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Acknowledgements I would like to express my gratitude to the many individuals and organizations that have worked to bring this publication to fruition. I am especially appreciative of the people and organizations that have carried the “Open Access” workshops forward from the first occasion in Stockholm, Sweden to the latest one in Maputo, Mozambique; Professor Björn Pehrson at the Stockholm Royal Institute of Technology, Americo Muchanga of the Eduardo Mondlane University, the whole ICT secretariat at Sida, Steve Song and Heloise Emdon at IDRC and Ambassador Astrid Dufborg, the convenor of the United Nations ICT Task Force Working Group on the Enabling Environment. Without the sincere effort of all of them the workshop series would never had taken place, and we would not have had such a rich pool of resources for producing this publication. I would also like to convey my high appreciation for the United Nations ICT Task Force secretariat team, especially Ms. Cheryl Stafford for all her English lessons, Mr. Robert de Jesus for his excellent formatting skills, Karin Wenander for her helpful scrutiny and Ms. Enrica Murmura for assisting me with the supervision of the printing process. I would also like to direct a special thanks to Mr. Rocco Callari and Mr. Matias Delfino at the Graphic Design Unit of the Outreach Division of the Department of Public Information for working with me to create a beautiful cover design for this book. Lastly, but not least, I would like to thank all the contributors to this publication for the privilege and the opportunity to bring all their ideas together under one cover. Their graciousness in responding to my hard deadlines and pestering e-mails will always be fondly remembered.
Preface Introduction SECTION I: CHALLENGES AND CONCEPTS Open Communication – Open Access BJÖRN PEHRSON Networking for Africa – Open Access and Other Issues RAHUL TONGIA A Layered Market Paradigm ANDERS COMSTEDT SECTION II: ACTORS AND EXAMPLES Nurturing Entrepreneurship in Mozambique DANIEL MANNESTIG, CONSTANTINO SOTOMANE, JAMO MACANZE Promoting African Research and Education Networking ROY STEINER, NYASHA TIRIVAYI, MIKE JENSEN, KARANJA GAKIO, PAUL HAMILTON, JACK BUECHLER A New Survey of Investment in Education and Research Networking in Africa by Development Agencies and other Organizations – Summary KATE WILD Problem-Oriented Capacity-Building based on the Introduction of Information and Communication Technologies as an Enabler of SocioEconomic Development BJÖRN PEHRSON Appendix I Fight Against Malaria in Africa through ICT by MIMCom GODFREY CHIKUMBI Appendix II MzOpen.Net: Wireless Hotspots in University Residences in Mozambique ENEAS HUNGUANA, QARIN HJORTZBERG-NORDLUND, ALBERTO MUCHANGA, ERIK STACKENLAND, JON ÅKERGÅRDEN Appendix III RINEX – Building a Bridge to Reduce the Digital Divide and Enhance the Use of ICT as a Tool Eradicate Poverty ISSA NKUSI, CLAUDE HAKIZIMANA, COCO MUSANINGABE
iii 1 5 16 19
SECTION III: OPPORTUNITIES Open Access Networking in Africa: The FiberAfrica Proposal RAHUL TONGIA Open Access: How Good is it for Africa? STELIOS PAPADAKIS Developing a Fibre Optic Backbone for Africa JABULANI DHLIWAYO Innovation to Improve Access to ICT MARTIN CURLEY Open and Closed Skies: Satellite Access in Africa Policy Reform and Regulatory Issues in Bridging the Digital Divide through Satellite Technologies MARTIN JARROLD Economic Development in Africa Powered by Mobile Telephony OLOF HESSELMARK, ANDERS ENGVALL List of Abbreviations About the Authors 93 114 122 134 140
155 167 171
Communication lies at the heart of every society. Communicating with others does not only allow us to share knowledge, goods and to build our livelihoods but it also gives us the opportunity express affection and emotions with our close ones. The advancements in information and communication technologies have over the years, from the invention of the telegraph to the introduction of the Internet, gone hand in hand with modernization and development. Yet, millions of people have never made a telephone call. The absence of modern tools for gathering information and communicating is particularly evident on the continent of Africa. Poverty in Africa is widespread and without the ability to communicate the continent will remain poor and isolated, lacking the means to participate in the global society. Poor people in rural areas have to travel for days to trade their products, to get food and water as well as to receive government services. Such travel is often risky and expensive and the outcome uncertain. With the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) this risk can be diminished substantially and services can be delivered effectively. This relation has been proved over and over when we see that poor people often chose, if they have the opportunity, to make use of ICT for services and economic information gathering. The expansion and deployment of ICT is therefore an essential part of any comprehensive effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and should be part of every country’s poverty reduction strategy. The obstacles to greater access in Africa are many and complicated ranging from distorted pricing to archaic regulatory systems. With the advent of the second phase of the World Summit on the Information society the time is ripe to address these issues with a comprehensive approach. In order for the situation to change meaningfully on the ground we can not shy away from any aspect of the delivery chain. Be it political, economical or cultural. The times are indeed opportune for Africa to become part of the global information society. New technologies like wireless broadband (Wi-Max), cellular networks and energy-efficient computers are appearing on the market and can if deployed properly bring real opportunities to the women, men and children living on the African country side. The opportunities of internet protocol (IP) based networks for delivering everything from text to voice and image are astounding and should not be overlooked. In our efforts to bring access and connectivity to Africa we have to be bold and creative. The United Nations ICT Task Force working with the legitimacy of the 191 United Nations member stated works hard to promote such creativity. By bringing together stakeholders from different fields and backgrounds, by linking businesses together with academia, governments and civil society through its Working Groups, reaching across the globe, those creative ideas are allowed to flourish.
The “Open Access” workshops organized by the Task Force’s Working Group on the Enabling Environment are a prime example of this effort. The workshops have proven to be successful forums for discussing and developing the concept of Open Access. People from all across the globe have gathered to share experiences, develop concepts and form partnerships. As the convenor of the Working Group it is my sincere wish that the thoughts developed at the workshops get shared with a larger community. The book you now have before you is an attempt to enrich the debate about ICT for development in the hope of forming greater consensus about appropriate action to bring Africa into the fold of an inclusive information society. Astrid Dufborg Swedish Ambassador Special ICT Adviser Member of the United Nations ICT Task Force
“Open Access for Africa” is the second publication of the United Nations ICT Task Force Working Group on the Enabling Environment. The purpose of this book is to raise awareness among stakeholders in the development field of the opportunities and possibilities that exist in bringing access and connectivity to the African continent. The Working Group focuses on issues concerning low-cost access and connectivity. In many developing countries, and especially in Africa, national and international connectivity is in short supply: optical fibre may not be available; satellite links are limited and expensive; internal telecommunication infrastructures are typically concentrated in a few main cities and present severe shortcomings in the rural areas. These technical problems, together with unclear telecom policies and regulations and an internal market that is often closed to competition, lead to lack of investment and highly priced services, thereby hindering penetration of communication services. These elements are interconnected and together form a "vicious circle". The objective of the Working Group is to facilitate a productive dialogue among potential partners to tackle issues concerning low cost technical and business solutions for deployment of ICT in developing countries. Apart from engaging in electronic discussions, members of the Working Group have come together to organize a workshop series entitled “Open Access”. To this date three workshops have been held. The purpose of the workshops is to identify successful solutions and standards for access networks as well as new value chains, opening up for new actors and business models making connectivity and first mile access more affordable and available. The articles in this book build on the third workshop in the series, organized by the United Nations Information and Communication Technologies Task Force Working Group on the Enabling Environment in partnership with IDRC, Sida, the Eduardo Mondlane University and the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, which took place in Maputo in May 2005 (www.openaccess.uem.mz). The main themes of the workshop were open access solutions, a pan-African fibre backbone, financing models and regulatory environment for Open Access technologies. The goal was to share views and ideas on how to provide open access, including identifying the users, the relevant technologies and the regulatory framework, and how to support the entrepreneurship that is necessary to build sustainable networks in Sub-Saharan Africa. After the successful conclusion of the workshop several members of the Working Group expressed an interest in capturing the essence of the debates in a format that could be shared with others. “Open Access for Africa” includes contributions from presenters at the workshop as well as other authors with interesting perspectives on the issues. The different authors
2 | Open Access for Africa
represent a variety of stakeholders, including governments, academia, NGOs and the private sector. The book examines different aspects of how to provide increased availability of ICT infrastructure and services for Africa, including identifying the appropriate actors, the relevant technologies, and suggestions for how to appropriately reform regulatory frameworks as well as how to promote African entrepreneurship in the field of ICT infrastructure and services. The first section of the book attempts to grab the reader’s attention through a number of shorter articles written in a provocative style and discussing the main problems of African telecom markets as well as how the telecom market has changed, and continues to change, over the past two decades with the further introduction of the Internet and IP networks. The section will, however, begin with an attempt to introduce the concept of an “Open Access” model as well as giving a brief report on the three “Open Access” workshops that have been held until this date and a brief description of the workshop planned for 2006. In the second section the reader will come across examples of current initiatives in the field of providing low-cost access and connectivity in Africa as well as supporting those actors that are important for a sustainable deployment of modern ICT. The articles will discuss success criteria, challenges and recommendations to others. In the third and last section of the book the reader will encounter several articles describing different models for providing low-cost access and connectivity to Africa through different means such as through optic fibre deployment, wireless broadband, mobile telephony and satellite communication. The articles will deal with the challenges in achieving this goal but most importantly they will show the opportunities that exist if key actors can come together in collaboration. It is the hope of the Working Group that this book will spur discussion about how Africa on a grand scale can deploy information and communication technologies in order to improve the livelihood of its inhabitants as well as provide inspiration and ideas for all those who believe in the power of ICT. Samuel Danofsky United Nations ICT Task Force Secretariat
Section I Challenges and Concepts
Open Communication – Open Access
1. Introduction A communication infrastructure is as essential for the development of society as transport, power, water and sanitation infrastructures. Although this fact is widely acknowledged, the policies and regulations controlling access to the available communication resources are not always designed accordingly. Communication systems require passive communication media, such as optical fibre or copper wire or radio spectrum for wireless communication, to establish communication links, and networks providing services to user applications. The passive medium, links, networks and services define different layers of communication resources making up the communication system architectures. Open Communication, or Open Access to communication resources, means that there are openly available technical specifications of interfaces between the different layers required to connect to and use the resources as well as open business models indicating under what conditions the resources are accessible. Open access requires an open regulatory regime allowing anyone to access communication resources at one level and provide added value services at a higher level. Scarce resources, like radio spectrum needs some sort of arbitration, while essential resources requiring large investments and owned by dominating actors needs to be opened up for others to access. The following discussion will mainly focus on access networks, backbone networks and traffic exchange points, involving different actors and different open access issues. Traditional telecommunication regimes are not open. They require different kinds of licenses or permits to get right of way, to communicate over administrative boundaries and borders and to provide different kinds of services. Closed regulatory regimes set up barriers to new market entrants and protect incumbent operators from competition, which leads to inefficiencies and expensive services. Due to the importance of communication to the development of society, policy makers need to legislate and regulators need to define the detailed procedures and enforce them. The communication market is defined by three types of actors: users on the consumer side, service providers and operators on the producer side while policy makers and regulators are observers and define the rules of the market. The consumers are often less organised than the producers and need support from the regulators or user agents of various sorts.
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Taking Sweden as an example, several major landmarks in the development towards open access regimes were made in the 1980s due to the establishment of academic networks extending the Internet and in the early 1990s during Swedish deregulation and decisions made by municipalities and the apartment housing industry to take control of the passive communication infrastructure on their premises. • The housing industry, in cooperation with the tenants association, claimed ownership of the passive infrastructure in their buildings, outsourced the operation to neutral communication operators giving their tenants a choice of service providers independently of each other [NSRC]. The City of Stockholm formed Stokab (www.stokab.se) to deploy, manage and lease dark fibre in the Stockholm region. Open to anyone that wanted to become a service provider, public or private. This development introduced new actors, new value chains and required new technical solutions. The new models have been studied and replicated all over the world [Stokab]
From the research side, the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) followed and contributed to this development in cooperation with Stokab and the housing industry from the start and eventually applied parts of the models in projects in developing countries. Two successful first projects in Mozambique 2002 led to an expanded program supported by the Swedish international development cooperation agency (Sida) with several projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In 2003, the annual international workshop Series on Open Access was started, sponsored by Sida and the United Nations ICT Task Force, to promote the concept of Open Communication regimes [OC], and to review best practices implementing those [OAWS]. We will briefly present the outcomes of these workshops. 2. The first Open Access workshop, Stockholm, June 2003 The purpose of the first workshop was to identify successful solutions and standards for access networks promoting open access (first mile), as well as sustainable business models for operation and maintenance of such networks that could be disseminated as best practices. The workshop presented and discussed successful examples of communication applications in developing countries and rural areas with an emphasis on schools and small businesses and their role as primary adopters in communities. The focus was on regional prerequisites, communication needs, and choice of technology, business models, competence for operation and maintenance and other factors that affect the sustainability. Universal access to Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) has been identified as an important part of the efforts to improve the living conditions in the world. It is consequently part of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals and the Roadmap to reach them [MDG]. As the goals are formulated, it is evident that Education, Healthcare and support for rural entrepreneurs are areas to focus on. Connected schools can also serve as telecenters and healthcare centres/hospitals and do
Open Communication – Open Access | 7
therefore seem to be central projects to be supported, besides education and training. In the end, to get sustainable solutions, the implementation work has to be done by locally rooted entrepreneurs, millions of them on a global scale. An important question is: how can these entrepreneurs be identified, stimulated and supported? Among other things, they need regulatory frameworks allowing them to do what they need to do; they need access to appropriate technologies, and education and training in technology, economics and business administration, as well as access to funding. The workshop program included sessions on: 2.1 Network topologies and link technologies The challenges discussed have a common denominator: to transport IP-packets, containing e-mail, web-information, voice, video, or whatever payload, between a local access point and the Internet, using whatever link technology. The concepts of Open Communication and Open Access were introduced and discussed and an overview of link level technologies illustrating how the different characteristics of the various technologies can be exploited to solve different problems to establish a link for providing access to the Internet as exemplified in many of the presentations at the workshop. In areas where there is no telecommunication infrastructure, in terms of backbone network, physical transport between servers can be used. Two such cases were presented: Daknet in India, where buses on a regular route are used as a “mailman” picking up and delivering email via wireless communication between a server on the bus and a server at the bus stop, and Samenet, aimed at even more infrastructure-less areas, serving reindeer herders in the north of Sweden where there are no roads, let alone telecommunication networks. 2.2 Remote and sparsely populated areas The population density and distribution are important parameters when deciding how to provide affordable universal access, both from technical and business aspects. The workshop started out discussing sparsely-populated areas. If the end points for a radio link are beyond the horizon from each other, even if masts are erected, it is not possible to establish a line of sight. To reach beyond the horizon, if radio is to be used, you either need to use a HF range frequency, which is reflected in the ionosphere, or to go via a satellite transponder. HF-range systems are cheap but can provide low capacity only (1-2 kbps) while satellite links are high capacity but expensive (up to 34 Mbps per transponder at approximately 1 MSEK/Mbps/year). UHF/VHF requires more or less line of sight, It can sometimes be used over distances up to 50 km and provide a capacity up to 16-20 kbps. If you can have relay stations with line of sight between them you can use low cost WLAN/Wi-Fi or Wi-MAX links (up to 50 Mbps). • Wino Bushlink in the Songea district in south Tanzania, sparsely populated and at a large distance from any Internet PoP, well beyond the horizon. There is no wired infrastructure and no line of sight. There are too few users to afford a satellite link.
8 | Open Access for Africa
The solution at hand is using short wave (HF) communication exploiting the ionosphere to reflect signals back to earth beyond the horizon. It is relatively cheap but unfortunately also a very low capacity, up to about 2kbps. A telemedicine network in Peruvian Amazons with more or less line of sight over larger distances (50km). The link level technology chosen to transport IP-packets is UHF/VHF achieving up to 17 kbps. Jhai Remote Village project, presented by Vorasone Dengkayaphitchith, needed to connect a few remote villages in a valley shadowed by high ridges about 1-2 km away. The closest Internet point of presence is a hospital 5 km away on the other side of the ridge from which the village server could get a dial up connection. Since the territory is under the control of the villages, the solution chosen was to place an 11 Mbit/s Wi-Fi relay station on the top of the ridge with line of sight in each direction.
2.3 Densely Populated areas (Bangladesh/India) In densely populated areas, it is easier to find sustainable business models for providing a network infrastructure, including a fibre backbone, distribution and access networks and wireless access points. The challenges to provide affordable access include policy/regulatory issues allowing the use of open, shared network topologies. Cases were presented from • Bangladesh, one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Recent developments on the regulatory side and public e-Government services were discussed. • India, also densely populated and with a large population living in 600.000 villages. The presentation described the government program to increase the penetration of telephone and Internet services. 2.4 Open Access Network case studies The purpose of this session was to illustrate how the open communication concept could be implemented in practice, by presenting successful pilots: • The Stokab model was presented illustrating the roles that municipalities and public administration can take to stimulate the communication market by investing in passive infrastructure to lower the threshold for new actors, and at the same time get income, save costs, stimulate regional development and increase the quality of life of the populations. • The SwedenOpen.net project provided a concrete model of a cheap, open, neutrally operated, city network in Stockholm that could be generalized and adopted into other areas. The model is based on a neutral cost-driven foundation, setting rules for sharing infrastructure and supervision to ensure that users comply with these rules. A system similar to road societies enables an organic growth of the network based on end user demand. • Borderlight AB presented the business models of a company that makes its living from building operator neutral networks. 2.5 Local Internet Exchange Points Internet exchange points (IXPs) are needed to allow local Internet Service Providers peering in order to exchange traffic locally rather than via choked uplinks. The benefits include lower delay on local traffic, diminished loads and possibly cost saving on
Open Communication – Open Access | 9
uplinks. The challenge is to make fierce competitors cooperate. Many ISPs rather exchanges traffic abroad than speak to a competitor. A neutral trusted go-between organisation is useful. Three IXP-projects were presented: • Mozix, the Mozambique Internet Exchange Point gave an insight of the importance of Internet Exchange Points (IXP) and how to build them describing the technology as well as reflecting on the driving forces behind their development, the economical, organization, politics and operations behind the IXP. He also reflected on the experience of the development of the first Internet Exchange in Mozambique, called MozIX (www.mozix.org.mz/) that was designed and implemented in 2002 by KTH and UEM students under a sponsorship of Sida and DFID. • Tixp, the Tanzania Internet Exchange Point (TIXP), an initiative resulting in the establishment of the Tanzania ISP Association (TISPA) in 2002 (www.tix.or.tz/). The experience is that the process of agreeing among competitors can take time. • Laonix, the Lao National Internet Exchange implemented 2004 supported by Sida, using the same approach as when implementing Mozix. 2.6 Empowering the disadvantaged Empowerment of disadvantaged persons, particularly women, is an important item on the global agenda. Another item is the problem of digital divide. • ICT and Gender Empowerment, an InfoDev/World Bank sponsored pilot Project SITA (Studies in Information Technology Applications: A computer-skill training program for socially disabled women). The project has developed a multimediabased strategy for training individuals with inadequate educational background and limited communication skills. It explores if ICT can play the role of a catalyst for empowering needy women. • The Kista Divide, an ethnographic study of the Kista region, based on interviews of its dwellers, the idea of the network society and its problems is further explored. By describing the area as divided between those "connected" and those "off-line", between "haves" and "have-nots", it illustrates that the digital divide is present also in developed countries. 2.7 Connecting Schools Schools play a central role in any scheme for providing open access to the public. The new generations are educated there and they can function as telecenters for parents and the public after hours, providing a valuable community service and source of income to the school. At the workshop, two African projects were presented together with World Computer Exchange (WCE) that provides refurbished computers to schools. • Uconnect provides Uganda primary and secondary schools with computers. Network training workshops are provided for selected teachers and students at education ministry headquarters. The Internet connection is by satellite, distributed to schools via dialup, both land line and GSM, fibre optic connections and broadband wireless, 2.4 and 3.5 GHz microwave. SchoolNet Namibia has adapted Wi-Fi wireless telecommunications standards and open-source software to provide affordable Internet access. SchoolNet Namibia
10 | Open Access for Africa
targets policy-makers, to make them aware of the opportunities and challenges involved in rural access, and reinforce the public sector efforts via a national alliance of local and international stakeholders. The alliance is expected to provide an enabling environment to expand the availability of ICT technologies in the health, agricultural, education and civil society, develop strategies for overcoming barriers in a policy environment that should support open entry and innovative approaches to wireless access and development of appropriate wireless telecommunications and alternative energy solutions and make provision for the implementation of such solutions in Namibia’s rural areas. 2.8 Conclusions It was generally agreed that there is an abundance of opportunities for local entrepreneurs to provide Internet access in developing countries but that the challenges still are large. It was recommended on how to support such entrepreneurs be the focus of the 2004 Workshop. 3. The second Workshop Stockholm 2004 The 2004 workshop pursued the issues of universal access and open networks, identifying and involving new relevant actors in the discussions and drafting of open connectivity programs for developing countries. The workshop set out to identify successful solutions and standards for access networks and as well as methods to empower new actors, business models and value chains critical for the development of such infrastructures and services in cases where traditional models do not work. When the traditional models fail to make the last mile, local entrepreneurs and communities should be able to go the first mile to connect to a point of presence of service providers. A main purpose of the second workshop was still to build local skills and knowledge capacity by inviting, to the workshop, representatives from developing countries - to participate in the discussions, to learn and to bring in their information on the status of infrastructures and local connectivity in their particular environments. Another purpose of the workshop was to initiate cooperation with national organizations in the least developed countries and in international organizations to disseminate knowledge about and promote deployment of open access networks supporting the WSIS (Geneva Dec 2003) declaration "Information and communication infrastructure - an essential foundation for the Information Society" [www.itu.int/wsis]. In connection with the 2004 workshop in Stockholm, a discussion on strategies for promoting an African fibre infrastructure was organised with African stakeholders, infoDev and Sida resulting in infoDev sponsorship of an in depth study [infoDev]. Already in the study phase this work has had an impact on the discussion about the emerging fibre infrastructure in Africa and the demands for open access to it. The policies in some of the involved countries have turned out to be surprisingly open although the associated regulatory frameworks are still undeveloped. In other countries in Africa and in South East Asia the policies are not as progressive or independent regulators.
Open Communication – Open Access | 11
3.1 Models and processes The first session was designed to set the scope of the workshop and raise the issues to be discussed in presentations and breakout sessions. This introduction included the following presentations: • Towards an access for all, providing a survey of the work within the United Nations system towards the Millennium Development Goals, focusing on the United Nations ICT Task Force and the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) process. • Implementation models involving all stakeholders based on local entrepreneurs and their need for support systems, such as access to technology and education, regulatory frameworks, financial support. 3.2 Education, Healthcare and Emergency response The United Nations ICT Task Force’s Global e-School and Communities Initiative (GeSCI) was presented and discussed, including activities in Andhra Pradesh, Bolivia, Ghana and Namibia. Support for healthcare is one of the prioritised areas working to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Grameen Communication provided an overview of ICT development projects with involvement from the Grameen group in Bangladesh. The prerequisites for healthcare in rural areas in Bangladesh were discussed. Ericsson Response, a division within Ericsson providing emergency communication services on the request from the United Nations. 3.3 Rural entrepreneurship and local markets Local entrepreneurs from Laos, Rwanda and Tanzania were invited to witness about the environment they work in and express their needs for support. Three presentations were selected to initiate a discussion on support systems for local entrepreneurs on financial services, regulatory challenges in developing countries and leapfrogging opportunities in the telecoms' markets of developing countries. A few examples of organizations supporting developments projects in the ICT area, including rural access for various purposes, were presented, including SPIDER, a Swedish resource centre for ICT in developing countries at KTH supported by Sida, the development project award and database Stockholm Challenge now owned by KTH with Stockholm, Sida and Ericsson as partners, the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria, MIM, and its communications arm, MIMCom, and the World Computer Exchange. 3.4 Conclusions There was a strong support for the model to use the communication needs of the healthcare system, educational organisations and public administration as the basis when building a sustainable communication market, to leave the service provisioning to local entrepreneurs and to give the public sector a role providing a passive infrastructure for telecommunications, in analogy with roads, railways, electrical power lines, to get a more dynamic development of society.
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In connection with the workshop, a special meeting on Open Access and Backbone networks, with a special emphasis on a fibre infrastructure for Africa was organised with representatives from infoDev, AfrISPA, Universidad Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) in Mozambique, Rwanda IT Authority, Juasun, a ISP active in rural Tanzania, KTH and Sida. It was proposed to use the idea of an open infrastructure for Africa as a case to push for the second phase of the WSIS in Tunis. InfoDev took on the task to commission an investigation and report proposing an action plan for regulatory changes while UEM and KTH decided to push the regulatory framework using academic networking as a spearhead, putting the fibre link Maputo-Johannesburg, owned by the power utility companies in South Africa and Mozambique, that could not be used due to regulatory reasons in the spotlight. 4. The third Workshop, Maputo 2005 The 2005 workshop was organized by Universidad Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo, Mozambique, in May 2005. The focus was on a continued discussion about the VSAT procurement consortium earlier suggested, surveying the availability of fibre and the new discussion how to use academic networking as a spearhead in the process to establish a Pan African fibre Backbone. Other issues also discussed at the workshop included the regulatory environment for Open Access technologies in the context of developing regions, in particular the SubSaharan Africa, as well as financing models and education of entrepreneurs. 4.1 Feasibility of a Pan-African fibre infrastructure Different perspectives of the feasibility of a pan African fibre infrastructure were provided by international experts as well as by African fibre owners, not only telecom operators but also alternative fibre, such as those provided by power utility companies. IDRC and NEPAD have supported a survey of the availability of fibre also along railways, pipelines, etc. It turns out that there is a lot of fibre deployed and more in the process of being deployed as part of other infrastructure projects. 4.2 Using African Academic Networking as Spearhead In the short term perspective, it was argued that satellite may be the only technology for providing Internet access to most of Africa, but land-based optical fibre infrastructures was the only long term solution. For the time being, both tracks should be pursued. Satellite A number of donor organisations have cooperated with African universities and their organisations to organize a procurement consortium to press prices on satellite bandwidth [ATICS, PAREN]. The African Virtual University (AVU) is active in this area and AAU, the Association of African Universities, discussed the plan at its annual meeting in Cape town in February 2005. At the same meeting, SARUA, the Southern Africa Regional University Association was formed. SARUA was presented at the workshop and has identified access to ICT as their highest prioritized agenda item. The already operational MALICO VSAT consortium providing connectivity for universities in Malawi was presented and a study of the feasibility to set up a dedicated VSAT hub connected to Géant discussed.
Open Communication – Open Access | 13
All the studies were presented and discussed. A representative of the Global VSAT Forum discussed the regulatory issues concerning access in each country. Fibre At the AAU meeting in Cape Town, a parallel track to the VSAT consortium was discussed, suggesting fibre-based National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) connected to a regional fibre backbone that could provide Internet connectivity as well as peering between universities in Africa and via connections to academic backbones on other continents [AAU1]. At this workshop the availability of fibre owned by different actors, such as power utilities, railways, pipelines, etc and the feasibility of a regional backbone was discussed. 4.3 Open Access Projects and Technologies Rural telecommunications under the open access paradigm was discussed from regulatory, technical and economical perspectives. New emerging services, such as Voice and Video over IP were also discussed and a pilot project presented and demonstrated. 4.4 Conclusions There was a broad consensus that procurement consortia for pressing prices for VSAT capacity is the right way to go and that such consortia also could be used to lobby for more open communication policies and regulations and to establish fibre-based national research and education networks. As the result of discussions alongside the workshop, the planning of projects for the establishment of NRENs in Malawi and in Mozambique with trans-border connections to form a regional backbone started. There were also discussions about how to implement a regional fibre backbone. 5. The fourth Workshop, Stockholm May 2006 The 2006 workshop will be organized by KTH in Stockholm in conjunction with the Stockholm Challenge Award event, May 2006. The plan is to identify suitable projects among the finalists for the Stockholm Challenge Award that could be taken to the next level by exploiting open access methods supported by the organizational and human networks constituting the Open Access workshop community.
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6. References [AAU1] Björn Pehrson: KTH, Broadband Internet Access for African universities, A parallel track to coordinated VSAT procurement, Presentation at the AAU Annual Meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, 2005-02-23 [AAU2] Conference on African Research and Education Networking Infrastructure, Tunis, 14-15 November, 2005 (www.aau.org/tunis/) [AREN] International Workshop on African Research and Education Networking, CERN, Geneva 25-27 September, 2005 (http://event-africanetworking.web.cern.ch/event-africa-networking/program.html) [ATICS] Roy Steiner at al, African Tertiary Institution Connectivity Study, Commissioned by the World Bank Institute [CSD]Björn Pehrson: Problem-oriented capacity-building based on the introduction of Information and Communication Technologies as an Enabler of Socio-Economic Development [InfoDev] Anders Comstedt, Eric Osiakwan, Russell Southwood: Open Access Models, infoDev, Final Draft, September 2005 (www.infodev.org) [MDG] UN Millennium Development Goals www.un.org/milleniumsgoals/ and Road map towards the implementation of the UN Millennium Declaration, Report of the Secretary-General 2001-09-06 http://ods-ddsny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N01/526/07/PDF/N0152607.pdf?OpenElement [NSRC] Business Development and ICT usage in Homes and Civil Society, Network Society Research Centre Seminar (www.nsrc.se/seminar-2005-02-15.html) [OAWS] United Nations ICT Task Force, Sida and KTH International Workshop Series on Open Access, Stockholm, June 2003 and May 2004, Maputo, May 2005 (www.wideopenaccess.net) [OC] Björn Pehrson: Open Communication, 1st International Workshop on Open Access, Stockholm, June 2003, (www.wideopenaccess.net) [PAREN] Roy Steiner at al, Promoting African Research and Education Networking, Commissioned by IDRC and Connectivity Africa (www.connectivityafrica.org) [SCA] Stockholm Challenge Award (www.stockholmchallenge.se) [Stokab] Anders Comstedt: The Stokab Model for Fibre Deployment, 1st International Workshop on Open Access, Stockholm, June 2003 (www.wideopenaccess.net)
Open Communication – Open Access | 15
[VSAT1] Michael Jensen et al: Open and Closed Skies: Satellite Access in Africa, Policy Reform and Regulatory Issues in Bridging the Digital Divide through Satellite Technologies [VSAT2] Olavi Trydhed: African Academic Backbone - Satellite Hub in Europe, March 2005, Commissioned by Sida
Networking for Africa – Open Access and Other Issues
One of the major debates raging in the run-up to WSIS Phase II is the issue of Internet Governance. Clearly, current Internet Governance systems can be enhanced to include greater participation, not only from around the world but also from civil society. However, if one critically examines the poor penetration of the Internet in many developing regions such as Africa (let alone broadband penetration), one realizes that many of the reasons for the low penetration are because of domestic policies or ground realities of developing countries (such as small markets), instead of an inherent bias pushed by the developed country elites. If one carefully considers a major challenge for developing countries, namely international connectivity, there are certainly some concerns about how data connectivity is priced (with developing countries paying for traffic in both directions, in contrast to telephony whereby the current system allows them to earn revenues for completing calls). However, much of the high costs are due to the largely monopolistic behaviour of the entities setting up international gateways and fibre links. This is especially the case for many African countries who may have an international fibre landing, but this has done precious little for making connectivity affordable for the population at large. At the Mozambique Workshop on Open Access, one participant pointed out that SAT3 was one of the most expensive fibres in the world. Despite being utilized to only a fraction of its capacity, it was profitable in only around three years. The new fibre consortium for East Africa (EASSy) might become a similarly undereffective infrastructure unless we ensure there are steps towards Open Access and away from the “closed club” structure seen elsewhere. Else, we will have incumbents or select providers with if not an official monopoly then a de-facto monopoly, and international connectivity will remain prohibitively expensive. Of course, international connectivity is a bogey cited by many groups to rationalize high connectivity costs. Truth be told, if one had a viable local demand, with local content, one could leverage satellite connectivity to increase affordable penetration, at least in the interim. Land-based fibres can be significantly less expensive than oceanic, so leveraging existing oceanic fibres through cross-border terrestrial fibre systems would be a much less expensive proposition. This would also have the benefit of being routed through or near many population centres, instead of being a fast pipe on the beach. (The FiberAfrica proposal in this volume presents such a model).
Networking for Africa – Open Access and other Issues | 17
Much of the billions of dollars of annual investment in telecom over the last few years have been for mobile telephony, especially by private participants. But this has been complementary to meaningful data connectivity efforts, 3G systems and their claims notwithstanding. Throughout discussions at Mozambique and elsewhere, there was a (near) universal consensus that the challenges in bringing data connectivity to Africa have less to do with technology than with market and regulatory structure. This relates to a deeper and more fundamental discussion on how telecoms and data connectivity are designed and spread. In the west, this debate has been called “netheads vs. bell-heads.” The Internet-centric vision is one of decentralized control, where applications run from the edges, and voice can itself be thought of as just another (albeit important) application. The telephony-centric view, favoured by incumbents (who in the US were called the Bell Operating Companies), is more hierarchical and involves 1 more centralized control. The question remains if the Internet is different or special, and can it be treated differently from voice telephony (or should it?). Equally importantly, given that the underlying infrastructure can be shared (a fibre running a bit is a fibre running a bit – voice bit or data bit look the same), how can we ensure that dominance in one domain does not lead to dominance in another? The ITU’s NGN (next generation network) initiative is important as it implicitly brings governmental (and thus regulatory) support at some level. Like the net-head view, it assumes a packet-switched world, but it adds complexity and control through carriercentric control with the purported aim of ensuring quality of service and security. However, such features, including regulations or frameworks for inter-carrier settlements, might inadvertently support the larger players and incumbents. A truly open infrastructure, beyond just open access, leaves many such issues to the end-points or to the different operators who might operate at different layers (such as a fibre infrastructure provider interacting with a retail operator interacting with a content provider). Of course, given that in large parts of Africa, the largest players are not fixed line carriers but mobile operators, this provides an opportunity for the fixed line operators to consider new business and business models (such as data services and open access, respectively). How real are open access models? The answer depends on whom you ask. There are many municipalities and communities building out such networks around the world, but the incumbents have tried to fight back (in the US, a number of states have enacted or proposed legislation banning those types of networks.) Luckily, these moves are being recognized as ones that limit choices or services for consumers, and a number of regions are supporting for such networks. However, when it comes to the developing world, it appears there is the familiar issue of “do as I say, not as I do.” Specifically, the push by the West towards privatization
The history of the role of ITU versus Internet development professionals is long and deep. The ITU had advocated the OSI layered model as the foundation for data connectivity, but this was trumped by the use of TCP/IP, which did not conform to that “global standard.” Instead, it became the open standard for the Internet of today.
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and markets ignores the strong (and potentially positive) role governmental support has had for extending universal service (rural telephony) or new services (such as in Singapore or Korea today). We have to recognize that meaningful penetrations of affordable broadband across Africa will not trickle down from market-driven measures. If we do want special entities for data connectivity, ones that receive specials waivers and concessions such as rights of way, customs waivers, etc., these should be public, open access networks, instead of monopolies (either public or private, regulated or defacto). This would treat basic connectivity infrastructure as a public utility. This regulatory muddle, present even in developed countries, is one reason we do not have inexpensive broadband for the masses. Who owns what infrastructure and the services they can they provide are burdened by cumbersome if not conflicting regulation. This is the case in Africa, where a large amount of optical fibres have already been drawn by power companies, who either do not use them at all, or run lowspeed, inefficient communications over them (largely for internal control and monitoring uses). They might want to provide telecom services, but they either are not allowed to, or are unsure of how they would be treated by regulators. The solution would be to leverage the infrastructure for open access networks, thereby providing low-cost connectivity without either helping the incumbents gain market power or creating a new monopoly player. In fact, given that Africa is expanding electrification into rural and new areas, all new power transmission systems should include optical fibre draws. With new designs that embed fibres, the incremental cost can be exceptionally low, only a few hundred dollars per km (or less). This would make most sense when there is regulatory clarity on how to use these assets for the public good. Developing countries must be aware that traditional designs and business models may not serve them well, and they do not need to follow existing or “approved” paths only. How does one move ahead in building open access and other disruptive networks? One suggestion to help finesse the policy issues has been to build such a network as a research and educational network, perhaps only for non-profit usage. Another option has been for a country or region to try building out the network, to see what the costs and benefits are, as a sort of low/medium cost experiment. For that type of effort, aid or grant money could provide the funds. International support would be crucial for such developments, which is tricky if they themselves do not advocate open networks. Ultimately, no amount of prodding or good wishes will be enough until the countries themselves take action to bring affordable, meaningful connectivity to their masses.
A Layered Market Paradigm
Smoking among teenagers in the metro areas of the developed world is down. One recognized reason is that they cannot sustain their smoking habits and pay their mobile phone bills at the same time. The choice to quit smoking shows how strong the telecom needs are for these teenagers in order to stay in touch with their community, other teens. Is the situation the same in developing countries? Basic voice service is by many still looked upon as being best and most cheaply satisfied by an expansion of the old wire line telephone network service. This is an opinion aired even by seasoned people working with development. They will, however, be disappointed if they try to implement this strategy since it is cheaper to deploy a mobile phone system by a factor of at least three compared to a wire line one! You only have to look at the investments made by new operators and divide it by the number of customers and compare that number to the USD 1,000 normally quoted as the cost for a wire line access. Will a USD 100,000 base station provide you with more than 100 regular users? In anything but the most rural areas it will. Furthermore, the service provider enjoys a lower risk using prepaid phone cards, handsets provided by the user and no wires to be stolen. With a very limited competition from substitutes, providers in densely populated areas in developing countries are very profitable, not only thanks to higher margins than in the developed world, but also because they are generally well managed, much better than the old incumbent telephone companies. Does this mean that there will be competition between two or three cellular companies, all having totally self supporting systems, including backbones? The metro kids of developed countries are not only big users of mobile phones but also of the Internet. The Internet industry with its roots in a more co-operative world of peers, and not in the vertically integrated centralised telecom industry world, has grown differently. There is no doubt that with the help of a different technical architecture, paired with developments in optoelectronics, signal processing, and other enabling technologies we now have an Internet Protocol (IP) based technology platform also embraced by the entire telecom industry. The reason is that using this new platform is cheaper and more efficient than relying on old analogue technologies.
