Olongapo Telecom & Information Technology

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Congress to review telcos' franchises--Nograles

Speaker Prospero Nograles said Friday that the House of Representatives will review the franchises given to telecommunications companies to find out if they were allowed to charge subscribers for sending text messages.

Nograles, himself a habitual texter, said even the poorest Filipino household spends P25 to P60 daily to communicate wirelessly through text messages. That, he said, is roughly the cost of two kilograms of rice or 10 packs of instant noodles.

The House leader said projections that oil prices in the world market will increase even further will make life even more difficult, and "it is the obligation of the government to find every available option to help the public cope with the present economic situation."

"We have to review the specifications of their franchises. We are in the middle of a very difficult economic situation and it will be a great help if we can remove the use of SMS from their daily budget," Nograles said.

Nograles said the House may also amend the franchise of the country's telecommunications companies to compel them to stop charging their customers for text messaging.

Nograles made the remark after Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro Mendoza suggested that telcos make the short message system of SMS free of charge.

Reached for comment, Smart Communications spokesperson Mon Isberto said the company was deferring comment "pending clarification of the government proposal."

"I fully support Secretary Mendoza's proposal to make SMS free of charge. I will immediately direct our committees on franchise, oversight and on telecommunications to look into this and review the congressional franchises of these telecom companies," Nograles said.

"We have to check whether they are legally allowed to charge for text messages. If their franchise allows them to do so, we can make corrective measures and file a resolution as soon as possible for the National Telecommunications Commission to address this concern," he added.

Nograles said that he will ask the House committees on legislative franchises, on information and communications technology and on oversight to review the legislative franchises.

The Speaker is known to send his press statements and media comments via text. He started the practice when he was still majority leader of the 13th Congress and continued the habit even after he became the leader of the House.

Nograles believes text messaging has become a necessity even among the poor who rely on this technology for their day-to-day personal and business communication requirements.
By Norman Bordadora - Philippine Daily Inquirer

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Libreng text iginigiit ng Kongreso

IPINUPURSIGI na sa Mababang Kapulungan ngayon ang panukalang maging libre na ang singil sa mga Short Messaging System (SMS) o text message sa bawat mobile phone sa bansa.

Ayon kay House Speaker Prospero Nograles, inatasan na niya ang House Committee on Legislative Franchise; Committee on Information and Communications Technology and Oversight Committee para bulatlatn ang panukalang legislative franchise.

Ipinalabas ang kautusang ito ni Nograles kasabay ng pagpapalabas ng suporta sa panukala ni Transportation and Communication Sec. Leandro Mendoza para sa mga libreng text message.

“I fully support Secretary Mendoza’s proposal to make SMS free of charge. I will immediately direct our committees on franchise, oversight and telecommunications to look into it and review the congressional franchises of these telecoms companies,” sabi pa ni Nograles sa kanyang press statement kahapon.

Ayon sa mambabatas, malaking tulong sa bawat Pinoy ang nauusong ‘text’ sa cellphone, lalo na iyong mga tumatangkilik sa makabagong teknolohiya para magamit sa mga personal at panghanapbuhay nilang pangangailangan sa larangan ng komunikas-yon.

“We have to review the specifications of their franchise. We are in the middle of a very difficult economic situation and it will be a great help if we can remove the use of SMS from their daily budget,” dagdag pa nito.

Sa tantiya ni Nograles, umaabot sa P25 hanggang P60 ang nagagastos ng bawat cellphone subscribers ngayon para lamang sa pakikipag-text araw-araw. Ang halagang ito aniya ay katumbas na ng dalawang kilo ng bigas o 10 pakete ng instant noodles.

Ayon pa kay Nograles, dahil sa walang puknat na pagtaas ng presyo ng krudo at langis sa bansa, mas-yadong mabigat na para sa pasanin ng mamamayan kung pati ang mga text message ay nasisingil pa ng mga telecommunication companies.

