2013 May


Data centers are simultaneously the factories and warehouses of Internet. A study of Cushman & Wakefield, Hurleypalmerflatt and Source8 has ranked Indonesia, India and Brazil as the riskiest countries to open a data center. That strikes out two out of the four BRIC countries from being the home of Internet. Their risks are mostly related to physical, economic and social issues. Other factors however such as high energy costs, poor international internet bandwidth and protectionist legislation are also risks that need to be taken into account.
It seems to be the high time to compare the state of telecoms between North Korea and Cuba. Cuba’s average salary is US$20 a month and it costs $4.5 per hour to surf the net, which is also heavily filtered – said a report of BBC. It means, the Cuban net users burn 25% of their average national wage in an hour. Cuba has activated her first submarine cable early this year, according to Renesys.
The Orascom owned mobile operator in North Korea has issued its two millionth SIM. Naguib Sawiris, Executive Chairman of OTMT, commented saying: “When we first acquired the license in North Korea, people thought the service will only be provided to a few privileged individuals. We are very proud today to witness our subscriber base in North Korea increasing at a growing rate, emphasizing the right of the North Korean citizens in DPRK to communicate.” It is worth noting that through recent decisions of the North Korean government restrictions on availing internet connections through mobile phones for foreign visitors have been reduced, allowing Koryolink to also offer some data services through its network.
People ask me where cell broadcasting has been implemented. I’ve said Netherlands. But it actually had been implemented quietly in the US two years ago. The ad campaign to publicize it is being run only now. “Many people do not realize that they carry a potentially life-saving tool with them in their pockets or purses every day,” said W.
Earlier we highlighted how India is learning mobile banking from Kenya. Recently the Economist said, “Paying for a taxi ride using your mobile phone is easier in Nairobi than it is in New York, thanks to Kenya’s world-leading mobile-money system, M-PESA.” This world-leading mobile-money system of Kenya is a great example of unintended consequence. It had several factors in its favour, including the exceptionally high cost of sending money by other methods; the dominant market position of Safaricom; the regulator’s initial decision to allow the scheme to proceed on an experimental basis, without formal approval; a clear and effective marketing campaign (“Send money home”); an efficient system to move cash around behind the scenes; and, most intriguingly, the post-election violence in the country in early 2008. M-PESA was used to transfer money to people trapped in Nairobi’s slums at the time, and some Kenyans regarded M-PESA as a safer place to store their money than the banks, which were entangled in ethnic disputes.
NTT Docomo has shrunk its shareholding, from 30% to 8%, in Robi Axiata – the third largest operator by subscriber in Bangladesh. The Japanese heavyweight has unleashed its fury at the regulatory malfunctions and questioned the government’s credibility. Press release of Robi Axiata on NTT’s exit is the most caustic one in Bangladesh’s telecoms history. The Docomo decision comes in the face of what it cites as an unfriendly regulatory environment and business uncertainties. The telecommunications industry is at a critical juncture in Bangladesh with many issues pending between the regulators and the government agencies, notably related to VAT rebate on 2G and 3G license and 2G licensing rules, which have not been addressed even in the recent circulars of the National Board of Revenue (NBR).
MapBox has released its JavaScript code for the public to use in visualizing the recent Moore tornado impact. Simply slide your mouse over the area in the map below. Exerpt from mapbox blog – “Thanks to open aerial imagery provided by the U.S. Government and our MapBox.
“In a recent article on BBC Future, Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Internet Law at Harvard University, promotes the need for a network that works independently of the ones owned and controlled by the network operators and only in an emergency – something called a mesh network.” – FULL STORY
The UAE boasts of Burj Khalifa (Arabic: برج خليفة‎, “Khalifa tower”), the world’s tallest building, at Dubai. Now it has decided to be the very first country in Europe, Middle East and Africa in terms of futuristic mobile broadband rollout by combining 700Mhz and 800Mhz spectrum bands. The country’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has decided to bundle the 800 MHz band plan with the lower duplexer (2 X 30 MHz) – as a baseline – of the Asia Pacific (APT) 700 MHz band. It will revolutionize affordable network deployment and benefit wider population with mobile broadband connectivity. Deputy Director General of TRA Majed Al Mesmar explains: By maximising the spectrum for mobile broadband in harmony with the growing economies of scale for both bands, the TRA decision will enable nearly global interoperability and roaming.
Cyclone Nargis still haunts Myanmar. With a wall of wave as high as 16 feet at 135 miles per hour, the sea had unleashed its fury across the Irrawaddy Delta on May 2, 2008. Nearly 140,000 lives were perished and 2.4 million displaced people lost everything. It destroyed 450,000 homes, damaged 350,000 others, flooded 600,000 hectares of agricultural land and ruined 60% of farming implements.
Bangladesh has ceremoniously celebrated the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day on May 17. The day also marked eight months of shutting down of YouTube in the country. Now the authorities have decided to take over the command control of social media. Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu at a media call on the same day said the government would take the help of ‘special technology’ to bar objectionable materials from being viewed on the social media websites. It would be easier to remove disagreeable contents from Facebook once this technology was put in place, said Inu.
While renewing the 2G mobile licenses in November 2011, the authorities had mandated that each mobile operator pays 1% of gross revenue to Social Obligation Fund (SOF). It is just a version of Universal Service Fund. By far four out of six operators have paid Tk. 2.4 billion (US$31 million) to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, according to press report.
Technology dictates regulation, not other way around. And the Federal Communications Commission has found many of its regulations have lost relevance in today’s America. Such useless regulations only create confusion. Therefore, the FCC has, by far, filled its trashcan with more than 120 outdated regulations. A petition from the trade body, USTelecom, has prompted this belated housekeeping.
LIRNEasia research manager Shazna Zuhyle presented our findings on ‘Gendered use in ICTs at the bottom of the pyramid in emerging Asia’ at the WSIS forum in Geneva on the 14th May 2013. The panel consisted of selected members of the Task Group on Measuring Gender and ICTs. The session addressed the question of what current statistics can tell us about women in the information society and how women use and benefit from ICTs. The session also looked at available data on gender and ICT and proposed a set of priority areas where more data are needed. The outcome of the session will feed into the work of the Partnership Task Group on Measuring Gender and ICT.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) and Access to Information (A2I) project, being blessed by the Prime Minister’s Office, are blaming each other on the controversial allocation of 800 MHz spectrum to Ollo. BTRC said, according to a report of Dhaka Tribune: “I have gone through the matter and found that there were no irregularity on our part for allocating the spectrum,” BTRC Chairman Sunil Kanti Bose told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday. “BTRC cannot deny a request from the PMO and the 800MHz band allocation is not only for Ollo, it was allocated to other ISPs before also. A2I planned to use it for digital zila Jessore as well as for the whole country.” Bose also said as far as he is aware, Ollo has special plans to provide internet in rural areas through dongles.
I had a dream once – I was walking along a river in China and then an audible alarm emitting from my mobile phone got my attention. When I looked at the screen, surprisingly, a symbol with a red border showing rising water and a human figure running uphill towards shelter, was displaying. Later I realized, being illiterate in Mandarin, a text message would have done me no good. However, the symbol made perfect sense. It was an immediate threat of a sudden-onset flash flood (possibly caused by a damn burst).
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