2010 March

The EU’s Internet penetration rate, at 28% per 100 inhabitants, is almost half that of Asia. The European Commission wants 50% of the EU to have speeds of 30 Mbps by 2013 and 100 Mbps by 2020. The EU and the US are both feeling the heat coming from Asia’s dominant connectivity to the Internet, and are investing heavily to catch up with their eastern competitors. But the EU’s strategy for connecting more people to the Internet is “a little detached from reality,” argues Aarti Holla from the European Satellite Operators Association. In an interview with EurActiv, the ESOA secretary-general said countries will lose money by focusing on Internet speeds.
For practical reasons, we mostly limit our dissemination to English. This is a workable strategy in South Asia as policy makers read English than local languages. Still local languages are vital in all countries we work. In Bangladesh we gave equal priority to Bangla and English. Research findings of two LIRNEasia’s mobile 2.
Helani Galpaya, COO of LIRNEasia, will speak at the 25th EuroCPR conference held from 28 – 30 March 2010 in Brussels, Belgium, at a session on “Impact assessment of information society policies: what worked and what did not work in each region?”. The theme of the conference is on “Policies for a digital Europe: lessons learned and challenges ahead”. Presentation slides are available here. View the full programme here.
Prof. Rohan Samarajiva, CEO of LIRNEasia, made a presentation entitled, “Equitable communication for all:  South Asia’s contribution“, at the recently concluded ITU-APT Foundation of India Annual Convention on “Equitable Communication for All” held on 22 March 2010 in New Delhi, India. The presentation used  findings on LIRNEasia’s Teleuse@BOP study on rising mobile ownership levels as proof of success of South Asia’s Budget Telecom Network Model, followed by telecos in profitably catering to BOP markets. The presentation goes on to examine how a similar model can be applied to provision of Internet services as well. View the full presentation here.
Prof. Rohan Samarajiva, CEO of LIRNEasia, was invited to speak a the 18th Convergence India, held from 23 – 25 March 2010 in New Delhi, India. His presentation entitled, “South Asia: Challenges of the Budget Telecom Network Model” presents data on rising mobile ownership levels from the Teleuse@BOP3 study, as evidence of success of South Asia’s Budget Telecom Network Model which has allowed South Asian telcos since 2005‐06 to make excellent (if highly volatile) returns by serving “long‐tail” markets of poor people by for example, investing in the “prepaid” market (lowering transaction costs) and focusing on revenue-yielding minutes rather than ARPUs. A full webcast of the event can be viewed here. View the full presentation here.
One of the key policy recommendations of LIRNEasia‘s recent study on the extension of mobile-based e-marketplace provider, CellBazaar to include the payment aspect (among others) of a transaction is the promotion of a secure mobile payments system in Bangladesh; the recommendation being that the government provide a clear policy framework / set of guidelines in order for private players (mobile operators/banks/other) to come in and essentially play. On the one hand, this interview with the head of financial services for Grameenphone on the experience with BillPay, a utility payment service offered by Grameenphone, as well as LIRNEasia‘s Teleuse@BOP findings from the Philippines seem to suggest that even once the system is in place, there is still a lot of work to be done in earning people’s trust to use the service and change their behavior. Through BillPay has been around since 2006, it has only pushed the over-the-counter service, rather than the e-wallet version of the service (currently used by a small number), due to this very issue. Once the service reaches a critical mass of users, they plan to push out the e-wallet service more aggressively. On the other hand, could already-popular services like CellBazaar (used by 3.
India’s DoT has set US$385 million floor price of its broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum auction for 2.3 GHz band. The WiMax camp thinks this spectrum is their family jewel. But Qualcomm threw a spanner in the wheel and said it will bid. Indian WiMax aspirants have, predictably, cried wolf and sought divine intervention from Intel.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s show – The National “Lifelines” – did a news program on the Real-Time Biosurveillance Program carried out in India and Sri Lanka; watch the clip here.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has detected four PSTN operators bypassing international traffic. Therefore, it has shutdown the networks of Ranks Telecom (300,782 customers), Dhaka Telephone (77,765), Peoples Telecom (161,630) and World Tel (14,261) for alleged bypass. Bypassing is illegal and a punishable offense, ideed. But the telecoms law doesn’t permit such extra-judicial execution that has muted more than 554,000 or 33% innocent PSTN users’ dial-tone. Bypass is a disease the government has been nurturing through its infamous international long distance or ILDTS policy.
DIRSI and ACORN-REDECOM (Americas Communication Research Network / Red Americana de Investigación en Información y Comunicación) are organizing a Training Seminar on New Technologies and their Challenges for Telecommunications Regulation in Latin America. The seminar will be held on May 13 2010, immediately prior to ACORN-REDECOM’s 4th annual conference in Brasilia. LIRNEasia’s CEO, Dr. Rohan Samarajiva will deliver the opening lecture on “:State of the art in telecom regulation around the world”. The seminar seeks to provide an overview of key regulatory issues in the ICT industry today, and to help develop the necessary tools to understand the implications of new technologies for spectrum allocation, universal access programs, competition policy and ICT-enabled economic development.
The 5th Communications Policy Research, South (CPRsouth5) will be held on 6 – 8 December 2010, in Xi’an, China. The conference is organized by LIRNEasia and the Research Centre for Information Industry Development, Xian University of Posts and Telecommunications (XUPT), supported by the International Development Research Centre, Canada (IDRC) and the Department for International Development, UK (DFID). Abstracts for papers on ICT policy and regulation research carried out in the Asia Pacific or relevant to Asia -Pacific may be submitted for review and acceptance.  Completed papers based on the shortlisted abstracts will be judged by two senior scholars and the highest ranked three papers in each session will be invited to present at the conference. The abstracts must be capable of being classified with at least three keywords from the list below: Access, Applications, Business models, Citizen, Civil society, Competition, Conflict, Connectivity, Consumer, Content, Convergence, Cooperation, Demand, Domestic, Efficiency, Emerging markets, Finance, Governance, Growth, Inclusion, Indicators, Information, Infrastructure, Innovation, International, Judiciary, Knowledge, Legislation, Markets, Monopoly, Networks, Performance, Policy, Poverty, Productivity, Property, Public goods, Reforms, Regional, Regulation, Strategy, Supply, Transparency Abstracts should be submitted electronically at www[dot]cprsouth[dot]org on or before 25 April 2010.
The US universal service fund is among the oldest and most inefficient, spending more on administration than comparators and not targeting the subsidies well. Our research has been cited in debates about improving it. The FCC under the Obama appointed Chair does not appear to be engaging in fundamental reforms, but is instead seeking to use the Fund as the main vehicle for executing its broadband plans. Instead of repurposing the existing funds, it is raising additional money by taxing customers of the telcos. Chief among its goals, the F.
More people visited Facebook than Google in the USA. Research firm Hitwise said that the two sites accounted for 14 per cent of all US internet visits last week. Facebook’s home page recorded 7.07 per cent of traffic and Google’s 7.03 per cent.
Bharti AirTel has acquired 70% of Warid Telecom in Bangladesh. It immediately prompted the leading operators sharing each other’s infrastructure to keep the costs under control. Grameenphone’s CEO said his company “is the only operator in Bangladesh that is profitable so far. If tariffs fall further, it will have a big impact on the profitability of other operators.” Within less than a month the very Grameenphone has dropped its tariff to as low as Tk 0.
The literarcy rate in Tamil Nadu is above that of the national average. Health workers assisting in the Real-Time Biosurveillance Program (RTBP) in Tamil Nadu, all of whom are female, 68% have 10 years of education and the rest only 12 years of education. They have more than 10 years experience working in the field providing primary health care and reporting on relevant health statistics to the government. These health workers (few of them are in the photo with their backs to you) were given training and mobilized with the mHealthSurvey, mobile phone application, for submitting patient disease/syndrome data for the surveillance of epidemiological events. Data that used to take over 15 days to relay up to the paper chain, but was not subject to any detection analysis (i.
The title is bold, we agree, but it is true. The FCC is asking broadband and smartphone users in USA to use their broadband testing tools to help the feds and consumers know what speeds are actually available, not just promised by the nations’ telecoms, reports wired.com. Starting yesterday (March 11), netizens can go to the FCC’s Broadband.gov site, enter their address and test their broadband speed using one of two testing tools.
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