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

Author Archives: Rohan Samarajiva

Finally, a voice to balance the discussion on big data

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Europe has been the fount of data protection absolutism. Not a problem for anyone else but countries such as Thailand and Indonesia are well on the way to model their legislation on the European model. But Chancellor Merkel has seen that the absolutist approach poses dangers to European consumers and businesses as well. Europeans are […]

LIRNEasia source of Myanmar smartphone data in Measuring Information Society 2016 Report

I understand that smartphone penetration is even higher according to the 2016 survey, where the analysis is almost complete. But here is what the ITU says about Myanmar’s ICT progress, using LIRNEasia’s 2015 data: These improvements in affordability and network availability help to explain the country’s fast Internet uptake, supported by two other trends that […]

Myanmar close to India in ITU’s IDI rankings; Sri Lanka about to be overtaken by Bhutan

Myanmar is ranked 140th in the ITU’s ICT Development Index, just 0.16 away from India, which is ranked 138th. It is now ahead of all South Asian countries, except Maldives (86th), Sri Lanka (116th), Bhutan (117th) and India (138th). It is no longer the lowest ranking country within the ASEAN; Lao PDR is ranked 144th. […]

With Google fiber being “paused,” what of Loon?

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Various players are speculating about and trying to come to terms with the “pause” in Fiber initiatives by Google. Hopes that Google would establish a nationwide model for fiber Internet service were dashed last month, when the company suddenly declared a “pause” in its plans to lay fiber in as many as 18 municipalities, beyond […]

Rich discussion on Sri Lanka government’s increased taxes on Internet use

Following the online posting of my articles on the government’s 2017 Budget proposals affecting the ICT sector a rich discussion occurred over Twitter, which included participation and fact gathering by one of Sri Lanka’s leading journalists, Namini Wijedasa who writes in the highest circulation English newspaper. Thanks mostly to a valiant social media spokesperson from […]

Budget 2017 does not bode well for Sri Lanka ICT sector

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“The digital economy will empower our nation – through providing affordable and secure Internet connectivity to every citizen in any part of Sri Lanka, removing barriers for cross-border international trade.” The above quotation from the Prime Minister’s Economic Policy Statement in Parliament on 27 October 2016 suggests the government sees ICTs playing a vital role […]

Systematic review-based op ed on digital classroom draws a reaction from Prime Minister of Sri Lanka

As can be seen, the language used by Sujata Gamage in her op ed on the education proposal in the 2017 Budget Speech was very nuanced and academic. But the problem was that politicians tend not to read to the end, choosing to form their opinion from the headline. In this instance, the headline was […]

Sri Lanka Finance Minister attacks a pillar of regulatory independence

The legislation creating the Public Utilities Commission and the Telecom Regulatory Commission specifically provide for the regulatory bodies to have their own funds. The Minister of Finance in the 2017 Budget has announced he intends to expropriate the money in the funds and give it out on request. My response in today’s Daily FT: It […]

Questioning Sri Lanka government’s plan to compel Amazon et al. to use a yet-to-be developed government “common platform”

Budget 2017 year on wood cube with pencil and clock top view on wood table,New year business concept.

The Prime Minister of Sri Lanka is in charge of national policies and economic affairs. The Minister of Finance is in charge of finance, the money the government raises and the money it spends. As a result, the Prime Minister presents an economic policy statement before the budget is read. So it was with some […]

Media role in promoting intelligent discourse on economic issues

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The Tamil mediasphere in Sri Lanka has been over-determined by the political. Now that we’re reverting to a more normal country, it’s time for economic issues to be covered. A group of volunteers including LIRNEasia’s Suthaharan Perampalan assembled a group of eager Tamil media personnel for training program today. I was one of the speakers. […]

How to take research to policy without poisoning the well

My talk at the International Research Conference on Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Sri Jayawardenepura has been published in a newspaper. I described two critical issues facing our country and highlighted the dearth of good evidence. In the concluding part, from which the excerpt is taken, I discussed the challenge of maintaining […]

Speech on research to policy at University of Sri Jayewardenepura

The University of Sri Jayewardenepura is organizing an International Conference on Humanities and the Social Sciences, 10-11 November 2016. A principal focus is taking research to policy. That was why I accepted their invitation to be the Chief Guest and to moderate the media symposium. Here is a short excerpt from what I plan to […]

Death of transit and the rise of data centers

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Our lead on international backhaul, Senior Policy Fellow Abu Saeed Khan, has been talking about data centers along with fiber cables for some time. Here is the back story, as explained by APNIC’s Geoff Huston. The original motivation of the exchange was to group together a set of comparable local access providers to allow them […]

Ooredoo losses and growth both slow

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It appears that Ooredoo is turning around its Myanmar operations. Qatari telecom firm Ooredoo continues to reduce losses in its Myanmar arm relative to 2015, according to the group’s third-quarter results, although the Myanmar operation saw new subscriptions dip compared to the last two quarters. Unlike rival telco Telenor, Ooredoo’s Myanmar operations are not yet […]

Telenor Myanmar to place more weight on data

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If more than 50 percent of your customers are data users (daily? weekly? monthly), it would make sense to put weight on data. That is Telenor is going to do. What’s new in the Telegeography report is that data yields 40 percent of revenues. Until now, Telenor has focused on targeting the mass market, offering […]

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