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

Category Archives: General

Broadband Policy Course in India: Applications are being called for Indian citizens residing in the country to participate in the course held from 16th to 19th December 2016. For more details see announcement.

India Connected: Book and a panel discussion


It appears that Govt of India is excited about the digital India, specially the use of social media. Last week, I had the pleasure of listening to the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Col Rajvardhan Rathore who released the book entitled, ‘India Connected’. In his short speech he highlighted the importance of social media and […]

Six billion without access to broadband?


Yesterday, while I was moderating a panel on ICT policy and regulation, SDGs and inclusion at IIC 2016 in Bangkok, I was surprised to hear from a speaker representing the Alliance for Affordable Internet that “six billion people were without access to broadband.” I wrote it down. In subsequent comments I said the six billion […]

What is the role of big data when Censuses have not been done for 35 years?


The first session of the big data research workshop focused on what has been done with big data in a development context. To me, one of the most striking points was made by Josh Blumenstock of Berkeley. He showed the time since the last census in a number of countries in Africa (I think the […]

Facebook wants to bring itself (and the Internet) closer


I once wrote a parable to make sense of the positions the various players were taking on Internet developments. After the dust settled, I expected them to work together to make money, rather than run behind the ITU or national governments asking for favors. Facebook has been explaining what it wants to do to make […]

A successful policy intervention: RTI saved from 8000 fresh graduates

Hiring 8000 graduates to implement #RTI is wrong. Info officers must be senior people with authority. #LKA — Rohan Samarajiva (@samarajiva) July 4, 2016 It was reported in the Lankadeepa of 30 June that the Government has decided to recruit 8,000 fresh graduates to serve as information officers in order to implement the recently-approved […]

Emergency powers to expedite cell towers


In the US, they included preemption powers in the 1996 Communication Act to enable the FCC to override state and municipal authorities on communication-related approvals. This was considered draconian. In my recommendations to governments, I have always been cautious about taking away the power of lower-levels of government. But it looks like the traffic situation […]

The value of “technical assistance”


When I was responsible for the management of technical assistance funds made available by the World Bank for telecom and infrastructure reforms, I heard many complaints about the money all going to foreign consultants and nothing remaining in Sri Lanka. I responded to this criticism in a substantive manner a few years back in LBO. […]

Learnings from doing big data in the Global South

There appeared to be a problem with loading the slideset, so I went to Plan B. I was just about to do a big data talk with no slides. That is the first learning: always have a Plan B and be ready to improvise. This being Oxford, I thought they could access the slides off […]

New kids on the block of AP-IS


We thought that long distance carriers would be the primary beneficiaries of Asia Pacific Information Superhighway (AP-IS). That was way back in 2010 and six years is long enough to radically transform telecoms in this century. Now the Internet companies and content providers are outperforming the baffled carriers in every front. That is what I […]

How we moved from supply push to demand pull in our engagement with policy makers in big data research

Word Cloud "Big Data"

The University of Moratuwa is a valuable partner in our big data for development research program. They had organized a two-day workshop with colleagues from the Singapore Management University exploring the big data space. LIRNEasia was invited. Our collaborator Dr Amal Shehan Perera, who is on faculty at UoM, talked about the epidemiology work. I […]

Ford Foundation supported course on broadband policy in India


Sixth course of the series of courses funded by Ford Foundation on “How to Engage in Broadband Policy and Regulatory Processors” is currently being held in IIT Delhi. This course is co directed by Dr. Rohan Samarajiva and Dr. P. Vigneswara Ilavarasan. Sessions are conducted by well renowned industry professionals, researchers from think tanks, academics and […]

What role does WiFi play in connecting people to the Internet?


In most of the countries we work in, most people connect to the Internet over mobile devices and/or mobile networks. But as WiFi hotspots of various kinds become more common, it appears that WiFi is becoming the dominant mode. The Global State of Mobile Networks study, based on 12.3 billion measurements taken by 822,556 OpenSignal […]

Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2016


LIRNEasia CEO moderated a panel on “Private Public Partnerships – Getting Them Done, Getting Them Right” at the Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2016. The key speakers of the panel were Mr. Gajendra Haldea (Advisor, Government of Rajasthan, India), Hon. Eran Wickramarathne (Deputy Minister of Public Enterprise Development), Mr. Kamal Dorabawila (Principal Investment Officer, International Finance […]

IGF academy regional workshop in Colombo, Sri Lanka


A 2 1/2 day regional workshop on “Internet Governance Processes” for national champions selected from 4 countries (Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Bangladesh) is currently being held in Renuka City Hotel, Sri Lanka. This regional workshop is the commencing workshop of the IGF Academy, Asia counterpart. This academy aims to strengthen Internet governance in global […]

Why Internet companies are investing in undersea cables


Looks like I did not get it exactly right with my parable. I thought joint ventures. Instead Google is building a parallel track. In recent years, content providers have outpaced carriers in terms of their capacity demand on major routes. Considering the scale of their bandwidth deployments, it increasingly makes sense for them to collaborate […]


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