Regulatory panel at South Asia Broadband Congress and Expo, Sep 4, 2007

Posted on September 4, 2007  /  4 Comments

South Asia Broadband Congress and Expo – Panel: Broadband Communication Regulation and Policy in South Asia

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Rohan Samarajiva made a presentation on ‘Performance indicators for effective policy and regulation.’
Presentation slides


  1. FINANCIAL TIMES : South Asia Broadband Congress begins today | By Sherwani Synon

    The 1st ever South Asia Broadband Communications Congress and Expo will be commencing today at the Cinnamon Grand hotel till September 6.

    The event which is organized for the first time in the South Asian region will host workshops and many presentations by delegates from the region.

    Dr. Ashok Jhunnhunwala, the key note speaker at the conference said that, “my speech will basically concentrate on being cost effective when it comes down to technology and how to increase the broadband connectivity in terms of mobile connectivity by taking India as the example. Broadband can empower many job opportunities everywhere.”

    “Sri Lanka is slightly innovative than the other countries as we were able to gain 3G connectivity first in the South Asian region. Therefore we need to keep the technology lead ahead,” was the idea Prof. Rohan Samarajiva another key note speaker for the event.

    Read full article

  2. FINANCIAL TIMES : Mobile penetration to top 50% by end of the year – Hakeem | By Christina Bjornstrom

    Post and Telecommunications Minister Rauff Hakeem yesterday forecast, “50% penetration [in telecommunications] is an achievable objective by the end of the year.” His statement set the pace for the first ever South Asia Broadband Communications Congress & Expo 2007, in Colombo.

    Hakeem declared Sri Lanka as the South Asian pioneer in telecommunications as Sri Lanka is one of the first to roll out mobiles, first in the world to provide a fixed wireless service and the first in the South Asian region to offer true roaming. He continued, “the opening up of the market led to massive growth,” and that telecommunications accounts for 20% of GDP. Telecom is the leading GDP contributor ahead of finance and manufacturing, contributing 13% and 12% respectively.

    Recognized as a catalyst for socioeconomic development, Hakeem dictates, “a regulatory environment needs to be established between the government and the regulator” assuring that access paths will coexist. He digressed, “Price is of utmost importance in achieving wide acceptance,” arguing that rural communities need to be given competitive prices and choice in achieving telecommunications growth. Hakeem concluded, “the government should actively provide broadband access…initial momentum can best be provided by the government.”

    CMO Sri Lanka Telecom Priyantha Perera demonstrated trends in non-voice services stressing decreased voice revenues in all sectors with PSTN 2007 down to 40% from 47% in 2006. Pre-paid mobile services are progressing at a much faster rate than post-paid connections.

    Mr. Perera foresees a 38,000 customer base in the Sri Lankan broadband landscape covering 195 locations in 19 districts. Initiatives have been taken to take broadband rural: “We have to allow the rural communities to enjoy what those do in the city to reduce the digital divide.”

    According to Indian Institute of Technology professor Dr. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, the main broadband concern in the Southeast Asian region is affordability. Dr. Jhunjhunwala suggested through prices as low as $7 per month in mobile phone use, operators still have the opportunity to profit. Using India as a case study, Dr. Jhunjhunwala believes in a staggered pricing scale accommodating urban and rural sectors who on average earn $500 and $200 a month correspondingly. Some rural areas’ mobile operators were able to profit even at a $4 a month per user rate. Through such relative pricing scales, Dr. Jhunjhunwala believes in 2-3 years, rural mobile coverage will expand to 90%. He explains rural broadband expansion will help in education, provide remote healthcare and promote BPO’s in villages so computer literate people will not be forced to migrate to urban areas. Executive Director of LIRNEasia Dr. Rohan Samarajiva says regulatory instruments are needed in a competitive environment. Dr. Samarajiva wishes for the government and regulators to work together in publicizing regional tariffs to provide relevant standardizations. It is in this way that Dr. Samarajiva believes consumers will be given fair prices and hence more likely to engage in broadband connectivity. The 1st South Asia Broadband Communications Congress & Expo 2007 is the first of its kind and allows for discourse between experts in the field.

