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

Author Archives: Rohan Samarajiva

Internet companies invest in ICT infrastructure layer

The first time this happened was when Pacific Century Cyber Works (PCCW), controlled by Richard Li, acquired Hong Kong Telecom. But that 2000 adventure did not end well. PCCW’s stock price tanked. Seventeen years later, things are different. The real story may not be a state-sanctioned infusion of private capital into a 100% state owned […]

Sri Lanka’s principal trade negotiator passes away

Dr Saman Kelegama, the head of the government supported economics think tank Institute of Policy Studies, has suddenly passed away while on official business in Thailand. He was at the helm of IPS for 22 years under different administrations which is quite an achievement and one that many will talk about. I worked with him […]

Celebrating 10 years of the iPhone

Apparently, the mechanism to shut off the screen when an iPhone was brought close to one’s head did not recognize black hair at the outset. The book review has such nuggets. The book must have much more. In fact, although it would eventually emerge as the gleaming quintessence of the collaboration between the Apple co-founder […]

Mea culpa on Sri Lanka’s weather forecasting

I saw a response to an RTI request from the Department of Meteorology on Twitter and did not adequately check its veracity. As a result, I unfairly described the forecasting capabilities of the Department in at least one occasion at a meeting attended by influential officials and also polluted Twitterspace. I am sorry. Interesting contrast […]

TRAI consultation on broadband speed

LIRNEasia started working on broadband quality of service experience as long as as 2007. The early part of the story is narrated in this five minute video. One of the earliest conclusions we reached was that speed was just one dimension of performance. We communicated these findings to TRAI as long ago as in 2009. […]

A paper on telecom and treaty commitments that needs to be updated

Looking for something in my files, I found this conference paper that is almost 10 years old. The organizers pressured me to write it but then they did not keep their side of the bargain and publish the proceedings. It requires a few hours of work to make it up to date. The basic structure […]

India seeks to address shortcoming in capacity to engage in trade negotiations

A friend of mine who served as comptroller of a large diversified conglomerate once told me that there was a clear difference between the business units within the conglomerate. Those which produced items for export were fixated on efficiency and were nimble in terms of responding to market demand. Those who produced goods and services […]

Technology to better predict rain from storms

The government predicted rainfall more than 150 mm on the 25th of May. Over 500 mm of rain fell. Technically, they were not wrong (550 mm is within the range of “more than 150 mm”), but obviously, forecasts like this might as well not be made. [an error was corrected in the above para] But […]

Who pays for fast access to Facebook?

In a parable I worked up in 2012, I speculated on the possibilities of joint ventures between Internet companies such as Facebook and the last-mile access companies to enhance the user experience. Some details of a dispute in South Korea shed light on the problem: According to SKB, there were initially two ways to connect […]

Who is not in the business of selling insights from TGD?

When I was living in US Midwest, Delphi was a familiar name. It was a company that employed thousands to make original equipment for vehicles. But now, according to NYT, Delphi is positioning itself to be a player in the data business: Delphi hopes to create a new business that can gather vast amounts of […]

Cables: Undersea and cross-border?

So there was this article in a Myanmar newspaper: Myanmar only has two undersea fibre-optic cables and two cross-border cables for its Internet traffic. By contrast regional leader Singapore has a total of 21 international fibre links, 15 of which are undersea and six cross-border. Malaysia has 17 links – 13 undersea and four cross-border; […]

As India gears up for GST, many question high rate for a “necessity” (telecom services)

The introduction of GST to replace the patchwork of state taxes is perhaps the Modi government’s greatest economic achievement. The new regime is expected to come into effect on July 1, 2017. Like everything in India, it’s complicated, with multiple bands and exceptions. It’s interesting that the 18 percent GST rate for telecom services is […]

Pakistan lowers mobile taxes

They were extremely high to start with. But still, a good thing. Sri Lanka should be careful we don’t take over Pakistan’s position as the most taxed ICT sector. The breaks will see the withholding tax on mobile services drop from 14% to 12.5%, while federal excise duty will fall from 18.5% to 17%. With […]

Living history: Gyanendra’s Law

The consequences of throwing the kill switch on the Internet are set out in Gyanendra’s Law and its various exceptions. In this context, an interview with the editor of the Kathmandu Post who experienced the throwing of the kill switch in Nepal by King Gyanendra himself is illuminating: UA: What was the impact of the […]

What trade lawyers are thinking about in relation to ICT

The Canada-US Free Trade Agreement, the precursor to the NAFTA, was the first enforceable trade agreement to cover services. It’s always easier to negotiate with a few parties, than with many, especially when breaking new ground. But in this proposal to introduce new binding commitments in a tripartite agreement, they are proposing to take a […]

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