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THE E-GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE FOR ASIA & THE MIDDLE EAST

Enabling Last Mile Connectivity Building Connections Around the World

Telecommunications Consultants of India Limited

Fixed Mobile Convergence: Subscriber’s Ultimate Dream!

I SSN 0 9 73-16 1X

VOLUME 4

| ISSUE 5 | MAY 2008

Universal Service Obligation Fund

ENTERPRISE SOLUTION

DATA CENTRE: THE HEART BEAT

COVER INTERVIEW: INDUSTRY SPEAK

m-CONNECTIVITY IN RURAL INDIA NETWORK SOLUTIONS FOR BETTER CONNECTIVITY

SPECIAL FOCUS: FINANCIAL INCLUSION

FINANCIAL INCLUSION FOR THE EXCLUDED

Mobility: Creating a world of Opportunities


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COVER INTERVIEW: GOVERNMENT SPEAK

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Enabling Last Mile Connectivity Interview: Ajay Bhattacharya, Administrator, Universal Service Obligation Fund,

Government of India

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Building Connections Around the World Interview: R K Upadhyay, Chairman and Managing Director, Telecommunication

Consultants of India Limited

COVER ARTICLE: GOVERNMENT SPEAK

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Fixed Mobile Convergence: Subscriber’s Ultimate Dream!

Deepa Tyagi, Deputy Director General, Telecommunication Engineering Centre, Department of Telecommunications, Government of India

ENTERPRISE SOLUTION

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Data Centre: The Heart Beat

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NEWS BYTES

PJ Nath, Executive President – Enterprise Solutions, Sify

COVER ARTICLE: INDUSTRY SPEAK

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When Fiction Turns Into Reality Sujata Dev, Managing Director and CEO, Timebroadband Services Pvt. Ltd.

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Facilitating e-Governance: The m-Way Nivedan Sahani, Vice-President, Government and PSU Enterprises, Bharti

Airtel Ltd.

COVER INTERVIEW: INDUSTRY SPEAK

COMMENTARY

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m-Connectivity in Rural India Interview: Yogesh Kocchar, Head e-Governance Unit, Tata Teleservices

Yet Another Underutilised Opportunity in India

Dr. Devendra Pal Singh Seth

Network Solutions for Better Connectivity Interview: Kapil Ahuja, Marketing Head, India Regional Marketing APAC, Nokia

Siemens Networks

SPECIAL FOCUS: FINANCIAL INCLUSION

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Financial Inclusion for the Excluded Interview: Mahesh Kumar Jain, Co-Founder and Chairman, Integra Group

MCONNECT

EVENT DIARY

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News

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2nd Connecting Rural Communities Asia Forum

Last Mile Solutions for Sustainable and Inclusive ICT Connectivity

5th National Summit Serving the Common Man Through e-Governance

e-Governance for Responsive Government

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PRODUCT SHOWCASE

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Cyberoam: Building Robust Security 3


ov volume 4 | issue 5 | may 2008 PRESIDENT

EDITORIAL

Dr. M P Narayanan EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Ravi Gupta

Telecommunication: Changing the Face of the World

GROUP DIRECTORS

Maneesh Prasad Sanjay Kumar ASSISTANT EDITOR

Prachi Shirur RESEARCH A SSOCIATE

L. Chaitanya Kishore Reddy

It wouldn’t be a misnomer to state that technologies do have the capability to change the fortune of a country and affect the lives of millions of its people. One example that readily comes to mind is the boom that telecommunication industry has witnessed in our country. Not long ago, a decade to be precise, there was a time when there were hardly a phone in a locality and today a time has come when almost every member of the family carries one in his pocket!

SR. SUB EDITOR

Nilakshi Barooah RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Neha Sabharwal MARKETING

Gautam Navin mobile: +91 9818125257 email: gautam@csdms.in Debabrata Ray mobile: +91 9899650692 email: debabrata@csdms.in SALES EXCUTIVE

Santosh Kumar Gupta mobile: +91 9891192996 email: santosh@egovonline.net SR. GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Bishwajeet Kumar Singh

This phenomenon has not been confined to middle or upper middle class alone but has seeped to the lower strata of society as well. Not surprising then to find rickshaw pullers, fishermen even house maids possessing mobile phones. If there is one gadget that has changed the face of developing world then mobiles are the ones. The convergence of mobile communication and mobile computing technologies opens up new horizon for mobile interaction and mobile working. The use of mobile technology in government sector not only provides an alternative channel of communication and public service delivery, it can address the mobility of government itself and in this way transcend the traditional e-Government service delivery model by bringing personalised, localised and context aware services close to its mobile citizens. A number of mobile government initiatives have been proposed globally to take advantage of this opportunity for better public service delivery.

GRAPHIC DESIGNERS

Om Prakash Thakur Chandrakesh Bihari Lal (James) WEB MAINTAINANCE

Zia Salahuddin, Amit Pal Santosh Kumar Singh SUBSCRIPTIONS & CIRCULATION

Lipika Dutta (+91 9871481708) Manoj Kumar (+91 9210816901)

Mobiles, indeed, are a phenomenon that have made their presence felt globally. And their popularity can be gauged from the fact that by 2006 the number of active mobile connections in UK exceeded the population of UK by almost 17% where as in 2002 the number of active mobile connections was almost 83% of the total population there. Similar is the case in India where the number of mobile users have increased immensely over the years. India’s total mobile subscriber base stands at 237 million today which is a clear indication of how rapid the popularity of mobiles in India has been.

EDITORIAL CORRESPONDENCE

eGov G-4 Sector 39 NOIDA 201301, India

It is this revolution in the field of telecommunication technology that has cajoled us to come up with this special issue. An issue that focuses on the different areas including the rural areas that are impacted by this modern wonder.

tel: +91 120 2502181-85 fax: +91 120 2500060 email: info@egovonline.net PRINTED BY

R P Printers, Noida, India egov does not neccesarily subscribe to the views expressed in this publication. All views expressed in the magazine are those of the contributors. egov is not responsible or accountable for any loss incurred, directly or indirectly as a result of the information provided. egov is published & marketed in collaboration with Elets Technomedia Pvt. Ltd. (www.elets.in) © Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies 2008 www.csdms.in

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This issue also focuses on the future prospects of telecommunication technology in the country with a special emphasis on its prospects in rural India. The incursion of mobile technology in the rural areas of the country would change the face of rural India in quite the same way it has done with the urban part of the country.

Ravi Gupta Ravi.Gupta@csdms.in

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Enabling Last Mile Connectivity

www.dot.gov.in

“There are six lakh villages in India and a vast number of them were uncovered with telecom services. USO Fund provides support for setting up rural telephony in these uncovered villages�, says Ajay Bhattacharya, Administrator, Universal Service Obligation (USO) Fund, Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Government of India to egov magazine

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Please tell us about the origins of Universal Service Obligation Fund in India and what are the major achievements till now. The Universal Service Obligation (USO) Fund came into existence in 2002 in India with the aim of providing telecommunication services in the rural and remote areas of the country at an affordable price. There are six lakh villages in India and a vast number of them were uncovered with telecom services. USO Fund provides support for setting up rural telephony in these uncovered villages. There are still a large number of uncovered villages which need to be covered. Due to various reasons such as difficult terrain, border areas, scarcely populated area etc., special attention is required by these villages because of the specific needs that they have. Therefore, they would need specific technology such as satellite coverage and this will be done in the course of this year. The other achievements of USO Fund is that of Shared Mobile Infrastructure. In the first phase, 7,800 mobile towers will come up by the end of this year to provide mobile telephony to the rural and remote areas of the country. Each tower will be shared by several operators. This is a very good way of reducing capital expenditures and it will help in providing rural connectivity at an affordable cost. In the second phase, we are planning to have an additional 11,000 towers on a broad basis. How is the USO Fund utilised in terms of providing connectivity? Funds are allocated for various projects and programmes on the basis of competitive bidding and after completing the procedure that is laid down. Funds are not allocated on a state-wise basis or on a geographical basis. We provide funds to service providers on the basis of competitive bids. Major telecom operators such as BSNL, Tata Teleservices, Reliance and others have been actively taking part in various projects and activities of USO Fund. Apart from this, there are major infrastructure providers who have qualified by the bidding process for setting up towers for mobile services in the rural and remote areas. Initially, we went with the philosophy of providing public phones in rural areas like Village Public Telephone. Now, with the mobile telephony coming in rural areas, we are moving towards supporting

We provide funds to service providers on the basis of competitive bids. Major telecom operators such as BSNL, Tata Teleservices, Reliance and others have been actively taking part in various projects and activities of USO Fund

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shared infrastructure for mobile and other services. This will help the service providers in reducing capital costs in providing telecom services in rural areas, where the average revenue per user is generally low. What are the major challenges in providing last mile connectivity in India? As compared to urban areas, rural India needs much more attention for providing the last mile connectivity. One of the major issues in relation to the last mile connectivity is the high capital investment and low returns. In rural areas where fixed line connectivity is not feasible, wireless solutions such as Wireless Well Solutions (WLL), etc. is often preferred by the service providers. What are the future plans for allocation of USO Fund across India? As I said earlier, we have plans for setting up an additional 11,000 towers across India. This is expected to be rolled out by the end of this year. Apart from this, we are also looking at provisions of broadband services in all blocks across India. USO Fund will be fully involved in these activities. USO Fund also proposes to support for augmentation of optical fibre connectivity between rural areas and block headquarters in various parts of the country. Any message for the service providers or the operators of the country. Generally the rural market has been under estimated in terms of users, revenue, etc. There is a large untapped potential growth in rural markets which all the operators need to concentrate on. www.egovonline.net

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COVER INTERVIEW: GOVERNMENT SPEAK

Building Connections Around the World Telecom Consultants India Limited (TCIL)

www.tcil-india.com

“We were predominantly a wire line company when we initially started, now we have successfully diversified ourselves into the wireless space. We are also actively thinking in terms of joint ventures.” tells R.K. Upadhyay, Chairman and Managing Director, Telecommunication Consultants India Limited (TCIL) (A Government of India Enterprise), to egov magazine ov

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What are the public and private sector areas where TCIL is working? TCIL was incorporated in 1978, and the objective at that time was to share the Indian telecom expertise with other countries on a commercial basis. Since then, TCIL has worked in about sixty countries, covering the whole of Africa, Middle East, Europe, United States, Far East and the SAARC countries. We have been working on all kinds of telecommunication projects, from concept to completion. We have done consultancy projects and helped various organisations in India, as well as abroad, to develop a business plan in the telecom sector. We are also involved in Information Technology and IT enabled services. We have recently diversified ourselves into civil infrastructure sector, primarily to take advantage of this booming sector, utilising our existing work force, which was deployed, hitherto in the field of copper access network for creating cable ducts etc.

Talking about public sector undertakings overseas, we have worked with almost all the government telecom operators, because the telecom sector has only recently been opened up to the private players, but traditionally, telecom sector was primarily government held.

These are the basic areas that we are working in. Apart from this, we are consultants (as I mentioned) in the telecom industry. We also provide consultancy to various organisations overseas, which are making efforts to create cyber cities and cyber parks. Based on our consultancy, when they come to the construction stage, we also take up the responsibility of project management and construction supervision of cyber cities and cyber parks, in coutries like Algeria, Sudan and Mauritius. In Mauritius, we worked for the development of the cyber park created by STPI (Software Technology Parks of India), and we were involved in the communication cabling infrastructure development. Coming specifically to the public sector, in India, we are working for BSNL (earlier we were working for Department of Telecommunication, Government of India) in their efforts for creating copper cable networks and optical fibre networks and other projects. The most prestigious of them is the National Internet Backbone Project (NIB- Phase II, Project III). This project involves creation of Data Centres, at Mumbai, Bangalore and Noida. These are three regional State Data Centres, with disaster recovery centre at Pune. Quite a large amount of services have already been commissioned, one or two are remaining which are in the final phases of commissioning. Talking about public sector undertakings overseas, we have worked with almost all the government telecom operators, because the telecom sector has only recently been opened up to the private players, but traditionally, telecom sector was primarily government held. Like in India as well, we opened up to the private sector, somewhere in 1995-96 for mobile 14

services and later on for the basic services, so in the same fashion, we have worked with almost all the state owned public telecom corporations or ministries of communications in Gulf countries and in African countries. TCIL has undertaken various telecommunications projects in different countries. Could you tell us more about TCIL’s work in one such project- The Rehabilitation of Telecom Systems in Kuwait after the Gulf war? This company was incorporated on 10 March 1978 and commenced business in August the same year. Incidentally, TCIL’s first project, after its incorporation was this project in Kuwait. That was in the prewar scenario. As you know, Kuwait has still not opened up with the telecom sector and is one of the countries where the Ministry of Communications is the telecom operator. We got our first project there, which was again a copper cable access network project and meanwhile the war broke. Inspite of the war, we are proud to say that the Indian Embassy and TCIL worked closely to evacuate a lot many Indians who were working in Kuwait at that point of time in addition to our employees. However a few employees of TCIL still remained in Kuwait as it was very critical to maintain their telephone exchanges etc. So even during the peak of the war TCIL remained present there in a skeleton manner. After the war was over, the first foreign company was TCIL, to go back on the request of MoC (Ministry of Communication, Government of Kuwait), and we were given the job of rehabilitation of their telecommunication network which was extensively damaged during the war, and we did that very successfully. As a result of that, TCIL is still present in Kuwait. We have been getting projects from the Ministry of Communications, Kuwait, in areas of network operation and maintenance. There was a time when TCIL and its subsidiary company ICSIL (Intelligent Communications Systems India Ltd.) had network operation and maintenance contracts from MoC, Kuwait for all six governorates in Kuwait. Today also, TCIL has contracts for three governorates out of six. Thus, our effort during the war period speaks for itself. We rehabilitated the

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Kuwait network, and there after we expanded it, depending upon the need of the new telephone connections and other services. The first ever Fibre To The Home project (FTTH) system, is being done (in the whole of Gulf) by the Ministry of Communications, Kuwait and TCIL has been awarded the project. We are executing the INR 70 crore worth FTTH project for the MoC in Kuwait, covering 15000 households, and these households are being provided with a fibre to the home service, by which they will be able to get integrated voice, data and video services. We are executing this project at present . So that speaks for TCIL’s quality of work and the satisfaction that MoC, Kuwait derived from TCIL’s workmanship and timely delivery of its projects. In India, TCIL has been instrumental in the field of mobility and e-Governance. Can you elaborate on the e-District Project under the Department of Information Technology, Government of India. The objective of the e-District project is to automate the activities of the District Collectorate and other key departments in order to provide ‘on-demand citizen services’ at government offices/counters, on Internet, through kiosks, Common Service Centres and other possible ways. The project also involves analysis of the existing departmental processes, re-engineering of the outdated processes and integration of various departments. The project shall automate various key functions to provide online services such as public grievance, RTI requests, registration and issuance of birth and death certificates, domicile certificates, electronic payment and collection of bills or government dues, automation of land records, health programmes, Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme etc. TCIL is one of the short-listed vendors of the Department of IT, Government of India, for the preparation of a Detailed Project Report, Business Process Re-engineering and Project Management part of the project. Please tell us about the work been undertaken by TCIL for the e-Payment system for the Department of Telecommunication, Government of India. The Department of Telecommunication collects payments such as license fees, spectrum charges, royalty, WPC and other revenue receipts like processing fees, entry fees etc. Presently, these charges can be paid in the form of demand drafts only. TCIL is developing a system for DoT, so that the customers can make these payments using the Internet. The e-Payment System, once implemented, will enable the licensees, subscribers and other customers to fill an eChalan online, for each type of payment and make electronic payment either online, using the SBI (State Bank of India) 16

Internet Banking System, credit card (Visa or Mastercard) by using SBI Visa/Mastercard Payment Gateway or offline, using electronic funds transfer facilities like RTGS (Real Time Gross Settlement), NEFT (National Electronic Fund Transfer), SBI Core Banking etc. The e-Payment system will handle automatic reconciliation of the receipt transactions to be received electronically from SBI on a daily basis and provide the necessary revenue receipt related information online to the users of various sections of the DoT.

The first ever SWAN project in the country was GSWAN (Gujarat State Wide Area Network). We are privileged to say that we got this project. We did the consultancy for GSWAN, from concept to completion. Even now, as the work has been completed, we have been appointed as the third party monitoring agency. We have prepared a Systems Requirement Statement (SRS) which is the basic document for creating any software package, based on the basic requirements given to us by DoT. Thus, on the basis of the SRS prepared by us, once it is approved, we prepare the software. TCIL has undertaken projects in the North-Eastern part of India, such as Agartala City Area Network (ACAN) for the Government of Tripura. Can you highlight the achievements of this project. We were awarded this Agartala city area network project, which is like any other SWAN. It is a wide area network, the only difference being, that the SWANS are state wide and this was only for Agartala city. It involved connecting several government ministries by state-of-art IT and communication network, it involved laying of fibre through the city and connecting buildings, providing high end routers and switches and configuring them to their satisfaction. We have successfully completed the project and we are happy with it. Under the National e-Governance Plan, TCIL is undertaking consultancy contracts for SWAN projects in several states in India. Please tell us about the status of implementation of such projects. Which states have successfully implemented them? The first ever SWAN project in the country was GSWAN (Gujarat State Wide Area Network). We are privileged to say that we got this project. We did the consultancy for GSWAN, from concept to completion. Even now, as the work has been completed, we have been appointed as the third party monitoring agency. Thus, our presence in the GSWAN is still there. This particular experience, paved the way for many other State Wide Area Network projects in Jharkhand, Uttrakhand, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. As these SWANS (that we have given consultancy for) are put in place, then some agency is required to monitor there quality of services and other aspects, for that too, we hope to get some share. www.egovonline.net

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We have also done similar projects for the Jharkhand police. It was a police modernisation network, which the Government of Jharkhand awarded to TCIL for consultancy. We designed the whole network, and it is at the very last stages of implementation. As consultants, we are not only to provide consultancy, prepare the report but also see it through. We are also exploring the possibility of getting similar projects in foreign countries, as lot of the countries are now embarking upon the scheme of e-Governance and for e-Governance the basic necessity is that they must have a wide area network and a good Internet backbone. So TCIL is exploring possibilities in these directions as well. Please tell our readers about the Pan African e-Network Project, being undertaken by TCIL. It is a very prestigious project of the Government of India. Its value is USD 116 million, (Rs.542 crores). This project has been awarded to TCIL by the Government of India, through the Ministry of External Affairs. The project entails TCIL’s involvement right from concept to completion of a Pan African

e-Network to provide tele-medicine, tele-education and VVIP connectivity facility in all the 53 countries which are members of the African Union. This project involves setting up of a satellite hub station in one of the African countries, which has been chosen by the African union as Senegal. In Dakar (the capital of Senegal) we have already constructed the hub station buildings and the equipment is under installation. It is nearing completion and by the end of this month this satellite hub station for the Pan African e-Network Project will be ready. In total, 29 countries have so far signed an agreement with TCIL, based on the umbrella agreement that 18

was signed between the African Union and the Government of India. TCIL was to sign individual contracts with different countries, defining their own areas of responsibilities and that agreement has been signed with 29 countries out of which 16 countries have made their sites ready and their equipment has been dispatched. The moment this satellite hub station comes up, we will progressively commission them. The remaining countries are also in the process of making their sites ready and some countries are in the process of signing the agreement. As a precursor to this project, there was a pilot project, which was done in Ethiopia. Care hospital in Hydrabad and Indira Gandhi National Open University in Delhi have been linked with Ethiopia. Two universities and one hospital in Ethiopia are already online providing tele-education and telemedicine facilities respectively. The MBA programme of the tele-education facility was commissioned by TCIL in October/ November 2006, it was formally inaugurated by our External Affair’s Minister in July 2007. However, the MBA programme from the Indira Gandhi National Open University is already running and on the successful completion of the course all the students enrolled will get MBA degrees, without them having to leave their country of residence. This proves to be extremely cost effective. This is what is envisaged in the Pan African e-Network Project- the benefit of the African countries is that 10,000 people will be able to take graduate degrees using this particular educational network and thousands of patients will be treated. There is another important component of this project called CME (Continuing Medical Education), under which, using the network, expert doctors from twelve super specialty hospitals in India and seven universities are going to be linked through this project. Apart from this, there are some regional universities of eminence in Africa itself, and some good hospitals in Africa (depending upon the African Union’s choice) that will be connected regionally within the continent. So that students can not only take up programmes from the Indian university but also have the choice of taking up programmes for universities within the continent, that are included in the project. Similarly, if some disease can be comfortably be treated by a hospital in the African subcontinent, then that would be possible under the project as well. This project is totally funded by the Government of India. The installation and commissioning period is eighteen months and thereafter five months of operation and maintenance is totally free for the African countries. We are very privileged to be a part of this project, and we are the only implementing agency. Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model is catching up in the telecom industry in India. Please highlight the major advantages and disadvantages of this model. The Public Private Partnership model has created healthy competition in the telecom sector and has eliminated stateowned monopolies. It has resulted in the quick expansion of the telecom network, speedy growth in the subscriber base and delivery of high quality public services. The Indian telecom market has both public and private sector companies. India has a telecom policy that aims at www.egovonline.net

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encouraging private and foreign investments. India has an independent regulator- The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). There is a revenue-share model for licenses issued by the Government for telecom services in India. Unified access licenses are available for providing telecom services on a Pan-India basis. The major advantages of PPP model in the telecom sector can be: • PPP aims at fastening cooperation between various sectors and enhance the role of the private sector in the economic and social activities of the country. • PPP model highlights the corporate responsibilities of private sector companies and define their role in increasing the overall competitiveness of their operations through bold institutions. • Participating institutes and companies benefit from the experience and expertise of the participants. They share best practices and enhance their networking opportunities. • PPP model promotes infrastructures that governments or the private sector individually may take years to develop as PPP creates an environment to attract increased international investments. Besides these advantages, under a PPP model, the telecom service providers need to ensure that the networks are monitored properly so that there is no risk to the country’s security. Also, public private partnership needs to extend to telecom research and development (R &D) and manufacturing as well. What has been your experience working with TCIL? What are the major challenges faced by an organisation like yours in this sector? It is a privilege. I am through and through a telecom man as I joined the Department of Telecommunication, through Indian Telecom Services in 1975 batch. Since then, I have been working in this sector. So telecom has become my second nature. Being the chairman of this company, which is an extended arm of the Department of Telecommunication, Government of India, is a real privilege. It is very challenging too as in the telecom sector there is fierce competition. Almost every country is now thinking of liberalisation and privatisation in the telecom sector and most of the countries have already done that. There are only a handful of countries like Kuwait etc. who have not done that yet. However, it has done wonders for the customers as customer services have really improved and the prices have come down but for contracting companies like TCIL there is another side of the story too. If service providers themselves get less revenue per user, then we are the ones who provide infrastructure for providing telecom services, so obviously our margins are under threat. Thus, the greatest challenge for a company like TCIL today is to see how the bottom line improves. There is enough work in the market and the top line is really no issue. It depends upon one’s own capacity to work and on how much work one can execute but the margins are really thinning out. The real challenge is how to improve one’s method of working, how to improve the execution of projects, so that there is no 20

time over run, no cost over run and moreover one is able to work more efficiently. That means productivity per employee has to be drastically improved so that one is able to maintain or atleast protect your margins. That is the biggest challenge. We are moving in that direction and as mentioned earlier, we are diversifying in different areas. We were predominantly a wire line company when we initially started, now we have successfully diversified ourselves into the wireless space. We are also actively thinking in terms of joint ventures. We already have joint 7 ventures like Bharti Hexacom, which operates the GSM services in Rajasthan, UTL Nepal, Telecom Limited, Nepal, which operates under license from the Nepal Government, providing CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) based basic services in the whole of Nepal. We have a manufacturing unit in Chennai, called Tamil Nadu Telecommunication Limited, which manufactures optical fibre cable, our partners are TIDCO and Fujitsu of Japan. We are in the process of forming a joint venture company in Oman. Our purpose of forming joint ventures is to deploy surplus funds for income balancing purposes as when your are a purely a contracting company, your work graph is prone to variations, so these type of ventures help us to even out those type of variations. Another important reason being that many countries are now preferring local companies. Thus, at times it becomes essential for you, in a particular country to have a local outfit, to be able to participate in those projects which are only open to local companies. To this end, we have a joint venture in Saudi Arabia, we also had a joint venture in Nigeria and the next in line now is Oman. These are some ways of over coming the various challenges. As I said, this sector is very challenging but we should be able to grab the opportunities and work more efficiently, which is very important in any field, but more so in the telecom sector. We need to make sure that the project delivery is in time and we have to constantly look for very efficient methods of execution of our work. www.egovonline.net

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Fixed Mobile Convergence: Subscriber’s Ultimate Dream! www.tec.gov.in With nearly 300 million subscribers (out of which nearly 250 million are mobile subscribers) and monthly addition of nearly 8 million subscribers, India, today is clearly the fastest-growing telecom market in the world

Deepa Tyagi DRIVERS FOR THE NEW TELECOM WORLD

The world of communications is undergoing changes more radical than any since the invention of the telephone 120 years ago. Telecom technologies are evolving at an unbelievable pace, driven by innovation, speed, quality, convenience and cost. The growth of Internet has been phenomenal, doubling in size every year since 1998. In parallel with the demands for the Internet, has been the incredible boom in the mobile and wireless communications. These two explosively growing customer-driven service requirements: i.e. ‘Internet’ and ‘Mobile Communications’ have dramatically and profoundly changed the nature and face of global telecommunications in this millennium and have brought into existence the New Telecom World. Mobile subscribers are increasingly demanding Internet access while on the move and at increasingly high speed; thereby resulting in the convergence of the above two technological trends leading to the birth of ‘Mobile Broadband’ (application) and 3G/4G Technologies (enablers of this application). India too, is today amidst a telecom revolution of sorts, witnessing an absolutely mind boggling growth rate in the telecom sector. With nearly 300 million subscribers (out of which nearly 250 million are mobile subscribers) and monthly addition of nearly 8 million subscribers, India, today is clearly the fastestgrowing telecom market in the world. Indian mobile network is the 2nd largest in the world after China. On the broadband front, even though the performance has not been so good (India’s 2.67 million are way behind the broadband subscribers base of 60 million and 55 million for the US and China respectively) it is heartening to note that in spite of such miserable broadband penetration numbers, it has the highest rate of growth (93.39% for Qtr. 1, 2007) for broadband connections in the world. Thus India’s broadband scenario is interestingly characterised by low numbers but high growth. As one looks at the phenomenal growth in tele-density from 1.07% in 1995 to almost 25% by February 2008, one fact ov

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that comes across very clearly is that it is undisputedly the ‘mobile sector’ that has been the key driver in this phenomenal growth of India’s tele-density. With just about 5 million PCs in the country, 65 million cable TV subscribers and 250 million mobile phone subscribers, it is very clear that even on the broadband front, in terms of reach and penetration, it is clearly the wireless technology which would become the chief vehicle for increasing the teledensity as well as increasing the spread of broadband connectivity in the country.

