commerce. He said these SMEs still believe they have to buy servers and set up an IT department to participate in e-commerce, when in actual fact they can merely subscribe to e-commerce services for as low as RM100 per month. According to Pikom, 31% of SMEs surveyed in the country believe they do not have the technical knowledge to embrace e-commerce, while 17% said they are not ready to engage in e-commerce. "That's why Pikom is going to 16 locations nationwide to teach SMEs there about e-commerce and the ease of adopting e-commerce services," Shaifubahrim said. "They need to understand that in the age of cloud computing, they do not need to possess in-depth technical knowledge to get into e-commerce." According to Pikom, its roadshows will have educated about 3,000 SMEs by year end. It estimates that there are some 900,000 SMEs in the country. "It is going to be a long process educating all the SMEs," said Shaifubahrim. Pikom said the value of e-commerce in Malaysia will be RM92.6bil by year end - a 32% increase from last year. "Yes, there is vast potential in e-commerce here," Shaifubahrim told In.Tech at the Business Success Forum. The forum is one of the main initiatives under the National ICT Month (NIM) 2010. The month-long event ends Aug 12. It features talks, forums, workshops and seminars. NIM 2010 is organised by Pikom and the Science, Innovation and Technology Ministry.


From http://techcentral.my/ 08/05/2010

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THAILAND: BSS Aims to Inject B100m to Local Software Industry

Software Park Thailand has teamed up with the Association of Thai ICT Industry (ATCI) and six associations to stage the Bangkok Software Summit (BSS) 2010. BSS aims to fortify the Thai software market through business-matching and expects to circulate more than 100 million baht to the industry. According to Software Park director Suwipa Wannasathop, this year's Software Park Annual Conference will focus on the theme "Software: The Untold Value Maker". This is the first year that the fair has seen collaboration between Software Park and the private sector. It is hoped the cooperation with the associations will prove beneficial to the overall software industry. BSS will be open for all software and innovation companies, no matter their size, to demonstrate their vision and competitiveness. "This event is a meeting place of buyers and sellers, and it is an opportunity for local sellers to meet international traders," said Suwipa, adding that the foreign delegates are the partners of Software Park Alliance and the Asian-Oceanian Computing Industry Organisation (ASOCIO). "This will be the place for software developers to meet investors and will also be their chance to update new technology," the director said.

The fair is designed to have an atmosphere of business negotiation, she said, noting that software will be an enabler for other industries. There will be special programs offered by government agencies such as the Software Industry Promotion Agency (Sipa) and Department of Industrial Promotion, which will subsidise the software procurement. The consulting clinic will help entrepreneurs integrate IT in their business value. A showcase of e-government by Thailand and foreign countries such as Hong Kong and Taiwan will demonstrate their solutions. ATCI president Bunrak Saraggananda noted that BSS will be a platform for those involved in the software industry to build networks and business opportunities. "The GDP of software in Thailand is very small and thus there is a lot of room to increase the market," he said. He noted that SMEs can adopt technology to improve their efficiency and save costs. IT solutions can also enable government agencies to serve the public and increase service efficiency, he said. "This is a regional platform and a gateway for South East Asia that will promote Thailand on the international stage," the president said, adding that the organisers hope to stage the event consecutively for at least three years. He also said that BSS should encourage the market and boost industry growth throughout the country.

Bunrak confirmed that, despite the recent political unrest, foreign delegates from Bangladesh, Malaysia, Vietnam, Hong Kong and other countries will be attending the event. Last year's Bangkok International ICT & Broadcasting Summit was cancelled, although business relationships among the members endured. "We will have a strong marketing campaign as we expand overseas and we expect a good business result," said Bunrak, who expressed optimism in the business so long as the volatile political situation does not erupt again. BSS will be staged at Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre on September 21 and 22. Apart from ATCI, the six associations are Association of Thai Software Industry (ATSI), Thai Software Export Promotion Association (Tsep), Thai Embedded Systems Association (Tesa), Thai Game Association (TGA), Thai e-Learning Association and the Association of Thai Software Industry (Atsi), the Thailand Animation and the Computer Graphics Association (Tacga).


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 06/02/2010

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VIET NAM: Selling Software Online

VietNamNet Bridge - The strong development of Internet and third-generation mobile networks has facilitated online sales of software products in Vietnam. Providing software products as online services (Software as a Service - SaaS) has become a popular trend. Such software products don't require installation and they can be used directly on Internet Explorer and Firefox. This trend has spread to Vietnam. Starsoft has just launched personnel management software called StarHrm in the form of a monthly subscription via the Internet, not as a packaged product. Clients only need to buy service packs worth from 100,000 to 1 million dong/month, depending on the number of staff that log in Starsoft's website to use this web-based software. In late May, MISA software firm also introduced a new version of its popular accounting software for small- and medium-sized enterprises named MISA SME.Net 2010, which is used by more than 20,000 companies. The most special feature of the new version is that it is available on the Internet.
 
Nguyen Tu Quang, general director of BKAV, the biggest network security firm in Vietnam, observed that his company has invested around 40 billion dong (US$2.1 million) to prepare facilities for supplying web-based software services. Quang said BKAV will begin providing its e-Office and eGate software online later this year. "This is the best time for providing software products in form of SaaS," added Starsoft Director Duong Tien Phong. Phong noted that the speed of Internet connection in Vietnam is getting faster while coverage is spreading. The arrival of 3G networks enables people to use the Internet anytime, anywhere. The economic crisis is also an opportunity for online software, because this service is very price competitive.
 
Security and dependence to service providers are some worries of users, because all their information is archived on the servers of service providers. The service providers don't think that this is a matter, because, according to BKAV's Nguyen Tu Quang, this is an indispensable trend in the world and service providers must invest in servers that meet security standards to maintain their prestige. Quang was very optimistic that, in the next five years, half of BKAV's software revenue will come from online software and up to 90 percent in ten years. StarSoft hoped to have 300 customers using web-based software services this year. StarSoft Director Duong Tien Phong revealed that the first users of web-based software will be small and medium enterprises.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 06/17/2010

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Post and Telecoms Revenue Surges

VietNamNet Bridge - Revenues of the post and telecommunication sector in the first five months of 2010 were an estimated at 46.2 trillion dong ($2.44 billion), with the lion's share, 31 trillion dong, going toVNPT Group, which operates the Vinaphone and Mobiphone digital services. According to the General Statistics Office, Vietnam had 18.5 million new phone subscribers during this period, up 21.9 percent year on year. Of this number, there were 17.5 new million mobile subscribers, up by 26.2 percent. By the end of May 2010, 149 million phone numbers were in operation - 20 million fixed and 128.9 mobile phones, or roughly two for every citizen over the age of six. The Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) had 75.1 million subscribers, up by 30.4 percent, including 11.6 million fixed subscribers (+ 6.4 percent) and 63.5 million mobile subscribers (+36 percent). GSO also counted 3.5 million broadband Internet subscribers at the end of May, an increase of 41.2 percent, including 2.5 million who were served by VNPT. The total number of Internet users reached an estimated 24.6 million, up 14.6 percent year on year.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 06/19/2010

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INDIA: E-Driver's Licence Project Hits 10 Million

The government of India has passed the 10 million mark for issuing electronic driver's licences. Of the country's 110 million drivers, nine per cent have now been registered with electronic driving certificates. The e-Driver's License project aims to reduce the incidence of car-related calamity by alerting officials to the driver's history. Inside the e-Licence is a microprocessor that stores the driver's data - vehicle registration number, the owner's identity, insurance details, and pollution control certification status. It also contains security features that can help curb car theft - a big contributing factor to car accidents. India was second only to Italy in a ranking of the world's worst drivers. The project aims to reduce which is expected to contribute to a reduction in car accidents.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 07/02/2010

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Companies' E-Returns to Have Digital Signature

Digital signatures will now be mandatory for all the electronically filed income-tax returns of companies, according to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). Currently, companies have to file their returns only in the electronic format, no paper returns are accepted by the Tax Department. This regime has been in place since the assessment year 2007-08. Simply put, companies cannot henceforth electronically file their returns without digital signatures. Before this move, companies could file their electronic returns with or without digital signatures. Accounts are required to be audited under the income-tax law, if turnover or gross receipts from business exceeds Rs 40 lakh (Rs 60 lakh from assessment year 2011-12 onwards) or if turnover or gross receipts from profession exceeds Rs 10 lakh (Rs 15 lakh from assessment year 2011-12 onwards).


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 07/13/2010

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Punjab to Keep E-Vigil on Liquor Trade

The Excise and Taxation Department of Punjab has decided to install biometric access system and CCTV cameras at all distilleries and bottling plants to check tax evasion. The integrated control rooms for the biometric system installed at distilleries will be located in Patiala and Chandigarh. Officials sitting in the control room can keep a track on the movement of liquor throughout the state. While the electronic surveillance will check the tax evasion by distilleries, it will also reduce the pressure on manpower. At present, an excise and taxation officer along with three to four inspectors and other staff is deputed at each distillery. It has come to the notice of the department that some distilleries have been using fake excise passes to evade duty. The excise rule says no liquor can be transported without a valid excise pass. There have been reports also that some transporters were transporting liquor twice on the same excise pass and unloading at places that are unauthorised.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 07/28/2010

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E-Commerce Platform Soon by Railways

In a move to enhance passenger convenience and ensure hassle-free ticket booking, the Ministry of Railways is developing a 'Single Window Commercial Portal' which is envisaged as an e-Commerce platform integrating a wide gamut of commercial activities. The single window commercial portal will integrate a wide gamut of commercial activities including augmentation of e-Ticketing services. To develop a Single Window Commercial Portal has been a well deliberated decision taken more than two years ago and is aimed to augment the e-ticketing services in addition to other activities under the single window e-Commerce platform. Such options already exist in aviation sector where there are stand alone ticketing portals as well as parent platforms where travellers can subscribe to other Value added services offered by the carriers. Once operationalised, the additional portal services of Railways will supplement the existing services so as to cater to the increased passenger traffic as well as the demand for e-Ticketing given its flexibility.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 07/29/2010

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SRI LANKA: IT Firm to Raise Rs630mn in IPO

(LBO) - Sri Lanka's PC House, an information technology firm, will raise 630 million rupees in an initial public offering (IPO) to expand its IT enabled services business and product distribution, officials said. PC House is selling 57 million shares at 11 rupees in an initial public offering that will open on August 05. "We are investing about 50 percent of the proceeds in an internet data centre and expanding BPO (business process outsourcing) and (knowledge process outsourcing) services," PC House chairman Shaheedul Hijiry Mohamed Rishan told LBO. "About 20 percent of the money will be investment in expanding product lines and distribution." PC House has agencies like Dell, Samasung and over 30 computer peripheral brands. It has a 150 seat BPO working for a government agency and wants to set up an accounting services centre. In the year to March 2010 the firm earned revenues of 3,034 million rupees, up 15 percent from an year earlier, and group net profit of 120 million, Rishan said. The firm has one fully owned subsidiary. In April and May the group had posted revenues of 514 million rupees up 30 percent from a year earlier and net profits of 26 million rupees. "The government has taken a lot of initiatives, they have already started spending, trying to bring IT to the village," says Dharshan Perera, chief exeucutive of NDB Investment Bank that is helping take the firm public. "That initiative has created an opportunity for companies like PC House." Vajira Kulatilake who heads the investment banking cluster of the NDB Bank says the firm is also going beyond hardware sales into IT consultancy and networking. PC House is also expanding its branches. At the moment it has 13 branches around Colombo and 15 outside. It is planning about seven new branches including Nelliaday, Kilinochchi, Mullativu and Mannar, north of the Island and Hambantota in the south of the island. Its Jaffna and Vavuniya branches are showing the fastest growth, Rishan said.


From http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/ 07/15/2010

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Sri Lanka Gets E-Commerce Investments

(LBO) - Two companies plan to set electronic commerce ventures in Sri Lanka which is promoting itself as a site for business process outsourcing, the Board of Investment said in a statement. The investment promotion agency said it has given investment approval to Senit Technologies and Vingrows Business Solutions to start operations under the BOI which entitles investors to tax breaks and duty free imports. Senit Technologies is to provide e-commerce services for the local and international hotel industry. The venture sponsored by Roomsnet International is an investment of 200,000 US dollars. The company expects to provide employment for 20 Sri Lankan information technology professionals. Vingrows Business Solutions is to provide web-based services to Sri Lankan expatriates that will allow users to request services on real estate, medical and travel sectors. It will invest 150,000 US dollars in the venture and provide employment for 20 people. "The Board of Investment having identified the IT sector as a priority growth sector for economic development provides many incentives to promote investments," the statement said. "The country is emerging as an offshore outsourcing destination for specialised outsourced services and the combined IT and IT-enabled services sector has grown remarkably."


From http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/ 07/28/2010

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PAKISTAN: PTCL Launches World's First EVO 3G Nitro

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd (PTCL) formally launched "the world's first and most cutting edge EVDO Re commercial network a wireless broadband that offers speeds up to 9.3 Mbps. Pakistan has became the first country while PTCL the first company in the world to introduce EVO 3G Nitro which is all set to meet the next generation's need for ultimate high speed and superior performance while providing this service commercially. Addressing the launching ceremony federal Secretary for Information Technology Najeeb-ul-Malick said that through this new introduction has paved the way for Pakistan to enter into a supersonic era. This will bring a revolution in the field of technology as this is a next step in evolution of the wireless broadband revolution. He said that this was a great achievement of PTCL. SEVP Commercial Naveed Saeed marked this launch as a giant leap ahead for PTCL and said this reinforces PTCL's superiority and technological command. He said the service has been launched with aim to give the customers a far more enhanced user experience of instant connectivity. EVO 3G Nitro has revolutionised the three simple steps to high speed On-the-Go connectivity, Just Plug in-Click-Connect with its unprecedented speed of 9.3 Mbps on the downlink and up to 5.4MBPS on the uplink based on 3G CDMA REV B technology, he added. He further said that EVO 3G Nitro is Pakistan's fastest and most cutting edge wireless mobile broadband product, first of its kind, which would enable customers to experience fastest web browsing, high quality video streaming, unlimited downloads, faster uploads, backward compatibility and seamless roaming in 99 cities across the country. Naveed Saeed said that working in a market where technology changes every minute; PTCL always strive to introduce products and services that add more value to customer's life and PTCL 'EVO 3G Nitro' is one such product that will completely revolutionised the way customers communicate. Syed Asim Ali, EVP commercial planning said, through EVO 3G Nitro experience customers spend less time waiting and more time working and accessing media rich applications from downloading songs to live video streaming, at home on desktop or on the move on laptop. In future PTCL plans to introduce a variety of innovative services that can enhance our customer's life, which is our ultimate goal.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 08/15/2010

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ARMENIA: Capital City Gets Phone Coverage on Underground Railway

Comba Telecom Systems has announced the completion and handover of a turnkey wireless solution for the Yerevan Metro rapid transit system that serves the capital of Armenia. The underground railway network is using an end-to-end solution based on Comba technology to enable coverage for mobile phone users within the metro stations and tunnels. The Yerevan Metro is one of the main transport modes for the residents of Armenia's capital city. It began operations in 1981 and currently consists of a train line of approximately 13km servicing a total of 10 stations in both underground and above ground environments. In order to supply passengers with wireless coverage in the network, Comba designed, installed and commissioned a dual-mode GSM and UMTS wireless solution after operational hours to avoid disruption to passengers. Working simultaneously with the installation of base stations for signal servicing, Comba implemented an active Distributed Antenna System (DAS) for coverage on station platforms, customized optical fiber repeater systems for seamless coverage and handover in and out of tunnels. Mr. Fredrik Dyfverman, Comba EMEA General Manager said, "Through the deployment of Comba's solution, passengers on the Yerevan Metro can now experience uninterrupted mobile phone communications. The supply of services is a crucial part of Comba's total solution that included design, testing, commissioning and optimization of a cost-effective and robust wireless system."


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 05/14/2010

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ArmenTel Offers Installment Payment Plan for New Fixed Line Customers

Armenian PTO ArmenTel (trading as Beeline) has launched a new offer in an attempt to entice people to sign up for its fixed line services. Until 31 December 2010, business or residential users wanting a new fixed line will be able to pay for the connection in twelve monthly installments. ArmenTel chief executive Igor Klimko said the move was designed to encourage 'all strata of the population' to sign up for its services, and forms part of its Russian parent Vimpelcom's strategy to shore up the fixed line business in the liberalised market.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 06/09/2010

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International Top Up for VivaCell-MTS Armenia Becomes Available Across Ezetop Distribution Channels

On July 19, VivaCell-MTS Armenia and ezetop announced the launch of a new service - International Top Up - which offers Armenian people living or working abroad the possibility to recharge the VivaCell-MTS prepaid mobile of their families back home in Armenia. The new service will be offered in partnership with ezetop, a company based in Ireland that enables relatives abroad to support friends and family back home by delivering airtime credit directly to mobile phones, the press service of VivaCell-MTS Armenia reported. "With this new service, the Armenian people living abroad have a new way to sustain the family back home. Now, they can send anytime a recharge to VivaCell-MTS mobiles of their family from any of our 160,000 locations in 12 countries around the world," said David Shackleton, ezetop's Chief Operating Officer. "An International operator with an Armenian flavour is not just a slogan, it is a belief. The highest value for an Armenian is taking care for parents and their children. And for thousands of our compatriots who have left their homes for other countries in search of work staying in touch and always being connected to their families and friends is a priority. Our cooperation with ezetop will provide many Armenians working abroad with affordable means of communication with their families living in the motherland as well as an opportunity to support them," stated VivaCell-MTS General Manager Ralph Yirikian. VivaCell-MTS mobiles in Armenia can now be easily recharged from abroad through ezetop retail locations across the US, Canada, Germany and Spain as well as online -www.ezetop.com.


From http://www.panarmenian.net/ 07/19/2010

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ArmenTel Lowers Local Calls Printout Tariffs

ArmenTel CJSC has lowered local calls printout (list of numbers called, call duration and tariffing) price for Beeline subscribers. Within the framework of customer service improvement program, 1-page printout cost has been decreased from AMD 72 to 10, Beeline press service told PanARMENIAN.Net Also, the list of local and international calls will be e-mailed to Beeline subscribers, upon their filling in relevant forms at any sale & service office.


From http://www.panarmenian.net/ 08/18/2010

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VivaCell-MTS Launches Good Price Service

VivaCell-MTS, subsidiary of Mobile TeleSystems OJSC, announced that henceforth, by activating the Good Price service, subscribers of the Dialect and 18+ tariff plans can for a whole month call subscribers of RA other GSM and fixed networks at more affordable prices: AMD 38.5/minute for Dialect subscribers, and AMD 34/minute for 18+ subscribers. To activate the service, *050# should be dialed. The activation price is AMD 250. If on the day of expiration of 1 month the subscriber has at least AMD 250 on his account, the service will be automatically prolonged; otherwise it will be deactivated. The automatic activation can be cancelled by dialing *050*0#.


From http://www.panarmenian.net/ 08/19/2010

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AZERBAIJAN: Award of Further Two 3G Licences Imminent

Azerbaijan's Minister of Communications and Information Technologies, Ali Abbasov, has said that the ministry is currently considering applications for third-generation licences from mobile operators Azercell and Bakcell, Trend Capital reports. Abbasov added that if there are no problems with the companies' applications, they will receive the concessions 'in the nearest future' for the official licence fee of AZN11,000 (USD13,679). According to TeleGeography's GlobalComms Database, Azerfon is the only cellco in Azerbaijan to have been awarded a licence from the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (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. Earlier this year the MCIT began reviewing an appeal by the pair over the award of 3G licences.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 06/18/2010

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Deputy Communications Minister: Azerbaijan, Korea Consider Opportunities to Expand Cooperation in ICT Sphere

Azerbaijan and Korea consider the perspectives of development of the bilateral cooperation in the sphere of information and communication technologies, Azerbaijani Deputy Minister of Communications and IT Elmir Valizade said July 28. He said issues will be considered during the two-day joint workshop on ICT, which started today. The Korean side's delegation includes representatives from 22 enterprises and companies. The two sides will discuss cooperation in the field of education, training of staff, the field of scientific achievements. "The level of ICT development in Korea is at a sufficiently high level and high technologies in this country are being introduced in virtually all industries. This is the sphere of mobile communications, electronics, e-government, and postal communication. We are interested in studying the experience of the country, which could achieve such high levels of ICT development in a short period," Valizade said. Valizade believes that learning the advanced countries' experience in high technology allows Azerbaijan to take concrete steps in the ICT field, which defines further ways of the development of Azerbaijan.


From http://en.trend.az/ 07/28/2010

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Trend Commentator: Azerbaijan's East-West Information Superhighway Project to Open Direct Access to Internet Network Core

The way that today the countries of the South Caucasus and Central Asia regions pass is quite significant in their independent development despite the political and economic problems. Making a start from the general idea of the development of the region and including it in the global system of global economic relations, Azerbaijan once again appeared as the initiator of global-scale project of constructing the information superhighway "East West", which is the beginning to acquire real incarnation. Azerbaijan's resolution on the project to establish information superhighway "East-West" was adopted by the UN General Assembly late last year. The UN General Assembly's adoption of a resolution on this project is a great achievement of Azerbaijan, which is a powerful tool in the implementation of the projects and allows attracting additional funding, gives a mandate to Azerbaijan as the coordinator country of the projects both regionally and globally. The resolution adopted by the UN takes a general recommendation character, and the process of negotiations with the countries to provide resources and opportunities for entering their markets will be conducted based on their interests. Certainly, no country will do something that does not meet its interests. Each country has its own internal and external infrastructure development plans. Nevertheless, a common interest is displayed in this project, particularly by the regional countries. Eurasia is the "white spot" on the world map. The question is not about the absence of communication lines at all, but about the level of their existence. Network, which is the core of the Internet network (level network-TR1) is virtually absent in the region. There are only six such networks in the world, and they are mostly located in Asia, Western Europe and North America. Each of these networks is an integrated whole network that includes Asia, Europe and North America. These six global networks exchange traffic with each other. Even large operators like Deutsche Telecom and British Telecom use the network of second level - TR2. A majority of countries in the Eurasian region refers to the networks of the third level - TR3, which have access to the data network through TR2 network. Despite the fact that the countries of the region have access to international communication channels, lack of networks of the first level is a problem. The project, initiated by Azerbaijan, on its characteristics will refer to the TR1 or TR2 class.

Today, worldwide telecommunications are undergoing a period of wide introduction of fiber-optic lines in practice. The rapid process of informatization of society has become the main reason for the widespread use of fiber-optic transmission systems in information networks for different purposes. Tens of thousands of kilometers of fiber-optic communication lines has been laid in the world, which covers countries of Western Europe, USA and Japan. The question is about local lines with length from a few tens of thousands - hundreds of kilometers to highways with length of thousands of kilometers, in which information is transmitted at speeds of tens of gigabits per second. The most typical event in the development of optical lines has been the creation of the first transatlantic route TAT-8 in 1988. Its comparison with the first submarine cable line on a metal cable TAT-1 (1956) showed that the cost for per channel decreased by 100 times. This led to the fact that the general direction of the subsequent decade was the construction of rapid lengthy submarine and underground transmission optical lines. In addition to the transatlantic and transpacific routes TAE highway (Trans-Asia-Europe) that runs along the Silk Road, an underwater pipeline FLAG (Fiber Optic Link Around the Globe - a fiber-optic communication line of the globe) and SEA-ME-WE-3 (South-East Asia-Middle East-East-Western Europe - link South-East Asia - Middle East - Western Europe), should be marked out. Fiber-optic cable highway TAE, which includes also Azerbaijan can be called a system of agreements on traffic transit. This highway is a network of the previous generation, which is actually not a single network, and set - a chain of networks between China and Western Europe, gathered together for the construction of canals. Countries that have access to the Internet through the TAE, in the case of expansion the communication channel must pay all the countries, through whose territory it carries out the traffic transit. Accordingly, each of these countries itself serves a network and each of them, using different equipment, uses different technical standards. Unlike the TAE, the "East-West" project is a single network, which is technically and technologically passing through the territory of countries - participants of the project does not require alignment of the chain. The "East-West" highway technologically has a huge advantage in terms of speed of construction, for example VPN networks. The network allows effortlessly connect and provide a guaranteed service, for example a large an international company, operating in several countries. There are several advantages of the project initiated by Azerbaijan. One of them is the fact that this network will save on network access TR1, whereas today, each country pays for it individually. By bringing the countries into a single network, the consortium will be created, which in turn will save on getting traffic. Another advantage is the fact that the regional traffic (video conferences, movies, games, etc.) will be kept directly within this single network.

Regarding the cost of the "East-West" project, today there is a preliminary assessment of the Booz Allien Hamilton Consulting Company, which prices the project at hundreds of millions of dollars. However, the assessment envisages the construction of its own fiber-optic infrastructure on the region. The company examined how much construction of some optical lines from Western Europe to China can cost. Company Booz Allien Hamilton offered to work with countries and hold deregulated market. This is a very complicated issue, as each country has its own policies and priorities. Accordingly, each country will protect its national interests. However, there is another approach that can be much more attractive. This opportunity is using existing optical lines in close cooperation with major leading operators in the region. In general, network operators are built on fairly optimal routes. Operators are well aware of the geography, topography of their countries and networks. Therefore, construction of a network from zero with the exception of those cases when there is an urgent need for optical channels, makes no sense. The exception can be underwater cable line between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, or Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, which is now the subject of negotiations between the countries. According to practice, construction of an overall network takes several years of hard work. It will be necessary to legally register it, conduct topographical studies, etc. On average construction of the network with length 5,000- 10,000 kilometers can take from three to five years. The project's implementation will depend how Azerbaijan will be able to convince the countries and the operators in its success. The project may lead to conclusion of a certain framework agreement on traffic transit, on which the region's countries can earn. There are regional leaders and countries with low development indicators among them. Azerbaijan's initiative, envisaged primarily to "bring up" lagging countries, on the territory of which highway line can be laid, to the general level of development. It is envisaged that the project will be implemented on the basis of the consortium. Every country, every operator will act as an investor, it can be possible to attract foreign capital. Today major international investors, in particular China, which at the state level has already expressed readiness to invest in this project in the project, show great interest in this project. Belarus, Georgia, and almost all countries of the region are interested in this project in various degrees. Azerbaijan's resolution on the information superhighway "East-West" adopted by the UN is designed to connect totally 20 countries and play an important role for the development of the region. The project's implementation will eliminate the existing "digital gap" between countries within the Western European and Pacific basins.


From http://en.trend.az/ 08/02/2010

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ISRAEL: Communications Ministry Issues First MVNO Licence

The Israeli Ministry of Communications (MoC) has awarded the country's first mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) licence, Reuters reports. Telecom 365, which is a subsidiary of the Hamashbir retail group, was named as the recipient of the concession, and under existing regulations the company now has six months in which to agree fees with one of the country's mobile network operators; if after that time no agreement has been reached the MoC will step in to help finalise a deal. Once Telecom 365 has been able to agree financial terms with one of the wireless sector's current players it will then have a further six months to prepare its network for commercial operations. Telecom 365 said it intends to move forward quickly, with Oded Birger, the would-be virtual operator's CEO, noting: 'We will work vigorously to set up the network and estimate we will be able to supply customers, especially members of our Club 365, with quality communications services towards the end of 2011.' The development follows years of haggling over the introduction of MVNOs to the Israeli wireless sector. According to TeleGeography's GlobalComms Database, in August 2008 the MoC announced that it would implement the recommendations made by the Gronau Committee five months earlier, but it was not until November 2009 that it published its final regulations governing the introduction of MVNOs. The regulator at that date revealed that it would forbid existing wireless carriers from becoming MVNOs, either directly or via associated companies, although it said it will allow companies connected to the wireless carriers, such as NetVision, to acquire MVNO licences on the proviso that they can demonstrate that their business has declined substantially and only entering the wireless sector can improve their fortunes.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 06/17/2010

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MoC to Reign in MTR Reduction

Israel's Ministry of Communications (MoC) is reportedly in the final stages of its examination of mobile termination rates (MTRs), with it understood that following pressure from mobile operators, initial cuts will be less than previously proposed. According to Haaretz, with MTRs currently standing at ILS0.25 (USD0.066) per minute the regulator had originally suggested that these would be reduced to ILS0.414 per minute in the first instance before dropping further to ILS0.258 by end-2014; such suggestions echoed recommendations made by NERA Economic Consulting, which the MoC has hired to help advise on reforms in the wireless sector. It is believed that under the revised proposals MTRs would at first by reduced to ILS0.10 per minute by the end of 2010, before falling to ILS0.05 by end-2013. The decision by the MoC to reduce MTRs comes as part of its efforts to increase competition in the wireless sector. Having unveiled its final regulations governing the introduction of mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) in November 2009, and having issued its first MVNO licence two months ago, the reduction of MTRs is seen as an important step in ensuring profitability for virtual operators. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, Telecom 365, a subsidiary of the Hamashbir retail group, was named as the recipient of the country's first MVNO concession in June 2010, since when the regulator has issued a further two licences, to Free Telecom and Ituran Cellular Communication in July 2010. A further five companies are understood to have made applications, including the Israel Postal Company and Bynet Communications.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 08/06/2010

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IRAQ: Fourth Mobile Licence Receives Final Approval

The Iraqi cabinet has given final approval for the Ministry of Communications (MoC) to tender a fourth licence to operate mobile services in a bid to improve telecom services and bolster investment in the country. Hiam Al Yasiri, an advisor to Iraq's communications minister, told Reuters that up to 15 firms, including US-based Verizon Communications, South Africa's MTN, Turkcell of Turkey and the UAE's Etisalat, had expressed an interest since the cabinet initially approved a plan for a fourth operator in July 2009. The fourth mobile service provider, which would be selected through an open tender and operate throughout Iraq, would give 35% of its operating revenue to the government as part of the deal, Al Yasiri stated. 'We believe that the service from the current operators will not improve, at least in the near future. Our main goal is to make the project successful in the Iraqi market. The current companies blame the bad service on the security situation and signal jamming. We want the next investor to not have a number of excuses for limited or bad services,' she added. According to TeleGeography's GlobalComms Database, Zain Iraq is currently the country's largest cellco by subscribers, with over ten million customers at 31 March 2010, followed by Asiacell (7.74 million) and Korek Telecom (2.5 million). Kurdish operator SanaTel provides services in the north-eastern province of Sulaymaniyah and had an estimated 500,000 subscribers at the same date.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 05/24/2010

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KAZAKHSTAN: Operator Calls for 3G License Allocation

Earlier this month, representatives of the Kazakhstan government stated the need to amend the Tax Code to be able to set the license fees for 3G services. However, the mobile network operator, GSM Kazakhstan (Kcell) has now stated that it believes that the current tax laws already allows the government to set the annual fee for the 3G licenses. "Today our company is ready to invest tens of millions of dollars in building a third-generation network, and believes that the size of the annual fee should not delay the investment in the economy. Kcell proposes to amend the tax code and run parallel to the introduction of 3G , moreover, that the company had no objection to increasing the annual license fees to a reasonable rate" notes Veysel Aral, CEO of Kcell. However, the company added that the license fees should take into account the cost of building the 3G networks and the existing tax burden on the companies. TeliaSonera's CEO, Lars Nyberg recently held talks with the Kazakhstan President, Nursultan Nazarbayev on the issue. TeliaSonera has an indirect 25% holding in Kcell through its Fintur Holdings subsidiary.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 06/26/2010

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Now, an EDI Centre in Kazakhstan Now, an EDI Centre in Kazakhstan

Taking forward India's relationship and cultural ties with Kazakhstan, the Indian government under South-South Cooperation has decided to set up Kazakhstan-India Entrepreneurship Development Centre (KIEDC) at Almaty with the help of Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDI), Ahmedabad. "The need of the hour is to create globally competitive entrepreneurs who will exploit and manage resources for the benefit of the economy, besides making profits for themselves and creating jobs for others," says Dinesh Awasthi, director, EDI, Ahmedabad. Here, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can be effective mechanism in facilitating economic development, as it is this sector which has the highest capital-employment ratio. It is this sector, which provides opportunities for the youth to exhibit their entrepreneurial potential by being job creators than job seekers, says Awasthi. He adds that the latent talent of a large number of technical personnel and others with work experience can be tapped for the larger benefit of the economy and given the nature of SME sector, any effort to develop the sector can lead to regional balancing. The KIEDC will cater to the needs of both the start-up and the existing entrepreneurs. The centre will also organise courses for support system like banks, industry promotion agencies, planners and policy makers to create an enabling environment for establishment of SMEs. To ensure sustainability of the project, it will also organise trainers' training programmes and these trainers can later organise entrepreneurship development programmes for potential entrepreneurs. EDI has already set up four similar centres in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam with the support of ministry of external affairs and the ASEAN secretariat.


