- Category: Features
by Patience Yusuf (Public Affairs Department)
The Freedom of Information Act was a product of collaboration between citizens, organised civic actors and government. It took seventeen years from the origin of its first draft until its adoption. The first draft of the bill was prepared by Tunde Fagbohunlu (SAN) in 1994.The Freedom of Information Act 2011 was passed by both chambers of the 6th National Assembly on 24th May 2011 and assented by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan on 28th May, 2011.
The FoI Act supersedes the Official Secrets Act (OSA), originally enacted in 1911, which forbade the unauthorized transmission, obtaining, reproduction, or retention of any classified matter. The Act applies not only to public institutions but also to private organizations providing public services, performing public functions or utilizing public funds.
The underlying philosophy of the Act is that public servants are custodians of a public trust on behalf of a population who have a right to know what they do. In particular, the FoI Act promises to remove the aura of mystery and exclusion with which public servants cloak the ordinary operations of government and public institutions. It also seeks to change the manner in which public records and information are managed. The Act builds on an assumption of openness, by placing on those who wish to keep public information away from the people, the onus of justifying why they have to do so. If fully implemented, the FoI Act will transform quite fundamentally the way in which government conducts business and the perception of the people towards the government. The Act is a marked shift from the OSA which promotes secrecy and criminalises the disclosure of information.
- Category: Features
The NCC has set a two percent (2%) call drop rate as the limit that telecommunications companies must work towards as part of the condition they must meet in the new Key Performance Indicators (KPI) guidelines on Quality of Service (QoS).
This is coming in spite of the frequent dissatisfaction being expressed by telecoms subscribers on the quality of service by the operators, characterized by call drops, occasional service outage and network congestion, among other issues.
The NCC, however, has said on its website that there has been some improvement on the networks in terms of the level of quality of service operators deliver to their subscribers but a lot still needs to be done to achieve the minimum level of 2% call drop rate.
Nearly all the service providers in the Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) and the CDMA segments of the industry are adjudged to have made some improvement in the area of upgrading their networks to accommodate the subscriber base on their networks as well as enhancing service delivery.
- Category: Features
The number of workers who are financially unprepared for retirement is staggering. In a work place such as ours, we may be tempted to forget that there is life after retirement. Most of us are guilty of storming designers’ stores, drinking the most expensive wines, cruising posh cars and generally living the “life”. By all means, take care of yourself but do it wisely.
To enjoy our retirement years, we need to begin planning early. Living in a country as Nigeria where we are constantly in a “No work, no chop situation”, we need to plan and save for retirement in our 30s or even sooner. Adequate planning will help to ensure that we not only outlive our savings, but that we will not become financially dependent on others. It is never too late to start or to improve our retirement plan.
Ifeyinwa Awulor, a journalist with The Pointer Newspaper, asserts that “With the extravagant lifestyle of workers in civil service across the nation, it seems that only very few number of workers think about their positions some 30 or 40 years from now. It’s a concept so many assume to be so distant and as much as possible; would prefer to avoid the subject entirely”.
Even as we work and receive Salaries and allowances, it is important to keep in mind some of these points;
- Watch how you spend.
- Save as much as you can as early as you can.
- No one else is going to fund your retirement…save, save, save.
- Increase your retirement percentage every time you receive a raise.
- Even if your plan allows them, avoid taking loans against your account.
- Most importantly—budget and live within your means.
It is therefore important not to assume that it will be easier to save in the future. The time to begin or improve on saving for our retirement is now!
- Category: Features
In addition to universal Consumer Bill of Rights telecoms companies operating in Nigeria are obliged under the Consumer Code of Practice Regulation, 2007 to do the following for subscribers and /or Consumers.
- Provide information on products and services that is complete, accurate, and up-to-date in simple, clear language.
- Timely respond to request for information on products services and such information must be provided free of charge.
- Service Providers are duty bound to provide consumers with current service arrangements such as rates and terms and conditions for all services on offer to the public. The information must be in both electronic and print format and be available on Operators website and retail outlets.
- All changes in tariff rates and conditions for services must be punctually communicated to Consumers who are expected to make their views and comments on such changes to the Commission prior to the approval of same by the regulator. Any breach of this provision would void such action or actions.
- Every approved tariff rate change must be effectively communicated to Consumers through several channels including electronic and printed formats.
- On request, Service Providers must make available to Consumers contract or agreement for provision of services, which must be written in simple and language.
- Before any service agreement is entered into, Service Providers must provide would-be Consumers with a complete description of the service(s) in clear language.
- Service providers are obliged to provide Consumers with information on service quality levels offered and waiting time for initial connection as well service areas and coverage.
- Service providers must provide information regarding compensation and refund in event of failure to meet contracted quality service levels; procedures and methods for resolving disputes in respect of service contract.
- Where service are subject to upgrade or migration options, Consumers must be provided with clear and complete information regarding the upgrade or migration terms, including any changes in service performances and duly approved fees or charges resulting from the upgrade or migration.
- Before a contract for service is entered into, the operator must inform the Consumer the applicable rates or charges, what the charges include, method of its calculation, frequency of the charge and whether the charges or elements thereof are subject to changes from time to time, the circumstances of such changes and how the consumer will be informed of such changes.
- Service Providers must ensure that every contract with Consumers will specify the commencement date minimum contracts, methods of calculating any charges payable upon terminating, conditions and terms of renewal, conditions and terms of disconnection and reconnection and fees that may be charged for disconnection.
- Service Providers must inform would-be subscribers of the existence of any product warranties and how to how to obtain such warranties.
- It is an obligation of licensed Service Provider’s implement the facilities and processes needed to permit consumers to report fault 24 hours a day.
- Service Providers are obliged to give advance warnings of anticipated service disruptions or planned outages, including details of the disruption or outages, the service and service areas affected and any applicable compensation or remedies.
- Service Providers are to ensure special measures for Consumers with disabilities by ensuring that the requirement and interests of disabled Consumers are fully taken into account in the development and provision of its services.
- Category: Features
The fast evolution of mobile communication over the last decades has played a central role in the daily life of most people person on earth. It is a fundamental driver in the global economy and will play an even more vital part for most aspects of global progress in the decades to come. Our own country (Nigeria) is no exception.
The development in voice communication has moved from one fixed phone per household to a highly personal communication device. And Internet is moving in the same direction with mobile, individual cloud based 24/7 connectivity.
The number of mobile broadband will pass one billion subscriptions this year. With close to 5 billion connections in 2016, mobile broadband will bring the Internet further than ever before creating a truly globally networked society and a new generation of mobile natives.
Features of the Mobile Natives:
- Almost 2 hours per day is spent accessing the Internet from smartphones. The age group 15-24 years spends about twice as much time using smartphone Internet as the age group 45+.
- The smartphone is always kept close at hand and users tend to carry it with them whenever they move around, even at home. The smartphone represents a vital part of the personal identity from all areas of life and is literally an extension of the body.
- The smartphone offers an individually designed selection of Internet content, which reflects the identity, and lifestyle of the user.
- People's Mobile Broadband usage and behaviors are shifting. More than ever, people are viewing broadband access as a 24/7 necessity, rather than "nice-to-have". They see it as part of daily life – moving far beyond basic connectivity. Before people decided when to get online. Nowadays, they decide when to get offline.
- Losing a regular mobile phone means losing the address book, this is quite troubling. Losing the laptop or the smartphone could mean losing an identity on a social network or a large amount of personal data, which is not recoverable.
- Of the estimated 5 billion people who will have broadband by 2016, about 85 percent will be mobile broadband subscribers.
So if you happen to see yourself in three out of the above, whether you accept it or not you are now truly living in the global village and your are fairly versed in our native tongue.
To be able to increase the accessibility to the internet for every Nigerian, the Commission and her mother Ministry have joined hands with other government agencies and private companies and have been able to birth this baby. The baby is named Long Term Evolution (LTE) for short.
LTE is the global standard for the fourth generation of mobile networks (4G) supported by all major players in the industry. LTE offers the capacity and the speed to handle a rapid increase in data traffic with close to 5 billion mobile broadband subscriptions in 2016.
The major benefits for LTE deployment are being enjoyed worldwide and we are bringing it home to Nigeria.
- Category: Features
As operators worldwide begin launching Long-Term Evolution (LTE) networks, the availability of LTE devices has skyrocketed to over 200 million, more than a tenfold increase since the end of 2010. While PCs account for the majority of subscriptions currently, smartphones are expected to become the largest segment by 2014. This is according to a new video based on the report by Jan Ten Setoff, Pyramid Research Analyst. Nigeriaâ€™s telecommunication industry is expected to join others to benefit from the worldâ€™s communication services revenue, which is expected to grow from $2.7 trillion by 2017.