EVOLUTION PATH

Modern telecommunication networks began with First Generation Networks (1G), deployed in early eighties that provided simple analog voice telephony. The Second Generation Networks (2G) which had initial deployments in early nineties, use digital telephony with added low-rate data services in addition to basic voice service. 2.5G Systems refer to the state of wireless technology and capability which is in between Second Generation (2G) and Third Generation (3G) mobile technology. The 3G networks shall be capable of providing higher data-rates upto 2Mbps and shall be capable of supporting a variety of services such as High Resolution Video and Multi-Media Services in addition to voice, fax and conventional data services. IMT-2000 which stands for ‘International Mobile Telecommunications-2000’ is the ITU’s (International Telecommunication Union) terminology to define the 3rd Generation of mobile telecommunications. Systems beyond IMT-2000 are commonly referred to as the Fourth Generation Networks (4G) or beyond 3G (B3G). ITU has decided to henceforth use the common terminology ‘IMT systems’ to denote IMT -2000 systems (or 3G ) as well as IMT advanced (or systems beyond 3G or 4G). The evolution from 3G to 4G will be driven by services that offer better quality (voice, video and multimedia) thanks to greater bandwidth, more sophistication in the association of a large quantity of information and improved personalisation. 23


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A new source of local traffic: Machine-to-machine communications may evolve, which will basically involve two basic equipment types: Sensors ( which measure parameters) and tags (which are generally read/write equipment ).

altering the basic precepts of our industry. In this new evolving telecom ecosystem, Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) leading to seamless mobility has become the new buzz word…. something that every subscriber would yearn for!

CHALLENGES FIXED MOBILE CONVERGENCE (FMC)

We are on the threshold of taking this industry to a whole new level of services and values to the society. Its growth signifies new development synergy in our economic and social structure. Mobile communication has made its mark on social, cultural, economic and various other aspects of our life. India is looked upon today as the hottest mobile market in the world overtaking China to claim the top-spot. A combination of a growing middle-class and the world’s lowest mobile call rates has sparked booming demand for telecom services in the country. However, with a population of around 1 billion and with just 25% mobile penetration, there is still huge room for growth. This potential has telecom companies scrambling to invest in the Indian market and has prompted an all-time high take-over of an existing Indian operator by a major global player recently. Several telecom equipment vendors have set up manufacturing plants in the country with an eye on the untapped Indian market and markets in the neighbouring India Pacific region. The opportunities and challenges in Indian telecom industry are huge. As the market matures, telecom operators face new challenges, as sustaining current high level of growth may not always be easy. On the other hand, customer expectations and demand for services including data services and other bandwidth hungry applications such as video clip, mobile TV, etc. are increasing. An explosive subscriber and revenue growth, yet thin profit margin line has forced mobile service providers to look beyond voice based service. Be it a landline or mobile telephonic system, value added services are acting as enablers to activate the falling revenue line of telecom service operators by providing a bundle of non-voice based data services. It is true that due to new networks, high bandwidth availability, transition from circuit-switched to packet networks, upgrades and rollouts of 3G happening globally and mobile handset

FMC is a global trend for the telecom business of the future and this trend is currently being pushed forward by both fixed-line operators and full-service operators. FMC service convergence is still in its infancy stage, while progress on convergence of the FMC terminal and network is just beginning to be seen. FMC will enable the user to have a uniform service experience, both while on the move and at the home /office. It will combine the convenience, freedom of movement and personalised services of the wireless world with the high quality and speed of fixed communications.

SOLUTIONS FOR FMC

Cordless Telephony Profile (CTP) and Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) standards are interim FMC solutions that enable operators to offer FMC services to only a limited extent, whereas IP Multimedia Subsystems (IMS) standard by 3GPP is considered as a solution for complete FMC. CTP and UMA are, therefore, generally referred to as ‘pre-IMS solutions’, as shown in Figure below: •

The opportunities and challenges in Indian telecom industry are huge. As the market matures, telecom operators face new challenges, as sustaining current high level of growth may not always be easy standards and technology supporting new formats (3G, SIP, etc.) the concept of value added services has changed a lot. Telecommunication is evolving into a communications giant with a new consumer universe of mobile, informed, entertained, secured, connected and empowered users. New Internet Protocol technologies and applications like IPTV and Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), and emerging players in the entertainment space, are driving change and ov

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Cordless Telephony Profile (CTP) is a profile defined within the Bluetooth specification, by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, which allows a Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone to be used as a cordless telephone when it is within a range of a Bluetooth CTP access point. CTP is thus a way of adding limited mobility - cordlessness - to the fixed network. CTP acts as an application on the device - which is sometimes a mobile phone and sometimes a hands-free headset. Mobile and fixed access are only loosely converged in CTP. The mobile device retains its GSM number, whereas the CTP access point uses the number associated with the fixed line to which it is attached. Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) provides access to GSM and GPRS mobile services over unlicensed spectrum technologies, including Bluetooth and WLAN 802.11 (and may later cover other unlicensed technologies, such as WiMax or even UWB). By deploying UMA technology, 25


IMS

IMS is the architecture for core of the Next Generation Networks. Both 3GPP and 3GPP2 as well as ETSI (TISPAN) had been working on the standardisation of their respective versions of IMS, which have differences, though only minor. Thus harmonisation of standards is of utmost importance. Luckily, it has now been decided that there will be a single set of specifications for one common global IMS and that this standardisation work would be driven by 3GPP to avoid duplication of work. The specifications would constitute ‘Common IMS’.

ITU’S ROLE IN STANDARDISATION

service providers can enable subscribers to roam and handover between cellular networks and public and private unlicensed wireless networks using dual-mode mobile handsets. The UMA solution has now become a 3GPP standard named Global Area Network (GAN). UMA based Solution In the UMA based solution, the inter-networking of calls from cellular to Unlicensed Mobile Network (e.g. WiFi, Bluetooth ) will occur via UMA Network Controllers (UNC) that enable call hand offs on dual mode handheld devices, as shown in the figure above. IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) is a standard that defines a generic architecture based on SIP which allows multiple real-time applications to run across a single network. Although it was initially designed

by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) for mobile networks, newer releases of IMS are designed to be access- agnostic so that it can be used by any type of access method, be it a fixed line, GSM, CDMA2000, WCDMA, Wireline broadband access, WiFi or WiMax. IMS based FMC solution is shown in Figure below. IMS based FMC solution HSS- Home Subscriber Server APP- Application (server) RAN- Radio Access Network ov

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As far as harmonisation of standards is concerned, ITU has played a key role. ITU establishes agreements with many international Standard Development Organisations (SDOs) in order to minimise the risk of divergent and competitive approaches to standardisation, avoid duplication of efforts and avoid confusion among users. Such agreements reinforce the role of ITU as the inter-governmental and the universal organisation responsible for world wide standardisation of telecom.

WHAT IS THE STANDARDISATION DEVELOPMENT GAP?

As mentioned earlier, clearly, the statistics show that the wireless technology has become the chief vehicle of development in developing countries. Developing countries now account for more than half of mobile subscriber growth worldwide. Further, Research has found that with every 10% increase in mobile phone penetration, a country’s GDP increases by 0.6%. The rate of growth in subscriber base in India is the highest in the world with China ranking close second. Unfortunately, even with such a meteoric growth-rate and with huge untapped market (what with just 25% mobile penetration), India has practically zero influence on the global standardisation process unlike China which has to its credit a homegrown, indigenous 3G standard and has great influence on the other 3G standards as well. The chair person of most of the working parties etc. within ITU (3GPP, 3GPP2 etc.) are people from the developed countries. The number of Study Group chairs and vice-chairs within ITU has increased from just 10 in 1996 to 26 in 2000 and 36 in 2004. The best represented transition economy is the Russian Federation, followed by the developing countries Brazil, China and Syrian Arab Republic. However, the Asia- Pacific region is, on the whole, under-represented. While China has increased its involvement since 2004, India provides relatively few senior officials and other developing Asian countries, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand or Vietnam, have not been represented at all in the past decade. The needs of the developing countries are unfortunately not articulated strongly at these Standardisation Developments Organisations. 27


PP-06 Resolution 123 (Rev. Antalya, 2006) recognises: “The continued shortage of human resources in the standardisation field in developing countries, resulting in a low level of developing-country participation in meetings of ITU-T and of ITU-R and, consequently, in the standardsmaking process, leading to difficulties when interpreting ITU-T and ITU-R Recommendations;” This contributes to the standardisation gap between developed and developing countries which adversely affects the ability of representatives from developing countries to access, implement, contribute to and influence international ICT standards, specifically ITU Recommendations. The standardisation gap contributes to the persistence of the wider digital divide. The standardisation development gap might be defined as disparities in the ability of representatives of developing countries, relative to developing ones, to access, implement, contribute to and influence international ICT standards, specifically ITU Recommendations.

INITIATIVES

We as Indians need to have a greater presence in the international standards arena; we need to put our heads together and see how best we can drive international standards. There have been a few initiatives towards this objective. The Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technologies (CeWiT), headquartered at Chennai, is a good initiative in the direction of India taking lead in standardisation work.

We as Indians need to have a greater presence in the international standards arena; we need to put our heads together and see how best we can drive international standards. There have been a few initiatives towards this objective. The Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technologies (CeWiT), headquartered at Chennai, is a good initiative in the direction of India taking lead in standardisation work

Similarly, Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC), the technical arm of Department of Telecom (DoT) has also embarked upon a few initiatives that will help provide national fora for discussion and deliberations with all stakeholders which in turn would help formulate a national consensus on certain key standards and related issues so that the same can then be effectively articulated at the various SDOs. Proposal for setting up of NGN labs for testing and certification is also on the anvil. Further, due to the efforts of the Indian delegates (from TEC and BSNL) attending the Study Group 19 meeting held in January 2008, at Seoul, as part of the NGN-GSI event, two NGN related questions pertaining to developing countries were included as part of the work plan for the ITUT new study period 2009-2012. At the international front, in ITU, some of the relevant ov

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Some of the key IMS related standardisation bodies are listed below:• Internet Engineering Task force (IETF) The Internet Engineering Task force (IETF) is a loosely self-organised collection of network designers, operators, vendors, and research institutions that work together to develop the architecture, protocols, and operation of the public Internet. The IETF is the standardisation body that has developed most of the protocols that are currently used on the Internet. • Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) The Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) was born in 1998, as a collaboration agreement between a number of regional telecommunication standard bodies, know as organisational partners. • Third Generation Partnership Project 2 (3GPP2) 3GPP2 like 3GPP is a partnership project whose members are also known as organisational partners. 3GPP2 was born to evolve North American and Asian cellular networks based on ANSI/TIA/EIA-41 standards and CDMA 2000 radio access into a Third-Generation System. • Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) In June 2002, the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) was created to provide interoperable mobile data services. A number of existing forums at that time, such as the WAP Forum and Wireless Village, were integrated into OMA. Resolutions and Decisions from PP-06 (Antalya, Turkey, 2006) that directly address bridging the standardisation gap are: • Resolution 25 (Strengthening the regional presence) • Resolution 123 (Bridging the standardisation gap between developing and developed countries) • Resolution 137 (Next-generation network deployment in developing countries) • Resolution 143 (Extending the provisions in ITU documents relating to developing countries to apply to countries with economies in transition) • Resolution 139 (Telecommunications or information and communication technologies to bridge the digital divide) Further, ITU, in a bid to help bridge the standardization gap between developed and developing countries, has created a fund which will be used to support forums and workshops, participation in meetings, the hosting of meetings in developing countries, surveys and study programmes.

