Sri Lanka aims to be paradise for high-end outsourcing By Poornima Weerasekara The need to position Sri Lanka as a provider of top-end, high value adding outsourcing destination was highlighted yesterday at a CEO’s conference, titled “Offshore to Sri Lanka.” The conference organised by the ICT sub-committee of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and the World Bank in partnership with the Board of Investment (BOI) and the Information and Telecommunications Agency (ICTA) comprised of industry experts, venture capitalists and over 150 public and private sector CEOs. It aimed to create awareness about Sri Lanka’s potential as an off-shoring destination and to galvanize CEO’s into collectively realizing this potential. “Sri Lanka has the largest number of UK qualified accountants outside of UK. This itself is a unique differentiator to position Sri Lanka as a provider of high quality financial services,” World Bank Senior Economist Ismail Radwan said.
A draft version of the research report submitted by Payal Malik and Harsha de Silva titled “Diversifying Network Participation: Study of India’s Universal Service Instruments” is now available for download as a PDF document. Please provide your feedback in the comments section to improve the research report Study of Indian Universal Service Instruments – Draft Report
Colombo, Sri Lanka, 8 November 2005: An addressable satellite radio system for hazard warning was demonstrated to Sir Arthur C. Clarke in Colombo, Sri Lanka this week. It has been designed by WorldSpace, Inc., in collaboration with Raytheon Corporation of the US, at the request of LIRNEasia, a Sri Lankan research organization. The satellite radio is the first device to incorporate the Common Alert Protocol (CAP).
In 2006, LIRNEasia hopes to start a new line of research on the role ICTs play in reducing transaction costs in the economy. Our work will begin from research on Harsha de Silva’s Govi Gnana Service (GGS) project that seeks to provide real time information on market prices at Sri Lanka’s largest agricultural wholesale market. But it is interesting that the whole question of reducing transaction costs (at the high end) is receiving increased attention, as evidenced by the New York Times
The Sarvodaya Report on six months of post-tsunami activities is available at http://www.sarvodaya.org/wp-content/Tsunami6monthsreport.pdf. Sarvodaya is Sri Lanka’s largest most broadly embedded people’s organization, with a network covering 15,000 villages, 34 district offices, over 100,000 youth.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Development, December 03-04, 2005 This workshop at IIM Calcutta will equip managers with the perceived benefits of ICT in the development sector in India, along with the roles that the government, corporate sector, non-governmental organizations, and people themselves can play. Bringing together faculty members from various functional groups of IIM Calcutta including Management Information Systems, Regional Development, and Business Environment, the lectures and discussions will focus on the managerial reforms and institutional aspects to make ICTs an integral component of development. Topics to be covered will include the information infrastructure, the policy issues related to ICTs, with special attention to the legal and regulatory frameworks, ICT and effective public management, public-private partnership in service delivery, especially in e-governance, pro-poor market development through ICTs, ICT and healthcare, ICT and disaster management, and the way ICT could be used for better governance through coordination between various stakeholders. More details available here.
By Payal Malik (Senior Researcher, LIRNEasia) The Indian Express: Op-Ed October 31, 2005 TRAI has recently come out with its recommendations on Growth of Telecom services in Rural India (www.trai.gov.in). It is an insightful attempt to address the anomalies of the current universal service obligation (USO) regime for the provision of rural telephone subsidy.
LIRNEasia’s past researcher Chanuka Wattegama will be making a keynote address at an Internet Governance and Telecom Regulation session at the International Workshop on Building an Information Society: Road to Tunis that will take place on October 23-25 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.Some of the material in his talk will be based on some of the findings of LIRNEasia’s current research that Chanuka was involved in while he worked with us. Chanuka was the lead researcher on a LIRNEasia project to Benchmark National Telecom Regulatory Authority websites of the Asia-Pacific Region, and recently took up a post at Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme in Colombo.
Findings from Indonesian study WiFi Access Innovations by LIRNEasia researchers, Divakar Goswami & Onno Purbo were presented at a press conference at the Jakarta Hilton, Indonesia on October 1. The results from the study have been covered by Indonesian newspapers. The news story by Rakyatmerdeka is online and can be found here. The study findings can be found here. Divakar and Onno identified high leased prices as the main factor forcing ISPs to deploy their own WiFi-based networks to connect customers to the last mile.
LIRNEasia’s maiden telecom reform course was successfully completed by 36 participants from 18 countries. The 10th telecom reform course was co-organised with LIRNE.NET, in association with the School of Communication and Information of Nanyang Technological University, and the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore. Themed ‘Catalyzing change: Strategies to achieve connectivity and convergence,’ the course took place at the Elizabeth Hotel in Singapore on the 24th-30th September 2005. see pics The course aimed to prepare regulators to face the challenges that lie ahead to achieve connectivity and convergence.
Link to full story Motorola selected to supply affordable and robust handsets for second phase of programme to ‘connect the unconnected’ Singapore 27th September 2005: The mobile industry has driven the wholesale cost of mobile phones to below US$30 as part of the GSM Association (GSMA) programme to make mobile telephony affordable for people in developing countries. “To get below US$30 per handset is a milestone achievement,” said Craig Ehrlich, Chairman of the GSMA, the global trade association for the world’s GSM mobile operators. “Today’s news cements the formation of a whole new market segment for the mobile industry and will bring the benefits of mobile communications to a huge swathe of people in developing countries.” At the 3GSM World Congress in Singapore, Rob Conway, Chief Executive and board member of the GSMA, announced today that Motorola has been selected to supply the phase-two handset. “Motorola won thanks to a combination of a portfolio starting from sub-US$30, together with other key factors such as after-sales support, local service, brand presence and a choice of low-cost handset models including an exclusive product, the C113a for this programme,” said Conway.
Sujata Gamage (slides will be posted shortly) DISCUSSION:On ‘national innovation system’ DG: much of our work is outside the ‘national’ framework.RS: we want to do Asian research to be used the region. think cutting edge leading universities in the REGION, not in any one country. usable knowledge = it is policy-relevant. SG: 1st order connectivity means making the information available, as simply as putting it up on the web.
Divakar presents findings of his study that assesses the success of WiFi based expansion of Internet access and identifies the conditions that gave rise to this innovation in Indonesia. DG: Indonesia is a challenging country to connect. 17000 islands. teledensity is 12%, compares poorly with its neighbors. Internet penetration is far lower than Asian average.
The final report for this study, Benchmarking National Telecom Regulatory Authority websites of Asia-Pacific Region (Version 2.0 – pre-publication) is now available. It can be downloaded HERE (PDF document). An earlier, more detailed version of the report, Version 1.5, can be downloaded HERE.
Points of discussion Gender neutrality Women have built trust via a long term relationship with GB. Hence women are chosen based on their prior relationship with GB. MKJ: Gender patterns do emerge from the fact that GB’s best customers are women. AZ: Groups of VPOs “monitor” each others repayments within a village since if one person doesn’t repay on time it reflects badly on the rest of the VPOs in that village Mahinda: even in the Suntel-Ceylinco-Gramin scheme most of the credit-worthy customers are women. On Subsidies Since the cost structures were not available, we cannot say if the handset discounts and airtime discounts, etc.
[By SHARON LaFRANIERE, New York Times, Aug.25.05] This NYT article looks at Africa’s mobile boom, stating that it has taken the industry by surprise; common wisdom was that Africans are not big telecom users. But ‘it turned out that Africans had never been big phone users because nobody had given them the chance.’ Today, one in eleven Africans (roughly 9%) is a mobile subscriber.