Preserving a Universal Internet: The Costs of Fragmentation

3 September 2014 - A Workshop on Other in Istanbul, Turkey


IGF 2014 sub theme that this workshop fall under

Emerging Issues


As Internet governance and Internet-related public policy issues rise to the top of the international political agenda, a variety of states are exploring measures that may lead, deliberately or inadvertently, to Internet fragmentation. Such measures include (but are not limited to) those intended to prevent or mitigate harms associated with digital connectivity, as well as measures intended to capture economic benefits resulting from online activity, such as implementing alternate models for monetizing the exchange of Internet traffic or taxation or imposing fees on online activity. Extreme efforts entail the creation of entirely separate national Internet analogues with limited or non-existent connectivity to the World Wide Web. Other efforts include extensive firewall and censorship schemes and “opt-in” regimes that, for example, require individuals to explicitly declare their intent to view adult material online.

The effectiveness of such approaches to reducing digital harm and capturing economic benefits is unclear and can pose potential risks to the end-to-end accessibility of the Internet. This workshop will focus on this latter set of issues, by attempting to scope the magnitude of the costs of Internet fragmentation. Detailed cost estimates require a great deal of economic and other research, outside the scope of an IGF workshop; however, there is value in setting the framework for such a research and policy agenda. Panelists will be invited to speak to these issues according to the nature of their expertise. The panel includes technical experts, economic policy analysts, diplomatic practitioners, Internet governance practitioners, experts in international development, and entrepreneurs.

Panel introduction by the moderator
Introductory remarks by each panelist
Panel moderator to pose a set of questions to the panel
Moderator will open the floor to questions from attendees and remote participants
Concluding remarks by the panelists
Moderator to conclude the panel

Name(s) and stakeholder and organizational affiliation(s) of institutional co-organizer(s)

Samantha Bradshaw
Civil Society
Centre for International Governance Innovation

Lorrayne Porciuncula
Intergovernmental Organization

Caroline Baylon
Civil Society
Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House)

Patrick Ryan and Colin McKay
Private Sector

Has the proposer, or any of the co-organizers, organized an IGF workshop before?


The link to the workshop report

Type of session


Duration of proposed session

60 Minutes

Subject matter #tags that describe the workshop

#DigitalEconomy #InternetEconomy #censorship #fragmentation #digitalharm

Names and affiliations (stakeholder group, organization) of speakers the proposer is planning to invite

1) Laura DeNardis
Civil Society
Centre for International Governance Innovation
Speaker Confirmed

2) Andrew Wyckoff
Intergovernmental Organization
Speaker Confirmed

3)Vint Cerf
Private Sector and the Internet Technical Community
Speaker Confirmed

4) Sunil Abraham
Civil Society
Centre for Internet and Society
Speaker Confirmed

5)Bertrand de La Chapelle
Civil Society and the Internet Technical Community
Internet Jurisdiction
Speaker Confirmed

We will try to finalize the speaker list with greater developing world perspectives.

Name of Moderator(s)

Gordon Smith

Name of Remote Moderator(s)

Samantha Bradshaw (confirmed), Caroline Baylon (confirmed)

Description of how the proposer plan to facilitate discussion amongst speakers, audience members and remote participants

This panel is designed to encourage an open dialog and exchange of ideas between the participants. It is envisioned that each of the panelists will provide a brief introductory comment (of 5 minutes), which will then be followed by a question and answer period, engaging audience members, remote attendees and other panelists. The Moderator will ensure that there is equal distribution of time allocated to differing view-points, to ensure a robust discussion and inclusive discourse. Moreover, the panelists have been selected to represent and embody the geographic, cultural and gender diversity, as well as the diversity in stakeholder type, with representation from civil society, the academy, and government.

Description of the proposer's plans for remote participation

CIGI plans to engage and include remote attendees using a combination of video and social media technologies. This will allow the CIGI IGF panel content to be shared in real time around the world to all those who wish to participate. To keep the workshop lively and accessible to all, remote attendees will be able to chat throughout the workshop with other remote attendees. During the Q&A periods of the workshop, remote attendees will be given an equal opportunity to directly engage with local workshop participants.

If bandwidth conditions are suitable, the CIGI IGF panel will be fully streamed using both audio and video. In the event that bandwidth is problematic, a low bit-rate audio stream will be provided. The full audio and video of the CIGI IGF panel will be made available and distributed online to all those unable to attend remotely or in person

Background paper

background paper

Related Sessions

Main Session in Rio de Janeiro on Other

12 November 2007 | 1127 views

Main Session in Rio de Janeiro on Other

12 November 2007 | 1233 views

Best Practice Forum in Rio de Janeiro on Other

12 November 2007 | 852 views