India Archives — Page 20 of 43


In addition to giving the keynote at the OECD/infoDev workshop on the Budget Telecom Network Mode at the IGF in Sharm el Sheikh, I attended several sessions, one being that on reducing interconnection costs. The key recommendations seemed to cluster around two actions, creating Internet Exchanges in each country and reducing leased line costs by introducing competition and breaking incumbent control on essential facilities such as cable stations. Our findings from countries that have had working Internet Exchanges at various times such as Bangladesh, Indonesia and Sri Lanka show that their effects fluctuate (there is an unfortunate tendency of internal dissension in these things) and that getting leased line prices (both domestic and international) down is, on balance, more important. That unless the leased-line problem is not solved, the good work done on Internet Exchanges will be washed out. There is an assumption that every country should have an IX.
“I can’t imagine how and based on what measure TRAI set 256kbps internet connection as broadband. It’s very difficult for users to work with this speed. Please don’t compare Bangladesh and Sri Lanka while setting standard for India.” This was how a reader responded when Indian Express online carried a story on the dissemination of the findings of LIRNEasia’s broadband research at the GRT Grand Hotel convention centre in Chennai on November 3. Another story in ‘The Hindu’ quoted Timothy Gonsalves PhD, Head of Computer Science and Engineering Department, IIT-Madras, our research partner from IIT Madras saying the implication [of the latency introduced by complex routing of network traffic] for consumers is that though a user may get close to the speeds advertised by the operator while accessing servers within India, the download speeds from an international server for even a supposedly fast broadband connection would only be in the 200 kbps range.
Findings from LIRNEasia’s latest round of broadband quality of service experience (QoSE) testing has been published in Chennai’s Financial Chronicle and The Indian Express, two leading print newspapers in India. Read the two of the articles here and here. There is disparity in the advertised broadband speed and the actual speed, according to the findings of a research project jointly carried out by Learning Initiative on Reforms for Network Economies Asia (LIRNEasia), TeNeT Group of the IIT Madras. Excerpt below: “There is disparity in the advertised broadband speed and the actual speed, according to the findings of a research project jointly carried out by Learning Initiative on Reforms for Network Economies Asia (LIRNEasia), TeNeT Group of the IIT Madras.There is disparity in the advertised broadband speed and the actual speed, according to the findings of a research project jointly carried out by Learning Initiative on Reforms for Network Economies Asia (LIRNEasia), TeNeT Group of the IIT Madras.

Why postal reform is part of ICT policy

Posted on October 31, 2009  /  0 Comments

All over the world, postal services are hemorrhaging red ink. They are being done in by the phone and the Internet. Yet their salvation is also the phone and the Internet. As commerce becomes e commerce, there is a high demand for reliable delivery services. In countries ranging from Korea to Sri Lanka the postal service is NOT reliable.
The   objective   of   this   document: Guidelines for Evaluating RTBP v0.4 is   to   outline   the   evaluation   methodology   for   assessing   the upstream   communication:   data   collection,   data   processing:   event   detection,   and   downstream communication: alerting/reporting stages (verticals in Figure 1) on the aspects of social, content, application, and technology of a Real­Time Biosurveillance Program (RTBP). The blue arrows across the verticals and the horizontals indicate the interoperability between elements.

Telecom access rankings in South Asia

Posted on October 24, 2009  /  18 Comments

According to the ITU ICTeye, which is now carrying 2008 data, Pakistan’s surge to overtake Sri Lanka has petered out, leaving the Maldives (143 active SIMs/100 people) as the undisputed leader in mobile connectivity (apparently all adult Maldivians carry two active SIMs; there are only two operators in the Maldives), and Sri Lanka second with 52 SIMs per 100 people. On the fixed side, assisted by CDMA phones that are counted as fixed, Sri Lanka is the leader (17 connection per 100 people), followed by Maldives (15 per 100). Like in cricket, the middle of the rankings are the most interesting. Both Pakistan (50/100) and Bhutan (37/100) are ahead of India (29/100) in mobile. This shows that India cannot afford to let up the pace of 10 million connections a month for some time.
A m-HealthSurvey Certification Exercise was carried out as part of the m-Health Real-Time Biosurveillance Program (RTBP) to measure the usability and adoptability of the m-HealthSurvey mobile application. The exercise was conducted with health workers in Sivagangai District, Tamil Nadu, India and in Kurunegala District, Sri Lanka. The final results of the exercise will be published in the near future. m-HealthSurvey is a mobile application developed by indian Institute of technology Madras’s Rural Technology and Business Incubator (RTBI) for collecting near real-time patient disease, syndrome, and demographic data for rapid detection of disease outbreaks. It is a J2ME midlet that allows users to select categorical data as well as type information to generate patient clinical records to be submitted via GPRS to a central database.
m-Health Real-Time Biosurveillance Program (RTBP) interviewed Medical Officers in Kurunegal District in Sri Lanka and Sivagangai District in Tamil Nadu, India, during the months of September and October, 2009. These interactions revealed that outpatient health record entry in real-time by Medical Officers, using the mobile phone key pad is inefficient and the idea was rejected by them. The aim of the RTBP is to collect digitized patient disease, syndrome, and demographic information from the point of care to rapidly detect disease outbreaks. Village Health Nurses in Tamil Nadu examine at most 70 patients a week. Ninety percent of the Village Health Nurses opt to jot down the records on paper and later enter them leisurely after the day’s work is complete.

