USD Archives — Page 10 of 14


As part of a special review of ICT policy in Indonesia, e-Indonesia, the Indonesian ICT monthly magazine, interviewed a number of key stakeholders including the Minister Sofyan Djalil, Commissioners from BRTI, the regulatory body, civil society group, industry reps and ICT experts. LIRNEasia researcher, Divakar Goswami, was also interviewed. The interview is featured in the online edition here. The interview is in bahasa. The English text of the interview is below: 1.
Most consumers overlook the small surcharges on their telephone bills. Usually no more than a few dollars per month, these support a variety of programs, including those that ensure affordable telephone service for low-income and disabled customers. But the high-cost subsidies are the most expensive and possibly the least regulated.  In California for example, the two biggest phone companies, AT&T Inc. and Verizon California, received $1.
The Philippine ICT Researchers Network through the National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG) of the University of the Philippines will be hosting the first international conference on “Living the Information Society: The Impact of Information and Communication Technologies on People, Work and Communities in Asia” which will be held on April 23-24, 2007 at the Renaissance Hotel, Makati City, Philippines (program attached). Early registration (download form) for the Conference is now open and entitles the participant to a 20% discount. This conference funded by the International Development Research Centre – Canada,  is being organized in support of the growing community of researchers and practitioners conducting research on the social, cultural, psychological, economic, political, and other transformations brought about by information and communications technologies (ICT) in the Asia-Pacific region. The conference provides a forum for discussing life in the information society. Over 75 papers will be presented by researchers from different countries and disciplines on the usage and effects of ICTs on culture and society.
By Divakar Goswami (LIRNEasia) Bisnis Indonesia (Leading financial paper of Indonesia): OpEd (In Bahasa) January 10, 2007 Mobile talk is not cheap in Indonesia. Despite limited competition, mobile calling prices are among the highest in Asia. Only fixed wireline service, where PT Telkom has a de facto monopoly, sees calling prices to be among the lowest in the region as they are rigidly regulated by the government. But as everyone knows, it is difficult to get a fixed line and the quality is poor. It is therefore not surprising that policymakers and regulators in Indonesia have become impatient with the results of competition and started to voice their resentment of the high profits being declared by the private telecom companies.

Reach out and see somebody

Posted on January 6, 2007  /  0 Comments

Seems like a good business idea for entrepreneurs in countries like Bngladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka, with large migrant populations. Even at double the US set up costs, it won’t take long to start earning returns. Of course, good broadband is a necessary condition. Abroad at Home – New York Times Because of stricter border enforcement since 9/11, increased broadband access and reduced cost of video equipment, more businesses are offering videoconferencing services to reunite immigrants with their families back home. Typically found in or near places immigrants frequent like money-transfer operations or consular offices, these kinds of services are often reserved for weeks in advance.
More on the Negroponte laptop. It has built-in wireless and a completely different interface. BBC NEWS | Technology | $100 laptop project launches 2007 The so-called XO machine is being pioneered by Nicholas Negroponte, who launched the project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab in 2004. Test machines are expected to reach children in February as the project builds towards a more formal launch. Wireless networking Mr Negroponte told the Associated Press news agency that three more African countries might sign on in the next two weeks.
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.
The strong quake off Taiwan’s coast on December 26 damaged six separate submarine cables and severely disrupted telecom links in the East, Southeast and South Asia. Internet connectivity in a number of countries are either down or are slowed down thanks to taffic that is being rerouted over networks that have escaped damage. Most of Jakarta (Indonesia) and Pondicherry (Southern India) have been without Internet until this afternoon (Dec 27) at least. In our office in Sri Lanka, SLT’s ADSL connection (though congested) is working. However, Lankacom’s leased line is down since it probably connects to the Internet backbone via Singapore.
Rohan Samarajiva chaired the Universal, Ubiquitous, Equitable and Affordable session at the ITU World 2006 that raised some fundamental questions about Universal Service Obligation (USO) programs around the world. Rohan introduced the topic [PDF] drawing from LIRNEasia‘s recent Shoestrings II study on telephone use at the “bottom of the pyramid.” The first Keynote speaker, Zhengmao Li, VP China Unicom, described the efforts of the Chinese govt and his company in building a harmonious digital society. Thanks to the govt’s policy to provide access to ICTs on an equitable and affordable basis, more than 97 percent of administrative villages in China have a phone. The second Keynote speaker, Tom Philips, Chief Regulatory Officer at the GSM Association forcefully argued that USO programs in most parts of the world have not resulted in improved access but have rather harmed the objective of connecting those who currently do not have access.

More on Maldives

Posted on December 13, 2006  /  53 Comments

Several weeks ago we speculated on why the Maldives, with its tiny population, needed two undersea cables. The answer is that the first cable is a collaboration between the new entrant Wataniya and India’s disruptive competitor, Reliance (through its FLAG unit). This created enormous pressure on the complacent incumbent Dhiraagu, the result being the cable to Colombo. LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE – LBO A new fibre optic undersea cable that connects Maldives to Sri Lanka will bring down international call charges from the Indian Ocean coral atoll, officials said Tuesday.Until the cable was commissioned this month, bilateral traffic of 600,000 minutes per month was routed via more expensive satellite links.
Faculty of Humanities, The University of Manchester The BWPI de Silva PhD Scholarship for Sri Lanka Award of this scholarship has been made possible by the generosity of Dr Harin de Silva (BSc Mech Eng 1982). Value of award: Total award = US$90,000 (this will be augmented through BWPI support for fees and maintenance) Criteria: This scholarship is open to Sri Lankan nationals to research poverty and poverty reduction in Sri Lanka. The award seeks to support a Sri Lankan citizen in their intellectual development and it is hoped that the successful candidate will subsequently work on poverty analysis from a Sri Lankan base and push forward the understanding of how to reduce poverty in the country.
Until 2005, Sri Lanka had one undersea cable (if one did not count the aged SEA-ME-WE 2) and one operator controlling access to it. Then came SEA-ME-WE 4 and the BSNL cables. More cables, but still one operator, SLTL. Now finally, we have operator redundancy. This should be sweet music to the BPO industry.

Beyond cheap coverage

Posted on December 11, 2006  /  1 Comments

Nov 13, 2006 By Tony Chan, Wireless Asia http://www.telecomasia.net/article.php?id_article=2622 This article raises the important question of affordability of access to services on mobile networks versus services on fixed networks (e.
As part of the Six Country Indicators Project, Joseph presented the interim findings from the Pakistan country study (over Skype). The study assesses Pakistan’s telecom sector and regulatory performance. It employs the common methodology and list of indicators adopted for the Six Country study.

USD 150 computer

Posted on November 30, 2006  /  0 Comments

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.
The battle for mobile customers in Latin America is hotting up as 319 million Latin Americans or 56% of the population already own a mobile phone. Telefonica of Spain and America Movil controlled by Mexican businessman Carlos Slim are going head-to-head to expand their market-share in South America and are increasingly targeting the “bottom of the pyramid.” The Race for Numero Uno in Latin Wireless (Businessweek November 27, 2006): More than 80% of Brazil’s mobile-telephone customers use prepaid service—buying cards to recharge their phones—rather than signing monthly contracts. América Móvil’s average client uses just 71 minutes of airtime each month, spending around $12.50.