fiber Archives


It’s not enough to build towers. The last mile has to be complemented by the middle mile and the first mile (though that seems a strained metaphor for international cables). The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency had backed the $105.74 million loan from the Bank of China (Hong Kong) to the Myanmar Fiber Optic Communication Network, MIGA said in a statement on January 25. The guarantee provides coverage for up to five years against such risks as currency inconvertibility and transfer restrictions, expropriation, and war and civil disturbance, MIGA said.

Hard objects that make up the Internet

Posted on December 1, 2016  /  0 Comments

The book “Tubes” by Andrew Blum has been in the LIRNEasia office since 2013. The idea that there was a hard infrastructure making the Internet possible is not novel for people like us who live with the Internet failing for our people in Myanmar and Bangladesh and various other places frequently. But this is a good read in Quartz: Mobile networks and cloud computing make the internet feel seamlessly invisible. But behind phones, apps and laptops lies a physical infrastructure with cables and buildings that shuttle and store our all of our information. For its ubiquity, the nuts and bolts of the web isn’t necessarily the most immediately visible.
Various players are speculating about and trying to come to terms with the “pause” in Fiber initiatives by Google. Hopes that Google would establish a nationwide model for fiber Internet service were dashed last month, when the company suddenly declared a “pause” in its plans to lay fiber in as many as 18 municipalities, beyond the eight metro areas where it already is building or has completed its system. The disappointed suitors will have to wait for this strategy to play out or move ahead on their own. They would be well advised to keep an eye on San Francisco. What of its developing world counterpart, Loon?
Now that we’ve had some time to figure out 4G/LTE, we got to start on 5G. But it seems it will be some time before the standards will settle, according to the NYT. You may soon start hearing a lot about 5G, or the fifth generation of wireless technology. This technology is expected to leap ahead of current wireless technology, known as 4G, by offering mobile Internet speeds that will let people download entire movies within seconds, and it may pave the way for new types of mobile applications. Yet many challenges exist before 5G becomes part of our daily lives.
One principle LIRNEasia defended consistently over the discussions at UN ESCAP about the Asia Pacific Information Superhighway (APIS) was that of open access. And despite many entreaties we held firm that the fiber had to owned by any entity other than the incumbent telecom operator in the country passed by the APIS fiber. From the time we conducted the Afghanistan sector performance review in 2011-12, I’ve been waiting for reports on the fiber investment paying off. But all that it appears to have yielded are vacuous presentations at international organizations. I hope that President Ghani will remove the fiber network from the dog-in-the-manger incumbent Afghan Telecom and allow the entire economy to benefit from the USD 130 million investment.
Just a few sentences but this is a new solution to a real problem. I propose to form a special purpose company under the Information and Communication Technology Authority (ICTA) to bring about sharing of telecommunication resources efficiently and to protect air waves and the environment. All the fiber optics owned by telecommunication companies and other authorities including the Ceylon Electricity Board, Road Development Authority and Sri Lanka Railways as well as spectrum and mobile towers are to be brought into this company. Here are my answers to a journalist’s questions: 1) The budget has proposed the creation of a special purpose company under the ICTA to own and operate telecom backbone infrastructure. Is this practically possible?
Back in 2013, UN ESCAP, in partnership with the ITU, published an online map of the cables that carry Internet traffic in the Asia Pacific. We at LIRNEasia were very happy about this because we had been working with ESCAP since 2010 and Senior Policy Fellow Abu Saeed Khan who worked up the idea of highlighting the importance of international backhaul has been engaged with the process ever since. One usually expects novel policy initiatives to occur in the developed market economies and then to be replicated in the developing regions. In this case the order was reversed, though it is possible that the ESCAP-ECA-ITU maps may lack the level of granular detail the US map appears to be backed by. It may not look like much at first glance, but a map created by University of Wisconsin computer science professor Paul Barford and about a dozen colleagues took around four years to produce.
