Rohan Samarajiva


Question asked by a journalist: is there any basis for expecting that Sri Lanka’s very successful ICT strategy will in fact help in the economic recovery from the tsunami? For example, could ICT-enabled industries provide opportunities to replace the jobs/industries that have been damaged, or could the telecom structure help speed rebuilding efforts? In other words, have Sri Lanka’s efforts in building a digital economy put it in a better position to recover from this disaster? Answer: The fisheries industry that got almost wiped out had very low productivity. It’ll come back, hopefully with better productivity.
Sujata and I will be participating in a conference in Manila addressing how to get them to focus on ICTs. In light of the Indian Ocean tsunami, there will also be a session on disaster warning, where I will speak. Provisional program is attached. Manila ICT4D and Universities Program Asia Consultation

Tsunami Timeline

Posted by on January 2, 2005  /  7 Comments

Attached is a color coded timeline of events related to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that seeks to answer the question “who knew what when?” This Presentation is available as: Flash: Flash Presentation on Tsunami Warnings (Truncated). Flash: Full Flash Presentation Powerpoint:Tsunami Warnings and How We Can Listen and HTML Tsunami Timeline The basic timeline is below. 7:00 AM: Indonesia Reports Earthquake 7:05 AM: Colombo Gets Quake Report 7:14 AM: Honolulu Earthquake Bulletin 7:30 AM: Tsunami Hits Sumatra 8:04 AM: Honolulu Tsunami Warning 8:27 AM: Tsunami Hits Kalmunai 8:55 AM: Tsunami Hits Trinco, Batticaloa, more 9:30 AM: Tsunami Hits Galle, Kalutara, more

Anti-reform article

Posted by on December 31, 2004  /  5 Comments

All this seems irrelevant now, but 2 weeks ago, the government’s Sunday newspaper ran a rambling article about telecom reforms, that was in part a personal attack on Rohan Samarajiva, but mostly an assault on the reform process itself. The tables that were central to the article had been produced by Mr K.K. Gunawardene, former Director of the Department of Telecommunications (state-owned integrated monopoly until 1991), more recently with the ITU’s Bangkok office. These tables are unfortunately not reproduced in the online edition of the newspaper.
Presentation

Responding to the tsunami

Posted by on December 28, 2004  /  4 Comments

The wind was not held back Below is a talk given 6 years ago entitled “To hold back the wind.” That was an attempt to get disaster preparedness going. It failed, obviously. The walls of water came in with no warning; thousands died instantaneously; millions are homeless. Parentheses refer to 9/11 in the US for scale: in a few hours on the 26th of December more that 17,900 (3,000) died out of a population of 19 million (280 million).

Melody Interview plus

Posted by on December 19, 2004  /  2 Comments

contains an interesting interview with Bill Melody and two other items worth reading. A new publication of the Mexican regulatory agency, COFETEL. Worth thinking about: Bill’s central point is that the new regulatory agencies must have flexibility. He says their managers must have expertise, independence, capacity, etc.: “they must be informed and sophisticated market managers focused on using market tools strategically as their principal weapon in achieving pubic interest objectives.

Mobility Roundtable

Posted by on December 17, 2004  /  0 Comments

Call-for-Papers A well developed information infrastructure is critical to the emerging knowledge society. Arguably, it is the availability of “network-based development toolkit” that enables consumers to generate value for the suppliers in the so-called “reverse economy” scenario. Similarly, it is the availability of ubiquitous Web-based information access that provides deep support to individuals in the new paradigm of “distributed capitalism”. It might not be extravagant to claim that a sustainable knowledge society, to a great extent, relies on a sophisticated information infrastructure. As part of the information infrastructure, mobile communication has developed at an extraordinarily high speed in both developing and developed countries.
Round 1 (November 12-23) Comments requested An organization that is coherent and focused must have a common purpose and its members must know what that purpose is. Even better, those members must have ownership of that purpose, having participated in defining it. This is the case in organizations that are more than the sum of their parts. LIRNEasia is an affiliate of LIRNE.NET, an organization that was created by Bill Melody, Rohan Samarajiva and Knud-Erik Skouby (with the help of several others) in 2000.

2nd Colloquium

Posted by on November 12, 2004  /  0 Comments

Rohan Samarajiva started out by introducing the four case studies that LIRNEasia will be conducting this year which will be LIRNEasia’s contribution to the Expert forum to be held in September-October 2005. Since all four study teams were represented, Rohan gave an overview of the terms of reference common to the projects and went over the timeline. Rohan observed that a good research organization and a consulting firm has a common culture, values and quality standards. This is not the case for “bodyshops” and hence their output was unpredictable, varying from mediocre to excellent. LIRNEasia will not be a bodyshop but will build a common organizational culture, value and standards using multiple methods, the colloquium being one.

Opening in ICT Activism

Posted by on November 11, 2004  /  0 Comments

OneWorld South Asia is looking for someone to head SL operations. OneWorld is the world’s favourite and fastest-growing civil society network online, supporting people’s media to help build a more just global society. – from website
Yesterday, I spoke to a large and restive crowd (made so by lack of air conditioning and a delayed start) in Matara (main city in the South of Sri Lanka) at the launch of the Pathfinder Foundation’s first book, a Sinhala translation of Janos Kornai’s Toward a free economy. I was asked to talk about globalization and the relevance of Kornai’s ideas for facing the challenges posed by globalization. In this talk that I pieced together thanks to time zone differences that caused me to wake up at 3 in the morning while in the US, I illustrated the issues referring to Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), a broad area of service exports for which efficient, flexible and low-cost telecom is a pre-condition. I think the talk provides the "big picture" of the necessity of telecom reforms of the type that we at LIRNEasia are involved in. If we are to go beyond simply giving people phones, to giving them "money in the pocket and hope in the heart" this big picture is essential.

Net Thru a Wall Outlet

Posted by on October 28, 2004  /  3 Comments

Should this be added to the debate? 65% of homes have electricity; more than the 25% with some form of telecom access. By TOM McNICHOL HIGH-speed Internet access usually comes to homes through one of two wires: a telephone line for D.S.L.

infoDev Discussion Notes

Posted by on October 27, 2004  /  0 Comments

Today on the 26th of October, I had a fruitful discussion with one of the foundation partners of World Dialogue on Regulation, infoDev. I met with Mostafa Terrab, the head of infoDev, Kerry McNamara, Chief Knowledge Officer, and Samia Melhem, Senior Operations Officer. The notes of that discussion are attached. –Rohan Samarajiva LIRNEasiaINFODEVoct04.ppt
The article below from NYTimes.com has been sent to you by samarajiva AT lirne DOT net. By JOHN MARKOFF, SAN FRANCISCO, In an effort to create a global wireless alternative to cable and telephone Internet service, Intel said on Monday that it would collaborate with Clearwire, a wireless broadband company, in developing and deploying the new technology. The companies said that Intel would make a "significant” investment in Clearwire, which has begun building long-range wireless data networks around the world. Clearwire, founded by Craig O.