Major South African weekly, the "Mail and Guardian", reports from the APC-organised conference on EASSy, the East African submarine cable. The good news is that excessively high international bandwidth prices in Africa are to be challenged says the M&G but the benefits can be curtailed if operators maintain monopoly control.
IT for change, an NGO figthing alongside APC during the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) has published "WSIS: The beginning of a global information society discourse" on March 11 in the Economic and Political Weekly. The piece attempts to place WSIS in the present geopolitical context and discusses its outcomes. It concludes that "WSIS may need to be judged more from the processes that it has set into motion than what it has achieved substantively."
A BBC News article published on the British Broadcasting Corporation’s online edition on Wednesday March 15 reports on the East African Submarine Cable System (EASSy) and APC’s reluctance to the way it’s expected to be implemented. The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) has made its concerns and reservations about the new optical cable project for East Africa loud and clear at a consultation conference taking place a couple of days prior to the article’s release. BBC readers from Ethiopia, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Namibia and many other countries are presently commenting on the BBC article which highlighted that "campaigners [such as the APC] fear that the cable might not actually make much difference to consumers because of high prices."
I’ve lost all sense of time, but my mobile phone (which fortunately works 800 kms away from home) tells me it’s 10:29 am on March 9, 2006. Later today, the 6th Annual Baramati Initiative on ICT and Development (focussing on The Potential of e-Agriculture) gets underway at this rural, but education-oriented island two hours away from Pune in Central India.
Africa currently has to pay for some of the most expensive bandwidth in the world.
By March-end 2006, the first 50 telecenters of the Telecentros BR project are expected to be launched. They’re located in low-income communities. This project was developed by APC-member Rits, Brazil’s state-run oil corporation Petrobras and ITI (National Institute of Information Technology). Each unit is equipped with 20 internet-linked computers. Free Software technicians and social developers were hired and especially trained for the project. Rits developed a management system that can generate real-time reports about the usage of every telecentre. Telecentres will offer free access to the internet using Sacix – http://www.sacix.org.br – a customized Debian version of the GNU/Linux operating system.
In the Latin American and Caribbean Region, women representing civil society organisations in the WSIS process have been lobbying heavily in favour of communication rights. A report (see Page 6) in PDF format on the contribution by Olinca Marino is the director of the Mexican LaNeta, an APC-affiliated internet service provider, and Valeria Betancourt of Ecuador.
Two weeks into 2006, Dakar (Senegal) played host to an exciting and educational workshop that brought together IT specialists and journalists from five francophone West and Central African countries. What gave the conference a particularly interesting ambiance was the gender balance attendees invited as speakers or participants, and the way that organisers were able to keep focus on gender at the top of the agenda of Universal Access Telecommunications policies.
Surrounded by the tropical forests of Bolivia, about 18 organisations and institutions representing civil society, the private sector and the government gathered to develop proposals and action strategies for ICT policies. Most of the participants brought with them the lessons learned during their involvement in the Bolivian ICTD strategy – ETIC – process.
Internet traffic in Pakistan is very controlled as more than 90% of it is routed through Pakistan Internet Exchange (PIE).