Bishkek, day 2 SL

Bishkek welcomed me to the new day with warmer -15 degrees and a range of interesting activities for the day. Before the press conference for Kyrgyz IT forum, I have managed to visit The Historical Museum with collections ranging from nomadic ancestors to the revolution of 2010, in memory of all who lost their life, definitely putting every visitor to the real ground. The museum itself is a nice stone and marble building, albeit cold in the winter, with bronze statues from soviet times, Marx, Engels and Lenin being very well represented. The entrance offers an super view on the main – Ala-Too square with the parliament and the national flag with a permanent guard.

In the press conference...

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... have the organizers of the forum presented the program, with a few words allocated to the representative of of company Beeline, the main event sponsor and me, stating that the WiFi spectrum should be liberalized, illustrating its effect through good-practice example of open wireless network wlan slovenija. I was expecting more media to be present, as Kyrgyz IT forum in one of the countries more important technology events.

Next, I have visited the Faculty for the telecommunication and presented the project wlan slovenija, operation of the system nodewatcher and illustrated the importance of a liberalized WiFi spectrum to a full lecture room of students. As a part of the state university with poor funding, there is even no wireless internet connectivity within the faculty, although they are studying its operation.

My previous impressions about the countries internet infrastructure were confirmed by students, internet infrastructure is partially available in Bishkek, nonexistent in less populated areas and too highly priced for most of the population. International internet bandwidth is limited somewhere in the range of 1-2 Gbps for the whole country, effectively reducing international bandwidth to less then 1Mbps on most internet connections. This only international link goes across Kazakhstan, Russia, finally to Frankfurt, thus having quite some bottlenecks along the way. However things are turning better, it is rumored Google will be building a datacenter in the neighboring Kazakhstan and there is already a physical optical link to the internet backbone in China, but not yet in use, as they want to have control over the traffic and Kyrgyz telecom does not agree.

Kyrgyzstan is divided by mountains in north and south, thus allowing only a microwave link between Bishkek in north and Osh in south, as far as I know with an adequate capacity for now. Furthermore, the internet accessibility is limited by data limits and high prices on the international traffic, due to low capacity.

After an interesting and a good hour long presentation, delicious lunch, I have continued to the Manas university, where the Kyrgyz IT forum will be tomorrow. I have set up a test wireless network for the presentation and to enable alternative wireless internet access to visitors. I have to admit, that there is a significant difference between the national university seen today morning and Manas university, set up and financed mostly bu Turkey. Unfortunately, there appears to be be no research and educational networks such as ARNES in Slovenia, thus connectivity between universities is not good.

Tired and jet-lagged, I have concluded the day in bed finalizing presentations for tomorrows Kyrgyz IT forum.