LIRNEasia invited to speak on big data @ IIT-Delhi Two weeks back I was invited to give a guest lecture by the Department of Management Studies at IIT Delhi. The topic of my lecture was based on our ongoing work in using mobile network big data for development in Sri Lanka. Attended by 60+ graduate students and faculty from various departments (Management, Economics and Computer Science), the lecture garnered a ...

Somehow, electricity lacks the sexiness of ICTs. People debate how many households have mobiles, but few know how many households have electricity. This on a subject Lenin thought was so important that he proclaimed “Socialism + Electricity = Communism.” Not that I advocate Communism, Lenin forbid. So I was very pleased when a book on energy policy was launched by ...

Is this a regional trend? I came across this report from Thailand, soon after reviewing a book of energy policy and politics by Minister Ranawaka from the JHU, the Sri Lankan political party which has monks in leadership positions and which got into Parliament by fielding an all-monk slate of candidates in 2004. The monk’s role in energy reform has ...

Bright people go into engineering in countries like Myanmar and Sri Lanka. Engineers manage incumbent telcos. When I came to Sri Lanka as the regulator in 1998, I was surprised by some of the things my bright engineer friends said about losing market share. They talked as though this was something that could be stanched. I had to tell them ...

Internet & Facebook users, 2014 I was always intrigued by the differences between South and South East Asian countries when we did the Teleuse@BOP surveys. But playing around with some numbers for Facebook users in four South and four SE Asian countries, I was struck by an astounding fact. In all the SE Asian countries, there are more Facebook users ...

WS208: Net Neutrality, Zero-Rating & Development: What’s the Data? – Wednesday, September 3 • 9:00am – 10:30am Link to Workshop page A roundtable to explore the arguments for and against “zero-rating,” which refers to the practice of offering free access to certain popular online services for customers of particular mobile networks. Several major service providers have entered into arrangements with ...

Setting the Scene Focus Session – Tuesday, September 2 • 11:00am – 12:30pm Sub-themes for IGF 2014 a) POLICIES ENABLING ACCESS Speaker: Rohan Samarajiva, LirneAsia, Sri Lanka Rohan will provide a bird’s eye view on progress and challenges in achieving affordable access for all. He will highlight controversial issues that came up in the last year, such as:  net ...

The New York Times carries this fascinating story about Hike, a new app that is being driven by Sunil Mittal’s son. Those who consider every smartphone app as a mortal threat to the telecom business should read this. In a first for messaging apps, Hike allows its users to send free text messages to people who use “feature phones” —low-end ...

Governments provisioning e government services have to address two specific policy principles with regard to infrastructure: ensure universal access to their services and assure a higher level of reliability than with comparable private services. I will leave the second principle for later discussion. Unlike a decade or so ago, governments today do not have to rely solely on common-access centers ...

It appears that unlike the previous government that was not of one mind regarding the centrality of mobiles, the new government has accepted it. The Digital India project that aims to offer a one-stop shop for government services would use the mobile phone as the backbone of its delivery mechanism. The government hopes the Rs 1.13-lakh crore initiative that seeks ...

It now appears that a month’s lead amounts to one million customers. While there is no bar against those customers also obtaining Telenor, MPT or Yatanarpon SIMs, one would have to conclude that not all will, giving Ooredoo a distinct advantage. While Ooredoo has focused on second-generation cellular, Telenor’s SIM cards will work with any GSM (Global System for Mobile ...

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has decided not to regulate over-the-top (OTT) providers, such as Skype, Viber and WhatsApp. The mobile operators claim that such apps will annually cost them  over US$822 million in lost revenues, as subscribers prefer to use free voice and messaging apps. Therefore, they demanded to regulate the OTT providers either for a revenue sharing ...

Turnover of GlaxoSmithKline was US$44 billion in 2013 and it annually spends $6.5 billion in R&D. Its sales data is public information while results of R&D had been the best kept secret until October 2012. Two years ago the British pharmaceutical behemoth has stunned the scientific community when it decided to share the detailed data of its clinical trials. No, ...

I resisted the notion that we should start our work on guidelines for”big data” from the settled law of other jurisdictions. I did not do that in 1987 when I did one of the earliest policy studies on ICTs and the law in Sri Lanka, and I was not about to start in 2013. I had reservations about both the ...

The policy statement of the new government headed by Narendra Modi promised to continue the NOFN initiative and work toward a Digital India: “We will strive to provide Wi-Fi zones in critical public areas in the next five years. My government will rollout broad band highway to reach every village and make all schools e-enabled in a phased manner. … ...

Are still slow, but how will they be lagging behind? And once the Americans screw up the data confidentiality safeguards, cost may be the decider. In terms of performance, Alibaba cannot come close. For a Chinese site, it does impressive work, handling $5.8 billion in commerce on China’s heaviest shopping day. The Alibaba S.E.C. filing says its cloud does 3.6 ...

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