My Old Article (7): The sky’s the limit: The broadcasting law

JAKARTA (JP): Every month a new type of cellular phone is released to the public. The latest would be the one with an attachable digital camera. We are getting closer and closer to the next generation: 3G. When the world talks about new technology, we join the crowd. While they have a good plan, a solid infrastructure and the “”what next”” vision, we, unfortunately, do not have these things. Not yet.

We must hurry to catch up before digital convergence reaches its peak, but unfortunately we have less to start with. Similar in nature to the United States’ 1996 Telecommunications Act would be our Broadcast Law No. 24/1997, which has been sitting in the legislature for some time.

There is no discussion of possible technological advances there, not even a vision. The subject of discussion and debate is more similar to what was settled 100 years ago in the U.S. Here are some of the issues:

First, the Indonesia Broadcasting Commission (KPI). KPI may likely resemble the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States. However, the KPI will not, or must not, have the same authority as the FCC.

Some of the FCC’s tasks were outlined in Section 303 of the Communications Act of 1934, which led to the birth of the FCC: “”(T)o classify [radio] stations and prescribe services, assign frequencies and power, approve equipment and mandate standards for levels of interference, make regulations for stations with network affiliations, prescribe qualifications for station owners and operators, levy fines and forfeitures and issue cease and desist orders.””

Additional comprehensive tasks were added as new technologies appeared — television, satellite and microwave communication, cable TV, cellular phones, wireless applications and the Internet.

In Indonesia, the KPI’s powers will be limited. The House of Representatives has suggested that frequency allocation should go to the KPI, but the government, in this case the ministry of communications and information, did not agree to this. Until now, frequency spectrum allocation has been under the Ministry of Transportation, which is also concerned with frequencies for transportation.

It is tough to decide who gets what frequency in what location. Indonesia already has 10 private TV stations (RCTI, SCTV, TPI, ANteve,Indosiar, Metro TV, TV7, Lativi, TransTV, and TV-G), and one government-owned station (TVRI). All the stations have gone national, and already reach more than 50 percent of all areas.

More repeat stations will be established in the years to come, and, if possible, new licenses will be issued for more TV stations.

However, if the KPI cannot “”assign frequencies and power”” for stations (radio or TV), how will they perform? Technological advancements in broadcasting and telecommunications are moving faster than ever. In other parts of the world, the digital compression has eased off allocations. Has the government foreseen this?

The Indonesian TV industry is different from the U.S. model. We don’t have network stations with their affiliated stations, nor independent stations. There are no cable networks with multiple channels. The TV network business model in the U.S. was rooted from the radio network, where one network can have several affiliated stations in different cities all over the country.

The FCC’s first and main task was frequency allocation for radio stations. When noncommercial organizations, such as churches and schools, pleaded to establish stations they were unable to get a frequency because most were granted to commercial stations.

Not until 1945 did the FCC clearly define frequencies for educational and nonprofit stations: 88 MHz to 92 MHz. Allocation for television was another drawn-out, conflicted issue.

Established on June 11, 1934, the FCC, whose members were appointed by the President and approved by the Congress, had to decide whether licenses could be passed to network or local stations.

Similarly, in Indonesia the government cannot decide whether allocations should be national or local. The spirit of Indonesian Law No. 22/1999 on provincial autonomy has supported frequency allocation at the provincial level.

On the other hand, the ministries of transportation and information still want to regulate it at the national level. Unfortunately, this means that provincial or community television could be limited or even banned — if it interferes in national TV frequencies.

The case of East Java’s JTV has proven this; one of its transmitting towers was shut down by the police due to interference with Indosiar.

And regarding community or public television, say goodbye to public TV. Instead welcome a new hybrid station: TVRI. State-owned but commercial television has given way to public TV, which was a title that TVRI once saw as a burden.

Many applauded the effort by Sumita Tobing, TVRI‘s president director, to make this change, while many others condemned it. Now, we must redefine the business model of public TV.

In the U.S. and many developed countries, public TV is fully funded by the government and appreciative contributors, and there are no commercials between programs. Unfortunately, TVRI has to support too many employees spread across the country, and has less money for good programs.

On the contrary, community TV, broadcasting locally or provincially, has bloomed everywhere. From the campus (Ganesha TV, ITB, Bandung) to corporate offices (Caltex, Kalimantan Timur) to JTV (East Java province), most of them are able to finance their own programs, even for one to two-hour broadcast operations. The problem arises when they use up the frequency, but only if they are not using cable for distribution.

Both public and community television station should clearly “”characterize”” the public and community they represent. The new broadcast law must consider them, not “”terminate”” them. What would happen if all mass media went commercial? The government provides no room for education and knowledge, again?

Then there are the overlooked issues. Many issues could hit the deck in time. Sex and violence must be supervised, while home taping could be copyright infringement. Overexposed children, program-length commercials, abuse of language, court TV, digital transition and convergence could be left out. Broadcast Law No. 24/1997 must clearly define and regulate these things beforehand, not afterward in the form of amendments.

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 08/01/2002 7:29 AM | Opinion

Tinggalkan komentar

Ditulis oleh pada Juli 21, 2013 in public policy, SCTV, technology


Tag: , , , , , , ,


My Old Article (2): Unwiring the Internet blunder on the many islands of Indonesia


JAKARTA (JP): The Internet in Indonesia is like the city of Jakarta: many activities backed up in a terrible traffic jam. “”Slowly but surely we are becoming connected to the outside world,”” says Alika Aurelia, an Internet observer and owner of several information technology (IT)-related companies in Jakarta.

Every day commuters have to face the deranged and crowded streets. So do the subscribers of Internet service providers (ISPs) in Indonesia. Data, from simple text to video streaming, travels through phone lines like cars at peak-hour, jammed and bottlenecked, Alika adds.

The infrastructure of messy streets in Jakarta is to be blame for traffic problems. And the Internet in Indonesia is facing the same problem: poor infrastructure.

With so many alleys and dead-ends, Jakarta also has three main streets: Sudirman, Thamrin and Rasuna Said. In Indonesia today, there are many ISP allies, with three major players: Indosat, Telkom and Satelindo.

The main issue limiting the number of players is the monthly spending on Internet licenses, which cost thousands of dollars per month. And if the dollar keeps floating toward the ceiling, even the main players could crash. Let’s hope not.

License to Speed

The costly license is all about bandwidth. Bandwidth, the complexity of the data for a given level of system performance, allows text (as the data) to be downloaded in a second. It is also possible to download photographs or more complicated data in a second. However, to download a photograph requires more bandwidth.

Large sound files and computer programs require even more bandwidth for acceptable system performance. More complicated data is moving pictures with sound, or movies for short. One can request a movie as a pay-per-view commodity, then the movie is transferred by streaming or downloading methods.

Ultimately, virtual reality (VR) and full-length three-dimensional audio-visual presentations require the most bandwidth of all. Today, VR and 3D movies are still undergoing trial-and-error analysis in technology labs — one of them is the University of North Carolina, where Howard Rheingold, author of Virtual Reality, has experienced early VR technology.

Technology humbuggery

In brief, from simple text to VR, all transmitted and received signals, whether analog or digital, have a certain bandwidth.

In digital cable and fiber-optic systems, the demand for ever-increasing data speeds outweighs the need for bandwidth conservation. There could be an abundance of bandwidth to go around if more and more cables are continually installed, but then again, hard wires are plentiful. Where else can solid cables be placed; under feet or above heads?

With no wires to install instantly, demand exceeds supply. However, there are always other efforts to anticipate a more dynamic, often interactive, multimedia content by “”re-arranging”” the network infrastructure.

One of the efforts could be upgrading the Internet protocol (IP) networking. It shifts from Layer 3 connectivity issues to the construction of intelligent, Layer 4 – 7 infrastructures.

Network layer upgrades

Principally, the IT industry emphasis is turning to specially tuned overlays to the Internet. They are called content delivery networks or content distribution networks (CDNs).

A CDN is a system, frequently an overlay network to the Internet, that has been built specifically for the high-performance delivery of rich multimedia content. A CDN’s raison d’etre is to make the Internet a trusted delivery network for mission-critical, content-rich CDN services.

CDNs address the severe response-time demands, mainly by minimizing the number of Internet backbones that a site requests. This results in streaming or downloadable content encounters becoming much shorter.

The CDN also contains a lookup service that steers a content request to the content surrogate that is closest (geographically or shortest travel time) to the user and/or is the least busy.

Wireless solution

To some extent, Alika remarks, the industry needs to also think of alternative ways such as “”wireless”” communication infrastructure. Either way, restructuring the network systems or building new infrastructure for wireless devices, there are some issues for consideration. Let’s look into the wireless further.

Wireless communication systems carry a signal through atmospheric space without, of course, wire. The early form of the wireless system, or wireless for short, was the “”telegraph”” that went on air in the early years of the 20th century.

Besides radio, television, facsimile and other data communication devices, perpetuating wireless progress has inspired the advent of other devices: from the most complex: full-feature cellular phones, global positioning systems (GPS), cordless mouse or keyboard; to simple baby monitors.

Wireless transceivers are available for connection to portable digital assistants (PDAs) and notebook computers, allowing Internet access without the worry of having to locate a phone jack. One of these days, it will be possible to link any computer to the Internet via satellite, wherever the computer is located on the globe.

In Europe, new high-bandwidth allocation for wireless local area networks (LANs) are expected to be installed where existing LANs are not already in place. With a wireless LAN, a mobile user can also connect to a network through a radio frequency. To some extent, this could be considered as an inexpensive way of tackling infrastructure problems.

If it were possible to introduce this development in Indonesia, with its many scattered islands, it would be a great move toward resolving the infrastructure logistics nightmare. Moreover, if the wireless LANs also communicated directly with a satellite, then this could also cut down the hierarchy of network routing. No traffic jam, no more ill-famed world wide wait.

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Life | Sun, May 06 2001, 7:21 AM


Glocal Media

Saya baru saja menuntaskan satu karya tulis yang selama enam bulan terakhir saya ubah, dari sebuah buku teks menjadi buku berhipotesis tentang kebijakan publik dan media. Saya melakukan studi banding atas sektor M&E (media and entertainment) di China dan di Indonesia, dan khususnya tentang isi media atau lebih dikenal dengan istilah “content”. Saya tak harus pergi ke China untuk mendapatkan berbagai informasi, karena saya hanya duduk membaca seluruh sumber (pdf atau lalu menulis dan membaca lagi. Saya juga hanya berkirim email ke Prof. Anthonyy YH Fung dari School of Journalism and Communication, CUHK, Hong Kong dan Dr Umair Haque dari Havas Media Lab, Amerika Serikat.

Ini buku kedua tentang media, dan buku ketiga kalau dihitung dari buku dwibahasa cerita anak yang saya tulis semasa kuliah dulu.

Silakan klik sini untuk membaca lebih lanjut, dan klik sini untuk lampiran pdf atau video.