Deepa Tyagi is the Deputy Director General (M), Telecommunication Engineering Centre, Department of Telecommunications (DoT), GOI. She has the experience of working with MTNL and the Telecom Commission in the past. Her technological experience includes her work on mobile technologies such as 3G, Next Generation Networks, Fixed Mobile Convergence and 4G. She can be contacted at: ddgmtec@bol.net.in

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When Fiction Turns Into Reality

www.timebroadbandindia.com

Today’s world is driven by technology. Every new day, a new mobile device is announced, packed with new features. What is most remarkable about mobile phones has been its easy acceptance by common and even poor man. Sujata Dev

The celebrated science fiction writer Sir Arthur C. Clarke, (most famous for the film - 2001: A Space Odyssey) was a true visionary. In 1945, he propagated the theory that in future, satellites will orbit the earth to facilitate communication. No one believed him then. But later, Clarke was proved correct and the space technology made it possible, what he had predicted years before. His work won him several awards, and the geostationary orbit 36,000 km above the equator was named Clarke Orbit. It is through this orbit that our cellular and other communication networks work today and TV programmes reach our homes. Even earlier, in the 1940s, he predicted that man would reach the Moon by the year 2000 - an idea experts at first dismissed. When Neil Armstrong landed on Moon in July 1969, the United States of America acknowledged that Clarke provided the essential intellectual drive that led us to the Moon. Clarke conjured up several not-too-distant horizons. In 1992, he addressed a seminar on the impact of technology on tourism, while sitting at his home in his villa Serendip in his adopted country Sri Lanka. He addressed this seminar in Hong Kong using a satellite link – a technology he had predicted 47 years ago. In this seminar, Clarke envisioned teleresorts and arm-chair-travellers. Clarke cast his trump card in this conference when he said that the armchair traveller of tomorrow could, with the use of electronic equipment which monitored impulses to various parts of the brain, recreate in his sitting room the virtual reality of standing on the brink of the Grand Canyon, or walking around the Taj Mahal by moonlight. Describing it as one of the greatest horizon expanding inventions of all time, Clarke asserted that virtual reality would not replace TV. It will eat it alive! He believed that virtual reality will not substitute for real travel, but will supplement the experience of actual exploration. “People in the future will no longer travel because they feel they have to, but because they want to. Travel will again become an adventure, not a chore”, said Clarke. Thirty years back no one would have thought we would be using mobile phones today that offer a variety of services, all integrated into a tiny hand-held device. Not even Clarke. Today’s world is driven by technology. Every new day a new mobile device is announced, packed with new features. ov

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What is most remarkable about mobile phones has been its easy acceptance by common and even poor man which is demonstrated by the fact that the largest cell phone penetration is not in US or UK but in China. India is just behind China in this growth of mobile penetration. Remember digital diaries and Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs)? Digital diaries went out of fashion about ten years back and PDAs followed suit a little later. Why should one carry a digital diary, camera, calculator, radio, music player, a laptop computer wi-fied to Internet and a mobile phone when you get all these services in your mobile phone? The age of high transience has come. We no longer need those separately packed devices that we used a decade earlier. What would be next in the list of the devices that we will no longer need in future? Most likely the i-Pods will come into disuse. Already mobile phones with capability of storing large amount of music as MP3 files are being announced. You already have Internet connectivity in your mobile phone. The IP-TV intrusion into mobile phones has already happened. On 20th March 2008, Time Broadband Services Pvt. Ltd. with its joint venture partner - Stanton Technologies, Malaysia, announced the launch of The World’s First IPTV over 2.5G Mobile Platform to target the estimated USD 4 billion mobile IPTV market. Imagine the repercussions of this innovation! Subscribers can view the latest entertainment news, educational content, music, sports and special mobisodes from the top studios of Bollywood while on the move. Customers will have in their existing hand held 2.5G devices, the ultimate mobile entertainment experience through their handheld devices. Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM), General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), Second Generation (2G) – Fourth Generation (4G), what are they? The mobile phone you hold in your hand conforms to a certain standard. With everyone inventing their own wheel there has been a surfeit of standards. We take a review of some of the more popular ones. In this connection one must have also come across terms like GSM, GPRS and CDMA. 33


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2G Mobile Telecommunications Standard that uses CDMA, a multiple access scheme for digital radio, to send voice, data and signaling data (such as a dialed telephone number) between mobile telephones and cell sites. CDMA is a digital radio system. CDMA permits several radios to share the same frequencies unlike other services (TDMA) because network capacity does not directly limit the number of active radios. Since larger numbers of phones can be served by smaller numbers of cell-sites, CDMA-based standards have a significant economic advantage over TDMAbased standards, or the oldest cellular standards that used frequency-division multiplexing. It is used in the USA, South Korea, Canada, Mexico, India, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Venezuela, Brazil, China and Vietnam. In 2007, around 30% of the global subscribers used CDMA, while about 70% used GSM or 3GSM (a large amount of users mainly come from the USA, South Korea, Vietnam, India, Brazil and Peoples Republic of China). GSM is the most popular standard for mobile phones in the world. In 1982, thirteen European countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to develop a standard for a mobile telephone system that could be used across Europe. It is estimated that 82% of the global mobile market uses this standard - by over two billion people across more than 212 countries and territories. Its ubiquity makes international roaming very common between mobile phone operators, enabling subscribers to use their phones in many parts of the world. In GSM, both signaling and speech channels are digital call quality and is thus considered a 2G mobile phone system. This also means that data communication is easy to build into the system. GSM providers also pioneered a low-cost alternative to voice calls, the Short Message Service (SMS, also called text messaging), which is now supported on other mobile standards as well. The term 2G to 4G represents evolving trends in wireless technology. Each generation provides a higher data rate and additional capabilities. GPRS and Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) are further extensions of the same standard and belong to 2.5G category. The term second and a half generation (2.5G) is used to describe 2G systems that have implemented a packet switched domain in addition to the circuit switched domain. The major impetus for 2.5G is the always-on capability. Being packet based, 2.5G technologies allow for the use of infrastructure and facilities only when a transaction is required, rather than maintaining facilities in a session-like manner. This provides tremendous infrastructure efficiency and service delivery improvements. Third generation (3G) networks were conceived from the Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service (UMTS) concept for high speed networks for enabling a variety of data intensive applications. 3G systems consist of two main standards, CDMA2000 and W-CDMA, as well as other 3G variants such as NTT DoCoMo’s Freedom of Mobile Multimedia Access (FOMA) and Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access (TD-SCDMA), used primarily in China. CDMA stands for either CDMAONE or CDMA2000. It is a 34

SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME

Bio-Sensing mobile phones may not be far off. A company in Japan with the name NTT DoCoMo announced recently that some future mobile phones will contain DNA chips, devices capable of analysing molecules from the user’s body. This announcement came on the back of demonstration by researchers of a molecular level system that might one day enable mobile phones to keep a regular watch on their owners’ health. By analysing molecules from the user’s body such phones will provide warnings about a possible virus, high-levels of stress or other factors that might affect health. The bio-sensing will be totally non-intrusive. For the DNA chips to get the samples required, the molecules to be analysed must be transported into the phone from the user’s body. If that be so, how would the bio-chip get the sample of a person’s DNA? Through molecular communications, if you please. Molecules from the user’s sweat would be carried using chemically-engineered ‘motor proteins’ to the sensors in the mobile phone for analysis. Since this entire process requires no electrical or mechanical input or controls so it is expected to work on its own. Work is already going on for future alternatives to GSM.

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One such service that is being planned by majors of the mobile industry is Mobile Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP). It is no surprise that 2.5G rules the roost at the moment over the 3G systems in numbers. There are ten million 3G phones in the world as against three billion 2.5G phones. The answer to this puzzle is simple. The trade-off between advantages and cost to the user. On the anvil is the 4G System, the next step in wireless communications. A 4G system will be able to provide a comprehensive IP solution where voice, data and streamed multimedia can be given to users on an anytime, anywhere basis, and at higher data rates than previous generations. Though there is no formal definition of 4G; however, certain objectives have been set. Firstly, it will be a fully IP-based integrated system. This will be achieved after wired and wireless technologies converge and will be capable of providing between 100 Mbit/s and 1 Gbit/s speeds, both indoors and outdoors, with premium quality and high security. Since we have seen integration of various electronic devices into mobile phone, in future Video on Demand and live TV would become a reality at affordable costs.

e-GOVERNANCE AND MOBILE PHONES

e-Governance has emerged as the new catchword amongst the bureaucratic and government circles. Internet network and computers are the prime tools for this task. With 98% Indians not having access to computers, such a thing appears as a remote possibility. The redeeming feature is the wide coverage provided by the mobile networks in our city and rural areas and the ease with which rural-folks use mobile phones. Two stories below, go on to show that e-Governance is possible the mobile-way.

IT’S HAPPENING ALREADY

In a blog posted by Ranjit Kumar Maiti, a senior functionary of Panchayat and Rural Development Department, Government of West Bengal, Kolkata (India), shares his experience of ov

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using mobile phones in the Panchayat environment. “We have taken a number of initiatives to empower Panchayats at the grassroot level to make them responsive to the needs of the common citizens. To supplement our e-Governance efforts in the Panchayat and Rural Development Department, we are going to experiment with mobile technology in remote and inaccessible areas for dissemination of various types of information that could be useful to the people - like alerts for important fund releases; organisation of health camps and polio vaccination camps; disaster alerts etc. using push technology (by which the web server pushes information to the user rather than waiting for the user to request for information). Mobile technology and computer networks have been used in the past for G2G (Government-toGovernment) transactions. I have in mind examples like Lokvani in Sitapur district of Uttar Pradesh (India) and similar initiatives. The question we are now facing is how to upscale these experiences.� Recently, an e-Governance initiative called ASHWA (Anant Sampark by Harnessing Wireless Access) was launched in Faizabad (Uttar Pradesh), based on mobile service. It aims at establishing a practicable e-Governance infrastructure which

The mobile phone you hold in your hand conforms to a certain standard. With everyone inventing their own wheel there has been a surfeit of standards

will connect rural areas with the district headquarter. With ASHWA, villagers will be able to access their family register, different certificates including death, birth, income, domicile and land records, with the dial button of the mobile phone. A member who is associated with ASHWA is known as Ashwarohi. A villager who needs a copy of land records of any government certificate or assistance, has to approach the Ashwarohi, and pay him a sum of Rs. 20. A master computer, monitored personally at Vikas Bhawan in the district headquarter will receive the message. After identifying the mobile phone, the computer will print the required document. Each village will have one Ashwarohi, who will be trained to use GPRS mobile phones. These stories suggest the vast potential of mobile phone in governance. They offer great potential to reach out to the poor placed at remote areas. Sujata Dev is Managing Director and CEO, Time Broadband Services Pvt. Ltd. With rich experience of over 12 years, both as Advisor, Entrepreneur and Consultant in Media Convergence, Sujata Dev focuses on the re-structuring of convergence and new media convergence in broadcast, telecom and media domains. She may be reached at sujata@ timebroadbandindia.com

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m-Connectivity in Rural India

www.tataindicom.com

“There are three basic things in connectivity: Access, Affordability and Application. If one of these is not in place the other two would not work”, says Yogesh Kocchar, Head e-Governance Unit, Tata Teleservices 36 }

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What are the salient aspects of connectivity in India? What are the different initiatives taken by Tata Teleservices in this regard? There are three basic things in connectivity: Access, Affordability and Application. If one of these is not in place, the other two would not work. If there is access and application, and no affordability, the project will not succeed. Similarly, if there is application and affordability and no access it will not work. Hence, there is a need for a combination of the three. This combination will work through two types of inclusion. One is Financial Inclusion and the other is Market Inclusion. The question here is how do we create these inclusions and why? Ignorance is a big hindrance in achieving this goal. Ignorance is of two types: first is when one says I do not know, and second is when one says I don’t even know if I do not know. These inclusions should be created in order to address the second level of ignorance where they are not aware that they do not know. If Financial Inclusion is brought to them, they can at least save a rupee a day. There is a place where they can go and bank and the banker will take care of that money and in case of some medical problem, they can seek the money and go to a better doctor or so. Similarly, in terms of Market Inclusion, they can set up a cooperative and mould it. One has to realise that there is a lack of oppourtunities in the rural areas. Currently, our focus is on money management and Financial Inclusion by providing people with opportunities to bank their money. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has a plan whereby banking facilitators and correspondents will be appointed across India. Tata Teleservices has developed a plan whereby there are five lakh Public Calling Offices (PCO) and each one will cater to 2000 population on an average. These PCO owners become the facilitator for opening bank accounts for people (whom they know). This is the first step towards Financial Inclusions. The PCO owner acts like a banker and helps in money transactions for the people in their areas. For instance, a migrant worker has to deposit money for his wife who stays in another village. He will go to a PCO owner (where he is a regular visitor) and ask him to transfer the money to another shopkeeper’s bank account in his wife’s village from where his wife can collect the money. These are the kind of electronic connections that we need to establish. This is an example whereby there is access, application as well as affordability. Another benefit is that if one has to deposit money, he gives the money to the bank facilitator and whereby the bank facilitator, by using the technology in his mobile phone transfers the money from his own account to the depositor’s account. Therefore, there is no physical transfer of the money. The transfer is ov

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through electronic transaction by using mobile phone technology. India has a Financial Inclusion of 30% (according to sources) where most of us have two bank accounts each. So, not more than 20 out of 100 people in this country have bank accounts. Hence, we need to develop plans for Financial Inclusion. Please tell us about the eGovernance initiatives taken by Tata Teleservices. e-Governance for Tata Teleservices has been a recent initiative. Initially e-Governance was not under a separate vertical. With the growing needs we now have a separate vertical for e-Governance. In the e-Governance vertical we are basically driven by two things. One is the Government’s focus. Under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) there are 27 Mission Mode Projects. Our objective is to look at those 27 Mission Mode Projects and identify where we can contribute and develop a role whereby we can develop e-Governance. However, we have a large focus on banking and Financial Inclusion. So far, the focus has been on the 9% of tele-density that 70% of the population in India enjoys. In order to increase the telephonic connectivity which is the basic infrastructure requirement for e-Governance across the rural areas, there is a need to educate the rural audience. As I mentioned earlier, ignorance is a big hindrance in achieving this goal. The problem in rural areas is of the second type. They do not even know if they can live better. Children are forced to work at a early age. Capacity building is a concept that is not understood in the rural areas. Concepts such as capacity building are discussed at length in national and international forums. At the grassroot, these are not even known as there is a high level of ignorance. Therefore, the concept of e-Governance essentially came into being because the government realised that the benefits of electronic age were not trickling down to the masses. Tata Teleservices has the experience of working extensively in rural areas. Please tell us about the major initiatives that you have undertaken in terms of Value Added Services (VAS) in providing last mile connectivity? The first thing that is required in providing telephony in rural areas is creation of markets. Markets can be created by identifying the needs that are specific to certain communities and certain rural pockets. Hence, we need to develop the Value Added Services (VAS) in accordance with these needs and requirements. There are two initiatives that Tata 37


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Teleservices have taken which enabled us to address the last mile solutions in rural areas. One is in the coastal areas. We started working in a fisherman hamlet called Virampattinam, near Pondichery. These fisherman go out into the sea without the knowledge about the availability of fish. This can be very treacherous given the roughness of the sea. These fisherman go in small catamarans and they travel as far as five kilometers into the sea. Tata Teleservices have tied up with M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) and developed a technology which informs the fisherman about the availability of fish.

