Following an outcry by legislators and the public, Costa Rica’s Telecommunications Superintendency (SUTEL) denied Thursday that it hired an ad agency to sell Internet customers on a new billing method. The method would charge customers based on the amount of transferred data rather than connection speed.The public bid for the contract — granted to Edilex Asesorías Periodísticas S.A.— asks the firm to design a communications strategy for SUTEL to help it overcome what officials believe are “misinterpretations from customers” about the proposed change in rates.Last year SUTEL paid Edilex ₡12 million (some $22,000) in a separate contract for public relations advice prior to a public hearing where the change in rates was to be discussed. In total SUTEL would have paid Edilex ₡25.3 million (some $46,800) for both contracts.The second contract included analysis of news stories published or aired on local media, as well as advice on managing media relations and social media, and on handling any public opinion crises.Several lawmakers criticized SUTEL’s PR outsourcing at Thursday’s session at the Legislative Assembly.SUTEL said in a news release that results from the first contract with Edilex would be used to design an informational campaign, so that people attending public hearings about the rate method change can be well informed about the proposal. The agency said the contract did not include a mass media campaign to promote the new rates model and was not aimed at legislative lobbying.The public hearing at SUTEL was to take place on Oct. 28 last year, however the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala IV, suspended the event after admitting a complaint filed by Christian Democratic Alliance lawmaker Mario Redondo. Following the admittance of Redondo’s complaint, Sala IV also received two more complaints filed by citizens.SUTEL’s initiative, now awaiting the Sala IV’s rulings, would have mobile Internet rates billed according to the amount of transferred data, at ₡0.0075 per-kilobyte downloaded. Currently, customers pay a fixed rate for a certain connection speed, regardless of the amount of information they transfer. Facebook Comments Related posts:Supreme Court’s Constitutional Chamber suspends public hearing on proposed changes to mobile Internet rates Telecommunications regulator proposes lifting phone, internet rate controls Supreme Court’s Constitutional Chamber to hold hearing on proposed mobile Internet rate changes Court orders new hearing to discuss proposed changes in mobile Internet rates
Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) and Reed Travel Exhibitions (Reed) will continue their strong partnership and have renewed their commitment to the region’s leading business events trade show, the Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME) for a further three years – until 2018 – with management contracts signed this week.The agreement signifies the commitment of MCB, owners of AIME, and Reed, organisers of AIME, to shape their shared strategic vision for the show which has been further developed with industry stakeholders over many years.Mr Nick Pilbeam, Divisional Director, Reed, and Ms Karen Bolinger, Chief Executive Officer, MCB, are excited by the possibilities that this multi-year partnership will generate.Mr Pilbeam says that Reed, as the world’s leading exhibition organiser, with a strong portfolio of 23 travel trade events in 15 countries including AIME, is well placed to take this important trade show to the next level.“We know this show inside out and we are thrilled to continue to work with one of Australia’s leading Bureaux; one that is so deeply committed to the business events industry.“AIME is a prestigious event that brings local and international visitors to Melbourne every year to learn, share and grow, and we are dedicated to its continued success,” said Mr Pilbeam.Ms Bolinger says AIME is entering a new era, one that will see collaboration and inspiration re-invigorate the whole experience for attendees and stakeholders, and one made possible in part by the knowledge and history brought to the table by the team at Reed.In addition to the fruits of this partnership, AIME 2016 will see the realisation of feedback, learning and inspiration from the newly appointed advisory board, tasked with shaping the vision of the show and setting the agenda for the 24th year of AIME.AIME 2016 will be held in Melbourne, Australia, 23 – 24 February.Source = Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo
Leveraging their recent successful campaign showcasing the country’s aquatic and coastal experiences, Tourism Australia has begun a fresh phase of its marketing initiatives across the television, digital and print platforms. At the helm of the campaign is a Television Commercial (TVC) which features a montage of stunning locales, scenic coastline and incredible tourism experiences down under.The TVC showcases the Great Barrier Reef, Kangaroo Island, Great Ocean Road, Sydney Harbour Bridge and much more with the visuals highlighting the beauty and natural landscape of Australia. The commercial is all set to be rolled out across 30 television channels including English entertainment, infotainment, lifestyle, news and select Hindi general entertainment channels.In addition to television, high impact advertisements will be also featured in the print space in collaboration with key distribution partners, including SOTC, Mercury Travels, TUI, Flightshop, D Pauls, Kulin Kumar Holidays, among others. Another major focus of the campaign will be on digital, consisting of regular display ads and content, with aspirational destination imagery and creative renditions, all inviting travel enthusiasts to book a holiday to Australia.Nishant Kashikar, Country Manager – India & Gulf, Tourism Australia, said, “Our latest campaign showcasing Australia’s aquatic and coastal scenery has truly captured the attention of the Indian traveller and reaffirmed our research indications that international visitors enjoy our aquatic or coastal environments in some way– from snorkeling to simply going to the beach. In our upcoming marketing activities, we will leverage uniquely Australian experiences to entice more travellers to choose Australia as their next holiday destination.”For the year ended (YE) December 2016, Australia welcomed 259,900 Indian visitors, recording a growth of 11% over 2015, making India the ninth largest inbound market for Australia. For YE September 2016, Indian visitors contributed over A$ 1.15 billion to the Australian economy which was an increase of seven percent over the previous year. Indians spent over 14 million visitor nights in Australia for YE September 2016, an increase of seven percent over the same period the previous year.
He signed with the Oakland Raiders in the offseason.— Kevin ZimmermanRyan SwopeAn all-state running back in high school, Swope was known for having standout athleticism with reliable hands.Catching balls from Ryan Tannehill and Johnny Manziel in his last two seasons at Texas A&M, Swope is the school’s all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards.His 4.34 40-yard dash tied for second in 2013 among wide receivers, failing to beat out only Tavon Austin and Marquise Goodwin. He also put up an impressive 37-inch vertical and the best three-cone drill of Keim’s draftees at 6.76 seconds (tied with Budda Baker).Drafted by the Cardinals in the sixth round, Swope had to retire three months after being selected due to ongoing concussion issues.As of February 2017, Swope has been working in real estate.— Kellan OlsonJohn BrownProjected (at least by NFL.com’s profile) to go undrafted out of Pittsburg State in 2014, Brown showed out with a 4.34 40-yard dash. That fell short of only Dri Archer and Brandin Cooks in the class.Perhaps that skyrocketed his draft stock. Arizona picked Brown 91st overall (third round) and saw that speed translate to the NFL. 6 Comments Share Top Stories Brown caught five touchdowns and was targeted 103 times for 696 yards as a rookie, then became a 1,000-yard receiver his second season in 2015. Health problems related to a sickle cell trait hampered Brown in 2016, and that lingered into 2017 as other minor injuries limited the speedy wideout.Brown signed with the Baltimore Ravens last offseason, where he got back to a solid level of play. He caught 42 passes for 715 yards and five touchdowns for the Ravens.The Buffalo Bills added Brown in free agency.— Kevin ZimmermanT.J. LoganLogan’s 4.37 mark was the best at the 2017 combine among running backs and the sixth-best overall.The time is tied for the ninth-fastest 40-yard dash for a running back in combine history.The Cardinals selected Logan in the fifth round at No. 179 overall, eyeing him as the team’s potential new return man with upside for more.Logan, though, never got a chance to fight for playing time his rookie year after he suffered a dislocated wrist and missed the entire season. He played in 10 games last season, factoring in mostly on special teams.