Frederick Noronha on Tue, 22 Feb 2000 23:00:41 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> COMMSPHERE: An interesting meet in India

                        "COMMSPHERE 2000"

                International Millennium Conference
                    February 28 - March 2, 2000
                  Indian Institute of Technology,
                      Chennai 600 036, India.
                 e-mail :


Accessibility to  telecom and  Internet network  is fast becoming a
major factor  determining the  competitiveness  of  an  individual,
group or society. Telecom and IT systems and solutions prevalent in
the developed  countries are  not necessarily  the best options for
developing  countries   for  making   the  network  affordable  and
available to  large sections  of their  people. The conference will
focus on  the needs  of, and  affordable solutions  for, developing

Access to  Internet is  creating a  new differentiator  in society.
Those who  have access  to the Internet have access to all kinds of
information. It  puts them  in an  advantageous position in society
vis-a-vis others who do not have such access.

Internet Access  is built upon the basic telecom network. While the
telecom infrastructure  in advanced  countries  is  well  developed
(with teledensity  well above  50 per hundred population), allowing
them to move rapidly towards universal telecom and Internet access,
the  infrastructure   in  most   developing  countries  is  totally
inadequate. With  the teledensity  in most  of these countries well
below 10 per hundred population and many times even below 2 per 100
population, large-scale  telecom and  Internet access  is  possible
only with  large-scale expansion  of  telecom  infrastructure.  The
problem is  that the  cost of  building this  infrastructure hovers
around $1000  per line. Considering the high cost of finance (often
touching 15%)  in developing countries, and taking into account the
cost of  operation, maintenance  and obsolescence,  revenue of  the
order of US $300 per year will be required from each telephone line
to break even. In most developing countries, US $300 per year for a
telephone is affordable to less than 5% of the population. How then
can one hope for the development of telecom infrastructure and look
for even some semblance of universal Internet Access?

What is  required is  lower cost  infrastructure. Fortunately, over
the last  decade, optical fibre technology has already brought down
the cost  of the  telecom backbone to a very modest level. With the
separation of  Access Nodes from the main exchange, the cost of the
main exchange  also amounts  to a  relatively small fraction of the
total cost.  It is,  therefore, the access which dominates the cost

The cost  of the  copper local  loop, used  over the  last  hundred
years, is  rising continuously.  But even  in the copper loop there
have  been   a  number   of   technological   advancements.   While
technologies like HDSL, ADSL and VDSL push the data rate higher and
higher on  copper, it  is now  possible to  share the  copper  loop
between a  large number  of users,  thereby reducing the costs. The
Fibre Access network is another way by which cost of the local loop
is being  slashed. Further,  the Wireless  Local Loop  is not  only
proving to  be very  cost effective,  but also  promises very rapid
expansion, especially in small towns and rural areas.

While there  have been very significant advances in telecom-related
science in recent decades, most of these in advanced countries have
focussed on  providing better services and greater bandwidth to the
user. The  requirement in  developing  countries  is  significantly
different: to  provide lower-cost  basic access  with a  reasonable
basket  of   important  services   such  as   Internet  and   voice
communication. All  the known  techniques need  to be  harnessed to
reduce the  cost of  telecom infrastructure to, say, $300 per line.
Such an  endeavour alone  can make  telecom and  Internet  services
widely affordable in the developing countries.

This conference  will focus  on technologies  and innovations which
could make  this possible  in a  not too  distant  time-frame.  The
interconnection of  computers spread  over wide areas is the key to
the  growth  of  Information  Technology.  Low-cost  innovative  IT
solutions are  a must  if IT  is to  make a mark beyond the top few
percent of  the population  of  developing  countries.  Hence  non-
conventional telecom,  computer networking  and IT  solutions, that
promise value-added  services at  significantly lower cost, will be
explored at this conference.

The conference  will begin  by examining  the hierarchy  of telecom
needs of  different developing  countries and regions. It will then
look at  technological innovations  required to fulfill these needs
at an  affordable price.  In addition to examining the systems that
would make  telephone and  Internet services  widely available, the
conference will  examine ways  of creating  a multi-service network
catering to  education, health  and  various  commercial  needs  of
society. In  this context,  one would  deliberate on  a variety  of
access terminals  required for  different purposes.  The conference
will also  dwell on  manpower training  in different  countries  to
create, manage  and maintain  such  a  network.  And  finally,  the
conference will  examine telecom  regulation and policy issues that
will  make   such  low-cost  telecom  and  IT  solutions  and  wide
accessibility possible.


The Steering  Committee invites  both original and review papers on
areas given below:


1. Hierarchy of Telecom & IT needs in different developing
   countries and regions
2. Recent Innovations in technologies and systems
3. Affordable Telecom and IT network
4. Multi-service networks - education, health
5. Innovations in access terminals and Software Components
6. Manpower needs for creating and operating networks in developing
7. Regulatory and policy issues.

Manuscript for  review should  be submitted  in four  (4)  A4  size
sheets, typed  in double  space (1200  words), so as to reach at the


A number of Pre-conference tutorials, each for 4 hours, are planned
to be held on Feb 28, 2000. The topics include:

1. Wireless Access
2. Fiber Access
3. xDSL Access
4. Access on Cable
5. Internet Networking
6. Network Operation and Management and
7. Communication Terminals

               Please mail the registration form to:
                     Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala
                          COMMSPHERE 2000
               Department of Electrical Engineering
                  Indian Institute of Technology
                      Chennai 600 036, INDIA.

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