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 Monday, July 29, 2013

ITU-T events in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso have strengthened African regional positions on standardization to enhance environmental responsibility and quality of service (QoS); calling for harmonized regional policy on imports of ICT equipment and the management of e-waste, and sharing knowledge of national experiences in maintaining adequate QoS for Africa’s rapidly expanding communications networks.

Organized by ITU and hosted by Burkina Faso’s Autorité de Régulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes (ARCEP), two capacity-building workshops – free of charge and open to all – accompanied meetings of the African ‘Regional Groups’ tasked with coordinating African contributions to the standardization work of ITU-T Study Groups 5 (Environment and climate change) and 12 (Performance, QoS and QoE).

A workshop on "Building a Sustainable Future through Green ICT Standards", 15-16 July, introduced participants to the activities of SG5 and its Regional Group for Africa (SG5 RG-AFR). It discussed the role of ICT in tackling climate change in Africa and challenges and opportunities associated with e-waste, also offering a technical tutorial on Green ICT standards. A session sought to refine the priorities of SG5 RG-AFR to fuel the discussions of the Regional Group meeting, 16-17 July, which subsequently reached significant conclusions:

  • Emphasis was placed on the need for a Green ICT Roadmap for the African region.
  • Recognizing that local ICT players are predominantly importers, rather than manufacturers, of ICT equipment, participants stressed the need for countries to harmonize their relevant trade policies accordingly; a move which would strengthen their collective bargaining position.
  • Participants noted the need for a regional e-Waste Roadmap and support was expressed for the multi-stakeholder approach to e-waste management recommended by the East Africa Communications Organisation (EACO).

A second workshop on “Benchmarking QoS Evaluation of Multimedia Networks”, 18 July, fulfilled a similar function to the ‘Green ICT’ workshop by providing an opportunity for high-level discussion and information exchange in the run-up to the meeting of the SG12 Regional Group for Africa (SG12 RG-AFR) on 19 July.

Ensuring QoS in today’s converged, increasingly IP-based, communications ecosystem is a complex challenge, and even more so for African countries experiencing an unrelenting surge in demand for communications services and consequent network performance concerns.

The workshop and meeting of SG12 RG-AFR attracted regulators as well as operators, with discussions around ‘Mobile QoS’ highlighting the importance of the topic to the region. Participants discussed the draft new Recommendation ITU-T E.MQoS on mobile QoS parameters, a methodology which looks at mobile QoS parameters from a user’s perspective, and Morocco presented its national experience in mobile Internet QoS evaluation. ‘Broadband Internet QoS’ followed, introducing the country cases of Burkina Faso, Mauritius and Rwanda, and discussing QoS contractual parameters (with reference to Recommendation ITU-T E.803) and the way to harmonize non-standardized parameters with standards.

More information on ITU-T, the Environment and Climate Change is available here.

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Monday, July 29, 2013 10:00:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 22, 2013

Seeichi Tsugawa, Chairman of ITU-T's Study Group 3 provides a video update on the results of the group's recent meeting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaV7WpZeA5Q

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Monday, July 22, 2013 2:44:16 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 19, 2013

Following the recent ITU/UNECE workshop on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) (see previous newslog), ITU interviewed Russ Shields, Chairman of ITU’s Collaboration on Intelligent Transport Systems (CITS).

Shields provides a definition of ITS and explains why the technology is equally as important in developing countries as it is in the developed world.

http://youtu.be/W176lZaPN1k

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Friday, July 19, 2013 7:33:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 16, 2013

G.fast, a new ITU broadband standard, that promises up to 1 Gbit/s over existing copper telephone wires, is one step closer following a meeting of ITU-T Study Group 15 this week. G.fast is designed to deliver superfast downloads up to a distance of 250 meters, thereby eliminating the expense of installing fibre between the distribution point and people’s homes.

The Geneva meeting saw first stage approval of ITU standard, Recommendation ITU-T G.9700, that specifies methods to minimize the risk of G.fast equipment interfering with broadcast services such as FM radio, paving the way for G.fast to be approved in early 2014.

G.fast is expected to be deployed by service providers wanting to provide fibre to the home (FTTH) like services, which will enable flexible upstream and downstream speeds to support bandwidth-intensive applications such as streaming Ultra-HDTV movies, uploading high-resolution video and photo libraries to cloud-based storage, and communicating via HD video.

Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General, ITU: “Since the early days of the World Wide Web, people around the world have accessed the vast resource that has become the Internet via ITU standards. I applaud our membership for continuing to show great leadership in the development of these specifications that bring broadband into our homes at ever increasing speeds and at ever greater efficiencies.”

Full press release 

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013 8:50:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 12, 2013

ITU workshops in Durban, South Africa have underlined Africa’s commitment to countering spam and ensuring the eco-friendly management of e-waste, the subjects of new provisions of the revised International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs).

The events were hosted by South Africa’s Department of Communications at the International Convention Centre in Durban. Two full-day ITU workshops – free of charge and open to all – discussed “Countering and Combating Spam”, 8 July 2013, and “Environmentally Sound Management of e-Waste”, 9 July 2013.

The workshops considered questions of particular relevance to African countries. Spam is said to account for 60-80 per cent of emails in Africa and the continent has become the world’s most prominent importer of used electronic goods.

The spam workshop opened with presentations on the nature and dimensions of the spam challenge, followed by interactive tracks on the roles of policy and standards in combating spam and the associated contributions of government and industry. Targeted sessions presented the outcomes of WTSA-12 and WCIT-12 as they related to spam, with another giving an overview of the standards developed by ITU-T Study Group 17 (Security) under its study of “Countering spam by technical means”.

The workshop’s outcomes, detailed here, propose that the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) partners with the African Union to develop a model law for spam (including SMS spam) and to craft a model programme for cooperation between governments and industry in combatting spam, with components such as mechanisms for inter-agency cooperation to detect and eliminate ‘botnets’. ATU was also invited to collaborate with the African Union, ITU and the Internet Society (ISOC) in creating a programme helping African ISPs to implement effective anti-spam tools and to educate end-users on the safe identification and handling of suspicious messages.

The e-waste workshop highlighted the complexity of the e-waste challenge, hearing the views of government, industry and consumer representatives in analyzing lessons learnt from Africa’s fast-growing volume of experience in managing e-waste. Presentations covered existing policy frameworks and standards relevant to eco-friendly e-waste management, spurring discussions on future e-waste actions in Africa with an emphasis on the establishment of requisite legal and regulatory environments.

The workshop’s outcomes, detailed here, set the tone for African countries to develop and implement e-waste policies, regulations and best practices, pursuant to Article 11 of the ITRs. ATU was encouraged to partner with the African Union, Regional Economic Committees, ITU and other relevant organizations to assist African countries in developing national e-waste regulation. It was in addition asked to work with the African Union to develop a model programme for cooperation between government and industry in managing e-waste through the implementation of international standards (ITU-T Recommendations). Outcomes also called for collaboration between ATU and ITU-T Study Group 5 (Environment and climate change) in exploring the possibility of an ITU project to assist in the establishment of processing and refining/recycling facilities in the region, and SG5 was invited to carry out a survey on the existing e-waste legislation of ITU Member States.

More information on ITU-T, the Environment and Climate Change is available here.

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Friday, July 12, 2013 9:05:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |