The WHY question

In News Reports on November 7, 2012 at 12:17 am

I have four why questions after reading today’s newspapers.

WHY did the telcos even have a cap on overseas connection speeds in the first place? ST reported today that they have lifted the caps, in place for two years. When people use the word “cap’’, you sort of think this was involuntary but there was no sign in the report that this was mandated by the IDA. Nor does it say that they would have to pay overseas players more for more speed.
In fact, StarHub says it lifted the cap to meet customers’ need for greater speed to do stuff like live streaming. That sounds nice. SingTel said the cap was imposed so as not to breach IDA’s rule that network capacity cannot exceed 90 per cent. So does this mean the rule can be breached now?
As a cartoon on the ST Forum Page points out (really odd place for the cartoon given that it comes BEFORE the story, which is in a different section altogether), have we been over-paying for speeds?

WHY was the salary level for Personalised Employment Pass set so low in the first place? The newspapers said this limit has been bumped up from $34,000 a year to $144,000 a year. You know…for something so premium, $34,000 sounds just a bit more than what you would need to get a credit card?

Okay, it’s a small proportion – just 7 per cent of 174,000 EP holders. But shouldn’t we demand “higher’’ quality foreign talent for the premium perk of not being tied to a specific employer? I am all for raising the salary limit – no issue with that at all. But I wonder what is the point of shortening the validity period from five years to three years. Aren’t these people the sort of foreigners we would want to sink roots here?

WHY is SingTel’s re-branding exercise on BT’s Page 1?
SingTel’s PR people should be congratulating themselves today for saving the company the cost of Page 1 advertisement. In fact, we’re not told the cost of this glitzy campaign…business secret I suppose? In fact, I don’t know very much of what it wants to do. Its boss was quite a tease, judging from the report. There’s going to be some new social media product, but we don’t know what. There’s going to be a new programme guide – which “nobody has seen before’’. SingTel had better live up to its hype. It’s also going to be more active in responding to customer feedback and complaints – which I thought should be part of customer service improvements.

WHY, oh why, oh why did no one ask Michael Cunningham which were the three novels on his short-list for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction that was not awarded???? Even if it’s a secret, there are so many ways to get it out for him, like asking him what he thought were the top three American novels of the year. I so so so want to know!

  1. I think the telcos capped o’seas access because that’s something they have to pay other telcos for. While they probably have loads of capacity within the country (especially with the spanking new fibre network), they rely on foreign carriers for connections outside S’pore. SingTel’s talk about keeping traffic at 90% of network capacity was just a smokescreen (and it’s quite an obvious one since it’s absurd for the national telco to allow capacity to hit 90% in the first place; but wait, isn’t that what happened with the trains, housing…). They could have bought more international bandwidth from the global telcos and raised capacity, but that’s bad for profits! This is a longstanding issue, even before fibre came about. Advertised connection speeds talk about local connectivity, which is a lot less relevant to most Internet users, than international connection speeds. The new IDA reports are great as they do show up the big 2, versus M1, which hasn’t been shy to advertise its superior speed every Saturday. Incidentally, it’s interesting how M1’s speed advantage is described as “a tad faster” when it’s 20% better than SingTel (42mbps v 35mbps) and 30% up on StarHub (32mbps). Wish numbers for the newer, smaller ISPs were in the study so the public can decide if their aggressive packages are really good value.

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