2008 February


The cost of international capacity between the US and Asia has dropped dramatically in the past ten years. In 1996, US$10,000 would buy a 64kbps IPLC between Asia and the US. The same money buys a STM-1 (155Mbps) circuit in 2006. Dramatic drops in the price of international capacity as a result of market deregulation in the Asia Pacific is resulting in a shift in the dynamics of Internet traffic, according to a presentation at the APRICOT conference in Taipei this week. Read more.
The Economist is not correct saying ‘No Evidence’ of Internet blocking in Sri Lanka, and in Laos and Cambodia the Internet usage is low so blocking does not make any difference. As shown, even in Asia the attitude of officialdom varies when it comes to filtering content of a social nature. In many places agreements are set with service providers to block nasty stuff such as child pornography. In a few countries intervention is stronger, up to the level of pervasive censorship. This week Pakistan’s block on YouTube accidentally caused an international outage for that website.
Microsoft Gets Record Fine and a Rebuke From Europe – New York Times The European antitrust regulator imposed a record $1.35 billion fine against Microsoft on Wednesday in a ruling intended to send a clear message to the world’s largest software maker — and to any other company — of the dangers of flouting Europe’s competition rulings. Neelie Kroes, Europe’s antitrust regulator, expressed irritation with Microsoft, saying it had not complied with a 2004 ruling. Related Times Topics: Microsoft Corporation The size of the penalty, which surprised lawyers and legal experts, was a clear assertion of the power of the European Commission and its main antitrust regulator, Neelie Kroes, who is its competition commissioner. She has emerged from a lengthy legal battle with Microsoft as possibly the world’s most activist regulator.
Sri Lanka’s state-run Bank of Ceylon has tied up with an Indian mobile commerce firm to start a text message based electronic payment system that could overtake credit card transactions, officials said.   Bank of Ceylon’s new service allows its six million customers to use pay shops that join the system at the cost of a text message using a system developed by India’s, PayMate. The mobile transaction service will initially start with selected large merchants like SriLankan Airlines, Odel, Singer, Abans and Stone & String before linking up retailers in rural areas. “This opens a lot of avenues to merchants because we are bringing them six million of our customers,” Bank of Ceylon’s IT chief Nissanka Janaratne said. Read the full report in LBO here.
Pakistani officials have lifted a ban on the YouTube video-sharing Web site, saying that material deemed offensive to Islam has been removed. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority ordered Internet providers to unblock the site Tuesday. In a statement Tuesday, YouTube confirmed the Web site was again accessible in Pakistan. Company spokesman Ricardo Reyes says YouTube took down the particular link on Saturday, after receiving flags from the YouTube community and determining the content violated the Web site’s terms of use. Read the full story in ‘VOA News’ here.
TelecomTV – TelecomTV One – News Google will combine with SingTel, Bharti, Globe Transit and Pacnet to build the mooted Unity cable, connecting Japan to the United States.The $US300 million system was revealed by SingTel and Pacnet this morning. The 7.68 terabit cable is expected to be ready for service in 1Q 2010. NEC and Tyco will build the cable while Pacnet will be the largest investor with two of the five fiber pairs.
In a major development, the Ministry of Communications & IT has cleared applications of nine telecom aspirants and is close to issuing them Letters of Intent (LoIs).    This will be followed by issuance of universal access service (UAS) licences and allocation of spectrum.    The LoIs will be issued during the week, if not tomorrow. However, the allocation of spectrum would take some time as the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) was finalising the amount of vacant spectrum, sources close to the development said.    The proposals of the new applicants were pending with the telecom ministry after the DoT’s approval last month.
On 5 March 2008, LIRNEasia in partnership with the Indonesian Institute for Disaster Preparedness (IIDP) will hold the third and final “Sharing Knowledge on Disaster Warning: Community-based Last-Mile Warning Systems” workshop at the Hotel Borobodur in Jakarta, Indonesia. Rohan Samarajiva, Natasha Udu-gama and Nuwan Waidyanatha will participate and speak at the event alongside several Indonesian speakers from various governmental, community-based and international NGOs such as BAKORNAS PB, Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), KOGAMI Padang and GTZ GITEWS. As in past HazInfo workshops in India and Bangladesh, the Indonesia workshop will not only discuss findings from the “Evaluating Last Mile Hazard Information” pilot project, but also exchange lessons learned from Indonesian counterparts.
Vodafone to launch mobile phone money transfer service in Afghanistan – Yahoo! News “This is really the early days, but when you see the low banking penetration in emerging markets, compared to rapidly growing mobile penetration, the potential is very big,” said James Moberly, senior manager for payment solutions at Vodafone on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress here. The GSM Association, the global mobile phone industry body, estimates that about a dozen such schemes involving money transfer services are in operation throughout the world, with 10 million users. Vodafone plans to launch cash transfer services soon in India and other African countries. “You can send money, withdraw cash, pay your bills or your loan, and all this is within seconds,” said Aleeda Fazal, head of product development at Afghan group Roshan, which is the partner for Vodafone in the troubled country.
In many countries, customers are unhappy about what they get in Internet connectivity.   In most cases it’s about being  unable download or upload a  file more than a few MB in size.   In the US, the unhappiness is about file sharing.  But key issue is the same:  do you get what you pay for?   F.
Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) Indian telecom giant Bharti Airtel, which had announced its entry into the Sri Lankan mobile phone sector with much fanfare last year, is experiencing delays and may well be re-drawing its investment plans for the island country, says a Sri Lankan telecommunication expert. Rohan Samarajeewa, former head of Sri Lanka’s Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC), told IANS that while there was no doubt that Bharti Airtel was committed to operating in Sri Lanka, it had altered its timetable and could well be scaling down its original investment plans. The reasons for the delay in starting the operations were in the realm of speculation, Samarajeewa said. But he did point to a possibility of difficulties in getting frequencies from the TRC, as it is generally recognized that the allotment of frequencies tends to be “highly politicised” in Sri Lanka. The parent company in India could also be changing its priorities as regards capital allocations, in the context of the growing challenges in the more lucrative Indian domestic market, Samarajeewa said.
LIRNEasia has come up with startling evidence on how transaction costs in agriculture could be reduced by simple mobile phone applications. The organization’s Lead Economist, Dr. Harsha de Silva called for a multi-stakeholder action plan to implement a series of actions that would help poor farmers as well as consumers by reducing information costs in agricultural markets and value chains. He was speaking at a panel following a public lecture by Indian Institute of Management Professor, Subhash C. Bhatnagar, who spoke on the benefits of ICT applications to farmers, taking India as an example.
humanitarian.info » The Long Last Mile Courtesy of Nuwan on the humanitarian-ict mailing list, I just watched “The Long Last Mile” on YouTube. Produced by Television for Education – Asia Pacific, it describes the project by LIRNEasia to evaluate Last-Mile Hazard Information Dissemination. Some useful points in an accessible format – redundancy in communication technologies, identification of key responders, community engagement in the process, the importance of simulation exercises for learning, and so on. Only 12 minutes long, it’s definitely worth watching.
We have been quoted by Director Marketing of Nokia India as saying 100 million new mobile users will come from the rural areas. What we said was that 100 million new users will come from the bottom of the pyramid, many of whom could be from rural areas. But it is worth reading what the people in the marketing trenches have to say. And thanks for quote, Mr Kishore. Mobile phone companies doing a Nano And so feels Devinder Kishore, Director Marketing, Nokia India, �according to a study done by LIRNEasia and AC Nielson, close to 100 million new cellular subscribers are expected to come from the rural areas over the next two years.
You buy guavas from local superstore. They look fine, but when cut, you find worms inside. This is a common problem. These worms enter the product when it was only a flower and grow inside without showing any external signs. Superstore offers an apology, but no guarantee that you will not buy similar low quality products tomorrow.
An OECD report, Global Opportunities for Internet Access Developments, says that the next billion Internet users will be very different from the first billion and governments in developing countries, where these users will come from, must adapt strategic regulatory and investment policies to lower access costs.   “The characteristics of these new Internet users will be vastly different from the first billion users,” the report concludes, adding that the majority of the new Internet users will be accessing the Internet on wireless networks and will have incomes of less than US$2 per day.    While the report sees encouraging signs from developing markets that have adopted market liberalisation and who are now starting to enjoy the employment, micro- entrepreneurial and social development benefits of increased competition, there remain many countries that need to catch up.   According to the report, “more than 70 countries still have monopolies over international gateway services,” which “raise the prices for accessing international capacity, far beyond costs, and reduce the affordability of Internet access for end-users.”  Read more.