- Category: Features
A princely N23 million would be up for grab in this year’s NCC Tennis League, a statement by the International Tennis Academy (ITA), the organising partners for the League has said. The NCC Tennis League is the first of its kind in Africa.
The league which teed off in July has already witnessed explosive games, upsets and jaw-dropping come-backs.
One of the special guests that have graced the play-offs was the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, who did not hide his excitement at the quality of tennis on display. He lauded the NCC for the initiative which he said is in tandem with the resolve of the Federal Government to develop all areas of sports to engage talented Nigerians as well as build a national brand.
- Category: Features
The term broadband refers to the wide bandwidth characteristics of a transmission medium and its ability to transport multiple signals and traffic types simultaneously. The medium can be coax, optical fiber, twisted pair, DSL local telephone networks or wireless. In contrast, baseband describes a communication system in which information is transported across a single channel.
Different criteria for "broad" have been applied in different contexts and at different times. Its origin is in physics, acoustics and radio systems engineering, where it had been used with a meaning similar to wideband. Later, with the advent of digital telecommunications, the term was mainly used for transmission over multiple channels. Whereas a pass band signal is also modulated so that it occupies higher frequencies (compared to a baseband signal which is bound to lowest end of spectrum), it is still occupying a single channel. The key difference is that what is typically considered a broadband signal in this sense is a signal that occupies multiple (non-masking, orthogonal) pass bands thus allowing for much higher throughput over a single medium, but with additional complexity in the transmitter/receiver circuitry. Finally, the term became popularized through the 1990s as a marketing term for Internet access that was faster than dialup access, the original Internet access technology, which was limited to 56 kbps. This meaning is only distantly related to its original technical meaning.
Broadband refers to a communication bandwidth of at least 256 kbit/s. Each channel is 4 MHz wide and it uses an extensive range of frequencies to effortlessly relay and receive data between networks. In telecommunications, a broadband signaling method is one that handles a wide band of frequencies. Broadband is a relative term, understood according to its context. The wider (or broader) the bandwidth of a channel, the greater the information-carrying capacity, given the same channel quality.
In radio, for example, a very narrow-band will carry Morse code; a broader band will carry speech; a still broader band will carry music without losing the high audio frequencies required for realistic sound reproduction. This broad band is often divided into channels or frequency bins using passband techniques to allow frequency-division multiplexing, instead of sending a higher-quality signal.
A television antenna may be described as "broadband" because it is capable of receiving a wide range of channels; while a single-frequency or Lo-VHF antenna is "narrowband" since it receives only 1 to 5 channels. The US federal standard FS-1037C defines "broadband" as a synonym for wideband.
In data communications a 56k modem will transmit a data rate of 56 kilobits per second (kbit/s) over a 4 kilohertz wide telephone line (narrowband or voiceband). The various forms of digital subscriber line (DSL) services are broadband in the sense that digital information is sent over multiple channels. Each channel is at higher frequency than the baseband voice channel, so it can support plain old telephone service on a single pair of wires at the same time.
However when that same line is converted to a non-loaded twisted-pair wire (no telephone filters), it becomes hundreds of kilohertz wide (broadband) and can carry up to 60 megabits per second using very-high-bitrate digital subscriber line (VDSL or VHDSL) techniques.
“Nigeria is not the only country aspiring to enjoy the broadband revolution. Doubling the broadband speed for the economy increases GDP by 0.3 percentage points.’’
The above statement could be true, that Nigeria is not the only country to benefit from broadband as said by the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, but it is obvious from all indications that this revolution is more needed in Nigeria compared to other countries.
Thus while some countries like Ghana have gone far in defining access to super fast internet as a fundamental human right, Nigeria’s broadband access remains low at six percent.
Expert says this is expected because the country’s over 95million active mobile users are yet to benefit from the huge broadband capacity provided by subsea cables such as Glo One , Main One among several others, due to inadequate last mile infrastructure with the high cost of internet and abysmally slow speed.
This fact is underscored by the Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, who said “despite the fact that we have internet penetration of 28 percent [45 million internet users], only [14.5 million people] of the population are actually internet subscribers and broadband penetration is at mere six percent. In fact, recent statistics that I looked at have us as having one of the lowest speeds in Africa.’’
She said the crux of the consistent industry engagement and discussions is to ensure that Nigeria is able to quickly deploy broadband infrastructure and harness the benefits therein as provided by Main One submarine cables 240m and Glo One 800m cable.
Considering the impact of Main One in Ghana, since launched in October 2011, the Managing Director of Zipnet Broadband Wireless Services, who also coupled as the President of Ghana Internet Service Providers Association, Mr. Ernest Brown, expressed satisfaction with the quality of services provided by Main One.
His words: ‘’We can comfortably say that Main One is doing a good job in terms of customer connectivity. With our last providers, we constantly had to chase them before we could discuss technical issues that affected us. With Main One, they are the one doing the chasing, and they engage us once every month and address our challenges.’’
He further confirmed that the entry of Main One heralded a revolution in Ghana; prices came down, quality went up, customers started getting more capacity and phenomenal quality at the same time which changed the entire dynamics of the ICT Industry.
Hence a glance at the Nigeria’s broadband access shows that most Nigerians still access the internet through public venues, due to high charges and ubiquity network.
According to the Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Johnson, Over 7.78 terabytes of internet capacity is lying untapped at the shores of the country. This shows that Nigerians are yet to take full advantage of Main One and Glo One in the country.
She laments that Nigeria currently has one of the highest costs of access in the world at approximately Eight Naira to Ten Naira for 5Mbs of data. ‘’ Unless the capacity was connected to the hinterlands through last-mile connectivity, it would remain a challenge for the country in getting the capacity inland while internet penetration in the country would also remain a challenge.’’
Thus the summit held in Lagos by the Association of Telecommunication companies in Nigeria ATCON, last year 2011, revealed that over 51 percent of internet connection in the country is still done via VSAT and more investment is required to deliver affordable bandwidth to users.
Going by the ATCON’s new position of using broadband as the enabler to connect the next 50 million telecom users in Nigeria, the immediate past president of ATCON, Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu, projects such as aerial optic fibre, could hold a lot of promise towards achieving this goal.
The prevalent multiple regulation and taxation by state government was also identified as a major hindrance to broadband infrastructure and deployment by the NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Mr. Juwah, adding that available infrastructure are characterized by operational issues such as monopoly ownership, exorbitantly high pricing and discriminatory access.
According to him, it is evident that there is no broadband market in Nigeria. ‘’The current development has made very little impact with the estimated penetration of broadband in Nigeria varying from less than two percent to less than five percent.’’
- Category: Features
The Consumer Outreach Programme is the Consumer Affairs Bureau’s strategic initiative aimed at uniquely creating an interactive opportunity amongst key industry stakeholders by focusing on dissemination of information on telecoms products and services among the semi-urban region.
The Commission also introduced the Town Hall meeting which is a third tier of Consumer Outreach event, an unprecedented frequency and diversity of consumer complaints became a common occurrence; hence the need for a robust surveillance of the industry with a view to protecting consumers through well focused information and education initiatives.
- Category: Features
In Ghana, Airtel has re-launched its mobile money platform, under a new brand name, Airtel Money, which it said is positioned to provide customers with an efficient alternative to cash transactions. Airtel Money includes the most comprehensive package of m-commerce and payment features currently with access to a convenient, secure and readily available way of making payments through the mobile platform.
- Category: Features
Local Content Policy Development in the Telecommunications Sector is a research paper co-authored by Dr. Ebinimi Tebepah and Clement Inyambe. This paper was published in the African Wireless Communications yearbook by Kadium Publishers (United Kingdom) in 2009. It is a research work that examines the increasing impact of the Telecoms sector on Nigeria’s economy and calls for a deliberate policy to address indigenous technological capacity development.
Purpose – the purpose of this paper is to provide the need for the development of a Local Content Policy Development in Nigeria, which is one of the fastest growing telecommunications market in the World.
Design/Methodology/Approach – the paper is basically based on secondary research.
