Indian Broadband

Om Malik makes a point I whole-heartedly agree with: “I find that most Indian companies are offering metered broadband access, treating bandwidth like a scarce commodity. That is a bone headed move only thought up by bureaucrats who are used to playing the scarcity game. Growing up there, getting a phone connection was so hard and often involved baksheesh. That mentality prevails. These boneheads should realize that in order to stay competitive Indians need to have as much speed as they can get for the lowest possible price. Look at Koreans, and Chinese.”

I have not seen our bandwidth costs in our business change at all in the past 3 years. I find that hard to accept because supposedly the international and national bandwidth prices are falling all the time. As a business, I need a flat rate for unlimited data transfer — the cheap plans all come with caps on data transfer. India needs cheap all-you-can-eat broadband if we are going to even have a chance in the digital age. We still don’t seem to be learning from our past mistakes — the digital infrastructure India needs is a not a luxury but a pre-requisite.

History Talking

A good friend, Vijay Rana (formerly with the BBC Hindi Service, and based in London) of History Talking sent me this about what he has been working on:

UKs leading NRI website launches Radio for All – Free Internet broadcasting opportunity

After a successful launch in June 2003, as one of the premier community websites for Britains South Asian communities, History is now taking a big leap forward in the arena of mainstream webcasting.

History is now launching a new section called Radio for All. It will be a unique platform for all creative people to showcase and broadcast their creative work on the Internet. The aim is to explore the constructive power of the Internet to promote creativity in a culturally diverse environment.

Radio for All programme will have two sections.

Radio for All: Schools Programme: The programme invites schools, students and teachers to participate and broadcast on the Radio for All. The programme will provide broadcasting opportunities to students and teachers through their schools on educational topics and course works. It could really be a very stimulating experience for young students to listen back to their own broadcasts. The programme sets no editorial constraints. It will be for schools and project leaders to determine the broadcasting content. The programme is absolutely free and without obligation. History team could also provide training in programme recordings and basic broadcast techniques.

Radio for All: Public and Community Programme: We also invite charities, community groups and individuals to spread their message to the global audience. The Public and Community Programme is an innovative experiment in broadcasting where people decide the content. They can broadcast their own film and music review, cricket or football match report, their own short story, poetry or even a drama or simply a political commentary criticising Bush, Blair, Musharraf or Sonia, as long as they remain within the limits of public decency.

Internet is a wonderful medium of public _expression. We have just begun to realise its true potential. In most broadcasting organistions its mostly commissioning editors who have a very tight grip over the content, but History Talking.coms Radio for All programme is designed to reverse this process. This is real public broadcasting. From now on its the listeners who will decide the content, says Vijay Rana, the editor of History

Participants can send their recordings in MP3 format as an email attachment to: Recordings should not be more than five minutes long. For longer recordings participants will have to write to the editor. In some cases History Talking will be able to ring and record your interviews as well.

Vijay also sent me an email yesterday: “In my time I could not imagine any 13 yrs-old speaking English in Bulandshahr. The students from BSR have lapped up at this opportunity, shairing ideas on a subject like Tsunami. [Check this.] If you could forward this opportunity to some schools it will be a great help. I will also need your ideas on how to take it furhter in India.”

This is a terrific initiative. Any suggestions for Vijay? Can we get more Indian schools involved?

Lucky or Smart?

That is the title of a Bo Peabody (of Tripod) book. Brad Feld outlines the table of contents of the 58-page book:

1. Lucky or Smart?
2. Entrepreneurs Are Born, Not Made
3. Entrepreneurs are B-Students. Managers are A-Students.
4. Great Is the Enemy of Good
5. Start-Ups Attract Sociopaths
6. Practice Blind Faith
7. Learn to Love the Word No
8. Prepare to Be Powerless
9. The Best Defense Is a Gracious Offense
10. Dont Believe Your Own Press. In Fact, Dont Read.
11. Always Be Selling Your Stock
12. Know What You Dont Know

I haven’t yet read the book. My quick take: you have to be smart first, so that you can get lucky.