Much of our work on infrastructure policy and regulation deals with safeguards for investment. Uncertainty around investments is reduced when international arbitration is permitted. With many governments from the developed-market economies, the US government has been a strong supporter of international arbitration. But when it looks like these safeguards apply to their own country, they are unhappy. “This is really troubling,” said Senator Charles E.
In a previous post I wrote about there being more Facebook users than Internet users in South East Asia. I also said that this was not the case in South Asia. But I was wrong. I had relied on data from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It was only recently that I looked at the data for Nepal.
The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) held their very first stakeholder forum in Asia today, in Yangon, Myanmar. The forum was richly attended by Government, Civil Society, Mobile Service Providers, Media and Researchers. LIRNEasia was also invited to attend, as an important player in Myanmar’s ICT area. The forum was graced briefly by the Hon. Deputy Minister of Communication and Information Technology U.
Myanmar is called the last greenfield of telecommunications. There is a great deal of interest in the country, which has one of the lowest rates of mobile phone penetrations in the world. Yet with two private mobile phone giants entering the market in 2014, the commodity has become as commonplace here as it is anywhere else in the world. Earlier this month, I travelled through urban and rural Myanmar for 5 full days. Wherever I looked, the presence of mobile phone technology was glaring.
LIRNEasia has been invited in the past to comment on and make suggestions on how to enhance the Alliance for Affordable Internet’s (A4AI) Affordability Index. Our latest contributions were made in preparation to the recent launch of the report that took place at the GSMA’s Mobile World Congress. Affordability is essentially an objective measure of the cost of a good or service in relation on one’s income. When subjective angles such as the availability (not necessarily the effectiveness) of national broadband plans, universal service funds, spectrum allocation strategies and so on are introduced it muddies the water. While the Affordability Index takes in to account a number of viable indicators, it also looks at many others that muddy the waters.
The review is that of an Internet Society report by Michael Kende and Karen Rose, based on evidence from Rwanda. The objective of this study is to understand the impact of content hosting decisions (within the country vs. overseas), as well as to develop a practical guide on creating an attractive enabling environment for hosting content locally. The paper defines and discusses the difference of locally relevant content and locally hosted content in Rwanda. Locally relevant content has proved to be aa factor that increases the overall use of the Internet in many economies studied by the Internet Society.
Not bad for a young industry. But I do hope the results of the survey will be disclosed quickly and with breakdowns of export and domestic earnings and employment. Last time it had to be extracted in dribs and drabs. “Sri Lanka has launched an ICT value survey to find the national hi-tech exports it achieved in 2013/14.” the minister said in a statement.
It’s good that work has started on mapping out who will benefit by renting out excess capacity on assets controlled by consumers and small businesses. We have been kicking around these ideas within LIRNEasia for a while. Hopefully will get started on a project to understand how these things play out in the “real world,” as stated below. “I wasn’t the kind of person who went around everywhere in black cars,” he says. “It felt good, it felt like I was living someone else’s life.
There is a certain arrogance in coverage of developing countries by Western reporters. They assumed that Ooredoo, managed by Westerners, and Telenor in particular would simply walk over MPT. That was the case in places like Bangladesh where the government did not act to reform the incumbent. But MPT is managed by KDD. They also did not take into account the advantage of having land.
India used to be the center of gravity of everything we did at LIRNEasia. In terms of expenditure and effort, perhaps the center is shifting. But intellectually, the challenge of managing the asymmetrical relationship between Sri Lanka and India continues to engage. I was asked to write something for the visit of Prime Minister Modi. Unbeknownst, the piece had also been published in the government-owned newspaper: One subject that is likely to come up in the Modi-Sirisena discussion is the long delayed coal power station.
Bangladesh has enacted its National Telecommunication Policy way back in March 1998. The government has taken seventeen years to feel the need of modernizing it. A surreal wishlist is outlined in the consultation document, which has been signed by an unknown person (dated March 5, 2015). And it has been published on March 8, 2015 with a deadline to respond within a week (March 15, 2015). Honesty, which is missing in this bureaucratic haste, is the best policy.
A Ratings Agency has put specific numbers behind the entity-based and mobiles-sector specific taxes in 2015 interim budget. Should the proposals go ahead, 2015 FFO-adjusted net leverage for Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT, BB-/Stable) and Dialog Axiata (Dialog, AAA(lka)/Stable) is likely to deteriorate to 1.8x and 2.5x, respectively (2014: 1.2x and 1.
EZcash is unusual in that it was developed by one company, but three out of five mobile operators use it. This may be unique. Why can we not see more of these kinds of collaborations? Report and link.
Haven’t had time to analyze this election promise, so was very happy to see a CPRsouth alumnus take an excellent run at it. Usually, these free Wi-Fi services have lower speeds compared to the average home connection, and often come with a data or a time cap. Perth, for example, offers free public Wi-Fi in a certain area, with a limit of 50MB per connection. Do your stuff, and then get out of the way; let the next user in. Effective, intelligent limiting is one solution.
The situations in the US and our countries are very different: we have more competition at the access-network level, we have more people who are not connected and our retail pricing schemes are more rational. But it’s illuminating that the FCC is not as excited about zero rating as some other people: Under the FCC’s newly approved net neutrality rules, wireless carriers and other ISPs will not have to go the agency and ask permission every time they want to introduce a new offering or mobile broadband plan, such as a new zero-rating plan, according to FCC officials. The FCC adopted three so-called “bright line” rules for net neutrality: no blocking of legal content; no throttling of Internet traffic on the basis of content; and no paid prioritization of content. For everything not covered by those rules, the FCC approved a catchall “standard for future conduct,” which will used to ensure that broadband providers are not “unreasonably interfering with or unreasonably disadvantaging” the ability of consumers and content providers to use the Internet and connect to each other. Future practices will be judged on a case-by-case basis.
I’m pretty sure we (LIRNEasia and RIA) were the only ones to have asked this question in Asia and Africa. Finally, surveys conducted in Africa and Asia found that more than half of the people that weren’t on the Internet didn’t know what it was. The Report. But I do not think the “more than half” is very accurate. This kind of thing happens when people write on the basis of other reports of research without going to the source.