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Billions shut out of Internet access by government inactions

ITRealms : The 2017 Affordability Report has been released with indication that billions shut out of internet access by government inac...


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Billions shut out of Internet access by government inactions

The 2017 Affordability Report has been released with indication that billions shut out of internet access by government inactions, reports ITRealms.

The report released by Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) tracks policy progress toward affordable internet across 58 low- and middle-income countries.

According to the Communications Manager, A4AI, Lauran Potter the report found out that governments are failing their citizens when it comes to providing affordable internet access. 

“Just 19 countries surveyed have "affordable" internet access,” she said, stressing that policies have barely changed since this research series started in 2014.

They observed that nearly half the countries surveyed have badly outdated or non-existent plans to guide broadband development, whereas public funds to expand access to the disconnected, if they exist, are sitting dormant in over a third of countries.

ITRealms reports that ​Nigeria, for instance, ranks 13th out of 58 on this year's Affordability Drivers Index, which measures the policies in place to enable affordable access.

Last year's report, ITRealms recalls, showed a miss on the global target of universal, affordable access by over 20 years.

This year's report further confirmed that government inaction has remained a threat to entrench the digital divide and worsen global inequality.

A4AI, therefore, called on leaders to take urgent action to reverse this course and enable access for the over 4 billion offline as at the time of releasing the report.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Recession, motivator for MainOne’s cloud deal with Microsoft

The Chief Executive Officer of MainOne, Funke Opeke has said that the current recession in the country was a motivator for her company to leverage Microsoft cloud, which led to the debut of its HoloLens, reports ITRealms.

Opeke in her address to the occasion with the theme: “Disruptive Technology: Achieve More with Less” said the economic downturn has left businesses with no alternative than to adopt and leverage disruptive technology to drive efficiency, save cost and deliver economic value.

She noted the need to align business needs with technology, the need to be agile and the importance of security, citing the successes recorded in the e-payment, e-commerce sectors with businesses such as eTransact, Konga, Jumia and Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBBS) as of the adoption of disruptive technology in Nigeria.

Ms. Opeke reiterated that the annual Nerds Unite conference is a commitment of MainOne and its partners to sharing knowledge and ideas aimed at transforming the businesses of its customers.

“At MainOne, we believe that our customers are the most able in this society to bring about disruption in the Nigerian economy leveraging technology. Nerds Unite provides a vantage platform for us to enable our stakeholder community with new ideas to disrupt the Nigerian business landscape”.

In its third year, Nerds Unite 2017 featured world-class leaders from global, blue chip IT firms sharing knowledge on new trends and other disruptive technologies facing today’s technology landscape.

The event also had in attendance, MainOne partners including Radware, Cisco, SAP, Huawei and Samsung, with representation from the Internet Society.

Chuks Egbune/GEE 
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Pix: From left: Senior Development Manager, Internet Society, Michuki Mwangi;  CEO, Venture Garden Group, Bunmi  Akinyemiju; CEO, MainOne, Funke Opeke, and Principal Group Manager, Microsoft Corporation, Robert Di Benedetto during the Nerds Unite 2017, organized by MainOne at Landmark Center, Oniru, Lagos.

Kwese TV, Internet and mobile to air 2017 NBA Africa Game

All is set for Kwesé’s TV, Internet and Mobile Platforms to air the 2017 National Basketball Association (NBA) Africa Game, reports ITRealms.

According to the management of Kwese TV, the game will air live on their platforms and will take place Saturday, August 5 at the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Revealing this at the annual NBA Africa All-Star Luncheon in New Orleans by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts and NBA Vice President and Managing Director for Africa, Amadou Gallo Fall, accompanied by NBA Africa Game 2017 players Bismack Biyombo (Orlando Magic; Democratic Republic of the Congo), CJ McCollum (Portland Trail Blazers; U.S.) and Emmanuel Mudiay (Denver Nuggets; Democratic Republic of the Congo).

