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 Friday, 20 May 2005

The internet edition of the "E-Commerce and Development Report 2004" published by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has been released. The E-commerce and Development Report is intended to provide policy-makers and practitioners with information and analysis to better assess the implications of the growing role of ICTs in economic development.

From the report foreword by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan:
"Information and communications technologies have considerable potential to promote development and economic growth. They can foster innovation and improve productivity. They can reduce transaction costs and make available, in mere seconds, the rich store of global knowledge. In the hands of developing countries, and especially small- and medium-sized enterprises, the use of ICTs can bring impressive gains in employment, gender equality and standards of living".

To view the full report and highlights from the report, click here.



Friday, 20 May 2005 11:41:52 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 19 May 2005

News Release: Word | Acrobat
FCC Commissioner Martin Statement: Word | Acrobat
FCC Commissioner Abernathy Statement: Word | Acrobat
FCC Commissioner Copps Statement: Word | Acrobat
FCC Commissioner Adelstein Statement: Word | Acrobat

Thursday, 19 May 2005 17:02:56 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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, 19 May 2005 16:33:06 (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, 19 May 2005 15:29:28 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

South Africa's ITweb in an article says: "There is an opportunity for SA to lead the open source explosion, as we are a combination of first and third world, with various cultures, so we can understand and reach various markets. [via Information Policy]

Thursday, 19 May 2005 12:26:46 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Japan's Vodafone K.K. announced today (PDF) new anti-spam measures to make its Vodafone live! mobile internet service more dependable for customers. As a measure to prevent nuisance mails, the number of SMS that can be sent to from a Vodafone K.K. 3G handset within one day will be limited to 500 starting 31 May 2005. Handsets that exceed this limit will not be able to send additional SMS for the following 20 days.

Thursday, 19 May 2005 11:04:22 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

From Slashdot: Canada's National Task Force on Spam released its final report today. Despite prior spam actions on privacy grounds in Canada, the task force is calling for a tough new anti-spam law including penalties for failure to obtain appropriate opt-in consents before sending commercial email as well as private right of action to encourage Canadian lawsuits against spammers. Professor Michael Geist, who headed up the legal aspects of the task force, provides a good summary of the recommendations.

Thursday, 19 May 2005 07:57:03 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 18 May 2005

Fergie's Tech Blog points to a new paper published by the Honeynet Project and Research Alliance entitled Know Your Enemy: Phishing; Behind the Scenes of Phishing Attacks.

  • "What makes this paper new/different is that it focuses on behind the scenes of how attackers build, use and maintain their infrastructure of hacked systems. Its based on data collected in the UK and Germany, and is similar in technical detail to our previous Botnet paper."
Wednesday, 18 May 2005 14:24:46 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Brough Turner in Communications has an interesting post on defacto Internet QoS. In a follow-up, he says he was only partly right.

Wednesday, 18 May 2005 12:29:44 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A recent meeting of Study Group 12 saw progress in the development of QoS-related standards for IP-based networks and services.

QoS is seen as a key area to address in IP-based networks, especially as more carriers announce plans to carry voice traffic using the protocol.

Progress was made on the revision of Recommendation G.1020 which gives performance parameter definitions for quality of speech and other voiceband applications utilising IP networks. The updates will specify voice quality measurements associated with the use of the VoIP management protocol, RTP Control Protocol Extended Reports (RTCP XR). RTCP XR defines a set of metrics that contain information for assessing VoIP call quality and diagnosing problems.

And Y.1541 which gives network performance objectives for IP-based services, is also actively under revision to include new QoS classes with more stringent packet loss performance, needed for example for commercial video applications and certain TCP formats.

Also during its meeting - the first of the new study period - SG12 consented a revision of Recommendation G.107 (the E-model, see previous e-Flash story, to include an improved treatment of bursty packet loss.

[via ITU-T Newslog]

Wednesday, 18 May 2005 09:37:12 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) will host an interoperability demonstration at June's Supercomm event in Chicago, USA showing how a suite of ITU-T standards will enable data stream services like Ethernet to be effectively transported over existing SONET/SDH and ASON enabled carrier networks.

Additionally the demo will show how Ethernet can be used to link any number of endpoints in a wide area network (WAN), or simply as a service delivery mechanism (see press release).

The event will include testing of data plane interoperability of next generation transport network functions such as generic framing procedure (GFP), virtual concatenation (VCAT) and link capacity adjustment scheme (LCAS), all supporting technologies to SONET/SDH (and all defined in ITU-T G-series Recommendations).

The seven global telecommunication carriers taking part will provide test facilities, engineering staff and network connectivity. More...

[via ITU-T Newslog]

Wednesday, 18 May 2005 09:36:12 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU members are increasingly signalling the interest of the telecommunications community in grid computing. The technology is under study by the Technology Watch within ITU-T. And following discussions between the Global Grid Forum (GGF) and ITU-T, a workshop on telecoms and grids is planned for 2006.

On behalf of GGF, Franco Travostino of Nortel gave a presentation at the recent Study Group 13 meeting in Geneva. In it he gave an introduction to the work of the forum, also explaining the basics of grids.

Travostino describes grid computing as a software platform for distributed participants to form a virtual organization, securely share resources, and engage in coordinated problem-solving activities.

There are a number of areas of interest for the telecoms industry. At a simple level, telcos could use grids internally, for billing and simulations for example. They could also offer grid managed services, or act as service brokers.

Travostino pointed out that the discussion on grids involves more than just how to provide bigger pipes. There are other issues that may be of interest to ITU-T, such as how to control the network, how to manage dynamic provisioning and how to provide collision-free addresses (IPv4 <-> NAT).

[via ITU-T Newslog]

Wednesday, 18 May 2005 09:24:57 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On the 17th May, World Telecommunication Day, the ITU-T has launched a new communications centre, The Lighthouse.

The Lighthouse will provide a user-friendly and alternative view of ITU-T, shedding light on activities, past, present and future by offering non-technical explanations of work areas, news, features and FAQs. Included is an ITU-T newslog with an RSS news feed, with the opportunity to subscribed to news on specific standards topic areas.

Wednesday, 18 May 2005 09:05:24 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

VoIP and ENUM gives news on the first ENUM-based operational number range in Austria: "As already announced here one month ago, the ENUM-based number range +43 780 went into operation today. A short decription of the number range is available here. Anybody may register such a number, for available registrars see"

Wednesday, 18 May 2005 08:06:54 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Paul F. Roberts writes over on eWeek: The U.S. Department of Defense is soliciting bids for a massive anti-spyware software contract that will protect systems across the military. The deal could be a major opportunity for anti-spyware startups to score a victory against established anti-virus vendors. [via Fergie's Tech Blog]

Wednesday, 18 May 2005 08:04:34 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 17 May 2005

The US Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comment on certain definitions and substantive provisions under the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (CAN-SPAM).

In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), the FTC proposes rule provisions on five topics: (1) defining the term “person,” a term used repeatedly throughout the Act but not defined there; (2) modifying the definition of “sender” to make it easier to determine which of multiple parties advertising in a single e-mail message will be responsible for complying with the Act’s “opt-out” requirements; (3) clarifying that Post Office boxes and private mailboxes established pursuant to United States Postal Service regulations constitute "valid physical postal addresses" within the meaning of the Act; (4) shortening from ten days to three the time a sender may take before honoring a recipient's opt-out request; and (5) clarifying that to submit a valid opt-out request, a recipient cannot be required to pay a fee, provide information other than his or her e-mail address and opt-out preferences, or take any steps other than sending a reply e-mail message or visiting a single Internet Web page.

Tuesday, 17 May 2005 16:37:29 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A review of market trends impacting the development of the applications architecture of the Internet in general is presented, followed by an historical review of the subject and an analysis of regulatory aspects. It concludes with a review of the state of backbone interconnection in Latin America. Carlos Silva Ponce de León, Telecommunications Policy, Volume 29, Issues 5-6 , June-July 2005, Pages 367-386

Tuesday, 17 May 2005 10:30:53 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Although currently mired in a standards war between different camps in the IEEE, UWB is likely to form the basis of an important short-range wireless standard for consumer equipment such as set-top boxes, high definition TVs and portable music systems. The ITU’s Radicommunication Sector is planning to draft ITU recommendations on the UWB standard at its upcoming meeting currently be held in San Diego from 18 to 27 May 2005. The group is due to hand its final recommendations to the ITU and disband after another meeting in October 2005.

However, nailing down the standard is just one of the challenges, some wish to keep UWB restricted to very low power levels at national regulatory levels which impact its potential uses and possible competition with other wireless technologies. An article in TechWorld (pointer via Fergie's Tech Blog)

discusses the doubts held by Bob Heile, chair of the IEEE 802.15.3a working group.

