Mobile porn market set to explode

This is not surprising news for me because my associate, Arthur Goldstuck, has made a similar prediction back in Feb 2005. This website is not about morality but it is about reality. And all you have to do in South Africa is look at the explicit adverts on late night TV, especially eTV and you will know what I’m talking about. Porn on cellphones is available already and as this news report says it is going to explode in the next few years.

Well what can we do about this? Do we continue to act like hopeless people while things that are undesirable to children is mega business for someone else? I can tell you individuals cannot make an impact in such a cause. A united front is needed. A joint effort to reach a crescendo to the powers that be in business and government.

Some good news is that I have managed to get in touch with the Film & Publications Board (FPB) and spoke at length with their CEO, Shokie Bopape-Dlomo and offered my services to them. She has confirmed that they have appointed two cyber-inspectors and within their mandate to identify and investigate child pornography online. This is a good step and I am excited about the opportunity to work with them and possibly even conduct the training that these two people are required to undertake. The FPB was planning to send them to the United Kingdom to be trained. I have all the necessary experience and qualifications to conduct this training as I spent the seven years from 1997-2003 working as a Information Security Specialist in the ISP industry and the banking industry in South Africa and also in United Kingdom and Middle East.

I need your help to encourage them to act quickly so that we can speed up the process of making the online and mobile worlds safer for children in South Africa. Please send email to information@fpb.gov.za or call them on 011-483-0971 and recommend me as a trainer of the cyber inspectors. If you are curious about my professional background please read more on my LinkedIn profile.

 

Toast to Toastmasters

Toastmasters International south africaTonight I won two awards at my local Toastmasters meeting. Toastmasters International is a non-profit organisation that helps individuals improve their public speakings. My club is has meetings twice a month at Old Ed’s (next to the Virgin Active) in Houghton, Johannesburg. And tonight I did my 3rd speech. The basic Communications & Leadership program has 10 speeches that teach you the fundamentals of public speaking. I was hoping by now to be on my 5th speech but frequent travels had forced me to postpone some of my speeches.

Anyway I’m going to kill those remaining ones as quickly as possible to move onto advanced topics. Public speaking is considered by many as one of the greatest fears people have. And if you can overcome public speaking you will conquer you inner fear and as Dr Paul Dobransky says that when you do courage you build confidence. In fact he says its scientifically measurable, so if for every 100 points of courage, you actually gain 100 points of confidence which you can use in other areas of your life e.g. approaching women.

 

Broadband: The premise of a social web

As you may have written down in you diary that a major event to attend in November was the 2006 MyADSL Broadband Conference held at Vodaworld, Midrand, South Africa. That was one of the many ICT related forum focusing directly on widening digital access to communities and the information poor. In this article i am going to explore four major components with regard to broadband. These include a definition and little background on broadband, the meaning of broadband access, broadband access and the idea of the Internet, Policy and Regulations: a regulatory dilemma and Broadband challenges for the information poor.

What is broadband?
Refers to the capacity to transmit/exchange large volume and quality of electronic signals (including data, video, text and voice) as quick as possible. You have probably heard of convergence, yes? Broadband is at the heart of the convergence of telecommunication, information technology and broadcasting. As you may have read my early publication on Neotel, Neotel is one such of an example of convergence. By convergence, we mean to imply that different technologies and media are used to provide broadband (in this instance) services. In other words, these definitions should give rise to two points, the first is that communications should then be cheap and affordable, think of outsourcing as an example. Secondly, communication should be of quality and be rapid. There may be competition between: networks , as will be a case in South Africa since Neotel joined Telkom. Together these two issues imply a radical change in competitive at all levels from the application service provider to the network provider. There may be a need to review and modify competition policy and regulation. One should however remember that regulation has long been justified as a means to regulate scarce resources, now things are changing. But can regulation then disappear? No-nation states will continue to be relevant.

What is broadband access/connectivity?
Broadband access can be provided by guided media (either copper or fibre-optic), or by unguided media (air-interface) such as satellite or terrestrial microwave. Many developed and middle income countries have a policy of rolling out fibre-based infrastructure across the country. If broadband networks are to have a wide geographic coverage, the expense of this investment may render public-private cooperation essential in some countries. Even with public-private cooperation, the cost of establishing fibre infrastructure in rural or regional areas means that universal service may never be achieved. For developing countries the more immediate goal may be to promote wider Internet access, which may be possible.

Broadband access and the idea of the Internet!
The current interest in broadband is largely due to the Internet, which permits familiar services to be delivered in unfamiliar ways. This includes the delivery of voice services that compete with traditional telephony delivered over circuit-switched networks. Similarly, broadband infrastructure enables web casting of video or audio signals that compete with broadcast networks. Until now, the Internet has generally delivered these services at a lower quality with less reliability than conventional networks, but broadband access promises to change all that. Broadband is often called high-speed Internet, because it usually has a high rate of data transmission. In general, any connection to the customer of 256 kbps (0.250 Mbit/s) or more is considered broadband Internet. The International Telecommunication Union Standardization Sector (ITU-T) recommendation I.113 has defined broadband as a transmission capacity that is faster than primary rate ISDN, at 1.5 to 2 Mbit/s. Policy and Regulations: a regulatory dilemma. The high costs of duplicating broadband infrastructure suggests a monopoly advantage to the first mover in both the backbone and the local loop. Such as Telkom, despite the South African Department of Communications newly established community on ‘unbundling the local loop’. This raises competition policy concerns. Experts argue that competition for a particular broadband operator can come in the form of regulated sharing of infrastructure, such as 3G licences tend to require, or from other broadband media such as terrestrial microwave or satellite. However, the first mover advantage remains strong.

Cross-media competition points to issues of technologically neutral regulation. Broadcast TV, telephony and cable TV, for example, are typically subject to distinct policy philosophies and regulation .The question arises: just how can technologically-neutral regulation accommodate factors that have traditionally been technologically-specific and around which entire industries have grown up?

Broadband challenges for the information poor!
The challenges facing the future of broadband in remote areas has often been referred to as ‘Rural broadband’-One of the great challenges of broadband is to provide service to potential customers in areas of low population density, such as to farmers .We have heard those from Open Access Networks, Neotel , and others at the 2006 MyADSL Conference about challenges facing municipalities .However, In cities where the population density is high, it is easy for a service provider to recover equipment costs, but each rural customer may require thousands of rands of equipment to get connected. A similar problem existed a century ago when electrical power was invented. Cities were the first to receive electric lighting, as early as 1880, while in the United States some remote rural areas were still not electrified until the 1940’s, and even then only with the help of federally funded programs like the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the same in South Africa. Several rural broadband solutions exist, though each has its own pitfalls and limitations. Some choices are better than others, but are dependent on how proactive the local phone company is about upgrading their rural technology. These are the debate that centred around broadband connectivity forums in 2006, but the dream of universal access can not disappear, ordinary citizens must be empowered by providing access to technologies.

Related story:
Affordable broadband for SA
A freer telecoms market in SA?

 

Neotel's Broadband Future

A lot has been said and debated at different ICT industry forums about Neotel’s dream work and missions. But there has’nt been as yet more rigorous and easy to measure development, people begin to question the telecs ‘s ability to win over Telkom. On paper, Neotel (the word NEO in Pedi means to give (or gift)-can it then mean ‘to give telecommunications’- the question is at what cost and how much quality broadband can we expect? On cost, expect very ‘affordable’, and as for quality time will tell. The problem, it seems, lies on expertise to carry through the business plan! Neotel plans to introduce a variety of voice and data services (including high speed internet and broadband) for consumers in South Africa, with the first of these services targeted for availability in April 2007. However, consumers are already benefiting indirectly from the introduction of Neotel’s wholesale services through improved quality of international voice calls and more reliable internet bandwidth offered by Telecom provider.

At the MyADSL Broadband conference Angus Hay, the Executive Head of Strategy at Neotel continued to be diplomatic as did during the iWeek 2006 conference. An interesting thing is that by combining data, Voice and Internet Neotel is sure to transform the face of telecommunications in South Africa-giving rise to the phenomenon of convergence. This will also give Neotel to play a greater role on broadband connectivity. With its global reach (teleglobe), Neotel is likely to reach for the stars. However, to turn that good business plan into good business operations requires team work and contextualisation.

See South Africa ends phone monopoly (BBC news)

 

Open Access Networks:A success story

The idea behind Broadband is mainly to open doors for inclusive access- where anyone can play on a fair and none discriminatory, while promoting ensure fair trade. Open Access Networks is one of the few community driven success story. An attempt to ‘level the playing field’ and stimulated competition as a means to promote greater creativity and innovation. Open Access has played a greater role towards participatory democracy or what those Roelf Diedericks Technical Director at Neology called “networking democracy”. Critiques will agree as well that apart from these good philosophies, such plans will promote new entrants of smaller players to survive thus creating employment. These social obligation is at the heart of Neology ‘s plan. But is it feasible ?

Well that is a question everybody asked before, for now it is evident that progress has been made over and above. By looking at Neology’s Infrastructure layer as a third component on its three Open Access layers, success is achievable and indeed some victories have been made. Neology offers competitive Municipal Wifi seen by Google and Microsoft as ‘viable’. However, it is essential on the part of the government to ensure that regulations seek to promote ,not restrict, access.

See Lloyd Gedye ‘story The Hatfield connection on M&G Online
Recommended reading:
Professor Guy Berger on the digital future:Networking is today’s need, but access still needs attention

Also read SA to lead African broadband initiative

 

The future of MyWireless: 'No to one size fits all'

Sentech ‘s Portfolio Manager for Broadband Products Winston Smith cheered the crowd as usual with his jokes. Sentech’s MyWireless portable broadband technology complies with international standards to provide a telecommunications platform for connecting to the Internet and other communications networks securely and at high-speed. Regulated frequencies and a worldwide standard is used. By virtue of Sentech’s multimedia licence and initially using a high powered radio based network in the major metropolis of Johannesburg, Midrand, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town, Sentech now offers Internet-connectivity solutions to suit every pocket – from home users, through SOHO and small-to-medium enterprises . International roaming by Sentech will be available later.

With ’15 million people without basic necessities’ the challenge ahead of Sentech is to push the boundaries for more inclusive and broadband connectivity across the land scape. In addition to that Winston argue that there still exist greater “scarce and limited resources” plus high cost.

Sentech offers Big Bundled Bargains…a story to read.

 

Yebo Broadband:'great performance and excellent mobility'

Vodacom as a co-sponsor of 2006 MyADSL broadband conference, Vodacome has every reason to celebrate. In 2006 Vodacom continued not only to be ‘South Africa’s leading cellular network’ but also a key advocate of mobile broadband. Chris Ross the Managing Executive of Products and Services at Vodacom strategically analysed Vodacom’s broadband technologies such as HSDPA, 3G and others. Speaking in an audience that among them were MTN , Vodacom’s competitor, his presentation was far more strategic than anything. Vodacome ‘s broadband connectivity is rated the best , on average Vodacom has 84 % on HSDPA compared with its rival MTN’s 81 %.This alone has earned Vodacom the 1st position with iBurst coming second-for more on Vodacom ‘s Data offerings click Yebo Broadband.

 

Classified Advertising in South Africa

Robert X Cringely is a journalist, author and online industry commentator that I have been reading since I first discovered him in Computing SA back in 1993-1995. Anyway his insights are very accurate and the trends he spots turn out to be important in most cases. This week he wrote in his weekly column on PBS about the impact Craigslist is having on America newspaper business. For those in the newspaper business this is another reason to sit up and pay attention to the online reality.

In South Africa simply because we have such a small internet population newspaper’s classified business will be safe for the next five to 10 years. Once the internet population cracks 50% of the population there will be a similar shift to online world. Locally Ronnie Apteker, founder of Internet Solution, one of the first Internet millionaires in this country has set-up Vottle, a sort-of Craigslist for South Africa. Now I don’t know how good Vottle is because I have not placed any classified ads on it. I’m going to place some ads over the next few months to test Vottle and see how quickly or slowly I can sell products or find services that I would use a newspaper classified for.

 

Digital Migration: 4 % broadband connectivity!

This week a new BMI-TechKnowledge report states that 5% broadband connectivity was just a dream. The report suggest that only 4% seem to be feasible of a population of 50-million people in 2010.Where did this digital migration emerged? In October 2005 Deputy Minister of Communications Roy Padayachie held bilateral talks during the International ITU Telecoms Americas 2005 Regional Conference attended by about 1000 delegates from various Latin American countries and developing countries, such as India, Mexico and China remained delegates highlighted on a higher level digital migration dream-towards 5 % broadband Internet connectivity by 2010. This dream originated on concept of Universal Access. But like the BMI-T report states, such a dream can only become a reality if there could be more support for wireless technologies for rural and under-serviced areas, plus sound regulatory environment to encourage ICT innovations. The possibility is still out there for greater access particularly for the information poor.

Broadband subscribers by region, 2004:

* Asia-Pacific ? 41,6 percent
* Europe ? 27,8 percent
* Latin America and Caribbean ? 2,4 percent
* North America ? 27,9 percent
* Africa ? 0,1 percent
* Arab States ? 0,2 percent

(Source: ITU world telecommunication indicators database)

The theme of October 2005 International ITU Telecoms Americas 2005 was : �Moving to a Latin Beat�, the conference topics included:

* Broadband Connectivity for all
* Who should run the Internet?
* Next-Generation Regulation
* Wireless goes Broadband
* Cyber Security
* Spectrum Management
* Open Source Software
* Digital Inclusion
* 2015: Transition to the Information Society.

Please read speech delivered by Dr Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, Minister of Communications, at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Plenipotentiary Conference, Sungate Port Royal Hotel in Antalya, Turkey; 9 November 2006