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 Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are a set of targets intended to reduce global poverty and improve living standards by 2015. Specific goals target education, fighting disease and promoting gender equality. Access to communications technology is a part of one of the targets. With five years to go until the deadline to achieve the goals, progress remains uneven. Some countries have achieved many of the goals, while others - mostly in the developing world - may not realise any. Many development experts question how the goals will be achieved and how they will be paid for. Some even question whether the approach is necessary or helpful.

But Dr Toure said that he believed technologies such as broadband could be used to "accelerate" progress on the goals and help countries achieve them. "Access to broadband in an affordable manner is our greatest challenge," Dr Hamadoun Toure, secretary general of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), told BBC News.

 

(Source: BBC)

Full story

BBC

Thursday, September 16, 2010 12:06:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 01, 2010

Finland has become the first country in the world to make broadband a legal right for every citizen. From 1 July every Finn will have the right to access to a 1Mbps (megabit per second) broadband connection. Finland has vowed to connect everyone to a 100Mbps connection by 2015.

Finland's communication minister Suvi Linden explained the thinking behind the legislation: "We considered the role of the internet in Finns everyday life. Internet services are no longer just for entertainment. "Finland has worked hard to develop an information society and a couple of years ago we realised not everyone had access," she said. It is believed up to 96% of the population are already online and that only about 4,000 homes still need connecting to comply with the law.

 

(Source: BBC)

Full story

BBC

Thursday, July 01, 2010 3:30:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 03, 2010

A new international research report commissioned by ACCAN reports on 16 high-speed broadband applications that can provide enormous benefits to people with disabilities. The report was conducted between November 2009 and January 2010 and discusses the uses of broadband applications in Europe, the United States and Japan. The study is also timely with regard to the work being undertaken to establish the National Disability Strategy. Preliminary findings from the study have resulted in input being provided to the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy for its involvement in the Inter-Departmental Committee on the National Disability Strategy.

 

(Source: Australian Communications Consumer Action Network)

Full story

Australian Communications Consumer Action Network

Monday, May 03, 2010 5:33:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 03, 2009

1 April 2009 was the start of a new anti-piracy law in Sweden where, according to traffic data, an immediate and significant drop (over 30 per cent) occurred in the nation's overall Internet traffic.

"The combined traffic passing through Sweden's Internet Exchange Points usually peaks around 160 Gbit/s, but on Wednesday it peaked at around 110 Gbit/s. That's a huge drop in traffic, and is presumably a direct result of less file sharing taking place. ... Another interesting observation is that there was more traffic than usual during the last days before the law took effect. Were people hoarding films and music? On Tuesday (the day before the law went live) traffic peaked at nearly 200 GBit/s, roughly 25% above normal levels."

Read the full story and view the related statistics at CircleID

Friday, April 03, 2009 6:27:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 02, 2008

According to a press release of the European Commission, published on 25 April, a pan-European survey on electronic services in healthcare (eHealth) shows that 87% of European doctors (General Practitioners) use a computer, 48% with a broadband connection. The survey shows that there are considerable differences between the countries, with broadband penetration ranging from 93% in Finland to 5% in Romania. An increasing number of doctors in Europe store and send patients' data such as lab reports electronically.

In using such eHealth applications, doctors and medical services have already improved healthcare in Europe through, for instance, more efficient administration and shorter waiting times for patients. According to the report, a majority of European doctors agree that information and communication technologies (ICTs) improve the quality of healthcare services that they provide.

Doctors not using ICT mention a lack of training and technical support as major barriers. In order to increase the use of eHealth, they ask for more ICT in medical education, more training and better electronic networking among healthcare practitioners that are willing to share clinical information. The report also highlights where doctors could make better use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to offer services such as telemonitoring, electronic prescriptions and cross border medical services.

For more information, click here.

Friday, May 02, 2008 3:40:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 07, 2008

A recent paper of Andrew Odlyzko of the Digital Technology Center at the University of Minnesota discusses “the Internet’s role in aggravating and alleviating the energy crises”. The article points out that, since the days of the horse-drawn coach and the penny post in England, people have believed that travel and communications would be substitutes, i.e. an increase in one would result in a decrease in the other. Nevertheless, history has shown that both travel and communications have grown in parallel with economic growth and have been complementing and stimulating each other. This has happened despite – and even because of – technological developments in each of these two areas.

One could conclude from past experience, therefore, that the Internet – as a new form of communication – would cause a continued increase in travel, leading to ever-greater consumption of energy. The article highlights, however, that there is a key difference between the current situation and the past: the very high and growing price of energy. Because of this unique context, the article concludes that the Internet - and greater broadband deployment - may actually bring about a reduction in energy consumption by helping to reduce the need for travel as well as by bringing about other efficiencies.

To read the full article, click here.

Monday, April 07, 2008 5:17:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, March 14, 2008

Bill St. Arnaud writes about fiber to the home (FTTH) connections on his blog on Green IT/Broadband and Cyberinfrastructure. A presentation quoted of PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the European FTTH Council of 28 February 2008 takes into account CO2 emissions that are produced in the construction and deployment of fiber and measure them against the savings of three ICT applications in the area of telecommuting,telemedicine and home assistance. Among others, the main findings are that the environmental impact of the deployment of a typical FTTH network would be positive in less than 14 years regarding the selected services mentioned above. Additional existing or future applications would further emphasize these results.

For more information on the European FTTH Council, click here.

Friday, March 14, 2008 4:25:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Global Digital Solidarity Fund (DSF) today launched the project of "1000 Telemedicine Units for Africa". This eHealth initiative aims to support financing telemedicine units in Africa as well as to enable health professionals to obtain continuing education. The project consists of equipping district hospitals with diagnostic tools and internet connectivity to enable real-time or deferred exchanges with experts at a distance and to update medical knowledge of health professionals through e-Learning tools.

To date, DSF partners in this project are the Network of French-speaking Africa for Telemedicine (RAFT) of the University Hospitals of Geneva and the Africa Health Infoway (AHI) of the World Health Organization.

For more information on DSF, click here.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008 4:37:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 29, 2007

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported on 26 November about the launch of 20 broadband-enabled teacher resource centres in the Maldives to help the Ministry of Education to provide quality education to every child of a population spread across 1,000 small islands.

Using information and communication technologies (ICTs) enables administrators and teachers to be part of one learning community across the country. Teachers can simultaneously receive online training, access and exchange information through the common network. Moreover, the internet and state-of-the-art technologies are aimed to enhance interactive education and to increase motivation of both students and teachers, as UNICEF noted.

Thursday, November 29, 2007 12:16:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 02, 2007

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, together with other partners, demonstrated how using information and communication technologies (ICTs) and telecommunications networks could result in considerable savings in power-grid infrastructure and electricity consumption, reported the Network World on 22 October.

The test network allowed consumers to select their usage preferences via a web portal. Smart controls-based devices such as virtual thermostats were interconnected with a service-oriented architecture (SOA) through middleware, and using broadband internet. The so-called GridWise project showed that both the power demand at the SOA electricity marketplace could be managed more evenly and customers were in better control of their energy consumption.

For more information on the project, please click here.

Friday, November 02, 2007 11:36:38 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Bill St. Arnaud's blog passes on information on the upcoming OECD-Canada Technology Foresight Forum on the Participative Web: Strategies and Policies for the Future to be held 3 October 2007 in Ottawa, Canada.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007 9:05:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 16, 2007

OECD recently released their Communications Outlook Report, a discussion and an analysis of market structures and recent policy developments. Among the topics discussed was the chapter on main trends in pricing in telecommunication services. It has been noted that with the dramatic increase in Broadband speeds, subscription costs have either remained constant or have been reduced. Based on monthly subscriptions, Sweden has the cheapest broadband plan with $10.47 a month, and US ranks fourth with $15.93 a month. With regard to the newest broadband technology: Fiber, Japan NTT residential connection (100 Mbps down/up) costs $49 a month, and in the US, Verizon FiOS (30 megabits down/5 megabits up) costs $191.20.

More on the OECD Communications Outlook Report here.

Related article may also be accessed at GigaOM.

Monday, July 16, 2007 8:56:01 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 04, 2007

A United States House of Representatives subcommittee approved a bill on spyware this week, which recommends up to five years in prison for convicted distributors of malicious spyware.

Past versions of the Internet Spyware Prevention Act have failed to pass a vote in the United States Senate. Observers have pointed out, however, that the increasing militancy among users fed up with unwanted software intrusion may make this latest attempt more successful. And there is a lot at stake. Creating trust in the internet will ensure its future development. More on this story is available here.

The ITU is taking a leading role in cybersecurity initiatives, particularly in light of calls for global action made at the World Summit on the Information Society. More information on ITU's work in this area is available here.

Friday, May 04, 2007 3:01:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The SHA-1 algorithm, which has been widely used in many of today's mainstream security products since 1995, was significantly compromised in February 2005 by a team of researchers led by Xiaoyun Wang based at China’s Shandong University. (This team had already undertaken attacks against the MD5 and SHA: hash functions previously, prior to their attack on SHA-1).

Their success prompted calls for a replacement algorithm. The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology had already announced that they planned to phase out the use of SHA-1 by 2010 in favour of the SHA-2 variants. The need for a replacement algorithm has now led NIST to launch a contest to devise a successor on 27 January 2007. The competition is to begin in the fall of 2008, and continue until 2011, with full completion and approval by 2012. Contests like this one have a promising history in cryptography. Notably, the Advanced Encryption Standard (devised as a more secure replacement to the prior Data Encryption Standard) was devised through an open competition between fifteen teams of cryptographers between 1997-2000.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 4:28:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Chairman’s Report (Version for Comments) from the ITU New Initiatives Programme workshop on The Future of Voice, held January 15-16, 2007 in the ITU Headquarter, has been made available for comments on the event's web-page.

To download the document, please click here

All comments and remarks, to be reflected in the final version of the Chairman’s Report should be sent via email to SPUmail@itu.int no later than the 19th February 2007.

 

Tuesday, February 06, 2007 5:27:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A short video providing an introduction to the work of ITU-T's Study Group 9 and the events surrounding the meeting was made by Mayumi Matsumoto, Rapporteur for Q.5/9, at the last meeting of the group, held 2 - 6 October, 2006 in Tokyo.  The video contains a demonstration of technologies for emerging broadband services in the home and interviews with some of the exhibitors.

The link to the video can be found here.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007 11:16:09 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 22, 2007

After the ITU New Initiatives Programme event on the Future of Voice held on 15-16 January 2007 in ITU Headquarter, David Allen provided his direct comment on few issues discussed during the meeting.

To see video material, please click here.

 

Monday, January 22, 2007 1:09:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 18, 2007

ITU held a workshop entitled The Future of Voice on the 15th and 16th of January 2007 at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. This workshop organized under the ITU New Initiatives Programme focused on the role of voice communications in the future ubiquitous network environment.

For a long time, voice services have been the principal driver of telecommunication revenue and will probably continue to drive demand for some time. Nevertheless, it is becoming harder to sustain traditional models of per-minute pricing for voice as the service is increasingly carried over data channels that are priced on a flat-rate basis. Some of the key issues discussed during the event include:

• How are voice services evolving and what does this mean for users, providers and the telecommunication industry as a whole?
• How will fixed, mobile and internet-based phone services converge?
• How does messaging, gaming, multimedia fit in?
• Are voice services of the future most likely to be billed by the minute, by volume, or on a flat rate basis?
• What regulatory freedom should be given to operators to bundle voice with other services (e.g., multiple play: voice, video, internet and mobility)?
• What form of licensing, if any, will be necessary for voice service providers?
• What will be the new business models and revenue streams?
• What are the residual universal service obligations (e.g. emergency calls) that should be imposed on voice providers?

All presentations and background papers as well as a web archive of the event (video and audio) are available on the workshop website.

Thursday, January 18, 2007 1:43:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, December 06, 2006

One of the Intenet's pioneers, Dr. Larry Roberts, gave a presentation yesterday at ITU World Telecom Forum 2006 in Hong Kong entitled Optimizing the Internet Quality of Service and Economics for the Digital Generation. Dr. Roberts discussed standardization work in the ITU on end-to-end QoS signalling to better deliver video over the Internet. In particular, he discussed the work on a new flow based, in-band signaling standard called Y.flowreq.

 

 

Wednesday, December 06, 2006 8:04:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 04, 2006

The eighth edition of the ITU Internet Reports, entitled "digital.life" was prepared especially for ITU TELECOM World 2006 (December 4-8 2006, Hong Kong)and is available now online. The report examines how innovation in digital technology is radically changing individual and societal lifestyles.

Chapter one: going digital outlines the meanings of "digital" and reflects on the many ways of being digital. Around one in every three people on the planet now carries a digital mobile phone around with them wherever they go. Globally, more hours are spent consuming digital media, such as the internet, than any analogue media, including television and radio. Digital technologies are transforming businesses and governments, and changing the ways we live and interact. We are witnessing what has been termed a “digital revolution”, which had its beginnings in the early 1980s and refers to the replacement of analogue devices and services with their digital successors. This technological shift has brought about considerable change in the human condition itself, especially in its socioeconomic and cultural aspects.

The transition from narrowband to broadband digital networks (figure below) is now well-advanced in the fixed-line world where there were some 216 million broadband subscribers across the world at the end of 2005, amounting to just over half the total number of internet subscribers and around one-fifth of total fixed lines.

As the world becomes increasingly digital, new challenges and important dilemmas arise for businesses and policy-makers. Private individuals, too, are faced with a bewildering number of choices for their information and communications needs.

If you are eager to discover more about these challenges as well as about the importance of being digital and digital ubiquity, you can download chapter one: going digital.

