It is true that we tend to overdo the ceremonial elements, but well-organized conferences perform a vital function in public policy making and implementation. They concentrate the attention of the relevant persons, both in terms of preparing presentations and in terms of listening. Not all of it sticks, but if well designed, enough seeps through to improve performance in the ...

In May 2007, I made a presentation to high-level committee appointed by the government of Bangladesh to recommend reforms to the way international telecom traffic was handled. I neglected to spell out what BPO stood for. “What is BPO” was the question from the audience. Seven years later, Bangladesh is ranked 26th in the AT Kearney Global Services Location Index. ...

Incumbent telcos see competition as an unmitigated evil. But what happens is that competition energizes the market and creates new demand. If the incumbent is decently managed, it can catch some (and possibly most) of this demand. After all, it is the known brand. And competitors have their own problems in the start-up phase. Looks like Myanmar is demonstrating these ...

In the design of India’s broadband initiative, it was said that one thing was non-negotiable: the work had to be done by state-owned enterprises. Knowledgeable people advised the government that this would slow down implementation. And so it happened. Now the new Minister is hiring 10 CIOs to push implementation (including much of the eco system), setting realistic time targets ...

Net neutrality sticks in one’s mind. Alliteration helps. The guy who cooked up the term ran for Lieutenant Governor nomination in New York and lost, but not too badly. Guess that helps explain its inherent openness to multiple meaning imposition. Net neutrality has an extraordinary range of meanings, not all consistent with each other. Just today, I saw a tweet ...

Imposing 1% surcharge on the mobile tariff for a fictitious “Rural Education Fund” has received the government’s approval yesterday. Earlier we highlighted the dark side of this illicit kitty. And we didn’t, of course, expect the government would retreat. Now we helplessly wait and hopelessly watch the further criminalization of governance in Bangladesh. After all, the prime minister has angrily ...

Iran’s 70% of the youth regularly use software to dodge government filters designed to block access to sites such as Facebook and YouTube, according to Iranian Centre for Research and Strategic Studies. Its director, Mohammad Taqi Hassanzadeh, said: Of the 67.4 percent of Iranian young people who use the internet, 19.1% use the net for chatting, 15.3% for the social ...

In a fascinating piece of writing that seamlessly moves between the “real” world of the news and the “real” world of television drama, Maureen Dowd picks up and expands upon, a stray comment from President Obama: The murderous melee that ensues is redolent of President Obama’s provocative remark at a Democratic Party fund-raiser in New York, talking about the alarming ...

Cummins is a big name, but not in ICTs. So this story caught my eye. Cummins Power Generation has secured a contract to supply hybrid power solutions to Irrawaddy Green Towers (IGT) in Myanmar. Under this contract, Cummins will supply solar hybrid, battery hybrid and diesel generator solutions to over 750 cell-tower sites that IGT will roll out in Myanmar ...

This op-ed article contributed by a LIRNEasia associate, places more emphasis than we would on fixed wireless as a means for achieving broadband in Indonesia. This could possibly be because the author is immersed in European policy thinking, having been educated in Sweden and now working for the EU in Spain. But nevertheless it is a valuable contribution to policy ...

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 ...

Of all the sessions that LIRNEasia people spoke at (eight officially; nine if the one where I was asked to speak on our big data work is included), the zero-rating session had been the most controversial. Understandably, it has drawn the attention of journalists. Helani Galpaya, CEO of LIRNEasia noted that mobile phones have a high penetration across countries in ...

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 ...

Explaining why 32 million Indonesian Facebook users are not counted by their government as Internet users My previous post on Internet v Facebook users elicited a lot of responses. We also went back and relooked at the numbers carefully. The Myanmar census numbers came in (after 30 years?). Some changes were made. Here are some responses. Many people thought it was nonsensical to claim that Internet users < Facebook users. We agree. The problem is ...

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 ...

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