If Europe and Asia apply more restrictions to the technology than the FCC in the US, the technology may not perform well enough to displace Wi-Fi, which is constantly improving, said Bob Heile, chair of the IEEE 802.15.3a working group.

"I believe we will see regulations in Europe that are substantially more restrictive than those applied by the FCC," said Heile, in France for a conference on the ZigBee sensor protocol. "Japan is likely to be even more conservative. If that happens, how good is the performance going to be?

Watkins is hopeful that next week's meeting of the UWB group of the international telecoms standards body, the ITU, may help."

Tuesday, 17 May 2005 08:05:20 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 16 May 2005

The following is the message by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on World Telecommunications Day, 17 May 2005:

"We live in an age in which communication between people is essential to achieving our shared goals of development and peaceful coexistence. Innovations in information and communication technologies have increased exponentially our capacity to connect with each other. It is up to us to use to harness the potential of these technologies in our work to extend the benefits of education, health care, trade and environmental protection to all.

The theme of this year’s World Telecommunication Day, "Creating an Equitable Information Society: Time for Action", calls on us to give shape to the vision adopted at the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society in 2003. I urge Member States and all other stakeholders to reaffirm their commitment to that process, and to participate at the highest levels when the Summit reconvenes in Tunis in November of this year.

Efforts to build an equitable and accessible information society depend on the strength of partnerships between Governments, civil society and businesses, underpinned by the support of international organizations such as the United Nations. On this World Telecommunication Day, which marks the 140th anniversary of the founding of the International Telecommunication Union, let us pledge to bridge technological differences and promote interconnectivity for all. Together, we can create a truly global information society that will benefit all the world’s people."

Monday, 16 May 2005 17:03:57 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mindjack: Piracy is Good? How Battlestar Galactica killed Broadcast TV:

"October 18th, 2004 is the day TV died. That evening, British satellite broadcaster SkyOne — part of NEWS Corp's BSkyB satellite broadcasting service — ran the premiere episode of the re-visioned 70s camp classic Battlestar Galactica. (That episode, "33," is one of the best hours of drama ever written for television.) The production costs for Battlestar Galactica were underwritten by two broadcast partners: SkyOne in the UK, and the SciFi Channel in the USA. SciFi Channel programers had decided to wait until January 2005 (a slow month for American television) to begin airing the series, so three months would elapse between the airing of "33" in the UK, and its airing in the US. Or so it was thought.

The average viewer of the SciFi network is young and decidedly geeky. They are masters of media; they can find ways to get things they shouldn't have. Thus, a few hours after airing on SkyOne, "33" was available for Internet download."

Monday, 16 May 2005 16:47:47 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Security researchers are reporting a new brand of phishing attack that attempts to use stolen consumer data to rip off individual account holders at specific banks.

"Phishing is a form of online fraud that has exploded in frequency over the last several years. Typically using large-volume e-mail campaigns, phishers try to trick people into sharing personal information that the thieves then sell or use to commit identity theft. The new breed of attack, however, could have a higher success rate because the e-mails present unsuspecting recipients with accurate information in a document that looks like legitimate bank correspondence."

The news article brings forward that "The attacks take advantage of poor technological defenses and continued consumer vulnerability, and evidence the work of an organized group with real research-and-development resources,"  Furthermore, it states that "So far, the success rates that we've seen are amazing. People are expecting to see a crude attack that tries to steal their information; they're not expecting to see this much real information as part of the attack."

The article also highlights another report on phising trends released by the Anti-Phishing Working Group stating that "attacks are increasingly relying on so-called keystroke loggers, a form of malicious program, to garner consumer information. Rather than trying to direct people to fake Web sites that ask for personal information, keystroke phishers capture login names and passwords for online bank accounts when customers access the accounts via computer. The keystroke logger programs then forward that information to the attackers."

For the full ZDNet news article, click here.

Monday, 16 May 2005 09:28:11 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities, released its newest data on Internet usage in EU25, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Norway and Iceland. The ICT household and enterprise surveys run by Eurostat measure, among other things, the rate of take up of the Internet and the use made of ICTs. This current edition highlights some of the first results from the 2004 survey round.

A comparison of Internet usage by individuals and by enterprises in several European countries, and for the first time EU25, shows that in 2004 just under half (47 per cent) of the EU25 population aged between 16-74 used the Internet. The average percentage of enterprises using the Internet in the same year was 89 per cent.

The Nordic countries, Sweden, Denmark and Finland had the highest density of Internet usage both by individuals and enterprises. Estonia was the highest user in both ranges from the new EU Member States, with the same degree of usage as the EU15 average with 50 per cent of individuals and 90 per cent of enterprises using the Internet.

Some of the main points raised in the report are:
  • SMEs are lagging behind large enterprises in Internet use.
  • There is a gender gap in Internet use overall, but this narrows in the 16-24 age group.
  • The broadband roll-out is gathering speed, overtaking ISDN as a means to access the Internet in enterprises.
  • Enterprises interact via Internet with public authorities more than individuals.
  • Almost half of the enterprises with more than 250 employees purchase via the Internet.

For the full report, see:
Statistics in Focus: Internet usage by individuals and enterprises 2004

For the related press release, see:
Internet usage in the EU25: Half of individuals and nine out of ten enterprises used the internet in 2004

Monday, 16 May 2005 08:34:01 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The high reliance on ICTs as an enabler for social and economic development and the speed with which critical information systems and data can be accessed, manipulated and destroyed has put cyber security on the top of the agenda as one of the main challenges to the emerging Information Society and the knowledge-based economy.

Within the framework of its mandate in the Istanbul Action Plan Programme 3, ITU and the Government of Latvia are organizing a regional seminar on Cyber Security for CIS, CEE and Baltic States. The seminar will provide a forum for Member States and Sector members from the region to discuss and exchange views on the main cyber security threats and challenges faced by countries in the region. Countries will have the opportunity to present national initiatives related to cybersecurity policies, strategies and legislation.

More information on the event can be found here.

Monday, 16 May 2005 07:30:32 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, 15 May 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, 15 May 2005 21:48:23 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Roger Darlington's CommsWatch notes some of the issues facing Ofcom concering regulation of next generation access networks. Ofcom's Phase Two consultation document (PDF), which is  part of its strategic review of telcommunications devoted six pages (paras. 8.49 - 8.74) to the subject of regulating next generation access networks. From the Phase Two consultation document (8.60-8.61):

  • "We believe that the deployment of next generation access represents an opportunity for a new competitive structure to emerge which would avoid the regulatory battles of the last twenty years. Next generation access networks also have a slightly different regulatory imperative to today’s infrastructure. Because they are not yet in place to any significant degree, there is a strong imperative that regulation does not disincentivise their timely and efficient deployment. As we noted in Chapter 4, there is widespread acceptance among our stakeholders that widely-available broadband is critical to economic competitiveness, and many consider that this effect will become more pronounced with the advent of the more powerful broadband applications which can only be supplied over next generation broadband access networks. This suggests that there is a strong citizen interest in seeing these networks deployed as soon as possible. But this needs to be carefully balanced against our duty to safeguard the interests of consumers, where appropriate by promoting effective competition.
  • These are clearly conflicting factors..."
Sunday, 15 May 2005 21:48:09 (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, 15 May 2005 21:41:45 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 13 May 2005

A policy paper funded by Vodafone provides insights into the economic and social impacts of mobile telecommunication. Recognizing that mobile telephony has a positive and significant impact on economic growth, and this impact may be twice as large in developing countries as in developed countries.

Through the study, researchers found that "people in Africa use mobile phones very differently. Most strikingly is the accessibility of mobile as the overall impact of mobile extends well beyond what might be suggested by the number of subscriptions alone."

For more information, see the report summary and key facts or click here to download the report in full.
Friday, 13 May 2005 10:32:24 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 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, 13 May 2005 10:22:24 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 12 May 2005

Richard Stastny in VoIP and ENUM debates as to whether we need phone companies for VoIP:

"I want to pick up on the statement by Jon Peterson on slide 2 of his presentation at the ITU-T/IETF NGN meeting in Geneva I posted last week:

On the Internet, telephony is an application
– Not necessarily a service, no service must be provided This implies that if no service is provided, one does not need a service provider either.

Tom Evslin in the last? of his series of posts "As the Phone world Turns Part 9 - Do we need Phone Companies?" first gives a tutorial how VoIP and especially SIP is modelled after e-mail and from this comes to the conclusion:

Notice that most medium or larger size companies DO NOT use any outside servers other than DNS when doing email.