The full text of the report is available online at the digital.life website.  For more information about the report, contact lara.srivastava(a)itu.int.

Monday, December 04, 2006 2:52:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 30, 2006

OFCOM has just released its first research publication, The International Communications Market 2006. Report focuses specifically on the international communications market, reflecting the increasing impact of global issues on the UK commercial and regulatory communications agenda. 

To read executive summary, please click here.

To download the document, please click here.

Thursday, November 30, 2006 4:29:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 27, 2006

OFCOM has just released a new public discussion document on Regulatory Challenges Posed by Next Generation Access Networks. 

To read executive summary, please click here.

To download the document, please click here.

Monday, November 27, 2006 10:46:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, November 07, 2006

ITU-T will host this year's Broadband Europe Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, 11-14 December 2006. BBEurope is an annual event which was initiated by the European Commission Framework Programme 6 BREAD project which is part of the "BroadBand for All"-strategic objective of the European Commission.

Peter Van Daele, BREAD Project Leader: "The concept of 'Broadband For All' refers to a situation in which broadband is not only available to every citizen, but is actually used by all of them. In that respect it is a more demanding concept than the traditional universal service obligation in telephony, which merely stipulates the availability, at certain conditions, of a given service. The usage of information and communication technologies via broadband infrastructures by all citizens is a policy objective because it is considered to be a key component of transforming Europe into a knowledge-based society, thus enhancing economic growth and increasing employment."

The BREAD project has amongst its objectives to develop a holistic vision encompassing technical, as well as economical and regulatory aspects. Another important aspect is of identifying roadblocks on European, national/regional level and share visions and best practices on national level to EU level.

BBEurope brings together on an international level all the BroadBand players, researchers, service providers, content providers, operators, manufacturers, policy makers, standardisation bodies, professional organisations. The meeting will discuss topics such as NGN, IPTV, wireless access, powerline, security, QoS, and broadband in rural areas. The event will conclude with a panel discussion titled: Future Perspectives in Broadband.

For a draft meeting agenda and more information on the call for papers (deadline: 10 November 2006), see the event website.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006 10:27:48 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Om Malik points to an article in French that discuss how Free.fr, the world's leading multiple play provider based in France is now quickly moving into wireless mesh networks with its new Freebox HD set-top box/wiifi offering. To understand the quantitative advantages of wireless mesh networks, see this presentation from Dave Beyer from 2002 that explains how mesh coverage has the interesting property of increasing coverage and capacity as the more subscribers are added (since the subscribers are part of the routing infrastructure).

Free recently announced the delivery of their 300,000 Freebox HD, which they say creates a wi-fi mesh network that allowing their new wi-fi based phones to roam.

Olivier Gutknecht reported on some of this in English back in April 2006.

Free is also going to do a rollout of FTTH to every home in Paris which they say they will unbundle to competitors.

They also now have a national WiMax license acquired through the acquisition by their parent company, Iliad, of Altitude Telecom.

This recent presentation on Iliad's mid-2006 results provides a good overview of their strategic direction and their financials. What is next?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 10:20:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Economist has an article entitled Your television is ringing that discusses service providers build-outs of Next Generation Network (NGN) converged platforms.

In fact, although the industry likes to depict convergence as a great boon for customers, it actually involves a technological shift that, in the first instance at least, will primarily benefit network operators. At its heart, convergence is the result of the telecoms industry's embrace of internet technology, which provides a cheaper, more efficient way to move data around on networks. On the internet everything travels in the form of “packets” of data, encoded using internet protocol, or IP. The same system can also be used to encode phone conversations, text and photo messages, video calls and television channels—and indeed anything else.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 10:09:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 16, 2006

The ITU’s Strategy and Policy Unit (SPU) is delighted to announce over 70,000 downloads of its major new report, the World Information Society Report (WISR) since July.

The World Information Society Report charts progress in building the Information Society and track the dynamics driving digital opportunity worldwide using a new tool—the Digital Opportunity Index (DOI). The Digital Opportunity Index can strengthen policy-making by monitoring the critical areas of the digital divide, universal access, gender and the promotion of broadband and universal service policies. The DOI has been cited by the US Federal Communications Commission to measure the state of broadband in the United States, monitored in Ireland to track the price of broadband and used by the Egyptian Government to measure the urban-rural divide in Egypt.

Every day this week, SPU will profile a different practical application of the Digital Opportunity Index, to demonstrate its genuine use for policy purposes and to show how it can monitor WSIS follow-up. The Digital Opportunity Index is relevant for policy-makers, regulators, academics, public and other stakeholders with an interest in telecommunications and development.

To find out more, please click here.

Monday, October 16, 2006 5:37:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Digital Opportunity Index (DOI), which is one of the two indices officially endorsed by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) (Geneva 2003-Tunis 2005), can be used as a practical tool to track the changing dynamics driving the Information Society worldwide.

The map illustrates the strong lead taken by Asia, together with Europe and North America, in realizing digital opportunity. Two Asian countries top the world rankings – the Republic of Korea and Japan, and the average DOI scores for the region are higher than the world average of 0.37. Central Asian countries are catching up fast with large infrastructural investments and strong gains in mobile and internet subscribers, including 3G mobile technologies (CDMA 2000 1x and W-CDMA). It is worth noting that five out of the top 15 gainers in the DOI come from the Asian region: these are India, China, Indonesia, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

The Asian Tigers, together with Scandinavian countries lead in internet subscriptions, with around a third of their population subscribing to the internet, but only half of these subscribed to broadband services. This is in contrast to the Republic of Korea, where virtually all internet users are broadband subscribers, with access to faster, advanced services such as video, teleconferencing, multiplayer gaming and triple play. These different profiles of internet usage could result in the development of more varied skill sets and contrasting rates of innovation and, over the longer term, may shape the Information Society differently, according to the type, speed and capacity of internet access available. However, there are often large differences in the level of development within the region - the Asia-Pacific region contains both high-income and Least Developed Countries. In many economies fixed line telephony has been challenged by the worldwide growth in mobile phones.

However, there remains a strong need for basic connectivity in Asia, where connectivity is the main factor driving the digital divide and limiting access to ICTs.

For more analysis on this and other related to digital opportunity issues, please consult the World Information Society Report 2006.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 5:31:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Digital Opportunity Index (DOI), which is one of the two indices officially endorsed by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) (Geneva 2003-Tunis 2005), can be used as a practical tool to track the changing dynamics driving the Information Society worldwide.

The Americas are the second most advanced region in terms of ICT development, following Europe. DOI scores show that basic telecom access and affordability are the main areas of achievement for most countries. In low income Latin American countries, digital opportunity mostly derives from access to cellular service and affordable telecoms. Meanwhile, high-income North-American countries are successfully realizing digital opportunity through high-performance infrastructure (e.g., broadband) and the use of advanced technologies.

In North America, the economies provide good digital opportunity for most of their inhabitants, with extensive infrastructure, generally low prices and widespread use of new technologies. From the Latin American countries, Chile is the highest-ranking Latin American country at 40th place in the DOI for 2005, followed by Argentina at 51st place.

Four of the Top 15 gainers in the DOI over the period 2001-2005 are from Latin America – Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Peru – the latter two are also among the very rare cases where Utilization exceeds Infrastructure. The strong gains in Utilization in Chile and Venezuela resulted from early policies for privatization and a vibrant private sector has successfully promoted telecommunications and the higher-margin broadband segment in these countries.

Caribbean states also generally do well in the DOI. This may be due to an ‘island effect’, where small islands may specialize in ICT intensive offshore industries reliant on telecommunications. Barbados, Jamaica and Antigua and Barbuda all have high DOI scores.

The DOI registers a steady expansion in the number of mobile Internet subscribers, reflected in the steady increase in Utilization over time. Most notably, the DOI shows that mobile Internet and 3G services are no longer the preserve of high-income countries and are now offered in many developing countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as in central and eastern Asia. The 2005 Mobinet study on global mobile usage reports an upward trend in the percentage of multimedia phone users in Latin America browsing the internet or using mobile e-mail at least once a month on their phones, which jumped from 32 per cent in 2004 to 64 per cent in 2005.

For more analysis on this and other related to digital opportunity issues, please consult the World Information Society Report 2006.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006 4:56:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 22, 2006

As part of the ITU's work in follow-up to the WSIS, the World Information Society Report 2006 is addressed to all stakeholders and intended to provide insights as well as useful benchmarks for building the Information Society. The Report gives practical examples of how the DOI can be used, and highlights projects around the world that are working to meet the commitments made at the WSIS.

Chapter five, Beyond WSIS: Making a difference globally, focuses on WSIS implementation and follow-up in different countries. The WSIS called for governments to move from principles into action. There are many efforts underway, both large and small, to implement the WSIS goals, involving a range of stakeholders at the community level, regionally, nationally and internationally. This chapter of the report highlights some of these initiatives to implement the WSIS Plan of Action, from national strategies to grassroots projects. A variety of initiatives have been launched to promote digital opportunity, infrastructure and advanced ICT applications and these highlight fresh approaches and innovative new solutions to ICT development.

One of the biggest challenges for the uptake of ICTs and for building a people-centered and development-oriented Information Society is the affordability of the services. The Digital Opportunity Index monitors the mobile communications that promise to bridge the digital divide in many parts of the world, as well as more recent technologies such as broadband and mobile Internet access. The price of broadband continues to fall worldwide, by as much as twenty per cent a year over the last two years according to ITU’s analysis, while broadband speeds continue to increase. The lower cost of ICTs greately facilitates their diffusion and utilization, and contributes to increased digital opportunity.

Internet affordability (cost of 20h internet connection as a % of monthly GDP per capita)

Note: 1 means affordable; 0 means that the price of lower-user basket is in excess of average GNI per capita.

These positive trends are not restricted to developed countries, and many valuable multi-stakeholder initiatives are underway to further promote ICT development worldwide in the wake of WSIS. 

The DOI has been developed by a multi-stakeholder partnership, the Digital Opportunity Platform, comprising ITU, UNCTAD and KADO (the Korea Agency for Digital Opportunity and Promotion) and which is open to new partners. It will be reported annually in order to track progress in reaching the WSIS targets, and building a diverse and inclusive Information Society, by 2015.

Friday, September 22, 2006 5:11:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 28, 2006

A presentation entitled "Booming Broadband for a Wireless World" was given by Lara Srivastava of ITU on 22 August 2006 at BroadbandAsia 2006 in Shanghai, China. Other speakers included, inter alia, L. Ladid (President, IPv6 Forum), T. Poulos (Asia-Pacific Head, Global Billing Association), A. Hassan (Executive Director, Wi-Fi Alliance), J. Wang (Secretary-General, TD-SCDMA Forum), S. Ramaswamy (Senior Vice President, Bharti AirTel).

Monday, August 28, 2006 9:24:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 17, 2006

Boeing has announced that it is to discontinue its Connexion broadband in the sky service

[via GigaOM]

Thursday, August 17, 2006 7:08:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The International Herald Tribune has an article about the growing problem of "cyberviolence" in South Korea, which has one of the world's most developed Internet communities:

'Complaints filed with the government's Korea Internet Safety Commission more than doubled to 42,643 last year from 18,031 in 2003. Women have reported sexual harassment. A 16-year- old schoolgirl accused of informing on an abusive teacher ran away after her photos and insults were splashed on her school Web site. A singer struggled with rumors that she was a man. Twist Kim, a singer and comedian, had a nervous breakdown after pornographic Web sites proliferated under his name, as if he had created them, causing television stations to spurn him.

In most countries, Internet users oppose government attempts to censor the Internet. In South Korea, however, in both government-funded and private surveys, a majority of people support official intervention to check unbridled freedom of speech on the Internet.

A poll taken in November showed that nearly one of 10 South Koreans from 13 to 65 said they had experienced cyberviolence.

The problem in South Korea may presage what will happen in other countries, according to the authorities, who have begun cracking down on the problem.

"In the past few years, the Internet has grown in South Korea explosively," said Kim Sung Ho, secretary general at Kinternet, a lobby of domestic portals. "The Internet community has developed faster and stronger in South Korea than elsewhere. So we are struggling with its side effects earlier than other nations."

Since last year, dozens of people have been indicted on charges of criminal contempt or slander for writing or spreading malicious online insults about victims like Kim Myong Jae. They face fines of as much as 2 million won, or $2,067.

This month, the National Assembly will debate a bill that would require the nation's 30 major Internet portals and newspaper Web sites to confirm the identities of visitors before allowing them to use bulletin boards, the main channel of cyberviolence.

"The idea is to make people feel more responsible for what they are posting on the Net," said Oh Sang Kyoon, a director at the Ministry of Information and Communications. "Victims cannot live a normal life. They quit jobs and run away from society. They even flee the country. It's like lynching victims in a 'people's court on the Web.'"

Some critics question whether such a law would solve the problem. Cyberviolence, they say, has been increasing even though most of the country's major Web sites are already applying the policy.

"This is violating privacy in the name of protecting it," said Oh Byoung Il, director general at jinbo.net, a civic group. "It discourages anonymous whistle- blowers. It impedes the free flow of communication, the soul of the Internet."

Official interference will also discriminate in favor of foreign portals like Google, said Kim of Kinternet. For instance, when users search for "sex" in a South Korean portal, they must first prove they are adults by supplying personal data - a requirement that does not apply to the Korean-language Google, which operates with an overseas server.

But Kim Myong Jae condemned the portals as willing accomplices in online mob attacks. While painfully slow to respond to victims' complaints, Kim said, the portals - the largest of which, naver.com, attracts 15 million users a day - highlight real-time lists of the most- clicked-on news, thus helping spread sensational, and often libelous, items.

Kim said he had filed suit against the nation's top four portals: Naver, Daum, Yahoo! Korea and Nate.

And portals say they are now screening their contents more vigorously. "Rather than being an arena for sound debate, the Web bulletin boards have to some extent become a place for verbal defecation," said Choi Soo Yeon, a naver.com spokeswoman. "We have 300 monitors who work round the clock to delete abusive and defamatory language." But ultimately, the portals say, the users who post on the Web should be responsible for content.

South Korea saw an explosion of Internet users as the country emerged from decades of military rule, and citizens jumped on the new technology as a way of expressing long-suppressed views. About 33 million South Koreans - out of a population of 48 million - use the Internet, most of them with broadband connections. And many of them are not shy about their feelings.

News articles on portals or newspaper Web sites often are accompanied by feedback sections, where readers comments. Some news articles attract thousands of entries, ranging from thoughtful comments to raving obscenities. When suspicions first emerged last year that the cloning expert Hwang Woo Suk had faked his groundbreaking work, few dared to speak in public against the man lionized as a hero. Scientists, who unveiled evidence of fabrication through anonymous postings, brought about Hwang's downfall.

One of the most famous victims of online mob rule was the so-called "dog-poop girl." A cellphone photograph of a girl who failed to clean up after her dog in a subway car was posted on the Internet. For weeks, people pursued her relentlessly; the girl reportedly dropped out of school as a result.

To Kim Myong Jae, it was familiar. "Two months after I became the target, I visited a plaza near my old company. I dressed differently. Still a person reported my appearance on the Web, how I looked and how that person felt sick to see me," Kim said. "It's a handicap I may have to carry for a long time."'

Thursday, August 17, 2006 7:07:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 27, 2006

Colombian Comission for Telecommunication Regulation has just released new report on "Developments in the Telecommunication Sector".

This report has been prepared as a contribution to the New Initiatives Programme project on the Future of Voice. Further information on the project can be found here. The analysis is available here or on the website with background materials of the project the Future of Voice.

Thursday, July 27, 2006 1:00:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 04, 2006

"South Korea has commercially launched its mobile broadband internet service WiBro. South Korean internet service provider KT and mobile phone operator SK Telecom have begun the service based on Intel's WiMax standard in parts of Seoul and surrounding areas. KT claims that WiBro users can get wireless access to the internet even when travelling at speeds of 120km/hour".

"Subscribers can access the service by using a PCMCIA card provided by Samsung Electronics. The telcos plan to cover the entire country with the service by 2008".

For more information, please see the article featured in Digital Media News for Asia (DMasia.com)

This story was accessed through the SmartMobs blog.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006 9:27:52 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On 20 June 2006 Singapore launched a new ten-year infocomm masterplan that will propel the nation into 2015 and beyond, with a line-up of activities and goals that spell benefits for the people, businesses and the global community. The vision is to turn the country into an Intelligent Nation and Global City, Powered by infocomm. The masterplan recommends the way forward for Singapore, into a future where infocomm will bring a sea change and become intrinsic in the way people live, learn, work and play.

The masterplan sets bold targets for 2015:

  • Singapore to be No. 1 in the world in harnessing infocomm to add value to the economy and society
  • Achieve a two-fold increase in value-added1 of the infocomm industry to S$26 billion
  • See a three-fold increase in infocomm export revenue to S$60 billion
  • Create 80,000 additional jobs2
  • Have at least 90 per cent of homes using broadband
  • Ensure 100 per cent computer ownership for all homes with school-going children

Further information on the masterplan is available here.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006 8:30:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 29, 2006
Thursday, June 29, 2006 3:12:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Lithuanian Radio and TV Centre is currently large scale trialing a Lithuania-wide pre-WiMAX solution in the 3.5 Ghz range. The map below shows the current almost blanket country coverage using Aperto gear which is being used to offer services such as broadband internet access for SMEs, government agencies, schools, libraries, L2 VPNs for corporate customers and municipalities, VoIP, radio and tV over IP, videoconferencing and the backbone for road traffic control systems.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006 3:56:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A new research report called Comparison of OECD Broadband Markets - A comparison of cost and performance data for business and residential broadband products in 26 OECD countries was released. The report commissioned by InternetNZ and prepared by Wairua Consulting analyses 2'586 broadband packages from 26 OECD countries, on a range of indicators including download and upload speeds, costs, data caps, variety of offerings, contention ratios and finally an overall ranking table.

Accorting to the report, Sweden offers the best overall ‘value’ for broadband services in terms of cost and performance, followed by the Netherlands, Norway, Canada and Germany. A comparison of the price/performance rating from this study with that country’s OECD broadband subscriber ranking and the latest e-readiness assessment from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) suggests that the cost and performance of broadband products is not directly related to uptake in the country, nor is it directly related to that country’s e-readiness, which is defined as the ‘state of play’ of a country’s ICT infrastructure and the ability of its consumers, businesses and governments to use ICT to their benefit. For example, Slovakia appears to offer good value for money and above average performance, though uptake of broadband remains low and e-readiness is low. Conversely, Iceland and Switzerland have high uptake but are comparatively expensive.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 11:18:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 22, 2006

ITU has just released its new statistics on global broadband penetration per 100 inhabitants as of 1 January 2006. Iceland has taken over as this year's leader from Korea with Netherlands, Denmark and Hong Kong, China rounding out the top five.

Monday, May 22, 2006 1:12:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 18, 2006

17 May 2006 On 17 May, World Information Society Day, ITU together with other partners (including UNCTAD and the KADO) launched a new series of reports entitled World Information Society Reports. It is intended to be an annual report, tracking progress in implementing the outcomes from the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The reports will include a new benchmarking tool, the Digital Opportunity Index, which is a composite index for measurement of the information society, endorsed by the Tunis Phase of the WSIS. The summary of the report is available on the website at www.itu.int/wisr. The report itself will be published in June 2006.

Thursday, May 18, 2006 11:46:46 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Bill St. Arnaud on the Canarie mailing list points to an interesting paper entitled The Ongoing Evolution from Packet Based Networks to Hybrid Networks in Research & Education Networks (Word). The paper references a number of the standardization activities on optical transport networks taking place in the ITU-T's Study Group 15.

Abstract:

The ongoing evolution from packet based networks to hybrid networks in Research & Education (R&E) networks, or what are the fundamental reasons behind this fundamental paradygm shift and the resulting growing gap between commercial and R&E Internet networks?

As exemplified by the Internet2 HOPI initiative, the new GEANT2 backbone, the GLIF  initiative and projects such as Dragon and Ultralight, National Research and Education Network (NREN) infrastructures are undergoing several very fundamental evolutions moving from conventional Packet based Internet networks to Hybrid networks while also moving from commercial Telecom Operator networks to Customer Empowered, dark fiber based, networks.

By hybrid networks, we mean the combination of conventional packet based Internet networks coupled with the capability to dynamically establish high speed End-to-end circuits, i.e. Bandwidth on Demand (BoD), also referred to sometimes as "lambda Grids",

This paper is attempting to explain the fundamental reasons behind this very significant paradygm shift and to assess its likely impact on National R&E, while also giving a very brief overview on what next generation Optical Transport Networks (OTN) may look like in a few years time with the advent of Ethernet over SONET/SDH (EoS), Generic Framing Procedures (GFP), Virtual Concatenation (VCAT) and Link Capacity Adjustment Scheme (LCAS).

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 11:22:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 04, 2006

The US Federal Communications Commission today adopted a Second Report and Order and Memorandum Opinion and Order (Order) that addresses several issues regarding implementation of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), enacted in 1994. Among other things, the Order affirms that the CALEA compliance deadline for facilities-based broadband Internet access and interconnected VoIP services will be May 14, 2007, as established by the First Report and Order in this proceeding. The Order concludes that this deadline gives providers of these services sufficient time to develop compliance solutions, and notes that standards developments for these services are already well underway. Further details and background are available in the FCC news release and statement by individual FCC commissioners:

Thursday, May 04, 2006 12:05:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 28, 2006

Juries began deliberating at the International Competition for CyberArts 2006 (Prix Ars Electronica) in Linz, Austria this morning. Over 4'300 projects from around the world are being considered.

Since 1987, the Prix Ars Electronica has served as an interdisciplinary platform for everyone who uses ICTs as a universal medium for implementing and designing their creative projects at the interface of art, technology and society. The Prix Ars Electronica is one of the most important awards for creativity and pioneering spirit in the field of digital media.

The event calls for entries in 7 categories, including a youth competition and a grant for young creative talent:

  • Computer Animation / Visual Effects

  • Digital Music

  • Interactive Art

  • Net Vision

  • Digital Communities

  • u19 – freestyle computing

  • [the next idea] Art and Technology Grant

ITU's Lara Srivastava is Jury Member for the "Digital Communities" category, which focuses on the promotion of the social use of ICTs and the creation of common public goods, the sharing of knowledge, and the narrowing of the digital divide. This category was introduced to the Prix in 2004 by Jury Member Andreas Hirsch and Howard Rheingold. The other Jury members are: Steven Clift (Chairman, e-democracy.org) and Peter Kuthan (Founder, Tonga Online).

The Net Vision Jury includes Marko Ahtisaari (Director of Design Strategy at Nokia) and the Digital Music Jury includes Rob Young (Editor-at-large, The Wire Magazine).

The Computer Animation Jury includes such names as Mark Dippé (Director of Spawn and Visual Effects Supervisor for Jurassic Park, The Abyss, and Terminator 2), Rick Sayre (Visual Effects Supervisor for Pixar's Toy Story, A Bug's Life and The Incredibles), and Shuzo Shiota (President and CEO of Polygon Pictures).

Results from all categories will be released during the third week in May. Awards will be handed out at the Ars Electronica Festival in September 2006. Check this blog for further news!

 

Friday, April 28, 2006 12:24:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 24, 2006

The OECD has released its end-2005 broadband statistics for 30 OECD member countries. According to the OECD, main highlights from the second half of 2005 are:

  • In December 2005, four countries (Iceland, Korea, the Netherlands and Denmark) led the OECD in broadband penetration, each with more than 25 subscribers per 100 inhabitants.
  • Iceland now leads the OECD with a broadband penetration rate of 26.7 subscribers per 100 inhabitants.
  • Korea’s broadband market is advancing to the next stage of development where existing subscribers switch platforms for increased bandwidth. In Korea, fibre-based broadband connections grew 52.4% during 2005. This switchover effect is evident by the net loss of DSL (-3.3%) and cable (-1.7%) subscribers during the year.
  • The strongest per-capita subscriber growth came from Iceland, Finland, Norway, the Netherlands and Australia. Each country added more than 6 subscribers per 100 inhabitants during 2005.
  • Japan leads the OECD in fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) with 4.6 million fibre subscribers at the end of 2005. Fibre subscribers alone in Japan outnumber total broadband subscribers in 21 of the 30 OECD countries.
  • DSL is still the leading platform in 28 OECD countries. Cable subscribers outnumber DSL in Canada and the United States.
  • The United States has the largest total number of broadband subscribers in the OECD at 49 million. US broadband subscribers represent 31% of all broadband connections in the OECD.
  • Canada leads the G7 group of industrialized countries in broadband penetration
  • The breakdown of broadband technologies in December 2005 is as follows:
         o DSL: 62%
         o Cable modem: 31%
         o Other technologies (e.g. satellite, fibre and fixed wireless) : 7%
Monday, April 24, 2006 10:31:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 21, 2006

The National Communications Authority of Hungary (NCAH) started last summer the elaboration of a regulatory strategy for the period 2006 to 2010. In this process a detailed breakdown is given of the means by which NCAH intends to promote the development of electronic communications markets which play an increasingly important role in the Hungarian economy contributing to the creation of the information society and consequent improvement of the country’s competitiveness.

The concept is available here.

Friday, April 21, 2006 1:50:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On 6 April 2006 Quallo Center held 2006 Quello Communication Law and Policy Symposium.

For programme of the event and presentations please click here.

Friday, April 21, 2006 1:13:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 28, 2006

From today's Wall Street Journal Europe: How France Became A Leader in Offering Faster Broadband

"For years, France's telecommunications industry was a state-owned monopoly with one of the world's most backward broadband markets. But thanks to deregulation six years ago, French consumers have access to high-speed Internet service that is much faster and cheaper than in the U.S.

One telecom company in particular has exploited the changes and created competition in France -- a start-up called Iliad. Over 1.1 million French subscribers pay as low as €29.99 ($36) monthly for a "triple play" package called Free that includes 81 TV channels, unlimited phone calls within France and to 14 countries, and high-speed Internet. The least expensive comparable package from most cable and phone operators in the U.S. is more than $90, although more TV channels are generally included.

"We are coming into people's living rooms and changing the way they consume telecom services," says Michael Boukobza, Iliad's 28-year-old chief executive."

Key to France's success has been the active intervention of ARCEP, the French communications regulator. At last week's ITU workshop What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs?, François Varloot of ARCEP presented an overview of the French marketplace and their views on emerging symmetric and asymmetric IP regulatory issues.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 10:32:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 27, 2006

On 23-24 March 2006 at ITU headquarters, the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit hosted a high-level experts workshop entitled What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs? focused on the policy and regulatory challenges related to the deployment of IP-enabled NGNs. The following materials are now available:

Monday, March 27, 2006 11:18:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A public talk was given on 22 March 2006 at Michigan State University's Quello Center for Telecommunication Management and Law on "The Changing Face of Cyberspace" (Lara Srivastava, ITU). 

