2009 June


In other countries, government are focusing on removing electronic equipment from the waste stream, basically requiring the equipment vendors to take the unwanted equipment back. Since January, Washington State residents and small businesses have been allowed to drop off their televisions, computers and computer monitors free of charge to one of 200 collection points around the state. They have responded by dumping more than 15 million pounds of electronic waste, according to state collection data. If disposal continues at this rate, it will amount to more than five pounds for every man, woman and child per year. In Sri Lanka, the Environment Ministry is collecting massive amounts of money from mobile usage, in the name of recycling mobile phones.
Colloquium conducted by Dr. Erwin Alampay of NCPAG, Philippines. Presentation began by looking at the potential for M-money. Why should we use m-money? Improving efficiency: Improve services, financial services.
Findings on public phone use from the Teleuse@BOP3 study have been published in the Indian media. An excerpt of one, published by Yahoo, India follows: A new study says public telephones are the most frequently used method of making calls by Indian women at the bottom of the social pyramid compared to other South Asian nations like Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Thailand. Indian men at the bottom of the pyramid, on the other hand, rely more on their mobiles, the study said. Women can walk into a phone booth at any time to connect to friends and families without the fear of being harassed, spied upon or discriminated against in terms of gender. Home phones, said the study, exposed the women to being censured.
The results of the migrant study that was conducted along with the teleuse@BOP 3 study were released in Dhaka today. The first of the news coverage: Expatriate Bangladeshis called home more frequently than their Pakistani, Indian, Sri Lankan and Filipino counterparts, spending $48 a month to stay in touch, a survey says. The survey ‘”Teleuse at the bottom of the pyramid”, conducted by LIRNEasia, a regional ICT policy research institute, found 87 percent of Bangladeshi migrants called home at least once a week, while 34 percent called home daily. Dr Rohan Samarejiva, chairman and CEO of the LIRNEasia, disclosed the result of the survey on Sunday in Dhaka. Dr Samarejiva said the survey was conducted over 1,500 overseas and domestic migrant workers from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Thailand.
The main problem, identified by India and Sri Lanka health workers, with the Rural technology and Business Incubator (RTBI) developed m-HealthSurvey mobile application, was in the look up content. The application allows for the user to search for a disease name by typing a few characters of the name. Upon selection predefined symptoms and signs are auto-displayed, giving the user the option to edit those values, if needed. The Health Workers using the application to send patient case information, expressed the need for full list of all possible symptoms and signs, associated with each disease; then all they have to do is delete and not enter. Entering is cumbersome for those user; especially in Sri Lanka, who are not familiar with the spelling of symptom and signs.
LIRNEasia‘s recent research on ICT use and remittances among migrant workers was released in Dhaka on 28 June 2009. The study of over 1,500 domestic and overseas migrant workers in six Asian countries (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand and Sri Lanka) has yielded some interesting insights in Bangladesh, with important policy implications. Demand for communication among Bangaldeshi migrants surveyed was particularly high compared to the other countries surveyed; a significant number of overseas migrants even used the Internet to call home. Bangladeshi migrants were sending home around half of their salaries on average, mostly through banks, and hand-carried in cash. Mobiles play a key role in coordinating remittances; a small number of overseas migrants were even sending money home through their mobiles.

Who hates mobiles?

