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End of nationally authorized Internet Services Providers?

The conventional telcos were complaining that the Googles and the Facebooks of the world (labeled by them as Over-the-Top or OTT players) were unfairly getting a free ride on the expensive, difficult-to-maintain last mile access network. Bharti Airtel went as far as unilaterally seeking to identify such uses by their customers and to impose additional […]

Thinking automatically, thinking socially or thinking with mental models?

Box

How do YOU think? We tell ourselves that when people are faced with making a decision, they would make reasonable, well informed and carefully thought out decisions. Oftentimes, we think (unconsciously of course) that other people think in the same way that we ourselves do. But for the vast majority of time, this is just […]

Route diversity saves Bangladesh (for now)

Dyn SMW4

SEA-ME-WE4, the only submarine cable of Bangladesh, has been down again for 10 days. This outage has affected the business of BSCCL, the state-owned subsea cable monopoly. Doug Madory of Dyn Research, the global Internet performance monitor company, has shared with me the diagnostic image of BSCCL traffic (Click on the thumbnail). Evidently the six […]

What will the Myanmar regulator do about towers?

It appears that getting sites to build towers is one of the biggest barriers to rapid rollout of mobile networks in Myanmar. One operator, MPT, has an advantage in that it owns land in all major population centers. The claim that they are examining tower quality before offering sharing is one that I would take […]

MNP is no silver bullet

One of the problems with social media is that no one reads beyond the 140 characters. I was asked about mobile number portability via Twitter. I provided the information via links in a blog post and then tweeted the post. I get the sense that no one went to the nuances. I am good at […]

Mobile number portability for Sri Lanka?

We have been requested via social media to shed light on MNP, I gather in light of various dissatisfactions about what all ISPs did in terms of blocking websites in the past few years. Attachment to the number, the costs involved in printing up new business cards, etc were seen by many in the West […]

Former Lead Consultant Economist assumes duties as Deputy Minister

Harsha assuming duties

Five years ago, our Lead Consultant Economist, Dr Harsha de Silva, entered Parliament as an opposition national-list MP. For those unfamiliar with idiosyncrasies of Sri Lankan politics, that is an MP without constituency responsibilities who is appointed by a political party based on the contribution he/she may make to legislative or executive functions. Without doubt, […]

LIRNEasia’s big data research presented at a public lecture in Sri Lanka

On 16th January, 2015 at the invitation of the Sri Lanka Institution of Engineers LIRNEasia presented a public lecture in Colombo on the results of our ongoing big data for development research. The public lecture was organized by The Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka (IESL) and attracted over 40 people in person and an unknown number via streaming […]

On the same wavelength on smart cities: Citizen is also the sensor

I was somewhat disappointed by the Modi government leaning toward the IBM vision of smart cities, where sensors would be ubiquitously placed across green-field new-build satellite cities across India. Our vision is lower cost and seeks to improve existing cities relying on citizens as the principal sensors. So I was pleased to our thinking echoed […]

PH and IN lag behind: Akamai’s State of the Internet

The most recent State of the Internet report by Akamai lists the Philippines (global rank 105) and India (global rank 115) at the bottom in terms of average connection speed for fixed broadband (fixed BB). The average speed (2.5 Mbps and 2 Mbps respectively) isn’t the real issue. The quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) change that is pretty much non […]

Applying basic principles of policy design across sectors

Parvez Iftikhar will be amused that I am proposing a fund, after objecting to his favorite Universal Service Fund. But that is how the policy game gets played. We look at something that does not work at all or produces more bad outcomes than good (government-owned telcos with universal service obligations in the old days; […]

Net Neutrality debate begins in India

Net Neutrality has been debated, discussed and re-discussed for a while now, mainly in the context of the west. For the first time however, it is now being debated in India, “virtually overnight”, when Bharti Airtel, India’s largest mobile network provider announced preferential pricing for VoIP services. The government is in favour of maintaining net neutrality […]

Abuse/non-use of Pakistan universal service funds

I did not know how bad things were in Pakistan until I read this essay by my friend Parvez Iftikhar, the greatest universal service fund evangelist there is. Coming to home, the level of utilization of USF funds in Pakistan, at this time, is actually worse. According to a careful estimate, since 2006 an equivalent […]

Experimentation to replace urban planning?

Partha Mukhopadhdyaya is an expert on cities, having studied them in multiple countries including China and India. He also happens to serve on our scientific advisory board. Mint carried the first part of an interesting discussion with Partha on cities. When we talk about the insights from big data for cities, we naturally get slotted […]

Smart cities: Will the gap be between those can work with data and those who cannot?

Our own work with big data focuses on cities. This guest editorial in the UN Global Pulse blog provides as excellent rationale for the focus on cities. In addition, it raises some areas for caution. Placing algorithms at the forefront (or even in the front-row seat) of decision-making may have potentially severe drawbacks. It’s indeed […]

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