Sunday, January 30, 2005

Intel, India, Broadband

Intel made some sort of deal with the Indian government for broadband in November 2004, but there are still no details available.

Here, at any rate, is what Intel says about the general opportunity. More when I know more.

[PDF]WiMAX in India: Opening New Frontiers Through Broadband ...
Technology @ Intel Magazine
WiMAX in India: Opening New Frontiers Through Broadband Connectivity ...

This document mentions a number of initiatives in several countries. Here are just two.

“India is already testing the e-Governance idea in pilot programs aimed at bringing local government services to people through Internet access. E-seva is one such initiative, created by the Andhra Pradesh government to provide its citizens with online services such as obtaining birth certificates and various licenses, payment of utility bills and taxes, ticket reservations for transportation services, and listings of government orders and policies.”

“Gramdoot is a similar initiative by the Rajasthan government. The states of Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala also have several Internet-based services and literacy programs. Broader Internet adoption driven by cost-effective technologies like WiMAX can speed and extend the reach of government services at a reduced cost to both the people and the government.”

We have previously heard that Andhra Pradesh has signed a contract with an industry consortium to bring fiber optics to every one of its villages, with 2Mbps broadband promised at Rs100 per month (about US$2.30). I'm paying a lot more than that for about a fifth of that bandwidth here in Silicon Valley.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Vote at GlobalGiving

The Internet never ceases to amaze. The people at GlobalGiving have created the first free market exchange for non-profit project funding, offering more efficient allocation of donor resources and better access to funding for those who need it. Any non-profit/NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) can list a project with the amount of money needed, what the money will accomplish, and any further details, plus links to their site, their partners, and even the recipients of their help. This is a far better system than having individual organizations pitch individual projects to individual donors, where nobody can find out what is going on overall. We have seen the same process for buying and selling (Amazon, eBay, Overstock.com, Cars.com,...), for finding jobs (DICE, HotJobs, BAjobs, Craigslist,...) and many other functions for years now, but the non-profit world has lagged behind. In large part this has come from being grossly underfunded and wanting to apply scarce resources directly to recipients' needs, and to some extent from reticence to embrace a market model.

Anyway, GG is testing a new process, where 150 or so organizations have been nominated to put in proposals for the public to vote on. You.

[Disclosure] Now the reason I know this is because I work with one of the nominees, oneVillage Foundation. It goes without saying that I would like you to vote for our project. We are working with Fantsuam Foundation in Nigeria to integrate best practices from around the world into a comprehensive program that we would then offer to every village in the world (with suitable local adaptations). Our program can operate at a profit to us and to the poorest of the poor, by including e-commerce and microbanking in the mix, so we can raise the money to expand around the world without depending on the current inadequate development funding mechanisms.

But I don't just want you to vote for us. Go and look at the breadth of the offerings at GlobalGiving, many of which address the issues of sustainability and replication in one way or another. You can search by theme among Democracy, Economic Development, Education, Environment, Gender, Health, Human Rights, and Technology, or by continent and country. My only complaint is that they would only let us pick one of these categories to list ourselves under, when in fact we address all of them.

Anyway, voting ends on Jan. 27, so go there today. We'll let you know how this works out for us.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Tsunami editorial in The Lancet

One world, one response--needed, but not yet forthcoming

Introducing a series on complex emergencies in The Lancet less than two months ago, we noted that Jan Egeland, the UN's emergency relief coordinator on disaster reduction, was frustrated by the lack of attention being given to natural disasters by the international community. Now no longer, one presumes...

Well worth reading in full. It catalogs the responders (countries, NGOs, UN agencies, the public) and the ways in which they are not able to cooperate for lack of communications and of advance planning. Also,

08 January 2005
The Lancet today issues a call for papers describing experiences of health workers in countries affected by the south-Asian tsunami. We want to publish descriptions of the conditions in which medical and public-health interventions are being delivered, the challenges faced by relief workers, and reports of the health predicaments confronting local communities. These papers might range from preliminary evaluations of responses to aid, to descriptive essays; from case reports, to photojournalism.
Please contact: richard.horton@lancet.com

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Broadband to Indian villages

A consortium led by Gurgaon-based Aksh Broadband Limited has been selected to implement the Rs 400-crore [Rs 4 billion; ~US$100 million] Andhra Pradesh broadband project, which aims at extending broadband services to each and every village of the state in the next two years.

The project, once completed, is expected to give a stiff competition to other broadband service providers, including the BSNL, as the promoters have indicated to charge just Rs 100 a month [~US$2.30] for a domestic broadband connection.

The other companies in the consortium include Railtel Corporation India Limited, Tata Indicom, VSNL Limited, INcable Network (Andhra) Limited, Spectranet Limited and Nuziveedu Seeds Limited.

The broadband project will connect the state headquarter with 10 Gbps to each of the district headquarters, one Gbps to each of the 1,127 mandal headquarters and 100 Mbps to each of the villages. The network will have optic fibre connectivity right up to the village level.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Wireless Industry Responds to Disaster

From Wireless Communications Association International:

In response to the devastating earthquake and corresponding tsunamis in South Asia, the Wireless Communications Association International (WCA) announced organizational efforts within the wireless broadband industry leading to a meeting on Jan. 13 during WCA’s annual International Symposium and Business Expo in San Jose, CA.

