India Archives — Page 7 of 43


Kill switch becoming routine in India?

Posted on September 2, 2015  /  1 Comments

Last week I was told that the authorities/companies in Gujarat had succeeded in shutting down Internet without shutting down voice service. This was thought to be some kind of technical achievement. Now it’s on the other end of India. With the death of 1 more person, the death toll in Churachandpur district during the current violence has increased to 8. Curfew is still on with heavily armed state and central forces personnel patrolling the streets.

No fun drags on

Posted on August 17, 2015  /  0 Comments

We predicted this would happen if BSNL continued to be in the driver’s seat. In what could be another blow to the broadband dreams of millions, the deadline for rolling out national optical fiber network (NOFN) across all 2.5 lakh village panchayats has been extended by two years by 2018, according to sources close to the government. “The project will be now completed by 2018, instead of 2016,” the sources said. The national Optical Fibre Network (NOFN), which will play a crucial role in government’s Digital India program, was initiated in 2011 with an aim to provide broadband connectivity to over two lakh (200,000) gram panchayats of India at a cost of Rs 20,000 crore ($4 billion).
In the context of some work we were doing with the support of Ford Foundation we conducted four case studies of national broadband initiatives. The four case studies were presented at the Expert Forum we convened in New Delhi in March 2014 and may have contributed to the rethinking of the becalmed NOFN project that has now been relaunched as Digital India. The comparative analysis has now been published as Gunaratne, R.L. et al.
I was reminded of Pramod Mahajan, a former Minister who died tragically. He was responsible for “unifying” the Ministry of Telecom and the Ministry of Electronics and IT. He also said Indian succeeded in IT and beauty only because the government was not involved. Echoes of Mahajan are heard in these reactions to Prime Minister Modi’s launch of Digital India. While Mr.
Indian government has endured stormy opposition when Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL), its international telecoms arm, was privatized in early 2000. Since then, through merger and acquisition along with new build-outs, the Indian carriers – Tata, Reliance and Bharti – dominate the global connectivity business. Moreover, each submarine cable linking Asia with the Middle East, Africa and Europe hops in India due to its location. Therefore, like Japan in transpacific and the United Kingdom in transatlantic routes, India could emerge as a formidable transoceanic telecoms connectivity hub in the region. That has not happened, primarily, due to the Indian carriers’ mindless obsession for dominance.
The headline said that Bharti Airtel has now reached the exalted status of having the third largest number of mobile customers worldwide, after China Mobile and Vodafone Group. But as the writer concludes, the real challenge is going to be how new business models can be implemented to make Internet access as successful as voice access. As Reliance Jio gets set to roll out a data-first network, only the networks that successfully implement a new business model that are likely to survive and prosper. He said the next phase of the company’s growth would be led by mobile internet. “This will again be a transformational phase and we have the opportunity to work with disruptive models and technologies and add value to the lives of our customers in an even more meaningful way,” he said.
Manila retains its second position among the top-ten BPO destinations worldwide. It remains ahead of Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune but ranks behind Bangalore, according to consultancy Tholons. The rapidly growing BPO industry now represents 6% of Philippines’ GDP and rivals remittances from migrant workers as the country’s largest revenue generator. BPO sector employs more than 1m people and the industry’s revenues, which currently stand at $18bn, could reach $25.5bn in 2016.
The speculation about Jio Infocomm has been going on for too long, it seems. Here‘s what Mukesh Ambani says it will be: And the benefit of its “legacy-free, next-generation voice and broadband network which can be seamlessly upgraded even to 5G and beyond” will be in extending digital connectivity to a wide set of Indian consumers. “In rural areas, we are prioritising connectivity to thousands of schools. This is to ensure that the benefits of our broadband initiative is first and foremost felt by the young students who stand to gain the most by accessing the information superhighway,” he said. “Jio’s true success will be measured by a whole new generation of entrepreneurs, stepping-up to leverage the digital assets that Jio has built.
Digital India Platform (DIP) will be launched in India soon to provide freelance opportunities to computer literate population in India. The Elance-oDesk’s Annual Impact Report 2014 ranks India as the first in top earning freelancer countries. Percentage of population using internet in India is 15.1% (2013) (International Telecommunication Union, 2013). This program will provide opportunities for computer literate to earn from the work open up for public.

Roadmap for revising NOFN-India

Posted on May 13, 2015  /  1 Comments

Indian Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar said that NOFN India is to be revised and renamed as BharatNet. The revised road map will emphasis the participation of states. Only 20,000 village panchayats were been given broadband connectivity by march 2015 although the target was 50,000. This proposed project is to be completed by December 2017. See here for more information.
Have not had the time to do the usual analysis, so was happy to see this report in the Financial Times. The recently released 2015 edition of the Global Information Technology Report of the World Economic Forum has placed Sri Lanka at 65th position in networked readiness among 143 economies surveyed. Singapore is ranked as the topmost country in networked readiness and replaces Finland, which had been number one since 2013. Japan, which climbs an impressive six places on a year-on-year basis to 10th position, also joins the top 10. Sri Lanka is the highest-ranked South Asian nation this year and eighth among the Asian nations, beaten only by Singapore (1st), Japan (10th), Korea (12th), Hong Kong (14th), Taiwan (18th), Malaysia (32nd) and China (62nd).
It has been a long time coming, but finally the universal service contribution as a percentage of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) looks certain to be reduced from five percent to three percent. The last time we wrote about this was in 2009, when the Finance Ministry stopped it. But, of course, nothing is ever so simple. At the same time TDSAT has brought a whole lot of new revenue elements within the definition of AGR. That will get appealed and so on.
Washington Post refers to Doug Madory as, “The man who can see the Internet.” Unsurprisingly he has been monitoring Nepal’s state of Internet since earthquake struck on April 25. Outages of Nepalese data centers, ISPs and enterprises have been graphically diagnosed in Doug’s report. A recent evaluation of Internet infrastructure in South Asia commissioned by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) classified Nepal’s international connectivity as ‘weak’ and its fixed and mobile infrastructure as ‘limited’. While the loss of Internet connectivity pales in comparison to the loss of life, the ability to communicate both domestically and internationally will be crucial in coming days for the coordination of relief efforts already underway.
Low connectivity and low regulatory capacity are characteristics of most emerging Asian countries.  Any NN regulation needs to take these realities into account.  So when we looked at the possible ways TRAI can and should act, we ended somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Read our response here.
Just a few days ago, the big data team posted some thoughts on how TRAI could analyze the one million plus comments it received in response to its consultation paper on OTT services. The Business Standard has extensively quoted from that collectively authored suggestions on how technology could help productively mobilize the flood of citizen ideas enabled by technology. Last year, the corporate affairs ministry had commissioned a platform to receive responses on the hundreds of sections and sub-sections of the Companies Act. The platform, built by Corporate Professionals, allowed section-wise responses; it classified responses under different heads such as drafting errors and conceptual issues. Further, separate log-in ids were provided for different sections of stakeholders.
As LIRNEasia Senior Research Fellow, Payal Malik has made significant contributions to Indian telecom policy and regulation over the years. She also brings to bear a unique perspective because of her experience in implementing competition law. Going beyond the emotive, she has co-authored a thoughtful op-ed that all who engage in the net neutrality debate in India should pay attention to. India’s antitrust regime empowers the Competition Commission of India to block business activities that harm consumer welfare, restrict consumer choice or deny market access. Such enforcement with a precise enforcement mandate, exclusively targeting objectionable activities, while leaving other pro-competitive conduct that benefits consumers unregulated.