2013 August


Espionage outfits of Singapore, Australia, USA and UK have unlawfully intercepted the voice and data traffic of SEA-ME-WE 3 and SEA-ME-WE 4 submarine cable networks. Philip Dorling, the National Affairs and Defence Correspondent for The Canberra Times, broke this news quoting Edward Snowden’s leaked information. Australia’s all the major newspapers (Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Brisbane Times) have simultaneously published his sensational exclusive report. Australian intelligence expert and Australian National University professor Des Ball said that intelligence collection from fibre optic cables had become “extremely important” since the late 1990s because such communications channels now carry more than 95 per cent of long distance international telecommunications traffic. “Fibre optic cables are much more difficult to intercept than satellite communications,” Professor Ball said.
It was around this time in 2006 that Prashanthi Weragoda, conference organizer extraordinaire, and I went off to Manila to discuss the possibilities of holding the first CPRsouth conference there. We were aiming for 2006, but the first conference was actually held in January 2007. Much water has flowed under the bridge since then. The conference that starts next week is perhaps the biggest we have organized. It’s 2.
SLASSCOM is the software and BPO industry body in Sri Lanka. It is organizing a discussion on innovation-friendly policies. SLASSCOM are to host CXO Breakfast Briefing on “Impact of policies concerning the internet on innovation and economic growth” on 05th September from 7.30 to 11 AM at Kings Court, Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel, Colombo. This event will feature a keynote address by Ann Lavin-Director, Policy and Government Affairs, Greater China and Asian Growth Markets, Google.
It is one thing for telecom companies to hand over information about their customers to government under compulsion of law. But quite another when it becomes a lucrative source of revenue. The bulk of the spending, detailed in a multi-volume intelligence budget obtained by The Washington Post, goes to participants in a Corporate Partner Access Project for major U.S. telecommunications providers.
Telecomasia.net quotes the New Light of Myanmar, government publication, to the effect that the law now has only one step more to go: Presidential approval. Myanmar parliament has passed the telecom bill which will allow the nation’s mobile licensees to commence operation. The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Union Assembly) approved the Communications Bill this week, state-run New Light of Myanmar said on Wednesday. “As the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw approved the Communications Bill, [state-run telco] MPT and international operators can launch their operations,” the paper cites MP U Phone Myint Aung as saying.
Last week, Helani Galpaya and I were in Nay Pyi Taw, the capital of the Union of Myanmar. We were in charge of the first day of a three day program. Here is what we did. Results of reform and rationale for regulation. The introductory unit will be taught by Professor Rohan Samarajiva (RS).
There was a lot of discussion here when Airtel entered the market. So much so that we used to receive phone calls asking for employment! Part of what we said then was they hurt themselves by being slow to enter after the announcement. It appears the damage could not be undone. India’s Economic Times said citing two unnamed sources said Standard Chartered was advising Airtel on the sale and the firm was valued at between 110 to 130 million US dollars.
A wide ranging discussion on ICTs carried in a government-owned newspaper I refuse to read. In Sri Lanka the amount of money that we spend on communication is about 700 rupees a month per household on average according to the government survey – According to the Household income and expenditure survey it is about 3.5 percent of our non-food expenditures. “We are getting more and more for the rupee that we spend for communication and we are using it more. So what I see is, the industry has to be very efficient and innovative because people expect more from them, for the same amount of money.
The widespread casualties caused this year by fast moving weather systems in Uttarakhand and in Pakistan have caused experts to call for real-time data sharing among the region’s meteorological departments. This seems to call for increased reliance on ICTs. The monsoon has been erratic in recent years. Last year, the monsoon failed in Sri Lanka, and parts of the country’s northern, eastern and southern regions went through a drought that affected at least 1.2 million people.
As everyone assumes that everyone is connected to the Internet (not an assumption we have to deal with in our countries at this moment), the consequences of not using the Internet become quite serious. “As more tasks move online, it hollows out the offline options,” said John B. Horrigan, a senior research fellow at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. “A lot of employers don’t accept offline job applications. It means if you don’t have the Internet, you could be really isolated.
It was not long ago, that we thought the Myanmar would remain asleep whilst the rest of the world (save maybe North Korea) reaped the rewards of a vibrant telecommunications sector. Even a few short years ago, the only phone connectivity was through kiosks such the one depicted in the photo, a mobile SIM could cost upwards of a few thousand dollars. But things are changing. Myanmar is opening up. Two mobile operators have been licensed.
Bangladesh will provide 100 Gbps of Internet bandwidth to India. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has planned to deploy cross-border optical fiber cable, which will ensure cheaper wholesale Internet bandwidth to the seven northeastern Indian states. The states of Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Naga Land, Manipur and Mizoram are popularly known as the “seven sisters”. India has been struggling with broadband deployment in this region being remotely located from the subsea cable lading stations (Click on the map). Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram are adjacent to Bangladesh while the rest are at closer proximity.
One thing I have learned is not to place too much trust in promises of investment. But USD 15 billion from one company seems in the ballpark for a country that wants to go from 5 to 80 fast (that’s mobile SIMs/100). All good. But why is the thinking fixated on operators who will do everything? They want the operators to build and operate telecenters; provide mobile money and aginfo services.
My respect for Huawei goes back to 2002-04 when I was responsible for telecom reforms in government. They never approached me to lobby for anything. But I asked them what the per-line costs they could offer on CDMA. Their response knocked my socks off. One of the two companies that got the first blocks of spectrum for CDMA went for Huawei.
Sitting in Yangon, preparing for a regulatory training event in Nay Pi Taw, my mind went to the hoary Jipp’s Law. Even with questionable 2012 data as reported by the ITU, Myanmar had around 5 SIMs/100 end of 2012. World Bank does not report GNI per capita data for Myanmar. Is it realistic for Myanmar to reach the level of penetration Thailand achieved in 2007, starting with the new investments and energy created by the 2013 licenses? Jipp suggests economic growth would have to reach the level Thailand had in 2007.
Governments, in general, are disgustingly infamous for despicable greed. They are notoriously addicted to the lust for windfall from auctioning spectrum. ČESKÝ TELEKOMUNIKA ČNÍÚŘAD or CTU, is the regulator of the Czech Republic. It stays away from the endemic of greed. Early this year, it stunned the world by aborting an auction of 800MHz, 1800MHz and 2.