Telecom experts call for lower mobile broadband costs

Mobile Communications Experts yesterday urged Uganda Telecom operators to reduce the cost of mobile broadband to increase the penetration of mobile phone-based services among people at the Mobile Monday Kampala (MoMoKLA) inaugural meeting held at the Orange Uganda head office in Kampala.

Mobile Monday is  a global community of mobile industry visionaries, developers and influentials fostering cooperation and cross-border business development through virtual and live networking events to share ideas, best practices and trends from global markets. Mobile Monday is launching chapters in Africa and the Kampala chapter opens its doors on March 8, 2010.

Having affordable mobile broadband acts as a major incentive for the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) firms.

Engineer Patrick Mwesigwa, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC),  predicted that the cost of mobile broadband in Uganda would reduce with the increase of more players in the industry and entry of more fibre optic cable like the East African Submarine System (EASSy) cable. The cable is due to be launched mid this year to compliment Seacom and TEAMs which are already operational.

Edouard Blondeau, Chief Officer Strategy, Marketing and Communications, Orange Uganda said his company has now reduced the cost of mobile broadband to as low as Shs49,000 ($25) per month, which is a great step forward towards achieving lower internet costs.

Now this is something for Ugandans like me who have time again had to spend thousands of miscalculated shillings loading airtime to access my email onto of making calls and sending SMS.  All I have to do now is load my phone with Shs49,000 per month saving a whole Shs101,000 ($51) per month. I am hoping all service providers do the same, then we can be sure that all Ugandans will be able to take advantage of internet-based services like e-commerce, e-governance among others not just having internet access.

Uganda starts Internet Governance Forum Discussions 2009

Ugandans are at it again! Following successful Internet Governance Forums last year in several East African Countries including Uganda, new discussions are under way.

Last year, the main issues were to raise awareness, update stakeholders on the issues under debated at the international stage, and gather views on what the priority issues for Uganda were.

This year however, IG discussions seek to focus on consolidating the understanding of the issues and to state positions that may have been previously ambiguously defined. Some of the issues that continue to be discussed are; promoting access, managing Uganda’s Critical Internet Resources, gender issues in internet governance; content control Vs freedom of expression; cyber security and crime, e.tc

Discussions can be followed on the I-Network website

Keeping energized during a workshop

Today has been one of those workshop days where I felt like all my energy has been drained out of me. One thing that I always try to fight especially when I’m facilitating a workshop or even just being a participant is losing energy or feeling burn out at the end of the day.

It takes alot of energy to talk to participants more-so if they are some hands-on sessions to be done. Even when you think participants have an idea of what you are telling them to do, it turns out that alot of talking on how to about things has to be.  So, how do you beat that and maintain your energy without necessarily burning out? Here are some tips on how to keep energized through out a workshop or conference I would like to share that have worked for me.

  • Leave your worries/problems the moment you walk into the workshop room. This will keep you focused on the workshop rather than worrying about things you don’t have solutions for at the moment.
  • Try to get to know all participants’ names to avoid calling people wrong names or else you will have gloomy faces staring back at you!
  • Stick to the agenda of the workshop
  • Try to maintain a balanced diet through out the entire workshop or else you will have nutritional issues
  • Drink lots and lots of water or else you will be dehydrated
  • …….. share all you know 🙂

Right now, I have completed day two of the Uganda Citizen Journalism traininng and Im so warn out. I think something went wrong somewhere 😦

Using google tools to track stories

As we learn about Citizen Journalism, we are exposed to many tools on how to write stories. I just learnt about using google tools like google reader, igoogle and google new alerts to tracks news on the Internet.

Not that I didn’t know how to go about google reader! But I have heard some people say that each day, we learn something new. I have been using google reader to track news on websites and blogs that I frequent. But this year’s Highway Africa conference exposed me to something mega. While listening to  Izak Minnar’s presentation on using google tools to track stories, I came to learn that actually there are so many ways to kill a rat! You can either shoot, set a trap for it or skin it. It depends on which method you want to use! Well it is the same with using google tools to track stories in the www world.

Blogger arrests hit record high

I came across this story on the BBC website and thought, it would a nice to share with my fellow bloggers!

More bloggers than ever face arrest for exposing human rights abuses or criticising governments, says a report.

Since 2003, 64 people have been arrested for publishing their views on a blog, says the University of Washington annual report. In 2007 three times as many people were arrested for blogging about political issues than in 2006, it revealed. More than half of all the arrests since 2003 have been made in China, Egypt and Iran, said the report. Read more

Regulator warns of mobile Internet privacy concerns

Searching on the Internet via a mobile phone poses higher privacy-related concerns than traditional computer-based queries, according to the Italian authority for the protection of personal data.

Using a search engine on a mobile handset makes available a larger amount of personal data, allowing for easier identification and location of a user. Specifically, by matching the information collected by search engines and the particular data collected by Telecom networks, “it is possible to have a very accurate profile of a user, namely in terms of localisation,” warned Giovanni Buttarelli, secretary general of the Italian Data Protection Authority, after a meetingexternal in the EU Parliament on privacy and the Internet on 28 May, 2008.

Mobile Internet is considered the future of the Web. Yahoo! predicts that in less than ten years, the majority of Internet users are expected to access the net via their mobile handsets (see EurActiv 15/05/08).

Privacy concerns related to the Internet mainly arise from social networking websites and search advertising. The latter is based on user profiles assembled by search engine operators by putting together personal information such as query histories, geographical locations and IP addresses.

The effectiveness of targeting specific consumers makes search advertising more valuable than traditional display ads based on banners aimed at non-specific users.

……. the story continues….

Facebook information should be regulated, survey says…..

As many of us are in a stampede to open up social networking sites to allow us interact with our friends, little do we know of the repercussions; if any of sharing our  profiles online.
However, Bobbie Johnson, technology correspondent, The Guardian, reports that

Nine out of 10 people think there should be tighter regulation of information on social networking websites, according to new research.

A survey found that most Britons believe sites such as Facebook and MySpace should be covered by rules that would help ordinary people complain about intrusive material posted online.

Currently each of the major social networking sites operates under its own set of terms and conditions. However, 89% of those surveyed by the Press Complaints Commission said there should be a set of widely accepted rules to help prevent personal information – such as private photographs – being abused.

Sir Christopher Meyer, the chairman of the PCC, said there was an “unprecedented scale” of information being put on to social networks, and suggested members of the public needed help to deal with problems that arise as a result. “There is a need for public awareness about what can happen to information once it is voluntarily put into the public domain,” he said.

……. read more