This book brings together scholars, practitioners, former regulators, and policymakers to address the problem of expanding information and communication technology (ICT) connectivity in emerging Asia. It centrally engages the widespread claim that technology by itself — independent of policy and regulatory reform — can improve access to ICTs. In doing so, it shows that while complex workarounds are possible, they are significantly less effective than the appropriate policy and regulatory reforms.
This book examines how theoretically optimal concepts actually get implemented in the hard terrain of emerging Asia. It gleans lessons from five Asian countries — Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, and Sri Lanka — based on their experiences with expanding ICT connectivity. It reports the findings of a cutting-edge 3000+ sample demand-side survey of telephone use at the "bottom of the pyramid" in India and Sri Lanka. It considers the problem of expanding connectivity from different angles: that of the user, the operator, the policymaker, the regulator, and civil society. And it sheds light on a range of situations and technologies, like telephone use in post-conflict regions of Sri Lanka, Wi-Fi deployment in Indonesia, and universal service obligations in India.
Rohan Samarajiva is Executive Director of LIRNEasia, and former Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission in Sri Lanka. He is also former Team Leader at the Ministry for Economic Reform, Science and Technology, responsible for infrastructure reforms in Sri Lanka.
Ayesha Zainudeen is a researcher at LIRNEasia. She has a Bachelor’s degree in economics from the London School of Economics.