2008 November


The Economist, which has been quite skeptical about mobile advertising, has a story which reports takeoff has occurred. What I find interesting is the analysis of which roadblocks have been removed. Here, the relevance of the broadband quality of service experience work we have been doing is noteworthy. Assuming that mobile operators want ad revenues (not a hard assumption), this shows that it is in their interest to improve the quality of service experience from the dismal levels that exist today. Faster networks and lower rates also help.
Reproducing an op-ed piece from elsewhere: Barack Obama, self-confessed BlackBerry addict, will undoubtedly be the most tech-savvy president in history. But being tech-savvy isn’t the same as being tech-smart. The combination of Obama in the White House and new leaders of key tech-related committees in Congress should send warning flags up for all who cherish the freedom and vitality of the Internet. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) is the incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the technology sector.
Big Brother might not have liked Dr. A.T Ariyaratne. When visited Google headquarters, Sri Lanka’s Savrodaya leader was shown a central system that tracked every Google search and displayed the aggregate outcome in a huge globe. Dr.
Mobiles are bad for your soul, the Vatican warned on Monday (November 24, 2008). Phones and computers are making the world so noisy and hectic that people cannot cultivate their spiritual dimension. And without a spiritual life ‘you will lose your soul’, said Father Federico Lombardi, the Pope’s spokesman. ‘In the age of the mobile phone and the internet it is probably more difficult than before to protect silence and to nourish the interior dimension of life,’ said Fr Lombardi. ‘It is difficult but necessary.
A staggering 4 billion minutes on the Skype network are now considered mobile minutes following the company’s move to put Skype clients onto handsets. According to Skype executive, Chris Lewis, responsible for strategy and new business for Asia, out of the 16 billion Skype to Skype minutes on the company’s network every quarter, 25 per cent now involve mobile devices. The company currently offers a Java-based downloadable client for mobile phones, a client for Windows Mobile devices, as well as a dedicated device called the Skypephone with 3. Read more.
The New York Times carries a story on the wrong conclusions people jump to when they try to self-diagnose on the web. The story does not say that the findings of the study identify a market opportunity for telecenters, but I do. Apparently two percent of all web searches are health related. Given the massive number of searches devoted to Brittany Spears, Paris Hilton and other luminaries, this is a very significant number. Of the people who search the web for health matters, many want to know about symptoms they are experiencing.
Helani Galpaya will represent LIRNEasia at the third Internet Governance Forum (IGF) meeting to be held in Hyderabad, India, from 3-6 December, 2008 at the Hydrabad International Conference Center (HICC). Helani will be among panelists a workshop entitled, ‘Digital convergence beyond technology: socio-economic benefits, SMEs & public policy’; this workshop aims to discuss the evolving definition of digital convergence as well as the benefits and opportunities to key stakeholders – with a special focus on SMEs. Digital convergence refers to the evolution of previously distinguishable digitalized information formats, services, applications, networks, and business models in ways that reduce or blend the distinctions. This workshop will focus on what kind of information and skills various stakeholders must have to address digital convergence issues and the implications for the policy environment, users and enterprises of all sizes.
South Africa Connect, an initiative of Research ICT Africa! (LIRNEasia’s sister organization), The EDGE Institute and the Shuttleworth Foundation to stimulate debate on ICT policy and regulation in South Africa, is organizing its first public seminar entitled, ‘The Growth of Next Generation Networks – From Hype to Reality?’, on 26 November 2008, in Sandown, South Africa.  Presented by Jon Horrocks, an independent consultant to ICASA, the presentation will cover the objectives and growth of next generation networks, from hype to reality, and the growing competition between the traditional telco model and the Internet, and in particular the issues for introducing new services. More information can be found at the South Africa Connect Blog online at: www.
LIRNEasia’s Nuwan Waidyanatha will be making a presentation on ‘Common Alerting Protocol (CAP)’ at the ‘ITU Asia-Pacific Centres of Excellence Training/Workshop on Effective Use of Telecommunications/ICTs in Response to Disasters: Saving Lives, to be held on 24-28 November, 2008, in Kedah, Malaysia. The Training Workshop will focus on concepts and hands-on training on various technologies and applications that are suitable for deployment and aimed at facilitating rescue and relief operations in emergencies, especially in the aftermath of a disaster. The stated aims of the workshop are to: create awareness and demonstrate telecommunication technology options, facilities and services applicable for use in response to disasters or emergencies especially in disaster relief operations; provide practical experience to participants in using the telecommunication/ICT facilities and services during these operations; strengthen partnerships in disaster relief among international agencies/organizations, NGOs, industry, and governments as well as encourage roles of public sector or NGOs identify issues and challenges in countries in order to find ways to overcome them. This workshop is organized jointly by the Telecommunication Development Bureau of the ITU, Universiti Utara Malaysia (ITU CoE ASP UUM), the Ministry of Energy, Water and Communications (MEWC), Malaysia and sponsored by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the […]
Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the President of Sri Lanka, was recently elected to the chair of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Committee of ESCAP – the Economic & Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific Speaking to Sandeshaya Weeratunga said that “during the past three years computer literacy in the country has increased from 5 per cent to over 20 per cent” He elaborated that the ‘e-Sri Lanka’ initiative has enabled people to obtain authenticated copies of Death, Marriage and Birth Certificates – essential documents within a few minutes. Responding to a question that some rural tele centers have been dysfunctional Weeratunga said there are about 600 Telecenters and it’s not unusual for a few to fall behind. “However we will relocate them if necessary”, he said. Commenting on the Sri Lankan expertise of the diasporas, Weeratunga said that there are those who want to help but in actual fact most of them are really in search of jobs. “We cant pay them the salaries they expect but if anyone wants to genuinely help they could log in to the ICTA web site (www.

