Archive - Sep 2010

Date
  • All
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
  • 27
  • 28
  • 29
  • 30

September 26th

ITU/UNESCO: Broadband Commission releases its outcome report

Title: ITU/UNESCO: Broadband Commission releases its outcome report
Source: The United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS)
Publisher: United Nations
Date (published): 20/09/2010
Date (accessed): 26/09/2010
Type of information: press release
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"On the eve of the MDG Summit, the Broadband Commission for Digital Development released its outcome report A 2010 Leadership Imperative: The Future Built on Broadband. The report calls on global leaders to ensure that more than half of all of the world’s people have access to broadband networks by 2015, and to make access to high-speed networks a basic civil right. It also includes a High-Level Declaration calling for “Broadband Inclusion for All.”

The report was presented to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during a side event held in conjunction with the Summit. ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré, speaking at the 19 September launch, said, “Broadband is the next tipping point, the next truly transformational technology. It can generate jobs, drive growth and productivity, and underpin long-term economic competitiveness. It is also the most powerful tool we have at our disposal in our race to meet the Millennium Development Goals, which are now just five years away.”

Mr. Ban noted the power of technology to inject new impetus into the development paradigm. “Information and communication technologies are playing an increasingly important role as drivers of social and economic development, but it will take partnerships such as the Broadband Commission to ensure that those technologies live up to their extraordinary potential,” he stressed. “The Commission’s report is an important contribution to our efforts to ensure that the benefits of information and communication technology can further the United Nations goals of peace, security or development for all.”

The report includes a detailed framework for broadband deployment and ten action points aimed at mobilizing a wide range of stakeholders and convincing government leaders to prioritize the roll-out of broadband networks to their citizens."

Mobile Phones Connect Ugandan Farmers to Agricultural Information

Title: Mobile Phones Connect Ugandan Farmers to Agricultural Information
Author : Phillip Kurata
Source: America.gov
Publisher: Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State
Date (published): 20/09/2010
Date (accessed): 26/09/2010
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"“My goat is sick. Its neck is swollen. It can’t eat,” an old woman in a remote village in Uganda said. She spoke to a man passing by with a mobile phone.

“Let me see if I can help,” said Laban Rutagumirwa.

He sent off a text message that read “goat bloat.” The message went to an agriculture information service devised by the Grameen Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. A response came back shortly with instructions to mix a half kilo of rock salt with a liter of water and have the goat drink it. Two weeks later, Rutagumirwa was passing through the village and came across the old woman. She happily reported that her goat had recovered.

The woman was lucky that the passerby was Rutagumirwa. He is one of about 140 employees of the Community Knowledge Worker program that is bringing “relevant, actionable information” to poor, remote farmers in Uganda, according to David Edelstein, the Grameen Foundation’s technology center director.

The program started in 2009 in Uganda’s Bushenyi and Mbale districts. Trusted local residents, such as farmers, agriculture extension workers, shopkeepers and school teachers, were trained to disseminate and gather information about agriculture using mobile phones. The workers help the Ugandan farmers treat not only sick goats, but also blighted bananas, coffee berry bacterial infections, discolored tomatoes and other plant and livestock problems. In addition, the mobile phone-equipped workers have put farmers in touch with markets and weather forecasts"

Internet bandwidth prices cut to half in Ghana

Title: Internet bandwidth prices cut to half in Ghana
Author Editor:
Source: My IT Ghana
Date (published): 24/09/2010
Date (accessed): 26/09/2010
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"The National Communication Backbone Company (NCBC) has reduced the wholesale prices at which it sells international and national bandwidth capacity to Internet Service Providers (ISP) by half as other international bandwidth providers enter the market, B&FT has gathered.
NCBC, which manages the SAT3 on behalf of Vodafone and the national broadband fibre-optic cable, has since the beginning of this month dropped the US$4,500 price tag at which it sells ... to ISPs to US$2,100.
Additionally, the average national bandwidth price has also dropped by about 53% amidst fears the existing carriers may lose customers ahead of the new cables landing in the country...
The fears, however, is that even as the wholesale prices of both international and national bandwidth drop, ISPs, who provide internet services to homes and offices, will keep their prices still high in an attempt to milk the consumer as cut down prices may not reflect at the retail level."
via http://twitter.com/phat_controller

