Winter 2010 Issue 32
Special Focus |  Policy and Legislation |  e-Government |  e-Commerce |  e-Society |  e-Security |  Conference and Training

Contact Us:  unpan-ap@sass.org.cn
ˇˇ UN and Internet Governance, Next Four Years - Better Cooperation or Bigger Role?
GLOBAL: New UN Awards Recognize Public Sector Efforts to Provide Gender-Responsive Service Delivery
African Mobile Market Records 500 Million Subscribers
GLOBAL: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Indonesia to Have 1.2 Billion Internet Users by 2015
Australia: Open Govt Data Drive
Bangladesh Launches First District E-service Centre
Canada's E-Government Initiatives Among Best in the World
China Issues New Rules on Sentencing for Cyber Attack Crimes
Iran City Reveals ICT Masterplan
Thailand's National Broadband Policy
UK Government Lays Out Detailed ICT Agenda
US: Problem of Online Trust Has No Government Solution
Vietnam's Ambitious Plan to Become an IT Power
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ˇˇ GLOBAL: Regulators Worldwide Embrace Principles of Open Networks, Open Access
OECD: Keep Broadband Competition
AFRICA: Namibia - First Mobile Directory Launched
ARAB STATES: Egypt Sets New Regulations on SMS Services
ASIA: To Change the Way the Internet Is Used - Report
EUROPE: Europeans Propose Global Internet Treaty
Croatia: Government Adopts Criteria for Lowering Number of Civil Servants
Finland, Lithuania and Slovak Republic Join the STORK EU Cross-Border Electronic Identity Project
Italy, China Launch Strategic "Innovation Alliance"
UK: Government Lays Out Detailed ICT Agenda
UK: Government to Empower 1 Million People to Decide Their Own Personal Care Through Individualised State Funded Budgets
LATIN AMERICA: Brazil Starts New Universal Service Plan
NORTH AMERICA: US - White House Creates New Policy for Controlled Unclassified Information
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ˇˇ CHINA: Mofcom to Regulate Internet Sales of Foreign Enterprises
China Says Citizens' Freedom of Speech on Internet Protected by Law
China Launches Own Online Map Service
Shanghai to Invest in Cloud Computing
China Issues E-Commerce Accreditation Rules
Govt Bodies Ordered to Use Genuine Software
China's Internet Market Will Always Be Open
New Rules on Sentencing for Cyber Attack Crimes
Chinese Researchers Playing Bigger Role in Setting Internet Standards
JAPAN: Gov't to Introduce Cloud Computing, Cut Info System Costs
Japan Broadband Proposal Shows Fibre-optic's Best
SOUTH KOREA: To Promote Smart TV Industry
From 'IT Korea' to 'Smart Korea'
KT Pledges to Transform IT Platforms by 2014
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ˇˇ LAOS: JICA Promotes IT Outsourcing
THAILAND: Cisco Systems Drives National Broadband Project with 'Smart+Connected Communities' Strategy to Help Improve Living Standards
Apicta Awards to Provide Regional Marketing
Thailand's National Broadband Policy
VIET NAM: Gov't Looks to Boost IT Sector
Vietnam's Ambitious Plan to Become an IT Power
Intel Helps Vietnam to Develop IT Sector
New Proposals to Manage Online Games Shops
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ˇˇ BANGLADESH: Govt Seeks ITU Support to Build `Digital Bangladesh'
Bangladesh to Use Digital Maps in Upcoming Census
Making IT Available Across the Country
INDIA: Launching Universal ID System with Biometrics
Government Doubles Cost Estimates for E-Courts Project
Pitroda Suggests Rs13,228 Crore Project to E-Link Panchayats
TCS Bags Karnataka Data Centre Project
Ministry of Defence Launches E-Gov Projects
TRAI to Issue Broadband Regulations by December
Nepal: Running E-Village Program for Remote Villages
PAKISTAN: Chief Minister Punjab Underlines IT Promotion
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ˇˇ AZERBAIJAN: Introduction of Number Portability Service Expected in Late 2010 - Deputy Minister
Azerbaijan Approves State Register Rules
IRAN: Confirming No Additional 3G Licences Until 2013
Iran City Reveals ICT Masterplan
TAJIKISTAN: Information Access Development Support Project to Be Launched in September
TURKMENISTAN: Internet Should Be Accessible to Every Citizen - President
UZBEKISTAN: UN Launches ICT Programme to Boost Its Capacity
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ˇˇ Australia's PM Promotes National Broadband Plan
Australia's Broadband Plan Overpriced: Slim
Australian Telecoms Reform Legislation Back for Consideration
AUSTRALIA: Bill Set to Deliver Better Choice and Services for Broadband Consumers
OECD: Keep Broadband Competition
Government Releases Major ICT Reform Report
FIJI: CommComm Boss Unveils Two-Pronged Strategy to Cut Internet Costs
NEW ZEALAND: Commerce Commission Says Low Wholesale Up-Take Justifies Deregulation
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ˇˇ GLOBAL: Cloud Can Deliver More Efficient E-Government in APAC: Analysis by IDC Government Insights
Transforming Service Delivery Through E-Government
ITU Elects New Radiocommunication and Development Bureau Chiefs
Global: Gov 2.0 Challenges the Service Delivery Paradigm
Global: UN and Internet Governance, Next Four Years: Better Cooperation or Bigger Role?
Governments Must Improve Public Sector Productivity, Says OECD
AFRICA: Jamaica - PSOJ Agrees with Government on Public Sector Reform
Sierra Leone: What Information Minister Told the Kenema Consumer Parliament!
South Africa: New Unit to Fight Corruption in Public Service
ARAB STATES: UAE - Dubai E-Government Launches Satisfaction Survey
Tunisia: Most Transparent Country in North Africa
ASIA: Republic of Korea - Seoul to Lead e-Government Organization
EUROPE: EU Digital Agenda - Commission Consults on Re-Use of Public Sector Data
Europe to Learn from Wales' Lead on Digital Collaboration
Estonia: New Portal for Ethnic Minority Groups
Finland: New Online Portal Gives Easy Access to Public Services
Hungary: Against the Tide - Fidesz & Public Administration
Ireland: Public Service Pay Bill Cut by €1.5 Billion in Two Years
Italy: New 'Italia.gov.it' Portal Now Online
Romania: PM Boc: Strengthened Mayor Status Envisaged by Amendment of Local Administration Law
Russia: E-Government in Kazan to Be Launched
Russia: E-Government Needs $2.6Bln for Services
Russia: Satellites to Ake E-Govt Available - Rostelecom
UK: To Invest £650m in Cyber Security
LATIN AMERICA: Brazil's Lagging Performance in Broadband Spurs Government to Action
NORTH AMERICA: Canada's E-Government Initiatives Among the Best in the World
Canada: Launching 'Datadotgc.ca 2.0' - Bigger, Better and in the Clouds
US: We're in Open Government's Beta Period
US: Problem of Online Trust Has No Government Solution
US: Transparency Helps E-Government Increase Citizen Satisfaction
US: E-Government Bringing Back People's Trust in Government
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ˇˇ CHINA: Netizens Urged to Show Support for Virtual Cop Site
China Strives to Improve E-Governance in Countryside
China's E-Governance Keeping Up with Internet Trend of Microblogging
JAPAN: 'Maiko' Parade in Kyoto to Promote Online Tax Filing
NORTH KOREA: News Agency Launches New Website
SOUTH KOREA: Seoul Hosts E-Government Assembly
Politicians Turn to Blogs, Twitter
Electronic Government of Korea to Sweep the International Awards
Website Offers Info on Foreign Schools
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ˇˇ THAILAND: Ministry Adopts Back-office, Front-office Structure
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ˇˇ INDIA: Trial Run of E-Passport Centres Begins
Secretary (IT) to Head Department of Telecommunication
Tamil Nadu's E-Governance Initiatives to Focus on Creating Rural ATMs, M-governance
Proactive Role in E-Governance Project
Planning Commission to Become Paper-Less Body
Shashi Kant Sharma to Be the New IT Secretary
Govt. Launches Website to Get Feedback on 12th Plan
Haryana All Set to Cover Next 500 Offices Under SWAN
PDS System in Assam to Be Computerised with Biometric Cards
Maharashtra Deploys IT Solution to Transform Scholarship Programme
Mobile Number Portability Expected by November 25
National E-Governance Advisory Group Reconstituted
Maharashtra Plans to Introduce E-Voting in Local Civic Bodies
E-Gov for Delivering Services at Citizens Doorstep
SRI LANKA: Mulling IT Use in Tax Reforms
MALDIVES: Information Portal for Public and Businesses
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ˇˇ ARMENIA: Strategy 2020 Project Launches Its Website
National Cooperation Network Internet Portal to Be Established in Armenia
Internet in Armenia Is a Platform for Civil Society Formation, Expert Says
AZERBAIJAN: WB Representatives Familiarize with Its ICT Work
Azerbaijani Postal Operator's Modernization Process to Be Completed by Late 2010
KAZAKHSTAN: Use of Electronic Voting and Upholding Existing Election Standards Focus of OSCE Expert Meeting
Government's Session with Online Broadcasting Translated as Experiment - K. Massimov
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ˇˇ AUSTRALIA: Open Govt Data Drive
Labor Pours More Gov 2.0 into Future Budgets
Government Must Rethink IT Management Strategy: Analyst
Australian Opposition Attacks Broadband Network Cost
Aussies Named Global E-Gov Leaders
AGIMO Pushes Public Servant Collaboration
Information Commissioner to Open Up Australian Agencies
FIJI: Government Extends Phone Registration for a Second Time
NEW ZEALAND: Top Thought Leaders at 50 Year ICT Celebration
National and Labour Reach Accord on File-Sharing
New Zealand Ranks in Bottom Third of OECD for Fixed Line Calling
PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Suspends Mobile Phone Lottery
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ˇˇ GLOBAL: E-Commerce Worth 550Bn in 2010
ICT Shifting to Sustainability Market
IT's Biggest Money Wasters
AFRICA: IT Edge Ranks Top 50 ICT Companies in West Africa
Mobile Market Records 500 Million Subscribers
A Strategic Market for Telecommunications - Experts
ASIA and Pacific Mobile Payments to Double in Five Years
Developing Asia-Pacific States Press for Less Red Tape in Trade
EUROPE: EU Launches Green Paper to Boost eProcurement
Spain: Open Source Has Helped Save Millions of Euros
LATIN AMERICA: Brazil Telecoms Market Leads Growth in Central and Latin America
NORTH AMERICA: Canada - New Network Cut Phone Costs by Two-Thirds
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ˇˇ CHINA: 'Super E-banking' System Launched
Bright Skies for Chinese E-commerce
Online Ad Revenue Expected to Surge from Internet Usage
China Hands Out First Internet Map Licenses to 31 Service Providers
China's Online Shopping to Double Last Year's Rate
China Unveils Blueprint to Boost Digital Publication Industry
Chinese Market Believes in Digital Publishing
China to Propel Growth of E-book Industry
Internet Economy on Rise in China
Chinese 4G Mobile Standard Goes Global
Regulator: Telecom Industry More Open
JAPAN: Expenditure on Online Advertising Overtakes Newspaper Ads in 2009
Tracking Internet Users' Behavior to Target Ads Still a Privacy Minefield
Google to Launch E-book Service in Japan in 2011
Japan's Rakuten E-retailer Books Larger Sales
SOUTH KOREA: E-Commerce Reaches Over $170 Billion
Content Development Key to E-book Industry
Korea's Textile and IT Integration "Benchmarked Abroad"
Wireless Broadband to Contribute to S. Korea's Economy
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ˇˇ INDONESIA: LTE Tech Still Long Time to Go
LAO: Telecom to Celebrate Third Anniversary of Its 3G Service
Unitel Launches 3G Mobile Service
MALAYSIA: SMBs Should Give Cloud-computing a Chance
THAILAND: 3G Will Create New Business Models
Thailand Still Attractive Despite 3G Auction Delay
Metro Systems Updates Virtualisation Data Centre
Thai Software Firms Take APICTA by Storm
'Crazy Growth' in Smart-phone Market
VIET NAM: Poor Awareness Limits 3G Development
Facebook Wants to Expand to Vietnam
Vietnam Remains Attractive to IT Investors
IT Industry Faces Challenges
Local Firms Urged to Embrace Cloud Computing
Vietnam's IT Industry Yet to Satisfy Regional Advanced Standards
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ˇˇ INDIA: LinkedIn Commences Advertising Sales Operations
Double-Digit Growth Turning Point for IT Industry: Infosys
Adobe Acrobat X Launched in India
TRAI's Demand to Fine Errant Telecom Cos Put Down by DOT
WB, a Happening State for IT Investment
SRI LANKA: Telecom Adds 80,000 Broadband Users; Widens Rural Network
PAKISTAN: PTCL Launches Unlimited EVO Nitro 3G
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ˇˇ AFGHANISTAN: ATRA Calls for Consultant to Assist with 3G & 4G Spectrum Valuation
ARMENIA: Private IT Organizations More Successful Than Governmental
Social Network for Businessmen Presented in Armenia
AZERBAIJAN: Finalise Mobile Number Portability Rules Shortly
Azerbaijani ICT Sector Growth Rate to Hit 18.5 Percent in 2011
Ministry: ICT Income in Azerbaijan's GDP Hits 2 Percent
IRAQ: To Award Fourth Mobile Licence in Q1 2011
KAZAKHSTAN: Internet Portal for Foreign Investors to Be Established - Ministry of Industry and New Technologies
TURKMENISTAN: Ministry of Communications to Purchase Mobile TV Station
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ˇˇ AUSTRALIA: NBN to Drive Its Business Technology
Australian Industry Group Report Backs NBN Approach
NBN Economics: When Cost Becomes a Factor
FIJI: Internet Service Providers Warned to Reduce Charges
NEW ZEALAND: Telecom Loses Out in First NZ Broadband Bidding War
IPv6 Survey Shows Vital Messages Not Getting Through
Private-Sector Council to Advise in Govt ICT Changes
New Zealand Gets Five Bids for RBI; Telecom NZ, Vodafone Submit Surprise Joint Bid
IT Industry Bodies Call for Tender Complaint Role
NZ to Extend LMNP by a Further Six Years; Vodafone Loses 35,000 Customers to 2degrees
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ˇˇ GLOBAL: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Indonesia to Have 1.2 Billion Internet Users by 2015
Almost 13 Million Fixed Wireless Terminals and Cellular Routers Will Ship in 2015
Mobile Internet Will Rule Within 5 Years, Analysts Say
UN Report Highlights Importance of ICT for World's Poor
The Future of ICT-Enabled Education
Asian Cities Dominate Fast Broadband
ITU Symposium: Road Map to Enhance Environmental Sustainability Through Use of ICTs
Documents of the 4th World Forum on China Studies Published
Global Mobile Penetration on Track for 100%
Mobile Workforce Report Finds Cross-Generational Technology Gap Is a Myth
Operators Lack IT Expertise Needed for Cloud Services - NEC
AFRICA: Mobile Phones 'Powerful' in Promoting Health, Advocates Say
Mobile Phone Users Hit 500 Million
Ghana: To Leverage Mobile Health Africa
ARAB STATES: ESCWA Looks to Bolster Arabic Content Online
Oman: The First Women's Community Knowledge Center (WCKC) to Be Launched in the Sultanate of Oman
ASIA: Not Ready for Key Apps to Go Open Source - Survey
Asia: Fostering Mobile Innovation
EUROPE: EC Aims for Digital Records by 2015
Germany: Health Staff Design Their Own Electronic Forms in Mental Health Centre
Latvia: First eHealth Services Available at the National eGovernment Portal latvija.lv
Luxembourg: Patent Register Accessible Via the Internet
Malta: MITA Doubles Internet Bandwidth in Classrooms and the Government
Norway: Norwegian Centre for Integrated Care and Telemedicine Hosts Community Portal on eHealth in Inaccessible Regions
UK: Telehealth Service Launched to Improve Care for Patients with Long-Term Conditions
NORTH AMERICA: Socio-Economic Factors Continue to Impact Digital Divide in the US - New Report
ITU Estimates Two Billion People Online by End 2010
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ˇˇ CHINA: Online Tree Doctor Service Opens in SW
CHINA: Rural Poor to Get More Web Access
China Has 265 Million Online Game Users
Farmers 'Major Driving Force' in Internet Population
Online Travel Services on the Rise
Real World Challenges of Cyberspace
China: A Long Way from Cloud Computing
Chinese Supercomputer Ranked World's Fastest by TOP500
Mobile Internet Users in China to Hit 800 Mln in 2015
JAPAN: Fewest Digital Friends on Social Networks
E-book Concept Struggles to Take Off in Japan
Year One for E-books
SOUTH KOREA: Users of Social Networking Sites Up 57%
Koreans Among Least Social in Online Networking
'Social Networks Going Mobile'
Korea Widens Lead in Broadband Quality
IT Will Converge into Single Device by 2020: Futurist
S. Korea Most Internet-active in G20
Korea Ranks No. 3 in the World for Public Wi-Fi
Mobile Info Service Launched for Foreign Visitors
Champion Speed Internet Access Is Declared South Korea
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ˇˇ MALAYSIA: Use ICT to Cut CO2 Emissions
A Connected Workforce Is Vital
THAILAND: Low-income Thais to See Web Benefits
Healthcare Sector Enjoys Growing Benefits from Visual Collaboration Services, Notes Frost & Sullivan
Program Helps Keep Track of Corporate Passengers
VIET NAM: More Than 1,000 Community ICT Learning Centers to Be Set Up Nationwide
Experts Dismiss Survey on Online Games
Online HR Consultancy Websites Mushrooming, Competition Getting Stiffer
Majority of Online Gamers Aged 10-15: Survey
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ˇˇ BANGLADESH: First 'District E-service Centre' Launched
Digitalizing Land Registration in Bangladesh
Bangladesh Links Villages to Internet
INDIA: Punjab to Use E-District Platform for Citizen Services
New Web Portal of HUDA for Online Payment Soon
E-Challan for Traffic Violators in Haryana
DIT Invites Eoi for Providing Broadband to 1.5 Lakh CSCs
SRI LANKA: E-Alerts to Warn Banks of Defaulters
PAKISTAN: E-payments Grow to Rs 4.8 Trillion in Fourth Quarter
IT Education Imperative for Growth of Economy
PM Announces Upgradation of ICT Educational Institutions, Teachers' Posts
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ˇˇ AFGHANISTAN: Farmers to Get Farm Produce Pricing by Mobile Phone
Radio Azadi Launches Interactive SMS Service in Afghanistan
ARMENIA: Experts Focus on E-Resources Protection
8 Best Armenian Websites to Be Announced in December 2010
AZERBAIJAN: Teachers to Participate in Intel Training
Azerbaijani Communication Ministry Gets Familiarized with Process of Constructing First Azerbaijani Telecommunications Satellite Azerspace
Azerbaijan Numbers Already 84% of Families with Cell Phones
Over 600 Azerbaijani Educational Institutions Connected to AZEDUNET
KAZAKHSTAN: First in CIS Pilot 4G (LTE-700) Network Launched
TURKMENISTAN: Educational Establishments Connected to Internet from European Commission Project
UZBEKISTAN: Population in Regions Masters Information Technologies
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ˇˇ AUSTRALIA: Telemedicine and the Future of Healthcare
NSW Govt Looks into the Cloud
Australian Students Take Virtual School Trip to NASA
10,000 Households Helped to Switch to Digital TV
Boost for South Australia's Online Emergency Services
Australian Broadband Speeds Stagnant: Akamai
Australia's NBN Will Boost Health, Mining
Final Govt Data Repository to Facilitate FOI Changes
Full Digital TV Service for Regional and Remote Australia
FIJI: Lacks Internet Reach
Time Running Out for Providers to Terminate Unregistered Phones
TFL Gains Access to Southern Cross Cable; Fiji to Become Regional Hub
Proud of a Dream
NAURU: Declare a Public Holiday As First Mobile Phones Arrive
WiMAX Network Launched in Nauru
NEW ZEALAND: Eyes More M-Learning Initiatives
Rural Broadband Goes Down to the Wire
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ˇˇ GLOBAL: Saving Our Data from Digital Decay
ASIA: Govts Need a 'Pan Asian' Response to Online Security
EUROPE: EU Digital Privacy - Commission Proposes Tougher Data Protection Measures to Protect Europeans Online
Cyber Threats to Be a Key Component of NATO's New "Strategic Concept"
UK: National Security Strategy Identifies Cyber Attack as Tier 1 Threat Along with Terrorism
NORTH AMERICA: Security Pros Get Social Networking Under Control
Canada: What Keeps Privacy Commissioner So Busy
US: GAO Urges Faster Adoption of Obama's Cyber-Security Review Recommendations
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ˇˇ CHINA: Law Authorities Define Internet Gambling Crimes
China Bans Online Precursor Chemicals Selling
China to Start New Campaign Against IPR Violations
360 VS Tencent - Unfair Competition Produces No Winner
Internet Policing Hinges on Transnational Cyber Crime
China Shuts Down 2,500 Websites in Elimination of Porn
Jolt for Online Smear Activities
China Telecom Rejects Report of Internet Traffic "Hijacking"
More Chinese PC Consumers Do Not Trust Pirated Software
JAPAN: No. of Internet Crime Cases Hits Record High in 1st Half
New Cybervirus Found in Japan
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ˇˇ MALAYSIA: Nation Needs More Cybercops to Virtually Weed Out Hackers
Using Fun to Teach Kids About Cyberspace Safety
Businesses Must Stay Vigilent Against Cyberattacks
THAILAND: Cyber Crime Techniques Grow More Sophisticated
The Rise of the Digital Spies
VIET NAM: Concerns Rise Over 3G Network Security
ATMs, New Targets of Virus Attacks
".vn" Is the Most Dangerous Domain in the World?
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ˇˇ BANGLADESH: Establishment of Central Data Base Demanded for Social Safety Net Programs
IT to Reduce Disaster Risk
INDIA: Microsoft Security Essentials Free for SMBs
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ˇˇ AZERBAIJAN: Cyber Crime on the Rise - Ministry
Azerbaijani Ministry Adopts Standards on Information Security
IRAN: Cyber Army Hacks Website of Farsi1
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ˇˇ AUSTRALIA: Cyber Storm About to Unleash Chaos on It and the World
APEC Cyber Security Awareness Day
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ˇˇ GLOBAL: New UN Awards Recognize Public Sector Efforts to Provide Gender-Responsive Service Delivery
10th Global Symposium for Regulators - Enabling Tomorrow's Digital World
8th World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Meeting
Senegal's President Wade Opens ITU Global Symposium for Regulators in Dakar
Global: First International Open Government Data Conference Features the Power of Platforms
Internet Evolution Hosts 'Collaborative E-Commerce on the Cloud' Discussion
AFRICA: Jamaica - Mind to Roll Out Ethical Training Programme
Rwanda: Over 500 Complete ICT Training
ARAB STATES: Tunisia - Nation Hosts Workshop Aiming at Boosting Joint Arab Action in ICTs
ASIA: Global City Informatization Forum 2010 Kicks Off
FutureGov Awards: Full List of Winners
2010 EROPA Seminar on Public Administration and Disaster Management
EUROPE: Stakeholders Call for an Open Internet but Commissioner Kroes Not Convinced
EU: Experts Meet to Develop Global Digital Literacy Initiatives
UK: E-Government National Awards 2010: Finalists Announced
LATIN AMERICA: ANDICOM 2010, the Epicenter of the ICT Industry in the Region
Gemalto Awarded 2010 Latin America Leadership Award from Frost & Sullivan
NORTH AMERICA: Canada - ComputerWorld Canada IT Leadership Awards
US: NASA Open Government Summit Emphasized Data Exchange
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ˇˇ CHINA: Internet Self-regulation Team Trained in Beijing
CEATEC Japan Tradeshow Wows Visitors with Latest Electronic Goodies
SOUTH KOREA: 'E-Learning Week 2010' Starts Wednesday
Korea Tipped to Host Global Telecom Conference in 2014
The Opening of 'Korea Electronics Grand Fair 2010'
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ˇˇ Experts Tip Broadband Boom
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ˇˇ INDIA: Punjab Gearing Up Youth for ITeS Industry
Elets Announces India eGov 2.0 Awards for Year 2010
PAKISTAN: First 'Electrofair' Exhibition from September 21
Pakistani Companies Bag 7 Technology Awards at APICTA
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ˇˇ CA Youth Share Their Skills and Experience at DYCA 2010 Forum in Dushanbe
ARMENIA: Host Armnet Awards - First Armenian Internet Competition
AZERBAIJAN: Azercell Nominated for World Communication Awards
Baku to Host 16th Int'l Exhibition and Conference
TAJIKISTAN: Capital Hosts Third Regional Forum "Digital Youth of Central Asia"
TURKMENISTAN: President to Chairs Meeting on Introduction of Electronic Document Management
UZBEKISTAN: ICT Week to Be Held in Tashkent in September
Information Technologies for Children, Charity Event Held in Tashkent
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UN and Internet Governance, Next Four Years - Better Cooperation or Bigger Role?

After three weeks of negotiations, member countries and the secretariat of the United Nations International Telecommunication Union hailed the consensus and success of the 2010 Plenipotentiary Conference, which sets the ITU work programme for the next four years. But even through the final rounds of applause, the tensions about how much the internet features in the core mandate of the Union remained audible. The plenipotentiary wrapped up its work with "broad agreement on core issues," the secretariat announced in its final press release. The meeting was held in Guadalajara, Mexico from 4-22 October. Delegates approved the 632 million Swiss franc financial and strategic plans for the Union for the next four-year term and, in a long list of resolutions, agreed, for example, on "better use of information and communication technologies to manage climate change and disaster response." A delegate from Russia said in the closing ceremony that the conference had stated "that the ITU is open for cooperation and is ready to take the first steps to bring closer together other organisations that are dealing with internet-related matters." But, he said, the ITU is also "ready to take on itself a leading role in internet governance within the scope of its competence and we ask the secretary-general to inform the General Assembly of the UN and all those concerned in telecommunications on our progress in this field."

Is ITU Only One Partner?
The opposite position underlining ITU's need to cooperate with existing self-governing internet organisations was provided by the Swedish delegate speaking for the 48 members of the "European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations" (CEPT). Changes both within the Union and in the cooperation with other organisations are necessary, the delegate said. "We need to be more efficient internally and we need to avoid overlap with the work done by other organisations. This is particularly important in the internet area." The 2010 plenipotentiary decisions will "guide the ITU in the right direction," the Swedish delegate said. The whole package [All final acts will be available here] [Clarification: The ITU has now said the documents will be freely accessible to the general public when ready in publication form, i.e., by end February 2011] of internet-related resolutions (Resolutions 101, 102, 133 and a new resolution on the new internet protocol, or IPv6) was passed at a late hour on Thursday night, close to the end of the three-week meeting and it needed re-elected ITU Secretary General Hamadoun Tour¨¦'s urgent appeal for a compromise. For days, delegations mainly from the Arab world and from Russia had fought against a reference to the self-regulatory organisations like the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), the Internet Engineering Task Force, the Internet Society and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in the internet resolutions. Proposals to transform ICANN's Government Advisory Committee (GAC) into an "international committee, or create an (ITU) Council working group (...) with powers of supervision over ICANN," or a "progressive cooperation agreement between ITU and ICANN and define a mechanism to increase the participation of governments" were all struck from the text. Also struck earlier in the Guadalajara meeting was a Russian proposal to integrate the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) whose future is on the agenda of the UN General Assembly this week. The IGF was an outcropping of the 2003-2005 ITU-led World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). How, asked Syrian delegate Nabil Kisrawi, can an intergovernmental UN organisation like the ITU be considered to be on equal footing with a California-based private company like ICANN? An explanation of the concerns of the Arab countries came from the Saudi delegation. Some people just did not want the names of ICANN and the other self-regulatory bodies in the resolutions because, "we think that in fact there's a risk of undermining the role of the ITU in the internet." All countries are in favour of having ICANN work under international and not under California law, the Saudi delegation said. Tour¨¦'s last-minute compromise for the internet resolutions asked at least for "reciprocity" in the cooperative efforts of the ITU, ICANN and the other internet management organisations, and this formula is now part of all four internet-related resolutions of the ITU work plan for 2012-2015.

Special Forum in 2013
The discussion about the ITU's role in the internet will continue, though, and Resolution 101 contains the task to prepare a "special forum" to be held in 2013, to discuss all the issues raised by the ITU internet resolutions. The "Dedicated Group on Internet-related Public Policy Issues," so far part of the ITU Council Working Group on the World Summit on the Information Society, will be changed. Under Resolution 102, it now shall become an independent Council Working Group, "limited to member states, with open consultations."

Requests for Assistance
Besides the additional efforts to cooperate with the self-regulatory groups, the ITU is tasked in the four internet resolutions with classical monitoring, information gathering for its members, and "assistance" in areas to help with the transition to new IPv6 internet addresses for those countries who ask for it. As the current IPv4 internet addresses are running out even earlier than expected, migration to the new IPv6 is necessary, the community of regional IP address-managing organisations - the RIRs - said a few days ago. For some time, a number of ITU member countries tried to establish another IP-address-registry within the ITU, which is currently the registry for country codes in the telephone system. As with the proposal to increase oversight by the ICANN GAC, the idea of an ITU IP address registry was rejected by the group of western, industrialised countries. The directors of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau and the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, newly elected Brahima Sanou and re-elected Malcolm Johnson, according to the resolution now only get a small stick: they shall monitor allocation policies for the numbers, "point out any underlying flaws in the current allocation mechanisms," and "communicate proposals for changes to existing policies, if identified under the studies above, in accordance with the existing policy development process." Plus, ITU shall "assist those Member States which, in accordance with the existing allocation policies." Developing country interest in getting assistance in the area of internet management and policy seems to motivate some of the requests for a broader mandate. In the very heated debate about the ITU's future role in dealing with cybersecurity and cybercrime, the delegate from Ghana said: "Administrations should have the right to ask for assistance in all aspects of ICT [information and communications technology]." The request of the United States and other western countries to cut cybercrime, issues of national defence, and content issues from the ITU cybersecurity agenda therefore was difficult to accept, the Ghanaian delegate said. Secretary General Tour¨¦, said the ITU, despite its "Global Cybersecurity Agenda" is not working on cybercrime. He called it regrettable that "the membership always tells us what not to do, instead of what to do." The US delegate, meanwhile, said that the ITU could expect more requests to include the reference to its "core mandate" in resolutions in the years to come. The demand to stick to its core mandate would not prevent the ITU from offering assistance to countries in "the elaboration of workable legal measures relating to the protection against cyberthreats," that is agreed in the resolution, a representative from the United Kingdom said. Financial assistance to developing or war-stricken countries in the build-up of their telecommunications networks also was passed for several individual countries like Serbia and Lebanon and Palestine, which became an official ITU observer, and a list of countries grouped in the Annex of Resolution 34.

ITU Becomes More Geeky
Alongside the ongoing discussion on the ITU's role in internet governance, the organisation also decided to become more open access and somewhat more "geeky," increasing use of social networks, blogging and other newer online tools. In the past, the secretariat had been sceptical about granting free online access to its documents, but an ongoing pilot project of access to ITU-T recommendations led to an increase of downloads of more than 7,000 percent. Member states therefore concluded that in the future, online access to the recommendations of ITU-T and ITU-R would be free as would the basic texts and the final acts of the plenipotentiary conferences. This will allow everybody to read through the 300 pages of final acts from Guadalajara now and ponder how they might be implemented, from "the stepping up of ITU's activities in the area of emergency communications and humanitarian assistance" and the "ITU Broadband Strategy," to the "Digital Inclusion for Indigenous peoples" and "measures to prevent the illicit use and abuse of telecommunication networks through unauthorized calling and routing practices." Throughout the three-week session, blog posts, and video posts with interviews of top officials and tweets announcing fresh compromises were used to allow observers from the outside world to get a glimpse of the inner workings of the "plenipot" mega-machine. Another step to becoming more open is a resolution that grants academic institutions membership status for the price of 3,975 Swiss francs. Sector members, meaning industry members from developing countries, will enjoy reduced fees. Possibly by easier access and a bigger membership the Union could also do away with some of the financial cutbacks that are reflected in a resolution on how to save money by being more conservative in setting up new working groups for example. The next four-year budget is expected to see a reduction of 3.5 percent, with 12.6 percent reduction in contributions from sector members and a 1.6 percent decline in contribution from member states, according to the final acts. Non-governmental organisations have criticised the ITU for many years and the internet self-regulatory bodies looked at the ITU as interested in "taking over." With the formal acknowledgement of private domain regulator ICANN, the IP-address allocating RIRs, the Internet Engineering Task Force and the World Wide Web Consortium - standardisation organisations for the internet protocol and the Web respectively - in its plenipotentiary documents, the ITU might be seen as giving up its claim as sole representative for future networks. But how much will the ITU give up?


From http://www.ip-watch.org/ 10/27/2010

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GLOBAL: New UN Awards Recognize Public Sector Efforts to Provide Gender-Responsive Service Delivery

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) through its Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM, part of UN Women) last week signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a new category of the United Nations Public Service Awards, which will recognize public sector institutional efforts in providing gender-responsive service delivery. The United Nations Public Service Awards is the most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public service. It rewards the creative achievements and contributions of public service institutions to development in countries around the world. Through an annual competition, the awards promote the role, professionalism and visibility of public service. Winners are announced every year on 23 June, United Nations Public Service Day. An efficient public administration that delivers services for all citizens is central to the achievement of the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Yet, the lack of gender equality remains a challenge in many parts of the world and negatively impacts progress towards all of the MDGs. While there has been notable progress in ratifying conventions and improving legislation, adequate design and delivery of gender-responsive services have lagged behind. Women, and in particular women in hardship, represent the overwhelming majority of those who access and use public services. Public authorities have a crucial role to play in ensuring that the service delivery needs of women are met. For this reason, the new award category will serve as a token of recognition for public servants who are working tirelessly to improve the delivery of services to women, and will also serve to encourage others to learn from and replicate their good examples. The UN Public Service Awards are managed by Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) of UNDESA. DPADM helps countries build and develop public institutions, as well as strengthen government capacity to promote sustainable development, advance public sector reform and improve the quality of public service delivery. By offering capacity-building activities, sharing knowledge, and providing training and online tools, the Division promotes efficient, effective and citizen-oriented public services, based on the principles of transparency, accountability and civic participation. The Division stresses innovative approaches to public management, in particular through e-government development. UNIFEM (part of UN Women) is committed to building good governance and is mandated to promote gender equality through the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Beijing Platform for Action. Over the last year UNIFEM (part of UN Women) has been drawing attention to the issue of gender-responsive service delivery through its programme "Gender and Democratic Governance in Development: Delivering Services for Women." The programme, which is generously funded by the Government of Norway, supports reforms that advance gender equality in the governance of service delivery in various countries, and builds knowledge and develops tools for improving the delivery of public goods and services to men and women. The new Memorandum of Understanding also covers other areas of collaboration towards the betterment of public administration and women's empowerment and gender equality, focusing in particular on knowledge building around "gender responsive public service delivery." Online nominations for the award are now being accepted at: www.unpan.org/applyunpsa2011, and the deadline is 31 December 2010. For more information about the UNPSA Application Process, please visit: www.unpan.org/unpsa.


From http://www.unifem.org/ 10/19/2010

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African Mobile Market Records 500 Million Subscribers

Abuja - The African mobile market exceeded half a billion subscribers during the third quarter of this year, hitting about 506 million at the end of September, according to a research from AfricaCom DailyNews. The research which was conducted by Informa Telecoms and Media, one of the orgernisers of the ongoing AfricaCom conference in Cape Town, South Africa, said the milestone coincided with the 25th anniversary of mobile telephony in African continent; the first African mobile network went live in 1985 in Tunisia. LEADERSHIP gathered at the conference that at the end of the first quarter of this year, GSM subscribers in the continent accounted for 10 pre cent of the global subscriber base, with penetration still very low, though it increased by 18 per cent in the first quarter of this year. It was also gathered that GSM penetration rate in Africa stood at 48.35 per cent at the end of September, and some African markets have since passed saturation point. "But penetration in other markets is still less than five per cent, and penetration below ten per cent is typical for rural areas," AfricaCom Daily News reported.

According to the report, over the five years, the strongest growth rates in mobile subscription are expected to be recorded mainly in East and Central African markets, adding that Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea and Madagascar are expected to witness increase by more than 100 per cent in 2015. "Although, the rate of growth in mobile subscription in Africa will be slow as markets mature, the continent continues to offer great opportunities for investors in the voice segment in under penetrated market and also in the non-voice segment with mobile broadband and mobile money services taking off," said Thecla Mbongue, Johannesburg-based senior analyst at Informa and Telecom Media. According to findings, the landing of a series of new submarine cables on both the East and West coasts of Africa over the past 18 months has given the continent a good level of international connectivity for the first time, and has greatly expanded the opportunities for data services.

It further stated that an increase in data services would cause a bottleneck in terrestrial backhaul networks and that these networks needed to improve if connectivity was going to be made available to more African, particularly those in the rural rears. " By 2015, there will be 265 million mobile broadband subscription in Africa, a huge increase from the current figure of about 12 million and accounting for 31.5 per cent of the total of 842 million mobile subscriptions that the continent will have in five years' time Mbongue said, adding: "There will be almost 360 million users of mobile-money services on the continent by 2014." The research further showed that with household broadband in penetration in Africa at just 2.5 per cent, the opportunities for mobile data access services on the continent are significant. (By Bethrand Nwankwo)


From http://allafrica.com/ 11/12/2010

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GLOBAL: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Indonesia to Have 1.2 Billion Internet Users by 2015

In 2009, the BRICI countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Indonesia - had some 610 million Internet users, and this number is growing at a blistering pace: it will nearly double by 2015, hitting around 1.2 billion users, according to a new report by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

"The Internet is already having a fundamental impact on consumption patterns, and the patterns we're seeing are significantly different from those in the United States and Japan," says report coauthor David Michael, who heads BCG's Global Advantage practice. "Companies relying solely on traditional means for reaching consumers in the emerging markets need to understand the impact that the shift to digital media is going to have." Because the BRICI countries constitute many of the world's most populous nations, it may come as little surprise that their digital-consumer ranks will swell so quickly. However, the truly remarkable development is how quickly online activity is shifting into the mainstream of these societies. Although there are only 440 million PCs in the BRICI countries at present, this number should more than double by 2015 - and Internet cafe and mobile devices will also act as important means of digital access. The habits exhibited in the BRICI countries differ markedly from those in the developed markets - for instance, instant messaging is vastly more popular, as are online music and games. There are remarkable variations among the BRICI countries as well. Social networking is more popular in Indonesia and Brazil than in any of the other BRICI countries - or even in the developed markets. And while an extremely high percentage of Indian digital consumers use e-mail, Chinese Internet users have gravitated toward instant messaging. Among the most prominent trends is that BRICI digital consumers are far more likely to be meeting their digital needs through mobile phones than through personal computers. With PC penetration still quite low, mobile phones are cheaper and more convenient tools for both communicating and seeking out entertainment - already, the BRICI countries have around 1.8 billion mobile-phone SIM card subscriptions, more than four times the combined total of those in the United States and Japan. In fact, as sophisticated handsets become available in the BRICI markets, millions of BRICI digital consumers are leapfrogging over PC usage and going online via their mobile phones, a trend that has significant implications for their Internet-usage habits.

In addition, BRICI Internet users are unusually young - more than 60 percent of digital consumers are under the age of 35 - which means that although the online habits of BRICI consumers are still being formed, these behavior patterns will have broad implications for future online activity. As they earn ever-higher incomes and develop more complex online needs, digital companies will see colossal opportunities to monetize services and products - provided that they can keep up with the pace of change in the BRICI digital markets. Beyond examining broad trends in the BRICI countries, the report also breaks down digital usage patterns and their stages of market development on a country-by-country basis. In general, although there are market similarities across user segments, the digital markets in Brazil and Russia are more advanced than those in India and Indonesia. Meanwhile, China is far beyond its fellow BRICI markets - Internet and mobile phone use are deeply embedded in the lives of hundreds of millions of Chinese people. One reason that it is important to understand the Chinese digital market is that it offers a pointed reminder of how rapid and unexpected the pace of change in other BRICI markets may be in terms of Internet penetration rates, the number of hours spent online per day, and e-commerce adoption. Understanding the course of development in these markets will provide valuable insight into their long-term growth potential. But the danger in marveling at the pace of BRICI digital adoption is that it is easy to overlook the fact that the BRICI digital revolution is already well under way. The crucial backdrop to the development of the BRICI digital markets is the diversity and size of the companies that serve these digital needs, such as China's Tencent or Alibaba.com. "The commercial opportunities in these digital markets are rapidly evolving," says report coauthor Yvonne Zhou, a principal in BCG's Beijing office, "and the presence of strong local competitors in many of these markets means that the 'incumbent' digital-market leaders in the United States and Europe should not take success in the BRICI countries for granted."


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 09/02/2010

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Australia: Open Govt Data Drive

The economic value of government information can increase four-fold within a year if it is made freely available to public. Its social value could increase by even more. So thinks Peter Harper, Chief Operating Officer of Australia's Bureau of Statistics, who says that public services are on the "cusp of a revolution" driven by open government data. Harper, who is a member of Australia's Government 2.0 Taskforce which led to the country's Declaration of Open Government in July (2010), said that too much government information is still unavailable to the public, and when it is, it is difficult to find or use. "Keeping government information within government will not help achieve our aspirations for a first class public service," said Harper. "Information is the lubricant of society. Without it, our lives would grind to a halt. All of government can and should provide more information to the public." Australia's Declaration of Open Government espouses three principles: informing, engaging and participating. Without open access to public data, all three are very difficult to achieve, Harper said.

"Government information should be, where possible, free as in beer and free as in speech," he said. "It should be available free of charge, and people should be able to share it freely." Harper acknowledged that there were a number of barriers to overcome, cost being one. While he admitted that the cost of launching and maintaining open data can be "substantial", he insisted that the value of data would not be maximised if the public is charged to use it. "Mount the argument for making information free when you can," he urged officials. Licensing is another obstacle. "Information is a public good. One person's consumption of it will not reduce its value for someone else," Harper noted. "Interaction between users of this information is a key part of its value. But copyright does not allow free sharing." Harper pointed to the nonprofit organisation Creative Commons as a source of inspiration for how government information can be made sharable while adhering to the laws of commercial copyright. Government information should be readily discoverable and easy to use. "If the data can't be indexed, it might as well not exist.

It needs to be machine readable and based on open standards. If the data is gobbledegook or incorrectly labeled, there could be unfortunate consequences," he warned. For this reason, metadata (data about data, which helps it be understood and appropriately used) is "fundamental to open data initiatives," he said. Another major hurdle for open government data is privacy, although Harper insisted that agencies should not use this as an excuse to shelve open data initiatives. "Yes, there are genuine privacy concerns. But my view is that privacy is a stalking horse for not making data available. There are plenty of tools available that allow you make data available and protect the information. I'd encourage all agencies to look into how information can be safely released."


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 08/31/2010

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Bangladesh Launches First District E-service Centre

The 'district e-service centre', the first of its kind in the country, was launched in Jessore Thursday through a function ushering in a new hope of taking all services of the district administration to the doorsteps of the people, reports BSS. "In line with the present government's plan to build Digital Bangladesh, the centre was launched in Jessore to reach all kinds of service of the district administration to the doorsteps of the people," Whip of the Jatiya Sangsad Sheikh Abdul Wahab told the inaugural function as the chief guest. He expressed his hope that such a centre would help lessen harassment of the people in getting services and information of the local administration side by side with materialising Vision-2021 of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. "The centre would ensure that all services and information of the administration are available through direct application or postal service even on online," said Md Nazrul Islam Khan, national project director of the UNDP-funded Access to Information (A2I) Programme under the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), which set up the centre in the district. Parliament members Mostafa Faruq Md, Khan Tipu Sultan and Khaledur Rahman Tito were present at the function as special guests. The function was also addressed, among others, by Khulna Divisional Commissioner Mashiur Rahman, UNDP Assistant Country Director KM Morshed, Police Super Didar Ahmed and local Press Club President Ekram-ud-Dowla. Deputy Commissioner of Jessore Nurul Amin presided over the function, while Field Expert of A2I Programme Mostafizur Rahman highlighted different aspects of the programme. To get services or information of local administration, people have been requested to contact the website of district web portal www.dcjessore.gov.bd or phone No 0421-65044 or 01753- 171797.


From http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/ 09/17/2010

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Canada's E-Government Initiatives Among Best in the World

One blustery winter morning, Toronto-based software developer Kieran Huggins wanted to know when the next bus would be coming before he ventured outside, but when he searched the Internet for transit schedules and updates, he found only incomplete data that was difficult to navigate. No help with his commute. So he decided to write his own application. That was in 2007. Huggins, a partner with Toronto-based development shop Refactory, soon discovered the app was the easy part. The hard part was trying to navigate the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) information, which was stored in inaccessible formats and missing a lot of crucial elements. "Mostly, their data was terrible," he said. He and business partner Kevin Branigan did a lot of legwork and calculations and were eventually able to build their own accurate data set of all the stop times for every route in the city. The data is housed on their Web site, MyTTC.ca, as an open-source trip planner. It is not, however, endorsed by the TTC.

Open road ahead
Huggins' frustration at not being able to easily find public information is one that is shared by many Canadians, and has caused many to push for a national open-government initiative. But it's not an easy road. "There is no one universal definition of openness. That said, greater access to, and transparency around, services and information is a good place to start," said Carmi Levy, a London, Ont.-based independent analyst. He said that open access will pave the way for greater participation of citizens, who, in the pre-Web 2.0 era, were more likely to just be passive receivers of government services. "Now, open government gives them a significantly more active role in defining and delivering the kinds of services most relevant to them." Chris Moore, CIO for the city of Edmonton, agreed that a truly open government is one in which citizens have a more active role, but he said the technology and access to data sets also need to be in place in order to allow this to happen seamlessly. "But it's more about the people than the technology," said Moore, who was one of three Government Web 2.0 panelists speaking at the fifth-annual mesh conference in Toronto last spring. "Edmonton is the fourth city in Canada to have an open data plan. Community engagement is the most important thing." It makes sense that municipal governments may be a bit further ahead with Web 2.0, said Michelle Warren, president of Toronto-based MW Consulting. Not only are the municipalities smaller, more agile and able to respond faster than provincial or federal offices, the community tends to interact with them on a more regular basis "due to the frequency and regularity of issues, such as transit info and garbage collection." But even at the municipal level, e-voting exists only as isolated pilots and has not even been mentioned federally. But inroads are also being made in the federal government and collaboration is key, according to another mesh panelist. "Web 2.0 is changing the way we work together within our organizations, and the way we serve Canadians," said Marj Akerley, Ottawa-based executive director, Organizational Readiness Office, CIO branch of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. "Several departments already provide open access to some of their data, and have been doing so for some time."

Worldwide recognition
Back in 1999, the Government of Canada boldly announced it wanted to become "known around the world as the government most connected to its citizens" with the release of its Government On-Line (GOL) initiative. Its goal was to make more information and services available online while continuing to provide services through traditional modes. This government-wide initiative, led by Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), had many successes: it generated a common look and feel for all government Web sites, online availability of the 130 most commonly used services and secure electronic payment capability. The cost savings of GOL were also significant: while an in-person transaction costs on average about $30 per person and about $10 via telephone, it costs $1 or less per interaction via the Internet. And because the federal government conducts about 400 million transactions each year, the savings add up. In fact, for the fifth consecutive year, Canada ranked number one in "customer service maturity in eGovernment" out of 22 countries surveyed in Accenture's Leadership in Customer Service 2010 report. Though the GOL concluded in 2006, there are several other long-term e-government goals for Canada, such as continuing to improve efficiencies and transparency between departments, according to PWGSC. "As more of these wins become part of mainstream government operations, late-adopting agencies will be more motivated to get on-board," Levy predicted. "Success in open government won't just breed more success. It'll breed accelerated buy-in and adoption of those who still hold on to more traditional forms of public service and leadership."

Changing the system from within
Despite the success of the GOL efforts, Canadians like Huggins are critical of the seeming lack of openness and access to timely, accurate information for everyday citizens. That may be because, up until now, much of the government's focus has actually been on the internal use of Web 2.0 technology to collaborate and share knowledge. In 2008, the federal government launched an internal wiki called GCPedia as a way to capture, build upon and share the collective knowledge of employees across the country. GCPedia is accessible to 250,000 employees in more than 100 departments. The wiki has approximately 16,000 registered users and 444 user groups. Federal employees can use the platform to post, comment and edit articles by their peers. Departments that had not shared much information in the past are suddenly now collaborating. "When you are talking about 250,000 people, the potential for cultural change is huge. This is starting to break down walls, break down barriers between departments," Akerley said. "As government employees become more comfortable with new technology and seek mechanisms for collaboration, their confidence in the effectiveness of the tools is increasing," she said, echoing Levy's comments. On a smaller scale, she said, some departments are using social media tools for interaction directly with the public, and the Treasury Board Secretariat is currently developing a guideline on the use of external social media tools by employees. In developing these guidelines, many elements need to be considered, she said. "As government employees, we must comply with all applicable Government of Canada policies. We also have a responsibility to respect bilingualism and accessibility, and ensure the security and privacy of employees and citizens are protected."

Increased pressure
Levy noted that the federal government has some challenging work ahead, and agreed that cultural change is what is needed most in order to make e-government initiatives a success. "This is not an environment that changes easily, if changes come at all," he said. "But the government is under increased pressure to do more with less, and they no longer have a choice." According to Levy, citizens have come to expect the same level of service they can get from other online information providers. "Accelerated adoption is being driven not by a growing desire by government to get ahead of the curve. Governments don't necessarily want to become leaders in the open government movement. But if they want to remain responsive to citizens' needs, they have no choice. In other words, they're being pulled into it," Levy said. "Cultural change always evolves more slowly than technological changes. But the government needs to keep pace." The e-Citizen Studio, a Fredericton, N.B.-based initiative of the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada, is striving to help other offices of government do just that. The Studio provides a forum to evaluate third-party technologies and to conduct design sessions, focus groups and video conferences. "Transformational change has to happen," said Marc-Alain Mallet, director of business development and research support at the NRC. "There is an increasing demand from citizens for greater access, more information and better collaboration. "The fact that mobile devices are now ubiquitous and people are online more often is driving big changes to the way people search for information. These things have caused a higher level of awareness. Citizens want to take an active role in the way the future is shaped," he said. "Here, we have an environment where we can test."

Reduce, reuse, repurpose
The Studio evaluates a wide range of technologies and looks at ways to create an environment that is open, added Dr. William McIver Jr., senior research officer and e-Citizen Studio manager. "We are looking at ways to make data modular and highly flexible, to reuse and repurpose data." This will make developing it faster and deploying it easier, because different departments could reuse the same modules over and over with little customization. And they wouldn't need to develop anything themselves. Key areas of research include public transportation, health care and location-based services, he said, and one key to success is to look for ways to engage the citizens and leverage the expertise of the community and private sector as co-developers. In fact, citizen-driven development is what Huggins did with MyTTC.ca, and what the third mesh panelist, Montreal-based Michael Mulley, did as well when he created openparliament.ca. The site strives to "keep tabs on Canada's parliament" by posting data aggregated from a variety of sources. Visitors can sort by name of MP, subject or postal code of their riding, and find out what is being said. Mulley's story is similar to Huggins'. He was looking for information on government sites and found it very difficult to locate. "My first impression was that it's way harder than it should be. Many frustrations could be removed in a day. And that day is long gone," he said, adding that citizens are often in the best position to make changes happen. "There is immense potential for interested developers like me and like many other Canadians to do interesting things with government data. It's much easier for citizens to do than it is for government...to experiment and innovate." Huggins echoed this point. For example, he noticed a gap in detailed TTC information regarding accessibility, and said the best way to understand what was needed was to just go there in person. Huggins and business partner Branigan spent hours riding to every stop on the subway, assessing the elevators and stairs and the time each took. "It was kind of fun," Huggins said. So in the end, it seems the government and the communities both want the same things: to be more transparent, share the most accurate information, and have more interaction with each other, McIver said. "After all, the people we work with in government are citizens too."


From http://backbonemag.com/ 09/09/2010

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China Issues New Rules on Sentencing for Cyber Attack Crimes

China will issue new judicial rules governing sentencing standards for cyber attack crimes by the end of this year, an official of the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) told Xinhua Wednesday. China has become a major victim of online crimes such as hacker attacks, with eight out of every ten computers in the country having suffered botnet attacks, said Gu Jian, vice director of the Internet security bureau of the MPS. Botnet is a network of computers that have had malicious software installed in them and are under the control of criminals, while the owners of the computers remain unaware of the computer hacking. China criminalized attacks on computer systems in 1997, and made specific provisions on hacker attacks, such as outlawing the illegal control of another computer, in its seventh amendment to the Criminal Law in 2009. In most botnet cases in China, the controllers were found to be located abroad, Gu said. Moreover, more than 80 percent of the cyber attacks targeting websites of China's government agencies came from overseas, Gu said. Gu called for more international cooperation in fighting transnational online crimes at the fourth U.S.-China Internet Industry Forum which concluded Tuesday in Beijing. At the forum, China and the U.S. agreed to strengthen international law enforcement in combating cyber crimes, improve international cooperation mechanisms in this regard, and enhance communication on fighting cyber crimes. In addition to cyber attacks, other kinds of major online crimes included online pornography, online gambling and online fraud, Gu added.


From China Daily 11/11/2010

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Iran City Reveals ICT Masterplan

Isfahan, Iran's second city and a global Islamic cultural hub, has set its sights on becoming the Republic's leading 'e-municipality' and a regional e-government leader. The ancient city of 1.7 million people, which was once of the world's largest cities, is four years into a five-year ICT masterplan to develop infrastructure and improve citizen services and government processes to boost competitiveness. The same ICT framework is being adopted nationwide by all of Iran's 'mega cities', but municipal authorities have been able to adapt the plan with local projects. In an interview with FutureGov at the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure World Conference in Singapore last week (22nd October 2010), Vahid Heidarian (pictured), the municipality's ICT Head, outlined his government's priority projects. One is to offer more public services online through its e-services portal, isfahan.ir. Building permits, property provisioning and all tendering processes will soon be accessible through the web site. An English language version is also in the pipeline. "More e-services will mean a quicker and easier experience for citizens, and fewer visits to government offices, which we hope will ease the city's traffic problems," Heidarian said.

Declogging Isfahan
A key part of masterplan is a spatial data infrastructure (SDI) initiative, which will be used to tackle Isfahan's worsening road congestion - 400 new cars hit Isfahan's roads every day, contributing to worryingly high pollution levels. GPS tags have been deployed in public buses for traffic controllers to track their journeys. Taxis will be next, then trains on the new subway network - the first line is planned to be finished this year. Information on public transport will be combined with data from CCTV cameras on the city's roads and broadcast via short messages on roadside signs. This information will soon be accessible on mobile devices, Heidarian said. There are also plans to feed aggregated data from citizen ID smart cards, which can be used to pay for travel on public transport, into a central traffic management system. More services will be added to the citizen ID card so that "most business transactions between government and citizen are possible using the ID card," Heidarian said. Teleconferencing will be another means with which to reduce journeys made by government officials, Heidarian added. To provide extra computing power for the city's e-government activities, the central government is building a data centre that will provide a shared facility for all of Iran's large cities. "We have data centres in every major city. But we want another data centre in place, built using the latest technology and standards, that can cater for rising demand as Iran's cities grow," he noted.

E-Isfahan
There is much work to be done to bolster Isfahan's e-government capabilities, which have been developed in consultation with the government of Seoul, the South Korean capital, Heidarian noted. Iran ranked 69 out of 70 countries surveyed in the 2010 Economist Intelligence Unit digital economy report, and 168th out of 181 countries in a 2010 survey of internet speeds by Speedtest.net this year. "Isfahan is the cultural capital of the Islamic world. We have a rich history and a rich culture. Want to enjoy the same reputation for our e-municipality," Heidarian declared. This mission is not without challenges. "One of the main issues we face is capacity. Rolling out new online services is one thing. Getting people to use them is another," he concluded. "We have a fast growing population, and we need ICT to better manage citizen-government interactions. People are used to the traditional paper-based approach, which calls for a mindset shift - both among citizens and in government."


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 10/25/2010

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Thailand's National Broadband Policy

Thai people will soon have greater high-speed access to the internet. The Government will invest 20 billion baht in developing a nationwide network for high-speed internet services over the next five years. The Cabinet, during its meeting on 9 November 2010, acknowledged the national broadband policy, proposed by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology. It also approved a proposal for the National Information and Communication Technology Committee to work in an integrated manner with various agencies in mapping out an action plan to translate the national broadband policy into action. The policy was worked out by a subcommittee on the national broadband policy, chaired by the Minister of Information and Communication Technology. It seeks to support and develop the broadband network, so that the public will have enough services at reasonable prices under free and fair competition. All Thai people in the public and business sectors will be able to make full use of the broadband services. The Government will not monopolize these services but will open up opportunities for private companies with great potential to invest in them.

In the national broadband policy, the Government will promote the establishment of basic telecommunications infrastructure and services at international standards. It will also handle the management of the country's telecommunications assets with maximum efficiency. The Government expects to expand the broadband network to cover 80 percent of the Thai population by 2015 and at least 95 percent by 2020. Another objective is to introduce a fiber-optic broadband network with a connection speed of no less than 100 megabits per second in major economic centers in the regions of the country, also by 2020. Through the broadband network, people will be able to receive services in the fields of education, public health, disaster surveillance and warning, and others. The services will be offered on an equal basis to reduce the digital divide and minimize disparity in terms of access to knowledge and information.

According to the policy, schools at the subdistrict level will be able to have access to quality broadband services by 2015. Moreover, subdistrict hospitals and all health stations will be provided with the broadband services with the same quality as those received by provincial hospitals, also by 2015. All tambon (subdistrict) administrative organizations will provide the e-government services through the broadband network by 2015. The policy will reduce energy use and global warming, as well. At the same time, it will lead to content and application development beneficial to education, public health, life and property protection, culture and religious affairs, and environmental conservation. The Government wants this policy to help enhance the competitiveness of the business sector. In order to achieve this aim, it will develop infrastructure and broadband services, as it does other public utilities, which are available across the country.


From http://thailand.prd.go.th/ 11/16/2010

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UK Government Lays Out Detailed ICT Agenda

The government has published its detailed business plans for the next four years, claiming a first in terms of transparency and detail, with Prime Minister David Cameron noting, "We will be the first government in a generation to leave office with much less power in Whitehall than we started with. We are going to take power from government and hand it to people, families and communities - and how we will do that is set out right here." The plans include data such as financial information, Structural Reform Plans and departmental priorities and are claimed by the Coalition to mark "the start of a major change in the way government works and will bring about a power shift in favour of increased Government accountability directly to the public". Searchable databases of 17 Departments have been put on line, and PublicTechnology.Net has been having a look at the ICT angle. There are some Departments where no specific ICT commitments are mentioned - for example, Education, International Development, Energy and Climate Change, Foreign and Commonwealth, Transport and Defence. But some are clearly ICT-enabled, or impact on ICT practice, like the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' pledge to "support a strong and sustainable green economy" allied to a "zero waste" culture in the public sector. Nonetheless, across all parts of government one of the first thing that stands out is a commitment to work differently, to use more open data and to look to new ways of procuring and sourcing. Allied to clear commitments to structural change and reform and even investment, it's clear Britain's central government will need, if not as much ICT as in the past, certainly at least as much - but possibly in different forms. Specifics of each Department where ICT is a big factor in promised improvements and plans can be found below.

Cabinet Office
Integrate ICT infrastructure across central government, and improve value for money in ICT. This is to be done by increasing the Chief Information Officer's power to integrate ICT across government, said to be completed as a process, as is the drafting of a new ICT infrastructure strategy "including government Cloud computing strategy". However, the Office notes it is overdue on regular publication of performance details of all ICT projects above £1 million, while work to create a first version of a cross-departmental asset register won't start (or be due to complete) until next May. It also says it needs to create a new ICT procurement process, which would include structures like making sure "no new ICT contract is signed without ERG (Efficiency Reform Group) approval" and identify cross-department pipeline of upcoming or ongoing tenders and negotiations through the moratorium and project review. Meanwhile, next March will see the publication of plans "outlining a new approach to ICT procurement enabling greater use of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), a much shorter time-scale and lower costs to all parties". In addition, ICT projects marked for death need to be decommissioned. The Office says it has already identified the first tranche of projects and programmes to terminate through the major project review and the review of internal ICT projects but has not yet completed (due in January, we now hear) which of that first tranche of projects and programmes should be terminated or re-scoped and decommissioning begun. Finally, it says work needs to continue to improve the rules around designing and running ICT projects and services - but that the publication of guidance that states ICT projects should not exceed £100 million in total value and the aspiration to reduce the scale of large ICT projects is overdue. By end of the year, we are promised, we can look to see existing procurement rules changed to ensure a level playing field for open source software and options will be opened for "strengthening current practice." including (by January) draft government open standards (including those relating to security) will be crowdsourced for feedback. In parallel, we are told, there's been an IT skunk works project begun to assess and develop faster and cheaper ways of using ICT in government.

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
BIS' specific ICT commitment is to work with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to stimulate private sector investment to deliver the best super-fast broadband network in Europe by 2015.

Department for Communities and Local Government
As part of a commitment to remove reporting burdens on local government from central departments, this Ministry will "develop a single, reduced, list of the data requirements placed on local government by central departments, working with other departments and local government".

Department for Culture, Media and Sport
The main ICT imperative for DCMS is of course Broadband Britain. To do this, we are told it is working to "stimulate private sector investment to deliver the best super-fast broadband network in Europe by 2015," as well as creating "a level playing field between incumbents and new providers," and examining "barriers to new providers seeking to invest in fibre optic networks," all noted as "completed". Next month, it will hold an industry round table to discuss ways to increase certainty and confidence for potential investors, while work will also continue to "open up access to infrastructure to facilitate super-fast broadband in many areas". This is to be accomplished by conducting a public consultation (with participation from industry regulators) on access to ducts, sewers and poles that can be used to carry fibre optic cable, working with Ofcom to "require BT and other infrastructure providers to allow the use of their assets to deliver super-fast broadband," and "regularly review and introduce, if necessary, legislative powers to open relevant utility infrastructure to broadband providers". The Department is also committed to facilitate the introduction of super-fast broadband in remote areas at the same time as in more populated areas. It's going to do this by (April 2011) start market testing community-led pilots in the Highlands and Islands, North Yorkshire, Cumbria and Herefordshire, "if required, instruct Broadband Delivery UK to allocate funding to areas where the market has not delivered, after digital switchover has finished in 2012" (September next year) and publish (November 2011) a joint policy paper with BIS, setting out the lessons learned from community-led pilots and the Government's approach to investment in broadband until 2015 and (same month).

Department for Work and Pensions
DWP will clearly have some major ICT investment on hand if it is to do things like introduce the new Universal Credit, as part of which the favoured real time tax system will happen ("Work jointly with HM Revenue & Customs to develop a Real Time Information capability"), by April 2014 it seems, while other benefit changes, like amending the child maintenance system will also presumably need a lot of new technology to deliver.

Department of Health
For DoH, along the lines signposted in the Liberation Agenda, there's a clear commitment to open up data, e.g. "Give people far more information and data on all aspects of healthcare, correcting the imbalance in who knows what and enabling them to make informed choices about their care" and "begin to implement greater patient control of records, starting with records held by a patient's GP". The abolition of PCTs and other organisational changes will also need investment, of course.

HMRC
For Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, the onus going forward is on maximising revenue flows into the Exchequer through things like a £900 million investment to bring in at least £7 billion in additional tax revenues per annum by 2014/15, through a range of measures like tackling avoidance and evasion through targeted campaigns and interventions, trying to prevent tax avoidance "before it happens," moves to combat organised criminals and fraud; and improve its debt collection capability.

HM Treasury
Treasury is busy working to identify the promised £6 billion in-year cuts the Coalition said were needed, plus is being focused on co-ordinating the 2010 Spending Review's recommendations over the next five years plus introducing measures to improve fairness in public sector pay, including a new stipulation that "anyone paid more than the Prime Minister in the centrally funded public sector to have their salary signed off by the Treasury".

Home Office
This Department has set itself the goal of creating a more "integrated" UK criminal justice system, and to "develop and publish plans to spread best practice and information on which techniques are most effective for use by communities, police, their partners and sentencers at preventing and cutting crime, working with the Ministry of Justice". Meanwhile, as part of drives to protect freedom and civil liberties, it will move to "end the storage of Internet and email records without good reason," which will be achieved by new proposals for the storage and acquisition of internet and email records which we can expect to see by end of year. There is also work to be done on curbing use of CCTV and amending English DNA database practice so as to "adopting the protections of the Scottish model for the DNA database and publishing guidance on the application of rights to remove DNA from the database".

Ministry of Justice
Major reform that will involve a lot of ICT to help are signalled for Justice, such as restructuring the National Offender Management Service, reform and rationalisation of its arms-length bodies and other service delivery improvement programmes. And in line with so many of the Plans, here again we hear the importance of transparency and the need to open up data, as we read that Justice is getting ready to "publish sentencing data for different types of offence for every court in an open and standardised format to make it more accessible to victims of crime and the wider public," among other measures.


From http://www.publictechnology.net/ 11/09/2010

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US: Problem of Online Trust Has No Government Solution

The prevailing, certificate-based web browsing model is a significant cybersecurity threat for Internet users, but this multi-jurisdictional, multi-stakeholder problem has no governmental solution, said a White House official during an Oct. 22 event in Washington, D.C. "Government can't fix it and government shouldn't fix it. So this is not an area where public policy is going to be able to waltz in with a thunder set of regulations, or some kind of rule set perpetrated down through the system by an authority - it's just not going to happen," said Andrew McLaughlin, White House deputy chief technology officer, while speaking at the New America Foundation. "You don't want government to try to be your front line. We have a history of screwing things up. Even if it were possible, there are good reasons for government not to try to dictate solutions here," he added.

This issue is the classic Internet policy problem, he said, and the diversity of players, jurisdictions, standards, hardware and physical interconnection make trusted browsing difficult to pin down. Browser certificates depend on a chain of trust between many different entities, and within each link, is another micro-chain of trust, said Ari Schwartz, senior Internet policy advisor at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Because the Internet is a collection of voluntarily interconnected networks, one party's insecure practices can make the network insecure for the other entities, even when they are being as secure as possible. While government can't fix the problem, McLaughlin said there is room for government to spur collective action for these multiple and competing actors to cooperate and adopt best practices. International standards bodies should help map out what a better, more secure ecosystem would look like, he said. McLaughlin added that there also needs to be an incentive system, of some sort, to halt the "race to the bottom" - the competition among certificate authorities to be less expensive than their competitors and, thus, often sacrificing the thoroughness of their audits in the process.

With the Commerce Department's Internet Policy Task Force, NIST's work with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, and the Homeland Security Department's emergency preparedness efforts, it appears some government players are actively addressing the problem. "It's important to note that there are folks in government that are paying attention to this problem," said Schwartz. "In the Cyber Storm III exercise that just went on, some of these attacks were simulated - and I actually asked DHS if it was okay to talk about it and they said if it was at the level of saying that certificate authorities and related DNS issues were raised and that simulated impact, then that it was okay to do that," said Schwartz. "So it's worth pointing out that there has been a lot of talk about that. These kinds of attacks have real-life examples of things that can go wrong, if not properly taken care of."


From http://www.fiercegovernmentit.com/ 10/22/2010

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Vietnam's Ambitious Plan to Become an IT Power

VietNamNet Bridge - The Prime Minister has approved the information technology (IT) development plan, under which IT will see the annual growth rate 2-3 times higher than the GDP growth rate, with the industry making up 10 percent of GDP of Vietnam.

1 million workers in IT by 2020
It is expected that by 2020, Vietnam will have one million people working in the IT industry. 80 percent of students graduating in subjects related to IT will have the professional knowledge and foreign language skills good enough to join the international labour market. From now to 2015, about 30 percent of students are estimated have such skills. Policies will introducedto make the target attainable. Forecasts about the demand in the IT sector will be released, based on which the plan to train the workforce for the sector will be drafted Some key training establishments will be given priority in receiving funding for necessary facilities, and granted more autonomy in their operation. Especially, measures will be taken to encourage the teaching to be conducted in English.

Vietnamese businesses with $15 billion in turnover to emerge
The Government will encourage big IT enterprises to expand the scopes of their businesses. It is expected that by 2015, Vietnam will have big IT companies ready to enter the international market and have an annual turnover of $10 billion. By 2020 it is expected that Vietnam will have giant enterprises with the turnover of $15 billion. The "cocks of the walk" are FPT (Corporation for Financing and Promoting Technologies), Viettel, VNPT (Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group), VTC and CMC. Regarding the software outsourcing, the government aims for Vietnam to be listed in the world's top 15 nations in terms of software outsourcing by 2015, and in the top 10 nations by 2020. As for the hardware industry, Vietnam will create companies with the capability to design and produce hardware and accessories to reduce imports by 2015.

IT to be applied in public services
From now to 2015, the IT will be used in addressing important socio-economic issues, such as the urban traffic management, food safety and weather forecasts. Institutions will provide public services online at second and third levels. About 80 percent of companies and social organizations will apply IT in their business management and production. IT will be popularized in education, healthcare, national defense and public security. A target that Vietnam has set up for 2020is to enter into the list of top third of countries in the United Nation's ranking in terms of the readiness for e-Government.

Broad band to reach out to villages
To facilitate the development ofIT industry Vietnam will strengthen the telecommunications infrastructure. By doing so, the country aims to be listed among the 65 most developed nations in the field in the ranking of the International Telecommunications Union by 2015. It is excepted that by that time, the basics of the plan to provide broad band connection in villages and wards across the country will be completed, while broad band mobile wave coverage will reach out to 85 percent of people.It is estimated that by 2011, most families in Vietnam will have telephones. By 2015, 20-30 percent of families will have computers and Internet access, 90 percent of families will have television. The percentage of families having computer and Internet access will be raised to 50-60 percent by 2020.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 10/22/2010

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GLOBAL: Regulators Worldwide Embrace Principles of Open Networks, Open Access

This year's Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) defined a set of Best Practice Guidelines that will help stimulate the roll-out of the next wave of information and communication (ICT) networks, particularly in the area of broadband access. The new Best Practice Guidelines encourage regulatory frameworks that foster innovation, investment and affordable access to broadband and other services in markets worldwide, through a set of core principles all regulators can adopt and then adapt to local market conditions. The GSR welcomed 437 participants from 81 countries and arrived at a shared vision and understanding of the complex challenges facing ICT regulators in today's converged markets. It was formally opened by Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade on Wednesday 10 November, and chaired by Mr Ndongo Diao, Director General of Senegal's Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications and Post (ARTP). Mr Diao urged delegates to redouble efforts to eradicate the digital divide that separates those in the developing world from the benefits of ICTs.

A report from the preceeding Global Industry Leaders Forum helped shape debate during the course of the three-day event. Mr Ould Brahim Mahfoudh, Deputy Director-General of mobile operator Expresso, Senegal, served as Chairman of this event also held in Senegal. The GSR also saw a meeting of regional regulatory associations, where experiences were shared and discussion focused on ways to further intra-regional cooperation. The Best Practice Guidelines argue that "a new ladder of regulation may now be required" to achieve the right balance between service and infrastructure competition. This includes ensuring equal and non-discriminatory access to networks, and the lifting of potential bottlenecks that could prevent users from enjoying the full benefits of a digital environment that is increasingly driven by speed, ubiquity of access and affordable prices, irrespective of the location of network providers and users. "Our goal is to encourage the development of progressive and enlightened regulatory frameworks that foster innovation, investment and affordable access - particularly in the area of broadband, which represents the next big leap forward in ICT services and applications," said Dr Hamadoun Tour¨¦, ITU Secretary-General. "The best practices adopted at this meeting will help regulators stimulate ICT deployment and deliver real benefits to consumers, through lower prices and innovative new services." The guidelines underscore the importance of a clear and transparent regulatory process, including the adoption and enforceability of rules governing service provision, the principle of a technology-neutral approach, the benefits of competitive network and service provision. They also call on regulators to embrace forward-looking regimes that are subject to regular review, to ensure that any regulatory barriers to competition and innovation which may have emerged are removed.

This year's GSR also saw the launch of a special 10th anniversary edition of the Telecommunications Regulation Handbook, which has been jointly developed by ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau and infoDev (World Bank). Complementing the ICT Regulation Toolkit, the handbook has been developed to help give regulators a solid basis on which to develop national strategies to foster the growth of their digital economies. "Today's regulators must understand the evolving converged environment to deal with new and unprecedented issues transcending the original scope of their regulatory practice," said Mr Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, Director of ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau. "Regulators need to seek and apply durable policies and principles that can be continually brought to bear in a changing market. Both the Telecommunications Regulation Handbook and the ICT Regulation Toolkit will continue to assist regulators in marshalling the regulatory expertise they need to navigate the rough seas of technological evolution." For the first time, the conference also featured two special workshops National School Connectivity Plans, featuring ITU's flagship 'Connect a School, Connect a Community' initiative. (By Dakar, Senegal)


From http://www.itu.int/ 11/12/2010

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OECD: Keep Broadband Competition

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) believes Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) promises large benefits, but may not be the most cost-effective strategy. Releasing its Economic Survey of Australia on Sunday, the OECD says at a cost of $43 billion, or 3.25 per cent of gross domestic product, it also entails "substantial financial uncertainties". The OECD says the Gillard government's strategy will improve internet services for the entire population and promote a fairer competition between private firms on retail services. Part of the plan is to shut down Telstra's existing copper network and the country's main cable network. "While establishing a monopoly in this way would protect the viability of the government's investment project, it may not be optimal for cost efficiency and innovation," the Paris-based institution says. It says research has stressed the value of competition between technological platforms for the provision of broadband services. "It would therefore be preferable to maintain competition between technologies in the broadband sector and, within each technology, between internet service providers," it says.

The federal opposition has strongly criticised the government for not producing a business plan for the NBN but key cross-bench independents that helped form a minority government are supportive of the plan. Last week in a re-released version of the so-called Red Book, Treasury said the NBN program carries significant risks, including financial risks for the public balance sheet and risks around competition and efficiency in telecommunications and related markets. "The government's response to the NBN Implementation Study will set the parameters for the outcomes in these areas for decades to come," it said. "It therefore warrants very careful consideration by cabinet in coming months." The Red Book, which is a series of recommendations from Treasury for the incoming Labor government, was reissued with some restrictions removed that had previously been blacked-out in the document under an FOI. The coalition's cheaper $6.3 billion broadband and telecommunications plan announced during the August election campaign would select private sector companies to build and execute a national network based on both fixed and wireless technologies.


From http://www.techworld.com.au/ 11/15/2010

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AFRICA: Namibia - First Mobile Directory Launched

Windhoek - Namibians can now access, locate, obtain contact and product details via the first mobile directory in Namibia, mdnam.com. The directory was introduced six months ago and since then has registered over 100 companies in order to facilitate consumer communication with business entities. It was launched on November 11 at Nice restaurant in Windhoek. Due to affordability (free for consumers without considering mobile service provider's charges), accessibility (via the internet or text) and its user friendly interface, the telephone directory was described as "innovative" by one of the directors, Ebson Booysen.

"We have moved from the industrial age into the technological age hence we have to optimise our businesses. Knowledge is power, so the easier your consumers know about your product, the easier they can locate and do business with you," said another co-director, Willem Hough. This suggests that businesses can register and as such, their business will be advertised and contact details will be made public via the mobile phone. The company is 100 percent Namibian and is registered to Ebson Booysen, Nigel Hill, Albertus Kangandji and Willem Hough. It also has its sights on growing to such a scale that it will be able to register a host of companies in the SADC region. The service is free for consumers worldwide. However, businesses are charged a once-off N$200 registration fee and a monthly fee of N$100, while organisations with many branches also pay the stipulated registration fee but with a reduced monthly fee of N$75. (By Musa Zimunya)


From http://allafrica.com/ 11/16/2010

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ARAB STATES: Egypt Sets New Regulations on SMS Services

Egypt's telecommunications regulator has set new rules for companies sending text messages to multiple mobile phones, in a move activists say will stifle efforts to mobilize voters ahead of upcoming parliamentary elections. Reform groups in Egypt, as well as elsewhere in the region such as Iran, have increasingly relied on the Internet and mobile phones to organize, mobilize and evade government harassment. Mahmoud el-Gweini, adviser to the Egyptian telecommunication minister, told The Associated Press Tuesday that companies sending out text messages - known as SMS aggregators - must now obtain licenses. The decision was not meant to curb political activity, he said, but was spurred by concerns that "random" text messages concerning sensitive issues such as religious tension or the stock market could be sent to consumers. "There are over 60 million users. The mobile phone has become a tool in everyone's hand. There is very easy access," el-Gweini said. "People can misuse the tools in the hands of the 60 million and send the wrong messages for one reason or another." He added that content providers - whether news services or political parties - will also need to get approval from the concerned authorities. Some 15 companies each need to pay $88,000 by next week for registration licenses and an equivalent amount as a letter of guarantee. "We are not making life difficult. We are making life organized, that is all," el-Gweini said.