The USO Fund of the Government of India has approximately USD three billion with them. It is laudable that the funds are utilised for initiatives such as tower sharing and infrastructure sharing. But it will be of great beneďŹ t to the masses if the government makes an attempt towards other initiatives in providing rural telephony Indian Centre for Oceanic Studies works on a variety of activities happening in the sea and one such activity is the chlorophyll floating on the surface of the sea. Chlorophyll forms the food for the fish. Today, we have compressed that data in a server in M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) and uplink it with the services of Tata Teleservices and provide it to the fisherman in the villages. Thus, we have created a market along the 8,100 kilometers of the entire coastline of India. We provide them with information about locations or spots where the fish is available in the sea, wave height, wind velocity, wind direction, etc. Tata Teleservices is also interested in the creation of market linkages. I will quote a case where there is a huge margin is the rates of sardines in different places. Sardines are caught in the coast of Rameshwaram. The rate at which the sardines are sold in Cochin is more than 10 times the rate in Rameshwaram. This large margin is pocketed by the middlemen and the truckers who transport them. This happens because of the lack of information. There is a need to address a complete value chain. More than addressing the available customers in the rural areas there is a need to develop applications which are required in these areas. In other words, one has to identify the need gaps, and develop an application that is specifically required in these areas or communities. We have developed another service – Multi Commodity Exchange. It aggregates commodities to the tune of three million commodities a day. It is an electronic platform whereby people come and load their commodities as well as buy and sell their commodities. In Uttar Pradesh, we have created

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a short code which the farmer can dial and it immediately takes him to a voice portal that tells them about the price of a commodity (for example potato) in the national markets. This is a complete empowering service for the farmer who otherwise had to go to the local moneylender and surrender all their produce at a price which was probably much lesser. Now they have the information with them which is empowers them and gives them confidence. We are also working in the field of education. The main problem in education is infrastructure. Although, literacy is increasing but it has to move beyond reading, writing and arithmetic. We have experimented with the Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackeray (SNDT) Women’s University. Along with HP Labs, we have started a server in SNDT University. There is a complete digitisation of education related content which is posted in the server. Now students have the oppourtunity to reach the server through their mobile phones and get the required information. They can read a whole book through the mobile phone. How do you think the Universal Service Obligation (USO) Fund shall be utilised in India? The USO Fund of the Government of India has approximately USD three billion with them. It is laudable that the funds are utilised for initiatives such as tower sharing and infrastructure sharing. But it will be of great benefit to the masses if the government makes an attempt towards other initiatives in providing rural telephony. The government has the oppourtunity to address the bottom of the pyramid by creating prospects or possibilities for Financial Inclusions and Market Inclusions. If a rural poor has the ability to save money, then only they have the chance to invest upon health and education. Therefore, there is a need to bring markets closer to them. The crux of the problem as I have mentioned before is Financial Inclusion. First Financial Inclusion needs to be provided and thereafter connection to the markets. For instance, if they work on handicrafts they need to have the money to develop the products and have a market where they can sell it. Therefore, in terms of rural telephony we need to look at these two types of inclusions: Market and Financial. Would you like to give some message for our readers? I think we are living in brilliant times. Rather than being contented with it, we should continuously provoke ourselves to develop better applications and services in terms of connectivity. The telecom companies are performing their roles in a good way. But we also need the audience to provide us with feedback and tell us about their needs and requirements. Lastly, as said earlier as well, the 3 As - Access, Affordability and Application should be the building blocks of providing connectivity in our country.

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COVER INTERVIEW: INDUSTRY SPEAK

Network Solutions for Better Connectivity

www.nokiasiemensnetwork.com

“Nokia Siemens Networks envisions that by 2015, we will live in a world where five billion people will be connected through telecommunications, most of them via broadband” says Kapil Ahuja, Marketing Head, India Regional Marketing APAC, Nokia Siemens Networks, to egov magazine. India is becoming the second largest wireless market in the world. How is Nokia Siemens Networks planning to contribute to this growth? Globally, Nokia Siemens Networks has been working with most of the top operators as our customers, with a passion to help them address the challenges of a changing industry. Our current market position globally is that of a strong player, in terms of mobile networks, services and fixed network. We are one of the top three suppliers, which together covers about 50 percent of the total market. Our global presence spans over both developed and new growth markets. In India, Nokia Siemens Networks is the No. 1 player, as rated by Voice and Data report. The Indian market is ideally suited for Nokia Siemens Networks, as most of the major operators are integrated operators offering fixed, mobile and broadband services. Over the next few years, focus in India will be on growing our market share as we consolidate our existing footprint among local operators and build strategic partnerships with the new entrants. The key differentiator will be our end-to-end technology solutions and strong execution capabilities. With our world-class product portfolio and ov

May 2008

global capabilities, we also look forward to support the roll out of new technologies such as WiMax, 3G etc. in India. Rural India is a potential market for mobile communications. Please elaborate on Nokia Siemens Networks’ plans for last mile connectivity in India. Nokia Siemens Networks envisions that by 2015, we will live in a world where five billion people will be connected through telecommunications, most of them via broadband. Our mission is to play a leading role in this transformation, by delivering world class communication products and solutions based on high degree of innovation, to address challenges of convergence, lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and greater revenue opportunities for operators and environmental sustainability. This is especially relevant in the emerging markets (that will account for a dominant portion of the new subscriber additions) that are faced with infrastructural and socio-economic challenges. In India, Nokia Siemens Networks with its strong market share and footprint within operators, focusing on innovation, end-to-end technology solutions and strong execution 39


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capabilities. It is ideally positioned to tackle the socioeconomic disparities and infrastructure challenges and deliver the power of communications to the common man, both in the urban and the rural areas. Currently, we are working with our operator-customers in India to create innovative solutions on the basis of their business model and strategy. Some of our innovative solutions for rural connectivity include: • Nokia Siemens Networks Village Connection: It is a solution for rural villages based on Global System for Mobile (GSM) technology that provides optimised switching and transmission (using Internet Protocol transport) for calls within and between villages. It encourages business entrepreneurship with an innovative franchisee model and provides a business case for operators to tap rural consumers who can only afford around 3 USD per month for mobile services. • Base Transceiver Station (BTS) Power Efficiency: Introduction of power efficient Hardware (HW) and Software (SW) features to lower BTS power consumption, helping the business case of operators by significant improvement in their Opex. • Solar/Wind Power BTS: We have started to deploy solar and wind powered BTS. One such site is already running successfully in Dharkola, in Orissa which is without EB. • High Power Tower Top BTS for Rural and Highway Coverage (Mini-Ultrasite): Introduction of high power tower top BTS for maximising coverage, especially tailor made for highway and rural coverage. • New Innovative Power Plant Design: We will introduce new innovative BTS optimised power plant, that will not only offer improved system efficiency but also save on footprint. • Local BTS and Base Station Controller (BSC) Manufacturing: BTS and BSC is already being manufactured in Bangalore/Chennai. We understand India specific needs for BTS and are continuously incorporating these needs in the BTS design itself, making our BTS design more optimal and fit for Indian conditions. We are also working with ACME, who is industry leader in power solutions. Please tell us more about your latest tie up with BSNL to provide connectivity to villages in India ? Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) had earlier bagged a greenfield rural tender from BSNL to deploy broadband access across 7,000 villages. Now, we have got the contract extended to cover deployment in 25,000 villages. The company is also parallelly deploying the urban broadband access for BSNL across twenty circles. For BSNL, the deployment of the NSN multi play solution will allow it to deliver cost effective high speed Internet access and virtual private networks among other services to its customers. The network will also enable BSNL to provide connectivity to Community Service Centres (CSCs) and other e-Governance locations. What are the emerging trends in the world of mobility in India? Some of the Value Added Services (VAS) that are available in the mobile market are – Short Message Service (SMS), 40

Multi Media Service (MMS), Gaming, Music, Ringtones, etc. The other major development that we are going to see is Mobile Payment. Our mobile devices would become the mechanism of choice for different payments. It will bring about convenience once the security issues are resolved. Highlight some of the challenges that you have faced from the perspective of an operator in India? India is the fastest growing mobile market in the world today, adding around six million new subscribers per month. The country needs to sustain and enhance this rate of growth, if it has to achieve the 500 million subscriber target by 2010. A significant part of the future growth will come from connecting rural India that has not been touched by the mobile revolution or benefited yet. Tele-density in rural India is under 2 per cent compared with 40 to 50 per cent in metros. Sustaining the blistering growth rate and providing mobility to rural consumers, throws up a different set of challenges. From the economic perspective, two key challenges for equipment providers are as follows: First is quick and cost effective roll-out of networks in rural areas in the context of declining equipment prices. Second is simultaneously investing in creating products/solutions that enable viable business models that drive down the total cost of ownership for operators and the affordability barrier for the common man. From a technical perspective, there are a host of challenges associated with rural areas. These includes limited electricity supply, equipment, security and network planning and roll out on the basis of the type of terrain and the addressable population (setting up a network in a city where the population is clustered vis-a vis setting up a network in the hills where population is scattered across hills and at various levels of a hill, creating issues such as tower line of sight and coverage planning), the post deployment maintenance and running of networks especially in the case of managed services. The limited availability of spectrum is also a major constraint in providing connectivity. However, these challenges are being addressed through service and product level innovations to ensure the proper rate of growth. www.egovonline.net

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COMMENTARY

Yet Another Underutilised Opportunity in India Mobility and ICT ICT is only an enabler and unless it is utilised effectively for socio-economic benefits, it’s growth is of little relevance. Dr Devendra Pal Singh Seth

It is claimed that Telecom and Information Technology (IT) sectors are success stories in India. It is true that we are adding eight million new telephone connections each month, and this number is even higher than China’s telephone growth. We are number one in software technology as well. Certainly, the growth in our tele-density is remarkable. So is our capability for building clever software for export. However, what we forget is the fact that IT and telecom are only means to an end and not an end in themselves. ICT is only an enabler and unless it is utilised effectively for socioeconomic benefits, it’s growth is of little relevance. Mobile telephones have been used by the masses for furthering their economic well-being. Nevertheless, the same can not be said for software applications nor can we say that we have fully utilised the capabilities of the telecommunication revolution. Basically, ICT is an aid for efficiency improvement. ICT works by transforming tedious manual processes into efficient time saving processes. True advantage does not come from mere conversion of the manual process to a computer based process but rather through the use of Business Process Reengineering. This is possible because a computer enables quick reference to huge data bases and fast processing of data and information. Add mobility to it and you have an even more potent tool for transaction efficiency improvement. ICT with mobility amounts to mobile computing a field which offers immense innovative possibilities. Significant challenges exist in realising the full promise of ICT. Worldwide it has been observed that the restraining factors are: • Lack of access to ICT facilities (more pronounced in developing countries) • Availability of appropriate content • Illiteracy • Discovering proper and appropriate application of ICT • Availability of right customer end devices at the right cost There are various initiatives being undertaken in India in this regard. There is also a need to look at what could and needs to be done. ov

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LACK OF ACCESS TO ICT FACILITIES (MORE PRONOUNCED IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES):

Access to ICT is limited due to the non-availability of telecommunication links that are adequate to handle applications. Generally, we need to have broadband access capabilities to be able to fully exploit the ICT potential. The two technologies which are most widely used world over are the Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) technology on copper cables used for fixed line telephone connections and the coaxial cable (along with optic fibre cable) used for cable TV transmission. In most developing countries the predominant mode of giving phone connections today is cellular mobile systems. Fixed line network was available a few years back when the wireless revolution took over. But there has hardly been any increase in this infrastructure after that. Thus, the number of lines and the areas where such lines are available are limited. In India, we face an additional problem. Though, some of the networks are new, the maintenance practices have not been up to the mark. Therefore, the existing network can not be used to the fullest for providing broadband connectivity. This further limits the availability of access to ICT in large parts of the country. As far as the TV coaxial cable network is concerned, it is an excellent media, provided healthy installation practices are used and the network is converted into a two way network rather than being one way. In our country though, the number of homes with TV are more than 60 million (this may sound impressive), the fact is that coverage is neither universal nor is it deep enough, leaving large tracts of land uncovered. In addition, the quality of installation (tree top hanging of cable) is not conducive for broadband operations. Any attempt to use one of these technologies and particularly the DSL technology in the rural areas with lower user population density is bound to be quite expensive and non-remunerative. Fortunately, the developments in the open standards based wireless systems have solved the technological and economic limitations. A vast variety of wireless systems are available at costs which make access to ICT more or less affordable. Therefore, the obvious approach is to quickly 41


COMMENTARY

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deploy such systems in areas which are currently not served. Since techno-economic solutions are available to overcome the access to ICT, why do we still have such poor access as judged from the slow growth of broadband connections over the last four years when the broadband policy of the government was announced? There are clearly two reasons. The fixed line infrastructure (even though limited to 7 to 10 million broadband connections) is getting utilised very slowly in the absence of competition. Competition could easily be introduced through Local Loop Unbundling (LLU). The second and bigger reason is the fact that (for totally inexplicable reasons) government has put the WiMax and 3G policies on the back burner. Once again, we are lost in narrow band 2G and there is no clue available to the spectrum for WiMax and 3G spectrum as the auction date is still unannounced. In other words, while the technology and open standards for access to ICT by large number of customers and in large parts of the country is cost effectively available, we in India are not utilising the potential of ICT possibly due to lack of vision. Quite evidently, there is a need to empower the telecommunications industry to provide broadband connectivity both by permitting local loop unbundling to open up areas where copper cable infrastructure is already there and to freely and readily allot WiMax and 3G spectrum. Spectrum availability is a problem in all countries but countries with a vision have planned the vacation of suitable bands well in advance of the requirements. The recent vacation and auction of 700 MHz band in US is an example of proceeding with vision. It is worth noting that even US was relatively slow in broad-banding the country as compared to the European countries and was far behind Korea and Japan.

