Archive for September, 2000


Friday, September 1st, 2000

Back in the Netherlands in the early 1980s I wrote a marketing paper on ‘City Marketing’. In this report I argued that it was in the interest of local councils to make sure that its citizens would have access to the latest telecommunications services. They should as I indicated at that time, built a basic network using their streets, ducts, and electricity, sewerage and gas line infrastructure and lease capacity on these networks to the operators.

However, it was very difficult to argue that cities should take such risks, as they are not in the field of running businesses. However, if cities would have done this years ago a lot of the current problems such as under servicing, lack of competition, proprietary services and high prices could have been avoided.

I therefore applaud the initiative of the City of Melbourne to take some first tentative steps in this direction.

The City has indicated it is embarking on a radical plan to provide its own ducts for broadband data cables in a bid to force Telstra to cut the cost of bandwidth and help local businesses compete in the global economy.

The move, one of a range of options before the city and the Committee for Melbourne is a fresh challenge to the national carrier’s campaign to portray its broadband charges as internationally competitive.

Melbourne wants the CBD to keep pace with Melbourne’s Docklands precinct and wired cities in the region. The city could use its building fund to dig new telco conduits or clean up obsolete hydraulic-lift ducts.

The Committee for Melbourne set up a Task Force on Connecting Melbourne Globally last year, after LookSmart – Australia’s most successful Internet Company – moved from Melbourne to San Francisco.

A summary paper from a forum held in July, to be released soon, will argue that bandwidth – or data capacity – is essential for Melbourne’s prosperity but pricing is the major issue. The Productivity Commission found last year that Telstra’s digital leased-line charges were on par with some European countries but at least double compared with US and UK prices.

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Friday, September 1st, 2000

American Express customers are the beneficiaries of a new initiative that is aimed at increasing the privacy and security of the e-commerce experience by giving shoppers disposable credit card numbers.

Amex have announced their American Express Private Payments initiative – a free service that is to launched in October. Customers will receive a randomly generated, one-time-only credit card number for each online purchase they make. American Express, in tandem with Privada, plans to release another initiative before the end of 2000 that will give online shoppers control over how much personal data they part with when visiting Web sites.

This is an interesting new development that could, if implemented in a user-friendly way, make a real impact on the security issues relating to e-commerce and credit card use in general.

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Friday, September 1st, 2000

Ericsson has launched a long-term focus on remote, rural and regional markets in Australia. Their solutions are aimed at markets where a conventional solution is not enough. Some of their latest developments include:

– A wireless broadband network in Victoria’s South West region to provide high-tech health care, based on a microwave network linking 16 hospitals from the South West Alliance of Rural Hospitals

– Enhanced Extended Range GSM base stations for mobile coverage over a distance to 120 kilometres

– Beewip Radio 3.5 GHz point to multi point speed microwave for small business

– Satellite interconnected GSM base stations and remote Subscriber stages for circuit switched PSTN and ISDN lines.

– Maxite base stations to enhance mobile network coverage in specific problem areas.

The company’s approach is to work as a solution provider in partnership with a service provider (a carrier or an Internet Service Provider) and the community.

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Friday, September 1st, 2000

DO cellphones cause brain tumours or don’t they? The debate rages on. But one large, high-tech company has a product that can lower your risk. It’s a new product called WaveZorb, a unique carbon cloth that sticks on your phone’s earpiece.

Calgon Carbon Corporation invented WaveZorb after discovering that the special carbon cloth was being evaluated for use by the military in blocking microwaves. They took that proven technology and are now giving cellphone users proven risk reduction from potentially harmful microwaves.

The product is now available in America with a view to being launched in Europe, Asia and the Pacific soon.

Source: Asia Daily

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Friday, September 1st, 2000

Research company, Publications Resource Group (PRG), conducted a survey whereby delegates were asked 71 questions relating to the current and future development of WAP services, content and applications.

Key findings:

– Interoperability is the biggest barrier to both the implementation and take-up of WAP. Of the operators who completed the survey, 38% felt that handset interoperability was the biggest technical challenge they faced in developing WAP services. Separately, most respondents felt that interoperability was the biggest barrier to the take-up of WAP services.

– Applications will have the greatest influence on customer take-up of WAP. Almost 40% of respondents felt that applications will have the greatest influence on customers taking up WAP. Handset availability and cost were considered the next most important.

– Content providers expect mobile revenues to rise significantly. Confidence in the mobile content provision market is extremely high. Of the content providers who completed the survey, 32% are expecting mobile data revenues in excess of $50 million by the end of 2003. Conversley, only 14% are expecting over $3 million by the end of 2000.

– The industry is split on the best model for mobile content provision. The industry is still very divided on the best model for mobile content provision. While 42% think it will be free to end users, 58% think users will have to pay for the content.

– E-mail and information services will lead the way in 2000. When asked which two data services they think will generate the most revenues from WAP by the end of 2000, over 50% of respondents chose e-mail and information services. When asked to specify which information services, 50% felt that personalised news and financial information would provide the greatest revenues.

– E-commerce and entertainment services are expected to generate the most revenues by 2003. E-commerce and entertainment services will be the biggest generators of mobile data revenues by 2003, with ticketing the leading e-commerce service and location-specific services the most favoured entertainment service.

– The WAP industry will target the youth consumer market. By the end of 2003, 39% of respondents felt that the segment generating the most WAP revenues would be the 10-20 age group. In a separate question, 70% of respondents thought that consumer customers would create the most revenues by the same date.

– Security and improved user interface are atop the list for the future versions of WAP. An almost equal number of respondents chose greater end-to-end security (39%) and improvements to the user interface (41%) as the most desired features for future releases of WAP.

– Palm and PocketPC will face stiff competition from EPOC and proprietary systems. By 2003, 35% of the respondents think that Palm will still be the most widely used operating platform for mobile data, but that along with PocketPC, it will lose market share to EPOC and other proprietary systems.

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