The game, they said, will take place following the 15th edition of Basketball without Borders (BWB) Africa, will once again feature a Team Africa vs. Team World format and will be played in support of UNICEF, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and SOS Children’s Villages South Africa (SOSCVSA). Team Africa will be comprised of players from Africa and second generation African players, and Team World will be comprised of players from the rest of the world. 

“The game will air live in sub-Saharan Africa on Kwesé’s TV, Internet and mobile platforms, including Kwesé Free Sports, Kwesé Sports, select free-to-air channels, www.KweseSports.com, and the Kwesé app,” they affirmed.

Biyombo, the seventh overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft and a member of Team Africa in NBA Africa Game 2015, will join 2015-16 NBA All-Rookie Second Team member, Mudiay on Team Africa.  McCollum, the 2015-16 Kia NBA Most Improved Player, will play for Team World.

Full rosters of players, coaches and legends, along with ticket information will be announced at a later date. 

Banji Bayo/GEE
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Without science, we’ll be lost – Earth Day Network...

Without science, we’ll be lost – Earth Day Network...: NaijaAgroNet : The Earth Day Network has declared that without science, the world would be lost, just as its warming up for the 2017 Ea...

... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology

Sunday Dare urges NCC staff to remain steadfast, visits Kano zonal office

The recently appointed Executive Commissioner in charge of Stakeholder Management, Mr. Sunday Dare, has urged the staff of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to remain steadfast, reports ITRealms.

Speaking during his official working visits to Kano Zonal office to familiarize himself with the Commission at the weekend, Dare, who was accompanied by Head Zonal Operations, Mr. Austin Odo urged staff of the Kano Zonal Office to remain steadfast and committed to work, restating management's commitment and determination to empower the Zonal Offices for optimal output.

The ECSM expressed delight with the staff, encouraged them to come up with suggestions on how to consolidate Commission's achievements in the telecom sector.

ITRealms gathered that the staff were open and frank in their deliberations and discussions with the Executive Commissioner about the challenges of the Zonal Offices.

Also speaking, the Zonal Controller, Kano Office, Mr. Adamu Amshi, expressed satisfaction for the prompt visit of the ECSM and stated that the Commission is moving speedily on track, which is evident from the series of awards and honours the Commission has been receiving locally and internationally.

The Executive Commissioner, however, promised to convey the challenges of the zone to the Board and Management of the Commission.

Nenye Dom/GEE
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Pix of ECSM flanged to the right by Head Zonal Operations and to the left by Zonal Controller Kano , with staff of the NCC Kano Zonal Office.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The politics of state robbery in Nigeria

Late last month, as a section of the country awaited the triumphant return of James Ibori, an ex-governor of Delta State, who was jailed, incidentally, in the UK for his egregious looting of his state’s treasury while in office, the Nigerian media landscape was abuzz with stories about the mind-boggling salaries, allowances and other perquisites of office that elected officials and state functionaries in the country enjoy.

According to the report in Vanguard newspaper, forty-seven former governors from 21 states in the country, draw as much as N37.4 billion from the public treasury. There are twenty-one serving senators currently receiving pensions from government as ex-governors and deputy governors. There are also ministers in the current government who are receiving pensions as ex-governors. Of this group, Rotimi Amaechi, the minister of transportation stands out. I shall return to this. If you consider the fact that Nigerian senators and other elected officers are among the highest paid, if not the highest paid, in the world, then you can appreciate the outrage.

Of course, this story is not new. During the political transition two years ago, many state governors hurriedly signed or amended existing laws to give themselves fantastic pensions. Let’s take two examples: In 2014, Godswill Akpabio, now a “distinguished” senator, while leaving office as governor of Akwa Ibom State, passed the Governors and Deputy Governors Pension Law which entitles a former governor and spouse in the state up to N100 million a year, and a former deputy governor and spouse up to N30 million, for medical treatment. If this is not slush fund, I don’t know what it is. You can be sure that whether Mr. Akpabio and his spouse are sick or not, they will pocket 100 million Naira a year meant for their medical treatment. So, why would Mr. Akpabio, as governor, be interested in fixing the health sector in his state when he can rob the state to take care of himself and his family indefinitely?

