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Balancing Act

Interesting stuff from:

- South African state owned telecoms operator InfraCo has appointed Mark Shuttleworth to its board.

- In South Africa, the Department of Communications is demanding that the international owners of Seacom, the US$500 million undersea fibreoptic cable project intended to link South Africa with Europe and Asia, sell equity to local companies before it can operate locally. -Balancing Act

- According to the Ethiopan paper the Daily Mirror, Cisco, was set to provide faster broadband services, free of charge, as part of efforts to curb and ameliorate the "broadband" internet connection service currently rendered by the Ethiopian telecommunication Corporation (ETC).

- Namibia plans to link up to SAT3 in Angola to avoid “unsustainable” SA transit costs

Secondary Schools to Be Networked in Bostwana
About 100 secondary schools will at the beginning of next term be linked together through the computerised school Internet connectivity project. This was revealed through a Savingram circulated to all the 235 secondary schools Head teachers in the country.

Director of Secondary Education, Bore Kgokgwe, stated in the Savingram that some preparatory work of provision of requisite communications infrastructure by Botswana Telecommunication Corporation (BTC) was completed in July this year.

The Savingram stated that the tendering process for the connectivity project covering all the 235 secondary schools was now complete. The tender according to Kgokgwe, has been awarded to Dimension Data Botswana and only the first 100 priority schools were expected to commence at the beginning of term 3 in September and be completed this December.

The connection of the remaining 135 schools, including the new Goodhope Senior Secondary School and Kauxwi Secondary School, was expected to be completed by July next year.

"Now that the tender for the supply of internet connectivity has been awarded to Dimension Data, its staff has become part of our School Connectivity Project Implementation Team together with Computer Lab Administrators at every schools and the Ministry of Education" said Kgokgwe, further revealing that "from next month until completion of the project the two lab administrators in a school are expected to work cooperatively with the rest of the team to facilitate successful implementation of the project at the school, including training."

The last deliverable for the project was on-site training on functionality of the newly supplied connectivity hardware. The hands-on training session with a Training Manual, he said, would be provided by Dimension Data staff to two lab administrators and two other relevant staff members of the school's choice.

The school heads were urged to insist on using their computer Lab Logbooks to keep track of other service providers and the rest of the team members from outside the school. School's supplies officers have also been urged to be involved at all times to keep an up to date inventory of computer lab supplies.

He said after installation, Dimension Data would provide 12-month service and maintenance of all their Internet connection equipment in the computer labs, including the aircons and equipment in the server room. "This is done to ensure that connectivity equipment is fully functional before the supplier leaves the site."

Each of the 110 secondary schools would receive two computers. The remaining 125 schools would be provided with PCs, hopefully before the end of October 2007. The IT unit is currently involved in the data cabling for administration blocks in these schools and the process is also at the tendering stage.
(Source: The Voice)

Durban's citizen-friendly, OSS site
The official website for Durban, otherwise known as the Ethekweni municipality, has undergone a facelift. The site, which switched from Microsoft to Plone roughly two years ago, has had some improvements to its design. Tectonic spoke to the site's webmaster, Angela Spencer, to find out more.

Spencer explained that the site utilised various Python-based modules for Plone. These underwent some customisation for the site, which was carried out by Durban based BEE company, Adapt IT. "All work was done locally in order to promote local economic development," said Spencer.

Examples of features on the site include the ability for residents to enter their account number and check their current water, lights and rates balances.

An exciting new feature currently being worked on is the integration of blogging functionality. Spencer said this would be up and running by the end of the year. She said they wanted to get people talking about Durban and to interact with their local government rather than merely being passive citizens.

After jokingly mentioning to her it was lucky Durban was so laid back and that such a tool would probably see much abuse hurled at government if set up in Joburg, Spencer said: "That might happen, but it is a part of democracy."
(Source: Tectonic)


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