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Behind the front desk, every operator now uses Internet technology, even if it is not visible to the average consumer. Virtually all vendor development resources are going in this direction. The IP based building blocks are simply cheaper to use. Although new services, like mobile phones, have been high margin commercial successes, cost is always an issue. And as every market matures cost will become even more of an issue, as will the question of how to widen the market. How can a mobile phone service provider use its structure to provide other types of Internet like services? Can it easily share some infrastructure resources with other mobile phone providers without diluting its brand name and appearance in the consumer market? May a separate company sell basic transport service using the infrastructure of the mobile phone company? Can this separate company even sell upstream connectivity and transport to others than the mobile phone companies, such as Internet Service Providers (ISPs)? ISPs that in their turn sell e-mail, web surfing and now also voice service over the Internet (VoIP). The answer to all of these questions is yes. The very structure of the IP architecture enables this sharing of infrastructure. The groups of bits and packets, sent over optical fibres, wireless links or even a barbed wire, may look the same when they are transported, but they will be converted into different things by the multitude of different operators. Instead of having completely different and separate systems everyone is using an architecture where the same transport mechanism, the transport layer, can send packets of bits representing a telephone conversation, a web page, an e-mail or a TV show. The content and final format will be decided by the next layers, the service and application layers, a combination of the software and hardware closest to the user. This layer is also run by a multitude of differently skilled companies. The clear horizontal layering of the IP technology can be viewed as a division of the market responsibilities and tasks with service companies on top of infrastructure companies. Companies with an old vertically integrated technology platform may come to have a cost and flexibility disadvantage, especially in markets where they just lost a monopoly and didn’t realize the change in market paradigm in time. They will have a hard time introducing new services simply because of the rigid structure of their technology, but they also face organisational challenges as the management structure reflects their technical platform. From the outside it is just an overstaffing problem, but inside it is worse than that. Economies of scale, customer density per area as well as utilisation are all important factors for an infrastructure company. The company should therefore strive to have as many users as possible transporting different packets of bits on its road. Not having access to a shared infrastructure could be fatal for any service provider, no matter if its service concept is the most interesting in the whole market. Duplicating infrastructure when you have a small market share is simply not possible. The investment per user will be prohibitive. It would be like building a high-way for your own use.
To learn more on this see for instance http://global.mci.com/about/publicpolicy/presentations/newamericalayerspresentation.pdf
A Layered Market Paradigm | 21
The future will most certainly bring about an increased horizontal specialization where telecom regulators will have to pay more attention to the lower layers of the system where scale and density matters, and leave the higher levels to authorities dealing with general consumer issues. The reason for this is that we will have few players on the infrastructure levels, say three to five, maybe even one or two providing the optical fibres or the wireless towers. But we will have dozens of service providers facing the end user in a much more open and dynamic competition. Policy makers need to adopt this perspective too, and swiftly implement rules that curb any misuse of a dominant power inside a layer towards upper and lower layers. There is less need for policy makers and regulators to engage in activities focusing on the relation between the service provider and the consumer, like price control, since many of these efforts will prove to be both wasteful and pointless. This is not to say that consumer protection laws are not needed. On the contrary, by design, slow sector specific legislation and regulation, today trying to hopelessly micro manage a fast changing, diverse and dynamic market of service operators will be better traded for good general consumer protection. The focus for telecom regulators should be on providing consumers with choice by asking themselves how their actions can get four to five different offers to the user, and then stay out of the way to look at the next lower layer, asking the same question. Ultimately they will find a layer where inherent economy of scale prevents several players. This layer, with few players, will need ongoing attention and regulation to prevent misuse of power. Those who think that this horizontal layering is not already happening just need to look at where the mobile phone industry is going. Being the most successful part of the telecom business in developing countries, it now looks at how to cost effectively provide services to the next billion users worldwide. This means that major system vendors will become engaged in establishing service companies running the entire production for mobile phone service providers. In doing this, they will of course have economy of scale due to running not one but maybe four or five networks, plus two or three also in a neighbouring country. Many of the components in these networks will be shared through the service company. The industry will have become global or at least regional. It will still be on the look out for who is going to provide basic transport in the backbones though, since this is very much a local factor. An important question to ask is who these infrastructure providers will be. Will it be transformed old PSTN wire line companies or new entities like power utilities stringing fibre on their pylons? The technology shift towards optical fibre, inherently nonconductive to electricity, opens up an interesting perspective to run optical fibres on the electrical high voltage power pylons and poles out to towns and villages where different technical means, both wire and wireless will be considered for the final access. This is even more interesting as we are facing significant rural electrification programmes in many countries. The fact that power and telecommunications reinforce the development effects inherit in both of these two services provide for an even more interesting scenario. Government intervention and donor support is needed to make these fibres open on non-discriminatory terms just to avoid a situation with limited access in the first place. It is equally important that other structural decisions are not
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focused on what the old incumbent telco exclusively likes, but more on what new entrants like wireless ISPs may desire. Will the kids in developing countries be given a reason to give up smoking as they grow a somewhat bigger income and prices of telecommunication services come down? And will they have a choice to get Internet and voice connectivity from someone else but a few dominating mobile phone companies, with limited competition? I hope African regulators seize the current opportunity to make it so.
Section II Actors and Examples
Nurturing Entrepreneurship in Mozambique
Daniel Mannestig Constantino Sotomane Jamo Macanze
1. Introduction Small drops of sweat are dripping from the face of Mr. Constantino Sotomane, coordinator of the MICTI implementation team. It has been another tough day at work, and this day has not been different from any other day during the last two years. “But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now”, confirms Mr. Sotomane. “Progress has been made, and MICTI is growing stronger every day”. “We recently became Oracle Academic Initiative partner and we are giving courses for 20 people, being busy from 08:00 to 20:00”. “More courses will come in November and December, and the incubator is developing and will soon graduate successful companies”. Entrepreneurship is the driving force for initiating business ideas and for mobilizing human, financial and physical resources, and the attitude and capacity to innovate and take initiative. This article looks into entrepreneurship in Mozambique and finds out more about the MICTI initiative that step-by-step is making a difference in the country. 2. Mozambique Today Mozambique is a country in transition endeavouring to consolidate peace, democracy, and economic growth and development after more than 25 years of armed conflict; namely the liberation struggle between 1964 and 1974 and a devastating civil war between 1976 and 1992. In 1990 a new Constitution was adopted introducing, among others; a free market economic system, a multi-party political system, the abolition of the death penalty, and freedom of the press and of association. Mozambique is a poor country with almost 70% of the population living in a state of absolute poverty. In addition, almost 50% of the adult population is illiterate, just under 60% of children in the age group 6-12 years are out of school, and only 1% of students enter Higher Education Institutions. Coupled with few technical/vocational institutions, these realities entail tremendous challenges for long-term empowerment, skill enhancement and employment opportunities for the individual and, sustainable development for the country. The country’s development needs are evident from its 168th ranking – out of 174 countries – as reported by the UNDP’s 2000 Human Development Report.
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Over recent years Mozambique’s economy has exhibited impressive growth – albeit from a low base – mainly driven by substantial infrastructure ‘mega-projects’. The economy is in the early stages of industrialization, with trade and services (42%) the primary contributor to GDP, followed by agriculture (32.1%) and manufacturing a distant third (12.3%). The Government of Mozambique’s primary objective is to “reduce the incidence of absolute poverty by about 30% over the next ten years”. To this end, the country’s Poverty Reduction Strategy (PARPA) is dependent on the private sector to generate economic growth with the public sector fulfilling the country’s development and poverty reduction objectives. PARPA has evolved after extensive and transparent consultations between the Government, the private sector and civil society, and has been approved by the World Bank and the IMF. Policy initiatives and prioritization are driven by their underlying contribution to PARPA and its objectives. Mozambique is characterized by a relatively small private sector. Manufacturing and fishing contribute to more than 90% of the industrial sector (manufacturing is dominated by a few companies and fishing by prawns). Various institutional and financial constraints – bureaucratic environment, lack of access to finance and high costs of borrowing – hinder the development of the private sector, in particular SMEs. For example it takes on average, 3 to 4 months to register a company in Mozambique against for example 2 days in Australia. Furthermore, the cost of registration amounts to 116% of GDP per capita in Mozambique against for instance 1.4% in Canada. The Mozambican ICT sector, including infrastructure and human resources is small, but experiencing rapid growth. In terms of Internet access, the number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) has risen from one in 1995 to ten in 2001, with approximately 50,000 subscribers in 2002. Exposure to the Internet is likely to be higher than the numbers indicate, as there are normally several users per subscriber. But even so, the numbers are still relatively small. Looking into some selected Higher Education and ICT Characteristics in Mozambique: • Only 1% of students enter Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), less than 9% of enrolments graduate. Less than 1% of the population has information and technology skills or experience. • There are three private HEIs and one public (University of Eduardo Mondlane) offering ICT courses. Estimates are that a total of 30 to 40 ICT graduates are produced per year. Figures are not available for technicians, but the low number of vocational institutions indicates very little, if any, expertise at this level. • ICT in the private sector and parastatals is dominated by a small number of organisations. The major users are the banks, utilities (Water, Telecom, and Electricity) and Mozal. Demand for ICT expertise and skills are greater than the supply. There are few research facilities in the private sector. • Apart from basic software development (accounting and resource management), there is very little software expertise and capabilities. • No telecommunications equipment is produced in Mozambique, but most major suppliers operate commercially in the country.
Nurturing Entrepreneurship in Mozambique | 27
There is little ICT capacity in the public sector with manual procedures and processes being the norm. Substantial investments – process design, systems, hardware, and skills, among others – are necessary to facilitate efficient, effective and transparent services.
3. MICTI – a Vision for an ICT-literate Society On the 12th December 2000, following a two-year nationwide debate that involved all stakeholders – public and private sectors, civil society, NGOs and development agencies – the Government of Mozambique approved an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Policy. Its key objective is to establish the parameters that will lead Mozambique into the Information Society, thus promoting the general use of information and communication technologies as a development or enabling tool. The Mozambique Information and Communication Technology Institute (MICTI) under the leadership of Eduardo Mondlane University and the Ministry of Science and Technology, is a priority program and plan of action for the Country’s ICT Implementation Strategy. MICTI is the brain-child of Prof. Dr. Venâncio Massingue, Minister of Science and Technology and former vice-rector of Eduardo Mondlane University, a futurist praising entrepreneurship and new ideas. Prof. Dr. Massingue has both the vision and the necessary drive to put this mega-project on the right way to success, and he would like to change the minds of the Mozambican University student. Their first choice is a “safe” job in one of the Ministries. Why do they not dream of starting their own companies, securing their own salary and to employ others? MICTI is a long-term vision for building ICT skills and capacity in Mozambique facilitated by combining the energies and contributions of the Government, Academia, domestic and international private sector, as well as development and donor agencies. Building an ICT–literate society is not a short-term endeavour. The Mozambique ICT Institute is at the core of a ten to fifteen year vision to build ICT skills to contribute to the growth of income generation opportunities and employment and to create a core of locally trained ICT experts ready to apply their knowledge to real world problems in Mozambique. The core objectives are: • Contributing to fight against poverty through expanding citizen’s access to global knowledge resources and attracting foreign investment and new partnerships into Mozambique. • Creating in Mozambique an anchor project in ICT related fields that reinforce the linking of the country into the Global Information Society. • Acting as an important implementation project of the Country’s economic strategy. • Encouraging and supporting start-up, incubation and development of innovationled, high growth, knowledge-based enterprises.
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Providing an environment where larger and international businesses can develop specific and close interactions with a particular centre of knowledge creation for their mutual benefit. To have formal and operational links with global centres of knowledge creation such as universities, higher education institutes and research organizations.
The Program is made up of three inter-related components: The Research and Learning component address the direct need for skilled personnel in Mozambique and the region. It provides quality structured learning and relevant workbased experience in the related fields of ICT, Management and Systems Processes. Access to global expertise is sourced through sabbaticals and exchange programs with international centres of excellence. The Incubator component nurture entrepreneurial skills providing employment and wealth generating opportunities for the Country’s student and academic community. Strong links is forged with the private and public sector facilitating an alignment of appropriate action program and Mozambique’s industrial and development needs. The Science and Technology Park component complement the Research and Learning, as well as the Incubator components. Participating international and domestic organizations provide expert input to the Research and Learning component, seed and nurture Mozambican knowledge and innovation capacities by the utilization of the Incubator component and benefit from the skilled and trained human resources which have progressed through the first two program components. Organizations are able to establish formal and operational links with the University of Eduardo Mondlane, as well as all of the Country’s Higher and Further Education institutions (public and private), gaining access to their research, scientific and technological expertise. The emphasis is to source technology and industry sector organizations relevant to Mozambique’s needs and opportunities.
Fig 1. The MICTI concept
Nurturing Entrepreneurship in Mozambique | 29
To this end the Government has provided three hundred and sixty five hectares of pristine land located outside of Maputo in Moamba, Southern Mozambique, earmarked for the development of the MICTI campus. The area will be a ‘special economic zone’, enabling investment environment including incentives and benefits of a ‘special economic zone’ status granted to Moamba.
Fig 2. A computer model of a Moamba complex
Moamba offers opportunity for a “greenfield” development where specific tenant requirements can be optimized, situated along the Maputo Development Corridor, a major regional infrastructural development between Mozambique and South Africa. 4. Business and Technology Incubator – Nurturing Entrepreneurship The vision of the MICTI Business and Technology incubator is to promote economic development in Mozambique through encouraging research and learning as well as the entrepreneurial spirit in ICT related areas, creating wealth for the tenants and for the country as a whole. The incubator has created a dynamic environment from which participants are able to engage with academic and research endeavours, while simultaneously contributing to their own and the country’s economic development, providing space, training and facilities in privileged conditions. The MICTI Business and Technology Incubator host five small ICT companies at the University Eduardo Mondlane main campus. Pilot operations started in September 2003 after an independent selection panel chose innovative and economically viable ideas with focus on ICT and with growth potential that will satisfy the Mozambican market, having dedicated team with entrepreneurial spirit and sufficient time available. “One of the problems the incubated companies are facing is to be dedicated enough to develop their companies”, Mr. Sotomane says. “How can you dedicate yourself 100% to develop your business idea if your family or people close to your need your support?” “And the African family is big and needs your support”. “People are very flexible and creative but not always dedicated”. “That is a big challenge for us and our entrepreneurs”. The incubator assists small and medium sized ICT businesses, through the provision of high quality facilities and services, to develop into successful and economically viable entities that will contribute to the economic and employment growth of Mozambique”.
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The objective of the Incubator is to foster entrepreneurship in the ICT sector in Mozambique by: • Promoting the development of creative and innovative ICT based companies • Encouraging the development of ICT based businesses throughout Mozambique • Increasing the rate of success of new and small ICT based businesses • Reducing the business development times of tenant client companies • Encouraging cooperation between and within small and medium sized ICT businesses throughout the country • Providing tenant clients with access to high quality, secure and reliable physical and communications infrastructure • Providing value adding services to tenant clients that will minimize their operating and development costs • Facilitating the development of business and technical know-how Since the start, the selected companies are: Tenant
DDJ Law online Webcom Real Soccer E-Novar Informóvel
2 3 2 3 2
Juridical services online National search engine and web development Online sport magazine Tourism portal of Mozambique “Mobile” education
www.ddjlaw.co.mz www.webcom.co.mz www.olance.co.mz www.coco.co.mz
The incubator provides infrastructure and equipment, business and support services and shared resources. Each tenant has a room with 2 computers connected to the Internet, furniture, air condition, white board etc. Tenants have free access to resources and support services such as scanners, data projectors, digital cameras, meeting rooms, library and IT support. On a nominal fee basis, tenants can use telephone, fax and print. In order to help the companies to develop and become sustainable, the incubator supports the tenants to develop a business plan, register the company, get in contact with potential customers, get access to funds and loans, produce marketing material, participate in fairs, seminars and other useful events. The incubator provides training, networking, education, workshops and seminars in management, accounting and financial planning, marketing, business planning, strategy, entrepreneurship and other topics. “We have managed to get a nice mix of different companies that also can help each other to develop”, says Mr. Sotomane. “If one company has juridical competence and another can make home pages, they swap services, a win-win situation”. The incubator has established an evolutional model that describes how tenant companies can develop. The model is divided into four stages; the first is to make a business plan, second to develop a prototype of the product/service, third to get clients and fourth to become economically viable. Each step also has a clearly defined level of knowledge that the tenant is supposed to reach before proceeding to the next stage.
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The MICTI Incubator is interventionist, which means that it actively takes part in the development of the companies, but never takes ownership. The tenants are totally responsible for their own operations. The tenants have regular meetings with the incubator manager in order to follow up on executed tasks and activities, plan coming activities, talk about current problems and their possible solution and to follow up on the general work plan and future of the company. The MICTI team is very flexible and receptive, responding quickly to needs and questions from the tenants and, if deemed necessary, try to help the tenants to develop their businesses. And this is something that is highly appreciated by the companies. To establish the incubator and carry out its activities during one year, MICTI received a grant from IDRC, and IDRC will also support the Research and Learning centre. In order to help new start-ups in early phases and through its entrepreneurship facilitation project, UNDP subsidized the monthly fee of the incubator tenants and created another loan fund to expand their businesses. Webcom – a company that develops web sites, portals and a national search engine for Mozambique – has been in the incubator from the start. “We pay a small, fixed, monthly fee for our office room, with computers connected to the Internet and some shared services”. “That’s what we need and we are very happy to be established in the incubator”, says Leonardo Xerinda, one of the founders of Webcom. “We have been able to expand and to get customers faster and cheaper than have otherwise been the case”. “And relations to the other companies in the incubator have also been important”, he confirms. “Being established in the incubator gives us credibility”. 5. Requirements for a successful incubator What does it take to put up an incubator and how could it be replicated? It should be clear that there are various kinds of incubators; general or specialized in a certain area; focused on research, high-tech or general purpose, etc. The MICTI incubator faced many challenges and there are several factors that were important in the successful implementation of the incubator. A strong leader and a strong management team that can visualize the final product – i.e. the incubator – and keep the project on the right way are of uttermost importance. Without strong leadership, the project might lose speed or deviated from its original objectives. The biggest challenge for the MICTI team was probably to find enough resources to set up and maintain the incubator, i.e. resources to buy equipment and pay salaries for employees. The support from IDRC was crucial, which guaranteed the opening of the incubator. If it is not possible to find donor support, a partnership with local businesses and organizations is another possibility. Because of the nature of the incubator, it is difficult to get the incubator itself sustainable, especially in the short term. Another big challenge is to find qualified employees to run the incubator. Incubator staff needs to be multi-disciplinary and dynamic to give the necessary support to the
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incubated companies. Qualified staff is rare in developing countries, especially if resources are scarce. There is no formula on how to overcome the challenge, but the personal contacts and connections of the leadership and management team played a central role in the case of MICTI. It is also not easy to find mentors or a resource pool of skilled people that will give a few hours per month for free in order to support a specific company. Again, personal contact and networking with business associations are important. The implementation team needs to have a lot of energy and be very flexible and dynamic. It needs to be dedicated and to have dedicated resources, and to have realistic view and perspectives. Another factor worth mentioning is that the mix of selected companies is important for their development. A fruitful mix of companies means that synergies between them can be obtained and that different ways of cooperating can be established. This is especially essential in the early stages, when new companies do not have a lot of resources for their own development. Networking and establishing relationship with key organizations and cooperation partners should not be forgotten. There are normally more benefits to be obtained than initially thought. 6. Contributions to be made The information society is changing everything about the world we live in, including the practice of development — ICT is now a basic component of development, not a luxury. ICTs have the potential to create jobs, improve access to basic services, increase the effectiveness of governments and facilitate the sharing of information with people living even in remote parts of developing countries. This transformation of the global economy is creating new networks that cross cultures as well as great distances, although access to, and use of, these technologies remains extremely uneven. The scale of the ICT challenge is immense. Despite the forces of market liberalization and globalization and efforts at public policy reform, the goal of achieving universal access to ICT and Global Information Infrastructure has remained elusive, and the disparity in access to ICT is growing. Today 96% of Internet host computers reside in the highest income nations with only 16% of the world’s population. There are more Internet hosts in New York City than on the entire continent of Africa. ICT has become an indispensable tool in the fight against world poverty. ICT provides developing nations with an unprecedented opportunity to meet vital development goals such as poverty reduction, basic healthcare and education far more effectively than before. Those nations that succeed in harnessing the potential of ICT can look forward to greatly expanded economic growth, dramatically improved human welfare and stronger forms of democratic government. The risks are great, but so are the rewards. ICT can serve as a critical enabler to achieve many of the development goals agreed to by the world leaders.
Nurturing Entrepreneurship in Mozambique | 33
New global and local competitive opportunities for ICT put a premium on skills development. Developing countries need to address the capacity gap to secure not only a critical number of technical qualified people but also to acquire the expertise to assess, design and implement national ICT for development strategies. The scale of this challenge is immense. Yet there never been a better time for collective action to connect all regions of the world. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is universally recognized as the driving force of the global information society and the knowledge-based economy. Economic growth may be accelerated by technological innovation and diffusion. Technological transformation is dependent on the skills and productivity of human resources and sustainable development is greatly affected by the higher education and research capabilities of a country. It is envisaged that the development of an initiative like MICTI will be a significant vehicle for expanding the Country’s skills and expertise base – in this case, ICT related – and contribute to the diversity and strengthening of Mozambique’s economic capacity. These developments will contribute to the growth of income generation opportunities by individuals and facilitate the Country’s participation in the global economy.
Fig 3. Minister Venancio Masingue and Constantino Sotomane, coordinator of MICTI.
Promoting African Research and Education Networking
Summary of prepared for the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) - Connectivity Africa – Promotion of African Research and Education Network Program (PAREN) program
Roy Steiner Nyasha Tirivayi Mike Jensen Paul Hamilton Jack Buechler Karanya Gakio
1. Introduction Internet connectivity in tertiary education institutions in Africa is in general too expensive, poorly managed and inadequate to meet even basic requirements. As a recent ATICS (Africa Tertiary Institutions Connectivity Survey) survey showed, the average African university has bandwidth capacity equivalent to a broadband residential connection available in Europe, pays 50 times more for their bandwidth than their educational counterparts in the rest of the world, and fails to monitor, let alone manage, the existing bandwidth (ATICS 2005). As a result, what little bandwidth that is available becomes even less useful for research and education purposes. However, initiatives within the continent point the way to a different future. North Africa is the most advanced of all regions in Africa because universities in these countries have just recently become members of the EU MED Connect project, which links them to high-speed undersea fibre networks. The potential for these types of arrangements hold out the possibility to dramatically alter the bandwidth landscape in tertiary institutions in the near future. These experiences and those around the world argue strongly that there is an imperative to examine the potential to create initiatives to improve bandwidth access for African universities. A range of options are available. At one end relatively simple buying consortia can be created for even small groups of universities. On the other end a continental not-for-profit telecommunications service provider or organization, which would provide a much broader range of services and ensure that effective network and bandwidth management practices are in place, can be created. Such initiatives would
Promoting African Research and Education Networking | 35
need to provide cost-effective and well-managed bandwidth services to the research and higher education sectors across Africa. Average Bandwidth Costs/Kbps by Region
A v e r a g e B a n d w d i th C o s t s ( U S D p e r K b p s ) b y R e g i o n W est Africa Av e ra g e S o u t h e rn Africa Region E a st Africa C e n t ra l Afric a N o rth Africa U S U n iv e rsity 0.52 0.12 0.00 1.00 2.00 3.00 4.00 Mean Cost 5.00 USD /Kbps 6.00 7.00 8.00 9.00 3.18 4.70 4.38 5.46 8.00
Source: ATICS 2005
The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) commissioned this study because it became aware of many parallel initiatives that would benefit greatly from working together both in terms of sharing information and in developing a common vision. The economies of scale for bandwidth purchasing are straightforward – the more bandwidth gets purchased the less expensive it becomes. Only through united action can these economies of scale be realized. This is not by any means a new concept. Most of the organizations profiled in this report understand this principle and several excellent reports have already addressed this issue (Bandits, ATICS 2005). In addition, many donor organizations have taken the issue of improved connectivity very seriously and many of their efforts are reflected in the success of the described networks. It is hoped that this study builds upon these other initiatives and assists the community to address the many constraints to improved connectivity. These include political and regulatory barriers, the challenges of working cross-regionally, the challenges of providing equal opportunities to Francophone and Anglophone and Lusophone institutions, to name but a few. The vision that motivates all of us in overcoming these obstacles is that of a fully connected African research and education system. Through establishing low cost high quality networks a platform for generative discourse can be created leading to improved policy advice, more effective cross pollination of best practices and lessons learned as well as encouraging an affinity towards cost sharing and partnership engagement models. Other benefits would include: • An increase in African research material on the Internet - content that is directly relevant to the socio-economic development of African environments.
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• • • • •
• • •
Improved educational standards of African universities. By accessing the same research materials, students will be able to make meaningful contribution to their areas of research. Literature searches truly at the fingertips of the researchers. Enhanced peer review processes (both participation in reviewing and submissions) that need to be facilitated through electronic communications networks. Increased collaboration and partnerships among individuals and research institutions and enabling regional comparative studies with localized partners. Real time collaboration with other international researchers using video conferencing. This aspect is very crucial especially in Medical research centres where critical theatre procedures can be conducted with the participation of other international experts. Enhanced institutional effectiveness. The creation of knowledge networks - crucial in co-coordinating world and Africa wide efforts in combating social ills such as HIV/AIDS and food insecurity. Enabling regional centres of competences for local issues.
This survey was conducted over a period of four months and developed several key observations for improving connectivity to institutions in Africa. The study profiles several planned and existing regional and interregional groupings as well as intercontinental groupings. These are profiled separately from the national consortiums. The study also looks at the following aspects: • Type of services being provided by the academic networks • The state of Internet infrastructure in Africa • Bandwidth cost models based on bandwidth source (terrestrial vs. satellite) • Governance and staffing in the academic networks. The study concludes with recommendations for the formation of bandwidth consortia. 2. Key observations from the study 2.1 Network Profiles The following organizations were profiled: • National Research and Education Networks (NRENs): These are national organizations in Africa representing groups of tertiary education institutions whose mandate includes improving connectivity for its members. In several cases these organizations are also involved with other priorities but all of them are actively involved with Internet connectivity. • Regional and Continental Networks: These are often project specific networks in Africa that have a variety of mandates. However in all cases, bandwidth provision is critical to the success of the project or organization and in most cases a type of bandwidth consortia has therefore been created. • Proposed Regional Continental Networks/Organizations: These are still in the proposal or concept note stage and they intend to develop bandwidth consortia to serve a variety of purposes.
Promoting African Research and Education Networking | 37
Organizations committed to increasing connectivity for tertiary institutions: These are the wide variety of organizations that have recognized increased connectivity as an important issue and have expended resources and supported initiatives to do so. These organizations do not have physical networks but are involved in one way or another in addressing connectivity. International Research and Education Networks: These are networks around the world that are also addressing the issue of connectivity for universities.
A complete list of the organizations profiled in the PAREN study is available in the full length report and can be accessed by visiting the following URL: http://www.connectivityafrica.org/page.php?file=PAREN_Report_final.pdf Profiles of these organizations focused on: • The motivation behind the formation of the grouping. This includes the objectives that the group wants to achieve. In most instances, these include the provision of bandwidth to tertiary institutions at relatively lower prices than those in the industrial market. • The dates when the establishment was set up. • Membership of the organization and the requirements for becoming a member. • The quantity and quality of bandwidth being made available to member institutions. • Existing Network topology. • Description of the nature of the organization, paying attention to organization and staffing structures. • How the organizations are financing their operations. • Services that are being provided to members by the consortiums. • The challenges that are being faced by these networks in carrying out of their duties, including in their actual establishment. The profiles indicate a wide range of different network structures, management organizations, membership and services provided to members. The majority of the African NRENs have as one of their key objectives the improvement of connectivity of their member institutions. Of the nine operational academic networks in Africa, the Nigerian and Malawi networks, NUNet and MALICO are VSAT based while the Egyptian networks, EUN and ENSTINET, having been established in 1986 and 1987 respectively, are fibre based. The majority of the member institutions pay subscription fees to remain part of their networks. Some networks are currently oversubscribed with more member institutions than the network was intended to support as is the case with for instance KENET in Kenya. As expected, networks in Europe, Asia and Latin America seem to be more advanced than their African counterparts in terms of network infrastructure, bandwidth capacity and membership numbers. However, it is encouraging to note that several regional initiatives and networks are in the making and some national academic networks in North Africa have already fostered beneficial partnerships with European networks e.g. NRENs in Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and Algeria now have high speed networks linked through EUMEDConnect while GEANT and TENET South Africa have recently
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established a link at the Telkom UK hub that will enable peering between the two networks. 2.2 Network services Most of the networks in Africa focus on the provision of basic Internet services, billing and network management. However, more effort is needed to address issues such as bandwidth monitoring and management, negotiating for the deregulation of policies, which affect bandwidth provision, and bargaining for better pricing. The following chart indicates the frequency of services provided by the current academic networks in Africa.
Frequency of Services in African Networks Basic IP Support Video Conf Multicast Information Training Network Mgmnt License Negotiation VO IP Monitoring Services Consultancy IPR & Hosting Research IPv6 Billing Funding VPN ATM/PVC IPv4 LBE Mirroring Dial Up IP QoS
State of Internet Infrastructure in Africa
2.3 State of Internet Infrastructure in Africa The state of Internet infrastructure can be briefly explained as follows: • Existing terrestrial links reflect a historic layering, which started with the Panaftel analogue network of the 1970s and 80s. In many cases, the Panaftel network within a given country comprises the national transmission backbone today. Many of the links have deteriorated due to lack of funding and maintenance, and have fallen into disrepair, and some sections have been damaged or destroyed during wars. In
Promoting African Research and Education Networking | 39
some countries, the analogue network has been upgraded and extended as the incumbent operator has built out its national backbone. The full extent, operational status, or capacity, of national backbone links across all African countries is not at this stage fully known. All of Africa is currently covered by satellite bandwidth. By December 2003, thirteen satellite operators had 51 satellites deployed with coverage over Africa. These satellites have pointed 39 Ku-band frequency beams and 30 C-band beams throughout the continent. There are a number of planned regional connectivity projects that include; the East Africa Digital Transmission project, COMTEL, Intelcom II, COM 7 and the submarine cable systems SEAMEWE II, SEAMEWE III, Sat-3/WASC and EASSy which surround the Northern, Western and Eastern parts of Africa. The following map shows the SAT-3 cable and its landings as well as existing inland fibre Networks. SAT-3 Undersea Fibre Submarine Cable and Inland Fibre Networks
Source: IDRC 2004
This map demonstrates that, in the near future, it will be possible for most African countries to have external-level connections to the general Internet via a high capacity
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link. There is, however, a lot of ground that has to be covered before this becomes a reality. • The overall supply pattern of bandwidth leaves a considerable gap in the market that can be filled by satellite-based suppliers in the short to medium term, particularly in areas (the interior, Eastern and central Africa) not yet reached by regional fibre projects, and in those countries which do not have national transmission backbones which reach hinterland locations (like Nigeria, Angola and DRC).
2.4 Bandwidth Cost Models The costing structure of any African network will be influenced by the choices of networking made, since terrestrial-based and VSAT-based networks have very different cost structures. Given the bandwidth situation already existing in Africa, it appears that both VSAT and terrestrial networks will have to be used to cover all institutions. This situation complicates the generation of a uniform pricing model for the network. However, on a terrestrially delivered multiple site network it may be difficult to calculate the pricing model without the correct tools in place. The simplest way to do this anyway is to group sites that are connected back to the point of delivery, divide their bandwidth allocation by their costs and charge accordingly. A satellite-delivered network is easier to cost out. The service is directly delivered and the cost can therefore be determined directly according to the service provided. Once a determination is made for the bandwidth required, the vendor would calculate the price of services supplied and charge accordingly. The bandwidth volume has a dramatic effect on bandwidth pricing and savings of over 50% are possible if institutions band together to purchase their bandwidth in larger volumes. 2.5 Governance All information technology networks have some form of an oversight body (usually represented by a board), an advisory body (usually represented by an advisory committee), executive management (usually represented by secretariat managers) and operations (usually represented by technical staff). Models of governance and management found in the profiled networks included: • The Reciprocity Model: The majority of existing networks are set up as reciprocity networks, with members expecting mutual and equal benefits after making equal investments e.g. KENET (Kenya). • The Donor Centred Model: Some networks or initiatives are funded by a single organization that takes the dominant role in management and governance e.g. USAID Leland Initiative, SPIDER, Sida/SAREC initiative and the Partnership for Higher Education. • The Special-Member Model: Finally, there are networks where two or three parties make a greater investment in the project than the rest of the members. Those members with ‘extra’ amounts of investment then form a special group of members with certain privileges, as defined in their AUP for example CUDI in Mexico.
Promoting African Research and Education Networking | 41
Staffing patterns observed from the study include: • Full Operational Staffing: The organization sets up a complete operations structure, with both administrative and technical support offices for instance APAN (Asia Pacific). • Decision Focused Staffing: This pattern consists of a single decision-making group that has the responsibility of outsourcing the requisite specialist services. Under this model, members are often tasked with maintaining their own link to the network. The group has responsibility over the usage of both the facilities and bandwidth as is the case with for instance TIEN and TENET. 3. Recommendations for Bandwidth Consortia 3.1 Establishing a Pan African VSAT Consortium Due to the limited availability of international fibre gateways and national backbones, the establishment of regional or continental consortia for bandwidth purchasing is likely to focus on the purchase of satellite bandwidth but may also need to consider emerging international or national backbones in the near future. Given the fact that terrestrial infrastructure is still disjointed and sparse across much of Africa, the only immediate way to deploy a world-class educational network within an initial 12-month period is to implement a satellite-based network. The hardware for these types of networks is available at relatively low cost. It is also of higher quality and is more easily available. There are essentially three ways in which a VSAT consortium could evolve: • Creation of several regional and/or research-focused networks: For example, East, Southern and West African tertiary institutions could each create their own VSAT consortium. This way, each network would be able to deliver significant value because critical volumes would be obtained. Additionally, other specialty networks (i.e., for medical research, such as MIMCom, or language-focused networks [French West African]) could also be established. Organic growth of existing established network: The obvious example of this is the initiative being taken by the African Virtual University in sourcing bandwidth for the five universities participating in the Partnership for Higher Education. Over time, other institutions could join the consortium, and it could become the dominant bandwidth provider. Establishment of an independent entity focused on bandwidth provision: African educational institutions and committed donors could decide to follow the example of most other networks in the world and create an independent organization that is focused on providing the lowest cost bandwidth to its members.
3.2 Governance structure of Pan Africa VSAT Consortium The study recommends that any Pan African VSAT consortium adopt the following governance structures: Independent Board of Directors: This body would serve the primary oversight functions of a board: strategic direction and fiscal responsibility. Ideally, its members would represent a broad range of stakeholders, including representatives from governments, education institutions and the private sector. It must be seen as being independent and acting in
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the best interests of the membership. The selection of the board would be the responsibility of the Membership Advisory Group and the funding agencies. Membership Advisory Group: This would comprise a group of not more than nine elected representatives of the educational institutions making up the membership of the consortium. The primary responsibility of this advisory group would be to work with the donors in selecting an appropriate board of directors and providing feedback as needed from the membership. Donor Advisory Group: This is envisioned as a group of donor representatives who would ensure that the strategic interests of the project are being met. The primary role of this group would be to select the board of directors and to ensure that funding is channelled to the consortium as needed. 3.3 Staffing structure for a Pan African VSAT Consortium The staffing of the consortium organization should be minimized in order to ensure efficiency. Ideally, the technical management of the network (i.e., the management of the Network Operations Centre [NOC]) would be handled by the consortium’s operations department (at the consortium headquarters), which would monitor network performance.
Executive Management Group
Technical Service Providers
Operations (IT Departments)
3.4 Network Configuration for a Pan African VSAT Consortium There are two possibilities for the network configuration: • The network configuration would be a meshed network with a central hub in either the US or Europe. The network should not be over-complicated. Whilst the geographical spread is wide, if similar terminals – with only a few permutations on the hardware – were deployed from a central African store, it should not be too difficult to achieve a large number of deployed sites per month. • The network configuration would still be a meshed network but with a central hub in Africa. In this case member institutions have ownership of the whole initiative. 3.5 Funding and Sustainability Strategy In order to achieve sustainability, the consortia will have to pursue a strategy of a gradual reduction of bandwidth subsidy over the course of 5 to 10 years. The example of TENET SA is instructive: the organization provided subsidies on increasing quantities of bandwidth over three years. At the end of this period, member institutions were covering all of their own bandwidth costs. The consortium will need to be a legal
Promoting African Research and Education Networking | 43
body that will sign the bandwidth contracts with the VSAT supplier in order to obtain the volume discounts desired. The consortium must then enter into binding contracts with each of the educational institutions for the provision of their bandwidth. It is expected that some member institutions will default on their payment obligations, and strategies must be in place to handle this eventuality. There are four primary mitigation strategies: • • • • Member institutions must prepay their bandwidth fees. If payment is not received on time, services will be immediately cut off. Usually, this creates a crisis within the institution, and funds are immediately prioritised for bandwidth. If member institutions create a history of non-payment, the amount of bandwidth they could purchase would be reduced. Estimates of expected default rates could be made and a “self insurance” fund created to cover the expected shortfall. Such a fund would be built into consortium charges. Insurance companies are invited to provide insurance against default.
