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

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Rohan Samarajiva

The importance of scale

One of the first things Ashok Jhunjhunwala said when we started working together was that in India scale was everything. He should know, having spun off a number of companies and suffered some failures as well. I find it difficult to get excited about stories like this, because these initiatives addressing 16,000 women in the […]

Will Myanmar also move to the innovation frontier in towers?

Learning from the experience of others, the licensing regime in Myanmar made it possible for companies that specialized in the operation of towers to function (unlike, say, in Sri Lanka). When the main business of a company is the leasing of space for antenna, it has incentives to use the towers most efficiently and to […]

Connectivity in the Bay of Bengal, this time from the supply side

We have been engaged with broader connectivity issues in the region since 2010, when Abu Saeed Khan and I started working to move ICT connectivity issues up on UN ESCAP’s agenda, embedded in other forms of connectivity. Much of what we’ve done in this area recently has been on the demand for connectivity developing in […]

An outcome of LIRNEasia’s Internet governance work

Leading up to the last Internet Governance Forum in Guadalajara, Mexico, LIRNEasia and the Association for Progressive Communication collaborated on preparing participants from multiple countries for effective engagement in that multi-stakeholder event. Nalaka Gunawardene was one of the participants from Sri Lanka supported by that activity. Here are his reflections in Internet governance in Echelon. […]

What is the best way to measure poverty

The government of Sri Lanka has increased spending on the leading welfare scheme Samurdhi, from LKR 15 billion in 2014, to LKR 43 billion in 2016, almost a tripling. There are 1.4 million beneficiaries, classified into those can be graduated out of the scheme, those who cannot, and those in between. Apparently, another 1 million […]

Myanmar project featured in IDRC Calendar

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It’s clearly not yet August 2017. So why is this Calendar page up on the website? It’s because the 2017 IDRC Calendar features the Myanmar as an inclusive information society project for the month of August. The featured photograph was taken by LIRNEasia alumna Radhika Wijesekera.

Broad discussion of LIRNEasia’s online freelancing research

Online Freelancing by Nalaka Gunawardene

The premier Sinhala newspaper of ideas, Ravaya, carried a lengthy piece by Nalaka Gunawardene on online freelancing, set in the context of the overall problem of creating high-quality jobs that could attract young Sri Lankans. This probably concludes one of our most successful dissemination efforts in the official languages of Sri Lanka, other than English.

Refugees and ICTs

We have written about use of smartphones by refugees. But the Economist provides a much more comprehensive view. Information and communications technology show up right through what researchers call the “refugee life-cycle”. People in northern Iraq use WhatsApp and Viber to talk to friends who have made it to Germany; UNHCR uses iris scans for […]

App stores as chokepoints

We commissioned a study on the Indian app economy back in 2013. The report was completed in 2014. One thing that study did not pick up on was the danger that governments could use the app store to control access to information. We were not alone in missing this critical implication: For more than a […]

LIRNEasia human capital research used in talk show on university reforms

I was included in a five-person panel discussing the university education in Sri Lanka in light of the currently heightened interest re relaxing the government monopoly. In my opening comments, I referred to research conducted in 2012 by the Human Capital Research team. I also talked about the need to allow innovation in the educational […]

Multiple SIM ownership declining

Multiple SIM ownership has been a topic we have given much thought to over the years. Unlike the ITU, we never thought it was a good thing in and of itself. We tried to understand why people bothered to juggle multiple SIMs. We found it had many causes, not just high interconnection charges as suggested […]

Governments tax, users respond rationally

It has become increasingly common for developing-country governments to extract rents from what they think is an easy target, international communication. After all, the people affected don’t vote in their elections, even if they are in many cases, hardworking expat workers who keep the home economies afloat. But telecom users are not stupid. They have […]

Backhaul networks in Myanmar gain additional financing

It’s not enough to build towers. The last mile has to be complemented by the middle mile and the first mile (though that seems a strained metaphor for international cables). The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency had backed the $105.74 million loan from the Bank of China (Hong Kong) to the Myanmar Fiber Optic Communication Network, […]

Online freelancing explained (in Sinhala)

We’ve been very happy we succeeded in disseminating the results of the online freelancing research in both Sinhala and Tamil. Here is an interview that was broadcast on a cable/satellite only news channel on multiple occasions, now on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZzurcU5IjA&index=98&list=PLkkCdeu97j3DUgSfk8SsOiqN6yPHwbq-K

RTI becomes law in Sri Lanka; Moving beyond to Open Government Data

Two ongoing projects at LIRNEasia seek to open up government data. The first is the inclusive information societies project. The second seeks to present electoral delimitation data to stakeholders in manipulable form to facilitate informed discussion. Human Capital Research Team Leader Sujata Gamage presents the big picture in a column in FT: Open data or […]

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