2007 December


Coverage for LIRNEasia book

Posted by on December 31, 2007  /  1 Comments

Click on the links to see the full articles covering LIRNEasia’s book, ICT Infrastructure in Emerging Asia: Policy and Regulatory Roadblocks. ‘BSNL’s monopoly over infrastructure a hindrance to growth’ – Financial Express (India) Rural connectivity is now the focus of every telecommunication player in the country. Almost all stakeholders, from handset manufacturers to service providers, believe that the next wave of growth is in the rural areas.”However, India’s roll out (of telecom services) in rural areas has been slow. BSNL has the backbone infrastructure but is not yet ready to share it with private players,” he added.
Sri Lanka News | Sundayobserver.lk Three years after the tsunami, a natural disaster satellite alert system is now ready to help warn last-mile rural villages on natural disaster emergencies. The Addressable Radio for Emergency Alert (AREA) is a digital satellite device that uses simple radio technology, delivering messages to save lives. LIRNEasia (Learning Initiatives on Reforms for Network Economics) is a research-based organization that has collaborated with World-Space USA. They have field-tested the AREA device in Brahamawatte – Balapitiya (Galle District) and villages, like Panama in Ampara.
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Swami is an employee of My Mobile store in Noida can tell how the mobile business at his store has been dwindling in one of the most popular markets in New Delhi region for mobile phones and its accessories. Before January, My Mobile would sell goods worth about Rs 2.5 lakh on any given Sunday but sales started dipping about four to five months ago and the Sunday before Christmas, which should have been a busy period, with sales being down in the range of Rs1 lakh. “Our future is in danger,” Swami says pointing to a Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications’ service centre that doubles as mobile phone retail store located bang opposite My Mobile outlet. The Sony store opened a year ago.
LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE – LBO A digital satellite radio disaster alert system that can be remotely activated which was field tested in Sri Lanka is now ready for use in the region to give early warning of tsunamis, officials said.The Addressable Radio for Emergency Alert (AREA) system can send disaster alerts within seconds of its transmission by government authorities and also has the advantage of activating a siren. The system is also expected to be adopted in India, which along with Sri Lanka, was among several countries that suffered from the 2004 tsunami. The system, which has early-warning emergency messages, audio and visual alarms, was tested in a study conducted by LIRNEasia, a regional policy think tank, and Sarvodaya, a charity, in 32 Sri Lankan coastal villages. Powered by ScribeFire.
The story of telecommunications reforms in India offers a fascinating example of how determined leadership can overcome even the fiercest opposition to reforms, says Arvind Panagariya The total number of phones in India as of October 31, 2007 is placed at 256 million. India has been adding phones at the rate of 6.65 million per month. Tele-density — the number of phones per 100 individuals — now stands at 22.52.
AFP: Asia remembers tsunami victims three years on Also in Indonesia, a dramatic drill simulating a tsunami strike was held in Java’s coastal province of Banten involving around 9,000 residents, local television reported. The simulation, designed to test a tsunami warning system gradually being rolled out, saw hundreds of students, along with residents clutching children, rush to higher ground assailed by wailing sirens. “This country is vulnerable to tsunami threats. Let us pray to God for this country to be kept safe from tsunamis,” President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said after observing the exercise. Powered by ScribeFire.
LIRNEasia Lead Economist Harsha de Silva was invited to be the Consultant to a recent Expert Group Meeting on the Provision of ICT Access for Disadvantaged Communities through Public-Private Partnerships conducted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission fro Asia and the Pacific [ESCAP].  A number of influential policy makers and academics from the region participated at the meeting held between 12-14 December in Bangkok.  Harsha set the stage for the expert group meeting by preparing a draft background paper and made a concluding presentation incorporating many of LIRNEasia research findings across the region.  Harsha emphasized the need for policies to bridge the market efficiency gap in ICT access through better and conducive regulation and advocated innovative PPPs for bridging identified access gaps in rural BOP segment. Find the draft background paper here Find the presentation slides here
:::::DAILY MIRROR ONLINE EDITION::::: Can there be a better occasion than the anniversary of South Asian tsunami just to ponder how far we have developed our systems to be ready for a similar event in future? What guarantee we have that a similar tsunami today would not result in a catastrophe of the same size? This article by LIRNEasia’s Chanuka Wattegama was also featured in the Lankadeepa, the largest circulation Sinhala Daily and summarized in Earth Times. Also at : http://www.indianmuslims.
The Ink Fades on a Profession as India Modernizes – New York Times the professional letter writer is confronting the fate of middlemen everywhere: to be cut out. In India, the world’s fastest-growing market for cellphones, calling the village or sending a text message has all but supplanted the practice of dictating intimacies to someone else.And so Mr. Sawant, 61, and by his own guess the author of more than 10,000 letters of others, was sitting idly at his stall on a recent Monday, having earned just 12 cents from an afternoon spent filling out forms, submitting money orders, wrapping parcels — the postal trivialities that have survived the evaporation of his letter-writing trade. Powered by ScribeFire.
Rama was the keynote speaker at CPRsouth2.  She was fascinating.  A person who looks at the bottom of pyramid without a special emphasis on ICTs; relying on data, but applying real thinking to the data rather than just parrot the data.  End result was that I bought her book and read it end-to-end (something I rarely do these days).   She mentions in several places that the SEC D&E consumers are willing to spend more money than expected on education, health and transport.
ICT for Disaster Management: Thoughts on the APDIP e-primer by Chanuka Wattegama « ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace) ICT for Disaster Management, written by Chanuka Wattegama, follows the excellent tradition of e-primers published by the Asia Pacific Development Information Programme (APDIP). In sum, as with all e-primers, this is an extremely useful publication for the non-expert to grasp the potential of and challenges to the use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) in the prevention, mitigation, preparedness of disasters. Powered by ScribeFire.

TRE in Latin America

Posted by on December 21, 2007  /  0 Comments

DIRSI – Regional Dialogue on the Information Society – Telecom Regulatory Environment (TRE) Assessment Series Using interviews and a questionnaire administered to a statistically significant cross-section of industry stakeholders and experts, the TRE assessment traverses six dimensions of regulatory risk (market entry, access to scarce resources, interconnection, tariff regulation, regulation of anti-competitive practice and universal service) for both the fixed and mobile sectors. The TRE methodology focuses on the environment as a whole, rather than only on the regulatory agency. This broadens the scope and usefulness of the study to different actors. DIRSI and LIRNE.NET are currently undertaking TRE studies in Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador.
Status quo of the tsunami early warning system for the Indian Ocean The fastest warning is useless as long as the gap to the so called “last mile to the beach” is not closed. The population in the threatened area needs to be informed in time, but they also need to be trained how to react properly. The people need to be informed about evacuation plans and how to behave in the case of emergency. Japan carries out this kind of training in schools, plants and companies on a regular basis. The establishment of such an education programme in the areas bordering the Indian Ocean has only just started.
Two publications, with chapters by LIRNEasia researcher Chanuka Wattegama, were launched during the GK3, third global Knowledge conferences held in Kuala Lumpur in December, 2007. The biennial Digital Review of Asia Pacific is a comprehensive guide to the state-of-practice and trends in information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D) in Asia Pacific. The third edition (2007/2008) covers 31 countries and economies, including North Korea for the first time. Each country chapter presents key ICT policies, applications and initiatives for national development. In addition, five thematic chapters provide a synthesis of some of the key issues in ICT4D in the region, including mobile and wireless technologies, risk communication, intellectual property regimes and localization.
New disaster warning technology on anvil-India-The Times of India AREA is expected to deliver the ‘disaster alert’ within seconds of its transmission from the authorised authority and also has the provision to get connected to a siren.Further, the device can be powered by small solar panels and the antennas are compact in size. In normal times, the system can be used for infotainment purposes. “The receiver automatically turns on even when it is not in use at the time of the alert,” Rangarajan added. In terms of cost, each system would be costing a few thousand rupees depending on AREA configuration — whether it is attached to a computer or a fixed location, with public address for the community, among others.