— Kellan Olson The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Maybe the NFL Scouting Combine doesn’t give a full glimpse of football skills. It’s probably more important for teams to focus on interviews and medical evaluations before they get caught up in the physical testing.But if we’re going to consider history, the Arizona Cardinals sure like picking combine stars in the 40-yard dash, especially under the leadership of general manager Steve Keim.Here are five notable combine stars that Arizona ended up drafting, including the most recent to start. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Alabama Birmingham wide receiver J.J. Nelson runs the 40-yard dash at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) Andy Isabella(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)Isabella tied for the third-fastest 40-yard dash time at the 2019 combine and tied for the quickest among wideouts with a 4.31.Related LinksFrank Caliendo sent Steve Keim fake trades via Jon Gruden impressionCardinals loved work ethic, speed of receiver Andy IsabellaOne of the three pass-catchers drafted by Keim in 2019, Isabella was selected at No. 62 overall in the second round, the pick Arizona acquired from the Miami Dolphins in the Josh Rosen trade.Isabella led all NCAA receivers with 1,698 receiving yards last season and tied for the fifth-most TDs with 13.“We’re extremely excited about him,” Keim said of Isabella. “He brings a different skill set that we don’t currently have, which the footspeed and the explosiveness to take the top off.”— Kellan OlsonJ.J. NelsonNelson’s 4.28 40-yard dash was the fastest run in the 2015 combine.Related LinksFrank Caliendo sent Steve Keim fake trades via Jon Gruden impressionCardinals loved work ethic, speed of receiver Andy IsabellaThe receiver out of Alabama-Birmingham weighed in at just 156 pounds, but his frame proved functional in flashes over his four seasons with the Cardinals. In both 2016 and 2017, Nelson had over 500 yards receiving, including six touchdowns in 2016.Drops, though, became a concern with Nelson and in 2018 he was phased out of the offense with only seven catches in 14 games.
Travelodge 2 milesFree parking onsite, bar cafe, WiFi, early check in, late check out3pm12pm Holiday Inn Express 0.5 milesParking, connecting rooms, wake up calls, restaurant and bar, WiFi2pm11am Premier Inn (Newbridge)2.9 miles Free parking, restaurant, free WiFi, family rooms2pm12pm Here are some of our top picks for places to stay near Edinburgh Airport RelatedAberdeen Airport HotelsWhether you have an early departure or a late arrival, a night in an airport hotel in Aberdeen can really help take the stress out of travel.Dublin Airport HotelsWhether you have an early departure or a late arrival, a night in an airport hotel in Dublin can really help take the stress out of travel.Manchester Airport hotelsSearch and book a hotel near Manchester Airport. At Skyscanner we take away the hard work by comparing hundreds of hotel prices so you get the best deal on your airport hotel. Double Tree Hilton 0.4 milesComplimentary 24-hour shuttle service, WiFi, parking, pool, fitness studio, 24 hour room service, restaurant3pm12pm Hotel Distance from airport FacilitiesCheck in timeCheck out time What is the nearest hotel to Edinburgh Airport?The nearest hotel to Edinburgh Airport is the DoubleTree by Hilton Edinburgh Airport. The hotel is located only 0.3 miles away from the airport, making it an ideal option if you are arriving late or departing early. Edinburgh Airport hotels with parkingAirport parking can be costly, luckily there are a lot of airport hotels that offer park and fly deals that are a lot cheaper. The Holiday Inn Express Edinburgh Airport is a great option as it offers parking on site and is located only half a mile away from the airport. Edinburgh Airport hotels with a shuttle busAirport transfers can be the stressful part of any holiday, this can be avoided though with a stay in an airport hotel. The majority of Edinburgh Airport hotels offer transportation to and from the airport. The Travelodge Edinburgh Airport is a good choice, located only 1.5 miles from the airport they offer an airport shuttle to their guests for a small fee. Search airport hotelsLooking for more information on airport hotel options? Take a look at our top choices: Manchester Airport HotelsBirmingham Airport HotelsDublin Airport HotelsLiverpool Airport HotelsGlasgow Airport HotelsBelfast International Airport HotelsGatwick Airport HotelsHeathrow Airport HotelsSkyscanner is the world’s travel search engine, helping your money go further on flights, hotels and car hire.ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map
