Asia Archives — Page 9 of 11

Competition in emerging Asia has spectacularly succeeded in extending connectivity and, now, is also bringing down prices. But there has been little improvement in service. It looks like that too is happening in the US which has facilities based competition between cable and conventional telephone companies. “When workers from AT&T and Verizon visit homes to install their new television services, they come with blue hospital booties that they slip over their shoes before going inside. The sight of burly installers in dainty slip-ons might induce snickers.
At the upcoming Digital Opportunity Forum organized by KADO (Korean Agency for Digital Opportunity & Promotion) and the ITU being held in Seoul, Korea, five researchers from LIRNEasia have been invited to present. Rohan Samarajiva will be giving the keynote speech on Bridging the Divide: Building Asia-Pacific Capacity for Effective Reforms and will act as the Chairman of the Forum. Rohan’s comments at the close of the First Day are included as well as the powerpoint from his keynote (also available at DOF site): SamarajivaBridgingAug06.ppt As part of LIRNEasia‘s ongoing research on the Six Country Indicators Project, lead researchers working on assessing ICT sector performance and analysing the reform process in India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Philippines wil make their presentation on the Digital Opportunity Index (DOI) applied to their respective countries. Payal Malik will make a presentation on the Policy Implications from the DOI analysis of India; Divakar Goswami will present on DOI Applied to Indonesia: Assessing ICT Policy & Regulatory Environment; Joseph Wilson will present on Digital Opportunities in Pakistan: An Overview and Lorraine Salazar will present on The Case of the Philippines.
The Network Readiness Index is out. All the measured South Asian countries saw their rankings decline, but Sri Lanka, dropping 12 positions, was the worst peformer from the region this year. Indonesia, dropping 17 positions, was the worst in Asia. “The Report uses the Networked Readiness Index (NRI), covering a total of 115 economies in 2005-2006, to measure the degree of preparation of a nation or community to participate in and benefit from ICT developments. The NRI is composed of three component indexes which assess: * the environment for ICT offered by a given country or community * the readiness of the community’s key stakeholders – individuals, business and governments * and the usage of ICT among these stakeholders” Top 15 plus Asia rankings at: Asia NetReadiness Rankings More details
Bridging the digital divide is important. It may not be as important as ensuring safe water for all, or adequate healthcare, in terms of meriting investment of scarce public resources, but it is definitely important enough to merit concerted action to remove the artificial barriers to private supply. One of the best ways this can be done is by improving the knowledge that is brought to bear on the process.   The optimal way to achieve this is to create an environment within which international best practices are adapted to local circumstances by in-situ policy intellectuals. Some of these local experts could be in regulatory agencies and in government; but the optimal results will be achieved through participatory processes where all stakeholders, including the consumers are represented by knowledgeable experts.
BBC NEWS | Business | EU plans crackdown on mobile fees “A plan to regulate mobile phone charges for calls made abroad will shortly be published by the European Commission, despite intense opposition. The industry is concerned that the proposals go too far, and even within the commission itself there are doubts. At present, most users pay far more to make mobile calls when they are abroad than they do in their home country. This is because service providers have to pay large fees for access to one another’s networks.” Not the highest priority for regulators in emerging Asia.
Title: Telecom Policy Research in Asia: A Framework for Assessing Knowledge Capacity Author: Dr. Sujata Gamage, Director of Knowledge Networks, LIRNEasia Date: July 3, 2006 Description: In this study we assess presence, quality and relevance of telecom policy researchers in Asia, and present the results in the form of a set of knowledge capacity score cards. These score cards will serve as the framework for assessing and building knowledge capacity in telecom reform in Asia in the IDRC funded project on the same. Link: Telecom Policy Research in Asia: A Framework for Assessing Knowledge Capacity [PDF download]
Rohan Samarajiva represented LIRNEasia at the Research ICT Africa (RIA!), Annual Meeting held recently in Dakar, Senegal with a view to contribute to the discussion on Telecom Regulatory Environment (TRE) assessment that RIA! is planning to undertake. The five-day workshop held from May 26-June 2, 2006, focused on three areas: the 2006 RIA! research agenda, outcomes mapping and RIA!
The debate described below will have implications for all. Now that language standards have been talked about to the limit (with a lot of light, in addition to heat, being produced) we invite our active visitors to engage with the important issue of the architecture of the Internet. BBC NEWS | Technology | Web inventor warns of ‘dark’ net Excerpt: “But telecoms companies in the US do not agree. They would like to implement a two-tier system, where data from companies or institutions that can pay are given priority over those that cannot. This has particularly become an issue with the transmission of TV shows over the internet, with some broadband providers wanting to charge content providers to carry the data.
Links were formed between LIRNEasia and the Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA), Philippines, an organization involved in a project to develop a set of standard indicators for the ICT sector for the Philippine Statistical Development Plan. The emphasis of FMA’s work is on developing indicators which are relevant to the Asian context, specifically the ASEAN countries. This has direct parallels with LIRNEasia‘s multi-component, six-country study on measuring telecom (ICT infrastructure) sector and regulatory performance in South Asian and Southeast Asian countries and developing a sustainable supply- and demand-side data collection mechanism for South Asia. The researchers involved in this project at FMA have communicated with LIRNEasia‘s Filipino counterpart, and both have shared background papers. FMA is also conducting research into access, use and ownership of ICTs using household survey data and other types of survey data available from government sources, and at the same time, trying to examine available data from private groups (i.
LIRNEasia is sending its Lead Economist Harsha de Silva to participate on a MIT scholarship to the first ever executive course offered by the Poverty Action Lab this summer. The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, a unit within MIT’s Department of Economics, serves as a focal point for development and poverty research based on “randomized trials”. According to Harsha, this program can significantly contribute to WDR & LIRNEasia’s ongoing and future research projects on ICTs. For example, “In the Teleuse on Shoestring project it is difficult to measure how much the poor actually benefitted from having access to the phone. There are a number of variables like cultural background, access to other infrastructure services, level of education etc which make it difficult for us to pinpoint how much access to telephone had in improving the quality of life of the poor in India and Sri Lanka,” said Harsha.
Mangroves failed to protect coastal villages in ‘04 tsunami – “The World Conservation Union, also known as IUCN, and other nongovernmental organizations earlier reported that mangroves saved lives in Sri Lanka and India — a finding they said could motivate hard-hit communities across Asia to consider replanting mangroves. A quarter of mangroves have been destroyed in tsunami-impacted countries since the 1980s due to development and the rapid growth of shrimp and fish farms. But Baird, of James Cook University in Queensland, Australia, and his co-authors argued that governments would be better off putting their resources into an early warning system and evacuation plans. They also called for many coastal communities to be moved to higher ground.
LIRNEasia and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), with the assitance of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada, co-sponsored the “Workshop on ICT Indicators for Benchmarking Performance in Network and Services Development” in New Delhi from 1-3 March 2006. The workshop highlighted the need for accurate, standardized and comparable indicators for the region and was intended to initate action to develop such indicators. The workshop brought together representatives of National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs), National Statistical Organizations (NSOs) and operators from Afghanistan, Bangaldesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka along with the foremost authorities on the subject from the ITU, OECD, and the US National Regulatory Research Institute (NRRI). With nearly 60 participants from 16 countries, the Workshop was also attended by telecom researchers from the Asian region. The three day workshop was intended to elicit the cooperation of representatives from NRAs, NSOs and industry associations from the regional countries in establishing a sustainable system for measuring and benchmarking ICT sector input and output indicators for South Asia that can be extended to developing Asia.

Regulation and investment

Posted on March 2, 2006  /  4 Comments

In the coming year, LIRNEasia intends to launch a number of activities intended to support the work of young scholars working on telecom reform issues of relevance to emerging Asia. As part of this effort we intend to provide self-archiving facilities for conference papers and journal articles, and provide a degree of exposure and commentary for a subset. This is the first effort in this regard. Regulation and FDI: Sri Lankan Telecommunications Industry By Ms Asoka Fernando, PhD Candidate, Dept. of Management, Monash University Abstract This paper examines the role of the telecommunications regulator in Sri Lanka and assesses the effectiveness of its interventions in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) into the telecommunications sector from a management point of view.
Knowledge capacity is typically measured in terms of the ‘productivity’ of researchers. In a paper accepted for publication in Information Technology for International Development (ITID_1.pdf) Gamage and Samarajiva argue that researchers need to pay attention to their ‘internet presence’ and ‘connectivity’ as well. The argument is supported by data on researchers on telecom reform from Asia as found in the social science citation index and
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.
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.