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 Monday, January 08, 2007

Dear ITU-D SG2 Rapportuer?s Group Q10-2/2 members,

A Happy New Year and Best Wishes for 2007 to all of you.

By the kind invitation of Indonesian Administration, RGQ10-2/2 will hold the meeting in Badung 26-27 March 2007 together with the workshop on ?disaster communications? 28 March, and RGQ22-2/2 on ?disaster communications? 29-30 March.

Taking this opportunity , I would like to invite you to actively participate in the e-discussion which was approved by the last ITU-D SG2 meeting in autumn 2006. Also I would encourage you to contribute case studies to the forthcoming meeting using the format in the following ITU-D website http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/CDS/gq/sgq10-2-2.html as approved by the said SG2 meeting. Your input could make the forthcoming meeting productive and beneficial. Indonesian Administration is now collaborating with BDT for facilitating as many delegates as possible to participate in the meeting including provision of fellowship for the LDC participants.

The following is the new arrangements to facilitate the e-discussion members to participates in the e-discussion on 10 different topics authorized by the SG2 meeting(Ref. SG2 and RGQ10 report http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/study_groups/SGP_2006-2010/SG2/SG2-index.html ). Mr. Yukio Miyoshi(contracted consultant with the BDT e-strategy unit) and myself in collaboration with IT department of BDT and under the support of Mr. Alexander Ntoko are promoting e-discussion according to the work plan of the Q10-2/2 for the period of 2006-2010.

Q10 Group has the web log page at http://www.itu.int/ituweblogs/ITU-D-SG2-Q10/ since last year. Some of the participants to E-discussion might find using the web log not appropriate for their working environment. Access speed to the internet is insufficient, or may not check the web log pages frequently.

We established a E-mail distribution address, q10fora@pj9.so-net.ne.jp, for automatic distributions of your inputs to all participants. These inputs could be a simple opinion, an input to be posted on the Weblog, or any other e-mail, so long as those documents are supposed to be read by the E-discussion participants. Please do not send e-mails which are personal or intended to be received by the part of the E-discussion group, because the redistribution of your e-mail through q10fora@pj9.so-net.ne.jp is automatic.

E-mails thus sent to the above address will be distributed to the current participants of about 70 people, including your e-mail address. The contents will be later posted on the Q10 web log page by administrator (Mr. Miyoshi). If these automatic mails should be sent to your different E-mail address or if you prefer not to receive it, please let me know at kawasumi-yasuhiko@s3.dion.ne.jp.

This new feature will supplement the Weblog functions for easy confirmation of what discussion is going on. Also we expect this facilitates exchange of opinions by using normal e-mail correspondence method among all the registered participants.

 

Yasuhiko KAWSUMI

Rapporteur for Q10-2/2 on ?Telecommunications for Rural and Remote Areas?

kawasumi-yasuhiko@s3.dion.ne.jp

(Yukio Miyoshi, Contracted administrator, ymiyoshi@pj9.so-net.ne.jp)

Monday, January 08, 2007 10:21:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
 Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Topic 2: Developing Support for Small Businesses

Posting 2

Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Alankar Bandyopadhyay, Sangamitra Ramachander, Anuradha Ramachandran,

 

Introduction:
The opening thread discussion was on how to better integrate ICTs in existing small businesses in rural areas, and also aimed to generate new ideas for businesses in remote locations using such infrastructure. Small businesses become especially relevant in the context of bringing about income generation in rural areas. Some relevant areas for discussion have been put forth below, and we look forward to a response from participants in this forum.

 

Outsourcing as a means for rural income-generation:

In many production sectors, it is found that urban areas are becoming increasingly saturated, and the cost of labor is rising. On the other hand, rural areas pose a significant opportunity, due to the sheer size of the work force available, and the lower associated costs. If the labor in rural areas were provided the requisite skills through training and given orders to execute, this would result in a generation of employment and income in these areas. The increase in the purchasing power of this population would also result in the creation of a formidable market for the services and products produced in urban areas. Therefore there are gains to the entire economy, both of rural and urban areas, by such outsourcing activity.

 

Outsourcing activity would be unthinkable in the absence of a well-functioning system of communication, which allows interaction and control at every stage of production. Specifically, ICTs can help in the setting up of a production unit at a distant location and play a prominent role in initial training, quality assessment and remote monitoring of progress.