Wednesday, March 22, 2006 4:10:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 14, 2006

At a workshop on ICT Indicators for performance benchmarking, held in Delhi 1-3 March, under the auspices of LIRNEasia and TRAI, representatives from the region's national statistical offices and regulatory agencies committed themselves to developing a set of ICT Indicators for the region based around "core set of ICT Indicators" defined by the Partnership for Measuring ICT for Development. This methodology means that they will be able to apply the composite "Digital Oppoportunity Index", which has been developed by a multi-stakeholder partnership, including ITU, KADO and UNCTAD, for the measurement of the digital divide within the region and within individual countries.

The proceedings of the conference, which included presentations from TRAI, LIRNEasia, ITU, OECD and NRRI, are avaialble on the LIRNEasia website.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 8:49:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The ITU-T Newslog has news of a joint ITU-T Workshop and IMTC Forum 2006 on "H.323, SIP: is H.325 next?" to be held 9-11 May 2006 in San Diego, California. 

The rollout of NGN will bring with it in a new era of multimedia communications and with that a need to consider updating or replacing the currently used H.323 and SIP multimedia protocols. The question is whether to pursue development of a new protocol and a new generation of multimedia communication systems, or define new multimedia capabilities and functionality for existing protocols. Perhaps some consideration needs to be given to service control interface specifications. With work already underway in ITU on a new protocol dubbed H.325, the industry must decide whether to invest more time and resource into this pursuit. The answer to this question will be one of the more fundamental issues addressed at this IMTC Forum and ITU-T Workshop, which will have to consider: market acceptance/need and benefit to end users, service providers and to enterprise information technology (IT) staff.

More details on the workshop are available here. For a primer on H.325, see here.


Tuesday, February 28, 2006 4:14:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

This publication, with a foreword by Nitin Desai, provides an overview of the key debates on Internet governance. It presents the work of the Open Regional Dialogue on Internet Governance, an Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme (APDIP) initiative that has collected perspectives from regional experts and end users.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006 11:21:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 24, 2006

  The Golden Book — a record of work undertaken to implement the goas of the World Summit on the Information Society and build the future Information Society — was launched on 24 February 2006 during the Consultation Meeting of WSIS Action Lines Facilitators/Moderators, convened by ITU, UNESCO and UNDP in Geneva.

This Golden Book highlights some of the valuable work being done around the world to promote ICTs in projects, large and small, by governments, individuals or team effort, for the benefit of all. It provides illustrative examples of new and innovative projects to build infrastructure, promote ICTs in education, health and governance, ensure fair access and enhance online security.

The Golden Book has been published by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as a permanent record of the new commitments and resources pledged by stakeholders during the Tunis Phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). All WSIS stakeholders at the Summit were invited to submit an online questionnaire with details of their activities announced during the Tunis Phase. These activities have been planned or are already being undertaken to implement the WSIS Plan of Action. The Golden Book also serves as a tool helping to coordinate the action taken to implement the 11 Action lines and avoid duplication.

More than 375 submissions were made to the Golden Book by governments, international organizations, NGOs, companies and individuals, describing their work towards promoting ICT activities. ITU estimates that the activities announced during the Tunis Phase to promote WSIS goals represented a total value of at least € 3.2 billion (US$ 3.9 billion). Governments committed to implement projects for some € 1.9 billion, representing nearly two-thirds of estimated total value of all commitments, while international organizations pledged to carry out activities for around half that amount, i.e. 0.83 billion Euros. Business entities announced plans to realize projects for around 0.35 billion Euros and civil society projects amount to least 0.13 billion Euros.

Amount of financial commitments by stakeholder

Breakdown by anticipated expenditure

For more information on the Golden Book, please see here.

Friday, February 24, 2006 6:22:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Eli Noam: Moore’s Law at risk from industry of delay:

"So, in technology, Moore’s Law is alive and well. But technology does not operate in a vacuum. No business or government institution can change at 50 per cent a year. While stability and tradition are important, if a fundamental technology progresses far beyond society’s ability to absorb its impacts, a growing disconnection occurs. When, in the 19th century, technology proceeded at a rapid pace while social institutions did not, the results were upheavals and revolutions. Today, again, the key elements of the information economy are progressing at a scorching rate, while private and public institutions are lagging behind.

Examples include the way the US lost leadership in mobile wireless and broadband internet because of interminable governmental processes in spectrum allocation. Around the world, it has taken more than a decade to set the rules on interconnection among telecommunciation carriers, and they are still far from settled. This has slowed the entry of new-style carriers.

The question of whether new broadband services should be treated in the same time-consuming way as traditional telecommunication has tied regulators in knots and recently created a confrontation between Brussels and Germany. In South Korea, video over the internet requires a broadcasting licence, which has slowed how much the network is used. Patent offices every­where are falling behind their workload. It may soon take more than five years to get a patent in the US."

Wednesday, February 15, 2006 12:49:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 14, 2006

In line with para 108 and Annex of the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, a consultation on WSIS Action Line Facilitation for WSIS action line C2, i.e. information and communication infrastructure will take place in conjunction with WTDC-06 in Doha, Qatar, on 9 March 2006, in the Convention Center, Room Al Majlis, to benefit from the presence of many WSIS stakeholders present at WTDC-06. The meeting will run from 14.00 – 17.00 hours. The meeting is open to all WSIS stakeholders that are interested and involved in implementation process in the field of information and communication infrastructure. The meeting will be held in English.

The purpose of the meeting is for information exchange and to discuss the WSIS multi-stakeholder implementation process in field of information and communication infrastructure.  ITU, UNESCO and UNDP are holding a consultation meeting to establish the nature of the coordination process, its outputs, modalities and logistics, of the work to be undertaken on WSIS implementation on 24 February 2006, in Geneva, and the outcome of this meeting will be reported. A draft annotated agenda is attached, together with a registration/badge request form for those not registered for WTDC-06. Further information is available from the implementation website.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 10:08:56 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 10, 2006
Friday, February 10, 2006 9:13:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Measuring Broadband's Economic Impact, William H. Lehr, Carlos A. Osorio, Sharon E. Gillett, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Marvin A. Sirbu, Carnegie Mellon University (Revised January 17 2006):

Abstract: Does broadband matter to the economy? Numerous studies have focused on whether there is a digital divide, on regulatory impacts and investment incentives, and on the factors influencing where broadband is available. However, given how recently broadband has been adopted, little empirical research has investigated its economic impact. This paper presents estimates of the effect of broadband on a number of indicators of economic activity, including employment, wages, and industry mix, using a cross-sectional panel data set of communities (by zip code) across the United States. We match data from the FCC (Form 477) on broadband availability with demographic and other economic data from the US Population Censuses and Establishment Surveys. We find support for the conclusion that broadband positively affects economic activity in ways that are consistent with the qualitative stories told by broadband advocates. Even after controlling for community-level factors known to influence broadband availability and economic activity, we find that between 1998 and 2002, communities in which mass-market broadband was available by December 1999 experienced more rapid growth in (1) employment, (2) the number of businesses overall, and (3) businesses in IT-intensive sectors. In addition, the effect of broadband availability by 1999 can be observed in higher market rates for rental housing in 2000. We compare state-level with zip-code level analyses to highlight data aggregation problems, and discuss a number of analytic and data issues that bear on further measurements of broadband’s economic impact. This analysis is perforce preliminary because additional data and experience are needed to more accurately address this important question; however, the early results presented here suggest that the assumed (and oft-touted) economic impacts of broadband are both real and measurable.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006 8:52:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Geoff Huston in the February 2006 edition of ISP Column asks what Convergence?

The effort to arm networks with complex quality and service manipulation capabilities in the guise of NGNs and QoS networks appears to be a step in precisely the opposite direction to what customers demonstrably want from networks.

...

There is no next vertical killer application coming, and it certainly isn’t going to be just VOIP.

...

We are seeing a new suite of application components in the form of XML, Ajax, RSS, Torrents, Podcasts and similar, and methods of constructing content in previously undreamt of methods. Many of the more captivating services are now in the form of overlay applications, such as Skype for voice or Google’s Gmail for mail . The common factor here is that these services do not use dedicated network infrastructure, but exist as application level overlays. Its clear in this that user’s perception of where the value lies is shifting to the application rather than remaining with the network’s access infrastructure. This value shift is not coalescing within a single application, however. What is evident is that the application space is now an area of intense innovation, and we are seeing diversification in this space, rather than convergence. The richness of structured data sets and their potential to create innovative services is an obvious outcome of this application level activity.

...

Perhaps its time to forget about convergence, and instead look at what it takes to survive as a carrier ISP in today’s deregulated, competitive, unconverged world. Certainly one of the more important principles is to stop attempting to add value to the network by spending large amounts of effort in providing a panoply of services that customers simply don’t want and don’t value. It would appear that want customers want today is for packet carriers to stick to the basics - keep overheads low and operate a network that is simple, stable, fast and cheap. User value construction is happening at the edge of the network through overlay structures, and the major attribute of networks today is not convergence per se, but the ability to open the network’s edge up for competitive innovation.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006 9:15:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 06, 2006

Telephony Discussion has a detailed account of a talk given by Norman Lewis, director of research for France Telecom, at eTel where he takes quite a few swipes at his industry colleagues.

Monday, February 06, 2006 11:36:49 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ITU-T Newslog has news on a new ITU-T standard (ITU-T Recommendation, Y.1731) which will allow operators offering Ethernet services to use OAM (operations, administration, and maintenance) mechanisms to facilitate network operation and troubleshooting.

Recommendation Y.1713 gives user-plane OAM functionality in Ethernet networks. The architectural basis for this Recommendation is the Ethernet specification G.8010. A previous Recommendation Y.1730 served as a prelude to Y.1731 outlining the OAM requirements of operators. Joncour says that Y.1731 was developed in close collaboration with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) group 802.1. This group is also preparing a standard (802.1ag - Connectivity Fault Management) devoted to Ethernet OAM aspects. IEEE 802.1ag defines a subset of the functions/PDUs described in Y.1731. Regular communications between the two groups ensured alignment of the description of the common features.

Monday, February 06, 2006 10:36:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, February 05, 2006

It's just not major telecommunication carriers who appear to want to build separate "internets" with guaranteed QoS and security (aka NGN). Today's UK Times Online has an article on rumours that Google intends to build its own "tiered" internet.

Sunday, February 05, 2006 3:13:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 03, 2006

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released a consultation document on the impact of transition to NGNs (also see press release). TRAI will be conducting open house discussions in Delhi and Bangalore on the NGN consultation paper as well as the recent consultation on convergence and competition.

Friday, February 03, 2006 5:03:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A practical guide to planning and building low-cost telecommunication infrastructure.

This book was created by a team of individuals who each, in their own field, are actively participating in the ever-expanding Internet by pushing its reach farther than ever before. The massive popularity of wireless networking has caused equipment costs to continually plummet, while equipment capabilities continue to sharply increase. We believe that by taking advantage of this state of affairs, people can finally begin to have a stake in building their own communications infrastructure. We hope to not only convince you that this is possible, but also show how we have done it, and to give you the information and tools you need to start a network project in your local community.

Wireless infrastructure can be built for very little cost compared to traditional wired alternatives. But building wireless networks is only partly about saving money. By providing people in your local community with cheaper and easier access to information, they will directly benefit from what the Internet has to offer. The time and effort saved by having access to the global network of information translates into wealth on a local scale, as more work can be done in less time and with less effort.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 4:14:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 30, 2006

The French telecommunications regulator, ARCEP has published a study (in French) by OVUM on the impact of the deployment of NGNs, migration scenarios as well as the possible impact on regulation.

Monday, January 30, 2006 6:25:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, January 29, 2006

From Richard Stastny's VoIP and ENUM blog comes information out of a recent annual meeting of FTTH Council Europe where an announcement was made that the City of Vienna, together with the city-owned electricity company (Wienstrom) and the sewage company (Wienkanal), will provide all households in the city (~1 million) with FTTH (or FTAH=Fibre to All Homes).

Sunday, January 29, 2006 10:52:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 27, 2006

Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication (MIC) has announced the latest news on its recently established (October 2005) "Study Group on a Framework for Competition Rules to Address Progress in the Move to IP". The Study Group is considering i) basic concepts of competition rules in preparation for a full-fledged IP age, as well as ii) interconnection and tariff policies in the future.

At the first meeting, members of the Study Group discussed an agenda to be deliberated upon and adopted a draft agenda. From the standpoints of i) improved transparency for open deliberations and ii) further enhancement of the themes, the Study Group decided to invite public comments on the draft agenda during November 2005. During the second meeting of the Study Group on December 21, 2005, the Study Group adopted the Consideration Agenda Concerning a Framework for Competition Rules to Address Progress in the Move to IP.

Friday, January 27, 2006 10:11:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 24, 2006

ITU Press Release: World Telecommunication Development Conference 2006 to agree on telecommunication development priorities to bridge the digital divide

Geneva, 24 January 2006 - The first world development conference following the landmark World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) is due to open in six weeks in Doha, Qatar.

The purpose of the conference is to focus on development priorities in telecommunications and agree on the programmes, projects and initiatives to implement them. It will take into account the WSIS Geneva Plan of Action and Tunis Agenda, which aim at bridging the digital divide. A key objective is to promote international cooperation, regional initiatives and partnerships that can sustain and strengthen telecommunication infrastructure and institutions in developing countries. The Doha Action Plan will set out ways to implement these goals over the next four years.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006 7:35:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 18, 2006

France Telecom (FT) has announced plans to launch a very high speed fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) pilot programme to households in Hauts-de-Seine and Paris, which will go live before the summer of 2006. Based on the result of its test phase, it plans to cover other regions of France or abroad in 2007.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 3:26:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Let There Be Wi-Fi: Broadband is the electricity of the 21st century—and much of America is being left in the dark, by Robert McChesney and John Podesta

Two decades ago, the chattering classes fretted about economic upheaval rising from Japan and the Asian Tigers. They feared an invasion of cars, microchips, and Karaoke that would take away American jobs, take over U.S.-dominated industries, and shift cultural norms. In the 1990s, America responded with a boom in high technology and Hollywood exports. But a revolution is again brewing in places like Japan and South Korea. This time it's about “broadband”—a technology that, in terms of powering economies, could be the 21st century equivalent of electricity. But rather than relive the jingoism of the 1980s, American policy makers would be wise to take a cue from the Asian innovators and implement new policies to close the digital divide at home and with the rest of the world.

The article cites ITU broadband research such as this and this.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006 4:05:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 06, 2006

Light Reading is reporting that some of the best-known names in the VOIP peering business including VeriSign Inc., XConnect Global Networks Ltd., Arbinet-thexchange Inc., NeuStar Inc., Stealth Communications Inc., and InfiniRoute Networks Inc.  have replied to CableLabs' request for information (RFI) for technologies to enable cable operators to share Voice over IP (VoIP) traffic directly over their IP networks; otherwise known as VoIP Peering. The original RFI can be found here.

Friday, January 06, 2006 2:54:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Asia-Pacific maintains its lead in providing the best broadband bargains to be found worldwide. The latest ITU research comparing international prices for broadband access confirms that the three cheapest broadband economies are in Asia, with Japan still the cheapest at just 7 U.S. cents per 100 kbit/s followed by Korea. Both Japan and Korea offer the highest speeds for the cheapest prices per 100 kbit/s.

Prices among the cheapest fifteen broadband economies continued to fall and nearly halved, falling by 46.6 per cent from 2004-2005. Other countries are following Asia’s lead in bargain-value pricing. In 2004, just five economies offered broadband access under 1 USD per 100 kbit/s (which included four from Asia). In 2005, eleven economies offered cut-price access, including six from Europe. The good news for operators is that such pricing strategies seem to build market share. Eleven of the fifteen cheapest economies also rank in the fifteen economies with the highest broadband penetration. This implies that operators are successfully winning customers through cheaper pricing plans. Whether strong market shares can be translated into profit is another question, however. Bargain-value pricing builds subscriber bases at the expense of profit margins, which are likely to be eroded.

Source: ITU research, based on data available in the Statistical Annex to ITU Internet Report 2005: The Internet of Things, November 2005.

Friday, January 06, 2006 2:43:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) runs public consultation on Issues relating to Convergence and Competition in Broadcasting and Telecommunications. Written comments on the issues raised may please be furnished to Secretary, TRAI by 30th January, 2006.

The consultation paper published on 2nd January 2006 is available here.

The mainr issues for consultation include:

1) Comprehensive Legal Framework

Keeping in view the various convergence related issues discussed in the Consultation paper and as a measure to facilitate competition and promote efficiency in operation of telecom services so as to facilitate growth in such services.
a) Whether there is a need for having a comprehensive legal framework to deal with various issues arising out of convergence of technologies and services? If so
b) Whether, the legal framework must be developed around the Communication Convergence Bill, 2001? If so.
c) Whether changes may be required in the Bill especially taking into account TRAI’s unified licensing recommendations dated 13th January, 2005.
d) Whether regulation of carriage and content should be separated, as the skill sets required for the two are grossly different?

2) Unified Licensing

To ensure the compatibility of comprehensive legal frame work and the Unified Licensing Regime as recommended by the TRAI vide its recommendations dated 13th January 2005 and also after taking into account the subsequent developments should there be changes required in Unified Licensing ?

3) Spectrum related issues

Whether there should be flexibility in spectrum allocation to take full advantage of new services and new technologies for existing services that may evolve with time?

4) Rationalisation of Differential Custom Duty Regime

Whether changes should be made in customs duties as proposed by the Committee to promote effective competition amongst telecom and cable operators?

5) Restriction on use of Protocols

Whether call termination should be permitted on Customer Premise Equipments (CPEs) using any protocol recommended by ITU/IETF?

6) Institutional funding

Whether the Government should intercede with the banks and financial institutions to emphasize the importance of these projects in building up the country’s communication infrastructure and to provide funds to the cable industry wherever found commercially feasible?

7) FDI Limits

Whether there is a need to undertake a complete review of the FDI policy for the various sub sectors in telecommunications and broadcasting so that there is consistency in policy and a level playing field between competing technologies?

8) Right of Way

Right of Way to Cable operators providing digital services has already been recommended in TRAI recommendations dated 14th September 2005 on Digitalisation of Cable Television. Pending these amendments whether further action should be taken as proposed by the Committee?

 

Friday, January 06, 2006 10:58:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Malaysia has recently launched its latest 5 year ICT master plan called MyICMS 886.

[Via James Seng's blog]

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 2:14:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, December 23, 2005

The European Regional Seminar on Regulatory and Economic Aspects of VoIP and Broadband Promotion for Central Eastern European countries (CEE), Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Baltic States took place from the 29 to 30 November 2005, in Istanbul, Turkey. The agenda and presentations made at the meeting are available.

Friday, December 23, 2005 1:45:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The European Commission has released a new draft proposal to update the EU's "TV without Frontiers" Directive. In a press release, the Commission notes the proposal is intended to keep pace with rapid technological and market developments in Europe’s audiovisual sector. Highlights from the press release:

  • The proposal will create a level playing field for all companies that offer TV-like services, irrespective of the technology used to deliver them (e.g. broadcast, high-speed broadband, third generation mobiles).
  • The Commission proposes replacing disparate national rules on protection of minors, against incitement to racial hatred and against surreptitious advertising with a basic, EU-wide minimum standard of protection for audiovisual on demand services.
  • Under the Commission proposal, the modernised TV without Frontiers Directive would govern TV and TV-like services. To open up the present EU rules to technological developments, the proposal distinguishes between “linear” services (e.g. scheduled broadcasting via traditional TV, the internet, or mobile phones, which “pushes” content to viewers), and “non-linear” ones, such as on-demand films or news, which the viewer “pulls” from a network. Today’s TV broadcasting rules would apply to linear services in a modernised, more flexible form, whereas non-linear ones would be subject only to a basic set of minimum principles, e.g. to protect minors, prevent incitement to racial hatred and outlaw surreptitious advertising.
  • More flexible advertising rules: For scheduled broadcasting, the Commission proposes to remove red tape, make existing rules more flexible for new forms of advertising, and encourage self- and co-regulation. Instead of detailed prescriptions on how often and under which conditions programmes may be interrupted by advertising, the modernised Directive would simplify the existing EU rules. In the future, broadcasters would be able to choose the best moment to insert advertising in programmes, rather than being obliged, as they are now, to allow at least 20 minutes between advertising breaks. However, the quantity of advertising would not be allowed to increase as the Commission proposes to maintain the existing 12 minutes per hour ceiling.
  • The new Directive would also support new forms of advertising, such as split-screen, virtual and interactive advertising. Product placement would, for the first time, be explicitly defined and provided with a clear legal framework. Except in news, current affairs and children’s programmes, clearly identified product placement would be permitted in Europe, both in linear and non-linear audiovisual services. To prevent surreptitious advertising, consumers would be informed at the start of a programme that product placement is in use. These new rules should remove legal uncertainty, provide additional funding for European productions and thus enhance the competitiveness of Europe’s audiovisual sector.

[Via Roger Darlington's blog

Wednesday, December 14, 2005 12:23:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Dr. Roger Marks, the Chair of the IEEE 802.16 Working Group on Broadband Wireless Access has announced that a mobile version of IEEE 802.16 has been approved (now officially called IEEE Std 802.16-2004). The amended standard specifies a system for combined fixed and mobile BWA supporting subscriber stations moving at vehicular speeds in licensed bands under 6 GHz. The official press release announcement can be found here. The WiMAX Forum will now expand their certification process to include mobile as well as fixed systems.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 2:22:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 17, 2005

Eli Noam has written a piece for the Financial Times entitled A First Amendment for the internet.

Thursday, November 17, 2005 5:35:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet is holding a hearing on 9 November 2005 on the Staff discussion draft of legislation to create a statutory framework for Internet Protocol and Broadband Services (this is a new draft dated 3 November 2005).

The draft legislation includes provisions on broadband internet transmission services, VoIP, video services and general provisions on how the FCC should address public interest issues, including broadening of the FCC's responsibilities in countering spam.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005 1:37:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 20, 2005

Dr. Tim Kelly, from the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit recently spoke on South Africa’s Position in Global Telecoms, at the 2nd Colloquium on Telecom Prices in Johannesburg, South Africa. For the presentation given by Dr. Kelly, click here.

The South African press also quoted Dr. Kelly; "According to Kelly price is an easy variable to measure. The ITU use a formula based on 30G per month with an average of 30 hours per month."

When measuring South Africa against 40 other economies South Africa is ranked 38th. China for example, typically offers this type of package (30G with 30 hours of usage per month) for around $10 (R66). South Africa is ten times more expensive with figure of $100 (R660) per month for the same service.

Kelly said, "South Africa is paying far too much for broadband.” A good way of measuring the cost of broadband is to use the average income of the population (GMI). The percentage quoted by Kelly as an internationally acceptable measure is for broadband to cost 1% of the average income per capita for a 1Mbps service (currently the fastest service available in South Africa). South Africans are currently paying around 100% GMI for their 1Mbps service. When considering the exorbitant prices South Africans are forced to pay for an ADSL service it is no wonder penetrations sits at 0.2%. Another factor inhibiting broadband usage according to Kelly is bit caps.

"Wherever bit caps are applied it deters the use of broadband," said Kelly. He stated clearly that South Africa needs to abandon bit caps and that there is no reason why residential ADSL users should be subject to a bit cap. Kelly highlighted that the price of broadband and the enforcement of bit caps are the two factors that deter South Africans from using the service. With government and the private sector becoming increasingly restless regarding liberalization of the telecoms sector and specifically broadband provisioning it is time to start addressing some of these issues. 

For the full article, click here.

Thursday, October 20, 2005 7:53:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 14, 2005

Home Networking is the linking of all types of electronic devices for applications such as entertainment, telecommunication, home automation systems and telemetry (remote control and monitoring systems). And given the wide range of previously unrelated technologies involved, standards that allow for interoperability are seen as key to the successful marketing of the concept.

Now taking place at the ITU is a workshop on Opportunities and Challenges in Home Networking. The event is organized by ITU-T Study Group 9, in cooperation with several other ITU-T study groups and various organizations outside of ITU. It follows the Workshop on Home Networking and Home Services held 17-18 June 2004, Tokyo.

Study Group 9 has been working on standardization in home networking systems for more than four years. It has already approved three ITU-T Recommendations in the field, particularly dealing with IP-based multimedia services over cable networks. A current focus is a new Recommendation that will specify ways to bridge conditional access systems (that ensure payment in pay TV for example) to digital rights management (DRM) systems, an important step toward smooth operation of fully integrated home networking.

This workshop will bring together experts from all over the world who are pushing forward the frontiers of this fast-moving field. It will provide an overview of the technology as well as an examination of standards that address access, services, performance, Quality of Service, electromagnetic interference and security issues. The workshop will deal with current technology and future trends to provide a framework for moving forward standardization work. Attention will be given to both the technology and service aspects of this new technology.

The programme can be found here with links to the presentations. Highlights include:

  • Worldwide Status of Home Networking
  • Home Network Architecture and Technologies (including an update on UPnP and DLNA)
  • Home Networking Services and Business Models
  • Security and Digital Rights Management
  • Quality of Service in the Home Network
  • Electromagnetic Interference in the Home Environment
  • The Home Networking Future: Efforts and Challenges
Friday, October 14, 2005 10:13:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 13, 2005

The ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Communications, the Ugo Bordoni Foundation and the Aosta Valley regional authority, organized a Workshop on “Tomorrow’s Network Today” on 7-8 October 2005.

The workshop considered five broad themes:

• International Visions of Ubiquitous Networks and Next Generation Networks
• National Visions of Ubiquitous Networks and Next Generation Networks
• Creating an Enabling Environment
• The Italian Path Towards Ubiquitous Networks
• An example of Italian best practice: "Being Digital in the Aosta Valley"

Now available on the workshop website  are the agenda, with links to presentations as they were delivered and the two Case Studies on Italy – “Bridging the Gap: Taking Tomorrow’s Network Today” presented by Marco Obiso and “Ubiquitous Networks Societies: The Case of Italy” presented by Cristina Bueti - as well as background papers and voluntary contributions produced for the workshop.

During the event, Tim Kelly, Head of the Strategy and Policy Unit (ITU) presented “Tomorrow’s Network and the Internet of Things”, showing some of the outcomes of the forthcoming ITU Internet Reports publication that this year will be dedicated to the theme of the “Internet of Things “.

A final report of the workshop will be available in the next few weeks at the workshop website.

Thursday, October 13, 2005 3:46:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 05, 2005

ITU, together with sponsors BT, Cisco, Motorola, Nortel and Siemens, is holding a one day event to mark a new milestone in ITU’s work on next-generation networks (NGN). The event will present an overview of NGN work so far, details on future directions, and some of the key business drivers for NGN. In addition to announcing completion of work on the Release 1 standards for NGN by ITU-T’s Focus Group on Next-Generation Networks (FGNGN), the event will communicate the next phase of NGN work, dubbed the NGN Global Standards Initiative (NGN-GSI).

Press are invited to attend for the whole day, specific sessions or just for lunch, which will be preceded by a panel session. There will also be opportunities for one-on-one interviews with key NGN players from the world’s leading telcos and systems vendors.

