My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Telecom Providers, 100MBps Broadband and the Broadcasting Commission - Redemption Song

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Telecom Providers, 100MBps Broadband and the Broadcasting Commission - Redemption Song

On this hapless Earth
There’s small sincerity of mirth.
And laughter oft is but an art
To drown the outcry of the heart.

Hartley Coleridge, Address to Certain Gold-fishes

The recent announcement of coming regulation for Broadcasters based on the recommendation of a Media Policy Report, a rather lengthy and well researched document of recommendations by Canadian consultants, Nordicity was always an ominous Sword of Damocles hanging over the Media Bosses heads as stated in the article “RJR's future profitability looks shaky”, published Wednesday, October 20, 2010, The Jamaica Observer.

Broadcasting Commission has the intention of not only banning and making it a SERIOUS criminal offence for Disk Jockeys (DJ’s for short!) to accept financial contributions (read: bribes) in order to give a particular Reggae or Dancehall Artiste disproportionate airplay, a practice in local Jamaican and American vernacular called “payola” as stated in the article “Broadcasting Commission wants payola a criminal offence”, published Saturday, November 13, 2010, The Jamaica Observer.

Additionally, they are also requesting of the Big Three (3) Broadcasters and affiliated and non-affiliated Radio Stations, all of which are “free-to-air” Broadcasters, to begin paying licensing fees to the Government of Jamaica for the usage of their Broadcast Spectrum as stated in the article “Radio, TV stations could soon be asked to pay licensing fee to regulator”, published Thursday November 11 2010, The Jamaica Observer. People, this is an obvious set up as my blog article entitled “Road to Damascus experience to make Broadcasters see DSO Benefits”; DSO (Digital Switch Over) by 2011 AD!

Folks, this was long in coming. Americans may say this [DSO, Regulation] is an attack on freedom of speech and censorship, blah, blah, blah.

But alas, if Apple iTunes, a website service of Apple Inc, is refusing to carry Vybz Kartel and Bounty Killa’s music and only carries Reggae and Dancehall Music material (not even having the title “Dance Hall”, by the way!) that is starch clean of Violent and Sexually explicit music, isn’t that censorship, only in another form?

Local Jamaican Media Entities, the so-called Elephant, are now but little goldfishes, swimming in the fish bowl of the Regulations of the Broadcasting Commission.

The news articles above are not as yet made Law and are to be subject to Open Air Debate before Parliamentary Debate in the Lower House. I would definitely give anything to be like a Fly on the Wall Miley Cyrus style, to see who in the Broadcasting and Music Industry would oppose the Broadcasting Commission; Broadcasters known to be anti-JLP as ironically no politician can control them, so erudite in their declaration of “Media Independence”.

In effect, the Broadcasting Commission is using the Big Three (3) Broadcaster’s own arguments against them, as criminalizing payola and regulation would in effect be guaranteeing absolute “Media Independence”,  “payola” being a lack of said “Media Independence”. Clever arguments, Dr. Hopeton Dunn!

Dr. Hopeton Dunn, who is the Chairman of the Broadcasting Commission, if he gets his way, will set right the pathway for upcoming and established Reggae and Dancehall Artiste looking for a “buss” or “big break” in the Music Industry, being unfairly restricted due to a scrupulous few who were effectively “paying to get airplay” and thus leveling the playing field.

Apparently, no play lists vetted by the Station Manager, with music stored in a Media Library and sampled before airplay were being used, making the Radio DJ no better than the unprofessional, unlicensed Disk Jockeys who work for Local Sound Systems (are Radio DJ in Jamaica Licensed?).

Licensing of “free-to-air” Broadcasting, both Radio and Television, is less about Government Regulation Taxes and spreading the unfair burden of Government Regulation by the Broadcasting Commission. This is currently being borne ONLY by Cable Providers, than it is about “straightening up and flying right” before the impending transition of Radio and Television Broadcasting from Analog to Digital Transmission or DSO (Digital Switch Over).

Thus, this news is part of the first step in cleaning house and a push towards a more modern, free of Third Party interference (Broadcasters singing this “Media Independence” song for so long!), All Digital Jamaica Broadcasting and Media landscape, DSO Style.

A long overdue transition which it was so desirous, as the coming of 100MBps Internet, both Wired Broadband as in the case of All-Digital Triple Play Provider FLOW as stated in the article “FLOW to bring 100Mbs to Jamaican homes”, published Saturday October 16 2010, The Jamaica Observer and Wireless Broadband as in the case of Telecom Provider CLARO as stated in the article “Game on!”, published Friday October 22, 2010 by Mark Titus, The Friday Financial GleanerTelevision JamaicaCVM TV  and the Radio Stations will be the last Analog vestige left to enter the 21st Century by 2011 AD.

The Broadcasting Commission Directives banning the airplay on Public free-to-air Radio and Television of Violent and Sexually explicit music two (2) years  ago as stated in the Ian Boyne article “'Music and Lyrics' assesses impact of 'daggering' ban”, published Sunday 21st February 2010, The Jamaica Gleaner was just the beginning.

Many saw the ban as an attack on Dancehall, which is ironic, as the Regulator was effectively doing it Government Mandated job, as free-to-air Broadcasting comes under the oversight of the Government of Jamaica as stated in the article “Dancehall under attack - Broadcasting Commission sticks to ban on vulgar lyrics”, published Tuesday February 10, 2009 by Daraine Luton, Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner.

This is after many warnings from the Media Fraternity to clean up their act as well as the experience by some Dancehall and Reggae Artiste who are now unable to get visas to work and perform in their countries due to their lack of paying taxes and respect of the right of citizens and decency in their music as stated in my blog article entitled “Radio Stations and the Playlists - Dungeons and Dragons”.

The French outlook on Reggae and Dancehall Music (can I now say the rest of Europe?) as annunciated by Senator Olivia Grange, Minister of Youth Sports and Entertainment, reading the MIDEM Report at the University of the West Indies in February of 2009.

This can also be read in articles published on my blog. It would appear that the Reggae and Dancehall Artiste will have to return back to their original models involving making money from CD sales, as touring is becoming more difficult to secure. Especially as indigenous Reggae and Dancehall Artiste in these European countries are far cheaper. Meanwhile, Digital Music and Video Piracy, the problem everyone in Jamaica chooses to ignore, is rampant.

DSO would mean opening up of “White” Space Frequencies to Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Networks after licensing akin to the action of FCC (Federal Communications Chairman) Julius Genachowski in the US of A as stated in the article “FCC to open up vacant TV airwaves for broadband”, published Monday September 13, 12:35 am ET By JOELLE TESSLER, AP Technology Writer, Yahoo! News and now officially confirmed in the article “FCC officially frees TV white space spectrum”, published Thursday September 23 2010, CNET News.

Coupled with IP address blocking, remote monitoring via “Super” Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) and the shutdown of illegal download websites, Digital Music and Video Piracy can be eliminated. Legal Downloading revenues for content providers Internet Sales Taxes for the respective Governments of the United States of America, Jamaica and all other countries; simple.

Broadcasters sale of their soon to be licensed spectrum to Telecom Providers and possibly spectrum license “free” “White” Space Frequencies by Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) Networks after mapping the spectrum landscape as per my stirring article on the subject entitled “Digital Video and Music Piracy - A Land Grab for Taxes on the Internet” on Administrator Kirk’s of the Geezam blog are benefits for Broadcasters, also simple.

Telecoms Providers will like this new paradigm; cleaner lyrics + more creative and authentic Jamaican Music and video content = Increased Corporate Sponsorship. Though bitter medicine, it would herald a transition to Broadcasting in HDTV, enabling the Big Three (3) Broadcasters to offer TV Anywhere and On-Demand Broadcasting as Telecom Provider LIME is in the process of doing as stated in the article “The people and ideas behind Mobile TV”, published Friday, November 12, 2010 BY EDWARD TAYLOR, The Jamaica Observer.

But what Technology will Television JamaicaCVM TV  and the Radio Stations use for HDTV and HD Radio respectively? Will it be DVB-T or DVB-H? Will Smart phones be able to stream their content over Wireless Broadband be it 3G, 4G or Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) via a downloaded app on their Blackberry, Apple iPhone or Google Android smart phone?

Or will enabling Blackberry, Apple iPhone or Google Android smart phone in Jamaica to receive the DVB-H signal on their smart phones via an app be the option, as Telecom Provider LIME intends to do as stated in as per my blog article entitled “LIME TV and Broadcasting - The Andromeda Strain and My Science Project”?


Will it be Set Top Boxes at you home ONLY, backward compatible with older Analog Radios and Television Sets? Look our for an article debating the merits and demerits of the various Digital Broadcasting standards and how DSO (Digital Switch Over) may occur in Jamaica on Administrator Kirk’s of the Geezam blog coming soon. Truly this is the Broadcasting Commissions’ Redemption Song, Bob Marley Style!
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