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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Juwah confirmed by Senate, as NCC gets new chairman, 2 commissioners


Nigerian Senate, Thursday in Abuja, confirmed Dr. Eugene Ikemefuna Juwah as the new Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

This is coming as the Senate Committee on Communications, where at the same session disbanded for purported irregulaties and poor screening of the latest list of candidates sent by the presidency for the post of EVC, some commissioners and chairman of the commission.

Juwah’s confirmation brings to an end the four–month search for replacement of Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, the erstwhile chief executive of the Commission whose two-term tenure ended in March, 2010.

ITRealms Online gathered that Juwah was confirmed alongside other nominees for the vacant positions of two commissioners at the telecom regulatory agency board including Mr. Peter Egbe Igho, a retired Permanent Secretary from Benue State who replaces Alhaji Ahmed Joda as Chairman, Dr. Okechukwu Itanyi, former Deputy Governor of Enugu State, who replaces Engr. Stephen Bello as Executive Commissioner, and Alhaji Mohammed Bintube from North East who replaces Engr. Patrick Kentebe as Commissioner.

Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on Communications, chaired by Senator Sylvester Anyanwu, was disbanded on Thursday by Senate President, Senator David Mark. He then ordered that the nominees be screened by the Senate during the plenary, and were subsequently confirmed.

Since the names of the nominees were read on the floor of the Senate last week, with telecom industry stakeholders applauding the appointment of Dr. Juwah, a strange delay was set in by the Committee in screening the nominees, which generated a palpable fear that the Committee leadership may have been working on a script to delay the nominees until October when the Senate resumes.

Dr. Juwah, with about 30 years hands-on experience as a telecoms engineer is seen by the Presidency as having the necessary credential to manage Nigeria’s telecom regulatory agency to maintain its international reputation.

The Delta State born telecom expert with a doctorate degree in Systems Engineering from the University Of Manchester, England, served as a Member, Subcommittee for Telecommunication Sector Liberalization and Restructuring in Nigeria in 2002, the committee that laid the solid foundation for the liberalization of the industry and enactment of the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003.

With his 30 years telecom experience in Nigeria spanning from the early 1990s when he managed the network operations of MTS Firsts wireless’ ETACS mobile telephony to the late 1990s when he superintended over the deployment of CIL, up until the early 2000 when he managed the deployment of CDMA network which saw MTS back into the fold, Dr. Juwah is seen to have traversed the entire Nigeria’s telecom industry.

He is said to be knowledgeable in digital exchanges, base station, data communication and subscriber access networks construction and operations having played coordinating roles in the set up of an ETACS, GSM and CDMA Mobile Networks in Nigeria at various times in Nigeria. Engr. Juwah’s forte is said to be his profound practical knowledge of pricing, billing, interconnection, licensing and regulatory affairs and network fraud control within the Nigerian environment.


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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

ICANN 2013: Nigeria seeks hosting right


Indications have emerged that Nigeria may have shown interest in hosting the 2013 edition of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN’s) international public meeting by 2013.

This disclosure came as ICANN has opened request for location recommendation for 2011.

Sources close to the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA) informed ITRealms Online that Nigeria plans to host the global internet community during one of its public meetings by 2013, noting that though the nation failed in the 2010 bid, stressing that the gap before reapply is t enable adequate preparation to be made.

Confirming this to ITRealms Online, the acting president, NIRA, Mrs. Mary Uduma, said that Nigeria is targeting to host the meeting in 2013.

However, following the announcement, last weekend by ICANN that it’s now accepting location recommendations for the meeting on the continent of Africa, it is now clear that Nigeria may not be attempting.

With the deadline for submission of application for the 2011 ‘Location Recommendations’ remaining just 36 days, ICANN said that the modified selection process for its meeting locations would be for the hosting of the 42nd international public session to be held between October 23 through 28, 2011 in Africa.

ITRealms Online recalls that last year, Nigeria through NIRA-led then by the late Ndukwe Kalu in collaboration with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) applied for the 2010 hosting right for Africa, which eventually went to Kenya.

A press statement endorsed by the Director, Global Media Affairs at ICANN, Mr. Brad White, informed that those in the Africa geographic region are invited to submit recommendations for specific locations to hold the event.

He said, these recommended venues, along with others in the region that meet the selection criteria, will be considered, while the final location for the ICANN meeting would then be selected through the evaluation of both community-recommended and ICANN-identified locations.

Interested parties, he said, are encouraged to review the meeting selection criteria, which will be used to guide the evaluation of both community-recommended and ICANN-identified meeting locations.

“Elements such as cost of the meeting for ICANN and the community, convenience to international airports, availability of sufficient hotel guest rooms in or near the venue, meeting facilities, network infrastructure, personal safety of meeting participants, and total level of financial support will be considered by ICANN in making its final selection of a meeting site,” he said.

ICANN further said that those interested to host the meeting or a proposal for host-level financial support in Africa, are encouraged to submit the online meeting location recommendation, with the deadline fixed for August 30, this year.

ITRealms Online investigations showed that sponsorship and recommendations on a suitable host city for its meeting could be submitted online via a template at ICANN website.

Noteworthy is that each year, ICANN holds three international public meetings in different regions around the world, even as currently, ICANN’s bylaws defined the five geographic regions as Africa; Asia/Australia/Pacific; Europe; Latin America/Caribbean; and North America.

Usually, ICANN sets the dates and regions in which it will hold its meetings, indicating that proposals include at a minimum, funding and coordination for a gala event for all attendees, necessary external Internet bandwidth, provision and coordination for required Internet Protocol (IP) address space.

Equally, the meeting selection criteria outlined that the evaluation of both community-recommended and ICANN-identified meeting locations would be based on its guidelines, which must include elements such as cost of the meeting for ICANN and the community, convenience to international airports, availability of sufficient hotel guest rooms in or near the venue, meeting facilities, network infrastructure, personal safety of meeting participants, and total level of financial support will be considered by ICANN in making its final selection of a meeting site.

As well, one key factor in determining the location of the ICANN meeting will be the cost to ICANN, and to community members, though in cases where funding is being offered, it will be considered as part of the overall economic evaluation of recommended locations.

In addition, the accessibility to international airports, and convenience and cost of travel to and from the recommended city, would be considered by ICANN when selecting a location for the meeting, as well as examination of visa restrictions for individuals traveling from specific countries.

Local transportation, is another factor in the meeting venue, which should be a reasonable distance from the airport, with access to convenient and affordable public transportation, including but not limited to trains, buses, shuttles, taxis or subways will be measured. Even as the hotel accommodations located close to the meeting venue must be available for up to 1000 participants.

This, ICANN said, is because it will contract guest rooms for approximately 250 board, staff, and supported community members, more so interested in negotiating special rates for all attendees, and have the hotel guarantee the lowest possible price.

Maintaining that primary hotel accommodation costs should be reasonable, while supporting hotels should provide accommodations at varying price points.

On the meeting facilities, ICANN pointed out that it should provide excellent space for required meetings, conveniently located in a metropolitan area close to other hotels, restaurants, banks, public transportation, and shopping areas, and should provide a social environment conducive to networking among community members.

Also, ICANN emphasized that all meeting space must be available for use 24 hours per day from the start date through Friday, 28 October 2011.

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Internet access as fundamental right


A call for Internet access to be seen as fundamental right of every Nigerian topped discussion at the recently held Nigeria Digital Sense Africa forum’10 in Lagos, as part of the internet community-based sensitization for the global Internet Governance Forum (IGF) coming up in September, writes REMMY NWEKE.

The annual public sensitization programme of Digital Sense Africa (DSA) for the nation’s Internet community to engage on the proposed 2010 Internet Governance Forum (IGF), recently ended in Lagos with discussion centred on the fact that Internet access should form part of the fundamental rights of citizenry.

Welcoming participants to the forum, the second in the series to be hosted by DSA, the Executive Director, Mrs. Nkemdilim Nweke, noted that the forum has become an annual rallying point for the Internet stakeholders in the country in raising and addressing salient issues concerning the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, with particular reference to the Internet Governance-related issues and development in Nigeria.

She noted that in effort at achieving the aforementioned goals, DSA strives to offer stakeholders the relevant platform to articulate a stand on Internet Governance and effectively align Nigeria’s position into the global Internet Governance Forum (IGF), slated for Vilnius, Lithuania, between September 14 and 17, 2010.

With this year’s theme on the ‘Five Years of IGF: The Way forward for Nigeria’ she said that DSA in collaboration with the Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN) and IceCool Contracts came up with a collaborative site; www.igf.org.ng/ to enable stakeholders in the country to share information on IGF locally for the benefit of all Nigerians. Just as experts were selected to dwell on managing internet crucial resources, reflective of security, openness, privacy and access for a developing nation like Nigeria.

Also, she said, other experts were chosen to present motivational talks on the use of Internet for worthy livelihood and viable businesses in the country, with particular objective of guarding the youths aright and reducing the vexed cases of cyber crime.

