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 Thursday, 12 December 2002

On 10 December 2002, I participated (with experts from the ITU BDT) in a brainstorming session hosted at the WMO on the topic of "Triangular Cooperation for Cost Effective Access to the Internet in Africa", sponsored by the Third World Academy of Sciences and the Special Unit for Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (SU/TCDC), part of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). I made a presentation and was asked to provide some more references to related resource materials. Here are a few: ITU Workshop on Improving IP Connectivity in the Least Developed Countries, Africa and the Internet, AfrISPA: Association of African Internet Service Provider Associations, The Halfway Proposition (PDF): Proposal for African traffic aggregation and "digital arteries", Mike Jensen's site on African Internet Connectivity, Balancing Act: Newsletter covering connectivity developments in Africa, and Mike Jensen's Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Africa: A Status Report (September 2002 Word Advance Copy). As I come across materials on ICT Development, I'll post them on a general ICT Development page.

Thursday, 12 December 2002 18:34:49 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

"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, 12 December 2002 12:24:02 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 11 December 2002

Looks like Hutchison 3G UK, a unit of Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa, will be the first to deploy 3G production services in Europe branded "3" although the launch date is still unclear (there's a "Founder" program for early users). They've released their prices and list of initial and planned services.

Wednesday, 11 December 2002 10:34:43 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 06 December 2002

Very frank interview on cybersecurity issues at Telecom Asia with Bill Hancock, Cable & Wireless Internet Services chief security officer and chairman of the FCC's NRIC Homeland Defense focus group. Dr. Hancock also gave a presentation on National Infrastructure Protection Issues (PDF) at our Creating Trust in Critical Network Infrastructures workshop held in Seoul, Korea, in May 2002.

Friday, 06 December 2002 14:52:25 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU News for December 2002 focuses on Asia, including articles on measuring international Internet bandwidth, international Internet bandwidth in Asia-Pacific, and a brief country profile on the Republic of Korea, which has the highest Internet penetration in Asia as well as the highest broadband Internet penetration in the world. There's also an article on the newly established ITU-T Focus Group on “Full Service-Very high speed Digital Subscriber Line” (FS-VDSL).

Friday, 06 December 2002 14:29:49 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

On 20-22 November 2002, the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit hosted a workshop on Competition Policy in Telecommunications. The workshop offered an opportunity for competition and telecommunications policy-makers, national telecommunications regulators, user groups, experts and industry, to exchange information and experiences on the issue of competition policy and law in telecommunications regulation. The background and objectives of the workshop, workshop documents, which includes country case studies for Denmark (PDF), India (PDF) and the United States (PDF), presentations made at the workshop, as well as the Chairman's report (PDF) (recommended) are available on the ITU web site.

  • "The definitions of markets and dominance are key to the application of competition policy and law in telecommunications and other sectors. In the past, two principal approaches have been taken in defining relevant markets, one based on statutory service classifications commonly used in sector-specific regulation, and the other based on demand and supply substitutability, used in competition law. In the latter approach, a hypothetical monopolist test is typically applied as a tool to identify the range of services and the geographic area that constitute a market. Since markets evolve continually, there is a risk of obsolescence if market definitions are cast in legislation or regulations for the purpose of sector-specific regulation. In this regard, technologically neutral market definitions, such as those underlying the new European Union telecommunications regulatory framework are seen as more flexible than those of countries such as the United States, where traditionally different services, such as fixed, wireless mobile and cable services are regulated under different parts of the US Communications Act."

I discussed the new European Union’s telecommunication regulatory framework, which represents an attempt to move away from technology-specific and service-specific legislation, in this speech I gave in July 2002.

Friday, 06 December 2002 12:29:02 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 05 December 2002

From the extract (PDF), looks to be very interesting. The soon-to-be-published Networks of Innovation: Change and Meaning in the Age of the Internet (Oxford University Press; ISBN: 0199256985) by Ilkka Tuomi.

  • "As many commentators have observed, the process of science itself is very much based on peer-review, incremental development, non-economic motives, and geographically distributed collaboration. Indeed, tradtional models of innovation often assumed that basis research generates ideas and technologies that are appropriated by entrepreneurs who them to products and money."
  • "The history of Linux allows one to question to what extent existing economic models of innovation and technological development capture phenomena that underlie collective production of new technolgies."
Thursday, 05 December 2002 15:39:42 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Special report from CERT/CC: Tracking and Tracing Cyber-Attacks: Technical Challenges and Global Policy Issues (PDF). "It is clear that tracking and tracing attackers across a borderless cyber-world, and holding them accountable, requires multilateral actions that transcend jurisdictions and national boundaries."