From http://engnews.gazeta.kz/ 08/02/2010

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UZBEKISTAN: UCell Acquires 4G Mobile Licence

The Uzbeki telecoms regulator has reportedly awarded TeliaSonera-backed cellco UCell a licence to roll out a Long Term Evolution (LTE) network. With the frequencies it has been awarded, UCell plans on building a next generation super fast mobile broadband network, offering download speeds of up to 100Mbps. 'We are very pleased to receive this 4G licence. It will give our customers access to even faster mobile broadband in the future', said Oguz Memiguven, the CEO at UCell. TeliaSonera owns 94% of UCell, having purchased an additional 20% stake from Takilant, earlier in 2010. UCell ended June 2010 with 5.416 million customers, making it the second largest wireless network operator in the country behind MTS of Russia.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 07/26/2010

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Fourth LTE Network Goes Live: MTS Launches 4G in Tashkent

Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) has announced the commercial launch of a 4G network based on Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology in Uzbekistan, the first fully operational 4G network in the CIS and Central Asia. According to TeleGeography's GlobalComms Database, the launch brings to four the number of live commercial LTE networks across the world; the others being in Sweden (TeliaSonera), Norway (TeliaSonera's subsidiary Netcom) and Finland (TeliaSonera, 'soft-launch' last month). The Uzbeki LTE network has been deployed in the central part of Tashkent, with the company planning to expand network coverage significantly over time. The technology enables MTS subscribers to enjoy data transfer rates of up to 100Mbps using LTE-enabled modems. 'The development of our networks is a key driver for growth, particularly in a region with relatively low fixed line broadband penetration. By bringing LTE to the market, we can offer both our business and individual customers the fastest, most reliable broadband access in the region. The introduction of LTE in Uzbekistan will also allow MTS to gain valuable insight from this unique experience and eventually apply it to other markets of operation in the future,' commented ?leg Raspopov, Vice President and Head of Business Unit MTS Foreign Subsidiaries. MTS's LTE network utilises the 2.5GHz-2.7GHz frequency range, following receipt of a licence in October 2009. The equipment for the new network was supplied by Huawei.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 07/29/2010

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AUSTRALIA: 44 ICT Projects to Share in $230m of Gershon Savings

Gershon-led savings to the tune of $230 million will be divvied up among 20 Federal Government agencies to fund 44 new ICT projects. Last week as part of the Budget announcement, the Federal Government said three programs would receive funding as a result of money saved from business as usual (BAU) changes coming off the back of the Gershon Review. However, Minister for Finance and Deregulation Lindsay Tanner, now says the money from the BAU reinvestment fund, which was flagged as being available as early as last August, would go to a wider range of projects. "The efficiency gains from these 44 projects will generate further savings of an estimated $78.9 million over four years and $23.9 million annually beyond the forward estimates," Tanner said in a statement. The government forecast an additional $271.1 million over the next three years would be available for other projects.

Earlier this year, Tanner also claimed "savings of close to $430 million [had been] identified between 2010-11 and 2012-13" and the government was on track to achieving its goal of $1 billion in savings over four years. As part of the Budget the government outlined funding for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) ePassport system ($108.8 million), a Central Budget Management System (CBMS) in the Department of Finance and Deregulation (value not provided), and a whole-of-government data centre strategy ($11.9 million) that was announced in March. The additional 41 projects include: Centrelink server virtualisation and the development of the Human Services portfolio common system; nine separate Customs and Border Protection Service projects including for mainframe opitimisation; new data centres for ASIC; and additional storage for Geoscience Australia to name a few.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 05/18/2010

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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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Government Not yet at the Green IT Tipping Point

Federal Government agencies are yet to hit the tipping point of deriving real business benefits out Green IT adoption, according to Senator Kate Lundy. But the momentum is heading in the right direction with "smarter" use of IT and procurement practices increasingly evident, Lundy argues. "I am optimistic because at least what we have started doing as a government is putting in place specific strategies as part of the IT reform program to achieve Green outcomes," she told Computerworld Australia. "So it is on the political agenda, and the tipping point I am talking about is when the political leadership, which is theoretically there, and the developing professional understanding of Green IT and what it means... it is really in that middle area where you connect the two dots. "We are not quite there yet, but the political leadership is there and the smarts are growing fast on the ground and it is not too far away. I am really hopeful that promoting Green IT Week that can help us get a bit closer to that tipping point where the penny drops that so much can be gained from efficiency gains with how we deploy our technology."

The senator has agreed to become an ambassador for the Computers Off-led International Green IT Awareness Week which runs from 1-7 June. "It's not just about turning the technology off, but it is how you can use the IT smarter to achieve a Greener outcome," she said. "Think smart networks and having clever software running on your system that can tell when things aren't being used and switch them off. So it's about using the smarts in the technology to achieve a Greener outcome. I think that is really to me the tipping point for Green IT. "When IT departments realise they can return an energy efficiency dividend to the business they work for, suddenly that makes real business sense and will become part of the business imperative." Green IT Week is a collaborative initiative consisting of in-person and online seminars and activities and will be hosted by ComputersOff.ORG. It will involve expert researchers, green IT specialists, vendors and manufacturers, as well as organisations which have already successfully implemented their own Green IT initiatives.

The not-for-profit organisation has launched its Green IT Awareness Week website, which will provide information on the events that will run from 1-7 June. Celebrities have also supported the International Green IT Week by sharing their views on a video collaboration posted on YouTube. The list of celebrity supporters includes James Arnold Taylor, Nelson Aspen, Frederic Prinz Von Anhalt, Tanna Federick and Mariah Carradine. Australia has been ranked in the bottom half of G20 nations for its ability to use ICT to reduce CO2 emissions according to IDC's ICT Sustainability Index. The Index, which was launched to the public at the United Nations COP15 climate change meetings in Copenhagen, found Australia could cut up to 116.6 million tons of CO2 emissions by 2020 if it used more intensive ICT solutions in the transport, industry, building, and energy generation and distribution sectors.

Overall the G20 nations - which account for over 70 per cent of all emissions - could cut CO2 emissions by 25 per cent to 2020 with 41.4 per cent of this potential existing in the Asia-Pacific region. The countries were ranked into five tiers with Japan being the only country to achieve a Tier 1 ranking with a score of 16. Tier 2 comprised the US, France, Germany, Brazil and the UK in that order. Australia scrapped into Tier 4 as the 13th ranked country behind Turkey, South Korea and China. South Africa and Indonesia received the dubious honour of the worst ranked. In outlining Australia's results, Philip Carter, IDC associate research director for Green IT & Sustainability Research, noted smart metering could account for 9 per cent of CO2 emissions reduction in the power sector while private transport optimisation could decrease emissions in that sector by 5 per cent.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 05/19/2010

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Declaration of Open Government Imminent

The Federal Government will soon act on one of the Government 2.0 Taskforce's central recommendation in declaring an open government, according to Labour Senator, Kate Lundy. Speaking at the Gov 2.0 Expo in Washington D.C. this week, Lundy said the Special Minister of State, Senator Joe Ludwig, and Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Lindsay Tanner, would soon announce the declaration of open government on behalf of the Australian Government. Spokespeople for both Ludwig and Tanner were unable to confirm a date for the declaration.

The Engage: Getting on with Government 2.0 report released by the Government 2.0 Taskforce in December last year stated that a declaration of open government at the highest level was "integral to the Government's objectives including public sector reform, innovation and using the national investment in broadband to achieve an informed, connected and democratic community". According to the report, the declaration would ensure that: "This builds on the leadership reflected in the legislative amendments to the Freedom of Information Act and new Information Commissioner Act which finally passed the Australian Senate on May 13, 2010," Lundy said. As part of the Information Commission Act, Australian National University (ANU) legal lecturer and former Commonwealth Ombudsman, Professor John McMillan, was appointed as independent Information Commissioner Designate to promote pro-disclosure across government and ensure correct implementation of Government information policy reforms.

According to Lundy, the position would also serve to "advise government on policy and practices regarding the collection, use, disclosure, management, administration, storage and accessibility of information held by the Government and systems or proposed systems for these activities". "There will be an irreversible change in government culture," McMillan said in a statement regarding his appointment. "The ground rules for information disclosure and publication are being rewritten." Lundy said the combination of a declaration of open government and the new information policy reforms would encourage transparency and political accountability amongst government agencies. In her speech, Lundy championed the use of the Internet as "the prime catalyst for the next big step for democracy" and key to establishing what she championed as the three pillars of Government 2.0: democratising data, citizen-centric services and participatory democracy.

The Government has already begun enacting on the core recommendations of the Government 2.0 Taskforce report, including moving Government data to a Creative Commons by attribution license. These include census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, all data sets on the data.australia.gov.au website, the 2010/2011 Federal Budget and the Australian Parliament House website once it is relaunched in October.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 05/27/2010

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Australian Government Strikes Multi-Billion Broadband Deal

The Australian government has struck a deal worth $A11 billion with the country's main telecommunications firm, Telstra, for a national broadband network. Under the deal, the government will pay for access to Telstra's infrastructure and to help set up a new company to meet Telstra's universal service obligation. The deal needs the approval of the competition regulator and Telstra shareholders. But the prime minister, Kevin Rudd, says the agreement with Telstra will help the government provide a new superfast internet system.


From http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/ 06/20/2010

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Broadband Bargaining Grips Australia

Australia's Opposition says there is no certainty about a $US9.6 billion deal with telecommunications provider Telstra over the government's national broadband network. Telstra has agreed to give the network access to some of its infrastructure. The deal involves Telstra receiving compensation for eventually shutting down its copper wire network and cable broadband network. But Opposition finance spokesman Andrew Robb says any improvement in internet speeds is a long way off.

No certainty
"It won't get to Telstra shareholders for another 12 months at least for approval," he said. "There is no certainty in this proposal. It is full of risk, it is full of debt and it is full of high prices for Australian customers of any broadband service in the future." The broadband network had been estimated to cost as much as $37.4 billion and the opposition says it would scrap the scheme because it is too expensive. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy says the deal with Telstra represents a revolutionary step forward. "It will be remembered as the moment the Australian Government and the industry joined together," he said.

Mr Conroy says the deals means building the superfast internet service will be a lot cheaper. "Now that we have access to Telstra's fibre connections between major capital cities and between regional centres, we don't need to duplicate all of those assets," he said. But Mr Conroy will not say how much he expects to save from the deal, saying that information is commercially sensitive. Greens Senator Scott Ludlam says the public has a right to know the details of the deal and the estimated savings.

Closed doors
"All of these deals have gone on behind closed doors without any legislative framework or any regulatory oversight whatsoever," he said. "That's why I think there's a lot of work still to do and that's why its very important that we debate this legislation and debate it soon." Telstra and the government will continue to negotiate aspects of the deal before it goes before the company's shareholders. Telstra chairwoman, Catherine Livingstone says she is pleased with the outcome. "We have been through very tough negotiations," she said.


From http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/ 06/21/2010

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Senate Committee to Investigate Data Retention By ISPs

A Senate Committee will launch an inquiry into the collection of online data by Government agencies and private companies, including Internet service providers (ISPs). The Senate Standing Committee on Environment, Communication and the Arts will also look into online privacy on social networking sites and submit a report by 20 October, 2010. The move comes after revelations the Federal Government planned to enact laws to force ISPs to retain data on its users and follows Google's apology for capturing WiFi data through its Street View cars that included passwords and e-mail. In a statement, Greens Senator, Scott Ludlam, said recent events had proven there were many challenges to online privacy. "Most recently, the Government is investigating options to compel ISPs to collect the web browsing history of all Australians, for purposes which are not at all clear," Ludlam said.

"It is time the Parliament took a proper look at the degree to which the privacy of Australians online is being eroded by Governments and corporations alike." Several ISPs recently told Computerworld Australia that online personal data will be placed at risk and they may be forced to cough up millions if the Federal Government acts on its plans to legislate data retention laws. A handful of industry sources present at a closed-door, high-level meeting with the Federal Attorney-General (AG) allege the proposed laws will force ISPs to capture, retain and secure the search engine results of Australians at their expense, which some say could run into millions of dollars. But one top director of an ISP who wished to remain anonymous due to confidentiality agreements said the AG had discussed the feasibility of data retention laws for more than a decade.

Optus government and corporate affairs chief, Maha Krishnapillai, and Communications Alliance chief executive officer, John Stanton, both cautioned the government to consider the proposal's privacy and security ramifications on industry. This week in the Senate, Senator Penny Wong, representing the Attorney-General's Department, said the data would be used to identify "parties to a communication, when and where that communication was made and the communication's duration, [but understands] it would not extend to the content of the communication". "My advice is the government would ensure that any proposal would be consistent with the privacy act and the government's privacy reforms," she answered in response to questions.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 06/24/2010

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New Zealand's Broadband: Bring It on at the Speed of Light

Commentators over the last few weeks have argued the Government's ultra-fast broadband plan is crying out for "a rigorous cost/benefit analysis" that's "nowhere to be found". And that we should be concerned that Telecom might miss out on the Government's $1.5 billion investment. To which there is really only one reply - bollocks. Of course we want ultra-fast broadband. The faster the better. Bring it on at the speed of light and beyond. Those who tut-tut that we can't justify a fibre optic rollout in cost/benefit terms, or argue that the productivity gains from slow to fast broadband are negligible, betray a terrible lack of understanding of what this thing called the internet is. And what happens when speeds on the greatest goods and services delivery mechanism the world has ever seen get really fast.

The internet is not the web. It's the tracks that deliver the web, but also a whole lot of other kinds of traffic - music and movie files, software, instant messages, phone calls, video conferencing, streaming audio, fabrication data, computation and heaps of other stuff in a list that goes on for pages. When you make this traffic flow very fast - and the change from the few megabits per second we currently get on broadband to 100Mbps proposed is enormous - something else happens. At high speed the network becomes the computer. And all sorts of other possibilities emerge - dumb devices such as mobile phones or tablets connect to servers on the net and do complex things. The switch to computing in the cloud, computing as a utility, the net computer, or whatever you want to call it, has huge implications for economic development, not to mention surveillance, security and privacy, that we're only just beginning to realise.

In the face of all this, to call on the crude economic tool of cost/benefit analysis, is just plain silly. Such an analysis would have to take into account so many variables that the model falls over before you even start. It would have to measure, for example, the benefit that accrues from more people making video conference calls instead of travelling to meetings by plane. Or the energy efficiency gains that could be achieved by a community of houses hooked up to a grid network controlling electricity usage. Or the material cost savings from wholly digital versus material (DVD) delivery of movies. Ditto for newspapers, magazines and audio CDs. With cloud computing, storage costs fall, too, as all media can reside on the network.

Then there is Telecom which has belatedly decided it wants to be part of the Government's bold plan - offering to "structurally separate" to do so. Commentators have been quick to argue that to exclude Telecom would be terrible - leading to "a duplication of assets". But it's nonsense - Telecom's assets will still be connected. There will not be two separate networks. By its very nature, the net is an interconnected mesh of copper, hybrid coaxial cable, fibre, and all sorts of other wires, not to mention all manner of wireless frequencies. In fact, duplication on the network is good thing. The internet is built on multiple paths - a failsafe so that if one path breaks there's always another route for delivery. As for concerns that "Telecom shareholders would end up with much less value in the two separate companies created by the split", frankly we don't care.

This is the harsh reality of commerce in the internet age and companies, indeed industries, all over are dealing with the value destruction and opportunity, this new force in businesses brings. That Telecom finds itself at "a beggar's crossroads" is entirely of its own doing. Its arrogant attitude towards consumers, and its refusal over decades to improve the public utility of its monopoly network, is what led to the Government stepping in with its broadband investment promise. The Government is doing what Telecom refused to do - speeding up the network at a pace that will quickly deliver benefit to all New Zealanders. That's something it should be commended for, and so far, it has to be said, Communications Minister Steven Joyce is doing a superb job.


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 08/12/2010

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NBN No Cost to Homes: Gillard

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has denied people would have to pay thousands of dollars to rewire their homes to get Labor's national broadband network. One day shy of the election Ms Gillard was ambushed by Ray Hadley on NOVA 96.9 FM today and, in a defensive exchange, accused him of being untruthful. The outspoken shock jock - who signalled he had struggled to have Ms Gillard on his regular 2GB program - said he had no idea he was being invited onto the FM program at the same time as the prime minister. But he launched himself into a tough interview, taking the opportunity to grill Ms Gillard about the NBN and border protection. Ms Gillard seemed surprised but gave a feisty performance and accused the broadcaster of raising fears about costs associated with the NBN after he asked how much people would have to pay to rewire their houses to receive the service.

"A new wire. A fibre will be rolled out to your home. The cost is not in that. You don't pay a cost for that," Ms Gillard said. "Then, of course, you would pay, if you want to use the fibre and obviously people do, people do want to have the national broadband network in their home, then they would pay a service provider. There will be competition. So service providers will be there saying 'pick me. I'll give you this price'." Ms Gillard rejected suggestions from Mr Hadley that the cost of rewiring homes to receive the NBN would be between $2000 and $4000. "Well, Ray I can tell you I have met with people in Tasmania who have the NBN now and that is not what has happened and that is not what it has cost... there are trial people in Tasmania obviously in small parts of Tasmania." Ms Gillard accused Mr Hadley of trying to raise cost fears.

"It is simply not right to raise this fear of costs for people. That is not right. That is not what is going to happen. It is simply not true. "The spectre that you've tried to put in people's mind about charges for the National Broadband Network is untrue, completely incorrect and no-one should vote on that basis."


From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 08/20/2010

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FIJI: Bid to Cut Its Internet Prices

The Fijian Commerce Commission says it will regulate the price of bandwidth sourced from Fiji International Telecommunications Limited. Commission chairman Dr Mahendra Reddy has told the Fijilive website that once wholesale prices are regulated, the commission expects retail prices to follow automatically. Dr Reddy says this might bring prices down by an average of 34 per cent for end users. He says the commission will take action against internet service providers in Fiji who do not pass on savings to customers.


From http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/ 06/08/2010

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NEW ZEALAND: Commerce Commission Recommends Regulation of Mobile Termination Rates

New Zealand's Commerce Commission says that it is now recommending that the Minister for Communications and Information Technology regulate mobile termination access services (MTAS), and not accept undertakings from Telecom and Vodafone. "The Commission considers that cost-based mobile termination rates, when compared to the offers in the undertakings, will better promote competition in the mobile market and will be in the best long-term interests of end-users," said Dr Ross Patterson, Telecommunications Commissioner. "While a plan like Vodafone's Talk Add-on, which has now been withdrawn, might provide short term benefits to consumers on larger networks, in the Commission's view, such plans are likely to result in longer term detrimental effects on competition in the mobile services market," said Dr Ross Patterson. "In the long term, the Commission expects that its recommendation of regulation will ensure that all mobile users will benefit from greater competition, which is expected to result in access to more competitive prices and services."

"For the first time, retail plans such as Talk Add-on introduced a low on-net tariff to a very broad customer base of a large existing network. Faced with such plans, a small entrant paying the wholesale mobile termination rates contained in the undertakings would be likely to incur significant losses and therefore be unable to compete against the large networks," said Dr Patterson. As the report is now with the Minister, the Commission will be making no further comment.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 06/16/2010

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Social Networking Fastest Growing App Segment in US, Europe - comScore

Analyst firm releases new numbers on mobile applications and mobile browser markets in Europe and the U.S. Social networking continues to top the U.S. mobile content charts, new research shows, with application-based access showing a phenomenal growth rate over the past 12 months.14.52 million U.S. smartphone users used a social networking application in April 2010, up a sizeable 240% on the same month in 2009, according to new figures from comScore. The growth rate in Europe was almost identical at 239% (9.52 million users), the analyst firm revealed. The popularity of social networking drove the application access market as a whole. In total 69.64 million U.S. smartphone users used an application (excluding native games) in April, up 28% from 54.51 million a year earlier. Other application access categories recording 100%-plus growth over the year included news, which increased by 124%, sports information (113%), banking (113%), and weather (111%). Despite significant increases in application usage, most Americans still prefer using their browsers, comScore noted. Close to 73 million mobile users accessed their browser in April, up 31% on-year; social networking was once again the fastest growing content segment accessed via mobile browsers, surging by 90% (29.84 million users), but in absolute terms, search (34.91 million users) ranked higher. "Although growth in application usage on smartphones continues grab the spotlight in the mobile market, the audience using their mobile browser remains larger and is growing just as quickly," said Mark Donovan, senior vice president of mobile at comScore, in a statement. "Brands need to remember to take into account the user experience across both channels when building their mobile strategies," he cautioned. The situation is reversed in Europe though, where mobile users are showing a preference for applications over browser access. While 81.87 million users accessed applications in April 2010, a year-on-year growth rate of 13.4%, just 58.9 million used their browser. However, the browser category recorded stronger growth at 40.5%. While social networking stole the application show in terms of growth rate, it was beaten by mapping services in terms of users, with 11.13 million people accessing maps thorough apps in April, up 131.3%.


From http://www.totaltele.com/ 06/02/2010

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Adoption of Mobile Banking Services Exceeds Expectations

Demand for mobile banking services has exceeded expert expectations, reports Sybase 365. Thirty percent of mobile users currently use banking services on their mobile handset, compared to the 16% prediction, and 24% access mobile banking on at least a weekly basis. The research finds a changed market from that surveyed in 2007, with consumers showing a greatly increased appetite for mobile services. Conducted by the global leader in mobile messaging services, Sybase 365, the research surveyed over 4,100 mobile phone users across key global territories and found that the mobile phone market has matured significantly in the last three years. With consumers looking for more from their mobiles, 2010 looks set to be the year that mobile commerce capabilities come of age. The main findings show how mobile phones have evolved from being simple telephone communication devices to increasingly becoming life management tools, entertainment systems and virtual wallets. Almost half of all mobile users use their handset to access the internet (48%) on a weekly basis, and 30%, globally, use mobile banking services. A further 70% of users have a real appetite for extra mobile services, such as mobile banking (39%).

Banking on the move
European mobile banking has more than doubled in the past 18 months
Globally, the most used services include checking their accounts (88%) and receiving transaction updates (54%). Fifty-six percent paid a bill or card payment via their mobile phone
35% of mobile bankers will pay for more sophisticated services, whilst 44% would consider swapping banks for free mobile banking
But which mobile banking services are deemed of most value to mobile users, globally?
75% would like to receive reports of potentially fraudulent behaviour
69% are interested in balance enquiries
65% would like to freeze a card
59% are interested in being able to make transactions, paying a bill or a card from their mobile
Payment on the go
One third of respondents are interested in paying for goods and services using their mobile, and there is a willingness to pay for such convenience - with entertainment and utilities services scoring best.

Sending overseas
Twenty-seven percent of respondents will send money overseas, although the research shows a huge range in the sum of money that individuals would consider sending via their mobile. The median amount sent via mobile phones is £18, whilst 3% of respondents would be prepared to send more than £500. Matthew Talbot, vice president mCommerce at Sybase 365 said: "The challenge for businesses in 2010 will be to adapt their mobile offerings to meet this increased demand, and find ways to target their services at specific segments of their customer base. As mobile devices become more sophisticated and mobile banking gains traction, at a far higher rate than industry experts predicted, there is a clear opportunity for mobile to become a primary CRM channel for many services and industries; as the consumer desire highlighted in this report suggests."

Global comparisons
When comparing the regions, the Asian appetite for new services leads the way globally and users are more engaged with their mobiles than respondents in other countries. Twenty percent more Asian respondents are interested in additional services than the global average, and approximately 30% more Asian than European respondents are interested in mobile community updates (50% to 18%) and mobile banking (54% to 26%). EMEA users show huge engagement with their mobiles and are using technologically advanced features. Forty percent access the internet via their mobile on a weekly basis, and almost the same number send or receive email from their phone. They also show a great interest in new services, with at least a third willing to pay for each service. Thirty nine percent of users in the Americas like to deal with finances on the go. They are engaging with their mobiles and are willing to pay for content. They do, however, show lower than average interest in the idea of mobile banking (39% against the world average of 44%).


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 08/03/2010

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Cell Phone Technology Can Empower the World's Poorest

Global cellular phone coverage has far outpaced the expansion of essential services such as water and electricity, as well as access to financial services. For this reason, "mobile money" is seen as a means to transform the notion of banking around the world, and broaden access to credit, insurance and secure savings that are desperately needed in the developing world as individuals seek to enhance their well-being and emerge from poverty. The rapid proliferation of cellular phones around the world "has changed the course of human development," Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero said August 2 at the State Department conference Tech@State: Mobile Money and Financial Inclusion. Yet, at the same time, 1.7 billion low-income cell phone users do not have a bank account. In effect, they "remain outside of the realm of economic opportunities that is represented by financial access," she said. Through their phone connections, small business owners, farmers and others either living in rural areas or at the bottom end of the socio-economic pyramid are obtaining the ability to communicate instantly and transfer funds to individuals and institutions.

The service provides a quick, secure and transparent means of performing transactions. The widespread dissemination of cellular phones also means that the relative few without a phone likely will have a close friend or relative they could turn to for the same purposes. "Financial opportunity shouldn't be limited to those with traditional assets or credit stories that a bank can respect," Otero said. Microfinance efforts have shown that the poor are credit-worthy and pay back their loans despite not having assets or working capital. They have demonstrated both entrepreneurship and drive to succeed, she said. "Microfinance has demonstrated how low-income men and women are dignified by the opportunity to manage a business, build their business and make better economic decisions for their families," she said. The conference brought financial, technology, development and other experts together to discuss the current and potential uses of mobile money, and how to solve existing problems and amend regulations to allow even greater participation.

Otero said the State Department, together with the Treasury Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, can play a role in expanding mobile financial services around the world both as a convener of state, commercial and nonprofit entities, and by working with foreign governments to create more political will for effective regulatory practices. While 5 billion of the world's 6.6 billion people have mobile phones, only about 1.6 billion have bank accounts. Of those, only 1 billion are fully served by traditional banks, according to Carol Realini, the chief executive officer of Obopay, a mobile payments company. She cited a "natural ceiling on banking," and pointed out that mobile money potentially could account for $10 trillion in retail payments and $400 billion in remittances sent from overseas friends and family, Menekse Gencer said cell phones are also helping farmers receive crucial insurance coverage for their crops. "I think within five years, we are going to transform the planet," Realini said. "It has already started in some countries like Kenya and India, and what you're going to see is it's going to start to be a wildfire around the planet." Shainoor Khoja of Afghanistan's Roshan cellular service provider highlighted the importance of mobile transactions in her country, where she said there are only 17 banks and 34 automated teller machines, which serve only 3 percent of the population. At the same time, an estimated 23 percent of Afghanistan's gross domestic product is given away in bribes. "The alternative to mobile money in Afghanistan is cash," she said. People must carry around large amounts, sometimes in safes, and when employees are paid "they get shaken up by whomever wants to shake them up." "In Afghanistan, 59 percent of the population complain that corruption and bribery is a bigger problem than jobs and security," Khoja said. Along with enabling secure and transparent transactions to reduce theft and corruption, mobile money also potentially could serve the illiterate in Afghanistan and elsewhere through voice recognition systems and programs that can read text messages out loud. Menekse Gencer, the founder of mPay Connect, a company that provides consulting services to clients interested in providing mobile payments services to their customers, said mobile money can also provide the foundation for food security.

She highlighted a "vicious cycle" that currently exists in some developing countries, where a drought or bad harvest will devastate farmers, who then need to focus whatever resources they have left toward providing for their immediate families, rather than working and reinvesting in seeds or other material to produce more output. As a result, the food supply shrinks and food prices rise, sometimes leading to health consequences like malnutrition or HIV/AIDS if individuals enter the sex trade to make ends meet. Access to mobile financial services "is a very, very important foundation" for ending the cycle, Genser said. In Kenya, where 70 percent of the population relies on agriculture for income, the Syngenta Foundation has been using mobile technology to insure small farmers against drought and other conditions. When the harvests are damaged or lost, subscribers automatically begin receiving insurance payments through their phones. "Now, with this insurance, it enables them to invest back into their farming - into good seeds and fertilizers, which they couldn't do before because essentially they were worried that if they put that money into investing in their farms, what happens if the droughts come and they can't buy food?" Genser asked. "Suddenly, some of that vicious cycle ... is suddenly freed up through this microinsurance." Closing the conference, Caroline Mauldin, who works in Under Secretary Otero's office, said the conference marked "the beginning of a conversation for us," as the State Department seeks expertise and recommendations on how to expand access to mobile money around the world. There is an "alignment of market forces and stars" that will push the mobile money industry forward, she said. And the Obama administration "cares very deeply about this work," and how it can advance U.S. policy priorities such as food security, combating corruption and fighting global poverty, she said. (by Stephen Kaufman)


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

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For Africa and the Middle East, the World Just Got a Whole Lot Smaller

ITU hails a new era of pan-regional connectivity with the successful launch of the RASCOM-QAF1R and NILESAT 201 communications satellites last night.Launched via an Ariane 5 vehicle from the Kourou Spaceport in French Guiana, the new satellites will greatly enhance access to a wide range of information and communication (ICT) services for millions in Africa and the Middle East.In addition to providing access to the information and communication services businesses need to compete in today's global markets, the new systems will deliver broadcast news and entertainment, as well as serving as a platform for new applications in areas like distance education and telemedicine, which will be vital to improving the lives of local people and helping governments achieve the Millennium Development Goals, now just five years away.

Speaking from Kourou where he attended the launch, ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Tour¨¦ said: "The launch of state-of-the-art satellite systems has been a long and much-cherished dream for the region and its people. This launch represents another major milestone in getting the region's communities better connected. In addition to providing low cost international connections between African countries and connecting isolated villages via low cost terminals, the RASCOM-QAF1R will provide direct TV and radio broadcasting services, Internet access and value-added broadband services. NILESAT for its part will bring subscribers instantaneous access to news, information and entertainment, as well as the high-speed data that is the cornerstone of modern life. The launch of these two systems represents another huge step forward in bridging the digital divide, and reinforces the importance of making new technologies like broadband accessible to all the world's people."

The RASCOM and NILESAT 201 satellites were stacked one on top of the other in the Ariane 5's dual payload dispenser system. To be deployed first during the flight sequence, NILESAT 201 is fitted with 24 Ku-band and 4 Ka-band transponders. It will be positioned at an orbital slot of 7 degrees west, delivering digital Direct-to-Home TV and radio broadcasting to the Middle East and North Africa from September 2010.The second in the launcher payload 'stack', situated just above the launch vehicle's core stage, the RASCOM-QAF1R system will be positioned at an orbital slot of 2.85 degrees east, and will ensure service continuity for the RascomStar-QAF operator and its customers, providing Africans in 45 countries with access to advanced communications and information technologies, and in particular rural telephony. Equipped with 24 equivalent 36 MHz transponders in both Ku-band and C-band, its footprint covers the entire African continent, as well as parts of Europe and the Middle East. It the most powerful satellite ever to serve the African continent.


From http://www.itu.int/ 08/05/2010

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AFRICA: Kenya Has Third Highest Number of Blogs

Kenya has the third highest number of blogs in Africa after Nigeria and South Africa, a firm indication of the nation's increasing IT literacy. The main African blog aggregator - Agrigator - says Kenya has 739 blogs after Nigeria's 1,351 and South Africa's 9,183. The last few years have seen rapid development in internet awareness and penetration. A recent survey by the Communications Commission of Kenya put the number of internet users at 3.5 million. As more Kenyans plug into the information super highway, blogs are emerging as a source of vital information. Whether it is breaking news, analysis or commentary, blogs are increasingly commanding more authority as alternative sources of information. The most pronounced blogging activity in Kenyan history was during the 2007/2008 post-election violence that marked a defining moment for the local blogosphere. A blanket ban on live media coverage by the government at the height of the violence led to a gap in the information highway. Kenyans in the diaspora sought to know what was happening back home and tired of the biased coverage in western media channels, they turned to the numerous blogs that were mushrooming in the Kenyan cyber space. Unfettered by the media ban, the Kenyan blogosphere witnessed increased traffic like. Popular Kenyan blog spot Mashada www.mashada.com was temporarily shut down after regulators were overwhelmed by inflammatory comments from bloggers. Moses Kemibaro is a technology blogger who has been blogging for the last three years at www.moseskemibaro.com.

He says that bloggers have grown to become a credible and influential group in Kenya. "Through blogging and social media there is now a second force for media reporting'" he says. "It's a whole new world and with over three million internet users in Kenya, bloggers are starting to influence mainstream content and opinions on topics ranging from politics, sports, technology and other areas." As if bearing testament to his assertion, the corporate world is starting to court popular bloggers in the Kenyan blogosphere. Several bloggers have reported an unprecedented interest from PR practitioners who come knocking armed with press releases and pre-launched products. "We now get invited to all major product launches and conferences just like the mainstream media," says Mr. Kemibaro. "I get invited to attend international and local technology conferences, workshops and seminars. I also get products to review such as mobile phones from manufacturers as they believe my opinion counts". The general classification of blogs lists four main categories: by media type, by genre, personal and corporate and organisational. The personal blog is a continuous diary or commentary by an individual. Personal bloggers are often sentimental and their blogs often become a way to reflect on life or works of art. Corporate and organisational blogs are meant for business purposes. They are targeted internally to enhance the communication and culture in a corporation and externally for branding or public relations purposes. Blogs classified by genre focus on a particular subject, such as politics, fashion, education or arts and literature. Another classification is by media type and this defines blogs by the type of media used to create and publish postings. A blog comprising of videos is called a vlog, one made up of photos is called a photoblog while one with mixed media types is called tumblelog. Juliet Maruru is another blogger with two active blogs, the first is Sheblossoms at www.jmaruru.wordpress.com.

"The title was born out of something someone close to me said. He likened me to a blossoming cactus growing in the desert that survives the harsh conditions, and when the occasional morning dew hits, it blossoms with beautiful flowers," she said. "It was a new way of looking at my life. I write about things I care about; identity, personal trials, social trends and life in general". Her second blog The Princess Project (K) www.kenyanprincessproject.wordpress.com is a mixture of entertainment, enlightenment and empowerment developed mainly for young women between 16 and 28 years. The blog comprises of the Creekside Princess Webisodes - now in the 2nd season, poetry, book reviews, advice, editorials and personal life accounts. "I set up Sheblossoms because I wanted critique for my writing and a forum to share my thoughts, while The Princess Project (K) is a team generated site aimed at bringing together young women at a point on the internet where they can find entertainment that opens up discussion, encourages the search for knowledge, and empowers them to grow into creative thinkers." A major upside of blogging is that since the work is online, a creator can administer his blog from anywhere in the world. The Princess Project (K) for example is administrated by several content developers who only meet face to face once in four months. (by Frankline Sunday)


From http://allafrica.com/ 07/29/2010

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EUROPE: UK: E-Access '10 - Access to ICT by People with Disabilities

In today's economic climate, it makes no sense to exclude any of your staff, prospective employees, customers or citizens from your website or ICT systems, even before considering the legal and ethical obligations of UK organisations. E-Access '10, the annual conference and exhibition on access to technology by people with disabilities, covers the business, legal and ethical drivers for accessibility, and the path to success for organisations of all sizes. Technologies covered include everything from the latest lowdown on web accessibility to mobile services and cloud computing.


From http://www.ifg.cc/ 07/13/2010

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Hungarian Smartphone Owners Use the Internet 20 Minutes on Average, Each Day

The sample of T-Mobile Hungary smartphone users found that - unsurprisingly - they spend more time browsing the net, sending emails, downloading applications, synchronizing tunes and photos with their PC. In addition to voice, SMS and MMS communication, holders of smartphones can use all other means of communication - e.g. email, web services, chat - that are available through a PC either at home or at work. Mobile terminals and portable Internet devices being always at hand, they will supplement - and in time partially replace - computer based communication and sharing the experiences. The strong growth of data traffic and sales of smart phones also underline these changes. In its representative survey - supplementing data available - T-Mobile prepared a detailed analyzed of changes flowing from the use of smartphones. Surveys revealed that smartphones are mainly used for personal communication and entertainment, rather than work or business related activities. 75 percent of those asked use smartphones for private purposes, while the remaining 25 percent use them for business - business related use is only higher among specifically business users. The survey also reveals that customers having any type of smartphone strongly insist on their telephone and use it intensely. 61 percent of those interviewed already recommended their phone to others, while this ratio is even higher among iPhone users, reaching 74 percent. Holders of smartphones use the net with their mobile phones significantly more, almost all of them (98 percent) also use other devices to access the web. Further to mobile web access. 31 percent access the net with PC, 29 percent with laptop and 40 percent use both alternative methods. The weight of mobile browsing also increases within the general Internet access. Holders of smartphones spend about 20 minutes on average on accessing the net with their mobile terminals each day, in case of iPhone users this goes up to 31 minutes. Most people download applications, more specifically games on their mobile phones. Almost all iPhone users (96 percent) download applications. Emailing is also very intense among holders of smartphones. Business customers are in the lead in terms of the number of email sent per day (9-10), however private subscribers also regularly use their phones for sending emails (5-6 emails sent per day). The record is held by iPhone business customers (10-11 emails sent daily). 69 percent of those questioned synchronize their phones with the PC. This is substantially higher among iPhone users (86 percent), versus the average of 60-71 percent. In case of multimedia terminals music and photos are the most frequently synchronized content, and clearly holders of smartphones and iPhone tend to synchronize the most versatile content.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 07/31/2010

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Colombia to Invest COP 14 Bln in Fibre, Broadband Network

Colombia's Ministry of Information Technology and Communications (Mintic) plans to invest nearly COP 9 bln to expand the country's fibre-optic infrastructure. As part of the project, Colombia's fibre-optic network will be expanded to the cities of Villavicencio and Yopal, as well as to nine other municipalities of the Meta and Casanare departments. The project will cover the municipalities of Restrepo, Cumaral and Barranca de Upia in the Meta department, and the municipalities of Villanueva, Monterrey, Tauramena and Aguazul in the department of Casanare. Developed by Telefonica Telecom, the fibre-optic network expansion project is scheduled for completion by December, local newspaper El Tiempo reports, citing Daniel Enrique Medina, Colombia's minister of information and communications technologies. In addition to the fibre-optic infrastructure project, the Colombian government will also invest around COP 5 mln in the expansion of the country's broadband network. The broadband expansion will cover the municipalities of Puerto Lopez, Puerto Gaitan, Restrepo, Cumaral and Guamal in the Meta department, as well as Paz de Ariporo, Tauramena, Aguazul, Yopal and Villanueva in the department of Casanare.


From http://www.telecompaper.com/ 07/07/2010

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NORTH AMERICA: US - E-Discovery of Social Media Continues to Challenge Organizations

Meeting the challenge of responding to e-discovery continues to worry business organizations, according to a recently released study from the Deloitte Forensic Center think tank, which found that more than six out of 10 respondents said their companies "were concerned" about records requests from social media. Since governments often must deal with the private sector in litigation cases, it might mean the public sector will find this issue increasingly troublesome in the future. And it may also suggest, as the public and private sectors tend to mirror each other, that governments should take additional steps to ensure e-discovery for mediums like Twitter and Facebook.

"I think one of the more surprising points in this study is that despite it being fairly well known that the lack of communication and coordination between IT and legal is really at the crux of the [e-discovery] issue and has been for many years," said Jeff Seymour, leader of the northeast analytic and forensic technology practice for Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, "that the level of communication and awareness is still not what we would hope. "Additional results from the center's survey of 337 IT, legal, risk and compliance professionals in the U.S. include:

During the next three years, 49 percent of respondents expect their companies' IT department to increase e-discovery efforts;
44 percent expect e-discovery challenges to increase; and
39 percent expect to devote more resources to e-discovery.

On a gloomier note, "of respondents with an opinion," 61 percent expect their companies to be only somewhat effective or not effective at all in dealing with e-discovery challenges three years from now. One-quarter of respondents indicated that their companies are unprepared to handle e-discovery requests pertaining to business-related use of social media, and an additional 36 percent indicated their companies are only somewhat prepared. Beyond social media platforms, only 9 percent of companies are well prepared to capture electronically stored information on third-party platforms, such as information stored in the cloud or used in software-as-a-service applications. Seymour said he expected more of the survey respondents to say that their organizations had dedicated resources to the problem, but that wasn't the case. "One concrete recommendation that we make to clients is that some kind of cross-functional team be created and needs to be funded and supported appropriately," he said. "One common term for that is a discovery response team, a DRT. That's one way to help both set policy and direction, and then once that's set to actually execute on that."

Such a team, for example, could decide what technology solutions to dedicate to e-discovery of social media so that the appropriate data is saved and archived across the enterprise. A number of complex factors are driving organizations' unpreparedness, and in particular on social media, Seymour said. One is that as data volumes increase, tracking that volume of data is increasingly challenging. Two, organizations are concerned about data security and privacy, and it's complicated further in "cross-border" instances. Three, the advent and rise of social media means that many organizations (and governments) have data stored by a range of third parties. There also are several other issues. "If you take those issues, some combination or all of them together is what creates a sense that organizations are not going to get out in front of this quickly," Seymour said. (by Matt Williams)


From http://www.govtech.com/ 06/18/2010

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US: New York City to Test Wireless Social Bicycle System

One of the main elements of a successful bicycle share program is the infrastructure to house the transportation. For New York City resident and founder of Social Bicycle System (SoBi) Ryan Rzepecki, eliminating that aspect through wireless technology may be the key to revolutionizing how cities, colleges and corporate campuses run social bicycle share programs. Traditionally bicycle sharing programs require some type of hub or docking station to pick up and drop the bicycle off. But for those short on time who don't want to go out of their way and just want to hop on a bike and go, Rzepecki said, they should be able to do so using today's technology. And he's attempting to meet that need - wirelessly.

"I looked at [other share systems] and said, 'I don't like how that's being done,'" Rzepecki said. "With today's technology, you should be able to do it in a different way." Different is just what Rzepecki's going for. Set to launch on a small, pilot scale this fall, Rzepecki created SoBi , a wireless system that tracks, finds and unlocks bicycles using a smartphone app. If successful, it will be "the first public bike share system with the authorization, tracking and security systems attached to the bicycle itself," his website states.

The system uses GPS, mobile communications and a secure lock that can attach to almost any bicycle and lock to any regular bicycle rack, and because there is no separate infrastructure, it costs one-third less than existing systems, Rzepecki said. Once parking a bike at a destination, the user can only keep the bike on hold for 10 minutes. If a bike is not returned to a system hub by 9 p.m., the user is charged a $2 bounty fee.

Rzepecki, who previously worked for the NYC Department of Transportation, has teamed up with a handful of software and hardware engineers, to ensure the system's security and functionality. So far, the top concern he's heard from people is how the bicycles will stand up to thieves. "And that's obviously the first question that needs to be answered," Rzepecki said. "Any lock can be defeated with the right tools, but you want to make it as difficult as possible." "Where there's a will, there's a way, and with the right tools, there's a way," he said. "But with GPS tracking and the social system around it, we can limit [theft]."

The telecommunication functions will be stored in an 8-by-8-inch "lock box" that will be secured to the rear wheel, which will communicate with a central server. All cyclists need to do is create an account with SoBi, locate a bicycle using a mobile phone or kiosk, request to use it via text message, smartphone app, or phone call, then enter the code once received, unlocking the bicycle. "In New York, bike parking can be hard to find," Rzepecki said. "This expands parking, promotes bicycling and the lock will work with the standard bike rack."

After learning of bicycle share systems nationally and abroad - including Germany's "Call a Bike" system - Rzepecki eyed the opportunity to launch a fully wireless, smart bicycle sharing system. He's already been contacted by cities and universities outside of New York City, but until the system launches this fall, Rzepecki is holding his cards close to his chest. "I think once we have the finished product, it will sell itself," he said. "I think there will be a lot of interest right out of the gate." The fall pilot will include about 20 bicycles equipped with lock boxes. If all goes well, Rzepecki said he hopes to expand the project in summer 2011. (by Karen Wilkinson)


From http://www.govtech.com/ 08/16/2010

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Spurning the Internet: Many Americans Not Online at All - by Choice

It's common to assume that just about everybody is online these days. The Internet's gone from being the exclusive tool of government and scientists, to a consumer novelty, to a part of everyday life - for most of us. But a study released recently by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 66 percent of Americans have a broadband connection at home, which is only slightly higher than the 63 percent reported a year ago. Perhaps more surprising, the study found that 21 percent of American adults still don't use the Internet at all. And 90 percent of those nonusers say they don't want to. Broadband adoption is a priority of the Obama administration, set forth in the National Broadband Plan, which has set a goal of 90 percent broadband adoption by 2020. Between June 2000 and May 2010, broadband adoption in the United States has grown from 3 percent to 66 percent, with the biggest one-year gain coming from March 2005 to March 2006, when adoption increased from 28 percent to 42 percent. Dial-up connections, meanwhile, have decreased from a high of 41 percent of U.S. homes in April 2001 to 5 percent today.

It hasn't been all double-digit growth: Pew's annual survey has found relatively small rates of growth in previous year. But the 3 percent increase of the past year is the smallest so far. One area of growth the survey found was among African-American households, where adoption grew from 46 percent in 2009 to 56 percent this year, by far the largest increase among any demographics group, the report states. As for the people who do not use the Internet, it's not entirely because of a lack of availability. Thirty-four percent of nonusers said they either live in a house with an Internet connection - they just don't use it - or have been online before but are no longer. The other 66 percent "are not tied in any obvious way to online life," the report states. But they don't seem to think they're missing anything either: Only one in 10 of nonusers said they would like to get online. The Federal Communications Commission, a principal player in the National Broadband Plan, agreed with the study's findings, saying it underscores the need to pursue broadband adoption.

The "Pew report confirms what the FCC found in our broadband survey last year: There are still too many barriers to broadband adoption in America," said FCC spokeswoman Jen Howard. "That's why the National Broadband Plan lays out a strategy for improving digital literacy and ensuring that all Americans can take full advantage of the benefits of broadband." But not all of the respondents in the Pew survey agree that it's the government's job to lead the charge toward high-speed connections. Fifty-three percent said it shouldn't be a government priority; 42 percent said it should be. The specific responses were:
26 percent of Americans say that expansion of affordable broadband access should not be attempted by government.
27 percent said it was "not too important."
30 percent said it was an important priority.
11 percent said it should be a top priority.

Among other findings, the Pew report concluded that Americans have mixed views about the importance of having broadband access. They asked whether a lack of broadband was a major disadvantage, minor disadvantage or not a disadvantage is a variety of areas. Among the results:

Government services:
Major disadvantage - 29%
Minor disadvantage - 27%
Not a disadvantage - 37%

Job opportunities/gaining career skills:
Major disadvantage - 43%
Minor disadvantage - 23%
Not a disadvantage - 28%

Obtaining health information:
Major disadvantage - 34%
Minor disadvantage - 28%
Not a disadvantage - 35%

Keeping up with news and information:
Major disadvantage - 23%
Minor disadvantage - 27%
Not a disadvantage - 47%

Keeping up with what is happening in their communities:
Major disadvantage - 19%
Minor disadvantage - 32%
Not a disadvantage - 45%

The nationwide survey of 2,252 adults was conducted by telephone by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. (by Kevin McCaney)


From http://fcw.com/ 08/20/2010

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CHINA: Internet Accessible to 45% of Population in 5 Years

The Chinese government will try to raise the Internet accessibility to 45 percent of the population in the coming five years, said a white paper issued by the Information Office of the State Council Tuesday. According to the paper, titled "The Internet in China", the government will further promote Internet development and application, so that more people can benefit from the Internet. By the end of 2009, the Internet had reached 28.9 percent of the total population, higher than the world average. The number of Chinese netizens had reached 384 million, 618 times that of 1997 with an annual increase of 31.95 million users. At the same time, there were 3.23 million websites running in China, 2,152 times that of 1997. The number of IPv4 addresses approached 230 million, making China the second-largest owner in the world. Of all the netizens, 346 million used broadband and 233 million used mobile phones to access the Internet, according to the paper. "These statistics make China among the top of the developing countries in developing and popularizing the Internet," it said. The paper admitted that Internet development and application in China is imbalanced regionally, and between urban and rural areas. "Hindered by different levels of economic development, education and informationization progress, the Internet has been developing more rapidly in the eastern than in the western parts of the country, and has a higher popularization rate in cities than in the countryside," it said. By the end of 2009, the Internet had reached 40 percent of the population in eastern China but only 21.5 percent in western China. Meanwhile, urban Internet users made up 72.2 percent of the national total, leaving the other 27.8 percent in rural areas. "China still needs to make arduous efforts to bridge the 'digital gap' between different regions and between the urban and rural areas," the paper said.


From Xinhua News Agency 06/08/2010

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Internet of Things Zone in City

Shanghai plans to establish an Internet of Things industry zone in Pudong New Area and develop it along with strong local industries including telecommunications, software and integrated circuits, industry officials told a forum yesterday in Shanghai. The technology, which integrates people and devices through various networks, chips and sensors, sits on the list of developments regulators pledged to support in the government's next five-year plan. The forum, called the Internet of Things Conference of China 2010, was the first industry summit held in the city after the country announced it would develop the sector, which is expected to revolutionize business and daily life. From 2010 to 2012, Shanghai Zhangjiang industry zone plans to establish an Internet of Things industry zone with an annual revenue of 100 billion yuan (US$14.7 billion), according to Cui Hong, an official at Zhangjiang. "We have strong related industries in the zone such as software, sensor and semiconductor companies, as well as leading firms like IBM," Cui told Shanghai Daily during a sideline interview at the forum. "The Internet of Things develops with many existing technologies and we have an advantage."

Zhangjiang High-Tech Industrial Park, often regarded as the city's Silicon Valley, is the national industry base for software and semiconductors. By 2020, the world is expected to have 50 billion Internet of Things units and it's a new "trillion-dollar" market, experts told the forum. "The combination of developing the Internet of Things and telecommunications industries is a natural choice (because the big handset makers have already developed wireless applications)," said Zhang Feng, a senior official at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. By the end of April, China's mobile phone user base had reached 786.5 million, adding 39 million in the first four months, according to the ministry. China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom all displayed Internet of Things applications during the forum. China Mobile displayed mobile wallet applications, which allow people to take Metro lines and buy products with their cell phone.


From China Daily 06/23/2010

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China's First Mobile TV Platform Approved

China's first mobile TV platform has been given the go ahead. The platform will integrate content from digital TV, Internet and telecommunications networks. Wasu Digital TV was one of the first TV operators licensed to run Internet TV in China. It now plans to bring its mobile TV platform into commercial operation in three months. The nationwide integrated platform has gained approval from the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television. Li Yiqing, president of the Hangzhou-based company, says the platform can host at least 100 mobile phone TV content suppliers. It can also be connected to platforms run by telecommunications carriers. Li Yiqing, President of Wasu Digital TV said "With the telecom industry becoming more sophisticated, the era of 3G, or even 4G, is coming. It makes possible the transmission and application of mobile TV. " Wasu has entered into partnerships with over 300 content suppliers, and more than 30 TV operators. It will offer mobile TV programs including news, movies, TV shows and sporting events. Wasu says the revenue will be shared with its partners.


From CCTV 06/29/2010

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China's Online Forum Users Hit 117 Million

China's online forum users exceeded 117 million in 2009, said a blue paper on the development of the new media in China issued here Wednesday. The paper, issued by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said since the 1990s online forums have become an increasingly important gateway for expression of public opinions. The paper pointed out that in recent years Internet usage in the country's rural areas and western part had increased at a quicker rate than the more developed urban areas and eastern part. Of the 384 million Internet users in the country by the end of 2009, over 100 million were from rural areas, according to the paper. China had invested 4.3 trillion yuan in Internet infrastructure construction, the paper added.


From English.news.cn 07/07/2010

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China's Online Population Tops 420 Million

China's online population has risen to 420 million by the end of June, boosted by rising cell phone connections, said a report issued by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) Thursday. The number was up 36 million from December last year, the report said. The report said the proportion of Internet users to the total population in China had risen to 31.8 percent by the end of June, compared with 28.9 percent at the end of 2009. Internet users who connect through cell phones had become the major force driving the rise in the country's on-line population, according to the report. By the end of June, Internet users on cell phones hit 277 million and accounted for 65.9 percent of the total Internet users. The number of people connecting by cell phone rose by 43.34 million since the end of 2009, it said. About 49.14 million Chinese went on-line solely through their cell phones, indicating huge potential for the mobile Internet industry, the report said. Internet-based business was also growing rapidly, the report said. About 140 million people, or about 10 percent of China's population, had been shopping online. About 128 million people used online payment systems and 122 million used online banking services, according to the CNNIC report. The main problems that Chinese encountered were the security of their on-line activities and the lack of trust in on-line partners. Almost 60 percent of Internet users experienced hacker attacks and Trojan viruses during the first six months this year, and more than 30 percent had passwords stolen, according to the report. The report also found that 25 million more people were watching on-line video programs in the first half, bringing the total to 265 million, ending a year-long decline in online video audiences in 2009.


From Xinhua News Agency 07/15/2010

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China's 3G Users Hit 25.2 Mln: MIIT

China's third-generation (3G) mobile phone service subscribers numbered 25.2 million at the end of June, up 40 percent from the first quarter, said Zhang Feng, a senior official with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), Tuesday. Direct investment in 3G for the whole year would be between 90 billion and 95 billion yuan (13 billion-14 billion U.S. dollars) compared with 160.9 billion yuan last year, Zhang said. China's telecommunication firms invested 19.2 billion yuan on the 3G network construction in first half. The 3G data transmission speed indoors, outdoors and in a moving vehicle were up to 2 million bits per second (bps), 384,000 bps and 144,000 bps respectively, compared with the 2G outdoor transmission speed of 171,000 bps. China's 3G services allowed for video calls between 3G subscribers, and television and Internet access. Zhang also said the industry would press ahead with the "Three Networks Integration" program to meet consumer demand for diverse telecommunication services. The program would allow users to make telephone calls, surf the Internet and watch television through a singe cable or wireless entrance. On June 30, the government announced 12 cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing, were approved for the program.


From Xinhua News Agency 07/20/2010

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China's Mobile Phone Users Top 800 Mln

China's mobile phone users topped 800 million by the end of June, said Zhang Feng, an official with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), Tuesday. The country reported 1.1 billion telephone users at the end of June, including 300 million users of fixed-line phones, Zhang said. China's third-generation (3G) mobile phone service subscribers numbered 25.2 million at the end of June, Zhang said. The country will invest about 120 billion yuan (17.73 billion U.S. dollars) in 3G this year, Zhang said. The 3G services allow for video calls between 3G subscribers, and television and Internet access.


From Xinhua News Agency 07/21/2010

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Report: Broadband Cost in China 124 Times That of South Korea

The charges of China's major information products and services remain high relative to average incomes, which will seriously affect the spread of information technology and become a great stumbling block to the rapid development of information society, according to a report recently released by the State Information Center. The report titled "China Information and Society Development Report 2010" said that China's current rate of Internet access is far below the world standard for broadband, and if one considers the average speed of Internet available in China, the cost is much higher. According to the statistics, China's average Internet access speed was about 1.8 Mbps in 2008, much lower than Japan's 63 Mbps, South Korea's 40 Mbps and Hong Kong's 20 Mbps. However, it took nearly 84 yuan (about 12.4 U.S. dollars) each month on average for the broadband user to access the Internet in China, which means users must pay 46.6 yuan (about 6.7 U.S. dollars) for 1 Mbps every month. The figure equals 18 times of South Korea's 0.37 US dollars and Japan's 0.13 US dollars. The national income per capita in South Korea is 6.9 times of China's in 2008. Considering the income gap between the two countries, China's broadband charges would amount to 124 times South Korea's, according to the report. In addition, the report takes Shanghai's newly-launched 10 Mbps broadband service, which costs 259 yuan each month as an example, and said the fees equal to 11 percent of the disposable income of urban residents and 25 percent of rural residents of Shanghai, 18 percent and 60 percent separately nationwide. So it holds that China's current charges of broadband service are obviously high relative to family income. The report also said that such high charges will seriously affect the spread and application of new technology.


From http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/ 08/04/2010

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China Hearts Mobile Internet Access

Chinese consumers have already surpassed their American counterparts in mobile Internet use, with 38% of Chinese wireless subscribers surfing the Web compared to just 27% of Americans. "On the streets of Guangzhou, Harbin and Shanghai, the mobile phone has become ubiquitous. Once the domain of the elite, it now seems that just about everybody has one," explained Nielsen VP Shan Phillips. "Widespread ownership of mobiles is only a fairly recent development in China, but consumers there have fully embraced the technology and in some ways are using it more robustly than their American and European counterparts." Phillips noted that for many in China, the mobile Web is the "only one" required. "When [people] think of the Web, they don't [imagine] tethering themselves to a desktop PC and the accessories of mice, keyboards, mouse pads, printers and monitors. "Not only do many homes in China not have (or need) landlines for voice communications, but also they don't require hardwired Internet access for their fix of the Web. With mobile phones, everything they need is in the palm of their hand." He added that the majority of consumers (54%) used their devices for e-mail, gaming and music, while 36% used made do with just text/SMS and calls. "China's growth over the last decade has been extraordinary and shows few signs of abating any time soon. As such, it's only natural that Chinese consumers would wholeheartedly adopt technology and products that enable them to be productive - and stay connected - on the move."


From http://www.tgdaily.com/ 08/05/2010

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JAPAN: Top Portals Unveil Mobile Websites

Three major Web portals are engaging in a heated competition over mobile Internet with the rising popularity of smartphones. Naver, Daum and Nate have recently released mobile Websites in a bid to grab the smartphone users' attention by offering a full one-stop service. Naver, which has a market share of some 60 percent involving search engines, has unveiled its mobile Website as well as mobile applications such as Naver webtoons, map, newscast, blog and address book for free. The country's top portal has incorporated many of its services into separate mobile Apps, permitting users to instantly get the service they need with a push of few buttons. "As we have made the mobile Web into the form of an icon, the page loading time will be shortened and there will be less data traffic so that the users could save money on data usage," said an official at Naver. Daum, the nation's No. 2 search engine, joined the move by launching its content-oriented Website and smartphone applications - Daum maps, tvPot 2, mypeople, caf¨¦ and yozm - in hopes of getting ahead of Naver in the mobile service sector. Instead of separating its services into different icons, it made an effort to create a similar mobile Web environment from its original PC version to give more comfort to users.

Daum is now offering a total of 23 major services on mobile phones. It also plans to introduce a voice search system sometime this month. Nate, operated by SK Communications, was the last one in providing the mobile Web service among the top three. However, it unveiled a differentiated version by enabling semantic search which seeks to improve search accuracy as to understanding the searcher's intent and the contextual meaning of the input terms. SK Communications' long-popular service such as Nate On messenger and Cyworld are also in service. Following market leader Naver, Daum and Nate currently have a market share of some 20 percent and 10 percent in the search engine sector, respectively. "We are planning to offer the best-suited mobile Internet service by making use of our main assets for the mobile portal market is deemed to become a huge opportunity for us," said Choi Kil-sung, chief convergence officer at SK Communications.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 06/03/2010

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Japan Opening E-Learning for Nihongo Studies

An e-Learning facility pegged at US$43,764 (approximately P2,013,764) will be launched Tuesday by the Japanese Embassy to enhance the capability of Filipinos wanting to learn the Japanese language. Japanese Ambassador Makoto Katsura and Nihongo Center Foundation Inc. (NCFI) President, Ambassador Benjamin F. Sanvictores will lead the inauguration of the e-Learning facility in Makati City. The funding for the completion of the NCFI's Nihongo e-Learning facility project was sourced from a grant assistance under the Grant Assistance for Cultural Grassroots Projects by the Japanese government. The enhancement of the facility is expected to upgrade the teaching capability of NCFI and make Japanese language learning more accessible to students with various needs. "The facility will take advantage of advances in technology to reach out to a greater number of Filipinos who wish to learn Nihongo," the Japanese Embassy said. "The grant assistance is a testament of Japan's commitment to promote Japanese language education in the Philippines to foster better understanding and cooperation between the two countries," it added.

It will be recalled that a similar facility in Mindanao had been launched by the Japanese Embassy in September 2009 - the Nihongo e-Learning Studio at the Mindanao Kokusai Daigaku or the Mindanao International College in Davao City. Learning Nihongo is a requirement among Filipino caregivers and nurses wishing to work in Japan under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) on the Movement of Natural Persons Employment Scheme. The role of professional caregivers has increased in significance due to the increasing aging population, including in Japan. Japan is the Philippines' second largest trading partner as well as the second largest foreign investor in the Philippines. It also remains the largest donor of official development assistance (ODA) for the Philippines. The NCFI's history started in 1969, when the Japan Information and Cultural Center (JICC) supervised the Nihongo Gakko (Japanese language school). However, due to the relocation of the Japanese Embassy from Makati City to Roxas Boulevard in 1997, the JICC-Nihongo Gakko had to move as well. At that time, they had taught over 16,000 students. The move became a cause for concern, and JICC-Nihongo Gakko decided to pass on the torch to the Philippine-Japanese Friendship Foundation Inc. (PJFF), which spearheaded the NCFI that continues the work of the JICC-Nihongo Gakko. (with a report by Czarina Nicole O. Ong)


From http://www.mb.com.ph/ 06/14/2010

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Horizons Widen for Cloud Computing

Cloud-computing services - which allow users to send e-mail, store documents, conduct business transactions and perform various other functions via Internet-based networks - are becoming increasingly popular with individuals and companies. NEC Corp. and Fujitsu Ltd. started offering servers for cloud-computing use this fiscal year, and are hoping to ramp up their provision of such services to corporate clients and local governments. Cloud-computing involves individuals and companies storing data and software on third-party servers, where it can be accessed online and downloaded by designated users. The technology is cost-efficient because it eliminates the need for users to have their own high-performance servers and other hardware. As confidence in the security of cloud-computing technology improves, so is its popularity likely to increase. Companies and local governments have in the past expressed anxiety about storing sensitive information on external servers. But NEC and other info-tech companies have successfully marketed their cloud-computing services after reinforcing security controls. NEC's business plans include using cloud-computing technology to manage hotel reservation systems, a venture it will launch in January 2011, centralizing bookings for hotel restaurants and accommodation packages on the Internet.

For a hotel with about 100 rooms, setting up cloud-computing services will cost about 5.4 million yen, with a subsequent monthly fee of about 250,000 yen. NEC said it might be about 30 percent cheaper for hotels to use cloud-computing services instead of operating in-house systems. Introducing the system takes about a week - about one-quarter of the time needed to install a system of similar capabilities in a hotel. NEC plans to roll out cloud-computing services in China from fiscal 2011. The company aims to receive orders from a total of about 2,000 hotels in Japan and China by the end of 2015. Fujitsu will launch a service in November that will assist local governments conducting safety checks on bridges. Many local governments need to carry out urgent repairs on age-worn bridges built in the 1960s. The service will enable government officials to share digital images and other data obtained during a bridge inspection with consulting construction companies, who will be able to promptly examine the images and assess the structure's condition. Fujitsu said the method is about 30 percent to 40 percent cheaper than having consultants actually visit inspection sites. The firm hopes to receive orders from 300 local governments by the end of fiscal 2013. According to market research company IDC Japan, the market for commercial cloud-computing services in Japan is predicted to grow to 143.2 billion yen by 2014, or 4.6 times its size in 2009. Hitachi Ltd. and competitor firms are rushing to improve their technology and related services to capitalize on the field's anticipated rapid growth.


From http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/ 07/08/2010

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Web Site Playing Cupid to Spur on Japanese Growth

The coastal region of Fukui has Japan's biggest share of dual-income households, the highest ratio of working women and the lowest unemployment rate. What it doesn't have is enough babies. The provincial government this month is starting the Fukui Marriage-Hunting Cafe, a Web site for singles, to help stem the falling birthrate as it begins to damage the economy. As an added incentive, couples who agree to marry will get cash or gifts, said Akemi Iwakabe, deputy director of Fukui's Children and Families division. "Many of our single residents were telling us that they wanted to get married, but couldn't because they weren't meeting anyone," she said. Japan's first online dating service organized by a prefectural government follows national measures to extend parental leave that have so far failed to convince women to have more children. The fertility rate has dropped to 1.34 children per woman, shrinking the pool of workers and consumers and increasing the burden on younger employees to pay for an aging population. "It's difficult to breathe life back into an economy without children, without young people," said Naoki Iizuka, an economist at Mizuho Securities Co in Tokyo. "When an area like this keeps aging, the public finances of that government won't last." Fukui, 316km northwest of Tokyo, is known for its spectacle frames, synthetic fiber and nuclear power plants that generate a quarter of Japan's atomic energy. It also produces about twice the number of business owners as a proportion to the number of residents compared with the national average. The OECD estimates the number of working-age Japanese will drop to 81 million this year, compared with the 1995 peak of 87 million. The average number of children that Japanese women have compares with Canada's 1.6 and France's 2, according to the World Bank. The 2.1 rate in the US is considered the minimum for a developed nation to maintain a constant population. Japan's leaders must take more aggressive measures to help young people raise families, or the baby shortage will accelerate, Iizuka said.

About 23 percent of the country's population is over 65, the highest ratio among the 62 countries tracked by Bloomberg. Key to boosting the birthrate is getting couples to marry. Three-fourths of the decline in Japan's fertility rate between 1975 and 2005 can be explained by more women delaying or foregoing marriage, says Miho Iwasawa, a researcher at the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research in Tokyo. Only 2 percent of children are born out of wedlock in Japan, according to the Labor Ministry. Census data show that 32 percent of women between 30 to 34 years old were unwed in 2005, more than twice the number 15 years earlier. The Democratic Party of Japan came to power last year promising to lighten the burden of child-rearing. Families started receiving monthly allowances of Ł¤13,000 (US$150) a child this fiscal year and can now send their children to public high school for free. Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan appointed Koichiro Gemba to a Cabinet-level post to counter the declining birthrate. Kan had also pushed his staff to leave work at 6pm for weekday dates. Even so, national and local governments need to reach the unmarried, whose rising proportion in the country is the biggest factor behind the shortage of children, said Shigeki Matsuda, a sociologist at Dai-Ichi Life Research Institute in Tokyo. Japan isn't the only country experimenting with publicly run matchmaking. Singapore's Social Development Network works to "facilitate marriages and nurture a culture where singles view marriage as a top life goal." Its "LoveByte" Web site dispenses dating advice, allows people to search for other registered singles and advertises privately run speed-dating events. Japan's previous local government efforts to pair youth haven't raised marriage rates, Dai-Ichi's Matsuda said. "The root problem is this: They don't have financial stability," he said. "That's a problem with their employment opportunities that can't be resolved by dating support." Fukui's service will also compete with a host of private online dating services such as Tokyo-based O-Net Inc, which organizes events for its 38,000 members such as wine-tasting tours and "elegance" seminars for women.

Organized dating activities called konkatsu, or marriage-hunting, including 8am singles breakfasts, trash-picking by Shinjuku station in Tokyo, and Sunday morning book clubs, are also becoming popular. Fukui had the lowest jobless rate in the first quarter among Japan's 47 prefectures, at 3.3 percent, according to the statistics bureau. About 53 percent of Fukui's women held jobs in 2007, versus a national average of 48.8 percent. The prefecture also had the highest ratio of dual-income households at 39.6 percent, against Japan's average of 26.6 percent, census data from 2005 show. The hope is that members from the Fukui Marriage-Hunting Cafe will pair off and help turn around the prefecture's fertility rate, which dropped to 1.54 in 2008, from 1.93 in 1985. "Our goal is to first help people meet each other and then support them as they get married and raise children," Iwakabe said. "It's all part of a larger plan to aid parents in the process of child-rearing."


From http://www.taipeitimes.com/ 08/08/2010

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Japanese Operators Win 557,900 New Subs in July

Japanese mobile operators added 557,900 new subscribers in July to reach a total of 114.27 million mobile subscribers, figures from the Telecommunications Carrier Association (TCA) show. Softbank again led in subscriber additions in July as it added 279,500 new customers to bring its total to 22.852 million. NTT Docomo gained 145,100 new subscribers to reach a total of 56.659 million, while Emobile won 81,500 new customers to end July with a total of 2.618 million customers. KDDI ended the month with 32.143 million subscribers after adding 51,800 new customers. Troubled PHS provider Willcom shed 46,900 customers, which brings the company's total to 3.835 million. Willcom has filed for bankruptcy and has begun a rehabilitation process.


From http://www.telecompaper.com/ 08/09/2010

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NORTH KOREA: May Be Getting an Internet Connection

North Korea may be taking steps to set up Internet servers within its borders for the first time. According to a well done article by Computer World: In the past few months, a block of 1,024 Internet addresses, reserved for many years for North Korea but never touched, has been registered to a company with links to the government in Pyongyang. The company referred to is out of Thailand, and previously helped North Korea set up its first cellular network. To date, there are no known servers that connect to the outside world (i.e. the Internet) in North Korea. The country does have an Intranet that uses email and other Web technologies but that network does not connect outside of the country. A number of North Korean officials do have access to the Internet through satellite services and a hardline from China, but the number is probably only in the thousands and is almost certainly only given to those with the equivalent of top secret status security access. If "the North" does set up servers within the country, it is completely unclear what they would do with them (the few official websites of the country are hosted outside as well). Whatever they use it for, we're guessing they're not going to use the connection to start tweeting or posting pics to Facebook. There is basically no chance whatsoever that the Internet will be offered to the public, as it would be a Pandora's Box for the government - and they know it. However, any step to connecting the North to the rest of the world should probably be considered a positive at this point, although only time will tell on that.


From http://thenextweb.com/ 06/11/2010

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SOUTH KOREA: Most Avid Readers of Online News

South Korea ranked first in the online news reference rate with 77 percent, according to the OECD communication committee report Tuesday. Northern European states such as Norway and Iceland were next with 73 percent and 69 percent respectively, followed by Mexico (61 percent), the U.S. (57 percent), Finland (57 percent) and Denmark (52 percent). The rates in most of the advanced Western European countries, however, were lower than 50 percent, showed the report. The U.K. took the lead in the region with 37 percent, whereas the figures in France and Germany stood at 22 percent and 21 percent, respectively. Italy and Ireland went online for the news the least, both showing a usage rate of 17 percent. Japan was excluded from this year's report but it had exceeded 50 percent in 2005, reflecting an active online news culture. Korea's lead may be partly attributed to its well-established Internet network. Korea's Internet usage rate ranked sixth worldwide, according to the European Commission report last year. "The Internet is rapidly replacing the conventional news media," stated the report. "In Korea, it has long overpowered all other forms of communication, especially the offline newspaper." The Internet newspaper, which at first was used as a supplement to the offline paper, has now become a totally new substitute, the report also said. The rise of the Internet newspaper has thus led to the fall of the traditional newspaper market. The global newspaper market, which showed yearly growth of 3.6 percent on average in 2004-2007, took a negative turn in 2008, according to the report. Also, in most OECD states, the number of newspaper subscribers last year fell to the 2004 level. Many newspaper companies have thus restructured themselves in recent years to compete in the Internet news market.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 05/25/2010

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Online Boarding Passes to Be Accepted for Departure

Beginning in September, airline passengers will be able to leave the country with boarding passes printed from home. Currently, boarding passes must be stamped or issued at the check-in counter at the airport in exchange for printed online check-in confirmations. The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs announced on Sunday that it will improve airline security from September and omit the process of stamping or exchanging confirmations for boarding passes. "Passengers will be able to verify their identity at automated machines," the ministry said. "By doing so, we expect boarding time to be reduced by an average of 12 minutes."


From http://english.chosun.com/ 06/28/2010

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Mobile Web Usage Climbs During Nighttime

Internet usage through mobile devices rapidly rises between 7 p.m. in the evening and midnight, a study found on Friday. According to Daum Communications, the country's leading Internet software provider, the use of the mobile Web rises during the lunch hours and surges in the evening from 7 p.m. when workers usually leave their office. The portion of internet users going online using their cell phone reached 28.5 percent of the total web traffic between 7 p.m. and 12 a.m. The usage rate of the mobile Web reaches its peak at 9 p.m. Koreans increasingly access the Web via handsets, spurred by the launch of Apple's iPhone and a slew of other smartphones. The country's mobile carriers are also scurrying to increase the number of free Wi-Fi zones and to introduce competitive data plans in an effort to boost wireless Internet usage. The number of Americans accessing the Web over mobile devices is also on rise. Mobile Web usage in the U.S. climbs steadily throughout the day, peaking at 9 p.m., according to a new study by mobile media measurement firm Ground Truth. Mobile Web access, measured in page view consumption, rises from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. workdays, with an average of 54 percent of users looking for content during this time. Web usage intensifies after 6 p.m. and reaches a peak three hours later. The 9 p.m. period accounts for 7.2 percent of all daily page views, the report said. The study proves that the mobile Internet is an "always-on" medium and has become well-established as a part of daily life, Ground Truth said. More than half of all mobile Internet users are accessing the Web from the moment they wake up until they go to bed at night, it added.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 07/09/2010

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South Korea Gets the Fastest Internet in the World

The fastest broadband city in the world is Masan in South Korea, according to an analysis. The data, from network giant Akamai reveals the average global net speed is only 1.7Mbps (megabits per second) although some countries have made strides towards faster services. And Masan in South Korea stands at the top with Internet speed of 12Mbps. At the second spot is Hong Kong with 9Mbps, followed by Japan with 7.8Mbps. Rounding up the top 5 are Romania and Latvia with 6.3Mbps speed each. In the speed league table, the UK is ranked 27th out of 201 countries, with an average speed of 3.8Mbps. This is below the 5.2Mbps average speed calculated by regulator Ofcom in its annual broadband report. "Other countries have got faster," the BBC quoted David Belson, head of market intelligence at Akamai, as saying. Even in South Korea, which tops the speed league table and is often perceived as enjoying super-fast broadband as the norm, the average speed is a relatively slow 12Mbps, with the average maximum hitting 33Mbps. "100Mbps is available in South Korea but it is often at prices that are not affordable by the general public. It can cost several hundred dollars a month," said Belson. Asia dominates the list of fastest wired cities with more than half of the top 100 cities in Japan. Only 12 US cities make the list. All the top twenty cites were in either Japan or South Korea, with the exception of Umea, in Sweden, which was ranked 18th.Other European cities in the top 100 included Baden-Baden in Germany, Wageningen in the Netherlands and Timisoara in Romania. Average net speed by region is as follows: 1. South Korea 12Mbps; 2. Hong Kong 9Mbps; 3. Japan 7.8Mbps; 4. Romania 6.3Mbps; 5. Latvia 6.3Mbps; 6. Sweden 6.1Mbps; 7. Netherlands 5.9Mbps; 8. Czech Republic 5.4Mbps; 9. Denmark 5.3Mbps; 10. Switzerland 5.2Mbps.


From http://www.newkerala.com/ 07/29/2010

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Enjoy Wireless Internet in the Major Stations in Korea

Korail (Korea Rail) plans to build a WiFi network at 90 stations in the country by the end of October to provide free access to wireless internet service to station visitors. Currently, KT established WiFi networks in 83 stations which allow KT subscribers to access wireless internet anywhere. KT also plans to build a WiFi network in 5 additional stations. Meanwhile, SK Telecom has established an open-type WiFi network in 90 different stations. Therefore, station visitors can access the internet with their smartphone or laptop freely in the stations no matter which mobile they carry. In addition, KT and SKT are intending to build WiFi networks all over the nation. As internet is pretty much accessible everywhere and the smartphone is getting popular, people can work anywhere causing positive change in a modern human's lifestyle.


From http://www.koreaittimes.com/ 08/06/2010

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Telecoms, Portals Compete over Social Hubs

Local telecoms, online portals and electronics giants are competing to create social networking hubs in a bid to lure more mobile users. KT Corp., the country's No. 2 mobile carrier, said Monday it released a social networking hub service for its feature phone users, incorporating four different networking sites ¨D Twitter, Facebook, Cyworld and MeToday. By registering their identifications of the SNS websites on the new site, users can upload and check their postings and photos simultaneously with their mobile phones. The local telecom also said it is currently in the process of developing a mobile application involving the service for its smartphone users. Last week, Yahoo! Korea also made a similar announcement, claiming its renovated homepage would offer a "one-stop networking service" for the portal users. It also said the company's renovated homepage would provide easy access to other websites, meaning a single log-in would be enough to get the desired service. "Different strong points exist for the country's portals and the development of a win-win strategy will be possible when they are shared by the service providers," Kim Dae-sun, general manager of the Korean branch, told reporters at the press conference. SK Communications, the operator of the popular Korean networking site Cyworld and online messenger Nate On, is also busily moving to establish its own social networking hub and Microsoft is soon planning to launch an upgraded version of its own social hub Windows Live.

There are also rumors that Google may be preparing to launch another self-designed social networking service in order to start competing with Facebook. However, it is not only the online portals that have engaged in the fierce battle. Samsung Electronics also unveiled its social hub on some of its mobiles such as Galaxy S and Wave. The hub ¨D which includes allowing the checking of e-mail accounts, logging on online messenger as well as blogging sites ¨D was designed for the convenience of its mobile users, according to Samsung officials. Through the service, users can view not only the recent history of the blogged online messages of the users' registered friends but also the updates and the statuses of the people listed on their messengers, all with a single touch. The social networking services, which are now the rising online communication platform, have become a direct, prompt and wide-reaching communication tool used by all different sizes of firms to reach out to the public. The firms use them to figure out their consumers' needs and also improve their corporate images by making use of the affordable method. Going a step further, companies use it to form intimate relationships with their own employees and customers. Research conducted by IBM also found that utilizing social networking services has helped firms maximize their profits. The report said that an IBM employee who uses social media tools generates an average of $588 more revenue than one who does not. Some local companies which make active use of the new online communication platform are large-scale corporations like KT, Samsung, LG, Doosan, Korean Air, Shinsegae, AhnLab Inc. and many government branches.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 08/09/2010

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Domain Names in Korean to Be Introduced Next Year

Starting next year people will be able to type domain names in Hangeul or written Korean in their Internet address bar to visit web sites in Korean. Currently some Internet addresses can be typed partly in Hangeul, however the domain name is still in English such as ".kr." The Korea Communications Commission said it is planning to introduce a system that will enable people to type everything in Korean. The Korea Information Security Agency also said that it has applied to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to use Hangeul domain names. KISA plans to provide the appropriate regulations and Domain Name System by the end of this year. The new service will make web browsing more convenient for many users, especially those who surf via smartphone.


From http://english.chosun.com/ 08/12/2010

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INDONESIA: Communicating in the Broader Broadband

Terminals like smartphones, personal computers, laptops and netbooks have become indispensable lifestyle items in this information era. Users out and about with their heads down and fingers flying over keyboards can be seen almost everywhere. What are they really doing? Since the equipment, platforms, standards and systems in information and communication technology (ICT) have been, and will keep on, evolving dramatically, people can do many things with their gadgets, such as maintain their business, trade, manage commerce and finances, send instant messages, chat, send and receive email and educate themselves. Users are now enjoying high-speed broadband Internet services. Telecommunications operators, including wired and wireless phone providers, are competing to prepare and deploy the latest generation in ICT. They want to offer the best high-speed Internet access, as well as prepare themselves for Internet telephony (IP) and television convergence. They can ultimately use bandwidth for voice and high-speed data services. Broadband is commonly associated with a particular speed of transmission or a certain set of services, such as digital subscriber loop and wireless local area networks. However, since broadband technologies are always evolving, many people also define broadband with new understandings. But the basic terms, such as megabyte, gigabyte and mbps (megabit per second), must be always kept in mind as broadband relates to users' demand for data bytes and speed.

These days, users in big cities in Indonesia are able to enjoy the availability of high-speed broadband services. In fact, Indonesia was recently ranked one of the countries most engaged in Internet-related activities. In May, for example, Indonesia was named the largest Opera Mini user with a significant rise in page-view-per-user. With a population of 234 million, and expansive marketing of inexpensive cell phones, Indonesia is known as the country with the largest number of mobile Facebook users in the world. In addition, a study just revealed that Indonesia had become the third largest producer of Tweets globally. Internet users in Indonesia are spending more time on browsing and surfing the virtual cyber world. Evidence of this can be seen in the increasing total revenue of PT Telkom, the state-owned and largest telecommunications operator, during the first quarter of this year, which was mainly due to a major increase in data, Internet and information technology services revenue together with an increase in cellular revenue. During the period, the company reported data, Internet and IT services revenue surged 45.9 percent.

The growth was due to improved services for both fixed and mobile broadband services, Speedy and Flash, which rose by 79 percent and 607 percent, respectively, according to the company's vice president of public and marketing communications Eddy Kurnia. Telkom has boasted that Speedy subscribers reached 1.3 million in April this year, up 69.7 percent from the 683,000 recorded in 2009. The company expects to see two million Speedy subscribers by the end of 2010. PT Telkomsel, the GSM operator that is part of the Telkom Group, had 2.2 million Flash (Internet access) subscribers in the first quarter of this year, up 606 percent from the same period in 2009. Telkomsel's vice president of channel management, Gideon Edi Purnomo, claimed the figure rose to 2.8 million by May 2010 and was projected to reach five million by the end of the year.

Data, Internet and IT services in Indonesia are undeniably still lucrative. With a huge population, the sector will grow greatly. According to a leading research company, Market and Research, the number of Internet users in Indonesia was estimated at just over 26 million by early 2010, representing a relatively low overall penetration of 11 percent. At the same time, the Internet subscription market was generally depressed with fewer than seven million subscribers reported by early 2010. The institution also reported that broadband Internet access in Indonesia, while certainly increasing, was at a relatively low level of activity, with subscriptions running at around 18 percent of the total Internet subscriber base. The statistics will change soon as all providers in the country are preparing infrastructure for the latest generation. Telkom, for example, has joined the Asia-America Gateway (AAG) consortium to a build fiber optic submarine cable system linking Asia and the US to make data communications between the continents better. Kurnia said Telkom had also signed an agreement to join the Southeast Asia Japan Cable System (SJC), another consortium developing a submarine cable system that will have the biggest bandwidth capacity of its kind and a design capacity of 17 terabytes per second (Tbps) that is upgradeable to 23 Tbps.

In another project, the country saw not long ago its first WiMAX network with the soft launch of a network by Sitra Wimax, a subsidiary of PT First Media of the Lippo Group. The 4G WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) technology holds great promise for delivering high bandwidth communications and information services to both geographically remote areas and large urban populations. In a related development, cellular operators like Telkomsel, Indosat, XL Axiata, 3, Axis, BTel and SmartFren are upgrading their networks and offering more services, including broadband wireless access for higher data traffic and voice and messaging services. Currently, GSM operators serve the public with the 3.5G technology of mobile telephone data transmission in the High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) family. They have also embraced LTE technology to offer better broadband services by 2012. The 4G LTE, or Long Term Evolution, is basically expected to bring about vastly improved cost reduction, improved customer experience and evolution to a unified platform for seamless coverage and roaming. CDMA operators, including BTel, have also prepared themselves with EV-DO (Evolution Data Optimized) technology. Broadband seems to have paved the way for new solutions in daily activities. Just be prepared with more changes to people's habits.


From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 07/20/2010

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LAOS: New IT Service for Tourists Officially Launched

(KPL) The AIS Advanced IT Solutions Asia or (AIS Asia) Company officially opened new IT service for attracting more tourists to Laos. The opening ceremony was held in Vientiane last Friday, drawing the government officials and around 200 business people from Laos and the region. Vice-President of the Lao National Tourism Administration, Mr. Soukkaseum Boddhisane, and entrepreneurs from Vietnam, Hong Kong, Thailand and Malaysia were also present at the ceremony. The AIS Asia is a joint venture company between Lao and Thai businessmen, which is the first company that services installing and distributing computer hardware and software for hotels, airlines, tourism and e-payment through the Internet in Laos. With the new service, tourists will be able book and search hotel rooms and flight through the internet called Extensible Markup Language (XML).

The Lao shareholder of AIS Asia Company Mr. Onechanh Boualivanh, said that currently the IT sector was growing rapidly in Laos and bringing new service to the country will be a good interest for Laos on the national socio-economic development in the future. Mr. Onechanh also said that our business will help create more new jobs to Lao students and people. The Thai shareholder of the company, Mr. Chartchai Pothong said that the XML system was not only widely used in Asia, but also in Europe. He continued that presently, there are just two companies in Laos that are already operating on the system such as Lao Airlines and Visiting Asia and two hotels in Luang Prabang province. There are around 10 companies used this system in Thailand and only one company using it in Vietnam, one in Cambodia and three companies in Hong Kong.


From http://www.kplnet.net/ 07/05/2010

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IPT and India's Trigyn Technologies to Train Trainers of Trainers for ICT

(KPL) The Institute of Post and Telegraph of the National Authority of Post and Telecommunication of Laos has inked an agreement with the Trigyn Technologies Limited India on setting up and enhancing ICT capacity building. The MOU will establish a fully fledged Training Centre which will cater to many IT related courses to help in implementing many projects for Lao government in the IT area in coming years. "Trigyn Group will support IPT in setting up Information Communication Technology (ICT) capacity building for Laos which will fulfil the IT vision for the country," said Chairman and Executive Director, R. Ganapathi. In its early stage, the two-million-US dollar project will have around ten trainers trained in ICT who will then train other ICT trainers, according to IPT Director General Mysith Amnatchaleun. The project's objective is to train government staff and through other agencies, like the Boudviseth College, provide certificate courses in IT and provide appropriate IT skills to implement various ICT initiatives of the Lao government like E-governance application and Fibre to Government and Home. "Our vision is to help the Lao people access ICT and reduce information gap between people in rural and remote areas and those living in cities," said Mr. Mysith. If the pilot project is successful, more exclusive project of ICT development in Laos will be studied into and proposed to the government for consideration in an attempt to make Laos an ICT hub in the Greater Mekong Region, according to ICT Director.


From http://www.kplnet.net/ 08/06/2010

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MALAYSIA: Helping Datacentres Cut Energy Wastage

To ensure that energy is utilised in a more efficient manner in datacentres, Schneider Electric is offering its latest solution called EcoStruxure. "EcoStruxure is not a product but an architecture or approach to create intelligent energy management systems," explained David Blumanis, datacentre advisor on critical power and cooling services for Asia-Pacific and Japan at the company. According to Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management, as Malaysia becomes increasingly reliant on technology, datacentres and server farms in the country will be the backbone of businesses and other organisations. "Conducting a business today requires 24 x 7 x 365 datacentre availability and if your servers are down, so is your business," said Blumanis. The downtime would translate to losing customers, productivity and profits, he added.

He said that with EcoStruxure, businesses can expect improvements in operations through systematic energy visibility and real-time control of any energy usage. Therefore, energy waste in all forms - from electricity and water to mechanical and human - can be captured and mitigated to improve efficiency. EcoStruxure takes a holistic approach to energy management to enable optimal energy efficiencies across the multiple domains of a business. "By deploying the architecture, businesses can reduce their operational energy costs via real-time temperature, lighting and shutters control, for example," Blumanis said. One of Schneider Electric's customers in this country is Sunway Medical Centre. The centre relies heavily on IT equipment for information such as patient records, billing and medical test records. "With so many mission-critical activities going on around the clock, Sunway Medical Centre's IT systems require constant maintenance to ensure that there is no downtime," said Blumanis. Schneider Electric worked with the centre to assess its needs, to provide suitable power and cooling capabilities while keeping energy wastage and costs low.


From http://techcentral.my/ 05/26/2010

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Seven Libraries Link Up over the Internet

The Sarawak Library is working with six other libraries in the country under the Ubiquitous Library Pilot Project or "U-Library," which is expected to be launched in July. Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan said U-Library would enable members to borrow books through the Internet and have them delivered directly to their homes from the participating libraries through Pos Malaysia. The six participating libraries are the National Library, the National Institute of Public Administration (Intan) Library, and the Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang librararies, he said when winding-up the debate on his ministry at the state assembly here yesterday. On library development in Sarawak, Dr Chan said the state had 260 static and nine mobile libraries, with one state library, one branch in Miri, 54 divisional or district libraries and 168 village libraries under the local authorities. He said there were another 36 village libraries, seven mobile libraries, and two multimedia mobile libraries or e-Pustaka funded by the federal government through the National Library. "These libraries have a total of 4,508,017 items, both printed and non-printed. The total number of registered members stands at 608,088. Borrowing transactions made last year is 2,734,108," he said, adding that ICT (information and communications technology) facilities with Internet connections were available at 195 libraries or 75% of the libraries.


From http://techcentral.my/ 05/27/2010

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CAT Puts in Place IT Infrastructure for E-tourism

KUALA LUMPUR: Creative Advances Technology Sdn Bhd (CAT) has in place an IT infrastructure that is available for any travel and tourism provider to host its e-tourism business on. Thus far Firefly and several travel agents have used its infrastructure and it is hoping that many more agencies in the travel and tourism industry will want to ride on its infrastructure. CAT has also hosted Virtual Malaysia, the e-tourism portal for the tourism ministry for more than a decade. It calls the infrastructure Sota or standard online tourism architecture and has invested RM10mil to develop it. "We have the infrastructure to support the travel and tourism industry and we will continue investing in IT going forward as we know the job of the travel agent is to sell packages and tickets so they would need someone to manage their IT needs and we have the expertise for that," CAT chief executive officer and founder Rohizam Md Yusoff told StarBizWeek. There are 2,800 travel agents in the country and not all have their own websites.

However, the country's two airlines, Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia, have their online offerings and are doing very well with online bookings. Firefly has opted to use Sota's infrastructure for its online ventures. "We are positioning ourselves as an innovator," Rohizam said, adding that Sota was endorsed by the Pacific Asia Travel Association and Asean Tourism Association. Besides earning a commission for the transactions from the travel and tourism industry for providing the IT platform, CAT will supplement its income with advertisements. It uses Paypal for its payment gateway for the transactions on the Sota portal. "When airlines have their own portals, the possibility of travel agents becoming non-relevant is there. However, here is an opportunity that allows travel agents to compete globally on price and services as they can now focus on the selling and marketing of their products and services," he said. Even though online bookings were on the rise it would take about three years for this venture to break even, said Rohizam.

Globally there are many online sites that offer a whole host of travel and tourism information and packages. Companies like Expedia.com, asiantrials.com, orbitz.com, lastminute.com, kayak.com, cheapflights.com, priceline.com and many others offer a huge range of packages and tourism information for the consumers. "There are huge successes in the global online booking business but there are nothing (to shout about) here and we would like to see some of the agencies that we host becoming the likes of Expedia or even Priceline," Rohizam said. Expedia is said to be the largest global online travel agency and the value of its travel bookings in the second quarter of 2010 was US$114.3mil compared with US$40.9mil a year earlier. Revenue climbed 8% to US$834 million on strength from advertising and media revenues as well as hotels, a report said. Having maintained the portal for Tourism Malaysia for a long time, Rohizam believes CAT will get more agencies that it can host. It wants to expand into Asean next year and is in talks several travel agents in the Philippines and Singapore. Sota is owned by CAT, whose holding company is Creative Quest, in which Rohizam and his sister hold 70% equity stake while the remaining 30% is held by his partner Vincent Kok and a private equity fund known as Pacific Tiger. The paid-up capital of Sota is RM15mil.


From http://biz.thestar.com.my/ 08/14/2010

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More Cybercentres to Come

KUALA LUMPUR: The Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), caretaker of the nation's MSC Malaysia initiative, will continue to increase the number of cybercentres in the country.Its chief executive officer, Datuk Badlisham Ghazali, said MDeC is continously evaluating applications for cybercentres to make more choices available for new and existing MSC Malaysia-status companies. He was speaking at a ceremony to certify Goldis Bhd's GTower here as an MSC Malaysia Cybercentre. There are already 19 cybercentres nationwide, including the Telekom Malaysia Cybercentre Complex, Mid Valley City, Kuala Lumpur City Centre and Cyberjaya that make up the 12 in the Klang Valley. But these, Badlisham said, are still not enough to meet the needs of the growing number of MSC Malaysia companies. There are more than 2,600 MSC Malaysia-status companies now. "IT companies, especially the multinationals, want to set up business in our cities. To cater to this, we are looking at setting up two more cybercentres in the Klang Valley by year end," he said.

Badlisham said MDeC has also received an application for a cybercentre to be built in Sabah, as well as an application for premises in Sarawak to be awarded Cybercentre status. A cybercentre is a designated MSC Malaysia area that, amongst other services, provides a world-class information technology infrastructure, and adheres to the MSC Malaysia Bill of Guarantees. GTower is a 30-storey building located at the crossroads of Jalan Tun Razak and Jalan Ampang and is equipped with a fibreoptic network with redundancy capabilities that ensure round-the-clock connectivity for its occupants. 12 MSC Malaysia-status companies - ranging from startups to enterprises - have already set up business there and Goldis hopes to extend GTower's facilities to more of such businesses. Goldis is a major shareholder of IGB Corporation Bhd, one of the largest mega-property corporations in the country.


From http://techcentral.my/ 08/20/2010

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THAILAND: Four Online Inventions to Keep Away from

The Internet has brought us many good things - so many that we cannot imagine our lives without it - eBay, Craig's list, email and free music to name a few. But as with other things, there's also an ugly side to the net. Internet porn, online games and Facebook are examples of things that spring to mind when we think about time wasted online, but there are other web creations that were conceived for little purpose other than to satisfy our curiosity. The following are four things that in spite of their minimal practical use, still have huge followings simply because people have so much time on their hands - and money to burn to buy gadgets for their platforms. For their sheer uselessness, these are the online equivalents of the Delorean car and the Oxford comma: Foursquare, LinkedIn, Spam, Twitter.


From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 06/27/2010

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New Technology and Trusted Practices

Bringing technology tools together and tying them to business processes can help any company survive in a creative economy, say technology innovation management experts. Free trade agreements and fierce competition means businesses must compete not only by reducing costs and finding skilled labour for the best price, they must also add more value to products and services by using creativity to secure sustainable practices, said Asst Prof Nathasit Gerdsri, College of Management, Mahidol University. And Poomporn Thamsatitidej from the College of Innovation of Thammasat University said using knowledge to experiment and take calculated risks will enable businesses to boost creativity. There are many examples of technology innovation fostering success in creativity and management. For example, in a skilled nice workforce such as jewellery design, the use of relevant contemporary software combined with standard, time-honoured manufacturing processes help reduce the time required to deliver a finished product.

Or in advertising, interactive software may tie in with cultural assets such as temples, schools or upcountry sites which reflect traditional Thai lifestyles, blending modern technology with old-fashioned work practices and creating sales channels through selling downloadable music or games affiliated to the attractions. "Even politics can benefit," said Poomporn. "Government can add creativity to their management practices, such as e-voting or generating citizens' feedback, although this requires a digital infrastructure. "However, the most important sector in the long term that should get creative is education, as this can change the way we educate our younger generation, encouraging them to think creatively." Boonkiart Lewwongcharoen, professor at the Graduate School of Management and Innovation, King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, pointed out China's success in using mobile phones to generate creativity, with handsets that feature two Sims and a TV receiver function to differentiate them from global brands, thus bolstering the domestic manufacturing industry. "Creativity, when applied with technology, can bring innovation, which has to combine the embed the organisation's business model into its business process to deliver output success," said Boonkiart. Nathasit continued that the retail or service sectors should learn to understand their markets and the dynamically changing technology environment in order to bring the appropriate technology tools to their business processes and deliver creativity in open innovation to commercialise products and services.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 06/30/2010

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VIET NAM: ICT Firms Backed to Strengthen Competitiveness

Vietnam has 1,000 enterprises in software-outsourcing and digital content, but few of them meet international standards. Just a small number of these businesses have obtained the Capability Maturity Model Integration certification, a globally recognized way to consolidate enterprises' trademarks and reputation for quality, a conference about CMMI-applications for ICT enterprises in HCMC heard last week. CMMI is a process-improvement approach that provides organizations with the essential elements of effective processes that ultimately improve their performance. The certificate can be used to guide process-improvement across a project, division or entire organization. It helps integrate traditionally separate organizational functions, set process-improvement goals and priorities, provide guidance for quality processes and provide a point of reference for appraising current processes.

Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Tran Duc Lai said at the conference that the Vietnam ICT industry was growing on the fast track, with hundreds of enterprises newly established, but most local enterprises were run on a small scale and lacked international production procedures, and this led to poor competitiveness in the global market. "It is timely to apply international standards, such as CMMI, to enhance local ICT enterprises' competitiveness and trademarks in the global market," Lai said. According to Lai, only 10 of the 1,000 enterprises in software outsourcing and digital content have attained CMMI certificates. Thirty others have declared that they were aiming for the certificate. Lai said local enterprises had begun paying more attention to CMMI, but they were tackling shortages of finance, human resources and management skills. To help these enterprises, the Ministry is deploying a project to strengthen CMMI application in ICT enterprises. The Government has agreed to apply VND60 billion to the project, which runs till 2012.

Starting from this year, targeted enterprises will receive training for workers in software-production and consultation and support on the application of standards. Businesses will also receive financial aid in getting the CMMI certificate. Each enterprise will receive US$25,000 toward implementing CMMI level 3 within 18 months. Talking about the financial assistance with the Daily on the sidelines of the conference, Nguyen Trong Duong, head of the Information and Communications Department under the ministry, said that the assistance would not cover the whole cost of applying for CMMI, which was US$50,000. "Based on the principle of private and public cooperation, the finance will be partial support for enterprises. However, it plays a key role in raising awareness among enterprises," Duong said. His department has received 60 applications from enterprises to date, while this year the ministry is selecting 30 enterprises for support.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 06/15/2010

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Businesses Profit from Social Networking

VietNamNet Bridge - Social networking has become a mainstream business tool in Viet Nam, a study has found. newly released global survey commissioned by workspace solutions provider Regus said 62 per cent of businesses successfully used social networks to win new business. Relatively little analysis had been done into the real use businesses are making of social networking and whether hard business can be generated through this channel. To understand if businesses globally believe that social networking is ready to take its place as a marketing tool, the survey asked business leaders not only whether they had made any customers using the tool but also whether they believed it is effective enough to get its own marketing budget. It found that well over a quarter of businesses world-wide (27 per cent) set aside a proportion of their marketing budget for social networking activities. In Viet Nam, the number rose to 54 per cent. Around 92 per cent of respondents in the country used social networking to keep in touch with contacts though only 46 per cent had found employment through social networks. Around 77 per cent said the main utility of social networks is managing and connecting with customer groups.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 07/09/2010

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BANGLADESH: Newly Introduced E-Tendering Cuts Time Significantly

The Time of the Bangladesh Bank's procurement process has been reduced significantly with the introduction of electronic tendering, officials said on Tuesday. They said since the online tender process was launched by Bangladesh Bank (BB) governor Atiur Rahman on June 12, the central bank has opened 24 tenders, of which four has already been awarded. The process has been speeded up following provision of online submission by the bidders, automated evaluation and speedy award announcement ensuring full security of the system. The officials said two-thirds of the time of procurement has been reduced with the e-tendering process. "Which was earlier done in three months can now be done in a month," said Gouranga Chaktraborty, systems management of IT operation and communications department. He said the tendering process is totally safe and secure and evaluation is done by the central bank's own software. He said that the system evaluates the proposals automatically as soon as the bidding is closed and declares the award. An evaluation committee is the only authority which can verify the whole process and the documents if anything unusual is found, said another official. The e-tendering system of the central bank is introduced with the facility of online bidder registration, email acknowledgement of new tender according to bidder's interest list, online bid participation, online frequently asked tender-specific questions with comprehensive security.


From http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/ 07/31/2010

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INDIA: Drivers Get Smart with an E-License

India crossed its first milestone of an ambitious plan by supplying 10 million drivers with an e- drivers license. The card is equipped with necessary information about the driver and will prove to be revolutionary in managing the information database as well as protecting car related accidents and thefts. In what has been billed as the largest project of its kind of the world, the government of India has passed the 10 million mark for issuing electronic driver's licences. Of the country's 110 million drivers, nine per cent have now been registered with electronic driving certificates, according to Gemalto, a digital security firm involved in the project. The number of drivers in India soared from seven in 1000 in 2007 to 11 in 1000 in 2010 - a doubling since 2000 when 0.5% of Indians had a car. But the number of car accidents is keeping pace with car ownership. In 2008, road accidents claimed more than 100,00 lives, a number which is expected to reach 150,000 by 2015, as India's car market booms. The e-Driver's License project aims to reduce the incidence of car-related calamity by alerting officials to the driver's history. Inside the e-licence is a microprocessor that stores the driver's data - vehicle registration number, the owner's identity, insurance details, and pollution control certification status. It also contains security features that can help curb car theft - a big contributing factor to car accidents. India was second only to Italy in a ranking of the world's worst drivers, according to a 2010 survey of 2000 people in 80 countries by travel industry pollster Titanic Awards. The project aims to reduce which is expected to contribute to a reduction in car accidents. Statutory data about the vehicle, its registration, its owner, vehicle insurance and pollution control certification is stored in the microprocessor embedded in the e-Registration Certificate card. The number of drivers in car is increasing at a rate Gemalto is running e-Driver's License projects in Australia, Sweden, Mexico, Finland, Norway and El Salvador.


From http://southasia.oneworld.net/ 07/07/2010

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E-Ticket Agents to Be Barred from Using Tatkal Service

Railways have decided to bar web-based ticket agents of the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) from getting access to tatkal bookings from 8 am to 9 am. The decision has been taken following rising number of complaints from people regarding crashing of the IRCTC website during this period. The railways see over 9.5 lakh booking across the country each day, 30 per cent of which is done through the IRCTC portal. There are approximately about eight lakh agents under IRCTC. There are complaints that agents corner tickets between 8 am and 9 am and tatkal quota gets exhausted within minutes, said a Railway official. The IRCTC official said that acting on the new directives of the railways some changes will made in the software accordingly.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 07/08/2010

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E-Waste to Increase in Coming Years

The total e-waste in different forms in the country would now come to around more than 1.46 lakh tonnes per year and this is expected to exceed eight lakh tonnes by 2012. India would be confronted with the threat of accumulation of e-waste in the coming years if necessary policy and regulations are not put in place to check its growth now. Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi, Karnataka, Gujarat, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh generate 70 per cent of the total e-Waste in the country. The biggest concern with e-Waste was the presence of toxic materials such as lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic, printer cartridge inks and toners that pose significant health risks, he said. These components can contaminate soil, groundwater and air as well as affect the workers of the recycling units and the community living around it. Iron and steel were the most common materials found and accounted for half of the total e-waste, followed by plastics and non-ferrous metals. The e-Waste volume was all set to increase in the near future especially with more number of people in developing countries using online communication technologies.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 07/08/2010

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Online Complaint Register System by PWD

An online complaint registering system will be set up in the State to expedite execution of public works. The permanent mechanism for the public to register complaints about damaged/potholed roads would hereafter function from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The helpline '18004257771' would be beefed up by adding six lines and the staff manning the system would work in two shifts.The response of engineers to handling the complaints would be assessed. Individual engineers would be graded on the basis of the results achieved in the delivery/rollout of the required service. The time-to-action and the efficiency with which the repair work is executed would come up for scrutiny while deciding on the grade of an engineer. The Web-based application for monitoring of the works will come into being by August-end.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 07/13/2010

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Over 600 Citizen-Centric Services Now Available Online

Of 1100 citizen and business centric services targeted for delivery, over 600 services of various Departments of Central and State Governments are now available electronically - anytime, anywhere. People can now obtain copies of their land records, Job Cards for employment under MNREGS, certificates relating to birth/death/income/caste/domicile etc., on-line. Benefits under various social services schemes such as various types of pensions - widow/handicap/old age etc., scholarships, education assistance etc., can be availed electronically. Of 27 MMPs under NeGP, 14 have already commenced delivery of services in different parts of the country. These include Mobile Computer Applications (MCA21), Pensions, Central Excise, Income Tax, Passport, Banking & Insurance, Land Records, Road Transport, Common Services Centre, e-Courts, EDI, National Service Delivery Gateway (NSDG) & India Portal. All MMPs shall start delivering e-services by 2014. Under all these projects 1,100 services are likely to be available progressively with full availability by 2014. To enable all this, state wide connectivity is being provided through State Wide Area Networks (SWANs) ensuring a minimum of 2 Mbps connectivity up to block levels. SWANs are operational in 23 States and the remaining will become operational by March 2011.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 07/19/2010

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IT@School to Set Up 140 Model ICT Schools in Kerala

The IT@School project would implement a Model ICT School programme in selected High Schools in all the 140 constituencies in Kerala. The programme is aimed at enhancing the teaching and learning process at school, equipping the teachers and students to make maximum use of ICT tools available at schools, thereby setting up their school as the ultimate Knowledge Hub and also as a model for implementing a complete ICT enabled educational system. By upgrading the school as a Model ICT school, every teacher in the school would be extensively trained in IT and subject wise ICT training which would indeed equip them to create their own digital contents by making use of the available resources at schools and also to upload these contents to a general online repository. The Model ICT School programme would see the schools being upgraded to a higher level of knowledge acquisition process, with the active involvement of School IT Coordinators (SITC) and Students School IT Coordinators (SSITC), who would invariably contribute to the content generation process.


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

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Punjab E-Gram Centres to Be Operational by Deccember 2010

The e-Gram project of the Punjab government aimed at providing important citizen services in rural areas of the state would be operational by December2010. The centres in 3,017 panchayat clusters, besides monitoring expenditure in panchayats, will provide 14 crucial citizen services to all the 12,800 villages in Punjab. The eight states in the country, including neighbouring Himachal Pradesh, have already set up e-Gram centres at village level and highlighted the need to peculate the benefits of administrative reforms and IT revolution to each and every villages of Punjab.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 08/10/2010

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SRI LANKA: Telecom Offers New Tariffs for Fixed Wireless Phones

(LBO) - Sri Lanka Telecom has changed its tariff plans for new 'Citylink' fixed wireless telephone connections with a rate of one rupee a minute for outgoing calls within its own network for prepaid subscribers. SLT said in a statement the charges for the CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) fixed wireless telephone services are valid 24 hours a day, and includes a daily rental of three rupees. For postpaid connections, outgoing calls for the first five minutes within the SLT network is billed at 1.25 rupees a minute and from the sixth minute onwards reduced to one rupee per minute. For outgoing calls to other networks, the first five minutes will be billed at 2.25 rupees per minute and from the sixth minute reduced to two rupees per minute. These rates are valid 24 hours of the day, and include a monthly rental of 299 rupees, the SLT statement said. "No start up call charges are levied for both prepaid and postpaid packages and customers are billed on a per minute basis." These charges are all without counting government taxes and applicable only for new connections. "However, all existing SLT Citylink CDMA customers are able to avail themselves of the benefits of this new tariff plan by migrating to the new packages," the statement said. "This was made following the recent direction made by Telecommunication Regulatory Commission requiring all operators to adhere to a stipulated minimum floor rate." The TRC recently introduced a floor rate for call charges following a fierce price war that caused heavy losses among telecom operators.


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

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PAKISTAN: Government Urged to Open More IT Universities

LAHORE: Chairman NetSol Technologies Limited, Salim Ghauri has urged the government to open more Information Technology (IT) universities in the country. In a statement issued on Wednesday, he said there was a time when medicine and engineering were considered only viable options for students pursuing higher education. However, degrees in business, IT, media and arts were now are in vogue, as students pursue jobs that pay well. Attractive and lucrative packages in these disciplines, particularly in IT industry due to widening dollar-rupee parity, were alluring great number of youngsters and there was a need to establish IT universities in the country. Ghauri also appreciated the role of Higher Education Commission (HEC) in catering the different choices in education pursued by students within the last decade and said a change in education policy has played vital role, as the HEC extended licences to 84 universities throughout the country since 2000, with an emphasis on developing disciplines that were not explored before. He said this shift in national policy has helped in development of new industries since late 1990s. He further said the number of institutions catering to higher education, especially in information technology and business had increased from 18 to 78 in 1998 since steps were taken to improve higher education system. He also appreciated the government for encouraging students for international scholarship programmes, leading to a sea change in IT industry of Pakistan. Since 2000, he said, around 16 universities were set up in Karachi, Out of which two are not operational and four are being run by the government while the rest are being run privately. He said it was a matter of great satisfaction that most of them cater to students who wish to pursue degrees in IT, commerce, business studies and fine arts.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 07/15/2010

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ARMENIA: ArmenTel Targets Mid-2011 to Fully Digitise Yerevan PSTN

Panarmenian.net quotes the chief executive officer of national PTO ArmenTel, Igor Klimko, as saying that his company hopes to complete the 100% digitisation of its fixed line network in the capital Yerevan during the first half of 2011. Klimko went on to say that the telco has also been working on upgrading exchanges to digital in other regions, and as such, these works are complete. It is understood that ArmenTel has invested around USD200 million in recent years to upgrade its fixed line network, with the ITU reporting that the digitisation rate in the capital reached 90% as at April 2009.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 06/23/2010

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100,000 E-passports and 250,000 Identification Cards to Be Purchased Within 2010

Director of E-governance Infrastructure Implementation Unit OJSC Arthur Ghulyan said that around 100,000 electronic passports and 250,000 identification cards will be purchased within 2010. "An identification center will be established in the Police," Ghulyan said during a discussion of the program on Electronic Society and Innovations for Stimulating Competitiveness. He added that there are 61 registration centers in Armenia and all of them will be equipped with modern facilities and software. "A competition will be organized on the basis of cooperation between the private and state sectors. The World Bank will secure a part of the project's financing, while the rest will be provided by a private organization. The company will be able cover the investments within 3-5 years through the sale of electronic passports and ID-cards," Ghulyan said. Besides, Certification Center will be established through the WB' funds, while the further operation of the center will be also based on cooperation of the private and state sectors. Ghulyan noted that only Police employees will have access to the system of data identification, and this field will not be privatized. "Privatization of the Certification Center will mean that the organization will be provided for management or partial management. Meanwhile, telecommunication operators and banking sector will be main users of the system," Ghulyan said. Biometric passports with electronic data are envisaged to be introduced in Armenia from April 2011. Two types of passports will be introduced - ID cards for the internal use and biometric international passports.


From http://www.panarmenian.net/ 07/14/2010

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ArmenTel Announces New Payment System Launch

ArmenTel CJSC dealers throughout Yerevan and Armenian regions were provided with an opportunity to accept payments from subscribers, the company said in a press release. The system is from now on available in over 900 trade points throughout Armenia. These are shops selling mobiles phones, supermarkets, food stores and newsstands. The service will simply the process of recharge and other payments within Beeline network to the amount from AMD 10 to 500 000.


From http://www.panarmenian.net/ 07/14/2010

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GNC Alfa Completes First Stage of IP/MPLS Network Construction

GNC Alfa has completed the first stage of IP/MPLS network construction with 10Gbps network capacity. Networks in Yerevan and 16 Armenian towns have been put into operation. Coverage of 29 towns is envisaged till yearend, UITE press service told PanARMENIAN.Net GNC-Alfa is a telecommunications network services operator in Armenia. The Company owns a fiber-optic network passing along the Armenia-Iran gas pipeline. GNC-Alfa network, built on technologies of American Juniper Networks, is designed to provide wholesale transport network services to fixed and mobile operators and ISPs, as well as transit services via Armenia.


From http://www.panarmenian.net/ 07/19/2010

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AZERBAIJAN: Government Set to Install Video Cameras in Crowded Places

Azerbaijani government has decided to install video cameras in crowded places. The Cabinet of Ministers has decided to install surveillance cameras to ensure public safety, protect interests of state and provide quick response to emergency situations based on proposal agreed upon with the Ministries of Interior, Economic Development, Emergency, National Security and a Special State Supervision Service. The surveillance system will be installed in public places, including parks, alleys, squares, streets and avenues, pedestrian subways, stadiums and sports arenas, a large shopping and entertainment centers, sites close to hotels, mosques, churches, synagogues, pilgrimage and other places. Under the decision, cameras will also be installed on highways and roads of local and republican level, at intersections and bridges, airports and seaports, railway stations and platforms, subway stations, bus stops, including passenger transport means of passenger vehicles in the vicinity of the administrative buildings of the executive, legislative and judicial bodies, near the state facilities and public facilities of strategic importance, regardless of the type of property, near banks and credit organizations, offices and consulates of foreign countries, buildings, offices of the international organizations, schools and pay phones.


From http://www.today.az/ 07/09/2010

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AzQtel to Achieve Full Coverage of Absheron Peninsula with WiMAX Network by Next Month

Azerbaijani internet service provider (ISP) AzQtel says its WiMAX wireless network will cover the whole territory of the Absheron peninsula by September. AzQtel's WiMAX services are currently available in most areas of Baku city and the Absheron peninsula. TeleGeography's 4G research service writes that AzQtel was founded in 2005 and launched commercial WiMAX services to the general public in September 2008 over a network supplied by US-based Cisco Systems. The company provides virtual private networks (VPN), broadband internet access and managed network operations, and has said it is planning to offer voice-over-IP (VoIP) services in the near future.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 08/12/2010

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ISRAEL: Post to Launch MVNO Services

With the Israeli Ministry of Communications (MoC) having published its final regulations governing the introduction of mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) in November 2009, more concrete details are beginning to emerge regarding the commercial launch of such services. The Israel Postal Company has announced that it has selected Belgian MVNO enabler Effortel to manage the launch of its services, according to telecoms.com, with the former aiming to sell its services at more than 700 retail outlets across Israel. Effortel has been contracted to define the market proposition, to offer business planning and modelling and to identify a suitable technology platform and choose a network partner. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, last month the MoC issued the country's first MVNO concession to Telecom 365, which is a subsidiary of the Hamashbir retail group. Under existing regulations companies are given six months in which to agree fees with one of the country's mobile network operators after receiving their licence, and if after that time no agreement has been reached the MoC will step in to help finalise a deal.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 07/29/2010

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IRAQ: Asiacell Widens Footprint in Bid to Achieve Nationwide Coverage

Iraqi mobile operator Asiacell has announced it has expanded coverage of its wireless network to the governate of Anbar, including the cities of Rawah, Ubaidi, Karbalah, Husaibah and Haditha. The expansion forms part of a wider campaign to provide nationwide coverage in 2010, with a particular emphasis on the western and southern regions. 'Making sustainable investments in our infrastructure is one of our main priorities due to its significant contribution to the development of the Iraqi telecoms sector and in raising the sector's competitiveness in terms of quality and standards,' commented Asiacell's Chairman, Faruk Mustafa Rasool, adding, 'We pride ourselves on being the first company to provide coverage for all of Iraq, and we pledge to continue to follow the same ambitious methodology in delivering on our promises to our subscribers through providing them with the best telecom services wherever they are.' According to TeleGeography's GlobalComms Database, Asiacell is the country's second largest cellco by subscribers behind Zain Iraq, reporting a customer base of 7.74 million at 31 March 2010, representing a market share of 37.2%.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 06/02/2010

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KAZAKHSTAN: GSM Kazakhstan Installs 4G Base Station in Astana

GSM Kazakhstan/KCell has installed its first 4G base station in the capital city Astana. In a presentation endorsed by the Ministry for Communication and Information of the Republic of Kazakhstan, GSM Kazakhstan offered a presentation of its Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, which demonstrated data upload, speed measurement, high resolution digital video, videoconferencing, and video camera connections from Astana to Almaty, transmitted on a 'real time' basis. GSM Kazakhstan has said that its network will offer transmission speeds of up to 100Mbps. Corporate communications director Aida Dossayeva commented: 'At present we observe a vigorous growth of mobile traffic. New communication technologies need to be introduced in order to satisfy growing needs of subscribers for mobile data communication, and meet their expectations of high speed. LTE is rightfully considered one of the most advanced technologies that our country requires for innovative development'. GSM Kazakhstan's parent company TeliaSonera became the first cellco in the world to commercially launch LTE technology when it launched in Sweden and Norway in December 2009.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 07/29/2010

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UZBEKISTAN: Digital TV Introduced

Uzbekistan was one of the first countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States to start introducing digital TV broadcasting. The transfer to digital TV started in 2007 and should complete by 2015, according to the plan. In 2008, test zones of digital broadcasting were set up in two cities of the country - Tashkent and Bukhara, Currently, 25 channels are broadcast in the capital, and their number will soon increase to over 40. This year, a digital transmitted will be supplied to Samarkand, while in Tashkent their number will be increased from two to four. Next year, digital transmitters will be mounted in four other regions of Uzbekistan. Tashkent-based company TelMax Electronics produces special TV tuners to receive digital channels. To date, the company produced more than 5,000 of such set-top-boxes. With growth of demand for the receivers, a new company will be launched with foreign investments to manufacture 50,000 to 60,000 receivers per year.


From http://www.gov.uz/ 07/28/2010

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Information Technologies Skills Open New Opportunities for Blind People

Two month computer courses for blind people were completed at Computer resource center of the cultural house Sanat Gulshani (attached to Society of Blinds). This center was created with the support of joint projects "ACCESS" and "Assisting the Government of Uzbekistan in the formulation and implementation of ICT for development" (ICTP), implemented by UNDP in cooperation with the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Population of the Republic Uzbekistan and the Uzbek Agency for Communication and Information, also with a support of the World Bank in Uzbekistan. Blind people and people with impaired vision, completed computer courses are now able to use special software JAWS, special equipment SARA, TOPAZ, and be able to be in touch with the world information and communication technology (ICT), the use of various literature, read newspapers and magazines, use the Internet network, to find friends there, to communicate and exchange information. "This is my second year working with the JAWS program, and I really at hand. I am a philologist and I have a lot to write, do researches where JAWS just saves me. Being blind, I was able to create website and place there all sorts of information about outstanding scientists with disabilities, scientists who being blind and achieved a lot. Now I would like one, so the JAWS program will be nationalized and that it sounded in Uzbek language. I think the organizers of the training will take our demands into consideration," said Munavvara Kurbanov, Ph.D. in Philology, participant of the training course.

Today, all over the country operate 80 libraries for the blind, which services are used by 40 thousand of our compatriots and blind people with impaired vision. Over 700 blind university students have no access to ICT, which is the main aim of the courses where the emphasis was based on creating opportunities for people with disabilities to obtain, analyze and utilize information. According to the reporter of "Bir Safda" journal of the Society of Blinds, Nadira Zakirova, she improved her journalistic skills and activity by the assistance of the trainings conducted by the ACCESS and ICTP projects. "Before I wrote my first article in Braille, and then for publishing it in the magazine, I had to rewrite them. For this I needed help of another person. Now with the help of JAWS I can type the articles on the computer and prepare for publication. This is very comfortable and exciting process for me," says Nadira. It should be noted that after the end of the course, Nadira was able independently create and design a web site of the journal "Bir Safda. Upon awarding of certificates to graduates of computer courses, Assistant Resident Representative of UNDP in Uzbekistan, Sitara Syed stressed the importance of these trainings. "Looking at you, I see how you crave to obtain information on a par with everyone. These courses are only the beginning, and it is important to know your opinion about the quality and content of our training. Based on your responses, we will further strive to improve our courses and create new opportunities for access to information for blind people," said Ms. Sitara Syed.

In future ACCESS project plans to conduct similar courses in all regions of Uzbekistan. In this purpose, the main partners of the project are German Society for Technical Cooperation in Uzbekistan (GTZ) and the World Bank Office in Uzbekistan. The main goal is to adapt blind people to the modern labor market, to break stereotypes and stigma in society, develop professional capacity and motivation of participants to conduct similar training courses on their own in other regions of the country. The project ACCESS (Accessibility, Civic Consciousness, Employment and Social Support for People with Disabilities) was approved by the Ministry of Labor and social Security and UNDP in August 2008. It acts on the basis of the new edition of the Law of The Republic of Uzbekistan "On social security of people with disabilities" that was adopted in the year 2008. The project is foreseen to operate for two years during which it intends to work on increasing public awareness on the disability issue, enhance the coordination of governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations the activities of which are oriented to assist people with disabilities, improve accessibility of the surrounding environment and assist with job placements of people with disabilities.


From http://news.uzreport.com/ 08/03/2010

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AUSTRALIA: Get Electronic Health Records by Mid-2012

Stood on a rusty nail? Need to know when you had your last tetanus shot? From mid-2012 the answer will be a click of the computer mouse away. The Rudd government will spend $467 million over the next two years to give every Australian who wants one, an electronic health record by July 2012. "Patients will no longer have to remember every detail of their care history and retell it to every care provider they see," Health Minister Nicola Roxon said in a statement on Tuesday. They will be able to present for treatment anywhere in the country and give permission for health professionals to access their relevant history." E-health records will list the medication a patient is using, along with their previous test results and immunisations.

Their introduction by 2012 was a key recommendation of the Rudd government's National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission. The commission said an e-health record should "at all times be owned and controlled by the patient". Ms Roxon agrees. On Tuesday she said there'd be "rigorous governance and oversight to maintain privacy". "Patients will control what is stored and decide which medical professionals can view or add to their files." Labor says e-health is fundamental to its health reform agenda and will boost patient safety, improve health outcomes and reduce waste and duplication. A report released last week found an e-health system could save the Australian health system $7.6 billion annually by 2020 and prevent 5000 deaths each year. Ms Roxon says e-health will reduce hospital admissions caused by medication errors and avoid duplication of tests.

Doctors say they'll be able to send and receive results, x-rays and the like without them getting lost in transit. But the entire system depends on every patient and healthcare provider having an individual healthcare identifier (IHI). The identifier is a 16-digit number which will automatically be generated for every Australian to store their name, address and date of birth. Legislation allowing IHIs to be assigned is currently before the Senate. However, with opponents increasingly raising privacy concerns, there's no guarantee it will be passed anytime soon.


From http://www.theage.com.au/ 05/11/2010

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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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Agreement Between NBN Co and Telstra on the Rollout of the National Broadband Network

The Australian Government today welcomed the announcement by Telstra and NBN Co that they had entered into a Financial Heads of Agreement. This agreement paves the way for a faster, cheaper, more efficient rollout of the National Broadband Network, with faster take-up. This is an important step in the delivery of the single largest nation building infrastructure project in Australian history, which will increase national productivity and help build a stronger economy.

The Agreement between NBN Co and Telstra, worth an expected value of $9 billion, provides for:
* The reuse of suitable Telstra infrastructure, including pits, ducts and backhaul fibre, by NBN Co as it starts to rollout its new network Ð avoiding unnecessary infrastructure duplication; and
* The progressive migration of customers from Telstra's copper and pay-TV cable networks to the new wholesale-only fibre network to be built and operated by NBN Co.

The Agreement means that:
* Taxpayers benefit because it reduces the overall cost of building the network and will result in higher take-up rates and revenue for NBN Co.
* A greater proportion of the NBN rollout will be underground, with less overhead cabling.

Australia's largest telecommunications company, Telstra, will become a participant in the rollout of the NBN, and is likely to become NBN Co's largest customer. Combined with Australian Government public policy reforms, Telstra estimates that the agreement announced today will deliver Telstra a post-tax net present value of approximately $11 billion. The payments by NBN Co to Telstra would be made over a number of years as the rollout progresses. Through the migration of Telstra customers to the NBN, Australia will benefit significantly from a national wholesale-only broadband network, delivering structural separation of Telstra. This historic microeconomic reform will ensure Australia finally has a genuinely competitive telecommunications industry which works for all Australian households and businesses, and helps to drive long-term productivity growth in our economy. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will review the competition aspects of this agreement as envisaged in the Telecommunications Competition and Consumer Safeguards Bill, which the Government still hopes to pass to provide greater certainty to industry.

In support of the Agreement, the Australian Government will progress public policy reforms to support the transition to NBN to which Telstra attributes a value of approximately $2 billion. It will:
* Establish a new entity, USO Co Ð with Commonwealth funding of $50 million in 2012-13 and 2013-14, increasing to $100 million per annum thereafter. The remaining funding that USO Co requires will be contributed by industry, as it is now with final arrangements subject to industry and stakeholder consultation;
* Provide $100 million to Telstra to assist in the retraining and redeployment of Telstra staff that will be affected by this very significant reform to the structure of the telecommunications industry; and
* Require NBN Co to be the wholesale supplier of last resort for fibre connections in greenfield developments from 1 January 2011.

These important contributions were provided for in the 2010-11 Budget. USO Co will assume responsibility for most of Telstra's Universal Service Obligations for the delivery of standard telephone services, payphones and emergency call handling from 1 July 2012. This will ensure that essential communications services are protected and assist the structural reform of the industry. Telstra, NBN Co and the Commonwealth agencies will now move to negotiate detailed Definitive Agreements, which is expected to take some months. When these negotiations are concluded the Definitive Agreements will be put to Telstra's shareholders and the Government, for final approval. While today's announcement is a significant step in the rollout of the NBN, as confirmed by the NBN Implementation Study, this project would still be financially viable even without the participation of Telstra. The NBN is critical to securing Australia's international competitiveness. It is central to Australia's economic future because it will deliver universal superfast broadband to all Australian households and businesses no matter where they live or do business.


From http://www.minister.dbcde.gov.au/ 06/20/2010

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Size and Location of the Digital Dividend

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today announced the Australian Government has decided to release 126 Megahertz of broadcasting spectrum as a digital dividend. The decision was made following extensive public consultation through the Digital Dividend Green Paper. This spectrum will become available as a result of the switch to digital-only television broadcasting, which will be completed in Australia by 31 December 2013. "Once analog television signals have been completely switched off and the spectrum subsequently cleared of other users, 126MHz of spectrum will be freed-up," Senator Conroy said. This presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve communication services available in Australia, This spectrum is known as the 'digital dividend'." The digital dividend will be released as a contiguous block of spectrum in the upper ultra-high frequency (UHF) band, comprising the frequency range 694 to 820 MHz inclusive. "The Government's decision on the size and location of the digital dividend is a crucial step in the process of releasing spectrum to enable next generation communications services," Senator Conroy said.

"This decision will allow the necessary work on digital channel planning and the auction of the spectrum to commence." UHF spectrum currently used for broadcasting services is highly valued for delivering wireless communications services, including super-fast mobile broadband. It is able to carry signals over long distances, penetrate buildings and carry large amounts of data. Releasing the digital dividend is an historic micro-economic reform. "The ability to have high capacity internet access in a range of locations is proving valuable to users of 3G networks both in Australia and overseas, and demand is growing rapidly," Senator Conroy said. Wireless broadband is an important complement to fixed line services, and the release of this spectrum will enhance and support the services that will be enabled by the Government's investment in the National Broadband Network." In its submission to the Digital Dividend green paper, the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) indicated that Australia's economy could be boosted by up to $10 billion if at least 120 megahertz of usable spectrum is unlocked from the digital dividend. "A contiguous dividend of 126 MHz will deliver substantial connectivity and productivity benefits for Australia, while ensuring that the high quality free-to-air television that Australians enjoy will continue," Senator Conroy said.

The Government aims to auction the digital dividend spectrum in the second half of 2012, allowing successful bidders ample time to plan and deploy the next generation networks that are likely to utilise the spectrum. In order to release this highly valued spectrum, broadcasting services will need to be relocated out of the digital dividend spectrum and organised more efficiently within their remaining spectrum allocation. This process is known as 'restacking'. "My Department, along with the Australian Communications and Media Authority, will work with broadcasters and other stakeholders to plan and implement the restack of television channels," Senator Conroy said. The Government intends that the digital dividend spectrum be cleared as soon as possible after the switch-off of analog television services on 31 December 2013. The digital dividend green paper and copies of submissions received can be found at: www.dbcde.gov.au/digitaldividend. The Australian Government is committed to building the infrastructure and creating the appropriate regulatory framework that will underpin the development of the Digital Economy and bring significant social and economic benefits to all Australians.


From http://www.dbcde.gov.au/ 06/24/2010

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Australia Begins Switch to Digital TV

Australia's switch to digital television starts today, with the old analogue technology to be shut down in far North West Victoria. Mildura viewers were traditionally starved of choice with only two commercial operators. Channel 10 offered a digital service four years ago and viewers were quick to take it up. 70 per cent already had digital TV when it was decided 18 months ago Mildura would be first to have analogue switched off. Since then the Switchover Taskforce and installers are confident 99 percent of residents now have set top boxes or digital TVs so they can keep watching from 9.00am on Wednesday. The rest of Australia will be progressively switched to digital by the end of 2013. Parts of regional South Australia and Broken Hill are the next on the list and will have digital-only television in December.


From http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/ 06/30/2010

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NBN Network Operations Centre to Be Based in Melbourne

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy today announced that the Network Operations Centre for the National Broadband Network (NBN) would be based in Melbourne. Senator Conroy said establishing the Network Operations Centre was the next significant step in the delivery of the NBN. "When fully operational, the Network Operations Centre will be the nerve centre of the NBN, and will employ around 425 professional and technical staff," Senator Conroy said. "The Network Operations Centre will assist in making sure customers who connect to the NBN have a robust and reliable experience."

The Network Operations Centre will:
* take service orders from Retail Service Providers
* coordinate provisioning and fault repairs
* manage network traffic and
* provide data for billing purposes.

"NBN Co chose Melbourne as the location for the Network Operations Centre because its engineering and technology operations are based here," Senator Conroy said. "Design and fit-out of the Network Operations Centre has begun and the site will be redeveloped and operational by the end of this year." Senator Conroy said excitement was building around the NBN with the first services set to go live within weeks. "Residents and businesses in the Tasmanian Stage 1 communities of Smithton, Scottsdale and Midway Point are gearing up to be the first in the country to have access to the NBN. I welcome the enthusiasm of those communities in embracing these new opportunities."


From http://www.minister.dbcde.gov.au/ 06/02/2010

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Outcome of Consultations on Transparency and Accountability for ISP Filtering of RC Content

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today announced a comprehensive suite of transparency and accountability measures to accompany the introduction of ISP filtering of Refused Classification content. The Government also announced it will recommend a review of the Refused Classification guidelines to the States and Territories and welcomed support from the major Internet Service Providers to block a list of child abuse URLs. Refused Classification content includes child abuse material, bestiality, extreme violence including rape, detailed instruction in crime or drug use, and incitement of a terrorist act. The suite of measures was developed with input from the public consultation on options for transparency and accountability measures relating to the placement of material on the RC content list to be blocked by ISPs.

"The RC content list of URLs provides direct access to child abuse material so it cannot be published the way a list of prohibited book titles or movies can be," Senator Conroy said. "The public needs to have confidence that the URLs on the list, and the process by which they get there, is independent, rigorous, free from interference or influence and enables content and site owners access to appropriate review mechanisms." This suite of measures will help the public have confidence that only the content specified by the legislation is being blocked.

The measures include:
* an annual review of the RC Content list by an independent expert who will be appointed in consultation with industry;
* clear avenues for appeal of classification decisions;
* that all content identified on the basis of a public complaint be classified by the Classification Board under the National Classification Scheme; and
* that affected parties have the ability to have decisions reviewed by the Classification Review Board;

Another key measure will be the use of a standardised block page notification, which will allow ISPs to notify users that the content they have requested has been blocked because it is deemed Refused Classification, and how to seek a review of that decision if they believe the decision to be incorrect. Where necessary these measures will be incorporated into legislation currently being developed. The complete suite of transparency and accountability measures are available on the Department's website: http://www.dbcde.gov.au/transparency_measures

Review of Refused Classification
Senator Conroy said in conjunction with the transparency measures, he has consulted with the Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O'Connor, and the Government will recommend to States and Territory Ministers that a review of Refused Classification be conducted. "Some sections of the community have expressed concern about whether the range of material included in the RC category, under the National Classification Scheme, correctly reflects current community standards," said Senator Conroy. "In order to address these concerns, the Government will recommend a review of the RC classification to State and Territory Ministers, be conducted at the earliest opportunity. The review would examine the current scope of the existing RC classification, and whether it adequately reflects community standards." "As the Government's mandatory ISP filtering policy is underpinned by the strength of our classification system, the legal obligation to commence mandatory ISP filtering will not be imposed until the review is completed."

ISPs agree to block child abuse material
In the meantime, three of Australia's largest ISPs - Telstra, Optus and Primus - have agreed to voluntarily block at the ISP level, a list of child abuse URLs compiled and maintained by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). "I welcome the socially responsible approach taken by some of Australia's largest ISPs. Between them they account for around 70% of internet users in Australia," Senator Conroy said. "I encourage other Australian ISPs to follow the example of these ISPs, as well as the large number of ISPs in other western democracies, who already block this abhorrent content. In line with the Government's mandatory filtering policy, URLs of child abuse imagery obtained from lists maintained by highly reputable overseas agencies such as the Internet Watch Foundation will also be placed on the ACMA list that ISP's have agreed to block, following a detailed assessment by the ACMA of the processes used compile those lists.


From http://www.minister.dbcde.gov.au/ 07/09/2010

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More than Two Million Australians Use Their Mobile Phone to Access the Internet

An estimated 13% of Australians (2.25 million) have participated in some type of online activity using their mobile phone in an average four week period, up from 8% in 2008, according to the latest Roy Morgan Research data. The top 10 mobile phone internet activities participated in by Australians 14+ years old, in the 12 months to March 2010 are: Email (5%), Social networking (5%), General browsing/surfing (4%), Weather (3%), Instant Messaging (2%), Checked bank account balances (2%), Maps or directions (2%), Downloaded software (2%) and Conducted banking transactions online and Streamed video (both 1%). In 2008 the top three activities participated in via mobiles in the last 4 weeks were email, general browsing/surfing, and instant messaging. The top ten also included downloading ringtones, sport, downloading games and paying bills online which are no longer in the top 10. Andrew Braun, Roy Morgan Research Director of Mobile, Internet & Technology, says: "The launch of the iPhone in Australia in July 2008 with its large touch screen and cost-effective internet data plans has contributed to the number of Australians now finding it easier to use their mobile phone to access the internet. It will be interesting to see how this market evolves with the growing number of smartphones from all the major handset companies."


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 07/19/2010

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Australia to Permit In-flight Mobile Phone Calls

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has finalised the licensing arrangements to permit the use of mobile phones on aircraft. The ACMA has consulted closely with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, which has raised no technical objections to the new arrangements. "The arrangements reflect the ACMA's commitment to facilitating new and innovative services that provide a benefit to the public and increase consumer choice," said ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman. "In developing these arrangements, the ACMA was conscious of the need for harmonisation with aviation safety regulations and the protection of terrestrial communications networks from interference." In areas which are not spectrum licensed, the new regulatory arrangements will authorise and license mobile communication services on aircraft by apparatus and class licences. In spectrum licensed areas and as a consequence of the current legislative construct, mobile communication services on aircraft may be authorised by agreement with the spectrum licence holder.

"The licensing arrangements will allow airlines to deploy mobile communication services on their aircraft through special on-board systems, should they choose to do so," said Mr Chapman. The use of on-board systems must at all times be in accordance with airline safety and operational procedures. Calls connecting directly to terrestrial networks are not authorised under the licensing arrangements. Should alternative, safe methods of mobile communication on aircraft be proposed for commercial operation in the future (including those that access Australia's terrestrial networks), the ACMA would move to consider those methods. In establishing permanent licensing arrangements, the ACMA does not propose to restrict the types of mobile communication services on aircraft that can be offered in order to exclude any particular service, including voice calls. The ACMA regards the deployment of any particular kind of service as entirely a commercial decision to be made by service providers and airlines. Following feedback from industry, the ACMA has adopted a revised fee regime and the licence issue charge will now be consistent with the ACMA's charging for other apparatus licences.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 07/30/2010

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Australians Fear Stalking, Badgering from Sharing Location Data

The use of location-based services on mobile devices is set to explode with fears for security and privacy outweighed by the perceived benefits of the technology, according to TNS' Global Telecomms Insights (GTI) study. Despite strongly held fears about potential negatives associated with location-based services, more believe the benefits outweigh potential concerns (41%) than the concerns outweigh potential benefits (13%). According to TNS' director of technology research, Kim Albert, Australians are keen to start using location to access services via mobile devices, with 65% expressing interest in receiving at least one form of location-based services. "Of most interest to Australians are vouchers/ special offers (49%), public transport and travel information (43%) and map searches/ navigation services (42%)," Albert said. Generally consideration of location-based services is higher amongst younger, more affluent and better educated groups. For some services, interest is isolated to niche groups and not of broader interest - gaming remains the domain of young men, social networking is heavily favoured by 16-34 year olds and dating shows promise amongst single men.

"Dating is an interesting one - the stigma around online dating has dissipated as it has become more commonplace," Albert said. "The next evolution for dating will be into the mobile space, with apps such as Plenty of Fish, iDate and Grindr allowing singles to find a potential mate nearby whenever they like." One in five (20%) single men expressed interest in receiving location-based dating information, and disturbingly, 10% of men in a relationship would also like to access this information. Generally the desired form of access is via pull (when user requests the information), apart from special offers for which 77% of those interested in receiving would like to receive via a push notification (sent without user request). The most commonly held fears centred around being tracked by information posted on social networks or being identified and constantly marketed to by businesses. "In essence, while consumers strongly display fears associated with revealing their location, they are happy to do so, and even receive unsolicited offers, if there is something in it for them," Albert said. "Similar to what we're seeing with iPhone's App Store and amazon.com, consumers don't raise concerns about having their information collected if there is a tangible benefit as pay off, such as offers based on our past purchases or consumers with similar tastes to our own."


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 08/05/2010

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FIJI: News Site Taken Offline

Police in Fiji says the shut-down of a popular news website may have been linked to a story it ran suggesting the country's police commissioner had been suspended. Fijilive was taken offline, following the arrest and overnight interrogation by police of its news editor, Richard Naidu. Mr Naidu was arrested without charge, but police are planning to question up to five other people linked to the story. The website is online again, but police are still investigating. Police spokeswoman Ema Dimila says it is still unclear why the website ran the story. "When the story went to publish, went to press, the commissioner was on an official tour, and still is on that tour," she said. "He is supposed to arrive back in the city tomorrow. And no he is not suspended, he is on an official tour." Former editor of the Fiji Sun Russell Hunter, says it is a mystery as to how the article was published at all. "There are military censors in every news room," he said. Police say they have not ruled out laying charges against those involved.


From http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/ 08/02/2010

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Fiji Shuts Down Popular News Site

One of Fiji's most popular news websites has been shut down by the interim government. The government began blocking the "Fiji Live" website over the weekened after the service ran a story relating to the police commissioner. Police took the news editor into custody for questioning, but he was later released with no word on whether charges have been laid. Under the interim government's media decree, no organisation is allowed to be critical of the government. Russel Hunter, a former editor-in-chief of the Fiji Sun who was expelled in 2008, has been monitoring the developments. Speaking from Samoa, he's told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat, the move to detain the news editor has come as a surprise. "It's difficult to see exactly what he's done to attract their attention, so to say," he said. "The website seemed to be following the rules, it was censored anyway like everything else. It is a bit of a mystery." Meanwhile, the Australian-owned Fiji Times newspaper is officially up for sale after News Limited was told to off-load its interests in Suva.


From http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/ 08/02/2010

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NEW ZEALAND: Telecom Focuses on Fibre Future

Telecom has today confirmed that it is fully investigating structural separation in order to participate in the Government's Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) initiative. "Telecom's strong preference is to align the interests of its equity and debt holders with those of the Government and New Zealanders," said Paul Reynolds, CEO, Telecom. "The Government's UFB initiative will fundamentally reshape the structure of the entire telecommunications industry in New Zealand and Telecom is therefore undertaking a thorough assessment of the merits of structural separation. "In making a thorough assessment of structural separation we need to have a detailed understanding of the regulatory environment, and this warrants detailed discussion and analysis with Government before any decisions regarding its viability can be made," he said.

"We are conscious that we should all be focused on how best to create New Zealand's fibre future. However Telecom is required by legislation to deliver significant system and technology projects envisaged for a pre-fibre world. A large proportion of these projects must be deployed this year, so it seems sensible at this time to reassess these projects to avoid significant congestion and waste. As a result we have asked the Minister to consider a variation on three components of Telecom's Undertakings that we believe will no longer be relevant in a fibre future. These three amendments will not impact on the service levels experienced by our end user and industry customers, and will not detract from the EOI level playing field. Rather, they reflect how fast the policy and technology environment is evolving in telecommunications. In these three areas Telecom, industry participants and New Zealand consumers face significant costs and risks of disruption that were not foreseeable at the time the commitments were made. They also lock Telecom, the industry and the Government into some choices which should be considered as part of the UFB initiative and the potential structural separation of Telecom," he said.

The proposed changes are to:
* Suspend the forced bulk migration of existing broadband customers onto a new copper-based broadband service. We will, however, continue to supply this new broadband service to all new customers;
* Remove the requirement for Telecom to migrate 17,000 customers onto a new VoIP over copper service by the end of this year; and
* Remove the requirement for Telecom to build a new set of wholesale systems that are not consistent with the industry structure implied by UFB.Telecom's fibre-to-the-node programme is not impacted by the variation requests.


From http://www.scoop.co.nz/ 05/24/2010

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Internet, Text Messages to Be Rolled Out for Air NZ Flights

Air New Zealand says passengers will be able to send text messages and emails on personal devices by the end of this year. The service will be offered on Air New Zealand's new Boeing 777-300 aircraft. The airline says passengers with a laptop and a mobile broadband connection will also be able to use the internet while flying. But customers won't be able to make voice-calls on personal devices while in the air.


From http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/ 05/28/2010

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IT Security Market to Grow by 9%

The Russian IT security market in 2010 is estimated to grow by 9% to $610m, according to the forecast of IT company Leta. It is estimated that IT operators will spend $110m in 2010 to comply with regulatory IT security requirements. The share of the IT security market held by IT integrators in 2010 is predicted to fall from 38% to 35% in favour of specialised companies, which are expected to increase their share from 62% to 65%.


From http://www.ictrussia.com/ 06/28/2010

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Mobile Security Risks for the Public Sector

According to a survey published this week, the biggest digital security concerns among Asian citizens relate to their mobile devices. In an interview with FutureGov, a leading academic has urged governments to do more to educate citizens and public sector workers on the importance of information security on mobile devices. "One problem is that many users in Asia are not aware of the dangers of losing information from their mobile devices," Robert Deng, Professor of Information Systems, School of Information Systems, Singapore Management University, told FutureGov. "Just as worrying is that many users are not aware that they have lost data. More user education is necessary."

A Gemalto survey published on Wednesday (21st June 2010) found that Asian citizens worry about losing information stored on their mobile devices and the privacy of their text messages, emails and conversations. They are also concerned that a lost mobile phone would allow thieves to make purchases on mobile payment platforms. The use of social networks on mobile devices is also a cause for concern, Prof Deng noted. "Employees in large organisations are increasingly using mobiles to access social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, which increases the risk of malware infections. Another concern is social engineering attacks. The small screens on mobile phones restrict the information users need to warn them of the risks of vulnerable sites."

In the evolution of mobile devices, innovation has focused more on design and functionality than security to date, although technology providers are now investing more in security to meet growing concern among users, Deng noted. "Technologies are slowing appearing that are improving mobile security. New devices now come with pin codes and anti-virus software. But there is nothing to protect users from themselves - they must ensure that sensitive information on mobile devices is properly properly backed up," he said. (by Robin Hicks)


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 07/22/2010

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Environmental Interference to Security

As sophisticated security threats continue to rise, environmental factors have become a key issue impacting organisation's ability to prevent and detect crime. FutureGov spoke to Mr Yoshikazu Hirano, General Manager - Security Solutions Asia Pacific, Sony Electronics Asia Pacific, about the technologies in high definition (HD) surveillance cameras that address these challenges. "Security cameras need to capture videos in extreme lighting conditions due to 24 hours video feed. It is a constant challenge to have higher resolution and clear images in poor light conditions - which affects the usability of images as forensic evidence whenever required," says Mr Yoshikazu Hirano.

Visibility
Image quality, noise reduction and motion blur need to be taken into account when governing organisations' security systems. Superior picture quality in Sony surveillance cameras can be attributed to innovations such as View-DR and Exmor™ CMOS sensors. "View-DR is used in our new HD cameras to produce images with an extremely wide dynamic range and nearly doubles the sensitivity compared to conventional Wide-D technologies," adds Mr Hirano. Dark areas - where details can be lost in shadows - are brightened considerably and bright spaces are toned down in the image to create a balanced, high contrast image. This technology elevates surveillance systems to forensic grade image quality for identification. The Exmor™ CMOS sensor was adopted because of its highspeed readout characteristics to capture multiple HD resolution images at very high speed. During the process of combining multiple images, the Visibility Enhancer (VE) is employed to provide a high level of chrominance and luminance - and as a result, the monitored images become very visible. In the case of night time and outdoor surveillance monitoring, the eXcellent Dynamic Noise Reduction (XDNR) selectively uses 2D and 3D noise reduction methods to provide clear images for both moving objects and still portions of the image to minimise unwanted motion-blur. Sony's latest range of HD video security cameras complies with the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) video industry standards, ensuring the provision of excellent balance of image resolution, image monitoring, transmission and storage. "Videos can be viewed in their original resolution on Standard HD format widescreen (16:9) video monitors to avoid scaling, aspect ratio distortion, and the pillar-box on the slides of the screen," Yoshikazu explains.

Analytics
Sony HD video security employs robust detection methods through smart analytics within the camera to maximise the efficiency of the monitoring system. For example, false alarms can be reduced or removed using the Intelligent Motion Detection (IMD). This smart detection solution reviews the past 15 video frames and compare these with the current video frame to eliminate random movement such as trees, shadow or rain. This helps to free up back-end resources, which are usually used to generate and filter analytics. Along with tamper alarm and audio detection, rulesbased processing is also being used to minimise server workload, network bandwidth, and storage requirements. The Distributed Enhanced Processing Architecture (DEPA) Advanced is a combined function of the camera intelligence and the rules or filters on the recorder or software to determine what is to be recorded or when to trigger an alarm.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 07/15/2010

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Security a Top Public Sector ICT Priority

EMERGING technologies such as Web 2.0 and cloud computing, plus new ways of transacting and accessing information through new media, have bolstered the importance of online security for public sector institutions. The public sector typically holds the personal data of its citizens, as well as other sensitive national information. As a result, according to Gerald Wang of IDC Government Insights, any compromise of this sensitive data can severely dent public safety, national security and undermine public trust.

Speaking to BizIT, Mr Wang, who is senior market analyst at IDC Government Insight Asia-Pacific, said the top three threats facing public sector ICT systems in Singapore and the region are: a) data loss protection; b) messaging and Web security; and c) security policy and compliance. 'While cloud computing and Web 2.0 technologies have been around and actively discussed over the past few years, governments are still at the infancy stage in utilising these technologies to interact with their citizens,' Mr Wang said. One reason for this is that governments are cautious about exposing sensitive data by using such technologies, he said. Many government implementations in this sphere are, therefore, limited in scope.

