SIDS Roundtable: "Free Internet" - Bane or Boon?

12 November 2015 - A Workshop on Other in João Pessoa, Brazil


As an outcome of the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS Conference) held on 1-4 September 2014 in Samoa, the SIDS ACCELERATED MODALITIES OF ACTION [S.A.M.O.A.] Pathway ( has indicated:

- The ability of the small island developing States (SIDS) to sustain high levels of economic growth and job creation has been affected by the ongoing adverse impacts of the global economic crisis, declining foreign direct investment, trade imbalances, increased indebtedness, the lack of adequate transportation, energy and information and communications technology infrastructure networks, limited human and institutional capacity and the inability to integrate effectively into the global economy.

In recognition of this challenge, SIDS are, along with other underserved targets (such as Africa, for example), the object of several programmes by OECD-based private sector to bring Internet access at either free, or close to free rates. Many have welcomed this intervention, given the limited resources of the Government and the indigenous private sector operators.

Other observers have however argued that this "free" access to the Internet, is actually akin to "being locked up in a corporate digital prison" (Niels ten Oever, Article 19 via

As part of its ongoing Research & Action Agenda, the 2015 SIDS Roundtable seeks to elucidate all sides of the argument, searching for common ground and understanding, with a special emphasis on increasing the volume of seldom heard voices of the SIDS in Global Forums such as the IGF.

Discussants  include:

Mr. Carlton Samuels
Academic Community
Adjunct, Department of Library and Information Studies
Faculty of Humanities and Education
University of the West Indies (Mona)

Dr Ellen Strickland
Technical Community/Civil Society
Community Programme Director, InternetNZ & Vice Chair, Pacific Islands Chapter of Internet Society
New Zealand

Maureen Hilyard
Pacific Islands Chapter of the Internet Society
Cook Islands
(Remote Discussant)

Ms. Deirdre Williams
Civil Society
Civil Society Internet Governance Caucus
St. Lucia

Professor Patrick Hosein
Academic/Technical Community
University of the West Indies (St. Augustine)
Trinidad & Tobago

Niels ten Oever
Civil Society
Head of Digital, ARTICLE 19

Dr. Vint Cerf
American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN)

Dr. Robert Pepper
Private Sector
Vice President, Global Technology Policy - Cisco

Mr. Dhanaraj Thakur
Academic/Technical Community
Research Manager, Alliance for Affordable Internet

Rhea Yaw Ching
Private Sector
Trinidad & Tobago/USA

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