2007 January


Free media Movement – Sri Lanka Press Release 30 January 2007 Internet facilities and 8,000 telephones cut off in Jaffna Peninsula The Free Media Movement (FMM) is deeply disturbed to learn that basic communications facilities to the Jaffna Peninsula have been blocked from 28th January 2007. Internet facilities and around 8,000 landline telephones of Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) are dysfunctional to date. SLT, jointly owned by the Sri Lankan Government and Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corporation (NTT) of Japan, is the sole Internet provider in Jaffna Peninsula with a population of around 600,000 according to official statistics. The FMM was told that there is no official decision by the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority to block communications in this manner in the Peninsula. However, a number of citizens in Jaffna and journalists confirm that there is no Internet access in Jaffna for the past 3 three days, when contacted through mobile phones.
How will John Gage’s proposal play out in the telecom eco-system of developing countries?   Who will operate them?   Will they suffer the same fate as ICTA’s  VSAT based connectivity for telecenters, where you can do  Internet but cannot call the next village? Can you just drop technology in, without addressing the overall institutional setting?      At Davos, the Squabble Resumes on How to Wire the Third World – New York Times Separately at the meeting on Saturday, John Gage, the chief researcher at Sun Microsystems, proposed an industry plan to deploy advanced data networks in developing economies with contributions of engineering staff time of 1 percent.
Support for the HazInfo project’s position that radio, which allows for point-to-multipoint congestion-free transmission of warnings is the optimal technology. The LIRNEasia and WorldSpace developed solution, which allows for remote activation of radios is even superior to what is described in this article. However, the article points out that a lot of institutional factors need to be addressed for the warning to be effective, an issue we are grappling with in the Sri Lanka pilot. Air Support – New York Times Consider, for instance, the basic question of where you would turn for information if disaster struck your hometown. The Internet puts up-to-the-minute information at your fingertips, but not if you can’t turn on your computer or your local network is down.
Nokia, which had a few bad years, appears to be making a comeback on the shoulders of exploding markets in the Asia Pacific.   LIRNEasia research shows that there is plenty of room for market expansion in the Asia Pacific, especially at the bottom of the pyramid.  If Nokia and other equipment suppliers address this market proactively, they can have many more good years.   Nokia Net Up 19%, Topping Estimates – New York Times Nokia, which is based in Espoo, Finland, shipped a record 106 million units in the quarter, up 26 percent from a year earlier and 19 percent from the third quarter. Nokia said its fourth-quarter market share was unchanged from 36 percent in the third quarter and up from 34 percent a year earlier, led by gains in all regions except North America.
LBO reports of the release of a low-budget handset for the Sri Lankan market by Motorola, the MotoFone F3. Some of the features include two week stand-by time, high quality speaker, voice prompts, etc. Motorola even hopes to bring localised phones with Sinhalese script into the market soon. It hopes that the MotoFone F3, available for as little as LKR5,000 (approx. USD46) will boost its share in the local handset market with the new low cost handset.
LIRNEasia’s Executive Director and Lead Economist participated at the 10th annual telecom conference and exhibition organized by Informa Telecoms and Media,  GSM>3G, held in Mumbai, India on 22-23 January. LIRNEasia’s Lead Economist, Harsha de Silva presented the Indian findings of LIRNEasia’s five-country teleuse study, ‘Teleuse on a Shoestring:2,’ during the session entitled ‘Connecting the Next Billion.’ | View presentation slides Executive Director, Rohan Samarajiva was also invited as a panel discussant on ‘Widening Access for Rural Communities,’ along side top administrator of India’s universal service obligation fund as well as President of New Projects of Indian operator, Spice Telecom. The conference brought together key players in the GSM community from around the world as well as India to discuss key issues affecting the mobile industry, including 3G, regulation, international investment, Next Generation Networks, coverage, penetration, IMS and MMS. It was organized by Informa Telecoms and Media, as a part of a world series of annual conferences, located in regional hubs within fast growing markets.
As part of a special review of ICT policy in Indonesia, e-Indonesia, the Indonesian ICT monthly magazine, interviewed a number of key stakeholders including the Minister Sofyan Djalil, Commissioners from BRTI, the regulatory body, civil society group, industry reps and ICT experts. LIRNEasia researcher, Divakar Goswami, was also interviewed. The interview is featured in the online edition here. The interview is in bahasa. The English text of the interview is below: 1.
This is not rocket science and Bangladesh can easily achieve similar growth. All it needs is a “literate” leadership and “sane” regulator. Details of Indian and Pakistani markets is in http://www.telecomtv.com/news.
Singapore government hits back at American allegations that US telcos continue to face trade barriers in the island republic. Details in http://www.telecomtv.com/news.asp?
Straight talk from the head of Thailand’s National Disaster Warning Center. This is even more reason for Sri Lanka to improve its national and last-mile warning systems. Phuket Gazette – online English newspaper for Phuket, Thailand, with daily news, classified ads, yellow pages, business listings, upcoming events, event calendar, phuket events Because of its location, the lone tsunami direct detection buoy deployed last month in the middle of the Indian Ocean would offer little advance warning to Phuket in the event of another tsunami generated off the Indonesian Coast, Dr Smith Dharmasaroja, head of the National Disaster Warning Center (NDWC) in Nonthaburi, has told the Gazette.Dr Smith said that the location of the first buoy was chosen so that it would provide equal benefit to all Indian Ocean Rim countries, not just Thailand. “I made the suggestion that we put the first buoy there so that we wouldn’t appear selfish by putting our own data needs before that of other countries in the region,” he said.
Most consumers overlook the small surcharges on their telephone bills. Usually no more than a few dollars per month, these support a variety of programs, including those that ensure affordable telephone service for low-income and disabled customers. But the high-cost subsidies are the most expensive and possibly the least regulated.  In California for example, the two biggest phone companies, AT&T Inc. and Verizon California, received $1.
The inaugural conference of CPRsouth, Capacity and field-building program to develop an Asia-Pacific knowledge network on ICT policy regulation, will commence on January 19 in Manila, Philippines. The three day conference is being held in association with the National College of Public Administration and Governanace, University of the Philippines, Diliman. Communication Policy Research (CPR) south is intended to be a vehicle for building capacity in communication policy research in the Asia Pacific in the first instance, and then in the South. The core functions of CPRsouth are to organize an annual conference and to provide a virtual platform for interaction among communication policy researchers in the South. The objective is to create policy intellectuals capable of informed and effective intervention in ICT policy and regulatory processes in specific country contexts, within the larger context of communication policy research as a field flourishing in the universities and research institutes of the South.
The Philippine ICT Researchers Network through the National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG) of the University of the Philippines will be hosting the first international conference on “Living the Information Society: The Impact of Information and Communication Technologies on People, Work and Communities in Asia” which will be held on April 23-24, 2007 at the Renaissance Hotel, Makati City, Philippines (program attached). Early registration (download form) for the Conference is now open and entitles the participant to a 20% discount. This conference funded by the International Development Research Centre – Canada,  is being organized in support of the growing community of researchers and practitioners conducting research on the social, cultural, psychological, economic, political, and other transformations brought about by information and communications technologies (ICT) in the Asia-Pacific region. The conference provides a forum for discussing life in the information society. Over 75 papers will be presented by researchers from different countries and disciplines on the usage and effects of ICTs on culture and society.
By Divakar Goswami (LIRNEasia) Bisnis Indonesia (Leading financial paper of Indonesia): OpEd (In Bahasa) January 10, 2007 Mobile talk is not cheap in Indonesia. Despite limited competition, mobile calling prices are among the highest in Asia. Only fixed wireline service, where PT Telkom has a de facto monopoly, sees calling prices to be among the lowest in the region as they are rigidly regulated by the government. But as everyone knows, it is difficult to get a fixed line and the quality is poor. It is therefore not surprising that policymakers and regulators in Indonesia have become impatient with the results of competition and started to voice their resentment of the high profits being declared by the private telecom companies.
Seems like a good business idea for entrepreneurs in countries like Bngladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka, with large migrant populations. Even at double the US set up costs, it won’t take long to start earning returns. Of course, good broadband is a necessary condition. Abroad at Home – New York Times Because of stricter border enforcement since 9/11, increased broadband access and reduced cost of video equipment, more businesses are offering videoconferencing services to reunite immigrants with their families back home. Typically found in or near places immigrants frequent like money-transfer operations or consular offices, these kinds of services are often reserved for weeks in advance.

Internet or internet?

Posted by on January 5, 2007  /  1 Comments

The significance of capitalizing the Internet (which LIRNEasia religiously does) and latest effort to decapitalize it and bring it under the thrall of international bureaucracy: What’s in an ‘i’? Internet governance – Technology & Media – International Herald Tribune When David Gross heard last month that the International Telecommunication Union, a United Nations agency, wanted to lower-case the word Internet as a matter of official policy, he did not know whether to be alarmed or amused. “We immediately thought, ‘Gee, what’s up with that?'” Gross, the coordinator for international communications and information policy at the U.S.
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