Categories: News 11Sep MacGregor, House honor first responders during third annual 9/11 ceremony The Michigan House of Representatives today conducted its third annual 9/11 memorial service, state Rep. Peter MacGregor announced. The House honored the eight military members and first responders from Michigan who lost their lives in the line of duty in the past year and also commemorated the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.State Rep. Peter MacGregor (right) attends the third annual 9/11 ceremony held by the Michigan House of Representatives along with his guest Roger Morgan, Kent County Commissioner and CEO of Rockford Ambulance.MacGregor was joined in the House chambers by Roger Morgan, Kent County Commissioner and CEO of Rockford Ambulance.“It is always a privilege to take part in this ceremony,” MacGregor said. “As someone who understands emergencies and what first responders go through, it was great to have Commissioner Morgan join me today in honoring these brave men and women.”The event included an invocation by Rep. Bruce Rendon, the presentation of the colors and acknowledgment of all first responders and their families in attendance.“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of these fallen first responders and military,” said MacGregor, R-Cannon Township. “Their sacrifice will not soon be forgotten.”###
06May Rep. Schmidt resolution designates May as Bike Month in Michigan Cycling healthy for MichiganState Rep. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, today introduced a resolution declaring May 2014 as Bike Month in Michigan.Schmidt introduced the resolution to recognize the diverse riding options available to cyclists across the state as well as to promote the importance of cars and bikes sharing the roads.“Pure Michigan has so many things to see and do, and with more than 300 organized cycling events across the state, Michigan is a fantastic place for avid cyclists and leisure cyclists alike,” Schmidt said. “In addition to a multitude of bike-friendly communities and universities, this resolution is an opportunity to recognize our state as a wonderful, bike-friendly place for our families.”Cycling also promotes healthy lifestyles, while encouraging the often scenic and historic exploration of Pure Michigan, he said.### Categories: News
02Jun Rep. Cole votes to approve Detroit Public Schools reform Tags: #SB, Cole, Detroit, DPS, reforms, students Categories: Cole News,Featured news,News State Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona, made the following statement today after the House approved sweeping reforms to Detroit Public Schools (DPS):“After much negotiation, the DPS package the Michigan House of Representatives approved today is the most conservative option. This package implements necessary academic, structural and financial reforms to DPS.“The fact of the matter is that if DPS were to enter into bankruptcy it would come at a much higher cost to the Michigan taxpayers. The costs necessary to recoup the loss that the state of Michigan would incur for the legal ramifications of bankruptcy would directly affect the per-pupil funding in not only the 105th House District but across the state.“All students in Michigan deserve the best education possible. I have personally engaged with and heard teacher testimonials as they expressed the sincere outrage students, parents and families endure as the result of the chaos in DPS. The most appropriate and responsible course of action is to provide the resources necessary to put students first here in Michigan to ensure the best possible outcome for future generations.”######
Anyone with questions should contact Rep. Kahle’s office at (517) 373-1706 or BronnaKahle@house.mi.gov. One winner will be ‘Legislator for a Day’State Rep. Bronna Kahle today reminded students that the Sept. 1 deadline for her Summer Reading Program is quickly approaching.The Summer Reading Contest is designed to encourage kids to read as many books as they can during July and August. Students or their parents can record the titles of completed books and the number of pages read on a bookmark provided to the libraries by Rep. Kahle.Readers must submit the bookmarks in the contest box to local libraries or specified community organizations by Sept. 1 to be eligible to win.If obtaining