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C) 2008-10: Research Program

LIRNEasia’s overall mission of actionable research seeks to identify the institutional constraints to effective use of information and communication technologies to improve the lives of the people of Asia, not in abstract terms but in the context of specific historical and institutional conditions, and to catalyze the changes conducive to greater participation by users and suppliers. This requires that the agents promoting evidence-based policy making and regulation, be in situ, either in terms of the specific country or the region.

LIRNEasia’s overall mission of capacity building seeks to contribute to building capacity for evidence-based intervention in the public-policy process by in-situ experts. The current research, capacity-building, advocacy and dissemination programs for 2008-10 builds on previous WDR (World Dialogue on Regulation for Network Economies) and LIRNEasia research and capacity-building initiatives described in its 2006-2007 Annual Report .

The research component, which accounts for 61 per cent of the overall budget, comprises four inter-related modules: Teleuse@BOP3, Mobile 2.0@BOP, Indicators, continued, and a small module intended to facilitate mutual learning within LIRNE.NET.

Teleuse@BOP3 is a quantitative (representative-sample) multi-country study of how people at the Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) use ICTs that builds on two previous studies. In addition to seeking to understand, through longitudinal analysis, the dynamics of how hitherto excluded people join the (electronically) connected world as in previous studies (teleuse@BOP1 and teleuse@BOP2), Teleuse@BOP3 will seek to understand how people at the BOP are beginning to use the mobile for services “more than voice,” which is what the second module, Mobile 2.0@BOP, is about. This module explores the conditions that can affect the trajectory of a mobile-centric future that has the potential to include more at the BOP in the information society (in the components that constitute the “horizontal issues”) and facets of the inchoate phenomenon such as mobile payments (in the components that constitute the “vertical aspects”).

Indicators, continued is what the words suggest: it is a continuation of the work done in 2006-08 on improving the measurement of ICT sector and regulatory performance. Indicators, continued contributes to the entire research, capacity-building, advocacy and dissemination enterprise. Like the Teleuse@BOP3 study, the Indicators, continued module deals both with continuity and with change. The results of the foundational work on indicators that was done in the 2006-08 cycle were not fully realized within that time frame; to realize them it is necessary to continue the engagement with those who produce the inputs and those can better use them to improve policy making and regulation. In addition, the Indicators module will make a significant contribution to the Mobile 2.0@BOP module by assembling in the countries covered by Teleuse@BOP3 the supply-side data on how people enter the information society, through the mobile interface or otherwise. It will also assemble the available demand-side data from National Statistical Offices (NSOs) on the subject.

The rationale for working on the development of sustainable mechanisms for generating better ICT sector and regulatory performance indicators was that they were foundational to evidence-based policy making and regulation. The Indicators, continued component will include an assessment of the telecom regulatory environment (TRE) using the TRE instrument across nine countries in Asia.

In Teleuse @BOP3 , we continue and expand the well-received demand-side survey of the past integrating it more closely with the Mobile 2.0@BOP module, which will be conducted after the quantitative portion of the former. The multiple country and issue studies that comprise Mobile 2.0@BOP will in turn directly feed into the qualitative portion of Teleuse@BOP3 and enrich the overall findings. The indicators work is foundational to all ICT policy and regulation research, and is therefore foundational to Teleuse@BOP3 as well as to Mobile 2.0@BOP .

The research component provides a foundation for the capacity-building and advocacy and dissemination components, amounting to around 26 per cent and 12 per cent respectively of the total budget. The biggest module within the five-module capacity-building component (at 46 per cent) is CPRsouth, a broad-based capacity-building enterprise initiated and managed by LIRNEasia. It is closely articulated with the modules on tutorials for young scholars and internships, all serving the end of creating the conditions that facilitate in-situ policy intellectuals within the region. In addition, the capacity building program will build capacity among regulatory-agency and statistical-organization staff, through LIRNE.NET training courses, as well as other activities.

The advocacy and dissemination component comprises three modules, the first being continuation of the successful rapid response program. The second module is general dissemination,which takes multiple forms, including direct communication with the primary audiences of policy makers, regulators, senior managers of relevant companies, and opinion leaders and communication with them through the changing of their symbolic environment constituted by the media. To this end, the development of a video documentary on Teleuse@BOP3 , photo documentation of Mobile 2.0@BOP and active engagement with Wikipedia and relevant blogs, in addition to conventional media dissemination is will also be carried out.

Our full work proposal can be downloaded here:

2008-2010 Research proposal

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