21 – 23 February 2008 at Kandalama Hotel, Kandalama, Sri Lanka LIRNEasia hosted a Workshop to discuss the policy level implications and business level possibilities of using ICTs to reduce transaction costs in the agricultural value chain as well as to improve traceability and enhance quality of products sold. The Workshop brought together key stakeholders consisting of policy makers, private and public sector participants and researchers, both in agriculture and ICT. It was based on the pilot projects conducted by LIRNEasia in 2007, which was discussed in detail at the Workshop. All presentations made at the Workshop can be found below: Traceability: International Perspective – Visoot Phongsathorn Linking Sri Lankan farmers to global markets – Dr. Harsha de Silva Traceability in agricultural markets – Shamistra Soysa Benefits of ICT applications to farmers with emphasis on transaction costs: experiences from India – Prof.
Indian outsourcing sector hit by Internet disruption – LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE India’s vital outsourcing industry, which relies heavily on the Internet, was grappling with a major communications disruption Thursday after damage to undersea cables thousands of kilometres away in the Mediterranean. Internet connections may take up to 15 days to return to normal, businesses said, adding that telecommunications in neighbouring Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were also affected. Powered by ScribeFire.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has said that mobile operators may be pushing consumers to give up fixed line telephone by charging a higher tariff for cell-to-fixed line calls. The regulator has asked the operators to stop the differential tariff as it was not justified. “The differential and higher charges levied by cellular service providers for calls to fixed lines do not have adequate justification. This can be viewed as an attempt to promote substitution of fixed line traffic by mobile traffic and may lead to forced substitution of fixed lines by mobiles, thereby reducing the target market for fixed line broadband,” senior TRAI officials said. Read the full story in ‘The Hindu – Business Line’ here.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Wednesday (Jan 23) recommended guidelines for rolling out mobile television services to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry on various issues related to licensing and technology. TRAI has suggested that the choice of broadcasting technology should be left to the service providers but should be recognised by an authorised body. There are broadly two routes for providing mobile television services. One is operated by using the telecom network with spectrum already allotted to Unified Access Service License (UASL) and Cellular Mobile Telephone Service (CMTS) licensees, and the other using broadcasting method using separate spectrum. According to TRAI, telecom operators with CMTS or UASL licenses will not require any further licence or permission for offering mobile television services on their own network using the frequency or spectrum already allotted to them.
State-owned telco BSNL on Monday said it plans to launch India’s biggest IPO to raise over US$10 billion. “The company is valued at well over US$100 billion. We are looking at offloading up to 10% stake, subject to government approval,” BSNL finance director S K Saxena told reporters. When asked about the development, telecom minister A Raja said: “The government is considering it (an IPO). The department of telecom (DoT) will discuss the issue and take a final decision soon”.
A United Nations survey of global e-government readiness has found that many Asian countries are sliding down the rankings. Just one Asian country—South Korea—made the top ten coming in at sixth, with Japan next on 11th. The next highest was Singapore at a surprisingly low 23rd, and Malaysia at 34th. The top 35 countries are otherwise dominated by Europe, Australasia and North America. The biggest revelation was that most Asian countries are sliding down the rankings.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Thursday (Jan 3) recommended open bidding process for granting licences for mobile television service in the country. Allocation of spectrum to mobile TV licensees should be automatic for successful bidders and should not require any further selection process. The FDI limit for mobile television service providers should be 74 per cent, it said.Releasing its recommendations on issues relating of mobile TV service here, TRAI said there were two routes for providing the services — one by using the telecom network with spectrum already allotted, and the other using the broadcasting method — and both can be used for launching the service. Telecom operators, having the Unified Access Services License (UASL) or the Cellular Mobile Telephony Service (CMTS) License, will not require any further licence or permission for offering mobile TV services on their own network using spectrum already allotted to them.
Responding to complaints from harassed consumers who are offered “broadband” at speeds much slower than those stipulated by the government, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has taken a tough call. It has written to operators saying they can no longer advertise broadband services that say they offer “up to” 256 kbps speeds, thereby circumventing the rules by offering services at far lower speeds Instead, Trai has directed all operators to clearly mention the minimum guaranteed download speeds in various packages. The regulator said operators have promised to abide by the new direction. Meanwhile, the regulator has also mooted a discussion paper, which was released today, on whether the present level of 256 kbps defined as the minimum speed for a broadband connection should be raised to bring it on a par with international standards. The paper said in countries like France and Singapore, broadband is defined as a minimum speed of 512 kbps.
