Regulatory Website Assessment
In 2005-06, LIRNEasia conducted a systematic assessment of regulatory websites in the Asia Pacific region. The results of this work have been sent to various regulatory agencies, published, and disseminated at various events such WSIS and GK3. In conjunction with related efforts in the sister organizations RIA and DIRSI, we plan to conduct another regulatory website assessment for the Asia Pacific in 2008. This is the first instance the three units have agreed to take on a common project under the new coordinating arrangements and is therefore important from a LIRNE.NET perspective. More information is available here.
Broadband and Mobile Benchmarks
Based on the research conducted in 2006-07, LIRNEasia developed two products which demonstrated demand: Broadband Benchmarks and Mobile Benchmarks. Both products have now been published twice. Active engagement by the relevant NRAs on methodology as well as specific data points has been seen when drafts were circulated prior to publication. It is proposed that these two products be web-published every six months (March and September).
In light of the new work done on developing broadband quality of service (QOS) indicators, it is proposed that this data too be gradually incorporated into the Broadband Indicators (this was done in the second edition of Broadband Benchmarks South Asia, published in mid March 2008). However, QOS testing for broadband is a tedious task that at present requires significant researcher time. It is possible to develop a software application which, in the first instance, would be manually activated by designated persons in multiple locations. Therefore, incorporation of QoS data for all countries will take some time, delaying on the launching of this software.
National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs)/National Statistical Offices (NSOs) Capacity Building
Continuation of the indicators work requires that LIRNEasia personnel keep engaged with the inter-governmental processes for standardizing sector performance indicators. Therefore, several interventions in NRA-NSO events dealing with indicators will be organized during this research cycle.
Indicators are critical to evidence-based policy making. Without data, we are all groping in the dark. For example, the true power of the TRE study is unleashed only when the TRE results are combined with qualitative and quantitative indicators data to explain why certain outcomes (higher/lower scores over time or in relation to other countries/sectors) have occurred.
A start was made in the 2005-06 and 2006-07 research cycles to improve the quality and quantity of ICT indicators in the Asia Pacific. While significant progress was made, a major conclusion that was reached was that capacity building among the responsible officials in the NRAs and NSOs is critically important and is something that has to be done over a relatively long period of time and over iterative interactions.
Convincing all the regulatory agencies in the region to act on common standards for indicators within the parameters set by the Partnership for Measuring the Information Society and in a manner that is appropriate for the regions (defined as the SAARC region falling within the purview of the South Asian Telecom Regulators Council (SATRC) and the ASEAN region falling within the purview of the ASEAN Telecom Regulators Council (ATRC)) has not been easy despite their enthusiastic participation in indicators workshops convened by LIRNEasia in collaboration with regional entities, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in the first instance and the Institute for South East Asian Studies (ISEAS) of Singapore in the second instance.
Despairing of getting timely action from the top down, LIRNEasia changed tactics in midstream and has now developed a database embodying regional indicators based on acceptable standards in collaboration with the NRAs of Pakistan and the Maldives. The first event will also be used to engage the NRAs on the findings of the regulatory website assessment.
In the overall engagement with NSOs, small successes have been achieved.
- In Sri Lanka, LIRNEasia was consulted on formulation of an IT literacy question.
- In India, LIRNEasia has been recognized as a source of knowledge on ICT indicators and has served as the interface between the Indian NSO and the OECD.