Category Archives: broadband

Privacy is a public concern

March began interestingly for me this year, with two big meetings back-to-back, in Panglao, a tiny island in the Philippines. The first was with Privacy International, the London-based public service PI_Gang_Panglao.pngorganisation. It has worked tirelessly for over two decades to keep public awareness of personal privacy rights.

Surprisingly, for most people who hardly ever need to think twice about such an obvious attribute of free people, this right is fast vanishing around the world, and most dismayingly, in democratic countries. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Accessibility, Blogroll, broadband, Broadcast, Communication, Community, connectivity, Democracy, development, Education, energy, governance, Holistic, Internet, Media, Privacy, Security, social processes, technology, UID

Rules and Misrules

At the very tag-end of 2008, an extraordinary event took place. India’s Parliament met for a stormy Winter Session, during which little of note was discussed, and little value was added to the fabric of society. And then, as the Session was drawing to a close, a number of Bills were brought up for voting, and within a few minutes, with little or no words exchanged, they were passed in toto.

The utter disregard of the country and its people implicit in this kind of facile performance is stunning and salutary, especially in light of the public agitation that has spread across northern Africa and parts of Asia, with citizens of many countries taking to the streets to express their disgust at the way that they have been taken for granted, by governments and leaders that claim to have their best interests at heart. Some of the perpetrators of such callousness now find themselves scrabbling to escape, together with untold amounts of wealth stolen from their hapless countries.

That the Indian public has so far been a little more forgiving of such small degradations is a current feature, not a guarantee.

Today, February 28, 2011, I am trying to be equally forgiving. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Accessibility, broadband, Communication, Community, connectivity, Democracy, development, Education, governance, Internet, Media, Privacy, Security, social processes, technology, UID

Doing less with more, or, fossil fools

I know. That could be about just about anything we humans do with the natural resources at our disposal – except manage the residue, it seems.

But this post is about spectrum usage, and energy. Odd combination. Eager readers of my tireless prose might wonder, since I have already posted here about alternate energy conversion routes, and about spectrum, at length (friends assure me it is entirely too much length, in fact. As Garth Brooks put it, I’ve got friends. On the other hand, maybe I don’t have a lot of readers).

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Accessibility, Blogroll, broadband, Communication, Community, development, energy, Fossil Fuels, Radio, social processes, Wind Power

Less Power, More Power

A Little Energy Goes a Long Way

Somehow the concepts of ‘less is more’ and ‘small is beautiful’ do not ring out loud and clear in the community networking environment. Perhaps they are just too obvious: however, I suspect that for urban-focused networks, with their routers and access points dangling from eaves and out of windows, drawing energy from house utility connections, it is really irrelevant.

In the countryside, things are different. Networks stretch across the kilometers, lonely towers in remote spots relaying signals between clusters of homes, over jungle and desert, from hilltop to distant peak and down to the shaded valley below. In this scenario, efficient power solutions mean less money spent on expensive solar power, generated locally and guarded from the depredations of monkeys and men.

Needless to say, the deliverable goes further. In older systems of information delivery, mankind sought to create efficiency by centralising content creation in one place, transmitting across the world with megawatt transmitters, pumping powerful shortwave signals across the world. What price such efficiency, focusing on the packaging till the words became meaningless, the songs capsuled till the music couldn’t be heard.

How many times have I heard techies and engineers shake their heads and mutter, “There has to be a better way“? In the world of information exchange, evolved and transforming the age-old traditions of information dissemination, we find a semantic that neatly divides the e-Generation from its elders and [not-so-?]betters.

Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Accessibility, Blogroll, broadband, Community, connectivity, Democracy, development, energy, Internet, Intranet, Privacy, Radio, Security, technology, Uncategorized, Wi-Fi

Access 4 All

Broadband and Governance: Empowerment or Illusion?

Proponents of ICT4D, roaming the corridors of power restlessly, find reasoned arguments for the support of the rapid dissemination of broadband connectivity in India seem to bounce endlessly off the walls. In the meantime, the doors of decision makers seem ever more open to the blandishments of commercial technology providers, whose bulging balance sheets reflect their seductive views on where the demand really lies: in the ready pockets of the arrivistes.
Do alternate technologies exist in reality, and can they really provide meaningful leverage for development? Here’s a quick look at the choices for India.

Smart connectivity, a sea change from the analogue technologies ubiquitously deployed in the developed economies of the 20th century, appears to be a powerful argument for the spread of equitable governance. Proponents of these technologies argue persuasively that a “knowledge society” is one armed with more information (and by corollary, better information): better information enables better choices. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under broadband, connectivity, development, governance, GPRS, social processes, technology, Wi-Fi