Text messages were an effective campaign tool for the outlawed Islamist Muslim Brotherhood in 2005, which stunned the regime by winning 20 percent of the parliament seats in the last elections. El-Gweini said only registered political parties can register to use mass text messages in the upcoming elections and the ruling party has already been granted a permit, he said. "We have already told the aggregators, or the mobile operators, that for the licensed parties, just go ahead and implement. You don't have to come to us," he said. Though Brotherhood members are allowed to run as independents, they are not considered a licensed political party.

In Egypt's tightly controlled political environment, a government-run committee approves who can form parties and some of the country's most vibrant opposition trends are not licensed. Activists say targeting the text messaging market constitutes veiled censorship and is just the latest measure to curb independent voices ahead of the heated elections set for the end of November. Parliamentary elections are taking place this year against a tense backdrop of increasingly disgruntled people, rising food prices and new reform groups who say their demands are ignored by the government. Gamal Eid, a human rights activist, said groups such as his use the mass text messages to spread the word about rights violations. "The authorities will never give us a license to spread this kind of news," he said. Moustafa el-Naggar, a member of a new reform movement led by Nobel Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei, said his group was contemplating using mass text messages to mobilize its members. "They are trying to strip the opposition of all its tools. But we will find new ones," he said.


From http://www.ap.org/ 10/12/2010

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ASIA: To Change the Way the Internet Is Used - Report

A new report has found that the number of internet users in five emerging economies, including Indonesia, China and India, will nearly double by 2015. Researchers from the Boston Consulting Group also say the way people access and use the internet in those countries is quite different to that of the developed world. Instant messaging and social networking sites are extremely popular and people are more likely to use their mobile phone to go online than buy a PC. But there is still a vast divide between the digital haves and have-nots, and it's one that the Indonesian government is trying to rectify. (Presenter: Joanna McCarthy; Speaker: Vaishali Rastogi, partner, Boston Consulting Group, Singapore)


From http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/ 09/03/2010

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EUROPE: Europeans Propose Global Internet Treaty

The Internet Governance Forum in Lithuania is set to consider 12 principles of Internet governance that would, among other things, uphold the existing support of net neutrality. Under the proposal, countries would agree to work across borders to secure the Internet's infrastructure and to keep it safe from cyber attacks. It would also uphold freedom of expression and association and require that all Internet traffic receive equal treatment, a cornerstone of net neutrality. Currently, some countries do not allow free expression online, or free access to opinions not favored by particular governments. "The fundamental functions and the core principles of the Internet must be preserved in all layers of the Internet architecture with a view to guaranteeing the interoperability of networks in terms of infrastructures, services and contents," the proposal states. "The end-to-end principle should be protected globally." A group called the Council of Europe, made up of 47 member countries, presented the proposal as a way to advance democracy and human rights, it said. It's also viewed as an attempt to blunt various government attempts to increase control over the Web. In the U.S. the Obama Administration has supported the concept of net neutrality. Late last year the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted unanimously today to begin the process of crafting formal net neutrality rules. "Any rules we adopt must preserve our freedom to connect, to communicate, and to create that is the wonder of the open Internet," FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said at the time. "Each and every user of the Internet must have access to an unlimited online universe of ideas and commerce."


From http://consumeraffairs.com/ 09/21/2010

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Croatia: Government Adopts Criteria for Lowering Number of Civil Servants

The Croatian government has accepted a new criteria that will help to lower the number of state employees. At the end of April this year, there were 52,656 civil servants employed in the state administration. The largest number, some 45,000, has been working for the Ministries. Minister of Public Administration Davorin Mlakar said that some 5,890 civil servants in public administration are currently working in managerial positions. That was often the way to ensure that qualified people remained in state administration instead of going to the public sector. The new criteria should help lower the number of employees. One of the main measures is the "2 for 1" clause, which specifies that an institution can hire only one person for every two employees who are leaving the administration. From April until the end of August, the number of those working in the public administration has been lowered by 387. Some 736 more officials are also scheduled to retire this year, the portal Monitor writes.


From http://croatiantimes.com/ 10/22/2010

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Finland, Lithuania and Slovak Republic Join the STORK EU Cross-Border Electronic Identity Project

Story tools: Print this articleEmail to a friendYour feedbackSTORK, a project co-funded by the EU ICT Policy Support Programme under the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP)which aims to implement EU-wide interoperability of electronic identities (eIDs), today announces that the Member States of Finland, Lithuania and Slovak Republic will participate in a series of pilots ending in May 2011.

Finland and Lithuania will participate in the Cross-border Authentication Platform for Electronic Services pilot, to demonstrate that cross-border electronic services can operate in a number of Member States. Finland will also participate in the Change of Address pilot, which aims to assist EU citizens who move and settle in other EU countries, and the Electronic Delivery pilot, which will develop cross-border mechanisms for secure online delivery of documents, based on existing domestic infrastructures.

STORK Co-Chair, Prof. Antonio Lioy from the Politecnico di Torino in Italy, comments, "The value of a cross-border eID platform grows exponentially with the number of participating Member States, along with the number of citizens that could potentially benefit from it. The enlargement of the STORK project will also deliver benefits to the legal aspect of interoperable eID; since the EU does not share a common legal system, it will facilitate a better understanding of potential legal challenges as well as diverse technical issues." Counsellor at the Ministry of Finance in Finland, Riku Jylhänkangas, remarks, "Finland has recently joined the STORK project to pilot the electronic cross-border identification in Europe, with Finland's national eID solution based on the citizens' smart cards and e-bank solutions. Finland sees that European wide trusted cross-border identification of citizens, as well as companies, is one of the key success factors in the development of the truly digital European economy that EU's new Digital Agenda aims at." STORK encourages the uptake of results by all 27 EU Member States and Prof. Lioy explains the benefits of participation, "Citizens are increasingly moving across Europe for many reasons, such as studying and job seeking, so the availability of cross-border electronic services will become increasingly more important. We expect to see a chain effect, in that once a successful service has been deployed in a country, the visiting citizens will create a demand for the service in their native country."


From STORK 11/08/2010

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Italy, China Launch Strategic "Innovation Alliance"

Italy and China launched on Monday a strategic "innovation alliance" aimed at boosting technological exchange and joint research in crucial sectors including health, energy and "e-government." The Italy-China Innovation Forum, which stood as the first major event for the one-year celebrations of the Chinese Culture Year in Italy marking the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries, was a great opportunity to foster contacts between Chinese and Italian entrepreneurs and pave way for a strengthened bilateral cooperation. The key message of the forum was the need both China and Italy shared to cooperate in innovation and technology, stretching from health to "e-government," renewable energy and energy efficiency, high-quality design and information and communication technology ( ICT). Organizers of the meeting were Italian Innovation Minister Renato Brunetta, Chinese Minister for Science and Technology Wan Gang and Italy's major industrial association, Confindustria. In front of 250 Italian industrials and 100 Chinese businessmen and institution representatives, Minister Brunetta proposed to launch an "innovation alliance" from which both countries could benefit. "Innovation curbs bureaucracy, allows direct access to services on internet and simplifies administrative procedures," he said, suggesting its revolutionary power in increasing a country's global competitiveness and well-being. At the forum Brunetta announced the launch of an important agreement between Italy's Innovation Agency and Beijing's Science and Technology Commission aimed at creating an Italy-China center for technological transfer which will focus on stimulating contacts between scientific parks, technological districts and small enterprises of both countries. The minister recalled the 250 Italian innovation projects showcased at the Shanghai Expo, stressing the importance for Italy 's small and medium enterprises to "exchange knowledge and technology" with Chinese counterparts. Confindustria's deputy president Diana Bracco said Italy was looking forward to further boosting cooperation and trade with China especially in the fields of innovation and research. "We can be privileged partners in such strategic areas because we all know that only those countries able to master technology will secure for themselves a long-standing economic growth and a sustainable and wide-spread well-being," she said.

Bracco observed that innovation was radically transforming industry thanks to the rise of nanotechnologies, new materials, biotechnology and electronics, and that most enterprises had understood innovation's strategic role in promoting development on a global scale. "In the next 5 to 10 years all productive areas will face an upheaval: technology will allow integration between different sectors and increase competition," she said. According to the European Commission's vice president Antonio Tajani, responsible for industry and entrepreneurship, what China mainly demands of Italy is cooperation in design and quality. "If Minister Wan Gang stresses the important issues of design and quality, it means that the Chinese market especially requires this kind of Italian innovation and we must therefore increase investments in these sectors," he added. But there are many other potential areas on which to focus the Italy-China innovation cooperation. Four parallel thematic panels were held to discuss possible partnerships in digital health systems, ICT, "e-government" and alternative energy sources. Ennio Lucarelli of Confindustria said the enormous business opportunities Italian firms had in China with regard to e-health and "e-government" projects, where Italy was a global leader. The Italy-China Innovation Forum was the first event listed in the protocol signed during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Rome in October to boost bilateral ties. Other than the Italy-China center for technological transfer presented by Brunetta, the protocol also envisaged the creation of the Italy-China center for high-quality design, which aims to support cultural exchange on intellectual property rights for the global benefit and competition of both countries, and the Italy- China center for "e-government" on joint research projects for digitalizing public administration. The head of the Italy-China Foundation Cesare Romiti, responsible for creating business contacts between Chinese and Italian firms, also took part in the forum.


From http://english.cri.cn/ 11/09/2010

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UK: Government Lays Out Detailed ICT Agenda

The government has published its detailed business plans for the next four years, claiming a first in terms of transparency and detail, with Prime Minister David Cameron noting, "We will be the first government in a generation to leave office with much less power in Whitehall than we started with. We are going to take power from government and hand it to people, families and communities - and how we will do that is set out right here." The plans include data such as financial information, Structural Reform Plans and departmental priorities and are claimed by the Coalition to mark "the start of a major change in the way government works and will bring about a power shift in favour of increased Government accountability directly to the public". Searchable databases of 17 Departments have been put on line, and PublicTechnology.Net has been having a look at the ICT angle. There are some Departments where no specific ICT commitments are mentioned - for example, Education, International Development, Energy and Climate Change, Foreign and Commonwealth, Transport and Defence. But some are clearly ICT-enabled, or impact on ICT practice, like the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' pledge to "support a strong and sustainable green economy" allied to a "zero waste" culture in the public sector. Nonetheless, across all parts of government one of the first thing that stands out is a commitment to work differently, to use more open data and to look to new ways of procuring and sourcing. Allied to clear commitments to structural change and reform and even investment, it's clear Britain's central government will need, if not as much ICT as in the past, certainly at least as much - but possibly in different forms. Specifics of each Department where ICT is a big factor in promised improvements and plans can be found below.

Cabinet Office Integrate ICT infrastructure across central government, and improve value for money in ICT. This is to be done by increasing the Chief Information Officer's power to integrate ICT across government, said to be completed as a process, as is the drafting of a new ICT infrastructure strategy "including government Cloud computing strategy". However, the Office notes it is overdue on regular publication of performance details of all ICT projects above £1 million, while work to create a first version of a cross-departmental asset register won't start (or be due to complete) until next May. It also says it needs to create a new ICT procurement process, which would include structures like making sure "no new ICT contract is signed without ERG (Efficiency Reform Group) approval" and identify cross-department pipeline of upcoming or ongoing tenders and negotiations through the moratorium and project review. Meanwhile, next March will see the publication of plans "outlining a new approach to ICT procurement enabling greater use of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), a much shorter time-scale and lower costs to all parties". In addition, ICT projects marked for death need to be decommissioned. The Office says it has already identified the first tranche of projects and programmes to terminate through the major project review and the review of internal ICT projects but has not yet completed (due in January, we now hear) which of that first tranche of projects and programmes should be terminated or re-scoped and decommissioning begun. Finally, it says work needs to continue to improve the rules around designing and running ICT projects and services - but that the publication of guidance that states ICT projects should not exceed £100 million in total value and the aspiration to reduce the scale of large ICT projects is overdue. By end of the year, we are promised, we can look to see existing procurement rules changed to ensure a level playing field for open source software and options will be opened for "strengthening current practice." including (by January) draft government open standards (including those relating to security) will be crowdsourced for feedback. In parallel, we are told, there's been an IT skunk works project begun to assess and develop faster and cheaper ways of using ICT in government.

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills BIS' specific ICT commitment is to work with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to stimulate private sector investment to deliver the best super-fast broadband network in Europe by 2015.

Department for Communities and Local Government As part of a commitment to remove reporting burdens on local government from central departments, this Ministry will "develop a single, reduced, list of the data requirements placed on local government by central departments, working with other departments and local government".

Department for Culture, Media and Sport The main ICT imperative for DCMS is of course Broadband Britain. To do this, we are told it is working to "stimulate private sector investment to deliver the best super-fast broadband network in Europe by 2015," as well as creating "a level playing field between incumbents and new providers," and examining "barriers to new providers seeking to invest in fibre optic networks," all noted as "completed". Next month, it will hold an industry round table to discuss ways to increase certainty and confidence for potential investors, while work will also continue to "open up access to infrastructure to facilitate super-fast broadband in many areas". This is to be accomplished by conducting a public consultation (with participation from industry regulators) on access to ducts, sewers and poles that can be used to carry fibre optic cable, working with Ofcom to "require BT and other infrastructure providers to allow the use of their assets to deliver super-fast broadband," and "regularly review and introduce, if necessary, legislative powers to open relevant utility infrastructure to broadband providers". The Department is also committed to facilitate the introduction of super-fast broadband in remote areas at the same time as in more populated areas. It's going to do this by (April 2011) start market testing community-led pilots in the Highlands and Islands, North Yorkshire, Cumbria and Herefordshire, "if required, instruct Broadband Delivery UK to allocate funding to areas where the market has not delivered, after digital switchover has finished in 2012" (September next year) and publish (November 2011) a joint policy paper with BIS, setting out the lessons learned from community-led pilots and the Government's approach to investment in broadband until 2015 and (same month).

Department for Work and Pensions DWP will clearly have some major ICT investment on hand if it is to do things like introduce the new Universal Credit, as part of which the favoured real time tax system will happen ("Work jointly with HM Revenue & Customs to develop a Real Time Information capability"), by April 2014 it seems, while other benefit changes, like amending the child maintenance system will also presumably need a lot of new technology to deliver.

Department of Health For DoH, along the lines signposted in the Liberation Agenda, there's a clear commitment to open up data, e.g. "Give people far more information and data on all aspects of healthcare, correcting the imbalance in who knows what and enabling them to make informed choices about their care" and "begin to implement greater patient control of records, starting with records held by a patient's GP". The abolition of PCTs and other organisational changes will also need investment, of course.

HMRC For Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, the onus going forward is on maximising revenue flows into the Exchequer through things like a £900 million investment to bring in at least £7 billion in additional tax revenues per annum by 2014/15, through a range of measures like tackling avoidance and evasion through targeted campaigns and interventions, trying to prevent tax avoidance "before it happens," moves to combat organised criminals and fraud; and improve its debt collection capability.

HM Treasury Treasury is busy working to identify the promised £6 billion in-year cuts the Coalition said were needed, plus is being focused on co-ordinating the 2010 Spending Review's recommendations over the next five years plus introducing measures to improve fairness in public sector pay, including a new stipulation that "anyone paid more than the Prime Minister in the centrally funded public sector to have their salary signed off by the Treasury".

Home Office This Department has set itself the goal of creating a more "integrated" UK criminal justice system, and to "develop and publish plans to spread best practice and information on which techniques are most effective for use by communities, police, their partners and sentencers at preventing and cutting crime, working with the Ministry of Justice". Meanwhile, as part of drives to protect freedom and civil liberties, it will move to "end the storage of Internet and email records without good reason," which will be achieved by new proposals for the storage and acquisition of internet and email records which we can expect to see by end of year. There is also work to be done on curbing use of CCTV and amending English DNA database practice so as to "adopting the protections of the Scottish model for the DNA database and publishing guidance on the application of rights to remove DNA from the database".

Ministry of Justice Major reform that will involve a lot of ICT to help are signalled for Justice, such as restructuring the National Offender Management Service, reform and rationalisation of its arms-length bodies and other service delivery improvement programmes. And in line with so many of the Plans, here again we hear the importance of transparency and the need to open up data, as we read that Justice is getting ready to "publish sentencing data for different types of offence for every court in an open and standardised format to make it more accessible to victims of crime and the wider public," among other measures.


From http://www.publictechnology.net/ 11/09/2010

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UK: Government to Empower 1 Million People to Decide Their Own Personal Care Through Individualised State Funded Budgets

In last month's spending review, long term care assistance for the elderly and the disabled escaped the Chancellor's cuts and the Government has announced an additional £2 Billion for social care over the next four years. While the funding would be coming from the central government, the budget would be administered through local authorities.

In line with the Prime Minister David Cameron's vision of a " big society" - the new plans focuses on community based support services for preventative care as well as self reliance. The Government seeks to break down the barriers between health and social care funding and envisions a care system which incorporates collaborative working between individuals, their local communities, local councils, the NHS as well as the voluntary sector. Personal budgets were introduced in 1996, during John Major's premiership, however only 13% of those eligible currently have one. The Care Services Minister emphasised that local authorities will provide personal care budgets to all those who are eligible within the next 3 years. Ministers claim personal budgets Would provide "choice, control and independence" to citizens while "improving outcomes". Mr. Burstow said: "Social care is a vital service for many older, disabled and vulnerable people. Often people find the social care system confusing, inflexible and not suited to their needs - that's not good enough. I want to see the vision brought into practice at a local level. Councils can offer more choice, control and flexibility over care, which is what people tell me they want." The Minister also announced that the government has accepted requests from local authorities to remove ring fencing from social care budgets, although some are worried whether that would impact upon the new money feeding through social care services considering the massive spending cuts the councils have to endure. The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services welcomed the government's vision. Richard Jones, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, believes that local authorities could "'absolutely get going with this'. 'Personalisation is not about how much money is in the system, it's about how we operate and the approach we take when we work with citizens,' he added.

The Local Government Association, too has welcomed the proposals outlined by the government, however it is concerned about local councils being able to meet the government's target by 2013. Further, considering the demand is set to increase, councillors are worried whether there is adequate funding to make the vision a reality. The National Autistic Society (NAS) supports the principles behind personal budgets, which offer people with autism and other disabilities choice and control over the support they receive. However, we are concerned that without the right measures in place, people may be allocated inadequate budgets or receive inappropriate support. Mark Lever, chief executive, NAS, says: "The way that a personal budget is allocated is fundamental to its success and we therefore urge local councils to ensure that the assessment takes into account those with complex conditions like autism. "Due to the nature of autism, and individual's difficulties with social interaction and communication, assessors must have an understanding of the condition in order to ascertain people's needs and calculate the support budget they require. An accurate personal budget can give people with autism far more independence and choice over their care. Being given control of an inadequate budget however, will not help anyone gain self-sufficiency. "It is also essential that individuals are given the necessary support to manage their budgets by people who understand them and their autism. If the right support is not available in the local area or the individual does not know how to access it, then the system only sets people up to fail." 'We welcome the Government's commitment to reforming the social care system in England especially their plans to break down barriers between health and social care in order to provide better care and support,"Mike Hobday, Head of Policy at Macmillan Cancer Support said. 'For as long as local health and social care decision makers mistakenly consider cancer as solely an acute, and not a long-term condition, cancer patients and their carers will continue to be abandoned to cope alone with the financial, practical and emotional problems caused by their diagnosis or treatment." 'Cancer must be included in the debate about the future of social care and Macmillan is determined that the needs of cancer patients and carers will be addressed in the Government's White Paper next year.'


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 11/17/2010

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LATIN AMERICA: Brazil Starts New Universal Service Plan

Brazil's telecommunications regulator Anatel unveiled a new plan for achieving the country's universal service targets. The PGMU III as the plan is known will cost BRL 2.1 billion, which will be invested in infrastructure and maintenance from 2011 to 2015. The reviewed goals for universal telephony cover rural and poorer areas, with plans for the installation of public telephone booths in all rural schools and rural health posts in Brazil. Also planned is the creation of the Telephone Exchange service, at an average cost of BRL 25 for families enrolled in the Bolsa Familia programme. The plan is open to public consultation until 22 September.


From http://www.telecompaper.com/ 09/07/2010

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NORTH AMERICA: US - White House Creates New Policy for Controlled Unclassified Information

President Barack Obama has created a new framework for controlled unclassified information under an executive order. The framework is intended to help information sharing and disclosure by adopting common standards for protected information. The framework, issued Nov. 4, replaces a number of other markings agencies have used to categorize information, including sensitive but unclassified and for official use only. Those types of markings have increased in number and complexity in recent years, especially since the 2001 terrorist attacks. "This inefficient, confusing patchwork has resulted in inconsistent marking and safeguarding of documents, led to unclear or unnecessarily restrictive dissemination policies, and created impediments to authorized information sharing," the order states. "To address these problems, this order establishes a program for managing this information, hereinafter described as Controlled Unclassified Information, that emphasizes the openness and uniformity of governmentwide practice."

The order was preceded by a memorandum from President George W. Bush in December 2005 asking agency leaders to standardize procedures for sensitive but unclassified information. Several transparency advocacy groups praised Obama's order, saying it would enhance openness. "Significantly, the executive order on [controlled unclassified information] does not create any new authority to withhold information from disclosure," wrote Steven Aftergood on the "Secrecy News" blog. The order limits the use of the marking to information that is already protected by statute, regulation or governmentwide policy. Also, agencies must get the approval of an executive agent before using the new marking on any particular category of information. All approved categories are to be made public on an official registry, Aftergood said. In a statement released Nov. 4, OMB Watch officials said the order is a "simple but strong path forward in the effort to rein in the chaotic alphabet soup of unclassified information categories." The new policy will help reduce the confusion and loss of transparency that have resulted from multiple markings for sensitive information, they added. "

In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the number of different Sensitive But Unclassified labels grew, with fewer people understanding exactly what restrictions applied to each label," according to the statement. "The confusion surrounding Sensitive But Unclassified labels ultimately resulted in officials shutting down almost all public access to the information and limiting use even for those who needed it." Although Bush's memo was intended to clarify the situation, it left several gaps, including uncertainty about the definition of controlled unclassified information and uncertainty about public disclosure, OMB Watch officials added. "This order creates a fair and public process that acknowledges the need for some information control categories while also making clear the need to limit them," said Gary Bass, executive director of OMB Watch. "As always, implementation will determine if this policy succeeds or fails."


From http://fcw.com/ 11/05/2010

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CHINA: Mofcom to Regulate Internet Sales of Foreign Enterprises

China's Ministry of Commerce has issued a notice to regulate the sales activities of foreign-invested enterprises that are engaged in either Internet sales or vending machine sales. According to the notice, foreign enterprises who want to operate Internet sales business should submit applications to the respective provincial commerce departments and the departments will examine and approve companies' licenses in accordance to the "Measures for the Administration on Foreign Investment in Commercial Fields" and related laws. Foreign-invested enterprises who provide Internet services to other trading parties via their Internet platforms should apply for the licenses for the operating of telecommunication value-added business issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China; and foreign-invested enterprises who are directly engaged in the sales of commodities via their Internet platforms should register at the telecom management departments. The notice emphasized that when operating Internet sales and related services, foreign-invested enterprises should display their business licenses on the main pages of their websites or on the pages for the sales activities. If these enterprises are sellers of oil, crude oil, books, magazines, and medicines, they should also provide information and clear photos of the certificates for the operating of these businesses. The notice also said that foreign-invested enterprises who are established as vending machine operators or who want to expand into the vending machine business should submit applications to the respective provincial commerce departments for approval.


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

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China Says Citizens' Freedom of Speech on Internet Protected by Law

China says on Sunday its citizens' right to freedom of speech on the Internet is protected by law and netizens can voice their opinions "in a wide variety of ways on the Internet." "The Internet has become a new channel for the Chinese government to get to know the public opinion and amass the people's wisdom, and consequently exercise governance for the people and improve its work in this respect," according to a white paper released by the Information Office of the State Council, or China's Cabinet. "It has become a common practice for governments at all levels to consult the public via the Internet before formulating policies of particular importance," says the white paper, titled "Progress in China's Human Rights in 2009." Chinese government makes it convenient for the people to petition, report problems and offer suggestions through channels including special telephone lines and online agencies, it adds. Meanwhile, the Chinese government attaches great importance to the Internet's role in supervision. Governments at all levels are required to investigate and resolve in a timely manner all problems reported to the government by the public via the Internet, and to inform the public of the actions they have taken and the results of their actions, it notes.


From English.news.cn 09/26/2010

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China Launches Own Online Map Service

China has launched its official online mapping service, Map World, as Google Inc has yet to apply for a Web mapping license in the country. The State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping (SBSM) officially unveiled the free online map service on Thursday. The service will provide "comprehensive geological data", said Xu Deming, director of the SBSM, at the launch ceremony. Map World, the government-backed service, will "allow users to fly over mountains and plains around the world and search restaurants and traffic information across the country, free of charge", he said. Users can enter Map World directly through www.tianditu.cn or www.chinaonmap.cn and search for two and three-dimensional images across the world, without client installations like Google Earth. The service features images of satellite remote sensing with a resolution of 500 meters but this is enhanced to 2.5 meters for the Chinese map and 0.6 meters for maps of more than 300 Chinese cities. "It took about two years to prepare the service with all the satellite images taken from 2006 to 2010," Jiang Jie, director of the database department of the National Geomatics Center under the SBSM, told China Daily on Thursday. But the technology and website construction are still at a preliminary stage. Service providers have more than 80 virtual machines to support the operation with the ability to handle 10 million requests daily, while Google Earth has thousands of virtual machines, Jiang said. "Our map service is expected to update the geological data about twice a year, but Google Earth can update its information every couple of minutes, through satellites," Jiang said. "In the near future, Map World will grow to be a famous Chinese brand for online map services with proven reliability," Xu Deming said. Regulations on updating data are still under discussion, Min Yiren, deputy director of the SBSM, said. "All the mapping information has been permitted by the SBSM and related national security departments," Min said. Restrictions on Internet mapping have been implemented in China to avoid disclosure of State secrets and block uncertified maps. The SBSM introduced a regulation in May that required companies providing online map and location services in China to apply for approval. To date, around 70 to 80 companies have applied and 31, including Nokia, Baidu, Alibaba, Sina and Tencent, have been granted licenses, Song Chaozhi, deputy director of the SBSM, told China Daily earlier. But Google China has not officially submitted an application, he said. Qualified online map service providers are required to keep servers that store map data inside the Chinese mainland and must have no record of information leakage in any form over the past three years. The launch of Map World will "decrease the development and research cost" for providing commercial geological information "and regulate the Internet mapping market", Min said. Map World users gave positive feedback after trying the service on Thursday. One user in Beijing, surnamed Cui, told China Daily on Thursday that Map World can even locate the 7-Eleven, and Weiduomei, a well-known bakery, near her place of work.


From China Daily 10/22/2010

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Shanghai to Invest in Cloud Computing

Shanghai plans to invest 200 million yuan (US$29.85 million) within five years on cloud computing, including opening a new industrial base yesterday, to develop the new Internet-based sharing technology and applications. The local government's investment in cloud computing, part of a national strategy, has attracted industry giants, including Microsoft Inc, Intel Corp, Baidu.com Inc and EMC Corp, to set up related facilities in Shanghai. The new industrial base in Yangpu District will attract 300 firms. Output of the local cloud computing sector will hit US$15 billion by the end of the 12th Five-Year Plan period in 2015. Cloud computing is Internet-based computing, where shared resources, software and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand, like an electricity grid. Google Inc and Apple Inc provide cloud computing applications, which represent the industry trend and bring considerable income to the companies. "There is great market potential for cloud computing because it greatly simplifies IT. It's a revolution in the industry," said Tian Suning, founder chairman of China Broadband Capital. Besides the 200 million yuan capital provided by Yangpu, investment firm CBC also created a fund of 100 million yuan to support the local cloud computing market. The cloud computing technology is expected to boost the city's information service sector, whose revenue jumped 19.2 percent year on year to 187.9 billion yuan in the first nine months of this year. Several firms, including China's largest search engine provider Baidu, storage giant EMC and Internet security firm Kaspersky, will set up facilities in the new base. Microsoft also said recently it would set up a cloud computing center in Shanghai.


From Shanghai Daily 10/27/2010

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China Issues E-Commerce Accreditation Rules

The new Regulations on E-Commerce Certification, announced in Beijing today, stipulate that certification will be the responsibility of the China International Electronic Commerce Center (CIECC) under the guidance of the Ministry of Commerce. Under the new regulations, e-commerce credit rankings will fall into the levels of Excellent, Good, Acceptable, Poor, and Damaged. The assessment of credit rankings will take into account four factors: 1) Website scale, including visitor counts, user numbers, and length of operational experience; 2) Actual operations status, including company assets and number of employees; 3) Business maturity, including online customer service capacity, product categories, management ability, and company measures to protect the interests of consumers; 4) Credit history, including any fines or punishments levied against the company by governmental departments or complaints lodged by customers. A spokesperson said that the cost for website certification will be RMB 6,000 per year, or RMB 450 per year for online store certification. The China International Electronic Commerce Center will undertake biannual reviews of certified websites. If a site's credit rating should be downgraded to "Damaged" during the course of these reviews, the site's certification will be revoked and the site will be added to a blacklist and named on the MoC's anti-fraud website (www.12312.gov.cn).

There are 29 websites in the first group of sites to receive certification, with a number of group buying sites including Liaoning-based 19Tuan.com, Beijing-based 24Quan.com, 321Tuan.com, t.58.com, Ftuan.com, Letyo.com, Shenzhen-based internet company Tencent's (0700.HK) QQ Tuan, Beijing-based Tuan.Yoka.com, DiDaTuan.com, Beijing-based dining LBS Dianping's t.dianping.com, Beijing-based Lashou.com, Manzuo.com, Beijing-based MeiTuan.com, furniture group buying site Qeeka.com, Shandong-based SLSTuan.com, Internet company Sohu's (Nasdaq: SOHU) tuan.sohu.com, Shijiazhuang-based Tuanlehui.com, Guangzhou-based Tuanmeihui.com, SaaS company UFIDA's (600588.SH) group buying platform K.cn, Beijing-based 55Tuan.com, Guangzhou-based WNNet.net, Shanghai-based Xituan.com, Beijing-based XianzaiTuan.com, Beijing-based ShuangTuan.com, 99114.com, and women's group buying site AiAiTuan.com. Other sites included Chinese testing information site BKW.cn, VOD site VODone.com, and dining reservation site Fantong.com. Two of the companies certified had assets of more than RMB 100 mln; nine more had assets of more than RMB 10 mln. 17 companies had initial credit ratings of "Outstanding" or "Good."


From http://www.marbridgeconsulting.com/ 10/29/2010

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Govt Bodies Ordered to Use Genuine Software

The General Office of China's State Council, the Cabinet, issued a document Thursday directing government bodies at all levels across the country to use genuine software and lead the battle to protect intellectual property rights (IPR). The document said government staff members should also strengthen their IPR protection awareness and buy authentic software. A major campaign would be launched nationwide to check office software being used at both the central and local governments, the document said, but didn't say when the campaign would begin. Those who use pirated software were told to switch for authentic versions, the document said. All inspections and software changes at central government bodies were expected to finish by the end of May next year, while those at local governments were expected to be finished in a year's time, the document added. The results will be reported by the General Administration of Press and Publication to the State Council.


From Xinhua News Agency 10/29/2010

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China's Internet Market Will Always Be Open

Vice director of the Information Office of China's State Council Qian Xiaoqian said Monday that China's Internet market would always be open to foreign enterprises. "The door of China's Internet market remains open, and we welcome Internet enterprises worldwide to develop their businesses in China," said Qian while addressing the opening ceremony of the fourth U.S.-China Internet Industry Forum. Qian said that on the one hand, foreign-funded Internet companies contributed to the prosperity of China's Internet industry by introducing advanced technologies and management skills; on the other hand, the open market of China's Internet industry benefited foreign enterprises and helped them sustain numerous economies during the global financial crisis. Also, the Chinese government will continue to improve its policies, regulations and laws and follow related WTO rules to provide a "stable, transparent and predictable" investment environment for foreign enterprises, Qian said. "As long as foreign Internet companies comply with Chinese laws and respect Chinese traditions, they will have a bright prospect in China," Qian added. He noted that China sincerely welcomed American enterprises to participate in China's reform and opening up, and to share in the opportunities coming from the Internet industry's development in China.

"The United States masters nearly all the core Internet technologies, while China boasts the largest netizen community in the world. In this regard, the two countries share great potential for cooperation," said Wang Chen, director of the Information Office, at an evening banquet held to serve the forum's foreign participants. By June 2010, China had 440 million netizens, accounting for 33 percent of its total population, said Hu Qiheng, chairwoman of the Internet Society of China, at the forum. China and the United States have different situations and cultures, but that should not form barriers to the cooperation and bilateral exchanges in the Internet industry, Wang said, adding that he hoped the two countries could seek common ground while reserving differences. The two-day forum, co-hosted by Microsoft Corporation and the Internet Society of China, will focus on China-U.S. exchanges and cooperation in areas such as cloud computing, cyber crimes and online intellectual property rights protection. Over 180 officials, business people and scholars from China and the United States are expected to attend the forum, which was first launched in 2007 and had been previously held in Seattle, Shanghai and San Francisco. U.S. Under Secretary of State Robert Hormats said at the forum that the theme of the meeting - For a More Valuable and Reliable Internet - meant that there still is much more progress to be made and that "Opportunities are limitless". Also, the forum provided a valuable form of discourse by bringing together engineers, businessmen and policy makers in the same room and talking about the possibilities and challenges of Internet development, he said.


From Xinhua News Agency 11/09/2010

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New Rules on Sentencing for Cyber Attack Crimes

China will issue new judicial rules governing sentencing standards for cyber attack crimes by the end of this year, an official of the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) told Xinhua Wednesday. China has become a major victim of online crimes such as hacker attacks, with eight out of every ten computers in the country having suffered botnet attacks, said Gu Jian, vice director of the Internet security bureau of the MPS. Botnet is a network of computers that have had malicious software installed in them and are under the control of criminals, while the owners of the computers remain unaware of the computer hacking. China criminalized attacks on computer systems in 1997, and made specific provisions on hacker attacks, such as outlawing the illegal control of another computer, in its seventh amendment to the Criminal Law in 2009. In most botnet cases in China, the controllers were found to be located abroad, Gu said. Moreover, more than 80 percent of the cyber attacks targeting websites of China's government agencies came from overseas, Gu said. Gu called for more international cooperation in fighting transnational online crimes at the fourth U.S.-China Internet Industry Forum which concluded Tuesday in Beijing. At the forum, China and the U.S. agreed to strengthen international law enforcement in combating cyber crimes, improve international cooperation mechanisms in this regard, and enhance communication on fighting cyber crimes. In addition to cyber attacks, other kinds of major online crimes included online pornography, online gambling and online fraud, Gu added.


From China Daily 11/11/2010

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Chinese Researchers Playing Bigger Role in Setting Internet Standards

Chinese researchers and institutions have been making more contributions to the setting of Internet standards as standards-setting group Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) seeks more participation to improve the working of the Internet. Currently, 17 Request For Comments (RFC) Internet standard documents have been mainly written by Chinese researchers or institutions. In 2010 alone, they made key contributions to nine such documents, according to figures revealed Friday at an IETF meeting show. RFC documents, first implemented in 1969, are the official records for Internet specifications, protocols, procedures and events, with some being adopted as Internet standards. A RFC, once submitted, will be reviewed by the IETF groups, various experts and the RFC Editor group prior to approval. "We seek broad participation to maintain the global relevance of our activities... As the numbers of Chinese participants have grown, we felt that the time was right to hold our first meeting in China," IETF chairman Russ Housley said at the six-day meeting that concluded Sunday in Beijing. The meeting is the first of its kind to be held in China. The IETF, an organized activity of the nonprofit Internet Society, aims to set and maintain the basic technical standards for Internet protocols.


From English.news.cn 11/12/2010

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JAPAN: Gov't to Introduce Cloud Computing, Cut Info System Costs

The Japanese government will introduce cloud computing to its data network systems and aim at halving its information network-operating costs from the current 390 billion yen a year by 2020, Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Kazuhiro Haraguchi said Friday. Cloud computing, which allows software and stored data to be accessed remotely via the Internet, is said to be effective to cut computer operating costs. Haraguchi told a news conference that a shakeup in the government's data network system is necessary, noting that the government as a tax collector needs to be bold in renovating old-fashioned data systems. On Friday, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry convened a meeting of an experts panel for the first time to discuss concrete steps to revamp the government's network systems, officials said. Currently, government ministries and agencies operate a total of 2,059 data network systems, many of which are based on old-fashioned large mainframe computers built by makers' own specifications. As much as about 180 billion yen in costs are spent annually to operate those mainframe systems, which include immigration and pension data. The continued use of the mainframe systems prevents newcomers from entering the market and keeps system-operating costs from being reduced, they said.


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

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Japan Broadband Proposal Shows Fibre-optic's Best

A NEW proposal to build a broadband network in Japan shows that wireless technology is inferior to fibre, says the Federal Government. Japanese telecommunications company Softbank last week floated a plan to build a new fibre-optic broadband network in Japan, similar to the one being rolled out across Australia. The plan would require the assistance of the Japanese Government and two other telcos, KDDI and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT), and would cost about ¥500 billion ($6.2 billion). NTT is 40-per-cent owned by the Japanese Government. Softbank chief Masayoshi Son said the plan was for a fibre network because technical hurdles with wireless made cabling cheaper and more viable. Debate over the merits of wireless and fibre has been a recurring feature of arguments about the Federal Government's national broadband network. Under the Government's plan, fibre-optic cables are being laid out to 93 per cent of premises in the country. The Opposition says the network is too expensive and should be replaced in part by wireless. But the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy this week said the Japanese proposal vindicated the Government's decision. "The Softbank proposal advocates that fibre is the preferred technology for ultra high-speed broadband, even in Japan where mobile internet services are popular," a department spokesperson told news.com.au. "Fibre is a superior transmission medium. The cable is cheap, has negligible latency issues, and has incredible bandwidth capability. Unlike wireless, the information-carrying capacity of the fibre itself is almost unlimited."


From http://www.news.com.au/ 11/03/2010

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SOUTH KOREA: To Promote Smart TV Industry

South Korea - one of the world's most wired countries - plans to commercialize the so-called "smart television sets" over the next two years, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said Tuesday. The government said it was focused on research and development and related rules and regulations to help speed up the commercialization process. "Companies already have the technology for smart TV, but the industry requires an overall streamlining of related regulations and possibly more research and development in order to allow commercialization," said one ministry official. "In short, we need the right infrastructure in place." The government hopes to commercialize by 2012, or the latest, by 2013, he said. The global electronics market has been heating up as competitors raced to roll out smart TVs. Both Samsung and LG have introduced the new interactive television sets, along with top global players such as Google. Samsung officials have called the smart TVs, along with smartphones, part of a "smart revolution." Smart televisions refer to cross-functional devices that incorporate television and the Web, offering TV applications and other interactive Internet services such as online shopping, games and Internet phone calls. Viewers, therefore, may surf the Internet while they watch their smart TV, and also interact with the sets. Despite the introduction of the breakthrough technology, there has been a lack of infrastructure and personnel for managing the industry, critics said. Earlier this week, the ministry announced it will be launching the Smart TV Forum, which will be a joint effort between the government, corporations and academia for promoting the development of the newest television technology and its industry. The forum will be chaired by Yoon Bu-geun, president of Samsung Electronics. Major appliance manufacturers, broadcasters, telecom carriers and research institutes including Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, KBS, KT, SK Telecom and the Korea Electronics Technology Institute will also take part, the ministry said.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 09/07/2010

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From 'IT Korea' to 'Smart Korea'

The following was contributed by Minister of Knowledge Economy Choi Kyung-hwan celebrating the G20 ICT Innovation Forum. Ed. In this beautiful season of fall, Korea is receiving some very special guests. Luminaries from all over the world are here to attend the G20 ICT Innovation Forum, an international event timed to coincide with the prestigious G20 Seoul Summit. The timing of the G20 ICT Innovation Forum, and the remarkable lineup of high-profile participants, show that Korea's IT industry has attained a significant presence on the world stage. Now is an opportune time to establish and promote "Korea" as a global brand. Over the course of its history Korea has overcome many hardships, including the rule of imperialist Japan and the Korean War, and has emerged as a global leader. It is now one of the top 20 global economies and the first Asian country to host the G20 Summit. All this calls for a new vision for the future one that is in keeping with our higher status in the global community. For a full generation, the IT industry has driven the Korean economy and played a significant role in elevating Korea's status. In terms of the amount it contributes to the nation's GDP compared with other industries, IT is approximately 140,000 times stronger than it was four decades ago. In 2009, IT exports amounted to $120.9 billion, which is 24,000 times the corresponding figure for 1970. In particular, our three major IT products memory chips, display panels and mobile phones are No. 1 in the world.

We also boast excellent IT infrastructure and a high level of IT utilization. As of 2009 the number of telephones (landline or wireless) stood at 1.4 per capita, and one out of three people had access to high-speed Internet service. This outstanding ability to utilize IT is gaining Korea global recognition, as shown in our high rankings on various indices. We placed first on the United Nations' Global e-Government Readiness Index and the ICT National Competitiveness Index of the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, and third on the International Telecommunication Union's ICT Development Index. Our national catch phrase, "IT Korea," is truly fitting. Yet it is time to adopt a new one Smart Korea. "Smart Korea" more accurately conveys our intention to improve all aspects of people's lives by applying IT to new areas. Over the past decade, Korea has dedicated itself to the wide distribution of high-speed Internet service. As a result, we achieved the highest xDSL penetration rate and established the world's best infrastructure for high-speed Internet. Our Internet infrastructure policy became a benchmark for the United States, an Internet leader, as well as for Europe and Japan. We also excelled in the mobile communications industry, rolling out revolutionary technologies and products. We were the first in the world to commercialize CDMA and WiBro, and we occupy second place in the global mobile phone market. Those 10 years of hard work in R&D, and those market-leading technologies, are invaluable assets that will enable Korea to meet new challenges in the IT sector.

Now we are all set to tackle our new task of building a Smart Korea. As the world moves closer to a "smart life," businesses face a new reality. They must embrace openness and cooperation if they are to market products that offer efficient and pleasant communications functions, in addition to their original functions. The ability to adapt to this new reality will determine their survival in the market. For its part, the government must establish a smart infrastructure and foster the necessary industries to make the smart life a reality. The mobile industry is playing an integral role in this transition, as we can see from the popularity of smartphones. This is a sector where Korea is expanding its presence to include a wide range of areas such as communications equipment, handsets and application services. It is no exaggeration to say the mobile sector is spearheading the creation of a Smart Korea. Korea's IT industry is among the world's best, and many global companies have great confidence in our technology. The G20 ICT Innovation Forum is a case in point. This event will give participants a glimpse of the new era of smart technology, as well as a chance for global companies to network with domestic companies. Together, they will shape the future of mobile communications. To establish a Smart Korea by 2020, Korea must re-envision its IT policies for the coming decade. In a word, we intend to reach our goal through the dynamic use of IT and the creative convergence of technologies. First, we will encourage a more dynamic IT industry.

We will establish Korea firmly as a global leader in our key IT sectorssemiconductors, display panels and mobile phones. We will also foster promising new sectors such as LEDs, 3D technology, cloud computing and robots, and nurture our software industry. Second, we will utilize IT to inject vitality into all Korea's industries. We will encourage existing sectors to evolve into knowledge-based industries through IT convergence. We will usher in a "green economy" by infusing all industries with information technology to enable greater energy savings and reduce carbon emissions. Furthermore, we will improve people's quality of life and promote a balance between work and personal life by using IT to create healthier workplaces and to enhance the quality of our social welfare services. Third, we will create a foundation for the pursuit of growth through creative means. To this end, we will foster a skilled work force and excellent technology, both of which are indispensable to a knowledge-based economy. We will also create a healthier relationship between Korea's large conglomerates and its small and midsize enterprises, and increase the global presence of our IT industry. With those plans in place, I have no doubt that a Smart Korea is on the horizon.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 11/09/2010

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KT Pledges to Transform IT Platforms by 2014

KT Corp., the country's biggest fixed-line operator, plans to completely transform its 163 different kinds of information and technology platforms by injecting 480 billion won ($423.39 million). Dubbed its Business and Information system Transformation (BIT) project, KT will make improvements to its platforms involving operation information and support, sales, facilities and services with a goal of finishing the project by 2014, said its executive Pyo Sam-soo. "The BIT project forces one to think that it may be best to fit my body into the advanced platform, rather than trying to get the platform adjusted to my body, which was how it was done in the past," he said. "This is deemed to be the beginning of a new era for local IT projects." KT will build the BIT platforms by March 2012 and make necessary expansions until June 2013. The platform advancements are expected to be done by 2014, according to KT officials. With the implementation of the new system, the company expects that it will save up to 360 billion won from 2012 to 2016 due to optimization of management of facility assets and operational management as well as productivity improvement, its officials said. The development period for new services is also projected to be shortened to a month, from three months. The move takes place after KT benchmarked various global fixed-line and wireless network operators such as British Telecom, Vodafone, Telefonica and KPN Telecom. The local network service provider decided to go ahead with the project because it takes more than three months to develop integrated and new services with the current information and technology system, said KT officials. It created a BIT task force in April, composed for local and foreign telecom experts, and its president Lee Suk-chae expressed great interest and support for the project at the BIT project executives' workshop held last month.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 11/16/2010

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LAOS: JICA Promotes IT Outsourcing

(KPL) The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has supported the Lao ICT Commerce Association to conduct a study into the potential of developing IT outsourcing in Laos. The Lao association held a meeting to discuss the issue with government bodies, private sector and the National University of Laos in Vientiane Capital last week. The aim of the meeting was to familiarise relevant bodies in Laos with IT outsourcing and the possibility of developing IT outsourcing in the Lao PDR. Outsourcing refers to a form of employment in which a company makes a contract with another company or individuals to work for it. Many large companies, mostly in the developed nations where labour cost is high, outsource jobs in the developing countries where labour cost is much lower. The meeting was attended by President of the Lao ICT Commerce Association, Mr. Thanongsin Kanlaya and experts from JICA.


From http://www.kplnet.net/ 09/23/2010

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THAILAND: Cisco Systems Drives National Broadband Project with 'Smart+Connected Communities' Strategy to Help Improve Living Standards

Cisco Systems (Thailand) is driving a 'Smart+Connected Communities' strategy in Thailand in order to provide more equal opportunities to people nationwide. In line with the 'Smart Thailand' concept of the government's ICT2010 roadmap and National Broadband project which the government has been focusing on heavily as part of efforts to improve the country's internet infrastructure, the Smart+Connected communities experience will give Thai people access to better services in terms of public health, education, public services and agriculture. Transforming communication as we know it, the internet today is playing a vital role in business and people's daily lives alike. A rapidly evolving media network is also paving the way for better communication and connections between people throughout society, as seen by the rising popularity of various social networking or video streaming services. Similarly the business sectors are increasingly adopting new technologies such as Cloud Computing and Video Collaboration to more effectively share information, manage resources and drive their business. Together these trends are indicative of the limitless possibilities that networking technology can bring for the development of core public services such as education, health and public services.

"With many years of extensive network infrastructure experience, Cisco believes that the future of network communities lies in public core services, which can be seamlessly integrated with the latest networking and information sharing tools and infrastructures," said Thuchapol Posayanon, Managing Director, Cisco Systems (Thailand). "However, a major hurdle to this is the fact that urban centers are typically overloaded with hundreds of different systems and protocols that are not interoperable. With this in mind, Cisco is encouraging cities to use open standards and multiprotocol routers that can solve this problem by translating across networks. Cisco's Smart+Connected Communities will help facilitate the efficient delivery and management of services within a community, including collaboration between the public and private sectors, including governors, city planners, developers and all other related parties." Cisco's Smart+Connected Communities covers complete solutions for all parties, whether private or public partners and including all community citizens. It answers the needs of communities by providing equality for people nationwide through the efficient usage of the latest broadband technology. The Cisco Service Delivery Platform is divided into two parts: (1) Community+Connect - transforming the way communities live, work and play by leveraging real-time information and applications and (2) Community+Exchange - a smart back-office operations center that helps facilitate the day-to-day operations and management of a 21st century community with total security and connection.

Example solutions of Cisco's Smart+Connected Community are as follows: Cisco's Smart+Connected Hospital: Delivering better healthcare - Communications and medical information management demands high quality network systems. The Cisco Medical Grade Network helps communities by simplifying communication between doctors and patients, providing access to reports and images while safeguarding their confidentiality. Citizens can also visit a doctor from home with collaboration technologies together with medical devices to offer an alternative healthcare model that delivers greater convenience and better access. Cisco's Smart+Connected Learning: Creating a connected way of learning and living - Students and professionals today must constantly keep their skills updated in line with the 21st century work environment. With this solution, education is totally transformed as students are exposed to a wider world of information and experiences through broadband networks. Furthermore, integrated video technology helps to ensure a totally different learning environment that can ready students for the evolving modern work environment.

Cisco Smart+Connected Government: Improve services to citizens - Offering a truly engaging government experience where citizens can access information anytime, while public safety and security remain at the core of community public services, supported with complete broadband, network and ICT services. "Smart+Connected Communities Solutions will help raise and equalize living standards, helping to reduce the imbalance of opportunities between Thai citizens through more sufficient public services. In order to achieve this goal, the community needs to have a suitable national policy in place, as well as sufficient bandwidth and broadband technology in order to make full use of the solutions. In addition to greater equality, these solutions will help build a sustainable society, economy and environment throughout the country," added Thuchapol. Adith Harinsut, Director of National Broadband project, Cisco Systems (Thailand) Limited said, "The successful adoption of these solutions requires investment in an efficient network and ICT system. The National Broadband project will help bring together a clear market structure without entailing duplicate investments. It will also help improve the efficiency of entrepreneurs, with roles for many network and ICT services, including fiber service providers, tower providers, operating service providers and retail companies. Meanwhile, State Enterprise and Telecommunication companies will be able to identify their roles under this new structure and the industry will be able to move forward with more transparency and market competition equality. In this way, driving better internet services as the country's fundamental infrastructure will ultimately bring with it a new era of benefits and equality for all citizens at affordable prices."

Cisco is currently collaborating and working closely with the National Broadband Committee to share its expertise in broadband networking. Cisco has provided support in terms of academic information and case studies from other countries that have successfully implemented similar projects. From Cisco's perspective and experience, a visionary telecommunications development plan supporting the National Broadband project is a top priority for strengthening the telecommunications industry. As a worldwide leader in networking, Cisco is open to collaboration supporting the National Broadband Project both in terms of academic and general approach. Furthermore, Cisco also provides TelePresence services that can be adopted within various public health, education and public services solutions, in order to offer unparalleled face-to-face interaction and collaboration. Cisco TelePresence enables people to meet and share information, as well as record high-quality video, cutting travel time and costs and working seamlessly to get the most out of the full power of broadband networks.


From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 10/13/2010

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Apicta Awards to Provide Regional Marketing

The Asia Pacific ICT Alliance (Apicta) Awards, which was held in Malaysia from Oct 13-16, has uplifted its activities to provide marketing channels in the region to boost the software trade. Meanwhile the Association of Thai ICT Industry (ATCI) urged the government to set aside 22 million baht for Thailand to host the regional competition in 2011 to reflect the countrys ICT capability. Thailand won top awards in two categories: Sensor Service Grid from Geomove in the Tools and Infrastructure category, and Neotrace from Neo Invention in the e-Logistic and Supply Chain category, according to Suthi Satanasathaporn, Secretary General of ATCI and chairman of the executive committee of Apicta. There were 162 works from 11 countries in 16 categories of competition this year. Thailand came fifth in the ranking of countries that received the highest honours, with two winners and four merit awards. Malaysia, Singapore, and Australia ranked first, second and third, respectively.

Over the past 10 years, Thailand has consistently ranked among the top five countries at the Apicta competition, which helped the country gain brand recognition in the IT field and helped Thai software companies who had a chance to compete at the regional level to open their windows of opportunity in the international market. The ATCI spends 10 million baht to select the candidates through the Thailand ICT Awards and those candidates who win awards can explore marketing opportunities and sell their products. Some companies have gained revenues of at least a billion baht each year.Next year Thailand will host the awards and the ATCI intends to use Phuket as the location to showcase the countrys CT capability. Moreover, the second decade of Apicta, which is like Apicta 2.0, plans to strengthen the companies which have participated in the competition to go to market together in the region. "This award contest has gained credentials in the region. So far an estimated 1,500 companies have been involved in the competition. Those award winning companies and the candidates will gain quality certified by both county and international judges which helps to increase confidence in the region," Suthi said. "Apicta will coordinate with Asocio Software Park Alliance to arrange the trade business visit in the region. "He also noticed that Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong dominate the top three spots in the competition. This is because their governments give research and development funds to potential companies.

From Thailands perspective, apart from research funding grants, the government can support the use of Thai software by subsidising some of the software costs when SMEs buy Thai software. For instance, if the cost of software is 100,000 baht, when a business makes a purchase, they can pay 50 percent and the rest will be subsidised by the government. The government can set a policy to allow those buying Thai software companies to use the investment costs of software for tax reduction as depreciation of expenses. Meanwhile, Supachai Tangwongsan, chairman of the board of directors at the Software Industry Promotion Agency (Sipa) which arranged a reward of 1.1 million baht to the winners from Apicta, said the agency will promote the Thai software industry to increase its share from 24,000 million baht to 34,000 million baht of the overall estimated market value of software and services in Thailand. The agency will focus more on policy, grants and promoting software including coordinating for promoting the industry rather than running or operating every project by itself. The board has no plans to reduce or downsize its 100-strong staff but will expand their scope to compensate for their reduction in work. "We will eliminate the projects that are not in line with Sipas mission. And we will quickly win projects to rebuild the trust of Sipa by cooperating with key stakeholders, especially associations and universities to promote and build human resources in the country as well as boost government procurements which spend 30,000 million baht each year to use more local software companies," Supachai said.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 10/27/2010

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Thailand's National Broadband Policy

Thai people will soon have greater high-speed access to the internet. The Government will invest 20 billion baht in developing a nationwide network for high-speed internet services over the next five years. The Cabinet, during its meeting on 9 November 2010, acknowledged the national broadband policy, proposed by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology. It also approved a proposal for the National Information and Communication Technology Committee to work in an integrated manner with various agencies in mapping out an action plan to translate the national broadband policy into action. The policy was worked out by a subcommittee on the national broadband policy, chaired by the Minister of Information and Communication Technology. It seeks to support and develop the broadband network, so that the public will have enough services at reasonable prices under free and fair competition. All Thai people in the public and business sectors will be able to make full use of the broadband services. The Government will not monopolize these services but will open up opportunities for private companies with great potential to invest in them.

In the national broadband policy, the Government will promote the establishment of basic telecommunications infrastructure and services at international standards. It will also handle the management of the country's telecommunications assets with maximum efficiency. The Government expects to expand the broadband network to cover 80 percent of the Thai population by 2015 and at least 95 percent by 2020. Another objective is to introduce a fiber-optic broadband network with a connection speed of no less than 100 megabits per second in major economic centers in the regions of the country, also by 2020. Through the broadband network, people will be able to receive services in the fields of education, public health, disaster surveillance and warning, and others. The services will be offered on an equal basis to reduce the digital divide and minimize disparity in terms of access to knowledge and information.

According to the policy, schools at the subdistrict level will be able to have access to quality broadband services by 2015. Moreover, subdistrict hospitals and all health stations will be provided with the broadband services with the same quality as those received by provincial hospitals, also by 2015. All tambon (subdistrict) administrative organizations will provide the e-government services through the broadband network by 2015. The policy will reduce energy use and global warming, as well. At the same time, it will lead to content and application development beneficial to education, public health, life and property protection, culture and religious affairs, and environmental conservation. The Government wants this policy to help enhance the competitiveness of the business sector. In order to achieve this aim, it will develop infrastructure and broadband services, as it does other public utilities, which are available across the country.


From http://thailand.prd.go.th/ 11/16/2010

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VIET NAM: Gov't Looks to Boost IT Sector

VietNamNet Bridge - A new Government scheme targets growth in the information and communications technology industry at two-to-three times the growth in gross domestic production (GDP) through 2020. The sector would contribute about 8-10 per cent of annual GDP under the plan signed by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. In 2009, it accounted for about 7 per cent of GDP. The industry managed to record a growth rate of more than 20 per cent in 2009 despite the global economic downturn, earning a total of US$6.26 billion. The hardware sector saw annual growth of 10 per cent, while the software sector has notched up growth of 50 per cent. Key issues for developing the IT industry include training and human resources, infrastructure, business competitiveness and market expansion, according to the scheme. There were about 295,000 workers in the IT industry nationwide as of last year. The scheme targets that 30 per cent of university graduates in IT would be professionally qualified under international standards by 2015, with the figure to rise to 80 per cent by 2020. Viet Nam also targets to enter the top 10 of nations in software engineering and digital-related services. Under the plan, the national trademark of Viet Nam IT and Communications would be heavily promoted by highly-competitive IT enterprises.

e-Government boost
All state agencies and departments at district levels and above must maintain comprehensive websites by the year 2015, under a newly-approved programme on IT for state agencies during 2011-15 period. Prime Ministerial Decision No 1605QD-TTg would also allocate VND1.7 trillion (US$89.5 million) from State and local budgets for the programme. The programme reconfirms IT and e-Government development as a priority of the Party and State, the Government Office said, and targets for the programme included improved IT infrastructure, as well as increased online services for businesses and the public. All passport applications would be processed online by 2015, as well as tender announcements, bid invitations, and bid results for State-funded projects, ensuring enhanced transparency and better services, according to the Ministry of Information and Communications.

The programme also aims to enhance co-operation among State agencies, civil organisations and individuals, the ministry said. Four major financial sectors - the treasury, tax offices, customs and banks - were also targeted to link their online services. The programme projects that half of all tax filings would be submitted online and 90 per cent of provincial customs processing would be electronic by 2015. General Department for Taxation deputy director Le Hong Hai said IT was already applied in all levels and working processes in the department and that the department was already working towards the goal of supplying all of its services electronically. The tax department was recognised last year by the Ministry of Information and Communications as the most-effective State office in applying IT.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 09/27/2010

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Vietnam's Ambitious Plan to Become an IT Power

VietNamNet Bridge - The Prime Minister has approved the information technology (IT) development plan, under which IT will see the annual growth rate 2-3 times higher than the GDP growth rate, with the industry making up 10 percent of GDP of Vietnam.

1 million workers in IT by 2020
It is expected that by 2020, Vietnam will have one million people working in the IT industry. 80 percent of students graduating in subjects related to IT will have the professional knowledge and foreign language skills good enough to join the international labour market. From now to 2015, about 30 percent of students are estimated have such skills. Policies will introduced to make the target attainable. Forecasts about the demand in the IT sector will be released, based on which the plan to train the workforce for the sector will be drafted Some key training establishments will be given priority in receiving funding for necessary facilities, and granted more autonomy in their operation. Especially, measures will be taken to encourage the teaching to be conducted in English.

Vietnamese businesses with $15 billion in turnover to emerge
The Government will encourage big IT enterprises to expand the scopes of their businesses. It is expected that by 2015, Vietnam will have big IT companies ready to enter the international market and have an annual turnover of $10 billion. By 2020 it is expected that Vietnam will have giant enterprises with the turnover of $15 billion. The "cocks of the walk" are FPT (Corporation for Financing and Promoting Technologies), Viettel, VNPT (Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group), VTC and CMC. Regarding the software outsourcing, the government aims for Vietnam to be listed in the world's top 15 nations in terms of software outsourcing by 2015, and in the top 10 nations by 2020. As for the hardware industry, Vietnam will create companies with the capability to design and produce hardware and accessories to reduce imports by 2015.

IT to be applied in public services
From now to 2015, the IT will be used in addressing important socio-economic issues, such as the urban traffic management, food safety and weather forecasts. Institutions will provide public services online at second and third levels. About 80 percent of companies and social organizations will apply IT in their business management and production. IT will be popularized in education, healthcare, national defense and public security. A target that Vietnam has set up for 2020is to enter into the list of top third of countries in the United Nation's ranking in terms of the readiness for e-Government.

Broad band to reach out to villages
To facilitate the development ofIT industry Vietnam will strengthen the telecommunications infrastructure. By doing so, the country aims to be listed among the 65 most developed nations in the field in the ranking of the International Telecommunications Union by 2015. It is excepted that by that time, the basics of the plan to provide broad band connection in villages and wards across the country will be completed, while broad band mobile wave coverage will reach out to 85 percent of people. It is estimated that by 2011, most families in Vietnam will have telephones. By 2015, 20-30 percent of families will have computers and Internet access, 90 percent of families will have television. The percentage of families having computer and Internet access will be raised to 50-60 percent by 2020.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 10/22/2010

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Intel Helps Vietnam to Develop IT Sector

VietNamNet Bridge - Intel will help Vietnam to develop its information technology industry and train up the country's human resources to increase internet use and people's computer literacy. A memorandum of understanding on the "Computers for Life" programme was signed by Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Minh Hong and Intel Vietnam's Director of Enterprise Solutions and the World Ahead Programme Chak Wong, in Hanoi on October 21. Under the deal, both will jointly implement programmes on policy consultation, strategies, assist development in the IT sector and domestic businesses manufacturing high-quality low-priced computers and providing useful digital services to people in Vietnam's remote and mountainous areas. On addressing the signing ceremony, Chak Wong highlighted the Vietnamese Government's attention to developing the IT sector to make Vietnam strong in IT and communications.

Promoting Vietnam's IT sector is of particular interest to Intel, said Chak Wong, noting that the MoU confirmed Intel's pledge to expand its assistance to the Vietnamese market. Deputy Minister Hong emphasised the significance of the MoU in promoting the nation's IT industry. He said that he hoped Intel will actively help Vietnam in training hi-tech human resources in the future. Within the framework of the World IT Forum in Vietnam in 2009, the Ministry of Information and Communications launched the "Computers for Life" programme to donate computers to rural, remote and mountainous areas. Over the past year, more than 2,000 computers with Internet access and 300 printers, together with other equipment were presented to schools, disabled peoples centres and local people. The Ministry, along with Intel, will expand the programme to raise people's knowledge through training activities to gradually bridge the digital gap.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 10/24/2010

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New Proposals to Manage Online Games Shops

VietNamNet Bridge - Ha Noi's Information and Communications Department yesterday, Nov 5, suggested that online games businesses should relocate to amusement zones in supermarkets to allow the city to manage the sector more easily. The idea was proposed during a meeting to establish new management policies for online games businesses between the Ministry of Information and Communications and Ha Noi's authorities. Head of the department Pham Quoc Ban said the city had already shut down games shops within 200m of schools and had instructed ISPs to cut services to games shops after 11pm. He however said that these methods had not been particularly effective. Many shops closed their doors at 11pm but remained open for business using alternative internet connections, Ban added.

"When all online game businesses are situated in specified areas such as supermarkets, it will be easier to control the game content and their opening hours," he said. The majority of officials in the meeting agreed with Ban's arguments but some still doubted the practicality of his ideas."Many supermarkets including Hapro have already agreed to accommodate online games businesses and have even said they won't charge them any rent for the first few months," Ban said. According to him in September only, Ha Noi closed down more than 300 online game shops that broke the city's regulations.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 11/04/2010

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BANGLADESH: Govt Seeks ITU Support to Build `Digital Bangladesh'

Post and Telecommunications Minister Raziuddin Ahmed Razu has called upon the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) leaders to work with Bangladesh for building a `Digital Bangladesh'. He made the call while presenting the policy statement at the 19-day plenipotentiary conference in Mexico that was inaugurated on October 4, said an official release today. Razu urged the ITU member states to help Bangladesh win as it is contesting as a candidate for the post of ITU councilor of Asia Australia region for 2010-14 for the first time. A total of 19 member countries are contesting for 12 posts of councilors and the election will be held on October 13.


From http://nation.ittefaq.com/ 10/13/2010

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Bangladesh to Use Digital Maps in Upcoming Census

Bangladesh plans to use digital maps to identify the census enumeration areas in the upcoming fifth population census. This was announced by the country's Planning Minister Air Vice Marshal (retd) AK Khandaker at a seminar organised by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) on the World Standard Day 2010 in Dhaka. Earlier, the minister said the objective of the government was to switch over to a Digital Bangladesh by 2021 and for achieving that, the government would complete computerisation and digitisation of all activities on priority basis to introduce e- governance gradually.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 11/03/2010

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Making IT Available Across the Country

Char Kukri Mukri union of Bhola has hogged news headlines with a modernist edge. As Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina cut the digital ribbon launching information and service centres in 4501 unions with Helen Clerk, UNDP administrator and former Prime Minister New Zealand sharing the great moment from Kukri Mukri, Bangladesh has taken a stride. It has immense potentiality. We welcome the event wholeheartedly. At the same time, we wish to make it clear that IT is as good as its utilisation. Each union has been given a laptop with internet connection. Unless it is put to optimal use geared to not only supplying information on demand but also ensuring utilisation of the input for efficient delivery of services it will remain a mere gadget on table-top. So the equipment would have to be linked to various service agencies both at the government and NGO levels to make it work. This calls for huge preparations in terms of field level networking drawing on actual devolution of powers with least amount of referencing and cross- referencing involved. The demand for information would not be automatically created; people at the union level need to be initiated into it, encouraged to come forward, by building awareness about the benefits they can derive and holding up examples of some actual beneficiaries. But in order to operate the system we need intelligent and well-trained minds behind the computers. A module needs to be created of all information that rural people typically stand in need of in their everyday lives. Also, the union digital centres should be pressed into service in reaching benefits of Right to Information Act at the door steps of rural people. This will help address issues of corruption and delay involving transparency and accountability of the administration. Particular care would have to be taken to ensure stable supply of power to the centres. So long as there is power outage of six hours almost everyday, the high-tech device is likely sit idle. Moving to solar power to keep the machine operating 9am to 5pm is an option that needs prioritizing. Whenever IT is fielded, we are quick to point out that in order for it not to be a one-off affair, maintenance and continued logistical back-up are key to a sustained working of the technology. Imagine a situation where most of the 4501 laptops and their internet connection conk out of order for any length of time and we have effectively created a junk yard! Without sounding cynical, may we add, there should be a steady supply of maintenance manpower skilled in both hard and soft wares to all service centres, even if on a rotation, albeit sustained basis. Necessary budgetary allocations need to be ensured for the purpose.


From http://www.thedailystar.net/ 11/13/2010

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INDIA: Launching Universal ID System with Biometrics

India has launched an ambitious program to fit each of its 1.2 billion residents with an Unique Identification Number (UID). Each number will be tied into three pieces of biometric data: fingerprints (all ten digits), iris scans (both eyes), and a picture of the face. Starting this month, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) will begin processing people in various locations around the country. UIDAI aims to slowly roll out the program through February of 2011 and to ID 600 million people in the next four years! This is a mammoth program. While residents are not mandated to get a UID, a growing list of services including social welfare and even some bank accounts will soon require the identification number. If successful, this will be the first biometrically verified universal ID implemented on a national scale. India is forging new ground, drawing both fears and hopes of what a national ID number may bring with it.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 09/15/2010

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Government Doubles Cost Estimates for E-Courts Project

The cabinet committee on economic affairs approved an amount of Rs 935 crore as the revised cost estimate for implementing the e-Courts project in the country. The cost approved earlier for the project in 2007, was Rs 441.8 crore. E-Courts is one of the key mission mode projects (MMPs) under the national e-governance plan (NeGP). With the revised estimates the MMP will now be extended to 14249 courts in 3069 court complexes as against the coverage of 13348 courts in 2100 court complexes approved earlier. Comprehensive computerization and ICT enablement of 12000 courts in 2100 court complexes will be completed by 31st March 2012. The remaining 2249 courts in 969 court complexes will be fully computerized by 31st March, 2014. Among other things, the revised cost estimates makes provisions for Wide Area Network connectivity and data entry of pending cases and providing for equipment for uninterrupted power supply for the ICT infrastructure at the courts.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 09/17/2010

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Pitroda Suggests Rs13,228 Crore Project to E-Link Panchayats

Sam Pitroda, advisor to the Prime Minister on IT and Infrastructure, has proposed a `13,228 crore project to connect 2.5 lakh panchayats with broadband connectivity. In a letter to the Prime Minister's Office, Pitroda said the required investment could be drawn from the Universal Service Obligation (USO) Fund, which has sufficient availability of funds. Pitroda said, adding that a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) could be formed for implementing the project. He suggested formation of the SPV as a company under DoT, with equity participation from BSNL, Power Grid, RailTel, USOF, CDOT, National Informatics Centre, Ministry of Panchayat Raj. The SPV should be formed within six months after the approval of the competent authority. However, the Department of Telecom (DoT), instead of forming the SPV as a corporation with equity participation from different organisations, it should act as the steering committee to oversee the planning and may be dissolved after completion of the project.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 09/23/2010

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TCS Bags Karnataka Data Centre Project

Tata Consultancy Services has won a contract for establishing and managing the State Data Centre (SDC) for the state of Karnataka. The state-of-the-art SDC will enhance the infrastructure required to consolidate the state level applications and will be interoperable with the existing infrastructure. TCS is already associated with Center for e-Governance in setting up new Secretariat LAN and managing the entire Secretariat LAN of Government of Karnataka for Five years. "IT major like TCS has rightfully emerged as winner in the transparent process bidding to set up the State Data Center to enhance the infrastructure required for consolidating state level applications. The new data center will come up in Vikas Soudha, and our existing data center will become a Disaster Recovery Center. We would migrate all the applications from the existing SDC to the new one" said M.N. Vidyashankar, Principal Secretary, e-Governance Department, Government of Karnataka. "E-governance is the only good road to good governance and while technology is expensive, not using technology is even more expensive" he added.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 09/28/2010

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Ministry of Defence Launches E-Gov Projects

In an attempt to avoid delays and iron out complexities in the timely delivery of pension to the retired personnel, the Ministry of Defence has launched three web-enabled online automation projects of the Accounts Department. Speaking at the launch, A.K. Anonty, Defence Minister stressed on the need for a quick and timely payment of pension and urged the department to use technology for the purpose. Antony hoped this would ensure quick and accurate disbursement of pension. The three eGovernance projects are: 'Suvigya,' 'Aashraya,' and 'Sankalan'.


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

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TRAI to Issue Broadband Regulations by December

To increase broadband penetration in the country, telecom regulator Trai said it will come up with regulations on broadband in next two months. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had issued a consultation paper on the "National Broadband Plan" to initiate a discussion on all the pertinent issues regarding the growth of this segment and has invited comments on it from all stakeholders. Broadband penetration in India is still low in spite of the fact that 104 telecom service providers are providing broadband services. The broadband penetration is just 0.74 per cent when compared with teledensity of 52.74 per cent. A need is being felt to identify impediments and create an environment to encourage broadband growth. The net broadband addition per month is just 0.1 to 0.2 million in contrast to about 18 million mobile connections per month. As per the subscriber data made available by Trai, total broadband subscriber base has increased from 9.77 million in July-2010 to 10.08 million in August 2010.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 10/25/2010

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Nepal: Running E-Village Program for Remote Villages

An e-Village program has been launched in the remote villages of Makwanpur district of Nepal, using wireless computer network. The initiative is from Makwanpur District Development committee in support of Magsaysay Award winner Mahabir Pun. Currently, a telemedicine trial is on, among other services. The e-Village program aims at providing local people information about telemedicine and education services with the help of telephone, e-mail and the Internet. Five schools that are getting service under this program have also received program that distributes laptop to each student.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 11/03/2010

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PAKISTAN: Chief Minister Punjab Underlines IT Promotion

LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that promotion of information technology is the need of the hour and the Punjab government is implementing a comprehensive programme in this regard. He also said IT labs have been set up in 4,200 schools for the first time in the country's history with the co-operation of international companies and students from Rahimyar Khan to Attock are getting awareness of national and international issues. He expressed these views while addressing a meeting with Microsoft's Istanbul representative Jeffrey Avina here on Monday, disclosed an official. Punjab Information Technology Board Chairman Javed Ghani, Director General Provincial Disaster Management Authority and officers concerned were also present. Talking to the Microsoft representative, the Chief Minister said the dream of rapid progress can only be materialised by imparting modern education to the new generation. He also said developed nations have achieved progress with the help of information technology and all possible steps are being taken for the promotion of IT in the province and an agreement has also been signed with Microsoft. According to him, the Punjab government will set up an IT Park and land will be provided to the interested company free of cost. Microsoft will also arrange free training of students as well as government officers, which will be beneficial to the students as well as result in capacity building of government departments. Rehabilitation of the flood affected areas is being carried out with the help of information technology and Microsoft is providing a software 'Eagle' to the PDMA for this purpose. He also praised the services of Jeffery Avina for the promotion of IT in the province. The Punjab Information Technology Board Chairman informed the meeting about the progress made on Eagle technology agreement. He said that experts of Eagle will arrive in Lahore in a couple of days. Jeffery Avina gave details of the agreement between Microsoft and the Punjab government.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 11/09/2010

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AZERBAIJAN: Introduction of Number Portability Service Expected in Late 2010 - Deputy Minister

Azerbaijani Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies will soon submit the final rules introducing number portability service for approval to the relevant agencies, Deputy Minister of Communications and Information Technologies Iltimas Mammadov said today. He said, a final decision on implementing this service will be made after creating the legal framework. "Today the main issue is availability of a legal framework and specific rules regulating the introduction of number portability service. This issue has been discussed in detail with operators. I believe that the introduction of this service in the operators' networks will be implemented by late 2010," Mammadov said. According to him, the introduction of the service will affect the operators' interests, unlike which, as a result, end users will benefit.


From http://en.trend.az/ 09/07/2010

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Azerbaijan Approves State Register Rules

Azerbaijan approved the rules of the state register of information systems of individual information. The rules were approved by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's decree dated October 4. According to the President's decree, the Azerbaijani Communications and IT Ministry is the registry operator. It undertakes to provide the state registration and cancel information systems, management both on paper and electronic media. The ministry also undertakes to provide methodological, information-linguistic, software and technical support, give extracts from the register, archiving and preservation of the information entered into the registry, as well as sustained activity of the state registry. Legal and physical entities have the right to get information about information systems, located on the Internet resource of the registry operator. The content of information posted on the Internet resource is determined by the operator.


From http://en.trend.az/ 10/05/2010

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IRAN: Confirming No Additional 3G Licences Until 2013

Iranian telecoms watchdog Communication Regulation Agency (CRA) has announced that the country will not be offering another 3G operating licence for at least three years. Speaking to Middle East business website AMEInfo.com, CRA vice president Lotfollah Sabouhi indicated that the existing licence - held by Tamin Telecom - will be granted a further three years of exclusivity, after which time a second operator will be allowed to enter the market. Sabouhi commented: 'For sure I think we will open the market for another operator because we want fast growth in 3G services. But first of all this operator has this opportunity for the market, and after that we will open up the market for another operator'. According to TeleGeography's GlobalComms Database, Tamin Telecom secured a joint 2G/3G concession in December 2008 for USD399 million.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 10/08/2010

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Iran City Reveals ICT Masterplan

Isfahan, Iran's second city and a global Islamic cultural hub, has set its sights on becoming the Republic's leading 'e-municipality' and a regional e-government leader. The ancient city of 1.7 million people, which was once of the world's largest cities, is four years into a five-year ICT masterplan to develop infrastructure and improve citizen services and government processes to boost competitiveness. The same ICT framework is being adopted nationwide by all of Iran's 'mega cities', but municipal authorities have been able to adapt the plan with local projects. In an interview with FutureGov at the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure World Conference in Singapore last week (22nd October 2010), Vahid Heidarian (pictured), the municipality's ICT Head, outlined his government's priority projects. One is to offer more public services online through its e-services portal, isfahan.ir. Building permits, property provisioning and all tendering processes will soon be accessible through the web site. An English language version is also in the pipeline. "More e-services will mean a quicker and easier experience for citizens, and fewer visits to government offices, which we hope will ease the city's traffic problems," Heidarian said.