For more details click here.

Operators from around the globe are implementing NGN strategies and plan to invest billions of dollars in the rollout of new packet-based networks. Their involvement in global standards-making stimulates innovation and more robust technology, fosters interoperability and multi-vendor product offerings, and protects current and future investment.

The operators, systems vendors and governments driving this standardization work believe NGN will deliver substantial cost savings through the economies of scale inherent in a single converged network. They believe international standards will facilitate an open market for systems, lowering costs and providing for mix-and-match implementation and global interoperability. NGN will benefit consumers through innovative new services, greater control and personalization, ease of migration between services, and continuity for existing services.

The event is aimed at professionals involved in product planning and service creation for systems vendors and service providers.

A limited number of places will be made available for journalists. Journalists interested in attending should contact ITU’s Toby Johnson.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005 11:38:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Network World has an article on the evolution of IP-based networks that notes there are divergent views among standards bodies such as the ITU and the IETF, on the future evolution of the internet.

"The current Internet model is the stupid network model, where the network doesn't know what applications you're running and doesn't try to be helpful," he says. "The ITU's model [is] where the network is application-aware and can provide specific extra support for a particular application, such as VoIP. That session will compare what their strengths and weaknesses are, and hopefully out of it we can get some idea of what the future is going to look like."

Bradner says the ITU's model is designed to provide defined and guaranteed QoS, while the Internet is a best-effort model based on bandwidth capacity. He says both are applicable given the network circumstances - if there's plenty of bandwidth, there's no need for QoS controls; if not, there is.

The future of the 'Net could be shaped in large part by the need to support peer-to-peer applications and Web-based services, which use peer-to-peer protocols. This type of traffic is growing in use and importance in enterprise networks and on the 'Net, especially as companies move to SOAs designed to support peer-to-peer and message-based transmissions.

Are we heading for a future of dumb or smart networks? This recent piece in BCR Magazine on Making Networks Smart suggests that industry players on both the network side (e.g., Cisco and Juniper) and applications side (e.g., Microsoft, IBM, Sun, BEA) are making moves in the latter direction. Initiatives like the IPSphere Forum suggest that both the equipment manufacturers and the major service providers are on the same strategy:

The goal of the IPsphere forum is to create an industry call to action to create public networks that combine the reach of the Internet with the assured performance and security of a private network. This new approach is designed to overcome the current limitations of the Internet through the creation of "IPspheres," delivering an enriched experience for consumers, business-critical performance, and opening new markets for service providers.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 11:42:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 26, 2005

Roger Darlington has a post on speeches by European Commissioner Vivianne Reding and Ofcom Chairman Lord Currie at an Audiovisual Conference in Liverpool discussing the draft proposas for reform of the EU's Television Without Frontiers Directive: 

The European Commissioner Viviane Reding has been attacked over her draft proposals for reform of the Television Without Frontiers Directive and accused of wanting in effect to extend elements of broadcasting regulation to the Internet but, at a conference earlier this week, she came out fighting....

Monday, September 26, 2005 3:04:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On the 23 September 2005, the FCC released statements on legal intercept for broadband and VoIP providers as well as stating its jurisdiction over providers of telecommunications for Internet access and IP-enabled services in the United States of America.

FCC Requires Certain Broadband and VoIP Providers to Accommodate Wiretaps.
Order: Acrobat
News Release (8/5/05): Word | Acrobat
Martin Press Statement: Word | Acrobat
Abernathy Statement: Word | Acrobat

FCC Adopts Policy Statement on Broadband Internet Access.
Policy Statement: Word | Acrobat
News Release (8/5/05): Word | Acrobat
Martin Press Statement: Word | Acrobat

"...the Commission has jurisdiction necessary to ensure that providers of telecommunications for Internet access or Internet Protocol-enabled (IP-enabled) services are operated in a neutral manner. Moreover, to ensure that broadband networks are widely deployed, open, affordable, and accessible to all consumers, the Commission adopts the following principles:

  • To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to access the lawful Internet content of their choice.
  • To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to run applications and use services of their choice, subject to the needs of law enforcement.
  • To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to connect their choice of legal devices that do not harm the network.
  • To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to competition among network providers, application and service providers, and content providers."
Monday, September 26, 2005 8:56:25 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 20, 2005

According to an article in the Washington Post, online search leader Google is preparing to launch its own wireless Internet service, Google WiFi, according to several pages found on the company's Web site on Tuesday. In related news, Google is said to have an issued an RFP for a US national optical network.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 5:02:16 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 19, 2005

The US House Energy and Commerce Committee has released a staff discussion draft legislation (PDF) intended to replace the US Telecommunications Act of 1996.

According to the Committee's announcement, highlights of the staff discussion draft include:

  • "Creates common regulatory definition for broadband Internet transmission services (BITS) which includes Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), cable modems, and other broadband services.
  • Ensures network neutrality to prevent broadband providers from blocking subscriber access to lawful content.
  • Provides a uniform, federal regulatory framework for broadband providers, Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP), and broadband video providers, except in some areas where state or local rules still apply, such as rights-of-way.
  • Authorizes the FCC to determine that VoIP can be required to contribute to the Universal Service Fund.
  • Develops a streamlined franchising process for broadband video providers.
  • Applies many current cable video requirements to broadband video providers.
  • Allows municipalities to develop and deploy BITS, VoIP and broadband video services. However, municipalities can't provide preferential treatment for these services and must comply with all regulations governing private-sector providers.
  • Ensures that VoIP subscribers have access to 911."
Monday, September 19, 2005 12:51:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 08, 2005

Lessons from broadband development in Canada, Japan, Korea and the United States by Rob FRIEDEN, Telecommunications Policy Volume 29, Issue 8, September 2005, Pages 595-613:

Broadband network development does not always track closely a nations overall wealth and economic strength. The International Telecommunication Union reported that in 2005 the five top nations for broadband network market penetration were: Korea, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Denmark and Canada. The ITU ranked the United States sixteenth in broadband penetration.

Aside from the obvious geographical and demographic advantages accruing to small nations with large urban populations, broadband development thrives when it becomes a national priority. Both developed and developing nations have stimulated capital expenditures for infrastructure in ways United States public and private sector stakeholders have yet to embrace. Such investments have accrued ample dividends including the lowest broadband access costs in the world. For example, the ITU reports that in 2002 Japanese consumers paid $0.09 per 100 kilobits per second of broadband access compared to $3.53 in the United States.

Economic policies do not completely explain why some nations offer faster, better cheaper and more convenient broadband services while other nations do not. This paper will examine best practices in broadband network development with an eye toward determining the optimal mix of legislative, regulatory and investment initiatives. The paper will track development in Canada, Japan and Korea as these nations have achieved success despite significantly different geographical, political and marketplace conditions. The paper also notes the institutional and regulatory policies that have hampered broadband development in the United States.

The paper also will examine why incumbent local exchange and cable television operators recently have begun aggressively to pursue broadband market opportunities. The paper will analyze incumbents's rationales for limited capital investment in broadband with an eye toward determining the credibility of excuses based on regulatory risk and uncertainty. The paper concludes with suggestions how national governments might expedite broadband infrastructure development.

From ScienceDirect via Ewan Sutherland's weblog.

Monday, August 08, 2005 10:11:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, August 03, 2005

China mobile phone subscribers totals 363 million: China had 363.2 million mobile phone subscribers and 337.4 million fixed-line telephone subscribers as of the end of June, accounting for 28% and 26% of its current population, according to statistics published by China’s Ministry of Information Industry (MII). For Internet-access services, China had 31.7 million broadband subscribers, of which 21.9 million (69.1%) used xDSL.

From DigiTimes via Ewan Sutherland's weblog.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005 6:31:45 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 29, 2005

The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) has released its 16th China Internet Survey Report last week. According to the report, through the end of June 2005, China had 103 million Internet users, up 18.4 percent year on year. The number increased by nine million from January. Broadband users increased 23.8 percent year on year to 53 million, according to CNNIC. The number of computers in China connected to the Internet hit 45.6 million, said the report, up 25.6 percent year on year.

Friday, July 29, 2005 11:10:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 28, 2005

Stakeholders, EU Member States, regional and local authorities have been invited to read the Digital Divide Report and express their views on policy measures needed to bring high-speed internet access to Europe’s under-served areas until Friday 16th September 2005. Herewith European Commission opened a public debate on closing the broadband gap in European Union.

The presented Digital Divide Report proposes two policy orientations:

• strengthening national broadband strategies as part of the Commission’s growth and jobs strategy and of the Commissioner Reding’s new i2010 Roadmap;

• improving the exchange of best practices, inter alia by gathering and sharing information on broadband deployment projects and tenders.

To join debate click here.

To read the "Digital Divide Forum Report: Broadband Access and Public Support in Under-served Areas" click here.

Thursday, July 28, 2005 6:00:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Under a recent regulatory measure authorized by the European Commission, France Télécom will be required to provide, for a transitional period, market players with wholesale nationwide high-speed access to France’s telecoms network.

"This regulatory measure, proposed by the French national regulatory authority for electronic communications, ARCEP, was authorised today (27 July 2005) by the European Commission. The measure will apply until competing network operators have built a sufficiently wide backbone network and a large enough customer base to enable them to invest further in regional high-speed ('broadband') services, such as access to the web and services connecting subscribers’ premises to the network ('local loops']). The Commission asked ARCEP to review this market again within a year to fully take account of new market developments which could enhance competition in the wholesale nationwide broadband market in France."

"The measures proposed by the French telecom regulator ARCEP aims at "opening up competition to supply wholesale broadband in the French market. It includes products of the 'Option 5 nationale'-type already supplied by France Télécom to alternative network operators and ISPs. This product enables competing market players to provide retail services directly to end-users. It complements the two other types of wholesale broadband access regulation, namely unbundling of local loops and regional bitstream products, which were previously assessed by the Commission."

"France Télécom’s market shares, its capacity to supply the whole range of broadband products at both wholesale and retail level, its size and its control of the local infrastructure, led ARCEP to conclude that France Télécom is dominant on the wholesale nation-wide broadband access market. ARCEP considers that competition in this market will be facilitated if France Telecom is obliged, inter alia, to ensure internal accounting transparency between its wholesale 'network' branch and its retail 'ISP' entity as the recent reintegration of Wanadoo into France Telecom may have potential consequences on retail competition."

See EC press release here.

Click here for further information.

Thursday, July 28, 2005 12:11:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 25, 2005

"Romanian CDMA operator Zapp has launched a pre-paid mobile broadband internet access service, the first of its type in the country, according to its press release. The Zapp Internet Express Card package includes a modem and a card allowing the user 40 hours of web surfing within six months of activation at a total cost of USD175. Once the initial surf time is up, the user can purchase pre-paid cards of various denominations, starting at USD10 for seven hours."

Click here to view the article featured in TeleGeography.

Article was accessed through Ewan Sutherland's weblog.

Monday, July 25, 2005 10:35:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 15, 2005

The European Commission has issued a decision on the harmonised use of radio spectrum in the 5 GHz frequency band for the implementation of Wireless Access Systems including Radio Local Area Networks (WAS/RLANs). Additional background information is available in a press release and here.

Friday, July 15, 2005 12:22:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 14, 2005

The US FCC has recently released new data on high speed Internet use by US businesses and households where they state growth in 2004 has risen 34% for a total of 38 million lines in service. The full report (PDF) is available on the FCC web site.

Thursday, July 14, 2005 3:19:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The European Commission recently hosted an Open Workshop on Identifying Policy and Regulatory Issues of Next Generation Networks (PDF) on the 22 June 2005. The presentations made at the workshop can be found here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005 11:27:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 10, 2005

There are lots different indices which rank the world's countries according to their level of penetration of ICTs, or their e-readiness. But until now there has been no agreement on what indicators to include, or what methodology to use. Now, in the framework of the implementation of the WSIS Plan of Action, a new methodology, prepared by Michael Minges of TMG Inc on behalf of ITU, has been released for developing a composite "Digital Opportunity Index". This new methodology is based on the core list of indicators agreed by the "Partnership for Measuring ICT for Development" of UN agencies at their meeting on 7-9 February 2005.

The draft methodology is structured around eleven indicators in four clusters:

  • Affordability and coverage: Mobile phone coverage and tariff baskets for mobiles and Internet access.
  • Access path and device: Penetration of fixed-lines, mobile phones and PCs.
  • Infrastructure: Fixed and mobile Internet subscribers and international Internet bandwidth per inhabitant.
  • Quality: Penetration of fixed and mobile broadband subscribers.

The index has been developed according to a modular methodology, so that it can be easily extended, adpated for national use, or used alongside other indices, such as the UNDP's Human Development Index. As a proof-of-concept, the methodology has been applied to 40 leading economies, with Sweden, Denmark, Republic of Korea, Switzerland and Hong Kong-China appearing in the top five. The index will be further discussed at the WSIS Thematic Meeting on "Multi-stakeholder partnerships for bridging the digital divide", to be held on 23-24 June 2005, in Seoul, Republic of Korea.

More

Friday, June 10, 2005 9:31:50 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Directorate-General Information Society and Media of the European Commission has released a working document on Broadband access in the EU: situation at 1 January 2005.

"Take-up of high-speed "broadband" internet connections is growing fast, according to figures released on 1 June by Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding. There are now 40 million broadband lines in the EU, an increase of 70% on last year. This represents 45 000 new broadband lines on average per day, up from 29 000 per day in 2003. The surge in broadband take-up, driven by competition among market players to provide consumers with faster, lower-priced internet access, bodes well for the "i2010" strategy, tabled on 1 June, to boost jobs and growth in the digital economy. New entrants are stepping up investment in broadband infrastructure to build market share. Some European countries are among the top performers in the world while others are lagging behind."