3.6 Regulatory Strategy An important role of the consortium will be to negotiate with governments to allow the use of satellite and/or to eliminate license fees and monopoly pricing for educational bandwidth. A well-conceived diplomatic strategy would have to be pursued in order to accomplish this. Precedents, both within and outside of Africa, indicate that this is possible. EUMEDCONNECT, for example, was able to assist universities in North Africa in lobbying their governments for educational waiver on fees and pricing. Also, the Partnership for Higher Education has not had much difficulty in doing the same for the sub-Saharan countries in which they operate. 3.7 Location of Consortium From a technical standpoint, it would be best for the consortia headquarters to be located near the central hub in other words, in Africa, the US or Europe. Politically however, it would be best if the headquarters, together with the central hub, were located within Africa in a country with; good relations with the rest of Africa, technical infrastructure advanced enough to meet the needs of an international office, facilities for easy travel to and from headquarters, politically stable and where highly qualified staff are willing to be located. 3.8 Partnerships with Private Sectors Strong partnerships will need to be forged with the various private-sector service providers. They will include: • • • The satellite operator The satellite equipment suppliers The networking equipment suppliers
Any bandwidth consortium would have high visibility, a large number of sites, significant bandwidth and important political value. Given these characteristics, and the fact that most private-sector players have some sort of social responsibility program,
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favourable terms could be negotiated for their services. However a cautious approach would need to be taken and strong legal/contractual relationships would probably be more reliable than sole dependency on preferential deals. This would mitigate against private sector partners defaulting from a preferential deal where they would have the upper hand. GEANT, ALICE, EUMEDconnect and TEIN2 are handled in this manner. 3.9 Partnership with Regional Academic Networks in Other Continents International networks such as Geant and Internet2 have already indicated their interest in assisting with linking their networks to similar emerging African networks. These could provide relatively low-cost upstream connectivity for African institutions. Also, it would be important to foster South-South knowledge exchange by ensuring that African networks are linked to their counterparts in Asia and Latin America. 3.10 Recognition of Evolution of Bandwidth Sourcing The consortium will have to actively monitor the bandwidth landscape in Africa and, as terrestrial options become more attractive, be able to quickly shift connections for certain institutions to the most competitive option. This will mean that, over time, the consortium will evolve from providing bandwidth via VSAT only to providing bandwidth via terrestrial sources as well. 4. Conclusion The proposal to create bandwidth consortia comes at a time when changes in the connectivity landscape in Africa are creating dramatic opportunities for increasing online access. Not only is there increased content that is directly relevant to Africa, but also there is the fact that bandwidth volumes have increased at the same time that significant policy reforms are enabling access to this bandwidth. This report shows in detail how a potential consortium can be formed. It is now up to the African academic institutions in consultation with the donor community to determine how best to turn this idea into reality. The full PAREN study is available at: http://www.connectivityafrica.org/page.php?Documents.html 5. Reference Steiner R. et al, African Tertiary Institutions Connectivity Survey, AVU, Nairobi. 2004, http://www.atics.info/index.html
A Survey of Investment in Education and Research Networking in Africa by Development Agencies and other Organizations – Summary
For the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Connectivity Africa – Promotion of African Research and Education Network Program (PAREN) program - August 2005
The author wishes to thank all those who responded to e-mails and phone calls in order to contribute information to this report. Any errors or omissions are the sole responsibility of the author. 1. Purpose of the study This investment study was commissioned by IDRC as part of its program to promote education and research networking in Africa (PAREN). It complements earlier IDRC work that identified research and education networking initiatives in Africa and models on which they might draw. The network study (Promoting African Research and Education Networking, A study sponsored by IDRC, Steiner et al, January 2005) concluded that connectivity in tertiary institutions in Africa is expensive and totally inadequate to meet basic education and research requirements. It concluded, however, that new initiatives in the region could bring about a landscape in which sufficient bandwidth would be available to enable African universities to exchange information and data among themselves and to contribute to and draw from global developments in education, research, science and technology. This present study is intended to identify external partners working with African institutions to achieve those ends. The full report is available at: http://www.connectivityafrica.ca/page.php?Documents.html.
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2. Methodology The terms of reference called for a profile of organizations contributing to education and research networking in Africa and a measure of the extent of their contribution in relation to: • bandwidth subsidies • national research networks • regional research networks The profiles were developed through a combination of web research, phone interviews and e-mail exchanges conducted mainly in a six week period in March and April 2005. Many organizations were examined, with the most relevant multilateral organizations, donors, foundations, academic and non-governmental organizations and businesses included in the report. Organizations providing content and technical training and support are covered as well as those focused mainly on connectivity. Initiatives that may have a bearing on future networking possibilities – the most visible of which is the Africa Commission – have also been included. Since the research work was completed a number of programs have advanced substantially and new ones have emerged. Examples of the former include the IndiaAfrica Partnership Project and the ITU/UNU collaboration on AFUNet (African Universities Network) supported by a feasibility grant from NORAD. CERN – not included in the study – is now taking an active role in stimulating debate prior to the Tunis phase of the World Summit on the Information Society. DFID is launching a major new content initiative entitled Research Africa. The report that is summarized here therefore needs to be seen as a picture, at a particular time, of an ongoing process. 3. Coverage The study combines a compilation of profiles of organizations and initiatives with analysis of how they can contribute to building a more effective networking environment within the relatively short term. The analysis is intended to lay the foundation for future joint action to expand bandwidth access. Many of the organizations profiled here are bilateral or multilateral development organizations, foundations or multinational companies based outside Africa. Others are key African stakeholders whose commitment will determine the success of the bandwidth enterprise within the African research and education community. Information is provided on over 60 programs or organizations.
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Section in Report 3. The Africa Commission 4. Organizations involved in current consortium
Organization or program Commission for Africa African Association of Universities Partnership for Higher Education in Africa
Website www.commissionforafrica.org www.aau.org www.foundationpartnership.org www.avu.org www.gdln.org http://info.worldbank.org/ict www.infodev.org www.unesco.org www.itu.int/wsis/docs2/ www.eafricacommission.org www.afdb.org www.sida.se www.spidercenter.org www.nettelafrica.org www.aascu.org www.dot-edu.org www.dfid.gov.uk www.norad.org www.danida.dk www.acdi-cida.gc.ca www.idrc.ca www.nuffic.net www.iicd.org www.innovazione.gov.it/ita www.gtz.de/en/ www.InWent.org www.geant.net www.dante.net www.eumedconnect.net www.agence.francophnie.org www.auf.org http://intif.francophonie.org www.sist-sciencesdev.net www.afd.fr www.intelsat.com www.inmarsat.com www.newskies.com www.panamsat.com www.rascomstar.com www.ieeaf.org
5. Multilateral Organizations
African Virtual University World Bank UNESCO ITU and UNU NEPAD African Development Bank Sida/SAREC Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions (SPIDER) USAID DFID NORAD DANIDA CIDA IDRC NUFFIC IICD Italy GTZ InWent Geant Dante EUMEDConnect AIF AUF INTIF SIST AFD Intelsat Inmarsat New Skies PanAmSat RascomStar IEEAF
6. Bilateral Development Agencies
7. The European Union 8. La Francophonie
9. Infrastructure Projects
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10. Content Providers
11. Research Networks 12. Technical Capacity 13. Private Sector
14. Global Scientific Collaboration
Nectarnet ORASCOM COMTEL EASSy Fibre Africa proposal WHO FAO INASP eIFL JSTOR MIMCom Net AIMS SARUA NSRC WiderNet CISCO Geo International Global VSAT Forum HP NSF Internet2 MSI - SIG GUS NMI Ibaud Nethope
www.nectarnet.org www.otelecom.com www.comesa.int/ict/projects http://eassy.org email@example.com www.who.int www.fao.org www.inasp.info www.eifl.net www.jstor.org www.nlm.nih.gov/mimcom www.aims.ac.za www.sauvca.org.za/sarua/ www.nsrc.org www.widernet.org www.cisco.com www.geointernational.net www.gvf.org www.hp.com www.nsf.gov/cise http://international.internet2.e du www.msi-sig.org firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.nmiscience.org/ www.ibaud.org www.nethope.org
15. Other Initiatives
4. Analysis of findings The analysis aims to: • identify challenges facing development partners as they confront networking issues. • provide an overview of who is contributing what and where in terms of: o connectivity o capacity building o content o national networks and o regional networks o recommend approaches to framing the next phase of debate on education and research networking in Africa. 4.1 Development Challenges The meaning of national research and education networks in Africa Access to high speed, high quality bandwidth in African universities will be an increasingly important component of both African and global science. But it may need to be balanced, for some time to come, against the need of student and teaching populations in universities and research centres, in rural as well as urban areas, for functional levels of connectivity. The concept of closed networks dedicated to scientific
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endeavour which underpins national research networks in the north (NRENs) may not prevail in Africa for some time. A relatively small number of core donors but many interested ones Few development organizations have a substantial commitment to funding bandwidth programs within universities. The core donor community includes the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa, the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) and Sida/SAREC. Although in the case of Sida/SAREC it is difficult to identify precise connectivity investments both the Partnership and AUF plan to invest more than $1 million annually in connectivity as part of broader programs to support university reform. While important players, these are by no means the only players on the stage. Many others, organizations mentioned in this report (the World Bank, OSISA, WHO/HINARI, etc), and probably some left out, fund connectivity as a tool to support their knowledge-based programs. The diversity of donors with varied agendas has led some national partners to call for more collaboration among international development partners: • at the regional level to share information and rationalize resources. • at the national level to collaborate on specific projects. • to minimise duplication of efforts at all levels. Mainstreaming Enhanced connectivity for the tertiary sector may not be seen as a priority within ICT programs that have been integrated into core development sectors to support the achievement of the MDGs. But access to higher levels of bandwidth is a mainstream requirement of the tertiary sector, which itself is a strategic instrument of national science and technology policy. There is room for elaborating the bandwidth case in the context of education and research, science and technology and national development goals. A variety of models Many satellites circle Africa and fibre cables surround all but the East coast of the continent. Arguably Africa is well connected now to the rest of the world. Connectivity within the region is much more problematic. Debates - about the relative merits of satellite and fibre and the priority of linking to the external world or networking within the region - will ensure that there is no single right model. They argue in favour of flexible project design so that programs can be interconnected as technical and commercial circumstances evolve. A Pan-African approach? Connectivity in tertiary institutions was addressed initially on a country by country basis. Now geographic (SARUA) and interest-based (AUF) programs are emerging. While there is not likely to be a single education and research networking model for the continent there is value in comparing experiences, linking sub-regional networks and seeking opportunities to aggregate demand where it makes sense to do so. Defining
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what constitutes a constructive program in support of a continental framework is the next challenge. 4.2 A regional overview of programs The following 12 programs were used as sample through which to assess the geographic spread of connectivity programs in the region: • African Virtual University – AVU has transformed itself from a World Bank project to an inter-governmental organization with 34 learning centres in 20 countries. • World Bank’s Global Development Learning Network – GDLN networks learning institutions to promote knowledge sharing, training and consultation on development topics. • CISCO Networking Academies – CISCO has programs in 40 countries in Africa to teach networking and other information technology related skills. • The Partnership for Higher Education in Africa brings together the Carnegie, Ford, MacArthur and Rockefeller Foundations to assist with the renaissance of higher education in Africa inter alia through enhanced ICT skills and connectivity. • Sida funds, often through its research arm SAREC or the university-based Swedish Program for ICT in Developing regions, the deployment of ICT in universities, including connectivity. • MIMCom is the communication arm of the Malaria Research Network established to meet scientists’ needs for e-mail and fast communications in the early Internet days. • WiderNet is a program based at the University of Iowa to improve educational networking mainly in Africa and support access to content through the e-Granary Digital Library. • NetTel Africa is a public/private capacity building alliance linking regulators and universities in Africa and the US. • EUMEDConnect is an EU project to network R&E communities of the Mediterranean including North Africa with 3500 European establishments served by Geant. • AUF promotes the creation and circulation of French-language scientific knowledge inter alia through the integration of ICT in higher education and the establishment of a network of “campus numeriques”. • SIST is a program of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs to build a system for scientific and technical information in Africa. • INASP works with partners globally to strengthen local capacities to produce, manage, access and use scientific information and knowledge. In six countries – and for different reasons - there is no discernible presence of connectivity programs: Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Mauritius, Seychelles and Sudan. Programs tend to cluster in a few countries.
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Number of programs 9 8 7 6 5 0
Countries Uganda, Tanzania Mozambique Ghana Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Senegal Mali, Cote d’Ivoire Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sudan
The broad brush geographic picture shows concentrations of activities in support of education and research networking in ten countries of the 53 in the region: Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique are at the top of the list with substantial presence also in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Mali and Cote d’Ivoire. A number of countries, and institutions based outside metropolitan areas generally, are virtually untouched by the advance of externally-funded programs to support connectivity. 4.3 Connectivity The table on the next page shows what the study has been able to establish about subsidized bandwidth. It illustrates different approaches. The Partnership for Higher Education has a long term commitment to expanded bandwidth for universities in the five countries with which it works. The program has been ongoing for close to five years – it has involved strong links with both university management and technical staff and a significant capacity building effort. More importantly perhaps it has committed funds (approximately $4.6 million) into the future to develop and implement bandwidth pooling and management programs. The Partnership member universities have opted for a satellite solution. While the bandwidth agreement that is presently being negotiated covers only five countries more may be included in the next phase. The Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie works in 15 Francophone African countries to develop digital campuses (10) or information centres; the ten digital campuses are intended to stimulate national networking, content sharing and connectivity. The quantities of connectivity are relatively modest but the program is broad-based. Connectivity is provided through local ISPs – satellite solutions are considered only when no other options are available. Connectivity and related staff costs within the universities are covered through AUF’s operational budget at a level of approximately 1.3 million euros annually. Training and other program activities are funded as projects also by AUF.
WB-GDLN 155mbps 128/64kbps 128/64kbps 128/64kbps
384kbps 384kbps planned
256kbps 512kkbps 128kkbps
256kbps 512/128kbps 256kbps 256kkbps 45mbps ? negotiation ? 128/64 kbps 128/64 kbps 34mbps 1mbps? negotiation 128/64 kbps Saint-Louis:128/64 kbps, UCAD: 128/64 kbps Geant 1mbps? ? negotiation 45mbps negotiation negotiation 128/64 kbps ? CC: 512/128, GIMPA:256/128 384/96 kbps
384kbps 384kbps 384kbps
Algeria Benin Burkina Faso, Ouaga Bobo-D Burundi Cameroon Chad DRC Cote d’Ivoire Egypt Ethiopia Gabon Ghana Kenya Malawi Mali Mauritania Morocco Mozambique Namibia Niger Nigeria Rwanda Senegal South Africa Swaziland Tanzania Tunisia Uganda
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The World Bank’s Global Development Learning Network covers 12 countries – connectivity is delivered through the Bank’s own network. Emphasis is on the local development of services that deliver the benefits of connectivity – collaborative learning and a wide variety of national, regional and global consultations - rather than on building networking skills per se. AVU, funded initially by the World Bank and now by a number of development agencies, supports connectivity in the distance learning centres through which it delivers its programs in member universities. EUMED Connect provides substantial connectivity to four countries in North Africa that border on the Mediterranean. Of all the programs discussed in this report EUMED is the closest to connecting African countries into the global research network. Sida and HINARI provide connectivity in countries where it is important to the delivery of other programs. In the case of Sida connectivity is significant and intended to support university wide education, research and collaboration goals. In the case of HINARI connectivity support is limited to providing small amounts of bandwidth to facilitate access to information tools. Like a number of bilateral aid agencies, USAID does not generally support connectivity but does so on occasion where it is a requisite of nationally developed strategies. Namibia and Uganda are examples where connectivity is provided to teacher training institutions in the context of its dot-EDU program. These different models for the provision of connectivity reflect the different program goals of development organizations. 4.4 Capacity Almost all the programs identified involve capacity building. The main difference is between the majority of programs that build networking skills in the context of their own programs and the few organizations that make their services available to build networking capacity in support of a broad range of African initiatives. The Sida/SAREC approach to training is comprehensive in coverage but focused on few universities: it includes practical programs that join Swedish experts with local teams to implement solutions to local problems; professional training in Swedish universities; and ICT research through sandwich programs at the graduate level. Sida is committed to exploring open e-learning environments for networking and ICT training. The Partnership for Higher Education has initiated workshops and research projects designed both to expand capacity and to move the connectivity agenda forward through collaboration among the African partner universities. EUMEDConnect offers a mix of formal training programs for network engineers and the facilitation of study tours and participation in seminars and conferences to stimulate networking among individuals.
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AUF offers national and regional workshops on various aspects of the application of ICT in a university environment: network and system administration; design and implementation of information systems, web publishing, research and multi-media; and education technologies – the capacity building activities of both AUF and SIST have a strong content development and dissemination component. GTZ is also active in this area. Not surprisingly the content providers provide training on how to use their own resources but some also have broader focus on building capacities to access, produce, process and disseminate information – HINARI and INASP are examples. INASP has also developed methodological tools for bandwidth management and will continue to be involved in building capacities in this area. The Network Startup Resource Centre is specifically focused on capacity building through training programs, technical assistance and trouble shooting. It has been a strong contributor to the training workshops run first by ISOC and increasingly by the African Network Operators Group (AFNOG). More coordination of networking training could establish good practice, fill gaps in coverage and help ensure that sufficient African capacity is available to meet expanding needs. 4.5 Content Most of the content initiatives have dual objectives of facilitating access by African researchers, educators and students to the body of scientific knowledge which is now electronically at the fingertips of academics in the North and processing and disseminating knowledge generated in Africa. The Francophone initiatives – AUF and SIST – are particularly focused on building and disseminating local knowledge. Some services offer broad subject coverage – INASP, eIFL, JSTOR – and work through national and university libraries; some cover specific sectors (HINARI for health and reproduction, AGORA for agriculture) and work also through specialized facilities: medical and nursing schools, tropical disease research centres, national departments of health and agriculture. Because of their longstanding relationships with specialized libraries and information centres, sometimes outside major metropolitan areas, they can be a useful source of information and contacts about research and data initiatives relevant to core health and rural livelihood issues. The content services are important partners in making the case for bandwidth from a user perspective. 4.6 National networking Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia in the North; Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania in sub-Saharan Africa provide examples of African national education and research networks. The closest approximation to northern models exists in North Africa as a result of EUMEDConnect’s activities in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. Progress has not
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been as fast as intended partly because the package of measures incorporated in the EUMED program (applications and regulatory reform as well as connectivity) could not all be delivered simultaneously. But NREN nuclei are in place and will expand during the next phase of the project. The gradual evolution of national networks is central to the AUF "campus numeriques" program; the campuses work with universities to build ICT capacity and infrastructure to facilitate cooperative programs and information sharing nationally. The SIST program of the French government also works through national committees which include universities and research centres. SIST and AUF coordinate their programs at the national level. TENET (South Africa) – linked to GEANT - is the only broadband NREN in subSaharan Africa. KENET (the Kenyan Education Network) – originally supported in 1999 by the USAID’s Leland Initiative but now operating independently – provides training and discounted access via leased lines and dial-up facilities to over 30 academic institutions in the country. A number of donors are supporting networking in Nigeria. Six Nigerian universities are members of the Partnership consortium. The Carnegie and MacArthur Foundations are working specifically on a national bandwidth capacity building network which will focus first on technical and management issues then on policy. SIST is working in Nigeria to develop skills related to information processing and access. WiderNet also has programs in a number of Nigerian universities to build Internet connectivity and capacities. MaLICO has very strong local roots within a consortium of Malawi university libraries which developed the network as a tool to improve access to electronic information resources. MaLICO was developed with only a small amount of start-up support from OSISA but is now operating independently. It is the only African example of a librarydriven network which serves NREN goals. This varied pattern conforms to the view on African NRENs expressed by the manager of South Africa’s TENET: NRENs in Africa do not focus only on the needs for high quality, high volume bandwidth but on the more mundane needs of students and teachers to connect with a wider world. 4.7 Regional networks There is a host of regional networks – falling outside the purview of this study - that could take advantage of improved bandwidth infrastructure on a regional basis if it were available. These include CODESRIA – the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa, AERC – the African Economic Research Consortium and RIA – Research ICT Africa. Many of the programs described here have coordinating centres or focal points in countries of the region forming networks of common interest which would similarly
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benefit, as would the regional economic coordination organizations (ECOWAS, COMESA, SADC, IGAD). MIMCom and NetTel are subject focused networks which recognize the strategic importance of connectivity to the success of their substantive agenda – and the African Mathematics Network, while only in the planning stage, shares this view. Through EUMEDConnect, the North African countries (with the exception of Libya) are linked functionally within a regional network to all Mediterranean countries. The proposal developed by SARUA (the Southern Africa Regional Universities Association) for a regional network covering universities in SADC countries could – if it materializes - provide a model for other sub-regional networks. TENET in South Africa is an important asset in the sub-region that is so far lacking elsewhere. 4.8 The next phase Principles drawn from current practice may be a useful guide for future bandwidth programs: • African education and research networking may be driven, at least in an initial phase, more by the need for bandwidth for all tertiary education operations than by the need for secure, closed research networks on the model of northern NRENs. • Network infrastructure requirements must be located firmly within the higher education and research agenda – linked to national science and technology and development goals – as well as to the program requirements of individual universities. • Senior university management as well as IT leaders must be part of the debate on network and bandwidth requirements. • More collaboration among donors can help produce a wider geographic spread among programs and facilitate comprehensive capacity building strategies as well as minimize duplication and highlight good practice. • Development organizations need to recognize that long term planning cycles are required and that resources need to be committed independently of the particular technical solutions that emerge. • Program design needs flexibility to adapt to new infrastructure options (technical and commercial) as they emerge. • Synchronizing regulatory reform, applications, content and capacity building with the provision of expanded bandwidth will help promote the use of the newly available resources. The goal of the next phase should be to build support broadly within the region and among external partners by: • engaging policy makers within the science and technology, communication and education communities and • multiplying and connecting national and sub-regional programs on the ground. Any new continent-wide bandwidth program may want to consider the following actions to facilitate identification of opportunities and expand support.
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• • • • • • • •
Maintaining a watching brief with respect to discussions on the higher education recommendations of the Africa Commission Report – through the AAU (African Association of Universities). Monitoring relevant global initiatives – Global University System, Nelson Mandela Institute MSI, etc. Establishing links with the higher education program in UNESCO through the African Regional Scientific Committee of the Forum on Higher Education or through the Working Group on Higher Education. Engaging La Francophonie through the AUF. Seeking common ground with NEPAD. Opening discussion with key African research networks to establish their needs for expanded bandwidth. Involving a few key private sector representatives – perhaps from Geo International and Cisco – to try to identify concrete contributions in support of regionally defined initiatives. Reinforcing the content angle by incorporating WHO as the representative of HINARI and AGORA – two key development sectors where African research and education will make a contribution in the context of the Millennium Development Goals.
Several strands of program activity (advocacy; technology; capacity building; local and international content) will be needed to construct a firm foundation for broad expansion of education and research networking throughout the region.
Problem-Oriented Capacity-Building based on the Introduction of Information and Communication Technologies as an Enabler of Socio-Economic Development
Abstract The Swedish Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) presents experiences from a model for conducting development cooperation projects. The model has multiple goals coming together in a problem-based, project-driven framework involving stakeholders from academia, public sector, industry and civil society. Primary goals are • Involve all stakeholders in concretising, maintaining and working towards a vision and action programme exploiting the potential of information and communication technologies (ICT) to improve the quality of life of individuals, and the efficiency of organisations. • Define and conduct a number of development projects in the framework of the action programme leading towards a vision that can be used to establish a problemoriented approach to capacity building in the ICT area at selected universities. The activities should include • Selection of geographical areas to target and university partner(s) to involve in development projects. • Education and training of academic staff in appropriate pedagogical models for teaching and learning, such as problem-oriented learning, peer-learning, vicarious learning, and associated roles for different stakeholders, including teachers, students, project principals, external experts, etc. • Strengthening of research and development at involved universities regarding technologies and entrepreneurship relevant to rural development, including design, development and deployment of pilot services and networks • Problem-oriented education and training in technologies and entrepreneurship on the master level relevant to the establishment of sustainable business models meeting user requirements, including design, development and deployment of pilot services and networks. • Review of the telecommunication policies and regulatory framework to outline a regulatory environment supporting a secure, dynamic and economically sound development in the area of telecommunications based on the view that the
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telecommunication infrastructure is a utility of the same importance for society as roads and railways for transportation, power distribution, water distribution, etc. Business development in organisations providing basic public services in rural areas, such as public administration, healthcare, education and support for local entrepreneurs and civil society. The communication needs of such organisations are likely to generate a substantial traffic volume forming the basis of a sustainable communication market in rural areas which will also benefit private sector. Research including analyses of the impact of ICT by socio-economic studies before and after the introduction.
The deliverables would include • Research, education and technology transfer to societies at selected universities, including curricula and capacity to conduct programmes and/or courses based on problem-oriented, project-driven learning supporting development of rural areas based on ICT. • Increased capacity to conduct socio-economic development projects, in terms of educated individuals and know-how related to ICT as an infrastructure for development. • Pilot systems, services and networks illustrating best practices and providing services in selected rural areas in healthcare, education, support to local entrepreneurs and public administration. 1. Background Universities have three major tasks: Research, Education and Community service. The ideas conveyed in this paper are relevant for all these tasks although our focus is set on how institutions of higher learning can serve as an engine of socio-economic development in their environments. The challenges involved include increasing the access to education as well as improving the quality of the research and education activities and increasing their relevance to national needs. A bi-modal approach is necessary: a bottom-up approach to improve basic living conditions like basic health, primary education, access to water, etc, and a top down approach focusing on higher education, technical development and industrial linkages. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are important, both as an infrastructure for organizational management, research and education in general and as an academic area of research, education and industrial development relevant to the national needs. The development framework should include cross cutting themes, such as strengthening the governance and management, introducing quality assurance and infrastructure development, as well as core themes, such as faculty development, improving access & learning, excellence in research and relevance to national priorities. Within this development framework, proposals for Development Projects are solicited supporting the development goals as well as concrete project goals relevant to the program, activities, timelines, milestones, deliverables and budgets. This paper discusses a development model in the ICT area taking the top down approach to capacity building activities supporting the bottom up approach in terms of
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introducing ICT as an enabler for rural development, focusing on healthcare, schools and public administration. In section 2, a framework for problem-oriented, project-driven research, development and learning, based on a combination of peer learning, vicarious learning and coaching is described. In section 3, a process for introduction of ICT in a developing country is described. In section 4, the R&D framework described in section 2 and the development process described in section 3 is combined and instantiated with local data. 2. Problem-oriented capacity-building In this section, we describe a framework for research, development and learning developed at KTH in cooperation with partners from all over the world, including Stanford University, National University of Singapore, and University College, UK. 2.1 A framework for problem-oriented research, development and learning The framework is based on problem-oriented, project-driven learning in distributed teams, considering geographical distances and time zones, as well as organizational and cultural differences. The teams could be focusing either on entrepreneurial start-up ventures or consulting for external project-owners. The components of the framework include: • Work processes in the teaching team, the project team, and external stakeholders as well as discipline/problem-oriented content in designated areas. • Pedagogical support systems based on problem-based, project-driven learning, peer learning among team members and vicarious learning from teams that have dealt with similar situations previously. • Technical and spatial support systems in terms of distributed interactive learning spaces supporting audio/video conferencing with shared work spaces, data sharing and connections to mobile team members. The framework has its roots in the work described in sections 2.2-2.5 2.2 Experiences from existing programs Experiences from existing master level programs taught in English with international recruitment in the area of Internetworking (www.it.kth.se/intms) and ICT Entrepreneurship (www.it.kth.se/entms), both including a course in ICT System Design fitting the description above can be found at: (http://csd.ssvl.kth.se username=guest, passwd=welcome). 2.3 Pedagogical models Theory and practice of the pedagogical models mentioned can be found by visiting the following websites: • Problem-based learning: Students learn when motivated by problem-solving to achieve a task (www.udel.edu/pbl/, http://interact.bton.ac.uk/pbl/ )
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Peer learning: Students with different competences, experiences and cultural backgrounds learn from each other (www.questia.com/popularSearches/peer_learning.jsp) Vicarious learning: Students learn by studying the learning challenges and results of students in earlier projects (www.informatics.sussex.ac.uk/research/appcog/vl/index.php)
2.4 Research on interactive learning spaces The research on interactive learning spaces was initiated at Stanford (http://iwork.stanford.edu/) and followed up by KTH, a few German universities and recently also Ventspils University College (www.balticopen.net). KTH has developed and used interactive learning spaces the last decade and helped establish interactive learning spaces at several universities in different parts of the world. 2.5 Research on support for mobile learners Research and development of wireless access and support for mobility, including mobility of terminals and sessions, have been conducted at KTH for many years. The research has been taken into development projects resulting in spin-off companies as well as a leading edge learning environment extended from the KTH campus to hotspots in the city within the StockholmOpen.net project, one of the pilot networks implementing an open network architecture discussed in the next session. 3. ICT as an enabler of development of socio-economic development In this section, we describe our approach to the introduction of ICT in developing countries in different stages, based on our experiences from several countries on Asia, Africa and Latin America, including Bangladesh, Laos, Mozambique, Tanzania, Namibia and others. 3.1 Computer systems and communication networks ICT includes two major components: • Computer systems used for a wide spectrum of information processing tasks, knowledge management, and communication services, etc. • Communication infrastructures, transmission links and networks. In the developed world, ICT has proven to be a powerful enabler of development, improving both social and economic parameters, improving the quality of life of individuals as well as the efficiency of organizations and productivity. Although some of the involved technologies have had an explosive development, the impact on productivity statistics has been slower since the large scale benefits require changes in human and organizational behaviour including the way business is conducted. There is no doubt, however, that ICT is a very powerful enabler of socio-economic development.
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3.2 Access to computers Computers are still expensive. Making computers available seems, however, a good investment in socio-economic development. Access to computers in schools, Internet cafes and telecenters is a first step towards a larger pc-penetration. In some developed countries, the penetration is very high. In Sweden the pcpenetration in homes is over 70%, a development that has been supported by a tax reduction motivated by the government’s and parliament’s recognition that ICT is an enabler of development. 3.3 A national communication infrastructure An infrastructure for communication, including interactive voice (telephony), video and data communication, as well as broadcast media, is as important for the development of society as infrastructures for transport, including roads, railways, airports and infrastructures for power and water distribution. As opposed to the latter infrastructures, the communication infrastructure has not until recently received the necessary attention of the public sector. Industry has made us believe that it can provide the services needed on a strict commercial basis. This has turned out not to be true. Even in developed countries, the public sector has had to support the basic infrastructure to facilitate the development demanded by their citizens, at least on the broadband side. 3.4 Stakeholders The main actors on the communications market are the users buying the services that the service providers are providing. For several reasons, the picture is however much more complex. The user side is composed by different kinds of organizations as well as individual citizens with different interests and power. The service provider side is divided in broadcast media operators, voice service providers operating on fixed or mobile phone networks, Internet service providers, etc. The balance between the different actors is uneven and some of the basic resources, such as radio spectrum, are scarce, which calls for a regulator. We have chosen to identify the following stakeholder groups: Policy makers and regulator The policy makers define the market rules from a political perspective in terms of legislation and directives to the regulator. The regulator implements the policies set by the policy makers in terms of regulations, licenses, permits, etc. Good policies and regulations promote a dynamic development of society, which is often best accomplished by paying a balanced attention to the needs of all stakeholders on the communication market. As already mentioned, there is, however, a shift in the understanding of how the market is best supported giving public sector a more important role than earlier in the establishment of a national passive infrastructure. Another shift in progress is the deregulation of vertical monopolistic operators that operate everything from the passive infrastructure, transmission, networks, services and user access. The new paradigm promoted is a market based on horizontal competition where several different operators compete on one level but where operators on one level do not compete with their customers on the next level.
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An increasing number of policy makers take the position that communication should be regarded as a utility and be provided in abundance as a sustainable business, not as a scarce resource exploited for maximum profit. User agents The user side of the communication market is a mix of large organisations and corporations, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) as well as individual citizens. The large organisations can match the service provider side and influence the market a lot while the small enterprises, civil society and individual private users can not. It is therefore useful to look for user agents, i.e. large organisations that are neutral, or even biased towards the users, to improve the balance. The regulator should be neutral but still promote development on both sides. Public sector is paid by taxes and should work for the tax payers. In some countries there are strong consumer organisations that can play a role. In Sweden, the apartment housing sector plays an important role standardising and pushing a fibre to the home concept which is very user-oriented and making it possible for tenants to select services from different operators independently from each other. Public sector To build a sustainable communication market, the public sector plays several important roles, as a policy maker and regulator, user and user agent and as an owner and/or promoter of the necessary passive infrastructure. As a regulator, the public sector controls how the passive infrastructure can be used to the benefit of the society. As a user, the public sector agencies, belonging to central, regional and local government generate a substantial part of the total traffic, normally 20-40% of the total traffic, in phases of development often much more. The communication needs for the public sector is thus a key component when building a sustainable communication market. As an owner/promoter of passive infrastructure, the public sector can often include a wider spectrum of values when calculating the return on investment than private sector companies. Industry Industry in general has a role as user. As such, large companies often build their own private networks for reasons of security, etc. To build a sustainable market, it is important to be able to provide the quality of service that the large users can accept at lowest cost. ICT industry includes system manufacturers and integrators on one hand and operators on the other.
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Civil society The civil society includes associations of private citizens with common interests of different kinds, such as athletics and sports, culture, religion, etc. This sector is important to the level of quality of life in a society but mostly financially weak. Civil society needs to piggy-back on resources provided by the larger public and private sector organisations. 3.5 What is included in the Communication infrastructure The different levels in the communication network architecture are described below and the market actors on the different levels are discussed. In general, in areas where the market is small, the public sector may have to operate active links and optical networks. As the market grows one or more competing private companies can take over. The passive communication infrastructure The passive infrastructure includes: • Radio spectrum and physical locations for antennas on the wireless side • Right of way, ducts, fibre, physical spaces for termination and access on the wired side • Regulatory frameworks The passive infrastructure is a national asset. To support a dynamic development of society, it should be managed and made available at lowest possible cost, or even subsidised in development phases. To avoid inefficiency, parallel infrastructures managed by competing organisations are preferable. In Sweden, there are many independent national fibre infrastructures owned by both public and private actors, such as Banverket (railway), different telecom companies, different power distributors, etc. Users are allowed to lease dark fibres. Transmission links The transmission layer can include purely optical communication links and networks (CWDM/DWDM) with an optical interface to the user, or digital links with an electrical interface to the user (SDH/Ethernet). State of the art long haul links are now in the 2.440 Gbit/s SDH or 1 or 10 Gbit/s Ethernet. Users can get all or fractions of this to connect their own network segments or to a service provider. Operators can use such links to connect to each other, directly or via a traffic exchange point, to exchange traffic. IP-network and Operator services On the network layer, Internet Service Providers provide IP-services connected to a service provider or to the Internet. Network services include domain name service, time service, route servers, etc. End-user services The most common end-user services include email, web access, remote login, backup, databases, information services, web hosting, etc. These services are normally provided by Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
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3.6 Open network architectures Open network architectures are designed to allow different actors to build networks together by connecting different network segments, such as access networks, service networks, long haul links and traffic exchange points. To facilitate this, the different segments need open standardised technical interfaces and business models facilitating cooperation. The advantage is that different actors may have different possibilities to create business in a specific area. For example, local entrepreneurs might see opportunities to establish a sustainable business, which no national operator can take advantage of. In that case the local entrepreneur should be able to build an access network taking his users to a point of presence of the national operator, rather than the opposite. 3.7 The value ladder of public ownership of passive infrastructure The investment required when deploying a passive fibre infrastructure, including ducts, fibre cable, termination spaces, etc, is in the order of 100 USD per meter. This cost can be reduced if the deployment can be made together with other infrastructures, such as when extending the power grid, building roads, along railways, pipelines, etc. Step 1: Max return on investment The basic instinct of an investor is to maximize the return on investment to recover it as soon as possible. The strategy is to find an optimal price to maximize the profit. Step 2: Cut own communication costs If the price for leasing fibre is lowered and the regulatory framework is based on an open regime, more operators are attracted, which stimulates competition and lowers the communication costs. Step 3:Increase tax revenues and cut costs for unemployment If the price for leasing fibre is lowered even more, existing companies can improve their performance and new companies can be created, which increases tax revenues and cuts costs for unemployment. Step 4: Reduce costs for social welfare and crime If the price for leasing fibre is made nominal, individual citizens and civil society will flourish, which potentially increases the average quality of life and lowers a wide spectrum of social costs. 3.8 Business development of public services The normally highest prioritized public services include healthcare, education, public administration, including support to local entrepreneurs. In many countries, these areas are considered as core businesses for the public sector. It is, however, not always the case that these services are provided by the public sector. In some countries they are rather dominated by the private sector or by the civil society as commercial companies or non-profit organisations. The form of ownership and funding is not important in this context. However operated the services mentioned are considered basic, both in developed and developing countries.
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Rural healthcare Primary healthcare centres in rural areas mostly have too limited resources in relation to the services they are expected to provide. There is mostly only one doctor, a few nurses and sometimes paramedic staff and a business manager. The doctor is mostly unexperienced in the medical profession, since more experienced doctors compete for more prestigious and resourceful positions in the urban areas. The number of patients that belong to the centre is often very large. The infrastructures for transport of patients that need more resources, and for telecommunication to provide expert support to rural doctors, are often poor and sometimes even non-existing. Few staff members, if any, have had any sort of contact with ICT during their training. The business manager might be an exception. Basic ICT systems that are useful to introduce in such environments include: • Computer systems supporting patient records, drug inventory and business management procedures such as HR management including payroll and financial management • Communication systems supporting email, voice and video conferencing for consultation with medical experts at secondary district hospitals or national referral hospitals, as well as access to literature databases and WHO information, etc When introducing ICT in the healthcare process in rural areas, the challenges, besides the business development necessary to take advantage of the potential, also include access to power, a communication infrastructure and staff that could be trained to be able to take responsibility for the sustainable operation of the ICT systems. Education The education system normally includes primary and secondary schools and tertiary level universities and colleges, including teacher training colleges. The challenges when introducing ICT in educations are different on the different levels but common issues include: • Providing access for teachers and students • Developing the curricula • Make learning material available via ICT • Training teachers in the use of technology and new pedagogical models Although it is important to invest heavily in teacher training, it is not advisable to wait until the training programmes are complete. In Sweden, the introduction of ICT in schools was delayed 10-20 years due to the strategy to make the teachers the agent for the introduction. It was not until ICT became widely available in homes that the development accelerated. The students brought the usage to the schools rather than the opposite. Public administration Common starting points when introducing ICT for business development in public administration include email and voice services, internal procedures for HR and financial management and external services to the citizens such as providing forms.
