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 Monday, 06 February 2006

Bruce Schneier's blog Schneier on Security points to the final version of a paper by Daniel J. Solove and Chris Hoofnagle titled "A Model Regime of Privacy Protection." 

Abstract: A series of major security breaches at companies with sensitive personal information has sparked significant attention to the problems with privacy protection in the United States. Currently, the privacy protections in the United States are riddled with gaps and weak spots. Although most industrialized nations have comprehensive data protection laws, the United States has maintained a sectoral approach where certain industries are covered and others are not. In particular, emerging companies known as "commercial data brokers" have frequently slipped through the cracks of U.S. privacy law. In this article, the authors propose a Model Privacy Regime to address the problems in the privacy protection in the United States, with a particular focus on commercial data brokers. Since the United States is unlikely to shift radically from its sectoral approach to a comprehensive data protection regime, the Model Regime aims to patch up the holes in existing privacy regulation and improve and extend it. In other words, the goal of the Model Regime is to build upon the existing foundation of U.S. privacy law, not to propose an alternative foundation. The authors believe that the sectoral approach in the United States can be improved by applying the Fair Information Practices -- principles that require the entities that collect personal data to extend certain rights to data subjects. The Fair Information Practices are very general principles, and they are often spoken about in a rather abstract manner. In contrast, the Model Regime demonstrates specific ways that they can be incorporated into privacy regulation in the United States.
Monday, 06 February 2006 20:20:21 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The World Dialogue on Regulation (WDR), a LIRNE administered project, has made eight research reports available online. Produced by WDR partners and associates, the reports fall within the WDR Third Cycle research theme Diversifying Participation in Network Development

The following reports were made available between 30 November and 20 December 2005. For more information and downloads, follow the links to the World Dialogue on Regulation website.

Replicability of a Microfinance Approach to Extending Telecommunications Access
by Malathy Knight-John, Ayesha Zainudeen & Abu-Saeed Khan (LIRNEasia)

Diversifying Network Participation: A Study of India's Universal Service Instruments 
by Payal Malik & Harsha de Silva (LIRNEasia)

Variations on the Expenditure in Communications in Developing Countries
by Sebastian Ureta (LIRNE)

More reprts are available on the World Dialogue on Regulation website.

Monday, 06 February 2006 19:43:31 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The United States Homeland Security Department’s Cyber Storm cybersecurity exercise scheduled to start 6 February 2006 is said to have worldwide scope.

"Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom will join 20 companies and two U.S. government agencies, said a senior industry official who requested anonymity because of the information’s sensitive nature. Cyber Storm will test federal and private-sector readiness for cyberattacks, particularly against critical infrastructure. The massive exercise, scheduled for Feb. 6-10, has been planned for a long time, the official said. Participants will face realistic scenarios, the official said. Critical sections of the UK IT infrastructure will come under attack this week as the US Department of Homeland Security runs Operation Cyber Storm, a global penetration test to assess how vulnerable the nation is to online attack."

"An anonymous source has confirmed to US publication Federal Computer Week that the exercise will be global in scale and include attempted penetration of key UK infrastructure, as well as targets in the US, Canada and Australia. The US National Cyber Security Division is funding the testing programme and Donald Purdy, its acting director, told Congress in October that such a test was being planned. The Department of Homeland Security confirmed in November that the original plan was to hold the test in November but that the response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita forced a rescheduling for February. Penetration tests will be conducted on financial institutions, power companies and other users of critical IT systems."

For further details about the cybersecurity exercise see the full article.

Monday, 06 February 2006 15:39:24 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

More regulation while competition is increasing? That does not sound right, according to the GSM Association. Instead, given the innovative nature of 3GSM, its embryonic status and the current lack of market and legal certainty, regulatory forbearance is advisable.

10 Regulatory Principles:

1. Regulators should continue to seek a balance between the benefits and costs of intervention, on the one hand, and regulatory forbearance, on the other.

An overly interventionist approach, which could lead to short-term benefits, could potentially stifle a dynamic market process with inevitable and adverse competitive, economic and even social consequences on the longer term. In general, competition is deemed to be a better approach to economic efficiency than regulation, and the regulators must encourage sustainable competition for the long term.