a bookmark in person presents an issue, printable bookmarks are available for download on Rep. Kahle’s website, http://gophouse.org/representatives/southeast/kahle/. One winner will be drawn, and his or her family will be guests of Rep. Kahle at the state Capitol to be a Legislator for the Day.The locations to pick up and drop off bookmarks are as follows:Stair Public Library, MorenciYMCA of Lenawee, AdrianBoys and Girls Club of Lenawee, AdrianAdrian District Library, AdrianLenawee District Library, AdrianClinton Township Public Library, ClintonDeerfield Branch Library, DeerfieldCradle to Career Summer Learning Pop Up Literacy Labs (county locations vary) 15Aug Kahle summer reading contest nears Sept. 1 deadline Categories: Kahle News
Reform plan treats 17-year-olds as minors in court systemState Rep. Daire Rendon has introduced legislation as part of a bipartisan plan to transform the way 17-year-olds are treated in Michigan’s criminal justice system.Michigan is one of just four states to automatically prosecute 17-year-olds as adults when they’re accused of breaking the law. Rendon said eliminating this outdated practice will help rehabilitate young offenders and reduce the likelihood of them breaking the law again in the future.“Seventeen-year-olds shouldn’t be in prison with full-grown adults,” said Rendon, of Lake City. “It’s not safe for them, and studies show young offenders have much better outcomes when subjected to age-appropriate resources aimed at rehabilitation.”The proposal would raise the age at which individuals are considered adults for the purposes of prosecuting and adjudicating criminal offenses, allowing 17-year-olds to be treated as minors within the juvenile system in most circumstances. Prosecutors will continue to have some discretion, allowing them to waive minors who commit violent crimes into the adult system when appropriate.The plan also establishes a funding mechanism to help local counties deal with the increased costs from the uptick of juvenile offenders in the system.“In the long run, it’s better to invest tax dollars in rehabilitation programs that help teenagers and their families solve the root of their problems, rather than simply punishing them,” Rendon said. “This will make our communities safer by cutting down on repeat offenders.”Rendon said no other state devotes a larger share of its budget to prisons than Michigan. In the 1970s – when Michigan’s prison population was merely 14,000 – corrections spending made up just 3 percent of the state budget. Today, about 20 percent of the general fund budget is now dedicated to corrections. Michigan’s current prison population is about 39,000.House Bills 4133-46 have been referred to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.### 08Feb Rep. Rendon helps launch bipartisan effort to ‘Raise the Age’ Categories: Daire Rendon News
24May Michigan House approves Hall’s criminal justice reform measure Categories: Hall News The Michigan House approved bipartisan legislation authored by state Rep. Matt Hall (R-Emmett Township) to protect a concealed pistol license (CPL) holder from unfair prosecution in the event he or she simply forgets to renew his or her expired license within the first year.Under current Michigan law, a CPL holder found in possession of a concealed pistol one day after his or her license expires can be charged with a felony punishable by up to five years in prison or a $2,500 fine. Under Hall’s measure, a CPL holder who is found concealed carrying within one year of his or her CPL expiring and is eligible for renewal would be subject to a civil infraction and a $330 fine. If the individual renews his or her CPL within 60 days of the citation, the fine would be waived.“A felony conviction can destroy a person’s life,” Hall said. “It makes it difficult to find a job or suitable housing and suspends an individual’s constitutional right to possess a firearm. It is unfair for an otherwise law-abiding citizen to become a felon because of a paperwork oversight.”“I worked together with Democrats and Republicans to pass this common sense criminal justice reform. I will work with members of the Senate in the same manner to achieve broad support in their chamber for the bill.”House Bill 4434 is the first bill sponsored by Rep. Hall to pass the Michigan House and now moves to the Senate for further consideration.PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Matt Hall addresses the House on Friday in favor of his common-sense criminal justice reform plan.
Share2TweetShare3Email5 SharesOctober 12, 2016; Boston GlobeHave charter schools fulfilled their promise as innovators? Some in Massachusetts have, and their advocates will field a ballot question in November to increase their numbers. Others across the country have shifted course, having learned from contemporaries’ management debacles. Unfortunately, quite a few within forty-three states and the District of Columbia failed miserably.The concept of charter schools bubbled up in 1970s New England. It was part of a reform initiatives menu including alternative and magnet schools, school-based management, charters and choice, privatization, and community-parental empowerment. Early iterations enjoyed the support of Albert Shanker, venerable president of the American Federation of Teachers. Early innovator Ted Kolderie crafted charter schools’ four design elements: choice to equalize opportunity, accountability to operate as outcome-based versus process-driven, autonomy to bypass bureaucracy, and innovation from the standard model.Like its predecessors in places like Minnesota, Massachusetts’ 1993 Education Reform Act’s initial centerpiece was innovation. The statute established charters:to stimulate the development of innovative programs within public education; to provide opportunities for innovative learning and assessments; to provide parents and students with greater options in selecting schools within and outside their school districts; to provide teachers with a vehicle for establishing schools with alternative, innovative methods of educational instruction and school structure and management;to encourage performance-based educational programs; to hold teachers and school administrators accountable for students’ educational outcomes; and to provide models for replication in other public schools.After amendments, evaluation, and insights, innovation has almost disappeared from the chartering process. The removal reflects the vagueness of the term and its difficulty to assess. What are the elements of an innovative charter school? How do you determine if school leadership and staff are innovators? Which evaluation tools effectively determine if programs and curricular are innovative? Innovation is as innovation does, and what innovation should do is increase student achievement.Parents and students from underperforming districts and those in the suburbs often view charters through a different lens. Everyone’s goal is improved education outcomes, but years of disparities can limit the types of big-ticket innovations possible in urban settings. James Vaznis’s observation that “while some charters are groundbreaking, others simply strive to build high quality schools using existing methods” is intriguing. Striving to build high quality schools using any method is a good thing. The charter movement’s goal, after all, is to provide urban parents more options for education equity. Charter school students do not get a pass on taking high stakes tests.According to U.S. World & News Report:Parents gravitate toward traditional school models. Nowhere is this more apparent than in America’s affluent communities where it is rare to find many innovative private schools. Educators also don’t want to be viewed as “experimenting” on students, especially low-income students, by subjecting them to ideas that aren’t rooted in tried and tested theories and practices.At first glance, this appears admirable, but one could argue it exemplifies the aphorism that the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result. Sometimes, innovation in urban schools comes as a thorough knowledge of content, a willingness to recognize different learning styles, and preparation in multiple teaching strategies. There is intrinsic value in simply striving to build high-quality schools. It may not be an issue for Dover-Sherborne or Marlborough, but it’s critical in Worcester, Holyoke, or Boston.A charter schools researcher for Boston’s Pioneer Institute cited as problematic changes in state law restricting opening new charter schools in underperforming districts only to operators with proven records. Highly resourced school systems can afford cutting-edge entrepreneurial innovators with no track records, but underperforming districts need proven track records of success. For these schools, effective teaching and learning can be the innovation.Charter proponents argue their work has improved public education, citing extended learning days, school cultures with high expectations, structured and disciplined learning environments, parent contracts, and rewarding high-quality teachers with higher pay—something you could never do in union-staffed schools. But they could improve on sharing best practices. There are examples. Boston’s Match Charter School spearheaded replications in Lawrence, as has Phoenix Academy in Chelsea. The nonprofit sector could fill an important role by creating a McKinsey-like organization engaged in active and formative research to quickly disseminate effective program frameworks to the field. Frameworks, because one size doesn’t fit all and innovative practices need modification and tweaking for schools.National charter organizations hold conferences, but it doesn’t appear that attendees include public education practitioners. A Massachusetts audit faulted the Education Department for not creating a process to share charter innovations with traditional schools and recommended the department punish charter schools that don’t create best practices that can be replicated. The state didn’t implement the suggestion, possibly thinking that this harsh approach would create political fallout.Massachusetts gets higher-than-average marks for teacher quality and ready access to data about schools. Its charter law, one of the first, offers high quality options to an increasing number of students, yet parents still struggle to exercise their right to a quality education, which union politics influence greatly. The result is too much tension between charter educators and public school educators—or, more specifically, union versus non-union.“There are innovative practices taking place every day in public schools,” says Barbara Madeloni, president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association. Charter advocates argue that their schools’ existence counts as innovation.The stress teachers face is well documented, but my sense is that the stress for teachers teaching in schools unfettered by union politics might provide more opportunity for thinking about innovation. But innovation is an equivocal goal in and of itself. Solve the achievement gap in a school and that is celebrated as innovative. Say the goal is to solve any measurable education challenge for specific students and your innovation is the result. “Innovation” is an aspiration, not an incremental goal—Mary Frances MitchnerShare2TweetShare3Email5 Shares
Russian service provider Akado has acquired Leningrad region cable operator Sertolovskoe Televidenie, according to local reports.Sertolovskoe Televidenie covers 11,000 homes in and around Sertolovo, to the north of St Petersburg, with 6,600 subscribers. Akado aready owns a number of subsidiaries in St Petersburg and the Leningrad region, with around 52,000 subscribers.