Click on the links to see the full articles covering LIRNEasia’s book, ICT Infrastructure in Emerging Asia: Policy and Regulatory Roadblocks. ‘BSNL’s monopoly over infrastructure a hindrance to growth’ – Financial Express (India) Rural connectivity is now the focus of every telecommunication player in the country. Almost all stakeholders, from handset manufacturers to service providers, believe that the next wave of growth is in the rural areas.”However, India’s roll out (of telecom services) in rural areas has been slow. BSNL has the backbone infrastructure but is not yet ready to share it with private players,” he added.
LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE – LBO A digital satellite radio disaster alert system that can be remotely activated which was field tested in Sri Lanka is now ready for use in the region to give early warning of tsunamis, officials said.The Addressable Radio for Emergency Alert (AREA) system can send disaster alerts within seconds of its transmission by government authorities and also has the advantage of activating a siren. The system is also expected to be adopted in India, which along with Sri Lanka, was among several countries that suffered from the 2004 tsunami. The system, which has early-warning emergency messages, audio and visual alarms, was tested in a study conducted by LIRNEasia, a regional policy think tank, and Sarvodaya, a charity, in 32 Sri Lankan coastal villages. Powered by ScribeFire.
The story of telecommunications reforms in India offers a fascinating example of how determined leadership can overcome even the fiercest opposition to reforms, says Arvind Panagariya The total number of phones in India as of October 31, 2007 is placed at 256 million. India has been adding phones at the rate of 6.65 million per month. Tele-density — the number of phones per 100 individuals — now stands at 22.52.
The Ink Fades on a Profession as India Modernizes – New York Times the professional letter writer is confronting the fate of middlemen everywhere: to be cut out. In India, the world’s fastest-growing market for cellphones, calling the village or sending a text message has all but supplanted the practice of dictating intimacies to someone else.And so Mr. Sawant, 61, and by his own guess the author of more than 10,000 letters of others, was sitting idly at his stall on a recent Monday, having earned just 12 cents from an afternoon spent filling out forms, submitting money orders, wrapping parcels — the postal trivialities that have survived the evaporation of his letter-writing trade. Powered by ScribeFire.
Rama was the keynote speaker at CPRsouth2. She was fascinating. A person who looks at the bottom of pyramid without a special emphasis on ICTs; relying on data, but applying real thinking to the data rather than just parrot the data. End result was that I bought her book and read it end-to-end (something I rarely do these days). She mentions in several places that the SEC D&E consumers are willing to spend more money than expected on education, health and transport.
New disaster warning technology on anvil-India-The Times of India AREA is expected to deliver the ‘disaster alert’ within seconds of its transmission from the authorised authority and also has the provision to get connected to a siren.Further, the device can be powered by small solar panels and the antennas are compact in size. In normal times, the system can be used for infotainment purposes. “The receiver automatically turns on even when it is not in use at the time of the alert,” Rangarajan added. In terms of cost, each system would be costing a few thousand rupees depending on AREA configuration — whether it is attached to a computer or a fixed location, with public address for the community, among others.
It was not long ago that Laloo Prasad Yadav Minister of Railways and former Bihar Chief Minister sarcastically asked what computers can do for his constituency, comprised mostly of agriculture communities. Had he been to Madurai with the CPRSouth participants on last Monday (Dec 17) perhaps he might have learnt. This lady, with so many others, plays an integral role in ROPE (Rural Outsourced Production Enterprise) which sets up dedicated village-based contract production centers for its clients. Its mission is to integrate domestic and international markets with informal sectors of rural India and generate value for the skills and resources available in these sectors. This lady and others like her, we were told, make INR 50 (USD 1.
The second conference of CPRsouth2: ‘Empowering rural communities through ICT policy and research’, commenced on December 15, 2007 in Chennai, India. The three-day conference is being held in association with the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras‘s (IIT-M) Rural Technology and Business Incubator (RTBI). The events also include pre- and post-conference tutorials on December 14 and 18, 2007 and the second meeting of the CPRsouth Board. More Information