The timeline below depends on the regulations (by-laws) being approved. The news story suggest they have been. We know that they are open for comments. We plan to give comments by the Dec 2 deadline. So unless the licenses are being developed in parallel, the chances of issuance by year end are not that good.
I was at the World Innovation Summit on Education (WISE 13) in Doha, Qatar, last week. The week before I was speaking at the Internet Governance Forum in Bali, Indonesia. At both these events reliable, high-quality, available-on-demand broadband is a precondition for what the people there want to do. For example, everyone at WISE 13 had great expectations (or fears) about MOOCs. Some even went so far as thinking that MOOCs could be some kind of conspiracy against the developing countries, whereby our people would be limited to MOOCs, some kind of poor substitute for real higher education.
LIRNEasia’s Senior Policy Fellow has been invited by the Department of Communication of South African government to speak at the “Workshop on Broadband Policy and Implementation in South Africa,” 11-12 November 2013, at CSIR Conference Center, Pretoria. He will speak on the “The Trans-Asian Terrestrial Broadband Link,” drawing on the work he has been doing as part of LIRNEasia’s partnership with UNESCAP.

How will you measure your life?

Posted on November 8, 2013  /  0 Comments

That is the title of a recent book by Clayton Christensen, an admired management guru. It’s a question (in slightly more modest form) I frequently ask. I asked it when I was at the Telecom Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka: how could we measure what good we did? Result: Telecom Policy and Regulatory Environment tool. We ask it all the time at LIRNEasia.
India’s Telecom Commission, composed of civil servants, is pushing for higher reserve prices of mobile phone spectrum. Their recommendation for 1800 MHz and 900 MHz prices are respectively 15% and 25% higher than what the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has suggested for auction. India plans to conduct its next mobile phone spectrum auction in January 2014 to fork out estimated 110 billion rupees. In September the TRAI has suggested to slash the auction reserve prices up to 65% after most of the operators have stayed away from bidding in the previous two auctions due to high reserve price. The Telecom Commission has, however, suggested to increase the spectrum prices by sweetening with attractive mergers allowance of a combined market share of up to 50% instead of the current 35% cap.
I remember tweeting several months back about the negative fallout of the drip drip of the Snowden revelations on cloud companies and even on the routing of data traffic (why is it so difficult to find something you’ve written in social media?). In my interactions with industry people across Asia, I could sense the unease of entrusting anything valuable to American companies. But now it seems to have percolated up to the top: But protests from business executives, who told Mr. Obama last week at a White House meeting that they feared the N.
This is not to dismiss the idea of connecting via mobile phones. I have spent the last few years researching the challenges of pulling together real connectivity and access for the poorest, and it’s no picnic. Infrastructure constraints, high taxes on imported computers, low income levels and connectivity problems all make the internet extremely challenging for the poorest to access. But is this a reason to give up entirely and focus on mobile instead as policymakers and researchers seem to be doing? At the Internet Governance Forum in Indonesia last week, the prevailing view was that the developing world would use mobile, end of story.
It is too easy to rant about surveillance on the web (except when one is subject of a crime). I was fortunate that I met a number of FBI and police personnel who were getting into crime investigations on the web at the early Computers, Freedom and Privacy conferences and learned to see the problem from their perspective. Now there is a book on the subject. Here is an excerpt from the NYT review: “Life is a messy business on the Internet,” Anderson writes, “and we’re never going to engineer the mess out of it.” He’s right.
Information and communication have always opened opportunities for the poor to earn income, reduce isolation, and respond resiliently to emergencies. With mobile phone use exploding across the developing world, even marginalized communities are now benefiting from modern communication tools. This book explores the impacts of this unprecedented technological change. Drawing on unique household surveys undertaken by research networks active in 38 developing countries, it helps to fill knowledge gaps about how the poor use information and communication technologies (ICTs). How have they benefited from mobile devices, computers, and the Internet?
LIRNEasia had its first systematic review training from 18-20 October 2013 in Wadduwa, Sri Lanka. The workshop brought together 40 researchers and quantitative experts from 18 countries in Asia and Africa. The training was conducted by Hilary Thomson, PhD. The training workshop completed the first stage of an IDRC funded project to conduct Research Capacity Building in Systematic Reviews. In the second stage of the project, LIRNEasia will be conducting systematic reviews on the below mentioned topics.
A synthesis meeting on LIRNEasia’s Customer Relationship Management study was held on 26th and 27th October in New Delhi, India. LIRNEasia’s partner for its qualitative research, CKS presented their findings along with designs for service delivery improvements in the telecom, electricity and government sector. The meeting was attended by  LIRNEasia’s researchers and sector experts. The qualitative study complemented the supply side study done for the same sectors as well as the demand side quantitative survey on micro entrepreneurs, this is the first time that we have seen end to end results of the project. Dissemination strategy for the project results was also discussed though LIRNEasia will not be disseminating its findings immediately.
I was reminded of that old chestnut about a flagman having to walk in front of early automobiles when I heard some participants talk at the workshop on big data, social good and privacy. Imagine imposing inform and consent rules on transaction-generated data (big data) belonging to large corporate entities such as mobile operators. They need the data on user mobility patterns to manage their networks; they need financial transaction data to manage their finances. All these things can be covered under broad inform and consent procedures that will be presented to customers as they sign up. What will not be possible would be to permit use by third parties for traffic management, energy management, urban planning etc, since these uses could not be conceptualized at the time of signing up customers.
Today at IGF 2013 in Bali, I was part of a panel on cloud and mobile computing. We at LIRNEasia need cloud computing. But we are also realistic about the challenges. Here is the slideset I used to illustrate the quality problems. But I also talked about the weak links in the chain and what was being done to strengthen them.
When I was interviewed by a journalist from the Internet Journal, said to have one of the highest circulations in Myanmar, I offered him a short piece I had written about Myanmar. It’s now been translated into Bamar (except for the table and my name). The last few paras of the piece: The government intends to establish a regulatory agency within two years. In the interim, the Ministry of Post and Telecom will function as the regulator. There are concerns both about capacity to regulate in terms of technical skills and also in terms of ability to exercise authority over the incumbent allied with a military-backed entity.
I write this sitting in the office of the Pacific ICT Regulatory Resource Center. Thus the interest in Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs). Going through the IDI rankings, I was sorry to see that only Fiji (rank 82); Tonga (rank 101) and Solomon Islands (rank 125) are included. Both Fiji and Solomon Islands have fallen back by one place, even though their scores have increased from 3.79 to 3.
Last year, there was a fuss about Bangladesh being excluded from the ITU’s IDI Index. We’ve periodically discussed the IDI even if we are not fans, exactly. We’ve periodically discussed the IDI even if we are not fans, exactly. Good news for Bangladesh this year. Not only do we know what their score last year was (1.