Akpabio’s law provides that as ex-governor, he and his deputy will receive pensions equivalent to 100% of annual basic salaries of the incumbent governor and deputy, one house not below 5-bed maisonette in either Abuja or Akwa Ibom for the former governor and 500% annual basic for the deputy for accommodation. For transportation, he and his deputy will get one car and one utility car every four years. Add to this, a furniture allowance, every four years, that is 300% of annual basic salary. He will receive N5 million and his deputy gets N2.5 million for domestic staff. Akpabio is not done. He will get a car maintenance allowance that is 300% of annual basic salary, entertainment allowance, 100% of annual basic salary, utility: 100% of annual basic salary, and severance gratuity: 300% annual basic salary.

The Lagos State Governor and Deputy Governor Pensions Law of 2007, endorsed by ex-governor Babatunde Fashola, now minister of power, works, and housing, is even more lucrative. It provides that a former governor is entitled to six new vehicles (three cars, two back-up cars and one pilot car) every three years and a house in Lagos and another in Abuja, the country’s most expensive housing markets. His deputy gets five vehicles every three years. They and their family members—you only need to invoke the governor’s name to qualify as a family member—are entitled to unlimited free medical services. Their pension will be the equivalent of 100% of annual basic salaries of the incumbent governor and deputy.

There is a furniture allowance for these former “excellencies” that comes to 300% of their annual basic salary every two years. House maintenance: 10% of annual basic salary. Interestingly, these former executives are entitled to a cook, steward, gardener and other domestic staff who are pensionable. Their security will consist of two State Security Service (SSS) operatives, one female officer, eight policemen (four each for house and personal security) for the ex-governor; one SSS operative and two policemen (one each for house and personal security) for the deputy. There is an additional 25% of annual basic salary for their personal assistant, car maintenance: 30% of annual basic salary, entertainment: 10% of annual basic salary, utility: 20% of annual basic salary, etc.

There is no name for this other than robbery. That it is sanctioned by the state makes it no less grievous than armed robbery. Of course, state robbery has no party affiliation. As it is for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) so it is for the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP). This robbery unites our political elite, no matter their party, religious or ethnic affiliations. Once they are in power, they use the instrumentality of the state to feed fat, robbing their states and the nation at will, and covering up their crimes in the name of the law.

Make no mistake, state robbery is not a new phenomenon in Nigeria. It dates to the period before independence when the political elite who opposed British colonialism saw themselves as heirs to the throne of the departing colonialists. Therefore, after independence, very little was done to shake off the feeling of entitlement and bridge the gap that existed between the rulers and the ruled.

The emergent rulers at independence didn’t see themselves as the representatives of the exploited and oppressed people of the newly independent nation but ordained successors and, therefore, entitled to all the British colonialists enjoyed, and more! That tradition has continued to the present. Essentially, what happened was that in the name of independence, the country replaced one form of oppression with another. But in exploiting Nigeria, even the colonial masters applied enlightened self-interest. They knew when to draw the line. They knew they had to keep the oppressed alive; not so their local successors.

I have given this background to show that we are currently up against a deeply ingrained worldview perpetuated by a mindless elite that feels it is God-sent and entitled to everything that the state can offer. Political office in Nigeria is essentially a feeding trough. While this robbery is going on, states refuse to pay salaries and pensions of citizens, some of whom put in thirty-five years of public service; infrastructure where it exists, continues to decay at alarming rate because, thanks to corruption, it wasn’t built to standard.

Back to Amaechi. He was speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly from 1999 to 2007 and governor of Rivers State from 2007 to 2015. He most likely collected a sweet severance package as ex-speaker, that is, if he is not receiving outrageous pension. He is collecting mouth-watering pension package as ex-governor and currently collects salary, allowances and other perks of office as “honourable” minister of transportation.  

Of course, Amaechi is not alone. Take ex-president Goodluck Jonathan. Let’s ignore his public jobs as education inspector, lecturer, and environmental protection officer, before he was elected deputy governor of Bayelsa State in 1999. So, he is entitled to pension as deputy governor, governor, vice-president and president. It is probably the same for the incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari. He is an ex-military administrator, ex-minister, ex-head of state, and retired general in the Nigerian Army. Same for David Mark, also an ex-military administrator, ex-minister, retired army general, ex-president of the Nigerian senate and still a sitting senator.

