>> Good morning, everybody.
>> PAULA VARGAS: I'm from the Centre for Technology and Society in Argentina. It's a pleasure to have you here we organised this panel with Cele, who is also Executive Director here ‑‑ Campo. It is very, very important to have a debate still about the appropriate balance between government policy, market forces and community efforts to connect the billion still unconnected.
The final document last year made a mark about how these needs to be achieved. If we read the conclusions, we see that there's some guidance about how this needs to be done. It's not any policy. It's know the any market intervention. It's just specifically in a certain way that will grant real access to Internet and I want to stress that from a Human Rights perspective. And I also want to stress that perspective. So our task today or our challenge is to evaluate the policies that have already been done in some regions in order to achieve this balance, to discuss what is missing, what is needed to be done, and at some point to derive some principles that will guide what is needed. For instance, how do we do to balance scarce resource with some ‑‑ someone mentioned idealised prepositions in regulation that might not be easily achievable with those scarce resources. How to provide policymakers with a technical knowledge that will help them not to design policies that will be infective because they are not grounded on the reality of the Internet infrastructure. So with that introduction, I will introduce some of our speakers. And then for anyone who wants to ask someone or ask something on their particular experiences on this topic.
And as I said, our challenge will be to think about some principles that will make more concrete the guidance that the final document last year already gave us about how to connect the next billion.
So let me please. I'm so sorry if I misspell some of your names. Just please correct me in that case. I would like to welcome Allison to our panel of the she is the director research of ICT Africa based in South Africa. She's also part of the board of learn Asia. Is that correct, Allison? And she has a really deep, deep knowledge about those regions and how the Internet is being deployed and used there. Fernando Lopez. He's the regional director from Mexico and Central America for ‑‑ they are also deeply thinking about regulation, how to improve the regulation for the region. Julian Casasbuenas is the Director of An IPC network. Julian has also done an incredible job on providing access to communities. Access to Internet.
Then Sienna Perry. She's seated there. She's from APNIC Australia. They had kind of a different experience from sore organizations because they actually deploy infrastructure and they also mentor some of the members the deploy their own infrastructure, which is a very interesting experience and they do so from a Human Rights perspective, which is also a very particular standard to deploy infrastructure.
We also have Sebastián Bellagamba from ISOC. And is also one of the pioneers in the region. He knows a lot about what is happening and he can guide us in the future.
Juan Ortiz ‑‑ he is a Google policy fellow at ER3 D in Mexico and he has conducted a very noble and deep research about this.
Miguel Ignacio Estrada he's the Internet policy director at the ministry of organisation in Argentina. But because he's actually leaving that position in the next couple of days, he will be speaking in his personal capacity, I want to highlight that.
And then we have Helani Galpaya. I don't know if Helani Galpaya is already here because he was a little bit delayed. Helani Galpaya's the CEO of learn Asia which is a think tank that defines itself in a very interesting way. They are pro‑market, pro‑poor, which is very, very interesting approach. Three‑step they develop a lot of projects to promote the adoption of ICT technologies so very practical background.
And with that, I open the floor with Julian ‑‑ sorry. These are the questions that we are going to address. These are the questions. Well, they are very unreadable. The thing is some of these ‑‑ okay. Now we see it. Our panelists will not address all of these questions because of time constraints. But they have selected some of them. So they will focus on a specific question related to their particular experience. Julian, would you like to start our debate? Thank you.
>> JULIAN CASASBUENAS: Thank you very much for this opportunity. And for inviting me to participate on behalf of COLNODO on behalf of this. I would like to comment on the best practices in developing countries, good examples for striking balances and also some comments on how the government intervention and the development of policy and infrastructure for the next billion users based in our experience of working COLNODO during 22 years and strategic use of Internet for development basically to improve the quality of life of people.
We think that public access is still an alternative for communities like telecentres because in our countries, there is still a lot of people that doesn't have the opportunity to buy a computer or to pay for an Internet connection. And most public initiatives also provide in our countries training options and is in a space to create opportunities for local development when the telecentres are administered ‑‑ administrated with a social perspective. And recently we had opportunity to work with our colleagues in Mexico, rhizomatica with the support of their Internet Society in the replication of a model where community networks for mobile are possible at this moment using open source software and using technologies that can be used by the community and maintained by the community themselves. And we see this community owned wireless networks can improve access to these underserved communities. It's needed that the government facilitates these communities to access to fiberoptic infrastructure deployed by the government located in the urban centres so they can have a good, affordable and stable Internet connectivity.
We believe that this strategy can increase the positive impact of government policies related to the deployment of Internet infrastructure. In the case of Argentina, we have planning digital which brings fiberoptics to most municipalities in our country, but there is not easy way to access to that infrastructure from the community ‑‑ Colombia.
So it will be very important that we put in place policies that will allow this community networks, for instance, to take advantage of all these infrastructure. And it's also very interesting this model because it's the community itself who can maintain and reach and keep these areas connected.
During the meeting in community networks in Day zero here at the Internet Governance Forum, it was stated that we should change this strategy to connect the next billion. We need to create a proper environment that will allow communities to connect and operate their networks themselves. Today we have multiple technologies that can solve problems of connectivity in these areas. And especially rural areas. And it's no longer technical problems but political barriers that doesn't allow the proper and legal access to the community to use for instance the spectrum. So in terms of governments and the deployment of policies and infrastructure, we have recommendations for instance from the international telecommunications union, recommend E2 D19. We said that is important to consider a small not‑for‑profit or community operators to appropriate policies to an how them to access basic infrastructure in fair terms in order to provide broadband connectivity to users in rural and remote areas, taking advantage of technology advances.
And also that is important that administrators in their radio spectrum, planning and licenses activities consider mechanisms to facilitate the deployment of broadband services in rural and remote areas by small and nonprofit operators.
Finally the digital agenda for Latin American, Caribbean, ELAC 2018, in the action area of access and infrastructure, objective 3 states also the inclusion of user‑oriented community networks as a strategy.
So I will stop there I think I've run out of time. Thank you.
>> PAULA VARGAS: Thank you, Julian. Unless someone wants to make a question, I think we can run through all our panelists and then start again.
Allison, would you like to go next?
>> ALLISON GILWALD: Thank you very much. Perhaps just to repeat the statement that we meant to be responding to, the statement that we're responding to is the document in connecting the next billion 2015, which says that the future of connectivity efforts need to ensure that those coming online have access to the entire global and open Internet. Access should be universal, equitable, secure, affordable, and high quality on the basis of Human Rights.
And I suppose my response to that is I think this is an important inspirational statement but not a reflection of what the Internet is or can be made immediately. And so I think if we set it up as a sort of threshold that has to be met in order for people to come online, we're actually going to see unintended consequences that we've already seen in efforts to sort of enforce purist notions of net neutrality that kept the poorer people offline.
So I suppose what I want to say is this a wonderfully idealised notion but it's impossible to bring a lot of those people that are not online in a way that is either universal, equitable and certainly not high quality. And many of our countries will not meet the basic declaration of human rights requirements of what we regard as sort of essential.
That's in the that we shouldn't be fighting for them. But if we set those as thresholds, we're going to find ourselves in problems.
I suppose the first point is that the Internet and the diffusion of the Internet and the way it works reflects global inequalities that exist, anyway, so trying to sort of patch those over as if they can just emerge out of extremely unequal and divided parts of the world and within countries in divided part of the country, it will not resolve our problems. I think we have to acknowledge a lot of the tensions that exist around getting open, free access services to people and what is really possible on the ground.
I think it's important that we try to create conditions that will enable us to use the very limited resources or the constrained resources that we have in our countries in order to move as fast as we can to meet these objectives. Very often we take the assumptions and models from mature political systems, mature democracies, mature markets, comparative markets with highly effective institutional structures and arrangement and implementation and then we impose this on completely different environments and wonder why they don't work. So we have to look very critically at all the assumptions. I'm talking about various levels. At the technical levels, which I think are kind of more important to get consistent around. I think we need an unfragmented from a technical point of view Internet.
But I think at the practical, at the other level, at the socio, at the economic levels, we need to look at what is actually possible in our environments. And where we have these shortfalls, try to create conditions that can meet those. So at the network level, set up the environment that allows us to leverage the nonstate capacity that we night he might need because of the absence of state capacity or institutional capacity in our environments to leverage private resources, community resources in order to get access to the Internet. That's not to say that the states and the regulatory agencies don't have a very important role to play. They do have, but they have very limited resources. And so their best chances of getting it to work are actually setting up systems that enable and harness the expertise of all multisecular groups, all groups within the society.
So I think it is important to set up those regulatory frameworks. They do need to assess if there are breaches of competition, if there's anti‑competitive practice, et cetera, they need to be identified. I think they need to be identified in this kind of complex environment. Complex adaptive environment we're in. And I think sort of old, instrumental, telecom regulation in these environments can have very negative effects.
So I think you want some good solid investigation on a case by case basis of anti‑competitive behavior, but I certainly don't think you want either an old, instrumental, kind of competition regulation on all sorts of new things which may look like vertical integration but actually are complimentary relationships in this new environment or are innovations that may have the potential for anti‑competitive but if they're encouraged in certain ways could become other things.
So I mean just taking the concept of nut neutrality ‑‑ net neutrality as it's practiced and applied, as a technical and price discriminatory measure to assist quality of service and prevent slow lanes in a mature economy, in the environment of abundance, if applied to excess policy, not to quality of service, but to access policy, which is the sort of primary policy objective for us in Developing Countries, it has completely different consequences. And a whole set of unintended cons. So if you are looking at a zero‑rating concept, the positive price discrimination that's happening around zero‑rating shouldn't be equated with a negative price discrimination as a premium on high speed access shouldn't be equated with the zero‑rating of services in order to get access to bring people online.
If you apply that kind of thing in a very strict way, you will be closing the door. You'll be online, but you'll be closing the door to others who wish to get online.
So I think we need to look at this in a way that really is located in the context of which it is and in terms of our policy objectives and things, there's no reason why one technical sort of holy grail concept adapted from very technical gets put above our priorities.
Really the solutions, we say if you apply the net neutrality solution, for example, it will affect a whole lot of things that we think are ways of bringing people online which will not be high speed broadband, which will not be equitable, et cetera, but it will bring people online who might not be online otherwise.
And so we are very much in support of not having old Universal Service Funds and agencies that duplicate resources, that actually have a double anti‑poor outcome because there's a levy on the service providers that push up the prices of the services. And then many, many of our funds are not actually implemented and so those funds sit in there and are not used to bring down funds have where those funds do exist, we think they could be used far more effectively in projects like public WiFi networks which really begin to address the Beyond Access problems that we have in many of our country where people actually do have access. There's 90 percent coverage, we've heard. Mobile coverage. 150 percent sim card registration which we know is not true or certainly not subscribers. But we need to find other ways of using those funds where they exist.
And where they don't exist, not necessarily setting them up in that way. But actually creating an enabling environment, an innovative environment for people to offer services for ways that are low cost and ultimately high quality. And so bringing people, for example, to public WiFi that dresses the usage problems around affordability, people can get their small expensive bandwidth. Do their what's up and substitution kind of things and go to a public point.
Some of our policies right now the South African broadband plan requires that every public school, every public building, municipality, et cetera, has a public WiFi. And it's rarely taken off. It's very exciting. We have state models in certain municipalities. We have public‑private in other municipalities and they are being widely used by people who simply can't Ford to download videos and things using zero rated service on their own data but using these on others.
And just one last point on that. Just to extend this further, with moving beyond a kind of net neutrality approach to it, what we're also suggesting is that either 2G spectrum or that certain services on 3G spectrum but at low bandwidths be made available and freely available to people so at least they can remain connected when they do not have money to be online or use ordinary commercial networks.
So it's very much in that context that we're supporting secondary use of spectrum really in the context of leveraging scarce resources, private resources, community resources, and individuals' resources. Don't set up big expensive telecentres that people can't use. Computers are very soon out of date. It's a bring‑your‑own‑device environment. Bring your device, try to top up. Move on to your device and releverage the few resources that we have. Thank you.
>> PAULA VARGAS: Thank you. I have a lot of questions after you when the debate starts.
I will give the floor to Ignacio because he might have to leave early. Ignacio, please.
>> MIGUEL IGNACIO ESTRADA: Thank you, Paula. Thank you and also Carolina for inviting me to this panel.
I'll talk about some government initiatives. I live in government so I'm talking on my personal capacity. But I just want to let you know what's happening in Argentina.
Although it has more than 60 percent of its population connected, Argentina has yet to connect 10 million people in the next year. And as you may already know, the last to connect the yet unconnected are usually most the EIFL.net cult to connect. So I think that's ‑‑ the most difficult to connect. I think that's where government should work harder.
Ministry of communications through the company RSAT have federal Internet plan where when they started connected small town around the country. The ministry of education, through its company Educar, has the other plan to connect 30,000 schools around the country also.
And also the ministry of modernization together with the ministry of communications, they have their plan called ‑‑ País Digital, or Digital Country, where they are trying to connect in the next year a thousand municipalities and enable free WiFi in its main squares.
I think the government thinks connecting is not enough. People should have real access. In that way, the government ‑‑
Regarding affordability, the ministry of communications has released a subsidy plan to similar funds from 2G to 3G to 4G devices and also the ministry of education has plan to give one device to students of public schools.
Regarding real access or education, the ministry of modernization has its digital points plan, these are around 300 spaces around the country with computers connected to the Internet and available for everyone. And also they held many digital education courses.
And through its plan, there's also a planned called digital future. It's also from the ministry of modernization where Federal Government in coordination with local governments holds short courses on digital capacities, mainly focused on work insertion.
Thank you, Paula, that's all.
>> PAULA VARGAS: Thank you, Ignacio. We know that you were trying to work hard to connect the next billion.
I will give the floor to Heleni, who literally ran to be here with us today. So I already introduced you, Heleni, so please go ahead.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: Thank you, Paula.
>> PAULA VARGAS: I wish I was Paula but I'm not.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: And I apologize for being late. I was on another panel.
On connectivity and what markets and regulators or policy can do, a couple of points. South Asia, the markets have reduced prices immensely because of competition. We have some of the lowest prices in the world by almost any measuring this. For example, except for two, all the other countries in south Aaron an made the 5 percent barrier for connectivity that the global broadband ‑‑ had set. And we've had these conditions for a long, long time.
And, yet, 20 to 30 percent of your population is online. And it's very, very low. So the pricing barrier, even when it is crossed, has not served as a means for connecting people, there's something else going on.
And part of that is what is relevant. Because when we ask users why are you not using this? They cite yes, it's not affordable to me if they're very poor. But second biggest reason is I don't need it. I don't see why I should use it.
And into this mixture, we've obviously had Facebook and other social media platforms coming in with market solutions not costing governments any money and zero‑rating social service networks and giving them free.
And in the debate on access and rights, India is a case study, a good example where there was a huge diverging point of view. Most people said people should have access to the full Internet. And until then we should ban the zero rated services.
And we saw that as hugely problematic because people weren't only using social networks for social purposes, which they were, there's nothing wrong with that. But they were also using it as substitute of other forms of communication because this was free and they were coordinating their activities, life and businesses. In Myanmar they were engaging in politics that the election had on Facebook. There are no websites. People are on Facebook and debating. And this is a knock racy.
So ‑‑ democracy.
So in this session, if you are talking about rights, we have to keep the broad idea of what are the rights that people have? And is it only one thing we prioritize? Of course people should have access to the free open Internet, but if we think they are going to get on there and look for jobs and look at market prices and look at health information? Sorry. That's a very small part of what they do. So government obviously needs to have that content available online. But the dominant driver of Internet use is social media and communication. So we need to keep that in mind in the zero‑rating debate. And also who gets to decide these things? When is.2 million people in India wrote to the regulator and asked for a ban of these types of positive price discriminatory content offerings, differential pricing offerings, that was a problem because India has a huge population that's not online and did not participate in that public consultation. And what about their rights?
The last point I'd like to make is also in the ‑‑ with connectivity, we have had huge market‑based solutions but also market distortionary practices for collecting service funds. Because our government is efficient in the region I work with, we have huge amounts of accumulated funds that can't spend. And government's unwilling to let go of control of this.
So, for example, India's solution has to take the $4 billion that they have collected in the universal service fund and to create a new special purpose vehicle, the national broadband network bottleneck that is going to roll out back hole connectivity to the rural ‑‑ they have missed I think at this point pretty of all the deadlines and the targets. Governments aren't good at doing certain types of things. And Universal Service Funds are not a good way to do it. Universal service policies with other creative funding mechanisms and incentives are the way to go. Certain poor governments with low capacity.
>> PAULA VARGAS: Thank you, Heleni, very interesting points about universal funds, which is a regulation which is most of Latin American regulations.
So maybe the perspective of ‑‑ will be interesting to hear about these and then we'll continue.
>> Yes, thank you very much.
We're here this morning basing in a very important diagnosis in the last years of analysis has shown that achieving connectivity not necessarily helps to reach optimal condition and affordability and equity. So we have changed one past vision about what is needed to get people connected? We're thinking how we can face some challenges. Latin America have accomplished very important results in the last years in terms of people connected, infrastructure development and price adoption. But now we see that we are worried about how to get people with less resources can have the opportunity to get connected.
The small proportion of all population have all the benefits of the Internet. And, well, this is a concern that we have to face together. We have to see different ways to improve the mechanism of relations between public sector, private sector and civil organizations.
So while we have a big challenge with huge restriction of income in the families in the region, we need to improve in terms of investment. We have to develop infrastructure. And we see some regulations that increase the cost of investing and to work with the infrastructure.
We think that it is necessary to face the difference between the supply side and the demand side and it's necessary to work in compliment the efforts of the private sector of the efforts of the public sector. As I said, income restrictions. And we cannot compare the specific situation of our countries with some experience that we have seen in other continents. So we believe that it is necessary to maximize the efforts of the private sector and get a compliment from the public sector based on an adequate regulation than permitted to achieve better results.
We have some demand factors that we need to recognition, for example, the content. If we have to guarantee some rights, if we want to see the Internet as mechanisms to free speech and to get information, we have to realise that our region needs to produce more content. We have to see the whole digital ecosystem and analyze how the regulation could put the same conditions for different actors because this is responsibility for us for all the participants in the digital ecosystem.
So we think that it is necessary to improve the market development, but in terms of guaranteed the rights, the state has to have a very important role here. In this sense, it is necessary to get a framework that gives ‑‑ that can be crossed for every participant in the market. We think that it's an important function of the state to develop public policy for that people that is not connected in that areas where the market cannot get results. And we think that we have to change these vision of generate only obligations to push the private sector to get that results. And prioritize the efforts. Don't use an effort from one sector to address the power of the efforts from other sectors.
One of the ideas that in Latin America have been developed to connect the people with more limitations has been the Universal Service Funds. But sometimes as Allison said, I remember sometimes the way the state is functioning doesn't help to improve this kind of mechanisms. We believe that we have to be more efficient in the administration of resources.
I think that prevention and ‑‑ is a very urgent necessity. And it need to use training capacity from the people who is taking the decisions in the government. So we believe that it's very important to close the digital divide in Latin America. We believe that investment and competition in the whole digital ecosystem is necessary. And it has to be done in a regulatory framework that consider the same opportunities to compete in different levels or different areas of the digital ecosystem.
So taking these in account, I will take one of the things that you mentioned at the very first moment about evaluation. When we face public policies, it's a little bit easy to make an evaluation. You have a design evaluation or impact evaluation. But when there are multiple stakeholders participating, the control of the government in this kind of evaluation gets complex. So we think that a big instrument is to design these mechanisms with a realistic perspective. Since the beginning, visualise what the objectives will be achieved but considering what are the main functions of different actors in the ecosystem.
>> PAULA VARGAS: Thank you so much, Ignacio. Fernando, would you like to go next?
>> Yes, thank you, Paula. Thank you, Carolina. I'm Sebastian, Sebastián Bellagamba. I'm at the regional Internet Society.
I think I will answer the second question. The role about the one of government because we happen to release a paper on that particular thing this year. We released a document called the policy framework for enabling Internet access that I think is useful to share.
Obviously I will not be able to present it in its entirety because it's not that long. It's some pages, but it's quite rich. So I will go through high level review of the document to share with you.
I'd like to start by saying, stating clearly what's the mission of the Internet Society because I think it's relevant to this discussion.
We promote the use, development and evolution of the Internet for the benefit of all people around the world. And I think in that definition, there is two things that are rather important. The first one is that it's know the for the technology itself. We do what we do for the benefit of people. Because we firmly believe that these technologies bring benefits to our people.
And, secondly, and in that order, I mean the objective open in our definition I think is rather important.
Okay, like this. I hear my is better now. It's know the that I want to hear myself.
I think we were in this business. I think we all agree from the different sectors, we are not here just to discuss Internet. As a technology. We believe in the benefits of the Internet for our people. And we all believe in the openness of the Internet. So that's something that is quite important.
In planning our work, we defined two main priorities for our work. Because in terms of Internet of option, we basically made this analysis. 50 percent of the population is connected to the Internet, which is fine. But leaves the other 50 percent still to be connected, which is something that we have to do.
But those connected are not trusting the Internet the way they used to. So this is two main things to work there. Access, how to connect the next billion. And how we can solve these problems of trust for those that are connected.
So we basically say that there's basic had I two gaps in Internet option. One that need to be addressed. Those who are and the access is still not available. And those who live in places where access is available. But they choose not to connect for whatever reason. So those are the two main drivers.
I would like to endorse what Julian said about community networks. I will skip that part in my presentation in what Julian said because community networks are rather important.
But in our policy framework, I'll go one step back. In our analysis, there is two drivers to access that are important. Basically were mentioned before. But I with like to emphasize this. What is affordability? Many people cannot connect to the Internet because they cannot afford it. But secondly I think it's quite important. It's relevance. Why? There's people that choose not to connect to the Internet because it's not relevant to them. It's not just because they don't have access to infrastructure.
>> ITALY:'s not relevant to them ‑‑ it's not.
60 percent of the content is in English. That doesn't correlate exactly with dispersion of languages around the world. So those are things that need to be addressed.
In our framework we identified three pillars. Three important pillars that I would like to briefly refer to.
One ex, panning the infrastructure ‑‑ expanding. It's important to reach, to have the infrastructure ready for people that decide to connect and can connect to the Internet. They can pay and decide to connect to the Internet.
Governments and all the stakeholders have to work not only in the last mile but from the international connectivity to the last mile. I mean, the whole chain is relevant for that.
In order to make it relevant, we have to make it to local content. Local exchange. Those are extremely important components of this. We have to have the infrastructure to have to do that. If we are willing to host content in our countries instead of hosting it abroad, we have to have that. We have to have Internet Exchange Points. We have to have an infrastructure that the CDNs will use in order to put the content more close to our uses, our citizens.
One important second pillar that is important to us is fostering skills and entrepreneurship. We have to educate our people in order to take all the advantages or benefits from disconnected world.
But innovation for us is totally relevant. And create an environment that enables innovation, it's quite relevant.
We already, I'm from Latin America. When I go to region, I refer it as Latin American. And we already as a region missed the previous two revolutions, I would say. The two industrial revolutions. We thought that we are primary producers and we are going to be rich forever because we have cows and grains. And it didn't work that way. We are about to miss a third opportunity now. So we have to be very clear on that.
I think we have to make a big change. I am discussing with policy regulators all the time this. Many, many people in our countries are seeing all these digital economic stuff as a billion instead of an opportunity. We have to switch our minds. It's not a problem, guys, it's a solution. So we have to be able to capture all the opportunities that this new economy brings to our societies.
And these two components will only work with a supportive governance model. I mean, all the principles of governance are just being discussed here all the time. I will not go back to that. But I'm not only referring to multistakeholder governance which is needed but also several other aspects.
I mean, we need an independent regulator for this to work. We need several things that are a prerequisite in order for this to work. So we have to concentrate, I think, in not just connecting people. We have to concentrate on the benefits that this brings to our people and how we can get this opportunity right in order to move forward and to advance and to prosper as a society.
So our documents are available and our website has had a lot of information and specific points for what to do in every one of these pillars that I mentioned. I invite you to go to our website and share it with your networks. But I think that's basically the summary that I wanted to share with you. Thank you very much.
>> PAULA VARGAS: Thank you, Sebastian. I will link what Sebastian said about the importance of infrastructure of if you want local content and you want it hosted in your country, you need data centres, you need infrastructure. And that's what your organisation, Sienna, has been doing. So we would like to know if that ‑‑ what were the results of having that perspective?
>> Thank you, Paula. Yes, that's right. So APNIC as most of you would know is the Asia‑Pacific Network Information Center. We delegate and manage IP addresses throughout the Asia‑Pacific. So we're part of the technical community and I would very much like to pick up on what Sebastian has just mentioned about infrastructure and also in fact what he's mentioned about skills. But he was talking about skills in terms of being able to use the Internet. And I'd like to talk a little bit today about the skills required to actually build the Internet.
In developing Internet markets, we take a lot of things for granted in terms of speed and reliability and ongoing improvement. And we do tend to transfer that attitude to Developing Countries. And in fact that can't be taken for granted. In any market, developed or developing, a stable, affordable and secure Internet service is depended on the human skills and capacities to properly build and operate those services. If network infrastructure of a developing country or in fact any country cannot adequately support Internet‑based innovations, any opportunities that the Internet can bring will not deliver on that promise. So telehealth, online education, training and employment, e‑government and commerce. Depend on robust and resilient networking infrastructure. We all know that remote and diverse communities, for example, across many islands experience poor quality of service and speed. These are the communities that benefit most from accessing digital services and are at most risk of acute inequality of being left behind.
I'd just like to highlight an example here of the Pacific. One of the things I enjoyed about this discussion so far is how pragmatic and context‑specific it has been. So to highlight that, in Pacific nations, we've got examples of some islands with really good connectivity provided by submarine cables running more advanced networks. We've got some islands relying solely on satellite connectivity, which is expensive and slow. And then some islands have almost no connectivity at all and are looking to build their first networks.
The role of the network operators, the people who actually build and operate the network, the Internet, the role that they play in making this possible cannot be overlooked. However many network operators in struggling countries work to resolve the inefficiencies of their infrastructure which may increase their running cost and slower speed for users. So we really want to shine a bit of the light on the human factor in the development of Internet services over the top new physical infrastructure which are being deployed such as undersea and transcontinental cables.
The technical community has performed a huge role over many years assisting in education, training and professional development, particularly through activities such as supporting network operator groups. I will also add in here other self‑organising community groups such as CERTs and C. CERTs are community incident response teams and they're doing a lot of excellent work in security throughout the Internet technical community.
We also really want to highlight the education and capacity building conferences, training workshops, fellowships and the like. It's important these are generally not commercial activities but subsidized or funded in many different ways.
So I'd just like to leave you with a couple of kind of key points. Networks must be well built and maintained in order to be robust and efficient, secure and resilient and deliver on their potential forward development. We simply can't build castles on sand. To do this, we need to invest in better preparing network engineers to address the demands of the growth places on the network infrastructure. We really encourage network entrepreneurs, decisionmakers, policymakers who are building policy and developing policy around infrastructure they don't fully understand to reach out and gain a bit of understanding, gain some practical experience with network engineers and some of the self‑organising groups that I have mentioned. And on that point we need to build bridges, better understand organizations working on building the network infrastructure and those organizations using it for economic development and defending Human Rights. Thank you.
>> PAULA VARGAS: Last but not least, Juan, if you want to tell us in your remaining time the conclusions of your work? The goals and the conclusions of the research you conducted? You don't have a microphone. Sorry.
>> Juan: Just a short disclaimer. I was Google policy fellow. But the research is conducted independently, so it's my responsibility alone.
So, Mexico has applied a very ambitious policy. In its 200 reform, the constitution started to include universal access as a right ‑‑ 2008.
And 2013 the government decided it would create a plan so that universal coverage was possible. This was thought of as 250,000 sites throughout the whole country. And so I have been analyzing this programme to see where the shortcomings are.
So the three objectives of the programme are to improve coverage and quality of public services, to reduce digital divide, and to save public resources by aggregating the demand for service from all levels of government.
The question is how does the government decide where it's going to connect and where it's going to not connect? And I think this is the key discussion and where we have been discussing to what extent private sector can deliver and to what extent government should deliver?
So what Mexico has implemented is a system whereby the Federal Government asks the municipalities to register spaces where Internet could be provided. The municipalities then record these and send them back to a Federal Government. The Federal Government checks if they comply with certain characteristics, for example, the quality of the materials within which the space is placed. And then they create a sort of list. And the private sector participates in public tenders and chooses which of these spaces it's going to provide services in.
So I think this mechanism has two problems. The first one is the municipalities are choosing spaces where there has already been government investment. They're choosing places with schools, places with hospitals, places with public parks. Not necessarily places where the people who are less advantaged are based.
The second one is will probably be choosing from within this list the spaces where they already are operating or where the people who live have higher income or disposable income, people who could become eventual clients.
So what I've been seeing through the research I've compiled, the census from 2010, from Mexico, and I crossed it with details if Mexico connectados database which is also geolocalised. What I have been seeing is that even though connected the thousand localites, and this covers approximately 84 percent of the population of Mexico, so localites are the smallest unit geolocation unit, but there are still 170 localites that do not have Mexico connectado.
When we look at ‑‑ Mexico is a country with a huge population, but a lot of it are also in very small localites. So there are 9 million people in Mexico who live in localites between 50 and 500 inhabitants.
When we look at this group of people, connectivity in this group is 2 percent. At a household level. Only the percent of the houses and localites are between 50 and 500 people have Internet installed.
Mexico connectado has only reached 16 percent of these.
When we look at a smaller group of localites of between 50 and 200, Mexico connectado has only reached 5.5 percent. So there is reason to believe that the incentives that the policy is following, this idea that we ask municipalities to identify spaces where there already is state infrastructure and then we ask the private sector to say well, within this group, where would you like or where would you offer to provide services? Does not seem to work. They are favoring localites that are already connected over localites that are most in need. And we were also talking about evaluating the policy. I mean this, I think, is fundamental to start gearing the policy towards populations that are more in need. Mexico is spending or was spending around $80 million per year connecting these localites. And at the same time, we have localites that are in dire need and not only have access to Internet issues but also have Human Rights violations, et cetera. There are communities that are most in need of connectivity.
And what we have been seeing is the government has changed the metrics through which it measures use, Internet use. This is the same metric that is used by ITU, World Bank, et cetera, intercomparability between countries is based on this metric.
And we've seen that they've changed the questions within the survey that is run, and now we have the situation where the connectivity had a jolt of 13 percentage points from one year to another. How will we evaluate this policy and tweak it towards achieving real results and important results is a question.
So all the graphs have shown are on interactive format online. That's my Twitter, Juan OF9. You can look through the variables and control for different populations.
>> PAULA VARGAS: Thank you, Juan. I think that your research says a lot. And I would like later to make a comparison with what Fernando said about the role of private sector and the private‑public participation.
I have a lot of questions, but I would like to open the floor to the participants here, if you would like to make a comment, make it brief to everybody be able to participate. Or if you want to ask a question to any of your panelists, we have also remote participation. So please ask for the microphone.
Okay. There is.
>> ‑‑ from Brazil. Just a question for the research that you do. It's a concern of the government to making laws to organise the digital policies in the municipalities. There is the law to organise the digital policies and other kinds of policies that are connected to the utilize the access.
>> Juan: There are several laws. One is that telecommunications reform that was enacted in 2013 if I'm not mistaken. And it includes part of this collaboration between the two levels of government. But it's also within the objectives of the policy, it's reducing costs. So they think if the municipality is going to hire Internet and the Federal Government is going the hire Internet, if we pool resources together, we should enable to reduce costs from the tender, the public tender.
>> But don't you have to organise this to like create municipal funds and maybe councils to make democratic of this infrastructure. And if the digital cities, let's assign this, to connect community networks in this infrastructure to resolve, maybe to resolve the problem that poor communities have the possibility to connect to this backbone or back hole infrastructure. Just a point.
>> Juan: Yes, I believe community networks is going to be part of the solution. It's still not there. There has been a recent public tender to build a shared backbone network. This has been delayed for over two years because of problems, some of which were transparent and some of which there is some lack of transparency between the relationship between the companies and if there have been agreements between the companies on how this would work. But I have met here people both from the government and who work in community networks, and they have told me that there are already conversations between them to perhaps go in that direction, which I think the data shows that big companies are not interested in providing these services.
>> PAULA VARGAS: Any other question? Someone? Augustina? Please.
>> Hi. I just had a comment. I thought the presentations were really interesting. And Juan just mentioned something that didn't come up during the conversation is the increasing need for transparency in these kinds of policies and how transparency can contribute to make sure that the policies that are being adopted are actually being implemented in the way they should be implemented, effective, that they are complimenting other initiatives and that they are not substituting.
And I wanted the share with you. We did a report this year on trying to implement a plan in Argentina from 2010 to 2015. And what we found there was that the objectives of the plan, the plan intended to connect people within the interior of Argentine and expand the infrastructure available. And that's what we evaluated within the plan. And what we found was that the information was so conflicting, the official information and even the information coming from the supervisory authorities was so conflicting and was so contradictory that there was no clear pictures five years after the project started on even what the starting goals were. There were disclaimers that it was one figure and after five years there were government officials saying that the objective was a different number of miles constructed of fiber, for example. so we ‑‑ what we learned from this experience, basically is that transparency is key. And that there should be a lot more attention being paid to seeking information and to asking governments to actively produce information on these kinds of policies. And how they are implementing these policies.
>> PAULA VARGAS: I would like to add accountability because it seems to be a problem not only of availability of information but also of really having the data that is needed to evaluate the policy.
Heleni wants to make a comment.
>> HELANI GALPAYA: I really want to pick up this point you were making about how do we measure success in a lot of these interventions. And we are still, most of us, and certainly our governments are in that old world of counting the miles of fiber laid out? Some have gone on to the 1‑0. You're either connected or you're not. But really we should be looking not either 1‑0're you connected or not? But all that stuff in between, which is how much Internet? How much connectivity do you have? What kind of digital participation do you get from citizens once you are connected? And on this we really look at those things.
I think we're not going to really move forward these debates, especially in our region where connectivity, I mean, it's done, right? A lot of that stuff is done. We really need to be measuring what and how much and what digital citizenry we are creating.
>> PAULA VARGAS: Allison, please.
>> ALLISON GILWALD: It goes to the point of state investments in those municipalities. And I can see the problem if the public WiFi is perceived primarily as an access strategy, which it is, also. But if it's also a usage strategy to whether I think people who can't afford service, or to access certain services they can afford, government services, municipal services or something like that, or to create awareness and use of e‑commerce and that kind of thing. So if it's govern the these other functions, then using public investments that are already there and attaching free public WiFi to that could be enhancing.
So I understand what you're saying about prioritizing and the allocation of funds and you actually supplementing ‑‑ you've already got access, et cetera. Whereas the poorer areas aren't being addressed. I think there's a kind of inevitability about that if you are using the public WiFi as an awareness and usage strategy with the associated social and economic multipliers and not just an access strategy. So, for example, in the rollout of the broadband plan of the connecting of schools and clinics and everything that have to have the public WiFi in South Africa, obviously the public WiFi has taken off most quickly in our big metros, in our big metropolitan areas. Very quickly it has gone. It's different investment from the investment that is actual had I going into the regions, which might be different from your case. Unlike other parts of the world, we do have big backbone issues to certain underdeveloped areas. The idea there is rather than managing the very tricky coordination between municipal and federal governments or national governments in our case, the national government is using a smart procurement strategy of aggregating its demand at those various under service points. And providing an anchor, a long term anchor tenancy in order to get ‑‑ we've not got some very low cost dock 5 companies to get the services there. So I think part of the public WiFi thing is Beyond Access. Getting people who are barely online, to more properly online and seeing that there's proper social and economic multipliers. That we don't see, we know from the access point when you have a critical mass, but from a usage point of view, only really come about you get certain levels of intensity. If people are just doing the bare minimum texting, we're not going to see those economic benefits.
And if I may just quickly respond to the transparency one because I think it is very important. I think what we're seeing is a lot more, many more governments being exposed to multistakeholderism and adopting consultive processes. And sometimes it's actually those that have been far longer, have accepted a consultative process and it's part of their process. But what you have is going through the motions. So there's decision made about what we have to do and now our administrative laws require we have a public consultation. We get all the data and evidence and ignore it entirely and go ahead with the decision that we decided anyway. And I think that's a big problem. Unless you could really challenge it in court or something like that. It's often just enough to carry it through.
>> PAULA VARGAS: Augustina, do we have some question from remote participants? No? Okay.
I have a question if I may. Or someone else from the audience wants to make a question? Well, I have one that I think relates to a lot of things have been said.
First I was thinking about what Heleni mentioned about not having real problems of cost for access. The access is kind of cheap. And you mentioned that no one cared about when the zero‑rating banning came in India, no one gave a voice to those unconnected to what they wanted.
So if cost is not an issue, what have those plans to offer for those unconnected? What zero‑rating has to offer to them?
And that also relates to usage, to what you mentioned, Allison. Do we know who they are, those that are connected? What will they bring to the Internet once they start to really use the Internet? Not only being connected?
>> The zero‑rating thing which I said is solving two things. Which is for those would can't afford connectivity, it is giving some form of connectivity and some form of Internet, granted not the full Internet.
But even for those who are connected, and on the financial constraint, when part of that Internet experience is made free, they are able to consume other content.
We also know that people don't only consume within that platform that is zero rated; they consume a lot of other content, which actually costs them money, because what is zero rated is not the videos and so on.
And who are these people online? So from our national households, we see sort of the obvious patterns. The early adopters are younger, more male, more urban. This is for the Internet.
And in Myanmar, for example, that was true when we did the national survey. And among those who plan to buy a phone and get online, the biggest percentage was rural and female. And in our followups this year we see this. If you look at the new users, they are more rural and more female.
So obviously the early adopters get connected.
Even when it is affordable, the point about social networks is that they cross not just the poor barrier when zero rated they cross the relevancy barrier. Even when it is affordable people are not online. And you need relevant content. You need it in your local language. And a lot of relevant content is about what your friends and family are doing and taking photographs and talking to each other. Those of course are the relevant content. But this is an important part of it. And that is a part of getting people online. It also has a priming effect because it then makes people more likely to go out and consume other things in the Internet because once it's experiential good for a lot of them. This is not to say that there's no problems with this model or that there's no exploitation. We talk in our qualitative studies to females in Myanmar who have their Facebook account open by the person who sold them the shop, the phone in the corner shop who knows your password and account number and they don't really know anything other than to just open up the Facebook feed and keep looking, right? So there is privacy, security, all of those concerns.
So I think we just have to have a balance view at the priming effect and possibly some of the negatives in getting the stimulating demand which would get all the people online.
>> PAULA VARGAS: Thank you. Some comments? Sebastian?
>> SEBASTIÁN BELLAGAMBA: I tend to say the internet is not necessarily affordable, is cheap.
>> My statistics are about emerging and evidence is very clear on that.
>> SEBASTIÁN BELLAGAMBA: In general there are places where an Internet access could cost more than 15 percent of the monthly income.
And secondly, zero‑rating in general, I mean, I think we have to go a little bit in deep into the concept of zero‑rating. I mean zero‑rating in general? Today it means nothing because there's so many flavors of zero‑rating that we have to go in deep to answer the question.
I mean 100 numbers have zero‑rating. Different flavors. Thank you.
>> PAULA VARGAS: Carolina?
>> CAROLINA HOSINI: One of the real Carolinas among many here.
So, hi, I'm Carolina Hosini. And I actually have moved to Facebook a month ago. And I've been working with this also in civil society and academia for over 16 years. And I think ‑‑ research I did while public knowledge was a comparison of markets and zero‑rating models and business models. And they have shown so many differences between them. And some of them are really about how you do price discrimination among markets to provide some form of Internet access, right? From equal rating to other models. And I think it exactly understanding that difference and the benefits of that difference by region because they need to be a specific by region in that market organisation, that's why I think Brazil and ‑‑ where I'm from and they have seen the U.S. have decided to have some flexibility to allow that people do innovate locally over the network that's being provided to them.
I think one of the important things to say is that at Facebook now, we are actually documenting a lot of cases, and a lot of them are publicly available. And you have people from the Philippines using zero rated to finish their PhD thesis when there was actually a hurricane. So the guys could not go to a school anymore for a while. And they finished their PhD through like zero‑rating working groups which form these like amazing and crazy to think about how somebody can do that. But they did. It's published. And it's there.
And another thing that I think it's very important, my mom is a biologist, right? And some of my first pro bono work, I was a teenager doing HIV prevention in Brazil. And the most important thing people need at the beginning of their life as adults is core information on prevention and then they get pregnant and they need some information about pregnancy. And I think that's very important that some of those core contents are coming, are being accessed to people through some of the zero‑rating things. And those are not content being developed by Facebook. They are actually content being developed with local partners. So they are local, relevant partners.
So in Facebook, we don't just have the policy, we have a huge content partnership team that goes to the core of Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Colombia, et cetera, and build partnerships. So the community builds on top of the connectivity that we are being provided. And I think that's very important to have in mind in terms of the connectivity.
And another thing that I have to say that I admire a lot of Facebook is that their ability ‑‑ and look, I worked for telephonic an in my previous work before academic civil society. Is the ability to really listen to their users and change the products on the go. And I think that happened in India and it's still happening with a lot of the products and services, right?
So I think this is something that we all have to appreciate of the willingness of the company to listen and improve exactly based on need of the local users. So thank you.
>> PAULA VARGAS: Thank you, Carolina. There is one last question. Unfortunately we ran out of time. And then a brief wrapup. And please go ahead. Introduce yourself if you can.
>> Hi. Krishna from the ‑‑ School of governance in Berlin. I would like to point to two new developments in India and would like to get the panelists view. One is private company called Rulencio, which is offering free Internet connection to March with FUP cap of 1 GB per day, which is actually access to the Internet. And the is the new proposal that is being worked by the government in Gova, which is trying to provide free Internet access to youth under the age of 13.
And given these two new developments, I would like to know if the panel thinks zero‑rating still matters to India because it only gives access to certain websites. Thank you.
>> PAULA VARGAS: Carolina one second.
>> Carolina: Sorry, I forgot something. Also I wanted to mention depending upon the market and the country and how some cities are populated and not, and also some of the Telcos have deployed their infrastructure, we have developed a series of other connectivity strategies that are also under the umbrella of Internet of org. And all of them offer access to the whole Internet.
So one of them is the connectivity lab where we are actually, if you fly united, you saw the ads already, right? So one is the plane, that it really delivers ‑‑ extends the reach of telecom infrastructure to then over 60‑kilometers further in diameter. So if you're in a rural area and your Internet just arrives in the post office or the library, we can extend that connectivity further.
We have the experts WiFi, which is for me really cool when I'm counting, they should go to see that on the ground where we partner with entrepreneurs in Africa and really help them develop business models around low cost connectivity. And we are providing the infrastructure.
And also the Telco infraproject and the submarine cable.
So there are a lot of other things we are building because it is real, the goal of connecting the next billion. That's a very core, even emotional issue inside the company.
>> PAULA VARGAS: It's interesting to listen to this before wrapping up because we have some claims of public sector needs to go where private sector is not affordable for them. And I had a question. We have run out of time, but how this balance, how do you consider that this is a balance between Human Rights and markets? And if private sector only wants to go where it is affordable to go, that seems not a very pair partnership between public and private sector. But that's a point.
Some other companies go in to really rural areas and places where it's not affordable but with plans that have been questioned about being real access to Internet. So it's very interesting the access to Internet. Heleni wand to make a statement. I will post questions. And August teen. O.
>> The absolutely fabulous. That is coming if the market and that's the whole point about India. When you have six to 10 operators in every circle, there will be a multiplicity of content‑related interventions that get people online. Zero‑rating is one of them. And Facebook solution was just one of them. But the market reacted in a over‑reactionary way. And in India, because of competition, I think we don't need to worry so much about one particular form. Equal rating is one. Maybe a different form of zero‑rating is going to come up and really help. We need to let the market decide because the competition takes care of a lot of the problematic issues. This is not the case in other countries.
>> I wanted to make a similar point that we have a study that's on the research ICT Africa website on zero rating which is called of to do about nothing. Because of course zero rating is just one of multiple bundled services, dynamic services. That's how people are using data. They aren't using data in one gigabyte data bits, et cetera. People are using these dynamically priced packages. These bundles, et cetera. And zero‑rating is just one way of getting online. But just to say that some of the arguments around it in terms of content, obviously we've spoken about ability to provide user generated content in environments especially where you have language constraints et cetera. But of course that's not sufficient. So I just wanted to turn very quickly to the thing that these aren't complete substitutes. These are just using what we have in constrained environment.S. We still need national demand site strategies around local content development around local access development et cetera. But these anti‑competitive, potentially anti‑competitive aspects, don't just relate to the main big flat forms whether they're zero rated or not and those need to be addressed in a far more structural way than just in these very short‑lived these. These zero rated products in the four countries that's really particularly active in Africa, not existent in some of the African countries. These are short‑term usually by the late entry operator to get market share. So that seems promising the e in et work level. It's at the platform level that they may not. That doesn't connect to zero‑rating so the content level needs to be addressed sort of national level much more structured.
>> PAULA VARGAS: I will mention the questions that will be use to keep this panel, to keep having this panel on the next IGF is for instance about Julian, how to replicate these models? Are they unique to a certain region? Or they can really be universalised? What's the key driver to really obtain some replication of best practices.
For instance, about what Allison mentioned, how to balance long term and short‑term policies. You said we will keep fighting for them. What does it mean, keep fighting for full access to Internet? To Fernando, how to really balance these private‑public partnership and make it fair from a Human Rights perspective.
Regarding what Sebastian said and the wonderful empirical research that they did, and that was one of the questions, the place of empirical research. How to know the unconnected needs. How to know them. And how to know what usage means for them. What's the kind of usage they need after they are connected? What are the values behind them?
I read some interesting things after the U.S. election. The people who was invisiblised. That's interesting for the Internet, as well. What are the unconnected bringing in terms of content, in terms of speech to the Internet.
And I want to point to Juan's research, what started this debate was actually an empirical research, a very important empirical research with data that we can actually debate and compare. So I think that is very important to have those.
And from Heleni said I think that is very important to keep going deeper into offering people alternatives and not rejecting them from a dogmatic perspective, I will say.
So, before Augustine an's wrapup, I would really like to mention Carolina, she is the alma mater of this panel. She is the real expert before behind internet governance policy in Latin America. She is not here because she will have a baby very soon which make us happy. So please, Carolina, I know you are there. It's my congratulations to you. Thank you.
>> Fully agree with you and endorse your words to Carolina. I want to thank you all for coming and sharing your experiences with us and your different points of view. I guess some of the things that I wanted to highlight of the conversation here today was that there seems to be a number of different commonalities that go across in analyzing these kinds of topics. For one, the need to evaluate these issues in light of local contexts and how those local contexts are being developed. I think that was pretty interesting.
The need to view connectivity from the two very different perspectives of the unconnected and the connected and how the connected are using the Internet and how to empower that use of the Internet.
The common thing that was placed to the table was the need to leverage local initiatives and for governments to actually empower all the different actors working on connectivity and on the different strategies of connectivity, being community, networks, being social networks, being private sector and whatnot.
I would just say one of the most interesting questions for the future is how do we address and how do we evaluate the usage point of view? And if you have any suggestions, I'd be very interested in hearing them.
So thanks again for all your participations here.
(end of session)