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

Author Archives: Rohan Samarajiva

More on connectivity, this time internal to a country linked to MSR

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The second day of the symposium organized by the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies and Pathfinder Foundation involved interaction between the Sri Lankan delegation and representatives of the provincial governments in China. The presentation I made is here.

Connectivity in the Bay of Bengal region

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I was asked to speak about Sri Lanka’s economic strategies and the Maritime Silk Road, here at the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies – Pathfinder Foundation symposium today. I am not sure this is just about Sri Lanka, but connectivity, if it is to be effective, has to work for all who are connected, so […]

Climate change leads to better Internet

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Given melting ice in the Arctic, cable laying ships are moving in. In the first phase northern communities are being connected. The plan is to extend to Asia, providing an additional layer of redundancy to international backhaul. In later phases of the project, Quintillion Networks will extend the network internationally to Europe and Asia, representing […]

Sri Lanka’s Right to Information Law: The good, the bad and the ugly

Last week Parliament adopted the Right to Information Law without division. I have been engaged with RTI in Sri Lanka since 2007, when I chaired a Pathfinder Sanvada discussion. We went deep into the subject in 2011 when we proposed to implement RTI for the City of Colombo. RTI was a key element in the […]

Six CPRsouth alumni at ITS 2016

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I did not have to go looking for them. They came up to me and fondly spoke of what they had learned at previous CPRsouth events. In some cases the interactions had happened more than five years ago. I was gratified. The objective of CPRsouth is not to equip young people for the academic industry; […]

What can Myanmar learn from its peers as it sets up its ICT regulatory agency?

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Myanmar, having completed the “big bang,” initial reforms is in the process of establishing a regulatory agency to be known as the Myanmar Communication Commission (MCC). Due to years of enforced isolation from the world and neglect of education, Myanmar suffers from severe constraints in terms of skilled personnel. Having already achieved good results by […]

What are the harms of using R&D expenditures as indicator of innovation?

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Martin Fransman gave a good keynote on what causes innovation at today’s ITS conference. One question that arose from his discussion of Apple and a low-tech (low expenditure on R&D) company was how we could objectively measure innovation. Fransman answered by saying R&D expenditures were a bad indicator, being (a) an input measure, and (b) […]

Big data policy discussed at ITS

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I am speaking on a big data panel at the 21st ITS Biennial Conference in Taipei, described below: If Big Data can open up opportunities at the same time it raises serious policy issues. Big Data raises concerns about the protection of privacy and other values and may drive a rethink of traditional approaches to […]

Does mobile use make us sick?

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It was a challenge to teach about the health issues associated with mobile networks to over 80 members of the Yangon Regional Hluttaw (regional Parliament), including the Speaker and Deputy Speaker. I am not qualified in medicine, but I keep getting asked whether a new mobile BTS being erected in a neighborhood or a son’s […]

Training program for Myanmar Union Legislators

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MIDO and LIRNEasia offered a one day program that addressed issues of telecom and Internet policy and regulation, along with e government and social media in Yangon to around 20 legislators from the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament. The slides used are given below: What is the significance of ICTs to legislators?: Rohan Samarajiva […]

Hope for Sri Lanka Post?

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In contrast to the usual tales of woe, increasing losses and strikes, an online publication had this optimistic story: Sri Lanka Post has done its homework. According to Shervyn Senadheera, Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Posts, Postal Services & Muslim Religious Affairs, a survey conducted between 2013 and 2014 with a sample size of […]

Rationale and modalities of economic reforms discussed at Management Club Colombo

I discussed what is required for Sri Lankan firms to effectively participate in global value chains and reforms of State-Owned Enterprises at the Management Club of Colombo. The slides are here.

Concerns about BharatNet delays

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Osama Manzar of Digital Empowerment Foundation has written an op ed on BharatNet, still being described by the unfortunate acronym NOFN. We have been writing about it since Sam Pitroda came up with the plan in 2012-13. What is sad is that the story has not changed much since 2013-14, despite governments and ministers changing. […]

Spectrum management framework should not be destroyed for experimental service

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The government newspaper, the Ceylon Daily News, carried a well-written story on Google Loon, Rama Corp, and dangers to spectrum framework. “We first told the companies who had been with us throughout, that because they had supported us through difficult times, we would give them a base frequency of 7.5Mhz (900Mhz band). The other companies, […]

Insurance as a critical element in disaster response toolkit

People walk through a flooded road after they moved out from their houses in Biyagama, Sri Lanka May 17, 2016. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

We have been kicking around the idea of giving insurance a greater role in disaster risk reduction and response since 2005. Just a few months back I raised the issue at a workshop at UN ESCAP. In an interview with a Sinhala newspaper last week, I said it was a pity we were not anchoring […]

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