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

Monthly Archives: November, 2017

Facebook is asked to solve problems of democracy in Asia

Nothing really new in my opinion, as the kind referral surmised. Asia is now Facebook’s biggest user base. That has given the company unprecedented political sway across the continent, where it inadvertently shapes the media consumption of hundreds of millions of people. The impacts are amplified in the region because vast swathes of relatively new […]

Nice to have one’s words amplified, even without attribution

I have this unfortunate tendency to recognize my own writing. This is what was in an article about the tower levy in the Sunday Times, 26th of November 2017: This was another reason for the government’s action to reduce the number of towers, he said. The tower levy is unlikely to result in the quick […]

Myanmar regulatory vacuum may be filled by regional legislatures

The Myanmar Constitution is a highly centralizing document. For example, tourism, a subject that is given over to sub-national units to administer in many countries, is assigned solely to the union or central government. But it goes beyond that, assigning authority over hotels and lodging houses solely to the union government. Therefore, there should be […]

Insurance seen as vital element of disaster risk reduction

The role of insurance and zoning was discussed at a video conference we organized shortly after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. I wrote up some of the insights that were shared in my Choices column shortly thereafter. It’s good to see that knowledge informing the thinking of the Deputy Minister of National Policies and Economic […]

Governments cannot arbitrarily take money from telcos

The surprise in this story is that the offending government is the government of the United Kingdom, a country many in the world looked at when engaged in telecom reforms. Now that the slapping of arbitrary taxes and levies on telcos has become the fashion, perhaps the UK example will become the governing one again. […]

LIRNEasia CEO at FOME (Forum Media and Development), Berlin

Helani was in the first panel titled “Alphabet Soup” which introduced concepts of Internet Governance and the connection between IG and media development.

LIRNEasia’s research on agriculture since 2006 goes into op-ed interview in most widely read newspaper

LIRNEasia has been working on agriculture since 2006. Most recently, in the context of the Inclusive Information Society project that is being wrapped up, I was talking about GAP compliance with an agri-producer connected to global supply chains standing in a paddy field in Kandy on which he was growing bitter gourd for export to […]

LIRNEasia CEO at UN-CSTD Intersessional Panel

CEO Helani Galpaya was invited to speak at the Intersessional Panel of the UNCSTD. Her presentation was based on three themes at LIRNEasia.

Using Call Data Records to analyze event attendance

by Keshan de Silva and Yudhanjaya Wijeratne One of the most useful datasets we have is a collection of pseudoanaonymized call data records for all of Sri Lanka, largely from the year 2013. Given that Sri Lanka has extremely high cell coverage and subscription rates (we’re actually oversubscribed – there’s more subscribers than people in the […]

How think tanks can contribute to good policy

I have been immersed in discussions in various media platforms about the 2018 Sri Lanka Budget. A budget speech seeks to communicate the direction of government policy to other economic actors. While it is a coherent and forward-looking document overall, the 2018 Budget does contain some problematic proposals that will have to be walked back […]

How does one measure the efficacy of budget proposals?

I’ve been on some kind of budget binge this past week. Part of the problem with Sri Lanka public administration is that no assessment is done of the budget proposals. Last year’s budget increased the allocation for the Ministry of Telecom and Digital Infrastructure by 479 percent. What are indicators that this was a wise […]

Explaining why the government’s tower levy proposal is impractical on a government TV channel

Sri Lanka has not one, but two, government-owned TV channels. They tend to be used for propaganda, but there are occasions when they act like normal news channels, serving the public interest in understanding what is going on. Last week, for example, I was happy to be on a talk show in the midst of […]

When people don’t understand technology and investment decisions, silly mistakes are made

It was in 1998, almost 20 years ago, that I was invited to a meeting at the Urban Development Authority of Sri Lanka in my capacity as Director General of Telecommunications. They had identified a high point in the city of Colombo to locate ALL the cellular antenna towers and they wanted me to concur […]

Another cogitation on punitive taxes imposed on mobile networks

As I was thinking about how to explain the silliness of charging LKR 200,000 (USD 1,300) per antenna tower per month as proposed by Sri Lanka’s 2018 Budget, I came across this piece on how African governments were shooting themselves in the foot by following the Willie Sutton doctrine: Unfortunately, instead of seizing such opportunities, […]

Looking beyond the smartphone

We had the good fortune to develop a proposal on training app developers before smartphone started dominating the markets we care about. We did not get the money; they gave it to some Pakistani government outfit that could not even start the work, but that aside, we benefited from the exercise. It forced us to […]

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