A noted writer on technology who was quite supportive of our stand against efforts to assert strong national controls over the Internet through resolutions approved at the WCIT 2012, tagged me on a tweet about this alarmist piece about the Sri Lanka government’s MOU with Google to test Loon over Lanka that included the para below: The real effects of this deal will be seen after Sri Lanka’s citizens have tasted universal Internet access: how can Sri Lanka’s political parties be expected to formulate and push through strict legislation on issues such as local data storage, privacy and search engine neutrality when the party that will be affected the most (Google) is the one responsible for the country’s Internet coverage? While there may be no outright arm-twisting – which is not Silicon Valley’s style – Sri Lanka’s legislators will undoubtedly think twice before coming out with legislation that would require Internet companies to retain Sri Lankan data on Sri Lankan soil; a controversial notion that has seen countries such as Brazil flip-flop in the face of intense lobbying. It’s possible that my friend did not read to the end, but simply thinking that he would outsource the response to this […]
In the early years of TRAI, the Authority had to defend itself against strictures from India’s Comptroller and Auditor General that it was not maximizing revenues to the government, connectivity be damned (relevant to present day debates on spectrum prices). I had to convince Sri Lanka’s Auditor General that we should pay replacement costs to those who vacated frequencies, not depreciated costs. They perform a valuable function, but they do not always inhabit the same universe as the reformer. This is additionally supported by the Kenyan AG wanting a nationwide fiber network to start covering operational costs in its first years. I do not know the details, but not it would be good if the Kenyan AG engages in conversation with infrastructure experts to see what a reasonable time frame would be.
Modi Seeks Telecom Ministry to Speed Up Broadband Project http://t.co/Iz433L5HJ0 pic.twitter.com/6VvpnnVs65 — New Indian Express (@NewIndianXpress) February 8, 2015 When I saw the tweet, I thought Modi was going to takeover the telecom portfolio. Only to find it was a bad headline that had then crept into a misleading tweet.
I have been inclined to give the new administration the benefit of the honeymoon period, but surely this is nuts. The previous administration placed all its eggs in the BSNL basket and got egg in its face for its pains. Not only did they extract enormous amounts as fees, they delayed procurement and did not give INC anything ICT to talk about during the election campaign. Now the BJP is going on that same well-trodden path: The telecom department is aiming to complete setting up of a pan-India optic-fibre network by June 2016, a year ahead of the stated schedule of the project that is critical to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Digital India’ initiative. The Department of Telecommunications has sought the views of public-sector telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd whether it can complete the National Optical Fibre Network ( NOFN) project by then, according to an internal note seen by ET.
I write this sitting in Vanuatu at the Pacific Islands Telecom Association (PITA) annual convention. These are exciting times for the Pacific (and possibly all small island states) in terms of the opening up of new options re international data connectivity. Tonga They are a few months into the new age of fiber connectivity. This is perhaps the smallest country to invest in a fiber cable (Fiji-Tonga). Population is 103,036.
It is easy for Filipino researchers to care about 1 GB of IP transit costing eight times more in Manila than in Singapore. But it not so easy to understand why working to establish a mesh network that includes multiple cables across the continental Asian landmass has any relevance to this archipelagic country. This is the discussion we had today during a presentation organized by the Phil ICT Research Network at University of the Philippines Diliman Campus. The slideset is here.
India’s four billion USD plan to take fiber to the Panchayat level throughout India and to allow operators to use that fiber under open-access arrangements has not drawn much attention internationally. But not that it has started we expect that to change. The National Optical Fibre Project is being implemented by a newly created entity called Bharat Broadband Networks Ltd (BBNL). The total cost of the project is around Rs 20,000 crore. At a recently held meeting of top Government officials to discuss the status of the project, it was decided that the cable supply contract would be finalised by June 20.
It appears from news reports that the Myanmar government has commenced work on a domestic fiber backhaul network. This was among the recommendations of the oped that I published in a Myanmar newspaper last year. But as experience has shown in country after country that it is easier to build backhaul than to ensure that it is efficiently used (see downloadable book, chapter 7). For this, an open-access regime based on cost-oriented pricing and non-discriminatory access is essential. The farmlands were dug twice, while burying cables along the roads in Thapyay San village, Magway township, one of the locals said.
From where I stand there is little doubt that the access network will be wireless, except perhaps in high-density housing in cities. But we have so many people going on about the necessity of fiber to the home, even from within government. But I never hear them talk about the need to liberalize the permission process for trenching in city streets. “One of the biggest issues within the market today is the movement of bandwidth – there are no routes available for fibre and companies in the business are really doing their own thing. In Cape Town there is a law now which dictates that trenches can only be opened once, and this is very difficult for a competing business.