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

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Broadband Policy Course in India: Applications are being called for Indian citizens residing in the country to participate in the course held from 16th to 19th December 2016. For more details see announcement.

Rohan Samarajiva

Facebook wants to bring itself (and the Internet) closer


I once wrote a parable to make sense of the positions the various players were taking on Internet developments. After the dust settled, I expected them to work together to make money, rather than run behind the ITU or national governments asking for favors. Facebook has been explaining what it wants to do to make […]

Bay of Bengal connectivity at APNIC 42


It was a problem in the country that gave its name to the Bay of Bengal that caused the main APNIC conference to shift its location to Colombo. So, when I was asked to deliver one of the two keynotes, I proposed a talk on connectivity in the Bay. Now that SAARC has taken a […]

A successful policy intervention: RTI saved from 8000 fresh graduates

Hiring 8000 graduates to implement #RTI is wrong. Info officers must be senior people with authority. #LKA — Rohan Samarajiva (@samarajiva) July 4, 2016 It was reported in the Lankadeepa of 30 June that the Government has decided to recruit 8,000 fresh graduates to serve as information officers in order to implement the recently-approved […]

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


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”


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?


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


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


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


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”


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


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


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 […]


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