2013 March

It’s certainly worth sharing and I am to be blamed for belated posting. Douglas Madory is the Senior Research Engineer at Renesys Corporation, which is globally respected as the “Internet Intelligence Authority.” Doug closely watches how the Internet functions worldwide. Two months back he published the imperatives of terrestrial backup for the only submarine cable of Bangladesh. In the concluding paragraph titled, “Greater Terrestrial Connectivity in Asia” he wrote: Abu Saeed Khan, the Senior Policy Fellow of LIRNEasia, helped persuade the government of Bangladesh to join the SMW4 consortium in 2002 and has been working ever since to increase Internet inter-connectivity all across South and Southeast Asia.
Digicel made its name and fortune in the Caribbean. Then it became a major regional player in the Pacific. Now it is hoping to land a license in Myanmar, a much larger market than the ones its operates in. Interestingly, they are pushing for an enabling framework for mobile money, even ahead of getting the telecom license: “The telecommunications sector offers many opportunities, and companies can provide a variety of services in this industry,” said Lorna J. McPherson, the operations director of the Irish-owned Myanmar Digicel Company.
We found people at the BOP in Indonesia claiming they did not use the Internet, yet going into great detail about their use of Facebook. Our colleagues in Africa, RIA, also noted this phenomenon. Western observers are skeptical about the value of a Facebook phone, but perhaps it may make sense in our parts? A smartphone that gives priority to Facebook services is good for Facebook, but it is unclear whether that is something consumers want. Jan Dawson, a telecommunications analyst at Ovum, said the concept was “a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The report broadly explores the customer relationship management (CRM) practices in the electricity distribution sector in Bangladesh. It identifies some of the existing challenges and how these can be improved with the use of ICTs and better service design. In a country where less than half the population has access to electricity through 13.5 million connections to the grid, the challenge facing the sector is two-fold. First, those that are privileged to be connected to the grid, need improved services.
Earlier we discussed the snapping of four submarine cables in Egypt and its impact. Now we have come to know it was an act of sabotage. Telecom Egypt’s CEO Mohamed al-Nawawi has confirmed that his country’s Armed Forces have arrested three saboteurs. Among the global news outlets, Associated Press and BBC have covered it by far. There is, however, nothing to celebrate.
Pakistan’s 50% internet traffic has been impacted as the Sea-Me-We-4 submarine cable went down in Egypt, said local press. The blogpost of Sunil Tagare brings more bad news: altogether four major submarine cables — I-Me-We, Sea-Me-We-4, EIG and TE North – have been severed in northern Egypt impacting a huge portion of Eurasian telecoms traffic transiting the Middle East. Last week I highlighted the risks of Egypt being the only gateway of Eurasian cables networks. Collapsing of the aforementioned four cables is just an example of the fragile transcontinental submarine telecoms backbone.
Exploding growth of smart devices has divided the industry into two camps debating on the availability of spectrum in future. One says the world is running out of spectrum. The other says there is nothing to get panicked. One year ago the mobile phone’s inventor Martin Cooper has suggested using innovative technologies rather than giving the carriers more spectrum. He said that currently the technology with the most potential for carriers to use their networks more efficiently is the smart antenna.
The Saudi regulator is pressuring operators to crack down on Skype and similar OTT applications. It affects both Saudis and the many expatriate workers who live there. This will require deep packet inspection and some serious interventions in the data streams. Saudi students on scholarships who use the Skype video application to contact their parents are also disappointed. “I really don’t understand what they mean by monitoring.
At every Board meeting of CPRsouth we provide evidence on the efficacy of our actions. Every time we seek funds for our work, we do the same. So we thought the question would be of equal interest to our colleagues engaged in similar enterprises, at TPRC and EuroCPR. We prepared two papers building on one another, one for each. The TPRC paper was presented last September, the Samarajiva_EuroCPR_Mar13_final a few days back.
Few days back I was asked to speak on the above subject at a workshop held at the Center for European Political Studies in Brussels. I discussed what effects the continuing efforts by ETNO and likeminded groups to introduce some form of government mandated rent extraction from Over the Top players such as Google and Facebook are likely to have on small alternative media using the Internet as a workaround or simply as a low-entry-cost publishing opportunity. The slideset that I used is Samarajiva_CEPS_Mar13.
Returning to the privacy field after a break of more than 10 years, I was struck by how inappropriate the old notice and consent approaches would be for what was actually happening on the ground. Here is an attempt to evolve new principles. Not had time to fully digest yet. Traditional approaches are no longer fit for the purposes for which they were designed, for several reasons: • They fail to account for the possibility that new and beneficial uses for the data will be discovered, long after the time of collection. • They do not account for networked data architectures that lower the cost of data collection, transfer and processing to nearly zero, and enable multiuser access to a single piece of data.
ABSTRACT This paper investigates the factors that influence formalization of poor micro-enterprises (MEs) in urban locations in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The paper draws from a multi-country survey of information and communication needs of poor MEs in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka in the second quarter of 2013. Through logistic regression, it models business registration among such MEs to understand what affects the decision to formalize within these environments. The paper also looks at the barriers to registration and the policy implications from these findings. Using descriptive statistics and models we find that the MEs lack of formalization is explained to a significant level by their level of education, gender, size of the enterprise and awareness levels.
It appears they want to play: Google chairman Eric Schmidt speaks on March 22 in Yangon. The company has big plans for Myanmar, and they’re closely linked to the country’s plans for mobile. Myanmar’s President, Thein Sein, has set a goal of 80% mobile-phone penetration by 2015, from current rates of 9%. With internet penetration as low as 1%, and fixed-line telephony penetration in the single figures even in big cities, mobile networks will be the only way the vast majority of Myanmar’s 50 million people can get online, and will serve as the main communications infrastructure for a modern information economy, including banking, media and civic services. A speculative piece.
Mexico is not really within our sphere of activity, but the irony of having Carlos Slim as the co-chair of the Broadband Commission has caused me to write a few blogs about telecom sector developments there. Most recently, there was this stunning news that a political consensus had been achieved to attack “the great problem of concentration in telephony, internet and television.” One year ago, the OECD conducted a review of the telecom sector in Mexico. The conclusions came under fire from the entities that benefited from the status quo. Is there a causal relation here?
There were no training programs on how to use mobile phones, even for the villagephone ladies in Bangladesh. But they think training programs are needed in the US. What does this mean for our part of the world? According to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, one in five American adults — about 62 million people — do not use the Internet. The 2012 Pew Internet and American Life Project said the main reason these people “don’t go online is because they don’t think the Internet is relevant to them.
This argument is prevalent in the US – A senator passing a bill to regulate data caps, the former chairman of the FCC claiming data caps are for operators to increase ARPUs and not for network congestion issues etc. But can we relate in this part of the world? Are data caps doing more harm than good (limiting potential innovation)? If network congestion issues rise because of constant concurrent use as opposed to how much each user consumer per month, why are operators and regulators telling us otherwise? The report by the New America Foundation raises a valid point: “The fastest car in the world won’t get you very far if you only have 20 feet of road, and a blazing-fast 4G LTE network is not worth much if you are limited to 2 GB of data per month.