Mrs. Nweke used the opportunity to applaud the judiciary in the country for the recent court ruling on the sale of 2.3GHz spectrum, describing it as a welcome development, “A victory for democracy and a way forward for the growth of the telecom sector particularly and generally, as the future of lies on the internet.

In his remarks, the chairman of the occasion and president, Internet Service Providers Association of Nigeria (ISPAN), Chief Samuel Adeleke, tasked youths in the country on use of internet; saying that youths should take the bull by the horn and explore the internet positively. He recalled that hitherto in Nigeria some creative individuals came up with the concept of filling bread nylon, tagged ‘ice water’, which was being sold at traffic jams due to the tropical weather of the country and people were patronizing it.

“Those of you who remember the initial pure water that is, a polythene or nylon bag used for bread, filled with water and wrapped on top,” he noted, stressing that it was then called ‘ice water.

As said by him, the person that has the best of innovative ideas would carry the day, just as pointing out that the idea came because it was usually sold on the road at traffic jams and along the line, some individuals decided to package it into pure water, which is today being sealed by machines for mass production and in fact being produced at almost every cranny of the country.

Adeleke, therefore charged Nigerian youths to be an idea creator as far as the internet is concerned, because by the time others would realise it, he or she must have made sufficient money.

Also speaking, the president, Nigeria Internet Group (NIG), Mr. Lanre Ajay, said that in discussing Internet Governance, there are key issues that come to the fore, namely security, openness and privacy as well as access, diversity and critical Internet resources. He did not see the reason why some computers could not be made to use local languages to enable locals to read their own information on the internet in their own languages or local dialect. Asserting, “This means, we must have computers that could be used in those local languages that have key board that support local languages.”

Stressing that the likes of Google and Yahoo are companies that are solely based on the Internet and they are making more money than the oil companies in Nigeria and there are some other smaller Internet based entrepreneurs doing great.

In a goodwill message, presented by the former Communications Minister and Commissioner at NCC, Chief Olawale Ige, on behalf of the acting Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Stephen Bello, commended DSA and other partners for the forum and promised that NCC would continue to support the forum to get more Nigerians acquainted with the values embedded on the Internet, urging that the communiqué is expected to represent the feelings of Internet community in moving the nation forward as Internet evolves.

For the Permanent Secretary, Ecological Fund office at the presidency, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, who until recently was the chairperson, the Presidential Inter-Ministerial Working Committee on the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), Digital Sense Africa deserves commendation for this initiative in sustaining the programme as a prelude to the global Internet Governance Forum (IGF).

Noting that DSA as a private initiative has succeeded where government agencies failed, as far as this forum is concerned and asked the organizers not to relent, because Nigerians and internet community need such forum to remain on top of ideas for their various contributions, both locally and internationally.

Mrs. Odusote, also advocated that access to internet should be declared the right of every Nigerian, saying, “The nation needs a forum like this to enable her articulate her position at the global IGF. With attendance as this it shows the power the private sector has over the public sector in using the internet to network.”

The former .ng point of contact for Nigeria, also said though several attempts in the past to hold similar function were not successful, but that the private sector is beginning to wake up the spirit once again, just as she called for massive enlightenment on the potentials of the internet.

Dwelling precisely on “Nigeria in WSIS; Five years of IGF,” said that for the nation to benefit optimally from the current internet access, the service has to improve.
Odusote traced the history of IGF to the conclusion of the two-phased WSIS, which Nigeria as a leading light desirous of development actively participated. She outlined the efforts of the federal government since then in a booklet from her committee’s report to the organizers, which were promptly distributed to participants.

Chief host, the Lagos State governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, who was represented by the State Commissioner for Science and Technology, Dr. Kadiri Obafemi Hamzat, said that the Statewide Information Technology programme, known as the Global Computerization Project (GCP) was initiated to benefit the workforce.

Dr. Hamzat, represented by the Director, Computer Services in the Lagos State Ministry of Science and Technology, Mr. Jide Adenuga, in a keynote stated that at inception of the last administration of Lagos State, it was confronted with enormous challenges of effectively managing the business of government particularly in the area of operational activities, revenue generation and electronic information dissemination between offices in its domains.

Consequently, Dr. Hamzat said, the present administration led by Gov. Fashola on assumption of office fashioned out a policy thrust aimed at implementing a Statewide Information Technology programme for the transformation of the business of government in Lagos State from manual to electronic-based government.

According to him, this introduction under the Global Computerization Project and envisaged to bring enormous benefits to government was people of Lagos State in areas of governance, management of natural, financial and material resources and the State workforce. Declaring, “On our part as a government we devised a means of maintaining closer contact with the people, by launching a state of the art website, which serves as the e-government portal at www.lagosstate.gov.ng.”

He elucidated the fact that the website features include dynamic web pages with enormous bandwidth spread Statewide, which covers the whole gamut of government information online and provides opportunity to receive direct feedback from the citizens, stressing that the website also creates room for interaction and transaction online.

The over-riding objective of creating the website, he told participants, was to provide greater access to government information and promote civic engagement; hence service oriented and provides information about government activities in addition to links to some government agencies such as tax information and payment.

“In line with the expanding nature of the socio-economic activities of the State, we are determined to continuously add value and expand the contents of the website in order to compare with the best around the world,” he said.

One key thing arising from the forum was the call made by the Managing Director, IXPN Limited, Mr. Muhammed Rudman, for the establishment of a National Internet Registry (NIR) to oversee the management of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses in the country.

Internet Protocol address is a numerical label assigned to devices participating in a computer network that use the Internet to communicate with each other. Also referred to as ‘IP number’ or just ‘IP,’ this code usually consists of numbers separated by three dots that identifies a particular computer on the Internet. IP started with IP version 4 (IPv4) with 32 bit address worth 4.3 billion hosts and now there is version 6, (IPv6).

Speaking on ‘IPv6 and Challenges in Nigeria’ he said that the registry when established should be tasked first and foremost to develop a National IPv6 Roadmap to strategize the IPv6 transition, nationwide, arguing that there is need to set up an IPv6 awareness and capacity building through seminars and trainings and incorporate IPv6 into the university curriculum.

The Federal Government through the regulator, NCC, he said, should as matter of urgency provide some incentives to Internet industry to encourage them to adopt IPv6-based Infrastructure. “These incentives can include reduction in regulatory fee and tax rebates,” noting that currently, Nigeria has about 300 lnternet Service Providers (ISPs), but only an estimated 20 per cent, which is 60 of the licensees are operational.

Declaring that there are only two ISPs in the country with IPv6, namely, 2001:4270:: 32 allocated to Netcom Africa on June 15, 2006 and 2001:43b0: 32 allocated to Cyberspace on March 10, 2009.

He also advised that upstream Internet connectivity providers should be asked to enable IPv6 readiness in their networks, Rudman said that the world cannot wait for Nigeria to migrate, therefore the nation needs every step forward to ensure any leap makes a milestone. Decrying that when the internet began it was in a university and they have no problems giving out IP addresses and over time, the initial IP addresses available were the IPv4 with about 4bn, which is now depleted.

Globally, he said, IPv4 remains 10 per cent, hence the introduction of version 6 became crucial, noting though that in Africa her quota is still remaining about 60 per cent at the African Network Information Center (AfriNIC) based in Kenya and 40 per cent has been distributed, while Tunisia has 2 per cent, Morocco 4 per cent, Algeria 5 per cent, Egypt 16 per cent, South Africa 59 per cent with others including Nigeria having 14 per cent.

“Most of the Internet security we have been talking about has to do with IP addresses. And because of billions of new users in China and India have new devices like mobile phones, Personal Data Assistant (PDA), cars, with IP addresses so that you can browse, IPv6 was introduced,” he said, citing an instance within an Indian refinery that runs on IP addresses using 51,000 devices and each one must have an IP addresses.

On the IPv6 challenges in Nigeria, Rudman said ISPs need business cases, but presently lack technical knowhow, core equipment compatibility issues, maintaining that lack of IPv6 upstream service providers and non request of IPv6 from end users have contributed to slow in adaptation of IPv6 in the country.

“All new IT equipment supplied to government should be IPv6 compliant and government to set target date for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to have IPv6 compliant networks.

The Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN) also used the platform to showcase its achievement with the ajegunle.org, according to the programme officer, Mr. Ugochukwu Nwosu, they have made extreme progress and increasingly training youths on better adaptation and application of ICT to better their lives.

Addressing the youths at the afternoon section, the duo of Macaulay Fagbayi and Loy Okezie from New Horizons and Startups respectively; gave some insights on “Making sense out of the Internet” and “Viable Online Startups.”

The forum rounded up with a goodwill message from the Regional Manager for Africa at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Ms Anne Rachel Inne, who urged the Internet community to actively involve on Internet development as ICANN encourages down-up dialogue and pledged to continue to support DSA in its desire to educate Nigerians on Internet evolution and precisely on IGF.