2. Regulation should be based on clearly defined goals and policy objectives and should be kept to the minimum necessary to meet these objectives.

Once effective competition is established or there is a reasonable prospect of a effectively competitive market in the near term, regulatory forbearance should prevail (with competition law providing appropriate safeguards).

3. Regulators should acknowledge that 'normal' competitive markets reflect a range of operator return and should not intervene in competitive markets where one or more operators' return appears to be above the 'norm'.

In the mobile market, the reality is that some operators have made good returns (on invested capital), while others have not. This situation is not of itself a cause to regulate away 'excess profits'. If a regulator judges from the highest standard, and regulates accordingly, then the less performing companies will unavoidably hit, thus further reducing already inadequate returns and threatening long term competitive development.

4. Regulation should fit (reflect) the market situation and balance the micro and macro views.

For example, when in certain cases mobile termination or roaming charges may appear high to regulators in certain countries, these cannot be judged in isolation.

5. Regulators should be publicly accountable and act in a transparent way.

Regulatory intervention should only be imposed after an appropriate public consultation process, which in most cases, will include market definition and assessment and a further assessment as to the appropriate regulatory remedy. A full right of appeal both on grounds of law (substance) and procedure (process) is an essential element of the checks and balances, which are necessary between operators and regulators.

6. Governments should adopt licensing practices that encourage new investments in telecommunication infrastructures and facilitate competition within the sector.

Un-harmonized license award procedures together with varying license conditions/obligations may lead to varying investment incentives in national markets and may eventually give rise to some discrepancy with respect to the levels of mobile service developments. Licensing policies and procedures must be applied judiciously] since not only they can influence market entry but also the post-entry conditions affecting competitiveness and market development. For auctions to contribute positively to economic welfare, they must meet a set of stringent preconditions (all potential bidders must be fully informed as to any Government imposed terms and conditions, including fees and changes to fees). When designing auctions, policy-makers should seek to achieve efficient resource allocation rather than primarily aiming to raise surplus government revenue. High license fees in some developed countries may constrain the ability of operators to invest in developing countries.

7. Spectrum should be allocated on the basis of achieving economically efficient, competitive and structurally desirable outcomes rather than to extract monopoly rents from the industry.

If the market is the best allocator of scarce resources, as most economists would argue, it is important that countries should be able to develop their own spectrum trading arrangements. In principle, regulators should allow for secondary trading of spectrum within planned internationally frequency allocations, after a thorough consultation process with the industry (i.e. mobile operators) evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of spectrum trading.

8. The feasibility and commercial desirability of sharing of facilities and infrastructure is a matter, which is operator and market specific.

In certain circumstances, sharing can be beneficial by, for instance, driving efficiencies through accelerated network rollout, the potential elimination of unnecessary cost duplication and the minimization of certain adverse environmental impacts. Accordingly, regulators should enable commercial negotiations on facility sharing among mobile operators to proceed subject however to license conditions not prohibiting the proposed form of sharing and competition not being materially and adversely impacted by the proposed form of sharing.

9. Restrictions on the deployment of mobile networks should be based on science and substantiated studies, and not in response to 'public concern' which is without scientific basis.

10. Adequate consumer safeguards against the inappropriate use of customer data are in place in most countries.

In overseeing the implementation of those safeguards, regulators should balance the interests of consumers to data privacy, on the one hand, and timely and easy access to services and information on the other. Further, regulators should look first to relevant self-regulatory industry initiatives to achieve those objectives.

Monday, 06 February 2006 14:26:44 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has published updated indicators on mobile penetration and growth in India. TRAI reports that:

"India has become one of the fastest growing mobile markets in the world. The mobile services were commercially launched in August 1995 in India. In the initial 5-6 years the average monthly subscribers additions were around 0.05 to 0.1 million only and the total mobile subscribers base in December 2002 stood at 10.5 millions. However, after the number of proactive initiatives taken by regulator and licensor, the monthly mobile subscriber additions increased to around 2 million per month in the year 2003-04 and 2004-05. For the year 2005-06, the first 9 months have seen an addition of 26 million mobile subscribers, which translates into average addition of 3 million subscribers monthly. The additions in the month of December 2005 alone have touched around 4.5 million."

