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Author Archives: Rohan Samarajiva

Thinking about big data

The recent kerfuffle about Google flu trends showed all kinds of critics of big data come out of the woodwork. This is normal for anything new. I am sure there was an outpouring to hostility to the motor car when the first accident occurred. What I found useful was the cooling of the hype associated […]

Modular mobile phones that can be upgraded in parts

Google is working on a modular mobile phone that will eliminate the need to buy a new phone every few years. If it works, it will save money and reduce the industry’s contribution to the waste stream. Project Ara is Google’s attempt to reinvent the cellphone as we know it. Instead of a slab of […]

What are the costs to Pakistan of not having wireless data networks?

One of the most interesting things that happened within government in Sri Lanka with regard to electricity policy was that they started asking a different question. Instead of asking only the question”how much does the proposed electricity generating option cost” they started asking the question “what are the costs to the economy of load shedding.” […]

Google’s potentially disruptive drones

Last week in Vanuatu, a whole bunch of satellite providers and one builder of undersea cables were asked by Dean Bubley of Disruptive Innovations whether they had any thoughts on the potential disruptions posed by the various tech solutions to Internet connectivity being bruited about. They were not worried in one voice. Perhaps the news […]

Internet subscribers and users: What is the difference and why does it matter?

The 2013 Central Bank of Sri Lanka report is being sourced for the claim that one in ten Sri Lankans is on the Internet. But this number comes from adding apples and oranges: most individually used mobile broadband connections and mostly collectively used fixed connections. Now with 4G and 3G dongles around in large numbers, […]

Demand side management beginning to catch in Sri Lanka

About a year back, we predicted that the new electricity tariff will shock people into changing behavior: “the currently proposed tariff structure will create “bill shock” among consumers, and nudge a certain percentage of consumers to voluntarily reduce demand. But this will be insufficient.” The evidence is in. It has happened. The 2013 Sri Lanka […]

Consumer protection and the regulator, this time in the Pacific

The Pacific Islands Telecom Association (PITA) and the Pacific ICT Regulatory Resource Center (PiRRC) co-organized several sessions on policy and regulatory issues at the annual PITA convention held in Port Vila, Vanuatu, April 8-11. Here is the slideset I used in proposing that PiRRC and/or the region’s regulators establish an evidence base for their work […]

How the world changes (with regard to Internet expectations)?

How fast is fast enough? But DSL service, which is delivered over traditional copper phone lines, does not measure up to the speeds of cable Internet service. The most recent F.C.C. figures available, from mid-2012, show that only 8 percent of DSL connections in the United States transmit at a speed of at least 10 […]

International connectivity for small island states

I write this sitting in Vanuatu at the Pacific Islands Telecom Association (PITA) annual convention. These are exciting times for the Pacific (and possibly all small island states) in terms of the opening up of new options re international data connectivity. Tonga They are a few months into the new age of fiber connectivity. This […]

Why do we need national telecom/ICT/broadband policies?

Following on from the previous post re Bangladesh making do with an obsolete national telecom policy from 1998, I’ve been asked why we need policies, when in my time in government in Sri Lanka first as a regulator and then handling policy, I had not done much about Sri Lanka’s own obsolete policy (a couple […]

Debating the need for an updated National Telecom Policy for Bangladesh

We don’t go as far as Cisco which claims that countries can increase penetration simply by promulgating policies or plans, but there is real value in having updated policies in place so that all the players are reading off a common script. Bangladesh is struggling with getting itself a new policy: Abu Saeed Khan, a […]

Net neutrality debate to be continued in Europe

It appears that ETNO, which tried unsuccessfully to extend the “sending party network pays” (SPNP) principle to data through the International Telecom Regulations, suffered another big defeat in its own house, the European Parliament. But the game is not over and should not be: we too believe the Internet companies must make reasonable contributions to […]

Search engine is like a newspaper; not like a town square

New public policy issues get resolved depending on which analogy wins. In one of the most significant lower-court decisions (this is likely to be appealed up) in recent times, the newspaper analogy won over the town square analogy. If this holds, Google and search engines become the new media. An interesting thought in light of […]

Post-Snowden, location matters in cloud decisions

In our contribution to the 2013 UNCTAD Information Economy Report, we talked about the likely importance of place in cloud services purchasing decisions: The storage of data in multiple, usually foreign, jurisdictions raises a different set of regulatory issues including data protection and police investigatory powers. The jurisdictional issues are anchored on the location of […]

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