Internet Archives — Page 4 of 15 — LIRNEasia


When I first saw a tweet about the Daily Star report, I thought Telenor’s Bangladesh affiliate was following in the steps of its Myanmar counterpart and reporting daily data user percentages. This is something any operator can do based on the information contained in Call Detail Records (CDRs). But I was disapponted. It was based on a sample survey: The leading mobile phone operator studied some 1,510 school-going students aged 11-18 years between June and July last year, to understand the internet usage patterns and practices of the youth in Bangladesh. I do see the value of sample surveys for understanding the user behaviors of specific demographic segments.
Bangladesh has experienced temporary outage of Internet when the government blocked popular social media sites on November 18. It could not skip the watchful eyes of the man who can see the Internet. Here is the visual of Internet outage in Bangladesh.
In wide ranging article on multiple aspects of Facebook, the author cites Helani Galpaya’s comments on zero rating. For Facebook, releasing something, gauging reaction, and then tweaking as necessary is not only normal but also a badge of honor—after all, one of the company’s guiding principles is “Done is better than perfect.” When I ask Zuckerberg about the controversy, he says, “Internet.org is working. We’ve learned a lot from our efforts already.
The raging debate on Zero Rated content is, for the most part, taking place in a vacuum of evidence. A successful campaign by activists  ensured that many of the 1.2 million responses sent to TRAI’s proposed net neutrality regulations in April 2015 called for banning internet.org (Facebook’s Zero Rated offering, now called Free Basics).  The fear that the poor who use the free version of the internet offered by Facebook will not use anything else but Facebook has been one of the harms many advocates put forth.
It is quite intriguing how often moderators and many panelists default to a position that advocates government action and subsidies at the sessions I have heard so far. The evidence is clear on what worked and what did not with regard to first generation connectivity. Government supply failed. Government subsidies were not disbursed for the most part. The Independent Evaluation Group of the World Bank was critical of the universal service initiatives supported and funded by the World Bank over 10 years.
below is the long version of the pitch we made to the Stockholm Internet Forum. Hopefully, it will gain enough votes to be included. Billions are yet to be connected to the Internet. Some lessons can be drawn from the case of the previous success story of connecting billions to voice telephony. For example, from experience with industry-specific taxes and universal service funds we have a much better understanding of how taxes and subsidies are likely to affect access to and affordability of Internet.
Manu Joseph hits back at the overheated rhetoric driving the opposition to zero rating. He also mentions the Quartz piece citing Helani’s report from the field in Indonesia. A lazy, neurotic suspicion of the large corporation is also behind the obtuse alarm over Free Basics. But the very strength of the parallel Internet for the poor is that it is corporate strategy. Mark Zuckerberg has tried his best to give it a humanitarian spin, which may not be wholly a lie, but I do hope the venture is not purely altruistic.
Helani Galpaya asks the most basic question in a Council on Foreign Relations blog. She bases her position on evidence from the field: her direct observations in Java that went around the world and the recent Myanmar baseline Teleuse study. In the end, the best defense against the possible downsides of ZR is high levels of competition at all parts of the broadband value chain—content, application, devices, international connectivity—not just in retail mobile connectivity. Given the low capacity of many regulatory institutions in Asia, it probably makes sense for regulators to focus on creating a competitive environment and let the ZR battle play out, while being ready to act if actual harm occurs. If regulators insist on acting to enforce net neutrality policies, they could take other actions, such as making ZR offerings time-limited or mandating the first click outside of the walled garden also be zero-rated.
India has withdrawn a really stupid piece of legislation. But can you imagine what would have been the outcome if informed and articulate experts such as Pranesh Prakash of the Center for Internet and Society were not there to tell the government the dangers of following the advice of its house “experts”? Responding to a chorus of criticism, Indian officials on Tuesday hastily withdrew a draft policy on encryption that would have required users of social media and messaging applications to save plain-text versions of their messages for 90 days so that they could be shared with the police. The proposal, which many condemned as both draconian and impractical, came as an embarrassment days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi travels to Silicon Valley to try to attract investment and promote India as an emerging market for digital technology. Mr.
Back in 2013, UN ESCAP, in partnership with the ITU, published an online map of the cables that carry Internet traffic in the Asia Pacific. We at LIRNEasia were very happy about this because we had been working with ESCAP since 2010 and Senior Policy Fellow Abu Saeed Khan who worked up the idea of highlighting the importance of international backhaul has been engaged with the process ever since. One usually expects novel policy initiatives to occur in the developed market economies and then to be replicated in the developing regions. In this case the order was reversed, though it is possible that the ESCAP-ECA-ITU maps may lack the level of granular detail the US map appears to be backed by. It may not look like much at first glance, but a map created by University of Wisconsin computer science professor Paul Barford and about a dozen colleagues took around four years to produce.

Google Global Cache in Myanmar

Posted on September 13, 2015  /  0 Comments

With 70 percent of mobile users having smartphones, Myanmar is possibly the fastest growing Internet market in the world. With rudimentary international links, this can cause all sorts of problems. One (partial) solution is content delivery networks. Internet users in Myanmar have received a speed boost as Norway’s Telenor and local company Yatanarpon Teleport (YTP) go live with Google Global Cache (GGC). This represents the first active content delivery network (CDN) resource in one of the last untapped telecommunications markets in the world.

Why not local data storage?

Posted on September 9, 2015  /  0 Comments

The first I heard of this issue was back in the 1980s when the Government of Canada wanted banks and companies to store data within the country and not in the US where it was cheaper. One of the arguments was the need to simplify access to data for law-enforcement purposes. Technology has changed much, but the issues remain the same. Now it’s the United States Government that wants access to data stored by US companies wherever the data is. Russia wants all companies operating in Russia to store data within Russia.
A trade body is sure to know subscriber numbers. But how good is it on Internet users? May be they actually mean subscribers? India has added 52 million Internet users in first six months of the year, taking the total user base to 352 million as on June 30, 2015, industry body IAMAI said on Wednesday. Interestingly, 213 million (over 60 per cent) users accessed the worldwide web through mobile devices.

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.
Luckily, the unlimited/”all-you-can-eat” culture was not part of the Internet landscape in Asia. Even in its birthplace, it has been in decline, except in the imaginations of the passionate and uninformed. Here is a piece that illustrates the retreat from unlimited. T-Mobile also practices what is called network deprioritization. In areas where networks are congested, T-Mobile will look for the highest data consumers — those who have surpassed 21 gigabytes of data — and give priority in providing higher speeds to those who have consumed less data.
We saw that Myanmarese were bypassing feature phones and directly going to smartphones more than a year ago. The numbers we saw from the demand side survey conducted in Feb-Mar 2015 were close to 65 percent. This report says 70 percent. Should be right. The telco’s user base now exceeds 10 million people across 12 of 14 regions and states, Telenor Myanmar CEO Petter Furberg said in an August 19 statement.