Declogging Isfahan
A key part of masterplan is a spatial data infrastructure (SDI) initiative, which will be used to tackle Isfahan's worsening road congestion - 400 new cars hit Isfahan's roads every day, contributing to worryingly high pollution levels. GPS tags have been deployed in public buses for traffic controllers to track their journeys. Taxis will be next, then trains on the new subway network - the first line is planned to be finished this year. Information on public transport will be combined with data from CCTV cameras on the city's roads and broadcast via short messages on roadside signs. This information will soon be accessible on mobile devices, Heidarian said. There are also plans to feed aggregated data from citizen ID smart cards, which can be used to pay for travel on public transport, into a central traffic management system. More services will be added to the citizen ID card so that "most business transactions between government and citizen are possible using the ID card," Heidarian said. Teleconferencing will be another means with which to reduce journeys made by government officials, Heidarian added. To provide extra computing power for the city's e-government activities, the central government is building a data centre that will provide a shared facility for all of Iran's large cities. "We have data centres in every major city. But we want another data centre in place, built using the latest technology and standards, that can cater for rising demand as Iran's cities grow," he noted.

E-Isfahan
There is much work to be done to bolster Isfahan's e-government capabilities, which have been developed in consultation with the government of Seoul, the South Korean capital, Heidarian noted. Iran ranked 69 out of 70 countries surveyed in the 2010 Economist Intelligence Unit digital economy report, and 168th out of 181 countries in a 2010 survey of internet speeds by Speedtest.net this year. "Isfahan is the cultural capital of the Islamic world. We have a rich history and a rich culture. Want to enjoy the same reputation for our e-municipality," Heidarian declared. This mission is not without challenges. "One of the main issues we face is capacity. Rolling out new online services is one thing. Getting people to use them is another," he concluded. "We have a fast growing population, and we need ICT to better manage citizen-government interactions. People are used to the traditional paper-based approach, which calls for a mindset shift - both among citizens and in government."


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 10/25/2010

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TAJIKISTAN: Information Access Development Support Project to Be Launched in September

The republican public association, Molodyozh Novogo Veka (New Age Youth), will launch its first Internet journalism development support project, Blogging as Means of Extension of Information Space. The association director Rustam Tohirov says the project, designed for six months, will be launched on September 1 this year. "The main objective of the project is in promoting popularization of blogging among Tajik journalists in order to expand the access of the country's regions to information and support development of the civil journalism in the country for the purpose of advancing democracy, transparency and freedom of speech in Tajikistan," he said. According to the statistics from the Ministry of Culture, some 370 sources of information now function in the country, however, these indicators do not impact population's access to information and cannot reflex actual development of freedom of speech at the proper level, Tohirov said, adding that the main reason for that is the fact that the majority of media in Tajikistan "release information locally." He noted that the project included a number of events, including seminars on blogging for young journalists working with print media, open lectures for students from the faculties and departments of journalism, roundtable meetings, esc.


From http://www.asiaplus.tj/ 08/24/2010

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TURKMENISTAN: Internet Should Be Accessible to Every Citizen - President

"We are doing everything to ensure that each Turkmen citizen can use the Internet and other modern technology in communications, we attach great importance to the development of telecommunications" President Gurbanulu Berdimuhammedov said. The Turkmen leader addressed to the participants of the two-day international exhibition-conference "Turkmentel-2010" opened in Ashgabat on Wednesday. The exhibition was organized by the Turkmen Ministry of Communication, Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Academy of Sciences and attended by about 80 companies from 20 countries, including UK, Russia, Switzerland, Germany, Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, United States, Cyprus, UAE, Austria, China, Georgia, Lithuania, Iran, etc. The exhibition comprises sections: telecommunications, information technology, telemetry and instrumentation, wireless communications, equipment, professional audio and video recording, broadcasting equipment, cables and connection accessories, operators to provide various telecommunications services, transportation, special machinery and equipment, logistics. Communication and telecommunication is one of the most promising and dynamic sectors of the economy of Turkmenistan. The Turkmen Communication Ministry has established strong partnerships with well-known companies operating in the global market of telecommunications, broadcasting, audio and video, such as Sony, JVC, Siemens-Nokia, Shell & Wilcox, Tandberg, Rhode & Schwarz, NEC, "Eurasia Trans Limited, with Russia's "Prima Telecom. Modernization of communication systems in the country continues, and it opens a wide field for new investment projects.


From http://en.trend.az/ 09/15/2010

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UZBEKISTAN: UN Launches ICT Programme to Boost Its Capacity

'Delivering as One', the United Nations teams up to strengthen ICT capacity in Uzbekistan and welcomes forty-five high-level government officials to the inaugural "Academy National Workshop: Application of ICT in Public Administration", at Tashkent University of Information Technologies. The United Nations Asian and Pacific Training Centre for Information and Communication Technology for Development (UN-APCICT/ESCAP) and ICTP Project of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Uzbekistan, in collaboration with the Communication and Information Agency of Uzbekistan, and Tashkent University of Information Technologies (TUIT) today kicked off a two-day workshop designed to enhance human resource capacity in the use of information and communication technology (ICT) for socio-economic development. Mr. Botir Hakimov, Cabinet of Ministers Representative, Aziza Umarova, Head of Good Governance Unit of UNDP Uzbekistan, Prof. Kasimov Sodikjon, the Rector of Tashkent University of Information Technologies, and Dr. Hyeun-Suk Rhee, Director of APCICT, presided over the opening session. The participants included senior government officials responsible for ICT and e-Government projects, representatives from over eight government ministries, including the Ministry of Higher and Specialized Education, the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations, and the Ministry of Public Education, as well as academics from Tashkent University of Information and Technologies.

"Today's workshop reaffirms Uzbekistan's commitment to developing national ICT capacity and promoting ICT as an influential tool in the effort to achieve socio-economic development, " said Dr. Hyeun-Suk Rhee, Director of APCICT. "The collaborative effort of UNDP and APCICT to work with a variety of dedicated partner organizations also reaffirms the UN's commitment to delivering important capacity building services in an inclusive and unified manner." The "Academy of ICT Essentials for Government Leaders" (Academy), a core ICT for development curriculum developed by APCICT, is the centerpiece of the training workshop. The Academy currently includes eight standalone but interlinked modules. UNDP has been using the Academy to build ICT human resource capacity since June 2010, as part of its "Assisting the Government of Uzbekistan in the formulation and implementation of ICT for development policy" (ICTP) Project. Utilizing customized versions of Academy Module 7, ICT Project Management in Theory and Practice, and Module 8, Options for Funding ICT for Development, the UNDP ICTP Project has so far delivered a series of ICT capacity building workshops to approximately 550 local government officials in 12 out of 13 provinces in Uzbekistan.

The two-day National Workshop, which concludes 24 September, 2010, will cover Academy training Module 1 - The Linkage between ICT Applications and Meaningful Development; and Module 2 - ICT for Development Policy, Process and Governance. To facilitate delivery of the modules, ICTP translated into Uzbek Briefing Notes 1, 2, and 3, of the APCICT Briefing Notes Series in order to provide participants with concise yet detailed policy briefs on ICT related issues and topics in the local language. Uzbekistan has identified ICT for development as a national objective and has partnered with multiple UN agencies - including APCICT - to strengthen ICT human resource and institutional capacity. Equipping policymakers and project managers with the necessary ICT skills and knowledge to develop and deliver effective public services is the primary objective of the Academy. In response to strong demand from member States, the Academy has so far been adopted and institutionalized into national ICT human capacity development frameworks in many countries in the Asia-Pacific region since its official launch in June, 2008. A Russian version of the Academy was developed and was successfully delivered in Tajikistan in September, 2009, and in Kyrgyzstan in October, 2009. A wide range of partners are working with APCICT to roll out the Academy at the national and sub-regional levels throughout the region.


From http://www.ictp.uz/ 09/23/2010

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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.abc.net.au/ 08/17/2010

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Australia's Broadband Plan Overpriced: Slim

The world's richest man says Australia is paying too much for a national broadband network. Carlos Slim's $US55 billion dollars of assets dwarf Australia's $41.6 billion dollar fibre optic network. He says its costing too much. "Is not necessary to invest so much money because technology is changing every time. I think to connect, seven thousand (dollars) per house is too much," he said. Mr Slim says fibre is extremely important but so is mobile capacity. "You need to have a good network of wireless, that you can connect it with thousand of places with wi fi service," he said. Mr Slim says fibre should be the backbone of the network but in rings near homes and businesses to allow a variety of broadband connections.


From http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/ 09/30/2010

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Australian Telecoms Reform Legislation Back for Consideration

Long-delayed legislation designed to enhance competition, force Australian fixed line incumbent Telstra to structurally separate, increase the powers of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), and provide a framework for the country's upcoming National Broadband Network (NBN) has been reintroduced to parliament, Reuters is reporting. The legislative proposals have been raised in the lower house by Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese, with the politician claiming that the regulations would give Telstra more legislative certainty as the telco looks toward the split of its wholesale and retail operations. 'This bill is an important step on the road to an improved telecommunications industry structure, with better competitive outcomes and stronger safeguards for consumers,' Mr. Albanese told parliament. Telstra for its part has said that it supports the legislation although it has called for some amendments, and the telco's CEO David Thodey said of the matter: 'We believe the interests of Telstra shareholders would be best served by the bill being passed this year so that a definitive agreement on our involvement in the NBN can be reached quickly.'

Previous efforts to introduce similar legislation stumbled in parliament earlier this year amid a number of changes to the proposed laws, most notably in June 2010; at that date the Australian government amended regulatory reform legislation after Telstra announced it had reached a deal with NBN Co, the public-private company overseeing the construction of the country's nationwide high speed broadband network. The original bill, known as the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2009, eventually lapsed when Prime Minister Gillard called elections for 21 August 2010. Passage of the new proposals looks to be far from smooth either however, with reports that the Opposition had announced its intention to support a private members bill aimed at forcing a business plan and cost-benefit analysis of the NBN which would require NBN Co to publish a ten-year business plan for the project. PM Gillard has urged parliamentary rivals though not to delay the reforms, stating: 'Every day of delay for these reforms is another day of higher prices, less choice and fewer innovative services for consumers and small businesses, especially for those in regional Australia.'


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 10/20/2010

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AUSTRALIA: Bill Set to Deliver Better Choice and Services for Broadband Consumers

People across Australia will be able to access cheaper and faster broadband services if a landmark telecommunications Bill is passed. Prime Minister, Julia Gillard said it is crucial the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2009 is passed so that Australians can benefit from better broadband services. The legislation will allow for the structural separation of Telstra's retail wing from the rest of the company. This important Bill is being reintroduced into Parliament today after it was blocked in the Senate by Opposition filibustering before the election. Ms Gillard and Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy today said the Liberals and Nationals must support this legislation if they are serious about improving competition in the telecommunications market and delivering better services for their constituents.

Every day of delay for these reforms is another day of higher prices, less choice and fewer innovative services for consumers and small businesses - especially for those in regional Australia. The Bill is an important micro-economic reform that will revolutionise the communications market for Australian consumers. It will set the stage for greater competition and productivity. The Bill has been amended following a Heads of Agreement reached between NBN Co and Telstra in June this year. The changes provide the necessary legislative framework to support the Agreement and give regulatory certainty to Telstra and its shareholders. The Agreement also allows NBN Co to access Telstra's pits, ducts and other infrastructure, which will lead to a more efficient and cost effective rollout of the NBN. This will help cut billions of dollars from the cost of rolling out the NBN. Australia currently has the 5th most expensive broadband charges amongst OECD countries. This Bill will help to bring prices down by allowing greater competition.

Consistent with the reforms announced last year, the purpose of the Bill remains to:
* restructure the telecommunications market to promote greater competition and consumer benefits;
* strengthen the telecommunications-specific access regime to provide more certain and quicker outcomes for telecommunications companies;
* streamline the anti-competitive conduct regime by removing procedural impediments that in the past have restricted the effective operation of the telecommunications-specific competition regime; and
* strengthen consumer safeguard measures such as the Universal Service Obligation and the Customer Service Guarantee.
Importantly, the Bill provides certainly for shareholder by setting out a framework for Telstra to seek approval from its shareholders on a proposal for it to migrate its fixed-line services to the NBN.

Other important measures in the Bill that provide greater certainty for Telstra include:
* authorising certain conduct of Telstra and NBN Co, under the trade practices law, that is required to promote the structural reform of the telecommunications industry and deliver benefits to consumers;
* allowing Telstra to acquire the spectrum it needs to provide advanced wireless broadband services unless the Minister determines in a legislative instrument otherwise
* giving priority to a genuine structural separation process for Telstra over functional separation.


From http://www.minister.dbcde.gov.au/ 10/20/2010

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OECD: Keep Broadband Competition

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) believes Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) promises large benefits, but may not be the most cost-effective strategy. Releasing its Economic Survey of Australia on Sunday, the OECD says at a cost of $43 billion, or 3.25 per cent of gross domestic product, it also entails "substantial financial uncertainties". The OECD says the Gillard government's strategy will improve internet services for the entire population and promote a fairer competition between private firms on retail services. Part of the plan is to shut down Telstra's existing copper network and the country's main cable network. "While establishing a monopoly in this way would protect the viability of the government's investment project, it may not be optimal for cost efficiency and innovation," the Paris-based institution says. It says research has stressed the value of competition between technological platforms for the provision of broadband services. "It would therefore be preferable to maintain competition between technologies in the broadband sector and, within each technology, between internet service providers," it says.

The federal opposition has strongly criticised the government for not producing a business plan for the NBN but key cross-bench independents that helped form a minority government are supportive of the plan. Last week in a re-released version of the so-called Red Book, Treasury said the NBN program carries significant risks, including financial risks for the public balance sheet and risks around competition and efficiency in telecommunications and related markets. "The government's response to the NBN Implementation Study will set the parameters for the outcomes in these areas for decades to come," it said. "It therefore warrants very careful consideration by cabinet in coming months." The Red Book, which is a series of recommendations from Treasury for the incoming Labor government, was reissued with some restrictions removed that had previously been blacked-out in the document under an FOI. The coalition's cheaper $6.3 billion broadband and telecommunications plan announced during the August election campaign would select private sector companies to build and execute a national network based on both fixed and wireless technologies.


From http://www.techworld.com.au/ 11/15/2010

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Government Releases Major ICT Reform Report

Special Minister of State, Gary Gray, has released a report into the Australian Government's ICT reform program. The review headed by Dr. Ian Reinecke was first started in March 2010 and aimed to provide an independent assessment of work done on the ICT reform program with special reference to the affects of the Gershon Review. According to Ovum public sector analyst, Kevin Noonan, the Reinecke Report will provide a granular roadmap for the Australia Government Information Office (AGIMO). Reinecke investigated seven areas of the program to identify things in need of improvement. According to a letter sent from Reinecke to Gray's predecessor, Lindsay Tanner, the review held more than 40 interviews involving over 100 ICT industry leaders and stakeholders. "For the full promise of technology to be realised some changes are necessary, principally in ensuring simple and effective governance arrangement are in place and that Government marshals its human and financial resources effectively for the challenges ahead," he said in the letter. "This review makes a set of recommendations that are directed at facilitating the transition to what is being described as the post-Gershon era." The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) issued a statement welcoming the report's release and claiming it moved in the right direction. It agreed with the report on the need to establish a Chief Technology Officer, but said the CTO should report directly to the Prime Minister. "This report recognises that those efficiencies will be created through better use and management of ICT, rather than simple cost-cutting," AIIA CEO, Ian Birks, said. "AIIA otherwise supports the five key recommendations from this report."

Some of the key recommendations include:
* For the Government to institute a dedicated Ministerial ICT Committee
* For two qualified independent members from outside the APS to be added to the Secretaries' ICT Governance Board (SIGB)
* For the Department of Finance to undertake an assessment of AGIMO's capabilities and resources to see if its two major roles can be functionally separated
* For AGIMO to provide guidance to CEOs, encourage data exchange between agencies
* To provide futher guidance on shared services including methodologies
* For AGIMO to be more closely integrated with Finance to provide implementation support under a CTO

The full and public release of the document is in line with earlier comments made by the Minister during an interview with ARN. He said a key part of his role would be to implementing the findings of the report. "When you look at the reality that comes though Gershon and the granular consideration that comes through Reinecke then you see that the Government needs to operate in a pragmatic and practical way that doesn't mean you'll have a controller of IT procurement and delivery for the Australian Government," he said. "I also have a fundamental view that when the Government produces a substantial piece of work with insights into how we do what we do you can only get value out of making them available to the public. That's why Ian's report will be released."


From http://arnnet.com.au/ 11/18/2010

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FIJI: CommComm Boss Unveils Two-Pronged Strategy to Cut Internet Costs

The chairman of Fiji's Commerce Commission (CommComm), Mahendra Reddy, says that the imminent connection of another link to the Southern Cross international fibre-optic cable will result in 'huge' savings to consumers and business. In a radio interview Reddy said internet charges in Fiji are set to drop dramatically as a result of a dual-pronged strategy to cut prices. Firstly, CommComm is introducing new regulation to force the nation's international telecoms provider, FINTEL, to reduce its wholesale prices, while secondly, FINTEL will also be required to give other providers of retail services access to the Southern Cross submarine cable landing station. The CommComm official said that connection to the cable would most likely result in a cut in wholesale and retail rates in the region of 30%-35%.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 09/14/2010

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NEW ZEALAND: Commerce Commission Says Low Wholesale Up-Take Justifies Deregulation

The Commerce Commission of New Zealand has suggested that the wholesale broadband, business data and bundled resale services market should no longer be regulated by the Telecommunications Act of 2001, due to a combination of low up-take and the introduction of competing services. Wholesale services are currently provided by Telecom New Zealand to other telcos, and in the event that commercial terms between the parties cannot be agreed upon, the Commerce Commission would step in to determine the agreement. Telecommunications Commissioner Dr Ross Patterson commented: 'The commission's view is that regulatory intervention in telecommunications markets should be scaled back in areas where we consider there is effective competition, or when alternative services are available to access seekers. Regulation should not impose or maintain burdens which are unnecessary, and it is the commission's objective to reduce regulation of telecommunications markets as effective competition develops.'


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 08/27/2010

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GLOBAL: Cloud Can Deliver More Efficient E-Government in APAC: Analysis by IDC Government Insights

Most public sector agencies need to urgently coordinate and integrate the various e-government functions, according to a newly released report by IDC Government Insights. The research firm says most public sector agencies are widely dispersed operational silos and are challenged with varying policy and operational restrictions. As a result, there are different needs and scales on their IT capacity. "Looking Ahead: Articulating Cloud Competencies for the Asia Pacific Public Sector," says the business case for the traditional data centre is no longer sustainable in the long run. Therefore, the public sector agencies should actively explore the possibility of the adoption of cloud computing technologies.

Concerns over use
Gerald Wang, senior market analyst at IDC Government Insights Asia Pacific, says in general, the regional public sector is still apprehensive about the adoption of cloud computing. The doubts are especially high in agencies that handle sensitive information and most of the initiatives today are still at an experimental stage. Full scale deployment is still not common because the public sector is still trying to determine the return on investment (ROI) and the risks involved in the adoption of cloud computing technologies. Wang suggests that governments should actively bring change in their policies and address the people and process aspects of cloud implementations. The focus should be on revolutionising traditional workflows and facilitating interoperable standards to bring about greater inter-agency coordination.

Accountability demands
There has been an increase in public scrutiny and accountability demands on the IT budgets of government organisations after the global recession. But at the same time, these enterprises are expected to deliver high quality service and productivity. IDC notes that due to these demands, the public agencies are driven to search for technological alternatives, such as cloud computing solutions. Looking ahead, data protection and security solutions such as "rights-management-as-a-service", and integrated business intelligence and analytics applications are set to become key technological innovations that lead the adoption of cloud computing for the public sector. "The eventual adoption of cloud technologies, whether public, private or a hybrid of both models, lies fundamentally on the operational requirements it seeks to address," adds Wang.


From http://www.cio.com.au/ 09/11/2010

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Transforming Service Delivery Through E-Government

The almost unprecedented levels of pressure put on authorities during the global economic crisis mean that the imperative to use such platforms to deliver support services has increased. The United Nations' (UN) E-government Survey 2010 identifies that such technology can give "agility to public service delivery to help governments respond to an expanded set of demands even as revenues fall short." Since the UN last commissioned the survey, in 2008, the organisation has identified that efforts have been made in a number of middle-income countries to improve e-government services. Yet, the list of the top 20 countries for e-development is still largely dominated by European and North American nations, despite the Republic of Korea topping the table. News on e-government in order to improve service delivery, and e-government in Asia, are detailed below:

Using e-government to Improve Service Delivery
Improvements to e-government services can help mitigate some of the austerity measures which governments had to employ when the recession hit. The organisation identifies that the number of e-government initiatives worldwide continues to grow - a trend that has been continuing steadily since the survey was first conducted in 2003. Singapore, which uses e-government systems to improve the delivery of funds to its most in need citizens, was cited as a particular example, as were the UK and the United States. However, the UN report claimed that many of the most successful e-government schemes only worked because the infrastructure needed was already in place. Many of the world's less developed nations may not yet have the resources needed to allow their citizens to leverage e-government services. Access to broadband internet, and the means to pay for it, was identified as a key issue for the population of some countries. The ability of members of the public to respond was also said to be a key component in service satisfaction. "Public feedback and collaboration will not guarantee better service delivery but, at very little cost to the taxpayer, participatory methods can help policy makers set priorities, encourage more citizens to 'buy in' to programmes, increase satisfaction levels and thus augment the chances of successful policy outcomes," the report stated.

E-government in Asia
The figures from the UN report on e-government development may suggest that the practice is dominated by western nations. However, Asian countries have been making strides is using e-government to increase citizen participation and improve service delivery. Dale Su, director of Information Management Office, Examination Yuan, speaking at a summit in China, explained that the Taiwanese authorities plan to form an "intelligent government" using technology, FutureGov reports. Mr Su said that there were five stages in the implementation of the country's e-government policy, which have allowed it to gradually increase efficiency since 1998. "They are citizen-centric and on-demand e-services, citizen participation through increasing transparency, mobile access to citizen services, social networking and web 2.0, and ICT-enabled green services. "The third phase, called 'e-Taiwan', focused on the horizontal and vertical integration of e-services to improve efficiency," Mr Su was quoted by the news provider as saying. Government online procurement and the tax portal were named as two strong examples of improved service delivery through e-government. In late 2009, Oman launched its e-government portal, which the Sultanate accompanied with a goal to make a "significant improvement in the quality of services the government provides to its citizens." Oman.om is available to all citizens in two languages and offers more than 600 services from 23 different agencies. Dr Salim bin Sultan Al Ruzaiqi, the ITA's chief executive officer, said: "The portal is the result of a number of coordinated initiatives to make it a major outlet for information and government services. It will contribute towards creating an all-encompassing and dynamic information technology platform for the nation."


From http://www.customermanagementiq.com/ 09/14/2010

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ITU Elects New Radiocommunication and Development Bureau Chiefs

Guadalajara, Mexico - ITU welcomed new Directors of its Radiocommunication and Telecommunication Development Bureaux today as François Rancy of France and Brahima Sanou of Burkina Faso were elected at the Plenipotentiary Conference taking place in Guadalajara, Mexico. Rancy won with 90 votes from 157 countries present while Sanou captured 81 votes.

The previous day saw Malcolm Johnson of the United Kingdom re-elected as Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB). He contested the position unopposed winning the vote with 152 votes. ITU's Radiocommunication Bureau (BR) plays a key role in global communications managing the distribution of international frequency spectrum and the allocation of satellite orbits. Rancy will face challenges including the major World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) scheduled for 2012. WRC 2012 will tackle issues including a review of the international framework for radiocomunication, the identification of appropriate mechanisms to address the so-called digital dividend of radio spectrum freed up by the switch to digital TV, the identification of spectrum resources for maritime, aeronautical, meteorological and climatology.

In his acceptance speech he thanked Member States for their support and pledged to tackle the challenges of the next four years. "Rest assured that I'll do my best to meet your expectations in electing me today. I know that many of our countries will have very difficult choices in the field of radiocommunications and you can be sure that I will do my best, in particular with the transition to digital television and next generation mobile. These are not only technical challenges but social and economic and the Union has a strong role to play in this."

BDT's activities aim at extending the right to communicate to all inhabitants of the planet through access to infrastructure and information and communication services. It focuses on capacity building, promoting the use of ICTs as a tool for development and promoting activities aimed at reducing the digital divide.

On his election as Director, Sanou pledged to maintain the team spirit that has characterized the operation of BDT and underlined his commitment to implement the Hyderabad Action Plan adopted recently by the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC). "The expansion of ICT access and an emphasis on developing affordable broadband Internet infrastructure and services is needed to bring the wonders of the digital revolution to the whole world. I am committed to working with ITU members to meet this lofty aim. We will connect the world."

Johnson, who has led the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) for four successful years, said on his re-election: "I express enormous gratitude for this vote of confidence in my continued leadership of the standardization sector of ITU. I look forward to building on the initiatives of the past four years and maintaining ITU-T's role as the leading global organization for ICT standardization. As technologies evolve we will meet the demand to quickly produce the global standards that the ICT market needs. I am confident that with the new initiatives to increase participation of researchers and developing countries we will strengthen ITU-T's position and its major initiatives on broadband, ICTs and climate change, accessibility, cybersecurity and interoperability." Under Johnson's leadership the TSB has bolstered its role as the leading global ICT standards maker. The organization has moved quickly to adapt to market conditions and technologies and address global concerns such as interoperability, climate change and accessibility. His initiatives have greatly increased the participation of developing countries in the work of ITU-T, and he has stepped up the number of handbooks, workshops and tutorials on implementation of standards.

Speaking after the election the Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun Tour¨¦ expressed his happiness with the results and welcomed the new members of his team. He said he looked forward to working with them over the next four years and expressed his gratitude to the outgoing Directors of the Radiocommunication Bureau, Valery Timofeev and the Telecommunication Development Bureau, Sami Al Basheer and thanked them for their assistance and support over their time served as ITU Directors.


From http://www.itu.int/ 10/08/2010

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Global: Gov 2.0 Challenges the Service Delivery Paradigm

In the past, government departments used the Internet as a one way street to disseminate selected information to the public. The department decided what information was provided, how it would be provided and how it could be accessed. At best interactivity was limited to a telephone number or an email address that the public could use to get help or obtain further information. Web 2.0, and conversely, Government 2.0 is about moving the government 'provider' paradigm towards an environment where government departments and the public interact and collaborate to make the best use of information and services, sometimes coming up with new services and ways to use information that would never have been thought of without this collaborative approach. To best understand how Government 2.0 works, it is important to define some of the new terminology. In the older paradigm, government information would be put up on pages of a website or a closed wiki, which is a website that is easier for the department to update but which the public cannot contribute to. Since there are often many different sources of information, pages of links would be consolidated into a portal so that the public could find the information they required without having to know which department website to access. Web 2.0 is about interaction, which may, at a simple level incorporate a blog where the department puts up information and the public can contribute comments, or an open wiki where both the department and public contribute to the same information store. At a more advanced level, Web 2.0 can incorporate open data, where government information is freely accessible in a form that can be manipulated by third party programs (apps). The public and private sector may collaborate in government sponsored hack days (see govhack.org) to develop innovative apps to access, process, add to and find new approaches for the use of this information. Web 2.0 in government is now much less about portals and websites, which are still mainly 'push' and much more about open data, mash-ups, hack days and app development. These apps not only fully utilise the large amounts of data that governments have at their disposal but add new avenues for the collection of data that no one has even thought of before, fostering collaboration and engagement. Social media is another avenue government can use to better communicate with the public. Social media, as the name suggests, is about sharing and collaborating around information and should include mechanisms whereby members of the public can share sources of information (via Twitter, Facebook etc).

Many government departments and agencies require avenues for feedback, discussion and conversation but aren't ready for the results of those conversations in a Web 2.0 environment where people engage. Nevertheless, in most cases the learning from these collaborative enterprises far outweighs the discomfort they may cause at the start. Already hack days and mash-ups (see www.mashupaustralia.org) have yielded some amazing applications that allow the public to interact with the government in very innovative ways. Know Where You Live accesses ABS data and presents it in a very user friendly manner whereas the "It's buggered mate" application allows members of the public to notify their local council of things that are broken and need fixing. In order to take full advantage of Web 2.0 there are five things that government departments need to do. - Listen to their people more. The biggest single initiative that a department can take is to give the advocates inside the department the freedom to innovate and come up with new and interesting ways to engage constituents around issues and data. - Share information. Government can get the message out via social media such as Facebook, Twitter, email or YouTube much faster and in many cases as (or more) effectively as traditional media channels. - Work with the private sector - in many cases applications, campaigns, software and social networks that are created in a private sector context can be easily and cost effectively repurposed or utilised in the public sector. - Look at what is happening in other departments, sectors and levels of Government. There are many cases of innovative use of Web 2.0 technologies and thought processes in governments around the world. My advice is to research those and look at what they are doing before moving into the space and if possible create direct connections with the people responsible (again social media is an ideal vehicle). - Keep it simple! The simpler it is to access the data, utilise the mash-up, share the information or just get involved, the more likely you will find the collaborative group that you are looking for.

Government 2.0 is not just about new technologies; rather it's a way of looking at the relationship with the public based upon collaboration, sharing information and ultimately interacting with the public online. Government 2.0 is now, so it is vital that departments really need to get on board and embrace this paradigm, enabling them to develop new and exciting ways of managing information for and building relationships with the public.


From http://governmentnews.com.au/ 10/12/2010

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Global: UN and Internet Governance, Next Four Years: Better Cooperation or Bigger Role?

After three weeks of negotiations, member countries and the secretariat of the United Nations International Telecommunication Union hailed the consensus and success of the 2010 Plenipotentiary Conference, which sets the ITU work programme for the next four years. But even through the final rounds of applause, the tensions about how much the internet features in the core mandate of the Union remained audible. The plenipotentiary wrapped up its work with "broad agreement on core issues," the secretariat announced in its final press release. The meeting was held in Guadalajara, Mexico from 4-22 October. Delegates approved the 632 million Swiss franc financial and strategic plans for the Union for the next four-year term and, in a long list of resolutions, agreed, for example, on "better use of information and communication technologies to manage climate change and disaster response." A delegate from Russia said in the closing ceremony that the conference had stated "that the ITU is open for cooperation and is ready to take the first steps to bring closer together other organisations that are dealing with internet-related matters." But, he said, the ITU is also "ready to take on itself a leading role in internet governance within the scope of its competence and we ask the secretary-general to inform the General Assembly of the UN and all those concerned in telecommunications on our progress in this field."

Is ITU Only One Partner?
The opposite position underlining ITU's need to cooperate with existing self-governing internet organisations was provided by the Swedish delegate speaking for the 48 members of the "European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations" (CEPT). Changes both within the Union and in the cooperation with other organisations are necessary, the delegate said. "We need to be more efficient internally and we need to avoid overlap with the work done by other organisations. This is particularly important in the internet area." The 2010 plenipotentiary decisions will "guide the ITU in the right direction," the Swedish delegate said. The whole package [All final acts will be available here] [Clarification: The ITU has now said the documents will be freely accessible to the general public when ready in publication form, i.e., by end February 2011] of internet-related resolutions (Resolutions 101, 102, 133 and a new resolution on the new internet protocol, or IPv6) was passed at a late hour on Thursday night, close to the end of the three-week meeting and it needed re-elected ITU Secretary General Hamadoun Tour¨¦'s urgent appeal for a compromise. For days, delegations mainly from the Arab world and from Russia had fought against a reference to the self-regulatory organisations like the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), the Internet Engineering Task Force, the Internet Society and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in the internet resolutions. Proposals to transform ICANN's Government Advisory Committee (GAC) into an "international committee, or create an (ITU) Council working group (...) with powers of supervision over ICANN," or a "progressive cooperation agreement between ITU and ICANN and define a mechanism to increase the participation of governments" were all struck from the text. Also struck earlier in the Guadalajara meeting was a Russian proposal to integrate the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) whose future is on the agenda of the UN General Assembly this week. The IGF was an outcropping of the 2003-2005 ITU-led World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). How, asked Syrian delegate Nabil Kisrawi, can an intergovernmental UN organisation like the ITU be considered to be on equal footing with a California-based private company like ICANN? An explanation of the concerns of the Arab countries came from the Saudi delegation. Some people just did not want the names of ICANN and the other self-regulatory bodies in the resolutions because, "we think that in fact there's a risk of undermining the role of the ITU in the internet." All countries are in favour of having ICANN work under international and not under California law, the Saudi delegation said. Tour¨¦'s last-minute compromise for the internet resolutions asked at least for "reciprocity" in the cooperative efforts of the ITU, ICANN and the other internet management organisations, and this formula is now part of all four internet-related resolutions of the ITU work plan for 2012-2015.

Special Forum in 2013
The discussion about the ITU's role in the internet will continue, though, and Resolution 101 contains the task to prepare a "special forum" to be held in 2013, to discuss all the issues raised by the ITU internet resolutions. The "Dedicated Group on Internet-related Public Policy Issues," so far part of the ITU Council Working Group on the World Summit on the Information Society, will be changed. Under Resolution 102, it now shall become an independent Council Working Group, "limited to member states, with open consultations."

Requests for Assistance
Besides the additional efforts to cooperate with the self-regulatory groups, the ITU is tasked in the four internet resolutions with classical monitoring, information gathering for its members, and "assistance" in areas to help with the transition to new IPv6 internet addresses for those countries who ask for it. As the current IPv4 internet addresses are running out even earlier than expected, migration to the new IPv6 is necessary, the community of regional IP address-managing organisations - the RIRs - said a few days ago. For some time, a number of ITU member countries tried to establish another IP-address-registry within the ITU, which is currently the registry for country codes in the telephone system. As with the proposal to increase oversight by the ICANN GAC, the idea of an ITU IP address registry was rejected by the group of western, industrialised countries. The directors of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau and the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, newly elected Brahima Sanou and re-elected Malcolm Johnson, according to the resolution now only get a small stick: they shall monitor allocation policies for the numbers, "point out any underlying flaws in the current allocation mechanisms," and "communicate proposals for changes to existing policies, if identified under the studies above, in accordance with the existing policy development process." Plus, ITU shall "assist those Member States which, in accordance with the existing allocation policies." Developing country interest in getting assistance in the area of internet management and policy seems to motivate some of the requests for a broader mandate. In the very heated debate about the ITU's future role in dealing with cybersecurity and cybercrime, the delegate from Ghana said: "Administrations should have the right to ask for assistance in all aspects of ICT [information and communications technology]." The request of the United States and other western countries to cut cybercrime, issues of national defence, and content issues from the ITU cybersecurity agenda therefore was difficult to accept, the Ghanaian delegate said. Secretary General Tour¨¦, said the ITU, despite its "Global Cybersecurity Agenda" is not working on cybercrime. He called it regrettable that "the membership always tells us what not to do, instead of what to do." The US delegate, meanwhile, said that the ITU could expect more requests to include the reference to its "core mandate" in resolutions in the years to come. The demand to stick to its core mandate would not prevent the ITU from offering assistance to countries in "the elaboration of workable legal measures relating to the protection against cyberthreats," that is agreed in the resolution, a representative from the United Kingdom said. Financial assistance to developing or war-stricken countries in the build-up of their telecommunications networks also was passed for several individual countries like Serbia and Lebanon and Palestine, which became an official ITU observer, and a list of countries grouped in the Annex of Resolution 34.

ITU Becomes More Geeky
Alongside the ongoing discussion on the ITU's role in internet governance, the organisation also decided to become more open access and somewhat more "geeky," increasing use of social networks, blogging and other newer online tools. In the past, the secretariat had been sceptical about granting free online access to its documents, but an ongoing pilot project of access to ITU-T recommendations led to an increase of downloads of more than 7,000 percent. Member states therefore concluded that in the future, online access to the recommendations of ITU-T and ITU-R would be free as would the basic texts and the final acts of the plenipotentiary conferences. This will allow everybody to read through the 300 pages of final acts from Guadalajara now and ponder how they might be implemented, from "the stepping up of ITU's activities in the area of emergency communications and humanitarian assistance" and the "ITU Broadband Strategy," to the "Digital Inclusion for Indigenous peoples" and "measures to prevent the illicit use and abuse of telecommunication networks through unauthorized calling and routing practices." Throughout the three-week session, blog posts, and video posts with interviews of top officials and tweets announcing fresh compromises were used to allow observers from the outside world to get a glimpse of the inner workings of the "plenipot" mega-machine. Another step to becoming more open is a resolution that grants academic institutions membership status for the price of 3,975 Swiss francs. Sector members, meaning industry members from developing countries, will enjoy reduced fees. Possibly by easier access and a bigger membership the Union could also do away with some of the financial cutbacks that are reflected in a resolution on how to save money by being more conservative in setting up new working groups for example. The next four-year budget is expected to see a reduction of 3.5 percent, with 12.6 percent reduction in contributions from sector members and a 1.6 percent decline in contribution from member states, according to the final acts. Non-governmental organisations have criticised the ITU for many years and the internet self-regulatory bodies looked at the ITU as interested in "taking over." With the formal acknowledgement of private domain regulator ICANN, the IP-address allocating RIRs, the Internet Engineering Task Force and the World Wide Web Consortium - standardisation organisations for the internet protocol and the Web respectively - in its plenipotentiary documents, the ITU might be seen as giving up its claim as sole representative for future networks. But how much will the ITU give up?


From http://www.ip-watch.org/ 10/27/2010

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Governments Must Improve Public Sector Productivity, Says OECD

Boosting public sector productivity and maximising returns on investment in technology will be key to governments playing their part in restoring economic growth. These were among the conclusions reached by OECD ministers meeting in Venice on 15 November, under the leadership of Italian Minister Renato Brunetta responsible for public administration and innovation. "Strong political commitment and leadership will be vital to reforming the public sector," said Aart de Geus, OECD Deputy Secretary-General. "Ministers recognise the role they must play in delivering more effective public services." Ministers from more than 20 countries discussed, among other issues, the need to strengthen trust in government through more open and transparent engagement with citizens. This would require reforms to enable the public sector to prepare more effectively for future challenges and respond more quickly to changing needs and reduced budgets. Ministers called on the OECD to collect data and provide regular updates on governments' progress on improving public sector performance. They underlined the role of the OECD in identifying current and future challenges facing governments, and asked the organisation to propose cost-effective approaches to help them build a more efficient and effective public sector. The final communiqu¨¦ of the OECD Public Governance Ministerial meeting is available here. http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/49/52/46340507.pdf


From http://www.oecd.org/ 11/15/2010

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AFRICA: Jamaica - PSOJ Agrees with Government on Public Sector Reform

REPRESENTATIVES of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) last week made submissions to the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee of Parliament telling the committee that it was in full agreement with the central premise of the Public Sector Rationalisation Programme, the body tasked with restructuring the public sector. Peter Melhado, who presented on behalf of PSOJ president Joseph Matalon last Wednesday, said that the PSOJ was in agreement with the premise that "what government should do and pay for; what government must pay for, but does not have to do; and what government should do and should not pay for." Melhado's presentation to the committee was short as the submissions were contained in a document that was previously distributed to the members. He said one thing that was missing from the recommendations contained in the green paper was the priority that should be given to the areas under review. He said the Governments legislative agenda must be paced to support the changes being proposed. According to him, there was no argument with intended outcomes, but its success ultimately depended on the leadership that would be offered to effect the objectives. Without commenting on the rationalisation plan, the PSOJ had observations of its own. On the role of government ministries, the PSOJ believed that over the years the ministries have widened their mandates and often created overlapping role with other ministries and agencies. "While the research behind these proposed changes have clearly been done, we note that there has been no compression in the number of ministries which we believe would have allowed for even greater efficiency through scale down at the individual entity level...," the PSOJ said. As a result, a large number of entities have been transferred between ministries. Accordingly, the PSOJ feels that it will take a great deal of planning and strong implementation to execute and absorb the level of change proposed within the expected timeframes. The PSOJ, however, did not say if it believed that merging any of the current 16 ministries would be an effective, cost-saving effort. It agreed that the proposed shared service clusters made good sense, as some services are duplicated across ministries and pointed to the merging or consolidating of entities with a similar mandate or customer grouping, as imperative, and a good example being proposed for the Ministry of Mining. Committee member Michael Stern challenged the PSOJ to lend its leadership, experience and expertise to the programme to help Government achieve its goals of restructuring the sector for greater efficiency. Another area of observation was the compensation and leave policy, with the PSOJ stating that the leave structure that currently obtains is above what pertains in other jurisdictions and inimical to competitive bureaucracy. It said the examination and streamlining of these issues should be part of any comprehensive review of government machinery. The PSOJ also offered comments on pension reform, treasury management, divestment and privatisation, as well as outsourcing.


From http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/ 10/27/2010

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Sierra Leone: What Information Minister Told the Kenema Consumer Parliament!

Freetown - Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen may I use this opportunity to once again congratulate the Chairman and Commissioners, and indeed the management of NATCOM for organizing this very important Consumer Parliament; an activity which has become a very useful component in the activities of NATCOM. Quite a number of issues have emerged since the last Consumer Parliament, and these issues range from a change in the management and ownership of some of our GSM Operators, to the registration of Sim/UIM cards as stipulated by Cabinet and the National Security Council. A National ICT Council headed by the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and of which I am the Vice Chairman has been set up to express Government's commitment to the development of the sector. May I state that the government is satisfied that all the Operators are complying in the area of sim card registration. A development which has also addressed some of the security frailties of the country. Consistent with Government's policy of promoting a liberal economy and fair competition in the market place, the Government has given an opportunity to new investors to invest in the sector, one such new entrant is Bharti Airtel, which has taken over the assets and management of Zain. Other Companies that will become operational very soon and which would be part of the telecommunications family are, intergroup, which is now rapidly rolling out and Green Net which will also commence operations soon. Government is aware that the GSM companies operate businesses that are extremely capital intensive and this in itself is a matter which the government will soon discuss. We are also aware of the fact that the appreciation of the United States dollar against the national currency the Leone is a matter of serious concern among the Operators and correspondences to that effect have already been made available to the Ministry of Information and Communication. I am finding ways by which the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, the Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone and My Ministry would sit together with the Operators in an attempt to address this important issue. At the moment the Ministry is under considerable pressure to provide the necessary policy framework and the necessary infrastructure to make telecommunications affordable to the majority of Sierra Leoneans. I am however satisfied that some of the GSM operators have requested and are eager to use the 3G (third Generation) network in tandem with modern telecommunications and ICT development. I have given the necessary policy directives to the Chairman of NATCOM to issue licenses to those operators that have met the required criteria as stated in the Telecommunications Act 2006 as amended. Both the Ministry and NATCOM continue to meet their international obligations by adhering to international best practices by attending conferences and workshops organized by international telecommunications organizations such as the I.T.U, A.T.U, C.T.O. ECOWAS etc. The President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has committed the Government in the general development of ICT as an instrument for national development. At the last AU meeting in Addis Ababa, President Ernest Bai Koroma emphasized the need for Sierra Leone to land the vital submarine fibre and invited the World Bank to partner with Government. The landing of the submarine fibre cable has become a priority Government strategy in our quest to modernize telecommunications, hence Sierra Leone's Participation in the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) project. On behalf of the people and Government of Sierra Leone, I signed the agreement with ACE so that Sierra Leone can benefit from this new technology. The fibre once landed in Sierra Leone will be landed at Juba Military barracks and a national backbone will link it to the rest of the country thereby improving the connectivity of the country by close to 80% by 2015. Tariffs in the use of mobile phones will undergo a drastic reduction and affordable to the majority of Sierra Leoneans. Availability of internet facilities would have been spread throughout the country. Further, radio and television digital broadcast would have been made possible throughout the country. Both the Government and the international partners perceive the fibre landing as a major landmark in the development of Sierra Leone. It will open up Sierra Leone to be part of the digital connectivity family. To address the landing of the submarine fibre at its inception, the World Bank has collaborated with the Ministry of Information and Communication to meet Sierra Leone's financial commitment to the ACE Project. A new company, Sierra Leone Cable Limited, otherwise known as SALCAB has been established by the Ministry and is located on the 6th floor of the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank to monitor all aspects of the landing of the submarine fibre. This company, even though is an entity that is 100% Government owned at the moment, will be divested to incorporate members of the private sector before the end of 2011. The process for divestiture will commence next year. The Ministry has already started preparing the minds of the private sector to buy shares in Salcab. May I state at this point that the Ministry, and indeed the Government are satisfied that some of the GSM companies and the Regulator, NATCOM are meeting there corporate social responsibilities. We will single out NATCOM for the role it has played in improving the television system in Sierra Leone and also for its role in providing technical education to some members of the public and also recently purchasing Water Bowsers to partly meet the needs of residents of Freetown. I will single out AFRICELL for its contribution to beautify the country, by refurbishing the Post Office in Freetown, beautifying the historic Cotton Tree, sponsoring the national premier league and the construction of a Clock Tower for the City of Makeni. Mr. Chairman Ladies and gentlemen, in our new efforts to improve the telecomunications sector, Government has agreed to liberalize the International Gateway Management, and a timetable to this effect will be published in two weeks time. The Universal Access Fund Unit has also been set up consistent with our commitment as a Government. May I use this opportunity to congratulate the Chairman and members of the Commission for the role they have played in helping to meet this very important component in telecommunications development. At the moment a Committee to perform monitoring activities and skeletal staff has been appointed to kick start the operations of the Universal Access development Fund.NATCOM continues to play a very important role in the development of the telecommunications industry, and very soon the position of Director- General for NATCOM will be filled by H.E the President as this gap currently exists within NATCOM. May I also state that the Telecommunications Act will be amended to allow NATCOM to continue to promote best practices at all times. The possibility of advising the President to reduce the tenure of Commissioners from five to three years consistent with other State Commissions and parastatals is being looked into. This decision has nothing to do with the efficiency of the present Commissioners. In fact, if I must give a verdict, NATCOM stands out to be the most efficient among the institutions supervised by my Ministry. Government's move to harmonize the tenure of Board members and Commissioners should also be seen as relevant and for the general good of the State.

May I also emphasize a complaint from the public, a complaint which the President has also expressed about too many blind spots. In some parts of the country there are no GSM coverage and this include parts of Pujehun, Bonthe,Bombali and even parts of Hill Cut road Freetown. Genral connectivity cannot be attained if parts of the country remain uncovered by GSM Operators. I hope this matter will be deliberated upon at this Consumer session. On behalf of the Government and in the true Mano River Union spirit, I welcome the Regulators from Liberia, as I hope that the collaboration between the Liberia regulator and NATCOM will grow from strength to strength. I want to thank the Resident Minister, the Mayor of the City of Kenema and the Paramount chief of Nongowa Chiefdom for serving as our hosts in this all important event.


From http://allafrica.com/ 11/18/2010

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South Africa: New Unit to Fight Corruption in Public Service

Pretoria - An Anti-Corruption Unit, expected to be launched at the end of this month, will focus on a coherent approach that embraces elements of prevention, detection and combating of corruption in the public service. The unit is part of the Public Service Anti-Corruption Strategy, which seeks to improve lines to report wrong-doing, as well as to protect whistleblowers and witnesses, Public Service Minister Richard Baloyi said on Wednesday. The new unit will operate in collaboration with existing institutions such as the Special Investigative Unit, Auditor-General, Public Service Commission and National Treasury. Baloyi said in the National Assembly that the unit will prohibit corrupt activities by individuals and businesses; improve management policies and practices; ensure the management of professional ethics as well as create awareness, educate and train public servants. Meanwhile, the minister has welcomed the newly appointed Deputy Minister for Public Service and Administration, Ayanda Dlodlo. Baloyi was confident that Dlodlo possesses a set of skills, experiences and qualifications which will add value in the advancement of the vision for the portfolio of Public Service and Administration. "Dlodlo joins the portfolio at a time when we have just signed a Delivery Agreement on Outcome 12 for an efficient, effective and development-orientated public service. We are confident that the Deputy Minister will be central in how we realign our processes within the public service," said Baloyi. Dlodlo's appointment follows her tenure as Parliamentary Counselor in the Presidency. She has also served as Secretary-General of Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans' Association until her appointment to Parliament after the 2009 national elections. She takes over from Roy Padayachie, who has been appointed as the Minister of Communications. - BuaNews


From http://www.buanews.gov.za/ 11/03/2010

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ARAB STATES: UAE - Dubai E-Government Launches Satisfaction Survey

Dubai eGovernment has launched an online customer satisfaction survey to gauge customers' usage of local government department online sites for transactions. The survey, exclusively focusing on Dubai-based citizens and residents is aimed at all age-groups and income levels. "This survey is in line with the directives of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, for an integrated and transparent government that meets the needs of citizens, residents and businesses in Dubai. It also aligns with our 'Customer Comes First' strategy which ensures that we listen carefully to what our customer wants, before we engage and act upon their responses to deliver new customer-focused government services. We assure our customers that their opinions are extremely valuable to us and their responses will be used for statistical and analysis purposes in an anonymous manner," said Ahmed Bin Humaidan, Director General of Dubai eGovernment Department. The first section of the survey questions the customer's access to the internet and their opinion on the cost and quality if their access to the internet. The second section measures business internet usage to gauge popularity of social networking, online banking, online tickets and travel, online educational courses, online job searches, and usage of the internet for government services. The final part of the survey looks at which eGovernment services are the most popular and the reasons for the usage or non-usage of the services available. There is also a section where customers can write their opinions and full feedback. The surveys can be accessed by clicking either the top or bottom banner of Dubai., or from www.deg.gov.ae and can be undertaken in either English or Arabic with separate surveys targeted at Dubai based university students, working professionals and home-makers or retirees in Dubai.


From http://www.itp.net/ 10/31/2010

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Tunisia: Most Transparent Country in North Africa

TUNISIAONLINENEWS-The 2010 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) released by Transparency International on Tuesday, October 26, 2010, ranks Tunisia 59 th worldwide out of 178 countries and territories according to perceived levels of corruption affecting public administration and political class. Tunisia, which is credited with a score of 4,3, won six places in comparison with 2009 (65th). The report shows that Tunisia is the least corrupt country in North Africa and precedes Morocco 85th (3.4 points), Egypt 98th (3.1 points), Algeria 105th (2.9 points), Mauritania 143rd (2.3 points) and Libya 146th (2.2 points). Denmark tops the field in the 2010 transparency international index with a score of 9.3 followed by New Zealand, Singapore, Finland, Sweden, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, Switzerland and Norway. Qatar is ranked first (19th) among Arab countries followed by UAE (28th). Somalia (178) is the world's most corrupt country.


From http://www.tunisiaonlinenews.com/ 10/26/2010

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ASIA: Republic of Korea - Seoul to Lead e-Government Organization

Seoul City leads in the development of electronic government based on state-of-the-art technologies and an organization of e-governments will be founded in the city next month. The inaugural assembly of World e-Governments Organization of Cities and Local Governments (WEGO) will be held at Grand Hyatt Seoul from Sept. 6 to 8. The meeting is sponsored by the United Nations Project Office on Governance (UNPOG) under the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Mayors and IT experts from some 50 cities will take part in the conference. WEGO is based on the Seoul e-Government Declaration adopted at the World e-Government Mayors Forum in 2008. The declaration suggested forming a consultative body to exchange e-government information and narrow the information gap among cities. Seoul City will chair WEGO for the first time. Seven cities, including Barcelona, Berlin and Frankfurt, will present cases of successful e-government under the theme of "e-Sharing for All." "WEGO will be a chance for Seoul to promote its IT technology, policy and companies, pioneering a new market based on its advanced methods," Song Jung-hee, the city's assistant mayor for information technology said. (By Kwon Mee-yoo)


From http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/ 08/31/2010

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EUROPE: EU Digital Agenda - Commission Consults on Re-Use of Public Sector Data

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the EU Directive on the re-use of public sector information (PSI). PSI covers all sorts of data generated by public sector bodies - e.g. maps, meteorological, legal, traffic, financial and economic information - that can be re-used by anyone else in innovative products such as car navigation systems, weather forecasts, and travel information applications ("apps") that can be downloaded on smart phones. Public data that is reused (for free or for a fee) generates an estimated market turnover of at least € 27 billion in the EU every year, according to a 2006 study. Contributions to this consultation will feed into the review of the PSI Directive, part of the Digital Agenda for Europe that aims to contribute to the EU goals of increasing competitiveness, innovation and job creation. The consultation will run until 30 November 2010. Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, said: "Better and more use of public sector information has great potential to generate new businesses and jobs and to provide consumers with more choice and more value for money. The mobile apps market, partly based on PSI-generated data, could grow to € 15 billion by 2013. However, much of Europe's PSI is insufficiently or even sometimes not exploited. We cannot lose out on this opportunity. We need to consider whether and how the EU rules on re-use of PSI should be amended to fully unlock PSI's economic potential." All interested parties are invited to send their views on key issues of PSI re-use and, in particular, on possible amendments to the provisions of the current Directive. These relate to the scope, charging fees and licensing of data, the definition and digital format available to users; practical measures like the need for awareness-raising through national web portals; and the effects of changes that have taken place and/or barriers that still exist. A revision of the PSI Directive is one of the key actions of the Digital Agenda for Europe Digital Agenda for Europe (see IP/10/581, MEMO/10/199 and MEMO/10/200). In its policy strategy, the Commission highlighted that governments can stimulate content markets by making public sector information available on transparent, effective and non-discriminatory terms. This is an important source of potential growth of innovative on-line services.

Background
The EU PSI Directive was adopted on 17 November 2003. It regulates the behaviour of public sector bodies participating in the market for re-use of public data and encourages EU countries to adopt proactive PSI re-use policies. The Directive has helped to remove some of the barriers to re-use, such as monopoly positions of public sector bodies or lack of transparency in the market for re-usable public data. In 2009, the Commission reviewed the way in which EU PSI rules were being applied, which confirmed that PSI-re use has been on the rise and that Member States and public sector bodies have taken measures to facilitate this. The 2003 Directive had a positive impact in several fields such as geographical and meteorological sectors. However, the Commission also warned that to realise the full potential of PSI for the EU economy, EU Member States must remove remaining barriers to re-use. These include discrimination between potential users, excessive charges for public sector information re-use and complex licensing policies. It also pointed to practical problems such as lack of awareness of what public sector information is available, and public sector bodies failing to realise the economic potential of their data. The Commission concluded that the 2003 Directive in its present form has not yet achieved its full impact and decided to run a further review at the latest in 2012, when more evidence on the impact, effects and application of EU rules on public sector information will be available. This review is one the Key Actions of the Digital Agenda for Europe. The results of the consultation will feed into the review.


From http://europa.eu/ 09/09/2010

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Europe to Learn from Wales' Lead on Digital Collaboration

Story tools: Print this articleEmail to a friendYour feedbackInfluential European ICT leaders are visiting Wales this week to explore the economic opportunities presented by online collaboration between businesses. Delegates from Italy, Spain, Brussels, Czech Republic, Lithuania and Slovenia, are learning from Welsh successes and will continue to investigate how digital collaboration can benefit small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) as part of the Wales-led 'DE-LAN' (Digital Ecosystems-Learning Application Network). Digital collaboration is a major focus of the forthcoming Digital Wales framework, which will be launched by the Assembly Government in November.

Since its Brussels launch in June, DE-LAN has been promoting best practice in the development, deployment and exploitation of emerging trends in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) such as Cloud Computing and social networking - with a key focus on exploring and maximizing opportunities for economic benefit. With worldwide management consultancy firm McKinsey estimating 74% of businesses will have budgets slashed because of the recession, collaboration can help businesses do more with less. Advantages of online collaboration include the wider promotion of products and services, improved innovation, streamlined working practices and increased competitiveness and growth in the global marketplace. Wales is currently enabling advanced digital collaboration in sectors including Creative Industries, Social Housing, Construction and Marine Science. They can identify and grasp expanded market opportunities, and benefit from greater efficiencies. DNBs are equipped with ICT tools such as shared supply chain management, shared invoicing and billing and, crucially, shared tools for communication and ideas generation. A Welsh-led training programme will see learning and best practice embedded and adopted in the eight regions over the project's 36 months. Wales is currently leading this training programme and the ICT leaders from across Europe are here this week to learn from and adopt new and improved ways of working collaboratively to exploit new technologies and solutions. Welshman and President of partner Region eris@, the European Regional Information Society, Simon Lavin will chair the project's second steering group where Regions will share cross-sector learning and best practices for the benefit of Welsh businesses and the wider economy. Deputy First Minister for Wales Ieuan Wyn Jones said "Co-operation and collaboration - with peers, customers and suppliers - is at the heart of doing better business. Small businesses in particular, can achieve more as part of a supported team than by going it alone. "As lead partner in the DE-LAN project, we are excited in Wales by the prospect of working with and learning from like-minded partner regions from across Europe to develop new processes and new approaches to strengthen our standing in the global economy." Knowledge and experience will be shared through regular interregional meetings, workshops and conferences. The ultimate output is the identification and analysis of the main characteristics of a successful Digital Ecosystem. Commonalities and differences, key opportunities, critical success factors, obstacles to be overcome and lessons to be learned will be shared amongst regions with the aim of findings on digital collaboration being embedded into EU policy.


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 10/20/2010

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Estonia: New Portal for Ethnic Minority Groups

A new website, Etnoweb.ee, designed to improve information sharing between ethnic minority groups in Estonia was presented at the Council of Ethnic Minorities meeting on 7 September 2010. The newly established Youth Assembly of Ethnic Minorities, whose members created the Etnoweb portal, made their presentation at the Council's regular meeting in the Parliament building. The Council of Ethnic Minorities, a group that advises the Minister of Culture on matters related to the cultural life of ethnic minorities in Estonia, meets every three months. The purpose of this website's creation is for "improving communications between various cultural organisations and minority communities, and everyone who might be interested in this information - mass media, the government, funds or people interested in national cultures because of professional or personal interest". Etnoweb.ee was launched on 1 September 2010, and a week later had 20 member organisations.


From ePractice EU 11/09/2010

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Finland: New Online Portal Gives Easy Access to Public Services

Suomi.fi web pages include over 4,000 printable forms State and municipal public services are now available through a single website. The Suomi.fi portal gives access to various municipal and state services. The portal contains e-services and forms, information links, information packages, legislation, and news from different areas of public administration. The services on the portal are grouped under 14 different subjects. The front page also has shortcuts to ten of the most popular services and forms. There are separate services for users of sign language and for the elderly. Pages for senior citizens contain a fairly broad selection of information for elderly people and their next of kin. The pages also help those whose jobs put them in contact with seniors. The portal includes thousands of links to various services. It has more than 4,000 printable forms. The forms and instructions linked with each of the various services are available on the same page. The portal brings together the services of all of Finland's 342 municipalities and about 300 organisations of the state administration. A new service account will be added to the pages later this year. The service account will allow users access to electronic versions of official decisions and other documents pertaining to themselves. Opening the portal on Wednesday, Minister of Administrative and Municipal Affairs Tapani Tölli (Centre) said that the website had been set up to rationalise public administration and to reduce costs. Tölli said that the present government is promoting data management legislation which would include the obligation to maintain compatibility of the data systems of public administration. The portal has been accessible already before Wednesday's official opening. Suomi.fi online editor Mari Kervinen says that the use of the portal has increased rapidly. In September about 300,000 people visited the pages, and about half of them used some document or other.


Fromhttp://www.hs.fi/ 11/01/2010

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Hungary: Against the Tide - Fidesz & Public Administration

Reaching out from Budapest
Fidesz's policy on local governments has for a long time been characterised by a historical commitment to strengthening the county system and a significantly more centralised public administration system. Parliament, which formed in May, has passed several amendments to Acts and government decrees that move public administration in the direction of greater centralisation. In July 2010 a government decree on the public administration offices in Budapest and the counties ordered the creation of new county government offices and regional public administration bodies. However, the county offices, which have taken over several tasks that were traditionally the preserve of local government, give the impression of being the "extended hand" of the government rather than the chief promoters of local interests. The tasks of the public administration office will include coordination, supervisory and IT tasks. It will have powers to give an opinion on the appointment of the leaders of the regional bodies subordinate to the government.

Getting the slip
The law on local government representatives and mayors has also undergone significant changes. The legislative amendment increasing the number of recommendation slips needed to run in elections and reducing the time allowed to do so has made life impossible for the candidates of small parties and civil organisations, and likely benefited Fidesz in local government elections. On the other hand legislation passed to return collection of the industrial tax to the local governments is an important step because it can bolster their economic independence despite the general move towards greater centralisation.

Alternatives lacking
The opposition parties hold views that differ greatly from those of the government but that does not mean there is consensus among the opposition either. The Politics Can Be Different (LMP) party and Jobbik have expressed concern about the changes to the election law but neither party has made a concrete counter-proposal. There are other points of friction: the LMP advocates the principle of subsidiarity as opposed to centralisation, while the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) would like to emphasise the regions rather than the counties. Fidesz has been tactically clever: both the party's candidate for Budapest city mayor, Istv¨˘n Tarl¨®s, and mayor of Debrecen, Lajos K¨®sa, who stood for re-election, have called for cooperation and recommended ways of changing the system, to which so far there has been no response. That allows Fidesz to gain public legitimacy for the plans, which in any case it can easily push through parliament thanks to its supermajority.

Continental models
International models cannot be ignored before comprehensive reform so it is worth mentioning some distinctive features that might be taken into account during the overhaul. The three basic continental models are similar in terms of tasks but the amount of power at each level differs from country to country. The greatest difference is in the extent of state financial support. France can be regarded as exemplary of the Mediterranean model. It has a strongly centralised five-level public administration system, where tasks and powers are divided between the levels in such a way that no individual level can become an autonomous actor. A third of their budget comes from the state and two-thirds from taxes. The Scandinavian model is essentially based on the Swedish local government system. The state performs only "national" functions while the whole public administration system is subordinate to the autonomous local governments, which are responsible for public issues in the general interest of citizens. The third type is the German model, which combines the two types outlined above. The best illustration is Holland. The local governments are not autonomous but they have significant room for manoeuvre. The system does not distinguish between small and large settlements: they can govern themselves but "in exchange" local autonomy is curtailed by the mayors being appointed by the government.

Centralisation favoured
We can conclude that the public administration model envisaged by Fidesz is closest to the French and Dutch models. The party would like to establish a supervisory administrative body by giving new tasks to the counties and creating a hierarchy between the levels. Although it is difficult to say which model is best, it gives food for thought that the government's intention of creating a strongly centralised system is at odds with European Union policy in favour of decentralising public administration.


From The Budapest Times 10/04/2010

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Ireland: Public Service Pay Bill Cut by €1.5 Billion in Two Years

Ireland's public service pay and pensions bill more than doubled from €8.6 billion in 2000 to €18.8 billion in 2008, but has dropped back in the last two years, new research has shown. The report 'Public Sector Trends 2010' by the Institute of Public Administration found that the total bill now stands at €17.3 billion this year, as a result of pay cuts and a reduction in headcount. The most rapid decline in pay and numbers in the last two years has happened in the security sector, with cuts in the Gardai and army outpacing those in the general civil service. But the report's author, Richard Boyle of the IPA, says that any attempt to curb the pay bill further to reduce the country's deficit will have to concentrate on health and education, which between them account for 75 per cent of the paybill. Numbers employed also rose rapidly from 295,000 in 2000 to 347,000 today, but have fallen by around 3 per cent since 2008 as the recession began to bite. While there have been ongoing plans by the government to cut back on the hundreds of government funded agencies (quangos) created in the last ten years, the report points out that they constitute just 4 per cent of total public sector employment and 4 per cent of the paybill. "Even with rationalisation the impact of cutbacks will be minimal when put in the context of the public sector as a whole" says the report. Boyle also notes that while the quality of Irish public administration has always been slightly above European average, trust in government has fallen rapidly since 2008 and this is starting to affect trust in the public service.


From http://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/ 11/17/2010

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Italy: New 'Italia.gov.it' Portal Now Online

On 3 August 2010, the new version of the 'Italia.gov.it' portal was officially presented at a press conference as Italy's 'eGovernment search engine'. The new portal was unveiled by Carlo Deadato, the head of the Cabinet of Renato Brunetta, the Minister for Public Administration and Innovation, as well as by Fabio Pistella, the Extraordinary Commissioner of DigitPA - the new Agency for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the Public Administration -, Giorgio de Rita, General Director of DigitPA and Carlo Flamment, the President of FormezPA - a non-profit association tasked with supporting the modernisation, competitiveness, efficiency of the Italian public administration at all levels of government. 'Italia.gov.it' is a search engine and an intelligent directory of public websites which is able to facilitate and connect via the Internet thousands of digital services and information provided by the Public Administration. Thanks to management systems and the participation of 'digital clients', 'Italia.gov.it' will also allow the exchange of services through the web to manage and improve the ability of public authorities to use ICT. The website is based on the experience of the 'Citizen Portal' (launched in 2002 by the Committee of Ministers for Information Society), a tool that is now outdated due to the advent of web 2.0 era as well as the complexity of public communication through the Internet. Initially designed as a place for collecting the information contained in institutional websites and aimed at families in priority, the previous version of the portal became no longer able neither to follow with timelessness and efficiency the information to be processed, nor to convey it in a consistent and reliable manner. Over the last years the number of public administration websites, as well as their dimension, have increased at an impressive pace, so much that the daily monitoring of the information proved more and more complicated, both quantity and quality-wise. Moreover, in terms of complexity and economical and planning efforts, the investments of the Public Administrations in Information Society tools turned out to be comparable with those of the most advanced private sector; the information that is potentially usable through web research has fulfilled almost all the informational needs of any citizen. The borders between services for citizens, businesses and professionals are more and more undefined. It is the case for instance when one searches for a unique certified email address or for the institutional address of a given public entity. 'Italia.gov.it' will thus act as the global eGovernment search engine and will provide web users with connections and search tools, for those to easily and securely obtain all desired information and digital services offered by the Public Administration. The website undergoes constant updates at all levels (search tool, content, technology used, etc) thanks to an internal working group of the Public Administration. Apart from the departments of the Ministry of Public Administration and Innovation, DigitPA, FormezPA and the National Research Council (CNR) are involved in this initiative. 'Italia.gov.it' intends to be a dynamic place where the information is not processed by editors but retrieved straight from the source, by looking for the most appropriate solution and taking the user directly to the sites of the public authorities.


From http://epractice.eu/ 10/01/2010

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Romania: PM Boc: Strengthened Mayor Status Envisaged by Amendment of Local Administration Law

Premier Emil Boc declared on Saturday, October 9, in Poiana Brasov (center Romania) that he is considering amending the Law on local public administration so as to strengthen the juridical status of the mayor in the relation with the local council. "In discussing the status of the mayor, which needs to be strengthened in Romania, we looked at it from the perspective of his relation with the local council and we also considered his legal status, so as to stop this situation when the mayor can be fined by everyone. In real life, the mayor can be fined by anyone, but has limited decision powers in many areas. The fact that he can be sued individually, and not necessarily in connection with the nature of his official position, can raise difficulties for his exerting his mandate. Therefore, we envisage amending the law of local public administration so as to strengthen the status of the mayor, regardless of his political hue," Boc said after a meeting with the Liberal Democratic community mayors. Another issue approached with the mayors was the absorption of EU funds, which - in the opinion of PM Boc - can help restart Romanian economy "as this is free money made available by the EU." Emil Boc said that the Liberal Democratic Party (PDL, major in the ruling coalition) can provide the mayors expertise so that they engage in a "decent competition' for attracting European funds. "Nothing is more dangerous for Romania than to politicize the absorption of European funds," said Boc.


From http://financiarul.ro/ 10/11/2010

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Russia: E-Government in Kazan to Be Launched

The electronic government service will start to operate in October in Kazan, capital of the Republic of Tatarstan located in central Russia, a local official said on Monday. The Russian Technologies State Corporation,or Rostechnologii, has already set up a company there specializing in broadband Internet service, said Sergey Chemezov, head of the corporation. "We need more time to finalize all of the necessary formalities with the Communications Ministry. But the first electronic government in Kazan and the entire system of high-speed broadband Internet access will start to function within a month," Chemezov was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying. Digital television has already been launched there as part of this program as well, he said. The company already established a network for e-government in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Ufa and Krasnodar. Kazan is the sixth largest city of Russia.


From Xinhua News Agency 09/13/2010

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Russia: E-Government Needs $2.6Bln for Services

The Communications and Press Ministry is seeking 80 billion rubles ($2.6 billion) next year to help government agencies deploy systems that will allow citizens to get services through the Internet, a ministry official told reporters Thursday. "The battle against corruption is one of the main goals of this effort," said Andrei Lipov, director of the ministry's department for information technology and informatization policy. "If we can provide even a part of the services people need via an e-government system, we expect corruption associated with government services to citizens to go down," he said. Some government agencies have been slow to react. Initial reviews by the ministry of nearly 60 federal agencies' IT plans have been "disappointing," Lipov said, and 23 have not even submitted a plan. Some government bodies and regions are making good progress, however. Lipov highlighted the Agriculture Ministry and the Office of Presidential Affairs as moving ahead well, and said that among the regions, the republic of Tatarstan and in Ufa, the capital of Bashkortostan, were very advanced in their IT planning. At the heart of the project is a "system of interagency electronic interaction," or SMEV by its Russian acronym. The federal SMEV is to be operated by the Communications and Press Ministry, while each region is to name a body to operate its SMEV. The SMEV will facilitate the implementation of a new law coming into effect next year that will prohibit a government agency from demanding documents from a citizen if that - or any other agency - already has such documents in its possession. The Health and Social Development Ministry's project to make digitized individual health records for every citizen is in a pilot phase this year and should be rolled out next year, Lipov said. Foreign passports have been issued to 60,000 citizens so far this year using the Federal Migration Service's electronic portal, he added. The deadline for agencies to begin providing services electronically is June 1, 2011. "This is the Rubicon," Lipov said. But the ministry understood that not everyone would be able to make it. It should be clear by December which agencies will be in good shape for next year, he said. President Dmitry Medvedev has been a strong supporter of e-government initiatives and oversaw the effort while still a first deputy prime minister.


From http://themoscowtimes.com/ 10/15/2010

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Russia: Satellites to Ake E-Govt Available - Rostelecom

PYATIGORSK (Itar-Tass) - Two K-2 satellites will be used to bring Internet and e-government services to remote Russian regions where laying fibre optic cables would be loss-making, Rostelecom Voce President Andrei Nashchekin said. "Around two million people living in remote places with a low density of the population will get access to the Internet for 300-400 roubles a month via satellites," he said on Wednesday, November 10. He believes that in other regions communication channels should be built using public-private partnership. "Currently only 30 percent of the country are covered by the broadband Internet connection," he said.


From http://www.itar-tass.com/ 11/11/2010

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UK: To Invest £650m in Cyber Security

Prime Minister David Cameron has said the government will invest £650m to address 'shortfalls' in cyber security. This came as he announced the findings of the first defence review for 12 years. Cameron said: "Over the next four years, we will invest over half a billion pounds of new money in a national cyber security programme. "This will significantly enhance our ability to detect and defend against cyber attacks and fix shortfalls in the critical cyber infrastructure on which the whole country now depends." Responding to a challenge from Ed Miliband, Cameron said that the cyber investment represented a "long term decision" amidst the government's cuts. This follows news that National Security Strategy considered cyber security issues to be amongst the government's "Tier 1" group of threats.


From http://publicservice.co.uk/ 10/19/2010

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LATIN AMERICA: Brazil's Lagging Performance in Broadband Spurs Government to Action

Brazil's initiative to boost broadband availability will significantly improve access to broadband service over the next four years, but it is likely to fall short of the government's aggressive goal of 40 million broadband households by 2014, according to a new report from Pyramid Research.

Broadband network expansion to date has focused on urban centers and in the southeast region of Brazil, where operators see a clear business case. Few operators have announced plans to extend their networks into rural or remote areas, making clear the need for government action. The PNBL promises to extend Brazil's fiber backbone to nearly all Brazilian states, and also addresses the affordability challenge by lowering backbone costs for carriers and addressing the sizable tax burden associated with broadband subscribership. "After accounting for business accounts and dual broadband account ownership, Pyramid predicts there will be 27 million total broadband households in Brazil at year-end 2014, amounting to approximately 48 percent of households, not the 72 percent intended," says Luis Portela, Analyst at Large for Pyramid. "Though the plan is aimed primarily at expanding traditional fixed last-mile access, Pyramid believes that mobile operators and pay-TV operators have as much, if not more, to gain from the buildout of a nationwide fiber-optic backbone."

Although Pyramid Research believes that the plan will help boost overall broadband penetration, it questions the efficacy of having the plan spearheaded by a government-owned institution. "For example, the government is to blame for the affordability problem in Brazil," explains Portela. "Taxes are a significant problem, but will be addressed by the National Broadband Plan, which will waive taxes on some of the least expensive offerings targeted at lower-income customers. There is a clear role for the government to play, but we believe the pendulum may have swung too far toward the interventionist approach," he adds.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 09/24/2010

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NORTH AMERICA: Canada's E-Government Initiatives Among the Best in the World

One blustery winter morning, Toronto-based software developer Kieran Huggins wanted to know when the next bus would be coming before he ventured outside, but when he searched the Internet for transit schedules and updates, he found only incomplete data that was difficult to navigate. No help with his commute. So he decided to write his own application. That was in 2007. Huggins, a partner with Toronto-based development shop Refactory, soon discovered the app was the easy part. The hard part was trying to navigate the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) information, which was stored in inaccessible formats and missing a lot of crucial elements. "Mostly, their data was terrible," he said. He and business partner Kevin Branigan did a lot of legwork and calculations and were eventually able to build their own accurate data set of all the stop times for every route in the city. The data is housed on their Web site, MyTTC.ca, as an open-source trip planner. It is not, however, endorsed by the TTC.

Open road ahead
Huggins' frustration at not being able to easily find public information is one that is shared by many Canadians, and has caused many to push for a national open-government initiative. But it's not an easy road. "There is no one universal definition of openness. That said, greater access to, and transparency around, services and information is a good place to start," said Carmi Levy, a London, Ont.-based independent analyst. He said that open access will pave the way for greater participation of citizens, who, in the pre-Web 2.0 era, were more likely to just be passive receivers of government services. "Now, open government gives them a significantly more active role in defining and delivering the kinds of services most relevant to them." Chris Moore, CIO for the city of Edmonton, agreed that a truly open government is one in which citizens have a more active role, but he said the technology and access to data sets also need to be in place in order to allow this to happen seamlessly. "But it's more about the people than the technology," said Moore, who was one of three Government Web 2.0 panelists speaking at the fifth-annual mesh conference in Toronto last spring. "Edmonton is the fourth city in Canada to have an open data plan. Community engagement is the most important thing." It makes sense that municipal governments may be a bit further ahead with Web 2.0, said Michelle Warren, president of Toronto-based MW Consulting. Not only are the municipalities smaller, more agile and able to respond faster than provincial or federal offices, the community tends to interact with them on a more regular basis "due to the frequency and regularity of issues, such as transit info and garbage collection." But even at the municipal level, e-voting exists only as isolated pilots and has not even been mentioned federally. But inroads are also being made in the federal government and collaboration is key, according to another mesh panelist. "Web 2.0 is changing the way we work together within our organizations, and the way we serve Canadians," said Marj Akerley, Ottawa-based executive director, Organizational Readiness Office, CIO branch of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. "Several departments already provide open access to some of their data, and have been doing so for some time."

Worldwide recognition
Back in 1999, the Government of Canada boldly announced it wanted to become "known around the world as the government most connected to its citizens" with the release of its Government On-Line (GOL) initiative. Its goal was to make more information and services available online while continuing to provide services through traditional modes. This government-wide initiative, led by Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), had many successes: it generated a common look and feel for all government Web sites, online availability of the 130 most commonly used services and secure electronic payment capability. The cost savings of GOL were also significant: while an in-person transaction costs on average about $30 per person and about $10 via telephone, it costs $1 or less per interaction via the Internet. And because the federal government conducts about 400 million transactions each year, the savings add up. In fact, for the fifth consecutive year, Canada ranked number one in "customer service maturity in eGovernment" out of 22 countries surveyed in Accenture's Leadership in Customer Service 2010 report. Though the GOL concluded in 2006, there are several other long-term e-government goals for Canada, such as continuing to improve efficiencies and transparency between departments, according to PWGSC. "As more of these wins become part of mainstream government operations, late-adopting agencies will be more motivated to get on-board," Levy predicted. "Success in open government won't just breed more success. It'll breed accelerated buy-in and adoption of those who still hold on to more traditional forms of public service and leadership."

