Dhaka, Nov 3 (bdnews24.com) – GrameenPhone’s coverage beyond Bangladesh’s boundary has forced the Indian government to deploy cellular mobile network in the neglected northeastern states, reports Kolkota-based The Telegraph Friday. The Indians along the Bangladesh border in Meghalaya and other north-eastern states “are forced to use prepaid cards of GrameenPhone, the largest cell phone service provider of Bangladesh, paying ISD call rates.” People without mobile phones cross the border and use Bangladeshi phone booths and they pay hefty amounts of international tariff to call own country, the report alleges. Villagers have complained to the Telegraph correspondent that the Indian government does not provide them basic telecoms facilities on the pretext of security.
Three articles on LIRNEasia and its research have appeared in Business Line, one of the leading business newspapers in India belonging to the Hindu group. The most recent one appeared today, focussing on LIRNEasia‘s research activities in the Asian region. The way to go The Hindu Businessline, October 23, 2006 By Ambar Singh Roy […]Founded in September 2004, LIRNEasia (Learning Initiatives on Reforms for Network Economies) was initially focused on India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Indonesia. This year, LIRNEasia’s research footprint has been extended to the Philippines, Thailand and Pakistan. Says Prof Rohan Samarajiva, Executive Director of LIRNEasia: “The Asia-Pacific is a leading region in ICT, both in manufacture and use.
According to a recent report, the total number of mobile subscribers in Asia Pacific has doubled in the course of two years and by the end of 2006 will account for 45% of mobile subscriber growth worldwide. China,India and Pakistan account for 70% of the growth in the region.
Zee News – South Asian countries lose 2-16 % GDP in natural disasters “Studies show two to 16 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of South Asian countries is lost every year due to natural disasters. They also show a dollar spent on mitigating disasters saves five dollars to be spent subsequently on relief and rehabilitation.”The point of course being that there’s nothing natural about this horrendous loss of lives and growth. It is because we do not take the necessary human actions and engage in the required institutional reforms, that these losses are as high. The micro-level approach that is being proposed in India has significant similarities to the objectives of the HazInfo project and Sarvodaya’s overall approach to disaster preparedness.
Leased Line Tariffs to be Regulated Bisnis Indonesia, September 27, 2006 JAKARTA: The Indonesian Telecommunication Regulatory Body (BRTI) will regulate the tariffs for leased lines through a ministerial decree, which is expected to be signed end of this year. The regulator most likely will force network operators to lower leased line tariffs by more than 50 percent to push internet penetration in Indonesia. BRTI said this in a public meeting with Mastel, internet service providers, and network operators yesterday. Heru Sutadi, a member of BRTI, expected a decline of more than 50% in the tariffs will increase ICT usage, internet interconnection, telephone penetration and increase the number of internet users in Indonesia. “The regulator expects the decline in leased line tariffs will be followed by the acceleration of local internet content, so that bandwidth doesn’t get used outside the country and internet tariffs can drop significantly,” he said yesterday.
Internet Providers Criticize Leased Line Tariffs Bisnis Indonesia, Sept. 26, 2006, T2 JAKARTA: The Association of Indonesian Internet Service Providers urge network operators to lower leased line tariffs to allow a healthy competition in providing Internet services for retail customers. Chairman of the Association Sylvia W. Sumarlin said that network operators, which also provide direct internet services to customers, have disturbed ISP businesses. “Every day, a lot of ISP customers switch to network operators because they provide cheaper tariffs to access Internet,” she said to Bisnis yesterday.
From Lanka Business Online Streaming Fast 28 September 2006 19:00:19 Sri Lanka Telecom links up with India’s BSNL to offer wider choice September 28 2006 (LBO) – India’s Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited Thursday officially kicked off a 1.8 billion rupee undersea cable unit with Sri Lanka Telecom, which will bring down call rates between South Asian countries. The optical fibre cable, which run between Mt Lavinia (Sri Lanka) and Tuticorin in India, will enable SLT customers to enjoy high speed broadband services such as audio and video streaming. Read full article on LBO
The Hindu Businessline, Thomas K Thomas, New Delhi , July 13Increasing usage of broadband and Internet-based services has prompted Indian international bandwidth providers to raise their capacity by 95 per cent over a one-year period. According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, bandwidth owned by various gateway service providers such as VSNL, Reliance Communication and Bharti has gone up to 12.7 Giga bytes in March 2006 compared to 6.5 Giga bytes at the end of the previous financial year. Explaining the growth, Mr Kiran Karnik, President, Nasscom, said: “Bandwidth requirement is largely being driven by the IT industry, particularly the BPO sector, and also rapid Internet adoption at homes.
