Several years back, Korea topped the OECD’s broadband rankings and the ITU’s Digital Opportunity Index. That caused a lot of countries to reexamine their broadband policies. It caused others to develop new indices. The NYT carries a report on one: After the United States, the ranking found that Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway rounded out the five most productive users of connectivity. Japan ranked 10, and Korea, 18.
The Business Standard, 27 January 2009 The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with state-owned telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) to provide wireless broadband in rural areas. Under the MoU, BSNL will provide wireless broadband at 29,000 rural exchanges throughout the country. Each exchange will have 31 connections along with one kiosk for public use. A DoT official said, “Out of these 31 connections, 6 will be used by institutions like schools, while the rest will be for individual users.” The implementation of the entire project is expected to be completed by 2011.
The Federal Communications Commission, as expected, approved a measure that would make “white space” spectrum available for wireless broadband. White space is industry lingo for the unused airwaves that abut broadcast TV spectrum, providing a buffer zone from stray signals and other inferference. The buffer zone was set up more than 50 years ago when TV was first invented. The FCC’s white-space plan was initially proposed four years ago. More than 25,000 comments — from supporters as well as critics — were submitted.
The Aspen Institute has published a report entitled, ‘m-Powering India: Mobile Communications for Inclusive Growth’ co-authored by Mahesh Uppal and Richard P. Adler, which documents the discussions from the Aspen Institute India/ C & S Joint Roundtable on Communication Policy held in Kovalam, India in February, 2008. LIRNEasia’s Executive Director, Rohan Samarajiva, participated at the event, which brought together senior representatives from the telecommunications industry, government and academia. The objective of the meeting was to develop policy proposals that would contribute to the development of low-cost and high-quality telecom infrastructure needed to facilitate seamless transactions of mobile commerce. A summary of the main recommendation (as documented in the report) is given below.
Indonesia is emerging as a hot broadband market, mainly as a result of the increasing availability of high-speed 3G and HSDPA mobile services. According to Arjun Trivedi, the head of business in Indonesia for Nokia Siemens Networks, high speed mobile services are now the dominant form of broadband access in the country. He says, “In Indonesia today, there are slightly more than a million broadband users. Quite a substantial number of these – we estimate some 60 per cent – are wireless broadband users, principally using HSDPA. We also estimate that there are about 400,000 fixed broadband users and a little over 600,000 mobile broadband users.
One of the most significant auctions of frequency spectrum in the world is about the start in the US. The process of moving spectrum-hogging broadcasters out of these valuable bands (a process known as spectrum refarming) began in the 1990s. How many Asia-Pacific spectrum managers have even got started on the job? How long will it be before the people of the region see the benefits of deploying 700 MHz spectrum for wireless broadband? Airwaves, Web Power at Auction – New York Times The radio spectrum licenses, which are to be returned from television broadcasters as they complete their conversion from analog to digital signals in February 2009, are as coveted as oil reserves are to energy companies.
Despite protests from broadcasters, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) next week will begin testing devices that will allow Internet service providers to utilize unused spectrum for wireless broadband service. The commission on January 24 will kick off a four-to-six week lab test of equipment that will allow ISPs to access this spectrum, known as “white spaces.” That will be followed by an additional six-week field test period, the FCC said. At issue is the transition from analog to digital TV signals. In an effort to free up spectrum for public safety use, Congress has ordered TV broadcasters to shift their signals from analog to digital by February 2009.
Perhaps this might make those who continuously complain about the broadband quality in South Asia happy. Sometimes things are not too different in relatively more advanced places. When tested, at 1200 midnight the wireless broadband connection provided by a star class hotel in KL recorded a download speed of 54.5 kbps and an upload speed of 144 kbps. These speeds are far below than what some of the South Asian operators offer.
Commercial WiFi hotspots face a dim future in South Africa – at least among corporate workers on the move, a new research study by World Wide Worx reveals. The report shows that the corporate use of WiFi – small networks that allow wireless access to the Internet – has fallen back after a steady rise in the previous three years. By contrast, the use of 3G – wireless broadband provided by the mobile networks – has rocketed. “We have been warning for several years that commercial WiFi hotspots, especially in hotels and conference centres, are in danger of pricing themselves out of the market,” says World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck, who led the research. “And, now that a monthly subscription to a basic 3G service is cheaper than a few hours on most commercial hotspots, the chickens have come home to roost.
With global agreement reached on clearing the 700 MHz band of analog broadcasting so it can be used for wireless broadband, the equipment will start coming to market soon. Unless the regional spectrum regulators clear the band in time, it will not be possible to reap the benefits. After Global Agreement, Companies May Bid Higher at Wireless Auction in U.S. – New York Times Because the conference elicited a global consensus, that confidence should extend worldwide.
In yet another blow to the existing GSM operators, the Communication Ministry has decided to auction spectrum for third generation (3G) mobile services and wireless broadband services through technologies such as Wi-Max. The auction will be open to new companies wanting to foray into the telecom sector as well as established foreign telecom players. The existing operators had wanted the auction for 3G services to be limited to the licence holders. The Ministry’s decision to open up the bidding to all players is also a move away from the telecom regulator’s recommendations that it be restricted to existing operators. The move gives a chance to the likes of Deutsche Telecom, AT&T and new Indian players such as Unitech and Hindujas, which may not get spectrum in the 2G band given the huge rush, to enter the high growth telecoms market.
Chennai, Nov 6. Perhaps not surprisingly, the messages from most of the speakers are the same at the Wireless World Research Forum, currently held here. Asian telecom markets are booming; (Where else you see one country adding 7 million new mobile customers per month?) this is the right time to take ICTs to rural and less privileges sections of the society; affordability too, not just technology is a key issue, and wireless, not wired is perhaps the sure solution that can make the transformation. More or less, that is the bottom-line emerging.
It is high time that Asian spectrum managers started thinking about more efficient use this valuable resource. In Search of Wireless Wiggle Room – New York Times Having missed the opportunity to include these provisions in the coming auction, the F.C.C. will have another chance this year to create cheaper wireless broadband services.
Anjana SAMARASINGHE The Daily News, 3 September 2007 | See Print version Sri Lanka needs to focus special attention on broadband connectivity as it is becoming more important for the development of businesses in the country.
A partial victory for those making the case for open wireless networks (Carterfone 2). F.C.C. Hands Google a Partial Victory – New York Times The Federal Communications Commission moved cautiously Tuesday toward creating a more open national wireless broadband network, handing a partial victory to Google, which was pushing for more competition in cellphone services.
Singapore’s Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) has opened consultations on a proposed interconnect and numbering regime for voice services provided over the city-state’s wireless broadband networks. Three operators—Singtel, iCell and Qalanet—offer wireless services in the 2.5GHz band as part of Singapore’s Wireless@SG initiative and the IDA says it is now time to formalise an industry regime to support voice services carried over those networks. The IDA adds that the move is needed as part of the global shift from discrete PSTN and wireless networks to a converged next generation network. However, the Agency stops short of harmonising the standard numbering range with IP addresses.