International -- Readers Report
WHY LATIN AMERICANS PREFER CABLE TV TO SATELLITE (int'l edition)
In your story "Satellite TV: Still a fuzzy picture" (Latin America, Dec. 22), you say that the number of subscriptions for satellite TV is below expectations. I believe I know one of the reasons for this. Here in Brazil, satellite television does not carry certain widely watched local channels. But cable TV does. Since the reception for broadcast channels is awful in built-up markets like Rio and Sao Paulo, it is hardly surprising that Brazilians are opting for cable TV instead.
No doubt the satellite-TV providers will eventually wake up to this fact, and then we can expect a rapid increase in the subscriber count. Until then, satellite companies will have to content themselves with signing up only those viewers who can afford to subscribe to one service for local channels and a second for variety--and that is a very select audience.
Rio de Janeiro
Your article overlooked the fact that cable TV is still the service preferred by more than 90% of the Latin Americans who have pay TV. Our company operates cable systems in the south of Mexico, including Acapulco, and we provide a more complete and affordable service than either DirecTV or Sky Latin America have at present. The two rivals face more competition from cable TV and broadcasting than from each other.
Grupo Telecable Mexicano
Mexico CityReturn to top
ANY INDUSTRIAL POLICY IS DOOMED TO FAIL (int'l edition)
I have much respect for Paul Craig Roberts--he is very perceptive in what he says. But he does not go far enough in "The Asian crisis proves industrial policy doesn't pay" (Economic Viewpoint, Dec. 22). Not only does industrial policy not work, but, more broadly, societal structures based on coercion do not work.
Managed societies make a mockery of the concept of thinking beings. The premise is that one group--those anointed as politicians--can think better than others and therefore should have control over the lives and property of others. But as we see in the Asian currency crises, politicians are not able to manage their own lives, let alone the destiny of millions.
William W. Morgan
HanoiReturn to top
THE REASON PEOPLE PICK ON BILL GATES? SIMPLE (int'l edition)
The caption "Why me?" on a photograph of Bill Gates requires some comment ("Microsoft goes low-tech in Washington," American News, Dec. 22).
Bill Gates, being the smartest guy we all know, already knows the answer: The Justice Dept. has decided to go after him because he is the richest guy in the world.
Stephen E.K. Loh
Accra, GhanaReturn to top
GIVE TRAVELERS AN EASIER PASSAGE THROUGH INDIA (int'l edition)
I found the article on India's tourism problems interesting and accurate on many counts ("The Taj Mahal by moonlight? Think again," Asian Business, Dec. 29). I am not connected with the tourism industry in any way. But I do travel a fair amount through the country on business. Therefore, I do experience some of the problems that are faced by tourists--but in a different manner.
Hotel rates have climbed in the past few years, making business travel quite expensive without much improvement in the quality of service. While five-star hotels are still at acceptable levels, the service provided by four- and three-star hotels is definitely substandard.
What makes things especially difficult is a shortage of rooms at most destinations, especially at tourist destinations. Room rates in tourist destinations climb during the peak months. Service quality dips as hoteliers tend to be a little arrogant during this season. And worse, rooms and flight tickets are impossible to get.
The government needs to take action. India has much to offer travelers --much that is not known outside India. We do have a really beautiful country. But visiting many of these places is a daunting task even for us Indians. For foreigners, I would assume, it is even more so.
And while things have improved in the past few years, it is not enough. We need a more aggressive tourism policy, better infrastructure and facilities, and more airlines that provide good service. The government must realize that the world will not wait for us. This is the time for us to attract business, foreign investment, and tourists. A happy tourist is a good ambassador for the country. Many of us in India feel sad at watching the world go by while the government dithers.
Secunderabad, IndiaReturn to top