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Google, Facebook, and frikkin’ laser beams

Google, Facebook, and frikkin’ laser beams

I have such a complicated relationship with Google and Facebook that I sometimes find it hard to write about them. I don’t mean complicated in the sense of conflict of interest, although it is true that one of the organisations I do work for now receives funding from Google, so there is that, but what I am really talking about is

The mobile industry is broken

The mobile industry is broken

You may have seen a resurgence of news about net neutrality in the last few weeks. This is because a US court recently ruled that the communications regulator, the Federal Communications Commission, doesn’t have the power to insist that Internet service providers operate according

World at a tipping point on privacy

World at a tipping point on privacy

We are living through a privacy tipping point. Technology is changing dramatically what is possible in terms of surveillance, monitoring, persistence, analysis. We are cracking open the lid of Pandora’s Box. We still don’t really know what’s in the box. Maybe the benefits of the

Spectrum auctions for beginners

Spectrum auctions for beginners

In the previous column, I looked at the merits of licensed versus unlicensed spectrum and suggested that there might be scope for some new approaches. I’d now like to turn to licensed spectrum and the process of auctioning spectrum which has become the dominant means of assigning popular licensed

War of the worlds in spectrum licensing

War of the worlds in spectrum licensing

In a previous column, I highlighted just how complex it is to manage radio spectrum and why experts can’t seem to agree on whether we are running out of spectrum or entering an age of abundance. I finished by saying that the challenge around spectrum management is that still haven’t worked out a satisfying means of deciding who

Malawi leaps ahead with telecoms pilot

Malawi leaps ahead with telecoms pilot

Malawi is not a country that often makes the international news, particularly not in the realm of connectivity. Economically poor and landlocked, it faces significant challenges in achieving affordable access for all. Although both the incumbent telcommunications operator, MTL, and the electricity parastatal

Spectrum scarce? Not so fast

Spectrum scarce? Not so fast

Electromagnetic spectrum is the crude oil of last-mile connectivity, especially in Africa where more traditional kinds of last-mile communications infrastructure are not especially well developed. As in the oil business, anyone who has gained control of spectrum in the last 10 or 20 years

How Africa can reap the dividend

How Africa can reap the dividend

Digital divide, digital dividend, digital yadi-yadah. You would be forgiven if the term “digital dividend” didn’t immediately resonate with you given the proliferation of all things “digital” in recent years. A quick reminder then. The digital dividend refers to the

How ANC is squandering SA’s digital future

How ANC is squandering SA’s digital future

The release last week of Research ICT Africa’s report on mobile phone pricing in Africa has provoked a little controversy. The facts are quite damning. SA has some of the highest mobile costs on the continent. This is odd given the country’s comparative wealth and infrastructural advantages. By rights, SA ought to have the cheapest phone

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