5 ways ICTs can support the MDGs

Title: 5 ways ICTs can support the MDGs
Author Editor: Linda Raftree
Source: Wait… What? blog
Date (published): 17/09/2010
Date (accessed): 26/09/2010
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"I’ll be speaking on a panel called ICT4D, Innovations and the MDGs next week during UN Week in New York and another on Girls and Mobiles hosted by Mobile Active. So, I’ve been putting together my thoughts around girls, child rights, ICTs and the MDGs. The angle I’m taking is not from the large donor, top down, huge institutional program side, but instead, looking at examples from the work I’ve been closest to over the past few years at the community and district level, mostly focused on child and youth participation in the development process...I’m listing below 5 ways that ICTs can facilitate accountability and transparency, citizen engagement, and public debate, all of which are necessary to bring about development improvements and achieve the MDGs. Obviously these are not the only ways ICTs can support the MDGs, but this post would have been miles long if I’d listed all the initiatives that are out there."

Because I am a Girl 2010: Girls and ICTs

Title: Because I am a Girl 2010: Girls and ICTs
Author: Linda Raftree
Source: Wait… What? blog
Date (published): 22/09/2010
Date (accessed): 26/09/2010
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"The urban and digital environments are the 21st century’s fastest-growing spheres. Both offer enormous potential for girls around the world, but prejudice and poverty exclude millions of girls from taking advantages of the transformative possibilities that cities and information and communication technologies (ICTs) can offer. Exploitation and the threat of violence exist in both urban spaces and in cyberspace, especially for the most marginalized and vulnerable girls.

Since 2007, Plan has published annual reports on the state of the world’s girls. The 2010 ‘Because I am a Girl report’ is called Digital and Urban Frontiers: Girls in a Changing Landscape. It focuses on girls in these two rapidly expanding spaces: the urban and the digital."
The report is downloadable from the above address.

From euphoria to pragmatism: The experience and the potentials of eHealth in Asia

Title: From euphoria to pragmatism: The experience and the potentials of eHealth in Asia
Author: Ranmalee Gamage
Source: LIRNEasia
Date (published): 22/09/2010
Date (accessed): 26/09/2010
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"The public lecture entitled, ‘From euphoria to pragmatism: The experience and the potentials of eHealth in Asia’ was held at The Sri Lanka Medical Association on 14 September 2010.

The lecture was on eHealth, which is being adapted widely, from primary to tertiary healthcare in many countries.. Especially, using more appropriate and relevant technologies, such as mobile technologies in tele-health and health informatics.

Dr. Angelo Ramos, a physician by training and an expert in public health education and promotion began with a presentation on From Euphoria to Pragmatism: The experience and potentials of eHealth in Asia. He pointed out that a vast expanse of research on eHealth has been conducted in developed countries. He emphasized the benefits of eHealth and how governments and other stakeholders can help to improve it."

Counting Internet Users and calculating divides

Title: Counting Internet Users and calculating divides
Author: Rohan Samarajiv
Source: LIRNEasia
Date (published): 22/09/2010
Date (accessed): 26/09/2010
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"The ITU dataset is the mother lode, mined by all. But sometimes, it is good to interrogate the quality of what the ITU produces. The most recent instance of ITU data being subject to sophisticated analysis without any attention being paid to the quality of the data is by noted ICT4D scholar, Richard Heeks.

In a previous essay, Heeks interrogated the numbers emanating from the ITU on “mobile subscriptions.” It is a pity the same was not done in the recent piece on Internet and broadband.

For example, the ITU reports that Afghanistan had 2,000 Internet subscriptions and 1,000,000 Internet users, indicating the use of a multiplier of 500. In other words, the Afghan administration is asking us to believe that each Internet connection is used by 500 people, in addition to asking us to accept nice round numbers on the subscriptions indicator.

This illustrates the biggest weakness of the ITU’s definition of an Internet User: each national administration is allowed to use a multiplier of its choice to derive the number of Internet users from the number of Internet subscribers, in the absence of demand-side surveys, the first-best way of obtaining the indicator. No low-income countries have reported demand-side survey results. Therefore, the Internet user numbers reported by the ITU are tainted by the use of arbitrary multipliers such as the 500 used by Afghanistan (this is the most outrageous multiplier we found; most are more reasonable). But the point is that it is wrong to permit national administrations which may have incentives to look good in terms of Internet connectivity to use multipliers without any rational basis. LIRNEasia is in the process of developing a practical solution to the problem of the multiplier that will be published shortly."

See:
Global ICT Statistics on Internet Usage, Mobile, Broadband: 1998-2009 by Richard Heeks

Global ICT Statistics on Internet Usage, Mobile, Broadband: 1998-2009

Title: Global ICT Statistics on Internet Usage, Mobile, Broadband: 1998-2009
Author: Richard Heeks
Source: ICTs for development blog
Date (published): 16/09/2010
Date (accessed): 26/09/2010
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"How are ICT diffusion rates changing over time in different parts of the world?
...
For Internet, it will be 2019 before the poorest countries reach the 50 users per 100 level that the richest countries were at in 2002; a digital lag of 17 years. For broadband, it will be 2020 before the poorest countries reach the 15 users per 100 level that the richest countries were at in 2005; a digital lag of 15 years (but with a wide margin for error, and calculated only on 2008-to-2009 growth rates). Put another way, there are no signs yet of the digital lag for Internet or broadband closing over time, and not much evidence for the idea that digital lag is shortening with each new ICT innovation."

11 concerns about ICTs and ‘social media for social good’

Title: 11 concerns about ICTs and ‘social media for social good’
Author: Linda Raftree
Source: Wait… What? blog
Date (published): 18/09/2010
Date (accessed): 26/09/2010
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"...on ways that ICTs (information and communication technologies) and poor or questionable use of ICTs and social media can hinder development.

It’s not really the fault of the technology. ICTs are tools, and the real issues lie behind the tools — they lie with people who create, market and use the tools. People cannot be separated from cultures and societies and power and money and politics. And those are the things that tend to hinder development, not really the ICTs themselves. However the combination of human tendencies and the possibilities ICTs and social media offer can can sometimes lead us down a shaky path to development or actually cause harm to the people that we are working with."

September 6th

Mobile-Phone Farming

Title: Mobile-Phone Farming
Author: Devin Banerjee
Source: WSJ.com
Publisher: The Wall Street Journal, Asia
Date (published): 24/08/2010
Date (accessed): 06/09/2010
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
Which pesticide will protect my crops?

It's a question most farmers in insect-ridden rural India ask themselves or their neighbors. But it's also a question to which very few have the correct answer.

What's the best fertilizer? How do you get rid of bugs? India's farmers long had only their neighbors to turn to. A mobile platform by Tata Consultancy Services is changing that, providing personalized advice through low-end handsets.

That was the inspiration behind mKRISHI, a platform developed by Tata Consultancy Services to provide personalized advice to Indian farmers on low-end mobile phones. TCS, an Asian Innovation Awards finalist, spent two years studying farming patterns in rural India and developing methods to connect farmers to agricultural experts, with the belief that technology could jump-start some of India's seemingly ancient agricultural practices.

"It appears that there is a last-mile gap between farmers and agricultural experts," said Arun Pande, the head of TCS Innovation Labs and the leader behind mKRISHI. "In the absence of correct information and advice which is specific to him, the farmer relies on what other farmers do—or on his traditional wisdom."

In 2007, Mr. Pande traveled through different parts of rural India to meet farmers and understand their business. After listening to their concerns—Will it rain enough in my village this season? Will my crop catch my neighbor's crop disease? Where can I take out a loan?—he saw the opportunity to grow that business by providing personalized responses to such questions.