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Ekeh warns ECOWAS on digital colonisation


GROUP chief executive officer, Zinox Group, Dr. Leo-Stan Ekeh, has cautioned members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on the imperatives to ensure that the sub-region is not digitally colonized at this 21st century.

Speaking recently in Lagos, Dr. Ekeh who was represented at the West Africa Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Congress (WAFICT) by the Managing Director, Zinox Technologies, Mr. Mukoro Emomine, said that Information Technology (IT) education and access must be enshrined as a fundamental human rights in the Constitutions of all nations in the sub-region.

According to him, all profitable sectors of the economy should be included as significant contributors to the National IT Development Fund (NITDEF), advocating that special and legalized preference for local IT professionals, locally assembled hardware and software applications should be upheld.

ECOWAS member countries, he said, should make certain that anti-trust Act is embedded as a significant part of the local content laws, while West African IT professionals in the Diaspora should be encouraged to become significant part of the outsourcing services commissioned by governments and corporate persons.

Government, he said, should invest heavily in ICT penetration following the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) model in the country.

Ekeh noted that in West Africa, regional unity is seen as a possible solution to the continent’s deep and prolonged economic and social crisis.

“The ICT revolution should gather momentum from the private energies that are being released as a result of the strengthening of civil society and privatization of national economies,” he said.

Decrying increased state-imposed barriers to inter country flows, he said, this has undermined regional trade and cooperation.

He cited an instance that a hardware manufacturing plant in Nigeria should ideally service Ghana, Liberia, Gambia and Sierra Leone.

“It would not make economic sense to set up plants in each of these countries,” he declared, stressing that the principles of economic integration require that resources are conserved for the common good, that facilities are replicated only when it is absolutely necessary.

He pointed out that there exist an ultra nationalist tendency that finds expression in the setting up of huge import tariffs for finished goods within the ECOWAS region, astronomical business registration fees and multiple taxation, labour requirements that are often more stringent than those laid out for Africans in Europe.

Ekeh said, other unhealthy conditions for doing business help to inhibit economic integration in the sub-region, maintaining that governments must be less paranoid and in doing so, they tutor their people that there are indeed larger benefits to grain from cooperation and integration if we must build the technology base to confront global competition.

“The Council of Heads of West African States must immediately investigate the reasons that led to recent media report on Wednesday, May 26, 2010, which suggests that there are tough policies driving businesses back to their home countries,” he said.

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NCC chief executive: ATDI applauds Juwah’s nomination

AS stakeholders in the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) await the confirmation of the only nominee for the post of the Executive Vice Chairman and chief executive officer, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Ikemefuna Juwah, a non-governmental organisation, African Telecommunication Development Initiative (ATDI) has applauded the nomination.

Reacting to the nomination, the Executive Secretary, ATDI, Mr. Ken Ugbechie, said it makes up for the drag that presaged the arrival of a substantive EVC for the commission after the expiration of the tenure of the former EVC, Dr Ernest Ndukwe.

ITRealms Online recalls that Ndukwe handed over to M. Stephen Bello who functioned in acting capacity till June 21, when he was directed to commence terminal leave and handover to Dr. Bashir Gwandu another executive commissioner.

Juwah’s nomination was read alongside the nomination for Mr. Peter Egbe Igho as chairman, Okey Itanyi and Mohammed Bintube as Commissioners of NCC respectively.

ATDI in a press statement in Lagos, weekend, said the nomination of a substantive EVC is what the Commission needs at this time to enable it deal with emergent challenges including SIM card registration, quality of service and the deployment of broadband resources to better service provision in the sector.

Ugbechie, also expressed thank to President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan for resisting the pressure to appoint a politician to fill the vacuum left behind by Ndukwe.

Equally, he applauded Gwandu for the dynamism he exhibited within the brief period he acted, and expressed optimism that Juwah has both the expertise and experience to steer the ship of the nation’s telecom industry to a more glorious height.

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Alvarion unveils plan to expand 4G offering

ALVARION has unveiled plans to offer a unified high-performance 4Motion solution by migrating it to support future evolutions of Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) and Time Division- Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE).

WiMAX is a telecommunications technology that provides wireless transmission of data using a variety of transmission modes, from point-to-multipoint links to portable and fully mobile internet access. While the Time Division Duplex (TDD) version of LTE also known as TD-LTE, is the project name of a new high performance air interface for cellular mobile communication systems.

Outlining this strategy to provide the most open and flexible platform for 4G networks that use TDD spectrum, president of Alvarion, Mr. Eran Gorev, said that by supporting the upcoming TD-LTE standard, his firm is incorporating its industry leading 4Motion solution.

Alvarion, he also said would continue to actively drive the WiMAX standardization activities, ecosystem development and state-of-the-art products that incorporate the latest features to meet global operators demand.

In addition, Alvarion, he said, would enable customers to take advantage of an expanding device ecosystem based on the LTE standard in relevant frequencies as it develops.

“Alvarion expects to engage in TD-LTE field trials in the first quarter of 2011,” the president said, stressing that insatiable demand for capabilities required broadband connectivity everywhere, thus it would continue to be addressed by a host of technologies.

“The trend in wireless spectrum availability around the globe supports the fact that unpaired TDD spectrum will have an even greater role to play for broadband wireless deployments in the future,” he said.

TDD spectrum, Alvarion boss said, uses unpaired channels that combine the uplink and downlink, and split resources on the basis of real-time demand.

“TDD spectrum is relatively plentiful, cost effective and creates attractive opportunities for broadband applications over this spectrum,” he said.

Pointing out that Alvarion has been instrumental in developing and commercializing broadband wireless solutions for various market segments for over 15 years, even as the company has played a key role in creating the WiMAX standard based on an open, flexible architecture model and commercializing and optimizing solutions over the last decade.

Particularly, he said, Alvarion was the first to offer a 4G platform using TDD spectrum in early 2006, and its 4Motion solution was designed to optimize networks using this spectrum.

“Our primary aim is to offer tailored broadband wireless solutions which can also evolve along with customers’ needs. Our development effort over the past two years has been designed to accommodate the support for TD-LTE as a natural extension of our existing solution,” Gorev said, stressing that Alvarion is moving full speed ahead both with its ongoing WiMAX development to bring the latest 802.16e enhancements, as well as incorporating TD-LTE into the platform.

“This approach allows our customers to offer the latest 4G features currently available and will also enable them to leverage the LTE device ecosystem as it evolves,” he said.

Alvarion’s ‘open network’ approach, he said, began a revolution in the wireless equipment market by creating an open all-Internet Protocol (IP) flat architecture that introduced significant innovation in the industry.

Further, he said, this network strategy lowers the cost of building the networks and allows high flexibility for service providers to build customized networks that fit their specific needs. Alvarion will bring a similar approach to its TD-LTE end-to-end solution.


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ALTON sets agenda for new NCC boss

The Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has tasked the Federal Government nominee and incoming Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Ikemefuna Juwah, to surpass the bar raised by his predecessor, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe.

Speaking through its chairman, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, ALTON noted that the industry expects a lot from Dr. Juwah, and urged him to surpass the height raised by Ndukwe in the past 10 years.

“Engr. Ernest Ndukwe raised the bar high and he must surpass the achievements of his predecessor,” Adebayo declared.

ALTON also noted that the industry and its regulator is faced with a number of policy interference issues, hence the group expects this to be ironed out.

“Our chief regulator must play the balance and safe the industry from elements and factors that currently threaten the growth and stability of the telecom sector,” he said.

Lamenting the imposition of what he classified as non-statutory levies by some state and local governments, which has caused the sealing of some cell sites, he urged him to ensure a stop to this once on assumption of office.

“Currently, critical sites of some of our members are under seal at the instance of the government of one of the South East states due to alleged non-payment of certain non-statutory fees,” he bemoaned.

While wishing Juwah success in his latest appointment, ALTON further charged him to ensure such things does not happen under his leadership.

ALTON, an incorporated trustees was formed in year 2000, as an industry body for all telecommunications companies and those providing subsidiary services to telecommunications service providers in Nigeria, with the objective of promoting growth in the telecommunications sector and ultimately, efficient telecommunications services delivery to the Nigerian public.

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Multi-Links Telkom completes DWDM project

Multi-Links Telkom Nigeria has completed its Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) project, which is designed to make its fibre optic network more robust for the end users.

Disclosing this, last weekend, the Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Multi-Links Telkom Nigeria, Mrs. Ijeoma Abazie, said that this milestone would enable the network availability and enhance superior customer experience, in addition to providing greater redundancies and a buffer to network down time resulting from fibre cuts.

“The completion allows us to offer industry leading service level agreement with guaranteed uptime of three times reliability and redundancy,” she declared in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online.

Also, she said that with the completion of the DWDM project and the cut over Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH), which is an international standard for high speed telecommunication over optical cum electrical networks, with the ability to transport digital signals in variable capacities.

The Manager, Transmission Planning, Multi-Links Telkom, Mr. Olurotimi Aborisade, was quoted as saying that with the SDH sites, customers would now enjoy protection from prolonged downtime on account of fibre damage.

The impact of this on fibre cuts, Aborisade said, would be less noticeable and the DWDM project would significantly improve the quality of service delivery and facilitate Multi-Links Telkom customers to enjoy high level of service availability with seamless switchover to redundant transmission paths, in spite of the fibre cuts.

He noted that Multi-Links Telkom’s corporate customers on the leased line service and individual subscribers on the broad market platform will now enjoy more stability in network availability and industry benchmark SLA delivery for superior customer experience.

“This means that Multi-Links Telkom’s corporate clients would be empowered to more effectively manage their respective businesses,” he said.

Aborisade pointed out that before now, corporate customers in the country on leased line circuits often experience downtime as a result of the persistent fibre damages in respect of which the SDH network could offer little protection.

“However, the Multi-Links Telkom DWDM network has built-in redundancy that allows traffic to be re-routed if fibre cut is experienced on a particular route because each route has been designed to carry two channels with the second channel serving as the alternative route when a cut happens on the first route,” he said.

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Starcomms introduces Chatphones

Starcomms Plc has introduced a new state-of-the art mobile telephone handset into the Nigerian market to facilitate its chatphone offering in addition to dangling fabulous prizes to the customers.

Chief Commercial Officer of Starcomms, Mr. Tushar Maheshwari, said that ‘The Chatphone’, a new mobile device, comes with exciting features that makes phone usage pleasurable.

According to him, the Chatphone also known as Hisense C1110, allows users to link up with their contacts on popular social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Hi5, Skype, Yahoo messenger and other internet chat services with ease.

Maheshwari, said that for every purchase made, the buyer has the opportunity of winning one of the eight modern LCD television sets that Starcomms is offering, disclosing that the Hisense C1110 also comes with internet access and is available in every city where Starcomms has network coverage.

Additionally, he said that to enjoy the unmatched services that Starcomms would be offering through the new mobile phone, customers need to make a down payment of N9, 999.

He also stated that at the purchase of the phone, the customer will get 100 hours of 1Xdata bundle that comes with a 30 days validity period, adding that the offer will be available for all new purchases.

Explaining the rationale behind the introduction of the new phone, he said that in the era of convergence, every customer of Starcomms needs a phone that is conveniently designed to suit his voice and data communications needs stressing that it is a device everyone will find attractive.

Further, he said that the introduction of the new phone which is meant to meet the needs of the successful, upwardly mobile and sophisticated customers is based on customer feedback and the company’s passionate quest to provide the discerning consumers with top quality products and services.

He reiterated that some of the prizes to be won on purchase of the handset include eight new LCD television sets of up to 42 inches, through a draw that would be conducted in two months time.

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How social networks, cloud computing are changing online security

The Cisco midyear security report surveys, has indicated that online network security landscape is being changed with the avalanche of adaptation of social networks, and cloud computing to name a few.

According to the Cisco 2010 Midyear Security Report made available to ITRealms Online, businesses must change their mindset on security to help ensure that their networks and vital corporate information are protected from evolving security threats.

The report noted that “Tectonic shifts” have taken root in the security of networks globally, especially with the increasing use of social networking, the proliferation of network-connected mobile devices, and virtualization.

“They have continue to alter the security landscape,” the Marketing Manager for Cisco System Nigeria, Mrs. Owen Inyang.

As a result, she said that enterprise professionals must act immediately to put effective security practices into place in order to protect their companies’ reputation and maintain a competitive edge.

The report, she said, outlined seven recommendations for improving corporate security including tectonic pressures mounting, virtual farms being tended, company policies ignored, innovation gap being bridged, multivector spam attacks rising, and terrorists going social.

She quoted the General Manager, Cisco Nigeria, Mr. Richard Edet, as saying that technological innovations are fundamentally changing the way people live, work, play, share information and communicate with each other.

“Because consumers are typically the early adopters, enterprises often struggle to adapt existing polices to address their employees’ preferred use of technology. With a number of tectonic forces converging in the marketplace, now is the time for enterprises to transform their IT model to accommodate the emerging borderless network and increasing security challenges,” Edet said.

Throwing more light on the key findings, he said that on tectonic pressures mounting, major forces are changing the enterprise security landscape.

“Social networking, virtualization, cloud computing and a heavy reliance on mobile devices continue to have a dramatic impact on the ability of information technology departments to maintain effective network security,” he said, stressing that to help manage these converging trends, enterprises should enforce granular per-user policies for access to applications and data on virtualized systems, set strict limits for access to business data, create a formal corporate policy for mobility, and invest in tools to manage and monitor cloud activities as well as provide employees with guidance on the use of social media in the workplace.

On the virtual farms being tended, Cisco Security Intelligence Operations research found that seven per cent of global sample of users accessing Facebook spend an average of 68 minutes per day playing the popular interactive game “FarmVille.”

“Mafia Wars” was the second most popular game, with five per cent of users each racking up 52 minutes of play daily, while “Café World,” played by four per cent of users, which accounted for 36 minutes of wasted time per day.

Cisco also said that although loss of productivity is not a security threat, cybercriminals are believed to be developing ways to deliver malware via these games.

On company policies ignored, the research showed that 50 per cent of end users admitted that they ignore company policies prohibiting the use of social media tools at least once a week, and 27 per cent said they change the settings on corporate devices to access prohibited applications.

Also, on the innovation gap being bridged, Cisco report cyber criminals are using technological innovation to their advantage.

“They exploit the gap between how quickly they can innovate to profit from vulnerabilities and the speed at which enterprises deploy advanced technologies to protect their networks,” he said.

Pointing out that while legitimate businesses spend time weighing the decision to embrace social networking and peer-to-peer technologies, cybercriminals are among the early adopters, using them to not only commit crimes but also to enhance their communications and to speed transactions with each other.

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Zain rewards Ogunna, 5 others on promo

Global System for Mobile operator, Zain Nigeria last week rewarded winners in its just concluded promo, Wake Up A Millionaire, including a trader, Innocent O. Ogunna and five others.

Winners who received their prizes at the presentation, which held at the Zain Shop in Victoria Island, Lagos were:

Other winners, according to officials of Zain Nigeria, Mr. Emmanuel Maradesa, Computer Engineer; Femi Fabowale, Mechanical Engineer; Isiaka Aderibigbe Giwa, retired civil servant and James Oyemiran, trader.

Additional winners are David Obasuhan, businessman and Innocent O. Ogunna, a trader.
Zain’s ‘Wake Up a Millionaire’, is an interactive and rewarding SMS Service which provides customers an opportunity to become a millionaire daily.

With the offer, Zain has elevated over 100 Nigerians into the millionaire rank as well as reward many others with laptops, mobile phones, and generators, amongst other prizes through the marketing initiative.

A press statement endorsed by the Public Relations Manager, Mr. Emmanuel Otokhine, showed that winners were selected daily and monthly throughout the duration of the offer. Winners in the Daily Draw received N2, 000,000.00 each while winners in the Monthly Draw were rewarded with N10, 000,000.00.

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ICT, environmental summit set for take off

All is now set for the one-day summit on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), multiple taxation, regulation and clean environment, scheduled to hold on Friday, July 30, 2010 in Lagos.

Organisers of the event, disclosed that various stakeholders have confirmed their readiness to attend the forum.

According to Aaron Ukodie, some of those who have endorsed the conference include MTN, Globacom, Omatek, NITDA, Alteq and Veda Technologies among others.

Also, he said, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) and the Association of Licensed Telephone Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) have confirmed attendance to the event and their Chief Executive Officers are presenting position papers.

In addition, officials of National Office of Technology Adaptation (NOTAP) and the Lagos State government, telecom operators and among others, who are having unresolved issues have agreed to attend the event.

The Lagos State Commissioner of Science and Technology, Dr. Kadiri Obafemi Hamzat would also be in attendance.

“Multiple taxation and regulation are a sore in the seamless deployment of telecommunications networks and infrastructure and operators have continually claimed that the situation snails operation,” he said.

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AU boosts ICT infrastructure with PIDA

African Union (AU) Commission in collaboration with New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), weekend in Kampala launched the Programme for Infrastructural Development in Africa (PIDA) to boost infrastructure on the continentally especially for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) development.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that PIDA is the continent-wide programme to develop a vision, policies and strategies for the development of priority regional and continental transport energy and ICT infrastructure by 2030.

In addition to policies and strategies, PIDA will develop investment programme covering the short term of 2012 to 2015.

The report added that PIDA has a medium term plan of 2015 to 2020 and long term plan of 2020 to 2030.

This investment programme will be built around priorities established by the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and shall include implementation strategy and action plan.

Speaking at the launch, the South Africa President, Jacob Zuma said that without necessary infrastructure in place Africa could not achieve any meaningful development.

He also said PIDA was a process to connect the people of Africa to take active part in the development of their continent.

Zuma noted that Africa has failed to make effective use of its abundant resources, saying OAU failed because some people worked extra hours from outside to ensure it failed.