Relying on the law, as Bukola Saraki, president of the senate, wants us to do, these public officers are entitled to everything the state can offer. As one of the beneficiaries of this state-sanctioned robbery, Saraki told Vanguard, in response to public misgivings, that he could not act otherwise since he was acting within the provisions of the law. He said his “pension entitlements were being used for charity, especially for educational purposes, which he noted, have positively impacted the needy in his state”. So, in the name of pension and the law, you rob your state of money that ordinarily should have gone to education and you give back the money as charity. Quite ingenious!

Do we still wonder why Nigerian politics is a do or die affair or why a governor today a minister or senator tomorrow? It is all about the politics of state robbery. In understanding the current decay, poverty and underdevelopment in Nigeria, the question we should ask is: what kind of system makes it possible for anyone to serve as governor for four or eight years and live a lifetime of luxury while citizens of his state wallow in penury. That system needs to be uprooted.

What is to be done? All of us victims must rise in one voice to bring a quick end to this exploitative state. The mission of this generation of Nigerians is to continue the glorious struggle of their forebears, overthrow the current order, retire, and consign these vampires, posing as statesmen, to the garbage heap of history!

*Contributed by Chido Onumah, the author of We Are All Biafrans Contact him on conumah@hotmail.com; Follow him on Twitter: @conumah

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Nokia’s LTE drone debuts to save lives

Nokia has demonstrated the creation of an instant high-speed Long Term Evolution (LTE) network to establish connectivity between video camera-equipped drones and a control center at emergencies, reports ITRealms.

The demonstration of the innovative 'Nokia Saves Lives' initiative took place at the UAE Drones for Good (D4G) Award event, held in Dubai.

ITRealms reports that the network connectivity is often the first priority of any rescue operation since it is often compromised in disaster situations, but Nokia said Nokia said the use of drones will facilitate efficient rescue operations for first responders, using its Ultra Compact Network which is a highly portable base station.

Head, Middle East Market Unit, Nokia, Bernard Najm said, Nokia's Ultra Compact Network provides a standalone LTE network to quickly re-establish connectivity to various mission-critical applications including video-equipped drones.
“Drones can stream video and other sensor data in real time from the disaster site to a control center, providing inputs such as exact locations where people are stranded and nature of the difficulty of reaching the locations,” he said.

The Nokia Saving Lives initiative, he said, was established a control center in a disaster location which analyzes data using Nokia Video Analytics technology to derive useful insights that enable quick decision-making for prioritizing tasks for efficient and safe rescue operations.
“Nokia's Video and Data Analytics solution together with rescue applications and mission advisor tools provide the required intelligence for making appropriate decisions quickly,” he said.

ITRealms recollects that in October last year, Nokia became a member of the GSMA Humanitarian Connectivity Charter which aims to support improved access to communication and information for those affected by crisis in order to reduce the loss of life and positively contribute to humanitarian response. Nokia will continue such cooperation and will partner with operators and NGOs in its initiative to help rescue operations, providing a limited number of its Nokia Saving Lives initiative with a not-for-profit approach. The initiative is currently being tested with operators and NGOs and will be demonstrated at Mobile World Congress 2017.

"Nokia always strives to expand the human possibilities of technologies for the benefit of mankind. We are committed to corporate social responsibility, and with 'Nokia Saves Lives' we want to use our technologies with drones to show efficient rescue operations in collaboration with NGOs and network operators. The selection of this initiative by the UAE Drones for Good Award for a public demonstration in Dubai clearly shows usefulness of this innovative initiative for smart disaster recovery," Najm said.

Remmy Nweke/ED, Ops
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Pix: Nokia unmanned drone

Smart devices misleading Nigerians - Bode George warns

The South-West Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George, has cautioned Nigerians not to be carried away from development due to avalanche of smart devices existing in the country today, reports ITRealms.

