|the-south-asian.com DECEMBER 2001|
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DECEMBER 2001 Contents
Page 2 of 10
Telecom & Software - Trends & Future in South Asia
- Bitter Harvest of Ignorance .
The Telecom sector in India and
Pakistan has consisted of the sole monopoly of the industry in the public
sector / government bureaucrats' hands. These in turn were dominated by
European Telephone Switch manufacturers monopolies - primarily Siemens ,
Policies such as the prevention
of putting Fax machines on the telephone lines were in effect upto1980 in
Pakistan. Small business telephone exchanges were not allowed to be used
without permission from the Telecom authorities. Ironically when Fax
machines were allowed in Pakistan , Telecom revenues jumped as trade
related Fax traffic with Japan and the West exploded.
in 1994 An Engineer in the Lahore Telecom Circle was not aware that a
modem could be used on a telephone line to transmit data.
The last stand of these
bodies is the prevention of the Internet Telephony technology called
Voice over Internet Protocol [ VO-IP]. This technology is still being
resisted as it would eat into the major portion of the International
long-distance revenues of the South Asian National PTTs. In 1995 a call
from Lahore to Karachi cost the same as a call to London , U.K..
Long distance revenues were used
by PTTs in South Asian countries to subsidise local calls. Again the
situation is similar to the banning of Fax machines - lack of foresight ,
vision that volumes are the key to a business that is a commodity now.
Similarly in the case of the
allocation and selling of the wireless spectrum , arguments are still
given by these Institutions about the national defence and security issues
in an age when the introduction of encryption technologies makes nonsense
of this line of reasoning. Valuable wealth making opportunities are being
lost as time goes by and mindless ignorant and backward looking officials avoid making changes that can release our people from poverty
and offer hope and opportunity very much as Grameen Telecom has done in
Bangladesh. [ see The-South_Asian ---- issue
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