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 Thursday, 23 February 2006

In line with paragraph 108 and the Annex of the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, a consultation is being held on 15-16 May 2006, at ITU Headquarters in Geneva, on WSIS Action Line C5: Building Confidence and Security in the use of ICTs. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the WSIS multi-stakeholder implementation process for Action Line C5.

The meeting is open to all WSIS stakeholders that are interested and involved in the implementation process in the field of building confidence and security in the use of ICTs.

A draft agenda for the consultation on WSIS Action Line C5 Facilitation and the invitation letter to the meeting from ITU Secretary-General Yoshio Utsumi can be viewed on the WSIS C5 Implementation website.

More information on the activities related to WSIS implementation and follow-up can be viewed here.

Thursday, 23 February 2006 10:59:16 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 22 February 2006

China's Ministry of Information Industry launched its anti-spam center,, today as part of their net safety efforts. There are ongoing efforts to also enhance its email management sometime between March and April 2006.

Additionally, the Chinese government issued a regulation on the management of emails, which will take effect on 30 March 2006. Sending advertisement emails without the receiver's permission is banned, according to this new regulation.

For more information, click here

Wednesday, 22 February 2006 09:42:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ITU hosted a workshop on “Networked RFID: Systems and Services” in Geneva, 14-15 February 2006.

The event focused on the use of RFID technology in networked environments, and review international standardization. Particular emphasis was given to the impact that networked RFID applications will have on telecommunication networks, especially on network and service capability requirements and interworking aspects.

Links to the meeting presentations and the audio webcast archive from the event are now available on the website.

Please see “Networked RFID: Systems and Services”, for further information.

Wednesday, 22 February 2006 09:01:55 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 21 February 2006

European Commission has just released 11th Report on the Implementation of the Telecommunications Regulatory Package.

The report draws attention to many regulatory and market developments in the European telecommunication market. Telecom operators in Europe are investing in new technologies to cut costs and seize new opportunities opened up by the convergence of communication networks, media content and devices. Growing competition, especially in retail markets, is bringing increased consumer benefits and the outlook for innovation and investment within Member States and across borders is positive. Member States have made good progress in implementing the EU telecom rules of 2002, which is opening up markets to new entrants. The report highlights rapid take-up of high-speed “broadband” internet connections. In the mobile phone sector, while take-up of services is still growing, particularly in the new Member States, there are signs that the voice market is maturing. Meanwhile, revenues from traditional voice services remain the largest source of revenue in the fixed line market, despite a gradual decline.

For full version of the Report, please click here.

Tuesday, 21 February 2006 11:49:34 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 17 February 2006

ITU Study Group 15 (Study Group focusing on access network transport and optical technology) has consented a Recommendation that will address a key concern in the evolution to next generation networks (NGN).

With the proposed move to packet switched networks, carriers, mobile operators and system integrators all have a need to support time-division multiplexing (TDM) over packet networks. TDM, experts say, today forms all of the transmission network and a good part of the access network.

The role of this Rec - G.8261 - is to outline the requirements for the support of a crucial part of TDM's operation in packet networks. The Recommendation's authors say that without proper synchronization, applications such as mobile telephony simply will not work.

G.8261 analyses synchronization aspects in packet networks, with particular focus on the Ethernet, and outlines the minimum requirements for the synchronization function of network elements. In particular it focuses on the transport of synchronization information required for the transport of TDM signals over packet networks. The transport of SDH signals is for further study.

Read more about Study Group 15 activities.

Friday, 17 February 2006 15:30:30 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

At the behest of the GSM Association (GSMA), fifteen network operators have founded a joint initiative against the spread of spam via mobile communications networks and published a "Code of Practice" (PDF file).

The initiative is focusing on spam sent as a text message or MMS, which has been divided into three categories: first, advertising that the cell phone user did not request; second, messages that directly or indirectly lead to calls of expensive premium services; and third, fraudulent content, such as the spoofs familiar to users of fixed Internet.

For more information, click here.

Friday, 17 February 2006 11:52:52 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 16 February 2006

OECD Scoping Study for the Measurement of Trust in the Online Environment:

Creating an online environment which builds on trust among users of ICT networks is an increasing priority for business, industry and governments and has been on the OECD agenda since the late 1990s. The aim of this report is to undertake a review of the data available from official, semi-official and private sources which can assist in informing developments and progress in this area. There is a need to be able to use relevant data to assess the effectiveness of public and private initiatives aimed at building trust among users.
Thursday, 16 February 2006 12:08:11 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 15 February 2006

Circle ID has an interesting piece entitled Internet Governance: An Antispam Perspective by Meng Wong, who is known for his work on the email authentication mechanism SPF*:

I believe that we must move to a default-deny model for email to solve phishing; at the same time we must preserve the openness that made email the killer app in the first place. The tension between these poles creates a tremendous opportunity for innovation and social good if we get things right, and for shattering failure if we get things wrong.

* SPF is derived from original concept work by Paul Vixie which is now also the core of Microsoft's Sender ID.
Wednesday, 15 February 2006 17:44:08 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

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

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

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

Via Brough's Communications blog comes news that the GSM Association has announced a new instant messaging initiative.

Wednesday, 15 February 2006 10:19:20 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 14 February 2006

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

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

Tuesday, 14 February 2006 10:08:56 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

FCC Examines Need For Tougher Privacy Rules.

"In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) adopted today, the Commission seeks comment on a variety of issues related to customer privacy, including what security measures carriers currently have in place, what inadequacies exist in those measures, and what kind of security measures may be warranted to better protect consumers’ privacy. The Notice grants a petition for rulemaking filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) expressing concerns about whether carriers are adequately protecting customer call records and other customer proprietary network information, or CPNI. EPIC claims that some data brokers have taken advantage of inadequate security standards to gain access to the information under false pretenses, such as by posing as the customer, and then offering the records for sale on the Internet. The practice is known as "pretexting.""
    Tuesday, 14 February 2006 10:05:12 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Monday, 13 February 2006

    The NY Times has an article about cooperation between the telecommunications industry and the US government for legal intercept, including through NSTAC.

    Monday, 13 February 2006 13:47:06 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    The ITU is hosting a workshop on Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) from 14-15 February 2006, bringing the spotlight on the emergence of a so-called "Internet of Things", enabling ubiquitous network connectivity, anytime and anywhere. The agenda and an accompanying press release are available.

    Update: The workshop is being audiocast live and archived.

    Monday, 13 February 2006 11:23:35 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Friday, 10 February 2006

    Bruce Schneier's Schneier on Security points to a paper dismissing the myth that worms won't be able to propagate under IPv6.

    Friday, 10 February 2006 17:19:34 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    The Financial Times has an article entitled Privacy Under Pressure in Europe

    A European directive is in preparation that will require the providers of publicly available communications services to retain details of fixed-line, mobile phone and e-mail communications for at least six months, and possibly up to two years. It is a requirement that even the US has not imposed in its war on terror.

    Friday, 10 February 2006 11:34:32 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    Bruce Schneier's Schneier on Security has a post on the new security features of IE7.

    Friday, 10 February 2006 09:15:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
    Friday, 10 February 2006 09:13:54 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Thursday, 09 February 2006

    Richard Stastny's VoIP and ENUM has a long post on his views on NGN and regulation.

    Thursday, 09 February 2006 11:15:01 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Wednesday, 08 February 2006

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

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

    Wednesday, 08 February 2006 20:52:50 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    Via Schneier on Security comes a pointer to an interesting paper entitled Introduction to Petname Systems.

    Zooko's Triangle [Zooko] argues that names cannot be global, secure, and memorable, all at the same time. Domain names are an example: they are global, and memorable, but as the rapid rise of phishing demonstrates, they are not secure.

    For background reading, see Zooko: Names: Decentralized, Secure, Human-Meaningful: Choose Two, Waterken YURL: Naming vs. Pointing and the Petnames Markup Language.

    To summarize, you cannot have a namespace which is all three of: 1. decentralized (which is the same as saying that the namespace spans trust boundaries), 2. secure in the sense that an attacker cannot cause name lookups to return incorrect values that violate some universal policy of name ownership, and 3. using human-memorizable keys.