Passage to India

Posted by on November 23, 2008  /  1 Comments

In 1997, NTT bought 35 per cent of a badly managed government phone company called SLT along with the right to manage it for five years for USD 225 million. The decision was bracketed by the Central Bank attack (on a per capita basis more devastating than the World Trade Center hit of 11 September 2001) and the bombing of an empty [Sri Lankan] World Trade Center. Many wondered what the logic was. One explanation was that NTT saw Sri Lanka as a stepping stone to India. But no step was taken.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today announced that it has denied the Canadian Association of Internet Providers’ (CAIP) application to end Bell Canada’s practice of “throttling” its wholesale internet services. In a decision that defies all logic, the federal agency told the coalition of 55 ISP’s that Bell Canada’s decision to discriminate against particular applications and types of content was “not discriminatory” because Bell throttled both wholesale and retail customers in an equal fashion. “Based on the evidence before us, we found that the measures employed by Bell Canada to manage its network were not discriminatory. Bell Canada applied the same traffic-shaping practices to wholesale customers as it did to its own retail customers,” said Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C.
The Internet is a public space, and like any public space it is not without danger. But the scare stories are overhyped as the NYT story based on a USD 50 million research project shows: Good news for worried parents: All those hours their teenagers spend socializing on the Internet are not a bad thing, according to a new study by the MacArthur Foundation. “It may look as though kids are wasting a lot of time hanging out with new media, whether it’s on MySpace or sending instant messages,” said Mizuko Ito, lead researcher on the study, “Living and Learning With New Media.” “But their participation is giving them the technological skills and literacy they need to succeed in the contemporary world. They’re learning how to get along with others, how to manage a public identity, how to create a home page.
President-elect Barack Obama has named two telecom industry and policy veterans and a leader of Google’s philanthropy arm to craft the new administration’s high-tech policy priorities. The policy working group on Technology, Innovation and Government Reform will “develop proposals and plans from the Obama Campaign for action during the Obama-Biden Administration,” according to the president-elect’s transition web site www.change.gov. The authors of what could be sweeping changes in broadband rules, privacy and government transparency include: –Blair Levin, a telecom investment analyst at Stifel Nicolaus and former chief of staff to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Reed Hundt.
Here are the summarised results from the telecenter operator survey done by LIRNEasia at the weCan workshop in October 2008. Sample was not representative, but large enough to get a general idea about the telecenter operations in Sri Lanka. Out of a total of 147 operators surveyed, the bulk, 101 were from Nenasalas, the 500 odd telecenter network created under the World Bank funded e-Sri Lanka programme. 10 were from Sarvodaya multi-purpose telecenters and 6 from others (eg. public libraries) 30 have not specified the type of the telecenter.
Worldwide mobile messaging grew nearly 10 percent in the third quarter compared to the second quarter of the year, fueled by new trends in the messaging market, according to VeriSign, which provides Internet infrastructure services and delivers messages on behalf of carriers and content providers. The company reported Tuesday that VeriSign enabled more than 58.3 billion messages per day during the third quarter of 2008. This was up from about 52 billion messages sent during the second quarter of 2008. On average, this means that VeriSign facilitated the delivery of about 634 million messages per day during the third quarter, compared to 572 million messages a day in the second quarter.