CANTO Weekly Newsletter – BNamericas

CANTO Weekly Newsletter – BNamericas

 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

 

Honduras to install wi-fi in phone booths – Honduras

Brief: Panama to use e-voting in 2019 elections – Panama

Brazil won’t consider repealing net neutrality – Brazil, Regional

CES starts to heat up with screens, phones and cars – Regional

Costa Rica launches tender for digital inclusion program – Costa Rica

Honduras to install wi-fi in phone booths – Honduras

Honduran state-run telco Hondutel plans to install wi-fi spots in public phone booths across the country.

Initially, the deployment will be in commercially strategic areas in the country’s capital Tegucigalpa, reported local dailies.

The telco is conducting studies to identify the most used phone booths in the city so these can be upgraded.

Most phone booths are located near places such as public hospitals, schools, and universities.

Public telephony has nationwide coverage and yields monthly revenues of 160,000 lempirias (US$6,800). Hondutel reported profits of 28.6mn lempiras between January and August of last year.

The company is seeking to increase its broadband customers amidst a shrinking mobile telephony subscriber base.

Brief: Panama to use e-voting in 2019 elections – Panama

Panama will implement partial e-voting for the presidential elections in May 2019, according to Panamá América.

Electoral authority Tribunal Electoral has implemented an e-voting station for training purposes.

Countries in Latin America that use e-voting include Mexico, Peru, Brazil and Venezuela, the latter two being the only ones where it is mandatory.

Panamanian nationals living abroad have been able to vote online since the presidential and legislative elections in 2014.

Brazil won’t consider repealing net neutrality – Brazil, Regional

The Brazilian government is against revising the network neutrality rule and will oppose any movement made by the telecom industry to loosen it.

Speaking to Brazil’s Folha de São Paulo paper, the country’s science, technology, innovation and communications minister Gilberto Kassab said that the defense of net neutrality was a Temer administration position – and a personal view.

“It’s a government position. We are against [unwinding it]. I am personally against it. Brazil is not prepared for this discussion. There won’t be any political initiative in this sense,” Kassab was quoted by the paper as saying.

Network neutrality prevents internet service providers from discriminating between types of traffic or interfering with access to content and applications – such as charging more from users for certain accesses.

On December 14, the US telecom regulator FCC, headed by President Donald Trump’s appointee Ajit Pai (pictured), repealed Obama-era net neutrality regulation, handing the broadband and wireless industries a big victory.

Brazil enshrined the net neutrality concept on its internet bill of rights known as Marco Civil da Internet, enacted in 2014 and which entered in full effect in 2016 with a decree from then-president Dilma Rousseff, before she was removed from office and replaced by her VP, Temer.

Soon after the FCC decision, Brazil’s foreign affairs minister Aloysio Nunes wrote on Twitter. “The repeal of net neutrality in the United States hurts one of internet’s most important principles: freedom of connection. Thankfully, in Brazil, Marco Civil da Internet protects us from such measures!”

On the heels of the US movement, though, Brazilian telcos were said to be getting ready to press Temer to revise Rousseff’s decree.

Questioned by BNamericas on the occasion, the local telcos associations Sinditelebras declared they would not comment on the FCC decision.

In a statement, the president of the Brazilian chamber of electronic commerce (camara-e.net), Leonardo Palhares, said that repealing net neutrality was a setback because internet equality is essential in developing a digital economy.

Minister Kassab seems to agree. “This is not the time to discuss neutrality or not. It’s time to expand the internet. This [end of neutrality] will be for the next generations,” he was quoted as saying.

CES starts to heat up with screens, phones and cars – Regional

Though just kicking off, there are early indications of what are going to be the most talked about technologies at this year’s Consumer Electronics’ Show (CES), namely smart cities, artificial intelligence, robots and automated cars.

ROLLABLE SCREEN

LG Electronics may have already stolen the show with its 65-inch rollable 4K screen. Created using OLED display technology, which allows for a wide range of colors and better contrast, the screen also boasts Ultra HD resolution.

Samsung also debuted with a so-called modular TV, a 146-inch display made up of micro LEDs. The company says that in the second half of 2018 it will release an 8K QLED TV that uses artificial intelligence to adjust the screen resolution based on what is being shown.

Nvidia announced it will bring out in 2018 65-inch Format Gaming Displays, which will support 4K. Manufacturing partners include Asus, Acer and HP.

LAPTOPS/TABLETS

Dell announced its XPS 13 laptop, which comes with Intel’s latest generation of processors and a 4K screen.

LG also announced its new line of Gram laptops in three different screen sizes, while Samsung upgraded its Notebook 9 and 7 ranges.

Acer has launched the Swift 7, which it claims is the thinnest laptop in the world at 8.98mm.

SMARTPHONES

Sony announced two new mid-range smartphones; the Xperia L2, XA2 and the Xperia XA2 Ultra. The phones feature a 23MP rear camera with the XA2 Ultra being dubbed a ‘selfie’ phone with an 8MP wide-angle front facing camera. The trio see Sony introducing fingerprint scanning technology and a Snapdragon 630 processor.

CHIPS

Intel has announced CPUs that feature AMD Vega graphics. The new chips are designed to bring improved gaming to a number of portable laptops.

CARS

The fact Ford’s president and CEO Jim Hackett will deliver the Tuesday keynote is indicative of the importance of automated cars. His speech will address mobility solutions and the need for smarter cities to accommodate them.

Mercedes Benz will unveil its new infotainment system dubbed MBU.

Nissan’s brainiacs will show off a new technology that the company says will be able to interpret signals from the driver’s brain for more immediate response times.

Honda is due to unveil on Tuesday its new 3E Robotics Concept to assist people in disaster recovery, recreation, and learning, with improved human interfaces.

Costa Rica launches tender for digital inclusion program – Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s telecom regulator Sutel launched a tender to provide internet and telephony services in 24 indigenous territories in the country.

The project, which is being administered by national telecommunications fund Fonatel, requires investment of US$103mn.

The initiative will benefit some 42,000 people, according to Sutel. In addition to providing telecom services, the project will deliver free connectivity to education and health facilities, Cen-Cinai nutrition centers, and smart community centers.

Local households will also receive benefits from other social inclusion programs, such as computers from the Hogares connectados household connectivity program.

Sutel will receive technical and economic proposals until May 31. The regulator will proceed to assess the offers and award a contract 45 working days later.

More information is available at Sutel’s portal.

The information presented and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of CANTO and/or its members