General


LIRNEasia Research Fellow Grace Mirandilla Santos has been playing a leading role in getting the new rules on broadband quality approved. Here is one news report quoting her: INTERNET users in the Philippines are “paying more for less” as the actual speed of their connection has never reached the “advertised speed” by Internet service providers (ISPs), a study showed. Mary Grace Santos, a research fellow of the LIRNEasia, presented the results of their study during the hearing of the Senate committee on trade on the impact of slow and expensive Internet in the country. Santos, said LIRNEasia is a regional ICT (Information and Communications Technology) think tank policy that has been conducting quality of service testings since 2010. Read more: http://technology.

No fun drags on

Posted on August 17, 2015  /  0 Comments

We predicted this would happen if BSNL continued to be in the driver’s seat. In what could be another blow to the broadband dreams of millions, the deadline for rolling out national optical fiber network (NOFN) across all 2.5 lakh village panchayats has been extended by two years by 2018, according to sources close to the government. “The project will be now completed by 2018, instead of 2016,” the sources said. The national Optical Fibre Network (NOFN), which will play a crucial role in government’s Digital India program, was initiated in 2011 with an aim to provide broadband connectivity to over two lakh (200,000) gram panchayats of India at a cost of Rs 20,000 crore ($4 billion).
“A hub is the central part of a wheel, rotating on or with the axle, and from which the spokes radiate.” Singapore talks about about hubs, and generally pulls off the creation of the hub, relegating others to spoke status. But this has had the unfortunate side-effect of making hub a bit of a meaningless word. And as anyone who has had spokes damaged in a bicycle wheel can testify, a hub is useless without spokes. LIRNEasia is a born-regional organization.
I was going to respond to an anti Airbnb/Uber/Lyft rant by Morazov, but other things got in the way. Apparently, some guy has done the same thing against Tinder on Vanity Fair. Farhad: I’ve got to say, though: Tinder had a point about the Vanity Fair story. Not only did it adopt a tone of high moral panic about dating apps — it compared their effects to the melting of the polar ice caps and the “Sixth Extinction” — but as New York Magazine’s Jesse Singal pointed out, the article was even factually suspect. Sociological research suggests that millennials like yourself appear to have fewer sexual partners than previous generations.
A noted writer on technology who was quite supportive of our stand against efforts to assert strong national controls over the Internet through resolutions approved at the WCIT 2012, tagged me on a tweet about this alarmist piece about the Sri Lanka government’s MOU with Google to test Loon over Lanka that included the para below: The real effects of this deal will be seen after Sri Lanka’s citizens have tasted universal Internet access: how can Sri Lanka’s political parties be expected to formulate and push through strict legislation on issues such as local data storage, privacy and search engine neutrality when the party that will be affected the most (Google) is the one responsible for the country’s Internet coverage? While there may be no outright arm-twisting – which is not Silicon Valley’s style – Sri Lanka’s legislators will undoubtedly think twice before coming out with legislation that would require Internet companies to retain Sri Lankan data on Sri Lankan soil; a controversial notion that has seen countries such as Brazil flip-flop in the face of intense lobbying. It’s possible that my friend did not read to the end, but simply thinking that he would outsource the response to this […]
Sujata Gamage, the Team Leader of the Human Capital Research Program has started a weekly column in the Financial Times in English and in the government newspaper, Dinamina, in Sinhala. Here is an excerpt from her first column in FT. But, how do our youth really feel about the state of affairs in their country? There is a widely held belief that this age group was instrumental in turning the tide against President Rajapaksa in the 2015 presidential election, but, we have little concrete evidence. Other countries such as UK, Australia and Malaysia carry out regular youth surveys but we don’t.
While driving a car remains forbidden for women in Saudi Arabia, its tiny neighbor puts a woman behind the wheel to drive the state-owned telco. Yes, Muna Al Hashemi has been confirmed as the new CEO of Batelco (Bahrain Telecommunications Company) on Monday. Until then she had been holding the fort as acting CEO since December 2014. The appointment makes Muna the first woman to lead a teleco in the GCC region. With a Master’s degree in Telecommunications and a BSc in Electronic Engineering, Muna began her career in Batelco in 1994.
A4AI has published all the slidesets used at the universal service workshop, that LIRNEasia attended. The presentations are here.
In terms of research techniques, Mobile and online communities continue to dominate the methodological shift, but research clients are demanding big data insights. Themes from this year’s GRIT Report highlights the impact on research industry: speed, new platforms, and the quest for insights in a sea of data. Researchers recognize the need for speed as the businesses are moving fast.  Therefore, we need to see consumers, brands, categories and markets in real-time to provide optimal guidance for competing and winning in this complex world.  As new platforms, especially in the social and mobile realms with increased ubiquity, marketers and researchers must seize new opportunities and respond to the constraints of the new media and platforms.
Many of the public services that would be delivered under Digital India are those under the purview of state governments which are not necessarily under the control of, or even aligned with, the Modi government. It’s good that they are working across the lines. Congress-ruled Karnataka wants to be the flagship for the Digital India initiative. Pushed by chief minister Siddaramaiah, the state’s e-governance department is set to roll out 376 government services under the e-district programme within the next three months. This will be four times more than BJP-ruled Maharashtra’s 85 services, the highest in the country, currently.
Sri Lankan ICT entrepreneurs have been asking that inward payments by Paypal be facilitated. I’ve pushed it in various settings. Government has promised it would do this many times. But nothing has happened. Here is the latest promise: Speaking at the Sri Lanka Economic Summit organized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce under the theme, ‘The power of social media for exports’, Canagey emphasized they were committed in creating financial and social inclusivity through the platform.
The first nationally representative survey of ICT use in Myanmar was conducted by LIRNEasia in Feb/March of 2015.  The results were presented to stakeholders at a series of events and meetings held in Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw between the 28 – 30 July 2015. Download report here The links provide the updated slide-set, detailed methodology note, questionnaire in English and in Myanmar language.   Media ICT Survey: LIRNEasia nationwide ICT survey results released| Mitv News, Myanmar | July 29th 2015 LA on Democracy Today, Myanmar | August 6th 2015           LA on the Mobile Guide, Myanmar | August 5th                     LA survey data being referenced in an item about hate speech on Facebook | Eleven News, Myanmar |September 13th 2015 The English translation of this item can be found here.  
A few months back Telenor Group asked whether we would be interested in working up a document that would focus thinking on Digital Bangladesh and identify priority areas for cooperative action by different agencies of government and the private sector, including in particular Telenor’s Bangladesh affiliate Grameenphone. We did not have to think much because this was an opportunity to crystallize seven years of ongoing discussions and help advance the process of accelerated implementation. The government should relax the rules to attract more foreign firms to invest in Bangladesh, said a report developed by Grameenphone and its major shareholder Telenor Group with the support of LIRNEasia. The government should also form a well-planned spectrum roadmap and introduce tech neutrality to boost the telecom, IT and IT-enabled services, the report suggested. The report, Realising Digital Bangladesh, also advised the government to liberalise international gateways to allow one-stop shopping services and ensure the quality of services.
At a well attended meeting in Yangon on the 29th of July, Helani Galpaya, together with MIDO’s research lead Phyu Phyu Thi and U Htun Htun of Third Eye, who executed the field research, presented the descriptive statistics from the nation-wide representative-sample survey conducted in February 2015. The results are being released in Nay Pyi Taw today, 30th July. The presentation slides will be available here shortly.
LIRNEasia participated at the 2nd meeting of the A4AI Myanmar Coalition meeting yesterday at the MICT Park in Yangon. Four priority areas were identified as being important for debate right now; 1. A Universal Access Fund 2. Infrastructure development and sharing 3. Data and Research 4.
The Myanmar government is rushing to inject competition to the nascent mobile industry by inviting bids for the fourth license yesterday (July 27, 2015), said Reuters. Local firms, with registered capital of minimum US$2.37 million, may form foreign partnership and submit their proposal by August 24 (that’s less than a month). Under the state-owned monopoly, Myanmar’s mobile penetration was just 2.5% in 2011.