Broadband Archives — Page 3 of 26


Grace Mirandilla Santos has been working on this for a long time. Even after the formal proceeding ends, it appears she will have to help. Cabarios also expressed difficulties in getting wired and fixed wireless subscribers to volunteer for measurement of Internet speeds. Mary Grace Santos – an independent researcher for think-tank LIRNEasia – expressed willingness of civil society representatives present to encourage subscribers to volunteer their broadband services for testing and monitoring . “We will do a public call over social media so we can encourage more people to actively participate in the monitoring process,” Santos said.
Pakistan has officially allowed private carriers to terrestrially plug the country with all the four neighbors including India. This multidimensional landmark decision makes Pakistan the buckle of South Asia-Central Asia telecoms belt. This route is embedded in our proposed trans-Asian connectivity for affordable broadband. It took us three years to convince ESCAP, which dubs our concept “Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway.” Pakistan currently exports internet bandwidth to Afghanistan and Tajikistan.
Grace Mirandilla Santos, LIRNEasia Research Fellow, is nothing if not persistent. She has been hammering away at the broadband quality problem in the Philippines for a long time now. The big party thrown by the government for APEC leaders in Manila becomes the latest opportunity for her: A note to APEC delegates: this brand of hospitality does not, by any measure, reflect what the ordinary Filipino experience every day. Traffic navigation app Waze has branded Manila as having the worst road traffic compared to other cities that use it. NAIA airports experience congestion everyday, and most recently was plagued with the “tanim-bala” (bullet-planting) scam that allegedly preys on tourists and overseas migrant workers.
It is quite intriguing how often moderators and many panelists default to a position that advocates government action and subsidies at the sessions I have heard so far. The evidence is clear on what worked and what did not with regard to first generation connectivity. Government supply failed. Government subsidies were not disbursed for the most part. The Independent Evaluation Group of the World Bank was critical of the universal service initiatives supported and funded by the World Bank over 10 years.
In partnership with Ford Foundation, LIRNEasia is working on a project on ‘Facilitating and enriching policy discourse on improving broadband access by the poor‘. This work is expected to result in greater awareness of practices and innovations in the region on increasing broadband penetration. As part of this project, a research  was undertaken by Nalini Srinivasan and P Vigneswara Ilavarasan on National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) in India. This research was published in Economic and Political weekly last week. The abstract of the published paper is as follows: The National Optical Fibre Network is being implemented largely by public sector organisations in the country.

LIRNEasia’s first trilingual course

Posted on September 30, 2015  /  0 Comments

We have taught with sequential and simultaneous interpretation in Myanmar. But our Marawila course was the first in terms of handling three languages. We were still feeling our way, but we did get into stride by Day 3. The above picture shows the interaction that this fostered. The picture below shows our team of interpreters who made it possible.
The four-day course on how to engage in broadband policy and regulation included as one of its most important elements a team project. Each team was asked to make evidence-based presentations that we hoped would form the basis for a public consultation organized by the Ministry of Telecom and Digital Infrastructure. The teams were assigned different aspects: 1. Affordable broadband of adequate quality throughout Sri Lanka 2. Services and applications that are of value to Sri Lankan users 3.
An online publication has written about Grace Mirandilla Santos’s presentation at a recent Youth Congress on Information Technology: Citing various studies, Santos also revealed that 80% of all elementary schools or some 38,000 schools nationwide are not connected online. According to Santos’ study at LIRNEasia, ISPs give us 70% to 80% short of what they promise. “Ideally, there are more kilobytes per second you receive for every piso you pay. But it shows here that one kilobyte per peso is what we get, which is very low compared to other countries,” Santos explained. She added: “Of all the ISPs we tested, Philippine ISPs offer the lowest value for money, and that means that Filipino Internet subscribers are pretty more oppressed.

On the realities of moving data around

Posted on September 2, 2015  /  0 Comments

Luckily, the unlimited/”all-you-can-eat” culture was not part of the Internet landscape in Asia. Even in its birthplace, it has been in decline, except in the imaginations of the passionate and uninformed. Here is a piece that illustrates the retreat from unlimited. T-Mobile also practices what is called network deprioritization. In areas where networks are congested, T-Mobile will look for the highest data consumers — those who have surpassed 21 gigabytes of data — and give priority in providing higher speeds to those who have consumed less data.

Only thing worse than a monopoly . . .

Posted on September 1, 2015  /  0 Comments

When the paper by Shazna Zuhyle and Grace Mirandilla was presented at CPRsouth 10 in Taipei a few days back the discussant, Reg Coutts from Australia, asked why the paper supported action by the regulatory agency as a remedy for the manifest problems of quality in the Philippines market. My answer, on behalf of Shazna and Grace, was that regulatory action was an interim solution until the international backhaul problems were resolved. It was incomplete. I am happy that Grace has filled he gap in my answer. Another underlying problem was the duopoly in the access market.
Today, I had to field questions on behalf of Shazna Zuhyle and Grace Mirandilla Santos who made a canned presentation at CPRsouth 10 in Taipei on Measuring Broadband Performance: Lessons Learnt, Challenges Faced, because they could not be present in person. The principal question asked by the discussant (from Australia) and Enrico Calandro (Italy/South Africa) was why Zuhyle and Mirandilla Santos were proposing that national regulatory agencies (NRAs) should take on the responsibilities of broadband quality monitoring. Another person from the floor asked why Philippines and Asian broadband quality and value for money were so poor. I saw the answers to both questions as being connected. I said that the paper very clearly established that there was no one single method that was objectively superior to the alternatives.

No fun drags on

Posted on August 17, 2015  /  0 Comments

We predicted this would happen if BSNL continued to be in the driver’s seat. In what could be another blow to the broadband dreams of millions, the deadline for rolling out national optical fiber network (NOFN) across all 2.5 lakh village panchayats has been extended by two years by 2018, according to sources close to the government. “The project will be now completed by 2018, instead of 2016,” the sources said. The national Optical Fibre Network (NOFN), which will play a crucial role in government’s Digital India program, was initiated in 2011 with an aim to provide broadband connectivity to over two lakh (200,000) gram panchayats of India at a cost of Rs 20,000 crore ($4 billion).
In the context of some work we were doing with the support of Ford Foundation we conducted four case studies of national broadband initiatives. The four case studies were presented at the Expert Forum we convened in New Delhi in March 2014 and may have contributed to the rethinking of the becalmed NOFN project that has now been relaunched as Digital India. The comparative analysis has now been published as Gunaratne, R.L. et al.
The speculation about Jio Infocomm has been going on for too long, it seems. Here‘s what Mukesh Ambani says it will be: And the benefit of its “legacy-free, next-generation voice and broadband network which can be seamlessly upgraded even to 5G and beyond” will be in extending digital connectivity to a wide set of Indian consumers. “In rural areas, we are prioritising connectivity to thousands of schools. This is to ensure that the benefits of our broadband initiative is first and foremost felt by the young students who stand to gain the most by accessing the information superhighway,” he said. “Jio’s true success will be measured by a whole new generation of entrepreneurs, stepping-up to leverage the digital assets that Jio has built.
We have this interest in cellar dwellers. Cuba has been in the bottom 10 of mobile and Internet for long. But entrepreneurs are still exporting services from that country. The NYT story does not spell out how they receive payments. There must be a workaround for that too.
Low connectivity and low regulatory capacity are characteristics of most emerging Asian countries.  Any NN regulation needs to take these realities into account.  So when we looked at the possible ways TRAI can and should act, we ended somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Read our response here.