He attributed the inability of the people of the continent to harness its vast resources and to trade among themselves to lack of infrastructure.

According to him, with the successful launching of PIDA, African leaders and people are now speaking with one voice and taking a common position to eradicate poverty in the continent.

Zuma highlighted three major highways that would be given priorities as the connection of the West to the South, Central to the North and South to East.

He attributed the success of the 2010 World Cup hosted by the South Africa to the development of infrastructure through internal resource.

In her address, the AU Commissioner for Infrastructural Development, Dr (Mrs) Elham Ibrahim said PIDA would bring together and merge various continental infrastructural initiatives, such as the NEPAD, ADB among others.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Senate may endorse Juwa as NCC boss

Expectations are high that the Red chamber of the National Assembly, the Senate, may this week conclude the search for the chief executive of the telecommunications organ of the Federal Government, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) by endorsing the nominee sent to them last week.

Noteworthy is that last week, reports have it that the Federal Government nominated Dr. Ikemefuna Juwa, which was read at the floor of the house on Thursday, July 22, this year.

Among the already contending names for the post of the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, notable to the industry stakeholders is Mr. Eugene Juwa, who was until recently the Senior Vice President at the moribund MTS FirstWireless.

ITRealms Online recalls that since April 1 when the former EVC and chief executive of NCC, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe’ bowed out after completion of his two-term of five years each, he was directed to handover to the next most senior person in the Commission, Mr. Stephen Bello, who has since been retired in acting capacity and was subsequently asked to handover to another Executive Commissioner, Dr. Bashir Gwandu, as at June 21.

Though this elucidated some controversies in the industry given that an acting officer was made to replace another in the same capacity, but NCC was firm in denying any atom of controversy in the Commission.

Equally of note is that before leaving office, Ndukwe’s board at NCC presided over by Alhaji Ahmed Joda had recommended three names to the presidency, in what seemed like the last board meeting, about a month before his handover, which included Juwa, Kano-based professor, Umar Garba Danbatta, of DBI, and a commissioner at NCC.

With reading of the nomination at the Senate, last week, all seem set for Juwa’s confirmation this week.

However, reacting to the news of the nomination, the chairman, Association Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, said that they wish him well, but was quick to add that the Ndukwe’s shoe is very big and he should strive to surpass it, by eschewing the politicization of operations being engineered by some political jobbers, whom he alleged what to destabilize the industry.

In his response, the president of the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu, said that the Juwa he know is capable of delivering, describing the nomination as a round peg in a round hole.

‘Yes, if Ikemefuna Juwa is the Eugene Juwa that I know, he is a fitting and very ready material for the job. Intellectually and in industry equipment, he is round. If the time it has taken to find the candidate was meant to get one of the fine guys around,” he declared.

Omo-Ettu also said that if the delay in appointing Ndukwe’s successor to have an expert acceptable to the industry on the seat, then the delay is forgiven.

“I think we can forgive the uneasy delay that has come to a good end. This is the kind of candidate Nigerians say is ‘a round peg in a round hole,’” he said.

Also commenting, the immediate past-president of ATCON, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, said that Mr. President definitely worked with the recommendation of NCC

As at press time, ITRealms Online was unable to ascertain whether the nominee Ikemefuna Juwa was the same Eugene Juwa.

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‘Africa broadband users to hit 92m’

Pyramid Research has projected that total broadband users in Africa will increase from 40 million in 2010 to 92 million in 2015 at a CAGR of 18 percent, driven by new undaersea cables and WIMAX connections.

Pyramid also said broadband penetration rate will also increase from 3.2 percent in 2010 to 6.8 percent in 2015, and revenue will increase at a CAGR of 16 percent in the same period to US$20 billion.

The research also quoted Kerem Arsal, Analyst at Pyramid Research, and author of this report as saying that during the forecast period, WiMax will take center stage in the coverage for the last-mile access and its access lines.

“We predict that WiMax will grow at a CAGR of 30 percent between 2010 and 2015; we also foresee similar trends in mobile broadband, particularly in the data cards/modems,” Arsal.said.

He also said many African telecom markets have the potential to improve their poor broadband penetration rates and limited revenues and transform their competitive structures.

“However, there is still much work to be done by the players across the telecom value chain if they wish to take full advantage

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Nokia wins brand excellence award

Leading independent arbiter on branding in Nigeria, Superbrands has named Nokia the brand excellence for year 2010 and 2011.

The Project Director, Superbrands Nigeria, Mr. Maxwell Marshall, disclosed this ina press statement made available to ITRealms Online, saying that Nokia has distinguished itself in the mobile phone and Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) cum smartphone categories, after scaling the stringent criteria as captured in a nationwide consumer survey conducted by Nielsen.

He said, that the results of this survey as well as the selection from the premium and business-to-business categories were ratified by the Superbrands Nigeria Council.

“We have enclosed the ‘Certificate of Excellence’ which serves as documentation of your successful assertion of brand excellence. This document stands as testament to your unassailable status as a Superbrand for 2010/2011,” he asserted.

According to him, Superbrands’ mission as a global organization is to propagate the discipline of branding and promote branding excellence world- wide.

“We hold this pursuit close to our hearts because we believe that we have come into a brand economy. An era in which the economic and social prosperity of individuals, organizations and nations will rest hugely on the ability to identify needs and to construct and set forth a value proposition that consistently delivers superior benefits to their target audiences,” Marshall said.

Responding to this certification, the General Manager, Nokia West Africa, Mr. Phillip De la Vega, said this would serve as an encouragement to both the company and its teeming customers in the region.

“Superbrand certification for Nokia Nigeria in two consecutive years will serve to encourage us to work even harder to design relevant products and services to delight our customers. We are more than honored and privileged to receive this Superbrand award,” he said.

Equally, he said, this is an affirmation of Nokia’s goodwill as partner to its customers.

“We are most grateful to our customers, staff, and community at large who have extended a vote of confidence in our brand,” he said.

ITRealms Online recalls that Nokia has positioned itself as the world’s number one manufacturer of mobile devices based on market share. Even as Nokia is fast becoming a leading solutions provider in the converging Internet and communications industries providing internet services that enable users to experience media, messaging, maps and games.

Superbrands Nigeria was established in June 2006 and aims to promote branding excellence in Nigeria and provide a world-class platform for the projection of Nigerian brands to the global marketplace.

With headquarters in the United Kingdom (UK) and currently operating in 78 countries across the five continents and key global markets, Superbrands has over the last 13 years been working with some 5000 finest brands in various markets across the world.

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Cisco confirms Edet as country manager

Cisco Systems has affirmed the appointment of Mr. Richard Edet as the General Manager for Cisco Nigeria.

The firm while announcing this, said that Edet’s appointment is an affirmation of its commitment to the Nigeria market, even as he would drive the company’s active growth strategy in the region.

A press statement to ITRealms Online, Richard’s appointment further reinforces company’s commitment to collaborate with indigenous organizations and local governments in Nigeria to help support plans for accelerated development in information technology (IT) industry, education, labour, human capital development, healthcare and economic reform.

On his appointment, Mr. Richard said he welcome the challenge to further strengthen Cisco’s position as a leader in the ICT sector in Nigeria.

“Nigeria is already established as an excellent place to conduct business as its progressive telecommunications environment is encouraging the nation, and its citizens, to harness the power of the network to increase productivity levels, supporting accelerated GDP growth rates and an ever-higher standard of living” he said.

With more than 16 years’ experience spanning banking, logistics and IT industries, he joined the Cisco Nigerian team in May 2006 where he has held several sales positions which have supported double digit growth over the last four years in the country.

Prior to joining Cisco, Richard was a corporate banker and was involved in several successful start ups. He then moved to the world of IT with a role at Microsoft where he was responsible for the successful launch of the revolutionary ‘Computer for All Nigerians’ Initiative, a collaboration effort between Microsoft and Intel.

He holds an MBA from the University of Lagos and is on the governing board of The African Institute of Business Simulations (AIBS), a non-profit organization, and several other charities.

Commenting on his appointment, Vice President for Cisco Africa Levant Region, Mr Yvon Le Roux, said Nigeria represents a strategic growth opportunity for Cisco as the country continues to initiate and adopt ICT reforms while seeking competitive advantage and productivity gains.

“The appointment of Richard Edet is an important step forward in driving the growth of our business as Cisco expands its footprint in Africa,” he said.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Apathy, confusion trail SIM card registration


Apathy on the side of telecommunications consumers in the country may forestall the six months deadline given to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) last weekend by the House Committee on Communications to complete registration of over 78 million Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards.

This is coming as confusion may have set in at various customer care centres of telecom operators following uncohesive module for the registration and kind of questions consumers tend to respond to during the exercise.

Even as some touts are already taking advantage of lack of awareness on the SIM registration to charge unassuming telecom subscribers between N50 and N500, collecting passport photo and filling of form with the hope of going to register them.

Above all, the operators seem to be missing a key question for tracking individuals as they stop at asking for local government areas without home town, or place of birth, just as it was gathered that most communities are very far away from their local government headquarters.