The Jan. 13 meeting will foster industry efforts on immediate disaster relief, both monetary and in vitally needed equipment for First Responders. Participants also will help plan for longer-term infrastructure needs especially suited to the emerging capabilities of wireless broadband.

WCA’s meeting will leverage WCA members’ expertise into short-term and long-term relief. Short-term, industry leaders will organize a task force to raise money and to coordinate equipment donations for effective emergency deployment. Also, the task force will pl an longer-term infrastructure advisory services for the region, building upon ongoing work within WCA’s Wireless Broadband Public Safety Task Force. It convenes bi-weekly conference calls, and is preparing a “Best Practices” guide helping First Responders increase their capabilities for challenges ranging from emergency warnings to critical post-event communications.

WCA’s South Asia disaster organizational breakfast on Jan. 13 is at 7 a.m. at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, and is open to any interested potential volunteer and the press. For planning purposes, non-WCA members should RSVP to WCA’s Olga Ranaweera, who can provide also a VIP pass to the convention.

I'll be there.

Monday, January 03, 2005

.NET for Simputer

Users of Free Software stay away from proprietary vendor initiatives such as Microsoft .NET, unless they can see a way to Free them. Like this. Thanks, guys.

DotGNU Portable.NET has been ported to the Encore Simputer, a handheld computer based on on Intel's StrongARM CPU (a RISC microprocessor designed for embedded applications), within 72 hours after the release of Encore's port of the GNU/Linux development tools for this platform at the "Linux Bangalore/2004" conference. Conference organiser Atul Chitnis said, ''I threw the challenge as a joke, the bet being a cup of coffee. Gopal borrowed a PC at the conference, and finally an Encore Simputer, and came to me on the third day, saying that I now owed him a cup of coffee. It took a few seconds before the enormity of that statement hit me.'' Here's a video clip.”

“DotGNU Portable.NET, an implementation of the Common Language Infrastructure (CLI), more commonly known as ".NET", includes everything that you need to compile and run C# and C applications that use the base class libraries, XML, and Systems.Windows.Forms. Currently supported CPUs: x86, ppc, arm, parisc, s390, ia64, alpha, mips, sparc. Supported operating systems: GNU/Linux (on PCs, Sparc, iPAQ, Sharp Zaurus, PlayStation 2, Xbox,...), *BSD, Cygwin/Mingw32, Mac OS X, Solaris, AIX.”

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Mobile phones in tsunami aftermath

From: "Moderator: ICT of Bangladesh Yahoo Group"
Date: Sat Jan 1, 2005 12:14 am
Subject: Mobile phone plays valuable role in wake of tsunami disaster

By making it possible to share information quickly and to quickly raise large sums in relief aid, the mobile telephone has played a valuable role in the Asian seaquake disaster.

By making it possible to share information quickly and to quickly raise large sums in relief aid, the mobile telephone has played a valuable role in the Asian seaquake disaster.

In the immediate aftermath of the towering tsunami waves that have so far known to have taken some 125,000 lives, the phones enabled survivors to let friends and families know they were alive.

The Czech government sought the help of the country's three mobile phone companies to send text messages to the phones of about 90 Czech tourists who remain unaccounted for. The operators were establishing whether the phones were active when the wave struck, and whether they have since been reactivated elsewhere.

The move was "primarily aimed at individual tourists, with whom contact has so far proved impossible," said Deputy Foreign Minister Pavel Svoboda.

Hardly had the news of the catastrophe begun to circulate around the world, than the phones found a new role.

In Italy, which has one of the highest rates of mobile phone ownership in the world, operators made a single number available for donations and sent text or voice messages to their customers appealing to them to send one euro.

"A euro (1.35 dollars) is not very much, that's true, but people are responding enthusiastically," said Anna Fraschetti, a spokeswoman for public Italian radio and television network RAI, which is sponsoring the operation along with the private Mediaset network.

"It also enables young people to participate," she said. "If all the 50 million people who own a portable phone in Italy sent one euro, that would add up to a nice sum."

Quicker, more spontaneous and less costly than a bank transfer, the millions of small cash payments via mobile phones in Italy amounted to 14 million euros in the first five days after the disaster.

Generosity also spread like wildfire in the Netherlands, where any telephone user could transfer 1.5 euros to a special Asia fund simply by tapping out the word "give" on his or her keypad and sending a text message to the number 2020.

Similar operations were under way in Portugal, Switzerland and Turkey.

France Telecom's mobile phone subsidiary Orange said it would put a system in place Monday, enabling customers to send donations to the Red Cross.

In Germany, the organizers of New Year's festivities at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin asked participants to send a text message that automatically transferred 2.65 euros (3.6 dollars) to the account of the United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF.

For the benefit of the million people attending the festivities, the number to call was displayed on large TV screens.

Some operators, like Norway's Telenor and Netcom, Britain's Vodaphone and Sweden's TeliaSonera, donated part of their earnings to the aid effort, and Telenor said it would allow customers still in Thailand to call home or receive calls for free.

TeliaSonera said it broadcast a number to enable people to send donations during a special broadcast Saturday, a day of mourning.

With 60 confirmed dead and 3,500 missing, Sweden is one of the European countries most hard hit by the catastrophe.


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