Chief George gave this counsel  at the first annual lecture of Freedom Online at the Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos with the theme 'Unemployment: How do we tame this monster?"

He observed that due to lots of smart devices flying around in our environment, most Nigerians invariably assumed this display of device is capable of cutting down on unemployment, wondering how many of such smart devices are produced locally to create the enabling jobs for Nigerian citizens.

He was also not comfortable that most banks and some high-flying corporate Nigeria would prefer to advertise in the international media like Cable News Network (CNN) while ignoring patronage of the local media and people who patronise them.

George, therefore, beckoned on the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) to go after any company who embarks on such 'senseless' advertorials in international media and surcharge them a given percentage.

As far as he is concerned, such advertorials does not add value to Nigeria's efforts at creating more jobs for the locals.

He lamented that such fund, be used in advertorials in foreign media to create jobs and support local media outlets aggressively.

Further, George advised the political class to always ensure continuity in good government policies and look beyond political parties or affiliation, because good governance is what every electorate expects from political leaders after elections.

Nenye Dom/GEE

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Pix: President of the Nigeria Guild of Editors and Managing Editor-in-Chief of New Telegraph, Mrs. Funke Egbemode (second left) presenting an award to the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Oluranti Adebule, at the first annual lecture of Freedom Online at the Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja...on Thursday. With them from left are former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of Freedom Online, Gabriel Akinadewo and South-West Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George.

InnJoo, TD partner on slimmest laptop

Renowned mobile devices manufacturer, InnJoo Mobile is ready to partner sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest ICT distributor, Technology Distributions (TD) Ltd, to launch InnJoo Leap, a high-specifications notebook with the status of being the world’s slimmest and lightest 14-inch device, report ITRealms.

The notebook, ITRealms gathered, is available in champagne gold and moonlight silver colours, would be officially unveiled to the public on Thursday February 23rd as part of activities at the Technology Times Outlook 2017, a flagship technology thought leadership event hosted by Technology Times Media Limited at the Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos.

A press statement from TD described the InnJoo Leap as equipped with a lightning-fast processor – Intel CherryTrail-T3 Quad core Z8350 1.44Ghz up to 1.84Ghz, the InnJoo Leap is a fast, capable work tool effortlessly fitted to today’s dynamic and fast-paced business and lifestyle environment. In addition, the device is ably suited to the power requirements of tropical Africa with a 10,000 mAh battery which delivers up to 10 hours’ battery life for almost an entire day’s use and an equally fast charger/adapter.

Weighing a paltry 1.275 kg and at just 18.2mm thin, the InnJoo Leap is officially the world’s lightest and slimmest 14’-inch notebook – specifications that are ultimately bound to appeal to a growing generation of tech-savvy Nigerians who rely on their devices to meet a variety of business, work, lifestyle and leisure needs.

Going by TD’s considerable reach, wide reseller base and dominance in the ICT distribution eco-system coupled with InnJoo’s growing suite of world-class products, the InnJoo Leap is set to enjoy an overwhelming reception and demand in the market. Also going for the InnJoo brand is its legacy of world class after-sales support through its affiliation with TD Plus which affords all classes of customers the opportunity of enjoying quick repairs and resolution of issues on warranty and out-of-warranty products.

A world renowned Original Equipment Manufacturer(OEM), InnJoo Mobile has grown steadily from its headquarters in Dubai and currently enjoys the status of being the fastest growing smartphone and mobile devices brand in the Middle East, Spain and Asia. 

InnJoo Mobile has also expanded its growing reach to Africa, where it has, within a short period of time, taken a huge market share in the mobile devices space. Widely known for its world class products and responsive after-sales support, InnJoo has successfully created top-of-mind affinity among its growing customer base, many of whom have come to embrace the brand for its status of quality and reliability.

Uj. N. Dominic/GEE
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Samsung confirms ‘smart TV’ listens to customers, warns on privacy

Samsung Electronic has confirmed that its 'smart TV' sets are listening to customers' every word, and the company has warned customers not to speak about personal information while near the TV sets, reports ITRealms.