Dahil dito, sakaling mapag-aralan ang lahat ng butas sa prangkisa ng mga telecom companies sa bansa, maaari aniyang maamyendahan ang batas para maging libre na ang bayad sa text. By: Marlon Purificacion - Journal online

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CICT proposes incentives for early IPv6 adoption

By Erwin Oliva - INQUIRER.net

Hoping to encourage local telecommunications networks and Internet service providers to move to Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) is proposing incentives to early adopters, an official said Thursday.

"As the development champion of the Cyber Corridor Super region, I am committed to encouraging the adoption of next-generation networks or NGNs and IPv6 by telecom operators and ISPs. The CICT, in coordination with other government agencies and other stakeholders, would like to see that appropriate policies, rules and regulations on NGN and IPv6 are put in place, including the possibility of providing incentives for early IPv6 adoption," said CICT director Philip Varilla, reading the speech of CICT chairman Ray Anthony Roxas-Chua III during the second day of the IPv6 Summit here.

Varilla said the CICT was "in a good position" to lead and participate in drafting a Philippine IPv6 policy with the National Telecommunications Commission and other stakeholders in the local industry.

CICT also wants to look into the country's "preparedness, and technical capabilities," as well as to determine the implications to businesses with the inevitable migration to IPv6.

The current Internet address spaces using the Internet Protocol version 4 or IPv4, is running out, experts said during the IPv6 Summit here. This spells problems for future Internet users. IPv6 is the next "language" of the Internet. The world has been using IP version 4 since the 1980s. But Internet experts are now saying that the IP addresses using this older version are almost depleted.

The Advance Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) and the Philippine Network Operators Group have set up the Philippine Open Internet Exchange to encourage more local industry and networks to move to IPv6. There are currently five local networks that have joined the Philippine Open Internet Exchange, which is the first Internet exchange in the country that supports both IPv4 and IPv6.

These local networks include Globe Telecom, Bitstop, Philcom, International Rice Research Institute and Bell Telecoms. The ASTI-run Philippine Research, Education and Government Information Network also operate on IPv6.

Varilla said ASTI has been leading the local research on IPv6 adoption in the country.

"ASTI has successfully encouraged PLDT to forge separate agreements with the organization and the University of the Philippines related to projects on rural telecommunications, mobile telecommunications, IPv6, broadband networking, toll online billing system and wireless communications," he said.

Varilla said that local telecommunications providers "have [also] started to position themselves in the path to IPV6 migration."

He cited Internet service providers and telecommunication companies like Mozcom, Globetel, Globenet and PLDT have registered with IPv6 address assignments to the Asia-Pacific Network Information Center, the country's regional Internet registry.

"We also need to pay attention to the challenges associated with this next-generation protocol. A lot of preparation needs to be done, including assessment of the Philippines' readiness to shift to this new protocol, identification of the most practical national strategy on the timing of the migration and an in-depth cost-benefit analysis," Varilla said.

More than 200 people attended the IPv6 Summit in Manila. The IPv6 Summit was organized by the IPv6 Forum of the Philippines, Department of Science and Technology-ASTI, and the Philippine Network Operators Group.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

TXTpower warns of cellphone health risks

THE cellphone you’re using may be hazardous to your health.

So warned consumer group TXTpower, whose members have raised the alarm after reports and studies showing the health risks pose by the frequent use of cellphones.

In an interview, TXTpower spokesperson Anthony Ian Cruz cited several studies here and abroad of the detrimental effects of the electromagnetic field and electromagnetic radiation emitted by cellphones.

Based on studies, Cruz said, prolonged exposure to these dangerous microwave radiations might result in brain cancer and other bodily tumors.

In some cases, experts claimed overexposure to cellular phone radiation resulted to poor sperm reproduction and even sterility, he said.

“Most of these studies remain inconclusive but there is absolutely no harm in making the public aware about these dangers. One may not know it but the gadgets we keep closely to our selves may cause problems in the future,” he added.

Children, students and young adults are likewise warned to give themselves some kind of protection from these harmful radiation.

Since these radiowaves affect some sectors of the brain, they might cause nausea and other illnesses related to memory and other brain functions, Cruz pointed out.

TXTPower is an organization of cellphone users that aims to empower Filipinos both as consumers and as citizens.

Cruz further explained that ensuring the safety of these radioactive gadgets is the primary concern of the government, particularly the National Telecommunications Commission.