Findings – the Paper finds that although Nigeria has benefited enormously from this sector in terms of huge growth in terms of subscribers’ base, earnings to the government, increase in GDP, teledensity, and increase in foreign direct investments into the sector, its understanding of the technological dimension of the industry appears to be low. What happens if suddenly foreign companies operating in the sector disengages, what implication will this have for the telecommunications sector? In order to avoid the pitfalls of the oil industry reoccurring in the telecommunication sector, a conscious policy attention is in development of human skills and technological competences to fill in the gaps in the sector. This will tend to prevent the negative trend (low indigenous technological capabilities) as evident in the oil industry from occurring in the telecommunication sector.
Research limitation/implications – the paper has a lack of sufficient analysis of what the local content policy should entail
Practical Implications - the paper highlights the importance of having a local content development policy to enable developing countries such as Nigeria to understand the dynamics of technological development in the telecommunications sector.
Originality/Value – this paper brings about local content policy development in Nigeria which has been absent.
Keywords – Telecommunications sector, Local Content Policy, Oil Industry, Nigeria
Paper type – Secondary Research
Nigeria is located in the West African Region of the African Continent and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the West, Chad and Cameroon in the eastern part, and the Niger Republic in the North. Its coast lies on the Gulf of Guinea, a part of the Atlantic Ocean, in the south (Wikipedia 2009). On the first of October, 1960, Nigeria got its independence from its colonial master, the United Kingdom and it became a republic three years later (Ojo, 1998).
With a population of over One Hundred and Forty Million People (140,000,000) according the 2006 Census Figures (Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette, 2009), Nigeria has a land mass of over 900,000 square kilometres and is considered to be the most populous country in Africa and accounts for over half the population of West African Sub region. Considered to be the hub of exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons, it has been the largest producer of crude oil in Africa with over 2.5-2.6 million barrels of crude oil being produced daily, and belongs to the league of top ten (10) producers of crude oil in the world. Nigeria is also noted to be the fastest growing telecommunications market in the African continent (Tell Magazine, October, 2007), with private investment of over $11 billion (US) for 2008 (see table 2).
The Telecommunications in Nigeria has witnessed unprecedented growth particularly from 2001 to date. With the full liberalisation of the sector, several Digital Mobile Operators, Fixed Wireless Access Operators, Internet Service Providers and a Second National Carrier were granted licenses to operate by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) which is the regulatory body for this sector (NCC’s Annual Report and Accounts, 2006). This sector has witnessed huge growth in terms of the subscribers’ base, earnings to the government, increase in GDP, teledensity, and increase in foreign direct investments into the sector.
Although Nigeria has benefited enormously from this sector in the above named period, its understanding of the technological dimension of the industry appears to be low. What happens if suddenly foreign companies operating in the sector disengages, what implication will this have for the telecommunications sector? The oil industry represents one sector where the formulation of a local content policy was ignored over the years, and in spite of several decades of the contribution of the sector to the growth of the national economy no significant indigenous technological contribution can be noticed in the total production process.
In order to avoid the pitfalls of the oil industry reoccurring in the telecommunications sector, a conscious policy attention is in development of human skills and technological competences to fill in the gaps in the sector. This will tend to prevent the negative trend (low indigenous technological capabilities) as evident in the oil industry from occurring in the telecommunications sector. This paper therefore considers the development of a local content policy in the telecommunications sector.
The paper is divided into four sections. Sections 1 examines the history of telecommunications in Nigeria while section 2 looks at the trends in the telecommunications industry. Section 3 provides a general overview of the oil industry and finally, section 4 gives the recommendation for the development of a local content policy.
- Category: Features
Telecommunications contribution to GDP is now placed at 9.25 per cent, up from its previous 8.5 per cent
Total number of subscribers (active lines) in Nigeria as at Q2 (July) 2014 is placed at 132,186,840, a slight decrease from the number in June at 132,780,703
GSM mobile saw a reduction in its number of active lines from 130,536,850 as at June 2014 to 129,978,598 in July 2014
Fixed (wired/wireless) lines saw an increase in its active user base from 182,395 in June 2014 to 187,028 in July
The number of active CDMA lines went down from 2,061,458 in June 2014 to 2,021,214 in July
Total number of connected lines in Nigeria increased from 170,032,880 in June 2014 to 179,588,986 as at July 2014
There was a slight reduction in Subscribers’ teledensity from 94.84 per cent in June to 94.42 per cent in July 2014
Percentage market share by the number of subscribers for MTN by July 2014 stands at 45 per cent with 58,289,807 subscribers, it has recorded a slight decrease in its market share of 46 per cent in April 2014
Etisalat’s market share is placed at 15 per cent as at July 2014 with subscriber database of 19,470,884, it retains its market share of 15 per cent from April 2014
With 27,352,007 subscribers, Globacom's market share stands at 21 per cent as at July 2014, an increase from its 19 per cent in April 2014
Airtel's market share is put at 19% as at July 2014. With 24,865,900 subscribers, it has suffered a decrease in its market share of 20 per cent in April 2014
Percentage market share by technology for GSM mobile rose from 98.12 per cent in April 2014 to 98.33 per cent in July 2014
CDMA has continued to suffer a decrease in its market share from 1.74 per cent in April 2014 to 1.53 per cent in July 2014
For the fixed (wired/wireless) lines, it has maintained its 0.14 per cent market share of April 2014 in July 2014.
The total number of internet subscribers for GSM mobile as at July 2014 is put at 70,307,011, an increase from 67,197,505 in June 2014
The total number of incoming porting activities increased from 10,815 in June 2014 to 11,320 in July 2014
Outgoing porting activity also saw an increase from 10,325 in June 2014 to 11,110 in July 2014
Having 3,312 incoming porting activity of the total 11,320, Airtel saw an increase from its previous 1,678 in June 2014 to 3,312 in July 2014
Etisalat's incoming porting activity decreased from 5,081 in June 2014 to 4,791 in July 2014
Globacom's incoming porting activity also saw a decline from 2,540 in June 2014 to 1,965 in July 2014
Incoming porting activity for MTN was also on a decline from 1,516 in June 2014 to 1,252 in July 2014
- Category: Features
Above is my colleague Attah Ogbadu. Take a good look at his table. He has his official desk top, telephone, printer, TV remote. Of course, he can communicate and also receive information effectively on all this. Desktop (email, internet, intranet, portal, etc), telephone (receive and make calls), TV (Infotainment) But no, Attah has added his laptop, ipad, iphone and *i-smile*. It reminds me of this joke:
Daughter said: Daddy, I’m in love with a boy who is in UK and you know I live in Abuja. We met on a dating website, became friends on Facebook, had long chats on Whatsapp, proposed to each other on Skype, and now we have had two months of relationship through Viber. I need your blessings and good wishes Daddy.
Dad replies: Wow! Really? Then get married on Twitter, Have fun on Tango. Buy your Kids on E-Bay, send them to us via Gmail. And when you get fed up with your e-husband, just sell him on Amazon. Foolish e-generation children!
Although technology has contributed immensely to our lives, here are some negative effects that we should all be aware of:
Social isolation is characterized by a lack of contact with other people in normal daily living, such as, the workplace, with friends and in social activities. We isolate ourselves by walking around in our own little world, listening to our iPods or staring at the screen of the latest mobile device even when we are around other people. Studies have shown that people who are socially isolated will live shorter lives.
- Lack of Social Skills
The use of online social media outlets causes us to meet face-to-face with much less frequency resulting in a lack of much needed social skills. We lose the ability to read body language and social cues in other people.
The more time people are spending engrossed in video games, talking to friends online and watching funny cat videos on YouTube, they are spending less time being active or exercising.
Technology creates the perfect recipe for depression with the lack of human contact, overeating and lack of exercise. There is a reason the use of antidepressants are on the rise and the blame can’t be completely dumped on the pharmaceutical companies. They aren’t carting people into the doctor’s office and force feeding them the pills. This isn’t to say that depression isn’t a real problem, but some people could cure their depression by living a healthier lifestyle.
- Poor Sleep Habits
Some of the negative effects of technology can be linked to the effect it has on sleep habits. We get sucked into online activities that keep us up too late and the constant stream of information can make it difficult to turn off our brains. Also, the ambient glow from screens can affect the release of melatonin, the sleep chemical. Keeping technology out of the bedroom would be a very healthy habit to acquire.
With the rapid-changing world of electronics and technology, the turnover rate for upgrades is staggering. This constant stream of out with the old, in with the new is adding to the levels of toxicity in our air and land. E-waste is not always disposed of properly, causing deadly chemicals to leach into the ground. Plants that manufacture the electronics are emitting toxic fumes into the air. Plus there is little to no regulations on the disposal of personal E-waste.
