Improving the quality of policy proposals in the Budget Daily FT Opinion by Rohan Samarajiva I have been immersed in discussions in various media platforms about the 2018 Sri Lanka Budget. A budget speech seeks to communicate the direction of government policy to other economic actors. While it is a coherent and forward-looking document overall, the 2018 Budget does contain some problematic proposals that will have to be walked back or quietly buried. In this op-ed published in the Financial Times, I discussed a solution: Every Budget Speech includes complex policy measures. Given the traditions associated with the Budget Speech, it is not possible to conduct public consultations on each of the measures beforehand.
We wrote about this sometime back, that too referring to the Economist. Seems that Kenneth Cukier and Abu Saeed Khan are interested in the same kinds of things. But earlier, the talk was about reporting rain. Now it’s about predicting, which is way more interesting: Though it is useful to know how much rain is falling right now, forecasting is even better. Telecoms data promise to make this easier as well.
As attention shifts to broadband quality of service experience, more tool for understanding what’s going on are becoming available. One tool Glasnost is described in the NYT: In general, the Glasnost results suggest that telecom and cable TV operators, when they do use throttling, do so mostly to suppress bandwidth hogs and ensure a reasonable experience for all of their customers. Mr. Dischinger, now a computer engineer in Innsbruck, Austria, said throttling was much more commonly used by operators of mobile phone networks, which have much less capacity than landline grids. But with operators starting to sell superfast landline broadband service for heavy data users, such as Deutsche Telekom’s high-speed fiber-to-the-home service, the competition for bandwidth — and the need for throttling — will only increase, Mr.
We said this would happen. With smartphones, which seem to be surgically attached to the hand of every teenager and many an adult, tablets have opened up a new dimension to mobile computing that is seducing consumers. Morgan Stanley, an investment bank, believes that in 2011 combined shipments of smartphones and tablets will overtake those of personal computers (PCs). The revolution is mobile This marks a turning-point in the world of personal technology. For around 30 years PCs in various forms have been people’s main computing devices.
This should be of relevance to the ongoing debate on the net benefits of mobile networks for liberty. But as a German Green party politician, Malte Spitz, recently learned, we are already continually being tracked whether we volunteer to be or not. Cellphone companies do not typically divulge how much information they collect, so Mr. Spitz went to court to find out exactly what his cellphone company, Deutsche Telekom, knew about his whereabouts. The results were astounding.
LIRNEasia’s thesis that most people will experience the Internet through mobile networks depends to an extent on cheap terminal devices. According to the Economist, Android is playing a role in bring low-cost producers into the smartphone segment. Prices are now on a downward spiral, says Ben Wood of CCS Insight, a research firm. Several other handset-makers are already offering cheap smart-phone-like devices. Android allows cut-price Chinese firms such as Huawei and ZTE to enter the smart-phone market, which they had previously stayed out of for lack of the necessary software.
There is little doubt that future wars will include cyber theaters. The NYT story describes cyber attacks and the dangers of collateral damage. Although the digital attack on Iraq’s financial system was not carried out, the American military and its partners in the intelligence agencies did receive approval to cripple Iraq’s military and government communications systems in the early hours of the war in 2003. And that attack did produce collateral damage. Besides blowing up cellphone towers and communications grids, the offensive included electronic jamming and digital attacks against Iraq’s telephone networks.