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Support to local entrepreneurs Entrepreneurs in general can benefit from Internet access to find business information and market products and services. Access for such purposes can be provided by opening up schools for the local community during off-hours. Entrepreneurs establishing themselves as local network or service providers need an open regulatory framework, access to appropriate technology and technical solutions, education and training, financing, etc. 3.9 How to build a sustainable market Summarising this section we identify four steps: Research and development as spearheading demonstrators The first step is to use concrete examples to demonstrate and convince the policy makers, regulators and users about the power of ICT as an enabler of development. Bottom up local entrepreneurs and top down academic research groups can unite to do this as research and development projects. Commercial aspects can wait a bit. Public services to build volume The basis for a commercial market can be made by business development of public services to exploit the benefits of ICT. Procurements of communication services will activate private sector, including local entrepreneurs. Schools can serve as telecenters off school hours. Stimulation of private sector In a development phase, there are opportunities for local entrepreneurs. To make it possible for these entrepreneurs to take advantage of these opportunities, by making computers and network access available in all ways possible, will create new livelihoods for many. Towards a better quality of life Making communication services cheap will facilitate for the civil society to satisfy all sorts of needs of the citizens. 4. A Development Project model In the subsequent sections, we outline a vision, goals, activities and deliverables for a development model in the ICT area in a developing country. The model is being tested in practice in projects in Africa and South East Asia. The project would combine the establishment of the research, development and learning framework described in section 2 at selected universities and the ICT development process described in section 3. 4.1 Vision The vision of the project would be to establish sustainable broadband markets in rural areas. The strategy is to focus on the following development objectives:
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• • •
Demonstrate feasibility and build capacity in terms of human resources by noncommercial research, development and education in a neutral and competent academic setting. Adopt open policies and regulatory frameworks promoting open access to infrastructure transmission services and consumers to support user communities as well as new service providers and network operators. Have public sector invest in backbone infrastructure to establish basic public services accessible in rural areas, focusing on those that are supporting progress towards the Millennium Development goals: o Education using e-learning applications and community access to support local entrepreneurs by making schools available as telecenters o Healthcare, including email and access to journals for doctors,, patient records and telemedicine applications allowing inexperienced doctors and paramedics consult specialists at district and referral hospitals o Public administration, such as email for civil servants, support for environment impact analyses, GIS-applications, support to local entrepreneurs, etc o By generating a substantial traffic volume and an open access infrastructure, public services will provide the basis for a sustainable and expanding broadband market Stimulate local business, households and civil society, to develop services and use broadband applications to create new livelihoods and conduct business more efficiently.
4.2 Approach 1, 3, 5 and 10-year goals and a project plan will be detailed in a planning project in the R&D&L framework described in Section 2 during the academic year 2005-2006 involving all stakeholders. As outlined in section 3: • Use existing public sector initiatives in education, healthcare and public administration to formulate requirements and business models. • Involve user communities and organizations to describe their applications and their requirements as a basis for procurements • Identify services and access networks that local entrepreneurs can provide in a sustainable way to meet the user requirements • Identify the support that the local entrepreneurs need, such as technology, education, funding, regulations, etc • Define the requirements on a national infrastructure making it possible for the local entrepreneurs to build their access networks • Select a few pilot applications from existing initiatives, in education, healthcare and public administration • Include typical requirements for broadband Internet services that cannot be provided via gprs or pstn networks.
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4.3 Activities The general methodology used in the area of communication systems design is an iterative model involving all stakeholders with cycles of design, implementation, evaluation, redesign, etc. The first cycle includes identifying all stakeholders and forming and consolidating steering and reference groups and a small pilot implementation on a carefully selected area that is considered to be representative but not too complex. In subsequent cycles, the number of areas is increased in order to identify variations that need to be accommodated in a full scale program. The activities in each cycle include learning, design of system components, procurement of equipment, implementation, testing, training of maintainers and documentation, dissemination and evaluation of results. The capacity building is accomplished by recruiting new team members in each cycle, while team members participating in an earlier cycle can be involved as coaches or other roles in subsequent cycles. 4.4 Deliverables The deliverables include a development programme with development goals in a shortterm, medium-term and log-term perspective, a plan for the establishment of a framework for research, development and learning as described in Section 2 a pilot demonstrator for the use of ICT in rural healthcare, schools and local communities. The deliverables also include reports, presentations and demonstrations. 5. Experiences Although the problem-oriented, project-driven learning framework has been developed in a global setting during a decade, the international development cooperation projects have been conducted only the last four years. 5.1 Access networks and services Access to computers and networks, in particular the Internet, is still one of the major bottlenecks in the world. Since universities play an important role in the capacity building in under-served areas, they are a priority. The finally get to the rural areas, the whole communication chain needs to be considered, from central government to province, district and village administration, from referral hospitals to district hospitals and rural health centres, from ministry of education to teacher training colleges and schools. There has to be interplay between top-down and bottom-up activities. The following project examples illustrate both sorts. Universidad Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) In 2002, a mixed team of students from UEM and KTH connected the UEM student dormitories an operator neutral access network allowing several Internet Service
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Providers to provide services to the users, the academic network being the first (http://csd.ssvl.kth.se/~csd2002-mozambiqueopen). National University of Laos (NUOL) During the period 2003-2005, KTH, NUOL, NAFRI (the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute of Laos), and STEA, the Science and Technology and Environment Agency of the Lao Prime Ministers Office in Laos, are cooperating to establish campus networks with a wide spectrum of services, for NUOL and NAFRI. The cooperation also includes the planning of a national education and research network in Laos and an interconnection to the emerging regional academic backbone TEIN2 supported by EU. (http://csd.ssvl.kth.se/~csd2003-team1, http://csd.ssvl.kth.se/~csd2004-team4, http://csd.ssvl.kth.se/~csd2004-team5, http://csd.ssvl.kth.se/~csd2004-team6, http://csd.ssvl.kth.se/~csd2005-team1, http://csd.ssvl.kth.se/~csd2005-team2). Vientiane and Maputo Gigabit Networks The Vientiane Gigabit Network grew out of the KTH-NUOL-STEA cooperation in 2005 to provide a showcase high-performance city network as a first step towards a national networking effort involving e-governance, e-health and e-schools. The Maputo Gigabit Network grew out of a similar context in Mozambique. Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT) In 2004, students from DIT and KTH established a campus network at DIT, including a fibre infrastructure, switches and routers and servers, providing basic Internet services to DIT students and staff (http://csd.ssvl.kth.se/~csd2004-team7). Rural Access to ICT in Tanzania In 2005, the first phase of a development programme for rural access to ICT was taken by forming a steering committee with central stakeholders, including policy makers, the regulator, public sector development agencies and private sector service providers. To concretize possible projects in a larger scale programme, a few minor projects related where conducted also in the first phase (http://csd.ssvl.kth.se/~csd2005-team5). Malaria Research Centres in Africa The Multilateral Initiative of Malaria consortium has, via its communication arm MIMCom, cooperation with KTH to connect malaria research centres to the Internet to facilitate their access to information and colleagues. International students at KTH have been involved in deploying access networks for such institutes in Congo Brazzaville, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Uganda (http://csd.ssvl.kth.se/~csd2004-team8, http://csd.ssvl.kth.se/~csd2005-team6). Rural Health Centres in Bangladesh In 2005, a first phase of an e-Health and telemedicine strategy was developed in discussion between KTH and the Grameen group. An experimental implementation is planned during 2006 (http://csd.ssvl.kth.se/~csd2005-team7).
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5.2 Internet Exchange points (IXPs) Internet exchange points make it possible for different local Internet Service Providers to exchange local traffic locally, rather than using expensive up-streams transit bandwidth, often via satellite, to send local traffic abroad and back again. So far, six such IXPs have been deployed since 2003 and more are being planned. Mozix In 2002, students from UEM and KTH designed and deployed an Internet exchange point in Maputo as one of the first in Africa. Mozix is a clear success and all ISPs, except the incumbent, are connected. Mozix was extended with new services in 2005, (http://csd.ssvl.kth.se/~csd2002-mozambiqueix, http://csd.ssvl.kth.se/~csd2005team3). Laonix Laonix was established in Vientiane in 2004, making it possible for Laos to fully exploit their domestic fibre infrastructure although the international bandwidth is very expensive due to monopolistic policies still in place. All ISPs except the incumbent are connected (http://csd.ssvl.kth.se/~csd2004-team3). Bolix The first IXP in Bolivia was established in 2004 in La Paz by a team of students from Universidad Mayor de San Andrés (UMSA) in La Paz and KTH. Unclear policies and private business strategies have prevented several of the ISPs to connect (http://csd.ssvl.kth.se/~csd2004-team1). Nicix Nicix was established by two KTH students together with students from Universidad Nacional de Ingenieria (UNI) and staff members of ISPs in Managua, joining a continuing education programme. The business climate among the Internet Service Providers has prevented several ISPs from connecting (http://csd.ssvl.kth.se/~csd2004-team2). Rinex Rinex, the IXP in Kigali, Rwanda, was established 2004 by a team of students from National University of Rwanda and Kigali Institute of Science, Technology and Management and with support from the Rwanda IT Authority (RITA). The inauguration of Rinex has been an important milestone in the very active ICT development in Rwanda. All ISPs are connected and some of the students involved in the design and deployment are now operating the IXP. (http://csd.ssvl.kth.se/~csd2004-team21). NIX The IXP in Windhoek, Namibia, was established in 2005. In the process, details about the design of existing network and the current regulatory framework was revealed that illustrate the need for more open communications policies in Namibia, if a more dynamic development of the society is wanted (http://csd.ssvl.kth.se/~csd2005-team4).
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Malawi, Zambia, Burundi IXPs are currently being planned in Lusaka, Blantyre and Bujumbura and will deployed early 2006. 5.3 Regional backbones The backbone networks are part of the infrastructure of a society and should be treated by public sector as roads, railways, etc. This is generally not the case. Although the mobile phone networks are growing rapidly in many developing countries, their backbones are mostly built using microwave technology that does not support the deployment of broadband networks, such as fibre. The Sarua-fibre project [Sarua] is making a case for a regional academic broadband backbone in Southern and East Africa implemented in a way that can be exploited also by commercial networks. 6. Conclusions and plans for development of the model. The experiences from using the problem-oriented, project-driven framework for research, development and learning described in this paper are very encouraging. The model can be refined to improve the selection of projects to synchronize better with national and international strategic development programmes and human resource development programmes. Ideas for development of the model include • Extension of the scope of capacity building to include not only how to design, deploy and operate broadband Internetworks and services, but also power generation and distribution , ICT Entrepreneurship and public sector business development. • Cooperation with the Stockholm Challenge Award process (www.stockholmchallenge.se), a global evaluation of projects for development of under-served regions, in order to improve the screening process to find highquality development efforts to support. • Designing a benchmarking process based on a set of indicators reflecting the maturity of a region concerning the use of ICT. • Coordinating efforts defining requirements of public sector business development, technical solutions, supporting entrepreneurs and analysing the impact of ongoing development efforts in a common framework serving as a think-tank for communities planning development efforts towards the network society. 7. References Beside the web references providing earlier in the text, a few examples of earlier projects are described in appendices below by the project teams. More details about projects that have been conducted the last four years are available at http://csd.ssvl.kth.se/. The appendices include:
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 Godfrey Chikumbi: Fight against Malaria in Africa through ICT by MIMCom Eneas Hunguana, Eneas Hunguana, Qarin Hjortzberg-Nordlund, Alberto Muchanga, Erik Stackenland, and Jon Åkergården: MzOpen.Net: Wireless hotspots in University Residences in Mozambique.  Issa Nkusi, Claude Hakizimana, Coco Musaningabe, Innocent Nkurunziza: RINEX Building a Bridge to Reduce the Digital Divide and Enhance the Use of ICT as a Tool to Eradicate Poverty
Fight against Malaria in Africa through ICT by MIMCom
1. Background Malaria is a severe problem in many developing countries, especially so in the SubSaharan Africa, where the climate and environment is conducive to the spread of Malaria. Multilateral Initiative on Malaria, MIM is an international alliance of organizations aiming to strengthen African malaria researchers. The MIM secretariat is currently hosted by Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm Universitet in Stockholm, Sweden. As one of its main activities, the alliance has worked to connect research sites to the Internet and to promote innovative usage of this connection, through its communication arm MIMCom. It believes that; "We must develop a communications system so that the miraculous triumphs of modern science can be taken from the laboratory and transmitted to all in need." .. Senator Lister Hill, 1965 Currently 20 sites across Sub-Saharan Africa have been connected. The MIMCom-2005 project aim was to provide or upgrade Internet connectivity at four locations in the African continent, as well as to provide or improve their internal networks. The project was funded by Sida – the Swedish International Development cooperation Agency, and executed by students at KTH – the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology. 2. Objective The MIMCom project was aimed at providing and upgrading Internet connectivity at malaria research centres spread across four countries. Improved Internet access will enable African scientists to communicate freely, seek and retrieve scientific data and obtain timely information regarding grant opportunities as well as setting up more complex IT-based networks to forward their research agenda, all of which are vital prerequisites for successful participation in and contribution to the global research community. Centres to be connected were: • Institute of Child Health (ICH), College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria • University Training Hospital (UTH), Lusaka, Zambia • Mulago Hospital, University of Makerere, Kampala, Uganda • Centre d’etudes sur les Resources Vegetales (CERVE), Brazzaville, Congo Brazzaville.
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2.1 Primary Goal To provide each site mentioned above with the following: • Stable Internet connectivity – at least 64kbps • System Operation Training to the local staff so that they can keep the system working smoothly. 2.2 Secondary Goals • To provide or improve internal networking (LAN or WLAN) at the respective sites. • To provide a server and/or document repository at each site for archival and versioning. • To provide VPN connectivity across the sites in order to facilitate information sharing and collaboration. • Setting up an internal IP-telephony system • Setting up an IP telephony system across the four sites • Checking availability of appropriate bio-medical software that can be used at the various sites – and deploying the same. 3. Site-specific deliverables 3.1 Mulago Hospital - Paediatrics Department, Kampala (Uganda) The Mulago hospital is the largest referral hospital in Uganda and is located in Kampala, the capital. It maintains a symbiotic relationship with the Makerere Medical School. Most of the members of the malaria research project are in a single-story building that is part of the Makerere University's Paediatric department and is based at the teaching hospital. The building had one computer connected to the WAN of the university and about 12 stand-alone computers. The malaria group wanted to have an independent system which they could control and identify with other research groups on the MIMCom network. The requirements were: • Internet access for 12 computers • LAN installation • Server to handle mail, proxy • Other equipment: printer, scanner, digital camera 3.2 CERVE, Brazzaville, Republic of Congo CERVE _ Centre d'Etudes sur les Resources Vegetales _ is a research centre located in the Orstom forest area / science park in the capital, Brazzaville, of the Republic of Congo. The site is the base for the Malaria Research activity. The following specific requirements to CERVE were finalized after studying the site report, feedback from the principal as well as researchers on the site: • Internet Access for approximately 20 PCs • LAN Installation so that all PCs can be connected to the Internet • Printer and Scanner
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To meet these requirements, we also decided to provide a server (to act as a Web Proxy as well as Email server) which would interface CERVE to the Internet. In addition, we also needed an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) with sufficient backup capability due to the poor electricity supply to the site. Choice of Internet Connection Technology Brazzaville has a fixed line telephone network, however it is very unreliable, and most people rather use cell phones connected to one of the two providers. Also, as the Orstom Science Park is located inside a forest with very tall trees, getting a line-of-sight to the local ISP (Celtel) via Wireless (locally known as BLR) is also very difficult. Due to this, the only viable option was to use VSAT (Satellite) connectivity. OFIS and AITECH both were able to provide VSAT connectivity as well as LAN for CERVE. OFIS suggested a C-band solution, providing 1024 kbps downlink / 128 kbps uplink bandwidth. The upstream provider is GeoLink, Italy. AITECH suggested a Ku-band solution, providing 1024 kbps downlink / 76.8 kbps uplink bandwidth. The upstream provider is Global T&T, Belgium. Services Provided Because of the lack of skilled IT staff at CERVE, we took a decision to provide only the most basic services to keep system administration overhead to a minimum. The following services were provided: • Transparent Web Proxy (Shorewall) • NAT + Firewall (Shorewall) • DNS Cache (Bind) • File Server (Samba) • VPN Server for remote access (not yet fully working) (PoPToP) • Webmin for easy-to-use-administration • DHCP server with as much auto configuration as possible (ISC DHCPd) • UPS Auto-Shutdown on low-power (apcupsd) Problems Encountered • One of the first problems encountered was the choice of vendors. While in Sweden, we decided to go with OFIS for the Equipment as well as the Internet connectivity. However, on reaching the site a lot of new information surfaced, due to which there was a last-minute change in the vendor for providing the internet connectivity. • An ongoing problem was the erratic electricity supply, which often caused the installation work for LAN to be delayed. Normally, there was no electricity supply at least 2 days every week. • Language problems: Congolese are francophone, and few people speak English. This got better over time, but still caused problems. • Money Transfer issues _ There were some problems with money transfer to the VSAT provider (Global T&T in Belgium) and to AITECH (Brazzaville) for the LAN installation, due to which the work was held up for quite some time. 3.3 Institute of Child Health (ICH), Ibadan, Nigeria
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ICH is a research centre as well as a children hospital located within the College of Medicine, Ibadan, Nigeria. The Institute was established over four decades ago for the study of the problems of child health relevant to this environment. Over the years, the Institute has, in collaboration with other institutions and departments, conducted a wide variety of laboratory, clinical and applied field research activities. Requirements The primary requirement is to increase the bandwidth at ICH, either by providing a new connection or by boosting one of the existing connections. Services Provided The Ku-band solution was used to provide the upgraded internet connectivity. We used a gateway software called Clarkconnect in the server which will make the management of the network easy once everything is configured. Clarkconnect is a Linux-based operating system that transforms standard PC hardware into either a standalone server in the network or a dedicated firewall /gateway to a network. The services provided were: • Stateful firewall • Bandwidth management • VPN +Dynamic IP support • Content filter • Intrusion prevention • Resource and port monitoring • Mail server, Mail/Mx backup service • File server • Print server • Transparent proxy server • Web server • Webmail • Database • Antivirus and Antispam • System monitoring, to know when a system is offline Problems When the VSAT was installed there was a huge latency of about 1100 ms which is unusual and we had to call a spectrum engineer to analyze the problem. He later fixed the latency to 650 ms which is typical for satellite networks. One of the biggest problems we faced was transfer of money and foreign exchange. Because of this, a lot of time was wasted. In Nigeria most organizations and companies are not allowed to receive foreign money. 3.4 University Teaching Hospital (UTH), Lusaka, Zambia The University Teaching Hospital (UTH) is a 2000 bed tertiary care hospital located in Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia. It is the major referral hospital in Zambia. It also serves as a District Hospital for Lusaka. Its intended function is to provide tertiary care to patients referred from clinics and hospitals in Zambia. However, due to lack of
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secondary care provider institutions in Lusaka province, UTH also functions as a provider of secondary and primary care for the district and province. In-patient services are provided to approximately 3,000 patients per month and outpatient visits are roughly twice this number. The University Teaching Hospital is situated approximately 6 km south of the main campus, within the College of Medicine. The movement of patient information to the UTH is a facility that has received less attention than in patient registration thereby leading to lack of information on patients outside and within UTH. For many years, University Teaching Hospital has provided health care services in deferent research units to the people of Zambia. The Malaria research unit is one of the services provided by the hospital. Requirements The malaria research unit of the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) required increased scalable storage for its record archives but had no money to invest. With an already extensive archive of patient histories and new patients being processed daily, the UTH malaria research unit was in critical need of a storage system. The basic requirements were: • Internet Services. • Guarantee of Power supply and backup. • The server for proxy, mail and DHCP • LAN and Campus connectivity between various buildings. • Firewall and Bandwidth Manager. • Further training for the staff in order to sustain the new systems. • User policy enforcements to be implemented. Chosen Solution and Implementation It was agreed that the wireless solution proposed by MicroLink Zambia would be used to provide Internet to UTH Malaria research centre, using 5.6 GHz frequency band. The Dell PowerEdge 2600 server was used to act as gateway, mail, web, dhcp and proxy server. The Site required a big server in order to establish a Health Informatics Centre. The Health Management Information Systems both at the UTH and the clinics were very weak, leading to the creation of an information vacuum in the health facilities. The manual collection of information and its compilation made it very difficult to obtain quality and useful data that could be utilized for planning and monitoring of patient care, which is essential in guiding policy formulation and implementation of health services. The Fedora core 3 operating system was used and a lot of server freeware was used, such as sendmail, Apache, Zebra, usermin, webmin, etc. Problems The whole project implementation took six weeks. The only major delay was due to the late delivery of the server; however everything was done according to the schedule. A Dell PowerEdge 2600 server was used while waiting for the Dell PowerEdge 2800 server. Apart from the funding for further training for IT staff, everything requested by the site was provided and implemented. 4. Stakeholder Analysis 4.1 MIM and MIMCom
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The Multilateral Initiative on Malaria – Communication arm (MIMCom) expected us to improve Internet connectivity at Malaria research sites in Africa by implementing the most appropriate technology that is fast, reliable and sustainable. This is achieved through a partnership between MIMCom and the research sites, which ensures that all key site conditions are taken into consideration, like financial resources, Internet infrastructure if any, technical support availability, etc. MIMcom also expected us to assess the existing computing capacity at the site, including the network infrastructure (LAN) if one exists, how best to improve it as well as talking to the respective systems operators. MIMcom made sure that IT staffs were trained at the sites, so that they can take care of any problems that arise. MIMcom extended its full support in all matters of importance to the project. 4.2 Sida Sida, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, is a government agency that reports to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Sida is responsible for most of Sweden's contributions to international development cooperation. In 2004, the contributions amounted in total to SEK 21 751 million. Sida's task is to work to improve the living standards of poor people in the third world nations. The Department for Africa has overall responsibility for cooperation with countries in sub-Saharan Africa as well as regional support to Africa. The Department formulates and proposes country and regional strategies to the Swedish Government and coordinates the development co-operation in line with these strategies once decided on by the Government. Sida has committed funds to this project as a part of cooperating in the Global Projects with International Organizations (MIMCom). 4.3 KTH / TSLAB Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan (Royal Institute of Technology) is responsible for onethird of Sweden’s capacity for engineering studies and technical research at postsecondary level. The IT University at Kista, cooperation between Stockholm University and KTH, has various engineering courses offered, including ICT Development. About 100 students from the IT University take part in the “Communication Systems Design” course offered by the Telecommunication Systems Lab (TSLAB) at KTH each year. 5. Lessons Learned We had to deal with a lot of obstacles that do not appear in academic environments, such as state regulations, nepotism and not diligent providers, so we learned that growing a project outside is much more complicated than at the university and it is needed to deal with a lot more bigger obstacles, usually of a non-technical kind. We saw that plans can go haywire and there is a need to be prepared and balancing conflicts of interests, which is a lot more delicate than in academic environments, because there are a lot more people to balance. 5.1 How did we try to be creative? In Congo, for example, when choosing the vendor, we had to be able to manage people's desires effectively, while still having our own way. This is an example of nontechnical creativity that is distinctly different to technical creativity. We have another example in Nigeria, where while we were waiting for the funds to arrive from Sweden,
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we tried to get an advance of money from the organization to which the site belonged, by convincing them of the commitment of the team with the project, and at the same time we were doing the same thing with the provider, so they could begin the work before receiving the money. In Zambia, the malaria research unit have no recurrent funds for monthly bandwidth fee, so we had to ring in other two projects (The human herpes virus type-8 or Kaposi's sarcoma associated herpes virus ) working with Miami University in USA. These projects had funding for the next three years and made an immediate contribution in terms of 5 wireless access points to extend the LAN to their offices. While waiting for the actual database server, we asked the supplier to provide us with another server, although with less capacity, so that the implementation could proceed on schedule and the IT staff training could be done. Also during the equipment procurement, the Dell PowerEdge 2800 server with Microsoft software was USD 16,000, but we decided to use open source software (freeware) and the cost of the server came down to USD 10,000. We were able to save USD 6,000 and if we have to include other sites, USD 18,000 was saved by using open source software. Regarding technical creativity we could mention the case of Congo as well, where they did not have IT staff, so we had to select very carefully the services we implemented on the server, to be as easy as possible, to avoid complications. 6. Conclusions The MIMCom 2005 project was primarily focused on providing Internet access infrastructure to various sites in sub-Saharan Africa. The primary objectives were successfully met at 3 sites, and are on the way to completion at the fourth (CERVE). The team successfully dealt with unique problems at each site, and was able to cope with working in an extremely geographically distributed environment, environmental problems, as well as technical issues that came up during the execution of the project.
MzOpen.Net: Wireless Hotspots in University Residences in Mozambique
Eneas Hunguana Qarin Hjortzberg-Nordlund Alberto Muchanga Erik Stackenland Jon Åkergården
Abstract The majority of university students in Mozambique cannot afford to buy a personal computer that have become indispensable tools for use in academic activities. For those who own a computer, few have access to the Internet due to the relatively high costs of this service in the country. Considering the also unaffordable costs of books in the country, Internet is a crucial resource as a complement in the teaching-learning process, since most of the existing bibliography in local university libraries is not enough and/or is not updated. Most of the faculties have rooms equipped with networked desktop computers to be shared by students who may book them for their local use to perform academic generalpurpose tasks. Some of these computer rooms are connected to the Internet, allowing students to make use of Internet for their academic activities. However, most university premises close around 5 pm, meaning that students do not have access to computers, to the Internet or to the possibility of carrying out research or other academic activities that require access to these resources, after that time. In 2002 a project designated “Mozambique Open” was proposed with the objective of finding a solution to minimize this problem. It was the result of an exchange program between the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and the Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM, Mozambique) and was sponsored by the Swedish International Development cooperation Agency (Sida). This project, which was part of a Communication Systems Design course given by KTH, involved a team of two Mozambican and three Swedish students from the fields of computer science, electrical engineering and industrial management, who investigated and implemented a solution to provide Internet connectivity in four UEM student residences in Maputo, the Mozambican capital city. This document presents a brief overview of the outcomes of the project.
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1. Objectives and goals The aim was to provide Internet connectivity in four UEM student residences, with an access control mechanism based on the concept of operator neutrality, as a requirement to allow the network clients to be able to choose the services providers they want to use. 2. Major stakeholders The MzOpen project had the following entities as stakeholders listed, the first three playing a more active role for the success of the project: Eduardo Mondlane University - UEM (www.uem.mz) UEM is the main public university in the country. It is the owner of the deployed infrastructure. Through its own ISP, Centro Informatica Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (CIUEM), that is also one of the first ISPs in the country, it contributed to the project by providing technical support in the establishment of the Internet links. The MzOpen network control servers are hosted in CIUEM. Royal Institute of Technology – KTH (www.kth.se) KTH is the entity responsible for the Communications Systems Design course. The MzOpen project initial phases (design up to testing phases) took place at KTH. The institution contributed with technical support provided by a teaching team, laboratories and all the indispensable resources for the research activities of the project. Sida – Swedish International Development Agency (www.sida.se) Sida was the sponsor of the Mozambique Open project. The institution covered the costs related to team project travels, equipment acquisition and other issues necessary to make the project a reality. Local ISPs Although they did not get involved in the project, these companies can be seen as stakeholders given the nature of the MzOpen network that uses the concept of operator neutrality that allows several ISPs to provide services to the costumers by using a common access network. 3. Overview The MzOpen.Net network was built based on two technological concepts: Wireless LANs and Operator Neutral Networks. It consists of Wi-Fi hotspots in student residences located around the city (outside of the university campus), connected to the Internet through a wireless backbone to the University ISP (CIUEM), located in the main campus. The access to Internet services provided by CIUEM to the students is controlled based on authentication credentials, submitted by the clients via an authentication services website. Although the backbone belongs to UEM, the technological solution is based on the concept of Operator Neutral Networks, allowing several ISPs to provide services using the shared access infrastructure as illustrated in the diagram below.
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Figure 3.1: Open.Net Topology
The choice for wireless was motivated by the relatively high costs of the civil engineering with work associated with wired networks and the flexibility offered by wireless technology for future expansion of the infrastructure. The Operator Neutral concept was implemented using the Open.Net Access technology (http://www.stockholmopen.net) pioneered and developed by KTH. The “Public Services” block infrastructure, which is used to allow clients to dynamically choose their providers, is hosted at CIUEM premises. Although some informal contacts and invitations have been made to another ISP during the project implementation, for the time being CIUEM is the only services provider 4. Deliverables A complete report describing the technologies adopted to implement the solution for the problem being studied, and as well the step-by-step implementation guidelines was elaborated and made available online (http://csd.ssvl.kth.se/~csd2002mozambiqueopen). The document can be used to replicate similar solutions in other developing countries or at least constitute a starting point to inspire others in the development of new solutions. Other set of documents such as the project plan and the lessons learned paper were also made available. 5. Results As a result of the project implementation, each of the four student residences gained a room equipped with desktop computers and Wi-Fi hotspots enabling students to access the Internet 24 hours per day. Students that have their own laptops can also benefit from the installed infrastructure by approaching the covered areas (some are already accessing the Internet from their rooms).
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The network has the advantage of being easily expandable and given the fact that it was deployed based on the Open.Net philosophy infrastructure, different services providers can operate on the network, giving the students freedom of choice when accessing the services. Capacity building in terms of human resources can be seen as another result. Besides the experience and knowledge obtained by the project team members, two students per residence were trained in basic network troubleshooting process in order to help in the daily management tasks. Wireless LAN skills were also shared with the university ISP (CIUEM) technicians, and nowadays they use it to provide solutions to several types of costumers. 6. Impact The MzOpen.Net project had both direct and indirect impact mainly in the university community, for the involved team members and somehow in the civil society. 6.1 University Community UEM Students in general and particularly those who live in student residences directly benefited from the installed networks, since they now have access to the Internet 24 hours per day. Based on the experience of these networks, several university departments started adopting Wireless LAN technology for expanding their data networks. A recent example is the existing plan to cover UEM’s second main campus, the engineering campus, with a wireless network with access to the Internet. 6.2 Team Members The experience gained by working in a real-life problem-based project, the contact with and the knowledge transfer among students from different cultures and technical backgrounds can be considered as the biggest impact the project had on the project team members. Students had the opportunity to deal with new technical topics, and a special emphasis was put on the acquisition of skills in developing technological solutions using free and open source tools. 6.3 Civil Society By the time the Mz.Open.Net project took place, the concept and the knowledge of wireless LANs were not wide spread locally. Based on the acquired skills, the Mozambican team members had the opportunity to make some presentations about Wireless LANs on seminars to university students, in an ICT conference and as well in courses organized for the private sector companies in the country. The focus was more on the scientific point of view, since most of the available information is intended for commercial purposes. It was (and it still is) noticeable, the interest of the audience (including ISP staff) in having a deeper understanding about WLAN. 7. Lessons learned Working in such a project and as well the observation of the operation of the deployed networks produced several lessons to be learned. These lessons are invaluable both for
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the involved team members and also to be shared with other similar initiatives. Regarding the later, it can be concluded that: • The involvement of several actors is crucial to make Open.Net applicable. ISPs should have a strong enough reason to convince them to provide services in a similar network, diversity of services (e.g. Internet voice calls, local email accounts, data storage) must be made available so that students also feel motivated to pay for the costs of the services (since other ISPs would provide services on a commercial basis). At the moment CIUEM is only providing the basic service, the access to Internet since its priority is to assure that the whole university community has access to this service. Thus, other ISPs have “room” to introduce value added services. • It is indispensable, to involve of those who will benefit from the installed infrastructure in the associated management tasks. The operation of the deployed networks observed some constrains in its first months due to equipment damage and theft. These threats showed that the students living in the residences had an important role to play in the process of management and maintenance of the installed infrastructure. With their direct involvement in the management process, some successful operation models were proposed and adopted by the university residences’ community. A concrete example was the development of models that allowed them to independently (without requesting external financial support) introduce and run new “services” (e.g. printing) in a self-sustainable way and to ensure the replacement of stolen and/or damaged equipment. This shows that a well organized student community has the potential to independently generate financial resources that can be used to expand and improve their own networks.
RINEX – Building a Bridge to Reduce the Digital Divide and Enhance the Use of ICT as a Tool to Eradicate Poverty
Issa Nkusi Claude Hakizimana Coco Musaningabe Innocent Nkurunziza
1. Introduction In 2000, the Government of Rwanda (GoR) adopted a national ICT policy to support its social-economic development vision aiming at poverty alleviation. GoR recognized the role that Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can play in accelerating the socio-economic development in Rwanda. The main mission is to enable the country to achieve a middle-income status by year 2020. In addition, GoR aims at transforming itself into an information-rich knowledge based society and economy by modernizing its key sectors using information and communication technologies. It is within this preamble that GoR adopted the National Information and Communication Infrastructure (NICI) Policy and Plan in late 2000 for which the Rwanda Information Technology was created to coordinate and facilitate the implementation of the NICI plan. GoR believes that ICTs will remain a myth if the country can not be able to transform the use of ICT into goods and services that Rwandans can benefit directly from. The challenges therefore is to ensure effective utilization of ICTs in areas such as government administration and service delivery, broadband access to citizens, TeleMedicine, e-learning, e-Services, etc, and to facilitate the access to information in urban and rural areas. In 2004, a special cooperation between Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Rwanda IT Authority (RITA), Kigali Institute of Science, Technology and Management (KIST) and National University of Rwanda (NUR) fathered Rwanda Internet eXchange point (Rinex). Indeed, Rinex was implemented in line with NICI-2005 plan (reference to “ICT Infrastructure development” pillar). As things are moving forward, a fibre optic backbone project is progressing at the National level. Ideas have come up to develop network management and monitoring tools for the government network, network contents such as VoIP services, deployment
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of applications in public administration, schools and/or healthcare centres, which may add value on the fibre optic backbone being laid out in Rwanda. A discussion between KTH, Rwanda IT Authority, and KIST is on the way in order to implement these ideas. 2. Objective and Goal Rinex was established to allow peering between ISPs that are connected directly to a single international upstream, thereby avoiding passing through their own international links for their local communications, hence enhancing quality of service and improving bandwidth savings. 3. Major stakeholders • • • • • • • Rwanda IT Authority (RITA); Internet Service Providers (ISPs); Universities (KIST and NUR); Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency; Rwanda ICT Association; KTH; Sida.
4. Results and deliverables 4.1. Results A Communication Systems Design (CSD) course was the key engine which made Rwanda Internet eXchange point a reality. In 2004, KTH, offered Rwandan students a high level training, availing high technology lab environment with a twenty four hours access to the Internet, exchanging experience with different people coming from different parts of the world (Europe, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Laos, Taiwan, Thailand, India, China, and so on). Two ISPs currently operating and NUR are connected to the eXchange point. Though the regulation on providing data service does not restrict any, NUR and KIST are more focused in using Internet for academic and research purposes rather than commercial. Human resource development is one of the key elements that Rwanda is emphasising to achieve its vision. KTH, with the CSD course, is contributing and supporting Rwanda in capacity building. 4.2. Deliverables to both KTH and RITA (the principal) The project has a website that provides information about the project and the activities of the team. The deliverable documents were uploaded on this website. http://csd.ssvl.kth.se/~csd2004-team21/. Project plan, presentations, topology design, video (expressing briefly the eXchange point project in Rwanda), press release, lessons learned paper, technical procedures manual, ISPs system administrator training, final written report produced after the completion of the project were all deliverables given to KTH and RITA.
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5. Impact of the project With the increasing demand for online applications (E-mail services, e-education, website hosting, telemedicine, apply for online passport application, etc), Rinex turned out to have been established at the right time. In addition, an online application -keeping track of HIV/Aids patients’ treatment and eprovision of medicine in Rwanda- was not easy for users to browse on the Internet when it was deployed, because it contains heavy clickable images. Rinex was an important help for users to access information on the Internet without having to wait for too long. People host web sites or co-locate servers freely to any ISP since their contents can be accessed much faster. With such a national ICT infrastructure achievement, Rwandans are trying to improve its network infrastructure and at the same time thinking about contents development. The Pan-Africa Virtual Internet Exchange (PAVIX) approach was the idea of creating a mesh of point-to-point interconnected African IXPs. Rwanda is now ready to connect to a regional exchange point, if it is going to be implemented. Nevertheless, developing content is crucial; otherwise the establishment of regional exchange points will not be useful. 6. Lessons Learned of interest to a wider audience 6.1. Team Building: Good working team spirit is the first lesson learned by the students. The team members had different ways of seeing, approaching and solving problems. The team members could not get time to organize themselves but had to learn about each other and try to find a way to work in a more professional attitude with each other. That implied sacrifices at different levels of personality. 6.2. Practical Experience Students quickly won skills of solving practical problem in the real Internet community. Good planning with defined timeframe makes a project move faster. 6.3. Difficulties Before the implementation phase, students did not have enough experience on working over the Internet. A lot of time was spent on reading materials in order to understand concepts and it was not easy to cover a large amount of material. 6.4. Opportunities During the project lifetime, the team members got the opportunity to start their career with a lot of support and friendship from professionals from all around the world. The team got the opportunity to experience an international working environment, which was a challenge but turned out to be good experiences to bring back home. During the CSD course, students got the opportunity to meet important people during seminars, workshops, lectures at KTH but also when they went back home for the implementation phase. In brief, this project brought the students on the stage of the ICT scene in Rwanda.
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To conclude, the KTH CSD course develops enough skills and hand-on experience to students to make a complete real life project, but of course students should do their part to contribute to successes. In the CSD course of 2004 when Rwanda students participated for the first time, they tried their best and produced notable output (Rinex) which currently serves the local Internet community. In 2006, students hope to do more projects in network management and monitoring, and application deployment. Grateful thanks are due to KTH, Sida, RITA, Rwandatel, KIST, NUR, peers and the individuals who participated to make Rinex happen.
Figure 1: The team during launching ceremony and Rinex equipment
Figure 2: Rinex equipment
Section III Opportunities
Open Access Networking in Africa: The FiberAfrica Proposal*
1. Introduction The trade-off for “bread vs. computers” regarding information and communications technologies (ICT) and development has been debated extensively, and consensus is evolving to recognize that ICT is a powerful means for development, and its role is 3 Certainly, ICT cannot replace other complementary instead of competitive. development activities, but it has great potential to make development more efficient and sustainable. ICT is also a large and growing market. Indeed, the spectacular growth of cell phones in Africa, where the penetration is now 10%, indicates a strong demand for such services. However, when we consider data networking, especially broadband, we find a much bleaker picture. For starters, most countries have very limited Internet usage. The availability and ownership of personal computers (PCs) is a limiting factor, but there are models of shared access (including schools, kiosks, cyber cafés, etc.,) that can help 4 reduce this issue. Nonetheless, data connectivity is just too expensive, if available at all. In large fractions of the developing world, broadband is available only in niche areas and dial-up becomes the only option for connectivity, which itself may be limited.
Disclaimer: There are many assumptions made in this note that are not shown, and no claim is made for the optimality or universality of the solutions or ideas. Nonetheless, the FiberAfrica proposal is an attempt that has been thought through at many levels by a number of professionals, and we hope that decision-makers will at the very least engage in a serious dialogue over proposals such as this one. This paper is not meant to be a traditional scholarly work (with minutia of detail over assumptions, references, etc.) Instead it is a paper meant to stimulate discussion and lead decision makers into serious dialogue over how networks are built in developing regions such as Africa. It builds upon discussions with various academics, professionals, and government officers, and a vision articulated by Professors Raj Reddy and V. S. Arunachalam at Carnegie Mellon University. More details on this proposal, dubbed FiberAfrica, can be found at: http://www.contrib.andrew.cmu.edu/~tongia/FiberAfrica--ending_a_digital_divide.pdf “The issue is whether we accept that the poor should, in addition to the existing deprivation of income, food and health service, etc., also be further deprived of new opportunities to improve their livelihood.” Weigel, Gerolf and Waldburger, Daniele (editors). “ICT4D – Connecting People for a Better World. Lessons, Innovations and Perspectives of Information and Communication Technologies in Development.” Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP). Berne, Switzerland. 2004.
Satellite connectivity could be available almost anywhere, but it is an expensive proposition.
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Unfortunately, the total cost of basic dial-up based connectivity can be multiple times 5 the average income in many countries in Africa. In this paper we show how for approximately 1 USD/person one-time capital costs, the majority 6 of Africans could avail of (virtually) free data connectivity within walking or cycling distance. However, this leapfrog network requires a rethink in how networks are built, owned, operated, and utilized, and are based on an Open Access model. 2. Need for Connectivity and Open Access If we consider the desired end-goals of empowerment and opportunities, access leads to information, which can lead to knowledge, leading to empowerment and opportunities. Of course, it is not linear, and one requires complementary capabilities, especially to interpret information into usable knowledge. Access >>> Information >>> Knowledge >>> Opportunities and Empowerment While it would be a stretch to claim improving access would solve the problem, it would be a necessary (though not sufficient) condition. If we consider the digital divide, it can 7 be at four levels: Awareness, Availability, Accessibility, and Affordability. • • • • Awareness– People must know what can be done with ICT (information and communications technology); they must also be open to using ICT Availability – ICT must be offered within reasonable proximity, with appropriate hardware/software Accessibility – relates to the ability to use the ICT (spanning literacy, e-literacy, language, interfaces, etc.) Affordability – All ICT usage together should, ideally, be only a few percent of one’s income (under 10% maximum); this involves life-cycle costs (total costs of ownership—TCO), spanning hardware, software, connectivity, education, etc.
One concern, linked to the affordability and relevance arguments, is “why broadband?” A leading academic published an article during the World Summit on the Information 8 Society (WSIS) Phase 1 titled “Let Them Eat Megabits.” While there are many merits to the arguments, these overlook several issues (in addition to some such arguments bordering on patronizing). Connectivity is not a binary phenomenon (yes or no) but rather has many facets or dimensions. Using what hardware/platforms? What technologies? What speeds? What uses? If one could make it similarly priced, almost all
5 6 7
ITU World Telecommunications Development Report Dec. 2003 data.
This excludes end-user equipment such as computers or wireless modems, which would be a distributed cost that scales with usage. R. Tongia, E. Subrahmanian, and V. S. Arunachalam, “ICT for Sustainable Development: Defining a Global Research Agenda” (2005) Allied Press, Bangalore. ISBN : 81 - 7764 - 839 – X. Book prepared for the National Science Foundation, World Bank, and United Nations. The Financial Times article and discussion are captured at http://www.citi.columbia.edu/elinoam/FT/1125-03/megabits.htm
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optimization solutions would call for broadband. The real opportunity is that through leapfrogging, one can achieve broadband at much lower costs than conventional wisdom would have indicated. Mobile phones should only be viewed as complementary to an optimal broadband (data) solution. Mobile penetration is limited in rural developing areas, even if there is the theoretical coverage footprint in most places (by population). Mobile telephony is just too expensive for most users, especially in Africa. ITU data from 2003-04 show average monthly costs more than double those in India, though the gap is shrinking 9 somewhat. More importantly, mobile telephony systems in Africa have primarily been designed to carry voice traffic, and they do it well (and profitably). Claims of the thirdgeneration (3G) cellular systems providing a relevant data solution ignore the very high costs carriers hope to, or rather need to charge to recoup their investments. The total bandwidth is also relatively limited, especially if we want broadband for users. The very success of mobile telephony poses a paradox for broadband – developed regions have high broadband usually because they piggyback on voice (for DSL broadband) or video (for cable broadband) services. The total bandwidth that fibre has is greater than all competing technologies. It is already the norm within the backbone and core of networks, and it is a matter of time before it becomes used for “last mile access” as well (in some cases copper can work well, but only for very short distances, primarily in dense areas such as apartments; the capital costs of copper and fibre are comparable). The primary reason fibre has not yet been used more is cost, especially labour. If developing countries have inexpensive labour, they should harness it for installing fibre, especially in sub-ducted conduits. The US cites installation costs in the ten thousand dollar per km range (excluding rights of way) for “easy” unpopulated areas, and an order of magnitude higher for urban areas. We know, from experience, that it can be done for much lower. In India, inter-city and rural fibre is now being drawn and installed for on the order of 1,000 USD/km or less. The capital cost of fibre itself is falling rapidly, and can be on the same order for dozens 10 of strands of fibre. Governments can choose traditional, telecom development models. However, unlike open access models that aim for higher penetration, these cater more to “viable markets.” Universal service obligations have not met with equal success (exceptions like Chile and elsewhere notwithstanding), and this is even less well understood for data connectivity, let alone broadband. It is well accepted that a network designed for 1% of the population will be much more expensive per use and different from one designed for 50% of the population. In addition to issues of design and scale, if we examine the components of end-user costs, other than profits, a significant fraction of costs relate to government charges or surcharges, including license fees, spectrum fees, import duties, rights of way charges,
This is not to diminish the value of mobile telephones; complementary ICT can still have a significant impact, e.g., use of SMS messages for agricultural price discovery. These are actual numbers from Indian fibre manufacturers and network deployers; the figures quoted by leading global fibre suppliers will be higher.
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etc. There are other regulatory costs that are not quite taxes such as restrictions on technologies, services (such as Voice over IP), etc. Ultimately, all of these simply raise costs for the consumer. If the government wishes to waive such costs, it would be important that these are done for public users in a non-discriminatory manner (else, we’d simply enrich a private company). Open access networks (especially run as professional not-for-profits) help ensure any government support is passed on to consumers. In addition, if governments are worried about losing revenue, they can remain revenue neutral by moving from up-front fees (e.g., from auctions or fixed fees) to revenue sharing models. This not only reduces barriers to entry, it can also raise total revenues as penetration increases. This was seen in the case of India’s cellular operators, who today have possibly the lowest tariffs in the world and very high growth rates. In addition, there is economic analysis suggesting that lower prices are better for the government and for the operator. Not only is the elasticity greater than one (so lower prices more than compensate), greater uptake in services result in higher economic activity overall. One concept we propose is Fibre to the Village (FTTV). We don’t necessarily need fibre to all the homes, but getting it close enough to population centres (a village or cluster of villages) would allow the use of inexpensive, off-the-shelf wireless technologies to provide high-speed data access. If technology is improving, why do we need a new design? Unlike many other infrastructures in developing countries, telecom is largely profitable and growing rapidly. Conventional wisdom and orthodoxy in telecom has been that the benefits have come through private participation, if not competition, which also brings in new technologies such as mobile telephony. One recognized issue is that telephony costs require reasonable penetration to achieve payback, otherwise the costs per user are high (similar to any niche technology). At the same time, competition means each participant would have lower market share. Optical fibres are a prime technology for connectivity, but can we expect three or more independent fibre networks being deployed across Africa in the near term? If we treat optical fibres like a utility, built everywhere (or deeply enough) just once, then different players could compete to provide services on top of this infrastructure. For rural or underserved areas, free or nearly free connectivity could be given for community access points. In urban areas, this could provide much cheaper up linking bandwidth for service providers. Such an open access model would thus allow for public and private competition. The underpinnings for such an open access model are based on a layers approach to business models and regulation (discussed, e.g., by Comstedt (2005) and by Pehrson (2005) at the 3rd Open Access Conference in Mozambique). Just like the Internet is designed with layers of technology, connectivity can operate at similar layers, with open access to layers above and below, instead of traditional vertical integration by a provider wanting to do it all. One major reason why the layer unbundling of open access models is important, especially for greenfield deployments, is economics. Optical fibres last decades (like many
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infrastructure). On the other hand, many of the electronics that lie on the network need to be replaced much sooner, not because they fail (some may), but because they are rapidly made obsolete by newer technologies. If a connectivity project has to recoup its investment in, say, 5 years, that is very difficult if one includes the optical fibre, which will last many times longer. Deeper discussions and analyses on Open Access models are presented in the InfoDev report “Open Access Models: Options for Improving Backbone Access in Developing Countries (with a Focus on Sub-Saharan Africa) 11 (2005). Open access models mean we need to think of the physical infrastructure as a public 12 utility. Building basic ICT infrastructure similar to FiberAfrica can be achieved for one to two orders of magnitude lower cost than other infrastructure, such as roads. Roads are a good example of an analogous system that allows open access on top of public infrastructure – we don’t want ten highways in parallel under the aim of competition. But, there remains significant competition and private participation, ranging from hardware (e.g., cars) to maintenance (e.g., outsourcing or tendering for toll-booth operations or even building the roads) to services riding on the infrastructure (e.g., courier and delivery companies). 3. FiberAfrica Model Using geographical information systems (GIS) data on population, towns, and roads in Africa, we calculated that approximately 70,000 km of core optical fibre would span all the major population centres in the continent, going along major roads. Such a fibre network could provide tens of gigabits per second of connectivity from day one, hundreds if not thousands of times greater than today. A backbone network is of limited value to end-users, and we propose a design that includes broadband access to the network using fixed broadband wireless technologies. Positioning such core transmission hubs along the backbone, every, say, 60 km, and adding an addition 30,000 km of spur fibres to reach additional areas, we find that such a system could provide nearby coverage to the majority of Africans. This assumes existing or proven wireless technologies, including pre-standard variations of the upcoming Wi-Max standard (the long-range “cousin” of the wireless Wi-Fi standard). Wi-Max or equivalent receivers could be distributed up to tens of kilometres around the core hubs, and then inexpensive, off-the-shelf shorter-range wireless could be used for local redistribution. Adding up all the equipment, installation, and electronics (as well as back-up power systems, but not standalone electricity solutions) leads to only approximately 950 million USD of costs, or just over one dollar per person one time capital expenditure! This excludes end-user receivers or computers, which would be a distributed cost, and this solution doesn’t provide blanket coverage across the entire surface area of Africa.
Prepared by Spintrack AB, with core team of Anders Comstedt, Eric Osiakwan and Russell Southwood.
There are debates amongst professionals if such public networks should or shouldn’t include the retail services themselves.
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Rather, the model, dubbed “FiberAfrica,” optimizes coverage by population, and covers the majority of the population. 4. Why the Open Access FiberAfrica Model? There is a philosophy held by many across various fields, and it is amplified in the networking world: incremental changes lead to incremental benefits. FiberAfrica is presented as a continental scale network based on optical fibre and (fixed) broadband wireless that gives the majority of Africans virtually free basic broadband connectivity within walking or cycling distance. The network can be sustained by small-scale payments by lay users, and by commercial users who would pay slightly higher charges (but charges dramatically lower than not only today but also based on alternative designs as proposed elsewhere). The rationale for the FiberAfrica model as proposed is based on several realizations: • Small “Internet Size” of most countries requires unique scaling and design. Most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are very small in terms of “Internet Size,” and even the obvious exceptions are themselves modest in the scheme of the Internet overall. The number of users, hosts, content, and present interconnections are proportionately much lower than even their GDP when compared to most other nations. Today, most countries are attempting to “reinvent the wheel” with their individual international fibre connected gateways, data centres, security centres, etc. Instead, they could save significant costs by sharing many of these features (with appropriate security mechanisms and sovereign control, of course). A single largescale core router could handle all the traffic going in or out of Africa today with ease. But, we have countries with a few million people, and less bandwidth than a small city in the US, building out their own networks without optimizing them for the size or scale possible under a trans-national network. Mobile telephony appears to be synergistic instead of purely competitive, and the question becomes what other sustainable models there are for fibre networks. In the US and other countries, most fibre deployments came from a double if not triple play, but Africa lacks the widespread use of wire line voice or cable TV. • Domestic content and connectivity are required. Without meaningful penetration within the country, building out international connectivity doesn’t achieve much. Meaningful penetration will only be driven by content that meets domestic (local) needs, and such content is unlikely to be made available from abroad, especially not in local languages. To that end, while international connectivity via optical fibre can be justified, it should be the cart that follows the horse (local needs), and not the other way around. Using international connectivity as the backbone for interconnections 13 is poor and expensive design – domestic fibres will be much less expensive and easier to scale. We already have significant global fibre capacity (potentially, hundreds of Gbps) landing at multiple points in Africa (in multiple countries). This
Even India had segments until the late 1990s where e-mail from one city to the other would go through the US!
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has not, however, done much for bringing down connectivity/up-linking costs in 14 those countries. • Big bang approaches can sometimes be more acceptable than small interventions that keep the underlying system (and divides) in place. Envisioning any two neighbouring countries cooperating might be more difficult in some cases than creating a common playing field at the continental level. In addition, the vision of FiberAfrica ensures that a new divide between African countries is not created – market-driven solutions would otherwise only connect a subset of countries in a meaningful manner. This also makes it more likely for donors to consider investing in such infrastructure. There are certainly interim solutions and technologies that may be less expensive, with the trade-off that they are less scalable. FiberAfrica will not be built out at once, it will rather begin in certain regions first. However, the vision and end-goal should be continental. Interim solutions will take enormous effort and cost to upgrade the solution down the road. There is no lower barrier to entry than free. In addition to innovations in technology, FiberAfrica has a unique business model, whereby public users (schools, hospitals, libraries, etc.) can get free or nearly free broadband access, and end-users can also get free basic connectivity in community access points, distributed throughout Africa. Such access points (kiosks for example) would themselves receive either free or virtually free connectivity, and could charge for value-added services or assistance with transactions and fulfilment. Affordability is a key aspect of the digital divide. Mobile telephony could, in theory, be availed by well over 2/3 of Africans, even a non-trivial fraction of rural populations. However, they choose not, based on the value proposition (or lack thereof). A suggested use of donors for the initial build-out is only one option, and private funds could also be used (leveraged through multilateral agencies, perhaps, which could help reduce risks). It is worth emphasizing that donors should only pay for the lowest level of open infrastructure; the actual retail services would be provided by other public or private providers, whose total investment would be much larger in the long run.
There are other design aspects to FiberAfrica that make it different from traditional data networks. Today users pay much higher costs for bandwidth, and applications are driven at the edge (the network is a “dumb connection”). By enabling (virtually) free basic access, this will allow much greater local content creation and utilization (again, at
There is a proposal by NEPAD to build a fibre-optic backbone for multiple countries in the Eastern portion of Africa based on submarine cables – EASSy – Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System. This is a very positive step in bringing countries together, but FiberAfrica might be a better design for the same stakeholders to consider. In addition to the much higher cost for EASSy—estimated at about 10 times higher per km for the submarine fibre than the low-cost terrestrial figure of USD 3,000/km inclusive of initial equipment—“bringing the Internet to more countries,” even at high speeds, does very little for increasing access and penetration, especially in rural areas. Also, this network has not been envisaged with innovations in business plans or true open access, which would be required to make ICT available and affordable to more people.
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the edge). Of course, people could buy bandwidth like traditional models, but the upfront costs would be much higher (not to mention they would face greater hardware costs). If people wish to download digital libraries (books) from the US instead of local content, they would simply pay a little more for that service, either under the application value-add model, or the traditional bandwidth usage model, which in FiberAfrica differentiates between users and types of usage. This approach makes it easier to provide Quality of Service based applications, moving beyond the best-effort Internet of today. Based on this, we can make downloading educational programs free, while downloading the newest hit song or movie something users pay for. This also helps reduce the need for greater international connectivity, which is an expensive link (along 15 with optimized design, local data centres, etc.) Why should anyone build any such network in Africa, instead of first building such networks in more well-to-do nations? This represents a leapfrog opportunity, with less legacy needs, and less regulatory hurdles (esp. compared to the US!) It might even be one of the best methods for developing ICT in the continent, combining innovations in technology and in regulation/business models. In addition, the imperative for intervention in Africa is much higher given the stark differences in human development versus the rest of the world. Critics might believe that Africa’s limited development is due only to poor governance and corruption. The picture is somewhat more complex and Africa has been burdened with several debilitating challenges. The rains are seasonal and erratic, and the overwhelming majority of agriculture is rain-based, instead of based on irrigation. The soil is also highly depleted, reducing productivity dramatically. On top of this, Africa also bears the burden of a triad of endemic diseases – HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. While ICT will not directly help with these, it can play a powerful supportive role in improving the efficiency and transparency of all development efforts. 5. Details on the FiberAfrica Model The accompanying figure and write-up in Appendix II show a schematic for a new optical fibre backbone proposed under this project, FiberAfrica. Combining new technologies including Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing optical networking and broadband wireless, this project aims for near universal access at very low if not zero cost to most end-users, with small charges for value-added services. Core network: The core of the network is an optical fibre backbone, connecting virtually all major population centres at multi-gigabit speeds. Even if these cities are not all “lit” in the first phase of the network, it becomes much easier to connect them over time as demand warrants. This design offers almost limitless capacity, scalability and “futureproofness.” A preliminary design indicates that the core network would be of approximately 70,000 route kilometres in size linking 400 cities in Africa with minimum
It is important to recognize FiberAfrica is not advocating a central hierarchy to connectivity; it maintains the end-to-end principle of the Internet.
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populations of 250,000 persons each. An additional 30,000 km of fibre spurs (not shown) would be laid to reach other areas and to provide for wireless hubs. Access solutions: A backbone network is of limited value without users accessing the network, and this is where new wireless technologies are expected to play a major role. Wireless technologies are exceptionally attractive not only because of their ability to be deployed with limited existing infrastructure, but also because they are based on a shared medium, which lends itself well to low densities of users. While 802.11 (“Wi-Fi”) has led to “hot spots” and entrepreneurial innovation for wireless access, there are emerging technologies better suited for wide-area networking (such as 802.16 –“WiMax” or specialized alternatives). The routes along the fibre backbone are an obvious starting point for long reach wireless hubs, and regional optical fibre spurs would extend the wireless footprint; satellite-based connectivity would be useful for remote locations where extending optical fibre connectivity is not cost effective. The aim is for most users to have access available within walking or easy cycling distance, and the revolutionary pricing model (free basic connectivity) eliminates barriers to entry for users. A number of life cycle analyses have shown that hardware is not the major expense for end-users (and these are continuously becoming cheaper). Connectivity is the major cost for many users, along with applications. With adequate bandwidth, many applications can be run remotely, and could even use voice-based interfaces in local languages. Capital costs: The capital costs for the entire continent are expected to total under a billion dollars (based on the assumptions detailed below, and excluding certain end-user equipment like computers or modems). While this appears a very large sum, this is only roughly one dollar one-time cost per person. Amortizing the initial costs, these are only a few percent (about 2%) of the current annual telecom expenditure in Africa. 5. 1 Possible Business and Governance Model For this network, there can be several business and financing models, and a few of these are discussed here in brief (the models are not mutually exclusive). We propose to separate the construction of FiberAfrica from its operation and from its ownership. This is important given the limited funds available from the nations themselves, and to ensure that this network has a strong African stake and participation. Capital Costs: Given the modest capital costs, which can be amortized under USD100 million/year, the initial capital can come from several sources, including: • • Donor countries such as the G-8 and a few others. They would stand to gain in tangible manners, e.g., countries that donated funds could reap free (but secure) connectivity for their embassies, aid agencies and projects, etc. Private sources of funding would raise the costs to end-users, but probably not to a detrimental level. Even still, multilateral support would be beneficial for risk mitigation, and for providing “soft” support such as through establishing cooperative relationships with other countries and by supporting capacity building.
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Vendors and technology providers routinely provide vendor financing for large projects. They stand to gain as this initial network will seed numerous further contracts for regional, metro, and enterprise networks. Governments can also contribute through taxpayer revenues, just as they pay for infrastructure such as roads. In fact, the costs per government are relatively modest compared to roads, which can cost up to several million dollars per kilometre depending on the location and quality—making FiberAfrica two orders of magnitude less expensive.
Beneficiary countries are not required to pay any capital costs, but only provide the appropriate regulatory/policy environment to allow FiberAfrica to be built as their “buy in.” Ownership: Ownership could lie with a consortium built of member-states, similar to the original Intelsat model. The system can be fair, for example, with voting rights separated from a GDP-based financial stake. We propose The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) as the stakeholder entity to spearhead FiberAfrica, which brings together all the countries in Africa in a continental partnership. NEPAD’s eAfrica Commission has a mandate to bridge the digital divide in the continent and facilitate development. Each country could choose one (or more) entity to act as a nodal entity or even local operator. Complementary Participation: The model for the FiberAfrica Network envisions widespread distributed access and complementary development, especially for applications and reselling access. Kiosk and shared community access providers are a key component of helping spread the penetration into rural areas, as shared access is vital for bridging the digital, information and knowledge divide in an affordable and sustainable manner. Operations: FiberAfrica itself would have operating costs that would be on the same order as the annualized capital costs, under 100 million USD per annum, a conservative estimate that includes multiple points of international connectivity, R&D, maintenance, emergency back-up power, rentals, etc. This excludes the costs (capital or operating) by resellers and entrepreneurs who help increase access to value added services such as video on demand, IP Videophones, e-learning and telemedicine, or the costs by the government for content and e-governance. The network would be operated by a private operator(s) under the control or regulation of the ownership consortium; Intelsat itself might be an appropriate body given their technical expertise as well as relationships with all the countries in Africa. Costs and Payments: The operating costs are estimated to be at least an order of magnitude lower than today’s costs for core network connectivity. We propose to structure access charges in a manner where public end-users (like schools, libraries, hospitals, etc.) could receive free basic connectivity, while certain classes of commercial users, or end-users who use value-added applications (like voice-telephony, entertainment, etc.), would pay corresponding charges (perhaps using pre-paid cards), ensuring the business viability of the network. Kiosk operators could also be given very inexpensive connectivity, under the condition that basic access by consumers would be free for limited and for educational use.
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Appendix III has more details on the business model. 5.2 Alternative approaches considered Without a network designed similar to the one proposed, with great economies of scale, each country will need to replicate much of the network, especially when it comes to international connectivity, up-linking, and data centres. Alternate incremental network designs and upgrades will only lead to incremental or marginal benefits. In fact, ICT does not always lend itself well to intermediate efforts but rather favours leapfrogging and widespread deployment, because of the so-called “network effect” – the value of a network can be proportional to the square of the number of users. This network is designed with rural areas in mind, and under alternative models, including trickle-down and private sector efforts, one remains unable to reach the “have-nots.” Given that the goal is to have maximum penetration at lowest costs; FiberAfrica appears more attractive than traditional data solutions whereby international connectivity (through submarine cables and/or satellite) is the design focus. Oceanic cables are much more expensive, have higher maintenance costs, and provide little employment to local labour. Because of the relatively small size (user base) of the Net in Africa, a continental scale network (multi-region, in the initial stages) will provide the lowest cost up-linking. 5.3 Potential risks and mitigation There are a number of issues and concerns with such a large project, not limited to financing. One of the main sources of potential failure would be fewer people connecting than planned, but even then the cost-benefit calculus should remain positive. The optical fibre infrastructure, a large fraction of the capital costs, will be usable well into the future, and ducted construction will even allow new fibres to be used in the future with much lower investment. In comparison, other grand schemes, such as Teledesic, were more capital intensive, had shorter timeframes for amortization, and had lower richness in terms of value-addition. Cooperation: This vision requires cooperation between all the countries in Africa, potentially through NEPAD. While there are some regional cooperative networks, such as COMESA and WAEMU, etc., FiberAfrica, being Pan-African, reduces local and regional rivalry issues. A country may choose not to join, but it might lose out significantly (and face higher “entry costs” in the future). Security: Physical and data security are paramount in this network, with extensive redundancy and robustness in the design to counter issues such as inter- and intranation conflict. To ameliorate vandalism and theft concerns through greater participation of local communities in the network, local participation is important. For example, at every site that requires equipment housing (every 60 to 80 kilometres, say), a local entrepreneur would be given concessionary connectivity for Value Added Services. He or she would help secure and physically maintain some of the equipment. By providing local connectivity, it is possible not only to spread access around the routing of the backbone, but also reduce local opposition and mischief. Experience from India also suggests several techniques for reducing theft of optical fibre and cables. While
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copper is often dug out from access networks due to its resale value, optical fibre has very little resale value, something would-be-thieves quickly learned after superfluous bundles were purposely left behind at construction sites. National Policies: Countries need to commit to investments to help spread penetration, and develop the applications for harnessing the power of the network, such as egovernance initiatives. Member countries must also enact enabling legislation/regulations that allow FiberAfrica to be built, e.g., allowing appropriate spectrum availability and disruptive technologies such as Voice over IP. At the same time, FiberAfrica must work within the bounds of sovereign decision-making. Countries must also allow appropriate cost reductions such as duty import waivers or free rights of way. Without these the costs to the consumers will increase. The network should be built so that access is non-discriminatory and largely free. Otherwise, concerns remain that incumbents and alternative players would object. Here, experience from rural development initiatives in other countries have shown that urban utilities and service providers often do not oppose networks that have a rural focus, as they consider such areas unattractive commercially. ISPs and other providers today would also benefit from FiberAfrica, especially if regulators allow it to be used for complementary services (such as aggregated voice transport). However, such calculations are not part of the focus of FiberAfrica, nor included in the business model. 6. Next Steps Issues that need to be resolved: • • • • Working with the diverse countries within their sovereign regulations and policies; Inter-country collaboration (perhaps through NEPAD); issues in inter-country conflicts and resolution Collaboration with donor and development agencies; optimizing interactions with existing and complementary projects Financing and business models that ensure independence and operational sustainability for FiberAfrica Synergizing sectoral linkages to maximize social and economic benefits
To begin, this project needs to build consensus amongst stakeholders. NEPAD and the World Bank can play complementary roles. The Bank (or perhaps UN/ITU?) can act as a facilitator, with relationships amongst all the African countries as well as donors and technology players. The next steps would involve the development of a detailed project report/business plan. This would incorporate synergies with other plans with similar objectives, as well as governmental projects. FiberAfrica will likely begin in one or a few countries in Africa. In addition to the required planning, design, and financing, there must be strong synergies to existing
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networks and infrastructure, e.g., unutilized or underutilized fibre. There are even broadband initiatives being started by select countries, which can serve as a starting point. One important step must be local partners and stakeholders (ideally, owners), and the identification of “champions” who can shepherd the concept through the political system(s) in place. After agreements on such issues, the first portion of the network can begin in a relatively short timeframe. One suggestion has been to build a special Research and Non-Profit Network similar in design to FiberAfrica, but which would not threaten existing telecom infrastructures (and vested interests). While this would help prove the technology, cost structure, and perhaps some benefits, even building those networks may prove difficult. There are good initiatives like SchoolNet that provide connectivity and other services, and these must be leveraged. We must, however, consider that if it takes extreme effort to build a network, why shouldn’t it be an open access network benefiting all the citizens of a country or region? We can see (Appendix III) that there are multiple models for revenues, and some of these may realize greater earnings than others. All of these are plausible, and some combination of these can provide not only the operating costs, but even the capital costs (over time). The analysis shows that FiberAfrica is economically feasible, and the greater challenges are in regulatory mindset and political will. By embracing an open access network like FiberAfrica, we can help usher in an era of affordable connectivity across Africa.
Often, optical fibre is laid along energy or other infrastructure. Such companies or entities might want to use telecommunications for internal SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition), but this only requires modest bandwidth. One win-win solution is for such fibres to be used for Open Access networks for the public (such as through FiberAfrica), and in-return the company can get free connectivity for internal and Internet needs, without the expense and headache of operating telecommunications facilities. They would also be reimbursed for the costs of the fibre.
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Appendix I: Development Targets WSIS Summary of Targets (Phase 1) Target FiberAfrica Addresses? Yes (community access points themselves will be set up by entrepreneurs and others; FA enables these) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes (FA enables the implementation of e-governance) Indirectly (FA enables knowledgecentric curricula) Indirectly (countries can leapfrog to digital information services, carried over FA). Yes (FA encourages local content)
To connect villages with ICTs and establish community access points. To connect universities, colleges, secondary schools and primary schools with ICTs. To connect scientific and research centres with ICTs. To connect public libraries, cultural centres, museums, post offices and archives with ICTs. To connect health centres and hospitals with ICTs. To connect all local and central government departments and establish websites and e-mail addresses. To adapt all primary and secondary school curricula to meet the challenges of the Information Society, taking into account national circumstances. To ensure that all of the world's population has access to television and radio services. To encourage the development of content and to put in place technical conditions in order to facilitate the presence and use of all world languages on the Internet. To ensure that more than half the world's inhabitants have access to ICTs within their reach.
2 3 4 5 6
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Millennium Development Goals Goal Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger Achieve universal primary education Promote gender equality and empower women Reduce child mortality Improve maternal health Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases Ensure environmental sustainability Develop a global partnership for development FiberAfrica Role
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Indirect Direct Indirect Indirect Indirect Indirect Indirect Direct
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Appendix II: FiberAfrica Preliminary Design and Features
Salient Features Core network estimate (shown): 70,000 km Regional Fibre Spurs (to reach other major areas not in yellow and to connect Wireless Hubs): 30,000 km Approximately 400 population centres are connected, including all capitals and larger cities. The links shown are largely along major roads, which thus cover many population centres. Preliminary GIS modelling indicates good penetration of this fibre/wireless hybrid design. Fibre (including the laying) is roughly half the capital costs. This implies most expenditure can have a long amortization horizon.
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FiberAfrica Access Model – Wireless with Optical Fibre Interconnection
Inline Optical Amplifier (with add/drop capabilities)
Wireless Transmission Central Hubs (10s of Mbps)
Wireless Receiving Hubs (can resell access nearby using 802.11 or other shorter-range wireless)
Upto 50 km
. . .
Additi onal optical amplifiers 80 km 80 km
Major Cities (hundreds of km apart)
Generic Model for FiberAfrica Core This figure shows a generic model for the fibre and wireless system. Major cities are typically hundreds of kilometres apart, and connected using Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) technology, which can carry terabits of data per second if required. Cities include extensive fibre and wireless networking, equipment for which is not shown in the diagram. Along the route, optimized to cover the greatest population at lowest cost using GIS modelling, networking equipment (optical amplifiers) is required every 60-80 km to amplify the signal. These locations become ideal sites for wireless transmission central hubs (potentially through 802.16 technology – “Wi-Max”), which can spread a very high speed signal over a 30-50 km radius (with line of sight). These can be picked up by receivers either for direct use (schools, libraries, government, select users, etc.) or can be resold by entrepreneurs, perhaps through complementary wireless technologies such as 802.11 (“Wi-Fi”) or simply community access centres. This design can reach a significant share of the population, since a sizeable fraction of the population lives in or relatively near bigger cities. This also bypasses many issues of 17 up-linking that traditional designs (PTT-centric ) face, which rely on a third party to interconnect sites, and it allows much higher speeds than typical links, which are often at most a few megabits per second. While Wi-Fi is very inexpensive, it is not necessarily the best technology for a nextgeneration network. Wi-Max has been designed specifically for wide area networking (with features such as interference robustness, no requirement for line-of-sight, multiple frequency possibilities, etc.), and is approaching commercialization. With volume, we
PTT – Post, Telegraph, and Telephone (the governmental monopoly for such services, which has often been transformed into many of the incumbents replacing government telecom service)
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expect prices to fall dramatically (similar to 802.11’s price trends, shown below), even 18 though our business model assumes 2004 prices, conservatively. Wireless Cost Trends – The example of 802.11 Cost Per Node (USD)* Year 1997 800 1999 400 2000 200 2001 100 2002 50 2003 20 Compiled from various sources * These costs are for the electronics including packaging and power supply, but exclude any external antennae or towers. While Wi-Max based Central Hubs will cost significantly more, the receiver costs should fall significantly from the hundreds of dollars today. Declines in such costs are important since these are borne by the receiving entities. However, we are unlikely to see similar volumes (or as low prices) as with Wi-Fi.
The design does not assume breakthroughs in wireless technologies, even though some might be realized within a few years, including smart antennae (MIMO), mesh networks, and software defined or cognitive radios. We assume medium-range coverage for a central wireless hub, not the “best case” scenarios touted by proponents. We similarly assume 2004-05 technologies and costs for other network components.
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Appendix III: Business Models for FiberAfrica The most importance business design feature of FiberAfrica is the dramatically lower price of connectivity for consumers—there is no lower barrier to usage than free connectivity. Given the ample bandwidth (tens of gigabits in the core, operational from day one) and deep penetration, the population can enjoy free basic (limited) access through kiosks, while paying categories of users also enjoy lower costs from the economies of scale and scope. Capital costs: The capital costs of less than 1 billion USD can be amortized over 20 years, with capital costs coming to about 80 million USD annually. Even this amount need not be spent all at once, but over 2-5 years as the network expands with regional 20 and spur networks. Operating Costs: If we assume that donor agencies and countries themselves provide the capital expenses, or a large fraction of these, then only the operating costs must be recovered from users. Failing operating costs recovery, taxpayer and/or aid money would be required for the operating expenses, of about 90 million USD per year, which is not envisaged. This figure is conservative and includes all costs such as international connectivity, maintenance, upgrades, salaries, extensive R&D, insurance, rent, electricity, etc. Some fraction (perhaps 1/3) can be recovered through “power” users (such as niche software companies, multinationals, etc.), who would receive bulk connectivity to the high-speed FiberAfrica network. In reality, such users could actually pay significantly more, given the usage and price statistics of today. (Using FiberAfrica for aggregating and transporting traditional voice traffic alone could justify a significant portion of the investment, but we exclude such calculations for the time being given regulatory and policy uncertainty). The remaining 2/3, or 60 million dollars, could be recovered from the users. 2,000 wireless transmission hubs could cover about 1,000 sq. km. each, and each hub would reach, say, 10 public use users (schools, libraries, govt., etc.) and 10 community access centres/resellers/kiosks (conservatively). The public users could receive free access, as the government pays a nominal charge for the connectivity, equal to the marginal costs, which would still be significantly lower than today’s costs paid by the government. Assuming 1,000 students/users per year (only!) per large school or library, that implies only USD1 per user per year as costs towards FiberAfrica (paid by the governments), raising 20 million dollars per year. If we take the example of 20,000 community access centres throughout Africa, each of these could provide services to hundreds of users per year. One innovation for FiberAfrica would be that users could use basic services (limited email or Internet
The capital costs as calculated are conservative. Equipment is costed using 2004 prices, and much lower labour costs for installing optical fibres have been seen in countries like India. On an annualized basis, the investment would be only on the order of 1-2% of the telecom investment in Africa today (as per ITU data). Even when factoring in end-user equipment, etc., this would still be only on the order of a few percent.
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access) for free. They would register to become users of FiberAfrica, paying a nominal 22 amount (say, 5 USD) for a pre-paid card. Beyond limited free usage or if they used value-added services (such as downloading a movie or making a phone call that ends at a traditional phone line), users would pay nominal charges for these. A fraction of the pre-paid charges would be given to the kiosk/community access centre to cover their costs. Even when people use value-added services, the aim is for their total expenditure to be about 2% of their salary, which is affordable. (In contrast, we note that in the US, the average spending on ICT and media has remained constant for many decades at 23 about 6% of earnings, while the global fraction on ICT alone has grown to nearly 3% ). Using the African average of about 675 USD /capita (with great variance amongst regions), just 2% implies about 14 USD /year expenditure for such services. Given that the entire population will not access FiberAfrica and assuming that just the subscribers are counted, the remaining 40 million dollars of operating costs implies charges of only 2 USD /year paid by about 1,000 users per access centre, which seems realistic (2 USD /user, 1,000 users/access centre, 10 kiosks/wireless transmission hub, 2,000 hubs across Africa). In practice a higher number would be recovered from endusers (target 14 USD /capita), the bulk of which would go to content providers and to kiosk operators. Even this is modest, given that we are not targeting the average person in Africa, but a select group of about 20,000,000 regular users (2.5% of the population); the number of potential users is much higher, and usage can grow over time into the tens of percentage. This target expenditure by a few percent of the population is very reasonable, when we consider that the roughly10% of the population in Africa using telecom today pays on the order of 300 USD per user annually (excluding expenditure on information).
This would also allow greater authentication and security for the network, a major issue for countries with limited cyber security infrastructure or policies. Of course, traditional access similar to Internet Cafes of today would also be available, but would cost more than the proposed system (but still less than Internet Cafés of today). The use of prepaid cards has widespread acceptance in Africa, e.g., for mobile phones. Such a system might be linked to a universal cash card, usable for other economic transactions such as utility bills. The kiosk operator could sell such cards, retaining a percentage for his operating costs.
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Potential breakdown of annual cash flows (FiberAfrica), at a continental scale: Annualized requirement (USD Millions) 80 90
Notes/Assumptions Paid by donors with long-term amortization All-inclusive Virtually free connectivity in return for their grants; Future donations are for capacity building, content, and end-user equipment (e.g., computers for schools) Virtually free connectivity in exchange for “buy-in” through appropriate policies/regulations and other in-kind contributions such as rights of way, spectrum availability, etc. Paid by governments; tens or hundreds of times lower costs than today; higher recoveries from “power” users can reduce government contribution requirements, and donors could assist with such payments for select countries If there are 20 million total users, they would pay only 2 USD/year as allocated access charges for value-added services; Actual individual expenditure would be higher to cover cost of kiosk operator, content, etc. If there is modest growth of such users, including retail (urban) ISPs, this sector’s revenues can grow enormously; Excludes any potential revenues from voice transport (subject to regulations)
Capital Costs Operating Costs (recovery) breakdown Donors
Public Users (schools, libraries, hospitals, etc.)
Open Access: How Good is it for Africa?
