USD Archives — Page 2 of 14


Sri Lanka: Whither onshore BPOs @BOP?

Posted on December 29, 2008  /  8 Comments

Recessions are not bad for everybody. Proverbial silver line in the cloud, they bring hope to some. Success of the India BPO industry can partially be attributed to the post 9/11 recession. Tighter the economy, cheaper the solutions business looks for. How far onshore rural BPOs cater to the needs of their clients?

Broadband Internet helps rural community

Posted on December 28, 2008  /  0 Comments

There was a time when Mira Lira wasn’t able to run her online business effectively out of this former mining town 60 miles east of Phoenix. Not on a dial-up connection. “I use the Internet daily for e-mail and marketing,” Lira said. But today Lira is enjoying broadband Internet access as she provides virtual administrative help for offices around the country through Miracle Executive Services. The relief came in the form of small white boxes with tiny antennas atop homes, the school, even a light pole at the baseball field.
Everyone is betting big on the telecom growth story as it is steadily gaining traction amidst the global financial turmoil. This sector has emerged as a big contributor to the GDP and has recorded a 42.2% growth in the quarter ended Sep ‘08. Telecom is being seen as a significant contributor to the country’s foreign direct investment (FDI). The launch of 3G will give a big boost to services.
Electricity is said to be the only infrastructure the twentieth century communist rulers have truly cared for.  The practice may have had its origins in Lenin’s efforts for full electrification of the Soviet state, started in 1920 (aka GOELRO Plan). Nevertheless it makes perfect sense. Let the masses have electricity so that they can switch on television sets. They will not worry about anything else.
  On January 16, 2008 a bus bomb went off killing 25 and injuring more than 60, in a remote area of Moneragala, arguably the least connected district in the island. Within less than two hours, the international news channels were up with clips. Nuwan Sameera (inset) FTPed them from his Nenasala telecenter in Bibile town – about one hour journey away. Nuwan operates just within 200 m from a telecom tower (see photo) but bureaucracy is bureaucracy. Spending World Bank money generously, ICTA, the implementation agency of Nenasala telecenter network under the e-Sri Lanka program, first provided a VSAT link from a different operator.
Ambuluwawa, about 1,100 m above sea level, is probably the highest point in the vicinity of Gampola. Not surprisingly, all telecom operators exploit the geography. Transmission stations/towers encircle the summit. (See above) That is what one calls infrastructure. Just 10 km away, Sirimalwatte Ananda thero, a young and energetic Buddhist monk, runs a Nenasala, a telecenter established under the World Bank funded e-Sri Lanka program.
“Sri Lanka’s leading mobile operator is creating a broadband revolution. By leveraging HSPA mobile broadband technology, it is bringing affordable access to all levels of society, from the wealthiest businesses to the poorest villages.” Thus starts the GSMA case study on the Dialog mobile broadband. It is just four pages and in easily readable format – but still enough new stuff, that makes it a worthy read. Selected extracts: Dialog estimates that the rural economy generates $350 million per month compared to $110 million in the urban economy.
An Egyptian company said it will launch 3G mobile telephone service in North Korea on Monday, after winning the contract to build the advanced network in a country where private cell phones are banned. Under the terms of the deal reached in January, Orascom Telecom will invest $400 million in network infrastructure and license fees over the first three years to develop the network. Orascom said it was the first foreign telecommunications company to be awarded a North Korean commercial telecommunications license. It was not clear what restrictions, if any, would be imposed on the network, which provides data capabilities as well as phone services. Ordinary North Koreans are forbidden from having cellular phones, and the government maintains strict controls over Internet access.

China to issue 3G licenses

Posted on December 12, 2008  /  0 Comments

China will issue third-generation mobile phone licenses as early as this month and expects companies to spend 200 billion yuan ($30 billion) on installing equipment, the industry minister said Friday. China has the world’s biggest population of mobile phone users and adoption of 3G — which has been long delayed — was eagerly anticipated by equipment suppliers, which are seeing demand elsewhere decline due to the global financial crisis. “The 3G licenses will be issued either later this year or early next year,” Li Yizhong, whose ministry regulates telecoms, said at a news conference. Third-generation mobile phone technology supports Web surfing, video downloads and other added services. Its adoption in China is expected to boost demand for mobile service and spur growth of new services.

No porn please, we’re American

Posted on December 2, 2008  /  1 Comments

In the remaining weeks of his tenure, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin J. Martin will push for a free, no-porn wireless Internet network across the nation, according to the agency. Martin is expected to put his proposal for the free Internet network on the agency’s Dec. 18 meeting agenda despite criticism by wireless operators like T-Mobile, who say using the spectrum could interfere with their new high-speed data network. T-Mobile, a unit of Germany’s Deutsche Telecom, spent $4 billion for nearby spectrum and has disputed a report by the FCC that rejected the firm’s concerns of interference.
Here are the summarised results from the telecenter operator survey done by LIRNEasia at the weCan workshop in October 2008. Sample was not representative, but large enough to get a general idea about the telecenter operations in Sri Lanka. Out of a total of 147 operators surveyed, the bulk, 101 were from Nenasalas, the 500 odd telecenter network created under the World Bank funded e-Sri Lanka programme. 10 were from Sarvodaya multi-purpose telecenters and 6 from others (eg. public libraries) 30 have not specified the type of the telecenter.
IBM has been hired to help rural Americans get broadband access using power lines. On Wednesday, Big Blue announced it has signed a $9.6 million contract with International Broadband Electric Communications to bring the technology to rural America where it hopes to deliver high-speed broadband connectivity to millions of people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to get it. IBM and IBEC, which will build and manage the networks, are working with over a dozen electricity cooperatives in seven states, The Wall Street Journal reported. For years, people have hoped broadband-over-power line technology, or BPL, would allow power companies to become the third alternative in the broadband market, competing against cable operators and telephone companies.
Last year as many as 190m migrant workers sent cash home, according to the World Bank. These remittances amounted to US$337 billion, of which US$251 billion went to developing countries. But the cost of sending hard-earned cash depends on both the source and destination. On average, sending US$500 from Spain to Brazil will incur a modest charge of US$7.68, or a 1.
“I came more to learn from you; than to teach” was the message I passed before my two presentations with Sujata. Thanks Fusion/Telecentre.org for the opportunity. The three days spent with 200+ telecenter operators from eight provinces in Sri Lanka was a worthy investment. One does not interact with so many ground level ICT4D practitioners every day.
Thanks Steve for pointing it. We stand corrected. LIRNEasia does NOT use ‘Cloud Computing’, but is only a user of ‘Cloud Services’. Though both appears to be synonymous to a layman – and Wikipedia is yet to recognize the differentiation (type ‘Cloud Services’ and you will be directed to former) – we are told there still is a difference. Cloud Computing = you put your applications to ‘cloud’.

Can Telecoms escape Financial Crisis?

Posted on October 21, 2008  /  2 Comments

When the economy goes rock bottom, it makes little sense asking what it would mean to one component. But what exactly the impact of the present financial crisis on telecoms? This is what Spencer E. Ante thinks: The $1 trillion telecommunications industry has long been one of the most resilient parts of the economy. But as the financial crisis has intensified, it has recently become clear that telecom can’t escape the fallout of the credit crunch.