- Increased Bullying
The use of technology has caused an increase in bullying and escalated the degree of severity. Kids are no longer able to escape their tormentors once they reach the safety of their own homes. Bullies infiltrate the security of their victims’ homes through online avenues. It is also easier to get more kids involved in bullying because people are more likely to say things online that they wouldn’t say in person. The increase in cyber-bullying has also led to an increase in teen suicides.
- Lack of Privacy
The internet has stripped the world of privacy. Long gone are the days of having an unlisted telephone number and staying offline to keep your information safe from prying eyes. With a few flicks on a keyboard the average person can find anyone’s address and contact information. For those with more sinister intentions, the use of phishing, viruses and hacking helps to find any information they wish to obtain. Plus, people have no sense of privacy online. They don’t think twice about tweeting every move they make, freely giving out their location on Google Map and putting their entire life story on Facebook.
- Higher Level of Deceit
On the flip side of having no privacy, people use the internet to deceive others. Most people don’t dig too deeply when doing a search on someone to check them out. By creating a few false profiles, people are able to pretend to be whomever they want. People are being “catfished” on dating sites. Hell, you could be talking to someone on the FBI’s top ten most wanted list and not realize it until you see them getting arrested on the news.
- Warped Sense of Reality
Using the internet as an escape from real life is very easy to do. In real life you only speak to a few people each day, there’s no Photoshop or avatar for the reflection in your mirror, bills must be paid and saying smartass things is frowned upon. However, online you are a freaking rock star! You have enough “friends” to form a small country, you look great in your pics or you have a kickass avatar, plus you get rewards or points for saying clever things (more if the clever thing is also mean-spirited). Unfortunately we must live in the real world whether we like it or not.
Constantly being “plugged in” and “connected” causes an extra layer of stress that wasn’t present before the overuse of technology.
- Blackberry/iPhone Thumb
Tendonitis in the thumb, a.k.a. Blackberry/iPhone Thumb, is a form of repetitive strain injury caused by the frequent use of thumbs to press buttons on mobile devices. The same injury can also be obtained from playing too many video games.
- Lack of Social Boundaries
Much in the same way that people over share on social media sites, there is an increasing tendency to cross social boundaries. Cyber stalking someone or sending unsolicited nude photos are examples of grossly crossing social boundaries.
- Lack of Sexual Boundaries
Exposure to sexual content is more likely to happen at a much younger age. Before the internet the only chance a child had of being exposed to pornography was if their dad didn’t hide his Playboy magazine well enough. Now, well, let’s just say you pray your filters are doing their job when your kid searches for “Puss and Donkey” from Shrek. Sexting is also a concern with technology being used at such a young age. There is no way in hell a girl would have taken a nude photo of herself and handed it to a guy before the popularity of texting. Yet, using your phone to snap a quick boob shot and texting it to your boyfriend seems to be no big deal. If you wouldn’t print the picture out and hand it to the guy, then you shouldn’t text it. And guys — girls do not want pictures of your penis. So stop sending them.
- Lack of Social Bonds
Creating a lasting bond with other people requires face-to-face interaction. The more we isolate ourselves with technology the fewer bonds we will form. People are expected to do more work at home which takes away time they would be spending with their families. Also, younger people prefer communicating online versus face-to-face. When people are in the same room and communicating via text or instant messaging instead of speaking to each other, there’s a problem.
- Constant Distraction
When we are focused on a device instead of what’s going on around us we miss a great deal. Think of the number of times you have been texting or talking to a friend and missed the opportunity to flirt with the hot guy standing beside you. There is also a rise in the number of injuries incurred by people texting while walking.
- Neck and Head Pain
Constantly looking down at devices can cause neck pain and over time will cause the neck to lose its natural curve. Eyestrain can also cause headaches, blurred vision and migraines.
- Shortened Attention Span
The use of social media has shortened our attention span from 12 minutes to 5 minutes. Constant news feeds, getting information in 140 characters and videos that are 10 minutes or less has literally rewired our brains. People who are online an average of 5 hours a day have trouble remembering people’s names, forget pots on the stove and even their own birthday.
People are not only dependent on technology they are also addicted to it. Studies have shown that when cell phones are taken away subjects heard or felt fathom vibrations, continuously reached for phones that weren’t there and became fidgety and restless. These are some of the same withdrawal symptoms you would expect from doing drugs.
- Lack of Empathy
The constant stream of violent scenes on video games, TV, movies and YouTube causes people to become desensitized to destruction of any kind. The normalizing of bad things happening and the culture of narcissism created by social media creates a society of people who lack empathy. When people stop caring, the world goes to hell in a hand basket.
- More Violence
After people lose empathy and are accustomed to violence, it becomes the social norm. Teenage girls are videoing themselves violently beating another girl; the number of school shootings are rising and videos of people attacking homeless people are a few examples of violent behavior caused by media.
- Higher Energy Consumption
Although individual devices are becoming more energy efficient, the increased overall use is causing a higher consumption of energy. People don’t turn their devices off; they keep computers on or plugged in, mobile devices charging and televisions plugged in. Also manufacturing all of these high tech toys causes an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
- Developmental Issues in Children
Children are using more technology now than they have ever used in the past. All of the negative effects that social media and television is having on adults are far greater when it comes to the developing minds of children. There is no way to know what long term effect technology will have on our children because this is the first generation to have unlimited access.
Technology causes people to suffer from mental and emotional disturbances, such as anxiety, phobias and delusions, which are all symptoms of neurosis. Being convinced you’re very ill after looking up strange diseases on WebMD or thinking you are famous because you have had a viral video are a couple of ways technology neurosis manifests itself.
- Loss of Hearing and Eyesight
Using headphones and ear buds can cause people to lose their hearing over time. Likewise, straining your eyes looking at computer and device screens can cause people to need glasses much earlier in life.
Be more mindful of the time you spend using technology. If you have longer conversation your devices than you do with real people, its probably time to put the phone down. Force yourself to have an electronic free day or weekend. When you go on vacation, don’t take your phone or at least put it on “do not disturb’. Creating balance will help you enjoy the benefits of technology without becoming a mindless internet zombie.
- Category: Features
After a painstaking exercise and consultation, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) and Chief Executive of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, has unveiled an 8-point agenda covering 2015-2020.
The new vision is in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s change mantra. It is “to promote innovation, investment, competition and consumer empowerment in and on top of Communications platforms of today and the future-maximizing the power of Information and Communications Technology to grow our economy, create jobs, and enhance national competitiveness through the deployment of broadband infrastructure to facilitate roll out of broadband services that will hold out opportunities and higher network quality of service for all Nigerians.”
The 8-point pillars rest on a tripod of 'A's which include Availability of Service, Accessibility of Service and Affordability of service in line with the Buhari change agenda, an ideological shift in creation of structures for social benefits and inclusiveness for national development.
Prof. Danbatta who spoke to journalists at an International Press conference in Lagos, listed the 8-point agenda as follows:
- Facilitate Broadband penetration through provision and optimization access to and use of affordable fixed and mobile broadband in Nigeria;
- Improve Quality of Service by promoting the availability of reliable, interoperable, rapidly restorable critical ICT infrastructure that are supportive of all required services;
- Optimize usage and benefits of spectrum by maximizing availability of spectrum in order to provide diverse and affordable ICT services and ensuring that spectrum acquisition does not distort marketing competition;
- Promote ICT innovation and investment opportunities. By this, ICT innovations will be promoted in ways that improve the nation’s ability to compete in the global economy, increased investment in youth and promotion of SMEs for new business delivery breakthroughs;
- Facilitate Strategic Collaboration and partnership with relevant stakeholders to foster ICT for sustainable economic development and social advancement;
- Protect and empower consumers from unfair practices through availability of information and education required to make informed choices in the use of ICT services;
- Promote fair competition and inclusive growth by creating a competitive market for ICT services that foster fair inclusion of all actors in innovative ways that facilitate new investment, job creation and consumer satisfaction; and
- Ensure regulatory excellence and operational efficiency through effective regulatory framework, efficient processes, strict compliance monitoring and enforcement efficient management of internal resources and structure and maintain a commitment to transparency.
Danbatta said; "Wealth creation through application of human knowledge and creativity is steadily outpacing wealth creation through extraction and processing of natural resources. Knowledge has increasingly become an important means for value creation. Hence, with globalization and the technological revolution of the last few decades, knowledge has clearly become the key driver of competitiveness and is now profoundly reshaping the patterns of the world’s economic growth and activity."
