Several weeks ago we speculated on why the Maldives, with its tiny population, needed two undersea cables. The answer is that the first cable is a collaboration between the new entrant Wataniya and India’s disruptive competitor, Reliance (through its FLAG unit). This created enormous pressure on the complacent incumbent Dhiraagu, the result being the cable to Colombo. LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE – LBO A new fibre optic undersea cable that connects Maldives to Sri Lanka will bring down international call charges from the Indian Ocean coral atoll, officials said Tuesday.Until the cable was commissioned this month, bilateral traffic of 600,000 minutes per month was routed via more expensive satellite links.
Until 2005, Sri Lanka had one undersea cable (if one did not count the aged SEA-ME-WE 2) and one operator controlling access to it. Then came SEA-ME-WE 4 and the BSNL cables. More cables, but still one operator, SLTL. Now finally, we have operator redundancy. This should be sweet music to the BPO industry.
Just returned from the sensory overload of the ITU Telecom World exhibition and forum in Hong Kong. One of the buzzwords/phrases floating around this year is multiple play. Triple play is passe though a few are hanging on with quadruple play. Given my recent column in LBO, my mind was on payments. Where in the multiple play talk was payments?
Rohan Samarajiva and Divakar Goswami, chaired sessions at the first Telecom World event , ITU Telecom World 2006, to be held in Asia, in Hong Kong SAR, 3-8 December 2006. This event, held once in four years, is normally held in Geneva. It was moved to Hong Kong to recognize the leading role of the Asia Pacific in the ICT sector today (see Figure 1).Samarajiva and Goswami were the only persons from Sri Lanka featured in the program of the Forum at Telecom World. Figure 1: Goswami, lead researcher on LIRNEasia’s Indonesia ICT sector and regulatory performance study, chaired a session that included keynote presentations by Dr Sofyan Djalil, the Indonesian Minister of ICTs.
India’s Department of Telecom (DoT) has mandated non-discriminatory access to international cable landing stations which are an essential facility for a host of international data and voice services. VSNL has agreed to open three landing stations to all operators on a non-discriminatory manner. LIRNEasia has been pushing for having access regimes in place for telecom infrastructure bottlenecks like cable landing stations and backbone in a number of countries we work in. Hopefully, this will be emulated in other countries in the region. DoT will also introduce resellers for international bandwidth in order to further bring down international bandwidth prices since the liberalization of the international gateway (IGW) in 2002.
Early warning regarding tsunamis depends on skilled interpretation of earthquake data from seismic monitors like the one at Pallekale and data from ocean based buoys that detect fast moving bodies of water. The ocean between Sri Lanka and Thailand now has one. It is up to us to make sure that the warning that get communicated from international and regional warning centers will be communciated to the affected communities promptly and that those communities will be prepared to respond properly. NOAA Provides First Tsunami Detection Buoy for the Indian Ocean: Financial News – Yahoo! Finance Following a ceremony in Phuket, Thailand, where the 2004 Boxing Day event caused the most extensive tsunami damage in Thailand, the MV SEAFDEC set sail today to deploy the buoy about mid-way between Thailand and Sri Lanka.
As part of the Six Country Indicators Project, Malathy presented the interim findings from the Sri Lankan country study (over Skype). The study assesses Sri Lanka’s telecom sector and regulatory performance. It employs the common methodology and list of indicators adopted for the Six Country study.
The Study of India’s Universal Service Instruments by LIRNEasia researchers Payal Malik & Harsha De Silva, critiqued the Indian government’s policy that made only fixed line operators eligible for USO funds: As of today, the government is giving USO fund support to only the fixed line operators offering services in the rural areas. The over defining terms in the law is a bad idea in a rapidly evolving technology environment, though this correction has been suggested it is quite possible that the previous auctions have left huge amounts of rents that have been appropriated by the incumbent. In an industry that manifests the potential for rapid technological change and innovation, such as telecom, an economic analysis of a problem should not focus too narrowly or exclusively on the best use of society’s resources from the standpoint of today’s technology and resource availability i.e. static economic efficiency but should be viewed from a dynamic perspective.
