Thursday, September 27, 2007
  Inter(net)esting facts

1. More than half the UK is connected to broadband and the average speed has trebled over the past year and a half to 4.6 megabits per second - more than 80 times the speed of a dial-up internet connection.

Which is still ten times faster than I get on my dial-up connection here in Jakarta. But it seems that the UK is way behind the times.

Countries such as France, Germany, the US, Japan and South Korea have already started investing in networks which can deliver up to 100 megabits a second, enough for a dozen high-definition TV channels.

2. The Ministry of Communications and Information has a Director of e-Gov(ernment), Djoko Agung Harijadi. He would like decreased bureaucratic procedures in order to encourage a public service sector with transparent management systems offering efficient online information. The country needs a shift to cultural perspectives and improved infrastructure if it wants to successfully implement e-Gov.

"There are resistances against e-Gov," he said, according to today's Post. "This is mainly due to lack of awareness and recognition of needs of the system. Usage of the internet and computers is still low."

Surprised? Then see fact no.1.

3. Or take the case of The Reveller who lives a mere 20 metres from a main optic fibre cable laid by First Media for their FastNet 'service'. Apparently, this will allow subscribers to download at the hyperspeed of 3 megabits per second, which you've got to admit is pretty good.

Except the Rev is having the devil's own job in convincing FastNet to connect him even though his address was initially deemed suitable. He suspects that First Media is targetting those they think are the élite of Jakarta's society, which he certainly isn't. His house is tucked away and doesn't have one of those Ionic (ironic?) pillared frontages which the wealthy occupants hide behind whilst announcing their presence.

The owner of FastNet is, of course, a member of Indonesia's élite, living with his family in Lippo Village, Karawaci, surrounded by security aides. He needs to be as James Riady is (was?) not only a friend of Bill Clinton but is also a convicted criminal having illegally donated to Clinton's presidential campaign. He's not too popular here either, mainly because, heaven forfend, he's a born again Christian evangelist with a vision of converting poor villages to Christianity.

Renowned local blogger, Unspun, has recent news of Mr. Riady being a guest speaker at a national PR conference here, one of two.

Pertinent questions to ask about these conferences: Apart from the schmoozing and potential business leads for the hopeful, what would you get out of these conferences? Who are the speakers and what’s their caliber? (IPRA’s conference has james Riady speaking even though he cannot get Kabelvision working well to deliver good service and reliable internet connections, for instance) Are they known for achievements in PR or for just talking about PR? Apart from the tired old topics like internal communications and change communications, CSR CSR and more CSR, Going Glocal or its variations and PR ethics, are they saying anything new or examining in-depth how th whole bloody profession might be changed by New Media?

4. New Media
By this we can assume that Unspun is referring to blogging in all its forms as two further posts make very good points.

a. Another avenue of objecting to the men of SLORC or whatever they call themselves these days. If you’re in Facebook (some of you are not? where have you been) then join the group “Support the Monks Protest in Burma“. It’s got 10,694 members so far. Sadhu. Sadhu. Sadhu.

Separately, it is an interesting way to use a social media network for a cause or an issue. Just imagine if someone started a Watching Suhato’s Wealth Group, Walhi Watch Group or Kablvision Sucks group where everyone with any news about these subjects can post…what are the implications?

I couldn't agree more. Rather than twittering on about fave sounds, kissing the cat and drinking at Starbucks, there's a world out there that's pretty fucked up and maybe, just maybe, together we can do something to make it better.

b. The Australian Government is embracing blogging as a way of seeking the views of the public. It has released a discussion paper to canvass comment on setting up a “citizens’ blog”. The blog would enable people to take part in consultations, posting views in relation to various items of text or video provided by the Government.

Ong asks: Now isn’t this a better way to engage what is now a fact of life than, as is done in some backward countries, suing and picking fights with bloggers?

Ah, but only if they listen and act, Ong.

will be held on October 27 at (tentatively) Hard Rock Cafe. It will last from 10am to 4pm. Admission is free if you register before hand.

If you do decide to go, contact the aforementioned Ong of Unspun who initiated the event and is the main organiser. However, be aware that you need to be the holder of an Indonesian passport if you wish to be a participant. Those of us who are long-term residents and have yet to go the whole hog of dual nationality, thanks to the size of the required brown envelopes, will not be there as we have only been invited as observers.

Naturally we have been upset by this, as an often vituperative email thread makes clear. But then "it is the Indonesian bloggers that are an important "market" for the sponsors", Microsoft and Nokia who are giving Rp. 20 million's worth of goodies. You can see pics of the organisers and of today's press conference here.

It is good too to note that the Jakarta Post have seemingly come on board as sponsors. Now if they'd only keep the online pages open to all rather than registered users .....

There are only 200 places at the Pesta Blogger, with the first 100 'guaranteed' free entry. The original plans suggest that the next 100 would have to pay a hefty fee, but that may be so much bullshit. The press release gives little away.

Anyway, if you are one of the c.40,000 Indonesian bloggers in the country and you are interested in making money from your blog, you'd better get your application in quick. Say that Jakartass sent you and, hey, see if you can get something done about the lousy internet infrastructure in this "backward" country.

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