I had a dream once – I was walking along a river in China and then an audible alarm emitting from my mobile phone got my attention. When I looked at the screen, surprisingly, a symbol with a red border showing rising water and a human figure running uphill towards shelter, was displaying. Later I realized, being illiterate in Mandarin, a text message would have done me no good. However, the symbol made perfect sense. It was an immediate threat of a sudden-onset flash flood (possibly caused by a damn burst).
The pendulum swings again. It was around 10 years ago that the great retreat was in full swing, with US and European telcos retreating from emerging markets (and even masking their investments as France Telecom did by making Mauritius Telecom the holding company for its African operations). Now they’re unloading European businesses to go where the action is. France Télécom, led by Stéphane Richard, is shedding assets in Europe, where phone companies are vying for a shrinking pool of new customers amid tightening regulation, to embrace faster-growing markets in Africa and the Middle East. “It makes sense to exit the difficult Swiss market and may give them more flexibility on the cash-flow side,” said Giovanni Montalti, an analyst in London at Crédit Agricole Cheuvreux.
A recently released survey indicates Japan has the best quality broadband Internet services, with Sweden and the Netherlands completing the top three. Researchers used download/upload speeds, and internet latency when compiling numbers from eight million tests completed in May 2008. Sweden and the Netherlands were able to be the top European broadband nations because of their efforts in “increasing investments in fiber and cable network upgrades, coupled with competition diversity, and supported by strong government vision and policy.” Even though it’s difficult to define quality internet, regardless of how questions were reworded, Oxford University Said Business School researchers found Japan remained on top of 41 other nations in the “Broadband Quality Score.” Latvia, Korea, Switzerland, Lithuania, Denmark, Germany and Slovenia are the nations that round out the top ten quality broadband nations, according to researchers.
Helani Galpaya is attending the 2008 Global Event on Measuring the Information Society in Geneva, Switzerland on 27 – 29 May. She is acting as a Facilitator in a session on Advancing the ICT Agenda . The Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development is an international, multi-stakeholder initiative to improve the availability and quality of ICT data and indicators, particularly in developing countries. It provides an open framework for coordinating ongoing and future activities, and for developing a coherent and structured approach to advancing the development of ICT indicators globally. George Sciadas of StatsCanada also made a presentation at this event.
Microsoft Would Put Poor Online by Cellphone By JOHN MARKOFF Published: January 30, 2006 DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 29 — It sounds like a project that just about any technology-minded executive could get behind: distributing durable, cheap laptop computers in the developing world to help education. But in the year since Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Laboratory, unveiled his prototype for a $100 laptop, he has found himself wrestling with Microsoft and the politics of software. Mr. Negroponte has made significant progress, but he has also catalyzed the debate over the role of computing in poor nations — and ruffled a few feathers.