NB: The EU provides statistical rankings in their survey only EU25 member states. The ITU's statistics in broadband include non-EU25 economies.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005 6:08:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 27, 2005

From the ITU-T Newslog: ITU-T has completed the specifications necessary for telecoms operators around the world to offer a ‘super’ triple play of video, Internet and voice services.

The ITU-T Recommendation for very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line 2 (VDSL2) will allow operators worldwide to compete with cable and satellite operators by offering services such as high definition TV (HDTV), video-on-demand, videoconferencing, high speed Internet access and advanced voice services including VoIP, over a standard copper telephone cable.

VDSL2 will offer consumers up to 100 Mbps up and downstream, a massive ten-fold increase over the more common ADSL. Essentially it allows so-called ‘fibre-extension’ bringing fibre like bandwidth to premises not directly connected to the fibre-optic segment of a telecoms company’s network.

As well as addressing increasing consumer demands, VDSL2 offers telecom carriers a solution that promises to be interoperable with the ADSL kit that many operators already have in place. This interoperability will make the migration of customers to VDSL2 much simpler. Another important feature of VDSL2 is that it will work in both legacy ATM networks and next generation IP based networks.

VDSL2 is seen by many operators as an ideal accompaniment to a fibre to the premises (FTTP) rollout, where for instance fibre is supplied direct to an apartment block and from there copper cable is used to supply residents with high-speed VDSL2.

Yoichi Maeda, chairman of the Study Group responsible for the work said: “We have leveraged the strengths of ADSL, ADSL2+, and VDSL to achieve the very high performance levels that you will see with VDSL2. It looks set to become an extremely important feature of the telecommunications landscape and is a landmark achievement for our members, many of whom were relying on this Recommendation in order to take their businesses to the next level.”

The publication of standardized specifications in an ITU-T Recommendation (G.993.2) means that operators can avoid being locked into a single vendor. As well as the economic advantages that this may bring it also means that operators can select the best solutions according to their needs.

Friday, May 27, 2005 2:09:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Friday, May 27, 2005 2:03:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 26, 2005

The OECD has released its Broadband Statistics for OECD economies as of December 2004. The site includes some good graphics.

NB: The OECD provides statistical rankings in this survey only for OECD member economies. The ITU's statistics in broadband include non-OECD economies.

Thursday, May 26, 2005 10:00:38 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 19, 2005

Om Malik's Broadband Blog has a piece on ITU-T's upcoming VDSL2 standard and a comparison of speeds of various xDSL flavours. ITU-T Study Group 15 meetings are now underway (16-27 May 2005) in Geneva working on this as well as a number of other standards. The list of 281 delayed contributions into the meeting shows the intensive activity in this Study Group by service providers and equipment manufacturers.

Thursday, May 19, 2005 4:33:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The European Commission will hold an Open Workshop on Identifying Policy and Regulatory Issues of Next Generation Networks (PDF) on 22 June 2005. The workshop is directed towards policy makers and regulators, but is open to anyone who may have an interest. A provisional programme can be found here (PDF). Attendance is free of charge but registration is required.

The ITU is also hosting a workshop on NGN policy and regulatory issues in February 2006. More details will be announced later here.

Thursday, May 19, 2005 3:29:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

This new Strategy and Policy Unit website gathers ITU resources related to Next Generation Networks.

Thursday, May 19, 2005 12:49:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, May 15, 2005

Singapore's IDA has announced Intelligent Nation 2015 or iN2015 — a 10-year master plan to grow the infocomm sector, and chart the use of technology for work, life and leisure. [via James Seng's Blog]

Sunday, May 15, 2005 9:48:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Register: The problem with grid computing has traditionally been tying it down into a real-world context. The theory is great – getting lots of individual technical components working together as if they were one big resource - but it’s the wackier or conversation stimulating applications that have received all of the attention. More details in a free Quocirca report entitled Grid Computing Update.

Sunday, May 15, 2005 9:41:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 13, 2005

backstage.bbc.co.uk is the BBC's new developer network, providing content feeds for anyone to build with. Alternatively, share your ideas on new ways to use BBC content. [via Slashdot:]

Friday, May 13, 2005 10:22:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The UK communications regulator OFCOM has done one of the first public consultations on the regulatory implications of Next Generation Networks (NGN), particularly with regard to BT's 21CN NGN initiative. The consultation document, entitled Next Generation Networks - Future arrangements for access and interconnection (overview,complete) explores the implications of Next Generation Networks (NGNs) for access and interconnection arrangements in the UK. The responses to the consultation are available here.

In BT's response to the consultation, it indicates some of its views on 21CN regulation:

Finally BT observes that some key aspects of the strategic positioning, NGN access and interconnect, are not addressed in Ofcom's questions. We wish to point to the following specific points.

  1. We would expect that NGNs will blur many of the boundaries all of us in the industry currently take for granted. For example, the distinction between "operators" and "service providers" will diminish; and one could foresee an increase in pan-European alternative providers leveraging their IP infrastructure using next-generation interconnection more effectively. Further, as the barriers to market entry are lowered through technology advances and open standards, we would expect many new entrants to change the landscape - some with innovative value propositions and others by identifying and exploiting new arbitrage angles.

  2. We believe end user customers will soon demand seamless, ‘any to any’ interworking between mobile and fixed networks. Operators will require the ability to roam on, and interconnect to, other national and international fixed and mobile networks in order to facilitate the provision of next generation services. The regulatory regime needs to become more technologically neutral and focus on economic bottlenecks, irrespective of the underlying network technology.

  3. We believe that innovative services will be heavily reliant on intelligent interworking to provide coherent services. Therefore, cross platform access (including roaming and interconnect) to intelligence capabilities will be essential in ensuring further development of services and competition in the convergent marketplace.

  4. BT is disappointed to see the level of potential regulatory intervention and micromanagement, both in commercial and technical terms, demonstrated in this Consultation. This is particularly inappropriate as it followed so soon after the second phase of the Telecoms Strategic Review, which promulgated a deregulatory agenda and a focus on regulating only bottlenecks. This Consultation also includes some substantive inconsistencies of approach which will need to be addressed.

  5. It is critical that the outcome of this - and any later - consultation processes should be a regulatory regime which rewards investment and does not leave BT with a significant proportion of the 21CN investment risk, whilst distributing the investment returns across the industry. Ofcom will wish to consider this issue as they contemplate the responses to the Consultation.

The ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, in cooperation with the ITU-T and ITU-D, is organizing a workshop on NGN Policy and Regulation in February 2006.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005 4:32:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, May 01, 2005
Sunday, May 01, 2005 11:22:56 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 29, 2005

The May/June 2005 issue of Foreign Affairs magazine has an article entitled Down to the Wire by Thomas Bleha with the summary:

  • Once a leader in Internet innovation, the United States has fallen far behind Japan and other Asian states in deploying broadband and the latest mobile-phone technology. This lag will cost it dearly. By outdoing the United States, Japan and its neighbors are positioning themselves to be the first states to reap the benefits of the broadband era: economic growth, increased productivity, and a better quality of life.
Friday, April 29, 2005 7:40:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 28, 2005

Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication (MIC) has published its statistics on the number of Internet Users in FY2004. Over 75 million Japanese access the Internet through mobile phones. [via my weblog]

Thursday, April 28, 2005 12:52:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Intel Corporation has announced the availability of its first WiMAX product, providing equipment manufacturers and carriers the ability to deliver next-generation wireless broadband networks around the world. In addition, several service providers worldwide announced plans to begin commercial WiMAX trials based on Intel silicon products later this year, giving consumers and businesses a glimpse at this emerging wireless high-speed broadband technology. Key equipment providers also announced WiMAX solutions based on Intel's product..

The Register (via Wireless Watch) had a recent review of the WiMAX Summit in Paris, France and the related standards debate.

  • It quickly emerged that the issue preoccupying both vendors and potential operators is the road to mobility and exactly how the transition to the forthcoming 802.l6e mobile standard will be achieved. With a key WiMAX Forum meeting to be held in the coming week in Spain, and 802.16e set to be ratified this year, it is essential to the uptake of the platform that the route to mobility is clarified as soon as possible.
  • All agree that 802.16 will be the platform with which WiMAX hits the big time. Most of the equipment majors are merely licensing fixed 802.16d (now renamed 802.16-2004) gear, while focusing their own development efforts on 'e'. That means that the chances for chipmakers to net the big OEM deals - with Alcatel, Nortel and the others - rely on the mobile standard. But there are two basic schools of thought among the chipmakers and their licensees as to their strategy in the interim.
  • One is that there is a period of at least two years before 802.16e achieves volume, and that the upgrade path will be complex. That means the priority is to make 802.16-2004 as impressive as possible in order to drive short term sales and increase confidence in WiMAX. This will mean creating a so-called 'd+' technology that goes beyond the basic stipulations of the fixed standard, with a focus on aspects such as quality of service for voice and video, and portability with consumer grade subscriber equipment.
  • The other view is that the market needs to move to mobility more rapidly, by offering pre-standard networks that provide most of the functionality promised for 'e'. This strategy rests on the belief - or hope - that the mobile standard will come to market rapidly and that the leap from its predecessor will be a simple one.

In related news, only days before a deadline for its first licensing fee payment, South Korea’s Hanaro Telecom announced Tuesday it will forego a license to roll out a WiBro mobile broadband network (based on 802.16e technology). Hanaro was one of three Korean operators granted licenses by the Korean Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) in January. "We still believe WiBro is commercially viable. We plan to grant the remaining licensee withdrawn from Hanaro to an eligible hopeful,’’ MIC director general Kim Dong-soo said.

[via my weblog, The Register, MIC]

Thursday, April 28, 2005 8:43:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, April 27, 2005

FCC Chief Wants 911 Service for Internet Phones: FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said on Tuesday he would soon propose requiring Internet-based telephone providers to offer their customers emergency 911 dialing services.

After hearing reports of consumers having trouble getting through to the police when dialing from an Internet telephone, known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP), Martin said he wanted to address the problem quickly.

Calls to 911 with traditional telephones provide emergency service dispatchers with the caller's number and address. VOIP providers have limited access to the systems connecting those calls to primary emergency lines and location information is not always available.

"I immediately asked our staff to develop a plan to address this issue," Martin said during a House subcommittee hearing. The proposal would "hopefully require they (VOIP providers) have 911 services being provided," he said.

After the hearing, Martin told reporters he planned to offer a proposal to the other three FCC commissioners so they could vote on it in May, possibly at the May 19 FCC open meeting.

He declined to offer more details about his plan. Martin said since the FCC insulated the Internet phone carriers from many state regulations, the agency had an obligation to act.

In related news, Verizon announced on Tuesday that it would start making its 911 network in New York City available to all voice over Internet Protocol providers this summer.

From Reuters and News.com [via my weblog]

Wednesday, April 27, 2005 3:25:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 22, 2005

Bleepblog has news of the Skype VoIP Cyberphone.

Friday, April 22, 2005 8:55:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 21, 2005

Research paper: On selecting a technology evolution path for broadband access networks, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Volume 72, Issue 4, May 2005, Pages 449-470, Soo-Hyeon Yoon, Moon-Gil Yoon and Jinjoo Lee

Thursday, April 21, 2005 3:44:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 18, 2005

Skype is proudly announcing its 100 millionth download. Recently, Richard Stastny pointed to some new stats giving a breakdown of the top Skype economies (April 2005), which looks like this if we graph it.

Another interesting look is to combine this number with the number of registered users (35 million according to this in April 2005) which offers the possibility to look at Skype users as a function of population. This shows that the largest relative percentage of Skype users are from Israel then Taiwan, China followed by Denmark.

Monday, April 18, 2005 9:39:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Identifying key regulatory and policy issues to ensure open access to regional backbone infrastructure initiatives in Africa by Paul Hamilton and TeleGeography. This report was commissioned by the Global Information Communication and Technologies Policy Division (CITPO) of the World Bank in June 2004. It provided inputs into a conference convened by the NEPAD e-Africa Commission in Johannesburg (South Africa) from 28–30 July 2004 to review the status of all current telecommunications infrastructure initiatives within the Southern and East African subregions, as well as the interrelated regulatory, policy and funding issues and to plot the way forward with stakeholders. From World Bank via my weblog

Monday, April 18, 2005 4:14:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, April 13, 2005

ITU has just released its new statistics on global broadband penetration per 100 inhabitants as of 1 January 2005. Korea and Hong Kong, China have kept the top rankings they received in 2004. The Netherlands makes an impressive move from 9th in ranking in 2004 to 3rd this year. Denmark also moves up two slots to 4th. Canada drops to 5th from 3rd in 2004. Switzerland moves from 10th in 2004 to 6th this year. Israel moves to 12th this year. The USA drops from 13th in 2004 to 16th in 2005. France has moved up fast in the rankings and is now just behind the USA followed by the UK at 15th.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005 8:47:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 02, 2005

This keynote talk (PDF) by Duane Northcott dating from 2003, describes some of the shifts underway in the forces that shape computing including:

  • Computing defined by Moore’s Law giving way to new model driven by bandwidth
  • Storage can make up for the lack of unlimited, ubiquitous bandwidth

This enables a new computing architectural model which provides for consolidation of clients through remote display technology and mobility through virtualized computing environments (VCEs).