Thursday, 05 December 2002 14:43:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Somebody once said that the open source movement is a modern-day equivalent of communal barn-raising. It's a surprisingly innovative force that policy-makers worldwide need to understand. Why has open source hit the radar scope of governments? The simple answer is that the public policy stakes have become much higher. The development of advanced info-communication networks is now a key policy objective for almost all governments around the world. Not only are these networks seen as an important determinant of national competitiveness in an increasingly globalized knowledge economy, they are also seen as offering new opportunities in areas such as education, health and social advancement. It’s no surprise that almost every government in the world has put a high priority on improving access to advanced info-communications technologies, promoting digital literacy and improved access to government public services (e-government). Not surprisingly, open source is increasingly seen as another tool toward this goal, in both developed and more particularly in developing countries. O'Reilly Network has recently published an interesting timeline from 1995 to the present documenting the use of open source software by governments around the world.

On that note, in October 2002, I participated in Georgetown University's Open Source Summit: Public Interest & Policy Issues, which was spearheaded by Dr. Linda Garcia and her smart group of students at the Communication, Culture & Technology Program at Georgetown.  Across town, I see that as a follow-up to their October 2002 conference on Open Source for E-Government, the Cyber Security Policy and Research Institute (CSPRI) of George Washington University is organizing a conference on "Open Source for National and Local eGovernment Programs in the U.S. and EU" to be held in Washington, DC, USA, March 17 - 19, 2003. Here is the call for papers. Slashdot has a related thread.

In preparation for the 2003 World Summit on the Information Society, the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit maintains some ICT Success Stories pages which includes one related to e-government.

Thursday, 05 December 2002 14:26:29 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 04 December 2002

Toward Lowering the Load on DNS Root Nameservers (PDF) by Duane Wessels of The Measurement Factory and CAIDA, suggests that over 95% of the roughly 100 million daily queries to each root server are invalid and unnecessary queries.

Wednesday, 04 December 2002 14:16:18 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Two university research pieces for those interested in mapping the Internet. Boston University's: On the Geographic Location of Internet Resources (PDF) and the University of Washington's: Rocketfuel: An ISP Topology Mapping Engine.

Wednesday, 04 December 2002 13:07:20 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

RIPE NCC operates the K-root server ( They have recently published a draft on Distributing the K-Root Service by Anycast Routing of The application of anycasting to providing DNS services was explored in a number of Internet drafts which eventually became the informational RFC 3258: Distributing Authoritative Name Servers via Shared Unicast Addresses. RFC 3258 describes how authoritative name servers with the same IP address could be replicated at different locations. The route to these servers would be advertised for each location and the routing protocols would direct traffic to the topologically nearest server. See my earlier note on this topic.

Wednesday, 04 December 2002 12:57:01 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ITU-T, on 9-11 December 2002, is hosting a Workshop on Satellites in IP and Multimedia. An advance program is available.

Wednesday, 04 December 2002 12:39:26 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Wednesday, 04 December 2002 12:31:35 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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, 04 December 2002 12:20:41 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 01 October 2002

Readers will have noticed that I've been "on vacation" for a long time and this blog hasn't been updated. The reason is that I'm working on the implementation of a multi-author weblog that leverages the collective expertise of the staff in the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit and integrates with the ITU web publishing system. This is going to take some time but hopefully the results will be worth it. More news when it's available.

Tuesday, 01 October 2002 16:26:28 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 01 August 2002

This weblog is not going to be updated for much of August 2002 as I'll be on vacation.

Thursday, 01 August 2002 17:48:54 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Robert Shaw, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit gave a speech in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday, July 30, 2002 at II Rio Telecom about the current telecoms crisis, some of the reasons for it and the relationship with regulation. It's entitled Regulation: what changes are needed?. Also posted is the PowerPoint presentation to go with the speech.

Thursday, 01 August 2002 15:18:21 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, 28 July 2002

CSS Mobile Profile Candidate Recommendation Revised. 26 July 2002: The CSS Working Group has revised CSS Mobile Profile 1.0 to incorporate review suggestions, comments by implementors, and deliberations of the Working Group. The specification defines a subset of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) Level 2 tailored for mobile devices such as wireless phones. Comments are welcome through January 2003. Visit the CSS home page. (News archive) [The World Wide Web Consortium]

Sunday, 28 July 2002 16:37:54 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 25 July 2002

In a follow-up to my note last month referencing the INTUG paper on Mobile Termination Rates, the UK telecommunications regulator, OFTEL, has formally asked the UK Competition Commission to investigate whether the charges that the four mobile network operators make for connecting calls to their networks are too high.

