Colombo Archives — Page 5 of 6


19 December 2005, Colombo: The telecom subsidy mechanism operationalized through India’s Universal Service Fund (USF) has unduly served the interests of the government owned incumbent telecom company Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). For the disbursement of the USF collections operators were asked to bid for the least amount of subsidy they required to roll out in the rural areas. However, the least-cost subsidy auction favored the incumbent and resulted in the attenuation of competition. Prima Facie the mechanism was transparent, but the auction design restricted participation only to operators already present in the defined service areas…… English Press Release: Indian Universal Service Fund experience shows that open access to backbone is precondition for effective use of subsidies that minimize market distortion Research report: Indian Universal Service Fund experience shows that open access to backbone is precondition for effective use of subsidies that minimize market distortion
Colombo, Sri Lanka, 19 December 2005: A survey of the websites of National Telecommunication Regulatory Authorities in the Asia Pacific region has revealed that six countries – Australia, Hong Kong, Jordan, Malaysia, Pakistan and Singapore – stand above the rest, with Pakistan leading. The research was conducted by LIRNEasia, and supported by the International Development Research Centre of Canada (IDRC) as part of the research program on regulatory and sector performance indicators in the ICT [information and communication technology] sector…….. English Press Release: Pakistan leads in providing regulatory services on-line
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).
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.
A Participatory Study on Actions Required to Avoid and Mitigate Dam Disasters download document in PDF Executive summary in Sinhala (PDF) Executive summary in Tamil (PDF) The need for this project arose in the course of disaster-management expert consultations carried out by LIRNEasia and The Vanguard Foundation in the preparation of “NEWS-SL: A Participatory Concept Paper for the Design of an Effective All-Hazard Public Warning System” in January-March 2005. The current Concept Paper outlines the contours of an early warning system for dam related hazards in Sri Lanka. It is being developed in a participatory, consultative, and transparent process. This interim draft has been compiled on the basis of research and an Expert Consultation held 20 May 2005 at the Distance Learning Center located on the campus of the Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration, with participation from experts representing several decades’ worth of experience in several key Sri Lankan dam administration authorities. This draft is posted for comment.
It has been three months since Sri Lanka lost 40,000 valuable lives and the Indian Ocean region 300,000. Given below is the e-mail message that LIRNEasia sent to its friends and well wishers on this sad day of remembrance. It is being posted here in case we missed your e-mail address or got it wrong. Three-month alms giving in remembrance of the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami Prompt action to establish an effective National Early Warning System is the best memorial we can build to the 40,000 valuable lives that were swept away for the lack of a few minutes of warning and a little awareness.—NEWS:SL Concept Paper It is customary in Sri Lanka to offer a dana (an alms giving wherein offerings are made to monks and the resulting merit is offered to the departed) three months after the death of a dear one.
A video news conference connecting experts in disaster warning systems in Colombo, Vancouver and Hawaii answered questions posed by the Sri Lankan press and television journalists. This event was organised by LIRNEasia and Vanguard Foundation on February 10 at the Distance Learning Center on SLIDA’s campus in Colombo. The event was launched by the release of the draft report on a National All Hazard Disaster Warning System written by local and international experts. This draft report emerged from an Expert Consultation that was held in January 26, 2005 where broad input was obtained from Sri Lankans with disaster management expertise, experts in hazard warning and the public who responded to newspaper advertisements. The primary purpose of the video news conference was to discuss the concept paper with the Sri Lankan media in order to give the widest possible publicity to the draft report that was written up on the basis of international best practice and local input.

Arthur Clarke on ICTs & Disasters

Posted on February 3, 2005  /  0 Comments

I knew that Sir Arthur Clarke was interested in disaster preparedness from the time I and my colleagues Nihal Kularatne and Shantha Fernando organized a ICTs and disaster warnings workshop for the Arthur C. Clarke Centre for Modern Technologies back in 1986 in Colombo. Here is evidence he is still in the game: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.
The Vanguard Foundation and LIRNEasia held an Expert Consultation, on January 26th 2005 (Crystal Room, Taj Hotel, Colombo Sri Lanka) to obtain views and ideas on a national all-hazards warning system for Sri Lanka. Four presentations were made, providing a broad framework for discussion with participants, to provide input for a concept paper that Vanguard Foundation and LIRNEasia will produce, with recommendations for such a system. This draft concept paper will be available on the web for public comment in the first week of February. The presentations can be viewed by following the links: What Lessons from the 2004 Tsunami? Dr Harsha de Silva, LIRNEasia National Warning System Parameters Prof.
The press conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka and Washington DC of the World Bank President, Mr. Wolfensohn is available in its entirety via Audio and Video streaming. More details on post-Tsunami reconstruction effort can be found on World Bank’s website. Detailed damage assessments will follow initial estimates WASHINGTON, January 12th, 2005-World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn said Wednesday that reconstruction in the tsunami-hit countries of Asia and Africa must be driven by the local communities affected by the disaster, adding that the process of rebuilding should be transparent and ensure accountability for the funds pledged.
Rohan: Vanguard Foundation was recently created which has a center for disaster management. The work I have done at TRC on disaster management will be leveraged in the current context, and we will prepare a document. Pete Anderson is disaster communication expert who will be brought in to design a concept paper to set up parameters of a disaster management system. We are moving very fast on this. Sequence: Disaster happens, analysed, and transmitted in a secure communication mechanism to the media.

