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Insurance as a key element of future disaster risk reduction strategies

Ravaya landslides

Despite the massive goof-up with the situation reports which over-reported the number of casualties from the Koslanda landslide by a factor of eight (300 as against the actual 38), the country has been shaken by the disaster. The Sinhala language weekly, Ravaya, was dominated by it. The article that I contributed, building on the thinking […]

Take two on the Affordability Index

Last year, Helani Galpaya (CEO, LIRNEasia) made recommendations on improving The Alliance for Affordable Internet (AA4I)‘s Affordability Index. This year, on behalf of Helani, I attended the Affordability Index workshop in Cape Town. While the primary objective was to review the 2014 draft report, the working group members present at the workshop also voiced many concerns […]

Telenor Brings Zero-Rated Wikipedia and Facebook Access to Myanmar

Telenor has made a move to offer zero-rated services to its customers in Myanmar through Wikipedia Zero and Facebook Zero. This  will enable Telenor’s mobile users  to get access to lighter versions of Wikipedia and Facebook without running down  their prepaid credit balances.  We have seen this issue  (the running down of prepaid balances ) being a barrier […]

Myanmar: Can coverage keep up with demand?

The telecom operators in Myanmar are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. The demand for SIMs is so high that call and data quality is compromised. If they restrict supply, a black market develops. If they don’t, their image gets sullied. I was pleased to read that Telenor had postponed its rollout […]

Americans pay more for lesser Internet

The Open Technology Institute (OTI) finds that customers in the U.S. continue to pay higher prices for slower Internet. It examines broadband prices and speeds in 24 cities in the U.S. and abroad. Looking at the price consumers pay for 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) in each city, as well as the speed they can […]

Information society indicators: Are we measuring the right thing?

Recent budget announcement by President Rajapakse places high value on increasing higher education enrollments. Is this the right approach as Sri Lanka aspires to be a hub in the knowledge economy which requires an information savvy society? Information society indicators are limited by the type and quality of data that international agencies can collect. Not […]

Landslides, and what can be done about them

We’ve had too many disasters. The tsunami, the LTTE, Nandikadal. And now Koslanda. After the tsunami we asked what could be done to avoid a repeat. We found answers. Ten years later we can be confident that it will not be that bad, the next time. But landslides are very different from tsunamis and cyclones. […]

Reflecting on the philosophical basis of LIRNEasia

LIRNEasia seeks to foster evidence-based reform. The evidence, in the countries we work in, points to most of the needed actions having to do with reforming the state, by getting it to pull back from its current role of stifling decentralized innovation. This has caused many on the unthinking “left” plying their trade in the […]

Bangladesh has highest ICT-equipment-specific taxes

A report from the Innovation and Information Technology Foundation has been used as the basis for a good report in the Daily Star on the situation in the worst offender, Bangladesh. Of course, it did not hurt that they sought our comments. Our comments were based on the findings of the Systematic Review we completed […]

Human resources for the knowledge economy

The development of knowledge workers is obviously important for the emergence of inclusive knowledge economies. We have been working on this, but it has not been front and center of our public communication. This will change in the next little while. The 2015 Budget Speech of the Government of Sri Lanka placed its central emphasis […]

Study: OTT boys will eat $14bn lunch this year

Over-the-top players like WhatsApp, Facebook and Skype will cost mobile operators an estimated $14 billion in lost revenues this year. And it will be 26% more from 2013, according to a study of Juniper Research. It has detected that in a number of markets the mobile voice revenues had fallen bellow 60% of their value […]

How affordable is Broadband?

The affordability of broadband is something many people have been dabbling with. In 2013 the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) released a report with composite index that attempts to rank economies based on the affordability of the Internet. Here’s another take on the same, from the World Economic Forum. It is also interesting to note that there […]

Reinventing social science

Taking research to policy is our thing; social science is a means to that, not an end. Yet, we cannot help but think of how weak an instrument social science has become, especially in South Asia. Here is something I wrote in relation to some internal discussions a few months back: Expressed demand for social […]

Connectivity triumphs over politics in Asia

The politicians of China, Japan, South Korea and Viet Nam have locked horn over the maritime rights in South China Sea. Simultaneously, the telecoms carriers of these countries have been laying optical fiber cables underneath the same disputed water to connect each other. Dubbed as “Asia Pacific Gateway” or APG, this cable lands at Tanah […]

The digital transition is complicated, everywhere

I’ve been asked by several people to comment on the choice of a Japanese standard for digital broadcasting in Sri Lanka, as part of the process of clearing the 700 MHz band of analog TV broadcasting and making the freed up spectrum available for more productive uses. I have not commented, partly because I lack […]

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