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

Author Archives: Helani Galpaya

First Board Meeting of GPSDD – Data4SDGs

The inaugural board meeting of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD, more popularly known for their twitter @data4SDGs) was held on the 22nd of September.  I  participated as a GPSDD board member. Significant achievements have been made by GPSDD since its inception, culminating in high level support for the need for good data to measure […]

Great to have our research quoted. Saddened nuanced findings are lost in reporting  

We love that people read our research. But we would love it more if they try to do justice to how real people use the Internet.

Thinking of digital platforms and digital labor across the globe

It seems everyone is talking about digital platforms and digital labor.  This is not surprising, given the amount of news Uber alone is creating in many countries, including the ones LIRNEasia works in.  Everyone is worried about the impacts on labor and working conditions, while some are optimistic about the welfare effects created, especially for […]

Netherland court allows zero rated music content

We have argued that zero rated services that don’t discriminate against providers of similar content are less problematic than the ones that do. So, for example, a zero-rated service that allows users to stream music for free without discriminating based on who provides (produces, distributes or aggregates) the music is less problematic because music from […]

LIRNEasia at Myanmar Digital Rights Forum

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Earlier this week I was asked to speak at the Myanmar Digital Rights Forum. While many countries worried about connecting people for about a decade after deregulation, and only then started debating about the “softer” issues of the Internet, Myanmar is engaging in this debate now.  What kind of Internet should people of Myanmar connect […]

Step 1 in ICTs for the visual disabled in Myanmar: bringing stakeholders together to find the technical solution

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Text-voice readers that enable visually challenged persons to access books, websites and other content have been around in English and many other languages for years. In Myanmar too, many have attempted over the years to develop the Myanmar Language version of some of the most popular conversion engines. This week, we brought one of the […]

OTTs vs Telco: South Africa enters the battle

India started in April 2015, when the regulator (TRAI) proposed rules for how application/content providers (Over the Top Players, or OTTs) should be regulated, taxed and treated (that  debate got sidelined in the battle over Facebook and FreeBasics, but that’s a different story). Now it’s South Africa’s turn.  It seems that two operators are pushing for […]

Free Basic 2G for all Indians by Aircel. Not be confused with Freebasics of Facebook

OTTs and telcos really need to come up with better names to differentiate their products and services.  Really.  Or maybe confusion is just the point. First there was Free Basics, Facebook’s service which gives free access to a set of applications inside the app (it was previously called Internet.org, a supposedly clever name which of course […]

LIRNEasia unconference at Stockholm Internet Forum 2015 on Zero Rating.

At the 2015 Stockholm Internet Forum that just completed, I moderated one of the best attended unconference sessions titled “Zero rating violates net neutrality. So what?“. The discussion I moderated was heated, with a spectrum of opinions being expressed.  Some said that zero rated content simply creates a ghetto-ized version of the Internet for the poor and […]

Finally, some research on Zero Rated offers and users. And it’s surprising.

The raging debate on Zero Rated content is, for the most part, taking place in a vacuum of evidence. A successful campaign by activists  ensured that many of the 1.2 million responses sent to TRAI’s proposed net neutrality regulations in April 2015 called for banning internet.org (Facebook’s Zero Rated offering, now called Free Basics).  The fear that the poor who use the free […]

ICT Use in Myanmar: a first look at the national baseline survey results

LIRNEasia recently conducted a nationally representative survey of ICT and knowledge use in Myanmar.  Some of the top-line results were presented for the first time at the ICTD2015 conference last week. The panel was organised by Rich Ling, PhD and Elisa Oreglia, PhD of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Slides can be found here. This is an updated version […]

LIRNEasia adds one more to the million responses TRAI received on Net Neutrality

Low connectivity and low regulatory capacity are characteristics of most emerging Asian countries.  Any NN regulation needs to take these realities into account.  So when we looked at the possible ways TRAI can and should act, we ended somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Read our response here.

Punjab charging ahead with m-Governance

Last weekend, talking about policy and regulatory issues will drive Pakistan’s adoption of broadband.  My co-panellists were Faisal Sattar (CEO of Pakistan’s Universal Service Fund), Salman Ansari (former advisor to the Ministry of IT & Telecom in Pakistan) and Kojo Boakye (Policy Manager at the Web Foundation). I was at Pakistan ICTD Workshop organized by newly […]

LIRNEasia at Random Hacks of Kindness

Last weekend 2nd – 4th of Friday, Random Hacks of Kindness events were taking place is cities across the world (New York, London, Montreal, …).  Thanks to an invitation from IDRC and Nokia (sponsors of the Montreal RHoK) , I was able to be in Montreal, in the company of 80+ software enthusiasts (geeks, hackers, call them what […]

“Mobile web” moving from hype to reality?

Finally domain names ending in .mobi can now be registered by the general public.  Will this increase mobile content (i.e. content that can be viewed on your mobile phone)?.    A BBC article reports that less than 10% of mobile owners use their phone to surf the web, “due to concerns over cost, speed and poor […]

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