Russian broadcaster CTC Media has named Konstantin Khachaturov as head of business support and a member of the management board.Khachaturov is in charge of administration and organizational development, human resources, IT and TV technology. He was previously vice-president of corporate development at technology company Sitronics.
Interactive TV technology specialist httv’s CEO Régis Saint Girons has been named as the new president of the French HD Forum.Saint Girons success Techncolor’s Jean-Pierre Lacotte, who will become president of honor of the HD Forum association after serving eight years as president.The HD Forum was created in 2005 to coordinate industry players’ activities in HD. Lacotte’s term has seen it widen its scope and it is now an association of reference for the audiovisual industry across subjects including the improvement of TV audio, 3D, connected TV and DVB-T2.Saint Girons, who in his time at Technicolor helped position MPEG as the solution for the US HDTV standard and who at OpenTV was one of the co-founders of the original HbbTV consortium, joined httv in 2012.“The French HD Forum has been at the forefront of the Digital TV industry. Its unique combination of Broadcasters, Operators, Manufacturers, Editors and Technology providers has been instrumental to improve the quality of the Digital TV service. In particular its work on HbbTV 1.5 with the TNT2.0 specification has been a reference for many other European countries,” he said. “I am looking forward to keep driving this work further.”Separately, httv will showcase a new solution for the IPTV market at ANGA COM in partnership with Televes unit Arantia.Powered by Sigma’s SMP 8670 chipset, the Arantia Chronos set-top box is targeted at all IPTV markets. httv’s open middleware will allow operators to extend IPTV with OTT streamed live channels, as well as catch-up, VOD and advanced interactive services based on HTML5 and HbbTV. Based on Linux and HTML 5, httvLink is pre-integrated and tested on key set-top chipsets vendor and on major CAS solutions such as Viaccess-Orca and Nagra.This httvLink product features the HbbTV 1.0 implementation and will support an upgrade to HbbTV 1.5 bringing DRMs and MPEG-DASH features without any hardware modifications, according to httv.Httv’s Saint Girons said: “httv is glad to announce this first integration of httvLink on an IPTV STB, from a leading company as Arantia. The joint product will offer a cost effective and feature full solution for IPTV and Pay TV markets.”Arantia’s CEO Orestes Garcia said: “We are confident that this strategic alliance with Sigma Designs and httv will lead our company to higher stakes in coming years.” Httv will exhibit at ANGA COM on Stand G37, hall 10.2
Google CEO Larry Page said that the firm is “closing in on our goal of a beautiful, simple, and intuitive experience regardless of your device,” citing recent developments like Google Glass and its Chromecast TV dongle.Speaking on the firm’s third quarter earnings call, Page said “as screens multiply, people navigating across them seamlessly becomes more and more important.”He added that Chromecast – which lets users find content on their phone and then click to play it on their main TV screen – was an example of “genuine multi-tasking in a multi screen world.”Discussing the firm’s performance, Page also revealed that almost 40% of Youtube’s traffic now comes from mobile, up from just 6% two years ago.Also speaking on the call, Nikesh Arora, Google’s SVP and chief business officer Nikesh Arora, said that spend by consumer packaged good (CPG) ad clients on YouTube had grown by over 75% in the past two years.Asked whether Google was interested in buying the rights to live sports like the NFL to broadcast on YouTube, Arora said: “Our content strategy in YouTube is working. We’re constantly talking to people about content all the time and so sure, we will talk to anybody who wants to talk about content. But for now we’re happy with where we are.”Overall in the quarter, Google reported consolidated revenues of US$14.89 billion (€10.9 billion), a year-on-year increase of 12%. Profit, including net income from discontinued operations, was US$2.97 billion, compared to $2.18 billion in the third quarter of 2012.
Liberty Global CEO Mike FriesUltra HD, also known as 4K, is “not an immediate concern” with consumers not yet ready to take the next technological leap following the recent shift to HD, according to Liberty Global president and CEO Mike Fries.Speaking at Cable Congress in Amsterdam, Fries said that he did not think the step from HD to 4K was the same as the improvement from standard definition to HD, bringing only “marginal differences.”He said that the step up to 4K would have to be consumer-driven and content-driven, but added that content providers are not yet reformatting to the technology and would not do so unless they see demand.“For me, it’s a chicken and egg issue, it’s not an immediate concern of ours. But we’re prepared. Our networks are the most robust in the marketplace. So if 4K becomes something that consumers have to have, we’ll certainly be able to do it. We’ll be in a wait-and-see mode,” said Fries.“We’ve got the spectrum if we need it – as do most cable operators – but I think it’s too soon to tell. People are just now getting used to their big screens. They’ve just spent hundreds, thousands of dollars on these big screens. They’re not ready to change just yet, in my opinion.”Speaking on the same panel discussion, titled ‘the magic mix of cable, content and competition,’ Bert Habets, CEO RTL Nederland, agreed that 4K is “not really high on our agenda.”“Obviously we are anxious to look into new developments. If we see there is a consumer trigger to make that switch we will follow, but we’re not actually pushing right now for this,” he said.
Wananchi Programming-owned Kenya-based pay TV provider Zuku is upgrading its broadband network in the country’s capital, Nairobi.In addition to providing pay TV services and channels, Zuku also operates a cable network in Nairobi. The company has said it will invest KES220 million (€1.84 million) in upgrading this to deliver internet speeds of up to 50Mbps, according to local reports.According to the reports, the upgrade is scheduled to be completed by the end of October. Wananchi Group CEO Richard Alden said that the move was prompted by strong growth in customer numbers, leading to a need to deliver additional capacity.
Netflix has picked up SVOD rights to upcoming anime series AJIN: Demi–Human and it will launch on its Japanese service three days after its linear TV debut.The US-listed streaming service has taken global rights to the show and it will play on its international services outside of Japan from mid-2016.In Japan, the series will debut on the MBS, TBS and CBC channels.Based on the manga by Gamon Sakurai, AJIN: Demi–Human, tells the story of a young high–school student who is hit by a truck and dies only to discover that he is, in fact, demi–human, an “Ajin.” What he finds are dozens of others who are also Ajins; all of whom are being hunted and trying to survive.Netflix claimed its deal for the series marks a milestone in the way anime is distributed around the world, providing anime fans with quicker access to shows.AJIN: Demi–Human is produced by Polygon Pictures.
Netflix now accounts for 4.82% of peak downstream traffic on European fixed-line networks, up from 3.44% in autumn last year, according to Sandvine.The broadband network solutions firm’s latest ‘Global Internet Phenomena’ report for Europe and Asia-Pacific said that Netflix accounts for more than 20% of network traffic in the UK and Ireland, while in countries where it has recently launched such as Austria and France it already accounts for approximately 10% of peak downstream traffic.“Netflix is planning additional European expansion once again this October, with subscribers in Italy, Portugal, and Spain expected to be able to access the service for the first time. This continued expansion makes it a realistic possibility that Netflix will be among the top three applications on European networks in 2016,” said Sandvine.The report currently ranks Netflix as the sixth-largest source of downstream web traffic at peak times of the day in Europe, behind services like YouTube with a 24.44% share, Facebook at 7.56% and BitTorrent at 6.07%.YouTube was also found to be the top mobile application in both Europe and Asia-Pacific, making it the global leader in mobile traffic, while videogame-themed video site Twitch now counts as top-10 application for the first time in Europe.Elsewhere, Apple Music, bolstered by a three-month free trial, surpassed Spotify as the leading music streaming service on mobile networks in Australia and New Zealand.“The impact that Netflix’s and Apple’s expansion has had on networks in Europe and Asia should attract the attention of operators around the globe,” said Sandvine CEO, Dave Caputo.“With Netflix announcing their intention to expand to over 200 countries by the end of 2016 and Apple’s Music service gaining popularity, every operator will have to think about how to deal with the increased demand these services will place on their network, and the types of service plans that would best suit subscribers’ needs.”