General


App stores as chokepoints

Posted on February 9, 2017  /  0 Comments

We commissioned a study on the Indian app economy back in 2013. The report was completed in 2014. One thing that study did not pick up on was the danger that governments could use the app store to control access to information. We were not alone in missing this critical implication: For more than a decade, we users of digital devices have actively championed an online infrastructure that now looks uniquely vulnerable to the sanctions of despots and others who seek to control information. We flocked to smartphones, app stores, social networks and cloud storage.
I was included in a five-person panel discussing the university education in Sri Lanka in light of the currently heightened interest re relaxing the government monopoly. In my opening comments, I referred to research conducted in 2012 by the Human Capital Research team. I also talked about the need to allow innovation in the educational system so that we can better respond to the fast changing external environment. The video of the talk show.

Multiple SIM ownership declining

Posted on February 8, 2017  /  0 Comments

Multiple SIM ownership has been a topic we have given much thought to over the years. Unlike the ITU, we never thought it was a good thing in and of itself. We tried to understand why people bothered to juggle multiple SIMs. We found it had many causes, not just high interconnection charges as suggested by Telegeography below. Gaps in coverage and discounts for calling friends and family were among the factors identified.
It has become increasingly common for developing-country governments to extract rents from what they think is an easy target, international communication. After all, the people affected don’t vote in their elections, even if they are in many cases, hardworking expat workers who keep the home economies afloat. But telecom users are not stupid. They have been switching to alternatives in a big way, says Telegeography: First up is the curious discovery that 2015 marked a turning point in the market. It was the first time since the Great Depression that international carrier voice traffic declined.

Top Five Issues in Agriculture

Posted on February 6, 2017  /  0 Comments

  Many issue have hindered the progress in agriculture sector. Farmers, buyers and consumer are raising issues every day despite the efforts by policy makers and institutions. May be it is not that the actions are not generating results rather the actions are not well coordinated and policies are misaligned. One way to go about this is to prioritize the issues and identify collective solutions. In prioritization it is possible to cluster issues that can be solved by a common intervention.
It’s not enough to build towers. The last mile has to be complemented by the middle mile and the first mile (though that seems a strained metaphor for international cables). The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency had backed the $105.74 million loan from the Bank of China (Hong Kong) to the Myanmar Fiber Optic Communication Network, MIGA said in a statement on January 25. The guarantee provides coverage for up to five years against such risks as currency inconvertibility and transfer restrictions, expropriation, and war and civil disturbance, MIGA said.
Two ongoing projects at LIRNEasia seek to open up government data. The first is the inclusive information societies project. The second seeks to present electoral delimitation data to stakeholders in manipulable form to facilitate informed discussion. Human Capital Research Team Leader Sujata Gamage presents the big picture in a column in FT: Open data or more specifically Open Government Data (OGD) is a concept which is complementary to the Right to Information (RTI) concept. While RTI is reactive, legalistic, adversarial and costly, OGD is proactive, technical, collaborative and less costly in the long term.
State-owned Myanmar Post and Telecommunication (MPT) is a member of the prehistoric SEA-ME-WE3 and very recent SEA-ME-WE5 submarine cable consortiums. MPT also shares the landing facilities with China Unicom, which brings a branch of Asia Africa Europe-1 (AAE-1) cable to the country. This is how the incumbent has secured the landing of two contemporary submarine cable systems. The government has also injected competition and licensed the Singapore-based Campana Group to build the Myanmar-Thailand International Connection (MYTHIC) submarine cable. Last year Campana has contracted Alcatel-Lucent to build the 1,600km MYTHIC cable, equipped with 100Gbps technology for an initial design capacity of 20Tbps.
For some, Facebook is a bad thing. That was an underlying theme of the opposition to Free Basics and zero rating. I guess having less women use a bad thing is good, so they should be happy. The fact remains that Facebook is the most popular app, the killer app that everyone was looking for. So even if it does not meet the standards of the purists, very low use by women should be of concern to pragmatists.
One of the outcomes of last October’s meeting of ITU’s Expert Group on Telecommunication/ICT Indicators (EGTI) was the formation of an EGTI sub-group to propose revisions to ITU’s methodology for collecting ICT prices. LIRNEasia research manager Shazna Zuhyle will Chair this sub-group comprising thirteen experts from academia and various national regulatory authorities. It will review and redefine the current methodology. Shazna has years of experience in ICT price benchmarking and is familiar with ITU’s current methodology. The need for the revision stems from the changing ICT landscape specifically in the use of broadband services and consumption patterns of users.
LIRNEasia researchers were in the field last week talking to vegetable farmers in Chilaw, Gampaha and Kurunegala. The discussions which took part in varying locations, are part of the LIRNEasia’s ongoing research for its ‘Inclusive information societies’ project. The project aims to assess the impact of opening up government data and making crop advisory information available to farmers through a mobile application. Initially the app will target farmers who grow cucurbits for export. Research work for the project is now underway.
Mytel, the fourth telecom licensee in Myanmar, states that it intends to capacity of AAE-1 through MPT. But MPT says it’s not part of the AAE-1 consortium and does not intend to use AAE-1 capacity itself. What does that mean for Mytel? Should it ask for capacity on SEA-ME-WE 5 from its competitor instead? Mytel, which received Myanmar’s fourth telecoms licence on January 12, will also use the AAE 1 (Asia-Africa-Europe) submarine cable “so we will not have to worry about internet bandwidth”, said U Zaw Min Oo.
Few days back, I was on a panel discussing the past two years record of the government and what we’d like to see in the coming three years. I talked about the President’s interest in focusing everyone’s attention on the Sustainable Development Goals and the expert committee that has been appointed to advise the government on SDGs. This is a topic connected to what we’re doing at LIRNEasia. A non-evidence based statement from the floor caused me to write a column, published today in both Sinhala and English. Why would such egregious errors be made?
          IGF Academy organised a pre event at Day 0 of the UNIGF in Guadalajara Mexico. The objective of this pre event was to discuss and exchange ideas on the linkage between freedom of expression and other policy issues in Internet governance. The fellows participated in the newcomers track on “Freedom of Expression Online” by Professor Dr. Milton Mueller of Georgia Tech University. This session was on Internet regulation.
The IGF academy preparatory workshop took place in Hotel Morales, Guadalajara on the 4th of December 2016. The objective of this workshop was to discuss and exchange Internet governance models and mechanisms and how they influence politics. 6 fellows from Asia and 6 fellows from Africa participated in this workshop. Corinne Cath of Article 19 and Daniel O’Maley of Center for International Media Assistance made a presentation on “Governance of Freedom of Expression” at the preparatory workshop. Following the break Adam Peake, Senior Manager for Civil Society Global Engagement of ICANN, made a presentation on other Internet governance mechanisms: multi stakeholder institutions and processes.
Investment is not like charity. One does not just give investment. If Tata is to invest in Bangladesh’s 2.4 percent market share Teletalk, it will have to have answers to the following questions: 1. Will it get a controlling interest in the company?