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2018

The government of Australia has introduced the new Universal Service Guarantee (USG) which is an update to the long existing Universal Service Obligation (USO). The USG which was announced on 5 December 2018 has the primary aim of ensuring that all Australians have access to broadband services. The USG assures all Australian homes and businesses of the government's commitment to provide them access to broadband and voice services regardless of their locations. The USG will leverage Australia’s National Broadband Network and the expanded mobile coverage services under the Mobile Black Spot Programme to fulfil this objective.  

The 2018 edition of World Radiocommunication Seminar (WRS-18), has been held in Geneva from 3 to 7 December.This year’s seminar focused on the regulatory aspects of the use of the radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits, in particular the application of the provisions of the ITU Radio Regulations, the international treaty that regulates the use of spectrum and orbit resources by wireless and satellite communications.

Every two years, ITU World Radiocommunication Seminars are organized, alongside Regional Radiocommunication Seminars, which are regularly held throughout the year to assist ITU Members to prepare for World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRCs). WRCs are held every four years to update the ITU Radio Regulations so as to ensure interference-free operations of radiocommunication systems and provide all countries with equitable access to the radio spectrum.

International Telecommunications Union(ITU), the United Nations specialised agency for information and communication technologies has published its 2018 global and regional ICT estimates, contained in a press release on its website.

The estimates show that by the end of 2018, 51.2 per centof the global population, or 3.9 billion people, will be using the Internet. The 2018 estimates according to Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary General, are a pointer to the great strides the world is making to build a more inclusive society. He however stressed that although the projections show that by the end of 2018, the 50/50 milestone for Internet use will be surpassed, many people around the world are still waiting to reap the benefit of the information economy.

The details of the estimates are summarised in terms of statistics here.

Cubans will now for the first time have the opportunity to access internet from their phones through commercial 3G service deployed across the island nation. This was announced on national television by the president of the state telecoms company (ETESCA), Mayra Arevich on 4 December 2018. Further details of the new 3G service contained in a press release has also been published on the ETESCA website.

The press release provided the basic mobile phone configurations and the short code for accessing the internet packages. The mass role out of the service is between 6-8 December 2018, after which new subscribers would have to ensure that they key in ETESCA’s APN in their compatible phone settings to access the 3G internet packages of their choice.  

Ofcom, the UK telecommunications regulator has by a statement released on their website on 5 December 2018  proposed BT and KCOM as the sole universal service providers in the UK.

This proposal has come up because Ofcom is responsible for the implementation of a legislation introduced in March by the UK government for a broadband universal service obligation (USO).

The USO is to to give eligible homes and businesses the right to request a decent broadband connection. The proposal will see BT as the universal service provider across the whole of the UK except the Hull area, which will be provided for by KCOM.

The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) has successfully launched its heaviest and most-advanced high throughput communication satellite named GSAT-11. The launch was made on the back of a French rocket from the Spaceport in French Guiana on 5 December 2018.

According to Dr. K Sivan, ISRO Chairman, “GSAT-11 will boost the broadband connectivity to rural and inaccessible Gram Panchayats in the country coming under the Bharat Net Project, which is part of Digital India Programme.” The Bharat Net Project is Government of India’s flagship programme that aims to enhance the public welfare with schemes such as e-banking, e-health, e-governance among others

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