Helani Galpaya


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 and households in low and middle-income countries” to make the point about network rollout and good regulation.
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 of competition at all parts of the broadband value chain—content, application, devices, international connectivity—not just in retail mobile connectivity. Given the low capacity of many regulatory institutions in Asia, it probably makes sense for regulators to focus on creating a competitive environment and let the ZR battle play out, while being ready to act if actual harm occurs. If regulators insist on acting to enforce net neutrality policies, they could take other actions, such as making ZR offerings time-limited or mandating the first click outside of the walled garden also be zero-rated.
The first nationally representative survey of ICT use in Myanmar was conducted by LIRNEasia in Feb/March of 2015.  The results were presented to stakeholders at a series of events and meetings held in Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw between the 28 – 30 July 2015. Download report here The links provide the updated slide-set, detailed methodology note, questionnaire in English and in Myanmar language.   Media ICT Survey: LIRNEasia nationwide ICT survey results released| Mitv News, Myanmar | July 29th 2015 LA on Democracy Today, Myanmar | August 6th 2015           LA on the Mobile Guide, Myanmar | August 5th                     LA survey data being referenced in an item about hate speech on Facebook | Eleven News, Myanmar |September 13th 2015 The English translation of this item can be found here.  
Helani Galpaya was selected as one of the stakeholders invited to speak at the United Nations General Assembly’s Informal interactive stakeholder consultation held at UN Headquarters in New York on the 2nd of July. The selection itself was done by a committee that reviewed applications by over a 100 organizations to speak at this event.  Helani’s opening comments that were read out can be found here.
  CEO Helani Galpaya was invited as an expert participant at the UN-DESA (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs) and ITU (International Telecommunications Union) organised Expert Group Meeting held at UN headquarters in New York, June 8 – 9th. Helani was invited to talk about issues of access and affordability, and how they contribute towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). LIRNEasia and RIA household survey data, LIRNEasia’s broadband quality of service test data, big data research was used in the presentations and interventions during the two day meeting. Slides here.  Numerous UN Agencies, members of Permanent Missions to the UN from various countries (e.
Low connectivity and low regulatory capacity are characteristics of most emerging Asian countries.  Any NN regulation needs to take these realities into account.  So when we looked at the possible ways TRAI can and should act, we ended somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Read our response here.
We no longer do quantitative and qualitative research on the demand-side of Internet use (except in Myanmar) but it is indeed gratifying to find work that we did in 2012 being described and even replicated at some cost in 2015. In an attempt to replicate Stork and Galpaya’s observations, Quartz commissioned surveys in Indonesia and Nigeria from Geopoll, a company that contacts respondents across the world using mobile phones. We asked people whether they had used the internet in the prior 30 days. We also asked them if they had used Facebook. Both surveys had 500 respondents each.
Today, our CEO Helani Galpaya was on a panel “Harnessing the power of convergence and big data for enterprise success” at a Sri Lankan summit called “Enterprise 2.0: building future ready enterprises” (full video of the panel session is available HERE). I thought some of the ideas she proposed about were worthy of further discussion.  LIRNEasia is curently working on utilizing telecom network Transaction Generated Information (TGI) to conduct public interest research using big data. One of her comments was about how companies are not fully appreciating the value of the data that they have.
The results of the newest TRE survey conducted by LIRNEasia are out. We started the survey since before the start of LIRNEasia and have improved it since. The results were released in Dhaka, Bangladesh, at a well attended media event on 12 May 2011. The centerpiece was the sector performance report on Bangladesh by Faheem Hussain, Ph.D.
LIRNEasia COO, Helani Galpaya,  has joined the Editorial Board of the Information Technologies & International Development (ITID) journal. The journal was ranked number one in information and communication technology for development (ICT4D) field, according to a 2010 study by Richard Heeks. We congratulate her and wish her the best in this new position!
Helani Galpaya, COO of LIRNEasia, will speak at the 25th EuroCPR conference held from 28 – 30 March 2010 in Brussels, Belgium, at a session on “Impact assessment of information society policies: what worked and what did not work in each region?”. The theme of the conference is on “Policies for a digital Europe: lessons learned and challenges ahead”. Presentation slides are available here. View the full programme here.
LIRNE.NET (through Research ICT Africa) together with University of Cape Town’s Infrastructure Management Programme, is organizing a five-day training course in telecom regulatory reform. The course is to be held from 12 – 16 April 2010, at the UCT GSB Breakwater Campus, V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa. The course is designed to enhance the strategic thinking of a select group of decision-makers in telecom and related sectors in developing countries and emerging economies. The aim of the programme is to address the many challenges posed by the current stage of telecom and ICT reform to governments, regulatory agencies, operators and other stakeholders.
Helani Galpaya, COO of LIRNEasia,  was invited by the Strategic Affairs Directorate to speak at a  seminar on Alternatives for Infrastructure Development and Broadband Access.   Brazil is embarking on an ambitious program to increase broadband penetration, and is currently discussing various options – one of the more interesting being the provision of a government-owned backbone, using the dark fibre that is currently owned by the electricity and petroleum companies.  The pros and cons of this, and other options were discussed at the seminar, and a the full day of closed-door discussions that followed between the speakers and the Strategic Affairs Directorate staff.   Helani focused on the importance of thinking about the market structure (whether or not there was sufficient competition at all points in the network) and demand stimulation.  For example, Nokia’s TCO study shows that Brazil has the highest cost for mobile users among all the countries studied (possibly driven by highly asymmetric interconnection rates and lack of sufficient competition, among other things).
Helani Galpaya,  LIRNEasia’s COO, participated at the Asian Telecom Seminar, organized by the Symbiosis Institute of Telecom Management in Pune, India, from 25 – 26 September, 2009. She made a presentation on  “The political economy of ICT in Asia” and also participated in a panel entitled, “  ICT at Bottom of Pyramid- Bridging the Digital Divide.  Where lies the buck?”. More information on the seminar can be found here.
Helani Galpaya represented LIRNEasia at the 4th International Telecommunications Society (ITS) Africa-Asia-Australasia Regional conference, held on 16 – 18 August, 2009, in Perth, Australia. The theme of the conference was on”Mobile Technology and Broadband Application Developments – The Search for Corporate Value Chains.” More information on the conference is available here. Measuring the Effectiveness of the Telecom Regulatory and Policy Environment: Methodology and Results from 8 Emerging Asian Countries Helani presented a paper on “Measuring the Effectiveness of the Telecom Regulatory and Policy Environment: Methodology and Results from 8 Emerging Asian Countries” based on findings from LIRNEasia’s TRE study in 2008. She was also a panel member at a policy roundtable on “Investing in African and Asian telecommunications infrastructure during a global financial crisis”.
Reading an article by Araba Sey on a small-sample study of teleuse among non-owners in Ghana in a special issue of info, edited by two colleagues in LIRNE.NET, I was surprised to see no references whatsoever to our work. We who are at edge of the global academic system had excuses, but really, after Scholar.Google, no one has excuses. Further, I was told that Araba had been at a talk given by Helani Galpaya at USC Annenberg School in October 2007 and had been given an entire set of teleuse@BOP2 findings, which makes the omission even more saddening.