India Archives — Page 27 of 43 — LIRNEasia


Railtel Corporation of India, the communication arm of the Indian Railways, is planning to set-up cyber cafes at over 200 major railway stations across the country by the year-end, Railway Minister Nitish Kumar said on Thursday. “The first cyber cafe will be inaugurated on Friday at New Delhi Railway Station. Based on the feedback of the users, we are intending to extend to over 200 important stations in the country in the first phase by the end of this year,” Kumar told reporters at the commissioning of the “optic fibre communication link on Bangalore-Secunderabad, Secunderabad- Vijayawada-Chennai and Chennai-Ooty-Bangalore” here. The railways would also experiment by providing broadband Internet access on moving train, the first such instance in the world, he said. The service would be launched on a train this year.

Will you be virtual too?

Posted on May 14, 2008  /  1 Comments

LIRNEasia might not be as high tech as some of the big IT players but in our own way we have made a successful effort to make ourselves a virtual team. Not a choice – that was the only way we could operate in multiple countries (For example, in this cycle, TRE surveys will be in nine countries –  Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand; not to mention CPRSouth 3 in Beijing)without budgets comparable to what INGOs use to run regional networks. We also thought our own experiences will be useful for others. Hence the Virtual Organisation (VO)  project. It had two aspects; developing the VO and using it to conduct LIRNEasia’s other research projects.
It would be the biggest thing to pass between India and South Africa since Mahatma Gandhi moved from one country to the other. This week it emerged that Bharti Airtel, the largest mobile-phone operator in India, is holding “exploratory” talks to buy South Africa’s MTN, the biggest operator in Africa. According to the Financial Times, Bharti has indicated it would be willing to pay about $19 billion for 51% of the company. That would make it the heftiest overseas acquisition ever made by an Indian firm, more than Tata Steel paid for Corus, a British steelmaker, and seven times the amount India invested in the whole of Africa over the ten years to 2004. The deal would unite the leading companies in the world’s two most promising mobile markets.
The 2008 Global Information Technology Report prepared for the World Economic Forum shows the five big countries of the SAARC backsliding in the rankings with  small exceptions in the case of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, which advanced from 86th place to 76th (using only 2006 countries; otherwise to 79th place) and from 118th place to 116th (again using only 2006 countries; if not, it would be in 124th place), respective.ly. India went from 44th place to 48th (2006 countries only; if not 50th).  Pakistan from 84 to 85 (actual rank 89) and Nepal from 108th place to 111th (actual rank 119). The full report is here
Indian telecom service provider Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is expanding its rural broadband access in partnership with Nokia Siemens Networks. Expanded service will begin commercial operation in July. Nokia Siemens will deploy BSNL broadband access in 20 circles (administrative country subdivisions) in India. This will give an additional 25,000 Indian villages access to digital-age services like high-speed Internet and virtual private networks (VPNs).   The new network will also enable BSNL to provide connectivity to CSCs (Community Service Centres) and other e-governance locations.
Technology is full of paradoxes. While Moore’s Law ensures that our computers get cheaper and faster every few months, there is no corresponding law that ensures that the same happens with our internet connections. TRAI data shows that some 60 million people in India have access to the internet. This may seem like a substantive figure, but is only 6 per cent of the population. More shocking is that while India has over 46 million wireless internet subscribers, broadband subscribers number a mere 2.

IT firms to leave India?

Posted on April 3, 2008  /  0 Comments

Blueshift is one of the currently India based companies looking to move to neighbouring countries like Malaysia or Singapore where they believe it would be cheaper to operate. “The corporate tax regime in this country is a tough 33% whereas when I look at neighbouring country Singapore it is only 18% at the highest level,” says Blueshift’s chairman Sankaran P Raghunathan. “In fact, most of us have to pay only 7.5%. That’s a huge difference.
India on Tuesday allowed telecoms operators to share transmission systems, radio access networks and antennae and simplified the approval process for building mobile towers.But radio spectrum, or air waves used for wireless networks, cannot be shared. Telecoms operators in India were earlier permitted to share only passive infrastructure such as mobile towers, buildings and power backup facilities. Sharing infrastructure reduces the operating costs and capital expenditure of wireless telecoms operators, allowing them to maintain margins in a competitive market that has call rates as low as 1 U.S.

