Live Notes on Group Discussion

Posted on September 19, 2004  /  1 Comments

These are live notes, so they’re borderline incomprehensible. The value was more in that Rohan wanted to make a live text record of conference proceedings on the Net.

Payal Mallik, Group 1:

Case Studies, success stories of application. From India- Karnatika, first action was to formalize the land records which translates to land reforms through ICTs. Governments get to see the productivity gains from ICTs.

Citizen/Government Interface: this morning governance was pointed out as a critical area. What nature should the interface take?

Gap Between Content Development and Demand: Language issues, and what to ppl actually want from these applications.

Proposed Projects removed, I think the microimpact is still a little far from realization.

Happy with proposed projects: These subsidy studies should be underlined in a certain, clear theoretical framework. This will give greater comparability that pure case studies.

Group 2: Randy Spence

Sector and Regulatory performance views, same thing? Important tools for planning and benchmarking and important motivators. Regulators don’t like to be compared unfavorably to their neighbors. We also talked about the importance of peer review, especially as a basis for advocacy. Two main questions were raised-

Relationship between regulation and sector performance

Relationship between regulation and capital

Objective/Subjective data. Both important. Demand side data is missing. Perhaps we could start with household surveys, Grameen data, etc. Our focus was on the TRE framework. On the objective side there are sets of facts and indicators which are important and those need to be spelled out. Sometimes not so much data as case study information. Those can well be supplemented with interviews, experts, panels and ranking – which are important because they pick up perceptions and are easier. There was a suggestion that the TRE framework could be augmented on the universal service side and on the process side, questions of openness, transparency.

Talked about methodology and the need to spell out and elaborate the TRE methodology more. It’s not really clear how the SL pilot was done.

Are there problems with data? Yes. There was the view that we need to list and prioritize the data needs. In terms of regulation, we may not always be talking about ICT regulators. There are important influences coming from financial, banking regulation, etc. The idea of LIRNE developing some elements of its own database, for example the prices of mobile services. It would be useful to have definitions – what is broadband, etc. Also perhaps a Confidence Index in the TRE. It was suggested that if many countries are going to do surveys we should specify what kind of data will be in them. Maybe a workshop to spell out the desirable content. We think country workshops would make sense most at a country level. Results should be shared quickly with other country teams, and at a country level for stakeholder buy in, and to get the regulators involved.

Group 3: Chanuka Wattegama

These are the questions we had: We have been asked the best and worst cases. Is there too much emphasis on case studies? Should training be context specific or general? Happy with proposed projects? Suggestions?

Best/Worst Cases: We discussed the e-choupals project in India where the farmers are directly connected with ICT. Also discussed a case where a village in Athar Pradesh was connected to a hospital in Chennai. We also discussed the famous e-channelling in Sri Lanka – which saves medical consumers time and money. Worst cases – most of us agreed that where the traditional system played a role we didn’t get the outcome we’d expect. In India one of the reasons for the boom is the ICT Taskforce which was setup not directly within the system but which gave a positive outcome quickly.

We agreed that we should not place too much emphasis on cases studies on concentrate on alternatives.

Training: What is the market? Is there a market? Agreed that it’s a niche market, but still a requirement. We find that those who regulate are not properly trained. Discussed the role of LIRNEasia in this environment. For example, conducting a training course on spectrum management. It would also be nice to see how new tech can fit into various technologies. How does VOIP fit in SL or India? How can we get the best use in the local context?

Should LIRNEasia go beyond its theme (electricity, utilities)? For the moment no. LIRNEasia shouldn’t open the Pandora’s box of other stuff. It should provide the info lacked by govts and regulators – this is where LIRNEasia should play a role

Group 4:

Virtual Regional Organization Feasible: Yes

Precedents: LIRNE is a working model where we have a network which connects different unis very effectively. There is also PanAsia, based in Singapore and funded by IDRC. There is also Global Knowledge Partnership (advocacy). Oh, PIPU. Used the web and face to face meetings to work on draft reports and legislations.

LIRNEasia should be consistent with what we advise others to do. If we tell people to be open we should be open (tell them to go online, us too)

How to develop and participate broader participation: should follow a Polder? model. What’s a polder? Some place where sheep graze in the Netherlands. Knowledge should flow freely across the organization, sans gatekeepers. Regional partners should submit weekly/bi-weekly reports on what they’re up to. We also saw great merit in subscriptions to relevant publications that we can share.

Financial matters, etc. Transparent, auditing.

Suggestions on how to use the web – we already have a succesful example with WDR. We also suggested a intranet to share documents and research. There was an important caveat – the strategic use of the web. We may lose people if we’re too reliant on a certain technology. What if we’re using broadband and our partners have a thin pipe. We may lose people. Also the need for a moderator to avoid info overload. On a weekly basis we could have weekly moderators.

I dunno if Rohan uses MSN (no).

1 Comment

  1. An edited/cleaned up and coherent vesrion of this is available at:

    A write-up of Saturday’s (18th Sept) discussions are also avlailable at: