My main concern about WorldSpace is that it is billed as a
"communication" system. Most electronic communication systems are
two-way, they allow conversations. But WorldSpace is one-way. It is, in
fact, a broadcasting system, not a communications system. Just as you
would call TV a broadcast system. WorldSpace users are passive

I think it is a good broadcast system. It supports data broadcasting,
which is new and has many uses. But if we are talking about ICT,
information and communications technologies, this is an IT, not a CT.
While communications systems involve connections and interaction,
broadcasting involves transmitters and receivers.

Although WorldSpace's own websites are very careful to speak only of
transmission and reception, others make mistakes.

" The WorldSpace satellite network is an innovative communication
technology that enables people to access information even in the
remotest villages where there are no telephone lines or electricity."

"The unique, patented technology allows inexpensive connectivity to the
computer directly from the satellite."

The internet is very poor at broadcasting. But it's excellent as a
communication medium. As another person recently wrote:

"Because the WorldSpace product is a satellite receiver, there's no
back-channel for data upload. As a result, you can't send email, request
additional cached webpages or give feedback on whether a particular
piece of content is useful."

So, in conclusion. WorldSpace is an innovative and obviously useful
information dissemination tool. But, on the other hand, a basic, slow
email system (even with intermediaries) is better at communication.


On Friday, November 28, 2003, David J.A. Sawe wrote:

> Arguably, the initial step towards joining the information society is to
> receive information, and not to transmit blindly. In the same way, a
> newborn's first breath is always to inhale and not to exhale. Especially
> in terms of educating, informing and entertaining, there is much that
> can be achieved through being able to merely receive broadcasts. If this
> were not the case, then the traditional forms of media dissemination
> (ie. radio/TV/print) could never have become as pervasive as they are
> now in our more privileged urban areas.
> So WorldSpace satellite radio "receivers" bring about inclusivity by
> merely offering a new option for reliably receiving high quality audio
> and data content in locations hitherto excluded from any of the
> traditional media forms. Of course, as with traditional broadcast
> media, other options would need to be looked into on a case-by-case
> basis to contribute anything in return; but at the outset, this
> requirement is not a sine qua non.

99% Devil, 1% Angel
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