ICT stakeholders prepare roadmap for convergence

Andi Haswidi, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Watching Paris Hilton walking out of jail via You-Tube on a mobile telephone screen is just one of the benefits information junkies can realize through the latest convergence of multimedia and telecommunication technologies.

However, convergence can lead to chaos, where parties are hard to be identified and interaction of power plays can be hard to predict.

In order to anticipate changes and to channel advances in technologies and ideas into a coherent growth stream, stakeholders in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector have created a formulating roadmap.

"The roadmap basically says how we want the ICT sector to move forward, considering all the existing challenges faced by all the stakeholders involved," Indonesian Telecommunications Regulatory Body (BRTI) member Heru Sutadi told The Jakarta Post after a seminar on fixed-mobile convergence in Jakarta on Monday.

Heru said the roadmap is due for completion on September 27 and would include chapters on convergence issues as well as topics such as telecommunication penetration and tariffs.

"The ICT sector has entered the second stage of convergence of communication, computer and content," Heru said.

"In the future, these three things cannot be differentiated."

Heru said the latest inter-communication and convergence technologies had raised concerns over the domain of broadcasting, internet and telephone telecommunication regulations.

"Under our broadcasting laws, foreign ownership is limited to 25 percent," he said.

"Meanwhile, the mobile telecommunication sector is limited to 65 percent.

"If a mobile telco operator broadcasts a show, which laws should be used?"

Heru said the issue for Indonesia was really about harmonizing existing laws and regulations to accommodate the convergence of technologies.

The path of convergence was mostly focused on internet protocol-based technology, which is basically a user identification system that could be used by various applications, he said.

"There is also the problem of cell number transferability systems so this too will be discussed in the roadmap."

Heru said if Indonesia implemented the system, just as Singapore had, unfair competition issues that had risen recently between mobile telco operators could be solved as consumers could freely choose a desired operator without losing their numbers.

Focusing on consumers' interest on convergence in the seminar, Nokia Siemens Networks director of convergence solutions Soma Velayutham said today networks must follow consumers wherever they go.

"There is a need for a unified experience as there are too many applications and interfaces," he said.

With a converged system of networks, a user can pick an application and the network would choose the best technology to run it, Velayutham said.

"The only constant thing in telecommunications are the consumers."
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