Rohan Samarajiva


Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva refers to evidence showing Internet taxes are counterproductive and says current excessive taxes are temporary. Video of interview.
Based on work done on electronic trading in ASEAN and extrapolation from the online freelancing research, I contributed some thoughts on budget proposals to create a government-run platform to collect taxes. That has been picked up in subsequent articles. In the face of government highhandedness, global e-commerce giants have in the past opted not to enter Sri Lanka, and experts such as LIRNEasia Chairman Professor Rohan Samarajiva have expressed concerns that new interference would lead to those operating in Sri Lanka to leave the country as well. However, some platforms such as Airbnb have a history of collecting taxation from customers and providing them to governments, if requested. Officials admitted that many budget accommodation units are not eligible to pay taxes, which would require amendments to existing legislation.
We have been writing about competition issues around big data since 2014 (though I could claim 1991). Now the New York Times weighs in. The competition concerns echo those that gradually emerged in the 1990s about software and Microsoft. The worry is that as the big internet companies attract more users and advertisers, and gather more data, a powerful “network effect” effectively prevents users and advertisers from moving away from a dominant digital platform, like Google in search or Facebook in consumer social networks. Evidence of the rising importance of data can be seen from the frontiers of artificial intelligence to mainstream business software.
Data philanthropy was what UN Global Pulse came up with as a foundation for private entities donating data for public services. But now Uber has come up with another story. The site, which Uber will invite planning agencies and researchers to visit in the coming weeks, will allow outsiders to study traffic patterns and speeds across cities using data collected by tens of thousands of Uber vehicles. Users can use Movement to compare average trip times across certain points in cities and see what effect something like a baseball game might have on traffic patterns. Eventually, the company plans to make Movement available to the general public.
Bill Easterly’s latest piece in Foreign Policy argues that the Trump victory is essentially a defeat of technocrats who do not have, or cannot defend, fundamental social values. Made me ask whether we too have, over time, become value-neutral technocrats. I had written on values in telecom policy many years ago (Samarajiva & Shields, 1990). Evidence v values I’ve heard people describe us as great proponents of evidence-based policy. Easterly (2016) claims that technocrats who dominated both parties in the US had “approach[ed] every problem with a five-point plan designed to produce evidence-based deliverables — [and thereby] had left democracy vulnerable” to demagogues like Trump.
In a wide-ranging interview, Htaike Htaike Aung and Phyu Phyu Thi talk about MIDO and how they approach policy problems in the ICT space. The article.
The LIRNEasia representative-sample survey conducted in 2016 found that 78 percent of phone users had smartphones. A supply-side report confirms this. As with many developing countries, low-cost smartphones continue to thrive in Myanmar. In 2016Q3, 89% of smartphone shipments to the country fall below US$225. “Smartphones priced at US$50
In an interview with Light Reading, the Ooredoo CEO says The growth plateauing in Myanmar’s telecom sector will be based on the quality of the network and service because mobile users’ expectations are high. If an operator can’t provide attractive service, customers will definitely switch to another. Our growth is improving quarter-by-quarter. We had 8.2 million active customers in the second quarter of 2016 and 4 million active users in the same period last year.
The 2017 Budget presented by the Minister of Finance of the Government of Sri Lanka proposed provision of “free Tabs for almost 175,000 students who enter the Advanced Level (AL) classes and around 28,000 A/L teachers from 2017.” LKR 5,000 million was allocated for this purpose. Given the fact that LIRNEasia had just completed a systematic review on ICTs in the classroom and had conducted an event to present the research to decision makers, we asked Kagnarith Chea, who participated in a related event to react to the government proposals. Kagnarith is . .
In the first iteration, the benefits of MVNOs were marginal. Different brand, perhaps better customer service . . But it appears Google is offering a new model where your handset would jump to the best available signal. Google purchases capacity on multiple networks making this possible.

Ambani v Pitroda

Posted by on December 31, 2016  /  0 Comments

I am large, I contain multitudes. This is true, for sure, about India, on track to become the most populous nation in five years. India contains many visions and plans, not necessarily congruent, about connecting citizens to the Internet. The Walt Whitman line surely applies to what happens in Indian ICT policy too. Sam Pitroda worked up a plan to do the job using state-owned enterprises.
Ranging from the incredible advance of teleuse documented by two surveys conducted by LIRNEasia and MIDO to the potential of ubiquitous smartphones for making the lives of Myanmar’s disabled citizens better, Helani Galpaya summarizes the work being done in Myanmar since 2013 on MTV, a business-news channel. She touches on the need to work on digital literacy and talk about how we have been informed policy in Myanmar since 2013. 12 minute interview aired on MTV
Imposing an additional tax on a specific good or service results in the reduction of its use. Generally, this is recommended for demerit goods such as alcohol and tobacco. In Myanmar, the government appears to believe telecom is a demerit good, collecting a five percent tax from all telecom bills since April 2016. The President says it will be used in sectors that “directly help people.” But this report shows that all funds collected after April have gone to general expenditures of government.
There was a time when oil and gas attracted the most FDI in Myanmar. This is FDI that results in greater exports by enabling the unlocking of the resources under the ground and the waters of Myanmar. One can debate how much of the risk is borne by whom and whether the returns are proportional to risk. But generally, greater FDI in the energy sector is a good thing for a country like Myanmar, seeking to move out of least-developed-country status. The fact that telecom is the biggest attractor of FDI in a country so rich in resources is not something to be celebrated.
It’s been a while since LIRNEasia research has been featured in Indian newspapers. We’re making up for that: “70% of the institutional players such as schools, banks and health centers in rural India are not aware of government’s BharatNet initiative,” IIT Delhi professor and co-author P Vigneswara Ilavarasan of a survey by a think-tank LIRNEasia, told ET. He added that the overall Internet usage was low in areas where broadband has already reached. The findings were based on a survey conducted in the BharatNet pilot areas that included 1,329 institutional respondents in the Arain, Rajasthan, and Vizag and Parvada in Andhra Pradesh village blocks. “Of the overall scale, 30% of the respondents said that they are aware of the BharatNet scheme of which 8% claimed to have known the mega project very well,” the LIRNEasia survey found.
The purpose behind our work in CPRsouth and the broadband policy courses we have been offering in the South Asian region is catalysis. We speed up or initiate. The participants in the courses do the heavy lifting. Here is evidence it’s working. Preeti Mudliar has published a report on the Indian NOFN/BharatNet: This study visits the three pilot project sites to find out how the NOFN infrastructure is faring three years after it was first rolled out to 58 gram panchayats (village local bodies) in India.