Thursday, 25 July 2002 17:16:04 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Talk about timely. CommsDesign has a recent piece on the development by Motorola of an "isochronous network, developed with input from Nintendo Co. Ltd., Sony Corp. and other game platform developers, [that] will be extended into other markets to serve as a "feeder" for future ad-hoc mesh-based piconets that use 802.11 wireless technology as their underlying infrastructure". Slashdot also has a related thread. Isochronous ad-hoc mesh-based piconets? This almost seems like it could have been generated by

Thursday, 25 July 2002 14:27:53 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Last month, in Watch this airspace and parasitic networks, we flagged the emergence of mesh networks, where end user devices can also be routing devices. Wired Magazine has a short article: A New Spin on the Wireless Web this month and mentions the interesting start-up Mesh Networks.  Mesh networks, where user devices and routing nodes can get co-mingled, might be an interesting twist on Metcalfe's law, which says the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of users or nodes. Think about it. Where all user devices are also routing devices, it's pretty obvious that, at least for the beginning part of the 'S' innovation curve, the value of network externalities is even greater. This has some interesting implications for seeding 'core' networks by seeding the 'edges'.

Thursday, 25 July 2002 14:11:32 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Last month, I mentioned the arrival of "Wind-up Mobile". There's now a first review of the Motorola Freecharge in ZDNet UK. Just like prepaid rechargeable GSM cards, I imagine this will become very popular in developing countries.

Thursday, 25 July 2002 12:49:33 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 23 July 2002

Ken Binmore, the designer of the exceptionally lucrative UK 3G mobile phone auction two years ago, has slammed telecom executives for "whingeing" that they paid too much and dismissed calls for the consumer to foot the bill. [Ananova]

Tuesday, 23 July 2002 13:06:34 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Lawmakers Seek Rules to Stop Redistribution of Digital TV [New York Times: Technology] This is interesting on two levels. First, it's interesting that they argue this is within the FCC's mandate. Second, even if the FCC did do something, it'll be easy to eventually remove the 'broadcast flag'.

Tuesday, 23 July 2002 12:21:31 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 22 July 2002

Readers will have noticed that I've had a link to the works of Andrew Odlyzko for some time at the bottom right. That's because I like his research, particulary his work on debunking of Internet growth rates (PDF). This week, The Economist has also picked up on his research in a piece"It was an essential ingredient of dotcom business plans and conference slide-shows: Internet traffic, went the industry's favourite statistic, doubles every 100 days...". Unfortunately, it wasn't true.

Monday, 22 July 2002 17:01:07 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Eli Noam has penned an interesting opinion piece in the Financial Times showing why competition and deregulation über alles as a telecoms policy goal is very likely to change.

Monday, 22 July 2002 16:27:04 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Motivating the Masses, Wirelessly: The term smart mobs has been coined by the author Howard Rheingold to describe groups of people equipped with high-tech communications devices that allow them to act in concert — whether they know each other or not. [New York Times: Technology]

Monday, 22 July 2002 12:44:04 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 19 July 2002

Infosync has got a review of the new colour display Nokia 7650 that's got an integrated digital camera for picture taking and sending, support for the MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) that's a step up over SMS, a photo album for storing pictures, GPRS, Java support, joystick navigation and a  Symbian-based user interface.

Friday, 19 July 2002 17:58:03 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Nairobi will play host to the first East African Internet Forum, to be held 6-8 August 2002.

Friday, 19 July 2002 13:57:12 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 16 July 2002
 Thursday, 11 July 2002

From the cool new NTT Docomo FOMA 3G devices front: NTT Docomo has announced that it will market a new 3G-compatible two-part terminal, the SH2101V, with a PDA base unit that communicates through Bluetooth with a separate wireless handset. The base unit has a built-in camera that enables 64kbps real-time videoconferencing - while the wireless handset is used for voice communication. The handset can also be used, via the PDA, as a simple voice phone or for checking e-mail (even when the PDA is folded away) or as a remote control when playing downloaded music on the PDA.

Thursday, 11 July 2002 14:23:52 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

O.K., it's a busy news day for predictive text input. Further to my note earlier on "Dasher", the Economist today just happens to have an article entitled More Power to the Thumb, discussing a new text input method from Eatoni Ergonomics called Letterwise. The Economist says it's a worthy competitor to T9, who is owned by AOL.

Thursday, 11 July 2002 01:04:13 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |