" ITREALMS: 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Community Radio: Stakeholders advocate free license, 2.5% exemption

Community radio stakeholders in the country have advocated for the exemption of 2.5 per cent remittance of their total annual turnover to the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) as well as free license.

They also argued that this call has become important due to the fact that community radio stations’ operational philosophy is not profit oriented.

Participants at the recently concluded conference in Makurdi, under the aegis of the Nigeria Community Radio Coalition (NCRC), which dwelled on the theme: “Strengthening Advocacy, Re-energizing Community Capacity Building” advised the federal government to expeditiously adopt the draft of the reviewed National Communication Policy and the Community Radio Policy.

This, the Coalition said would pave the way for the government to also direct the regulatory body to license grassroots community radio stations nationwide, decrying that Nigeria is the only country in West Africa yet to have community radio structures, thus, not benefiting from the advantages of dialogue and popular participation which are important ingredients in democracy and development.

A communiqué made available to ICTRealms Online by the Coalition, urged NBC to come up with a framework through which other subsets of community radio could operate, just as it had done in the case of campus radio.

The group stressed that by exercising its powers under Section 20 of the National Broadcasting Commission Act No. 38 of 1992, as amended, NBC would make regulations to ensure that the provisions of the Act is upheld.

“Ensure that license for community radio is issued free of financial cost and that minimal charges are required for renewal and other administrative matters,” the group said.

Also, they canvassed for NBC to issue guidelines on equipment specification and standardization on community radio in line with the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Training Manual specifications and the principles set out by the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC).

They equally want NBC to allocate transmission wattage to community radio stations on the basis of need and as dictated by geographical conditions of coverage area.

Further, they said, NBC should liaise with campus radio operators, NCRC and other stakeholders, to work out effective and appropriate revenue generation processes.

Participants were unanimous that community radio, “because of its immediacy, simplicity, cheap and participatory nature, use of indigenous and other community languages, and ability to reach large audiences,” has become the most effective medium of mass communication for driving development projects such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Vision 2020 and the Seven-Point Agenda of the Federal Government.

They acknowledged positive actions of the government and NBC particularly in granting 27 licenses to campus communities, and for plans taken to institute appropriate policy framework in the broadcast communication sector.

The group lamented the slow pace in the overall process of allowing Nigerian grassroots communities to own community radio structures, outlining the benefits of community broadcasting to include its use for accelerating food security, conflict prevention and peace building, re-vitalization of cultural values which are needed to build a virile democratic society.

They noted that the three-day conference was part of the struggle which culminated in the formation in 2005 of what is now known as the Nigeria Community Radio Coalition (NCRC), stressing that the Coalition was formed to sensitize and mobilize stakeholders as well as heighten advocacy to address the yawning gaps in the Nigerian broadcasting landscape that were and are still undermining democratic participation and efforts at national development.

The conference, held last November between 23 and 25 in Makurdi was organised with the support of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, United Kingdom, but attended by participants drawn from Ministries, Departments and other agencies of Government, community leaders, academia, members of Nigeria Union of Journalists, campus radio operators, community development associations, advocates of community radio and development communication experts in addition to the its development partners, the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) among other stakeholders.

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Wireless can make cities safe – Rogers

Director of the largest provider of Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX), Alvarion, Mr. Rick Rogers, has declared that WiMAX solution could add to making the cities safe.

Rogers who spoke recently, noted that large-scale metro area networks have become increasingly important tool in providing public services and ensuring public safety and security.

He also said that with over 250 commercial deployments around the globe, Alvarion is committed to growing the WiMAX market.

The company, he said, offers solutions for a wide range of frequency bands supporting a variety of business cases, citing an instance with its Open WiMAX strategy, superior Internet Protocol (IP) and Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple
Access (OFDMA) know-how, and proven ability to deploy end-to-end turnkey WiMAX projects, “Alvarion is shaping the new wireless broadband experience.”

He explained that OFDMA is a multi-user version of the popular Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing.

The Director, Alvarion also noted that responsible government agencies and municipalities around the world are leveraging the power of broadband connectivity to embrace the safe city approach, with centralised emergency response and management in the face of threats, attack, crime or industrial-scale accidents.

“Simply put, effective communications is the cornerstone of effective municipal management and crucial in saving lives and mitigating damage,” he declared.

According to him, safe city projects are municipal-level network deployments whose specific goal is to enhance civilian safety.

Once this network is deployed, Rogers said, the municipality could enjoy the added value of utilising it to drive economic development, increase educational excellence, attract business investment, provide municipal services and ultimately improve quality of life for residents.

Rogers equally explained that wireless broadband networks are an ideal solution for safe city projects as they could complement existing wired infrastructure, or even be used as the core access infrastructure for a safe city.

“Wireless networking technologies are more scalable and flexible, overcoming the limitations of wired broadband in large areas,” he said, stressing that the same muni-wireless networks that are ideal for safe city deployments offer compelling revenue-generating opportunities, such as traffic control, transportation security, automatic meter reading, e-services for citizens to name a few.

Mr. Rogers pointed out that deploying safe city-related wireless applications requires reliable network infrastructure with high capacity and low latency to ensure quality of video, data and voice applications, that existing wired networks, in many cases, are not designed to serve safe city bandwidth-savvy applications, multiple new connections of wide-scale deployment or deliver reliable mobility.

“The necessary applications to deploy a safe city approach include public safety alarm and alert systems, video surveillance, intelligent traffic control, transportation security and access,” he said.

Other applications that could enhance the quality of service a municipality provides, he said includes automatic meter reading, municipal access, mobile management of the city workforce, e-services and residential access.

Making a safe city work means spinning a delicate and vast web of independently mandated departments, from law enforcement agencies and first responder units to firefighters, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), hospitals, government agencies and civilian interfaces – with an even vaster array of devices, needs and security considerations.

Wireless technologies such as WiMAX address many of the requirements for safe city network deployments and applications because they can be deployed quickly and are very flexible.

He further explained that once a base station is operational, services could be provided in a coverage area of up to several dozen kilometers.

“Services are provided using Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) and all that is required is a power source. Peripheral equipment, such as video cameras, sensors, and computers are connected to CPEs and the data between them is easily transferred.

Wireless technologies make deployment changes and expansion very easy, such as installing new CPEs or changing CPE locations,” Rogers said.

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MAF ICT centre, CAI train 100 students

A total of 100 students have been trained by the Hon. Moruf Akinderu Fatai (MAF) Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Centre located at Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Area of Lagos State in conjunction with the Computer Aid International (CAI).

The centre is part of the constituency project of Hon. Moruf Akinderu Fatai representing the Oshodi-Isolo 1 at the Federal House of Representatives, the lower house of the National Assembly. While, CAI, is a United Kingdom-based non-profit organization with specialty in deploying ICT solutions in reducing poverty among developing countries of the world.

Making this revelation recently in Lagos, while on a visit to the centre, the West Africa Programme Manager at Computer Aid International, Ms Anne Musyoki, said it was exciting to see what the centre was able to achieve within a space of time with the Personal Computers (PCs) provided by CAI.

According to her, the Hon. Moruf Akinderu Fatai centre has received two consignments from CAI, stressing that the consignments were received before last October and has been able to train 100 students in web designing and management, Peachtree Accounting and computer engineering.

This achievement, she said, would encourage CAI, which has shipped over 150,000 PCs to where they are mostly needed in over 100 countries of the world to be consistent in partnering with MAF, noting that the London office of Computer Aid International, there is a workshop to track, data-wipe, test and professionally refurbish each donated PC and laptops.

“These are then packed and shipped to educational and community organizations in developing countries,” she asserted.

Giving more insight on the training, the technical officer in charge of the MAF ICT centre, Mr. Yinka, commended Ms Musyoki for finding time to visit the centre, while on official visit to the Nigeria.

Yinka reaffirmed that the Constituency ICT training centre has passed out 100 students who performed creditably in computer appreciation for beginners, web designing and management, peachtree accounting and computer engineering.

In the computer appreciation for beginners, he said, the first set that pass-out were 60 students, web designing and management - 20, Peachtree Accounting – 10, even as the Computer Engineering course successfully passed out 10 students.

“The approach of teaching in Hon. MAF centre is to bridge the gap between theories and practical that is why we encourage one person to one computer,” he declared.

Yinka hinted that the second batch, which is ongoing, has since commenced examination and expected to pass-out another set of 100 students before the year ends.

He further explained that the second batch students include participants drawn from the Oshodi-Isolo community and made up of youths and the old.

Also speaking the Education Officer, New State Primary School, Oshodi, Lagos, V.O. Ibitola, said they were pleased to note the contribution of CAI, which has given them opportunity to equip pupils on the use of computer packages, such as Microsoft Word, Excel and Power Point.

“We are positive that these skills would give them a front line start when faced with computer tasks in college, their everyday life and the work place,” Ibitola said.

Some of these pupils, Ibitola pointed out, have never handled a computer system and are finding it fascinating and interesting.

“They almost never want to leave the computer laboratory,” Ibitola declared, stressing that the teaching staff have also found the use of some computer packages very handy especially when typing letters, saving files and preparing lecture notes.

“I wish other primary schools are able to enjoy this facility. Its introduction has brightened the future of the pupils in my school,” the educationist acknowledged and expressed gratitude to CAI for the progress thus far.