 

Areas for discussion:

The following are some important questions pertaining to the practical implementation of outsourcing efforts to rural areas:

 

  • Would urban-based entrepreneurs be interested and willing to outsource production to a remote location using ICTs, which in turn wouldn?t necessitate their physical presence at these locations?
  • What would be the concerns of urban entrepreneurs, if any, pertaining to rural infrastructure including power, transport, communication, etc?
  • What are the production areas where such outsourcing is feasible? Feasibility is determined by certain key criteria such as whether the production skills can be imparted to a rural work force, so that they are able to deliver high quality products as per the deadlines.
  • What is the potential cost advantage accrued to the producer over time, if any, as a result of outsourcing?

Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Topic 2


WE LOOK FORWARD TO AN ACTIVE DISCUSSION.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 1:39:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [1]  | 
 Thursday, November 10, 2005

 

Topic 2: Developing Support for Small Businesses

Opening Thread

Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Sangamitra Ramachander, Anuradha Ramachandran, Alankar Bandopadhyay

 

Small Businesses in India

The best-known examples of ?small businesses? that have scaled successfully in the Indian context, including to rural areas, are the Standard Trunk Dialing - Public Call Office (STD-PCO) business and the Cable TV business. Both are instances of micro-franchisees that involve small entrepreneurs who provide telephony and cable TV services respectively to a local geography. While the telephony model involves the aggregation of demand in a particular area, the latter model involves provision of cable TV services to individual homes in a region. The STD-PCO model evolved in the late-Eighties and the Cable TV model emerged in the early Nineties and both saw a rapid growth including to rural and remote areas.

The success in these two examples can be attributed to certain distinctive features of the business models. The services were provided by entrepreneurs from the locality, who were able to provide personalized service and were capable of responding to local demand. Moreover, the entrepreneurs were willing to provide the services round-the-clock and through the year, including on Sundays and holidays. This was important because given the nature of telephony and television consumption, these services tended to have a high use on holidays in particular. 

In 1994 there were fewer than 10 million telephone connections in the country and the penetration level was only about 1%. With the success of the STD-PCOs, access to telephone connections by the majority increased in an unprecedented manner. Today, STD-PCOs collectively account for a quarter of the total revenues from telephony services in the country. This proved that the ?small business? model, although micro in terms of individual impact, could create an enormous impact at an aggregated level.

The Kiosk as a Small Business

The situation with regard to the Internet in Indian today is similar to that of telephony in the early Nineties, with penetration levels of only about 2%. Inspired by the success of the STD-PCO and Cable Television business models, in more recent times a newer model has emerged for the delivery of Internet services to rural areas. One of the approaches, created by n-Logue Communications, uses a three-tier model for delivery of rural Internet services. On the top-tier is n-Logue, a city based company, which is the Internet Service Provider, creating and managing a network of wireless rural Internet kiosks. Tier two is a Local Service Partner, who co-invests with the company in setting up the requisite infrastructure at the district (county) level to provide last-mile connectivity to the villages. Tier three consists of the kiosks that are owned and operated by local entrepreneurs in the village, who interface directly with the village population. The model is therefore similar to the STD-PCO, involving local aggregation of demand by entrepreneurs.

The kiosk is the hub of rural Internet connectivity providing communication services (e-mail, chat, browsing), and also provides other ICT-enabled services in the fields of education and healthcare, agriculture and e-governance. The total cost of setting up a kiosk is about $1000. The kiosk consists of a wall set to receive signals, a PC with a 15? color monitor, peripherals including speaker, microphone, CD-ROM, digital camera, inkjet printer and sound card, power back-up, cabling and an application suite consisting of word-processing, browsing and email software all in the local language as well as English. The kiosk operator is funded through bank loans to a maximum in the range of $700 to $800, and needs to earn about $70 to $80 per month to break even.

The Importance of the Kiosk Business

 

The kiosk today provides critical communication infrastructure to the village where no other options exist today. Such communication infrastructure is used to provide essential services in the areas of health, education, e-governance and the like, which improve the quality of life in rural areas. The communication infrastructure also has the potential to provide access to critical business inputs such as raw materials, finance, insurance and market access and can therefore serve as a platform to spawn other businesses. (The importance of the kiosk from both these perspectives will be discussed in detail in the subsequent postings).

 

Given the unique and powerful role that the kiosk can play in the rural economy, it is important as a first step that the kiosk business itself is made robust such that it can scale. Accordingly, our first contribution throws open the following points for discussion.

 

 

Points for Discussion

 

-         What are the ICT needs of small businesses in rural areas? In what creative ways can such infrastructure be used by these businesses?

-         What steps can we take to better integrate the kiosk ICT infrastructure with the needs of small businesses in rural areas?

