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Book touts ICT

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Whichever way one looks at it, the conclusion seems to be that Jonathan Pinifolo and Chisomo Daka’s happiness lies in their power to make the life of those in rural and “underserved” areas happy and serene; to see the burden of costs lifted forever.

This is the impression one gets after getting a copy of ICT Infrastructural Development in The Development World, which will be launched tomorrow evening at Ryalls Hotel in Blantyre. Pinifolo is the lead author while Daka is the co-author.

“This is one of the powerful books specifically written for the developing world to assist such economies in the proliferation of ICT [Information Communication and Technology] services in the rural, underserved areas where most telecommunications investors are not interested in investing because of low Average Revenue Per User (ARPU),” Pinifolo says.

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The book captures a number of interventions, ranging from spectrum economics. It argues that spectrum valuation and pricing are key enablers whenever Capital expenditure (Capex) and Operational Expenditure (OPEX) involved in respect of wireless networks.

It, therefore, advocates that spectrum should be charged according to the location being used and the amount of spectrum that has been given.

It also highlights the importance of research and development with a specific focus on designing low cost network elements like antennas. In the authors’ view, antennas can be made from simple materials such as used tins of milk and copper wire.

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It suggests that this can help bring down the cost of equipment such as antennas, which “can be sold at affordable prices and this is one of the efforts to ensure that the initial Capex for wireless networks is reduced thereby bridging the digital divide in the developing economies”.

It cites Infrastructure, awareness and affordability as three major barriers to connectivity.

It also comes as no surprise that, since mobile network operators and internet service providers largely depend on spectrum for their operation, factors that impact mobile business value— including market structure, value chain, revenue factors, cost factors and financial factors— have been highlighted.

Pinifolo and Daka also zoom in on issues such as best practices in network management, with an in depth discussion on technical and financial aspects.

In terms of technical aspects, it implores players in the ICT industry to prioritise infrastructure sharing, observing that infrastructure sharing is a key component in “as far as `Installation and Commissioning of low cost Telecommunications networks is concerned [,] so that the network costs are not passed on to consumers”.

It takes a sweep at practices such as the mounting of equipment on existing raised facilities such as buildings or water tanks, at the expense of installing dedicated towers.

The final part of the book focuses on Innovations and Patents of ICT Infrastructure.

Typical practical examples like that of IBM in developed economies as well as typical practical examples in developing economies have been discussed.

“ICT in itself is subject to growth and meaningful growth in the ICT industry is affected by many factors ranging from resourcefulness of the Industry all the way to the level of creativity expressed by the stakeholders. Thus growth and achievement in the ICT sector requires (among other things) commitment, collaboration and finally embracement of inventions and innovations,” Pinifolo and Daka indicate

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