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World Economic Forum report on data collaboration for the common good

In collaboration with McKinsey and Company, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has published the ‘Data Collaboration for the Common Good: Enabling Trust and Innovation Through Public-Private Partnerships’ report. It identifies ‘systemic lack of trust’ among stakeholders as one of the main obstacles to ensuring inclusion and resilience as the global economy moves through the fourth industrial revolution. Therefore, the reports sets out to provide a governance framework focused on building trust among stakeholders and achieving ‘impact for a shared digital future’. Data innovation, stakeholder alignment, and economic sustainability and scalability, are some of the main instruments mentioned in the report. They are seen as crucial for achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The report concludes that advancing the collaborative public-private data life cycle will enable faster decision-making during humanitarian crises, better insights of SDGs indicators and help solve global health and poverty challenges.​

DIGIT act reintroduced in the US Senate

According to publication, the Developing and Growing the Internet of Things (DIGIT) Act was reintroduced at the US Senate, by senators from both parties. The bill focuses on ensuring the prioritisation; spectrum planning, and interagency co-ordination to support the growth of Internet of Things (IoT). If enacted, the bill would assemble a working group of federal entities and private sector stakeholders tasked with providing recommendations to Congress on how to promote the growth of IoT. The bill has the support of several groups, including the US Chamber of Commerce, the Competitive Carriers Association, the Consumer Technology Association, Intel, the Information Technology Industry Council, the Telecommunications Industry Association, and the Center for Data Innovation.

Cook Islands telecom policy promises affordability

The government of the Cooks Islands has made a call for submissions on its draft Telecommunications Market Competition Policy 2019 which has the prime objective of ensuring that there is competition and liberalization of the telecom sectors in the Cooks Island in a manner that drive down costs to the consumers and also ensure that companies deliver their equitably to all parts of the Islands. In a news report in the Cook Islands News, deputy Prime Minister Mark Brown, in throwing more light on the draft Policy said the it is the government’s commitment of ensuring affordable and quality telecommunications and Internet service for all Cook Islanders.

Portugal uses AI platform to boost exports

AICEP, Portugalia's state agency for the promotion of exports and investment, launched an artificial intelligence (AI) platform to help companies boost their exports. The platform – Portugal Exporta – uses machine learning, big data, and design thinking to deliver customised services to companies, including matching with investors, information on potential partners, and internationalisation plans. Authorities argue that Portugal Exporta will be able to serve all Portuguese companies involved in exporting activities, as the overall goal is to enhance the country's exports to 50 of the gross domestic product by 2025.​

Uganda: Driving inclusive socio-economic progress through mobile-enabled digital transformation

The GSM Association (GSMA) released a report on mobile-enabled digital transformation in Uganda in co-operation with the government of Uganda and a number of international development agencies. The report was launched during a high-level round table that examined how Uganda could advance the national and global sustainable development agenda through mobile-enabled digital transformation. The report was accompanied by a draft action plan to be implemented during the next two years which highlights several mobile-enabled activities that would overcome some of the local challenges across different sectors and hence progress development goals. There are five areas where mobile technology is impacting Uganda: (a) productivity and efficiency, (b) service delivery, (c) good governance and social justice, (d) climate change and the environment, and (e) digital entrepreneurship and emerging technologies. The study notes that three key mobile services, namely connectivity, mobile money, and cellular Internet of things (IoT), are driving digital transformation in Uganda through supporting the priority areas in the national development plan and achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs). Yet, more co-operation among stakeholders is still required to improve digital and financial inclusion to underserved communities and further promote mobile-enabled solutions in the Ugandan national development plan.

ESCAP delivers new technologies for development training in Asia-Pacific

The ‘Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) Policies for Sustainable Development in the Fourth Industrial Revolution’ workshop from 18-22 March 2019 held in Sejong, Republic of Korea was organised by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). The workshop included a training for government officials and non-profit professionals from 10 Asia-Pacific countries on how to use new technologies, i.e. artificial intelligence (AI) and biometric recognition, to promote sustainable development. The workshop, which was organised in partnership with the Republic of Korea’s research institute, the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI), and the Asia-Pacific Research and Training Network on STI (ARTNet), addressed the potential of new technologies’ use by governments to improve public service delivery and enhance citizen engagement. During the workshop, ESCAP launched a report on Evolution of Science, Technology and Innovation Policies for Sustainable Development: The Experiences of China, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Singapore which provides  comparative analysis of STI policies in four countries with special focus on how they promote economic growth and progressed to integrate social and environmental concerns. ‘In a world of rapid technological transformation, the capacity of governments to leverage innovation for sustainable development and mitigate against risks is a key element for future prosperity. This report and training will help our member States to understand and prepare for these technological changes,’ said Head of the ESCAP Subregional Office for East and North-East Asia Ganbold Baasanjav.

Uber pays more than 2.3 million for violation of the Taxi Act in the Netherlands

The ride-hailing company consented to pay a fine of € 2,3 million to settle charges concerning past violations of local laws in the Netherlands. When UberPop operated in the country, between July 2014 and November 2015, it allowed its drivers to provide transportation services without a proper license. Local taxi laws require private transportation services to have a taxi license. The Dutch Public Prosecution Service (DPPS) announced that Uber International BV, Uber Netherlands BV, Uber BV and Rasier Operations BV agreed to pay the amount. In addition, the person responsible to start Uber’s operations in the Netherlands had to perform community service penalty. The DDPS believes that a Court would have decided in the same way of settlement terms.

ISPs now required to provide minimum broadband speed guarantee - or customers can leave penalty free

Ofcom, the UK telecom regulator has introduced a new code of practisewhich requires Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to provide their users with a minimum expected broadband speed, failure which the customers can leave the ISP penalty free if the service is not improved within a month. 

The code of practise which came into force on 1 March 2019, although not binding has been signed by key players such as BT, EE, Plusnet,  Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media. This minimum speed guarantee is applicable to ADSL broadband, fire-to-the-cabinet and cable services. There is also a requirement for the providers to give customers realistic speed estimates for peak times, which are defined as between 8pm and 10pm for home users and between 12pm and 2pm for businesses. This will help the customers to better measure their expectations.

FCC loses in court: judges overturn gutting of tribal broadband program

According to a report, a federal appeals court on 1 February overturned the decision by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to take broadband subsidies away from tribal residents. The broadband subsidies allow residents to obtain a US$25-per-month lifeline subsidy that reduces the cost of Internet or phone service. The FCC’s decision reached by a vote of 3 to 2 in November 2017, could not be implemented due to a stay order issued by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in August 2018. The follow-up ruling by the same court has now effectively halted FCC’s plans.

Consumers switch broadband ISPs for savings and faster speeds

The top reasons why UK residents switched their broadband Internet Service Provider (ISP) in 2018, were to save money (29.9%) or get access to faster speeds (25.4%), while 18.3% simply sought better internet quality. This was discovered from the results of an online survey of 1,380 ISPreview.com.co.uk readers, which was conducted between 16 November 2018 and 2 January 2019.

The outcome of the survey according to the report is not different from those of previous years, with broadband speed, price and service quality continuing predictably to be the motivator for people changing their ISP.

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