-         What are some new ideas for rural small businesses? (In particular, ones that can be developed around the kiosk infrastructure).

 

Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Topic 2 Facilitator

 

Thursday, November 10, 2005 2:48:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [1]  | 
 Monday, October 31, 2005

Document Submission Procedures
for E-discussion forum forQ10-1/2
"Communications for rural and remote areas"

10 October 2005

1 General
E-discussion forum for Question 10-1/2 on the topics as defined by ITU-D Doc. 2/283 Rev1
has been approved by the ITU-D SG2 meeting in September 2005 and will be conducted by
the support of the focal point for Question 10-1/2, i.e. the BDT Secretariat E-strategies
Unit-IsAP Programme 3.  It will continue until the next WTDC-06.
E-discussion forum will be mainly conducted via internet on the weblog page of ITU-D
website. To participate in the e-discussion forum, it is requested to register and submit their
names, e-mai address, etc. to the e-strategy unit of the ITU BDT by the application form as
attached. E-discussion forum is conducted by the following registered participants withthe
roles as defined below;facilitators, authors, general participants and the administrator.The
method of conducting the e-discussion and contact information for inquiries and posting
inputs are also given below.

Topic 1: Community Development
Topic 2: Developing Support for Small Businesses
Topic 3: Rural technology for Social infrastructure-
Topic 4: Emergency Support & Disaster Mitigation
Topic 5: Sustainability/Reliability/Effectiveness
Topic 6: Environmental Monitoring / Protection
Topic 7: Economical Viability
Topic 8: Any Other Comment

2 Facilitator
- Leads the discussion by contributing periodic entries(inputs) on his Topic and posting them
on the forum site.
- Checks comments given by participants on his/her entry.
- Reviews the documents contributed by Authors and post them on the forum site.
- Reviews and authorizes the documents contributed by Participants. Post the authorized
documents on the forum site.
- produces the final report on the topic of his/her responsibility as output of the
E-discussions.
- Coordinate with Administrator and members for the topic of his/her responsibility

3 Author
- Actively join the discussions by contributing entries. Authors are authorized to post the
entries, by sending them to the facilitator for the topic.

4 Participants
- Participants are registered members of the E-discussion forum for each topic.  They need to represent ITU-D members.

- Facilitators and Authors are also participants.

- Participants read the entries for each topic and make comments and send them to the facilitators concerned or may post them directly on the forum page concerned. Participant may, if so wishes,  also contribute a full input by sending his document to the topic Facilitator for his review, approval and posting as an entry.

5 Administrator
- Coordinate the activities with Facilitators, ITU BDT E-strategies Unit and Rapporteur,  for
smooth running of the E-discussion forum, including the maintenance  of weblog software.

6 Method of posting entries(Inputs)

At the start, we will use the method (1), a manual method, which is the easiest for Facilitator. 
Other methods could be used as options to choose by Facilitator, when they are available
without problems.(at this moment they are being tested)

Alternative 1)  Posting by Administrator
- Facilitator simply sends the document by e-mail to Administrator at:
yukio.miyoshi@itu.int
- The document should contain at the end, the writer's name and the document
category(ies); it will be used to classify the document by Administrator

Alternative 2)  Direct posting by Facilitator
- Facilitator accesses the weblog software and log in for posting the document.
- Facilitator will be given the log-in name and password.

7 Access to the site
To access the e-discussion weblog site, log in at either of the following URLs from your
browser.


http://www.itu.int/ituweblogs/ITU-D-SG2-Q10/

http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/study_groups/SGP_2002-2006/SG2/Edis/

8 Topic Categories
All the entries(inputs) are classified into categories: topic1 to topic8. There is a category
"notices" for administrative entries.

Category "Q10" is the general category, which is related from topic1 to topic8.

To see only the entries on a particular topic, click that topic on the right hand side.

9 To return to home page(HP)
To go back to the home page, click the title "ITU-D Study Group 2 Question 10".

10 Making comments online
Click "comment" under each entry, then type in your name, e-mail address and your
comment on the entry.

Then type in the 5-letter code displayed at the left end, and click the submit button.
(note: at this moment, when click the submit button, some error message appears.
Disregard it and click return button of the browser and continue. Your comment has been
properly sent.)

11 Submitting your entry to facilitator
By the permission and possible editing by the facilitator, you could put your observation or
opinion as an entry. Please send your document by e-mail to the topic facilitator. The list of
facilitators is on the forum site with category = notice.

--------------------------
For registration form, click here.

-------------------------

Administrator

Monday, October 31, 2005 4:02:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [1]  |