From A (ARPANET) to Z (Zettabytes)

Kalba International’s Digital Time Capsule

Our firm was founded shortly after the Internet broke out of its chrysalis—in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Its roots were academic so ARPANET was in the air.  Kalba International’s first Internet project in 1975, conducted jointly with MIT, was a look at the future of electronic mail on behalf of the Federal Communications Commission. 

This was followed by a market assessment of video conferencing rooms for AT&T and by assessments of trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific cable and satellite systems, projecting future capacity needs.  We introduced during this early phase the concept of Institutional Networks (I-Nets) to the municipal arena.  I-Nets, which continue to operate to this day, provide city and town governments with data and video links overlaid on top of the local cable TV network.  In the process, we both planned and evaluated pilot projects in telemedicine, online education, emergency communications and other services.

In recent years, our digital development work has focused on emerging and frontier markets.  We have planned digital ID systems, assessed digital financial services, structured e-Government programs, and evaluated IXPs and university networks (NRENs), while reviewing e-commerce and data protection legislation.  At a broader scale we have designed strategies for countries to transition to a digital economy and recommended incentives for digital investment and traffic hubbing.

In an ongoing project we are reviewing digital taxation and regulatory regimes across 18 countries in Africa and the Middle East.  The purpose is to determine how these affect investment in broadband while recognizing that digitally-related businesses, whether mobile operators or importers of PCs, are ready taxation targets in countries where most businesses are informal and most individuals may not even be registered with the government.  We have also addressed governance issues that often limit national digital initiatives.  Our Digital Development Practice has involved 60 countries to date.

The practice is co-led by Kas Kalba and Olivier Alais.  Kas has led recent cases in national digital development strategy and related use of Public Private Partnerships as well as the taxation review cited above.  Olivier has managed a wide range of digital applications and planning projects, including NREN, digital ID, and e-Government.  Specialists in cybersecurity (Macy Summers), mobile money (Francois du Plessis), digital law (John Adams), apps software (Christelle Scharff), online education (Nancy Ruther) and OTT regulation (Chris Hogendorn) contribute to the practice.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

« Content Caching Vs. Cable Capacity | The Best Way to Issue 5G Spectrum—Lessons from China? »