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NCC guides against dominance among operators

Telecomregulator, Nigerian Communications Commissions (NCC), has commenced measures to check dominance of some telecom operators against others, by putting in place a policy that will encourage competitive and versatile communication market environment in the country.

This came as telecom giants MTN Nigeria and Zain Nigeria refuted allegations of dominance leveled against them.

The Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, gave this hope of new policy against dominance last weekend in Abuja at a forum on “Dominance in selected telecommunication markets.”

He said that a fair competitive environment is sine qua non for an efficient and versatile communications market in Nigeria.

“To promote this desired environment, it is imperative to identify which operators are in dominant positions in the specified market, determine whether they are abusing such positions in the specified markets or not. Our findings will help us determine the direction we should take to remedy such situations,” he said.

Ndukwe also said the regulatory body had called for the forum given series of complaints sent to the commission by corporate organizations to investigate the matter stressing that as a step McCarthy Tetrault & Co., an evaluation consulting firm was invited to assist in carrying out an independent evaluation of the Nigerian telecoms market situation.

Senior Manager, MTN Nigeria, Ms. Oyeronke Oyetunde, at the consultative forum denied that MTN is using its infrastructural edge to controls the mobile market in Nigeria.

“MTN is not dominant. We believe that the market is effectively competitive enough.
The market is still in the growing rate,” she said, insisting that despite the current global meltdown, the new entrants into the market are doing well in the telecom market.

She called on the Federal Government to strengthen the telecommunication market in a way to make it more conducive for more investors to come in.

Equally speaking, Zain Nigeria Ltd, Manager, Government and Environment, Mr. Tobe Okigbo said that Zain has no capacity on its own nor the ability to collude with MTN or any other company in the same line of business to establish dominance in the industry.

“Everybody has been losing subscribers because of the new entrants, especially the reduction of rates from the new entrants. Because we have the highest number of subscribers does not mean we abuse dominance,” he noted.

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Glo excites visitors @ PH fair-09

National telecom operator, Globacom Limited, was a sight of excitement for visitors at the on-going Port Harcourt International Trade Fair, which is expected to come to a close today.

Visitors, who trooped to Glo pavilion at the fair ground, equally commended the company for its participation at this year’s event in addition to rewarding package it has for subscribers.

A press statement made available to ICTRealms Online by Globacom officials informed that the telco’s participation in this year’s edition of the fair to reach out to its numerous subscribers and also to sign on new ones to its network.

It was also gathered that the telecoms giant is offering thousands of freebies including tables, chairs, T-Shirts, caps, bandanas and biros to visitors to its stand.

“There is also a draw, during which Glo subscribers have been winning phones daily and scores of recharge cards,” part of the press statement read.

The Sales Director, Globacom, Mr. Ken Hall, was quoted as saying that the subscribers are at the heart of the telco’s business equation.

“We are constantly innovating to provide the services that will continually distinguish Glo as the network of choice for all who want the very best of affordable telecommunications services in this country”, he said.

Globacom in a statement also said visitors to its stand will have access to a wide array of Glo products and services. The company will also provide personalised services for its subscribers at the Fair as they can walk into the pavilion and have any issue attended to immediately by Glo staff,” he said.

Mr. Hall also said that Globacom has been at the forefront of introducing life and business enhancing packages for subscribers, including Glo Mobile Internet, Magic Plus, Telemetry Security Solutions, GPRS, Point to Point Connectivity over GPRS, Glo MMS, Glo M-Banking, Vehicle Tracking, post paid and pre-paid Blackberry, Voice SMS, 3G, Fleet Management and Glo Fax, just as it recently introduced prepaid 3G Plus modem to make faster internet available to all and sundry.

ICTRealms Online recalls that Globacom, a wholly Nigerian owned firm has been at the fore front of initiating activities that empower Nigerians to realize their fullest potentials by placing telecommunication services and other associative value adding services at their disposal at very affordable costs.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

NIPOST intercepts fake cheques worth N4bn

The Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST) has intercepted scam letters containing fake cheques in foreign currencies worth over N4 billion this year alone, just as it completed 65 out of the 81 post office projects awarded between 2008 and 2009, reports ADELANI ASHAMU.

The Postmaster General (PMG) of the Federation, Mallam Ibrahim Mori Baba made this revelation at the weekend in Abuja, while briefing newsmen on the activities of the agency for the end of the year 2009, said that the scam letters were intended to defraud unsuspecting foreign investors.

The briefing which centred on achievements of NIPOST between December 2008 and December 2009, he said, deserves commendation.

The PMG explained that NIPOST in the month of October intercepted a total of 62 scam letters containing cheques for 6663,757.80 Pounds Sterling, 4,645,836 Euros and $2,394,570.70.

Also, he said, NIPOST got hold of 179 blank cheques, $4,500 suspected fake cash, 10 driver’s licenses, three international passports and three visa cards were equally intercepted by vigilant officials of the service.

In November this year, he said, NIPOST equally intercepted 167 scam letters with various fake and negotiable instruments meant to defraud unsuspecting investors.

“Items found in the letters were Pound 389,863.20, Euros 879,650.00 and $3,329,953.70 in addition to 24 blank cheques, fake cash of $10,100, 50 suspected fraudulent documents, four international passports and one fake drug,” Mori Baba said.

He pointed out that since the ‘419’ and yahoo boys are not relenting in their heinous crime, NIPOST has resolved to give them a run for their money because the network cannot be used as a conduit to defraud investors and give Nigeria a bad image.

The Postmaster General further said that as part of the effort to reposition the postal sector, the Federal Government may set up an independent regulator to standardize the sector.

Additionally, he disclosed that a bill sent to the National Assembly for consideration recommended the creation of an independent regulator for the postal sector.

While noting that the primary function of NIPOST was to deliver mail both within and outside Nigeria, he said that between 2008 and 2009, contracts for the rehabilitation of 81 major post offices spreading across the six geo-political zones of the country were awarded in compliance with due process guidelines.

“As at 10th of December 2009, 65 of these projects have been completed and taken over while the remaining 16 have reached about 85 per cent completion stage and would be commissioned in the new year,” he said.

He informed that NIPOST has 206 functional vehicles, 610 motor-cycles and 66 bicycles to carry out its services nationwide.

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Omatek has made strides – Seriki

The Group Managing Director, Omatek Ventures Plc, Mrs. Florence Seriki has said that in spite of the obvious economic challenges, the company has made some strides.

This is coming as Omatek now has presence in over 18 cities nationwide, while its office in Accra, Ghana is booming with activities.

Addressing shareholders at the 2009 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Omatek Ventures Plc in Lagos at the weekend, Mrs. Seriki said she was excited that despite the economic downturn, the company has continued to make steady pace.

“I am happy to report to you that your company has continued to make steady strides even in the face of the daunting challenges,” she said.

Mrs. Seriki also said that today, Omatek has sustained the purchase of its component parts from seasoned first class manufacturers that equally produces for other foreign brands.

She noted that the global financial crisis and the Nigerian growth dynamics have had due toll on the general business environment, hence a lot of share prices nose-dived days after Omatek got listed on the floor of the stock exchange.

Pointing out that based on the expansion initiative of the company, especially on management restructuring, a new organogram has been developed to encompass the new company structure.

“Some of the best brains in the industry have also been attracted to the company in line with the company’s growth strategy. And the establishment of committee of the group board commenced work immediately to assist the Group Managing Director in the new structure and in the shortlisting,” she asserted.

Within the year ended, Omatek, she said, has launched series of initiatives aimed at increasing the company’s turnover and to create more brand awareness.

She cited for instance, the launch of e-Xpress scheme, saying that it has been designed to ensure easy access to computer systems and other Omatek products without the challenges of affordability.

“The Omatek e-Xpress initiative is a flexible computer acquisition and payment scheme which enables beneficiaries to pay for any computer of their choice through a structured re-payment plan,” she said.

Therefore, the initiative affords Nigerians include civil servants, students, lecturers and professionals the rare opportunity of owning a personal computer of their choice within its scale of brand, through a flexible and convenient payment plan which spans between 12 and 24 months.

Omatek has commenced export to the West African countries beginning actively with Ghana market, where she said, the company has engaged the services of a Chief Operating Officer, who is resident in Ghana.

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ICT Broadcasters’ roundtable coming

Plans have been advanced for the holding of a one-day ICT Broadcasters Roundtable early next year.

Disclosing this, the Co-ordinator of the programme, Mr. Tayo Adewusi said the time is auspicious for stakeholders in the nation’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to speak with one voice.

Adewusi also said that the roundtable would have as sub-theme: What is the best option for Nigeria’s ICT sector going forward? Is it open and free access to all and every investor? Or is the best way to develop a strong local content policy?

“If there is any time that Nigeria’s ICT stakeholders need to come together and speak,” he said on free access to broadcasting and local content.

A press statement from the organisers, Nigeria ICT Broadcasters Network and made available to ICTRealms Online quoted Adewusi as saying that the success recorded in the telecoms sector in Nigeria has put the country in the global map as one of the countries with best regulatory environment.

“As Ernest Chukwuka Ndukwe the agent of this success story is set to leave the apex telecoms regulatory body, concern is to what becomes of the industry are coming up and there are other questions regarding the sustenance of the growth and surpassing the gains recorded in the past eight years,” he said stressing that these questions must be provided answers to.

The event organizers expressed the belief that bringing important stakeholders together to a discussion would indeed raise the bar in the discussion on the best way forward and this could help the government in arriving at the best policy option.

He pointed out that with the tremendous strides achieved in the sector in the last 10 years, many industry stakeholders had involved themselves in the evolving debate on how best to move forward.

To some, he said, Nigeria should continue to leave its doors open to investors in the sector who could own their businesses 100 percent, get tax holidays and repatriate their profits back to their countries 100 percent.

Equally, he said, there are those who hold the opinion that foreign involvement and investment in Nigeria’s ICT sector is becoming oppressive and destabilising local efforts.

This school of thoughts believe that having opened the doors to all manners of foreigners, whether Africans or otherwise, who had taken advantage of such opportunities to the detriment of the nation, the time has now come for Nigeria to evolve and more appropriate policy suitable to the current realities with a sight to a local content.

“Such a policy should also take into consideration the expertise of Nigerians in the field as opposed to what the case was between 1999 and 2000,” he declared.

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MTN rewards customers on Bounty promo

MTN Nigeria over the weekend commenced the reward of its customers across the country for their loyalty and patronage in a specially packaged event which was held simultaneously in various locations across the country.

A press statement made available to ICTRealms Online said the programme tagged ‘MTN Bounty promo’ was conceived to celebrate numerous customers of the telecom company and to show that MTN cares for their individual needs.

The statement also quoted the telco’s Customer Loyalty and Retention Manager, Mr. Kenechukwu Okonkwo as saying that the package was another way MTN enriches lives

The event which held at Fine Time Gardens, Kano, saw several MTN subscribers leaving with various categories of gifts such as bags of rice, vegetable oil tins, HP Laptops and motorcycles.

One of the beneficiaries, Mr. Halliru Isah expressed appreciation to MTN for the gesture, adding that there was no better way to recognise a customer.

“I feel elated for this recognition; it cannot be likened to any other promo. I have been an MTN subscriber for only two years and I am already being rewarded for using the network,” he said.

In the Nigerian telecoms sector, MTN Nigeria is widely recognised for its emphasis on services and activities that promote the well-being of subscribers. Its products and services have significant potential for beneficial influence on the lives of millions of people within and outside the borders of the country. This exceptional attribute lies in the company’s top-level experience and its long-standing position of improving lives.

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‘GBB is determined on Edu-Connect ‘

The public sector-based Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure and services company, Galaxy BackBone (GBB) Plc, has expressed determination to fully connect Nigerian institutions of learning through private and public partnerships (PPP).

Chief Education, Development & States Services Group at Galaxy Backbone, Mr. Yusuf Z. Kazaure, expressed this resolve at the launch of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) Connect during the recently ended Lagos Higher Education Connectivity Project seminar at Akoka-Lagos.

He reiterated the strength of mind by Galaxy to fully connect Nigerian institutions through sector partnerships.

Speaking at the seminar, Mr. Kazaure noted that the participants of Galaxy Backbone’s precedents in the Nigerian ICT industry and its determination to create a platform where pervasive ICT solutions can be fully utilized by Nigeria’s burgeoning higher educational network.

He allayed the fears that Galaxy Backbone’s operational mandate assured the company had been set up by the mandate of the Federal Government, it is still as private sector oriented entity and as such had every desire to maintain and increase operational capacity within its target sectors.

Pointing out that Galaxy Backbone, is a limited liability company set up by the Federal Government to provide ICT infrastructure and services that addresses the connectivity, transversal and other technology imperatives for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

Stressing that Galaxy Backbone offers a full range and enhanced quality of ICT solutions designed to meet the challenges facing the various sectors-public and private of the Nigerian economy.

Kazaure emphasized that through its nationwide network backbone, the company facilitates the digital inclusion of underserved areas and rural communities within the country.

The seminar which was officially opened by the President, Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) and Director, University of Lagos Centre for Information Technology Systems (CITS), Prof. Charles Uwadia, also had other speakers including Dr. Aminu Ibrahim, Nigerian ICT Forum of Partnership Institutions, chief executive officer, Internet eXchange Point of Nigeria, Mr. Mohammed Rudman, Director Datasphir Solutions, Mr. Owen Iyoha, Head, NIS, ICT Directorate, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Mr. Adewale Adedokun among others.

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COP-15 establishes Technology Mechanism

The Heads of State and government, brought to a close the two weeks of meeting at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNCCC)2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark with a decision to establish a Technology Mechanism to accelerate technology development and transfer in support of plans to mitigate global warming.

The leaders in the Copenhagen Accord at the conference tagged (COP-15), a copy of which was made available to ICTRealms Online, showed that the accord released on December 18, stated in part 11 that the decision was in order to practically enhance actions on development and transfer of technology.

They also said that the setting up of Technology Mechanism is in support of action on adaptation and mitigation that will be guided by a country-driven approach and be based on national circumstances and priorities.

Equally, the Heads of state and government said they decided on Copenhagen Green Climate Fund to make the establishment of the Technology Mechanism and likes a reality.

“We decide that the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund shall be established as an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the Convention to support projects, programme, policies and other activities in developing countries related to mitigation including REDD-plus, adaptation, capacity-building, technology development and transfer,” part of the accord read.

The Conference of the parties, ICTRealms Online took note of the fact that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of this era, emphasizing their strong political will to urgently combat climate change in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.

To achieve the ultimate objective of the Convention to stabilize greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere at a level, they pointed out the need to prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.

“We shall, recognizing the scientific view that the increase in global temperature should be below 2 degrees Celsius, on the basis of equity and in the context of sustainable development, enhance our long-term cooperative action to combat climate change,” they said.

Additionally, they recognized the critical impacts of climate change and potential impacts of response measures on countries particularly vulnerable to its adverse effects and stress the need to establish a comprehensive adaptation programme including international support.

They further agreed that deep cuts in global emissions are required according to science, and as documented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report with a view to reducing global emissions, so as to hold the increase in global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius, and take action to meet this objective consistent with science and on the basis of equity.

“We should cooperate in achieving the peaking of global and national emissions as soon as possible, recognizing that the time frame for peaking will be longer in developing countries and bearing in mind that social and economic development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of developing countries and that a low-emission development strategy is indispensable to sustainable development,” he said.

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SIM registration’ll be free – NCC

THE Head, Consumer Affairs Bureau, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mrs. Lolia Emakpore, has said that the proposed Subscribers’ Identification Module (SIM) card registration exercise billed to resume March 1, 2010 will be at no cost to subscribers.

Speaking on the propriety of the exercise at the latest Telecom Consumers parliament in Lagos, she said the commission has been inundated with complaints on the use of phones for crime.

“So, we thought the way to check this is by identifying owners of GSM phones. The commission had set up a committee of all stakeholders and we have the national identity management commission as well,” she said.

Emakpore, also said although crime will always be there, the commission believes that registration will reduce the rate.

In addition, she said the initial exercise which has been projected to last for about six months from March 1, will be simplified, thus not cumbersome.

“It has been designed in such a way that it will go round the six geopolitical zones of the country and as close as local government areas, so that people who want to register will not have to go too far from the their houses,” she asserted.

Stressing that the devices are hand-held easy to handle, even at the end, the country will have an authentic data base for use subsequently.

She said the conditions for registration are biometrics and identification card, stressing that the reason for the biometrics is to check double registration, explaining that for existing subscribers a time limit of six months has been agreed.

“If we have about 69 million subscribers today it will take six months to complete the registration while that of new subscribers is ongoing and will be done by the operators,” she said.

While allaying the fears of people with more than one telephone lines, Mrs. Emakpore said “if you are entering the next time with the same biometrics, same information for another number it will allow you but when you want to distort the information it will not allow you.”

On likely inconveniences, she said as far as national security is concerned the benefit of SIM registration far outweighs the inconvenience to be suffered in the process, maintaining that the security of the information of subscribers is assured, but for anybody to have access to the data base, the process entails formal written application endorsed by at least an Assistant Commissioner of Police.

“So, your information will not be on the street for everybody to have access to, so you are rest assured,” he said.

Also speaking the presiding chairman at the parliament and president, Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, noted that the benefits of the exercise far outweigh the likely inconveniencies, while enjoining Nigerians to embrace the exercise.

He said the expected delay in registration should not be seen as a hindrance, stressing that the technology is available and all that is now needed is the political will to implement.

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Starcomms bags corporate excellence award

One of the leading Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operators in the country, Starcomms Plc, was recently honoured by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) with the corporate excellence award.

The ceremony which took place in Abuja, penultimate Thursday, was part of the activities marking the 2009 Press Week of the Abuja council of NUJ.

The citation on Starcomms at the event by the NUJ awards committee, indicated that the telecommunications operator was nominated into the category was based on the “published and reported matters on the activities and developments of Starcomms over the past years.”

The committee also said that Starcomms deserved the award because the company has “consistently pursued set goals designed to better the lot of Nigerians through quality jobs, providing needed infrastructure and related facilities for fast-tracking the development of the country”

Starcomms, the only publicly quoted telecommunication company in the country, has been at the forefront of giving back to the society as a corporate entity. The company has created hundreds of entrepreneurs nationwide.

The company has also been a pillar of support to the Nigerian Police, having provided the public relations office of the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters with free Internet access for two years running now to help the office handle official messages and general complaints emanating from the public nationwide. This is sequel to the company’s provision in 2008, a complete computer with Starcomms izap to the Force.

Responding to the gesture of the NUJ, the Chief Executive Officer of Starcomms Plc, Maher Qubain said “We at Starcomms are very glad that our efforts all over the country are being noticed especially by those whose business has been to monitor the society and give a fair report on the activities of all.”

Starcomms, he said, receive the award with all sense of responsibility and still commit itself to the continuous provision of innovative telecommunication services to Nigerians.

The NUJ award is coming at the heels of the recent harvest of awards by Starcomms at the 2009 edition of the Nigeria Information Technology and Telecommunication Awards (NITTA). At NITTA Maher Qubain, the company’s CEO was adjudged the Nigerian Telecom CEO of the year 2009’.

The company won the ‘Best CDMA Operator of the year 2009’ award while Starcomms’ broadband internet services product & services ‘iZAP’ also won for the second time NIITA’s ‘Best Internet Product of the year 2009’.

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MultiChoice Africa exceeds 1m subscriber-base

The subscriber-base of the continent’s pay-TV operator, MultiChoice Africa, has exceeded 1 million, according to its newly appointed President, Mr. Collins Khumalo.

As said by him, this is a significant milestone, which the pay-TV operator would love to sustain and even grow.

“We are well on track to achieve further growth with the introduction of new satellite technology early next year,” he said, stressing that this feat reflects the resilience of pay TV in tough economic conditions.

Mr. Khumalo, who recently took over from Eben Greyling as MultiChoice Africa President, is expected to provide strategic leadership as the company moves to the next stage of its development.

Greyling has since taken over as Head, pay-TV platforms at MultiChoice Africa’s parent company MIH.

A seasoned executive with a comprehensive track record at MultiChoice Africa’s operations around the continent, Khumalo expressed resolve to sustain the company’s strategic focus of investing in people, supporting the development of small businesses, technology and local content.

Khumalo emphasized that despite the tough operating environment following the global financial crisis, MultiChoice Africa’s growth in subscriber numbers is gratifying, just as he attributed this to the rich and diverse range of world class channels, as well as the variety of affordable DStv bouquet options.

“DStv provides some of the best television entertainment worldwide. It is an affordable and attractive option, catering for the whole family.” Khumalo asserted.

Operating in 48 sub-Saharan countries, Khumalo noted MultiChoice’s investments on the continent on satellite infrastructure, digital technology and new channels, focus ultimately on improving the DStv subscribers’ experience.

To this end, he said, MultiChoice recently rolled out High Definition Personal Video Recorders (HD PVRs), allowing subscribers more control of their viewing though added functionality such as recording, rewinding and pausing live television, allowing viewers and watch programming at their own convenience.

“Through our key channels we will continue to invest in content made in Africa for Africa, in new technology, in skills development and in developing our people to ensure that we continue to deliver exceptional value for our subscribers,” he said, reiterating the commitment of MultiChoice Africa.

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Systemspecs wins award @ ‘09 NITMA

Leading Nigerian software house, SystemSpecs, was at the weekend named the ‘Software Company of the Year’ at the National Information Technology Merit Awards (NITMA) organized by the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) in Lagos.

Commenting after receiving the award, the Managing Director, SystemSpecs, Mr. John Obaro, said his firm is humbled by the recognition.

“We are humbled by this recognition especially when it is coming from your industry and colleagues, it certainly says alot. SystemSpecs would continue to put her best foot forward at all times. We will also continue to strive for excellence in all that we do to protect the integrity of the award and the industry. We thank the NCS for this honour,” he said.

Head, Brand and Marketing at SystemSpecs, Mr. Moses Braimah, said that the firm is leading e-Payment, financial and human capital management software solutions providers, with over 200 clients that cuts across various sectors of the Nigerian economy and the larger African market.

NITMA is an award designed by NCS to acknowledge, celebrate and reward outstanding corporate organizations and individuals in Nigeria who have played major roles in the development and growth of Information Technology.

Some of the distinguished guests present at the ceremony were; Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Science and Technology; Prof. Cleopas Angaye, Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency; Mr. Ibrahim Tihze, President of Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria; Prof Charles Uwadia, President of NCS; Dr. Chris Uwaje, President of Institute of Software Practitioners among others.

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LASIMRA, Glo enter deal on fibre optic deployment

The second national operator (SNO), Globacom and the Lagos State Infrastructure Maintenance and Regulatory Agency (LASIMRA) have entered deal on modalities for the execution of its Glo1 optic fibre cable project around the centre of excellence.

The deal was struck last week in Lagos, following the announcement on the landing of Glo1 submarine cable in September and subsequent readiness of Glo to lay its fibre cable across the country for broadband service penetration as earlier promised with particular reference to Lagos State and its environs.

ICTRealms Online recalls that LASIMRA is the agency responsible for the regulation and maintenance of telecom infrastructure in Lagos, which covers the granting of right of ways for underground cable laying in Lagos metropolis.

The outcome of the deal as confirmed by the General Manager, LASIMRA, Mr. Joe Igbokwe showed that key decisions reached include the modalities for utilising the permit to execute optic fibre cable project in Lagos, which was granted to Globacom recently by the State Government.

Both LASIMRA and Glo1 also agreed that the project should be executed at minimal pain to the citizenry of the state, and that in deploying the value of the permit, any damage to the state infrastructure such as roads and existing underground facilities of service providers should be avoided in the interest of all.

Mr. Igbokwe said LASIMRA would monitor the project closely and requested Globacom to forward its work plan to the agency ahead of the commencement of the project.

It was agreed that LASIMRA should publish the project in all national dailies to intimate and seek the cooperation of all and sundry.

Just as Globacom should simultaneously at not more than three project sites at a time so as to minimize the attendant pain to the public, for ease of traffic management and for effective monitoring of project execution by LASIMRA officials.

“It is expected that LASIMRA should mount its site boards at the project site, so as to stamp its authority on the project,” Igbokwe explained.

Other deal reached at the meeting included that none excavation across roads; execution of overnight project be carried out in critical high traffic areas so as not to compound the chaotic traffic situation in such areas; deploying trial pits before embarking on wholesale excavation of project sites will enable confirmation of the existence of underground facilities such as telecom and electric cables, water and gas pipes.

This, he further said, will help to avoid damaging them and the active involvement of LASIMRA in attendant road reinstatement works, upon project completion, so as to ensure standard.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Akwa Ibom, 3i Mobile talk on free unlimited calls

PLANS to make Akwa Ibom State the toast in Information and Communication Technology before the end of next year is ongoing as talks between 3i Mobile and the Akwa Ibom State government is expected to lead to the state being the first in the country where people can make free unlimited cellular telephone calls.

ICTRealms Online gathered that 3iMobile is negotiating to deploy the first 4G-capable cellular network that would be available free in two stages, according to a press statement made available to correspondent. (signed by who)

In the first stage, which is due in mid 2010, all state civil servants will be able to make free calls between themselves in the state and extremely inexpensive calls within Nigeria to other networks.

“Due to network architecture and interconnect tariff rates, international calls will be as low as two naira per minute to most European, Asian and North American countries and slightly higher to other regions,” part of the press statement read.

In the second phase, due early 2011, 3i Mobile will roll out its 4G network across the state with a basket of free minutes to the citizens with extra minutes at a small premium.

The statement also said 3iMobile has already demonstrated a live system to the Nigerian army for use in times of conflict, enabling it to shut down existing networks and operate a secure network.

ICTRealms Online also gathered the system is in use by the London Metropolitan Police and was recently used during the last London terrorist bombing.

The system has also been demonstrated at the University of Lagos to enable students call each other without incurring cellular charges.

3i Mobile’s network is completely green technology with the base stations to be deployed by Koyanda Company utilizes solar and wind power thereby eliminating the expensive cost of diesel which drives up the cost of service.

3i Mobile’s network is called a disruptive technology because it challenges incumbents with the capability of transforming the entire mobile cellular business.

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Frenszo Voice Chat debuts on Glo

The second national operator, Globacom, has unveiled phone chat service named ‘Frenszo Voice Chat’ reports REMMY NWEKE.

This, the telcom said, has been designed as an exclusive social networking service for Glo subscribers.

The service enables registered subscribers to find and make friends on the chat service based on defined profiles.

Head, Value Added Services (VAS) at Glo, Mr. Samson Isa, said, Frenszo Voice Chat is a unique, innovative and interesting platform for people to meet like -minded friends with similar interest from any region in Nigeria and stay in touch.

He explained that in order to activate the service, a subscriber needs to dial the short code 547, follow the voice prompt and listen to the pre-recorded profile of other users on the system.

To enjoy the full features of the service, subscribers are advised especially for the first time users to register their profile on the chat engine by recording short and interesting information about themselves.

“Frenszo Voice Chat is a top rated chat service that allows for anonymous conversation in a secure environment with spam and abusive language control,” he said, stressing that the chat could also be done through Short Messaging Service (SMS).

“Once registered, the subscriber can manage his account, edit his profile, block/unblock any friend’s chat ID, edit search criteria and or opt for regional chat rooms. All these contribute to making the Frenszo Voice Chat the most robust and dynamic chat service available,” he said.