Lessons of 2004 tsunami used in Samoa

Posted on October 3, 2009  /  2 Comments

A report on the response to the tsunami that hit Samoa shows that preparedness and evacuation planning saved lives even though they had barely eight minutes after the warning from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. Countries like India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have enough distance from the unstable Sunda Trench and therefore are likely to have more time to organize evacuations. For Indonesia and Thailand, unfortunately, the time will be less. The Pacific islands were so close to the epicentre of the earthquake that a wall of water hit Samoa within eight minutes after the Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii sent its first bulletin Tuesday. Several Samoans said they heard no sirens or warnings, but fled as soon as they were woken up by the earthquake.
Helani Galpaya,  LIRNEasia’s COO, participated at the Asian Telecom Seminar, organized by the Symbiosis Institute of Telecom Management in Pune, India, from 25 – 26 September, 2009. She made a presentation on  “The political economy of ICT in Asia” and also participated in a panel entitled, “  ICT at Bottom of Pyramid- Bridging the Digital Divide.  Where lies the buck?”. More information on the seminar can be found here.

Verizon gives up on voice over copper

Posted on September 18, 2009  /  0 Comments

India’s MTNL and BSNL have been losing fixed subscriptions for years; Sri Lanka joined the club recently. Now we see the heirs to AT&T throwing in the towel. I guess it was like this when the railways replaced the canals. How long will it take for policy makers in emerging Asia to see where the wind is blowing? Roll over in your grave, Alexander Graham Bell.
LIRNEasia’s 2005 research on India’s Universal Service Obligation (USO) policy, conducted by Payal Malik and Harsha de Silva, has been cited in a presentation  to the US House of Representatives, in March 2009. The paper presented, entitled, “Using Competitive Bidding to Reform the Universal Service High Cost Fund”, can be downloaded here. As a policy-oriented organization, we are indeed pleased that our research is being used to influence policy, not just in emerging Asia but in other regions as well. LIRNEasia’s paper, “Diversifying Network Participation: Study of India’s Universal Service Instruments” can be downloaded here. More on the study can be found here.
Few days back we heard that flat rate was the way forward. Here is the riposte, in words from experts (including LIRNEasia) and in new offerings from Reliance. Let the debate continue. The experts see business sense around sachet pricing, especially for a low income group subscriber in the villages of India, who is mostly a prepaid user and does not have a big budget to spend. They say sachet pricing can yield results not only for Inetrnet penetration, but other services other than voice.

Parental-control phones

Posted on August 27, 2009  /  0 Comments

In the context of the debates about banning mobiles for school children, the issue of phones that constrain use has become relevant. The NYT has done a full survey of the options available to parents in the US, an excerpt of which is given below. Why doesn’t someone do a similar survey for India, Sri Lanka, etc.? Now for some real cellphones.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Network Readiness Index (covering 134 countries in 2008-09), only Sri Lanka has gained any ground among the South Asian countries. India is the first within the region, ranked 54th (down from 50th in 2007-08). Sri Lanka has made considerable progress from 79th place in 2007-08 to 70th place in a straight comparison (72nd among the 2008-09 countries). Congratulations to the industry, ICTA and all who contributed to this gain. Pakistan has slipped to 95th in a straight comparison from its 89th position in 2007-08.

Teleuse@BOP profile: Sayar Singh

Posted on August 11, 2009  /  0 Comments

Continuing our series of T@BOP3 user videos, below is a video interview with Sayar Singh in Rajastan, India: Business and social life have definately improved for Sayar Singh since he bought his mobile phone in mid-2008. Earlier, he was frustrated with a fixed phone that didn’t work half the time. This wheat and flower farmer in India’s Rajasthan state now tracks market prices and moves his produce quickly for better profits. With workload reduced and income doubled, Sayar has reaped dual benefits from his mobile. Click here to view other videos.