Improving the quality of policy proposals in the Budget Daily FT Opinion by Rohan Samarajiva I have been immersed in discussions in various media platforms about the 2018 Sri Lanka Budget. A budget speech seeks to communicate the direction of government policy to other economic actors. While it is a coherent and forward-looking document overall, the 2018 Budget does contain some problematic proposals that will have to be walked back or quietly buried. In this op-ed published in the Financial Times, I discussed a solution: Every Budget Speech includes complex policy measures. Given the traditions associated with the Budget Speech, it is not possible to conduct public consultations on each of the measures beforehand.
Indonesia will implement Wimax (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) broadband technology next year to improve access to the Internet across the country, an official said Sunday. Engkos Koswara, an expert adviser to the state minister for research and technology, told Antara news agency the government was still testing the 2.3 GHz frequency for the Wimax technology. “We hope that by next year, Wimax technology will be implemented,” he said in Medan, North Sumatra, adding the government would encourage the use of domestic products to support the technology. Indonesia ranks very low in the region in the use of broadband for Internet access.
Afghan Wireless Communication Company (AWCC) has launched per-second billing on its GSM network. In a press briefing at its Kabul headquarters, AWCC Managing Director, Amin Ramin said: ” We have ensured Microwave connectivity, widest coverage in the country, simple call rates, amazing call quality, superb connectivity even on highways, and today we are announcing the Per Second Billing PLUS for the entire Afghan Wireless family.” Afghan Wireless is the largest private investor in Afghanistan. It is also the country’s largest employer, having nearly 3,000 people directly in the payroll and another 30,000 indirectly.
We could still do better; But more taxes could kill the industry The Nation Economist, Sunday 26 August 2007 | See Print version I have to say that JHU does not know economics. What is the rationale behind taxing the only sector that is growing? The industry is giving government enormous amount of revenue. Twenty percent of every mobile rupee goes to the government. If you squeeze the goose for more eggs the goose will ultimately die.
Licenses have been granted to consortium members for building the Palapa Ring–backbone that will connect the Eastern part of Indonesia that currently relies on satellites with the rest of the country. It is not clear how the licenses were granted and what are the fees and obligations of the license holders. Furthermore, technical and financial feasibility studies are yet to be completed. No access regimes have been developed that will govern how non-consortium members will be able to access the Palapa Ring and on what terms. There couldn’t be a worse possible way of launching such a complex, capital-intensive project that is supposed to transform the ICT infrastructure of Indonesia.
LIRNEasia has been moved to Denmark, but hey, we take whatever coverage we can get! Missed call virus bugs telecom firms A study by Learning Initiatives on Reforms for Network Economies (Lirne), a Denmark-based NGO that focusses on telecom issues, shows that over half of India’s 140 million mobile subscribers make missed calls to convey a pre-agreed message. As many as 95 per cent of the pre-paid customers used missed calls for this purpose, the study added. For operators, missed calls clog networks without earning them revenue, also frustrating genuine callers with “network busy” messages. “Missed calls use microwave links, the backhaul and the exchange and yet we make no money,” said a senior executive of Hutchison-Essar.
A Telecomasia article, Global operators face challenge on increasing backhaul capacities based on a recent study by ABI, argues that operators around the world are facing bandwidth constraints in their backhaul networks due to the growth of data traffic and bandwidth intensive services like multimedia content. Backhaul are the high-capacity pipes phone companies and Internet service providers use to haul traffic over large distances. Backhaul capacity in this context refers to the networks within a country or within a contiguous region. Backhaul is distinct from the under the ocean submarine cables which currently have excess, unused capacity thanks to the dot-com bubble driven investments into this high capacity links that connect continents. A number of technologies are proposed for the backhaul links that are suited for specific regions based on what kind of infrastructure already exists.
Yesterday, I spoke to a large and restive crowd (made so by lack of air conditioning and a delayed start) in Matara (main city in the South of Sri Lanka) at the launch of the Pathfinder Foundation’s first book, a Sinhala translation of Janos Kornai’s Toward a free economy. I was asked to talk about globalization and the relevance of Kornai’s ideas for facing the challenges posed by globalization. In this talk that I pieced together thanks to time zone differences that caused me to wake up at 3 in the morning while in the US, I illustrated the issues referring to Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), a broad area of service exports for which efficient, flexible and low-cost telecom is a pre-condition. I think the talk provides the "big picture" of the necessity of telecom reforms of the type that we at LIRNEasia are involved in. If we are to go beyond simply giving people phones, to giving them "money in the pocket and hope in the heart" this big picture is essential.