2013 April


The pilot project being implemented by the UK regulator should yield useful learnings for all who want to make better use of spectrum. Ofcom is inviting the industry to take part in the pilot, which is scheduled for the third quarter of 2013. Locations will be chosen once the trial participants are on-board. It also noted that following a successful completion of the programme, “Ofcom anticipates that the technology could be fully rolled out during 2014, enabling the use of white space devices across the country”. Issues to be explored include the interoperation of white space devices, white space databases, and the processes to mitigate against interference to current spectrum users.
The Economist talks about how New York and Chicago are using different approaches to the analyze big data generated from within their operations. Sadly, no such activity can be reported from our part of the world. Many cities around the country find themselves in a similar position: they are accumulating data faster than they know what to do with. One approach is to give them to the public. For example, San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago are or soon will be sharing the grades that health inspectors give to restaurants with an online restaurant directory.
We have not written much about MOOCs so far on this blog, but have been following developments avidly. As LIRNEasia’s work in capacity building begins to take up more of our time, we need to think about how we can effectively mobilize ICTs in our work. The report that we highlight here seems to point the way forward. Ms. Junn hoped that blending M.
A study, jointly conducted by Financial Times and Informa, reveals WhatsApp and Apple’s iMessage have overtaken the text message substituting SMS. It said the OTT messaging will be more than double to 41 billion per day this year, which will be more than twice the number of text messages to be sent. It will impact more than $120 billion text message business in 2013, said Financial Times. This had “a significant impact on mobile operators’ traffic and revenues in some countries, including Spain, the Netherlands and South Korea”. For example, text revenues in Spain have fallen from €1.
I recall a Sinhala poem from my time at Peradeniya University. It asked who had actually built Sigiriya and the great irrigation works: The kings who routinely get the credit or the unnamed many who did the actual building? The telecom reforms in Sri Lanka are now seen as an unqualified success. The reforms did not just happen. Courageous decision making was needed.
With long experience in neighboring Bangladesh, where they may have well discovered the Budget Telecom Network model, Telenor appears to be pulling out all the stops in its Myanmar campaign. Telenor plans to sell SIM cards for free—or with a minimal charge of about 20 kyat (US$0.02)—and offer its phone service by a pay-per-minute plan. The company also plans to make communications accessible by establishing a high volume of points of sales throughout the country. “We never want a customer to be living more than a few hundred meters from a retailer,” Brekke said.
It takes guts to question protectionism, but I guess it’s not that difficult when you are in the Prime Minister’s Office: The Prime Minister’s Office is worried about the IT and Communication Ministry’s policy of encouraging domestic manufacturing. The PMO has sent the Ministry a note asking for comments on how the policy aims to link manufacturing requirements to national security. ‘MARKET DISTORTIONS’ “Efforts to link manufacturing with security is questionable. It will lead to distortions in the market. Security objectives can be met through audits, tests and need to be handled separately,” states the note sent by the PMO.
Bangladesh is connected with the world through only one submarine cable system (SEA-ME-WE4). Nearly four months back, Douglas Madory of Renesys Corporation has analyzed the significance of terrestrial cables for the backup of Internet. He wrote: The Internet of Bangladesh has been connected to the world by a single submarine cable, Sea-Me-We 4 (SMW4), since this 18,800 kilometer-long optical-fiber system made its landing at Cox’s Bazar in 2006. However, in the nearly seven years since SMW4’s activation, national Internet outages have plagued Bangladesh with some regularity. When their portion of this system is sabotaged, suffers a failure or is down for maintenance, virtually all Internet bandwidth for the 7th most populous country in the world disappears, forcing local providers to fall back to slow and expensive satellite services or to simply wait for restoration.
On the second day of the training course organized by PiRRC in Apia, Samoa, I made a presentation on the available regulatory solutions to the problem of market power associated with submarine cable landing stations. The countries covered include Hong Kong SAR, India, Fiji and Mauritius. The slide set: Gateway pricing Apr 2013.
We’ve had some discussion about the effects of killswitch on this blog. Here is a discussion about full and partial killswitch effects with some nice graphics. When you deliver nearly a third of global Web traffic, you get to see a lot of crazy stuff happen. Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ: AKAM), the global Internet traffic provider, is giving us a glimpse at some of those wild scenarios today in its latest “State of the Internet” report. The company, based in Cambridge, MA, tracks a wide variety of statistics in its quarterly reports, including domestic and global Internet speeds, mobile connectivity, unique IP addresses, and attacks by hackers.
I am writing this post sitting in Apia, Samoa, in a room packed with representatives from policymakers and regulators from 13 Pacific Island Countries (PICs), ranging from the Cook Islands to Vanuatu. I have been engaging with ICT policymakers and regulators in the PICs since 2006 and have never seen this level of enthusiasm and engagement. The subjects covered in this two-day training course were decided on by the participants. My first assignment is to discuss ITU and PiRRC indicators. The Pacific is something of a “black hole” in terms of sector indicators.
In our recent intervention on Sri Lanka’s electricity tariffs, we offered to help the regulatory agency and the service suppliers apply the learnings of behavioral economics to the task of reducing the five percent of peak-load demand that was responsible for 17 percent of the total cost. In this oped, an author we quoted in the submission, supports pilot project proposed by the transport authority of Singapore. By providing free train rides, the LTA hopes to harness the power of free to shift demand from peak to off-peak travel. Congestion is a 10 to 20 per cent phenomenon; transport planners do not need to shift a majority of commuters to off-peak hours. As long as 10 to 20 per cent do, that is sufficient to alleviate congestion and improve the commuting experience for all.
Today was the day Myanmar lowered the price of SIMs. Here are the conditions imposed. 350,000 SIM cards will be divided among states and divisions on a monthly basis. In order to prevent the common practice of transferring SIM card ownership, the cards will be disabled if they are not used in the first 15 days after purchase. Certain rules apply to the new SIM cards, which come with 300 kyats (about US$0.
We were serious about the sabotage in SEA-ME-WE4 at Egypt that impaired Internet across Asia, notably in Pakistan, last month. Our ongoing research about the fragility of Eurasian submarine cable connectivity refers to multiple terrestrial initiatives to link Middle East with Europe. EPEG or Europe-Persia Express Gateway is one of them. And Renesys Corporation, which supports our research, has confirmed that EPEG has made history by transporting telecoms traffic of Bahrain, Pakistan and Kenya to and from Europe. James Cowie of Renesys has made no effort to hide his exclamation: If you’d told me five years ago that we would one day see Iranian and Russian terrestrial Internet transit serving the countries of the Indian Ocean, from Pakistan to East Africa, I wouldn’t have believed it.
Last Saturday a 6.6 magnitude earthquake has rocked the Baoxing County in China’s Sichuan province. It immediately reminded everyone the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that killed nearly 90,000 people around Chengdu city in the very Sichuan province during May 2008. Five years is too short to forget the devastation as well as the mistakes.