Archive for January, 2011

SLT’s Skymax goes into action

Monday, January 31st, 2011

After a long series of delays, Sky Network, a subsidiary of Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) announced the launch of its WiMAX 802.16e wireless broadband network under the brand name ‘Skymax’. The service would soon incorporate other value added features such as usage- and quality-of-service-based charging models and web-based payment options. Sky Network’s 802.16e network is being rolled out in Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara districts in a first phase in which the operator says it expects to attract 11,000 WiMAX customers. It plans to provide mobile WiMAX coverage to the entire island in four implementation phases.

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Frans Anton Vermast visits Australia again

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Frans-Anton Vermast will be in Australia in early March and for those interested, as at previous occasions, he is happy to share his enormous experience in relation to community and municipality broadband policies and strategies with members of our group.

You might recall that he has presented at some of the BuddeComm Roundtables in the past and he has advised the Minister’s team and several councils around the country. Feel free to contact me if you are interested, or contact Frans-Anton directly on

Here is his short profile.

“As a European public and government affairs advisor (including regulatory issues) Frans-Anton Vermast has been involved in the outset in the Amsterdam Fibre from the Home initiative (, the open access communication infrastructure in the City of Den Haag (The Hague) en the Province of Limburg. Since 2004 he has built up considerable business and regulatory knowledge on open communication infrastructures based on glass fibre techniques in the Netherlands and Europe.

As Strategy Advisor of Amsterdam Smart City he presently also focuses on appliances and services that are available with an open access symmetrical communication infrastructure to provide social and economic benefits as well as more sustainable solutions for a better environment.

He has a great deal of Dutch, European and world wide experience with local government and municipality participation in these initiatives”.

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RIM agrees to let India access messenger services

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Research In Motion (RIM) said it had provided solutions that would let Indian security agencies access its popular Blackberry messenger and public email services, though the tools could not be used to monitor its corporate email services. The Indian government had asked RIM to grant access to its messenger services before the end of January. The lack of access to corporate emails means RIM still has not met one of India’s key demands. But the company said that neither it nor wireless carriers on whose networks RIM’s services are run could decipher the encryptions of corporate email services and no changes could be made to the security architecture for BlackBerry Enterprise Server [corporate email] customers because RIM had no ability to provide the encryption keys of its customers.

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Want to learn more about Smart Grid? – Don’t call your utility.

Friday, January 28th, 2011

A recent thesis written by an undergraduate at Purdue University in the USA has found that utility call centers can’t answer some of the basics on smart grid.

The thesis involved the researcher calling 100 electricity companies that were planning or deploying smart grid technologies. The result was that many of the utilities’ employees were not equipped to answer questions.

The researcher posed as a customer moving into the area and asked six questions:

  • Is your company doing anything to implement Smart Grid technology?
  • Do you have information available about the Smart Grid?
  • Do your customers have smart meters?
  • Does your company have a smart meter program where consumers will get smart meters?
  • Do you have information about smart meters? How can I get this information?
  • Does your company have a corporate green/conservation philosophy? Where can I get that?

Many of the utilities that were contacted were still in the infancy of their smart grid rollout. But even though all of the utilities had some project in the works, 11% said they were not familiar with smart grid technologies. Some companies claimed that they were aware of the Smart Grid technology but were afraid to implement it as it would eliminate jobs within the company.

The research also showed that only one third of call centers could give any additional information about their smart grid projects and less than half knew about programs where customers would get smart meters now or in the future. Another conclusion drawn from the thesis was that customer service is poor.

On a positive note, more than 90% of customer service representative were versed in “green” and energy saving initiatives and could talk in detail about what the programs were.

The conclusion of the thesis was that while utilities are embracing Chief Customer Officers to plan long-tern strategies, there needs to be some triage on what can be done to improve customer service on the front lines.

For more information see:

Global – Smart Grids – Key Issues – September 2010

Smart Grids – After Copenhagen

Smart Grids – Consumer Issues

Smart Grids – Grid IT – Where Energy Meets Comms

Smart Grids – Industry Moving into 2011

Smart Grids – Key Aim – Renewables

Smart Grids – Overview and Insights

Smart Grids – Smart Meter Overview and Insights

Smart Grids and the Communications Revolution

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DoT reverses ban on video calls in India

Friday, January 28th, 2011

India’s Department of Telecom (DoT) has reversed an earlier ban on private mobile network operators offering 3G video calling services, but said that the ban would be reintroduced later this year if changes were not made. The operators would now be required to install a ‘suitable monitoring mechanism’ by the end of July 2011 that would allow the security services to monitor video calls. The operators were barred from offering 3G video calls in December after the security services complained that live monitoring of video calls had not been installed. The operators noted that it was incredibly difficult to offer live monitoring, as opposed to supplying recordings of the call once it had finished. Under the new rules, the operators will have to be able to supply recordings of calls in five-minute segments, which can be provided while a video call is continuing, and then a single recording of the entire conversation once the call has been completed. The private operators had also expressed concerns that the ban had not been applied to the two state-owned 3G networks, BSNL and MTNL.

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