The service, according to Mr. Isa, was launched after a thorough User Acceptance Testing (UAT) conducted over the last few weeks by the relevant stakeholders.

This, he said, was to ensure that all subscribers who use the service have a hitch free and memorable user experience.

Isa pointed that the SMS version of the service has been enjoying tremendous patronage with an average of 200,000 hits per day.

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Zinox bags IT excellence prize @ NITMA-09

Acclaimed first internationally certified branded computers, Zinox Technologies Limited, last week in Lagos bagged the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) organized ‘IT Excellence Award.’

The former Minister of Petroleum and a renowned pioneer of the Information Technology (IT) sector in country, Chief Don Etiebet, while presenting the award, said it was for overall achievement and sustained growth in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.

Zinox Technologies presently rated the largest IT group in sub-Saharan Africa has won most local and international awards in the sector, especially for pioneering the certified Nigerian computer brand with the first ever Naira keyboard.

Presently, rated the second largest selling computer brand in Nigeria, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC), among international brands, Zinox is the largest partner for both Intel and Microsoft in Sub Saharan Africa.

Responding after the award, the chief operating officer (COO) of Zinox Technologies, Mr. Mr. Sunday Mukoro said the recognition is for creativity, pioneering, hard work and keeping faith with the digital development of the country.

He expressed gratitude to the leadership and members of NCS, for honoring Zinox, assuring that Zinox shall sustain its leadership position through research, products development, hard work and gave the hint that more IT initiatives shall unfold from the Zinox domain in the New Year -2010.

Mr. Mukoro urged the NCS to guard its award platform jealously to ensure that only true industry standards are established and sustained.

Zinox Computers which recently launched the most robust e–Learning suite in Africa and rated No.1 by World e-Library with over 750,000 books etc is the promoter of Digital Knowledge Democracy Project across Africa.

Zinox Computers through major national and international projects is the only computer brand that has penetrated every community and tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

Zinox recently deployed e –learning suite with 100 laptops and internet facility in each of the select 120 secondary schools in Nigeria in a major national e- project sponsored by the Universal Service Providers Fund (USPF).

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ICANN seeks comment on new gTLD deal

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is inviting community participation in an open consultation regarding the proposed registry agreement for new gTLDs.

ICANN said in a press statement that meeting is being organized in response to a commitment made by Internet body at a session in Seoul recently to continue discussions with the community about open issues in the agreement, including the process for amending the agreement, aspects of registry services reviews and restrictions on registry operators' ability to distribute names through affiliated registrars.

The consultation, ICANN said, will be held on Thursday, January 7, 2010.
The statement also said a conference call Bridge and Adobe Connect access will be available for this discussion and all interested parties are encouraged to participate.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Broadband’ll increase global warming – Experts

As the clamour for the deployment of Broadband continues at the on-going United Nation (UN) organized Climate Change Conference 2009 (COP15), being hosted by the Danish government in Denmark, experts have said that the diffusion of internet based on this model will continue to increase the stake of total emissions of GreenHouse Gas (GHG).

Currently, the GHG emissions in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector is estimated to be between 2 and 3 per cent directly produced emissions.

Just as experts in another school of thought argued that the cuts in greenhouse gases offered at the 192-nation climate conference are anticipated to be very low, thus not clearly enough to assure the world of possible ‘head off’ of dangerous global warming.

According to experts at the recently concluded fourth annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, Broadband deployment and the increasingly intense use of the Internet will contribute to the rise in GHG emissions.

The experts assembled under the auspices of the Dynamic Coalition on Internet and Climate Change (DCICC) were hosted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as one of its initiative on curtailing climate change menace.

The experts drawn from over the 31 DCICC-member organizations believe that the current estimated emissions produced directly will increase as ICTs and the Internet continue to raise. “Broadband deployment and the increasingly intense use of the Internet will contribute to the rise in GHG emissions. Although ICTs contribute to global warming, they can also help in reducing the GHG emissions of other sectors,” some of the contributors at the special session organized by ITU said.

Though they were excited that by replacing the need for travel and by improving transport efficiency, noting that ICTs will help to reduce the carbon footprint of individuals and companies.

Participants at this session examined what the ICT industry could do to reduce its own carbon footprint and extend the hand of fellowship to other sectors of the economy globally.

DCICC, arising from its second public meeting, last week, noted that the Internet has undergone explosive growth in recent years and plays a critical role in all phases of economic and social.

Increased access to ICT, they noted, is a global success story, as there are more than 4.6 billion subscriptions to mobile phones and 1.5 billion Internet users.

They hinted that due to this growth, ICTs currently contribute 2-3 per cent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and this figure is expected to rise, stressing that in response, the Internet community is determined to mitigate its own carbon footprint through new energy-efficient data centers, servers, applications and networks and through the increased use of renewable energy supplies to power the Internet infrastructure.

“A future high-bandwidth, lower-carbon society potentially offers a platform for economic, social and cultural development that is sustainable,” the final statement from the second meeting indicated.

They estimated that ICTs could reduce emissions in other sectors by at least 15 per cent, thereby making them a significant enabling technology to combat climate change.

The Internet, they insisted could play a key role to enable the use of ICTs in the reduction of GHG emissions in other sectors.

According to them, the Internet facilitates the use of ICTs to reduce GHG emissions
in other sectors through videoconferencing, tele-working, e- commerce, and intelligent transport systems.

“It is vital to set priority areas for action in using ICTs in other sectors; these may include smart buildings, smart electric grids, dematerialization and sustainable procurement. Governments, the private sector, and the user community, each have their role to play in deploying ICTs in other sectors to maximum effect and to promote sustainable development,” part of the statement read.

For them, it is essential that policymakers, stakeholders and governance of the Internet at all levels, national, regional and international; take full account of the need for sustainable growth of the Internet.

“Every effort must be made so that the Internet evolves in a manner that respects the need to control its carbon footprint. In particular, the IGF process, including at the regional level, should highlight to a much greater extent the importance of including climate change as a key factor in any and all policies and frameworks that will shape the future growth of the Internet,” part of the statement read.

They emphasized that given the special characteristics and needs of developing countries, urgent action must be taken to assist them to adapt to climate change.
Pointing out that most developing countries are only minor contributors to GHG emissions, but then they are often victims of extreme weather events and other negative impacts of climate change, such as rising oceans, changes in rainfall, species migration, harm to farmers, degradation of the rainforest, melting of glaciers, and human displacement.

For these countries, the officer in charge of ITU-DCICC secretariat, Mr. Arthur Levin, informed that the Internet and ICTs could serve as a critical enabling tool to mitigate climate change and adapt to it, e.g. through climate monitoring and data collection, which could assist agriculture and other sectors, and in the predicting natural disasters and ensuring a rapid response when disasters strike.

Corporate commitments by Internet companies, he said is need to reduce their energy consumption and GHG emissions.

Increased use of renewable energy supplies and green purchasing policies, he said, are essential parts of the solution, maintaining that global standards, which include agreed methodologies to measure the impact of ICTs on climate change, could promote more energy efficient ICT products and services to drive the growth of the Internet.

“Current efforts to develop, adopt and use such standards are encouraged,” DCICC solicited, reiterating that in order to bridge the digital divide and bring the benefits of the Internet to all citizens is fundamental to tackling climate change.

Providing equitable and affordable access to broadband connectivity to schools, rural communities, and health facilities, are vital to economic development and to making effective use of ICTs to combat climate change.

For the experts at the DCICC meeting, e-waste from the Internet and ICTs is a growth challenge, arguing that efforts must be made to dispose Internet access devices such as mobile phones, and computers in addition to servers in an environmentally-friendly manner, so as to reduce and avoid the use of toxic materials and promotion of the use of designs and materials that facilitate recycling.

“The reuse of ICTs also needs to be encouraged as well as efforts to extend their useful life through improved design,” the communiqué stated.

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Grant tax holidays to submarine cable providers – Nwokoro

THE Director, Regulatory Affairs, Zain Nigeria, Mr. Osondu Nwokoro, has called on the Federal Government to grant fiscal incentives by way of tax holidays to international submarine cable access providers (ISCA) to soften the impact of the financial investments on their cash flows, reports CHARLES OKOH.

Nwokoro who was speaking at the Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) organized e-Business conference in Lagos, last week, called for transparency in the process of securing investors for SAT-3 when unbundled from the Nigerian Telecommunications (NITEL) Plc.

Speaking on ‘Governance and Regulatory Imperatives for Optimal International Submarine Cable Access Services Delivery,’ Mr. Nwokoro cited for instance, the SAT-3, saying that it remain central to the provision of international submarine cable access services in the country, hence it needed to be repositioned.

“Over the past decade, the increased demand for bandwidth driven by the internet and continuous international trend of privatization of national telecommunications industries have outstripped by far the resources offered by satellite transmission of voice and data. The transport medium for wholesale international traffic has therefore progressively shifted from copper to satellite and now mainly to fibre optic cables,” he said.

He identified easy maintenance, cost effectiveness, greater bandwidth capacity and extensive geographic coverage as some inherent advantages of fibre optic cable infrastructure over copper and satellite.

