The technological and economic environment of Internet has dramatically changed since the mid-1990s, making Internet much more diverse and dynamic than in the past. According to the most recent literature four major changes have forced the networks to evolve since then:
1) Increase in the number and diversity of end users: from a small population of scientists and researchers to a user base much larger, more diverse and less technologically sophisticated;
2) Increase in the diversity and intensity of applications: from low intensity bandwidth applications such as email and web‐browsing to videoconferencing, to online gaming which is much more bandwidth demanding and P2P and cloud computing applications that create traffic patterns fundamentally different from previous mass market applications;
3) Increase in the variety of access technologies: while in the mid‐90s access to the Internet was granted through dial‐up modems provided by local telephone companies, now access is guaranteed through a variety of technologies such as cable modems, digital subscriber lines (DSL), fiber to the home and wireless solutions. These new technologies have different characteristics in terms of bandwidth, reliability and mobility, bringing a substantial degree of heterogeneity in the Internet world compared to the uniformity of the wireline solutions of the mid‐90s.
4) The emergence of more complex business relationships.
These technological and economic changes over the past fifteen‐plus years have made Internet a much more dynamic and heterogynous environment and are placing increasing pressures on the Internet to develop new architectural principles to cope with these new dynamics and to the Internet governance process to envisage new models able to better match governance issues with the right governance institutions. Indeed, no single governance regime can address the growing range of concerns associated with the Internet.
The panel will address the following Issues and policy questions:
- How a more diverse and dynamic Internet is affecting the network governance processes? (e.g less or more formal governance and standardization, migration of functions into the core of the network or at the edges)
- Are these developments increasing the range of benefits or concerns associated with the Internet?
- How these trends are affecting Internet governance processes and practices?
- As more policy makers become active in Internet governance how can the multistakeholder approach best evolve to meet their needs?
- Which approach can best respond to the need to match governance issues with the right governance institutions ?