Internet Archives — Page 5 of 15 — LIRNEasia


I can recall the astronomical ARPUs in Afghanistan (over USD 80/month) when that market was opened up. Then, after normal Afghans who were not earning expat salaries started using the service, the ARPUs came down to more normal levels. There are plenty of expats roaming the streets of Yangon, but they have no discernible impact in the fast-expanding networks of this country of 50 million plus. But the ARPUs are high. We can confirm this from the sample survey we conducted in Feb-Mar 2015.
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 […]
Having been regaled on the wonders of non-geostationary satellites by various delegations seeking licenses for Iridium and ICO and other systems that ultimately fizzled out, I was originally skeptical about O3B. But they answered my questions well (despite a messed up presentation at PTC a few years back) and I have been promoting this solution ever since. Happy to know they’ll break even on cash flow by middle 2016. Away from the headlines, Google — an initial O3b backer — has not raised its 5 percent equity share in the company but has kept up with the capital raises to avoided share dilution. What matters to SES shareholders is the money, not the technology, and at SES’s June 17 investor conference O3b Chief Executive Steve Collar gave a snapshot of the company’s current status.

Internet as a basic human right?

Posted on July 2, 2015  /  0 Comments

I am here at the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum in Macau (I really wish they’ll agree on the English spelling; My visa says Macao; Government signboards here say Macau; my spell checker seems to prefer Macau). MAC representative Bangladesh Information Minister Hasanul haq Inu, M.P., said in his address, as he always does, that Internet is a basic human right. As Vint Cerf said, it is problematic to designate Internet as a basic human right.
I was sending email to Sri Lanka from around 1991 through LAcNET, but many do not consider that real Internet because it was store-and-forward by Sanjiva Weerawarana at Purdue using MCI Friends and Family calling plans that we all contributed to. So after they officially launched in April 1995 and then finally got SLT to connect the wires properly on 11 May 1995, the first commercial and full-fledged (all of 64 kbps) Internet connection between Sri Lanka and the world had been activated. The organizers of the celebration, ISOC Sri Lanka, were kind enough to ask me to speak for 10 minutes. I figured others had a comparative advantage on history, and talked about what we needed to do to give our people an Internet worthy of the name where latency problems did not cause us to pull our hair out. The slideset.
LIRNEasia organized and moderated two panels at CommunicAsia 2015 in Singapore earlier this week. Senior Policy Fellow Abu Saeed Khan will write about the session that he moderated. I was about to write about mine, when Don Sambandaraksa, one of Asia’s best telecom journalists, did this piece for Telecompaper: Myanmar currently has three mobile operators, namely Telenor, Ooredoo, and state-owned Myanma Posts and Telecommunications (MPT), which has partnered with Japan’s KDDI. Myanmar will soon have a fourth operator, ISP Yatanarpon Teleport (YTP). Demand for mobile services in Myanmar is on the rise.
Washington Post refers to Doug Madory as, “The man who can see the Internet.” Unsurprisingly he has been monitoring Nepal’s state of Internet since earthquake struck on April 25. Outages of Nepalese data centers, ISPs and enterprises have been graphically diagnosed in Doug’s report. A recent evaluation of Internet infrastructure in South Asia commissioned by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) classified Nepal’s international connectivity as ‘weak’ and its fixed and mobile infrastructure as ‘limited’. While the loss of Internet connectivity pales in comparison to the loss of life, the ability to communicate both domestically and internationally will be crucial in coming days for the coordination of relief efforts already underway.
That Quartz piece sure has legs. Ask Helani Galpaya, a researcher with policy think tank LIRNEasia, who in 2012 came across a curious anomaly while researching “bottom of pyramid” telephone users in Indonesia. When asked questions about the Internet, most of the respondents said they didn’t use it. But when asked about Facebook, most of them said they used it often. “In their minds, the Internet did not exist; only Facebook,” concluded Rohan Samarajiva, LIRNEasia’s head.
Internet.org, Facebook’s effort to give people free Internet (or at least 38 websites and services that do not include Google) was launched earlier this month. This has resulted in a quantum leap in discussions of various aspects of net neutrality, including ones that connect the debate in the rich countries to our reality that is dominated by people who has no access to Internet of any kind. Here is a good example. The critical question is “who is the target user of Internet.

LIRNEasia research reported in Arabic

Posted on February 19, 2015  /  0 Comments

This is a first for us. Our findings on Facebook users > Internet users in some countries that was reported in Quartz has been translated into Arabic and published by Al Jazeera. It’s not like anyone at LIRNEasia reads Arabic, but we were alerted to this by the kind folk at IDRC.
Online edition of The Atlantic has reproduced the piece of Leo Mirani that refers to LIRNEasia’s 2012 findings on Internet being eclipsed by Facebook. Jonathan Zittrain of MIT has posted this article on his Facebook page. And that is the beauty of a good research.
It’s a tribute of sorts that old findings from research we no longer do gets carried in the UK mainstream media. Millions of Facebook users in developing countries do not realise that they are using the internet, suggesting that, in many people’s minds, the two are one and the same, according to a report by Quartz. In a survey of Indonesians by think tank LIRNEasia in 2012, many of the respondents talked enthusiastically about how much time they spent on Facebook, but said that they did not use the internet. An unrelated survey by Research ICT Africa discovered a similar trend, with the number of respondents saying they used Facebook much higher than those who said they used the internet.
We no longer do quantitative and qualitative research on the demand-side of Internet use (except in Myanmar) but it is indeed gratifying to find work that we did in 2012 being described and even replicated at some cost in 2015. In an attempt to replicate Stork and Galpaya’s observations, Quartz commissioned surveys in Indonesia and Nigeria from Geopoll, a company that contacts respondents across the world using mobile phones. We asked people whether they had used the internet in the prior 30 days. We also asked them if they had used Facebook. Both surveys had 500 respondents each.
The roiling debate on Internet governance in a post-Snowden world is not one that we participate in fully. There are only so many hours in a day. But this debate caught my eye. Someone systematically engaging Richard Hill, the theorist behind the ITU’s position at WCIT 2013. It seems to me that what most bothers the statists is that the Internet has broken up the tight controls that states used to be able to exercise over thought, expression, and access to information.
It’s interesting that Chinese Internet users have to protest the blocking of what I thought would be illegal workarounds. But earlier this week, after a number of V.P.N. companies, including StrongVPN and Golden Frog, complained that the Chinese government had disrupted their services with unprecedented sophistication, a senior official for the first time acknowledged its hand in the attacks and implicitly promised more of the same.
The Lankadeepa, the leading Sinhala newspaper in Sri Lanka, has reported a speech by Dr Ranga Kalansooriya at a recent event on media ethics organized by the Sri Lanka Press Institute, where he claims that a survey covering 14 out of the 25 districts showed very high levels of reliance on the Internet for political news. Of those who had changed their views on who to vote for President, 59 per cent had done so based on TV; while 31 percent did so because of Internet content. Only one percent of those changing their stance had done so because of print media Somewhat ironically, the SLPI has not posted any information related to the event on its website. Hopefully, more information about this survey will be forthcoming.