ABSTRACT Access to telecommunication infrastructure and services in Africa still remains limited and strategic policy measures are needed to expand the continent’s limited and generally poor telecommunication infrastructure for greater access. Revolution in telecommunication technologies is opening a door for Africa to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of provision and access to telecommunication services. It is no secret that Africa’s current telecommunication environment is far behind the rest of the developed world and the gap gets bigger as time goes on. Among the technologies presenting an opportunity for Africa, wireless and IP technologies could be seen as the ones at the forefront. Wireless technologies allow rapid expansion of network coverage when compared to wired technologies, which for years have taken long to expand. IP technologies stimulate innovation, creating possibilities for anyone to create services regardless of their ownership of the transmission network. An IP network treats packets equally. On the other hand, technologies themselves will not help resolving access problems in Africa, better policies, regulations and stronger political will to develop African telecommunication infrastructures are required. Even though most African Governments have been considering telecommunication services as a priority sector for further liberalization, protectionist policies designed to shield inefficient incumbent operators, high import duties on IT equipment, archaic licensing provisions, and a fragmented approach to ICT development have been some of the most important stumbling blocks to development. This has to change if the continent wants to get aboard the fast moving train of telecommunication development. 1. Introduction Africa is the second-largest continent, after Asia, in size, and contributes with nearly 14% of the world population, which makes it the second most populated continent in the world. Despite that, less than 3% of the world’s main telephone lines are in Africa, Internet penetration in Africa has also been slow, thus further widening the access gap between Africa and the rest of the world. This gap is even worse when we take into account the uniqueness of Africa in comparison with other regions of the world, as the majority of its population, about 80% lives in rural areas and have never seen a telephone, least to say use it. The fact that most of Africa is still to be covered, positions the continent as a greenfield for big telecommunications investments, providing a wide range of opportunities to both local and foreign investors. Therefore, the challenge for Africa is how to attract investments into their markets in order to ensure deployment of appropriate
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infrastructures, and adequate connectivity within and across the continent. If African governments are to meet the increasing communication needs of the continent, then the issue of investment must be tackled head on. As such, appropriate policies must be put in place in order to gain investors’ confidence and enable growth of the market. Recent reforms in the telecom sector have for the first time in many years led to optimism across the whole of Africa. But despite some remarkable changes across the continent over the past few years overall teledensity remain extremely low, with the rollout of fixed lines by incumbent operators barely inching forward in most countries, while the uptake of mobile telephony moves rapidly past it. In this article, I intend to discuss how open access policies, supported by the explosion of wireless and IP technologies, can assist African policy makers and regulators to enable an investor friendly market in order for investors to become attracted to explore opportunities that are created and consequently contribute to the objectives of universal access to telecommunication services. This article is not intended to suggest whether open access to telecommunications networks is good or bad for the African telecommunications market. In fact, the choice between “open” and “closed” is not as straight forward as one might think; rather it consists of different policy bases operating from different perspectives on the network. The concept of open access to communication infrastructures has been a hot topic in many discussions around the world, involving policy makers, regulators, academics and industry players. These debates are now gaining wider attention from African policy makers in order to exploit the benefits it can bring to the development of African telecommunication infrastructure. 2. Current state of African telecommunications 2.1 Infrastructure As mentioned before, Africa is a unique continent when compared to other regions in the world, with a majority of its population living in areas that can be described as rural, and largely without basic infrastructure, including telecommunications. Availability of telecommunication infrastructures in Africa is still far from ideal. Most parts of the continent is still without access and even those with access have infrastructure that are unable to sustain today’s applications due to bandwidth constraints, or the usage cost is usually prohibitive, if we consider the low income of the majority of Africans. The lack of telecom infrastructure is one of the most important economic factors currently holding back Africa’s development. Aware of this, African leaders and operators have embarked on a series of initiatives in order to stimulate the growth of telecommunication infrastructure in the continent. These days, regional and subregional co-operation on regulatory and policy matters have been set up, and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) includes ICT as a strategic sector.
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There are also other initiatives that are, for instance, aimed to stop routing intra-African telecoms traffic via European capitals. As a result of these initiatives, there has been, in recent years, an increase in the rate of expansion and modernization of fixed telecommunication networks, associated to an explosion of mobile cellular networks. Africa’s low population densities and disperse population makes wireless cellular network systems more economical than a fixed-line infrastructure. African networks have been growing at the extraordinary rate of twice the international average. This is primarily due to the small number and high cost of fixed-line connections, which are seldom extended beyond the major urban centres, and the liberalization of the mobile phone market. There is a high level of variability between and within countries of the state of their existing telephone networks. Even if telecom infrastructure is beginning to spread, a very small proportion of the population can actually afford their own telephone. Some countries have made telecommunications a priority and are installing digital switches with fibre optic inter-city backbones and the newest cellular and mobile technology. But still, financing has been the main stumbling block in order to develop networks in the short run. According to an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) 2004 report, the percentage of the African population within range of a mobile signal is estimated at only 60 percent, which is the lowest in the world. All African countries are now connected to the Internet, but the Internet remains out of reach to the vast majority of Africans and is still mostly confined to the larger cities and towns. By early 2004, overall Internet penetration in Africa was below 1.2%. However, Internet access has increased significantly over the past decade, sometimes at rates fourto-five times higher than earlier estimates due to unreported users using free Web services, Internet cafes or prepaid cards. Although Africa’s data traffic continues to grow strongly, most nations still lack sufficient international bandwidth to reliably deliver either Web pages or the new digital services in any volume over the Internet. Limited penetration, particularly in rural areas can be attributed to unreliable connections, and high telecommunication costs. The provision of infrastructure remains one of the key challenges facing Africa as it builds an Information society. In fact, not all of these initiatives have been registering great success. For example, the Africa One submarine cable project, which was intended to lay down a submarine cable around Africa, was technically fine, but lack of financing has caused it to fail. The project would have provided Africa with the bandwidth it needs in order to enable broadband services across the continent and carry the majority of the telecom traffic across the continent. 2.2 Policy trends The World Trade Organization (WTO), 1997 Agreement on Basic Telecommunications (ABT) laid the foundation for improved market access and the liberalization of foreign investment in the telecommunications sector. It was a necessary starting point for phasing out telecommunications carrier monopolies and providing the regulatory principles and fundamental commitments needed to introduce competition in basic telecommunications services across WTO Member countries.
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Since then, many African countries have embarked upon the process of liberalization of the telecommunication sector, coupled with privatization of state monopoly operators. There is no doubt that market liberalization has had a positive impact in the development of the sector in Africa. Liberalization has given an opportunity for countries to attract foreign direct investment, strengthen basic and advanced communication infrastructure, and allow populations greater access to the world through information technology, thus contributing to universal access objectives. Still, while many countries have allowed competition in the mobile market, the same cannot be said about fixed-line. To date, few countries have allowed the introduction of new entrants and in some of them competition is already happening in both fixed-line and mobile markets. Second National Operator (SNO) licences have been issued to companies in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Seychelles, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, and other countries are following this lead. As liberalization continues to forge ahead, more than one-third of all state telcos have already privatized and several more are set to follow suit. Some countries have chosen not to privatize, thus adopting protectionist policies designed to shield inefficient incumbent operators. Protectionist policies do not benefit the country at all. In reality it only benefits a minority, leaving the majority without access to communication services and the few who have must pay costs well above the average when compared to other countries. Empirical evidence shows that privatization has contributed to the recent teledensity growth in Africa and in the world at large. The advantage of privatized companies is that these companies incur the costs of installing and upgrading telecoms infrastructure, thus improving bandwidth with no expense to governments or their citizens. But there is no doubt that privatization itself will not resolve the problem of teledensity in Africa. There must also be a strong regulator, as well as plenty of competition. African policy-makers usually face the fact that their policies are not synchronized with technological developments and international market developments by themselves. Lack of African policy research institutions has been a problem, making it difficult for African policy makers to develop policies that respond appropriately to the needs of the country. Policies are developed with major assistance from Western consultants, who usually are not familiar with African environments and can therefore not design practical solutions efficiently suited to the markets of the continent. 2.3 Regulations As the wave of market liberalization swept across the continent, introducing competition in the market place, independent regulators had to be created in order to monitor that market. Introduction of a transparent legal and regulatory framework was seen as a must for telecommunication market development. To date, 33 out of 55 countries have set up regulatory agencies, with varying degrees of independence. Effective regulation of telecommunication environments by the governments of African countries encourage private companies to invest in telecommunication infrastructure,
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providing for both sustainable access to telecommunication services and increased bandwidth on the continent. Regulators have been tasked with the duties of monitoring the quality of services being provided by licensed operators, spectrum management, and interconnection, among others. Interconnection, mostly fixed-mobile interconnection has been one of the most troubling issues that regulators have had to deal with. Current models being applied to calculate interconnection rates have been contested by most of the fixed-line operators. 2.4 Market development Fuelled by competition and the introduction of prepaid services, growth of mobile cellular and other wireless technologies in the past few years has been exponential. As a matter of fact, the latest report of the ITU has identified the African region as the world's fastest growing mobile market with an annual growth rate of 62.4 percent. According to the 2004 ITU African Telecommunications Indicators report, the speed of the mobile market growth can be attributed to demand, sector reform, the licensing of new operators, competition and the emergence of major strategic investors. The report also states that mobile penetration in Africa reached 6.2 per 100 inhabitants by the end of 2003, compared to just 3 per 100 inhabitants for fixed line. Penetration is higher in sub-Saharan countries where three out of four telephone subscribers are mobile users. Nevertheless, Africa's overall mobile penetration is the lowest of any region at 6 percent in 2003 compared to the global average figure of 22 percent. Europe has a percent market penetration of 51.3, while North and South America has a combined 29.9 percent mobile market penetration. Despite all these policy and market developments, the fixed-line business in Africa is a near monopoly, with each country having usually just one carrier. In stark contrast, more than 66% of African nations now allow competition in the mobile networks. 3. Open Access in the African context The open access concept as applied to telecommunication is about network operators sharing their facilities with other operators or service providers. Open access allows multiple service providers to deliver services, content or applications over shared networks. In the past, technology obstacles imposed legitimate barriers to open access. All parties who wanted to share a network had to agree to a standard. New service providers willing to provide telecommunication services, such as voice telephony, had no other choice than to build their own networks. Even after investing in new network infrastructure, they faced difficulties in getting customers as those who were already being served were nearly “locked” to their current service provider. On top of this, there were little or no incentives for investors to risk their funds in the market, already dominated by the incumbent.
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Nowadays the telecom landscape is changing and technology barriers to open access are being naturally removed. Next-generation networks that allow multiple providers to deliver services and content over shared media networks such as cable and fixed wireless networks are already being used. Open access policy stimulates competition, and competition stimulates growth, contributing to lower costs and providing a wider spectrum of choices to consumers. Innovative uses of new technologies (including wireless and IP technologies) at the “outer edges” of national backbone networks are revealing new opportunities to grow network connectivity organically and incrementally “from the edges”, a significant departure from the traditional model of growing networks “out from the centre”, as the intelligence was within the network. 3.1 IP Networks The Internet Protocol, IP, is probably the world's single most popular network protocol. Data travels over an IP-based network in the form of packets; each IP packet includes both a header (that specifies source, destination, and other information about the data) and the data of the message itself. The most well-known IP network is the Internet. The Internet is an open, public network that does not belong to any specific commercial interest. The open nature of the Internet has enabled its fast growth and the appearance of innovative Internet services. Today, we can easily play games, watch movies and even do our shopping over the Internet. These services are being provided by different service providers, located in different parts of the world. This would probably not have been possible if the Internet was a closed network. IP networks are not only facilitating the appearance of a number of services, but they are also killing off the concept of distance. How much would it cost to send a 2 page fax from Mozambique to the United States using traditional systems? And how much would it cost to send the same fax from Mozambique to South Africa? Certainly the cost will differ depending on many factors, such as duration of transmission and rates to each destination. But sending an e-mail to anywhere in the world will cost you the same, regardless of the distance between countries In an IP environment, network operators charge for the cost of transporting packets, and not the service that is being provided over the network. IP networks are a practical proof of the benefits of open access concepts. We have seen the growth of the Internet, and we all benefit today from instant access to various sources of information. It would be good to ask ourselves, how was the growth of the Internet possible in such a short time, if we compare with telephony? Maybe the answer lies within the fact that the openness of the Internet has allowed anyone to exploit the opportunities it has been presenting The transparency of the network and its reliance on distributed intelligence, foster innovation and empower users at the ends of the networks.
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3.2 Should Africa adopt open access? This question can be put in another way: will open access bring any added value to Africa? While the concept of open access is theoretically acceptable, much ground work needs to be done in order for it to be adopted by African markets. First and foremost African leaders need to understand the current developments in telecommunication markets and their trends. It is not that they should understand the technical or technological concepts regarding the development of telecommunication markets; all they need to understand is that the older and closed models are no longer working, and new models such as open access are coming and should be adopted. Service providers no longer need to be the same as network operators. By adopting open access, African markets would benefit from: • • • • • Increased market penetration Avoidance of infrastructure duplication, as service providers would be sharing infrastructure Stimulation of innovation, as it takes place outside the network. In the case of IP infrastructure, it allows anyone to create services Consumers would have a wider pool of service providers to choose from, and thus there would be more competition in the market and a consequent reduction in price Network operators would concentrate on network management and leave service provision and customer management to service providers
Keeping in mind the success of IP networks, specifically the Internet, it is difficult to imagine that Africa would lose anything by adopting open access policies to enable market development. 3.3 Barriers to Open Access in Africa Implementing open access in Africa will not be a straight forward process. Most parts of Africa are still using equipment that was originally designed for closed environments, thus not supporting the requirements of open access. The other main constraint for open access in Africa is the fact that in general, network operators are the same as the service providers. The proliferation of vertically integrated companies in the continent makes it difficult for regulators to enforce open access mandates. By separating network ownership from service provision, executives would no longer be focused on managing the network and at the same time worry about service development. Lack of broadband infrastructure in Africa is also another constraint, as an increase in the number of service providers sharing the same infrastructure would require more bandwidth. As said earlier, bandwidth is still a major problem in Africa. Therefore, for open access to be a reality in Africa, bandwidth constraints and regulatory issues need to be resolved, at national and continental levels. 4. Conclusion To meet the needs of growing demand for access to telecommunications infrastructure and more bandwidth in the new era of information society, the difficulties and problems
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associated with policies regulating access to telecommunication infrastructures need to be addressed. In addressing these problems, policy makers and regulators must find ways to stimulate reduction in access costs, while allowing for network expansion. In order for Africa to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of telecommunication developments, it is no secret that huge investments are required. In fact, current operators and service providers may not have the required capital to invest in the market. Even so, current costs associated with deployment of telecommunication services in Africa are not that attractive to investors as the return on their investment will be slow, mostly due to the low purchasing power of the majority of African markets. As such, innovative policies are required, and open access should be seriously considered by Africans. The benefits that it brings could make it worth taking the risk of implementing it. 5. References Jonathan Sallet, “Just how open must an open network be for an open network to be labelled "open"?” at http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue8_3/sallet/#s1 Mark Cooper, “The Public Interest in Open communication Networks”, Consumer Federation Of America, July 2004 Osei Darwa and Fikile Mazibuko, “ Creating Virtual Learning Communities in Africa: Challenges and Prospects:, at http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue5_5/darkwa/index.html#author Muriuki Mureithi, “African Telecommunication Infrastructures for Information Access”, at http://www.american.edu/initeb/qj8944a/telecom2.htm Jabulani Dhliwayo, “Developing a Fibre Optic Backbone for Africa”, NEPAD Council. See article in this publication.
Developing a Fibre Optic Backbone for Africa
ABSTRACT The high cost of telecommunications as a result of poor infrastructure in Africa, the fact that 90% of calls from African countries to other African countries are routed through Europe at a cost of $400 million a year and the fact that current percentage population penetration in Internet usage is only 1.8% (with South Africa and North African countries dominating this statistic) give a compelling case for an all Africa optical based long-haul backbone network. For such an African backbone network to be successful, it has to be initiated and planned by Africans on the basis of potential long-term ability to help build wealth – not on the basis of short-term return on investment. In this paper, the status of African telecommunications is briefly reviewed and an argument for a fibre optic backbone in support of planned and completed submarine cable systems are presented. NEPAD Council’s guidelines for a successful long haul backbone network are provided as a foundation for future network planning. 1. Introduction to NEPAD Council NEPAD Council is a non-political, independent not for profit organization founded by young African experts and professionals and in which every African country is represented. The council is made up of 150 members – 3 from each of 50 African countries. Members of NEPAD Council include scientists, university professors, medical doctors and economists in Africa and abroad. The main objective of NEPAD Council is to support the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) created by African heads of state and aimed at fighting poverty, consolidating democracy and good governance, fostering trade, investment, economic growth and sustainability. NEPAD Council will address several issues and problems affecting the African continent through four commissions: Education; Science, Technology and ICT, Socio Economic Development and Trade and Global Health. One initiative of NEPAD Council’s Science, Technology and ICT commission is to support projects that address the connection of African countries to one another and to the rest of the world by high bandwidth fibre optic networks.
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2. Current status of African Telecommunications Current telecommunications infrastructure in Africa consists of a combination of radio relay links, open wire lines, radiotelephone stations, fixed local loop installations and substantial mobile cellular networks. In some African countries, mobile cellular networks have increased significantly over the past few years to match or even surpass the number of fixed lines. For inter-state communications, satellite and microwave links are mostly used. Two African organizations administer these networks: Regional African Satellite Communication organization (RASCOM) and the Pan African Telecommunications Union (PATU). Despite the existence of these authorities, about 90% of African traffic is routed through Europe or North America. Consequently, African states pay about $400 million every year to have calls to other African countries routed through Europe or North America. While for most African countries connections to overseas destinations are much better than connections to other African countries, international connections are still very inadequate. There are less than 30 000 circuits interconnecting Africa with the rest of the world and most international traffic transits through Europe . Thus a significant portion of the revenue from international calls is used to pay European network operators making it difficult for Africans to upgrade their infrastructure. In addition, due to the old infrastructure, there is an additional loss of revenue due to service theft and the inability to accurately bill communication services. Internet usage has only just begun in most of Africa and is currently concentrated in large cities. Because of the large number of shared accounts and the high usage of public services such as Internet cafés, it is difficult to accurately determine the number of people with Internet access. However, Internet World Stats  estimates the average African Internet usage penetration at about 1.8% by 2005. A few African countries such as South Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles, Ile de Reunion and Egypt dominate this average – the situation is much worse for most sub-Saharan African countries. The low Internet usage is affected mainly by the inadequacy and poor quality of the telecommunications infrastructure and the high cost of Internet service mostly through dial up charged per minute. Only a very small percentage of Internet access is Broadband or high speed, mostly through asymmetric digital subscriber lines (ADSL) and broadband wireless. In some African countries, leaders and policy makers are not very supportive of the Internet for several reasons; lack of awareness of the long term benefits of the Internet, fear of the ultra freedom of communication and the “cultural invasion” associated with it and other competing priorities. Figure 1 shows selected global Internet penetration with Africa trailing every other region in the world.
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The African telecommunication status - poor infrastructure, high cost of telephone calls to other African countries, loss of telecommunication revenue to Europe and low internet usage-can only change if a major effort is undertaken to develop a continental fibre-optic backbone that interconnects Africa and the rest of the world via current and planned undersea fibre-optic cables. National and regional networks should therefore be planned so that they can come together to form a continental network. 3. Current status of fibre optic links in Africa 3.1. Submarine networks Some North African countries - Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria – are connected by one of the longest undersea fibre-optic cable: SEA/ME/WE-3 ("South East Asia -Middle East Western Europe-3"). SEA-ME-WE-3 includes 39 landing points in 33 countries and 4 continents from Western Europe (including Germany, England and France) to the Far East (including China, Japan and Singapore) and to Australia. Maximum capacity of this two fibre pair cable is 505 Gbps. The Mediterranean section of this submarine system connecting the North African countries is shown in the map of figure 4. An additional cable, SE-WE-4 is currently being added to add capacity. The first major attempt at an all Africa fibre optic cable was the ambitious project dubbed “Africa One” by Africa One Ltd owned by Columbia Technologies of New Jersey, USA. Africa One Ltd was to develop and own a state-of-the-art undersea fibre optic self-healing loop around Africa. Lucent Technologies were selected as the preferred equipment and software supplier while Global Crossing Ltd. was to provide project management and undersea construction. The network was to provide end-toend connectivity for the African continent to 19 countries and 185 cities around the
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world. The project collapsed because of the global downturn in the telecommunications industry and the subsequent collapse of some of the major partners. The failure of Africa One should provide Africans with valuable lessons on their plans for building future fibre-optic systems, especially on how these projects should be financed and the choice of partners. Perhaps the most successful attempt at an African fibre network so far is the two segment submarine cable system; SAFE (South Africa - Far East) which links Malaysia and India in the east to South Africa via Mauritius and Ile de Reunion and SAT3/WASC (South Africa Trans-Atlantic - West Africa Submarine Cable) which continues from South Africa to Portugal and Spain in Europe with landings at a number of West and Southern African countries. The funding agreement for the project was signed in 1999 and President Wade of Senegal, one of the founding members of NEPAD, officially launched the networks in Dakar in May 2002. The original capacity was 20 Gbps and is upgradeable to 120Gbps. The 20Gbps is reportedly fully subscribed and is in the process of being upgraded to 40 Gbps. The submarine cables span a total of 28,000 km and connect the countries of Portugal, Spain (Canary Islands), Senegal, Ghana, Benin, Cote D’Ivoire, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Angola, South Africa, France (Ile de Reunion), Mauritius, India and Malaysia. Figure 4 also shows the 9 landing points in 10 African countries. However, the fruits of this submarine cable are yet to be fully realized; the bandwidth take-up on the system is very low and very expensive compared to other submarine cables – about $6000/Mbps/months (about the most expensive in the world). The graph of figure 2 compares SAT-3/WASC bandwidth cost with other cable worldwide. The high cost is attributed to lack of competing infrastructure.
Another major submarine cable – East Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy) – spanning the East African cost from Mtunzini (South Africa) to Port Sudan is now at an
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advanced stage. This new submarine cable will connect SAT-3 to SE-WE-3, thereby completing a ring of undersea cables around Africa. Other landing points will be in Maputo (Mozambique), Mahajanga (Madagascar), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Mombassa (Kenya) and Mogadishu (Somalia). Like the other cables already installed, EASSy will be a two pair fibre cable with a proposed capacity of 16 or 32 wavelengths at 10Gbps or a maximum capacity of 320Gbps. The NEPAD e-Africa commission has initiated a backhaul system for EASSy that would connect the landlocked countries of East and Southern Africa. Another important project in the planning stage is the West Africa Festoon System that will complement SAT-3/WASC that would connect Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Nigeria, Sao Tome, Principe, Angola, DRC, Congo and Gabon. 3.2. Other National and regional networks At the national and regional levels there are already significant efforts to provide fibreoptic and microwave backbones. Egypt, for example, has an SDH ring that connects most of its cities to undersea fibre cables such as SEA-ME-WE-3. In Zimbabwe, TeleAcess is constructing a fibre-optic link between Zimbabwe and South Africa through Beit Bridge. In Nigeria MTN constructed a national microwave backbone named “Y'helloBahn” at a cost of $120 million and Globacom is about to construct a submarine fibre cable from Nigeria to England. In Southern Africa, there is an ongoing program known as the SADC Regional Information Initiative (SRII) to Interconnect countries of Southern Africa. The project involves upgrading the links between South Africa and Zimbabwe, and between Zimbabwe and Botswana and Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The COMESA – COMTEL project which has been in the planning stage for a couple of years seeks to connect all the countries of COMESA by a terrestrial fibre optic network. Some of the national/regional backbone projects have taken advantage of electricity grids, railway lines and oil pipelines and their right of passage to install fibre-optic cable. In South Africa, the electricity parastatal ESCOM has been installing fibre along it’s grid in South Africa and in neighbouring countries. In Namibia, NAMPOWER is installing fibre-optic lines along all their new power lines while in Zimbabwe, PowerTel is connecting major cities. In West Africa, the Volta River Authority, which distributes hydroelectric power from the Volta River, has been planning to install fibre cable along its grid. The Volta River Authority has already become a licensed telecom operator in Ghana. A fibre link between Mombassa and Nairobi in Kenya has been planned to take advantage of the suggested EASSy landing points in Mombassa. A number of railway operators in Southern Africa have joined forces to establish a broadband fibre optic link travelling from Tanzania through Malawi, Zambia, Namibia, Malawi and South Africa. The South African rail transport parastatal, TRANSTEL, is establishing a national broadband network along its railway grid in preparation for entry to the market as part of a consortium to bid for the upcoming second national operators' license. 4. Why fibre optic networks?
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One of the most likely reactions one gets when discussing fibre-optic networks in Africa is “why not satellite technology?” Satellite communications has been around for a while and has provided telecommunications links between Africa and the rest of the world. However, a comparison between fibre optic and satellite technologies reveals that although satellite systems are the most efficient solutions for TV broadcast, for access to remote locations, and essentially, for wireless access to the local loop and the network backbone, fibre optic networks are more suited for high bandwidth transmission between countries and continents though core networks (or backbones) and submarine links respectively. Fibre optic networks offer very high bandwidth necessary for African nations to catch up with the new global information technology. For example, fibre cables today can have capacity up to 2 Tbps - an equivalent of millions of simultaneous voice channels per cable. This is far from the reach of any anticipated satellite system, which is less than 1Gbps - lower than Africa’s own SAT-3/WASC/SAFE undersea cable system. Real time transmission and very low bit error rate offered by fibre optic networks are among the advantages of fibre over satellite. Satellite communications add a delay to communications making interactive data transmission difficult and subject the quality of transmission to external factors. A geostationary satellite link has a transmission delay of up to 600 milliseconds compared to 100ms for a combination of fibre and coaxial cable networks. The open space nature of satellite (and any other wireless) communications makes satellite communication vulnerable to interception and corruption. Although several schemes are available for data encryption for IP over satellite, the high bit error rate may cause failures in the encryption systems. Fibre optic transmission offers undoubtedly the best confidentiality and security of transmission than any other means by its mere nature. In order to address increasing traffic demand, it is relatively easy to increase the capacity of fibre optic networks during their lifetime by means of wavelength division multiplexing technology. For example, the SAT-3/WASC/SAFE system can be upgraded 12 fold from 10Gbps to 120Gbps. It is impossible to do a similar upgrade on satellite systems. Perhaps the main disadvantage of satellite communication is their high cost relative to fibre optics communication. In the US, for example, the monthly rate for broadband connectivity through cable is about $35 for 3Mbps data rate compared to $200 for 200Kbps by Satellite. While the initial cost of a continental fibre optic network for Africa may appear too high, the long term cost savings over satellite transmission are overwhelming. Thus due to their high bandwidth, high reliability, high signal quality, long lifetime, better security and low service cost, fibre optic networks are suited for inter and intra continental backbone network infrastructure. On the other hand, satellite systems are more dedicated to video broadcasting and personal communication services such as mobile telephony satellite or to access remote areas.
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5. Achieving NEPAD objectives with a successful network. The availability (or of lack thereof) of a modern information technology infrastructure in Africa will have a profound impact on most of NEPAD’s principles of sustainable development. Education, trade and investment, African-ownership, digital opportunities and globalization are among NEPAD’s objectives that will be facilitated by the availability of a high-speed fibre-optic network. 5.1. Education With the rise of the Internet, education has been completely transformed. Distance learning, for example, used to be largely a lonely experience. In today’s information age, students do not only overcome difficulties interacting with the tutor, but can now easily overcome the nightmare of waiting for tutorials in the mail for long periods of time. In addition, the Internet constitutes a virtual classroom in which interaction can take place between students anywhere in the world. The information age has seen the acceleration of research at educational and other institutions because of the abundance of scientific data on the Internet and the advent of electronic journals. The cost of electronic technical information is negligible compared to traditional research journals. Yet in most of Africa education has not taken advantage of the information explosion; distance education is mostly what it was several decades ago, most libraries at universities and research institutions still rely on hard copy journals which are way too costly. In most cases by the time the journals get to Africa, the information is obsolete and makes it impossible for the quality of research in Africa to be comparable to that in developed countries. 5.2. Investment and globalization The unprecedented exponential growth in telecommunications infrastructure and transmission capacity has changed the way all businesses function in developed countries. Corporations, institutions and governments in most of the world can now interact effectively with their clients, vendors, and their global branches without leaving the office. Teleconference technologies such as Net-Meeting and video conferencing are becoming very common in these countries, driving the demand for network bandwidth and the push towards fibre to the premise. Most Western corporations now base their decision to establish a business presence or manufacturing facilities abroad on the availability of modern telecommunications infrastructure. Companies that are relocating or expanding want to be located where they can take advantage of the information technology explosion. The lack of a viable broadband infrastructure in Africa will cause the continent to plunge deeper and deeper into global isolation. According to Addison and Heshmati  the distribution of foreign direct investment (FDI) across developing countries is highly unequal (15 countries account for over 80 per cent of FDI to developing countries) and very poor countries face major difficulties in attracting FDI. Africa’s share of FDI is less than 1% with most of it concentrated in only a few countries including Angola, Morocco and South Africa. One of the main factors preventing FDI into Africa is lack of infrastructure. Figure 3 from Booz, Allen and Hamilton shows infrastructure (including telecommunications infrastructure) as the main factor affecting FDI. Most Western companies are reluctant to invest in African
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telecommunications infrastructure because they use Africa’s low purchasing power parity (PPP) as an indicator of potentially poor return on investment. Yet a robust telecommunications infrastructure is a pre-requisite to building wealth and to improving the PPP.
In North America and Europe, technology companies are cutting costs by moving software and technical support jobs offshore and creating thousands of jobs for India's low-cost engineers. The Indian software workers with two years of experience are paid $545 a month. Although this is about one sixth of what their U.S. counterparts earn, it is much higher than the average salary for an African software engineer. Sadly, Africa should not expect such fortunes until there is a reasonable digital infrastructure in the continent. 5.3. African Partnership and Ownership Africans do not own most of the limited network infrastructure available in Africa. Networks (land and terrestrial) were planned to facilitate communications between individual African countries and Western countries making it difficult for African countries to communicate with each other. Traffic from one African country to another is oftentimes routed through Europe or North America making it very expensive as African countries are required to pay Western network carriers. It is much easier and less expensive for somebody in Mozambique, for example, to communicate with somebody in the US than it is for him or her to communicate with somebody in Zimbabwe, 50 miles away! Unless a network infrastructure is initiated and owned by Africans, easy communication between African states will remain a dream and the means of communications will remain foreign owned.
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6. NEPAD Council Guidelines for a successful African backbone One of the main objectives of NEPAD Council is to address digital or information technology in Africa. We present some guidelines for a robust continental high-speed network in support of NEPAD initiatives. 6.1. Continental view on network development Most of the work on fibre-optic links in Africa has been done without a wider view of how these links will come together to form an Africa wide network. We need to identify and develop a “big picture” of the African transport network to which national and regional networks will be connected. It is imperative that those who are in the process of planning fibre-optic links do so with this overall picture of how the different subnetworks will be interconnected. Figure 4 is an example of how an African backbone that completely utilizes the current and planned submarine networks could look like.
6.2. Network partitioning As optical communication technologies, photonic components and service networks evolve, networks become more and more complicated. The ITU has come up with a network-partitioning model to analyze complicated networks. The model can be presented in a vertical or horizontal view [5, 6]. Our focus is on the horizontal view which partitions networks as core, access, customer premises, service node interface and user-network interface. The advantages of such a model as listed in reference  are: • It is simpler to design and operate each layer separately than to design and operate the entire network as a single entity.
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• • • • • •
Each layer can have its own independent strategy for operation and maintenance, such as for protection and restoration. The layered architecture minimizes the influences of operation and maintenance among different layers. It is possible to add or change a layer and even introduce new topologies without affecting other layers from an architectural point of view. Each network layer can be defined and specified independently. It is simpler to define management boundaries when network operators jointly provide end-to-end paths within a single layer. It is convenient to define domain boundaries within the layered network of a single operator. This enables apportioning of performance objectives to subsystems that compose the network. It is possible to define independent routing domain boundaries in relation to the operation of path management processes.
The core networks can be further divided into inter-state long-haul networks, intra-state long-haul networks and junction networks. The proposed landlocked countries project should conform to the model of an inter-state long-haul backbone. Smaller African countries can be bundled into regions so that the network nodes do not necessarily have to be in every country. In the example network of figure 4 countries such as Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi or Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti could share network nodes. It is recommended that the east Africa submarine cable be planned with the African core network in mind. In particular, the landing points for the East-Africa submarine cable should coincide with planned nodes for the African long-haul network. NEPAD Council plans to work with the e-Africa commission to come up with a model for the African backbone based on long-term traffic projections. 6.3. Choice of optical fibre In comparison to network equipment, the selection of fibre for use in a long haul fibre backbone is very critical because fibre deployment is very time consuming and expensive. In the case of underground networks, fibre should be laid once for a very long time. The decision on the type of fibre for Africa’s long haul network backbone should not be based on short time cost savings but on longer term cost effectiveness. Careful study of projected traffic patterns and network performance analysis should give guidance in the selection of fibre to be used in this long haul continental backbone. ITU G.655 compatible non-zero dispersion shifted fibre tends to be the fibre of choice for long haul networks. Other more effective solutions are currently being developed and should be investigated. 6.4. Which network service Wireless cellular is becoming one of the most prominent telecommunication means for rural Africa. For high bandwidth cellular communications, Africa will have to upgrade to the third generation (3G) wireless technology, which provides up to 2Mbps compared with 64Kbps for 2G systems. 3G wireless technologies will require a broadband transport technology solution based on a cell- or packet-switched access network such as ATM. A fibre optic backbone for Africa should be able to support this protocol.
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On the other hand, the most common underlying global transport mechanism is SONET/SDH time division multiplexing. Most digital networks in Africa (such as SAII) are being upgraded from the older PDH technology to SDH. Some African countries are already planning for gigabit Ethernet in their fibre networks – taking advantage of the low cost of the service. Like in every other region of the world, the Internet will ultimately drive bandwidth demand in Africa. It is important that as Africa plans its network backbone, it plans to fully support the Internet protocol, IP. With the advent of high-density WDM networks plans must be made for optical multiplexed telecommunication services where different wavelengths can support different "electrical" multiplexed services. For example, a number of wavelengths should be dedicated to high bandwidth optical IP network, others should be dedicated to optical ATM networks and other wavelengths should be dedicated to traditional SONET/SDH services while others can be dedicated to gigabit Ethernet. 7. Conclusion The current African telecommunication infrastructure is currently in a sorry state that can only be improved significantly by the installation of optical transport networks. There is a strong commitment to building submarine and national and regional backbones in Africa. To connect all African networks to the global “superhighway”, NEPAD has proposed a landlocked countries project. NEPAD Council offers some guidelines to the development of this network and future technical support in the planning and network modelling of such a network. 8. Acknowledgements The author would like to thank Dr. Jim Grochocinski, the Rev. Dr. Mark D. Vaughn, Rich Wagner, Paul Robertson, James Trice and Linda Gaskill of Corning Incorporated for helpful discussions and support. The author would also like to thank members of NEPAD Council for their support. 9. References 1. William C. Marra, and Joel Schesser, “Africa ONE: The Africa Optical Network” IEEE Communications Magazine, February 1996 2. http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm 3. Jean-Marie Beaufils , “How Do Submarine Networks Web the World”, Optical Fibre Technology vol . 6, no. 15, p32 2000. 4. Tony Addison and Almas Heshmati, “Democratization and New Communication Technologies as Determinants of Foreign Direct Investment in Developing Countries” World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations University (UNU/WIDER) http://www.wider.unu.edu/
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5. International Telecommunications Union, “Generic Functional architecture of transport networks”, ITU-T Rec. G8.805, version 11/1995. 6. International Telecommunications Union, “Architecture of transport networks based on synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH),” ITU-T Rec. G.803, Version 6/1997 7. Leping Wei, Yi Chen and Gerald G. Wong, “The evolution of China’s optical networks”, Bell Labs Technical Journal, January-March 1999.
Innovation to Improve Access to ICT
1. Introduction We are living in an era of dramatic change. Conventional thinking and technology however, will only lead to conventional solutions which will improve but not transform access to ICT. If we continue to follow the conventional approaches that exist for ICT, the digital divide will in fact grow larger, not smaller. Even developed country governments are worldwide experiencing difficulties in keeping pace with technology change and the acceleration of the information society. Despite this there is increasing 24 evidence that societies that invest more heavily in ICT are those that will reap the digital dividend whilst laggards will be left behind on the other side of the digital divide. To drive a more concerted adoption of ICT worldwide, different and more lateral thinking is required. Whilst governments in developed countries face economic and political pressure to demonstrate that their investment in ICT increases the effectiveness and efficiency of services, governments in developing countries face the real challenges of leveraging ICT to improve basic national services such as education and healthcare. ICT, if properly applied to a particular area such as healthcare, can help lower the cost of care but can also help significantly improve quality of life. It is increasingly clear that while ICT is an unconventional resource, there are a few models or role-models to help governments manage their ICT portfolio in a holistic fashion. 2. Integrated Digital Strategy and Common Infrastructure and Services Governments should not, nor are they able to afford to address ICT in a vacuum but need to address it as part of an integrated digital strategy for their country and for the different services that need to be provided. There is increasing logic to suggest that governments should manage their ICT infrastructure and the applications of ICT in the same way that enterprises run their ICT infrastructure and applications. A key tenet of this approach is the concept of shared infrastructure and services where the sharing resources provide a foundation for better service at lower cost. The idea of having a common approach to supporting solutions (covering the range of solutions that governments need to operate) on a standardized architecture and a converged platform may sound like nirvana, but this makes sense from an economic, integration and functional perspective. Where multiple government departments and operations share
Van Ark, Bart et al, Research Memorandum GD-60, University of Groningen, The Netherlands, 2002
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the same back-end infrastructure, the same support approaches and the same common network, these costs can be shared across all the different departments, giving an overall lower cost of ownership for each type of operation and improving the end result. The appointment of a national CIO to work on developing a national infrastructure and a common services and support approach to best meet the evolving needs of the country, whilst working within a limited budget would seem to make much sense. From one perspective, developing countries may be in a better position than the more developed countries since they typically will have fewer legacy systems in place when adopting a common services based approach. Indeed, the emergence of Services Oriented Architecture is a key enabler to allow this common services and infrastructure type of approach. One example of the common infrastructure approach at work is in Westminster City Council (WCC) in the United Kingdom. The WCC is deploying a wireless infrastructure to support a closed circuit television network intended for multiple usage models including surveillance, noise monitoring and for viewing the functional operation of street lights. Additionally, WCC plan to deploy other services such as e-Learning and e-Health solutions over the same network, increasing the utilization of the deployed assets and significantly reducing the unit cost per solution and user. 3. Lowering ICT unit costs through improved ICT Management Practices Governments can significantly increase access to ICTs if they can lower ICT unit costs, thereby allowing much more to be done with the same amount of money. Thus a key strategy for governments should be to attempt to lower ICT unit costs on an ongoing basis. This can be achieved through a combination of measures including taking 25 advantage of Moore’s Law and improving the management practices for ICT in a 26 particular country . Lowering ICT unit costs also requires new approaches to cost effective deployment models, drawing from the experiences that many global corporations have had in deploying technology. Central procurement, standardized platforms and builds, buying PCs with headroom to maximize useful life, central support centres and down the wire management are all practices which are used effectively today by many corporations and these practices must be implemented by governments and regions to drive down the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Standardizing an infrastructure for both front-end and back-end computing saves money from both a capital and an operating expenditure standpoint. Governments that can aggregate demand and negotiate volume discounts from vendors for a standard platform will typically receive significant cost reductions. The benefits of standardization in terms of ICT unit cost reduction are often more strongly felt in
Moore’s law was forecast by Gordon Moore in 1965 and today means that raw computing performance effectively doubles every eighteen months or so at less or equal cost than the previous capability.
