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.
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.
The complete opening of Internet telephony, as recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) a few days ago, will not only lead to steep fall in all type of call charges, be it local, national or international, but also help in increasing broadband penetration, an area where India lags behind. Industry analysts say person using Internet telephony to make calls would see his call charges falling by as much as 50-60 per cent compared to a normal telephone call today. This will benefit an ordinary home user as well as corporates and other industries alike. Internet telephony would help telecom penetration in rural India. Till now Internet telephony was allowed only between personal computers or to mobile or landlines abroad.
August has been a busy month for the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) and its chairman, the redoubtable Nripendra Misra, a dyed-in-wool bureaucrat who has in his regulatory avatar done arguably more than any of his predecessors on the job. He has plenty of support and equally bitter critics who wish he would give up on forbearance, cut rentals, mandate cheaper roaming and ensure per second billing instead of per minute. On August 20, the authority allowed India’s estimated 295 million telecom subscribers the freedom to use different long distance service providers without changing their service provider. Two days earlier, it had unshackled internet telephony (voice transmitted over internet protocol networks). Two weeks before that, it had opened the doors for virtual mobile networks, virgin territory in India till then.
Last updated 10:01am (Mla time) 10/03/2007, Philippine Daily Inquirer NEW YORK–In spite of its global popularity, Internet telephony (VoIP), which is almost free for users, has not become a gold mine for its pioneers such as Skype and Vonage. Popular online auction firm eBay, which bought Skype two years ago for $2.6 billion, affirmed that message in a costly way earlier this week when it devalued the once-darling firm, knocking $1.43 billion off its value. The accounting move was long anticipated.
Many think that VoIP is the solution to all telecom problems. It is a solution, but not to all problems. It does not give you something for nothing, in the long run, though in the short term, something may be had for almost nothing. The articles describes the problems faced by VoIP operators in the US, where the basic infrastructure is already in place. In countries of the South, we have to keep in mind that the fiber has not been laid; the households have not all been connected; etc.
Another municipal WiFi network, but this time, not for free. BBC NEWS | Technology | Switch on for Square Mile wi-fi But is there really that much demand for open-air surfing? After all, staring at a laptop screen in the sunshine is not a great experience – especially in an area where so many cafes have wi-fi access. The network’s backers think one of the big attractions will be the ability to use wi-fi enabled phones to make cheap calls using Skype or other internet telephony services. It’s hard to see why well-paid City workers would bother with the extra effort needed to make a wi-fi call – but the City of London Corporation believes it will prove attractive to migrant workers on construction sites.
Sri Lanka: Cutting it Mobile phone use is taking off in Sri Lanka – though not, perhaps, in ways that service operators might have hoped. FROM THE ECONOMIST INTELLIGENCE UNIT In the world’s poorer countries, the purchase of a mobile phone has become increasingly affordable. Using it, however, can still be a struggle. Low-income mobile phone owners in Sri Lanka are getting around this problem with a novel method for keeping costs down. Known as ring cutting, mobile phone subscribers rely on ring tones to communicate with others, rather than actually staying on the line to talk.
The Hindu Businessline, Thomas K Thomas, New Delhi , July 13Increasing usage of broadband and Internet-based services has prompted Indian international bandwidth providers to raise their capacity by 95 per cent over a one-year period. According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, bandwidth owned by various gateway service providers such as VSNL, Reliance Communication and Bharti has gone up to 12.7 Giga bytes in March 2006 compared to 6.5 Giga bytes at the end of the previous financial year. Explaining the growth, Mr Kiran Karnik, President, Nasscom, said: “Bandwidth requirement is largely being driven by the IT industry, particularly the BPO sector, and also rapid Internet adoption at homes.
Bangladesh Illegal VoIP operators make fortune as govt stalls licensing Sharier Khan While powerful illegal internet telephony operators keep on draining out hundreds of crores taka each year, the government is delaying the process of awarding licence for VoIP operation on various pretexts ignoring a fresh recommendation of Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Authority (BTRC). The government now says the licence for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) will be given after setting up a common platform in four areas of the country under Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) through which Internet phone calls will be channelised. The four areas are Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet and Bogra. Such a common platform, to be connected to the submarine cable, will not start operation before June next, even if the authorities try their best. The submarine cable project is yet to be completed.