VSNL Buys Top VoIP Carrier India’s incumbent international operator, VSNL, announced today that it had agreed to buy Teleglobe, the largest international voice over IP (VoIP) carrier in the world — and former Canadian monopoly overseas voice carrier. Should the deal meet with shareholder approval and pass regulatory review, the merged company — which also includes the recently integrated Tyco Global Network — would become one of the largest multinational providers of voice, Internet, and bandwidth services. VOICE Teleglobe became the largest carrier in the 30 billion minute international VoIP market when it acquired ITXC in 2004. Although VoIP represented under 15 percent of the global call market in 2004, it is growing at double to triple the rate of the traditional public switched voice market. Combined with Teleglobe’s wholesale voice operations around the world, VSNL will become the fifth largest carrier of voice minutes in the world.
Rohan Samarajiva and Asantha Sirimanne, spoke at the Taipei Conference of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR), 26-29 July 2005, in Taipei. Rohan Samarajiva, Executive Director of LIRNEasia gave a presentation on ICTs and disaster warnings (presentation slides available below. The underlying paper, in pre-publication form, is also given below. Its final version will shortly be published by New Media and Society. Mobilizing ICTs for early warning: Lessons from the 2004 tsunami, Rohan Samarajiva, IAMCR, Taipei (presentation slides) Mobilizing information and communications technologies for effective disaster warning: Lessons from the 2004 tsunami (underlying paper, pre-publication) | accompanying graphics Asantha Sirimanne, of LankaBusinessOnline who led the team of journalists who were the first to report the tsunami story, gave a talk entitled ‘No Warning,’ which is available below.
LIRNEasia and Vanguard Foundation conducted a third community meeting in Polonnaruwa on July 16. Together with speakers representing project partners ITDG, Sarvodaya, and the Vanguard Foudation, Rohan Samarajiva and Luxman Siriwardena presented Kantale: 19 years later, a documentary on the survivors of the 1986 Kantale dam breach and LIRNEasia‘s concept paper. The format of the meeting followed that of the earlier Kandy and Gampola meetings, with several presentations on different aspects of disaster response, community organization, and dam management, and extended question/comment sessions for public input. The Polonnaruwa meeting, held at the Sarvodaya district office, was long and lively, with a diverse crowd of participants offering insightful input and illuminating commentaries. Local farmers’ organizations and Sarvodaya-Polonnaruwa officers were especially well-represented.
The Presidential Commission on the Tsunami has been holding public hearings. LIRNEasia and Vanguard Foundation gave evidence last week, 14th of July 2005. Our evidence mostly covered the content and process of the NEWS:SL report, but in addition evidence was given of our experience with the 28th of March event and the earlier difficulties we experienced with the Met Department’s fax numbers not working and e-mail addresses given to Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaai bouncing. The Navy and the Police are being questioned on who knew what when. It looks like the Commission is pursuing an interesting line of investigation.
Chanuka Wattegama presents findings from a benchmarking study of regulatory websites. The objective of this study is to do a performance evaluation of the web sites of the Telecommunication National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) of selected countries in the Asian Pacific region and benchmark their performance as e-government service providers. Slides Points of Discussion: What is the role of a website in effectiveness of an NRA? CW – serves as a window to stakeholders RS – should have website as central organizing factor. organize yourself around putting everything up on the website.
Public Consultation on Early Warning System for Dam Related Hazards and Safety On 2 July LIRNEasia, in partnership with the Vanguard Foudation, ITDG, and Sarvodaya, conducted community meetings in Kandy and Gampola to present the interim Concept Paper for a Dam-related Hazard Warning System in Sri Lanka and consult with the public on the local and regional disaster response history . These meetings included a screening of LIRNEasia‘s documentary on the 1986 Kantale dam disaster, with accounts from survivors and information on the current status of hazard precautions. Sarvodaya officers spoke about their organization’s role in rehabilitating affected populations in Kantale and outlined a framework for the several represented groups to collaborate on the project at hand. Rohan Samarajiva gave a detailed overview of the concept paper (now available for comments below) developed by LIRNEasia. Each presentation was followed by a session for audience questions and comments.
A Participatory Study on Actions Required to Avoid and Mitigate Dam Disasters download document in PDF Executive summary in Sinhala (PDF) Executive summary in Tamil (PDF) The need for this project arose in the course of disaster-management expert consultations carried out by LIRNEasia and The Vanguard Foundation in the preparation of “NEWS-SL: A Participatory Concept Paper for the Design of an Effective All-Hazard Public Warning System” in January-March 2005. The current Concept Paper outlines the contours of an early warning system for dam related hazards in Sri Lanka. It is being developed in a participatory, consultative, and transparent process. This interim draft has been compiled on the basis of research and an Expert Consultation held 20 May 2005 at the Distance Learning Center located on the campus of the Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration, with participation from experts representing several decades’ worth of experience in several key Sri Lankan dam administration authorities. This draft is posted for comment.