Asia-Pacific


“Panic and chaos are inherent in crises. During the critical golden 72 hours the public need ICTs to mitigate the panic but we are still ten years behind and have forgotten history” – says Mr. Naveed Haq. Progress towards resilient ICTs for emergency communication and crisis response remains poor in Asia and the Pacific. The APrIGF “Cry for Help” – “Rapid Restoration of Access to Telecommunication” (RREACT) was designed to engage the audience and a set of experts in discussing issues and strategies for empowering communities with ICT resilience in support of emergencies and crises.
UN ESCAP hosted a whole week of events for the Asia Pacific business community in Bangkok last week. LIRNEasia was invited to speak on how ICTs can benefit small business. I focused on micro-enterprises of the type we see in our work, exemplified by Zayed Khan, the young grocer from Sonargoan so well profiled by our qualitative research partner CKS. There was the usual tendency to extrapolate from the personal experiences of speakers to the entirety of the Asia Pacific, but hopefully LIRNEasia’s research-based presentation provided a needed counterweight. The slides are here.
LIRNEasia CEO, Rohan Samarajiva will deliver a keynote address on broadband development in the Asia-Pacific at an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) organized by UNESCAP’s Committee on Information and Communications Technology in Bangkok, Thailand. Click here to view presentation slides. More information on the event is available here.
LIRNEasia‘s m-health research pilot project has been  featured in the October 2010 issue of FutureGov Asia Pacific magazine. Led by Nuwan Waidyanatha, the project explores the  use of mobile phones for early detection of communicable diseases in selected cities in India and Sri Lanka. The full article can be downloaded here or read below: Sri Lanka has completed the trial of a mobile phone project which helps early detection of communicable diseases. The ‘Real-time Bio-surveillance Programme’ allows data on patients and symptoms of illnesses to be sent directly from hospital wards to the epidemiological centre through a web interface installed on mobile phones.  Under the present manual system, set up in the 19th century, it can take more than two weeks for information of outbreaks to reach the epidemiological centre in the capital.
Asia Pacific telecom operators had a big party in Colombo this week. They were celebrating the 21 st anniversary of the global mobile standard, GSM. Despite a few puzzlingly sexist comments about the significance of the 21 st birthday to a “Young Girl” (as though it was not significant for a male) it was a good party. Anyway, the point is that it was not just fun and games. The conference that followed was a serious one.
While some Asia-Pacific economies are world leaders in information and communication technologies (ICT) where broadband access is ultra-high speed, affordable and close to ubiquitous, in most of the region’s poorer countries Internet access remains limited and predominantly low-speed. This is what ITU’s Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Report for the Asia-Pacific region 2008 says. It was released at ITU TELECOM ASIA 2008, Bangkok, Thailand yesterday (Sept 2, 2008). The Report finds evidence that ICTs and broadband uptake foster growth and development, but the question remains as to the optimal speed that should be targeted in view of limited resources. The area in which the region really stands out is the uptake of advanced Internet technologies, especially broadband Internet access.
Aug 26, 2008, telecomasia.net Asia’s emerging markets, comprising eight nations, are expected to see mobile subscriber net gains of 573 million by end-2012, breaching the one billion mark to close the year at an estimated 1.06 billion subscribers, a report from research firm Frost & Sullivan said. In 2007, these emerging markets were home to some 487 million mobile users, accounting for 37.1% of Asia-Pacific’s total mobile subscriber base, the report said.
