Knowledge Drive

Dec 11, 2009 (LBO) – Asia’s drive towards a knowledge economy is being helped by expanding and cheaper telecoms but fresh evidence-based policy interventions could speed this up, regulators and academics said at a policy forum in Colombo.

Avoiding Miss-steps

“The biggest contribution from research is not what is adopted, but what is not adopted,” says Bill Melody, founding director of World Dialog on Regulation for Network Economies.

“Harmful policies that are avoided with the information generated from research.”

R K Arnold the head of the executive secretariat of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India says all recommendations are based on extensive research but decisions are not.

“We used a (LirneAsia) research on a tax and the government reduced the tax. In infrastructure sharing we have drawn heavily on your research,” Arnold said.

“But whether the decision makers use it at the top depends on a very fluid situation.”

In many countries governments were heavily taxing telecom services. LirneAsia itself intervened in Sri Lanka to stop a levy from hurting the poorest users.

IDRC, a body that is funding research agencies says evidence has to be pushed to decision makers for people to ben