2012 July


The Internet of Things, it appears, is not sci fi. It’s here and now, according to the New York Times. And getting bigger all the time. Berg Insight, a research firm in Goteborg, Sweden, says the number of machine-to-machine devices using the world’s wireless networks reached 108 million in 2011 and will at least triple that by 2017. Ericsson, the leading maker of wireless network equipment, sees as many as 50 billion machines connected by 2020.
The book, co-authored with C.J. Amaratunge, covers multiple infrastructure sectors and international economic strategy. The work was done outside the scope of LIRNEasia’s activities, but is obviously influenced by them. One obvious influence is the cover.
Among the PiRRC contributions to the Pacific Broadband Forum just concluded in Nadi, Fiji, was a panel discussion on regulatory independence. In addition to the practicing regulators of Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu, they invited some observers to participate. Preparing for the panel, I looked through some old slidesets and came up with this structure. Did not use the slidesets, but the structure was useful. What surprised me was how easily I switched from the role of disinterested scholar to former regulator.
We are currently looking to fill the role of Junior Researcher with one or more self‐motivated, quality‐conscious individuals with strong analytical skills.  Send in your application on or before 30 September DESCRIPTION OF DUTIES: As a Junior Researcher at LIRNEasia you will be expected to make significant contributions to projects from a rapidly expanding research and capacity‐building portfolio.  You will be expected to: conduct independent policy‐relevant research, subject to deadlines and peer review summarize and logically present findings of your work so that team members can rapidly digest results communicate research findings in written, graphical and oral presentations to multiple external audiences take primary responsibility for coordinating research and capacity building related events including international      meetings, training programs prioritize workload with little guidance and deliver on deadline take responsibility for quality of your work demonstrate self-confidence and initiative in work you undertake develop strong, personal relationships with other LIRNEasia team members in Sri Lanka and other countries with whom you have regular contact use statistics and econometric concepts with a high level of competency undertake significant local research-related travel within Sri Lanka and overseas ESSENTIAL QUALIFICATIONS:  Essential criteria for the suitable candidate include: A Bachelor’s level qualifications in economics, law, […]
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recently released draft regulations on “Standards of Quality of Service for Mobile Data Services Regulations, 2012” (press release). LIRNEasia‘s response included recommendations on; (a) Advertising realistic speeds as opposed to the theoretical maximum (b) Carrying out tests at multiple times of the day, on multiple days of the week at least once in six months at different domain levels (e.g. within the ISP network, International – a server located beyond the first U.S.
It is estimated that the world’s population went past the seven billion mark in 2011. Why do I use this cautious language? Sri Lanka just conducted a census and is looking for some half a million people that are short of the previous projections. So estimate we must. GSMA’s Mobile and Development Intelligence website estimates that the number of mobile SIMs went past the five billion mark, at end of 2011.
O3B is a new satellite company that is offering low latency (120-150 ms) satellite connectivity that should be of great interest to small countries without access to submarine cables; for those wanting redundancy for the existing cables, and even cruise lines. Simple physics does not allow geostationary satellites to give low latency. O3B is using medium orbit satellites. Worth a look.
PiRRC Research Assistant Shivanjini Anamika made an excellent presentation on intra-Pacific international call prices and roaming prices at the 5th Policy and Regulation Forum for the Pacific in Nadi, Fiji. The prices were high in general, but relatively lower prices were offered in the countries that had introduced competition. The presentation is here. This makes a direct contribution to the APT’s interest in lowering roaming rates, as signified in its Bali Action Plan of 2009 and several workshops held since.
  LIRNEasia‘s predecessor PIPU [the Public Interest Program Unit] was headed by Rohan Samarajiva (LIRNEasia’s Chair and CEO) and Luxman Siriwardena (one of our Board members), and consisted of many of LIRNEasia‘s current family and friends, including Harsha de Silva (MP, and our Consultant Lead Economist). Here are a few annotated memories of PIPU’s finale trip to Trincomalee in June 2004: PIPU trip to Trinco 2004. Captions and comments courtesy of Harsha. PIPU was in charge of executing Sri Lanka’s infrastructure reform program between 2002-04. In Prof’s words, “PIPU gave birth to LIRNEasia.
The Pacific is a tough environment for ICTs. Small populations scattered across thousands of islands over one third of the earth’s surface. More or less the opposite of South Asia. But distance does not make the need for broadband less. One requires more access when one is far away.
Reports are coming out about the Myanmar government’s plans for the telecom sector. Sadly, little seems to have been learned from the rich experience of the past two decades. Why otherwise would there be an interest in maintaining 51% ownership of the new operators? More interesting is the line about developing a national backbone. Are the rules for open access being drawn up?
There are complexities in interconnecting agencies but more at the social layers than at the technology layers. The Simon Fraser University (SFU) Mobile Communications (MobComm) Truck was designed to patch a Regional Emergency Operations Centre (REOC), specifically the British Columbia Provincial REOC (termed as the PREOC) communicating through the Internet (TCP/IP) and public telephone lines (PSTN). The first-responder (e.g. forest firefighters) naturally communicate with Ultra High Frequency (UHF) radio sets.
According to this feature in the Line Media, it is not in Silicon Valley. Here’s the pop quiz for today–If you wanted to use your garage for a high-tech startup, one that was going to require a gig of connectivity, where would be the best possible place for that garage to be located? Silicon Valley? Raleigh-Durham’s Research Triangle? The Twin Cities?
Based on LIRNEasia research, Telecom Tiger and Knowledge Partner carried a story on the lack of transparency and consistency in IDD and roaming tariffs within the SAARC. If judged by the criterion of relative ease of electronic connectivity within the region as against outside, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is a failure. If SAARC is real, prices for intra-SAARC calls must be lower than for calls to points outside SAARC.  Roaming within the region should be cheaper and less opaque than outside the region.  Both are not so, despite some improvements since 2008 says LIRNEasia, a regional think-tank.
We’ve been talking about mobile devices becoming the primary interfaces with the web. But this is an attack from another direction, the cloud: Much the way Salesforce wasn’t really about ending software (the company writes plenty of software that is up in the cloud, not inside a computer), Pano is not really about the end of chips, or the software needed to run them. Pano counts on chips and software that are in servers elsewhere to do its computing. But that shift of complex chips could presage a deeper shift in the computer industry, as cloud-based businesses change how information is controlled. A company in the traditional personal computer business “is like a saguaro cactus that has been shot,” Mr.
A high profile regional event intended to foster exchange of ideas among government officials and their suppliers attracted participants from the region as well as many from within government here in Sri Lanka. I was given the opportunity to present LIRNEasia’s research in 15 minutes in the first session. I chose to highlight the agriculture work and push a single policy recommendation: that government should free up data and information that it sat on (e.g., agricultural extension information) so that young people developing apps would have the necessary raw material.
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