RealTime IT News

International Briefs

Japanese Financial Reforms to Spur Online Information Industry
Information services companies and start-ups are rushing to exploit business opportunities after the launch of Japan's "Big Bang" financial reforms.

Fujitsu, Hitachi and NEC joined forces in March to promote a protocol for stock transactions via the Internet, anticipating that deregulation of commissions on stock trades could boost sales of the protocol to securities firms.

Wako Securities, Okasan Securities and New Japan Securities have begun joint testing of Net commerce based on the protocol.

The Japan Center for Economic Research predicts Japan's information services market, including program development and data processing, will expand about 200% to 20.64 trillion yen in 2005 from the level of 1996.

(Nikkei Weekly, Japan; April 1, 1998)

Controversial Australian TV Programme Turns to Net as Channel
With its unabashed reportage and vox-pop material on drug-taking, the Australian series "Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll" was too controversial for the commercial TV networks, the ABC and SBS.

Instead, the program will be aired on the Internet, reaching a global audience unfettered by broadcasting guidelines and programming decisions.

Internet broadcasting company Net Ventures has set up the online venue for the show, which users will tune into via a RealPlayer video streaming plug-in and a Web browser.

(The Australian; March 31, 1998)

Asian Newspaper Publishers Urged to Embrace the Internet
The U.S. newspaper industry is healthy, despite the advances of television news and the impact of the Internet, Tony Ridder, chairman and CEO of Knight Ridder, told Asian newspaper publishers at the recent Asian Newspaper Publishers Exposition.

"Nothing is more uncertain than what impact the Internet might have on our business. I would urge you to embrace the Internet, study it and experiment with it and don't leave it to competitors from other industries to figure out how to make a business using that technology," he advised.

(Associated Press; March 30, 1998)

Internet May Help Business Cooperation in the Middle East
The stalled Israeli-Palestinian negotiations may receive some help from an online database which is the focus of a U.S. Department of Commerce-sponsored conference.

The conference is part of the Middle East-North Africa PeaceNet project which studies ways to remove barriers to free trade and investment in the region and with the U.S.

Twelve attendees from Jordan, Egypt, Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza will learn about the latest networking tools. The Clinton administration arranged the meeting to help find ways of using the Internet and other technologies to foster closer economic cooperation in the region.

(Wired News; March 28, 1998)

Asia-Pacific Internet Association to Work On Bandwidth White Paper
The Asia-Pacific Internet Association, formed in May 1997 and based in Singapore, is preparing a white paper on the issue of sharing bandwidth costs between carriers in the U.S. and elsewhere.

As Internet content is no longer restricted to U.S. Web sites, ISPs like Singapore Telecom, Hongkong Telecom and KDD (Japan) are asking for a change in telecom tariffs for connections to the U.S. backbone.

(Financial Express, India; March 27, 1998)

European Tech Fair Showcases Internet Products
The 12-year old CeBIT trade show has become so big that the population of Hanover doubles from March 19-25 when the show hits town along with 7,205 exhibitors from 59 countries.

This year's show featured Internet products and services like Nortel's Digital PowerLine technology, which provides Internet access over existing electricity lines at speeds of up to 1Mb per second.

Ericsson's Concept One watch connects to PCs and picks up e-mail. Easynet and UUNET fought for more subscribers while AOL gave away free trials.

(Internet Magazine, Britain; March 23-30, 1998)

ITU Report: Global Disparity in Phone, Internet Access
Nearly half of all households worldwide are unable to afford a telephone, and one previously imagined panacea, the mobile cellular system, is still far out of their reach, according to the ITU's "1998 Report on the Global Development of Telecommunications."

Industrialised nations account for 84% of users of mobile cellular phones, 91% of fax machines, and 97% of all computers connected to the Internet.

Thailand alone has more cell-phones than all of Africa, and there are more computers connected to the Internet in Estonia than in sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa).

(Inter Press Service; March 23, 1998)