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RealTime IT News

International Briefs

European Union to Consider Taxation of Internet Commerce
The European Commission has issued a proposal that goods and services ordered online by EU residents should be subject to value added tax (VAT).

The EU is stating that no new taxes should be applied to e-commerce activities, but that they should not escape the taxes already in place in the physical world.

The move may kick off a fierce debate between Europe and the U.S., as the U.S. government has taken up a stance calling for no taxation on the Net.

The EU is calling for global talks on this subject, using an Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) meeting in Canada in October as the starting point.

(Internet magazine, Britain; June 18, 1998)

Internet Society Conference to be Held in Geneva
International policy makers, Net pioneers and corporate executives from around the world will address the socio-economic impact and future of the Internet at INET'98, the eighth annual conference of the Internet Society (ISOC) to be held July 21 to 24 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Speakers include Vinton Cerf (co-inventor of TCP/IP); European Union representative Robert Verrue, director general of DGXIII, which is responsible for the development of the European information highways; and Jay Naidoo, South Africa's Telecom Minister.

"Network leaders and policy makers from 150 countries will come together to discuss the evolution of the Internet and its future impact on many key areas of society, from health and education to electronic commerce," said Don Heath, ISOC President.

For the first time, the workshops will be presented in four different languages at two locations: Geneva (English and French) and Rio de Janeiro (Spanish and Portuguese).

(Web Vision, India; June 22, 1998)

Number of Non-English Speaking Users Growing Fastest On the Net
Speakers with a first language other than English are the fastest-growing group of new Internet users.

If the Internet in the next century becomes more of a global mass medium, the way commerce, news, research and entertainment are presented on the Internet will have to be rethought.

One result of the shift in language could be a crack in American hegemony over Internet culture. Currently, more than half of the Internet's users--62 million people--live in the U.S., but the rate of online growth has slowed there.

(New York Times; June 18, 1998)

Research Reports Reveal U.S. Dominance Of Global Internet Market
U.S. businesses and consumers made nearly nine out of 10 of the $7.6 billion Internet purchases last year, according to International Data Corporation.

U.S. businesses account for 70 percent of Web sites and 93 percent of Web revenues, according to ActivMedia Research. U.S. online exports represent 10 percent of the Web-generated revenue stream in the U.S., according to ActivMedia.

In 2002, IDC estimates that the U.S. will account for a 64 percent share of a $333 billion market in online business. Western Europe will account for 9 percent of deals, compared with 7 percent in 1997. Asia Pacific will have 16 percent, compared with 4 percent last year.

(Financial Times, Britain; June 17, 1998)

Singapore Calls for Cheaper Internet Access Rates at APEC Meeting
At the third APEC Telecommunication Ministers Meeting earlier this month, Singapore advocated revamping Internet charge arrangements to make Net access cheaper in Asia.

Most Asian ISPs bear the full cost of an Internet connection to the U.S.

"We need to review the existing way of charging in terms of paying for the full line to the U.S.," said Cheah Cheng Poh, general manager of a Singapore ISP, CyberWay.

APEC is also exploring ways to lower Internet charges between Asian countries.

(Singapore Business Times; June 17, 1998)

Australian Telco Telstra to Test Internet Telephony Service
Australian telco and ISP Telstra is testing out an Internet telephony service to Britain over the next six months via its Big Pond network.

During the trial, 250 people from the Sydney metropolitan region will be able to make calls directly to Britain at greatly reduced prices.

Users will access the service directly from their phone. Australian ISPs Ozemail and RSL are currently offering voice over IP services.

(The Australian; June 16, 1998)

E-Commerce to be Focus of Internet Conference in Malaysia in September
"Malaysian businesses have to confront the Internet and go into the next century," according to Michael Wescott, managing director for Asia of Mecklermedia Corporation, which is organising the Internet World Malaysia (www.iworld98.com.my) trade show in September with Digital Conference Sdn Bhd.

The Internet offers a way for companies to reshape, re-engineer, and become more efficient by harnessing new resources during the current economic crisis.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz said the Internet is revolutionising Malaysia and provides various benefits and opportunities, particularly in e-commerce.

(The Star, Malaysia; June 15, 1998)

Intel to Enable Chip Sales Via Internet in Asia
Intel Asia-Pacific vice-president John Davies said the chip giant will start selling its chips via the Net in a few weeks to PC makers in Asia, like Acer of Taiwan.

Within two years, Intel aims to process most of its chip sales to PC makers via the Net. Intel also has two venture capital investments in the Asia-Pacific, including a joint venture with the Pacific Century Group which plans to deliver electronic commerce throughout Asia.

Intel's goal is to create in the Asia-Pacific 98 new electronic commerce applications this year, said Davies. Intel has software laboratories in China and India, with over 150 software professionals, to develop software for electronic commerce.

(Singapore Business Times; June 15, 1998)

Net Banking Faces Regulatory, Security, Infrastructure Hurdles in India
Rajiv Butalia, vice president (planning and resources) at IndusInd Bank in India, says the bank's Web site provides account balances, cheque book requirements, term deposit details, interest rates, forex rates and stock quotations.

But K. Seshashayi, chief general manager, systems and technology, State Bank of India, says online funds transfer will not be available in India until more secure and hacker-proof solutions are devised.

"Electronic fund transfer is governed by the Negotiable Instruments Act. The legal framework is not really developed to handle these transactions," he says. "Electronic signatures are not recognised by RBI," Butalia agrees.

(Economic Times, India; June 12, 1998)

DataMonitor Publishes Report on Corporate Internet Services in Europe
Datamonitor's report on "Corporate Internet Services in Europe" published in May 1998, provides information on the growth of the corporate Internet services market across Europe.

The number of companies accessing the Internet across Western Europe will more than double between the end of 1997 and 2000. Datamonitor assesses the number of companies across Western Europe with Internet access to have been 1.2 million at 31 December 1997.

As more and more SMEs join the major corporate companies online, this figure will rise to over 3 million in 2000. Higher bandwidth access technologies, such as Digital Subscriber Line and cable modems, will play an increasingly important part.

By comparison, services such as ISDN and low bandwidth leased lines will diminish in importance.

(Financial Times, Britain; June 10, 1998)

Survey Conducted on Internet Users in New Zealand
New Zealand Internet users are rich, over 35 and male, according to an online study conducted by Sydney-based market research group www.Consult.com.

The median age of New Zealand users is 35-39, 76 percent are male, and the median household income of users is $50,000-$60,000 per year, with 38 percent of respondents having household incomes of over $70,000.

Over 60 percent of recipients believe that Internet usage and censorship should be monitored by parents, as opposed to the government or the Internet service providers.

(InfoTech Weekly, New Zealand; June 8, 1998)

Global Sports Coverage on the Web Can Provide New Dimensions for News
The use of sports Web sites is growing at a rate of up to 700 percent a year, and the number of Internet users is growing at 300 percent, according to IBM.

"Having been around for three years now, the concept of the official event Web site is catching on," says Jose-Louis Irribarren, IBM's Internet strategies programme director.

New functions and features of online coverage have significantly enhanced the users' experience and fostered their online loyalty.

"Sports content is very suitable for delivery online," says Mark Hardie, an analyst with Forrester Research. "If you can't see the event, the next best thing is to get the very latest scores and statistics."

(Financial Times, Britain; June 3, 1998)