Sri Lanka Archives — Page 40 of 57 — LIRNEasia


Peter Anderson who spent part of his sabbatical in Sri Lanka assisting with the conduct of simulations for the Last-Mile HazInfo Project is to develop a mobile communications command vehicle for immediate post-disaster coordination for the government of Sri Lanka. He first came to Sri Lanka in January 2005 to participate in the first expert forum on disaster early warning at the invitation of LIRNEasia. SFU News Online – Emergency communications vehicle will help Sri Lanka – January 10, 2008 Anderson is laying the groundwork for an advanced mobile emergency-communications (AMECom) vehicle for Sri Lanka’s disaster management program. The versatile, mobile communications vehicle will be similar to one he and his team designed and produced for emergencies in B.C.
LIRNEasia researchers will participate at the International Communication Association conference in Montreal, Canada, May 21-26, 2008. Rohan Samarajiva will present a paper based on LIRNEasia‘s study on the gendered aspects of telecommunications use in emerging Asia, entitled, ‘Who’s Got the Phone? The Gendered Use of Telephones at the Bottom of the Pyramid‘. Abstract: ‘Much has been said about women’s access to and use of the telephone. Many studies conclude that a significant gender divide in access exists particularly in developing countries.
Yesterday, 5 March 2008, LIRNEasia, with its Indonesian partner, the Indonesian Institute for Disaster Preparedness (IIDP), held the final HazInfo workshop at the Hotel Borobudur in Jakarta, Indonesia. The “Sharing Knowledge on Disaster Warning: Community-based Last-Mile Warning Systems” workshop included several highlights such as a testimonial from an Aceh survivor of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami; informative presentations from the Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI), KOGAMI Padang, GTZ-GITEWS, Bureau of Meteorology and Geophysics (BMG) and the University of Syiah Kuala, Aceh. The workshop encouraged animated discussion on the importance of community-based early warning systems, training, and the necessity for information to follow warning.
According to LIRNEasia’s latest comparative study of price and affordability indicators in eight South Asian countries, Bangladesh emerges as having the lowest average monthly cost of using a mobile at all levels of use (low, medium and high) for different tariff plans (prepaid and postpaid). Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka follow closely, while Bhutan, Maldives and Afghanistan are seen to have significantly higher average monthly mobile costs. The study compares mobile tariffs in South Asia using price baskets, derived from those used by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The baskets are calculated for low, medium and high users for pre- as well as postpaid tariff plans, factoring in usage charges (voice and SMS), line rental, connection charges (depreciated over a three year period), and applicable taxes. For more information on results and methodology, please click HERE.
The Economist is not correct saying ‘No Evidence’ of Internet blocking in Sri Lanka, and in Laos and Cambodia the Internet usage is low so blocking does not make any difference. As shown, even in Asia the attitude of officialdom varies when it comes to filtering content of a social nature. In many places agreements are set with service providers to block nasty stuff such as child pornography. In a few countries intervention is stronger, up to the level of pervasive censorship. This week Pakistan’s block on YouTube accidentally caused an international outage for that website.
Sri Lanka’s state-run Bank of Ceylon has tied up with an Indian mobile commerce firm to start a text message based electronic payment system that could overtake credit card transactions, officials said.   Bank of Ceylon’s new service allows its six million customers to use pay shops that join the system at the cost of a text message using a system developed by India’s, PayMate. The mobile transaction service will initially start with selected large merchants like SriLankan Airlines, Odel, Singer, Abans and Stone & String before linking up retailers in rural areas. “This opens a lot of avenues to merchants because we are bringing them six million of our customers,” Bank of Ceylon’s IT chief Nissanka Janaratne said. Read the full report in LBO here.
Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) Indian telecom giant Bharti Airtel, which had announced its entry into the Sri Lankan mobile phone sector with much fanfare last year, is experiencing delays and may well be re-drawing its investment plans for the island country, says a Sri Lankan telecommunication expert. Rohan Samarajeewa, former head of Sri Lanka’s Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC), told IANS that while there was no doubt that Bharti Airtel was committed to operating in Sri Lanka, it had altered its timetable and could well be scaling down its original investment plans. The reasons for the delay in starting the operations were in the realm of speculation, Samarajeewa said. But he did point to a possibility of difficulties in getting frequencies from the TRC, as it is generally recognized that the allotment of frequencies tends to be “highly politicised” in Sri Lanka. The parent company in India could also be changing its priorities as regards capital allocations, in the context of the growing challenges in the more lucrative Indian domestic market, Samarajeewa said.
It is well known that China polices the Internet content that its citizens can access. The story below talks about a growing movement within China that seeks to challenge these arbitrary restrictions on simple information retrieval and publishing actions. A 17-year old girl’s comment “I don’t know if it’s better to speak out or keep silent, but if everyone keeps silent, the truth will be buried,” seems particularly powerful to me and motivated me to write this post. Several months ago, the government of Sri Lanka blocked access to Tamil Net, a website used by many, including almost all the important journalists, to find out the other side of our one-sided news stories on the war. Of course, this was easily circumvented by those who wanted to.
21 – 23 February 2008 at Kandalama Hotel, Kandalama, Sri Lanka LIRNEasia hosted a Workshop to discuss the policy level implications and business level possibilities of using ICTs to reduce transaction costs in the agricultural value chain as well as to improve traceability and enhance quality of products sold. The Workshop brought together key stakeholders consisting of policy makers, private and public sector participants and researchers, both in agriculture and ICT. It was based on the pilot projects conducted by LIRNEasia in 2007, which was discussed in detail at the Workshop. All presentations made at the Workshop can be found below: Traceability: International Perspective – Visoot Phongsathorn Linking Sri Lankan farmers to global markets – Dr. Harsha de Silva Traceability in agricultural markets – Shamistra Soysa Benefits of ICT applications to farmers with emphasis on transaction costs: experiences from India – Prof.

Need for redundancy highlighted again

Posted on January 31, 2008  /  1 Comments

Indian outsourcing sector hit by Internet disruption – LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE India’s vital outsourcing industry, which relies heavily on the Internet, was grappling with a major communications disruption Thursday after damage to undersea cables thousands of kilometres away in the Mediterranean. Internet connections may take up to 15 days to return to normal, businesses said, adding that telecommunications in neighbouring Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were also affected. Powered by ScribeFire.
Agriculture or services for Sri Lanka’s future? – LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE The aspirations of young people constitute good evidence of cultural attachment. A recent study done by Chanuka Wattegama and Nandasiri Wanninayake in Mahavilachchiya, a village on the borders of Wilpattu, 40 km west of Anuradhapura, provides evidence. (Link to document) Fifty four per cent of those in Mahavilachchiya wanted IT related jobs, compared to the 38 per cent who wanted jobs in the army in the control group. But the real news was the no one, absolutely no one, in either village wanted to continue in agriculture like their parents.
Sustainability First: Tapping the Bottom of the Pyramid According to Lirneasia research, 41% of the BoP in Sri Lanka, owns their own phones and 21% of them are mobile phones. Another 31% is planning to buy a phone. But 28% is not planning to buy, mostly because they cannot afford to buy. This can be a primary market for telecentres in Sri Lanka, according to Prof Rohan Samarajiva of Lireneasia. Powered by ScribeFire.
Sri Lanka celco urges regulations to lower cost s – LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE “End-user taxation is very important in our market segment because it has been assessed that a one percent change in taxation generates up to 2-5 percent growth in usage and revenue,” Wijayasuriya said. “So we must bring down the minimum cost of ownership and even a single piece of legislation should not stand in the way of bringing down the cost of ownership. “When our penetration is still 35 percent, we should be driving the minimum cost of ownership down at every single opportunity with our economic policy.” Powered by ScribeFire.

No to price war; yes to service war

Posted on January 22, 2008  /  0 Comments

Sri Lanka’s Tigo celco to sidestep price war – LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE Sri Lanka’s mobile service provider Tigo plans to rely on giving better value to increase market share and revenue and not wage a price war with rival local mobile operators, company officials said. “We do not believe that a price war will benefit anybody including the customer. There has to be a balance between price and the profitability of the company,” says Dumindra Ratnayaka, chief executive of Celltel Lanka which operates under the Tigo brand. “It is not a price war that we have in us, that is why we introduced per second billing rather than cutting headline prices,” Ratnayaka told reporters at the opening of Tigo’s new service centre called Tigo Zone. Powered by ScribeFire.
In the process of trying to deflate inflation numbers (not inflation), the Government of Sri Lanka has removed alcohol and tobacco from the new price index because they are socially undesirable (not because government taxes are driving those prices through the roof) and included for the first time mobile phone charges.   This is a positive move for a government that has imposed an additional 7.5 per cent levy on mobile charges (the government currently takes LKR 26.50 of every LKR 100 spent on mobiles through value-added and mobile-specific taxes).  At least this should bury the misconception that mobiles are used only by the rich.
A United Nations survey of global e-government readiness has found that many Asian countries are sliding down the rankings. Just one Asian country—South Korea—made the top ten coming in at sixth, with Japan next on 11th.   The next highest was Singapore at a surprisingly low 23rd, and Malaysia at 34th. The top 35 countries are otherwise dominated by Europe, Australasia and North America.  The biggest revelation was that most Asian countries are sliding down the rankings.