The first session of the big data research workshop focused on what has been done with big data in a development context. To me, one of the most striking points was made by Josh Blumenstock of Berkeley. He showed the time since the last census in a number of countries in Africa (I think the highest was 35 years) and asked how development could be done without this basic knowledge base. Of the countries that we are engaged with, he included only Afghanistan, which has not had a census for decades for understandable reasons. I checked when Pakistan had last conducted a census.
Unlike an earlier media report in a government newspaper that I could not make head or tail of, this report zooms in on the controversial. No mention whatsoever of the subject of the keynote, but a fair summary of what I said in response to a question from the floor on government getting back into the provision of telecom infrastructure services. Journalism still lives in Sri Lanka. Government should focus on creating fiscally responsible policy certainty, rather than providing telecommunication services wholesale or retail by itself, an expert opined recently. Founding Chair of LIRNEasia and former telecoms regulator Professor Rohan Samarajiva pointed out that the Government needs to prioritise its investments in the areas of healthcare, children and education rather than putting money into areas where there is available private investment.
I once wrote a parable to make sense of the positions the various players were taking on Internet developments. After the dust settled, I expected them to work together to make money, rather than run behind the ITU or national governments asking for favors. Facebook has been explaining what it wants to do to make the Internet experience better for all users. Subramanian outlined a couple of its many bold network initiatives it is working on to bring access to the estimated 4.2 billion people who aren’t connected.
Hiring 8000 graduates to implement #RTI is wrong. Info officers must be senior people with authority. #LKA pic.twitter.com/jK3qucIktt — Rohan Samarajiva (@samarajiva) July 4, 2016 It was reported in the Lankadeepa of 30 June that the Government has decided to recruit 8,000 fresh graduates to serve as information officers in order to implement the recently-approved Right to Information Law.
Bangladesh is emerging as an important player in regional connectivity. Recently it has connected Northeast India to faster lane of Internet through a 10 Gbps international link of its submarine cable systems. It has prompted the landlocked Bhutan to be in the cue. Currently a Bhutanese telecoms delegate is negotiating a 5 Gbps international internet bandwidth deal with their Bangladeshi counterpart. Terrestrial transit through India is critical for Bhutan to access the submarine cable facilities of Bangladesh, says a press report.
In the US, they included preemption powers in the 1996 Communication Act to enable the FCC to override state and municipal authorities on communication-related approvals. This was considered draconian. In my recommendations to governments, I have always been cautious about taking away the power of lower-levels of government. But it looks like the traffic situation in the Philippines has caused intelligent Senators to call for extreme measures. DICT Undersecretary Eliseo Rio Jr.
When I was responsible for the management of technical assistance funds made available by the World Bank for telecom and infrastructure reforms, I heard many complaints about the money all going to foreign consultants and nothing remaining in Sri Lanka. I responded to this criticism in a substantive manner a few years back in LBO. But here is another relevant element. How much money do you waste by not mobilizing technical expertise at the right time? Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha de Silva pointed out that the then government has spent just one million rupees before wasting 350 million US dollars for setting up the emptiest international airport in the world.
India is finally plugging the mainland with Port Blair and five other islands (Little Andaman, Car Nicobar, Havelock, Kamorta and Great Nicobar) of the Andaman and Nicobar though an undersea optical fiber cable systems. Taxpayers will count $150 million (INR 1,102.38 crore) for capex and initial five years opex of this maiden sub-oceanic telecoms initiative for the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. This cable from Chennai will be activated in 2018 while its capacity and ownership remain unannounced. Home of about 380,000 people, including the indigenous Jarawa, the archipelago is about 1,300 km east in the Bay of Bengal.
LIRNEasia research about online freelancers reveal, those engaging in part-time freelancing work such as graphics designing, digital marketing and translations, earn a monthly income of approximately Rs.20,000 -30,000. There are extreme cases too, we have met few committed freelancers who earn over 300,000 per month. Earning from freelancing is making a drastic impact on the lives of Sri Lankan youth who are involved in it. Here is the evidence, freelancer Thilina Madushanka posted this in one of the Sri Lankan fiverr community page in Facebook.
In the course of reviewing Jonathan Donner’s After Access: Inclusion, Development, and a More Mobile Internet (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2015), I realized why we always had trouble fitting in at most ICT for Development conferences and perhaps why our papers (and those of RIA) had trouble getting accepted. It was because were not doing conventional ICTD interventions (the first described below) but were removing barriers or roadblocks (the subtitle of our first book). One form of intervention, privileged in this book, is initiated by an external actor who knows what effective use is, for the benefit of the subjects who do not. The other form seeks to remove barriers to innovation by users of ICT and by those who seek to supply ICT goods and services to such users. This generally takes the form of legal or policy reform to enable certain actions (e.
It has been over five years since we started work on systematic reviews. I am in the middle of editing a special issue of a journal that will address the issue of how we take research to policy. As I say in the slides below, it seems unfair to ask of social science systematic reviews everything that is delivered by SRs in the healthcare space. In healthcare, the institutional arrangements are well established. One human body being more or less similar to another, the causal mechanisms discovered through SRs work well pretty much all of the time.
We’ve been pushing for greater policy attention to international backhaul markets since 2010. Haven’t said as much on domestic backhaul, but we have talked about that as a constraint as well. Good to have the FCC Chair on our side. Supplying backhaul is a profitable activity for the largest carriers in the US, notably AT&T and Verizon. Others, including Sprint, complain the market is uncompetitive.
There appeared to be a problem with loading the slideset, so I went to Plan B. I was just about to do a big data talk with no slides. That is the first learning: always have a Plan B and be ready to improvise. This being Oxford, I thought they could access the slides off the Internet. But then the technical problem was solved and I gave a conventional talk.
According to the Daily Mirror, the Finance Minister has said ““They (e-commerce operators) are just operating here. Where is the regulation for that? We will make them bring money earned here back to the country.” He appears to be responding to non-e commerce businesses who are complaining as below. Meanwhile during the 9th Ease of Doing Business Forum the Rent-A-Car Association representative Milinda Mallawarachchi called for e-commerce regulations.
We can offer up systematic reviews. But it seems like a good old fashioned story may be more effective. When the storm hit, some of the younger, more tech-savvy residents had snapped photos of the giant hailstones and the damage they had caused. The photos, of hole-filled roofs and wind-bent buildings, were uploaded to their personal Facebook accounts, and widely shared both in Myanmar and abroad. The first donors to arrive in the village were responding to nothing more than the pictures they had seen on Facebook.
We thought that long distance carriers would be the primary beneficiaries of Asia Pacific Information Superhighway (AP-IS). That was way back in 2010 and six years is long enough to radically transform telecoms in this century. Now the Internet companies and content providers are outperforming the baffled carriers in every front. That is what I presented in the 2nd Working Group Meeting of AP-IS at Guangzhou early this week. Image source.