So three quick inferences for the phone world from the analogy with email:

  • consumers and very small business will continue to need someone to operate “voice” servers for them but that service is likely to be bundled AT NO EXTRA COST with ISP service or be “free” and advertising supported.
  • larger businesses will operate their own servers and will not require a service provider other than for DNS and basic connectivity to the Internet
  • There is no long term business model which supports charging by the minute for voice transport"

Now add to this the recent post from Tom Keating: "Traditional Telephony Dying at the Hnads of VoIP", where he cites a report from the Info-Tech Research Group:

  • "... that 23% of small- to mid-sized enterprises have already implemented VoIP technology and that number will grow to 50% within the next three years.
  • VoIP is displacing traditional telephony services a lot faster than anyone expected,” says George Goodall, Research Analyst at Info-Tech Research Group. “It means a whole change to the look and feel of an organization’s IT infrastructure.”
  • While one network that handles applications and telephone calls is an IT manager’s dream, the speed with which VoIP is coming to the market might be an IT manager’s nightmare,” Goodall says. “Senior managers are demanding the cost savings associated with VoIP, vendors are scrambling to reinvent their offerings, and IT managers are scrambling to implement the technology.”

So "service providers" = "telcos" are left with the residential customer, and what they are offering there is not very exciting: it basically simple POTS replacement. The only one here going sucessfully into another direction is Skype.

So the (local) phone companies will be squeezed regarding services between enterprise DIY and cleverly branding and globally acting up-starts."

Thursday, 12 May 2005 11:10:35 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

From Engadget: A Bangalore-based company is the latest to get in on the recent trend of cheap computers, following Nicholas Negroponte’s $100 PC, VIA’s $250 PC, and AMD’s cheap Personal Internet CommunicatorEncore Software, with the backing of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, has developed three different PCs ranging in price from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 20,000 (between $230 and $460US).  The basic model is the Softcom, a desktop with a 15-inch monitor, moving up a bit is the Mobilis, a Linux-based mobile desktop with a 7.4-inch LCD screen, and at the top of the heap is the Mobilis Wireless, which adds a built-in GPS receiver and GPRS wireless modem.

Thursday, 12 May 2005 10:17:46 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

From the April 2005 ITU News (free subscription required): International Internet Connectivity:  Are poor countries subsidizing the rich?, contents include:

  • Framing the issues
  • The ITU role: The story thus far... and the future
  • What does the Working Group on Internet Governance say?
Thursday, 12 May 2005 10:01:18 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ETSI has published two documents on ENUM approved at the January 2005 TISPAN Plenary:

  • ETSI TR 102 055 V1.1.1: Telecommunications and Internet converged Services and Protocols for Advanced Networking (TISPAN); ENUM scenarios for user and infrastructure ENUM.
  • ETSI TS 102 172 V1.2.1: Telecommunications and Internet converged Services and Protocols for Advanced Networking (TISPAN); Minimum requirements for interoperability of ENUM implementations. This document serves as the basis for the upcoming ETSI ENUM Plugtest.

[via VoIP and ENUM]

Thursday, 12 May 2005 09:15:32 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 10 May 2005

The Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) is discussing how to improve current Internet governance arrangements in order to bring them more in line with the WSIS principles. In the light of these discussions, this questionnaire has been developed to allow for a structured feed-back. 

The WGIG has also opened a public discussion forum with instructions on how to use the associated Plone software.

Tuesday, 10 May 2005 16:34:58 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

News on VoIP regulatory proceedings since the beginning of 2005 from the ITU-D's Regulatory Reform Unit newsroom.

Tuesday, 10 May 2005 11:21:33 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 09 May 2005

Daniel Karrenberg has published an excellent and comprehensive FAQ explaining the operation of the Internet domain name system root server system.

Monday, 09 May 2005 14:45:44 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Making the world (of communications) a different place (PDF), Report of a working session of the Internet Research Task Force's End-to-End Research Group, January, 2005

Monday, 09 May 2005 09:03:02 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 05 May 2005

NetWizard's Blog has a post on the start-up work on a standard mail abuse reporting format:

  • Since the initial draft two 1/2 weeks ago, a lot of things took place. First of all, Dave was nice enough to open up a public mailing list for anyone who wants to comment on the draft. I will be putting information on it into the -01 draft which is currently in the works. Second, there is now a small public page called "ARF" or "Abuse Reporting Format" which will hopefully contain all the info on this in one easy to find place. Third, I am working on the next (-01) draft which will hopefully explain things better than the current one and put in place a normal extensibility mechanism (an IANA registry similar to what the SIP folks have).
Thursday, 05 May 2005 07:29:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 04 May 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, 04 May 2005 16:32:31 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Red Herring reports that: Vonage will spend $10 million to start providing 911-style services for its customers, partly by using Verizon’s infrastructure to connect callers with emergency dispatchers, the VoIP provider announced Wednesday. The investment is Vonage’s first substantial attempt to close the company’s emergency calling gap. The cash is a relatively low price to address a shortcoming.

[via Fergie's Tech Blog]

Wednesday, 04 May 2005 15:32:26 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

CommsWatch has a post on the challenges to content regulation with convergence:

"It is not obvious why, in a news item today, the "Guardian" should highlight the challenge to conventional regulation of broadcasting posed by the growing trend to put broadcast material over the Internet. After all, it was 20 January 2005 when Ofcom published its Annual Plan for 2005/06 which contained the following statements:

  • "We will prepare for further change, for example, by examining how digital platforms and services are likely to evolve and the implications for regulation, including regulatory withdrawal. (para. 1.5)
  • "We will also look forward by conducting a review of digital, multi-media platforms. We hope this will facilitate a wide-ranging public debate about whether content, including internet content, could or should be regulated in a converged world, and, if so, how. (para. 2.15)
  • "In setting the agenda for media literacy, we will complete a major research programme and seek to identify areas of concern relating to emerging communications technology and services, particularly relating to fixed and mobile internet content. We will encourage public debate and engagement on key issues such as labelling. (para. 3.30)
  • We will carry out a review of digital platforms that will address the regulatory issues associated with content becoming available via a range of different media. (para. 3.47) andWe hope this review will facilitate a wide-ranging public debate about the future development of content and the implications for regulation, if any. (para. 3.48)
  • "Media literacy agenda setting: Identify areas of concern relating to emerging communications technology and services, particularly relating to fixed and mobile internet content, and encourage public debate. (Annex 3, section 3)

There [i]s obviously a theme here: Ofcom wants a debate on Internet content and it intends to encourage, facilitate and inform such a debate. It is now up to broadcasters, Internet service providers, and others to engage in that debate. Today's "Guardian" piece suggests that the issue has "come to a head" because of the European Commission's review of the Television Without Frontiers Directive. However, it was 21 March 2005 when the new European Commissioner Viviane Reding used a speech to the Council of Presidents of UNICE in Brussels to state:

  • "Let me be clear. The Television without Frontiers Directive can no longer just be concerned with broadcasting. Television is now on the Internet; it is also going mobile. Admittedly, for the moment TV on the internet is small scale but it will grow. We have to make sure it grows strongly and correctly. And for this we need the right, modern framework. I will only regulate this new market where absolutely necessary in the concerns of European citizens for diversity, quality, decency and safety from abusive uses. Also, convergence means increased competition between media. This indicates relaxing regulatory restrictions to leave more to the market and to consumer choice than in the traditional media world. In particular, I am thinking about easing advertising restrictions.""
Wednesday, 04 May 2005 11:59:47 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is hosting a 3-day workshop on anti-Spam strategies from 3-5 May 2005. The workshop is conducted as a result of the last ASEAN Telecommunications Regulatory Council (ATRC) meeting in Vientiane, Laos (July 2004) where the ATRC has agreed to the setting up of a Working Group (WG) to work on anti-SPAM measures led by MCMC.

Wednesday, 04 May 2005 09:57:32 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 03 May 2005

The programme and presentations at the European Electronic Communications Regulatory Forum held 13-14 April 2005 in Barcelona are available [via ERO and my weblog]

Tuesday, 03 May 2005 17:43:54 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

AfrISPA appoints regional carriers

As part of its aim to establish true inter-country connectivity within the African continent, the African Internet Service Providers Association (AfrISPA) has appointed two organisations as regional carriers. Transtel and the Africa Online/SkyVision JV are the two bidders that successfully met AfrISPA's criteria to provide an African regional Internet traffic solution, in order to remove the current dependence upon overseas carriers and to promote the establishment and growth of African regional data carriers. The establishment of a network of Internet exchange points (IXPs) within Africa would also result in reduced costs, improved speeds and the improvement of the Internet backbone within Africa as a whole.

According to AfrISPA, Africa Online will offer a fully meshed network, which uses proven and reliable VSAT technology to provide point-to-point connectivity between IXPs. It will also utilise existing terrestrial links between certain countries, such as Kenya and Tanzania, making it possible to create regional hubs whose component countries can share one VSAT link and so reduce installation costs even further.

From IT Web [via my weblog]

Tuesday, 03 May 2005 17:36:06 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |