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Rohan Samarajiva

Philippines broadband performance improving, but still slow and expensive

LIRNEasia Research Fellow Grace Mirandilla Santos has had the opportunity to identify the top consumer issues at the first Telecommunications Summit organized by the newly created Department of Information and Communications Technology recently. She writes about it in TelecomAsia: Although I’m very passionate about consumer woes—and it’s very easy to get carried away—I showed the […]

Well-intentioned passion cannot power Myanmar growth

We have been writing about Myanmar’s electricity problems since we started working there. I had not realized that even at this early stage, the energy nihilists are active. They know what they don’t want, but cannot tell what should be done that is practical. In a rational world such people would not be taken seriously, […]

Rules of thumb to differentiate potential public intellectuals from blowhards

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Above is a Sinhala article in Raavaya which addresses the following questions: What rules of thumb or filters may an editor or equivalent apply to choose between different intellectuals seeking opportunities to communicate to the public? The public’s attention is limited; and so is the “speaking time” that could be offered. Giving time on TV/radio […]

Misconceptions about ICT, Part 1

Misconceptions about ICT, Part I

This post is part of series of responses to observations made during a discussion on the “Aluth Parlimenthuwa” show on TV Derana. Read Part II here. There is value in engaging with people with different worldviews. I had such an opportunity during a rare television talk show on ICT issues on Derana. A senior policymaker in […]

Indigenous scholarship

I had heard about papers on Islamic science policy being picked as best papers and given prominence over conventional social science papers at an international conference organized by a Malaysian university. But my first direct experience of this indigenization trend came at the international conference I spoke at last week at Manipal University. A faculty […]

Dilemma of data localization

It has been the common position of OECD member countries to oppose mandatory data localization. Data localization flies in the face of the logic of cloud computing. Microsoft has fought the US government on the issue in courts. Yet, when Canada wants data localization, they acquiesce. In response to the mounting public concerns, leading technology […]

Trouble brewing for meso-audience producers

In a recent talk, I described the value of thinking about Internet companies such as Facebook as producers of meso-audiences: “The only revenues that come to the Internet companies are from advertisers. . . . They can describe the meso-audiences in much greater detail than can the mobile operators and can offer raw material for […]

Core functions of government, illustrated by what could be done with money-losing postal service

The distinction between public goods and activities with significant positive externalities was developed in conversation the our Advisory Council Member Randy Spence. I used it develop a schema that people could use as they think through what government should and should not do. I illustrated the positive externalities discussion using the postal service, because it […]

A window to discuss public intellectuals

We talk about time-bound opportunities that open up for effective policy intervention: policy windows. Similar “windows” open up in public discourse. One needs to grab them before they disappear. Of course, one can seek to expand and shape the window as well. Few days back, an online publication carried a few pieces on public intellectuals. […]

Consolidation in the face of disruption

Reliance shook up India’s markets once, with what appeared to be an oxymoronic strategy of limited mobility. It worked. The market was transformed and the effects reverberated across the developing world. In a different guise Reliance is back. The market is being transformed. The explosion of internet usage has created cutthroat competition among carriers seeking […]

Paying for content v paying for attention

In the talk that I gave at Manipal University, I emphasized the significance of audiences in today’s economy. Here is a piece that highlights what appears to be a counter-trend. Yet for much of that time, the business side of culture looked under assault. The internet taught a whole generation that content was not something […]

Communication policy in the age of Facebook: the paper

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Never a good idea to read a paper, even though one existed because I wrote it up at the request of the organizers of Manipal conference. Here is the conclusion: The communication space has been transformed by the attention economy. Thinking on policy has changed, with policy expected to set the ground rules for all […]

Communication policy in the age of Facebook

I’ve been invited to deliver the chief guest’s address at International Conference on “India’s Communication Policy and Strategy,” at Manipal University, Karnataka, India, March 17-18, 2017. The topic I picked is “Communication policy in the age of Facebook.” Here is what I think is the key para: Though difficult, it is possible to develop a […]

LIRNEasia and University of Tokyo receive competitive funding for dynamic census

In July of 2016, the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, announced a new multi-million dollar funding initiative to support collaborative data innovations for sustainable development. The University of Tokyo and Colombo-based LIRNEasia are among the winners in the pilot round of this initiative. Their proposal, entitled “Dynamic Census,” aims to improve the existing census […]

India has 55,000 villages without mobile signal

India was reported to have had 638,596 villages, of which 593,731 are inhabited according to the last census. Over 9 percent of the inhabited villages, 55,000, are said to lack mobile coverage. Sinha said that, according to the 2011 Census, there are 55,000 villages that don’t have mobile connectivity. The government, he added, had drawn […]

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