cprsouth Archives — Page 2 of 3


Today, I had to field questions on behalf of Shazna Zuhyle and Grace Mirandilla Santos who made a canned presentation at CPRsouth 10 in Taipei on Measuring Broadband Performance: Lessons Learnt, Challenges Faced, because they could not be present in person. The principal question asked by the discussant (from Australia) and Enrico Calandro (Italy/South Africa) was why Zuhyle and Mirandilla Santos were proposing that national regulatory agencies (NRAs) should take on the responsibilities of broadband quality monitoring. Another person from the floor asked why Philippines and Asian broadband quality and value for money were so poor. I saw the answers to both questions as being connected. I said that the paper very clearly established that there was no one single method that was objectively superior to the alternatives.
It was in 2008, seven years ago, that we said that Mary Grace Mirandilla-Santos exemplified the success of our capacity building approach, whereby we achieved greater results for less money than others in the region. Today, she was the dinner speaker at the special event held to mark the end of Young Scholars Program that she attended as a Young Scholar in January 2007 at CPRsouth1 in Manila, her hometown. Today, she talked about how she had been able to influence Philippines policy on measuring broadband quality and giving people value for money. We should have taped her. Here are her slides, here’s what will be carried in our 2014-15 Annual Report.
At the Young Scholars’ program at CPRsouth10 in Taipei today, I was privileged to interview Grace Mirandilla Santos, a CPRsouth alumna (Young Scholar at CPRsouth 1; paper presenter at CPRsouth 2, 3, 4 and 10). The slides that I used to set up the talk are here. When describing how she managed to become a critical player in the Philippines broadband quality debates, she emphasized the role played by senior colleagues such as Jaime Faustino and Al Alegre in opening doors. But she was able to make use of these opportunities only because she had done the research, could leverage her networks to supplement what she knew and communicate what she knew effectively. She exploited the policy window using skill, but chance played a role too.

LIRNEasia at CPRsouth 10 in Taipei

Posted on August 15, 2015  /  0 Comments

It was in January 2007 that we started CPRsouth in Manila. Now the 10th conference is coming back to East Asia, to Taipei. And as it was in Manila, there will be a strong presence from LIRNEasia. The conference program. I was the only board member then.
On April 10th, I delivered the sixth Distinguished Lecture of the Open University of Sri Lanka on the subject of making the university relevant. In an increasingly complex world where difficult decisions have to be made by those in government, there is demand for evidence to support political and policy choices. The university is the default source where one looks for evidence or for those who can generate evidence. But on most occasions, scholars and policy makers do not connect. Demands for teaching and for increased publications results in even less incentives for the conduct of policy-relevant research and engagement with policy makers.
Yuan Ze University is a leading private university in Taiwan. In keeping with its strategy of differentiation and internationalization, it has invited LIRNEasia to interact with its new Center of Excellence known as the Innovation Center for Big Data and Convergence. Even though Taiwan is not a country of focus for LIRNEasia, we have had considerable interactions with Taiwan academics over the years within the framework of CPRsouth. Professor Yu-li Liu was one of the founder members of the CPRsouth Board and helped us establish relationships in the Peoples Republic. Professor Yuntsai Chou of Yuan Ze in currently on the CPRsouth Board.
This year’s CPRsouth focused on systematic reviews. Completed and in-process studies were presented and a whole day of the Young Scholars’ Program was devoted to the topic. On the last day, I was tasked with moderating a panel of those who had worked on SRs. One reason we did this was to ensure that the weaknesses of the tool, as well as its strengths, were fully explored. Here is the first question I posed to the panel: 1.