On some of the endeavours facilitated by submarine cables on the part of the government, Nwokoro said it will ensure an up to date record keeping and enhanced provision of essential services such as e-health services.

For wholesale users he also said, will facilitate real time efficient and dedicated communications between sister offices in distant locations and a veritable platform for inclusive e-commerce.

For retail consumers, he said it will enable accessibility to on line education and services such as e-libraries allow easy access to a rich pool of information via databases in the world wide web (www) as well as facilitate the provision of real triple or quad play multimedia services.

He equally said exclusive access granted to NITEL, ambivalence towards commercial opportunities due to red tape in operations, high prices, operators and capacity purchasers not being regarded as partners but as subordinates are some of the anti-competitive outlooks of SAT-3 under NITEL.

Other challenges, he listed to include frequent strikes at NITEL, epileptic power supply at NITEL’s PTO rooms, fibre cuts on the access routes occasioned by poor maintenance and absence of  service-level agreement (SLA) with capacity purchasers as some other challenges facing SAT-3.

He pointed out that the desirous for alternatives, propelled users to resort to buying capacity from the Republic of Benin, a consortium member who has sublet some of its capacity, at prices about one quarter of NITEL’s and for better quality.

Nwokoro said open access is a key to the provision of competitively priced services at better service delivery thresholds.

The event tagged ‘Enabling e-business in Nigeria for accelerated economic growth’ the conference was put together by the NIG to prepare the nation for the expected explosion that will come with broadband in 2010.

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Mozambique becomes 100th member of ccNSO

Mozambique’s .MZ has become the 100th member of Country Code Name Supporting Organisation (ccNSO) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the global internet coordinating agency of the United Nations (UN).

Announcing this development ICANN said .mz admitted since December 3, 2009, would be operated by the Centre Informatica da Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, according to a press statement made available to ITRealms Online.

ICANN noted that since the inception of the ccNSO in 2003, it has provided country code top-level domain name (ccTLD) managers a unique, global platform to share information and experiences with other ccTLD managers and broaden ICANN’s community, as well as to develop global policy recommendations regarding country code top-level domains.

ITRealms Online recalls that ccNSO membership has grown significantly in recent years. In 2009 alone, the ccNSO admitted 18 members, including country code operators for .il (Israel), .de (Germany) and .eu (European Union) to name a few, reports Charles Okoh.

The ccNSO now provides a worldwide forum for ccTLD managers to meet and discuss issues that concern them.

For example, ccTLD operators collaborated in the ccNSO to develop a coordinated response to global Internet security threats, conduct studies on the use of wildcards and re-direction in ccTLDs, and develop recommendations for the introduction of internationalised ccTLDs.

It is also a forum to nurture consensus, technical cooperation and skill building among ccTLDs, and facilitates the development of voluntary best practices for ccTLD managers.

Concerted efforts by the ccNSO (in cooperation with many others) over the last two years will bring to the Internet in 2010 the first top-level domain names to operate without using Western-based characters, an initiative referred to as Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs).

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Etisalat introduces pre-paid for Elite world

Etisalat Nigeria has announced the introduction of the pre-paid variant of its Elite World package in response to the yearnings of its numerous customers who desire the benefits of the elite package without the commitment of a post paid contract.

The Elite world post paid was launched at the first anniversary of the Etisalat at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja recently.

Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Wael Ammar said that Elite World, which was initially available as a postpaid product, was aimed at providing a platform for delivering a world class service for the discerning high value subscribers of the telecommunications company.

“Elite World is now available in both prepaid and post paid packages,” he declared, stressing that prepaid consumers now have the chance to join others on the elite world package without the usual requirement for post paid subscribers.

“Customers on the elite world pre-paid also have the option of choosing from 4 monthly minimum plans (MMP), and enjoy bonus airtime and data allowance, which increases with their monthly minimum plan,” Ammar said.

Explaining the details of the new package, Etisalat Director of Business and High Value Segment, Mr. Ernest Akinlola said Elite World prepaid variant comes with all the benefits of the Elite World including a unique feature that allows subscribers to choose whose calls they would receive or not, Blackberry services and the VIP customer treatment.

Akinlola noted that Elite World is fully packed with services and incentives to suit the lifestyle of all Etisalat’s highly valued customers.

“Once you hook up to the Elite World package, you belong to a world where unique discounted tariffs, unmatchable personalized service and a vista of opportunities will all be at the touch of a button on your Etisalat phone,” he said.

Further he said Elite World is tailored to fit the vibrant, executive and busy lifestyles of high-end customers, emphasizing that other benefits of the Elite World prepaid, include access to Etisalat’s unique number range of 080999.

“Subscribers also get the chance to choose their preferred numbers though this is subject to availability on the network,” he said.

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ISOC supports W3C on Internet evolution

The Internet Society (ISOC) and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) have revealed an undisclosed donation from ISOC for the purpose of advancement of W3C evolution especially creating open Web standards, for the next three years.

President and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Internet Society, Lynn St. Amour and Director, W3C, Dr Tim Berners-Lee, in a joint public statement made available to ITRealms Online, cited an instance of strongly aligned views on the value of an open global Internet and support for the current Internet governance and management model.

It is in this regard that ISOC pledged to support W3C efforts to implement a more agile, inclusive and flexible organizational structure.

Commenting on the development, St. Amour noted that ISOC and W3C have worked together for years in a number of projects, and have deeply shared values about the Internets development.

"Our support to the W3C in their transition efforts demonstrates ISOC's commitment to ensuring the Internet continues to be a global platform for innovation. What's at stake is the Internet's openness, which is a critical enabler of new products and services to billions of users worldwide," he said.

And for Berners-Lee, ISOC and W3C have a long history of cooperation and the Internet ecosystem has benefited from the shared yet independent voices.

"The W3C staff, Members, and community continue to work on making W3C more relevant and valuable to the Web and Internet communities. ISOC support will allow W3C to evolve its structure to ensure we continue to forge solid working relationships with the increasing numbers of developers and users, worldwide," he asserted.

Industry observers opined that the announcement reflected the two organizations' shared aim of ensuring the continued growth and accessibility of the global Internet and Web, as well as the stewardship responsibilities to ensure continued benefit to end users globally.

Further, the two organizations assured on their consistency in operating independently so as to continuously maintain their long-standing, informal collaboration.

A non-profit organization founded in 1992, ISOC provides leadership in Internet related standards, education and policy, as well as serves as the organizational home of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet's premier technical standards body. With offices in Washington D.C. and Geneva, Switzerland, it is dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution, and use of the Internet for the benefit of people throughout the world.

W3C on the other hand, is an international consortium with membership organizations, primarily in pursuit of its mission through the creation of Web standards and guidelines designed to ensure long-term growth for the Web with over 350 organizational members Consortium.

W3C is jointly run by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) in the USA, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) headquartered in France and Keio University in Japan, among other offices worldwide.

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Ibrahim, Onyiliagha join Zain’s millionaire club

Kaduna-based commercial taxi driver, Mr. Yusuf Ibrahim and a Lagos-based motor spare parts dealer in Ladipo, Mr. Anthony  Onyiliagha,  have emerged millionaires in the second week of Zain’s Naira Rain promo.

Disclosing this, the Public Relations Manager, Zain Nigeria, Mr. Emmanuel Otokhine, said the two were among 57 millionaires that emerged in the on-going customer reward campaign.

Affirming this, the Head, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Public Relations Team, Zain Nigeria, Mr. Emeka Oparah, said that the electronic draw, which held last Thursday, supervised by Alexander Forbes, saw Ibrahim emerging with a shock as he was speechless for some times when the good news was announced to him through telephone conversation at the event.

For Mr. Onyiliagha, the news was a dream come true. “You mean I won 5 million naira in the Zain Naira Rain promo …. This is a dream … it’s like magic and indeed, a ‘wonderful  world’”  the  trader excitedly declared.

Presently, Oparah said the Zain Naira  Rain  promo  has  produced  114  Nigerian millionaires, with two customers emerging winners in the five million naira category and 112 others each winning the one million naira prize money.

He explained that at the inaugural draw held last week an Accountant with an Insurance firm in Lagos, emerged winner of the biggest prize money, 5 million naira.

Chief Commercial Officer of Zain Nigeria, Mr. Shamel Hanafi, was quoted as saying that the Naira Rain Promo is Zain’s end-of-year gift for all its esteemed customers, stressing that the initiative is in line with the company’s brand philosophy of ‘a wonderful world.’

Zain, he said, is offering customers various categories of prizes in the promo, including 368 one million naira (N1, 000,000.00) prizes in the daily draws, a number of five million naira (N5, 000,000.00) prize in the Weekly Draws and one N10, 000,000.00 grand prizes in the final draw.

“This is a strong testimony to the fact that we are genuinely interested in empowering our customers as well as creating a plethora of opportunities for them to fulfill their dreams. Without a doubt, Zain Nigeria, through this exciting offer, is extending its ‘wonderful world’ promise to all its customers,” said Hanafi.

Also speaking, Marketing Director of Zain Nigeria, Mostafa Younes, explained that the promo is open to all Zain customers regardless of their service package, stressing that existing and new customers of Zain have same opportunity to participate and win big in the offer.

He  equally said  that  customers  only need to use as low as N50 airtime to participate  in  the  draw  for  the  particular  day  to win N1m same day, throughout the duration of the promotion.

Younes further said  that  the process of the Naira Rain promo has been deliberately simplified to make it easy for many Nigerians, irrespective of their  education, social and financial profile to participate in the offer and become millionaires.

Customers, he said, only need to use as low as N50 airtime to qualify for the draw for the particular day to win N1m same day, throughout the duration of the promotion.  

Entries are in multiples of N50 thus ensuring that the more a customer’s usage, the greater his/her chances of emerging a winner in the daily draws.  

This principle equally applies to the weekly and grand prize draws.  Entries for weekly and grand prizes draws are in the multiples of N400 and N2500 respectively and accumulated over the period in question.

By January 7, 2010, 368 winners would have emerged in the daily draws, while six winners would have been selected in the Weekly Draw. The star prize winner will be selected during the Grand Prize Draw at the end of the promo.

In all, 375 Nigerians will have become millionaires at the end of the Promo.

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Multilinks Staff Light up Abuja Children Home with Xmas Gifts

Employees of Multilinks Telkom in Abuja, last weekend, lightened up the lives of some less privileged children at the Abuja Children’s Home at Karu, a satellite town in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) with Christmas gifts and party, Adelani Ashamu reports.

The staff of the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) service provider telecoms company donated bags of rice and packets of all kinds of daily need items including toothpaste, toiletries, mattresses, several cartons of Indomie etc for the use of both the children and their caretaker.

The Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Mrs. Ijeoma Abazie  who led the Abuja regional staff and their Head, Mr. Aminu Tijani, said the gesture of the gifts and Christmas party for the less privileged in Abuja was an action by the staff to respond to the inventiveness of the head office, by giving a yuletide treat to the children at the Karu children home.

“The event is in line with the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)  of Multilinks to touch lives. The core value of our corporate social responsibility, regardless of whatever budget we have for our social responsibility, is to see other ways of enriching the society behind our products and services. That is to give back to the society, the key reason we are in business,” she said.

Also, she said the management of the telco felt that outside its own duties, there is a need to encourage the staff, in their own individual ways to touch lives of people around them.

“What we are witnessing today is part of the Good Samaritan Blue Basket initiative that kicked off in the Lagos region. Here, staff were encouraged to give whatever they could and share with the less privileged,” she declared.

Additionally, Abazie noted that the function was a continuation of inculcating the culture of touching lives, not only in workforce but the generality of Nigerians.

Mrs. Abazie disclosed that from Abuja, the train of the staff donations to the less privileged will move to the Eastern region of the country where the physically challenged would be given aid-equipment.

She explained “Our next destination is the East; we will give out equipment like wheel chairs to the needy physically challenged in the hospitals and homes like this. We are determined to reach as many as possible this yuletide period”

Ensuring that the essence of the yuletide was felt by the home, a Christmas cake was provided which the children and the Multilinks staff cut together before everybody took to the dance floor.

There was enough for the children to eat and drink at the event which lasted about five hours.

Commenting on the event of the day, the Pharmacist-in-Charge of the home, Pharm. Tijanni Muftau thanked the Multilinks stafaf for ringing joy to the hearts of the children.

“Though individuals and organizations have been responsive by giving donations to the children during festive periods “but this is the first corporate organization to organize a Christmas party for the children this period. As you can see, they thoroughly enjoyed themselves and I am sure they are thankful. The materials they brought were very much appreciated too,” he said.

Pointing out that their coming really touched something in the minds of these children.

“This kind gesture has given a sense of belonging to these children. We only pray that others would also be encouraged to contribute to making a difference in the lives of these children”, he added.

Also included among the daily materials donated to the children, were telecommunication devices like cell phones, mobile internet modems, branded tables, chairs and umbrellas.

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Suburban, largest IP-backbone provider – Ayonote

Suburban Telecom West Africa is the largest Internet Protocol (IP)-backbone provider in the region, according to the Group Chief Executive officer, Mr. Bruce Ayonote.

Speaking in Lagos, as part of the events to mark the 10th anniversary of Suburban Telecom West Africa, Mr. Ayonote said that his firm has grown to become a market leader in IP-MPLS with coverage across the region in the past one decade.

The company’s connection, he said, has extended to the neighbouring countries in the region like Ghana, Benin and Togo.

He promised that Suburban would endeavour to sustain the growth made so far in the past 10 years.

He noted that Suburban is a next generation driven telecom infrastructure provider in the country.

“We carry voice, video and data,” he declared, stressing that Suburban has built over 1000 kilometres of cables domestically, with additional 400 kilometers for the regional fibre from Nigeria to Ghana, linking up Benin and Togo in the process.

“Currently, we have over 40 corporate clients,” he asserted, pointing out that Suburban has five subsidiaries, namely in core telecom, broadband, systems, telecom BVI and eXchange.

These five different companies, he said, have individual focus in various segment of telecommunications, just as it has 48 cities in the country and 55 point of presence (POP).

Ayonote, equally said, that the company has commenced the implementation of its forth phase in its determination to deliver to Nigerians and communities where it has presence a world class offering.

Hence, Suburban, he said, has launched a nationwide telemedicine network, regional MPLs network and expanded international capacity to 5 Giga Bytes (GB).

Ayonote, who was accompanied by other top management staff of Suburban, said the future strategy of the company is to consolidate the leadership it attained over the years.

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SON certifies Helios Towers with ISO 9001-2008

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has certified the operations of co-location infrastructure licensee, the Helios Towers Nigeria (HTN).

According to SON Director General, Dr. John Akanya, the certification heralded with the presentation is a ‘loan’ of certificate, which means that Helios Towers Nigeria has to do all in its capacity in terms of living up with the guidelines provided by SON at all times.

“HTN has the certificate on loan and is presented in public,” he said.
This, he also said, when default may culminate in SON withdrawal its certification, which a special endorsement that it met the requirement of the federal government through its services.

Commending the company for achieving this feat, he specially paid tribute to the workers of Helios Towers Nigeria, saying that the dream of the company to rank top among equals would not have been possible with dedicated employee.

He assured HTN of SON resolve to work with them to ensure that the value of the certification trickles down to the citizens of Nigeria.

“The company that focuses on quality is a company that has guaranteed employment,” he noted.

Responding to the presentation, the chief executive officer, Helios Towers Nigeria, Mr. Fazal Hussain, said the firm is the foremost infrastructure sharing and managed services provider, just as they have developed the Lean Operator Model (LOM).

For him, the certification is a confirmation of HTN’s conformity with the requirements of NIS ISO 9001: 2008 standards, which is evident of HTN facilities nationwide.

ISO 9001:2008, he noted, specifies requirements for a quality management system where an organization needs to demonstrate its ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer, statutory and regulatory requirements.

“It aims at enhancing customer satisfaction through the effective application of the system, including processes for continual improvement of the system and the assurance of conformity to customer, statutory and regulatory requirements,” he said.

As said by him, ISO standards provide requirements and gives guidance on good management practice and quality management systems.

“It is now firmly established as the globally accepted standard for providing assurance about the ability to satisfy quality requirements and to enhance customer satisfaction in supplier-customer relationships,” he said.

He recalled that HTN, which started operations in January 2006, with the first site went live in June 2006.

“Currently, our site portfolio includes over 1000 four-operator sites across Nigeria’s the six geo-political zones with a strong presence in key locations including Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Warri, Kaduna, Onitsha and Ibadan. Services include infrastructure sharing , Managed Services and Backhaul,” he said.

Hussain further said, Helios Towers is well financed by a range of international institutional investors including Helios Investment Partners (HIP); a $400m pan-African private equity fund, International Finance Corporation(IFC) and Shanduka Group of South Africa.

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HP Store celebrates 1yr with discounts

HP Store is celebrating its first birthday with goodies that would make the Christmas merry for all customers.

Launched in December 2008 as the first HP Store in Sub Saharan Africa the Store stocks HP PCs, laptops, servers, printers, inks, toners and cartridges and accessories.

Located in the highbrow Idowu Martins Street, Victoria Island, Lagos and backed by the intuitive professionalism of some market leaders, HP Store has emerged the Number 1 HP Store in the Middle East, Mediterranean and Africa, MEMA, in terms of revenue and growth.

Manager, HP Store, Mrs. Ugochi Asinugo, attributed the success of the HP Store to the outstanding quality of the products on display, dedication and responsiveness of staff, the availability and affordability of the HP products, and a terrific after sales support.

Asinugo also said, the success HP Stores reflects the growing capacity of Nigerians to run a structured business guided by international standards and processes.

She revealed that the success of the HP Store in Nigeria has justified the confidence of HP while affirming the potentials of the Nigerian market as the largest market in Africa.

Additionally, she said that the satisfaction of the customers was one key factor that calls for deep gratitude, explaining that this gratitude is responsible for the goodies that have been lined up as 1st anniversary and Christmas gifts.

“These benefits include price slash more than 10 per cent on the undisputed market leader the HP Pavilion bundled with either the HP Basic carry case or a HP Wireless Mobile Mouse (Espresso),” she said.

Further, she said, there is also a nearly 50 per cent price slash for the delectable HP Vivien Tam Mini 1079ie PC and the HP Mini 12133 VC7-M; free Hp Deskjet printers for buying either the HP Compaq TX 2710P Tablet PC or the HP HDX18-11010ea Premium Notebook PC.

Emphasizing that the achievement of the past year is an industry milestone, which has put HP Stores in a celebration mood and every buyer at the HP Store this season is a winner.

The HP Store was launched on December 8, 2008, to create a unique HP Experience between consumers and HP technology. It was personally launched by Mr. Josh Brenkel, HP Vice President for Europe, Middle East and Arica ably assisted by the Managing Director of HP in Nigeria, Mr. Imeh and Industry leaders cutting across the IT hardware market in Nigeria.

The HP Experience is essentially achieved through a critical display that is historical in content. Visitors at the HP Store are immediately confronted with the latest state of the arts trends in the development of Information Communications and Technology products. Customers don’t have to plough through tedious inventory, they just walk in and these rare products are sitting there on the shelves, waiting to be requisitioned.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

LASIMRA orders firms to submit facility maps

The Lagos State Infrastructure Maintenance and Regulatory Agency (LASIIMRA), has ordered all the service companies operating in the state approximated two weeks from today to submit statistics and maps on their existing underground facilities, especially Information and Communication Technology (ICT) service providers.

General Manager, LASIMRA, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, who made this disclosure in Lagos, weekend, said companies operating in Lagos, has up till December 22, 2009 to submit their statistics and maps on any existing underground facility.

He said, the agency has vowed to sanction operators who fail to comply with this time limit, just as he listed some of the operating companies to include all telecommunications, electricity, water and gas companies that have existing underground facilities in its domain.

Igbokwe also said the order has is imperative to enable the agency properly coordinate and harmonise such facilities, hence it is aimed at using the statistics to adequately confront the problems of damage to underground facilities that may be caused by contractors handling various projects in the state, including road projects for government and corporate bodies.

He promised that the statistics are not to be used in calculation of company’s income tax.

“For the umpteenth time and for the avoidance of doubt, we wish to reiterate that it has no pecuniary or tax undertone. It has nothing to do with tax or levy as the state’s monthly Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) profile has improved considerably and remains enviable among the 36 states comprising the Nigerian nation,” he said.

According to Igbokwe, LASMIRA is making this request on all gas, electricity, water and telecom companies operating in the state to forward to the agency, individual statistics and maps on their existing underground facilities in the state.

As said by him, the maps should be forwarded in hard and soft copies and to reach the agency on or before Tuesday, December 22, 2009, stressing that the information from the statistics would be useful to the agency for record purposes in 2010, while soliciting their compliance to enable LASIMRA serve them better in the coming year.

Igbokwe said the agency was worried that service operating companies were slow in their responses to the issue, having written them initially on the subject matter.

Quoting the reference number of the letter written to service operating companies early in the year as LASIMRA/CS/18/VOL.11/286 dated March 24, 2009, requesting affected companies to make submissions to the agency on or before April 18, 2009, Igbokwe said “it is un-gratifying to note that none of the affected companies responded to the earlier request.

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OAU honours Ndukwe with D.Sc degree

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, has been conferred with yet another honorary degree of Doctor of Science in Communications (D.Sc.) (honoris causa) by the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) at the 37th Convocation ceremonies of the university which held Saturday, December 12, 2009.

The university said that the conferment of the degree is in recognition of his “contribution to the telecommunications industry and to the socio-economic development of Nigeria.”

According to the Vice Chancellor, OAU, Professor Michael Faborode who recently hinted about the university’s Senate’s recommendation on Ndukwe, said his conferment with the degree is in recognition of his contributions to the Nigeria nation.

Also, he recalled that the conferment of the degree on the electrical and electronics engineer alumnus of the university who has made his mark in the nation’s development, hence is one of the highlights of the convocation ceremonies.

“You know that OAU doctorate is one of the most prestigious. You do not buy it or lobby for it. The Senate of the University has considered Engr. Ernest Ndukwe worthy of this degree,” he said.

The conferment last weekend of the degree on Dr. Ndukwe by the OAU brings to three the number of front line universities in Nigeria recognizing him in that capacity.
ITRealms Online recalls that he had earlier received similar degrees from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and the Federal University of Technology, FUTO Owerri and now the OAU.

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Stepping up convergence with BroadAccess

The recent launch of Glo’s BroadAccess is a step in the right direction for the much touted convergence to take root in the country, reports REMMY NWEKE.

Imagine a situation when you now have telephony access with voice and data, all simply in one cable with a modern technology that converts existing twisted-pair telephone lines into access paths for multi media and high speed data communications.

Within the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and technically, this technology is known as a Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL), which brings to the table a world of digital convergence; where all digital communication is made possible with a variety. One of the pair of the telephone lines tends to offer any subscriber the traditional land line telephony, fastest broadband internet, video and television.

And unveiling this elegance of services a fortnight ago, the Second National Operator (SNO), Globacom, unwrapped its fixed line service codenamed ‘Glo broad access’ with potentials to change the face of telecommunications in the country. Leading the Glo family at the presentation penultimate Tuesday in Lagos, the Group Chief Operating Officer (GCOO), Globacom, Mr. Mohammed Jameel, said that Glo’s SNO license affords the operator to provide a fixed line network for Nigeria.

Operating under the name, Glo Broadaccess, Jameel said Globacom strategy is to transform the country’s underdeveloped fixed telephony by way of offering the benefits of convergence of advanced voice, advanced data and advanced video on one single wired line.

According to him, from integrated telephone services for corporate organisations and small business enterprises to user friendly plans for homes, Broadaccess tends to bring innovative, cost-effective solutions to accommodate customers’ needs. Pointing out that with this unveiling, Glo has scored another first in the telecom revolution of this country, especially for its over 22 million subscribers.

“It has been a dream comes through for Glo,” he asserted, noting that Glo Broadaccess is a technology that provides voice, image, data for customers, which does not in any form replace its GSM, just as the fixed line has features more than the GSM platform including call forwarding, alert aside from providing rich internet access.

At the initial stage, Jameel said, the fixed line services would be available in 13 major cities in Nigeria with a capacity of 300,000 lines, and in order to achieve this, the larger project of networking Nigeria, state of the art equipment and a 10,000 kilo meters (km) long distance optical fibre backbone and city network are being deployed.

Additionally, he said, some of the services that would be launched on Glo Fixed network to include telephone, the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) lines, which has been subdivided into the Basic Rate Interface (BRI) and Primary Rate Interface (PRI), Centrex, Internet Protocol (IP) cum Virtual Private Network (VPN), leased line, video conferencing, high speed internet – ADSL, call centre service, nationwide single number, video on demand (VOD), triple play, broadcast TV, gaming, video mailbox to name a few.

The core service packages of broad access, he said, is beyond basic telephony, as users are offered a host of Value Added Services (VAS), just as each telephone connection from Globacom’s BroadAccess is backed with the superior fiber-optic backbone for enhanced reliability and quality.

The special guest of honour at the occasion and honourable Minister of State for Information and Communications, Alhaji Aliyu Bilbis commended Globacom for the launch and said that it has been a change agent in the nation’s telecommunications sector, moreso with its fixed line telephony.

Bilbis said, Broadaccess from Glo would accelerate economic growth in the country, even as he made the first official call on the network during the high profile launch in Lagos. He stressed that Glo has with Broadaccess, once again challenged other networks with the introduction of its latest service.

“Glo is known for its commitment to innovation. The benefit of a fast internet platform and fixed line which Glo has now brought to Nigeria cannot be overemphasized because it will make enormous contributions to the rapid growth of the nation’s economy.

“While the GSM sub-sector has grown rapidly over the last eight years, fixed line telephony has remained largely undeveloped. We have no doubt that Glo is now positioned to lift the fixed line sub-sector,” he asserted.

Equally speaking, he said that the launch of Glo Broad Access has proved that Globacom is a reliable partner in the achievement of the cardinal objective of President Umar Musa Yar’Adua administration’s 7-point agenda to comprehensively establish and revitalize infrastructure in prime sectors of the economy.

In his remarks, the Chairman, House Committee on Communications, Hon. Dave Salako, said the launch of Glo Broad Access is another giant stride and a milestone in the history of telecommunications in Nigeria, expressing the hope that Glo BroadAccess would fill the gap created by the absence of the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL).

The chairman, Senate Committee on Communications, Senator Sylvester Anyanwu, told the audience at the launch that it’s a celebration of excellence, focus and perseverance.

Emphasizing that Glo has continued to provide reliable telecom services to urban and rural populations, thus members of the Senate are proud of the operator for extending its services to several West African countries.

“This launch is even more significant because the rate of fixed to mobile penetration in Nigeria has been very low. I cannot imagine how we survived with mobile phones in offices. With the introduction of Broad Access, Glo has brought fixed line telephony back to glory,” he said.

Invariably, most Nigerians who commented on the coming of BroadAccess, were excited over the announcement, but said that they are interested in acquiring such service as long as it is affordable.

The launch of Glo BroadAccess, is generally seen as filling the void created by the inability of the first national operator, NITEL, to live up to expectations, even after achieving about 500,000 lines nationwide.

This brings to mind the statement accredited to the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, recently in Lagos, where he was quoted as attributing lack of fixed lines to the surge witnessed with the GSM.

The ball is now in the court of Globacom to roll-out its BroadAccess to as many as possible, because there is an existing market with open arms waiting for an embrace.

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