    Wednesday, 08 February 2006 20:17:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    Via the ITU-T Newslog comes news that a Recommendation consented at the January meeting of Study Group 13 allows enterprises to convert multiple voice streams or VoIP flows to IP packets, enabling them to be trunked to their destination over a packet switched infrastructure, rather than dedicated circuit-switched infrastructure. Rec Y.1452 gives the required functions and procedures necessary for support of multiplexed narrowband voice services by IP networks. It specifies the required protocols and the operation of the interworking function.

    Wednesday, 08 February 2006 10:34:23 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     Tuesday, 07 February 2006

    Regular economic analysis by EU Member States and the European Commission of competition in electronic communications markets and Commission scrutiny of draft national rules are paving the way to free markets, regulated solely by competition law, says a progress report published by the Commission today. Regulation in this sector applies only to operators whose significant market power could prevent the full benefits of telecoms liberalisation from getting through to consumers. Wherever a market analysis has found tangible signs of sustainable competition, regulation has been trimmed back or removed altogether. However, much remains to be done. As of 30 September 2005, sixteen EU Member States had found no effective competition on one or more of the 18 electronic communications markets defined by the EU and had taken steps to boost competition on the markets concerned. Five Member States had found only partial competition on one or more of these markets and had imposed remedies where it was lacking. But nine Member States had yet to notify the Commission of their analyses of any of the 18 markets. Of the analysed markets (152 out of 450), 123 were not competitive, 19 fully competitive, and 10 partially competitive.

    For more information, please click here.

    Tuesday, 07 February 2006 17:51:28 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    Today (7 February 2006) marks the third edition of Safer Internet Day, held under the patronage of Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society and Media.

    Safer Internet Day is celebrated by more than 96 organisations in 36 countries across the world: 24 EU countries, and others including Russia, Argentina, New Zealand and the USA. Safer Internet Day's biggest event is a worldwide blogathon on safer use of internet launched by Commissioner Reding in Brussels at a minute past midnight, then taken up by New Zealand who post an entry a few minutes later.

    All day long the blogathon will continue to move across the world, through Australia and Russia to Europe, then across to Argentina, Canada and the USA. Over 300 local, regional and national events include press conferences, and competitions in Finland, Germany, Spain and the Czech Republic. There will also be internet safety quizzes and crosswords in Greece, pupil-teach-parent days in Belgium and the Netherlands, conferences in the UK, Hungary and Argentina and a broad palette of activities in schools and libraries.

    For an overview of the days' events, see the main Safer Internet website.

    To view the International Telecommunication Union's entry to the blogathon, click here.

    Tuesday, 07 February 2006 14:27:49 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    To coincide with Safer Internet Day, British Telecom (BT) announced today that, over the last 18 months, the number of attempts to access sites hosting child abuse images has increased from around 10,000 a day to 35,000 a day. All these attempts have been blocked utilising the company's Cleanfeed technology which uses a database of sites supplied by the United Kingdom's Internet Watch Foundation.

    According to Roger Darlington's blog, "BT developed and implemented Project Cleanfeed during my tenure as independent Chair of the IWF and, throughout the process and since, I have been a strong supporter of the initiative and would like to see all British Internet service providers using the same or similar technology."

    For more information and analysis with regards to this steep rise in attempts to access sites hosting child abuse images, see Roger Darlington's blog.

    Tuesday, 07 February 2006 13:50:19 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    ITU's Strategy and Policy Unit has just unveiled a new web site dedicated to NGN Policy and Regulatory Resources. The purpose of the site is to provide links to ITU NGN related activities, a March 2006 workshop entitled What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs? and related national, regional and international policy and regulatory initiatives.

    Tuesday, 07 February 2006 11:08:08 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

    In accordance to Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to be held in Hong Kong SAR, INTUG has submitted to Trade Directorate-General its position on Trade in Telecommunications Services.

    For more information, please click here.

    Tuesday, 07 February 2006 10:19:57 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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


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


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


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

    Tuesday, 07 February 2006 09:15:26 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
     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)  #     |