Bangkok


Next week, Senior Policy Fellow Abu Saeed Khan will be among the earliest speakers at ITU’s big tamasha, coming back to our part of the work after some time. In addition to Abu, who will discuss the work we are doing in partnership with UNESCAP to improve the resilience and reduce the costs of Asia’s international backhaul capacity, Reg Coutts, a member of the CPRsouth Board is also scheduled to speak. PSA1 : Riding the Data Wave Tuesday, 19 Nov 2013, 14:15 – 15:45, Jupiter 8 The plethora of new wireless devices reaching international markets is facilitating innovative business models but stressing the ability of fixed and mobile networks to keep pace. Wireless has for some time provided basic connectivity in Asia but the data storm that has hit European and North American markets will present new challenges to operators due to the shortage of high capacity back haul. ‘Front-hauling’ is one of the techniques that have been promoted as a solution but its use of scarce spectrum presents other difficulties.
   At the invitation of FAO, our CEO, Rohan Samarajiva, Research Manager, Nilusha Kapugama and I spent two days (April 3-4, 2012) in Bangkok participating in a regional FAO/ NECTEC workshop on the use of mobile technologies for food security, agriculture and rural development. The workshop brought together representatives from the agriculture ministries/ departments of 10 countries in Asia (Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam), FAO personnel as well as the private sector, including operators of Mobile Agricultural Information Services (MAIS). LIRNEasia research on the use of mobiles by the poor as well as in rural development set the stage for most of the sessions. Rohan, presented the latest findings from the Teleuse@BOP surveys; Nilusha presented some findings from the agricultural micro-enterprise survey (growers & non-growers); and I talked about the lessons and challenges of the current crop of MAIS in the region.  The workshop interactions, especially the working group discussions facilitated by Rohan and myself, were eye-opening.
Several journalists attended the FAO workshop on mobiles and agriculture in Bangkok. The reports are coming in. The latest was Sri Lanka mobile phone use rising among poor: study. Others were Sri Lanka mobile phone ranking system coming for farmers and Sri Lanka rubber producer gains seen from traceability system
When I was running a graduate program at Ohio State University in another life, we had a joke among the faculty about the convoluted ways in which we described the incoming group of graduate students. The temptation was to say this was the best incoming class ever, but then we’d get grumpy looks and protests from the previous classes. So we’d try all kinds of legerdemain to describe the incoming class, without offending the previous ones. I have a similar problem with the 30 young scholars from 13 countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Korea, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan ROC, Thailand) taking part in the tutorials. This is a bright bunch.
LIRNEasia CEO, Rohan Samarajiva will deliver a keynote address on broadband development in the Asia-Pacific at an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) organized by UNESCAP’s Committee on Information and Communications Technology in Bangkok, Thailand. Click here to view presentation slides. More information on the event is available here.
We now have evidence to support the claim that those at the “Bottom of the Pyramid” (and therefore, the majority of people in the developing world) are likely to enter the world of knowledge and convenience promised by the Internet through the path opened by the rapidly increasing capabilities of mobile networks and user devices. Mobile 2.0 describes the use of mobiles for “more‐than‐voice”. Mobiles are increasingly becoming payment devices which can also send/process/receive voice, text and images; it is envisaged that in the next few years, they will also be fully capable of information‐retrieval and publishing functions, normally associated with the Internet. Mobile 2.
Findings from LIRNEasia’s study on the telecom regulatory environment in emerging Asia has been published in the Bangkok Post, one of Thailand’s leading print media. The article gives a detailed account of proceedings from a recently concluded seminar,   held in Bangkok, to disseminate the findings. Thailand’s telecommunications sector needs greater regulatory fairness as well as clarity in policy from the government on the future of former state enterprises CAT and ToT if Thailand is to secure the huge investment needed for 3G and data services moving into the future. LIRNEasia…conducted a study of the perceptions towards the regulators in eight emerging Asian economies in the second half of 2008 and representatives from the regulator NTC, ToT, the GSM Association and think-tank TDRI were invited to the report’s presentation. The event was co-hosted by LIRNE Asia, and was hosted by Chulalongkorn University’s Dr Pirongrong Ramasoota, an activist who set the tone of the event by noting that today Thailand is in competition with India to be the last of the eight Asian countries to attain 3G.
LIRNEasia, in coordination with the Thai Media Policy Center, Chulalongkorn University and Siam Intelligence Unit, Thailand, hosted a seminar to disseminate findings from its 2008 Asian study on the telecom regulatory environment (TRE), on the 19th of October, in Bangkok, Thailand. The event drew an audience of close to 40, which included senior representatives from the telecom industry, government, academia and the media. Rohan Samarajiva (LIRNEasia) presented overall regional findings from the study, followed by Deunden Nikomborirak (Thailand Development Research Institute) and Payal Malik (University of Delhi), presenting findings from the Thailand and India study, respectively. This was followed by a panel discussion on spectrum allocation in Thailand, chaired by Pirongrong Ramasoota of Chulalongkorn University. Distinguished panelists included Supot Tiarawut (TRIDI, National Telecommunication Commission), Kittipong Tameyapradit (TOT Plc Ltd), Kristin Due Hauge (GSMA) and  Somkiat Tangkitvanich (TDRI).
While some Asia-Pacific economies are world leaders in information and communication technologies (ICT) where broadband access is ultra-high speed, affordable and close to ubiquitous, in most of the region’s poorer countries Internet access remains limited and predominantly low-speed. This is what ITU’s Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Report for the Asia-Pacific region 2008 says. It was released at ITU TELECOM ASIA 2008, Bangkok, Thailand yesterday (Sept 2, 2008). The Report finds evidence that ICTs and broadband uptake foster growth and development, but the question remains as to the optimal speed that should be targeted in view of limited resources. The area in which the region really stands out is the uptake of advanced Internet technologies, especially broadband Internet access.
Executive Director, Rohan Samarajiva will participate at the ITU Asia 2008 conference taking place in Bangkok, Thailand, from 2-5 September 2008.  He will talk about universal service at the opening plenary with the Indian Minister at the Telecom Development Symposium on 4th September. He will also give the keynote talk at the Business and Finance Session of the ITU Asia Youth Forum on 2nd September, chaired by Bosco Eduagive a rdo Fernandes, Vice President (BU & IM Industry Relationship), Nokia Siemens Networks GmbH & Co. KG (Germany). ITU TELECOM ASIA 2008 is a key networking platform for Asia’s top ICT names to come together and focus on core issues relating to ICT expansion across the region.
LIRNEasia Lead Economist Harsha de Silva was invited to be the Consultant to a recent Expert Group Meeting on the Provision of ICT Access for Disadvantaged Communities through Public-Private Partnerships conducted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission fro Asia and the Pacific [ESCAP].  A number of influential policy makers and academics from the region participated at the meeting held between 12-14 December in Bangkok.  Harsha set the stage for the expert group meeting by preparing a draft background paper and made a concluding presentation incorporating many of LIRNEasia research findings across the region.  Harsha emphasized the need for policies to bridge the market efficiency gap in ICT access through better and conducive regulation and advocated innovative PPPs for bridging identified access gaps in rural BOP segment. Find the draft background paper here Find the presentation slides here
The military rulers of Burma are planning to open a cyber city, based on Malaysia’s Multimedia Super Corridor, in January 2008. The following report states that the announced starting tenants are made up. TelecomTV – TelecomTV One – News Now, it just so happens that I was tracking a story on the junta’s plans for its very own cyber city just before the protests began. There have been quite a few reports across Asia recently that the Burmese “government” is building its 10,000-acre (4,050 hectare) “Yadanabon cyber city” project about 70 kilometres east of Mandalay, Burma’s second largest city.
With foreign journalists barred from what is one of the world’s most closed states, much of the worldwide media coverage is coming from exiled newshounds in countries such as Thailand and India — and their clandestine contacts on the inside. Technology ranging from the latest Internet gizmo to satellite uplinks to camera phones are ensuring pictures of the massed marches of monks and civilians and the response by security forces is on TV screens around the world in hours. The contrast to Myanmar’s last major uprising, in 1988, could not be more stark. Then, as many as 3,000 people were killed when soldiers opened fire on the crowds but it took days for the news — let alone pictures or video footage — to emerge. “The difference is night and day,” said Dominic Faulder, a Bangkok-based British reporter during the 1988 uprising.
Smith Dharmasarojana is a hero to those in the disaster risk-reduction field. He was the Met Chief who raised the flag re a tsunami hitting Thailand well before 2004 December. He lost his job as a result. When the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami did hit, he was recalled and made the disaster-preparedness czar. Because of his drive, Thailand is among the best prepared for a tsunami or similar disaster today.
As part of the Six Country Indicators Project, Deunden presented the interim findings from the Thailand country study (over Skype). The study assesses Thailand’s telecom sector and regulatory performance. It employs the common methodology and list of indicators adopted for the Six Country study.
Rohan: Vanguard Foundation was recently created which has a center for disaster management. The work I have done at TRC on disaster management will be leveraged in the current context, and we will prepare a document. Pete Anderson is disaster communication expert who will be brought in to design a concept paper to set up parameters of a disaster management system. We are moving very fast on this. Sequence: Disaster happens, analysed, and transmitted in a secure communication mechanism to the media.
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