He maintained that "the policy goals of the Nigerian Communications Commission recognize the immense socio-economic importance of ICTs to national development and therefore seeks to ensure that the infrastructure necessary to provide ubiquitous broadband services is available and accessible to all citizens at affordable rates. Broadband is the next frontier in the ICT industry which will help in the speedy transformation of the Nigerian economy."
Hence, he added "This Strategic Vision 2015-2020 responds to this by setting out the foundations, for future growth and competitiveness that will be sustainable and inclusive and which would address our principal societal challenges as a nation."
January 27, 2016
- Category: Features
"Passion is a gender neutralizing force ...â€
Marissa Meyer, VP Google.
This is an apt description for Mrs Mary Nma Uduma, the former Director of Consumer Affairs. A woman of substance who has dedicated most of her life to the service of the Nigerian public.
In developing this piece, naturally some research had to be done, to understand the essence of this spectacular woman. Amazingly, there was a verdict of almost 100% from everyone spoken to; on the outstanding, hardworking and committed qualities of Mrs Uduma.
She spoke to the Online Crew of The Communicator and revealed her passions, motivations, dreams for NCC and of course, life after NCC. It was privilege picking the mind of such an achiever.
- Category: Features
NCC Promises Telecom Consumers Better Days Ahead
The Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) has again assured telecom consumers that it would continue to act as a bridge between them and the operators to guarantee improved quality of service and ensure speedy response to their complaints.
Director, Consumers Affairs Bureau at the NCC, Mrs. Maryam Bayi, stated this in Ilorin, Kwara State during the 73rd Consumers Outreach Programme (COP) held at the University of Ilorin Multi- Purpose Hall.
She said the NCC is aware of the complaints and frustrations of consumers hence it is going round the country sensitizing people through the outreach programme specially designed to bring the complaints of consumers to the knowledge of operators. According to her, through the programme, operators get to know their popularity rating with the consuming publics and strive to make adjustment to ensure consumer satisfaction.
Through this effort we have compelled operators to address the series of complaints ranging from unsolicited messages, arbitrary deduction of credits, call drops and irregular network services, among others.
She said the outreach programme was established as a platform on which telecommunication consumers and service providers interact, with the regulator playing a conciliatory role.
- Category: Features
President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to splash great incentives in the path of investors in the nation's telecom market. He made the promise in Bangkok, Thailand at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Telecom World conference.
The President who was represented by the minister of communication, Barr Adebayo Shittu, said Nigeria presents the highest return on investment and urged investors to take advantage of the huge market that Nigeria offers. He listed areas of investment to include deployment of broadband infrastructure, internet provision, equipment manufacturing and assembly, content development, e-applications namely e-government, e-learning etc. He said the testimony of old investors in the Nigerian market is enough to encourage new entrants.
- Category: Features
The DPA receiving the ATCON plaque from
Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, Executive Gov. of Sokoto State
The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) at its 21st anniversary celebration in Lagos honoured the Nigerian Communications Commission with the Telecoms Merit Award. Speaking on the occasion after receiving the award on behalf of the commission, the Director, Public Affairs, Mr. Tony Ojobo who represented the Acting EVC of the Commission, Professor Umar Danbatta gave the assurance that the NCC will come up with programmes to license more spectrums for pervasive broadband deployment across the country. According to him, "this will ensure that we have enough pervasive internet penetration". Ojobo assured that the NCC will continue to implement policies that guarantee good operating environment for telecom players.
The occasion also saw the inauguration of a 49-man ‘Nigeria Telecoms Industry Advisory Council’ aimed at facilitating the growth of the industry, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports. The President, ATCON, Mr Lanre Ajayi, said that the formation of the council was a way of mobilizing the stakeholders and to generate new ideas.
“ATCON National Executive Council (NEC) approved the formation of the Telecoms Industry Advisory Council, which is a platform that brings people with deep experience,” Ajayi said. He added that the council was a combination of retired and current actors in the industry that will brainstorm on contemporary issues with the aim of guiding the industry by issuing advisory notes through the association’s NEC. According to him, the council is made up of all past Ministers of Communication (or equivalent ministries) and past Executive Vice Chairmen of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
“The council is also made up of past presidents of ATCON and 15 distinguished major actors in the Nigerian telecommunications industry,” he said.
- Category: Features
TelephonyThe Nigerian Telecommunications industry over the past decade has experienced significant growth as evidenced by the growth in the number of telecom subscriber and infrastructural development to mention a few.
- The Nigerian telecom industry in August, 2011 celebrated a decade of telecom revolution and more significantly the introduction of Global System of Mobile Communications (GSM) in August, 2001.
- Prior to the liberalization of the Nigerian Telecom industry, there were just about 508,316 lines with a teledensity of 0.45; there has however been a significant improvement as total active subscriptions as at June 2012 stood at 102,369,999 with teledensity at 73.12.
Figure 1: Trend of Total Lines & Teledensity (1999 - June 2012)
- Installed capacity as at June, 2012 was 208,659,327, while total connected lines stood at 136,041,999.
- Category: Features
We are both doing the jingles and TV adverts in our own way and on our social media platforms to putting up posters of the NCC campaign to the consumer. We also answer and reply some of our fans when they ask questions or when they want to know more about the Year of the Telecom Consumer. These are the techniques we’re using to communicate.
We are grateful and very glad that we have a body that recognises a problem and is willing to solve the problem. Many telecom users want someone to listen to them and NCC is there to listen to them. It’s really a great opportunity and a great thing that they’re using us to showcase our talent in passing across the message to consumers.
When you have a problem as a consumer in the area of unsolicited text message all you have to do is text STOP to 2442 and if you also want to select a message you want to receive or continue receiving you can also text HELP to 2442. If you do this and you’re not getting response on time you can also call the toll-free line 622 (Monday –Friday 8am-8pm) to speak to any one from NCC.
- Category: Features
When was the last time you took time off to travel with your family for the simple purpose of relaxation? I know a lot of responses wouldn't be affirmative because we barely see vacation as a necessity.
However, there is a lot to benefit from vacations as a lot of discoveries have been made that it helps help to boost both the physical and mental wellbeing.
A vacation is a specific trip or journey, usually for the purpose of recreation or tourism. Recent discoveries have shown that vacations promote creativity, a good vacation can help us to reconnect with ourselves, operating as a vehicle for self-discovery and helping us get back to feeling our best. Vacations highly promote overall wellbeing as a recent study found that three days after vacation, subjects' physical complaints, their quality of sleep and mood had improved as compared to before vacation.
These gains were still present five weeks later, especially in those who had more personal time and overall satisfaction during their vacations. Vacations can also help strengthen bonds. Spending time enjoying life with loved ones can keep relationships strong, helping you enjoy the good times more and helping you through the stress of the hard times.
In fact, a study by the Arizona Department of Health and Human Services found that women who took vacations were more satisfied with their marriages.
Amazingly, vacations could also serve a booster with your job performance. As the authors of the above study suggest, the psychological benefits that come with more frequent vacations lead to increased quality of life, and that can lead to increased quality of work on the job.
The bottom line is that taking a good amount of time away from the stresses of daily life can give us the break we need so that we can return to our lives refreshed and better equipped to handle whatever comes.
- Category: Features
All successful public relations work is built on the foundation of good working Relationships. These relationships foster trust and open communication, which are essential for good PR practice as they are key aspects of profit growth for an organization.
When working in Public Relations (PR) you will encounter a number of different stakeholders. Stakeholder management is one of the key responsibility of PR. Stakeholders are the people or organizations who may have a material, professional, legal or political interest in the activities and performance of you and your organization. There are three main types of stakeholder.
Internal: people and departments within your organization. They are your colleagues. They rely on or use the work you produce – for example, your manager is a stakeholder and other departments who require the services of the PR department are stakeholders.
External: people and organizations outside your organization. They may be Customers, clients, suppliers and other key individuals or organizations who take an interest in or are affected by your work.
Interface: stakeholders who function both internally and externally. For example, an organization with a large trade union presence or shareholders who are also employees. You may not find these in every organization.
- Corporate governance; Corporate governance is a set of rules that defines the way in which an organization operates. It is the job of internal PR to communicate to the organization as a whole what these expectations are. They should be adhered to from the Board of Directors down and should include legal and regulatory behaviours as well as corporate ethics.
Boards of Directors should lead by example and should show their stakeholders through their own actions and deeds how to behave. This ensures that all internal Stakeholders are acting with a common purpose and that external stakeholders are clear of what this is. Although in external PR, corporate governance is most often discussed as a campaign or project for a client.
- Conflict between stakeholders; Conflict can occur between internal stakeholders. Conflict in agencies may appear when different teams are working on different accounts and need the same resources at the same time. For example if teams need to use key suppliers at the same time, or if the account director is expected to be at simultaneous team launches. These are relatively minor conflicts that can be resolved easily by communicating clearly and reaching compromise. In the long term, a larger conflict may appear if one team feels that another is being favored by senior management. This is why it is important that senior management manage conflict by communicating clearly why decisions are made. Conflict between external stakeholders can also occur as stakeholders have different priorities and see projects in different ways.
- Stakeholder importance; ….Stakeholder influence on success Stakeholders can have a direct impact on the success or failure of your project. At the beginning of a project you should assess who the important stakeholders are. It is impossible to please everyone all the time, so you must assess who will have the most impact on your campaign. You may need to consider ranking stakeholders by their importance or influence on the success of a project, then dividing them into direct and indirect stakeholders.
In conclusion, it is important to have a check list in your relationship with stakeholders; When creating your stakeholder map, ask yourself the following questions to help you identify the more influential or important stakeholders.
- Who will be affected positively or negatively, and to what degree, by what you are planning to do?
- Who runs any organization with an interest in what you are planning to do?
- Who influences opinions about your project? (For example, the media, a key opinion former or an internal member of staff.)
- Are any regulatory bodies involved in what you are planning to do?
- For which stakeholders involved does the project meet their needs and interests (internally and externally)?
- Internally, who has been involved in any similar projects in the past?
- Whom do you have existing good business relationships with who might be involved in your project?
- Who has the power of veto (the final right to say no) over any given situation within your projects?
- Category: Features
Considering the pivotal role telecommunications plays in the lives and economic wellbeing of any country, no effort should be spared in protecting the infrastructure and platforms of the industry, according to Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), of the NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta.
But NCC is concerned about increasing cases of illegal sealing up of telecoms Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) across the country by various persons, including organizations, communities, agencies of the Federal State and local government at times using law enforcement officers.
Danbatta who led a team of NCC Directors and officials on a courtesy visit to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Solomon Arase in Abuja recently, lamented that apart from the actions being illegal, they also violate Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, CAP C39, laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
Sealing up of Base Stations also has its social implication that is cutting off subscribers from communicating thereby degrading quality of service, which is already a major concern.
Acts of willful destruction of telecoms infrastructure, cutting of fibre optics and general vandalism have become very worrisome, hence the proposal for the institution of a critical infrastructure law that will require the police to monitor and protect public infrastructure.
“While we seek your support for urgent actualization of this law, we wish to implore you to see to the use of the current provisions of the law to ensure that individuals found to be engaged in willful destruction of telecoms infrastructure are timely prosecuted,” Danbatta pleaded with the IGP.
Both agencies of government, recently pledged to collaborate on vital issues concerning security of telecoms infrastructure and capacity building for modern policing which the IGP, Solomon Arase, stressed, forms the bedrock of modern security practices.
While the EVC, used the opportunity of the visit to place a request list on the table of the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, which includes the intervention of the IGP in the following areas: Illegal Sealing of Base Stations, Protection of Critical Telecom Infrastructure, Stealing of Telecom Equipment, and Prosecution of Cases on Contraventions of NCC Regulations; an excited IGP lauded the role of modern telecoms in tackling national security challenges, citing kidnapping as one area where the role of GSM has been pronounced.
Explaining that over the years the telecommunications sector has grown in leaps and now forms the super structure of modern lifestyle, social and economic practices, Danbatta told Arase that except something was done urgently the adverse practices as listed above will hurt the industry and impact very negatively on life in the country
“Virtually all the financial transactions, mobile money and mobile banking are made possible as a result of the infrastructure and platforms provided by the telecom industry.
The vibrant social media industry that we are witnessing today is made possible by the platforms provided by the telecom industry. The telecom and ICT industry currently contributes about 10% to the GDP of this country. It is therefore evident that telecommunications impact positively on our lives, our families, businesses, governance, security, and even our social lives, and even in our international relations,” Danbatta explained while appealing to the IGP to help provide security for the protection of these vital facilities.
Danbatta recalled that several arrests have been made over the past two years, of those involved in either the use of pre-registered SIM Cards or those perpetrating other criminal acts. Although the Police were part of the compliance team of the Commission which carried out the arrests, most of the cases were either thrown out for lack of proper investigation or lack of diligent prosecution.
Danbatta who recently released an 8-point Agenda aimed at repositioning the telecommunications sector told the IGP that as the Commission under him was putting more emphasis on sanitizing the telecom environment and enforcing compliance to its regulations, he would need the law enforcement community, especially the police to support his efforts.
Arase who expressed the readiness of the Force to work with the Commission immediately proposed the setting up of joint teams, drawn from the Police and the Commission which will handle telecom related cases.
- Category: Features
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says provisions have been made in its 2017 budget to extend telecommunications services to additional 40 million people across the country.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, made this known in Lagos during a sensitisation workshop organised by NCC for law enforcement agencies on telecommunications issues.
Danbatta, represented by the Director of Public Affairs, NCC, Mr Tony Ojobo, said that the commission had conducted a survey, which identified about 200 communities nationwide with access gap.
He said that through the Universal Service Provision Fund (ISPF) being managed by a department under NCC, 40 million people in these areas would be covered in 2017.
- Category: Features
The EVC with some management staff of the
Commission and representatives of GSMA
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has added a hefty N70 billion to the Federation Account in the last six months, the Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, has said.
Danbatta said this in an interaction that preceded his lecture entitled: ‘Mainstreaming ICT for Poverty Reduction in Nigeria’ at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Plateau State.
According to the EVC, the first tranche of the payment was made in December for the last quarter of 2015. The second tranche of about N35bn was made in March for the first quarter of 2016. He explained that while the NCC is authorised to use a portion of the Annual Operating Levies paid by operators for running its operations, a certain proportion must be paid into the Federation Account on quarterly basis.
He also said that 40 per cent of the Annual Operating Levies paid by the telecommunications operators must be reserved for the Universal Service Provision Fund, which concentrates on bridging the gap in underserved and unserved communities in the rural and urban parts of the country.
Danbatta said service provision, especially broadband Internet among unserved communities, played a great role in poverty reduction as research had shown that access to Internet provides opportunities for people to create wealth. He was optimistic that with the new enthusiasm in the sector, Nigerians would in the coming years begin to see tangible evidence of ICT making Nigerian youths creators of wealth and jobs.
But he cautioned that investment in ICT alone was not enough for sustainable development to occur or for poverty to be eradicated, adding that successful ICT poverty reduction interventions could only be achieved with an enabling environment, participation of the private sector and non-governmental organisations, free flow of information, access to ICT by women and youths, and capacity building.
He said: “Consequently, ICTs may be regarded as an enabler of other developmental efforts and infrastructure required for sustainable development. Only a banquet of strategies duly implemented can attempt to resolve the global menace of poverty.
“The challenge for the poor is inability to access information due to inadequate infrastructure, ignorance or illiteracy. The availability of information sources for the poor should be of great concern if poverty is to be reduced.
“For most developing countries, particularly those with large populations, inadequate infrastructure has made it difficult for them to participate as equal partners in the worldwide enterprise of knowledge production and dissemination.”
- Category: Features
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta, has advocated for government to introduce Public Service Excellence Award for MDAs that excel in all spheres of their operations in order to increase productivity and efficiency. He said such initiative will be good incentives for the public sector which is under increasing pressure to demonstrate that its operations are consumer-centric and there is continuous improvement in performance.
Danbatta said this at the National Stakeholders' Conference on Public Service Delivery in Nigeria at Arewa House in a paper entitled: Evaluating the Framework for Measuring the Quality of Service Delivery in the Public Sector. He was represented by Engineer Ubale Maska, NCC's Executive Commissioner Technical Services.
- Category: Features
by Mahmood Mahmood (Policy Competition & Economic Analysis)
They never pay? Today na 28th ooo!!!
Oh boy, I don broke pieces.
These are typical ‘end of month’ conversations one would hear along the walkways of our beautiful glass house at Aguiyi Ironsi Street that overlooks the Maitama skyline. Anticipations are sky high, but so are employee debt profiles. Need I mention that these employees are often viewed by others as affiliates of a blue chip company? How is it possible to fathom they can ever be “broke to pieces”?
