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

Author Archives: Rohan Samarajiva

Big data generates an independent assessment of the Chinese economy?

One of our current priorities is to work with the National Statistical Agency to see how we can complement official statistics instruments on socio-economic monitoring. China watchers are not collaborating with the NSO. They are trying to second guess it. I was wondering though, wouldn’t we be happy if we got these kinds of correlations? […]

Emergency powers to expedite cell towers

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In the US, they included preemption powers in the 1996 Communication Act to enable the FCC to override state and municipal authorities on communication-related approvals. This was considered draconian. In my recommendations to governments, I have always been cautious about taking away the power of lower-levels of government. But it looks like the traffic situation […]

The value of “technical assistance”

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When I was responsible for the management of technical assistance funds made available by the World Bank for telecom and infrastructure reforms, I heard many complaints about the money all going to foreign consultants and nothing remaining in Sri Lanka. I responded to this criticism in a substantive manner a few years back in LBO. […]

What is the role of government in disaster risk reduction and response?

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I spoke today at a workshop for media personnel organized by the Ministry of Disaster Management (DM). I just looked to see if I could link to the workshop description on the web. Apparently not. Guess that confirms what I said about the need for the DM Ministry and the DM Center to change the […]

Cell broadcast used in New York City and New Jersey

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We have been talking about cell broadcasting since 2007, at least. The technology has been used in the US before, but it appears this was the first time it was used to catch a suspect. Frank DiGirolamo was stepping out of a Manhattan deli on 37th Street and Seventh Avenue on his way to work […]

Different approaches to mobile communication research

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In the course of reviewing Jonathan Donner’s After Access: Inclusion, Development, and a More Mobile Internet (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2015), I realized why we always had trouble fitting in at most ICT for Development conferences and perhaps why our papers (and those of RIA) had trouble getting accepted. It was because were not […]

Systematic Reviews: How do we communicate results when there is little demand from policy makers

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It has been over five years since we started work on systematic reviews. I am in the middle of editing a special issue of a journal that will address the issue of how we take research to policy. As I say in the slides below, it seems unfair to ask of social science systematic reviews […]

“I finally understood what Systematic Reviews are about”

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That was what someone from the audience said to one of the presenters at the end of our Systematic Reviews presentation at CPRsouth 12 in Zanzibar, September 10, 2016. Two years ago, at CPRsouth 2014 in Maropeng, LIRNEasia presented early results from ongoing Systematic Reviews (SRs) and presented ideas on how SR methodology could enhance […]

Backhaul as a critical factor in 5G rollout

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We’ve been pushing for greater policy attention to international backhaul markets since 2010. Haven’t said as much on domestic backhaul, but we have talked about that as a constraint as well. Good to have the FCC Chair on our side. Supplying backhaul is a profitable activity for the largest carriers in the US, notably AT&T […]

Learnings from doing big data in the Global South

There appeared to be a problem with loading the slideset, so I went to Plan B. I was just about to do a big data talk with no slides. That is the first learning: always have a Plan B and be ready to improvise. This being Oxford, I thought they could access the slides off […]

Sri Lanka Finance Minister moves to stifle e commerce innovation

According to the Daily Mirror, the Finance Minister has said ““They (e-commerce operators) are just operating here. Where is the regulation for that? We will make them bring money earned here back to the country.” He appears to be responding to non-e commerce businesses who are complaining as below. Meanwhile during the 9th Ease of […]

Economics meets data science

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In our big data for development work, we collaborate with data-savvy economists as well as economists who can code. Within Sri Lanka, we have not found them, but we keep looking. But looks like this is the future of economics. But what the tech economists are doing is different: Instead of thinking about national or […]

What does it take to believe in the benefits of mobile?

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We can offer up systematic reviews. But it seems like a good old fashioned story may be more effective. When the storm hit, some of the younger, more tech-savvy residents had snapped photos of the giant hailstones and the damage they had caused. The photos, of hole-filled roofs and wind-bent buildings, were uploaded to their […]

Big data and agriculture

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I was asked to make one point about the way forward at the closing session of the excellent e agriculture solutions forum organized by the FAO and ITU offices in Bangkok. Here is what I said (more or less, but this is the jist): Big data in agriculture We have come a long way from […]

How we moved from supply push to demand pull in our engagement with policy makers in big data research

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The University of Moratuwa is a valuable partner in our big data for development research program. They had organized a two-day workshop with colleagues from the Singapore Management University exploring the big data space. LIRNEasia was invited. Our collaborator Dr Amal Shehan Perera, who is on faculty at UoM, talked about the epidemiology work. I […]

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