The first time we taught a course in Nepal, one of the participants discovered that only 2.6 percent of the universal service funds collected in 17 years had been disbursed. We are hoping for something even better this time. Here is an excerpt from the syllabus: In India, especially in the central government, telecom policies tend to be developed through consultative processes and are taken seriously. In other countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, policy formulation and implementation is weak.
We have taught with sequential and simultaneous interpretation in Myanmar. But our Marawila course was the first in terms of handling three languages. We were still feeling our way, but we did get into stride by Day 3. The above picture shows the interaction that this fostered. The picture below shows our team of interpreters who made it possible.
The four-day course on how to engage in broadband policy and regulation included as one of its most important elements a team project. Each team was asked to make evidence-based presentations that we hoped would form the basis for a public consultation organized by the Ministry of Telecom and Digital Infrastructure. The teams were assigned different aspects: 1. Affordable broadband of adequate quality throughout Sri Lanka 2. Services and applications that are of value to Sri Lankan users 3.
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.
It was tough to engage when reforms were not on the cards and Myanmar seemed happy to watch while the whole world got connected. Those days we wrote about China selling mobile service inside Myanmar and about cables that were cut. We also wrote about Cyclone Nargis and our small contributions to relief. But all that changed once the reform winds started blowing. I’ve been asked why so many blog posts on Myanmar.