LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

Monthly Archives: March, 2009

CPRsouth4: Call for Abstracts & Young Scholar Applications

LIRNEasia is organizing its fourth CPRsouth conference, in Negombo, Sri Lanka from 7-8 December 2009. Themed ‘Speaking Truth to Power’, the conference aims to provide a forum for senior, junior and mid-career scholars to meet face-to-face and exchange ideas, establish networking opportunities and improve the quality of their scholarly work, in order to facilitate the […]

Sri Lanka: Dishes, dishes everywhere…


Multiple dishes is a common sight at many Nenasalas – the ‘telecentres’ set up under the e-Sri Lanka program, funded by the World Bank. Some of them are huge – with diameters little less than 2m. Having not done a design recently, I cannot tell the prices offhand, but I do know they are expensive […]

Sri Lanka: Bottom of the Pyramid phone lady


Not many are familiar with ‘line rooms’ in Sri Lanka’s estates. Fewer have ever visited one. These are the dwellings of the labourers – descendants of the migrants brought here by British planters from in nearby Madras state in India staring from 1827 to work in estates for meager salaries under austere conditions. Human development […]

Announcement: Testing Mobile Broadband quality (Colombo) – April 2009

LIRNEasia plans to conduct its next round of Mobile Broadband Quality testing (in Colombo) on April 6-8, 2009. As a rule such tests are conducted unannounced, for obvious reasons, but this time we decided to make an exception by making the process open. We invite anybody who is interested to participate. If you can bring […]

Sri Lanka’s SMS village


Thalakumbura is 17 km off Hali-Ela, in Badulla District, Uva province – one of the least connected in Sri Lanka. Strictly speaking, the village, just 10 km from the famous ‘Bogoda Bridge’, is connected – not to one but three mobile networks. However, the signal strength is not adequate to carry out a continuous conversation […]

Sahana takes wing; Sri Lanka Minister recognizes a new way of producing public goods

On March 27th, 2009, the Lanka Software Foundation committed to handover the Sahana project to the Sahana Software Foundation, upon incorporation. The award winning software, developed in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, is now recognized as a leading disaster management software suite and has been deployed from the Philippines to Manhattan. In […]

Denmark, Sweden dwarf US in new global IT ranking

Denmark boasts the world’s most networked economy, putting it and its Nordic neighbors in a good position to rebound from the current global downturn, the World Economic Forum said on Thursday. Sweden ranked second in the annual WEF Networked Readiness Index. The United States placed third, Singapore fourth and Switzerland fifth among the 134 economies […]

India: Finance Ministry nixes reduction of universal service fee

As those who have followed the discussion on universal service fees on this blog know, universal service fees are usually charged from a company (actually the company collects the money from customers and gives it to the government). The payments go to dedicated fund, from which it is disbursed (or not, for the most part) […]

Skype is five. Yet it’s the world’s biggest carrier!

In less than five years since its launch Skype has grown to become the world’s largest carrier of international voice telephone traffic with Skype-to Skype minutes alone accounting for eight percent of the total. According to figures from TeleGeography, which tracks international telecommunications traffic statistics, Skype-to-Skype calling totalled an estimated 33 billion minutes in 2008, […]

Can mobiles make a difference to African development?

Much of LIRNEasia’s work is premised on the mobile serving as the pathway to the Internet us by those at the bottom of the pyramid. Our African colleague takes a slightly different position. We will restate our position with supporting evidence from the Teleuse @ BOP research in Cape Town in April. I am sure […]

Mobile phone as a musical instrument

And now, for something completely different! LIRNEasia research found that mobile phones are increasingly being used for entertainment. But we never thought of this! Wang held his iPhone as if he were holding a sandwich, then blew into the microphone at the bottom of the device. He controlled the vibrato by tilting the phone as […]

Network sharing by Telefonica and Vodafone

Last year, the Indian authorities relaxed their strictures on infrastructure sharing, allowing the sharing of active and passive infrastructure except spectrum. Now in more mature markets, there are moves to go even further. As growth stabilizes, governments and operators in emerging economies should start looking at this option. Two of the world’s largest cellphone operators, […]

India inches toward reducing universal service fee

Since 2005, LIRNEasia has been critical of the very high amount (5%) charged from Indian telecom consumers through the operators and then left unspent in government accounts (approx. USD 4 billion at last count). Our criticisms were presented in multiple forms including a book chapter. We made them known to the leadership of the Department […]

UNCTAD discusses trade and regulation


At the “multi-year expert meeting” on services, development and trade: the regulatory and institutional dimension, organized by UNCTAD in Geneva, there was rich discussion on the increasing importance of regulation in an environment in which services trade is assuming greater importance. As attention shifts to services trade (for example, the most important element of the […]

World Bank wanted cyber-cafes for rich; we implemented ‘Nenasalas’ for poor – Sri Lanka Minister


Old habits die hard. When you have been a member of a tiny Trotskyite left political party for the longer period of your life and seen the World Bank as your arch enemy, you may forget that you are on the same side now. This seems to be what happens to Sri Lanka’s Minister of […]


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