With currently about 76 million subscribers, TRAI says that monthly mobile growth rates have reached those of its neighbour, China.

Monday, 06 February 2006 13:01:11 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

An article featured in the Technology Review; "A Tangle of Wires", discusses United States’ approach to cybersecurity.

Among other things it states that: "The major problems in Internet security [many of which are detailed in "The Internet Is Broken"], are nowhere close to being addressed at the federal level, and what little is being done is on the wrong track, favoring summits, partnerships, and "information sharing" over the much more necessary but less visible work of long-term research and development.”

The article also points to two reports: ""Critical Infrastructure Protection: Department of Homeland Security Faces Challenges in Fulfilling Cybersecurity Responsibilities," a report presented by the U.S. Government Accountability Office to Congress in May 2005. It contends that "While DHS has initiated multiple efforts, it has not fully addressed any of the 13 key cybersecurity-related responsibilities that we identified...and it has much work ahead in order to be able to fully address them.""
And "Cyber Security: A Crisis of Prioritization," "prepared by the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC) and delivered to the executive branch in February 2005." This report does, according to the article, "in its way offer a solution to the long-term problem of cybersecurity."

View Technology Review for the full article.

Monday, 06 February 2006 12:34:03 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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, 06 February 2006 11:36:49 (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, 06 February 2006 10:36:47 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Pan Asia Networking (PAN) at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) is pleased to share two interactive maps with you. The first of these maps provides information about the ICT market structure, regulatory functions, and the national regulatory agency for countries in Asia. You can access the map here.

The second map provides a list of indicators (including population, GDP per capita, main telephone lines, mobile cellular subscribers, radios, televisions, and internet users) in Asia since 2001. In addition, this map allows one to compare an indicator across up to three countries. An animated instruction guide for this map is attached. You can access the map here.

Monday, 06 February 2006 08:25:01 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, 05 February 2006

According to an article in the IHT, companies will soon have to buy the electronic equivalent of a postage stamp if they want to be certain that their e-mail will be delivered to many of their customers.

America Online and Yahoo, two of the world's largest providers of e-mail accounts, are about to start using a system that gives preferential treatment to messages from companies that pay from a quarter of a cent to 1 cent each to have them delivered. The Internet companies say this will help them identify legitimate mail and cut down on junk e-mail, identity-theft scams and other scourges of users of their services.

Sunday, 05 February 2006 18:24:28 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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, 05 February 2006 15:13:44 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, 04 February 2006
The Country Code Country Code 1 ENUM LLC has issued a press release on the formation of a committee to coordinate testing activities among participants in its upcoming US ENUM trial. The first meeting of this committee, to be known as the LLC's Trial Participants Advisory Committee (TPAC), will take place in Richardson, Texas, on February 21, 2006. Companies who have an interest in participating inthe trial should plan on attending this meeting. Meeting details will beposted on the LLC's web site.
Saturday, 04 February 2006 18:45:51 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The beta of Internet Explorer 7 handles internationalized domain names in an interesting method to mitigate what is known as homographic spoofing.

When attempting to read a web address with non-standard characters, it blocks the action and puts up a dialogue box asking whether the user would like to specifically add the language (actually the corresponding script) as valid.

The same dialogue box allows the user to specify a locale specific suffix that will be entered with a key combination.

Saturday, 04 February 2006 09:13:23 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 03 February 2006

Link Center has released new report on Towards an African e-Index: Household and Individual ICT Access and Usage across 10 African Countries.

Based on the 2004 e-Access & Usage Household survey that was completed during the course of 2004 and 2005 by members of the researchICTafrica! network under the direction of Prof Gillwald, this report is the result of a demand study of individuals and households and how ICT's are used across 10 African countries. 

For more information on the report, please click here. For the full report in pdf format (6,7mb), please click here.

