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Tag Archives: universal service

Promoting broadband: Balancing competition and subsidies

Not the most perfect summary, since I did the interview with half my mind on the need to get to the airport in time for my flight out.

LIRNEasia Chair to moderate panel on broadband promotion at ITU Telecom World in Bangkok

Governments like subsidies. We do not mind, as long as they do not harm competition and are deployed intelligently. One big complaint we had about the Indian Universal Service Fund was that it was not being used (as was the even bigger fund accumulated by Brazil). The Indian government responded with a USD 4 billion […]

Anti universal service in Pakistan?

We have been working with the Pakistan Telecom Authority, the Pakistan Universal Service Fund and operators to achieve universal service in that country. Universal service means a phone for everyone. But according to this report there are people in Pakistan who will kill barbarically to prevent this goal from being achieved. A young mother of […]

Another dysfunctional e subsidy program, this time in America

The money comes from everyone with a telecom connection in the US. And the government has trouble pushing it through. Five billion USD is a lot of money to keep unspent. Here, we’ve been griping about India’s USD 4 billion and Brazil’s USD 4 billion plus. The E-Rate program has been faulted for inadequately allocating […]

Another dog-in-the-manger universal service fund

The big unspent piles of cash in the Brazilian and Indian universal service funds are well known. Less well known are the under-performing funds in small countries. Nepal is one. Having the money extracted from mostly poor customers in one of the poorest countries in the world, an LDC, is particularly offensive: While he vowed […]

Myanmar is last in telecoms: What can be done

Myanmar Times

A short piece I wrote on my own time (IDRC is subject to Canadian government restrictions against any expenditures of Canadian funds in/for Myanmar) was just published in English in the Myanmar Times. I am hopeful the Bamar translation will also be published. The text is below: In 2010, I worked on a section of […]

More taxes on US consumers to fund USD 4.5 billion Universal Service Fund

The program we talked about few weeks back has been announced. It will spend USD 4.5 billion a year to connect 20 million Americans to broadband. In an effort to expand broadband Internet service, the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday approved an overhaul of its fund that subsidizes rural telephone service, turning it into one […]

Poor served better by sector reform than by subsidy programs: World Bank evaluation

It’s always a challenge to decipher the special language of evaluation reports, but this para in the recent evaluation report on the ICT activities of the World Bank does seem like an indictment of universal service programs. 4.28 Equity and integration of marginalized groups have been more effectively supported by Bank support for ICT policy […]

FCC moves to least-cost-subsidy auctions for universal service

Two years after our research was cited in a presentation by Scott Wallsten to Congress to support his argument that the US should adopt least-cost-subsidy auctions and I condemned the inefficient ways of US universal service fund disbursements at an event attended by senior FCC staff, the change is done: The US will use auctions. […]

2011 Telecom Policy and Regulatory Environment (TRE) survey results released in Dhaka

The results of the newest TRE survey conducted by LIRNEasia are out. We started the survey since before the start of LIRNEasia and have improved it since. The results were released in Dhaka, Bangladesh, at a well attended media event on 12 May 2011. The centerpiece was the sector performance report on Bangladesh by Faheem […]

UK drops expensive universal service plans

We expressed skepticism when the Labor Party first announced it. We are pleased it is being cancelled. The previous Labour government hummed and hawed about this rural-urban “digital divide”. Eventually, in 2009, it proposed levying a 50p tax on every fixed telephone line in the country: the proceeds were to be given to BT to […]

How to measure success/failure of Brazil’s broadband policy

I was invited to conduct a discussion at the Cabinet Office in Brasilia with senior government officials driving the Brazilian Broadband Policy that will shortly be announced. Representatives of the relevant ministries, ANATEL the regulatory agency, the public telecom operator and a local think tank participated in what proved to be a lively discussion. Given […]

LIRNEasia contributes to rethinking on universal service funds

Some of our best friends are at in the Association for Progressive Communication (APC), but still warms our hearts when they quote our writing, especially when we go out of our way to wave the red flag before those who still believe in the benevolent state. In a submission to the UN Group on the […]

Sri Lanka: Universal service funds disbursed, finally

As part of the international telecom services liberalization of 2003, the government started collecting a levy from international calls for universal service. The intention was to reduce the amounts every year and also to give out the money as quickly as possible. What happened was different. The percentage was not reduced and money was not […]

Connecting the unconnected and more at ITU Telecom Asia 2008

Mega panel at ITU Telecom Asia 2008

I had the opportunity of chairing a panel of seven persons from various parts of Asia at the Forum at ITU Telecom Asia 2008 in Bangkok.  After we got around the inane title of Manga for the masses, we had a decent discussion, focussing on the aspects of connecting the unconnected, assuring adequate quality to […]

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