Office of the Telecommunications Authority (OFTA) of Hong Kong was ranked as the most effective National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority site in the recently conducted LIRNEasia study ‘NRA Website survey: Asia Pacific 2008’ receiving 94%, followed by Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore with 89% and Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) with 87%. In South Asia Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) scored highest (80%) but Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of India (TRAI) was not too behind (75%). PTA site which scored highest marks in the previous survey in 2005 this time lost marks due to the lack of some features like the non availability of local language version.  More information in paper format and Presentation Slides
Beyond Tunis: Changing Policy Rohan Samarajiva Government is about the sustenance of hope. Yet in too many places, government is about killing hope: “you can’t make it because you’re poor/ your ethnicity is wrong / you aren’t from the right school.” When hope is dead, when the pie looks like it’s not expanding, and the game is zero-sum, the path that remains is hatred. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) shake things up. Not necessarily for the better; but with prodding of the right kind and possibly some luck and happenstance, the equilibrium can be broken in a positive way.
The cost of international capacity between the US and Asia has dropped dramatically in the past ten years. In 1996, US$10,000 would buy a 64kbps IPLC between Asia and the US. The same money buys a STM-1 (155Mbps) circuit in 2006. Dramatic drops in the price of international capacity as a result of market deregulation in the Asia Pacific is resulting in a shift in the dynamics of Internet traffic, according to a presentation at the APRICOT conference in Taipei this week. Read more.
humanitarian.info » The Long Last Mile Courtesy of Nuwan on the humanitarian-ict mailing list, I just watched “The Long Last Mile” on YouTube. Produced by Television for Education – Asia Pacific, it describes the project by LIRNEasia to evaluate Last-Mile Hazard Information Dissemination. Some useful points in an accessible format – redundancy in communication technologies, identification of key responders, community engagement in the process, the importance of simulation exercises for learning, and so on. Only 12 minutes long, it’s definitely worth watching.
One of the most significant auctions of frequency spectrum in the world is about the start in the US. The process of moving spectrum-hogging broadcasters out of these valuable bands (a process known as spectrum refarming) began in the 1990s. How many Asia-Pacific spectrum managers have even got started on the job? How long will it be before the people of the region see the benefits of deploying 700 MHz spectrum for wireless broadband? Airwaves, Web Power at Auction – New York Times The radio spectrum licenses, which are to be returned from television broadcasters as they complete their conversion from analog to digital signals in February 2009, are as coveted as oil reserves are to energy companies.
Consumers across Asia are the most prolific users of mobile messaging and are forecast to further drive message volume in 2008, a research firm said on Thursday. Nearly 1.5 trillion mobile messages were sent in the Asia-Pacific region over the past 12 months, accounting for 78.9 per cent of all SMS traffic globally last year, said a Gartner’s report. Nearly 2.
Two publications, with chapters by LIRNEasia researcher Chanuka Wattegama, were launched during the GK3, third global Knowledge conferences held in Kuala Lumpur in December, 2007. The biennial Digital Review of Asia Pacific is a comprehensive guide to the state-of-practice and trends in information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D) in Asia Pacific. The third edition (2007/2008) covers 31 countries and economies, including North Korea for the first time. Each country chapter presents key ICT policies, applications and initiatives for national development. In addition, five thematic chapters provide a synthesis of some of the key issues in ICT4D in the region, including mobile and wireless technologies, risk communication, intellectual property regimes and localization.
All over the world, governments are freeing up and assigning more frequencies for mobile services.   Is it not time that spectrum managers in the Asia Pacific start work on this?  These things take time.  Refarming is a lot more work than making a copy of a license. Ottawa opens up wireless industry to more competition The Conservative government on Wednesday paved the way for new cellphone companies by announcing new rules for an auction of radio airwaves designed to spur competition in the wireless industry.
A new report from Portico Research reveals that over half of the population of the entire world will have a mobile phone by 2008. The study predicts that the global mobile penetration rate will pass the 50 per cent mark next year, with a further 1.5 billion new mobile phone subscribers expected to join their ranks over the next four years.   Portico Research says global mobile penetration rate will be at 75 per cent by 2011.  It is now believed that some 65 per cent of these “new-to-the-world” users will come from the Asia Pacific region, rather than from Africa as has previously been though most likely, with the majority being from rural regions in countries such as India and Pakistan.