Friday, 03 February 2006 18:56:08 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU's Market and Finance Unit has just released publication ICT Market Liberalisation Reports for CEE Countries and Baltic States.

The publication includes seven following contributions:

  • Significant market power in telecommunications: theoretical and practical aspects
  • Increasing the competition in the Polish mobile telecommunication market
  • Lithuanian telecommunication market
  • Liberalization of the ICT Market in Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Economic and institutional implications of network convergence in Hungary
  • Implementation of the new act on electronic communications in Slovenia
  • Implementation of the New Regulatory Framework in Lithuania

To download publication, please click here.

Friday, 03 February 2006 18:30:16 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Act of 29 December 2005 on transformations and modifications to the division of tasks and powers of state bodies competent for communications and broadcasting (Official Journal of 30 December 2005, No 267, 2258), hereinafter referred to as the Act, defines the principles for the transfer of tasks and powers between Polish state bodies responsible for communications and broadcasting and the principles, scope and mode of transformations within the communications administration.

Under the Act, a new central-level government administration body - the President of the Office of Electronic Communications (President of UKE, Prezes Urzêdu Komunikacji Elektronicznej,) was established as of 14 January 2005 in place of the central-level government administration body - the President of the Office of Telecommunications and Post Regulation (President of URTiP) which was liquidated as of 13 January 2005.

The President of UKE shall assume the tasks and powers that have so far fallen within the competence of the President of URTiP as well as certain powers of the President of the National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT).

This in particular refers to the following issues:
- reservation of frequencies for the purposes of radio or TV programme transmission or retransmission (in communication with the President of KRRiT),

- competition for a reservation of frequencies for the purposes of digital transmission or retransmission of radio or TV programmes,

- keeping registers of telecommunications undertakings with respect to the provision of conditional access systems, electronic programme guides and multiplexing of digital signals,

- relevant market analysis and the imposition, maintenance, amendment or withdrawal of regulatory obligations with respect to telecommunications undertakings concerning conditional access systems, electronic programme guides and multiplexing of digital signals.

The Prime Minister, having considered three candidatures proposed by the National Broadcasting Council, shall appoint the President of UKE.

The President of UKE shall be supervised by the minister competent for communications (currently the Minister of Transport and Construction who is also competent for communications).

Continuity of cases and rights and obligations

Cases initiated by the National Broadcasting Council, the President of the National Broadcasting Council or by the President of URTiP with respect to tasks assumed by the President of UKE and not completed by the date of entry into force of the Act (i.e. before 14 January 2006) shall be handled by the President of UKE according to the provisions of the Act.

With respect to cases completed within the framework of administrative proceedings, but not completed in the course of court proceedings, the provisions in force to date shall continue to apply.

The rights and obligations of the President of URTiP as a party to cases in which a complaint to an administrative court or an appeal to the District Court in Warsaw - the competition and consumer court - may be lodged or has already been lodged, shall be assumed by the President of UKE.

Frequency reservations made by the President of the Broadcasting Council or by the President of URTiP shall remain valid, unless they are modified or expire under separate provisions.

Entries in the register of telecommunications undertakings as well as decisions and other settlements with respect to tasks assumed by the President of UKE made before the date of entry into force of the Act shall remain valid.

All rights and obligations of URTiP shall become the rights and obligations of UKE.

For more information, please click here.

Friday, 03 February 2006 18:20:06 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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, 03 February 2006 17:03:53 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

IDATE has just released material with 2005 statistics on FTTx in Europe.

At mid 2005 IDATE identified 166 FTTx projects in Europe of which 13 are new initiatives since mir 2004.

By the end of June 2005, there were approximately 646 570 FTTx subscribers in EU 181 and
roughly 2.51 millions Homes/Building passed showing a penetration rate of 25.8%. Compared to
mid June 2004 this represents a growth of 18% for subscribers and 28% for Homes/Building
passed. There are still no major deployments in the 10 new members and we should also notice that nearly 97% of these FTTx Subscribers are concentrated in 5 countries (Sweden, Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway).