Changing the system from within
Despite the success of the GOL efforts, Canadians like Huggins are critical of the seeming lack of openness and access to timely, accurate information for everyday citizens. That may be because, up until now, much of the government's focus has actually been on the internal use of Web 2.0 technology to collaborate and share knowledge. In 2008, the federal government launched an internal wiki called GCPedia as a way to capture, build upon and share the collective knowledge of employees across the country. GCPedia is accessible to 250,000 employees in more than 100 departments. The wiki has approximately 16,000 registered users and 444 user groups. Federal employees can use the platform to post, comment and edit articles by their peers. Departments that had not shared much information in the past are suddenly now collaborating. "When you are talking about 250,000 people, the potential for cultural change is huge. This is starting to break down walls, break down barriers between departments," Akerley said. "As government employees become more comfortable with new technology and seek mechanisms for collaboration, their confidence in the effectiveness of the tools is increasing," she said, echoing Levy's comments. On a smaller scale, she said, some departments are using social media tools for interaction directly with the public, and the Treasury Board Secretariat is currently developing a guideline on the use of external social media tools by employees. In developing these guidelines, many elements need to be considered, she said. "As government employees, we must comply with all applicable Government of Canada policies. We also have a responsibility to respect bilingualism and accessibility, and ensure the security and privacy of employees and citizens are protected."

Increased pressure
Levy noted that the federal government has some challenging work ahead, and agreed that cultural change is what is needed most in order to make e-government initiatives a success. "This is not an environment that changes easily, if changes come at all," he said. "But the government is under increased pressure to do more with less, and they no longer have a choice." According to Levy, citizens have come to expect the same level of service they can get from other online information providers. "Accelerated adoption is being driven not by a growing desire by government to get ahead of the curve. Governments don't necessarily want to become leaders in the open government movement. But if they want to remain responsive to citizens' needs, they have no choice. In other words, they're being pulled into it," Levy said. "Cultural change always evolves more slowly than technological changes. But the government needs to keep pace." The e-Citizen Studio, a Fredericton, N.B.-based initiative of the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada, is striving to help other offices of government do just that. The Studio provides a forum to evaluate third-party technologies and to conduct design sessions, focus groups and video conferences. "Transformational change has to happen," said Marc-Alain Mallet, director of business development and research support at the NRC. "There is an increasing demand from citizens for greater access, more information and better collaboration. "The fact that mobile devices are now ubiquitous and people are online more often is driving big changes to the way people search for information. These things have caused a higher level of awareness. Citizens want to take an active role in the way the future is shaped," he said. "Here, we have an environment where we can test."

Reduce, reuse, repurpose
The Studio evaluates a wide range of technologies and looks at ways to create an environment that is open, added Dr. William McIver Jr., senior research officer and e-Citizen Studio manager. "We are looking at ways to make data modular and highly flexible, to reuse and repurpose data." This will make developing it faster and deploying it easier, because different departments could reuse the same modules over and over with little customization. And they wouldn't need to develop anything themselves. Key areas of research include public transportation, health care and location-based services, he said, and one key to success is to look for ways to engage the citizens and leverage the expertise of the community and private sector as co-developers. In fact, citizen-driven development is what Huggins did with MyTTC.ca, and what the third mesh panelist, Montreal-based Michael Mulley, did as well when he created openparliament.ca. The site strives to "keep tabs on Canada's parliament" by posting data aggregated from a variety of sources. Visitors can sort by name of MP, subject or postal code of their riding, and find out what is being said. Mulley's story is similar to Huggins'. He was looking for information on government sites and found it very difficult to locate. "My first impression was that it's way harder than it should be. Many frustrations could be removed in a day. And that day is long gone," he said, adding that citizens are often in the best position to make changes happen. "There is immense potential for interested developers like me and like many other Canadians to do interesting things with government data. It's much easier for citizens to do than it is for government...to experiment and innovate." Huggins echoed this point. For example, he noticed a gap in detailed TTC information regarding accessibility, and said the best way to understand what was needed was to just go there in person. Huggins and business partner Branigan spent hours riding to every stop on the subway, assessing the elevators and stairs and the time each took. "It was kind of fun," Huggins said. So in the end, it seems the government and the communities both want the same things: to be more transparent, share the most accurate information, and have more interaction with each other, McIver said. "After all, the people we work with in government are citizens too."


From http://backbonemag.com/ 09/09/2010

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Canada: Launching 'Datadotgc.ca 2.0' - Bigger, Better and in the Clouds

Back in April of this year we launched datadotgc.ca - an unofficial open data portal for federal government data. At a time when only a handful of cities had open data portals and the words "open data" were not being even talked about in Ottawa, we saw the site as a way to change the conversation and demonstrate the opportunity in front of us. Our goal was to:
l Be an innovative platform that demonstrates how government should share data.
l Create an incentive for government to share more data by showing ministers, public servants and the public which ministries are sharing data, and which are not.
l Provide a useful service to citizens interested in open data by bringing it all the government data together into one place to both make it easier to find.

In every way we have achieved this goal. Today the conversation about open data in Ottawa is very different. I've demoed datadotgc.ca to the CIO's of the federal government's ministries and numerous other stakeholders and an increasing number of people understand that, in many important ways, the policy infrastructure for doing open data already exists since datadotgc.ca show the government is already doing open data. More importantly, a growing number of people recognize it is the right thing to do. Today, I'm pleased to share that thanks to our friends at Microsoft & Raised Eyebrow Web Studio and some key volunteers, we are taking our project to the next level and launching Datadotgc.ca 2.0. So what is new? In short, rather than just pointing to the 300 or so data sets that exist on federal government websites members may now upload datasets to datadotg.ca where we can both host them and offer custom APIs. This is made possible since we have integrated Microsoft's Azure cloud-based Open Government Data Initiative into the website. So what does this mean? It means people can add government data sets, or even mash up government data sets with their own data to create interest visualization, apps or websites. Already some of our core users have started to experiment with this feature. London Ontario's transit data can be found on Datadotgc.ca making it easier to build mobile apps, and a group of us have taken Environment Canada's facility pollution data, uploaded it and are using the API to create an interesting app we'll be launching shortly. So we are excited. We still have work to do around documentation and tracking some more federal data sets we know are out there but, we've gone live since nothing helps us develop like having users and people telling us what is, and isn't working. But more importantly, we want to go live to show Canadians and our governments, what is possible. Again, our goal remains the same - to push the government's thinking about what is possible around open data by modeling what should be done. I believe we've already shifted the conversation - with luck, datadotgc.ca v2 will help shift it further and faster. Finally, I can never thank our partners and volunteers enough for helping make this happen.


From http://eaves.ca/ 11/09/2010

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US: We're in Open Government's Beta Period

As Congress returns to Washington after this weekend's somber anniversary, the conversation on Capitol Hill will inevitably shift to the midterm elections. The White House is faced with high unemployment, the long war abroad and domestic priorities that range from education to energy policy to immigration to cybersecurity. In that context, it might be easy for citizens and officials alike to let deep discussion of open government be subsumed under the tsunami of partisan rancor, entertainment news and horse race coverage of the elections. That would be a mistake. There are legitimate arguments to be had about the tech policy choices of Congress and the White House, and they will no doubt be on display in the pages of the country's newspapers and hotly debated in comment threads. What's not in contention, however, is the exploration of technology-enabled platforms for a government of, by, for and with the people. This deserves close scrutiny.

Patching open government
As Nancy Scola noted at techPresident in a post about Thomas.gov, "Skepticism about the transformative effect of open government isn't surprising," but backing that critique up with rigorous analysis is crucial. That's precisely what the White House's open government directive received last week, when the Sunlight Foundation's executive director, Ellen Miller, delivered a bracing analysis of its progress. As Miller said in our subsequent interview, the launch of open government was inspirational, but the "follow through has left something to be desired." The bottom line "is that we're not seeing the kind of data made available that we were promised," said Miller. We talked more about whether a change in Congress will give a boost to the transparency movement, and the commonalities between open government in the United Kingdom and the United States. Miller sees congruency in finding accountability for government, across the ideological spectrum, in finding efficiencies and effectiveness. She said the Sunlight foundation is working on two sides: helping and prodding entities to publish data, and helping government engage with citizens to co-create government. That's enabled through the tools created at Sunlight Labs, like Poligraft.com or InfluenceExplorer.com, TransparencyData.com or "Sunlight Live." Miller's strong speech prodded open source advocate Gunnar Hellekson to respond that government doesn't look good naked, which is to say that transparency through open government is a messy, iterative process that inevitably reveals some ugly truth in the process. If people look back at how far open government has come, as Derek Willis wrote, the perspective shifts. In responding to Tom Lee's post on open government carrots and sticks, Hellekson borrowed from the open source world to describe Sunlight's role as a welcome patch. That considered approach was adopted by MIT professor Andew McAfee's post on Gov 2.0 vs the Beast of Bureaucracy, where he weighed the reasons to be optimistic against the reasons to be concerned. McAfee wrote: There now exists a fantastic set of digital tools to make government data and services available, and to make the work of the state more open, transparent, and participative. The idea of "government as platform" that Tim [O'Reilly] has been so eloquent about is not a pipe dream; it's feasible right now, and is only going to get easier to realize thanks to relentless technology improvement and innovation. The challenge for innovators is the inertia and immensity of a self-perpetuating bureaucracy, which waits out reformers, whether they're working to implement open government or other initiatives. Like Miller, however, McAfee pulled no punches in his final assessment of whether improvements are necessary, particularly in providing e-services to veterans: The VA has rolled out an ebenefits resource where veterans can instantly see the status of their claims, and the agency is to be applauded for this Gov 2.0 innovation. But the overall lack of state-of-the art digital tools at the VA, and the persistence of a bureaucracy that takes more than 160 days to let someone know if they'll receive disability payments for the limbs they lost in Iraq or Afghanistan is not a problem that needs to be fixed. It's a moral stain on the country. Sometimes it's important to speak plainly. No open government tool has addressed that backlog. However, Peter Levin, the CTO of the Department of Veterans Affairs, appears to be focused on working toward improving that situation.

New open government initiatives
Four initiatives launched at the Gov 2.0 Summit are relatively modest in their immediate impact, but they could fundamentally improve different aspects of government. First, the FCC launched new APIs and a developer engagement platform, extending the notion of government as a platform to the country's top communications regulator. The launch of FCC.gov/developer is the precursor to a larger plan to reboot FCC.gov with open government, as I've previously reported. We should see the launch of a new FCC site by January of next year. Second, the General Services Agency launched Challenge.gov. Does Challenge.gov deserve a fist bump? Is it an excuse killer? As CityCamp founder Kevin Curry pointed out, "what people may not understand about Challenge.gov is that it isn't about the website. It's about changing the procurement model." The question of whether crowdsourcing national challenges leads to better solutions will remain outstanding for months time to come. Third, in an unscheduled moment, deputy White House CTO Andrew McLaughlin was joined by Carl Malamud on-stage to talk about Video.gov, a "platform that will connect all of the disparate video archives of the federal government departments and agencies, as well as easy access to feeds and an inspiring presentation of live video feeds from across the government." McLaughlin's conversation with Malamud follows Beth Noveck's talk on "Ten Ways to Change The World," which offered insight into the administration's perspective on open government progress over the past year. Finally, Civic Commons launched at Gov 2.0 Summit. Civic Commons is a code-sharing initiative between cities aimed at helping city governments cut IT costs. One of the first chunks of code in Civic Commons is an open-sourced federal IT dashboard. DC CTO Bryan Sivak, Code For America's Jen Pahlka and OpenPlans' Nick Grossman announced Civic Commons.

Open government? Yes we scan
The most rousing invocation of the conference was delivered by the man who has done as much as anyone outside of government to open it up. Carl Malamud's talk, the "Currents of our Time", provided historical context and it challenged the feds to go much further with open government. Malamud defined three steps government needs to take: Finish the open government revolution: Define bulk data standards and enforce them. Release more data online. Update the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for the Internet Age, and publish those materials gained online. Get serious about digitization: Embrace a national scanning initiative. "If we can put a man on the moon, surely we can launch the Library of Congress into cyberspace." Start an open systems revolution: Create a "Computer Commission" with the kind of authority the Civil Service Commission created in the 19th Century. This commission should "conduct agency-by-agency reviews and help us reboot .gov, flipping the bit from a reliance on over-designed custom systems to one based on open-source building blocks, judicious use of commercial off-the-shelf-components, and much tighter control of the beltway bandits."

Recapturing the open government genie
What to take away from Malamud's "technohomiletics," Miller's open government scorecard, Noveck's citations or the rich online discussions about accountability stimulated by Gov 2.0 Summit? First, open government is complicated. It's risky. It's incremental. It's a largely unfunded mandate. Cost savings founded in reducing FOIA requests by publishing public information online often remain anticipated, not realized. The cultural shifts required for full adoption are not in the DNA of many federal or state agencies. There are new security and privacy risks that the intelligence directorates, citizens, and developers are just beginning to appreciate. Consider what it will mean to bring open government to courts, for example. As Jim Stogdill argues in his take on Gov 2.0 and open government: "... fixing government IT may also mean fixing incentives and making a cognitive leap to intentional emergence." Second, open government patches like Clearspending.org can make a difference in holding transparency to account. But none of it will be easy, or fast, or certain. Any "Government 2.0 beta" will have crashes, bugs and failures. Mistakes can't be tolerated in the code for a nuclear launch vehicle, but in the messy intersection of citizens, open data, civic hackers, government agencies, new media and private industry, they are inevitable. Finally, the Internet's disruption to communications and secrecy - as recently embodied by Wikileaks - is not a genie that can be stuffed back into a dusty archive. Would the electorate tolerate Thomas.gov, Data.gov or Recovery.gov being shut down? Will Australia or the United Kingdom roll back their Gov 2.0 efforts? As citizens turn to the Internet for government data, policy and services, the importance of relevant and accessible information only grows.


From http://radar.oreilly.com/ 09/14/2010

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US: Problem of Online Trust Has No Government Solution

The prevailing, certificate-based web browsing model is a significant cybersecurity threat for Internet users, but this multi-jurisdictional, multi-stakeholder problem has no governmental solution, said a White House official during an Oct. 22 event in Washington, D.C. "Government can't fix it and government shouldn't fix it. So this is not an area where public policy is going to be able to waltz in with a thunder set of regulations, or some kind of rule set perpetrated down through the system by an authority - it's just not going to happen," said Andrew McLaughlin, White House deputy chief technology officer, while speaking at the New America Foundation. "You don't want government to try to be your front line. We have a history of screwing things up. Even if it were possible, there are good reasons for government not to try to dictate solutions here," he added.

This issue is the classic Internet policy problem, he said, and the diversity of players, jurisdictions, standards, hardware and physical interconnection make trusted browsing difficult to pin down. Browser certificates depend on a chain of trust between many different entities, and within each link, is another micro-chain of trust, said Ari Schwartz, senior Internet policy advisor at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Because the Internet is a collection of voluntarily interconnected networks, one party's insecure practices can make the network insecure for the other entities, even when they are being as secure as possible. While government can't fix the problem, McLaughlin said there is room for government to spur collective action for these multiple and competing actors to cooperate and adopt best practices. International standards bodies should help map out what a better, more secure ecosystem would look like, he said. McLaughlin added that there also needs to be an incentive system, of some sort, to halt the "race to the bottom" - the competition among certificate authorities to be less expensive than their competitors and, thus, often sacrificing the thoroughness of their audits in the process.

With the Commerce Department's Internet Policy Task Force, NIST's work with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, and the Homeland Security Department's emergency preparedness efforts, it appears some government players are actively addressing the problem. "It's important to note that there are folks in government that are paying attention to this problem," said Schwartz. "In the Cyber Storm III exercise that just went on, some of these attacks were simulated - and I actually asked DHS if it was okay to talk about it and they said if it was at the level of saying that certificate authorities and related DNS issues were raised and that simulated impact, then that it was okay to do that," said Schwartz. "So it's worth pointing out that there has been a lot of talk about that. These kinds of attacks have real-life examples of things that can go wrong, if not properly taken care of."


From http://fiercegovernmentit.com/ 10/22/2010

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US: Transparency Helps E-Government Increase Citizen Satisfaction

Citizens are quite satisfied with federal government websites that provide a range of services, from securing benefits to serving as a resource for research and information. The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) E-Government Index climbs 0.8 percent to 75.3 on a 100-point scale, among the highest scores ever recorded and about the same as it was a year ago.

A key driver of satisfaction with federal websites is online transparency, and there is aggregate evidence of improvement in this area as federal agencies work to comply with the Open Government Initiative. According to the ForeSee Results/Nextgov Government Transparency Study released last week, increased transparency leads to citizen satisfaction and trust in government. "Citizens are consumers of government services, and what makes them so satisfied about federal websites is that they are generally able to find what they want and accomplish what they have set out to do," said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results. "This provides a win-win for citizens: easier and more accessible information and services at a lower cost to taxpayers." High satisfaction with federal government websites increases the likelihood that citizens will trust and participate in government, among other benefits. According to the study, highly satisfied citizens (those who score 80 or higher in satisfaction) rate their trust in the government unit 58% higher than dissatisfied citizens and are: 55% more likely to participate in government; 80% more likely to use the website as a primary resources, as opposed to other more costly channels like a call center; 52% more likely to return to the website.

E-Government continues its dominance in overall government in terms of customer satisfaction. The Q3 2010 e-government score is 10 percent higher than the overall federal government score of 68.7 measured in the fourth quarter of 2009. "There is often a disconnect between citizens' personal experience with the federal government online and offline. Online sectors of the economy typically perform better than offline sectors in terms of customer satisfaction, and with government services it is no different," said Claes Fornell, founder of ACSI and a business professor at the University of Michigan. ForeSee Results employed the methodology of the American Customer Satisfaction Index to survey more than 275,000 visitors to 113 federal websites in the third quarter of 2010. The full study reports individual scores for each of the 113 websites on the ACSI's 100-point scale. A copy of the report is available at www.ForeSeeResults.com. (By Ann Arbor, Mich)


From http://finance.yahoo.com/ 10/26/2010

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US: E-Government Bringing Back People's Trust in Government

In a recently published research, ACSI and ForeSee Results revealed that e-governance is playing a crucial role in the corporatization of government and administration and raising the satisfaction level of the citizens, who are consumers of government services. ACSI and ForeSee research said citizens are quite satisfied with federal government websites that provide a range of services, from securing benefits to serving as a resource for research and information. Interestingly, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) e-government index climbed 0.8 percent to 75.3 on a 100-point scale. This happens to be among the highest scores ever recorded and about the same as it was a year ago. ForeSee found that e-government continues its dominance in overall government in terms of customer satisfaction. The 3Q 2010 e-government score is 10 percent higher than the overall federal government score of 68.7 measured in the fourth quarter of 2009. According to the research, a key driver of satisfaction with federal websites is online transparency. However there still are areas requiring improvements and to this end federal agencies are working to comply with the Open Government Initiative. In the study, ForeSee concluded that increased transparency leads to citizen satisfaction and trust in government. "Citizens are consumers of government services, and what makes them so satisfied about federal websites is that they are generally able to find what they want and accomplish what they have set out to do. This provides a win-win for citizens: easier and more accessible information and services at a lower cost to taxpayers," Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results mentioned in the report. According to the study, highly satisfied citizens (those who score 80 or higher in satisfaction) rate their trust in the government unit 58 percent higher than dissatisfied citizens. "There is often a disconnect between citizens' personal experience with the federal government online and offline. Online sectors of the economy typically perform better than offline sectors in terms of customer satisfaction, and with government services it is no different," said Claes Fornell, founder of ACSI and a business professor at the University of Michigan. In a recent report produced by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), news websites were found to have customer satisfaction levels, on average, of 74 on the study's 100-point scale. In contrast, ForeSee Results clients scored a 76, two points and 3 percent higher than the average for news websites.


From http://outbound-call-center.tmcnet.com/ 11/04/2010

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CHINA: Netizens Urged to Show Support for Virtual Cop Site

Following the success of its recently launched microblog, the city's Public Security Bureau wants online fans and critics to turn up for a real-world meeting later this month to talk about its Internet presence. The bureau officially launched its microblog on Aug 1, along with other media services that include three blogs and a podcast. They are housed on the main Internet portals sina.com, sohu.com and 163.com as well as the video-sharing website ku6.com. The new services were a major part of the bureau's recent attempts to improve its public relations. The services, branded under the title "Safe Beijing", have a cartoon icon of a police officer and have seen a total of 3.67 million visits since Aug 1. They had received more than 15,000 comments by Monday. The microblog at sina.com alone has attracted more than 68,000 "fans" and the number is increasing by about 2,000 a day. "The services are interactions between the police and the public," said Zhao Feng, an official with the information office at the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau. "The police deliver safety tips to the public as well as collect opinions and sentiments from the public." The planned real-world meeting will be between police officers and about 10 netizens who will be invited from among the frequent users of the online services. The bureau wants to hold the get-together to better introduce police work to the public and collect suggestions on how to improve services, said Zhao.

The meeting will also address specific and frequently mentioned appeals from the public as well as criticism from netizens. Zhao said the invitations to participate will be sent to interested netizens, regardless of whether they have left positive or negative comments on the sites. The bureau launched its second microblog at sohu.com on Sunday and it has already attracted more than 2,000 users. The contents of the microblogs cover the broadcasting of public security information, safety tips, announcements for community services and information about police work. Clips of police stories and examples of routine work are available on "Safe Beijing" at ku6.com, sina.com, 163.com and sohu.com. Controversial topics are not excluded from the official microblogs. Two hours after Fang Zhouzi, the well-known "science cop" who has campaigned against academic fraud, was attacked by two men, the police issued a notice about the investigation on its microblog. The microblog even helped police save the life of a Jinan netizen in Shandong province who planned to broadcast her suicide on her microblog. The official microblog received a report from an alarmed netizen and officers managed to track down the woman and prevent the suicide, according to Qilu Evening News in Jinan, Shandong province.

However, the best way to report a case to officers is to call 110, China's emergency number, said Zhao. Comments made by netizens on the content of the police microblogs vary greatly and range from radical criticism to sweet words of appreciation. A netizen named "yimengwangran" wrote: "What can you do really, except utter some bureaucratic words?" after the police offered tips to middle school students on how to deal with physical threats. Another netizen, named "panbubu", said: "The police did a good job!" after reading on the official microblog about how officers in Tongzhou district had rounded up a lost donkey that was on a busy road and returned it to its owner. "We try our best to reply to comments from netizens," said Zhao. "If problems reported on the official microblogs are specific, like reversed traffic signs, police do off-line work to solve these problems." More than 50 cases first reported by the public through the microblogs, including noisy nighttime construction and children begging, have been resolved in the past month. But Zhao said some cases mentioned on the microblog lack specific facts and cannot be acted upon. "Whatever the comments are, the police have been adopting the basic principle that the team of eight policemen backing the microblog around the clock never delete a comment," Zhao said.


From China Daily 09/07/2010

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China Strives to Improve E-Governance in Countryside

The Chinese government has been working to bridge the wide "digital divide" between urban and rural areas caused by imbalances in Internet access and information literacy. In China's underdeveloped countryside, the lack of popularity of the Internet, which has long been recognized as a critical base for e-governance, has presented considerable challenges to the government in delivering effective public services, said officials and experts at the 4th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance being held from Oct. 25 to 28 in Beijing. The emphasis of good e-governance should be on creating a more equitable society by reducing the gap between the rich and the poor and eliminating persistent poverty, said the conference' s general co-chair, Peter Haddawy, also director of the International Institution for Software Technology at the United Nations University. China has more than 700 million rural residents, accounting for over half the country' s total population. About 15 percent of rural residents managed to surf the Internet once in the second half of 2009, which is one-third the number of urban net users, according to a report by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) this year. In addition, "the development of the Internet in China' s countryside has begun to slow down" , the report said, implying the possibility of a widening 'digital divide' between rural and urban areas.

Despite several efforts in recent years, weak infrastructure and poor education levels of the rural population have continued to hamper the promotion of the Internet in the countryside, said Du Weicheng, deputy head of the Information Center at the Ministry of Agriculture. Therefore, the Chinese government was now exploring different and more pragmatic methods to improve e-governance in these areas, rather than merely trying to spread the use of the Internet, Du said. "In the past five years, we' ve been encouraging our local sectors to make the best use of telephones and televisions - the traditional platforms that have allowed the sharing of agricultural policies and information," Du said, adding that he found hotlines very popular among farmers. By 2009, more than 96 percent of Chinese rural households had access to mobile phones and televisions, according to the Annual Report on China' s E-Government Development in 2010. "In the near future, we' ll optimize our cell phone-based customized short message services to cater to the farmers' need for information on supply and demand, as well as for technical counseling," Du said. Nevertheless, the important role of the Internet in developing rural areas has never been ignored. "Today, China has about 30,000 websites concerning agricultural issues. We plan to cut that number while improving the quality of the ones that remain," Du said. The official website of the Ministry of Agriculture currently attracts some six million clicks every day, he said. "Limited or no access to the Internet has hindered rural residents from enjoying the public services provided by the government as conveniently as their urban counterparts," said Jin Feng, head of the Information Center of east China's Jiangxi Province.

A large proportion of the rural population also misses out using the Internet as an important channel for voicing opinions, although it is becoming increasingly so for urban residents. "About 80 percent of the complaints posted on the 'message board' of the website of the provincial government are from urban citizens," Jin said. An important requirement for e-governance was to "give a greater voice to the poor, particularly rural communities," said Haddawy. Thanks to the government's subsidies, many villages in Jiangxi managed to set up a service center equipped with computers and an instructor to teach farmers the basics of the Internet, Jin said. Dr. Sharon Dawes from the Center for Technology in Government, University at Albany, said that in poor rural areas, higher levels of literacy and basic education were the foundation of progress in e-governance. "Education provides opportunities to prepare people to be good consumers of information. I believe that information can help lift people out of poverty," she said. The central committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council have stressed the significance of "informatization" in rural areas in the "No. 1 document" of the central committee, the first document issued every year, for five years in a row.


From Xinhua News Agency 10/27/2010

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China's E-Governance Keeping Up with Internet Trend of Microblogging

At around 9 p.m. Tuesday, the microblogger "Safe Beijing" finished the last update of the day by issuing eight tips on the prevention of carbon monoxide poisoning, as a continuing cold snap has forced some Beijing citizens living in bungalows to burn coal for warmth. Only one minute after it was sent, the post was being widely "forwarded" by fans of "Safe Beijing" on t.sina.com.cn, China's most popular microblog website, which was launched one year ago by web portal giant Sina. "Safe Beijing" was opened by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau three months ago. The move was considered part of their public relations campaigns to enhance transparency and interaction with residents, as microblogging has become a popular way for Chinese to receive the latest news and information. "It's good for the police authorities to look at such details that are critical to people's lives. I hope this microblog can play a greater role in the future," said fan "Meng Kunyu", commenting on the post. A survey conducted by the China Youth Daily newspaper showed that 73.5 percent of the 3,282 respondents from 30 Chinese provinces, regions and municipalities log onto microblogs to learn the latest information, while 66.6 percent use them to participate in online discussions.

"Safe Beijing" has attracted more than 162,000 fans and undoubtedly its influence will be further expanded as the number of its users surged by an additional 20,000 during this past week. "I once worried that microblogging would become a mere formality for e-governance, but it seems to work well," Professor Wang Yukai with the Chinese Academy of Governance told a Xinhua reporter Wednesday on the sidelines of the ongoing 5th China E-government Forum in Beijing. The Beijing police have embraced microblogs' unique advantages of being more convenient and interactive, and managed to narrow their gap as the police have become more accessible to ordinary people, Wang said. "They set a good example for other governmental agencies." Every day, "Safe Beijing" sends posts offering anti-fraud, anti-theft and personal safety tips, as well as the latest police affairs news. "I can hardly associate the microblogger who appears kind and warmhearted with the stubborn image of police authorities," said a Beijing citizen, Benny Li, also a fan of "Safe Beijing". Li said the microblogger, an attractive policewoman in her 20s, posted her picture on the site earlier this month. "I felt closer to her after seeing her picture."

Nevertheless, what impressed Li the most was the police authorities' increasingly open attitude towards popular social topics, for example, the attack on Fang Zhouzi, a prominent Chinese anti-fraud science writer, in late August in Beijing. Four hours after the incident occurred, "Safe Beijing" posted a short message pledging to "release the follow-up information on time" and "protect people's legitimate rights". "The police used to be very reluctant to release information about criminal cases, especially those that involved celebrities. I didn't expect to get their responses so quickly this time," Li said. So far, more than 200 Chinese public security institutions at township, municipal and provincial levels, as well as dozens of other governmental agencies have launched microblogging services on t.sina.com.cn. Additionally, online communities were playing an increasingly important role in helping the government solicit public opinions and improve their relationships with citizens, said Sun Yu, a scholar from Beijing Normal University. This idea has even caught on in Washington D.C. when, on May 1st last year, the White House logged onto Twitter and issued a post saying, "Today the White House is taking steps to expand how the Administration is communicating with the public."


From Xinhua News Agency 10/27/2010

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JAPAN: 'Maiko' Parade in Kyoto to Promote Online Tax Filing

Young geisha, known as "maiko," paraded through the streets of Kyoto this week to promote online tax filing ahead of tax awareness week next month. Ten maiko from Kyoto's Gion area wearing colorful kimono left Yasaka Shrine in the ancient capital's Higashiyama Ward, some on foot and some by rickshaw. They paraded for around 2 kilometers on Shijo and Hanamikoji streets, handing out tissues explaining the "e-Tax" system.


From http://www.japantoday.com/ 10/16/2010

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NORTH KOREA: News Agency Launches New Website

North Korea's state-run news agency launched a new website on the anniversary of the country's Workers Party, Radio Free Asia said Thursday. The website features a picture of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il watching a military parade on the occasion of the anniversary on its front page. The Korea Central News Agency website is also available in English and Spanish, and has menu buttons such as politics, economy, culture, and media. Each section features propaganda praising the revolutionary achievement of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il. Information on North Korean society such as economic rebuilding and cooperation, scientific technology, films and performances is available. Access from South Korea is restricted.


From http://english.chosun.com/ 10/15/2010

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SOUTH KOREA: Seoul Hosts E-Government Assembly

The inaugural meeting of the World e-Government Organization, established to reduce the information gap among the member cities and to promote a common prosperity, kicked off in Seoul on Tuesday. Mayors and IT experts from some 50 cities participated in the two-day conference followed by a four-day forum in order to draw up the organization's basic bylaws, said officials. The participants also voted for Barcelona as the hosting state of the next assembly. "The e-government system has become a crucial goal for all cities around the world," said Seoul Mayor and first WEGO Chairman Oh Se-hoon in his opening speech. "We hope to see cities sharing information and cooperating through information technology, to achieve common prosperity through." Seoul suggested back in 2008 the concept of an internatinal municipal e-government body in the World City e-Government Market Forum and was selected as the hosting city of the inaugural assembly. The primary goal of the WEGO is for the member cities to share their e-administration systems in order to achieve a transparent and competitive local government, according to officials. The South Korean capital was ranked first for four consecutive times ¨D from 2003 to last year ¨D in the biannual World 100 Cities' e-Government Evaluation. A total of 689 officials from 124 cities around the world have visited Seoul so far to learn and benchmark the city's advanced e-government system, said officials. "The WEGO, together with Seoul's reputation in the e-government system, will promote the city's brand value and drive forth the competitiveness of Korean IT companies in the global market," said a city official.


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

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Politicians Turn to Blogs, Twitter

The No. 1 way to reach out to the public in this online networking era may be through blogs and Twitter, a tip which many top officials and politicians here have quickly grasped. Education Minister Lee Ju-ho has recently started his personal blog titled "positive change" (http://positive-change.tistory.com), according to officials Monday. The minister will use the blog to post his off-the-record episodes, introduce significant emails which he receives from netizens, or leave replies in the guestbook. Another avid blogger in officialdom is Agriculture Minister Chang Tae-pyung. Chang's blog (http://taepyong.tistory.com), started last year in an attempt to resolve the lack of communication between the public and the government, is frequented especially by citizens in the agricultural industry. The contents of his blog have recently been compiled in a book and distributed to major farmers' associations and governmental offices, according to ministry officials. Others are turning to Twitter, the online social networking system in which posters and followers may leave short messages on a real-time basis. Candidates eying the upcoming presidential election in 2012 have also rushed to make their debut on Twitter. The top Twitter star among would-be presidential candidates is former Gyeonggi Governor Ryu Shi-min of the opposition camp, who has more than 100,000 followers (http://twitter.com/u_simin). Rep. Park Geun-hye, the former head of the ruling Grand National Party who has recently taken to twittering, is catching up with some 40,000 followers as of last month (http://twitter.com/GH_PARK).

Roh Hoi-chan of the minority New Progressive Party is also gaining popular interest and support on Twitter, having 79,000 followers (http://twitter.com/hcroh). Former Unification Minister Chung Dong-young, another power tweeter (http://twitter.com/coreacdy), even published a book earlier year, titled "Twitter is Just Like Makgeolli," praising how the networking system links and bonds people just like the traditional beverage. The active two-way online communication method has in particular gotten to the younger and liberal politicians of the opposition camp, whose supporters, too, are largely in their 20s and 30s. Even President Lee Myung-bak has used the online tool to unofficially communicate with the people. During last month's Chuseok holiday, Lee left a season's greetings message on the Cheong Wa Dae Twitter page, according to officials. Blogs and Twitter, which may be accessed by all, are considered useful tools for public figures to show their real self and communicate with the public. However, they sometimes degrade into undercover election campaigns or may also be abused by imposters. The Supreme Court has recently detected a private Twitter address (@scourt_kr) misrepresenting itself as the court's official Twitter. Also, online imposters have been caught for abusing the name of Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee, and even of the president, according to officials.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 10/12/2010

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Electronic Government of Korea to Sweep the International Awards

Korea's Ministry of Public Administration and Security said October 15 that Korea carried off 4 sectors, including the grand prize, at the "FutureGov Awards 2010" in Malaysia. This award ceremony has been held every year since 2005 by FutureGov, the biggest community for establishment of information-oriented public sectors in the Asia-pacific area to select the exemplary case and give awards. Around 870 projects from 16 different countries, including China, Singapore and New Zealand, were submitted to the event this year. Among the projects submitted by Korea, a software named "E-Government Standard Framework", which integrated fundamental technologies that are needed to develop and run an e-government, swept 3 sectors such as the "Award for the government organization of the year" also known as the overall Grand Prix, the "Award for the leading technology", and the "Award for the Government Innovation" at once. Korea's National Computing & Information Agency, which is the world's first and now being operated by the government, has received an award in the "Data center" sector.


From http://koreaittimes.com/ 10/19/2010

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Website Offers Info on Foreign Schools

The Education Ministry opened a new website Friday to provide information on foreign schools in Korea. Anyone interested in opening a foreign educational institution here can look up related rules and application details at www.isi.go.kr where students who wish to attend foreign schools can browse through the information disclosed by the schools. The URL stands for "international schools information." Korea allows the establishment of "foreign educational institutions" only in free economic zones and the Jeju Free International City for the purpose of promoting foreign investment. There are three such educational institutions in the country STC-Korea in Gwangyang, Daegu International School and Chadwick International School in Songdo, Incheon. Germany's Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg is scheduled to open a campus in Busan in March next year, and another 11 schools including New York State University are in talks to open campuses in Korea. Whereas the above are governed by the special law on foreign educational institutions, "foreign schools" are regulated by the national law on primary and secondary education. Foreign schools are for children of foreigners in Korea and Koreans who have lived abroad for more than three years. There are currently 48 foreign schools in Korea including the International School of Busan and Dulwich College Seoul in Banpo. "The website is expected to simplify the procedures for foreign firms to establish educational institutions in Korea and improve access to information on foreign schools here," a ministry official said.


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

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THAILAND: Ministry Adopts Back-office, Front-office Structure

The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Ministry is to develop back-office and front-office IT capacities to facilitate the entry of government departments and agencies into e-government development projects while maintaining "citizen-centric" services for the public. The ministry's deputy permanent secretary Thaneerat Siriphachana has outlined various strategies to drive the e-government-development project. These include the development of e-services and the government information network (GIN). However, the ministry is also drafting amendments to laws, rules and regulations related to the provision of government services as part of an action plan to expedite government e-services to citizens. The Cabinet has approved the setting up of an e-government office to manage the development project so that both the back-office and front-office operations will run smoothly. The office will be set up by the end of this year. With regard to the GIN, there are plans to lay down ICT infrastructure covering all 76 provinces and linking about 1,000 government organisations.

The ministry has so far created two pilot projects in which the GIN infrastructure covers two provinces: Nan and Chumpon. All districts in the two provinces can now create video conferences on a 20-megabytes-per-second (Mbps) network. A similar 20Mbps network infrastructure will be provided in three southern provinces next year to provide and support government e-services. "The GIN project is an important one for the country's development and to provide e-services to all Thai people," Thaneerat said. At the same time, government ministries are cooperating to develop human resources for the ICT services and industries of the future, to ensure Thailand's competitiveness. The ICT Ministry has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Education, Science and Technology and Labour ministries that aims to develop information-technology (IT) human resources and experts for industry by starting in the education sector. The government's ICT Master Plan II, covering the years from 2009 to 2014, sees IT development as an important factor in driving the country's overall economic, social and cultural development and creating an ability to compete internationally.

The ICT Ministry is also pushing for universal access to IT-based knowledge, with particular support for young people and the disabled, so they can improve their ability to learn and work, and enjoy a better quality of life. Under the terms of the memorandum of understanding, the ICT Ministry will support the efforts of academics, consultants and the software industry to improve IT human resources. Meanwhile, the Science and Technology Ministry will conduct academic courses for software and application developers and transfer technology to students and others. The Labour ministry will establish skills standards for IT workers, technicians and experts and the Education Ministry will introduce these standards to the education system so that it will create high-quality human resources ready to enter the labour market.


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

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INDIA: Trial Run of E-Passport Centres Begins

With the trial run of e-Passport centres beginning at Chandigarh, Ambala and Ludhiana, the central government has set the ball rolling for the implementation of an ambitious project of computerised passport service centres across the country. With an aim to streamline the issuance of passports, the central government plans to open around 77 such centres in various states. The existing 37 regional passport centres will act as headquarters for the new centres. Three states in the north and three in the south have been identified for establishing the centres. In the south, new passport centres have started functioning in Bangalore, Mangalore and Hubli. Three in the north have been recently set up and the trial run has begun. The seven pilot projects are being run for three months and in the meantime, the government is finalising the list of states where other centres need to come up. These new centres will ensure an applicant gets a passport within three days of applying and within 24 hours under the Tatkal scheme.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 09/06/2010

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Secretary (IT) to Head Department of Telecommunication

Rentala Chandrasekhar, Secretary, Department of Information Technology has been given additional charge of Department of Telecommunication under the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. Chandrasekhar is IAS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre of 1975 batch and is credited with establishing India's first department of information technology (DIT), in his home state. He is also considered the architect of the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) and is winner of the prime minister's award for public services for the prestigious e-Governance project, MCA21. Chandrashekar succeeds P J thomas in DoT who has taken over as Chief Vigilance Commissioner.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 09/10/2010

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Tamil Nadu's E-Governance Initiatives to Focus on Creating Rural ATMs, M-governance

Tamil Nadu's e-governance initiatives will focus on creating rural ATMs, M-governance, smart class rooms, financial inclusion, and low-cost Net PCs," said Dr Santhosh Babu, IAS, Managing Director, Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu. He announced that within six months, it would be possible for people to apply, register and obtain digitally-signed birth and death certificates. The State will also roll out State Service Delivery Gateway, a portal that would host application software for citizens to carry out advanced level of interactions with various government departments. Addressing the Panel Discussion on Digital Infrastructure and Inclusiveness at Connect 2010, being organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), here today, Dr Babu said that having computerised government schools, the government is focusing on smart schools and developing multimedia content that would redefine the way subjects are taught at schools. On a piloting, it has already set up three smart schools in three villages. He opined that Tamil Nadu has enormous political will, technology infrastructure, funding, human resource, and partners for making e-governance happen at all levels, across the State. It will roll out Tamil Nadu Giga Byte project to increase bandwidth availability and appropriate content. The government is providing opportunities for entrepreneurs in ICT - most citizen service centres are run using Public Private Partnership model. The government's e-government projects are driven by its understanding the economic value chain in rural society - since, each visit to government offices could result in loss of wages, the projects aim at reducing number of visits by citizens to government offices. In his address, Mr Hans Raj Verma, IAS, Labour Commissioner, Government of Tamil Nadu, announced that his department is launching Project Lead and Project Empower to provide online/Web based services respectively to 55 lakh-odd unorganised workers and about 66 lakh people who have registered for jobs in various employment exchanges in the State. The Project Lead, likely to be rolled out in the next six months, will network with banks and postal departments to reach the benefits to unorganised labour at their door step, whereas Project Empower is likely to be rolled out on September, 15.

"Access to applications, minimal processing time, and reaching the benefits at citizen's doorsteps are the three factors that drive the e-transition initiatives of Labour Welfare Boards. On the road ahead, he said the State government should implement IT in such a way that can enable one department access the database of another department. In fact, in the wake of intra-state migration, there will be a need to develop interoperability of systems across States to ensure that the benefits are reached at the doorsteps of migrant labours and that there is no duplication of benefits," he said. Dr Sridhar Mitta, Director, e4e Labs, in his address, said business who operate out of rural areas can bring down the cost of operation by up to 50% in the way of cost savings, if they are able to create large networks of small offices, instead of big centralised development centres, and able to select right business model and processes that require minimal supervisory staff. Further, when compared to cities, the transportation cost is close to nil, as employees can come by walk or cycle. Companies do not have to provide lunch, because people go home for lunch and come back. Dr Mitta said that each Southern State has about 400-500 engineering colleges and about 60% of them are located in tier-2 and tier-3 cities. Upon graduation, only half the boys migrate to cities for work or for searching for jobs, and the rest stay back at their villages. In the case of girls, only 5-10% of them migrate to cities, for various social reasons. In order to tap these ideal sources, the industry must take jobs to them. Taking part in the panel, Mr J Parthasarathy, Director, Software Technology Parks India (STPI), said that STPI is setting up finishing schools at all its centres to provide soft skills to final year students, and promoting incubation centres with state-of-the-art hardware to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. STPI is also embarking on establishing a national knowledge centre that would connect all educational institutions in the country.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 09/13/2010

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Proactive Role in E-Governance Project

To make e-Governance initiatives offering Government-to-Citizen (G2C) services a viable business model, the government has to play a more proactive role tsays SREI Sahaj, which has the mandate to set up such centres across various states. SREI Sahaj is a subsidiary of Kolkata-based Srei Infrastructure Finance Ltd and has the mandate of rolling out about 29,000 common service centres (CSCs) across the country. Though already 21,000 CSCs have been rolled out, many of them are yet to offer G2C services like issuing birth certificates, land records, etc. Without these services, CSCs can hardly play any role in e-governance as they were supposed to do. Set up under the public-private partnership model, the CSCs were set up to provide video, voice and data services in areas of e-governance, education, health, telemedicine and entertainment.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 09/20/2010

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Planning Commission to Become Paper-Less Body

The Planning Commission will soon become a paperless body, with all official work, right from drafting of proposals to approval of projects and grant of funds, done through computers over an internal network. This will be the first step in an ambitious plan to coordinate the activities of all central departments and ministries by inter-connecting them through an online system. The project would be implemented by the National Innovation Council recently set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, which would develop the required software for the project. However, technical support would be provided by the National Informatics Centre. The council, headed by Sam Pitroda, is mandated to energise innovation initiatives so as to make them a part of the national effort aimed at reducing poverty, improving governance and making development more inclusive. It is expected that by doing all work online, the panel would be able to avoid duplication of fund allocation for same work or projects. This would also help the commission keep a close watch on implementation of important social sector programmes and schemes. It is envisaged that greater efficiency would be achieved once all ministries and departments are inter-connected during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-2017). During the 12th Plan, the government aims to improve implementation of projects and social sector schemes through better governance.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 09/21/2010

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Shashi Kant Sharma to Be the New IT Secretary

Shashi Kant Sharma, currently DG (Acquisition) in the Ministry of Defence is tipped to be the new IT Secretary. He will be taking over from R.Chandrashekar who will be given the full charge of the Telecom portfolio. Chandrashekar has taken the additional charge of telecom after PJ Thomas, the then telecom secretary took over as Chief Vigilance Commissioner. Shashi Kant Sharma, apart from working in Ministry of Defence has also worked with the Department of Administrative Reforms & PG, Ministry of Urban Affairs, Department of Youth & Sports at the Centre. He is an Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer of Bihar (1976) cadre. Industry analysts say that the change of gaurd may also bring a change in country's approach on e-governance and direction of implementation of national e-governance plan(NeGP). Chandrashekar had been driving the country's e-governance programme since 2003 and had been instrumental in giving a big push to NeGP.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 09/23/2010

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Govt. Launches Website to Get Feedback on 12th Plan

New Delhi: To make 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) more inclusive and effective, the Plan panel on Monday launched a web portal to get public feedback on the 'Approach Paper to 12th Plan'. Before unveiling any five year Plan, the Plan Panel prepares an approach paper, which lays out the major targets, the key challenges in meeting them, and the broad approach that must be followed to achieve the stated objectives. Thus the feedback provided by the general public would help the panel make more effective approach paper for the next five year plan. "This website would enable the general people give their views on how should we go about the next five year Plan," Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said while launching the website. "This initiative would help those people who are kept out of the Plan formulation process, to give their valuable views", he said. This is probably the first time the Planning Commission would invite feedback of commoners for formulation of any five year Plan, an official said, adding that by the end of this month, a more dynamic website would be launched to make it more interactive. In the present form, the views uploaded would be available to the concerned officials only. But after launching the dynamic version of this website later this month, one can see his as well as others views on the subject. Once the approach paper is ready, it would be approved by the Union Cabinet and the National Development Council which includes all chief ministers of states. Ahluwalia said that the approach paper for the next five year Plan would be ready in the first half of next year.


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 10/04/2010

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Haryana All Set to Cover Next 500 Offices Under SWAN

Having covered 800 offices through State Wide Area Network, an essential component of eGovernment deployment, the Haryana government is all set to cover next 500 offices through the network. These offices would come under departments like Transport, Health, Food and Supplies, Information and Public Relations, head offices of Departments, Boards, Corporations. With a plan outlay of Rs 102.62 crore, SWAN has has till date covered departments like Finance, Revenue, Transport, Excise, Taxation Urban Development, Women and Child Development, Agriculture, Education, Social Justice and Empowerment, Food and Supplies and Industries Departments and Panchayats. Vertical connectivity has been ensured with the inter linking of all state headquarters with district headquarters and then further linking it to blocks, subdivisions, tehsils and subtehsils on the wide area network. Besides, courts and jails are too leveraging the network for conducting trails through video-conferencing facility. Moreover, at least 200 offices of the Haryana Police, including police stations, have now been connected through SWAN. To reform the public distribution network, the authorities are also conducting pilots for smart card based system. Almost 54 lakh eligible families would be the direct beneficiaries of this move.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 10/19/2010

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PDS System in Assam to Be Computerised with Biometric Cards

The public distribution system (PDS) would be computerised in Assam and biometric cards would be issued to beneficiaries to plug leakages. The state agriculture department has agreed to computerise the system and initially the project would be initiated in Kamrup, Nagaon and Karbi Anglong districts before moving on to cover the remaining districts. The government would also issue biometric cards to the beneficiaries so as to curb the diversion of commodities.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 10/19/2010

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Maharashtra Deploys IT Solution to Transform Scholarship Programme

Department of Social Justice and Special Assistance, Government of Maharashtra, announced today that it has introduced ˇ®e-ScholarshipˇŻ solution in Maharashtra and enabled transformation of the delivery of post-matric scholarship programme offered by it. The department has selected Mastek Ltd., a leading IT solutions player providing IP-led enterprise technology solutions to government, insurance and financial services organizations worldwide, to design, develop and implement the ˇ®e-ScholarshipˇŻ solution for the state. The solution brings about manifold benefits to the department as well as students. The first of its kind to be implemented in the state, the ˇ®e-ScholarshipˇŻ solution, a milestone achievement for the department, will ensure complete transparency and help in reducing fraud. The ˇ®e-ScholarshipˇŻ solution will directly benefit over 32 Lakh students by speeding up the application process, sanctioning and disbursal procedures of government post-matric scholarships for SC, OBC, VJ/NT and SBC class students. Under this new automated system, the students have a zero-balance account in a nationalised bank where their monthly allowance is credited directly. The student also receives an SMS alert from the system informing him of the same. The solution user-interface is available in English and Marathi. Apart from enabling granting procedures, the solution also caters to processes of scholarship suspension, renewal and cancellation. The system also provides the department with MIS to monitor and analyse the scholarship distribution and disbursement.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 10/27/2010

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Mobile Number Portability Expected by November 25

November 25 is the new deadline for rolling out the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) by the the Department of Telecom (DoT). The countrywide launch of MNP services will start from Haryana Licensed Service Area on November 25, 2010. From this date customers in Haryana will have the option of changing their service provider without changing their mobile numbers, DOT said in a press note. The department had earlier announced that MNP will be made available to the telephone users from November 1, but delayed it to give time to the service providers to upgrade their network and other resources. The networks are now technically ready for launch of service and to facilitate an orderly and reliable introduction of MNP services, a suitable migration plan has been evolved in consultation with Mobile Service Providers (MSPs), the press note said.


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

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National E-Governance Advisory Group Reconstituted

The National e-Governance Advisory Group (NAG) has been reconstituted to have a wider representation and also in view of changes at various levels. The Group was first constituted on March 29, 2005 for the effective management of the National e-Governance Programme (NeGP). This Group is constituted with the objective to obtain views of external stakeholders and to provide inputs to the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure, advise the Government on policy issues and strategic interventions necessary for accelerating introduction of e-Governance across Central and State Government Ministries/Departments. It is headed by the Minister of Communications & Information Technology, Government of India. The next meeting of the Group is scheduled for November 12, 2010. The revised composition of the National e-Governance Advisory Group is as under: Thiru A. Raja, Hon'ble Minister for Communication & Information Technology, Chairman; Sh. Nandan Nilekani Chairman, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI); Shashi Kant Sharma, Secretary, Deptt. of Information Technolgy; R. Chandrashekhar, Secretary, Deptt. of Telecommunication; Dr. Mrutyunjay Sarangi, Addl. Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat; D.V. Singh, Special Secretary, Deptt. of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances; Dr. B.K. Gairola, Director General National Informatics Centre. Representatives from Central Government include, Dr. R. Chandramoli, Registrar General of India; M.K. Mirani DGIT (Systems), Central Board of Direct Taxes; F.M. Jaswal, DG(Systems) Central Board of Excise & Customs; and Sanjiv Mittal, Chief Executive Officer National Institute of Smart Governance. State IT Secretaries, Information Technology & Communication Deptt who are in NAG are K. Ratna Prabha, Andhra Pradesh; Ashok Kumar C. Monoli, Govt. of Karnataka; S. Kumaraswamy, Govt. of Goa; Ajay Tyagi, Govt. of Himachal Pradesh; Arun Kumar Singh, Bihar; Aman Kumar Singh, Chattisgarh; Lalit Kumar Gupta, Tripura; and Ravi S. Saxena Gujarat; Shri Yudhvir Singh Malik, Haryana. NAG also has representatives from the IT Industry. They include, Kiran Karnik; Som Mittal, President, NASSCOM; Dr. Anurag Srivastava Vice President, Wipro Infotech; N. Chandrasekaran, Chief Executive Officer, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.; Vineet Nayar, Chief Executive Officer, HCL Technologies Ltd.; Ashok Soota, Executive Chairman, Mind Tree Ltd.; Dr. Ashok Bakthavathsalam, Managing Director, KG Information Systems Pvt. Ltd.; Sarvanampatti; Representatives from consulting agencies- Anil Baijal, Ex Secrtary, GOI and Chairperson, ICAP, India PPP Capacity Building Trust; Neel Ratan, Price Waterhouse Ltd.; Harsh Manglik Chairman & MD, Accenture; Representatives from NGOs and Social Sector- Dr. Ashok Khosla, Chairman, Development Alternatives; Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, Chairman, Dr. M.s. Swaminathan Research Foundation; Shri Arvind Kejriwal;Representatives from Academia- Dr. Deepak B Pathak, Indian Institute of Technology, Powai, Mumbai; Prof. Anil K. Gupta, Indian Institute of Management, Vastrapur, Ahmedabad ; Prof. B.N. Jain, Indian Institute of Delhi Hauz Khas, New Delhi; Dr. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras and Member Convener S. R. Rao, Addl. Secretary, Deptt. of Information Technology.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 11/09/2010

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Maharashtra Plans to Introduce E-Voting in Local Civic Bodies

Maharashtra Government is planning to introduce e-Voting in the local civic bodies, with the aim to increase number of voters."The state election commission is planning to introduce e-Voting soon considering possibilities that youths preferred internet. The outstationed people can also use it and senior citizens can avoid long queues,"an official from the state election commission said.A meeting headed by the state election commissioner Neela Satyanarayanan and additional chief secretary Chand Goyal was held in this regard."The officials discussed about how to start e-voting system from next year civic polls and hurdles in implementing it,"the official said.Also the issue of security of the system was debated in the meeting, he said.Neighbouring state Gujarat, which recently started the system for the civic body polls, however, received poor response.


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

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E-Gov for Delivering Services at Citizens Doorstep

On the eve of the e-Governance leadership meet being organised by NISG in Hyderabad, Chief Minister Dr. K Rosaiah said e-Governance will be used to deliver most of the government service to citizens doorstep so that it will reach real targeted beneficiaries with utmost transparency and accountability. He said the citadel of state administration, the Secretariat, will be connected online up to Mandal level offices from January to make most of the administrative work speedily. This will not only ensure transparency, accountability and responsibility but also quick disposal of files and other related works. The A.P. Secretariat Wide Area Networking (APSWAN) Project is being completed and Andhra Pradesh will be the first State in achieving this networking in the country. This will help videoconferencing from Secretariat up to Mandal offices by any officer or department. The Chief Minister will inaugurate the e-Governance leadership meet meant for senior officers and bureaucrats being organised by the National Institute of Smart Governance at Secretariat on Tuesday, 16th of this month. It may be recalled here that a programme on the same lines for political leaders was held on 10th last at Hyderabad. He further added that the State is far ahead in e-Governance initiatives and going in a big way in implementing in all sectors & 2-tier and 3-tier cities, towns and Mandals. Officials said, Andhra Pradesh is pioneer in e-Governance initiatives in India. Several land mark projects like e-Seva, e-Procurement are among the e-Governance projects that set an example of Citizen Centric Services Delivery and transparency in procurement system and these were replicated in other States.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 11/15/2010

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SRI LANKA: Mulling IT Use in Tax Reforms

(LBO) - A report on reforms to Sri Lanka's complex national and regional taxes has recommended using information technology to make it easier to charge and pay taxes, a statement from the president's office said. The report by the presidential commission on taxation was handed over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa Tuesday after 14 months of deliberations, it said. It also recommends measures to simplify the tax system as well as reduce red tape involved in paying taxes, it said. The report suggests ways to increase revenue from taxes. Sri Lanka's state is attempting to increase the tax it extracts from the people to 20 percent of gross domestic product by 2011-16 from the current 14.5 percent.


From http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/ 10/27/2010

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MALDIVES: Information Portal for Public and Businesses

The government of Maldives launched an Internet portal consisting of information from government agencies for public and business uses. As part of the e-Government project initiated to provide government services with the most advanced technology, the Internet portal consists of important information from government agencies. While more than 300 forms of different government agencies can be downloaded from "egov.mv," accessible in both English and local Dhivehi language, it contains information on service hours, important contact information of agencies and senior government officials and NGO listings. The portal will enable businesses to obtain the required services easily. It will also solve many problems faced in going to the agencies.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 09/06/2010

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ARMENIA: Strategy 2020 Project Launches Its Website

Youth Party of Armenia has launched strategia2020.am website dedicated to the party's Personnel Reserve and Youth Government projects. Board member of the Youth Party of Armenia Artak Khachatryan told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter that from now on young people, who are willing to participate in the projects, can register online. Strategy 2020 project is aimed at revealing intellectual and talented youth of Armenia, as well as drawing employers' attention to them in both state and private sectors. As part of Personnel Reserve project, young professionals take tests and their data becomes available for potential employers. "We pay special attention to young people from regions, organizing meetings in the remotest settlements of Armenia," noted Artak Khachatryan, adding that representatives of the Armenian Diaspora also display interest towards the project.


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

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National Cooperation Network Internet Portal to Be Established in Armenia

National Cooperation Network internet portal will be established at the initiative of the RA Ministry of Economy and National Cooperation NGO. Chief of Staff at the RA Ministry of Economy Anahit Khechoyan said that the website is aimed at creating an information society, uniting all Armenians to present the most important values to the world. "As the network cannot work independently, it was decided to establish National Cooperation Fund, the project of which will be submitted to the government soon," she said. Head of the National Cooperation NGO Arshak Sadoyan said for his part that various services will be offered on the website. "We envisage creation of a virtual market of agricultural products on the website. If the initiative is implemented, prices for agricultural products may decrease by 1.5 times," he said. According to Sadoyan, the network will provide residents of other countries with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with cultural values of Armenia. Besides, it will create favorable conditions for education and rest in Armenia, etc.


From PanARMENIAN.Net 11/05/2010

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Internet in Armenia Is a Platform for Civil Society Formation, Expert Says

Internet in Armenia is a platform for a civil society formation, according to information security expert Samvel Martirosyan. "You remember the videos showing violence in schools and army and the reaction of the Ministries of Education and Defense which followed," Martirosyan told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter. "The TV is censured, however the same can't be said of the internet. For example, §ˇ1+ which was forbidden as a TV channel but freely operates in the internet," he said. According to blogger Karen Vrtanesyan, Armenian authorities do not exert pressure on internet users. "I openly criticize Armenia's policy regarding education, state debt and economic cooperation with international organizations," he said. "The only censorship that was ever imposed was the blocking of some resources under the state of emergency after the presidential election in 2008." Meanwhile, during a conference in Tbilisi, Freedom House's Sam Patten said that authorities in Armenia and Azerbaijan keep control over the internet in their countries.


From PanARMENIAN.Net 11/17/2010

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AZERBAIJAN: WB Representatives Familiarize with Its ICT Work

The World Bank (WB) for Europe and Central Asia acquainted with the work implemented in Azerbaijan in the field of information and communication technologies, the Institute of Information Technologies of the Azerbaijani National Academy of Sciences said. A WB delegation familiarized with the reforms implemented in the republic in the field of education, the use of distance education, research and technologies applied in this area. Rasim Aliguliyev, director of the Institute, also spoke about the problems arising from the use of distance learning systems. He mentioned the need for software solutions, training content, multimedia tutorials, as well as monitoring system to check the quality of education and assess students.He said that today there is need to establish contacts with countries with more experience in this field to share knowledge and experience, realize joint projects, the work on the preparation for scientific and pedagogical staff at universities. The WB representatives familiarized with the projects implemented in Azerbaijan to develop biometric identification systems, electronic commerce, e-education, digital signature.


From http://en.trend.az/ 09/22/2010

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Azerbaijani Postal Operator's Modernization Process to Be Completed by Late 2010

Today Azerbaijan's postal sector ranks second for the highest quality of service throughout the CIS, which makes it attractive for foreign investors, said on Saturday, Azerpoct state postal operator director Gambar Beybalaev said. He said in particular by late 2010 it is expected to complete full modernization of Azerpoct, which will increase a number of the rendered services, along with increased quality. According to the head of the Azerpoct's Department on Quality Control Novruz Galaev, amount of correspondence in the first nine months compared with the same period of last year increased by 4 percent. The amount of outgoing sending in the reported period increased by 26 percent, and money transfers - by 29 percent, Galaev said. Today about 80 percent of post offices has been fully computerized.


From http://en.trend.az/ 10/09/2010

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KAZAKHSTAN: Use of Electronic Voting and Upholding Existing Election Standards Focus of OSCE Expert Meeting

An expert meeting on the use of electronic voting in OSCE participating States - as well as the lessons learned from countries that have moved away from such systems - started in Vienna today, APA reports quoting official web-page of OSCE. The meeting, organized by Kazakhstan's OSCE Chairmanship, brings together officials from national election authorities, international experts and civil society representatives. "During the next two days we will discuss in detail the problems associated with the current and future use of electronic voting in the electoral process in OSCE participating States," said the Chairman of Kazakhstan's Central Election Commission, Kuandyk Turgankulov. "The choice of this topic is timely. The introduction of new technological solutions in the electoral process, with the development of electronic voting systems, is a complicated, multi-faceted, and in many respects, disputed issue."

Ambassador Janez Lenarcic, the Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), emphasized the need for governments introducing electronic voting systems to ensure that electoral safeguards are upheld. "Electronic voting must operate in a manner compatible with the principles enshrined in OSCE commitments and other international standards for democratic elections, and offer the same guarantees for transparency, accountability and public confidence as traditional voting methods," he said. Lenarcic added that electronic voting can be useful for purposes such as enabling a larger number of voters to cast their ballots or facilitating the vote count in complex elections. But he also stressed that e-voting is not a panacea to solve existing electoral problems: "Inaccurate voter registers, dishonest counting and tabulation of the vote, and mistrust in the process cannot be fixed by IT solutions."

Discussions during the working sessions will focus on issues such as ensuring the secrecy of the vote, transparency and other issues. Participants will also address questions of certification and audit of electronic voting systems, as well as data protection and the independent observation of electronic voting processes. The OSCE enhanced its capacity to advise participating States on new voting technologies by creating a dedicated position within ODIHR, the OSCE institution tasked with electoral assistance and observation. ODIHR is in the process of developing guidelines for observing electronic voting processes.


From http://www.inform.kz/ 09/20/2010

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Government's Session with Online Broadcasting Translated as Experiment - K. Massimov

The Kazakh Government translates its session with online broadcasting on the Internet as an experiment. Prime Minister Karim Massimov has announced it at the session. The broadcasting was started few minutes ago. "Journalists and citizens will watch our session online at the corresponding sites. We hold such session like an experiment - to see what our technical opportunities are", K.Massimov said.


From http://www.inform.kz/ 09/27/2010

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AUSTRALIA: Open Govt Data Drive

The economic value of government information can increase four-fold within a year if it is made freely available to public. Its social value could increase by even more. So thinks Peter Harper, Chief Operating Officer of Australia's Bureau of Statistics, who says that public services are on the "cusp of a revolution" driven by open government data. Harper, who is a member of Australia's Government 2.0 Taskforce which led to the country's Declaration of Open Government in July (2010), said that too much government information is still unavailable to the public, and when it is, it is difficult to find or use. "Keeping government information within government will not help achieve our aspirations for a first class public service," said Harper. "Information is the lubricant of society. Without it, our lives would grind to a halt. All of government can and should provide more information to the public." Australia's Declaration of Open Government espouses three principles: informing, engaging and participating. Without open access to public data, all three are very difficult to achieve, Harper said.

"Government information should be, where possible, free as in beer and free as in speech," he said. "It should be available free of charge, and people should be able to share it freely." Harper acknowledged that there were a number of barriers to overcome, cost being one. While he admitted that the cost of launching and maintaining open data can be "substantial", he insisted that the value of data would not be maximised if the public is charged to use it. "Mount the argument for making information free when you can," he urged officials. Licensing is another obstacle. "Information is a public good. One person's consumption of it will not reduce its value for someone else," Harper noted. "Interaction between users of this information is a key part of its value. But copyright does not allow free sharing." Harper pointed to the nonprofit organisation Creative Commons as a source of inspiration for how government information can be made sharable while adhering to the laws of commercial copyright. Government information should be readily discoverable and easy to use. "If the data can't be indexed, it might as well not exist.

It needs to be machine readable and based on open standards. If the data is gobbledegook or incorrectly labeled, there could be unfortunate consequences," he warned. For this reason, metadata (data about data, which helps it be understood and appropriately used) is "fundamental to open data initiatives," he said. Another major hurdle for open government data is privacy, although Harper insisted that agencies should not use this as an excuse to shelve open data initiatives. "Yes, there are genuine privacy concerns. But my view is that privacy is a stalking horse for not making data available. There are plenty of tools available that allow you make data available and protect the information. I'd encourage all agencies to look into how information can be safely released."


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 08/31/2010

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Labor Pours More Gov 2.0 into Future Budgets

The Federal Government will institute a specialised website devoted to providing specific information about budget spending in individual regions as part of the Labor party's agreement with independent MPs. The agreement, signed by Labor leader, Julia Gillard, as well as Deputy Prime Minister, Wayne Swan, and the two supporting independent MPs, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, will see a number of commitments to regional Australia enacted, including additional $9.9 billion funding to regional Australia in key areas such as health, education, skills and infrastructure. The agreement also secures the continuation of Labor's National Broadband Network (NBN), provided regional areas are given priority in being connected and price parity is retained between regional and metropolitan areas. The agreement with the independents will also see parliamentary reform, room for private member's bills and accountability measures designed to keep the reigning minority government in check, particularly around regional commitments.

As part of the accountability measures, Gillard and Swan committed to establishing a new budget website designed to provide more information on how Federal Budget spending is delivered to individual areas. The site, myregion.gov.au, is to provide detailed budget reporting for each region and, according to the agreement "will provide interactive 'contact us' opportunities for the community to find out more and make enquiries". "Other public indicators of service performance and social, economic and population outcomes will also be reported," the agreement reads. Computerworld Australia contacted the Department of Treasury for comment, but did not receive an answer at the time of writing. The Federal Government has made budget reporting and statistics, as well as other government information, more open and accessible as a result of the Government 2.0 Taskforce report released last year, including the reappropriation of content from Commonwealth Copyright to the more usable Creative Commons by attribution (CC-BY) license.

The 2010/2011 Federal Budget became one of the first government documents to use the license, with plans to appropriate all content on the Australian Parliament House website under the license during a site revamp next month. Fierce Government 2.0 advocate, Labor Senator, Kate Lundy, has commended the move to Creative Commons licensing as a "great first step", but previously said a more open and interactive system like the UK Treasury's Combined Online Information System (COINS) should be implemented for greater accessibility and usabilty of financial data. The UK Treasury also crowdsourced ideas from the web through its "Spending Challenge" website in order to determine where budget cuts might be made durign a recent change of government there. Forecasts by analysis firm Gartner indicate this could increase exponentially in the future, with one in five government processes globally will be based on crowdsourced data and ideas.


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

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Government Must Rethink IT Management Strategy: Analyst

A lack of flexibility towards IT management in the government sector may hinder the development of cloud computing and virtualisation. In a presentation to IT leaders in Sydney, Ovum public sector research director, Kevin Noonan, the future of IT in government must be flexible if the sector is to avoid being 'locked out' of future technological advances. "Long term out-sourcing agreements and locking yourself into agreements with vendors with no cloud strategy means you are locking yourselves out of those future options," he said. "Even in long term relationships, how can we ask ourselves what flexibility options are we locking ourselves out of? Will we be locking ourselves out of long term production, cloud and other means?," Future elections at both the federal and state level will no longer about a 'red versus blue' battle according to Noonan, with a shift towards a more open form of government taking precedent.

"Open government has become a clear driver. People want greater engagement with government," he said. "We've been tinkering with Web 2.0 and this has been described as one of the scariest thing a government can do." While the Queensland government shared-services debacle has moved the focus away from this form of government, the pendulum may eventually swing back in this direction. "Do you want a commodity service from IT? Do you want stakeholder management?" Noonan said. "You have to structure your organisation differently depending on how you want your organisation to look." Locking IT departments into a rigid structure would only negate progress in the sector, Noonan claimed. "With the possibility of having a minority federal government with a focus on negotiation, the question to IT departments of 'what do you want us to do?' is really important," he said. "We have to ask if we are locking ourselves into particular ways of doing business."

Noonan suggested that focusing on cloud based technologies would be important to the government sector, however he warned change management was an equally important factor that should be taken into consideration. "We start to look at an explosion in choices around outsourcing, agency needs and in-house IT," he said. "The cloud and virtualising your environment might not cut it in the future. It's about changing management structures to adapt on the way. "Architecture, governance and relationship building is the future of the way government does business. At all levels we can see that many levels are unknown. The question for us to chart a path that allows for emerging outcomes. How do we get governance procedures in place?"


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 09/09/2010

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Australian Opposition Attacks Broadband Network Cost

The Australian Opposition's new communications spokesman, Malcolm Turnbull, says the Federal Government is hiding the cost of the National Broadband Network. Mr Turnbull has pounced following Government claims the first stage roll-out in Tasmania has come in 10 per cent under budget. Only 50 per cent of homes and businesses in the rollout area chose to connect for free, sparking concerns about the rollout budget if the Government's 80 per cent sign up target had been met. Mr Turnbull says the government stands to waste billions on the fibre optic network. "Taxpayers money is a finite resource, it's a scarce resource and we have to use it in an intelligent and professional way," he said. But independent analyst Paul Budde says connecting the fibre optic cable to individual homes costs little in comparison to the street infrastructure, and the take-up rate in Tasmania doesn't suggest there is a potential for a blowout.


From http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/ 09/14/2010

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Aussies Named Global E-Gov Leaders

The World eDemocracy Forum this week named Canberra Senator Kate Lundy and Department of Health director Craig Thomler as two of the 10 most influential e-government leaders in the world. Fourteen activists, politicians and publishers were shortlisted for the "Top 10 Who Are Changing the World of Internet and Politics" awards, which would be presented in Paris next month. Both Lundy and Thomler interacted with Australia's Gov 2.0 Taskforce, whose recommendations were accepted by the Federal Government this year. Thomler was recognised by the Forum for his eGovernment blog, which was separate from his role at the Department of Health. On 16 July, the Government declared itself "committed to open government based on a culture of engagement, built on better access to and use of government-held information, and sustained by the innovative use of technology".Lundy said being recognised in the global Top 10 list inspired her to continue promoting "a more open, transparent, participatory and engaging model of government".

She was appointed Parliamentary Secretary of Immigration and Citizenship and Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister in Gillard's new Ministry on Saturday. "To have three Australians make the shortlist and two be selected for the top 10 is a reflection of the commitment and innovation that Australia has to offer the world, particularly in this space," Lundy said. Israeli minister Michael Eitan, publisher Tim O'Reilly and Senator Online founder Berge Der Sarkissian were among 14 shortlisted for the award, which would be presented in Paris next month. Senator Online claimed to be Australia's "first and online internet-based political party", with no policies or official stance besides the promise to act in accordance with online voters on major issues. The party attracted almost 16,000 votes in the 2010 Federal Election, for which it had a campaign budget of "tens of thousands of dollars".


From iTnews.com.au 09/15/2010

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AGIMO Pushes Public Servant Collaboration

The Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) has moved to increase online collaboration between public servants with the launch of a new online forum, Government 2.0 govdex. The govdex forum, a recommendation of the Government 2.0 Taskforce, is aimed at providing a resource for public servants to discuss Gov 2.0 projects and the lessons learned from implementing them. According to AGIMO chief information officer (CIO), Ann Steward, while engaging with the public online was a crucial part of Government 2.0, it was also important to encourage online collaboration between public servants. "The community is intended as a place where public servants can ask questions, share experiences and collaborate with colleagues, with guidance set by the Australian Public Service Commission," Steward wrote in a post on the AGIMO site. Steward also highlighted changes from the Attorney-General's Department to its Statement of Intellectual Property Principles for Australian Government Agencies.

In effect, Steward said the amended principles endorsed the Gov 2.0 Taskforce recommendation that agencies should license their Public Sector Information (PSI) under Creative Commons BY (CC-BY) license as the default license type and only adopt more restrictive licenses after a process of 'due diligence and on a case-by-case basis'. "It also changes the default position of Government ICT contracts so that the suppliers will own the IP of any software they develop, while still ensuring the Government holds a license to use that IP in government activities," Steward wrote. Steward noted that the new policy requires agencies held under the Financial Management and Accountability Act to have a starting contractual position of intellectual property (IP) ownership in favour of the supplier for ICT software development contracts. "This is an important step for a number of reasons. IP is for many organisations, its most valuable asset, particularly those in the ICT sector," she wrote. "Ownership of IP will provide software developers with new opportunities to commercialise software, foster innovation, and develop export sales. In addition, if suppliers are able to grow revenue through leveraging the IP, there is a potential for reduced costs to agencies."


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 10/11/2010

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Information Commissioner to Open Up Australian Agencies

The Australian government has taken a further step in its pledge to open up government information with the launch of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. The launch included an issues paper, Towards an Australian Government Information Policy, which included ten draft principles defined by the new office to install a "proactive and pro-disclosure obligation" on all government agencies. Principles include a commitment to open government - as recommended by last year's Government 2.0 Taskforce - which advocates making public sector information which is: free, based on open standards, easily discoverable, understandable, machine-readable and freely reusable. In keeping with the policy of open government, agencies will be required to embrace online engagement in policy design and service delivery, with consideration given to community feedback on published information and publication priorities. If the principles are adhered to, agencies will have to respond either individually or in a public statement to any comment received from the community.

Other principles guiding information best practice include effective information governance; the development of robust information asset management frameworks; and, creating open and accessible formats online. "The economic and social value of public sector information is enhanced when it is published online in formats that are human-readable and compatible with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines endorsed by the Australian Government in February 2010," the issues paper said. The Office of Information Commissioner will now review government agency Freedom of Information decisions and provide education and awareness. The reporting of compliance will also fall under its remit. "The OAIC fills a major gap in the system. We will champion open government, provide advice and assistance to the public and promote better information management by government," said the new Australian Information Commissioner, Professor John McMillan. "Our Office will have a comprehensive range of functions, including investigating complaints, reviewing agency FOI decisions, education and awareness, and reporting on compliance.

McMillan said that under the OAIC government agencies will be publishing more information online. He said that the role would include providing advice to governments on information policy and practice. "These changes reflect a broader policy change that acknowledges that information held by the Government is a national resource to be managed for public purposes," he said. In a blog posting, ACT Senator and Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Immigration and Citizenship, Kate Lundy said: "Australia is doing some amazing work in using the Internet, new technologies and new methods to engage meaningfully with the public to make government more open, engaging and participatory.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 11/01/2010

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FIJI: Government Extends Phone Registration for a Second Time

The Minister of Communications in Fiji has extended for a second time the deadline for registration of all telephones in the country. Fiji Times Online says the new deadline date for registration is set at 8 November 2010. It is understood that any service provider failing to cancel a telephone line (fixed or mobile) which has not been registered under the government's Compulsory Registration of Customers for Telephone Services Decree (June 2010), could be found guilty and fined FJD200,000 (USD109,507). Telecom Fiji Limited (TFL), which to date has achieved a figure of 93% for customer registration, has welcomed the extension and notes a number of practical constraints, such as financing, resources and equipment that have stopped it recording and registering all phone users. Meanwhile Digicel Fiji says it faces logistical challenges to reach some rural and outer areas, and Vodafone Fiji says it needs to register all its subscribers - or around 760,000 users.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 10/19/2010

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NEW ZEALAND: Top Thought Leaders at 50 Year ICT Celebration

The New Zealand Computer Society Inc (NZCS), the professional body of the ICT sector, today outlined some of the key presenters and thought leaders at the Society's "50 Years of ICT Innovation" conference next month. As a one-off conference to celebrate 50 years of ICT Innovation in New Zealand, the conference represents a significant gathering of thought leaders from throughout New Zealand and the world, hosted in Rotorua next month. Conference Chairman, Elizabeth Eastwood, today said "With Minister of ICT Hon Steven Joyce opening, and opposition ICT spokesperson Hon Clare Curran in attendance, along with a who's who of the ICT sector presenting and participating, this will be an event like no other". "The conference includes over 40 presentations covering a broad range of topics and interests within ICT, such as Nic Steenhout from AccessibilityNZ speaking about innovation within assistive technology, a presentation from Optimal Usability about user-centered design in relation to the Air New Zealand's new SkyCouch, Microsoft Asia Pacific's head of ICT Healthcare Gabe Rijpma, Perce Harpham, who founded Progeni Systems (New Zealand's first software company), plus legal experts speaking about legals aspects of Cloud Computing and Open Source, plus many other topics", Eastwood said.

The event also featured 8 high profile keynote speakers including:
• Craig Nevill-Manning, a brilliant example of a kiwi using ICT to innovate on a global scale. After graduating from Canterbury and Waikato Universities and a successful academic career at Rutgers and Stanford Universities, Craig went on to found Google's first remote engineering centre in Manhattan New York, where he is currently the Engineering Director.
• Sam Morgan has become a household name in New Zealand since he founded Trade Me in 1999. Trade Me became New Zealand's largest Internet business, a title it still holds.
• Ian Taylor (Ngati Kahungunu) is recognised as one of New Zealand's leading Maori innovators. After a successful TVNZ career, Ian shot to fame in 1992 by revolutionising real-time 3D graphics for the Americas Cup with Virtual Spectator, forming Taylormade Media and Animation Research Ltd (ARL).
• Sam Knowles, KiwiBank's Founding CEO and well respected corporate entrepreneur.
• Ian McCrae, Founder of Orion Health, New Zealand's largest software exporter.
• Rod Drury, Founder of Xero and creator of Aftermail and Glazier Systems, which later went on to become Intergen.
• Greg Lane, National Director of the Canadian Council of IT Professionals, and one of the original team to set up Clear Communications in New Zealand, Telecom's first serious competitor.
• Nat Torkington, Web 2.0 and Open Government expert.

"This conference is about innovation, and it's about mapping out where innovation will take ICT over the next 50 years. We're privileged to have attendees and presenters from all corners of the sector, from 3D graphics to robots, open source to proprietary, industry and academia, our history and our future. There's something for absolutely everyone", Eastwood said. "As well as attendees from almost every continent on Earth, people are travelling from throughout New Zealand to join the conversation. This is a one-off opportunity to be part of a superb event with a lineup never seen before in New Zealand," Eastwood concluded. "Those interested in attending need to register at www.innovation.org.nz before the end of this month".


From http://www.scoop.co.nz/ 08/15/2010

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National and Labour Reach Accord on File-Sharing

The National and Labour parties have reached a compromise on the most hotly debated feature of the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Bill, meaning that for the time being at least, no copyright infringer will be in danger of having their internet account suspended, even by a Court order. The Commerce Select Committee has tabled its report back to Parliament, which recommends an amendment that the termination provision not be available until authorised by an Order in Council, enacted by the Commerce Minister. "Without this compromise Labour could not have supported the Bill," says committee member and Opposition ICT spokeswoman Clare Curran. "The evidence produced at the select committee identified that suspension of internet access was not only potentially disproportionate but the evidence was very clear that it wouldn't work because those infringing persistently and deliberately would be able to circumvent disconnection with multiple Internet Service Provider connections," Curran says.

"We believe that internet access is fast becoming as necessary to us in our daily lives as the provision of electricity, water and the telephone. "However internet access is not just a utility but also enables the provision of social and family connections across distances and time zones, education and work opportunities," she says. The Bill now goes forward for a second reading with a draft amendment deferring the suspension provision, and effectively with an assurance that the contentious clause will pass into law in that form. There are still many other contentious aspects of the Bill to be debated, Curran says, particularly around responsibility for the cost of policing potential infringements. The second-reading debate will not appear on Parliament's Order Paper until next week and it is not yet clear what priority it will be accorded.


From http://computerworld.co.nz/ 11/03/2010

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New Zealand Ranks in Bottom Third of OECD for Fixed Line Calling

High monthly line rental charge and to a lesser extent relatively high fixed-to-mobile calling prices, means New Zealand ranks poorly in the OECD benchmarking of fixed line voice services, according to a report from the country's Commerce Commission. Consumers who make few calls a month face the highest line rental in the OECD, while medium to high users of mobile voice services also have a poor rank under OECD benchmarking. For voice (and SMS) services, benchmarking has been carried out against other OECD countries. In relation to broadband, New Zealand prices have been compared to those in Australia, the UK, Norway and Sweden. "Having no alternative to a plan with a fixed price for unlimited local calls favours those consumers who make a lot of local calls and disadvantages those who make few. Consumers making few monthly calls effectively cross-subsidise consumers who make a large number of calls," said Dr Ross Patterson, Telecommunications Commissioner. The report also looks at the price of broadband services in New Zealand compared to prices in four other countries. "Although the Commission is cautious about drawing definitive conclusions from limited fixed line broadband benchmarking, it appears that the price of broadband in New Zealand for low and medium users is in line with that observed in other countries. High users, however, face a significantly higher price in New Zealand compared to other similarly developed countries," said Dr Patterson.

While it is often argued that New Zealand's geographical isolation and the cost of international bandwidth is causing New Zealand's higher prices, the report notes that Australia faces a similar issue, yet prices in Australia are significantly lower than New Zealand for high users. The report also indicates that the price of mobile broadband is high across all levels of usage, and significantly higher in the high use basket (over 8 GB) where New Zealand prices are almost triple those of the cheapest country, Sweden. In comparison to Australia, New Zealand consumers pay significantly more for mobile voice and SMS plans for medium and high usage. In particular, for the OECD's 300 calls per month mobile basket the cheapest price for Australia is less than half that for New Zealand. For broadband, Australia is cheaper than New Zealand in every mobile usage basket and for the 200MB basket the price in New Zealand is almost double that in Australia. For fixed line broadband, New Zealand is cheaper than Australia for low and medium usage (2GB and 10GB), but significantly (31 per cent) more expensive for high usage (40GB plus).


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 11/09/2010

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PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Suspends Mobile Phone Lottery

The Papua New Guinean government has suspended a lottery conducted by mobile phone, following widespread public outcry. PNG's National Gaming Control Board allowed PNG Lotto to introduce the lottery through mobile phone company Digicel's network. Since Digicel entered the PNG market, many more children under the age of 18 have access to mobile phones. The lottery service was suspended, after parents and churches expressed concern about its possible affect on children. PNG Lotto's Chief Executive Paul Siwi says public consultations will be held sometime this week. "The suspension will allow for further consultations with community leaders and a review to ensure that PNG Lotto is meeting all of the conditions of the license awarded by the Gaming Board," he said. The Gaming Board has called on PNG Lotto to explain to the public how it will stop children from gambling via mobile phone.


From http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/ 11/09/2010

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GLOBAL: E-Commerce Worth 550Bn in 2010

Global e-retail trade is expected to hit 550bn this year, with Europeans accounting for more than a third of this spend. Skip related content. In anticipation of the continued growth of e-commerce, the e-Business Strategy Europe 2010 event will be held for the first time in October, with industry members coming together to discuss strategies for boosting online retail. The conference comes at a key time, according to its organisers, which released statistics showing just how far the market has come. Roughly 30 per cent of the world's population is online, and around 85 per cent buy goods and services via the internet. The organisers estimate that, while making up a quarter of the net population, Europeans account for 35 per cent of all online spending at roughly 200bn.

The conference is being held in Lille on 20 October, the same month that the number of internet users is supposed to hit two billion, just 16 years after the birth of the World Wide Web. It is being led by UK e-commerce industry group the IRMG, and was set up to be a "brains trust" for discussion and thought on policy and strategy. "Digital commerce demands our urgent attention. However, in this rapidly changing space, with its multi-layered interdependencies, nobody can have a clear view of where digital innovation may be taking us, or when," said IRMG chief executive James Roper. Participants will be given a range of topics to chew over, including whether towns will need to be planned differently because of e-commerce, whether internet access should be considered a human right, and whether territorial pricing of products can continue in light of the global transparency of e-commerce.


From http://uk.news.yahoo.com/ 09/07/2010

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ICT Shifting to Sustainability Market

Technology analyst firm Ovum has revealed ICT companies are positioning to take advantage of an increasing trend towards sustainable business practices, which is expected to become a "multi-billion-pound market". The report, Carbon Accounting: A key step toward broad sustainability management, follows news that SAP is the leading software supplier in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes for a fourth consecutive year. A statement from the company confirmed it had "sector-leading scores" in over half of the 20 assessed areas, including customer relationship management, risk and crisis management, innovation management, human capital development, corporate citizenship and labour practice indicators. "Carbon accounting regulations are one of the early drivers of sustainable practices, forcing companies worldwide to re-examine their operations and awakening them to the role that IT can play in helping them meet carbon reporting and reduction requirements," explained Warren Wilson, Ovum senior analyst for IT and sustainability. "Leading IT firms are looking at the problem more broadly, seizing the 'chance to do well by doing good' and helping clients to implement greener approaches that don't just help them comply with regulations but also help them save money, grow their companies and enhance their products and brands. We expect this to be a major growth area for the IT sector and over the next few years to become a multi-billion-pound market. Wilson, who also authored the report, added, "There is a wealth of opportunity for IT firms in sustainability, so companies that have not yet taken advantage of it should not feel that they have missed the boat. However, those that are making the most of the shift to sustainable practices are those that take an innovative approach, often thinking outside of the standard services they offer." "They see that the opportunity extends well beyond traditional 'green IT,' or energy-efficient computing, and encompasses all the ways in which IT can enable greener practices across the business - in industrial processes, building operations, fleet management, and more." On SAP's performance in sustainability, Wilson said, "We believe SAP is on track to claim a substantial share of what will be a huge market. This is true for two key reasons: sustainability management is a natural extension of ERP - SAP's home turf - and its value proposition is simple: sustainable practices are good business."


From http://publictechnology.net/ 09/13/2010

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IT's Biggest Money Wasters

Though there's no one-click solution to any of these money wasters, there are ways you can stanch the flow of dollars and use it on the items that will make your IT organization shine. Here are the secrets. Even in these lean times, where tech budgets are trimmed to the bone, money gets wasted. Companies routinely overspend on software licenses and service-level agreements. It's possible to have too much bandwidth at your disposal and to store too much email on company servers, not to mention the billions of dollars still wasted on paper and ink. Then there's the inevitable project from hell that ends up swirling down the toilet, dragging your precious IT resources behind it. It doesn't have to be this way. Though there's no one-click solution to any of these money wasters, there are ways you can stanch the flow of dollars and use it on the items that will make your IT organization shine. Here are the secrets.

IT's biggest money waster No. 1: Dusty software licenses Collectively, U.S. companies are paying billions for shelfware - whether it's software that was never adopted or for employees they no longer have, and often at prices that are higher than what is actually needed. A 2010 IDC survey of midsize and large businesses found that well over half of enterprise applications are underutilized, with anywhere from 25 percent to more than 75 percent of licenses paid for but unused, notes IDC analyst Amy Konar. "Organizations typically use less than 50 percent of an installed ERP system and are paying significant licensing and maintenance fees for modules and functionality that are not providing value to the business," says Kathryn Douglass, managing partner of IT consultants WillowTree Advisors. "They need to review their named-user licenses and renegotiate agreements to remove unused or duplicate users from licenses. The difference between a 2,000-named-user license and a 1,500-named-user license can easily be $500,000." Small and midsized businesses may be able to get away with using an Excel spreadsheet and their accounts payable records to true-up their software needs. But larger, more complex operations need enterprise-level software that can track software assets, gauge their use, and optimize the licenses accordingly, says Steve Schmidt, vice president of product management for Flexera Software, maker of application usage management solutions. Every company should start by collecting information on the software they are paying for and what they actually use, says Schmidt. For many companies, that tends to be a one-time event instead of a continual process. Asset tracking and license optimization need to account for such details as downgrade rights and second-machine use rights. Global companies may have concurrent agreements that allow them to use one license 24/7, shifting from one physical location to another as the day progresses. Even users of cloud apps need to closely monitor their usage levels - which can be hard to do manually. "You want to be able to combine that information in an intelligent and automated way so that you can make good decisions about optimizing," Schmidt says. For large enterprises, the amount of money left on the table is far from trivial. Procter & Gamble used Flexera's FlexNet Manager Suite to eliminate unnecessary licenses for its Oracle and SAP products, trimming more than $30 million from its annual software budget. The other option: Ditch those draconian licensing agreements and go open source, says David Wood, CTO for the Jun Group, which distributes video content for companies like Nike, Wal-Mart, and Coca-Cola. Open source software can't solve every problem, but it's come a long way in the past 10 years. "Outside of certification-driven fields like finance, health care, and the military, most Oracle (and former Sun) customers are overpaying massively for Unix and relational database capacity and features that are never used," says Wood. "The software licenses run to the millions, and once they have built on this foundation, the victims can never escape. The rationale was that you don't entrust a big business infrastructure to open source hippies. It was wrong 10 years ago and it's ludicrous today. Are Google or Facebook running their websites on Solaris or Oracle? I don't think so." IT's biggest money waster No. 2: The paper chase Remember the "paperless office"? Turns out it was just another fantasy, kind of like "clean" coal or change we can believe in. Despite the influx of digital technology over the past 30 years, U.S. office workers still consume an average of 10,000 pages per person every year - about $80 worth - according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Nearly half of that paper ends up as trash before the day is out. U.S. corporations spend $120 billion per year on paper forms alone, notes a Xerox study. But the costs don't end at paper. Ounce for ounce, the ink inside a typical printer cartridge is 15 times more expensive than Dom Perignon champagne, according to Chronicle Research. Filing that paper, copying it, mailing it, storing it, and finding it again can add up to more than 30 times the original cost of printing, per a 2005 study by the Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance. Have we convinced you yet? A paperless office is still not very likely. But a less-paper office is entirely doable. Step one: Get rid of forms that need to be processed by hand, says Paula Selvidge, VP of user experience at PerfectForms, a business process automation company "Companies often use paper forms to complete daily tasks or electronic forms that are then printed out (vacation requests, time sheets, bill-back spreadsheets, etc.)," says Selvidge. "Copies of these are sent to another group of people, like HR, after that - the next step in a long, overly complicated approval cycle - and finally handed off to the department head. You multiply this by the hundreds of admin tasks that require approval every day, and you can practically see the trees frowning." Simply converting required forms from paper to digital instantly saved $10,000 for one school in Fremont, Calif., Selvidge says. Step two: Get employees to stop needlessly printing all or parts of emails, Web pages, or other electronic documents that don't really need to be on paper, says Kent Dunn, VP of sales and business development for GreenPrint, which makes software that helps users conserve paper and ink/toner by avoiding unnecessary print jobs. GreenPrint claims an enterprise with 5,000 PCs will avoid printing some 6.3 million pages, saving nearly $400,000 annually. Even moving from cutting paper checks to using electronic deposits will save one pound of paper per employee each year, saving employers an average of $176 per head, according to a study conducted by Javelin Research and sponsored by PayItGreen, a coalition of electronic payments vendors. "There are no magic buttons that an organization can press to solve the print waste problem," says Dunn. "In the end, individuals are responsible for creating print waste, and they have to be involved to make it go away. Once people are engaged, they have to be empowered with the right tools to solve the problem, and then the organization must enforce the print reduction targets it established." IT's biggest money waster No. 3: Gold-plated service-level agreements Whether it's for help desk services, Web hosting, or server uptime guarantees, too many IT organizations are paying for Lexus-level service when a Toyota Camry SLA is more than adequate. "Most sourcing agreements for IT services include amazingly high service levels," says Matthew H. Podowitz, independent IT consultant and author of The IT Value Challenge blog. "But how many businesses really require 99.999 uptime 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?" That five-nines uptime agreement may mean your site or servers will only be unavailable for perhaps 15 minutes per year, he adds. "But if you paid for only 98.5 percent uptime, and your systems went down for maybe a dozen hours a year, so what?" Unless that downtime puts you at a competitive disadvantage or causes revenue to slip through the cracks, it probably won't make a difference, he says. There are exceptions, of course. If you're a county government, you don't want to reduce the uptime for your 911 emergency service, but your accounting data probably doesn't need to be accessible 24/7/365. Even IT departments where labor and outsourcing budgets have been trimmed to the bone can still save money by taking a hard look at their service-level agreements, especially in the area of help desk support, says John Baschab, senior vice president for technology solutions and staffing firm Technisource. "Overserving particular areas is a big source of overspending in the operating budget," he says. "A hard look at benchmarks and numbers will help here. One specific area that should be evaluated is the help desk or incident management area. Companies would often like to move to a prevention model (e.g., end-user self-service) instead of a cure model, but it can be difficult if you don't already have effective SLA measures in place because as you change models it is hard to tell if you have actually reduced the incidents. The worst case is investing in a preventative model but not cutting down on the total incidents." The hardest part, says Baschab? Deciding what services are essential and which are merely optional. "The most difficult part is separating the needed services vs. the 'fat' that can creep in over time," he adds. "This requires careful analysis and considerable experience in benchmarking, IT demand management, service-level setting, and governance." IT's biggest money waster No. 4: The email monster You already knew email was a productivity suck, but it also sucks money out of your organization in terms of storage, maintenance, software licenses, server upkeep, and the constant battle against spam, malware, and data leaks. It's a problem that will only get worse. Netizens sent 247 billion emails a day in 2009, per the Radicati Group, with enterprise email accounting for roughly a quarter of that total. By 2013, email volume will double - creating a massive storage headache for enterprises. "Resources consumed by email messages and their attachments are a major concern for many companies," says WillowTree's Douglass. "A 10,000-user organization without mailbox policies consumes an average of 30GB of storage per day from email messages alone." Using software configurations or an enterprise email management tool in conjunction with an email archive policy can cut storage costs by managing retention, enforcing limits on the size of file attachments, and redirecting users to third-party collaboration tools like SharePoint, where large files can be shared more efficiently, says Douglass. "Monitoring and understanding the habits of email users and helping them find alternate ways to send, store, and retrieve information can result in significant storage cost reductions and, as an added bonus, increased email performance," Douglass adds. But others argue that the proper place for email is the cloud, where the rising storage, maintenance, and security concerns are somebody else's problem. "For companies with up to 1,000 people, having an in-house Exchange architecture is a huge waste," says Gary Bahadur, CEO of KRAA Security. "Email is definitely one of those things that should be outsourced to the cloud. You no longer have to worry about the costs associated with hardware and software licenses, downtime, combating viruses, or emergency calls to IT admins at 3 a.m. A hosted email platform is backed up automatically, has a 24/7 staff, is more up to date on security patches, and is staffed by email experts instead of tech generalists. If you want to save some money, host your email." IT's biggest money waster No. 5: Excess bandwidth You can't be too rich or too thin, nor can you have too much bandwidth at your disposal - at least, that's the common belief. But many companies are wasting their money on bandwidth they don't really need instead of doing a better job managing the bandwidth they already have, says Andrew Rubin, CEO of network visibility/optimization provider Cymtec. If a problem arises anywhere on the network, IT's first response is almost always to throw more bandwidth at it, he says. "If you've got a T1 line, then it's time for a T3. Still too slow? Then go for a 100Mb pipe. But when they look at their actual bandwidth usage they find out they've got a 100Mb pipe but are only using 1 percent of it." Companies that have overbuilt their networks shrug and say they'll eventually grow into it, says Rubin. "A better approach is to build a little ahead of the 8-ball, but manage it as tightly as humanly possible," he says. "Understanding what's happening and having great visibility and control is how you can get the most out of your investment." At a certain point, bandwidth becomes a status symbol; if a company buys Tier 1 bandwidth, they think it makes them a Tier 1 player, says Jun Group's Woods. That's not necessarily the case. "Deep down, ambitious executives believe they will be the next eBay, and that's a good thing," Woods says. "So when it comes time to build, small companies buy expensive servers or managed hosting ('to grow into') when Amazon's cloud will serve them surpassingly well. Medium-sized companies buy elaborate blade infrastructure and Tier 1 bandwidth in major markets like New York or San Francisco, when they only need downmarket hardware and more affordable hosting solutions. And they will never meet a salesperson who doesn't agree." IT's biggest money waster No. 6: IT projects gone wild Ambitious, big-budget IT projects often seem to have failure built in from the start. In survey after survey, IT organizations have reported project failure rates of 30 to 70 percent. The tech industry is rife with stories of multi-million-dollar projects that are late, overbudget, or simply abandoned. According to the Standish Group's 2009 CHAOS report, one out of four IT projects is never completed, collectively costing companies billions of dollars. "The most common root causes of IT waste I see follows a theme of poor IT project management," says Chris Stephenson, partner and co-founder of Arryve, a Seattle-based strategy and management consulting firm. The biggest problems? Failure to adopt a standard way to measure a project's success (or lack thereof) and a hands-off approach from management. "Too often, IT-related projects are a series of hand-offs from the business to the developers to the testers to operations," he says. "Without involving all parties throughout the entire project, alignment is quickly lost and duplicative work efforts occur. I'd estimate the time to complete projects that do not follow [sound IT project management] rules double the cost and time of IT projects. They also increase the risk of low business adoption or outright project abandonment." The biggest single money suck in most failed projects isn't software or hardware - it's the cost of employees whose time has gone into them, says Curt Finch, CEO of Journyx, a maker of Web-based time-tracking and project management tools. "IT projects fail because they are out of control, overbudget, or broken," says Finch. "Companies must figure out which of their IT projects are high-risk and which ones are low-risk. The best way to measure that risk is to track employee time spent on projects, while simultaneously estimating how much of the project is complete. If the project budget is 1,000 person-hours and 50 percent (i.e., 500 hours) is used up but the project is only 15 percent complete, then you know you have a high-risk project - and a big problem." You can avoid an endless money pit by following a few commonsense rules, says Finch. For example: Don't start projects you know you can't finish or take up three projects when you have the resources to complete only one. Take the pulse of your project on a regular basis. If it's only 10 percent done but you've spent 15 percent of the money, odds are the numbers will only get worse. Give accurate status updates; if a project is behind schedule and/or over budget, hiding that fact will only hurt you later. "This is all very basic - not easy, but basic - yet almost no one does it well," Finch says. "If a project is in trouble and management really wants it to succeed, they'll find a way to help. Otherwise, they'll start looking for someone to blame. In that case, you'd better start looking for a new job." (By Dan Tynan)


From http://www.itworldcanada.com/ 11/09/2010

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AFRICA: IT Edge Ranks Top 50 ICT Companies in West Africa

IT Edge News.Com has announced plans to unveil its ranking of top 50 Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) companies in West Africa during a luncheon in Lagos. Head of IT Edge's Intelligence Unit, Mr. Segun Oruame, made this known at the weekend, saying that this year's edition of the West Africa Top 50 Technology Business ceremony has been scheduled to hold on November , 26, this year. According to him, this year's Top 50 would be the fourth since 2007 and has been incorporated as part of the IT Edge West Africa 4th Convergence Forum; the annual interactive Forum since 2006 that focuses on Convergence Trends in West Africa, just as the forum has enjoyed the support the NigeriaCommunications Commission (NCC) since 2007 among others. "This year's event equally gets the support from the regulatory authorities from Nigeria, Ghanaand Sierra Leone," he said. Oruame noted that the two events are organized by the IT Edge Intelligence Unit (ITE-IU) while the 2010 Convergence Forum has the theme: 'Driving Convergence through Connectivity Infrastructure'. This, he said, would underscore the significant entry of Glo-1 and Main One undersea cables in what should radically change broadband connectivity access across West Africa. "The top 50 rating is an aggregate of companies across West Africa in the technology business sector whose performance in 2006 made the mark on service excellence. The companies were rated on market spread and technical competence, functionality and relevance in terms of customers' service and contribution to national economy in their respective areas of operation among other factors," he said. The survey, he explained, is annually conducted by IT Edge Intelligence Unit based on detailed analysis of available data on the ICT, technology business sector in 10 of the 14 ECOWAS countries. The data used for the survey, he said, include basic information on each organisations directly from some of companies or third party information source including leading analyst firms such as Gartner Group and IDC, local newspapers and magazines, news websites and international news publications including Technology Times (Nigeria), IT Weekly (Dubai), Balancing Act, the Financial Times, ITRealms Online and the Economist in the UK, the Forbes Rich List, the Fortune 500, the Wall Street Journal and Reuters. Among the top 50 for 2010 are Globacom, Systemspecs, Unique Solutions (Gambia), PPC, DOPC, NIIT, and MTN. Others are Interswitch, Computer Warehouse Group, DCC, Zinox, Nokia, Cisco, HP, Aviat and Helios, among others.

"They represent the best of technology and business efforts in terms of corporate excellence, service delivery, transparency and strict adherence to the tenets of best international practice," he said. Pointing out that the rating would be the fourth for the ECOWAS sub-region, and include companies from French and English speaking West Africa. Rating covered all sub-sectoral players ranging from international vendors, software companies, infrastructure providers, telcos, handset manufacturers, and distribution companies to PC makers. "We have witnessed tremendous market growth in the last few years helped by liberalisation and deregulation. We have also seen a hash of service delivery and opportunistic products making appearance on the shelf without any concern for whether they meet customer's expectations or not. This rating is an expansion of our editorial vision at helping to create a market of accurate 'facts and figures'" he said.


From http://allafrica.com/ 10/20/2010

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Mobile Market Records 500 Million Subscribers

Abuja - The African mobile market exceeded half a billion subscribers during the third quarter of this year, hitting about 506 million at the end of September, according to a research from AfricaCom DailyNews. The research which was conducted by Informa Telecoms and Media, one of the orgernisers of the ongoing AfricaCom conference in Cape Town, South Africa, said the milestone coincided with the 25th anniversary of mobile telephony in African continent; the first African mobile network went live in 1985 in Tunisia. LEADERSHIP gathered at the conference that at the end of the first quarter of this year, GSM subscribers in the continent accounted for 10 pre cent of the global subscriber base, with penetration still very low, though it increased by 18 per cent in the first quarter of this year. It was also gathered that GSM penetration rate in Africa stood at 48.35 per cent at the end of September, and some African markets have since passed saturation point. "But penetration in other markets is still less than five per cent, and penetration below ten per cent is typical for rural areas," AfricaCom Daily News reported.

According to the report, over the five years, the strongest growth rates in mobile subscription are expected to be recorded mainly in East and Central African markets, adding that Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea and Madagascar are expected to witness increase by more than 100 per cent in 2015. "Although, the rate of growth in mobile subscription in Africa will be slow as markets mature, the continent continues to offer great opportunities for investors in the voice segment in under penetrated market and also in the non-voice segment with mobile broadband and mobile money services taking off," said Thecla Mbongue, Johannesburg-based senior analyst at Informa and Telecom Media. According to findings, the landing of a series of new submarine cables on both the East and West coasts of Africa over the past 18 months has given the continent a good level of international connectivity for the first time, and has greatly expanded the opportunities for data services.

It further stated that an increase in data services would cause a bottleneck in terrestrial backhaul networks and that these networks needed to improve if connectivity was going to be made available to more African, particularly those in the rural rears. " By 2015, there will be 265 million mobile broadband subscription in Africa, a huge increase from the current figure of about 12 million and accounting for 31.5 per cent of the total of 842 million mobile subscriptions that the continent will have in five years' time Mbongue said, adding: "There will be almost 360 million users of mobile-money services on the continent by 2014." The research further showed that with household broadband in penetration in Africa at just 2.5 per cent, the opportunities for mobile data access services on the continent are significant. (By Bethrand Nwankwo)


From http://allafrica.com/ 11/12/2010

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A Strategic Market for Telecommunications - Experts

Cape Town - African countries have been urged to focus attention on broadband, deployment of telecommunication services to the rural communities and efficient strategies if they want to enhance the telecommunication sector. This advice was given by telecommunication experts at the just concluded telecommunication conference known as AfricaCom which took place in Cape Town, South Africa. The speakers also agreed that the continent should pay more attention to non voice communication if she must grow the sector and bridge the digital divide. The overall message was that although Africa is still experiencing strong organic growth in telecommunication, broadband, non-voice services, rural expansion and efficiency strategies were identified at the conference as the main opportunities for growing the sector on the continent. Report from AfricaCom Daily News said that the continent has crossed the 500 million mobile subscriptions mark. (By Bethrand Nwankwo)


From http://allafrica.com/ 11/13/2010

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ASIA and Pacific Mobile Payments to Double in Five Years

Mobile payments in Asia-Pacific are expected to record transactions worth more than two-fold from 2009 revenues of US$1.6 billion in five years. In 2015, Frost & Sullivan estimates that m-payments could exceed billings of US$3.6 billion at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 14.8 percent (2010-2015). Frost & Sullivan industry analyst Shaker Amin attributes this growth to technology innovations and operators' initiatives - particularly with NFC (Near Field Communication) - as well as rising consumer demand in both the developed and emerging markets. New analysis from Frost & Sullivan finds that contactless payments via the NFC channel will increase in popularity to account for 23 percent of all m-payments in 2015, from only 12 percent last year.

The SMS method, which accounted for nearly 82 percent of total transactions in 2009, will likely remain the dominant mobile payment channel until 2015, albeit dropping to about 67 percent by then. Other payment channels such as WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) and DMB (Direct Mobile Billing) contributed small fractions to m-payments in 2009, with adoption levels not expected to rise through to 2015. "Having one of the most advanced mobile cultures in the world, Japan and South Korea lead the region in the adoption of mobile payments," Amin says. He adds that the relatively less-developed mobile markets such as China, India, Indonesia and the Philippines, where access to traditional banking services is highly skewed against the rural mass population, are showing rapid take-up of mobile banking services, including person-to-person (P2P) transfers and remittances. "Even in emerging markets such as Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka - although limited to mostly SMS-based bill payments and micro credit transfers - m-payments services are increasingly becoming popular," he continues.

Amin explains that these [emerging] markets also have good potential for mobile remittance services due to the large population of workers residing in other countries - Malaysia for example. "International remittance sent out from the significant migrant worker population in Malaysia is a lucrative business. This is significant for Malaysian operators, as this segment of the population also has high mobile penetration; more than 90 percent of all migrant groups have mobile devices," he says. He adds that operators' initiatives in enabling remittance services - along with m-wallet and top-up/transfer services - have helped the mobile payments market in Malaysia, which, until recently, remained tepid and limited to bill payments.

According to Amin, "In sharp contrast, despite having one of the highest mobile penetrations in the region, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan have shown little adoption of m-payments to date. Contactless payments in these markets are primarily driven by the use of smart cards as opposed to m-payments." NFC will fast change this, Amin believes. "NFC will find wide popularity, and quickly too, in developed markets where mobile penetration rates and the use of smart cards for contactless payments are already high, and rallying the supporting infrastructure is relatively easier (than in developing countries)," he says.

However, Amin says, "The mobile payment value chain is quite often embattled with issues of which vested party plays the bigger role - and hence, takes a bigger revenue share - and infrastructure interoperability issues between the banks', application service providers' and mobile operators' platforms. "Nevertheless, in all instances, the benefits are enormous - for mobile operators, it provides a means to add value to their commercial offerings with new services enabling new revenue streams; for banks, it helps in reducing cash handling and costs; for merchants, it helps to speed up transaction time and generate more transactions," he adds.

Dominant payment service providers have already begun providing contactless payment services via mobile phones, while banks are also showing keen interest to jump on the NFC bandwagon, with trials under way. "Ultimately, strong government support is going to be instrumental in driving uptake and making NFC and a cashless society a reality," Amin says. He cites Singapore's IDA (Infocomm Development Authority) as one such advocate; in February 2009, Singapore became the first country to give the go-ahead for the creation of a central Trusted Third Party (TTP) designed to deliver a fully interoperable, multi-application national NFC ecosystem. Later, in April 2009, IDA announced the availability of funding to help grow the installed base of contactless terminals in food courts, coffee shops, fast food outlets, convenience stores, vending machines, and so on. In the early stages of NFC adoption, IDA expects the annual revenue from NFC mobile payments and advertising to amount to US$43 million for Singapore.


From http:///www.cellular-news.com/ 10/07/2010

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Developing Asia-Pacific States Press for Less Red Tape in Trade

OVER 200 individuals from 33 Asia-Pacific economies participating in the Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last Oct. 5-6 urged their governments to streamline international trade procedures and ensure that regulations are simple, consistent and transparent, a statement the United Nations released yesterday read.

The hidden cost of red tape amounts to $300 billion a year in the Asia-Pacific region, the statement read, and it takes an average of 30 days to move goods from factory to ship deck in countries of the region, compared with 10 days on average for members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Brought together by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), forum participants also called for greater regional cooperation to promote paperless trading systems and increase trade in agricultural products.

The statement quoted Malaysian Deputy Minister of Transport, Y.B. Datuk Abdul Rahim bin Bakri as telling forum participants that the importance of regional connectivity has never been more pressing. "As a regional community, we need to step up trade facilitation to reduce trade costs and promote growth and regional integration in order to counteract declining markets of the West," he said. Ravi Ratnayake, director of the Trade and Investment Division of ESCAP, said that "the somewhat shocking reality is that Asia Pacific is better connected to Europe and America than with itself."

He added that "our research shows that, on average, trade costs of the region with North America and Europe are 20% less than those with itself." Cumbersome border procedures, requiring numerous approval documents, make it easier and cheaper for countries in the region to trade with far away developed countries, instead of doing more business with neighbors, Mr. Ratnayake said. Naomi Chakwin, director of ADB's East Asia Department, highlighted the advantages of paperless trading systems.

"The international supply chains are looking for ways to move away from a paper-based documents towards paperless information exchange. Governments want to reduce the risk of global trade through less and better data and increased efficiency. It even fits in well with the global move toward eco-efficiency with aspirations for green trade corridors," Ms. Chakwin said. She added, that "there is still much to do to achieve paperless trading systems in the region" and all development partners "need to work together, to pool our resources and share our expertise with one another to overcome the obstacles to paperless trade."

Outlining the next steps for the region, the Commerce Minister of Bangladesh, M. Faruk Khan, said that the success of trade facilitation measures depend on "an effective and integrated approach at the macro level." He added that "as far as I personally feel, capacity-building based on a thorough need assessment should be the immediate objective of international agencies like the UNESCAP and ADB." He asked the United Nations Network of Experts for Paperless Trade (UN NExT) in Asia and the Pacific to help developing countries in this endeavor.

The participants adopted a road map at the end of the forum to push trade facilitation reforms at national and regional levels. Key recommendations include working towards a regional agreement for the legal recognition and electronic exchange of trade data and documents. Agricultural trade facilitation, particularly the need for governments and international development organizations to help overcome sanitary and phytosanitary barriers to trade, was also highlighted. The forum also pushed the development of sub-regional single window facilities, like that of ASEAN, to facilitate submission and processing of trade data and documents.


From http://www.bworldonline.com/ 10/07/2010

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EUROPE: EU Launches Green Paper to Boost eProcurement

The European Commission, in a green paper published today, laid out measures to boost the use of e-procurement across the EU. The Commission also launched its new e-CERTIS data base which is a free, web-based tool to help companies and contracting organisations cope with the documentation demands encountered when tendering for public contracts in the EU.

The paper examines the key bottlenecks and suggests remedies to them to help member states use e-procurement effectively. The replacement of paper-based public procurement procedures by automated processes holds out the promise of significantly faster and more streamlined procurement administration. Ultimately this should lead to better value for money for the taxpayer, which in the current climate would be very welcome, maximising the potential of constrained resources. "The European Commission has always promoted the use of information and communication technology in public procurement. Our evaluation shows that where it is being used, it increases the speed and efficiency of public purchasing while significantly cutting the costs when participating in tenders." - the Internal Markets Commissioner, Michel Barnier said. "However, we are only at the beginning of a long road. A push is needed at all levels and we will work together with national governments in order to expand the use of e-procurement. I am ready to do my bit to harness the enormous potential that ICT offers for modernising and simplifying public procurement in the EU," he added. the Green Paper invites comment on how the EU can help Member States to: fully exploit e-procurement's potential to simplify and improve public purchasing; accelerate the switch-over by providing the right mix of legislative incentives and tools; and allow operators from other Member States to participate in on-line procurement procedures. The Green Paper will be of interest to national ministries, large procurement agencies and contracting authorities, providers of technology solutions, procurement specialists in the private and public sector and representatives of business trade associations. It represents a first step towards a more comprehensive programme to harness the potential of ICT for better public procurement in Europe. The responses received from interested parties will help in drawing up a programme of EU level actions to enhance the use of e-procurement (which is to be finalised during 2011).


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 10/18/2010

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Spain: Open Source Has Helped Save Millions of Euros

Juan Mar¨Şa Gonz¨˘lez, Secretary General for Telecommunications and Information Society for the autonomous region of Andalusia declared in a speech that the use of open source is helping the government of Andalusia save millions of euros.

Gonz¨˘lez delivered the speech during the conference on Free Knowledge and Public Administration that took place on 27-28 October 2010 in Malaga. Gonz¨˘lez' speech was cited on several social networking sites by conference attendees. One of these is Eduardo Romero, who is involved in the city of Zaragoza's move to an open source desktop. He quoted the Secretary General saying: "Free software is in the heart of policy and strategies of Andalusia." The Free Knowledge and Public Administration conference was organised by Iniciativa Focus, an NGO on open society, with the support from Cenatic, Spain's open source resource centre and the governments of Extremadura and Andalusia. This two-day conference was one of two events organised ad hoc to replace the Open Source World Conference (OSWC) which should have taken place during the same week but which the government of Andalusia cancelled due to a lack of funds.

During the Free Knowledge and Public Administration conference the European Commission's OSOR project was awarded the 'European Commission (EC) Iniciativa Focus Prize' for the best success story in Open Source Software. The award was handed to Francisco Garc¨Şa Mor¨˘n, Director General of the Directorate-General for Informatics (DIGIT) at the European Commission who said: "Free knowledge is summarised in: Generosity and Solidarity equals Progress'."A second alternative for the OSW Conference, a one-day meeting on free software Information Technology (IT) business, took place on 27 October 2010 in Malaga's conference centre. This conference was organised by Andalibre, an Association of Open Source Companies from Andalusia and Asolif, a Federation of Spanish Open Source Companies, with the support of Cenatic and the City of Malaga.


From ePractice EU 11/10/2010

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LATIN AMERICA: Brazil Telecoms Market Leads Growth in Central and Latin America

The telecoms market in Central and Latin America (CALA) will grow from US$134 billion in 2009 to US$214 billion in 2014, according to the latest research from Analysys Mason.

Brazil is the most populous country in CALA and dominates the region's economy. It is widely seen as one of the major emerging markets in the world, with a rapidly growing economy overall. Analysys Mason forecasts that the Brazilian telecoms market will grow at a 9% CAGR over the next five years, which is one of the highest growth rates for telecoms revenue in the world. Speaking ahead of the Futurecom 2010 conference in St. Paulo, Brazil, Roz Roseboro (Principal Analyst at Analysys Mason) noted that: "Competition in the Brazilian market is set to become even more intense, following Telef󮩣a's acquisition of Vivo and Portugal Telecom's purchase of a stake in Oi. End users will reap the rewards of this trend, in the form of lower prices and more-attractive services." "The Brazilian telecoms market has experienced significant growth recently, and we expect this trend to continue for many more years," says Roseboro, who leads the Global Growth Markets research programme at Analysys Mason. "The mobile market is reaching saturation in some parts of the country, while other areas remain underpenetrated. The availability of 3G is helping to drive growth in mobile revenue, while fixed broadband continues to be a significant opportunity."

In Brazil, consumers have high expectations of telecoms services and their service providers. Spend on telecoms services represents a large proportion of consumers' expenses and, consequently, they want to ensure that they get commensurate value from them. Brazilian telecoms operators are expending more effort on improving the experience for both consumer and business users, which should help to encourage greater usage of their services. However, operators are seriously concerned that they are not earning enough money to be able to afford necessary investment in infrastructure. "All operators in Brazil are currently focusing on 3G network roll-outs in order to capture revenue from the growth in mobile broadband take-up. On the fixed side of the market, Brazil's government has implemented a national broadband plan in the hopes of increasing the service's currently low take-up and penetration rates," says Roseboro. "Brazil shows potential for continued growth in its telecoms market, but it faces political and regulatory challenges that operators and vendors need to keep in mind as they develop strategies for this emerging market," she adds.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 10/27/2010

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NORTH AMERICA: Canada - New Network Cut Phone Costs by Two-Thirds

Building a condo is one thing, but a complete network overhaul proved the kind of project that Toronto-based construction firm Tridel Corp. left in the hands of its award-winning IT manager. Brad Barlow garnered ComputerWorld Canada's IT Manager of the Year plaque in the small and medium-sized enterprise division for an initiative that also involved the deployment of voice-over-IP (VoIP) and an MPLS rollout across several of its site offices. According to Tridel CIO Ted Maulucci, who nominated Barlow, it was a mammoth undertaking.

"The network upgrade has enabled triple-nine reliability and allowed for the deployment of a new VoIP system. The VoIP deployment allowed for the consolidation of multiple PBX's from the different operating entities to a single solution that resulted in dramatic telecommunication cost savings," he wrote. "The savings from the VoIP system, in turn, enabled new possibilities for site connectivity and supported the business case to deploy a MPLS network to the site locations. The MPLS solution solved the long standing connectivity problems at the remote sites and presented new opportunities for improvements in operations. The MPLS network also provided new possibilities for disaster recovery and facilitated collocation, as well as, gave greater control over the all of the equipment at our site offices." The cost of phone services in two of the converted divisions dropped from $7,000 per month to $2,200 per month as a result of the PBX consolidation through VoIP, according to Maulucci. This is in addition to considerable productivity benefits, he added. "Communication was a key success factor and Brad did a fantastic job in working with many different companies to co-ordinate successful installs, training and deployments," he said. "The real success is that everything worked and the business did not experience any disruption through this whole process."

Barlow said his success can be tied directly to his CIO's support. "Shocked would be my reaction. Shocked and surprised. It was a large group of individuals. Satisfied, happy, ecstatic . . . I can't do a jumping jack here, or else I would," he said, adding of Maulucci. "He really makes it easy for me, so I really owe everything to him." Although the technology involved in the project has been around for a long while, Maulucci said the way it was put together was innovative for the construction industry, offering improved disaster recovery and business continuity and better overall Internet connectivity for Tridel's various sites. "Phones can ring anywhere and clients can be served better," he said, adding that Barlow's success in working with the various business units within Tridel was key. "There was not much of a business case, other than to say that operations would stop if the network went down." Thanks to Barlow, they won't have to worry about that anymore. (By Shane Schick)


From http://www.itworldcanada.com/ 11/16/2010

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CHINA: 'Super E-banking' System Launched

The People's Bank of China launched a "super e-banking" system Monday that will let customers access their accounts on one Website, the Beijing Times reported. Unlike the existing system, "super e-banking" can realize real-time inter-bank transfers and balance inquiries. The system can provide access to authorized non-financial payment service organizations to better satisfy public requirements for home payments. Companies like Alipay, a Chinese equivalent of Paypal, would not be shut out. During the promotional period, the system is free, while officials have not yet decided how to charge for the service. Fees are expected to fall as "super e-banking" will definitely increase banks' efficiency, according to a report.


From China.org.cn 08/30/2010

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Bright Skies for Chinese E-commerce

Transaction volume in China's consumer e-commerce market is expected to climb more than 1.5 trillion yuan (US$220 billion) by 2014, according to a latest industry report. The country's business-to-consumer and consumer-to-consumer sectors will grow an average 42 percent annually to 1.52 trillion yuan in the next five years, accounting for 7.2 percent of overall domestic retail sales by 2014, Deutsche Bank said in the report. "China's e-commerce market is still at a nascent stage but will boom significantly as the Internet population grows," Alan Hellawell, head of Asian Telecommunications, Media and Technology Research at the bank, said in the report. Logistics and other value-added services related to e-commerce will also become more important as B2C providers expand their product categories. Amazon.cn and Dangdang.com, which previously focused on online book selling, have already begun to sell consumer electronics and home appliances to seek a bigger profit margin. "Successful marketing, inventory management and delivering goods efficiently and cheaply will be the key factors for successful e-commerce," Hellawell wrote. The report noted that Alibaba "has the greatest relative potential" in the industry because it is seen to gain from the huge transaction volume at Taobao.com and the links between Taobao sellers and Alibaba members.


From Shanghai Daily 09/02/2010

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Online Ad Revenue Expected to Surge from Internet Usage

Revenue from online advertisements is expected to see an explosive growth in China over the next three years as advertisers clamor for more eyeballs as Internet usage peaks, according to a senior executive from Renren.com. "Our advertisement income exceeded 100 million yuan ($14.62 million) in the third quarter this year," said Donna Li, general manager of Oak Pacific Interactive, which runs Renren.com, one of the nation's biggest social networking websites. Declining to give a specific figure, she told China Daily that their growth rate had more than doubled year-on-year due to marketing activities. Li said users of Renren.com have surpassed 150 million and are still increasing. As of July 15, the number of Chinese social networking sites (SNS) users hit 210 million, up 19.6 percent since the beginning of this year, according to a report by the China Internet Network Information Center. Since last year, conglomerates such as McDonald's, Mercedes-Benz and PepsiCo have launched a series of marketing campaigns on Chinese SNS for sales promotions. Creative and clever messages, embedded in online social games and advertising, is key to attracting users. For example, Renren.com designed an online game last year for American potato chip brand Lay's, in which users can grow their own potatoes and make chips. According to a survey from US-based research firm Nielsen, 519,540 users played the game and more than 8.4 million people viewed the activity page. Of active players, 65.6 percent bought Lay's chips within two months. "The turnover of China's SNS industry will see rapid growth in the next few years as more advertisers are willing to spend their money on SNS websites," said Li Zhi, an analyst at research firm Analysys International during an industry forum in July. She said the revenue of China's SNS market reached over 700 million yuan last year, and "the number is expected to hit 1 billion yuan this year," she added.


From China Daily 09/03/2010

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China Hands Out First Internet Map Licenses to 31 Service Providers

China on Wednesday handed out the first group of Internet map service licenses to 31 Chinese and joint-venture operators, after authorities tightened market access amid worries that booming Internet map services might undermine state security. The 31 operators, including a national-level map publisher, several map service providers affiliated with major Chinese portals such as Baidu.com and Sina.com, and nearly a dozen state-owned local research institute or mapping bureaus, obtained a class-A license from the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping. Operators who obtain a class-A license will be allowed to conduct services including map searching and locations, marking geographic information, downloading and copying of maps, and map transmissions and quotations. Class-B licenses will restrict companies to offer services of map searching and locations, as well as geographic information marking. All Internet map services providers will have to apply for a license, while those operating without the license will be prosecuted in China in accordance with the law, said an official from the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping, who required anonymity. The official did not elaborate on the deadline for license applications. Foreign-owned or foreign-invested Internet firms can apply for the license in the capacity of joint ventures or through cooperation with Chinese businesses, according to the official. Nokia Alliance Internet Services Company Limited, a joint venture between Nokia and New Alliance, which is part of the Shanghai Alliance Investment Limited, is among the businesses that have obtained a class-A license.


From English.news.cn 09/09/2010

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China's Online Shopping to Double Last Year's Rate

Online shopping in China reached 250 billion yuan (37 billion US dollars) in the first half of 2010, equal to the whole of last year, according to Chinanews. A Ministry of Commerce report says there are now more than 100 million online shoppers in China. Most are female, as are the majority of online shop owners. Xu Ruihong, CEO of Febay International E-commerce Great China, told the 2010 Guangzhou E-business Trade Conference that since females dominate online buyers, female retailers are best placed to understand their needs. China had more than 20,000 e-business websites at the end of June, with three function modes: B2B (business to business), B2C (business to customer) and C2C (customer to customer).


From http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/ 09/19/2010

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China Unveils Blueprint to Boost Digital Publication Industry

China has rolled out a blueprint to boost the nation's digital publication industry. The blueprint, issued by the General Administration of Press and Publication, sets out the goal for all publishers to offer digital publications to the market by 2020. The blueprint outlined that by the end of 2015 the entire revenue generated by digital publications should represent one fourth of the total revenue of the publication industry. Further, also within this timeframe, China will build eight to 10 national industrial parks for digital publications, and each of the industrial parks should generate a revenue of over 10 billion yuan (1.48 billion U.S.dollars). Additionally, the blueprint projects there will be around 20 major digital publication enterprises by the end of 2015, each of which will generate an annual turnover of over 1 billion yuan. China will provide favorable policies to competitive publication enterprises, including granting them Internet copyrights at the earliest time, according to the blueprint. The blueprint stresses the need for upgraded R&D capacities of Internet game production, so that China's indigenously produced online games can take a larger market share at home and abroad. China's digital publication industry has taken off in recent years. In 2009, the revenue of this industry reached 79.9 billion yuan (11.9 U.S.Dollar), an increase of 50.6 percent year on year. Digital publications include Internet periodicals, books and newspapers, Internet games, VCDs, DVDs and other publications in digital form.


From English.news.cn 09/22/2010

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Chinese Market Believes in Digital Publishing

"China Digital and Mobile Publishing" served as the title of a public talk held at the Frankfurt Book Fair on Thursday. With more than 1 billion potential readers, the Chinese market is not only one of the biggest in the world, but also a quickly developing one. In 2009 China saw its digital sector grows more than 40 percent and is predicted to keep growing at an annual rate of about 50 percent in the next few years. Even now, the figures announced at the Frankfurt Book Fair are impressive. At the end of 2009, about 100 million Chinese read e-books, with most of them under 25 years old. Currently more than 90 percent of Chinese publishing houses have digital publishing operations, offering more than 1 million titles in digital format in August 2010. During the public talk, Zhou Hongli, chief copyright officer of Shanda Literature, China's Largest e-book publisher, announced that his company had just now created "Library in Cloud," a platform for digital publishing which currently counts 3 million books. According to the General Administration of Press and Publication of China, the annual production value of digital publications in China registered nearly 80 billion Chinese yuan (about 12 billion U.S. dollars) in 2009, surpassing traditional publications for the first time. But this figure also includes online gaming, advertising and other sectors. E-books themselves represent only 1 percent at the moment. Many people read e-books on mobile phones. Currently more than 100 million people use their phones with this purpose, as most of them are young and have less income. Only about 1 percent of the readers actually use designated e-book reading devices. In comparison to the number of readers, the sales figures of electronic e-book readers therefore are rather small: about 500,000 e-readers were sold in 2009, for 2010 an estimated 3 million e-readers will be sold all over the country.

A lot of discussions as to how to create an effective business model to make readers pay for the content are currently going on in the industry. One of the successful players is Shanda Literature. "We cover the complete chain of content utilization. Many online bestsellers are printed as paper books as well, because digital and traditional readers do not overlap," said Zhou. But he was not so satisfied with the dominant distribution channels. "The mobile phone companies take a lion's share of the profits," he added. Also, like the U.S. and the European markets, the Chinese market has not yet agreed on a standard format, which causes problems to both readers and publishing houses, as most of them are not compatible, and there is no e-reader on the market that would be able to read all of them. Currently there are over 20 different types of e-book formats in China, which means that readers may have to use different softwares to read e-books if they buy them at different sources. For the publishers this also causes problems, as they have to guess which software or format will be the most successful. According to Zhou, sometimes this just means the companies take their own initiatives. "Shanda has developed its own format together with Nokia, currently a leading mobile phone company in China. Nokia has the software for our format already installed," he said.


From Xinhua News Agency 10/09/2010

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China to Propel Growth of E-book Industry

China is going to propel the growth of its e-book industry, according to an instruction from the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP). The GAPP released the instruction on its website Sunday. China's e-book industry has boomed in recent years but problems have surfaced, the GAPP said. The problems include weak protection of intellectual property rights, a lack of industry-wide standards, and a dearth of domestically-produced reading material. In 2009, the number of e-books sold in China reached 3.82 million, and that in the first half of 2010 amounted to over 20 percent of the world's total and was second only to the United States. The instruction outlined tasks for the promotion of the e-book industry. The tasks included: establishing a pool of reading material for e-books; the nurturing of big e-book brands; and improving the quality of the digital transformation of traditional publications. According to the instruction, China will set up national standards for e-books relating to format, quality and copyright. The instruction also proposes tightening market access to the industry by classifying e-book-related businesses as either content producers, hardware makers, e-book retailers and wholesalers, or e-book importers, to regulate the business appropriately. The instruction also proposes supporting the e-book industry by improving IPR protection and stepping up market regulation.


From Xinhua News Agency 10/11/2010

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Internet Economy on Rise in China

The Internet economy is rising in China and it has a great potential and will become a driving force of economic growth, experts said Monday. The introduction of the Internet into China in 1993 was like dropping a bomb of "information explosion," said Xu Rongsheng, a Chinese scientist from the Institute of High Energy Physics in Beijing. China has since then witnessed rapid growth of the the Internet as well as public networking services, Xu said when attending a conference entitled "China 2.0: The Rise of a Digital Superpower" here. There have been top world-class Internet companies in China, such as Baidu and Tencent, and these companies are very competitive, he told Xinhua during the conference. China is a huge country with enormous potential, said Les Cottrell, a scientist with the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. He attended the Beijing meeting via video link from the United States. Chinese companies are innovative and the Internet economy in China has a brilliant prospect, said Dancan Clark, Chairman of BDA China, a consultancy he founded in Beijing in 1994. The Internet economy can create more jobs, lower the costs for running companies and encourage entrepreneurship, said the co-chair of the conference. The Internet economy can also change the way of work and life and generate conveniences, he told Xinhua.


From Xinhua News Agency 10/19/2010

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Chinese 4G Mobile Standard Goes Global

China's homegrown fourth-generation (4G) mobile communication standard has been selected as one of six global benchmarks by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on Thursday. LTE-Advanced and 802.16m - the categories which cover the six different 4G technology standards - were both approved at an ITU conference in Chongqing this week, according to the ministry. The ministry also said ITU will complete its 4G International Standard Proposal Book by the end of 2011, which will be officially released at the beginning of 2012. Then, the 4G international standards will be formally established. The TD-LTE-Advanced technology has a download speed of 100 megabytes per second, faster than the preceding third-generation TD-SCDMA technology. Industry analysts said Chinese telecom enterprises are set to benefit from the TD-LTE 4G standard, as it will help to open both domestic and overseas markets for them. "The situation now is very different from 10 years ago, when TD-SCDMA was set up as a 3G international standard," said Yang Hua, secretary-general of TD Industry Association in China. He said because China lacked an industry eco-system at that time, the use of TD-SCDMA technology was largely restrained to the domestic market. International enterprises were wary of investing in a technology developed in China, especially when it had not undergone a market test. "But now, we have a good technological base, which means the period of the 4G industrialization process will be greatly shortened," said Yang. "That offers opportunities for Chinese companies to expand their businesses overseas." China Mobile launched its TD-SCDMA service in January 2009, and the largest mobile operator in the world will have invested 100 billion yuan ($15 billion) in it by the end of this year.

Prior to September, the company had 15.27 million TD-SCDMA subscribers. Overall, it has 507 million subscribers, most of them using second-generation technologies. Chen Jinqiao, deputy chief engineer from the China Academy of Telecommunication Research, said equipment manufacturers such as Datang and Huawei will among the first to profit from the use of TD-LTE-Advanced. "They have invested large sums of money in the research phase, but they will benefit when the 4G network goes into construction," Chen said. Telecom operators will reap rewards when they provide richer applications for customers. Their services will become faster, smoother and with higher resolution in the 4G age, Chen said. Nearly all the best known international telecom companies, such as Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung, are engaged in the TD-LTE industry. They are determined not to miss out on the Chinese market again as they did in TD-SCDMA era, Yang at TD Industry Association said. "They lost many China Mobile contracts when bidding against companies such as Huawei and ZTE, because they ignored the development of TD-SCDMA and offered very few competent products," Yang said. Shi Guang, secretary-general of TD Forum, said Chinese telecom companies in the TD-LTE industry chain will be presented with a great business opportunity when they enter the international market. "They will go head-to-head with global companies. Who dares say that another Huawei or ZTE may not emerge in the process?" Shi asked. According to a survey by Ovum, an international market consulting company, the TD-LTE technology will earn about $150 billion in revenue by 2015.


From China Daily 10/22/2010

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Regulator: Telecom Industry More Open

China's telecommunications fee and consumer complaints declined in the first eight months of this year, indicating the sector was becoming more competitive and transparent, the industry regulator said. From January to August, the telecommunications fee dropped 11.4 percent year-on-year. The regulator received about 19,000 consumer complaints in the period, down 1.6 percent from a year ago, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said yesterday. In the period, China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom closed the connection to 3,000 unregistered websites. They also shut or blocked 32,600 websites with illegal or pornographic content, the ministry said. Shutting or blocking those websites, which often charge users without notice, makes the market more transparent and contributed to the drop in the telecommunications fee, the ministry said. Competition among the three carriers also contributed to lower prices for customers. Policy makers need to launch more measures to encourage competition, industry insiders said. China Mobile has about 70 percent of the country's total mobile user base. Starting this month, China has allowed users in Tianjin and Hainan Province to keep their phone number when changing to another carrier.


From Shanghai Daily 11/16/2010

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JAPAN: Expenditure on Online Advertising Overtakes Newspaper Ads in 2009

Online advertising expenditure by businesses in Japan in 2009 rose 1.2% from a year earlier to 706.9 billion yen, overtaking newspaper advertising for the first time, according to a recent report by Dentsu Inc. Expenditure on online ads doubled in the four years from 2005, when such spending stood at 377.7 billion yen, the major ad agency said in its annual report on advertising expenditure trends in Japan. Dentsu noted that in 2009 online ads became the second-biggest revenue earner for the nation's advertising industry after television ads, on which businesses spent 1.71 trillion yen, down 10.2% from the year before. Businesses' expenditure on newspaper ads fell 18.6% to 673.9 billion yen in the reporting year, but newspaper ads were still the third-largest revenue earner for the advertising industry among four major mass media platforms - magazines, radio, television and newspapers. Revenues from pop-up ads triggered by keyword searches, known as search engine marketing, grew sharply last year, Dentsu said.


From http://www.japantoday.com/ 08/29/2010

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Tracking Internet Users' Behavior to Target Ads Still a Privacy Minefield

Internet and mobile phone companies across Japan are increasingly collecting data on users' browsing history and online purchases to target advertising at potential customers - a practice many consumers find deeply unsettling over privacy concerns. Responding to these concerns, a Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications research committee proposed in May this year that the Internet sector devise a set of guidelines for use of personal information for advertising. The Japan Internet Advertising Association (JIAA) accepted the proposal, but thorny issues around the use of private information remain. The guidelines the JIAA devised in June were reported at the communications ministry research committee on Sept. 7. The guidelines call on companies that use "behavioral targeting" of advertising - tracking the online behavior of users to target marketing at a receptive audience - to reveal what valuable data they have collected, whether the information is being provided to third parties, and the extent of the data collection.

Furthermore, the guidelines require companies to allow users to opt out of this data collection. However, one remaining issue is to what extent Internet providers can use Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) - which checks the content of all data packets going through the providers' servers to look for undesirable data like spam or viruses, but which can also monitor the content of private e-mails. The ministry committee stated in May that advertisements using DPI would violate communications secrecy if the providers did not obtain permission from their clients to use the technology. However, the committee did not entirely repudiate DPI, only calling on Internet companies to implement policies that would allay the privacy fears of their customers. Communications minister Kazuhiro Haraguchi stated in June that he wants to address DPI "with the utmost care" at a meeting with top ministry officials, but has not commented on the issue since. At present, all the companies concerned are said to be on the same page on the guidelines, though a consumer group at the Sept. 7 committee meeting pointed out that independent verification was necessary. Meanwhile, Internet providers are hoping the issue will be settled as quickly as possible.


From http://mdn.mainichi.jp/ 09/08/2010

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Google to Launch E-book Service in Japan in 2011

US Internet giant Google said Monday it would launch an electronic books service in Japan next year despite a chilly reception from major Japanese publishers. The Japanese version of Google Editions may have to start with a limited number of titles, said Yoichi Sato, a strategic partner development manager at Google Japan. Major Japanese publishers are still uneasy about handing over book data, especially of in-copyright titles, to the foreign IT giant, fearing that the content may be used for unintended purposes, Sato told a media briefing. Japanese copyright laws also require strict and complicated permission processes involving authors and publishers, before Google can use book contents for online searches and sales, he said. "Hopefully, the industry's recent development to prepare for the full-fledged spread of e-books in Japan will help improve understanding for our project," Sato said. Google Editions is similar to but separate from a controversial Google Books search project that aims to make all the world's written works available online. Google Books shows a small portion of the book at a time for free, while Google Editions offers access the entire content of the scanned books for a price. In the United States and Europe, Google plans to start Editions and sell electronic books that people can read on any Internet-connected device including Apple's hot-selling iPad tablet computer. Google Editions may not bring profits directly to the US search engine, but should increase the overall market value of the company and could boost its advertisement revenue, Sato added. "Hopefully, major publishing houses will see benefit in this venture later this year or next year," Sato said. E-books are still relatively rare in Japan, and local publishing houses have only recently started considering how best to approach the new technology.


From http://www.google.com/ 09/13/2010

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Japan's Rakuten E-retailer Books Larger Sales

Japan's top online Rakuten on Tuesday reported an increase in net sales for the nine months to September as it continues a global expansion of its e-commerce business. Sales rose to 252.56 billion yen (3.15 billion dollars), up 16.4 percent from 217.05 billion yen posted in the same period a year ago. The Japanese firm booked an operating profit of 44.2 billion yen in the January-September period, up 14.5 percent, from the previous year. The country's leading Internet retailer is rapidly widening its global reach, having launched a new online shopping mall in China with partner Baidu last month. The virtual marketplace, called Lekutian, offers goods such as apparel, fashion accessories, furniture, home electronics and appliances, digital equipment and cosmetics, Rakuten bought French e-commerce dealer PriceMinister earlier this year. However, net profit plunged 44.2 percent to 26.46 billion yen, after its "net income for the same period in the previous year was substantially higher" due to an adjustment to include deferred tax assets, the company said in a statement. Rakuten has also bought Buy.com, one of largest e-commerce sites in the United States, while it has entered the Indonesian e-commerce marketplace through a joint venture with Global Mediacom. The strategy has enabled brisk performance in the e-commerce business segment, with a net sales up 24.9 percent and operating income up 12.6 percent, the company said.


From http://www.google.com/ 11/09/2010

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SOUTH KOREA: E-Commerce Reaches Over $170 Billion

The volume of e-commerce in Korea exceeded US$170 billion for the first time during the second quarter of this year. According to a report by Statistics Korea, the total volume of online transactions during the April to June period increased by more than 20 percent compared to the same period last year and over 12 percent on-quarter. E-commerce between businesses grew nearly 25 percent year-on-year while that between customers and companies surged by nearly 35 percent. However, there was one low point as online transactions between the government and businesses dropped by 13.4 percent.


From http://english.chosun.com/ 08/26/2010

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Content Development Key to E-book Industry

The creation of greater electronic book contents should be the priority in competing with global rivals like Apple, as the e-book industry is expected to bloom with the introduction of tablet PCs, a research said Tuesday. The state-run Korea Information Society Development Institute said in its report that contents which could be differentiated - like school textbooks and Korean dramas, movies and animations - should be digitalized to increase the demand. The contents should be made available for the different platforms, which differ depending on the hardware manufacturer, to encourage more participation from content developers. "Those taking part in the e-book market must remember that they should work to have more people use the e-book services in a convenient way," it said. The report has been released as multiple tablet PCs, such as Apple's iPad and Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Tab, are expected to hit the market this year. According to the Korea Creative Content Agency, the global e-book industry is projected to grow an average of 27.2 percent by 2014, while the paper book market's growth rate was expected to average at 1 percent by the same year.

E-books, deemed to become especially popular among overseas Koreans or people who wish to buy Korean-language books for the digital versions, will be sold for at least 40 percent less than paper books. KT Corp., the country's second largest mobile carrier, launched an e-book book caf¨¦ service earlier in April, giving access to more than 40,000 digitalized books online. The government also announced it would support the digital transition move by mapping out a roadmap this year on how to develop the rapidly-growing e-book industry. The Ministry of Knowledge Economy, joined by the Education and Culture ministries, will make an attempt to set industrial standards. Samsung Electronics' president and CEO Choi Gee-sung, however, stated during a press conference in Berlin earlier this month that he expects e-books will only play the part of an application for the tablet PCs. "I believe the tablet PCs will decide the fate of the e-book market," he said. "It will be different from how we considered e-books in the past." Samsung's new tablet PC Galaxy Pad is expected to hit the market early next month, while the launching date of Apple's iPad is yet to be determined. In the meantime, the Wi-Fi model of the iPad is planned to be released in China on Friday. It is currently available in about 20 countries, including France, Germany, Japan, Spain and Italy.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 09/14/2010

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Korea's Textile and IT Integration "Benchmarked Abroad"

2010 Korea's Electronics Show introduced technologies sponsored by Ministry of Knowledge Economy in the textile fashion and IT integration sector. The technologies included 3D virtual fashion show demonstration from the team led by Professor Hyeongseok Go at Seoul National University (Digital clothing center) and virtual clothing using avatar from KonKuk University's Professor Chankyu Parkteam (i-Fashion clothing technology center). 3D virtual fashion show demonstration uses 3D digital clothes production to create a virtual fashion show that highly resembles a real fashion show. By using DC Suite, digital clothing software, it can simulate the user's figure as well as the fabric and pattern according to the user's preference, reducing the time and cost for clothes production. In addition, designers can have a 3D virtual fashion show with these technologies. At the show, in fact, École de Paris showed six clothes that were actually on sale for 2007 F/W season, in digital version, and also held a digital fashion show including "Woonmuwha" and "Rainbow." Prof. Go's team revealed that they are planning to further develop DC Suite, so that users will be able to choose the textile - currently, you can only enter numbers regarding the stretch and bending of the fabric - and apply various patterns of textiles.

Konkuk University's Chankyu Park's team (i-Fashion clothing technology center) introduced virtual clothing technology using avatar, which instantly creates a user's avatar by scanning the whole body before putting on and finally choosing the jean that best fits the body. At the show, the technology was applied to Levis' new product 'Curve ID', developed by the team in collaboration with Shinsegae and Levis, in order to recommend the type of the jean that best fits the customer's figure and subsequently help to choose the jean after checking the fitting on the customer's avatar. In addition, the team also showcased the technology for making customized gloves by scanning the user's hands, and it is currently used in supplying individually customized gloves for the pilots of Korean Air Force. The IT and textile fashion integration technologies showcased this time are world-class state-of-art technologies benchmarked overseas, expecting a substantial market share when it enters the global market.


From http://www.koreaittimes.com/ 10/13/2010

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Wireless Broadband to Contribute to S. Korea's Economy

The expansion of wireless broadband service will contribute to South Korea's economic growth as it brings socio-economic development to the country, a trade body said Tuesday. According to the GSMA, deploying high-speed data service such as long-term evolution (LTE) will provide significant socio-economic benefits, especially in rural areas, and much-needed access to education, financial and health services in the country. South Korea's top mobile carrier SK Telecom has been preparing to start commercial LTE next year. It is betting on the LTE service, which is being pursued by global mobile-phone operators, including U.S.-based Verizon Communications Inc., and plans to offer the service nationwide in 2013. "The economic opportunities created by improved access to mobile broadband would account for a US$75.5 billion increase in (South Korea's) gross domestic product and deliver increased tax revenues of $7.2 billion between 2014 and 2020," Tom Phillips, chief government & regulatory affairs officer of the GSMA, said at a conference, citing a report conducted by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The research found that setting up the LTE service in South Korea would bring a large incremental adoption of mobile internet connectivity, including a 14-percent increase in Internet subscriptions. The GSMA said deploying LTE will drive large economies of scale and reduce capital and equipment costs for providers, accelerating the roll out of networks and lowering costs for consumers.


From http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/ 11/16/2010

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INDONESIA: LTE Tech Still Long Time to Go

The much-awaited long term evolution (LTE) technology which bridges 3G and 4G, will be developed in Indonesia, but its application remains a long time to go. Deputy general manager of ZTE Corp for CDMA and LTE, Liu Jin Long, said Thursday the Chinese telecom giant was helping its Indonesian counterpart Telkomsel prepare the high speed mobile Internet technology in the Southeast Asian country. "We have signed an MOU with Telkomsel on R and D of LTE technology for network trial, but its application will depend on the development of 2G and 3G development. We are ready with the technology, but the operator and users will decide," Liu said on the sidelines of a postal and telecommunication expo in Beijing. He said LTE would not cost an operator a lot as it would only have to upgrade its infrastructure.
Indonesian users, however, concerned much about the price of new gadgets that suit the new technology. "Besides they are already satisfied with the 3G," he said. ZTE has developed LTE in seven countries, not including China, with 50 countries still on trial, including Indonesia.


From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 10/14/2010

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LAO: Telecom to Celebrate Third Anniversary of Its 3G Service

(KPL) Lao Telecom, the first local Telco to offer 3G service, celebrated its 3rd 3G anniversary service, by holding a bash for its 3G subscribers in Vientiane, 11 October. The 3G service enabled mobile phone subscribers to view video clips, to watch television on the small screen of their hand phones, to use the internet and to play computer games. The Director of the Lao telecom, Mr Thansamay Kommasith said that his Telco covered as much as 90 per cent of the land area of Laos. Just last month, the Lao Telecom made an agreement with Advanced Info Service (AIS) to offer its subscribers in Laos to use their mobile phones to roam in two neighbouring countries, Thailand and Cambodia, at the rate of 1,500 kip per minute.


From http://www.kplnet.net/ 10/12/2010

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Unitel Launches 3G Mobile Service

(KPL) The Star Telecom Co., Ltd. officially launched its 3G (Third Generation) mobile phone services under the slogan "Faster-Brighter" for nationwide customers. The Star Telecom Co., Ltd. is the second telecom company in the Lao PDR, which provides such services after the Lao Telecommunications Company. The Unitel's 3G launching ceremony was held at Don Chan Palace Hotel last Friday, drawing Ambassador of Vietnam to Laos, Mr. Ta Min Chao, Deputy Minister of National Defence, Chansamone Chanyalath, and more than 200 distinguished guests of Laos and Vietnam. The ceremony also marked the first anniversary of the launch of the company's Unitel brand.

The Chairman of the Star Telecom Company, Mr. Oulaha Thongvantha speaking at the launching ceremony that the new 3G service had three things special such as "Best Coverage, Best Quality and Best Price". He continued that the company had spent more than 642 billion kip (US$80 million) on the 3G operation. During the launch of the new 3G service, the company will provide customers with a Mobinet for mobile phones and Uni-3G for computers and Laptops. Presently, the Star Telecom is a leading company on the Lao communications sector in the Lao PDR, which has total 2,000 base stations, of those 500 stations are provided 3G service, 1,500 station for 2G service and has a nationwide network consisting of 13,000 km of optic fiber, Mr. Oulaha explained.

"We expect to install 1,000 stations for 3G service by the end this year," said Mr. Oulaha. Initially, the company will provide 3G with services, including Internet access for computers via USB 3G and 3G Sim cards for video calls and Internet access on mobile phone. In the future, the Star Telecom Company will provide customers with a Mobil TV, Mobile Clip, Pushmail, Imusic and Wap3G. The company will further develop its network and provide 4G mobile phone service in the future, said Director General of the Star Telecom Company, Mr Nguyen Duy Tho. The Star Telecom is a joint venture between Lao Asia Telecom State Enterprise, which has a 51 per cent shareholding, and Viettel Global of Vietnam.


From http://www.kplnet.net/ 10/18/2010

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MALAYSIA: SMBs Should Give Cloud-computing a Chance

Small and medium companies (SMBs) should consider archiving their business data or opt for disaster recovery in a cloud-computing environment, said CommVault, a data-management software company. It said that many SMBs often have the same data protection and recovery requirements as their larger brethren, the enterprises. But the SMBs often lack the systems and budgets enjoyed by the big businesses. "It is also difficult for those SMBs that can afford the equipment to pay for dedicated staff to manage the backup and disaster recovery systems, said Paul McClure, product manager for Asia-Pacific and Japan, at the US-based CommVault.

"More SMBs should be looking at outsourcing their data management operations to cloud service providers," he said. A cloud service provider can offer backup, archiving and data management functions, while offering the option for data recovery, and all done remotely.
"Lets say, a customer's premises burns down, the cloud service provider can then restore the data via the Internet," McClure explained. Furthermore, the cloud provider can also manage the company's data management infrastructure by ensuring that all the relevant software is updated regularly, which will also help keep the business running smoothly. Another benefit of opting for a cloud service provider is the "pay on consumption" or "pay as you go" model, McClure said. Here, a company only needs to pay according to the amount of storage it uses in the cloud. But SMBs must be aware of the security issues relating to cloud computing. They must always ensure that the cloud service provider offers airtight data encryption features, as well as stringent levels of authentication for data access.


From http://techcentral.my/ 11/03/2010

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THAILAND: 3G Will Create New Business Models

With the arrival of 3G in Thailand, mobile operators will need new business models and compete on more than just price. In many countries, vendors such as Amazon, HP and Nokia have bypassed the operator directly and become a MVNO, creating a relationship between themselves and the consumer, bypassing the network operator. Quite how the market will adjust will be seen soon as the pieces fall into place.Speaking to journalists in Bangkok in the run-up to Thailand's long-awaited 3G auction, John Stefanac, Vice-President of Qualcomm and President of Southeast Asia, shared his thoughts on the evolution of the mobile phone up to now and his vision of the future.Today the mobile device is the biggest platform in the world. There are five billion phones and only six billion people. Of these, one billion phones out there are 3G, a number that will increase to 2.8 billion in the next three years.In contrast, WiMAX has only 2.9 million subscribers. Put another way, every two days there are more people going on to 3G than there are on WiMAX in total. This means that it is important for regulators to allocate spectrum to technologies that are utilised.

This year is an inflexion point. For the first time, more 3G devices have been sold than 2G, not just globally but also in Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, the growth of data continues. By 2014, the average subscriber will consume more data in one month than they did all year in 2008. Last year, Vodafone saw a 32 percent growth in data revenue, Telefonica 50 percent and China Unicom 23 percent. By 2015, 99 percent of a mobile operator's revenue will be from data leaving only 1 percent for voice. Telstra in Australia has launched the world's first commercial Dual-Channel HSPA+ network offering up to 42MBPS The iPhone was significant in that it changed the way people use and consume mobile data. It was easy to use and people used it. Then there is cloud computing, the best example of which is Facebook. Everyone is on Facebook, uploading pictures. But the real change is from the next generation of devices which are not phones. First we have seen laptops, then cars and even cameras. Amazon's Kindle is a prime example.

Everyone missed the point when Amazon introduced the Kindle to the market. It was not just another e-reader to replace physical books, but it was a whole new business model. A Kindle user sees the battery level, signal level, and title, but nowhere does it show which network it is connected to. Downloading a book from Amazon just works. Kindle is a relationship between the consumer and Amazon. Mobile operators are bypassed in terms of the relationship with the customer. Elsewhere, HP has also become an MVNO and offering notebooks with embedded 3G. Operators and users will have to adjust. Quite how an operator will bill someone who has phones, e-reader, car, refrigerator, SLR camera and TV connected to the 3G network has yet to be figured out and this will have to be addressed in the not too distant future. A particularly interesting role of 3G is in healthcare. Body sensors can keep hospitals informed of vital signs and even if someone has fallen over in real-time. Smart pills exist that emit a signal when dissolved in the body, meaning that doctors will immediately know if someone has not taken their medication.

In Australia, there was news of two men shot and killed in the street by a mental patient who had not taken his medicine. Technology could make sure that such incidents no longer happen. The challenge for telcos in 3G will be how to differentiate themselves and provide value. With 2G, there is only voice and basic data, leaving the operators to compete only on price. With 3G, it is possible to compete on services. The battleground between Apple, RIM BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Android is interesting in that the focal point is not the operators, but the devices. In Southeast Asia, operators tend not to get involved in device selection but perhaps they have to start looking at what role they can play in terms of offering their subscribers differentiation. What would happen if Apple became an MVNO and established a direct link to subscribers? That is not far-fetched as Nokia in Japan has already done just that. For Thailand, for 3G, clearly the time to be is now. For the first time in a long time, there is commitment from key government officials and the NTC to make sure it happens.

There is a lot of interest in LTE. LTE will be a compliment to 3G, deployed in hotspots, not a replacement for 3G. Today the main bands of LTE are 2.5GHz, 700MHz and a lot of interest in 1800MHz. Then there are the oddball frequencies in Japan and South Korea who have always done things a little differently. For Thailand, neither 2.5 (MMDS TV) nor 700 (analogue UHF TV) are available and 1800 is used for GSM, leaving only 2.3GHz TD-LTE as an option for the country. Qualcomm's MDM 9x00 series chipset supports 2G, 3G and LTE in both TDD and FDD variants. It will be up to manufacturers to take these chips and decide which features and frequencies to implement. Spectrum harmonisation is important. Economies of scale mean the difference between paying $2,000 or $200 for a device. 3G has been around since 2001 but only in the last 12 months have device prices dropped below $100, so that means it will be another eight to nine years before LTE devices enter that price range.


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

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Thailand Still Attractive Despite 3G Auction Delay

The halt of the 3G licences auction could harm the growth of Thailand's ICT-related businesses, and especially mobile applications development, due to a lack of testbed network capability, but ultimately the kingdom should remain attractive due to continued strong spending on technology. Panutat Tejasen, founder of Jimmy Software, a pioneering mobile application developer located in Chiang Mai, said delaying the rollout of 3G at this time will affect the country overall, especially in healthcare, education and e-government services.
With 3G technologies, people in rural areas which suffer from a shortage of specialists can access learning content and tele-medicine services by using mobile devices. This will limit the growth of domestic mobile applications. At the global level, mobile development tools will allow general users to develop their own applications. In the past, only professional developers have done this.; For example, restaurant owners could use a mobile application to take seat bookings, although at present such a system may be hampered by the existing limited wireless infrastructure.

Moreover, the lack of 3G makes Thailand less attractive as a mobile software development hub because developers require a testbed 3G network to gauge how well their applications will work. "Mobile application software and cloud computing are growing areas which required wireless broadband," said Panutat. "[Without 3G in Thailand] foreign companies may consider establishing their development bases in Vietnam or Malaysia instead." But Paramate Rienjaroensuk, president of Copperwired, an Apple dealer here, contended that the postponement of 3G rollout will not slow down the market, although there will likely be no growth in "Acceleration mode", as high speed networks enable people to consume more streaming and multimedia content and use more powerful application, all of which expands the mobile user base. Harry Yang, Managing Director at Acer Thailand, said Thailand is the only county in Asean which doesn't yet have 3G, meaning owners of smart phones and tablet computers cannot gain the full benefit of these devices. "This could be compared to buying a sports car but we are only able to drive it at 40 kilometres per hour," said Yang.

High speed networks will encourage the use of mobile data applications and increase two way-communication and interactive advertising, said Siwat Chawareewong, Managing Director of mInteraction, a digital media planning company under the Mindshare group. At the moment, the online advertising market is seeing no "incremental growth", although the business overall is still growing at the usual rate of 15-20 percent. Greater internet penetration and an increase in network speeds will expand mobile opportunities, especially in animation, multimedia and entertainment. Online content businesses which rely mainly on fixed broadband could find it difficult to set up innovative mobile services because they require network transportation, said kapook.com's managing director Poramate Minsiri. Business is still growing, albeit without "extra growth". This is a chicken and egg situation, as the dearth of high speed networks means there will be no additional value for customers, resulting in a loss of new opportunities in selling innovation content through Mobile Virtual Network Operators. "Technology is the driving force for a country's development," said Navin Shenoy, Vice President, Sales and Marketing Group, and General Manager, Asia Pacific region, Intel Corporation.

"Thailand is limited by being the only country in Asean that does not have 3G, or even any plan to launch it. "We hope to see Thailand grasp this opportunity soon and allow its people to escalate their level of knowledge and living by using such technology. "Intel nevertheless sees Thailand as one of the strongest markets in the region and it will remain among our top priorities even without 3G. Meanwhile Somkiat Ungaree, President of the Association of Thai Software Industry (ATSI), said the delay of the launch of 3G in Thailand, which has been due to the complexities of the relevant laws, has set the kingdom back by one or two years.

This lack of the latest telecom infrastructure compared with other countries in the regions makes Thailand less of an attractive investment proposition, he said. However, he recognises that cloud computing and software as a service are still in the beginning stages in Thailand and urges patience so that these technologies can be implemented properly, protecting the country's interests in the long run. "I still believe that when Thailand rolls out the [3G] service, the country will become more attractive in terms of fast technology adoption and high-spending usage, compared to the Indochina countries, which still need time to catch up," Somkiat concluded.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 09/29//2010

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Metro Systems Updates Virtualisation Data Centre

In order to respond to the surge in the use of mobile devices by enterprises and demand for cost-saving as well as increasing business flexibility while avoiding a price war, Metro Systems has injected 60 million baht to fully transform its end-to-end virtualisation data centre and provide private cloud implementation, including desktop as a service. "Seeing customers' demand for cost cutting in IT and responding to unplanned situations such as the political unrest in May, as well as positive economic signals, has led the company to invest 60 million baht to transform its data centre to offer end-to-end virtualisation from desktops, computer servers, networks and storage," said Tavit Charuvajana, Managing Director of Metro Systems Corporation Public Company, a leading local solution provider. "This is the biggest IT investment in the past four years." "We are seeing more and more corporate customers adopting mobile devices such as iPads to connect via the Internet and access enterprise data. This is definitely boosting demand for virtualisation in the back-end data centre infrastructure to support any device to connect any applications at any time, as well as help customers to reduce costs and increase business flexibility," Tavit said. He added that in the past, each virtualisation vendors' technology was not integrated, which made it difficult for corporations to implement virtualisation, but currently the big vendors have agreed to integrate technology, which makes end-to-end virtualisation easier.

Aroon Tor-ekbundit, President of Solutions Integration Group at Metro Systems, said that when the company switched to virtualisation at its data centres, it reduced the number of servers from 67 to 13 and cut energy usage from 76 amps to 56 amps, which helped to cut energy costs and reduced IT administrators to one person. The company used the Cisco Unified Computing System (or Cisco UCS server) to upgrade, using Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) technology to replace the old blades and improve the speed of the core network to 10 Gbps. "The hardware we choose has a higher performance compared with others," Aroon said. It also installed VMware vSphere 4.1 and the Citrix Solutions has also been brought in as well as security from Trend Micro. Suradet Lertthammajak, Vice President of Solutions Integration Group at Metro Systems, said that the company was the first to propose investment in a complete information technology infrastructure in the form of the "Total Virtualisation Solution Provider" under the concept of "Virtualisation eXperience Infrastructure".

The data centre will be a showcase of virtualisation to its corporate customers, especially businesses that have a large number of servers and branches or satellite offices, such as banking, finance, insurance and car dealers. "Customers can ask us to implement similar solutions for their data centres, even uplift to private cloud computing. Or they can use the desktop virtualisation service model rather than purchasing new desktops to replace outdated hardware," Suradet said. "Desktop virtualisation can allocate flexible virtual IT resources in terms of CPUs, operating system platforms and applications that can allow enterprise employees to use any device to access their data and application any time. And it will be suitable to support business continuity in unplanned situations like the recent political riots, which helps to accelerate uptime." Yongyut Srivantaneeyakul, Vice President of Solutions Integration Group, said to date there are 30,000 customers, and every three to five years they have to refresh their hardware. This represents a huge potential to use its desktop virtualisation. In the near future, it may provide desktop as a service and infrastructure as a service, although it needs to settle details of license charges with its technology partners. Moreover, the company has also invested 22 million baht to expand its business continuity service (BCS) from 250 to 600 seats. Tavit added that the virtualisation business will increase its revenue service base, balancing software and hardware to compensate for the declining margin of its hardware business.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 10/13/2010

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Thai Software Firms Take APICTA by Storm

Six Thai software companies have been recognised in the Asia Pacific Information and Communication Technology Awards (APICTA) 2010 held in Malaysia last week. Two of them are winners. Geomove's Sesor Service Grid (SSG) won the APICTA 2010 award in the application and infrastructure category, while Neo Invention's Neotace won the APICTA 2010 award in the e-logistic and supply chain category. The four other firms won merit awards. They included Rayong Wittayakom School's Destine Strategy (in the secondary students category); Larn Gear Technology's Augmented Reality Leaning Media in e-learning applications; Phuket Software Factory's inCare (in the e-health application category); and ThaiQuest's ThaiQuest eEdition in the research and development category.


From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 10/26/2010

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'Crazy Growth' in Smart-phone Market

Next year will be the Year of the Smart Phone in Thailand, according to people in the industry. Smart-phone sales are expected to double, more vendors will enter the market, and more smart-phone platforms will be available. When asked about growth in their market, smart-phone vendors have a common expectation: smart phones will rise to represent about 30 per cent of the total mobile-phone market in 2011, and will make up more than 50 per cent of the market in 2012. HTC (Thailand)'s country manager Nattawat Woranopakul forecasts "crazy growth" in smart phones next year, in a highly competitive market. Demand is expected to reach around 2.4 million units in 2011, or growth of 100 per cent above this year's 1.2-million units, he said. HTC is planning aggressive marketing next year, with the launch of new smart phones operating on both Android and Windows Phone 7. The phone maker expects 300-per-cent growth in its business in Thailand. To achieve that, HTC foresees the need not only for a full range of products, but also for a full marketing budget along with applications and services, Nattawat said. "We aim to grow by three times. Therefore, our marketing budget is also set three-times higher than this year. This year's marketing budget was Bt160 million and that included pure marketing and support for our distributors," he said.

Next year, HTC will launch more than 30 smart-phone models around the world. At least six of them will appear in Thailand in about the first half of next year. "We will be focused on both Android- and Windows Phone 7-based smart phones. These platforms have the biggest potential market. It is expected that by 2012, the combination of Android and Windows Phone 7 will represent a major part of the world smart-phone market," Nattawat said.

As well, HTC will launch two more models before the end of this year ...#034; an Android-based HTC Desire HD and a Windows Phone 7-based HTC HD7 ...#034; early next month and at the end of this month respectively. "We will partner with DTAC to launch the HTC HD7 by the end of this month. Its price will depend on DTAC. The HTC HD7 will also be available at HTC's main distributor, SIS, and at HTC shops. We expect to sell 5,000 units before the end of this year," he said. Nattawat said that competition in the smart-phone market would be based more on software solutions and applications. Apart from two app stores, including HTC's App-app store for Windows Phone 7 and HTC Sense app for Android phones, the company also offers its unique app, MyHTC. In 2011, HTC plans to double the number of its retail outlets in Thailand, from 500 at the end of this year to 1,000. HTC began this year with only 200 outlets. Currently, HTC is renovating its care centre in Bangkok to become an HTC Service Centre. The 120-square-metre centre, located at IT Mall, will have a repair zone for after-sales service; an experience zone in which prospective customers can try out HTC smart phones; and a training zone where people can learn to use them properly.

Moreover, the company will also pick up smart phones for repairs and return them to users with no charge for the delivery service. "Everything we are planning to implement next year is aimed at gaining a bigger share of the smart-phone market," Nattawat said. "This year, HTC has nearly 10 per cent of the market, following sales growth of 69 per cent." Samsung, another major player, is also preparing for an aggressive battle in the smart-phone market. The head of mobile marketing in Thai Samsung Electronics' Telecommunication Unit, Sitthichoke Nopchinabutr, said his company expected the phone market in Thailand to grow by more than 100 per cent over the next two years. Samsung is also aiming for a higher rate of growth in its smart-phone business, after sales growth of more than 50 per cent this year. It expects revenue from smart phones to rise from 20 to 25 per cent of its total revenue next year, and has a goal of increasing its share of the smart-phone market from 14 per cent this year to 30 per cent in 2011. "The smart-phone market will see tough competition next year as many more vendors will come in. We are prepared to hold on to No 2 ranking in the smart-phone market. We will be more aggressive, for sure," Sitthichoke said.

Next year, Samsung will introduce 15 to 20 new smart-phone models using Android, Windows, and Brada operating systems. For every 50 smart phones using Windows, it will make 24 using Android and five using Brada. As well as new devices, Samsung will swing more resources behind its production of applications and content. It is also planning to concentrate on online marketing, which is believed to be the most direct and effective channel for reaching its target customers, Sitthichoke said. Consequently, its budget for online marketing will increase significantly. Overall, its total marketing budget in 2011 will be about 10 per cent of its total revenue. He said "very tough competition" in the smart-phone market began this year, when several vendors jumped in to grab a share of the high-growth market. Many of them are talking about software solutions and applications, rather than selling just the device. Many of them also regard trends in the smart-phone market as significant to the whole electronics industry, he said. Sitthichoke said his company also had its own app store, called the Samsung App Store. Currently, more than 10,000 applications are available, both free and for sale.

In 2010, three main models generated most of Samsung's sales: Galaxy S, Galaxy Tab and Wave. Smart phones currently generate 10 to 20 per cent of Samsung's total sales. Another big player, Nokia, is also planning a sharper focus on smart phones. The company uses its own platforms, Symbian and MeeGo. Nokia (Thailand)'s general manager Shumit Kapoor said his company would introduce more models based on the Symbian 3 and MeeGo operating systems in Thailand next tear. At present, the C7 is Nokia's second Symbian 3 smart phone, following the E8 . Two more Symbian 3 smart phones, the C6-01 and the E7, will be launched before the end of this year. "We will be a key vendor to drive the smart-phone market to become about 30 per cent of the total mobile-phone market in 2011. This will see smart phones increase from 18 per cent of all mobile phones this year. We plan to launch MeeGo smart phones in Thailand in several form factors and designs sometime next year," Kapoor said. Similar to its rivals, Nokia is not only promoting its smart phones, but also its app store, called the Ovi Store. It offers thousands of apps, many of which are free. Games are the most popular apps, leading Ovi Store to record 2.7 million-downloads to date. Nokia's new models approach the smart-phone market by offering solutions and services such as messaging, e-mail and navigation, so users can experience more mobile-phone applications, rather than simple voice-call usage. "Thailand is very important for Nokia in the Southeast Asia region," Kapoor said.

Meanwhile, LG, which has not been an aggressive player in the smart-phone market this year, is planning to come out punching in 2011 and will be looking for a greater share of the market. The head of marketing for LG Electronics (Thailand)'s Mobile Communication Department, Natthawach Siriwongsal, said LG would focus more on smart phones next year because demand for the devices was expected to grow rapidly. He forecast that smart phones would account for about 40 per cent of all mobile phones in 2011. LG is aiming for a 25- to 30-per-cent share of the smart-phone market. Next year, LG will introduce more than 10 smart-phone models in Thailand. All of them will be Android-based phones. "This year, we have only two models available: the LG Optimus GT450 and the Optimus One P500, so we have only a small market share," Natthawach said. The two other key players in Thailand's smart-phone market, the BlackBerry and the iPhone, have seen no fall-off in sales momentum. Apple's iPhone 4 was recently launched in Thailand and has already created huge demand. Research In Motion (RIM) is not only planning to introduce more of its BlackBerry models in Thailand, but is also promoting BlackBerry App World. Recently, RIM held is BlackBerry Developer Day in Bangkok, following similar events around the world, inviting local and international developers to create profitable applications to sell via its App World.


From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 11/16/2010

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VIET NAM: Poor Awareness Limits 3G Development

VietNamNet Bridge - Despite being launched almost a year ago in Viet Nam, 3G mobile telephony is developing at a sluggish rate, experts said. Nguyen Thien Bang, deputy director of VinaPhone's Zone 2, told a conference on "3G applications for mobile" organised by HCM City's IT Press Club on Thursday: "3G applications are limited due to social digital infrastructure." He was referring to poor awareness among users that precludes many services like online banking payment. There are three service providers - VinaPhone, MobiFone, and Viettel - and they get most of their revenues from providing internet access. "VinaPhone offers 50 services but the social infrastructure has not allowed us to develop all of them," Bang added. However, a recent survey by mobile solutions company MSP 4U found that 3G has huge potential to develop in the country. "In the last three years, the number of smart phones sold in Viet Nam has increased sharply and this will continue," Scott Brewer, managing director of MSP 4U, said.

The surge in mobile phone usage to 50 million and a population in which two-thirds are aged between 15 and 24 are conducive for 3G development, he said. "To develop 3G, service providers should pay attention to content, quality of service, as well as fees," he said.
But he sounded a warning: "If providers cannot improve the payment system through mobile phones, things are unlikely to improve." The other major factors in 3G development are distribution networks and marketing. At the conference, the IT Press Club also announced the second ICT Press Awards which will be sponsored by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council, VinaPhone, MobiFone, FPT, Viet Nam Datacommunications Company, Quang Trung Software City, and Vien Thong A.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 09/11/2010

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Facebook Wants to Expand to Vietnam

VietNamNet Bridge - The world's largest social network Facebook is seeking for an employee in Hanoi to expand its operation in Vietnam.In its new recruitment announcement, Facebook says it is seeking applicants for the post of development and policy manager in Hanoi. The applicants must have experience in working with the local authorities and have a wide circle of acquaintances with government agencies and the local IT community. The post will be responsible for Facebook's smooth operation in Vietnam and users' easy approach to this site. The post will represen Facebook when working with Vietnamese authorities. Facebook is the most popular social network in Vietnam at present.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 10/14/2010

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Vietnam Remains Attractive to IT Investors

VietNamNet Bridge - Vietnam remains an attractive destination for information technology and telecom investment, heard the 4th Technology Business Conference organized in HCMC on Wednesday by Strategic Alliance Vietnamese Venture International. Speaking at the two-day event attended by CEOs and leaders of information technology enterprises, education organizations and state agencies, Nguyen Bao Hoang, managing general partner of IDG Ventures Vietnam, said operation costs in Vietnam remained low. This is a competitive advantage for enterprises to do business in this market, Hoang told the roundtable aimed at exploring how to promote information technology and telecom in Vietnam and how entrepreneurship and innovation in a developing country can bring economic success. Hoang said South Korea and Japan are home to many well-known companies but there is little room for investors there. So, investors may flock to Vietnam where there are plenty of spaces and opportunities for business development.

On the part of the Vietnamese Government, incentive policies should be adopted and more infrastructure developed to quickly absorb capital inflows, he said. Experts and CEOs suggested the Government make more policies designed to extend preferential treatment toward small and medium enterprises because SMEs account for a majority of the local businesses. Than Trong Phuc, managing director of DFJ VinaCapital, said the country should develop a mechanism in which State corporations are responsible for helping SMEs while the Government should create favorable conditions for SMEs to access investment funds. Tran Duc Lai, deputy minister of information and communications, said the State could not provide continued financial support for enterprises because of budget constraints, so investment funds are a financing channel for them.

On Wednesday, Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park, Strategic Alliance Vietnamese Venture International, IDG Ventures Vietnam and DFJ VinaCapital signed a cooperation agreement to help local enterprises in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector gain easy access to these funds. The Ministry of Information and Communications reported Vietnam's ICT sector is growing fast with over 22 million Internet users and a penetration rate of over 25%. In 2009, the sector generated US$6.26 billion in revenue, 7% of Vietnam's GDP. The digital content industry registered a dramatic growth rate of 50% with revenue reaching US$700 million. The software industry gained an impressive 40% growth rate and revenue of US$880 million. World-known ICT companies like Intel, Compal, Foxconn, Olympus and Samsung are present in Vietnam.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 10/15/2010

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IT Industry Faces Challenges

Despite a significant growth rate of 20-25 per cent annually over the past decade, Viet Nam's IT industry still faces several challenges, according to the Ministry of Information and Telecommunications' IT Department. Computer electronics and hardware, which made up a major contribution to the local IT industry, had low added value and mainly consisted of product assembly, said department spokesman Tran Quy Nam, adding that the majority of parts and components used for assembly were imported. Although Viet Nam was among of the top ten software outsourcing destinations globally, he said, it had not yet attracted investment from leading international software groups in production and R&D (research and development). North America and Japan remain major markets for Vietnamese software outsourcers. Insufficient investment in marketing, R&D and human resources were also problems, Nam said. The HCM City Computer Association's recent statistics revealed that of all software businesses in Viet Nam, only 27 per cent invested in marketing, and 33 per cent used only 5-10 per cent of their revenue on training and R&D.

IT firms currently accepted outsourcing work from foreign partners, and had not managed to properly invest in R&D, said TMA Solutions chairman Nguyen Huu Le. Only with sufficient R&D investment could businesses produce high value-added products and gain greater profits, he said. Investing in R&D, however, was not an immediate solution as most IT firms remained small- and medium- sized businesses with limited financial capacity and lacked skilled personnel, said the association chairman Chu Tien Dung. However, solving the problem was not an impossible task. Small outsourcing firms could invest in R&D by themselves after gaining enough experience and skilled personnel, Dung said. TMA Solutions recently opened its first R&D centre in HCM City's Quang Trung Software Park after 12 years executing R&D projects under contracts with foreign partners. They could also host R&D centres for foreign partners that could bring comprehensive technological improvements and increased profits, he added. Establishing R&D centres in Viet Nam, however, needed more tax incentives from the Gov-ernment, Dung said.

In addition to R&D centres, long-term projects and cust-omers, skilled workers and professional administration processes were also necessary, said FPT Information System Corporation chairman Duong Dung Trieu. Developing software prod-ucts while at the same time providing software services and developing a domestic software market as a way of improving competitiveness with foreign rivals were important, he said. It was also necessary to promote the role of domestic EPC (engineering, procurement, construction) partners, strengthening technology transfers, issuing policies that pave the way for software purchases, while improving workforce administration and training. Increased software and software service construction price norms, improved legal documents on public-private partnerships and the promotion of software and software service exports should also be considered.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 10/23/2010

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Local Firms Urged to Embrace Cloud Computing

VietNamNet Bridge - IT experts have called for local companies to hire cloud computing service since it can help them cut costs to maintain data and apps. The service will also help to cope with lack of IT experts, they told a seminar on cloud computing held in HCMC on Wednesday by ICT Partnership of the Saigon Times Club and IBM Vietnam. Cloud computing uses the internet and central remote servers to maintain data and applications to allow consumers and businesses to use applications without installation and to access their personal files at any computer with internet access. This technology allows for much more efficient computing by centralizing storage, memory, processing and bandwidth, the experts said. Cloud computing is divided into three segments: applications, platforms and infrastructure, with each segment serving a different purpose and offering different products for businesses and individuals around the world. Tran Viet Huan, chief technology officer of IBM Vietnam, told the seminar domestic enterprises had begun to pay attention to cloud computing and that it is a right choice for Vietnam where most businesses are small and medium.

"If applied, cloud computing will help businesses cut IT operation and maintenance costs," Huan said, adding cloud computing is a rising trend in the world and that tech giants like IBM, Google, Amazon and Microsoft are providing the service globally. "Thus, local enterprises should embrace the trend to develop business; otherwise, they will lag behind." Lam Nguyen Hai Long, project director of Quang Trung Software City (QTSC) Development Company and vice chair of ICT Partnership, shared Huan's view, saying about 90% of local enterprises are small and medium enterprises, so they have difficulty investing into IT infrastructure because of high cost. "So the traditional way of infrastructure investment should be changed to boost efficiency," Long added. Long said QTSC Online, a cloud computing service provider, had conducted a market survey this month on the readiness of 120 local firms to use cloud computing service. The survey, he said, indicates local enterprises are aware of hiring outside IT service. The survey found about 26% of respondents said they are ready to spend VND5,000 on an email account, 40% to spend VND5,000 to VND10,000 and 21% to spend over VND10,000, and that the remainder are undecided. Long said he believed cloud computing service would grow fast in Vietnam in the coming time. IBM and Intel have recently announced to develop cloud computing service here in the country. Meanwhile, Microsoft and FPT cut a deal to develop cloud computing service locally when Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, visited Vietnam in May this year.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 10/29/2010

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Vietnam's IT Industry Yet to Satisfy Regional Advanced Standards

Vietnam's information technology (IT) industry still lags behind progressive countries in the region as it has yet to satisfy regional advanced standards. The statement was made at a meeting hold on November 5 by the Ministry of Information and Communications to review implementation of the instruction No. 58-CT/TW issued by the Political Bureau in 2000 about boosting development and application of IT to industrialization and modernization. Participants at the meeting said the sector has yet to meet some targets set by the Political Bureau. It has not become an important motive force of the country's socioeconomic development. They said the IT application hasn't helped to change people's way of working, and created advantages for enterprises and residents. The participants agreed that after ten years of the implementation, the IT industry has achieved remarkable progress, and made contributions to industrialization, modernization and administrative reform. The information and communication technology sector's turnovers have reached US$13 billion, accounting for 11 percent of the country's GDP.IT has become one of key economic sector of the national economy, and one of seven sectors recording high export turnovers. IT human resources have developed strongly in terms of quantity and quality.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 11/08/2010

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INDIA: LinkedIn Commences Advertising Sales Operations

LinkedIn, one of the world's largest professional network, today announced the commencement of their in-house advertising sales operations. LinkedIn India's advertising sales team led by Dhiman Mukherji, Director, advertising sales, will activate an outreach program to engage with India's leading brands, media buying agencies and advertising agencies. As the professional networking sphere of influence expands, businesses in India will seek to engage with audiences online and target advertisements at specific demographics, for focused and measurable results. Marketers the world over have used the high quality audience base of LinkedIn to build their brands and engage in meaningful discussions with potential customers. They reach out to audiences with enhanced solutions including content ads, display ads, sponsored polls, sponsored questions on LinkedIn Answers, partner messages and other customized marketing solutions. As the head of LinkedIn India's advertising sales team, Dhiman Mukherji will drive efforts to create awareness about LinkedIn's unique value creation capabilities. "My focus for the near term is to engage with current and prospective business partners to enable them to understand the value LinkedIn brings to businesses. Our team will be located in multiple locations and will provide the best service to these customers," Mukherji said. "Since the time LinkedIn launched its India operations in November 2009, our member base has grown from 3.4 Million to more than 7 Million members. We have started building out a top quality sales team to provide the best marketing solutions to advertisers keen to engage this base. The wealth of experience in this team led by Dhiman will be instrumental in ensuring that our market-leading solutions are positioned correctly for the Indian market," Hari V. Krishnan, country manager, LinkedIn India said.


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

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Double-Digit Growth Turning Point for IT Industry: Infosys

Bangalore: India's IT bellwether Infosys Technologies Friday termed its return to double-digit growth in the second quarter (July-Sept) of this fiscal (2010-11) as a turning point for the resilient Indian IT industry and a sign of robust growth ahead. "Registering double-digit growth after many quarters is a turning point because when downturn happened, lot of people felt the Indian IT industry may not be able to return to such high growth again," Infosys Chief Executive S. Gopalakrishnan told reporters here. Asserting that the IT industry was strong and has the potential to grow faster and much more, Gopalakrishnan said several Indian software firms have become global, offering a wide range of services, including consulting and business operations support. "Over the decade, Indian IT firms have come off age and spread their operations across geographies to leverage their talent pool and resources to become a major contributor to export revenues, creating thousands of direct and indirect jobs and benefiting society at large," he pointed out. Noting that the industry was subject to ups and downs as any other sector, he said the double-digit growth had renewed confidence and was enabling companies to chalk out new business strategies, resume hiring in a big way and invest across service lines. "It is a growth based on business model viability. We have also changed the strategy slightly to meet the varied and specific needs of our global clients. We need to consolidate our global operations and explore new markets across geographies," Gopalakrishnan noted. Returning to double digit growth in net profit and revenue during the second quarter under review, Infosys revised its revenue guidance for this fiscal (2010-11) again. Consolidated revenue for fiscal 2011 will be around Rs.27,058 crore (Rs.271 billion), an increase of 19 percent year-on-year (YoY) and 1.7 percent higher than it projected in July (Rs.26,663 crore/Rs.267 billion), as per the Indian accounting standard. Under the International Financial Regulatory System (IFRS), revenue is expected to be USD 6 billion, an increase of 25 percent YoY and five percent higher than its July projection of USD 5.8 billion. Posting robust growth in second quarter, the company's net profit at Rs.1,737 crore (Rs.17.37 billion) grew 13.2 percent YoY and 16.7 percent sequentially as per the Indian accounting standard. Similarly, consolidated revenue grew 24.4 percent YoY and 12 percent sequentially to Rs.6,947 crore (Rs.69.47 billion) as per the Indian accounting standard. Under the International Financial Regulatory System (IFRS), net income at USD 374 million is up 18 percent YoY and 14.7 percent sequentially, while gross income at USD 1.5 billion is up 29.6 percent YoY and 10.2 percent from the previous quarter (April-June).


From http://www.newkerala.com/ 10/15/2010

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Adobe Acrobat X Launched in India

Adobe Systems India announced the launch in India and globally of the Adobe® Acrobat® X software family. Comprising Acrobat X, Reader X, the Acrobat X Suite and new document exchange services at Acrobat.com, the suite empowers professionals to innovate and create higher-quality content, driving tighter collaboration and productivity across teams in today's dynamic business environments. Speaking at the launch of Acrobat X in Delhi, Sandeep Mehrotra, Country Head - Sales, Adobe Systems India said that Acrobat X is a strategic fit for India's complex and dynamic business environment. "As the Indian economy becomes increasingly interconnected, there is a greater need for solutions that allow seamless collaboration in an open environment. Acrobat X brings unique Dynamic PDF capabilities that allow businesses and governments to do more with PDF documents - create, share, review, make it interactive - while leveraging must-have security and authentication features," he said. Adobe`s all-new Acrobat X family is the next generation of software solution that provides Knowledge Workers with more efficient and secure collaboration capabilities. This will also enable them to deliver compelling content and context in a ubiquitous format. With the power of Dynamic PDF, Acrobat X redefines the way documents are used, by allowing interactive content to be embedded within the document itself. "For the Indian market, Acrobat X is a game-changing launch as it brings new features for communication and collaboration inside a single PDF document. Acrobat X supports ISO 32000 and will enable organizations to create rich content and add interactivity for an engaging experience. Acrobat X allows customers to communicate in a highly secure manner even over the cloud," Mr. Mehrotra added. Acrobat X delivers new guided Actions to simplify multi-step document preparation and publishing processes; completely new customization capabilities in PDF Portfolios unify multiple file types into a compelling presentation. New document services available at Acrobat.com give individuals the ability to collaborate more efficiently. Integration with Microsoft SharePoint enables consistency of PDF documents across the enterprise; re-use of content is now easier with higher quality export to MicrosofW ord and Microsoft Excel.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 10/18/2010

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TRAI's Demand to Fine Errant Telecom Cos Put Down by DOT

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has put down a demand by the telecom regulator to be granted powers to penalise erring operators under the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Act. The development comes as various ministries discuss a draft Cabinet note that proposes key changes to the TRAI Act. With differences in opinion cropping up on several important issues, a detailed report of all the views has been prepared before the final draft of the Cabinet note is drawn up by the communications ministry. TRAI had contended that powers to levy penalties have been conferred on markets regulator Securities & Exchange Board of India under Section 15A of the Sebi Act, 1992, and on the recently constituted Competition Commission of India under the Competition Act, 2002. TRAI had suggested it be vested with similar powers in certain instances, including cases where a telecom company refuses to furnish documents or returns, fails to maintain accounts and records, or fails to supply information within a stipulated period, among others. It had suggested fines of Rs 1-3 lakh.


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

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WB, a Happening State for IT Investment

The state government of West Bengal has said that state may get huge investments especially in the Information Technology (IT) sector and nearly 25,000 jobs are expected to be created in the sector this year. Speaking in New Delhi, the Bengal's IT Minister Debesh Das said IT companies were investing in Bengal. "They (IT firms) are expected to hire 25,000 people this year. A lot of new companies are being set up in the state and the existing ones are on expansion mode," Das said. IT sector, which is one of the fastest growing sector in West Bengal after food processing, employs over 1.5 lakh people in the state. The state reported 15,000 employment in the IT and ITeS sector in 2009. Das added that though issues related to land acquisitions had slowed the speed of growth in the sector, it had failed to stall the growth of IT in the state. Bursting the myth that after Tata's pulling out of Singur, the state will not see further investments in the West Bengal, Das said the Tata's themselves have invested considerably after the Singur issue here.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 11/15/2010

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SRI LANKA: Telecom Adds 80,000 Broadband Users; Widens Rural Network

(LBO) - Sri Lanka Telecom, the island's largest fixed access operator said it had added 80,000 new broadband customers in 2010 and its base of 200,000 customers was 70 percent of the market. About 20 percent of the operator's wireline customers were now using its ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) services, the telco said in a statement. The firm said its 200,000th customers was P E D A Silva from Pulasthigama in the country's north central district of Polonnaruwa. SLT said its network to reach rural areas in Amprai, Badulla, Puttalam, Chilaw, Hambantota, Jaffna, Kalutara, Matale, Kandy, Kurunegala, Kegalle and Ratnapura districts. SLT said it had expanded a fibre optic cable to the island's north after the end of a 30-year war. "Quick deployment of the Broadband infrastructure in the Northern Peninsula has provided the company with great opportunities to serve the newly opened up markets of the Northern and Eastern provinces," SLT said. "This fibre optic cable project connects Mannar, Vavuniya, Trincomalee and Jaffna along the A9 main road (to Jaffna from central Sri Lanka). "In addition new telephone exchanges at Mankulam and Mulathivu, located in the Northern part of Sri Lanka, will enhance basic communication facilities and Broadband coverage for customers in the areas."


From http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/ 11/09/2010

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PAKISTAN: PTCL Launches Unlimited EVO Nitro 3G

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) has commercially launched the unparalleled, unbeatable and unlimited EVO Nitro 3G, which is the fastest and widely available data service in Pakistan. EVO 3G Nitro is all set to meet the next-generation's need for ultimate speed and superior performance with speed up to 9.3mbps. With this launching Pakistan becomes the first country in the world to provide this EV-DO Rev B 3G technology. EVO 30 Nitro has revolutionised the three simple steps to high speed On-the-Go connectivity, Just Plug in-Click - Connect with its unprecedented speed of up to 9.3 Mbps on the downlink and up to 5.4MBPS on the uplink based on EV-DO Rev B 3G CDMA technology. 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 105 cities across the country. SEVP Commercial Naveed Saeed said that EVO 3G Nitro has been launched with the aim to give our customers a far more enhanced user experience of instant connectivity. He further added that it's a step ahead in the development and prestige or the technologically storage and revolutionary telecom company. According to him, this deployment has reinforced the company's technological lead in the sector and working in a market where technology changes every minute to introduce products and services that add more value to our customers' lives. Further, he said, "PTCL's EVO 3G Nitro is one such product that will completely revolutionised the way our customers communicate." Syed Asim Ali EVP Commercial Planning said, " the launch of Eva Nitro 3G is a milestone and a glorious mark in the conquest of PTCL, which saves the precious time of our customers." PTCL customers can now for the very first time spend less time waiting and more time working and accessing media rich applications.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 11/04/2010

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AFGHANISTAN: ATRA Calls for Consultant to Assist with 3G & 4G Spectrum Valuation

The Afghanistan Telecom Regulatory Authority (ATRA) is seeking an international consultant to provide technical assistance with the valuation of frequencies planned for 3G and WiMAX operations. Experts interested in the job are invited to submit their proposals to the chairman of the regulator by 24 November. The winning consultant will be expected to deliver an assessment of the Afghani telecoms marketplace in respect of its readiness for the introduction of 3G, and recommend appropriate licensing fees based on the auction of two 3G (2x10MHz in the 2.1GHz band) concessions, as well as the non-competitive award of five licences. The winner will also be asked to recommend appropriate licensing fees for five WiMAX spectrum licences using 20MHz of frequencies in the 3.6GHz band. Further details can be found at www.atra.gov.af.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 11/15/2010

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ARMENIA: Private IT Organizations More Successful Than Governmental

Armenian and Georgian IT companies shared the awards at GITI 2010 Cyber Security Event in Tbilisi, UITE Expo director Vahan Hovsepyan stated. As he noted at a news conference in Yerevan, while Georgian contestants were better represented by governmental institutions, Armenian companies were leading in private sector, winning 4 out of 6 nominations. "Nevertheless, the only governmental organization representing Armenia, EKENG, also won an award," Hovsepyan pointed out. A victory in GITI 2010 Cyber Security Event allowed Armenian organisations to conclude contracts with Georgian, Albanian and Israeli companies. Armenian companies won 5 nominations out of 14 at Cyber Security Event GITI 2010. X-Tech, Essential Solutions, IDram, LimeTech, EKENG were granted awards in the following nominations: Best Multimedia Project, Best Business-to-Business Solution, Best Complex Business Solution, Best Integrator, Best IT Project. 24 representatives of 15 Armenian companies participated in the event.


From PanARMENIAN.Net 11/18/2010

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Social Network for Businessmen Presented in Armenia

On November 20, Production and Export Support Association presented a social network for businessmen - arm3a.org. The organization aims to promote export of goods and services in Armenia and create a business culture. However, its basic difference is that the organization will operate based on a social network for entrepreneurs, scientists, inventors, managers, etc. Representatives of the association believe that the website will present interest for young people, who have business ideas.


From PanARMENIAN.Net 11/20/2010

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AZERBAIJAN: Finalise Mobile Number Portability Rules Shortly

Azerbaijan will announce details for Mobile Number Portability shortly after the country's Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies submits its plans to the relevant agencies, Deputy Minister of Communications and Information Technologies Iltimas Mammadov has announced. He told Trend Capital that a final decision on implementing this service will be made after creating the necessary legal framework. Plans for MNP in the country were originally announced at the beginning of this year. "Today the main issue is availability of a legal framework and specific rules regulating the introduction of number portability service. This issue has been discussed in detail with operators. I believe that the introduction of this service in the operators' networks will be implemented by late 2010," Mammadov said. 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 under 7.2 million subscribers in the country - representing a population penetration level of 87%.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 09/07/2010

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Azerbaijani ICT Sector Growth Rate to Hit 18.5 Percent in 2011

The growth rate of the information and communication technologies (ICT) in Azerbaijan will be 18.5 percent in 2011, the Economic Development Minister Shahin Mustafayev said while discussing the draft 2011-state budget at a plenary session of the parliament. He said the forecasted annual growth rate of the ICT sector in Azerbaijan in the next three years will hit 17.4 percent. In general, due to implementation of measures for the development of the ICT infrastructure the services based on modern technologies become available to consumers and entrepreneurs engaged in this sphere began to expand their business outside the country. According to the Communications Ministry's statistics, the share of ICT in the country's non-oil sector increased from 4.2 percent in 2008 to the current 4.4 percent. If the ICT income share in the country's GDP was 1.6 percent in 2008, the figure reached two percent in 2009. According to the Ministry, the ICT sector's income share in GDP in the first half amounted to three percent. The total amount of income received from the ICT sector increased in 4.4 times over the past six years.


From http://en.trend.az/ 10/19/2010

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Ministry: ICT Income in Azerbaijan's GDP Hits 2 Percent

The growth rate of information and communication technologies amounted to 34 percent for the first nine months, the Azerbaijani Communications and IT Ministry said. According to the ministry, the growth in the telecommunications sector amounted to 33.9 percent, postal services - 20.7 percent over the past period. GDP real growth rate was 4.1 percent, while the share of income received in the ICT sector and postal services, in Azerbaijan's GDP amounted to 2,1 percent compared to the same period of last year.


From http://en.trend.az/ 10/27/2010

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IRAQ: To Award Fourth Mobile Licence in Q1 2011

Iraq's Ministry of Communications (MoC) plans to award the country's fourth national mobile licence in the first quarter of next year, Gulf Daily News reports, citing a senior official. According to Communication Minister Farouq Abdul-Qadir Abdulrahman, more than 15 companies have so far expressed an interest in the concession - including US-based Verizon Communications, South Africa's MTN, Turkcell of Turkey, the UAE's Etisalat, France Telecom and UK-based Vodafone - since the cabinet initially approved a plan for a fourth operator in July 2009. The new mobile service provider, which would be selected through an open tender, would give 35% of its operating revenue to the government as part of the deal. The winner will partner with state-owned operator Iraq Telecommunications and Post Company (ITPC), which falls under the MoC. The licence received final cabinet approval in May 2010.According to TeleGeography's GlobalComms Database, Zain Iraq is currently the country's largest cellco by subscribers, with over ten million customers at 30 June 2010, followed by Asiacell (7.91 million) and Korek Telecom (2.53 million). Kurdish operator SanaTel provides services in the north-eastern province of Sulaymaniyah and had an estimated 508,000 subscribers at the same date.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 10/07/2010

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KAZAKHSTAN: Internet Portal for Foreign Investors to Be Established - Ministry of Industry and New Technologies

Within the State Forced Industrial-Innovation Development Program special measures on support and making the investment opportunities in Kazakhstan better will be taken. Chairman of the Investment Committee of the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies Asylkhan Serikov said it at the press-conference. 'Besides, the program provides for measures on enhancement of investment opportunities of the country such as establishment of the internet portal for foreign investors, increasing the role of intergovernmental commissions on the issues of attracting investments and organizing the work with investors on the principle of one-stop-shop', A. Serikov said.


From http://www.inform.kz/ 11/03/2010

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TURKMENISTAN: Ministry of Communications to Purchase Mobile TV Station

In accordance with a comprehensive state program on the modernization of communications and improvement of quality of terrestrial and satellite communications to broadcast programs of state television, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov signed a decree on the purchase of a mobile TV station with 14 cameras. As the Turkmenistan.ru correspondent reports from Ashgabat, the Ministry of Communications was instructed to sign a contract with British company "Sony Professional Solutions Europe." In addition, the President approved the regulation on licensing of activities in the field of communication by signing a relevant decree.


From http://www.turkmenistan.ru/ 09/18/2010

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AUSTRALIA: NBN to Drive Its Business Technology

About 70 per cent of Australian organisations think the NBN will better enable their business, particularly in the areas of video conferencing, virtual desktops and IT as a service, according to IDC research. Speaking at the CIO Summit 2010 in Melbourne, associate vice-president for research, Tim Dillon, presented the finding as part of IDC Australia's Forecast for Management Survey 2010. "Most of the organisations said, 'yes - the NBN would help their business'," Dillon said. "So we said to the same group of organisations: 'Where do you think that's going to help your technology base?'" Some 36 per cent of those consider the NBN will better enable video conferencing technologies. Virtual desktops, however, topped the list, with 68 per cent. "Virtual desktops - it's very high" Dillon told the audience. "I don't necessary agree with that in terms of what an NBN environment does to enable thin clients. It will certainly support it - without question - but I'm not sure it's a driver. About 50 per cent of organisations consider IT as a service will come into its own under a national broadband network. Dillon said infrastructure as a service solutions were beginning to mature.

"There are some pretty good solutions out there, frankly," he said. "The SLAs and pricing models are starting to come in place so there is some flexibility available. The pricing models are clearer but I think they are still potentially punitive. But nonetheless, from an enablement perspective, it is certainly going to drive a lot of activity." About 70 per cent of organisations surveyed said they thought the impact of the GFC has passed - a figure that was fairly consistent across small, medium and large organisations. This hasn't necessarily translated to IT budgets, however. "What we have seen is the average size of a budget increase is 2.33 per cent," Dillon said. "It's not a particularly big increase - it's an average number across a disparate group of organisation. [Organisations] have all this potential optimism, but [they're saying] we're not going to give you the money to do it. "As a CIO, we are expected to support business recovery.

The problem is we're not getting the dollars to do it. And this is starting to shape the spending patterns of technology." The survey also looked at IT spending as a percentage of Opex, a percentage of revenue and a percentage of special projects. "I think special projects will stabilise at about four per cent," Dillon said. Spending as percentage of revenue is also at about four per cent. "The thing for me is IT and Opex," Dillon said. The 'sweet spot' for spending on IT as percentage of Opex. is considered to be between three and six per cent; 10 per cent is considered 'agressive'. "I personally think we are spending too much and I'd like to think that number will trend down. How it will trend down will be interesting," Dillon said. Other issues identified in the survey included virtualisations, cloud, ROI, staffing and BYO computing models.


From http://www.techworld.com.au/ 10/06/2010

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Australian Industry Group Report Backs NBN Approach

Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy today welcomed a new report which found the rollout of a high speed broadband network would deliver unprecedented opportunities for Australian businesses. The report, Innovation: New Thinking New Directions, has been released by the Australian Industry Group. Senator Conroy said the National Broadband Network (NBN) would drive Australia's economic growth and productivity and today's report supported that premise. "This is the latest in a range of reports which finds that ubiquitous, open-access broadband connectivity will deliver a step-change in the way business is carried out across the country," Senator Conroy said. Innovation: New Thinking New Directions states: The rollout of a very high speed broadband network provides an unprecedented opportunity for Australian businesses to transform their innovation practice, in terms of realising cost-savings, productivity, extending market reach and introducing new types of products and services.

"The report also outlines how high speed broadband will allow rural and regional households and businesses to access services that are already taken for granted in urban areas. New innovations will also be developed for local needs. "The NBN will break the tyranny of distance once and for all by ensuring all Australians, no matter where they live, will have access to affordable high speed broadband," Senator Conroy said. The report states that ubiquitous broadband connectivity will enable many services and applications that will deliver substantial economic, social and environmental value in areas such as e-health, elderly care, land care management and education. "While the Opposition continues to deny the benefits of the NBN, the Gillard Government is getting on with delivering it. The first services are already up and running in Tasmania and construction on the first mainland sites is underway."


From http://www.minister.dbcde.gov.au/ 10/25/2010

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NBN Economics: When Cost Becomes a Factor

With the debate over the cost of the NBN raging at full steam again since the election, it's time to rethink the practical economics of such an ambitious project. When discussing the cost-reach equation of the NBN, commentators must consider the line drawn by the original proposal. Many people - most notably people in the opposition - make out as though the NBN is aimed at pumping fibre broadband along every dirt track in the country. The NBN's fibre is slated to reach between 90 and 93 per cent of premises. That was stated from the beginning. Unfortunately for the people in the remaining 7 per cent it will be wireless, satellite or any left over copper. Cost becomes a factor when it's met with the practicality of the project. We could deploy fibre to 100 per cent of premises, but if it was going to cost $100 billion to do it then it becomes prohibitively expensive. You can slice and dice the coverage to cost equation any way you like. How about 80 per cent coverage at $20 billion? Any takers for 50 per cent at $10 billion?

The real economic crux is whether the NBN will deliver significantly more value than upgrades to the existing copper network. And as ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel rightly pointed out any cost-benefit analysis is likely to be rendered meaningless due to the sheer number of assumptions involved - not least the assumption that the project can be delivered on time and budget. It's worth noting here that talk about how the NBN will bring immeasurable benefits to schools, hospitals and industrial centres can't really be taken as a serious argument for a greenfield fibre network. Why? Because a good level of fibre connectivity already exists at such sites. Do we go to the trouble of laying NBN fibre to locations that already have fibre in order to "raise the bar" for broadband services or do we make the most of what's already there? The cost-benefit equation rears its ugly head again. Only this time it risks having its head chopped off sooner. If the justification for an NBN is diluted at the enterprise level, then the debate moves to the small business and consumer markets. Recent news from the island state suggests the take-up of the NBN has been less than enthusiastic. If only one in eight Tasmanians is electing to subscribe to an NBN why bother to deploy it to more than 90 per cent of premises on the mainland?

I won't get into specifics about how those numbers can be interpreted, but what I will say is the lack of interest from consumers is likely to be the strongest case against an NBN. When cable TV was rolled out in the 90s the public interest could have hardly been called revolutionary. In fact, many people protested against overhead cable lines in some suburbs. Now people can get pay TV via satellite or DSL. Hell, you can even stream TV to your mobile phone if you're so inclined. But this debate isn't about TV, it's about connectivity. If it's only a noisy few in the IT industry that want us to believe an NBN is essential to our economy and lifestyle, then where is the benefit likely to outweight the cost? Consumers aren't likely to benefit hugely from an NBN compared with copper-bound Internet services. Note, I said "compared with copper", not "compared with nothing". Of course the NBN will be of benefit to households who have no broadband at all, but will it be so much more beneficial than other access technologies to justify the cost? If it's not the big business or consumer markets then perhaps it's the small business sector that's the dark horse in the whole debate. Depending who you ask Australia has between one and two million small businesses.

Our army of small businesses equipped with a high-speed fibre broadband network may finally find a reason to whinge less about doing business in Australia and invest more - particularly those in information-intensive industries. However, with many small businesses home-based, unfortunately we again run into the cost-benefit quagmire. Like the Alice Springs to Darwin railway some infrastructure projects are done in the "national interest" rather than the immediate economics. After all, there are worse things the government could spend our money on.


From http://www.techworld.com.au/ 10/25/2010

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FIJI: Internet Service Providers Warned to Reduce Charges

Fiji's competition watchdog has warned internet service providers to bring down their charges or face regulation. The Fiji Commerce Commission has already mandated reductions in the wholesale price of bandwidth and forced Fiji's international telecommunications provider to allow other phone companies access its fibre optic cable link to the rest of the world. The price of wholesale internet services has come down by 20 per cent but retail prices have only dropped by 10 per cent. Commerce Commission Chairman, Mahendra Reddy says that is not acceptable. "I want to see a reduction in wholesale rate translating into a reduction in retail rate," he said. "If that is not happening that means they are pocketing the reduction in the wholesale rate and not allowing it to pass to consumers and if it continues then I will have to regulate the retail rate." Mr Reddy says he will give companies around six months to act on his concerns.

"If I don't find them responding to the intentions of the Commission...then it will give me a strong case to make to the minister that he allow us sign off a price control order to regulate the retail sector. I am looking at January next year." He says if the retail prices do come down, many people in Fiji will benefit. "What the Commission is doing is to bring down the retail price offered by the Internet service providers and we expect to see information and communication technologies penetration in Fiji increase significantly," he said. "Furthermore...internet plays a very important role in, not only a source of education for the tertiary and secondary educational institutions but also for the business sector. I see the direction in the retail rates bringing in significant, if not major, savings towards the cost of doing business in Fiji." Mr Reddy says when all his measures are implemented the retail rate for internet service will come down by 30 to 35 per cent.


From http://www.radioaustralianews.net.au/ 09/14/2010

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NEW ZEALAND: Telecom Loses Out in First NZ Broadband Bidding War

The New Zealand Government agency charged with building the country's equivalent of the National Broadband Network (NBN) has announced the first three companies to build aspects of the network, but has left incumbent Telecom New Zealand out of the loop. The ASX-listed monopoly network (ASX:TEL) issued a trading halt on the New Zealand Exchange at 10.28am New Zealand time, pending the result of Crown Fibre Holdings' (CFH) announcement. However, ten minutes later, when the trading halt lifted, the telco revealed it had missed out on the first opportunities to build the network. Alpine Energy, the Central North Island Fibre Consortium and Northpower were announced to have received the first three contracts, covering eight of the 33 candidate areas in the network. "These three parties have displayed the best proposals including a combination of access prices, funding provisions, industry experience and financial backing," CFH chairman, Simon Allen, said in a statement released by Telecom to the ADX. "On the basis that CFH successfully concludes binding offers with these parties, the Government and its partners will be bringing fibre to a significant part of New Zealand, which marks a real milestone for this initiative."

Telecom is among the 14 companies shortlisted for the build of the project, three of which have now been selected to build the network in eight candidate areas. The telco noted in an ASX statement that it was the only shortlisted company to submit a proposal for all 33 areas expected to be built as part of the network, with the only other equivalent submission, by Canada-based Axia NetMedia Corporation, not chosen on the shortlist due to elements of the submission not part of the government's network policy. In its proposal, Telecom offered a co-investment with Crown Fibre Holdings for building the network in all candidate areas, submission to structural separation in July 2011, extension of the existing rural broadband initiative, and support for regulatory reform and legislative change in the telco sector. The telco said in an ASX statement that it was considering the announcement of the three selected companies in detail, but continues to believe it had the better overall offer. "We recognise that our bid is more complicated than those of other bidders, and that Crown Fibre Holdings does not have a mandate in the areas of RBI, regulatory reform and legislative change," chief executive, Paul Reynolds, said in a statement.

"We continue to believe that a national solution is the most efficient and effective way of delivering fibre to New Zealand while avoiding duplication and waste. We stand ready to work closely with the government to make sure that we can, in the spirit of partnership, make the most of this once-in-a-generation opportunity for New Zealand," he said. While the results have striking similarities, Telecom New Zealand's current position differs markedly to Telstra's equivalent experiences in recent times. The Australian incumbent opposed separation and submitted a non-compliant bid to build Labor's $4.7 billion National Broadband Network in 2008, in hopes of maintaining its monopoly position. The telco, however, has since recognised separation of some form as an inevitability and become a major part of the $43 billion NBN's rollout in Melbourne. Crown Fibre Holdings will continue negotiations with the other shortlisted companies, but has not set a date for when those companies will receive notification. However it is expected the three selected companies, along with others eventually selected, will begin the build by the end of the year. "All shortlisted parties remain important contenders for future negotiations of binding agreements. CFH is open to either a Telecom, New Zealand Regional Fibre Group solution, or some form of combination for the balance of the UFB project," Allen said.

New Zealand Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Steven Joyce, commended the step, but urged potential contenders to try harder in their submissions. "Throughout the UFB process I have been urging potential partners for the Crown to put their best feet forward," he said. "The government will partner with those groups that will deliver the best value for New Zealand taxpayers." New Zealand's $1.5 billion Ultra-fast Broadband (UFB) initiative, similarly to the NBN, will see homes receive fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) connections capable of speeds from 100 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream and 50Mbps upstream connections on a Layer 2 wholesale network. However, the government has set a a target of covering 75 per cent of the population in the next ten years. The remainder will receive a sliding scale of between 10Mbps and 1Mbps depending on how regional they are. The project saw a call for submissions from telcos and consortiums in October last year, with refined proposals submitted in June.


From http://www.techworld.com.au/ 09/09/2010

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IPv6 Survey Shows Vital Messages Not Getting Through

CIOs view the IPv6 deployment as a cost, rather than a business benefit, and are dragging their feet when it comes to adopting the new internet protocol. That's according to a recent survey carried out by the IPv6 taskforce - a special-purpose cross-industry group, supported by the Ministry of Economic Development and InternetNZ to encourage and steer IPv6 adoption. Of the 100 CIOs sent surveys, 46 responded. The IPv6 deployment will become critical as the existing pool of IPv4 addresses runs dry - with some experts predicting this could occur as early as December this year. InternetNZ CEO Vikram Kumar says the protocol and addressing scheme for the internet will be an opportunity for businesses to make use of new technologies but the recent survey shows that message is not getting through and they still see IPv6 adoption primarily as a cost. "New mobile networks, security systems and applications we haven't even thought of yet will utilise IPv6," Kumar says. "Mass applications of direct machine-to-machine communication also become practical - the incoming 'Internet of Things'," he adds.

Unless the business advantage of early IPv6 adoption are understood, Kumar says, business managers will not see a near-term need for the change and it will not be driven from the top. Asked "what would help speed up your IPv6 deployment?" CIOs identified "a business driver or benefit" or "new public-facing business or service opportunities" as among the leading factors. The recent survey is the second to be undertaken and hence provides some useful comparison with the parallel survey done last year. Many more CIOs now feel they are adequately or "very well" informed about IPv6 (74% of respondents, compared with 54% in 2009). This year, 91% of the CIOs say they are aware that old-style IPv4 addresses are running out, up from 70% last year; but again this is only part of the message that needs to get through, says taskforce technical lead Dean Pemberton. Seeing it as a problem of address exhaustion, he says "it is tempting for business managers to dismiss their need for IPv6 by stating that they will not require any more IP addresses in the near future. "However, they may run the risk of not being able to communicate effectively with partners or potential customers who have chosen to make IPv6 their preferred method of communication," Pemberton says. "Adopting IPv6 is as much about ensuring that you can continue to communicate with everyone on the internet as it is about requiring additional internet addresses."

Most managers (71%, only a slight drop compared to last year) remain unaware or "not especially aware" of either the threats or the opportunities driving them to IPv6, survey results say. More than half the organisations surveyed are planning to implement IPv6 on their websites, email and other public internet services, with most of these (24% of total respondents) planning to make the move within a year. However, 46% (down from 54% in 2009) still say they have no such plans. The position is even more discouraging for IPv6 champions when it comes to organisations' internal networks, where "no plans" is the response of 54% (slightly down from 57% last year). IPv6 taskforce head Murray Milner acknowledges that the samples last year and this year are probably not strictly comparable. This shows in the fact that 74% of this year's respondents came from the public sector as compared with only 60% last year. The same organisations were canvassed on both occasions, Milner confirms, except for a few that had ceased to exist or changed identity. The difference perhaps shows a greater impetus among government agencies to go public with their plans, Milner says, but it's hard to make assertions about the detail of information from such surveys. "I admit we don't know the degree of overlap [in respondents to the two exercises]," he says.

Another surprising figure is that the 3% of respondents who said last year their external services were already IPv6-capable have disappeared from this year's results; the figure now registers as 0%.This may be due to them having misjudged their degree of readiness in 2009, Milner says, or it may be that those who were ready them didn't get around to replying this year; "we really don't know." So are the results worth much at all? "They do give some worthwhile indications on the big questions," he says; "but on the detail, no, they're not very helpful." Based on the results and other feedback, the taskforce sees a need to concentrate particularly on the interface between telco providers or system integrators and their clients. Seventy percent of respondents to the 2010 survey say telco providers haven't briefed them on their plans to support IPv6.


From http://computerworld.co.nz/ 10/12/2010

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Private-Sector Council to Advise in Govt ICT Changes

A government ICT council drawn from private industry will form part of plans for tighter governance of computing across the whole of government. "This will be a group of eight to 10 CIOs from around town who will effectively make decisions on the government's ICT roadmap," says Government Technology Services (GTS) general manager Stephen Crombie. GTS, a division of the Department of Internal Affairs, has drawn up the roadmap, intended to drive more shared use of ICT for common purposes across government agencies. "But it's important that the roadmap is right; so we think this group will be very important in helping to make the decisions around it," Crombie says. Moreover the government will apply its new-found emphasis on open data to its plans for change in its own ICT; "The roadmap itself will be public," Crombie told a breakfast meeting of industry practitioners, organised by the NZ Computer Society last week. The ICT Council forms the bottom layer of a three-tier governance structure. The other two major pieces are the Ministerial Committee on ICT, involving several ministers - Bill English (Finance), Tony Ryall (Health and State Services), Steven Joyce (ICT), Anne Tolley (Education) and Nathan Guy (Internal Affairs) - and the ICT Strategy Group including agency chief executives and representatives of coordinating agencies such as GTS.

"Some people think governance is boring and bureaucratic, but it has proved to be the most essential piece of managing change across complicated systems," says Crombie. The overall strategy is to "rationalise investment in procurement and delivery of ICT infrastructure and software," he says. "What takes up most of my team's time is the roadmap for that process." As major systems come up for replacement over the next few years, GTS, in consultation with agencies and ministers will explore opportunities for combining some functions across departments, rather than simply replacing and upgrading. "We are going to move to a position where, for large tranches of government ICT infrastructure, the requirements will be defined centrally, it will be procured centrally, and used in common." It won't just be GTS that will deliver the more centralised structure, he says; other lead agencies will include Land Information NZ - "a very strong force on geospatial [data], the Ministry of Social Development on service delivery and so on." The centralisation will undoubtedly mean some cloud processing, he confirms. "We're moving more towards the cloud concept to provide accessibility to core and common services" and shared data. Questioned after the presentation Crombie refused to be pinned down over likely public concern that the processors underlying the cloud should be centred in New Zealand. In a general sense, however, he concedes that any element of the reform plans has to take into account the sensitivities of local citizens and the local ICT industry.


From http://computerworld.co.nz/ 11/03/2010

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New Zealand Gets Five Bids for RBI; Telecom NZ, Vodafone Submit Surprise Joint Bid

New Zealand's Minister for Communications Steven Joyce has confirmed that the government has received five final proposals for its Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI), which seeks to extend broadband services to rural areas. First unveiled in March 2010, the project seeks to provide fibre to 97% of rural schools and minimum 5Mbps transmission speeds to 80% of rural households within six years. Joyce said that the government will be undertaking an intensive evaluation of the proposals over the next four weeks, with a final decision likely to occur before Christmas.

In a surprise move, it has been revealed that Telecom New Zealand and Vodafone have submitted a joint bid for the RBI, comprising a combination of fibre and mobile broadband technologies. The joint proposal will see Telecom's existing fibre infrastructure extended to key rural points of presence, including schools and hospitals, with an expanded Vodafone wireless infrastructure delivering mobile broadband services to outlying areas. Telecom and Vodafone had widely been expected to submit separate bids, and had given no indication of a joint bid. Vodafone CEO Russell Stanners commented: 'During the bid process the MED (Ministry of Economic Development) made it clear they wanted proposers to work together so we started thinking 'why not?'. It makes perfect sense to come together to combine our assets, investments and skills to build a solution that meets the requirements [of the government]'. Telecom CEO Paul Reynolds added: 'This solution sees New Zealand's two largest telecommunications providers combining their extensive resources and skills to bring the benefits of high speed broadband to rural communities as quickly as possible. By collaborating, our companies are showing that the telecommunications industry is working for the good of New Zealand to deliver a solution that will accelerate the commercial success and social connectivity of New Zealand's rural and regional communities, employing fixed and mobile technology'. Stanners conceded that the partnership 'was not a sight you saw very often'.

Although Joyce opted not to reveal the full shortlist, other entities believed to have put forward bids for the project include the New Zealand Regional Fibre Group (NZRFG), which includes Vector, Unison, PowerNet and Horizon Energy. Another consortium, comprising state-owned Kordia, internet provider Woosh and network owner FX Network is also believed to have lodged a bid.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 11/12/2010

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IT Industry Bodies Call for Tender Complaint Role

Industry group NZICT is calling for the establishment of a "procurement ombudsman" to resolve complaints about the handling of government tenders. Chief executive Brett O'Riley said technology firms had for a long time felt unable to pursue complaints for fear of harming their relationships with public sector clients. "Issues that the industry have talked about are when a request for information or a request for proposals has been released and there's been no decision, so companies have incurred costs on the basis that something would proceed. But also where the scope [of a tender] has changed in the middle of a process, and situations where there's been breaches in confidentiality." A procurement reform group - which NZICT was a part of - had revised and republished the procurement complaints process. "That's a good start because I'm not sure many in the industry were aware that there is a formal complaints process. That's a good step one, but step two is how do you progress an issue?"

NZICT would suggest to the Economic Development Ministry that an ombudsman be set up. The ombudsman job could be a dedicated position or picked up by someone in a similar role, and would apply to all procurement, not just ICT, he said. "Every time there is an issue that takes a while to resolve, that's additional cost to both parties and we want to minimise the number of cases that involve legal costs." Don Christie, spokesman for breakaway lobby group NZ Rise - set up to represent the interests of New Zealand-owned technology firms, said there should be a procurement ombudsman to actively monitor the amount of work and public money that went to New Zealand-based companies. That would help identify whether procurement processes were cutting out local vendors. "It needs to be more pro-active. At the moment we can complain to the Office of the Ombudsmen if we feel there is a problem with process and fairness." The ombudsman could also assess complaints from companies that felt they had been discriminated against.

NZ Rise believed the Government's moves to set up public sector-wide purchasing "mega-contracts" for items such as computers and photocopiers, and to deliver shared services to department such as datacentre services discriminated against smaller, local firms. "That prevents those companies from providing specialist knowledge and specialist services. It's good for the one or two people procuring, but it's not good for driving value into government." Clare Curran, Labour's communications spokeswoman, has tabled a private members bill that if passed would establish a commission of inquiry to determine whether the Government could and should have a policy that gave preference to local procurement without breaching international obligations. Ms Curran has said local companies are missing out on large contracts - particularly software licensing contracts.


From http://computerworld.co.nz/ 11/15/2010

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NZ to Extend LMNP by a Further Six Years; Vodafone Loses 35,000 Customers to 2degrees

The New Zealand Commerce Commission has released a draft determination which would see Local and Mobile Number Portability (LMNP) extended by a further six years. Number portability enables a customer to switch telecoms operators, whilst retaining their existing telephone number. On 31 August 2005 the Commission issued an initial determination on LMNP multi-network services, but this determination is set to expire on 19 December this year. The new draft determination continues the standards and systems set out in the original determination. These standards include the formula for allocating pricing for telecoms companies providing LMNP. Interested parties have been invited to make submissions on the draft determination by 9 December 2010. The Commission expects to issue a final determination by the end of the year. Telecommunications Commissioner Dr Ross Patterson commented: 'Number portability has been working well since its introduction in April 2007 and has enabled telecommunications consumers to switch providers. All parties are in agreement that the determination should be extended. The Commission has issued a new determination to continue to give effect to the number portability service'.

In related news, New Zealand's newest cellco 2degrees has continued to benefit from MNP in the most recent quarter - once again at Vodafone New Zealand's expense. As reported by CommsUpdate on 6 September, 2degrees announced that 100,000 mobile users had ported their number to it in the year since its launch, 80% of them former Vodafone customers. During the three months ending 30 September Vodafone has lost a further 35,000 customers through MNP. Vodafone doffed its cap to 2degrees, with Matt East, Vodafone's external communications manager conceding: 'These results show that we are operating in a highly competitive market; clearly 2degrees is the most successful new entrant we've seen. We love a challenge and we will compete hard'.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 11/16/2010

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GLOBAL: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Indonesia to Have 1.2 Billion Internet Users by 2015

In 2009, the BRICI countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Indonesia - had some 610 million Internet users, and this number is growing at a blistering pace: it will nearly double by 2015, hitting around 1.2 billion users, according to a new report by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

"The Internet is already having a fundamental impact on consumption patterns, and the patterns we're seeing are significantly different from those in the United States and Japan," says report coauthor David Michael, who heads BCG's Global Advantage practice. "Companies relying solely on traditional means for reaching consumers in the emerging markets need to understand the impact that the shift to digital media is going to have." Because the BRICI countries constitute many of the world's most populous nations, it may come as little surprise that their digital-consumer ranks will swell so quickly. However, the truly remarkable development is how quickly online activity is shifting into the mainstream of these societies. Although there are only 440 million PCs in the BRICI countries at present, this number should more than double by 2015 - and Internet cafe and mobile devices will also act as important means of digital access. The habits exhibited in the BRICI countries differ markedly from those in the developed markets - for instance, instant messaging is vastly more popular, as are online music and games. There are remarkable variations among the BRICI countries as well. Social networking is more popular in Indonesia and Brazil than in any of the other BRICI countries - or even in the developed markets. And while an extremely high percentage of Indian digital consumers use e-mail, Chinese Internet users have gravitated toward instant messaging. Among the most prominent trends is that BRICI digital consumers are far more likely to be meeting their digital needs through mobile phones than through personal computers. With PC penetration still quite low, mobile phones are cheaper and more convenient tools for both communicating and seeking out entertainment - already, the BRICI countries have around 1.8 billion mobile-phone SIM card subscriptions, more than four times the combined total of those in the United States and Japan. In fact, as sophisticated handsets become available in the BRICI markets, millions of BRICI digital consumers are leapfrogging over PC usage and going online via their mobile phones, a trend that has significant implications for their Internet-usage habits.

In addition, BRICI Internet users are unusually young - more than 60 percent of digital consumers are under the age of 35 - which means that although the online habits of BRICI consumers are still being formed, these behavior patterns will have broad implications for future online activity. As they earn ever-higher incomes and develop more complex online needs, digital companies will see colossal opportunities to monetize services and products - provided that they can keep up with the pace of change in the BRICI digital markets. Beyond examining broad trends in the BRICI countries, the report also breaks down digital usage patterns and their stages of market development on a country-by-country basis. In general, although there are market similarities across user segments, the digital markets in Brazil and Russia are more advanced than those in India and Indonesia. Meanwhile, China is far beyond its fellow BRICI markets - Internet and mobile phone use are deeply embedded in the lives of hundreds of millions of Chinese people. One reason that it is important to understand the Chinese digital market is that it offers a pointed reminder of how rapid and unexpected the pace of change in other BRICI markets may be in terms of Internet penetration rates, the number of hours spent online per day, and e-commerce adoption. Understanding the course of development in these markets will provide valuable insight into their long-term growth potential. But the danger in marveling at the pace of BRICI digital adoption is that it is easy to overlook the fact that the BRICI digital revolution is already well under way. The crucial backdrop to the development of the BRICI digital markets is the diversity and size of the companies that serve these digital needs, such as China's Tencent or Alibaba.com. "The commercial opportunities in these digital markets are rapidly evolving," says report coauthor Yvonne Zhou, a principal in BCG's Beijing office, "and the presence of strong local competitors in many of these markets means that the 'incumbent' digital-market leaders in the United States and Europe should not take success in the BRICI countries for granted.".


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 09/02/2010

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Almost 13 Million Fixed Wireless Terminals and Cellular Routers Will Ship in 2015

In 2015, shipments of fixed wireless terminals (FWT) and cellular routers will total nearly 13 million, according to the latest forecasts from ABI Research. The research includes market analysis for industrial terminals, business gateways, telephony adaptors - all relatively mature markets showing stable modest growth - and the newest market segment, mobile broadband routers, which will contribute the greatest increase in shipments.


"While they share underlying technologies, these devices/applications perform different roles and are used in diverse environments," says M2M practice director Sam Lucero. "Industrial terminals, as machine-to-machine devices, benefit from the growing business and government interest in telemetry and telematics. Business gateways now offer viable alternatives to DSL-based services and are increasingly used in remote branch offices. Telephony adaptors connect local analog voice phone systems to the world via a cellular network; the Chinese government is particularly interested in their use to extend telephony services to rural areas."

Principal analyst Jeff Orr adds: "Mobile broadband routers allowing multiple devices to connect from 'anywhere' (a car, a hotel, a construction site) may be found in both consumer and business contexts. Businesses are already familiar with wired business continuity and redundancy methods. Now devices have 'grown wings,' becoming mobile broadband routers. This segment is starting from practically zero, and its top is not yet in sight."

To make the most of this market, Orr and Lucero recommend that:

Cellular embedded module vendors should seek new application opportunities in other FWT and M2M segments
Business gateway vendors should focus on data connectivity rather than voice connectivity.
Developers of mobile broadband hotspot routers must understand early-adopter markets.
Industrial terminal vendors should offer platforms that include cloud computing software delivery models.
Mobile network operators should reconsider how pervasive Wi-Fi technology enables new subscribers and welcomes multi-device users.
FWT and cellular broadband router vendors should consider entry into the business gateway market.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 09/17/2010

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Mobile Internet Will Rule Within 5 Years, Analysts Say

Deloitte predicts mobile trends over the next five to ten years, Ericsson presents its vision of the world in 2020 and Comscore presents stats on the mobile phone market at Mobile Innovation Week 2010. The year 2014 will be an important year for mobile, according to Duncan Stewart, director of technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) research at Deloitte Canada . "By 2014, we cross over. More people will be on the mobile Internet than the desktop," he said. Speaking at CBC's Glenn Gould Studio on Day 1 of Mobile Media World (MMW), part of Mobile Innovation Week (MIW) 2010 in Toronto, Stewart presented a few other predictions on the future of digital media and mobile over the next five to 10 years.

The smartphone market will continue to grow, from about 160 million units to roughly 800 or 900 million units over the next five years, he said. But smartphones will not be ubiquitous, as consumers in certain parts of the world will still not be able to afford them. Roughly half of the phones around the world in 2015 will not be smartphones, said Stewart. Moving on to netbooks, Stewart said "the key point of the netbook is not that this is going to become the new PC ... the key idea behind the netbook is that there is a market out there."

Tablets will be "a big success," he said. From a spec perspective, tablets are slightly under a netbook and significantly more powerful than a smart phone, he said. "The PC is significantly going to be affected at the consumer level, at the enterprise level, the government level and retail business industry ... I think this may be one of the most powerful paradigm shifts we will see in the next year or two," said Stewart. The iPhone and iPod Touch have "set the gold standard for new device introductions" and the new standard for success is selling 100 million units after three years, he said.

Stewart highlighted the inaccuracy of free online translation services like BabelFish and Google Translate, noting that Google isn't taking the "classic lexicon plus grammar" approach. The services are running in the 91 per cent accuracy range, but "we need to really get to 95," he said. This should change over the next five years, according to Stewart. "In 2015, I think we will have ubiquitous text-to-text translation, not text-to-voice, not voice-to-voice," he said.

Mobile applications of text-to-text translation include taking a picture of a French menu with your phone and having it translate the menu into English, he said, or snapping shots of street signs in order to navigate your way around Japan. Will the future bring a mobile OS monopoly player, equivalent to the monopoly that Microsoft Windows has over the PC market? According to a recent Deloitte survey, 43 per cent of respondents "think that Android is going to be the de facto standard," said Stewart. But Stewart said he is "not sure there will be a de facto standard," noting likely resistance from telecommunications carriers and device manufacturers to shift the majority of power to Google.

"Our view is in 2015, there will still be a multiplicity of operating systems," he said. Android may become the largest, but RIM and Apple will not disappear, he said. Windows Mobile "is not going to be gone" either, although Symbian might. Assuming that the move to 4G technologies in the next two or three years is going to solve the network congestion problem is wrong, according to Stewart. "Networks of the future will be more congested than networks of today," he said. The move from 2G to 3G represented a big leap, but LTE and WiMAX are only "a small step ahead," he said. Speeds may be 10 to 12 times faster than 3G, but the capacity of the networks is only about six times greater, he said.

"If we have 10 times as many users each using 10 times as much data, a six-time increase in capacity doesn't mean that in 2015, we are all going to be surfing on 4G at really high speeds," he said. Quantum computers are going render all widely used public key cryptography insecure, said Stewart. And those who will be able to afford the $10 million or so for such a device could potentially see "every message that's ever been sent over the last decade," he said. "How do we take all the messages that were sent in 2010 and prevent people from storing them and then unlocking them in 2020?" he asked. And while it may be technically possible to recharge phones from the airwaves, Stewart doubts this will have any practical application as it could take "60 years" to charge a phone using this method.

Dragan Nerandzic, chief technology officer of Ericsson Canada Inc ., presented Ericsson's vision of the world in 2020 at the Mobile ThinkTank series, another MIW event taking place across the street at the CN Tower. Until now, the focus of the mobile industry has been about connecting people and over five billion people are connected today worldwide, he said. "Where we actually see the next target is to expand that level of connectivity not only towards people but also towards devices," he said. "Devices will become universally connected," he said. "Ericsson predicts that by the year 2020, there will be about 50 billion connections in the world," he said. These connections aren't just about mobile phones, PCs and other consumer devices. Ericsson expects the number of devices per person will grow, but this particular curve will be saturated by 2020, he said.

Ericsson's vision is one of machine to machine (M2M) communication, which means "we can actually start using machines in a way that they talk to each other," he said. This is the "new leap frog step" and "a major change relative to how we have been communicating in the past," he said. The technology enablers for this universally connected world are broadband ubiquity and the declining cost of connected devices, he said. Nerandzic's talk on "machine-to-machine networking ecosystems" included descriptions and examples of smart networks, smart services and smart cities. Examples included connected cars and online homes that use technologies such as sensors, smart tags and ZigBee.

Back at the Glenn Gould Studio, Mark Donovan, senior vice-president of wireless and senior analyst at Comscore Inc., presented statistics on mobile market penetration in the U.S. Android has seen rapid growth in the smart phone market, with its share rising from 2.8 per cent in June 2009 to 14.9 per cent in June 2010, according to Comscore statistics. Microsoft saw a decline over the same period, from 23.5 per cent to 12.8 per cent. Apple saw a slight rise from 20.7 per cent to 24.3 per cent; RIM remained relatively stable from 41.7 to 40.1 per cent; and Symbian's share moved from 2.8 per cent to 3.1 per cent.

Comscore's research, based on data from a three-month period ending in June 2010, on OEM market share for the mobile phone market (not limited to smart phones) finds Samsung in the lead at 22.8 per cent, followed by LG (21.2 per cent), Motorola (20.5 per cent) and RIM (8.8 per cent). "Although the iPhone gains a large amount of hype, it still only represents 5.3 per cent of total mobile owners in the United States and 12.9 per cent of all mobile media users," said Donovan. Text messaging is the most ubiquitous method of interacting with mobile phone users, and games remain the largest category of downloadable mobile apps, said Donovan. Other trends Comscore is seeing is the shift from a fee to free app model. Smart phone platform competition is "creating an epic business battle," said Donovan. He said the war "will not be over" this year and doubts it will be over in 2011. Stewart's predictions are not part of, or to be confused with, Deloitte's annual TMT predictions. (By Jennifer Kavur)


From http://www.pcworld.com/ 10/09/2010

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UN Report Highlights Importance of ICT for World's Poor

The United Nations highlighted the importance of the ICT in creating opportunities for the poor in the latest report by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Information Economy Report 2010: ICTs, Enterprises and Poverty Alleviation. The report said that so far, services and goods associated with ICT technologies are creating opportunities for the poor, but these are often unevenly distributed and not sustainable. To strengthen emerging ICT-based services, the UN has called on policymakers in developing countries to make the ICT sector a more important component in their poverty-reduction strategies. It says that more benefits can be secured for the grassroots creation of small-scale enterprises if enlightened government support is added. The UN also called for more studies on the effect of manufacturing mobile phons, computers and related equipment, to assess the benefits and drawbacks for the poor. The report noted that offshoring of services such as programming, and clerical tasks and processes, is still limited to a few developing countries, and tends to employ relatively highly skilled workers. Jobs such as selling airtime on the streets, refurbishing mobile phones, repairing PCs and running internet cafes require little education or resources. The report showed that the opportunities for ICT micro-enterprises to survive and grow are greater in urban settings. The scope for creating long-term jobs around such activities in rural areas appears to be more limited.


From http://www.telecompaper.com/ 10/15/2010

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The Future of ICT-Enabled Education

Government thought-leaders from education departments across Asia Pacific reported the progress of their national programmes and announced upcoming initiatives at last week's FutureGov Summit 2010 in Kota Kinabalu. The New South Wales Digital Education Revolution aimed to provide each Senior High School student - aged 14 to 18 - with a laptop for anywhere anytime learning. The one-to-one laptop programme, with a budget of A$442 million, has rolled out 148,000 laptops since it started last year.

"To support these wireless enabled laptop, we have set up wireless infrastructure across all 535 schools. These 20,000 access points reach out to even the most remote schools," said Dianne Marshall, Programme Director, Digital Education Revolution, New South Wales Department of Education and Training, Australia (pictured). Technical support is critical to back up teachers who are learning to integrate ICT into teaching and learning, according to Marshall. "Each school is equipped with at least one Technology Officer who can assist teachers on site. Our research has shown that teachers get very frustrated whenever technology fails. Such bad experiences can discourage them from using IT in the classroom in future," she added.

While Thailand is still some way from one-to-one computing, the Ministry of Education (MOE) is committed to establishing basic infrastructure in all schools. With the biggest budget among all ministries in Thailand, MOE has achieved an average ratio of 1 computer to 20 students across the country. "Our greatest challenge is bringing rural schools up to speed," said Keartisak Sensai, Senior Advisor, ICT for Education, MOE. "We have more than 10,000 schools in remote areas. Many of these schools are small with approximately 100 students and less than four teachers."

This is a similar challenge in The Philippines, shared Paul Soriano, Vice Chairman of ICT, Technical Committee, Department of Education. "60 per cent of our 37,000 primary schools are in difficult to reach areas. Many of these have less than 300 students. We target to connect a third of these schools by 2011." Training these teachers and creating content in both English and Thai are priorities for the next 12 months, added Sensai. "The ministry is partnering universities to engage retired and practising teachers to create content. These teachers, who are experts in pedagogy, are well positioned for the job." Content is also a priority for New South Wales, responded Marshall. "We have a Professional Learning Blog which teachers can access materials and tools. 'Tools4You' and 'Laptop Wrap' provide educators with useful information and step-by-step how-tos on leveraging technology in the classroom." (By Kelly Ng)


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 10/19/2010

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Asian Cities Dominate Fast Broadband

High-speed broadband has become a phenomenon of densely-populated Asian cities, which now account for 74 of the top 100 global cities offering fast connections according to Akamai's latest State of the Internet report. According to the company's statistics for best average connection speeds, Japan leads the way with an astonishing 62 cities in the top 100, ahead of South Korea and Hong Kong on 12, Europe on 15 and the U.S. and Canada on 10. The top 10 for speed are all in South Korea, however, which benefits from intense coverage around capital city Seoul, where average speeds range from 15Mbit/s to 21Mbit/s, with Japanese users hitting between 8.5Mbit/s and 12.2Mbit/s. The best European city was Constanta in Romania with an average of 8.5Mbit/s while the best U.S. city was Monterey Park, California, which managed 6.9Mbit/s. These are average connection speeds, but looking at the extremes also gives further insight. Again, South Korea leads the way with some users reaching 38Mbit/s connections, ahead of Hong Kong (32Mbit/s), Japan (28Mbit/s), and Romania (27 Mbit/s). The US languishes, in relative terms at least, with peak rates of only 16Mbit/s. In terms of U.S. cities, California is the place to be - seven of the best connections speeds were recorded there. At the other end of the scale, the state with the highest number of connections above 2Mbit/s was Delaware, where 98 percent of connections reached this level.

Akamai also measured global 'attack traffic', which showed Russia falling to third place as an originator on 10 percent, behind the US and China which head the list on 11 percent each. These three counties swap top placing in all such reports. As to the new category of mobile attacks, only three countries, Italy, Brazil, and Chile, accounted for more than half of such traffic. It could be early days to start judging this class of attack traffic, however. Working out what all this tell us should be straightforward. Investment in broadband is increasing connection speeds, which is in turn driving uptake of applications which require more bandwidth. It has been so since the dawn of video and social networking five years ago. At the same time, densely-populated cities do very well, while market-driven economies with socially-stratified and rural populations do less well in relative terms and are 'falling behind' in a numbers sense at least. Whether the gap matters is a matter for debate but infrastructure companies will always claim it does because they stand to gain. Asia appears to do supremely well on the list of cities with high average connections speeds, but huge tracts of the continent barely register at all, notably mainland China, and poorer Asian countries such as Vietnam and Thailand. Depending on how you view such reports, this could be the real story.


From http://www.pcworld.com/ 10/24/2010

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ITU Symposium: Road Map to Enhance Environmental Sustainability Through Use of ICTs

ITU's 5th Symposium on ICTs, the Environment and Climate Change closed yesterday in Cairo, Egypt, with the presentation of the Cairo Road Map on ICTs and Environmental Sustainability. Demonstrating success and feasibility, engaging the private sector, promoting cooperation at the regional and global level and developing and implementing national e-environment plans are some of the key actions outlined in the Cairo Road Map, which provides a framework to assist countries in their efforts to integrate the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) into their environmental policies. Following the adoption of the Cairo Road Map, ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Tour¨¦ said, "The Cairo Road Map is a unique starting point that could be used by governments, in particular from the African and Arab regions, to design their national green ICT policies to promote the use of ICTs for the protection of the environment." "ITU is working tirelessly to ensure that ICTs are at the centre of all efforts to combat climate change," said Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, highlighting the role of ICTs in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. He added that ITU had received a renewed and strong mandate from its 2010 Plenipotentiary Conference to continue its leadership in engaging the ICT sector in addressing the causes and effects of climate change. The two-day Symposium, co-organized by ITU, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and the Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs (MSEA) of Egypt, brought together leading experts in the field, including top policy-makers, engineers, designers, planners, government officials, regulators, and specialists from UN agencies. More than 400 participants took part in the event. "Today the ICT sector is joining forces with the global community in mobilizing not just political will, but resources, energies and creativity as well," said Dr Tarek Kamel, Minister of Communications and Information Technology of Egypt, who presented some of the best practices developed recently by Egypt in the use of ICTs to promote sustainable social and economic development. "We wish to contribute towards effectively tackling global risks, environmental issues and climate change challenges." Emphasizing the focus of the symposium on the best practices and specific issues faced by developing countries, such as managing water, conserving biodiversity and reducing energy consumption and e-waste, Minister of State for Environmental Affairs, Magued George said, "This initiative is a successful example of the positive results that can be achieved by promoting the close collaboration between all the stakeholders working in the environmental and telecommunication sectors." The main conclusions of the Cairo Road Map will be brought to the attention of the 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP16 / CMP6), which will take place from 29 November to 10 December 2010 in Cancun, Mexico. The conference aims at adopting an achievable and balanced approach to tackling climate change at the global level. "Our recommendations will be a step forward towards a better integration of the ICT sector into the international climate change negotiations," said Dr Tarek Kamel.


From http://www.itu.int/ 11/04/2010

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Documents of the 4th World Forum on China Studies Published

UNPAN-AP Editorial Department is greatly honored to release a series of documents of speeches delivered at the 4th World Forum on China Studies, which was held on 6-7 November 2010 in Shanghai, China, with the theme of Living Together, Growing Together: China and the World Integrate. As China has been integrating itself more and more into the international community, not only in the political field, but also in the economic and cultural sphere, experts and scholars from all countries have paid increasing attention to China Studies. To show the tributes to the successful completion of the 4th World Forum on China Studies, UNPAN-AP Editorial Department is authorized to select and publish in UNPAN twenty documents from the plenary session of the forum, including the address at the opening ceremony and some of the keynote speech. Topics of these documents cover a large range of areas, from global development to self-growth of each country. For details, please click here.


From UNPAN-AP Editorial Department 11/16/2010

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Global Mobile Penetration on Track for 100%

GSMA predicts 1 billion mobile broadband subscriptions in 2012; warns of 'dark forces' in applications space. The world will soon be able to claim as many mobile subscriptions as it has people, according to GSMA chief executive Rob Conway, who opened Mobile Asia Congress 2010 on Wednesday with a keynote speech that covered mobile broadband networks, smartphone operating systems, and applications. There are more than 5 billion mobile subscribers in the world today, "and we are now on track to hit 6 billion mobile connections in the first half of 2012," Conway said. With the population of the earth standing at 6.9 billion, mobile penetration "will [soon] exceed the global population," he predicted.

Mobile data will be key to that growth. There are 361 million HSPA connections worldwide, "more than double" the number recorded this time last year, Conway said. 15 million new connections are added per month on a global basis, 6 million of which are in the Asia-Pacific region. "[We will reach] the 1 billion mobile broadband connections milestone in 2012," Conway forecasts. LTE will help operators serve the demand for mobile broadband. There are currently 10 live LTE networks in the world, Conway said, with a further 87 due to launch in the 2010-2012 timeframe. "The mobile industry is now firmly behind LTE," Conway said, noting that even WiMAX operators like Russia's Yota and Clearwire in the U.S. are looking at LTE. Much of the recent growth in mobile data stems from an increase in smartphone penetration. But unlike some industry watchers, Conway welcomed the proliferation of smartphone operating systems on the market. It might look like "a two-horse race for smartphone OSs," between Apple and Android, said Conway, but there are other players to consider. Nokia's Symbian is still the leading platform by subscribers, but it has lost ground to the rapidly-growing Apple and Android." Android has come from almost nowhere," said Conway, noting that the Google operating system recorded 1,360% year-on-year growth in the third quarter of this year, when it shipped on 20.5 million devices. That gave Android 25% of the market, to Symbian's 37% and Apple's 17% market share. "We welcome the introduction of Microsoft's commendable Windows [Phone] 7," Conway said, adding that he is also looking forward to the arrival of Nokia's high-end MeeGo platform next year, as well as the new system in the pipeline at RIM. "The horse race... will get ever-more exciting in the future," Conway said. Nonetheless, it will be difficult for the other players to match Android's potential.

"We see smartphones becoming ubiquitous," with prices falling, especially for Android-powered phones which will benefit from the OS's scale, Conway said. "[Android is] the world's first truly viral OS," running on 60 different handset models worldwide at present and with more to come. India recently got its first Android vendor in the shape of Videocon, Conway noted. And with smartphones come applications, which promise to deliver significant revenues for the app store providers. When Apple's App Store launched in 2008 it had fewer than 100 applications. The figure had risen to 200,000 by April 2010 and now, six months later, stands at 300,000, with 7 billion apps downloaded to date, Conway reminded the audience. Meanwhile the Android Market has 100,000 apps, compared with just 50 when it opened two years ago, and has recorded 2 billion downloads to date. "Apps are becoming a very decent revenue source for Google," said Conway. He added that the Internet giant has revealed that it is on track to generate $1 billion in revenues from Android, speculating that an estimated one third of that sum could be apps sales. But with applications comes a huge responsibility, according to Conway. There have already been instances of consumer data being passed to advertisers through apps, such as games on Facebook, Conway noted. But there may be even darker forces seeking to use apps," he warned. For example, fraudulent mobile banking applications have appeared on Android Market.

We have to be vigilant, Conway advised. (By Mary Lennighan, Total Telecom)


From http://www.totaltele.com/ 11/17/2010

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Mobile Workforce Report Finds Cross-Generational Technology Gap Is a Myth

The cross-generational tech chasm in the workplace is a myth as overall mobile worker preferences and behavioral characteristics across age groups and geographies are similar, claims a report by iPass. In fact, the median age of a mobile employee is somewhere around 46.

The report, which drew from the experiences of more than 1,100 mobile employees, found that personal smartphone liability played a much bigger factor on device usage than age. "The iPass research findings confirm the demand to connect personally-owned Apple IOS and Android devices to the corporate network is not limited to a specific age group. The MWC data surfaces that the underlying security risks are still a threat and need to be mitigated," said JP Finnell, enterprise analyst at GigaOM Pro. "This presents an opportunity for corporate IT to jointly develop enterprise mobility policies that leverage enterprise functionality in recent releases of IOS and Android with the capabilities of third-party enterprise mobility service providers." "Today nearly a third of people use an unmanaged smartphone for work. Unmanaged smartphones are a significant risk to enterprises," said Steven Wastie, senior vice president marketing and product management at iPass. "Twenty percent of these mobile employees have experienced a relevant security issue with their smartphone containing business data lost, stolen, infected or hacked."

The mobile employee survey also uncovered: iPhone and Android will lead the smartphone market by 2012 among the mobile workforce. Globally, smartphone penetration among mobile employees outpaced the consumer market, with 69 percent now using those devices for work. The laptop is becoming the new desktop as the smartphone and tablet replace the old laptop. Over a third of mobile employees (37%) believe that a mobile device will usurp the laptop for general business purposes in 2011, and 27 percent believe it will be an iPad or other tablet. 34 percent of mobile employees do not use their smartphones for work if they are footing the bill - having a direct and negative impact on their productivity. 22 percent of mobile employees breach corporate policy using an unmanaged smartphone for work when their companies have a stricter smartphone policy in place.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 11/17/2010

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Operators Lack IT Expertise Needed for Cloud Services - NEC

Vendor sees cloud services taking off in India as operators look to shore up ailing ARPUs. Operators lack the necessary experience and expertise in providing managed IT services that are needed to succeed in cloud computing, claimed NEC on Wednesday. The Japanese equipment vendor told Total Telecom during Mobile Asia Congress in Hong Kong that while telcos are able to operate networks and meet enterprises' telecom needs, providing IT services calls for a different set of skills. "Most operators have their own internal and back office IT systems that they can manage for themselves," said Toshiyuki Mineno, senior vice president of NEC. "But most operators don't have a clue about how to combine IT services with their network and then operate it as a [cloud computing] business," he said. Still, Mineno also expressed doubts over cloud service and virtualisation providers that don't own their own infrastructure but instead deliver services over the Internet.

"Google, Salesforce.com and Amazon are competitors to the operators, because they're utilising their networks but also taking revenue from them...[but] they cannot provide carrier-grade services or guaranteed SLAs," he said. NEC in April announced plans as part of a strategy update to focus on offering and enabling cloud services, and Mineno claims the kit maker is ideally placed to carve out a share of the market. "We have lots of big rivals in cloud computing from both telecoms and IT - and some of them have begun to partner with one another in cloud services - but we have been working in both of these areas for a lot of years," he said.

Indeed, NEC's product base covers a broad range of areas, including submarine network and mobile backhaul equipment, servers, desktop virtualisation, PC hardware and mobile handsets. "We're combining the knowledge we have in networks and IT to provide carrier-grade cloud services," commented Mineno. One market where NEC sees strong growth potential for cloud services is India, where operators are looking to ease margin pressure stemming from declining ARPUs. "Telcos are looking at how to expand their networks, but they are also looking at how to expand the range of services they offer in order to boost ARPU," said Mineno. (By Nick Wood , Total Teleco)


From http://www.totaltele.com/ 11/17/2010

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AFRICA: Mobile Phones 'Powerful' in Promoting Health, Advocates Say

Leaders in the business, development, health and research communities are gathering this week in Washington, DC, to plan how to more effectively deliver healthcare through mobile technology in the developing and developed worlds. The three-day mHealth Summit: Research, Technology and Policy aims to advance the discussion around ways mobile technology can increase the access, efficiency and effectiveness of health systems. Mhealth stands for mobile-based or mobile-enhanced health solutions. "It's basically making health wireless," Kathy Calvin, CEO of the United Nations Foundation, told a recent teleconference. "It's a simple but groundbreaking idea that global wireless networks and mobile devices - whether they be cell phones, smart phones, mobile-enhanced diagnostic devices - can be powerful vehicles for delivering innovative medical and health and services to the farthest reaches of the globe," she said. Calvin said nearly eight million children around the world die every year, or 22,000 children every day, mainly because they don't have access to basic healthcare. The UN Foundation believes many of these deaths could be prevented through the use of mobile technology. For example, one village could more easily communicate to another about the availability of life-saving vaccines.

"Mobile phone adoption around the world has increased more rapidly than any other technology in history," Calvin said. "The fastest growing cell phone markets, in fact, are in the developing countries where the disease burdens are also the highest. There are five billion subscribers today, almost 70 percent of them in the developing world." She said the foundation believes that to achieve the health-related UN Millennium Development Goals by 2015 the global health community needs to work with other partners to develop new approaches to health problems. "Mobile health is the one [approach] we think has the most immediate and far-reaching promise of making a difference," Calvin said. "We believe that through wireless networks we can connect patients, families and practitioners with a speed and breadth never before possible. We have the ability to get the right information into the hands of the people who need it, when and where they need it - messages, reminders, checklists, access to information, calls for emergency help in a difficult birth, are all improved with the use of cell and mobile technology." She said such technology was already working in places around the globe, from Bangladesh to Tanzania, changing the way the world provides medical treatment and access to health care. The summit program includes discussions on "improving access to medicines, emergency response and mobile technology," and "global strategy for saving lives through innovation." The latter is linked to the Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health, launched in September by the UN secretary-general, to help accelerate progress on MDGs 4 and 5 that deal with women and children's health. A Maternal and Newborn mHealth Initiative has been adopted as a program in the global strategy. Summit organizers said they were using the opportunity at the summit to hold the first organizing meeting of the maternal mHealth initiative. "The first item out of the box is trying to get a full global inventory of the eHealth and mHealth projects that are going on in maternal and newborn [health] so we can either not reinvent the wheel or not reinvent flat tires, and both are being reinvented all over the world," David Aylward, executive director of the MHealth Alliance, told the teleconference.

Summit attendees include representatives of governments, non-governmental organizations, development organizations, universities, health advocacy groups and telecommunications companies. Among those companies are Vodafone and Orange, which oversee several mobile phone carriers across English- and French-speaking Africa. Keynote speakers at the summit include Bill Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Aneesh Chopra, White House chief technology officer; Ted Turner, chairman of the UN Foundation; and Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation. This is the second annual mHealth summit. It opened on Monday at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and ends on Wednesday. It has been organized by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, the mHealth Alliance and the National Institutes of Health. About 2,000 participants are expected to be in attendance, representing more than 45 countries. (By Cindy Shiner)


From http://allafrica.com/ 11/10/2010

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Mobile Phone Users Hit 500 Million

A research conducted by Informa Telecom and Media has shown that Africa's active mobile phone subscribers have crossed the half-a-billion mark in the third quarter of 2010. According to the research, there are about 506 million telecom subscribers across the African continent as of September 2010. At the end of the 2010 third quarter, Africa accounted for 10 per cent of the world's mobile subscriptions and was one of the world's fastest-growing regions in terms of telecommunications. Subscription numbers increased to 18 per cent over the year - as a result of demand for new services, such as mobile Internet access, which increased the need for telecoms connectivity.

Segment growth: Mr Thecla Mbongue, a Johannesburg-based senior analyst at Informa Telecoms and Media said: "Although the rate of growth in mobile subscriptions in Africa will slow as markets mature, the continent continues to offer great opportunities for investors in the voice segment and also in the non-voice segments with mobile broadband and mobile-money services taking off." "By 2015, there will be 265 million mobile broadband subscriptions in Africa, a huge increase from the current figure of about 12 million, and accounting for 31.5 per cent of the total of 842 million mobile subscriptions that the continent will have in five years' time," the survey indicates. There will be almost 360 million users of mobile-money services on the continent by 2014. The research survey further exposed that the mobile revolution that has swept through Africa has made mobile telephone widely available but there are still substantial under-served markets. The landing of a series of new submarine cables on both the East and West coasts of Africa over the past 18 months has given the continent a good level of international connectivity for the first time, and has greatly expanded the opportunities for data services. Reaching rural settings: It was however, advised that since the terrestrial backhaul threatens to become the next bottle-neck, it must be extended if the benefits of the new connectivity are to be made widely available. This, in particular should be made to reach rural communities and countries in the interior of the continent.

The findings further stated that the rate of household broadband penetration in Africa was just 2.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2010, so African broadband has a long way to go if it is to emulate the mobile revolution that has already swept through much of the continent. "The past year has seen a big change in the line-up of key players in the African mobile market, with the sale of Zain Africa - one of the biggest pan-African players with 15 operations on the continent - to Bharti Airtel of India," the research said. (By Dorothy Nakaweesi and Agencies)


From http://allafrica.com/ 11/15/2010

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Ghana: To Leverage Mobile Health Africa

Ghana is planning to leverage on Mobile Health Africa summit to boost its health services to the citizens, through an event being organised by the Mobile World magazine and Anadach Group, based in the United States. Chief executive officer, Mobile World, Mr. Akin Napthal said in a press statement made available to Champion Infotech that Africa is seeking better health solutions through mobile technologies. The event slated for December this year, he said, would be a gathering of African's best brains in adoption of technologies for mobile health services. He said that global mobile communication and health experts are set to meet in Ghana to debate on appropriate and timely solutions for Africa's pressing health challenges. He also said that delegates are expected from across Africa, Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East. Mr. Napthal, who doubles as the conference co-director, hinted that it would to take place between December 2 and 3, at the Labadi Hotel, in Accra. "This summit will explore the use of mobile technologies to improve access to quality health care, particularly in underserved populations; and in health research, training, and education applications in Africa," he said. Mobile phones, he said, have the ability to revolutionize several components of the health delivery system, including collecting clinical and community health data, monitoring patient vital signs in real-time, augmenting the direct provision of care by linking health care workers to patients, delivering healthcare information to practitioners, researchers, and patients as well as addressing supply chain management problems. Equally, he said, Mobile phones could play a significant role in health financing systems, including authentication of health insurance subscribers, monitoring of health benefits and paying for health services and products. He underscored the fact that mHealth Africa summit presents an opportunity to bring together interested parties from around the world working in the health care and associated sectors to exchange ideas, discuss innovative solutions, explore scalability and sustainability of successful pilots, and develop collaborations in Africa. Founding partner Anadach Group, Dr Egbe Osifo-Dawodu, urged stakeholders to jointly channel key implementation of mHealth deployment in Africa. The conference, he said, would become an annual event to come at a time when mobile penetration rates on the African continent are rising at a high rate. In 2009, he noted that Africa was estimated to have more than 379 million mobile phone users compared to 246 million in 2008. "It is the precise time to put more focus on the growth of mHealth in Africa. With that fact mobile is perhaps the fastest and cost effective and interactive way to reach the rural areas in term of health delivery," he said. For health and ICT entrepreneurs, the new platform creates an opportunity to develop innovative ideas that address existing problems or create new solutions to improve healthcare. "Most African countries are not on track to meet the UN's Millennium Development Goals so the need for innovation has never been greater," Dr Alade, the conference co-director asserted.

He further said, this summit poses a great opportunity in discussing and learning more on the future of mhealth in Africa. Through the forum, mobile and health experts will review the mHealth opportunities and challenges in Africa. In addition, experts will discuss and understand the role regulators in developing mHealth on the continent drawing comparisons with the developed world. "This is an opportunity for participants to gain insight into case studies of various mhealth deployments and initiatives, deeper understanding on the business model of mhealth, networking," Mr Napthal added. Speakers at the conference, he said, would include Prof. Peter Nyongo, the Kenya Minister for Medical Services who will also be the special guest, Brooke Partridge, CEO and founder, Vital Wave Consulting, USA, Bas Hoefman, Founder and Director, Text to Change, Holland Dr Ashifi Gogo, Sproxil, Nigeria, Mr Tunde Fafunwa, Senior Partner Kitskoo, Phillipines, Mr Piers Bocock, Senior Director, Management Sciences for Health, USA,, Ruchi Dass, Wireless Healthcare, E-health and Healthcare IT Champion, Bright Simons, CEO, mPedigree, Ghana among others. (By Remmy Nweke)


From http://allafrica.com/ 10/20/2010

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ARAB STATES: ESCWA Looks to Bolster Arabic Content Online

BEIRUT: The United Nations Economics and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) said Monday it plans to launch a series of regional forums to bolster Arabic content generation on the internet. This announcement came at a meeting of a group of ESCWA and League of Arab States (LAS) officials at the UN house in Beirut to unveil "The Regional Roadmap for Internet Governance," professing an aim to bring stakeholders from various societal sectors into the fold. A project to create Arabic domain names is said to top the expert group's agenda. The meeting comes on the heels of the UN's fifth Internet Government Forum (IGF) that took place last month. The IGF seeks to set the course of the World Summit on Information Society, a non-binding body that aims to set global Internet standards. Debates around internet accessibility, censorship, intellectual property rights and cloud computing formed contentious points of this year's forum. According to Internet Watchdog Group Open Net Initiative, internet censorship in the Middle East and North Africa is on the rise, with more countries introducing internet-specific clauses to Publications laws. The group observes a simultaneous boost in internet infrastructure investments, notably in the UAE and Qatar. Director of the ICT division at ESCWA Youssef Nusseir kicked off Monday's meeting with the question: "Who should govern the internet?" Emphasizing that initiatives seek to "manage and not control" the internet, participants on Nusseir's panel detailed plans to join forces with the Internet Corporation for the Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which it said would handle internet resources and catalyze Arabic content generation.


From http://dailystar.com.lb/ 10/26/2010

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Oman: The First Women's Community Knowledge Center (WCKC) to Be Launched in the Sultanate of Oman

The Information Technology Authority (ITA) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Qalhat LNG who will support the establishment of the first ever Women's Community Knowledge Center (CKC), offering to provide the building and strategic location, as part of the Community IT Training Project in the Wilayat of Shinas, in Al Batinah region. Dr. Salim Sultan Al Ruzaiqi, CEO of ITA, signed the MoU on behalf of ITA while Mr. Harib bin Abdullah Al Kitani, CEO and General Manager of Qalhat LNG, signed representing Qalhat LNG. The Community IT Training Project falls under the umbrella of the National IT Training & Awareness Framework (NITTA) initiative, which is a governmental nation-wide e.oman initiative aimed at developing Information Communication Technology (ICT) skills and capability, while increasing ICT awareness and proficiency within the Government and the local community. The goal of the Community IT Training project is to participate in spreading digital awareness among individuals of all strata of society by conducting free training programs related to information technology. Programs at the centers will be supervised by Omani IT training specialists and will offer various courses on computer foundations and the Internet. This will better prepare and enable citizens, women and men alike, to interact with information communication technology (ICT) and derive benefit from the eServices provided by government. Four CKCs have already opened in Muscat, Salalah, Sur and Sohar. On the occasion of the signing ceremony, Dr. Salim Sultan Al Ruzaiqi, CEO of ITA offered the following statement: "We are happy for this cooperation between the Information Technology Authority and Qalhat LNG in helping to deliver NITTA projects, where we aim to launch Community Knowledge Centers in all regions and wilayats in Oman, in an effort to help transform the sultanate into a knowledge society. Phase 2 is due to begin soon and the ITA is planning to launch six more CKCs in the coming year. And, with the launch of the very first WCKC in Shinas, we are beginning Phase 1 of establishing Women Community Knowledge Centers (WCKCs) with the kind cooperation of the Omani Women's Association, working towards having nine such centers across the sultanate. Training women of the community in ICT skills, we empower them with knowledge and by extension we help to educate their families. We greatly appreciate Qalhat LNG's support and efforts and we hope to continue this cooperation in the future." In each CKC there are computers and accessories, Internet connection, as well as a number of educational programs. Every Center has a timetable for programs and included activities.

Further, there is an opportunity for everyone who wishes to benefit from continuous training programs which have been prepared to suit different levels and age categories. These centers are considered of great importance for all society segments by it active role in spreading digital knowledge, enabling citizens from all segments of society to have access to available information and data via the internet, and achieve a level of comfort accessing available eServices online. Mr. Harib Al Kitani, Qalhat LNG CEO and General Manager stated on this occasion: "Qalhat LNG has taken its corporate social responsibilities with great interest, as it evident by the decision to allocate 1% of the Company's annual profits to the development of the local communities. Aware of its social responsibilities, as an organization and being fully committed to making a positive difference within the society, Qalhat LNG's social investment program (SIP) was designed to identify and invest in projects, events and causes that are of relevance to specific needs of the local communities. It gives us a great pleasure to be associated today with Information Technology Authority and work together in one of the ambitious and innovative national programs specially designed to deliver IT training and to reduce computer illiteracy among Omani ladies." Al Kitani added, "Qalhat LNG is very proud to partner with ITA and support this particular training program as the local community is in real need for competencies and training on the use of technology to cope with the Oman Government's Initiative for eGovernment. Additionally, as an effective response, and to be in line with the Government's empowerment of Omani ladies strategy that was crowned by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said's directives in the Woman Conference during the last Royal Tour at Saih Al Makarim. My thanks and appreciation goes to our partner in excellence, the ITA, for their professionalism and commitment towards concluding this agreement. We hope that this is only a beginning for more future cooperation between both organizations".


From http://www.ita.gov.om/ 10/05/2010

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ASIA: Not Ready for Key Apps to Go Open Source - Survey

Organizations in Asia are not as ready to go open source for key business applications, experts in the region say. Over in the United Kingdom and United States, it is a different story with inclination growing, a survey has shown. An Accenture study of 300 large public- and private-sector organizations in Ireland, the U.K. and U.S. found that over one-third of respondents plan to migrate mission-critical software to open source within a year. The findings, released last month, also indicated that cost is no longer viewed as the key benefit of open source deployment. Instead, quality, reliability and better bug fixing are top drivers. Although a similar study was not done for Asia, a Singapore-based Accenture spokesperson said that within the region, open source has been gaining traction across all industry segments as well as within the public sector. In China, for instance, research conducted last year showed that 55 percent of organizations were actively piloting or using open source server operating systems, said Lawrence Goh, Asean executive director for technology consulting at Accenture. Enterprises in China were also tapping open source OSes for desktops as well as adopting open development tools during their application development process, he added in an e-mail. The "sweet spot" for organizations in the region when it comes to open source deployment, noted Goh, lies in infrastructure, system software and software to support custom application development. Open source middleware and content management solutions are the areas that have seen the "most deployment in production", he added. However, compared with their global counterparts, Asian enterprises are not as ready to bank on open source for business-critical applications, said Goh. "The majority of our clients [in Asia] that use open source are still looking at application platforms and development tools rather than higher value chain business applications," he pointed out. "Globally, we are seeing stronger evidence of the move to mission-critical applications in both the public and private sector." Concurring, John Brand, Springboard Research's vice president of research, noted that the analyst firm has "seen very little uptake" of open source at the business application level. "Enterprise open source adoption centers around operating system platforms, development frameworks, tools and utilities, and some software infrastructure like Alfresco for enterprise content management. "There are some exceptions, like Sugar CRM for customer relationship management and some enterprise resource planning-styled applications," he said. "But many of these are actually closer to frameworks than actual business applications in their own right." Business intelligence, he noted, is an area "that is capturing some attention in the open source market because it lies somewhere between being an application, a development framework and a set of tools and utilities for reporting and analysis tasks". While growth has been "far slower" at the business application level, it does not mean that business-critical apps are not running on open source, only that "the applications themselves still tend to be more proprietary commercial packages delivered on top of open source platforms", Brand explained. Many mission-critical apps, he added, are already deployed on open source, but very few applications themselves are open source. Red Hat's experience also suggests that mission-critical environments are increasingly turning to open source. Daniel Ng, director of marketing at Red Hat Asia-Pacific and Japan, said in an e-mail that open source adoption in Asia has grown by "leaps and bounds" over the last two years as a result of an increase in open source skills and the availability of tools. "Open source has been receiving tremendous reception in enterprises because it has proven to be robust, scalable and secure, which are key requirements in operating a mission-critical environment," he noted, adding that major enterprises such as the Tokyo Stock Exchange are tapping Red Hat Enterprise Linux to run their mission-critical applications. For open source to further proliferate in the enterprise application realm, organizations must factor in governance and "properly address the challenges of versioning, support and integration", said Accenture's Goh. "The adoption of open source will improve as organizations learn to manage all open source software in their enterprise with proper planning and good governance," he said. (by Vivian Yeo)


From http://www.zdnetasia.com/ 09/07/2010

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Asia: Fostering Mobile Innovation

As Total Telecom prepares to head to Hong Kong for Mobile Asia Congress 2010, we take a look at some of the key markets in the Asia-Pacific region. The Asia-Pacific region is home to almost half the world's mobile subscribers and includes some of its fastest-growing and highly-penetrated markets. According to Wireless Intelligence, 48% of the globe's 5 billion-plus mobile subscribers were located in Asia-Pacific as of mid-2010. A large proportion of those subscribers are in the mega-markets of China and India, which claimed 813.38 million and 692.83 million respectively. While India tops the research firm's year-on-year growth rate table at a sizeable 47%, China's 17% growth rate (which remains high in comparison to other markets; highly developed Japan recorded 5% growth over the same period, for example) leaves it languishing at number 10. Cambodia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka all saw growth of 30% or more. At the other end of the scale - and Asia-Pac covers the whole gamut - sit the advanced markets in which penetration is creeping up towards 100%. Singapore tops the chart with 192% penetration, closely followed by Macau at 190%. And next on the list, with penetration of 143% and a well-advanced mobile market, comes Hong Kong, where the global mobile communications industry is set to convene on Wednesday at Mobile Asia Congress 2010.

The conference comes at a pivotal time for many Asian telecoms markets. Some are looking towards LTE, and indeed we are expecting much discussion on LTE rollout at MAC, although there have yet to be any LTE launches in Asia. Hong Kong's CSL earlier this year said it was ready to roll out services and would inaugurate its network before the end of the year. We're expecting the telco to have more to add to its rollout plans at MAC. However, Japan could take the crown as the first country in Asia to have a commercial LTE network. Last week Japan's NTT DoCoMo confirmed that it will launch its first LTE services on 24 December. The service, to be known as Xi, will be available initially via USB dongle, but the telco plans to start introducing LTE handsets from April 2011. Meanwhile in South Korea, WIBRO Infra - a partnership between KT, Intel and Samsung - recently committed to covering the whole of the country with Wibro technology by March next year. Wibro is a South Korea-specific mobile WiMAX variant developed by Samsung. The companies insist that Wibro will be complementary to LTE, rather than a competitor. But while those markets look towards advanced 3G technologies - and let's hope we don't hear too many people refer to LTE as "4G" at MAC - Thailand has yet to make the leap to the third generation.The country planned to auction 2.1-GHz spectrum earlier this year, after many years of delays, but was once again thwarted at the eleventh hour when state-owned players CAT and TOT successfully had the process stopped by court injunction, arguing that the National Telecommunications Commission did not have the authority to conduct the sale. The latest development saw the Thai lower house last week approve a draft bill that should pave the way for the creation of a new regulator - the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission - and ultimately the 3G auction.

Thailand has mobile penetration of 108%, according to Wireless Intelligence, the 10th largest in Asia. It also took India a while to allocate its 3G frequencies, but following an auction that ended in May and raised more than $14 billion, the country's private mobile operators are now gearing up for launch. Tata Teleservices became the first non-state-owned player to launch 3G services in India - under the Tata DoCoMo banner - earlier this month, Vodafone Essar's first 3G services will come to market in the first quarter of next year, and Bharti Airtel has awarded 3G network rollout deals to Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks and Huawei. Doubtless there will be much discussion about the Indian mobile market - its intense competition, declining ARPUs and rapid customer growth - at MAC. Keep an eye on the Total Telecom Website on Wednesday and Thursday for more on that, and the rest of the news, views and analysis from Hong Kong. (By Mary Lennighan, Total Telecom)


From http://www.totaltele.com/ 11/16/2010

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EUROPE: EC Aims for Digital Records by 2015

As part of the European Commission's Digital Agenda for Europe the Commission aims to provide patients secure access to digital health records by 2015. Speaking at the Global eHealth Forum in Hamburg Flora Girogio of the EC's ICT for Health unit said DAE will develop the necessary infrastructure. There are seven pillars to the strategy, which encompass issues ranging from developing interoperability and standards to ultra fast Internet access, digital literacy and eGovernment solutions. As part of its €11 billion investment in developing Europe's digital infrastructure over the next ten years the Commission will include a focus on eHealth. The goal is to raise Internet coverage to 100% by 2013 and to facilitate data exchange at greater than 30 Mbps by 2020. Standards and interoperability among IT systems across Member States is another major concern of the DAE, and by 2012 a minimum set of common patient data should be available for interoperable patient records. The EC-funded epSOS project, involving 12 Member States, has launched a pilot project in this area. Girogio also announced that a Memorandum of Understanding is to be signed between the United States and Europe in around four months on the interoperability of health data exchange. The DAE has launched pilot initiatives to equip Europeans with secure online access to their medical health data by 2015 and to achieve widespread deployment of telemedicine services by 2020. "Telemedicine can help chronic patients and we are urging decision-makers and payers to invest in this technology, " Giorgio said. "The most underused resource in healthcare is the patient and there is a common understanding among Member States that patients have to be empowered."


From http://ehealtheurope.net/ 10/28/2010

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Germany: Health Staff Design Their Own Electronic Forms in Mental Health Centre

The medical staff of the Zentrum f¨ąr Seelische Gesundheit (Mental Health Centre) in Marienheide - a German municipality in North Rhine-Westphalia - has overcome the barriers to the introduction of a standardised IT infrastructure in hospitals, using a specific software to streamline nursing services. The result is digital forms that complement the electronic files and are perfectly tailored to the centre's needs. The Zentrum f¨ąr Seelische Gesundheit specialises in psychiatric care, housing a wide range of psychiatric departments under one roof. "When we decided to implement (...) the Hospital Information System to handle the centre's medical documentation, we realised that the various departments and types of staff together had 60 different forms for taking medical histories alone", says the Head of nursing development, Ms. Heidrun Oberlies. It would have been impossible to incorporate such a plethora of documentation into the new, standardised IT architecture as it was.

The software allows specific forms to be created quickly for the system on the basis of existing forms. The solution can create entire catalogues, check boxes, and free-text fields; even complex forms can be produced quickly and still look professional. Ms. Oberlies explains: "We sat down together and went through what was needed and for which groups. What we came up with was a standardised medical history questionnaire for all staff groups, from doctors and social workers to nurses and occupational therapists." Documents prepared with this specific layout designer can be filled in on the screen as digital forms and then easily appended to the electronic file of the patient. "The process is the same for every form", states Ms. Oberlies. Right-clicking allows a new event to be selected. When the user then clicks on 'ok', the form instantly becomes part of the file. "Unlike forms in hard copy, digital forms are highly readable", she stresses. And they are available at any time and anywhere: "Authorised users can access the data from any workstation. The time it takes to access information has been significantly reduced", adds Ms. Oberlies.

Unlike form content filled in by hand, the content of digital forms can be evaluated quickly and efficiently. For example, the previously unrecognised causes of falls can be better identified through digital analysis. In practice, this means that countermeasures can be introduced to address the actual causes effectively and sustainably. Without statistical analysis of the digital forms, it would be almost impossible to compile such findings. It is not just the patients who benefit from this solution; the financial implications for the centre are also significant, since costly complications during inpatient health care can be avoided. Additionally, the information pertaining to other operations can be evaluated with the aid of digital forms. "Our quality assurance now utilises a statistical tool. We used to do everything by hand", explains Oberlies. The evaluation of Digital Raster Graphic (DRG)-relevant data is already being considered.


From ePractice EU 10/08/2010

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Latvia: First eHealth Services Available at the National eGovernment Portal latvija.lv

Since 1 September 2010 the first eHealth services have been made available online at the national eGovernment portal 'latvija.lv'. The eHealth services include: 'My state-funded health care services': The users can find information on their own or their children's medical visits, diagnoses and use the current Health Payment Centre's database. 'My data in the register of diabetic patients': This service - part of the Centre of Health Economics - provides information that is stored electronically in the register of patients with diabetes mellitus. 'My newborn baby data': This service - part of the Centre of Health Economics - provides information that is electronically stored in the register of neonatal information system. 'My family doctor': The users can get information on their own or their children's family doctor.

The access to the information stored in public registers and free-of-charge electronic services of latvija.lv have also been expanded to the users of Internet banking of an international bank based in Lithuania. Up until recently, the access to such services was possible via the Internet for the eBanking users of the Latvian Savings Bank and of a Swedish banking group in Lithuania, as well as the Mobile-ID users and those of the Latvian Post who were issued the electronic signature smartcard.


From ePracticeEU 10/25/2010

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Luxembourg: Patent Register Accessible Via the Internet

Story tools: Print this articleEmail to a friendYour feedbackIn order to facilitate administrative simplification and to enhance transparency for the customers and the users of the patent system, the Luxembourgish patent data has been made available on the Internet via the site www.bibliopi.lu. The search service of the Patent Register or 'Patent Status Base' is provided by the Intellectual Property Office ('Office de la propri¨¦t¨¦ intellectuelle' - OPI, in French). It places information relating to bibliographic patent data at the public's disposal. This information includes: Applications for Luxembourgish patents (LU) and applications for supplementary protection certificates for medicinal products or plant protection products submitted after 1 January 1997; Applications for European patents (EP) designating Luxembourg and submitted after 1 January 1987. The Patent Status Base is updated on a daily basis.


From ePractice EU 10/05/2010

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Malta: MITA Doubles Internet Bandwidth in Classrooms and the Government

The Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA) has entered into a three-year agreement with a telecommunications company for the provision of Internet bandwidth and routing services to meet the continuous growing demand of Internet bandwidth within Malta's Government and state schools. MITA has been acting as the Government's Internet Service Provider (ISP) since the mid-nineties, procuring Internet bandwidth and routing services from local carriers and repackaging it with value-added services, such as web filters, prior to providing it to public service users and state school students.

The global Internet backbone is comprised of Tier 1 Internet carriers and telecommunications company's service will make use of one of these carriers. Apart from enhancing the quality of its bandwidth, through this agreement MITA will be doubling the Internet bandwidth currently provided to Government and schools. MITA offers Internet services to approximately 16 500 public service users and over 30 000 students across all state schools. The performance enhancement and increase in bandwidth for state schools is a central element in the Government's smart learning strategy which is now approaching completion from an infrastructural standpoint. The bandwidth enhancement caters also for the growing number of public officers making use of the Internet as a business tool, hence strongly reaffirming the Government's belief that appropriate access to the Internet at a high performance and good quality is an enabler and an invaluable tool in today's workplace, including within the public service. This agreement will also increase local Internet bandwidth and enable faster access to the Government's portals and all the eGovernment services hosted by MITA. MITA's Chairman, Claudio Grech, said that such an enhancement in the Government's Internet services was the next logical step for the Agency. "Having a high-speed and secure Internet bandwidth is necessary for the implementation and delivery of bandwidth-intensive applications within Government's core operations. It also allows us to start laying the foundations for the rollout of a new generation of eGovernment services together with the strong vertical deployments of elearning and eHealth," added Mr Grech. Besides the capability and experience, the telecommunications company also offered the best value for money proposition to fulfil MITA's requirements, effectively reducing the total cost of the services which were currently being incurred.

Mr Inaki Berroeta, Chief Executive Officer of the telecommunications company said that: "Collaborating with MITA in its drive to propel the eGovernment proposition falls squarely within [the company's] commitment to be a leading player in developing further the fabric of Malta's knowledge economy. We are also thrilled that our infrastructure will be used by thousands of school children, and that it will ultimately carry different learning tools that will further entice them into their learning experiences and contribute towards their self-actualisation."


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 10/18/2010

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Norway: Norwegian Centre for Integrated Care and Telemedicine Hosts Community Portal on eHealth in Inaccessible Regions

The Norwegian Centre for Integrated Care and Telemedicine (NST) will act an Ambassador Platform for the Integrated Application Promotion (IAP) Programme of the European Space Agency (ESA).

The IAP Programme aims at developing a range of new applications by using and integrating different available space assets, resulting in viable and sustainable services for the benefit of society. The objective of the Ambassador Platform for eHealth in Inaccessible Regions (eHIR) hosted by the NST and launched on 1 July 2010 is to assist the IAP programme in spreading awareness among stakeholders in the domain of eHealth, with main thematic focus on telemedicine support to inaccessible regions, emergency situations and eLearning and human resource development. The main purpose is to collect and federate users' ideas and requirements for projects to be conducted within the IAP programme.

Telemedicine support in this context provides healthcare services across geographic barriers where distance is a critical factor, enabling exchange of information for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases and injuries. In regions with limited infrastructure, space assets can play an important role for realising such services, whether for day-to-day healthcare or for emergencies. As for the eLearning dimension in this specific framework, it is about remote learning, development, and competence monitoring for healthcare professionals and health workers in general. The eHIR community portal contains news stories and announcements of IAP events, and makes useful documents available. In this community relationships can be set up with users who might be interested in partnering with IAP to establish pre-operational solutions based on their needs, and communicate with different groups of users in the field of ehealth. By registering to this community portal (free-of-charge registration) one can obtain access to private area information and resources such as member news, documents and a forum area where one can post and participate in discussions among community members. It is worth noting in addition that a workshop will be held in Tromsø, Norway, on 10 November 2010 with the title "NST/ESA Ambassador Platform Workshop on e-Health in inaccessible regions".


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

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UK: Telehealth Service Launched to Improve Care for Patients with Long-Term Conditions

As announced in September 2010, the community health and social care partnership Orkney Health and Care has launched a new telehealth service. This aims to enhance the healthcare for patients in the Orkney Islands (northern Scotland) with long-term conditions, such as chronic heart disease and chronic lung disease. Telehealth enables patients with long-term conditions to measure their vital signs in their own homes, reducing the need for them to travel to health centres for routine checkups. It also enables doctors and nurses to make fewer visits to the patients, and therefore enables better use of health resources. This is of particular importance in a rural area like the Orkney Islands, since many journeys there need to be done by ferry.

Daily health monitoring helps patients to understand their condition, reduce anxiety, and ultimately prevent unnecessary hospital admissions. In addition, increased communication with patients by phone helps to promote a more preventative approach to the management of long-term conditions. Keith Farrer, NHS Orkney consultant nurse and clinical lead for long-term conditions, said: "We are already using video consultations for patients that have a number of different long-term conditions, and telehealth is the next step for helping other patients with long-term conditions. Due to our rural locality I expect to see telehealth reduce the need for patients to travel to their health centres for regular checkups, therefore reducing the burden of travel. It will also help some patients to better understand how to manage their illness." Orkney Health and Care is using an integrated care platform (ICP) from a telehealth company, which is designed to support integrated, fully managed and patient-centred care. The patient uses the products to measure their pulse, blood oxygen level, weight and temperature, and is asked a series of health-related questions. They are guided through the process by voice and visual prompts which make it easy to manage. This information is automatically transferred either by traditional landline connections or over general packet radio service (GPRS) mobile networks; data is collected and transferred to NHS Orkney's clinical staff in real time. This ensures that healthcare staff have instant access to the results, enabling them to monitor the patient's condition daily to provide timely or preventative care when needed. Matt Marshall, Director-Healthcare for the company which supplies the telehealth products, said: "Momentum for telehealth has been growing over the last few years - there is increasing pressure on NHS services and a need to look for innovative ways to manage long-term conditions. Telehealth is well-suited to the remote location of Orkney, and will play a pivotal role in helping transform care delivery and to benefit patients and healthcare providers alike."


From ePractice EU 10/06/2010

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NORTH AMERICA: Socio-Economic Factors Continue to Impact Digital Divide in the US - New Report

While 64% of Americans have access to broadband, low income families, African American and Hispanic households and disabled Americans are being left behind in the "digital divide". The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Economics and Statistics Administration report on broadband access shows great progress since 2001. In 2001, only 9.2 per cent of US households were connected to broadband, in 2009 it has risen to 63.5%. However the data shows great disparities among the various socio-economic groups in America. While 94% of households with income over $100,000 have access to broadband in 2009 only 36% of households with incomes less than $25,000 have broadband connection.

According to the report, levels of education seems to have played a role in creating the digital divide - while 84% of households with at least one college degree have broadband connections, only 28% of households without high school diploma are connected to the information super highway. The extensive funding for rural broadband connection during President Obama's tenuire in office seem to have paid dividends. While there is still a gap between urban (66%) households with broadband connections and rural (51%) households - the gap is closing.

Geographically, the north east and the Western states have fared better in broadband access compared to the south and mid west. There is a clear divide among various ethnic groups as well. While 77.3% Asian households in the US have broadband connections only 47.9% of Hispanic households do so. In between, 68% of white households, 49.4% African American households and 48.3% Native American households have access to broadband. "The digital divide is an opportunity divide - it you can't get online, you can't compete in the digital economy," said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski in a statement. "The NTIA's new report provides an in-depth look at the persistent gaps between the digital haves and the digital have-nots. Closing these gaps is one of the top priorities of the FCC's National Broadband Plan."


From http://www.egovmonitor.com/ 11/12/2010

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ITU Estimates Two Billion People Online by End 2010

ITU's latest statistics published today in The World in 2010: ICT facts and figures reveal that the number of Internet users worldwide doubled in the past five years and will surpass the two billion mark in 2010. The number of people having access to the Internet at home has increased from 1.4 billion in 2009 to almost 1.6 billion in 2010. The new data were released on the eve of World Statistics Day, which will be celebrated worldwide on 20 October 2010. 162 million of the 226 million new Internet users in 2010 will be from developing countries, where Internet users grow at a higher rate. By the end of 2010, 71% of the population in developed countries will be online compared to 21% of the population in developing countries. While in developed countries 65% of people have access to the Internet at home, this is the case for only 13.5% of people in developing countries where Internet access in schools, at work and public locations is critical. Regional differences are significant: 65% of Europeans are on the Internet, compared to only 9.6% of Africans. With the rapidly increasing high-bandwidth content and applications on the Internet, there is a growing demand for higher-speed broadband connections.


From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 10/20/2010

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CHINA: Online Tree Doctor Service Opens in SW

An online tree doctor service opened Friday in southwest China's Yunnan Province to deal with problems caused by the prolonged drought earlier this year, an official with the provincial forestry bureau said. The service (www.ynslyy.org) offered diagnosis and recommended treatments of diseases and insect pests by forestry experts, said Chang Wanyong, official with the Yunnan provincial forestry bureau. Chang said clients could send photographs or video of the affected plants. Yunnan suffered its worst drought in six decades in the spring and summer. According to Yunnan forestry bureau, insect pests affected about 4.05 million mu (270,000 hectares) of land in the province in the first six months, 30 percent more than last year. Tree pests have caused about 887 million yuan worth of damage in the province. The website, based in Kunming, will also release warnings about diseases and insects and other forestry related reports.


From English.news.cn 09/17/2010

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CHINA: Rural Poor to Get More Web Access

China will provide its underprivileged residents with greater access to the Internet by enhancing information technology services in rural areas, a senior government official said on Saturday. In an address to the 2010 Global City Informatization Forum, China's Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang said the priority for information technology service will be given to rural areas. "The 'digital gap' between urban and rural China needs to be further bridged," he said. The information network will help to push up levels of rural production, healthcare and education. China's online population, the world's largest, has reached 420 million. Yet the number of Internet users in rural China stands at 110 million currently, though more than 60 percent of the country's 1.3 billion people live in rural areas. Critics said that the lack of infrastructure and funds contributed to the low level of Internet penetration rate in the country's vast underdeveloped regions, and the gap between urban and rural areas is still widening. The broadening income gap between urban and rural residents also constrains rural residents' consumption of high-tech products. Official statistics show city residents earned 3.3 times more than those in the rural areas on average last year, while in major countries of the world the ratio is between 1.5 to 1 and 2 to 1. To address the problem, the government will invest more in the infrastructure of wideband information network, broadcasting network and Internet, Wan said. Other measures include the wider application of information technology in the rural production and modernizing traditional production. "The vast number of farmers will enjoy public services as their counterparts in cities," Wan said.


From Xinhua News Agency 09/27/2010

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China Has 265 Million Online Game Users

China had 265 million online game registered accounts as of 2009, up 41.5 percent year on year, according to a blue paper recently released by a publishing house. The blue paper, published by China's Social Sciences Academic Press (SSAP), said more Chinese are living a lifestyle in which the Internet has become a preferred channel for them to purchase goods, seek entertainment and acquire information. The number of China's online shoppers topped 108 million in 2009, rising 45.9 percent from the previous year, according to the blue paper. China has the world's biggest online population, which stood at 420 million by the end of June, up 36 million from December last year. The increase was boosted by rising cell phone connections, said a report issued by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) in July. The SSAP is a publishing institution under the leadership of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a top government think tank.


From Xinhua News Agency 10/07/2010

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Farmers 'Major Driving Force' in Internet Population

Farmers will become a "major driving force" in the growth of China's Internet population, which is already the world's biggest with its number exceeding 420 million, according to a blue paper recently released by a publishing house. From 2007 to 2009, the number of Internet users in rural areas grew 71.6 percent per annum, double the urban rate, which stood at 34.6 percent, read a blue paper released by China's Social Sciences Academic Press. About 100 million people in rural areas had access to Internet as of 2009, and there was plenty of room for increases given Internet coverage in rural areas was considerably less than in urban areas, according to the blue paper, which analyzed and forecasted the development of China's information industry this year.


From Xinhua News Agency 10/07/2010

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Online Travel Services on the Rise

The Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holiday this year caused problems for some employees because working days and rest days were split. However, it had little effect on sales of flights and World Expoas China's burgeoning travel market enjoyed a seasonal boom. The country's largest online travel agent, Ctrip.com International Ltd, said the number of orders during the Mid-Autumn Festival and the National Day holiday had increased year-on-year, especially for hotels and flights to Shanghai, where the World Expo was held this year. Nasdaq-listed Ctrip.com did not disclose specific figures for its orders but said the increase was "obvious", in an e-mail to China Daily. Taobao.com, a latecomer to the online travel market which launched its travel platform in May, said total sales of flight tickets, hotels and entrance tickets on Taobao have increased by 40 to 50 percent since August compared with the non-peak season. Taobao earlier said the flights sold on its travel platform numbered 10,000 every day. More than 200 travel agents have set up online stores on Taobao since May. The long holiday and the Shanghai World Expo will help accelerate the popularity of booking flight tickets, hotels and other travel-related services online, industry experts said. According to domestic research firm iResearch Consulting Group, total online sales of flight tickets, hotel services and package travel products are expected to reach 4.75 billion yuan ($709.91 million) this year, an increase of 27 percent year-on-year.

The figure is forecast to rise to 9 billion yuan by 2013. New players have entered the online travel market with the hope of cashing in. Chinese Internet conglomerate Tencent Holdings Ltd will open a travel site "in the near future", according to a notice from the company. Tencent, in fact, launched the site in September. It provided bookings for flights and hotels but was later suspended and has been available only to invited users for beta testing. Expedia Inc, a US-based online travel agency, earlier said it will pump at least $50 million into China by the end of 2011. It is also looking for new acquisition targets in the latter half of this year after acquiring two Chinese online travel websites and launching a Chinese travel website of its own last year. Traditional players in the travel industry, such as airlines and hotels, have also begun to do direct sales online. "Major players in the online travel industry will be those with many user resources, especially the telecom carriers. Online travel agents, such as Ctrip, will have to reduce their dependence on ticket bookings and provide comprehensive travel services," Chen Shousong, an analyst with Chinese research company Analysys International, said in a research note. However, China has one of the lowest levels of online travel penetration in the world by per capita percentage. The rate in the United States is about 70 percent, while that in China was around 14 percent in 2009, according to US-based research company PhoCusWright. "The online travel war is just beginning," Zhuang Chenchao, president of Chinese travel search engine Qunar.com Inc, said to media.

He added that the Chinese online travel market made up only 5 percent of the total travel market, and the remaining 95 percent, which has yet to go online, will be big enough to produce real market leaders. David Jones, chief executive officer of travel technology provider Amadeus IT Group SA, agreed. "The Chinese travel industry grows even faster than the country's GDP growth but to gather all the information and structure it is quite a big challenge for airline companies and service providers," Jones said, adding that there is scope for the Chinese travel industry to be better informed and well structured. He said the company is looking for opportunities to bring its global services to China and intensify its investment in the country.


From Xinhua News Agency 10/09/2010

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Real World Challenges of Cyberspace

With an estimated 400 million Internet users and 50 million bloggers, China has become a major cyber power. The Internet has brought China great benefits by spreading knowledge, shrinking the huge distances that hindered economic development, and making available a wide range of leisure activities. The Internet has had an important political impact on society, changing in a quite fundamental way, the nature of the dialogue between the authorities and the public. China's "netizens" have become a de facto civil society. They use the Net to collect and disseminate information and mobilize public opinion against injustice and maladministration. In ancient and medieval times, China's rulers used to disguise themselves as ordinary citizens and move around in cities and villages to find out what was really happening outside the walls of their palaces. Today, they just have to log on. Not all outsiders welcome China's emergence as a global cyber power. Over the past decade, the Western media have carried many stories against the Chinese government and private-sector networks. One senior US government official has even said terabytes of information are being lost in such activities. And private-sector companies such as Google have complained about covert efforts to access their proprietary software.

The Chinese government has responded by highlighting the extent to which the country, too, has been a victim of such attacks, which is more than true. The Internet offers users the opportunity to engage in various forms of activities, including covert collection of information or spying on networks to find their weaknesses. It is all but impossible to know from where an attack was launched or what its purpose was. Many players are engaged in such activities, both state and non-state, and the boundaries between them are blurred. One key aspect of the Net, which concerns Chinese authorities, is that of soft power. To put it simply, most of the hardware and software which make up the Internet has been developed in the West. Even the most widely used systems for word-processing in Chinese have been developed by Western firms such as Microsoft. This means the way in which the Internet functions has been shaped almost entirely by the West. As Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu said in December 2009, "The Internet has become a major vehicle through which anti-Chinese forces are perpetuating their work of infiltration and sabotage and magnifying their ability to disrupt the socialist order". The response of the Chinese government has been twofold. First, it is trying to develop software indigenously to lessen the country's dependence on the West. And second, it plans to control the access to the Internet to combat socially disruptive phenomena such as crime and pornography. Lest it be misunderstood, China is not the only country to impose such controls. Even Western countries like Australia plan to do so to eliminate child pornography from the Net.

China is worried that the United States and other Western powers are trying to enjoy the same dominance in the cyber world that they have in space and strategic weapons. This perception has been enhanced by the recent US decision to create a cyber command in the Pentagon. China's military has developed its own doctrine on cyber dominance in the event of an armed conflict with another power. Many experts say cyber warfare is a new dimension of war and it could even decide the fate of one. Modern society, no doubt, is highly dependent on utilities and services such as energy supplies and financial services, which are delivered with the help of information and communication technologies. A disruption in these services could have a disabling effect on society as a whole, as was seen in Estonia in 2007. Militarization of the Internet is an unwelcome development, as are efforts to limit access to the Net. Some experts say efforts to limit access to the Net could lead to the establishment of a "walled world" in which each state operates something like a "national internet" with limited connectivity to the outside world. That may create an illusion of security. In the longer-term, however, it would be a move away from a globalized communication system.

No country knows this better than China which, five centuries ago, turned its back on the world only to later discover that it was ill-equipped to battle it out with another country. A better approach would be to accept the Internet as a common global platform and encourage all countries to take steps to ensure the security and integrity of the Internet elements under its control. Countries should also develop effective and globally coordinated law enforcement efforts to deal with the negative consequences of global connectivity such as crime and child pornography. The Convention on Cybercrime, signed by 43 countries, offers a basis on which the globalized world can build (or strengthen) its security network. Aggressive behaviour on the Internet can never be controlled through formal arms control arrangements, enshrined in an international treaty, because it is almost impossible to devise effective verification measures. But it is possible to achieve some measure of international agreement on globally unacceptable online actions and behaviors.


From China Daily 10/13/2010

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China: A Long Way from Cloud Computing

China may have built the world's fastest supercomputer, but it lags far behind the pack on the buzzword of the moment - cloud computing. In a Nov 9 speech to the 4th U.S.-China Internet Industry Forum in Beijing, Dr. He Baohong of the China Academy of Telecommunications Research set out four leaps China must make to reach the clouds. Cloud computing relies heavily on high-speed broadband. But Internet bandwidth in China is still very limited. According to a 2009 report by Akamai, the average rate of data transfer is just 857 kbps - less than a tenth of the 9.2 Mbps common in developed countries. Internet Data Centers (IDC) are the basic platforms for cloud computing. But China's IDCs are mostly small-scale, energy-thirsty facilities that provide poor service. China's IDC market amounted to 6.39 billion yuan in 2009, just 5 percent of the Asian market. More than 90 percent of China's IDCs occupy less than 400 square meters.

China's IT industry is still transitioning from a self-sufficient "natural economy" to a professional, service-based "commodity economy," according to Dr. He. The industry's current products, including servers, storage units and routers, are not fit for purpose for building cloud computing platforms. Some ISPs have resorted to customizing equipment for their cloud computing offerings, but in the longer run operators need to be able to buy fully functional products directly from the market. Cloud computing has great market potential to the 42 million Chinese SMEs with inadequate IT facilities. But the market will not grow of its own accord. Management mindsets need to change from buying physical products to buying services. IT department heads must be convinced that having computers on the premises is not the key to servicing the business. Better auditing of physical assets may encourage state-owned enterprises and government departments to make the switch to cloud computing services, according to Dr. He.


From China.org.cn 11/09/2010

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Chinese Supercomputer Ranked World's Fastest by TOP500

A Chinese supercomputer was ranked the world's fastest machine in the TOP500 list officially issued Tuesday by U.S. and European researchers, highlighting China's rapid progress in the field. The Tianhe-1A system at the National Supercomputer Center in Tianjin, is capable of sustaining computation at 2.57 petaflop/s, which equates to a mind-numbing 2.57 quadrillions of calculations per second. As a result, the former number one system - the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Jaguar in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, that achieved 1.75 petaflop/s - is now ranked in second place, according to the 36th edition of the TOP500 list. The list is compiled by Hans Meuer of the University of Mannheim, Germany, Erich Strohmaier and Horst Simon of National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC)/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. "A Chinese university made Tianhe based on China's own technology," Dongarra said at a ceremony to honor the top 500 supercomputers Tuesday. "Its interconnects are very interesting." Tianhe is a demonstration of how "a country can achieve if they put their money on their ambitions," said Strohmaier at the same ceremony. "Making progress like that is only possible by supporting your research community and your manufactures for extended period of time like five to 10 years." Liu Guangming, director of the National Supercomputer Center in Tianjin, said Tianhe is a supercomputer system developed by the National University of Defense Technology. It works as a backbone node of Chinese National Grid. "The operation of Tianhe will greatly promote the development of science and technology, economy and society of China," Liu said. Rounding out the Top Five slots are two new systems: Tsubame 2.0 at the Tokyo Institute of Technology at number four, and Hopper, a Cray XE6 system at U.S. Department of Energy's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center in California in the fifth spot. Tsubame achieved a performance of 1.19 petaflop/s, while Hopper just broke the petaflop/s barrier with 1.05 petaflop/s. Of the Top 10 systems, seven achieved performance at or above one petaflop/s. Five of the systems in the Top 10 are new to the list. Of the Top 10, five are in the United States and the others are in China, Japan, France, and Germany. The most powerful system in Europe is a Bull system at the French CEA (Atomic and Alternative Energies Commission), ranked number six.


From English.news.cn 11/17/2010

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Mobile Internet Users in China to Hit 800 Mln in 2015

The number of mobile Internet users in China is on the path to reaching 800 million by 2015, and the total assets of the industry is to run over 100 billion yuan ($15.05 million), the Communication Information News reported Wednesday, citing a research report from the China International Capital Corporation Limited (CICC). According to the report, the time users consume surfing the net via their mobile phones exceed sharply the time spent over PCs, which indicates how imminent it is that the mobile Internet industry will beam to be the next stage of development for the IT and communications industries. Kai-Fu Lee, former president of Google China and founder of investment company Innovation Works, mentioned in the report that mobile Internet is a relatively new frontier with many opportunities, since competition in the Internet market has basically reached its peak. As of June 30, 2010, China was home to 440 million Internet users and 277 million mobile Internet users, 33 percent of which access the world wide web through their palm-sized cell phones. According to the statistics released by domestic research firm Analysys International, China's mobile Internet market totalized 38.8 billion yuan ($5.84 billion) in revenue last year.


From Global Times 11/18/2010

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JAPAN: Fewest Digital Friends on Social Networks

More people are accessing news via digital means Malaysians have the most friends on their social networks, while Japanese users have the fewest. This is one of the findings of a large-scale research project, looking at online behaviour around the globe. It also found that digital sources are overtaking TV, radio and newspapers as the media channel of choice for 61% of the online population around the world. The study, conducted by research firm TNS, interviewed 50,000 consumers in 46 countries for the study. In Malaysia the average number of friends is 233, closely followed by 231 in Brazil and 217 in Norway. The results could suggest "a culture that embraces fewer but closer friendships," thinks TNS's chief development officer Matthew Froggatt. As well as having the most friends, Malaysians are also the heaviest users of social networking sites, spending an average of nine hours per week on them. It is followed by Russia, where people spend an average 8.1 hours per week online and Turkey where 7.7 hours a week are spent on social networks. The study found that consumers are now spending more time on social networking sites than using e-mail. This is fuelled in part by the rise in mobile net access. In the US, a third of online consumers expect to be accessing social networks via their mobile phones over the next 12 months, compared to a quarter via a PC.

In Sweden, over half said they would access social networks via mobile and just a quarter cited the traditional PC. The importance of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter is being explored in a separate study at the University of East London. Researchers are using three British cities - London, Birmingham and Carlisle, to study whether social networks could help save lives in the event of a national crisis. "We are working on the premise that, as technological advances continue, the traditional mediums of television and radio may become usurped in their potency in terms of delivering important messages to society at large," said Professor John Preston, who is leading the project. The TNS study, which the researchers hope will become an annual project, also found that countries newer to the digital world are embracing online activities at a faster rate to those in more mature markets. In China four out of five users have written their own blog, compared to only 32% in the US. "In rapid growth markets...users are embracing these new channels in much more active ways. The digital world is transforming how they live, develop and interact," said Mr Froggatt.


From http://www.bbc.co.uk/ 10/10/2010

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E-book Concept Struggles to Take Off in Japan

Only 10 percent of people in Japan have read e-books despite a wave of new e-reader releases this year, a recent survey by the Mainichi Shimbun has found. According to the nationwide poll conducted in September, only 10 percent of those surveyed said they have read e-books, with youngsters showing more interest in the new reading method. About 30 percent of those in their late teens through 20s have read e-books, while only 3 to 4 percent of those in their 50s or older have done so, the survey has shown. Among the 86 percent of pollees who have never read e-books, 21 percent said they are interested in reading e-books, while 77 percent said they weren't. Of those who have read or want to read e-books, 34 percent said the biggest attraction of e-readers is that they can buy books without bothering to go to a bookstore, while 15 to 22 percent of those in their 50s or older had a hankering for e-books because they can magnify characters with e-reader devices. Meanwhile, 33 percent of those who decline to get their hands on e-books said they were "more attached to printed books," while 28 percent of the group said it was hard for them to understand how to use e-readers. Among the latter bracket, those in their 70s, 60s, and 50s accounted for 43 percent, 34 percent and 26 percent, respectively, while those in their 40s or younger made up only about 10 percent. The survey, conducted between Sept. 3 and 5, covered 4,800 men and women aged 16 or older across the country, among whom 2,777 gave responses.


From http://mdn.mainichi.jp/ 10/26/2010

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Year One for E-books

The Japanese media is calling this year Year One for e-book publishing in Japan, although only half a year has passed since the arrival of the iPad in May. Perhaps it would be better to call it the Age of Warring States or the Wild West as manufacturers rush to put out e-book reading devices; major bookstores and other players vie to set up online stores; cell-phone service providers contract for more e-content; and pirated versions of print books and manga pop up on the Web one after another. Some authors have also joined the fray. On Nov. 4 novelist Ryu Murakami, with Banana Yoshimoto standing beside him, held a press conference to announce the formation of a company for authors to directly publish and sell e-books without going through traditional publishers. The new enterprise, set up in cooperation with Griot Co., plans to release 20 titles a year. He said that, rather than focusing on how to divide up the pie among authors and publishers, he finds it exciting to explore the possibilities of this new format, such as being able to add music or pictures. Yoshimoto commented at the same press conference that authors were being left out in the whirlwind surrounding e-publishing. But book consumers also seem to be watching bemusedly from the sidelines.

In recent surveys on reading by the Mainichi (Oct. 26) and the Yomiuri (Oct. 24) newspapers, 77 percent and 65 percent, respectively, of those questioned replied that they were not interested in reading e-books. However, 45 percent of the Yomiuri respondents were optimistic that e-books would increase the reading population. In the end, no doubt the fate of e-books will be determined more by content than by reading devices or distribution systems. Although, as Murakami notes, e-books open up new possibilities of added content, it is less clear who will screen and edit the flood of writing on behalf of readers, or who will discover and groom new authors. Will it be like satellite TV, offering new access to niche content but simultaneously flooding the consumer with too much choice - in the words of the Bruce Springsteen song, "57 channels and nothing on"?


From http://search.japantimes.co.jp/ 11/21/2010

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SOUTH KOREA: Users of Social Networking Sites Up 57%

The number of Koreans visiting online social networking service websites reached 25 million as of July, a 57 percent increase from the same period last year, U.S.-based marketing research firm comScore reported on Monday. The increase rate ranked second among major countries after Russia which recorded 35 million SNS users, a 74 percent increase from the previous year. Korea was followed by Germany and Brazil which both showed a 47 percent increase during the same period. The number of SNS users in Indonesia and Japan was up 43 percent and 35 percent, respectively, and the rates in the U.S. and France also rose 33 percent and 30 percent, according to the company. When looking specifically into Korea, more people are familiarizing themselves with the popular social media such as the global Facebook, Twitter and Linked in as well as the local Cyworld and MeToday with the rising number of those owning a smartphone. Many of such services are provided on smartphones as mobile applications, offering easier access to the online sites compared to the past. As an exemplary case, the figure of people signed up for Facebook, a U.S.-based social networking outlet, reached 1.46 million this month, up from 1.25 million in July. This comes after the global operator indicated it is keeping an eye on the South Korean market. As a result, it launched an official Web page in Korean and released a Korean-language mobile application while forming an alliance with KT Corp. in the recent months. Meanwhile, research conducted by the Pew Research Center said that older people, particularly those between ages 50-64, were also logging onto the social media outlets which added to the overall increase rate.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 09/27/2010

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Koreans Among Least Social in Online Networking

Korea may be the most wired country in the world, but Koreans have relatively few contacts on social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter, a study reveals. According to the report "Digital Life" released on Sunday by British market researcher TNS, Koreans have an average of 50 friends in their social networks, ranking 44th among 46 countries studied. TNS claims the report, which was compiled from interviews of nearly 50,000 people around the world, is the largest ever global study of people's online activities and behaviors. Northeast Asian countries in general ranked low in activity on social network sites. Japan placed at the bottom with an average of 29 friends, while China was slightly higher than Korea with 60. Malaysians topped the ranking as they spent an average of nine hours a week on social networking sites to manage ties with 233 friends. Brazil was the runner up with 231, and Norway third with 217. The smaller number of friends among Korean, Chinese and Japanese users reflects an East Asian cultural preference for fewer but closer friendships, according to TNS. Email was the leading online activity among Internet users worldwide, with 72 percent of respondents saying they access their email everyday. Checking the news came in second with 55 percent, followed by social networking and visiting special interest websites with 46 percent each.


From http://english.chosun.com/ 10/12/2010

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'Social Networks Going Mobile'

With the evolution of mobile technology, smartphones will boost social networking among people on the move, Chris Hughes, a Facebook co-founder, said Thursday. Hughes founded Facebook in 2004 with his Harvard classmates Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz. The most populous online community has more than 500 million active users worldwide, with more than 1.6 million in Korea. Social networking services are increasingly becoming a powerful communication tool amid the growing number of online service providers stepping up their foray into social networking services on smartphones. The 26-year-old entrepreneur sees the social networking trend shifting to mobile from traditional personal computers. "PCs today become less important to the mobile devices we use today," Hughes told reporters on the sideline of the 11th World Knowledge Forum in Seoul. "That's one of the reasons that Facebook is making an incredible investment in global technology." After leaving the social hub in 2007, Hughes worked as former director of online organizing for U.S. president Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. He is now about to launch a social network that connects people to non-profit organizations, called Jumo.com. Social networking services allow users to communicate with those they care about, he said, while promoting globalization. "All (SNS) share in common is the ability to make it easier for people to come together to pursue common ends," Hughes said. "It opens up opportunities to collaborate across borders, across time zones and across continents."

With the web and mobile technology developing, Facebook would exponentially grow as a new marketing platform, he said. Hughes serves as a shareholder of the California-based firm. "A lot of marketers are finding it useful when they want to connect directly with customers," Hughes said. "It enables conversations to happen around about a product, campaign or idea in a way that hasn't been possible elsewhere on the web up until now, boosting advertising opportunities." However, it is still too early translate the growth potential into an actual revenue figure since Facebook just started, he added. The social networking boom opens new markets in countries like Korea and China, but some censorship still exists to restrict access to the global trend, Hughes said. "It comes as no surprise that the censored Internet is a lot weaker than the one that's open," he said. "I and my colleagues would favor and like to see an Internet in China that's much more open, accessible, not for consumers but for society in general." The Chinese government has blocked access to Twitter and Facebook since last year to hinder riots of Tibet and Xinjiang regions where people used such social hubs to plan destruction from outside China. The number of Koreans using social networking services topped 25 million in July, up 57 percent from a year earlier, according to U.S.-based research firm comScore.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 10/14/2010

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Korea Widens Lead in Broadband Quality

Korea extended its worldwide fixed-line broadband Internet leadership and the U.S. held onto joint 15th place as the technology's speed and availability expanded, according to a poll carried out by Cisco Systems Inc. Korea, which has 100 percent broadband penetration, topped Cisco's list for the third year in a row. Fixed-line customers' broadband access in the U.S., which shared its ranking with four nations, rose to 75 percent this year from 69 percent in 2009, Cisco said in a statement. Internet-download speeds in Korea increased by 55 percent from a year earlier, said Cisco, the largest maker of routers and switches that direct Web traffic over networks. While the U.S. improved its broadband quality, it won't be fully prepared for technologies such as high-definition Internet television being developed by Apple Inc. and Google Inc. until next year, Fernando Gil de Bernabe, senior director at Cisco, said in a phone interview from Oxford, England. The broadband-quality rankings, developed by San Jose, California-based Cisco and the University of Oxford, measure the proportion of households and businesses with access to broadband, combined with Internet-connection speeds. The global quality score rose 24 percent, Cisco said. The U.S. held joint 15th place with France, Canada and Latvia. The U.K. declined one position to share 18th place with Germany and Estonia, as the list was expanded by six countries to 72 nations. Israel ranked 17th. Britain will "jump in leadership" next year as broadband providers roll out high-speed fiber networks, de Bernabe said. BT Group Plc, the U.K.'s largest phone company, is rolling out a high-speed broadband network. London-based BT said in May that it will spend 2.5 billion pounds ($4 billion) on a fiber network serving two-thirds of the country's homes by 2015. Competitor Virgin Media Inc. is preparing to introduce 100 megabits-per-second broadband at the end of this year.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 10/18/2010

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IT Will Converge into Single Device by 2020: Futurist

Danish futurist Rolf Jensen predicted that information technology devices will be integrated into a single gadget, which he calls an "e-bag," in the next 10 years. "The e-bag will merge the functions of all existing smart devices like laptop computers, tablet personal computers, smartphones and (digital) cameras," Jensen said in a lecture on the sidelines of the Smart Korea 2010 trade show at Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, last week. "It's (going toyou're your everything ID, passport, bank and key a companion in your life that is probably more important than your spouse." From consuming news and entertainment to education and social media, the e-bag will enable people to do almost any task he said. For instance, Jensen said children will learn more by utilizing IT devices rather than from teachers, which enhance their imagination by fusing education with playing. Also, more globalized and versatile consumption of news and entertainment will become available thanks to the increased number of media and channels which will be realized by automated real-time translation services, Jensen said. "Such change will bring democratization particularly to the entertainment industry, enabling anyone with talent to produce contents such as films, music and games at a small cost," he said. The futurist said Korean firms should also take a note of the e-bag since it will become a significant device, alongside television, that nearly everyone in the world has access to.

The global market for the e-bag or smart devices currently stands at 5 billion out of 6.8 billion now, according to Jensen, and the number of subscribers are projected to rise to 7 billion out of 7.5 billion by 2020. Jensen meanwhile stressed the growing importance of creativity in IT. The author of best-seller "Dream Society," Jensen has been forecasting the approach of a dream society where businesses, communities and people as individuals thrive on the basis of their stories and creativity, not just on data and information. He noted that 10 years is a long time in the IT industry, mentioning the fact that in 2000s no one knew people were going to have smartphones and flat screens now. "Thus to look 10 years ahead to 2020, we need to be creative and make good use of our imagination at companies and governments," he said. To achieve creativity, Jensen said firms should first set a "clear and simple" goal while being driven by values rather than responsibilities. The futurist also pointed out that humans resist change by nature, but firms in the future will be more required to make changes to adapt to the ever-changing business environment. Jensen called for the need of more "teenager companies," which, just like humans, act more aggressively and creatively. He added that older and bigger firms tend to be less daring and cautious. Jensen presented the concept of "3-D printers" as a means to encourage establishments of teenager firms.

He described 3-D printers as a "true revolution" with which people can produce any product, and expected that they will first be adopted for industrial use but come to the home in around five years with their price coming down as well. Since such attributes enable anyone to run a business just by owning it as a tool, Jensen expected that more teenage businesses will emerge. The firms will eventually form a system of "crowd-sourcing," where they compete and collaborate, he added. Due to distinct tastes of consumers and diverse service providers, as well as the expansion of the e-commerce market thanks to the e-bag, Jensen suggested that retail will have to change accordingly. He cited e-shops and advertisements as examples, saying that e-shops would have to evolve to resemble a theater, which can provide consumers with experiences. Advertisements, in similar ways, should be personalized to meet the different needs of consumers. To obtain this paradigm shift, the futurist suggested that designers, storytellers and artists should be given opportunities to meet with technology experts, thus being able to fuse their ideas with latest technologies.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 10/19/2010

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S. Korea Most Internet-active in G20

South Koreans use the Internet more than citizens of any of the other Group of 20 major economies, according to a recent publication from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. The data for people aged 16-74 showed that 77 percent of South Koreans were Internet users in 2008. Canada ranked second with 73 percent, followed by the U.S. with 72 percent and Japan with 69 percent. The figures for Canada and Japan were recorded in 2007 while the U.S. figure was recorded in 2008. The lowest percentages of Internet users were found in South Africa and India. Only 7 percent of people in both countries used the Internet in 2007. The world's average was 21 percent while the EU average was 64 percent. Eurostat released the data on Oct. 20 to mark the World Statistics Day. The publication, titled "The EU in the World A Statistical Portrait," covered an array of social economic issues such as infant mortality and life expectancy. In terms of infant mortality per 1,000 live births based on 2005-2010 estimates, South Korea ranked second in the G20 with 4.4 while Japan ranked first with 3.2. India and South Africa had the highest mortality rates with 54.6 and 49.1, respectively. The world average is 47.3 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, while the EU average is 4.5. In the category of life expectancy at birth based on 2005-2010 estimates, the highest life expectancies among the non-EU G20 countries were found in Japan with 82.7 years, Australia with 81.5 years and Canada with 80.7 years. The lowest was found in South Africa with 51.6 years, India with 63.5 years and Russia with 66.5 years. Life expectancy in Korea was 79.4 years, higher than the EU average of 79.2 years. The world's average life expectancy was 67.6 years. The publication also showed that the most populous countries were China with 1.35 billion inhabitants, or 20 percent of the world population. India ranked second with 1.21 billion people, followed by the U.S. with 320 million people and Indonesia with 230 million people. The world's total population in 2010 was 6.9 billion.


From http://www.koreaherald.com/ 10/25/2010

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Korea Ranks No. 3 in the World for Public Wi-Fi

As of November, Korea ranks third in the number of public Wi-Fi zones following the U.S. and China. According to KT, the combined number of Wi-Fi zones by the three mobile carriers passed 55,000, while the U.S had 94,000 including 23,000 by AT&T, and China had 81,000.


From http://www.telecomskorea.com/ 11/10/2010

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Mobile Info Service Launched for Foreign Visitors

Seoul city has launched a multilingual information service that allows foreigners visiting the city during the G20 summit to get real-time updates on their cell phones. The service offers transportation, tourism and environmental information in English, Japanese and Chinese. Visitors in town during the G20 Summit on Thursday and Friday will be able to look up information about the global meeting and access the G20 Twitter site through the mobile portal.


From http://english.chosun.com/ 11/10/2010

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Champion Speed Internet Access Is Declared South Korea

With increasing quantity and quality of online content becomes paramount speed access to the World Wide Web. Indeed, to download movies in high definition on the torrent trackers (which, although in most cases, look askance holders) or watching HD video streaming on the special resources needed high speed internet connection, otherwise the entire process turns into a harrowing ordeal. Experts Royal Pingdom decided to find out how things are going at a speed access to Internet resources in various countries around the world. According to published figures, the top ten three countries representing the Asia region, and another seven are located on the European continent. The indisputable leader here is South Korea, where the average speed of your Internet connection up to 16.63 Mbps, which is actually twice the rates going after Hong Kong and Japan (8.57 and 8.03 Mbit/s, respectively). The best of European countries This rating was Romania (6.8 Mbps), followed by a Netherlands (6.5 Mbps) and Sweden (5.5 Mbps). Interestingly, the leader in speed Internet access in North America, Canada ranked in the general table of results, only 11 place with 4.73 Mbit/s, and close the dozen top United States (4.6 Mbps). At the same time, we note that the total number of Internet users, our country is the seventh in the world.


From http://it-chuiko.com/ 11/14/2010

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MALAYSIA: Use ICT to Cut CO2 Emissions

Fujitsu Ltd believes that the use of information and communications technology (ICT) can help cut carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions worldwide by 15 million tons, by 2012. That savings is equivalent to having 68.6 billion less compact-discs (CDs) on the planet, said the global provider of IT products and services. "In 2007, total global CO2 emissions stood at 28.9 million tons. The ICT sector contributes 2% of CO2 emissions worldwide, while the rest are from manufacturing, transportation, construction, and among other industries," said Atsuhisa Takahashi, president of Fujitsu's corporate environmental strategy unit. He said that getting various sectors to embrace ICT solutions can help reduce the CO2 emissions. The fishing industry in Japan, for example, has adopted a satellite prediction system to help save on fuel use. "One of the problems faced by the fishing industry is fuel wastage as the fishermen cruise from place to place searching for fish, using by trial and error," said Takahashi. "This means fishermen spend 60% of their fuel and time just looking for the fish."

The satellite prediction system solves this problem. It provides information on ocean conditions (such as surface temperature, currents, etc) and aids the fishermen to more accurately predict where the best fishing grounds are. "So, being able to cruise directly to the fishing grounds translates to lower fuel costs and reduced CO2 emissions," added Takahashi. Another example is the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, which built a centralised, private "cloud" instead of having servers in each and every area of operations. This cloud-computing initiative has helped the education institution save on electric power consumption (as much as 48%), as well as reduce its CO2 emissions by 120 tons, each year. Businesses and other organisations can help reduce the consumption of materials by turning to electronic media, for music, videos and books for example. They can also reduce travel-related costs by installing videoconferencing systems. "Warehouses and offices should implement distribution-management systems or electronic imaging systems to ensure smoother operations, which will further reduce their energy consumption," Takahashi added.


From http://techcentral.my/ 10/29/2010

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A Connected Workforce Is Vital

Mobile connections between businesses and their workforce must continue to improve and be encouraged if companies want to be successful, said networking solutions vendor Cisco Systems Inc. As the modern workplace increasingly becomes borderless, employees will need to constantly stay connected regardless of whether they are in a head office or branch, said Njauw Tjie Seng, a mobility specialist at Cisco. "It used to be that employees using laptops at the office or home was enough, but now with more wireless devices being introduced, work can be done just about anywhere and at any time," he said. There will be about 1.3 million new networked mobile-devices within the next three years, according to reports. "It won't matter if a worker is using a smartphone or laptop for work, companies will need to have a good wireless-network infrastructure to be efficient," said Njauw. He highlighted several Cisco solutions that could help companies in that respect, including ClientLink, MediaStream and CleanAir. ClientLink improves network stablility by boosting signal performance and coverage. The technology is also supposed to enhance overall network performance. MediaStream, meanwhile, is a network solution that prioritises bandwidth for video content, and has controls in place to better manage network traffic and prevent slowdowns. "Video data takes a heavy toll on any network and with companies becoming more reliant on videoconferencing, this solution could be helpful," said Njauw. And CleanAir automatically mitigates the impact of wireless inteference over a network. "If a user is experiencing difficulty connecting to a wireless network access point, CleanAir will help by finding an alternative channel for the signal," he explained.


From http://techcentral.my/ 11/12/2010

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THAILAND: Low-income Thais to See Web Benefits

Chulalongkorn University has launched the Digital Divide Institute to support the Prime Minister's National Broadband Commission in its aim to offer meaningful broadband products and services to 45 million low-income Thais who would otherwise not use the Internet. The institute brings together academics from multiple disciplines to set a research agenda.

Craig Warren Smith, a former professor of Harvard University, who founded the Institute, said the group will work with other labs throughout Asia, the US and Europe to formulate a model of Meaningful Broadband specifically suited to the needs and values of Thailand, rather than looking to Singapore or South Korea. The model builds upon the past reports of Meaningful Broadband Working Group, based at Chulalongkorn's Center for Ethics of Science and Technology, which for the past two years has tied broadband to sufficiency economy advocated by His Majesty the King. Prof Prasit Prapinmongkolkarn, Chairman of the National Telecommunications Commission, explained how the NTC added a number of radical provisions in 3.9G licensing arrangements for closing the Digital Divide. 3.9G cell towers must reach 80 percent of the Thai population in two years and all schools and tambons must be connected.

"Academics and the private sector must work to formulate applications that activate these towers in ways that uplift circumstances and awaken motivation in low-income Thais," he said. Prof Kitti Limskul, a noted economics professor at Chulalongkorn Faculty of Economics, will head efforts to formulate the financial model of meaningful broadband, using quantification techniques to define how public and private sectors will share costs and risks. The National Institute for Development Administration will formulate models that would allow new strategic alliances to use 3.9G to expand the domestic economy, creating jobs and entrepreneurship upcountry. NTC's Akaraporn Kongchanagut, will consider regulatory innovation which, in combination with public-private partnerships, would create incentives for "meaningful apps". Thammasat University's Srindhorn International Institute of Technology considered steps for defining a research agenda for mobile data services, scaled-down devices and other innovations that would create demand for broadband among the low income population. Professors Soraj Hongladarom and Craig Warren Smith, both of the Center for Ethics of Science and Technology at Chulalongkorn formulated a research agenda for a Meaningful Technologies Index, that would allow regulators, censors, concerned parents and technology designers to distinguish between "meaningful and un-meaningful technologies". But what does meaningful mean? Prof Smith said they would call on experts in fields ranging from anthropology to neuroscience to use their guidance to develop objective criteria.


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

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Healthcare Sector Enjoys Growing Benefits from Visual Collaboration Services, Notes Frost & Sullivan

The practice of telemedicine has been undergoing significant evolution paralleled by technological advancements in the world of videoconferencing. These changes open new opportunities for videoconferencing service providers as they continue to address a market that remains highly under penetrated. Hence, healthcare practitioners are increasingly adopting interactive video or videoconferencing applications for providing enhanced access to healthcare as well as improving the quality of such services at lower prices across the globe. According to the new Frost & Sullivan's analysis on Visual Collaboration Applications in Healthcare , reduced prices and improved quality are boosting the adoption of telemedicine videoconferencing systems. "The costs of telemedicine videoconferencing systems and transmission service are not a major barrier to their deployments any more," says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Iwona Petruczynik. "In the last two years, there has been a significant reduction in prices of equipment and a substantial improvement in endpoint functionality, especially video quality."

Visual collaboration vendors can make an entry in the healthcare market by offering 'off-the-shelf' videoconferencing products. These are cost effective and easier to use options for healthcare professionals, as they are not purchasing dedicated carts, but standard videoconferencing systems. "This will represent a 'foot in the door' for visual collaboration manufacturers because they are not only familiarising healthcare professionals with videoconferencing, but also introducing their dedicated pieces of equipment," remarks Petruczynik. "Visual collaboration vendors need to add value to certain vertical markets to avoid commoditisation in the increasingly competitive marketplace." The most significant benefits of telemedicine is its ability to extend the geographic reach of medical care and provide access to medical specialists in remote and rural areas. Telemedicine technology offers also training and educational benefits to medical professionals at reduced costs. However, restrictive reimbursements and legislative policies are limiting the reach of existing telemedicine programmes. "There are also other obstacles to use of telemedicine technologies like resistance from traditional healthcare facilities that are unfamiliar with new technologies," notes Petruczynik. "In addition, many potential adopters of telemedicine are witnessing objections from their medical staff that fears that they will be replaced by new and more efficient practices brought by telemedicine programmes."

Additionally, on the technology side, there exist concerns related to the integration of telemedicine with electronic medical records and resolving system interoperability issues. Moreover, medical staff will have to be trained to coordinate remote care, as well as cope with legal liability, accreditation and licensing issues. "Once these obstacles are overcome, there exists sizeable potential for growth," states Petruczynik. "Enabling a significant level of customisation in the solutions for healthcare institutions will determine the success of videoconferencing in the telemedicine environment in future."


From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 10/20/2010

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Program Helps Keep Track of Corporate Passengers

With corporate travellers all over the world at the mercy of unexpected incidents, a new service called OneClick has been launched, enabling managers to keep track of their employees' locations and to communicate with them via SMS. Lisa Akeroyd, Regional Director, Corporate Solutions, Amadeus Asia Pacific, said the company developed OneClick as a corporate travel solution developed specifically for the Asia Pacific region to give organisations a quick view of travel conditions and travellers' whereabouts. It is a web-based communication and portal that helps managers to quickly locate and contact their employees in the event of emergencies or disruptions to travel.The importance of such a service has been underlined this year with worldwide catastrophes such as tsunamis, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, while the severe flooding in the Northeast and South in Thailand has disrupted domestic travel.

Business surveys in Asia have typically focused on tightening corporate travel expenditure, but over the past 12 months, companies have become more concerned with their duty of care to employees. "Business travel in the Asia Pacific region has rebounded in 2010, with growth of 14 percent from last year, and forecasts are that Asia will represent a third of all travel by 2020, up from today's figure of 21 percent," said Akeroyd. This solution was developed specifically for travel management companies and corporate travel managers in the Asia Pacific region and aims to simplify the increasingly complex nature of corporate travel with an integrated technology solution. Amadeus plans to establish the service in Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Thailand by the first half of next year, and to offer it in five or six languages. "We chose [to launch with] SMS because it is widely used and safe," said Akeroyd, who added that email will also be supported by March.

Michael Chase-Smith, Managing Director of World Travel Professionals, added that OneClick gives travel managers visibility of an employee's entire itinerary. It will allow them to easily locate travellers anywhere in the world, and if necessary, communicate with them via SMS in case of any emergency. This could help its corporate travel managers to improve efficiency by as much as 90 percent, he said. World Travel Professionals has implemented OneClick and it plans to customise the service so that it can run on a number of devices, including the iPad. "Using this technology and customising it to suit the customers means subscribers can expand from being merely travel manager and become travel management providers," said Chase-Smith "In times of economic crisis, corporations may consider teleconferencing to reduce spending, but face-to-face communication is still powerful, so corporate travel remains important."


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 11/10/2010

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VIET NAM: More Than 1,000 Community ICT Learning Centers to Be Set Up Nationwide

The Ministry of Information and Communications Technology plans to establish 1,100 community-based ICT learning centers in the 2011 fiscal year. According to the ICT Ministry, the centers will be set up with financial support of 500 million baht from the Government, which has been informed that local people in various provinces have greatly benefited from the existing 280 community ICT learning centers, in terms of knowledge, occupations, and income generation. Thailand began to set up community-based ICT centers in 2007. By the end of the 2010 fiscal year, the number will increase to almost 900 in all regions of the country to cope with the growing demand. The setting up of community ICT learning centers came after the Government established the National ICT Learning Center in 2004. The main objective was to promote self-learning and lifelong education.

The establishment of community ICT learning centers aims to develop Thailand into a knowledge-based society. This will help the country meet present and future challenges under the impact of globalization. It is also in line with the National Information Technology Master Plan 2001-2010, with the ultimate goal of creating a strong knowledge-based society to ensure access to information in the IT world. This could be made possible through the existing school and district Internet projects, or other possible gateways, such as the One Temple One Computer Center Program. In addition, the ICT Ministry has also introduced "lower-cost computers," along with a campaign to foster the attitude that having a computer with an Internet connection at home is like having at hand a large library for the entire family.

The National Information Technology Commission, chaired by the Prime Minister, approved the National Information Technology Master Plan, 2011 to 2020, on 17 September 2010. The master plan aims to achieve sustainable development in three dimensions - social, economic, and environmental. It is also intended to lessen inequality and promote connectivity and continuity, while encouraging other sectors to play a greater role in ICT investment. The ICT 2020 policy framework seeks to speed up the initiatives of broadband infrastructure access and utilization, with a focus on servicing mobile devices and developing ICT, information, and media literacy. Also, the service innovation is promoted through ICT integration in designing and developing products and services, as Thailand is moving toward the creative economy. The "digital divide" poses a threat and causes disadvantages, unless it is perceived as a challenge and tackled constructively. Thailand is striving to become a player in the advancement of ICT applications, hardware production, and software development.


From http://thailand.prd.go.th/ 09/28/2010

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Experts Dismiss Survey on Online Games

VietNamNet Bridge - A survey by the Vietnamese Academy of Social Science which found most online game players claiming that their habit does not negatively affect their behavior has come in for widespread criticism. The poll of 1,320 random respondents in major cities, released last Tuesday, said only 5.2 percent admitted they have addictive behavior and cannot control their urge to play. A huge number - 59 percent - claimed online games help them feel good and overcome stress. A majority (41.2 percent) were aged 16-20 and, thus, mature enough to be aware of their actions. College and university students topped the list at 30.1 percent. The higher a person's education level, the less effect online games had on them.

The research group concluded from these findings that playing online games does not have as serious an effect on people as the media had claimed. However, Dr Le Minh Tien of the Open University's sociology department, said in a column in Tuoi Tre Wednesday that the survey is "not reliable." "It appears from its results that the research team was looking for positive facts about the games rather than exploring their impacts," he said. "The results reflect the pollsters' intention to stand on the side of game providers."

The survey is not reliable enough to be used as scientific proof by the National Assembly for regulating online games, he said. National Assembly deputy Nguyen Minh Thuyet denied Wednesday the House commissioned the Vietnamese Academy of Social Science to do such a survey. "We only asked for their recommendations." Dr Trinh Hoa Binh, the chief pollster told Tuoi Tre the academy did the survey on its own initiative. But he had earlier said the National Assembly's Committee on Culture, Education, Youth and Teenager and an online game provider commissioned the survey to help the House and other authorities regulate gaming.
Asked about the poll's reliability, Binh said: "If a sample consists of 30 individuals or more, it is quite reliable. Our results may dissatisfy many but the statistics are not beneficial to online game providers either."

Dr Le Manh Ha, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Information and Communications, said the research methodology needs to be reconsidered, pointing out it is incorrect to club respondents aged 16 to 18. "Players at internet caf¨¦s are usually below 18. Most online games are only appropriate for those aged 18 or above, who are aware of their actions." He was also skeptical about the finding that only 5.2 percent are addicted to gaming.

"We need general statistics on online game addicts just like we do with drug addicts. If we can do this, we can make objective judgments and have reasonable managing measures." Dr Ha, said that four months ago Binh had been a member of the Ministry of Information and Communication's online game assessment committee that had licensed 43 games which were later found to have violent content. "If you're involved on both sides [of an issue], it is easy to be biased." The survey was conducted over a month in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Danang, Can Tho, Dong Nai, and Hai Duong.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 10/22/2010

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Online HR Consultancy Websites Mushrooming, Competition Getting Stiffer

VietNamNet Bridge - The biggest problem for all businesses in the post-crisis period is the personnel shortage. But for human resource consultancy firms it is the right time to do business. That explains why online HR consultancy websites have been mushrooming recently. Businesses and workers in big cities are familiar with these websites www.VietnamWorks.com, www.kiemviec.com, or www.talentnet.vn, and they have got used to submitting applications for jobs online instead of presenting a thick file of documents at the employers' offices. The online recruitment has been welcomed by all , especially young people who have good foreign language and computer skills. In general, new websites are aimed at businesses or employers and job seekers. Especially, the administration boards of some websites even encourage prestigious businesses to place free advertisements on their websites, in an effort to attract more visitors. However, the solution has been described by HR experts as the "double edge sword". Once the images and brands of big clients appear on the websites of small HR consultancy firms, this will help polish the images of the latter and help it attract new clients. However, free advertisements also mean that the service providers will incur losses. Meanwhile, if they cannot provide high quality services, clients will leave never to come back.

Since HR consultancy websites have been mushrooming, the competition is fierce.. According to Thoi bao Kinh te Saigon, the websites not only offer free advertisements for a certain period, but also try to sign contracts with partners at the fees lower by 30-50 percent than the initially quoted fees. However, many employers say they only work with already established HR firms rather than the small ones, because it is less likely to find good candidates through the latter ones. Therefore, many new HR consultancy firms appear everyday, but their lifespan tends to be short . This shows that there is a big difference in the service quality within the online labour market, It usually happens that the same employers look for workers through different websites. It is partly because the enterprises have urgent demand for employees, and partly because many online job services offer free advertisements.

Meanwhile, in the context of the strong development of Internet, service providers have to heavily invest in enhancing their IT resources and upgrade their websites regularly. They have to build up blogs and social networks of their own, upgrade their means of online interaction and integrate the tools for sharing information and images. Many websites even try to satisfy specific requirements of big enterprises in order to retain clients. HR consultancy firms not only seek candidates among those who have resigned from their previous jobs, but also "hunt heads" among the people, who are still working for other companies. In general, they are all highly qualified workers desired by every company . It takes about 2-3 months, or sometimes 5-6 months to find candidates for companies' key posts . Of course, the fee for the service is also very high. Sometimes, the fee that employers have to pay is as much as 2-3 month worth of the worker's salary.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 10/26/2010

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Majority of Online Gamers Aged 10-15: Survey

VietNamNet Bridge - A new survey in Da Nang has put paid to a claim by the Institute of Sociology that only around a quarter of online gamers in the central city are aged 10 to 15. The survey by the Department of Information and Communications puts the number at 70-80 per cent. The department's chief inspector, Nguyen Chuong Duc, said the earlier survey done last week by the institute - which belongs to the Viet Nam Academy of Social Sciences - is unreliable because of the low sample size. "The institute polled only 300- 400 gamers while there are tens of thousands of them at hundreds of internet shops in the city," he said. "There are mainly gamers aged under 14 during the day. People from 16 to 25 only gather to play from 6-11pm." Duc also thought that the earlier survey finding that only 5.2 per cent of gamers are addicted is lower the than the actual rate.

Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) has carried out a survey at high schools, colleges, and universities around the country on the damaging effects of online games on students. The survey is aimed at finding measures to combat the pernicious influence of games many of which have violent and other harmful content. Pham Ngoc Phuong, deputy head of administration at the MoET's school infrastructure and equipment department, told Tuoi Tre newspaper that 30 per cent of schools had sent in the survey results by the deadline on Monday. Many schools had not been able to send in time due to the requirement of interviewing many student to achieve a comprehensive survey, he explained. The poll covers a gamut of issues like the extent of violation of game management regulations, the situation of addicts, the frequency and intensity of fights in school, the effects of online games on the personality and conduct of students, and public opinion about online games. The ministry wants schools to send in detailed reports on the management of the games and the bad influence they have on students. It is also encouraging them to educate students about the potential bad effects the games have.


From http://english.vietnamnet.vn/ 10/28/2010

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BANGLADESH: First 'District E-service Centre' Launched

The 'district e-service centre', the first of its kind in the country, was launched in Jessore Thursday through a function ushering in a new hope of taking all services of the district administration to the doorsteps of the people, reports BSS. "In line with the present government's plan to build Digital Bangladesh, the centre was launched in Jessore to reach all kinds of service of the district administration to the doorsteps of the people," Whip of the Jatiya Sangsad Sheikh Abdul Wahab told the inaugural function as the chief guest. He expressed his hope that such a centre would help lessen harassment of the people in getting services and information of the local administration side by side with materialising Vision-2021 of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. "The centre would ensure that all services and information of the administration are available through direct application or postal service even on online," said Md Nazrul Islam Khan, national project director of the UNDP-funded Access to Information (A2I) Programme under the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), which set up the centre in the district. Parliament members Mostafa Faruq Md, Khan Tipu Sultan and Khaledur Rahman Tito were present at the function as special guests. The function was also addressed, among others, by Khulna Divisional Commissioner Mashiur Rahman, UNDP Assistant Country Director KM Morshed, Police Super Didar Ahmed and local Press Club President Ekram-ud-Dowla. Deputy Commissioner of Jessore Nurul Amin presided over the function, while Field Expert of A2I Programme Mostafizur Rahman highlighted different aspects of the programme. To get services or information of local administration, people have been requested to contact the website of district web portal www.dcjessore.gov.bd or phone No 0421-65044 or 01753- 171797.


From http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/ 09/17/2010

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Digitalizing Land Registration in Bangladesh

Finance Minister A M A Muhith said: The land registration system is at the core of corruption. Bribes are exchanged openly in the land registration offices. Digitalizing such organizations is urgent because massive use of information technology can curb corruption and expedite development. He further said that the government had taken up the challenge to digitalize the land registration system, though the progress so far had not been remarkable. The Finance Minister came up with this observation while addressing as chief guest the inaugural ceremony of the four-day BCS-ICT World Fair-2010 at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre on Saturday, the 30th October. Finance Minister in the same function said that Bangladesh is a land of impossible attainments. Now one may wonder why the progress in digitalizing land registration has not been remarkable in a land where any attainments are possible, however impossible. In fact, there has not yet been any concrete planning as to how to digitalize the old manual system of registration though we are hearing for the last few years that the government is going to overhaul the land registration offices very shortly through introducing digital archiving of the documents with a view to reducing fraud and litigation in connection with land ownership. A few months back it was reported that a digital database was created for Dhaka city and over 0.42 million land records had already been uploaded into the database, which was supposed to be inaugurated by the Prime Minister. But, we are not hearing any follow-up of the report. Rather it is rumored that a select group of ten local IT companies is hatching a conspiracy to get such a gigantic job of digitization by influencing the work-giving authority and by bypassing any international tender. Among the wealthiest people in Bangladesh are some public servants who are getting wealthier overnight on the strength of bribe-taking. Such bribe-taking is an open secret.

These public servants are very powerful and also indispensible because on them many in the upper hierarchies depend for their extra wealth accumulations. Among those public servants in Bangladesh are the land record officials. These officials are low-paid public servants but their wallets are always bulgy. Their palms are continuously greased by land owners and land grabbers. Some of the land record officials are very smart; they know every inch of the land in their jurisdiction like the backs of their hands. These officials keep track of farm plots in books and also in their memory. These officials who are responsible for creating and maintaining land records often prepare incorrect records intentionally so that genuine land owners are forced to pay bribes to them to get the records corrected. If bribes are not plunked down by the genuine land owners for correcting the records, lands so incorrectly recorded are made transferred to land sharks who are ever eager to pays bribes to grab others lands illegally. The present method of land recording in the local land management and registration offices such as office follows the age-old system of writing down everything about land - who owns what, where, how much, and what is grown in which land in illegible and archaic manners. These land record and registration offices are filled with tattered and handwritten paper documents and registers, many of them going back 100 years and most of them already damaged and brittle due to humidity or half-eaten by book lice, wood worms, termites, mice and cockroaches. Shoddy and hackneyed management of land recording is mainly responsible for fraud and manipulation in land ownership and has given birth to land grabbers and their cohorts.More than 80 percent of litigations in the courts of law in Bangladesh are on the dispute over land ownership and millions of conmen, middlemen, lawyers and other functionaries related to civil law and courts are thriving on the business of litigations. At present, over 3.2 million land-related cases are pending before the judiciary in Bangladesh. This huge figure does not include millions of the aggrieved who are terrorized by the touts to remain silent or not strong enough to approach the courts for litigation.

Any measure that may kill the source of income from frauds, manipulations, disputes and litigations over land may not be easy to undertake on the part of the government. Undertaking any initiative to digitalize the land record system may not be possible on the part of an authority unless the authority is doggedly determined to do so.Bangladesh is a land where anything is possible, however impossible.Nobody could imagine that every citizen in Bangladesh would possess a National Identity Card, which also serves as a Voter ID Card. These ID cards were digitally processed by the armed forces in collaboration with the Election Commission. It was a daunting job to prepare a voter list, one that is computerized, consisting of a data-base of 80 million 500 thousand 723 voters with photographs and fingerprints at a cost only TK 424 crore and had been successfully completed in a mere 11 months. The same armed forces of Bangladesh have undertaken another job of processing the Machine Readable Passports (MRP) which is going to be complete very shortly. One UNDP representative while speaking at a function marking the completion of voter registration termed the job as a historic one because never before have so many people been electronically registered in such a short time in any other country in the world. If there were a Nobel Prize for voter lists, Bangladesh would be the clear winner the UNDP rep said.There are many complaints people are lodging against the caretaker government in 2006-2008 under the Chief Advisor Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed. But this was the military-backed interim government that made this impossible task possible. Some observers believe that such a gigantic job of building such a huge data base facilitating issuance of both national identity cards and machine readable passports with biometrics perhaps would not have been possible had the task been undertaken by any civil authority.

In this age of information technology it is very much possible to upload to an online database with relevant information of lands to digitize Bangladesh landownership records, however labyrinthine the job could be. Rapid and flawless digitalization of land recording, archiving and retrieving will reduce litigation, improve planning for disaster relief and food security, and encourage foreign investment and rid the country of the mountains of litigation especially at the village level where due to the opaque manual system of record-keeping there is widespread manipulation. Land-related red tape is also deemed as one of the biggest obstacles for foreign investors in doing business in Bangladesh.Before undertaking the program the government should frame a policy to adopt a uniform coding for measuring and earmarking the lands and their titles replacing the old terms and units that were introduced during the Mughal era. There has to be a correct database through proper surveys and digital land zoning based on Geographical Information System (GIS), a recent revolutionary system that makes digital mapping easy and efficient. A digital land registration system fed with updated data and information as to land ownership may be integrated with the voter/national ID database. And to make the project cost-efficient cloud computing - an internet-based computing whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers on demand, like the cheaper way of subscribing to cable TV or electricity - may be adopted. And the job has to be undertaken by our armed forces.


From http://www.bangladesh-web.com/ 11/04/2010

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Bangladesh Links Villages to Internet

Bangladesh launched rural information service centres to connect villages to the Internet to give ordinary people the benefits of information technology. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed opened the Union Information Service Centre for 4,501 local government units across Bangladesh by talking to United Nations Development Programme chief Helen Clark, who is travelling in the southern part of the country, via a video conference from her office in Dhaka. The centres will provide all government forms, public notifications and gazettes, birth and death registration information, passport and visa support, information on public examinations, new jobs, laws, health and agricultural, and disaster management among others. These centres will also provide commercial services and social services to residents. All unions - the lowest tier of local government - are now linked to the Internet.


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

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INDIA: Punjab to Use E-District Platform for Citizen Services

Punjab State e-Governance Society through Department of IT, Punjab announces the implementation of e-District Solution using Humanitics e-District Platform. The state government and HCL Infosystems Ltd. entered into an agreement to deliver e-District Services to the citizen. HCL Infosystems shall deliver a state of the art platform to deliver electronic services to the common citizen. Humanitics Dimension's e-District platform is built as an application-framework to quickly incorporate changes without extensive software development to address the dynamics of customer requirements, simplicity in operation, scalability of the platform for large scale delivery, state of the art usability guidelines and the latest web security standards. More than 20 services shall be delivered in the pilot districts of Nawashahar and Kapurthala as a part of this project.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 09/03/2010

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New Web Portal of HUDA for Online Payment Soon

Haryana Chief Secretary, Mrs Urvashi Gulati will launch the new web portal of Haryana Urban Development Authority(HUDA) on September 14, 2010. The portal would enable the citizens to make online payments directly through the bank account and also by way of credit cards. With the launch of this facility, HUDA would become the lead development authority in the country to have implemented such a programme. The web portal would minimize the risk of carrying cash to the banks and would also reduce the burden of making bank drafts and standing in queue. The allottee would no longer have to worry for the posting of vouchers in his account. The payment deposited by the allottees would be reflected immediately in his or her property account. A confirmation to this effect would be sent on the e-mail address of the allottee.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 09/10/2010

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E-Challan for Traffic Violators in Haryana

E-Ticketing is being introduced in Haryana to check traffic violations, especially by repeat offenders, more effectively. The e-Challaning system would comprise a computer-based centralised database of vehicles, driving licences and traffic violations and hand-held devices with the field staff to provide them real time connectivity with the main server. Presently, the system of enforcement of traffic rules is manual. Erring vehicles or drivers are issued challans. They have the option to pay a fine on the spot or appear in the court later. The system being manual, the police officials have no access to the traffic violation history of the vehicle or driver. With the new e-Ticketing system, the traffic violations of repeat offenders will be kept under check.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 09/20/2010

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DIT Invites Eoi for Providing Broadband to 1.5 Lakh CSCs

The Department of Information Technology (DIT) has invited Expressions of Interest from telecom and Internet service providers for providing broadband connectivity to 1.5 lakh Common Services Centres (CSCs) set up by the government in villages across the country. Expressions of Interest (EoI) are invited from telecom/Internet service providers (TSPs) for provisioning of broadband connectivity of at least 256 kbps, the DIT said in a notice. About 84,000 CSCs have already been set up, which each serve a cluster of 6-7 villages. Initially envisaged to cover one lakh villages, the project was later expanded to cover 2.5 lakh villages across India. Set up under the public-private partnership model, the CSCs were set up to provide video, voice and data services in areas of e-governance, education, health, telemedicine and entertainment. The government has envisioned setting up one lakh CSCs under the National e-Governance Plan, which will offer web- enabled services in rural areas, including application forms and certificates and online payment of electricity, telephone and water bills. TSPs interested in providing broadband connectivity to the additional 1.5 lakh CSCs need to submit an EoI on or before November 10, 2010.


From http://www.egovonline.net/ 10/27/2010

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SRI LANKA: E-Alerts to Warn Banks of Defaulters

(LBO) - Sri Lanka's Credit Information Bureau (CRIB) is to launch an 'e-alert' service using mobile phones and email to warn banks of defaulters who have borrowed from more than one bank, an official said. The service using mobile phone short-message service and electronic mail will be launched by the end of October, CRIB general manager Gamini Karunaratne told Vimasuma.com, our sister news website. It aims to reduce loan defaults and improve the efficiency of the financial system, he said. "If a borrower misses a loan installment payment we will use the e-alert system to quickly inform other banks from which he has borrowed," Karunaratne said. "E-alerts will be used to inform banks when the loan is paid back as well." CRIB collects information on both individual and institutional borrowers. However, it now takes some time for banks to get a credit history report on borrowers from the CRIB. Furthermore, there are also no detailed reports being exchanged now on monthly loan installment payments by borrowers.


From http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/ 10/11/2010

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PAKISTAN: E-payments Grow to Rs 4.8 Trillion in Fourth Quarter

Electronic payments continued to show a rising trend as both the number and value of such transactions increased in the fourth quarter (April-June) of the last 2009-10 fiscal year (FY10). According to State Bank's fourth Quarterly Report on Retail E-Payments and Paper Based Instruments released on Friday. The volume and value of E-Payments transactions in the country during the fourth quarter of FY10 reached to 53.4 million and Rs 4.8 trillion, respectively showing an increase of 6.2 percent in number and 7.7 percent increase in value, as compared to 8.4 percent increase in number and 8.2 percent increase in value in the previous quarter. The Report said that during the fourth quarter the contribution of electronic transactions in total retail transactions recorded at 36.81 percent in number compared to 37.75 percent share recorded during the previous quarter. In terms of value, the electronic channels' composition recorded at 10.63 percent against 11.38 percent share recorded in the previous quarter. During the fourth quarter of FY10, the volume and value of ATM transactions in the country reached to 31.1 million and Rs 250.3 billion, respectively showing an increase of 5.9 percent in number and 7.6 percent in value as compared to 7.9 percent increase in number and 10.4 percent increase in value in the previous quarter. Whereas, the volume and value of real time online banking transactions in the country reached to 17.4 million and Rs 4.5 trillion, respectively showing an increase of 8.9 percent in numbers and 7.9 percent increase in value, as compared to 12.1 percent increase in numbers and 8.2 percent increase in value in the previous quarter.

According to the Report, the total number of Automated Teller Machines (ATM) during the fourth quarter reached to 4,465 registering a growth of 2.1 percent as compared to 3.7 percent increase in the previous quarter. The volume of Real Time Online Branches (RTOB) during the fourth quarter reached to 6,671 and recorded a growth of 0.6 percent, as compared to 0.7 percent increase recorded in the previous quarter. The total quantity of POS terminal reached to 52,049 showing an increase of 0.9 percent in number, as compared to 1.5 percent increase in previous quarter. The volume and value of debit cards transactions were reported to 35.03 million and Rs 269.40 billion, respectively showing an increase of 7.0 percent in number and 4.8 percent in value, as compared to 9.2 percent increase in both number and value in the previous quarter. Similarly, during the fourth quarter of FY10 the volume and value of credit cards transactions were reported at 3.9 million and Rs 16.6 billion, respectively showing an increase of 8.9 percent in numbers and 1.7 percent increase in value, as compared to 3.9 percent decrease in numbers and 4.0 percent decrease in value in the previous quarter. In addition, the total number of cards (debit/credit/ATM only) in circulation during the fourth quarter reached to 10.52 million, which shows an increase of 0.7 percent compared to 4.9 percent increase in the previous quarter. The Report pointed out that during April-June 2010 quarter, the volume and value of Point of Sales (POS) transactions in the country were recorded at 3.7 million and Rs 16.7 billion, respectively showing a decline of 0.9 percent in numbers and 3.1 percent decrease in value, as compared to 5.1 percent decrease in numbers and 6.2 percent decrease in value in the previous quarter.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 09/18/2010

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IT Education Imperative for Growth of Economy

FAISALABAD: Education of Information Technology is imperative for the growth of national economy, said Tanvir Safdar Cheema Chief Executive Officer Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (FESCO). He was addressing a function at the certificate distribution ceremony. He distributed diplomas among the successful participants of computer course held under the aegis of Pakistan Wapda Hydro Electric Central Labour Union (CBA). He appreciated the welfare-oriented programmes of Labour Union and said that providing free computer training for ten long years is an appreciable act. He assured sympathetic consideration to the proposal regarding preference to the successful candidates of this institution. Earlier, Khurshid Ahmed, General Secretary Wapda Hydro Union welcomed the chief guest. He also underlined the importance of IT and said that free education of IT to children of FESCO employees would continue in the future. Chaudhary Muhammad Ashraf Director General (HR & A) and Bashir Shakir also spoke on the occasion.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 10/28/2010

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PM Announces Upgradation of ICT Educational Institutions, Teachers' Posts

ISLAMABAD (APP): Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Monday announced all educational institutions in the capital to be upgraded to model schools and colleges. The Prime Minister in a bid to ensure improvement in the quality and standard of education in Islamabad Capital Territory, also approved upgradation of posts of teachers working under the Federal Directorate of Education. Addressing educationists and teachers at a function on the 'Uniformity of education systems and upgradation of teachers in ICT', the Prime Minister agreed in principle the demand for enhancing the charge allowance to the Heads and Principals of institutions. He stressed Ministry of Education in collaboration with CDA and ICT to arrange transport facilities for students and teachers especially in the rural areas. He asked the ministry to consider establishment of Federation Public School in Islamabad as well as a Model University to cater for the affiliation needs of ICT graduate and postgraduate colleges, presently affiliated with University of Punjab, Lahore. Gilani said dignified social status for the teachers would earn due respect from other fields of life reducing frustration and attracting best of the best for the teachers' job. The Prime Minister urged teachers to assume full responsibility of the future of students and turn them into productive and responsible citizens of the country. Teachers have to dedicate all the efforts towards students' physical, emotional, moral and intellectual grooming, he added. The Prime Minister said no efforts will prove productive unless the teacher who is the main contributor is adequately honored and looked after. "My devotion towards promotion of education is in fact a reflection of the policies of my government and my party," he added. Gilani said Pakistan People's Party (PPP) after assuming the responsibilities of the country has been endeavoring to reduce differences between the rich and the poor especially in the field of education. "We claim that the roots of the party are among the people of Pakistan and this is how we represent them on every forum nationally and internationally," he remarked. As a part of policy, he said, the privileges for the common man need to be raised to the level of the rich to eliminate discrimination in opportunities. Every child is possessed with a spark of talent and it is for the teachers to discover and polish it, he said adding, "my vision of quality education rests on the shoulders of teachers." He expressed the hope that the Ministry of Education and Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) will ensure that the benefits reach the grassroots level at the earliest so that the results can be seen and shown to others in the country. The Prime Minister said after the passage of 18th amendment, the issue of national curriculum in future could be taken up at the forum of Council of Common Interest (CCI) and in line with the constitution. Federal Minister for Education Sardar Aseff Ahmad Ali, Minister of State for Education Ghulam Farid Kathia, Director General Federal Directorate of Education Dr. Shaheen Khan were present on the occasion.


From http://pakistanlink.org/ 11/08/2010

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AFGHANISTAN: Farmers to Get Farm Produce Pricing by Mobile Phone

Afghan mobile network, Roshan has launched a mobile service, branded as Malomat, that provides pricing information to farmers and distributors to assist in buying and selling goods at fair rates. The service has been set up with assistance from USAID and the Global Development Alliance (GDA). Malomat will initially cover 11 provincial wholesale markets using mobile phones with Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology and SSMS. Once developed further, the project will expand to other provinces and incorporate additional commodities, with a focus on reaching rural communities in remote areas of the country. "Malomat provides farmers with access to real-time market prices, helping to ensure that farmers are able to secure the highest value possible for their crops while promoting commerce, the lifeblood of the nation's economy. Mobile technology is playing a significant role in enabling marginalized communities to engage in everyday commerce as a vehicle for sustainable growth. Services such as Malomat demonstrate Roshan's commitment to socio-economic development by leveraging its technology, human capital and emerging market expertise to bring innovative services and products to Afghanistan," said Karim Khoja, chief executive officer of Roshan.

The system gives anyone the ability to access price information, while 500 farmers and traders are participating in a pilot roll-out of the system in five provinces. Prices are updated daily for 25 commodities, including wheat, rice, cashmere, numerous fruits such as almonds and pomegranates, several types of vegetables, fertilizer, live chickens and eggs. The Malomat initiative builds on two existing projects: one between GDA and Roshan (Trade Net), and another run by USAID's IDEA-NEW project. The new system combines lessons learned from both projects, and capitalizes on the strengths of each. The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) has also provided ongoing guidance and technical support to Malomat. The commodity information is primarily envisioned as a tool for farmers to gain bargaining power at the farm gate, but will also give price visibility to traders, NGOs and others interested in following market price trends in Afghanistan. The system has the flexibility to add new commodities as demand warrants.


From http://www.cellular-news.com/ 09/07/2010

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Radio Azadi Launches Interactive SMS Service in Afghanistan

Radio Azadi, RFE's Afghan station, has launched an interactive SMS service that is connecting the station more directly with its audience, especially villagers in remote, inaccessible regions who are often cut off from news and information. Thanks to a recent partnership between RFE and mobile service provider Etisalat, mobile phone users in Afghanistan can now subscribe to free SMS news updates and emergency alerts from Radio Azadi. "The exciting thing is that it's not just Radio Azadi sending news to subscribers," says RFE Associate Director of Broadcasting Akbar Ayazi. "It's our subscribers sending news back to us. Since the project launched less than a month ago, we've already received more than 5,000 text messages from people all around the country - this 'citizen journalism' is unique in Afghanistan."

One recent text message to Radio Azadi, for example, came from Samandar Khpalwak of the Ghani Khel district of Nangarhar province, who complained that a local teacher's training institute lacks a building. Another cell phone user from the Narkh district of Logar province texted that the followers of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Islamic Party are extracting money from locals by blocking roads and making violent threats. Each morning and evening, Etisalat customers who subscribe to the free service receive news headlines from Radio Azadi in either Dari or Pashto. They also get SMS messages on their phones with breaking news and emergency alerts. In addition to texts, Ayazi says subscribers will soon be able to send Radio Azadi photos and videos from their mobile devices. He says the station has launched a new weekly program in which many of the SMS messages it receives are read on the air. Despite being one of the poorest countries in the world, Afghanistan has an estimated 57 percent penetration rate for mobile phone use - 17 million subscribers out of a population of 29 million.


From http://www.rferl.org/ 11/18/2010

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ARMENIA: Experts Focus on E-Resources Protection

"Literary heritage of Armenia is threatened," deputy director of the National Library of Armenia Rafik Ghazaryan said. "Preservation of information, regardless of data carriers, requires significant recourses. Programs aimed at creation of proper conditions in libraries and museums to optimize the process are being currently discussed by the government," he told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter. The Fundamental Library of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia (RA NAS) digitized over 500 ancient books, making 200 of them available on the internet. As library director Tigran Zargaryan told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter, the process was launched in 2006, with Armenian editions digitized first due to storage issues. The RA NAS Fundamental Library holds over 4000 books dating back to 1512-1920s. Over 3 million books and periodicals are stored in library fund.

Currently, National Library fund lists over 4 thousand electronic books. Part of our electronic library was provided by publishers. The library administration plans to procure the necessary digitization equipment through contributions. Director of the National Archive of Armenia Amatuni Virabyan said that only 0.5% of the archive documents is digitized. "The National Archive needs relevant modern equipment to digitize paper-based documents more quickly, Virabyan said. "We were promised that such equipment will be purchased soon." Digitization of films, video and photo chronicles comes to a close. According to Virabyan, the archive of documentaries will be digitized by 50% by the end of 2010. Besides, 360,000 photos have been already digitized. Feature films and audio records are also digitized.

Head of the Department on Copyright and Related Rights Protection at the RA Agency of Intellectual Property Sonya Vardanyan said that the amendments to the RA Law on Copyright and Related Rights aimed at protection of copyrights in the electronic environment will be submitted in 2011. "Specifically, articles 22 and 26 of the law need to be clarified. They refer to cases when it is possible to freely use some product without preliminary consent of its author but with obligatory reference to the source," Vardanyan said. "Free usage is possible for educational institutions, museums, etc. However, these provisions of the law are not applicable in the electronic environment. And the upcoming amendments will be aimed at expanding the limits of digital information free usage." Manager of Haypost CJSC Juan Pablo Gechijian said that after the reconstruction of post offices of Armenia's national postal operator Haypost and introduction of new technologies, Armenian consumers will have the opportunity to receive the goods purchased abroad via internet without customs clearance. Goods at the amount below AMD 50,000, which are delivered to Armenia by Haypost, will cross the border through a "green corridor," Gechijian said. Besides, Armenia's citizens will be provided with the opportunity to import goods at the amount of up to AMD 150,000 twice a year.

Armenian fonts for Symbian, Android and Windows mobile smartphones will be ready by December 2010. "There are not many Armenian font users, so these are available in 2 Nokia models as well as in iPhone 3G and iPhone 4G as of today," programmer Alexei Chalabyan told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter. The developers' main goal is creation of licensed fonts. Applications will be available in Internet. According to Chalabyan, about 20% of Armenians use smartphones. "This market will be developing and the number of smartphone users will reach 80% in some 5 years," he said. ArmenTel CJSC has launched http://speedtest.beeline.am allowing to test connection speed within Beeline network. "The service based on Ookla web-based network diagnostic applications will provide our subscribers with true information on connection speed, average speed dynamics and other parameters," ArmenTel CEO Igor Klimko said. Beeline network connection speed can also be checked on www.speedtest.net.

Internews representations in Armenia and Azerbaijan are working at creation of a film on information war between Armenian and Azerbaijani internet users. The film will be created in the framework of Eurasia Partnership Foundation project and sponsored by the British Embassies in Yerevan and Baku. "The project aims to promote unbiased coverage of events in Armenian and Azeri online media," Eurasia Partnership Foundation spokesperson Isabella Sargsyan told PanARMENIAN.Net About 50 Armenian websites were attacked by Azerbaijani hackers in 2010, majority of them being recovered within several hours. "Armenian hackers also attacked several dozens of Azerbaijani sites, mostly over the recent incidents at the line of contact between NKR and Azerbaijani armed forces," senior expert at Noravank information security center Samvel Martirosyan told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter. "Theoretically, hackers may be punished in compliance with the convention on cybercrimes signed by both countries. Practically, it's impossible, as the state can't punish a patriot," he said. Armenia and Azerbaijan are in the top five of countries subject to hacker attacks, the fact conditioned by insufficient use of antivirus software and Firewall. According to Armen Karapetyan, director of Softline company representing Kaspersky, AVG, McAfee, Avast and Symatec in Armenia, the situation tends to improve. "Piracy and usage of unauthorized antivirus software reduced by 5% and 10% respectively in Armenia as compared with 2009," Karapetyan said.


From PanARMENIAN.net 09/21/2010

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8 Best Armenian Websites to Be Announced in December 2010

The first ever Armenian web contest, Armnet Awards, initiated by SP Marketing Solutions, Circle.am and Orange Armenia, under the auspices of the Minister of Economy of Armenia will be held from November to 10 to December 4, 2010. "The main goal of the contest is development of web technologies," said Haykuhi Taksildaryan, SP Marketing Solutions director. "We have specialists and good ideas but we lack investment programs and working knowledge of marketing tools," she said. Orange Armenia CEO, Bruno Duthoit, noted for his part that the contest is a good opportunity to develop internet content in Armenia.

According to the armnetawards.am, Armnet Awards will be held in two phases. During the First Phase, which starts on November 10, internet users will be voting for their favorite websites by clicking on the icon of the website on the special catalog page on armnetawards.am website. The first Phase ends on November 30. The voting participants can vote for as many website as they like, but for each website in the list they can vote only once. In the Second Phase, the top 75 websites with the highest votes gained in the First Phase will participate. The international judges will choose one winner for each nomination category from the list of the websites participating in Phase 2. The judges will be grading each website according to the 1-100 point system for each nomination of the competition. In each nomination, the website that will have the most points will be recognized as the winner.

Websites that meet the following criteria of the competition are eligible to participate in the awards: a. Websites that were created during the years 2008-2010, or have been undergone noticeable changes (in design, content, technology used); b. Website that meet one of the following criteria: Website that are developed for the Armenian (Armenia or Diaspora) market, or Website that present the culture, the history, the issues, etc. of Armenia, Armenians and Armenian Diaspora, or Websites that are entirely developed by a company registered in Armenia. The competition will be held in the following nomination categories: Design and Usability - will be awarded to the website with the best design and the best usability; Innovation - will be awarded to the website, which was the first to implement a considerable technological innovation during the last 2 years

Technological Development - will be awarded to the website, which has implemented technological solutions in the best way Content - will be awarded to the website, which has an original, interesting and literate content. For this nomination category, special priority will be given to the websites that have a version of their content in literate Armenian. Breakthrough of the Year - will be chosen by the judges, and awarded to the website which has most achievements and technological breakthrough during the last year. The winner of this nomination category doesn't have to be included in the list of the websites that were chosen in Phase 1. Grand Prix - will be awarded to the website, which has the most point in all the categories together People's Choice - in this category the winner will be recognized the website which gains the most points from the social vote in Phase 1. Special Prize from Orange-Armenia - the award is provided by Orange Company for the best mobile website. 8 best Armenian websites will be announced on December 4.


From PanARMENIAN.Net 11/02/2010

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AZERBAIJAN: Teachers to Participate in Intel Training

Azerbaijani teachers are to be trained by computer company Intel to organize the electronic environment, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Education said. The training sessions organized as part of Intel's One Student-One Computer global project, will be held in Moscow, Russia, from Sept. 27 to Oct. 1.The teachers who receive training will be certified as Intel Master Trainers. This will allow them to continue to hold similar courses in Azerbaijan. The purpose of the training is to simulate the process of using a Classmate PC school notebook, taking into account the interests of students, parents, teachers, and school administrators. The training is oriented at teachers working on the One Student-One Computer e-learning model and have basic skills in information technologies. Azerbaijani teachers are participating in Intel initiatives under a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Azerbaijani Ministry of Education and the Intel corporation. One Student-One Computer is part of the state program on informatization of the education system in the Azerbaijani Republic in 2008-2012.


From http://en.trend.az/ 09/22/2010

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Azerbaijani Communication Ministry Gets Familiarized with Process of Constructing First Azerbaijani Telecommunications Satellite Azerspace

Azerbaijani Deputy Communications and Information Technologies Minister Iltimas Mammadov got familiarized with the process of constructing the first Azerbaijani telecommunications satellite Azerspace, the Ministry said on Monday. According to the Ministry, the Azerbaijani delegation headed by Mammadov visited upon Orbital Science Corporation's invitation the Corporation's facilities, located in Dulles, Virginia. The sides discussed an action plan within construction and launching the satellite into orbit, also designing ground satellite equipment. Azerspace will provide digital broadcasting, Internet access, data transmission, VSAT multi-service networks, and governmental communications. The satellite will be equipped with 24 transponders C band and 12 transponders Ku band. It will be placed in orbit at 46 degrees east longitude. The satellite's term is 20 years. Its service area will cover Europe, Central Asia and Africa. A carrier rocket will be determined one of these days to launch the satellite into orbit. The insurance of the satellite will be also determined. At present, the Ministry is working to evaluate the proposals of companies producing a carrier rocket, ILS, Arianespace, SpaceX and Ukroboronservis. Azerbaijan's capital investment in the project is roughly 319 million manat; 127 million will be spent on operating costs. The payback period is six years, and the income will reach 176 million manat.


From http://en.trend.az/ 10/04/2010

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Azerbaijan Numbers Already 84% of Families with Cell Phones

International Research Group Business Insight (BI) has conducted a poll to study lifestyle of the Azerbaijani urban population. The survey involved 1,155 respondents. According to BI, the poll shows that already 84% of families in Azerbaijan have mobile phones. At that, the level of cell phone availability varies considerably on a regional principle. For example, in the south (Masalli region) it makes up only 59.8%, while in Baku 85.7%, and in the north (Guba region) even 96%. At the same time 76% of the respondents have Nokia cell phones, 13.9% - Samsung, a 3.6% - Sony Ericsson. The key GSM operators are Azercell, whose services are enjoyed by 64.9% of the respondents, Bakcell (39.1%) and Azerfon (13.6%). Among the leader CDMA operators is Catel (0.6% of the respondents). The poll was organized in Baku (667 respondents), Ganja (119), Mingechevir (86), Shirvan (80), Masalli (104) and Guba (99).


From http://www.caspianbusinessnews.com/ 10/22/2010

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Over 600 Azerbaijani Educational Institutions Connected to AZEDUNET

Over 600 educational institutions have been connected to the AZEDUNET educational network in Azerbaijan. More than 300 are located in Baku and Sumgayit. The network covers 26 cities, including Shabran, Khachmaz, Guba, Salyan, Lankaran, Shirvan, Sabirabad, Gochay, Yevlakh, Mingechevir, Ganja, Siyazan, Hajigabul, Shamakhi, Khirdalan, Gabala, Oguz, Gakh, Zagatala, Balaken, Neftchala, Jalilabad , Masalli, Astara, Gusar and Khudat. Operations are underway in Shamkir, Ujar, Goranboy, Naftalan, Tovuz, Gazakh and Agstafa to connect these cities to the network. Complex preparatory work on computer hardware and software standardization is conducted in each educational institution. A local network then installed uniting all classroom computers. Roughly 400 educational institutions will be connected to the network in Barda, Tartar, Agjabedi, Beylagan, Imishli, Saatli, Agsu, Agdash, Kurdamir and Bilasuvar by late 2010.


From http://en.trend.az/ 11/01/2010

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KAZAKHSTAN: First in CIS Pilot 4G (LTE-700) Network Launched

Testing of the first in the CIS LTE pilot network operating in 700 MHz broadband - 4G has been held in Almaty today. The 4G network testing was held on LTE high-tech equipped laboratory on wheels. Video conferences with Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Massimov and Minister of Information and Communication Askar Zhumagaliyev were organized using the advanced equipment. As earlier reported, "KaR-Tel" LLP already launched the first 4G-standard network based on LTE indoor technology in spring this year in Astana and Almaty. "We are the first in the post-soviet space who has built the LTE pilot network operating in 700 MHz broadband and demonstrate new telecommunication opportunities due to long-term cooperation with "Alcatel-Lucent" company. It is an important step for us as long as one of our main priorities is development of broadband internet access both fixed and mobile", Vice President on business development in the CIS states of "VimpelCom" Ltd group of companies Dmitri Kromskiy said. He noted that the Kazakh experience would be used in other regions now.


From http://www.inform.kz/ 10/26/2010

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TURKMENISTAN: Educational Establishments Connected to Internet from European Commission Project

Turkmenistan is the first country in Central Asia to connect to the network of the European Commission Project CAREN (Central Asian Research and Educational Network), thereby ensuring sustained high-speed access of Turkmen science-educational network to the Internet. As the Turkmenistan.ru correspondent reports quoting the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan, the European Commission Project CAREN "Central Asian Research and Educational Network" is a logical continuation of the Project "Virtual Silk Road". In the course of the latter project 69 scientific and educational institutions of Turkmenistan, including 27 secondary schools, were connected to the unified national scientific and educational network through free access to the Internet. The main objective of the Project CAREN is to replace satellite to terrestrial broadband fiber-optic communications, to connect the research and education networks of Central Asia to the European scientific and educational network GEANT and establish a Central Asian regional network.


From http://www.turkmenistan.ru/ 09/06/2010

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UZBEKISTAN: Population in Regions Masters Information Technologies

Special computer literacy teams made of Tashkent IT University (TUIT) students and other specialists have completed a training course for population in various regions of Uzbekistan. About 400 TUIT students and teachers, as well as teachers of professional colleges, specialists from regional authorities, Kamolot youth movements and Mahalla charity fund were attracted to the courses. The total number of the listeners made up over 15,000 people, mainly young people. The courses were held at computer rooms in educational establishments in all districts of the country, Uzbek Agency for Communication and Information said. Raising the IT awareness of the population is part of the State Program "Year of Harmoniously Developed Generation" approved by President Islam Karimov on 27 January.


From http://uza.uz/ 08/24/2010

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AUSTRALIA: Telemedicine and the Future of Healthcare

Thousands of children have benefitted from the telepaediatric service carried out by the University of Queensland's Centre for Online Health in Brisbane. Dr Anthony Smith, Deputy Director of the Centre, talked to FutureGov about the expanding scope of telemedicine and what it means to the future of healthcare. "Since the service began in November 2000, more than 10,000 telehealth consultations have been carried out for children living in 97 regional and remote areas in Queensland. This amount of activity makes it the largest telepaediatric service ever reported throughout the world," Dr Smith said. 37 paediatric sub-specialties are offered through the service, including burns care, cardiology, dermatology, diabetes, ENT (ear, nose and throat), general paediatrics, neurology, orthopaedics, psychiatry and surgery. The service makes use of technology like the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) and Royal Children's Hospital's Wide Area Network (WAN) - which is where the centre is located - to carry out online consultations via videoconferences, emails and telephony. Alternatively, some consultations are done using custom-designed telemedicine systems on the university's private network, which is able to reach transmission speeds up to 1MB/s. Basic ADSL connections to webcams also enable doctors to communicate with and support patients and their families, he said.

User satisfaction is generally very high, he added. The telepaediatric service greatly reduces travelling time and expenses for patients, many of whom may have otherwise travelled hundreds and thousands of kilometres to Brisbane to see a paediatric specialist. Telemedicine may also reduce costs for the state health department, which sets aside AUD$45 million (US$40 million) a year for patient travel subsidy schemes. However, while such technology has its benefits, the limitations of telemedicine are also respected, said Dr Smith. "In cases where a specialist feels that they are unable to make a clinical decision based on the information available, the option to transfer the patient for a face-to-face appointment is always available," he said. "Occasionally, certain tests and procedures can only be performed in Brisbane. If this is the case, telemedicine consultations serve as valuable opportunities to educate patients and prepare them for the procedure/transfer to Brisbane," Dr Smith added. The majority of referrals, however, can be managed at a distance with the support of regional clinics at the referral sites, said Dr Smith. This likelihood has increased with the development of wireless (robot) systems which can be wheeled around and used in areas where clinical services are most likely to be needed, such as at patients' bedsides or in the immediate ward areas.

However, Dr Smith stressed that telemedicine is not purely a technology-driven enterprise. "While technology is important in that you need to have the appropriate communication equipment and telecommunications available, significant effort needs to be invested in the development of support and administrative systems to support telemedicine operations. Essentially, introducing telemedicine requires change management strategies as the conventional method of delivering health services is being re-engineered," he said. His advice to clinicians contemplating telemedicine applications? "Take it one step at a time and avoid making expensive mistakes. Carefully design telemedicine services in response to clinical needs and make sure it is user-friendly and supported by the appropriate administrative and clinical support services."


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 08/24/2010

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NSW Govt Looks into the Cloud

The New South Wales Government Chief Information Office has declined to comment on a forum it hosted at the State Library earlier this year for government agencies about possible future cloud-based strategies. "NSW government agencies have convened to discuss how an enterprise software strategy could support government in the 'cloud'," a NSW government Chief Information Office page detailed. Following inquiries from ZDNet Australia about the forum, the page announcing the event was removed from public view and the NSW Government refused to comment on its nature. In August, the NSW Government released its blueprint for implementing shared services across the whole of government.


From ZDNet.com.au 09/10/2010

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Australian Students Take Virtual School Trip to NASA

Within seconds after a visit to the NASA headquarters in Houston Texas, the same group of students could be diving in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in Queensland. Virtual excursions, field trips that are taken online, widen the opportunities that teachers can give their students to view the wider world beyond the classroom, Emeritus Professor Jonathan Anderson, Flinders University of South Australia told FutureGov. "Students can be taken back in time to view ancient sites and civilizations, they can explore the depths of the sea or voyage into outer space, and they can view remote specimens or valuable artefacts in places like the Louvre and the British Museum, all without leaving the classroom. The educational value of traditional excursions can be extended in ways that were previously unimaginable," said Anderson. In a regional guide recently published by UNESCO, called ICT Transforming Education, Anderson pointed to the example of Randwick Public School in Sydney, Australia. Students from Grade 4, with the aid of an internet link coupled to video conferencing, took a field trip to NASA headquarters. "Under the tutelage of a member of the space programme, the students participated in experiments simulating the effects of reduced gravity," Deputy Principal David O'Connell described the activity, which is one of a series of educational programme hosted by NASA.

"This new technology is particularly useful for remote and isolated schools and their teachers to offer students experiential educational activities," continued O'Connel. "It facilitates the teaching of curriculum previously constrained by distance and time". According to Anderson, the key to conducting an educationally sound virtual excursion experience is proper preparation by teachers. "Similar to a real-life school excursion, students need to know the purpose of the activity, what they are expected to gain from it, an indication of what to look for or observe, and how they should report their experiences." Teachers need to give pointers to appropriate websites that they are familiar with so that students are provided with realistic expectations, he added. Anderson further advised that where additional ICT are used, as in the case of video- or audio-conferencing, the help of the ICT coordinator is necessary to ensure equipment functions properly and time schedules are met. The just published UNESCO Regional Guide ICT Transforming Education can be accessed via UNESCO Bangkok's e-library.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 09/28/2010

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10,000 Households Helped to Switch to Digital TV

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy today said 10,000 households had made the switch to digital TV through the Government's Household Assistance Scheme. Senator Conroy said Mrs Lorraine McIntyre in Broken Hill was now digital ready at no cost and with no fuss following the installation of a high definition set top box. She will now be able to enjoy the full benefits of digital TV. "The Government's Household Assistance Scheme provides assistance to eligible people as the switch to digital-only TV is rolled out across Australia. So far the Scheme has assisted 10,000 households in Mildura/Sunraysia, regional South Australia and Broken Hill. "The Scheme ensures older Australians, people with disabilities and their carers are able to easily enjoy the benefits of the historic change in the way Australians watch free to air TV. "Mrs McIntyre will be able to access digital channels provided by the ABC, SBS and Southern Cross in the Broken Hill area. She will also be able to receive the new Channel 9 service from Southern Cross, which will be broadcast in digital only in Broken Hill from the end of October," Senator Conroy said.

The Scheme was first rolled out in Mildura/Sunraysia in Victoria where more than 2,650 households were helped to switch to digital TV on 30 June 2010. Regional South Australia and Broken Hill are the next areas to switch to digital only TV on 15 December 2010. The Household Assistance Scheme will next be extended to regional Victoria, which switches to digital only TV on 5 May 2011. There are about 120,000 households eligible for help through the Scheme across regional Victoria. Households eligible for assistance will be contacted directly by Centrelink about six months before the switchover date in their region. Executive Director of the Digital Switchover Taskforce, Andy Townend, said households eligible for assistance included those with a functioning TV that were yet to convert to digital TV, and where a person received the maximum rate of one of the following payments: Age Pension; Disability Support Pension; Carer Payment; Department of Veterans' Affairs Service Pension or Income Support Supplement.


From http://www.minister.dbcde.gov.au/ 10/12/2010

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Boost for South Australia's Online Emergency Services

Prime Minister Julia Gillard today announced Federal Government funding for an online application to enhance training for country fire and emergency services volunteers in rural South Australia. E-mergency Connect will receive $2.53 million and is the first project to be offered funding under round two of the Government's $60 million Digital Regions Initiative. The Initiative funds projects that change the way essential services are delivered to regional, rural and remote Australian communities using innovative solutions. E-mergency Connect is a project being run by the South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Commission and will significantly improve access to a range of online services, including e-learning, not previously available to the SA Country Fire Service (CFS) and State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers.

The project will also position the CFS and SES to maximise the advantages of the unprecedented communication opportunities that the National Broadband Network (NBN) will create. Ms Gillard said the NBN would change the way people live, work and receive training and E-mergency Connect was an example of what will be possible. E-mergency Connect will enhance the delivery of training and reduce travel costs by providing more than 17,000 volunteers and retained fire fighters across regional SA with access to a new volunteer web portal offering a range of services. With the NBN connecting high speed broadband to every Australian home, volunteer emergency service workers living in regional and rural Australia will be able to access high-bandwidth applications including digital collaboration facilities, interactive web conferencing and self-paced training courses, from the comfort of home. This means they will have access to the latest training information whenever they need it, not just when they can travel to Adelaide for a refresher course. Volunteers will be better equipped to handle front line emergencies across the State.


From http://www.dbcde.gov.au/ 10/17/2010

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Australian Broadband Speeds Stagnant: Akamai

Australia's internet speeds continue to lag behind the rest of the world, according to a new research report from Akamai. The cloud service provider released new statistics that indicate Australia has an average connection speed of 2.8 megabits per second (Mbps) and sits 48th in the world. The State of the Internet Report is based on testing done during the second half of this year, and found that while New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia and China all saw an average speed increase of more than 10 per cent, Australia did not increase significantly. Asia Pacific nations dominated all areas of the report, with 62 of the top cities located in Japan and 12 in South Korea. The insights come as Computerworld Australia earlier this year reported that the average mobile broadband speed in Australia sat at 1.88 mbps, and as IDC reported that mobile broadband had increased of 68 per cent over 2009. However, the numbers come into conflict with the 4.2Mbps average speeds collated from 10,000 tests by Broadband Expert, while Ookla's Net Index tool currently rates Australian speeds at an average of 7.8Mbps.


From http://www.techworld.com.au/ 10/22/2010

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Australia's NBN Will Boost Health, Mining

Health and the mining sector would be beneficiaries of a broadband-enabled economy, according to Australian delegates visiting Singapore this week. Speaking at a roundtable discussion with representatives from the Singapore Government held at the Australian High Commission, Peter Kambouris, Business Development and Commercialisation for the Federal Government's lead research agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organisation (CSIRO), said that several areas of the Australian economy would be impacted by the Federal Government's National Broadband Network (NBN). "Health is going to be a game changer here and with the help of the NSW government we've been developing telemedicine and telepresence systems, actually running clinical trials where we can do remote consultations and there's no difference in the outcomes to a one-on-one," he said. "This device is able to improve revisitations from cardiac surgery by 30 per cent - every time someone goes back into hospital, it's 40,000 dollars. "This affects the life of the person that's being re-admitted and the impact on the family."

Kambouris was one of eight delegates from industry and government taking part in Austrade's Digital Economy and Broadband Applications Mission to Japan, Korea and Singapore, which also included the National ICT Agency (NICTA) and the Queensland Government. He said that mining giant Rio Tinto had already implemented remotely-operated machinery in one of its Australian mines using broadband-enabled technology. "Having the ability to have symmetrical broadband systems means you can operate a piece of equipment from an air-conditioned office in another city," he said. "The key thing for the NBN is symmetry - you've got autonomous vehicles, you need information coming back to you pretty quickly - they have real time map generation, real time navigation, the ability to make decisions... this is about assisted autonomy." Kambouris said that such technology was being successfully migrated to other parts of the economy such as agriculture. "Using the leading industries to build a demonstration, and migrating that is very effective," he said.


From http://www.futuregov.asia/ 10/29/2010

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Final Govt Data Repository to Facilitate FOI Changes

Freedom of information (FoI) requests to the Federal government could soon be streamlined when Gov 2.0 lead agency, the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO), releases the final version of its data.australia.gov.au dataset repository in December. The new repository will replace the beta version first released by the Gov 2.0 Taskforce in September 2009 to centrally host datasets from federal, state and territory governments where applicable. Assistant Secretary of AGIMO's online services branch, Peter Alexander, told Computerworld Australia that most of the 210 datasets currently hosted on the repository will be shifted across to the final release - which will run on open source archiving software, Dspace, rather than WordPress - and updated as necessary. However, one of the most significant changes to the data repository, which Alexander admitted had languished in the recent past, would be a public consultation feature allowing users and potential mashup developers to request specific datasets from AGIMO to source from the relevant agencies, at all levels of government. "Not only can we go out and pursue agencies to say 'get your data on here', but we can do it in a targeted way," he said.

Alexander couldn't confirm whether AGIMO would make freedom of information requests available on behalf of the user requesting the dataset, but said the new feature would provide greater transparency as to what data would be made available, freely accessible and under open license. A similar feature is already available on the NSW Government's own data repository, but has since been used as a reactive gauge of what data should be released, largely from the Roads and Traffic Authority, NSW Health and RailCorp. The release of the final central data repository coincides with the opening of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, currently held by John McMillan AO, and the enactment of new FoI laws last week that enforce agencies to either publicly release the requested data, or publicise the release of that data to the request. The new data repository will also eventually encompass the whole-of-government Information Publication Scheme, a Gov 2.0 Taskforce recommendation that will see agencies publish standard information sets, when launched in May next year. "The view is that it's very clear what agencies should publish and what their reasons for exception are, and that will make it harder for them to defend not releasing data that they should release," he said. "The stance of what we do is reversed - we've really moved into a position where the default is to release the data under an open license unless there's a reason not to."

Though individual state data repositories in NSW and Victoria are likely to remain open, AGIMO is in negotiations with state governments to either see the data centrally hosted, or a metadata search engine put in place to discover sets across repositories, meeting recent calls from Apps4NSW mashup winner, Brad Spencer, for easier access to data. The AGLS metadata standard currently used to specify datasets will likely be replaced by a new standard to encompass work from AGIMO, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Tax Office and National Archives of Australia. "We're working with them to make sure those things happen well and ensure we don't have lots of the same datasets hosted in lots of different places where it might not be kept up to date as it should be," he said. While Alexander said cultural change would remain an obstacle to Gov 2.0 changes within government agencies in the foreseeable future, he said agencies were positive to the forthcoming changes in both freedom of information and the data repository, led largely by members of the recently launched Gov 2.0 Steering Group. Alexander also pointed to the forthcoming addition of public consultations from the likes of Centrelink, the Department of Health and Ageing and at least three other various high profile Federal government agencies to AGIMO's WordPress-based Govspace platform by the end of the year, for a total of 11 blogs opened in the past year.


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 11/07/2010

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Full Digital TV Service for Regional and Remote Australia

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today announced that the Government has partnered with regional commercial broadcasters to ensure all Australians can access the same number of TV channels as is available in capital cities, no matter where they live. As part of its digital switchover program, the Government will provide $34 million over four years to enable commercial television broadcasters in terrestrial licence areas in regional South Australia, remote and regional Western Australia, and remote and central Australia to deliver all digital TV channels to their audiences via terrestrial broadcast. "This is an historic outcome for regional Australia," Senator Conroy said. "For decades, viewers in smaller TV licence areas have put up with having only two commercial TV channels, often missing out on some of the country's most popular programming. "True equalisation of TV services in Australia was long considered impossible; the Gillard Government is proud to have achieved the realisation of what has been a long-held dream for many people in regional and remote Australia as part of the digital switchover program," Senator Conroy said

In combination with the newly established Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST) service for viewers in remote licence areas and reception blackspots, this measure will provide every Australian with the ability to access the full range of commercial free-to-air digital television services - including digital-only channels Go!, GEM, 7Two, 7Mate, ONE, and the soon-to-be-launched Eleven. The funding will assist regional commercial broadcasters to install new transmitters in the relevant regional and remote licence areas, which will give them the capacity to transmit all new digital TV channels. "This means viewers in these areas will receive the same number of commercial channels as people in capital cities," Senator Conroy said. "All they need to do is install a set top box or, if they prefer, buy a new digital TV and connect it to their existing aerial - just like people in capital cities." The Government will provide 50% of capital and operational costs for the new transmitters until the end of the switchover program in 2013; regional commercial broadcasters are meeting the remaining and ongoing costs. Commercial channels will initially be provided in these markets in standard definition. ABC and SBS services - including ABC2, ABC3, ABCNews24, and SBSTwo - will also be provided via both terrestrial and satellite broadcast, and will include the high definition channels offered by the national broadcasters.

Regional commercial broadcasters WIN, Prime, Southern Cross and Imparja will announce the rollout schedule for the new channels in coming days. "The Government welcomes the cooperation and assistance of regional commercial broadcasters in making the full benefits of digital TV available to their customers," Senator Conroy said. "Once the rollout of these new channels is completed, any viewer anywhere in Australia who cannot access the full suite of commercial digital TV channels via terrestrial broadcast will be able to access VAST," Senator Conroy said. "This will end once and for all the digital divide in TV services between regional and remote Australians and those living in our cities." Funding for this initiative will be fully offset from monies held in the Contingency Reserve to support Australia's switch from analog to digital television, which will be completed nation-wide by the end of 2013. The initiative was announced in the 2010-11 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook released earlier today.


From http://www.minister.dbcde.gov.au/ 11/09/2010

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FIJI: Lacks Internet Reach

FIJI'S Internet penetration rate is only 10 per cent compared to smaller countries like Niue, Tokelau and Tuvalu. Commerce Commission chairman Dr Mahendra Reddy said while information and communication technology can have a profound impact on the economic growth and development of a country, ICT development in Fiji did not fare well when compared with our neighbours. "In terms of Internet penetration, Fiji has a rate of 10.9 per cent as at 30 September 2009," he said. "However, Australia and New Zealand have 80.1 per cent and 79.7 per cent respectively." Dr Reddy said the Cook Islands had 42 per cent, French Polynesia 31.4 per cent, Guam 47.6 per cent, Micronesia 14.9 per cent, New Caledonia 37.4 per cent, Niue 62 per cent, Palau 26 per cent, Tokelau 58 per cent and Tuvalu at 34 per cent. "This is quite worrying stats," he said. "Especially when for international communications, Fiji is directly linked to the Southern Cross Cable Network, a third generation submarine fibre optic cable system with direct links to Australia, New Zealand and the US West Coast via Hawaii."


From http://www.fijitimes.com/ 09/20/2010

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Time Running Out for Providers to Terminate Unregistered Phones

Fiji Village reports that local telecoms service providers have just two weeks to terminate the services of anyone who has failed to register their phone under the country's telephone services decree, or face the consequences. Under the edict fixed line and mobile providers were given until midnight 22 September 2010 to register their customers or have no other choice but to switch off their service in two week's time. The paper writes that local providers Vodafone Fiji, Digicel Fiji, Inkk and Telecom Fiji have all confirmed that they will not able to register all their customers in time, and are now considering their options to avoid the possibility of customers being disconnected. The telephone services decree was brought in to curb a rising tide of prank calls to emergency numbers and to create a more secure environment for the use of telephones. Anyone breaching the new rules could face a hefty fine or even imprisonment, while companies failing to terminate services in time could be fined up to FJD200,000.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 09/22/2010

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TFL Gains Access to Southern Cross Cable; Fiji to Become Regional Hub

The island nation of Fiji is looking to become a telecommunications hub in the Asia-Pacific region as a result of the opening up of access to the Southern Cross Cable. Local news portal Fiji Village reports that domestic fixed line operator Telecom Fiji Limited (TFL) last week ended the ten-year monopoly of the country's international services provider Fiji International Telecommunications Limited (FINTEL) on the cable, which provides the fastest, most direct, and most secure international internet access bandwidth available to the island. In the wake of the liberalisation of the cable Attorney General and Telecommunications Minister Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum revealed that two countries have already approached Fiji to use its services.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 11/01/2010

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Proud of a Dream

AN information technology (IT) company says it has reached a milestone as all other companies that were established with it in the 1980s have stopped operations. Datec Fiji Ltd chief executive officer Tiru Reddy in an interview said they had reached a milestone by being in operation for 25 years. "Our dream was to create a future by empowering communities with our technologies, and to get a local IT shop where the customers could get end-to-end technology solutions to cater their business needs," Mr Reddy said. He said the company had achieved that dream "