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Category Archives: General

Indian electricity sector has problems. We may be able to contribute to a solution

A World Bank Report describes the problems faced by India as it seeks to power its economy to higher performance. What can be done? “Power is a very sensitive issue and it is tough to build consensus around reforms,” Pargal said. “We therefore lay out a menu of options for the government to consider.” Welcoming […]

US experts envisage a gloomy future for Internet; but perhaps they miss the big picture

The New York Times reporter seems to do a better job than the experts queried by the Pew Research Center on foretelling the future on the Internet. Just as important is the kind of changes to the Internet and content that no one seems to have talked about. The experts seem to think of the […]

Behavioral economics meets demand-side management

We’ve been arguing that electricity is up for a major change and that the change is going to be driven by the infusion of ICTs into all aspects of electricity generation, transmission, distribution and supply. Here’s another example. Hopefully this does not require smart meters and that high consumption devices in our countries can work […]

Foreign ownership v ownership by pension fund?

Ownership matters. That is why we take special precautions when the incumbent telecom operator is owned by the government. There is a tendency for the government to want to look after its creature, even if it means that the “playing field” is tilted against private competitors by the regulator. It’s been a long time since […]

Why big data?

Every time I hear people agonizing over the possible ill effects of big data, I think of Dhaka, a city that is being choked by traffic. We all know that the solutions to transport management are among the most difficult to implement. We know that, in fact, there are no perfect solutions. Public transport is […]

Social media in political campaigns: Do they move votes?

In a recent book chapter Nalaka Gunawardene and Chanuka Wattegama concluded that they had not, at least in Colombo in 2011.* Now the question is being asked again, in social media savvy Indonesia. But do retweets, likes and pageviews translate into support on election day? Conversations that start online radiate beyond the mostly urban, affluent […]

Confused objections to Facebook emotional contagion research

I am puzzled by the predominantly negative reaction to the manipulation of Facebook content, in the recent published research article in the mainstream media (MSM), though perhaps less in blogs and such. It seems to me that MSM’s reaction is hypocritical. They manipulate their content all the time to evoke different emotional responses from their […]

Sri Lanka jumps 41 places in e gov rankings for 2014

I’ve written about the e gov rankings before but in those instances, 2012 and 2010, the direction that Sri Lanka was taking was negative. But this year, miracles have been achieved. Sri Lanka has advanced 41 places in the biannual survey, erasing all the reverses I wrote about. Sri Lanka ranks first in Southern Asia, […]

Saving wireline

It is curious that the ICT4D people still have an affection for wireline, when even in the place where wireline telephony was invented, it has become an endangered technology, kept alive through lobbying and regulation. Sort of like making it mandatory to have at least one petrol/gas station that does not require drivers to pump […]

Modi to dwarf the Planning Commission of India

Narendra Modi has never been a fan of India’s almighty Planning Commission. It functions like the Soviet-styled command and control body since the country’s independence in 1947. Gujarat’s former Chief Minister was fed up with the Commission’s “high-handedness and hobbling states with one-size-fits-all policies.” Arun Shourie, an influential BJP member, calls the Planning Commission a […]

Google should look beyond second submarine cable

Six years ago eyebrows were raised when Google announced the rollout of a transpacific undersea cable named “Unity”. Bharti Airtel, Global Transit, KDDI Corp., Pacnet and SingTel were members of Unity consortium. It was activated on April 1, 2010. Google wanted to bypass the cumbersome transcontinental supply chain of broadband, as Capacity Magazine highlights: Google’s […]

New thinking on regulation

I was of the view that all the innovations in regulation were occurring in the developing world (or by scholars working on developing country regulation). I was wrong. It appears that very interesting work is going on at Harvard, possibly in response to the US crisis in regulation: “Weak capture” (defined as special-interest influence compromising […]

Pakistan disbands international call termination cartel

Pakistan observes its independence day on 14th of August. On 13th of August in 2012, the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom (MoITT) issued a directive to establish “International Clearing House” or ICH. It allowed the international long distance carriers’ cartel to fix call termination rates at their whim. As a result, the hardworking Pakistani […]

Mexico pours “tech-kill-ah” in telecoms bill

Governments behave like sheep when it comes to bad governance. And Mexico has decided to blindly follow the bad examples from both sides of Atlantic. In its raw form the bill extended government surveillance powers, while the police have new powers to seize and access user data without a court order. Police will also be […]

Iranian net sophisticates and a refreshingly candid Minister of Culture

I saw first hand the futility of the Mullahs’ efforts to prevent Internet access by Iranian youth when I was in Tehran at the height of the Arab Spring. But what is new is that it’s the Minister of Culture who is highlighting the hypocrisy and futility. According to “The Iran Primer,” a website and […]

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