Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Research Bites: Universal Connectivity (information and communication technologies)

This post contains short summaries of research briefs broadly related to Information Technology and Communication. The research was carried out by Martin Chautari during 2014-2016. The homepage of the research is

Universal Connectivity in Nepal: A Policy Review

UC-related policies assume a levelling effect of the ICTs, and little consider that technologies are themselves socially constructed artefacts. They have provided a rationality for mobilizing public resources, for erecting new institutions and facilitating the sustaining of certain business interests, particularly that of the IT elite in Nepal. The solution lies in formulating evidence based UC policies while openly acknowledging the limitations of the technologies in mainstreaming the marginalized and vulnerable section of the population.

Stakeholders for Universal Connectivity in Nepal 

UC-related policies in Nepal should focus on developing the scientific and technological core and not simply on facilitating acquisition and diffusion of new Internet-based technologies. As a topmost priority, the design of digital ecosystem should address particularly ways to manage immense power demand. It should not be left as an issue belonging to another ecosystem or to be managed by yet another ministry. Past endeavours have sufficiently demonstrated ambitions to transform the country with diffusion of imported technologies have not worked.

Deliver Through Mobiles First 

Lack of benchmark studies such as on speed, penetration and price hinder setting achievable targets. But the real problem of ‘digital divide’ can only be dealt meaningfully by situating it in the context of broader socio-economic divide in the country. Widespread diffusion of the mobile phones provides an opportunity to direct, shape and fine-tune existing policies. Instead of leaning unreliably on the capacity-centric development model, Nepal’s IT policies need to frame ways to integrate user’s everyday experience of mobile phones into the drive towards universal connectivity.

A Regression Analysis into Nepali ICT's Energy Consumption and its Implications

Even with the most lenient assumptions regarding the behaviour of the ICT sector, it is a significant consumer of energy at the national level. The chase to parallel the energy demands of the transportation sector will see gains when large data centers are established to support e-governance, e-commerce and other data intensive always-online services. An energy audit of the ICT sector along with large scale studies on the context of technology has to be done simultaneously for Nepal.

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