“TXTpower considers safety from cellphone use as one of its primary concerns but because the government and not us consumers are duty bound to protect the public, the NTC must not be remiss in its job and it must work double time in ensuring that the cellular units being sold around have passed the required safety standards,” Cruz said.

He disclosed that the NTC has a unit that tests the radiation ratings of each handset sold in the market. By: Melnie Ragasa-Jimena Journal online

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OMB curbs RP software pirates

THE Philippines bucked the three percent worldwide increase in the piracy rate of PC software last year and registered a decline instead as a result of the intensive anti-piracy campaign waged by the Optical Media Board and other law enforcement agencies against the illegal trade in software products.

This was one highlight of a study conducted by global software industry group Business Software Alliance in cooperation with International Data Corporation, an information technology research and consultancy firm.

Based on the 3 percent worldwide increase, PC software piracy in the Philippines should have grown to 74 percent in 2007 as against the 71 percent of 2006. The country reversed this trend however, as piracy actually dropped to 69 percent.

“We are happy to see this reduction,” said Jeffrey Hardee, BSA vice president and regional director for Asia Pacific, who credits the piracy reduction to the Pilipinas Anti-Piracy team composed of the OMB, the National Bureau of Investigation and the Criminal Investigation Group-Anti-Fraud and Commercial Crimes Division of the Philippine National Police.

The OMB, which is headed by Eduardo B. Manzano, accounted for 443 or 77 percent, of the combined total of 573 raids conducted by the three agencies last year. Journal online

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Technicality may still hamper ARMM poll automation

By Dona Pazzibugan - Philippine Daily Inquirer

The planned automation of the August 11 elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) still faces a major glitch as Congress has yet to approve a special exemption that allowed the Commission on Elections to enter into negotiated contracts with voting machine suppliers.

A joint congressional oversight body has promised to exempt the Comelec from government procurement rules just so that the poll body could implement the automated elections law of 2007.

The Congressional Oversight Committee on the Automated Electoral System, however, has not yet obtained approval of such resolution from both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. reminded Senator Richard Gordon, who chairs the oversight committee, that suspending the law on public bidding needed congressional approval.

"These (bidding) requirements could not be suspended by a mere approval or recommendation of the oversight committee. There should be a law to authorize the suspension," said Pimentel.

Pimentel pointed out, however, that he had no objection to the committee's decision to waive the bidding rules in this case.

He urged Gordon and committee co-chair, Makati Representative Teodoro Locsin Jr. to immediately file the resolution so it could be approved by both chambers as soon as possible.

Gordon chairs the Senate committee on constitutional amendments while Locsin chairs the House committee on electoral suffrage and reforms.

The Comelec announced earlier this week that it had awarded contracts to two bidders to supply the voting machines.

Smartmatic-Sahi Technologies, Inc. will install a direct recording electronic (DRE) system in Maguindanao while Avanti International Technologies Inc. will provide an optical mark reader (OMR) technology for the other five ARMM provinces -- Lanao del Sur, Shariff Kabunsuan, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi Tawi.

The DRE system uses touch-screen or touch-pad technology and is fully automated, according to Smartmatic-Sahi. The OMR technology on the other hand requires voters to fill out a paper ballot which will be scanned by specially designed machines.

The Comelec has a P867.3 million budget for the automation of the ARMM polls.

Gordon welcomed the news of the award of the contracts, which he said "signals the first step towards truly modernizing our democracy."

"With computers in the precincts, our fellow Filipinos in the ARMM are assured that their votes will be counted and counted fast, possibly within the hour, and their right to choose their leaders protected," he said.

Under the current system of manual voting and counting, "it takes too long to get a result and time taken to count the votes encourages "dagdag-bawas" (vote padding and vote shaving) and other electoral fraud," Gordon added.

Pimentel shared Gordon's hope that poll automation would prevent electoral fraud in a region known for massive electoral cheating.

"Unless we use the automated election system in an actual election, we will not be able to find out its various features as well as its possible defects," he also said.

He said the success of poll automation in the ARMM would be crucial for the upcoming 2010 presidential election.

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