Technology/Internet


LIRNEasia’s preliminary round of mobile broadband quality testing in selected locations in Western Province unveils both hopes and issues. The good news is that the quality of both key pre-paid mobile broadband services is satisfactory, in majority of locations. However, unusual quality drops in several places indicates that this performance is not always a certainty. In general, a mobile broadband user in Western Province can expect a reasonable quality unless a rare issue like the distance from a tower or a higher number of simultaneous users hinders it. LIRNEasia tested the broadband quality of the popular pre-paid High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) broadband connections of the two key providers.
How best to name the key theme for the next research cycle? We discussed this at length three years back. Rohan’s original idea was ‘Mobile Multiple Play’. We would have agreed, if not for the reason it already meant something else. Then came ‘Mobile++’.
The UK regulator, Ofcom, has proposed cuts in interconnection fees (also known as mobile termination rates), the wholesale charges that operators make to connect calls to each others’ networks. It has unveiled plans to cut the rate in stages from 4.3 pence ($0.065) per minute to 0.005 pence per minute by 2015.
The title is bold, we agree, but it is true. The FCC is asking broadband and smartphone users in USA to use their broadband testing tools to help the feds and consumers know what speeds are actually available, not just promised by the nations’ telecoms, reports wired.com. Starting yesterday (March 11), netizens can go to the FCC’s Broadband.gov site, enter their address and test their broadband speed using one of two testing tools.
We now have evidence to support the claim that those at the “Bottom of the Pyramid” (and therefore, the majority of people in the developing world) are likely to enter the world of knowledge and convenience promised by the Internet through the path opened by the rapidly increasing capabilities of mobile networks and user devices. Mobile 2.0 describes the use of mobiles for “more‐than‐voice”. Mobiles are increasingly becoming payment devices which can also send/process/receive voice, text and images; it is envisaged that in the next few years, they will also be fully capable of information‐retrieval and publishing functions, normally associated with the Internet. Mobile 2.
An Italian judge has held three Google executives responsible for the content of a site picked up and made accessible through Google. This is a threat to us all. 20 hrs of video are uploaded on to Google every hour, so if this ruling stands, Google will have to employ increasingly large numbers of people to monitor web content. Or screen out most web content. Most bloggers have the same problem.
Google has announced that it will be rolling out superfast broadband as demonstration projects. “Google, indeed, appears to be playing a chess game,” said David B. Yoffie, a professor at the Harvard Business School. “If they can create an even mildly credible commitment to offer superfast broadband to the home, it could strike fear in the hearts of cable and telcos, stimulating an arms race of investment — just as they did in the auction for spectrum a few years ago.” In a post on its corporate blog, Google said it planned to build and test a high-speed fiber optic broadband network capable of allowing people to surf the Web at a gigabit a second, or about 100 times the speed of many broadband connections.
LIRNEasia will be releasing the beta version of the Mobile AT Tester software on 13 February 2010. All bloggers (Sinhala/Tamil/English) are welcome to participate the event. The soft launched is at Renuka City hotel and will commence from 9:30 am to 12.00 noon followed by lunch. For further informaton please click here.
The stream of blog posts started with a single SMS – apparently by the President of the country to every mobile user. It was initially thought a commercially paid advertisement aimed at the forthcoming Presidential Election but the operators confirmed it is a favour requested by the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission. Does this violate the election laws of the country? Was that an unsolicited entry to mobile users’ personal spaces? LIRNEasia with groundviews and W3Lanka blew the whistle first now it is the turn of the mass media.
At least some have first assumed it a practical joke, but Daily Mirror online confirmed President did send a New Year wish to all mobile users today. Using romanised Sinhala President wrote “Kiwu paridi obata NIDAHAS, NIVAHAL RATAK laba dunnemi. Idiri anagathaya sarwapparakarayenma Wasanawantha Wewa! SUBA NAWA WASARAK WEWA! Mahinda Rajapaksa” (As promised I delivered you an independent and free country.
At LIRNEasia, we all do our own CSR. Rohan and Harsha are perhaps among the most invited speakers to business conferences. Helani taught Information Systems to Masters students. Call this mine. I do not blog.

How broad is your broadband?

Posted by on November 25, 2009  /  1 Comments

Based on LIRNEasia’s broadband QoSE research findings, we ran an advertisement in the Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka’s leading English daily) on 24 November 2009.  The advertisement focused on four facts. The first three were on value for money, advertised download speed as opposed to actual download speed and bandwidth bottlenecks.  The lack of regulation on contention ratios (how many users per “channel”) was highlighted as the fourth fact We pointed out that LIRNEasia’s recommendation about imposing contention ratios of 1:20 (Business) and 1:50 (Residential) had been adopted by the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), with minor changes.  TRAI mandates contention ratios of 1:30 for Business and 1:50 for Residential.
We reproduce fully below, Carlos A. Afonso’s post to a thread on Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility responding to discussions at the IGF workshop “Expanding broadband access for a global Internet economy: development dimensions”, in which Rohan Samarajiva, Chair/CEO LIRNEasia was the keynote speaker. We retain the original title. As neither we nor most of our readers do not have access to the thread it was posted, we like to continue the discussion here. __________________________________________________________________ Hi people, I come from one of the ten largest economies in the world, with nearly 200 million people, 8.
“When a business model, rather than direct government action, is delivering the goods the most appropriate government action is that which supports the business model. Policy and regulatory actions must be derived more from analysis of the requirements of the business model and less from public administration theory.” How it applies to Internet and broadband is what Rohan Samarajiva, Chair and CEO, LIRNEasia explained in his keynote speech at the workshop ‘Expanding access to the Internet and broadband for development’ on November 16, 2009, at the Internet Governance forum 2009.  His presentation entitled, ‘How the developing world may participate in the global Internet Economy:  Innovation driven by competition’, can be downloaded here. The session was chaired by Dimitri Ypsilanti, Head of Information, Communication and Consumer Policy Division, OECD.
“The government is spending a lot on e-governance by putting up kiosks in villages. These kiosks cost a lot and need electricity, which is not always available in rural areas. An internet kiosk costs the government about Rs 1.5 lakh, while this would cost Rs 22,000.” Financial Chronicle (New Delhi edition) quoted Subhash Bhatnagar, adjunct professor, IIM-A who did a Mobile 2.
“I can’t imagine how and based on what measure TRAI set 256kbps internet connection as broadband. It’s very difficult for users to work with this speed. Please don’t compare Bangladesh and Sri Lanka while setting standard for India.” This was how a reader responded when Indian Express online carried a story on the dissemination of the findings of LIRNEasia’s broadband research at the GRT Grand Hotel convention centre in Chennai on November 3. Another story in ‘The Hindu’ quoted Timothy Gonsalves PhD, Head of Computer Science and Engineering Department, IIT-Madras, our research partner from IIT Madras saying the implication [of the latency introduced by complex routing of network traffic] for consumers is that though a user may get close to the speeds advertised by the operator while accessing servers within India, the download speeds from an international server for even a supposedly fast broadband connection would only be in the 200 kbps range.