'In Singapore, for example, government agencies provide information on policies and invite discussions from citizens via public platforms such as Facebook,' he said. 'Yet, other e-government services that entail transactions of sensitive information with citizens or businesses continue to be carried out via secured channels. 'Security risks associated with public clouds have led many governments to consider hybrid and private cloud models instead, where there is better control in terms of where information is stored and processed, Mr Wang explained. His colleague Janet Chiew noted that Singapore is one of the first countries in the region to have developed a national security masterplan. 'The setting up of the Singapore Infocomm Technology Security Authority in 2009 demonstrates further the high emphasis the governments puts on security against cyberthreats,' said Ms Chiew, who is research manager at IDC Government Insights Asia-Pacific.

She added that while security will continue to remain an issue for governments to contend with, there are sufficient technologies that can be deployed to address these concerns. With high expectations on government efficiency, G2C (government to consumers) communications and G2G (government to government) collaborations cannot afford to be hindered by security concerns, she added. 'Governments should take pro-active measures in developing security policies as a best practice in any ICT design and implementation. Indeed, good governance and conscientious monitoring will be required to ensure that policies are adhered to and reduce chances of security breach due to human lapses. 'The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) announced the setting up of a Cyber Security Awareness Alliance in March this year, bringing together public sector agencies, major security vendors Symantec and McAfee, and technology companies such as BT Frontline and Hewlett Packard.

'Each of these companies have their initiatives in cyber security and awareness education,' said Ms Chiew. 'As the sophistication of cyber attacks increases, security companies are keeping governments abreast of new developments in Web security. Expectations are on vendors to provide more end-to-end security solutions, ranging from physical desktop/enduser security to data encryption and secure server operations. 'Mr Wang believes cyber security needs to be addressed through a collaborative approach by governments, citizens and vendors. 'Equally important - and not be be overlooked - is business recovery, so critical operations need not come to a standstill in the unfortunate event of a security breach,' he said. In a survey carried out by IDC Government Insights with public sector executives in 13 countries across the Asia-Pacific, respondents from 12 countries ranked security-related initiatives among their top five IT-related priorities for 2010, Mr Wang noted.

'At the same time, two-thirds of the respondents said their organisations will increase spending on security software over the next 18 months to address IT security threats and improve compliance,' he said. According to him, this is an encouraging sign that shows governments recognise the importance of information security, as the volume of online transactions and exchange of personal information of citizens over the Internet proliferates. 'That being said, there is still a small, but significant proportion (12 per cent) of public IT officers who invested in data loss protection technologies, only upon experiencing a security breach, or upon learning of high profile data leak cases in other organisations,' Mr Wang said.

'As a custodian of information of its citizens, inadequate security considerations can lead to information loss resulting in grave consequences. 'Ms Chiew added: 'To combat international cyber terrorism, Asia-Pacific public sectors need to continually address the disclosure, archival and ownership of data surrounding Web 2.0 and social media, as well as increase collaborations at national and global levels. 'She added that starting with national security masterplans and policies, it is integral that governments put in place structured mechanisms to achieve tangible results when implementing ICT security. Mr Wang said: 'Given the global nature of IT security threats and the growing number of incidents targeting the public sector, IDC Government Insights foresees that a whole new complex IT security paradigm will emerge in the near future.' (by Amit Roy Choudhury)


From http://www.asiaone.com/ 07/19/2010

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ASIA: Dominating Global Spam League

More than one third of the world's spam originates from Asia, with India, South Korea and Vietnam in the top-five worst offending countries. However, spam coming from China has dramatically reduced, according to a Sophos report. Why is Asia such a big spam region? Sophos Asia Pacific Head of Technology Paul Ducklin told FutureGov: "Asia has a massive population and a number of developing economies in which there is rapid expansion in internet bandwidth combined with an ever-falling cost in getting online. With lots of new users still in the 'honeymoon period' of their relationship with the web, poor security practices and high 'zombification' rates are hardly surprising."

Ducklin said that while public servants were probably better protected than the average home user, the risk of exposure to spam increases as more civil servants take their work home with them. "Governments in Asia need to stop computers becoming zombified. While laws can be passed that curb this, it is almost impossible to regulate changes in PC users' behaviour. Users have to be informed how to implement changes for themselves," he said. "It's not just developing economies at risk in this region. I estimate there are about 80,000 zombies in Australia at any one time. I suspect that the majority of these infections could have been prevented easily, probably with a free anti-virus program." Asia's top spam-relaying countries (% of the world's spam): India (7.3) South Korea (4.8) Vietnam (3.4) China (1.9) Thailand (1.44) Indonesia (1.29) Taiwan (1.26) The Philippines (0.91) Japan (0.77) Australia (0.69) Malaysia (0.65) Singapore (0.55) (by Robin Hicks)


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 06/07/2010

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EUROPE: EU's Reding Calls for Better Data-Protection Rules

Europe needs to put individuals at the heart of its data-protection laws to ensure that personal data remain safe in the digital world, the European Commissioner for Justice and Fundamental Rights Viviane Reding said in a speech Tuesday. Until now, European Union data-protection rules have been sufficient to protect individual's privacy, but with the rapid growth of social-networking sites, "we are facing a whole new way of creating and using data," Reding said. "Entrepreneurs start social networking sites in their college dorm rooms. Web surfers generate their own content and share it by clicking a mouse," she said.

The private data that users share online is growing to be a big business. Online operators create user profiles based on the personal information, to better target consumers with online advertising. There are estimates that this market will grow to be valued at over EUR3 billion in 2012, eight times as much as in 2007, Reding said. The individual should be at the heart of managing how their personal data are used online, which "requires a shift of focus for the policy makers," Reding added. One such focus should be in giving internet users the control over correcting and deleting all the information they have put online. There should be "a right to be forgotten," Reding said. Individuals should also be able to move their data from one place to another, when they want to change service providers. Data portability would make it easier for consumers to switch between different online networks and boost online competition.

Advertisers should also always have the user's consent for utilizing the data. Reding also said she would be looking at smoothing online commerce across the 27 nation block, removing legal barriers to trading. To facilitate online shopping, consumers need to feel secure in their rights, and it is crucial that the EU has unified consumer rights, Reding said. In areas where national contract law intercepts the harmonization of consumer rights the commissioner is willing to look for complementary tools. As part of her plans Reding intends to launch a public consultation on various longer-term possibilities for consumer protection, this summer. These will include an "optional European contract law regime" based on a high level of consumer protection, she added. (by Peppi Kiviniemi, Dow Jones Newswires)


From http://www.automatedtrader.net/ 06/22/2010

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World's Largest Public Safety Radio Network Planned

The Federal Agency for Digital Radio of Security Authorities and Organisations (BDBOS) in Germany is in the process of rolling out the world's largest radio network for public safety. When fully implemented, it will be the largest of its kind in the world, with over 500,000 users from several agencies within Germany, including the police, fire brigades, rescue services, customs authorities and intelligence services. Phillippe Agard, Vice President, Government Sector for Alcatel-Lucent - the company awarded the 10-year contract by the German government for operating the network - told FutureGov: "We are seeing governments actively seeking greater inter-communication among their public safety authorities, and a country-wide umbrella network allows civil security agencies to work together within the context of everyday operations as well as in times of emergencies and crises."

The network will involve approximately 4500 base stations and use the TETRA standard, which originates in Europe and is deployed in over 100 countries worldwide. The network will operate 24 hours a day throughout the year, and have two fully redundant Network Operations Centres (NOCs). Specified operational requirements include 99.999 per cent service availability, full network coverage, multi-tenancy capabilities, security and interoperability. Currently, the UK has the largest public safety network in the world with 250,000 users. (by Rahul Joshi)


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 06/01/2010

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Russian Government Approves Personal Data Protection

The Russian Ministry of Communications has approved a proposal put forward by telecommunication companies to protect personal data used by network operators, the ITAR-TASS agency reported. The proposal includes development of personal data security systems incorporating regulatory and personal responsibility, technical implementation and quality control. The law on use of personal data adopted by the President of Russia in July 2006 will enter into force on 1 January 2011. By that time, all companies handling personal data must ensure that their information systems are fully secured against any personal data disclosure.


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

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NORTH AMERICA: Canada - Smartphone Wave Challenges Enterprise Security

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. - With ever more employees clamoring to use smartphones for both personal and business purposes, IT and security managers are forced to answer tough questions:

First, will there be sanctioned enterprise adoption of Apple's iPhone - not to the mention the iPad - as well as smartphones based on Google's Android operating system, if not even more varieties? And, if employees want to use their own smartphone or iPad in business, will that be allowed? Finally, how will the enterprise prepare to exert management and security controls in a multi-operating system smartphone environment, or figure out how to secure data on a device that the employee, not the enterprise, officially owns? "It's coming," says Terrell Herzig, data security officer at UAB Health System, a hospital and medical research organization based in Birmingham, Ala. "The iPhones, the iPads, the Droid."

Herzig says medical professionals and staff just bring in the devices and expect to get onto clinical systems. They call the help desk, which reacts with bewilderment before calling the security team. And the demand is so mighty, UAB's CIO has set up a special task force to tackle the issue and figure out whether UAB, which already makes official use of the BlackBerry, should become a multi-smartphone environment, or approve use of personal devices. "We're telling them hold off on buying these devices while we figure it out," Herzig says. Just this week, UAB completed its security and configuration measures for the iPad, which will now be officially used with Good Technology's management and security application. "The new generation of devices have the capability to do the things we want them to do," Herzig says. "A lot of people will want to remote desktop from the Droid, which is this week's big request."

The prospect of supporting management and security in a multi-operating system smartphone environment, or letting the employee use his or her own device instead of buying one for them, is now hotly debated among consultants and analysts. "Most of the security can't scale to the number of devices the users will bring," says Kalani Silva, director of business transformation enablement at Presido Network Solutions in Greenbelt, Md. Silva believes trying to support multiple smartphone types in the enterprise will put demands on IT and security - and add costs - that just aren't worth it. The BlackBerry, long established in the enterprise, can be reasonably controlled, Silva says, but that's not the case today with iPhone and the Android mobile devices. And allowing what's brought in as a consumer personal device to be used in business suggests there should be some way to securely partition it, which could be a practice in the future, but it's not today.

Other analysts acknowledge there are risks but it should be considered. "It's a devil's bargain," says Andrew Borg, analyst at the Aberdeen consultancy. RIM's BlackBerry has long been the smartphone staple in the enterprise, and is marketed for that purpose. But the pressure is huge to allow in the stampede of ever-smarter smartphones that are mainly marketed for consumers. Aberdeen suggests limiting the number of smartphones tested, perhaps to just iPhone or Android, such as the Motorola version. The main consideration is the mobile device management software and whether it extends into the type of management and security controls that are warranted, such as the functions of device lock and device wipe, encryption and being able to lock down access remotely.

Good Technology, Zenprise, Trust Digital (recently acquired by McAfee Inc.), MobileIron, Tangoe and Box Tone are possibilities in what's called enterprise mobility management for multi-OS smartphone management and security, according to Aberdeen, which is publishing "The Enterprise Mobility Management Solution Landscape" report on this topic next week.As to whether the employee-owned smartphone should be welcomed into official enterprise use, knowing it will be used for personal use, is something each enterprise has to determine based on risk factors, cost advantages and whether access to the device can be adequately controlled. But according to Aberdeen, the phenomenon, started by executives wanting to have the cool devices their kids have, is spreading. "Heterogeneity is real and enterprises are saying, 'I have to learn to deal with it,'" says David Goldschlag, McAfee's vice-president of mobile technologies. Goldschlag says Trust Digital's own research on what large corporations are doing suggests about a third want to "enable users' personal smartphones for business."

Gartner analyst John Pescatore says the IT department's response to the smartphone wave should be nuanced based on risk and regulatory-compliance factors. However, "our starting point is, for most enterprises, it's almost impossible to fight this wave. "Pescatore says that enterprises need to "set a minimal bar" in terms of management and security. There should be enforceable mandatory start-up password, enforced time out, enforceable encryption and an over-the-air kill capability at a minimum for any smartphone. Active synch support is also preferred. The key is building those controls around mobility management agent software, but not supporting multiple vendor packages to do that. While these applications and the iPhone and particularly the Android cannot today support every desired security function, or desired functions such as audit and logging, it's safe to think they will in the foreseeable future next year, Pescatore says.

Pescatore adds that security functions such as browser-based filtering and whitelisting will eventually come for smartphones, and carrier-based cloud security services are likely to present many more options in the future for security services. In fact, Pescatore says the traditional methods of loading up PCs and laptops with security software simply "hasn't worked" to really ward off trouble such as botnets and he hopes that as the new wave of smartphones keeps coming. "Let's not do things the way we did them on the Internet," he says. Forrester Research just published a report "Apple's iPhone and iPad: Secure Enough for Business?" in which analyst Andrew Jacquith ardently argues, "'No' is no longer the automatic answer."Although the Forrester report calls BlackBerry "the gold standard for secure mobile devices," Jacquith indicates the time has arrived to let Apple's iPhone and iPad, including employee-owned ones, into the enterprise for official use under certain restrictions. Desired controls include including autolock, autowipe, remote wipe, e-mail session encryption and more.

About employee-owned gear, the enterprise CISO should ask, "in terms of what we're looking for, what capabilities does that device have? You're not going to care what brand it is or who owns it," Jacquith says. "You want the ability to define certain capabilities, such as wiping the device." Certainly among the thorniest issues in sanctioned employee-owned devices will be policy restraints, such as confiscation. There will be times the enterprise will want that device, such as for e-discovery purposes. Jacquith says he'd advise any enterprise to come up with a specific contract binding the employee to relinquish their personal smartphone, if need be. "You have to be very explicit, especially about privacy," he concluded. (by Ellen Messmer)


From http://www.itworldcanada.com/ 08/06/2010

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US Launches Coordinated Response to Intellectual-Property Threats

The Obama administration Tuesday rolled out an interagency strategy to protect intellectual-property rights, with plans to target growing threats such as fake drugs and Internet-based piracy. Vice President Joe Biden announced the multipronged plan to stem the loss of billions of dollars a year generated from innovation, which he described as "perhaps our greatest export." Beyond just stifling creativity, counterfeiting can also pose a safety risk, said Biden, flanked by a number of cabinet officials, including Attorney General Eric Holder and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg.

"Whether we're talking about fake drugs that hurt instead of help the patient, or knockoff car tires that fall apart at 65 miles an hour causing injury and death, counterfeits kill - counterfeits kill," Biden said. One immediate plan of action stemming from the 33-part strategy is to propose legislation to require companies to alert the FDA about counterfeit medications and to implement electronic tracking of drugs and medical products. In addition to stepping up policing of imports, the administration also sees intellectual-property rights as part of its plan to double exports over the next five years. "Some of our businesses feel like they could use some help when they're navigating markets overseas," Victoria Espinel, intellectual-property enforcement coordinator, told Dow Jones in an interview.

"We obviously want this strategy to be one of the things that the administration is doing to increase our exports, by making sure that our export markets are as viable as possible," said Espinel, who prepared the strategy. China, which accounted for nearly 80% of counterfeit or pirated goods seized by U.S. customs officials last year, looms large in the strategy. The government is focusing on China's market in its effort to help U.S. businesses gain entry and enforce their intellectual-property rights. Biden and other U.S. officials stressed that the U.S. isn't singling out China as an offender of intellectual property rights violators, however. "China is one, but it's only one," Robert Hormats, U.S. under-secretary of state for economic, energy and agricultural affairs, told Dow Jones.

Hormats said the message to China and other countries that lack strong protections is that the U.S. is going to get "a lot tougher" about insisting on enforcement. But the administration is seeking better cooperation, not confrontation, he said. The high-profile unveiling of the plan drew wide praise from industry groups ranging from media firms to shoe makers. Viacom Inc. (VIA) Chief Executive Philippe Dauman said in a statement the "historic moment" marks the first time the government "is bringing to bear its full powers to the critical mission of protecting intellectual property - one of this country's most important economic engines."

Mark Esper, executive vice president of the Chamber of Commerce's Global Intellectual Property Center, said the presence of the vice president and various cabinet officials suggests the administration understands the need for a comprehensive approach. "In the past, frankly, we have not had as well a coordinated approach as we could have," he said. The Chamber has been working with its members to snuff Internet-based piracy, so Esper embraced Biden's call for the private sector to stop supporting ads for drugs sold illegally online. Still, he predicted some "pushback" on the issue from the online community.

Ed Black, head of the Computer & Communications Industry Association, warned in a statement of the risk that "an overly broad, overly zealous crackdown" might stifle innovation. The trade group said policies should be careful to maintain a careful balance in intellectual property law. The new enforcement strategy will continue to evolve over time, with several studies already under way to assess ways to combat Internet piracy and determine the significance of intellectual property in the U.S. economy. A comprehensive review of gaps in existing laws could also result in new legislation to beef up enforcement. Espinel predicted that, if implemented correctly, the strategy will "have a significant impact on the way we approach intellectual-property enforcement for decades." (by Tom Barkley and Jared A. Favole of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES)


From http://www.automatedtrader.net/ 06/22/2010

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US: FCC, Public Safety at Odds over Broadband Plan

Two years ago, the Federal Communications Commission stumbled as it tried to create a nationwide wireless broadband network for police officers, firefighters and emergency medical workers, delaying the construction of what everyone agrees is an urgently needed system. Now the agency is hoping to rework the plan, which relies on a prime slice of airwaves called the D Block. But many public safety officials say the commission is, once again, going about it the wrong way. In 2008, the FCC attempted to auction off the block to the wireless industry, with a requirement that the winning bidder help build out a sturdy communications network that would be shared with first responders and give them priority in an emergency. But those conditions proved too onerous, and the auction failed to attract any serious bidders. So this time around, the agency hopes to auction off the D Block to wireless carriers and use the proceeds - projected to be as much as $4 billion - to help pay for a public safety network on a separate slice of spectrum already set aside for first responder broadband use. In frequency terms, the existing public safety airwaves are right next door to the D Block and just as big.

Both pieces of spectrum were freed up in last year's transition from analog to digital TV signals. The existing public safety block, the FCC says, provides plenty of capacity for day-to-day operations - letting first responders access everything from surveillance video to fingerprint databases using laptops and handheld devices in the field. And in an emergency, the FCC proposal would give public safety users priority access to the D Block and other airwaves from the digital transition. The FCC says its proposal would fulfill a Congressional requirement to auction off the D Block and ensure public safety benefits from the latest wireless technology. "We have a brief technological window to get everybody on the same page from the beginning and build a 21st Century ... broadband system," says Rear Admiral James Barnett, head of the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. But the FCC proposal has run into fierce resistance from public safety leaders who warn that their current spectrum holdings are not big enough to meet their needs. They are wary of relying on commercial networks to fill the gap, particularly in emergencies, and are calling on the government to give the D Block to them so they can combine it with the adjacent airwaves and double the amount of spectrum dedicated to public safety broadband. "If they auction this spectrum, we've lost it forever," says Rob Davis, head of the San Jose Police Department and president of the Major Cities Chiefs of Police Association.

"We need to control this network ourselves." Public safety officials have powerful allies in Congress, including Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. But House Commerce Committee leaders are drafting legislation based on the FCC plan. The big wireless carriers have also joined the fray. T-Mobile USA and Sprint Nextel Corp., eager for more spectrum, support the FCC proposal. Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc., both flush with spectrum from 2008 auctions of other airwaves from the digital transition, want to see the D Block go to public safety. So does Motorola Inc., which dominates the market for first responder communications equipment and handsets. The one thing everyone agrees on is the need to bring nation's public safety communications networks into the digital age. The shortcomings of the existing networks became apparent after the 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina, when police officers, fire fighters and other first responders could not talk to one another because they were using incompatible - and sometimes antiquated - systems. One recommendation of the 9/11 Commission was the construction of a nationwide "interoperable" wireless network that would let public safety workers across agencies and jurisdictions communicate with each other. The FCC insists its proposal, part of its national broadband plan, would meet the needs of first responders. The spectrum already dedicated to public safety, Barnett says, can handle day-to-day operations since advanced 4G wireless technology can make far more efficient use of airwaves than public safety networks do today. And in a big emergency, he warns, even the bigger block of spectrum envisioned by the public safety plan might not be enough.

The FCC's proposal would give public safety first dibs on at least three times more spectrum in a crisis. But Chuck Dowd, deputy chief in the communications division of the New York City Police Department, says commercial networks are just not reliable enough for first responders who deal with life-and-death matters. Richard Mirgon, president of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International, adds that in a mass emergency, commercial networks are often already overwhelmed - making it impossible for first responders to even connect to them. With the dispute now heading to Congress, the focus is on funding. Bruce Gottlieb, chief counsel to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, says the FCC plan would drive down the cost of a first responder network by allowing public safety to piggyback on the massive investments being made by commercial wireless carriers as they upgrade their technology. The agency's plan puts the cost of building the public safety network at roughly $6.5 billion and the cost of operating and maintaining it at between $6 billion and $10 billion over 10 years - less than half the cost of a stand-alone network, the FCC says. In the face of a ballooning federal deficit and state and local budget cuts, Barnett insists, the FCC plan offers the best way to come up with this funding. But public safety officials are confident they can find the resources to pay for a broadband network even without D Block auction proceeds. If they get the D Block, they say, they would be able to lease excess airwaves to commercial carriers since they would not always need all of it. What's more, another key recommendation in the FCC's national broadband plan is a proposal to free up a lot more spectrum for wireless broadband over the next 10 years. That, public safety officials say, will produce plenty of revenue to pay for a first responder network.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 07/25/2010

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US: FBI Access to E-Mail, Web Data Raises Privacy Fear

Invasion of privacy in the Internet age. Expanding the reach of law enforcement to snoop on e-mail traffic or on Web surfing. Those are among the criticisms being aimed at the FBI as it tries to update a key surveillance law. With its proposed amendment, is the Obama administration merely clarifying a statute or expanding it? Only time and a suddenly on guard Congress will tell. Federal law requires communications providers to produce records in counterintelligence investigations to the FBI, which doesn't need a judge's approval and court order to get them. They can be obtained merely with the signature of a special agent in charge of any FBI field office and there is no need even for a suspicion of wrongdoing, merely that the records would be relevant in a counterintelligence or counterterrorism investigation. The person whose records the government wants doesn't even need to be a suspect. The bureau's use of these so-called national security letters to gather information has a checkered history. The bureau engaged in widespread and serious misuse of its authority to issue the letters, illegally collecting data from Americans and foreigners, the Justice Department's inspector general concluded in 2007.

The bureau issued 192,499 national security letter requests from 2003 to 2006. Weathering that controversy, the FBI has continued its reliance on the letters to gather information from telephone companies, banks, credit bureaus and other businesses with personal records about their customers or subscribers - and Internet service providers. That last source is the focus of the Justice Department's push to get Congress to modify the law. The law already requires Internet service providers to produce the records, said Dean Boyd, a spokesman for the Justice Department's national security division. But he said as written it also causes confusion and the potential for unnecessary litigation as some Internet companies have argued they are not always obligated to comply with the FBI requests. A key Democrat on Capitol Hill, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont, wants a timeout. The administration's proposal to change the Electronic Communications Privacy Act "raises serious privacy and civil liberties concerns," Leahy said Thursday in a statement. "While the government should have the tools that it needs to keep us safe, American citizens should also have protections against improper intrusions into their private electronic communications and online transactions," said Leahy, who plans hearings in the fall on this and other issues involving the law. Critics are lined up in opposition to what the Obama administration wants to do. "The FBI is playing a shell game," says Al Gidari, whose clients have included major online companies, wireless service providers and their industry association. "This is a huge expansion" of the FBI's authority "and burying it this way in the intelligence authorization bill is really intended to bury it from scrutiny," Gidari added.

Boyd, the Justice spokesman, said the changes being proposed will not allow the government to obtain or collect new categories of information; rather it simply seeks to clarify what Congress intended when the statute was amended in 1993, he argued. Critics, however, point to a 2008 opinion by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel which found that the FBI's reach with national security letters extends only as far as getting a person's name, address, the period in which they were a customer and the numbers dialed on a telephone or to that phone. The proposed amendment would add the category "electronic communications transactional records" to the section of the law that currently lists only those items cited in the Justice legal opinion. Those four words are already in another section of the law. The problem the FBI has been having is that some providers, relying on the 2008 Justice opinion - issued during the Bush administration - have refused to turn over Internet records such as information about who a person e-mails and who has e-mailed them and information about a person's Web surfing history. To deal with the issue, there's no need to change the law since the FBI has the authority to obtain the same information with a court order issued under a broad section of the Patriot Act, said Gregory Nojeim, director of the Project on Freedom, Security and Technology at the Center for Democracy and Technology, a nonprofit Internet privacy group. The critics say the proposed change would allow the FBI to remove federal judges and courts from scrutiny of its requests for sensitive information. "The implications of the proposal are that no court is deciding whether even that low standard of `relevance' is met," said Nojeim. "The FBI uses national security letters to find not just who the target of an investigation e-mailed, but also who those people e-mailed and who e-mailed them."


From http://www.telecompaper.com/ 07/31/2010

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US: California Deploys Strategic Plan to Upgrade 911 System

Decades ago, answering 911 calls was a fairly straightforward process: Citizens who were in trouble dialed the emergency number from land line phones, and local police, fire and medical teams responded. That's what 911 systems were created for. But these analog systems - some built half a century ago - have been left behind by technology advances, such as text, video and photo. But those new technologies aren't easily integrated into 911. For instance, calls from mobile phones take longer than land lines to route because it's hard for 911 call centers to pinpoint locations of wireless and IP-based phones. And in an emergency, every minute matters.

As the push to upgrade these systems remains a priority for a number of local and state governments, California's Office of the State Chief Information Officer (OCIO) has released its strategic plan, a road map to the development of the state's next generation of 911 services. "The strategic plan sets the stage to ensure the 911 program moves forward," said Karen Wong, deputy director of the Public Safety Communications Division with the OCIO. "There's a lot to be worked out. "Despite the economic climate, numerous local and state agencies across the country have implemented strategies to improve 911 systems, such as aerial images to locate callers who need help and unified paging alerts to keep dispatchers and emergency responders connected. Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration announced a $40 million grant to help 911 call centers route calls from wireless phones and IP-based phones more quickly and efficiently. Virginia, as another example, is in the process of a multimillion-dollar program to purchase new equipment and services to enhance its 911 centers and improve services over an IP network.

Established 40 years ago, California's legacy system is strictly voice only, Wong said. But in the past decade, technological developments have expanded the way people communicate, and state officials seek to integrate those methods to enhance emergency response services. According to state officials, this network will make it possible to pinpoint callers based on geographic coordinates and enhance the delivery of information to emergency responders via texting, instant messaging, and picture and video delivery, to name a few. For public safety answering points (PSAPs) - the centers that take and answer 911 calls - more information means better service faster. "When there's a disaster in California, we'll be able to easily move calls from one PSAP to another," Wong said. "It also provides the public with additional ways to access emergency assistance. "The next phase, she said, requires working with stakeholders to determine the best approach for the 911 network. It's too soon to determine a timeline. Given the state's large size and geographic diversity, Wong said, officials still have to figure out whether it will be a statewide or regional implementation.

"We have a lot of rural areas in California," Wong said. "It's a consistent challenge to public safety communications as a whole. "In April, California deployed the Emergency Call Tracking System (ECaTS), a solution that could cut the time it takes to gather the state's 911 call data from months to a matter of minutes. The secure, Web-based management tool can report on all 911 PSAPs in an entire county, jurisdiction or state, giving clients quick access to key stats: call volume, frequency, type, geographical trends, etc. The strategic plan represents the next step in ushering the state's 911 call centers into the 21st century. "While the existing 911 network and system remains a success story, it has been stretched to its limit because of relentless technology advances," wrote California CIO Teri Takai. "And so it's time now to support the exciting new technologies with a new, state-of-the-art 911 network for California." (by Russell Nichols)


From http://www.govtech.com/ 08/06/2010

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Ex-US GCIO Warns on Cloud Security

In an interview with FutureGov, a former United States cabinet-level government CIO said that policymakers in Asia are right to be cautious about cloud computing, and should think carefully about the risks they are taking before they take the plunge. Hord Tipton, who for a five-year stint managed an IT portfolio worth US$1.2 billion for the Ministry of the Interior in US, said that government agencies should not be seduced by the speed at which private sector enterprises are entering the cloud. "For the private sector, losing data is highly inconvenient," he said. "For government, it could mean losing a person's identity, or worse where critical infrastructure is concerned. People could get killed if data is lost." Remotely managing information in the cloud, even a private cloud, calls for a different approach to risk management, said the man who spent 27 years as a government CIO. "Protecting data is the big issue. You need to think very carefully how security will be affected by a move from inhouse to outsourcing. There are many variables at play in the cloud, and you need to know how these variables could change," he said. "Having trust in your vendor is critical. A supplier's tolerance to risk is often an unknown.

If his approach to risk is not aligned with yours, you have a problem. And you need a highly skilled team in place that is capable of managing a number of issues, not least security, in an enterprise type way." "Governments will never put information in the cloud until some very serious questions are answered." According to Tipton, a good example of government entering the cloud is the US Department of Defense, which has put communications applications and widgets in the cloud. "What has impressed me is that they didn't do this overnight," he said; the DoD's cloud platform took two years to plan and involved exhaustive testing. Tipton noted that very few agencies are moving sensitive data to the cloud. Those that are considering it need to carefully classify their data according to the risk level if it was lost. "How quickly you move data should depend on the standards you develop and the success marks you have in place." Tipton, who is now Executive Director of the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, known as (ISC)2, added that while progress was being made on data security in the cloud, caution was healthy at this stage. "Cloud will happen in government. But it will happen cautiously." Government cloud computing in the US is being driven by the General Services Administration (GSA), which has highlighted a number of government cloud pioneers.

