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From Rural Village to Global Village

From Rural Village to Global Village

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From Rural Village to Global Village

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  1. From Rural Village to Global Village Professor Heather E. Hudson Director Telecommunications Management and Policy Program University of San Francisco

  2. “L’information est la clé de toutes les portes…”(Information is the key to all doors)…woman using a telecenter in Timbuktu, Mali

  3. Information: Key to Development • “Information is the fuel of medicine. Here we have none. Year by year we are falling behind.”Physician in Timbuktu • “We have a saying: When the telephone rings, business is coming.” Rural co-operative manager in China • “We need information – masses of it. Without it, our culture will die.” Inuit leader, Nunavut

  4. The Information Connection: • Benefits of ICTs (information and communication technologies): • Efficiency: • Saving time and money • Effectiveness • Improving quality of services • Equity • Urban and rural; rich and poor; minorities; disabled • Reach • New markets, new audiences, new sources of supplies

  5. ICTs: Necessary but Not Sufficient • Context: Social, economic, cultural • Need other infrastructure: transportation, power supply, etc. for many applications • Role of women, elders, youth • Other geographic, economic constraints “If I learn to use a computer, will I be able to find a job?” • Content • Relevance • Local languages • Capacity • Skills to use and manage information facilities • “Infomediaries: the information broker • e.g. Uganda, Ecuador

  6. Good News: Growth of Mobile Access

  7. Mobile Sector Structure:Low and Lower Middle Income Countries

  8. Mobile subs vs.GDP per capita:Mobile sector structure:Competitive Monopoly

  9. Lessons from the Wireless Explosion • Competition is key • Lower prices • Innovative strategies: e.g. prepaid, microloans, special services • Demand may be much greater than assumed • Farther down the economic pyramid • Old Distinctions no longer Relevant • Fixed vs. mobile: • Cellphones as first and only phones • Portable public phones: e.g. Bangladesh, Philippines, Uganda • Wireless public phones: e.g. South Africa, Uganda • What is E-mail? • SMS (short message service): Poor person’s (everyone’s?) e-mail? • Voice vs. data • What is voice? • (Some countries still have monopolies on fixed “voice”) • Bits are bits • VoIP Telephony

  10. Prepaid Mobile Phone Service in Uganda...

  11. Solar Powered Wireless Access: Rural South Africa ...

  12. Bad News: Internet Access

  13. Price of Internet Access

  14. Investment Indicators

  15. Fixed Networks:Need New Business Models • Less international revenue • Perceived as “cash cow” • Lower settlements • Revenue exceeding costs may be used to expand/upgrade infrastructure • Competition from wireless • More wireless than wireline subscribers in many developing countries • Competition from VoIP

  16. Increasing Internet Access:Eliminating Bottlenecks • Community access models • Payphones (PCOs), telecenters • Resale • Phone shops, cyber cafes • Legalizing Bypass • VSAT networks direct to end users • Businesses, schools, telecenters, etc. • Wireless for local access • E.g. WiFi (802.11) for local access • “hot spots” to cover villages, neighborhoods • Other WLL options • IP Telephony • Inexpensive voice-over-data networks • Reducing local barriers • Customs duties • Local fees and taxes

  17. Resale: Phone Shopsin Senegal

  18. Community Telecenters in South Africa and Mozambique ...

  19. Cheap International Bandwidth: Major Submarine Cable Systems -South Asia Source: TeleGeography

  20. International Connectivity: STM-1 Price Trends Notes: 1)Prices are median monthly lease excluding installation fees; 2) STM-1= 51.8 Mbps / 672 voice circuits Source: Telegeography

  21. Case Study: Internet Access and Price: Caribbean • CSME: Caricom Single Market and Economy • Currently 13 members • Total population about 6 million • Main pillars of CSME: • Free movement of capital • Free movement of goods, services and people within the CSME • Establishment of common trade and economic policy • Harmonization of economic, fiscal and monetary policies • Common currency • Opportunity to develop information sector

  22. International Internet Bandwidth: Caribbean vs. Trading Partners and Competitors

  23. Internet Access Price as Percentage of GNI per capita

  24. Internet Users per 100 Population

  25. Case Study: Incentive-Based Subsidies: The U.S. E-Rate Program ... • Discounted Internet access for schools, libraries, rural health facilities • About $2.25 billion available per year • Collected from carriers: surcharge on phone bill • Service may be provided by any telecom provider, • including satellite, wireless as well as local telco • Opportunity for competitive bids • Subsidies to end user (school/library) rather than directly to carrier • Suppliers bid to provide service on website • Result should be: • Better pricing than through direct subsidies • New entrants to provide services Other models typically subsidize carrier directly or require carrier to provide discounted service as term of license

  26. Universal Access in Alaska: The Alaskan Context • Conditions similar to other isolated and developing regions: • Lowest population density in U.S. • only 4 communities over 10,000 • Isolated villages and small towns • More than 200 villages • Many villages accessible only by boat or bush plane • About 16 percent of population is native American • Shortage of professionals • teachers, physicians • Distance from specialized expertise • medical specialists • teachers of specialized and advanced subjects

  27. From “Bush Telegraph” to the Internet • Early days: communication by HF radio • BUT for more than 20 years, Alaskan villages have had reliable communications by satellite • 95 % of households have telephones • Today Alaska remains a Pioneer: • First among 50 states for Online Population • First for Technology in Schools • Highest percentage of school districts in the U.S. with Internet access • Third in Digital Government Services

  28. Alaska: Rural Access to the Internet • Internet access for schools: Using the E-Rate • Infrastructure already in place: satellite links • Most qualify for 90% discount • Some telcos have helped schools apply for e-rate • win-win for schools and phone companies • New markets • Schools and libraries can serve as “anchor tenants” to attract service providers • New services: education portal:; secure medical network: ConnectMD • Wireless Internet access for villages • WiFi etc. may be used to extend community access to the Internet (e.g. from schools or libraries) • Wireless now installed in > 150 villages • May be model for other developing regions

  29. Alaskan children access the Internet in village schools.

  30. Telemedicine in Alaska Today:The AFHCAN Project • Alaska Federal Health Care Access Network (AFHCAN) • Telemedicine for all federally funded health care facilities in Alaska • 235 sites; 37 member organizations • Village clinics • Public Health clinics • Regional hospitals • Military installations, Coast Guard, Veterans Administration • Covers more than 212,000 beneficiaries • About 40% of Alaska population • Majority are in Alaska native villages

  31. Kotzebue, Alaska: Inupiat village on the Bering Sea...

  32. Telemedicine facilities for consultation between Alaskan regional hospital and village clinics...

  33. AFHCAN Telemedicine Facilities and Users

  34. Conclusions: Strategies to Increase Investment • Public/private partnerships: • E.g. government to use commercial (public) networks, not build own networks • Government as anchor tenant • May drive demand for new services • Economic Development • Strategies to encourage investment in target regions, services • Eliminate restrictions on competitive services: e.g. satellite, VOIP • Use targeted subsidies to encourage investment in broadband for anchor tenants such as schools, businesses, NGOs, etc.

  35. Increasing Access: Planning Strategies(Lessons for SF Wireless Initiative??) • Separate the goals from the means • e.g. access goals, not technology solutions • E.g. don’t focus on wire or wireless technology but on cost-effective solutions to provide access • Involve users in planning • Community groups, NGOs, SMEs, etc. • Include training • technical and business skills • SMEs, NGOs, disadvantaged, etc. • Start with “thirsty horses” • Prioritize based on interest, commitment, rather than only political level or population

  36. Thank you.For more