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

Author Archives: Rohan Samarajiva

Prospects for greater connectivity in the Bay of Bengal

Below is an excerpt of the write-up of the 2nd BIMSTEC Foundation Lecture I gave on the 24th of August. As the economies of the littoral states grow, the need for connectivity will be heightened. Greater connectivity will make possible increased economic interactions and thereby further accelerate growth. With four of the littoral states among […]

Linking the Asia Pacific Information Superhighway to the user experience and Internet takeup in the Asia Pacific

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UN ESCAP has just put up a video of an interview I gave them a while back. Listening to it again, it seems that they succeeded in getting me to weave together a number of strands of work undertaken by LIRNEasia over the years, including broadband quality of service, importance of low-cost reliable international backhaul, […]

e Agriculture Solutions Forum organized by FAO and ITU

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I will be moderating the session on E-agriculture challenges, opportunities & solutions – Global experiences at the e Agriculture Solutions Forum 2016 organized by FAO and ITU in Nonthaburi, outside Bangkok, August 29-31, 2016. The objective of the session is to share initiatives on e-agriculture – the challenges and opportunities from public and private sector. […]

Reconnecting the Bay of Bengal

That is the title of the talk I will be giving on 24th August at 0900 hrs as the 2nd BIMSTEC Foundation Lecture at the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. Here I present (incomplete) evidence of the historical connectedness of the Bay of Bengal, reasons why the connectivity decreased after the Second World War, and information […]

Identifying poor households: Beyond night lights

As part of our big data work, we have been looking at sources other than mobile network big data for socio-economic monitoring. Night lights images from satellites was the favorite. But I’ve been always skeptical, partly because of looking down from the New Delhi-Colombo flight which flies through the middle of India and then right […]

Myanmar consumers surprise Ooredoo again

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All market projections in developing countries have been wrong, and all wrong in the same way: they have underestimated demand. This was true for voice, then for data, and now for 4G. The sharp increase in 4G usage is the second time the Myanmar market has taken Ooredoo by surprise, Mr Meza said. The first […]

Discussing how research can inform broadband policy and regulation in India

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The sixth iteration of the Ford Foundation supported course on how to engage in broadband policy and regulatory processes commenced today at IIT Delhi. An interesting mix of participants has been assembled by Dr Vignesh Illavarasan who is directing the course. He has also assembled a stellar cast of speakers, with perhaps the best gender […]

What role does WiFi play in connecting people to the Internet?

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In most of the countries we work in, most people connect to the Internet over mobile devices and/or mobile networks. But as WiFi hotspots of various kinds become more common, it appears that WiFi is becoming the dominant mode. The Global State of Mobile Networks study, based on 12.3 billion measurements taken by 822,556 OpenSignal […]

Why Internet companies are investing in undersea cables

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Looks like I did not get it exactly right with my parable. I thought joint ventures. Instead Google is building a parallel track. In recent years, content providers have outpaced carriers in terms of their capacity demand on major routes. Considering the scale of their bandwidth deployments, it increasingly makes sense for them to collaborate […]

China is good at mobile innovation

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I was surprised to hear an otherwise knowledgeable person participating in the Grand Challenges discussion here at University of Washington say there was no innovation in China. The time and place were not right for that discussion. But then NYT came with a substantive refutation: Snapchat and Kik, the messaging services, use bar codes that […]

Grand challenge: How to minimize impact on livelihoods from disasters

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I am at the University of Washington in Seattle discussing grand challenges in tech policy. When asked to identify a grand challenge in the tech policy space that was uniquely relevant in my own country, I proposed action to minimize impact on livelihoods as described in the piece I wrote after the April Kelani river […]

MPT seeks to differentiate itself through zero rating

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MPT is the former monopoly supplier and still has the largest customer base. But their new managers have reason to be worried whether they can hold to the customers. Telenor is a major player skilled in implementing the budget telecom network model and is nipping at MPT’s heels. Ooredoo has deep pockets. When the VietTel […]

Nation State as a Service (NaaS) on the horizon?

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As regional think tank, LIRNEasia sees its allegiance as being to the poor in the whole region, rather than a particular country. I’ve lived in three countries other than the one I was born in and have always been skeptical about excessive attachments to particular places. Albert Hirschman’s discussion of the nation state as a […]

UK OFCOM seeks to optimize infrastructure for competitive provision of services

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The UK has been a leader in telecom reforms. Thus OFCOM’s encouragement of BT to have a de facto separate unit called Openreach to permit non-discriminatory use of the infrastructure caught the attention of many. Now, OFCOM wants to take next logical step and is proposing real structural separation: Openreach to become a distinct company. […]

International backhaul is a problem in ASEAN

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The work that we began in 2010 with UN ESCAP on improving the international backhaul capacity of Asia is continuing to move forward. The latest step is a pre-feasibility study on ASEAN connectivity conducted in early 2015 and published in 2016. The study found that Internet traffic measurement of international paths (backbone trunk lines), undertaken […]

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