2012


In a recent amendment to the Quality of Service of Broadband Service Regulations, 2006, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) states: The purpose of these regulations is to prescribe financial disincentives on the service providers for failure to meet the prescribed Quality of Service (QoS) benchmarks for Broadband Services. These regulations prescribe financial disincentive on Broadband Service providers for noncompliance with the benchmark at a rate not exceeding Rs. 50000 per parameter for the first noncompliance and Rs. 100000 per parameter for subsequent non-compliance of the benchmarks. This amendment is effective from the 1st of January 2013 and provides for a deterrent against false reporting and delay in submission of mandatory quarterly Quality of Service benchmark reports.
The Bangladesh delegation flew to WCIT 2012 without necessary homework. Members had, however, informally said they would “follow the crowd” in the conference at Dubai. And they kept their word while voting in favor of the new ITR. After coming home, the team leader is triumphant: Least developed countries like Bangladesh will be benefitted from the recent amendment to international telecom regulations, said an official. Subscribers in Bangladesh will enjoy reduced international roaming charges, better internet security, freedom from junk mails, and wider access to international communication.
LIRNEasia Research Planning Meeting for the IDRC funded “Inclusion in the Information Society” project 20th and 21st December 2012 Session 1: Introduction to the research project | Helani Galpaya | Session 2: Telecommunications in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka Bangladesh + Sri Lanka| Roshanthi Gunaratne, Shazna Zuhyle | India| Payal Malik | Session 3: Electricity in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka Bangladesh| Pial Islam | India|Usha Ramachandra PhD, Rajkiran Bilolikar | Sri Lanka|Nilusha Kapugama| Session 4: Frameworks, theory and comparability | Rohan Samarajiva PhD| Session 5: Government services in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka | Subash Bhatnagar PhD | Session 6: Introduction to the Urban Micro-Entrepreneur (ME) survey |Vignesh Ilavarasan PhD, Ranjula Perera | Session 7: Big Data for Development | Sriganesh Lokanathan | Session 8: Drafting of ME research questions Session 9: Qualitative research for User Centric Design | Namrata Mehta | Session 10: Dissemination Strategy | Rohan Samarajiva |
It was seven years to this coming January that we launched our Last Mile HazInfo project, just one year after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. It’s good to know that the project is still talked about. We are beginning work on a Tsunami + 10 initiative that will assess the impacts of post-tusnami. LIRNEasia also brought the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) to Sri Lanka. This software allows messages to be channelled through multiple media so that duplicate messages relayed through other means, such as radio or the Internet, can function as a backup in case mobile phones fail.
Many countries left the final decision on the ITRs to officials. In some case like Kenya, the officials applied their minds. In too many developing countries, it was a knee-jerk response based on maximizing national control and/or loyalty to the ITU. India is different. “ITU should only focus on telecom sector and not get into information and communication technology as they have tried to do through the Dubai convention last week,” said Subho Ray President of Internet and Mobile Association of India.
Of all the books I read in Grad School, perhaps the one I treasure the most is Exit, Voice and Loyalty (1970) by Albert Hirschman. We anchored our current project on that book. Every so often we explain the acronym HHI and Hirschman’s name comes up again. It is said that a 700 page biography will be out next year. Look forward to it.

Greetings for 2013

Posted by on December 24, 2012  /  5 Comments

Seasons Greetings from LIRNEasia.
It’s a rare government servant who does not believe that his prime directive is not that of giving all possible power to his government. Refreshing. But Dr Ndemo had indicated he would not support the inclusion of internet in the ITU regulations even before he left the country for the conference. “Why would we want to change anything? This period that ITU has not been regulating internet there have been tremendous innovations.
Now defunct PanAmSat’s corporate tagline was, “Truth and Technology Will Triumph Over Bullshit and Bureaucracy.” Its fight against the multi-government Intelsat’s monopoly in the satellite market was captured in this marketing pitch during early 90s. Mobile phone has triggered the funerals of state-owned monopolies worldwide. But it was dogged by the “Bullshit” of 3G or third generation issue. Soon it was followed by 4G and the press screamed, “ITU’s G-spot numbed by over-use.
Bangladesh has raised its broadband bar from 128 Kbps to 1 Mbps, said a press report. Time will answer if it’s a political statement or an official roadmap. But the government’s prejudice on technology is alarming. The whole country should be connected through optical fibre cable. We want to provide broadband to all corners of the country, and it is very much possible.
I trace the failure of Dubai back to the decision to cut corners on the expert group that was to prepare for the conference. A delegate who was a participant-observer reaches a similar conclusion. Consensus-based decisions take time. Principles must be understood, positions presented, compromises made. Throughout the process, enlightenment occurs at various times and in varying ways.
Telcos are consciously gearing up to with stand the “flash-crowd” New Year’s Eve SMS loads. Pushing the SMS loads at the mean time of 00:00:00 plus or minus a minute is stressful. SMS Controllers (SMSC) have to handle the massive burst. How does this relate to mass alerting? LINREasia’s thinking, the same as the Sri Lanka Disaster Management Centre (DMC), has been, “if we can do it for tsunamis (meaning tsunami warnings), the we can do it for the rest (i.

ITRs get into roaming

Posted by on December 16, 2012  /  0 Comments

Surprisingly detailed attention has been paid to international roaming by the delegates in Dubai. Even the phenomenon of inadvertently connecting to a foreign network in border areas has been covered. Though of course none of the provisions are mandatory. 38A 4.4 Member States shall foster measures to ensure that authorized operating agencies provide free-of-charge, transparent, up-to-date and accurate information to end users on international telecommunication services, including international roaming prices and the associated relevant conditions, in a timely manner.
The Economist’s take on what happened in Dubai. In the medium term, however, the outcome of the conference in Dubai will weaken the ITU—which may not be such a good thing. Among all the controversy it was forgotten that the organisation actually does very useful work, for instance in managing the international radio-frequency spectrum and developing technical standards. And some of the good ideas about which the delegations could agree may now fail to come to fruition. The WCIT reached consensus on a resolution to create a worldwide emergency number (although this would take years to implement).
Yesterday the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs) have been updated behind the closed door after fortnight-long extensive intergovernmental debates in Dubai. Dubbing it the possible “Digital cold war” the Economist said: The most important result of the conference has been to demonstrate that the world now splits into two camps when it comes to the internet: one is comprised of more authoritarian countries, which would like to turn back the clock and regain sovereignty over their own national bits of the internet; the other wants to keep the internet and its governance as it is (bearing in mind that some of its members’ motives may not always be as pure as they pretend). This sounds much like a digital version of the cold war. The funny thing is that the leading countries in the two camps are the same two that were at loggerheads until the iron curtain parted. One must hope that the failure of the WCIT is not a first step towards raising a digital one.
Norman Joseph Woodland, who co-invented the bar code along with his classmate Bernard Silver and patented it in 1952, has died last Sunday. He was 91. Bar code’s invention was far ahead of its time. It had to wait until 1974 to make commercial debut in America. Today the ubiquitous bar code is like the oxygen of logistics.