The company revealed that the voice activation feature on its smart TVs will capture all nearby conversations. The TV sets can share the information, including sensitive data, with Samsung as well as third-party services.

The news comes after Shane Harris at The Daily Beast pointed out a troubling line in Samsung's privacy policy: "Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party."

Samsung has now issued a new statement clarifying how the voice activation feature works. "If a consumer consents and uses the voice recognition feature, voice data is provided to a third party during a requested voice command search," Samsung said in a statement. "At that time, the voice data is sent to a server, which searches for the requested content then returns the desired content to the TV."

The company added that it does not retain or sell the voice data, but it didn't name the third party that translates users' speech.

Samsung, however, insisted that customers about discussing personal information in front of their smart television set should desist.

ITRealms gathered that the warning applies to TV viewers who control their Samsung Smart TV using its voice activation feature.

"When the feature is active, such TV sets "listen" to what is said and may share what they hear with Samsung or third parties," official of Samsung confirmed, revealing that the third party in question is Nuance Communications Inc.

*Correspondent with additional reports from BBC.com
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Thursday, February 16, 2017

YouWiN!Connect Academy series takes off

The Federal Government (FG) has rejiged the Youth Enterprise With Innovation in Nigeria otherwise known as (YouWin) by adding a 'Connect' to the name which emanated from a weekly print media enterprise education programme designed to assist entrepreneurs start, plan and grow their businesses, reports ITRealms.

The programme, ITRealms also reports, to now be known as (YouWiN!Connect) would on Sunday, February 19th, 2017 made a debut with academy series.

The publication ITRealms gathered, would be syndicated in five national newspapers on Sundays and Wednesdays, according to the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun noted that the weekly editorial would showcase entrepreneurship as a job and wealth creation option, for young people adding that versions for Radio and Television would be launched when arrangements are concluded.

The initial YouWiN! programme took off in October, 2011 as a business plan competition aimed at stimulating entrepreneurship, innovation and job creation among the Nigerian youth.  Since inception, it has midwifed 3,900 enterprises.

A formal review of the programme undertaken by the Ministry of Finance found that, whilst successful, at the initial stage of enterprise development, the Youwin  programme needed enhancement to ensure sustainability. Specifically,  the findings suggested that funding should be combined with an increased focus on enterprise education to better prepare entrepreneurs in areas such as accessing bank finance, book keeping, accounting, marketing and tax filing.

This has influenced the redesign to YouWiN!Connect, which takes YouWiN! to the next level.

The Minister described YouWiN!Connect as “a multi-media enterprise education initiative that will provide the tools and skills required to support the emergence of the next generation of successful Nigerian-owned enterprises across the nation”.

The weekly publication focuses on sharing information and advice from entrepreneurs and technical experts to inspire, encourage and support young entrepreneurs to run sustainable businesses.

Mrs. Kemi Adeosun emphasized that practical advice and information will be provided on the technical, legal and financial aspects of running a business in the YouWiN!Connect  Academy section.  The overall aim of YouWiN!Connect, is to develop the next generation of Nigerian business leaders, fully equipped to compete on the global stage.

YouWiN!Connect has also set up an advisory board comprising experts in  different areas of business and entrepreneurship, who would answer questions from members of the public weekly.

Members of the board include the Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun; the Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Aisha Abubakar; the founder and C.E.O of House of Tara International and pioneer of the bridal make-up profession in Nigeria, Mrs. Tara Fela-Durotoye; Former Banker and current MD/CEO of L & Z Integrated Farms, Alhaji M.D. Abubakar.

Others are Mr. Sunday Egede and Mr. David Chukwuma Ojei, founders of the Prince Ebeano Supermarket chain; the founder and Managing Director of Sankore Investments and Venture Capitalist, Mrs. Titi Odunfa Adeoye. The Managing Director of the new Development Bank of Nigeria is also on the advisory board.

Ayo Midele/GEE  

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Ojobo tasks PAD staff on performance, sendforth Okoh Aihe, others

The Director, Public Affairs Department (PAD), Mr. Tony Ojobo has tasked the staff of the department on improved performance, reports ITRealms.