Telecom sans Frontiers

Posted on January 6, 2005  /  2 Comments

From www.timesonline.com Telecom charity forges links for tsunami victims by Elizabeth Judge Vodafone and its industry peers are backing a new kind of aid for striken areas AS EARLY images of the Asian tsunami disaster were flashed around the world, an aircraft loaded with equipment touched down in Sri Lanka at Colombo international airport. Within minutes, technicians had set up an emergency telecommunications centre with satellite phone lines and high-speed internet connections. Relief organisations were quick to avail themselves of the service.

Day after the Tsunami

Posted on December 27, 2004  /  3 Comments

Dear friends, well-wishers and partners of LIRNEasia, all members of the LIRNEasia team based in Colombo are safe. Despite the devastation wrought by the tsunami over most of coastal Sri Lanka on Dec 26, our office is functioning. Sarvodaya is grass-roots organization that has been around for 47 years and is doing an incredible job of getting relief to the tsunami victims. They have an extensive network of volunteers and stations in 34 Sri Lankan towns, including the most heavily damaged. Although they are busy providing temporary shelters, drinking water, food and medicine to tsunami victims, they are also gearing up for medium and long-term rehabilitation that includes reconstructing homes, providing trauma counselling, preventing outbreak of disease and providing a home to the orphaned children.
On 16 December LIRNEasia will hold a colloquium to get input on a proposal being finalised for advancing better governance of the ICT sector in Sri Lanka by developing a benchmark indicator system that allows cross-country comparison. The proposal involves the collection of high quality set of data to assess the regulatory environment and to measure the performance of the ICT sector. Armed with a comprehensive set of ICT benchmark indicators, it is hoped that civil society groups and potential investors would have a basis of comparing regulatory and sector performance in the peer countries of the South Asian region and could pressure policymakers to better governance. The main activities would involve setting up a data collection mechanism, conducting a survey and holding a workshop for regulatory staff to define data standards and disseminating the findings in a form of a report through multiple media. The colloquium will be held on Dec 16 (Thursday), 5:30PM at LIRNEasia‘s office in SLIDA, 28/10 Malalasekera Mawatha, Colombo 7.

Big picture of telecom reforms

Posted on November 7, 2004  /  7 Comments

Yesterday, I spoke to a large and restive crowd (made so by lack of air conditioning and a delayed start) in Matara (main city in the South of Sri Lanka) at the launch of the Pathfinder Foundation’s first book, a Sinhala translation of Janos Kornai’s Toward a free economy. I was asked to talk about globalization and the relevance of Kornai’s ideas for facing the challenges posed by globalization. In this talk that I pieced together thanks to time zone differences that caused me to wake up at 3 in the morning while in the US, I illustrated the issues referring to Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), a broad area of service exports for which efficient, flexible and low-cost telecom is a pre-condition. I think the talk provides the "big picture" of the necessity of telecom reforms of the type that we at LIRNEasia are involved in. If we are to go beyond simply giving people phones, to giving them "money in the pocket and hope in the heart" this big picture is essential.
Presentation by Harsha de Silva, CTO Forum 2004: “ICT : Business and Development” 20-21 September, Colombo, Sri Lanka   The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization’s (CTO) second annual forum was held in Colombo this year, on September 20-21. Subtitled ‘the biggest annual Commonwealth ICT event,’ participants included director-level delegations from member countries and representatives of its sector members. The aim of the event was to bring together ICT sector stakeholders and strengthen their ability to ‘go on meeting the challenges of accelerating Universal Access, bridging the international, as well as urban-rural digital divides, and achieving the Millennium Development Goals.’ A great deal of emphasis was placed on the increased use of fixed and wireless broadband technologies, such as VSAT to achieve ICT4D objectives.   In this context, the Govi Gnana Service, or GGS an innovative ICT solution to agricultural price volatility and resulting agricultural poverty in Sri Lanka was presented by Harsha de Silva of e-development labs.