Investigations by ITRealms Online last weekend showed that most of the operators, especially the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) have commenced the registration of SIM cards as directed by NCC, but there is no cohesive module as each operator may have created own templates of questionnaire to be administered to customers by service personnel.

At MTN Friendship centres, there are two personnel manning each box and capturing data both manually and electronically via filling of form which contains phone lines from the network, alternative phone line, full names, next of kin and phone line, date of birth, local government area, state of origin, residential address, ID, photo capture and two fingers’ biometric scan from each hand in addition to a free gift for those who complete their registration.

Except for the manual recording, Zain also insisted in showing of SIM cards by customers, while Etisalat accepts registration on proxy by spouse only, even as the number of subscribers are trickling.

At Glo World, it was more of an ‘academic’ exercise with all your fingers scanned, mothers’ maiden name, average income per month, average airtime usage per month, office and residential addresses, religion, preferred language, concluding with webcam photo capture.

Above all, one other thing discovered by ITRealms Online was that none of the computer notebooks in use for this exercise is of local brand but foreign, mostly from the Asian continent.

Speaking on the seeming lack of interest in SIM registration among Nigerians, the president, Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu urged telecom consumers in the country to ensure they register their SIMs, and called on NCC to adhere to the directive given by the House Committee on Communications, that six months is enough for the exercise.

Noteworthy is that House of Representatives, last week Thursday, mandated NCC to complete registration of SIM cards in the country within six months, according to the Chairman, House Committee on Communication, Hon. Dave Salako.

The mandate was given to NCC during budget defense, imploring the regulatory body to fasten the process so as to curb the crime rates being perpetuated with SIM cards nationwide.

Responding, the acting Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Dr. Bashir Gwandu said registration of the old SIM cards would be handled by the NCC while that of new SIM cards would be managed by the service providers, revealing that the budget for SIM registration is N6.1billion.

He pointed out that SIM registration has commenced since May 1, 2010 by the service providers, stressing that there is need to do more on the technical aspect of registration.

Gwandu reiterated that efforts are in top gear to develop secure database that is reliably and widely accepted and continuous SIM card database.

Equally, experts have warned telecom consumers over the use of touts for registration, saying that anybody without the registration box is ‘fake’.

Meanwhile, ATCON recently reassured that the exercise is in progress and commended the federal legislature for backing the efforts to have the Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards of telecom users in the country registered by putting same into law.

ITRealms Online recalls that ATCON had before now canvassed for a 24 month implementation period, so as to make the SIM registration a success.

Briefing newsmen in Lagos recently, ATCON’s president, Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu said that the recent order by the telecom regulator, the NCC for operators to make certain registration of all subscribers within three months is not realistic though desirable.

He noted that the intervention of the federal legislator’s by way of proposing a parliamentary Bill on SIM registration is a welcome development, stressing that ATCON, as an interested party has made some input too.

“We have already made contribution to the draft,” he said, but insisted that the campaign for SIM registration was started by ATCON members’ who are already making efforts to ensure its success.

ATCON also wants NCC to engage Nigerians on the public enlightenment campaign, saying that it’s only NCC that could persuade subscribers in the country to adhere to SIM registration which is ongoing.

They noted that the campaign should not be left alone to the telecom operators, because Nigerians would perceive it as another means of ‘milking’ them.

On number portability, ATCON said that it is an acceptable industry management tool by which the service delivery could be improved.

“The benefits of number portability is however not as dramatic as to let it be handled in a hurry,” he warned, maintaining that while accepting its desirability a longer implementation period is equally desirable.

The group further called for lawful interception, especially for public security related issues, saying that this would ensure checks and balances to avoid abuse, even as the rollout cost should be borne by the government, while an administrative review panel should be put in place to oversee the interception regulation and processes.

He maintained that at this era of convergence, there is need also to converge the regulatory organs of the government as far as the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is concerned, asserting that it is not only NCC and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) as there are other agencies within the sector that would be brought to bear on convergence of regulation.

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Idlelo 4: Exploring FOSS options for Africa


Ghana recently played host to a weeklong Free and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) and Digital Commons conference tagged Idlelo 4. REMMY NWEKE who was there reports that various FOSS options were put on the table at the event.


The fourth conference of the Free and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) and Digital Commons, recently ended at its Idlelo 4, at the Advanced Information Technology Institute (AITI) also known as Kofi Annan Centre for Excellent in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Accra, Ghana, with the theme “Development with ownership.”

The event declared open by the vice president, Republic of Ghana, Mr. John Dramani Mahama, who was represented by the Minister of Communications, Mr. Haruna Idrisu, enjoining participants to come up with how African governments could resolve the challenges between the proprietary and open source software to its own advantage.

“Find out how we can use open source to drive electronic learning (e-learning),” he said, urging African states to increase investment in ICT and mostly in development of Open Source (OS) application in fighting cybercrime.

Also, Mr. Idrisu said that the government’s plan is to leapfrog by using ICT advantage, asserting, “… We want to own our application. We cherish the passion of young people to take their place to position Africa to assume its rightful place in the world.” Pointing out that nowadays, Open Source has grown to become a key in mission critical applications, hence, Africa must recognise FOSS as a veritable option for accelerated development and maintenance in addition to advancing capacity.

In his address, the chairman of the occasion and Director, ICT at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Dr. Sola Afolabi, who stood in for the President, ECOWAS Commission, Amb. James Victor Gbeho, said, they were excited that Ghana, a member state is hosting the Idlelo 4 meeting, this year.

“Ghana is proud member of ECOWAS and ECOWAS is proud to be here,” he said, noting that ECOWAS is implementing some regional projects to transform the community from community of things to Ghanaian government has advanced plans to leapfrog its ICT industry with FOSS.

Therefore, Afolabi said that ECOWAS is interested in partnering with FOSSFA in implementing the outcome of the conference.

According to the chairperson, FOSSFA, Ms Nnenna Nwakanma, prior to the conference, her organisation put together pre-conference workshops for some selected media practitioners and stakeholders on the continent on Campware, FOSS business model and Internet Governance policy framework, which was in partnership with Diplo Foundation based in Malta.

With the theme ‘Development with ownership,’ Nwakanma said Idlelo 4, explored the use of open source technologies in all domains of African economy, and provided an in-depth assessment of FOSS investments and use in the education sector on the continent.

As said by her, specialized tracks discussed included, but not limited to FOSS in governance, business, health, media innovation, civil society, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and open education resources to name a few. Recalling that the knowledge creation and sharing event leveraged on the outcome of the 14th African Summit of Heads of State on ICT for Development of January 2010, to provide a forum for a ministerial roundtable on e-government practices, policies and trends.

The conference, she said, was planned for a community summit of users, especially women and the youth, and the software developer community, stressing this community forum will allow for an open consultation of global open source engineers, coders, geeks, and community managers with the end users of technology, while integrating user concerns and issues to the broader technological innovations, plans, strategies and trends.

Idlelo, she explained, is a Southern Africa word that means ‘a common grazing ground’ with technical hands-on trainings, a community summit, plenaries, panels, workshops, professional examinations, awards and high level roundtables.

The first edition (2004) of Idlelo held at the University of Western Cape in South Africa, the second (2006) at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya and the third (2008) at the Universite Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar Senegal.

She said that the first-ever African FOSS Reporter Award Competition 2010, introduced a few months ago was unveiled to recognizing outstanding reporting for a general audience and honours individuals for their coverage of FOSS, of which Remmy Nweke of Champion Newspapers emerged top in the prize. While Mr. George Yao of AI3L, won the Guido Sohne Fellowship and Mr. Modeste Messou, became the winner in logo design category.

The competition, she added is run in partnership with Deutsche Welle and supported by Open Source Institute for West Africa (OSIWA) as part of an initiative to raise public awareness on FOSS. The vice president through Minister Idrisu later unveiled the new FOSSFA logo.

Enlightening further, she said, Diplo Foundation’s capacity building programme for over 20 Africans under its ICT Policy and Internet Governance for Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) initiative, underscored the plans to train over 300 ACP officials and other specialists of various professional backgrounds including engineering, economy, law, social sciences, languages and culture and media under the project.

The ACP-ICT programme is financed by the European Development Fund (EDF) with the aim of assisting ACP governments and institutions to design, implement and evaluate their national and regional ICT cum internet policies in addition to addressing intra-ACP needs in developing good practices in ICT policies as well as promoting greater stakeholder awareness.

During the weeklong Idlelo 4 in Accra, FOSSFA members seized the opportunity to visit Omatek factory in the city and to seek where they could plug-in to boost this African computer brand.

FOSSFA commended the management of Omatek Computer Plc during the visit for its effort in building capacity for the citizens of the continent, expressing delight on what they saw at Omatek and enlightenment gained thereof.

Nwakanma who led participants to the factory, appealed to Africans, mostly the government to look inward by patronize the likes of Omatek who provide employment for the citizens of Africa and help the continent to grow, economically. She advised Africans to forego the mentality of thinking that Africa and Africans because the only nation that can strive in this century are those who have something upstairs, that is intelligence.

Nwakanma further appealed to African women and youths to explore the advantages offered by open source and get exposed in Information Technology (IT), because according to her, it is only those who have knowledge that would survive in the coming centuries.

Welcoming FOSSFA members to the Accra Omatek factory, the General Manager, Mr. Nana Benneh, expressed delight for the opportunity by them to know what the company is doing and where the two could partner in advancing the African course in ICT.

Taking the group round the factory, the Production Manager, Omatek Ghana, Mr. Saied Onifade, revealed that they currently assemble about 200 Personal Computers (PCs) per day and has plans to delve into solar inverter in Accra, even as they do commercial assembling for people or companies who wish to have branded that are different from Omatek.

He explained that Omatek computers are tropically made to comply with the weather situation in this part of the world, thus, stands Omatek out among the foreign brands which do not conform to these additional features. He maintained that every PC after being assembled is sent into the burning room for several hours followed by a system report that would show the composition so as to ensure that every system complies with the Omatek standards.

He revealed that Omatek originated from Nigeria and has been in the market for over 20 years, although it has just been in Accra for about three years, noting that the Accra factory was set up to serve the Ghana market and other West Africa states.

Onifade further said that Omatek usually load both Microsoft and Open Source (OS) operating systems in every PC so as to give customers the choice, disclosing that Omatek has partnership with Madriva, an Open Source distributor to load its elearning package in some of the PCs meant for educational institutions in the bid to bridge the gap between the cities and rural communities in Africa.

Equally speaking, a member of FOSSFA council and director-general, Kofi Annan Centre for Excellence in ICT, Mrs. Dorothy Gordon, applauded participants for creating the time to visit Omatek. She called for the evaluation of FOSSFA members on the continent and to encourage new membership and grow awareness, saying “We need to find out where the user groups are in Africa and who are their contact points and keep in touch with them to drive the open source home,” she asserted.

Uniquely, part of Idlelo 4 was the election of new executive board for FOSSFA which preceded its Annual General Meeting (AGM) with the Nigerian-born Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) consultant based in Cote D’Ivoire, Ms Nnenna Nwakanma, retaining her position as the chairperson for the next two years.

Her election came unopposed followed the nomination of 21 council members from all regions in Africa, who constituted the electoral-college for the Executive Committee to emerge in line with the FOSSFA constitution.

These include Gambian Katim Touray as vice chairman, while Egyptian Samer Azmy of Geek2Live was elected secretary general, and Ugandan Milton Aineruhanga, Treasurer.
Nwakanma nomination came from a council member, Mr. Fred and seconded by Mrs. Dorothy Gordon for her to lead FOSSFA till Idlelo 5 in 2012, which Nigeria just won the hosting right.

The council also agreed to amend its constitution, especially in increasing the number of the exco members to accommodate the post of assistant secretary general and publicity secretary in the next election.

FOSSFA has its origin in the ICT Policy and Civil Society workshop held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in November 2002, convened by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, on the mandate of the Bamako Bureau established by the African Council of ICT ministers in the continent’s preparation towards the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), where it was unanimously resolved to create an interim civil society task force on open source tagged “Open Source Task Force for Africa (OSTA).”

The task force has since transformed into FOSSFA with the consent of its members to advocate for the use and implementation of open source solutions at the regional, national and local levels; urge donor governments that have already embraced open source at national levels such as Germany, Sweden, Norway and France to support Africa in this regard.

In addition, FOSSFA has the mandate to create a clearinghouse or knowledge factory - resources, database of local expertise on ‘Who is doing What’, website, CD-ROM, brochures among others and then define minimum standards, guidelines and advisory parameters for the foundation; building localized cum African capacity to work on software development; ensuring a discourse on open source during the National Information and Communication Infrastructure (NICI) policy processes and addendum for the NICI processes that have already been completed.

The bottom line of Idlelo 4 was that it provided opportunity for communities and rural people required for Africa to grow.


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WAIGF to promote multi-stakeholder model

The West Africa Internet Governance Forum (WAIGF) slated for next month in Dakar, Senegal, has chosen a theme to deliberate during the preparatory meeting for the global Internet Governance Forum in Lithuania, in September.

According to the WAIGF local organizing team in a public statement made available to ITRealms Online, the theme for the Dakar meeting is: “Promoting the Multi-stakeholder Model for further Internet Development in Africa.”

The team also said that a voting structure was created to enable members of the West African Internet community to exercise their franchise.

But at the close of the voting session, which ended on Wednesday, July 14, 2010, majority of the list members voted for ‘Promoting the Multi-stakeholder Model for further Internet Developmentin Africa’ while the alternative suggestion, ‘Developing the Future Internet in West Africa’ could not make a vote.

Chairperson of one of the organizing team member, the Free and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA), Ms Nnenna Nwakanma, confirmed this, saying “West Africa has spoken. The theme for WA-IGF 2010 is ‘Promoting the Multi-stakeholder Model for further Internet Development in Africa’ and thank you all for your time.”

Meanwhile, FOSSFA recently opened call for Internet Governance Forum core team in West Africa to be hosted in Dakar before the end of August this year. Nwakanma noted that her organisation, the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and other partners, with support from the Open Society Institute of West Africa (OSIWA) launched a call for West Africa Internet Governance Forum preparation.

The terms of reference for West African IGF consortium group, she said, include for the formation of the core team entails background for the key members of the consortium group of organizations who would be contributing to the development and organization of the 2010 West African Regional Internet Governance Forum.

She further said, the Consortium comprised of members and organizations from the seven target countries, namely Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire and Cameroon; as well as the convening organizations.

Interest members of the Internet community in the sub-region, she said, especially those countries in West Africa but not listed above were free to apply.

She outlined the objectives of the WAIGF to include the facilitation of Internet policy discussions on a multi-stakeholder platform for issues relating to the development and the governance of the Internet in West Africa.

In addition to increasing awareness of Internet governance issues in the sub-region and encourage participation of a broad range of stakeholders in the IGF process within West Africa.

WAIGF, Nwakanma said, tends to create an opportunity for West Africans to engage in, contribute towards discussions regarding spam, Internet and security, and other IGF related issues at the global Internet Governance Forum.


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Computer Warehouse plans industrial park for UNILAG

Leading Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), company in the country, Computer Warehouse Group, has advanced plans to construct a building dedicated for the appreciation and development of Information Technology at the University of Lagos (UNILAG).

Disclosing this recently after a visit to the university’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Adetokunbo B. Sofoluwe, the Group Managing Director, CWG, Mr. Austin Okere, accompanied by Simon Agi, General Manager, Operations, Olapeju Ayo- Fisher Assistant General Manager, Human Resource and his counterpart at the Computer Warehouse Limited (CWL) Dayo Abegunde, AGM, said his firm would provide internet hotspots for UNILAG and institute the Austin Okere Annual Lecture, in response to the VC dream.

“CWG will construct a building here in the University of Lagos to be dedicated for the development of opportunities in the vast areas of ICT for the younger generation” he declared.

Okere also intimated the VC on some of the strengths of CWG in the areas of skills development and human capital development with the company’s present initiation of an academy, which young individuals are trained in various areas of Information Technology and after their course, some of them are absorbed into the company as members of staff.

Responding, elated Prof. Sofoluwe said he was proud that an ex-student of the university could build a great company today like Computer Warehouse.

While expressing thanks to Okere and his team for consenting to expand internet hotspots around the institution and the Austin Okere Annual Lecture, the VC said it would encourage the younger generation of students in their pursuit of academic excellence.

He, however, asked that CWG leads the path in the construction of an industrial park in UNILAG.

“It is my dream to build an industrial park within the university. One that can be compared to what we have in advanced countries,” he said.


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LG partners YouTube on ‘Life in a day’ project

LG Electronics has joined forces with YouTube on the ‘Life in a day’ project which holds on Saturday, July 24, 2010, globally.

YouTube is a video-sharing website which enables users to upload, share, and view videos. It was founded by three former personnel of PayPal in February 2005, which has since been acquired by Google. YouTube has changed the culture of video uploads and exchange, migrating to one of the most popular web portals worldwide.

The Life in a Day project is about self-shooting of one’s activities by YouTube users’ in a day, which has been scheduled for this week’s Saturday.

This, the partnership announced would form the final film to make the world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, next year.

Affirming this, Chief Marketing Officer of LG Electronics, Dermot J. M. Boden, said they belief in enriching people’s lives through technology and saw complementary objectives in the Life in a Day project

“For LG, this project is a fantastic opportunity to engage with YouTube users on a personal and emotional level that’s both rewarding and enjoyable. This initiative is perfectly consistent with our brand promise of “Life’s Good,” Boden said.

Reiterating this, famous filmmakers, Ridley Scott and Kevin Macdonald urged YouTube users to assist them in creating the first user-generated feature-length documentary film shot on a single day on July 24, 2010.

“Life in a Day” is a historic global film experiment that enlists the global community to capture a moment of their lives on Saturday, July 24 and to upload that footage to www.youtube.com/lifeinaday,” they said.

The Academy award-winning director of State of Play, Last King of Scotland, Touching the Void films, Mr. Macdonald would direct and bring together the most compelling footage into a feature-length documentary film.

It was also gathered that the project would be produced by Ridley Scott and his company Scott Free Productions.

“Individuals whose footage makes it into the finished film will be credited as co-directors and 20 of these contributors will be flown to the 2011 Sundance Film Festival for the film’s world premiere,” he said.

Life in a Day is one of several efforts by YouTube to push the boundaries of music, art, and now film. YouTube Symphony Orchestra and the recently announced YouTube Play partnership with the Guggenheim are examples of the convergence of online video with traditional arts and Life in a Day takes this effort into the cinematic realm.

LG Electronics is supporting Life in a Day as a key part of its long-standing Life’s Good campaign and to enhance the creation of quality online content that can be shared and enjoyed by all.

“Life in a Day is a time capsule that will tell future generations what it was like to be alive on the 24th of July, 2010. It is a unique experiment in social filmmaking, and what better way to gather a limitless array of footage than to engage the world’s online community,” Macdonald said.

And for the Chief Executive Officer, Google, YouTube’s parent company, Mr. Eric Schmidt, over the past five years, You Tube has changed the way media is created and consumed.

“We’re thrilled to give our community the opportunity to work with Kevin Macdonald and Ridley Scott and are grateful to our long-term partner, the Sundance Institute, for their support of this global initiative. I can think of no better place to premiere Life in a Day than at next year’s festival.”

Equally, Director of the Sundance Film Festival, Mr. John Cooper, said it’s a vital part of the mission to support individual storytelling around the globe and to provide a platform for expression and experimentation.

“This is a great way to engage the You Tube community and to also provide Festival audiences with something new and unexpected,” Cooper said.

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Winners emerge in UNESCO-IPDC prize on rural communication

The International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) prize for rural communication being hosted jointly with the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has been won by Egyptian and Mexican media entities; Wahed Men El-Nas and La voz de los campesinos respectively.

The UNESCO-IPDC prize for rural communication is intended to recognize a meritorious and innovative activity in improving communication in rural communities, chiefly in the developing countries. It was established in 1985 by the Executive Board of UNESCO in pursuance of a decision of the 5th session of the Intergovernmental Council of IPDC.

The UNESCO-IPDC Prize, consisting of a sum of US$20,000, is awarded every other year.
The 2010 edition saw the radio station La voz de los campesinos (The Voice of the Peasants), founded 32 years ago in the eastern state of Veracruz; the first indigenous community radio in Mexico, emerging as top finalist.

The station promotes interactive radio communication with communities, encouraging them to share their history, customs and music. It also helps reinforce the collective rights of the indigenous populations of Veracruz. Programmes are transmitted in three local languages in addition to Spanish.

Also, transmission covers 400 communities, approximately 100,000 people. La voz de los campesinos is part of the Latin American Association of Radio Education (ALER) and the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC).

On the other hand, Amr Mamdouh Ellissy, who is Editor-in-chief of the weekly newspaper ElKhamis and Editor and presenter of both the documentary programme Ekhterak on Egyptian State Television and Dream TV’s weekly social programme Wahed Men El-Nas (One from the Public), which informs rural populations on issues directly concerning them, in particular in the fields of education and health.

Mr Ellissy seeks to work with governmental authorities and civil society organizations to find solutions to social problems in rural areas. He also carries out fundraising and public campaigns through his television programmes.

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Omo-Ettu canvasses support for broadband

Chief executive officer, Telecom Answers Associates (TAA), Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu has canvassed support for broadband adoption in the country, especially in alleviating poverty.

Speaking weekend, Omo-Ettu, noted there is need to support the campaign to encourage both the government and private sector to embrace broadband.

“We encourage our governments to appreciate the advantages of and invest in promotion of broadband access to our people no matter their location, status or station,” he said.

He noted though it is by no means an easy task, “but if it were easy it would not count as a task.”

Omo-Ettu, who also is the president, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) emphasized the ability of broadband diffusion to combat poverty at this age.

Maintaining that broadband could be applied to solve poverty issues.

“Broadband is no longer a luxury…it is a core infrastructure of the modern economy. Those who have it will prosper, those who don’t will fall further behind,” he declared.

ITRealms Online recalls that recently the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) noted that poverty entails individuals and communities cut off from resources, which could dramatically improve their standards of livelihood, that is, because communications connectivity is absent, limited or expensive.

ITU also said that whether these communities have been denied access to knowhow, or even market price data to sell their produce, they are stymied and trapped in deprivation, but all these could change with availability of broadband.

In developing countries, ITU said, information poverty rapidly becomes actual poverty, insisting that poverty reduction is the first, and arguably, most urgent, Millennium Development Goal of the United Nations.

Pointing out that an MDG snapshot revealed why as at late 2005, some 1.4 billion people still lived on USD 1.25 or less per day.

ITU further said that figures fluctuate but around 10 million people still die annually of hunger, and present trends in rising food prices and the global economic crisis may have pushed at least 90 million more back into poverty, according to the latest United Nations (UN) commentaries on progress for MDG-1.

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Satellite: Nigeria benefits from $100m Indian Pan Africa e-Network

Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Mahesh Sachdev, has said that his country has over 22 foreign satellites in the past 48 years.

Just as Nigeria is benefitting from the Indian satellite largesse for the continent worth $100 million through the Pan Africa e-Network.

According to IndiaPage, a public enlightenment weekly newsletter from the embassy in Abuja, although Indian space programme was founded in 1962, it was only in 1969 that the first Indian weather sounding rocket was launched.

In 48-years since its inception, he said, Indian space programme has had a number of successes, including a lunar mission last year that found water on moon.

“Today India has 10 remote sensing satellites orbiting the earth. India also has 11 communication satellites rendering valuable services,” he said.

Stressing that the Indian Space Programme is under the Department of Space and is implemented by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Pointing out that ISRO collaborates heavily with Antrix Corporation which provides space related services, such as fabricating satellites and launching them, putting up hardware, selling data from existing satellites, training on commercial basis.

Equally, he said, that since 1999, Antrix has successfully launched 22 foreign satellites, noting that India had always shared its space knowledge with its friends including Pan African e-Network, which he said, India gave out a $100 million gift to the continent and has remained operational since last year, thus providing tele-education and tele-medicine facilities in over 35 Africa countries, including Nigeria, Benin & Cameroon.

Recalling that experts estimated that India’s space economy is worth $ 125 billion – or nearly a tenth of total Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“India’s space programme is not only very cost effective, it is highly relevant to India’s developmental needs, especially in such important sectors as agriculture, healthcare, banking, education, communication, broadcasting, town-planning, monitoring climate change and disaster management,” he said.

Each Rupee invested in ISRO, he said, has returned two Rupees worth of benefits, even as ISRO is planning bigger projects such as Chandrayaan-2 to moon in 2013 and sending an Indian astronaut on Indian rocket, this debate will continue.

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Facebook unveils panic button for kids

Facebook, ever growing social network platform, has finally unveiled its much-anticipated ‘panic button’ on its site, as it looks to increase protection of its young users, reports Nomensa.com.

The ‘ClickCEOP’ button lets Facebook users, especially those aged between 13 and 17 to report suspicious online behaviour and access internet safety advice with the launch of the new application.

They can report any abuse to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) and Facebook.

Access to the ClickCEOP button will be provided via an application that users could add or bookmark so that it appears on their homepage as not only a constant source of help and reassurance for them but also as a strong visual signal to their friends, family and others that they are in control online.

The application would be backed by a new CEOP page that, when ‘liked’, will look to engage with young people to help raise the profile of online safety.

The move is also being supported by extensive wide spread advertising on Facebook that will encourage take up of the application.

This will include an automatic advert-message appearing on every homepage of users aged between 13-18 years inviting them to add the application.

Meanwhile, collaboration between parent, teachers association and Facebook would strengthen commitment to educating kids, parents and teachers about responsible and safe Internet use.

Announcing a formal collaboration, they said it would promote responsible and safe Internet use to kids, parents and teachers.

Together, National PTA and Facebook said they would establish a comprehensive programme that would provide information, support and news to encourage citizenship online, reduce cyber bullying and advance Internet safety and security.

The partnership is founded on the belief that awareness is essential to supporting safe and responsible Internet use. Thus, in addition to creating comprehensive and engaging resources, PTA and Facebook are committing to aggressively promoting Internet safety information to their respective audiences.

National PTA will use its Website (www.pta.org), and actively reach out to the 24,000 local PTAs across the country with a goal of reaching every American public school. Facebook will raise awareness of the resources among the hundreds of millions of parents, teachers and children using its service through an in-kind
Facebook commitment equivalent to $1 million and promotion on other parts of the site, including the safety center.


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