  3. Broadband Benchmarks, LIRNEasia
    The Bottom Line Special Report: Go Broadband (Page 2), 5 September 2007

  4. Broadband Congress sets the pace for telecom industry in South Asia By Nuzreth Jalaldeen, The Bottom Line

    Declaring Sri Lanka as a pioneer in many areas in the telecommunications sector in South Asia, Posts and Telecommunications Minister Rauff Hakeem, opened the South Asia Broadband Communications, Congress and Expo, citing expectations for a 50% penetration in the industry by the year end.

    Delivering the first of the keynote presentations at the Congress, he said, “The government has to play a catalytic role in the development of the telecommunications environment. A regulatory environment needs to be established between the government and the regulator. Price is of utmost importance in achieving wide acceptance,” and went on further to say that growth could only be achieved in the industry if competitive prices and choices were up for grabs for the rural communities.

    Highlighting developments in technology in the country, where the price of a text message is now cheaper than the minimum bus fare, Minister Hakeem reiterated his support, saying he would be behind all the change and development in the field. Sri Lanka Telecom Chief Marketing Officer Priyantha Perera pointed out revenue shifting trends from voice to non-voice services, with PSTN 2007 down to 40% from PSTN 2006, 47%. This was also evident in the 79% growth rate in SLT’s data and IP revenue.
    Discussing the broadband landscape in the country, Perera pointed out a 38,000-strong customer base in 193 locations situated in 19 districts. He also announced the launching of IP TV in November this year.

    Professor of the Department of Electrical Engineering of the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, India – Dr. Ashok Jhunjhunwala stressed that affordability was the key concern in the broadband sector in South Asia. Stressing that broadband wasn’t simply about connectivity, but also encompassed capacity building, income generation and enabling services, he forecast a regional need of 100 million broadband connections by 2015. He urged decision makers and industry leaders to maximise on broadband’s potential to empower rural areas, by building BPOs, improving education and health services, in order to curb migration towards major cities.

    While urging on competition wherever possible and monopoly only where necessary, LIRNEasia’s Executive Director, Professor Rohan Samarajiva stressed on the need for companies to be open about transaction costs. Strongly insisting on the need for regulatory instruments in such a competitive environment, Prof. Samarajiva pointed out the need to look at regional grouping, but with care. Open discussion and publication about regional tariff regimes, he says, would lead to relevant standardisations – which in turn would result in better prices that would up the numbers of broadband users.

    TNI President Dr. Zoran Miljanic, meanwhile, asserted Perera’s statement when he also stated that voice services would not be the mainstream revenue generator for the telecommunications industry.

    The Congress featured an impressive programme including tutorials and workshops providing insights on various aspects of broadband technology and development. They are as follows – Priyanka Undugodage, Head of IP and Broadband Network Division, Sri Lanka Telecom: ‘Residential Gateways for Broadband Multi Services Delivery Platform,’ A. Sethuraman, CMO & Head – Corporate Communications, Alcatel-Lucent, South Asia: ‘Broadband Wireless Infrastructure Technology and Services,’ Bo Ribbing, Head of 3G Group, Ericsson: ‘3G/ HSPA technology,’ Leighton Phillips, Director, APAC Region, Intel: ‘Rural-Suburban WiMAX Solutions for South Asia.’

    Broadband services were addressed by, SLT Solution Business Section Head Janaka Abeysinghe: ‘Secure Broadband Solutions,’ Alcatel-Lucent Senior Business Manager Terral Shelby: ‘Broadband Ethernet for Mobile Backhaul,’ Juniper Networks, India, Systems Engineering and Operations Director Prasad Babu: ‘Pseudo Wires in Access Networks’.

    Programme presentations included Broadband Proliferation in South Asia by Protip Ghose, VP Sales and Marketing, APAC Telsima: ‘Proliferation of Broadband in Emerging markets through BWA,’ Karl Weaver, President, Newport Technologies: ‘Mobile WiMAX Evolution in South East Asia,’ Billy Liew, Regional Vice President, IP Unity Glenayre: ‘Using Broadband to Offer In-Demand Communications Services’ and Shirish Purohit, CEO, Midas Communication Technologies: ‘Making Broadband a Reality for Developing Economies.’