AVAILABILITY OF APPROPRIATE CONTENT

When access to ICT is made easy, there is no guarantee that it will indeed be used unless the content made available is of direct relevance and direct interest to the users. A large part of any programme to utilise ICT needs to have a component of understanding customers. For example, to understand the content requirement of ICT based education, local factors have to be considered which in turn will depend on the nature of the predominant interests and activities in a given area or community. Limited generalisations are only possible since the requirements are usually area specific and also depend on related factors such as willingness to try new ideas and new approaches.

ILLITERACY

In the light of the prevalent high levels of illiteracy in the country, a very important factor for quick, easy and result producing ICT applications is to determine from consumer interaction, how friendly the ICT programme is for the illiterate. Therefore, the programmes may have to be tuned substantially and may differ from region to region, financial factors are also critical. Financial factors not only refer to the 42

affordability aspect of ICT but also depend on what cost such services can be actually provided. A very important issue here is the usefulness of the content or the cost benefit of a particular ICT application. In this respect, wireless technology is a major positive factor for keeping the costs low. Understandably, besides location of the user other factors such as age, local culture and background become important before ICT is embraced by the masses. Here, the customer equipment cost becomes important. At the moment, computer costs are high and in several areas individual possession of computers is a problem. Thus, a model which assumes that individuals will like to possess their own Customer Premises Equipement (CPE) may succeed in some areas, but most rural and semiurban areas in India may at least in the beginning stages, prefer to go for the shared CPE model. A possible exception could be the mobile handset. Developments of such handsets with greater computing capabilities are constantly being reported and it is possible that relatively inexpensive handheld devices capable of doubling as a mobile phone and a computing device suitable for ICT applications may become available in the near future. Added to this, the charm of mobile TV (discussed later) will enhance the acceptance of ICT amongst larger numbers of population. The implementation plan must incorporate such factors.

DISCOVERING PROPER AND APPROPRIATE APPLICATION OF ICT

The cost benefit analysis of a particular ICT application requires special discussion. A constant point of debate in all such discussions is; ‘Is there a killer application and if so what is it?’ The applications which require special mention are: • Governance • Education • Health, and • Entertainment In most of these applications, ‘mobility’ adds substantial value. The ability to offer ICT applications at the door step of the user when it comes to governance or healthcare are important. For a local self government, instead of a customer www.egovonline.net

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having to go to the offices of such an authority (even if the authority’s processes have been built around computers and software, if the authority representatives are able to visit the doorstep), there can be a substantial reduction in the time spent by the consumer. Such a prospect can greatly enhance the perceived value of the ICT application, thereby increasing the acceptability of ICT by the masses. As demonstrated by a programme undertaken in the United Kingdom, achievement

One of the best examples of mobility adding value to ICT, is the case of mobile TV. Much like the IPTV, Mobile TV is essentially an Internet Protocol based TV service except that unlike IPTV, which operates in a point to point mode, mobile TV operates in a broadcast mode of success requires change in the business processes of the agency besides providing the facility of mobile computing to its workers. In fact, the manner in which this programme has been worked out in UK is such that after the pilots, guidelines are issued to all authorities so that they do not have to develop their own programmes ab initio. In short, the entire programme has to be a well thought out scheme in which all details have been taken care off and the scaling up is being done after detailed and extensive pilot trials. Unfortunately, neither such thinking is evident in the context of Indian administrative programmes nor perhaps the knowledge of accruing benefits is understood fully and presented attractively to the users. The approach often is to take up the programme either at the central level with little conviction carried to the state entities or are taken up by enterprising state administrations. But the results are fragmented as each state operates on its own without the benefit of the experiences of the others. Such approaches lead to duplication, resulting in enhanced costs besides development of non-standard schemes and programmes. In the past several years, many promising pilots have been attempted in various parts of the country. Little has been heard about the scaling up and wide deployment of such programmes across the nation. Even the e-Governance programme is more focussed on the collection of data for government use and less for the benefits of the citizen. The emphasis of the programme appears to be more about building up new physical network rather than on seeing to its utilisation by the citizens. It is perhaps for this reason that our country’s standing in the international list of ‘ICT preparedness’ continues to be very low while even small countries are progressing ahead. Trials of several initiatives in the area of ICT being applied to health care have been reported with varying degree of success. A project undertaken by Narayana Hrudayalaya of Bangalore, India, headed by Dr Devi Shetty, has implemented a scheme in which mobility has been combined with ICT. Doctors of the hospital or their rural clinic move to camps in remote rural areas with a laptop which is connected to an ECG machine on the one hand and to the main hospital ov

May 2008

via a mobile plug-in connection using CDMA technology on the other hand. ECG of a patient is converted to a digital file and this 4k Byte file is transmitted to the main hospital taking about 30 seconds. A Cardiac specialist sees the ECG and sends his specialist opinion back to the rural/remote location using the same link. The basic concept appears to be a definite advance over the ICT based e-Health programmes and clearly tremendous value addition is seen in the quality of health care since the doctor is able to send observations or results for analysis to the main hospital and get feedback while mobile. Judging by the number of patients covered by the Narayana Hrudayalaya scheme and the use of commercially available service and tools, it is clearly a highly scalable scheme. Developments and research at various institutions is helping in the development of software to help such applications. It is evident that if mobile (nomadic mobility) is made available using Evolution-Data Optimised (EVDO) and similar technologies, the value addition to medical care will be phenomenal.

AVAILABILITY OF RIGHT CUSTOMER END DEVICES AT THE RIGHT COST

One of the best examples of mobility adding value to ICT, is the case of mobile TV. Much like the IPTV, Mobile TV is essentially an Internet Protocol based TV service except that unlike IPTV, which operates in a point to point mode, mobile TV operates in a broadcast mode. The key advantage of these two technologies is that interactivity is possible so long as a two-way channel can be established. It is possible to have time shifted video. These mobile TV systems offer the possibility of viewing 15 to 20 channels in a single analog channel of 7 MHz bandwidth besides offering high quality viewing due to the use of digital technology. The acceptability of ICT in this form is extremely high on the basis of projections done by experts. This is likely to be the case in India as well because entertainment is given a very high priority in most communities. This mindset along with the existing high popularity of mobile phones augers well for the success of this application of ICT in the country. Once again, it will depend on when the services can be launched. While the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has been actively pursuing it, there is no indication about the spectrum and when it will be made available. The conclusion that can be drawn is that taking care of one or two components needed to create an information and ICT based society is not enough to even hope for success. A total and integrated plan and details of its components, participating agencies with clearly defined task for each agency is required. Dr Devendra Pal Singh Seth has had about 44 years of experience in Telecom Sector as a regulator, member of Telecom Commission of India (TCI) and CMD, BSNL. He has worked as an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Senior Consultant in Combodia and Bangladesh and as an Asia-Pacific Telecommunity expert in Thailand. He can be reached at dpsseth@gmail.com

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COVER INTERVIEW: INDUSTRY SPEAK

Facilitating e-Governance: The m-Way

www.bhartiairtel.com

“Last Mile connectivity is an important part of e-Governance initiatives. We need to have a cost effective but reliable connectivity for last mile solution in order to bring Government and other services at the door step of the rural citizens� says Nivedan Sahani, Vice-President-Government and PSU Enterprises, Bharti Airtel Limited to egov magazine 44 }

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What is your opinion about the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP)? How is Bharti Airtel participating in India’s e-Governance initiatives? National e- Governance Plan (NeGP) is on the right track as far as the Mission Mode Projects are concerned. The State Governments are pro-active on rolling out departmental applications. However, the end results or the success and the failure of the plan can only be measured with the timely implementations of State Wide Area Networks (SWAN) in providing rural connectivity (last mile solutions). We are aggressively participating in selected e-Governance projects with a clear focus on rural strategy. We are also planning to provide mobile services and customised solutions in the area of agriculture, health care and education. This year we would be offering our solutions with a strong alliance strategy to address State Government’s needs. We would also offer mobile base solutions on a Government to Citizen (G2C) basis under the Mission Mode Projects. What are the most prominent e-Governance projects undertaken by Bharti Airtel? What are the future opportunities that you foresee for Bharti under the NeGP? The major projects Bharti Airtel has undertaken under e-Governance initiatives are Tax NET, e-Gram and Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) base solutions for about 8500 Common Service Centres (CSC). Apart from these projects, we have also undertaken the projects such as AAI, Enforcement Automation Solutions for Traffic Police on Blackberry, mobile services to the Indian Railways. We would be largely focusing on new initiatives which would be in line with State Government plans. Apart from this, we are also working in the areas of health, National Rural Employment Gurantee Programme Act (NREGA) National Rural Health Mission (NHRM), education and agriculture. Please tell our readers more about the e-Gram project in Gujarat. Which other states, besides West Bengal does Bharti plan to replicate the project? e-Gram is initiated by the Department of Panchyati Raj of Government of Gujarat to offer broadband connectivity to the village panchayats. Apart from providing the data, we would be offering video conferencing facilities to all the rural users. The applications like tele-medicine and e- Education would be offered on this network. At present, we are connecting 18,000 villages and by July 2008 we would be expanding the network to all the villages in the state of Gujarat. At this stage, it will be too early to comment about other State Governments replicating the Gujarat model for their rural citizens. But we are in discussion with many State Government departments to offer similar solutions for their Mission Mode Projects.

Bharti Airtel has recently won the bidding for VSAT project in Tamil Nadu. Could you tell us about the status of implementation of the same? This project will offer connectivity to approximately 8000 Common Service Centres (CSC) across the country and we would be complete the projects in the next couple of months. How important, in your opinion is Public Private Partnership (PPP) for the implementation of NeGP? We strongly support the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model because it gives more flexibility to offer appropriate and workable solutions to meet the customer needs. The most important factors under PPP are the involvement and commitment of government which is significant in implementing the projects at a faster speed. What are the mobile solutions offered by Airtel for mGovernment? We are already in the advance stage of discussion with various State Government departments to offer mobile base solutions for their urban and rural citizen. We would be launching applications such as land records, death and birth certificate, NREG and Mandi in few State Governments. At the moment, we are offering traffic base mobile solutions, platform ticketing and voice base mobile solutions for farmer communities in the country. Bharti Airtel is the largest mobile service provider in India, in view of that, what is your reach in rural India? How does Bharti Airtel plan to utilise this reach to facilitate last mile connectivity? In terms of mobile services, Bharti Airtel covers almost entire rural India. We would be offering mobile based Value Added Services (VAS) for the rural citizen as per the needs of the State Governments. We are also working on various mobile base applications which would improve the life of rural citizens and in the same time enable the State Governments to collect the relevant data which will help them to take faster decision. What is your take on last mile connectivity? What are the challenges faced from a service provider’s perspective in its implementation? Last mile connectivity is an important part of e-Governance initiatives. We need to have a cost effective but reliable connectivity for last mile solution in order to bring the Government and other services at the door step of the rural citizens. In terms of challenges, we face some kind of roadblocks during the roll out of the networks. If the road infrastructure is good then implementation and after sales support can be offered with out any delay.

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NEWS AIRSPAN DEPLOYS WIMAX SOLUTIONS FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IN SPAIN Airspan Networks, a provider of WiMAX broadband wireless access networks, will provide wireless broadband solutions to the Regional Government in the Galicia region of Spain with Colabora. This is the first contract for its MicroMAX base stations in Spain. Under this contract, Airspan would provide MicroMAX base stations, its unique WiMax product in the unlicensed 5.4 GHZ frequency band in the geographically challenging region of Galicia where wireless is the only viable option for providing broadband connectivity. According to Fermín Rodriguez Campos, Technical Director of Colabora, Airspan’s 5.4 GHz WiMAX products are ready to deploy and are the perfect solution for rural, local government networks thanks to the quality of service characteristics and affordable market price.

SINGAPORE READIES MOBILE NUMBER PORTABILITY In Singapore, now mobile phone subscribers will easily switch operators and retain their numbers as now the country is going to adopt fully Mobile Number Portability (MNP) capability from June 13, 2008. Currently, mobile phone subscribers who hold two numbers can switch their operators. With full mobile number portability, mobile subscribers who change operators will be able to retain full use of their mobile number, which will also appear on their contacts’ caller ID when they make calls or SMS and multimedia messaging service (MMS) messages. Subscribers will also continue receiving MMSes on their existing number from the previous mobile operator. Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is expecting full mobile number portability to open new business opportunities for non-traditional telecommunication service providers, like wireless broadband providers and voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers.

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BICYCLE PHONE CHARGER FOR RURAL AREAS LAUNCHED IN UGANDA The locally designed charging system is helping people in villages of Kampala, Uganda, where there is no electricity to have easy access to charging services. Bugatech, a mobile phone repairing company has launched the system in Kampala. The system called, ‘Mobile power’ comprises of a dynamo (power source for the light of a bicycle), power accumulator and circuits where car chargers of ‘any type of phone’ are plugged to charge. The system charges eight phones per hour of riding a bicycle would cost bicycle owners Shs 65,000. The mobile power stores energy in its power accumulator that can charge more

phones for another 30 minutes. The company has appealed telecommunications companies and other development partners, both local and international to join to develop this work to an advanced level for the good of the country.

MOBILE BANKING ON THE RISE According to Juniper Research, there is an increase in the number of consumers accessing banking services via mobile phones. The number is predicted to reach 816 million by 2011 according to the firm. This increase will be mostly in China and the Far East where there will be a high concentration of mobile banking services, followed by Western Europe and the Indian sub-continent.It is reckoned that this is facilitated by increase in the number of features offered by financial institutions, including financial information, funds transfer, bill payment, account management and customer service etc. It is estimated that the number of global mobile banking transactions will rise from 2.7 billion annually in 2007 to 37 billion by 2011.The study revealed that though there is heightened security to address consumer concerns, but there are several issues which will be required to handled for ensuring the continued success of mobile banking. Financial regulation, payment transaction costs, revenue share issues and customer support difficulties are some of them.

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October 2007

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SPECIAL FOCUS: FINANCIAL INCLUSION

Financial Inclusion for the Excluded

www.integramicro.com

“Financial Inclusion is in its infancy and requires careful adoption of technology. The customer’s confidence in the branchless banking system has to be increased tremendously,” says Mahesh Kumar Jain, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Integra Group

Integra today specialises in offering software development services in diverse areas, and products to customers world-wide. In this light, tell us about the various services being provided by Integra for banking sector. Integra began its banking in late eighties with iLINK, a PC_UNIX based software for emulation and file transfers, which later became a standard in the country – catering to nearly 80% of the Indian market space. It developed into ScanCom (signature verification system) which was integrated with many banking products worldwide, including that of Infosys and Iflex. 48 }

During the late nineties, Integra developed Para Banking Software based on OMR Technologies for Sahara Parivar. It runs over 1500 branches and processes over INR 200000 million revenue over thirty million accounts with 1200 VSAT networks. We also provided IVR (Interactive Voice Response) Systems and Document Management Systems for banking. Now the company offers Financial Inclusion Solution to banks. Integra invested huge sums in Research and Development (R&D) and built an award winning solution in this space. www.egovonline.net

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What are the prerequisites for greater and wider Financial Inclusion? Tell us about Integra’s vision for greater Financial Inclusion in India. Financial Inclusion is in its infancy and requires careful adoption of technology. The customer’s confidence in the branchless banking system has to be increased tremendously. The cheap and fancy systems and scaling up abilities etc. should not be the only criterion in selecting a solution. In order to cut costs, we should not land up creating another class of people, Mobike People as bankers but should consider socio-economic fabric of excluded people. Saving habits and banking habits have to come to women on preferential basis as its long term impact is going to be the highest. I envision women (perhaps a Dalit/poor cross-section of society) becoming village bankers (Business Correspondent Service Provider) in every village and making the facilities available to the habitat on 24X7 basis: banking, insurance, payment, ticketing, etc. A grocery shop/STD booth in the village having wall mounted terminal for financial transaction and people carrying out transactions (small amount transactions) comfortably.

“Integra is working on Financial Inclusion for Excluded People and doorstep banking for included people.”

In addition to this, a large inflow of credit to excluded people from all over the world, based on credit rating of people and effectiveness of transaction (cost, security, and ease of usage) is also part of this vision. According to you what kind of re-engineering is needed for effective implementation of IT in banking? For over 200 million additional Financial Inclusion (FI) accounts, the banks have to evolve intelligent schemes/ products for FI accounts. For example, for people who need INR 200 loan for a day, can the current system cater to it effectively? Transaction values are small. Infrastructure to manage 200 million accounts is another challenge, as the current accounts with the banks are less than 100 million. Creation of India Card to challenge Master/Visa and to achieve lower overall transaction cost is essential for rural banking to survive. What kind of policies and regulatory measures are required to develop a conducive environment for e-Banking in India? Financial Inclusion is evolving and its needs should be based on social and economic factors of the people it is serving. I presume creating Smart Card Operating System for Transport Applications (SCOSTA) and India Card can help e-Banking to accelerate. Money transfer, government payments, and mobile payment would act like grease to Financial Inclusion’s acceleration. ov

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Tell us about the impact of Six-Sigma method adopted by Integra for banking services. How does it benefit the customer? The systems are evolving in Financial Inclusion and the SixSigma-implementation is expensive in the beginning. We are working in many ways to achieve higher customer satisfaction (confidence, ease of usage, and security). What kind of impact will Jataayu’s vision of ‘unwiring the Internet’ have on banking sector. Jataayu has been acquired by Bharti Telesoft (BT). BT is working on Mobile Commerce. I am confident that Bharti Telesoft would take advantage of innovations and innovative people of Jataayu to offer innovations in Mobile Commerce. Integra is working on Financial Inclusion for ‘excluded people’ and doorstep banking for ‘included people’. Our terminals are Connectivity Media Agnostic – GSM/CDMA/ PSTN/WiMax/WLAN or wired. Our terminals also act as mini kiosks or wall mounted system, as well addressing the variety of needs of the people. Share your views about the future of e-Banking and mobile banking in India. When we say India – it has over 55% illiterate people with multiple dialects and habitats in difficult terrain spread over huge boundaries. Majority of its people would like to transact in small amounts - 25 cents or a dollar only. The number of accounts would be largest in the world after inclusion. Given these facts, I believe our systems have to cater to our masses and socio-economics of people. We need to innovate and build the systems that suit our people! It may be interesting to note that RFID/NFC based smart cards, biometric solutions (finger prints, voice, smell, etc.), multimedia, and telecommunication connectivity, integrated properly, offer good solutions for masses. It is perhaps the first time that new technology is directly useful to poorer cross-sections of the society to begin with. I believe that we will succeed in making banking available to every household in the next five to seven years in the country by continuous innovations in technology and banking systems. This is one area where we as a country can assert our leadership. What are the various challenges that you have faced and you foresee in providing services to banking sector in India? The major challenges faced in providing services to the banking sector in India are: Mindset of people, Process of awarding work (L1 factor), Blind follow-up by banks and state governments. ‘Customer Satisfaction’ onwards to ‘Customer Delight’ How far has this objective of Integra been achieved? We are working towards it. It is a never ending process. We began with research in the area and innovated right solution for banking. It won several awards. We are continuously working on it and would continue to achieve higher scales of delight. 49


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ov egov is a monthly magazine providing a much needed platform to the voices of various stakeholders in the arena of e-Government, apart from being a repository of valuable information and meaningful discussion on issues of e-Governance in general, and eGovernment in particular -both to the specialist and the generalist. Contributions to egov magazine should be in the form of articles, case studies, book reviews, event reports and news related to e-Government projects and initiatives, which are of immense value for practitioners, professionals, corporates and academicians. We would like the contributors to follow these guidelines, while submitting their material for publication.

ARTICLES / CASE STUDIES should not exceed

2500 words. For book reviews and event report, the word limit is 800. AN ABSTRACT of the article/case study not exceeding 200 words should be submitted along with the article/case study. ALL ARTICLES / CASE STUDIES should provide proper references. Authors should give in writing stating that the work is new and has not been published in any form so far. BOOK REVIEWS should include details of the book like the title, name of the author(s), publisher, year of publication, price and number of pages and also send the cover photograph of the book in JPEG/TIFF (resolution 300 dpi). Book reviews of books on e-Governance related themes, published from

year 2002 onwards, are preferable. In case of website, provide the URL. MANUSCRIPTS should be typed in a standard printable font (Times New Roman 12 font size, titles in bold) and submitted either through mail or post. RELEVANT FIGURES of adequate quality (300 dpi) should be submitted in JPEG/ TIFF format. A BRIEF BIO-DATA and passport size photograph(s) of the author(s) must be enclosed. ALL CONTRIBUTIONS ARE SUBJECT TO APPROVAL BY THE PUBLISHER.

Please send in your papers/articles/comments to: The Editor, egov, G-4, Sector 39, NOIDA (UP) 201 301, India. tel: +91 120 2502180-85, fax: +91 120 2500060, email: info@egovonline.net

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NEWS BYTES e-STAMPS TO BECOME A REALITY IN MAHARASHTRA, INDIA

VIETNAM JUMPS TEN SPOTS IN WORLD IT RANKINGS Now Vietnam holds 73rd rank out of 127 countries for information technology (IT), according to the report, produced by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The report analyses how prepared countries are to use ICT on three main elements, ICT environment, the readiness of key stakeholder groups, and the usage of the latest ICT. The report commends the Vietnamese Government’s readiness to both use and benefit from ICT. This crosscountry survey of networked readiness provides useful information for making business decisions and is of additional value to governments wishing to improve their ICT preparedness. Viet Nam was judged on a number of dimensions to produce its overall world ranking. In market environment Viet Nam’s cluster development stands 16th. Long-winded administrative procedures let Vietnam down somewhat with the country coming 47th and 40th in terms of the effectiveness of its lawmaking bodies and contractual procedures. Regarding government usage, Vietnam finished in 37th position.

The Maharashtra Government is planning to introduce an e-Stamping systemfor registration of property documents at the sub-register offices across the state. The state government is planning to introduce the pilot project in the next 15 days and it will be rolled out in a phased manner in rest of Maharashtra. The state government has initiated a series of measures to improve the system for sale of stamps since last four years following the infamous fake stamp paper scam that rocked the country. The e-Stamping system is in line with the e-Governance policy of the state. The move will enable the citizens to download stamp paper at the click of the mouse. The system will also reduce the cost of the stamp paper printing, freight and safe custody. Also, as the system will provide greater control over the sale of stamps, chances of fake stamps getting circulated will get eliminated. In addition, the department will launch a new website which will enable the citizens to carry out valuation of their property on-line and they will be able to calculate the stamp duty required.

BANKING THROUGH MOBILES IN REMOTE AREAS At present, India’s total number of mobile subscribers is around 237 million. However, as only 350 million of India’s population lives in urban areas, the next phase of growth is expected to happen in the rural heartland as the mobile technology has the potential to deliver services to the rural masses. Several initiatives have already been taken by the government and private sector as well as civil societies, in exploring the use of mobile technology in areas such as e-Governance, education and health. An important use of mobile technologies, for the rural masses could be for approaching banks for credit. Mobile based online credit application and processing system would help large number of villagers to access various financial services of banking and insurance sector. Such a system would help in reducing the transaction costs involved in rural credit Menu driven information system in mobile phone would help the villagers to access locally relevant information in a spatial-temporal context. The initiatives could be self-sustaining since agencies like banks, cellular service providers may like to join the initiatives as business strategies.

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GOVERNMENT OF CALIFORNIA (USA) ADOPTS YOUTUBE SERVICES The Government of California has launched the state’s official video channel on YouTube.com. The project, ‘cost-neutral’, would be implemented without any additional funds. The California Government is working with Google to map many of the state’s video playlists on the site. The state’s YouTube content ranges from state employee-created media campaigns, such as the Franchise Tax Board’s ‘Ready Return,’ to the Department of Motor Vehicles’ video montage of the Golden State’s scenic driving routes. The Commonwealth of Virginia, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Marin County, California, all have used the online multimedia service. While CityTV Santa Barbara, a government access channel, joined YouTube in November 2007. Arlington County, Va., started its multimedia content alongside countless consumer video clips earlier this month. California’s other uses include Kids Corner, a Web site with family-friendly state government information, child-appropriate activities and an enhanced search engine for the state’s Web portal. California also has launched a 24-hour online appointment request tool to file complaints of employment and housing discrimination with the Fair Employment and Housing Department.

