The debate over Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum auctions and internet telephony comes at a time when international organizations and analysts are painting a starkly contrasting picture of the Indian telecom and IT sectors. Recent International Telecommunication Union (ITU) data reveals that the success of India’s telecom revolution is restricted to mobile voice with very little to showcase in fixed line and internet access, or high-speed broadband. For a country that is the global IT and ITeS capital or the world’s back office, its own internet penetration remains one of the lowest in the world. Forecasts are equally uninspiring, projecting high-speed internet access to remain abysmal till 2012. Internet broadband penetration will limp along to eventually reach a measly 3.
An OECD report, Global Opportunities for Internet Access Developments, says that the next billion Internet users will be very different from the first billion and governments in developing countries, where these users will come from, must adapt strategic regulatory and investment policies to lower access costs. “The characteristics of these new Internet users will be vastly different from the first billion users,” the report concludes, adding that the majority of the new Internet users will be accessing the Internet on wireless networks and will have incomes of less than US$2 per day. While the report sees encouraging signs from developing markets that have adopted market liberalisation and who are now starting to enjoy the employment, micro- entrepreneurial and social development benefits of increased competition, there remain many countries that need to catch up. According to the report, “more than 70 countries still have monopolies over international gateway services,” which “raise the prices for accessing international capacity, far beyond costs, and reduce the affordability of Internet access for end-users.” Read more.
Myanmar will implement a cyber village project aiming to enable every village in the country to have access to internet link like urban cities, according to computer entrepreneur circle Thursday. A pioneer pilot project for the move will start late of this year by the open season with installation of IP Star phone lines by the state-run Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications (MPT), the Computer Entrepreneurs’ Association (CEA) said. Investment is being invited from the private sector for the establishment of public access centers in villages and power source is being sought either from battery or solar energy to operate the internet in some remote villages in short of electricity as an alternative, the Association added. According to the MPT, the number of internet users in Myanmar has reached nearly 300,000, up from merely 12 in four years ago. The authorities have projected to introduce 400 public internet service centers in 324 townships in the country within three years to facilitate communication links.
Dhaka, June 1 (bdnews24.com)—Maritime thieves have stolen at least 11-kilometres Vietnamese portion of Thailand bound SEA-ME-WE3 submarine cable and sold the 100 tons of illicit cargo as scrap, reported VietNamNet Bridge online newspaper Tuesday. Such bizarre underwater international telecoms infrastructure robbery occurred on March 25 and since then Vietnam’s Internet users have been struggling with far slower speed. The broken cable system, named TVH, was built in 1993-1995, connecting Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong with a capacity of 560 megabits per second. The Vietnam Telecom International (VTI) got puzzled when the cable went down.
As part of a special review of ICT policy in Indonesia, e-Indonesia, the Indonesian ICT monthly magazine, interviewed a number of key stakeholders including the Minister Sofyan Djalil, Commissioners from BRTI, the regulatory body, civil society group, industry reps and ICT experts. LIRNEasia researcher, Divakar Goswami, was also interviewed. The interview is featured in the online edition here. The interview is in bahasa. The English text of the interview is below: 1.
Leased Line Tariffs to be Regulated Bisnis Indonesia, September 27, 2006 JAKARTA: The Indonesian Telecommunication Regulatory Body (BRTI) will regulate the tariffs for leased lines through a ministerial decree, which is expected to be signed end of this year. The regulator most likely will force network operators to lower leased line tariffs by more than 50 percent to push internet penetration in Indonesia. BRTI said this in a public meeting with Mastel, internet service providers, and network operators yesterday. Heru Sutadi, a member of BRTI, expected a decline of more than 50% in the tariffs will increase ICT usage, internet interconnection, telephone penetration and increase the number of internet users in Indonesia. “The regulator expects the decline in leased line tariffs will be followed by the acceleration of local internet content, so that bandwidth doesn’t get used outside the country and internet tariffs can drop significantly,” he said yesterday.
Internet Providers Criticize Leased Line Tariffs Bisnis Indonesia, Sept. 26, 2006, T2 JAKARTA: The Association of Indonesian Internet Service Providers urge network operators to lower leased line tariffs to allow a healthy competition in providing Internet services for retail customers. Chairman of the Association Sylvia W. Sumarlin said that network operators, which also provide direct internet services to customers, have disturbed ISP businesses. “Every day, a lot of ISP customers switch to network operators because they provide cheaper tariffs to access Internet,” she said to Bisnis yesterday.
Inadequate backbone infrastructure in Indonesia has been widely regarded as crippling its telecom sector. Uneven development of the backbone has meant that much of the East of the country has no fiber-optic based backbone network and those islands have to rely on more expensive satellite links. Poor long-haul domestic infrastructure has meant that many parts of the country do not have access to basic communication and those that are connected have some of the world’s highest leased line and Internet prices as my earlier study shows. The Indonesian government’s ambitious Palapa Ring project to create a fiber ring connecting the major islands had been shelved post the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Recently, however, efforts have been made to revive a modified version of the earlier vision.
Rapid Response Unit: 14 December 2004 LIRNEasia made a short, but productive call on Nepals High-Level Commission for Information Technology (HLCIT) last week, to advise on jump-starting its e government and reform processes. The visit came within less than ten days of a request for Rapid Response assistance by Mr. Sharad Chandra Shah, HLCITs Vice Chairman. In his three day visit, executive director Rohan Samarajiva conducted two key sessions, with HLCIT and decision making level representatives of government, private sector and civil society. The first was a seminar, concerned with how Nepal can rapidly implement e-government initiatives, drawing on experience from Sri Lanka.
Provisional Mission Statement: Improving the lives the people of Asia – by making it easier to use the information and communication technologies they need; by changing the laws, policies and regulations to enable those uses; by building Asia-based human capacity through research, training, consulting and advocacy. Why LIRNEasia? Enormous amounts of money are invested annually in ICTs. The potential of information and communication technologies, or ICTs for economic and social progress is substantial. ICTs aren’t necessarily the answer to higher incomes and development in itself; but together with other factors, they provide a means to improve people’s capabilities and knowledge so that they may better their lives.