Typically, employees will be asking if EVC is around usually for their own selfish reasons, not so that they would walk into his office to offer him a nice drink of coffee and tell him well done for keeping things together, or simply complement him for wearing a really nice suit.
In these trying times, people are having difficulty putting money aside for their long-term benefit. Living from paycheck to paycheck is something you want to avoid, as it's a bad habit that is easy to get into. Pay yourself first because no one else will. What is the best way to do this, you ask? Take out the savings portion before you use it unwisely. Here are a couple of tips to consider when planning your long-term financial growth.
Automatic Savings PlanAn automatic savings plan to put money aside into an emergency savings account or your retirement account, on a fixed day of the month, is the best way to start. Typically, people prefer having this luxury on the same day they receive their paychecks. By growing accustomed to a saving regime, you will be able to save a reasonable amount and at the same time live a manageable lifestyle.
Getting Into The HabitWe are creatures of habit, which is why living with a reduced paycheck is not as hard as people think -- once you adjust to this way of life. And once you establish the amount you can put aside, altering your spending habits will be easy as 1-2-3.
This will also allow you to realize what kind of lifestyle you can manage and handle. Living with these reduced means is the key to your financial independence.
No one is saying that you should lead a boring life, although realizing what you can handle in relation to what you earn and what you want is essential. The easiest vice to fall into is the constant and easy availability of credit, which can be extremely damaging to your long-term financial success.
Habit Becomes Second NatureBy instilling this regime, you will realize in no time that it will become second nature and that your spending will be reduced automatically. In this scenario, your spending is now based on what you have available rather than what you are earning.
Knowing that a certain amount of money is going to be withdrawn on a certain day will make it harder to spend it on something frivolous.
Your New Exercise RegimeMaking any conscious effort to change requires discipline and time. Remember to be realistic in your savings effort and that it's a gradual process.
We always look to improve ourselves, or at least many of us do. Apply this to a new exercise program where you're looking to lose or put on weight. It is never done overnight and if it is, it's unhealthy.
Instill a pace that is manageable for your situation so it is easier to stick to. The harder you make it on yourself, the more likely you will get fed up and just continue on your downward spiral.
Let's say your goal is to put three months' worth of your income into a reserve account. It is then logical that you spend 80% of your pay while the balance would be put into a savings-type account.
You should also consider putting any surprise forms of income into the savings account, so your goal can be accomplished earlier.
Something To AchieveBy having your savings plan mapped out, it is much easier to motivate yourself. Once your spending objective is put in place, you should be on your way to a financial path that meets your needs.
- Category: Features
Meet Oscar Ekponimo, the young innovator who represented Nigeria at the ITU Telecom World 2013 in Bangkok. His innovation is an application to help humanity check wastage of food.
What area is your innovation?
My innovation is in the area of food waste reduction; using web and mobile platform. There’re six global challenges that the UN under the ITU asked young people who are working in the start-up industry and also who are proficient in technology to innovate unique solutions to solve these global challenges and one of them included food waste. According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation, FAO, a third of the world’s food is wasted in the current method of production and distribution, so how could people help organisations and nations to leverage ICT to reduce this? My solution uses a mobile platform to reduce food waste.
How it works.
It’s two sides; we have the retailers and the individuals. At the retail level what this unique mobile solution does is that it allows retail stores track their inventory that is nearing expiration. What we do is that we go around and sign up stores; those stores have this application on their apps and, whenever they have inventory that is almost expiring, an alert is triggered, when it is triggered we receive it on that platform and then we know that we need to come and get some of the food and stop it from being wasted. For example a store may have a huge stock of cereal and then 10 days to expiry of a particular cereal or product an alert is triggered, we pick it up and we serve it to the needy people. We’ll be partnering with non-profit organisations; when we gather these foods from the retailers, we give it to non-profit organisations and they distribute it to the needy people. At the individual level; you and I have xcess food in our cupboard that sometimes we don’t need. I've been able to relate personally to these experiences. In October, 2013, I travelled a lot and when I came back I realised some Quaker Oats I had left in my cupboard went dead with ants. If a unique solution like this is available we could easily donate that as individuals. How it works is that you as an individual, if you have that application running in your phone you can trigger a notification that you have excess food you'll like to donate and then we'll come pick it up. There's also an SMS server implementation for low-end phones; if you don't have high-end phones, like the smart phones, you can participate using an SMS service. If you're using a low-end phone, when you send this notification, an auto response is sent back to you and then there's an information on the closest drop off point for your donations because there’s going to be logistics issue going to individual homes to pick up donations. If you're in a city like Abuja, we could say drop it at Banex Plaza for instance.
What prompted the initiative?
I have an end in mind; I have a vision of the kind of things I want to be associated with in 10 years from now, but it's more of a personal experience, growing up between 1997 and 2004. As I was growing up my dad took ill and stopped working, there was a huge burden on the family at that time financially; a major issue at the time was food. We lived in an average home, my siblings and I but there was just no food at that time. During that period of 1997-2004 sometimes I went to school without food; I was in secondary school at that time up until 2003. Between that period I was going to school hungry and I couldn't learn; it affected my academics, so it's something I could relate with so I always said, sometime in the future I'll do something to tackle hunger and in 2009 I and a couple of my friends, we had what we called 'Blue Valentine'. On Valentine Day we went out, taking food to street kids. Again moving forward, I gained some experience in ICT. After my NYSC I've worked with the defence industry, the NIA, as a defence contractor so I built some of these skills and I looked back in retrospect to say since I have these skills I can use it to make things better.
What is your Background?
I turned 27 years in April 2013 and graduated at 24 after studying computer science at the University of Calabar.
Your target audience?
We can't solve all the problems but to me there's an entry point to everything. I thought about it from this angle, there are a lot of organisations solving problems of hunger but then, there's food still being wasted. So if we can save that food and add it to the entire food chain of people helping hungry people that are going to be a plus. That's why I didn't just stop it at reducing food waste, which is what the initial problem solving paradigm was, I extended it to the entire value chain so that when we get this food that would have been wasted, we give it to the hungry people. I will be talking to Save the Children; they're our partner non-profit organisation that will be distributing it to hungry people. And we're talking to Urban Nigeria, there're non-profit also, based in Abuja. They deal with Orphans and Vulnerable Children, OVCs. When we get products from some of these stalls we will deliver it to them and they will distribute it. We will also partner telecom operators. The plan is to have it as a home application ; like when you launch your mobile phone for example, you have some applications there. If you can have that as your home screen just as we have Eskimi and MTN online there'll be more awareness. There's another aspect which I'll be approaching them about; it's a form of CSR and by the grace of God they'll open their door. We're planning to build a revenue model around VAS. For example we distribute content for healthy food tips and then if people pay for them we would be able to split the revenue and use it for sustainability, because every business, even non-profit has to be sustainable because you can't add that value without having money to reach out to these people. There's a new paradigm in non-profit called social business. In other words if you're doing a non-profit, you can do it as a business. So you can actually solve the problem of your immediate community in terms of what you're doing and also build a business out of it. We have several models like that outside of Nigeria and this will be one of the first social businesses.
Capacity for your application …
So far, the early stages have been done; we have a prototype, and then the next phase now is going to be a private bitter testing of this of this application. I and my team will be working on the bitter testing aspect of it. After that will be the full implementation; signing up the stores and creating our user base and then we scale up, and then do sales and marketing. Which of course means that we've created awareness for this product. Of course we've tested out with our partners and retail stalls. There're a couple of medium range supermarkets in Abuja where I'm based who have indicated interest to this. Once we have that application up and running we'll begin testing with them.
Like I said, we'll start beta testing, so there're no subscriptions yet. We would be implementing cloud based servers, most likely Amazon; to launch it in the cloud and then people can download it. We will put it up on the app store for people to download. But in terms of capacity, I'm a programmer and I also have another programmer and we'll be adding one more programmer and a software engineer to the team; he will build this out. In terms of capacity still, it's really good because the resources we need basically is very cheap and doesn't really take much to do this. It just requires the time, effort, hosting fees and some tools that we need and we'll be able to roll out.
Will you sell out your application for huge offer?
If you look at the brochure where my profile is, I talked about our vision is to build a technology from Africa to the world. So I will not sell, why? because I believe it's time for African firms to contribute to the wider innovation and technology circle around the world. We should be able to walk on the streets of New York and see a high rise tower and be able to say that's an African company. We should also be able to walk in Bangkok and say that's a firm owned by an African. That can only happen if we Africans internalise. The way I've been able to even build this, previously, I tried to talk to a few people in government on some ideas that I have; the response that I get is rather negative. In fact one professor said to me, ‘hey you want to get rich quick that's why you're doing this’. You know that's the mentality.
