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

Category Archives: General

Emergency powers to expedite cell towers

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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”

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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

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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

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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

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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?

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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

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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

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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

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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 […]

China is good at mobile innovation

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I was surprised to hear an otherwise knowledgeable person participating in the Grand Challenges discussion here at University of Washington say there was no innovation in China. The time and place were not right for that discussion. But then NYT came with a substantive refutation: Snapchat and Kik, the messaging services, use bar codes that […]

Nation State as a Service (NaaS) on the horizon?

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As regional think tank, LIRNEasia sees its allegiance as being to the poor in the whole region, rather than a particular country. I’ve lived in three countries other than the one I was born in and have always been skeptical about excessive attachments to particular places. Albert Hirschman’s discussion of the nation state as a […]

UK OFCOM seeks to optimize infrastructure for competitive provision of services

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The UK has been a leader in telecom reforms. Thus OFCOM’s encouragement of BT to have a de facto separate unit called Openreach to permit non-discriminatory use of the infrastructure caught the attention of many. Now, OFCOM wants to take next logical step and is proposing real structural separation: Openreach to become a distinct company. […]

Myanmar mobile penetration hits 90%, government says

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A recent report from the Myanmar Ministry of Post and Telecom states that mobile penetration has reached 90% (or 89.38% rather), and the number of Internet users has reached 39 million, according to supply-side data.  But as the Myanmar Times reporter rightly points out, multiple-SIM usership has to be taken into account to get a […]

Reform of state-owned enterprises and social safety nets

Usually, these are not subjects that are seen as connected. But I connected them at a talk I gave at the Colombo Club today. When the losses in one year from one SOE that serves a limited clientele are almost double the total spent on the social safety program that touches over one million families, […]

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