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

Author Archives: Rohan Samarajiva

Nepal advances; Sri Lanka stays in place; India falls back

All the fuss has been about Digital India. But India has fallen back six places to 131, despite improving its IDI score from 2.14 to 2.69 in the ICT Development Index. Nepal, which does not have a funded and actively promoted digital strategy, has advanced four places to 136th place. With a focused effort they […]

Myanmar overtakes Bangladesh and Pakistan in IDI ranking

We do not believe the ITU’s ICT Development Index is perfect, but we write about it every year. This year, the web interface has been jazzed up. But even more interesting is what has happened with Myanmar. In 2010, Myanmar ranked 150th in the world, and was second to last in the Asia Pacific. Bangladesh […]

Maurice Strong and the IDRC

I read today that Maurice Strong had passed away. I’d never met him. But I knew of him. The very first paper that I wrote in Graduate School was on how IDRC mobilized research networks. This was in December 1979, 37 years ago. IDRC had been in existence for nine years. Part of my reading […]

Why don’t operators report daily data users?

When I first saw a tweet about the Daily Star report, I thought Telenor’s Bangladesh affiliate was following in the steps of its Myanmar counterpart and reporting daily data user percentages. This is something any operator can do based on the information contained in Call Detail Records (CDRs). But I was disapponted. It was based […]

Findings of Systematic Review on ICTs in classroom shared with decision makers

Key officials from the Ministry of Education and the National Institute of Education along with a range of stakeholders and suppliers of education assembled at the BMICH on the 26th of November to discuss the findings of LIRNEasia’s ICTs in the classroom Systematic Review. The findings were placed in context of other research such as […]

Mergers sweeping South Asia

First it was Bangladesh: Robi and Airtel. Then it was India: Reliance and Sistema plus maybe Aircel. Sri Lanka: SLT/Mobitel and Hutch. Now Pakistan: Mobilink and Warid. VimpelCom is looking to combine Pakistani unit Mobilink with local rival Warid Telecom, claiming the first merger in the country’s telecoms sector. The new entity will serve 45 […]

Comparative poverty in Sri Lanka, from Independence to now

Some people are surprised that after all these years of speaking, responding, discussing, I still prepare when asked to speak in public. So when I was asked to serve as a discussant at a CEPA conference on infrastructure and urbanization, I read the papers. They had very little to do with the subject matter, choosing […]

National prestige in the acquisition of satellites

I’ve always wondered what the attraction of national satellites is. Especially geo-stationary satellites for telecom. Below is the explanation I finally came up with and my suggestion of what is appropriate in this day and age. The excerpt is from a piece published in Pakistan and Sri Lanka a few months back. In the 1960s, […]

Novel proposal in Sri Lanka’s 2016 Budget

Just a few sentences but this is a new solution to a real problem. I propose to form a special purpose company under the Information and Communication Technology Authority (ICTA) to bring about sharing of telecommunication resources efficiently and to protect air waves and the environment. All the fiber optics owned by telecommunication companies and […]

Should governments get into phone manufacturing?

I first heard about government entering the business of manufacturing phones when I was (futilely) advising the government of Bangladesh on formulating a national telecom policy. They had some bankrupt telecom equipment factories and I was asked what to do with them. I said, not much. Then my friends in India started to show me […]

What is big data?

I spent the last two days at a meeting on big data in the global south. The sixty people in the room had no shared understanding of big data, which led to some interesting discussions. Then someone stated that he wished big data would be defined. Big data is characterized by volume and variety. The […]

Informed assessment of vulnerability of undersea cables

Few weeks back we reported, without endorsement, a New York Times piece about the possibility of sabotage of trans Atlantic cables. Sabotage is a real threat, says cable expert Doug Madory, but not on the US-Europe routes. The thing that might not be widely appreciated is the fact that telecommunications lines are also sabotaged with […]

Persistence in policy advocacy in the Philippines

Grace Mirandilla Santos, LIRNEasia Research Fellow, is nothing if not persistent. She has been hammering away at the broadband quality problem in the Philippines for a long time now. The big party thrown by the government for APEC leaders in Manila becomes the latest opportunity for her: A note to APEC delegates: this brand of […]

Making a legal discussion on big data relevant to the Global South

I was a little surprised to be invited to a meeting on big data organized by the Institute of Technology and Society of Rio de Janeiro. But then I realized that the event was scheduled back to back with IGF 2015 in Joao Pessoa and that they were basically piggy-backing on the attraction of large […]

LIRNEasia CEO cited in lengthy essay on Zuckerberg and Facebook

In wide ranging article on multiple aspects of Facebook, the author cites Helani Galpaya’s comments on zero rating. For Facebook, releasing something, gauging reaction, and then tweaking as necessary is not only normal but also a badge of honor—after all, one of the company’s guiding principles is “Done is better than perfect.” When I ask […]


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