John, Voice connections are still absent in far too many parts of rural Africa - and other LDCs. Fola Odufuwa's email hits the nail on the head - market liberalization, open investment climate, good regulation (that supports universal access).
On a related note, while GSM may not currently be as Internet compatible as we might wish, the very existence of TOWERS and backhaul from towers provides the opportunity to use GSM towers for Wi-Fi and other non-voice applications, provided the local market has a willingness and ability to pay for such services. Incentives or mandates for tower sharing may also be a vehicle to increase competitive telecom service in underserved markets. Besides wireless providers, other tower sharing opportunities exist with public utilities, police and emergency services, radio and TV stations, etc. In the US and Canada, thousands of untapped AM, FM, TV and public utility towers are available for wireless coverage - often in rural areas where wireless capacity and coverage are most needed for Wi-Fi and cellular. Even in North America, recognition of the need for progressive regulation on tower sharing, and sharing of other tall structures, and other geographic elevation points, is only just emerging. Much of the interest in tower sharing is coming from desires for improve RURAL telecommunication service. In the US, some states and municipalities, are creating incentives for tower sharing among competing operators. Incentives include expedited consideration and approvals (zoning, construction and public safety standards) by local governments for towers that will accommodate multiple users, relaxation of environmental regulations when towers are shared (reduced impacts on migratory birds, reduced visual impacts, etc.). In Connecticut, the state can require tower sharing, and deny an application for a tower if the proponent does not cooperate - potential users of someone else's tower have the right to request reasonable use of an existing tower, and the state can enforce tower sharing. See <http://www.ic.gc.ca/cmb/welcomeic.nsf/261ce500dfcd7259852564820068dc6d/8525 6a220056c2a485256cf700561c10!OpenDocument> for the example of Canada's national antenna tower policy review which focuses attention on tower sharing. In the US, the FCC is now maintaining a national database on tower locations to assist with tower sharing. Don Richardson, PhD. Director TeleCommons Development Group Stantec Consulting 361 Southgate Drive Guelph, Ontario N1G 3M5 Canada Tel: 519-836-6050; Fax: 519-836-2493 Email: [EMAIL PROTECTED] Web: www.telecommons.com or www.stantec.com John Lawrence <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote: > Since much of the Internet technology (laptops, telecentres etc) seems > to be landline based, yet it is cellular telephony that is flourishing > in many of the less developed countries, is there a 'disconnect' here > that may be inhibiting the spread of the Internet to rural areas?...I > just came back from Yemen where cellphones predominate, and coverage has > been obtained over most of the country... so voice connections are now > relatively normal even to remote rural districts...but Internet of > course (notwithstanding the Arabic language issue) is largely confined > just to cities... ------------ This DOT-COM Discussion is funded by the dot-ORG USAID Cooperative Agreement, and hosted by GKD. http://www.dot-com-alliance.org provides more information. To post a message, send it to: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> To subscribe or unsubscribe, send a message to: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>. In the 1st line of the message type: subscribe gkd OR type: unsubscribe gkd For the GKD database, with past messages: http://www.GKDknowledge.org