2006 June


LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE – LBO ‘Sri Lanka’s cabinet has agreed clear up frequency spectrum on few bands, as the government looks to attract new operators to offer telephony services at affordable rates. “The cabinet has agreed to clear spectrum in 450 megahertz, 800-900 megahertz, 1800 megahertz and 2-gigahertz radio frequencies, which will be re-allocated for public telecommunications networks,” Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa told reporters Thursday.’ Spectrum refarming is one of the most important and difficult tasks facing regulatory agencies today. The quasi-property rights enjoyed by users requires that they be compensated for the losses they incur when they are compelled to move in the course of refarming. One of the groups most resistant to moving are the military.
What if They Built an Urban Wireless Network and Hardly Anyone Used It? – New York Times “Despite WiFly’s ubiquity — with 4,100 hot spot access points reaching 90 percent of the population — just 40,000 of Taipei’s 2.6 million residents have agreed to pay for the service since January. Q-Ware, the local Internet provider that built and runs the network, once expected to have 250,000 subscribers by the end of the year, but it has lowered that target to 200,000. That such a vast and reasonably priced wireless network has attracted so few users in an otherwise tech-hungry metropolis should give pause to civic leaders in Chicago, Philadelphia and dozens of other American cities that are building wireless networks of their own.
allAfrica.com: East Africa: Countries Agree On EASSy Project Model It appears that considerable progress is being made on ensuring open access is the norm with the planned submarine cable for eastern Africa. One hopes that Asian regulators also start paying attention to access issues on the submarine cables that land in their countries. The change with the EASSy cable did not just happen; it took a lot of effort by regulators and stakeholders.
Using ICT for Effective Disaster Management A hotel that was hit by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami in Ahungalle, Sri Lanka is the location of a conference that examines all aspects of the relationship between ICTs and disasters. One of the guests at this hotel on the 26th of December 2004, Dr Chris Chapman, a theoretical seismologist, wrote one of the best analytical accounts of the experience, which is on this PDF  document. LIRNEasia’s Executive Director Rohan Samarajiva and HazInfo Project Manager Nuwan Waidyanatha are participating as are a number of our partners in disaster work.
According to this intriguing story, Sri Lanka may become the first country in the world to license WiMAX operators. Leaving aside the wisdom of licensing technologies (as opposed to services), any action to shake things up in the broadband market must be welcomed. Of course, our joy will be that much greater if the TRC ensures that the WiMAX operators are given non-discriminatory and cost-oriented access to the SLTL and Dialog backbones and that open access to the undersea cable is also assured. Without these regulatory actions, one may get connectivity to something, but not the Internet.
Foreign Affairs – The India Model – Gurcharan Das “But what is most remarkable is that rather than rising with the help of the state, India is in many ways rising despite the state. The entrepreneur is clearly at the center of India’s success story. India now boasts highly competitive private companies, a booming stock market, and a modern, well-disciplined financial sector. And since 1991 especially, the Indian state has been gradually moving out of the way — not graciously, but kicked and dragged into implementing economic reforms. It has lowered trade barriers and tax rates, broken state monopolies, unshackled industry, encouraged competition, and opened up to the rest of the world.
According to this report, SLTL is pressing ahead on offering more high speed data services within Colombo. I think the correct amount is USD 2 million. If only one could offer high-end data services for USD 20,000! This news item should be of significant interest to our readers who want these services offered in rural locations such as Mahavilachchiya. Lanka Business Online
By Harsha Vardhana Singh (with assistance from Rohan Samarajiva and Ayesha Zainudeen), Version 1.7 The paper seeks to understand why adequate network backbone may not be available, or adequate access to it may not be provided. Based on this assessment, we identify policy actions that can be taken to create the conditions for adequate supply of, and reasonable access to, backbone in a country. A theoretical model is developed which is then applied to the case of India, to show the situations in which invesment in backbone is commercially viable for operators. Read Executive Summary on Project Page Download full report: Version 1.
Rohan Samarajiva represented LIRNEasia at the Research ICT Africa (RIA!), Annual Meeting held recently in Dakar, Senegal with a view to contribute to the discussion on Telecom Regulatory Environment (TRE) assessment that RIA! is planning to undertake. The five-day workshop held from May 26-June 2, 2006, focused on three areas: the 2006 RIA! research agenda, outcomes mapping and RIA!
Nuwan Waidyanatha – Project Manager, Last Mile Hazard Warning System The socioeconomic belief is that a CAP message relay is one way of effectively managing disasters, and that is what is envisioned in the Last-Mile Hazard Warning System (LM-HWS) Pilot Project. I will be talking about the current Workpackage of the LM-HWS project, which is developing the Hazard Information Hub (HIH). The general objective of the LM-HWS project is to evaluate the suitability of a selected set of ICT that can communicate CAP messages and alert the village first-responders. The Sarvodaya HIH was specifically built with the intension of providing structured risk information such as CAP messages to the local communities.
A Telecomasia article, Global operators face challenge on increasing backhaul capacities based on a recent study by ABI, argues that operators around the world are facing bandwidth constraints in their backhaul networks due to the growth of data traffic and bandwidth intensive services like multimedia content. Backhaul are the high-capacity pipes phone companies and Internet service providers use to haul traffic over large distances. Backhaul capacity in this context refers to the networks within a country or within a contiguous region. Backhaul is distinct from the under the ocean submarine cables which currently have excess, unused capacity thanks to the dot-com bubble driven investments into this high capacity links that connect continents. A number of technologies are proposed for the backhaul links that are suited for specific regions based on what kind of infrastructure already exists.
LIRNEasia is looking to work with local programmers, web developers, etc to customize DSpace, a FOSS dynamic digital repository system, based on Java technology, which captures, stores, indexes, preserves, and distributes digital research material, for the CPRsouth website. The proposed website will work as a platform for scholars and practitioners in communication policy research (CPR) in the southern hemisphere to self archive their publications and access the works of others. The site will provide an interface for any user to search for authors and their publications, download full texts of these articles if available, and archive their own work, using a customized DSpace template. Specifications for the CPRsouth website include: Homepage will be a News and Events page (in a blog format). People (Authors) – sorting by name, institution, key words and country.
Telegeography June 13, 2006 The Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued its highly anticipated consultation paper covering wireless broadband services, including UMTS and WiMAX. The paper is available for download here [PDF] The paper has identified two overriding issues concerning the introduction of high speed wireless services – namely, frequency allocation and licence fees. The issue of frequencies is already a hot topic in the market, with the nation’s GSM and CDMA operators clashing over their preferred spectrum for 3G services. The TRAI had previously proposed allocating spectrum in the IMT-2000 standard 2GHz frequency band, for both GSM and CDMA operators, designed to support both W-CDMA and CDMA2000 1xEV-DO 3G development. Whilst the country’s GSM operators supported the plan, the CDMA lobby is demanding that the 1900MHz band be made available, saying that there is a dearth of CDMA equipment and handsets available for use in the 2GHz spectrum.
Bhutan was perhaps the last remaining integrated government-owned monopoly in the world. It now looks like it’s ready to end that unique status by licensing a second mobile operator. One of the advantages of being late is that you can learn from the mistakes of others. Other SAARC countries introduced competition earlier but could not get the regulatory preconditions right. It seems that Bhutan has the right ideas.
http://www.telecomasia.net/telecomasia/article/articleDetail..jsp?
From LankaBusinessOnline Extended Family       05 June 2006 14:23:29 Sri Lanka opens the door for fifth mobile phone operator   June 5, 2006 (LBO) – Sri Lanka plans to expand its mobile phone market to five players, in a bid to bring down costs of telephony, the telecom regulator said Monday.   Sri Lanka’s mobile market had grown 53.5 percent to 3.34 million customers as at end 2005, according to TRC figures.  The island’s cellular penetration is expected to increase to 20.
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