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EVENT DIARY

2nd Connecting Rural Communities Asia Forums

Last Mile Solutions for Sustainable and Inclusive ICT Connectivity Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) held the 2nd Connecting Rural Communities Asia Forums on ‘Last Mile Solutions for Sustainable and Inclusive ICT Connectivity’ from 15th - 18th April 2008 in Cochin, Kerala, India. The four day event was hosted by the Government of India. Some 150 high level officials attended the conference which includes three ICT Ministers from Afghanistan, Brunei and Sri Lanka. The event was also attended by the top notch operators and service providers and government officials such as BSNL, Nokia Siemens Networks, Ericsson, Airtel, Microsoft, Government of Kerala and Hughes. Some of the other countries represented by delegates include South Africa, Singapore, Amman, Tanzania, Finland, Sweden and Nigeria. The first day of the conference was dedicated as a Special Focus Day on Universal Access. The day started with a panel discussion on Universal Service Obligation for Rural Telecommunications. Dignitaries such as Ajay Bhattacharya, Adminstrator, Universal Service Obligation (USO) Fund, TV Ramachandran, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), Gabriel Solomon, Senior Vice President, GSMA, Yogesh Kocchar, Head, e-Governance Unit, Tata Tele-Services were present on the occasion to discuss the issues related to USO Fund. Bob H Lyazi, Fund Manager, Uganda Communications Commission chaired the session. India is seen as a leading example for mobile communications in the world. It is estimated that by 2010, we will reach 500 million subscribers in terms of variety of wireless technologies. The conference saw the discussion over the 3As for providing rural connectivity – Access, Affordability and Application. Speaking on the occasion Ajay Bhattacharya, Adminstrator, Universal Service Obligation (USO) Fund said that, “In terms of tele-density India has moved far ahead of what was projected for 2010”. It is predicted that with the current level of 240 million subscribers will be doubled within less than two years. Ajay Bhattacharya further said that, “There are 7, 800 towers which are being laid out across the country”. The panel agreed on the stand that the main focus of the service providers, operators and other key stakeholders should be the end users. The panel also discussed at length the need for better utilisation of the USO Fund with a special need to finance last mile connectivity. 52 }

The event saw many interesting presentations from Microsoft on Project Shiksha. Jayalakshmi Chitoor from Centre for Science Development and Media Studies (CSDMS) reflected upon e-Governance. According to Chitoor, e-Governance implies spectrum of varied things in terms of technology such as mobile and broadband having inter linkages in providing ICT for development – education, micro-credit etc. Issues such as Rural Commerce were raised at length as well. It was observed that mobile phones as a concept is still very expensive for many people. There is also a need for some regulation in Rural Commerce given the complexity of telecom and banking services. Happy Village Project of the Andhra Pradesh Technology Services Limited is one success story where there has been application of ICT in rural areas in a successful way. Development oriented concepts such as capacity building were discussed as well. Commenting on capacity building Alaknanda Rao of Anudip Foundation for Social Welfare stated, “Connectivity parse is not sufficient. It has to be sustained with capacity building in order to benefit the end user”. A case study on hand set financing by Dr. Karen Koppock, Vital Consultancy Services revealed the fact that most of the unconnected is in the emerging markets in the developing world. There are 5.5 million people in these emerging markets and 75% are in India and China. The special need for these market is the requirement for basic needs in handsets. The formal opening ceremony was on the second day www.egovonline.net

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with the lighting of the lamp by Hon. Minister Mahinda Wijesekara, Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Sri Lanka, Engineer A. Sangin, Minister of Communications, Afghanistan, Dato Yussoff Hamid, Deputy Minister of Communications, Brunei Darussalam, Ajay Bhattacharya, Adminstrator, Universal Service Obligation (USO) Fund and B K Syngal, Former Chairman, CTO. There were welcome address given by Bashir Patel, Director Programmes and Business Development, CTO and K S Srinivasan, CGMT, BSNL, Kerala. In the welcome address given by B K Syngal said that 70% of the population lives in sub-urban areas with a dependence upon the rural economy. The effort to connect rural communities is an important issue for ICT operatives in Asia, as regulators, governments and other stakeholders see the urgency of harnessing ICTs to bridge the digital divide and further create new market opportunities for the private sector in Asia. Sangin, Minister of Communications & IT, Afghanistan presented the progress of his country in terms of telecommunications. It is remarkable that the country is adding 2 lakh new users every month with 60,000 people working in the telecom industry. The ministers from Brunei and Srilanka presented their country profile in terms of the tele-density and mentioned how India is a leading example for them. During the session and the discussions thereafter, it was discussed that there should be a USO Fund Association which would enable proper management and utilisation of these funds. Giving an overview from a national operator’s perspective, Kuldeep Goyal, Chairman and Managing Director of BSNL highlighted some of the connectivity issues in India. He said that last mile solutions in India is a major issue in hand. BSNL’s role in this regard has been immense. He said- “BSNL is providing connection to more the 80% of the rural population in India”. He stated that “there is an increase in the broadband roll-out from 42% to 50%. There is a great oppourtunity in India for cellular operators and service providers”. Technology has a huge role to play in terms of rural connectivity and providing socio-economic empowerment. George Paul, General Manager Marketing and Strategy, Ericsson showcased their Gramjyoti Project. Ericsson has successfully used mobile broadband technology for providing various services in terms of education, health, etc. and providing socio-economic empowerment to the people. There was also a panel discussion on bridging the digital divide through coordination between the private sector, foundations, NGOs, and bilateral and multilateral agencies. Vikram Manchanda from Microsoft mentioned how a PPP model can help in bridging the digital gap. As a diplomatic inter-governmental ICT organisation, the CTO has assembled regulators, Ministers of Communications and ICT giants to map rural connectivity in this explosive, high-growth market. The forum outlined the latest elements of rural ICT developments, while creating networking opportunities for the industry elite from across the value chain. The last day of the conference saw discussions on issues such as telecommunications in rural India, rural IT, key rural connectivity projects, wireless mesh, ICT and the environment. Tele-density in rural areas is very low. The speakers in the ov

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various sessions discussed the challenges in providing rural connectivity such as creation of localised content, breaking the customer mind-set, lack of infrastructure, high investments and low returns, etc. Speaking on the occasion Anirban Ghosh of Airtel spoke about the Value Added Services (VAS) such as information about crop prices, crop diseases etc. that the company is offering in rural areas. According to A N Rai of BSNL, in rural areas apart from telecom operators, there is a need to develop other business models that can help and compliment the capacity of the ICT. N K Goyal, President, Communications and Manufacturing Association of India, spoke about the issues of electronic wastes and IT and the need to bring awareness in this regard. Nokia Siemens Networks’ Village Connection rural project raised three crucial aspects for connectivity – access, motivation and competence. Ericsson’s rural project highlighted the major issues in terms of rural connectivity as the transmission and power amongst a host of other challenges. Commenting on the success of the conference, the CEO of CTO said: “In our view at the CTO, the central challenge facing the development community in the ICT arena is how to connect the unconnected. In most developing countries, the unconnected are in the rural areas, hence the critical importance of our series of conferences in Africa and Asia on connecting rural communities. These events have been very helpful to our member governments, ICT regulators and industry executives in appreciating the right combination of policies, legislation, regulation, operational strategies, unique business models, innovative financing mechanisms and other local ownership and management arrangements that make rural connectivity initiatives sustainable.” The event was concluded with a workshop on 3G conducted by Nokia Siemens Networks. Overall, the event was successful in discussing some of the key issues in terms of rural connectivity such as the utilisation of the USO Fund, challenges in providing last mile solutions, some of the successful projects which can serve as an example for other ventures in rural connectivity. It is also laudable to bring in the different perspectives of the stakeholders such as the operators, service providers, government agencies etc. on a single platform for meaningful networking among them. 53


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EVENT DIARY

5th National Summit Serving the Common Man Through e-Governance

e-Governance for Responsive Government The 5th National Summit Serving the Common Man Through e-Governance: Sharing of Experience, the premiere annual event of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) on e-Governance in India was successfully organised by ASSOCHAM in alliance with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India and Centre for e-Governance on 18th April 2008 at New Delhi. Welcoming the participants Amit Dev, Co-Chairman ASSOCHAM committee said that every citizen is the objective of ASSOCHAM and for realising the objective of being a Knowledge Society, technology should reach the common man. Delivering the Chief Guest address Mani Shankar Aiyar, Union Minister for Panchayati Raj and Development of North-Eastern Region called for a more integral relationship between the citizens and the administrators and percolation of responsibilities to all levels. He said, “responsiveness to ordinary people at all levels is possible through eGovernance.” He gave a call for simple solutions, use of local language in official and policy documents and cutting down of administrative expenses. He further said, that “e-Governance at Panchayat level will empower 800 million Indians to build their own lives and unequal society can be made equal.” The Minister was critical towards the Finance Ministry and the Planning Commission for delaying the sanction of INR 60000 million for e-Governance projects of his Ministry. R. Chandrasekhar, Additional Secretary, Department of Information Tehnology (DIT), Government of India presenting the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) perspective said that “by the end of the current financial year digital service platforms would be operational in most of the states and are already functioning in states like Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu etc. Siddharth, Principal Secretary DIT & Biotechnology, Government of West Bengal highlighted the advantages of e-Governance initiatives in education, health, panchayats and police. He said lack of personnel with appropriate aptitude is a concern in Capacity Building under NeGP. Presenting the Industry perspective Pranav Roach, President, Hughes Network Systems said e-Governance refers to new styles of leadership, new ways of decision making, new ways of interaction, organisation and delivering information to the common man. Chairing the first technical session: ‘Strategies and Framework for e-Governance,’ Aruna Sundarrajan, CEO (e-Gov), IL&FS said that comprehensive delivery of services to rural people need a concerted effort of all. Jaijit Bhattacharya, Country Director, Sun Microsystems speaking on Next Generation Government Data Centres said that data 54 }

centres are the backbone of the service delivery structure. Speaking on ‘Servicing the Common Man- strategies for G2C,’ J. Satyanarayana, CEO, NISG raised strategic questions: what services to offer, how to ensure citizen-friendliness, with what resources and how to ensure sustainability. Niraj Prakash, GM, SAP was of the opinion that evolution of IT capabilities and Government processes should go hand in hand. Chairing the second technical session: ‘State Initiatives on e-Governance’ Alok Bardhan Chaturvedi, Secretary, Bihar State Electronics Development Corporation Limited (BELTRON), said that Bihar is making rapid progress on e-Governance front. Amod Kumar, Special Secretary, IT in Uttar Pradesh presented the vision which intends the whole state Government to undergo transformation in the coming five to ten years. Large population, mindset of the Government employees, Illiteracy, infrastructure etc. are among the challenges being experienced in U.P. M.K.Yadav, M.D., Assam Electronics Development Corporation Limited (AMTRON), said geographical remoteness, vagaries of the nature and communication bottlenecks are impeding the progress under NeGP in Assam. Abhishek Singh, SecretaryIT, Nagaland stated that though, Nagaland is a slow starter NeGP will be implemented in the next two years inspite of the challenges. Dr. Tarun Seem, Director, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Gopalakrishna Palakkil, VP, Wipro (Government & Defence vertical), Amit Dev, Director, Time Broadband Services Ltd., K. Tirupataiah, Special Commissioner, Rural Development, Andhra Pradesh presented their vision and shared their experience during the third technical session which focussed on ‘Government of India’s Policy Initiative’ chaired by Ajay Bhattacharya, Administrator, USOF. Chairing the valedictory session Ajeer Vidya, V.P., Indepay, emphasised on the need for evaluation of the progress. www.egovonline.net

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May 2008

protecting against malware, Trojans, DoS attacks, malicious code transmission, backdoor activity and blended threats. It offers the most comprehensive, zero-hour protection to organizations in combination with the Cyberoam Firewall, Gateway Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware, Anti-Spam and Content Filtering services. Minimising Loss through Content Filtering Cyberoam Content Filtering controls Internet access by blocking unauthorised websites through its comprehensive database of millions of sites segregated into more than 68 categories. WebCat, Cyberoam’s automated web categorization engine has one of the industry’s best and most comprehensive URL database to protect enterprises against emerging threats. Optimizing Public Sector Infrastructure with Cyberoam Cyberoam’s user identity-based bandwidth management allows optimum utilization of bandwidth by preventing bandwidth congestion. Organisations receive committed, burstable bandwidth, preventing non-critical applications from degrading network performance in addition to gaining control over investment in bandwidth. Moreover, Cyberoam Multiple Link Manager enables enterprises to control traffic over multiple WAN links by delivering comprehensive traffic management capability and optimizing the links. Making Security Efforts Visible with Cyberoam Intelligent Reporting Cyberoam offers the most comprehensive enterprise-wide and individual user identity-based reporting on its CR appliances in the form of real-time analytical reports that are concise and ready-to-interpret. User identity-based reporting plays a critical role in meeting regulatory compliance and audit requirements. By taking the user identity beyond authentication into the network, Cyberoam offers a range of identity-based reports, including broad overview as well as drill down information related to user activity and threat incidence. 55


7 Tracks 50 Countries 75 Thematic Sessions 200 Companies 4,000 Delegates

29 - 31 July 2008 Pragati Maidan, New Delhi

Co-organiser

Organisers

knowledge for change

Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communications & IT Government of India

UN Global Alliance for ICT and Development

Supporting partners

The World Bank e-Thematic Group

eINDIA2008 Thematic Tracks

eINDIA2008 Exhibitors

Call for Papers! The organisers invite papers for the egov conference. Abstracts should be submitted at www.eINDIA.net.in/abstract. For sponsorship and exhibition enquiry, contact: Gautam Navin (+91-9818125257), egov@eINDIA.net.in

www.eINDIA.net.in



Mobility:Creating a world of Opportunities: May 2008 Issue