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Reform of state-owned enterprises

It appears state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have risen in salience in Sri Lanka recently. I am giving a keynote address on this topic at the launch of the Advocata Institute. The slideset that I will be using is here. The day before yesterday, I was debating on a TV talk show what should be done with […]

Yes to VAT, no to industry-specific taxes that treat telecom like tobacco

I was asked to comment on the Sri Lanka government’s decision to extend value-added taxes to the telecom industry. Below is my response. I have always taken the position that telecom services should be treated no differently from other goods and services. Therefore, I do not object to making telecom services subject to VAT. The […]

LIRNEasia as only source of demand-side data in Sri Lanka media assessment report

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Yesterday, a report entitled Rebuilding Public Trust was launched at a meeting attended by the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the Media Minister and his Deputy. I contributed to the report, primarily on policy and regulatory recommendations, not all of which were accepted, as is normal. My responses will be published shortly. But […]

Media coverage for systematic review on ICTs and MSMEs

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It was good to see a succinct summary of the discussions at last week’s dissemination event in New Delhi, come out in the widely read Dataquest India. Recently LIRNEasia (Learning Initiatives on Reforms for Network Economies Asia) along with IIT Delhi organized an expert forum discussion on the impact of ICT on MSMEs(Micro, Small and […]

US to make available 126 MHz in 700 Band for wireless connections to Internet

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It was in 2010, that the Obama Administration announced a roadmap to release 500 MHz of spectrum. With the newest announcement, it looks like the targets are being met. The only thing worse than having no announced roadmap, is having a roadmap where the targets are not met. The Federal Communications Commission on Friday said […]

The attention economy

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It was Herbert Simon who first talked of the attention economy: “Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.” Now we see what the value of attention is. Ours is way below USD 11.86, but […]

Is there a solution to the NOFN dilemma?

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A recent report by TIE, summarized in Mint, echoes many of the conclusions we reached about the challenges of increasing Internet connectivity in India, with emphasis on the bottom of the pyramid. It is important that Bharat Broadband Network stays at the backhaul level and does not seek to directly provide access services to end […]

Ooredoo Myanmar also moves into black operationally

Even if it took some exchange-rate movements, to do it, it’s still good news. My only concern is that Myanmar lawmakers will see these numbers as an invitation to start milking what they as a cash cow. There is much to be done in Myanmar in terms of translating the reforms into real benefits for […]

What can we learn from Systematic Reviews for the advancement of MSMEs?

Dr. Vigneswara Ilavarasan presenting the findings of the SR

On 26 April 2016, Dr Vigneswara Illavarasan who led the Systematic Review on ICTs and MSMEs, convened an expert roundtable to discuss the results and to learn from those working in the field. To round out his study, which was focused on urban areas, I presented the Systematic Review on the impact mobiles had on […]

Telenor Myanmar is cash-flow positive, with EBITDA margin of 42%

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2016 Q1 financial results revealed by Telenor Myanmar paints a rosy picture: “I think I’ve said for many quarters now that this cannot continue, but it does,” said Group CEO Sigve Brekke during the company’s financial results presentation. “One-and-a-half years into operation … [Telenor Myanmar] is now cash-flow-positive for the first time.” Telenor Myanmar’s operating […]

Platforms and how they play out in particular places

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In theory, surge pricing is a no-brainer. If prices go up when demand surges at particular times, surge pricing will bring additional supply to the market. While not supporting what appears on the face to be an economically illiterate decision by an Indian court to ban surge pricing the authors of the Economic Times op-ed […]

LIRNEasia partners with UNDP on SDGs

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On 18th April 2016 LIRNEasia inked its Memorandum of Understanding with UNDP on areas of cooperation for the first national summit on foresight and innovation for Sustainable Human Development titled “Visioning Sri Lanka #2030NOW”. The summit will be held in Colombo from 24-25th May 2016. In addition to LIRNEasia and UNDP, other core partners for this two day […]

LIRNEasia at the Colombo Big Data Meetup

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Yesterday Sriganesh and I had the pleasure of presenting LIRNEasia’s big data work at the 3rd session of the Colombo Big Data Meetup, a prominent local meetup group focusing on big data and data science, domains still very much in their infancy in Sri Lanka. We spoke to a diverse audience of nearly 150 IT professionals, […]

What can one say about policy barriers to mobile communication in ASEAN?

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I was given the task of talking about policy challenges to using mobile communication advancing socio-economic development in the ASEAN, at the research meeting on mobile communication in the ASEAN at the LKY School. Given the tremendous heterogeneity within ASEAN (ranging from Singapore to Myanmar) I decided it would be more useful to do a […]

Indian government fails to relieve itself of USF money

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I thought that the Government of India finally solved the problem of getting rid of the universal service fund money that kept coming in. Sam Pitroda gave them the solution with NOFN, that was supposed to shift the money to BSNL and other government entities. And the money was given for little result. But the […]

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