" ITREALMS: January 2012

Monday, January 30, 2012

Vodacom Business reaffirms commitment to Nigerian market

Leading provider of pan-African corporate total communication solutions and telecommunications, Vodacom Business Nigeria (VBN), has reaffirmed its commitment towards quality service delivery by the introduction of its dedicated hosting solution in Nigeria.

Marketing Manager, Vodacom Business Nigeria, Ms. Anne Ihugba, said in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online that the new entrant is aimed at reducing the hosting challenges faced by corporate organizations and to guarantee better Information Technology (IT) connectivity at all fronts.

The dedicated hosting solution, she said, is ideal for companies that want to eliminate the pain of managing their own server rooms while also increasing performance, uptime, and server resources.

“Vodacom Business’ Dedicated Hosting solution allows customers to place their web and enterprise application servers in one of Vodacom Business’ highly advanced and reliable data centres,” she said, stressing that this solution provides customers with rack space in a secure, redundant facility to house their equipment while management of generator back-up, UPS-protected power, temperature conditioning and all environmental systems are Vodacom’s responsibility, even as it lets organisations to focus on their core business activities.

The Managing Director, Vodacom Business Nigeria, Mr. Guy Clarke was quoted as saying that the company is determined to provide solutions that suit its customer business requirements perfectly, giving the ability to confidently roll out virtually any type of website or online application for business purposes, on customer’s own dedicated servers.

“The dedicated hosting solution allows the customer to retain full ownership of the hardware and software applications that runs on it with full management control over the dedicated server. It ensures easy change management, business continuity and disaster recovery,” he said.

Further, Mr. Clarke highlighted that there are two data centres to choose from, one in Abuja and one in Lagos.

“The Vodacom Data Centers offer state-of- the- art facilities that provide world-class technology, 
infrastructure and secure hosting environments,” he said, adding that the data centers are fully managed, secured and engineered to ensure the highest possible reliability for network connectivity and uninterrupted power supply.

This, he pointed out ensures a fantastic end user experience, just as customers have access to highly skilled engineers through customer service operations centre to attend to any operational issue. Maintaining that Vodacom has reliable data centre, which guarantees 24 hours engineering support offering high availability at reduced capital expenditure with affordable operational costs.

As said by him, the Vodacom Business’ Lodged Hosting solution consists of two components; physical space with up to 42 units of 4cm rack space available per rack.

The second component, he said, is the bandwidth where Vodacom Business provides customers with fixed Dedicated Internet Access (DIA) and MPLS WANs into the data centres, emphasizing that customers could purchase bandwidth into the data centre to avoid bottlenecks for their end users.

The Vodacom’s dedicated hosting solution, he asserted, is stable and ideal for companies with increased hosting requirements that have invested in IT infrastructure.

He assured that it is also cost effective as customers only pay for what they have used avoiding wastage and it guarantees short term return on investment.

Remmy Nweke

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

MainOne starts expansion, lowers wholesale price by 80%

Chief Executive Officer, MainOne Cable, Ms Funke Opeke, has disclosed that her firm has commenced expansion of its infrastructure to enable more Nigerians, mostly in other parts of the country to have access to the firm’s services, just as the MainOne crashed its wholesale prices by 80 per cent.

This was contained in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online and endorsed by the Marketing Communications Executive, Adedayo Odulate.

Ms. Opeke was quoted to have said that the investment became imperative in view of the increasing demand the firm has recorded on a daily basis in recent times.

“Many people have discovered the need for better access to the internet at a very fast and cheap rate and they also want to be able to use new kinds of applications, as well as access different types of content,” she said, stressing that people know they want better access to the internet.

According to her, people also want Internet faster, cheaper, and capable of driving new kinds of applications, access different types of content.

So, in order to service more customers, she said, Main One has started investing in distribution infrastructure, building its own networks when it could not find commercially reasonable rates.

“The biggest challenge that we see is getting the capacity we have in this big pipe that we brought into Nigeria and Ghana across the region to reach the people and businesses where they need the service,” she said.

Noting that she was not surprised with the huge market potentials MainOne now contends with as it was envisaged long before the fibre-optic cable was launched, Ms. Opeke expressed the hope for the high demand when they first started sketching out business plan far back in 2007.

Besides, she said, servicing the internet needs in all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria, emphasizing, there are also plans to extend the cable down the coast to South Africa and connect it with Seacom, the underwater East African fibre-optic cable which became fully operational in four years ago.

In addition, she said that the fibre-optic cable facility launched by her firm in 2010 has an unmatched capacity of 1.92 terabits a second and provides open-access, broadband services in Nigeria and Ghana with further plans to commence operations in other West Africa countries.

Barely six months after the commercial launch, Opeke noted that the facility has helped improve the availability of internet services, especially in Lagos and Accra, as well as lowering of wholesale prices significantly, by up to 80 per cent.

The MainOne boss also identified lack of a national backbone infrastructure on an open-access basis as a factor militating against transportation of capacity within Nigeria. Connecting people from the company’s landing point in Nigeria to London, she explained, costs less than connecting people across Lagos.

“You have to buy that infrastructure from people who own it for their own proprietary use,” she said.
ITRealms Online recalls that MainOne Cable, facilitates connections of West Africa with Europe, providing ultra-fast broadband in the region; culminating in the cable running from Lagos in Nigeria through Accra in Ghana to Seixal in Portugal and branches out in Ivory Coast, Senegal, Canary Islands and Morocco.

Remmy Nweke

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

50 Blackberry users smile @ Etisalat’s promo

Over 50 Blackberry subscribers on Etisalat Nigeria recently smiled home after participation in the Recharge and Win promo.

These subscribers went home with two months free internet subscriptions on Etisalat’s Blackberry Internet Service (BIS) plan in the on-going hourly recharge and win blackberry promo, which kicked off on January 1, 2012.

Speaking during the presentation which took place at the Etisalat Experience Centre, Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Director, Marketing Segments and Strategy, Oluwole Rawa said that the company is using the promo to give away over 2,000 blackberry phones to customers.

“Etisalat will be giving out a blackberry device every hour for the next three months. This implies that 24 blackberry phones will be given out daily to our customers between January and March, 2012,” he declared, adding that this is Etisalat’s way to further make life and communication easier and better in addition to appreciating loyal customers for always supporting us.

One of the winners, a 13-year old Ephraim Bidemi, while speaking after receiving her phone, said it was an opportunity that could not be allowed to slip by.

“I just recently started using this Etisalat line, I have always wanted to use their line because it has lots of benefits and packages but was still considering how to buy another phone, but few months ago I decided to summon the courage and I removed my previous SIM out of my phone, bought and registered this Etisalat SIM, after which I have been recharging. When I was called before the strike that I won a blackberry Curve 4 from Etisalat, I jumped up because I was glad to be a partaker in their wonderful reward, the promo is encouraging and with this happening today, it has been an experience worth the courage I summoned to use the line and I will simply encourage everybody to go get Etisalat because it works for me,” she said.

Another winner, Okwudibie Henry, a 22 year old student, said that the promo provided the opportunity he had been waiting for to join the league of “big boys” in his area; and he would encourage his friends to also subscribe to Etisalat because it is really worth the money spent on recharging.

“The promo just came at the right time, because I had wanted to buy a blackberry in December 2011 to join the cliq of big boys in the new year. The experience has been wonderful and I cannot wait to start getting my friends PINs and start chatting on my blackberry. Thank you Etisalat for giving me an opportunity to step up my level among the big boys in town,” he said.

Yet, another winner Ajetumobi Emmanuel expressed glad to be among the promo winners.

“I receive the phone today because I find this promo very attractive, as it gives room for people who wish to also join those that use blackberry phones. This experience is worth recommending to others. The two months free internet service added to this promo is another way of ensuring the promo’s superiority over others, thanks to Etisalat for always giving its customers an avenue to get value for our money,” Emmanuel said.

Equally speaking the Etisalat Chief Commercial Officer, Mr. Wael Ammar, said that the promo is available to all Etisalat subscriber.

“All you have to do is buy and register your Etisalat SIM, every time subscribers recharge, they stand a chance of winning a blackberry phone. For those that already have our SIM, all they have to do is keep recharging every hour and they also stand a chance of getting a blackberry Curve 4 from Etisalat,” he urged, stressing that this promo reflects a continuous drive by mobile operator to provide the necessary tools and devices for its customers in order to gain that competitive advantage in their business and family relationships.

Ammar further said that the promo would help Etisalat subscribers to expand the value derivable from mobile telephony, as they are always particular about customers and how they feel, hence, they decided to embark on this promo to reinstate promise to them.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Digital Migration: FG may soon release white paper

In the coming weeks, the Federal Government (FG) may release the white paper on digital migration for the country.

The white paper, ITRealms Online gathered would extract most of its contents from the supposed documents submitted by the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) on Digital Migration over two year ago.

This indication was given at the weekend by the Zonal Director, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mr. Femi Ayeni in a chat with ITRealms Online in Lagos at the launch of Walka Digital Video Broadcasting Handheld.

While urging Nigerians to be patient with the Federal Government over the time it may have taken to get to this point, he said that the white paper would be released soon to justify their patience.

According to him, the white paper is expected to take lots of inputs on modalities for implementation of the nation’s digital migration plans from the outcome of the submissions of the Presidential Committee on Digital Migration.

These, he said, would not be limited to how to deploy the decoder boxes and eventual incentives for broadcast operators in the country in order to ease off any hardship that may come in the way of the migration.

As said by him, most Television houses in the country are already on digital channels, which means they have migrated their services and broadcasting.

When the white paper is released, he anticipates further discussions on the implementation processes.
In a related development, the Ministry of Communications Technology (CommTech) stated in the recently released draft of the national Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) policy that Nigeria should take advantage of the on-going transition from analogue to digital broadcasting.

This, the Ministry noted, is a current global trend towards conversion from analogue to digital broadcasting and Nigeria should take advantage of the opportunities inherent in this transformation.

They listed some of the benefits of  migration  to include  higher  quality  reception,  access  to  more  channels  and availability of a wider spectrum of Value Added Services (VAS).

Also, CommTech Ministry stated that the policy objectives would comprise to comply   with   International Telecommunication Union (ITU)   mandate   of   migrating   from   analogue   to   digital broadcasting; and to properly manage the benefit of digital dividends that will result from the migration.

According to a copy f the document available to ITRealms Online, section 7.13.2 which centres on strategies emphasized that the government plans to embark on a massive publicity campaign for the purpose of sensitizing the general public on the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting; ensure availability and cost effectiveness of set top boxes; and encourage the local manufacturing of set top boxes in Nigeria.

Additionally, the document proposed that the Federal Government, through the Ministry would develop a licensing regime for signal distributors and content providers; provide a clear roadmap for harvesting the “digital dividend” spectrum and ensure competitive allocation of the resource; and ensure compliance of migration by the ITU mandated dates of 2015 for Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) and 2020 for Very high frequency (VHF).

ITRealms Online recalls that mid-last year, a two-day media workshop on digital broadcasting migration was held at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja (FCTA), with participants demanding for the official release of the white paper submitted by the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) on Digital Migration in Nigeria over 25 months ago.

The workshop, which held at the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), Utako District, Abuja, saw participants arguing that the formal release of the white paper would enable the Nigerian public to know the contents, and for the media to x-ray the paper to spur immediate implementation by the federal government and private sector operators, especially in the broadcasting industry.

Participants noted that the commencement of the implementation process is crucial for charting the way forward for the country, mostly in fulfillment of the global agenda for countries of the world to migrate to digital platform by July 2015, of which Nigeria and some African countries have since brought their migration deadline to July 15, 2013 as a way of fast-tracking the process.

Also, participants at the forum mainly media practitioners lambasted the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) for not doing enough in leading the campaign for digital migration in the country.

“It is unfortunate that most people, especially media practitioners based in Abuja where NBC is based don’t know much about the issues around digital migration efforts by Nigeria,” one of the participants decried.

The workshop witnessed presentation of papers on “digital transition: behind the issues; digital migration in Africa and globally; digital migration in Nigeria; challenges of reporting digital migration in Nigeria; Research report on Nigeria Digital Migration,” among others.

The coordinator of the event of the Nigeria Digital Migration workshop, Mr. Emmanuel Edet disclosed the workshop was organized by the Association for Progressive Communication in collaboration with London-based online news medium, Balancing Act and Open Society Initiative.

Remmy Nweke

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

NASS’ll soon pass cyber security bill – Gusau

Sunday Folayan, Hon. Ibrrahim Gusau, Ope Odusan
*Reassures NIRA

The chairman, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Committee at the House of Representatives, Hon. Ibrahim Shehu Gusau, has promised that the National Assembly is working at ensuring that the cyber security bill is passed into law before the end of this legislative session.

He gave this indication during a courtesy call by the Executive Board of the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA) led by the Vice President, Mr. Sunday Folayan, in his office at the National Assembly complex Abuja on Monday.

He also said that the bill on cyber security has passed the first reading and the committee is working assiduously to make certain the bill scales through the relevant readings and processes to make it eventually a law that Nigerians would be proud of.

Hon. Gusau said that when the cyber security bill is signed into law it would assist the nation in changing the concept of Nigerian image online and globally.

“It has been read the first time and is on the second reading before it’s sent to the plenary session,” he said.

This, he said, would be of immense help to the Nigeria Internet Registration Association in creating the needed trust on its mandate to manage the nation’s country code Top Level Domain (TLD) name, .ng to Nigerians and to the world.

“We are going to pass the cyber security bill during the life of this session,” he said confidently.

While assuring NIRA board of his committee’s support, he implored them to step up the sensitization of Nigerians on the efficacy of .ng, stressing that NIRA should bank on the committee for support.

“You should expect to get more support from us,” he asserted, noting though that the publicity over .ng and NIRA has not been encouraging, hence he urged the organization to do more.

Advising that media campaign should be taken seriously for .ng, Hon. Gusau said that his office should be seen as an extension of NIRA’s office.

Earlier in his remarks, the leader of the delegation and NIRA’s Vice President, Mr. Sunday Folayan, said that NIRA is a stakeholder-based organization, which is made of three categories, namely the registry, registrars and registrants.

In the recent past, especially last year, he noted that NIRA had in efforts to sensitise and encourage Nigerians introduced a promotion tagged 50,000 in 50 days as part of events marking the nation’s 50 years independence anniversary.

“We have done some sensitization like 50,000 and corporate 1000 and now we are trying to sensitize MDAs on .ng hence we requested this meeting to intimate you and the committee on this,” he said.

Lately, he noted that NIRA held a campaign tagged Switchto.ng of which the second edition had been scheduled to hold in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

He urged the chairman of the committee on ICT to oblige the Switchto.ng workshop with his presence, mostly since the next session would be in Abuja.

NIRA, he further said was born out of the need to domesticate the hosting activities of .ng name space.

Also, he said that NIRA is building manpower around .ng and creating a framework to combat cybercrime.

“We have taken some of these head-on of which our server is now hosted locally at the Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN),” he said.

Plans, Folayan said is under way to acquire the second server to give more space for operators within its domain name space, noting that during the last strike some of the websites in the country and privately owned were hacked.

“So, we work with government even though we’re private sector-led organization,” he said, adding that the board reports to the NIRA general house.

Equally speaking, the Chief Operating Officer, NIRA, Mr. Ope Odusan disclosed that currently the registry has over 40,000 domains and NIRA Registrars are collaborating with some international reputed organizations like Microsoft and Google to increase the usage of .ng.

“Right now we have over 40,000 domain names including ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs),” he said, enlightening that .gov.ng is for government and its agencies.

Some members of the Executive Board delegation included Mr. Biyi Oladipo, Mrs. Yetunde Johnson, Mr. Remmy Nweke, Mr. Muhammed Rudman, Mr. Temitope Fashedemi as well as the NIRA liaison officer, Ms. Uchechi Odo.

Remmy Nweke

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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