More details can be found in Curley, Martin; “Managing Information Technology for Business Value” Intel Press, 2004.
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operating expenditure savings since standardization means that typically less staff and overall spare parts may be required to support systems, thereby lowering overall cost. (Organizations typically spend three to five times the original capital investment in a system to maintain it over its lifetime). In terms of choosing front-end computers for education, governments may very well be tempted to buy the lowest specification of PC available to maximize the number of PCs which can be purchased with a constrained budget. This might not be the wisest strategy. Intel made the decision in the late 1990s to purchase value PCs instead of Performance PCs for Intel employees – this turned out to be a poor decision as we had to write off the twenty thousand PC’s purchased after only one and a half years of operation, when we needed to do an operating system upgrade and install some new applications that needed more computing power. Specifying the right PC is a key decision in better enabling access to ICTs. One method of calculating what PC specification to buy and what the appropriate refresh cycle should be, is to calculate the “equivalent annual cost” (EAC) of different specifications and different refresh cycles. (EAC is a fairly common financial method to compare capital investments with different lifetimes and is an annuity that has the same present value and life as the underlying cost flow). In determining Total Cost of Ownership for PCs, governments should take into account all the cost components of a PC’s lifecycle including PC deployment, PC usage, PC support and PC retirement costs. Calculating the lowest equivalent annual cost of different configurations helps in choosing the right system and refresh cycle for PCs. Consolidating back-end systems to reduce the number of servers required can be a significant tactic in reducing the unit cost of ICT. Again this is a practice that many corporations have used to reduce ICT unit costs where for instance email server consolidation has been a frequent method for quick cost reduction. The ever improving price/performance ratio of communications, particularly the role of wireless as a disruptive technology, is also an enabler to consolidate multiple data centres into fewer larger data centres. Also as blade technology becomes more mainstream, computer 27 density in computer rooms can be significantly increased, again lowering cost. 4. Disruptive Technology and Win-Win Business Cases Countries also require a new kind of “ICT for development” business case, one which takes advantage of Moore’s Law and delivers both new business value and also improves ICT efficiency. Collectively we need to understand how ICT can be used to catalyze and transform society, not merely enhance it. As ICT becomes more pervasive we need to find solutions which actually lower aggregate and unit IT operating costs whilst at the same time increase access and coverage.
Blade servers are the next step in the evolution of dense rack mounted computers. Blade computing introduces a new data centre paradigm where many ultra-thin computer blades share centralized resources in a single chassis. The dimensions of blade servers can allow more than 300 blades to be housed on a single rack.
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Disruptive technologies and breakthrough thinking is required. Emerging technologies such as Wi-Max and peer to peer computing hold great promise. Wi-Fi networks already enable fast and low cost establishment of local area networks. This phenomenon is already changing the speed at which communities can be networked. It is also significantly improving the economics of getting access since provisioning a wireless LAN network is significantly cheaper than having to install a cable. Wi-MAX will likely have a more dramatic impact as it will enable broadband connections at high speed at distances of over 20 km from a single base station which will enable cost effective broadband for rural areas as well as metro areas. And Wi-MAX is not just hype but it is real. As the people of Banda Aceh, Indonesia have been rebuilding their lives after December 2004’s catastrophic Indian Ocean tsunami, Intel, together with others, Intel has quietly been helping reconnect that part of south Asia with the rest of the world. This, in the form of a very large wireless broadband ‘umbrella’ that lets humanitarian and disaster relief groups in hard-hit Banda Aceh communicate with each other and the rest of the world. In June 2005, engineers flipped on a pre-Wi-MAX network that today covers some 600 square miles (1,500 square kilometres) of the Aceh province, where the tsunami wreaked the greatest destruction. The network consists of three pre-Wi-MAX base stations providing high-speed Internet data connection at speeds up to 6 megabits per second within the coverage area, and 28 megabit per second backhaul connections between base stations and connections to multiple small satellite terminals, called VSATs. This relief project demonstrates that the technology works and can operate in the harshest of environments. The economics are compelling and Wi-Max will enable new connectivity in the coming years that until recently was inconceivable due to both cost and distribution factors. Meanwhile, peer-to-peer computing can enable pseudo broadband performance over narrowband pipes and drive network efficiencies by moving a significant proportion of large file transfers off expensive wide are networks onto local area networks. There are two immediate benefits from this: firstly, large files can be downloaded much faster and secondly, cost savings can be achieved through minimizing wide area network transfer of files. In parallel, new virtualization technologies will allow multiple users to run different applications simultaneously on the same PC with multiple screen interfaces. New hardware such as the HP 441 desktop solution allows four simultaneous users to interact with a PC, driving down both capital requirements and overall TCO – (estimated 50% reduction in capital acquisition costs and 65% in systems management 28 costs ).
HP 441 Product Specification http://h20247.www2.hp.com/PublicSector/cache/119709-0-0-225121.html
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Open source can also be a key tool in particular circumstances to lower overall TCO. One example is the region of Extremadura in Spain where the local authorities have achieved a 2:1 student: PC ratio through using a Linux based approach. All in all, disruptive technologies continue to emerge and they will continue to dramatically improve access to ICTs. Because of the remarkable price/performance of Information Technology (primarily driven by Moore’s Law) governments should, in some cases, over-invest in ICT with respect to other resources to drive lower overall total cost of operations of the complete intended system (such as health, education or other government services). An interesting example is the Higher Colleges of Technology in Abu Dhabi, UAE that invested in a wireless notebook approach for students. By taking this approach they avoided the building of fifty computer labs, lowering the overall total cost of operation for the college. Moving from a lab based computer approach to an integrated wireless notebook approach can deliver a significant improvement in education performance as well as lowering overall total cost of operation of the education system. In developing countries government policy changes will likely need to change to drive better adoption of ICT. For example only 41% of developing countries allow use of WiFi in unlicensed spectrum compared to more than 95% of developed countries. 5. Conclusion Many people acknowledge that rich content is the biggest gap or issue in increased adoption of ICT. If we take the example of education, teachers, armed with the appropriate tools and the appropriate standards, can and should be encouraged to develop curriculum focused content which can be re-used by other teachers. The Intel ® Teach to the Future program has trained more than two million teachers worldwide and these kinds of programs rapidly improve teacher competency in using laptops in the classroom. A disruptive innovation that could transform the development and proliferation of content is the establishment of a Napster-like solution based on Peerto-Peer networks which could enable easy sharing of teacher prepared content between schools and across borders. Another tactic to improve access to ICTs is the increasingly popular concept of public private partnerships. This occurs when both public and private sector organizations come together to fund, develop and operate solutions or services. Intel’s ® Skoool project is an example of this where public and private partners can come together to develop and host curriculum based rich media to enable e-learning to be accelerated on a national scale. As we move into an era of third generation corporate social responsibility, corporations and governments can step up their collaboration to drive large scale changes that produce win-win outcomes. While developing overarching strategies that address this, we also need to continue to drive pilots and leveraging learning from rapid solution prototyping.
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Finally, governments should try to create virtuous circles of innovation through coordinated strategies on broadband deployment, PC purchase programs, digital literacy programs and online e-services provisioning. While each of these components have value in isolation, a network effect can only be achieved through the co-management and co-evolution of strategies which co-evolve the 4C’s of ICT – Computing, 29 Connectivity, Content and (Human) Capacity .
4C’s explained by Mr. Rahul Tongia, School of Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon. http://www.contrib.andrew.cmu.edu/~tongia/FiberAfrica--ending_a_digital_divide.pdf.
Open and Closed Skies: Satellite Access in Africa
Policy Reform and Regulatory Issues in Bridging the Digital Divide through Satellite Technologies © IDRC 2004 An abridgement of the original IDRC funded report – 2005
Acknowledgements This original report on which this article is based was made possible through support from the International Development Research Centre of Canada (IDRC). The print version of the report was published in September 2004 in both English and French language editions, and has since been widely circulated throughout the regulatory community in Africa and throughout the world. A soft copy, organised for both narrowband and broadband download is available from http://web.idrc.ca/ev_en.php?ID=89311_201&ID2=DO_TOPIC. 1. Introduction It is now widely recognised that access to information and knowledge through affordable communications represents a significant opportunity for social and economic development, for regional cooperation and integration, and for increasing the participation of people in the emerging global information society. Addressing deficiencies in access to low-cost communication services is therefore now regarded as an urgent imperative for improving the quality of life in African communities, especially in remote and rural areas where the bulk of the population still resides. But Africa is fragmented into many small national markets, and limited economies of scale have combined with low-income levels to reduce the ability of telecommunication operators to provide services. Compounded by lack of competition in the sector, this has resulted in low levels of investment in infrastructure. As a result, even where access is available, costs often remain extremely high, especially outside urban areas. Although there are a growing number of initiatives to expand terrestrial infrastructure, these are usually confined to the major cities and along trunk routes. As a result, the cost of bandwidth for Internet and other services is generally 10-100 times higher than in North America or Europe. Fortunately, satellite technology presents an immediate solution to this bottleneck, even in the vast terrain of rural Africa. The IDRC Pan-Africa Satellite Survey that provides the basis for Open and Closed Skies: Satellite Access in Africa confirms that systems
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using the new high-power satellites over Africa make it possible to obtain bandwidth anywhere in the region about 10 times more inexpensively than in the past. 2. African VSAT Regulation Today A growing number of African Administrations have begun to implement policies and regulations that seek to open telecommunication markets to varying degrees of competition. These policies are being applied to telecommunication structures that, on 30 one level, have traditionally been remarkably uniform. Without exception, the sector of each African country has been organised on the principle of national operating entities having responsibility for providing telephone service. In some cases, international links were - and in some countries still are - the responsibility of a separate entity. Government ownership of operating entities has been the norm. In some African countries that have adopted a liberalised regulatory framework, private VSAT networks are allowed to function under the authority of the incumbent operator, while the latter still retain a formal monopoly. There is also usually a limitation on the provision of voice services. Another common restriction in Africa involves limiting private VSAT networks only to domestic use. VSAT network operators may be required to route their private network transmissions through the national hub of the incumbent operator, regardless of the financial or even the technical disadvantages this may have for private VSAT network operators. In some cases, obtaining a VSAT licence may require a bilateral arrangement with the incumbent operator with a “landing-rights fee” or tariff to be paid to the operator, even if the incumbent does not participate in the service chain. In other monopoly jurisdictions, the incumbent is the only entity that may install and service VSATs or the only entity that may own, operate and maintain satellite earth stations. A commercial/legal presence is typically required in Africa as a pre-condition for licence issuance. This can be an obstacle to the effective roll-out of VSAT services in the countries concerned, because it increases overhead costs to the private VSAT operators 31 and inflates prices to the end-users. And finally, in a number of African countries, rules are often not transparent and are inaccessible to the general public. The licence-application process can be extremely complicated, including processing periods that require up to two years, payment of a wide variety of fees - including additional taxes, annual operator fees, landing rights, etc. Added to licensing fees are customs duties, which are often so high as to prevent costeffective access to VSAT equipment.
DeTeCon International “Study on Low Cost VSAT Technologies and Licensing Regimes” for the World Bank and African Virtual University. 2003 31 See http://www.gvf.org, “Strengthening Access to Communications”, Policy & Regulatory Guidelines for Satellite Services, 30 May 2003, GVF Regulatory Working Group, pg. 23.
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3. National Experiences in Satellite Regulation and Policy Three in-depth case studies were conducted for this Report. Algeria, Nigeria and Tanzania, were selected because they serve as representative examples of African Administrations where satellite market liberalisation has been – and continues to be – applied in order to promote universal access. In addition, the countries were drawn from the western, eastern and northern sub-regions of the Continent. This does not only demonstrate that the liberalisation trend is not confined to a single sub-region, but also provides an opportunity to compare and contrast the satellite regulatory approaches being implemented across the Continent. For full details of the three national case studies, please consult the full report which can be downloaded from www.gvf.org. 4. Implications of the Three-Country Analysis The case studies found that the three countries are on different points of the ICTdevelopment curve and that the varying levels of progress – particularly with regard to access to satellite-based telecommunication services – are largely attributable to the effectiveness of each country’s policies and regulations. In trying to compare the license fee burden on VSAT networks in the three countries a hypothetical 100-terminal network was costed according to each country’s license fee structure, assuming an arbitrary monthly revenue or turnover of US$200 per terminal over five years. The table below shows that Tanzania’s license fees place almost 2.5 times as much burden on the network than does Nigeria. In Tanzania the fees over the five-year license period amount to over US$260,000, or about 22% of the five-year operating cost vs. US$106,000, or about 9% in Nigeria. Algeria’s cost is considerably lower, at about US$33,000, but this is likely to increase when licensed VSAT operators are introduced. Licence Fee Cost Comparison for Nigeria, Algeria and Tanzania (US$) Nigeria License Fee 1 ISP License 3,846.00 1 Satellite Network License 65,000.00 1 Network Switching 7,692.00 Equipment 1 2.5% Turnover (0.025 x 240000) x 5 Total 100 VSAT Admin Fee 100 Annual user fee Total Tanzania 43.00 286.00 Cost/5years 3,846.00 65,000.00 7,692.00 30,000.00 106,538.00 4,300.00 28,600.00 32,900.00
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1 1 1 100
Public data network 3% Turnover ISP License VSAT licenses Total
100,000 (0.03 x 240000) x 5 1,000.00 1,000.00
100,000.00 36,000.00 26,000.00 100,000.00 262,000.00
In a ranking of telecommunications development in the three countries surveyed, Nigeria would be at the top of the curve, followed by Tanzania and Algeria. Nigeria’s success is largely attributable to how much further it has progressed in liberalising and deregulating its market. But the underlying explanation for Nigeria’s progress is the effectiveness of the regulator. Algeria has begun restructuring its telecommunications sector, but growth of the Algerian ICT market in general has been stalled by an inconsistent regulatory framework. By contrast, Nigeria has seen dramatic growth in ICT investment since 2001, coinciding with liberalisation and deregulation of the sector. The regulatory framework is already open, relatively consultative and enabling and commercial users consider the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to have transformed from a highly bureaucratic organisation to one run efficiently along business lines. Tanzania also has a progressive approach to liberalisation and deregulation, but the extent to which the regulator has used licensing to generate revenues has limited local investment, and consequently, development of the sector. The current approach to licensing in Tanzania incentivises operators to focus on high-margin corporateenterprise business to pay their licence fees. Operators do not perceive Tanzania to have an environment that will provide them with a return on their investment and this also explains their reluctance to invest in a local hub. Added to licensing fees are customs duties, which are often so high as to prevent cost-effective access to VSAT equipment. The case studies also revealed that access to satellite-based services is generally being hindered by lack of knowledge. Broadly, the information requirements suggested by each of the country case studies can be summarised as follows: • Algeria: Support is needed relating to technical considerations (e.g. local VSAT hubs), economic factors (e.g. satellite bandwidth costs), and effective regulatory approaches (case studies of countries that have liberalised the VSAT sector). • Nigeria: Dissemination of VSAT technical literature and marketing of Ku-band VSAT services are needed to promote the technology’s ability to serve as a costeffective alternative to C-band systems for some applications. • Tanzania: Dialogue amongst the regulator, ministries and other government offices needs to be strengthened with the aim of developing the local ICT sector. Finally, these three Administrations stand in stark contrast to African countries where duopolies and monopolies are still in place. As was revealed by the IDRC Pan-Africa
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Satellite Survey, when an Administration is focused on protecting state investments in a monopoly or duopoly, the inherent potential of market forces to more rapidly increase access and decrease cost of service is greatly inhibited… or prevented outright. 5. Challenges & Solutions: Satellite Regulatory Guidelines for Africa The following draws upon successful satellite regulatory and policy practises currently being applied in Africa and aims to provide African Administrations with practical information that constructively informs their decisions relating to the formulation of effective satellite communications regulations and policies. 5.1 Optimising the Regulatory Framework African Administrations are, like their counterparts in other regions, discovering that it is beneficial to establish a legislative and regulatory environment in order to promote competition and attract private investment. Without an appropriate legal framework for sustained telecom infrastructure development, other efforts aimed at bridging the 32 “Digital Divide” may have little long-term impact. The introduction of competition and privatisation has made most governments fully aware of the importance of effective, well-financed, and professionally-staffed regulatory authorities. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU)’s Regulatory Database reflects that, as of 2004, there were 124 separate regulatory authorities worldwide. Of these, African regulators represent 27% of the total – second only to Europe as the largest regional number. African Administrations’ trend toward establishing separate regulatory agencies was echoed by the IDRC Pan-Africa Satellite Survey, which asked Administrations whether there was an “independent regulator” established in their country. Of 24 responses to the question, seven replied that there was no independent regulator and 17 answered in the affirmative. What was even more telling was that of the 17 who said there was an independent regulator in their country, 12 added comments relating to the fact that, while there was a regulator, its “independence” had yet to be affirmed. The overwhelming trend toward the establishment of Telecommunications Regulatory 33 Authorities (TRAs) gives credence to the assertion that the standard institutional structure for the telecommunications sector around the world today includes a separate and autonomous regulator. However, it should be noted that while TRAs may influence policy formulation, typically TRAs are only able to implement government-approved policies. Thus, the government has primary responsibility for developing policies that promote expanded access to telecommunications through increased competition and improved regulations. Positive reasons for independence and separation of TRA activities include: • The perceived neutrality and insulation of TRAs from political or operational pressures
See http://www.itu.int, ITU-D Question 17-1: “Satellite regulation in developing countries”. InfoDev: Telecommunications Regulation Handbook, Module 1, pg. 1-6.
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Operators and investors will generally have greater confidence that an independent TRA will regulate a market objectively and transparently This leads to increased investment in the sector and to related benefits that satellite services can provide to any economy.
5.2 Strategic Liberalisation in the VSAT Sector African Administrations, more than many of their counterparts in developing countries of other world regions, have begun to implement strategic liberalisation of VSAT services. The African trend toward strategic liberalisation of VSAT was underscored by the latest regulatory developments in Algeria, Nigeria and Tanzania. In each case, the Administrations had identified VSAT-based services as one of several key telecommunication tools to be liberalised and for which regulations would be optimised. Why have some African Administrations not yet liberalised the satellite sector? There are at least three reasons, according to Perminus Karungu, who (at time of writing) serves as Senior Officer, Licensing and Compliances, for the Communications 34 Commission of Kenya. Mr. Karungu outlined three key reasons as follows: desire to protect the incumbent operator(s), fear of the unknown – Myths regarding satellite communications and lack of appreciation of the additional benefits of deregulation. Malawi’s experience35 reinforces the ITU’s conclusion that “market opening works”. A VSAT license costs US$5,000/site initially and $2,500 per year subsequently. About 20 licenses have been issued. According to the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA), the uniform licensing regime may in future be reviewed with “a downward adjustment [of fees] likely to take into account the emergence of low-cost Ku-band two-way VSAT-based Internet services aimed at small businesses and residential users.” The trend by African Administrations to apply satellite regulations that echo Malawi’s approach underscores a commitment to opening markets to the provision of satellite services in a manner wholly consistent not only with national policy objectives – which are being achieved through strengthened access to affordable business, consumer and government communications - but also with the goals of the World Summit for the Information Society (WSIS) and the World Trade Organisation. 5.3 Liberalisation and Universal Access As the trend toward fully liberalised VSAT markets continues to develop, several African Administrations interviewed for the IDRC Pan-Africa Satellite Survey expressed reservations about permitting an unlimited number of market participants to provide services. Much of the Administrations’ concern relates to reports that unlicensed service
Mr. Karungu’s views were provided during a presentation given at Satcom Africa 2004 on 17 February in Johannesburg, South Africa. Derived from a presentation given by a representative of Malawi’s regulatory agency, MACRA, during an ITU Roundtable on Least Developed Countries held in Arusha, Tanzania, on 3-4 April 2003.
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providers are eroding incumbents’ revenues – and thereby undermining their ability to provide, among other services, universal access. However, it has been observed that, when a country limits competition through a restriction on the number of market participants, it may inadvertently encourage a form of “black market” to develop in which non-mainstream businesses attempt to provide services and meet consumer demand in violation of the government’s licensing requirements. The prevalence of non-mainstream service providers often makes it more difficult for governments to ensure compliance and enforcement with their regulations and licensing conditions. Many countries have traditionally restricted the number of authorised terrestrial and satellite-based telecommunications service providers that are permitted to serve a country in order to support an implicit program of universal service for consumers. Specifically, many countries require that their dominant telecommunications provider subsidise the cost of local telephone services primarily by charging higher rates for long distance and international telephone services. Such a system of cross subsidies between different services is inefficient from an economic perspective and is difficult or 36 impossible to sustain following a conversion to a competitive market. 5.4 Creating Transparency The IDRC Pan-Africa Satellite Survey found that the African satellite regulatory process is severely lacking in “transparency”. The difficulty of obtaining information about VSAT regulation in Africa is so acute – and the demand for such satellite solutions is so great – that it has given rise to a lucrative business, attracting international consultants who sell the information to would-be satellite service providers. Addressing the obscurity of accurate information about African satellite regulation is a primary objective of IDRC, the Catalysing Access to ICTs in Africa programme (CATIA) of the U.K. government DFID, the Global VSAT Forum (GVF) and, to a significant extent, the ITU Satellite Regulatory Survey. Transparent practices are critical 37 to the success of satellite regulation, enabling parties to benefit in a variety of ways. Recognition of this fact has resulted in significant moves by Administrations worldwide to post their regulations and/or policies online. With two exceptions, all respondents to the ITU-D Question 17/1 Satellite Regulatory Survey indicated that their laws, decrees and legal instruments were publicly available and in many cases are posted on the web. Sixty-eight percent of the respondents indicated that their license application forms were available, and in the majority of cases can be found on the web. But considerations of transparency are difficult to address. What is posted on websites, such as Kenya does for its tariffs, is often misleading or incomplete – which amount to the same thing.
See http://www.gvf.org, “Strengthening Access to Communications”, Policy & Regulatory Guidelines for Satellite Services, 30 May 2003, GVF Regulatory Working Group, pg. 7.
ITU: Trends in Telecommunication Reform 2002.
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Applicants are not the only beneficiaries of transparency; administrations also have much to gain. Online publishing of regulatory requirements is inexpensive, reduces the burden on Administrations (by reducing the need to respond to numerous individual inquiries), enables industry to more effectively provide services, and serves as an effective platform from which to promote regulatory harmonisation. In addition, regulators rely upon transparency to safeguard their legitimacy and 38 efficiency. Regulators also obtain information from the regulated industry and other interested parties that they need in order to base their decisions on all relevant facts and diverse views. Operators and service suppliers depend on transparency to ensure that 39 their concerns are heard and that they play a role in shaping important decisions. To facilitate this process, CATIA is co-ordinating with regional inter-governmental groups throughout Africa, such as Telecommunications Regulators Association of Southern Africa (TRASA) in southern Africa and West Africa Telecommunications Regulators association (WATRA) in West Africa, to establish an online One-Stop-Shop VSAT license-application framework that also includes public access to the VSAT regulatory requirements applied by each African Administration. All African governments have been invited to participate in the programme. 5.5 Streamlining Licensing The ITU has called attention to the impact of the licensing process on the larger regulatory environment and the market as a whole, noting: “The licensing process can be one of the most important regulatory processes related to reform of the telecommunication sector. Licensing policy and its implementation determine the structure of markets, the number and types of operators, the degree of competition among them, the revenues earned by governments in opening markets, and, ultimately, 40 the efficiency of the supply of the services to the market.” Despite significant liberalisation gains made in recent years by African Administrations, VSATs are still among the most heavily-regulated technologies in the region, a fact that is most apparent in the realm of licensing. In combination with the sheer number of Administrations, Africa has become one of the most difficult regions in which to roll 41 out a VSAT network. Several types of licensing requirements have been employed effectively by Administrations, both in Africa and elsewhere in the world. These licensing rules tend to focus either on: A) The “space segment” of a satellite network or B) The terrestrial or “ground segment” of the network. In both situations, care is increasingly being taken to ensure that licensing requirements do not become barriers to free trade, but instead are used sparingly in order to accomplish legitimate regulatory requirements.
See http://www.itu.int, ITU-D Question 17-1: “Satellite regulation in developing countries”.
“Feedback to Regulators from the Private Sector”, a study presented to the ITU Global Symposium for Regulators held in Hong Kong in December 2002. 40 ITU 2002 Trends in Telecommunication Reform Report, pg. 55.
IDRC Pan-Africa Satellite Regulatory Survey.
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Space Segment Landing Rights - The Case for ‘Open Skies’ Policies. Governments are realising that tremendous demand for Internet, data, voice, video and other services is best addressed by policies that permit open and direct access to all satellite resources assuming that they have been properly co-ordinated through the 42 ITU. Ground Segment Service Provider and Network Operator Licensing. Many countries require that public-network operators hold licenses so that there is some quality assurance of the service being provided to their public. A few countries have adopted this rule also for private VSAT services. As the nature of private satellite 43 services is being understood better, the application of this type of license is declining. As it is not a public service and not usually connected to the PSTN, and can be privately owned, it is increasingly the view of Administrations that this is a redundant licensing process that causes time delays and confusion. These types of licenses can also be referred to as Service Provider Licenses, Value Added Service Licenses and sometimes certain types of Class Licenses. Blanket Licensing and General Authorisations. Traditionally, most governments have required each VSAT or mobile satellite terminal to be licensed individually; this was in addition to requiring a network operator’s license. But more than 10 years ago, a new approach to regulating VSATs - “blanket licensing” 44 – began to be implemented. With this regulation, VSATs are configured based upon technical criteria - involving power level, frequency, etc. - that eliminate the risk of harmful interference. Thus, a single blanket license can be issued covering a very large number of VSAT terminals. Another finding of the ITU and IDRC surveys was that the majority of African Administrations either do not apply any licensing to receive-only systems – whether they are used for video or data – or they apply blanket licensing. The rationale behind this fact is that, in theory, the verifiable purpose of licenses is public safety and preventing harmful frequency interference; receive-only systems, because they do not transmit, are incapable of creating interference or of posing a radiation hazard, so licensing need not be applied.
42 43 44
See http://www.itu.int, ITU-D Question 17-1: “Satellite regulation in developing countries”. Ibid.
For example, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission implemented VSAT blanket licensing more than 10 years ago. During a GVF Satellite Regulatory Workshop held during ITU WTDC in Istanbul, Turkey in 2002, an FCC speaker was asked what they would have done differently with regard to blanket licensing. Their response: “We would have done it sooner.”
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5.6 Licensing Fees Implementation of general authorisations or blanket licensing results not only in faster 45 implementation of service, but also lower costs of implementation. This derives from the fact that with individual licensing of terminals or services, licensing fees are often imposed on the use of individual terminals – which is likely to make the service unaffordable to potential end users – or on each of the service providers and require more administrative work on behalf of the regulator or responsible national body. As shown in the examples for 100 site networks in the country comparison for Nigeria, Algeria and Tanzania above, the licence fees can be 10-25% of the operating cost of a small network. These fees must be considered in the context of still other cost factors faced by VSAT network operators; there may be customs duties to be paid (up to 47% of equipment value), surtaxes (up to 20%), extended surtaxes (up to 17.5%), value-added tax (up to 15%), fees to be paid to the incumbent Post and Trademark Office, equipmentinspection fees, spectrum fees (up to $2000/18MHz), percentages of share capital, percentages of revenues for PSTN access (up to 0.5%), development levies (up to 0.5%), administration fees, regional levies (up to 0.5%), surcharge for use of nonIntelsat bandwidth (up to 50%), and more. The fundamental rationale for licensing fees is that they should compensate administrative costs to the Regulator but should not be used as a source of real profit 46 for the government. 5.7 Addressing Commercial or Local Presence The Satellite Survey revealed that numerous African Administrations maintain commercial or local-presence requirements, the costs of which have been reported by African VSAT network operators to be far-reaching. Foreign ownership rules are capable of complicating the entire process of incorporating a company within a jurisdiction. In addition, even after a local presence is established, local partners in such arrangements may gain inequitable benefits. It has been asserted that foreign ownership restrictions are generally contrary to the spirit if not the letter of foreign trade agreements including the General Agreement in Trade in Services (GATS). 5.8 Technology Neutrality and Convergence As elsewhere, in Africa, technology neutrality is the new trend as regards the provision 47 of satellite services. Administration representatives have long called for a “leapfrogging” of technology from those building out African networks; the interest in the latest equipment and technologies is therefore a long-established policy.
45 46 47
Presentations given by the Danish, Hungarian and Norwegian Administrations during the CEPT WGRA Meeting, Vilnius, Lithuania, February 2004. Ibid. IDRC Pan-Africa Satellite Survey.
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The Botswana, Mauritius and Ugandan Administrations’ current technology-neutral approaches to satellite regulation provide an example of governments’ recognition that modern telecommunications services are being provided to consumers using a number 48 of different technologies, such as wire line, satellite and terrestrial wireless networks. 5.9 Managing Spectrum Regulation of satellite and other radio communications services is necessary to manage scarce spectrum resources. This is particularly true in those limited cases in which satellite services share a co-primary allocation with other radio communications services 49 in the same frequency bands. In many frequency bands, however, satellite services do not share the same spectrum with other radio communications services and administrations throughout the world increasingly see no reason for regulators to place any restrictions on satellite networks that have been licensed by other countries and 50 have completed spectrum coordination through the ITU. Instead, regulators in each country have begun to only impose licensing and spectrum coordination requirements on satellite networks that are based in that country. Such an approach ensures that spectrum resources are used efficiently, by requiring each and every satellite network to secure a license from its country of origin and coordinate spectrum through the ITU. There are a number of trends occurring around the world of considerable relevance to African administrations. One discernible trend in the spectrum regulatory reform movement in many countries is increased interest in or consideration of the use of socalled market-based allocation methodologies (i.e., auctions) as a preferred means for spectrum allocation decisions, as well as expanded opportunities for use of spectrumrelated fees in connection with licensing activities. Irrespective of how this may (or may not) work in other areas, given the regional/global character of the provision of satellite services, reliance on auction-based allocation mechanisms can be fraught with considerable difficulties. At a minimum, it can subject a global or regional satellite operator to considerable uncertainty and vulnerability in its ability to provide service. 5.10 Optimising Equipment Certification Approximately US$135 billion in telecommunication and information equipment is 51 affected by type-approvals processes throughout the world each year , a significant percentage of which is satellite-based systems. These type-approvals costs are passed on to consumers in the form of higher equipment prices, and an additional layer of expense is often added when Administrations require type-approval testing and certification for satellite terminal equipment already tested and certified by other Administrations.
48 49 50
See http://www.gvf.org, “Strengthening Access to Communications”, Policy & Regulatory Guidelines for Satellite Services, 30 May 2003, GVF Regulatory Working Group, pg. 12. GVF Satellite Regulatory Survey. USTR announcement made on the occasion of the conclusion of a Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) for telecommunications equipment among members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, 15 September 1998.
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In Africa, the current state of type approvals and equipment-registration requirements for satellite earth stations suggests a strong interest in streamlining these traditional processes in order to lower consumer prices and enable more cost-effective access to satellite services. The IDRC Pan-Africa Satellite Survey shows that most African Administrations are content to recognise the type-approval marks that apply elsewhere 52 in Africa (such as ICASA in South Africa ), as well as in Europe, the United States, Japan, Korea or China. The ITU-D Question 17/1 Survey made a similar finding: the majority of nations surveyed in every region recognise Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs), with a total of 38 out of 50 countries indicating acceptance. Africa’s proportion is higher, where 11 countries recognise MRAs, versus only one that does not. In order to help facilitate use of the MRA process for satellite-based systems, the private sector has also offered a solution. A technical framework that enables Administrations to mutually recognise test results generated during the satellite operator type-approvals process. This framework is encapsulated in a document entitled “GVF 101: Mutual Recognition of Performance Measurement Guidelines and Procedures for Satellite System Operator 53 Type Approvals” . It defines a set of standardised measurements that can be used to check compliance of an earth station antenna model with applicable performance requirements. The procedure also provides for independent auditing of the accuracy and completeness of the data by authorised test entities, which are elected by satelliteoperator members of the GVF. Other administrations are bypassing mutual recognition to go a step further. A good example is Ghana, which reported that it has begun to apply self-declaration of conformity by manufacturers. This approach, which shifts responsibility for typeapproval testing and certification from the Administration to the manufacturer, is also in line with global trends: Overall, 42 of 56 nations that responded to the ITU Satellite Regulatory Survey question on type approvals allowed self-declaration. 5.11 Achieving Content Neutrality Content is not addressed in the applications to provide VSAT service in sub-Saharan Africa. This is not to say that the Administrations are indifferent to content, however, the nature of the content is not addressed during the application process except as it is used to define the service (e.g., ‘corporate Intranets’ or ‘data transmissions’). 5.12 Enforcing Compliance All operators face the risk of fines, suspension or annulment of licences, and confiscation of their equipment if they are discovered to be operating without a licence, whether they are in an African country or elsewhere in the world. Operators are particularly at risk using C-band, which continues to be heavily used for terrestrial services.
Based on an ICASA presentation given on 8-9 March in Lesotho at a TRASA/CATIA Low-Cost VSAT Workshop. www.gvf.org
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Countries increasingly are developing laws and regulations for the telecommunications sector that are objective (non-discriminatory), easily understood (transparent) and highly predictable. Such laws and regulations also prohibit government actions that are arbitrary or discriminatory. Mainstream businesses tend to avoid investing in countries that lack objective, transparent and predictable regulatory structures. Furthermore, a government-imposed restriction on the number of participants that can exist in a particular market segment (i.e., a mandatory monopoly, duopoly, or other numerical restriction) also serves to prevent many mainstream businesses from providing services in the country. 6. Conclusions 54 Of the world’s 49 Least Developed Countries (LDCs), 31 are in Africa. The ITU has calculated that, until a country has passed the threshold of 1 main line per 100 inhabitants, it takes, on average, 50 years to reach a teledensity of 50 main lines, a level reflecting high telecommunication development. But until a country reaches 1 main line per 100 inhabitants, it is “virtually impossible” to predict how long it will take to reach 55 higher levels. Thirty-four of the 49 LDCs have a teledensity of less than one. Providing increased access to ICTs in Africa is a complex problem. Access to the Internet and other telecom services has been held back not only by restrictive regulatory frameworks, but also antiquated infrastructure, high fixed costs, low economic and investment activity, diverse geography, language and culture, and much more. Accordingly, VSAT is not proposed to be the tool for Africa’s challenges; it is one of several tools, each of which plays to its respective strengths – fibre for point-to-point services, mobile for voice and narrow-band data, satellite for point-to-multipoint narrow and broadband solutions. The Pan-Africa Satellite Survey and case studies conducted for Open and Closed Skies: Satellite Access in Africa have also demonstrated is that VSATs have emerged as an important tool that is capable of leveraging accelerated access to ICTs, provided that African Administrations are prepared to actively facilitate its use. In the satellite area, frequency use, network operations, service provision and the use of radio terminals can be considered as the main elements which have been the target of a number of regulatory measures (e.g. licensing conditions and procedures) normally meant to help the development of satellite telecommunications and facilitate market access to satellite 56 providers, but which may also act as market barriers. At the same time, the industry’s competitive structure has also changed at the level of national and international markets: Many Post, Telegraph and Telephone organisations (PTTs) have been privatised as well as intergovernmental satellite operators. This concurrent evolution of satellite operators, service providers, and applications - as well as their corresponding regulatory treatment - highlights the importance of ensuring
From the ITU pamphlet on the Special Programme for the Least Developed Countries, 2000-2003. Ibid. Comprehensive Satellite Initiative Report, 11 July 2001, CEPT ECTRA ERC JPT SAT doc. (01) 265.
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transparent and non-discriminatory market access conditions as the best means of promoting an individual country’s development. Like never before, and as stated in the definition of ITU-D Question 17/1, “Administrations must ensure that their regulatory treatment provides a level playing field for both existing and emerging satellite operators, service providers and satellite-based applications.” Such treatment may be facilitated at various levels: Globally through organisations like the WTO and ITU; regionally through groups like the Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT), African Telecommunications Union (ATU), European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT), European Commission (EC), InterAmerican Telecommunication Commission (CITEL); and sub-regionally through groups like EARPTO, TRASA, WATRA and others. However, while these organisations are one of the ideal types of forum through which to pursue harmonisation, implementation of regulatory reform is largely being driven by initiatives taken at the national level. Of those African Administrations surveyed that had implemented satellite reforms, most were in relatively early stages and none had fully implemented all – or even a few – of the above-noted approaches. While this poses a major obstacle to addressing Africa’s “digital divide”, it also represents what may be one of the largest regional ICT opportunities in the world. As African Administrations continue to develop satellite regulatory reforms – and the IDRC Pan-Africa Satellite Survey confirms this is underway right now – they are doing so in co-ordination with neighbouring Administrations, with whom they share not only a common border but also common policy objectives, including enforcement of radio frequency allocations and ensuring that licensees are protected against harmful interference. Increasingly, those shared policy goals have also come to include the provision of ICT solutions applied domestically and internationally or, more to the point, the promotion of public interest, social welfare and trade - to, from and within the region. The regional regulatory authorities - East African Regulatory Postal Telecommunications Organisation (EARPTO), TRASA and WATRA have each recognised the potential to develop an international and harmonised operating environment that embraces satellites’ inherent ability to provide end users with an inexpensive, single communications platform capable of serving almost any location, regardless of population density or proximity to urban areas. Active participation by Africa’s inter-governmental groups is essential, because one of the greatest strengths of satellite networks also, nonetheless, creates the greatest regulatory challenge. Satellite operators depend on harmonised regulatory approaches, because of their wide coverage. The services that the operator provides, often on a panregional scale, depend on authorisations and spectrum allocations in each country in its coverage zone. If those authorisations are difficult to obtain or allocations are not uniformly recognised across a region, then the advantages of satellite services can be blocked.
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Liberalisation, transparency and a commitment to satellite regulatory harmonisation are within Africa’s reach. If Africa seizes this opportunity, it will transform the lives of its people forever.
