International Briefs

Indian ISP Embroiled in Internet Telephony Controversy

Indian monopoly Internet service provider Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (VSNL), which is also India’s monopoly international telecom carrier, is blocking Web sites that offer Internet calling, and has threatened to cancel users’ Internet accounts if they make calls or send faxes via the Internet.

Activists have petitioned the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India demanding that VSNL stop blocking the Web sites.

VSNL Chairman B.K. Syngal said Internet telephony could disrupt India’s Internet service if allowed to go on unchecked.

Some Internet telephony companies are not amused. “It reminds us of things that happened before the Berlin Wall fell,” says Ohad Finkelstein, a vice-president at Israeli company VocalTec, whose sites are being blocked from Indian Internet users.

(Business Week; May 11, 1998)

Australian Report: Internet Business Education is a “Survival Issue”

Small business groups and industry associations should be “carpet-bombed”
with information about electronic commerce, according to James Crawford,
author of a report called “Networked Enterprises Web Strategy” prepared for
the Australian government.

Countries and companies that fall behind in e-commerce are in danger of becoming uncompetitive as e-commerce is expected to grow rapidly.

“It is a survival issue,” he said. Security and privacy concerns over e-commerce should be addressed within a year, said Crawford.

(Australian Financial Review; May 12, 1998)

IBM to Spend US$150 Million in Asia for E-Business Push

IBM plans to spend US$750 million globally this year to market and
advertise the fact that all its products and services have been Internet enabled.

About 20 percent of that expenditure–$150 million–has been set aside
for pushing its electronic-business focus in the Asia-Pacific alone.

senior vice-president and software group executive, John Thompson, said
this market would balloon to a massive US$625 billion in the next two

“The market for network computing is growing at 21 percent per
annum and by 2000, will form 50 percent of all corporate IT spending,” said Thompson.

IBM’s new range of Web-based software products, called WebSphere, is
scheduled to debut commercially late next month.

(Singapore Business Times; May 11, 1998)

Coopers & Lybrand Launch Special E-Business Unit in New Zealand

Financial services firm Coopers & Lybrand has established an electronic
business team to help clients looking for more ways to make customer

New Zealand businesses want to be more efficient, and the
Internet and related systems are a good vehicle, according to Martyn Halsall,
Coopers & Lybrand information services practice partner in Auckland.

The firm is looking at how companies can integrate back and front office
functions with suppliers as well as customers.

(InfoTech Weekly, New Zealand; May 11, 1998)

Worldwatch Report Addresses Economic, Environment, Information Issues

“The world today is economically richer and environmentally poorer than
ever,” said Lester R. Brown, president of Washington-based Worldwatch
Institute, which recently released its “Vital Sign 1998” report.

The most
striking data may be in the field of communications: the Internet is more
than doubling in size each year for the past decade, telephone lines are
increasing 7 percent a year to more than 749 million in 1996, and cellular
phones are making spectacular gains, particularly in less developed countries.

(Associated Press; May 9, 1998)

Yahoo! and AltaVista Launch Asian Engines

Yahoo! and AltaVista have announced double byte Asian language versions of
their popular Internet search services.

According to Digital, 30 percent of
documents on the Web are in languages other than English.

Yahoo! founder Jerry Yang last year criticised the Chinese Internet industry for its lack of content. He indicated that a Chinese Yahoo! would target overseas users in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Asian translation on the
AltaVista site, unlike the European version, may not be added any time soon.

(Web Vision, India; May 15, 1998)

Netscape Courts European Business Market

The readiness of European companies to allow business critical applications
over the Internet is being featured in a new IDC report titled “New
Frontiers for Mission Critical Applications in Europe,” commissioned on
behalf of Netscape.

The report states that 61 percent of the 250 large
firms surveyed do expect to move from first generation use of intranet
architectures as communications tools to more business critical
applications, and then on to e-commerce through increasing use of Extranets.

Netscape’s ECXpert 1.1,the latest version of Netscape’s commerce exchange
software, enables business-to-business transactions over the Internet and
EDI networks.

(Financial Times, Britain; May 6, 1998)

Web Sites Struggle to Dominate Coverage of Sports in South Africa

A quiet battle has broken out for the soul of South African sport on the

The competition includes Web sites with news, chat, information resources,
and sometimes live coverage, such as the MTN National Golf Network, Cricketnet, Soccernet, and Rugbynet.

An interesting perspective on the battle
between all these sports sites can be obtained at LiveAudit where WebSA
allows any Web site to register for its online page impressions auditing

(Weekly Mail and Guardian, South Africa; May 6, 1998)

Survey: Almost One-Third of Britain’s Children Have Used the Net

According to a survey of a thousand children in Britain conducted by NOP
family, a division of pollsters NOP Research, almost one third of British
children aged 7-16 have used the Internet at least once, and their growing
familiarity with the online world may be helping to drive demand for
computer equipment among their parents.

More than 40 percent of young
users said they had visited educational sites online and half said they had
used the net to find information for school projects or homework.

One fifth
of those surveyed had used the Internet as a dictionary or encyclopedia,
while one in ten said they had used it as a source of information on news
and current affairs.

(Financial Times, Britain; May 5, 1998)

Japanese Trading House Ventures Into Broadband Internet Services

Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation is launching a new business supplying network
content to cable-television operators who plan to offer Internet
connections to their subscribers.

Sumitomo will produce, edit and package
Internet content and regional information that the cable operators can use
to differentiate their services from that of conventional providers of
Internet service.

Services offered include Internet banner advertising and
management of content copyrights. Targeted areas include movies, music,
travel and events.

Twenty eight companies in Japan are entering the Internet cable-TV

(Nikkei Weekly, Japan; May 4, 1998)

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