Here is an issue that will feature large in India and even Bhutan, but not Sri Lanka. The reason is that the former countries have a sizable number of cable connections, which will in the future be used to provide broadband access in competition to phone companies. Because of the profligacy of frequency-based broadcast licensing in Sri Lanka, there is no cable industry to speak of. What there is uses frequencies. That means it cannot easily be turned into a conduit for broadband.
18 November, 2006 In an auction, which lasted four hours with the bid climbing 168 times, the Tashi Group clinched the deal to operate the first private mobile service in the country with a Nu. 777 million (USD 17.32 million) offer. The Tashi Group outbid three other joint venture companies in the auction that was held in Thimphu on October 16 to operate the license for a period of 15 years. The three other local companies vying for the license were the Singye Group, which had tied up with Reliance mobile in India, Druktel Private Limited, a consortium of Bhutanese companies, which had joined Airtel also in India and Bhutan Steel, which had tied up Thai company, Shin Satellite Public Corporation Limited.
TRAI has asked to amend the current international long distance guidelines to discourage restrictive and monopolistic practices of the incumbents and provide a level playing field to new entrants. Currently, six international cables, owned by BSNL, VSNL, Reliance, and Bharti carry international voice and data to India. They allegedly charge 40% to 60% more than international rates. Full report: http://www.telecomasia.
To get thinking started on a topic that we will be studying in more detail in 2007. Are there historical figures like this, for example in India, that we can refer to in our work? Looking Back on Louis Brandeis on His 150th Birthday – New York Times
(Associated Press via NewsEdge) Cellular phone subscribers rose in India by a record 6.6 million in October, keeping the country’s place as the world’s fastest-growing mobile phone market, according to data released over the weekend. Subscribers for the GSM network grew by 4.7 million in September, while the number of mobile phone subscribers using CDMA technology increased by 1.9 million.
LIRNEasia HazInfo project partner Nalaka Gunawardene has written an excellent piece on ICTs and disasters, referring in some detail to the ongoing HazInfo project. Bridging the long ‘last mile’ in Sri Lanka / 2006/4 / Media Development / Publications / Home – World Association for Christian Communication While the countries of South and Southeast Asia were largely unprepared to act on the tsunami, it was not really a complete surprise. As the killer waves originating from the ocean near Indonesia’s Sumatra Island radiated across the Indian Ocean at the speed of a jetliner, the alert about the impending tsunami moved through the Internet at the speed of light. Scientists at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) in Hawaii, who had detected the extraordinary seismic activity, issued a local tsunami warning one hour and five minutes after the undersea quake. That was a bit too late for Indonesia – which, being closest to the quake’s epicentre, was already hit – but it could have made a difference in countries further away, such as India, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
CPRsouth Chair and LIRNEasia international advisory board member, Professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala was on a blue-ribbon panel discussing ICTs and rural access last night on NDTV. CIOL : .NET & Windows : Make bandwidth available to all, says Kalam NDTV’s Prannoy Roy moderated a discussion in which Ballmer, N R Narayana Murthy, Ashok Jhunjhunwala and Manvinder Singh of Ranbaxy participated. He started off by asking Ballmer about the contrasting personalities of the top two at Microsoft: small, shy and geeky versus flambuoyant and six feet six. Opposites make for the best partnerships was the reply.
Dhaka, Nov 9 (www.bdnews24.com) – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Report for 2006, launched globally Thursday, revealed that Bangladesh had shown impressive gains in water and sanitation sector although Asia’s emerging giants were lagging. “Income matters, but public policy shapes the conversion of income into human development,” said the report, entitled “Beyond Scarcity: Power, Poverty and the Global Water Crisis.” “India may outperform Bangladesh as a high growth globalisation success story, but the tables are turned when the benchmark for success shifts to sanitation: despite an average income some 60% higher, India has a lower rate of sanitation coverage.