CPRsouth edition 9 about to start

Posted on September 6, 2014  /  1 Comments

CPRsouth 2014, the first time the event is being run as a merged conference including both African and Asian participants, is about to start in Maropeng, South Africa. The theme of this year’s conference is “What works, why, and how do we know?” The theme reflects the focus being placed this year on systematic reviews. The pre-conference tutorials commence on September 7th and include a full day on systematic review training.
The prospects of breakthrough changes in electricity dominated a number of my recent conversations. Could be because we were disseminating our 2012-14 research results to electricity audiences, or because we just finished teaching an introductory course on electricity regulation. But, it’s also possible that the prospects of a step change are imminent, driven by the increasing demand for reliable, universal electricity access by the neo middle classes (to use the terminology of the victorious BJP), and also the technological possibilities opened up by the application of ICTs to electricity networks. But is the development community beginning to look at electricity? One indicator is that electricity papers are being read at ICT4D conferences.
We don’t really have a formal position. But we collect data on gender and country representation, among other things, in all the training events we run and report them. From the time I used to be involved in admitting students to graduate studies, I’ve had to think about and act on issues of gender and ethnic balance. I’ve never been for quotas; but have always been committed to affirmative action. And I believe I was responsible for admitting some of the most diverse classes of grad students to my School.

Tutorials at CPRsouth8/CPRafrica2013

Posted on September 17, 2013  /  1 Comments

Young scholars from Africa and Asia attended the tutorials that was held at the Infosys Campus, Mysore India. The group consisted of entry level regulatory officers, officers from private sector, students and researchers. They represented 16 countries from the south. The tutorials were taught by Rohan Samarajiva, PhD on the use of supply side data, evidence in the policy process and communicating research, Christopher Stork, PhD on demand side research and conducting a literature review, Marcio Aranha on legal analysis, Ang Peng Hwa, PhD on research on internet governance and Sujata Gamage, PhD on writing a policy brief. The tutorials presentations can be accessed here.
It would have been 21, if only the Indian Embassy in Tehran did not require more than 60 days to process a visa. We were proud to have organized, with the invaluable cooperation of the Rural Business Technology Incubator at IIT Madras, the CPRsouth8/CPRafrica 2013 conference at the Infosys Campus in Mysore. India contributed the largest number of participants to the speakers, including Dr Rajendra Kumar, Joint Secretary of the Department of Electronic and Information Technology. From Africa, we had a member of the Communication Commission of Kenya, Dr Monica Kerrets-Makau, and an advisor to the Nigerian Minister of Communication Technology, Dr Abiodun Jagun. From the Asia-Pacific region, Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and South Korea were represented.
At the Infosys training campus in Mysore, ably served by a subset of the 7,000 employees who keep this place ticking like clockwork, we are running the pre-conference CPRsouth8 tutorials. Close to 30 young scholars (we lost several Iranian students who had applied well in time due to the obduracy of the Indian visa authorities) from Asia and Africa are engaging with the challenges of doing policy-relevant ICT research. The slidesets are downloadable here.
It was around this time in 2006 that Prashanthi Weragoda, conference organizer extraordinaire, and I went off to Manila to discuss the possibilities of holding the first CPRsouth conference there. We were aiming for 2006, but the first conference was actually held in January 2007. Much water has flowed under the bridge since then. The conference that starts next week is perhaps the biggest we have organized. It’s 2.
At every Board meeting of CPRsouth we provide evidence on the efficacy of our actions. Every time we seek funds for our work, we do the same. So we thought the question would be of equal interest to our colleagues engaged in similar enterprises, at TPRC and EuroCPR. We prepared two papers building on one another, one for each. The TPRC paper was presented last September, the Samarajiva_EuroCPR_Mar13_final a few days back.
The quotation below is from an NYT article based on British Council research that shows intra-Asian collaboration in science is highly productive. Having studied research collaborations in the ICT policy and regulation field as were starting CPRsouth, we were waiting for such collaborations to emerge organically. Seven conferences have gone, and we have yet to see intra-Asian collaboration, though we are seeing Asia-Africa collaboration. This was catalyzed by an internship offered to Rohman, and Indonesian national studying in Sweden, by our sister organization, Research ICT Africa. The quotation below refers to research on aquaculture.