Media Coverage on Mobile Benchmarks

Posted on March 26, 2008  /  1 Comments

23/03/08: Mobile phone service costs in Sri Lanka are cheap, even for the poor (Sinhala), Ravaya, Sri Lanka 25/03/08: Mobile is cheaper in Sri Lanka, even for the poor, The Daily News, Sri Lanka Two recent studies have found that Sri Lanka is among four countries that offer the most affordable mobile services to the poor in emerging Asia and the world. The first study conducted the LIRNEasia, a regional policy and regulation think tank, has found that the costs of using mobile telecom services are among the lowest in South Asia for all types of users. For the low user, essentially the poorer user, the average monthly cost of using a mobile in Sri Lanka is as low as US$ 3.83 per month if using prepaid. Sri Lanka came in fourth place in the affordability rankings for low users, not too far behind Bangladesh (USD2.
Sri Lanka using customs authorities to censor academics: report – LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE Another book by Rohan Samarajiva, from LirneAsia, a Colombo-based regional policy think tank, had been detained by customs from December. Samarajiva’s book, “ICT infrastructure in emerging Asia, Policy and Regulatory roadblocks” released by the Indian unit of academic publishing house, Sage, was launched in India in December. Sri Lanka;s customs chief Sarath Jayathilake was quoted in the report as saying that the detention was not brought to his attention and he was not aware why the books were seized. “We usually detain these books if it’s a matter of security and we refer them to Defence (Ministry) or the Government Information Department,” Jayathilake was quoted as saying. The LirneAsia publication had a chapter on telecommunications usage in the Jaffna peninsular.
At a well attended public seminar yesterday (March 18) at Institution of Engineers (Sri Lanka), LIRNEasia released its Broadband QoSE testing methodology (named ‘AshokaTissa’, after the greatest collaboration between India and Sri Lanka, the movement of Buddhism across the Palk Strait) and the preliminary test results of three of the most widely used broadband packages in Sri Lanka, SLT Office (2 Mbps / 512 kbps), SLT Home (512 kbps / 128 kbps) and Dialog (2 Mbps / 512 kbps) This was followed by the responses from SLT and Dialog Broadband. The event was jointly organised by LIRNEasia and Institution of Engineers. (Sri Lanka) Speeches/Presentations available for downloading: Comments from the Chair – Rohan Samarajiva Introduction to broadband and Test Methodology – Timothy Gonsalves Preliminary QoSE test results – Chanuka Wattegama
LIRNEasia researchers will participate at the International Communication Association conference in Montreal, Canada, May 21-26, 2008. Rohan Samarajiva will present a paper based on LIRNEasia‘s study on the gendered aspects of telecommunications use in emerging Asia, entitled, ‘Who’s Got the Phone? The Gendered Use of Telephones at the Bottom of the Pyramid‘. Abstract: ‘Much has been said about women’s access to and use of the telephone. Many studies conclude that a significant gender divide in access exists particularly in developing countries.
According to LIRNEasia’s latest comparative study of price and affordability indicators in eight South Asian countries, Bangladesh emerges as having the lowest average monthly cost of using a mobile at all levels of use (low, medium and high) for different tariff plans (prepaid and postpaid). Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka follow closely, while Bhutan, Maldives and Afghanistan are seen to have significantly higher average monthly mobile costs. The study compares mobile tariffs in South Asia using price baskets, derived from those used by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The baskets are calculated for low, medium and high users for pre- as well as postpaid tariff plans, factoring in usage charges (voice and SMS), line rental, connection charges (depreciated over a three year period), and applicable taxes. For more information on results and methodology, please click HERE.
Sri Lanka’s state-run Bank of Ceylon has tied up with an Indian mobile commerce firm to start a text message based electronic payment system that could overtake credit card transactions, officials said.   Bank of Ceylon’s new service allows its six million customers to use pay shops that join the system at the cost of a text message using a system developed by India’s, PayMate. The mobile transaction service will initially start with selected large merchants like SriLankan Airlines, Odel, Singer, Abans and Stone & String before linking up retailers in rural areas. “This opens a lot of avenues to merchants because we are bringing them six million of our customers,” Bank of Ceylon’s IT chief Nissanka Janaratne said. Read the full report in LBO here.
In a major development, the Ministry of Communications & IT has cleared applications of nine telecom aspirants and is close to issuing them Letters of Intent (LoIs).    This will be followed by issuance of universal access service (UAS) licences and allocation of spectrum.    The LoIs will be issued during the week, if not tomorrow. However, the allocation of spectrum would take some time as the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) was finalising the amount of vacant spectrum, sources close to the development said.    The proposals of the new applicants were pending with the telecom ministry after the DoT’s approval last month.
On 5 March 2008, LIRNEasia in partnership with the Indonesian Institute for Disaster Preparedness (IIDP) will hold the third and final “Sharing Knowledge on Disaster Warning: Community-based Last-Mile Warning Systems” workshop at the Hotel Borobodur in Jakarta, Indonesia. Rohan Samarajiva, Natasha Udu-gama and Nuwan Waidyanatha will participate and speak at the event alongside several Indonesian speakers from various governmental, community-based and international NGOs such as BAKORNAS PB, Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), KOGAMI Padang and GTZ GITEWS. As in past HazInfo workshops in India and Bangladesh, the Indonesia workshop will not only discuss findings from the “Evaluating Last Mile Hazard Information” pilot project, but also exchange lessons learned from Indonesian counterparts.