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Morning after: Thinking through Sri Lanka President’s free WiFi promise

Haven’t had time to analyze this election promise, so was very happy to see a CPRsouth alumnus take an excellent run at it. Usually, these free Wi-Fi services have lower speeds compared to the average home connection, and often come with a data or a time cap. Perth, for example, offers free public Wi-Fi in […]

FCC not requiring prior approval for zero rating

The situations in the US and our countries are very different: we have more competition at the access-network level, we have more people who are not connected and our retail pricing schemes are more rational. But it’s illuminating that the FCC is not as excited about zero rating as some other people: Under the FCC’s […]

Internet.org in India causes a flurry of discussion on net neutrality

Internet.org, Facebook’s effort to give people free Internet (or at least 38 websites and services that do not include Google) was launched earlier this month. This has resulted in a quantum leap in discussions of various aspects of net neutrality, including ones that connect the debate in the rich countries to our reality that is […]

Showering weather data through mobile phone in LKA

A “New Mobile Weather Stations”, notably made from local parts, fast delivers the rainfall forecast to the Sri Lankan farmers through text messages. It alerts them six hours ahead of excessive rain. That’s good enough for the farmers to take precaution. This device costs only $250 as opposed to $10,000 for standard mobile weather stations. […]

LIRNEasia agri-markets research reflected in policy discourse

One of the most important ways by which research influences policy is for the researcher to become a policy maker. In 2006-07 Harsha de Silva was leading LIRNEasia’s ag info research. As Deputy Minister for Planning and Economic Affairs, this is what he’s telling audiences now: Farmers are not poor because they don’t get the […]

LIRNEasia’s continued impact on PH Internet

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NTC conducted a second public hearing on its proposed memorandum circular on broadband QoS. LIRNEasia Research Fellow, Grace Mirandilla-Santos reiterated LIRNEasia’s recommendations that diagnostics should take into consideration consumer experience, must be transparent and results published in a format that consumers can understand and use, should help inform consumers’ decisions when availing of services (e.g., publishing […]

LIRNEasia prompted The Atlantic and Zittrain on >Facebook

Online edition of The Atlantic has reproduced the piece of Leo Mirani that refers to LIRNEasia’s 2012 findings on Internet being eclipsed by Facebook. Jonathan Zittrain of MIT has posted this article on his Facebook page. And that is the beauty of a good research.

Different perceptions of Sri Lanka’s mobile-only tax

Yesterday, I was the only non-politician on a political debate show on TV known as “Satana” (battle). The topic was the new President’s/government’s 100 Day Program (of which more than one-third has passed). I was not expecting to talk about the taxes imposed on the mobile industry, but right in the middle, one of the […]

What is research quality and how can we ensure it?

I was invited to a roundtable discussion on the first part of the above question today, along with the heads of several think tanks in Colombo. Having gone out of sense of citizenship, I will summarize the key points that I made so something is realized from the expenditure of two hours that could have […]

Celebrating LIRNEasia’s interns

At LIRNEasia, we do not treat interns only as cheap labor (though they are that too). They each have a mentor, a researcher who works with them and spends time with them. After all, LIRNEasia was set up by a person who loved and continues to love the learning culture of a good university but […]

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 […]

Assam and Manipur to miss Trans-Asian Railway

India has excluded Assam and Manipur, two of its troublesome northeastern states, from the 17,500-km long Trans-Asian Railway (TAR) network. It has proposed a Bangladesh-Myanmar railway link via Tripura and Mizoram instead, according to Times of India. Indian policy makers now want to bypass the areas in Assam and Manipur. According to the new proposal, […]

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 […]

The world’s lowest tech mobile phone

High contrast interface

In a world where everyone is reaching for better, faster and more feature packed mobile phones, a little known Australian company has designed and manufactured a mobile phone focusing on the bare minimum, with the elderly in mind, particularly those with mental and physical limitations. The KISA phone (KISA stands for Keeping It Simple Always), […]

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 […]

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