Joji Thomas of the Hindu Buisness Line reported this on August 21, 2006. LIRNEasia research by Payal Malik had recommended USO funds should be technology neutral as well as fund infrastructure creation, but the funds from the USF are not being released as mentioned in this report. Read on… JOJI THOMAS PHILIP NEW DELHI [ MONDAY, AUGUST 21, 2006 10:27:47 AM] DEPARTMENT of telecom has demanded that the finance ministry allocate an additional Rs 2,000 crore towards the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), over and above the Rs 1,500 crore that has been allocated in the Union Budget. It has also said that all telecom companies should pay 5% of their adjusted gross revenue towards the USOF, which is used for building and supporting telecom infrastructure in rural India. DoT move is likely to cause a showdown with the finance ministry .
According to this article that appeared today in India’s Business Standard, TRAI seems to be considering using a base price + beauty pagent mechanism to award 5 licenses (of 5MHz each) for companies to introduce 3G services. The prduence of using beauty pagents needs to be questioned. The failures of 3G auctions in Europe in 2000 has been mentioned as one of the reasons for opting for a beauty pagent. However the failures of those auctions stemmed from operators’ over-estimating the potential of a new and untested service. It is unlikely that operators would make the same mistake again – my argument being once-bitten, twice shy.
(unofficial translation) Insignia of Nepal Government Nepal Gazette Published by Nepal Government Part 56) Kathmandu, Bhadra 26 2063 (Number 20 Part 3 Nepal Government Notice of Ministry of Information and Communication This notice has been published to notify that the Nepal Government using the authority given by Radio Communication (license) regulation, 2049, part 18 sub-part (c) has declared that use and storage of radio equipment in the ISM Band of 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz with the Maximum Effective Isotropic Radiated Power of 4 Watts will not require any license. As Directed, Shankar Prasad Koirala Acting Chief Secretary of Nepal Government Previous discussion on this issue available here.
Ambar Singh Roy, The Hindu Business Line Habarana (Sri Lanka) , Sept 17 It would be imperative for India to replicate the urban competitive model in its mobile telephony segment in the rural areas with a view to improving the country’s ranking in the global digital opportunity index (DOI), according to LIRNEasia, a regional information and communication technology policy and regulation research and capacity-building organisation. Read full story at The Hindu Business Line online.
Inter-operator congestion is choking India’s fast growing mobile market and lack of proper interconnection overshadows its telecoms success story. TRAI is keen to mitigate this crisis. But its authority has been dwarfed administratively. Read the details in http://www.telecomasia.
Inadequate backbone infrastructure in Indonesia has been widely regarded as crippling its telecom sector. Uneven development of the backbone has meant that much of the East of the country has no fiber-optic based backbone network and those islands have to rely on more expensive satellite links. Poor long-haul domestic infrastructure has meant that many parts of the country do not have access to basic communication and those that are connected have some of the world’s highest leased line and Internet prices as my earlier study shows. The Indonesian government’s ambitious Palapa Ring project to create a fiber ring connecting the major islands had been shelved post the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Recently, however, efforts have been made to revive a modified version of the earlier vision.
At the upcoming Digital Opportunity Forum organized by KADO (Korean Agency for Digital Opportunity & Promotion) and the ITU being held in Seoul, Korea, five researchers from LIRNEasia have been invited to present. Rohan Samarajiva will be giving the keynote speech on Bridging the Divide: Building Asia-Pacific Capacity for Effective Reforms and will act as the Chairman of the Forum. Rohan’s comments at the close of the First Day are included as well as the powerpoint from his keynote (also available at DOF site): SamarajivaBridgingAug06.ppt As part of LIRNEasia‘s ongoing research on the Six Country Indicators Project, lead researchers working on assessing ICT sector performance and analysing the reform process in India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Philippines wil make their presentation on the Digital Opportunity Index (DOI) applied to their respective countries. Payal Malik will make a presentation on the Policy Implications from the DOI analysis of India; Divakar Goswami will present on DOI Applied to Indonesia: Assessing ICT Policy & Regulatory Environment; Joseph Wilson will present on Digital Opportunities in Pakistan: An Overview and Lorraine Salazar will present on The Case of the Philippines.
Developing countries have tended to focus on disaster relief and rehabilitation at the expense of strategies to prevent or mitigate effects of disasters in the first place. To a politician, the political payout from handing out relief materials to the disaster affected appears greater than investing in a national early warning system that may not yield any political reward during his/her tenure. Political expediency coupled with a mix of fatalism, laziness to undertake the hardwork required to implement mitigation/prevention strategies, low valued assigned to human life in developing countries have all contributed to the callous acceptance of natural disasters as a “fact of life.” Hence, the allusion to a “paradigm shift” referred to by the Indian minister, hopefully marks a policy shift rather than just a rhetorical one. ———— India, others work on region’s first disaster management policy The Hindu, August 22, 2006 New Delhi, Aug 22.