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

Category Archives: General

LIRNEasia unconference at Stockholm Internet Forum 2015 on Zero Rating.

At the 2015 Stockholm Internet Forum that just completed, I moderated one of the best attended unconference sessions titled “Zero rating violates net neutrality. So what?“. The discussion I moderated was heated, with a spectrum of opinions being expressed.  Some said that zero rated content simply creates a ghetto-ized version of the Internet for the poor and […]

Finally, some research on Zero Rated offers and users. And it’s surprising.

The raging debate on Zero Rated content is, for the most part, taking place in a vacuum of evidence. A successful campaign by activists  ensured that many of the 1.2 million responses sent to TRAI’s proposed net neutrality regulations in April 2015 called for banning (Facebook’s Zero Rated offering, now called Free Basics).  The fear that the poor who use the free […]

Entity-based and technology-specific taxes approved by Sri Lanka Parliament

When these misguided taxes were proposed back in January in the interim budget, I protested. An example is here. They could not get the bills passed in the previous Parliament. It was the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce that labeled them as entity-based. But now they are through. Wrong then; wrong now. The Resolution under the […]

Ford funded research on NOFN India published in Economic and Political weekly

In partnership with Ford Foundation, LIRNEasia is working on a project on ‘Facilitating and enriching policy discourse on improving broadband access by the poor‘. This work is expected to result in greater awareness of practices and innovations in the region on increasing broadband penetration. As part of this project, a research  was undertaken by Nalini Srinivasan and P […]

Whatsapp versus SMS: The drama continues

The first part of the Quartz article is the usual complaint about Whatsapp getting a free ride. While they may be eating into the messaging and voice revenues of mobile networks, OTTs like Whatsapp aren’t completely bad for business. They can help fuel data consumption—a growing revenue stream for network operators if exploited well. South […]

LIRNEasia at ITU Telecom World 2015, Budapest

LIRNEasia CEO participated in two more events at the ITU Telecom World 2015 held in Budapest, Hungary. The ICT Economic and Industry Round Table aimed to look to the future to imagine with digital development would be.  Helani spoke about state investment into the backhaul infrastructure, and about private sector entry into connecting the unconnected […]

LIRNEasia CEO at ITU Telecom World Conference

LIRNEasia CEO took part in the Leadership Summit at the ITU Telecom World 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Yesterday she took part in a panel discussion making innovations in ICT work for social impact, and used the results of LIRNEasia’s Systematic Review titled “Mobile-phone interventions for improving economic and productive outcomes for farm and non-farm rural enterprises […]

LIRNEasia’s Myanmar survey data is in the news again

As election campaigning heats up in Myanmar with D day less than one month away, Facebook is being used as a key tool in getting information across to the public. According to the news item published in the Frontier Myanmar, a member of a key political party in Myanmar claims that this is a useful medium […]

Push back against the assault on zero rating

Manu Joseph hits back at the overheated rhetoric driving the opposition to zero rating. He also mentions the Quartz piece citing Helani’s report from the field in Indonesia. A lazy, neurotic suspicion of the large corporation is also behind the obtuse alarm over Free Basics. But the very strength of the parallel Internet for the […]

Contrary to common wisdom, is Facebook promoting empathy?

Now for something completely different. Empathy is a trait I greatly value. Apparently, it is not being destroyed by Facebook. “In face-to-face connections, you tend to stay with people you’re most familiar with or have most in common with,” said Tracy Alloway, an associate professor of psychology and the lead author of the paper. “But […]

Loon not disruptive, says Google

To me, Google Loon has always been just another backhaul option. And one in the early testing stages. It fitted with Google investments in undersea cables and O3B. Couldn’t quite understand what people were getting their knickers in a twist about. This is now confirmed. But nowhere is Sri Lanka mentioned, despite our belief that […]

When earthquakes happen, the U.S. Government scientists get a 1 minute heads up from an unlikely partner — Twitter

It certainly is nice to see social media being put to good use. Since 2009, the US Government Scientists (USGS) have teamed up with social media giant Twitter in receiving data on earthquakes. The USGS has about 2000 sensors planted in and outside the US listening to tiny movements in the earth’s crust. The responses […]

What is the point of net neutrality if nobody is online?

Helani Galpaya asks the most basic question in a Council on Foreign Relations blog. She bases her position on evidence from the field: her direct observations in Java that went around the world and the recent Myanmar baseline Teleuse study. In the end, the best defense against the possible downsides of ZR is high levels […]

India relaxes rules on spectrum sharing

Spectrum is a scarce resource, made even more scarce by the difficulties governments have in refarming it. Efficient use of spectrum should be a high priority. It is obvious that allowing firms to use market mechanisms to use the resource more efficiently is a good thing. The question is why this is not done. One […]

Good governance and international trade

I used to say that regulation is public administration done well. We take decisions based on evidence and broad consultation. We try our best to reduce regulatory risk and create the best conditions for investment. Basically good governance. I’d been engaged with services trade since around 1990 when I was intrigued by why Canada wanted […]


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