Nirmali Sivapragasam


DIRSI and ACORN-REDECOM (Americas Communication Research Network / Red Americana de Investigación en Información y Comunicación) are organizing a Training Seminar on New Technologies and their Challenges for Telecommunications Regulation in Latin America. The seminar will be held on May 13 2010, immediately prior to ACORN-REDECOM’s 4th annual conference in Brasilia. LIRNEasia’s CEO, Dr. Rohan Samarajiva will deliver the opening lecture on “:State of the art in telecom regulation around the world”. The seminar seeks to provide an overview of key regulatory issues in the ICT industry today, and to help develop the necessary tools to understand the implications of new technologies for spectrum allocation, universal access programs, competition policy and ICT-enabled economic development.
The 5th Communications Policy Research, South (CPRsouth5) will be held on 6 – 8 December 2010, in Xi’an, China. The conference is organized by LIRNEasia and the Research Centre for Information Industry Development, Xian University of Posts and Telecommunications (XUPT), supported by the International Development Research Centre, Canada (IDRC) and the Department for International Development, UK (DFID). Abstracts for papers on ICT policy and regulation research carried out in the Asia Pacific or relevant to Asia -Pacific may be submitted for review and acceptance.  Completed papers based on the shortlisted abstracts will be judged by two senior scholars and the highest ranked three papers in each session will be invited to present at the conference. The abstracts must be capable of being classified with at least three keywords from the list below: Access, Applications, Business models, Citizen, Civil society, Competition, Conflict, Connectivity, Consumer, Content, Convergence, Cooperation, Demand, Domestic, Efficiency, Emerging markets, Finance, Governance, Growth, Inclusion, Indicators, Information, Infrastructure, Innovation, International, Judiciary, Knowledge, Legislation, Markets, Monopoly, Networks, Performance, Policy, Poverty, Productivity, Property, Public goods, Reforms, Regional, Regulation, Strategy, Supply, Transparency Abstracts should be submitted electronically at www[dot]cprsouth[dot]org on or before 25 April 2010.
Fifteen Young Scholars from the Asia-Pacific region will be selected to participate in tutorials taught by recognized scholars and practitioners scheduled to be held before the 2010 International Communication Association conference in Singapore and a research dissemination event, both at the National University of Singapore Kent Ridge Campus. The selected Young Scholars will also attend the conference and have their travel and accommodation expenses covered. This is an exceptional opportunity to learn about doing policy-relevant research and to participate in a leading international scholarly conference. Click here for more information on the event and how to apply.
Rohan Samarajiva, will deliver one of two invited lead talks at ICTs and Development: An International Workshop for Theory, Practice and Policy, to be held in New Delhi, India, 11 – 12 March 2010. Titled, “How the developing world may participate in the global “Internet Economy”, his presentation examines the potential mobile telephony has in enabling low-income earners first-time access to the Internet. He argues that a teleco business  model similar to the Budget Telecom Network Model arguably responsible for dramatic reductions in mobile tariffs, could be similarly applied to the case of mobile internet. View the full presentation here. Other notable speakers at the event include Dr.
Findings from LIRNEasia’s Mobile 2.0 study on m-government services has been published in India’s Economic Times, Ahmedabad.  The research examines the potential for the supply of government services over the mobile through a case study of such a  system developed by Mumbai-based Zero Mass Foundation, that has proved popular in the country. “This is one of the highly effective tools for achieving financial inclusion. But the system is suffering because of the lack of interest among government agencies.
Findings from LIRNEasia’s Teleuse@BOP3 study have been cited in the latest issue of Nokia’s Expanding Horizons magazine. The article discusses the vast potential mobile phones have for providing those on the lower-incomes or the bottom of the pyramid, access to the internet for the first time. Read the full article here. Excerpt below: According to ICT policy think tank LIRNEasia, the evidence shows that mobiles, not computers, have the best potential to deliver services to rural areas in the Indo-Gangetic Plain, the world’s largest concentration of poor people. “This is the hardest case.
By Aileen Aguero, former Research Intern, LIRNEasia As an intern at LIRNEasia, I had the opportunity of working with Harsha de Silva in writing a paper called Bottom of the Pyramid  (BOP) Expenditure Patterns on Mobile Phone Services in Selected Emerging Asian Countries. I presented this paper at the Pacific Telecommunications Conference, held on 17 – 20 January in Honolulu, Hawaii. The 2010 edition of this conference tried to emphasize the benefits innovation provides as well as the challenges faced by developing economies in connecting the unconnected and the adequate provision of systems and services. Our paper was part of Breakout Session 7: Building for Sustainability – ICTs in the Developing World, held on 19 January (paper and slides available here). Elizabeth Fife, Bruce Baikie, Laina Reveendran and Laura Hosman were also part of this panel.
LIRNE.NET (through Research ICT Africa) together with University of Cape Town’s Infrastructure Management Programme, is organizing a five-day training course in telecom regulatory reform. The course is to be held from 12 – 16 April 2010, at the UCT GSB Breakwater Campus, V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa. The course is designed to enhance the strategic thinking of a select group of decision-makers in telecom and related sectors in developing countries and emerging economies. The aim of the programme is to address the many challenges posed by the current stage of telecom and ICT reform to governments, regulatory agencies, operators and other stakeholders.
The Asian Journal of Public Affairs (AJPA) would like to invite you to be a part of its forthcoming issue. Contributions from postgraduate students or above can be made through scholarly papers, case studies and/or book reviews. For this edition, submissions on the topic of food security are particularly encouraged. AJPA is a peer-reviewed,  academic publication concerned with public affairs issues in wider Asia – including the Middle East, Central and South Asia, and the Asia-Pacific. Spearheaded by graduate students of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, and published on a biannual basis, AJPA was established to analyse and influence policymaking through an interdisciplinary lens, including but not limited to public policy, public management, international relations, international political economy, development studies and economics.
p style="text-align: center;">

Helani Galpaya, COO of LIRNEasia,  was invited by the Strategic Affairs Directorate to speak at a  seminar on Alternatives for Infrastructure Development and Broadband Access.   Brazil is embarking on an ambitious program to increase broadband penetration, and is currently discussing various options – one of the more interesting being the provision of a government-owned backbone, using the dark fibre that is currently owned by the electricity and petroleum companies.  The pros and cons of this, and other options were discussed at the seminar, and a the full day of closed-door discussions that followed between the speakers and the Strategic Affairs Directorate staff.   Helani focused on the importance of thinking about the market structure (whether or not there was sufficient competition at all points in the network) and demand stimulation.  For example, Nokia’s TCO study shows that Brazil has the highest cost for mobile users among all the countries studied (possibly driven by highly asymmetric interconnection rates and lack of sufficient competition, among other things).
The Directorate of Environment, European Commission organises the conference ‘The Civil Protection Forum – Towards a more resilient society’ that aims to explore the concept of resilience. Climate change is likely to increase the frequency and impact of disasters, and Europe has to be prepared for this challenge. The Forum will start a debate on a comprehensive European disaster management strategy to enhance resilience. Around 500 delegates, speakers and exhibitors from politics, academia, the civil protection services and international organisations are expected to participate. Chanuka Wattegama, Senior Research Manager, LIRNEasia will be one of the speakers in the six practice-oriented seminars will look more closely at how European civil protection works in the field – how does it integrate with other international actors, three major phases of an emergency (prevention, preparedness, and response) and the roles of different stakeholders (institutions, civil protection professionals and civil society).
Findings from LIRNEasia’s latest round of broadband quality of service experience (QoSE) testing has been published in Chennai’s Financial Chronicle and The Indian Express, two leading print newspapers in India. Read the two of the articles here and here. There is disparity in the advertised broadband speed and the actual speed, according to the findings of a research project jointly carried out by Learning Initiative on Reforms for Network Economies Asia (LIRNEasia), TeNeT Group of the IIT Madras. Excerpt below: “There is disparity in the advertised broadband speed and the actual speed, according to the findings of a research project jointly carried out by Learning Initiative on Reforms for Network Economies Asia (LIRNEasia), TeNeT Group of the IIT Madras.There is disparity in the advertised broadband speed and the actual speed, according to the findings of a research project jointly carried out by Learning Initiative on Reforms for Network Economies Asia (LIRNEasia), TeNeT Group of the IIT Madras.
By Erwin A. Alampay Over the past month, I’ve had the opportunity to present my research on mobile money for remittances in two different conferences, with different audiences (the paper and PPT presentation can be downloaded here and here). On October 10, I presented my research on the use of mobile money for remittances in a panel on Mobile Adoption and Economic Development. This was for a conference held in New Brunswick on Mobile Communications and Social Policy, hosted by the Rutgers School of Information and Communication.  Harsha de Silva also presented his paper in the same panel on the “Role of social influence on mobile phone adoption: Evidence from the BOP in emerging Asia.
Findings from LIRNEasia’s study on the telecom regulatory environment in emerging Asia has been published in the Bangkok Post, one of Thailand’s leading print media. The article gives a detailed account of proceedings from a recently concluded seminar,   held in Bangkok, to disseminate the findings. Thailand’s telecommunications sector needs greater regulatory fairness as well as clarity in policy from the government on the future of former state enterprises CAT and ToT if Thailand is to secure the huge investment needed for 3G and data services moving into the future. LIRNEasia…conducted a study of the perceptions towards the regulators in eight emerging Asian economies in the second half of 2008 and representatives from the regulator NTC, ToT, the GSM Association and think-tank TDRI were invited to the report’s presentation. The event was co-hosted by LIRNE Asia, and was hosted by Chulalongkorn University’s Dr Pirongrong Ramasoota, an activist who set the tone of the event by noting that today Thailand is in competition with India to be the last of the eight Asian countries to attain 3G.
LIRNEasia, in coordination with the Thai Media Policy Center, Chulalongkorn University and Siam Intelligence Unit, Thailand, hosted a seminar to disseminate findings from its 2008 Asian study on the telecom regulatory environment (TRE), on the 19th of October, in Bangkok, Thailand. The event drew an audience of close to 40, which included senior representatives from the telecom industry, government, academia and the media. Rohan Samarajiva (LIRNEasia) presented overall regional findings from the study, followed by Deunden Nikomborirak (Thailand Development Research Institute) and Payal Malik (University of Delhi), presenting findings from the Thailand and India study, respectively. This was followed by a panel discussion on spectrum allocation in Thailand, chaired by Pirongrong Ramasoota of Chulalongkorn University. Distinguished panelists included Supot Tiarawut (TRIDI, National Telecommunication Commission), Kittipong Tameyapradit (TOT Plc Ltd), Kristin Due Hauge (GSMA) and  Somkiat Tangkitvanich (TDRI).