Speaking at the annual session of the department which coincided with the commemoration of St. Valentine’s Day in Abuja, Ojobo expressed delight on performance of the unit, even as he asked for perfection.

He used the occasion to commend some of the staff who have been redeployed to other departments, describing them as ‘Our Ambassadors’ hence, they end up being ''leading lights of other departments of the Commission whenever they are transferred out.”

This position was corroborated by the Head, Public Relations in the department, Reuben Muoka, alongside Okoh Aihe, who was until recently Head, Online Media and Special Publications but is now deployed to the newly created Department of Research and Development at the Commission.

The Local Organizing Committee of the event, Mrs Olasumbo Olawaiye of PR Unit of PAD, pointed out that its an occasion to relax and recognize members of the department, cutting across Government Relations to Protocol and Logistics Services, Strategic Public Relations to an amazing Traditional and Real-time Online Media Communication.

According to her, NCC has redefined public sector communication from improving organizational image and visibility to strategic management of organic, manifest and latent reputation risks, stressing this pioneering role is one reason NCC's trove of awards continue to swell.

Intriguing features of the party, ITRealms gathered, included the presentation of an iconic congratulatory message to Ojobo who recently received another award as the Public Affairs Spokesman of the Year 2016; and the award of certificates of good performance to the departmental ambassadors.

Some of the certified ambassadors were Mr. Aihe, Venny Nwabufoh (now in Licensing and Authorization), Bosede Ojougboh (Universal Service Provision Fund), Oritsetserundede Ajagbonna (Consumer Affairs), Boma Willie-Pepple (Licensing and Authorization), Patience Yusuf (Corporate Planning and Strategy), Abdulrahman Abubakar (Human Capital Development), and Bisola Otunla (Port Harcourt Zonal Office).

Nonye Dom/GEE

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Banks, Fintech’ll boost financial inclusion - Fanawopo says

The Managing Director and Chief executive officer of eMaginations, the organizer of Ennovators Breakfast Series [EBS], Mr. Sola Fanawopo, has task Nigerian banks to partner operatives in the Financial Technology (FinTech), reports ITRealms.

According to him, Nigeria is not an exception in the FinTech upsurge, hence said the global investment in FinTech is reported to have reached as high as $80 billion between 2010 and 2016.

Financial technology, he said, has gradually seeped into the growth strategies of traditional banks, expert have expressed concern that the two components would need to work together in order to drive financial inclusion in the sector.

“For some time after the global and local financial crisis, traditional banks have laid emphasis on regaining customers’ trust. I am happy that banks have realised the potential of FinTech and are now slowly joining the startups in the race. That is why it is heartening to know that a Nigerian call itself FinTech bank” he said.

The basis for this concern, Fanawopo said, is stemmed from the global best practices where Fintech, the term coined for financial services technology, has become an extremely fast-growing industry worldwide. Its growth has enabled banks in Europe and the US to innovate and develop products to suit customers’ lifestyles.

He explained that in large part, FinTech firms are becoming “disruptors” for good, and that the secret to maintaining the banking industry is to nurture the startups through which new technology is birthed. To grow the banking industry, he asked, “Should banks engage FinTechs for competitive advantage, should banks build, partners or acquire FinTechs?”

According to him, bank chiefs and FinTech founders such as Muhammad Jibrin, MD/CEO, of SunTrust Bank, Yele Okeremi, MD/CEO of Precise Financial Systems, John Obaro, MD/CEO of  Systemspecs and Uzoma Dozie, Group MD/CEO, Diamond Bank, would join other speakers at the Oriental Hotel, venue of EBS in March to examine how banks and FinTech should relate. “This edition of EBS will examine if the banks and FinTechs are friends or foes”, he said.

Fanawopo said EBS now in its seventh year is a quarterly cerebral breakfast event conceived to bring the Dreamers, Drivers, and Doers (3D) of technology business in ICT industry across Africa together with the objective of sharing key information that would promote business, impact lives, and birth new business relationships.

“As technology evolves, everything in the world is changing. The way banks, telcos, insurers and others sectors service customers is changing. This will continue to change as technology innovations emerge. EBS examines the preparedness of African firms to meet these changes”.

Ayo Midele/GEE
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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

NCC plans upward review of mobile voice termination rates

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) may have advanced plans to review upwards, the nation’s mobile voice termination rates for telecommunication, according to the Executive Vice Chairman, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, reports ITRealms.

Danbatta disclosed this plan at a Stakeholders’ Forum on the Cost Based Study for the Determination of Mobile Voice Termination Rate for telecom industry, held in Abuja on Wednesday.

He pointed out that the review has become necessary due to prevailing changes in the industry since the last exercise, four years ago, noting that the attempt would make the industry attain full competition and effective regulation by providing a level playing ground for all participants.

“Since the last determination, the Nigerian Communication Market has witnessed tremendous growth in both subscriber numbers as well as traffic volumes. Changes in available technologies, (2G, 2.5G, 3G and 4G) and other network elements, including global financial markets which have an impact such as the cost of capital. The scale of changes will inevitably affect the unit cost of providing services including interconnection and may lead to differences between regulated interconnection rates and underlying costs which in turn may result in differences between on-net and off-net retail tariffs,” he said.

Danbatta also said, to ensure that interconnection services are not only fairly priced and non-discriminative but should reflect the cost of providing such services in the market.

For him, “It is in this regard that the Commission has decided to review the rates set in 2013 Determination in the light of the current market realities” insisting that the forum is consistent with the Commission’s principle of ensuring participatory regulation, this initial Stakeholders Forum is held not only to formally introduce the project consultant to the industry stakeholders, but also to kickstart the project.

Danbatta emphasized that the supply of industry statistical data is most crucial to the success of determining appropriate interconnection termination rates for the telecommunications industry.

Uboshe Uboshe/GEE
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Iskratel counsels operators: Ignore cable upgrades, focus on fiber

Cable operators in need of upgrades of their networks have been advised to look beyond latest cable upgrades and deploy fiber sooner rather than later to remain competitive, according to Iskratel’s latest executive white paper, reports ITRealms.

Giving this council at the Fibre-To-The-Home (FTTH) conference in France, the Iskratel through its Chief Architect, Simon Cimzar said, there is an increasing number of considerations that operators must make when looking to upgrade their existing networks 
Speaking on “GPON vs. DOCSIS 3.1 in Six Simple Points” Cimzar, insisted the customer should always be number one, which might mean that cable operators who don’t deploy fiber might be left behind.

“In the current market, cable operators are faced with an increasing number of competitors offering fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband services through gigabit-capable Passive Optical Networks (GPON. By using the DOSCIS 3.0 standard today, operators can theoretically offer gigabit services in the downstream, but find themselves limited by the upstream throughput it provides,” he said.

Equally, Cimza ssiad, this leaves operators with the quandary of whether to remain with the standard coax network and upgrade to the newer DOCSIS 3.1 standard, or make the leap and become FTTH operators themselves, just as he acknowledged that operators must perform a balancing act when choosing between the two options, a decision which the white paper further explores.

“The main question operators must ask themselves is whether the service disruptions of the move make changing from the coax network to a fiber-based solution unfeasible,” said Cimzar, stressing, there are many facets to this decision, but the business motivation is clear. Fiber deployments come at a lower Total Cost of Ownership and provide a better return on the initial investment than DOCSIS 3.1, which can be migrated to at the same cost but requires further, continued investment.

“Another important factor to bear in mind is the potential for symmetrical upload and download speeds that GPON offers – something which isn’t possible with cable,” he said, insisting that once the operators take into account the higher ongoing maintenance costs, smaller range of services offered and disruptive migration to DOSCIS 3.1, it becomes clear that GPON provides an option that makes sense for businesses and end-users alike.

 “Customers’ perception is simple: fiber is the future,” he added. “Cable operators are at a crucial juncture when it comes to network evolution and those who try to move forward without fiber may find themselves being left behind,” he submitted.

Remmy Nweke/ED, Ops

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