All this seems irrelevant now, but 2 weeks ago, the government’s Sunday newspaper ran a rambling article about telecom reforms, that was in part a personal attack on Rohan Samarajiva, but mostly an assault on the reform process itself. The tables that were central to the article had been produced by Mr K.K. Gunawardene, former Director of the Department of Telecommunications (state-owned integrated monopoly until 1991), more recently with the ITU’s Bangkok office. These tables are unfortunately not reproduced in the online edition of the newspaper.
The body count is way over what everyone thought. The volunteers are working like crazy. The flaws in the government’s relief efforts are beginning to show. The LIRNEasia response is given in the attachment. Also attached is a scanned copy of Rohan’s interview with the leading Sinhala daily on disaster preparation.
The wind was not held back Below is a talk given 6 years ago entitled “To hold back the wind.” That was an attempt to get disaster preparedness going. It failed, obviously. The walls of water came in with no warning; thousands died instantaneously; millions are homeless. Parentheses refer to 9/11 in the US for scale: in a few hours on the 26th of December more that 17,900 (3,000) died out of a population of 19 million (280 million).
Dear friends, well-wishers and partners of LIRNEasia, all members of the LIRNEasia team based in Colombo are safe. Despite the devastation wrought by the tsunami over most of coastal Sri Lanka on Dec 26, our office is functioning. Sarvodaya is grass-roots organization that has been around for 47 years and is doing an incredible job of getting relief to the tsunami victims. They have an extensive network of volunteers and stations in 34 Sri Lankan towns, including the most heavily damaged. Although they are busy providing temporary shelters, drinking water, food and medicine to tsunami victims, they are also gearing up for medium and long-term rehabilitation that includes reconstructing homes, providing trauma counselling, preventing outbreak of disease and providing a home to the orphaned children.
Rapid Response Unit: LIRNEasia’s response to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s Consultation Paper 16/2004: Growth of Telecom Services in Rural India: The Way Forward (October 27 2004) See report and download documents
Rapid Response Unit: In response to a consultation paper, ‘Reassigning/Allocating Spectrum in the 800/900 MHz Bands‘ in Octoer 2004, LIRNEasia submitted its comments. Subsequently, the TRC issued a response to this, with their comments, and request for further comments and views. LIRNEasia has responded with the following letter and attachments [1 & 2]
contains an interesting interview with Bill Melody and two other items worth reading. A new publication of the Mexican regulatory agency, COFETEL. Worth thinking about: Bill’s central point is that the new regulatory agencies must have flexibility. He says their managers must have expertise, independence, capacity, etc.: “they must be informed and sophisticated market managers focused on using market tools strategically as their principal weapon in achieving pubic interest objectives.
Call-for-Papers A well developed information infrastructure is critical to the emerging knowledge society. Arguably, it is the availability of network-based development toolkit that enables consumers to generate value for the suppliers in the so-called reverse economy scenario. Similarly, it is the availability of ubiquitous Web-based information access that provides deep support to individuals in the new paradigm of distributed capitalism. It might not be extravagant to claim that a sustainable knowledge society, to a great extent, relies on a sophisticated information infrastructure. As part of the information infrastructure, mobile communication has developed at an extraordinarily high speed in both developing and developed countries.
Sujata: summary too lenghty Luxman: Since audience is EU needs to have language on ICT uplifting “masses” and “rural” access. Malathy: Process element of regulation is not there? Rohan: Study was originally for investor study and language taken from WTO language leaving out the independence of regulator. Process question will be in another study comparing different sectors. Malathy: why cant process be built into current study?
Rapid Response Unit: 14 December 2004 LIRNEasia made a short, but productive call on Nepals High-Level Commission for Information Technology (HLCIT) last week, to advise on jump-starting its e government and reform processes. The visit came within less than ten days of a request for Rapid Response assistance by Mr. Sharad Chandra Shah, HLCITs Vice Chairman. In his three day visit, executive director Rohan Samarajiva conducted two key sessions, with HLCIT and decision making level representatives of government, private sector and civil society. The first was a seminar, concerned with how Nepal can rapidly implement e-government initiatives, drawing on experience from Sri Lanka.
Pyramid Research (December 2004) The push for broadband in India has once again taken center stage with the country’s government formally announcing its broadband policy, and deciding, as many had predicted, not to accept the regulator’s proposal for local loop unbundling. Instead, the Department of Telecoms (DoT) has deemed that the last mile copper loop isn’t a bottleneck for the adoption of broadband services, and thus leaves it up to the state owned incumbents (BSNL & MTNL) to enter mutually agreeable arrangements with private parties for access to the last mile if needed. Together, both incumbents have 45 million copper loops, of which only 25% is adaptable for broadband application given the poor state of the copper plant in a majority of areas in India…. (go to full article)
Rediff.com Dec 9, 2004 http://in.rediff.com/money/2004/dec/09telecom.htm Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said on Thursday that the current access deficit charge of 11 per cent must be brought down to lower the tariffs and enable the sector achieve higher mobile growth like China.
The Economist Dec 2, 2004 http://www.economist.com/business/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3446429 …today almost all broadband connections in the world are fixed links provided either by telcos or cable companies.
On 16 December LIRNEasia will hold a colloquium to get input on a proposal being finalised for advancing better governance of the ICT sector in Sri Lanka by developing a benchmark indicator system that allows cross-country comparison. The proposal involves the collection of high quality set of data to assess the regulatory environment and to measure the performance of the ICT sector. Armed with a comprehensive set of ICT benchmark indicators, it is hoped that civil society groups and potential investors would have a basis of comparing regulatory and sector performance in the peer countries of the South Asian region and could pressure policymakers to better governance. The main activities would involve setting up a data collection mechanism, conducting a survey and holding a workshop for regulatory staff to define data standards and disseminating the findings in a form of a report through multiple media. The colloquium will be held on Dec 16 (Thursday), 5:30PM at LIRNEasia‘s office in SLIDA, 28/10 Malalasekera Mawatha, Colombo 7.