Archive for August, 2001


Wednesday, August 1st, 2001

According to the National Consumer League, the cost of online fraud to the general population in the USA is growing. The average loss per person rose from $310 in 1999 to $427 in 2000. Last year total losses as a result of online fraud were $3.3 million as total e-commerce reached $220 billion.

The leading category for online scams is web auctions. They comprise 64% of all online scams. The other top four were travel and vacation scams with hidden fees, theft of identity such as bank account numbers or passwords, false investment schemes, and pyramid scams.

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Wednesday, August 1st, 2001

Mobile Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) of Japan has launched plans to design and build MBSAT, a satellite that will deliver digital multimedia information services such as CD-quality audio, MPEG-4 video and data to mobile users throughout Japan. On-orbit delivery of the spacecraft is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2003, with service expected to begin in early 2004.

The MBC services are the first in the world to deliver not only high-quality music but also video and data to mobile users through various kinds of mobile receiver terminals, including those in cars, ships, trains, handheld terminals, personal digital assistants (PDAs), cellular phones and home portables. A very small antenna will be sufficient to receive MBC broadcasting signals, even inside office buildings and in vehicles moving at high speed.

MBC will supplement their satellite service with terrestrial signal repeaters. The system will be built by Space Systems/Loral, a subsidiary of Loral Space and Communications. The system will be able to broadcast more than 50 programs simultaneously.

Mobile Broadcasting Corporation was established to provide cars and mobile terminals with digital satellite broadcasting for audio, video and data services throughout Japan. MBC’s new broadcasting system was authorised by the Japanese Government and registered with the ITU. Already the system capabilities and high performance quality have been successfully verified in dense urban locations by various field demonstrations in the Shinbashi and Ginza area of Tokyo. Dedicated first-generation receiver LSI chips have been evaluated through extensive tests. The second-generation receivers with high density LSI technology will be available by mid-2002.

MBC’s major shareholders are Toshiba, Toyota, Fujitsu, Nippon TV and Panasonic. So far 42 Japanese companies are MBC partners. New Japanese investors will be announced soon. Also, several foreign companies own significant interests in the MBC business venture, while several others are currently considering investment.

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Wednesday, August 1st, 2001

Telecom NZ’s ISP Xtra recorded a 39% increase in its subscriber base to 390,000 in the year to June 2001.

Xtra is New Zealand’s largest ISP. They believed that the increase was mostly driven (70%) by residential users, many of whom fell into the ‘new-to-Net’ category.

Xtra users dialled up more than 77 million logged-on hours for the year, up from 47 million hours in the previous period. Subscribers spent an average of 25 hours online per month, and usage peaked in July at just below 30 hours. The most popular access package was the Value Pack which offers unlimited access for $24.95 a month.

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Wednesday, August 1st, 2001

A Maori television channel is expected to be broadcasting free-to-air across New Zealand by June, 2002.

The new channel is being billed as a partnership between Maori and the Crown. It will be allowed to run advertising and will be expected to broadcast a minimum of three hours original programming by 2005. With a proposed mix of Maori and English language programs, it will cost up to NZ$22 million a year, bringing the amount the New Zealand Government will spend on Maori television in the next four years to NZ$176 million.

About 70% of New Zealand households should be able to receive the new channel on UHF frequencies. It could also be simulcast on a digital satellite service.

The new channel is the first government attempt to set up a Maori television station since the 1997 collapse of Aotearoa Television Network, amid allegations of overspending and mismanagement.

See Web Report: New Zealand – Broadcasting

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Wednesday, August 1st, 2001

Telecom’s earnings fell in the year to end of June 2001 as profitability of its New Zealand business dropped and investments in Australian expansion have yet to pay dividends.

The net profit of $643 million was down 18 % from $783 million last year, despite being boosted by a $221 million after tax dividend from its investment in the Southern Cross Cable. The company earns two-third of its revenue from its New Zealand operations, where income increased $51 million or 1.4% to $3.64 billion. Operating expenses, however, were also up $82 million (3.8%). Revenue from data services was up 13%. The number of users of Telecom’s Internet Service Provider Xtra rose 36%, and revenue from its Internet arm increased 18%.

Cellular revenues were disappointing despite subscriber numbers rising 30% to 1.3 million and the launch of the CDMA network. The majority of new connections were to prepaid phones, which now account for 61% of Telecom’s mobile users.

The group’s overall earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were up 1.4 per cent to $2.07 billion.

During the year, Telecom strengthened its ties with SKY TV through the bundled SKY-FI deals that attracted 7,000 customers. It has also pledged $1 million to remove abandoned overhead cabling in Wellington. Despite pulling the plug on its Australian CDMA network – which resulted in a A$125 million write-off – the company remains keen to pursue mobile options across the Tasman Sea.

See Web Report: New Zealand – Telecom Corporation New Zealand – Company Overview

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