Posted by on June 25, 2009  /  0 Comments

The Shining Path did it; the JVP in Sri Lanka did it; the Taliban have made it a habit, and now the Maoists are on the job. What is this telephone envy? Concerned over frequent setback to telecommunication, hampering operations against the Naxals, the Home Ministry has offered that the towers could be located in the premises of para-military forces stationed in the troubled districts or in the campuses of police stations. Home Ministry officials said the highest number of 20 towers were destroyed during the last three years in Chhattisgarh, where last year alone 14 mobile telephone towers of both private and government networks were attacked. Full story.
AT Kearny has issued the 2009 Global Services Index. The good news for South Asia is that Sri Lanka has moved up from 29 to 16 and Pakistan from 30 to 20. India, of course, sits at the top, no change from 2007. The advances of Sri Lanka and Pakistan have been at the expense of the Northern European countries (e.g.
LIRNEasia Lead Economist Harsha de Silva was recently appointed to a five-member Scientific Advisory committee for a two-year multi-country African research project, eAgriculture Network for Africa (eARN Africa): Effectiveness of Electronic-Based Interventions in Linking African Farmers to Markets. The project aims study the effectiveness of ICT-based intervention in linking African farmers to markets so as to inform policy decisions of African governments and stakeholders aimed at improving livelihood of smallholder farmers. The project is funded by the International Development Research Center (IDRC) of Canada; an inception meeting was recently held in Kampala, Uganda, which Harsha de Silva attended. The project will be conducted in six African countries: Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Ghana, Benin, and Madagascar. The  Scientific Advisory Committee constitutes: Prof.
Two years back China Mobile bought Paktel for US$460 million. That was a legitimate transaction. Last week two Chinese nationals were arrested while the authorities busted a bypass den at Islamabad. They have been allegedly the partner of an “influential Pakistani” in this illegal venture. It claims to have caused an estimated six billion rupees (US$74 million) loss to the exchequer.
Some governments shut down telecom networks including the Internet to control dissent. Others do not. What are the conditions that give rise to the former action? Why do others not do this? Israel never shuts down telecom networks but Sri Lanka does.
To many people’s surprise, the UK has decided to tax every fixed line 6 pounds a year to build “next generation broadband” throughout the country. But Virgin’s network is limited and fibre-optic cables are expensive. The two firms can profitably reach only around two-thirds of the population, reckons Matt Yardley of Analysys Mason, a consultancy that helped to prepare the report. Connecting the rest at high speed will cost around £3 billion. So Lord Carter surprised the broadband industry by proposing a £6 annual tax on telephone lines, raising around £150m.
Good news for the many outside and inside government who struggled to get this done, including our colleagues from Research ICT Africa. The necessary condition for cheap connectivity is about to the fulfilled. Last week, in the Kenyan port of Mombasa, a regional communications revolution belatedly got under way when Kenya’s president, Mwai Kibaki, plugged in the first of three fibre-optic submarine cables due to make landfall in Kenya in the next few months. They should speed up the connection of Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, as well as bits of Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan, to the online world. Of course, as the West African cable showed abundantly, and then the landing of SEA-ME-WE 4 in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh did, the cable by itself does not make things better.
It’s not only in Finland and India that they are returning fixed line connections . . . . At the University of Washington, the communications department faculty did away with their landlines.
The Pakistan Telecom Authority in their December 2008 quarterly review gives the reasoning behind the government’s decision to impose high taxes on mobile phone use. To reduce the high fiscal deficits, the government had increased taxes. The increase for the telecom sector was over 40 percent; for other sectors it was only seven percent. However, the end result was unexpected, though it could have been predicted from economic theory. In the two quarters after the tax increase, the tax revenue from mobile declined.
Payal Malik, Senior Research Fellow, will speak on universal service policies based on LIRNEasia research to the participants of the 3rd Annual Connecting Rural Communities Asia Forum to be held from 23-25 June 2009 in New Delhi, India. The event is expected to attract stakeholders, policy makers and executives from across the ICT sector with the shared goal of shaping future of rural connectivity. The organizers hope to be discuss: How can governments best support the creation of self-sustaining rural connectivity initiatives that benefit local people? Step-by-step practical guidance on overcoming the most pressing technical challenges Developing a world-class telecentre rural development programme Progress on delivering the promise of the United Services Obligation Fund Realising the benefits of greater rural connectivity though the delivery of E-services Mapping the future need for connectivity: Identifying choke points in the delivery network Training and empowering rural populations to make full use of the potential inherent in greater connectivity More information is available on the official website: http://www.events.