Tipton pointed out that the "compelling economics" of cloud computing have removed the need for policies that push agencies into the cloud. One is the Department of Energy. One of its major labs has deployed over 5000 mailboxes on Google Federal Premiere Apps and the agency is now evaluating the use of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) to handle excess capacity for computers during peak demand. The agency estimates it will save US$1.5 million over the next five years in hardware, software and labour costs. Another is the GSA itself. It moved its primary information portal, USA.gov, to a cloud-based host. By moving to a cloud, GSA was able to reduce site upgrade time from nine months to one day; monthly downtime improved from two hours to 99.9 per cent availability; and GSA realised savings of $1.7 million.(by Robin Hicks)


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 08/09/2010

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CHINA: Authorities Crack 600 Online Soccer Betting Groups

Police have broken up 600 online soccer gambling groups and arrested more than 810 gamblers since the World Cup began on June 11, the Ministry of Public Security said on Thursday. Among those arrested, 65 were from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, as well as from countries like the Philippines and Malaysia, the ministry said in a briefing. Authorities seized gambling funds worth about 50 million yuan ($7.3 million) in the crackdown, the ministry said. "After the 2010 World Cup in South Africa started, local police struck out against online soccer gambling to prevent gambling groups from taking advantage of the event to expand their rackets," said Gu Jian, a senior official with the ministry's online security bureau. Before the opening of the World Cup, police had already detained 3,600 people during a nationwide crackdown on online gambling starting January, ministry figures showed. In a separate case, Hong Kong and mainland police reportedly cracked a large cross-border illegal soccer gambling syndicate, seizing betting slips worth more than $1 billion. Officers arrested 93 people from Hong Kong and the mainland in a joint operation late on Wednesday, Hong Kong-based broadcaster RTHK reported. Police said the syndicate mainly received online and telephone bets through more than 400 bank accounts, the largest number of accounts involved in a local illegal soccer betting case, Cable TV Hong Kong reported. "We identified a trend that the bets were mainly placed via the Internet - same as in other countries or regions," a police spokesman told the broadcaster.

The Ministry of Public Security said in a release last month that China is still facing a "very grim" situation in controlling online gambling activities. "The root of online gambling hasn't yet been eradicated and some money flows still run unchecked," it said. Even with the police crackdown on gambling, underground soccer betting bookies can always use Internet proxies, VPN and other Web devices such as overseas gambling websites to bypass any official attempt to block illegal online activities, a Beijing soccer gambler, who did not want to be named to protect his identity, told China Daily. "It's almost impossible to find and arrest them all. There are too many of them and they resurface all the time. Gamblers prefer their higher gambling return rates to lotteries," the gambler said. At Thursday's conference, the Ministry of Public Security said police had also broken up a number of groups that facilitate gambling activities, including those providing advertisements as well as those operating platform and payment services. Similarly, the ministry said police have worked with banks and Internet supervisory bodies to clean up gambling websites, servers and links, and to cut off third-party payment services for websites running gambling activities. But Wang Xuehong, executive director of the China center for lottery studies at Peking University, said the problem can only be solved when the country makes lotteries "more attractive" in terms of variety and returns.


From China Daily 07/09/2010

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China Vows Crackdown on Internet Piracy

China will launch a nationwide crackdown on Internet piracy in late July and severely punish any copyright infringement, the country's National Copyright Administration, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology jointly announced on July 21. Copyright authorities will tighten supervision of Web sites that provide audio, video, reading materials, online games, comics and animation or e-commerce services. The crackdown will focus on piracy of popular movies and TV series, newly-published books, online games, comics and animation, music, computer programs and other products under copyright protection. Behaviors that will receive harsh punishment include uploading and disseminating materials without permission, selling pirated audio and video copies as well as pirated software via e-commerce platforms. Also, the government will punish those providing piracy sites with services such as Web search, storage space, server hosting and Internet connections as well as those distributing unauthorized works related to the Shanghai World Expo and Guangzhou Asian Games, and infringing on copyrights through cell phones and other mobile media. A special anti-piracy office will be established to allocate vital tasks from a strategically advantageous position, solve major issues in conjunction with other departments, provide guidance for local copyright authorities and supervise the handling of major cases. Furthermore, a blacklist system will be adopted. Local copyright authorities will gather information on piracy Web sites. The special office will put these sites on blacklists that will be published on the official Web site of the National Copyright Administration. Meanwhile, the office will send the blacklists to telecom operators and forbid them from providing hosting or Internet access services for blacklisted sites. These sites will be kept under constant surveillance. If they are found to be operating again, they will be shut down immediately and the people behind these sites will be severely punished.


From http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/ 07/22/2010

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Internet a Resource for Finding Criminals

Prosecutors in Southwest China's Chongqing municipality will look for criminal information on the Internet and in the media on a daily basis as part of their anti-corruption efforts, according to a new rule issued on Wednesday. The rule on handling reports online, which elaborates how to collect, deal with and provide feedback to complaints, is the first of its kind in the country. It stipulates that procuratorates in Chongqing should set up a special team, or designate certain officers, to look for corruption-related clues from online sources. China's procuratorate has a special division responsible for crimes involving dereliction of official duty, such as bribery and corruption. These cases are not handled by the police. "Before, most procuratorates, including us, collected complaints mainly through hotlines and our own reporting websites. Now, the Internet has become a new source," Lei Wanya, deputy procurator-general of Chongqing People's Procuratorate, said on Wednesday. With more people unleashing their anger and expressing their opinions online, the Internet has become a major platform and channel for people's voices and needs, Lei said. "The country is facing rising social conflict and people's awareness as citizens is also improving," he said.

According to a recent survey, 99 percent of netizens would endeavor to expose incidents of social injustice online, he said. "It is an irreversible trend that politics is entering the Internet age," he said. The rule on handling online reports stipulates that each procuratorate in Chongqing should form a team or designate officers to collect sources online and pass the information to the relevant departments. The departments should then provide feedback to the team of officers within three days. Prosecutors are also encouraged to collect public complaints from media coverage. Lei said the procuratorate authorities in Chongqing began to collect tips from the Internet in May, through registering an online name "Chongqing Jiancha", which means Chongqing prosecutors. By Tuesday, they had collected 34 complaints, including 11 reports containing real names. "Some are very valuable clues that will help us a lot," Lei said. "We also give feedback online on how we follow these clues." One example was in May, when Chongqing Jiancha found a clue on Tianya.cn, one of China's most popular forums, about a bribery case in a county of Chongqing. Following an investigation, several officials were found to have taken bribes, including a deputy city-level official, Lei said.


From China Daily 07/23/2010

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Hackers Use Chinese IPs to Launch Attacks

Although cyber attacks have been frequently reported across the mainland, China is not home to a vast web of malicious hackers, as many attacks here originate from countries overseas, according to analysts. "It is very complicated to locate an original attack", said a participant at the 9th Xcon conference, an annual gathering of senior cyber security analysts in Beijing. Internet security threats are on the rise and public awareness of hacking has increased. In 2009, for example, 75 percent of global companies experienced severe cyber attacks totaling individual losses of at least US$2 million, according to Symantec's 2010 report. Complicating matters for the Chinese government, there have been fervent claims by websites and search engines worldwide - from Google to Optus to the official website of the Republic of Korea - that they have been victimized by Chinese attackers. The conference participant, also a consultant for a renowned international software company, added that overseas hackers link to computers in China so their victims believe they were attacked from China. "For example, there might be a hacker in America, he might attack a computer in China first and then use the Chinese IP to attack a computer in Australia and so on", the consultant said. This is now common knowledge among those in cyber security circles, he added, although the wider public remains largely unaware of it. Attackers can drop attack packets from fake IPs to make themselves untraceable, or to find "fryers" as springboards with which to exert long-range control. A "fryer" is a computer with security leaks that is already under a hacker's control, usually through a back door. In short, using "fryers" to attack is like using guns registered under another person's name before squeezing the trigger. This kind of attack is usually called Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS), "pretty simple technically, with attack tools already made and put out there", the consultant said. No advanced techniques are needed to conduct DDOS attacks, "as long as you have enough money to buy lots of fryers and control them", said Sun Bing, a Beijing-based information security researcher who also attended the conference. According to Chinese National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team, over 1 million Chinese IPs were under overseas control in 2009. In January, Google announced that it would quit the mainland market, citing cyber attacks as one of the main reasons to "review the feasibility" of business operations.


From China Daily 08/06/2010

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Chinese Experts Refute Pentagon Cyber Report

Chinese experts on Tuesday refuted claims by the Pentagon released in a report that China is developing cyberwarfare capabilities, saying that the U.S. military was attempting to blacken China's image. "I've never heard about any plans by China to develop its cyber attack forces, not to mention China's so-called 'organized cyber intrusion," Hu Qiheng, president of the Internet Society of China (ISC) told Xinhua on the sidelines of the China Internet Conference, which opened in Beijing on Tuesday. "It is a mere fabrication that China is using computer technologies to intrude on other countries' sovereignty," Hu said. The Chinese expert's comments came after the U.S. Department of Defense concluded early Tuesday in its annual assessment report sent to the U.S. Congress that "China is fielding... cyberwarfare capabilities to hold targets at risk throughout the region." "The U.S. purpose (of releasing such a report) is to tarnish China's image and exaggerate the threat China poses," Hu said. The U.S. was the top country of cyber attack origin in 2008, accounting for 25 percent of worldwide activity, according to a report by U.S. security firm Symantec. The ISC said more than 1 million Internet Protocol addresses in China were controlled by overseas hackers while 42,000 Chinese websites were tampered or hacked in 2009. Ni Feng, deputy director of the Institute of American Studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the United States has greatly outstripped any other country in terms of Internet technological power. "As the source of Internet technology, the United States enjoys the most advanced Internet technologies and equipment in the world," Ni said, "thus it makes no sense and is beyond my comprehension for the United States to play up such cyber threat from China." "Maybe the only reasonable explanation is that the United States has always been on the alert for China's development," Ni said. "The U.S. government needs this kind of rhetoric as an excuse to scale up its cyberwarfare capabilities and win support from Congress, the media and the public at large." "If the United States continues such behavior, looking for topics to attack China, the mistrust between the two countries will only get worse," he added.


From http://www.china.org.cn/ 08/18/2010

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JAPAN: Gov't to Have Internet Providers Block Access to Child Porn Images

The government decided Tuesday to take countermeasures against child pornography including a step to block access to indecent images of children on the Internet. At a ministerial meeting on crime fighting, the government decided to have Internet service providers block access to images if they are found to violate the law banning child prostitution and child pornography, government officials said. The providers will block access to such images based on a list of problematic websites to be compiled by a new body, the officials said. "The crime of child pornography should not be tolerated, and we have to save the children who are being victimized," Prime Minister Naoto Kan was quoted as saying at the meeting. As part of the countermeasures, the government will also make efforts to enhance counseling services for victims of child pornography and reinforce ethics education. Japan has drawn criticism from overseas for not prohibiting the possession of child pornography images by individuals. Japan and Russia are the only countries among the Group of Eight major powers that do not have laws that ban possession of such images. As it appears difficult to revise related legislation to put such a ban in place in the immediate future, the Japanese government hopes the new countermeasures would prevent the distribution of child porn images within the framework of existing laws. While some critics say the blocking system will constitute censorship, the government said it will ensure neutrality in the operations of the list-compiling body. The government will make preparations by the end of next March to make it possible to implement effective blocking of child porn images on the Internet, the officials said. The number of exposed child porn cases has been on the rise, totaling 935 in 2009, up about 40 percent from a year earlier, but this figure is said to be just the tip of the iceberg.


From http://www.japantoday.com/ 07/27/2010

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SOUTH KOREA: Cyber Attack a Hangover from Last Year

A cyber attack Wednesday on major government websites including Cheong Wa Dae's originated from the same zombie computers used in a massive hacker attack on July 7 last year, the National Police Agency's Anti-Cyber Terrorism Center said Thursday. Police said they traced Wednesday's so-called denial-of-service attacks to some zombie computers that were hijacked in last year's attacks but left untreated. They reactivated on the same day and at the same hour after lying dormant for a year. The hacking program is supposed to attack 25 selected websites, 11 in Korea and 14 in the U.S., on July 7. Last year's attack paralyzed the Internet in Korea for a week. A total of 462 zombie computers were used in Wednesday's attacks, police said - a mere fraction of last year's 270,000 computers.


From http://english.chosun.com/ 07/09/2010

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MALAYSIA: Govt Agencies Taught to Handle Cyberattacks

The National Security Council and Cybersecurity Malaysia are equipping the staff at government agencies with knowledge on how to deal with cyberattacks. The participants are put through simulated exercises to assess their readiness to cope with cyberattacks, under the Cyber Crisis Exercises which are also known as X-Maya. In its third installation, which was carried out between June 24 and Aug 2, the participants were taught to handle malicious code and botnet attacks. Thirty-four organisations from nine Critical National Information Infrastructure (CNII) sectors took part in this installation of X-Maya. The sectors are health, water, banking and finance, information and communications, energy, transport, defense and security, government and agriculture. Last year, 28 CNII organisations participated. They were trained to understand and manage webpage defacements and distributed denial of service attacks (DDos).

Cybersecurity Malaysia said the increase in organisations participating in the exercises shows a growing awareness of the need to have proper procedures in place to manage a cybercrisis. In the X-Maya exercise, participants have to analyse and solve cyberattack scenarios designed by Cybersecurity Malaysia's experts. Zahri Yunos, Cybersecurity Malaysia chief operating officer, said the exercise has helped the participants improve their defensive skills against cybercrimes. "They are ready to face any cyberattack but just need to better familiarise themselves with the defensive procedures," he said. Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Haji Fadillah Yusof said it's vital for government employees, especially those manning IT infrastructure, to know how to handle cyberattacks. "Cyberattacks are on the rise as more and more people rely on ICT (information and communications technology) in their daily lives," he said, while officiating at the closing ceremony of the X-Maya exercise.


From http://techcentral.my/ 08/10/2010

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THAILAND: Cyber Security of National Importance

Information security experts are urging the government to set up an independent office of national cyber security responsible for national data security issues. The unrest in Bangkok and several other provinces nationwide last week raised concerns that cyber security has become of paramount importance to the kingdom. The internet and other methods of digital communication have the potential to be used to conduct cyber warfare. For example, attacks could be launched against critical infrastructure, government and communications systems, but there is not yet any neutral organisation responsible for national security issues, said security expert Prinya Hom-anek, ACIS Professional Centre president and founder.

He told Database that cyber warfare signified how technology can be abused when there are no appropriate regulations or controls. Yet the government has not yet established a national-level cyber security policy in terms of human resources, budget allocation and threat understanding, especially in the matter of Information Operation (IO) and Information Assurance (IA). "If we'd had an agency to take care of national cyber security, the arson and street riots across Bangkok last week may not have been so harsh," he said, pointing out that cable, satellite and Internet TV (IPTV) had all been used to encourage people to join the protests. Prinya noted that US president Barack Obama announced cyber security as an item on the national agenda by having executive officers examine the country's readiness to deal effectively deal with any such problems. President Obama appointed Prof Howard Schmidt to the position of cyber security coordinator. Prof Schmidt oversees the vast task of protecting the nation's computer systems in both the public and private sectors.

Many countries, including Singapore, South Korea, Australia, Malaysia, Japan, Singapore, the US and Hong Kong, already have such agencies. Singapore's National Infocomm Security Committee defines the national cyber security policy and strategy, whereas Singapore Infocomm Technology Security Authority was founded to specifically run the cyber security operation. Meanwhile, CyberSecurity Malaysia is responsible for cyber security expertise under the Ministry of Science and Technology. In Australia, the Cyber Security Policy and Coordination Committee is responsible for the national policy and strategic plan. According to PTT ICT Solutions chief security officer Chaiyakorn Apiwathanokul, the expert group has suggested the government address cyber security as an item for the national agenda, in order to tackle ever-more sophisticated cyber issues. The group proposed that the Office of National Cyber Security should set up a centre of excellence to advise on policy and strategy matters to improved the level of information security in Thailand and co-ordinate with similar agencies in other countries.

The office should be an independent public organisation that directly reports to the prime minister and which is responsible for information security policy, regulation and promotion. The framework of the office should cover the national cyber security critical infrastructure, which includes the electricity, energy, waterworks, telecommunications, healthcare and financial sectors. "We suggest that the agency must be totally independent and neutral, not aligned to any ministry, and set the blueprint and best practice model for other agencies," said Prinya, who added that committee members should include the police chief, permanent secretary of defence, director-general of the Department of Special Investigation, director of the National Intelligence Agency, chairman of the Public Sector Development Commission, chairman of the National Telecom Commission, secretary-general of the National IT Committee, and the president of the Thai Information Security Association. The office budget should be funded by income tax from internet service providers and the capital funds of public telecommunications, according to Article 56 of the Supervising Radio/Television Broadcasting and Telecommunication Business Act, B.E. 2543 (2000).


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 05/26/2010

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Cybercrime on Rise in Thailand

Thailand's cybercrime ranking in the Asia Pacific region has risen due to an increase in the online population, while the global underground economy continues growing without any impact from the global economy, according to a new Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, which highlights key trends in cybercrime in 2009.Nopchai Tangtritham, Senior Technical Consultant at Symantec Thailand, said the report showed that Thailand ranked 21 in global malicious activities in 2009 and shifted its rank in the Asia Pacific region to sixth place, compared to 2008 when it ranked seventh.China, India, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan are the top five countries in the region in terms of cybercrime. Moreover, cybercrime is taking root in developing countries with an emerging broadband infrastructure, such as Brazil, India, Poland, Vietnam and Russia.

In 2009, these countries moved up the rankings as both sources and targets of malicious activity by cybercriminals. The report suggests that government crackdowns in developed countries have led cybercriminals to launch their attacks from the developing world, where they are less likely to be prosecuted. The report also detected a significant growth of malicious codes. Symantec identified more than 240 million distinct new malicious programs, representing a 100 percent increase since 2008. Meanwhile, the Sality.AE virus, the Brisv Trojan and the SillyFDC worm were the threats most frequently blocked by Symantec security software in 2009. The report also found that Downadup (Conficker) is still prevalent. It was estimated that Downadup was on more than 6.5 million PCs worldwide at the end of last year. Thus far, machines infected with Downadup/Conficker have not been utilised for any significant criminal activity, but the threat remains a viable one.

Nopchai continued that the report also found cybercriminals have turned their attentions toward enterprises for monetary gain from compromised corporate intellectual property (IP). The attackers are leveraging the abundance of personal information openly available on social networking sites to synthesise socially-engineered attacks on key individuals within targeted companies. Moreover, web-based attacks continued to grow unabated. Attackers leverage social engineering techniques to lure unsuspecting users to malicious websites. These sites then attack the victim's browsers and vulnerable plug-ins normally used to view videos or document files. Last year saw a dramatic growth in the number of web-based attacks targeted at PDF viewers; this accounted for 49 percent of observed web-based attacks. In addition, the attack toolkits make cybercrime easier and lowered the bar to entry for new cybercriminals, making it easy for unskilled attackers to compromise computers and steal information.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 08/11/2010

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VIET NAM: Warnings on Loose Controls of Internet Information

VietNamNet Bridge - Vietnam has more than 23.3 million Internet users, accounting for 27.1 percent of the population, and ranks fourth for Internet users in Southeast Asia. Measures to control information in online newspapers, online news sites and online games are still loose, warned government officials.The Ministry of Information and Communications reported at a workshop on management of online newspapers, news sites and online games early this week that it has granted licenced to 32 online newspapers, 180 news websites of media organizations and nearly 200 information sites. At the workshop, officials shared their concerns about many online newspapers being commercialized and becoming tabloids that focus only on the private lives of celebrities as well as sexual, violent and spiritual issues. Many information websites published inaccurate and sensitive information. Lieutenant-Colonel Nguyen Van Thinh, chief of the Information Security Department under the Ministry of Public Security, responded that the ones responsible for information sites are IT engineers, whose knowledge of journalism is very poor.
 
Thinh also noted that some information sites provide only thrilling news. Others allow readers to post pictures, video clips and comments without strict supervision. He warned that many information websites are running like online newspapers without a license, a seriously infraction of the Press Law. Le Hong Minh, Vietnam Software Association (Vinasa) Vice-Chair, observed that up to 11 out of 30 top websites in Vietnam are online newspapers or information websites. Search engines and multimedia information portals still hold the top positions. According to Vinasa, nearly 140,000 websites with Vietnamese domain names (.vn) have been registered. Vietnam now has 16 agents for registering domain names and 98 for international domain names, besides dozens of host service providers. Some websites with Vietnamese domain names have recently been used to post either documents against Vietnam or pornographic materials. There are two sex websites with overseas servers among the top 30 websites attracting the highest numbers of visitors from Vietnam. An estimated 50 percent of Internet users are university students or graduates and 30 percent are high-school graduates.
 
Vietnam has 17 companies offering online gaming, with a total of nearly 100 games. Some suggest that Vietnam should not ban online games administratively, but use policies to restrict the harmful effects of online games on children. According to Dr. Nguyen Minh Thuyet, the National Assembly's Committee for Culture, Education, Youth and Children Vice-Chair, around two-thirds of Vietnamese primary school pupils, 81 percent of junior and high school students plus 75 percent of university students play online games. At the same time, a survey shows that 77 percent of online games have violent content and 9 percent center on gambling. Thuyet said that controlling online games must start with controlling online game agents and strengthening education at home.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 06/16/2010

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First Vietnamese Anti-virus Software Obtains International Certificate

VietNamNet Bridge - The software verification organization Virus Bulletin has granted its VB100 certificate to Vietnam's BKAV anti-virus software. To get this certificate, the tested software must discover 100 percent of sample viruses, which are collection worldwide and defined as dangerous by experts. Virus Bulletin manager John Hawes highly praised the Vietnamese software's stability. BKAV, Vietnam's top network security organization, sent its BKAV Home 2009 edition to Virus Bulletin for testing twice earlier this year but it failed to get the certificate. The BKAV 2010 version, which uses cloud-computing technology and has up to 6.4 million sample viruses, passed the Virus Bulletin's test. A total of 54 antivirus software programs participated in this test and over one third of them didn't pass the test. VB100 was introduced in 1998 by Virus Bulletin. Virus Bulletin's antivirus software tests are globally recognized.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 08/18/2010

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India-Pakistan 'Cyberwar' Claims High-Profile Victim

MUMBAI: The "cyberwar" between India and Pakistan has claimed another victim, with the hacking of a high-profile lawmaker's website that experts say highlights the woeful lack of Internet security in South Asia. A group calling itself the Pakistan Cyber Army said it hacked into the website of independent Indian MP Vijay Mallya, a flamboyant liquor baron, who is also head of Kingfisher Airlines and the Force One Formula One racing team. "This is payback from Pak Cyber Army in return to the defacements of Pakistan sites!" the message on www.mallyainparliament.com said, according to Indian media. "You are playing with fire! This is not a game kids. "We are warning you one last time. Don't think that you are secure in this Cyber Space. We will turn your Cyber Space into Hell," the message added, warning of "revenge" if Indians hack any Pakistani websites in retaliation. Mallya, who also owns Indian Premier League cricket outfit the Royal Challengers Bangalore, has vowed to take up the matter with the government in New Delhi and police. Security analyst Ajai Sahni dismissed the hacking, which coincided with Independence Day celebrations on both sides of the border at the weekend. "They hack through any number of sites every year. It's just a bunch of kids who have got nothing better to do," said Sahni, the executive director of the Institute for Conflict Management in New Delhi. "The more serious threat is not this kind of childish prank but Pakistan's use of net-based communication for actual terrorist operations," he told AFP.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 08/18/2010

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INDIA: Beginning of a New Era in Management of Wakf Properties

The Ministry of Minority Affairs (MOMA), Government of India, has envisaged d to undertake a landmark e-governance project to computerize wakf records. Wakf Management System of India (WAMSI) is a three-year project beginning from 2009. In its ambit, it has onus to computerize records of 29 State Wakf Boards (SWBs) as mentioned in Wakf Act, 1995 and Jammu & Kashmir Wakf Board. A sum of Rs 25 crore has been earmarked to be spent in three different stages. Each State Wakf Board is entitled to receive Rs 27.10 lakh in the first year to establish a space for Centralized Computing Facility including Electrical, Networking & Hardware infrastructure. As per e-readiness guidelines, each SWB is also advised to hire an Assistant Developer and Data Entry Operator at a fixed monthly salary of Rs.15000 & Rs.10000 respectively. Objective of this computerization project is to ensure proper survey data is available and matches with the database maintained by other state level departments such as Land Records & Revenue departments. It further aims to achieve efficiency and effectiveness by implementing specific management systems pertaining to managing of wakf properties. Leasing & Litigation Tracking Management System is also expected to be developed.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 08/11/2010

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SRI LANKA: Software Group Warns of Piracy Risk

(LBO) - A Sri Lankan software industry group cracking down on piracy has warned that foreign companies in the island cannot assume they are covered by software licences held by their overseas parents. The Business Software Alliance (BSA), a global trade association representing the software industry, said it had entered into a settlement agreement with a Japanese manufacturer based in Kansai for software license infringement. The settlement amount of 315,205,272 Japanese yen (about 3.3 million US dollars), made this the largest ever settlement agreement for BSA worldwide, it said in a statement. The case, which originated from a report lodged with the BSA Japan software piracy hotline, resulted in a software audit being undertaken at the premises of the company. Some 3,900 copies of unlicensed software, belonging to BSA members Adobe, Autodesk, Filemaker and Microsoft, were found. In Sri Lanka, there are cases much smaller than Japan where foreign companies may assume that if their overseas parent companies are licensed, they are automatically covered under their parent company's licensing agreements," said Shalini Ratwatte, BSA Consultant for Sri Lanka. "These companies may have to revisit their assumptions, as they run the risk of being non-compliant. "We will drive initiatives that are designed to assist organizations to realize better returns from their investments in information technology." The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Sri Lanka Police has just set up a special anti piracy and counterfeit unit with the assistance of the American Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka (AMCHAM) and the BSA. It will tackle crimes related to the infringement of intellectual property rights of innovators and original creations, the BSA statement said.


From http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/ 07/22/2010

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AUSTRALIA: National Cyber Security Awareness Week

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy and Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, today launched National Cyber Security Awareness Week 2010. National Cyber Security Awareness Week aims to inform Australians about the importance of cyber security and highlights the simple steps people can take to protect their personal and financial information online. "Australians are increasingly relying on the internet in their everyday lives, from banking and shopping to accessing news and keeping in touch with friends and family," Senator Conroy said. "It is important Australians are able to use the internet in a secure and confident manner. The Awareness Week aims to educate and empower people with the information, confidence and practical tools they need to protect themselves online." The theme for the week is 'Protect Yourself Online', and focuses on the growing number of devices Australians now use to access the internet. "These days it is not just computers that go online. Phones, game consoles, TVs and even fridges and photo frames can be connected to the internet," Senator Conroy said. "Australians need to recognise that wherever and whenever they go online, they must protect themselves."

Australians are advised to take six simple steps to improve their online security at home and at work:
* Install security software and update it regularly.
* Turn on automatic updates so that all your software receives the latest fixes.
* Get a stronger password and change it at least twice a year.
* Stop and think before you click on links or attachments.
* Stop and think before you share any personal or financial information - about yourself, your friends or family.
* Know what your children are doing online. Make sure they know how to stay safe and encourage them to report anything suspicious.

As part of National Cyber Security Awareness Week, the Minister also launched the ISP Code of Practice on cyber security. The Code has been developed by the Internet Industry Association, in partnership with the Australian Government. "The Code of Practice provides a consistent approach to help ISPs inform, educate and protect their customers in relation to cyber security issues," Senator Conroy said. Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, today also launched the Protecting Yourself Online - What Everyone Needs to Know booklet. "The booklet is a comprehensive collection of cyber security and safety information and provides advice on the basic steps Australians need to take to stay secure online," Mr McClelland said. "It also contains valuable advice for consumers on how they can secure their computer, be smart with their online finances and identities, and keep themselves and their family safe online." "The advice is practical and helps to apply real world common sense to the online environment," Mr McClelland said. "The booklet also includes details of where to go for more information on identity security, offensive content, scams and fraud as well as where they can report online problems or incidents."

"By following the advice in this new publication, Australians can minimise cyber security risks while enjoying the benefits of living, working and playing online," Mr McClelland said. The Australian Government acknowledges the support of our partners who are participating this week and encourages everyone to take part in the activities and events on offer. Information about National Cyber Security Awareness Week and the Protecting Yourself Online booklet is available on the Australian Government's Stay Smart Online website at www.staysmartonline.gov.au.


From http://www.minister.dbcde.gov.au/ 06/06/2010

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Kids Help Set Cyber-Safety Defence Policy

Primary and high school students have bent the ear of communications minister, Stephen Conroy, to advise on Australia's cyber-safety policy. Parents and teachers accompanied the 50 children as they descended on Canberra as part of the 2010 Cyber-Safety and Youth Advisory Group (YAG) Summit this week. Conroy said the consultation with parents and children will help keep Australians safe online. "This is the second year of the YAG and I look forward to the contribution these young people will make to improving cyber-safety," Conroy said in a statement. "The success of the YAG has led us to create a similar group for teachers and parents, and their advice will help us create cyber-safety policies and programs that can keep families safe online."

The YAG, announced last year, is part of the Federal Government's $125.8 million cyber-safety plan and is made up of 305 youths. Conroy also established a Teachers and Parents Advisory Group on cyber-safety, and launched a cyber-safety "Help Button" that provides children and parents with cyber safety information. The minister will receive findings from the consultation, including the budd:e cyber security education modules, the Australian Federal Police program Thinkuknow, and the Australian Communication and Media Authority research project Click and Connect.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 06/08/2010

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Federal Security Framework Targets Unnecessary Governance

The Federal Government has formally launched its Protective Security Policy Framework in order to simplify the government security processes as part of a wider movement to improve Australia's national security. Speaking in Canberra at the Security In Government Conference, Federal Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, sa