2016 May


There is little doubt that the consumer gets a raw deal in the Philippines, as evidenced by broadband quality data. The long-term sustainable solution is a third and perhaps a fourth operator. But that prospect receded. The Philippines’ San Miguel Corp (SMC), after failing to find a foreign partner to launch a third mobile operator in the country, announced it is selling its telecoms assets to incumbents PLDT and Globe Telecom for more than $1 billion, with each taking a 50 per cent stake. The two operators, which together have a 99 per cent market share of mobile connections, will pay a total of PHP52.
Increasing presence of the global stalwarts in Yangon is evident in Chatrium Hotel (thumbnail). It’s just a snapshot of the bigger picture. Such multinationals are to be in touch with their home offices through secured enterprise solutions like MPLS. Therefore, after the meteoric rise of its teledensity, Myanmar must change its course towards enterprise. The government has published its Spectrum Roadmap in early April.
UNESCO and International Media Support (IMS), together with the National Management College (NMC) in Yangon, have conducted a comprehensive analysis of media landscape study in Myanmar. The ultimate objective of this study is to present key findings and recommendations that will guide policy-makers and stakeholders in their decisions on the development of media in the country. LIRNEasia conducted what is considered to be the first nationally representative sample survey of ICT and knowledge uses and needs in Myanmar with 8130+ surveys of individuals at household level. Assessment of Media Development in Myanmar report  quotes LIRNEasia’s Baseline Survey of ICT and Knowledge Access in Myanmar.
“Either we disrupt or we get disrupted,” warned Cisco’s outgoing CEO John Chambers in his last speech to the industry last year. He also said that 40% of companies will be dead in 10 years. “If I’m not making you sweat, I should be,” Chambers quipped. He was referring to the rising tide of innovation that breaches the dyke of comfort zone where conventional verticals reside. Less than a year after Chambers’ keynote, GSMA has reported how the mobile industry has failed to secure a sizable share from $3.
As a pro-poor, pro-market organization we are always interested in how costs of connectivity can be reduced, because then we would have sustainable connectivity for the poor, who will hopefully cease to be poor in the process. Mark Zuckerberg’s ideas are of great interest: It should not be surprising, then, that Mr. Zuckerberg is relying on open source to reduce the price of building and running the world’s telecommunications networks, a business estimated to be worth about $150 billion a year. “Our rule is 10 times faster or 10 times cheaper or both,” said Jay Parikh, Facebook’s vice president for engineering. “We want to get a full Facebook experience to every end user, whether that is video, or eventually virtual reality.
Sahana was developed by volunteer software engineers under the aegis of the Lanka Software Foundation in the months and years after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. It was handed over to an international foundation when I served as Chair of LSF. Nuwan Waidyanatha who cut his teeth on disaster research as part of the Hazinfo project, is now a leading trainer and part of the team guiding development of Sahana. Despite my best efforts to get those involved in the early development of the software interviewed for this story (triggered by one of my tweets), we are the only sources for information on Sahana in this Sunday Times story. There are allegations that the authorities could have utilised locally-available systems that could have helped to better coordinate disaster relief efforts.
Current research on micro-work platforms has given LIRNEasia much to think about. The conditions for successful participation in platforms are quite different in developing economies than in the developed economies they originate in. But that does not mean we should over regulate them, or regulate them badly. There is a lot of good innovation happening here, that requires space. We hope to address the questions raised in this article in the Economist, that concludes as follows: Regulators still have much to learn about how to deal with platforms.
LIRNEasia was a core partner for Sri Lanka’s first national summit on “Foresight & Innovation for Sustainable Human Development” that was convened by UNDP and the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs. Held in Colombo from 24-25 May 2016, the summit brought together more than 300 people from government, private sector, and civil society from all over the country. Developing foresight and fostering innovation is a priority for the government and underscored by the Prime Minster’s attendance at the event. I spoke on the first day after the opening. My talk was on the leveraging both new and traditional data if the goal is to get towards real-time responsiveness and enhanced resilience.
Ooredoo, which rolled out a 3G network in 2014, skipping 2G altogether, is first to offer 4G over existing frequencies. Ooredoo Myanmar, the country’s third largest operator, launched 4G service in parts of the country’s three major cities — Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw and Mandalay – making it the first to offer the high-speed service. The operator rolled out the service across more than 20 townships in the three cities and aims to cover half of Yangon’s townships, nearly 90 per cent of Nay Pyi Taw’s townships and all of Mandalay, without giving a timeframe, the Myanmar Times reported. Its 4G plans will be priced the same as its 3G offers. Report.
That is a real achievement. If you add the numbers you will see that the 80/100 people that was to be achieved in 2018 has been surpassed. Congratulations Myanmar. Myanmar’s leading mobile operator Myanma Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) added more than 8.5 million mobile connections over the past year, taking its user base to 20 million.
The report, published in April 2016, covers a range of issues, but is perhaps unique in its emphasis on the potential of big data. This report highlighted some emerging technologies such as the use of Big Data for DRM purposes. It is one that is still being explored but has so far demonstrated immense potential. However, along with it come significant challenges that have to be overcome in order to truly benefit from real-time use of MNBD. Utilizing new sources of data such as MNBD and even social media for assisting in predicting emerging trends and shocks as well as for building greater resilience is still an emergent field.
I could not find a better illustration of the positive externalities of broadband than this story about Detroit, a once great American city: Detroit has the worst rate of Internet access of any big American city, with four in 10 of its 689,000 residents lacking broadband, according to the Federal Communications Commission. While difficulties in connecting to the Internet in rural areas are well known, Detroit is becoming a case study in how the digital divide in an urban setting can make or break a recovery. Bridging a Digital Divide That Leaves Schoolchildren Behind FEB. 22, 2016 The deficiency of Internet access in Detroit is particularly glaring given that broadband is now considered as basic as electricity and water. Last year, the F.
As promised, here is the full piece in FT on the lessons of the latest disaster: When citizens pay no heed to alerts, warnings and evacuation orders, the normal reaction is to blame the citizens or ponder the possibilities of forcible means. But what we learned through our research and from reflective practitioners is that people have good reasons not to act on warnings. So if we want to design effective messages, we have to start from the minds of the recipients. We must practice empathy. Evacuation, the primary means of getting people out of harm’s way, is a major disruption of the evacuee’s life.
Reading a story about how profitable DTAC in Thailand found the up to 5 million Myanmarese living in Thailand to be, I was reminded of what LIRNEasia-MIDO had submitted in response to the draft International Gateway regulations in January 2016. Imposing non-cost reflective termination rates for international incoming calls is counterproductive especially in the market conditions found in Myanmar where over 50 percent of the subscribers of major mobile network operators are daily data users. Most international communication will shift to “over-the-top” (so called OTT) services, accelerating the decline of the international communication services offered by fixed and mobile network operators. Toward the end of the story they do get to our point: DTAC’s main competition is arguably not other telecom operators but rather new technologies, which are making old-fashioned IDD calls an unnecessary expense. “Nowadays Burmese people in Thailand, whether they are migrant workers, activists or academics, are using less costly methods such as Facebook Messenger, Viber or LINE to communicate with friends and relatives in Burma,” said U Soe Aung, a long time Thailand resident and spokesman for the Forum for Democracy in Burma.
On May 14th that I retweeted a satellite image of a weather system over Sri Lanka. The tweet said “WEATHER ALERT – Severe rain over #LK will continue for next 24/48hrs. Public cautioned over flash floods & landslides.” The hazard was public knowledge, contrary to some claims now being made. WEATHER ALERT – Severe rain over #LK will continue for next 24/48hrs.
By my lights, the project should have started by now. We first went public on this two years ago. But at least they are still talking: A proposal to link the two countries’ electricity grids could ultimately see improved reliability and stability of the Sri Lanka power supply and, in the long run, allow the country to purchase and export electricity depending on variability in price. The interconnection – a high-voltage, direct current line to run from Madurai in India to Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka – is initially planned to transmit up to 500 MW, scalable up to 1 GW. Pre-feasibility studies of the proposed Sri Lanka-India transmission network have already been completed, according to Sri Lanka’s electricity regulator, the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka.