The New York Times reported some exciting new changes that are in the works in New York, whereby the entire electricity model is being rethought. New York State is proposing to turn its electric utilities into a new kind of entity that would buy electricity from hundreds or thousands of small generators and set prices for that electricity and for the costs of running the power grid. The proposal anticipates a radically different electric system, dominated by decentralized production, much of it of renewable, intermittent energy sources like solar or wind power. The Public Service Commission is considering how the utilities would have to change. Instead of distributing electricity themselves, the utilities would effectively direct traffic, coordinating distribution of electricity produced by a multitude of smaller entities, according to an outline published last month by the commission, which regulates utilities.
Both in our HazInfo project and in the work we did subsequently in the Maldives, we addressed the problems of first-responder communication. The report from the NYT highlights the progress that has been made since 9/11, but also the remaining gaps (identified and written about in the 1990s by our colleagues Peter Anderson and Gordon Gow). During Hurricane Sandy, New York police commanders could talk by radio with fire department supervisors across the city, to officials battling power failures in nearby counties and with authorities shutting down airports in New York and New Jersey. As routine as that sounds, it represented great strides in emergency communications. And it addressed one of the tragic problems of Sept.
Fury of Sandy hasn’t spared anything that a modern society survives on. Unlike most of the cities in America, the wooden power poles don’t exist across the downtown of New York and Manhattan. But the underground power cable systems are submerged by stagnant salty water from tidal wave. Barb Darrow posted a chilling account of consequences in Gigaom: As already reported, data center facilities in lower Manhattan suffered a string of outages after flooding and Con Ed cut electrical power. Datagram, the web hosting company that serves the Huffington Post, Gawker, Gizmodo and BuzzFeed, went down Monday evening after flooding caused those sites to go dark.
AT&T and Nokia each announced severe belt-tightening measures this week, but each laid out different approaches to address market share issues. Suffering from the loss of landline subscribers, AT&T announced Thursday that it will cut its employment base by 4%, or 12,000 employees. The company, however, said it plans to increase staff in broadband, wireless, and video. AT&T has been riding its exclusive deal with Apple’s iPhone, and the telecom company expects to gain market share in the mobile phone category next year. At its annual Capital Markets Day, this year in Brooklyn, N.
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.
America’s 3rd largest cellphone provider, Sprint, is sending out letters to 1,100 of its subscribers informing them that their service will be summarily terminated by the end of this month. Because they make too many calls to Sprint’s customer service centres and helplines! The letters read, “Our records indicate that over the past year, we have received frequent calls from you regarding your billing or other general account information. While we have worked to resolve your issues and questions to the best of our ability, the number of inquiries you have made to us during this time has led us to determine that we are unable to meet your current wireless needs. Therefore after careful consideration, the decision has been made to terminate your wireless service agreement effective July 30, 2007.
In the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the World Dialogue on Regulation carried a discussion on regulatory responses to disasters. It appears that this discussion has continued relevance to developed countries as well, as seen in this communication from the National Regulatory Research Institute in the US: “Severe January ice storms left over 450,000 customers from Texas and Oklahoma to Michigan, New York, and New Hampshire without power. In Oklahoma, sleet and freezing rain built up ice four inches thick, bringing down trees and power lines, leaving some customers without power for as much as a week. Commissions typically investigate a utility’s response to a long-term major outage, and these severe winter storms will cause regulators to refocus on outage management and restoration issues. An ongoing NRRI study on electricity outages recommends that regulators make their expectations of electric utilities more specific and investigates regulatory approaches that encourage adoption of efficient outage management and restoration systems.
Seems like a good business idea for entrepreneurs in countries like Bngladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka, with large migrant populations. Even at double the US set up costs, it won’t take long to start earning returns. Of course, good broadband is a necessary condition. Abroad at Home – New York Times Because of stricter border enforcement since 9/11, increased broadband access and reduced cost of video equipment, more businesses are offering videoconferencing services to reunite immigrants with their families back home. Typically found in or near places immigrants frequent like money-transfer operations or consular offices, these kinds of services are often reserved for weeks in advance.
North Korea is part of Asia. LIRNEasia should at least think about this strange country as it goes about its work. The connectivity of North Korea is described below: The Internet Black Hole That Is North Korea – New York Times “This is an impoverished country where televisions and radios are hard-wired to receive only government-controlled frequencies. Cellphones were banned outright in 2004. In May, the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York ranked North Korea No.
India Becoming a Crucial Cog in the Machine at I.B.M. Click here for full article [registration required] By Saritha Rai, New York Times, June 5, 2006 BANGALORE, India, June 4 — The world’s biggest computer services company could not have chosen a more appropriate setting to lay out its strategy for staying on top. On Tuesday, on the expansive grounds of the Bangalore Palace, a colonial-era mansion once inhabited by a maharajah, the chairman and chief executive of I.
Rohan Samarajiva started out by introducing the four case studies that LIRNEasia will be conducting this year which will be LIRNEasias contribution to the Expert forum to be held in September-October 2005. Since all four study teams were represented, Rohan gave an overview of the terms of reference common to the projects and went over the timeline. Rohan observed that a good research organization and a consulting firm has a common culture, values and quality standards. This is not the case for bodyshops and hence their output was unpredictable, varying from mediocre to excellent. LIRNEasia will not be a bodyshop but will build a common organizational culture, value and standards using multiple methods, the colloquium being one.
Yesterday, I spoke to a large and restive crowd (made so by lack of air conditioning and a delayed start) in Matara (main city in the South of Sri Lanka) at the launch of the Pathfinder Foundation’s first book, a Sinhala translation of Janos Kornai’s Toward a free economy. I was asked to talk about globalization and the relevance of Kornai’s ideas for facing the challenges posed by globalization. In this talk that I pieced together thanks to time zone differences that caused me to wake up at 3 in the morning while in the US, I illustrated the issues referring to Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), a broad area of service exports for which efficient, flexible and low-cost telecom is a pre-condition. I think the talk provides the "big picture" of the necessity of telecom reforms of the type that we at LIRNEasia are involved in. If we are to go beyond simply giving people phones, to giving them "money in the pocket and hope in the heart" this big picture is essential.