Aleksandr Danchenko on Further Steps of the Branch Development
It is such an amazing time now. All we are living in the situation, which is able to rally and to unite. And, for example, the nation-wide idea of a purification, the recognition of own mistakes, the development of a concept for the way-out of a crisis, the accession to power of new persons. Indeed, every cloud has a silver lining. In all these, the only one fact disappoints me, that all above-mentioned relate, probably, to all branches of economics, except communication. It would seem, the branch might become one of the largest taxpayers, a flagman of Ukraine in the world's informational space, it could provide hundreds of thousands people with workplaces. But, no. In the communication, they are playing cat and mouse and satisfying their own ambitions. And, if inside the market nobody hears each other, then I declare aloud, involving the mass media: Stop demagogy!!! For the last 7 years, we has been only involved in ascertaining, sharing, arguing etc. The events of last months have bares a lot of problems in the branch. I address everybody, involved or interested in, with an appeal to put aside your ambition and solve existing problems step by step. Not to sound proofless, I suggest my own plan of the branch development.
It is extremely necessary to develop a short-term (transition, 1 year), a middle-term (3 years) and a long-term (5-7 years) strategy of transferring into information & telecommunication society with a usage of our own experience and the best practice of Europe, Asia and America. A strategy must not be adapted to any state, to any definite operator. The main idea must be expressed in the unconditional cooperation of a business and a state, aiming to solve acute tasks. And it must be determined, as a result, to the prosperity of Ukraine and a to the formation of a democratic society. I have the suggestions, developed together with my colleagues, concerning such strategies, and we are ready to provide them.
And there is one more essential point. I specify intentionally that a strategy must be exactly information and telecommunication, without IT. These are related branches, and indeed there are many crossovers between IT and Telecom, but in their essence these two branches practise different ideas, and it means that they must develop separately.
The branch needs to reform the public administration. It is necessary to come back to the Ministry of Communication and Informatization, which will be responsible for the implementation of short-term and long-term strategies, will be the legislative authority, will represent Ukraine at the international arena and integrate the country in the world's informational society. After all, today, Ukraine is known at all continents from a good side, exclusively owing to the private business. However, all, that relates to a governmental regulatory policy, are shrouded in the trail of scandals and intrigues: the absence of BBA market development, the non-transparency of Ukrtelecom's privatization and the non-transparent in the issue of 3G license issuing.
Let us turn back to the Ministry. The main point is - it must be a civil structure, not another integration in the special communication. Thai is nonsense, we gathered everything in one kettle, and in result we neglected the civil communication and almost killed the special communication. And the events of last months in the Crimea are an evidence for that. The NCCC without an attachment of "informatization" must retain functions of regulating, controlling over common conditions and rules, protecting of the market from dumping.
So-called personnel games around the NCCC’s compound are extremely annoying. The branch needs professionals, who will come not for one day, who will be able to develop, implement and monitor the efficiency of strategy's work. Now, those who strive for NCCC, pursue their object for lobbying of their own interests in business, separate persons, parliamentary groups and operators. Nut, more than everything, the appeal to the society for discussing a new compound of the NCCC is surprising. In this context, I remember the dialogue, which took place yet in the USSR times: "Why is there no order in the USSR? Because we are living in the State of Soviet, where everyone gives a soviet to each other and nobody is responsible for something" (Translator's remark: In Russian language "soviet" means "advice").
Thus, ladies and gentlemen, who will bear a responsibility, if suddenly a new compound of the NCCC is not able to do anything? That is very vantage place: "The society is guilty, because it has chosen them".
So, is it really so difficult to put aside ambitions for a while, and to put the branch in order, in which everybody is doing well? The branch of communication is not a toy, it is the high-technological area, where is no place for amateurs and careerist.
The main principle in the branch regulation must become the principle of equal conditions and reasonable regulation and deregulation. For the last 20 years, we have been making just what was exactly opposite. We regulated everything that had no need to be regulated, and deregulated everything that needed to be regulated. I will give several examples, which led to the stagnation.
The regulation of tariffs for the fixed-line telephony. How do we ignore the log in our own eye? In all over the world, the lowest threshold of tariffs is established, which allows participants of the market to dump and at the same time to work profitably. And as for us, we have a limit for the upper threshold of tariffs established. And the entire market works, basing on the principle: who is the cheaper is the better. We have lived up to the moment, when we are thinking not on how to earn, but on how to sell cheaper absolutely equivalent products.
The regulation of different bundle-services. For example, in France, a standard user package includes: 100 TV-channels, 10-20 Mbit/sec unlimited Internet, fixed-line telephony with unlimited calls inside the network and 1000 minutes of international calls. In Ukraine, an operator of fixed-line telephony (in contrast to mobile, by the way) cannot suggest such services in the market, as we have everything strictly regulated, including the quantity of free minutes. And a breach of these provisions leads to the loss of license.
The development of additional services. The fact that we dropped behind all the world for 10 years is not a secret for someone. And that is because we do not have the technological neutrality a priori. For example, the package Internet + Telephony is not possible to develop, as we face with the provision of telephony licensing. Along with that, there are no established common quality and safety standards in BBA. As for the issue of wireless and mobile networks, we continue to go along the old route: all conditions are prescribed for the one operator. But the most ridiculous situation is in VAS area, where the huge amount of services is run by non-specialized authority - National Soviet on Broadcasting Issues. This Soviet has a wonderful mission - the development of a common television space. I am sorry, but I shall draw an analogy with an anecdote: Dry law of the 80-ies, Georgian man cannot stand it any more, put in his bag several bunches of grape and goes to Gorbachev. He shows him that and asks:
- Mikhail Sergeyevich, what is it?
- Are you taking the piss of me? This is a grape.
Georgian man squeezes out a juice from the grape into a glass and asks again:
- Mikhail Sergeyevich, and what is it?
- Are you taking the piss of me again? This is a grape juice.
- So, what is the difference for you when I drink it, now or in 6 months???
Thus, what is the difference for the National Soviet what kind of technology of TV-signal delivery does an operator use? Such approach to the deal gives us an opportunity to provide the large spectrum of additional services (DTH, ОТТ, IPTV), and in such a way to earn more money and to pay more taxes in the Treasury. Instead, grey providers, which steal content, are developing actively in Ukraine.
And finally, the commonly known projects on digitalization and internalization of Ukraine. The project of integrated satellite platform creation is laying in my desk already 5 years. The period of project implementation is 2-3 months, but resulting from its implementation everyone who wishes receive stable and qualitative access to Internet, stable TV-signal and telephone line Additionally, the satellite signal is the safest mean of information delivery, and this is extremely important now, and not only for the Crimea. But, what are officials doing as a result? Instead of attracting business, they are creating a lot of projects, attracting investments and sponsors, money from which goes in unknown directions, as the problem of digitalization disappears nowhere.
I really want everything above-mentioned was heard.
Everything we suggest - the tenth part of those worked out and made. Monarchic lords, may be it is already the time to listen to your business. In Ukraine, there are competent businessmen and managers of the world level, who are ready to apply their experiences and knowledge to solve existing problems.