Something we rarely talk about in discussions of the great public policy success of our time, the mobile explosion, is how various kleptocrats rode the mobile boom. Libya’s Qaddafi’s present problems serve to bring this skeleton out of the closet: But never underestimate the human capacity for delusion. Here’s a despot who’s managed at various times to pocket America and Europe with après-moi-le-déluge talk of the need for his rule, bought off several smaller African states, cocooned himself for more than four decades with fawning acolytes, murdered with impunity, sired with abandon, enriched himself beyond measure and — like any self-respecting modern tyrant — doled out the cell phone companies to his kids. Through all this he’s survived. Our politicians just tax mobile operators in multiple ways.
In a recent piece in Himal, I summarized the ideas I have been developing on the nation state and its control of telecom networks used by its citizens. The thesis was that in countries above a certain threshold of electronic connectivity, shutting down networks was futile. The regime would fall. Now here’s a new spin. A proposal to ease the pressure of the Qaddafi’s chokehold: As a result, democracy demonstrators have had a harder time communicating with one another, while foreign correspondents in Libya have found it nearly impossible to report on events fully.
Countries that have a level of international connectivity above that of Burma and North Korea have so far been subject to Gyanendra’s Law. You pull the kill switch. You look for a new job. Now Muammar Qaddafi has decided to the test the law. Libya’s main Internet service provider, General Post and Telecommunications Company, began to cut Internet access on Friday, said Earl Zmijewski, general manager with Internet monitoring company Renesys.
FLAG Telecom plans to deploy the largest IP-based submarine cable network that will connect 60 countries, including many that currently have poor connectivity by 2009. India, Indonesia, and Philippines are among the countries that FLAG’s NGN network will have a presence in. Reliance to carry FLAG far and wide: “We live in a world where there is too much of bandwidth for some, little for others and none for many – there is unequal access to bandwidth in and across countries, continents and communities,” said Anil Dhirubhai Ambani, chairman, Reliance Communications. “FLAG NGN will democratise digital access,” he added. FLAG NGN will comprise of our systems.
In 2004, 4.1 percent of Sri Lankan households had computers. As the data comes in from our six-country study, we will post the numbers for those countries as well. Looks like this will change the nature of the debate. The report states that Intel and Microsoft are not happy with Negoponte’s baby.
Arab Mobile Phone Subscriptions Jump 70% in 2005 Source: www.cellular-news.com/story/18589.php The number of mobile phone subscriptions in the Arab world has grown by a whopping 70 percent in 2005, underlining a strong consumer demand coupled by increased liberalization and competition in Arab telecom markets, according to a recently published Madar Research study. The study also reveals that Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have achieved mobile phone penetration levels among their population that are comparable with those prevalent in Europe and Pacific Rim countries.