This paradigm shift (which will be driven separately by security issues) will provide major new opportunities for service providers to provide virtualized computing environments and not just connectivity. This suggest that a more centralized computing model with dumb virtual computing environment terminals on the edges may win out yet over today's Internet end-to-end model. There are others who suggest this is where Google's strategy is heading.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005 12:32:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 24, 2004
A recent report by KPMG Australia (press release) illustrates the powerful impact that broadband is having and will continue to have on national economies. The report gives one of the clearest pictures to date as to why broadband should be a national priority for all countries and not just Australia. KPMG has gathered information from recent research and empirical evidence and produced a report entitled Leaders or Laggards? Australia's Broadband Future (PDF). [via CommsWatch]
Wednesday, November 24, 2004 10:36:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 10, 2003

The purpose of the WiMAX Forum is to promote deployment of broadband wireless access networks by using a global standard and certifying interoperability of products and technologies. This includes:

  • Support IEEE 802.16 standard
  • Propose and promote access profiles for ther IEEE 802.16 standard
  • Certify interoperability levels both in network and the cell
  • Achieve global acceptance
  • Promote use of broadband wireless access overall

Also see this related article at 802.11 Planet.

Thursday, April 10, 2003 5:59:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Hong Kong, China has the second highest broadband penetration in the world as described in this ITU report (PDF). Hong Kong's two main broadband portals (www.now.com.hk and www.i-cable.com) allow you to purchase and stream movies online.

Thursday, April 10, 2003 3:06:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Republic of Korea has the highest broadband penetration in the world (see page 6 of this recent report issued by ITU (PDF)). The corresponding ITU country case study discusses Daum, Korea’s top portal web site. Some 90 per cent of all Korean Internet users log onto Daum. Around 450 million pages of Daum’s content is viewed on an average day ranking it as one of the top Intenet portals in both pages per user and session time in the world.

Thursday, April 10, 2003 2:11:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 07, 2003

The ITU is hosting a workshop this week on the different strategies used by ITU Member States, at both local and national levels, for promoting the deployment and use of broadband networks. The key research question is why some economies have been more successful than others and whether this success can be replicated. In preparation for the workshop, the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit has now posted its workshop background paper (PDF, Word) as well as Country Case Studies for Canada (PDF, Word), Iceland (PDF, Word), Japan (PDF. Word), Republic of Korea (PDF) and Hong Kong, China (PDF).

Monday, April 07, 2003 2:55:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 04, 2003

At the next meeting of ITU-T Study Group 16, an important high-performance video encoding/decoding standard is likely to be approved, entitled Recommendation H.264, "Advanced Video Coding for Generic Audiovisual Services". H.264 is the result of work by the Joint Video Team (JVT) which combined the ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) and the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). This article in vnunet.com discusses a possible application of the emerging standard, which includes videoconferencing, digital storage media, television broadcasting, and Internet streaming (also see this earlier vnunet.com article and CNET article. H.264 can deliver the same quality as MPEG-2 (e.g. used in DVD players) but with much less bandwidth.

Friday, April 04, 2003 4:17:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 11, 2003

New Telephony is reporting that EarthLink and Vonage are going to partner to provide US national VOIP service.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003 6:38:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 27, 2003

Sony Is Venturing Into Online Games for Multitudes: "Grid computing, a concept that originated in supercomputing centers, is taking a step toward the mainstream: Sony will announce today that it will use the technology to accelerate its push into the emerging market for online games with thousands of players at a time." [New York Times: Technology]

Thursday, February 27, 2003 12:46:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 13, 2003

Mesh Less Cost of Wireless: A group of wireless enthusiasts provide a town in western England with Internet access at a fraction of the usual cost. They use a device that supplies hundreds of users with broadband piped from a single connection. [Wired News]

Thursday, February 13, 2003 1:07:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 31, 2003

The World Dialogue on Regulation for Network Economies (WDR) have released their final report (PDF) on their 2002 dialogue theme: Designing Next Generation Telecom Regulation: ICT Convergence or Multisector Utility? (PDF). The report thoughtfully examines various alternatives being considered for next generation telecom regulation.

  • "It is apparent that national telecom policy and regulation – both the regulations and the regulators – will play a major role in implementing structural reforms. The distinctive network and public interest characteristics of the information infrastructure will require a continuing proactive role for regulation if network development objectives are to be met, and the foundations prepared for the next generation Internet services that will support new network economies (Melody 1999). What is unclear at the moment is how direct regulation by independent regulators can best facilitate the achievement of these objectives. Should industry specific telecom regulators be redesigned as convergence regulators so they can more comprehensively and systematically address the full range of next generation Internet issues? Or should they be redesigned as multisector utility regulators so they can leverage synergies across infrastructures to promote the most rapid information infrastructure network roll-out?"
  • "ICT convergence that is upgrading the capacity and capabilities of telecom networks to information infrastructures raises many issues that next generation policy and regulation in all countries must address. They cannot be avoided. Although the scope of regulation may vary among countries, and all responsibilities for regulation – e.g., electronic commerce, information security, consumer protection – need not be assigned to the telecom regulator, it is important that the specific role for telecom regulation in helping to manage the information infrastructure for the network economy be clearly defined, especially as many of these issues will require regional and international coordination."

In 2003, WDR's dialgoue theme will be Stimulating Investment in Network Development.

Friday, January 31, 2003 5:11:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU Press Release: Two new standards from ITU will allow service-providers to offer a raft of new services. In its capacity as world leader in optical network standards, ITU has agreed today on protocols for Gigabit-capable Passive Optical Networks (G-PONs) that are a further step towards all-optical networks. The ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector lead study group on optical technology is ITU-T Study Group 15.

Friday, January 31, 2003 2:50:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The IEEE has just announced it has approved the 802.16a extension to the 802.16 broadband wireless access (BWA) standard. See Roger Marks' tutorial on 802.16 (Zipped PowerPoint) to understand why this is important for providing broadband wireless access. 802.16a provides improved support for mesh networks, where each subscriber access point is also part of the routing infrastructure. For a general overview of the growing interest in non-line-of-sight wireless broadband systems, see the IEEE's Spectrum article: Wireless Broadband in a Box. For a more in-depth technical explanation with regard to mesh networks, see Dave Beyer's recent (November 2002) presentation on Wireless Mesh Networks for Residential Broadband (PDF), demonstrating some extremely important characteristics of mesh networks, namely:

  • mesh coverage and robustness improves exponentially as subscribers are added;
  • rapid area coverage with only a few subscribers (easy to seed);
  • increasing subscriber density increases overall network capacity.

Some earlier articles here on mesh networks can be found in "Cheap Wireless Mesh Networks", "Watch this airspace and parasitic networks" and "Seeding Mesh Networks".

Friday, January 31, 2003 2:37:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 24, 2003

In Korea, the country with the highest broadband penetration in the world, it is perhaps easier than elsewhere to become addicted to using the Internet. "Therefore the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) and the Korea Agency for Digital Opportunity and Promotion (KADO) establish the Center for Internet Addiction Prevention and Counselling (CIPC) in order to correct the Internet misuse and to help Internet addicts.

Friday, January 24, 2003 1:10:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 23, 2003

Guy Kewney's Mobile Campaign has a fascinating article on Locustworld's affordable wireless mesh network solution, Meshbox. LinuxDevices.com has a primer explaining the MeshBox - a Linux-powered wireless mesh repeater by Jon Anderson, its creator.  As Guy Kewney's article notes: "However, there are going to be some controversial areas in the Locustworld experiment. The cheekiest move was the setting up of an IP address numbering authority, WIANA, or The Wireless Internet Assigned Numbers Authority." Also see my earlier articles on wireless mesh/parasitic/symbiotic networks in Watch this airspace and parasitic networks and Seeding Mesh Networks.

Thursday, January 23, 2003 2:08:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 16, 2003

In a follow-up to my earlier piece, it's finally available: Lufthansa is now offering onboard wireless broadband service on scheduled flights. They've started with the popular Frankfurt - Washington D.C. (Dulles) run. Lufthansa's press release announcing the service is here.

Thursday, January 16, 2003 5:30:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 23, 2002

Countries with high broadband penetration are seeing the development of specialized portals devoted to broadband service delivery (e.g. streaming TV, pay per view video). A good example is Hong Kong's now.com.hk.

Monday, December 23, 2002 4:12:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, December 20, 2002

The ITU-T has announced (Word) the approval of ITU-T Recommendation J.122 (Second Generation Transmission Systems for Interactive Cable Television Services – IP Cable Modems). From the prepublished Recommendation J.122: "As cable operators have widely deployed high-speed data services on cable television systems, the demand for upstream bandwidth has increased, particularly with the popularity of more symmetric data applications. The current Recommendation has been created for the purpose of increasing channel capacity and improving noise immunity. The intended service will allow transparent bidirectional transfer of Internet Protocol (IP) traffic, between the cable system headend and customer locations, over an all-coaxial or hybrid-fibre/coax (HFC) cable network." Cablelabs has issued an associated press release:

  • "The new standard can be used as the foundation upon which IPCablecom IP-communication/telephony services can be offered. The standardization is remarkable due to the fact that work on the specification began less than 18 months ago. The rapid standardization is important to promoting worldwide adoption of this important technology."

CommsDesign also has a related piece.

Friday, December 20, 2002 11:51:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, December 12, 2002

"Sender-keeps-all" or "bill-and-keep" accounting mechanisms are simple accounting schemes common in the deployment of new telecommunication technologies. However, in asymmetric traffic environments or where highly diversified service offerings emerge (e.g. those requiring guaranteed bandwidth), these models tend to shift to revenue sharing mechanisms among operators and/or content providers. In some cases, this can lead to new market dynamics. One example is the success of NTT Docomo's i-mode service, which some argue is mostly related to its billing gateway technology, permitting revenue sharing and encouraging the growth of new external content providers.

Many previously "free" Internet services are shifting to subscription or metered-based schemes and there's a lot of standards activity underway focused on charging, accounting and cross-operator settlement schemes for IP-based networks. In the public switched telephone network (PSTN) world, which is focused on a single service, voice, accounting mechanisms are primarily built around call detail records (CDRs). In the IP-based world, the service offerings can be much wider (voice, email, web, streaming access), so the challenge has been to develop a more flexible format that can capture the relevant metrics for a wide range of service classes. An interesting development is the Internet Protocol Detail Record (IPDR).

ITU-T Study Group 3, who deal with tariff and accounting principles including related telecommunication economic and policy issues, are currently meeting at the ITU. At this meeting, the Internet Protocol Detail Record Organization (IPDR), has given an interesting presentation (PDF) on its latest activities, particularly with regard to the emerging Network Data Management Usage (NDM-U) specification. This is a development to keep an eye on in the future.

Thursday, December 12, 2002 12:24:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, December 06, 2002

ISP Planet has an article on the standardization work being done in ITU-T Study Group 15 on the next generation of ADSL standards (ITU calls them "Recommendations"). SG15 is the ITU-T's lead study group on access network transport and optical technology. These new SG15 recommendations are being approved under the ITU-T's fast-track approval process (AAP). Here are the Recommendations under AAP last call from from the last meeting.

Friday, December 06, 2002 12:52:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Coinciding with ITU TELECOM Asia 2002,  the ITU has published its 5th edition of the Asia-Pacific Telecommunication Indicators. A presentation (PDF) with highlights and extracts is available as is a related summary of the report. The report demonstrates the Asia-Pacific region has now become the world's largest telecom market. Asia-Pacific also leads in advanced Internet technologies such as broadband access and mobile data. The Republic of Korea and Hong Kong, China, are the top two economies in the world in terms of broadband Internet penetration. In mobile Internet, Japan and the Republic of Korea were the first two nations to launch third generation cellular networks commercially. The region also has the largest percentage of Internet users. These exploits corroborate the view that the global telecommunications epicentre is shifting from North America and Western Europe to the Asia-Pacific region. Also see the related ITU Press Release.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002 12:20:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 19, 2002

The ITU-T is organizing a workshop on IP and Optical networks in Chitose, Japan from 9-11 July 2002. Participation is open to non ITU-T members. The relevant ITU-T Study Groups (SG13 and SG15) have made available their respective general work plans for IP networks (Word, PDF) and Optical Transport Networks.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002 6:58:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 17, 2002

The Australian has news about advances in quantum teleportation at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra. Using a process known as quantum entanglement, the researchers have disassembled a laser at one end of an optical communications system and recreated a replica a metre away. "The applications of teleportation for computers and communications over the next decade are very exciting" says physicist Ping Koy Lam, leader of the project. Some web pages at ANU explain some of the background on quantum teleportation.

Monday, June 17, 2002 10:37:45 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 14, 2002

ITU-T Study Group 15, ITU-T's lead study group on optical networks, has agreed on a new global standard for Metro ‘Optical Fibre’ Networks that will expand the use of Coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing (CWDM) in metropolitan networks.

Friday, June 14, 2002 2:43:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The days when being on an airplane meant being out of contact with the office are soon over. Boeing has already signed up Lufthansa and British Airways to provide its broadband Internet Connexion service on commercial flights, using leased satellite transponders. Inmarsat is rolling out a similar service.

Friday, June 14, 2002 12:53:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 07, 2002

Salon has an article Getting a lock on broadband discussing how the regulatory environment in the United States is shifting vis-à-vis broadband. [Salon.com]

Friday, June 07, 2002 6:52:16 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 22, 2002

The OECD is running a Broadband Workshop here in Seoul, Korea from 4-5 June 2002. Increasing broadband deployment is typically on the top of all developed country's telecom policy agendas. While much of the world's broadband deployment seems to be stalled or in the doldrums, Korea's deployment continues its phenomenal growth. I guess most government policy makers and regulators around the world are trying to understand how they can reproduce the magic that the Korean Ministry of Information and Communication has found in building a knowledge-based Information Society.

Wednesday, May 22, 2002 8:16:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |