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Rohan Samarajiva

Live stream of big data for urban development talk given at Sri Lanka Institution of Engineers

Just realized that we had not provided the link to the video of the talk given on January 16th. The video and slides.

LIRNEasia and RIA research on teleuse also carried in Telegraph

It’s a tribute of sorts that old findings from research we no longer do gets carried in the UK mainstream media. Millions of Facebook users in developing countries do not realise that they are using the internet, suggesting that, in many people’s minds, the two are one and the same, according to a report by […]

LIRNEasia alumnus Chanuka Wattegama appointed to ICTA Board

The ICT Agency of Sri Lanka was created in 2003 as a new kind of government organization focused on implementation. Its tag line was “Ideas actioned.” We are pleased by the announcement that Chanuka Wattegama, an alumnus of LIRNEasia with work experience also in the UNDP’s regional ICT initiative, has been appointed to the Board […]

Replication is the highest form of flattery: LIRNEasia and RIA research on Internet and Facebook users replicated

We no longer do quantitative and qualitative research on the demand-side of Internet use (except in Myanmar) but it is indeed gratifying to find work that we did in 2012 being described and even replicated at some cost in 2015. In an attempt to replicate Stork and Galpaya’s observations, Quartz commissioned surveys in Indonesia and […]

Bad headline about India fiber backbone rollout may portend the future

Modi Seeks Telecom Ministry to Speed Up Broadband Project http://t.co/Iz433L5HJ0 pic.twitter.com/6VvpnnVs65 — New Indian Express (@NewIndianXpress) February 8, 2015 When I saw the tweet, I thought Modi was going to takeover the telecom portfolio. Only to find it was a bad headline that had then crept into a misleading tweet. No, he’s not taking over […]

Verizon’s supercookies and the language we proposed for inclusion in draft mobile network big data guidelines

Verizon is in the the news and under the gun for its use of supercookies to track mobile users. The company uses the tracking technology — alphanumerical customer codes known as supercookies — to segment its subscribers into clusters and tailor advertising pitches to them. Although Verizon allows subscribers some choices regarding the use of […]

What can the Sri Lanka government do regarding mobile taxes in interim budget

A 24/7 news channel interviewed me about the mobile-only taxes proposed by the new government. It is not online (yet) so I cannot give a link. The last question I was asked by the interviewer was about my recommendations to the government. Here is what I said: 1. The proposal that the mobile operators should […]

Television debate on 2015 Sri Lanka Interim Budget

Last night (4th February 2015), the TV Channel Derana invited me to participate in a debate in Sinhala on the interim budget presented by the new Minister of Finance. Here I used the case of punitive taxes on mobiles as a way of discussing the possible implications for investment in general, and for the ICT […]

What can be said about mobile-only taxes, again?

One thinks that the case has been made over and over again that the connectivity made possible by ICTs is a good thing. Governments appear to act on this basis when they formulate telecom and broadband policies and sometimes even direct subsidies to encourage greater connectivity. Yet, whenever there is need for money all that […]

Statist v non-statist underpinnings to the discourse on Internet governance

The roiling debate on Internet governance in a post-Snowden world is not one that we participate in fully. There are only so many hours in a day. But this debate caught my eye. Someone systematically engaging Richard Hill, the theorist behind the ITU’s position at WCIT 2013. It seems to me that what most bothers […]

Big data and the future of official statistics

The Royal Statistics Society and the Overseas Development Institute had organized a well-attended public discussion on big data and the future of conventional government statistics. I was pleased that there was nothing very news said, from our perspective, because that shows that we are not lagging behind in this space. I found the comments by […]

India to subsidize business process outsourcing activities in North East

The states in the North East of India have among the highest rates of English literacy in India. They also have very high unemployment rates. Now the government is planning to conduct least-cost subsidy auctions for those willing to set up BPOs in those states. As per the plan, the government is planning to set […]

MPT increases 3G capacity in urban centers

When I was last in Myanmar, 3G was said to be available, people had smartphones, but congestion made connecting a challenge. It appears the operators are responding. According to Takashi Nagashima, CEO of MPT-KDDI-Sumitomo joint operations, the network improvement plan kicked off on November 6. The capacity of congested 3G sites in Yangon and Nay […]

Minister Prasad lays out Digital India plans

It is a good thing that Digital India builds upon the previous unexecuted plans for taking fiber to rural India. What we said then, and what we say now is that the government must put teeth into the claim that NOFN will be “a national non-discriminatory infrastructure.” Give the private providers certainty by spelling out […]

Why, when the solution is staring one in the face, do governments continue to foster grey markets?

I was reading the 2014 Annual Report of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, where on page 37 the PTA reports that international calls being terminated on Pakistani mobile networks has decreased dramatically since 2011-12, from 10.8 billion minutes to 5.6 billion minutes in 2013-14. The PTA even says that “one view is that this is due […]

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