Bringing Broadband to those who need it most

23 October 2013 - A Workshop on Access in Bali, Indonesia

Internet Governance Forum 2013

Workshop # 271 Report

Bringing Broadband to those who need it most

Organizer Name 

McCoy Garland

Organizer Entity 

Technology Education Institute

Workshop Theme 

The Internet as an Engine for Growth and Advancement

Consise description 

Great strides have been made bringing undersea fiber cable to more and more landing sites around the world. But after the first sprint to the urban areas is completed the buildout has slowed to a crawl in many countries. What can be done to bring the internet to where most of the people live in developing countries? What inexpensive sustainable models can we examine that are bringing real broadband connectivity to rural areas in developing countries, where, 80-90% of the population lives? 
If we believe broadband connectivity brings with it real economic and social benefits. Benefits in the areas of education, healthcare, farm and business management. Than how do we look for ways to build broadband roads to the rural areas in developing countries in advance of the internet "super highway" How do we ensure that "good is not held hostage to the perfect". As big carries wait to bring out robust broadband connectivity like "LTE" which is expensive to deploy, are there inexpensive models that will bring out solid, robust broadband connectivity in advance of what the big carriers will eventually deploy? Can deploying WIFI systems, establishing and linking "hot spots" help bridge the gap? Can innovative systems WISPs tailored to rural areas in developing countries ...micro cashing...and IXPS for examples help lower costs so that more global citizens can have access to affordable broadband connectivity to the internet?


IGF WORKSHOP #271 “Bringing Broadband To Those Who Need It Most” (Agenda) Welcoming remarks: Ambassador David A. Gross, Wiley Rein, LLP (Moderator) (3 minutes) Setting the Stage: Ambassador Danny Sepulveda U.S. Coordinator, International Communications & Information Policy, U. S. Department of State (7 minutes) Each speaker having 5 minutes for main part, citing in- the-field working case examples in a four part forum. We will have enough time for audience questions. This should be informative and interactive. Theme Question: With the arrival of undersea fiber cables to the shore and fiber build out to land locked countries and to the Capitols and urban centers in many developing countries, how do we provide inexpensive, robust broadband connectivity to the 80/90% of the population in developing countries that reside outside urban centers? Opening…Audience Question and Survey: Can members of the audience site examples of successful broadband build out models in rural areas in there Countries? (5 minutes) Part 1: Examples of Successful, Sustainable, Affordable and Scalable Broadband Build out Models [20min] • Mark Summer, Inveneo (Kenya/Uganda/Haiti) • Robert Pepper, Cisco • Omar Mansoor Ansari, National ICT Alliance of Afghanistan • Audience participation Part 2: Where Local Access Meets Local Policy – examples [20min] • Kathleen Reen, Internews • Jacquelynn Ruff, Verizon • Audience participation Part 3: Growing ICT Infrastructure Through Workforce Development [25 minutes] • Alice Munyua, Africa Union Commission • Virat Bhatia, AT&T, India (South Asia) • Chris Riley, Mozilla • Audience participation Part 4: The 2 Cs That Drive Access; Communication and Content [15min] • Thomas Spiller, Disney • Subi Chaturvedi, Associate Professor, Lady Shri Ram College for Women • Audience participation Sorina Teleanu, Remote Moderator


Ambassador David A. Gross

Remote Moderator 

Sorina Teleanu

Have you organized workshops at previous IGFs?


Workshop format 


Workshop Transcript 


Brief substantive summary of the workshop and presentation of the main issues that were raised during the discussions 


IGF Workshop # 271

“Bringing Broadband To Those Who Need It Most”

Wednesday, October 23rd 16:30-18:00


Ambassador David A. Gross, Wiley Rein, LLP moderated session


Ambassador Danny Sepulveda U.S. Coordinator, International Communications & Information Policy, U.S. Department of State delivered “Setting the Stage” opening remarks


Sorina Teleanu, Remote Moderator


Ambassador Sepulveda:


  • US Gov. commitment to support organizations, coalitions, public/private partnerships focused on providing affordable, reliable broadband to the next billion(s) of global citizens who live in areas where broadband is not available or is to expensive and unreliable


  • Alliance for Affordable Internet was sited as one example of a recently formed public sector/private sector coalition dedicated to connecting the next billion citizens with affordable, reliable Internet access. 



Mark Summer, Inveneo:


  • Examples of successful broadband builds to rural areas in developing countries; 90km WiFi connection to island in the middle of Lake Victoria in Kenya by inveneo (a not-for-profit) to provide broadband to an HIV health clinic and to provide much needed revenue through the re-sale of capacity to local tourist hotel on the island. Additional example references inveneo’s work after the earthquake in Haiti to restore basic communications using inexpensive, robust wifi, days after the quake and their continuing presence providing broadband access to schools in rural Haiti.


Robert Pepper, Cisco:


  • Very important, critical, countries develop a comprehensive broadband plan. These plans should have measurable matrix built in with periodic points at which concrete assessments can be made. These plans should be developed on a multi-stakeholder model. Goals to consider should include pricing reliable broadband access at no more than 5% of citizen’s income.


  • Countries should resist the temptation of taxing smart phones and other broadband “edge” devices (tablets…computers) (many are currently taxed as luxury items) and should refrain from taxing content and connectivity as well.


Omar Mansoor Ansari, National ICT Alliance for Afghanistan:


  • Current state of internet/connectivity in Afghanistan with falling prices in urban areas but little access outside urban areas. There are many languages in Afghanistan which represents a challenge. There are ongoing build out models that are being considered to address the needs of connecting those in rural areas.


Kathleen Reen, VP Internest:


  • Discussed what is happening in Malaysia and South Sudan with reforms and the development and implementation of their Countries respective national broadband plans. Highlighted the challenges and opportunities each country faces.


Jacquelyn Ruff, Verizon:


  • Touched on the importance of cloud computing and LTE/3G as technologies that will help developing countries execute their national broadband plans. Further, the importance of spectrum management as an essential component of the country’s broadband plan was stressed.


  • Referenced Southern Africa’s joint accord to provide broadband as a good example of regional broadband initiatives.


  • Stressed examples of demand drivers of access; schools, government, enterprise businesses, these and others are “anchor” tenants that create demand.


  • Also stressed was importance of building a skilled workforce in the ICT area.


  • Next came examples from panel and audience of technology providing real benefits; mobile devices for midwives so they can better help mothers during child birth and can record/register the birth.


  • Audience and panel discussed importance of governments cutting across “silos” when the design and implement their broadband plans. Examples include; working with country’s health department (e-health), education department (e-education), etc.


  • Audience again participated; Indonesian ICT company representative discussed Indonesia’s broadband plan  and its goals of reliable/affordable/empowering


  • Mark Summer stressed the challenges every country, developed or developing, faces…which is the “last mile” of connectivity and pointed to a commitment to a “fiber middle” as an important goal.


Virat Bhatia:


  • Delivered statistics on broadband roll out in India and noted that there is no way the Indian government can build enough schools and medical clinics and libraries for it’s people so the choice is another “lost” generation or…e-health and e-education, virtual libraries, etc. He mentioned India’s commitment to build an extensive national fiber network for the “middle mile” connectivity.



Alice Munyua:


  • Noted that the successful broadband initiatives in Africa seem to be the ones who have brought all stakeholders to the table in the planning and execution phases.  She noted that in most urban areas in Africa the mobile penetration is 80% . Additionally, she spoke of how competition is driving down prices. She pointed to the fact that Kenya now has three undersea fiber connections.


Chris Riley:


  • Spoke about the falling prices of smart phones and how open architecture software allows people to volunteer their time and expertise to add value to core components and lowers costs for tech items like smart phones and encryption. He lamented that in many developing countries the falling prices of the phones and other devices are not reaching the consumer because of heavy taxes on the items.


Subi Chaturvedi:


  • Spoke of India’s tradition of story telling. A very oral tradition and how important capturing all of his is to the people of India. She emphasized how content needs to be “pulled up” and how very important local content is. She spoke of the challenges faced in India, as there are so many different languages across the country. Finally, she touched on the importance of electricity as a critical component to be considered in the development of a country’s broadband/ICT plans. In many areas in developing countries there is little reliable electricity to power all the devices.


Thomas Spiller:


  • Spoke on the importance of creating quality local content and the challenges of distribution. He also spoke on the need to ensure the Internet ecosystem offers choice to local content produces so that if they want to build a business around their creative ideas they have the ability to protect their property.




Conclusions drawn from the workshop and further comments 

It is very important for each country to develop a broadband plan. The plan should be developed in partnership with all stakeholders and with the participation of key government agencies such as education and healthcare.

The national broadband plan should be reviewed on a regular basis with concrete benchmarks
Fixed and mobile wireless are going to be a critical components of any national broadband plan with a fiber middle for backhaul
Content will continue to be a driver of access with anchor tenants like government and schools .  
Creating quality local content and the ability to chose how to distribute it will be key. It will be important to ensure choice in the management of content and to protect IP rights for those who chose to make a business out of the creation and distribution of their creative content
In many developing countries the choice is clear; invest in e-health and e-education or suffer the loss of another generation of citizens as there is little hope of building enough schools, health clinics and libraries to serve the country's unserved rural population. 


Reported by 

Garland McCoy

Estimate the overall number of women participants present at the session 

About half of the participants were women

To what extent did the session discuss gender equality and/or women's empowerment? 

It was raised by one or more of the speakers as an important aspect of the session's theme

Discussion affecting gender equality and women's empowerment 

 Both Virat and Subi (both from India) mentioned the huge empowering nature of broadband for women with Subi going into detail (she is a Journalism Professor at an all women college in India) on this and there was the audience example of the use of cell phone to help midwives in developing countries both with delivering babies and women health issues with the important task of recoding the births of the children. 

Workshops Staticals 
Number of FEMALE participantsNumber of MALE participantsNumber of Young participantsNumber of Developing Countries ParticipantsNumber of Developed Countries ParticipantsNumber of LDCs participantsNumber of TOTAL Participants
26 44 8 10 17 5 70