The second submarine cable is supposed to guarantee Bangladesh better international connectivity for the following reasons: Bangladeshi ISPs are eager for SEA-ME-WE5, the second submarine cable. It lands at Kuakata, the southwestern coastal village, this year. Kuakata is 300 nautical miles away from Cox’s Bazar. The two vastly located undersea cable landing facilities will bolster the country’s international connectivity. They will also salvage Bangladeshi ISPs from the Indian carriers’ oligopoly.
I understand universal service strategy formulation is moving forward in Myanmar these days. I looked back to see what we said four years ago. Can still live with it (though I would add some recommendations based on subsequent thinking). 3. Focus one-off subsidies solely on capital expenditures, to improve targeting and reduce leakages and avoid over-burdening the under-resourced government agencies, namely a.
The first time this happened was when Pacific Century Cyber Works (PCCW), controlled by Richard Li, acquired Hong Kong Telecom. But that 2000 adventure did not end well. PCCW’s stock price tanked. Seventeen years later, things are different. The real story may not be a state-sanctioned infusion of private capital into a 100% state owned infrastructure company, but the first move by firms in the upper layers to take over entities in the infrastructure level.
The book “Tubes” by Andrew Blum has been in the LIRNEasia office since 2013. The idea that there was a hard infrastructure making the Internet possible is not novel for people like us who live with the Internet failing for our people in Myanmar and Bangladesh and various other places frequently. But this is a good read in Quartz: Mobile networks and cloud computing make the internet feel seamlessly invisible. But behind phones, apps and laptops lies a physical infrastructure with cables and buildings that shuttle and store our all of our information. For its ubiquity, the nuts and bolts of the web isn’t necessarily the most immediately visible.
A conference organized on the occasion of the retirement of a senior professor, set apart a full day for papers and discussion on the options for improving government universities. Of course, most of the audience was from the government universities and having devoted their entire lives to that enterprise, many were not willing to recognize how bad things were. Some discussed how the deck chairs could be rearranged on their beloved Titanic. Many blamed the “demand side” for not knowing how their students were and for using wrong criteria, not understanding that this itself was a symptom of a complacent monopoly. I was, of course, accused of many things.
I spent Nov 5-6 in Shanghai at the invitation of the Pathfinder Foundation as part of a Track 2 discussion with the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies. The focus of my presentation was on how the MSR could serve Sri Lanka’s economic advancement. It was not limited to research undertaken by LIRNEasia. However, the section on electronic connectivity draws from the work we have been doing with ESCAP since 2010.
The original plan was that we would showcase our big data for urban development research at the LBO-LBR Infrastructure Summit that started today. But it was not to be. Neither I nor Sriganesh Lokanathan could be present on the second day and our work was considered too nitty-gritty for the “high-level” discussion on Day 1. So I had to stretch to find something of relevance from the inaugural session that I moderated. One of the panelists kept saying that people appear to have forgotten this is 2015.
When everybody and everybody seemed to be in the running for licenses in Myanmar, Digicel was one of the most aggressive competitors. Digicel already employs 893 people in Myanmar, with a further 3,500 earmarked for hiring. Digicel is currently the title sponsor of the Myanmar Football Federation and the Myanmar Special Olympics Federation. But now it’s out. Selling out to a major regional operator, Axiata, according to reports: The Myanmar tower market is expected to be one of South East Asia’s largest and fastest growing telecommunication infrastructure service markets, the statement added.
The Public Utility Commission of Sri Lanka was established to serve as regulator for any of the hard infrastructure industries that needed regulation as a result of reform. All this time, all it was given was electricity. Now, there is a possibility that downstream petroleum will also be brought under its authority. So they had a workshop where I was asked to speak on regulatory and consumer protection issues. Here are the slides.
I was just interviewed on the phone by the BBC Sinhala Service. Since many who read this blog will not be able to hear or understand this, thought I would summarize the key points: 1. The immediate priorities should be rescue and housing and care of those rendered homeless. Sahana and mobile communication can play a vital role in helping efficient coordination of these activities. 2.
Much of our work on infrastructure policy and regulation deals with safeguards for investment. Uncertainty around investments is reduced when international arbitration is permitted. With many governments from the developed-market economies, the US government has been a strong supporter of international arbitration. But when it looks like these safeguards apply to their own country, they are unhappy. “This is really troubling,” said Senator Charles E.
India used to be the center of gravity of everything we did at LIRNEasia. In terms of expenditure and effort, perhaps the center is shifting. But intellectually, the challenge of managing the asymmetrical relationship between Sri Lanka and India continues to engage. I was asked to write something for the visit of Prime Minister Modi. Unbeknownst, the piece had also been published in the government-owned newspaper: One subject that is likely to come up in the Modi-Sirisena discussion is the long delayed coal power station.
LIRNEasia’s image is tied up with ICTs, thought from the beginning we wanted to be an infrastructure shop. Ports are infrastructure, and for the city I live in, perhaps the most vital infrastructure. So this piece fits. But the fit is even more from the mindset side. Everything we do as a think tank is intended to get people to think about problems (and solutions) differently.
Cummins is a big name, but not in ICTs. So this story caught my eye. Cummins Power Generation has secured a contract to supply hybrid power solutions to Irrawaddy Green Towers (IGT) in Myanmar. Under this contract, Cummins will supply solar hybrid, battery hybrid and diesel generator solutions to over 750 cell-tower sites that IGT will roll out in Myanmar during the next twelve months. .
Somehow, electricity lacks the sexiness of ICTs. People debate how many households have mobiles, but few know how many households have electricity. This on a subject Lenin thought was so important that he proclaimed “Socialism + Electricity = Communism.” Not that I advocate Communism, Lenin forbid. So I was very pleased when a book on energy policy was launched by a Sri Lankan Minister.
Travel broadens the mind. Maybe. I doubt that sometimes. Makes me reflect, at least. Since being asked to think about Sri Lanka-China relations recently, I’ve been paying attention to the ascendant Chinese model.