To read brief material with statistics, please, click here.

Friday, 03 February 2006 16:52:22 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

From Bruce Schneier's blog Schneier on Security comes a pointer to an article about someone convicted for running a for-profit botnet:

November's 52-page indictment, along with papers filed last week, offer an unusually detailed glimpse into a shadowy world where hackers, often not old enough to vote, brag in online chat groups about their prowess in taking over vast numbers of computers and herding them into large armies of junk mail robots and arsenals for so-called denial of service attacks on Web sites.

Ancheta one-upped his hacking peers by advertising his network of "bots," short for robots, on Internet chat channels.

A Web site Ancheta maintained included a schedule of prices he charged people who wanted to rent out the machines, along with guidelines on how many bots were required to bring down a particular type of Web site.

In July 2004, he told one chat partner he had more than 40,000 machines available, "more than I can handle," according to the indictment. A month later, Ancheta told another person he controlled at least 100,000 bots, and that his network had added another 10,000 machines in a week and a half.

In a three-month span starting in June 2004, Ancheta rented out or sold bots to at least 10 "different nefarious computer users," according to the plea agreement. He pocketed $3,000 in the process by accepting payments through the online PayPal service, prosecutors said.

Starting in August 2004, Ancheta turned to a new, more lucrative method to profit from his botnets, prosecutors said. Working with a juvenile in Boca Raton, Fla., whom prosecutors identified by his Internet nickname "SoBe," Ancheta infected more than 400,000 computers.

Friday, 03 February 2006 11:47:45 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 02 February 2006

The December 2005 edition of the Internet Protocol Journal has two articles on countering spam:

Thursday, 02 February 2006 10:10:23 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 31 January 2006

WSIS E-Flash No 30 dated 30 January 2006 has been published and includes news on:

  • WSIS Executive Secretariat maintained
  • Meeting on WSIS Action Lines Moderators/Facilitators on 24 February 2006
  • Internet Governance Forum - consultations on 16 - 17 February 2006
  • WSIS Golden Book
  • WSIS Stocktaking
  • The ITU development initiative "Connect the World"
  • WSIS Outcome documents
  • New general WSIS contact e-mail address
Tuesday, 31 January 2006 17:44:20 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A possible timeline for convening of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) has been published on the consultations website on the convening of the IGF.

Tuesday, 31 January 2006 17:36:44 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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, 31 January 2006 16:14:43 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 30 January 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, 30 January 2006 18:25:37 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, 29 January 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, 29 January 2006 10:52:04 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 27 January 2006

At an early December meeting of ITU-T's Study Group 2, agreement on the allocation of a high-revenue international short message service (SMS) number to two international organisations for the purpose of fundraising was made. An official announcement in ITU-T's Operational Bulletin will be made following the decision of the Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau.

The number +979 0767 was granted following a request from the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). It will allow the two organizations to launch relief campaigns across national boundaries, and will encourage regular donations by introducing a recognisable and non-changing number. The 767 portion of the number spells out SOS.

Texting emerged as a popular way to contribute to relief efforts during fundraising for the earthquake in Bam , Iran , 2003 and the 2004 Asian tsunami. [via the ITU-T Newslog]

Friday, 27 January 2006 12:47:49 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

If you missed the recent ITU-T web-based seminar (webinar) on NGN you may be interested to know that the whole thing including slides, audio and the question and answer session is available in Light Reading’s archive. Nearly 400 people attended the live event on 23 January, submitting close to 100 questions to the speakers. [via ITU-T Newslog]

Friday, 27 January 2006 12:47:42 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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, 27 January 2006 10:11:22 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 26 January 2006

Richard Stastny on his blog VoIP and ENUM brings news that the German ccTLD manager, DENIC has announced in a press release that the responsible ministry (Wirtschaftsministerium) has accepted the proposals from DENIC regarding ENUM operation and production is starting immediately.

DENIC's enum pages are available here.

Thursday, 26 January 2006 07:35:19 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 25 January 2006

The ITU-T Newslog is announcing the first release of an ICT Security Standards Roadmap developed to assist in the development of security standards by bringing together information about existing standards and current standards work in key standards development organizations. The Roadmap is a work in progress,

The Roadmap is in four parts:

  • Part 1: ICT Standards Development Organizations and Their Work

    Part 1 contains information about the Roadmap structure and about each of the listed standards organizations, their structure and the security standards work being undertaken. In addition it contains information on terminology by providing links to existing security glossaries and vocabularies.

  • Part 2: Approved ICT Security Standards

    Part 2 contains a summary catalogue of approved standards.

  • Part 3: Security standards under development

    Part 3 is structured with the same taxonomy as Part 2 but contains work in progress, rather than standards that have already been approved and published. Part 3 will also contain information on inter-relationships between groups undertaking the work and on potential overlaps between existing projects.

  • Part 4: Future needs and proposed new security standards

    Part 4 is intended to capture possible future areas of security standards work where gaps or needs have been identified as well as areas where proposals have been made for specific new standards work.

It is hoped that standards organizations whose work is not represented in this version of the Roadmap will provide information to ITU-T about their work so that it may be included in future editions. In the near future provision will be made to allow each organization to manage its own data within the Roadmap.

Wednesday, 25 January 2006 17:41:11 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Wednesday, 25 January 2006 15:11:25 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Light Reading is reporting that a joint initiative comprised of UPC Netherlands, Casema, MultiKabel, Essent and CaiW, totaling more than 7 million subscribers with more than 450,000 telephony subscribers today awarded a VoIP Peering contract to a partnership of XConnect and Kayote Networks. The agreement enables all participating operators to share VoIP traffic directly over their IP networks, completely bypassing traditional phone networks and thereby eliminating PSTN interconnection fees.

Wednesday, 25 January 2006 14:45:53 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 24 January 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, 24 January 2006 19:35:29 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Tuesday, 24 January 2006 19:20:20 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to the 18 November 2005 Newsletter of Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication, they have decided to set up a “Study Group on a Framework for Competition Rules to Address Progress in the Move to IP", with the aim of laying out basic principles on a framework for competition rules applicable as well as clarifying specific directions concerning interconnection and tariff policies.

In other news, Japan's National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) has recently announced (Japanese) that they have established a IP-based Next Generation Network promotion forum. About 190 entities are participating in the newly established forum which will feed into ITU's work on NGNs.

Tuesday, 24 January 2006 19:15:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The official website of the 1st Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), to be convened later this year in Greece has been launched.

Tuesday, 24 January 2006 11:52:35 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 23 January 2006

In preparation for an upcoming ITU workshop entitled What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs?, to be held 23-24 March 2006 at ITU (see workshop concept document), an ITU NGN Policy and Regulatory site is now available and under development.

The new site contains links to the workshop and other resources as well as the most recent NGN-related news from the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit and the ITU-T.

Monday, 23 January 2006 21:42:29 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

OECD: VoIP - Developments in the Market: From the main points of the study:

The growing importance of VoIP services is reflected in the regulatory debate at both the national and international level among OECD countries. There are a range of issues that need to be addressed surrounding the issue of whether traditional regulations should or should not apply to VoIP services. They include classification of the application/service, interconnection, possible market entry barriers, numbering, universal service issues, customer protection, privacy protection, emergency call capabilities, law enforcement issues, and technical safeguards (e.g. solutions for possible low quality of sound). These issues are complicated by the fact that IP can be utilised in all or some parts of traditional and nontraditional communication networks. Delivering a voice service or application can be provided entirely over IP or partly over IP and partly over non-IP. Depending on how it is defined, the term “VoIP” can seep into the term any voice service which runs over IP at any point of their transmission. This might include services that differ in no respect from traditional circuit-switched analogue voice services provided to customers today other than at some point in the middle of the transmission of the service it traverses an IP-based part of the network. Currently, VoIP is, to a large extent, unregulated in a number of OECD countries, but there are several countries which impose regulations similar to PSTN regulations on VoIP. Some countries distinguish between the types of VoIP services in regulations; for example, VoIP services based on PC-to-PC calls are unregulated, whereas calls from a VoIP phone to the PSTN will be regulated. In the last year, a number of governments have started consultation processes on VoIP regulation.

