2006 February


This paper investigates conditions that need to be met in order to make smart subsidies successful in bridging access gaps in rural telecommunication services.  Nepal’s Eastern Development Region project is the case under study.   The final report, Smart subsidies: Getting the conditions right – The experience of expanding rural telecoms in Nepal can be downloaded HERE. The study finds that while it is possible to use the smart subsidies option to provide rural communities with telecommunications services the real question is whether such services are optimal and whether these projects could be sustained in the medium to long term.  The findings throughout the paper converge to the point that unless the right regulatory conditions are in place; particularly with respect to cost-based asymmetric interconnection agreements and effective regulation of incumbent’s anti-competitive practices, success of rural telecom service providers who are empowered by smart subsidies, would be questionable.
BBC NEWS | Technology | Mobiles aid drive for development
This is a pre-publication version of an article developed on the basis of a presentation made at the Annenberg Program on International Communication in Marina del Ray October 2005. Pre-publication article on Wireless and Development Statistics relating to Wireless and Development [Power point presentation] Summary of the original conference paper from Comminit.com related to Wireless and Development

Mapping disaster research

Posted by on February 14, 2006  /  5 Comments

NSF EXPLORATORY WORKSHOP ON SENSOR BASED INFRASTRUCTURE FOR EARLY TSUNAMI DETECTION, Maui, Feb 9-10, 2006 What I learned during my visits to the Civil Defense Center and the Tsunami Museum in Hilo and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Ewa Beach in Hawai’i last January greatly contributed to the disaster communication research program undertaken by LIRNEasia in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Therefore, I welcomed the opportunity to step back and reflect on the research program a year later, also in Hawai’i. The occasion was a workshop funded by the National Science Foundation of the US. It was organized by Louise Comfort, Daniel Mosse and Taieb Znati, all at the U of Pittsburgh. Louise is from Public Policy and has been working on disasters for a long time.
As a part of LIRNEasia’s Telecom Use on a Shoestring project, the use of ‘strategic’ behaviour to curb communication costs amongst the financially constrained in Sri Lanka and India was explored. The findings relating to such ‘strategic’ behavior are available for comment in the following paper: Telecom use on a shoestring: Strategic use of telecom services by the financially constrained in South Asia (V2.0 for comment) (February 2006) Telecom use on a shoestring: Strategic use of telecom services by the financially constrained in South Asia (V2.1 for comment, March 2006) The Authors invite comments and discussion. Abstract: When one talks of a ‘shoestring’ budget, it is understood that reference is being made to constrained finances, where individuals make attempts to cut costs through various methods without harming utility.
It appears that the Telecom Regulatory Commission is starting work on spectrum refarming. There are enormous gains to be achived if this is done right in an open, informed and consultative manner. LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE
Knowledge capacity is typically measured in terms of the ‘productivity’ of researchers. In a paper accepted for publication in Information Technology for International Development (ITID_1.pdf) Gamage and Samarajiva argue that researchers need to pay attention to their ‘internet presence’ and ‘connectivity’ as well. The argument is supported by data on researchers on telecom reform from Asia as found in the social science citation index and scholar.google.
Colombo, Sri Lanka, 19 December 2005: A recent study has revealed that many financially constrained Jaffnaites spend more than 12 per cent of their monthly regular income on telecommunications. People in Jaffna depend heavily on mobile telecommunication and have the highest demand for international calls in the Sri Lankan sample. A study of ‘financially constrained’ telecom users in Sri Lanka has shown that compared to similar users in other areas of Sri Lanka, users in Jaffna exhibit markedly different patterns in their telecom use. The study, released today by LIRNEasia, an Asian research organization based in Colombo looks at telecom use amongst people whose monthly incomes are below LKR 10,000 in the Badulla, Colombo, Jaffna and Hambantota areas…… English press release: Jaffnaites spend up to 12% of their monthly regular income on telecommunications More information about the project: Jaffnaites spend up to 12% of their monthly regular income on telecommunications