Abu Saeed Khan


Call it an African miracle. Eleven years ago mobile money was born in Kenya. Today the service processes one billion dollars every day through 690 million registered accounts, generating direct revenues of over $2.4 billion worldwide. Impoverish citizens without bank accounts enjoy the most secured way to transact through mobile payment systems.
US Government Accountability Office (GAO) provides Congress with thorough and balanced analysis of technological and scientific developments that affect the society, environment, and economy. A new report of GAO has detected “that the statistics on Internet access availability and access in America provided by the US regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), are over-egged and misleading figures that routinely overstate reality.” As so often is the case, it is the detail in a comparatively small and niche case study that highlights the falsifications hidden the bigger picture. Simple extrapolation of the figures and evidence presented in the September 2108 GAO report “Broadband Internet: FCC’s Data Overstate Access on Tribal Lands” indicate that the regulator’s figures are a gross distortion of the reality of broadband access, speeds and competition across not only the report’s subject area but also across the entirety of the nation. Martyn Warwick of Telecom TV has written, “US regulator’s broadband statistics: Rubbish in – Rubbish out – Rubbish throughout.
Data traffic in Finland’s Elisa 4G mobile network has grown by more than 20-times from 2011 to 2017 but the operator’s CAPEX and OPEX remained flat during this period. Mobile industry engineers should make their hands dirty, as the Finns do. The bad culture of buying off the shelf solutions to meet internal KPI should be stopped. Engineers are smart, networks are not. And the world will not collapse if it waits until the over-hyped 5G technology gets matured.
A former Google engineer named Colin Huang has developed an online shopping app named Pinduoduo in China during 2015.
Recently I apprehended looming anarchy due to lack of regulatory clarity on blocking websites in Bangladesh. Evidently it has struck the country’s popular online newspaper.
The person heading the national regulatory agency must know everything about any punitive measure his office takes. Otherwise, it compromises his authority and opens the floodgate of extra-judicial interventions. And that sprouts mistrust among the public.
Innovation ousts orthodoxy. Soft-switch has replaced telephone exchange equipment. Undersea optical fiber cables have marginalized satellites in intercontinental and transcontinental connectivity. Terrestrial optical fiber networks – along the highways, railway tracks, power grids and gas pipelines – are replacing microwave radio links. All these physical networks lead to data centers at home and abroad.
We generally credit smartphones for making camera and audiovisual players irrelevant. But we often forget that every smartphone is also, by default, a GPS receiver. Quite correct, if not precise, latitude and longitude of the device is being instantaneously updated and displayed. This standard feature is embedded in every smartphone regardless being Android or iOS. It has prompted Battalgazi Yildirim, a (literally young Turk) geophysicist from Stanford, developing a mobile-based IoT application named Zizmos for earthquake’s early warning system.
Nepal Telecom and Hong Kong-headquartered China Telecom Global has connected each other across Nepal’s northern border with Tibet through a mix of underground and all-dielectric self-supporting (ADSS) optical fiber cable network. Activation of this link on January 12, 2018 has ended the exclusivity of Tata’s and Bharti Airtel’s international connectivity to the landlocked Himalayan state. Now Nepal can procure IP-transit, interconnection bandwidth, international leased circuits and cloud services at highly competitive rates from Asia’s one of the two carrier-neutral hubs at Hong Kong (Singapore is the other one). Nepal has reportedly activated only 1.5 Gbps through the Chinese carrier, due to technical constrains of the ADSS link.
Myanmar will raise up to US$121 million in five years through Universal Service Fund (USF) to implement its Universal Service Strategy. The Post and Telecommunications Department under the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MOTC) has invited public consultation for this initiative. The USF will be raised from 2 per cent levy of the service providers’ annual revenues. It will be disbursed through a clearly defined targeted subsidy scheme. Open access and technology neutrality has been mandated for the facilities to be built with USF.
Finland is often cited as a miracle of education. Its telecommunication regulation is equally impressive. In 2011, the Finnish consulting Rewheel has predicted that the country’s mobile operators would grow data traffic without increasing investments. It has been proven right, as shown in the chart. Data traffic in Elisa’s Finnish 4G/LTE network has grown by more than 20-times between 2011 and 2017.
Mustafa Jabbar, the newly appointed minister for the Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology, cannot waste much time on receiving bouquets and greetings. Prime minister Sheikh Hasina has offloaded this portfolio on him after unceremoniously ejecting her veteran comrade in October 2014. Since then Hasina had been minding this ministry besides discharging her prime ministerial duties. She depended on two junior ministers – Zunaid Ahmed Palak for Information Technology and Tarana Halim for Posts and Telecommunications – to run the show. It had been a poor show and Jabbar must fix it.
A senior UN official has blamed the telecoms networks for threatening the road safety across Asia and the United States of America.
With less than a million citizens, Djibouti struggles with the abysmal ICT indicators. Its internet hums with 12% penetration while mobile SIM penetration is 36% only. Now flip the page. Nine submarine cables transit at Djibouti to link Africa, the Middle East and Asia with Europe. Australia is coming soon!
The second submarine cable is supposed to guarantee Bangladesh better international connectivity for the following reasons: Bangladeshi ISPs are eager for SEA-ME-WE5, the second submarine cable. It lands at Kuakata, the southwestern coastal village, this year. Kuakata is 300 nautical miles away from Cox’s Bazar. The two vastly located undersea cable landing facilities will bolster the country’s international connectivity. They will also salvage Bangladeshi ISPs from the Indian carriers’ oligopoly.
Microsoft, Facebook and Telxius have confirmed the completion of 6,600km-long (4,100 miles) subsea cable construction. It spans from Virginia Beach, USA to Bilbao, Spain reaching depths of 11,000 feet below the surface. The cable named Marea, which means tide in Spanish, is the highest capacity cable to cross the Atlantic, offering up to 160Tbps. It is expected to be operational by early 2018. Read more.