Monday, 23 January 2006 20:24:30 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

OECD: Telecommunication Regulatory Institutional Structures and Responsibilities issued January 2006. From the conclusions:

Almost all OECD countries have adopted a regulatory model for the telecommunication sector based on the creation of an independent regulatory authority. Sector specific regulators have often been viewed as temporary institutions created to ensure that effective competition was created in the sector. Once such competition was created regulators would forbear from regulation and over time the sector would be subject, as other industry sectors, only to oversight by the competition authority. Although telecommunication regulators have taken steps to forbear from regulation, and competition has been developing, it would be too premature to view the regulator as only a temporary institution. The development of new technologies, new services, issues such as convergence, and the implications that new voice services may have on universal service, all raise new important regulatory issues. The shift by operators to the “next generation network” may create further pressure to have a single regulatory structure which deals with electronic communications networks and services. New technological developments now allow communications services which historically were regulated differently to appear identical from the consumer point of view. This underscores the regulator’s need to be mindful not only of issues related to companies, but also with the concerns of consumers. An independent regulator with the habit of interacting and learning from consumers will have an advantageous perspective on markets as different technologies vie for new or different regulatory actions.

Monday, 23 January 2006 20:17:57 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The report Co-Regulation Measures in the Media Sector from the Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research, Hamburg, Germany, and the Institute of European Media Law, Saarbrücken, Germany is a study commissioned by the European Commission, Directorate General Information Society and Media.

The study aims at providing a complete picture of co-regulatory measures taken to date in the media sector in all 25 EU Member States and in three non-EU-countries, as well as of the research already done in this field. The study indicates areas in which these measures mainly apply, their effects and their consistency with public interest objectives. The study also examines how best to ensure that the development of national co- and self-regulatory models does not disturb the functioning of the single market by re-fragmenting the markets.

The Hans-Bredow-Institute and the Institute of European Media Law presented the Draft Final Report on 19 January 2006 in Brussels. The authors will consider all comments which have been submitted by the 5th of February 2006.

More details about the study are available in German and English.

Monday, 23 January 2006 20:09:14 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

An entry on Richard Stastny's blog (VoIP and ENUM) points to a number of interesting presentations made at an ERO hosted event on scenarios for NGN naming, numbering and addressing, interconnection and QoS.

Monday, 23 January 2006 13:33:27 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

This UN study on the construction of knowledge societies puts forward "the idea that if societies desire to follow the path of knowledge-based growth and development, a very thorough reconstruction of their institutions must occur. It suggests to political leaders, public administrations and the public at large that a broad, well-informed debate about this institutional shift should be undertaken. The magnitude of such a shift would require the cooperation of all segments of society and their sharing not only of the risk and cost of change, but first and foremost, of common goals and values. It is hoped that this study will inform this debate or at least sketch its parameters."

In an experimental Index of Knowledge Societies, it rates the following countries the highest:

Country Name IKS Index

1  Sweden 0.776
2  Denmark 0.763
3  Norway 0.719
4  Switzerland 0.706
5  Finland 0.704
6  Japan 0.696
7  Germany 0.696
8  Austria 0.692
9  New Zealand 0.692
10 United Kingdom 0.688

Monday, 23 January 2006 13:01:28 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 18 January 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, 18 January 2006 15:26:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

James Seng takes a look at IPTV, its hardware requirements, the value proposition for IP-enabled NGN players, and why he is excited about P2P IPTV which he says can be traced back "to an academic paper called Coolstreaming (see also Wikipedia) published about a year ago (the authors of the paper is rumored to be funded by Softbank after the publication). The release of their python code no doubt spurred the the creation of PPLive, Sopcast and Cybersky."

As several presentations in this FGNGN document show, there is a recognition to bring IPTV into ITU's future work on NGN standardization. The US-based ATIS has already formed the IPTV Interoperability Forum which is part of their NGN standardization activities.

Wednesday, 18 January 2006 10:40:21 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |