Cheaper internet for South Africa

first_imgSouth Africans are tipped to accessaffordable internet. Cell C’s Lars Reichelt said they aim toconnect all parts of South Africa. Vodacom has improved its infrastructurein Johannesburg. (Images: Bongani Nkosi)MEDIA CONTACTS• My Broadband+27 12 687 5159• Broadband InfracoFahim MohamedCompany Secretary+27 11 235 1760Bongani NkosiBroadband pundits are predicting internet connection rates in South Africa to drop by between 20% and 25% in the next 12 months.Most of the executives who spoke at the My Broadband conference in Midrand, north of Johannesburg, on 20 October forecast that prices will drop significantly in the next year, citing new infrastructure developments and escalating competition in the industry.Broadband wholesaler and network operator Neotel forecast price cuts of about 20%. Underwater cable operator Seacom’s Suveer Ramdhani said they expect international rates to drop by between 20% and 25%.South Africans who are connected to networks are now using more broadband, a trend that’s a plus to the growth of the young industry.  “You’ll see costs dropping in the next 12 months. People are using more bandwidth,” said communications company Telkom’s managing executive Steve Lewis.Since the introduction of the Eassy and Seacom fibre optic cables, rates are said to have come down by about 40%. Eassy came online this year, while Seacom has been operational since 2009.“It’s great to see that prices have come down,” said Ryan Sher of Eassy. “There’s now more competition,” he added.“As an industry we’ve been keen to bring down prices,” said Sameer Dave of mobile provider MTN.There has certainly been an upsurge of mobile internet usage across the country. More and more South Africans now have Facebook accounts. Thousands of youngsters use Mxit and other chat sites. This is a prevailing trend even in rural areas where broadband connectivity is limited, and is aided by a range of data packages offered by all of South Africa’s mobile networks.“Prices are coming down, it’s a continuous evolution,” said mobile operator Vodacom’s CEO Pieter Uys.A great number of South Africans are currently without access to broadband connectivity. Of the estimated population of 47-million, between one and four million are said to be connected. This is blamed on inaccessibility to fibre optic networks in many areas, and excessively high rates for both internet service providers and consumers.“Local tariffs are still high, they have to drop,” said Uys.Infrastructure being improved Mobile service provider Cell C has embarked on a campaign to broaden its HSPA+ 900 network across the country. It’s already covered most of Port Elizabeth, where it started in September, and is aiming to have 34% of the country on the network by the end of 2010, with 64% connectivity by 2011.“We’re really serious about bringing the internet to the 45-million have-nots,” said Cell C’s CEO Lars Reichelt.The provider’s services have become the fastest in South Africa at 5.23 Mbps, surpassing other internet service providers including Telkom, Mweb, Vodacom, MTN and Internet Solutions. “Cell C is number one in terms of speed,” said Reichelt.He predicts that South Africa’s broadband capacity will improve within the next 12 months. “The amount of fibre that we have coming up is unbelievable. It is good news and we have to be smart about embracing it.”The West Africa Cable System fibre optic infrastructure is scheduled to go live by mid-2011. The 14 000km-long submarine network is predicted to be the next most exciting broadband connectivity development for Africa.Vodacom’s Uys said the group has also improved its infrastructure, having replaced all their equipment in Johannesburg over the last 18 months.The state-owned Broadband Infraco will launch in the third week of November, opening its fibre optic network for usage by internet service providers, which include the likes of Vodacom, Cell C, iBurst, MTN and a range of others. Infraco is focused on widening connectivity to provinces that are currently underserved.DOC and Icasa urgedThe industry called on the Department of Communications and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa to play more decisive roles in regulating the telecommunications industry. “We need a strong DoC and a strong Icasa,” said John Holdsworth, CEO of telecoms group ECN.Icasa “should stand up and take control” over the current 89 cents charged for interconnection between mobile networks, Holdsworth said. “The interconnection rate is too high.”Internet rates in South Africa remain high compared to that of many countries, despite recent industry developments.8.ta bringing competitionIntroduced on 18 October, Telkom’s new mobile network 8.ta promised to “disrupt” the telecommunications industry. 8.ta became the fourth mobile network operator in South Africa, thereby increasing competition.Like the three other network operators, MTN, Vodacom and Cell C, 8.ta is also offering data services. Industry analysts have predicted tough times ahead as the new network attempts to penetrate the market, given that Cell C, which became a third mobile network operator in 2001, is yet to reach its maximum customer base.Virgin Mobile relies completely on Cell C’s network, therefore isn’t considered a mobile network operator but a units reseller.Telkom is confident of the network’s prospects. “We really believe this will succeed,” said Lewis.The network already enjoys a nationwide connectivity through its 800 new base stations. Telkom also signed agreements with Vodacom and MTN’s to roam on their infrastructure. “We’re starting to disrupt the market,” Lewis said.He added that they want to make broadband more affordable.More competition is good for consumers, the experts agreed. “We embrace competition. It’s good for everybody, for us and the consumers,” said Uys.last_img read more

South African products: names protected under new agreement

first_imgThe names of a selection of South African products are now protected under a new agreement with the European Union (EU). It follows from a bilateral protocol on geographic indicators negotiated between the republic and the EU.South Africa said 102 wine names would be protected under the agreement and three agricultural product names, namely rooibos, Karoo lamb, and honeybush tea.In addition, an economic partnership agreement between the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and EU has been negotiated.#PostCab New agreement with EU will see 102 wine names, Karoo lamb, rooibos and honeybush (teas) names protected GD— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) May 26, 2016It allowed a single trade regime with the EU, said Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, and “would enhance the preferential access of some products to the EU such as sugar, ethanol, wine, fish and fruit”, reported news website Business Day.“[The agreement] further demonstrates that our country is on a path to recovery and continues to be a viable investment destination,” the Cabinet said. “It ensures in line with the National Development Plan’s objectives that South Africa advances industrialisation and promotes South African exports into the EU market.”The agreement also promotes the development of regional value chains in Africa, contributing to regional integration.South Africa.info reporterlast_img read more

Google Plans a Digital Newsstand for Android

first_imgTags:#E-Books#web 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Reports of declining iPad magazine sales are a good reminder that neither Apple nor publishers have really nailed the content and delivery of magazines in a digital format. And a story tonight in The Wall Street Journal reports that Google may be working to take advantage of this opportunity by setting up its own digital newsstand for Android.Google has discussed its plans with a number of publishers, including Time Warner, Condé Nast and Hearst Corp, but according to the story, the details and timing are “vague.” And it’s possible that the venture won’t materialize.Despite some of the problems with digital magazine publishing, it seems unlikely Google wouldn’t try for an Android alternative to iTunes, particularly as both consumers and publishers have been frustrated with the Apple (non-subscription) delivery model. Wooing Publishers to Android with Better Consumer DataGoogle has apparently told publishers that it would take a smaller cut from its Android apps than the 30% that Apple takes from iTunes sales. And to sweeten the deal, Google has also proposed giving publishers access to personal data about app consumers.The latter has been a sticking point for the publishing industry, which has grumbled about Apple’s refusal to hand over download data, arguing that it needs this sort of information to better serve readers (and advertisers). For example, Jay Lauf, the publisher of The Atlantic recently wrote, “What happens if an “iStand” supplants the newsstand in the way iTunes has supplanted the record store and it supplants our traditional means of driving subscriptions? Currently it means the characteristics and locations of readers we’ve long had a direct relationship with, whom we know so much about–which allows us to provide them better content and more meaningful ways to engage while also allowing us to better service our advertisers–will be in the hands of Apple, not us.”For its part, Apple is preparing to make changes to iTunes in order to meet some of publishers’ wishes, including adding subscriptions and sharing more user data. However, the latter will be “opt in” – subscribers can choose to share their personal information with the publisher. Or not. According to The Wall Street Journal, “some publishers remain unhappy with this arrangement because they think few customers would opt to share such data” – something that perhaps speaks volumes about the “relationship” that many readers have with magazines these days.Photo credits: Flickr user Des Byrne Related Posts center_img audrey watters Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…last_img read more

Are We in a Bubble?

first_imgThat was the question I got asked the most during my time in Austin and San Francisco this month. Perhaps it’s become the new ice-breaker at networking events. But also people are genuinely curious and unsure about whether the tech scene has entered another bubble. My answer to that perennial question over the years has never been focused on money and the valuation of companies. That’s the way most commenters have addressed it over the past couple of months. Rather, I look at the state of product innovation in startups and big Internet companies. Are we still seeing innovation in web products and across market segments? For the most part, I think the answer to that is yes.Based on the current state of innovation, I’d argue that we are NOT in a tech bubble at this time. We’re seeing a lot of innovation in mobile, especially. Also with evolving trends like Internet of Things and tablets. The ‘social media’ market is one where we are seeing copycat products and ‘me too’ features, so that market has perhaps jumped the shark. But overall, I’d argue that we’re not in a bubble.Firstly to reiterate that I don’t define a bubble simply in money terms. High valuations are one indicator, but I think the amount of innovation and exploration happening in the tech scene is a better one. Paul Graham recently described a bubble as a “mania,” which I agree with. I’ll add that an indicator of mania in the tech market is when lots of copycat products are being released, together with a rush to implement trendy features whether they’re actually relevant to the product or not. We’ve seen some of that in recent times, for example with companies trying to create a unique social network around their products – when in many cases the product doesn’t need that. However, it hasn’t gotten manic.The Web 2.0 YearsThe last tech bubble in the Internet industry was popularly labeled Web 2.0. It started around 2004, when an excitement started to bubble up in Silicon Valley around new types of web services that were two-way and tapped into the wisdom of the crowds. Products like YouTube, Flickr, MySpace, Del.icio.us, Moveable Type, Bloglines and Feedburner came onto the scene in that 2004-05 era. This was also, not coincidentally, the time when Google began to get really big. Tim O’Reilly, whose company O’Reilly Media coined the term ‘Web 2.0’ in 2004 and started a conference around the moniker, has always maintained that one of the best examples of Web 2.0 principles was Google AdSense. For further context about Web 2.0, read my interview with Tim O’Reilly from November 2004.There was genuine innovation and a rush of activity (and money) in the tech scene from about 2004 to 2008, but particularly in the first couple of years. Near the end of that period, we saw a lot of copycat and ‘me too’ activity. Web 2.0 became a bubble and innovation dried up. Post Web 2.0In 2009, things got quiet again. Mostly that was due to the world economic downturn, but also there was less innovation in web products and too many stale offerings on the market. In 2010, things started happening again. Trends like social media and mobile began to ramp up, propelling the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare into mass popularity.2011: Lots of Innovation!What’s most encouraging about 2011 is that we’re not only seeing a continuation of the popularity of Facebook, Twitter and co – we’re also seeing new products emerge that are offering something new and different. While SXSW 2011 didn’t offer a breakout new product, as it has in the past with Twitter and Foursquare, it did bring to the fore a new type of communications product: group messaging. We don’t know which of these products ‘won’ at SXSW. Some say it was GroupMe. Although many, including Team RWW, used Beluga – which was bought by Facebook earlier this month. Still others think that Yobongo, which allows you to talk to strangers in real time, got the most traction. Regardless, group messaging is an innovative product type that has only gained market momentum this year.The mobile market is still early in its trajectory, I believe. We’re far from being in a bubble there. The battle of the App Stores – especially Apple vs Android, but also featuring players like Microsoft and Nokia – is relatively young. As for mobile products, the online music market is a great example of where innovation is happening (think Rdio, MOG, Spotify) but it’s far from being a solved problem. There’s jostling for position in that online mobile music market, including by existing products like Pandora and last.fm. This is very healthy for consumers and a sign that a bubble is a ways away yet.Finally, there are markets which have a ton of promise but which are still early in the commercialization phase. The Internet of Things (IoT), when real world objects get connected to the Internet via sensors and similar technology, is a prime example. I started covering this beat for ReadWriteWeb a couple of years ago, when it was largely experimental development by forward-thinking geeks and small esoteric companies (like Pachube). In 2011, we’re seeing more IoT commercial development – including from large companies like Cisco, IBM and HP, all of whom are investing big time in sensor technology. See our report from CTIA earlier today for further information about the huge potential of Internet of Things: How 50 Billion Connected Devices Could Transform Brand Marketing & Everyday Life.What do you think, are we in a bubble? I’ve made my case for saying that we are not. But I’d love to know what the ReadWriteWeb community thinks about this question. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#Analysis#business#NYT#Op-Ed#web Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… richard macmanuslast_img read more

Upset Niall broke dressing room door: KSCA

first_imgIrish wicketkeeper-batsman Niall O’Brien had allegedly broken the glass door of the dressing room at Chinnaswamy Stadium after being run out for 46 against India on Sunday. The Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) on Tuesday confirmed that Niall had struck the entry door to the dressing room with his bat which damaged its lower part. The matter was brought to the notice of the Irish team management and the KSCA sought Rs 25,000 damages from Niall. However, reports suggested that the issue was resolved amicably. The dismissal of Niall had dealt a heavy blow to the Irish hopes in the interesting match as at that stage he, along with captain William Porterfield, had put on 113 runs for the third wicket. Interestingly, Niall — brother of record-breaker Kevin — had on Monday claimed to have lost six of his bats from the dressing room. In fact, Yuvraj Singh then got in touch with the Irish player offering assistance and bats. In a complaint lodged with Cubbon Park police station on Monday Niall had told police that he found his bag containing six bats missing after he reached hotel from the stadium after the match.last_img read more

England can become world class – Loftus-Cheek

first_imgRuben Loftus-Cheek believes that if England can fulfil their potential they can challenge for top honours.During the summer, they finished fourth in the World Cup, falling to Croatia in the semi-finals and then Belgium in the playoff for bronze.They started their Nations League campaign with a 2-1 loss against Spain at Wembley on Saturday and on Tuesday tackle Switzerland.  Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! Loftus-Cheek aims to replace the injured Dele Alli in Gareth Southgate’s starting XI for the midweek friendly and has been impressed with the squad.“I think we definitely have that potential,” he said when asked if this group is good enough to challenge for honours. “We have to have that belief to try and change things around.“We are in this transition phase at the moment where we want to become one of the best teams in the world – up there with Spain, France and Germany.“We want to compete with them and dominate football.“We are in this transition phase where we want to have it mentally in our heads that we are one of the best teams in the world.“It is that belief to have the courage to play in tight areas and try and play football rather than just going long. It takes time but we are working towards it.”Being close at hand to some of the world’s top players has given the 22-year-old midfielder the opportunity to study their games, and it was Sergio Busquets who caught his eye for Spain at the weekend.“His frame doesn’t look like a frame of a footballer; he is tall and gangly, but he’s so sharp in his mind,” he said.“He knows what he wants to do next, his technique – he looks like he has so much time on the ball.“He takes two touches or one touch and he makes it look so easy. If a fast and strong player had that as well, you could dominate.”Loftus-Cheek is hoping to win his ninth cap at Wembley on Tuesday, though he faces an uncertain time at club level, with opportunities liable to be limited at Chelsea this season under Maurizio Sarri.last_img read more