Economic Development in Africa Powered by Mobile Telephony
Olof Hesselmark and Anders Engvall
ABSTRACT Africa's ICT landscape has changed completely in five years. Many countries, among them Nigeria with Africa's largest population, now have ten times as many telephones as a decade ago. Large direct foreign investments have flowed into the mobile telecom sector and created a modern, efficient and geographically widespread infrastructure, already reaching into areas where previously no services were available. The mobile business is private and profitable, and Africa's people are enjoying telephone services that they never had access to before. Historically, economic growth has gone together with telecom growth. Now however, the wireless technology has cut the costs of building infrastructure and of providing access to a fraction of what it used to be. Africa's economies are suddenly endowed with large-scale communication facilities, which will give them a growth engine to power economic development. Whether this will actually transform into greater economic growth will naturally depend on many things, but at least one important impediment to trade and development is rapidly being removed. This article takes a closer look at Africa's telecom development and its potential for powering future economic growth. 1. The Mobile Success Story in Africa
There can be little doubt that good telecommunications is an enabling factor for 58 economic growth . The following chart shows the development of the number of telephones and GDP for the OECD countries between 1960 and 1999. This period was characterised by rapid growth – real GDP grew by a factor three, but the number of telephones increased five times in the same period.
Africa south of the Sahara, (SSA) excluding South Africa, is a region with great variation. There are small and large nations, a wide variety of climate, natural resources and culture. However, almost all countries have low average incomes and generally poor infrastructure, especially regarding the fixed telecom networks. When we refer to Africa in this article, we will be dealing with SSA. The research presented in “Africa: The Impact of Mobile Phones”, the Vodafone Policy Paper Series, March 2005 has made an excellent attempt to address this aspect of mobile telephony. The report is available at www.vodafone.co.uk
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OECD countries telephones and GDP
500,000,000 450,000,000 No of phones&GDP/75000 400,000,000 350,000,000 300,000,000 250,000,000 200,000,000 150,000,000 100,000,000 50,000,000 0 Telephones Constant GDP
Fig 1. Source: ITU Telecommunications database.
The comparison does not tell us that telecommunication causes growth, only that telecommunications and economic growth go together in developed economies59. In the poorest countries of the world, economic growth has been low and at the same time there were few telephones before the arrival of mobile networks. Low per capita incomes in Africa and other poor countries has thus been associated with the absence of telecommunications. The arrival of mobile phones has in a very short time changed this relation, and most poor countries have now ten times as many telephone users as compared to only a decade ago. It is an intriguing question to ask if this telecom explosion will bring about a more rapid economic growth in Africa’s poor countries. The following diagram provides a clue to the answer.
Africa's least developed countries: Shares of world GDP and telephones
0.6 0.5 0.4 Percent 0.3 0.2 0.1 0
2001 1998 1995 1989 1986 1987 1988 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1996 1997 1999 2000 2002
Share of GDP
Share of telephones
Fig 2. Africa’s GDP and telephones. Source ITU world telecom database.
Research by Roeller and Waverman (2001), referenced in the Vodafone study, suggest that the spread of fixed line telecom services in the OECD was directly responsible for one third of output growth between 1970 and 1990. The Vodafone study suggests very high growth effects on developing economies as a result of increased use of mobile phones.
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The diagram above shows the development over 15 years of GDP and telephone penetration. Using data from the World Bank and ITU we have calculated the share of the world’s GDP and telephones for all low-income countries in Africa. These countries have about 0.5% share of the world’s GDP, with a slowly declining trend over the last decade. Between 1986 and the end of the 1990s their share of the world’s telephones was constant at about 0.3%. After 1998 this share has risen sharply as a result of the introduction of mobile phones. By 2002 – the last year in the series – there clearly was no indication of any growth in the share of incomes, so it seems too early to say anything about the macro effects of mobile phones on GDP. But by 2005, one can estimate that the share has doubled – to 0.6% of the world’s phones – and when reliable income data become available it will be interesting to see what has happened. 1.1 Mobile growth Mobile telephones are now a normal thing in almost all countries in Africa. Initially covering cities and large towns, network cover is rapidly reaching the rural areas where the majority of Africa’s people live. In Sub-Saharan Africa, a few countries (Uganda, Kenya, Senegal) have already reached 10% penetration and full population coverage in spite of low per capita incomes. The relatively wealthier countries of South Africa, Gabon, and Botswana have reached 20% penetration. In the rest of the Sub-Saharan African countries, average penetration is between three and four percent, adding up to a total of about 30 million users by 2005. Networks in Africa are still in their initial growth, and large investments in new capacity continue to be made by over one hundred individual operators. An average of 10% penetration for all countries in SSA would mean 65 million mobile users and there are good prospects that this level will be reached in the next few years. Foreign owners and financiers are behind most operators, which are run on purely commercial principles. Cash from revenues is in many cases financing investments in new capacity, an unusual situation in Africa considering that the operators are just a few years old. The following two maps show the mobile cover in 2004, and Africa’s population density.
Fig 3. Source: GSM map from GSM Association.
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The maps show that mobile networks are only beginning to cover the vast rural areas where the majority of the people live. Full or almost full population cover has been reached in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana and in the Mediterranean states in North Africa. In other countries, for example Angola and Ethiopia, the GSM networks are only in their initial stages of expansion. There are a number of reasons why the rate of adoption is as varied. One is political, as in the case of Angola. During the civil war in that country, the risk for investors were at a maximum level, and very little foreign investment would find its way there. The creation of a national GSM network requires a great deal of money and many technology specialists, which in turn demands a certain level of stability and security. Angola is therefore a late starter as far as GSM infrastructure goes, but there is now little doubt that a rapid deployment is underway. As a contrast, South Africa has had cell phones for over ten years now, enjoys political stability, maintains a welcoming investment policy and its population has one of the highest purchasing powers in Africa. Another important reason is a country’s investment climate and its telecom policy. Ethiopian authorities are reluctant to allow foreign investment, and all telecom business in the country is reserved for the state owned telecom monopoly. The telecom company has been unable (or unwilling) to raise the large sums of money needed for a national rollout of a GSM network. A third reason is the general business climate in the country. Nigeria is often described as one of the worst countries in the world to do business in, with extremely high business risks. In the case of GSM roll-out, a long battle over licences delayed the process for several years, and it was only in 2002 that the networks were initiated. As soon as the licence issues were resolved, however, large amounts of venture capital were made available. The growth has been phenomenal, and Nigeria is likely to reach ten million users during 2006. 1.2 Investments and Telecom Infrastructure The demand for telecom services is an irresistible force throughout Africa. Behind almost all GSM investments there are entrepreneurs and foreign investors who early saw the opportunities and started negotiations for licences with governments and existing telecom operators. Expectations were low ten years ago – in many cases the actual number of users in 2005 are five times greater than shown in the forecasts made in 1995. As a result we can see a financial success story like never before – a new business type multiplied over 55 countries in Africa with very few failures in ten years. GSM is one of the most profitable business sectors on the continent. Not only are the investments in mobile telephony very large, but they are also affecting large geographical areas. This is demonstrated by the number of radio base stations installed, which can be estimated from data reported by some of the large international operators. For example, MTN report60 6,234 installed base stations for 9.5 million users. On average, each cell covers about 1500 users. With 30 million users, about 20,000 base
In their semi-annual report for Sept. 2004. www.mtn.co.za
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stations have been installed in all of Sub-Saharan Africa. Each base station is part of a complex telecom infrastructure consisting of large scale switching units, control units and transmission links. MTN added about 1200 base stations in 2003-2004, and invested a total of 7.6 billion Rand61. Since the start of GSM networks in the 1990s, many parameters have changed in the business case for a new network. The technology has matured, and a wide range of technical options for switching, radio control systems, transmission and handsets are now available. The cost of building a network has been dramatically reduced62, reflecting better technical modularity, lower costs for computers and electronics, and improved competition among network suppliers. The prepaid account has been invented, changing the entire business model of operators. The uncertainty about usage has been eliminated – almost all operators in the world have surpassed their original user estimates by wide margins, so the ex ante risk conditions are now much lower than before. All this means that the anticipated costs of running a GSM network is now much lower than ten years ago, and many of the business risks associated with an investment are also much lower. New investors can be much more certain of getting their money back, and this should lower their profitability requirements. In addition to the network investments there are the handsets, which are directly paid for by the users themselves. The average retail price of a handset is about US$ 70-100, so the total African investment value for that part alone is at least two billion dollars. It is worth mentioning that US$100 may be above the annual income of the poorest half of the population in most African countries. Prices for handsets are coming down though and recent efforts by the GSM Association show that there is a market for handsets specifically designed for low-income countries. 1.3 Competition and business performance The price competition between existing GSM operators in Africa is generally weak. They compete mainly on coverage, while rapidly building out their networks and there is little price pressure for getting more customers. Tariffs are high in comparison with fixed networks, but not high enough to prevent growth. As a result, profitability is soaring as the networks expand. An additional investment in network capacity is filled up quickly, also in rural areas. In an interview in July 2005 by the BBC, Safaricom’s Chief Executive in Kenya expressed surprise at how quickly new base stations in rural areas become fully utilized after commissioning. The existing mobile operators enjoy protection from competition through the fact that only few national licences have been issued. When these licences were issued a few years back, nobody could foresee the spectacular growth in demand. What was then regarded as credible business cases underestimated the actual growth over five years, and it was generally thought that the mobile market could only sustain services in high-income
The technical director of a large European operator told us that the 2004 prices of radio network components have dropped to 15% of the levels 10 years ago.
This amount is MTN’s investments in the 2003-2004 period. It includes all network related equipment, switches, control units, base stations, transmission, offices, transport, power units etc. Based on these data, the total investment per base station can be estimated to about one million US$. Multiplied with the number of BTS in Africa, the total investment volume is simply amazing.
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urban areas. In reality, many operators enjoy spectacular results and a very convincing case can be made for dramatically reduced tariffs. GSM operators have an interesting cost structure, with more than 50% of their total costs being fixed capital costs. New customers are added at virtually no cost to the operator. Not only do they generate revenues immediately but also pay in advance for the services. This will continue until coverage has reached all prospective population centres and until that point in time, price competition is very unlikely. This explains why gross profit from operations in many cases is higher than 50% of revenues and why many operators are already able to finance a large part of their expansion from internal cash generation. This is a remarkable achievement in view of the rapid growth and the market not yet having reached a mature state. Consequently, the market capitalisation value of the companies is very high in the order of US$ 400 to 750 per customer63. Some countries in Africa have just one GSM operator, while most have two or more. Economic experience tells us that competition exercises a downward pressure on prices and profits. This downward pressure has not yet occurred in the African GSM market where prices remain high and profits still increase. This situation does, however, have some very positive effects. In countries where there are two or three international operators (such as MTN, Vodacom, Celtel or Orange) there seems to be an almost frantic investment activity, where each player tries to out-build the others with regard to coverage. This race takes place in a complete telecom vacuum – new coverage is provided in areas where there have never been any telephones before, and large numbers of urban as well as rural people can get connected. This process is in itself an extremely beneficial one. It creates value, as witnessed by the rapid adoption of the services as soon they become available. People are willing to pay for connectivity, wherever they are. 1.4 Users and prices It is remarkable that prices can remain as high as they are, without affecting growth. The explanation lies partly in the prepaid accounts that allow a user to stay connected at just a few dollars per month. The other explanation lies in the customers’ creativity in getting the maximum utility from a very low usage. Calls are of very short duration – state your business, get an answer and hang up. SMS, “beeping” and other tricks help to reduce the unit cost per message. Social chatting for hours at 25 US¢ per minute is not possible, since the prepaid account balance will run out long before the hour is up. The high prices in relation to incomes create a very high efficiency in using the services. From a social perspective the situation with high call charges is not as bad as it looks. To begin with, mobile services will cover a majority of the population with potential telecom services in country after country. The result is that the Universal Access goal has been fulfilled in areas with GSM coverage, far earlier than anybody would have thought just five years ago. The high prices will induce consumers to adopt innovative
The Swedish owners of MTC Namibia sold their 49% share for 500 million Namibian dollars (US$ 71 million) in May 2004. MTC had at the time about 300,000 users, and the value equals US$ 450 per user. MTN’s market capitalisation value in March 2004 was 53 billion Rand. With 10 million users, the value per user is about US$ 750. Celtel International was sold in 2005 at a price of $660 per subscriber.
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and efficient modes of use to get access to a much desired telephone service64. Secondly, the high profit generation has enabled a rapid service provision to rural areas. Generated cash has been reinvested in the network, instead of distributed to the owners. Since the customers are willing to pay the high call charges, the present situation is probably economically more favourable than if price caps or other tariff restricting measures had been imposed by the regulatory authorities. Such measures would have protected a limited number of existing customers at the expense of those who have no access to the service due to lack of coverage. 1.5 Taxation and public finance In Uganda, there is presently a dispute going on between the three mobile operators and the Government as to the level of taxes that should be imposed on the mobile sector. With a combination of VAT and excise taxes, the mobile revenues are subject to a taxation of 30%. The mobile operators have started to state their rates in pre- and posttax figures to better inform the public of their tax burden. In Kenya, recent press reports say that Safaricom is now the most profitable company as well as the largest taxpayer in the country. Without too detailed examinations, it could safely be assumed that the mobile industry is by far the highest contributor of any sector to the treasuries of Sub-Saharan Africa. In the following paragraph, Tanzania will be used as a typical example of the level of tax revenues being generated by the mobile industry. In Tanzania there is 20% VAT charge on the sales of handsets and prepaid mobile cards. There is also a 20% duty on the CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight) value of all imported goods, including handsets and network equipment. In addition, the operators pay profit taxes, and employees pay income taxes. With mobile telephone turnover for 1.5 million users and ARPU (Average Revenue per Unit) of US$ 20 per month, the total tax value can be estimated. Add import duty and VAT on handsets and pre-paid mobile cards, profit tax and income tax to estimate the total tax on mobile telephone services. If all the taxes were actually collected, the Tanzanian tax authority should be collecting about US$ 100 million this year from the mobile business, not an insignificant amount. The potential tax should be of similar magnitude for most other countries in Africa. Tanzania has about 5% of the phones in Sub-Saharan Africa, so we are looking at a total tax potential of about $2 billion per year. This would in many cases be "windfall" revenue for the tax authorities, since because of the rapid growth of the telecom sector the taxes will not have been anticipated in the budget process. Since all mobile revenues pass through the mobile operators it is also likely that money that previously was spent in the “informal” part of the economy now has been transferred to the “formal“ sector. For this reason, the growth of the telecom sector will have an important indirect effect on the public finances of many countries. It is beyond the scope of this document to discuss the “proper” level of taxation for mobile services. We would like to point out, however, that the tax revenues generated
In Ghana, for example, a practice of street vendors has developed providing a service similar to phone booths.
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from regular operations are substantial and far in excess of any license fees or monopoly profits collected by the authorities. This has considerable economic impact and it is strongest in the countries with well-developed mobile telecommunications. Countries like Ethiopia with a state owned, monopoly operator are largely passing up such tax benefits. 1.6 Economics When telephones are introduced in low-income economies, two main types of effects occur65. The first is that the cost and time of collecting information to support economic decisions are reduced. The result is quantitative and qualitative – an individual can make more transactions in a given time, and each decision is based on better information. In both cases, value is added. The other effect is the network effect. As the number of users in a communication network increases, the number of possible connections increases with the square of the number of users. This effect accelerates the creation of value added. Since a poor person by definition has very limited economic resources for gathering information, the value of information from a successful phone call is relatively greater than for a rich person. A “successful phone call” can be pragmatically defined as a situation where a person receives information that enables her to avoid the time and expense of a long bus trip or one that gives her knowledge about the availability and location of cheap goods or services. It is in this indirect way that cheap and accessible telecommunication services can benefit the poor66. This is true for all sorts of telecom services where connections between people can be made fast and at dramatically reduced costs, be it telephones, SMS or email. The Vodafone report suggests that countries with an early growth of mobile phones will have an advantage of as much as one percent of GNP growth compared with late adopters. Transferred to African conditions, this could mean that Ethiopia’s slow acceptance partly explains the difference in growth compared to, for example, Uganda, Mozambique or Tanzania. 2. What happens next? 2.1 Network growth In Sub-Saharan Africa, telecom networks will continue to expand for many years and new subscribers will be connected following the expansion of coverage. At current tariff levels, the saturation point will soon be reached and the interesting issue is what action the mobile operators will then take. One likely direction could be that tariffs would be considerably lowered by competition, thereby bringing in new, low intensity users. A strong argument for this scenario is that once the networks get close to universal coverage, additional traffic is carried at low marginal costs. Profitability will therefore be high even if traffic charges were considerably reduced. Intelligent price differentiation schemes could be introduced to
See “Africa: The Impact of Mobile Phones”, the Vodafone Policy Paper Series, March 2005.
The field studies carried out for the Vodafone report in Tanzania, South Africa and Egypt confirm that this type of effects indeed are the norm when mobile phones become widespread in rural communities.
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maintain high profitability of the intensive business users, and new tariff schemes will be designed to attract the rural population. Another, opposing scenario would be that once the main road arteries and main population centres are covered, the operators would more or less cease to expand coverage. Most of them would already have exceeded the license requirements for population coverage and thus have no legal obligation for continuing to build networks for low-income, rural areas. This may be an attractive option for some owners who wish to take their capital gains and invest them elsewhere. The Millicom group of companies seems to follow this strategy. The authors have shown67 that low-income rural areas would best be served by applying special solutions like limited mobility (home zone billing) provided by franchised small community operators. This would meet the Universal Access requirements at maintained profitability, albeit at a lower level than presently experienced by the dominant mobile players in Africa. For this to come about, regulatory intervention would be required. 2.2 IP Based Services The mobile operators are building an entirely new telecom infrastructure all over Africa. Due to the inefficiency of the incumbent operators, they have been granted the right by the regulators to build their own microwave routes, which are beginning to constitute complete national backbone transmission networks in many countries. This infrastructure of transmission and wireless distribution is capable of carrying not only voice traffic, but also data traffic. Since voice is the primary communications driver in Africa, voice revenues will pay for the entire network infrastructure. Data services can thus be offered based on marginal costs and at relatively low rates. Once voice services become saturated, we believe that many mobile operators will turn their attention to IP based data services. Most GSM networks can today easily be upgraded to carry data services and the speed of GPRS/EDGE networks would in many cases be sufficient for meeting the requirements of many low- intensity users of e-mail and Internet services. Since the mobile operators control the transmission networks, they can also offer alternative wireless data access at higher bit rates when required. 2.3 Non-Communication Based Services Mobile operators are significant business organizations not only in the telecom sector but also in the entire economy. They have countrywide operations and an efficient distribution mechanism for selling their pre-paid cards. The high security on mobile phones makes them an ideal vehicle for payment and money transfer services. A logical expansion of the pre-paid systems is thus to use the same system for money transfers. In addition, SMS messages are increasingly being used for confirming transfer of prepaid balances also between individuals. Safaricom in Kenya has announced that it will be offering money transfer services via their pre-paid system. It is likely that many more operators will follow. Banking services are poorly developed in rural Africa and mobile operators might well be the first organizations to bring this new important
“Profitable Universal Access Providers” by Engvall and Hesselmark, October 2004, www.scanbiinvest.com
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service to rural areas. This will stimulate economic activities and open up new business opportunities. 2.4 Liberalization and Licences The African mobile story shows convincingly that competition and private enterprise have been able to deliver world-class telephone services. Liberalization of telecom markets along WTO requirements is underway in most countries, which will provide additional customer choice particularly for international services. With the success of the mobile communications industry there follows a risk that a new breed of “dominant players” has been born. The largest mobile operators now control considerable network resources in several countries. Because of their profitability, their financial positions are much stronger than that of the incumbent telecom operators. All telecom regulatory practice emphasise that special attention should be given to the dominant players. The incumbent fixed line operators that have so far received such attention are no longer dominant. So far, however, the mobile operators have been virtually unregulated, except for a few coverage requirements in their license agreements. The communications regulators need especially to pay attention to the vast transmission infrastructure now controlled by the mobile operators. These network need to be opened up to other sector players, be it ISPs, community operators or even the incumbent fixed line operator. If no mobile price competition comes about when the market becomes saturated, the regulators need to follow the European example and foster the introduction of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO). Considering the already prevalent existence of duplication of infrastructure facilities, we consider MVNO licensing to be preferable to issuing new countrywide mobile licenses. A MVNO typically does not own its own network infrastructure, but has business relations with existing mobile operators, buying traffic minutes on their network at bulk prices. MVNOs are emerging in the industrialized countries for providing services to specific market segments. A possible African application is discussed below. 2.5 Regional operators The following map shows parts of Northern Nigeria and Southern Niger. It is an area with very high population density. The established Lingua Franca of the region is Hausa, spoken by an estimated 40-50 million people from Northern Ghana to Chad.
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Fig 4. The border area between Nigeria and Niger is one example of a densely populated area where mobile services are expanding rapidly on both sides of the border.
A great deal of travel and trade takes place across the borders in this area, but until recently any cross-border business had to be carried out without the help of telephone services. The national boundaries made services very expensive and in practice unavailable until the arrival of mobile services in the last few years. The towns of Katsina, Maradi and Zinder in the map have had mobile cover only since 2003-2004. The Hausa-speaking area stretches for 800 km from Northern Ghana to Chad, and straddles the national boundaries of six countries. Assuming a potential mobile penetration of 10%, there will be two to three million future subscribers living in this area and speaking the same language. As common language is very important for crossborder trade, this region would greatly benefit from a single tariff policy without roaming charges. As long as only national licenses are issued, it becomes difficult to build traffic-optimal networks in areas like this. With six countries and 15 operators involved to cover the area, networks become fragmented, and several different interconnection regimes will be involved. International boundaries complicate things in a mobile environment. Ideally, this area should be served by a number of competing operators with regional licenses, without roaming charges. With a flexible approach from the regulators in the six countries, the above situation could be solved with mobile technology. To cater for the language communality, the regulators in the six countries could license several MVNOs for serving the Hausa area. The licensing should include tariff conditions in addition to coverage objectives to ensure that it is the mass market that would be addressed. The interregional mobile
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market is large and grossly untapped, and there are good reasons to stop looking at telephone services as strictly national. For the individual states, low cost telephone services in the border areas create development, trade and business opportunities.
Fig 5. A regional example
3. Conclusion This article has put forward a number of arguments that empirically would indicate that mobile telephony is powering economic development in Africa. Mobile telephony is at its infancy in this region with many more spectacular growth years yet to come. There is therefore every reason to be optimistic as regards the possibilities of mobile telephony being a major driving force for transforming African economies and for reducing the digital divide.
List of Abbreviations
AAU AERC AfDB AFNOG AfrISPA AGORA AIF AIMS ATICS ATM AU AUF AVU CATIA CERN CIDA CODESRIA COMESA COMTEL EUMED Connect DANIDA DANTE DFID Dot-EDU EASSy ECOWAS eIFL ESCOM FAO Gbps GDLN African Association of Universities African Economic Research Consortium African Development Bank African Network Operators Group African ISP Association Access to Global On-line Research in Agriculture Agence Intergouvernementale de la Francophonie African Institute for Mathematical Sciences African Tertiary Institution Connectivity Survey Asynchrounous Transfer Mode African Union Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie African Virtual University Catalysing Access to Information in Africa – DFID program European Organisation for Nuclear Research Canadian International Development Agency Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa planned communications network in Eastern and Southern Africa EU program to network the Mediterranean countries Danish International Development Agency Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe – management agency for GEANT UK Department for International Development USAID program to promote equitable access to digital technologies East African Submarine Cable System Economic Community of West African States Electronic Information for Libraries Electricity Supply Commission Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations Giga Bits per Second Global Development Learning Network (World Bank)
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GEANT GeSCI GTZ GVF HF HINARI ICT IDRC IEEAF IGAD IICD IMF INASP INTIF InWent IP ISOC ISP ITU IXP JSTOR Kbps KENET KTH Mbps MDG MICTI MIMCom MSI-SIG MTN MVNO NAMPOWER NectarNet NEPAD NetTel NGN NGO
Collaborative project and network among 26 National Research and Education Networks in Europe (EU program) Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative German Organisation for Development Cooperation Global VSAT Forum High Frequency Health Internetwork Access to Research Initiative Information and Communication Technologies International Development Research Centre Internet Educational Equal Access Foundation Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Horn of Africa) International Institute for Communication and Development International Monetary Fund International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications Francophone Institute for New Technologies and Training – AIF Capacity Building International – German Govt cooperation Internet Protocol Internet Society Internet Service Provider International Telecommunication Union Internet Exchange Point not for profit journal archive Kilo Bits per Second Kenya Education Network Swedish Royal Institute of Technology Mega Bits per Second Millennium Development Goals The Mozambique Information and Communication Technology Institute Multilateral Initiative on Malaria Communications Network Millennium Science Initiative – Science Initiative Group Maritime Telecommunication Network Mobile Virtual Network Operators Namibia Power proposal for high speed network linking Africa with US via Europe – Georgia Tech New Partnership for Africa’s Development Network for Capacity Building and Knowledge Exchange in ICT Next Generation Network (ITU intiative) Non Governmental Organization
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NMI NORAD NREN NSF NSRC NUFFIC PAREN PATU PDH PHE PoP PPP PSTN RASCOM RIA SADC SADC SAFE SAREC SARUA SAT SDH SEA SIDA SIST SITA SME SPIDER SRII Tbps TENET TISPA TRASA UEM UHF/VHF UNDP UNESCO UNU
Nelson Mandela Institution Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation National Education and Research Network National Science Foundation Network Start-Up Resource\Center Netherlands Organisation for International Cooperation in Higher Education Promotion of African Research and Networking (IDRC Program) Pan African Telecommunications Union Plesiochronous Digital Hierarchy Partnership for Higher Education Point of Presence – service provider’s location for connecting to Purchasing Power Parity Public Switched Telephone Network Regional African Satellite Commission Research ICT Africa Southern Africa Development Community Southern Africa Development Community South Africa Far East SIDA Department for Research Coordination Southern Africa Regional University Association South Africa Trans Atlantic Synchronous Digital Hierarchy South East Asia Swedish International Development Agency Systeme d’Information Scientifique et Technique – French Studies in Information Technology Applications Small and Medium (sized) Enterprise(s) Swedish Program for Information and Communication Technology in Developing Regions SADC Regional Information Initiative Tera Bits per Second Tertiary Education Network – South Africa Tanzania Internet Service Provider Association Telecommunications Regulators Association of Southern Africa Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique Ultra High Frequency/ Very High Frequency United Nations Development Programme United Nations Organisation for Education, Science and Culture United Nations University
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USAID VoIP VSAT WASC WB WATRA WCE WDM WE WHO WiderNet Wi-Fi Wi-MAX WLAN WSIS WTO
United States Agency for International Development Voice over Internet Protocol Very Small Aperture Terminal for satellite communications West Africa Submarine Cable World Bank West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Association World Computer Exchange Wavelength Division Multiplexing West Europe World Health Organisation University of Iowa, International programs Wireless Fidelity Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access Wireless LAN World Summit on the Information Society World Trade Organization
About the Authors
Anders Comstedt has been involved in several European, African and US projects related to new competition creating telecom infrastructure. Being an advisor in industry transformation and related policy issues, he is a senior consultant in several business implementations of alternative telecommunication networks and studies. Mr. Comstedt is also a senior advisor at the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. He is an advisor and consultant to Spintrack AB, Sweden. In 2004-2005 he was a board member of Labs2 AB, a telecom software developer. In his previous positions, he is recently most recognised for being the CEO of Stokab, taking that company from an early 1994 idea to a model for how a sustainable position could be created for an independent, infrastructure-only telecommunications company. Additionally, he has taken part in the development of related telecom policy issues in Sweden for more than a decade. Prior to his work with Stokab, he has had several executive positions, mainly within the telecommunications industry in companies like Ericsson and Telia. Mr. Comstedt holds a master degree in electrical engineering. Martin Curley is Senior Principal Engineer and Global Director of IT Innovation at Intel Corporation managing a network of Intel IT Innovation centres developing advanced IT solutions. Previously Martin held a number of IT Management positions for Intel including Director of IT Strategy and Technology based in Sacramento, California and Fab14 Automation Manager based in Dublin, Ireland. Martin has also held IT management positions at General Electric in Ireland and Philips in the Netherlands. Martin has a degree in Electronic Engineering and a Masters in Business Studies from University College Dublin, Ireland. Martin is author of “Managing Information Technology for Business Value” published by Intel Press Jan 04 and now in its third re-print. Samuel Danofsky has five years of experience working with international development issues. He joined the United Nations ICT Task Force secretariat in 2003 where he is a focal point for Africa and for the United Nations ICT Task Force Working Group on the Enabling Environment. Prior to joining the Task Force secretariat Mr. Danofsky spent two years at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs where he worked with Swedish policy on poverty reduction and global development with particular responsibility for issues related to trade and development, private sector development and ICT and development. Mr. Danofsky holds a BA in Economics and Political Science form Uppsala University in Sweden. Jabulani Dhliwayo is NEPAD Council’s Senior Vice President and Science, Technology and ICT commission chairman. His main interest in Africa is the development of modern fibre optic networks that will interconnect all African countries, facilitate broadband access and help improve the African economy though the use of modern ICTs. Since 1999, Dr. Dhliwayo has been working for Corning Incorporated, the discoverer and world’s leading supplier of optical fibre and cable for
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telecommunications. There he has held positions as a Senior Research Scientist, project engineer and Senior Applications Engineer. Dr. Dhliwayo is a 2004 US National Black Engineer of the year special recognition award winner. Dr. Dhliwayo holds a PhD in Physics from the University of Kent, UK, an M.sc in Applied Physics from Laurentian University in Canada and a B.sc degree in Physics from Sierra Leone. Astrid Dufborg, is Ambassador and ICT Adviser at the Swedish mission to the United Nations in Geneva, leading the Swedish government’s work in relation to the WSIS. Ms. Dufborg is also a member of the United Nations ICT Task Force where she among other things convenes the Working Group on the Enabling Environment. She is also currently the Vice-Chair for the Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative (GeSCI). Ms. Dufborg has a vast experience working with development issues, having been employed by the Swedish International Development cooperation Agency (Sida) for more than 30 years of which 10 years have been spent in various African countries. Her last position was as Assistant Director General. Ms. Dufborg has a political science educational background. Anders Engvall holds Master Degrees in Business Administration and Electrical Engineering. He has more than 30 years experience in telecommunications including senior management positions in Ericsson and Hewlett Packard. Mr. Engvall is a specialist in financing and structuring complex industry projects, and in assessing corporate performance and identifying corrective measures. He has extensive experience of business operations in developing countries as well as of managing organisations in highly competitive environments. He also has a long experience of issues related to privatisation of the communications sector. Karanja Gakio is a highly respected Internet specialist in Africa. He has developed, and led teams developing Internet technology, services and applications professionally for over 10 years. As the original founder of Africa Online and its technical director he was instrumental in establishing Internet infrastructure in six African countries. Most recently he was director of international engineering for iBasis in Boston, the largest Internet telephony company in the world. In this position, he led engineering and deployment of the network, growing coverage from 2 to over 60 countries and was instrumental in successful project management throughout the organization. Karanja is currently CEO of Cyberplex Africa, based in Botswana. Olof Hesselmark holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration and a degree in Informatics. He has more than 30 years experience in IT, business administration and development economics. Mr. Hesselmark spent 11 years as a senior IT consultant in a large Swedish IT consulting firm. He has also been a manager of agriculture business in Kenya and Zambia. Mr. Hesselmark has over 12 years resided in four countries in Africa. Since 1991 he has worked as an independent consultant in IT for development. Martin Jarrold joined the Global VSAT Forum (GVF) and was appointed to the position of Chief of International Programme Development in June 2001. His particular responsibilities include outreach to the member organisations of the GVF and for the further development of the profile of the Forum within the satellite communications industry, and across the global telecommunications policy and regulatory community.
About the Authors | 173
Through this role Mr. Jarrold has become a frequent contributor to various telecommunications publications. Prior to joining the GVF, Mr. Jarrold was Commissioning Editor and Head of Research for Space Business International magazine. His earlier career was predominantly in teaching and writing. Mr. Jarrold holds an honours degree in History and Politics from the University of Keele in the United Kingdom. Mike Jensen is an independent consultant with experience in more than 30 countries in Africa, assisting in the establishment of information and communications systems over the last 15 years. He subsequently returned to South Africa to work as a journalist on the national Rand Daily Mail newspaper in Johannesburg in 1983. When the paper closed he moved back to Canada and in 1986 he co-founded the country's national Internet service provider for NGOs, called coincidentally, The Web. After helping to set up a similar ISP in Australia in 1989, he returned to South Africa where he works with international development agencies, the private sector, NGOs and governments assisting them in the formulation, management and evaluation of their Internet projects and Telecom projects, focusing on public access, wireless technologies, VSAT and IT infrastructure. Jensen is a trustee of the African IT Education Trust, a board member of the South African Internet service provider for NGOs - SangoNet - and was a member of the African Conference of Ministers' High Level Working Group which developed the African Information Society Initiative (AISI) in 1996. Jamo Macanze is currently working as Manager of the Technology and Business Incubator and as Scientific Officer for MICTI. He is member of the MICTI implementation team which developed the MICTI business plan. He is also a member of the African Research for Information Society Emergence (ARISE) and has published various papers in the Mozambican Engineer Congress and on the IDRC Acacia Programme publications. Mr. Macanze obtained his licentiate in electrical engineering from UEM, where he started to work in 1999 as a research assistant in the Mozambique Acacia Advisory Committee Secretariat, an organization developing, coordinating and supporting ICT projects for development and research. Daniel Mannestig has eight years of professional experience as manager, business developer, project manager, coordinator, systems evaluator, developer and systems implementer in various companies, having worked in Brazil, Sweden and Mozambique. He came to Mozambique in January 2002, employed by Sida (Swedish International Development Agency), working for CIUEM in various projects. Later, he planned, implemented and managed the MICTI Technology and Business Incubator, and then implemented the MICTI E-learning centre. He is currently working as a consultant at MICTI. Mr. Mannestig has an MS in Computer Engineering and MS in Business Studies. Stelios Papadakis was born in Mozambique where he did his primary and secondary studies. In 1992, he won a scholarship to attend a pre-university program at Waterford Kamhlaba United World College Of Southern Africa, Swaziland. He graduated in 1996, and was awarded the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma. In 1997, he was awarded a second scholarship to study in Australia. In 2002, Stelios graduated from Curtin University Technology - Australia, being awarded a bachelors degree in
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Electronics and Communication Engineering. After graduating, Stelios has worked as product manager for a computer company in Mozambique, as well as being a part-time lecturer in some private universities. In 2003 he joined the Ministry Of Transport and Communications, taking the position of senior telecommunication adviser. Currently, apart from working at the Ministry, he is also a part-time lecturer at the High Institute for Science and Technology of Mozambique (ISCTEM), lecturing on telecommunication subjects. Björn Pehrson is a full professor and head of the Telecommunication Systems Laboratory at KTH, the Royal University of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, since 1992. He has his BSc in 1966 from the University of Stockholm, MSc in 1969 and PhD in 1975, both from Uppsala University, where he also worked as a senior lecturer up to 1985. During the period 1985-1992, he pioneered the establishment of the Swedish Institute of Computer Science, 1992-97 he served as department head. 1997-1999 he spent as visiting scholar at Stanford leading the Sweden - Silicon Valley Link program supported by Knut and Alice Wallenberg foundation, resulting in the Wallenberg Global Learning Network and the Wallenberg Hall at Stanford. Since 2000, he is involved in development cooperation in several countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America supported by Sida and other development cooperation agencies, currently as director of ICT development projects in Laos and technical coordinator of the Sarua-Fibre project supported by IDRC with the objective to establish an academic network serving universities in Southern and East Africa. He has also served as vice dean, director for a graduate school and program director of master programs in Internetworking and ICT Entrepreneurship. Constantino Sotomane, since 2003, is the project developer of MICTI with general responsibility for development of the project. From 1997-2000, he served as head of computer maintenance department at CIUEM, the Informatics Centre of UEM. He joined CIUEM in 1989, participating in various projects, including implementation of a computer network in university departments and participation in design, implementation and management of Telecentre project and Schoolnet project in Mozambique. He also participated in several other projects related to ICT for development in the country and is now studying for a diploma in Business management from Cambridge University. Mr. Sotomane completed his MS in Computer Science at Universidad de San Nicolas de Hidalgo, Mexico, and degree in electrical engineering at the Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM), Mozambique. Roy Steiner is the former CEO of Cyberplex Africa, a regional web solution and knowledge management company with offices in Gaborone, Harare and Pretoria. His Undergraduate education was completed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University after which he went to Cornell University for a Ph.D in engineering. Dr Steiner worked at the Rockefeller Foundation in New York, McKinsey &Company in Toronto and helped found two Internet companies, Africa Online, which is now the most widespread Internet Service Provider in Africa and Cyberplex Africa. He has a long standing interest in African Universities and has played critical roles in the development of TEEAL - The Essential Electronic Agricultural Library among other projects.
About the Authors | 175
Nyasha Tirivayi completed her M.Sc. in Agricultural Economics at the University of Zimbabwe. She currently works as an evaluation and knowledge management consultant with Cyberplex Africa. Her research interests include ICT for development, environmental economics and management gender economics and rural development. She intends to return to graduate school in pursuit of a Ph.D in about a year or two. Rahul Tongia is a research faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), in the School of Computer Science and the Dept. of Engineering & Public Policy, where he focuses on interdisciplinary issues of technology policy. He is also Senior Fellow in the Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP), a non-profit Think Tank under incorporation in India. His core interests are in infrastructure development, with an emphasis on technology, policy, economics, and security. He is active in the telecom sectors (including digital divide and access technology issues) and in the power sector (including reform, regulation, and IT/smart metering). He is presently ViceChair of the UN ICT Task Force Working Group on Enabling Environment (formerly, Low-cost Connectivity Access), and has organized global conferences on ICT and Sustainable Development for the UN, World Bank, and National Science Foundation. His undergraduate education was in Electrical Engineering from Brown University, and he holds a doctorate from CMU. Kate Wild is an Independent consultant on ICTs and development based in Toronto. She has more than thirty years of experience in information and development and has combined management at the international level with a wide variety of project and program responsibilities in all developing regions. She has developed a realistic appreciation of both the potential and the limits of technology and a keen awareness of the importance of grounding external initiatives firmly in realities of the countries in which they will be implemented. Before starting work as an independent consultant Ms. Wild has held senior positions within IDRC and the ILO as well as having served as Advisor to the Mozambique Information Policy Commission and Mozambique Acacia Advisory Committee on ICT policy, strategy and project development. Ms. Wild holds a BA (hons) in Philosophy and History from the University of Toronto and a MLS Information Studies from Syracuse University.
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