Watch for Digital TV by 1998
High-definition television - otherwise known as digital TV - took a major step forward as computer companies, broadcasters and electronics businesses agreed on a single technical standard (WT, May 23).
The Federal Communications Commission still must approve the standard but has already implied that won't be a problem. After approval, the FCC would set aside a digital channel for each current analog channel. Digital transmission is expected to start in 1998 when new television sets will be sold that can receive the digital signals. Many consumer advocates have voiced concern about the price of the new televisions, although broadcasters will continue to send signals to analog TVs for several years.
The agreement is considered a victory for the computer industry, which last summer launched a protest against another proposal that had more technical requirements. It is also a major milestone in the history of the convergence of computers and televisions as main sources of information.
Global One Lands International Internet Projects
Global One, the international telecom consortium of Sprint Corp., Kansas City, Mo., Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom, (WT, Nov. 21) has landed $15 million in contracts to provide telecom and Internet services to Pakistan and countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States, including Kazakhstan.
The 19-nation Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South, based in Pakistan, has tapped Global One to develop an Internet link among tech center nations, Africa and the Far East. A main goal of the project is to promote international scientific collaboration.
In addition, Global One will build an international telex gateway for Kazakh Telecom in Kazakhstan that would for the first time route traffic directly to that country rather than through Russia. The gateway will support Kazakhstan's banking industry, which uses telex for banking transactions.
World Congress Recruits Big Name Speakers
The 1998 World Congress on Information Technology has recruited top talent from the public and private sectors to speak at the biennial event (WT, Oct. 24). The roster includes retired Army Gen. Colin Powell, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Lloyd Bentsen, the former secretary of the treasury; and Mickey Kantor, the secretary of commerce.
Also on the list are Robert Walker, the chief information officer for Hewlett-Packard Co.; Waldeman Pawlak, the leader of the Polish People's Party; and Alfred Berkeley, president of the Nasdaq National Market. The speakers will discuss issues such as the New World Order, Technology as a Global Advantage, Strategies for Growing Your Business Globally and the Political Reality of Economic Reform.
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