Support from the government?
I don't want to be critical about the government so far, but I believe they can do much more. I didn't get any support thus far from the government, but hopefully they will. I've not met with the minister, I've never met her before. I submitted my work directly to the ITU; we had several judges from Red Cross, FOA, and Microsoft judging my specific application and prototype and everything I did. This was for about a month, back and forth with questions on how I was going to get things done and the building of this part of the implementation. Out of 600 entries across the world from 88 countries mine was selected for that category.
We're all products of Nigerian university, my partner studied computer science also from the University of Port Harcourt, I went to University of Calabar, the young lady who is in charge of sales and marketing studied Theatre Arts in University of Abuja.
Global competitiveness of Nigerian Universities in ICT training
From my background I'll rather relate it to my experience in computer science at the University of Calabar. Most of what I know were self-thought skills, I wouldn't say it's competitive; it's far from being competitive. The journey here and what I know; the University of Calabar I would say gave me the foundation; a building block to inspire me. But the core relevance in today's industry I got it outside. I got the inspiration while in school when I went for my IT after my second year. I went to a small digital photography firm. The owner of the place was a graduate student at Ife, so we told him we wanted to do IT and asked if we could help out with his photography business and be mentored by him. He was really excited and enthusiastic. He gave us e-books and this was far back in 2005. He set up a room for five people with computers, e-books and videos and we just learnt. He told us I can't baby-sit you if you're really motivated to do this, just learn. So we did that and on weekends we helped him snap, so this carried on from 2005-2007 and this was my starting point and after that, every other technology I learned I studied by myself.
- Category: Features
By Hafsat Lawal (PM[LGR] & NCC SERVICOM Nodal Officer)
SERVICOM is about service: “doing what we’re employed to do, Service is what we offer ourselves for, and service is what the people are entitled to expect from us.” Public service is the only contact that most people have with Government SERVICOM focuses on the quality of that contact or the lack of it.
The primary purpose of Government is to improve quality of life of citizens, to do this Ministries Departments and Agencies are established to provide services to the people. For the citizen, public institutions have a social obligation to render service and therefore have a legitimate expectation to be provided with good services without a commercial motive. Often, because of the nature of services they are meant to provide, public institutions have no real competition and the citizen has no choice but to use government services.
- Category: Features
MEANING OF A MUSEUM
A Museum can be defined as a building or place where works of art, scientific specimens, or other permanent value are kept and displayed. Telecommunications in Nigeria include radio, television, fixed and mobile telephones, and the Internet.
The development of telecommunications in Nigeria began in 1886 when a cable connection was established between Lagos and the colonial office in London. By 1893, government offices in Lagos were provided with telephone service, which was later extended to Ilorin and Jebba in the hinterland. A slow but steady process of development in the years that followed led to the gradual formation of the nucleus of a national telecommunications network.
In 1923, the first commercial trunk telephone service between Itu and Calabar was established. Between 1946 and 1952, a three-channel line carrier system was commissioned between Lagos and Ibadan and was later extended to Oshogbo, Kaduna, Kano, Benin, and Enugu; thus connecting the colonial office in London with Lagos and the commercial centers in the country with local authority offices.
Since its inception a little over a century ago, Nigeria's telecommunications system has progressed through various stages of development from the primitive communications equipment in its colonial days to the enormous variety of technologies available today.
The Commission’s museum can be located close to the library. The Commission’s Museum is an information rich environment which takes us back to the history of telecommunication in Nigeria which has helped hasten the growth of ICT in Nigeria. The NCC’s museum consists of four sections namely:
- The Postal Service section
- Telex and Telegraphs Section
- The Analogue Section
- The Digital Section
Here are a few contents of the postal service section
POSTAL OFFICE SECTION
- POSTAL OFFICE COUNTER: Post office counter is the window of NIPOST or any other postal establishment. Post office counter is where transactions are made. Example (1) Selling of postage stamps (2) Registration of letters, delivery of registered mails, etc. This wooden post office counter dates back to 1852 when postal service was introduced in Lagos by the British Government.
- DROP BAG FITTING: Drop bag fittings are well constructed metal devices fitted in mails bags where large postal packets and parcels are sorted according to their destinations. This came into use in the late 19th century.
- BALANCE SPRING SCALE: The spring scale apparatus is simply a spring fixed at one end with a hook to attach an object at the other. It works by Hooke’s Law, which states that the force needed to extend a spring is proportional to the distance that spring is extended from its rest position.
- IMPERIAL TYPEWRITER: A typewriter is a device that prints letters one at a time on paper using ink when the user presses key on a keyboard. In 1902, American inventor Hidalgo Mayo, arrived in Leicester, carrying his handmade model of what, at the time, he considered a revolutionary design of typewriter. A local businessman, Mr. J.G Chattaway, was persuaded to finance the opening of a small factory in Gaton Street, Leicester, where The Moya Typewriter Company could develop, manufacture and market their new machine.
- TELEPRINTER T1200BS: This Siemens T1200 was in use between 1986 and 1991. It also has 5 level (bit) Baudot code page printer of between speeds 50 to 100 baud (switchable). It has a matrix printer and electronic memory. It is the last ever produced teleprinter model by Siemens. These machines were built in a time where Telefax already replaced the TELEX service. It is available in two main versions.
- BINDING WIRE: This is a tapered fibre optic distribution cable that includes a plurality of drop cables having at least one predetermined breakout location where a drop cable is withdrawn from the tapered distribution cable. The drop cables are bound together to form the tapered fibre optic distribution cable by binding members or helical winding. Each drop cable contains a plurality of optical fibres which may be reconnectorized according to a user’s preferences. It was invented by Brain Herbst and assigned to AFL Telecommunications LLC. The filling in US was on August 8, 2006. The patent number is 7590320.
- UNDERGROUND CABLE ROLLER: Underground cable roller came into use in the early 20th century and it is used for installation of underground power cable or communication cables. There are different types of rollers for installation of communication or power cable in the trench, some of which are: Trench Roller, Twin Link Corner Roller, Trench Feed Roller Set, Manhole Quadrant Roller, Duct Entry Rollers and Cable Duct Protection. It is advisable that Cable rollers should always be used when pulling cables.
- DUAL BEAM SYNCROSCOPE: The dual-beam synchroscope or analog oscilloscope can display two signals simultaneously. Although multi-trace analog oscilloscopes can simulate a dual-beam display with chop and alternate sweeps, those features do not provide simultaneous displays. (Real time digital oscilloscope offers the same benefits of a dual-beam oscilloscope, but they do not require a dual-beam display).
- 5MHZ TRANSMISSION TEST TROLLEY: 5MHz transmission test trolley first used in the early 1910s is an equipment test set which is a fully programmable instrument with a bandwidth of 5MHz. The 5MHz (60m) amateur allocation spand 5 fixed frequencies and requires a NoV from the RSGB. The 60 meter band of 5MHz band is a relatively new (2002) amateur radio band that was originally only available in a few countries, such as the US, UK, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Ireland and Iceland.
- FIRST COIN BOX: This is also a telephone that requires immediate payment for operation, as by a coin or credit card. Also called pay station. Pay telephone stations preceded the invention of the pay phone and existed as early as 1878. These stations were supervised by telephone company attendants or agents (such as an employee in a hotel where a station might be located) who collected the money due after people made their calls. In 1889, the first public coin telephone was installed by inventor William Gray at a bank in Hartford, Connecticut. It was a “postpay” machine (coins were deposited after the call was placed).
- 1895’s LINE CORDED CANDLESTICK PHONE: The candlestick telephone was manufactured from the early 1890s through the 1920s. The Candlestick phone without a dial, also known as the ‘Upright’ initial became popular during the early 1900s and had many manufacturers before the introduction of the one-piece handset. The Crosley CR64 1-Line Corded Phone is one of the first Candlestick phones which were introduced when the magneto system was in use which meant that the phone was connected to a large wooden box called a subset containing a battery, bell, and crank.
- DIGITAL CARD PHONE: This is a public payphone which is often located in a phone booth or a privacy hood, with pre-payment by inserting a pre-paid telephone card, a credit or debit card, or money (usually coins). Payphones are often found in public places, transportation hubs such as airports or train stations, convenience stores, malls, casions, and on street corners.